Monday, August 15, 2022

"Blameless" written by Gail Carriger,
read by Emily Gray

Alexia has been thrown out by her husband after he assumes that there is no way that he could be the father of her baby due to his being a werewolf. And once the news that her husband believes her to have been unfaithful spreads, her family also tells her to leave their home. And having lost the protection of the Woolsey werewolf pack, the vampires begin in earnest to try and have her killed. It can only be assumed that they know something about the child she carries that no one else does, and for some reason it causes them to want to destroy her unborn child, and they will do everything they can to make that happen.

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook version of this book. The narrator, as with the previous two books, did an excellent job of differentiating between each of the characters, allowing no accidental confusion as to which character is speaking at any point in the story. The only real complaint that I have is that there seems to be unusually long pauses between the segments of this story. Several were long enough that I had to  check to make sure my book was still actually playing and not become paused somehow.

But that issue aside, it was a good story and I feel that this is an audiobook that should appeal to anyone who has either read or listened to the previous books in the series. It should also appeal to those who enjoy vampire and werewolf stories, and in particular to those who enjoy a bit of steampunk.

Monday, August 8, 2022

"Fairy wives of Windsor" by Trixie Silvertale

Coriander the fairy runs the fortune teller's tent in a cursed renaissance faire where the traveling performers are all magical beings who are under a curse that does not allow them to ever leave. On the day this story takes place, the body of another member of the faire falls out of her caravan when she goes to set up her tent. Calling her friend Fraxi for help, it is at this point that the lazy and incompetent sheriff comes by and sees Fraxi touching the body as she tries to see who it is and immediately arrests her for the murder. Now it is up to Coriander to figure out who actually killed Winston, why, and how they did it so that Fraxi won't be the one punished for the crime.

Like the first three books in this series, this was a very fun read that held my interest from the beginning through to the end, where there were a few very big surprises. It was well written and very entertaining. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, cozy mysteries, and renaissance faires. I don't think you'll be disappointed with this or any of the previous books in the series. I know I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book in this series.


Monday, August 1, 2022

"The Englisher" by Samantha Price

Florence has eloped with Carter Braithwaite & the two of them couldn't be more happy together. She doesn't regret the decision to leave the Amish lifestyle, though she misses her orchard and her family. Her stepmother Wilma is set to marry Levi and has declared that he will run the orchard, even though he has no idea how or even what needs to be done. 

This series just keeps getting better and better as it continues on. I've been enjoying watching Florence learn more about living a non-Amish lifestyle while doing her best to help her family whenever possible.


There is a heart & depth to the story & series that keeps me coming back to find out what happens next. I believe that anyone who has enjoyed the previous books in the series, or Amish romance novels will enjoy this book as much as I did. 


Monday, July 25, 2022

"Adventures of a Vegan Vampire"
by Cate Lawley

After going out for drinks with the rest of her office, Mallory wakes up in her apartment the next morning with no idea of how she got home, and soon realized that something was very wrong with her. She couldn't seem to get enough to drink, discovered that she'd slept through several days, and that solid food suddenly made her violently ill. Something was very wrong. And she soon learns that something is the fact that she has become a vampire… with an aversion to blood.


This was a fun little cozy mystery. The main character was forced to rapidly learn how to survive as a vampire who must find a way to survive even though she can't seem to drink blood. She also needs to learn everything she needs to know to survive as a vampire quickly, or else starve to death. Add to that a need to find out how she became a vampire in the first place and who was responsible for seemingly trying to kill her and why, and she has quite a task in front of her.


I enjoyed this one. It was lighthearted and fun. I think anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries, lighthearted vampire stories, or is just looking for something fun to read would enjoy this book.

 

Monday, July 18, 2022

"Changeless"
written by Gail Carriger, read by Emily Gray

In this, the 2nd book in the parasol protectorate series, Alexia Tarabotti is quite happily married to the alpha Werewolf, Connell Macon. Now that she is married, as a soulless she has been appointed to the position as mouja to the crown. And as such, she is often called on to help solve problems that cannot be solved by werewolves or vampires alone. In this case, there seems to be something happening that renders vampires and werewolves human and exercises any ghosts caught within its boundaries from existence. But whether it is a plague or a weapon of some sort remains to be determined.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book. The narrator did an excellent job with differentiating between the characters. The story was fun and entertaining with a dramatic ending that left me dying to see what happens in the next book. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read the first book, as well as to anyone who enjoys werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and the paranormal. And anyone who enjoyed the first book in the series should also enjoy this book as well.

Monday, July 11, 2022

"Lucy and Matthew: A Bold Love"
by Florence Linnington

After Lucy's Aunt Mary dies, Lucy decides to seek out her only other living relative, her sister Caroline. Caroline had moved out west years earlier after having gotten married. The two of them had not seen each other since, but Lucy has nowhere else to go and does not wish to marry someone she doesn't love just to remain in Virginia. 

Matthew can only be described as a gruff mountain man who has never felt the need to remain at home for very long and has never been interested in finding a wife. But something about Lucy keeps him wanting to know more about her.  She is much more independent than most women he has met.


I enjoyed reading this book. It was different from Ms Linnington's other books in that the main conflict doesn't come from misunderstandings due to a lack of communication between Lucy and Michael. Instead, it comes from Lucy's sister, though what happens results from good intentions, however undesired those intentions were.


I really liked this twist and new direction of a romantic not quite a mail order bride story. Lucy is a very strong character and one that I found very relatable and who captured my interest. She knows what she does and doesn't want and isn't afraid to go against societal norms to live her life on her terms.


I believe that anyone who enjoys historical fiction, romance, and yes, mail order bride stories should enjoy this book.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

 ★★ 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐈𝐒𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐑 𝐑𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐀𝐋!★★

 

𝐇𝐨𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐞𝐥𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐘𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐰𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐚𝐤𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐩𝐮𝐥𝐬𝐞-𝐩𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐩𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐘𝐀 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐚 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐧!

 

𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 - https://bit.ly/3ny7QCc

𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐨𝐧 - https://bit.ly/3AnP2NF

 

𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘀𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱𝗯𝘆𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸𝗲𝗻𝗱. 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻’𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿.




 

Jagged Island: a private amusement park for the very rich—or the very influential. Liam, James, Will, Ava, Harper, and Paisley—social media influencers with millions of followers—have been invited for an exclusive weekend before the park opens. They’ll make posts and videos for their channels and report every second of their VIP treatment. 

 

When the teens arrive, they're stunned: the resort is even better than they’d imagined. Their hotel rooms are unreal, the park’s themed rides are incredible, and the island is hauntingly beautiful. They’re given a jam-packed itinerary for the weekend.  

 

But soon they'll discover that something's missing from their schedule: getting off the island alive.

 

#CoverReveal #NatashaPreston #TheIsland #YaThriller


Monday, July 4, 2022

"Wings and Broken things"
by Trixie Silvertale

In this, the 3rd book of the Mitzy Moon Series, events take place at the yuletide extravaganza. The local vet has been injured in a hit and run accident with seemingly no witnesses and the same night an angel statue is stolen. It seems the perfect time for Mitzy to practice using her newfound psychic abilities as well as putting her amateur sleuthing skills to the test. 


I've been slowly working on catching up with reading this series as I often find myself reading them out of order. And while it is quite possible to pick up on much of what has gone before when reading the later books in the series, I do find it helpful to try & read the earlier books as well in order to gain more knowledge & understanding of the characters and their motivations.


This book was quite fun and entertaining, and as always it was amusing to see what new trouble Mitzy would find herself in. I thoroughly enjoyed spending a nice, relaxing afternoon reading this tale. I believe anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries, any of the other books in the Mitzi Moon series, or are just looking for something fun to read then I think you'll enjoy this book.

Monday, June 27, 2022

"The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood

This was a tale that takes place in the country of Gilead, though that wasn't what it had always been called. The country had started out as a democracy, but over time many in power had turned to extreme religion, turning the country into a theocracy where women had no rights, their possessions were taken from them and turned over to male relatives, they were no longer allowed to hold any job outside the home, and many other changes began to take place as well.  It started out as a slow decline that many didn’t see coming in the beginning, but soon spiraled out of control as the religious extremists took control.


In the end, women who were capable of bearing children were forced to become surrogates & bear children for those who could not get pregnant to raise as their own. Little choice was given to these women, and the other options should they continue to refuse were far worse.


I decided to read this book because of the many parallels between this fictional story and much of what is happening in the real world today. It is a story that seems as if it should be impossible, but there are many women who have just been stripped of some of their rights by those in power, and there is a clear path from that to many other rights being stripped away as well in the name of religion. For a fictional story, the parallels between what happened in this book and the world today are uncomfortably real and painfully clear.


I believe that this is a book that should be read at least once in your life, especially now, though I'm sure many will not agree. Beyond that, I will only say that I found this to be a very powerful cautionary tale of what can potentially happen even in a world where so many are still fighting to hold on their rights and to improve their lives and the lives of others. It may be a fictional tale, but I could see it could very easily become reality under the right circumstances.

Monday, June 20, 2022

“Blades and Bridesmaids” by Trixie Silvertale

In this most recent addition to the Mitzy Moon series, Mitzy is missing Sheriff Harper who is away at an extensive FBI training session (or as Mitzy calls it “FBI sleepaway camp.” But never fear, Acting Sheriff Pauly Paulson, who doesn’t exactly get along with Mitzy, is filling in for him while he is gone. Now, Mitzy and Paulson are forced to work together when Odell’s niece and her bridal party are being stalked in the woods while on a bridal party camping trip. Camping is not something that Mitzy is familiar with, and she and Acting Sheriff Paulson need to be able to work together well enough to rescue the missing girls before they wind up dead. Can the two of them manage it?


I really enjoyed reading this story. (I read it in one day.) There is a lot going on, and watching Mitzy and Acting Sheriff Paulson learn to work together and rely on each other in the woods was a very interesting story. We got to learn a lot more about this secondary character and her history and motivations that we haven’t gotten to see before, and it truly adds to the enjoyment and understanding of the character. And while this may be Mitzy’s mission to rescue the girls, this time she isn’t the only one who gets to be the hero of the story.


There is also a secondary plot in this one involving Mitzy and her “Sheriff too hot to handle.” I don’t want to say too much about that story since it is just, if not more entertaining and enlightening as the main part of this book. It is definitely just as much, if not more fun to see the trouble this plot twist causes the two characters as well as the lessons learned from it. And I am definitely looking forward to seeing what trouble they will all get into for the next book in this series. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

"The Academy of Beasts" by Becca Fanning

Fiona was rescued from a fire that killed her family. The rescuers believe that she is a shifter who simply hasn't experienced her first shift yet. If she is, it's news to her as she believed herself to be, like those who raised her, completely human. Now, she's in some mysterious academy full of various animal shifters and feeling completely lost. 

This was an interesting little short story that I picked up while it was free on Amazon, believing it to be a full book. (It turned out to be only 63 pages.) The story was interesting, but ended on a cliff hanger and far too soon. While I will admit to being curious as to what happens next, I probably won't continue on with the series as I expect that the other books are also far too short for me to feel they're worth the expense for me to buy them. (I finished this one in a couple of hours at most & was left feeling like there should have been much more.) 


The series has 40 books in it and it appears that each book is $3.99. If each of those books is also only about 63 pages, it's not worth it for me to want to buy the rest of this series, no matter how much I respect how hard the author may have worked on it. I'm happy to pay more for a full length novel, but not for something that feels more like a sample or a teaser to me. 


But I'll keep my eyes open in case the series ever goes on sale. The concept was interesting, though there were a few dropped words here & there. It just wasn't interesting enough for me to want to buy 39 more sets 63 pages for almost $4 each. As much as I love a good story, I'd rather buy a $10+ novel than a $4 short story.

Monday, June 6, 2022

"The Bride's Shame and her Miracle Baby"
by Florence Linnington

On her way to the train station, Maribelle runs across an abandoned infant. She knows the man she is leaving town to meet and marry does not want any children, but there isn't time to take the baby to an orphanage without missing her train, and just leaving it would mean certain death for the poor thing.  So she does the only thing she can do & takes him with her, deciding to raise him as her own.

As expected, when seeing an unmarried young woman with a baby, most people assume the worst about her. Even her potential husband seems to believe her a liar at first. But he does need someone to help keep his homestead running, which means either hiring help or getting married, so Edward gives Maribelle a chance to prove herself useful before deciding whether to send her back east or not.


Like Ms. Linnington’s other books, there is a common theme running through this one as well…assumptions cause more problems than being honest with one another from the beginning, and if not resolved soon enough can ruin potential relationships as well as reputations or even lives.


I enjoyed reading this one. Maribelle is a strong character, and given what she both has been through & will face in this story, she needed to be. Anyone who enjoys mail order bride stories, historical fiction with a bit of romance, or any of Ms. Linnington's other books is sure to love this one as well.

Monday, May 30, 2022

"The Dead of Autumn" by Jean Rabe

Halloween night always seems to get unusual 911 calls, but most of them don't amount to much more than minor disturbances, loud parties that might have gotten out of hand, or silly and generally harmless pranks. But a girl murdered on her way to a costume party is anything but usual.

Once again, Sheriff Piper Blackwell has her hands full trying to discover who killed the teenage girl dressed as Steampunk Tinkerbell and why.  And this one is definitely not a simple murder mystery. There are a lot of twists and turns involved, as well as quite a few surprises along the way.


From the moment I started reading, I honestly couldn't put this book down. It held me completely captivated from beginning to end as I tried to figure it out before the end of the story. And the secondary mystery (that had nothing to do with this murder) was just as interesting and entertaining. And watching that mystery get solved gives quite a bit of insight into some of the secondary characters and their lives, adding extra dimensions to the overall story.


I highly recommend reading this book, especially if you enjoy murder mysteries, any of the other books in this series, or are just looking for a very well written tale that will keep you guessing until the end. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Ms. Rabe is definitely a master storyteller who never disappoints her readers. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll read through this one almost nonstop & be waiting as patiently as possible for the next one in the series.

Monday, May 23, 2022

"The Admiral's wife" by M.K. Tod

This is the story of two women, separated by about a century in time, who share a similar tale. Both were born and raised elsewhere, but have come to live in Hong Kong. One in the 1900s when her husband was given a position there in the British Navy, and the other in more modern times to get to spend time with her family & to learn more about her Chinese heritage. 

I enjoyed this book a great deal. I loved the parallels between the lives of the two women. Both felt very out of place when they first arrived. There was a great deal that was unfamiliar to each that they needed to adjust to in their new lives.  Yet despite the difference in the time period in which each lived, there were quite a few similarities and a kind of parallel between them as well.


And the way that their stories were so interwoven made it clear that this was one story rather than two separate tales. It was very well brought together so that it seemed to come around full circle in the end in a way that made perfect sense. Yes, their lives were quite different from each other and obviously they’d never met, but there was a connection between them just the same. There is a lot more going on in each woman's story than first meets the eye, and that, as well as the choices they made, brings a great deal of depth to this book and made it a very enjoyable book for me to read. I would definitely recommend that others give this one a try. In my opinion, it’s worth it.

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Ultimate Meal Prep Cookbook”
by America’s Test Kitchen

Recently, my husband checked this cookbook out from the library for us to look through to see if it might work for us. We often find that while one or two recipes in a cookbook work well for our family, there’s rarely more than that. But this book was different. We found quite a few recipes that we could use with only minor alterations of substitutions of ingredients. 

I was really impressed by the format of this book. It discussed not only ingredients, but storage options for leftovers as well as foods that had not yet been cooked, simple methods of cooking various foods, what changes to make if you are using dried ingredients rather than fresh ones, and it divided things into weekly meal plans that utilized a lot of the same ingredients in different ways so that you could reduce the number of shopping trips/ amount of items needed to purchase for the meals on that week’s recommended dishes.


The book also provides grocery lists for the various dishes, including either the full week’s meal plans as suggested as well as separated by individual dishes if you don’t intend to make all of the items listed in any of the weekly menu plans they’ve suggested. That made it really convenient for us as quite often we’ll like a dish from one grouping but not the others for the rest of that week.


The book provides complete and easy to follow, step by step cooking instructions on how to make the various dishes that have been thoroughly tested out by America’s Test Kitchen so that they will be easy enough for those of us with little or no cooking experience to follow. And for me, that alone was a huge plus over other cookbooks that are not designed for new or inexperienced home cooks to be able to easily follow & end up with a delicious meal. 


I also like that at the back of the book it includes nutritional information on each dish so that anyone watching what they eat can clearly see the information they might want or need in one location, as well as a chart for conversions and equivalents for ingredient portions and an index to make it nice and easy to find a dish without needing to know which meal grouping it was in. 


I found this book very well organized and extremely helpful. And after having made a few of the meals for ourselves & loved them, we ordered a copy of this book to keep in our home library as we will soon need to return this one to the library. If you think this book sounds like it might be a good one for you as well, I recommend starting out by borrowing it from your local library to test out a few of the dishes yourself. I suspect you’ll also wind up finding it a good one to buy for yourself as well, but this way you’re not out any money if it turns out not to be right for you.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

“A Bride’s Love and her Daughter’s Hope”
by Florence Linnington

Harriet Miller’s marriage had seemed like a dream at first. He was handsome, rich, and well-connected. She was none of those. And his mother detested her, refusing to have anything to do with Harriet or her daughter Alyssa. Until, that is, Harriet’s husband died while Alyssa was a child. Then the woman wanted to take Alyssa into her home to raise as a “proper” lady. Harriet, on the other hand, would be expected to give up all rights to her daughter and never see her again. And with wealth & power behind the older woman, if Harriet were to stay to try and fight to keep her, Harriet would only wind up losing her daughter forever.


So Harriet and Alyssa did the only thing they could, and using the last name of McKinney, they fled as far from their home as they could afford to get. (Harriet’s husband had turned out to be a heavy drinker who was not a very good gambler, leaving them with very little money upon his death.) At the end of her journey, Harriet meets with a matchmaker to find her a husband as she will need one to survive out in the west. But before a husband can be found, we learn that Alyssa’s grandmother has offered a huge bounty for the girl to be found & returned to her. So what can Harriet do now to keep them hidden and safe?


I enjoyed this book. There were some surprises along the way, a character who grew from someone with a simple belief in what was right or wrong, into someone who came to see that there is often more than a single side to the story and begins to see the shades of gray that he had been missing before. We also got to see that like any good mother, Harriet was willing to do anything to protect her daughter and keep her safe, even if doing so is likely to lead to unhappiness for herself. Such actions are something she considers a small sacrifice to protect her daughter, just as any mother would.


It was a very good story and one that I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys mail order bride stories or any of Ms. Linnington’s other books.

 

Monday, May 2, 2022

"The Vampire's Maid" by Cara Wylde

Elise was a young woman with no family and not much potential for a future as anything other than a cleaning woman. At least not until she was offered a job to clean a very large home (more of a castle, really) for which she was paid a very large sum up front with the remainder to follow once she had finished cleaning the place from top to bottom.

This was a shorter tale and one that I found rather amusing. The author can clearly write well, but in this story a lot of what happened felt somewhat too convenient to me. I don't want to go into detail because that would spoil the story too much for anyone yet to read it. For most of the story, there was very little surprise for me, though the ending was quite a bit different than what I was expecting to see happen. I can honestly say that I didn’t see it coming.


The reader does need to be warned that this is not a story for younger readers as there is some very explicit sex in the book including clothing being ripped as it is removed (yet in a later scene was left neatly folded for her to be able to wear again.)


Would I read another book by this author? Yes I would. She can clearly write well and the story was entertaining. For the rest of you, that’s up to you to decide.


Note: My apologies to my readers. This book has been sitting in my far too long "to be read" list for a while, and when I started editing this review to post on Monday, I could not find it listed on Amazon. And unfortunately, I do not have time to get another book read and reviewed before this needs to post. So please accept my apologies for I do not have a link to share this week. But I do promise that this book does exist.

Monday, April 25, 2022

“Wolf’s Pregnant Bride”
written by Jane B. Night,
narrated by Gerri Green

After finding herself pregnant a few months after a ball that she’d attended, an American girl visiting England with her father found herself in the unhappy position of learning that the child’s father had been married shortly after getting her pregnant. And her father was demanding that they make things right, thus forcing Nathaniel, the younger brother of the man who had conceived the child, and Sophronia to be wed immediately in order to avoid a scandal. Clearly neither one of them was happy about the situation, but there appeared to be no other option open to them. (It should also be noted that neither Sophronia nor apparently the brother who impregnated her seem to remember the act itself. She didn’t even know she was pregnant until the child started moving within her.)

It wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter that Sophronia learned that she had married into a family of werewolves and that her daughter would grow up to be one as well. Terrified and not knowing what else to do, Sophronia ran away and boarded a ship bound for America with intent of returning to her parents' home. But other problems got in the way, and now she knows there is something else that she must accomplish before she can return to her husband and daughter.


I discovered this book after purchasing a program for a children’s play we attended & decided to purchase the audiobook version to review. The author is local to the area and it piqued my curiosity as I’d never heard of her or this series before. 


Listening to the audiobook, I would guess that the narrator is British. She did a decent job creating unique voices for the characters, but something about the way she handled the American southern accent of Sophronia and later several other American characters just grated on my nerves, though I can’t really explain why. As for the characters and the story, there were a number of questions that I had, a few of which appeared to be explained, others just left for us to wonder about. 


This is definitely a book that is not appropriate for younger readers, as it does contain some rather graphically detailed sex between the two main characters. Also, some listeners might take offense at the language used when referring to various females in the story, and while some of those terms may turn out to be justified, others do not. But at the same time, I believe that it was possible that the author was using those terms as a means of depicting werewolf attitudes about many things rather than as an intended insult.


Overall, I’m not entirely sure what my opinion on this book is. I also haven’t decided whether or not to continue on with the next in the series. So on this one, you’ll just have to decide for yourselves if it sounds like something you might or might not enjoy.


Monday, April 18, 2022

"Secret Beast" by Amelia Wilde

Kaley's father is an inventor. He's been trying to find someone to invest in his ideas for years with no luck. But this time Leo Morelli and he signed a contract. Unfortunately, signing a deal with a Morelli will likely get Haley's father killed. (Reputation is highly important to the other members of the Constantine family, and they have had an ongoing feud with the Morelli family for a very long time. It is not permitted for a member of the Constantine family to work with rather than against a member of the Morelli family.) So Haley meets with Leo to try and get her father out of the contract. Unfortunately, the only thing she has to offer in exchange is herself.

I bought this book thinking it was a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, which it was, I just hadn't expected it to be borderline erotica as well. This book is definitely not for younger readers. It is very explicit with very graphic sexual details. Erotica is not really something that interests me, and as this book was described as steamy rather than as erotica, I hadn’t expected quite what it turned out to be.


Given the circumstances of the deal Haley is forced to make, Leo Morelli has complete and total access to her body for one month. And if she refuses to do anything he demands, her father will be forced to honor a contract that will cost him everything. So while not exactly rape, I still consider it to be sexual abuse given the circumstances and the actions taken within the story. Not really something I enjoy.


The writer does have talent, so if this is the type of book you enjoy reading, then you will likely enjoy it more than I did. The story was well written, but it had far too much explicitly graphic sex for my tastes. But be warned… it does end on a cliffhanger. And as much as a part of me does want to know how the character's story ends, erotica (or borderline erotica) just isn't something I enjoy reading. So I don't plan on picking up the rest of this series.

Monday, April 11, 2022

"Blood Bound"
written by Patricia Briggs,
narrated by Lorelei King

Mercy Thompson owes the vampire Stephan a favor. He requests that she accompany him in her coyote form and wearing a harness while pretending to be his pet, on what was supposed to be a simple assignment to meet with a new vampire in the territory and find out why he hadn't followed Hive protocols by notifying the local vampire queen of his visit. Unfortunately, it turns out to be anything but a simple mission and things definitely go about as wrong as is possible.

A demon-ridden sorcerer turned newly made vampire in town is bad enough, but add in a heat wave & werewolves barely able to maintain control, causes Mercy to have to team up with the vampires in an attempt to hunt him down and kill the sorcerer. A hard enough task for anyone under the best of circumstances. And currently, things are about as far from normal as they can get.


I listened to this as an audiobook rather than reading the printed version and enjoyed it just as much as the previous book in the series. The story held my interest through to the end and the narrator did just as fantastic of a job as she did for book one. I enjoyed listening to it and look forward to the chance to read (or listen to) book three in this series.


I believe that anyone who enjoyed the previous book will not be disappointed with this one. And I believe whether you choose to read it or listen to it isn't important. It's just as good in either format.

Monday, April 4, 2022

"Heists and Poltergeists" by Trixie Silvertale

In this, the 18th book of the Mitzy Moon series, it is Mitzy's birthday. She hasn't had a good birthday since her mom died, but her Ghostma is determined to make this one memorable. While Mitzy does her best to not give away the fact that she knows the others are throwing her a surprise party, she finds herself in the middle of a robbery over at the bank. 

You might think that simply trying to find a way to make sure that everyone makes it out unharmed aa well as finding a way to help the ghosts who have been stuck in the bank from a botched robbery in the 1970s would be enough for one book, but in the leadup to the birthday party, we are taken on a trip down memory lane through Mitzy's previous adventures in Pin Cherry Harbor.


I enjoyed reading this book, though as I've been reading them somewhat out of order, I haven't yet caught up on some of the books describing Mitzy's earlier adventures. And while it in no way lessened my enjoyment of this book, I believe I would have appreciated it even more had I already read the adventures referenced in this one. (I’m still working my way through the ones I missed so far, and I do intend to read the whole series.)


But all in all, like the others I have read in this series so far, this is also a book that I believe anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries, the other books in the Mitzy Moon series, or are simply looking for something fun to read will enjoy this book.

Monday, March 28, 2022

"A Rancher's Wife" by Florence Linnington

Millie was badly burnt when she was young. Most of her left side has been permanently scarred and she was left with a limp. Her parents think of her as a cripple who cannot take care of herself and has no future. But Millie disagrees, and after corresponding with a Rancher named Otto Morris, she leaves her parents home to take a train to meet her soon to be husband, leaving behind only a letter explaining where she has gone and why. She only hopes that Otto will at least give her the chance that her parents never will… to prove that she is more than capable of doing whatever needs to be done.

I think this one is my favorite of Ms. Linnington's books so far. It has a greater depth to the story than many of the others have, allowing the characters to try to overcome a great deal more than is generally faced in a simple mail order bride tale. And those challenges were not merely the typical getting to know and trust each other, but involved other problems that may have been faced by people living in the time & place this story is based upon.


If you like mail order bride stories or have read & enjoyed any of Ms. Linnington's other books, you won't want to skip this one. In my opinion, it's her best one yet.

Monday, March 21, 2022

“Ready Player Two” written by Earnest Cline,
Read by Wil Wheaton (unabridged)

This book takes place years after the end of “Ready Player One.” In it, the “High Five” who won Haliday’s contest & claimed the vast fortune as their prize, are no longer quite as close as they had once been, though they all run the company together. When  Wade Watts discovers a device called an UNI, that Haliday had created, but never released to the public, it was up to them to determine whether or not it should be, or if it should be kept secret. The UNI allowed anyone using it to be connected to the virtual world directly from their brain in a way that allowed them to feel, taste, and touch things as the haptic sensors never could. 

But was this something that was truly safe enough, and also was it something that was going to be good or bad for humanity simply because of its existence. Once the decision is made to make the UNI available to the world, it sparks a new game that Wade and his friends must solve. Haliday’s old partner Ogden Morrow was against the release of the UNI and refused to help them with solving the new puzzle. While he seems to know more than he’s saying, he won’t even give them a reason for why he doesn’t want anyone to complete the new quest. But naturally, Wade can’t just let it go, and must figure out what the new quest intends and where it leads.


I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Having been a teenager in the 1980s, I appreciated the many references to events, people, music, and locations from back then. And listening to the book being read by someone who was himself easily recognizable to Star Trek Next Generation fans from his time on the show, for me added an extra layer to the fun geekiness of the characters and the plot of the story. 


There were a lot of interesting sub-themes to this book that were all very integral to the story. And while I would like to talk about them in my review, I’m afraid that doing so would give away too many spoilers. So all I truly feel comfortable in saying is that if you enjoyed “Ready Player One” you will also enjoy this book. It is a very fun and entertaining mishmash of 1980s trivia and nostalgia. And I found the story both interesting and entertaining, though I don't think it will be for everyone. (I freely admit that I am a sucker for 1980s trivia, and there is a lot of it in this book.)

Monday, March 14, 2022

"The Viennese Dressmaker" by Kathryn Gauci

Christina Lehmann was the head of a couture house in Vienna in 1939. For quite some time, she has been in love with a man whose mother was Jewish though his father was not, and was raised catholic in a time and place where those of any Jewish ancestry at all are becoming increasingly oppressed. Because of this, Max does not feel it is currently safe for them to marry, and he is unfortunately correct. Under Nazi rule, the country has been becoming an increasingly dangerous place as the war continues to make life worse for those living there who are not part of the Nazi regime.

This book was a very good read, especially considering events taking place in the world today. The author does not shy away from well known events that took place in WWII. Brutality towards those with Jewish ancestry, property seizure, medical experimentation, the killing of those considered weak or imperfect, parents sending their children away to Great Britain via the Kindertransport in an attempt to keep them safe, and many other things. While this book is a work of fiction, historical events and people were necessarily included in the story.


I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It was very well written and the story had me wanting to keep reading to see what would happen next. While the experiences of those sent to concentration camps was not explicitly shown in this book, we are shown gestapo interrogations as well as a good deal of violence (nothing too explicit, but given the period in which this book was written, such things could not be avoided.)


But I think the best of this book was the postscript written by Ms. Gauci. Be sure not to skip that section. It gives a lot of information on the people who inspired many of the characters as well as the places and events. I would highly recommend this book.

Monday, March 7, 2022

"Moon Called"
written by Patricia Briggs,
read by Lorelei King

Mercy Thompson, a coyote shifter (or skinwalker) who was raised by werewolves works as a mechanic (in her own garage) and lives next door to the local werewolf alpha. As expected, her life is anything but normal, and when a young, newly made werewolf shows up at her garage looking for work, she goes against common sense and tries to help him, without knowing what the young man is running from. Before long, things go very wrong, and turn out to be much more complicated than anyone expected.

I listened to the audiobook version of this one rather than reading the printed book. The narrator did an excellent job of keeping the voices of the characters distinct from each other. The story was entertaining and I enjoyed listening to the book as it unfolded, the twists and turns along the way holding my attention throughout. 


This was a book that I believe I would have enjoyed reading easily as much as I enjoyed listening to. It is the first book in a series, and if you're looking for a good story involving vampires, werewolves, and other fae creatures, then I believe you should enjoy this one. I’d say it’s worth giving it a try.


Monday, February 28, 2022

"Secrets of the Western Town"
by Florence Linnington

Lottie and her Father have just arrived in the town of Red Canyon. He works for the railroad and it is his job to determine the best routes for new tracks to be laid and which towns the train will pass through. Lottie’s father is a widower who has never truly gotten over the loss of his wife, and unfortunately he has taken his pain out on his daughter. When he begins to ease his loneliness by becoming involved with the woman who runs the local cathouse, what will happen to Lottie?

This story has quite a few more twists to it than Ms Linnington's most recent tales. This is not a simple story of a young man or woman looking for a spouse, nor even a tale of love found or lost. In this case,  it was a tale about a young woman who must find the strength within herself to save not only herself, but those around her. And if she can't, she may lose more than just a romance or a family member. 


I enjoyed this more complex tale. It kept my interest held and had me wondering if this would have the happy ending that I have come to expect from Ms. Linnington's books. I won't give the answer to that question away here. You're just going to have to read the book for yourself to learn that one. What I can say here though, is that I think you will enjoy it just as much as I did.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Brothers of Belle Fourche, books 1-3
written by Kari Trumbo,
read by Scott Bennett

"Teach me to Love"

After Lizzy's abusive and demeaning husband dies, rather than returning to her parents home she leaves town to go and visit her best friend from school, Lulu. At this point, Izzy is only a fraction of herself, having been so emotionally downtrodden by her husband that she cannot believe in herself or trust that she is worth better.


I listened to the audiobook version of this story and enjoyed it. The male narrator wasn't as strong in differentiating the different voices of the male characters as some narrators, but it wasn’t too difficult to tell who was supposed to be speaking at any point. The story was good, and the reasons behind the character motivations came through clearly.


The story was short for this one, but as there are 3 books in this collection, it should even out once I've finished listening to all three.


"What the Heart Holds"


In this book, the new school teacher Stephinia appears to have fallen for Arnold after he and his brothers rescued both her and Lizzy from an irate kidnapper. Unfortunately, his heart still belongs to a girl who had died in an accident years before. 


Thus was another shorter seeming story, but one that I also enjoyed listening to as well as the previous book. This story flows perfectly from where the previous book ended.


"Deep Longing of the Soul"


In this third book in the series, Eli, who had shot and killed the man who had kidnapped Lizzy, has been having a very difficult time since that day. He views himself as a murderer, though he had been protecting and saving two women when it had happened. 


This book was about the same length as the previous two, and reaches a good stopping point in this series. It was just as enjoyable to listen to, and while the voices used for the three brothers may be difficult to distinguish at times from each other, the personalities of the characters eases any confusion of which brother happens to be speaking. (Plus it helps that each book focuses mainly on a different brother.) Overall, I enjoyed listening to this trilogy.

Monday, February 14, 2022

"The Year-Round Solar Greenhouse:
How to Build a Net-Zero Energy Greenhouse" by Lindsey Schiller with Marc Plinke

My husband and I are planning on turning an old gazebo into a greenhouse to extend our growing season this year. I read this book to see if it could help me with the planning stages of a greenhouse. (It's currently winter here, so nothing can be done for a few more months.) 

Reading this book gave me a lot of information that I didn't know anything about previously. While much of what I learned won't work for what we want to do, I did gain a lot of ideas that should work and will get us a long way towards actually building our greenhouse and having it work without needing to use electricity to keep it warm enough as the temps begin dropping in the fall and allow us to start our plants earlier in the spring.


In other words, while this was not a step by step guide on how to get our DIY greenhouse built, it did provide a lot of help in understanding what we'll need to do and how to go about doing it. Will we still run into other unconsidered problems along the way? Most likely, yes. But after reading this book, we learned what won't work for us and why, as well as providing us with a lot of ideas about what will work. 


So I would recommend this book for anyone who needs to learn about different types of greenhouses and is considering buying or building one for themselves. I found it to be very helpful overall.


Monday, February 7, 2022

"Wonderly Wroth" by Scott Telek

Book 5 of Mr. Telek's Swithin series, starts where book 4 left off. A 14 year-old Arthur, having forgotten his foster brother Kay's sword and needing to bring him one, had pulled the sword from the stone not realizing at the time that it was the one that would determine who was the rightful King. After much confusion, and being asked to repeat the act multiple times, it seems that the church believes he is the rightful king, though even Arthur doesn't seem too convinced about it.

This book tells the tale of young Arthur's training to become a knight, as well as of many other things that he will be expected to know. And while all of this is happening, we get to see not only what influences the young man's decisions along the way, but we get to learn more about some of the other characters that have yet to take center stage in this tale as well. It gives us a fascinating look into what drives and motivates them, as well as how each of them came to believe as they do.


As is no secret, I love a good King Arthur story, and this series has been one of my favorites. Mr. Telek has done a wonderful job of telling the familiar tale of King Arthur in a unique way. While those of us familiar with the basic story can usually make a pretty good guess about what is to come, Mr. Telek still manages to throw in a few surprises along the way that keep the reader riveted. It was very difficult for me to put this book down at night, as I kept wanting to keep reading to the end. (And when done, I was honestly surprised to find that this book was longer than it had felt while reading it.)  


If you enjoy a good King Arthur story, you will want to read this book/series. I loved it and think many of you will enjoy it as well. It is well worth taking the time to enjoy this one.

"Blameless" written by Gail Carriger, <br>read by Emily Gray

Alexia has been thrown out by her husband after he assumes that there is no way that he could be the father of her baby due to his being a w...