Monday, January 30, 2023

The Rose and the Thistle

Slow moving historical romance between the daughter of a duke and a Scottish Laird. Lady Blythe is forced to go into hiding when her father is declared an enemy of the crown for supporting Jacobites. With nowhere to go - her father arranges for her to go to the estate of her godparents in Scotland. She arrives to find that her godfather has just died (her godmother years prior) and the eldest son is none to pleased to be harboring an English lass with questionable family ties. He decides to hide her in plain sight as a tutor for his youngest brother. Soon the two find themselves being thrown together and enjoying their verbal sparring. Could love be in the air? They must be careful though - for there are spies everywhere and if he is caught harboring an enemy of the state they could both lose their vast fortunes. Slow paced, but fans of inspirational romance will like this slow burn filled with historical intrigue.

Death in Paradise

I picked up this audiobook as a whim. My library didn't own the first two in the series - but what the hell. Gotta live a little. I will also admit I have never seen any of the movies based off this series so I really was going in cold!

The narrator really made this book for me. His accent was magnificent and I could listen to this man read a phonebook. In my mind he was Jesse Stone. Anyways, Jesse Stone is an alcoholic cop who was fired from his homicide detective job in California and ended up taking a police chief gig across the country in little old Paradise. Wherever his ex-wife goes he will follow; he is convinced someday they will get back together. Luckily for him - she still loves him... just not enough to settle back down with him. When a body of a young girl turns up, Stone must get creative to find the killer. Leisurely paced detective mystery with lots of talk of drinking, relationships, and baseball. I liked this a lot more than I anticipated and will check out the next book in the series!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Her Heart's Desire

This Amish romance was a nice change of pace as it took place on a beach! Most Amish books I read take place in either Ohio or Indiana so it was nice to see Pinecraft Florida take center stage. Mary Margaret Miller needs to get away from Trail, Ohio. She has been teased and bullied her whole life and has no friends. She has saved up for a solo trip to Pinecraft, Florida (an area that caters to Amish families) and she is looking forward to a chance to re-charge and re-invent herself. On the long bus ride down she meets two other Amish wallflowers who are doing the same thing as her. All three have been lonely and looked down on so they immediately latch onto each other and become the best of friends. A few days into their fun Mary learns that one of the girls who bullied her from her hometown is coming to Pinecraft and even staying in the same Inn! There goes her fun and relaxing vacation! Obviously there is a little romance thrown in as well. Lots of fun and I can't wait to read the next books in the series! 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

White Horse

A little slow at first - but I quickly became invested in the story the creepier it got. When Kari James is gifted an old bracelet that belonged to her mother, shit starts to go sideways real fast. Though she is an indigenous woman- Kari would describe herself as an urban Indian - preferring sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the city to any other traditions. Her mother disappeared at two days old and her father was in an accident soon after that caused a serious brain injury - so Kari was essentially orphaned - only having her cousin Debby. But the bracelet is causing her to have visions of her mother - terrifying visions and Kari realizes that if she wants the visions to stop she is going to have to find out what happened to her mother. Dark and gritty - this was an exciting read. I hope this author writes more! 

Friday, January 20, 2023


This was a quick read but I did enjoy it. This would be perfect for kids or teens who are into dystopian fiction like Ashfall and Not a Drop to Drink. I also liked this teen novel a lot because it was in verse and had a female protagonist. Alone is the story of a 12 year old girl who tricks her parents into thinking she is staying some place she isn't for a sleepover and as a result gets left behind in a massive evacuation. When she awakes the next day there is no one left in the town. She saves the neighbors dog and together they learn what it will take to survive in Colorado with no electricity or fresh food. She's hopeful that her family will come back for her once they realize she was gone - but no one is coming back. What imminent threat was there? A good survival story.  

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Princess and the Scoundrel

Not quite what I was expecting. Based on the cover I was expecting some smutty Han and Leia fanfiction - but there wasn't really much romance in this book. The book opens with the two of them getting married and then going on their honeymoon. In true Leia fashion, she treats their honeymoon like a diplomatic mission and hopes to show the galaxy that the New Republic is thriving and doing well. Really though - they know that the Empire isn't really defeated - just because Darth Vader is dead doesn't mean the Empire has stopped functioning. Their honeymoon ends up turning into an adventure - nothing ever is what it seems. Meh - a little slow and not nearly enough romance for me!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Book Woman's Daughter

This was so close to a 5 for me - but I think that had more to do with the narration than anything else. Katie Schorr is divine and her southern accent, indignation, laughter, and levity was perfect for this book. This book is a sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek but can also be read as a standalone. Honey Lovett is the daughter of the infamous blue skinned Kentucky packhorse librarian. At 16 her parents are imprisoned and Honey finds herself in a pickle. If she is caught she will be sent away to the children's workhouse, but what will she have to do to remain free? Well for starters she is going to have to go back to Troublesome Creek and rely on the people her mama used to serve. In the process she will reconnect with some folks who are almost as close as family, and make new friends. Set in the beautiful Kentucky mountains this book is full of adventure, bigotry, abuse, friendship, and justice. A wonderful listen. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Beyond the Wand

I like to think that I am a Slytherin at heart - although my favorite Slytherin was not in fact Draco, it was his dad. My god the hair on him, have you ever seen anything sexier. Sorry where was I? Oh yes - this book. I'll read anything that slightly even refers to Harry Potter so of course I knew I had to read this and I am so glad I did. Draco may not have been my favorite character - but it was so nice to get to learn more about him and his life. Getting an inside glimpse into the Harry Potter movies was obviously my main draw, but reading Beyond the Wand was like getting to meet a new friend. I learned a lot about Tom Felton and have a new appreciation for his career and him as a person - he seems like a pretty swell fellow. A nice read and I can't wait to continue to follow his career!

Monday, January 9, 2023

The Song of Achilles

WONDERFUL!!!!!! This author is off the chain! I read Circe earlier this year and was blown away. The Song of Achilles (her first novel) is also out of this world incredible. The amount of detail and character building and setting is insane. I absolutely loved this. As you can guess by the title, this novel is about Achilles; the interesting part though is that it is told through the perspective of Patroclus, his best friend, companion, and lover. All I knew about Patroclus was from the movie Troy, and of course it was totally Hollywoodized because there was no way they were going to make Achilles (played by Brad Pitt) GAY! In ancient Greek times?!? Gays?!?!?! The travesty! Seriously though, it was super common and probably less of a deal than it is in our modern times. Patroclus grows up as an exiled prince in Achilles' fathers' home. They become very close, much to Thetis' chagrin (Achilles mother who is a goddess). The prophecy says that he will be the greatest fighter in the world but if he goes to Troy... he will die. Will their love triumph or will Achilles desire to go down in history persevere? Included in this story are many other great Greek heroes and gods; Odysseus, Hector, Paris, Helen of Troy. It's all the cool stuff you learned in school about mythology and then forgot. Madeline Miller does a superb job weaving this story together to make it real, emotional, and relevant. I'm in love with this book.

Saturday, January 7, 2023


I don't think I have read Beowulf since high school so this was a real treat - I LOVED this translation. Bro, fuck this shit, #blessed, you had me at the start. Minus the few words I just said - it doesn't read too modern - it's certainly no longer in Old English, but it doesn't feel "too" modern - just a touch. I also loved the introduction, Maria Dahvana Headley seems like one cool motherf-er and I would love to hang out with her. I mean, hell, she named her kid Grimoire! I am not a scholar - but I appreciated learning more about the history behind different translations and it was nice to re-visit this classic. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Legends and Lattes

What's better than a fantasy novel centered on a coffeeshop!?!? Talk about world building that I can get behind. When Viv, a battle hardened orc has finally saved up enough coin, she decides to put down her blade and venture to a new city to open a coffee shop. It doesn't matter to her that no one has ever heard of coffee or that she knows nothing about running a business - it's what she wants to do, and by golly she is going to do it. She soon assembles a motley crew to help build and run the joint - a succubus to tend the counter, a hob to build the shop, and a rattkin to bake the goods. It's a bit of a bumpy ride as they all get their bearings, it is after unchartered territory they are entering in - but a certain magic (or is it just the coffee?!) seems to be binding them together. I so hope there are more books set in this universe!

Dog People

A quirky man destined to be single forever - stumbles upon a wonderful woman who likes him for who he is (a weirdo) and together they create a wonderful life, having 2 children together. In his retirement he decides to surprise his wife Tina with a dog, something she has wanted for years, but he has been reluctant to get because he's sure that dogs are not for him. Lo and behold their little rescue, Lady, wins him over and he becomes an instant dog person. She gets special kibble, long walks, doggie outfits, and all the treats she could ever want. He and Tina even create an elaborate backstory for Lady and give her a ridiculous voice. When Tina dies, what will happen to Lady? The ending is like something out of a Stephen King novel. Not unexpected, but extremely messed up. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Animal Life

Award winning Scandinavian author, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, writes a breathtakingly beautiful little novel that reflects on midwifery, family, nature, and finding the light. Dómhildur is a midwife, continuing a long family tradition of helping bring life into the world. Her great-aunt was so proud of her that she bequeathed Dómhildurher her apartment in Reykjavík after her death. As Christmas approaches, so too does the winter forecast worsen. While Dómhildurher rummages through her aunt’s things looking for Christmas décor and she stumbles across a box full of manuscripts, editorials, postcards, and letters. Within the pages is mix of musings on animal life, midwifery practices over the past century, and the reflections of her great-aunt. Ann Richardson narrates with a slow steady cadence, that eases readers into the poetic Icelandic prose. While not “plot heavy,” the impending Christmas storm serves as a dark backdrop for the light found within the pages. For fans of Scandinavian literature. – Erin Cataldi