Monday, 9 December 2019

Carole's Monday: The red pearl by Chloe Hilton


The Red Pearl: A Novel of the American RevolutionAuthor:  Chloe Helton  
Title: The Red Pearl
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
Publication Date: March 1st 2019
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)



Boston, 1779. A nation in revolution. An innkeeper’s wife will change its fate.

There is something peculiar about the group of men who have begun to frequent The Red Pearl. Their clandestine meetings and hushed conversations suggest dark secrets: secrets which Lucy Finch has been forbidden to listen to. However, when a horrific assault makes her ache for revenge, Lucy will risk everything to pass on the explosive information she hears while pouring drinks. What she finds may be the fodder for a historic victory - but it may also lead to her ruin. 




The Revolutionary War will always hold a special place in my heart. I was obsessed with learning everything I could about this time when I was growing up. I still love it, but I have expanded my horizons. When this was offered for me to read, I could not deny it!

The story follows Lucy in Boston. She is the wife of an innkeeper and she gets to hear more than she should from the loosened tongue of the drunk Tories that frequent there. After a terrible event, she decides enough is enough and she will take this information to the side she wants to win. But will it ruin her marriage or end with her killed?

This was short, but packed with a lot of story. Honestly? I wish it had been longer. Maybe with an epilogue of some sorts? Or a book 2? Something. I want more from these characters and their stories. I really want Sam to have a HEA. Perhaps a book with his story? Just want more. 

I felt bad for Lucy. She gave up her first love to have a safe marriage with another man. Dangerous times for sure. Can't blame her at all. Also I wanted to cry because what happened to her was terrible. But it did respark her motivation to see the victory of the Patriots.

I did feel bad for her husband sometimes, but I was mad at him because I get wanting to be neutral and all, but defend your wife darnit! He needed a swift kick in the butt! 

I'm glad the baddie got what he deserved. Huzzah for justice!

What I really loved about this book was how real it felt. Sure we could've seen more heroics and more drama. But Lucy and everyone felt real. Sometimes just sharing a few secrets can have huge impacts. It was nice to see these characters flawed and have to deal with everyday life. It wasn't a love match. But a marriage of convenience and the author did a wonderful job showing the darker truths of the times mixed with the lighter truths. For example, Betty had a love match, but then Lucy didn't. The author knows her stuff. 

In the end, I really did like this story. I honestly wanted more to make it even better. I needed more time with these characters. Overall, though, this was worth the read. If you are looking for a good historical fiction, I for sure recommend this. I'll give this 4 stars. 






2019 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge
20 out of 16/25








Friday, 6 December 2019

Audio: My favorite things by Lynsay Sands

Narrated by: Justine Eyre
Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-29-19
Language: English
Publisher: HarperAudio
Historical romance
For review

All I want
This one was funny. Prudence is trying to get her father to stop gambling (not funny, that man needs help), but what is funny are her antics trying to get into his club and the chaos she creates. The owner has no idea what he is in for

And then fall in love and her dad is saved

3 French Hens
Brianne, a scullery maid, looks just like Lady Joan. So she goes along pretending to be Joan so that Joan can think of a plan to get out of a marriage. No surprise, Joanne falls for the hubbie to be and he does seem wonderful.

And then they loved happily ever after and it all worked out.

The Fairy Godmother
Odel's godmother shows up and says that she now is a fairy godmother and that she will have her married by Xmas.
A castle filled with suitors, a fairy godmother who does magic, and a stranger who shows up and seems the most sane one.

And then they lived happily ever after.

Sweet stories, and they work as they are.

Narration
I always like Justine Eyre, and I do feel that she is perfect for historical romance. I like the feeling and voices she does.

All I Want

With Lady Prudence’s father gambling away the family’s savings, all she wants for Christmas is to haul him away from London’s most notorious gaming hell. Yet the wickedly handsome proprietor, Lord Stockton, refuses to let a lady enter his establishment. Now Pru needs a Christmas miracle to make her wish come true - and to resist succumbing to Stockton’s charms.

Three French Hens

Brinna’s life as a scullery maid changes with the arrival of the castle’s newest guest, Lady Joan. Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, Joan suggests that look-alike Brinna take her place at the Christmas festivities. Suddenly, Brinna finds herself being wooed by a true gentleman, and getting the best Christmas present of all: a new life.

The Fairy Godmother

Odel is told by her godmother that she must marry by Christmas, and even gives her fairy dust to separate the mice from the men. But Odel has sworn off love...until kind and generous Michel catches her eye. He shows Odel how good it can feel to fall in love, but will it be enough to convince Odel to trust her heart?

Thursday, 5 December 2019

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Paperback, 406 pages
Published February 21st 2019 by Headline Review (first published December 31st 2018)
Historical fiction
Library

I am always weary of books with different timelines, because I always like the historic more. And sure it began like that here too, but then at the end I actually liked them both.

Ann works as an embroider, she meets Miriam and they become friends and coworkers. I did feel like maybe there should have been more Miriam. She had too much of a background for that backgrund not be be experienced. She had hid in plain sight, she had been in the resistance, she had been to Ravensbruck, her entire family was dead. But that is all we learned, those words. Too me that is an entire book.

They work for the man chosen to make Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress. Ann meets someone, Miriam meets someone...

And then it is 2016 and Ann is dead and her grand daughter decides to learn more as she knows nothing about her gran's past. Shaky beginning, but then I got into it (cos yes she meets someone, I guess that pulled me in, I am all for romance.)

It is not the most exciting book, they work on the dress, they fall in love, the gran daughter goes to London. But at the same time it made me want to watch the Crown for some reason, cos here I was behind the scenes so to say.

But it was good and Miriam totally deserves a background book.

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Audio: Heidi's guide to four letter words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt

By: Tara Sivec, Andi Arndt
Narrated by: Andi Arndt
Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
Original Recording Audiobook
Release date: 09-03-19
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Original
Contemporary romance
For review

I like a book that can make me snort! This was funny, her family was, omg, so embarrassing! But in the best way to listen about.

It is only my second listen by Andi, but she is is great! Maybe putting them in Minnesota was the right call (sorry Minnesota people), but the accent was perfect for how her family acted. Also are they like the Canadians of the US?  So yes Andi did a great job with everyone and I could feel Heidi's embarrassment to my soul.

Heidi has lost her job cos of budget costs, but does she really want to be a teacher? She also wants to be bolder, to take charge, to get her sexy neighbor to notice her. But she is not these things, she looks like a kindergarten teacher, she can't even say balls, and she would rather hide in a bush than go and talk with him.

So she starts working for an audiobook company. She starts a podcast. She drinks too much wine. And she learns to say balls and so much more.

Oh and Brent was lovely, freaking lovely.

Laugh out loud moments (mostly cos of her family), and a nice story that let's her take charge of her own love life.

I liked it! A lot :D I also listened to it in a day cos S is sick. SO yay, a listen in a day book.

Narration
Well I already talked about that. Great!

Nothing good ever comes from drinking a box of wine alone. So when I decided to entertain my drunken self by setting up some hand-me-down podcasting equipment and reading the steamy parts from romance novels, I never thought anyone would actually listen. The fact that I admitted my huge crush on my sexy next door neighbor made the whole thing even more mortifying. But sometimes life surprises you, and that’s how my podcast, Heidi’s Discount Erotica, was born.

Now I, Heidi Larsen, a sweet former kindergarten teacher in Waconia, Minnesota, lead a scandalous double life reading erotic novels to the listening world. And with each episode, I find myself embracing my new alter ego more and more. Now I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin and do things I never would have dreamed of - like kissing my neighbor.

Look out, Waconia, because Heidi’s on the loose! She’s in your ears, in your hearts, and down your pants...wait, that didn’t sound as good as it did in my head. Well, you get the picture, don’tcha know!

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Best of November




Happy December! 2019 is coming to a close soon. I am in awe. 

Here are our favorites for last month. 


Best Movie of the Month (or show):

First, my favorite...........Carnival Row


"I will do best tv series this month again and the honor goes to Carnival Row. Srsly you guys, watch it"


Now, Carole's favorite.........Us (2019)

Us Poster


"So good. Scary, creepy, and makes you think and talk. Worth it."


Best Book of the Month:

First, Carole's favorite.........You Can Thank Me Later by Kelly Harms

You Can Thank Me Later: A Novella


"I had three that really could have gotten this trophy. However, I'll have to pick this one.This had everything you could need and want. I cried, laughed, got mad, and it made me think. Super good! You can thank me after you read this."

Next is my favorite............Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone (The Others, #5)


"It was a hard one this month, I am still not sure that this was the best one. I really liked the two by Seanan McGuire too. But I will close this Fall of Bishop with another best book of the month."

Best Cover of the Month:

Carole's favorite


Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)
Blodeuedd's favorite






Monday, 2 December 2019

Carole's Monday: Corporate Christmas


Author:  Bernadette Marie 
Title: Corporate Christmas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: ebook
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)



Chloe Richardson had just landed the biggest client of her career. A promotion was in her future, or so she thought until the handsome Jason Mitchell walked into her office with his gorgeous smile and searing blue eyes—and took her job.


Losing her job so close to Christmas, Chloe’s only choice was to go back home to Aubrey Heights, where the Christmas spirit is celebrated in a tourist loving, wonderland. Perhaps she can pull herself together before the new year—before her new career search.


However, Jason follows her to Aubrey Heights—with a mission of his own. First he stole her job—now he wants to steal her heart.


Is the spirit of Christmas alive enough in her to let that happen?




'Tis the season for holiday books!! Couldn't resist this one!


The story follows Chloe who has spent years being groomed for great things by her former boss. Now that he has retired, Chloe is working like a madwoman for the new boss. However, that promotion that she deserved is given to an external hire named Jason. Things happen and now Chloe goes back home to Aubrey Heights for the holidays to get her head straight and find a new path. Jason follows her there to steal her heart. 


As I mentioned, I was intrigued by this book right away. However, I did have my worries about how Jason would steal her job and then her heart. Luckily he wasn't a huge jerk like I thought. It really wasn't his fault he got the job and not her. I was also really worried that HOW he was going to win her heart. She has every right to be upset. 


I liked Chloe and I liked Jason. They were cute and I just wanted them to be happy but I wasn't sure how they were going to get their HEA. 


The town of Aubrey Heights is cute. I wanna go there! So cute and small. 


The beginning was a little slow there for me to really get hooked, but as soon as I was hooked I was hooked. I got this done in a couple of sittings. Short, but good overall. 


In the end, I really did like this. A little slow at the beginning and I was worried about how Chloe was ever going to get with Jason. If you are looking for a quick, cute xmas book this is the one for you. I'll stamp this with 4 stars. 





Friday, 29 November 2019

Audio: The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

By: Charlotte Nicole Davis
Narrated by: Jeanette Illidge
Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-01-19
Language: English
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Fantasy

Most review seems to be user gentler words, but, no. This is dark world.

This is a shitty world. I do not really learn much about it and I would have liked more. War came. Now there are ghosts and evil men eating ghosts around. There are the rich and those without shadows (why, how?!). And poor people sell their daughters to brothels, there they are marked and used up until thrown out when they are too old. Some parents think they are better off, some just need money. But they are still made into whores.

And one day 5 run away after one of them kills a customer on her first night on the job.
Oh and there are these guys that mentally torture you too cos it is not enough you have to whore, but you are also mentally tortured cos they find it funny.

Yes, I would have liked to learn more about this world. And yes, I did feel they were too lucky. Everyone and their grandma was after them. Their pics were everywhere. They could not even go outside without covering their faces cos they were branded, but still they manage to stay away from the law. A bit too far fetched for me.

They also go all banditas and start to rob people. And sure the people have it coming, but it does change from women escaping to more let's rob people and rich people suck.

The end is actually a semi good one, I was worried when I saw that it is a series. But you can leave them sort of for now, but yes they are not actually safe, just sort of. I like that. Cliffhangers are just so evil.

As for the girls, we are in Aster's head and she is angsty. I wish there was more Clem, cos she does not seem to dwell that much and she should. Violet was mean girl not mean girl at all, and I find myself liking her. Tansy and Mellow are just there.

An interesting start. I do wish more explanations, but more books are to come.

Narration.
A good narration, she made distinct voices of the girls and their voices fit them.

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls—they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Short Movie review: Set it up

Two corporate executive assistants hatch a plan to match-make their two bosses.

Director: Claire Scanlon
Writer: Katie Silberman
Stars: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu

1h 45min | Comedy, Romance  /Netflix

I did not have high hopes, but this was actually better than   I expected.  It gave me a few laughs, I liked the characters and the actors.

Recommend or not?
Sure why not!



Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Down among the sticks and bones by Seanan McGuire

Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Tor.com
Series: Wayward Children #2
Fantasy novella
Own

Wohoo, free!! Thak you TOR.

I Liked book 1, and I liked this one. This one happens before book 1, and I had honestly forgotten what happened in that novella.

Jacqueline grows up a princess, Jillian grows up a tomboy, and they both start to chafe at the roles given by their parents. They are twins, yet so different.

Jack and Jill went up a hill, and all fell apart...

I liked where they ended up, it was dark. There are doors, and all those lost children around the world, might have fallen through those doors. And the other side is not always or ever pleasant.

Great novella! I need more

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Paperback, 163 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Granta Books (first published July 27th 2016)
Translator: Ginny Tapley Takemori 
Fiction
Library

This was short, short is glorious! I finished it in no time at all! Seriously, that is all I want in books these days.

Keiko is considered strange by her family, and she has donned the mask of convenience store woman and takes traits from those who work there. I'd say she ha a diagnosis, maybe Aspergers. She tries to be "normal". But friends think she should get married, others think it is weird that she still works as the store. She should get a real job. While I was all, step back people! She loves her job, and not everyone wants to spend their life with someone else.

The book has no chapters, it is a constant stream.

Some of the words on the cover just makes me go all wtf, critiques calling the book sexy? I mean what? The book is tragic and at the same time, well she loves it so why should the rest care.

A well written book (novella, wohoo). it made me want to read more by this author

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis—but will it be for the better?



Monday, 25 November 2019

Joint Discussion: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop






Hello all! Carole  and I will be discussing "Etched in Bone" by Anne Bishop. I am in red and Carole in purple.





Etched in Bone (The Others, #5)
Author: Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Title: Etched in Bone
(The Others #5)
Genre: Paranormal, UF, Fantasy, & romance
Published:  March 7th 2017
Pages: Audiobook


After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…



As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.



With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave



Holy meatsticks, is that Cyrus human the stupidest human in the universe? Yes he was evil, but also so dense, wtf man those are predators, you do not cut yourself and then swim among sharks.


He is an idiot!! I don’t know why (well I do know why) they wouldn’t just eat him the first time he messed up. 




So I get that they wanted to observe him, but then the rest should have taken care. Protect the weak!



Yess. I get wanting to observe him, but within 5 secs he was already causing issues. So his chances should’ve been done. 




Just eat him and that effing creepy kid of his. Gods below and beyond how much I hated him. He was just so, I wanted to shake some sense and fear into him and then let him become dinner.



Yesss. I felt so bad for the little girl. Awww. :( 



She is better without her stupid family, maybe she will stand a chance then. Let the rest rot. I could talk about how stupid Cyrus is all day long



Me too. I hated him! Hopefully she will be able to become a good person and an addition to society. I felt bad for Ciara, but I wanted to shake her. Maybe she’ll be okay now. But ugh. 



She was messed up, I felt sorry for her, he really did a number on her. Honestly, at times I worried that he had fathered her children too. I would totally have thought that of that asshole.



OMG I WAS HAVING THOSE WORRIES TOO! I wouldn’t doubt it. I guess we’ll never really know. He was terrible to her and to everyone. Especially women. How did such a strong and smart woman raise such a monster of a boy??? And how did he survive up to now?



He did seem to have the luck of a devil, and he was sure good at assigning blame to others.



True and that is what made him scary. He had luck and good at spinning webs of lies and blame. 




Ugh him. But ok, I will tryyyy and move away from him. I did have the same feeling as I had when I read these. This felt like an odd way to end the series. This felt like it should have been a previous books and then the world would break apart. I can see that this is meant to heal things, but still after the epic 4th book this felt strange.



It is hard to move from the ass since they made him such a strong story point. But yes, I did feel this was odd feeling. Like sometimes it felt like it should’ve been an earlier story, but then it felt like it was meant to be the last book of this story line. After so much time of battling bigger issues, this jerk seemed like small fry. However, it was fitting because we got to see Meg be stronger after everything. Limited cutting, using the cards, and even being able to save herself. She isn’t the little scared lamb of earlier books. 




Yes, I feel the same, but still weird. Also, I loved the howling and everything before sure brought out the emotions in me. It was so much. Poor Meg.



Awww ya. I was making the narration go faster because I wanted to see what happened. I was SO worried at the end there! 



Same, even though I had read it! And now you see why I am SOOOOOO sad that she might not write more in this world. I love this world. I will read about other places just please pleas, more!



Yessss, I want more too. Even though I am slightly bitter that we really won’t get more of Symon and Meg. I grew to adore them. I hated (annoyed more so) at the beginning. Wah! But honestly...I’ll take what I get from this world. Lots of stories to be had. 



I hear you, I felt the same when I read the books, but when I listened I loved them, but then I had had time so ;) It takes time!

And as always, excellent work by Alexandra Harris. I bow to you.



Yesss love, love, LOVE the narrator. She is amazing. More please!



Can you believe we listened/read 5 books and liked them?! Freaking liked them! Cos you know us and one great book a year, lol.


We’ve been so lucky! I was worried since I didn’t really care for book 1 but then I switched to the audio train and I’ve liked them so much more. 


Yay :D And as you know there are 2 more, one about no one we know and one about Bennett. But before that I guess we should try something boring again, sigh, it has been quite the ride.



Yes, probably save them for the new year ;) Give us some gold for 2020. Hahaha. IDK I am going to miss our little community. 



This is an amazing world. I am glad I gave them a go. And so should the rest of you!



100%! You should try at least the first two books. I promise you’ll get addicted. 



Agreed!

So, your pick?


Oh snap! Pressure is on *turns on ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen*


Mowuahahahahahhah


We got this!

The end?


The end




About the Authors
Carole and Blodeuedd have been blogging a long while now. The last few of years the epic duo have been discussing books, watching movies, and even wetting the pen and sharing their stories with the worldwide web. They both love cats, chocolate, and a good story.



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