Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Suzanne Enoch, Amelia Grey, and Anna Bennett

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: September 28th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, Anthology

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

In GREAT SCOT by Suzanne Enoch, Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale life. But even at three-and-thirty and well past marriageable age, though, she has to admit that the architect the MacTaggerts have hired could turn even a confirmed spinster’s head.

In CHRISTMAS AT DEWBERRY HOLLOW by Amelia Grey, Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. Certainly not with Gate, a man who doesn’t live in Dewberry Hollow. She will fulfill her duty and help him keep his promise to have his ill grandfather back in London in time for Christmas dinner. The last thing Isabelle wants is for Gate to take her heart with him when he goes.

In MY MISTLETOE BEAU by Anna Bennett, Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish earl who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch and pretending to date the earl for the Christmas season.


First Lines:

Great Scot:

Jane Basil threw the heavy blankets over her head and burrowed deeper beneath the covers.

great scott by suzanne enoch

Christmas at Dewberry Hollow

Who wanted a curmudgeon staying at their inn during Christmastide? Not Isabelle Reed.

Christmas at Dewberry hollow by Amelia grey

My Mistletoe Beau

Miss Eva Tiding’s hands were surprisingly steady, considering she was on the doorstep of London’s most disreputable rogue.

my mistletoe beau by anna bennett

I usually do not review anthologies. It’s not that I don’t like them (I do), but I find it hard to review each story. So, I surprised myself when I downloaded Kissing Under the Mistletoe. I decided to review because, honestly, I figured it was time to step outside my comfort zone (review-wise).

I enjoyed reading Kissing Under the Mistletoe. Each story was well written, with characters that left an impression on me. Plus, they were all Regency romances, which you all know that I love.

Great Scot made me smile. I had read the Wild Wicked Highlanders series, and the MacTaggert boys (and girl) had left me wanting to know what happened to them after the series ended. With this novella, I got that. I was thrilled that Jane could get her HEA with Brennan (even though it was Instalove). But what interested me more was the dynamics between Jane and the rest of the MacTaggert women. Because of Jane’s role in Amelia-Rose and Niall’s romance, I understood why she was hesitant to become close to Lady MacTaggert and the other women. But, as the saying says, it takes a village (this time all the MacTaggert women), and that village drew Jane out of her shell. In return, her blossoming caught Brennan’s eye, and that turned into a delightful romance.

Christmas at Dewberry Inn was another one that made me smile. I will admit, I was not too fond of Isabelle at first. She was rude to Gate right from the beginning. But, she grew on me, and when it was explained why she acted the way she did, I felt terrible for her. Again, this is another Instalove situation, but it was adorable how they fell in love. It was just a feel-good romance from the beginning to the end.

My Mistletoe Beau had me laughing right from the beginning. All Eva wanted to do was get her Papa’s watch from Jack’s possession. See, Jack hates her father and wants to hurt him any way he can. If that means winning his watch (which was given to him by Eva’s mother), then he’ll do it. But Eva isn’t one to play fair. She suggests a wager of her own: She pretends to be his fiancee, and she will get the watch by the end of the charade. Of course, you all know how this goes, and they both fail when they fall for each other. This wasn’t quite an Instalove story, but it was a great enemy-to-lovers romance.

The book itself was a quick read. Each story was only about 8-10 chapters long. Perfect length for an anthology!!

The sex scenes in each story were hot with significant buildup. I will admit that My Mistletoe Beau was exceptional in that department. Eva and Jack’s chemistry and sexual attraction were through the roof. And when they had sex, it was incredible!!


I would recommend Kissing Under the Mistletoe for anyone over the age of 21. There is mild language, mild violence, and sex/sexual situations.

September 2021 Wrap Up

I can’t believe that it is already October. The month of September flew by!! I didn’t do that great reading and I am behind on almost every reading challenge that I’ve entered. I figure that I’ll try again in 2022 to do the challenges and read more.


Books I got from NetGalley:

The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings by Stephen Mitchell

Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester

The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers

The Battle for Verdana by Brett Salter

Hexes & Hairballs by Emigh Cannaday

Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons

The Judas Robe by Larry Rodness

Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell


Books Read and Reviewed

Windy City Ruins by Brett Salter (review here)

Her Renegade Cowboy by Lora Leigh (review here)

A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman (review here)

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (review here)

Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Suzanne Enoch, Amelia Grey, and Anna Bennett

The Last Guest by Tess Little


So that’s it. Let me know if you have read any of the books above and I hope you all have a spooktacular October!!

WWW Wednesday: September 15th 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

Miss B

As I mentioned last week, Miss B is getting her wisdom teeth removed next week. She is a combination of nervous/excited about it. What I didn’t mention in the post from last week is that we have to pay out of pocket for the surgery. Not going to say how much but it is sizable. I was a little pissed about that because hello, insurance. But, since her teeth are not impacted, insurance doesn’t cover the extraction or the anesthetic. BK says I shouldn’t be grumpy about it but why do we have insurance if all its good for is covering cleanings?

Miss B is getting my current laptop next month. Why, you ask? Well, she dumped soda on her laptop and it shorted out (this is on top of her Windexing her keys a couple of months back). So, after talking to BK, I went to Dell, got approved for financing, and ordered myself a new gaming desktop. The tower will not be here until the end of October, so she has to wait until then. She also learned a valuable lesson about drinks and laptops. With this laptop, she’s getting a stand, so at least I don’t have to worry about her spilling her drink on it (knock on wood).

She is doing well in school. She is running a booth at lunch for Beta Club on Friday (talking to freshman and sophmores). She also earned her fatigues in ROTC and should be getting them within the next couple of weeks.

Mr. Z

Mr. Z is having some issues adjusting to being back in school. Not behaviour wise but academically. He decided that his Math 1 teacher’s way of having them turn in homework is stupid and is refusing to do it. I know I mentioned this last week and I thought I had nipped it in the bud. Nope, he is still refusing to do it. I talked to him again last night about it and told him, again, that if he can’t turn his homework in, then he’s grounded. He didn’t like it and pushed back saying “Well Miss Blank’s way of doing it is stupid and takes up too much time.” While I agree, I told him he had to follow her rules.

Other than that, he’s doing pretty well. He is into anime (Seven Deadly Sins is his favorite), Minecraft, and Worldbox.

Miss R

Miss R hurt herself over the weekend. She was attempting to do a headstand on my bed, fell, and pulled a muscle in her neck/upper back. She refuses to take pills (any sort of pills) so managing her pain was interesting. I ended cutting up an Ibuprofen into tiny pieces and had her take them individually.

She is doing very well in school. Her school work (sent home every Tuesday) are all S+’s and 100s. She did get 3 wrong on last week’s spelling test but they were words she had problems with. She got her 3 week progress report home and it was blank. I got a laugh out of that and she told me everyone in her class had blank papers. The teacher had an issue printing them. I figure if anything was wrong, the teacher would let me know.

Skittles, Snickers, Loki, Jesper, and Tincan

The girls are still not liking that the kittens are in the house and they do not hesitate to put the boys in their place. Mainly by smacking them on the head and hissing at them. You would think that the boys would leave them alone but nope, they don’t learn…smh.

Who is Tincan? Well, he is the stray kitten that I feed on my back porch. My girls have named him Tincan because he is the color of one. I am working on getting him close to me. He will now hide behind one of my pots and watch me put out his food and water. I want to get him used to me so I can get him to the vet (for vaccines and hopefully to get neutered). I strongly believe that he is Jesper and Loki’s brother and if that’s the case, then he was handled as a baby and he isn’t 100% feral.

Me

Nothing has really changed from last week. I am almost to the end of season 2 in Cold Case. I watched an episode last night where I bawled. It took place in 1963 and it covered racism. There is a very graphic lynching scene at the end of the episode that shook me. The episode I am watching now is centered around The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It took me a few minutes to realize who the serial killer was and I got a little laugh over that.

I am still playing ESO. I am in Western Skyrim, trying to beat a coven and bad vampires….lol. And yes, it is as fun as it sounds.

Reading

I read 2 books since last week. I have been super busy this week (with BK being gone) and have been exhausted at night. I am hoping to read some of the book I am currently reading tonight.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Book Cover
In GREAT SCOT by Suzanne Enoch, Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale life. But even at three-and-thirty and well past marriageable age, though, she has to admit that the architect the MacTaggerts have hired could turn even a confirmed spinster’s head.

In CHRISTMAS AT DEWBERRY HOLLOW by Amelia Grey, Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. Certainly not with Gate, a man who doesn’t live in Dewberry Hollow. She will fulfill her duty and help him keep his promise to have his ill grandfather back in London in time for Christmas dinner. The last thing Isabelle wants is for Gate to take her heart with him when he goes.

In MY MISTLETOE BEAU by Anna Bennett, Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish earl who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch and pretending to date the earl for the Christmas season.

What I am currently reading:

Book Cover
A glamorous birthday dinner in the Hollywood Hills ends with the famous host dead and every guest under suspicion in this dark, cinematic suspense debut reminiscent of an Agatha Christie page-turner crossed with David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

When actress Elspeth Bell attends the fiftieth birthday party of her ex-husband Richard Bryant, the Hollywood director who launched her career, all she wants is to pass unnoticed through the glamorous crowd in his sprawling Los Angeles mansion. Instead, there are just seven other guests–and Richard’s pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank as the intimate party grows more surreal (and rowdy) by the hour. Come morning, Richard is dead–and all of the guests are suspects.

In the weeks that follow, each of the guests come under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new partner, the manager, the cinematographer, and even Elspeth herself. What starts out as a locked-room mystery soon reveals itself to be much more complicated, as dark stories from Richard’s past surface, colliding with Elspeth’s memories of their marriage that she vowed never to revisit. Elspeth begins to wonder not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited, and what sort of man would desire to possess a creature as mysterious and unsettling as Persephone.

The Last Guest is a stylish exploration of power–the power of memory, the power of perception, the power of one person over another.

What books I think I’ll read next:

Book Cover
A paranormal romantic comedy at the (possible) end of the world.

All Callie wanted was a quiet weekend with her best friend. She promised her mom she could handle running her family’s escape room business while her mom is out of town. Instead a Satanic cult shows up, claiming that the prop spell book in one of the rooms is the real deal, and they need it to summon the right hand of the devil. Naturally they take Callie and her friend, Mag, along with them. But when the summoning reveals a handsome demon in a leather jacket named Luke who offers to help Callie stop the cult from destroying the world, her night goes from weird to completely strange.

As the group tries to stay one step ahead of the cult, Callie finds herself drawn to the annoying (and annoyingly handsome) Luke. But what Callie doesn’t know is that Luke is none other than Luke Morningstar, Prince of Hell and son of the Devil himself. Callie never had time for love, and with the apocalypse coming closer, is there room for romance when all hell’s about to break loose?

From New York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond, Not Your Average Hot Guy is a hilarious romantic comedy about two people falling in love, while the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.
Book Cover
A promise to stay together.
An unbreakable bond.
A fierce will to survive.


From international bestselling author Heather Morris comes the breathtaking conclusion to The Tattooist of Auschwitz trilogy.


When they are girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia make a promise to their father – that they will stay together, no matter what.

Years later, at just 15 years old, Livia is ordered to Auschwitz by the Nazis. Cibi, only 19 herself, remembers their promise and follows Livia, determined to protect her sister, or die with her.

In their hometown in Slovakia, 17-year-old Magda hides, desperate to evade the barbaric Nazi forces. But it is not long before she is captured and condemned to Auschwitz.

In the horror of the death camp, these three beautiful sisters are reunited. Though traumatised by their experiences, they are together.

They make another promise: that they will live. Their fight for survival takes them from the hell of Auschwitz, to a death march across war-torn Europe and eventually home to Slovakia, now under iron Communist rule. Determined to begin again, they embark on a voyage of renewal, to the new Jewish homeland, Israel.

Rich in vivid detail, and beautifully told, Three Sisters will break your heart, but leave you amazed and uplifted by the courage and fierce love of three sisters, whose promise to each other kept them alive. Two of the sisters are in Israel today, surrounded by family and friends. They have chosen Heather Morris to reimagine their story in her astonishing new novel, Three Sisters.
Book Cover
A young woman takes a job as a nanny for an impossibly wealthy family, thinking she’s found her entre into a better life–only to discover instead she’s walked into a world of deception and dark secrets.

Nanny needed. Discretion is of the utmost importance. Special conditions apply.

When Sarah Larsen finds the notice, posted on creamy card stock in her building’s lobby, one glance at the exclusive address tells her she’s found her ticket out of a dead-end job–and life.

At the interview, the job seems like a dream come true: a glamorous penthouse apartment on the Upper West Side of NYC; a salary that adds several zeroes to her current income; the beautiful, worldly mother of her charge, who feels more like a friend than a potential boss. She’s overjoyed when they offer her the position and signs the NDA without a second thought.

In retrospect, the notice in her lobby was less an engraved invitation than a waving red flag. For there is something very strange about the Bird family. Why does the beautiful Mrs. Bird never leave the apartment alone? And what happened to the nanny before her? It soon becomes clear that the Birds’ odd behaviors are more than the eccentricities of the wealthy.

But by then it’s too late for Sarah to seek help. After all, discretion is of the utmost importance.
Book Cover
It’s not every day an obscure orphan girl becomes a fae queen.

Crysta and her companions have found the diadem and stone, but just when it looks like the tide has finally shifted in their favor, Crysta is sucked into Terise’s sleeping curse with no way of escape and nowhere to hide from Titania’s ruthless attacks.

And now she is permanently bonded…to the wrong fated mate.

Jareth is not only heartbroken at the loss of his fated mate bond, his mating frenzy is in overdrive, preventing him from functioning. He and Kheelan must overcome their differences if they hope to free Crysta, but they are faced with more setbacks as Titania takes faerie captives by the hundreds, building her army and growing her powers.

And the diadem, the key to Moridan and Titania’s undoing?

Tainted by Titania’s curse.

But a cursed relic isn’t the only surprise the wicked queen has in store for Crysta. The battle for control over the minds and hearts of the fae is one Titania intends to win by any means necessary.

Can Crysta and Jareth unite the Unseelie and Seelie Courts before Titania and Moridan destroy the Fae Realm?
Book Cover
Lyrical and haunting, Hannah Capin’s I Am Margaret Moore is a paranormal thriller that tests the hold of sisterhood and truth.

I am a girl. I am a monster, too.

Each summer the girls of Deck Five come back to Marshall Naval School. They sail on jewel-blue waters; they march on green drill-fields; they earn sunburns and honors. They push until they break apart and heal again, stronger.

Each summer Margaret and Rose and Flor and Nisreen come back to the place where they are girls, safe away from the world: sisters bound by something more than blood.

But this summer everything has changed. Girls are missing and a boy is dead. It’s because of Margaret Moore, the boys say. It’s because of what happened that night in the storm.

Margaret’s friends vanish one by one, swallowed up into the lies she has told about what happened between her and a boy with the world at his feet. Can she unravel the secrets of this summer and last, or will she be pulled under by the place she once called home?

WWW Wednesday: September 8th 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

Miss B is getting her wisdom teeth removed in a couple of weeks. She had the appointment with the oral surgeon earlier today (which is why this post is late). She is nervous but I think she is more nervous about taking the Valium than the surgery (go figure).

Mr. Z had a bumpy week at school last. He was caught not turning any of his math work/homework in, which resulted with him having a grade of 40 (F). Whelp, momma got involved and he turned everything in. That bumped his grade up to a 90 and he was told not to do it again or he would lose his phone/computer.

Miss R is doing good. She did get caught lying to me about her spelling words. But, a quick message to the teacher cleared everything up. When I asked her why she would lie about them, she told me “I don’t need to do them and they’re stupid.” She had library today and brought home The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and What a Day It Was at School by Jack Prelutsky.

The kittens had their vet appointment today. Jesper weighs 7lbs and Loki weighs 6lbs. The vet also told me that they are older than what we thought. They are 5 months old (we figured 4 months). I got the go ahead to make the appointment through our local Humane Society to neuter them also.

Blog

Another week of not doing anything on the blog. But, in my defense, I did have a lot going on since last Wednesday. I am planning on updating posts this coming week.

Reading

I am out of my reading slump. I have read 4 books (almost 5 but I was exhausted last night and crashed) since last Wednesday. I have written zero reviews. When BK is home, I cannot sit and write reviews. He is very distracting….lol.

Watching/Playing

I am almost done with Season 2 of Cold Case. BK and I have also been watching Head and Miracle Workers (very funny) on HBO Max. The kids and I watched the live action Cinderella on Saturday (loved it btw).

I am still playing ESO. Right now, I am questing/leveling in Blackwood. Not sure where I am going to go from there.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Book Cover
This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

What I am currently reading:

Book Cover
In GREAT SCOT by Suzanne Enoch, Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale life. But even at three-and-thirty and well past marriageable age, though, she has to admit that the architect the MacTaggerts have hired could turn even a confirmed spinster’s head.

In CHRISTMAS AT DEWBERRY HOLLOW by Amelia Grey, Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. Certainly not with Gate, a man who doesn’t live in Dewberry Hollow. She will fulfill her duty and help him keep his promise to have his ill grandfather back in London in time for Christmas dinner. The last thing Isabelle wants is for Gate to take her heart with him when he goes.

In MY MISTLETOE BEAU by Anna Bennett, Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish earl who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch and pretending to date the earl for the Christmas season.

What books I think I’ll read next:

Book Cover
A paranormal romantic comedy at the (possible) end of the world.

All Callie wanted was a quiet weekend with her best friend. She promised her mom she could handle running her family’s escape room business while her mom is out of town. Instead a Satanic cult shows up, claiming that the prop spell book in one of the rooms is the real deal, and they need it to summon the right hand of the devil. Naturally they take Callie and her friend, Mag, along with them. But when the summoning reveals a handsome demon in a leather jacket named Luke who offers to help Callie stop the cult from destroying the world, her night goes from weird to completely strange.

As the group tries to stay one step ahead of the cult, Callie finds herself drawn to the annoying (and annoyingly handsome) Luke. But what Callie doesn’t know is that Luke is none other than Luke Morningstar, Prince of Hell and son of the Devil himself. Callie never had time for love, and with the apocalypse coming closer, is there room for romance when all hell’s about to break loose?

From New York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond, Not Your Average Hot Guy is a hilarious romantic comedy about two people falling in love, while the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.
Book Cover
A promise to stay together.
An unbreakable bond.
A fierce will to survive.


From international bestselling author Heather Morris comes the breathtaking conclusion to The Tattooist of Auschwitz trilogy.


When they are girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia make a promise to their father – that they will stay together, no matter what.

Years later, at just 15 years old, Livia is ordered to Auschwitz by the Nazis. Cibi, only 19 herself, remembers their promise and follows Livia, determined to protect her sister, or die with her.

In their hometown in Slovakia, 17-year-old Magda hides, desperate to evade the barbaric Nazi forces. But it is not long before she is captured and condemned to Auschwitz.

In the horror of the death camp, these three beautiful sisters are reunited. Though traumatised by their experiences, they are together.

They make another promise: that they will live. Their fight for survival takes them from the hell of Auschwitz, to a death march across war-torn Europe and eventually home to Slovakia, now under iron Communist rule. Determined to begin again, they embark on a voyage of renewal, to the new Jewish homeland, Israel.

Rich in vivid detail, and beautifully told, Three Sisters will break your heart, but leave you amazed and uplifted by the courage and fierce love of three sisters, whose promise to each other kept them alive. Two of the sisters are in Israel today, surrounded by family and friends. They have chosen Heather Morris to reimagine their story in her astonishing new novel, Three Sisters.
Book Cover
A young woman takes a job as a nanny for an impossibly wealthy family, thinking she’s found her entre into a better life–only to discover instead she’s walked into a world of deception and dark secrets.

Nanny needed. Discretion is of the utmost importance. Special conditions apply.

When Sarah Larsen finds the notice, posted on creamy card stock in her building’s lobby, one glance at the exclusive address tells her she’s found her ticket out of a dead-end job–and life.

At the interview, the job seems like a dream come true: a glamorous penthouse apartment on the Upper West Side of NYC; a salary that adds several zeroes to her current income; the beautiful, worldly mother of her charge, who feels more like a friend than a potential boss. She’s overjoyed when they offer her the position and signs the NDA without a second thought.

In retrospect, the notice in her lobby was less an engraved invitation than a waving red flag. For there is something very strange about the Bird family. Why does the beautiful Mrs. Bird never leave the apartment alone? And what happened to the nanny before her? It soon becomes clear that the Birds’ odd behaviors are more than the eccentricities of the wealthy.

But by then it’s too late for Sarah to seek help. After all, discretion is of the utmost importance.
Book Cover
It’s not every day an obscure orphan girl becomes a fae queen.

Crysta and her companions have found the diadem and stone, but just when it looks like the tide has finally shifted in their favor, Crysta is sucked into Terise’s sleeping curse with no way of escape and nowhere to hide from Titania’s ruthless attacks.

And now she is permanently bonded…to the wrong fated mate.

Jareth is not only heartbroken at the loss of his fated mate bond, his mating frenzy is in overdrive, preventing him from functioning. He and Kheelan must overcome their differences if they hope to free Crysta, but they are faced with more setbacks as Titania takes faerie captives by the hundreds, building her army and growing her powers.

And the diadem, the key to Moridan and Titania’s undoing?

Tainted by Titania’s curse.

But a cursed relic isn’t the only surprise the wicked queen has in store for Crysta. The battle for control over the minds and hearts of the fae is one Titania intends to win by any means necessary.
Book Cover
Lyrical and haunting, Hannah Capin’s I Am Margaret Moore is a paranormal thriller that tests the hold of sisterhood and truth.

I am a girl. I am a monster, too.

Each summer the girls of Deck Five come back to Marshall Naval School. They sail on jewel-blue waters; they march on green drill-fields; they earn sunburns and honors. They push until they break apart and heal again, stronger.

Each summer Margaret and Rose and Flor and Nisreen come back to the place where they are girls, safe away from the world: sisters bound by something more than blood.

But this summer everything has changed. Girls are missing and a boy is dead. It’s because of Margaret Moore, the boys say. It’s because of what happened that night in the storm.

Margaret’s friends vanish one by one, swallowed up into the lies she has told about what happened between her and a boy with the world at his feet. Can she unravel the secrets of this summer and last, or will she be pulled under by the place she once called home?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at The Book Date.

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kid-lit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle-grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in those genres – join them.


What I am Reading Now:

Book Cover
This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

What I plan on reading this week:

Book Cover
In GREAT SCOT by Suzanne Enoch, Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale life. But even at three-and-thirty and well past marriageable age, though, she has to admit that the architect the MacTaggerts have hired could turn even a confirmed spinster’s head.

In CHRISTMAS AT DEWBERRY HOLLOW by Amelia Grey, Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. Certainly not with Gate, a man who doesn’t live in Dewberry Hollow. She will fulfill her duty and help him keep his promise to have his ill grandfather back in London in time for Christmas dinner. The last thing Isabelle wants is for Gate to take her heart with him when he goes.

In MY MISTLETOE BEAU by Anna Bennett, Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish earl who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch and pretending to date the earl for the Christmas season.
Book Cover
A glamorous birthday dinner in the Hollywood Hills ends with the famous host dead and every guest under suspicion in this dark, cinematic suspense debut reminiscent of an Agatha Christie page-turner crossed with David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

When actress Elspeth Bell attends the fiftieth birthday party of her ex-husband Richard Bryant, the Hollywood director who launched her career, all she wants is to pass unnoticed through the glamorous crowd in his sprawling Los Angeles mansion. Instead, there are just seven other guests–and Richard’s pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank as the intimate party grows more surreal (and rowdy) by the hour. Come morning, Richard is dead–and all of the guests are suspects.

In the weeks that follow, each of the guests come under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new partner, the manager, the cinematographer, and even Elspeth herself. What starts out as a locked-room mystery soon reveals itself to be much more complicated, as dark stories from Richard’s past surface, colliding with Elspeth’s memories of their marriage that she vowed never to revisit. Elspeth begins to wonder not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited, and what sort of man would desire to possess a creature as mysterious and unsettling as Persephone.

The Last Guest is a stylish exploration of power–the power of memory, the power of perception, the power of one person over another.

WWW Wednesday: September 1st 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal

Nothing too much going on since Monday’s IMWAYR post. My life isn’t that exciting and usually I don’t have a ton going on.

Miss R had an orthodontist appointment yesterday. She got her bands and wires changed. The orthodontist is debating on taking her braces off soon. Her front teeth are together and she now has space for her “fangs” (as she calls them) to come down. We’ll discuss that in November. She is going back in October to get her lip bumper out and a palate spreader put in behind her bottom teeth. Her mouth is a mess….lol.

Mr. Z’s bus issues were resolved the next day. But, now the bus comes at 6:30 (20 mins earlier than what is posted). So, he’s out of the house by 6:25. He is liking school too. They have him in advanced advanced math (I put two advanced in because there is advanced math, NC Math 1, and NC Math 2 being taught there). He’s not struggling with it but it is making him slow down and think about what he’s doing. Honestly, I looked at his homework the other day and noped right out of there. Too hard for me.

Miss B is doing well in school also. She is loving ROTC and Public Safety (this is a required class for the Criminal Justice branch of the school). Civics and Spanish 1 (another required class) is kinda meh for her. She likes the teachers but doesn’t like the class (if that makes sense).

Blog

Nothing too much going on with my blog this week. I am going to continue updating posts as soon as I figure out how to switch my dashboard back to the old way. If anyone knows how, please comment below!!

Reading

I am going to cautiously say that I am out of my reading slump. Stress cautiously. Since Monday, I have finished 3 books and written 2 reviews.

Watching/Playing

I am now on Season 2 of Cold Case. BK and I have also been watching movies in small increments (our adjusted bedtime is 9pm since I am up at 515am). Last night, we watched the middle of the new Suicide Squad movie. I shut it off after Viola Davis’s character got knocked out by coworkers and will finish the rest of the movie tonight.

I am still playing ESO. I am in a new area of the game I haven’t been before and I am enjoying questing there. I have no clue where I am going to go after all the quests for the Ebonhold Pact is over. We’ll see where they send me.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

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If the only way to save her mother is to act like a spy, Mari can act like a spy.

Maybe.


After her mother is abducted, Mari Sandoval breaks into her mother’s research lab in an ill-advised attempt to appease the kidnappers. Fortunately she’s thwarted by two spunky sorority girls who offer her a better way to save her mother—become a spy.

In the fast-paced world of undercover agents—where fabulous new clothes, high-tech gadgets, and flirting for secrets are the norm—Mari’s inexperience could ruin everything.


Will she be able to master the art of espionage in time to rescue her mother from the clutches of a maniac? Or will her undercover mission doom them both to imprisonment?

Spies Never Quit is a cute spy-thriller where the romance is sweet and the suspense is cozy.

What I am currently reading:

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It’s just a simple trip to New York. What could possibly happen to our loveable heroes THIS time? Faster-than-sound reptiles? Exploding Minotaurs? Generational secrets coming back to haunt them? Expect the unexpected in this third installment of The Talisman Series, “Windy City Ruins”. The war for Earth is creeping steadily closer, and Rome’s team is in a mad dash to figure out the Talismans before it’s too late. Can they amass enough talent to help them defend the realm? Or will The Tyrant King’s heinous minions sweep them off course and leave Earth ready for the taking? Windy City Ruins is the third installment of the Talisman Series.

What books I think I’ll read next:

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He will risk his life…

The oh-so-proper school teacher, Lily Donovan has learned, the hard way, that men are not to be trusted. Period. Until Levi Roberts, the new cowboy working at her cousin’s ranch, tempts her carefully-built resolve and awakens an all-consuming passion she thought lay dormant. But when she discovers his deadly secret, and her own secrets come to light, Lily unwittingly joins the lethal cat and mouse race between Levi and the man he’s been hunting for weeks.

To save her heart…

Former Ranger Levi Roberts has seen his fair share of deadly trouble during his years as a tough-as-nails operative. The ultimate expert in undercover investigations, he’s been tasked to find a man with a dangerous agenda in town. Routine work has been boring…until he runs into Lily, the prickly school teacher who tempts him like no other. Getting under her skin has been deliciously satisfying for his red-hot desire, but when Lily lands in the hands of the very man he’s been investigating, Levi will have to fight with every ounce of his heart and soul to save her—and to heal the heart he broke.
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The first in a new regency romance series about two feuding families and reunited childhood enemies whose hatred turns to love.

Maddie Montgomery’s family is in debt, and her hope rests on the rival Davies clan missing their yearly “pledge of goodwill,” ceding the land that separates their estates. With Maddie’s teenage nemesis, Gryffud “Gryff” Davies, Earl of Powys, away, hope is in reach.

But then, Gryff shows up and is stunned that the tomboy he once teased is now a woman. When Gryff and Maddie discover contraband on their land, they realize it can benefit both families. But they’ve also uncovered a dangerous plot, and they need to work together to get out alive. Soon, their hatred for each other starts to feel more like attraction.

Kate Bateman brings crackling banter, steamy romance, and a dash of adventure into the first book in the Ruthless Rivals series.
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This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…
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In GREAT SCOT by Suzanne Enoch, Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale life. But even at three-and-thirty and well past marriageable age, though, she has to admit that the architect the MacTaggerts have hired could turn even a confirmed spinster’s head.

In CHRISTMAS AT DEWBERRY HOLLOW by Amelia Grey, Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. Certainly not with Gate, a man who doesn’t live in Dewberry Hollow. She will fulfill her duty and help him keep his promise to have his ill grandfather back in London in time for Christmas dinner. The last thing Isabelle wants is for Gate to take her heart with him when he goes.

In MY MISTLETOE BEAU by Anna Bennett, Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish earl who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch and pretending to date the earl for the Christmas season.
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A glamorous birthday dinner in the Hollywood Hills ends with the famous host dead and every guest under suspicion in this dark, cinematic suspense debut reminiscent of an Agatha Christie page-turner crossed with David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

When actress Elspeth Bell attends the fiftieth birthday party of her ex-husband Richard Bryant, the Hollywood director who launched her career, all she wants is to pass unnoticed through the glamorous crowd in his sprawling Los Angeles mansion. Instead, there are just seven other guests–and Richard’s pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank as the intimate party grows more surreal (and rowdy) by the hour. Come morning, Richard is dead–and all of the guests are suspects.

In the weeks that follow, each of the guests come under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new partner, the manager, the cinematographer, and even Elspeth herself. What starts out as a locked-room mystery soon reveals itself to be much more complicated, as dark stories from Richard’s past surface, colliding with Elspeth’s memories of their marriage that she vowed never to revisit. Elspeth begins to wonder not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited, and what sort of man would desire to possess a creature as mysterious and unsettling as Persephone.

The Last Guest is a stylish exploration of power–the power of memory, the power of perception, the power of one person over another.

How To Train Your Earl (First Comes Love: Book 3) by Amelia Grey

How to Train Your Earl (First Comes Love, #3)
How To Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: April 27th, 2021

Genre: Romance

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo

Format read: Unedited ARC

Got book from: Saint Martin’s Press

Trigger Warnings: Grief


Goodreads Synopsis:

A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true? 


First Line:

Brina Feld should have known a lady wasn’t safe from rakes, rogues, and scoundrels at a masked ball in Paris.

How to train your earl by amelia grey

Review:

I was excited to read How to Train Your Earl. I had read the first book in the series and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I did miss the second book but figured that I didn’t need to read it (I was right). So, I jumped right into reading this book.

From the beginning, the flow of How to Train Your Earl was great. The chapters were well organized, and I could tell when the author shifted from one person to another (mainly Zane and Brina). That made it pleasurable to read the book.

The plotline for How to Train Your Earl was medium paced. There was some build-up at the beginning of the book, plateauing in the middle and then having a gradual wrap up towards the end of the book. Again, it was perfect for the book.

I wasn’t a massive fan of the storyline. Something about a woman forcing a man to do what she wanted (and vice versa) made me go, “eh. “ I did like the secondary plotlines with Brina’s cousin/Zane’s cousin and the gambling. It added a bit of zip to the plotline.

I was not too fond of Brina. During various points in the book, I found her to be controlling, immature, unwilling to bend, and naive. She was passive-aggressive too. Looking back on the book, I still don’t know what Zane saw in her, other than she saved him and he needed a wife. She was also almost too independent for the era. Some of the things she did with Zane were appropriate for the period. But others (having him in her house alone, hosting a dinner at his home were two) were borderline “eh. “ I also wish that there were some flashback to when she was grieving over her husband’s death. She kept saying how badly she hurt and how long it took for her to recover.

I felt terrible for Zane. He inherited the earldom when his cousins died. On top of that, his family had treated him terribly growing up, and they expected him to be OK with them acting like he was the best thing since sliced bread. So, I understood why he latched onto Brina when he saw her, and I understood why he agreed to her ridiculous rules. It was nice to see his character grow throughout the book. I liked who he became.

As much as I didn’t like Zane and Brina together, they had chemistry. Their attraction zinged off the pages, and when they finally ended up in bed, it was terrific.

The secondary storyline involving Brina and Zane’s cousins was interesting. It added a little extra oomph to the story. It also set up, I think, for the next book in the series.

The end of How to Train Your Earl was interesting. Mainly because of how Brina acted. I won’t get into it, but I had my mouth opened the entire time during that scene with Zane. She didn’t let him get a word in edgewise. Of course, this being a romance, there is a HEA, but man, I don’t know. I don’t think that they could have a HEA in real life.


How to Train Your Earl was an OK romance. The plotline and pacing of the book were good. The flow of the book was fantastic. But there were things that I didn’t like. I was not too fond of the characters, which is a massive thing for me. The characters make or break a book. There was great sexual chemistry up to when they had sex. Then it went away.

I would recommend How to Train Your Earl to anyone over 21. There are sexual situations in the book with slightly graphic sex. There is some mild violence along with some gambling scenes.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at The Book Date.

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.


What I am Reading Now:

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Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

I am struggling with reading this book and I am considering DNF’ing it. I am a little disappointed because I have read so many great reviews on My Dark Vanessa. So, I am going to give it one more try. If I can’t read more than a couple of pages tonight, then I am returning it to the library.


What I plan on reading this week:

With Miss R and Miss B being back in school 4 days a week, I am hoping to up my reading game by 100%. The books I plan to read this week are pretty much set but I do have two Anne Bishop books that should be coming off hold this week (the start of The Others series). If/When that happens, then they get priority over the books on the list.

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For decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down… and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer.

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace.

When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.
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Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?

The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.

Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride?
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Ten thousand years ago, a mysterious race that we only know as the Overseers took primitive humans and scattered them on dozens of worlds across the galaxy. Now, some of those people have found their way back to Earth. A young Justice Keeper named Anna Lenai has tracked a criminal through unexplored regions of space in the hopes of recovering a symbiont that grants its host the ability to bend space and time. Her search leads her to Earth, where she befriends a young man named Jack Hunter. Together, they will face enemies with advanced technology as they struggle to recover the symbiont before its power falls into the wrong hands.
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What to do when your crush turns out to be a monster (and other such problems).

Just when correctional nurse October Grace has a handle on her stressful job and taking care of her mentally ill mother, a shapeshifting warrior and a half-vampire plunge her into a foreign land that’s on the brink of starvation. Now, with a ticking clock and a target on her back, October takes up the mantle of becoming one of the rare Omens who can bring hope to a dying world.
Mason and Von remain by her side to shield the national treasure while she sacrifices herself to reap the souls that will feed the nations of Terraway. As the death toll rises daily, October finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat world where fairytale creatures run wild… and every day is a new bloody battle.

WWW Wednesday: April 7th 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

It looks like my infection is gone. The medication that the Dr prescribed to me is working (knock on wood). So I am doing a cautious yay!!

Miss R got braces on her upper teeth last week. I have had a lot of people (in real life) question why I chose braces at 7. Here’s my answer: When she got her teeth pulled back in August (she had two extra teeth that needed to come out), the oral surgeon pulled 7 extra teeth. When her orthodontist found out, he was upset because the oral surgeon didn’t consult him before hand. The result of the extra teeth being pulled was her adult teeth shifted on top. She had a huge gap and a top tooth that was coming in sideways. Plus, the way the teeth shifted, her other adult teeth couldn’t come through. So, she needed to get braces to A) turn the sideways tooth and B ) push together the teeth and to make room so her other teeth can come in. She will only have them on for 6 months but still. If the oral surgeon just pulled the teeth that he was supposed to, then this mess wouldn’t have happened.

Miss B got selected to join The Beta Club. I am so proud of her. For those of you who are new to the blog, Miss B has ADHD, GAD, and a non specific math learning disability. When we moved, Miss B was found to have a kindergarten math level in 4th grade. Thanks to a school with a great special ed program (they call it Exception Children here) and teachers that were willing to help (unlike her previous school), she is almost up to grade level. She is super excited (as is her EC teacher) and there is an induction ceremony in a couple of weeks. If she keeps her grades up, she gets to wear a special cord with her graduation gown. So, yes, I am very proud of her!!

There is nothing new going on with Mr. Z. He’s not going back to school next week (I gave him the choice) and he is pretty pumped to be doing his school work without interruptions from his sisters.

I have gotten sucked into the world of The Magicians. I am at the end of Season 1 (there are 4 seasons) and am in shock. Unfortunately, I will not be watching it until next week (when BK is traveling for work). I also have been watching a lot of YouTube with Miss R. She watches this one YouTuber, Gloom, who is freaking hilarious. She is among the very few YouTubers that I can watch without wanting to poke my eardrums out.

I made Slow Cooker French Onion Chicken last night. It was eh. The chicken was dry (it almost always is when I cook chicken in the crockpot). But the taste was fantastic!! I will not be making this again. Dry chicken doesn’t do it for me when I eat.

Blog

I did nothing to my blog last week. Nada. I wasn’t feeling it (plus, I got busy). I plan on doing more work on it this year.

Reading

I actually got through 95% of the books from last weeks WWW. I surprised myself with that. I also had one book come off hold from the library, with 2 more looking like they will come off within the next couple of weeks.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

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It’s been 20 long years since a night of horror where Detective Jess Antler’s 10-year-old brother Billy was abducted. Despite Jess seeing the intruder face to face, neither he or her brother were ever found. After enduring a terrifying adolescence at the hands of her abusive Aunt, Jess has learnt to push away her feelings about her brother, and her drive to find him.

As everyone says, Billy’s never coming back. It’s time to move on.

However after uncovering Billy’s secret diary, Jess begins to unravel the mystery further and discovers shocking truths about her family and what Billy was really mixed up in.

This book was OK until the last chapters. Then it did a total 180 (that didn’t make sense). I was left with a WTH feeling after reading it.


What I am currently reading:

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Cursed with the ability to weave thread into gold, Brie has learned to trust no one. Her parents keep her around so they can gamble their money away and now her boyfriend’s only staying because he’s got a collection of game systems to grow.

When Brie grabs the attention of Stilt, the new guy in town, it changes everything. Brie is a Legend—a character in a fairytale—and she belongs in a realm of magic called Fable. But when she crosses over to the new world with Stilt, she soon learns that the cruel ruler of the realm has taken an interest in her ability-and it could cost Brie her life.

Stilt promises that he can help her escape, but in return, he asks for something that she might not be able to give. Can Brie put her trust in Stilt or will she die at the hands of greed?

I am enjoying this book. What I am enjoying is that this isn’t your typical fairytale retelling. It is a darker retelling (much darker than the original one). I can’t wait to see what Fable has in store for Brie. I also can’t wait to see if Brie takes her own destiny in her hands.


What books I think I’ll read next:

The first two books, I will definitely read. One is a library book and the other an ARC that I need to read. I am iffy about the other 4 books. I have 2 books that are on hold at the library that could come off hold. If that happens, then I will read those first.

Book Cover
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?


Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.
Book Cover
For decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down… and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer.

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace.

When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.
Book Cover
Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?

The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.

Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride?
Book Cover
Ten thousand years ago, a mysterious race that we only know as the Overseers took primitive humans and scattered them on dozens of worlds across the galaxy. Now, some of those people have found their way back to Earth. A young Justice Keeper named Anna Lenai has tracked a criminal through unexplored regions of space in the hopes of recovering a symbiont that grants its host the ability to bend space and time. Her search leads her to Earth, where she befriends a young man named Jack Hunter. Together, they will face enemies with advanced technology as they struggle to recover the symbiont before its power falls into the wrong hands.
Book Cover
What to do when your crush turns out to be a monster (and other such problems).

Just when correctional nurse October Grace has a handle on her stressful job and taking care of her mentally ill mother, a shapeshifting warrior and a half-vampire plunge her into a foreign land that’s on the brink of starvation. Now, with a ticking clock and a target on her back, October takes up the mantle of becoming one of the rare Omens who can bring hope to a dying world.
Mason and Von remain by her side to shield the national treasure while she sacrifices herself to reap the souls that will feed the nations of Terraway. As the death toll rises daily, October finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat world where fairytale creatures run wild… and every day is a new bloody battle.

Top Ten Tuesday: Funny Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then posts her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


When I saw this weeks TTT prompt, I got a huge smile on my face. I have read quite a few books with titles that were funny. So no endless searching of my read shelf on Goodreads….lol. So, here’s my list. Let me know if you have read any of these books!!


1. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

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All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

2 Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

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A twist of fate…

Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities… and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house… along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills…

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?

3 How to Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

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Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

4 Mutts Like Me by Keri Armstrong

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All I ever wanted for the holidays was to have my family together. Unfortunately, with my mother dead, my grandmother drunk most of the time, and my dad… well, who knew who he was, much less where he’d disappeared to. No brothers, sisters, or cousins that I knew of.

Until now.

I just found out there’s a whole other world out there that I’m a part of, thanks to my dad.
Who it turns out is a freakin’ werewolf.
And still missing, by the way.

But now it seems I might be able to track him down – if I can just survive long enough to learn the truth about what happened to him, and somehow resist the pull of the silver-eyed fox who kidnapped me.

Happy flippin’ holidays to me.

5 They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick

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The villagers of the forest seal themselves in their cellars at night, whispering folktales to each other about the monsters that prey on them in the dark. Only the Magpie King, their shadowy, unseen protector, can keep them safe.

However, when an outcast called Lonan begins to dream of the Magpie King’s defeat at the hands of inhuman invaders, this young man must do what he can to protect his village. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to convince them to trust him again.

They Mostly Come Out At Night is the first novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. Straddling the line between fantasy and folklore, this book is perfect for fans of the darker Brothers Grimm stories.

6 When a Laird Loves a Lady by Julie Johnstone

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A need to belong drives her. A longing to forget compels him. Fate may send them into each other’s arms, but only love can mend their hearts.

An Outlander

Raised by a tyrannical father, Marion de Lacy yearns for the comfort of belonging to a loving family. So when her father announces her betrothal to an evil knight in exchange for his help to overthrow the king, she concocts a desperate scheme to avoid the marriage: feigning her own death and then fleeing England. But when her plan goes terribly awry and she’s captured by the knight, not even her careful preparations could ready her for the Scottish barbarian who rescues her and then informs her that he’s to marry her by edict of her king. Certain her father will defy the king’s orders and wed her to the knight if she refuses the Highlander’s hand, Marion agrees to marry the strangely compelling but obstinate laird of the MacLeod clan.

A Highlander

After the death of his beloved wife, Iain MacLeod has no desire to marry ever again. Yet when he finds himself obliged to do so to secure the freedom of his childhood friend and king, he reluctantly travels across England to collect his unwanted bride, expecting to find a cold Englishwoman. Instead, he discovers a fiery, bold beauty who is fiercely loyal, protective of those she loves, and defies him at every turn, challenging his certainty that his heart is dead.

Ensnared

Following a hasty marriage and perilous journey to Scotland, Marion harbors no illusions that her new husband loves her. Still, her heart cannot resist the noble, brave warrior, and she cannot suppress the hope that she has finally found where she belongs. However, the harder she tries to fit in with the clan and gain Iain’s love, the farther away her dreams drift. Iain is more than willing to give his respect to his courageous wife—her kisses and caresses even ignite his blood and demand his passion—but he refuses to give up his heart. That is, until enemies near and far threaten to take Marion from him. Now the demons that haunt him can only be conquered by surrendering body and soul to Marion, if only it’s not too late…

7 Death by Chocolate by Sally Berneathy

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Lindsay loves chocolate. It tastes good, it makes her feel good, it never cheats on her like her almost-ex-husband. It’s her best friend. But someone wants her dead and uses her weak spot—chocolate—to try to murder her.

Lindsay’s only secret is the recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, but she is surrounded by neighbors with deadly secrets. Suddenly she finds herself battling poisoned chocolate, a psycho stalker, and a dead man who seems awfully active for a corpse.

Her best friend and co-worker, Paula, dyes her blond hair brown, hides from everybody and insists on always having an emergency exit from any room. Secrets from Paula’s past have come back to put lives in jeopardy.

Determined to help Paula, Lindsay enlists the reluctant aid of another neighbor, Fred, an OCD computer nerd. In spite of his mundane existence, Fred possesses tidbits of knowledge about such things as hidden microphones, guns, the inside of maximum security prisons and how to take someone down with a well-aimed kick to his chin.

As Lindsay battles the elusive stalker, poisoned chocolate, and the dead man, she will need more than a chocolate fix to survive. But that’s always a good start.

8 Three Abductions and an Earl by Tessa Candle

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London-hating dreamer, Lydia Norwood, has failed spectacularly as a débutante. Now an encoretante whose family has lost a fortune, Lydia discovers that the beau monde is hard on a nouveau riche social climber, particularly one who is no longer riche and only wants to climb trees. Lydia must stave off the effrontery of rakes and conniving competitors long enough to make a good match, or else incur society’s scorn by earning her own money. Falling for the unattainable Lord Aldley is a distraction she cannot afford. But they share such an enchanted history, how can her heart resist?

The tragically virtuous Earl of Aldley is tired of ambitious families hurling debutantes at his head, but cannot hide in France forever. He returns to London to seek out the mysterious tree-climbing girl who once saved him from a scheming chit, and finds more than he bargained for. Abductions, seductions, trickery and injury all endanger Lydia, but Lord Aldley’s heart is imperiled beyond rescue. He has only just found her; will he lose her forever to his enemy, his best friend, or his own dangerous mistake?

9 No Prince Charming by Angel Payne and Victoria Blue

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Once upon a time, there was a girl who dressed up and went to a big party at the palace. When she was there, she met a prince. They danced and fell in love…

Damn good line. Too bad I don’t believe a word of it anymore.

My name is Claire Montgomery, and I’m not a princess. I’m a fighter. I worked hard to earn my place on the emergency image repair team for one of the biggest public relations companies in the country. We’ve been called to the renowned Chicago headquarters of Stone Global Corporation, where it’s our job to clean up a heap of the Stone family’s filthiest laundry. Our success will be the biggest victory of my career. I’m on my game. I’m ready.

Why doesn’t ready include a contingency plan for Killian Stone?

10 Bare Ass in Love by Sasha Burke

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The woman’s killing me.

I’m not the kind of man who would normally even consider blurring the lines between landlord and tenant or boss and employee, but Summer is a walking temptation. Neurotic and obsessive when it comes to work details, sure, but a damn cute temptation nevertheless.

She’s been a good tenant and an even better worker. Plus, she doesn’t simper or throw herself at me like a lot of women who find out my net worth. I’ve grown…fond of her, oddly enough.

But if she drags me out of bed in the middle of the night to talk about work one more time…

* * * * *

The man’s a saint.

Not only did Jason hire me for the greatest project I’ve ever run point on, but he also let me move into an amazing loft in his building as an extravagant job-relocation perk. Sure, he can be a grouch when I accidentally wake him up to go over the project, but he’s still a saint nevertheless.

He’s been a fantastic boss and a surprisingly protective landlord. But…when did his shoulders get so wide? And why is that growling voice of his making me all weak in the knees lately?

Also, is it still considered morning wood if it happens in the middle of the night…or something more?