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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker

The Frog Princess - E.D. Baker

Would it surprise you if I told you that I read this just because I felt like it? No? Good. That means you know my reading style well! I love Middle Grade, I love fairy tales, and I can't resist anything that has a princess involved, so this book was something perfect for a quick read.


I loved the fact that Princess Emeralda was a "I can do it myself" kind of girl, and that situations allowed her to do just that. I also very much appreciated the adorable twist that E.D. Baker put on the whole frog prince story, while still staying true to the feeling of the original. This was a sweet, quick read that was a lot of fun to listen to. It was just exciting enough, without being too scary, and actually really well paced. It helps, of course, that Katherine Kellgren narrates this audio book. I adore her voice, and this was no exception.


To the surprise of no one, I didn't really love the prince. He was whiny, mostly self-centered, and rough to like. I suppose it was good that he was though, because his inability to really be front and center during any big moments made Emeralda shine! Still, that meant the romance didn't really work out for me, even though I knew it was the whole point of this fairy tale. I know this is Middle Grade, but I still maintain that a princess has every right to be picky! No one wants a whiny prince. *wink*


Overall, this was a cute read with a lot of fun parts in it. This would be excellent for a bedtime read between parents and their kids!

The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

The Wicked City - Beatriz Williams

In all fairness I should probably start this review with the fact I've never read any of Beatriz Williams' previous books, so I don't have any standing knowledge of her writing or characters. So it actually surprised me when I picked up this book and started enjoying it as a standalone, only to slowly fall further and further out of sorts with what was actually going on. I feel like I should warn any potential readers that although this is technically a standalone first book, there are references to Williams' other books here too. I had a friend who has read more of her works than I have explain them to me, and then everything made more sense after that. So, if you're lost, you might want to do a little digging. Just a PSA.

Now, on to The Wicked City. This is a dual narration book, alternating between the POVs of Ella Hawthorne in 1998 and Gin (Geneva) Kelly in 1924. I have to say, I was a little disappointed that Ella didn't get more of the limelight here. I actually enjoyed her story immensely, and felt like she got cut out more than she should have. Struggling to make her way in a world where she was once so happy, and now all alone, I so felt for her. While Gin's story was wonderful, and intriguing, the focus on her didn't create strong ties between these two women's stories. It felt more like Ella was just a filler story to connect Gin's story to present day events. There's a "ghost story" of sorts that works hard to make this connection, but I'm still not convinced. Add in the fact that the ending is wide open to make way for another book, and there are tons of loose threads floating out there, and you'll see why I was on the fence about that.

I can definitely say that Gin's story is well done though. Down to the vernacular, you can feel the vibe and grit of the 1920's. From speakeasies, to bootleggers, to prohibition era agents, it all draws you in to Gin's day to day life in Manhattan. I loved how easily Williams showed Gin's deep love for this Manhattan, despite its less than desirable aspects, and how realistic her life felt on the page. Despite not always feeling like her story tied into Ella's, I can't say that I didn't enjoy seeing life through Gin's eyes. Her story was wild and unpredictable, much like her character, and I appreciated that. In fact, had this been a story that only focused on her, I probably would have happily rated it much higher. It was the stretches of tying this back to other stories, and to other characters, that kept giving me issues.

Truth be told, I'll probably seek out more of Beatriz Williams' books, if for no other reason than I really enjoyed her writing style. I would also like to fill in some of the questions I have for myself, and give some of her other characters a chance. I still feel like it should be noted somewhere though that this book is a little difficult to read as a newbie to Williams' work. If you're willing to enjoy the story without fully understanding every little reference and nuance, you'll be fine. If you're nitpicky, like I am, you might have an issue. I'd say this is worth a read, as long as you know what you're in for! 1920's Manhattan is a fascinating place to take a literary trip to!

Books I Missed in 2017

Just a link to the blog post I put up today, and a call for any recommendations of books published in 2017 that I NEED to read. I did a lot of backlog reading, and basically no new release reading so... I'm really far behind.


As always, I'll take all recommendations though. Tell me what I need to read in the new year!

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

White Hot -  Ilona Andrews

“I’m going to shoot him,” I squeezed through my teeth.


“No, that would be murder,” Grandma Frida told me, her voice soothing. “You’ve had a long day. Let’s put your magic away. You know what you need? A nice cup of chamomile tea and a tranquilizer . . .


Ahahahahahaha. Oh, Nevada. You and Rogan are just too much. I so needed this to be the last book that I enjoyed this year. Ilona Andrews never ceases to make me happy.

I know it's a day late, but Luna says Merry Christmas!

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

White Hot -  Ilona Andrews

Is it hot in here, or is it just Mad Rogan?


*fans self*

Bout of Books 21


Yes, I am alive! Well, mostly. In an effort to finish out my year of introspection and anxiety wrangling strong, and not want to punch anyone on Christmas, I've been lurking a bit. Finishing up last minute books for fun, binge watching Christmas movies, and eating too many tamales. It's been good for me. Now I'm feeling recharged, and ready for my 2018 reading year! I'm going to start off with a bang, with Bout of Books.


Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
I'll keep my updates here, and periodically let you know how things are going! I took a huge step back from reviewing over the last few months, but I miss it. I really, really do. So expect more reviews again, and another binge or two of some of my favorite series. 2017 was the year of introspection, 2018 is the year of putting all of that to use. Let's do this!

DNF @ 20%

City of Dark Magic - Magnus Flyte

I can't finish this. Only 20% in and I'm not only confused, I'm bored and mildly baffled at Sarah's character. I'm not a prude, but the sheer amount of sexual tension/acts in the first part of this book really threw me off. I'm just done.

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

Snow & Rose - Emily Winfield Martin

It should come as no surprise to my more frequent readers that I eagerly leapt at the chance to read Snow & Rose. Fairy tales were, are, and always will be, my favorite thing to get lost in. In what I can only assume was fate smiling upon me, I started reading this on a day when the weather was particularly rainy and cold. So I got to snuggle up under a blanket, sip tea, and get lost in the world that Emily Martin Winfield had woven for me. It was perfection, and this book had a lot to do with that.

This is a rendition of Snow White and Rose Red, but fundamentally changed in a way that I really appreciated. Snow and Rose's father disappears into the forest one day, leaving his little family to fend for themselves. Cue enchanted woods, mischevious creatures, and two brave little girls who absolutely delighted me every step of the way. I love that Winfield stayed true to the original story, but also gave it a more whimsical spin. Both Snow and Rose come to life on the page, with their own personalities and quirks. I adored them both.

Honestly, I can't wait to see the finished version of this book. The ARC that I was sent for review had sketches of the art that will soon grace the pages, and I am so eager to see the whole package. The sketches that were there already lent so much whimsy to the story, and those were only in pencil. I see Snow & Rose as a story for parents to share with their children at bedtime. I see it as the type of story that will appeal to all fairy tales lovers, both young and old. I see this as the perfect type of escape that we all need sometimes. Snow & Rose is beautiful, and it should definitely be on your reading list.

Happy November y'all!

Okay first, let's get this out of the way and show you my FAVORITE picture from our photo shoot. This will absolutely be blown up to ridiculous proportions to go on our wall at home. Whether my hubby likes it or not.



I know, right? *sigh* Totally worth traipsing into nature and skinning both my knees over. I don't even care.


In other news, I missed my darn Halloween bingo by ONE book. I never could quite finish The Small Hand in time, and so I'll forever know that I was so close. Dang. Bright side is that I finally got out of my reading slump, and that feels good. I'm raring to go and I may or may have not just gone and requested 10 books on the library website.


There's something about the holiday season (for me, that starts after Halloween) that just bolsters me. Work is quieter, people go off on vacation, people are nicer, snacks are had, and I get to spend time with friends and family. No matter how my year was, it seems like this time of year always makes things a little better. I love it.


I have to say, I'm pretty proud of how well I've done this year overall. Especially with my mental health. I've been gentle with myself, taken breaks when I needed them, been open and honest about how I feel, and it's really kept me at an even keel. I've even learned not to beat myself up when anxiety starts to win. I just throw my attentions to things that make me happy and center me. Like... embroidery!!!



I finished this beauty last week and, since this quote has become my mantra lately, couldn't wait to get it hung up. There's something about embroidery that makes me feel connected to myself... or something. It's hard to explain. All I know is that it makes me feel good.


So happy November all! May your holiday season be AMAZING.

Sappy couple photos 2017 hahahaha. 5 years of marriage, 5 years of photos!

Halloween Bingo - Update #4


I'm finally out of my reading slump, and I have the potential for three bingos.. of course. Hahaha. Let's see if I can even hit one. Fingers crossed!


Read and Called:

In the Dark, Dark Woods - Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

Locked Room Mystery  - The Burning Court by James Dickson Carr

Modern Masters of Horror - Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Gothic - Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Haunted House - The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters


Read, But Not Called:



In Progress:

Terror In a Small Town  - Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

Ghost  - The Small Hand by Susan Hill

Reading progress update: I've read 55%.

The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

I've been in a MASSIVE reading slump lately, and this audio book has been taking me a while to really settle into. Not because the story isn't great, because I'm enjoying it immensely. It's just that I haven't been able to calm myself enough to really enjoy anything book related for a while. I've been binge watching tv, playing too much Stardew Valley, and cross stitching up a storm. I'm feeling more me lately though, and this book has my attention again.


I only need to finish this, The Small Hand, and Summer of Night, and I'll have a bingo! Let's hope I can do it before the end of the month :).

It's almost that time of year again...
It's almost that time of year again...

Reading progress update: I've read 52%.

Summer of Night - Dan Simmons

Arggghhhhh I knew it!


*cries forever*


Why whenever I love a character, do they die? WHY???


Now I'm just pissed off.

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro

I've been eagerly waiting for my turn on this library hold, and I'm pleased to say that I've already fallen in love with Charlotte Holmes all over again. The fact that this story can touch on the aftermath of Charlotte's rape, in a way that feels genuine and thoughtful, has me rapt. I don't love that she's broken, but I do love that she's honest about it. Also that Jamie has thus far, through the last book and the first half of this, been so wonderful with her. He's properly annoyed at times, but still understanding. I want to hug him.


Who knew I'd love these books so much? I'm charmed.