Monday, September 27, 2021

Audiobook Review: A Spindle Splintered by Alix E Harrow


It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.

Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.


Since I have been a little girl, I have loved fairytales. I still remember one Christmas, my mom and dad, getting me an entire set of really cool Fairytale books, I read them until they were worn out, and after my kids went through them, they had to be put to rest.

 Spindle Splintered, though short, is barely 100 pages, but it is written amazingly well. The story is about Zinna, who is dying with a genetic disorder that will probably kill her during her 21st birthday, and Briar Rose..yes the Briar Rose of Sleeping Beauty, who are working together to escape both of their fates. 

Zinna, a fan of Sleeping Beauty, is attending her 21st birthday party given by her best friend Charmaine, during which she pricks her finger on a spindle and is instantly transported to a Fairytale World where Sleeping Beauty ( Briar Rose ) exists. 

The characters of Zinna, Charmaine, and Briar Rose are all so likable, that you will find yourself rooting for them throughout the book, as they race to save themselves and a few other Princess's stuck in the same fate. The timeline is parallel ( I guess that is what you would call it ), with Zinna and Briar Rose in Fairytale world and Charmine in our world. I know it sounds crazy, but this is fantasy and technology allows it to happen.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Amy Landon, who made the book very pleasant to listen to, her voice was clear, and she did really well on the various characters' voices.

This is a magical, clever, and smart novella, with a great look at feminity, friendship, coping, and fighting against your circumstances. It is also the first book in the Fractured Fables series, so I am looking forward in seeing what comes next.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Audiobook review: Margarita in the Spotlight by Maria Frazer

Book Summary

Margarita McCoy plays banjo and sings back-up in her stepsister Stephanie McCoy’s wildly popular country music band.

Margarita isn’t particularly passionate about music, but she loves Stephanie and would do anything to help her—and that includes being thrust into the media spotlight after an article in the New York Times calls out country music for its lack of diversity. Since Margarita’s father is Mexican American, the McCoy’s record label wants to use her to show that they aren’t as white-washed as the article says.

For Margarita, the media frenzy is overwhelming, and quickly has her considering how exactly she should define herself and her identity. How Mexican American is she? How should she use her 15 minutes of fame? And how come no one ever taught her about Selena Quintanilla?

MARGARITA IN THE SPOTLIGHT is a fun and empowering story about identity, family, music, and the power of finding your voice—featuring original music that will delight your ears and get your toes tapping!

Flo's Review

Y'all. I felt this one. I grew up in Tennessee, so I am a fan of country music. For awhile there, I would spent many of my weekends line dancing at my local country bar, and I even worked at a country music magazine for a little bit. Whenever people found out I liked country music, the reaction was very, very surprised. Usually when I explained the whole, "I'm from Tennessee," thing, understanding dawned in their eyes. But before that it looked like people were thinking, but they would (rarely) say, "A Black girl likes country music?"

I'm aging myself a little bit, because that was several years ago, and country music has become much more diverse in that time. But, I definitely understood on a personal level a lot of what was happening with Margarita in this story. Even without that personal connection, though, I still think I would love this story. The bond between Margarita and sister, and even among their whole family is so heartwarming. 

My favorite thing, though, was the format. This was my first time listening to a story like there, with music interspersed throughout the audio narration, and it was solid gold. The songs tied in so well with what was happening in the story, and it felt like such a nice little treat every time one came up. It's so fun, and I highly recommend that anyone give it a shot.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Audio Book Review: Nick and Noel's Christmas Playlist by Codi Hall


Nick Winters and Noel Carter have known each other their whole lives. After years of shared family holidays, working together on the Winters’ Christmas tree farm, and being each other's safe haven, they wouldn't dream of crossing the line from friends to something more....

But when Nick comes home for the holidays after serving overseas and finds that his long-term girlfriend has decided to get her stocking stuffed elsewhere, Noel is there to pick him up and show him that instead of a Blue Christmas he can still have a Wonderful Christmastime without his cheating ex. 

A night on the town and an impulsive kiss later has Noel thinking that perhaps this year they’ll be rockin’ around the Christmas tree as a couple, but only if the ghost - er rather - girlfriend of Nick's Christmas past doesn’t decide to haunt their holiday....


I love Christmas books, so when I saw Nick and Noel's Christmas Playlist by Codi Hill I knew I was in!

The story was a cute and fun holiday romance. I listened to it on audio and really enjoyed the narration between the multiple narrators. It went quickly and was an easy listen.

I really enjoyed both of the main characters, Nick and Noel. Nick, just home from the military was really a wonderful character, just a really nice guy. The book starts out with Nick arriving home to find out that the girl he has been in love with has been cheating and dumps him. I felt rather sad for him because he thought Amanda was the girl for him. Noel, who is a nurse the perfect best friend for Nick, but after the breakup, he realizes that she has been there for him through everything and looks at her a bit differently

I did not like Nick's ex-girlfriend Amanda at all, and I thought the author spent too much time with her in the story, however, she was the perfect catalyst for some much-needed drama between Nick and Nora and their relationship.

But, this isn't your typical Hallmark Christmas movie type story, there are some pretty steamy sex scenes thrown in., but I will admit, it did help spice up the otherwise typical story.

There were a few things that I did not like about the books, the first being that I felt it was WAY too close to Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, and I thought that Hall could have been steered from what seemed like a reliance on that story.

Also, there were times, a lot of them actually, where I felt both the main characters and the secondary characters were so immature in their actions, but maybe, being older, I was not the target audience for this book. However I do read YA books and have really enjoyed them, so I am not so sure that was the problem.

But of course, being a music lover, I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the books and the audio ( I used them both ) was the excellent playlist at the end.

All in all, it was a cute read.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Book Review: Over The Falls by Rebecca Hodge


It's early June in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee, and the idyllic beauty of the landscape belies the darkness that lurks beneath the surface. Bryn Collins has been living in isolation for fourteen years after her fiance, Sawyer, jilted her for her despised sister, Del. Although a life-threatening accident ended her days navigating the perils of whitewater, she still finds refuge kayaking in the local lakes.

But Bryn's placid life hits the skids when an unwelcome cast of characters reenters her life. Del goes mysteriously missing, and her fourteen-year-old son, Josh, arrives to ask for Bryn's help finding her. His father, Sawyer, had been killed in a plane crash and he has no one else to turn to. Carl, an unruly punk the sisters knew years before, is desperate to find Del because she owes him money.

Bryn and Josh follow an ever-elusive trail to Colorado, and at the annual Mountain Games competition in Vail, they finally confront the truth. For Bryn, all roads lead to the river, and on vicious Colorado whitewaters, she must muster every ounce of courage and strength to save what she most loves in the world.


This was the first book I have read by Rebecca Hodge, and after the thrill ride that I just went on I know it will not be the last time I pick up one of her books.

I really enjoyed the setting of Eastern Tennessee, I have been there on vacation several times so it was easy for me to picture the surroundings, even though Hodge did a great job of describing the area. I espececially enjoyed the peaceful farm like Bryn lived, and have craved that for myself many times. I saw why Bryn was so reluent to give up that peace to help her nephew Josh.

The characters are all well rounded. Bryn is the unfavored child in the family, her parents more douting on her sister Del, who Bryn herself remembers fondly as they were growning up, in reality Del is just pure evil and the book proved that point. I liked the growth of the characters and the bonding betweent Bryn and Josh. They are also somewhat easy to relate to, showing faults and weaknesses, something everyone has, but at times books seem to leave them out.

There is some good action to keep you turning pages, for instance the white water rafting. The intensirty of the scenes will have you holding your breathe.

The story is a bit of a slow burn, and takes a bit to get started, but it is engaging and well written. At times I did feel that the story was in places repetitive, so some of the twists and turns were easy to figure out beforehand. But all in all this was a good introduction to Rebecca Hodge and I look forward to checking out her back books and what she writes next.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Book Review: The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White


Goodreads Overview:

EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.

Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.

When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?

Jacque's Review:

This is the second book in the Camelot Rising trilogy. I enjoyed the story, but I don't feel like a lot of progress was made in the plot or character development. Arthur is still dedicated to Camelot and I do not think there will ever be a real relationship between Guinevere and Arthur. The few times Mordred appeared, there was an undeniable spark and connection between him and Guinevere. I am hoping things will eventually move in that direction even though I know she feels a sense of obligation to protect Arthur and Camelot. 

Lancelot wants to be just like all of Arthur's other knights, but as skilled as she is, she will never be one of the boys. She is assigned as Guinevere's knight and the two develop a friendship that eventually becomes strained. Guinevere can see that their relationship is impacting how Lancelot is viewed by her piers and tries to put some distance between them. Lancelot is one of the few people who knows the story of who Guinevere really is, so the two are able to speak freely with one another. They work together and take part in some quests along the way, which added the only real action and adventure to this story.

We do not learn any more about who Guinevere was before coming to Camelot or what has happened to Merlin. Without her memories, she feels like she is an imposter simply playing the role of Queen.  When the real Guinevere's sister arrives, she is convinced she is going to be outed. We do learn more about the real Guinevere from her sister, which I did find interesting.

The ending was a bit shocking, so I am looking forward to reading the final book to see what happens next. I'm not sure this story will have a happily ever after for everyone involved. Fortunately, The Excalibur Curse, is scheduled to be released December 7, 2021, so we will find out soon enough.