Audiobook Review: The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm by Hilarie Burton Morgan | 9-9-22

Title: The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm
Author: Hilarie Burton Morgan
Genre: Nonfiction / Autobiography / Memoir
Publication Date: May 5th, 2022
Publisher: HarperOne
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“While Hilarie Burton Morgan’s hectic lifestyle as an actress in New York and Los Angeles gave her a comfortable life, it did not fulfill her spiritually or emotionally. After the birth of their first son, she and her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the star of The Walking Dead, decided to make a major change: they bought a working farm in Rhinebeck, New York, and began a new chapter in their lives.
The Rural Diaries chronicles her inspiring story of farm life: chopping wood, making dandelion wine, building chicken coops. Burton looks back at her transition from urban to country living—discovering how to manage a farm while raising her son and making friends with her new neighbors. She mixes charming stories of learning to raise alpacas and buying and revitalizing the town’s beloved candy store, Samuel’s Sweet Shop, with raw observations on the ups and downs of marriage and her struggles with secondary infertility. Burton also includes delicious recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients at home, as well as home renovation and gardening tips.
Burton’s charisma, wide eyed attitude, and fortitude—both internal and physical—propels this moving story of transformation and self-discovery. The Rural Diaries honors the values and lifestyle of small-town America and offers inspiration for anyone longing to embark on their own unconventional journey.” (Goodreads)

I LOVED this book! Thank you @Ali’s Books for adding this book to my radar! The audiobook was exceptional and felt even more personal.

The book is narrated by Hilarie Burton Morgan and tells about her life from the first time she met her husband to the birth of their second child. So much happens in between and we get to catch a glimpse of it all.

Even though I have heard of One Tree Hill, I never watched it growing up. I also can’t recall seeing anything her husband has been in either, haha. Movies and tv shows just aren’t my thing, but books definitely are. I’m glad she took the time to write this.

After moving into a rural area this year and learning about gardening and chickens I felt like I read this book at the right time in my life. It was funny to read about her personal experiences while raising chickens and even what grew in her garden, like the weird carrots. I definitely understood all of the excitement she got from being on a farm because there is just something magical about it. I will say that she is living my dream with some of the animals she has like highland cows and donkeys!

There are also sadder times included like miscarriages and saying goodbye to a beloved pet. I’m not going to lie, those parts made me cry. I had to put my dog down this year and I completely understood her grief. It’s a hard thing to do. I may not have gone through my own miscarriages but I do know the struggle of seeing others getting pregnant when it’s so hard for you to do the same. I understand the envy that radiates and it made her story just that much more personal for me. I could relate to her on different levels.

Overall, this was just a really well done audiobook and I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes that she included as well.

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Audiobook Review: The First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylock #1) by Amy Harmon

Title: The First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylock #1)
Author: Amy Harmon
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction / Romance / Mythology
Publication Date: August 20th, 2019
Publisher: 47North
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

“Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.
Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.
Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.
What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.” (Goodreads)

I feel like this is just what I needed to break up my average rated reads. It reminded me a bit of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, which I enjoyed. So, I am very pleased with this book!

The book is told through third-person narration from multiple point-of-views which I really liked. There are many plot lines at play that all come together and it was cool to see how each character intertwined with another. Bayr and Alba were a favorite pair of mine for obvious reasons. They each wanted what was best for one another and would do anything to remain together. Their dedication was something that I very much admired. Bayr also has a stutter and keeps it throughout the book. The audiobook does a great job with it!

There is romance and it stretched throughout by building a friendship between the two first. The reader gets to see Bayr and Alba from babies all the way up until they are older and ready to take on the challenges they face. It really helped me to connect to them on a deeper level.

One character that was wildly insane was the king. Just wow! Every time he did something I was like, “Oh, it couldn’t get worse…” and he always proved me wrong haha. Even though I very much disliked him, he made the story even better and for that I guess I liked him in a way.

The plot is filled with mythology. runes, an evil king, war, and many other things. I didn’t feel like there was ever a dull moment and I would listen to more than half of the audiobook in one day because of that. Which obviously isn’t a bad thing. It very much kept me engaged.

Overall, this was a great read and I can’t wait to get to the next book!

Arc Review: One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig

Title: One Dark Window
Author: Rachel Gillig
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.
But nothing comes for free, especially magic.
When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.
Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.” (Goodreads)

What a wild book this was!

This book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Elspeth but there are flashbacks here and there to explain more about the shepherd king and rhymes that correlate with the magic system which is done by providence cards. Basically, they are like tarot cards. I loved all of the tales surrounding the cards as they were fun to read and gave me a bit more on what to expect from them. Elspeth has grown up with keeping a lot of secrets for her own safety as well as those she is close with, like her family. It must have been tough because the ruling king seems kind of ruthless and as you get to know one of the princes you realize he is to.

Elspeth is strong-willed and wants to do what is right, but she can also be impulsive which can cause a lot of chaos. I would say that in ways she can be morally grey and the thing living inside her head definitely is. The nightmare is something else and I loved the conversations they had!

The other characters in the book were just as interesting, even if some had smaller parts. I never once thought, “ugh, it’s this person again”. Even though the ruthless prince has personality, not always in a good way but he sure knows how to liven up a party! A lot of the characters have the same goal in common but it’s getting there that is different.

My least favorite part was the romance. It’s not bad per say and I did enjoy it a lot, but the build-up kind of sped up and then they were definitely in love. I do like the guy that Elspeth is interested in and their banter was cute so I’m not really going to complain that much, haha.

There were so many plot twists when it came to the plot and I was hear for every single one! They had my jaw dropping and the author killed me with that ending. I knew something was going to happen but let me down easy. It came full force!

I loved the magic system and thought that it was very unique. Nothing I have ever read before and I think it was done well. I understood it from the beginning and that’s something that doesn’t always happen when reading fantasy.

Overall, this was a fantastic book and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Vampire Kisses: Book Review

thegeekishbrunette review

 

263147Title: Vampire Kisses
Author: Ellen Schreiber
Rating: 5 stars

->Click for Synopsis<-

Vampire Kisses follows young Raven, a gothic girl obsessed with vampires, who finds herself the outcast of a town she loves to call Dullsville. One day a mysterious family moves into the old mansion and she aims to find out if they are actually vampires as rumors would suggest.

If you read my post, Books I Loved as a Teen, then you will have seen this series on there. I absolutely loved it and one was series that I reread numerous times. I decided that I would reread it and see if it still would give me the feelings I had as a teen and I can honestly say, it didn’t disappoint!

Now, I do have to say this book is cheesy. Raven is a cliche gothic girl but that is what I love about this book. I love the obvious and cheesy romance. I love Alexander Sterling, the strange mysterious goth guy who just happens to show up in town. I love that she isn’t popular and the jocks make fun of her. I related so much to her when I first read them and a part of me always will.

I am going to continue the series and write reviews for them because these books are my happy place. They may not have great reviews on goodreads but they always put a smile on my face and that is what matters most!

If you are a 14 year-old obsessed with vampires or just love a good cheesy book. Check it out!

A Clash of Kings: Book Review

thegeekishbrunette review

 

10572Title: A Clash of Kings
Author: George R.R. Martin
Rating: 5 stars

->Click for Synopsis<-

A Clash of Kings starts right where the first book left off. A handful are calling themselves king and when this happens the whole realm is thrown into chaos. With scandals, war, and everything that comes with it, this book doesn’t hold back!

I have been trying to finish one book a month from this series as they are fairly long and my attention span is quite short. I am glad I decided to read this series and can’t wait to start the third book and see who makes it out alive. So far, no one has died that I love but I am sure that will not be the case as I continue to read. A few deaths have been spoiled for me on Instagram and through my husband but I am sure they will still impact my emotions when the time comes.

Daenerys has moved down my list of favorite characters and has been replaced by Tyrion. He is a snarky and cunning fellow who has grown on me tremendously. As always, Joffrey makes the top of the list when it comes to the people I hate. He is utterly annoying and whenever he yells for his mother it just makes me want to punch him even more. The way he treats Sansa is so uncomfortable especially with a certain scene where Tyrion steps in to stop the madness (thank goodness!). His mother. Cersei follows close behind him, obviously for many reasons.

The plot keeps thickening and when I think certain characters are boring (Stannis), I am proven wrong and a plot twists explodes and makes me question what I have already read. This book is a little slow in the beginning but quickly picks up as war comes from all sides of the playing field.

Overall, it is another masterpiece in the Game of Thrones series and I can’t wait to dive back in!

Monthly Wrap-Up | January 2019

Hello, fellow book lovers!

January was a crazy month for reading! It was my best month ever when it came to how many books I actually finished but not great for how many were 5 star reads. I doubt I will ever read 29 books plus 11 mangas in a month again but when there’s a will, there’s a way!

5 stars:
Escaping from Houdini
Vampire Kisses (reread)
A Torch Against the Night
The Poppy War
Sky in the Deep
Legendary
A Reaper at the Gates
The Last Namsara
The Winner’s Curse
A Clash of Kings

4 stars:
Roar
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Give the Dark My Love
Caraval
Six of Crows
The Devouring Gray (eARC)
The Governess of Penwythe Hall (eARC)

3 stars:
Deathless
Ruin and Rising
The Wicked King
Shadow of the Fox
Fire & Heist
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Sense & Sensibility
The Witch’s Kind (eARC)

2 stars:
Shatter Me
Dance of Thieves
Spin the Dawn (2.5) (eARC)

1 star:
Never-Contented Things (eARC)

Mangas:
The Demon Prince of Momochi House Vol. 4
Yona of the Dawn Vol. 15
Stepping on Roses Vol. 1-9

My favorite book for the month was The Poppy War. I am not usually drawn to adult fantasy but with such great reviews I decided to give it a go and it didn’t disappoint! The worst read was Never-Contented Things.

Overall, I would say I did pretty good. I wanted more 5 stars but hopefully February will be better! I will have reviews coming for all listed if there isn’t a review yet for the title.

Have you read any on this list? What was your favorite read of January?