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Lovelight Farms | B.K. Borison | Audiobook Review

Why did I listen to Lovelight Farms?

When I saw Lovelight Farms on Netgalley, I was immediately ready to join this small town Christmas vibe. There’s a Christmas tree farm, delicious baked goods, best friend with hidden feelings, and a small community where everyone really does know everyone. It sounded like the perfect way to kick off my 2022 holiday season.

What’s the story here?

Lovelight Farms is a Christmas tree farmed owned by Stella Bloom. She has loved the Christmas tree farm since she was a child and when opportunity arises, she purchases it. It seems like she has had nothing but bad luck since the purchase – dying trees, damaged fence, pumpkins destroyed, missing decorations, and shipping orders – and now the farm is in financial distress. As an attempt t save the farm, she enters a contest being held by a social media influencers. If she wins, the farm would get good publicity and $100,000. There’s only a little catch: when she fills out the form, she says she owns the farm with her boyfriend – except in reality she does not have a boyfriend. Enter Luka Peters, her best friend of 10 years.

How did I like Lovelight Farms?

Luka agrees to be Stella’s fake boyfriend in order to help her with the contest. From the moment, he agrees I could tell there was so much more going on between the than they were admitting. These two were so adorable. Seriously, they just had me grinning the whole time. They spend time together trying to get their story of their relationship straight before the influencer arrives and let’s just say it’s pretty easy for them to slip into fake dating. In some ways they just continue doing what they have always done. Except now they can be affectionate with each other and let their chemistry shine.

The people of the town were not surprised in the least when Stella and Luka announced they are together. In fact there was a buzz about them for years. People could see that they had something special from the moment they met. Not everyone is entirely subtle about this either. They provider some very comedic moments. These moments blend nicely with the heartfelt moments of Luka and Stella. And all of this was done with the background of the beautiful small town.

How was the narration?

Lovelight Farms is narrated by Pippa Jane and is 10 hours and 15 minutes in length. I listened to it at 1.5x speed which was comfortable for me. The narration was easy to listen to. The voice was soft and even and I enjoyed the characterization that was put into each voice. This was the perfect book to start my holiday season off with.

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

The Fixer Upper | Lauren Forsythe | Book Review

Alex is a fixer by nature. She has spent of much of her life repairing everyone else’s problems. Romances, break ups, work issues, family issues – she has fixed it all. Her main area of expertise seems to be fixing up men to the perfect version of themselves. Or at least that’s what it appears as all her ex-boyfriends seem to turn into model men after they break up. Little b little, she starts finding people in the office to help with their relationship problems. Her friends encourage her to make it into a kind of side business where she s helping those in need. And thus The Fixer Upper is born.

As Aly is helping other peoples lives, her own is a bit of a mess. She’s a bit of a push over at work trying to please everyone in order to try and get a promotion. She is trying to support her mother who is continually making poor decisions. And she really has no love life to speak up. Word is starting to get around her ability to fix things and a social media influencer learns about it and wants her to “fix” her boyfriend. The boyfriend in need of repair was her childhood best friend who she hadn’t seen since she confessed her feelings when drunk and then perceived that he had rejected her.

Aly and Dylan immediately have a tense dynamic when they see each other for the first time. They claim not to know each other in front of his girlfriend but are unable to stop the bickering that usually only happens when you know someone so well. Oh, the sparks that come from this bickering! At first, Aly refuses to take the social media influencers request for her to fix her boyfriend; but there is quite a bit of money involved if all get accomplished. When Aly discovers that her mother is going to lose her home unless she can buy it out – she decides to grin and bare it and accept the offer.

Both of these characters are stubborn and it takes a bit for them to be cordial with each other. Their chemistry shines as they argue. I could feel the tension and the sparks between them. Plus, there was so much history. The more time hey spend together the more the walls start coming down. As a reader, I could tell that Aly and Dylan brought out the best in each other. Their past isn’t exactly what either was them thought and this causes each of them to question their futures. Each of them have a couple of close friends who support and challenge them on their journey. I really enjoyed it when the two groups interacted with each other.

The Fixer Upper is filled with comedic and angsty moments. Aly and Dylan really have a strong pull on each other. This is their journey with finding themselves. Each of them see the best in each other but usually fail to see it in themselves. Their character growth was enjoyable to watch and I also enjoyed the London scenery too. It helped bring everything together.

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Saturday Movie Review: Autumn Stables

Autumn Stables is a 2018 Hallmark movie that stars Cindy Bubsy and Kevin McGarry aa a widow trying to sell her house and land; and the man who has his eye on it. Autumn is the widow who is trying to sell the place she and her husband bought and fixes up. Jake is the man who wants to buy it from her stating that he wouldn’t change a thing when in reality he’s a contractor who flips houses for a living. The two characters start spending time together as the offer on the house is processed and their chemistry is very very sweet.

The house which she and her husband fixed up is very neat and dear to Autumn’s heart. The problem is finances of the place have become you much for one person. She has help but there simply isn’t enough income coming in for her to retain. It is during an open house that Jake stumbles upon the property and meets Autumn in the Stables. From the initial interaction you can see that there is a spark of chemistry there.

Once the paperwork has been started, Jake begins trying to find ways to improve on the property. Yet the more time he spends there, the more he notices how beautiful it is. It really is beautiful. The scenery is gorgeous! I really enjoyed the way that the scenery was introduced with the horse rides. It was like I was seeing it through the same eyes as Jake and discovering the magic for myself.

I also liked the way Autumn and Jake’s connection blossomed. It wasn’t rushed and felt natural. Autumn’s history with her husband was not forgotten and the question about moving pulled at the heartstrings. Especially when she was unable to go through or give away her husband’s belongings. The background characters also provided good moral support. They were all like one tight knit unit.

Autumn Stables follows the usual Hallmark pattern which allows it to feel familiar to its audience. I really enjoyed the second chance romance aspect and thought the leads had decent chemistry together. The scenery was easy to get lost in too. Overall this beautiful fall movie hit all the right spots for me.

Rating; 3 Stars

A Haunted History Of Invisible Women: Trust Stories Of America’s Ghosts | Leanna Renee Hieber and Andrea Janes | Book Review

There is a quote on the cover of A Haunted History Of Invisible Women: True Stories Of America’s Ghosts that states “this book should not only be read but taught.” I one hundred percent agree with this assessment. Tis book capture my attention form the first page. It is historical with a touch of the paranormal. As the authors delve into the history of female centered ghost stories, they find an understand how they came to life.

A strong majority of the ghost stories of haunted houses were built around the views of women during various time periods. For the most all women were to be seen but not heard. If a women dared to cause a scene, she was usually not looked at in the most favorable light. It is usually these women who become part of the folklore and are believed to be the spirits doing the haunting. The authors, Leanna Renee Hieber and Andrea Jones, break down these women and their stories into seven sections: death and the maiden, witches; mothers and wives; bad girls, jezebels and killer women; mad women, spinsters and widows; and frauds, fakes and mythmaking. Each of these sections is a way in which women have been viewed in American society. I really liked the way it was broken and how specific the focus was to the topic at hand.

I was not personally familiar with several of the ghost stories mentioned through out the book. I guess I’m just not very up to date on my paranormal history. The ones that I was slightly familiar with were those in Salem, MA. I took a trip there with two of best friends and we took a night time ghost tour. It was a unique experience taking a trolley through historical Salem especially in the places where the witch trials had occurred. It wasn’t necessarily spooky but, it was interesting. I would love to go on another similar trip in the future.

A Haunted History Of Invisible Women features some of the most famous ghost stories as well as some that were personal to the authors. They use these ghosts to create their argument about the way society viewed women and their roles over time. These ghosts off women voices which they may not have been able to have when they were alive. hey could also be used for warnings against women regarding certain behaviors. These arguments provide openings for more discussions and there are many resources available in the back of the book for future research. This will also provide opportunity for new readers to have an introduction to feminist and the paranormal. It could be the start of a fun and eerie adventure.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

November 2022 TBR

  1. Jasmine Zumideh Needs A Win ~ Susan Azim Boyer
  2. The Memory Index ~ Julian Ray Vaca
  3. How The Wallflower Was Won ~ Eva Leigh
  4. Harvest Moon ~ Denise Hunter
  5. Africa Risen Anthology
  6. Love Always Christmas ~ Karen Schaler
  7. The Christmas Murder Game ~ Alexandra Benedict
  8. Talk Santa To Me ~ Linda Urban
  9. Meet Me Under The Mistletoe ~ Jenny Bayliss
  10. His Christmas Guardian ~ Cindy Dees

Pretty Dead Queens | Alexa Donne | Book Review

Pretty Dead Queens is a new young adult thriller written by Alexa Donne. Fifty years ago, the homecoming queen was murdered and founded laying facedown in the high school pool. Since then it has become tradition to honor her memory and to never forget what happened that fateful night. Recently, Cecelia Ellis moved in with her grandmother after losing her mother to cancer. Her grandmother is a famous author who actually has written a fictional account of that tragic night. It isn’t long before Cecelia is making new friends and preparing for her own homecoming. This is when tragedy strikes again and another home coming queen is found laying facedown in the pool.

Cecelia is the one who finds the homecoming queen in the pool. Her name was Natalie and she comes from a mostly well to do family. At first, it is a question of if this event is a tragic attempt at copying the original murder? Or does this one have absolutely nothing to do with the one previously? It doesn’t take long before Cecelia finds herself deep in the investigation trying to figure out exactly what happened that night. Nothing is exactly as it seems on the surface and people will do anything is keep their secrets hidden.

The Seaview town where the drownings occur is a very small area where everyone knows everyone. There are long lasting friendships along with long lasting enemies. The children of these friendships are friends but, they will never be friends with their parents enemies. In alot of ways there is a sense of old money floating around and the idea that money can and will help cover anything up. As a reader, the vibe of the town really played into the investigation. There were so many possible leads! I understood why Cecelia was having such a hard time weeding them out. Neither she nor I want it to be someone that she had come to know and trust.

There is an attempt at a love triangle through out the story which I felt didn’t really mesh with the rest of the story. It just didn’t feel necessary along with the murder mystery. A little bit of romance would have been alright, I think but to have the main character conflicted over two boys as she’s investigating the murder didn’t sit well with me. Especially since it seemed like she was only really invested in one of the boys. The other thing that didn’t seem to fully mesh was the use of teenage slang throughout the book. It just didn’t feel natural. It was like someone’s attempt at what teenagers should sound like.

All in all, I enjoyed Pretty Dead Queens. The murder mystery portion was well written and kept me turning pages, I likely would have been even more engrossed if it wasn’t for the awkwardness of the teenage slang and the inserted love triangle. The Seaview small town setting was easy to visualize and the characters were able to be distinguished from each other. Cecelia definitely had the family gene for murder mysteries even wen it meant putting herself in danger. This was my first Alexa Donne book but, I look forward to reading more from her soon!

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

The Family Game | Catherine Steadman | Book Review

Thrillers are not in my usual repertoire but occasionally there is one that will catch my eye. That is exactly what happened with The Family Game by Catherine Steadman. Harriet (Harry) recently became engaged to businessman Edward Holbeck. He is a member of the high society and his family comes form old money. Prior to their engagement, she had never been introduced to his family and now post engagement she finds herself being thrown into the mix. This is a pretty eccentric family with traditions that are very unique to them. n the surface all seem t be welcoming Harry with open arms but not everything is exactly what it seems.

This bock is a rollercoaster with a super gravitation pull. The Holbeck family really are in a world f their own. Edward had previously kept his family at a distance trying to make his own way in the world but, as the eldest son, he still had some responsibilities to the family name. Harry provides a new bridge between old and new for all the Holbeck’s. She is very attracted to their image of power and control as that is something that has been lacking in her life. She lost her parents tragically at a young age and in some ways has been alone ever since.

Secrets play a huge role in the plotline. All of the characters are withholding some sort of information that complicates everything. Some of these secrets are simple but most of them are life changing. For some they may even turn out to be deadly. This thriller is so well written and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. For most of the book things are put together is look one way when in actuality it may all be the complete opposite of that. Again everyone is not exactly who they seem or what they seem to project.

One of the most unique parts of the Holbeck family is their holiday traditions. Now these aren’t just get a tree and decorate it while drinking hot chocolate and singing carols types of traditions. These traditions are dark and a bit twisted and were created with the intention of finding the strongest ones of the group. It was definitely a winner takes all type of scenario and Harry is caught right in the middle. As a reader I was so invested in these games waiting to see what the outcome would be.

As far as thrillers goes The Family Game has all the components that I enjoy: psychological drama, mystery, and a good pacing for the storyline. I felt like this was done very well and put me in the right mindset. The different characters also pulled me in with their actions. Catherine Steadman’s writing really did have me on the edge of my seat the entire time with this crazy family and their wild antics. This is a very dark family but they are are also so fascinating I could see why Harry was do desperate to be a part of them!

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Saturday Movie Review: Muppets Haunted Mansion

Growing up, I was a Muppet fan; and today as an adult I still wave my Muppet banner high. This is why I decided to watch Muppets Haunted Mansion It is a brand new Muppet movie and this time it’s Gonzo who is going on a new adventure. The movie features all your favorite Muppets as well as appearances by Will Arnett, Taraji P. Henson, Darren Criss, and Yvette Nicole Brown. It tries its best to hold all of the magic that only the Muppets can bring.

The premise of this adventure is that Gonzo is challenged to spend the entire night of Halloween in a haunted mansion. The mansion is the home of Gonzo’s favorite magician, the Great MacGuffin, who disappeared one night and has never been seen since. At first Gonzo thinks that he has just been invited to a Halloween party at the mansion so he brings Pepe the King Prawn along. It doesn’t take long before they realize that there is more going on than just a Halloween party. This is really all about facing ones fears, even if one doesn’t think they have any.

Parallel to Gonzo and Pepe being in the mansion is the annual Halloween party at Miss Piggy’s. The two different stories are very intertwined together especially as Gonzo the Great begins facing his fears. There were so many Muppet characters that were represented – it was nice to see all the familiar faces. Especially the two old men providing commentary throughout. Unfortunately though not all the jokes landed the way they were intended.

Muppets Haunted Mansion tries its best to hold onto the magic that makes the Muppets special but, there are definite missteps. There were jokes that didn’t land or that felt rushed. When they were rushed, it felt awkward and like something was missing. I think this was why there were so many celebrity cameos. And not all of those worked either. I did like the message that was being presented about being able to face ones fears as well as being comfortable with having fears. I think this is an important message for children which is who the Muppets are originally geared for Overall, it is a cute movie. It just unfortunately missed the mark for me with total feelings of nostalgia.

Rating: 3 Stars

Angelika Frankeinstein Makes Her Match | Sally Thorne | Book Review

Angelika Frankenstein is the younger sister of scientist Victor Frankenstein. She has lived a some what sheltered life and has been unable to find a proper suitor. One ight when she is helping her bother gather the pieces for his next experiment, an idea forms that if she can’t find the perfect made perhaps she can make him. When her ground breaking scientific miracle comes to live the last thing on his mind is romance. He has amnesia and is determined to uncover his past before making any decisions about his future. Angelika decides to aide him in his quest. Along the way she begins to question her decision to attempt to alter fate and finds that the journey may be as life changing for her as it is for reformed man.

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match honestly left me feeling a bit conflicted. The main characters did have chemistry between them but, all of it felt so awkward. The fact that Angelika had literally pick out every piece of this man who she’s calling Will – discarding anything she deemed not useful or unattractive really stuck out to me. It was very stringy and I like when she was called for it. It was even better when she started calling herself out for it.

There is a bit of a triangle between Angelika, Will and someone from Will’s past. The other man is a true gentleman and can easily woo any woman who crosses his path. When he sets his eyes on Angelika, it was a good distraction and a way to get Will to show some jealousy. Honestly it felt like such a plot device. I knew who was going to end up together. And it unfolded just about how I expected it too.

The one saving grace about all of this is that there is some character growth shown by Angelika. As a more sheltered individual she was always in her brothers shadow. She felt she was too weird and perhaps too clever for her own good or for anyone to accept her. Through this experience with Will, Angelika starts finding her confidence and desire to break away from her brother’s shadow. This also forces her to brother to see her in a new light and acknowledge her scientific experiences.

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match was not exactly what I had expected. There was no real straight path for the plot – it was a bit all over the place. Maybe it was because everything was pieced together and the characters were trying to find their way? Suspended believe is an important element to have as a reader for this story. Plus, there is also a little bit of cheesiness. All in all, it does work out in the end but it is a bit of a weird journey to get there.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Chasing the Four Winds

Reading, Writing, Nerding, and Honoring the Oxford Comma Since 1987.

A. A. MacConnell

When you write drabbles, you relieve the pressure of the epic novel expanding in your head.

The Calico Books

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