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Ballgowns & Butterflies by Kelley Armstrong

The North Yorkshire moors are always a magical place, but they’re particularly enchanting at the holidays…especially if one gets to travel back in time to a Victorian Christmas.

Ballroom and ButterfliesTitle: Ballgowns & Butterflies
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Series:  A Stitch in Time #1.5
Publish Date:  July 25, 2021
Source:  purchased in Kindle by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  The North Yorkshire moors are always a magical place, but they’re particularly enchanting at the holidays…especially if one gets to travel back in time to a Victorian Christmas. For Bronwyn Dale, it is the stuff of dreams. Fancy-dress balls, quirky small-town traditions, even that classic one-horse open sleigh, complete with jingle bells. There’s just the tiny problem of the Butterfly Effect. How does a time-traveler make a difference without disrupting the future forever?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous_Nellie_50Nervous Nellie says…

I liked this story.  It was a quick read and it featured Christmas in Victorian times.  You have to read the previous book to really get the full impact of this novella.  You could read it without reading book one and you’d get the drift, but it does make a better story if you know what is going on in the prior book.

This story doesn’t really have a plot – it’s just a quick story about Bronwyn and Williams first few months of married life.  With just coming home after a teaching stint, Bronwyn is tired and ready to relax, but William is so excited to share his life with her, he barely lets her catch her breath.  It’s a sweet romance at Christmas that didn’t take me long to read, but it was fun.  Oh, and just to put my two cents in – I don’t care how many blankets a person has piled on them, the cold WILL get to you when there is a blizzard and you are in an open sleigh.  Just sayin’.

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A Stitch In Time by Kelley Armstrong

Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale.

a stitch in time #1Title:  A Stitch in Time
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Series:  A Stitch in Time #1
Publish Date:
Source:  purchased from by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:   Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt’s house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that had him retreating to self-imposed exile in his beloved moors. He’s also none too pleased with Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes they are linked to William and the secret scandal that drove him back to Thorne Manor. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*

Nervous_Nellie_50Nervous Nellie says…

If you read some reviews of this book, you will find either the reader liked it or couldn’t finish it.  I liked it.  Was it the best I’ve ever read?  Nah, not really.  First of all, I’m not a fan of time travel.  I find it hard to wrap my brain around.  In this book, the characters struggle with the concept of changing the future by being in the past.  One team thinks it will make a change to the future and the other team thinks that the universe will adapt and adjust.  Well, isn’t that the same thing?  I would like to have a conversation with someone who understands better than I do, that’s for sure.

So, Bronwyn inherits an old manor house with ghosts.  WARNING:  Don’t read on unless you want to know some spoilers.  She needs to find peace with these ghosts in order for them to move on.  The problem with that is that these people had been killed (all except one and he was there with unfinished business) and Bronwyn has been tasked with helping find their murderer.  The mystery part was what really engaged me – probably because that’s the genre I really like.  The romance part was very sweet.  William is complicated.  He’s very much an introvert (which we can relate to) but he is and always will be, in love with Bronwyn.  William is angry because Bronwyn left him at age 15 and never came back.  He’s carried this anger for 23 years and really plays hard to get.  Of course he gives in.  Bronwyn (I love that name) has always loved Thorne manor, but she has a bad experience associated with it that she has to come to terms in order to move on.  That, in a nutshell, is the book.

I have problems with the story.  Bronwyn can bring her cell phone and a picnic basket to William’s side, but not a kitten.  Bronwyn has a month old kitten that acts more like an 8 week old kitten and the kitten saves her life.  Oh, sure – that’ll happen.  I’ve never met a cat that would care if I was alive or dead unless that lack of life messed with it’s mealtime and believe me, I’ve had A LOT of cats.  So, the fact of the matter is, if you can suspend your disbelief, you’ll probably enjoy this book.  I did suspend my disbelief until I wrote this review, and I will say I liked the book.  The mystery was a good one – lots of twists and I didn’t know who did it until the end.  I give the story a 3.5.

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 1/17/2021

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

Back with new releases again… they keep writin’ them, we keep readin’ them.

  • This book information was just released and although it’s not going to be ready to read until July, I thought a head’s up would be appropriate.

Title: Hex on the Beach
Author Kelley Armstrong, Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr
Series: Anthology (Cursed Luck #1.5)
Release date:  July 1, 2021
Description: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors Kelley Armstrong, Jeaniene Frost, and Melissa Marr deliver a sexy summer read with this novel-length anthology containing three all-new stories from their Cursed Luck, Night Huntress, and Faery Bargains worlds. Kennedy, Cat, and Gen are just trying to enjoy their respective getaways, but when immortals, vampires, and witches come out to play, things are bound to go awry. Let the supernatural hijinks begin! 

  • Now, if you happened to catch the Series name, you will see it’s book #1.5 in the series, so the question could be posed: “What’s book #1?”  (That’s what I did anyway.)  The first book in the series sounds really good even though I’m not a real Kelley Armstrong fan.  (I tried to like the Women of the Otherworld series, but it just didn’t stick.)

TitleCursed Luck
AuthorKelley Armstrong
SeriesCursed Luck #1.5
Release date:  March 27, 2020
Description: Kennedy Bennett comes from a long line of curse weavers. For centuries, her family has plied their trade in Unstable, Massachusetts, a quirky small town that’s welcomed paranormal practitioners since the dawn of spiritualism. Kennedy has recently struck out on her own, opening an antiques shop in Boston, where her speciality is uncursing and reselling hexed objects.

Then Aiden Connolly walks into her life with an offer she really should refuse. The scion of a wealthy family of luck workers, Aiden has a scheme to get his hands on the most famous cursed object of all: the mythical Necklace of Harmonia. He’s not the only one after the necklace, though. And he’s not the only one looking for a curse weaver to fix it. Kennedy’s sisters are kidnapped, she finds herself plunged into the underbelly of the magical world where even Aidan soon finds himself in over his head.

(Disclaimer: One Book Two nor does their reviewer receive any credits or reimbursements from Amazon, Audible or the author for this announcement.)

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Omens by Kelley Armstrong

What if your life had been a lie? What if your parents weren’t your parents and hid the truth from you? Even with good intentions? Olivia finds her world turned upside down when she finds out not only that she’s adopted but her biological parents are serial killers. And not long after, she’s caught up in a mystery, not only to find out the truth about both sets of parents, but herself as well.

OmensTitle:  Omens
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
SeriesCainsville Book 01
Publish Date:  August 20, 2013
Genre:  Paranormal Mystery
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionTwenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Things I liked: I like that Olivia is a strong character who doesn’t back down from finding out the truth and is determined to find it. I like that she knows a lot about herself already, in terms of likes and dislikes and some ideas of her strengths and weaknesses. I mostly like the writer’s style and the characters are quite clear and established very quickly.

Things I didn’t like: Most of the book is first person POV from Olivia’s perspective, with a few in between chapters from other character’s POV. While these other POVs do contain some main and secondary characters, most of them are ‘throw away” characters that we don’t hear from again.

If this book had been told strictly from Olivia’s point of view, it wouldn’t be fantasy, paranormal or supernatural. It would be a mystery story with a main character who has a strong intuition. It borders on supernatural, but from Olivia’s perspective, it never crosses that line. And that’s my problem with this book. I want it to be Urban Fantasy and it just isn’t.

Olivia is able to read the omens around her. She sees a type of bird or a type of flower and knows that good luck or maybe death is coming. She has a strong intuition and it can’t be denied that there is something more to it than normal. But we never reach the point of real paranormal. It’s only those occasional non-main characters that even give us an idea of any sort of fantasy or supernatural that is happening.

Further, it was very disappointing that at the end of the novel, the main mystery about her biological parents isn’t solved. Does that mean it’s going to be the focus of the series? Or did the author need to stop the book and it will be answered quickly in the next one? And was this an “origin story” about her supernatural abilities? Or will she only ever have a strong intuition that is beyond normal but never crossing over into the supernatural from Olivia’s POV? There are too many unanswered questions for me. While some do make me curious for more, most are just frustrating.

With any other author, I think I would have been disappointed and not sure I would have finished the book. It took until the late action at the eighty percent mark to pull me into the book, even with the good writing and interesting characters. And wanting and expecting Urban Fantasy, if I had only had Olivia’s POV, I would have felt completely cheated out of that. It was good enough to get me to read the next one and then see what I think of the series.

badge3v4For that reason, I will give this a loose three rating. There was nothing I hated reading about in the book. The hints at the supernatural were more annoying since they didn’t explain anything and detracted from Olivia’s POV of things. I will keep reading to find out more of the town, the mystery of Olivia’s parents, and what was set up for the next book.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try any of Kelley Armstrong’s other writings (she’s very prolific!).  You might also like other paranormal mysteries like the Mary O’Reilly series by Terri Reid, the Harper Connelly series and Midnight Texas series by Charlaine Harris, or the Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens.

Driven by Kelley Armstrong

I am so glad that, though the series has officially “ended,” there are still more Otherworld stories to discover!

DrivenTitle:  Driven
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
SeriesOtherworld 13.6
Publish Date:  December 5, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: Cains are known for being big, brutish and not-too-bright. The mutt clan embodies all the supernatural world’s worst stereotypes about werewolves. But not even the Cains deserve to be hunted down and skinned like animals.

When young Davis Cain comes to the Pack for help, Alpha Elena Michaels can’t refuse him. It isn’t about morality or justice. It’s about not letting anyone think they can do this to werewolves and get away with it.

But Elena is also dealing with the Pack’s homegrown monster—Malcolm Danvers, onetime enforcer, full-time psycho. Malcolm is now under Elena’s control, as part of the most difficult decision she’s had to make as leader. But if she has to let Malcolm in, she’s going to make full use of him…and the best person to catch monsters is one who knows exactly how they think.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

I’ve been a fan of the Women of the Otherworld (now just called the Otherworld series) for a long time.  Of all the races and characters in the series, the werewolves have always been one of my favorites.

I love seeing Elena in the role of Alpha of the pack, and I particularly love her children.  I can’t wait until they start getting their own stories.  I did notice that I’ve either missed a few stories or just haven’t read them in a while; I was unfamiliar with some of the characters and events mentioned.  I know I missed the Bounty Hunt novella as that has not come out in an ebook format.  It seems I missed other references to the Cain family, too.  That gives me a GREAT excuse to go back and read the whole series over again, which I’ve been wanting to do, anyway. 🙂

badge4v4What I like most about this story is the way in which it shows a family dealing with the impact of a toxic person.  We all have THOSE people in the family — the troublemaker, the energy vampire, the one no one wants to see but can’t always avoid.  In many cases, this person has a profound negative impact on everyone they touch.  Learning to deal with a person like this can take years of therapy and introspection.  It is great to see how Elena’s family deals with their toxic family member in a variety of ways.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try all of the Otherworld novels, novellas, and short stories.  There are a lot of them!  If we did a read-along for this series, it might take a whole year!  But they are all oh-so-good.  Kelley Armstrong is amazingly prolific.  Check out all the different worlds in which she writes; I’m sure you’ll find something you like!

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