Monday, December 28, 2020

Books: 2020 in Books

I thought it would be nice to do an overview of the books I reviewed on the blog this year. It is not going to be a very long list as I of course only got back to blogging from October onwards. I love what I have done with the blog so far, and hope to keep it up in the new year. 

Lets look back at the reviews of 2020:


Anna Dressed in Blood ~ Kendare Blake

As I came back in October what better way to start of with a young adult horror story? I have read Anna Dressed In Blood and I love the feel the books gives me, although Cas will never be my favorite character.
Read my review: here


Girl of Nightmares ~ Kendare Blake

Of course I had to conclude this duology at some point, so for the Halloween month I decided to also read Girl of Nightmares. And boy was this one a struggle, I got even more annoyed with our main character Cas, but it was all worth it in the end, I actually kind of loved the ending! Read my review: here


Fractured Legacy ~ Skye Callahan

Right up there with the horror YA was Fractured Legacy, that got really freaking scary. This was so good, great story, lots of scary moments. The perfect read for Halloween. Read my review here
Pat

Moon Called ~ Patricia Briggs

I re-read Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, it is still the wild ride I remembered it to be, I have re-read a lot of books this year, mainly to provide you with good quality reviews, but also because sometimes I did not remember why I fell in love with the books in the first place. You can read my review here


Underneath ~ Heather Marie Adkins

This is a short story by Heather Marie Adkins, of which I have also read Eternal Youth, which she wrote with Julia Crane and Nolia McCarthy. This is a bit of a mysterious story and it has some problems. The concept is great though. You can read my review here

Blood Bound ~ Patricia Briggs

I have also read the second book in the Mercy Thompson series, I think I liked this one even more than the first one. This one focusses more on the vampires in Mercy's world. It thought Stefan is a very interesting charater and I love how different these vampires are from what I have read before. Marsilla is really something. You can read my review here.


The Bake Off ~ Susan Willis

What pulled me in was the cover, I love those covers with this kind of illustration on the front. I think they are so cute, and I tend to one-click-buy covers like these. I was looking for a quick, wholesome read, and I found it. This novella is about a baking competition. And I will have some recipes to try. You can read my review here.

Christmas Magic ~ Alexandra Moody

Last but certainly nog least, Christmas Magic, a book I picked up last Christmas, but did not 
finish until somewhere this summer. I have an incredibly busy live, which gives me limited time to read. I am making some changes in 2021 though, so I should have more time to read hopefully. This is the perfect Christmas read for urban fantasy fans. You can read my review here.
Well these were all the books I reviewed this year, I hope to do better in 2021. It will be one of my goals, so hopefully I can keep to them! For now I hope you enjoyed this little overview. Wishing everybody a happy new year if you don't see any of my other post.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Books: Stacking The Shelves #20


 
Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews & Reading Reality. It is all about the books that you have added to your shelves, show case the beautiful books you found. It can also be ebooks you bought a book you borrowed from a friend or from the library.  This is a weekly meme, feel free to join in on all the fun!

It has been years since I have done a Stacking the shelves post, I had dig in to the archives, all the way back to 2015! Wow that was a long time ago. The books I want to show you today were all christmas gives from my wonderful boyfriend, and I am so excited to show them to you because I hadn't expected any of these!






Christmas Day we spend at my sisters place, and she surprised me with another book!!! 
It is so pretty!


What did Santa get you this year? 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #83: Punked up Christmas

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.
So I was a little bit unsure if I was going to write another Christmas post or if I was going for looking back at the musical year 2020. I know that for almost every other country in the world Christmas is over, well we Dutch, we have a second day of Christmas. So officially for us here it is still Christmas. So my rebellious side has decided what the heck we are doing Christmas today. Here are some unconventional Christmas songs for you! 

Relient K ~ 12 Days of Christmas

I went deep in to the poppunk archive and look what I pulled up! It's a punk cover of 12 Days of Christmas.


New Found Glory ~ Nothing for Christmas

I have always love the sound of New Found Glory, I tend to forget that they exsist for some reason, and I really have to give them some love soon. For now here is some more Christmas spirit for you.


All Time Low ~ Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass

All Time Low to me is sort of a guilty pleasure, sometimes their music is just too poppy like listening to a boyband,I hate boybands. So yeah that is why it is a guilty pleasure I think. This video is hilarious, these bands all bring some humor to the table and I love it.

My Chemical Romance ~ All I Want For Christmas

I was actually really suprised they every recorded anything Christmassy. I know I am kind of cheating because, it is not really considered Punk now is it? Still it is different and goes really well with the rest of this Punked up Christmas line up.


Dropkick Murphys ~ The Season's Upon Us

We are finishing of with my favourite, no other than the Dropkick Murphys, I love this song, and it always makes me very happy. It is so much fun, I think when the world finally gets back to normal I really want to see them live again. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do, and Merry Christmas. Better late than never.

That is it for my favorite my Punked up Christmas, I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas. 


What is your favorite Christmas song?
Feel free to leave a comment! 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com. 
I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Books: Christmas Magic ~ Alexandra Moody

Title: Christmas Magic 
Author: Alexandra Moody
Publishing date: 15th of November 2018
Publisher: Self published
Sort of story: Full length book, trilogy
Source: Kindle Ebook, freebie
Language: English
Number of Pages: 230 p.
Age Category: Adult
Other books in this series:
Christmas Chaos #2
Christmas Curse #3


About Christmas Magic

Clio has one mission in life: keep her unique powers hidden and avoid other magical beings at all costs. Sounds simple enough. But, when a group of murderous dark elves attack her, keeping a low profile becomes a little more complicated.

To make matters worse, she's now adopted an unwanted defender. His name is Dash, a reindeer shifter who's as irritating as he is handsome. He wants to protect her. She wants him to take his rather large antlers and fly on back to the North Pole. But when magical creatures are being killed, and no one knows why, she has no choice but to trust him. (source: Goodreads)

My thoughts

I am actually really excited to be talking about this book, I picked this up last year, it was an Kindle freebie, but didn't have time to finish it after Christmas, so I ended up finishing it in July. I am really excited that I have found this, a Christmas urban fantasy, I thought this was the greatest thing yet. As I have never really found anything like this one. I absolutly loved the fantasy twist of the story. All the christmas creatures living among us.

This book brings christmas magic to a whole new level, with dark elves, krampusses, Clauses, reindeer shifters. I loved all the characters, the overall story line, and the sparks flying between Clio and Dash,the quick banter and the mystery to be resolved. Also I had never heard of a tomten before, I had to google it. Very well written story all around, I liked the sense of mystery, the reindeer "police" trying to resolve a murder case.

Oh and did I forget to mention that they travel to the North Pole as well? The magical realm where Christmas creatures can live in peace? 

It all may sound a bit on the ridiculous side but I promise you this story is worth your time. The story is action packed, with attacking elves, a creep as prison visit, a underground fight club and much more. This is the perfect christmas holiday read for everybody who loves urban fantasy or fairy tales. I am definitely picking up the second book in the series before Christmas, I am very curious to see how the story continues.

If you have any down time during the holidays, give this book some love. For now I would like to wish everybody a wonderful Christmas Eve. 

Conclusion

Reindeer shifters, hell yes! Clause with amazing powers, keep them coming! Evil elves, and krampus, to bring to the fight. Welcome to an amazing Christmas adventure, I really enjoyed this, so this will be 5 stars for me.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #82: Christmas Releases 2020

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.

Almost Christmas! I am really looking forward to Christmas this year, as I will be having 2 weeks off work, I haven't had a vacation in years so I am really looking forward to just doing nothing, reading, catching up on things I don't usually have time for. A couple of weeks ago Carrie Underwood released a new video, a duet with John Legend. You can blame Carrie for this Swinging Saturdays, as I started to look at what's new this year, and I found some great Christmas music! 


Liam Payne, Dixie D'Amelio ~ Naughty List

In every list of new christmas releases this one shows up. Allthough the artists themselves are unknown to me, it might have something to do with me not listening a whole of pop music. So excuse me if they are really famous, or something, maybe leave a response with your favourite song? Anyways, I kind of like this one, its poppy, it is fun.


Ben Caplan ~ O Holy Night

This guy is so goddamn interesting to look at when he performs. The expressions that cross his face, the incredible dark low beautiful. I always am mesmerized by the music, it strange I can not describe it. This is definitely most different version I ever hear of O Holy Night.


Lady Antebellum ~ Christmas Through Your Eyes

Only one song ever made it in the dutch charts, but in their home country they are staying strong. Country always has the best christmas renditions, I think also the most christmas albums. There are another 2 country artists coming, so I guess country likes christmas.This video is cosy and full of family I love it!


Dolly Parton ~ Cuddle Up, Cozy Down

Oh come on, Dolly is awesome! Greatest respect that she is still such a bussy bee on her age. She release a Netflix series, an Netflix musical a new album, it is almost hard to keep up with this lady. I have always been a fan of her music and here new Christmas album "A Holly Dolly Christmas" is definitely worth your time. Put it on when you are decorating your tree of preparing christmas dinner, it will make you laugh, but there are also some beautiful quiet songs on there, like "Mary, Did you know?", goosebumps.


Carrie Underwood & John Legend ~ Hallelujah

First I thought this would be the how many a cover of the song with the same name. Turns out it is an original song, and I think it is lovely. Carrie Underwood has been on my rader for many years, it is not often that I listen to her music but at times I can really appreciate it. This song is beautiful, love the snowy video, I miss snow. We don't get snow in the Netherlands, I haven't been back to Canada in years (my second home) so every winter I miss the snow.


That is it for my favorite Christmas releases of 2020, I hope it have gotten you in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy the holidays, hopefully no lock downs wherever you live. I am going to bake some cookies now, have a big Christmas cookie project going on this year. 

What is your favorite 2020 Christmas release?
Feel free to leave a comment! 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com. 
I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #81: Music around the world: Icelandic bands

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.

 Do you remember that song, Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men, did you know that the band is from Iceland? There are some other great bands from Iceland that make it on to my playlists, today I want to talk about them. 


Of Monsters & Men ~ Mountain Sound

I love Little Talks, but for this one I decided to go with a different song Mountain Sound, it has the same upbeat melody just a bit different from Little Talks. This band came out of nowhere, and it is great I love their sound. It is right up my alley. Hope you enjoy it too.
Album: My Head Is An Animal


Vök ~ Night And Day

This is the one band I don't know a whole lot about, but I thought it was still worth mentioning as in their own genre of music the make great things. It is a bit on the electronical side for me, which might sounds a bit strange, but I sometimes just have very strange taste, it is like my tast in chocolate, I don't like any filled chocolate, but I do like milk chocolate, but I don't like milk chocolate sprinkles (we put them on bread with butter in the Netherlands). Anyways, this song is kind of oke. I think a lot of people can appreciate the music they make.
Album: In The Dark


Ásgeir ~ Glæður

Ásgeir has been around for some time, the earliest album I could find was back in 2012. His songs are beautiful layed back listening songs, and I enjoy listening them when I work or if I really want to get in a relaxest state of mind. Very beautiful, he has many songs in English however I want to show you how beautiful the language of Iceland can be, and how it can still be beautiful eventhough I don't understand a word they sing. Cool fact is that in this video, the introduction has English subtitles really cool. I hope you enjoy this and if you like it show you support, follow them on spotify buy an album. This goes for all artists I discuss on this blog.
Album: Satt


The Vintage Caravan ~ On The Run

Boyfriend here forgot to mention that these guys who I think are freaking awesome, are from Iceland, only found out when I mentioned that I was writing this post. Luckly, because else I would have had to go with something I did not know. And why would I do that when we can listen to the Vintage caravan instead? This is awesome shit so, I guess I will shut up know so you don't have to read while listening.
Album: Gateways


Kaleo ~ No Good

No good, well this song is sooooo good, Love it. These guys got very famous very fast,they are so young! I love talents like this. I love the guitar in this song. It has a kind of Arctic Monkey vibe to it.
Album: A/B

Do you have any other Icelandic suggestions for me?
Feel free to leave a comment! 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com. 
I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Books: A Christmas to Die for ~ Jessica Frances

A Christmas to Die For
Jessica Frances
Publication date: December 4th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Romance, Science Fiction

Drink way too much tequila at the office Christmas party? Check.
Get fired after doing something stupid at said Christmas party? Check.
Hallucinate flying reindeers in the sky? Check.
Watch those flying reindeer turn into naked people …? Check?
Discover magical elves are trying to kill you? Um … Wait! I don’t want to check that one!

Either I’m having the most epic blackout or my hangover has thrown me into the craziest world that has ever existed. I just found out that Santa is not only real, but he and his people can shapeshift into reindeer. I also just discovered that elves are real, which would be cool, except they’re evil and want to kill me! If that wasn’t bad enough, the elves and reindeer are at war with each other. So, not exactly like the cheery, heartwarming stories we’ve been told.

If a war between elves and reindeer isn’t shocking enough, it hardly holds a candle to finding out that I’m supposed to be the one person who can save an entire planet. Yeah, talk about being totally unqualified for the job. At least that overshadows the fact that I might now have a Santa kink when the young, hot, white-haired warrior is sent to protect me. But can I really help save Santa and his people? Can I stop the elves? Or is everyone doomed to suffer the deadliest Christmas ever?

To find out if this will be a Christmas to die for, buckle up in your sleigh, pour yourself an eggnog, and sing a Christmas tune, because this tale is about to get jolly and insane.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

For some reason—probably because I’m drunk—I feel more alone tonight than I have in a long time. I worry that maybe I won’t bounce back as easily as I have before.

When am I going to feel secure? Safe?

“Ru …” I whine, moving back to the front of my imaginary friend and staring at his bright red nose. This has to be the most ridiculous thing in the world, but I still grab some of his fur in the front and tug. “Come down here.”

My six-foot two stature isn’t tall enough for my new fake, furry friend, but I need a hug. Hell, I can’t even remember the last time I felt like I needed this, or the last time I had a hug. How sad is that?

Given this isn’t real, Rudolph is surprisingly stubborn. In fact, I have to use every bit of strength I have to get his large face to come near me, and I get the distinct impression he’s not happy. But I don’t care. He’s from my imagination, and I need a damn hug.

I wrap my arms around his too-wide neck and attempt to pull myself together, finding a comfort there that would likely get me put in a mental institution for life.

Whooshing noises sound around us, but I barely hear it over my deep breathing.

Why do I feel like crying? Men don’t cry. Well, not unless they have just thrown their guts up over their naked body from stage fright after attempting a career as a cam boy. I gave myself a pass that day.

But, even though I’m in complete denial about crying, tears wet my face as I give in to the feeling of despair and loneliness. Why do I have to be such a fuckup? Why does everything and everyone I touch turn to shit?

Heat overwhelms me, soaking away the cold that crept into my body after lying on the icy ground, and though the breeze is chilly and promising a future snowstorm, I suddenly have the urge to take off my jacket.

“You’re like a furnace,” I grumble at Rudolph, not removing my grip.

For some unlikely reason, this hug with my fake reindeer is the best thing to happen to me since the two weeks I was able to get a signal on my TV at home and could stream unlimited shows for that entire fortnight. I’m not ready to give it up yet, even if I’m probably just hugging a tree while picturing my fake reindeer.

I keep my eyes closed, my breathing finally calming down, when I notice something moving against me—perhaps Rudolph trying to shake me off. Either way, at the feel of something hard against the entire length of my body, I open one eye to find I’m no longer hugging a supersized reindeer.

Huh?

I’m hugging a man!

“Shit!” I gasp, dropping my hands from around the neck of a strange man who must be over eight feet tall, given he still has to bend over for me to hug him. Then I promptly fall on my ass, not feeling the impact since I’m still in shock.

I wipe my eyes, first to get the wetness out of them, and then because what I’m seeing can’t be real.

At first, all I notice is that every bit of hair on this giant’s head is white, and he has a lot of hair—a mane on his head and a crazy huge beard any biker would be proud of. It’s so odd to see such prominent white hair on a man who looks my age, because this giant is not old, even given the wizened color of his hair. No, I would put money that he isn’t older than thirty. In fact, every person here has the same stark white hair as my Rudolph, though they all look similar in age to him.

That’s odd, right?

Okay, scratch that, the weird part is clearly the changing from animal to human. Not the hair situation. Still …


Author Bio:

Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram


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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Books: Wintery recommendations

 


Hi everybody, 

Christmas is nearing and I am already very excited for it I love winter and the early darkness, the cozy winter reading sprints and just generally being around the house. I always try to take some time off between Christmas and New Years eve, this time I have to weeks off, totally off that is.  

I haven't told you this but the reason I left the blogosphere was because I started my own company, which I run together with my sister. For 3 years we have put all our hours into the business, for three years we have not take much time for ourselves, which meant no time for blogging. 

Now that we have build up our business and we have build a name for ourselves we are still working a lot of hours but we finally also get to enjoy a bit of free time, we have decided that it was time for vacation. I am really looking forward to spending sometime off, sleeping in and read a lot of books. Catch up on all things I have missed out on for the years I wasn't actively blogging.

Anyways I a going a bit off topic here, but I am just very excited. Now with winter and Christmas coming in the picture, I thought I would share some wintery book recommendations with you. These are all filled with frost, cold and lots of snow. Something I am really missing, the Netherlands does not get snow in winter, we get either mush that looks like snow but definitely isn't or we get good old fashioned rain. So I love some snowy reads around this time a year.

I have picked out 4 books for you that I have all read, I never got around to reviewing any of these but they are all interesting in different ways.

1. Fracture by Megan Miranda

So Delaney survived drowning and freezing to death when she went through the ice of a nearby lake. 11 minutes she was death, but somehow she came out of it alive and kicking. She is not the most likeable main character you will ever meet, but the story is very intriguing as you do not know what is happening around Delaney, we do not know why she is drawn to the death, it is never really explained very clearly. There is enough happening in this story and it discusses some topics I have not seen YA books before. The whole story is set in winter, it is dark, eery and death is part of it. I am not sure were to place this genre wise, make it a wintery mystery.






2. Podium Finish ~ Beth Pond

Oh come on, Olympic Winter Games, how wintery do you want to get? It doen't get any better than that, I
absolutely loved this book. It is about to athletes, one plays ice hockey the other is an ice dancer. Some very different disciplines and if you are in sports books this is the wintery pick for you. It focusses on the athletes, that are making their way to the Olympic Games. I thought this book was very unique in this way with the focus on the sports I absolutely loved it, and cannot recommend it enough.
You can read my full review for this book here.




3. Frost ~ Kate Avery Ellison

A wintery epic fantasy pick, as we dive into the world of Frost, the story is absolutely beautiful. We have a  strange new world to investigate, creatures lurking in the woods, and what about the city, what is is like? There are many questions, some get answered in this first book some will have to wait another day. If you are looking for a YA epic fantasy set in winter with a though of romance, than this is for you. It really is worth your time, I asure you. I yet have to pick up the rest of the series. I am very bad with finishing any series I haven't been able to finish any series for a long time, 2021 is the year I am starting lol. 




4. Christmas Magic ~ Alexandra Moody

This book is awesome! What if all christmas beings are creatures, and they are living among us. Like
elves, good and bad, Krampusses, reindeer shifters. In this urban fantasy we get it all, all the christmas creatures in one badass story. I am so glad that I found this book, it was just what I needed, and I love the world Alexandra created in this book, and I will be picking up the rest of the series just around christmas. For any christmas loving fantasy reader this would be a perfect fit. I will be writing a full review for this book soon. Probably a little bit closer to Christmas, so keep your eye out on my blog if you want to know more.

That is it for my wintery recommendations I hope you enjoyed them, are you planning on picking up any of these, after me getting really excited about them and probably not describing everything very well. Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post and if you would like to see more posts like this.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Swinging Saturday #80: Spotify ABC ~ C

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.
Eighty Swinging Saturdays already! Wow, it took me some years to get here but now that I am here, I feel like everything went on very fast! Eventhough I took a what 3 year break? It is the first Saturday of the month again an that means I am going on with the Spotify ABC. This time we are going to C what this letter has in store for us. It is a shorter list than the Bs from before, but still some interesting divers things like Cradle of Filth, Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Courtneys. I decided to go with some ultimate favorites.


Causes ~ Teach me How To Dance

There it was, in 2014 out of the blue, this number showed up in the Dutch charts, and it is still to this date the only song I know by this band. I had a collegue who was a big fan of this band, this is how I know that the band is Dutch, with a British singer. I just love the pronounciacion of "dance" in this song, I can't help it, I love the English accent.
Album: Under Bridges That You Build For Me


Chris Stapleton ~ Tennessee Whiskey

So I am not entirely sure how I ended up following Chris Stapleton, might be something I have seen on the Youtube page of the Grand Ole Ophry, I am not sure, but I am down for some Tennesse Whiskey.
Album: Traveller


The Civil Wars & Taylor Swift ~ Safe & Sound

Are there any other Hunger Games fans out there that remember this song? I know, this is a collaboration with Taylor Swift, but still it is a powerful song, I love it, I was dubbing of putting the other Hunger Games song on here the one from the Carolina Chocolate Drops but, I actually love much more music of the Civils Wars so I decided to go with this one instead.
Album: The Hunger Games Soundtrack


Christina Perri (ft. Jason Mraz) ~ Distance

I have listen to this song about a hundred times, and never did I know that it was with Jason Mraz. Oops, I could have gone with the obvious, like Jar of Hearts or Arms, but where is the fun in that? I hope you like this lesser known song by Christina Perri.
Album: Lovestrong


Call It Off ~ Abandoned

Don't you hate it when you see great potential and then they just quit? Yeah well, here is some potential for you, this is a Dutch band, called Call It Off, and decided to quite, I am said to see them go. This song actually reminded me of some of the Green Day songs. By the way, check out the album, the art on the cover is beautiful. 
Album: Abandoned
Do you have any other suggestions for me?
Feel free to leave a comment! 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com. 
I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Books: Tic-Tac-Mistletoe ~ N.R. Walker

 

Title: Tic-Tac-Mistletoe
Author: N.R. Walker
Number of Pages: 203 p.
Sort Story: Standalone
Publishing Date: 27 November 2020
Publisher: self-published
Language: English
Age category: Adult, Contemporary, Christmas

 

About Tic-Tac-Mistletoe

Hamish Kenneally is moving from Australia to the US for a fresh start, starting with Christmas at his sister’s place in Idaho. When a snowstorm diverts his plane to Montana and leaves him stranded two days before Christmas, he hires a car and drives right into a blizzard.

Ren Brooks has always called Hartbridge, Montana, and his family hardware store, home. After a few failed attempts at love, he’s resigned to being single forever—after all, no guy wants to stay in his sleepy little town for long. And after his dad’s passing earlier in the year, Ren’s Christmas is looking bleak. But when a car runs off the road in front of his property, Ren pulls the driver out and takes him home to get out of the cold.

With the storm and the holidays leaving Hamish with nowhere else to go, Ren kindly offers a place to stay. Hamish is certain he’s crashed right into a Hallmark Christmas movie, despite more car delays and road closures and the prospect of not seeing his sister for Christmas. And with help from Hamish, Ren is beginning to feel a little Christmas cheer.

These two unlikely strangers have more in common than they first realise, and after two days of Christmas decorations, cookies, and non-stop conversation, it looks like Christmas might be saved after all.

My thoughts

Hi everybody, I just want to drop you all a note as to why I joined in on this book blitz, first of all I love the cover it looks so cute, definitely something I would go for when I am looking for a holiday read.  It just gives you the holiday vibes. It actually sounds a lot like the Christmas movies I generally pick out however, honestly characters in the movies are always straight, sorry I am not against gay romance, or anything but there is just not a whole lot of gay Christmas romance movies I have come across. Tell me if there are any on Netflix. I would be interested to watch it.
Anyways, back to the book, I read the excerpt and I am wondering if they could have picked a bit of a cheerier part of the book, this sounds a bit whiny, I can understand that this is the beginning of the book where the main character has hit it's all time low but it could have been interupted as very annoying to read, I am still interesting to see how the story progresses, eventhough we are off to a rough start. By the way Christmas on the beach? This is very hard to imagine for someone who get's buckets of rain at Christmas. I would love to find out where the story goes, I am there for all the christmasy romance! Let me know your thought about the excerpt in the comments, will you be adding this to your christmas list? 

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Hamish’s POV

A totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster.

What is a totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster, you might ask?

Let me break it down for you real quick.

My life, my relationship, my job, my plans, my future, and this whole damn trip.

So, basically me.

Me.

I am the totally catastrophic unmitigated disaster.

Hamish Kenneally, thirty-one-year-old Australian, who quit his shitty job and sold his shitty apartment and left behind his shitty life in Sydney, packed his said-shitty life into two suitcases, and boarded a plane to spend Christmas with his sister in God-knows-where, Idaho, USA. 

Well, Christmas first. Then two years, at least, in America trying to unshitify his life.

And if the trip to said God-knows-where, Idaho, was any indication of just how spectacularly extra-shitified my life was going to get, I should have turned around and stayed right where I was.

Because if the flight from Sydney to LA was bad, which it was, then the second flight, LA to Spokane, made the first flight look like a joy ride.

Because I didn’t get to Spokane, did I?

Oh no, of course I didn’t.

Because you see, Christmastime in America is in winter. Which is weird enough for this Australian. Christmas should be hot summer days at the beach, seafood and salads, beers and watching the bronzed surfers and drunk foreigners at Bondi. That is what Christmas should be. 

None of this “sorry folks; to avoid flying into a massive snow blizzard, we’re being diverted to Missoula, Montana” crap the captain of the plane said when we were halfway there. Like the screaming baby in the seat next to me, or the vomiting lady in the row in front of me weren’t bad enough. Like we had any choice about which direction we were flying into.

I had no choice. I was now going to Montana. In a freaking blizzard, of all things. Ever been on a plane that flew into a snowstorm? There is zero joy in that kind of turbulence, believe me. It would also explain the screaming baby and the vomiting woman. And the man behind me saying Hail Mary’s . . . which you’d think might be comforting. But oh boy, is it ever not. Especially when he yelled the prayer every time we hit a particularly large pothole in the sky on the descent. Honestly, if this flight was a scene in a movie, you’d think it was too ridiculous to be real.

After the plane landed—to which I would have clapped and cheered like everyone else if I wasn’t stuck in the brace position after trying to kiss my own arse goodbye—we were kicked off the plane without so much as a good luck in the wrong bloody state.

So there I was, a clueless Aussie, after flying for twenty hellish-hours and now a few hundred kilometres from where I was supposed to be, trying to wrangle two overweight suitcases down the concourse, when one little wheel on my suitcase broke.

Because of course it did.

Frazzled and trying not to cry— Yes, cry. A thirty-one-year-old man can cry; shove your toxic masculinity in your cakehole and stop judging me. I was having a jetlag-fuelled shitastic day meltdown, trying to keep my shit together the best I could, and clearly not doing it very well. I was allowed a little saltwater leakage.

Anyway, getting back to my story. I tried to call my sister.

No signal.

Because of course there’s not.

So, taking a deep breath and willing myself not to spiral, I found my car rental kiosk. Finally, something is going right. “I have a car booked,” I said, trying to keep my now-broken suitcase upright with my foot while rifling through my backpack for my booking confirmation and driver’s licence. After dropping my passport and half the contents from my backpack all over the floor, then scrambling to collect it all while still trying to keep my suitcase upright, I handed everything over with a flourish of triumph. “Oh, that flight was the worst,” I said, sagging onto the counter. I was about to tell her all about my day from the ninth circle of hell when she looked up at me with that look.

You know the one.

The look of superficial appeasement before they cut you off at the knees. “I’m sorry, sir. But I don’t have a reservation under your name.”

I stared at her. My brain short-circuited and the will to live left my body. It was an actual out-of-body experience, I’m sure of it. I could see myself staring at her, mouth gaping like I’d been lobotomised.

Because of course they didn’t have my booking.

Why would they? My rental car was waiting for me in Spokane. In Washington. Not in freaking Montana.

“Oh,” I whispered, and my left eye twitched. “That’s nice.” I looked around the airport, at the line of annoyed people behind me. “Excellent. I’ve seen that movie where Tom Hanks lives in an airport. It wasn’t so bad. Could be worse. Could’ve been the one where he’s stuck on the island, I guess. Though I didn’t pack a volleyball, so that would’ve sucked.”

She blinked and tap-tap-tapped away at her keyboard. “But sir, we’ve had a lot of cancelled flights today because of the weather. I can arrange a vehicle for you, if you’d like?”

Oh, my sweet baby Jesus in a manger, why didn’t she lead with that?

About N.R. Walker:

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub


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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #79: Hospital Blues

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.

It is getting darker and darker outside, nights are getting colder, the mood is set right for a hospital blues. Which looking at my songs, has nothing to do with the genre, but more associated to things you might find in a hospital.


System of a Down ~ Needles

Let me tell you, I am scared of needles, not so much if they are laying around, then it is fine, only when the needles are intended to be used on me I just want to run away and hide. Needles by System of a Down is a hectic song, upbeat song. I honestly don't know what the meaning of this song is, so if anyone knows, let me know. But hey needles would be something you would find in a hospital so there you go.
Album: Toxicity


Ed Sheeran ~ Afire Love

I guess we are doing extremes today because we are moving on to the pop front. Ed Sheeran has been one of my favourite artists ever since The A Team became a big hit, I haven't listened to any of his recently released albums but this song is freaking beautiful. One of my favorioute tracks of the album X.
Album: X


Billy Talent ~ Saint Veronika

Remember the extremes, well we had our beautiful quite song, preformed by the extremely talented Ed Sheeran. Time to rock on people, with one of my favourite Canadian bands. I had the honour to see them live on Lowlands 2017, and I was at the front row, so I could actually see them (oh right I am only 1,52m so you can imagine my struggles). This is Saint Veronika! This song actually has a base solo, which is kind of awesome. By the way this is something Martijn actually dislikes. Are there any Billy Talent fans out here that read my blog?
Album: III


Asaf Avidan ~ Setting Scalples Free

Another calm song to clean your pallet, Asaf Avidan, has been part of this blog for a long time, and remains to this date part of my go to artists for beautiful listening songs, they are atmospheric, lyrical and this combined with his peculiar voice makes for a wonderful experience. I had the honnor to see him preform live in Tivoli Vredenburg a couple of year back, it was absolutely amazing.
Album: Different Pulses


Hot Hot Heat ~ Bandages

The amazing 2000s they brought so much great music to the table, The Killers, The Strokes, The Zutons. And also a band called Hot Hot Heat. This was in a time that I was obsessed with MTV 2 the UK rock version of the general poppy Dutch counterpart. This is one of those songs I remember from this time.
Make Up The Breakdown


Bonus song: A. Tom Collins ~ Hospital

So, here is a bonus song provide to you by my lovely boyfriend Martijn, who I have not yet introduced, but maybe he will write a Swinging Saturdays for me some where in the future, who knows? I am thinking of adding some more personal posts to my blogs, I haven't fingured out what yet, just something about me, and who I am, behind this blog. Anyways, don't take me to the hospital.
Which song did you enjoy the most?
Feel free to leave a comment! 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com. 
I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Books: The Bake Off ~ Susan Willis


 

Title: The Bake Off
Author: Susan Willis
Number of Pages: 91 p.
Sort Story: Novella
Publishing Date: 29th of July 2013
Publisher: Endeavour Press Ltd.
Language: English
Age category: Adult

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #78: Australia Rocks Our Socks Off

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Books: Blood Bound ~ Patricia Briggs

 

Title: Blood Bound
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson Series book #2
Publisher: ACE Books
Publishing date: January 2007
Number of pages: 292 p.
Language: English, Dutch a.o.
Age Category: Adult
Other Books In This Series (currently):
Moon Called #1
Iron Kissed #3
Bone Crossed #4
Silver Borne #5
Rivermarked #6
Frost Burned #7
Night Broken #8
Fire Touched #9
Silence Fallen #10
Storm Cursed #11
Smoke Bitten #12

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #77: Spotify ABC ~ B

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Books: Moon Called ~ Patricia Briggs

Title: Moon Called
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson Series book #1
Publisher: ACE Books
Publishing date: February 2006
Number of pages: 288p.
Language: English, Dutch
Age Category: Adult
Other Books In This Series (currently):
Blood Bound #2
Iron Kissed #3
Bone Crossed #4
Silver Borne #5
Rivermarked #6
Frost Burned #7
Night Broken #8
Fire Touched #9
Silence Fallen #10
Storm Cursed #11
Smoke Bitten #12

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #76 : The Ghost That Haunt Me


Swinging Saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Movies: ParaNorman

Title: ParaNorman
Year: 2012
Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Length: 1hour and 32 minutes
Available at Amazon: Amazon

About ParaNorman

Norman is not an ordinary boy, he can talk to the spirits. There seem to be many of them in the little town he lives in. When the town is being attacked by zombies, Norman is the only person who can safe them. To safe the town he must face, spirits, witches and idiotic adults!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Movies: Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones


Title: The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones
Runtime: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Director: Harald Zwart
Release Date: 22 August 2013 (The Netherlands)

About The Mortal Instruments: 

City Of Bones

When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called the Shadow World. (Source: IMDB)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Books: Girl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake

Title: The Girl of Nightmares
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #2
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publishing date: 27 Augustus 2013
Number of pages: 420 p.
Languages: English, Dutch, German, Spanish and more
Age Category: Young Adult, Horror
Other Books In This Series:
Anna Dressed In Blood

About Girl of Nightmares

The events of the previous book leave Cas, Carmel and Thomas, shaken. Anna is gone, but is she really? When Cas goes out hunting again things do not go smoothly, Thomas and Carmel barely make it out alive. And Cas is left to doubt his sanity. Has he really just seen Anna, with them in the barn with the other ghost?

Cas is unable to let Anna go, he wants nothing more than to bring Anna back, save her from the hell she is in. But everything comes at a costs, will they all make it out alive?

My thoughts

I have read Anna Dressed In Blood twice, I absolutely loved it, even though I have a bit of a struggle with our main character Cass. Cass, really is not the most likable character. In the first book this did not bother me as much, we really get to see the relationships develop between Thomas, Carmel and Cass, and a great set of side characters. 

Cas in this book actually reminded me of Catcher in the Rye, the main character in Catcher in the Rye is also not my favorite but I still very much enjoyed the book. Cass, is really whinny, emo and overall very pushing everybody around him away. Of course this can be the result of the grief he feels over loosing Anna, but really get the hell over yourself. Death is a natural part of life at least this is how I see it. 

Instead of getting over Anna he decides to get her back, after she appears to him in the middle of a battle with another ghost. On the one side, I can get into the I need to save her from the Obeahman however, the lengths he goes through to achieve his goal are questionable. 

As you can see I have some mixed feelings about Cas, not so much about Thomas and Carmel, I think they are the saus that makes the potatoes taste better, in this story. I love both characters and there are some really great scene. Like when Cas and Thomas go visit his aunt. This scene was hilarious. 

Suicide Forest is my absolute favorite part of this book, it was great, scary but damn good writing! It had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. It also reminded me of the Suicide Forest in Japan, which is a dark tourist attraction. 

I have had doubts throughout the book about Cas and the choices he makes. The choice he makes in the end of the book, is worth sitting through the cringe worthy choices he makes throughout the book. I am very satisfied with the ending. I am wondering though if the author is thinking of continuing making this book into a series, as there are still enough loose ends there that can be explored. Or maybe a spin off series about some of our side characters I would love to know more about Gideon.

Conclusion

I had a lot of issues with Cas, however the horror elements in this book, were fantastic! Might I say even better than in Anna Dressed In Blood? The Suicide forest, made up for a lot of crap in the book, the pacing at the beginning of the book was really slow, which mad me struggle even more. All in al I do love the overal setting, the horror and it still reads like an episode of Supernatural. I just cannot get over Cas, and this has influenced my rating, making this an 3 star read, instead of a 4 star read. 

You should have been nicer Cas! 



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Swinging Saturdays #75: Seven Deadly sins


Swinging Saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.
So today, one day too late, we are diving into the seven deadly sins, Halloween is coming and the seven deadly sins remind me of my favorite tv series, Supernatural. Please watch episode 1 of season 3, it is cruel, but so good! I still think the first 3 seasons are the best. Have you ever seen Seven (1995) so it is a bit of an older one but it is great, it is about a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as a reason to kill.Anyways, I was going to post this yesterday but this list has been a real struggle, I only finalized it today.

1. Lust

I was actually going to go with Gorilla from Bruno mars, or maybe Paradise by the Dashboard Lights by Meat loaf, but this one is a bit darker, and I think this fits the theme of Lust much better. Of course I had to chose for the intro of True Blood, the intro is so creepy this is perfect.
Album: Red Revelations
;

2. Gluttony

This list is harder to put together than I thought it would be, it took me a while to figure out which songs would work with each category. I actually forgot about song, but in my search for fitting songs I came across, this parody of Beat It, by Michael Jackson. I am ofcourse talking about Eat It by Weird Al Yankovic.
Album: In 3D


3. Greed

This is actually one of my favorite songs of songs of the album Demom Days, I just like that it is told as a fairy tale, once upon a time. The story told, is one of Greed, I did a bit of a victory cry when I finally figured out that this is the most perfect song for this sin. By the way if you never listened to the entire album please give it a try, it is very good, I think it is really good, very relaxing also. I hope you enjoy this one, as it is one you would hear on the radio. Oh they have an art video for this one!!! AWESOME!
Album: Demon Days


4. Sloth

Today I don't want to do anything.. This is the perfect embodiment of Sloth.
Album: Doo-Wops & Hooligans


5. Wrath

Not only is Anger in the name of the song, but fans were very angry about this album. I think this is a great representation of wrath as seen in a song, the music also sounds very angry.
Album: St. Anger


6. Envy


I was actually thinking about Bernadetta by Gruppo Sportivo for this one, as Envy is closely related to jelousy which is the toppic of that song. Then I was talking with Martijn about Mika, and that he also can sing in French and that he did a song together with Adriana Grande, that I think is actually pretty good, I love the video for this song, and I think it shows envy very well. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Album: The Origin of Love

7.Pride

The worst of the worst sins, according to religion and one of the hardest ones to fine. I have had so much struggle with finding songs for this list. The first thing that came to mind was Pride and Joy from Stevie Ray Vaughn, it is an obvious choice, so I decided to look further. I was reading up on the 7 deadly sins, when it was mentioned that Dante, saw the building of the Tower of Babel as an example of Pride. You might now know where this is going of course, Mumford and Sons. I love the entire album but lets just go with the title song for this one.
Album: Babel


I have made it through the 7 deadly sins! Let me tell you it really was one of the hardest lists I have ever made.

Do you have any sinful suggestions? 
Feel free to leave a comment! 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com. 
I would love to hear what kind of music you like!