Book Review: Highland Conquest by Heather McCollum

Title: Highland Conquest
By: Heather McCollum
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Release Date: April 28th, 2020
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Rating: ★★★★★

Summary from Goodreads:

Cain Sinclair has a plan. In order to finally bring peace to his clan, he will wed the young female chief of their greatest enemy. Only problem: capturing her and forcing her back to Sinclair castle doesn’t exactly make her want to say yes. Ella Sutherland may be clever, passionate, and shockingly beautiful, but what she isn’t is willing.

Every attempt Cain makes to woo her seems to backfire on him. A gift? The kitten practically claws his eyes out. A competitive game of chess? Even when he wins, he loses. It seems the only time the two ever see eye to eye is when they’re heating up Cain’s bed. Still, the only thing Ella truly wants is the one thing he cannot offer her: freedom.

But when Cain discovers she’s been harboring a secret—one that could threaten both clans’ very existence—he’ll have to decide between peace for the Sinclairs or the woman who’s captured his heart.


Yes! It has been a while since I've read a Scottish type romance that was unique and well written. I loved this story. The way the two main characters interacted. Oh, the tension between them. It was a love hate relationship I could get behind. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Weekly Menu #345 And The Book Of The Week

Monday! Survived another week of Covid-19. Its been very stressful around here.

I work in a Credit Union, so an essential job. We have been doing all we can to make sure our members feel secure in their finances right now, but its been rough. We've had so many requests for assistance, I can't keep up. I have a feeling when this is all done and things go back to normal, my body is going to shut down from all the stress and work. I'm hoping to come out of this in one piece.

With all the work I've been putting in, I've also been buckling down on my reading since I listen to audio books a lot while I work. This weeks book is Reflection by Elizabeth Lim. The book is a retelling of Mulan. I mean, with a tag line like this, "What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld?" How could you not read it? I'm excited for this one. 

Supplies have been spotty at best, so I hope to find all my ingredients. I hope you do too. Enjoy!








Leftovers Night

Sunday Confessions #37

Another week down. Another week stuck at home. My kids are doing OK with the quarantine, but the rest of us are a little stir crazy. I don't know how much quiet time I can take. I need to use my brain more. 

I hope all of you are safe and healthy. The world is crazy out there with some people going overboard by hoarding toilet paper and others not taking it seriously enough. I know we closed down my work to appointment only because people were making bad decisions and coming in for things that could wait until this all blows over. I ask that all of you make good decision and try to stop the spread. 

Lets move on to this weeks recap. Here we go!


Weekly Menu #345 And The Book Of The Week
Book Review: Asperger's Children by Edith Sheffer
Book Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Sunday Confessions #38

One bowl brownie recipe @ Veronkia's Kitchen
13 Creepy books worth reading @ Bookbub
French dip biscuits @ Plain Chicken

31/50 Books in my Read Around the Country challenge
13/196 in my Star Wars Legends challenge
2/20 in my Scotland challenge
31/341 Gilmore Girls challenge
34/100 in my 100 books before you die challenge

Another week down and at least five more to go before the kids are back in school. We can do it.

Stay safe world!

Book Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Title: The Bride Test
By: Helen Hoang
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 296
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Summary from Goodreads:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


I love the first book in this series, but this one , not so much. It doesn't follow the same characters that we fell in love with, and the whole story line was really unbelievable to me. The main character is convinced to move to America, where she moves into the home of a stranger to make him fall in love with him. It just seemed like those events went too quickly and had no substance to make me feel like what was happening was right.

10 Dystopian Books to Read During Your Quarantine

With the world coming to a complete halt and most of us stuck inside as we try to stop the spread of Covid-19, we find that we have a lot of time on our hands. I don't know about you, but I've been trying to fill my time with books instead of TV. 

Because I've been thinking a lot about what the world could be and what its looking like outside without a soul in sight, I've put together 10 of my favorite dystopian books to get you through the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Shade's Children

(Shade's Children)

The Key to Survival Rests in the Hands of Shade's Children
If you’re lucky, you live to fight another day.
In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machine like creature whose sole purpose is to kill.
The mysterious Shade — once a man, but now more like the machines he fights — recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade's children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords' power — and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become ...

Mortal Engines

(Mortal Engines Quartet #1)

 "It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea."

The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.

Thaddeus Valentine, London's Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. "Look at what your Valentine did to me!" she screams. "Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.

In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created a painful dangerous unforgettable adventure story of surprises, set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism -- and betrayal.

The Road

The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

The Hunger Games

(The Hunger Games #1)

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.

The Maze Runner

(The Maze Runner #1)

There are alternate cover editions for this ASIN here and here.

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

The City of Ember

(Book of Ember #1)

The city of Ember was built deep underground as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she's sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.


(Divergent #1)

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Ready Player One

(Ready Player One #1)

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

The Girl With All the Gifts

(The Girl With All the Gifts #1)

 Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

The Girl in Red

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic "Little Red Riding Hood"...about a woman who isn't as defenseless as she seems.
It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.
There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Book Review: What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Title: What You Wish For
By: Katherine Center
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 320
Release Date: July 14th, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary from Goodreads: 

From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.


I have to say, I almost gave up on this book around 30%. I really hated the beginning. Due to all the wonderful reviews, I kept with it and I am glad that I did.

The beginning felt a little juvenile, like teens in high school. I didn't see anything happening, like the plot was just lost in all the everyday mundane tasks. The story really picked up when the characters weren't in school. That's when I got sucked into the book and I couldn't put it down.

I really don't think the book description does this story justice.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Movie Review: Rise of Skywalker

Title: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Genre: Scifi
Release Date: December 20th, 2019 
My Rating: ★★★★☆
IMDB Rating:  6.8/10

Summary from IMDB: 

The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.


I have waited patiently to see this movie. I love Star Wars and the whole universe around it. This movie was a nice wrap up to the newest trilogy, but I can see why some people didn't like it. It felt really contrived at times. Almost as if there were too many coincidences and the story didn't flow on its own. With all that said, the characters that we loved really brought the story to life. The fighting was epic and cinematic worth watching. I felt letdown in the end by a certain character, but I'm not going to give it all away for those of you who haven't seen the movie, but I bet those who have already watched it know what I'm talking about.

If you want something to do during your Coronavirus quarantine, give The Rise of Skywalker a try and let me know what you think.