Friendship in moments…

The Stray

To say we were #skint that summer was an understatement. My mom was working part time at Arby’s while my brother and I were knock-kneed dirty kids that spent our time fighting over the stray cat that hung around on the apartment porch. My brother was allergic, and I was in love. He threw rocks to chase the stray away. I chased the stray to bathe her in flea covered cuddles.

Fleas didn’t bother me. I was always covered in bites and bruises. We trampled the bushes in every skinny strip of land that wasn’t paved. Danced with chiggers, ticks, and ants.

The love between a stray, black cat, and a poor kid, who was too much time for any human, is one that stays with you. 

It stays with you through the drunk days of college, the bill collecting days of early adulthood, it pushes you right through to the moment you’re in your late thirties and realize things aren’t so skint anymore.

It may be that all of my dreams haven’t come true, and other people sneer at my idea of success because to them I’ve not made it. I have no legacy, no ladder, or fans cheering my name. But I have a warm home and a dog on my lap that gets fed every day, and I know where I came from. I remember being a stray. Every. Single. Day.


#VSS365 Writing Prompt->Skint

Heaven’s Door

Today’s poem inspired by writing prompt *church* from #vss365

Updating my blog!!

Hi friends!!

You might have noticed this website hasn’t been updated recently. That’s about to change! I hadn’t quite decided how I wanted this website to work for me, but I knew I needed a writer’s blog.

I’ve decided that’s going to be my focus here! If you’re interested in just reading my book reviews, follow me on Instagram @AudreyDestinBooks and that will be the best place for you to find those.

This blog will be my own personal day to day journey through the life of a writer, reader, creative, and mother of three.

Welcome to the beginning of that documented journey. I’ll iron things out and it will be looking even better soon. If you have tips for me on joining a blog circle feel free to drop those in the comments below, I’m still learning! Thanks everyone!

-Audrey ❤️

Book Review: Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

Heart of the Moors: An Original Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Novel

Heart of the Moors: An Original Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Novel by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Diaval,” she hissed, “we are going to follow Aurora.”
“Are we, mistress? How very different from my usual orders.”

Considering it is part of the Disney Maleficent series and written by Holly Black, I didn’t expect this book to be so incredibly sweet and delicate. But it is, and Black nailed it perfectly.

Heart of the Moors is a book written to slide nicely between Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The story between when Maleficent wakes Aurora from her forever sleep with true love, and when the planning of Philip and Aurora’s wedding begins. Yes, that’s right. This is the falling in love story of Philip and Aurora.

“You are my heart,” Maleficent said softly. “And you are right that I guard it fiercely.”

The story is of one that many people can relate, a caregiver who has been heartbroken, watching the one they’ve cared for fall in love. Oh, the complex emotions.

I loved it. I’m also happy to report it is 100% appropriate for all age levels, including the very youngest of YA readers. It’s also an easy read. When people say they read this in a day, they aren’t lying. I read it in two. So give it to your teenager, and read it yourself, and form all the beautiful book buddy bonds.

View all my reviews

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton


This book is so fun to read. It’s a book I didn’t want to end. At 458 pages, I found myself secretly rejoicing about its length. I had moments where I was in the middle of reading it, with hundreds of pages left, and I just quietly cheered in my head, “Yaaasssss.” It’s that fun to read.

Beyond just the enjoyment of this book, I found myself continually impressed with the uniqueness Stuart Turton brought to the table. This isn’t your typical mystery; it’s a body hopping, time twisted, who dunnit, my life depends on the answer, action packed, clue riddled, masquerade ball having, good time. I LOVED it.

‘“Trauma,’ he says abruptly, raising a finger in the air. ‘That’s what it’ll be. Very common, in fact.’”

Aiden Bishop doesn’t know much, he doesn’t know anything about himself; what he does know is Evelyn Hardcastle will die at 11:00 p.m. every night and he has eight days, and eight host bodies, to figure out who it is that kills her.

This is no pleasant walk in the park for Aiden people, this is a crazy ride. I loved it. It kept me up at night. It kept me turning pages. It kept me thinking about it while I was showering. All the qualities I love in an engaging book. Thank you Stuart Turton. 

I liked the ending. Still, I kind of had that, “Wait this is the end? Noooooo,” feeling. But in general, considering how many questions the book makes the reader ask oneself, it did do a fantastic job of wrapping up most of those questions. I had a couple left, not many, but that’s probably on me. It’s the kind of book where I was hoping for an epilogue, and was sad that I didn’t get one. I might be a spoiled reader. If Turton writes a follow up epilogue somewhere, like for the kindle or his website, I won’t be mad. And I hope someone points me in that direction.

I would highly recommend this book. I applaud the great work, the uniqueness, the engaging qualities, and the writing. I will definitely be looking for Turton’s next book.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This book is everything I want from a light romance novel. The characters are sweet, intelligent, and imperfect. The romance isn’t easy, but it’s lovable. There’s some hot scenes, but it isn’t dripping in sex like The Kiss Quotient. I really think Helen Hoang nailed The Bride Test, and the author’s note at the end was such a lovely added bonus.

“He shook his head at himself. That took “delayed reaction” to an extreme. But he was an extreme kind of person.”

Again, I don’t think it can be understated, what Helen Hoang is doing in the romance genre on a deeper level, for autism. The talent to be able to write these characters so perfectly, so genuine, so human; the gift she shares with us is insight and understanding; what she’s doing is bringing us all closer to one another. People who fall somewhere on the spectrum, and people that don’t know quite what that means because they don’t have experience. As an extremely talented, own voices writer, she’s giving insight to that experience. And it’s beautiful. I absolutely love her for it, and for her bravery to be an own voices writer. Because she didn’t have to be. She could have written about anything and not opened herself up to the inherent vulnerability. But she chose to write about what she knows, she connected with her family and with herself, and gave us something that matters.

I love that Khai is different from Stella, Stella being the high functioning autistic protagonist from The Kiss Quotient. By having two characters on the spectrum, in two different books, she’s showing the diagnosis doesn’t define a person; it’s just a piece of them. 

“His heart wasn’t made of stone, after all. It just wasn’t like everyone else’s.”

The Bride Test is a book that really makes you think about what it is that defines love. Is it the way we express affection? Is it the way we remorse when it’s gone? Is it the need to not lose something we can’t live without? What is the illusive definition of love between two people, and who has the right or power to define it? And how many of us have the same definition? Does it just come down to the ability to say, “I love you,” or “I love?” Is it just claiming the love.

These questions are going to be with me long after I shelve this book. The insight into life experiences different from my own are going to be with me long after I shelve this book. And let’s not look over the insight into immigration either. Because there was a good deal of that as well. 

Thank You Helen Hoang. Another wonderful gift to the romance genre from this brilliantly sweet writer.   

Book Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Enemies to Lovers Trope.

“I’m taking Ami’s spot. But you keep to your space, and I’ll keep to mine.”

Olive is the unlucky twin, while her sister, Ami, wins everything. However, things change at Ami’s wedding when everyone comes down with food poisoning except Olive and her nemesis, Ethan, the groom’s brother. So the all inclusive trip to Hawaii goes unused, or they go together.

Christina and Lauren are fantastic romance writers who know how to keep a book moving. The pages turned quickly and the book was over before I knew it. It was light and fluffy with little emotional investment from the reader.

Some readers might find this one a little too predictable, and it very much sticks to the typical enemies to lovers plot line.

But for those looking for something that’s not going to make them think too hard or hurt too much, but instead deliver a little much needed romance, then this is the book for you.

June 19, 2012 by Audrey Destin

The last time I saw Angelina, her hair was a tangled mess of brown strands that roughly resembled two braids on either side of her head. The smear of a sticky orange sugar glaze lining her mouth was all that was left of the sweet treat she’d bought from the musical van that cruised down our street hours before. 

I think about that van often now, I wonder if the skinny unshaven man behind the wheel noticed the way my daughter’s eyes shined. If he too saw the way her cheeks were touched with cherry, as if by an angel’s soft pinch of grace. I wonder if his van served more than just the purpose of alluring children with its siren like song.

This morning I walked the streets of our neighborhood, like I do every morning, like she did that summer day in June, and I noticed house number 2607, the one with the blue shutters and peeling white siding, had their curtains open. The thing about that house is, they never have their curtains open. I’ve told the police this, but they say that means nothing. They can’t get a search warrant for every house that keeps their curtains closed. I’ve thought about walking straight into their house, when the garage opens, or the man is outside mowing the lawn.

But a part of me knows I’ve gone a bit crazy. I comprehend time stopped for me on June 19, 2012. The police tell me, my husband says, the death certificate proves, my baby was killed, two houses down from mine, by a dog that’d escaped its yard. But I don’t understand how that can be true. I’d never seen a dog at that house. I sit here and stare at her little shoes, and I think she can’t really be completely gone. She’s got to be out there. Somewhere. Waiting for me to bring her home. 

Unconditional Love by Audrey Destin

I know I’m going to die here, with his hands tight around my neck. The smell of the musty old room is juxtaposed to his brilliant white, perfectly straight, smile that dances playfully across his handsome face. Part of me always knew he was a psychopath, and I wonder now, why my desperation for his love dug so deep into my bones. A part of me surrenders to the knowledge sparking under the pressure in my brain, he was never capable of loving me.

There’s pleasure in his eyes, a thrill of curiosity, as each of my breaths struggle harder to penetrate his grasp. I would have thought I’d be scared, in this moment, had I seen it coming. But the irony is, I’ve wanted to die without him. During the months he disappeared and wouldn’t call. Crying out helplessly to God in my room. 

So now that it’s his hands I’m at the mercy of, I realize there’s no happy ending. And I’ve given in. There’s a strange sense of peace in knowing I’ve been waiting only for him to save me and it’s him that’s killing me.

Just as my eyes close, his hands release. A rush of fresh, unrestricted air, fills my lungs as I gasp. Surprised again. He laughs. And God, it’s such a beautiful laugh.