Saturday, November 30, 2019

Sunday Post #55

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. 

Well, the wallpaper is gone and the paint is drying! My husband even has the baseboard done. It was a lot of work, but my bedroom is almost done. Yay! 

I went to my sister's last night for a family dinner. Stuffed myself with good food and then we all played bingo.  Been doing waaayyy too much online shopping with all the sales.  I blame Instagram influencers nudging me to buy, and deals too good to pass up!

It's been raining here since Wednesday which is really unusual for Southern California, and I love it, especially since I'm not having to commute to work with the holiday time off and all.  I'm finally seeing some Fall colors here (my backyard below)! 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Into the Dark was really good! I part read and listened to the audio copy. I'll have my review up next week sometime (I think, lol). The Dispatcher, a novella narrated by Zachary Quinto, was one of my Audible free picks with membership. It was really entertaining and helped me soldier on while removing wallpaper, lol.  The Retreat was a story I discovered through Lark's wonderful review. It's a Kindle Unlimited read & listen to for free with membership. I listened to the audio version and the narrator was fantastic.  It was a great spooky, atmospheric mystery, and that ending! 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I've never read anything by Debbie Mason or Adriana Anders, but both books were on offer so I grabbed them since I liked the book synopsis. I loved Treacherous is the Night (book 2 of the Verity Kent series) so I downloaded the audio copy of Penny for Your Secrets. The narrator is really good so I highly recommend "reading" by audio with this series. Carolyn Brown has a new release? Sign me up!


My daughter recommended this one to me.  Don't tell her, but my husband and I thought it was a total cheesefest! I guess we just weren't in the mood for teen angst. Lol! 

How was your week?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

5 Book Giveaway! Well Met, Tom Hanks, Wedding Party, Ayesha & Good Luck With That

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with family and friends! Safe travels for all battling the traffic to your destination. 
Wednesday is not going to be fun for me. On top it being the worst day for traffic of the year we're set to get a ton of rain. I am not looking forward to my commute back and forth.  I'll be soooo happy when I'm back home tomorrow night. Anyhow, enough of my complaining, lol. I have a giveaway since I'm too tired to write a review, and I've been meaning to post this one for a while.

I'm always trying to manage my bookshelves because they're so overcrowded. These are some recent ARCs. Aren't they a pretty color combination?

Advanced Reader Copy of: 

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sunday Post #54

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. 

It's been a busy week at work. I'm looking forward to only working three days next week. I've just started removing my bedroom wallpaper today. I'm listening to an audio book while working (The Retreat by Mark Edwards, which is really good!) so that does help make the process go by quicker, but it's a lot of work! I'm tired, but looking forward to the end result after we paint and update fixtures.

This week I completed my Goodreads Challenge by reaching 150 books read! Maybe I should up my goal next year. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link:)

I think Bred in Bone is the best Widow's Island to date with a surprising wrap up of the ongoing mystery arc. Treacherous is the Night was wonderful, and I can't wait to start the next book! Day Zero seemed like a promising end-of-the-world scenario, but didn't pan out for me.

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link:)

I loved The Bromance Book Club, and even though I wanted to throttle Liz on more than one occasion, Mack was a fun character and so I can't wait to see how their story turns out. Love Robyn Carr so I was thrilled to get a copy of The Country Guesthouse.


Continuing to binge through The Big Bang Theory and getting close to the end. 

How was your week?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Review: This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Publication Date: September 26th 2017 by Kensington 
Pages: 304
Source: Library Audio Book
Length/Narrator: 9 hrs 45 min performed by Heather Wilds
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

About the book:

The Great War is over, but in this captivating new series from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .

An Unpardonable Sin?

England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.

Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .

My Thoughts:
Verity is in the process of grieving the loss of her husband, Sidney, and with the war over she no longer has her job as spy for the Secret Service to keep her mind off the grief.

Now Verity must contend with a house party celebrating the engagement of Sidney’s good friend, a man who fought side by side with him.  Verity would’ve passed on except an anonymous letter promising information about her husband’s death and possible treasonous activity to be revealed if she shows.  Upon arriving Verity discovers that the guests all knew her husband or served with him during the war, and if that wasn’t unsettling enough, sinister accidents begin to happen.

Verity Kent was a captivating introduction to the series. Set in the Post-World War I era, the ravages of war haven’t left many unscathed, and the country is still putting itself back together. As Verity tries to identify the culprit there’s a big surprise revealed that I knew going in. Highlight for spoiler: I’m happy I knew, because I like to know at the beginning which romance I should be rooting for instead of pinning my hopes on a match that’s not long-term.  Not knowing the twist, I may have been hoping for a different pairing for Verity just to have it all fall apart. End of spoiler.

Verity is clever in her deductions, and it’s easy to see why the Secret Service recruited her during the conflict. She puts her skills to use getting to the bottom of this mystery and it is wrapped up by the end.  There is a romance, one that continues into the second book, it’s not an easy one, but one I’m really rooting for even if I was upset with the man for his insensitivity. I get it, but still…

You can get This Side of Murder with Kindle Unlimited, but I borrowed a library copy of the audiobook.  I’m already half-way through the second book and loving it! Heather Wilds is an excellent narrator with a beautiful English accent.

4 Suns

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Sunday Post #53

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. 

It was a stressful busy week at work, and I still don't have my car back from the shop. I think I forgot to mention that I got rear-ended two weeks ago. With getting sick right after that I didn't think much about it, since I was dosed up on cold-meds 24/7 so I wasn't completely miserable. I wasn't seriously injured other than a sore back for a few days, so at least there's that. But it is a hassle to deal with.

I'm back up in Northern California and the weather is beautiful! Fall colors everywhere and the temps have been 60-70s. This is a park we visited:

(Click on cover for Goodreads link:)

I really enjoyed the audio of This Side of Murder.  There was a twist at the end, but I already knew about it, and I was happy I did. The Family Journal is Carolyn Brown's 100th novel and it was a delight! A copy of it as well as a $25 Amazon Gift Card is up for grabs HERE. I was thrilled with Someone to Remember, a novella featuring a second chance romance between a mature couple! 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link:)

I downloaded a library copy of Treacherous is the Night once I finished This Side of Murder, and I'm eager to continue with the series! 


I'm still on my Marvel Universe binge and I really enjoyed both movies. 

How was your week?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

I'm participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Book Hop hosted by BookHounds will be giving away a $10 Gift Card to either US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 at The Book Depository to one reader as a way of saying thank you to all my followers/readers who visit the blog and make chatting about books meaningful and fun!  Click HERE for a list of participating blogs or see list below. 

A $10 Giftcard to either US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 at The Book Depository.  The giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.  Click HERE for their list of countries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review & Giveaway: The Family Journal by Carolyn Brown

I'm a big fan of Carolyn Brown's romances which always make me laugh, sometimes cry, but always leave me with a smile on my face. I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Family Journal, because it's her 100th book! That's quite an accomplishment! I have a Q & A with Ms. Brown below about writing 100 Books.  Also, I have my review, and a giveaway: A copy of The Family Journal with $25 Amazon Gift Card! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to enter for a chance to win!

Publication Date: November 12th 2019 by Montlake Romance
Pages: 296
Source: Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

About the book:

At the end of her rope, single mom Lily Anderson is determined to move her rebellious children in the right direction. That means taking away their cell phones, tablets, and computers—at least temporarily—and moving to the house where Lily grew up in the rural town of Comfort, Texas. But Lily has a bigger challenge than two sulking kids.

The house comes with Mack Cooper, high school teacher and handsome longtime renter. The arrangement: just housemates. But Mack’s devoted attention to the kids starts to warm Lily’s resistant heart. Then Lily finds an old leather-bound book in which five generations of her female ancestors shared their struggles and dreams. To Lily, it’s a bracing reminder about the importance of family . . . and love.

Now it’s time for Lily to add an adventurous new chapter to the cherished family journal—by embracing a fresh start and taking a chance on a man who could make her house a home.

My Thoughts:
Single mom, Lily Anderson decides to move her kids back to her little hometown of Comfort, Texas after catching them on the wrong path.  Tough love in the form of taking all electronic devices away from them along with moving from the city to a small town is drastic and doesn’t win her any popularity contests with her twelve and fourteen-year old. But getting back to her roots proves to be a smart move for their family.  Mack Cooper, the renter at her family home is a stabilizing force for both Lily and her kids.  His support and company are an unexpected gift, but it’s the spark of attraction that’s surprising to both Lily and Mack, since both had resigned to facing the future alone.

Five years since her husband left her Lily was sort of on autopilot with work taking up much of her time, but her kids getting into trouble was a wakeup call. Lily struggles with that knowledge as well as guilt over not taking more time with her mom before she passed away. Coming back to Comfort helped her stand back and take stock of what’s important in life. The discovery of an old family journal chronicling the struggles and challenges of her ancestors provides a view into the lives of women spanning decades into the past. The journal touches Lily’s heart and bolsters her in her efforts to put her family back on the right path.

I just loved Carolyn Brown’s 100th novel! The Family Journal touches on situations and feelings a lot of women can relate to.  Lily’s struggles, and self-doubt are the kind most mother’s have felt at one time or another.  I loved the idea of simplifying and focusing on what’s important in life, and I appreciated that Lily stuck to her guns and made her kids learn the lesson of consequence for actions. She did it in a loving way, though, and I think that helped win her kids over quicker than anything.

4 Suns


Carolyn Brown Answers Questions About Writing a Hundred Books

1. Tell us about the first time you remember ever putting pen to paper. Was it a slow evolution to becoming an author, or did you have an epiphany that this is what you were supposed to be doing?

I really can’t remember when I didn’t write stories, but I got serious about writing a book when my third child was born. She had her days and nights turned around. Since I had to be up until the wee hours of the morning, I got out a notebook, sharpened some pencils and started my first novel. I was twenty-four that year. For the next twenty-five years I collected rejection slips. I do believe I have enough to wallpaper the White House. I don’t mean that little two holer down at the end of the path in Grammie’s back yard, but the one in Washington, D.C. When I was forty-nine, I got “the call”. That was twenty-two years and one hundred books ago, and I know in my heart and soul that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

2. Is there anyone in your family that writes? Did you have a mentor that helped you push forward to become a full-time author?

My husband, Charles C. Brown, has written nine mysteries and is working on his tenth. He's been my biggest supporter through my whole career. He’s a retired high school English teacher and he does the first edit on my books. Commas are not my friend, but they are his buddies—thank goodness.

3. How have you evolved as an author? What are some things that have changed since when you started writing up until now?

In the physical part of the business, lots has changed. I wrote most of my very first book by hand. When Mr. B bought a used typewrite at a garage sale and brought it in to me, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. In those sent in proposals with SASE (that’s self-addressed stamped envelopes) and if the editor wanted to see more, we sent in the full manuscript by mail. Now everything is sent over cyberspace. I will be donating the typewriter Mr. B bought me to the Johnston County Chickasaw Bank Museum on November 16th. My display shares a room there with Te Ata, Gene Autry and Blake Shelton. I’m signing copies of The Family Journal there on that day from 2 to 4 p.m. 

In the evolution as a write, I hope that each book is better than the last and that all my books resonate with readers, touch their emotions and make them anxious to get the next one.

4. Do you have a set schedule for writing? Do you have any writing rituals or things that get you in the mood to write?

I’m very disciplined. I write somewhere between three and five thousand words a day. Sometimes it’s pure trash, but you can fix trash. You can’t fix nothing. From the time I start a book, my characters are in my head. They eat with me, sleep with me, talk to me…. shhhh…don’t tell anyone I hear voices!

5. Tell us about some turning points as a writer - some big things that happened that really changed your career.

One of the biggest things that changed my career was when Amazon bought the literary company, Avalon, and turned more than forty of my titles into paperbacks and digital. That made them financially available for more people, and my readership grew by leaps and bounds. Another was when I finally made the New York Times and the USA Today bestseller lists. But I have to say that hitting the number one spot on Amazon was a really the icing on the cupcake.

6. What does your writing future look like?

My future will simply be to keep on doing what I’m doing, and hope my readers continue to love my stories. There are five books on the docket for 2020, and four or five novellas. And we’ve already got a few scheduled for 2021.

7. What made you want your book, The Family Journal, your hundredth book? What makes this story and these characters special to you?

Family! Plain and simple. What better way to celebrate reaching one of my goals—to publish one hundred books—than to write about family? This story is about several generations of strong women in the past, a mother who’s at her wit’s end in the present, and a young daughter who represents the future. It’s family from the emotional first scene to the last. 

About the author:
Carolyn Brown is a RITA finalist and the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of one hundred books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, cowboy and country music romances, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and when . . . and reads the local newspaper every Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. Visit Carolyn at

Connect with Carolyn Brown:

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Review: Someone to Remember by Mary Balogh

Publication Date: November 5th 2019 by Berkley
Pages: 272 (about 149 for the novella, the rest excerpts from the previous Westcott series)
Source: Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

About the book:

It's never too late to fall in love in this enchanting new story, a novella in the Westcott series from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh.

Matilda Westcott has spent her life tending to the needs of her mother, the Dowager Countess of Riverdale, never questioning the web of solitude she has spun herself. To Matilda, who considers herself an aging spinster daughter, marriage is laughable--love is a game for the young, after all. But her quiet, ordered life unravels when a dashing gentleman from her past reappears, threatening to charm his way into her heart yet again.

Charles Sawyer, Viscount Dirkson, does not expect to face Matilda Westcott thirty-six years after their failed romance. Moreover, he does not expect decades-old feelings to emerge at the very sight of her. When encountering Matilda at a dinner hosted by the Earl of Riverdale, he finds himself as fascinated by her as he was the first day they met, and wonders whether, after all these years, they have a chance at happiness together. Charles is determined to crack the hard exterior Matilda has built up for more than three decades, or he will risk losing her once again....

*Includes bonus excerpts from the Westcott novels*

My Thoughts:
Someone to Remember was such a lovely romance! Mary Balogh never fails to bring out emotions, and I actually shed a happy tear (or two) while reading.

Matilda as a secondary character in the past, kind of blended in, she was labeled a mild-aged, fussy spinster, and sort of shuffled off to the side.  But in the last book Matilda took some initiative and made a bold move that would’ve been considered shocking at the time for the sake of a family member. There were hints at that point of a love lost between Charles and Matilda, and so I was hoping we’d get a romance between them. I was sooo thrilled that she got her second chance at with her first love!

As this is a novella, things do progress quickly between Charles and Matilda, and why shouldn’t they? They knew each other well thirty years prior, and now at a mature age it made sense that they knew exactly what they wanted once reunited.  I didn’t feel cheated out of the process because at first Matilda and Charles are tentative, and unsure of each other’s feelings; they feel vulnerable admitting just how much their parting affected them at the time and over the years. But I’m happy to say that they both chose to leave regrets behind, and not dwell on the lost years, because what does that accomplish other than sorrow?  And it would’ve made this a depressing read.  Instead, their meeting again is a joyful reawakening of the intense passion and love they felt for each other. Matilda and Charles “twinkled” with happiness and it was such a delight!

Matilda might be considered to be in the “shady” part of her middle age, at fifty-five, but before you go thinking that fifty-five is old, think about some of these women and tell me if you see them as elderly: Gillian Anderson is fifty-one, Sigourney Weaver is seventy, Famke Janssen is fifty-four. As a woman turning fifty soon, I can tell you I don’t feel old, well most days I don’t, lol. I didn’t get into running until my mid-forties and I ran my second half-marathon earlier this year. So of course, I’m over the moon that Matilda got her chance to shine and reclaim her one true love!

4 Suns

Spotlight & Giveaway: Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

I absolutely loved the movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, so when I heard Not the Girl You Marry compared to the movie I wanted to read it. I haven't got around to it yet, but I still wanted to share the book info, an excerpt and giveaway hosted by Berkley!

Publication Date: November 12th 2019 by Berkley
Pages: 320
Purchase Links:

About the book:

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.

Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he's not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who's focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she's determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.


Berkley has generously provided a copy of Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher to one reader. The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Good luck!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Sunday Post #52

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. 

So this week hasn't been great for me since I got sick last Saturday at my daughter's house I've been sick all week and ended up being out a day and a half from work.  Being on cold meds has made me fuzzy and my brain hasn't been running at full capacity, lol! I've caught a few posting mistakes I had to go back and fix after the post was already live. Oh well. What can you do? 

I was soooo excited to see this news that the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr will be releasing on Netflix December 6th!! It's one of my all-time favorite romance series' and they've just released a few images.  I can't wait! What about you? Have you read any of the books?

(click on cover for Goodreads link:)

Loved The Bromance Book Club! I think I read it in one day (like I said, fuzzy details). Spun Out was really good, too and there's a giveaway for each books (links on the right sidebar). I'm continuing the Widows Island novellas by Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot by audiobook and enjoying the series. They're available on Kindle Unlimited both in e-book and audio version.  Rancher's Wild Secret was just okay for me. It was a little over 200 pages, so a quick read, but revenge plots are tricky for me. Still, an entertaining spicy romance.

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

You all know I LOVE the Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong so I was thrilled to get an approval! I got a library audio of An Alaskan Christmas.  Hope it's good. The Verity Kent series sounded like my kind of mystery series, especially after reading Sophia Rose's review of the latest installment. 


I don't think any of the sequels will ever live up to the original Halloween, but this was entertaining despite the usual "too stupid to live" character moves. Hey, what would a horror movie be without shouting "don't do it!" at the movie screen?

Make sure to check out the giveaways on the sidebar to the right especially because one features a $100 Amazon Gift Card!!

How was your week?