Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sunday Post #76

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. 

I was off this week and had a busy one. Not looking forward to going back to work, but it is what it is. 
I'm thinking of switching to the commenting platform Disqus. I get so nervous when I do anything different/new with the blog because I'm afraid something will go wrong that I can't fix.  If you see Disqus on here you'll know I got the courage up to change!

(Click on cover for Goodreads link:)

Loved all the books I read this last week. The Reckless Oath We Made was original, compelling with an unusual romance that I ended up loving. The narration was excellent! The Cowboy Meets His Match was another win and I can't wait for the next one after reading the teaser at the end. This is How I Lied was a twisty mystery with a nice surprise twist at the end. Sweep of the Blade was a re-read and I loved it all over again the second time around!

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


Back to watching Heartland and dreaming of living on my very own horse/cattle ranch! 

How was your week?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Books From the Backlog #3

Books From the Backlog is hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books and it's a way to feature our neglected books on our bookshelf.  

Just like my choice last week this is another self-published, indie book. There's an audio version which makes the chances I'll read it higher. I'm a huge fan of post apocalyptic stories, add in zombies and I'm there! I added Thicker Than Blood back in 2015 after reading a GR friend's five star review. This book still has a good rating: 3.9 stars on Goodreads, so I'm hoping it's good!

Thicker Than Blood (Thicker Than Blood #1) by Madeline Sheehan
Publication Date: January 12th 2015 by Createspace
Pages: 366

About the book:

A true friendship never dies.

Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…

Even an apocalypse.

Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.

Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.

Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.

But in such a savage world, is there room for love?

In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.

There are friends…

And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.

What about you? Have you read this book and if so, what did you think?

Review: This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf
Publication Date: May 12th 2020 by Park Row
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★★★★

About the book:

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.
My Thoughts:
Detective Maggie O’Keefe was marked by the tragic murder of her best friend, Eve, when they were fifteen, a murder still unsolved.  Now years later a new piece of evidence is found, and Maggie finds herself in charge of re-examining the cold case.  Interviewing old suspects brings up feelings and regret; parts of the past Maggie would like to forget, but the truth marches on.

This is How I Lied was a thrilling, twisty mystery that kept me guessing up until the end! It seemed every character had secrets wrapped up in the tragedy of Eve’s murder. We had three POVs: Maggie, Eve is the past in the days leading up to her murder, and Nola, Eve’s little sister.

Nola was one crazy-as-heck character, the worst possible person to become a veterinarian! Wow, she creeped me out! Nick, Eve’s abusive boyfriend was top at the list of suspects, too.  Maggie had her own secrets that are slowly revealed throughout the story, this while she’s well into the last trimester of her pregnancy.

Of course, I wanted it all to work out for Maggie, you know me and my need for some sort of happy ending even in a murder mystery, lol!  I was glued to the pages, hurriedly reading to find out how it all turned out! I was thinking one thing and then surprise twist at the end! Definite recommend!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Sunday Post #75

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. 

I went on a mini hike today, but the views were beautiful. It was hot! Things are still pretty much locked down except for beaches and more parks opening up. I think they're getting close to opening up where I live, though. The only good thing about Covid-19 is my commute to work has been a dream! It's been taking me about 35-40 minutes to get to work when it used to take me an hour. I'll be sorry when traffic goes back to normal. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link:)

All three reads were a hit.  It was my second time through Smoke Bitten on audio.  My husband is a big fan of the Mercy Thompson series as well so we listened to the newest on audio on a long drive up to Northern California the week before last. 

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

All the above are library lends, all audio. I hope I have enough time to get through them all before my time expires. I really only requested Fantastic Hope for Asil's story (from Patricia Briggs' Alpha & Omega series), but I've started Zombie Dearest (short Anita Blake story) to see if I like Laurel K. Hamilton's writing. I'm also listening to The Reckless Oath We Made and enjoying it. 


Pretty good adaptation. Had me laughing and I loved this Mr. Knightly! 

How was your week?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Books From the Backlog #2

Books From the Backlog is hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books and it's a way to feature our neglected books on our bookshelf.  

I just recently whittled down my TBR on Goodreads from over 750 books down to 242, only leaving books I really want to get to someday. Here's one from my list.

I bought Vain back in 2013 after a friend recommended it and then never got to it.  Vain was published in 2012 and still has a high average rating (4.23 on Goodreads) which I take as a good sign.

Publication Date: December 24th 2012 by Author
Pages: 392
Source: Purchased 
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the book: 

If you’re looking for a story about a good, humble girl, who’s been hurt by someone she thought she could trust, only to find out she’s not as vulnerable as she thought she was and discovers an empowering side of herself that falls in love with the guy who helps her find that self, blah, blah, blah...then you’re gonna’ hate my story.

Because mine is not the story you read every time you bend back the cover of the latest trend novel. It’s not the “I can do anything, now that I’ve found you/I’m misunderstood but one day you’ll find me irresistible because of it” tale. Why? Because, if I was being honest with you, I’m a complete witch. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a friend using, drug abusing, sex addict from Los Angeles. I’m every girlfriend’s worst nightmare and every boy’s fantasy.

I’m Sophie Price...And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most envied girl to the girl no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Have you read this book? If so, what'd you think?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Review: Close Up by Amanda Quick

Publication Date: May 5th 2020 by Berkley
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

About the book:

Vivian Brazier never thought life as an art photographer would include nightly wake-up calls to snap photos of grisly crime scenes or headshots for aspiring male actors. Although she is set on a career of transforming photography into a new art form, she knows her current work is what’s paying the bills.

After shooting crime scene photos of a famous actress, the latest victim of the murderer the press has dubbed the “Dagger Killer,” Vivian notices eerie similarities to the crime scenes of previous victims—details that only another photographer would have noticed—details that put Vivian at the top of the killer’s target list.

Nick Sundridge has always been able to “see” things that others don’t, coping with disturbing dreams and visions. His talent, or as he puts it—his curse—along with his dark past makes him a recluse, but a brilliant investigator. As the only one with the ability to help, Nick is sent to protect Vivian. Together, they discover the Dagger Killer has ties to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood royalty and high society. It is a cutthroat world of allure and deception that Vivian and Nick must traverse—all in order to uncover the killer who will stop at nothing to add them to their gallery of murders.

My Thoughts:
Vivian Brazier was born to a wealthy, well-connected family, and left a life of luxury to pursue her dreams of becoming a photographic artist.  Her parents were not pleased with her decision so she’s on her own trying to make her way in the coastal town of Adelina Beach in California. To supplement her income Vivian snaps photos of crime scenes, and one in particular sets her on edge: the victims of the Dagger Killer. This killer poses the victims is such a way that makes Vivian think this murderer has a background in photography.  As if this isn’t strange enough Nick Sundridge, a private investigator, shows up on her door saying he’s been hired to be her bodyguard after information comes out that names Vivian as the target of a deranged killer.

I’ve really enjoyed the Burning Cove series! Set in the 1930s on the California Pacific Coast, Burning Cove is a resort/hotel that caters to the rich and famous. It’s a town described with the beauty of Big Sur or Carmel: cliffs with breathtaking views of the Pacific with the added enticing feel of Old Hollywood.

I loved Vivian! She was a strong, clever woman, and she never seemed to let life’s setbacks get her down or derail her from her goals.  Nick and Vivian’s chemistry was palpable from their first meet, and of course working together closely their romance turns from attraction to more quickly.

 The initial call to Vivian’s aid was made in conjunction with a supernatural lead, and I liked this bit of paranormal element added to the story. The mystery kept me guessing until the end, keeping my attention firmly focused on the story unfolding!

Close Up is the fourth installment in the Burning Cove series, but you don’t have to read the previous stories to enjoy it.  Each book is a separate mystery/romance that wraps up nicely. I’ve read several books by Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) and this is my favorite series by her.

4 Suns

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber

Publication Date: April 7th 2020 by Berkley
Pages: 384 
Audiobook length: 11 hours 29 minutes
Source: Publisher and purchased audio book
Narrator: Heather Wilds
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible

About the book:

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are looking forward to relaxing with new friends at an exciting yearly soiree, but they soon learn that murder never takes a holiday in the latest riveting installment in this national bestselling series.

Scotland 1832.
After enjoying a delightful holiday with her family, Lady Kiera Darby is looking forward to finishing her new friend, the Duchess of Bowmont's portrait, as well as attending the duchess' annual Twelfth Night party. Though she normally avoids such fashionable events, Kiera trusts the attention will not be focused on her, but rather her notorious hostess and her family. But upon their arrival at the opulent Scottish estate, Kiera and her husband and fellow investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, swiftly deduce that all is not merry in the duke's household. The family appears to be under a great strain, and someone seems determined to cause mayhem among the guests with a series of forged notes.

However, matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the merrymakers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castle's crypt. This corpse is certainly no laughing matter, especially when it is identified as the duchess' son-in-law, the Earl of Helmsdale, who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage step in to investigate, at the duchess' insistence. Kiera and Gage must swiftly reexamine the facts, for a ruthless murderer walks among them and may well be a member of the duchess' own family. Kiera soon discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day.

My Thoughts:
I flew through the Lady Darby series last year after reading and loving Anna Lee Huber’s Verity Kent series.  Both are delightful! When we meet Lady Kiera Darby at the beginning of the series, she is a woman ostracized by society when they found out her late husband had her sketch the dead bodies he dissected for an anatomy journal he planned on publishing. At the time fresh bodies were hard to come by, not many would donate their body to science for this purpose, so medical colleges and people like Sir Darby resorted to buying corpses from questionable sources. It was later found out that some of these suppliers not only robbed fresh graves, but also murdered people to sell as dead medical subjects.  Kiera had no knowledge of this, and even if she did there wasn’t much she could’ve done about it since her husband was forcing her to comply by force and threats. He was an awful man, as we learn from Kiera’s memories, and so I was thrilled he died before we’re introduced to her.

This unwanted, unsolicited knowledge of anatomy as well as Kiera’s superb deductive skills make her valuable source of information to Gage, an inquiry agent tasked to solve a murder while staying at her sister’s estate.  In Kiera’s estimations, Gage is entirely too full of himself, and the rest, as they say, is history! Each installment tackles a new mystery, while at the center of the series is the relationship between Kiera and Gage. Ms. Huber masterfully created two wonderfully complex characters, faults and all, so of course their journey isn’t all smooth sailing, but I’ve loved every minute!

This is the eighth book in the series, so if you read on, you’re bound to get some spoilers.  If you’re planning on reading the series, which I totally recommend, I’d stop right here and go search for the first book! I highly recommend the audio version as Heather Wilds’ performance is perfection!

In Stroke of Malice Kiera and Gage are intent on relaxing, spending time with family while enjoying the festivities of a Twelfth Night Celebration at the Duchess of Beaumont’s estate in Scotland.  This is a happy time for Kiera and Gage, still newly married and expecting their first child. I adore these two together, settled and joyous in their situation! Unfortunately, the happy times are rudely interrupted by the discovery of a dead body in crypt. Gage and Kiera must find out the identity of the body as well as the murderer which is not made easy by the family or guests involved.

The mystery is wrapped up and solved, but as usual I’m left wanting the next story!

4 Suns

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Sunday Post #74

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, it seems like we're cooling down a bit after temps topping 100 degrees this last week. Thank goodness! We'll be in the '80s next week. On the bright side my vegetable plants are doing well despite the heat. I have a bunch of tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and potatoes growing rapidly.  
My ankle is slowly getting better. I used a compression bandage while working and I've tried to ice and elevate it when home. It seems like it's going to be awhile before I'm able to run or hike which is driving me nuts. I did a an online spin class which didn't seem to aggravate it, although I did take it really easy. 
Since I'm mandated to wear an N95 mask at the hospital with ANY patient, not just confirmed Covid-19 cases, because patients can have it without symptoms, and we continue to have deaths from Covid-19 at our hospital, I don't know that opening everything up is a good thing,  BUT I am happy some parks and hiking trails are opening up.  Honestly, I have no idea why they were shut down in the first place since it was easy to keep a distance from others on our local trails anyhow, but whatever. Good news, IMO. Would I get my haircut or go to a restaurant? Probably not.  I doubt those types of businesses will be open here for a while yet, but it seems other states have different ideas.  I guess we'll see how it all turns out.

(Click on cover for Goodreads link:)

Call It Magic was a lovely romance with paranormal elements. I plan on starting the series from the beginning after enjoying this seventh installment.  I love the Lady Darby series and so I was thrilled to get the newest release!  I'll be posting my review soon. 

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

I discovered Kerrigan Bryne's enchanting historical romances last year so I'm thrilled to get a copy of her newest. Love Maisey Yates so she's an automatic download for me. I'm starting from the beginning of Janet Chapman's lovely Spellbound Falls series. 


We've been binge watching Forensic Files, which I've watched for years, and Heartland. 

How was your week?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Review: Call it Magic by Janet Chapman

Publication Date: May 5th 2020 by Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Audible

About the book:

Welcome back to Spellbound Falls, Maine where love is the greatest magic of all...

Katy MacBain moved to Spellbound Falls with secrets she plans to keep. The newest member of the Fire and Rescue Team, she disappeared for three weeks before arriving on the job. She doesn't understand why Gunnar Wolfe the town's interim fire chief and her boss seems determined to uncover the truth of what happened to her during that time. Or why she's more attracted to him than she's ever been to any other man.

A confident firefighter, Gunnar Wolfe doesn't give up and he's resolved to find out what's wrong with the mysterious and beautiful Katy. Since she is the newest member of his team, he's naturally protective of her, but he's surprised to find himself captivated by the tenacious and talented woman who is so...magical.
My Thoughts:
Gunnar Wolfe had been looking for Katy McBain at the request of her best friend, Jane, after she went missing after her wilderness rescue course for three weeks. He found her but doesn’t know why she went missing.  After becoming fascinated by Katy in his effort to find her, Gunnar maneuvered things so he could be working on the same fire team as Katy as she’s set to start a new job as a paramedic in the small Maine town of Spellbound Falls. 

Katy doesn’t want anyone to know what happened after finishing her wilderness rescue course, and she’s been avoiding her best friend’s calls.  There’s no better place for her to cleanse her soul than the magical place of Spellbound Falls, starting a new job she’s meant for.

Call it Magic was my first book by Janet Chapman, and I later found out it’s her last book. I think I would’ve benefited by reading the previous books in this series as I felt a little confused at times since there’s mention of past events and couples, as well magical elements that weren’t recapped in this installment. However, I still enjoyed the story and I plan on starting at the beginning, since I really like Ms. Chapman’s writing.  The romance between Gunnar and Katy was nice and steady, and chemistry filled. While a sensitive subject is tackled, Highlight to view spoiler: the reason for Katy going missing, it happened off page, in the past where Katy only recollects parts, but End of spoiler Katy deals with it by eventually confiding in a couple of people and getting support. I didn’t feel like it overwhelmed the story or made it a harrowing experience to read, and I think it’s because Ms. Chapman specially tried to keep things positive. I love what she said at the end in a letter to her readers: “I don’t care to read, much less write, emotionally draining stories. That doesn’t mean I shy away from the more serious subjects; I simply prefer to use levity to inspire hope.”

A lot of the story focused on Katy becoming part of the fire team as a paramedic, her powers, and getting to know and fall for Gunnar. The small-town setting of Spellbound Falls sounded beautiful and enchanting.  There are several fun secondary characters, but I really loved Shiloh, a nine year-old-boy, Katy met on the plane on the way over to Spellbound Falls. They strike up a friendship that continues throughout the story. I think fans of the series will love the last installment. I’ve already downloaded the first book to enjoy the series from the beginning! 

4 Suns

Monday, May 4, 2020

Review: Stages of the Heart by Jo Goodman

Publication Date: May 5th 2020 by Berkley
Pages: 416
Source: Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo  

About the book:

Love guides even the most cautious of hearts home as USA Today bestselling author Jo Goodman returns to the trails of the Colorado frontier.

Experience has taught Laurel to be suspicious of the men who pass through Morrison Station. She's been running the lucrative operation that connects Colorado's small frontier town of Falls Hollow with the stagecoach line since she inherited it from her father, and she's not about to let some wandering cowboy take over the reins. But newcomer McCall Landry isn't just any gunslinger. He seems to genuinely care for Laurel, and with his rugged good looks and mysterious past, he could be the one man to finally tempt her off track...

Call Landry doesn't expect much from Falls Hollow. He doesn't expect much from anything anymore. But Laurel Morrison took him by surprise when she put in a good word for him, a virtual stranger, after the stagecoach was robbed--and she keeps taking him by surprise. Charmed by her clever wit and fierce loyalty, Call finds himself falling hard. Now all he has to do is convince her he means to stay--in her bed, in her life, and in her heart.

My Thoughts:
Laurel Morrison is a strong, independent woman running Morrison Station, a stagecoach stop in route to the bigger Colorado town of Falls Hollow. Laurel’s been running things on her own since her father and brothers were murdered in a holdup eight years earlier, and she’s had to make plans since the coming railroad can make or break her station depending on which route the line decides to take.  Laurel has plans to sway the higher ups to take her route, but a payroll robbery at her station puts her station on shaky ground.  Enter McCall Landry.  He steps up to help the shorthanded stagecoach and becomes embroiled in the solving of this mystery.  No skin off his nose there, because it puts him right in the middle of Morrison Station, a place he fully intended on getting acquainted with after laying eyes on the beautiful and strong Laurel Morrison. 

Stages of the Heart wasn’t really touted as a mystery, but is it is very much one getting to the bottom of the payroll theft and the dangers that come after. McCall proved himself to be an astute judge of character, and I was happy he was on the case especially since Laurel’s family station and reputation were at stake.  The partnership they forged trying to get to the bottom of this fueled the initial admiration and attraction felt between them, and even though there were some bumps in the road, these two were such a perfect couple! Their fun verbal sparring led to sparks, which led to more, and the inevitable was sizzling!   

Jo Goodman’s writing was captivating; I just wanted to shut the doors, block out the world and immerse myself in the Old West where Laurel and McCall were making their way through the changing times.  She made these two come to life, their struggles, desires and joys coming through loud and clear, and easy to relate to.  I don’t know what Ms. Goodman’s plans are, but I hope there are more stories to come!

5 Suns