Monday, February 22, 2021

Review: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon


The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publication Date: January 26th 2021 by Berkley & Penguin Audio
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher & purchased audio copy
Narrator: Emily Ellet 
Audio Length: 10 hrs 52 minutes
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
I thought The Ex Talk would be a fun enemies-to-lovers romance, but I ended up getting a deeper, emotional story and I loved it! There was fun, clever banter as I hoped for but loneliness, grief, and sexism in the workplace were also featured.

Shay and Dominic had the most wonderful slow burn, reluctant attraction that built into a seriously hot romance! Ms. Solomon’s sharp and witty dialogue made this such a delightfully fun read. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

I alternately read and listened to the book and Emily Ellet’s narration was poignant where deeper emotions were on page, but light and fun with great comedic timing in the funnier parts. I really enjoyed it! I listened at 1.5x the normal speed.

4.5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon's sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can't imagine working anywhere else. But lately it's been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who's fresh off a journalism master's program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it's this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it's not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Sunday Post #110


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 feel so bad for the people in Texas right now! What a total disaster! Makes me really appreciate California weather. Well, during the winter anyhow. The summers with our rising temps and insane wildfires are disturbing.

I went for a hike today and ran into a bunch of deer. Or rather, they almost ran into me. They were running downhill, and I quickly ran to a tree so I wouldn't be trampled to death. Not sure if you can see them in the photo below. As soon as I ran over to the tree they stopped dead in their tracks not having noticed me until I panicked and ran, lol. Anyhow, the hike was lovely. The rain is really making the hills lush and green. There were other furry friends out on the hills, too. 

I also spotted an unusual looking bird.  The Norther Flicker Red-Shafted:

Northern Flicker
Photo from Flickr. Click on for source.

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

I started re-reading the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs and then I had the urge to read the newest before I was all done. Wild Sign was sooo good. I'll be posting a review after the release date. I'm back to my re-read of the series. I'm half-way through listening to Fair Game (book 2) and should be finished after our car ride home tomorrow. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:


Nothing new...

How was your week?

Review: Hit Me With Your Best Scot by


Hit Me With Your Best Scot (Wild Wicked Highlanders #3) by Suzanne Enoch
Publication Date: February 9th 2021 by St. Martin's Press
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
I’m a sucker for a Scottish Highlander romance, but this was a little different since it took place in London instead of Scotland. Three brothers are tasked with marrying English women or lose their English mother’s funding of their home, Aldriss Park. Coll’s two younger brothers have fulfilled their part of the bargain and fortunately for them fell in love (books one and two of the series) in the process. But Coll can’t find a woman and doesn’t want to. Bending to his mother’s will after she left them seventeen years back doesn’t sit well with him. I wasn’t a big fan of his mother at first, but reading on I came to like her more, and we all make mistakes, right?

Persephone Jones does what she loves best, acting, but her success brings unwanted attention and scrutiny especially since she’s trying to hide her true identity. When Coll steps up to protect Persephone from and unwanted suitor attraction sparks and ignites!

I do love me a sexy Scottish Highlander and Coll MacTaggart fit the bill nicely! Big, protective, and devilishly handsome he ticked all the boxes for me. The romance between Persephone and Coll, playful and hot, was rounded out by the search for the one trying to harm Persephone. The details of theater life were fun and interesting as well.

Hit Me With Your Best Scot was not only an eye catching title, but an engaging, fun romance. I’d love to read more by Suzanne Enoch!

4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
The MacTaggert brothers have one task:
Find English brides or lose their land!

Coll MacTaggert, Viscount Glendarril, is a big, brawny Highlander who doesn’t like being told what to do—not even by his exasperated English mother who is determined to see her eldest son wedded and bedded. However, when he comes to the rescue of an irresistibly beautiful woman, Coll discovers that he may have found his perfect match…

The challenge isn’t that Persephone Jones is famous, wealthy, independent, and smarter than anyone he knows. The problem is that she is not interested in marrying any man---especially not a hot-headed Scot—even if he is the only man who seems to understand who she really is even when she’s not sure herself. When Coll learns that Persephone is actually a lady-in-hiding and someone is willing to kill her for what she stands to inherit…Well, Coll has never been one to turn down a fight. When hearts are involved, nothing comes between a Highlander and his lady.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

My Favorite Non-Review Books for January 2021

As a blogger sometimes writing reviews can feel like a chore so it seems I rarely write reviews for non-review books anymore. I feel bad about that, because it's not that I didn't enjoy them less than the books I review here, just that I don't have the time or energy to write a review for each and every book I read. I thought it would be nice to list my favorite non-review books each month to bring more attention to them.

Here are my January 2021 favorites:

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

I bought this on an Audible Daily Deal and finally got a chance to listen to it. It was a great murder mystery/romance! Dr. Elizabeth Nolan helps others while overcoming her own tragic past.  A murder at the mental hospital throws Reed and her together. While he tries to solve the crime while keeping Elizabeth safe they slowly fall for each other. 

 This is the second in a series, but it worked well as a stand-alone. Teddy Hamilton and Callie Dalton narrate and I've listened and loved their performances in the past. Both Callie and Teddy have narrated Mariana Zapata's books (as well as others I'm sure I'm forgetting), so I was well acquainted with their voices.

An Agatha Christie classic that I've read several times, but it had been years. I listened to the audio for this re-read and it was narrated by Hugh Fraser, the actor who plays Hastings in the film versions of Agatha Christie books with David Suchet. He does an excellent job with both Hastings and Poirot!
I didn't remember the particulars of this mystery when I first began the story, but it started coming back to me as I listened. Still loved the story all these years and reads later!

What about you? Have you read any non-review books recently you'd like to praise?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Sunday Post #109


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 up in Central Calfornia Thursday and Friday and we got quite a bit of rain yesterday. It started raining in the middle of the night and it was so heavy and windy it woke me up and I couldn't go back to sleep. We decided to go to my daughter's on Friday instead of staying so now we're in Northern California. It's a bit cold, but beautiful as the hills are turning green now:

You can't really make them out with the photo this size, but there are five deer lying down at the bottom of the hill. I love seeing the deer and wild turkeys here!

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

With all the driving we did on Thursday and Friday my husband and I got through the audio of Alpha and Omega and are part way through Cry Wolf. This will be my third re-read of the Alpha and Omega series. I'm getting ready to pick up the newest installment Wild Sign, which releases March 16th. I finished the audio of Caressed by Ice for my read-along with Anne @Books of my Heart. Love the Psy-Changeling romances! A Stranger in Town was amazing! Of course now I want the next story. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Two ARCs and two library lends. Excited for them all.


Nothing new. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin


The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
Publication Date: August 4th 2020 by Macmillan Audio & St. Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Audio Book Length: 9 hrs 59 min
Narrators: Bailey Carr,  January LaVoy, Samantha Desz
Source: Library
Link: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Rachel Krall runs a popular crime podcast, Guilty or Not Guilty. Her newest assignment takes her to Neapolis to cover a controversial rape trial.  As the story begins, we don't know who is telling the truth, the accuser, Kelly, a sixteen-year-old high school student, or the accused, Scott, the local golden boy, an Olympic hopeful. But we know for sure that Kelly’s character is definitely on trial. 

When Rachel arrives in town, she finds a letter left on her windshield begging for help in solving the murder of Hannah’s older sister, which also happened in Neapolis, twenty years earlier. The account is disturbing and as the story is revealed I was both angered and horrified.

Both mysteries were riveting! The difficulties of a rape accusation come into sharp focus. In the case of a “stranger” rape case, consent isn’t an arguable issue. But when the parties are known to each other, consent is at the heart of the case. When one side says it was consensual and the other says no, how do you know who is telling the truth?  And why is some amount of blame assigned to the victim in most cases? As the author pointed out:

“When school kids are shot by a random shooter, nobody asks whether the victims should have taken more precautions. Nobody suggests that maybe the victims should have skipped school that day. Nobody ever blames the victims. So why is it that when women are attacked, the onus is on them?”

As a woman the story really resonated with me.  I hate the feeling of being uneasy or vulnerable in situations with men, how things can turn bad so quickly. Just running or walking on a secluded path can be dangerous. It really angers me that as a woman, I’m not automatically safe. I've had some strange things happen (I now always carry pepper spray), but thankfully nothing as terrible as the events in The Night Swim. My heart ached for the victims as the story unfolded!

The audio was fantastic! The story was told from Rachel and Hannah POV's in alternating chapters, but there was also the addition of Rachel's podcast "Guilty or Not Guilty" as it aired while covering the trial.

Powerful and thought provoking, The Night Swim is a story I won’t easily forget! I hope we get more of Rachel Krall and her investigations in the future!

 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Review & Giveaway: Her Kind of Cowboy by Dylann Crush


Her Kind of Cowboy (Tying the Knot in Texas #2) by Dylann Crush
Publication Date: January 12th 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Zina and Alex are thrown together when her dog shelter is damaged forcing a relocation to the warehouse/farm where Alex is training penguins for an over-the-top wedding.

Both Zina and Alex are reluctant participants in the wedding shenanigans. Zina takes over wedding planning duties when her best friend, Lacey, the mayor of Ido, is ordered on bedrest. That coupled with having to move her rescue dogs over to the warehouse on the wedding property puts her in the thick of things.

Alex agrees to take on the training of penguins since it’s close to his hometown and his family needs him. He’s on break from a job in Antarctica, one of many that’s taken him all over the world. It gives Alex a chance to help out, get his grandfather situated in a senior home and relieve his sister from some of the responsibilities she’s been handling all on her own.

Zina was an inspirational character. She showed an admirable strength of character leaving the army to come home when her brother needed her, but also by her dedication to the pit bulls in need of rescue. Alex was a sweetheart to his sister and her brood of little girls, but I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed by his constant wish to get the heck out of Ido. His sister and grandfather clearly needed his continued assistance, but I guess there had to be conflict somewhere. The romance between Zina and Alex was lighthearted fun.

Her Kind of Cowboy had me cracking up from all the whacky, chaotic situations Alex faces with four little girls, a feisty, foul-mouthed parrot, and a stubborn grandpa! With dogs, penguins and a parrot there’s no shortage of cute, entertaining animals. I think it’s fine to read this as a stand alone as each book focuses on a particular couple romance. I didn’t read the first book and didn’t feel like it impacted my enjoyment.

 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
No wedding is too much for the little town of Ido, Texas to handle...or is it?

Having successfully established themselves as a destination for weddings, the town of Ido is ready to kick it up another notch. Zina Baxter has stood on the sidelines during most of the matrimonial mayhem. But when a disaster at the pit bull rescue has her relocating the pups to share space with a winter wonderland scene, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of planning the craziest wedding yet.

Alex Sanders ran as far and fast as he could from his hometown--all the way to Antarctica. But a job opportunity as the penguin handler for an over-the-top wedding jerks entices him back. Being home means he can finally help his overwhelmed sister wrangle their unruly grandpa--at least until the next opportunity comes around and he can hit the road running again. The last thing he expects to find in Texas is a shot at love...

Once Alex crashes into Zina's life--literally--there's no denying their chemistry. But are their feelings for each other enough to keep Alex in Texas for good, or will he follow the march of the penguins back to the South Pole?

The lovely people of Berkley Books kindly provided a Paperback Copy of Her Kind of Cowboy to giveaway to one reader. The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Review: A Stranger in Town by Kelley Armstrong


A Stranger in Town (Rockton #6) by Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: February 9th 2021 by Minotaur Books
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
Rockton is a secret, off-the-grid town in the Yukon. A place formed for those on the run from danger as a refuge. An abusive husband, a stalker, unfair conviction? Rockton is your place to hide until the dust settles. Supposedly, inhabitants are vetted so that no violent criminals are allowed in, but in the past books we’ve learned that this isn’t true.
The series is best read in order, and as this is the sixth installment reading on in my review would give spoilers if you haven’t the previous books.
I think the book description is a bit misleading as it suggests that the plot revolves around Rockton being dismantled and Casey and Eric working at a solution. While that is an issue, it’s not revealed/focused on until late in the story. The plot, IMO, was more centered on the injured hiker, her companions and how their attack came about. Is this another aggression from the Hostiles? Edwin (from the First Settlement) flings blame about and wants action.  An arrival from the council in the thick of things adds another interesting dimension to the story.

 There’s a lot of plot threads here and it was interesting to see how they all connect. As usual, my attention was captured and held fast right from the beginning! Of course, Eric and Casey are the heart of the story, but there are so many interesting side characters! Casey’s sister April, the brilliant on-the-spectrum doctor, Sebastian the young, dangerous sociopath (who I’ve become real fond of!), Petra, Isabel and Phil.  Felicity, Edwin’s granddaughter and probable successor, and Mathias. All the animals, tame and wild.

Rockton/Casey Duncan series’ is one of my very favorites!  Casey is smart, always weighing her next move to get the desired outcome.  Her analytical, forward thinking makes her perfectly suited to the position of Detective in the town of Rockton. Good thing, as she needs all her wits about her to deal with all the personalities of Rockton and its Council, the Settlements, and the Hostiles!  After six books, the series still manages to be riveting, keeping me on the edge of my seat at every twist and turn! I loved how everyone came together at the end!  I can’t wait until the next installment!

I read an e-copy, but I’ve already purchased the audio to re-read *listen* to with my husband. He’s a big fan as well, and we’ve listened to every installment on road trips together. Therese Plummer is such a fantastic narrator! She makes the characters and story come to life!
4.5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's next Rockton book, A Stranger in Town, the biggest mystery is the fate of the town itself.

Detective Casey Duncan has noticed fewer and fewer residents coming in to the hidden town of Rockton, and no extensions being granted. Her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, presumes it’s the natural flux of things, but Casey’s not so sure. Something bigger is happening in the small town they call home.

When an injured hiker stumbles from the woods, the sole survivor of a hostile attack, it’s all hands on deck. Even a member of the elusive Rockton council comes in to help. This council member also comes bearing news: Rockton is being shut down due to the hostile situation.

Casey and Eric must now race to save the town that has allowed residents to have a fresh start, away from the mistakes of their past, while also getting to the bottom of this latest attack.

Monday, February 8, 2021

TTT: My Favorite Non-Review Books: December 2020

I'm going use the freebie Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Artsy Reader) by posting my Favorite Non-Review Books of December. I'd like to make this a monthly feature and meant to post this last month but time got away from me!

As a blogger sometimes writing reviews can feel like a chore so it seems I rarely write reviews for non-review books anymore. I fee bad about that, because it's not that I didn't enjoy them less than the books I review here, just that I don't have the time or energy to write a review for each and every book I read. I thought it would be nice to list my favorite non-review books each month to bring more attention to them. 

Here are my December 2020 favorites:

A great, suspenseful story! Short, but left an impression.

Kate Mara's narration was excellent! Quiet and compelling.

Love this series! Peter Ash is a one man wrecking ball, but he's got backup now in the form of June and Lewis. I love his developing relationship with June Cassidy.  This installment was exciting and full of action! I plan on continuing it soon. 

 This series is a must for any hockey/sports romance fans. Kate Meader writes some hot stuff, but at the center of each story are characters you grow to care for, multi-layered, flawed, just trying to get by.  Gunnar's story broke my heart! This guy needed a HEA! 

 I'm a big fan of Linda Howard's brand of romantic suspense. MacKenzie's Mountain was first published in 1989, but I think it held up well.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday Post #108


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 weather has been beautiful this weekend. We were up at our place in Central California again Thursday and Friday enjoying the mountains and our grandkids. We sat by the outdoor fire to extend our outdoor time, as it got chilly in the late afternoon and barbequed. Came back early yesterday and I spent most of the day reading. I'll probably read most of the day today while my husband watches The Superbowl. I've been told the teams playing, but now I can't remember, lol!

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

As I said, I spent most of the day reading yesterday. I had started The Night Swim last week, but then had to put it aside for other review books, but my husband and I started it on our little getaway and continued listening on the way home. I switched to my e-copy when we got home and read straight through. Wow! Soooo good! I hope we get more of Rachel Krall and her investigative podcast in the future!

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I'm excited for all these. I guess I'm a mystery sort of mood!

Not much other than old standbys like Forensic Files and Heartland.

How was your week?