Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Review: Uncharted by Adriana Anders


Uncharted (Survival Instincts #2) by Adriana Anders
Publication Date: August 24th 2021 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Daredevil pilot, Leontyne “Leo” stays home from an assignment, grounded by a stomach bug, but rest isn’t in her future. She’s sent off to fetch a man in the wilds of Alaska before the evil Chronos group can get their hands on him, and the deadly virus he might possess. However, they’re outnumbered and outgunned and from the minute Leo and Elias connect they’re running for their lives. Not only do they have the enemy to contend with, they have the rugged Alaskan wilderness and its fickle weather to survive.

Uncharted was so much fun! From page one it’s an action-packed thrill ride!  The romance between Elias and Lee was a big part of the story as well, and oh-so-hot! Even though things happened fast when you analyze the time they spent together, it didn’t feel fast since Leo and Elias were glued together, relying on each other through all sorts of life-or-death situations: injury, weather, near escapes from the enemy. It bonded these two like nothing else! Attraction was immediate, but trust and respect took a little more time, and it felt like they got to know each other before anything physical happened. Sometimes characterization suffers with an action-packed story, but Ms. Anders deftly worked layers into Leo and Elias without slowing the plot down. I cared about them and was on the edge of my seat hoping they’d come out on-top and happy together!

There were a few interesting secondary characters as well: Amka, the woman who sent Leo off to fetch Elias in the first place, was one bad-ass old lady, and I just loved her! She had her own little side story, and I was in awe! One more that I won’t mention because of spoilers, and I can’t forget Borealis “Bo”, Elias’ sweet dog. The Alaskan wild was almost another character vividly described. Untouched beauty, awe inspiring and deadly.

I read and loved the previous story, WhiteoutUncharted lived up to my expectations and then some! While this is part of a series, I don’t think it’s necessary to read the previous stories. Uncharted stands well on its own, however, you’d be missing out on two amazing stories: Deep Blue (Survival Instincts #0.5) part of Turn the Tide, a novella still free on Amazon, and Whiteout (Survival Instincts #1). I’m eagerly anticipating the next one to come!

5 Stars

Book Description:

Hotshot pilot Leo Eddowes is afraid of nothing and no one. So when she's asked to evacuate a man from the wilds of Alaska, she doesn't hesitate. But with enemies in close pursuit and the weather turning sour, what should have been a simple mission quickly shifts to disaster.

And there's only one way out.

When Elias Thorne disappeared, he was America's most wanted. Now he's spent more than a decade in one of the most remote places on earth, guarding a dangerous secret. Leo's arrival, quickly followed by a team of expert hunters, leaves him no choice but to join forces with her—and run. Neither is prepared for their reluctant partnership to flare into something as wild and untamed as the frozen world around them...but as desperately cold days melt into scorchingly hot nights, Leo and Elias must learn to dig deep, trust in each other, and forge a bond as strong as the forces of nature.

Stranded together in a frozen wilderness,
There's nowhere left to run...

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday Post #134


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 an uneventful week other than having Thursday off to for a dentist appointment. I have a sensitive tooth and yay for me, I get to have a root canal now! It's going to take around 3 hours. I hate dental procedures. I always feel so sore, worked over and tired after. Plus, expensive even with insurance!

Anyone have plans for the upcoming Labor Day Weekend? I'm on call at the hospital on Monday, which was a last minute thing. I wish my manager would learn her lesson and schedule the holidays earlier. Still, I won't be working any of the other holidays for the rest of the year now, so I guess that's a win. 

I am off Thursday-Sunday and we were going to my daughter's house up north but that got changed and we booked a night on the coast. We scheduled a wine tasting with lunch, as our drive out there takes us through the Central Coast (Paso Robles) Winery territory. We also have a tasting scheduled at Hearst Ranch Winery which is right on the ocean next to San Simeon Pier. It's a beautiful location! I'm really excited to get out of the heat.

Click on cover for Goodreads link

I enjoyed all three books. The House on Sunshine Corner was a sweet second chance romance in a small town setting. Giving away a copy HEREThe Invisible Husband of Frick Island was okay. A slow plot and a lukewarm romance. I think the thing I liked most was the setting.  I'm a fan of Joanna Schaffhausen's Ellery Hathaway series, but  Gone for Good is a start to a new detective series. It was excellent and I can't wait for the next one!

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

I requested The Brightest Star in Paris because I loved The Widow of Rose House so much. I don't request very often anymore, and lately it's been hit and miss with approvals so I was excited to get this one! I was offered Last Seen Alive which is the 5th installment of the Ellery Hathaway series, one I already wanted, so score! I got an audio copy of A Slow Fire Burning. It'll be my first time reading Paula Hawkins. She seems to get a lot of mixed reactions so we'll see. 


I loved the colors for The House on Sunshine Corner so when I saw flowers at Trader Joe's that matched so well I just had to get them! 


Nothing new. Just working through the episodes of both series'.

Btw, I'm giving a way a box of 16 Young Adult Books if you're interested. 

How was your week?

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Giveaway: 16 Young Adult Books!

 I'm really trying to clear my bookshelves, so here we go again with another box of books to giveaway. This time 16 Young Adult Books. Some I really went back and forth about giving away! 

Grave Mercy (Grave Mercy #1) by Robin LaFevers-Hardcover
Dark Triumph (Grave Mercy #2) by Robin LaFevers-Hardcover
Mortal Heart (Grave Mercy #3) by Robin LaFevers-Paperback ARC
Shards & Ashes by Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong & more-Paperback ARC
A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon-Paperback
Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey-Paperback ARC
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan-Paperback ARC
Blood Red Road by Moira Young-Hardcover signed by author*
Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins-Paperback
Replica (Replica #1) by Jenna Black-Paperback ARC
Revolution (Replica #2) by Jenna Black-Paperback ARC
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff-Paperback ARC
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland-Hardcover signed by author*
Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar-Paperback
Unfed by Kirsty McKay-Paperback
Night School (Night School #1) by C.J. Daugherty-Paperback ARC

*Signed by author to me: Rachel

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 27, 2021

Review & Giveaway: The House on Sunshine Corner by Phoebe Mills


The House on Sunshine Corner (The Sunshine Corner #1) by Phoebe Mills
Publication Date: August 24th 2021 by Forever
Pages: 316
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Abby and Carter were high school sweethearts, very in love for two years until Carter went off to college, while Abby attended close to home.  Carter was content to make a clean break and they didn’t stay in touch, since Heart’s Hope Bay was a place he wanted to escape after years of contention his cruel father.

Now ten years later, Carter is back in town helping his sister with his three-year-old niece, Sophia. While he visited briefly in the past he never ran into Abby, but as his niece attends Abby’s preschool/daycare, running into her will be inevitable.  Seeing Abby again brings up all the old feelings and attraction, but even more intense. He’s never had the same connection with any other woman. Even so, he can’t let his attraction get in the way of his career goals which seem to finally being coming together.

Abby’s always loved Heart’s Hope Bay where her grandmother took her in, as it provided the stability her mother never gave her. She’s always wanted to settle down with a family of her own right there surrounded by the people she’s grown to love.  I could totally understand Abby, since Heart’s Hope Bay, a small coastal town in Oregon, sounded lovely and picturesque! Abby loved Carter; his leaving took a long time to get over.  Abby knows that getting involved with him again will only lead to heartbreak but being around him only underscores what they had together: a once in a lifetime love.

I’m a sucker for second chance romances and I was rooting for Carter and Abby since the love they had in the past was there again and even more intense.  Carter was a sweetheart with Abby, helping with the house renovations, and with his three-year-old niece, but boy did I want to smack him! He kept on with the “I must stay on track with my career goals, so I don’t turn into my deadbeat dad” mantra! I need proper groveling to forgive a character for being frustrating and dense, so I was pleased Carter snapped out of it and got a clue!

The House on Sunshine Corner was a sweet, second chance romance with one of my favorite settings: small, charming coastal town with lovable and quirky secondary characters. After some of the exchanges between Savannah and Noah, I’m really looking forward to the next installment which seems like it’ll be a fun enemies-to-lovers romance!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Abby Engel has a great life. She's the owner of Sunshine Corner, the daycare she runs with her girlfriends; she has the most adoring grandmother (aka the Baby Whisperer); and she lives in a perfect hidden gem of a town. All that's missing is the thing she wants the most: a family. But after a stint of online dating and a string of bad blind dates, she's ready to give up. And then her ex-boyfriend (aka the love of her life) walks back into town...

Carter Hayes has no intention of staying in Heart's Hope Bay. He's there to help his sister out for a few weeks, and then he's back on a plane to Las Vegas. But small-town living has its appeal, and it’s not long before Carter's reminded of just how much he loves his hometown...and the one woman he’s never been able to forget. But after breaking her heart all those years ago, can Carter convince Abby that he’s her happy-ever-after?

The lovely people of Forever have generously offered up a Paperback Copy of The House on Sunshine Corner to one readers. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 23, 2021

Review: Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen

Gone For Good (Annalisa Vega #1) by Joanna Schaffhausen
Publication Date: August 10th 2021 by Minotaur Books
Pages: 302
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
When Grace Harper, an amateur sleuth, is found murdered in the same way as the victims of the Lovelorn Killer, Detective Annalisa Vega is called into the case. The Lovelorn Killer, a serial murderer active twenty years earlier had the residents in Chicago afraid and alert. He murdered seven women by tying them up, strangling and reviving them over and over until finally choking them to death, but he stopped killing leading police to think he either died or went to prison for another offense.

Annalisa is no stranger to the facts of the cold case since his last victim, Katherine Duffy, was a neighbor, and mother of her first love, Colin. Soon after a grief-stricken Colin left breaking Annalisa’s heart in the process. Her own father, a retired police officer, investigated the crimes as well, but the crimes grew cold and were never solved.

Grace was a member of the Grave Diggers, a group of civilians looking into cold cases, had become obsessed with the Lovelorn Killer case and found new information that made her think she could lure the killer out and catch him. Is this the case of a copycat or is the original killer back?

Annalisa is thrust into the middle of the investigation while having to deal with her past when she’s assigned to work with Detective Nick Carelli, her ex-husband. There’s a lot of personal issues for Annalisa to deal with: her family, Nick and Colin, and things are a bit messy. I’m not sure which guy to root for yet, there are pros and cons with either one, but I’m eager to see how it plays out in future books. I want Annalisa happy!

As far as the case, for the most part I was on board with Annalisa. She did make a reckless decision that made me want to shake her, but I guess it could be chalked up to her feeling like she had no other choice. The ending left me reeling a bit. There were breadcrumbs, so I wasn’t completely blindsided, but it definitely made an impact! I look forward to the next book!

 4 Stars

Book Description:

Gone For Good is the first in a new mystery series from award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen, featuring Detective Annalisa Vega, in which a cold case heats up.

The Lovelorn Killer murdered seven women, ritually binding them and leaving them for dead before penning them gruesome love letters in the local papers. Then he disappeared, and after twenty years with no trace of him, many believe that he's gone for good.

Not Grace Harper. A grocery store manager by day, at night Grace uses her snooping skills as part of an amateur sleuth group. She believes the Lovelorn Killer is still living in the same neighborhoods that he hunted in, and if she can figure out how he selected his victims, she will have the key to his identity.

Detective Annalisa Vega lost someone she loved to the killer. Now she's at a murder scene with the worst kind of déjà vu: Grace Harper lies bound and dead on the floor, surrounded by clues to the biggest murder case that Chicago homicide never solved. Annalisa has the chance to make it right and to heal her family, but first, she has to figure out what Grace knew―how to see a killer who may be standing right in front of you. This means tracing his steps back to her childhood, peering into dark corners she hadn't acknowledged before, and learning that despite everything the killer took, she has still so much more to lose.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday Post #133


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.

We've had some cooler weather, as in 70s and 80s these last few days and I'm loving it! I was able to go out running three times this week and it felt cool enough to work on the yard a bit. Bought some flowers to add to a couple of planters (see below). It's supposed to heat up again later this week, but we'll see. It didn't get as hot as predicted last week. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I only managed to get through one review book this last week, At Summer's End which was an emotional post WWI story/romance.  The rest were audios that I listened to on my commute, running or doing chores. It was a busy week!

Received/Purchased/ Library Lend:

Gone Too Far and Play of Passion are library lends, both audios. I read the first three books of Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series a while back. I remember wanting Sam and Alyssa's story, but now I'm fuzzy on the details. Also, I skipped books 4 and 5 by getting this one so I hope I'm not missing too much. Hands Down finally released as an audio, which is how I "read" all my Mariana Zapata books so I bought a copy. I hope to get to it soon!


Part of my SixBooksSoon reading challenge I was tagged in by @Carole's Random Life. Uncharted by Adriana Anders and Murder Most Fair by Anna Lee Huber are on the 2nd and 3rd slide (didn't have a physical copy to include in this photo).


I'm a true crime junkie and I've burned through all the available Forensic Files so I'm onto 48 Hours, and more Chicago Med. 

How was your week?

Thursday, August 19, 2021

My Favorite Non-Review Books: July 2021

 I'm back with My Favorite Non-Review Books!
I'm a little late as August is halfway over, but here are my July picks.   
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.

I only read two non-review books in July! It was a busy month for me having a week of vacation with my grandkids (3 & 6 years old!) left little time for reading. I needed a vacation from that vacation, lol!

 July 2021 Favorites:

This first Maggie D'arcy mystery took a bit to get going, but I ended up really enjoying it. A bonus that most of it is set in Ireland, although Rhode Island is appealingly depicted as well.  The next book was a total hit for me, and now I can't wait for the third! As a side note, I love the covers in this series!

The romance wasn't my favorite, but any book in the Psy-Changeling series is pretty entertaining. I especially liked the continuing story ARC and discovering more about all the players. I'm trying to catch up with the read-along hosted by Anne @Books of My Heart, but I'm seriously behind now. Didn't help that my library check out of the next book expired before I could get to it so I had to wait until it came through again. Ack! I'm listening to it now.  

Monday, August 16, 2021

Review: At Summer's End by Courtney Ellis


At Summer's End by Courtney Ellis
Publication Date: August 10th 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
In the 1920s there’s not much in the way of opportunities for women artists, so Alberta, “Bertie” is thrilled to be offered a commission at Castle Braemore to immortalize the estate. After the Earl of Wakeford sees her work in a local paper, he requests that she come and paint, mistaking Bertie Preston to be a man, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue. The Earl, Julian Napier, however, is a mystery as he won’t set foot outside of his upper apartments.  On a whim she knocks on his door, and finds a man scarred physically and emotionally by the war and not much older than Bertie. They strike up a friendship that quickly turns into more.

At Summer’s End flips from the present to the past revealing the history of Julian and his siblings. Their mother wasn’t a nurturer and so Gwen and Julian, the older of the Napier kids, stood in as sort of parents to the two younger kids, Roland, and Celia. Gwen was like the rock of the family, and I just loved her. She had her own reasons to grieve and yet she still cared for Julian, Celia, and Roland. In the present Celia and Julian are estranged, with her refusing to see him since he arrived back from the war and it broke my heart that she’d shut him out like that.

While Bertie and Julian fall into each other pretty quickly the fact that Julian was so sad and damaged didn’t bode well. Bertie struggles with the thought of taking on a man so broken, when she has aspirations of her own. However, as she falls more and more for Julian and his family, her priorities shift. While I could see heartbreak on the horizon, I couldn’t help but root for Bertie and Julian, but I wasn’t surprised at the rough road they had to travel first.

At Summer’s End chronicled a time when Britain and the world were still recovering from the shock and losses of WWI and while I’m not a history buff, the story felt authentic. It was a beautiful emotional story of family, healing, and love! 

4 Stars

Book Description:

A sparkling debut from a new author we're all going to want more from."--Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things

When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl's country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets. From debut author Courtney Ellis comes a captivating novel about finding the courage to heal after the ravages of war.

Alberta Preston accepts the commission of a lifetime when she receives an invitation from the Earl of Wakeford to spend a summer painting at His Lordship's country home, Castle Braemore. Bertie imagines her residence at the prodigious estate will finally enable her to embark on a professional career and prove her worth as an artist, regardless of her gender.

Upon her arrival, however, Bertie finds the opulent Braemore and its inhabitants diminished by the Great War. The earl has been living in isolation since returning from the trenches, locked away in his rooms and hiding battle scars behind a prosthetic mask. While his younger siblings eagerly welcome Bertie into their world, she soon sees chips in that world's gilded facade. As she and the earl develop an unexpected bond, Bertie becomes deeply entangled in the pain and secrets she discovers hidden within Castle Braemore and the hearts of its residents.

Threaded with hope, love, and loss, At Summer's End delivers a portrait of a noble family--and a world--changed forever by the war to end all wars.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday Post #132


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 week, right? I've been avoiding the news with all the mask idiocy and climate change, it's either frustrating or depressing so I'm channeling my inner ostrich and burying my head, lol.

I'm writing this on my way back from Northern California. We had a nice time with my daughter, SIL, and grandkids. It's been busy at work, draining with the additional patients coming in with Covid, so it was nice to get away. Lots of fun activities.  We took the kids to a park that had a lot of shade which was necessary as it was pretty darn hot 90-100 degrees! Pretty place with an edge of different roses planted on the perimeter. I had to check each one out. 

Click on cover for Goodreads link

Didn't get a lot of reading done because I didn't have much energy after work to do anything but veg in front of the TV.  Loved Devil in Disguise and Claimed was a mixed bag, but I have hope for future installments as it was the first in a new series. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Even though I've seen them around I don't think I've ever read an Amish romance. This sounds really good. 


Almost finished with this one. 


I've been a fan of Samantha Brown's travel shows since her Passport to Europe series. She now has one called Places to Love and I'm addicted! She hits wonderful places all over, mostly the US with this newer series. 
Was looking for a mindless show just to click on and watch and found Chicago MED. I like Medical dramas and it's pretty good. 

How was your week?

Friday, August 13, 2021

Review: Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas


Devil in Disguise (The Ravenels #7) by Lisa Kleypas
Publication Date: July 27th 2021 by Avon
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher & Purchased Audiobook
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads | Audible

My Thoughts:
Lady Merritt Sterling never figured she’d be running a shipping company, but when she lost her husband, Merritt was determined to keep his company alive. She’d never picture herself with a rough and gruff Scot, but Keir is impossible to resist.

Scotish whiskey distiller, Keir MacRae arrives in London with a shipment of his finest to sell, but he encounters problems offloading his cargo and means to hold the shipping manager accountable. He doesn’t expect a woman or that they’d have an immediate attraction and connection. Merritt’s beautiful, nurturing, and completely out of his league. They think they’ll part ways for good after a lusty night, but an attempt on Keir’s life halts those plans.

It’s hard to go wrong with a Lisa Kleypas romance. Her clever, witty dialogue, multi-layered, likable characters and vibrant descriptions make her a win for me over and over, but her Ravenels series is a cut above! Merrit isn’t a Ravenel, but her family is closely connected to the characters and her mother and father had their own romance in the Wallflowers series. I loved Merritt and Keir’s instant connection, with long, soulful talks between passionate encounters.  I appreciated most of the drama came from outside issues, like the attempts on Keir’s life and the reasons behind that. I won’t spoil any of the surprises there.

I alternately read and listened to the audio version narrated by Mary Jane Wells, who narrates the whole series. Her performance is absolute perfection! I highly recommend the entire series either reading or listening!

4 Stars

Book Description:
New York Times bestseller Lisa Kleypas returns with an enthralling and steaming romance between a widowed lady and a Scot on the run—who may have connections to one of London's most noble families.

“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”

Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.

From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.

So far, neither of those is going well.

Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals his secret connection to one of England’s most powerful families. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.

Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves... even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.