Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Review: Dream Keeper by Kristen Ashley


Dream Keeper (Dream Team #4) by Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: November 30th 2021 by Forever
Pages: 544
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Pepper was screwed over by her daughter's father. She thought he was it for her until she found out he’d had another woman the entire time they’d been together. Since then, Pepper’s main focus has been her daughter, Juno, providing her love and a stable environment. She doesn’t feel bringing a man into their lives is worth the possible hurt it could bring. But there is an undeniable pull between her and Augustus, “Auggie”.

Auggie sees everything he wants in a woman when he looks at Pepper, but he gets mixed signals from her. He can’t blame her for being cautious and hesitant seeing as she needs to think about her daughter as well. However, they share a lusty night together that ends badly. He’s been yanked around by women in the past with drama and game playing and he’s done with that, but a request from Juno forces them to work together.

Pepper and Auggie have been dancing around each other for a while and they’re the next couple on Lottie’s matchup agenda, but these two do not have a drama free journey into love everlasting. I’m not a fan of angsty, ridiculous couple drama, back and forth, so I’m happy to report that most of the conflict, other than at the beginning, comes from outside sources. I loved Auggie and Pepper together! Seeing them bond over their unfortunate pasts (crazy families!) and unite against whatever came at them was a joy. Juno was a sweetheart, too, wanting love and happiness for her mom and determined to make it happen for her.

Pepper and Auggie were fun, signature Kristen Ashley type of characters. Pepper was big-hearted, sweet with a side of sassy, and Auggie was the protective, bossy, Alpha male without being a jerk. I enjoyed seeing past characters, happy and there for their friends. Although Pepper and Auggie’s story wraps up, that ending made it clear there’s more to come and I can’t wait!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Spinning off from the bestselling Dream Man and Rock Chick series, this is the emotional and steamy contemporary romance fans of the Dream Team series have been waiting for!

Pepper Hannigan is determined to keep any romance off the table—and out of her bedroom—while her daughter Juno is still young. Sure, a certain handsome commando is thoughtful, funny, and undeniably hot, but Pepper’s had her heart broken before, and she won’t let it happen again. Not to her or her little girl, even if this hero could melt any woman’s resolve.

Augustus “Auggie” Hero can’t deny his attraction to beautiful, warm-hearted Pepper or how much he wants to make a home with her and her little girl, but Pepper’s mixed signals have kept him away. That is, until Juno decides to play matchmaker. Her efforts finally bring Pepper into his arms, but they expose the danger Pepper is in. To protect Pepper and Juno, Auggie will have to live up to his last name and prove happy endings aren’t just for fairy tales.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Post #145


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.

For those who celebrate I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday! 

It was a quiet Thanksgiving holiday for me as it was just my husband and I, which worked out well as I've needed some rest. It took me over two hours to get home from work on Tuesday because traffic was so bad. I took the train on Wednesday so of course when I checked the drive time it wouldn't have taken that long. So having four days of not having to drive in and work it was glorious! 

I did four mile runs twice and hope to do another four miles today. I've read and listened to my audio book, watched a movie, and did some gardening. 

We scheduled our booster shots for this coming Thursday afternoon. I hope I don't feel too horrible next weekend.

I completely my Goodreads challenge yesterday and have 13 books to go to complete my Audiobook challenge of 100 books. I think I'll make it this year!

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

The Christmas Escape was so lovely! Five stars all the way! Love, Lists & Fancy Ships was another win, and I enjoyed Guild Boss, too. Mile High With a Vampire was a fun listen. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

So remember I said I had to mail all the books I bought at thrift shops in Oregon? Well here's a picture of my finds. All hardcover and in good condition. I'm so excited because I read all (except 3 of the Sandra Browns) and loved them! 

Looking at this I realized I left out one: Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell. So 18 books for not a lot of money and there was no sales tax. I did have to pay the media mail shipping which was $17 to send them back to my home. No way to drag these on the plane without a hefty charge. 


I just love this cover! The colors are so pretty and I just happened to have a scarf that matched perfectly. The Love of My Life doesn't come out until 3/1/22 so I probably won't read it for a bit.


Funny and entertaining. I wouldn't be surprised if they make another.

Don't forget about two giveaways:

$15 Gift Card to either US Amazon or US B&N or up to $15 at The Book Depository (click HERE) and 13 Romance Books (click HERE). 

How was your week?

Friday, November 26, 2021

Review: Love, Lists & Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz


Love, Lists & Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Publication Date: November 23rd 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads 

My Thoughts:
Josephine Walker “Jo” is working on her “thirty-by-thirty” bucket list, with things like: run a marathon, kiss a stranger, visit 10 countries, but her efforts have stalled since the death of her eleven-year-old nephew, Samson. She’s had a hard time mustering the enthusiasm to check off all the items until her nieces, Mia and Kitty, show up for an unexpected visit (for the summer) and decide they must complete it. "Kiss a stranger" is one of the first things Jo checks off with “Hot Guy from the Bar”, Alex Hayes, a stranger she doesn’t expect to ever see again, but life has other plans!

Jo needed help dealing with her emotions, not only over the death of Samson, but guilt over the death of her father, and a bad breakup making her swear off love and entanglements.  I loved Mia, Kitty and Greyson, Alex’s teenage daughter! Hard to be sad with teenage antics, although the girls had to deal with their grief over their brother, too, making/helping Jo face her emotions even when she didn’t want to. Greyson was a breath of fresh air with no filter, whatever she thought just spilled out of her brain which was pretty funny.

Love, Lists & Fancy Ships a fun, sexy romance full of humor, but also with a serious side. Both Jo and Alex were dealing with their own adult issues, grief, guilt, and vulnerability. Their story sucked me right in and left me with heart happy feelings!

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Sometimes a yacht, a bold bucket list, and a kiss with a handsome stranger are all a person needs to dive into the deep end of life.

For the last year, yacht stewardess Jo Walker has been attempting to complete a bucket list of thirty things she wants to accomplish by her birthday. Jo has almost everything she's ever wanted, including a condo on the beach (though she's the youngest resident by thirty years) and an exciting job (albeit below deck) that lets her travel the world.

Jo is on track until a family tragedy turns her life upside down, and the list falls by the wayside. But when her two nieces show up unannounced with plans to stay the summer, they discover her list and insist on helping Jo finish it. Though the remaining eight items (which include running a marathon, visiting ten countries, and sleeping in a castle) seem impossible to complete in twelve weeks, Jo takes on the challenge.

When she summons the courage to complete item number five--kiss a stranger--and meets Alex Hayes, all bets are off. As her feelings for Alex intensify and Jo's inability to confront difficult emotions about her family complicates her relationships, she must learn to quit playing it safe with her heart before she loses what matters most.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop!


I'm thrilled to be taking part in the Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop hosted by Marlene @Reading Reality and Kimberly @Caffeinated Reviewer book blogs! You can find the list of participating blogs by clicking HERE or by scrolling down to the bottom of the post. 

I hope everyone enjoys the Thanksgiving Holiday!

I'm giving away a $15 Gift Card at either US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $15 at The Book Depository.  The giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.  Click HERE for a list of included countries. Scroll down to fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Fated Blades by Ilona Andrews

Fated Blades (Kinsman #3) by Ilona Andrews
Publication Date: November 23th 2021 by Montlake
Pages: 222
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
The Adlers and Baenas are supernaturally powerful families on the planet Rada. Their families have been rivals for years, but Ramona Adler and Matias Baena must work together after their unfaithful spouses steal groundbreaking technology to sell to a deadly enemy.

At first, they don’t trust each other, but since they must work together, they put aside they old family differences. Mutual admiration, respect along with an irresistible attraction starts to form and they find that they work perfectly together. Perfectly deadly to any that get in their way!

I recently read the prior two novellas in the Kinsman series and loved them! Passionate and hot, set in a vivid and unique world! The previous stories are super short, both less than 100 pages, but Fated Blades is longer at 222 pages, but still a quick read. Each features a different couple, standalone story/romance.

Fated Blades would technically be considered an enemy-to-lovers romance, but they were never at each other’s throats. I enjoyed the fun, sensual push and pull between them, but more than that I loved seeing these two open-up, get close and form an intense bond. Ilona Andrews is one of my all-time favorite authors and I’m continually amazed by their ability to suck me into a story whether it be a 50-page novella or a full-length story!

5 Stars

Book Description:

An uneasy alliance between warring families gets heated in this otherworldly novella from bestselling author Ilona Andrews.

At first glance, the planet Rada seems like a lush paradise. But the ruling families, all boasting genetically enhanced abilities, are in constant competition for power―and none more so than the Adlers and the Baenas. For generations, the powerful families have pushed and pulled each other in a dance for dominance.

Until a catastrophic betrayal from within changes everything.

Now, deadly, disciplined, and solitary leaders Ramona Adler and Matias Baena must put aside their enmity and work together in secret to prevent sinister forces from exploiting universe-altering technology. Expecting to suffer through their uneasy alliance, Ramona and Matias instead discover that they understand each other as no one in their families can―and that their combined skills may eclipse the risks of their forbidden alliance.

As the two warriors risk their lives to save their families, they must decide whether to resist or embrace the passion simmering between them. For now, the dance between their families continues―but just one misstep could spell the end of them both.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Review: Guild Boss by Jayne Castle


Guild Boss (Ghost Hunters #15) by Jayne Castle
Publication Date: November 16th 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
Lucy finds herself drugged, kidnapped, left in the underground hallucinating with no apparent way out, until Ghost Hunter Gabriel Jones, with the help of a dust bunny named Otis, shows up to rescue her. There’s an instant attraction, but Gabriel must ship off for the next assignment immediately, not realizing that the danger and drama has just begun for Lucy.

No one believes Lucy’s story, thinking she got drunk, got lost and then had a mental breakdown, her work reputation goes down the toilet. Gabriel disappears and she has no one to back up her story. Now that Gabriel’s back in town as the new Guild Boss for Illusion Town, Lucy is less than pleased to see him. However, he plans on getting to the bottom of Lucy’s ordeal, while helping salvage her career.

Guild Boss is set in a futuristic world reminiscent of Las Vegas with its glitzy lights and atmosphere with a darker underbelly and some paranormal oddities. Lucy and Gabriel are powerful talents in their field, and that makes Lucy a target for a larger conspiracy. They work together while Lucy works through her hard feelings toward Gabriel, and he tries to figure out whether Lucy’s recollection of the past wasn’t the product of her hallucinations. All the while battling constant dangers and the attraction brewing between them.

Guild Boss was a fun, action-packed futuristic mystery with a steamy romance at the core. I haven’t read the previous books, it’s part of a larger series, but it works well as a standalone.

4 Stars

Book Description:

Welcome to Illusion Town on the colony world of Harmony--like Las Vegas on Earth, but way more weird.

Living in this new, alien world doesn't stop the settlers from trying to re-create what they've left behind. Case in point--weddings are still the highlight of any social calendar. But it's the after-party that turns disastrous for Lucy Bell. Kidnapped and drugged as she leaves the party, she manages to escape--only to find herself lost in the mysterious, alien underground maze of glowing green tunnels beneath Illusion Town. She's been surviving on determination and cold pizza, scavenged for her by a special dust bunny, when help finally shows up.

Gabriel Jones is the Guild Hunter sent to rescue her, but escaping the underground ruins isn't the end of her troubles--it's only the beginning. With no rational reason for her abduction, and her sole witness gone on another assignment for the Guild, whispers start circulating that Lucy made it all up. Soon her life unravels until she has nothing left but her pride. The last thing she expects is for Gabriel Jones to come back to town for her.

The Lucy that Gabriel finds is not the same woman he rescued, the one who looked at him as if he were her hero. This Lucy is sharp, angry, and more than a little cynical--instead of awe, she treats him with extreme caution. But a killer is still hunting her, and there aren't a lot of options when it comes to heroes. Despite her wariness, Gabriel is also the one person who believes Lucy--after all, he was there. He's determined to help clear her reputation, no matter what it takes. And as the new Guild Boss, his word is law, even in the lawlessness of Illusion Town.

About the author:
Jayne Castle is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She writes contemporary romantic suspense novels under the Krentz name, as well as historical novels under the pseudonym Amanda Quick. Learn more online at jayneannkrentz.com.

Sunday Post #144


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 another busy week. Stressful at work, but I had Thursday and Friday off. My dad had surgery (elective/he's doing well) on Thursday and I went to see him on Friday and brought him a book: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, one of my favorites from 2020. He likes to read too, and I hope he likes it! 

My husband and I got a bunch of stuff done we've been needing to get to. As soon as complete this post I hope to shut the computer down and do some marathon reading. I need to seriously catch up with my review books!

Anyone annoyed that you can't write in a choice for the Goodreads Choice awards this year? There's only a few on the list this year. I've even read let alone would vote for. The romance category was the only one where I had a couple of 5-star reads.

Fall colors on a run.

Click on cover for Goodreads link

I've been trying to add a audio novellas so I can reach my Audio Reading Challenge for the year. I'm officially at 86 books now, but my goal is 100. All books here are audios except for Fated Blades the only review book I got to last week. Yikes!  Loved Fated Blades and Shield of Winter!

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Shards of Hope, The Man Who Died Twice, and State of Terror are all audio library lends. A Wedding on Sunshine Corner is an ARC I'm looking forward to! Love the cover, too. 

I joined The Book of the Month Club just so I could get hardcovers of a few of my favorites like In a Holidaze and The Love Hypothesis for my shelf. Yes, my book hoarding ways are getting worse! Which is why I'm running the 13 Romance Books Giveaway (click HERE for details) seen in my Instagram photo below. I also dropped off a bunch of books for donation the other day.


 How was your week?

Friday, November 19, 2021

Giveaway: 13 Romance Books!

 It's a constant battle to part with books, but it must be done if I don't want to be a feature on some reality TV hoarder show! With that fear in mind I'm giving away 13 Romance Books:

Paris for One by Jojo Moyes
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan-ARC Copy
The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand
Any Day Now by Robyn Carr-ARC Copy
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
The Christmas Village by Annie Rains
Aspen Crossroads by Janine Rosche
Second Chance at Sunflower Ranch by Carolyn Brown
The Best Man Plan by Jaci Burton-ARC Copy
Jaded by Anne Calhoun
Must Love Cowboys & Big Bad Cowboy (all in one) by Carly Bloom
Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin

All have never been read (I read an e-copy) except for The Chocolate Heart (read once).

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

My Favorite Non-Review Books: October 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 October 2021 stand outs:

5 Star all the way! Definite Schitt's Creek, (a series I totally love) vibe here!

Tied with Kiss of Snow for favorite in the series.

Kaleb and Sahara's story exceeded my expectations! Don't want to spoil anything, but finally! Can't wait to see how everything plays out after that stunning conclusion! I'm already listening to the next one and loving it!

Atmospheric and spooky! Perfect Fall read! 

Riaz and Adria were great, but I think I was more captivated by all that's happening with the ongoing story arc with the Psy and Silence and all the players. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday Post #143


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 hell of a work week for me since my co-worker was on vacation and the person supposed to cover her called out. I was by myself struggling to keep up with a patient load meant for two. I was so glad when Thursday was over. I don't work Fridays. Thank goodness.

Friday we drove up to Fresno California to meet our daughter and SIL with the kids to see a Fresno State Football game on Saturday. My SIN is friends with the quarterback and the family and we had a couple of dinners with them, a "tailgate" party and cheered the team on Saturday night. They won and we all went out after the game. It was a lot of fun. My first time ever attending a football game in person so it was a neat experience! 

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

Needless to say I didn't get much reading done, but what I did read I loved. A Christmas Courtship by Shelley Shepard Gray, a new-to-me author was lovely and Getting Real was really good, too! Love Andi Ardnt and Zachary Webber's narration!

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I borrowed an audio copy to continue the read-along hosted by Anne @Books of My Heart. I'm loving the story already!


I meant to post more, but I was just too tired. Love the Fall vibes from A Stranger in Town! 

How was your week?

Friday, November 12, 2021

Review: A Christmas Courtship by Shelley Shephard Gray


A Christmas Courtship (Berlin Bookmobile #3) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Publication Date: October 19th 2021 by Gallery Books
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads 

My Thoughts:
Atle, a forty-year-old bachelor, has admired Sadie Mast from afar for years, but she’d been off limits being married. Now a widower, mother of three, she asks Atle to build a room for her oldest son, Cale now that he’s older to give him so space and growing room, and Atle sees this as an opportunity to court Sadie if he can muster enough courage speak up and make his desires known.

Sadie feels bad that she’s had to rely on her teenage son, Cale, to help get the family by after the death of her husband, but now that she’s more steady she wants to make Cale’s Christmas gift extra special and give her son more room now that he’s getting older. Having the quiet and handsome Atle around is an unexpected joy.

There were two romances to love: Atle and Sadie and then Sadie’s son Cale and Hope, the daughter of his boss on the farm he works.  Atle is quiet and shy, so he asks Sarah Anne, the librarian running the bookmobile for some self-help books on romance, but Sarah Anne thinks Atle might have more success reading a couple of her favorite romances for advice. The novel ending up more inspirational to Atle, because if the couple in the book could somehow find love through all their unnecessary drama, then he for sure should be able to! The fictional book couple was kind of a mess, lol.

I just adored A Christmas Courtship so much! So heartwarming and sweet! I also loved the Atle and Sadie’s relationship with her kids. Sadie’s past husband left some emotional scars they all had to deal with, and I thought both Sadie and Atle dealt with it beautifully. I think I’ve only read one story featuring the Amish, but the premise of finding romantic help through a romance book appealed to me. Also, with life so messy and complicated having a story set in community where a simpler life is embraced sounded nice.  Now I’d like to go back and read the previous two romances.

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

In this endearing Christmas tale, a bookmobile librarian knows just the novel to help an Amish bachelor woo his next-door neighbor in the latest installment of the “charming” (Carla Laureano, RITA Award–winning author of Five Days in Skye) Berlin Bookmobile series.

A solitary sort, forty-two-year-old Atle Petersheim spends his time hard at work in his wood shop. But as the days get long, he realizes just how lonely he’s become. When his longtime crush, Sadie Mast, a widow and mother of three, asks him to help her build a room in their barn for her son Cale, Atle can’t say no. Eager to pursue Sadie at last, he turns to bookmobile librarian Sarah Anne Miller for courting advice. More than happy to help, Sarah Anne decides the best way to learn about love is through books—romance novels to be precise.

Between completing holiday orders for her flourishing food business, helping Cale navigate a dramatic new relationship with his boss’s daughter, and coming to terms with the trauma her late husband had inflicted upon her and her children—not to mention Atle showing up at her door with flowers—Sadie is in over her head. Though Atle’s efforts are initially clumsy and his declarations a bit awkward, Sadie can’t help but be charmed by him. He’s patient and kind...and at times even seems to know far more about romance than he’s let on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Review: Hate Me Under the Mistletoe by Kelly Jamieson


Hate Me Under the Mistletoe (Romancing the Rink #1) by Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: October 26th 2021 by Garland Grove Books
Pages: 180  
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
Amy Heller is having one hell of a time. Finding out about betrayal both on a professional and personal level makes being festive impossible. When a friend offers a secluded cabin in the woods to decompress and nurse her wounds, Amy jumps at the chance. Alone time with wine, books, and bubble baths, away from holiday cheer sounds perfect. Unfortunately, a miscommunication has someone else showing up at a most awkward moment. And more unfortunately, it’s the man who broke her heart at sixteen. Looks like she’ll have to deal with it, though, since a nasty storm makes it impossible for to leave.

Ryder has been focused on his business for the last few years putting his personal life and family on the backburner. Finally with his business thriving he’s set to take some down time, first at a remote cabin, then traveling to meet up with his family for Christmas. He loves spending time with his family on Christmas, they have so many lovely traditions (who doesn’t love an ugly sweater competition?!!) in a Winter Wonderland small town, but first he’s looking forward to unplugging and relaxing for a few days.

Hate Me Under the Mistletoe was so much fun! I do enjoy a good enemies-to-lovers romance and I could totally understand why Amy was less than pleased with the situation when Ryan showed up. Not only did she want to be alone without any reminder of holiday festivities, but she especially didn’t want to spend it with her teenage crush she felt humiliated her.

Ryan was a complete sweetheart and didn’t realize how his action impacted Amy. Even before they cleared things up it was hard for Amy to hold her grudge, because he was such a good guy. I loved that these two got stuck together. They needed the escape and the forced time together to sort things out. Cooking together, snowball fights and board games made for fun times that made me smile.

Amy and Ryan had major chemistry and tension, even when Amy was being prickly, and things were super steamy! Hate Me Under the Mistletoe is the perfect short, sweet, and hot romance making me yearn for my own Winter Wonderland respite with family, friends, and love! 

4 Stars

Book Description:

What happens under the mistletoe stays under the mistletoe…

Amy’s life isn’t living up to the famous Heller family brand—her love life and her career—and she just wants to be alone for Christmas. So she takes off to a friend’s secluded mountain cabin. Ho fu*king ho.

Ryder’s workaholic tendencies have made him super successful in his business, but he hasn’t spent time with family for years. That’s all he wants this Christmas, plus a little down time at a cabin in the mountains. He loves Christmas and can’t wait for the family ugly sweater contest!

When Ryder walks in on Amy at an “awkward” moment, she can’t believe the man she’s hated since she was sixteen has shown up here. He has to leave. But Mother Nature has other ideas when a blizzard shuts down the entire region...

Amy thinks a good place for Ryder’s Christmas cheer is up his ass. Ryder thinks Amy’s grown up into a smokin’ hot babe. Christmas is all about giving, and he’s got a really big package for Amy. Maybe naughty is the new nice...