Friday, December 31, 2021

Blog Tour Review: The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan


The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan
Publication Date: December 28th 2021 by MIRA
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
Lucas Vega is hoping to uncover answers in the cold case of Candace Swain, a fellow college student murdered three years earlier. A homeless man was the main suspect, but Lucas has evidence that suggests otherwise. So far, he’s been railroaded by Candace’s sorority sisters and the Flagstaff Police, but he hopes with the help of Former US Marshall, Regan Meritt, he’ll be to get answers. Lucas has a personal stake in finding the truth, one he doesn’t want to share just yet.

I really liked Regan and Lucas and they made a good investigative team. I think a podcast, so popular right now, would be an excellent way to propel a cold case back into the spotlight. In this case it really got the attention of the community putting both Lucas and Regan in danger as they edge closer to the truth.

I’m a big fan of Allison Brennan’s mysteries and I’m always eager for her next release. Even though it was easy to guess at the identity of the killer I was sucked into the story eager to find out the motivations, what exactly happened and what the killer would do next!  Regan Meritt was a confident, interesting female lead, coping with a personal tragedy, back in her hometown regrouping.  She’s on leave with the US Marshal Department, and things were not all wrapped with her story. There was also a potential romance. I wonder if Ms. Brennan intends to continue her story in future books. I look forward to solving more mysteries with Regan if that’s the case!

4 Stars

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan's suspenseful new mass market original about a college senior's podcast that delves into an unsolved campus murder of a sorority girl three years earlier, as individual callers explode every fact previously thought to be true.

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found two weeks later, and the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the Medical Examiner's, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle, he just isn't sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace's last hours. He asks listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer, former US Marshal Regan Merritt, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace's secret life...a much darker picture than Lucas imagined—and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own dark secret. The pressure is to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast – before the killer silences him forever.

About the author:

ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets. The Sorority Murder is the first of a new mass market series,

Connect with Allison Brennan:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Favorites of 2021: Mystery/Thriller, Fantasy/UF & Historical

So many great reads this last year! Here are the rest of my favorites from 2021

(click on cover for Goodreads link)



How about you? Did you read and love any of these?

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Favorites of 2021: Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction

 Can't believe were at the end of 2021! For the next couple of days I'm featuring my favorite reads of 2021 starting with the Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction. 

I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader even though I'm not listing all of my 2021 favorites on this post.

Favorite Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction of 2021:

(click on cover for Goodreads link)

Are any of these on your list?

Monday, December 27, 2021

Review: Finding Paradise by Barbara Dunlop


Finding Paradise (Paradise, Alaska #2) by Barbara Dunlop
Publication Date: November 30th 2021 by Berkley
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Marnie is helping Mia (the heroine from the last book) organize the matchmaking trip for Los Angeles women tired of the local dating scene to the men in Paradise, Alaska. Marnie isn’t looking for a husband and is fond of city living so she wasn’t planning on going with the group. However, last minute the women push for her to come along seeing as she helped put everything together and before you know it Marnie’s in Alaska.

Conrad “Cobra” Stanton, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer for West Slope Aviation, isn’t buying into this matchmaking business and so plans to stay far away from all the dinners and activities. However, it’s hard to stay completely away in such a small town and Marnie catches his eye at every turn. Especially when she surprises him with skills he wouldn’t attribute to an LA lawyer.

I love the thought of leaving the big city behind and moving somewhere remote and beautiful, but this didn’t appeal to Marnie so she didn’t want to get into a romance, yet she couldn’t help her attraction to Cobra. They end up drawn to each other over and over. Attraction leads to lusty kisses and more, but neither want to give up their place in life.

Even though I hate the big city I could understand why Marnie wouldn’t just want to leave after working so hard to become a successful attorney. Especially after her past and all she had to overcome is revealed. Same with Cobra, he was doing what he loved in a beautiful, pristine place. Both were relatable situations.  This is a romance, though, so I knew they’d figure things out somehow. I like how they appreciated and supported each other, and I was eager for them to find a way to make their relationship permanent. Even though there were a couple of bumps in the road I enjoyed every minute!

I loved the time spent in Alaska, the activities sounded like a lot of fun and featured the best parts of being out in Alaska. At least, I think so! I’ve never been, but I’d like to go even more so after reading this story. A perfect romance for someone who craves an escape and a change of scenery!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Accomplished Los Angeles lawyer Marnie Anton has always been sensible, but when her friend Mia Westberg asks for help with a ridiculous matchmaking project, she can't say no. The idea of transporting city girls into the small town of Paradise, Alaska, is so crazy it just Against her best judgment, she tags along. Having grown up in a family of intimidating men, Marnie developed a preference for the urbane lawyers and clients in her life in LA. But when she meets a mountain of a buff Alaskan man with an intriguing snake tattoo, intimidated is definitely not the first thing she feels.

Conrad Cobra Stanford was skeptical of the matchmaking event from the start. Big-city women weren't adventurous, they were judgmental. They'd take one look at him and scorn his lifestyle, just like his first love did. Cobra planned to give the women a wide berth, but one of them won't be ignored. Marnie's everything that's wrong and everything that's right for him all at the same time. Just when he thinks he's got her pegged, she blindsides him with a startling past, falling into his arms and igniting his protective instincts and so much more....

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Audio Review: Widow Falls by Kiersten Modglin


Widow Falls by Kiersten Modglin
Publication Date: December 14th 2021 by Dreamscape Media
Pages: 307
Audio Book Length: 7 hrs 56 min
Narrator: Jess Nahikian
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads 

My Thoughts:
Sloane has taken a job at Widow Falls as a rapids guide needing a change after some painful events in her life. She’s a mid-season replacement to another guide, Landry, that went missing and the secrecy around her disappearance raises red flags. Odd living arrangements, shifty fellow guides and the missing girl’s journey makes Sloane suspicious of everyone’s motives. What happened to Landry and why is everyone so cagey about the circumstances? As Sloane reads more of Landry’s journal and compares it with the versions of “truth” given by her guide-mates, and things don’t add up.

I felt drawn in as if Sloane was telling her story directly to me, her discomfort in the living/working situation and immediate suspicions gave an edge to her story right away. Short, suspenseful chapters made it imperative to get through the story to find out what the heck was going on. I will say that after the buildup finding out what was going on was a bit of a letdown, and the ending was a little odd and confusing. Still, Widow Falls was a fast, entertaining listen.

I thought Jess Nahikian did a nice job conveying Sloane's distress and she did a wonderful job with both the male and female voices. 

3.5 Stars

Book Description:

The last girl went missing…
Someone doesn’t want her to be found.

When Sloane takes a job at the infamous whitewater rafting camp, Widow Falls, she quickly learns that the camp has a reputation for more than just summer fun.

People go missing at Widow Falls.

The guide she’s replacing was just one of many. As Sloane settles into her new home—a one-room apartment she’ll be sharing with the five other guides—she can’t help asking questions and digging into the disappearances she’s heard about. Her new roommates tell her stories of dark legends and dangerous folklore surrounding the secluded camp but assure her there’s nothing to worry about. It’s all just superstition.

When Sloane stumbles upon a clue and a secret message hidden beneath the floorboards of their loft, she begins to realize there may be more to the myths than she’s been told.

The message gets her attention: Don’t trust anyone at Widow Falls.

As she follows clues to better understand the missing guide she replaced, Sloane can’t help noticing the similarities between the two of them.

What happened to the other girl?
Why won’t the others help her search?
Are they all in danger?

Whatever’s happening at Widow Falls, it’s clear someone doesn’t want her digging into it. As the seams of her reality are torn apart, making her question everything she sees, feels, and believes, Sloane will have to uncover the truth about the camp—and its occupants—before someone else goes missing.

Because this time…it might be her.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Holly Jolly Holiday Tour & Spotlight: Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch by Maisey Yates

I love Maisey Yates' romances so I'm excited to share details Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch!

Rodeo Christmas at Evergreen Ranch (Gold Valley #13) by Maisey Yates
Publication Date: October 26th 2021 by HQN Books
Pages: 394

Book Summary:
Gold Valley’s rodeo champion is facing the toughest challenge of his life – a Christmas wedding!

Legendary bull-rider Jake Daniels has only one plan this holiday season – to ignore the pain it always brings. Until his best friend Callie Carson shows up on his ranch with a marriage proposal! Jake has lived so close to the edge it’s a miracle he’s still alive – he knows all about risk. But marrying the woman he craves more than anything feels like the biggest risk of all.

Callie Carson might be rodeo royalty, but to fulfil her dreams of riding saddle bronc, she needs her inheritance. And to access that, she needs a husband. But Jake the husband is deliciously different from Jake the friend, especially after the wild heat of their wedding night! He was only supposed to be her cowboy for Christmas, but Jake’s every heart-stopping touch has Callie questioning how she’ll ever be able to walk away…


About the author:

Maisey Yates is a New York Times bestselling author of over one hundred romance novels. Whether she's writing strong, hard working cowboys, dissolute princes or multigenerational family stories, she loves getting lost in fictional worlds. An avid knitter with a dangerous yarn addiction and an aversion to housework, Maisey lives with her husband and three kids in rural Oregon.

Connect with Maisey Yates:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Monday, December 20, 2021

Review: Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell


Autopsy (Well Met #25) by Patricia Cornwell
Publication Date: November 30th 2021 by William Morrow
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Kay Scarpetta is back in Virginia as Chief Medica Examiner in her old stomping grounds and I like the return to her roots. However, she’s left with a mess of an office with much of the staff still loyal to the previous Chief, Elvin Reddy, a slimy ladder climber, from Kay’s past. The office secretary, Maggie, undermines Kay’s every move, and seems to be plotting against her at every turn. It doesn’t help that Kay re-opens a past case that was categorized as an accidental death when details point to it being connected with a new murder. Adding to an already busy caseload is an investigation into the deaths of two astronauts in an outer space lab. A lot going on here.

 It’s been years since I picked up a Kay Scarpetta novel, but the series was a favorite long before Goodreads, so I was excited to hear there’d be a new Scarpetta novel. I really enjoyed catching up with an old favorite character, seeing her happy with Benton and all the gang back together again. Didn’t know that Marino married Kay’s sister. Not sure if that happened in one of the books I missed, but I was a bit surprised. I foresee a bumpy road there. Lucy’s had some sad blows personally, but professionally she’s doing well. Covid is part of the story as well, not that it’s a central focus, just that the characters are dealing with the pandemic like we all are in real life.

Got to the end and I thought maybe the story would be continued in another book because so many things were still up in the air. The overall plot threads were wrapped up (mostly) in the epilogue and it felt abrupt. The solution came out of nowhere with no breadcrumbs or foundation, IMO, and I think that’s the part that was most disappointing. I didn’t feel part of the process. Up until then, Autopsy was a solid 4 stars for me. I did feel like it set up for future books and I’m looking forward to Kay bringing the Medical Examiner’s office back into shape, helping bring criminals to justice.

3.5 Stars

Book Description:

Scarpetta is back! In this twenty-fifth in the electrifying, landmark #1 bestselling thriller series chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta hunts an ingenious killer who has mastered cutting-edge science for the most nefarious ends.

Forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta has returned to Virginia as the chief medical examiner. Finding herself the new girl in town once again after being away for many years, she’s inherited an overbearing secretary and a legacy of neglect and possible corruption.

She and her husband Benton Wesley, now a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service, have relocated to Old Town Alexandria where she’s headquartered five miles from the Pentagon in a post-pandemic world that’s been torn by civil and political unrest. Just weeks on the job, she’s called to a scene by railroad tracks where a woman’s body has been shockingly displayed, her throat cut down to the spine, and as Scarpetta begins to follow the trail, it leads unnervingly close to her own historic neighborhood.

At the same time, a catastrophe occurs in a top secret private laboratory in outer space, and at least two scientists aboard are found dead. Appointed to the highly classified Doomsday Commission that specializes in sensitive national security cases, Scarpetta is summoned to the White House Situation Room and tasked with finding out what happened. But even as she works the first crime scene in space remotely, an apparent serial killer strikes again. And this time, Scarpetta could be in greater danger than ever before.

In this latest novel in her groundbreaking Kay Scarpetta series, Patricia Cornwell captivates readers with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and forensic detail that she is famous for, proving once again why she’s the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Sunday Post #148


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.

Can't believe it's Christmas next week and the year is almost over! Another busy week at work, but the next couple of weeks I only work Monday-Wednesday. So happy.  Yesterday we traveled down to Orange County (about an 1.5 hours away) to meet up with a few of my husband's old work friends at a bar called Joe Jost's. It's a historical place, established in 1924, that's always busy. It was fun but boy I was tired after! Came home and took a two hour nap which I hardly ever do.

I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to embed excerpts as a window into blog posts, because the way I used to do it doesn't work anymore. I figured this out last week when I went to add an excerpt in. It was late so I just left it out because no one wants to scroll down a post for days to get to the end! I finally got it and so I set up four future posts. I've been on the computer all day trying to organize posts ahead of time since I'll be busy in the next few weeks. 


Started the Orphan X (on audio) series with my husband last Sunday on our way home from my daughter's and finished it on our trip back and forth to the bar yesterday. It was really good! Sleigh Bells Ring was one of those comfort reads that reminded me of a Hallmark Holiday Movie. Loved Homecoming King

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Rancher's Forgotten Rival and An Operative's Last Stand are both fairly short books and are part of upcoming tours I joined. I've enjoyed both authors in the past. Homecoming King was a last minute arrival. 


Love this cover so much! It might be my favorite cover of the season!

How was your week?

Friday, December 17, 2021

Holly Jolly Holiday Tour! Review: Sleigh Bells Ring by RaeAnne Thayne


Sleigh Bells Ring by RaeAnneThayne
Publication Date: October 26th 2021 by HQN Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
Annelise McCade is back at Angel's View Ranch after a decade away, hired in as caretaker. She’s moved back to Wyoming to help her widowed brother after a series of bad choices lands him in jail with no one to care for his six-year-old twins. It doesn’t seem like a problem to have the twins stay with her at the sprawling ranch since the Sheridan’s rarely visit. However, with the passing of Wallace, the Sheridan’s patriarch, and they all descend with plans to scatter his ashes at the place he loved most.

Without advance warning of the family’s visit there’s no time to hire in more help and so Annelise and Tate Sheridan, her childhood crush and new Sheridan leader, band together to accommodate and care for his extended family.  Tate, Annelise and the twins scramble to turn Angel's View Ranch into a welcoming Christmas getaway to ease some of the grief they all feel with Wallace’s death. Annelise as a young girl crushed on Tate when he’d come visit over the Summers while growing up, and those feelings come back stronger than ever as they work together. 

Tate and his family endured the loss of his father in a horseback riding accident on the Ranch years back. Visiting brought back all the grief, so Tate, his sister and mother just stopped visiting. Coming back for his grandfather’s service gives his family a chance to face the past, heal wounds and overcome the guilt they’ve felt. Having Annelise’s help and support is everything and Tate’s finds himself falling for her a little more with every moment they spend together.

Sleigh Bells Ring was a heartwarming story with not one, but two romances! Annelise’s twin niece and nephew were adorable, and there were plenty of winter wonderland activities that filled me with joy! While there is romance, I feel like there was a lot more going on. I enjoyed the imperfect journey of all the characters. Healing after guilt and grief with the support of family and friends was a central focus making for an uplifting, lovely holiday story! Definite Hallmark Movie vibes here!

4 Stars

Book Description:

None of the Sheridan family members has visited the gorgeous Angel's View Ranch in the entire thirty months Annie McCade has been the caretaker of the property, and she has no reason to believe this holiday season will be any different. After all, why would they visit? Annie knows Wallace Sheridan, the family patriarch who hired her, loved it here but no one else in the family did. They couldn't face their dark memories of the place. Annie certainly understands their pain--when, as a child, she lived on the ranch, she saw a young and frantic Tate Sheridan come galloping out of the mountains,, looking for help for his severely injured father, who would later die from massive injuries. Since then,with the exception of Wallace, the whole remaining family couldn't get away fast enough.

And actually, Annie is grateful to have the place to herself--her ne'er-do-well brother got himself thrown in jail over the holidays, and she took temporary custody of her little niece and nephew for Christmas. Until Tate shows up and she unexpectedly hits him square in the face with a snowball! She worries that she is about to get fired, but Tate, after confronting the ghosts of his past, realizes he wants Annie to stay. His big family and their entourage are arriving the next day, and he can't manage them--and the big, echoing ranch house--without her.

So Tate has a brilliant idea. He tells her she and the kids can stay, through the holidays at least--if she agrees to pretend to be his long-lost love, to keep his busybody matchmaking grandmother off his back.

Annie is at first outraged by the suggestions and then intrigued. How hard could it be to pretend she and Tate have fallen for each other? He's gorgeous, after all--and some part of her heart had never forgotten their long-ago friendship. The trick, she realizes, will be convincing her heart during the magical holiday season that it's only make believe.

Author Bio:
RaeAnne Thayne is the #1 Publishers Weekly, New York Times, and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than sixty books. Her books have been described as "poignant and sweet," with "beautiful, honest storytelling that goes straight to the heart." She finds inspiration from the beautiful northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her family.

Connect with RaeAnne Thayne: