Saturday, April 30, 2022

Blog Tour Review: The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan


The Wrong Victim (Quinn & Costa #3) by Allison Brennan
Publication Date: April 26th 2022 by MIRA
Pages: 464
Source: Publisher 
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
Kara Quinn and Matt Costa are investigating a bombing on a boat that killed nine people in Friday Harbor, one of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle. There is no shortage of suspects: the younger wife of a wealthy businessman, an environmental group unhappy with the boating group, and someone from the pilot, a retired FBI agent who was looking into a cold case.

I’m a big fan of Kara and her methods. Her ability to read people and her gut instincts are impressive and she didn’t take unnecessary risks.  I’m rooting for her romance with the team leader, Matt Costa, but they have some hurdles to overcome for things to work out long term. This time around they have Catherine Jones, an FBI forensic psychiatrist joining them on the case. Right away Kara and Catherine clash, with Catherine judging her as reckless and full of herself and she questions Kara’s judgments and actions. I was not a fan of Catherine at all. She seemed to make it her mission to create doubt about Kara and so I was happy to see Kara proved right over and over. Since Catherine has a past with Matt being he dated her sister, Catherine also created a bit of friction between Kara and Matt. I’m happy Matt didn’t let it get out of hand.

The Wrong Victim was an engrossing mystery/crime procedural, one that hooked my attention right away, leading up to an exciting conclusion that had me zipping through the pages to find out how it all turned out! I loved the Pacific Northwest setting, it’s such a beautiful area!

This is the third in the Quinn and Costa series, but I think it would work as a standalone in a pinch. However, I’d recommend starting from the beginning to appreciate the developing relationships. That’s no hardship since every installment is excellent! It’s hard to go wrong with Allison Brennan.

4.5 Stars


A bomb explodes on a sunset charter cruise out of Friday Harbor at the height of tourist season and kills everyone on board. Now this fishing and boating community is in shock and asking who would commit such a heinous crime—the largest act of mass murder in the history of the San Juan Islands.

Was the explosion an act of domestic terrorism, or was one of the dead the primary target? That is the first question Special Agent Matt Costa, Detective Kara Quinn, and the rest of the FBI team need to answer, but they have few clues and no witnesses.

Accused of putting profits before people after leaking fuel endangered an environmentally sensitive preserve, the West End Charter company may itself have been the target. As Matt and his team get closer to answers, they find one of their own caught in the crosshairs of a determined killer.

Q&A with Allison Brennan

1.What type of research do you do when thinking of and writing your novel? The Wrong Victim uses both the FBI and local police department, do you speak with individuals who actually work in these fields?

I love research. It started long before I published my first book — I read true crime, watched true crime documentaries, read about current events. Once I was published, I found experts willing to talk to me! In 2008, I participated in the FBI Citizens Academy, and to this day the Public Information Officer (now retired) is happy to answer my questions. I’ve toured Quantico, visited the morgue (twice!) and viewed an autopsy, been on several ride-alongs with local police and sheriff, and have several people across all areas of law enforcement to ask questions. In fact, my oldest daughter is now a police officer, and she’s working on getting me a ride along in a specific precinct where I plan to set a future book. She also connected me with a K-9 officer when I was writing a short story about a retired K-9.

For THE WRONG VICTIM, I reached out to a writer friend of mine who is a retired ATF agent — he was instrumental in helping me with the explosives. 

I write fiction and take a lot of liberties with the information I learn. However, I want to be as realistic as possible. To me, as long as what I’m writing is plausible, then I’ll go with it. I write to entertain first and foremost, and sometimes too many forensic details or investigative facts can slow down a story. I’m always seeking to find the right balance.

2. How do you decide where to base your story? This book is based in the San Juan islands and I know Matt Costa’s special team travels.

The premise of the Quinn & Costa mobile response team series is that they are a well-trained group of FBI agents who travel to small, rural, and underserved communities — places where local police may not have the resources to handle a complex investigation such as a serial killer or, in the case of THE WRONG VICTIM, an explosion. So I look for places where setting fits the story. For this book, I had the idea first — a charter boat explodes, who was the intended victim? So that told me I needed a remote, water-based community and looked on a map. The San Juan Islands immediately drew me in, and after reading about the area, I quickly made the decision. I had planned to visit before I wrote the book, but alas, 2020 was not a year for travel, and so I relied on interviews and the internet for information.

3. Do you travel or visit the places you write about first?

If I can, but unfortunately, sometimes that isn’t possible. That’s when research and interviews come in handy!

One of my earlier books, I thought I had researched very well — even talking to people who lived in the region (Seattle) and looking extensively on maps. But I made a mistake about how to get from Point A to Point B and a reader pointed it out. Now I take much more care in making sure I get these details right if I’m writing about a place I don’t know well. 

I had wanted to visit the San Juan Islands before writing THE WRONG VICTIM — not just for the book, but because I’d always wanted to go there. Unfortunately, 2020 happened and that wasn’t possible. The book I recently finished writing, the currently untitled fourth Quinn & Costa book, takes place in the bayou in Louisiana. I’ve been to Louisiana many times, and my best friend lives there. While I created a fictional town, I drew upon my personal knowledge and the help of my bestie!

4. How did you come up with your idea for a loaned LA officer who cannot return due to her undercover work?

When I was writing the first Quinn & Costa book, Kara Quinn — the Los Angeles detective on leave — wasn’t going to be a series character. She was going to be a catalyst of sorts for Matt Costa, the team leader. So creating her character, I thought it would be fun to have her as an undercover detective, someone has a unique skill set that would be valuable in Matt’s current investigation.

Well, by the time I finished writing the book, I knew Kara had to return. I just loved her character and felt she had the most growth to do in the series, plus would provide a different perspective to the crimes because of her background. I didn’t know even after I finished writing the book how or why she was going to be on loan to the FBI, I had to sit on that for a few days until I worked out something that made sense to me. 

5. How do you decide which books become a series versus a stand alone story?

This is a great question!

For me, all stories — stand alone or series — start with character. Without compelling, interesting, and complex characters, the story falls flat.

In a series, the characters must be interesting enough that readers will want to revisit them and see them in different situations. This is why police procedurals and amateur sleuths truly lend themselves to series books. You like the world, the characters, how they grow over time and want to revisit them over and over and see what’s going on in that world. The same way, I think, television viewers like favorite shows. The plots are interesting and often twisty, but readers (or viewers) really return to find out what happens to the people we’ve grown to love and hate and worry about. 

So when I have an idea that is predominately character based — a team of FBI agents, for example — I focus on making those people as real and authentic as possible with an eye toward how they are going to grow and develop over multiple stories. I still want to have a strong plot — so I put them in situations or solving cases that are dangerous or interesting. By the end of the book, I want my characters to learn something about the team or themselves, to grow in some way, however small it might be. I want the series books to stand alone — so new readers can find the books in the middle of the series — while also giving regular readers a character growth arc from book to book.

For a stand alone, while characters are ALWAYS going to be important, they are there for one story only. They need to have a complete character arc from beginning to end so that the reader is fully satisfied at the story conclusion. Plot is important in both types of stories, but in a stand alone the situation/plot provides a stronger framework and backbone than in a series. There is often a universal theme that resonates, that is in some ways bigger than the story itself. Stand alones, at least for me, are about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances — so readers wouldn’t expect those characters to return in a different story.


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.

Connect with Allison Brennan:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Friday, April 29, 2022

Blog Tour Review with Giveaway! Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend by Penny Reid


Ten Trends to Seduce Your Best Friend Penny Reid
Publication Date: April 12th 2022 by Cipher-Naught
Pages: 553
Source: Publicist
Links: Amazon | Nook | Kobo | Apple | Goodreads 

My Thoughts:
Winnie is a public-school science teacher with a side gig of posting STEM educational videos on social media, neither paying much money and so she’s barely able to make a dent in her student loans. A job as a community manager that pays influencers who already have STEM social media accounts sounds like the perfect opportunity, but she needs more followers to be considered. Expanding her content to include things like beauty tutorials, and romance challenges seems like the best way to capture a bigger audience. But she needs a partner to act the romantic challenges out. Enter broody, moody Byron Visser, more of an acquaintance than friend in Winnie’s opinion, but he’s a hugely popular novelist, even more sought after because of his eschewing of all social media.  When he agrees to help Winnie out, she’s shocked and not sure it’ll work since she barely likes him, but they have wild chemistry!

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend was such a fun grump vs. sunshine romance! Winnie misunderstood Byron at the beginning, not knowing his personality differences so she assumed he was just being a jerk with his blunt honesty. Their banter and interactions had me cracking up! I loved the slow burn of their romance, the heady moments of sexual tension and then the satisfaction of seeing these two finally clue in! So, so good! I loved every minute!

5 Stars


“This is the video from yesterday.” My stomach did a weird thing at the sight of him, and the sight of me crawling on all fours toward him, and what came after. I blinked away from the replay, before the part where I’d forgotten we were being filmed. “Why would I be mad at you about this? I knew you were filming.”

“Look harder.”

My forehead wrinkled, giving my attention back to her phone. I didn’t know what she wanted me to see, but now the video was repeating and—

“OH MY GOD!” I grabbed the phone. “This—this is—”

“Shh! Yes.” Now Amelia looked around, presumably to make certain none of the Seattleites surrounding us felt a disturbance in the politeness force. “Yes. I recorded it live. I’m so, so, so sorry.”

I leaned forward. “So that means it’s been—”

“Posted since last night. That’s right.” She covered her face again, groaning. “I’m so sorry.”

My eyes caught on the number of views, and I stood from the table, my chair scraping noisily on the linoleum. “ONE MILLION VIEWS?”

“Sorry!” she whispered loudly to someone at a nearby table. “We’ll just—we’re leaving.” Amelia grabbed my laptop and notebook and tilted her head toward the exit. “Time to go, and it was one point three the last time I checked. Now get your bag.”

Numbly, I lowered her phone and grabbed for my backpack and coat, fumbling with the strap. My fingers didn’t seem to work. She walked around the table and placed a hand on my back, helping to usher me out of the quiet area and waiting until we were standing in the hall to say, “I’m so sorry. It was an accident.”

“I can’t . . .” I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak. One point three million views. What must Byron think? “Oh crap,” I whispered, my gaze swinging around the interior of the library, unable to settle. “What about Byron? Does he know? How is he going to feel about this?”

“I don’t know if he knows. I’ve been trying to call him all morning. He won’t pick up his phone, and I’m frankly a little scared to leave a voice mail. Since he’s not on social media, he might not know.” Stuffing my laptop and notebook into my backpack, Amelia put the strap on my shoulder and took her cell phone from where I still gripped it.

I immediately covered my face like I could hide from this. My cheeks were hot. As much time as I’d spent this morning coming to terms with Jeff’s decisions last night, I’d spent ZERO seconds thinking about my ridiculous reaction to Byron’s performance. I wouldn’t allow myself to think about it. What was the point? He’d been pretending, acting, playing a part, and—as per usual—I’d left the interaction feeling like a fool.

“We have to delete it,” I rasped, my mouth dry, my brain on fire. “Before he sees it and finds out, we have to delete it.”

“No! No. Don’t do that.” She pressed the phone to her chest.

“What? Why not?”

“Think for a second.” She pushed me toward the elevator. “If you delete it, it might become a whole thing. He’s a famous guy who millions of people are starving to know more about. He has no social media and suddenly he’s on TikTok with you? And this isn’t like your lab video from Friday, this is you two together, acting like you’re close friends crushing on each other. We need to call him—together—and tell him. But first we need him to answer his damn phone.” Amelia nodded at her own assertion while stabbing the elevator call button with her index finger.

“Call him? You want to call him together?” Oh God. I didn’t want to call him. I never wanted to talk to him again. “You don’t think he’ll want us to take it down ASAP? Like you said, millions of people want to know about him. Don’t you think he’ll view this as an invasion of privacy?”


“Maybe?” I flinched back. “I think you mean, most certainly yes.”

“No.” She pulled me by the arm into the elevator and pressed all the right buttons. “We should call him, leave a voice mail together where we tell him exactly what happened, and ask what he wants to do about it. If you take it down, it might create more difficulty for him than if you left it up and let it run its course.”

I covered my face again, leaning against the wall for support. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Hey, on the bright side, you have over ten thousand new followers. That’s . . . something.”

I groaned. I would’ve given up every single one of my new followers if it would’ve somehow undone the posting of that video. What a nightmare. 

About the book:

Winnifred Gobaldi and Byron Visser are not best friends.

Yes, they’ve known each other for years, but they’re not even friendly. Winnie considers them more like casual, distant acquaintances who find each other barely tolerable, especially when he's being condescending (which is all the time).

The truth is, they have nothing in common. She’s a public school science teacher with stars in her eyes, and he’s a pretentious, joyless double PhD turned world-famous bestselling fiction author. She loves sharing her passion for promulgating women in STEM careers and building community via social media, and he eschews all socialization, virtual or otherwise. She’s looking for a side hustle to help pay down a mountain of student debt, and his financial portfolio is the stuff of fiduciary wet dreams. So why are they faking a #bestfriend relationship for millions of online spectators?

When a simple case of tit-for-tat trends between nonfriends leads to a wholly unexpected kind of pretend, nothing is simple. Sometimes, it takes a public audience to reveal the truth of private feelings, and rarely—very rarely—you should believe what you see online.

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend is a full-length, complete standalone, adult contemporary romantic comedy.

Fall in love today!

To celebrate the release of Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend, Penny has an incredible GIVEAWAY! 

Enter now for a chance to win a bundle of incredible signed books>>>

About the author:

Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she writes kissing books. Penny is an obsessive knitter and manages the #OwnVoices-focused mentorship incubator / publishing imprint, Smartypants Romance. She lives in Seattle Washington with her husband, three kids, and dog named Hazel.

Connect with Penny Reid:

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Review: A Perilous Perspective by Anna Lee Huber


A Perilous Perspective (Lady Darby #10) by Anna Lee Huber
Publication Date: April 19th 2022 by Berkley
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher 

My Thoughts:
Lady Darby is one of my favorite historical mystery series. I binged through the first eight books in 2020.  When we first meet Lady Kiera Darby at the beginning of the series, she is an infamous woman, shunned by society when they found out her late husband had her sketch the dead bodies he dissected for an anatomy journal he planned on publishing. At the time fresh bodies were hard to come by, not many would donate their body to science for this purpose, so medical colleges and people like Sir Darby resorted to buying corpses from questionable sources. It was later found out that some of these suppliers not only robbed fresh graves, but also murdered people to sell as dead medical subjects. Kiera had no knowledge of this, and even if she did there wasn’t much she could’ve done about it since her husband threatened her to comply or else. He was an awful man, as we learn from Kiera’s memories, and so I was thrilled he died before we’re introduced to her.

This unwanted, unsolicited knowledge of anatomy as well as Kiera’s superb deductive skills have made her an excellent partner to Gage as in inquiry agent tasked to solve murders or other crimes. 

We’re now on book ten in the series, so there are bound to be spoilers if you read on.

Kiera and Gage, along with their three-month old daughter, Emma, are in Argyll, Scotland to attend Lady Charlotte’s wedding to Kiera’s cousin, Rye. Kiera’s overjoyed at the match and it’s evident that both her and Gage are besotted with their daughter. Things start off well until Kiera notices that a couple of the paintings in the Marquess of Barbreck’s great hall are forgeries. Barbreck doesn’t take kindly to the revelation, sparking an uproar, unearthing old dramas and finally leading to murder.

Half of the appeal of this series is the relationship between Kiera and Gage! It wasn’t all smooth sailing at the beginning, but it’s a pleasure to see them so in love now with each other and reveling in the love they share for their daughter. Emma sounded so adorable! Ms. Huber vividly captured that intense love you feel for your child, especially when they’re a baby.

There was an interesting revelation about Kiera’s mother that shocked and unsettled her. Bree and Anderly continue to dance around their feelings for each other, even though it’s obvious they still care.

The mystery was methodically investigated, a historical crime procedural, if you will.  It wrapped up nicely but set things up to jump right into the next one and I can’t wait!

4 Stars

Book Description:
Argyll, Scotland. July 1832. After a trying few months in Edinburgh, Kiera and her husband and investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, are eager to escape to the Highlands with their three-month-old child. Kiera is overjoyed for her cousin Rye and her detractor-turned-friend Charlotte who are being wed in a private ceremony at the estate of Rye’s great-uncle, the Marquess of Barbreck, in what seems to be the perfect wedding party.

But when Kiera is invited to peruse Barbreck’s extensive art collection, she is disturbed to discover that one of his most priceless paintings seems to be a forgery. The marquess’s furious reaction when she dares to mention it leaves her shaken and the entire house shocked. For it turns out that this is not the first time the word forgery has been uttered in connection with the Barbreck household.

Matters turn more ominous when a maid from a neighboring estate is found murdered where the forged painting hangs. Is her death connected to the forgeries, perhaps a grisly warning of what awaits those who dare to probe deeper? With unknown entities aligned against them, Kiera and Gage are forced to confront the fact that they may have underestimated their opponent. For they are swiftly made to realize that Charlotte’s and Rye’s future happiness is not the only issue at stake, and this stealthy game of cat and mouse could prove to have deadly consequences.

Photo credit: Shanon Aycock

About the author:

Anna Lee Huber is the Daphne Award–winning author of the national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries and the Verity Kent Mysteries. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She currently resides with her family and is hard at work on her next novel.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sunday Post #161


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.

The last time I did a Sunday Post was April 3rd! It feels like forever, but I hardly had time to post the reviews I was committed to with moving out of house and moving to two apartments, one down south (until I transfer job positions), and one up north where we've brought our cat (super fun car ride *not*). Our house officially sold on Friday (yay!) and I interviewed for a job up in Northern California on Friday and got it! It's for the same company that owns the hospital that I work for in Southern California so it would be easier if I accept the position. We'll see what they offer comes out to. I may apply to other hospitals if the difference is substantial. It's only a fifteen minute drive from where I am so that's amazing. I'm used to driving an hour each way. Plus, the whole drive is gorgeous. Now the search for a new house begins! 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Considering this is for the last three weeks I didn't read a lot. I've been buying the audios just to keep up with my review books. Easier to get them done when I had to pack and move. 

Purchased/Received/Library Lend:

The Magnolia Palace was my Book of the Month choice in January (?) so I requested the audio at my library. Love both Roni Loren and Karen Rose so I was happy I got approval (which has been hit and miss lately) for them on Netgalley.


My sister has an ADU (additional living unit) at her house that she's kindly letting us use while we house shop in Northern California. We're looking in an area about 15 minutes north, but she lives in a golf/lake community so we went walking down by the lake and around the neighborhood. It was such a gorgeous day!

How was your week?

Monday, April 18, 2022

Review: The No-Show by Beth O'Leary


The No-Show by Beth O'Leary
Publication Date: April 12th 2022 by Berkley
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher & Purchased Audiobook
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Joseph Carter and three women are at the center of this story. That sounds complicated, right? Keep an open mind because not all is how it seems.

Siobhan is a no-strings kind of girl after being burned in the past, but deep down is she really? Joseph Carter has burrowed under her skin. They have a passionate relationship, but in a panic, Siobhan breaks it off. Their connection was intense and palpable!

Miranda and Joseph have been seeing each other, and Miranda is over the moon for him, or at least thinks she should be, but something about their relationship niggles at her. She can’t get over the feeling that he’s holding something back from her. I felt like their romance was never quite right, especially with AJ, her co-worker in the picture. Just as at side note, I thought Miranda’s job as a tree trimmer was pretty bad ass, and I thought her twin sisters, Adele and Frannie were a hoot!

Jane is very reserved and cautious, but somehow Joseph has managed to befriend her and their meetups discussing books and whatever soon turn into more for Jane. It’s obvious that something was brewing between these two and I have to say this was my favorite storyline. I adored Jane! It’s evident she’s been through a trauma of some sort. Feeling a bit broken she didn’t push Joseph when it was obvious that he was a little broken, too. I appreciated that Jane grew a lot apart from Joseph, made important friendships that helped her in her journey. I loved that Jane felt it important to be supportive and there for her friends, as well!

The No-Show was an emotional and heartbreaking story, but it was oh-so-lovely, too! An original way of writing a romance that was a bit misleading at the beginning. Like I said keep an open mind and enjoy this beautiful journey! My heart soared upon finishing! I loved how it all turned out!

5 Stars

About the book:

Three women who seemingly have nothing in common find that they're involved with the same man in this smart new rom-com by Beth O'Leary, bestselling author of The Flatshare.

Siobhan is a quick-tempered life coach with way too much on her plate. Miranda is a tree surgeon used to being treated as just one of the guys on the job. Jane is a soft-spoken volunteer for the local charity shop with zero sense of self-worth.

These three women are strangers who have only one thing in common: They've all been stood up on the same day, the very worst day to be stood up--Valentine's Day. And, unbeknownst to them, they've all been stood up by the same man.

Once they've each forgiven him for standing them up, they let him back into their lives and are in serious danger of falling in love with a man who seems to have not just one or two but three women on the go....

Is there more to him than meets the eye? And will they each untangle the truth before they all get their hearts broken?

Blog Tour Spotlight & Excerpt: Summer at the Cape by RaeAnne Thayne

Hello there! I've been MIA for the last week since moving is kicking my butt and looking at other houses is has scrambled my brain, but I wanted to share the newest from a favorite author RaeAnne Thayne! I have an excerpt to share as well as details for the book:

Summer at the Cape by RaeAnne Thayne
Publication Date: April 12th 2022 by HQN
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher


Book Description:

Summer at the Cape is the fourth original hardcover from New York Times, USA TODAY, and Publisher's Weekly bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne. With the emotional pull of Debbie Macomber, Barbara Delinsky, and Susan Wiggs, RaeAnne tells the story of the Porter sisters, Cami and Violet, who come together to mourn the death of Violet's twin, Lily. Over the course of the summer, the sisters must make peace with each other and also individually with their free-spirited, outspoken, activist mother who left their father two decades earlier.

As the older sister to identical twins Violet and Lily, Cami Porter had always been the odd sister out. The breach became even stronger when her parents split up—while the twins stayed in Cape Sanctuary with their free-spirited activist mother, Rosemary, fourteen-year-old Cami moved to L.A. with her by-the-book attorney father, Ted. Nearly twenty years later, when Cami gets the tragic news that Lily has drowned saving a child, Cami returns to her childhood home—her mother and Violet need her.

About the author:

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful norhtern Utah mountains where she lives with her family.   Her stories have been described as "poignant and sweet" with "beautiful honest storytelling that goes straight to the heart."  She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

Connect with RaeAnne Thayne: