Saturday, September 23, 2023

Sunday Post #223


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. I'm also linking up to The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance @Readerbuzz.

I'm currently in the Texas Hill Country, in a suburb of Austin visiting with my daughter, grandkids and SIL We flew out Thursday and are flying back tomorrow (Sunday). We've had a good time, visited as a "special person" at the kid's school. They had a visit day where we toured their art, music and PE class and got a slice of their day at school for each of them. The school was new and beautiful and it seemed like a good place to learn. 

It's been hot here, but I guess 10-15 degrees cooler than the week before. We'll be coming home to 70-75 degree weather at home where fall is in full swing.

Some hydrangeas from the garden I cut to hang up and dry.

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Had a lot going on with work and then preparing for our trip to Austin so all I managed was two book. Both a win!

Burning Justice- 4 Stars

Received/Purchased/Library Lend

Thank you to Berkley and Canary Street Press for the e-copies!


How was your week?

Blog Tour Review: The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan


The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan
Publication Date: September 19th 2023 by Canary Street Press
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher 
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
The Book Club Hotel centers on four women, all at a pivotal time, each of their lives intersecting at the Maple Sugar Inn in Vermont.

Twenty-eight-year-old Hattie is running the Maple Sugar Inn by herself and barely getting by. It was her late husband’s dream to renovate and run the beautiful Vermont inn, but with his tragic death, Hattie feels like she’s drowning while trying to raise their five-year-old daughter on her own.

Erica, Claudia, and Anna, best friends since college, have their yearly vacation book club meeting and Erica has chosen the Maple Sugar Inn as their meet up. This is very unlike Erica, who usually wants a 5-star hotel, not a quaint, picturesque inn, but there’s more to that story.

Anna’s eighteen-year-old twins are gearing up to go to college and she’s so very sad, already missing them. She’s been a stay-at-home mom so she’s not sure what’s next.
Claudia not only parted from her boyfriend of ten years, but she’s also just been laid off. Since then, she hasn’t wanted to look at a recipe, much less find another job as a chef.

The Book Club Hotel was so lovely and heartwarming! When Hattie, Erica, Anna, and Claudia meet up, each are struggling a bit, and I felt for each character!  I was moved to see them help and support each other. There’s a bit of romance for three of the four characters as well, which was just icing on the cake for me. The Maple Sugar Inn sounded like a dreamy winter wonderland, a magical place to sort out troubles!

I also thought it was fun they were reading a Catherine Swift novel for their book club, since she was one of the main characters in Morgan’s previous book, The Island Villa.

I look forward to every new Sarah Morgan book and The Book Club Hotel didn’t disappoint! It was an uplifting story that filled my heart with joy! A definite recommend!

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

This Christmas, USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with another heartfelt exploration of change, the power of books to heal, and the enduring strength of female friendship. Perfect for fans of Emily Henry and Jennifer Weiner.

With its historic charm and picture-perfect library, the Maple Sugar Inn is considered the winter destination. As the holidays approach, the inn is fully booked with guests looking for their dream vacation. But widowed far too young, and exhausted from juggling the hotel with being a dedicated single mom, Hattie Coleman dreams only of making it through the festive season.

But when Erica, Claudia and Anna—lifelong friends who seem to have it all—check in for a girlfriends’ book club holiday, it changes everything. Their close friendship and shared love of books have carried them through life's ups and downs. But Hattie can see they're also packing some major emotional baggage, and nothing prepares her for how deeply her own story is about to become entwined in theirs.

In the span of a week over the most enchanting time of the year, can these four women come together to improve each other’s lives and make this the start of a whole new chapter?

Photo Credit: Ev Sekkides

Author Bio: 

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes lively, sexy contemporary stories for Harlequin.

Romantic Times has described her as 'a magician with words' and nominated her books for their Reviewer's Choice Awards and their 'Top Pick' slot. In 2012 Sarah received the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. She lives near London with her family. 

Find out more at

Connect with Sarah Morgan:

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Review: Closer to You by Jill Sanders


Closer to You (Haven, Montana #1) by Jill Sanders
Publication Date: September 12th 2023 by Montlake Romance 
Pages: 283
Source: Author/Kindle Unlimited

My Thoughts:
Kristen is in Haven, Montana to convince the McGowan’s to sell their oil business. She’s worked tirelessly for JB Holdings and this deal should be the advance she’s been striving for. However, as she stays and works with Tyler and his family, Kristen starts to wonder why her company is so dead set on acquiring the McGowan’s business. As Kristen digs deeper into the puzzle, she and Tyler get closer and she starts to yearn for a more meaningful life, in this small, beautiful town.

Tyler McGowan never expected to be running his family’s business, but the tragic death of his father has him stepping into the role. He’s proud of the business and has no intention of selling out, but JB Holdings is persistent. Kristen should be the enemy, but at every turn she helps them out. Yes, she’s gorgeous, but there’s a good person underneath the designer clothes and business drive.

I enjoy a good fish-out-of-water kind of story and city-girl, Kristen was definitely out of her element in the small town of Haven, Montana. I loved seeing her priorities shift from corporate ladder climber/fashionista to appreciating the more important things in life as she stayed in Haven.

Kristen and Tyler are immediately attracted physically with lots of chemistry. I do wish they would’ve admitted the depth of their true feelings earlier, but I get that insecurities held them back.

The whole mystery surrounding the sabotage, destruction and then threat to Kristen added an extra layer of excitement to the story. One that kept me turning the pages! Some of it was resolved, but some aspects were not. I’m guessing it will be an ongoing story arc in the series.

I’m looking forward to the next one!

4 Stars

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Sanders strikes gold with a sizzling series about oil-rich playboys whose hearts are up for grabs.

No one’s more surprised than Tyler McGowan when he discovers he has a knack for running the family’s oil business—a role he took on after his father’s sudden passing. Now, to keep the old man’s legacy afloat, Tyler’s giving up his playboy ways and settling into small-town life. But his newfound resolve is tested when trouble strides into his office in five-inch heels.

Kristen Howell has spent the last five years working her way up the corporate ladder. And somehow it’s landed her smack-dab in the middle of nowhere: Haven, Montana. It’s her job to convince the head of McGowan Enterprises to sell. But the tall and rangy hunk is proving to be exceedingly stubborn—and overwhelmingly hot. When someone attempts to derail her negotiations, Kristen is ready to get down and dirty. But the sparks she and Tyler are throwing near the oil field may be dangerously combustible…


Monday, September 18, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall 2023 TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bookish folk to share their lists on that topic. 

This week Books on My Fall 2023 TBR:

(Click on cover for Goodread link)

I love her romantic suspense/police procedurals! The perfect combo of advanced police procedure, exciting fast-paced mystery and lusty romance. I'm looking forward to this stand alone!

I finally broke down and listened to Fourth Wing last week and loved it! The hype is real! Lucky for me, I don't have to wait long for the next one. 

Gothic tropes: crumbling mansion with secret passageways and compartments, set in New Zealand's treacherous Southern Alps. A group of seven friends reunite for a week with the shadow and mystery surrounding the death of one of their group, nine years earlier, looming. 

I've been reading and loving the Johns Mills Amish Romance series which started with the tragic murders of the Hochstedler parents and the effects on their grown children. Each have their own emotional and touching story of healing and romance. 

Three women in three different horror stories. I loved Ms. Henry's The Girl in Red so I'm thrilled for this!

I loved Talulah's Back in Town, my first full on romance from Brenda Novak, so I'm excited for the next in the series.

It's hard to go wrong with RaeAnne Thayne's heartwarming romances! Her holiday romances are a special treat!

Can't go wrong with Mary Burton's mystey/thriller/romantic suspense. I just downloaded this from Kindle Unlimited as a "read and listen". 

"The Stitcher" boogey man sounds all kinds of scary. I'm rooting for Abby to get her sister back!

I'm both eager and nervous for the new Will Trent installment!

What's on your Fall TBR?

Review: Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland


Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Publication Date: September 12th 2023 by Berkley 
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher 

My Thoughts:
The Flores sisters have magical gifts. Sage is gifted with a connection to plants: she can talk to them, identify, and make them grow. Her sister Teal can affect the weather, and her youngest sister Sky gifted with a connection to animals.

Sage is back home, at her Aunt Nadia’s, after being laid off from her job. Things are tense with her younger sister, Teal, as she blames her for the death of their youngest sister, Sky. To add to the drama, Sky’s ghost appears to Sage, talking to her.

Sage lands a job with her old employer, Cranberry Rose Company, the local nursery and is teamed up with her teenage crush, Tennessee Reyes, the man who broke her heart, unbeknownst to him. They’re paired together to find rare plants with a history and a story, to cultivate for sale. I love plants and gardening, so I thought Sage’s gift and her job was so neat!

I got a Practical Magic vibe here (the movie, not the book) picturing the beautiful old house as Nadia’s. Loved the descriptions of the setting and surrounding area!

The romance was lovely, even though I wasn’t a fan of Sage not coming clean with her prior AOL interactions with Tennessee, the blowback from it wasn’t long and overdrawn. I feel like Sage’s relationship with her sisters and Aunt Nadia were equally important to the story. They had past hurts that needed to be mended. Didn’t care for the way Teal or Aunt Nadia treated Sage. Teal was awful to her sister with no cause. It came from guilt and grief, but definite groveling was needed from both her sister and aunt. There’s some mystery around Sky’s death and I was thrilled over how that was all resolved!

Witch of Wild Things was a beautifully written, magical delight! Some romance, some family reconciliation, and cool magical gifts!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Legend goes that long ago a Flores woman offended the old gods, and their family was cursed as a result. Now, every woman born to the family has a touch of magic.
Sage Flores has been running from her family—and their “gifts”—ever since her younger sister Sky died. Eight years later, Sage reluctantly returns to her hometown. Like slipping into an old, comforting sweater, Sage takes back her job at Cranberry Rose Company and uses her ability to communicate with plants to discover unusual heritage specimens in the surrounding lands.

What should be a simple task is complicated by her partner in botany sleuthing: Tennessee Reyes. He broke her heart in high school, and she never fully recovered. Working together is reminding her of all their past tender, genuine moments—and new feelings for this mature sexy man are starting to take root in her heart.

With rare plants to find, a dead sister who keeps bringing her coffee, and another sister whose anger fills the sky with lightning, Sage doesn’t have time for romance. But being with Tenn is like standing in the middle of a field on the cusp of a summer thunderstorm—supercharged and inevitable.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sunday Post #222-Late Edition


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. I'm also linking up to The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance @Readerbuzz.

I meant to do this post up early yesterday but got caught up in chores and making dessert (pear & apple crisp) to take to my sister's house. Of course, I forgot the dessert on the counter! We ate it last night when we got home. I couldn't sleep a lot of the night and got back to sleep about 6am and woke up about 8:45am.

The week was a usual one, work and such. It's been warm here in the low 90s but cooling off quickly with the shorter days. It's been a low of 50 most nights. This week is supposed to be cooler with highs in the upper 70s and rain in the forecast. We'll see.

My apples are ripe and I figured out one of them are a green variety, so I have one red and one green. My "Picture This" app said both were the variety "Paradise" so I guess that's not completely right. I've looked up some recipes for canning apple pie filling and will be doing that on Tuesday. 

The red apples

My garden is really blooming now that it's cooler and my flowers are getting fried. We have had a lot of Hummingbird Moth this summer. Didn't see them at all last year.

I think we're headed for Texas on Thursday to see my daughter. I need to book the flights. She lives outside of Austin. Kind of last minute trip. 

(Click  on cover for Goodreads link)

I had a great reading week. Four for review and two library lends. 
Just curious, do you like to see what I've rated my reads? I'll start listing like below if so.

Witch of Wild Things-4 Stars 
Closer to You 4-Stars
Night Will Find You-5 Stars
Fourth Wing- 4.5 Stars
With a Kiss We Die- 4 Stars

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Two invites: Good Girls Don't Die and The Boy Who Cried Bear. So excited for both, but especially The Boy Who Cried Bear, #2 in the Haven's Rock series which is a spinoff of Rockton. The Only One Left is a library audio. I hope I can listen before my lend expires.


Love this cover!

How was your week?

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Review: Hemlock Island by Kelley Armstrong


Hemlock Island by Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: September 12th 2023 by St. Martin's Press
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Laney is still trying to get by after the heartbreak of her divorce. She’s hanging onto her wedding gift, Hemlock Island, by renting out the beautiful, secluded house and dealing with troublesome renters when she gets reports of strange hex circles and blood in the house. She’s about to investigate with her teenage niece, Madison in tow, when her ex-husband, Kit and his sister, Jayla insist on coming along. Unfortunately, Sadie and her brother Garrett, and ex-best friend and her brother also push their way into the investigation and it’s an uncomfortable gathering. 

With complicated relationships and old hurts swirling about, this group finds themselves stranded on the island without a way to communicate with the mainland. Grisly discoveries have everyone on high alert! Are these accidents or a plan to scare them off the island? One of their own taking revenge, or is something evil at work here?

There’s a history with Laney and the others that’s slowly revealed, the reasons for their falling out while they deal with the horrors that seem to keep coming. Laney and Kit also deal with the feelings that haven’t died between them despite the divorce.

Hemlock Island was not only a horror story with supernatural elements, but also Laney and her old friends reconciling a past that drove them apart.  A captivating story that gave me some chills and left me a little unsettled! The perfect kind of read for this time of year!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Laney Kilpatrick has been renting her vacation home to strangers. The invasion of privacy gives her panic attacks, but it’s the only way she can keep her beloved Hemlock Island, the only thing she owns after a pandemic-fueled divorce. But broken belongings and campfires that nearly burn down the house have escalated to bloody bones, hex circles, and now, terrified renters who’ve fled after finding blood and nail marks all over the guest room closet, as though someone tried to claw their way out…and failed.

When Laney shows up to investigate with her teenaged niece in tow, she discovers that her ex, Kit, has also been informed and is there with Jayla, his sister and her former best friend. Then Sadie, another old high school friend, charters over with her brother, who’s now a cop.

There are tensions and secrets, whispers in the woods, and before long, the discovery of a hand poking up from the earth. Then the body that goes with it… But by that time, someone has taken off with their one and only means off the island, and they’re trapped with someone—or something—that doesn’t want them leaving the island alive.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Audiobook Review: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros


Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) by Rebecca Yarros
Publication Date: May 2nd 2023 by Recorded Books
Pages: 498
Audio Book Length: 20hrs 43min
Narrators: Rebecca Soler & Teddy Hamilton
Source: Purchased, library lend
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble | Kobo | | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
I’m not going to give a summary since this has been reviewed a million times, but the hype is real! Finished the audio of Fourth Wing last night and boy was it good! Even my husband loved it. I will say that I think the spicy parts wouldn’t been better if they were shorter, not so long and drawn out, but there weren’t very many, maybe two (?) so it's just a little niggle.

Other than that, the story and pace were top notch! Exciting and action packed with plenty of surprises! Some stories sacrifice emotional depth or character development when there’s a lot of action but that wasn’t the case here! Violet and her friends are well-fleshed out, their fear, joy, anger and longing palpable!

The audio narration was perfection! Rebecca Soler acted her heart out! She made you feel the intensity and urgency of the story as well as a whole range of emotions! Teddy Hamilton performs Xander in the end and he was excellent as well.

I borrowed a library copy and mine was the updated version. I guess there was an issue with the first recording. I also bought a copy since my lend was about to expire and I had to finish the story!

That ending! I wouldn’t say it’s a cliffhanger, more to be continued… but still! I’m eager for the next one!

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Review: Flirting with Fire by Jane Porter


Flirting with Fire by Jane Porter
Publication Date: July 25th 2023 by Berkley 
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher 

My Thoughts:
Forty-nine-year-old Margot Hughes doesn’t plan on getting back into the theatre scene. Living a gypsy sort of life for twenty-five years, traveling and performing and then having her plan of retiring and starting a family shattered has soured her on that life. She’s come back to her California to the coastal town of Cambria, close to her hometown intent on settling down. Only Margot hasn’t been able to find love and it seems her dream of having children has all but passed her by.

However, when Margot’s boss, Sally has a health scare and Sally’s production of Bare Foot in the Park is in danger of collapsing, Margot steps in as both director and female lead. Little does she know that superstar Max Russo will be her co-star.

After years in the business, Max’s career has taken off and he owes a dept of gratitude to Sally, one of his father’s past wives, for helping him through some rough years growing up. Without her support and love he wouldn’t be where he is now, so when he hears about her health scare and the issue with the play he doesn’t hesitate to come back and help.

There’s an instant mutual attraction between Margot and Max. Hours spent in rehearsal, brainstorming over dinner and sipping wine by the ocean have Margot and Max forming a bond of friendship and more.  Their chemistry is intense, but their ideas for the future are different. Margot wants a family and marriage. Max hasn’t had the best history with marriage and doesn’t want to repeat his father’s mistakes with raising children. Can they bridge the gap and make things work long-term?

Flirting with Fire was another mature romance from Jane Porter, the couple are both in their late forties, and I thoroughly enjoyed that! At this point in life most are past playing games romantically and I’m all for that. I appreciated how they tackled the issues, even though it was painful at times for them.

Loved the setting of Cambria, California, a place I’ve visited often over the years. Ms. Porter captured the essence of this gorgeous location: its quaint town with picturesque shops and restaurants and the breathtaking miles of Pacific Ocean coastline!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Love isn't just an act in this captivating and flirty romance by New York Times bestselling author Jane Porter.

Forty-nine-year-old Margot Hughes has lived and breathed theater for the past twenty-five years. After a devastating breakup with her playwright fiancé, she wants nothing to do with the industry. She has sworn off New York, theater, actors—all of it. She returns to her hometown on California’s central coast and takes a job in real estate, where she manages significant investment properties. But Margot’s suddenly thrown back into the theater world when Sally, her friend and boss, who had been restoring and funding Cambria’s historic theater, has a heart attack. Before she knows it, Margot is tapped to take over the troubled summer production of Barefoot in the Park.

But the play is no walk in the park—the leads and director have all quit, and Margot struggles to find new actors…until Max Russo arrives. Forty-five-year-old Max is a former soap opera star turned rugged cowboy on TV’s most popular western series. Max has a huge following and is the perfect hero to step up and save the play, provided Margot stars opposite him. Although adamant she would never return to theater, Margot enjoys the long hours of rehearsal with a professional like Max, who is charming, witty, and passionate. But when the curtains close, can Margot allow herself to fall for Max when he represents everything she left behind?

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Sunday Post #221


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. I'm also linking up to The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance @Readerbuzz.

The week felt off kilter with my daughter, SIL, and the grandkids staying through Tuesday and the long holiday weekend. It was a nice visit, but a really busy one. My daughter and I love doing puzzles and did two while she was here and I just completed one on my own listening to Fourth Wing with my husband as I worked it.

Puzzling with Peanut

My fall puzzle completed

I haven't felt 100% battling a sore throat and cough since they left. I slept in and stayed home working in the garden some today (Saturday). 

My Dahlia tubers are finally starting to bloom

The weather has been gorgeous, still a little hot at the top of the day about 80-85, but it cools down quickly. Fall is in the air. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Still behind on my reading. I'm almost finished with Fourth Wing and another book. Hopefully I'll get through more books this next week. I plan on staying home all day tomorrow (Sunday).

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Thanks to Berkley and Bookouture for the e-ARCs.


Visited this indie bookstore in town twice with my daughter and the grandkids. They had an amazing kids section. Thrilled that the grandkids already have a love of reading!

How was your week?