Monday, February 27, 2023

Review & Excerpt: Barbarian's Prize by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian's Prize (Ice Planet Barbarians #5) by Ruby Dixon
Publication Date: February 28th 2023 by Berkley
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Tiffany is one of the last human women on available “Not-Hoth” with the others having resonated and mated. So she’s inundated with male attention, something she doesn’t feel comfortable with at all.  Tiffany isn’t interested in any male after her time in the “bad” alien’s spaceship.  The abuse and assaults she suffered, which she has yet to share with anyone else, has made any male attention repugnant.  That is except for Salukh. He doesn’t pressure her like the other males and it’s easy to talk to him about her time and life on Earth and soon she finds herself confiding bits of her horrific time on the spaceship.

Salukh is sure Tiffany is his mate, but can’t understand why they haven’t resonated yet. He’s patient though, even more so when he finds out what she’s been through and sets about to win her friendship first and then her heart. I loved Salukh.

My heart went out to Tiffany in this installment. The sa-khui men didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable and it’s not their fault since Tiffany hasn’t told anyone the reasons why the attentions are so difficult for her. I felt bad for the guys that participated in the contests for Tiffany that Josie set up. Salukh suffered too because Tiffany wouldn’t speak up, but at the same time I know she went through hell so I couldn’t fault her too much. With Tiffany’s past experience you might think we’d skip the major sexy times present in the previous books, but that’s not the case. It is a more of a slow burn to start but grows into a sexy inferno! This series is hot stuff!

Barbarian’s Prize dealt with the aftermath of serious trauma, but was balanced with snarky, fun humor so it wasn’t predominately dark. I laughed at the bits with Chompy and smiled when Tiffany spent time with the new babies. Ice Planet Honeymoon is included in this Berkley special edition, which was a complete delight! Loved getting more of Chompy (too cute and funny!) and seeing Tiffany and Salukh get their HEA!

4 Stars


Book Description:

Tiffany doesn’t care about all the attention she’s getting from the alien men, but there is one particular hunter she can see herself with—if only she can find a way to move forward from the past. . . .

It’s hard being the most popular girl on the ice planet. The alien men are falling all over themselves to impress me in the hopes that I’ll take them to my furs. But they don’t know my secrets. And they don’t realize that behind my smile, I just wish they’d take their courting presents and their competitions for my affection and go away. I want to be left alone. But on a planet where women are a scarcity, that won’t be happening.

If I had to choose a mate . . . it’d be someone with a gorgeous blue body, big horns, and the most intense gaze ever. Someone who knows the truth of what happened to me and why I don’t like attention. Patient, handsome Salukh knows my secrets. He knows why I have nightmares and why I don’t trust anyone. He’s willing to let me “experiment” with him. I can use him. Take what I need from him to work through my trauma. He’s been a good friend and the best shoulder to cry on.

There’s one small problem.

When it comes to us, he doesn’t just want to be my friend. He wants to be my forever. And day by day, he’s getting harder to resist. . . .

About the author:

Ruby Dixon is an author of all things science fiction romance. She is a Sagittarius and a Reylo shipper, and loves farming sims (but not actual housework). She lives in the South with her husband and a couple of geriatric cats, and can’t think of anything else to put in her biography. Truly, she is boring.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Sunday Post #196


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 didn't post the previous Sunday because we were out of town with the kids and grandkids for the long weekend. It was fun but not much time to do anything else but entertain a seven and four year-old, cook, and clean. We went to a pizza place with old-fashioned Atari arcade games and the kids had fun playing them with some help. 

This week we had nice weather through Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday we had a lot of snow! I couldn't get out of my driveway to get to work on Friday, which was okay with me since I tweaked my back at work on Tuesday and didn't feel 100% anyhow. Did a puzzle while listening to audiobooks and thoroughly enjoyed my snow day. Pretty much the same today. I'll be venturing out to work tomorrow. My husband shoveled the driveaway and a nice neighbor plowed our street. 

Made sure to fill the birdfeeder out the front and sprinkle birdseed out so my bored kitty had some entertainment while being stuck inside. I was surprised he did go out for a short time to do his business! He is getting more used to the cold out here.

Bored kitty watching the birds outside

Click on cover for Goodreads link

Had some good ones here and a couple of books I had mixed feelings on. My favorite of the bunch was Murder at Haven's Rock

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I scooped up Identity when Netgalley sent an email that it was "read it" for the first 1000 readers. Dead Letter Days is a novella that takes place before Murder at Haven's Rock and it's in Eric's POV! I've just started it. I'm also reading Ruby Spencer and enjoying it. Listening to Lovelight Farms and loving the narrator/story. It's a friends-to-lovers romance that Berkley acquired. I downloaded the ARC but noticed the audio was available at my library. LOVE that cover! 


How was your week?

Book Challenges 2023

 I know this is a little late but I don't usually participate in very many book challenges other than Goodreads and Kimberly's Audiobook Challenge. Why? Because I usually don't invest the time to keep up and complete them.  However, I've seen these two and I like them. More importantly, I think I can meet them. I'm going conservative with both:

Library Love Challenge is hosted by Anne @Books of My Heart and Angel's Guilty Pleasures. You can sign up HERE.  

I'm shooting for:

Overdrive Junkie: 36 Books

I've already read 5 in this category so I think I'll make this level easily.

Bookish Books Reading Challenge is hosted by Susan @Blogginboutbooks. You can learn more and sign up HERE.

I'm aiming for:

Picking and Perusing: 10-20 Books

I just went through my books and was surprised I've already read 3, so yay!

What challenges have you signed up for?

5 Romance Book Giveaway!

 Hello readers! I'm listing another giveaway because my bookshelves only have so much room!

Kiss Me Now, Cowboy by Dylann Crush-Paperback
Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes-Paperback ARC
Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese-Paperback
The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges-Paperback
Do I Know You by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka-Paperback

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 24, 2023

Spotlight & Excerpt: It's One of Us by J.T. Ellison

 I've enjoyed J.T. Ellison in the past so I'm happy to share her newest release, It's One of Us. I have an excerpt and details about the book below:

It's One of Us by J.T. Ellison
Publication Date: February 21th 2023 by MIRA
Pages: 400

Book Description:

From the New York Times bestselling author comes this twisting, emotionally layered thriller about a marriage torn apart when the police arrive at an infertile couple’s door and reveal the husband’s son is the prime suspect in a murder. The perfect blend of exhilarating suspense and issue-driven book club fiction.

Everybody lies. Even the ones you think you know best of all . . .

Olivia Bender designs exquisite home interiors that satisfy the most demanding clients. But her own deepest desire can’t be fulfilled by marble counters or the perfect rug. She desperately wants to be a mother. Fertility treatments and IVF keep failing. And just when she feels she’s at her lowest point, the police deliver shocking news to Olivia and her husband, Park.

DNA results show that the prime suspect in a murder investigation is Park’s son. Olivia is relieved, knowing this is a mistake. Despite their desire, the Benders don’t have any children. Then comes the confession. Many years ago, Park donated sperm to a clinic. He has no idea how many times it was sold—or how many children he has sired.

As the murder investigation goes deeper, more terrible truths come to light. With every revelation, Olivia must face the unthinkable. The man she married has fathered a killer. But can she hold that against him when she keeps such dark secrets of her own?

This twisting, emotionally layered thriller explores the lies we tell to keep a marriage together--or break each other apart . . .


About the author:

J.T. Ellison is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville's premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Connect with J.T. Ellison:

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Review: Bright and Deadly Things by Lexie Elliott


Bright and Deadly Things by Lexie Elliott
Publication Date: February 14th 2023 by Berkley
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Emily is still grieving the death of her husband, on her way to a reading retreat in the Alps at the Chalet des Anglais when she interrupts a break-in at her house. It seems nothing has been taken, however, her husband’s office has been disturbed. Could his past research have been the target? Emily continues onto the chalet with lots of questions.
At the chalet she’ll been meeting up with friends, but also colleagues of her departed husband. A very rustic location with no running water or electricity, it’s supposed to invigorate the mind, but tensions are high between the guests. Emily finds her things have been searched, most notably her dead husband’s old laptop and then a beautiful student with a controversial past goes missing.  Then there’s the old clock that survived a previous fire that unsettles everyone. Was there a bit of a paranormal aspect to it? Not sure.

Bright and Deadly Things was an interesting, atmospheric mystery. Mostly told from Emily’s perspective you get the unease she feels and that builds as the story continues on. Emily suspects there’s something about her husband’s research at play but she’s not sure why it’s important or which of the guests could be responsible for her break-in and repeated attempts to access the computer. The missing student is whole other situation that I won’t spoil, but there are several potential suspects.

I enjoyed this story and was fully invested in the mystery. I like Emily a lot. There was an undercurrent of danger, and she didn’t know quite where it was coming from. She was very much the amateur detective searching for the truth, not knowing or being able to trust just about anyone staying at the chalet. There was also a bit of romance for Emily and I was completely on board for it.

It is interesting to note that the Chalet des Anglais is an actual reading retreat the author attended, located in the alpine mountains, used by Oxford University since 1891. It sounded like a beautiful spot, but I’d be a little spooked visiting there after reading this!

4 Stars

Book Description:

A remote back-to-basics mountaintop retreat in the French Alps turns deadly as an Oxford fellow finds herself in the crosshairs of her late husband’s dangerous secrets.

The Chalet des Anglais should be the ideal locale for recently-widowed Oxford don Emily to begin cutting through the fog of her grief. With no electricity, running water, or access by car, the rustic chalet nestled at the foot of the verdant, snow-topped Alps should afford Emily both time and space to heal. Joining her will be a collection of friends from the university, as well as other fellows, graduates, and undergraduates.

Something feels off, though—heightening Emily’s existing grief-induced anxiety. Before even making it to the airport, she’s unnerved by a break-in at her home. Once at the chalet, tension amongst the guests is palpable. Her friends and colleagues are behaving oddly, and competition for a newly opened position has introduced a streak of meanness into the otherwise relaxing getaway. As hostilities grow, Emily begins to wonder if the chalet’s dark history has cast a shadow over the retreat. In the salon, a curious grandfather clock looms, the only piece of furniture to survive a deadly blaze a century ago. As its discordant bell begins to invade everyone’s dreams, someone very real has been searching through Emily’s things and attempting to hack into her computer.

When a student disappears, Emily realizes that she’d better separate friend from foe, and real from imagined—or the next disappearance may be her own.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Audiobook Review: Murder at Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong

Murder at Haven's Rock (Haven's Rock #1) by Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: February 21st 2023 by Macmllan Audio & Minotaur Books
Pages: 352
Audio Book Length: 10hrs 33min
Narrator: Thérèse Plummer
Source: Publishers
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
I have loved the Rockton series from the start! A town off-the-grid, hidden, a shelter for someone when conventional justice has failed, such as a victim of stalking, an abusive partner, wrongfully accused, etc., While Rockton supposedly vetted the people before granting sanctuary, only allowing the innocent, non-violent in, we found out that wasn’t always the case.

Casey and Eric have gone on to start their own town and they’re set on running things the right way. As much as they can anyhow, and we see that put to the test with the first installment in this Rockton spinoff.

Haven’s Rock is still under construction when two key workers, the architect, and the engineer, go missing. Eric and Casey are called in by Yolanda, the lead coordinator of the build, to find the workers.

As usual Casey and Eric, and their Newfoundland dog, Storm, are an impressive team working together to find out what happened. Did they get lost or is there a more nefarious reason they’re gone? The story was riveting as Casey and Eric face danger, working to uncover the truth!

Haven’s Rock is an exciting new chapter for Casey and Eric, and as usual not all is going to plan. The mystery wrapped up, but we’re left with an unsettling discovery in the end. I wonder how it will play out. Fortunately, they have their trusted friends/assets joining them at Haven’s Rock, so they’ll have a formidable group at their back. I eagerly await the next book! Murder at Haven’s Rock is technically a spinoff, but it’s best to read the Rockton series first in order.

I alternately listened and read to Murder at Haven’s Rock. I love this series! I highly recommend the audio version! Thérèse Plummer narrates, as with the previous books, and she performs all voices, male and female seamlessly! She’s one of my all-time favorite narrators and her performance here is perfection! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

 5 Stars

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton Novels had one of the most unique towns in crime fiction. Murder at Haven's Rock is a spinoff, a fresh start... with a few new dangers that threaten everything before it even begins.

Haven’s Rock, Yukon. Population: 0

Deep in the Yukon wilderness, a town is being built. A place for people to disappear, a fresh start from a life on the run. Haven’s Rock isn’t the first town of this kind, something detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, know first hand. They met in the original town of Rockton. But greed and deception led the couple to financing a new refuge for those in need. This time around, they get to decide which applicants are approved for residency.

There’s only one rule in Haven’s Rock: stay out of the forest. When two of the town's construction crew members break it and go missing, Casey and Eric are called in ahead of schedule to track them down. When a body is discovered, well hidden with evidence of foul play, Casey and Eric must find out what happened to the dead woman, and locate the still missing man. The woman stumbled upon something she wasn’t supposed to see, and the longer Casey and Eric don’t know what happened, the more danger everyone is in.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines


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 is Favorite Heroines. It was hard just listing ten!

Mercy Thompson! Patricia Briggs has crafted one of my all-time favorite female characters in Mercy. Her intelligence shines with every problem she encounters. Mercy ponders things through like body language, repercussions of action, and what she says, weighing possible outcomes, doing this pretty quickly!

Kate Daniels is a powerhouse! It's a tie between Mercy and Kate for my all-time favorite heroine across the board.


Casey Duncan from the Rockton series. Another strong female underestimated by most. Stationed in an off-the-grid hidden town in the Yukon she's had to ferret out murderers and criminals without the help of modern forensics and outsmarted even the craftiest. 

Nevada Baylor! Another amazing character from the writing duo Ilona Andrews. 

Elizabeth Best. A formidable octogenarian indeed, but I do have to say I love the whole Thursday Murder Club gang: Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron too!

Mercy Kilpatrick. Being the daughter of strict preppers helped form Mercy into the woman she is. Her background aids her while investigating murders as an FBI agent in rural Oregon. Then there's the romance between her and Sheriff Truman I was all on board with from the beginning!

Lady Kiera Darby. She's had to rise above the abuse her late husband heaped upon her and weather the scandal after his death. She's come a long way finding her niche as an inquiry agent (investigator) and finding love. 

Sal Casillas! An impressive, passionate athlete training for her dreams, finding love along the way. 

Lady Penny Campion! A fellow animal lover. Such a sweet woman with a big heart. A little clueless and so hilarious! Her vile vegetarian, meat-substitute concoctions also had me cracking up, too!

Kristen Ashley writes the most fun heroines, but librarian Faye Goodnight has to be one of my all-time favorites. Starts out shy and a little insecure she blossoms into a strong sexy woman with backbone!

Are any of these heroines on your list?

Thursday, February 16, 2023

3 Romance Book Giveaway!

Hello readers! I'm listing another giveaway because my bookshelves only have so much room!

I enjoyed all three, but I have an extra copy of each book.

I linked my reviews to each of these books. 

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Audiobook Review: The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz


The Last Orphan (Orphan X #8) by Gregg Hurwitz
Publication Date: February 14th 2023 by Macmillan Audio
Pages: 352
Audio Book Length: 11hrs 46min
Narrators: Scott Brick
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
In The Last Orphan Evan’s pardon has come into question, because as we know, he hasn’t exactly lived up to his end of the bargain he made with the President. If someone calls and asks for help, he’s not the type just to ignore it. Things get dicey for Evan, and I was on the edge of my seat!

I’m always amazed by Evan’s abilities and his talent to prevail even when it looks like he’s up against a no-win situation! Love it when this line comes out: “Look at me closely. And ask yourself: Do I look scared?” I know some much deserved smackdown is about to be served and it puts a smile on my face every time!

I think one of the reasons I love this series so much because justice usually wins out in some form eventually. The baddies get their comeuppance, something I long to see in real life, but don’t always get.

In the past Evan has been mostly on his own, but gradually he’s collected a sort of family, people he cares about and who he can count on. Joey, Tommy, Mia and even (gasp!) Candy! Going from a mostly lonely existence to inadvertently and reluctantly adding these people to his life has been heartwarming!

As usual this “case” wraps up, but I wonder over a new character and how they might play into future stories.

The Last Orphan was full of danger and action, but also laughs and emotional moments! Orphan X has quickly become a favorite series and I eagerly await the next installment!

I listened to the audio version of The Last Orphan, which I highly recommend! Scott Brick’s voice is Evan Smoak to me. His performance of Evan is perfection! I enjoy his other characters voices, as well, and his comedic timing is spot on. I listened at my usual 1.5x-1.75x normal speed.

5 Stars

Book Description:

Evan Smoak returns in The Last Orphan, the latest New York Times bestselling Orphan X thriller--when everything changes and everything is at risk.

As a child, Evan Smoak was plucked out of a group home, raised and trained as an off-the-books assassin for the government as part of the Orphan program. When he broke with the program and went deep underground, he left with a lot of secrets in his head that the government would do anything to make sure never got out.

When he remade himself as The Nowhere Man, dedicated to helping the most desperate in their times of trouble, Evan found himself slowly back on the government's radar. Having eliminated most of the Orphans in the program, the government will stop at nothing to eliminate the threat they see in Evan. But Orphan X has always been several steps ahead of his pursuers.

Until he makes one little mistake...

Now the President has him in her control and offers Evan a deal - eliminate a rich, powerful man she says is too dangerous to live and, in turn, she'll let Evan survive. But when Evan left the Program he swore to only use his skills against those who really deserve it. Now he has to decide what's more important - his principles or his life.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Sunday Post #195


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.

This week was filled with doctor visits. Finally got into a primary care physician up here and then he wrote up referrals so I can get several routine things taken care of. I also had preventative laser eye surgery in my right eye (I have narrow angle glaucoma) and will have the left eye done at the end of the month *sigh*. I hate going to the doctor, but it's a necessary evil. 

We've had some nice, sunny days even though it's still cold with highs in the upper 40s low 50s. My cat has been enjoying the nicer weather by going in and out of the house every 5 seconds. He cries to go out, so I let him out for like ten minutes and then wants to come back in again. In and out, in and out.  Bad kitty. Good thing I love him! We'll put in a cat door, like we had down south, eventually. Still, he'll need to be monitored when he goes outside because there's a lot of wildlife out here. Door will be closed off at night. He's very cautious, I think a characteristic of his breed (Manx), more than other cats I've had, but still.  

Here he is, tired from all his excursions:

(Click on title for Goodreads link)

Still House was a novella length horror story from the Audible Plus catalog. Listened to the whole thing this afternoon. A little unsettling. Last Orphan was amazing! It was full length but I also listened to it in one day because I couldn't stop listening! So good! Someone Else's Shoe's was a bit of a disappointment for me. Kind of a downer for much of the book. Enjoyed Barbarian's Prize and The Earl of Christmas Past. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I was excited to get approval for the audio copy of Murder at Haven's Rock! Still House was in the Audible Plus catalog and How to Sell a Haunted House is a library lend. Hope it doesn't scare me too much since I know it features dolls, my worst of scary, scary things for me! 

How was your week?