Friday, March 31, 2023

Audiobook Review: Hexed by Kevin Hearne


Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles #2) by Kevin Hearne
Publication Date: April 19th 2011 by Brilliance Audio
Pages: 296
Audio Book Length: 8hrs 52min
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Source: Purchased
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
We pick up pretty much right after the events of Hounded and again Atticus is dealing with multiple problems: witches, nasty Bacchants, two men, a priest and a rabbi demanding to see Atticus’ rare books, the Morrigan, Brighid, and the police. It’s not as confusing as it sounds and Atticus, with his trusty hound Oberon, deftly handles all of it!
So many laughs, many from Atticus’ exchanges with his best friend Oberon, his faithful Irish wolfhound, several with the widow Mrs. MacDonagh. Love her!  Granuaile helps in a few tricky spots with the police as she continues her Druid training, and Atticus deals with his attraction to her. I have mixed feelings on Granuaile this second time through.
I re-read *listened* Hexed for Anne's @Books of My Heart read-along (you can sign up HERE) and it was just as good as the first time! Again, I ended up listening to the whole book in a 24-hour period of time. I forget how much I loved this series! Clever, laugh-out-loud funny, and action-packed! Never a dull moment and such a good time! Looking forward to the next one!

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Atticus O'Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn't care much for witches. Still, he's about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they're badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.

With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor's rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Review: Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller


Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller
Publication Date: March 28th 2023 by St. Martin's Griffin  & Dreamscape Media
Pages: 416
Audiobook Length: 13hrs 31min
Narrator: Carlotta Brentan
Source: Publishers
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Maria Wallner is trying to keep her hotel running while turning it back into the dazzling gem it used to be. Not an easy task since her mother ran it into the ground, focused more on her love affair than the hotel or even her daughter. But sabotage and attempts on Maria’s life hinder her efforts.

Eli is sent from the US to Vienna to find out who leaked top secret codes. A suspicious letter was sent from the Hotel Wallner and so he goes there in an undercover mission to investigate. The codes aren’t the only mystery, though. When Eli saves Maria’s life he is compelled to find out who’s behind the attempts to kill her and rule Maria out as a suspect in the espionage plots, as well.

Hotel of Secrets was magical! The writing beautifully described an old world, glamorous Vienna. Maria and her tribe of friends and family were so much fun. Maria is independent and resourceful, forever working out a solution to the many problems that hinder her goals of restoring the hotel to its former glory. Loved that even though she had a mission, she didn’t forget her family and friends.

Eli was focused and methodical in his job and investigations. It was refreshing that Eli was the inexperienced one in the romance department, but that didn’t stop him from using his attention to details and focus into research and he was a quick, thorough study! Maria and Eli’s romance was fun, open, and honest, but also very passionate and sensual! It was spicy, but not overdone. Also enjoyed Eli’s relationship with Maria’s brother, Mac and the French spy, Claude. They were a hoot!

I alternately read an e-copy and listened to the audio version of Hotel of Secrets, and I highly recommend either version! Carlotta Brentan narrated the story, and her accents were lovely! Her performance definitely enhanced this captivating romance! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

5 Stars

Book Description:

During ball season, anything can happen, even love.

It’s ball season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She’s not going to let anything get in her way - not her parents’ three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who’s saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.

Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has one lead - a letter the culprit sent from a Viennese hotel. But when he arrives in Vienna, he is immediately swept up into a chaotic whirlwind of balls, spies, waltzes, and beautiful hotelkeepers who seem to constantly find themselves in danger. He disapproves of all of it! But his disapproval is tested as he slowly falls deeper into the chaos - and as his attraction to said hotelkeeper grows.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Sunday Post #200


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.

Not an eventful week, but it seemed like a lot was going on anyhow. Work was draining. I'm kind of done people-ing for the week/month/year.... 

My husband's parents have been having health issues and my mother-in-law has been in the hospital the last week. We were set to drive down today, but she was released last night. My husband will be going down south (I have to work) to take care of a few things for them this next week. 
The last few days we've been raking leaves and leaves and more leaves so that we can till the soil and lay down seed to fill in bare spots with grass and red clover. My arms are tired, but hopefully it'll look nice when spring finally decides to arrive here. It's been cold, mid 40s and raining. We had a thunder and lightening storm, too which is kind of neat.  The last couple of days we've had some sunshine. More rain to come on Tuesday which will be perfect for all of our seeds. 

Sunset on a rare non-rainy day.

All that napping is exhausting, lol. Love my snuggly, reading buddy.

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I didn't read a ton, but I enjoyed all I read this last week. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Both library audios. I was offered a copy of The House on Prytania Street, but haven't read The Shop on Royal Street, the first book in the series, so I thought I'd start that to see if I'm interested in reading the second book. 


How was your week?

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Review: A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn


A Sinister Revenge (Veronica Speedwell #8) by Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: March 7th 2023 by Berkley
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
In the last book Veronica and Stoker parted ways, Veronica to hunt butterfly collections in Italy with Tiberius, Stoker’s brother, and Stoker off to hunt a specimen in Germany. However, a threat to Tiberius and the Seven Sinners, a group of Tiberius’ old friends bring them all back together again to the family estate, Cherboys, in Devon to expose the killer. Years ago while vacationing at Cherboys one of their members fell off a cliff to their death, a tragedy ruled an terrible accident, but now an unknown is claiming he was murdered and that one of them were responsible. So far, two members have died in recent “accidents” and there are three left including Tiberius. Tiberius asked for Veronica and Stoker’s help to unmask the killer before anyone else dies.

There’s no shortage of suspects when Tiberius invites the surviving members for a stay. Veronica and Stoker go about their investigation separately as Stoker is still hurt by Veronica and doesn’t want to just sweep the past events under the rug. I have to say I didn’t blame him. In the past books Veronica has been a little frustrating to me, whereas Stroker gives his all to her, she hold back. It was a little disappointing they weren’t working together for much of the book, but I did enjoy the sleuthing. Veronica has a sharp, humorous mind so I always enjoy her conversations and her mental musings. The writing is very witty.

The descriptions of Cherboys by the cliffs of Devon and the village of Dearsley sounded beautiful and each of the characters assembled were interesting! I kept trying to figure out the culprit right along with Veronica. I was happy with how all things turned out, Veronica finally coming to some personal revelations and the case was wrapped up as well. A Sinister Revenge is book eight in the series and it’s one that needs to read in order. I read an e-copy, but the audios narrated by Angèle Masters are a fantastic way to go too!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Veronica must find and stop a devious killer when a group of old friends is targeted for death in this new adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

Veronica’s natural-historian beau, Stoker, has been away in Bavaria for months and their relationship is at an impasse. But when Veronica shows up before him with his brother, Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane, he is lured back home by an intriguing job offer: preparing an iguanodon for a very special dinner party.

Tiberius has received a cryptic message—along with the obituaries of two recently deceased members of his old group of friends, the Seven Sinners—that he too should get his affairs in order. Realizing he is in grave danger but not knowing why, he plans a reunion party for the remaining Sinners at his family estate to lure the killer out while Veronica and Stoker investigate.

As the guests arrive and settle in, the evening’s events turn deadly. More clues come to light, leading Veronica, Stoker, and Tiberius to uncover a shared past among the Sinners that has led to the fatal present. But the truth might be far more sinister than what they were prepared for.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Review: In Isabeau's Eyes by Lora Leigh

In Isabeau's Eyes (Kentucky Nights #1) by Lora Leigh
Publication Date: March 21st 2023 by Berkley & Recorded Books
Pages: 288
Audiobook Length: 9hrs 24min
Narrator: Manxie Hardy
Source: Publisher & Purchased Audiobook

My Thoughts:
Isabeau Boudreaux lost her sight at fifteen when her parents were killed in an apparent murder suicide and she was shot in the process. However, her eyesight and memories have slowly been coming back, and she’s beginning to think the story she was told may not be the truth.  Especially since there’s been several “accidents” where she narrowly escaped with her life over the years. 

In the latest attempt on her life, her friend Angel is almost killed as well, and Angel’s brother Tracker is furious. He’s sure all the past “accidents” are attempts on Isabeau’s life and he’s determined to find the person behind it all.

In Isabeau’s Eyes is a quick action-packed read, full of danger and passion! I really liked Isabeau, she was level headed, thought of others, and had some backbone. Tracker was fun too. Total alpha male sort of caveman. I did like that he did consider Isabeau’s feelings and choices even though he came off as bossy. There were a lot of sizzling encounters! Lots of hot stuff.

Even though this is the first in the Kentucky Nights series, there are a lot of characters I wasn’t familiar with that probably had their stories in previous books. I still enjoyed Isabeau and Tracker’s story, which wraps up. I’m thinking Tracker’s brother Chance will get his own story in the next book and I look forward to it.

I alternated between and e-copy and the audio version and recommend either version. Manxie Hardy is a new-to-me narrator. I really enjoyed her performance of all voices! She had a sultry, smooth voice and gave just a hint of a Southern accent that felt spot on for the characters. I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

4 Stars

Book Description:

The first novel in a new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh—you've met the Mackays; now it's time to meet their friends.

Danger is stalking Isabeau Boudreaux. After the deaths of her parents ten years ago during a violent attack that left her blind, remnants of her vision are returning. But a series of accidents has convinced her friends the Mackays of Somerset, Kentucky, that someone wants her dead. When a roadside blowout proves to be almost fatal for Isabeau and her good friend Angel, Angel’s brother mercenary Tracker Calloway knows this was no accident.

After a particularly bloody job, the last thing Tracker wants to do is get involved. But whoever is after Isabeau almost hurt his sister, and Isabeau is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Tracker is determined to protect her but knows staying away from Isabeau is impossible. He begins a steady seduction to tempt the innocent woman into a world of hunger like she could have never imagined. And keeping her is the only option—if he can save her from an unknown enemy as her sight begins to slowly return.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Sunday Post #199


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.

Got back from vacation super late on Wednesday. Was happy to find out our power was restored and our internet finally came back on the day before. Basically, we spent the whole of Wednesday getting home. The Cabo San Lucas airport was crowded (on a Wednesday!), didn't eat lunch because the lines were insane. Not even a snack on the airplane because of a high amount of turbulence had the flight attendants suspending cart service. I fly a lot and this was a lot of scary turbulence for me! Landed in San Francisco (no direct flights from our usual airport) at 5pm. Prime traffic time. Maps told us it'd be three hours to get home, but we wanted to eat dinner and not fast food so we ate out, went to my sisters, picked up our cat and stuff and drove home. It was 11:30pm when we finally got back.  Cat was excited, disoriented, meowing, happy to be home, and walking all over us as we tried to settle and go to sleep. Needless to say we didn't get a lot of sleep. 

I spent Thursday unpacking, doing laundry, and trying to finish a book I was supposed to review on Friday. Got it read but was falling asleep and had to just forget about doing any post. Worked on Friday, which was its usual tiring shenanigans and then went to my sister's for dinner. Had a good time. My sister and her husband are the best! Today (Saturday) was spent cleaning the house. My husband did a bunch of storm cleanup as we had several very large branches come down and had to be cut up.  Then we worked on pruning three fruit trees that have been neglected for years. Not by us, but the previous owners of our house. We YouTubed a do-it-yourself video so hopefully we got it right.

Bulbs coming up from the garden:

Crocus and other spring bulbs. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Two library lends (Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone and Finlay) and two review books (A Sinister Revenge and Vera Wong). All were enjoyable.

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:


How was your week?

Review: Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto


Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Publication Date: March 14th 2023 by Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Vera Wong has been living a quiet, and lonely life since her son has grown, and her husband passed away.  She opens her tea shop every day but customers are thin and besides texting her son “helpful” advice, which he mostly ignores, nothing much happens out of her normal routine until she wakes and discovers a body in her tea shop. The police’s response is lackluster in Vera’s opinion and so she sets out to solve the murder on her own, because everyone knows the killer always returns to the scene of the crime! All Vera needs to do is sit back and wait for her suspect to arrive.

Vera was very sure of how life should go and was puzzled why people didn’t automatically agree with her, like the police. She was hilarious!

Of course, there were people connected to the dead man that did show up and Vera adds them to her suspect list as she makes them tea, cooks for them, asks them questions and then tells them what they should be doing with their lives. These “suspects” end up benefiting from her help and they brighten Vera’s life, too, but is one of them a murderer?

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was such fun! I had to laugh at her “helpful” texts sent to her son at 4:30 am, “reminding him that he’s sleeping his life away”! I remember being annoyed by early phone calls from my dad or grandma, and they weren’t at 4:30 am! It was heartwarming to see Vera’s love and attention help others, helping her in turn. The story was humorous, moving and uplifting and I’d definitely recommend it to others!

4 Stars

Book Description:

A lonely shopkeeper takes it upon herself to solve a murder in the most peculiar way in this captivating mystery by Jesse Q. Sutanto, bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties.

Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady--ah, lady of a certain age--who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco's Chinatown. Despite living alone, Vera is not needy, oh no. She likes nothing more than sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy detective work on the Internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to.

Then one morning, Vera trudges downstairs to find a curious thing--a dead man in the middle of her tea shop. In his outstretched hand, a flash drive. Vera doesn't know what comes over her, but after calling the cops like any good citizen would, she sort of . . . swipes the flash drive from the body and tucks it safely into the pocket of her apron. Why? Because Vera is sure she would do a better job than the police possibly could, because nobody sniffs out a wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands. Vera knows the killer will be back for the flash drive; all she has to do is watch the increasing number of customers at her shop and figure out which one among them is the killer.

What Vera does not expect is to form friendships with her customers and start to care for each and every one of them. As a protective mother hen, will she end up having to give one of her newfound chicks to the police?

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Sunday Post #198


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.

It's been a busy week. Last Saturday we left our home and went to stay with my sister since we had been without power and internet for a week. There was another storm set to hit so we got out when we could so we wouldn't be snowed in and not be able to make our flights to Cabo San Lucas this last Thursday. We had this trip already planned before knowing about the storms. Little did we know how much we'd appreciate a tropical vacation! Hopefully, by the time we get back things will be more back to normal. We found out the power at our house came on yesterday. Still, no internet up there. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Packing, work and a doctor appointment took up all my time and so I only read two books last week, but I enjoyed both. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

One audio ARC and one library lend. I'm listening to Everyone in my Family Has Killed Someone, but not sure I'll be able to finish before it's due back. So much going on with two grandkids and family that it's hard to do any reading whether by audio or Kindle. I hope I get to finish because I'm really liking it!


How was your week?

Friday, March 10, 2023

Review: Off the Map by Trish Doller


Off the Map by Trish Doller
Publication Date: March 7th 2023 by St. Martin's Griffin & Macmillan Audio
Pages: 272
Audio Book Length: 6hrs 37min
Narrator: Sarah Naughton
Source: Publishers
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Carla Black has traveled all over the world, so when her best friend, Anna decides to get married in Ireland and asks Carla to be the maid of honor, she doesn’t blink an eye. She’s to meet Eamon Sullivan, Keane’s handsome brother, to hitch a ride with him to the wedding. As soon as they meet there’s an immediate connection, talking, bonding, and physical attraction!

Eamon Sullivan has dreams of traveling around but has never got around to it, so when Carla suggests they take a detour and check out some of the sites he’s longed to visit they end up on a road/camping trip that changes both of them. Carla starts to reconsider her resolve to make no permanent attachments and Eamon takes a hard look at his stationary life. Each have some personal issues to sort out.

Off the Map was a delight from beginning to end! Carla and Eamon’s immediate chemistry was palpable, and I felt part of their personal journey and travels: the beauty, the bumps in the road and the growing attachment they feel. I rooted for their HEA all the way! 

Loved catching up with Anna and Keane from Float Plan, too! It was a lovely sort of epilogue to their story!

I alternately listened to an audio copy and read an e-copy of Off the Map. I highly recommend the audio narrated beautifully by Sarah Naughton! She has a pleasing voice and she performed both American and Irish accents well! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

4 Stars

Book Description:

On the road to love, you don't need a GPS...

Carla Black’s life motto is “here for a good time, not for a long time.” She’s been travelling the world on her own in her vintage Jeep Wrangler for nearly a decade, stopping only long enough to replenish her adventure fund. She doesn’t do love and she doesn’t ever go home.

Eamon Sullivan is a modern-day cartographer who creates digital maps. His work helps people find their way, but he’s the one who’s lost his sense of direction. He’s unhappy at work, recently dumped, and his one big dream is stalled out—literally.

Fate throws them together when Carla arrives in Dublin for her best friend’s wedding and Eamon is tasked with picking her up from the airport. But what should be a simple drive across Ireland quickly becomes complicated with chemistry-filled detours, unexpected feelings, and a chance at love - if only they choose it.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Review: Ruby Spencer's Whisky Year by Rochelle Bilow


Ruby Spencer's Whisky Year by Rochelle Bilow
Publication Date: February 14th 2023 by Berkley
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Feeling like her life is growing stale, Ruby Spencer quits her job and moves to Scotland, renting a cottage sight unseen, for a year.  She’s determined to write a cookbook and figure her life out.

Thistlecross is a small town, and the Cosy Hearth Pub has seen better days, certainly busier ones, but it’s charming. Between writing her cookbook, helping out in the pub and getting to know the locals it’s not long before Thistlecross starts to feel like home, wedging a spot into Ruby’s heart. Even more so as she gets to know Brochan, the sexy Scot-slash-handyman in town.

I just loved the setting of Thistlecross, the sound of the charming cottage and the old pub where Ruby is staying. The food she whipped up on her own and with her landlady, Grace, made with fresh eggs, herbs and veggies from the garden she started up sounded delicious and added to the appeal.  I enjoyed Ruby and Brochan getting to know and fall hard for each other. Of course, not all was smooth sailing, I was more irritated with Brochan than Ruby, though, but the conflict wasn’t over-the-top and felt true-to-life. The romance was lovely.

I’d definitely recommend Ruby Spencer’s Whisky Year. It was a delightful combination of delicious food, dreamy setting, and a lusty romance!
4 Stars

Book Description:

One of...
Buzzfeed's Romance Books To Look Out For In 2023
Paste Magazine's Most Anticipated Contemporary Romance Books of 2023

When a thirty-something American food writer moves to a Scottish village for one year to fulfill her dream of writing a cookbook she finds more than inspiration--she meets a handsome Scotsman she can't resist.

Ruby Spencer is spending one year living in a small cottage in a tiny town in the Scottish Highlands for three reasons: to write a bestselling cookbook, to drink a barrelful of whisky, and to figure out what comes next. It's hard to know what to expect after an impulse decision based on a map of Scotland in her Manhattan apartment--but she knows it's high time she had an adventure.

The moment she sets foot in Thistlecross, the verdant scenery, cozy cottages, and struggling local pub steal her heart. Between designing pop-up suppers and conversing with the colorful locals, Ruby starts to see a future that stretches beyond her year of adventure. It doesn't hurt that Brochan, the ruggedly handsome local handyman, keeps coming around to repair things at her cottage. Though Ruby swore off men, she can't help fantasizing what a roll in the barley might be like with the bearded Scot.

As Ruby grows closer to Brochan and the tightly held traditions of the charming village, she discovers secret plans to turn her beloved pub into an American chain restaurant. Faced with an impossible choice, Ruby must decide between love, loyalty, and the Highlands way of life.