Sunday, April 30, 2023

Sunday Post #205


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.

Spring continues to be sunny and beautiful! We've had a run of hot days in the upper 80s, but tomorrow it's supposed to cool down with highs in the 50s and some rain for the next week at least.


Japanese Cherry

Yesterday a friend of the family's son, Jake Haener, a quarterback, was drafted into the New Orleans Saints!! He played for Fresno State and then was picked to play at the Senior Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles back in December and was awarded MVP for that game (one we attended). We're so thrilled for him and his family!! 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

The Lonely Hearts Book Club was heartwarming and hilarious! Happy Place was perfection! A Fire in the Night was so good, too! A mix of mystery, thriller with a good characterization. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:


How was your week?

Friday, April 28, 2023

Review: Happy Place by Emily Henry


Happy Place by Emily Henry
Publication Date: April 25th 2023 by Berkley & Penguin Audio
Pages: 400
Audio Book Length: 11hrs 3min
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Source: Publishers &
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Libro.fmAudible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Happy Place is told in Harriet’s POV with chapters set in the past, her “Happy Place” showing the history of how Wyn and Harriet became friends and fell in love. It revealed just enough snippets from the past without slowing the plot.  It also recounted the history of Harriet and her friends, Sabrina, Parth, Cleo, and Kimmy. The friends are very much part of the story, and they have their own mini stories within, as well. The chapters in the present, “Real Life”, showed that Harriet and Wyn are far from over each other as they spend the week in coastal Maine with the gang. The setting is gorgeous in real life, and it came through with Henry’s talented writing.

Both Harriet and Wyn went through so much in their time together, that muddled what was important. The trip helped them sift through and boil down exactly what they needed and wanted in to be happy. Their journey made me cry and filled my heart with joy!
Happy Place was the perfect second chance romance with all the longing and hurt palpable between Wyn and Harriet.  Their chemistry was off the charts! I was worried it would be super melancholy and a lot of angst, but it was just the right amount balanced out with fun and humor. Emily Henry writes the best banter, clever and sharp at times and slap happy, hilarious at others.

I alternately listened to Happy Place and read an e-copy and I highly recommend both! Julia Whelan is one of my all-time favorite narrators and her match-up with Emily Henry’s writing is perfection. She hits all the range of emotions from sharp, ironic humor, gut-wrenching emotions, and light-hearted bits beautifully! I listened at 1.5x-1.75x normal speed.

5 Stars

Book Description:

Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.

They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.

Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.

Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week… in front of those who know you best?

A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Audio Review: The Shop on Royal Street by Karen White


The Shop on Royal Street (Royal Street #1) by Karen White
Publication Date: March 29th 2011 by Penguin Audio
Pages: 384
Audio Book Length: 14hrs 8min
Narrator: Sophie Amoss
Source: Library
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
I really liked Nola. I'd love to restore an old home back to its former glory, a project Nola has undertaken, although maybe with not so many obstacles! A woman was murdered at the house years earlier, but this doesn't deter Nola from buying the house, after all, an old house is bound to have a death or two. But she is curious about the murder and with the help of her bestie, Jolene, Nola starts digging around to find out what actually happened.

The lingering ghosts hindered Nola's efforts to renovate, because workers were spooked as stories of the house were well known. The history involves Beau, a friend Nola has a complicated relationship with and they end up working together.

Loved the descriptions of New Orleans, the old homes, architecture, and antiques! Loved Nola’s best friend Jolene with all her Southern ways and sayings! She cracked me the heck up! I hope both Nola and Jolene get their romances sorted! Jackson, the DA Jolene pines for has an on-again-off-again girlfriend, and Beau is unavailable as well. It’s a little messy, but there’s so many other things going on that it’s not the center focus.

I listened to the audio version narrated by Sophie Amoss. Her performance was excellent! Looking forward to the next one! 

4 Stars

Book Description:

Nola Trenholm is hopeful for a fresh start in the Big Easy but must deal with ghosts from her past—as well as new ones—in this first book in a spin-off series of Karen White's New York Times bestselling Tradd Street novels.

After a difficult detour on her road to adulthood, Nola Trenholm is looking to begin anew in New Orleans, and what better way to start her future than with her first house? But the historic fixer-upper she buys comes with even more work than she anticipated when the house’s previous occupants don’t seem to be ready to depart.

Although she can’t communicate with ghosts like her stepmother can, luckily Nola knows someone in New Orleans who is able to—even if he’s the last person on earth she wants anything to do with ever again. Beau Ryan comes with his own dark past—a past that involves the disappearance of his sister and parents during Hurricane Katrina—and he’s connected to the unsolved murder of a woman who once lived in the old Creole cottage Nola is determined to make her own...whether the resident restless spirits agree or not.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Review & Excerpt: Deep Tide by Laura Griffin


Deep Tide (The Texas Murder Files #4) by Laura Griffin
Publication Date: April 25th 2023 by Berkley & Dreamscape Media
Pages: 352
Audio Book Length: 9 hrs 13 mins
Narrators: Terri Clark Linden
Source: Publishers
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Leyla Breda is a successful entrepreneur at Lost Beach with her coffee/bake shop hopping and now expanding into catering she’s a busy woman. Her life is thrown upside down when a woman is found murdered behind her shop in a back alley. However, she has more than just her brothers to rely on. Sean Moran, her brother’s friend, also in law enforcement, keeps showing up when she’s at her lowest. There’s an immediate attraction between the two, but Leyla’s has rules about getting involved with non-residents as they have a lot of tourists. At some point they go home and she’s not about to be a vacation fling.

Sean Moran is in Lost Beach for his friend’s wedding (Leyla’s brother) but also because of an ongoing investigation into a rich tech mogul with ties to a criminal cartel. Rumor is a deal is going down soon and Sean’s there to intercept it. The murder of the girl outside of Leyla’s coffeeshop has Sean’s red flags going up as there are some suspicious details that might mean it’s related to his investigation. He didn’t count on meeting Leyla, though. Although she continually rebuffs his romantic proposals, he’s drawn to her over and over. Unfortunately, her questions on the case put her in danger.

I’ve been a fan of Laura Griffin’s police procedural/romantic suspense stories for quite some time, but Deep Tide was a little slow going. It was entertaining but didn’t have the intensity or threat of danger throughout that some of her other stories had until the very end. There was a lot of time spent with Nicole, one of the Lost Beach detectives, and she wasn’t the love interest. Maybe this is a setup for a story focusing on her and Emmett in another case? I feel there wasn’t as much time spent with Sean and Leyla together. Even so, I wanted them to overcome any obstacles and find a way to be together. Even with some of these issues, I’d still recommend Deep Tide to mystery/romantic suspense fans. The other books in the series are really good, as well. Particularly Flight and Midnight Dunes which are my favorites so far.

I alternated between an e-ARC and audio copy of Deep Tide and I recommend either. The audio, narrated by Teri Clark Linden, was excellent. I’ve enjoyed several books by her and love her voice, accents, and performance! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

3.5 Stars


Sean Moran slipped away from the party. The bride and groom had left under a shower of rice, but people were still milling around beneath swags of white lights, drinking the couple’s booze and enjoying the breeze off the water. Sean would have liked another drink, but he needed to get back to his condo. As he crossed the wooden bridge spanning the sand dunes, he spied a woman on the beach with a champagne flute in hand.

Leyla Breda.

Her formfitting dress looked silver in the moonlight, and it shimmered against her body as she strolled toward the surf. Nearing a piece of driftwood, she dropped her shoes to the sand and sat down. She nestled the flute at her feet, then lifted her arms and twisted her dark hair into a knot at the top of her head.

Sean stopped at the end of the bridge. He had about a hundred things left to do tonight, including contacting his boss.

Instead, he walked over to Leyla.

"How's the champagne?"

She jumped and turned around. Recognition flickered across her face, and her shoulders relaxed.

"It's good." She held up her glass. "You didn't have any?"

"Nope. Can I get you a refill?"

She smiled. "What, are you a waiter now, too?"

He stepped closer. "I'm Sean Moran, by the way." He held out his hand. "We never actually met."

"Leyla Breda." Her handshake was brisk and businesslike, but the warm look in her eyes gave him hope.

"Joel's little sister," he said.

"That's me."

He turned toward the water so he wouldn't be tempted to stare down the front of her dress.

"I didn't get a chance to thank you earlier," she said. "Things got really hectic."

"Looked like you had your hands full."

"So, are you here for Joel or Miranda?"

He looked at her. "Joel."

She tipped her head to the side as she gazed up at him. "And you know him from . . . ?"


She frowned. "Here?"

"No. We go way back. We were in the same academy class in Houston, spent some time at HPD together."

"Oh. That was a while ago."


"So . . . the vice squad, then?"

"Yeah. Mind if I sit down?"

"Not at all."

Sean lowered himself onto the other end of the sandy log. He didn't like the direction the conversation had taken so he steered it back to her.

"So, how long have you been a caterer?" he asked.

"Hmm . . . let's see. I guess it's been about three weeks now." She turned and smiled at him, and he felt a hot jolt of attraction. "Why? Can you tell?"

"Not at all."


"Well, the timing seemed a little bumpy."

"Just a little." She rolled her eyes. "We had several staffers no-show. It happens a lot in this business. People are flaky. Despite all my planning, you could say we were a bit rushed."

Rushed was right. No woman had ever clapped at him before. He'd discovered it was a turn-on.

Book Description:

With two brothers on the police force, Leyla Breda is well aware of the rising crime in her small beach town, but she never expected it to show up on her doorstep. When Leyla finds one of her employees murdered in the alley behind her coffee shop, she's deeply shaken, and as a new law enforcement officer in town begins to circle her place of business, her instincts only sharpen.

Sean Moran is on an undercover The seaside community of Lost Beach may look like a picturesque postcard, but his team suspects it's a point of intersection for several crime syndicates that the FBI has been investigating for years. Even so, when the brash and beautiful Leyla Breda starts bossing him around, he's immediately intrigued. He knows her brothers want him to back off, but every time he sees her, he feels more of a spark.

Leyla's connections in the local community and Sean's skills allow them to go deeper into the case together than they would be able to go alone. But when a single crime spirals into something much darker, Sean's carefully planned mission takes a deadly turn.


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sunday Post #204


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 had a hectic work week, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Still don't know what's going on with the co-worker, but they've asked for more hours from me next week. 

It seems spring has finally arrived here in Northern California and things are really starting to bloom! The temperatures were warm, upper 70s today and sunny. I went on a 5 mile walk and then came home did some gardening and then cleaned the house. I'm bushed! I hope to sleep in tomorrow and then get more planting done. 

Green flowers on our Holland Maple

Magnolia at the hospital where I work

Cherry tree at our house

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I had a great reading week with two 5 star reads and one 4 star!

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I have an e-ARC of The Wedding at Moonglow Bay and noticed my library had an audio copy ready to download. I'm enjoying it already. I borrowed A Fire in the Night after seeing Lark's review. Summer Reading just sounded too good to pass on.


How was your week?

Friday, April 21, 2023

Review: Jane & Edward by Melodie Edwards

Jane & Edward by Melodie Edwards
Publication Date: March 21st 2023 by Berkley
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Jane Raine was thrust into foster care when her father dies and there’s no will. She spends years feeling unwanted, and then just getting by on her own waitressing, until she takes classes to become a legal assistant and begins work at Rosen, Haythe & Thornfield LLP.  Jane can’t believe it when she’s hired right out of school to be the assistant to one of the partners, but it soon becomes apparent she got the job because no one else wants it with Edward Rosen’s reputation of being difficult and scary. However, Jane doesn’t have the luxury of just quitting and is determined to stick it out no matter how badly Mr. Rosen behaves.

I love the original story of Jane Eyre and so when I heard of Jane & Edward, a modern reimagining of the story, I jumped at a chance to read it and was not disappointed! I liked the fact that it didn’t follow the story as closely as a re-telling would, because I didn’t know exactly how things would go and I enjoyed the differences. Melodie Edwards brought these characters to life, and I felt my heart soar right along with Jane when she found love and friends. I also felt her longing and heartbreak acutely.  I loved that there was an actual physical romance (instead of just an emotional one like the original), while a fade to black on some of the encounters, the kisses were sensual and lusty!

Loved the gradual transformation of insecure, lonely Jane into someone gaining friends and confidence! I relished seeing her stand up for herself in the present and for the injustices heaped on her while young!

It's not necessary to read the original Jane Eyre to enjoy Jane & Edward. It’s a swoony, heartfelt romance with bits of humor and sweetness that stands strong on its own! A definite recommend!

5 Stars

Book Description:

This powerful reimagining of Jane Eyre, set in a modern-day law firm, is full of romance and hope as it follows the echoing heartbeats of the classic story.

A former foster kid, Jane has led a solitary life as a waitress in the suburbs, working hard to get by. Tired of years of barely scraping together a living, Jane takes classes to become a legal assistant and shortly after graduating accepts a job offer at a distinguished law firm in downtown Toronto. Everyone at the firm thinks she is destined for failure because her boss is the notoriously difficult Edward Rosen, the majority stakeholder of Rosen, Haythe & Thornfield LLP. But Jane has known far worse trials and refuses to back down when economic freedom is so close at hand.

Edward has never been able to keep an assistant--he's too loud, too messy, too ill-tempered. There's something about the quietly competent, delightfully sharp-witted Jane that intrigues him though. As their orbits overlap, their feelings begin to develop--first comes fondness and then something more. But when Edward's secrets put Jane's independence in jeopardy, she must face long-ignored ghosts from her past and decide if opening her heart is a risk worth taking.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Review & Giveaway: The Seaside Library by Brenda Novak

The Seaside Library by Brenda Novak
Publication Date: April 11th 2023 by MIRA
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher 
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Mariners Island is an idyllic summer retreat like Nantucket. Three best friends, Ivy, Ariana, and Cam are year-rounders, staying when the summer crowd goes home. Their lives change at sixteen when a twelve-year-old girl goes missing and Cam is supposedly the last person seen with her. When it’s apparent Cam will be the prime suspect Ivy and Ariana lie to give him an alibi because they’re sure he couldn’t have done anything to hurt this girl. Twenty years they’ve stuck by their story, Ariana leaving for college soon after, staying away for the most part. Now the girl’s remains have been discovered and Ivy and Ariana question if they did the right thing.

From the cover, The Seaside Library looks like a breezy beach read, but it’s more of a serious story. It’s a cold case mystery, a story of friendship and of unrequited love.

Ariana has loved Cam since they were teenagers, but he skipped from girl to girl and never gave any sign that he was interested in her. Granted Ariana never let Cam or even Ivy know that she loved him, but part of the reason she’s stayed away is because she felt too much for him, and those feelings just come rushing back the moment they connect again.

The other reason was the guilt she felt from lying to the police and everyone else about the true timeline of the night the girl went missing. Ivy has also struggled with her decision, but they felt Cam would’ve been unjustly accused and railroaded into a conviction if they didn’t give him an alibi.

Slowly the truth of that night comes out, what actually happened. There were some twists I guessed, others I didn’t. I wanted all three to find happiness. I wanted the truth to come out so they could all move on from the events of that night and justice for the little girl.

The Seaside Library grabbed my attention from the first page, and I didn’t want to stop reading! I needed to know how it all turned out, so I ended up reading it in one sitting!

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

There are secrets that bring friends together, and others that drive them apart…

Mariners Island is barely ten miles long, but when Ivy, Ariana and Cam were teenagers, it was their whole world. Beyond the pristine beaches and iconic lighthouse lies the beautiful old library that belongs to Ivy’s family. While that bound Ivy to the island as an adult, Ariana could not leave Mariners behind fast enough. The town holds too many… memories . Not only her unrequited feelings for Cam, but the tragedy that left a scar on the community.

When a young girl went missing, a teenage Cam was unthinkably the prime suspect. Ariana and Ivy knew he couldn’t have hurt anyone, and they promised to protect him—even if it meant lying on his behalf.

Now, twenty years later, Ariana returns to Mariners just as new evidence emerges on the case, calling into question everything the three friends thought they knew—and everyone they thought they could trust. What really happened that night? Over the course of one eventful summer, Ariana, Ivy and Cam will learn the truth—about their pasts, their futures and the ties that still bind them as closely as the pages of a book…

A couple of weeks back I was able to attend the launch party for Brenda Novak's newest: The Seaside Library and I bought a paperback copy of The Seaside Library signed by the author to give away to one reader. The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Fill out the out the rafflecopter for a chance to win! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 17, 2023

Audiobook Review: The Instructor by T.R. Hendricks


The Instructor (Derek Harrington #1) by T.R. Hendricks
Publication Date: April 11th 2023 by Macmillan Audio
Pages: 320
Audio Book Length: 9hrs 45min
Narrator: Jay Snyder
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Former Marine, Derek Harrington, is getting by but at a low point in his life, separated from his wife and son after PTSD and anger issues came between them. Now he’s working on getting them back, seeing a therapist and teaching wilderness survival courses. He’s approached by what appears to be an extremist anti-government group to teach their men to deal with threats and aggression for a hefty amount of money. His alarm bells go off and so Derek initially refuses the offer. Just to be on the safe side Derek tells an FBI buddy his concerns and that buddy has a proposal of his own. Go back and agree to train this group and find out if they’re something the FBI needs to worry about.

The training methods Derek uses sounded harrowing, and if that’s what marines actually go through my heart goes out to them! I guess it would be necessary when going up against the monsters out there in the world.

The Instructor was action-packed, gripping and suspenseful! I was worried for Derek. He was up against some formidable foes, but he was clever, resourceful, and determined! Kind of like a Jason Bourne character! I’ve backpacked and camped in the past and found the survival techniques mentioned interesting and useful.  The story wraps up mostly, but there were threads left open for more stories to come. I look forward to the next one!

I listened to the audio version of the story. Jay Snyder had a deep, masculine voice that I thought was perfect for Derek. He performed the female voices well, too. I definitely recommend the story and the audio version! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

4 Stars

Book Description:

Dive into The Instructor , former Army intelligence officer T. R. Hendricks' fast paced, action-packed debut thriller that's Jack Reacher meets Survivorman , the first novel in the Derek Harrington series!

“Packed with action, tension, and humanity, The Instructor delivers.”
—Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Burner , a Gray Man Novel

Derek Harrington, retired Marine Force Recon and SERE instructor, is barely scraping by teaching the basics of wilderness survival. His fledgling bushcraft school is on the cusp of going out of business and expenses are piling up fast. His only true mission these days? To get his ailing father into a full care facility and to support his ex-wife and their son.

When one of his students presents him with an opportunity too good to be true—$20,000 to instruct a private group for 30 days in upstate New York—Derek reluctantly takes the job, despite his reservations about the group's insistence on anonymity. But it isn't long before the training takes an unexpected turn—and a new offer is made.

Reaching out to an FBI contact to sound his concerns, Derek soon finds himself in deep cover, deep in the woods, embroiled with a fringe group led by a charismatic leader who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. When what he wants becomes Derek's head, the teacher is pitted against his students as Derek races against time to stop what could very well be the first attack by the domestic terrorist cell.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Sunday Post #203


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.

Spring has finally arrived and we've had some warmer days, but the temps will be dropping again this week with some rain. We took advantage of the nicer weather by exploring some of the local attractions. Went to gardens about 30 minutes from our house and we were a little early for all the spring tulips and wisteria, but we did see lots of pansies, hyacinths, and camellias which were very pretty. I'd like to go back in a few weeks because the tulips are supposed to be beautiful.  

We also went to Bridgeport Bridge, an old covered toll bridge built in 1862. We hiked around the river a bit and then went to lunch. It was gorgeous with so many poppies, wild iris, lupins and redbud all over the hills.

Bridgeport Bridge over the Yuba River

Inside the bridge

Yuba River

Next week is going to be busy. There's been some drama at work over the last couple of months with a co-worker, not with me personally, but in our department. Long story. She was supposed to work on Friday, but was canceled and they asked me to work an extra day next week to cover her shift. Not sure what's going on.  I also have two doctors appointments next week. I'll be happy when the week is over. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I think I need to try another Lynn Painter story because while I enjoyed the humor, chemistry and banter I felt the conflict, why they couldn't be together, was weak. I went back and read reviews and quite a few other readers said this wasn't their favorite Painter story. I enjoyed Blind Spots, a sci-fi mystery with an original premise. I grabbed The Instructor after seeing it featured on Carole's Sunday Post. I listened to the story in a 24-hr period. Kept me on the edge of my seat. Acquired a library audio of The Hope of Azure Springs after seeing Lark's praise. Loved it!

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I'm a fan of the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber so I was thrilled to get a copy of the newest. Dead of Winter was a "read now" email from Netgalley so I quickly grabbed it up. Downloaded The Instructor and The Hope of Azure Springs this last week and read *listened* to them right away.


How was your week?