Monday, June 26, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books Releasing During the Second Half of 2023


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. 

How can it be that we're already half way through the year so that we have this prompt?!

This week Most Anticipated Books Releasing During the Second Half of 2023:

Click on cover to Amazon link. Sorry, Goodreads was down.

Seems I'm looking forward to a lot of mystery/thriller/suspense! 

What books are you most looking forward to the latter half of this year?

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Review: A Fatal Illusion by Anna Lee Huber


A Fatal Illusion (Lady Darby #11) by Anna Lee Huber
Publication Date: June 20th 2023 by Berkley
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
A Fatal Illusion is book eleven in the Lady Darby series and it’s one that should definitely be read in order even if every book has its own mystery that’s solved by the end. There are ongoing relationships, the most important being the romance between Keira and Sebastian Gage, which had some bumps along the way but has been so worth it!

If you haven’t started the series, there are spoilers ahead.

In the last book at the end, Kiera and Sebastian receive news that Lord Gage, Sebastian’s father was attacked while on route to them to meet baby Emma. Not knowing exactly how bad the attack was, they make plans to leave in the morning and that’s where we pick up the story here.

They arrive in Yorkshire with Henry, Lord Gage’s illegitimate son he’s yet to acknowledge, and are invited to stay with the treating doctor and his wife. Lord Gage is scant on details, and when they question him on possible motives for the attack, he isn’t helpful. He butts heads with Sebastian and Kiera and is completely rude to Henry, and they even consider giving up the investigation, but as a young footman was murdered in the attack, they feel they at least owe it to him and his family to bring the attackers to justice.

I have to say for much of the story I could sympathize with Sebastian. He’s so frustrated and angry with his father, and rightly so given that he hid the fact he fathered another child, Sebastian’s half brother Henry, and didn’t bother to tell him and still refuses to acknowledge Henry. Lord Gage withholds information left and right, but by the end we do see a little bit of change and get some backstory that sheds some light on Lord Gage’s behavior. I was heartened to see Lord Gage’s interactions with baby Emma. Still, it’ll take some time to mend fences. The mystery wraps up satisfactorily. There’s also a surprise I sort of saw coming in regard to one character. Ms. Huber expounds on that storyline in a historical note, and it was based on a real-life account. Very interesting.

Every scene with baby Emma just warmed my heart! Ms. Huber captures some of the very touching aspects of babies and parenthood perfectly!

A Fatal Illusion was another winning installment that captured and held my attention from page one! I think any fan of historical mysteries would enjoy this stand-out series!

4 Stars

Book Description:

New parents Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage look forward to introducing Sebastian’s father to his granddaughter, but instead find themselves investigating an attempt on his life...

Yorkshire, England. August 1832. Relations between Sebastian Gage and his father have never been easy, especially since the discovery that Lord Gage has been concealing the existence of an illegitimate son. But when Lord Gage is nearly fatally attacked on a journey to Scotland, Sebastian and Kiera race to his side. Given the tumult over the recent passage of the Reform Bill and the Anatomy Act, in which Lord Gage played a part, Sebastian wonders if the attack could be politically motivated.

But something suspicious is afoot in the sleepy village where Lord Gage is being cared for. The townspeople treat Sebastian and Kiera with hostility when it becomes clear they intend to investigate, and rumors of mysterious disappearances and highway robberies plague the area. Lord Gage’s survival is far from assured, and Sebastian and Kiera must scramble to make the pieces fit before a second attempt at murder is more successful than the first.

Photo Credit: Shanon Aycock

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

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Sunday Post #212


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.

It's been a sort of quiet week. My husband was gone Monday-Wednesday for business so it was just me and Peanut. Peanut decided I needed cheering up apparently, because he killed a squirrel and left the mangled remains in my bedroom on Wednesday. He really brings me the nicest gifts...

I came home from work to see a deer had nipped off buds on a several plants that are supposed to be deer resistant. It was a new buck so I'm guessing he took a nibble not knowing if he liked the plant or not. I blocked off the planter with ladders and mesh wire until we could rig up the fencing we had planned on installing. My husband put the fencing up today (Saturday) and I sprayed plants with deer/rabbit mace on plants where there's no fencing. Plants that are supposed to be deer resistant. I guess that's part of living in the country. I do enjoy seeing the deer even if they can be a pain. 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Another great reading week. One 5 star (Remember Me) and three 4 star books. 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I grabbed a library audio copy of Beautifully Broken Life after seeing Tanya's review. I have an e-copy of Trapped but somehow I don't have the audio. Thankfully my library had an audio copy and I'm listening now as I'm set to review it for Anne's read along. Bittersweet in the Hollow is an invite and YA. I don't read much YA anymore but it sounded good. We'll see.


I don't know why, but I couldn't get Instagram to embed here. Instead, I'll share a photo of my running trail blooming with wild sweet pea:

How was your week?

Friday, June 23, 2023

Review: Play For Me by Libby Hubscher


Play For Me by Libby Hubscher
Publication Date: June 20th 2023 by Berkley
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Sophie’s life implodes when her decision to keep the star pitcher out of the game ends with the Red Sox losing the World Series. Sophie is fired, and her boyfriend breaks up with her, kicking her out of his apartment. Her name is mud in Boston, so her best friend suggests she take up a job at her old boarding school in New Hampshire for a change of scenery.

However, things are not all bad, as Sophie is a glass-full kind of gal. The boarding school, Monadnock, is beautiful and so is the location. She has a closet sized bedroom in the apartment she shares with three other men, and all are nice except for one: Jonas Voss. The handsome but grouchy music teacher seems to take an immediate dislike to her, but Sophie’s determined to make the best of her situation.

As they cohabitate Sophie begins to see another side to Jonas and he seems to soften towards her, here and there. Sophie discovers her training may be able to help Jonas get back on the career path he had to abandon, and they start working together. Sparks fly, although Sophie’s not sure Jonas feels the same.

Play For Me was a wonderful, slow-burn romance, but there was so much more to this lovely story! Both Sophie and Jonas had their dream jobs taken away and the story examined the repercussions and whether a job alone brings happiness. I was delighted to see both Sophie and Jonas help each other to recognize they had value and could find happiness in many different ways and that there wasn’t just one career path that could bring joy. They had complicated issues, but they supported each other through them, and I just loved that!

4 Stars

Book Description:

When her new job takes her to a New England boarding school, she’s surprised to find her roommates are all men – including a very handsome one who plays by his own rules. 

Sophie Doyle has her dream job as the head athletic trainer for her favorite baseball team (go Red Sox!), a handsome boyfriend, and easy access to the finest cannoli in Boston. When she loses all three and the World Series to boot, she’s forced to apply for the open trainer position at an arts-focused boarding school in New Hampshire. The only available room is a glorified closet in an apartment with three guys: Jonas Voss, the aloof and attractive orchestra teacher, and his two rambunctious roommates.

Sophie knows that training a bunch of privileged high school kids whose idea of a play is A Chorus Line instead of a walk-off homer is going to be a big change from the pro athletes she’s used to. She wasn’t expecting that these students would have big-time talent and even bigger-time problems. Sophie has troubles of her own—Jonas is a full-fledged grump who clearly doesn’t want her near him or the precious piano he never plays.

With sunny optimism, Sophie sets out to win over Jonas and help the kids she’s growing attached to. But when her relationship with Jonas moves to the major leagues and plans change at the end of the season, they have to choose whether they are playing for keeps.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer 2023 to-read List


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 Summer 2023 to-read List

I'm so excited for each and every one of these books! How do I choose which one to start first?!! A bookish dilemma!

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

Remember Me by Mary Balogh
I love her historical romances! This is book two in the Ravenswood series and can be read as a standalone in a pinch. 

A Fatal Illusion by Anna Lee Huber
Book 11 in the Lady Darby Mysteries and should be read in order. This series is excellent! I highly recommend the audio version narrated by Heather Wilds. All voices and accents are perfection!

A Little Ray of Sunshine by Kristan Higgins
Her brand of womens fiction usually strikes a cord and hits me emotionally. Plus, she usually adds a little bit of romance.

The Cafe at Beach End by RaeAnne Thayne
I scoop up every new release by Thayne! Love the setting of this series, too! It's book 5 in the Cape Sanctuary series, but can be read as a standalone.

A Stolen Child by Sarah Stewart Taylor
Book 4 in the wonderful Maggie D'arcy series. A police/crime procedural with a new mystery with every book, but should be read in order because of the ongoing relationships and history. 

Resonance Surge by Nalini Singh
Psy-Changeling Trinity #7. Each installment is a must-read for me. Such a great mix of fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal romance! Each book is focused on a romantic couple, but it should be read in order for the ongoing story arc.

Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates
Darcy Coates is famous for her ghost stories, but this seems to be a straight thriller and it sounds good! 

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center
Her romances are top notch! I have an e-copy and an audio, but I'll be buying the hardcover for my shelf! She's an another auto buy for me. 

Magic Claims by Ilona Andrews
So excited they are writing more Kate Daniels! I have an e-copy but I'm sure I'll be buying the audio bundle when it comes out of Magic Tides and Magic Claims and be listening as a re-read. 

North of Nowhere by Allison Brennan
This sounds like a heart pounding thriller! Kids on the run from their murderous father crashing in the wilds of Montana so now not only are they on the run from trackers, but also a deadly storm. Can't wait!

What do you plan to read this summer?

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Sweetheart List by Jill Shalvis


The Sweetheart List (Sunrise Cove #4) by Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: June 13th 2023 by Avon
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Harper needs a change. Her fiancĂ© dumps her, her job fails to bring joy, and her father barely acknowledges her existence. So, she decides to take life by the horns and move to the last place she was happy: Sunrise Cove, a town by Lake Tahoe. She’s going to go forward with her dream of running her own bakery and as luck would have it one of the downtown shops is up for lease. It’s a little run down but with some work it will be quaint and cute. Harper doesn’t expect help, doesn’t expect to make friends so quickly, but she’s but she’s gifted with both.  Romance is far from her mind, but of course when you least expect it is when you fall hard.

Bodie, her landlord isn’t looking for romance either, he’s just home to run the family bar after his dad’s unexpected death. But sweet and kind Harper is hard to resist.

Ivy, a teenager with a mission, has nowhere to stay so she sneaks into Harper’s shop for a night to sleep safe and out of the cold, thinking the place empty. Instead, she’s surprised by Harper who doesn’t kick her out. Harper’s an unexpected refuge and friend.

I love the thought of picking up and moving if a place is not bringing you happiness. Something I did a year ago, and coincidentally, to a place very close to the setting of Truckee/Lake Tahoe! I kept picturing downtown Truckee because it sounded so like the cute downtown area described.  

There were some bumps in the road from Ivy’s past and just from being a teenager! I thought she was pretty darn lucky because Harper and Bodie were so lovely to her.

The Sweetheart List was a feel-good romance full of love, friendship, and laughs! Loved that little surprise twist in the epilogue!

4 Stars

Book Description:

What makes life sweet?

-Freshly baked bread
-A cool lake on a hot summer day
-The comfort of a cozy bookstore
-Second chances and new beginnings

When Harper Shaw’s life falls apart, she knows it’s time for a change. She removes everything that doesn’t spark joy—from her soul-sucking job to eating kale to making lists—and sets off for the last place she was happy, Lake Tahoe (who wouldn’t feel good there, right?) to fulfill her dream of opening her own bakery.

With her Sugar Pine Bakery in between a tavern, owned by sexy, grumpy Bodie Campbell, and a bookstore, run by her new BFF, she feels a peace she’s never experienced since…well, forever.. Then she meets Ivy, a teenage runaway, who barrels into her heart. She sees a lot of herself in Ivy and takes her under her wing, but the teenager has secrets…

When those secrets explode, it changes Harper’s new world, and she’ll learn, it’s never too late to start over, it’s never too late to figure out your life, and best of all, it’s never too late to let yourself believe in love.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Sunday Post #211


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.

It's been a quieter week. I went in an extra day at work because we were real busy at the hospital. 

It's been hot the last couple of days, but we still haven't had to turn on the air conditioner. I went on three runs this week and have been in the garden constantly. Planting, watering, weeding.

Butterflies love the Dahlias

Wild garden daisies

My zucchini plant is producing so we've been using our zucchini recipes. My favorite is battered air fryer zucchini (recipe HERE) rounds with ranch dip. I substitute heavy cream for the milk and set the oven to air fry at the same temp. Delicious!

My husband and I went to lunch in town yesterday, explored some shops, and did some did some wine tasting at a local wine tasting room. A fun day.

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I had a great reading week with one 5 star, one 4.5 star and two 4 star reads. Love, Theoretically is my favorite Ali Hazelwood to date. The Island Villa was an emotional journey of a mother and her two daughters mending fences and finding happiness. The Sweetheart List was a sweet, low drama romance. I picked up Sworn to Silence, the first in the Kate Burkholder mysteries because I grabbed her latest through a "read now" Netgalley offer and wanted to at least get to the first book in the series. I think I'll manage to read a few more before tackling the latest. It was riveting mystery, but boy was it brutal and tough to stomach in parts! Still, I'm looking forward to continuing the series.

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Four library lend audios and two review copies. Pray For Silence is the second in the Kate Burkholder series. I'm currently listening to A Rip Through Time and had the my hold of the second one, The Poisoner's Ring come through a few days ago. Need to listen to both before my library lend expires. I have a print copy of A Love Catastrophe, but requested a library audio and it came through this week. Vanishing Edge was on sale at Chirp, but it was available through my library so I borrowed it instead. I've got a lot to get through before they expire!


My current giveaway.

How was your week?