Friday, October 27, 2023

Review: Wyoming Proud by Diana Palmer


Wyoming Proud (Wyoming Men #12) by Diana Palmer
Publication Date: October 24th 2023 by Canary Street Press
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher 
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShoporg Harlequin 

My Thoughts:
Erin has been in love with Ty, who is also her boss, since she was a teenager. She gave up on ever catching his attention romantically, but then he asks her out on a date. Erin doesn’t think the date is anything more than just a ruse to get a persistent female off Ty’s tail, and it is a little of that, but Ty has been seeing Erin a bit differently lately. More than just his little sister’s best friend.

They end up sleeping with each other, and from Erin’s POV it seems Ty regrets and feels guilty, so she makes it seem like it didn’t mean much when it really meant the world to her. She ends up pregnant (in the book description), but other stuff is going on: her father is ill, financial woes thanks to her idiot father, and then Ty is an idiot too!

Ty’s company loses a bid to a competitor that came in with lower prices. Ty is told that Erin is responsible. Ty believes the accusation despite Erin’s denials.

Yep, there was a lot of angst. I wanted to strangle Ty and Erin’s father! When a guy’s an idiot there has to be a proper amount of groveling to salvage the romance for me. Did Erin forgive him? Well, I guess you’ll have to read it and see, but this is a romance. I was happy with how it all turned out, and I was compelled to read straight through after I got to the 30% mark. It was a page-turner!

I’ve been wanting to read one of Diana Palmer’s romances for quite some time, she’s such a legend in the genre! I was happy I finally got my chance. While Wyoming Proud was a bit more angsty than I usually prefer, I enjoyed it and would like to read more of her backlist soon! 

3.5 Stars

Book Description:

A sudden romance leads to betrayal and a shocking secret…

It takes one night for Erianne Mitchell to fall heart-first for dashing architect Ty Mosby. They work together and have friends in common—and a searing attraction that seems far too good to last.

But when a devastating mistake tears them apart, Erianne flees to Wyoming with a secret, one she hopes Ty never discovers. She did nothing wrong, and she’ll never ask Ty to forgive her. She'll support herself…and the baby growing inside her. How can she be with a man who doesn’t trust her?

Ty knows exactly what he’s lost and he’ll do anything to beg for her forgiveness and win back her trust. When he finds her, she’s just as proud as he remembers. Is it too late for him to make amends…or is destiny about to test them in an even bigger way?

Photo Credit: Chris Standford

About the author:

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia. Website | Facebook

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Review & Excerpt: The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin


The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin
Publication Date: October 24th 2023 by Berkley & Dreamscape Media
Pages: 334
Audio Book Length: 8hrs 26min
Narrator: Stephanie Németh-Parker
Source: Publishers
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Jack Bruner has been searching for the West Campus Rapist for years. He’s long believed the perpetrator would escalate his crimes from rape to murder, so when the murder of a young woman matches the WCR’s MO Jack becomes even more desperate to catch him. Unfortunately, this criminal has been very careful about leaving an evidence trail. This is where Rowan comes in. In his desperation, Jack asks her to help find the killer’s identity.

As a forensic genealogist, Rowan can trace DNA back through a particular family tree and pinpoint the killer’s identity. She’s worked with the police in the past, but she was disturbed by the cases, and became burned out. Now Rowan tries to only take private cases where a person is trying to find out about or locate relatives for many different reasons. However, when she finds out that Jack is working to find the West Campus Rapist, she agrees. Rowan attended the college where the WCR attacked and assaulted a fellow student, and the event left a mark.

This case felt true to life, and it’s a crime that’s been committed over and over. Women, of course, are the targets. I was eager for this guy to be caught and brought to justice! I was on the edge of my seat as the story played out worried over the next potential victim!

I loved The Last Close Call! Laura Griffin features exciting new methods of solving crimes in her mysteries, like Rowan’s profession.  I find forensic genealogy fascinating, especially since it’s become such an important tool in solving real life crimes like the Golden State Killer. But The Last Close Call was more than just following clues to find a killer.  Jack and Rowan were both likeable and relatable characters, thrown together under dark circumstances. Although neither were looking for love there was an immediate attraction, instant chemistry, and I was fully on board with their romance!

I alternately listened to and read The Last Close call and recommend either version! Stephanie Németh-Parker’s performance was a wonderful, both female and male characters. I enjoyed her subtle Southern accent. I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

4.5 Stars


Book Description:

A talented genetic analyst and a detective who's haunted by an elusive cold case team up in the new standalone romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

Forensic genealogist Rowan Healy has made a name for herself by helping investigators trace the family trees of violent criminals who have eluded justice for years. But the pressure of police cases left her burned out, and she's shifted her focus to helping adoptees find their biological parents.

Austin detective Jack Bruner has spent his career successfully tracking down vicious criminals--with the notable exception of the West Campus Rapist, a meticulous offender in Texas who has never been identified. When the latest two victims come to light, Jack sees his target is escalating his violent behavior--and only with Rowan's help does he stand a chance of cracking this case.

Moved by Jack's dedication and the brutal details of the attacks he lays out, Rowan agrees to help. When her ground-breaking DNA research sheds new light on the criminal's background and helps them zero in on a search radius, Rowan and Jack must race against the clock to find a ruthless killer who's growing bolder the longer he evades the law.

About the Author
Laura Griffin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and novellas. She is a two-time RITA Award winner, as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Review: The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves


The Raging Storm (Two Rivers #3) by Ann Cleeves
Publication Date: September 5th 2023 by Minotaur Books & Macmillan Audio
Pages: 383
Source: Publisher & Library audio
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Detective Inspector Matthew Venn and his team investigate the murder of a sailing adventurer, his body discovered on a dinghy anchored in an infamous cove in Greystone. The past figures heavily into solving the case and the team interview many of the locals trying to figure out who would want Jem Roscoe dead. Venn has some history with Greystone as a lot from the strict religious organization he was raised in resides there.

I liked Venn and his thought processes, as well as Jen, one of his investigators, who had a knack for getting information out of people. Wasn’t a big fan of Ross, who seemed selfish and immature, always in competition with Jen instead of focusing on the investigation.

The Raging Storm was an entertaining police/crime procedural, but the pacing was a bit slow.  Even so it held my attention enough to want to find out who did it and finish the story. The author excelled at bringing the stark, cold setting of Greystone to life. Very atmospheric.

I didn’t read the previous books, but I didn’t feel like I missed anything crucial, and this was a stand-alone mystery solved in this installment by the end.  

I alternated between an audio and e-copy. Jack Holden’s narration was excellent! I enjoyed his voice/accent and his performance enhanced my enjoyment. I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

3.5 Stars

Book Description:

Ann Cleeves—New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—returns with The Raging Storm, the extraordinary third installment in the Matthew Venn series.

Fierce winds, dark secrets, deadly intentions.

When Jem Rosco—sailor, adventurer, and legend—blows into town in the middle of an autumn gale, the residents of Greystone, Devon, are delighted to have a celebrity in their midst. But just as abruptly as he arrived, Rosco disappears again, and soon his lifeless body is discovered in a dinghy, anchored off Scully Cove, a place with legends of its own.

This is an uncomfortable case for Detective Inspector Matthew Venn. Greystone is a place he visited as a child, a community he parted ways with. Superstition and rumor mix with fact as another body is found, and Venn finds his judgment clouded.

As the winds howl, and Venn and his team investigate, he realizes that no one, including himself, is safe from Scully Cove’s storm of dark secrets.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Sunday Post #227


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 busy week and with work, canning, tree planting, and finishing Virgin River. Also, running, meal planning (trying to cut back on calories), a puzzle, and we fitted a hike along the river close by. 

Cat puzzle for the crazy cat lady (me), lol. 

Fall sunset on my run

River hike

Today (Saturday) we planted fifteen trees. My husband dug the initial holes with our tractor and an auger bit. We had to mix in soil amend to break up the clay like soil here. We have another twelve to plant. 

Planting our Leyland Cypress trees

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

With everything going on I didn't get to read much. All were audios. Two review books and one library lend. 

The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin-4.5 Stars
Silver Nitrate-3 Stars
The Only One Left- 3.25 Stars

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

The Spy Coast and Lights Out are from Prime First Reads. Both are new-to-me authors.  Home From the Storm is the fourth book in the Johns Mill Amish Romance series, which has a bit of suspense mixed in. I have been loving this series so I'm excited to read book four!

Thank you to Berkley for the e-ARC.


About two second of rest while drinking my coffee last Sunday and reading The Takedown. 

How was your week?


Monday, October 16, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Weather Events in the Title or on the Cover


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 With Weather Events in the Title or on the Cover:

This prompt was harder than I thought it would be, only because I wanted to list some variety. I can't tell you how many books in my "Read" list that contained the word "storm"! I exercised some restraint and listed only one. I've read all the books pictured below:

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Sandra Brown is the queen of romantic suspense/mysteries. Remember loving Chill Factor, although I listened to it years ago. She kept me guessing at every turn!

Of course, I had to list Storm Cursed because Mercy Thompson! One of my all-time favorite series! 

I love survival in the face of bleak weather conditions and Whiteout was so good! 

I read Tempest in 2011 after winning it in a Goodreads giveaway! Do you ever read your older reviews? Sometimes I cringe. This one wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be.

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh is one of my favs in her Psy-Changling Trinity series.

Trapped by a dangerous storm in the Teton Mountains, our heroine in Black Ice is forced to serve as guide down the mountain by a couple of villains. So good! I read this back in 2014 but I guess I didn't review it. I did attend the author event for it back then and wrote about it and the inspiration behind the book on The Readers Den, where I used to blog.

I loved Jo Goodman's Cowboys of Colorado series. A western historical romance, A Touch of Frost is the first book in the series.

These next ones are weather events on the cover:

The Christmas Escape displays a winter wonderland. One of my favorites from Sarah Morgan! 

 Lightening on Out of Nowhere.

The Dry represents the dangerous drought conditions described in the story. A great series!

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Sunday Post #226


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.

This was another busy week working an extra shift, but next week I'm back to my regular schedule. I've been trying to exercise more and I'm back to logging my food. I've been a few pounds over my normal for a while and I want to reign it in. This all takes extra time. 

The neighbor next to us has an easement sold to another neighbor who had plans to put in a driveway. It's a lot of noisy work and they've taken out trees and made an eyesore. It's been upsetting to say the least, as we thought the project wouldn't approved with the way it exits out onto the main road.  I bought seventeen fast growing trees to plant and shield our view. They should be here next Friday or Saturday and a neighbor has offered to dig all the holes with his tractor since our tractor doesn't have that attachment.

The weather has been beautiful and we had half an inch of rain on Tuesday. We went into town for dinner and then came home and watched several episodes of Virgin River. 

Sunrise as I left for work

Peanut thinks he's a jungle cat

Fall berries on my run

Fall Dogwood

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Staked: 5 Stars
The Raging Storm: 3.5 Stars

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

Thank you to HTP Books and Simon and Schuster Audio. Wrong Place, Wrong Time was an Audible Daily Deal.


How was your week?

Friday, October 13, 2023

Review: Bittersweet in the Hollow by Kate Pearsall


Bittersweet in the Hollow by Kate Pearsall (Bittersweet in the Hollow #1) by Kate Pearsall
Publication Date: October 10th 2023 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
In the little town of Cabal Hollow, Linden James, and her family run The Harvest Moon Diner, where they cook up delicious comfort food. But the James women also have special gifts that extend beyond the ability to make special tonics and teas. Linden can read the emotions of others, registering them as a particular taste. One year ago, she revealed her gift to Cole, her best friend and beau, causing a rift which led to a series of events that Linden still can’t recall. The only thing she does know is they found her after she’d gone missing one night and then turned up with a head injury.

Now a year later, one of Linden’s friends goes missing but her story doesn’t have a happy ending. Who murdered Linden’s friend and why? Linden’s last conversation with her has her questioning her own disappearance. Now snippets of memory start returning, and Linden starts to wonder if it wasn’t just an accident that had her barely surviving her misadventure in the woods.

I adored the James’ women and was fascinated by their powers! They were a close-knit, loving family, sometimes it was tough love, especially in the case of Gran, but there was no doubt they had each other’s backs. This is a small point, but I loved their names! They were fanciful but also a bit old-fashioned: Linden, Rowan, Sorrel, Juniper, Odette, Salome, and Zephrine.

Oh, this was sooo good! I don’t read much YA anymore, but I loved Bittersweet in the Hollow! Kate Pearsall’s writing was magical, bringing Cabal Hollow and its inhabitants to life! A dreamy, lush small mountain town with plenty of secrets! The mystery had me glued to the pages, and there’s a few to unravel! Spooky and tense in places! There’s a bit of a second chance romance, as well! Linden’s story and the mystery wraps up, but there’s a second story coming. I can’t wait! A definite recommend!

5 Stars

Book Description:

In this beautifully dark and enthralling YA, four sisters with unusual talents investigate a mysterious disappearance in their secluded Appalachian town. For fans of House of Hollow and Wilder Girls!

In rural Caball Hollow, surrounded by the vast National Forest, the James women serve up more than fried green tomatoes at the Harvest Moon diner, where the family recipes are not the only secrets.

Like her sisters, Linden was born with an unusual ability. She can taste what others are feeling, but this so-called gift soured her relationship with the vexingly attractive Cole Spencer one fateful night a year ago . . . A night when Linden vanished into the depths of the Forest and returned with no memories of what happened, just a litany of questions--and a haze of nightmares that suggest there's more to her story than simply getting lost.

Now, during the hottest summer on record, another girl in town is gone, and the similarities to last year's events are striking. Except, this time the missing girl doesn't make it home, and when her body is discovered, the scene unmistakably spells murder.

As tempers boil over, Linden enlists the help of her sisters to find what's hiding in the forest . . . before it finds her. But as she starts digging for truth--about the Moth-Winged Man rumored to haunt the Hollow, about her bitter rift with Cole, and even about her family--she must question if some secrets are best left buried.

About the author:
Kate Pearsall is a creative thinker, an award-winning copywriter, and a storyteller. She has a degree in business and public relations and has written for magazines and newspapers. Her debut novel, Bittersweet in the Hollow, was inspired in part by a childhood listening to her mom’s stories about growing up in the Appalachian Mountains and visiting family in West Virginia. 

Connect with Kate Pearsall: