Saturday, July 20, 2024

Sunday Post #258


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.

We were in Southern California last week visiting my son, DIL, and 19 month-old grandson. He's too cute! They have another on the way (another boy) due this next month. We're excited to welcome our fourth grandchild soon! It was nice to catch up. 

We got home Sunday and I had work, a medical appointment and then dental surgery on Thursday. I didn't expect to be in as much pain as I'm in right now. I should've been resting today but we had a bunch of ripe blackberries from the garden I didn't want to go to waste so I made blackberry jam and then canned them.  I overdid it. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will rest!

Blackberries in the garden

My blackberry jam

Garden Rose: Brandy + zinnia & yarrow

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Finding Mr. Write by Kelley Armstrong: 3 Stars

This is 2 weeks worth of reading since I didn't post last week. Winter Lost and Wrong Place, Wrong Time were audios my husband and I listened to on our drive back and forth to and from Southern California. We both love the Mercy Thompson series! It was the first time through for my husband, but the 2nd time through for me. Gillian McAllister is a new-to-me-author, but I'll be looking for more by her as I loved Wrong Place, Wrong Time! We got home from SoCal and I kept listening straight through because I was hooked! 


Thank you to Berkley and G.P. Putnam's Sons Books!


Loved the first book so I'm excited to have won this in a giveaway!

How was your week?

Friday, July 19, 2024

Review & Giveaway: Business Casual by B.K. Borison

Business Casual (Lovelight Farms #4) by B.K. Borison
Publication Date: July 16th  2024 by Berkley & Dreamscape Media
Pages: 384
Audio Book Length: 11hrs 37min
Narrators: Pippa Jayne & Benjamin D. Walker
Source: Publishers
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Nova Porter and Charlie Milford don’t have time for a relationship, but a one-night stand with someone you’ve been flirting with for months isn’t something either can resist! However, Nova doesn’t realize Charlie is staying for the month to help farm-sit while Stella and Luca are on their honeymoon. It’s impossible to restrict their attraction to one-night only.
I adored both Charlie and Nova! He was sweet, silly, and so caring! Nova was also caring, striving to get her business off the ground, not only for herself, but to prove to Beckett (her older brother) his sacrifices weren’t in vain. I loved their flirty banter, texts and sexy encounters!
Business Casual was like a Hallmark Movie with spice! Lots of well-done spice! So thankful there was no third act breakup!
B.K. Borison’s writing is beautiful, vividly bringing every gorgeous detail to life: the setting of Idlewild and Lovelight Farms, trees, flowers, the bakeshop; I wanted to visit and soak up all the beauty! It sounds so picturesque!

I alternately listened to and read an e-copy of Business Casual and recommend either version. Pippa Jayne has a lush, dreamy voice, and Benjamin D. Walker's voice brought out Charlie's personality perfectly. I enjoyed how they alternately performed the back-and-forth text messages, too! 

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Two opposites decide to test their chemistry with one steamy night together. But will once be enough?

Nova Porter isn’t looking for love, and she certainly has no explanation for her attraction to buttoned-up, three-piece-suit-wearing investment banker Charlie Milford. Maybe it’s his charm? Or maybe it’s his determination to help her fledgling business however he can. Either way, she’s distracted every time he’s around. With her new tattoo studio set to open in her hometown of Inglewild, she doesn’t have time for frivolous flirtations. 

In an effort to get Charlie out of her system once and for all, Nova offers a proposition. One night. No strings. They’ll kick their uncomfortable attraction to the curb and return to their respective responsibilities. But their explosive night together scatters their expectations like fallen leaves. And with Charlie in town as the temporary head of Lovelight Farms, Nova can’t quite avoid him. 

And Charlie? Well, Charlie knows a good investment when he sees one. He’s hoping he can convince Nova he’s worth some of her time.

I'm giving away a copy of the first book in the Lovelight series: Lovelight Farms to one lucky reader! The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Simply fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Review: A Deceptive Composition by Anna Lee Huber


A Deceptive Composition (Lady Darby #12) by Anna Lee Huber
Publication Date: June 18th 2024 by Berkley
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher & Purchased Audio Book
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
A Deceptive Composition is book twelve in a series best read in order.
Lord Gage, Sebastian’s father, receives an urgent request to come home when his uncle is found dead and his great aunt suspects murder. Lord Gage has been estranged from his family since a scuffle with the law led to tragedy for him and his best friend at the tender age of eleven. A tragedy that could’ve been avoided had his family not sent him out in peril!
It’s obvious from the start no one is being straight with Kiera, Gage and his father, exasperating them all! Lord Gage’s family were something else, and not in a good way. Getting the history of what happened to Lord Gage at eleven and getting acquainted with his family as they tried to find the truth shed a new light on Lord Gage, making it easier to understand his gruff and cruel behavior in the past. I’ve been enraged by his behavior more than a few times over the course of the series, but I had a softening towards him after all was revealed.
My heart was in my throat by the end with the danger a few of the characters faced in the final scenes! I wonder how this will affect how Kiera and Gage investigate in the future. It certainly would give me pause. This installment wrapped up abruptly after that intense standoff. Kiera’s last words whet my appetite for the next story!
I’ve loved this series from the beginning and recommend it to anyone who enjoys well written historical mysteries with a bit of romance! The audios with Heather Wilds performing are excellent!

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Lady Kiera Darby and her dashing husband, Sebastian Gage, hope they’ve finally found peace after a tumultuous summer, but long-buried family secrets soon threaten to unravel their lives . . .

October 1832. Kiera is enjoying the slower pace of the English countryside. She, Sebastian, and their infant daughter have accompanied her father-in-law, Lord Gage, home so that he can recuperate from the injuries he sustained in a foiled attempt on his life. But as the chill of autumn sweeps across the land, they receive a summons from an unexpected quarter. Lord Gage’s estranged uncle—a member of the notorious Roscarrock family—has been murdered, and his family is desperate for answers. Despite Lord Gage’s protests, Kiera and Sebastian press on to Cornwall to assist.
It isn’t long before they discover that almost nothing is as it seems among the Roscarrocks, and they’ve been lured to their isolated cove under false pretenses. There are whispers of a lost treasure and frightening allusions to a series of murders stretching back decades that touch the lives of the family personally. Kiera and Sebastian are left with no choice but to uncover the truth before the secrets of the past threaten to destroy them all.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Review: The Burning by Linda Castillo


The Burning (Kate Burkholder #16) by Linda Castillo
Publication Date: July 9th 2024 by Minotaur Books & Macmillan Audio
Pages: 320
Audio Book Length: 9hrs 31min
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Source: Publishers
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
Kate is called to a grisly murder, a man burned at the stake. As Kate investigates, she finds a lot of potential suspects due to the victim's background. Unfortunately, one of the connections is personal to Kate and a BCI Agent makes waves about her being biased. Tomasetti is also brought into this complicated case.
The town of Painters Mill is a small one, so Kate is a very hands-on Chief of Police, investigating suspects and following up on leads right along with her officers. I really like Kate and her officers: Glock, Mona, Skid, and Pickles. They’re a good team, more than just work colleagues.

I was addicted from page one, but man Kate made several TSTL decisions that were completely frustrating! It’s hard to believe a seasoned police chief making such stupid and rash decisions, especially when she keeps getting her ass handed to her!

The Burning is book sixteen in the Kate Burkholder series, but could be read as a standalone. Each book focuses on a case that’s solved by the end. There is the romance between Kate and Tomasetti that begins in book one. I read the first two books in the series and then skipped ahead to book fifteen and sixteen, but I’d like to go back and work my way through the rest of the books at some point.

I’ve listened to the series from the start and really enjoyed Kathleen McInerney’s performance! Her accents and performance of Deitsch accents are well done. I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

3.5 Stars

Book Description

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder investigates a gruesome murder that reveals a little-known chapter of early Amish history in this new installment of the bestselling series by Linda Castillo.

Newlywed Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is awakened by an urgent midnight call summoning her to a suspicious fire in the woods. When she arrives at the scene, she discovers a charred body. According to the coroner, the deceased, an Amish man named Milan Swanz, was chained to a stake and burned alive. It is an appalling and eerily symbolic crime against an upstanding husband and father.

Kate knows all too well that the Amish prefer to handle their problems without interference from the outside world, and no one will speak about the murdered man. From what she’s able to piece together, Swanz led a deeply troubled life and had recently been excommunicated. But if that’s the case, why are the Amish so reluctant to talk about him? Are they protecting the memory of one of their own? Or are they afraid of something they dare not share?

When her own brother is implicated in the case, Kate finds herself not only at odds with the Amish, the world of which she was once a part, but also the English community and her counterparts in law enforcement. The investigation takes a violent turn when Kate’s life is threatened by a mysterious stranger.

To uncover the truth about the death of Milan Swanz, Kate must dive deep into the Anabaptist culture, peering into all the dark corners of its history, only to uncover a secret legacy that shatters everything she thought she knew about the Amish themselves―and her own roots.


Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Review: Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder by Kerryn Mayne
Publication Date: July 9th 2024 by St. Martin's Press & Macmillan Audio
Pages: 352
Audio Book Length: 9hrs 41min
Narrator: Annie Maynard
Source: Publishers
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
Elementary school teacher, Lenny Marks finds peace in routine, finding contentment in life rather than striving for happiness, a fleeting feeling, in her experience. She’s fine with coming home every day to her favorite show, Friends, and “playing scrabble with Monica”.  However, when she receives a letter from the parole board her carefully constructed life starts to unravel. Flashes of her childhood start coming back, a different version than she’s allowed herself to remember.
I completely adored Lenny and her matter-of-fact way she approached life, but I did hope for more for her! I knew things weren’t quite the way she remembered them, and I was eager to find out what exactly happened in her past! Some of these revelations were heartbreaking! I was happy as Lenny started waking up, taking charge, and making changes. I was fully on board with Lenny’s unlawful activities, such as with Malcom the dog and well, other things best left out of this review.
I absolutely loved this story! It started out sedate and quiet and ended up with some twisty revelations. I rooted for Lenny throughout her journey and there was even a bit of romance by the end!
I alternately listened to and read the story and I can recommend either version. Annie Maynard’s performance was fantastic, her Aussie accent wonderful and she brought Lenny’s quirky personality to life! I listened at my normal 1.5x normal speed. 

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Lenny Marks is excellent at not having a life.

She bikes home from work at exactly 4pm each day, buys the same groceries for the same meals every week, and owns thirty-six copies of The Hobbit (currently arranged by height). The closest thing she has to a friendship is playing Scrabble against an imaginary Monica Gellar while watching Friends reruns.

And Lenny Marks is very, very good at not remembering what happened the day her mother and stepfather disappeared when she was still a child. The day a voice in the back of her mind started whispering, You did this.

Until a letter from the parole board arrives in the mail—and when her desperate attempts to ignore it fail, Lenny starts to unravel. As long-buried memories come to the surface, Lenny’s careful routines fall apart. For the first time, she finds herself forced to connect with the community around her, and unexpected new relationships begin to bloom. Lenny Marks may finally get a life—but what if her past catches up to her first?

Equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming, Kerryn Mayne’s stunning debut is an irresistible novel about truth, secrets, vengeance, and family lost and found, with a heroine who's simply unforgettable.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Two Romances: A Novel Love Story & The Paradise Problem


A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston
Publication Date: June 25th 2024 by Berkley
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher 

My Thoughts:
All the members of Eileen’s book club back out of their yearly retreat, but she needs this trip, she’s had a tough few years, and decides to go alone.  However, on the way she gets lost, and somehow ends up in the fictional town of her favorite romance series; a series that’s carried her through her darkest times. She knows the characters inside and out, except for one: a grumpy book store owner.
What a fun premise! A Novel Love Story was also completely charming, a journey of healing for Eileen and one that helps her sort out her path to happiness. There’s also a romance of course!

The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren
Publication Date: May 14th 2024 by Gallery Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher 
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Anna is in a low point in her life, having just lost her job with lots of bills when her old college roommate, West comes knocking needing her help. They married for family housing back then and apparently, unbeknownst to Anna, they never divorced. West needs her to continue with the charade that they’re married, so he can hit the five-year mark to unlock his one-hundred-million-dollar trust fund, making him fully independent of his toxic father for good.
They must appear together, happily married to his sister’s destination wedding on a private island. Anna agrees, because she needs the money. Of course, there’s one bed, of course there’s an attraction simmering between them and of course they fall deeper into real love as they fake it! Loved both Anna and West!
Family drama, serious issues, sexy times, and laugh-out-loud moments all combine into Christina Lauren’s special brand of romance! 

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Sunday Post #257


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.

How was your July 4th? I worked, and so didn't have anything exciting planned.  I had a mammogram appointment with ultrasound on Friday. We went to a friends farm for dinner after and was bushed by the time we got home. Today did some gardening early, a bunch of chores, and then went out to dinner with my sister and her husband tonight. 

We're on the downside of a pretty brutal heat wave. Today was the hottest day and it was 112, the hottest it's been in the two years we've lived hear. We've had temps of 100 and over for the last four days and we won't have relief until Tuesday. I hate the heat and summer in general. Thankfully, instead of the nine months of heat out of the year we had in Southern California, we only have to bear it for the 3 months of summer and move on into fall by the end of September. How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

My flowers and vegetables are hanging in there. I planted coneflowers the first summer we were here and they reseeded themselves and are blooming again:

We head down to Southern California after work on Tuesday to spend the rest of the week with our son, DIL and grandson. We have busy week ahead.

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I had a pretty good reading week catching up with arcs I let slip:

Birding With Benefits by Sarah T. Dubb: 3 Stars
The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren: 4.5 Stars
A Novel Love Story by Ashley Posten: 4 Stars
Seven Summer Weekends by Jane L. Rosen: 4 Stars
Unforgiven by Shelley Shepard Gray: 4 Stars
The Hermit Next Door by Kevin Hearne: 3 Stars


Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons and Berkley!


How was your week?

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Review: Seven Summer Weekends by Jane L. Rosen


Seven Summer Weekends by Jane L. Rosen
Publication Date: June 4th 2024 by Berkley
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Addison’s journey had some ups and downs. The first down was losing her job in a public way, but that was also an up, IMO. It forced her to take stock of her life and re-evaluate her career and life path. Inheriting her aunt’s cottage on Fire Island was a definite up, and I thought the decision to sell or keep was a no-brainer despite Addison’s indecision in that regard.
There were a lot of fun secondary characters, like Kizzy, one of Addison’s best friends who gets a shock and has a reset of her own. Also, Shep, Addison’s older neighbor and Sally, the sweetheart of a dog! And of course, there was Addison’s gorgeous neighbor, Ben. He’s alternately sweet one minute and surly the next. They had some push and pull. Ben had a sad back story.
Seven Summer Weekends was a delightful cross between romance and women’s fiction.  With a vivid backdrop that made me nostalgic for a beachy summer vacation!

4 Stars

Book Description:

A woman inherits a beach house, along with a series of weekend guests, while butting heads with the irritable (and irritatingly handsome) man next door, in this sparkling new escape from Jane L. Rosen.
When a Zoom disaster upends Addison Irwin’s decade-long career at a posh Manhattan advertising agency, things look bleak for the thirty-something mid-western transplant. But an unexpected inheritance from an aunt she barely remembers—a property on Fire Island, complete with guest house and artist’s studio—changes everything.
While debating whether to stay or sell, Addison learns that she’s also inherited her aunt’s list of eclectic guests, tying her to the island for seven summer weekends. Eager to convince Addison to keep the house rather than let a new buyer build a monstrosity in its place, the neighbors welcome her to their laid-back community. Well, all except the moody guy next door, who seems intent on glowering his way through life.
Steadfast in her path since college, Addison is determined not to let this detour on Fire Island throw her off track. But soon, between the revolving door of weekend visitors and the up-and-down relationship with her neighbor (and his adorable dog), she finds herself in unfamiliar territory. Should she try to pick up where she left off—or embrace entirely new possibilities?

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Review: You'll Never Find Me by Allison Brennan


You'll Never Find Me (Angelhart Investigations #1) by Allison Brennan
Publication Date: June 25th 2024 by MIRA
Pages: 399
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads 

My Thoughts:
Margo Angelhart, a private investigator, helps a woman escape her abusive husband who happens to be in law enforcement. Margo knows he’ll connect the dots eventually and is on alert. Margo has another case where a wife suspects her husband of cheating, but some of the information the wife relayed doesn’t add up. During her surveillance, Margo runs into her brother, Jack, and her sister, Tessa staking out the same house and it becomes apparent their cases intersect.
The situation is complicated since she and her mother, Ava, had a falling out. However, the Angelhart Investigations was one that Ava and Margo planned out together. Working with the family again shows Margo how much she misses them and how well they work as a team.
Both cases held my attention! I was worried for Margo with the state-trooper hell-bent on finding his wife, knowing Margo was in his sights. The guy was awful and unhinged! The mystery with the cheating husband had a lot of layers. Not all was as it seemed.
I’m a big fan of Allison Brennan’s mysteries! They’re a wonderful combination of complex characters with mystery and suspense that keep you glued to the pages eager to find out how things turn out! I really liked this new series and all the characters! Margo and her brother Jack especially! Margo’s ex, Rick, played a role, and it’s clear their relationship is still unfinished.  
The cause of the rift between Margo and her mother was revealed, but most of the details are still unknown. I imagine this will be a continuing story arc in the coming installments. It was clear that the family is close-knit and love each other, though. I look forward to seeing how all these plots play out and look forward to the next mystery!

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Nothing brings family together like crime.

Working alone as a private investigator is tough. Estranged from her PI family, Margo Angelhart does what she must to get by—including taking on sordid cases that pay the bills, even if she’d rather be helping those the justice system has failed.

That is, until a cheating husband case she’s working intersects with her siblings’ corporate espionage investigation, forcing Margo to cooperate with the Angelhart firm. Now, as the siblings compare notes, it’s clear they need to work together before a white-collar crime escalates to murder.

With far more questions than answers and a key suspect on the run, they’ll need the whole family to pitch in. But as they investigate the ever-twisting mystery, Margo isn’t sharing everything. Can she learn to trust her family and heal their once-close relationship before her secrets put those she loves most in danger?