Sunday, December 10, 2023

Sunday Post #232- Late Edition


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 am just posting because we have been out of town with my son, DIL, and grandson in Central California. Just got home after a six hour drive. Didn't post last week because we were in Austin, Texas Thursday-Sunday. On top of that I worked extra this last week. I'm bushed! I'm behind on commenting back but I'll be making the rounds as soon as I hit the publish button. 

Click on cover for Goodreads link

Fear No Evil: 4.5 Stars
The Maid: 4 Stars

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:

I bought up all the White Trash Zombie books on the Audible sale for Anne's read-along starting this January. Click HERE for the details. I grabbed up a lot of books over the last two weeks. Probably more than I'm listing. I'm behind with life being so busy right now, but I'm hoping to catch up.  Loved Katie Ruggle's romantic suspense stories from a few years back so I'm so excited she's has a new book coming out! 


How was your week?

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Mini Reviews: The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley and Good Girls Don't Die

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh
Publication Date: June 13th 2023 by Thomas Nelson
Pages: 358
Audio Book Length: 10hrs 2min
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
At thirty, Isadora’s life is bland and far from happy. So when she spies a magazine article proclaiming “31 Ways to Be Happy (Today!)”, as an academic researcher she feels she can debunk this ridiculousness. However, as she starts trying out the suggestions in the name of science, it forces her to open up to others and she finds her life changing. Isadora was hurt badly in the past which ultimately led to her being guarded, her life stagnant, so I was thrilled seeing her start to embrace life and happiness, making friends, and finding love along the way! Isadora’s journey was of self-discovery and healing. This was such an uplifting story with a sweet romance as icing on the cake! 

The audio was excellent! Jorjeana Marie's performance breathed life into the characters and definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the story! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed. 

4.5 Stars

Good Girls Don't Die by Christina Henry
Publication Date: November 14th 2023 by Berkley & Penguin Audio
Pages: 320
Audio Book Length: 9hrs 31min
Narrator: Lisa Flanagan
Source: Publisher & Library lend audio
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
There are three stories, with three different women: Celia wakes up as a wife, mother, and restaurant owner, but doesn’t remember any of it.  

Allie is supposed to get away with her two besties to celebrate her birthday, but plans change when one of the boyfriends (total jerk!) hijacks the trip and takes them to a secluded cabin out in the woods.

Maggie wakes up with several other women forced to participate in deadly competitions.

All three stories connect by the end.

Good Girls Don’t Die had a kind of Twilight Zone vibe. Wished there was a little more to the ending other than that abrupt one, but I was happy with how it turned out for the most part. 

Lisa Flannagan's audio performance was excellent. Sort of reminded me of Lorelei King, one of my favs! I listened at 1.5x normal speed.

3.5 Stars

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Review: The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson


The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson
Publication Date: December 5th 2023 by Berkley 
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher 

My Thoughts:
Mackenzie, an ER doctor and wolf-shifter, needs a man to get her grandmother to stop with the matchmaking. Her dates have been awful and she’s tired of it. Dr. Noah Taylor needs a mate since someone has outed his Alpha status to the board of directors, and most fear that designation when the Alpha is not mated. Alpha shifters are supposed to be safer when they’re mated, so when Mackenzie asks him to fake-date he jumps at the chance if she’ll pretend to be his mate. Of course, their fake situation will lead to more. This is a romance, after all!

The Fake Mate was entertaining and hot! It grabbed my attention when I saw it was a shifter romance, since I love shifter stories, but I would call this shifter-lite, more focused on romance. Their romance was very spicy. I do enjoy spice in a romance, but sometimes, less is more. I ended up skimming after the first few because they went on and on.

The humor and banter were fun, and I enjoyed the grumpy/sunshine aspect, although, I think Noah was oblivious to his surroundings, focused on his job, more than a true grump. Noah and Mackenzie were both likable and relatable and it was easy to see they were made for each other and I enjoyed their journey to a real HEA!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Two wolf shifters agree to be fake mates but unexpectedly find something real in this steamy paranormal romantic comedy by Lana Ferguson.

Mackenzie Carter has had some very bad dates lately. Model train experts, mansplainers, guys weirdly obsessed with her tail—she hasn’t had a successful date in months. Only a year out of residency, her grandmother’s obsession with Mackenzie finding the perfect mate to settle down with threatens to drive Mackenzie barking mad. Out of options, it feels like a small thing to tell her grandmother that she’s met someone. That is, until she blurts out the name of the first man she sees and the last man she would ever date: Noah Taylor, the big bad wolf of Denver General.

Noah Taylor, interventional cardiologist and all around grump, has spent his entire life hiding what he is. With outdated stigmas surrounding unmated alphas that have people wondering if they still howl at the moon, Noah has been careful to keep his designation under wraps. It’s worked for years, until an anonymous tip has everything coming to light. Noah is left with two options: come clean to the board and risk his career—or find himself a mate. The chatty, overly friendly ER doctor asking him to be her fake boyfriend on the same day he’s called to meet the board has to be kismet, right?

Mackenzie will keep her grandmother off her back, and Noah will get a chance to prove he can continue to work without a real mate—a mutually beneficial business transaction, they both rationalize. But when the fake-mate act turns into a very real friends-with-benefits arrangement, lines start to blur, and they quickly realize love is a whole different kind of animal.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter/Holiday Recommendations

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 was a freebie and I thought I'd feature my Winter/Holiday Recommendations. Not all are Hallmark type of romances. I've got some mystery/thriller/suspense here too.

Click on cover for Goodread link:

Sarah Morgan has quite a few Christmas/Holiday books, but this is my favorite! Spending Christmas in a Swedish retreat north of the Artic Circle where the Northern Lights sweep by regularly, ensconced in rustic cabins sounded dreamy, but at the heart are three women on an emotional road finding happiness, love, and romance along the way!

I loved the sound of the Evergreen Inn! All the wintery details, sights and smells, were vividly described bringing this winter-wonderland to life! This is a fairly short book given all the romances, but I thought most were well-developed and satisfying. My favorite stories were Hannah’s and Jeanne and Tim’s, but all were delightful! Available on Kindle Unlimited.

There were some deeper issues dealt with, but this was sweet and heartwarming!  With life so messy and complicated having a story set in community where a simpler life is embraced sounded lovely!

Perfect for fans of Groundhog Day! Magical and fun! Sparkling lights, snow, the smell of pine, hot chocolate, and crackling fires! Seeing Andrew and Mae fall for each was oh-so-lovely, dreamy and steamy! I’m such a sucker for the unrequited love trope and this is one that had me all swoony with big heart-eyes! A total recommend! The audio is fantastic!

This wasn’t a very long story, 175 pages, but it was oh-so-wonderful! Seeing Sophie and Edward fall for each other was a delight. Smut free, but their kisses were magical and passionate! Left me with tingles all over! I love it when a cover correctly depicts a story, and this one was perfect and gorgeous! 

Small town, snowy nights, ugly Christmas sweaters, homemade cookies, gift giving, ranching, and a sweet rescue dog! Jason and Sage brought out the best in each other, providing support and inspiring confidence where lacking. They brought so much passion and joy to each other I was filled with happiness that they met!

Ella and Beck’s back story was moving, showing the great strength each had to have to overcome the past. As they get to know each other, the powerful attraction they’ve felt for each other blossoms into something deeper, and far more irresistible! 162 pages of delight!

My all-time favorite from Sandra Brown! It was a cleverly crafted mystery with plenty of suspense, danger, twists and turns, and a very sexy romance! I think it’s best to go in with just the barest of facts and relish the mystery and revelations as they come.

Another romantic suspense/mystery/thriller. I loved Camille and Steve! Camille got so nervous around Steve and would just babble whatever came into her head. Words would just spill out of her mouth before she had time to edit, and I would just laugh! It was hilarious! She was sweet, awkward and endearing.This was a heartwarming, sweet romance, set in a beautiful Christmas Winter wonderland, but was also a suspenseful story that put me on the edge of my seat more than a few times. Loved the mix!

Only about 198 pages long, Ice was short and thrilling! Childhood frenemies, Gabriel and Lolly band together and must use their wits to outsmart the baddies, and survive the ice storm converging on Maine. Their past as well as the intense situation made their romance believable and hot!

Have you read and enjoyed any of these? What did you feature for your TTT Freebie? Let me know in the comments and I'll come check it out! 

Friday, December 1, 2023

Blog Tour Review: The Talk of Coyote Canyon by Brenda Novak


The Talk of Coyote Canyon (Coyote Canyon #2) by Brenda Novak
Publication Date: November 28th 2023 by MIRA
Pages: 432
Source: Publisher 
Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Harlequin Bookshop,org | Goodreads 

My Thoughts:
Ellen’s father, Stuart, left her and her mother when she was young and didn’t make any effort to see Ellen after, and the abandonment still stings. Ellen inherited her grandparents’ house and property in Coyote Canyon, so she moved there to set up her own well-drilling business in direct competition with her father’s business. Ellen’s set on taking his business down one client at a time to pay him back for carelessly tossing her aside. However, when Hendrix, Stuart’s business partner and stand-in-son, stirs things up with her only employee, Ellen’s left high and dry on an important job. Hendrix steps in to help, feeling guilty and then ends up striking up a reluctant friendship.
Hendrix didn’t find Ellen attractive when she first moved to town, with her short spiky hair and tattoos, isn’t what he’d normally been into.  Also, with all the family/business turmoil, he’s only viewed her as an adversary, but as they work together, Hendrix starts to see her in a different light. He also starts to question the events of the past, how his aunt, Stuart’s wife, treated Ellen as a little girl and realizes how unfair they’ve all been to her. His opinions start to cause waves.
Ellen and Hendrix’s romance was a challenge because of the family/business aspect, and because Ellen had excellent reasons to be guarded, but most of the conflict was external. Hearing Ellen’s past and how she was treated, by Stuart, his new wife and even her mother I was outraged in her behalf! I was so happy she had Talulah and then Hendrix to take up for her!

Complicated family relationships, sabotage, and an online dating experience gone awry factor into the story; there’s so much more going on than just a romance, and I loved every minute! The story was captivating, and I didn’t want to put it down!

The Talk of Coyote Canyon can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading Talulah’s Back in Town first as some of the events come into play here. I highly recommend both romances! Brenda Novak’s stories are compelling and addictive! You think you’re just going to read a few chapters and end up finishing the book in one sitting!

5 Stars

Book Description:

She’s not here to make friends. She’s here to make trouble.

With her piercings, tattoos and spiky blond hair, Ellen Truesdale doesn’t quite fit in with the other folks in Coyote Canyon—and that’s just fine with her. She’s only here to put her father out of business, as payback for abandoning her when she was young.

Or is she more interested in finally proving that she was worth keeping?

Either way, she’s struggling to keep her rival well-drilling company afloat. And being a single woman in a male-dominated field has started to take a toll. So when Hendrix Durrant steps in to help, Ellen has no choice but to let him—even though he happens to be her father’s business partner and therefore her enemy. But the closer she works with him, the more she sees what she’s been missing…in life and love. And once she lets go of her anger long enough to learn the truth about her past, she might just find the family she’s always wanted.

Photo Credit: Rudy Meyers Photography

Author Bio: 
Brenda Novak, a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, has penned over sixty novels. She is a five-time nominee for the RITA Award and has won the National Reader's Choice, the Bookseller's Best, the Bookbuyer's Best, and many other awards. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit

Connect with Brenda Novak:

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Review: The Ex-Max Holidays by Zoe Allison


The Ex-Mas Holidays by Zoe Allison
Publication Date: September 26th 2023 by Berkley & Penguin Audio
Pages: 400
Audio Book Length: 10hrs 58min
Narrator: Nikki Massoud
Source: Publisher & library audiobook
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
The Ex-Mas Holidays was a sweet second chance romance!  Despite having miscommunication as the original source of conflict and the fact that Sam has a girlfriend for two-thirds of the book, I whole-heartedly enjoyed it! The author weaved a compelling story, and it was easy to like and relate to Sam and Maya.  Their interactions were as reluctant friends, both wary because of what they thought happened in the past. As they get to know each other again, the events from the past don’t seem to fit, and so they start to question what really happened. I was invested in seeing Sam and Maya sort out the past and work their way back to each other.  

I loved the support they provided for each other, and the awesome friends that also helped guide them! Both needed it as they faced their own separate issues. Sam with a toxic girlfriend, gaslighting him and undermining his confidence. Maya’s parents loved her, but her father had very set ideas about the career path Maya should take. He considered the job that brought her joy beneath her, and Maya had a hard time disappointing him.

I alternately read and listened to an audio copy, and I recommend either version. Nikki Massoud’s wonderful performance enhanced my enjoyment.  I loved her Scottish accent! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.  

4 Stars

Book Description:

It’s hard to escape your ex when you’re working together over Christmas in the Scottish Highlands, but being stuck together might be the best possible present in this sparkling new contemporary romance.
Maya Bashir is dreading her drive home for Christmas and having to explain that she's just left her high-paying job and a long-term relationship, so a brief detour to her friend’s festive party doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Until Maya walks in to find the last person she wants to see. Sam, the boy who broke her heart eight years ago. And he’s serving drinks. Naked.
Sam Holland is working an extra job on the sly to help his friend get by. But little did he expect Maya Bashir to come barrelling back into his life, learning about his secret side-hustle and taking back her old job alongside him at his daytime role as a ski instructor on the slopes of the Scottish Highlands.
As both Sam and Maya realize that their reason for heartbreak so many years ago wasn’t entirely as it seemed, they must learn to stand up for what they want the most…or else miss their second chance at love.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Audiobook Review: The Inheritance by Nora Roberts


Inheritance (The Lost Bride Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts
Publication Date: November 21st 2023 by Macmillan Audio
Pages: 419
Audio Book Length: 13hrs 51min
Narrator: Brittany Pressley & Nora Roberts (intro)
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Loved Inheritance! Sonya’s story grabbed me from the start, with her ruined engagement, to how she came to inherit the historic mansion on the coast of Maine. It sounded so gorgeous, with its grand library, breathtaking views of the ocean and a widow’s walk! It’d be hard to refuse even with the ghosts that seem to inhabit the place. Sonya finds out there’s a tragic history, the brides in her family have died soon after marrying. A dark presence laid a curse down long ago that needs to be broken.

 Nora Roberts weaved a captivating tale complete with characters to love and hate. Parts were spooky with unexplained happenings in the mansion, but Sonya had backup and support with her best friend, Cleo, her mother, and the hunky lawyer, Trey. They all are on board with investigating the past and eliminating any threat to the future.

The story stopped at an interesting part, and I was surprised. At first thought that maybe my copy was cut short, but then figured out it was a to-be-continued/cliffhanger sort of ending. I eagerly await the next installment!

Brittany Pressley, one of my favorite narrators, performed each character with a distinct voice, some with accents, and delivered with emotion that brought the characters to life! I completely recommend the audio version! I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

4.5 Stars

Book Description:

Inheritance is the first in The Lost Bride Trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts―a tale of tragedies, loves found and lost, and a family haunted for generations.

1806: Astrid Poole sits in her bridal clothes, overwhelmed with happiness. But before her marriage can be consummated, she is murdered, and the circle of gold torn from her finger. Her last words are a promise to Collin never to leave him…

Graphic designer Sonya MacTavish is stunned to learn that her late father had a twin he never knew about―and that her newly discovered uncle, Collin Poole, has left her almost everything he owned, including a majestic Victorian house on the Maine coast, which the will stipulates she must live in it for at least three years. Her engagement recently broken, she sets off to find out why the boys were separated at birth―and why it was all kept secret until a genealogy website brought it to light.

Trey, the young lawyer who greets her at the sprawling clifftop manor, notes Sonya’s unease―and acknowledges that yes, the place is haunted…but just a little. Sure enough, Sonya finds objects moved and music playing out of nowhere. She sees a painting by her father inexplicably hanging in her deceased uncle’s office, and a portrait of a woman named Astrid, whom the lawyer refers to as “the first lost bride.” It’s becoming clear that Sonya has inherited far more than a house. She has inherited a centuries-old curse, and a puzzle to be solved if there is any hope of breaking it…

Connect with Nora Roberts: