Saturday, May 8, 2021

Sunday Post #120


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.

This week went by quick. I was out sick two days (no not Covid), and didn't really feel 100% until today. Still, I was busy. Lots going on with my house. We had quartz countertops installed in the kitchen today, the new cabinet doors came and are ready to be painted and then installed. We are waiting for our new windows to come before we can install our tile backsplash and that should happen next week. I'll have to post before and after pics once it's all done, but I'm loving everything so far.  
Last weekend I worked on our sprucing up our spare bedrooms and I sanded and refinished a nightstand. Here are the before and after photos:


Not the greatest shot but I only snapped this quick pic to show my daughter what I was working on.


I'm pleased with how it turned out.  We still need to repaint. I like the color, but it's beat up. It'll have to wait as the kitchen is more of a priority right now.

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

Loved Dream Spinner! Liked Repeat a lot more than Paused, but it was entertaining enough. Mortal Heart was another review book on Edelweiss I've now marked off. It was just okay as well. I think it would've benefited by being edited down by about 100-150 pages. That definitely would've helped the pacing.

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
Click on cover for Goodreads link:

I love Kelley Armstrong's writing but didn't know about her new release, but saw it around the blogs this last week and requested it. I rarely read non-fiction, but I love Colin Jost on Saturday Night Live so I thought I'd give this one a try. It's an audio and he narrates. 


Still fumbling my way through, but here's my favorite post from last week:


Took me a little bit to get into this, but now I'm addicted! It's hilarious! My husband and I binge watched the first season last week.

How was your week?

Review: The Hiding Place by David Bell


The Hiding Place by David Bell
Publication Date: October 2nd 2012 by Berkley Books
Pages: 380
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
The murder of four-year-old Justin has colored the lives of the Manning family, and now that the twenty-fifth anniversary has come a lot of old questions surface. Was the right man, Dante Rogers, convicted? Janet, Justin’s older sister has her doubts, as does the investigating Detective who was just a rookie when the murder happened. Compounding those doubts is the continued insistence by Dante that he is innocent.  Secrets and lies are unearthed in this engaging mystery!

Ashleigh, Janet’s fifteen-year-old daughter, has made it her mission to find out the truth, and there’s some new investigating by Detective Stynes, and Janet as well. Ashleigh was a great character, and I really enjoyed her part of the story. I also admired Janet, now a single mom, a good one, doing the right thing by her dad, as well. I was eager to get to the truth, which was revealed gradually, bits came to light through Stynes, Ashleigh, and Janet’s digging until all questions were answered with a satisfying conclusion. The Hiding Place was well-written with good pacing. It captured and held my attention from the first page!

I was just reminded I had downloaded The Hiding Place when I got a peek at a new version of Edelweiss and saw it on my list of unreviewed books. I downloaded this back in 2012, almost ten years ago! Oh, my goodness! I figured it was about time I got to it, and thankfully there was an audio version at my library. I must thank Berkley Books for the story and for their patience!

4 Stars

Book Description:

Sometimes it’s easier to believe a lie.

Twenty-five-years ago, the disappearance of four-year-old Justin Manning rocked the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. After his body was found in a shallow grave in the woods two months later, the repercussions were felt for years.

Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her brother in the park. Now, with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin’s death looming, a detective and a newspaper reporter have started to ask questions, opening old wounds and raising new suspicions. Could the man convicted of the murder — who spent more than two decades in prison — really be innocent? Janet’s childhood friend and high school crush, who was in the park with her that day, has returned to Dove Point, where he is wrestling with his own conflicted memories of the events. And a strange man appears at Janet’s door in the middle of the night, claiming to know the truth.

Soon, years of deceit will be swept away, and the truth about what happened to Janet’s brother will be revealed. And the answers that Janet has sought may be found much closer to home than she ever could have imagined.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

My Favorite Non-Review Books: April 2021

 As a blogger sometimes writing reviews can feel like a chore so it seems I rarely write reviews for non-review books anymore. I feel bad about that, because it's not that I didn't enjoy them less than the books I review here, just that I don't have the time or energy to write a review for each and every book I read. I thought it would be nice to list my favorite non-review books each month to bring more attention to them.

Here are my April 2021 favorites:

Got sucked into this one right away! Twisty and surprising, and a bit heartbreaking.  Cady McClain and Jon Lindstrom were excellent narrators.

I love Allison Brennan's mystery/thrillers and I'm so happy this trilogy (can be read as standalones) got audios made, because I was finally able to get to book two!

Just loved this one! Grumpy vs. Sunshine with sunshine being the sweet hockey player hottie and grumpy being an autistic woman with a big heart, dealing with rheumatoid arthritis who didn't let her disadvantages get her down. There's unrequited love with the forced proximity troupe. All this combined to make this romance so much fun!

Another win in the Psy-Changeling series that I'm ticking off for Anne @Books of My Heart read-a-long. I'm waiting for the next one to become available through my library, but I may break down and buy the audio. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Review & Giveaway: The Lady Has a Past by Amanda Quick

The Lady Has a Past (Burning Cove #5) by Amanda Quick
Publication Date: May 4th 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
After realizing her father will never let her run the family’s shipping business and a failed engagement, Lyra Brazier is trying her hand at private investigation in Burning Cove, California. It quickly becomes apparent that Lyra has a knack for investigating as she has an uncanny way of getting people to talk to her.

Lyra’s thrown into the thick of things when her boss, Raina Kirk, proclaims she must leave town to take care of some personal business. Raina disappears and Lyra knows she must find her. Luther Pell, Raina’s powerful and mysterious gentleman friend, insists on joining in the investigation and sending Simon Cage with Lyra to the fancy spa resort Raina has reportedly ran off to.

Simon has his own special abilities, even though officially he’s an antique book dealer, he secretly works with Luther in his clandestine investigation/solution business.  Lyra and Simon pose as newlyweds and check in, noting right away things are not as they seem and Raina’s nowhere to be found.

At first Lyra and Simon knock heads and don’t get along, but they must put aside their differences to get to the bottom of Raina’s disappearance. Gradually, Simon and Lyra form a begrudging respect for each other’s talents and can’t help the irresistible pull of attraction they feel.  Dodging danger, and the intense situation they find themselves thrown into mean they have to focus on finding Raina and trying to stay alive, but they do manage to steal away for a few steamy encounters!

There’s an undercurrent of danger and I was worried for both Lyra and Raina! I appreciated that the drama and conflict in the story didn’t come from the relationship woes, but instead the mystery Lyra and Simon are trying to solve. Luther and Raina’s (side characters that have shown up in previous books) relationship features prominently, too.

The Lady Has a Past is set in the town of Burning Cove in the 1930’s, where the rich and famous come to relax and be seen. I’ve enjoyed the beautiful coastal setting and peek into the glamourous past depicted here! Danger, thrills, mystery, and romance combine for an exciting story! It was easy to breeze right through while enjoying this by-gone era. While there are some returning characters, each story in the series can be read as a standalone.

 4 Stars

Book Description:
Beauty and glamour meet deception and revenge in this electrifying novel by New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick.

Investigative apprentice Lyra Brazier, the newest resident of Burning Cove, is unsettled when her boss suddenly goes on a health retreat at an exclusive spa and disappears without another word. Lyra knows something has happened to Raina Kirk, and she is the only one who can track her down. The health spa is known for its luxurious offerings and prestigious clientele, and the wealthy, socialite background Lyra desperately wanted to leave behind is perfect for this undercover job. The agency brings in a partner and bodyguard for her, but she doesn't get the suave, pistol-packing private eye she expected.

Simon Cage is a mild-mannered antiquarian book dealer with a quiet, academic air, and Lyra can't figure out why he was chosen as her partner. But it soon becomes clear when they arrive at the spa and pose as a couple: Simon has a unique gift that allows him to detect secrets, a skill that is crucial in finding Raina.

The unlikely duo falls down a rabbit hole of twisted rumors and missing socialites, discovering that the health spa is a façade for something far darker than they imagined. With a murderer in their midst, Raina isn't the only one in grave danger—Lyra is next.

The lovely people of Berkley have provided a Hardcover Copy of The Lady Has a Past and I've decided to give it away to one lucky reader! The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!

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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sunday Post #119


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 guess the wildfires are back here in Southern California as we had three in my neck of the woods this last week. I hope the authorities are looking for an arsonist, because it seems a little too coincidental to me. The fires are out thankfully. 

I've been busy doing final cleanouts in our kid's bedrooms. It's been mostly done, but we haven't had much use for the space so they became junk space. I wanted them more guest friendly so we set up a queen bed in one room and a twin for the other. We usually stay with my daughter when we get together, but now she and her hubby (or the grandkids) can stay with us more easily now. I'm working on brightening up the spaces so I bought new bedding and I'm stripping dark stained furniture and re-staining in a lighter color. I'll post before and after photos next week as it's still a work in process! I spent a good portion of the day sanding off old varnish on a nightstand so that I can stain it a light gray/driftwood color tomorrow. Hope it comes out nice!

With all those side projects traditional reading was a bit difficult. I finished an audio while working though. 

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

The Hiding Place was an ARC I downloaded from Edelweiss several years ago. I got a copy of the audio so I could listen and I'm so glad I did! The mystery/story was a page turner.  I'm trying to whittle down a list I just discovered last month Edelweiss. I have several I lost interest in, out of sight out of mind, as they say, but I requested the audios on the ones that had them. The Lady Has a Past and Hostage to Pleasure were both hits. The Wolf Wore Plaid was a miss.

Recevied/Purchased/Library Lend:
Click on cover for Goodreads link:

Two new-to-me authors, two I've read and loved in the past. Excited for all. 

I'm still bumbling my way through on Instagram. Trying to post a "story" is a little frightening. Here's my favorite post from last week. Must Love Cowboys is also a giveaway here on the blog if you're interested.


My husband and binge watched all eight episodes of The Stranger on Netflix last week. It was sooo good! 

As I mentioned above I have a giveaway of Must Love Cowboy by Carly Bloom (2 winners) and I also have a giveaway of 16 Young Adult Books on the righthand sidebar above. Be sure to check them out!

How was your week?

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Giveaway: Box of 16 Young Adult Books!

 I've been cleaning out my bookshelves again finding books I need to pass onto another reader. So here are 16 Young Adult Books up for a giveaway:

Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight by Nick Earls & Rebecca Sparrow-Paperback
A Millions Suns by Beth Revis-Hardcover
Across the Univers by Beth Revis-Hardcover
Willow by Julia Hoban-Hardcover
The Diviners by Libba Bray-Hardcover signed by author*
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley-Hardcover
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson-Hardcover signed by author*
The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler-Hardcover
Black City by Elizabeth Richards-Paperback ARC
Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa De La Cruz-Paperback ARC
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines-Paperback signed by author**
Breathe by Abbi Glines-Paperback signed by author**
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland-Paperback ARC
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater-Paperback ARC
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting-Hardcover signed by author*
Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting-Paperback ARC signed by author*

*signed by author to me (Rachel)
**These copies are self-published by Abbi Glines and so they are an old version of the story.

The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Review & Giveaway: Must Love Cowboys by Carly Bloom

Must Love Cowboys (Once Upon a Time in Texas #3) by Carly Bloom
Publication Date: April 27th 2021 by Forever
Pages: 657 (with bonus first novel included)
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
Alice Martin, Big Verde’s librarian, needs a date for a co-worker’s wedding. While she’s a capable, smart woman, she’s not very experienced in the romance department, so when Beau Montgomery asks for help with his dyslexia Alice barters her help for a date to the wedding. Tutoring sessions quickly become magical dates, and the chemistry between them was off the charts! Carly Bloom writes some hot stuff! But I also loved the friendship and connection Beau and Alice developed as they fell hard for each other.

Alice the smart, but maybe a little socially clueless librarian has a big heart and is funny as hell, even when she doesn’t mean to be! I adored her! Beau was a sweetheart too, dealing with insecurities because of his dyslexia he felt inferior, and I was so happy Alice was there to straighten him out on that account. Alice had her own insecurities, feeling awkward and unattractive at times, and Beau was happy to show her just how desirable she was to him.

I enjoyed catching up with the past couples and characters. Book club never fails to make me laugh! Miss Mills, the old church lady claiming she skips over the dirty parts, as she waves her devotional to cool herself down: priceless! Claire, Maggie, and Bubba made me giggle, too!

I’ve been loving Carly Bloom’s Once Upon a Time in Texas series! Seriously, soooo good! Sizzling romance, laugh-out-loud moments, a romance with real depth and emotion. I’ve especially been looking forward to Alice’s book, and it didn’t disappoint! I really hope the series continues! 

4.5 Stars

Book description:

In this charming, sexy romance, a bookish beauty needs a fake boyfriend and finds a handsome cowboy who is just the man for the job.

Beau Montgomery is living his best life . . . until he's left in charge of Rancho Cañada Verde. With his dyslexia, he'd choose a saddle over spreadsheets any day. His best hope is to ask the town librarian for tutoring. Only he's had a crush on the book-loving beauty since his junior high days—and despite being a smooth talker, he can't help getting tongue-tied every time they meet.

Alice Martin doesn't regret putting her career above personal relationships—but when Beau comes to her for help, Alice decides to see what she's been missing. She'll improve Beau's reading skills if the handsome cowboy teaches her how to flirt and agrees to be her date to an upcoming wedding. But when the town's gossip mill gets going, they're forced into a fake romance to keep their deal a secret. Soon Alice is seeing Beau in a whole new way . . . can she turn their imaginary story into a real-life happy-ever-after?

Includes the bonus novel Big Bad Cowboy!

The lovely people of Forever are sponsoring a giveaway of Must Love Cowboys by Carly Bloom! Two winners! The giveaway is open to US and Canadian Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Good luck!

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