Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: Hidden Current (The Dancing Realms #1) by Sharon Hinck

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring Hidden Current (The Dancing Realms #1) by Sharon Hinck releasing January 28.

About the Book
The dancers of the Order direct their floating world of Meriel with their movement... but are they steering it toward destruction?

Calara spent her life learning dance patterns and seeking to become the perfect servant to her people. When she discovers the work of the Order is built on lies, she flees with a rough-edged herder, Brantley of Windswell. Pursued by soldiers, her journey through the suffering villages of the rim leads her to encounter a truth that sends ripples through her world—and through her soul.

As she seeks clues to her forgotten family, Calara discovers newfound courage in the face of danger, while her quest awakens a growing but forbidden affection for Brantley. Yet even his support can't fully be trusted, since he'd rather destroy the Order than bring reform.

She is a lone woman facing opposition from rim villages and treachery from the all-powerful Order. Can she restore the dance to its true purpose and bring freedom and hope to her people?

Why I Need It
Dancers direct the floating world of Meriel? How cool is that! This sounds like a really unique and interesting read. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous!

What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, December 30, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read in 2019


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I'm so excited to share the best books I've read this year! It was so hard to narrow it down. I read a lot of awesome books this year and there was no way that I could list just ten. So here's my top 14 books of 2019.

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About the Book
After Aggie Dunkirk's career is unceremoniously ended by her own mistakes, she finds herself traveling to Wisconsin, where her grandmother, Mumsie, lives alone in her rambling old home. She didn't plan for how eccentric Mumsie has become, obsessing over an old, unsolved crime scene--even going so far as to re-create it in the attic.

Mystery seems to follow her when she finds work as a secretary helping to restore the flooded historical part of the cemetery. Forced to work with the puzzling, yet attractive museum curator to contact living family members of those in the disturbed graves, Aggie stumbles upon the unsolved murder of a young woman--the details of which match Mumsie's case. As Aggie exhumes the past's secrets, she uncovers a crime that some will go to any length to keep quiet--even if it means silencing Aggie.

In 1946, Imogene Flannigan works in a local factory and has eyes on owning her own beauty salon. But coming home to discover her younger sister's body in the attic changes everything. Unfamiliar with the newly burgeoning world of criminal forensics and not particularly welcomed as a woman, Imogene is nonetheless determined to stay involved. As her sister's case grows cold, Imogene vows to find justice . . . even if it costs her everything.

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About the Book
Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it's too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

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About the Book
The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.

Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively -- but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially -- but none of the scruples.

To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, The Electrical Menagerie's bid at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians -- but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there's more at stake in this contest than the prize.

Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide... and it's the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.

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(This whole series is on my favorites list but because of space I'm just listing the first one.)

About the Book
When you get up in the morning, the last thing you expect is to see a murdered guy hanging outside your window. Things like that tend to draw the attention of the local police, and when you’re squatting in your parents’ old house until you can afford to buy it, another thing you can’t afford is the attention of the cops.

Oh yeah. Hi. My name is Pet.

It’s not my real name, but it’s the only one you’re getting. Things like names are important these days.

And it’s not so much that I’m Pet.

I’m a pet.

A human pet: I belong to the two Behindkind fae and the pouty vampire who just moved into my house. It’s not weird, I promise—well, it’s weird, yeah. But it’s not weird weird, you know?

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About the Book
A nerdy nobody is heaven's newest hero. It's too bad that the devil fights dirty…

Chris Loury is penniless and painfully geeky. So when the struggling illustrator makes a wish that grants him supernatural visions, the lines start to blur between his comics and reality. After he crosses paths with a protector who calls himself an angel, Chris must decide if being a hero is worth the danger.

When his newfound confidence helps him connect with the girl-next-door, he hopes he can balance a relationship and a superhuman secret. But after a devilishly gorgeous woman with money and an ulterior motive tempts him with career success and fame, he puts his crush, his town, and his life in jeopardy.

Will Chris fulfill his destiny and save the city from destruction?

Paranormia is an enthralling urban fantasy adventure. If you like underdog heroes, supernatural battles, and a dash of humor, then you’ll love Paul Regnier’s action-packed novel.

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About the Book
Mentioned in the pages of the Septuagint but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets--and dangers--never before seen on earth.

Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is finally given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as "Viorica" snatches the volume right out from under them.

Iskra "Viorica" Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most--freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives--entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of the past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in two-thousand-year-old words could unleash the storm of their own destruction.

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About the Book
Three years into the Great War, England's greatest asset is their intelligence network--field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren't enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won't give up. He's smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but how can he convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life's answers lie in the heart?

Amid biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

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About the Book
Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.

When the Luidaeg—October "Toby" Daye's oldest and most dangerous ally—tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can't refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren't the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg's price...or face the consequences.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden's brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that's when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.

Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?

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About the Book
Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother--who is battling dementia--compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns--and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

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About the Book
Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who's spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He's achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him--Britt's heart.

When Zander's uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle's tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

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About the Book
When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border.

Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?

Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

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About the Book
Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can't stay buried forever.

Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past--and the most fearsome battle of his life.

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About the Book
Year 2522. Lyra Daniels is dead.

Okay, so I only died for sixty-six seconds. But when I came back to life, I got a brand new name and a snazzy new uniform. Go me! Seriously, though, it's very important that Lyra Daniels stays dead, at least as far as the murdering looters, know.

While dying is the scariest thing that's happened to me, it morphed my worming skills. I can manipulate the Q-net like never before. But the looters have blocked us from communicating with the rest of the galaxy and now they believe we've gone silent, like Planet Xinji (where silent really means dead).

A Protector Class spaceship is coming to our rescue, but we still have to survive almost two years until they arrive - if they arrive at all. Until then, we have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable alien threat. And it's only a matter of time before the looters learn I'm not dead and returns to finish what they started.

There's no way I'm going to let the looters win. Instead I'll do whatever it takes to save the people I love. But even I'm running out of ideas...

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About the Book
Welcome to the string, a game of impossible decisions and deadly consequences. Let's go over the ground rules.

Rule #1: Participation is mandatory.
Rule #2: If anyone refuses to play, all threats will come to pass.
Game on.

Get ready for a deadly social experiment as a sociopath known as The Conductor delivers disturbing threats and twisted moral dilemmas to unsuspecting students and staff.

As a powerful instinct for self-preservation sweeps through the campus, one man has a grave decision to make. Will university cop Markus Haas play the game to protect those he loves? Or will he break the string and incite massive chaos--and even death?

In the great suspense tradition of Ted Dekker and Steven James, Caleb Breakey's explosive debut novel will have you turning pages into the night.

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What were some of your favorite books from this year?

Review: Ruby Jane (The Montana Marshalls #5) by Susan May Warren

About the Book
She loved...and lost.

Ruby Jane never thought she'd meet the man of her dreams while running from the police in Russia. That he'd steal her heart on a train to Siberia. But loving a former CIA officer comes with a price...a life of danger. A life of high stakes.

A life where he simply disappears...

He has no memory of the man he was.

Mack Jones has no memory of his past...just the dark sense that he is hiding. And, he wants to stay that way. Mack likes the life he's built in a small tourist town, tucked away beyond the mountains, and has no desire to dig around in the gray areas of his memory.

When his place of business catches fire and Mack rescues the owner, he makes the news, which of course alerts the past he's hoping to outrun.

The only person who can help him is a mysterious woman he doesn't remember.

But a woman he desperately needs.


My Thoughts

Ruby Jane is the thrilling conclusion to the Montana Marshalls series. I'm sad to see the series end, but, wow, what an action-packed and heart-pounding ending it was!

I'm sitting here trying to figure out what to say without spoiling anything. I want to talk about ALL THE THINGS. I'm about to burst with it all, but I certainly don't want to ruin the thrill for anyone else. I guess I'll start by saying, if you've been enjoying this series, you won't be disappointed. If you haven't started the series yet, grab a copy of book one and be prepared for a suspense-filled adventure you won't be able to put down.

From beginning to end, Ruby Jane had my emotions all over the place. There were moments of heart-racing anxiety, laughter, tears, profound and soul-lifting moments of faith. There were a couple frustrating moments, as well, at least for me. Namely, Glo. Maybe it was just the kind of mood I was in, I don't know, but I had zero patience for her dramatics. Other than that, I absolutely loved it and wouldn't mind visiting the Montana Marshalls again sometime in the future. There's still a few questions I want answered.

Four Stars

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Dark Divide by Carrie Vaughn

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring Dark Divide by Carrie Vaughn, a spinoff series of the Kitty Norville series.

About the Book
In brand-new stories spun off from the New York Times Bestselling Kitty Norville series, dark mysteries push the bounds of sanity. Cormac Bennett, ex-con and former bounty hunter, is a paranormal investigator with an edge: his partner is the disembodied spirit of a Victorian wizard, Amelia Parker. Together, they solve problems no one else can.

They're asked to investigate a mysterious death in the Sierra Nevadas: a man died of hunger —in a cabin that was fully stocked with provisions. The kicker? The cabin is located near Donner Pass, the site of the gruesomely ill-fated Donner Party, where forty men, women, and children died of exposure and starvation. The event was made famous by reports of cannibalism among the survivors.

Is the Donner site haunted? Is some evil force rising again after a hundred fifty years to wreak destruction? Can Cormac and Amelia learn the truth without being caught in the web? Well, they can try...

Book Beginning
Cormac didn't really know cats. He didn't really get cats.

Friday 56
The place still smelled musty and sad, but the sense of doom was gone. The place felt abandoned now, not cursed.

Hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

What bookish goodies did you get for the holidays?

I got four books I was really wishing for, an Amazon gift card, and a really cool Edgar Allan Poe Funko Pop!

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Royally Yours by Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson, Ashley Clark

My Thoughts
I absolutely loved visiting the enchanting town of Tinsel, Vermont. What a charming place full of wonderful characters and holiday cheer. I enjoyed the royal aspect and the fact that Tinsel is a media-and-paparazzi-free place where famous people can go to relax and just be normal. What a cool idea for a collection like this. I hope there will be more tales from Tinsel next Christmas.

One Royal Christmas by Melissa Tagg
Jonah, the king of Concordia, temporarily abdicates the throne and heads to Tinsel to recharge. To get away from all his troubles, stresses, and grief. To find himself. When he gets there, he meets town librarian Rowan. (And what an amusing first meeting it was!) Rowan's taken over the running of the library after her Grandma passed away. The library that's falling apart and is being threatened by the City Council to be moved from the beloved historical cottage to a brand new place downtown. Which is practically like destroying her grandma's legacy. Sparks fly between the librarian and the bookish royal. What follows is one of the best Christmas stories I've ever read. It's pretty much perfect. Rowan and Jonah were so likable. So cute together. I loved it!

The Reluctant Princess by Betsy St. Amant
Wanting some independence from the expectations and duties of royal life, some freedom to pursue the things she's passionate about, and tired of feeling like her voice isn't heard, Princess Eleanor heads to Tinsel. Liam's in Tinsel to escape the media-crazed dramatics of his famous family. He's hiding under the name of Miles and the job of chauffeur to Princess Eleanor. There's a definite connection between the two, but can they overcome their differences and secrets to find a happily ever after? This story was predictable, but sweet. Not my favorite of the collection, but not bad.

A Royal Wonderland by Liz Johnson
Prince Andrew, running from a bad breakup that the media won't stop hounding him about, has come to Tinsel and is staying at an old friend's house. Hoping the bad press will die down if he's away from the spotlight, he's helping his friend decorate his house for the annual Candy Cane Lane Contest. When his friend is called away on an emergency, Andrew enlists the help of the intriguing hardware store owner Charlotte to help him finish the decorating. My second favorite story in this collection, I loved Charlie and Andrew. They were such a fun couple. I also loved Charlie's ornery Grandma too. Such a feisty lady that reminded me of my own Grandma.

A Tinsel Holiday by Ashley Clark
Princess Beatrix fell for American journalist Tyler James a couple years ago and still hasn't gotten over him. On a tour of America, their paths cross again in Tinsel, Vermont. Maybe this chance meeting is a possibility for a fresh start. This story was okay. It was a bit wordy and didn't flow very well, but it was a cute read.

Four Stars


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: Cry of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga #3) by Morgan L. Busse

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring Cry of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga #3) by Morgan L. Busse releasing February 4, 2020.

About the Book
Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins. Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands. At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire's attacks.

The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband's power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power.

Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?

Why I Need It
So I haven't read the second book in this series yet, but I know that as soon as I do I'm gonna have to get my hands on a copy of this one. The first book, Mark of the Raven, was AWESOME and I'm so curious about how everything is gonna work out.

What upcoming release are you excited about?

Monday, December 23, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Merry Christmas, y'all! It's been awhile since I've participated in Top Ten Tuesday, but I'm excited to be back this week to share the books I hope to find under my Christmas tree.
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About the Book
To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy's grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

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About the Book
Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill.

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady's offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

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About the Book
Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . . 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.

Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.

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About the Book
A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date--after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette--the witch who cursed her--Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

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About the Book
When investigator Gabriel Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell--a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her--the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa's fractured past collides with Gabe's investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they'll have to put their complicated history with each other aside in order to uncover the identity of a killer. What they'll discover is that revenge has no statute of limitations.

Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn closes out her nail-biting Dive Team Investigations series with a story that will have you wondering how long you can hold your breath.

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About the Book
In Molly Harper's newest paranormal romantic comedy, Ben, Gigi's old boyfriend, must find a way to save his new love after a freak Ultimate Frisbee accident. But will she want to live after she finds out how Ben had to save her?

In this exciting addition to Molly Harper’s beloved Half-Moon Hollow series, the focus is on Gigi’s ex-boyfriend Ben. When his new girlfriend is killed in a freak Ultimate Frisbee accident, he’s determined to save her, no matter the cost, even if it means bringing her into the darkness of vampire life!


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About the Book
Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers—a special group who provide ‘lodging’ to other-planetary visitors—so she knows that a simple life isn't in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud—completely abandoned by his family—has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she's sworn off all things vampire.

Except... In helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word ‘no;’ and try as she might, Maud can't just walk away from Arland. It doesn't help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman—a human, with a very questionable past—who's turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won't get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there's a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.

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About the Book
Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging, and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but she runs after a disastrous first meeting.

Carter has been searching for the location of the wreck detailed in the worn pages of an 18th-century diary, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she'd never do again: trust a man.

Finding a monetary backer and sticking with a search that's turning up nothing will take all their dedication--and every secret they've tried to hide. If they can find the lost ship, they may discover a treasure worth more than all the pirate gold in the world--love.

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About the Book
When cybercriminals hack into the US Marshals' Witness Protection database and auction off witnesses' personal details to the highest bidders, the RED Team led by FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. But before he can even get started, the first witness is targeted and barely escapes with her life. Sean believes Phantom, an obsessed hacker who previously outwitted the top minds in the field, is behind the attack, and Sean needs this witness's help, as she's the person who has come closest to discovering Phantom's identity.

Trouble is, she's a witness under the care of US Marshal Taylor Mills, and Sean is reluctant to work with the captivating marshal who knows his deepest secrets. But Phantom claims he knows where the witness is hiding and will kill her, so to stop the hacker, Sean and Taylor must work through their personal pain and learn to trust each other. . . . The seconds are ticking down before someone dies.

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About the Book
Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but with what they believe.

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon. But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future—and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.

_______________________________________


What books are hoping to find under the Christmas Tree this year?

Review: Wreck the Halls (The Worst Detective Ever) by Christy Barritt

About the Book
Deck the halls with boughs of . . . danger.
 
Joey Darling and her friend Starla McKnight are all set to host a new TV Christmas light special. But, before filming even begins, things go awry. Legs—with a human body attached—are sticking out of the family’s chimney, wrecking the feel-good holiday show.

Things turn even more perilous when they discover their victim is a felon recently released from prison. Joey tries to stay out of the investigation, but she’s as curious as a kid on Christmas morning. As more facts emerge, the mystery of what happened up on the housetop continues to grow.

Joey’s fiancĂ©, Detective Jackson Sullivan, is on the case. But someone else is determined to wreck Joey’s Christmas special . . . and they just might succeed.


My Thoughts

Wreck the Halls was a fun, fast paced Christmas novella. It's part of the Worst Detective Ever series, but stands alone just fine.

Joey's antics are always fun to read about. You never know what kind of trouble she's gonna find herself in, but you can always bet on it being an amusing ride! This time, Joey and her friend Starla are filming a TV special that showcases the best decorated homes for Christmas. In the middle of the shoot, they discover a dead body sticking out of the chimney top. Alongside her fiance Jackson, Joey goes on the hunt to find out who's wrecking the Christmas cheer.

This quick and clever mystery is the perfect read to get you in the holiday spirit.

Four Stars

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Royally Yours by Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson, and Ashley Clark

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring Royally Yours, a collection of four novellas by different authors set in the media-free town of Tinsel, Vermont. The perfect place for celebrities and royals to get away for the holidays and have some normalcy.

About the Book
Tinsel, Vermont is known for its no-paparazzi policy and Christmas decorations that are fit for a queen. This holiday season, join four royals on a stroll through town square as they each find their Christmas wishes for a happily-ever-after...tiaras optional.

One Royal Christmas by Melissa Tagg
In the wake of the worst year of his life, His Majesty Jonah Harrison Archer Davies makes the drastic decision to temporarily abdicate the throne and travel to Tinsel, Vermont, in hopes of finding the peace and privacy he needs to heal, discover his vision for his country . . . and somehow believe himself worthy of the crown. But when he meets charming librarian Rowan Bell,on a quest of her own to save Tinsel’s quaint cottage library, he’s more torn than ever before as duty to the crown collides with an enchanting Christmastime romance he didn’t see coming.

The Reluctant Princess by Betsy St. Amant
Princess Eleanor is weary of the protocol that comes with the crown, along with her lack of voice on causes she holds dear. She takes a holiday in the safety of Tinsel, Vermont, to determine her next steps–and certainly didn’t mean to fall for the average Joe assigned as her chauffeur. But Miles Channing isn’t so average, after all. He’s Liam Neal, part of the notoriously famous American Neal Family, and is hiding with secrets of his own.When Christmas comes and the truth shakes her life like a snow globe, Eleanor must decide once and for all where she’ll be standing when the snowflakes settle.

A Royal Wonderland by Liz Johnson
With his public break up still making tabloid headlines,Prince Andrew Tennesley hopes a few weeks in Tinsel will help the gossips move on and give him a chance to propose a program the people of his country need. When Andrew is left to decorate a home for Tinsel’s Christmas lights contest, he has to rely on pretty hardware store owner Charlotte Hudson for help. Charlie doesn’t mind hanging twinkle lights with him. She just isn’t interested in the spotlight. But as they set out to create a winter wonderland, Andrew has her wondering if she’s been hiding out in Tinsel too and missing out on the best gift of the season–love.

A Tinsel Holiday by Ashley Clark
Princess Beatrix has already met the love of her life. Two years ago, an American journalist named Tyler was assigned to write a feature story about her. But the twenty-four hours that followed changed the two of them forever. Now, Tyler has returned home to Tinsel and traded his career in journalism to run The Melody Inn. Though the quirky mayor and eccentric town traditions are a far cry from the world travels he once enjoyed,Tyler has settled into small-town life and made peace with the knowledge he will never see Beatrix again. But when an American tour brings Princess Beatrix to Tinsel, she and Tyler will have another twenty-four hours together and one more chance at love. Only this time, with gingerbread and mistletoe.

Book Beginning (From the first story in the collection, One Royal Christmas by Melissa Tagg)
Jonah Davies' signature on the document spread before him could change the course of a nation's history.

Friday 56 (From the third story in the collection, A Royal Wonderland by Liz Johnson)
Charlotte Hudson could spot a fake from a hundred yards. She could identify fake antiques, fake smiles, and fake currency. Not that there was much - or really any - of the latter circulating in Tinsel, Vermont, population 3,574.

Hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

What is your favorite Christmas themed fiction or nonfiction book?



What have you been reading lately?

Review: A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

About the Book
A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He's grim and silent. A man of little emotion--or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she's ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn't as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there's Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What's a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there'll be no false formality. This time they'll get to know each other for who they really are.


My Thoughts

I kept hearing how awesome Mimi Matthews' books were so when I happened upon A Holiday By Gaslight on sale, I had to give it a try. It did not disappoint. Set during the Victorian era, I was immediately sucked into the story and fully immersed in the time.

I instantly felt for Ned. He tried to do everything right and by the book, but it just wasn't working out. If he would've just been himself, no airs and no fronts, and shown his true genuine self, there would've been a lot less hassle. (And isn't that a lesson for us all!) I didn't know what to think of Sophie at first. She was quite blunt, but her authenticity shone through. She was being true to herself which I admired.

I had a wonderful time reading A Holiday By Gaslight. It's the perfect story to get you in the holiday spirit. Anyone who enjoys well-researched historical romance is sure to delight in this gem.

Four Stars

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: The Land Beneath Us (Sunrise at Normandy #3) by Sarah Sundin

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring The Land Beneath Us (Sunrise at Normandy #3) by Sarah Sundin releasing February 4, 2020.

About the Book
In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers' betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for--fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family--the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.

After Clay saves Leah's life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay's recurring dream comes true?
 

Why I Need It
Nobody does WWII romance better than Sarah Sundin. I've been loving this series about the Paxton brothers and am so excited for Clay's story.

What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Mini Review: Christmas at the Circus: A short story from The Greatest Season on Earth by Joanne Bischof

About the Book
A Short Story from the Greatest Season on Earth

In 1800's New Orleans, newlyweds Charlie and Ella Lionheart are spending their first holiday season together within the circus. It’s Ella’s first Christmas away from her mountain home and with thoughts of family and new beginnings, see what surprises the kindhearted lion tamer has in store for her on Christmas Eve.

Holiday magic beneath the Big Top about the Greatest Season on Earth -- starring beloved characters from Joanne's award-winning novel, The Lady and the Lionheart


(To get a free copy of this short story, sign up for the author's newsletter here.)

My Thoughts

This was such a sweet and heartwarming short story. I loved catching up with Charlie and Ella again. The Lady and the Lionheart is one of my all-time favorites, so it was wonderful to experience Christmas with some of my most beloved characters. This story has really got me wanting to reread the full-length book again sometime soon.

Five Stars

Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: The Occupied (A Trevor Black Novel) by Craig Parshall

About the Book
From New York Times bestselling author Craig Parshall comes a riveting story of supernatural suspense.

As a youth, Trevor Black unleashed spiritual forces he couldn’t comprehend. Years later, Trevor is a high-flying criminal defense lawyer in New York City, with a six-figure Aston Martin and a trophy wife. But in an extraordinary turn of events, he receives a burdensome gift: the ability to perceive the invisible. And the dark forces he now sees are all gunning for him.

When one of Trevor’s hometown friends is murdered, the MO is eerily similar to a shocking trail of murders that have already crossed the lawyer’s path. So Trevor must return home to find the killer. . . and face not only his own personal demons, but supernatural ones as well.
 


My Thoughts

I'm always in the mood for a good book that deals with spiritual warfare and this one was excellent. From the first line I was hooked. 

"I keep monsters in my peripheral vision. When you've been attacked by the horribles, you never forget."

The Occupied takes the reader on a journey through Trevor Black's life divided into three sections titled The Flesh, The World, and The Devil.

"First, there's the world, and all that's in it and all that we see, but also what we can't. Second, the flesh - all those desires, arrogances, strivings - when we let it rule us. Last, but definitely not least, there's the devil. That's in reverse threat level."

First in The Flesh we get a glimpse at when Trevor was a teenager and first came into contact with the supernatural veil. Then, The World, takes a peek into his life in New York City as a lawyer, his deteriorating marriage, his first encounter with “the horribles”, and becoming a Christian. And finally, The Devil, where he makes his return home to solve a mystery and fight “the horribles”. 

"Even in all the mud and mire through which we plow, there is a benevolent heavenly Father holding us up with an invisible hand, guiding our ends from our beginnings and nudging us toward the light rather than the darkness. Giving us a thousand chances to make a thousand good choices if we will only take them."

Powerful, compelling, and, at times, chilling, The Occupied was fast paced and impossible to put down. I can't recommend it enough. 

"You see, it is not what comes against you that matters. It is who occupies you that counts. Christ, the guardian of your soul."

4.5 Stars

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring a lovely historical novella, A Holiday By Gaslight by Mimi Matthews.

About the Book
A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He's grim and silent. A man of little emotion--or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she's ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn't as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there's Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What's a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there'll be no false formality. This time they'll get to know each other for who they really are.

Book Beginning
An icy late November breeze rustled the bare branches of the trees along the Serpentine. Hyde Park was practically deserted at this time of morning. And no wonder. It was freezing cold, the gray skies heavy with the scent of impending rain.

Friday 56
Her words were interrupted by an ungodly shriek. They both turned in the direction from whence it came. Another high-pitched shriek heralded the arrival of one of the aristocratic young ladies they'd left behind to gather pine boughs. She ran toward them through the woods, her skirts clutched in her hands.

Hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

Is there a specific genre you like to read during the Winter?

I'm very much a mood reader and hop around genres quite often. I can never read more than two or three books in the same genre in a row or I find myself getting bored. Though I do try to read as many Christmas books as I can during December.


What have you been reading lately?

Review: Like a Winter Snow by Lindsay Harrel

About the Book
Women’s counselor Joy Beckman has always been a friend and helper to all. That’s why she’s given up everything to be with her parents as her mother suffers through Alzheimer’s. Joy may not have a thriving career or a love life at the moment, but she’s doing what she does best—taking care of others. And even though it’s difficult, she knows it’s where she is supposed to be.

But life throws a curveball when she has to leave her parents temporarily to travel to Cornwall, England, for the Christmas-time wedding of her best friend. While there, Joy helps Sophia tackle her last-minute to-do list, and in the process, finally meets a man who turns her head—and her heart. The only problem? He lives in snowy London, and her life is with her parents back in sunny Florida.

She tries to resist Oliver Lincoln’s charms, but it’s harder than it should be. With her heart torn in two, Joy is forced to choose between a life she knows she’s meant for and the one she didn’t see coming.


My Thoughts

I absolutely adored this heartwarming Christmas novella. I loved The Secrets of Paper and Ink so I was thrilled to revisit old characters and journey back to the charming town of Port Willis. This story does stand alone just fine so if you haven't read the first one, no worries.

The characters were wonderful. I liked the fact that they were a little older than the average in these types of stories. That was a nice change. Oliver is such a dreamy leading man. A cross between Henry Cavill and Gerard Butler who has a dog named Rascal? Yes, please! Joy has a lot on her plate. It feels like she has the whole world on her shoulders. So many people are counting on her and she feels like she's letting every one of them down. Her journey of letting go and trusting God was inspiring.

If you're looking for a quick and sweet holiday read, Like a Winter Snow is sure to delight.

Favorite Quotes:
“Look at how powerful our God is. You never have to be afraid of anything because there’s not a lightning bolt he doesn’t know about, not a drop of rain he doesn’t allow to fall.”

“We see only the chaos and destruction, the inconveniences, the way they ruin our plans. But fire and water, they bring life too. Refining. Rejuvenation.”

“...sometimes God wants us to be stretched. To choose the thing that’s frightening and unsure. To live boldly. To take a chance on the unknown.”

“None of us can see the way forward in the fog. We simply must take the next step and trust that the light will lead us where we need to go.”

Four Stars