Thursday, May 28, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Synapse by Steven James

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 near future, sci-fi thriller, Synapse by Steven James.

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.

Book Beginning
You do not hear your baby cry.

Friday 56
As he is programming the digitized wall, he realizes that distinguishing what you decide you want from what you were programmed to want is not easy. Perhaps it is the same as differentiating free will from instinct for a Natural.

Hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

What social media sites do you visit? Please leave your links so we can follow.

I use Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads pretty regularly. I have an Instagram account, but don't post there very often.

Here are my links: Twitterhttps://twitter.com/RusticReadinGal
                               Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/TheRusticReadingGal/
                               Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1863497-ashley
                               Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/ashley_s88/

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Port of Origin (Agents of Mercy #2) by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

About the Book
When virus-infected pirates hijack a humanitarian medical ship from an African port, they trigger the threat of a global pandemic.

How do you keep hope alive in a sea of darkness?

An African fisherman.

Foreign exploitation of Africa’s natural resources has destroyed the fishing business of Dabir Omar. Hijacking oil tankers brings cash to his family in their remote village, but it doesn’t buy the medical care needed to stop the deadly sickness attacking his people. When Dabir’s son becomes ill, the desperate pirate sets sail for the Liberty, an international humanitarian medical ship ported on the coast.

An American surgeon.

Against his better judgment, Dr. Josiah Allen agrees to work a two-week surgical stint on the Liberty, moored in Douala, Cameroon. Shortly after he arrives with his precocious six-year-old daughter, Josiah is sent ashore to investigate a mysterious illness at the ship’s post-op clinic. While he’s gone, Ebola-infected pirates hijack the medical ship where Josiah left his daughter.

The woman compelled to save them all.

When pirate negotiations fail, Mackenzie Scott’s privately-owned extraction unit comes in for the rescue. But when the medical ship where Mac had taken a wounded comrade is hijacked by pirates, the former military pararescue jumper becomes the pirate’s key hostage.

Both fathers go to war to save their children. If Mac can’t convince them to work together, the winner of this conflict will be a deadly virus intent on destroying the world. 


My Thoughts

Wow! Where do I even begin? This book was fantastic. One of the best books I've read this year. Compelling right from the start, my interest only continued to grow as the story progressed until it became nearly the only thing on my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about it even when I'd have to set it down for awhile to do other things. Hard to put down is an understatement.

The details were so vivid that I felt like I was right there in Africa with these realistic characters. I became so invested in their lives. There's a lot of different characters and a lot different POVs, but I never got confused by who was who or anything. The introductions were done in a way that helped me keep everyone straight. Love when that happens.

Port of Origin was a timely, thought-provoking, scary, yet hopeful read. It was the first book I've read from either one of these authors and I'm kicking myself for that. I'm definitely gonna be checking out more from them. And I'm so glad this is part of a series. I'm ready for more!

Five Stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wondering Wednesdays #2

In addition to my usual Can't Wait Wednesday post today, I'm also participating in a new weekly meme, Wondering Wednesdays hosted by A Baker's Perspective. This is a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers by answering different questions.

This week's question is: Do you have any pets?

I have four dogs and lots of goats.


Hank is a Heeler mix and is our protector. He lets us know when anything out of the ordinary is going on in the neighborhood and is particularly suspicious of UPS and FedEx. He's such a sweetie. He's getting older and is a little slower these days, but he doesn't let that stop him.


Daisy is a German Shepherd and is Hank's shadow. She's goofy and a bit of a troublemaker. She loves chasing birds and catching them. Just make sure to keep the chickens away from her. She seems to really love them. 😟


Jack is a Yorkie-Poo. He's a loyal companion who will follow you anywhere, especially if there's food involved. Anytime we get a package in the mail, he thinks what's inside is his. He always has to check it out, no matter what it is. He has the occasional stubborn day, but for the most part he's a sweet little guy who loves being by our sides.


Hazel is a Lab-Heeler mix and the newest addition to the family. She's a happy girl who's tail is always wagging. When she gets really excited she just wiggles all over. It's the cutest thing. Her and Daisy became best friends instantly. It took Hank a little while to warm up to her, but he couldn't resist her charm for long. She's eager to please and is always wanting attention.


I have quite a few goats but I'll just talk about a couple of them. Millie is a Nigerian Dwarf. She may be small, but she doesn't know it. She's a little goat with a big attitude. She thinks she's the boss and doesn't hesitate letting everyone know it. Things are never dull when Millie's around, lol.


Toby (short for October) is also a Nigerian Dwarf. Her and Millie used to be best friends (they were born around the same time), but I guess you could say they're rivals now. It took her awhile, but she's finally come to the realization that Millie's in charge of things. Toby loves attention and pretty much demands to be petted whenever I'm around. 

Do you have any pets?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Gilded Lady (Hope and Glory #2) by Elizabeth Camden

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 A Gilded Lady (Hope and Glory #2) by Elizabeth Camden releasing June 2.

About the Book
Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the first lady of the United States. But beneath the façade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.

Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately suspicious of Caroline despite his overwhelming attraction to her quick wit and undeniable charm. Desperate to keep the president protected, Nathaniel must battle to keep his focus fully on his job as the threat to the president rises.

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel will face adventure, danger, and heartbreak in a race against time that will span the continent and the depth of human emotion.

Why I Need It
Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. Her books are always some of my most highly anticipated releases of the year. Last year's The Spice King was my favorite of hers yet and I'm so exited to dive back into this storyworld and reconnect with some favorite characters and meet some new ones. 

What upcoming release are you highly anticipating? 

Review: When I Lost My Way by Jennifer Rodewal

About the Book
Their whirlwind romance takes the hard road toward happily-ever-after as disaster tests their love for each other and their faith in God’s goodness.

Sophie Shultz smiles at her future, even when she doesn’t feel like it, but when a country drive leaves this city-girl stranded in the mud, the cowboy who stops to help gives her plenty to smile about. For real. Lance Carson is tall, handsome, and kind, if a little on the quiet side—not to mention the owner of Big Prairie’s celebrated vineyard.

Lance has always had a decided preference for solitude, but when he rescues Sophie he develops a whole new appreciation for companionship. It doesn’t take long for him to lose his heart as she fills the aching void life’s disappointments have left behind. But a family issue has put him in a hard spot, pushing him to a decision that will ruin his relationship with many of Big Prairie’s citizens—and devastate Sophie, who adores her newly adopted hometown. Before he can figure out how to tell her, someone tattles on his plans.

As their relationship is put to the test, conflict presses in from every side. Can this rapidly grown romance sink its roots deep enough to weather the storms, or will Lance and Sophie both lose their way?

Small town Christian stories of romance and redemption, begin the Big Prairie Romance series today!

Book 1: When I Come Home Again
Book 2: When I Lost My Way
Book 3: When I'm With You (Coming fall of 2020) 

My Thoughts

Just when I think it can't be done, Jennifer Rodewald outdoes herself yet again. This book was spectacular. It always amazes me how seamlessly she weaves a profound and beautiful message of faith into every one of her novels. And this one resonated so deep with me.

I don't know if I've ever connected with a character as much as I have with Lance. He's a shy, nervous, introverted overthinker who always expects the worst. That's so me. I really felt for his inner struggles and was rooting for him so hard. He's a good guy who deserves the best. I instantly liked Sophie and really admired her total trust in God and how she leaned so fully on Him. Miss Jane was a great character too. She's such a joy. I loved her wisdom, genuineness, and strong faith.

I seriously can't recommend this book highly enough. There was a real authenticity to it. It felt like I was getting a peek into people's actual real lives. Watching how they dealt with very real struggles and dilemmas. It takes a special author to do that. I'm very eager to head back to Big Prairie in the next book.

I received a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.

Five Stars

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Port of Origin (Agents of Mercy #2) by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

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 medical thriller, Port of Origin (Agents of Mercy #2) by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry.

About the Book
When virus-infected pirates hijack a humanitarian medical ship from an African port, they trigger the threat of a global pandemic.

How do you keep hope alive in a sea of darkness?

An African fisherman.

Foreign exploitation of Africa’s natural resources has destroyed the fishing business of Dabir Omar. Hijacking oil tankers brings cash to his family in their remote village, but it doesn’t buy the medical care needed to stop the deadly sickness attacking his people. When Dabir’s son becomes ill, the desperate pirate sets sail for the Liberty, an international humanitarian medical ship ported on the coast.

An American surgeon.

Against his better judgment, Dr. Josiah Allen agrees to work a two-week surgical stint on the Liberty, moored in Douala, Cameroon. Shortly after he arrives with his precocious six-year-old daughter, Josiah is sent ashore to investigate a mysterious illness at the ship’s post-op clinic. While he’s gone, Ebola-infected pirates hijack the medical ship where Josiah left his daughter.

The woman compelled to save them all.

When pirate negotiations fail, Mackenzie Scott’s privately-owned extraction unit comes in for the rescue. But when the medical ship where Mac had taken a wounded comrade is hijacked by pirates, the former military pararescue jumper becomes the pirate’s key hostage.

Both fathers go to war to save their children. If Mac can’t convince them to work together, the winner of this conflict will be a deadly virus intent on destroying the world. 

Book Beginning
OFF THE COAST OF CAMEROON, CENTRAL AFRICA
Since ancient times, the sea had been generous. Tuna. Sardines. Ocean prawns big as a man's hand. But those days of plenty had vanished in the wake of the foreign trawlers whose illegal fishing practices were destroying the coastline's natural resources.

Friday 56
She glanced at Harper and realized what a terrifying situation she'd been thrust into. She was in a room with a woman dying of something deadly, her father was missing, and the ship she loved was being held by pirates.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Spiders From Mars (Sylvia Stryker Space Case #4) by Diane Vallere

About the Book
She wants to free her mentor from jail. A frame-up keeps him trapped in the system. Can she discover a killer before he disappears forever?

Uniform Lieutenant Sylvia Stryker is about to take off on her fourth Moon Unit Cruise. Her family is gone, her planet was blown up, and her mentor, Neptune, is behind bars indefinitely. But when a space pirate is murdered inside the space prison and Neptune is assumed guilty, Sylvia might lose him for more than the duration of his sentence.

Forget the stability of her job for Moon Unit Corporation. Losing one more person might leave Sylvia isolated forever. Faced with possibly-corrupt galactic government, a team of questionable freelancers, and the limits of her physical capabilities, she goes all-in to get him out. If she fails, she’ll lose the only connection that gives her hope for the future.

Can Sylvia design a successful mission on her own to save the person who taught her everything?

Spiders from Mars is the fourth quirky adventure in the Sylvia Stryker Space Case Cozy Mystery series. If you like resourceful characters, unique settings, and outer space fun, then you’ll love Diane Vallere’s whimsical Space Case Cozy Mystery series.


My Thoughts

I absolutely loved this latest installment of this series. It was great being back with Sylvia and the whole gang on another case. This one's a little more personal because Sylvia's trying to free Neptune from jail, prove his innocence, and figure out who's framing him for murder. This mystery was a great one. It was fast paced and high stakes. And when it came time for the reveal, I was completely shocked by it. I did not see that one coming. If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, I highly recommend checking out this super fun series.

Four Stars

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wondering Wednesdays #1

In addition to my normal Can't Wait Wednesday post today, I'm also participating in a new weekly meme, Wondering Wednesdays hosted by A Baker's Perspective. This is a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers by answering different questions.

This week's question is: What is your favorite thing to do besides reading?

I love playing video games. I have a Nintendo Switch, but I play PC games too. My favorite games on the Switch right now are Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Super Mario Maker 2. But I love pretty much anything featuring Mario, lol. On the PC, I really enjoy games like Parkitect, Two Point Hospital, RollerCoaster Tycoon, and Cities: Skylines. But my favorite is The Sims. I've played it since the first iteration of the game came out in 2000 and still love it. My favorite aspect of it is build mode. At one time, I really wanted to be an architect and the build mode options in the game let me play out my architecture dreams. It's so fun and easy building, and designing, houses. I love it.

Are you a gamer? What are your favorite games? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Between Walls (The City Between #6) by W.R Gingell

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 Between Walls (The City Between #6) by W.R Gingell releasing May 31.

About the Book
Don’t get too close to humans.

That’s rule number one. Well, it is if you’re an emotionally constipated fae lord. As far as I’m concerned, the vampire could do a better job of keeping his distance, but he’s never been that good at following the rules.

G’day. I’m Pet. Schrödinger’s Pet, these days; depends who’s asking.

I’m human, but when you hang around with enough Behindkind, it starts getting dangerous for the other humans around you. Humans like my friend Morgana. I tried to stay away, but now she needs my help and don’t get too close to humans isn’t exactly gunna cut it anymore.

I’ve got the feeling I’m about to find out why it’s such a bad idea.

Why I Need It
This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series right now. It's set in Tasmania and has a cast of hilarious, quirky, mischievous, and mysterious characters that I can't get enough of. You never know what's gonna happen next. I can't wait to find out what kind of trouble they find themselves in this time.

What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Review: That Ain't Witchcraft (InCryptid #8) by Seanan McGuire

About the Book
The eighth book in the funny and fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.

Crossroads, noun:

1. A place where two roads cross.
2. A place where bargains can be made.
3. See also “places to avoid.”

Antimony Price has never done well without a support system. As the youngest of her generation, she has always been able to depend on her parents, siblings, and cousins to help her out when she’s in a pinch—until now. After fleeing from the Covenant of St. George, she’s found herself in debt to the crossroads and running for her life. No family. No mice. No way out.

Lucky for her, she’s always been resourceful, and she’s been gathering allies as she travels: Sam, fĆ«ri trapeze artist turned boyfriend; Cylia, jink roller derby captain and designated driver; Fern, sylph friend, confidant, and maker of breakfasts; even Mary, ghost babysitter to the Price family. Annie’s actually starting to feel like they might be able to figure things out—which is probably why things start going wrong again.

New Gravesend, Maine is a nice place to raise a family…or make a binding contract with the crossroads. For James Smith, whose best friend disappeared when she tried to do precisely that, it’s also an excellent place to plot revenge. Now the crossroads want him dead and they want Annie to do the dirty deed. She owes them, after all.

And that’s before Leonard Cunningham, aka, “the next leader of the Covenant,” shows up…

It’s going to take everything Annie has and a little bit more to get out of this one. If she succeeds, she gets to go home. If she fails, she becomes one more cautionary tale about the dangers of bargaining with the crossroads.

But no pressure.


My Thoughts

The Crossroads have come calling to collect their debt from Annie. Even though what they task her to do goes against every fiber of her being, there's no way to refuse the crossroads... right? Then, just when things couldn't possibly get worse, Leonard Cunningham, the heir to the Covenant of St. George, shows up. With everything going haywire, can Annie and her friends find a way out the colossal mess they've found themselves in?

I've had my fair share of issues with Annie in the last few books, but I have to admit, I'm gonna miss her and her friends. The next book switches narration to cousin Sarah, and while I'm so excited for that, I've really grown to love Annie and her ragtag group. I hope we get to catch up with them from time to time.

A lot happened in this book. Some lingering questions were answered, while even more questions popped up. It was really interesting learning more about the crossroads. Kinda terrifying, but very enlightening.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: if you're a fan of urban fantasy, pick up this series. It's one of the best in the genre.

NOTE: This book contains some strong language.

Four Stars

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Spiders From Mars (Sylvia Stryker Space Case #4) by Diane Vallere

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.


About the Book
She wants to free her mentor from jail. A frame-up keeps him trapped in the system. Can she discover a killer before he disappears forever?

Uniform Lieutenant Sylvia Stryker is about to take off on her fourth Moon Unit Cruise. Her family is gone, her planet was blown up, and her mentor, Neptune, is behind bars indefinitely. But when a space pirate is murdered inside the space prison and Neptune is assumed guilty, Sylvia might lose him for more than the duration of his sentence.

Forget the stability of her job for Moon Unit Corporation. Losing one more person might leave Sylvia isolated forever. Faced with possibly-corrupt galactic government, a team of questionable freelancers, and the limits of her physical capabilities, she goes all-in to get him out. If she fails, she’ll lose the only connection that gives her hope for the future.

Can Sylvia design a successful mission on her own to save the person who taught her everything?

Spiders from Mars is the fourth quirky adventure in the Sylvia Stryker Space Case Cozy Mystery series. If you like resourceful characters, unique settings, and outer space fun, then you’ll love Diane Vallere’s whimsical Space Case Cozy Mystery series.

Book Beginning
The first thing I did was have Neptune declared legally dead. It was an unlikely start to a rescue mission, but it was my first one, and Neptune's incarceration made it difficult to ask him for advice.

Friday 56
"Money can't buy happiness."
"Maybe not, but it can buy planets."
I hadn't expected that. "You're buying a planet?"
"I'm in a bidding war for Pluto as we speak."
"I don't think Pluto is a planet anymore. Planetoid, maybe."
"My first act of Congress after taking possession is to reinstate planet status. I hired a team of graphic artists to design our new flag. Want to see?"

What have you been reading lately?

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

About the Book
Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.


My Thoughts

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower retells the story of Rapunzel in a unique way. While it wasn't my favorite story in this series, it was still really good. It just took me a little while to get into it and connect with Hazel and Sam. But once the Count showed up, the pace really picked up and when they headed to Romania, I could hardly put it down.

I loved the change of scenery. The submersible was a fun setting and then Romania was great. I always find it to be a fittingly creepy backdrop for books like this.

I'm loving this series and the way it combines steampunk, fairy tales, and supernatural elements. Those are three of my favorite things and it's done so well here. I'm beyond excited for Emme and Oliver's story in Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts. I can't wait!

Four Stars


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: No Filter (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #1) by Heather Day Gilbert

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 No Filter (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #1) by Heather Day Gilbert releasing May 26. 

About the Book
BOOK ONE in the ALL-NEW BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Fed up with her go-nowhere job, newly single Macy Hatfield moves back to her small hometown in West Virginia. She joins forces with her brother Bo in his crazy new venture—the Barks & Beans Cafe, which caters to dog lovers and coffee drinkers alike.

When a golf instructor is murdered at the nearby spiritual center, Macy winds up adopting his Great Dane. Just after Macy finds a mysterious message sewn under the dog's collar, her Dane is dognapped. She launches into a relentless search for her newfound canine friend, but along the way, she digs up a cruel and confident killer.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

Why I Need It
I love this author's Exotic Pet-Sitter mysteries and am so excited that she's got a new cozy series coming out. The idea of a cafĂ© where you can visit shelter dogs is so cool. I love that idea. Add in a mystery and this makes it's way to the top of my TBR list. 

What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Review: Deadman's Float (Crime ĂĄ la Mode #1) by Christy Barritt

About the Book
USA Today bestselling author Christy Barritt takes readers to the mysterious, quirky island of Lantern Beach, North Carolina, in this charming cozy series!

It all started with a runaway dog.


Meet Serena Lavinia: part-time ice cream truck driver, part-time reporter, and full-time woman of mystery. She never expected to find a cute little terrier while on her morning ice cream route on the island of Lantern Beach.

Nor did she expect the dog to be carrying a bloody shoe.

When a dead body is discovered floating in a nearby pool, Serena becomes fully immersed in her very own who-done-it. But her investigation hits a snag when a new foe arrives in town. Webster Newsome has been appointed the town’s new newspaper editor—a job Serena wanted—and the man is entirely too bossy.

My Thoughts

Deadman's Float was a super fun trip back to Lantern Beach that follows Serena as she investigates a murder. A compelling read that I finished in a day, it was a nice distraction and a great escape from the real world.

Serena has always been one of my favorite Lantern Beach residents, so it's great to finally be getting a series about her. She's a little bit out there and definitely marches to the beat of her own drum, but that's what makes her so likable and fun to read about. You never know what she's gonna do next. I'm very much intrigued by the introduction of Webster Newsome. Him and Serena have an interesting dynamic and I'm looking forward to seeing how that develops in the future. And I can't forget to mention the adorable dog. He's such a cutie!

If you're looking for an entertaining and quick read, pick up this sweet treat.

Five Stars 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Review: To Gain Forever by Tanya Eavenson

About the Book
When a cat walker visits a dog park, sparks fly. The road to love is paved with paw prints.

Karianne Bennett, small-town wedding coordinator, has always believed in happily-ever-afters. That is, for everyone but herself. Her fiancĂ©’s alcohol-related death put an end to her own dreams and turned her career into a weekly reminder of all she’s lost. Until hope comes when she adopts a retired service dog, and a newcomer who catches her eye.

Trey Scott has been fascinated with fireworks since he was a boy. If he can land the festival account in an out-of-state town, he’ll be that much closer to achieving his lifelong goal. But his dreams never included a beautiful dog walker who also happens to be the stranger he’s been praying over for years.

Despite how Karianne is now ready to move on with her life, can she trust Trey with her heart?

To Gain Forever is available in the Love is in the Air box set available now!

My Thoughts

To Gain Forever was a great story. Sweet, inspirational, and full of heart, I loved every moment. I was drawn in from the very beginning and instantly became invested in Trey and Karianne's lives. I really enjoyed getting to know them and following them on their journey of healing and newfound love. There was a great spiritual message woven throughout about learning to trust God's plan. I loved that. It's a quick read that I gobbled up as fast as I could. I didn't want it to end. I highly recommend it to fans of contemporary romance.

I received a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.

Five Stars

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

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 fun steampunk retelling of Rapunzel, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen.

About the Book
Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

Book Beginning
Dr. Samuel MacInnes lay on his back in his bed at Blackwell Manor, arms behind his head, and looked at the night sky. Rather than a traditional guest room, his accommodations were in the third-floor observatory, complete with domed glass ceiling.

Friday 56
He descended to Deck Two, glanced in the Main Room, which was eerily empty and dimly lit. Perhaps she might have gone to the infirmary? He jogged down the steps to the next level and checked each open door. 

What have you been reading lately? 

Review: The Art of Eavesdropping (The Sidekick's Survival Guide #1) by Christy Barritt

About the Book
Missionary kid Elliot Ransom is restless after moving from her beloved Amazon home to a wealthy DC suburb. Though Storm River, Virginia, is beautiful, it's also a playground for haughty politicians and wealthy playboys. She’s never felt so out of place.

Becoming an assistant to a hotshot private investigator changes everything . . .

Expecting to help with filing and background checks, Elliot is shocked when she’s catapulted into the frontlines of a murder investigation instead. While trying to prove their client innocent, she’s forced from the administrative role she usually plays. The change is surprisingly invigorating.

Learning the art of investigating shouldn’t be so dangerous . . . but this case just might be as dicey as the new town Elliot is living in. Could a little harmless eavesdropping lead to a big disaster?


My Thoughts

The Art of Eavesdropping is the first book in Christy Barritt's fun new series, The Sidekick's Survival Guide. I absolutely loved it.

Elliot's a great character who kinda stumbles her way into sleuthing. She took a job with a private investigator thinking she'd be doing desk work, but she's immediately thrust into the field her very first day. It was fun watching her learn how to be a PI, seeing her improvise and take control of situations that were totally foreign to her, and really shine in this new venture of hers.

The mystery was really good. There were lots of possible suspects with strong motives and I didn't figure it out before the reveal. I highly recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries. I can't wait to spend more time with these characters in the next one.

Five Stars

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Dream within a Dream (Coffey & Hill #3) by Mike Nappa & Melissa Kosci

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.


About the Book
Trudi Coffey only realizes that she hasn't seen Samuel Hill in weeks when the FBI shows up asking questions about him. After a strange encounter with an armed man demanding her help and an attack by a member of the Boston mob looking for someone named Dream, Trudi manages to find Samuel--or rather, he finds her. He's made some pretty powerful enemies, but right now his full attention is on protecting Dream from the mob. Because Dream has something they want--the map to the location of artwork stolen from the Gardener Museum during the infamous 1990 heist.

With danger closing in from all sides, Trudi and Samuel will have to call on all of their allies to keep Dream safe and discover the identity of the people who have been hunting down Samuel. The real questions are whom can they trust? And who will make it out of this thing alive?

Why I Need It
I loved the first two books in this series, Annabel Lee and The Raven, and have been eagerly awaiting this third book. It's been a long wait (almost four years), but I'm still so excited for it. I love these characters and have a soft spot for Poe retellings. I can't wait! 

What upcoming release are you excited for?

Monday, May 4, 2020

Review: Countdown & San Diego 2014 by Mira Grant



Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

About the Book
The year is 2014, the year everything changed. We cured cancer. We cured the common cold. We died.

This is the story of how we rose.

When will you rise?

Countdown is a novella set in the world of Feed.

AmazonGoodreads

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats

About the Book
It was the summer of 2014, and the true horrors of the Rising were only just beginning to reveal themselves. Fans from all over the world gathered in San Diego, California for the annual comic book and media convention, planning to forget about the troubling rumors of new diseases and walking dead by immersing themselves in a familiar environment. Over the course of five grueling days and nights, it became clear that the news was very close to home...and that most of the people who picked up their badges would never make it out alive.


My Thoughts

It began nowhere. It began everywhere. It began without warning; it began with all the warning in the world. It could have been prevented a thousand times over. There was nothing that anyone could have done.

These were very timely reads. Utterly compelling and truly terrifying, I couldn't pull myself away from them. It's eerie how author Mira Grant, AKA Seanan McGuire, predicted so much about a global pandemic. I got goosebumps so many times because some things were uncannily similar to what's been going on. Now don't get me wrong, there's a lot of differences too, but there was enough there to freak me out even more.

Countdown explains the origins of the Kellis-Amberlee virus while San Diego 2014 recounts the tragedy and rapid spread of it at Comic-Con. They can definitely be read without prior knowledge of the series, though I think you'll get even more enjoyment out of them if you have read at least some of the series.

If you're in the mood for a couple of quick, unputdownable horror stories, these fit the bill perfectly. There were times when it didn't feel like fiction, but like I was reading an actual real-life account of the zombie apocalypse. So scary!

NOTE: These stories contain strong language.

4 Stars