Thursday, June 23, 2022

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Cold Drip (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #6) by Heather Day Gilbert

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. I'm also linking up with Carrie at Reading is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week I'm featuring Cold Drip (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #6) by Heather Day Gilbert.

This is my favorite of the series. I might be a little biased though. My dog Sadie, who passed away about 4 years ago, has a walk-on role in this story! It was beyond special to have her appear in the pages of this story. The author perfectly captured her personality, and I couldn't be happier to share her smart, sassy sweetness with others. I shared a post about Sadie a few years ago that you can check out here, if you'd like. 

About the Book
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.

Thanksgiving is on the way, and Macy's thrilled when her boyfriend Titan says he's coming to town for a week-long visit. She plans to take him to some of her favorite haunts, including the sprawling caverns nearby.

But when the lights go out during their underground tour and a local society darling plunges to her death, Macy can't shake the feeling that the cave's slippery floors weren't entirely to blame. She taps into the admittedly limited skills of her upscale barista, Milo, to do a little snooping in the moneyed circles he moves in. When he unearths a sinkhole of lies, Macy slides straight toward a killer who's not about to stop until every leak is sealed...permanently.

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.

Book Beginnings / First Line Friday
I cradled my second cup of French press coffee, savoring our Barks & Beans Cafe house blend as I stood on my porch.

Friday 56
Although it was difficult to drag out of bed Friday, I was looking forward to spending time with the shelter dogs. It was like a grand adventure, meeting new dogs with differing personalities every time I worked.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Forgotten Secrets (Vanishing Ranch #1) by Christy Barritt

About the Book
FBI Special Agent Jesse Marx doesn’t know which is worse—waking up in a horse stable with no memories of the past several days or waking up to discover he’s wearing a wedding band. Not only has he been injured, but he’s also gotten hitched—something he vowed never to do.

Sienna Fleming refuses to feel a connection to any man, much less be tied down to one. But when she needs help solving a string of murders, Jesse is the only man she can turn to for help. Unfortunately, Jesse is ready to bolt. Considering the circumstances, she can’t blame him . . . but she also can’t let him go.

The two are roped into this together. . . for better or worse . . . because it will take a united effort to stop this killer before someone else dies.

(Available in Kindle Unlimited at time of posting.)

MY THOUGHTS

The gripping prologue hooked me and what followed kept me glued to the pages. I thought the whole idea behind the ranch was really cool. I'm definitely interested in spending more time there and seeing even more of what they do.

I was instantly intrigued by Jesse. He was tough, rugged, and, yeah, a little stubborn, too. But I liked him a lot. It took me a while to warm up to Sienna. She was very secretive, and I never did fully understand why some of those things were kept secret for so long. But once she started opening up and things started being revealed, I ended up liking her.

There was some suspension of belief needed for some things, but overall, this was a good start to a new series. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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

3.5 STARS

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Cover Reveal: The Epic Story of RJ and York by Susan May Warren



I'm so excited to join the cover reveal for THE EPIC STORY OF RJ AND YORK by bestselling author Susan May Warren. Ruby Jane Marshall and York Newgate return as they dive into danger in a brand new trilogy from Susan May Warren, releasing this August. 



Click the links below to preorder now!

- NO MATTER THE COST: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B4R5RVMJ 



SYNOPSIS:
All ex-spy York Newgate wants is to propose—and marry—the woman of his dreams. And he’ll do it at the fancy restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. But his plans go awry when his wanna-be spy girlfriend spots an international killer. Suddenly he must choose between saving his country and saving his happy ending.

RJ Marshall isn’t quite ready to settle down, is she? She is tired of sitting behind a desk, analyzing problems for the international think-tank, the Caleb Group. What she’d like is some real-live, Sydney Bristow style action. So when she spots criminal mastermind Alan Martin on the loose and possibly wreaking havoc she’s hot on his tail…

And in over her head.

Suddenly, York must not only apprehend Martin, but keep Ruby Jane safe from her own dangerous antics. But what if she can handle herself…

And he’s the one in big trouble?

It’s an epic adventure across Europe, from France to Italy, to Germany and even Russia in this riveting, fun, romantic, enthralling trilogy about true love, honor, and the cost of, well, saving the world.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Can't Wait Wednesday: The Wonderland Trials (The Curious Realities, #1) by Sara Ella

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 Wonderland Trials (The Curious Realities, #1) by Sara Ella releasing July 12.

About the Book
Solve the clues. Face your fears. Survive the Trials.

All Alice Liddell wants is to escape her Normal life in Oxford and find the parents who abandoned her ten years ago. But she gets more than she bargained for when her older sister Charlotte is arrested for having the infamous Wonder Gene—the key to unlocking the curious Wonderland Reality.

Soon, Alice receives a rather cryptic invitation to play for Team Heart in this year’s annual—and often deadly—Wonderland Trials. Now she has less than twenty-four hours to find her way into Wonderland where nothing is impossible . . . or what it seems.

The stakes are raised when she discovers players go missing during the Trials each year. Will she and her team solve the clues and find the missing players? Or will betrayal and distrust win, leaving Alice alone in a world of her own? Follow the White Rabbit into this topsy-turvy fantasy where players become prey, a sip of the wrong tea might as well be poison, and a queen’s ways do not always lead one where they ought to go.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, June 20, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Wishes



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 excited to be back this week sharing some of my Bookish Wishes. We're listing the top 10 books we’d love to own and including a link to our wishlists so that people can grant a wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader in the list description so people know how to get the book to you.


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Vivid by Ashley Bustamante

About the Book
DANGER LURKS BEHIND EVERY COLOR

Ava Locke dives into the mysteries of forbidden Yellow magic and discovers a dark path filled with secrets and injustice.

When Ava Locke was five years old, she began a journey to join the Benefactors—the leaders of the magical continent of Magus. Twelve years later, she unwittingly started down the road to betray them.

On Magus where colors fuel magical abilities, yellow is banned in an effort to protect people from its mind-controlling capabilities. When a rogue Yellow magic-user named Elm escapes imprisonment Ava becomes innocently fascinated with his story. Once this mysterious Elm shows up at her school, Ava pushes her interest to the next level by helping him evade the Benefactors. Ava grows increasingly conflicted as her intrigue leads her down a dark road of secrets about her world. As she learns more about Yellow magic’s potential to control its victims, Ava now must question whether her rash decisions are all her own or if someone else is pulling the strings.

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Oathbound by Victoria McCombs

About the Book
Beware the waters. The dangerous deep brings ruin to all.

Emme has spent her life avoiding anything to do with pirates. But the fates are cruel, and now a hidden sickness leads her to partner with pirates for the one thing that can save her—a cure on an island none are certain exists.

The pirate captain’s secrets are darker than the deep and threaten to kill them all. His obligations are tinged with betrayal, for his oathbind must be fulfilled. To ignore it is to invite peril of unimaginable destruction.

As the adventure unfolds, the sea takes more than she expects and the sea gives more than he wants.

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To Belong Together by Emily Conrad

About the Book
Fame and money have a way of complicating love.

Drummer John Kennedy can keep a beat, but he can’t hold a conversation, so he relies on actions to show he cares. Unfortunately, when he’s instantly intrigued by a spunky female mechanic, he can’t seem to convey the sincerity of his intentions. And the rejections don’t stop there. His own sister is pushing him away just when he could help her most.

Erin Hirsh’s life would be easier if God hadn’t given her a love for cars. Only her father understood her, and she’s losing him to dementia. Her brief romances have always backfired worse than a mistuned engine, and she refuses to give John the chance to wreck her heart. A rock star with a supermodel ex can’t possibly see anything in her.

At least that’s what she thinks until they find common ground in faith and their worsening family situations leave them each longing for a place to belong. Could God intend for this pair of opposites to belong together?

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Of Fire and Ash by Gillian Bronte Adams

About the Book
She rides a fireborn, a steed of fire and ash, trained for destruction.

Ceridwen tal Desmond dreams of ruling like her father over the nation of Soldonia, where warriors ride to battle on magical steeds—soaring on storm winds, vanishing in shadow, quaking the earth, and summoning the sea. After a tragic accident claims her twin brother, she is exiled and sworn to atonement by spending her life—or death—for her people.

But when invaders spill onto Soldonia’s shores and traitors seize upon the chaos to murder her father, Ceridwen claims the crown to keep the nation from splintering. Combatting overwhelming odds and looming civil war, she begins to wonder if the greatest threat to the kingdom may, in fact, be her.

With fire before her and ash in her wake, how can she hope to unite instead of destroy?

Flames rage and oceans rise in this explosive first installment of The Fireborn Epic as the exiled heir, a novice priest, and a reluctant rebel wage war against a hidden power that threatens to shake the world.

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Manners and Monsters Collection 2 by Tilly Wallace

About the Book
How many beats remain in Hannah’s heart?

When the curse changes inside Hannah, the mission to find a cure intensifies. Meanwhile, Hannah and Wycliff continue to investigate Unnatural murders even as the cases circle closer and closer to home…

This collection contains:

4. Vanity and Vampyres. Being a reveller is such a drain…Someone is supping upon young noblemen and it’s up to Hannah and Wycliff to investigate. This pursuit will unearth long buried secrets that could have fatal consequences for those dearest to Hannah.

5. Sixpence and Selkies. A heart as lonely as the ocean…Hannah and Wycliff arrive at his ancestral estate in Dorset as tragedy strikes the coastal village. A young woman has lost her life to the tempestuous ocean, but only Hannah suspects the woman’s death is anything but a horrible accident.

6. Hessians and Hellhounds. Fire erases all… even the undead…. One of London’s most recognisable Afflicted has been incinerated in a horrifying way. Whispers spread that a hellhound prowls the streets, snatching the lost souls who have escaped the afterworld. Except, Wycliff is doing no such thing—could there possibly be another such creature in London?

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Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

About the Book
Sabina Mancari never questioned her life as the daughter of Chicago’s leading mob boss until bullets tear apart her world and the man she thought she loved turned out to be an undercover Prohibition agent. Now she sees how ugly the underworld can be. Ambushes, bribes, murder, prostitution—she thought her beloved Papa was above all that, but clearly he isn’t. What does that mean, though, for her and their family? Maybe Lorenzo, the fiancĂ© who has barely paid her any attention in the last two years, has the right idea by planning to escape their world.

All his life, Lorenzo’s family assumed he would join the Church, but he has different ideas—marrying Sabina and pursuing a career in the law. But despite his morals, he knows at the core he isn’t so unlike his father and brothers, which has always terrified him. Has he, in trying to protect Sabina from his flaws, in fact harmed her? It sure seems that way when he realizes he all but forced her into the arms of the Prohibition Agent now bent on tearing her family apart at all costs. But how can they rebuild what has so long been neglected…and do it in the shadow of the dark empire of the Mafia?

Shadowed Loyalty, set amid the glitz and scandal of the Roaring Twenties, examines what love really means and how we draw lines between family and our own convictions, especially when following the one could mean losing the other.

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The Fabrication of Eden Pruitt by K.E. Ganshert

About the Book
Studious and principled Eden Pruitt stepped out of line just once. Unfortunately, that reckless decision ended with an arrest, a mug shot, and two very concerned parents. Now they’re starting over. In Iowa, of all places. On the cusp of her senior year, of all times. The situation is less than ideal but she’ll just have to manage, and without complaint. The change of address was her fault after all, and she isn’t going to make anything harder on her parents, who have already been through enough.

But life in Iowa turns strange fast. Odd things are happening, and Eden has no idea what any of it means. Then she comes home from her first day of school to a ransacked house and the nightmare officially begins. Her parents are missing. She’s convinced something terrible has happened to them. But nobody believes her. Except for a hardened, mysterious stranger who is as dangerous as he is enticing.

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The Emperor's Aeronaut by Shelley Adina & R.E. Scott

About the Book
Napoleon is determined to conquer the world with his steam-powered weapons. Nothing in England can stop him … except two young lady inventors.

In 1819, France is surrounded by armies. With Russia in the north, the Karlsruhe Confederacy in the east, and a pirate kingdom in the south, Napoleon cannot break out, nor can the English Navy seem to break in. Europe teeters on the edge of a sword. Whichever side rules the air will win.

Celeste Blanchard, daughter of the Emperor’s disgraced Air Minister, is running out of time to develop an air ship that can carry his armies to England and restore her mother to glory. But on a daring and desperate test flight, she is blown off course … and washes up, half drowned, on the shores of Cornwall, in the heart of enemy territory.

Loveday Penhale, cosseted daughter of gentry, has her own inventions to build, even as pressure mounts to behave like a proper young lady and seek a husband instead of a design for a high-pressure steam engine. But when Arthur Trevelyan, heir to the neighboring estate, Gwynn Place, asks for her help in rescuing an unconscious young woman on the beach, Loveday discovers an aeronaut and an inventor as skilled as she is. Between them, a friendship blossoms, and Loveday wonders if they might even pull off the impossible and invent an air ship that will catch the eye of the Tinkering Prince Regent, who has offered a prize to anyone who can help England break the impasse. Celeste’s loyalties are torn in two. If she is caught working secretly for France, she will lose her friend, the love of an honorable man—and her life. But if Napoleon learns she has betrayed him, she will be executed on sight.

Can friendship prevail in the face of war? Or is there a third solution—one where everything hinges on the bravery and daring of a Cornish debutante and the Emperor’s aeronaut?

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Mirror Lake by Juneau Black

About the Book
The third novel in the Shady Hollow mystery series, in which Vera Vixen takes on her most challenging case yet: solving the murder of a rat who appears to still be alive.

Change is afoot in Shady Hollow, with an unusually tense election shaping up between long-serving Chief of Police Theodore Meade and Vera's beau, Deputy Orville Braun. But the political tension takes a back seat when resident eccentric Dorothy Springfield becomes convinced her beloved husband, Edward, is dead, and that the rat claiming to be him is actually a fraud.

While most of the town dismisses Dorothy's rants as nothing more than a delusion, Vera has her doubts. More than a few things don't add up in the Springfield household, but Vera will have to tread carefully, since, with Orville's attention on the election, she may be more exposed than ever.

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Case of the Curious Crystals by Shanna Swendson

About the Book
Small-time Crime, Big-time Danger

Of all the crimes to plague the idyllic small town of Stirling Mills, Texas, Lexie Lincoln never expected jewelry theft. But thieves are breaking into local homes, stealing cheap costume jewelry and stirring up paranoia. When a ghost suggests that the jewelry may be more valuable than anyone realizes, Lexie finds herself delving into forgotten chapters of the town’s strange history.

It seems the jewelry might actually be valuable to those with the ability to use its power, and that poses a real danger as the crimes escalate. Lexie needs to track down the thieves before they can use the gems for nefarious purposes—and before the town tears itself apart with fear and suspicion. She can’t exactly tell local cop Wes Mosby that she’s getting hot tips from ghosts, so it’s up to her to crack the case, stop the thieves, and foil their sinister agenda in time to save the town’s spring festival.

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Thanks for stopping by! What books are y'all wishing for today?

Review: Morning by Morning (Murphy Brothers Story #8) by Jennifer Rodewald

About the Book
“You were built for hard things.”

Two years after losing the love of his life to cancer, Connor Murphy is slowly emerging from the darkness of grief, but he wrestles with fears about how he and his twelve-year-old son Reid will manage to navigate Reid’s teenage years on their own. Connor’s single-minded prayer has become, please, no more changes, but when single mom Jade Beck arrives to take on the job Sadie Murphy had done before her death, it becomes clear God has stamped his prayer request denied.

Jade Beck’s prayers were answered when she received the offer of a job as Lakeshore Lodge’s marketing and customer relations manager. Or so she thought. After a messy divorce, she and her two children need a safe place to land and find the peace their lives have lacked, but once she meets her abrupt, brooding supervisor, Mr. Connor Murphy, her fresh start suddenly looks a bit…stale. She’s already endured fifteen years living with a condescending man, and she won’t be a doormat anymore.

As the challenges of single parenting continually push them together, Jade and Connor’s relationship gradually transforms from cold and awkward to respectful and mutually supportive…and eventually to something deeper and more tender. But navigating these changes forces them to deal with the hurts and disappointments of their pasts and confront the fears that hold them captive.

Surrendering their hopes and fears to God has never felt so daunting. Can they learn to see the goodness of God, even in their broken paths, and trust that morning by morning, God’s tender mercies are ever new?

Morning by Morning, book 8 in the Murphy Brothers Stories, is a complex, emotional story of hope after heartache, of deeply moving, tender romance after devastating loss, and God’s faithful love, even in life’s hardest place.


MY THOUGHTS

What an emotional read! This has been such a fantastic, faith-stirring series. I've really fallen in love with the Murphy family. I've enjoyed getting to know them, following alongside them, and rooting for them as they've faced some tough real-life struggles.

This is Connor's second book. I didn't know how I'd feel about that. His and Sadie's story was a favorite. An emotional ride, for sure, but oh so good. This one was an emotional read too, for different reasons. My heart broke for Connor and Reid. Their loss is just so unimaginable. I had already made up my mind that I wouldn't like Jade, but she had such an endearing quality to her that I couldn't help but like her. And her kids too. They were going through some things, too. Not the same as Connor and Reid, but it sure tested them.

Jennifer Rodewald has such a talent for bringing a true sense of authenticity to her stories. I always feel like I'm reading about real people, dealing with real issues. While this story had its hard moments, it was an incredibly rewarding read. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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

FIVE STARS

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Forgotten Secrets (Vanishing Ranch #1) by Christy Barritt

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. I'm also linking up with Carrie at Reading is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week I'm featuring Forgotten Secrets (Vanishing Ranch #1) by Christy Barritt.

About the Book
FBI Special Agent Jesse Marx doesn’t know which is worse—waking up in a horse stable with no memories of the past several days or waking up to discover he’s wearing a wedding band. Not only has he been injured, but he’s also gotten hitched—something he vowed never to do.

Sienna Fleming refuses to feel a connection to any man, much less be tied down to one. But when she needs help solving a string of murders, Jesse is the only man she can turn to for help. Unfortunately, Jesse is ready to bolt. Considering the circumstances, she can’t blame him . . . but she also can’t let him go.

The two are roped into this together. . . for better or worse . . . because it will take a united effort to stop this killer before someone else dies.

Book Beginnings / First Line Friday
Jesse Marx stared at the four men surrounding him.

Friday 56
"What do you think about sneaking into the major's house tonight?" she asked after a moment of silence.

What have you been reading lately?