Thursday, February 14, 2019

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Snowspelled (The Harwood Spellbook #1) by Stephanie Burgis

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 Snowspelled (The Harwood Spellbook #1) by Stephanie Burgis. I had a really fun time reading this novella.


About the Book
In nineteenth-century Angland, magic is reserved for gentlemen while ladies attend to the more practical business of politics. But Cassandra Harwood has never followed the rules...

Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life.

Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancĂ©, who refuses to understand that she’s given him up for his own good.

But the greatest danger of all lies outside the manor in the falling snow, where a powerful and malevolent elf-lord lurks...and Cassandra lost all of her own magic four months ago.

To save herself, Cassandra will have to discover exactly what inner powers she still possesses – and risk everything to win a new kind of happiness.

A witty and sparkling romantic fantasy novella that opens a brand-new series from the author of Kat, Incorrigible, Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets.

*Volume I of The Harwood Spellbook *


Book Beginning
Of course, a sensible woman would never have accepted the invitation in the first place.

Friday 56
Firing off a series of letters, no matter how passionate, could never be enough to win my case. No, I would need to answer endless prying questions from the newspapers, the politicians and the Great Library alike...and that process had no hope of being completed within the next six days.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Murders and Metaphors: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower

About the Book
USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower is back with the third in her more-charming-than-ever Magical Bookshop mystery. Fans of Sofie Kelly and Heather Blake, prepare your bookshelves!

Niagara region booksellers Violet Waverly and Grandma Daisy sleuth the slaying of a sommelier whose book signing turned into her sayonara.


January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.

Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.

Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case in Murders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.


My Thoughts

Murders and Metaphors is book three in the Magical Bookshop series. This is definitely one of my favorite cozy series and I'm so happy to have a new installment!

It was so great being back with all these quirky characters. Faulkner the talking crow and Emerson the cat were just as humorous as always. And Grandma Daisy, my goodness, she was just as ornery and lovable as ever. She's gotta be one of my favorite characters in recent years.

The mystery was great and kept me guessing until the shocking reveal. And, wow, what a doozy! I so didn't see that coming!

I didn't think it was possible for this book to top the previous ones, but it's the best one yet! I highly, highly recommend it! Even if you haven't read the first two books, Murders and Metaphors stands alone great. Go pick up a copy. You won't regret it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.

Five Stars

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: Outbreak by Davis Bunn

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 Outbreak by Davis Bunn releasing April 2.

About the Book
The waters off the West African coast are a menacing red, full of algae thick enough to stand on in places. In nearby villages, mysterious deaths start to occur--and the panic mounts. But before an alarm can be sounded, the sea currents shift, the algae vanishes, and the deaths stop. Everyone is relieved when things return to normal, and local government officials are happy to sweep the publicity nightmare under a rug.

An American biological researcher, Avery Madison, is dispatched by his employer to piece together exactly what happened, having long feared an ecological disaster just like this could occur. He's had little evidence to go on before now, and what he finds in West Africa is rapidly disappearing. But Avery knows the danger hasn't disappeared--it has just moved on.

When parts of the Caribbean start turning a familiar red right before hurricane season kicks into high gear, the implications are clear. If Avery and his colleagues can't convince the world of what's about to happen, toxic destruction could be loosed on American soil. Will their efforts prove too late?


Why I Need It
This sounds so interesting. I want to know what caused the water to turn red and how they're gonna stop it!

What upcoming release are you excited about?

Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy #2) by Sarah Sundin

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.


My Thoughts

There aren't many books that I greet with as much anticipation and delight as a new one from Sarah Sundin. Her books never disappoint and The Sky Above Us is another stellar WWII romance from one of the masters.

The whole concept of this series is so great. To get a look at the events leading through D-Day from the eyes of the three estranged Paxton brothers is fascinating and informative. In the first book we were at sea with Wyatt, this time we're in the air with Adler, and next time we'll be on the ground with Clay.

I seriously can't say enough good things about this book. Sundin's attention to detail, the flawless way she weaves fact with fiction, the heartfelt spiritual message, the wonderful characters, the swoonworthy romance... I could go on and on. I was sad when I reached the final page. I didn't want the story to end. I didn't want to say goodbye to Adler or Violet. It was just so good. I highly, highly recommend it and can't wait for Clay's story!

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

Five Stars

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: On the Lookout (Lantern Beach P.D. #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.

This week I'm featuring On the Lookout (Lantern Beach P.D. #1) by Christy Barritt. This is a spinoff of her Lantern Beach Mystery series featuring the same characters. I'm loving it! It's so great visiting these awesome characters again.


About the Book
Cassidy and Ty are back in an all-new Lantern Beach series that will leave readers wanting more . . .

A runaway woman. A dead body. A mysterious compound. 

When Cassidy Chambers accepted the job as police chief on Lantern Beach, she knew the island had its secrets. But a suspicious death with potentially far-reaching implications will test all her skills—and threaten to reveal her true identity.

Cassidy enlists the help of her husband, former Navy SEAL Ty Chambers. As they dig for answers, both uncover parts of their pasts that are best left buried. Not everything is as it seems, and they must figure out if their John Doe is connected to the secretive group that has moved onto the island.

As facts materialize, danger on the island grows. Can Cassidy and Ty discover the truth about the shadowy crimes in their cozy community? Or has darkness permanently invaded their beloved Lantern Beach?

***On the Lookout is the first book in the new Lantern Beach P.D. series. Each novel contains a standalone mystery, but several overarching mysteries stretch throughout the entire series.***

***Free for Kindle Unlimited Users***

***Attempt to Locate, Book 2, will be released in February 2019***


Book Beginning
Tears poured down Moriah Roberts's face as she navigated the island road.

Friday 56
Anxiety knotted in Moriah's stomach as she pulled on a clean tunic the next morning.
She'd been summoned.
By Gilead.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: A Desperate Hope (Empire State #3) by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book
Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she's finally put behind her--or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it's too late.


My Thoughts

A Desperate Hope is book three in the Empire State series by Elizabeth Camden. This series has followed the Drake family and this time, it was cousin Eloise's turn in the spotlight.

I really liked Alex. He had such a fiery determination to help, to try to make things better and it was so easy to root for him. It took me a little while to warm up to Eloise. She was very much a strict rule follower and came off a bit cold at times. Knowing her past though, it made her attitude more understandable. I will say that I was a tad disappointed in the romance. The chemistry felt a bit lacking and things felt forced sometimes.

I really felt for the residents of Duval Springs. What was happening to them, to their homes, to their town, was just heartbreaking. But their undeniable hope was endearing and inspiring. It was a great reminder that when things look bleak, there's always hope.

I've really enjoyed this series and while this book was probably my least favorite of the bunch, it was still good. I'm really looking forward to reading whatever this author comes out with next.

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

3.5 Stars

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

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 To Best the Boys by Mary Weber releasing March 19.

About the Book
The task is simple: Don a disguise. Survive the Labyrinth. Best the boys.

In a thrilling new fantasy from the bestselling author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, one girl makes a stand against society and enters a world made exclusively for boys.


Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

Why I Need It
Girls donning disguises to win a scholarship to a school that's only ever been available to boys. Yeah, I'm so excited for this one. And I'm super curious about the Labyrinth. Everything about this book sounds amazing!

What upcoming release are you excited about?