Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries #1) by Christy Barritt

About the Book
Buying a gun to kill your wife: $3,000
Hiring Trauma Care to clean afterward: $1,500
Having that same cleaner uncover evidence that frames you: Priceless

On her way to completing a degree in forensic science, Gabby St. Claire drops out of school and starts her own crime scene cleaning business. “Yeah, that’s me,” she says, “a crime scene cleaner. People waiting in line behind me who strike up conversations always regret it.”

When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is a powerful foe . . . and willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet.

With the help of her new neighbor, Riley Thomas, a man whose life and faith fascinate her, Gabby plays the detective to make sure the right person is put behind bars. Can Riley help her before another murder occurs?


My Thoughts

I've read quite a few of Christy Barritt's books, but none of the Squeaky Clean Mysteries. I thought it was way past time to remedy that and I've gotta say, I absolutely loved Hazardous Duty! It was fantastic! It was quirky, hilarious, and featured an eccentric and lovable cast of characters. It was extremely fast paced and kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could. There were many times when I'd tell myself that I needed to put it down. I had other things that needed to be done, but there was no way I could stop. I had to find out what happened next. I highly recommend this book to mystery lovers everywhere and can't wait to start book two!

Five Stars

Saturday, September 22, 2018

$100 Giveaway – Enter to win PayPal Cash or an Amazon Gift Code!



An amazing group of authors has joined together to bring you one great prize! Just think how many books you could buy with $100! Or maybe you need a new Kindle! Or maybe you want to try Kindle Unlimited! So many possibilities!! Please show these amazing authors some love! Visit their sites. Sign up for their newsletters. Download their books. Review their books. Follow them on Social Media. There are so many ways you can support them!

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Now it's time for the giveaway!

One winner will be awarded $100 in Paypal Cash or a $100 Amazon Gift Code!

Winning entry will be verified! Make sure you actually subscribe and confirm your entries so you don't get disqualified. If you already subscribe to an author's newsletter you can, of course, claim the entry!  

Giveaway Details

$100 Amazon Gift Code or $100 in Paypal Cash
Ends 10/28/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter, Amazon, Paypal or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader/Clean Wholesome Romance and sponsored by the participating authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries #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 Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries #1) by Christy Barritt - a fun and quirky cozy mystery.

About the Book
Buying a gun to kill your wife: $3,000
Hiring Trauma Care to clean afterward: $1,500
Having that same cleaner uncover evidence that frames you: Priceless

On her way to completing a degree in forensic science, Gabby St. Claire drops out of school and starts her own crime scene cleaning business. When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is a powerful foe . . . and willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet.

With the help of her new neighbor, Riley Thomas, a man whose life and faith fascinate her, Gabby plays the detective to make sure the right person is put behind bars. Can Riley help her before another murder occurs?

(Available for free right now on Amazon and other ebook retailers!)

Book Beginning
Whistling a tune from Fiddler on the Roof, I used my tweezers to work a piece of Gloria Cunningham's skull out of the sky blue wall.

Friday 56 (56% on my Kindle)
I pulled my shoes on and grabbed my keys. As I stepped into the stairwell, I remembered my promise to not go anywhere alone. But I knew Riley wasn't home, nor was Sierra.

What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Review: The Cost of Betrayal: Three Romantic Suspense Novellas

About the Book
In Dee Henderson's novella "Betrayed," Janelle Roberts is freed--thanks to people she doesn't know--after serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. But a murderer is still at large, and Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another betrayal.

In Dani Pettrey's "Deadly Isle," Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on betrayal before they become the next victims?

In Lynette Eason's "Code of Ethics," trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John saves the life of Detective Isaac Martinez. After a betrayal leads to him getting shot and then attacked while in recovery, Isaac is now a key witness determined to testify. But someone is intent on silencing him--and those around him--forever. Together, Ruthie and Isaac go on the run, desperate to escape the killers hunting him.


My Thoughts

The Cost of Betrayal features three novellas from some of the best romantic suspense authors out there right now. I really enjoyed these author's first collection, Sins of the Past, and was excited to hear about this new one.

Betrayed by Dee Henderson – Three Stars
This was my second time reading anything by Dee Henderson. It was good, but probably my least favorite of the collection. By no means was it bad, it was just a bit slower moving than I was expecting and had an unresolved ending that was kinda disappointing. But it was still an interesting read that kept me intrigued.

Deadly Isle by Dani Pettrey – Four Stars
I've read and loved many of Pettrey's books, so I was excited to start reading this one. It was action-packed right from the beginning and didn't really let up. I do wish it had been a bit longer though. I know it's a novella, but the whole story felt rushed. Though the characters were great and it did hold my attention the whole way through.

Code of Ethics by Lynnette Eason – Five Stars
I've been loving Eason's Blue Justice series and was very eager for Ruthie's story. She's a trauma surgeon and the only member of her family not involved in law enforcement. I loved every pulse-pounding moment of this novella. It had everything I love in a good romantic suspense: nonstop action, intrigue, great characters, and a little bit of romance. I finished it in one sitting. It was unputdownable.

All in all, The Cost of Betrayal was a good collection of stories that I'd recommend to anyone who loves romantic suspense. I hope these authors team up again for another collection!

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

Four Stars

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday: An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose #1) by Charlaine Harris

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 An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose #1) by Charlaine Harris releasing October 2, 2018.

About the Book
“Immersive, involving, suspenseful, and intriguing, with a main character you’ll love.” —Lee Child, #1 internationally bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels

“When a master of her craft offers to tell you a story, let her. The results are dazzling.” —Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the Alex, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning Wayward Children series.

The beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood, and the Midnight Crossroad trilogy adapted for NBC’s Midnight, Texas, has written a taut new thriller—the first in the Gunnie Rose series—centered on a young gunslinging mercenary, Lizbeth Rose.

Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.

As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.

Why I Need It
Alternate history novels can go either way for me, but this sounds extremely interesting. I was a big fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books and am excited to try this new series from Charlaine Harris.

What upcoming release are you excited about?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR List


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.

This week I'm sharing books on my Fall TBR list. Some of these books are new and upcoming releases while some of them are older books that I'm hoping to read soon.
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Releasing October 25, 2018
About the Book
Abrielle used to dream of a different life. Adventure. Romance. Hope.
Not of Kansas.

Now, after the loss of her mother and a move she didn’t want to make, she’s lost the will to dream anymore, let alone believe in her father’s Somedays.

But a swirling wind, a wall of leaves, and a blinding darkness literally transform her world.

She and both of her brothers, Brogan and Matteaus, are swept from Kansas to someplace beyond—to a desert in which everything is watery-brown, including the sky and the light of the weak sun. Abrielle finds herself in the middle of a realm everyone had heard of but no one believed existed. Except this version is rundown and broken, void of color and hope. Not much different from her view of life in Kansas.

When she gathers her bearings, she discovers her youngest brother is missing, lost in a land that is foreign and dying. Finding Matteaus becomes her sole focus, but when she and Brogan meet a boy named Levi, who only adds more mystery to this world that shouldn’t exist, she finds out this kingdom is much more perilous than the children’s book ever told.
Matteaus is in great danger.

There is nothing safe about Oz.
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Releasing November 6, 2018
About the Book
Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person's dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family's dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family's legacy--a legacy that supports her people--or seeking the true reason behind her family's gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?
 
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Releasing September 25, 2018
About the Book
Ro remembers the castle before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive—just like the rest of the kingdom plunged into despair never before known.

But a beast has overtaken the castle. A beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill.

Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him.

But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.
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About the Book
In an age of political unrest and racial divide, one girl's search for truth will determine the future of her kingdom.

Prague, 1870

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodov√° has worked as a servant in her stepmother's household, dreaming of the day she will be free to live life on her own terms.

But when her estranged grandmother, Lady Penelope, comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria, everything changes. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup, and Lady Penelope, as the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, is determined to discover the perpetrators. When she offers Eleanora the chance to help her prevent the kingdom from falling apart, she is hesitant to trust her. And while joining means freedom from her stepmother and protecting the people of Prague, Eleanora knows her life will never be the same--or her own.

Can she find a way to be free and still do the right thing? Or will joining the Order only lead to disaster?

With castle intrigue, true love, and family dysfunction, Cinderella meets Mission Impossible in this historical fiction spy adventure series by C. S. Johnson.
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About the Book
Sylvia Stryker has found her footing in the Moon Unit Corporation--but it’ll take more than fancy dance moves to stay alive on this rescue mission to Saturn from national bestselling author Diane Vallere…

When amateur space sleuth Sylvia Stryker discovers details of her defense instructor's murder hidden inside her robot cat, she sets off on a new adventure that puts her on the wrong side of the rules. Good thing Neptune, the head of security for Moon Unit Corporation, is on her side this time! With his help, she hijacks a spaceship, assembles a crew, and takes on space pirates. But there’s more to this trek than expected and Sylvia’s focus on solving her friend’s murder might lead her into a trap. Between the truth and the lies is a galaxy of questions that lead to an unexpected answer.
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Releasing October 25, 2018
About the Book
An unexpected mother-to-be
A romance-leery composer
And a forgotten melody from the past that holds the keys to their futures

When Julia Jenkins' great aunt dies and leaves her a Victorian mansion with decades of secrets, Julia never expects to unearth a World War 2 espionage mystery. Struggling with her own past since an assault left her pregnant, her future as a solo parent leaves her dreams uncertain. The inheritance from her great aunt gives Julia the ability to take a step back into her future, but also sends her into the discovery of a love story she’d never anticipated. As she goes through her aunt's treasured possessions, Julia uncovers some oddly written piano music with a musical code she can’t decipher on her own. Not to worry, introverted Englishman and composer, Henry Wright, is thrust on the scene by a pair of homespun matchmakers who know the ‘right’ man for Julia’s wounded heart.

Henry arrives in Pleasant Gap with the task of composing the soundtrack for his best mate’s newest film. The Jenkins’ family’s southern welcome and gregarious personalities set his reticent nature on edge, but he’s inexplicably drawn to his gentle and music-loving hostess, Julia. Uncertain how to build a friendship with the wounded woman, and rather hopeless in communicating well through words, the bond of music becomes a bridge between her uncertainty and his awkwardness.

But her broken past and his families’ expectations build a wall much greater than the cultures that separate them. As they work together to solve a musical mystery from the grave, will an unlikely romance from the past inspire their hearts to trust in a God who’s written the perfect melody for their lives?
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Releasing October 16, 2018
About the Book
Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan's great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins' palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie's great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage--and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate's private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.
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A Reason to Run by Christina Coryell
About the Book
All she wanted was to write a great love story — she had no idea she’d be writing her own.

Words rarely failed Camdyn Taylor. When life handed her complications, she buried herself in capturing them on paper and crafting a perfect narrative. The fact that her latest novel was currently sitting at the top of the bestseller lists let her know she had succeeded—not that anyone else noticed, since she hid behind a pen name.

It had been tempting to step away from the anonymity at times, but not on days like that one. Not when the humiliating video of Peter proposing was going viral and her name was spreading through peoples’ homes like wildfire. Her inclination to run felt justified, especially when she cloaked it with novel research. The change of scenery should offer the perfect quiet backdrop to finish the manuscript on time.

Of course, she hadn’t factored in an unintended clash with local bachelor Cole Parker. His charming smile and witty demeanor leave her intrigued, even though circumstances seem determined to keep him at arm’s length. Despite distractions, can the two of them find a common bond to tie everything together and construct the perfect story?
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About the Book
So what do I need to do?” Alex asked hesitantly.

“Show up at the date auction next week with five bucks in your pocket,” Sealey said, heading for the door.

“Wait, that’s it?” Alex cried. “That won’t be nearly enough for the highest bid!”

Alex Foamer is in love with Lucas Riley, the ward hunk and all-around golden boy—who has absolutely no idea she exists. Alex is desperate to get his attention but can’t figure out how to manage it. So when Sealey Witchburn, the resident grapevine guru and Lucas’s roommate, offers to help Alex “win” Lucas at the stake date auction, she jumps at the chance, despite the rumors she’s heard about Sealey and his deals. As the dream date quickly turns into reality, she gets more than she ever bargained for in this surprising romance.
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About the Book
When her twin sister was murdered, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again—and may be back in the killer’s crosshairs.

The memory that Murphy was asked to draw was from an Alaskan hunter who discovered five bodies on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago, but has only shared the information with the police now that he’s dying of cancer. When they go to the island to investigate, no skeletons remain but there is evidence that the bodies may have been deliberately destroyed. But the big discovery is of a World War II Quonset hut.

As one by one the people who were at the hut die, Murphy knows there is something much deeper at stake. What happened there during WWII? And who is willing to kill to keep those secrets buried?
 
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About the Book
If Hamish DeLuca spent less time with his nose in a history book or studying for the bar exam, he might finally have the courage to ask a girl to dance at the Palais Royale. But despite his romantic nature, Hamish has always been shy and lacking the confidence of his friend and cousin, Luca Valari, who has invited Hamish to join him in Boston for the summer. Luca has just purchased a new dance club, The Flamingo, and could use Hamish’s math and accounting skills to keep the books alongside Luca’s “right hand man” Reggie Van Buren.

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, daughter of a wealthy pastor and heir to a New Haven fortune, is determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she sees in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures. After a humiliating tea party, Reggie bids goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expect her to marry and escapes to Boston. Finding an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari and a room at Miss Clara’s Boarding house in the North End, Reggie soon adapts to a world beyond servants and ironed linens. Her romantic prospects alight, too, when she sets eyes on Luca’s cousin Hamish.

When a corpse is discovered at The Flamingo, Hamish and Reggie trade ledgers and book-keeping for sleuthing skills. But the truth comes at a high price for Hamish who discovers a dark side to his beloved cousin and is forced to choose between loyalty and his conscience.
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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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What's on your Fall reading list?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Night and Silence (October Daye #12) by Seanan McGuire

About the Book
Things are not okay.

In the aftermath of Amandine's latest betrayal, October "Toby" Daye's fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can't sleep, Sylvester doesn't want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn't need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn't need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There's no question of whether she'll take the case. The only question is whether she's emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie's involvement are everywhere, and it's going to take all Toby's nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can't find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby's life will never be the same.


My Thoughts

I didn't think it was possible, but Seanan McGuire has really outdone herself with NIGHT AND SILENCE. There was no way, in my mind, that she could top THE BRIGHTEST FELL, but she certainly did. It never fails, each book keeps getting better and better. How is that possible?

In this book, the characters are dealing with the aftermath of the events from the previous book. Tybalt's in bad shape. He's retreated into himself and is hardly acknowledging anyone – even Toby. It's heartbreaking and no one knows how to make things go back to normal. And then someone kidnaps Toby's human daughter and all heck breaks loose. She will stop at nothing to bring Gillian back home.

It's even more apparent in this latest story how much Toby has grown as a character since the first book, ROSEMARY AND RUE. From only working solo and refusing any kind of help whatsoever to now surrounding herself with friends and family and not hesitating to ask for assistance when she needs it. She's still the Toby we all love, but a slightly more mature version. It's been great watching her progression.

It seems like with every book in this series there's a big reveal or two that changes the whole landscape, alters things completely, and brings the bigger picture into clearer focus. And let me tell ya, there was one reveal in NIGHT AND SILENCE that was so epic it gave me goosebumps. I didn't see it coming, but it made such perfect sense and further reiterated the fact that Seanan McGuire is a freaking genius. I seriously cannot wait for the next installment!

NOTE: This book does contain some strong language

Five Stars