Monday, November 30, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Again


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's topic is Books I Want to Read Again. I did a similar topic a couple years ago with Books I Could Reread Forever, so I won't repeat any of those books in this list today (even though I still want to read them over and over again). This list features books I've only read once and would love to read again. And, of course, you know I couldn't narrow it down to just ten, lol. In fact, I had a difficult time narrowing it down to just these twelve. :D 
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About the Book
The world is blind...then one boy is born with sight.

Nestled in a mountain haven, the remaining people of the world live in a village that is ordinary but strict. A severe peace must be kept severely, as they say. It's all that keeps them from descending into the chaos that claimed the world a hundred years ago.

Led by the Prophet Valdas and his Regents, the villagers work, play, marry, and have families. They gather in ceremony once a year to celebrate their Day of Remembrance. Life is planned, precise, and predictable until the special abilities of eleven-year-old Andrius threaten to undermine it all.
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About the Book
How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.
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About the Book
We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.
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About the Book
In this action-packed story of supernaturals, a werewolf talk show host for the supernaturally disadvantaged has bitten off way more than she can chew.

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station. She's also a closeted werewolf.

Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it's Kitty who can use some help.

With a sexy werewolf-hunter on her tail -- and a few homicidal undead following her every move -- Kitty's about to face the fight of her life.
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About the Book
One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized....

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…
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About the Book
The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.

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

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

Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide... and it's the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.
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About the Book
A classic romance, suspense thriller, rip-roaring adventure, and macabre comedy all at once, Dearly, Departed redefines the concept of undying love.

CAN A PROPER YOUNG VICTORIAN LADY FIND TRUE LOVE IN THE ARMS OF A DASHING ZOMBIE?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly is far more interested in her country’s political unrest than in silly debutante balls. But the death of her beloved parents leaves Nora at the mercy of a social-climbing aunt who plans to marry off her niece for money. To Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. Now she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting a fatal virus that raises the dead. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and thoroughly deceased. But like the rest of his special undead unit, Bram has been enabled by luck and modern science to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
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About the Book
Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast—as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?
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About the Book
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince, the leader of a campaign against her people.

As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for.
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About the Book
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
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About the Book
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.
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About the Book
Keep Your Head Down.

Don't Get Noticed.

Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are some books you want to read again?

Review: Mistletoe and Murder: A Christmas Suspense Collection

About the Book
Silent Night, Deadly Night. Welcome to a Killer Christmas!

Danger and suspense await you this Christmas season in Mistletoe and Murder: A Christmas Suspense Collection featuring 10 individual novellas of suspense from some of today’s most talented Christian Suspense authors.

Come with us on a heart-racing journey through the holidays as USA Today, Christian Booksellers Association, and ECPA Bestselling authors Mary Alford, Adam Blumer, Liz Bradford, Vicki Hinze, Shaen Layle, Loree Lough, Nancy Mehl, Cara Putman, Lynn Shannon, and Virginia Vaughan, weave tales of suspense that will have you flipping pages well into the new year.


My Thoughts

Mistletoe and Murder was a nice collection of suspense and mystery novellas that's perfect for the Christmas season. Like with most box sets, this was a mixed bag of stories that I enjoyed to varying degrees. There were stories I loved, stories that were okay, and some that just weren't my cup of tea. There were authors I was familiar with and others that were new to me, several that I'm eager to check out more stuff from. If you're a fan of suspense, give this collection a try. 

Dead of Winter by Mary Alford 
Deputy Ava Harper's brother goes missing in the middle of a blizzard and it's a race against time to find him.

I really need to read more from this author. I've read a couple of her novellas and liked them. This one was compelling and held my full attention. Though the main mystery was solved, there was a secondary one that wasn't, so I'll be looking for the next book to see how that turns out.

Death the Halls by Adam Blumer 
A family Christmas getaway to their cabin in the Michigan countryside turns deadly.

The first chapter pulled me right in, but my interest kinda waned for a bit after that. It did pull me back in after a little while, but the unrealistic and, at times, convoluted plot hindered my enjoyment.

Revenge Ignited (Knoxville FBI Prequel) by Liz Bradford
Newly appointed guardian to her nieces and nephew, Aliza Blake wants to make this Christmas special despite the tragedy of the past year. But a thief starts breaking into houses in her neighborhood and stealing Christmas gifts. Can Aliza solve the mystery and catch the bad guy before Christmas is ruined?

This story was okay. It was a bit slow paced and dragged in places, but I ended up enjoying it. I really liked how the characters leaned on God during their hardships.

The Marked Witness (A Shadow Watchers Story) by Vicki Hinze
A mother and daughter in witness protection find themselves in danger and call on an old friend for help.

This was a part of a series, one I haven't read, so I was worried I'd be lost, but that wasn't the case. There was a lot of good and interesting background information and I felt myself just fall right into the story. I was so invested. I definitely want to check out more of this author's work.

Ghost of Christmas Past by Shaen Layle
Mind games, a twisted trip down memory lane, and a kidnapped son made this suspense-filled novella hard to put down. It was one of my favorites of the collection. I'm definitely gonna be looking for more from this author.

The Confession of John Doe by Loree Lough
A man with no fingerprints is found on the side of the road. Nobody knows who he is and he'll play along, feigning amnesia for as long as he can, while hiding at an Amish community from the guys who roughed him up.

I don't read Amish fiction, so this story wasn't really my cup of tea. But it was well written and I'm sure people who enjoy Amish stories will love it.

Killing Christmas (A Pastor Pembroke Mystery) by Nancy Mehl
The Arkansas River Strangler is back after almost thirty years and is demanding that Pastor Pembroke tell his story or there will be dire consequences.

I enjoyed this story. It was kinda dark, but I really appreciated the little bits of humor sprinkled throughout. It helped to lighten the mood. The characters were great and I'd love to read more about them.

Deadly Drive by Cara Putman
After receiving a call informing her that her twin brother was murdered, Joci goes to D.C to identify his body. What follows next is a mad dash rush to find answers.

This story just reiterated the fact that I need to read more from this author. It was fast paced and intriguing. I was very invested in the outcome. And while somethings were a little confusing and unbelievable, I still really enjoyed it and found myself rushing to find out what was really going on.

Dangerous Christmas by Lynn Shannon
Holly Miller suspects she has a stalker and after narrowly escaping an attack, she's convinced. Can she find out who's stalking her and why before things turn deadly?

This was action-packed right from the get-go. It did slow down a bit in places, but that didn't make it any less engaging. The mystery was solid and had a shocking twist I didn't see coming. I thought the romance was very sweet, if a tad rushed. All in all, I liked it a lot and am excited to check out this author's other stuff. 

Yuletide Protector by Virginia Vaughan
When a woman with her name is murdered, Jenna Sloan knows she was the intended victim. She's been stalked and harassed by an ex and has to stop this before anyone else gets hurt.

A shocking opening chapter led to a fast-paced and danger-filled read. The plot was really good and held my interest, though there were a few times I felt like screaming at Jenna for some of her poor decisions. 

3.5 Stars

Fantasy & Sci-Fi for Christmas: R.J. Anderson

On tour with Prism Book Tours

Swift
(The Flight and Flame Trilogy #1)
By R.J. Anderson
YA Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover & ebook, 272 Pages
August 18, 2020 by Enclave Escape

To save her people, a wingless girl must learn to fly.

As a piskey girl born without wings and raised underground, Ivy yearns for flight almost as much as she misses her long-lost mother. But the world outside the Delve is full of danger, and her dreams seem hopeless until she meets a mysterious faery who makes her an enticing offer: If Ivy helps him escape the Delve's dungeon, he'll teach her how to fly.

Freeing Richard could cost Ivy her reputation, perhaps even her life. But when her fellow piskeys start to disappear and her beloved little sister goes missing, Ivy has no choice but to take the risk.

Deadly threats and shocking revelations await Ivy as she ventures into a strange new world, uncovers long-buried secrets about her family's past, and finds that no one—not even herself—is entirely what they seem.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

The shadows were growing longer, the sun slipping toward the horizon. If Ivy didn’t get home soon, Cicely would come looking for her. Reluctantly she got to her feet, and started back toward the Delve.

A dark shape flashed by, and instinctively she whirled toward it. A little bird with wings like a bent bow, body tapering smoothly to a two-pronged fork of a tail. It swooped over the valley, moving so fast that Ivy’s eyes barely had time to focus before it was out of sight.

Swee-ree, swee-ree, swee-ree, came its song in the distance, a piercing call that plucked at Ivy’s heart. “Wait!” she cried. “Come back!”

And to her delight, the bird did. Skimming the treetops, it darted toward her and circled her head, bright eyes watching her all the while. She’d heard piskeys had a special rapport with animals, but she’d thought that was something only hunters did. She’d never guessed she could do it, too.

“What are you?” Ivy asked, soft with wonder. The bird didn’t answer, but it dipped lower, as though making her a bow. And then another fork-tailed bird came flashing over the hillside, and the two of them chased each other in dizzying spirals across the sky.

It was like magic, and music, and dancing, all at once. And as Ivy’s heart soared with them she knew, as surely as she knew her own name, that this was the bird she was meant to be.

Excerpted from Swift by R.J. Anderson. Copyright © R.J. Anderson. Published by Enclave Escape.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author


Born in Uganda to missionary parents, R.J. Anderson is a women’s Bible teacher, a wife and mother of three, and a bestselling fantasy author for older children and teens. Her debut novel Knife has sold more than 120,000 copies worldwide, while her other books have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, the Christy Award, and the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Fiction. Rebecca lives with her family in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.


Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they're scheduled.)

November 29th: Launch
November 30th: R.J. Anderson – Swift
December 1st: Ralene Burke – Armor of Aletheia
December 2nd: Michelle Diener – Breakaway
December 3rd: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads – Mortal Sight
December 4th: J.M. Hackman – Burn
December 5th: Sharon Hinck – Forsaken Island
December 6th: Ronie Kendig – Dawn of Vengeance
December 7th: Carla Laureano – Oath of the Brotherhood
December 8th: Belle Malory – Deviant Descendants
December 9th: Sara Schaller – The Genesis of Seven
December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood – Stay
December 11th: Anne Wheeler – Treason’s Crown
December 12th: Melissa Wright – Between Ink and Shadows
December 13th: Morgan Wylie –  Silent Orchids
December 14th: Kristen Young – Apprentice
December 15th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $75 (USD) Amazon eGift Card

Open internationally
Ends December 19, 2020

ENTER HERE
Grab Our Button!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Fantasy & Sci-Fi for Christmas Launch

On tour with Prism Book Tours

We're excited to be sharing books from fifteen fantasy and sci-fi authors with you
this holiday season! Each day a different author and book or series will be featured.
There is also a fabulous giveaway below. If you're a fantasy fan, join us on this tour!

Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they're scheduled.)

November 29th: Launch
November 30th: R.J. Anderson – Swift
December 1st: Ralene Burke – Armor of Aletheia
December 2nd: Michelle Diener – Breakaway
December 3rd: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads – Mortal Sight
December 4th: J.M. Hackman – Burn
December 5th: Sharon Hinck – Forsaken Island
December 6th: Ronie Kendig – Dawn of Vengeance
December 7th: Carla Laureano – Oath of the Brotherhood
December 8th: Belle Malory – Deviant Descendants
December 9th: Sara Schaller – The Genesis of Seven
December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood – Stay
December 11th: Anne Wheeler – Treason’s Crown
December 12th: Melissa Wright – Between Ink and Shadows
December 13th: Morgan Wylie –  Silent Orchids
December 14th: Kristen Young – Apprentice
December 15th: Grand Finale

Books on Tour



Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $75 (USD) Amazon eGift Card

Open internationally
Ends December 19, 2020

ENTER HERE
Grab Our Button!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: A Sugar Creek Christmas by Jenny B. Jones

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 Sugar Creek Christmas by Jenny B. Jones. I was in desperate need of a Christmas read and this fit the bill perfectly.

About the Book
Sometimes all love needs is a second chance.

Morning television show darling Emma Sutton has just been fired. The only way to get her job back is to find a holiday story to warm the coldest heart. So when her hometown of Sugar Creek, Arkansas, needs a Christmas event planner, Emma moves back, sure her story lies in the town’s desire to become a tourist’s holiday wonderland. The plan is perfect—until Emma meets her new boss.

Charming, handsome Noah Kincaid isn’t just Sugar Creek’s newest mayor. He’s also Emma’s ex-fiancĂ©. Ten years ago Emma left Noah her ring and a goodbye note, but it’s haunted her ever since. The last thing Noah wants to do is work with the woman who broke his heart, but Emma’s desperate to prove to him that her bah-humbug ways won’t interfere with her work.

Emma finds it’s more than the mistletoe drawing her back to Noah. Whatever they had is clearly not over, but Noah’s kisses can’t protect Emma from a past that won’t leave her alone. As the snow falls and the trees glisten, love will come to Sugar Creek. But will it come in time to make all of Emma’s Christmas dreams come true?

Book Beginnings
"Emma, you're fired."

Friday 56
Two nights later, nearly all traces of snow had disappeared, as if the wintry precipitation had packed up it's every belonging and left in a snit, offended at the arrival of the sun.

What have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Pudge and Prejudice by A.K. Pittman

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 Pudge and Prejudice by A.K. Pittman releasing January 12, 2021. I love a good Pride and Prejudice retelling, plus I've been hearing awesome things about this one, so I'm really excited.

About the Book
Pudge and Prejudice is an homage to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, transported to the fictitious Northfield Texas High School in the year 1984. After moving to Northfield with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse's effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating Charlie Bingley, the captain of the school football team, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie's popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse's body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse's exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all. 


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Review: Interview with a Dead Editor (Lucky Lexie Mysteries #1) by Shanna Swendson

About the Book
Worst Job Interview Ever!

Alexa “Lucky Lexie” Lincoln has always had a nose for news and a knack for being first on the scene whenever there’s a big story. Now her luck seems to have run out. First, she loses her reporting job. Then she gets an interview for a job at a small-town paper, only to find the editor dead on the newsroom floor. That makes her a suspect in the eyes of local policeman Wes Mosby.

To make matters worse, someone sabotages her alibi, and a freak ice storm strands her in town. That’s when she learns that this idyllic little town right out of a movie set is full of secrets, including people with uncanny abilities and the ghost who really runs the newspaper.

To clear her name (and get the job), Lexie will have to find the real killer—a killer who seems to think she knows a lot more than she does. If she’s not careful, she could be the next victim.

A magical new mystery series from the author of Enchanted, Inc.


My Thoughts

This was such a fun read! I loved Swendson's Enchanted, Inc. series, so I was super excited for something new from her. This cozy mystery did not disappoint.

Small town Stirling Mills is everything recently unemployed reporter Lexie Lincoln could've dreamed of for her perfect hometown. But it's not long before the veneer of perfection wears off and she sees the dark side of the town when she goes in for an interview at the local newspaper and finds the editor dead. Her day goes from bad to worse when she becomes the prime suspect in the murder. She vows to find the real killer and clear her name before anyone else winds up dead.

Right off the bat, I was completely immersed in this story. The mystery was compelling, the characters likable, and the town charming. I couldn't get enough of it. And while I did figure out who the guilty part was pretty early on, there were quite a few other plausible suspects that had me doubting my original guess from time to time.

All in all, I really enjoyed Interview with a Dead Editor and am eager to check out the sequel. I highly recommend it to fans of paranormal cozy mysteries.

4.5 Stars

Monday, November 23, 2020

Review: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis


About the Book

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written. 

Amazon / Goodreads


My Thoughts

This was the first time I had read The Screwtape Letters and I'm wondering why it took me so long to get to it. It's so good and such a thought-provoking read. There's so many great insights in how the enemy tries to get to us, tries to manipulate us.

It's amazing how this book, written in the 1940s, is still so relevant today. And will continue to stay relevant. But I guess that's what makes it such a classic.

There's really not much more I can say about this masterpiece that hasn't already been said before. I know I'll be coming back to it again and again and recommending it to everyone I know.

Five Stars


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Interview with a Dead Editor (Lucky Lexie Mysteries #1) by Shanna Swendson

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 Interview with a Dead Editor (Lucky Lexie Mysteries #1) by Shanna Swendson. I loved this author's Enchanted, Inc. series, so I'm excited for something new from her.

About the Book
Worst Job Interview Ever!

Alexa “Lucky Lexie” Lincoln has always had a nose for news and a knack for being first on the scene whenever there’s a big story. Now her luck seems to have run out. First, she loses her reporting job. Then she gets an interview for a job at a small-town paper, only to find the editor dead on the newsroom floor. That makes her a suspect in the eyes of local policeman Wes Mosby.

To make matters worse, someone sabotages her alibi, and a freak ice storm strands her in town. That’s when she learns that this idyllic little town right out of a movie set is full of secrets, including people with uncanny abilities and the ghost who really runs the newspaper.

To clear her name (and get the job), Lexie will have to find the real killer—a killer who seems to think she knows a lot more than she does. If she’s not careful, she could be the next victim.

A magical new mystery series from the author of Enchanted, Inc.

Book Beginnings
I'd feared I was heading to the middle of nowhere, metaphorically speaking, but I didn't realize it might be literal until I saw the "Sterling Mills, Population 3,500" sign on the side of the road.

Friday 56
I made my way carefully up the stairs. The sun hadn't hit this area, so there was still ice on the steps. I unlocked the door, and as soon as I went inside, I knew something was wrong. My bag had been emptied all over the floor, and books lay in front of the bookcase. The place had been ransacked.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Kitty's Mix-Tape by Carrie Vaughn

About the Book
The final installment of the bestselling Kitty Norville series showcases the paranormal escapades of Carrie Vaughn’s fan-favorite werewolf talk-show host. This engaging short fiction collection - with its own soundtrack for each tale - is sure to delight both existing Kitty fans and anyone who enjoys urban fantasy at its grittiest and best.

“The only urban fantasy world where I want to read every book of the series.” -The Denver Post

“Enough excitement, astonishment, pathos, and victory to satisfy any reader.” -Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series

Kitty Norville still can’t stay away from trouble of the supernatural kind.

Everyone’s favorite werewolf DJ is here to mix it up just one last time. Here you will find, or even newly discover, the irrepressible Kitty Norville with friends and enemies alike: Rick the vampire; Jessi Hardin, paranormal detective; Kitty’s husband Ben; Cormac, the bounty hunter; and the villainous Dux Bellorum. These irresistible tales are full of unpredictable twists and turns: lupines experimenting with astronomy, a cheating boxer with preternatural strength, vampires arriving from the Philippines.

As a special treat, author Carrie Vaughn (Bannerless) has provided her own selections for a mix-tape: story notes and songs dedicated to each tale.

So whatever you do, don't miss Kitty before she is gone. . . .


My Thoughts

I can't even tell you how nice it was to slip back into Kitty's world. It was my go-to urban fantasy series and, in fact, sparked my love for the genre in the first place. I was sad when it ended, so to have this chance to revisit this cast of characters again was so great. It felt like catching up with old friends.

There's a good assortment of tales featuring Kitty, of course, but most of the stories are about secondary characters. It was great getting new perspectives on them and to see their stories fleshed out a bit more. There were even a few historical tales.

This was a really great collection. I enjoyed the vast majority of the stories. A couple I didn't really care for, but that's to be expected in a collection like this. My favorites were The Beaux Wilde set during the regency period and then Defining Shadows about Detective Jessi Hardin.

If you've ever been a fan of Kitty Norville, this is a must read! I highly recommend it.

Four Stars

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Courting Misfortune (The Joplin Chronicles #1) by Regina Jennings

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 Courting Misfortune (The Joplin Chronicles #1) by Regina Jennings releasing December 1. I've heard so many great things about this author's books which makes me super excited to read this one. Plus, I can't seem to resist a novel that features the Pinkertons. 

About the Book
Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job. When she's assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she's sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri, despite having extended family in the area. Will their meddling expose her mission and keep Lila Seaton from being recovered?

When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children's home. He'll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently seems to be putting her in harm's way.

Calista doesn't need the handsome pastor interfering with her investigation, and she can't let her disguise slip. Her job and the life of a young lady depend on keeping Matthew in the dark.


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting? 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Name a Pet After


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's topic is Characters I’d Name a Pet After. I thought I'd split this into two categories. The first one is pets I've had that are named after characters and then the second is characters I'd love to name a pet after.

Pets I've Named After a Character
1. Toby, a Nigerian Dwarf Goat named after October Daye from the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
2. Elphie, a Wyandotte chicken named after Elphaba from Wicked by Gregory Maguire
3. Candle, a Rhode Island Red chicken named after Candle from Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
4. Charlie, a Mini Donkey named after Charlie Lionheart from The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
5. Scarlett and Rhett, a Rhode Island Red Hen and Wyandotte Rooster named after Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Characters I'd Love to Name a Pet After
1. Valek and Yelena, the main characters in The Chronicles of Ixia series by Maria V. Snyder
2. Tybalt, Toby's love interest from the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
3. Wyatt, Ford, and Knox, from the Montana Marshalls series by Susan May Warren
5. Silas, Rowena, and Izannah, from The Ballantyne Legacy by Laura Frantz

Do you have any pets named after book characters? Do you have names in mind for future pets?
 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Kitty's Mix-Tape by Carrie Vaughn

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

This week I'm reading Kitty's Mix-Tape by Carrie Vaughn. This is a short story collection, the final installment of the Kitty Norville series. It features lots of stories about Kitty and her friends. It was great revisiting this world again.
 
The Book Beginning comes from the first story, Kitty Walks On By, Calls Your Name, where Kitty goes to her high school reunion. The Friday 56 quote is the first line from the ninth story, The Arcane Art of Misdirection, which features magician Odysseus Grant and starts at 57% on my Kindle.

About the Book
The final installment of the bestselling Kitty Norville series showcases the paranormal escapades of Carrie Vaughn’s fan-favorite werewolf talk-show host. This engaging short fiction collection - with its own soundtrack for each tale - is sure to delight both existing Kitty fans and anyone who enjoys urban fantasy at its grittiest and best.

“The only urban fantasy world where I want to read every book of the series.” -The Denver Post

“Enough excitement, astonishment, pathos, and victory to satisfy any reader.” -Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series

Kitty Norville still can’t stay away from trouble of the supernatural kind.

Everyone’s favorite werewolf DJ is here to mix it up just one last time. Here you will find, or even newly discover, the irrepressible Kitty Norville with friends and enemies alike: Rick the vampire; Jessi Hardin, paranormal detective; Kitty’s husband Ben; Cormac, the bounty hunter; and the villainous Dux Bellorum. These irresistible tales are full of unpredictable twists and turns: lupines experimenting with astronomy, a cheating boxer with preternatural strength, vampires arriving from the Philippines.

As a special treat, author Carrie Vaughn (Bannerless) has provided her own selections for a mix-tape: story notes and songs dedicated to each tale.

So whatever you do, don't miss Kitty before she is gone. . . .

Book Beginnings (From Kitty Walks on By, Calls Your Name)
Ben parked, and we sat in the car for what seemed like a very long time, not saying anything, staring grimly ahead as if we were about to go into battle.

Friday 56 (From The Arcane Art of Misdirection)
The cards had rules, but they could be made to lie.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Soul Raging (The Book of the Wars #3) by Ronie Kendig

About the Book
Sometimes, the only hope is the enemy.

Leif Metcalfe is done waiting for answers and seizes control, a move that comes with a high price and a deadly risk: teaming up with the enemy. He can only hope that what he uncovers will heal the wounds he's inflicted on those he loves.

Iskra Todorova believes Leif is on a collision course with death and knows firsthand the irrevocable cost of that path to the soul. While trying to protect her daughter and intervene with Leif, Iskra is forced to set her sights on the man behind the evil organization ArC--Ciro Veratti.

Torn apart by injuries and opposing views on how to handle Leif's act of treachery, team Reaper hunts one of their own. The only thing they agree on is not stopping but starting the final battle prophesied in the Book of the Wars.


My Thoughts

Soul Raging was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. After the way Kings Falling ended, I had to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible. And wow, what an epic conclusion to the series!

True to Kendig's rapid-fire style, Soul Raging never let up on the action, intrigue, and suspense. There were times when I literally couldn't catch my breath because of the full-throttle, high-intensity excitement. I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of the book, reading as fast as I could, trying to guess what would happen next and constantly being shocked by all the twists and turns. This story definitely kept me guessing. I didn't know who to trust, at times, not knowing who was friend or foe.

This was one of the most insanely intense and thrilling reads I've read. It's not a standalone but since the series is now complete, I highly recommend binge-reading the whole series in one go. You won't regret it.

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

Five Stars

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: Defending the Galaxy (Sentinels of the Galaxy #3) by Maria V. Snyder

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 Defending the Galaxy (Sentinels of the Galaxy #3) by Maria V. Snyder releasing November 23. I've been loving this series. No surprise though since Maria V. Snyder is one of my favorite authors. It's exciting and unique and full of wonderful characters. I'm eager to see how it all concludes.

About the Book
Year 2522. Oh. My. Stars.

Junior Officer Ara Lawrence here, reporting for duty. Again. It's situation critical for the security team and everyone in the base - including my parents - with a new attack from the looters imminent, a possible galaxy-wide crime conspiracy and an unstoppable alien threat. But this all pales in the face of my mind-blowing discovery about the Q-net. Of course, no one believes me. I'm not sure I believe me. It could just be a stress-induced delusion. That's what my parents seem to believe...

Their concern for me is hampering my ability to do my job. I know they love me, but with the Q-net in my corner, I'm the only one who can help the security team beat the shadowy aliens from the pits we discovered. We're holding them at bay, for now, but the entire Milky Way Galaxy is in danger of being overrun.

With battles on too many fronts, it's looking dire. But one thing I've learned is when people I love are in jeopardy, I'll never give up trying to save them. Not until my dying breath. Which could very well be today...


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?