Thursday, May 13, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Secrets She Knew (Secrets and Lies #1) by D.L. Wood

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 Secrets She Knew (Secrets and Lies #1) by D.L. Wood, a really great cold case mystery.

About the Book
Boston police detective Dani Lake dreads returning to her small hometown of Skye, Alabama, for her ten-year high school reunion--and not just for the normal reasons.

At only fifteen, Dani tragically discovered the body of her murdered classmate, setting in motion the process that led to the unjust conviction of her dear friend and an unshakable burden of guilt she carries to this day. So when new evidence surfaces during her trip home which suggests the truth Dani’s always suspected, she embarks on a mission to expose the real killer, aided by Skye police detective Chris Newton--who happens to be the man Dani’s best friend is dying to set her up with, and also the only person who believes her.

But when Dani pushes too hard, someone pushes back, endangering Dani and those closest to her as she unearths secrets deeper and darker than she ever expected to learn—secrets that may bring the truth to light, if they don’t get her killed first.

A Secrets and Lies Suspense Novel.
Thrilling, clean suspense and mystery laced with romance and faith.

Book Beginnings
Danielle Lake was fifteen years old the first time she saw a dead body.

Friday 56
The thumping sounds of Backstreet's Back filled the civic center's event hall as two hundred-plus people danced, ate, and caught up with old friends.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

About the Book
Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?


MY THOUGHTS

This was just absolute pure fun! A delightfully witty read that was impossible to put down. I was hooked from the first sentence and lost all track of time while I was reading it.

We got to know a young Jane Austen and follow along as she tried to solve some perplexing mysteries involving a ghost, thieves, and arsonists.

Jane was, of course, an infinitely likable character. Clever, curious, and sharp as a whip. She kept things lively, for sure. And you know I loved Grandison, Jane's “lapdog”. I'm a sucker for dogs in books and Grandison was awesome. Deepti and Luke were great characters too. Full of so much depth, they all came to life.

This was a fantastic read that I highly recommend. And even though it's a middle grade mystery, it can be enjoyed by all ages. I really hope there are more mysteries to come for Jane to solve.

 FIVE STARS

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Between Decisions (The City Between #8) by W.R. Gingell

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring Between Decisions (The City Between #8) by W.R. Gingell releasing May 16. This is such a fun series! I can't get enough of these wonderfully weird characters.

About the Book
Life is complicated.

I mean, life has always been complicated, but there’s a difference between monsters-are-trying-to-kill-you complications and monsters-are-in-love-with-you complications. I’m still not sure which is more dangerous.

G’day. I’m Pet. Two-thirds of a pet, anyway: the vampire isn’t claiming ownership these days, but he’s definitely encroaching. On the list of other encroaching complications is the threat of heirling trials, a certain fae lord, and a mysterious librarian—not to mention the thing that’s killing people on Hobart’s waterfront…

One day, I’ll have a normal life. Today is not that day.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, May 10, 2021

Review: Safe and Sound (Lantern Beach Guardians #3) by Christy Barritt

About the Book
A call for help draws Police Chief Cassidy Chambers deep into a wooded, isolated area on Lantern Beach. What she finds shakes her to the core—a friend is bleeding out, and his last words before dying are: They know.

Figuring out who killed her friend and what his final words meant becomes Cassidy’s mission. Have members of the notorious gang that placed a bounty on her head discovered her new life? Or is someone else trying to teach her a twisted lesson?

Elements from past investigations surface and threaten more than one person’s safety. Cassidy and her husband, Ty, must make sense of the deadly secrets that unfold at every turn. If not, the life they’ve built together might come to a permanent end.


MY THOUGHTS

She should have been expecting this. She’d known it was a possibility that someone would find her. She’d been living on borrowed time for nearly three years now.

Secrets that were supposed to stay hidden are starting to come to light and the past is rearing it's ugly head in this exciting conclusion to the Lantern Beach Guardians series.

What a wild ride! Safe and Sound was such a satisfying ending to this series. It's my favorite Barritt story in recent memory. That beginning? So good! It had me invested, intrigued, and anxious. And that ending? It brought tears to my eyes. Happy ones, not sad ones. And all the stuff in between was so suspenseful. All combined, it made for an unputdownable read.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book and am curious about what will happen next on Lantern Beach. If you're a fan of suspense, I highly recommend this series.

FIVE STARS

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

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 really fun middle grade mystery, Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding.

About the Book
Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?

Book Beginnings
1789
It had to be acknowledged that the life of a clergyman's daughter in deepest rural Hampshire was disappointingly full of duties.

Friday 56
Jane gulped. She knew she was innocent but she also realized she was the last one to have been in the library that evening, aside from the person who started the machine, of course. How long would it take for Sir Charles to find that out? And when he did, would he blame her?

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Realms of Light (The Colliding Line #2) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

About the Book
From the Ashes, Spring Will Rise

On the run from the brutal Sage and his army of Legions and Cormorants, seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe knows the only place strong enough to protect her is the Alliance Council Estate.

Cera’s introduction to the Estate is far from welcoming. As a Blight, her dueling powers of light and darkness make her a half-breed threat to the Alliance’s sacred powers. Cera’s ability to decipher hidden messages in classical artwork buys her shelter temporarily, but the clock is ticking as she’s faced with a daunting choice that could cost her everything.


MY THOUGHTS

What a fantastic conclusion to this duology. I loved the first book, so I was eager to pick up this sequel. It delivered, bigtime. Just like with Mortal Sight, it hooked me right from the beginning and never let go.

Cera was an easy character to root for. Obstacle after obstacle was thrown her way. She faced seemingly insurmountable odds with such bravery and fierceness. There were still times that her rash behavior frustrated me, but she had such a good heart and well-meaning intentions that I could overlook it. And, despite all that, you could still see how much she'd matured from the first book.

I loved how the epic poem Paradise Lost was incorporated into both books. It was really cleverly done. Plus, all the classic works of art, too. So cool!

I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for more from this author. If you're a fan of YA urban fantasy, I'm sure you'll enjoy this series.

FOUR STARS

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Stubborn Love (Murphy Brothers Story #5) by Jennifer Rodewald

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 Stubborn Love (Murphy Brothers Story #5) by Jennifer Rodewald releasing May 18. Jennifer Rodewald is one of my go-to authors for contemporary romance. She never disappoints. I've been LOVING this series and am so eager for Tyler's story. 

About the Book
Their love survived his accident, but can it survive the long, hard road to recovery?

Tyler Murphy had his life all planned out: finish college, go back to Sugar Pine as his dad’s able-bodied business partner, and most importantly, marry Rebecca Colson. But a fall from a roof leaves him less than able-bodied, and the pain he suffers as a result goes beyond the physical. Wrestling with his new disability seems manageable only by way of the pharmacy. Which is fine…until the refills run out and he’s denied a new prescription.

Rebecca Colson can’t wait for the day she’ll finally become Mrs. Rebecca Murphy. Tyler’s accident and resulting amputation are traumatic hurdles on the road to marital bliss but nothing they can’t overcome together—until Rebecca stumbles onto Tyler’s secret and approaches his family for help. Suddenly, the love of her life turns cold. In his eyes, her betrayal is unforgivable, and just like that, their hopes and dreams disintegrate.

Becca finds herself facing a future she doesn’t recognize—one where each step forward is a step away from the future she’d planned with Tyler. When a recovered Tyler finally seeks her out, he’s not sure he deserves another chance with her—not after the way he broke her heart. Becca is equally uncertain that Tyler has room in his new, very different life, for her. Is it too late to restore their relationship, or will their stubborn love forge a new path for a future together?

Stubborn Love is book 5 in the Murphy Brothers Stories; Christian novels full of romance and redemption. Don't miss this family of seven brothers as they navigate through life, faith, and love.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, May 3, 2021

Review: Embers, Dreams, and Dustfire and A Storm Grows - Poetry Anthologies by Janeen Ippolito


About the Book
outlasting the fire around me
I breathe out the fire
within me
and stand
and soar


A poetry anthology of hope, joy, and endurance through all obstacles.

When you feel like you cannot go one step further,
there is rest, strength, and hope for the future.
Always.





About the Book
it is not
an evil
to thunder
shriek
scream lightning
across the sky


A poetry anthology of those who have remained unspoken for too long.

Who have silenced their hearts and souls.
Who want to break free and be heard.

There is healing in the storm and growth in rain-tears.
And always, always a way forward.

No matter what.

Inspiration from Janeen Ippolito's stories, life experiences, and various other sources.


MY THOUGHTS

I don't really read much poetry, but I've been wanting to try this author for a while now and when I saw Embers, Dreams, and Dustfire, a book of poems by her, I thought, why not. And I've gotta say, I LOVED it. I loved it so much I read it twice, and could reread it again and again. It was profound and moving and relatable. Many of these poems really touched my soul.

After finishing this one (twice), I went back to Amazon and checked out Ippolito's other poetry anthology, A Storm Grows, from Kindle Unlimited. It was great too. It didn't resonate with me quite as much as Embers, Dreams, and Dustfire, but it was still moving. I enjoyed it a great deal.

I can't recommend these anthologies highly enough and am very eager to read more from this author.

FIVE STARS

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Realms of Light (The Colliding Line #2) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

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 Realms of Light (The Colliding Line #2) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads. I shared the first book in this series at the beginning of the month and was excited to get my hands on a copy of this sequel. I really enjoyed it! It was a great conclusion to the series! 

I loved how classic works of art, and the epic poem Paradise Lost were woven throughout the stories. How integral a part they played in things. If you're a fan of YA urban fantasy, I think you'll like it. 

About the Book
From the Ashes, Spring Will Rise

On the run from the brutal Sage and his army of Legions and Cormorants, seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe knows the only place strong enough to protect her is the Alliance Council Estate.

Cera’s introduction to the Estate is far from welcoming. As a Blight, her dueling powers of light and darkness make her a half-breed threat to the Alliance’s sacred powers. Cera’s ability to decipher hidden messages in classical artwork buys her shelter temporarily, but the clock is ticking as she’s faced with a daunting choice that could cost her everything.

Book Beginnings
I bounce my foot as Devon drives us deeper into the forest at a crawling pace.

Friday 56
I fling the door open and forge into the hallway, desperate to find my mother. But as soon as I step into the hall, a warning pang kicks inside me.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Calculated Risks (InCryptid #10) by Seanan McGuire

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

Just when Sarah Zellaby, adopted Price cousin and telepathic ambush predator, thought that things couldn't get worse, she's had to go and prove herself wrong. After being kidnapped and manipulated by her birth family, she has undergone a transformation called an instar, reaching back to her Apocritic origins to metamorphize. While externally the same, she is internally much more powerful, and much more difficult to control.

Even by herself. After years of denial, the fact that she will always be a cuckoo has become impossible to deny.

Now stranded in another dimension with a handful of allies who seem to have no idea who she is--including her cousin Annie and her maybe-boyfriend Artie, both of whom have forgotten their relationship--and a bunch of cuckoos with good reason to want her dead, Sarah must figure out not only how to contend with her situation, but with the new realities of her future. What is she now? Who is she now? Is that person someone she can live with?

And when all is said and done, will she be able to get the people she loves, whether or not they've forgotten her, safely home?


MY THOUGHTS

After the way the previous book, Imaginary Numbers, ended, I had to read this one as soon as possible. Talk about a massive cliffhanger! Thankfully, this one started pretty much right where we left off.

The first half was a little slow. Never boring, just not a lot of action. There were a lot of recaps, and then the characters were trying to figure out what was going on, and where (and who) they were. But the second half really delivered on the excitement, and I couldn't finish it fast enough. I didn't know how they were gonna possibly do what needed to be done. It was stressful!

Just like the previous book, I really enjoyed getting Sarah's perspective. This book was narrated completely by her, so that was really interesting. She's a fascinating character. Annie, one of the main supporting characters of this book, was back to annoying the crap outta me. It was like all her likability from the last few books evaporated and she was back to the bratty girl from the first few books in the series. She made me want to scream sometimes. But anyway, there was a new character introduced who just might be my new favorite. Greg was just plain awesome!

There were some revelations about Sarah's family, human and cuckoo alike, that really helped make sense of some things, and I can't wait to see where things go in the next installment.

NOTE: This book does contain some strong language.

FOUR STARS

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: The Nature of a Lady (The Secrets of the Isles #1) by Roseanna M. White

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


About the Book
1906
Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn't favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage's former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne--gentleman and clergyman--is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he's happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth's summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it's the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can't quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, April 26, 2021

Review: No Unturned Stone (The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #2) by David James Warren

About the Book
“The One Rule Is, Don’t Mess With The Past”

But he did, and now ex-detective Rembrandt Stone is reaping the devastation of ignoring those words when he traveled back in time to solve the one case that had haunted his dreams.

Yes, he solved the crime. Yes, he saved lives. But Rembrandt returns to find the unthinkable has happened and his life has shattered.

There’s only one answer: break the rule again. Go back in time once more, fix what went wrong, save what went right, and yeah, in his spare time solve another brutal crime.

But it’s not so easy to change time, especially when time turns you into a target. And of course there’s the strong possibility if he goes again, he’ll never get back.

Get ready for your mind to be blown in Book 2 of the time-travel suspense series, The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone.

The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing as DAVID JAMES WARREN.


MY THOUGHTS

This second installment of The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone was even better than the first.

Rem's previous trip to the past drastically changed his present, and not for the better. Now, he's hoping to go back again to try and fix the damage he did, while also trying to solve one of his old cold cases. Talk about exciting!

This book demanded to be read as fast as possible. The pace was lightning quick. I couldn't read it fast enough and had an incredibly hard time putting it down when “real life” intruded.

If you enjoy books featuring time travel, this is a must read. I highly recommend it and can't wait for book three!

4.5 STARS

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Calculated Risks (InCryptid #10) by Seanan McGuire

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 the tenth book in the Incryptid series, Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire. This is such a fun series and I'm so excited to finally be caught up with it.

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

Just when Sarah Zellaby, adopted Price cousin and telepathic ambush predator, thought that things couldn't get worse, she's had to go and prove herself wrong. After being kidnapped and manipulated by her birth family, she has undergone a transformation called an instar, reaching back to her Apocritic origins to metamorphize. While externally the same, she is internally much more powerful, and much more difficult to control.

Even by herself. After years of denial, the fact that she will always be a cuckoo has become impossible to deny.

Now stranded in another dimension with a handful of allies who seem to have no idea who she is--including her cousin Annie and her maybe-boyfriend Artie, both of whom have forgotten their relationship--and a bunch of cuckoos with good reason to want her dead, Sarah must figure out not only how to contend with her situation, but with the new realities of her future. What is she now? Who is she now? Is that person someone she can live with?

And when all is said and done, will she be able to get the people she loves, whether or not they've forgotten her, safely home?

Book Beginnings (From the Prologue)
A small survivalist compound about an hour's drive east of Portland, Oregon
Nineteen years ago
"No." The dark-haired little girl clutched her seatbelt like it was a lifeline, shaking her head hard enough that her pigtails bounced wildly, flicking across her eyes and obscuring her expression. That was fine: Angela wouldn't have been able to read the nuances of Sarah's feelings in her face even if she'd been able to see it clearly. Being a non-receptive member of a naturally telepathic species had forced her to get better at reading facial expressions than most cuckoos, who had the neural capability but never developed the skill. Why bother, when it was so much easier to just skim someone's thoughts and know exactly what they were trying to convey?

Friday 56
I hate it when people tell me not to be afraid. They never do that when something awesome is about to happen. No one says "don't be afraid" and then hands you an ice cream cone, or a kitten, or tickets to Comic-Con.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Mountain Survival by Christy Barritt

About the Book

An injured victim has disappeared…

Can a park ranger and her K-9 find him?

When search-and-rescue park ranger Autumn Mercer and her K-9 partner, Sherlock, meet a stranger in the mountains whose brother is injured, they drop everything to help. But all they find where Derek Peterson last saw his sibling is a trail of blood—and men who want them dead. With gunmen closing in, can Autumn and Derek survive long enough to save his brother?


MY THOUGHTS

Mountain Survival was another exciting, suspense-filled mystery from Christy Barritt. As I've come to expect from Barritt, it's fast-paced with the characters in an almost constant state of danger. Almost every chapter ended with a nail-biter of a situation, making me race through the pages as fast as I could.

My favorite character was search and rescue dog, Sherlock. He was loyal, brave, and hardworking. A scene-stealer, for sure! I didn't feel much of a connection with the human characters, though. Their romance developed a little too fast for my liking, but I guess that's to be expected in this type of book.

Although this wasn't my favorite book from Barritt, it was still an enjoyable and compelling read.

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

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

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 Never Miss by Melissa Koslin releasing May 4.

About the Book
Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him--and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust--except perhaps each other.

Strap in for a breakneck story that will have you up all night, hurtling toward the last page as the clock ticks and time runs out.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Book Spotlight: World Diver (The Luminaut Trilogy Book 1) by Haylie Hanson


Happy Book Birthday to author Haylie Hanson! World Diver is out today! I'm so excited to be part of the book tour and to share this book with y'all today!


About the Book

College, grades, extracurriculars--who cares? Sixteen-year-old slacker Callie James would rather make robot creations and surf waves with her best friend Will. Then she discovers a mysterious glowing rod under the ocean surface, and her entire world turns upside down.

One, her hands start glowing (weird). Two, she can now control people (awkward). Three, she accidentally brings her robotics project to life. Classes were hard enough without her robot Nemo literally eating her homework.

Only the reclusive Dr. Ormandi knows the truth: Callie is a Luminaut (aka a light wizard) and it’s her destiny to reunite the shattered multiverse by collecting all the Light Cores (aka the glowstick of doom) in all the other worlds. To do this, she must repair the World Diver, the fifty-foot tall robot lurking in Dr. Ormandi’s basement hangar.

As Callie learns about her Luminaut powers, Nate crash lands into her life. He’s hot. Funny. Crazy about her. One problem: he’s technically dead. Oh, and he insists uniting the multiverse will destroy everything.

Pursued by murderous interdimensional phantoms and plagued by insecurities, Callie must protect her family and friends, while figuring out who to trust.

And all before a deadly, looming evil snuffs out her Light for good.

Purchase Links:

 
About the Author

Haylie Hanson writes YA fantasy and science fiction about quirky kids with superpowers finding the courage to embrace their destiny. She has an unhealthy obsession with Star Wars, Stranger Things, and Marvel. Haylie used to teach elementary special education before changing careers, and now crafts brand new worlds in between making snacks for her two tiny spawn. She loves to read any kind of YA fantasy, especially books with characters whose voice can reach out and grab her from page one. When Haylie isn’t writing, she can be found drinking very strong coffee, trying not to kill plants, and dreaming of saltwater hair and summertime beaches.

Follow Haylie on:


Monday, April 19, 2021

Review: Imaginary Numbers (InCryptid #9) by Seanan McGuire

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

Sarah Zellaby has always been in an interesting position. Adopted into the Price family at a young age, she's never been able to escape the biological reality of her origins: she's a cuckoo, a telepathic ambush predator closer akin to a parasitic wasp than a human being. Friend, cousin, mathematician; it's never been enough to dispel the fear that one day, nature will win out over nurture, and everything will change.

Maybe that time has finally come.

After spending the last several years recuperating in Ohio with her adoptive parents, Sarah is ready to return to the world--and most importantly, to her cousin Artie, with whom she has been head-over-heels in love since childhood. But there are cuckoos everywhere, and when the question of her own survival is weighed against the survival of her family, Sarah's choices all add up to one inescapable conclusion.

This is war. Cuckoo vs. Price, human vs. cryptid...and not all of them are going to walk away.


MY THOUGHTS

This was such a great addition to the Incryptid series. I was in a bad reading slump, but this book helped pull me out of it.

Sarah has always fascinated me, so it was very interesting getting to see things from her perspective. She's a cuckoo, a telepathic ambush predator who looks human but is actually closer related to a parasitic wasp. Cuckoos are normally terrifying and horrible creatures, but Sarah breaks that mold. She's one of the good guys.

Five years ago, in an effort to save her family, Sarah pushed the boundaries of her telepathy too far and seriously injured herself. Now, she feels ready and recovered enough to reenter society. She's at a point where she's relatively sure she won't accidentally hurt herself or anyone else. But what's coming is a doozy, and will greatly test her. There's a war brewing between humans and cuckoos, and whether she likes it or not, she's at the center of it all.

As soon I read the first sentence, I was right back in this world. It felt like coming home, these characters felt like family. A really weird family, for sure, but whose family is normal anyway, lol.

We learn A LOT about cuckoos, which was so fascinating. A tad creepy, too, but so very interesting.

There are two POVs in this one, Sarah, of course, and then I was pleasantly surprised to find Artie's too. At first, I was a little thrown off by the POV shift, but I quickly acclimated to it and really enjoyed it. It wouldn't have been such a full story without both of them.

This story ended on quite a big cliffhanger, so I'm very eager to get started on the next one. If you're a fan of urban fantasy, this series is a must read. These books aren't stand alones, but when you start the first one, you'll be hooked.

NOTE: This book does contain some strong language.

4.5 STARS

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Mountain Survival 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 Mountain Survival by Christy Barritt. While this wasn't my favorite book from Barritt, it was still an enjoyable and compelling read. (And I LOVED Sherlock. He was such a brave and loyal dog.)

About the Book
An injured victim has disappeared…

Can a park ranger and her K-9 find him?

When search-and-rescue park ranger Autumn Mercer and her K-9 partner, Sherlock, meet a stranger in the mountains whose brother is injured, they drop everything to help. But all they find where Derek Peterson last saw his sibling is a trail of blood—and men who want them dead. With gunmen closing in, can Autumn and Derek survive long enough to save his brother?

Book Beginnings
"It's up to you, Sherlock," Autumn Mercer murmured as she knelt beside her dog. "You have to find her."

Friday 56
He scanned everything around them. On an ordinary day, he would be awestruck by the beauty surrounding him. But right now, all of this just felt like a big trap they were unable to escape.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Manor for Sale, Baron Included (A Romance of Rank #1) by Esther Hatch

About the Book
She has everything Lord Farnsworth wants, including his manor.

Lord Farnsworth would rather rot in debtor’s prison than sell the one place that feels like home to him—his mother’s manor. That is, until he meets the woman who wants to buy it. Sally Duncan is beautiful, intelligent, and as rich as a baron—a rich baron, not a cash-strapped one like Lord Farnsworth. She’s the solution to every one of his financial problems and is bewitching to boot. All he needs to do is sell her his beloved manor and then charm her to the altar, and the manor will be his again. Simple, right?

But nothing is simple when Sally starts tearing apart his ancestral home and renovating it in a way no one would consider tasteful. She is wreaking havoc on everything, but he cannot give up on owning his mother’s estate again, nor can he imagine anyone but Sally as his wife.

And so he sticks with his plan.

What a horrible mistake.


My thoughts

This was a ton of fun. It was full of lots of laughs and tenderhearted moments.

Jonathan and Sally's introduction was hilariously memorable, thanks in large part to Jonathan's friend Oliver. (I hope he gets his own book later on.) Most of Sally and Jonathan's interactions, especially in the beginning, brought so many laughs.

Jonathan seemed annoyingly snobbish to begin with but as we got to know him better, we learned that there was a whole lot more to him. There was a lot of depth there and he ended up being a genuinely good guy.

Victoria was my favorite character. She had so much spunk and fire. She didn't let her disability slow her down and I'm very much looking forward to her story.

While I loved the first half of this book, I didn't enjoy the second half quite as much. One of my biggest pet peeves in novels is when the conflict between two parties could be solved with one simple conversation. Well... the second half of this story was rife with that issue. There were multiple issues that could've been solved had they just had one conversation. I wanted to scream at them to just talk! I got so frustrated with them.

Despite that issue, I did enjoy the majority of this book and will be on the lookout for the next one.

Three stars

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Windward Shore (The Dancing Realms #3) by Sharon Hinck

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 Windward Shore (The Dancing Realms #3) by Sharon Hinck releasing May 11. I've LOVED this series and am excited to read this conclusion, yet a little sad to say goodbye to these characters and this wonderous world.

About the Book
The island world of Meriel faces an old adversary and a new danger. Will the reformed Order die before it has a chance to blossom?

Storm clouds loom on the horizon as Carya and Brantley struggle to overcome wounds of the past and build a future together. The fragile new Order is on shaky ground, with too few dancers and sparse resources. Then trouble erupts—and now an insidious rebellion and a new foe threaten their entire world.

When she uncovers an old enemy behind all the destruction, Carya realizes the past is not done with her. With conflict tearing apart the dancers and villages, rimmers are soon overrun, and Carya must unite her people by leading the battle to protect the very heart of her world … or lose it all.


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, April 12, 2021

Double Review: A Rom-Com and A Post-Apocalyptic Novel

I've got a couple more reviews from the books I've been trying to finish during my nighttime reading. I'm sad to say that this go-around wasn't very successful. These stories just didn't resonate with me, but I guess that's the way it goes sometimes. 

The first story is a novella from the Rom-Com boxset Love in the City. I'm guessing the set has already been disbanded because I can't find it on Amazon anymore. I've only read the first story in here, but I'm hopeful that I'll enjoy the rest of the entries more. My second review is for a full-length Christian post-apocalyptic novel. I've read a couple other books from this author and really enjoyed them, but I had a lot of issues with this one. 

All's Fair in Love and War by Sariah Wilson

After her dream job was stolen out from under her by handsome rival Bennett, Jane decides to open her own bakery, but doesn't have the capital to do so on her own. She hopes an investor will take a chance on her, yet he's not willing to risk it for an unproven no-name like her. So to get him to change his mind, she's going to prove herself by winning the Best Dessert in the Taste of Cincinnati competition. Her plan goes sideways when she finds out Bennett is also competing. Talk about awkward. It's not long before sparks fly as the competition heats up.

This story frustrated me to no end. It was told in first person from Jane's point of view and the fact that she was such an unsympathetic character made this a difficult read. The conflict between her and Bennett was so lame. The problem between them was all made up in Jane's mind. If she had just communicated, there wouldn't have been so much animosity on her part. She created so much needless drama and was quite childish.

Bennett was a saint for putting up with Jane's nonsense. He seemed like the perfect guy. Maybe too perfect, though, because he was quite one dimensional in his blind devotion to Jane. Seriously, she ghosted him for months and attacked him the next time she saw him, yet he felt no animosity whatsoever? So not believable.

I fully expected to enjoy this story because I've loved some of this author's previous works, but this one was just not for me.

2 STARS


Tribulation, Book 1: Saints by Jamie Lee Grey

I really wanted to like this book. It had so much promise but I just had too many issues with it and couldn't get into it. I got a little past 40% and stopped.

The premise was intriguing. Christians and Jews were being targeted, hunted down, and “eliminated” unless they submitted to the new government's wicked edicts. Grace and her aunt fled to a mountain hideout with a small group of other believers to try and ride out the coming storm.

It sounded exciting, but the pacing was very uneven. There would be lots of danger and some action, and then, a whole lot of nothing. I expected a fast-paced apocalyptic novel, but what I got was more like a “how-to” guide for surviving in the wilderness. It was nothing at all like what I was expecting. Although, I do have to say there were some helpful and good tips.

There was another big issue I had with it. There was a lot of judgment from the main character about whether someone else was “Christian” enough. I understand they had to be cautious about possible "spies" in their midst, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. That sort of attitude and sentiment really irritates me. It instantly turns me off of a book. And while I read on and wanted to finish the book, I just couldn't.

I hate not finishing a book and even more so writing a bad review. But there's too many other books out there for me to spend my time on something I'm not enjoying. I know this will appeal to a lot of people, it just wasn't for me. Maybe if I'd read it at another time, I would've enjoyed it more.

DNF


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Manor for Sale, Baron Included (A Romance of Rank #1) by Esther Hatch

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

This week I'm featuring a fun Victorian romance, Manor for Sale, Baron Included (A Romance of Rank #1) by Esther Hatch.

About the Book
She has everything Lord Farnsworth wants, including his manor.

Lord Farnsworth would rather rot in debtor’s prison than sell the one place that feels like home to him—his mother’s manor. That is, until he meets the woman who wants to buy it. Sally Duncan is beautiful, intelligent, and as rich as a baron—a rich baron, not a cash-strapped one like Lord Farnsworth. She’s the solution to every one of his financial problems and is bewitching to boot. All he needs to do is sell her his beloved manor and then charm her to the altar, and the manor will be his again. Simple, right?

But nothing is simple when Sally starts tearing apart his ancestral home and renovating it in a way no one would consider tasteful. She is wreaking havoc on everything, but he cannot give up on owning his mother’s estate again, nor can he imagine anyone but Sally as his wife.

And so he sticks with his plan.

What a horrible mistake.

Book Beginnings
Jonathan's solicitor was a horrible human being.

Friday 56
Miss Duncan's soft laughter was so out of place in his world of boxing that he landed flat on his left foot. If she hadn't been so delighted with herself about missing his jab, she could've caught his kidneys with a quick hook. But she hadn't noticed him losing his rhythm. He stepped away and went back to his defensive stance once again. "Well done."

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Mortal Sight (The Colliding Line #1) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

About the Book
When Worlds Collide, Shadow Wrestles Light

Seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe wants a normal life; one where she and her mom can stop skipping town every time a disturbing vision strikes. But when a girl she knows is murdered by a monster she can't explain, Cera's world turns upside down.

Suddenly thrown into an ancient supernatural battle, Cera discovers she's not alone in her gifting and vows to use her visions to save lives. But why does John Milton's poem Paradise Lost keep interrupting her thoughts?

In a race against time and a war against unearthly creatures, will decoding messages embedded in the works of classic literature be enough to stop the bloodshed and protect those she loves?


My thoughts

Mortal Sight was a great YA urban fantasy. I was fully invested from the very beginning. It grabbed me and didn't let go. The fast pace didn't let up but just kept building. The intrigue and mystery surrounding Cera's “visions” were so compelling.

Cera was the kind of character who was easy to root for. She's dealt with a lot in her life, but every time she got knocked down she got right back up again and fought even harder. She's fierce, kind, and giving...most of the time. She's also the typical teenager, too, with an attitude that could sometimes get on my nerves. It was quite the combo, lol. I'd go back and forth between wanting to scream at her in frustration and then wanting to give her a big hug because I was so proud of her.

As soon as I finished this book, I rushed to my computer to preorder the sequel, Realms of Light. I'm very eager to find out what happens next. If you're a fan of YA and/or urban fantasy, I recommend giving this book a try. It was so good.

Four stars

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

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 Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding releasing April 23.

About the Book
Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, April 5, 2021

Early Review: Plot Twist by Bethany Turner

About the Book
An aspiring screenwriter has a chance encounter with an actor on his way to an audition. Over the next ten years, she’ll write the story . . . but will he end up being the star?

February 4, 2003, is just another day for Olivia Ross—a greeting card writer whose passion project is a screenplay of her own. After she and a handsome, struggling actor have a near-magic encounter in a coffee shop, they make a spontaneous pact: in ten years, after they’ve found the success they’re just sure they’re going to achieve, they’ll return to the coffeehouse to partner up and make a film together. The only problem? Olivia neglected to get the stranger’s name. But she doesn’t forget the date.

For the next ten years, every February 4, Olivia has an exceptional day, full of coincidences and ironies. As men come and go and return to her life, and as she continues to write her screenplay, she still wonders about the guy from the coffee shop—the nameless actor she’s almost certain was Hamish McDougal, now a famous member of the Hollywood elite.

But a lot can happen in ten years, and while waiting for the curtain to rise on her fate, the true story of Olivia’s life is being written—and if she’s not careful, she’ll completely miss the epic romance playing out right before her eyes.

*Pre-order is available now. Release Date is June 14.

My thoughts

I LOVED this book! It was another laugh out loud, hilarious read from Bethany Turner. I've loved every one of her books, and this one was no different. It was awesome. I didn't think there was any possible way Turner could top Hadley Beckett's Next Dish, but she somehow did.

I was so totally invested in this book. I felt like I was in the story with these wonderful characters. Olivia was such a personable narrator. I experienced every emotion she did. Good, bad, and everything in between. Her lifelong friendship with Fiona was so sweet and genuine. Fi was the epitome of a best friend and I loved reading about all of her various fancy jobs. But my absolute favorite character was Liam. His dreaminess kinda snuck up on me and I ended up having a major crush on him.

I never knew what was gonna happen next, and I was so curious about what new crazy, absurd, and ironic things would happen to Olivia on the next February 4. Was some suspension of belief required for a few of the things that happened? Yes, but I thought those parts were so much fun. Would those things ever happen? No, probably not. But isn't it fun to imagine that it could?

I was left with the best kind of book hangover when I finished. I wanted to read it again immediately. If you're a fan of romantic comedies, Plot Twist is a must read. It felt like a wonderful and highly entertaining homage to all the great rom-coms through the years. I highly, highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Five stars

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Mortal Sight (The Colliding Line #1) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

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 Mortal Sight (The Colliding Line #1) by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads, a really great YA urban fantasy. The sequel comes out April 13 and I've already preordered it. 

About the Book
When Worlds Collide, Shadow Wrestles Light

Seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe wants a normal life; one where she and her mom can stop skipping town every time a disturbing vision strikes. But when a girl she knows is murdered by a monster she can't explain, Cera's world turns upside down.

Suddenly thrown into an ancient supernatural battle, Cera discovers she's not alone in her gifting and vows to use her visions to save lives. But why does John Milton's poem Paradise Lost keep interrupting her thoughts?

In a race against time and a war against unearthly creatures, will decoding messages embedded in the works of classic literature be enough to stop the bloodshed and protect those she loves?

Book Beginnings
Some girls want to change the world. Others want to rule it. Me? I'd be happy if fall never came. Weird, I know. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty I'd like to change - a lot of things, in fact, but as soon as the autumn wind blasts through town and the leaves turn aspen yellow, I know what's coming.

Friday 56
From the darkness, a shadow rises. The mist evolves into a deformed human shape with elongated arms drooping lower than possible. It has flaky ashen skin too pale to be human. The creature doesn't walk. It has a cloud of mist where feet should be. And the face, distorted and deformed with caverns for eyes. My skin prickles. I've seen this creature before - it's the sallow man from my visions.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

About the Book
Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?


MY THOUGHTS

I loved this book so much! It's a dual timeline set in San Antonio in the present day and 1915. It was absolutely riveting. I was completely captivated by it and didn't want it to end. I'd give it more than five stars, if I could.

I can't really say which timeline was my favorite. Usually in this type of book, I gravitate towards one time or the other, but both were great and held my complete and full interest.

Dini was quite the entertaining character. She's a magician who also guides ghost tours and who has a major fascination with the tale of Hedda Krause. It wasn't long before I came to share in that fascination too. I was super curious about the mystery surrounding Hedda, her missing jewels and the ghost of Sallie White. Did Hedda stage it all? Was somebody setting her up? Or was it really a ghost? I had to know!

I don't think I can fully express just how much I truly enjoyed this book. It was fantastic and is definitely going on my favorites shelf. It was my first time reading something by Allison Pittman, but certainly won't be my last. I highly, highly recommend it!

FIVE STARS

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Three Missing Days (Pelican Harbor #3) by Colleen Coble

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 Three Missing Days (Pelican Harbor #3) by Colleen Coble releasing April 6.

About the Book
The third book in a riveting new series from USA TODAY bestselling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble.

A shocking murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a tragic local murder, but everything in her personal life is unraveling.

Her son’s arrest.

Jane’s son is accused of manslaughter, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she’s going to trust Reid with her heart.

Three missing days.

With the recent discovery of her mother’s whereabouts, Jane learns not only that her mother stole something vital all those years ago but that she drugged Jane so she wouldn’t be able to remember. What happened in those three days could change everything.

It all started with one little lie. But the truth is finally coming out.


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, March 29, 2021

Review: Lethal Outbreak by Lisa Harris & Lynne Gentry and Collision Course by Elizabeth Goddard

With so many good books on my TBR list and it seeming to grow daily, I've been trying to find the time to squeeze in some more reading time and have finally found an extra thirty-ish minutes a day right before bedtime. During this time, I've been reading a lot of short stories, novellas, and trying to make a dent in the copious amounts of boxsets I have. Depending on my mood, I've been going back and forth between romantic suspense, rom-coms, and speculative fiction. 

I've read two of the stories in the Dangerous Deceptions boxset and thought I'd share my review for them today. This boxset has been disbanded, but Lethal Outbreak is available to purchase by itself and I'm sure Collision Course will be soon, as well.

Lethal Outbreak by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

A prehistoric virus has just been discovered in Tibet and has already infected a village. It's highly contagious and spreading fast. Virus hunter Aiden Ballinger has taken a sample of the virus to DC to study it but someone with a sinister agenda wants it for a bioweapon and is doing everything in their power to steal it, even going so far as killing for it. Can Aiden and epidemiologist Rachel Allen stop them before this becomes a worldwide pandemic?

This was an incredibly thrilling read that filled me with so much anxiety and had me feverishly clicking through the pages. The characters were dealing with an extremely time-sensitive issue, so the intensity was high and the danger just kept escalating. The romance felt a little rushed to me but other than that, I greatly enjoyed this exciting suspense.

4 stars


Collision Course by Elizabeth Goddard

FBI Agent Reg was on a high-profile case when he was in a motorcycle accident that wiped out part of his memory. Sidelined from his job with a TBI, he's back home with his grandmother for the time being. PI Nicole is working on an art theft case and eager to get it done so she can work the new lead she has on her dad's murder. Reg and Nicole cross paths when they're targeted by a gunman. They both have enemies who want them dead, but which one of them is the bad guy after?

From the very first chapter, this story puts you right in the middle of the action. A lot was going on, which made for an exciting, yet chaotic read. I wasn't a huge fan of the romance either, but it was a compelling read, nonetheless. I was eager to find out who the actual target was and why.

3 stars

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

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 The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman, a dual timeline that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was such a riveting read.

About the Book
Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

Book Beginnings
The tour ended where it began - in the courtyard of the Alamo, the fortress bathed in white lights, flags snapping in the night sky. Standing still after the nearly four-mile walk, Dini Blackstone felt the chill. The Victorian-esque costume she wore to lead the two-hour walking Alamo Haunting Spirits Ghost Tour of downtown San Antonio gave little warmth.

Friday 56
"Your story about going to Paragon Treasures, I'm afraid, isn't going to do your case any good." He opened his notebook and proceeded to read off a list of names, looking up as he finished. "No record of you, Mrs. Krause."

What have you been reading lately?

Review: The Solstice Countdown (SPI Files #7) by Lisa Shearin

About the Book
As an agent of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI), I know that evil doesn’t take a vacation, but this time it made an exception and followed me on mine.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI, and I’m taking my boyfriend, goblin dark mage Rake Danescu, home for the holidays to meet my family.

Weird Sisters is a small town in the North Carolina mountains that was built on a network of ley lines that magnify psychic and paranormal energies. It doesn’t show up on Google Maps, was named after the three witches in Macbeth, and the first word of the town name perfectly describes most of its human and supernatural citizens.

A stranger has come to town, bringing with him a dormant source of primordial evil. Soon, magically gifted locals start vanishing, and the power of the ley lines is turned against us, cutting us off from the outside world and any source of help.

For a town and its people steeped in magic, and my family sworn to protect both, it’s a race against time to use a local winter solstice phenomenon to free the town from its prison. But first, I must trust a father I’ve never known to fight and defeat an awakening evil that’s existed since the beginning of time. If we fail, and it is unleashed, the world will not survive.


My Thoughts

The Solstice Countdown was another excellent addition to the SPI Files.

This has been such a great urban fantasy series and, just like the previous installments, this book definitely brought the laughs, along with lots of action and life-or-death moments. It was just an all-around great read.

I loved visiting Mac's hometown of Weird Sisters, meeting the residents, and getting to know Mac's family. They were such an amusing set of characters. I'd love a spin-off series featuring them. I imagine it would be so much fun!

There were some very exciting, and game-changing, events that happened here and I'm eager to see where things go in the next one. If you're a fan of urban fantasy, I highly recommend this series. Start with the first one and you'll be hooked.

Four Stars

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: No Unturned Stone (The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #2) by David James Warren

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring No Unturned Stone (The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #2) by David James Warren releasing April 6.

About the Book
“The One Rule Is, Don’t Mess With The Past”

But he did, and now ex-detective Rembrandt Stone is reaping the devastation of ignoring those words when he traveled back in time to solve the one case that had haunted his dreams.

Yes, he solved the crime. Yes, he saved lives. But Rembrandt returns to find the unthinkable has happened and his life has shattered.

There’s only one answer: break the rule again. Go back in time once more, fix what went wrong, save what went right, and yeah, in his spare time solve another brutal crime.

But it’s not so easy to change time, especially when time turns you into a target. And of course there’s the strong possibility if he goes again, he’ll never get back.

Get ready for your mind to be blown in Book 2 of the time-travel suspense series, The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone.

The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing as DAVID JAMES WARREN.


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?