Thursday, June 30, 2022

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Maxine Justice: Galactic Attorney by Daniel Schwabauer

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two. I'm also linking up with Carrie at Reading is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week I'm featuring Maxine Justice: Galactic Attorney by Daniel Schwabauer. This is a really fun sci-fi legal thriller. Loved it!

About the Book
Can Justice Save the Earth from Extinction?

Maxine Justice is an ambulance-chasing lawyer desperate for relevance and cash when aliens hire her to represent them before the United Nations. An off-planet consortium wants to heal humanity of every natural disease in exchange for 30% of Earth’s gold reserves.

The deal launches Max to legal stardom and makes her an international target for assassins. MediCorp, Star Cross, PharFuture—the big medical companies all have good reasons to want Max out of the way. Worse, she discovers her alien clients may be planning something more sinister than anyone has imagined.

Can a lawyer who failed the bar exam three times find some way to save the world from global and interstellar conspiracies? Or will humankind’s future end in a galactic courtroom?

Book Beginnings / First Line Friday
Maybe if I hadn't been stone broke, two months behind on my office rent and three on my apartment, in debt to Kenjiro, my law clerk, for six weeks' backpay, and completely out of cat food for Oliver Wendell, I wouldn't have taken that night-court shift down at the Coliseum, and my name wouldn't be the subject of worldwide scorn.

Friday 56
Once signed, I could leverage this contract into so much publicity that I'd have clients lined up well past my retirement. I'd be able to go after bullies like Bright Star Holdings. I could make sure my mom was taken care of and start a scholarship for law school students. I could buy a luxury catamaran and move to the Caribbean.

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Cold Drip (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #6) by Heather Day Gilbert

About the Book
Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

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

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

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

(Available in Kindle Unlimited at time of posting.)

MY THOUGHTS

Full Disclosure, my dog Sadie has a walk-on role in this story, so I might be a little biased here. 😉 The author asked for stories about her reader's dogs with the possibility of them appearing in a future story. I can't even tell you how thrilled I was that Sadie was chosen. Sadie passed away about four years ago, and I still miss her every single day. She was literally the best friend anyone could ever hope for. So, to have her appear in the pages of this story was truly something special. Words can't do it justice. Heather Day Gilbert did a fantastic job of capturing Sadie's personality and I'm so happy that I get to share her smart, sassy sweetness with others.

But anyways, onto my review...

Cold Drip was another great addition to this series. I can't seem to get enough of these wonderful characters and the charming setting. The mystery was a good one. I sorta figured out what was going on, but there were quite a few surprising twists that I didn't see coming.

I loved getting to know Milo a little better. He's always kinda been in the background, so it was nice to have him at the forefront of the story this time. And I really enjoyed getting to spend more time with Titan. He's a good guy and so perfect for Macy.

If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, this series is a definite must read. This book could probably work as a standalone. There's some really great recaps, but I'd still recommend starting with book one. Each story is a true gem.

FIVE STARS


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Can't Wait Wednesday: Edge of Dusk (Annie Pederson #1) 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 Edge of Dusk (Annie Pederson #1) by Colleen Coble releasing July 12.

About the Book
Even though secrets lie off the coast of Rock Harbor, the truth will set Annie Pederson free—if it doesn’t kill her first.

Nine-year-old Annie Pederson’s life changed the night her sister was kidnapped. The two had been outside playing on a dock, and Annie never forgave herself for her role in her sister’s disappearance. Twenty-four years later and now a law enforcement ranger, Annie is still searching for answers as she grieves a new loss: the death of her husband and parents in a boating accident.

But Annie and her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, aren’t the only people in the town of Rock Harbor whose lives have been marred by tragedy. While managing the property around the Tremolo Resort and Marina she inherited, Annie discovers a dead body floating in the cold Superior surf and begins to work with the sheriff’s office to tie the death to a series of other mysterious reports in the area.

At the same time, her first love, Jon Dustan, returns after nine years away, reigniting the town’s memory of a cold case he’d been suspiciously linked to before he left to pursue his orthopedic residency. For the sake of her investigation and her heart, Annie tries to stay away. But avoiding Jon becomes impossible once Annie realizes she is being targeted by someone desperate to keep secrets from the past hidden.

In this new series, bestselling romantic-suspense author Colleen Coble returns to one of her most beloved towns, where familiar faces—and unsolved cases—await.


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, June 27, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer 2022 To-Read List


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week I'm sharing some of the books on my summer TBR list. These are books that I'm hoping to read this summer. Whether I'm actually able to is another story, lol, but fingers crossed! 
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Wishtress by Nadine Brandes
(I have an ARC of this one and am SO EXCITED to dive into it. LOVE Nadine's books!)

About the Book
She didn't ask to be the Wishtress.

Myrthe was born with the ability to turn her tears into wishes. It's a big secret to keep. When a granted wish goes wrong, a curse is placed on her: the next tear she sheds will kill her. She needs to journey to the Well and break the curse before it claims her life--and before the king's militairen track her down. But in order to survive the journey, she must harden her heart to keep herself from crying even a single tear.

He can stop time with a snap of his fingers.


Bastiaan's powerful--and rare--Talent came in handy when he kidnapped the old king. Now the new king has a job for him: find and capture the Wishtress and deliver her to the schloss. But Bastiaan needs a wish of his own. When he locates Myrthe, he agrees to take her to the Well in exchange for a wish. Once she's fulfilled her end of the deal, he'll turn her in. As long as his growing feelings for the girl with a stone heart don't compromise his job.

They are on a journey that can only end one way: with her death.

Everyone seems to need a wish--the king, Myrthe's cousin, the boy she thinks she loves. And they're ready to bully, beg, and even betray her for it. No one knows that to grant even one of them, Myrthe would have to die. And if she tells them about her curse . . . they'll just kill her anyway.

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Blood Secrets (Skyworld #2) by Morgan L. Busse
(I have an ARC for this book too. I loved the first one and have been so eager to find out what happens next!) 

About the Book
Not everyone wants to see the world saved . . .

Time is running out. Cities are being engulfed in the Mist and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Theo believes he has found a way to stop mankind from Turning, but he doesn’t know how to alter Cass’s unique blood into a cure. Or if it can even be done.

Meanwhile, Cass struggles with the idea that she is possibly the savior of the world—a world she is not sure is worth saving.

From the Winchester manse to the steel city of Decadenn, there is something more chasing Cass than the House of Lords or the masked man who can walk in the Mist. Soon she must decide if she will use her blood to save mankind or let those who only care about themselves perish.

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The Buy-In by Emma St. Clair

About the Book
"You can't Schitt's Creek a town, Tank."
"And you can't verb a noun, son."


When a family of former pro football players buy a small Texas town, they didn't intend to start a war with its residents ... or to fall in love.

Ever since his career-ending injury, Pat has bounced from job to job, idea to idea, short-lived relationship to short-lived relationship. But when his father purchases the town of Sheet Cake, Pat suddenly sees his life with clear purpose: get his brothers on board with his dad's wild idea and win back the one woman who got away.

Lindy was supposed to be traveling the world, not stuck in a small town, caring for her niece. But she would do anything to keep custody of Jo--even if that looks like a marriage of convenience with the man who already broke her heart once.

Now if she can only keep herself from falling back in love with her husband...

This is a small town, marriage of convenience romantic comedy with plenty of sizzle while keeping the bedroom door closed. Perfect for fans of Sarah Adams and Sariah Wilson!

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Falling for Your Best Friend's Twin (Love Cliches #1) by Emma St. Clair

About the Book
There are a million and one reasons why I shouldn’t fall for my BFF’s twin... Too bad love isn’t reasonable.

Zane is my total opposite. He dates a steady string of women who are nothing like me. And there’s no way I would risk Zoey’s friendship over my teensy, tiny crush on her brother.

But when Zane hires me to help fix a glitch with his startup’s software, I run into two problems:
1. Someone on the inside seems to be sabotaging it.
2. Working with Zane every day sends my feelings into overdrive.

My master plan is to sniff out the rat, help Zane save the company, and get out while my heart is still intact. No biggie.

But somehow, I get roped into an investors’ spa trip. Which means spending a whole weekend with Zane and sharing a room with his date.

Kill. Me. Now.

This might serve to destroy my crush once and for all. If it doesn’t destroy me first …

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Pint of No Return (Shake Shop Mystery #1) by Dana Mentink

About the Book
The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up...

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she's left one of ex's businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad's life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad's fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it's going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.

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Two Reasons to Run (Pelican Harbor #2) by Colleen Coble

About the Book
The gripping second installment of the Pelican Harbor series from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble! Police Chief Jane Hardy has only just been reunited with her long-lost son when she learns of an impending terror attack that threatens everything she holds dear.

A lie changed her world. Police Chief Jane Hardy is still reeling from the scandal that rocked her small-town department just as she took over for her retired father—the man who wrecked her life with one little lie. Now she’s finally been reunited with her presumed-dead fifteen-year-old son, Will, and his father, documentarian Reid Dixon.

When a murder aboard the Gulf Coast oil platform Zeus exposes an environmental terrorist’s plot to flood Mobile Bay with crude oil, Jane and Reid must put their feelings for each other aside and work together to prevent the looming sabotage.

When the terrorist puts Will’s life on the line, protecting him could be the common ground Jane and Reid need . . . until ghosts from the past threaten to ruin their fragile relationship for good.

Jane has plenty of reasons to run. But what if she stays?

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Sweet Right Here by Jenny B. Jones

About the Book
Twice jilted, I’ve sworn off love forever.
But Miller James might be the one man to change my mind.


Newly un-engaged, I’ve returned to Sugar Creek to the welcoming arms of my family to make a fresh start. While I have a reputation for being unlucky in love, I’ve just scored the career coup of a lifetime—to work at Hope Farms, a therapy ranch for military veterans. The problem? The owner is the arrogantly handsome Miller James. He might be an old friend, but Miller’s all grown up now and made it clear I’m not welcome. I’ve got six months to make my program a success, but it’s hard to help others heal with Miller’s interference—and the return of someone from my past.

Miller’s got some secrets of his own. After a family tragedy rocked his world, the entrepreneurial genius left his first class life behind to open Hope Farms. And maybe everything Miller touches does turn to gold, but when my sisters recruit him in their pursuit of my next Mr. Right, Miller gets a little too involved. The lines are blurring between work and romance, and my boss has ideas that make me question his strategies—and his heart.

Can two broken people mend enough to heal together? Nothing’s fair in love and farming, but can Miller James and I harvest our own happily ever after?

Sweet Right Here is the first book in the hilarious, swoony Lost Story Bookshop series. Perfect for fans of laughs, sighs, and closed-door romance.

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Burden of Poof (Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries #1) by Julie Anne Lindsey

About the Book
An amateur sleuth named Bonnie and her kitty companion Clyde, with names like those, what could possibly go wrong?

Life hasn't sparkled too brightly for Bonnie Balfour over the past few years, but a heart-breaking divorce has brought her back to her small rural hometown of Bliss, Georgia, and things are starting to shape up.

The proud new owner of Bless Her Heart—a second chance dress shop and boutique on the town square—Bonnie thinks thirty-eight might not be too late for a fresh start in life after all.

Until a grouchy old widow turns up dead in a pile of donations meant for Bonnie’s shop, and the town’s new detective pins her to the top of his suspect list!

To save her shop, dream and reputation, Bonnie must coordinate clues and stitch together the truth about her innocence, but the unreasonably handsome detective and prying eyes of the local gossip mill are fast fraying her nerves.

When a series of anonymous attacks begin to hem her in, Bonnie fears the real killer is fixing to make her his next victim. Can this amateur sleuth measure up?

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Gossip and Gorgons (Manners and Monsters #3) by Tilly Wallace

About the Book
One look could turn you to stone...

The newly married Lord and Lady Wycliff are cordially invited to a house party--to be mocked and ridiculed as entertainment. Wycliff insists on attending to discuss business with the host, while Hannah longs to hide in the library with its rare volumes on the Fae.

Bound to Wycliff even beyond death, Hannah wonders how she will survive the week--when a guest unexpectedly expires. A notorious cad is discovered turned into a statue in the garden. The dead lord had many enemies, including Lord Wycliff.

Hannah's accord with her husband is tested when a trail of footprints leads to their window. What secret is Wycliff hiding and does he know more about the magical death than he admits? Someone among the house guests has murder on their mind and the newlyweds need to determine who, before anyone else is immortalised as stone...

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To Fetch a Felon (A Chatty Corgi Mystery #1) by Jennifer Hawkins

About the Book
A tea shop owner and her beloved corgi attempt to collar a criminal in the first entry of a charming new cozy mystery series set in a quaint British village.

Emma Reed left London because she wanted to put her life in high finance behind her. Her dream is to open a small tea shop in an idyllic village in Cornwall, with its cobblestone streets and twisting byways. Emma plans to bake the recipes handed down to her from her beloved grandmother, and there'll be plenty of space for her talking corgi, Oliver, to explore. Yes...talking. Emma has always been able to understand Oliver, even though no one else can, and she's looking forward to plenty of quality time with her best canine buddy in the countryside.

But when Emma arrives in the village she discovers that the curmudgeonly owner of her new building, Victoria, hates dogs and refuses to sell the building because of Oliver. Although some might turn tail and run, Emma is determined to win Victoria over. Unfortunately, she never gets the chance. When Emma delivers some of her homemade scones as a peace offering, she finds Victoria dead from a cup of poisoned tea. Together, Emma and Oliver will need to unleash their detective skills to catch a killer.

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What books are on your Summer TBR list? 

Review: A Place to Heal by Allie Pleiter

About the Book
She’s found the perfect place for her camp.
But will he agree to her terms?

Opening a camp for children who’ve dealt with tragedy is former police detective Dana Preston’s main goal in life. After wandering the country, she’s finally found the perfect location—Mason Avery’s expansive Arizona mountainside property. Convincing the widowed dad—and the town—to agree might take a little prayer and a lot of hard work. But Dana’s never backed down from a challenge yet…

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.


MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed this story. That's not a surprise, though, since I've loved every single book I've read by Allie Pleiter. This one was a heartfelt and emotional story full of genuine characters and a stunning setting.

I thought what Dana was trying to do was so noble, and I loved the whole idea of the camp. She's trying to bring a little light to kids who've been through some seriously dark times, and I was rooting so hard for her to succeed. Mason was understandably wary of the idea to begin with. He's been so isolated since the death of his wife, so it was great to watch him slowly open up more and venture back into the town. And his son Charlie was such an adorable little kid. I wanted the absolute best for him. I can't fail to mention the Busketeers. They were such an awesome group of townies and probably one of my favorite parts of the book.

If you're looking for a sweet romance set in a small town, I highly recommend this book. I'm so excited for the next one!

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

FOUR STARS

Thursday, June 23, 2022

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

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two. I'm also linking up with Carrie at Reading is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

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

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

About the Book
Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

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

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

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

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

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

What have you been reading lately?

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

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

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

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

(Available in Kindle Unlimited at time of posting.)

MY THOUGHTS

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

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

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

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

3.5 STARS

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

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



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



Click the links below to preorder now!

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



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

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

And in over her head.

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

And he’s the one in big trouble?

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


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

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

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

This week I'm featuring The Wonderland Trials (The Curious Realities, #1) by Sara Ella releasing July 12.

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

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

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

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


What upcoming release are you eagerly anticipating?

Monday, June 20, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Wishes



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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


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Vivid by Ashley Bustamante

About the Book
DANGER LURKS BEHIND EVERY COLOR

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

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

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

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Oathbound by Victoria McCombs

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

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

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

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

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To Belong Together by Emily Conrad

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

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

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

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

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Of Fire and Ash by Gillian Bronte Adams

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

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

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

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

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

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Manners and Monsters Collection 2 by Tilly Wallace

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

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

This collection contains:

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

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

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

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Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

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

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

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

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The Fabrication of Eden Pruitt by K.E. Ganshert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mirror Lake by Juneau Black

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

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

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

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Case of the Curious Crystals by Shanna Swendson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MY THOUGHTS

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

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

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

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

FIVE STARS

Thursday, June 16, 2022

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

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two. I'm also linking up with Carrie at Reading is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What have you been reading lately?

Review: Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind by Marissa Shrock

About the Book
Bobbi Sue Baxter longs for the summer of 1988 to be over so she can leave her boring hometown of Wildcat Springs behind forever. Start using her journalism degree on stories with some excitement. She has no idea more excitement than she’s ever wanted is about to come after her.

On her way home from a movie, Bobbi Sue stops to help an injured dog and spots what looks like an alien. A blinding light flashes, and when Bobbi Sue can see again, the creature is gone. Did she really see . . .? No! Impossible. She says nothing to anyone, especially not to her conspiracy-obsessed father.

But when Bobbi Sue slips and tells her friend, Hemingway “Hemi” Miller, he shows her a story from Close Encounters in the USA. It’s about a man who reported an experience nearly identical to hers. And when well-known townsman, Ross Garland is found shot dead close to where she saw the “alien,” Bobbi Sue knows she can’t stay quiet.

The only problem is, the person behind the murder is intent on her doing exactly that, no matter what it takes.


MY THOUGHTS

What a great start to a new series! This was such a fun read filled with interesting characters, a setting that came to life, and a head-scratcher of a mystery.

Speaking of the mystery, it was so good! Bobbi Sue didn't really see an alien, right? But if she didn't, then what actually happened? When it became apparent that a murder had taken place around the same time as the "close encounter", I couldn't read fast enough. I had to try and figure out what was going on. I thought I had it figured out multiple times, but I ended up being so surprised.

I loved the fact that this book was set during the 1980s. You don't see that too often, so that added a nice little twist, plus I enjoyed all the 80s references.

I highly, highly recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries. I can't wait to solve more mysteries alongside Bobbi Sue!

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

FIVE STARS

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Can't Wait Wednesday: Off the Chain (Gone to the Dogs) by Janice Thompson

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 Off the Chain (Gone to the Dogs) by Janice Thompson releasing July 1.

About the Book
The Town of Brenham, Texas, Has Gone to the Dogs!

Curl up with your pup and sink into a delightful small-town mystery as riddles and rescues stack up in book one of a new cozy mystery series.

Marigold Evans’ first attempt at rescuing an abandoned pooch lands her in a drainage pipe in Brenham Texas. . .and almost in jail, until Parker Jenson comes to her rescue. Then a bad day only gets worse as the Lone Star Vet Clinic, where they both work, is vandalized and the list of suspects starts to climb. With the help of her fellow employees, Marigold sets out to simultaneously solve the crime, rehab the rescued dog, and help more dogs in crisis. But why would anyone continue to work against all their good efforts?


What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting?

Monday, June 13, 2022

Review: Trouble Brewing (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #5) by Heather Day Gilbert

About the Book
Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Convinced that the elderly lady in her care didn't die of natural causes, Macy's friend Della determines to look into the broken relationships surrounding the woman. She books a Halloween-themed getaway at a local inn and talks Macy into coming along with her to spy on her prime suspect.

As they join a ghost tour of the candlelit town, Macy and Della feel their guide is a little too fanatical as he shares his spooky tales. He tells the story of the Greenbrier ghost, a newlywed who supposedly came back from the grave to tell her family that her husband murdered her.

When a disturbing apparition makes its presence known, guests at the inn become apprehensive...and for good reason, because soon after, a young bride turns up dead. Although everything points to a copycat killer replicating the historical Greenbrier murder, Macy has her doubts. She's discovered that the inn harbors secrets of its own, and when she pokes into one darkened corner too many, she might not stand a ghost of a chance.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

(Available in Kindle Unlimited at time of posting)

MY THOUGHTS

This has become not just my favorite cozy mystery series, but one of my favorite series in general. This fifth installment was another fantastic addition and features my favorite mystery so far. There were so many suspects with plenty of motives. I had absolutely no clue who the guilty party was. Not even an inkling of a guess. It could've been any one of them. I love being surprised like that. I enjoyed seeing Macy and Della working together to solve it. It's nice to see what great friends they are. I also really liked the setting of the inn. I did sorta miss being at the Barks & Beans Cafe, but it was fun to switch up the setting for a little while. If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, I highly recommend this series. It's so good!

4.5 STARS

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Falling for Your Brother's Best Friend (Love Clichés #5.5) by Emma St. Clair

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two. I'm also linking up with Carrie at Reading is My Superpower for First Line Friday.


This week I'm featuring Falling for Your Brother's Best Friend (Love ClichĂ©s #5.5) by Emma St. Clair

I actually finished this earlier in the week and loved it! It's hilarious! Lately, I've been reading two books at a time. My "main" book, which I read during the day, and a shorter book that I'll read a chapter or two before bed. Well, this one started out as the "before bedtime" book, but I was enjoying it so much I quickly switched it to my "main" book. It's my first time reading anything by this author and I'm excited to read more from her. I've been hearing wonderful things about her books, so I'm glad that I was finally able to check out one of them. 


About the Book
He's the one man who is TOTALLY off-limits. My brother John has made sure of that.

But the heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart wants Mason. Now that my meddling brother is out of the country (good riddance) and has left me and Mason housesitting together, maybe we have a chance to build our own friendship. Or relationship.

If only John weren't still trying to get involved, setting me up on blind dates while Mason acts as a weird sort of wingman. No, thanks! Still... maybe the dates will make Mason realize he wants more than a friendship?

A woman can hope.


Book Beginnings / First Line Friday
"Why do you smell like skunk?"

Friday 56
Chelsea is going to regret her decision not to cancel as soon as she catches sight of her date. I almost choke when I see him.
Why? Because the guy has on a crocheted unisuit.

What have you been reading lately?