Friday, January 31, 2020

Review: Killer by Nature

Killer by Nature Killer by Nature by Jan Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This reminded me of radio theater. I was freaking entertained all the way! Why then only 4 stars? One, being brought out of the drama as each episode ended. It was jarring and irritating. I hated that. A simple break then perhaps a title episode and #. Going through the whole this is audible, blah, blah, blah was too much. It brought me entirely out of the story. Two, it ends on a cliffhanger! I have no idea if another season will be made. This killed me. The twist at the end was brilliant but I need to know it’s going to be continued. If you can handle the interruptions and the not knowing..this production is excellent. Well worth listening to.

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Review: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was hilarious along with being interesting. Rob and I enjoy hiking. My family is from the Appalachian area in Kentucky, his in Georgia. So we knew this book was a good fit for us. What we didn’t realize was how fun it would be listening to it. We would have listened to it in less days, (we meaning me), except every day Rob would tell me do not listen to that book until I’m home. It was so hard to not cheat! I can’t recommend this recoding, (and the book, which I did read years ago. Listening was actually more fun), enough! I can’t believe how long we had it on the audio tbr. Armchair travel at its best! We had no blisters. Haha.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Review: Unfollow Me

Unfollow Me Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book intrigued me with the title. Unfollow Me. I have an odd relationship with social media. Most of us probably do.
I love how you can stay in contact with family and friends who are far away. That’s what sucked me in. I had moved across the country, leaving behind everyone I knew and loved. It was lonely. Seeing everyone on social media made me feel closer to them. Like I hadn’t lost everything. I saw it as an amazing tool. Then games became big and I accepted friend request from people I didn’t know. From there, I found a book community. An introverts heaven! I still have a lot of those people on my social media. I can tell you quite a bit about them. I’m positive they can do the same. They became real friends, some very close.
A few years ago social media expanded. More options became available. I started playing on a game site, meeting people there. Writing a blog, I started reading blogs. Some were awesome. I was still innocent, though. Believing everything people said about their lives. It didn’t occur to me to lie or that others would. How can you have friendships if your lying? I did notice that some people started living glamorous lives. Some people changed. A number, the bloggers, worried about numbers of followers. Then my world was shaken. Someone I had met on the game site lied about who they were. Actually two people did and it resulted in the death of a young man. I played games with them. I didn’t question who they said they were. After that, I changed. I became more wary of the Internet. I knew people lied and it could go horribly wrong.
So when I saw this title on NetGalley, I was prepared for it to be a story about people who lie and it goes horribly wrong. I wasn’t prepared for all the twists and turns. I wasn’t prepared for how close to reality the writer was going to take us. I wasn’t exactly prepared for a thriller to give us a reality check message in the form of entertainment. Because it is a cautionary tale. We leave clues all over social media of who we are, where we live, what we have and what we want others to think we have. It is what Violet did. As an influencer, she opened the door. I’m not certain yet how I feel about her and Henry. I like Yvonne’s sense of humor. She has some of the best lines. There are also Simon, Lily and Luke. I’m not going into the story more than this. You know who the players are. You know someone lies and you know it goes wrong. There is so much, though, that you don’t know. Put this book on your TBR. It’s what you know combined with all the twisty turns that will have you turning pages.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for offering the book for review consideration. All thoughts on it are mine. I’m delighted I read this book. If I hadn’t been so busy analyzing the characters and the situations I would have probably finished it in one sitting. I’ll most likely read this again. Flawed characters and social media are a huge draw for me.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Review: His Forever Valentine

His Forever Valentine His Forever Valentine by Kit Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy mail order bride stories. Maybe because when I first learned of them I was fascinated with the concept of going to a new place and marrying someone you never met. I couldn’t decide if it was a grand adventure or the worst thing that could happen. I’ve been obsessed ever since. I enjoy the location of this one. I think it’s the farthest north and west I’ve read of them. I enjoy Kit Morgan’s sense of humor. The story has a love triangle going on. It presented a lot of opportunities to enjoy that sense of humor.
I wasn’t excited about the narration. He wasn’t bad. He just didn’t excite me. Over all it was a fun book for me.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Review: Sparks and Landmarks

Sparks and Landmarks Sparks and Landmarks by Trixie Silvertale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series is such a surprise for me. When I read the first book, I wasn’t so sure about Mitzy. But every book has been solid! This book is no different, except to endear Mitzy to me even more!
Mitzy starts out a troubled girl, a bit rough around the edges. Foster care will do that to you. But now that she is settling in to her inheritance, has found her family and friends, she is overcoming her childhood. I love this series so much! Every book shows positive growth in Mitzy. Her love for her family reminds those of us who have been lucky, just how lucky we are. For those of us with family that left us yearning for love, well, she reminds us that family can be who you want it to be and it’s never too late to acquire one. Her romantic life seems to be getting a boost. Though that might get tricky as there may be two fellers in the running. I enjoy this storyline more than I should for a cozy mystery. The mystery. Ah, the mystery! Very well done. As with each of the books, the mystery is completed by the end of the book. I really found this mystery to be interesting. I like how it played out. I don’t want to say much about it so your enjoyment isn’t ruined. Though I do want to talk about it. Ah, the problem of a good book! Go. Read the book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Review: Witches' Cat

Witches' Cat Witches' Cat by Morgana Best
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoy Morgana Best books. They are entertaining. Witches’ Cat is part of a series. I don’t have any problem reading them out of order as everything does wrap up. However some things do flow better if you have read the prior books.
In Witches’ Cat we are back with Valkyrie, (yes I know..Pepper. I just love Valkyrie.), and her aunts. I adore her aunts! In this book an unpleasant relative has died, bringing her just as unpleasant daughter and granddaughter home. Thoughts of an inheritance will often do that. Everyone thinks it was just her time but the aunts come across some interesting information and become convinced it was murder. The dead person was not a liked person and more than one person had a reason to wish her dead. There were plenty of suspects. I loved that and the twists, turns and discoveries that had me constantly changing my mind about who did it. It was a highly entertaining book, balanced well with the mystery and a good dose of humor. I recommend reading this book, as well as, the series.

*I was given a digital copy for review consideration. I voluntarily reviewed and all opinions are my honest feelings after reading it.*

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Review: The Woman in the Car Trunk

The Woman in the Car Trunk The Woman in the Car Trunk by John Meany
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book is about an ex husband seeking revenge on his ex wife for divorcing him. I am ambivalent about it. I went through a soon to be ex husband threatening me, and my children, with a loaded gun over the filing for divorce. It really does happen. The story, I felt, was possibly made with good intentions. As such, it brings to the table a scenario that happens too often. However, the raw emotion was missing. Trust me. The terror you feel is paralyzing. When you’re sitting in a chair with a six month old in your arms and a ten year old holding her three year old sister in hers, you are absolutely aware of everything you can’t do. You are absolutely aware the man in front of you, with the gun, has taken away any physical chance you may have had. You don’t argue. You lie. You lie worthy of an Oscar but you don’t pick a fight. You know with all your heart you pick a fight and those children are either going to die in front of you or they are going to watch you die. You don’t bring up things he did wrong. You don’t bring why you want the divorce. Their only chance is on you convincing him that the divorce is something you regret, (not a lie, as, in that moment, you are regretting with everything in you), you lying about getting back together, lying about how much he is wanted at home and how you just didn’t know how to stop it. You lie with your heart pounding so hard you are certain you will die, once the children are safe, from a heart attack. There was no raw fear. It was like it was just another argument. The only time I felt her fear was when she was in the trunk.
I don’t know the author’s experience with domestic violence. It didn’t feel to me as if he had any knowledge outside of bad movies. He made a big point of her nudity under her robe and her breast spilling out. I felt like that was there to titillate and it really bothered me. Domestic violence is a real problem. The victim may be female or male. They deserve to be treated with dignity. Most likely, in the abuse situation, they weren’t. I know I wasn’t. I can’t even begin to write out that horror. It stays with you. The memories can bring you down at any time. You can be fine and then a crying mess in a moment. I’m hoping the author wrote this to bring attention to the issue. If he did, even though it was poorly written, it earns the actual 2 1/2 stars, (I round up as I can’t actually give a 1/2). But I’m left feeling as if what I, and thousands of others, experienced was just for entertainment purposes. And that’s why I can’t give it more stars.

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Review: Girl Targeted

Girl Targeted Girl Targeted by Val Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Girl Targeted is the author’s first book. I, of course, read the second first. I highly recommend you read this before you read Only Lies Remain. There are parts in Girl Targeted that are intense and it is heightened if you haven’t read Only Lies Remain. Though, really, I was barely breathing through one scene even with what I knew.
I like how this writer spins her stories. In this one I did use a book club book so I could make a tree to make it easier to keep track of who everyone was and how they connected. There is a lot happening that needs to be solved but those things keep me turning pages. I was up all night! I kept saying just let me see how this chapter ends; I think I got it just a few more pages; omg what! I can’t stop now; and finally, oh wow the end is here and I smell breakfast, (I can smell the coffee shop across the way). It was worth staying up and I can sleep for a bit this morning.
I like Aoife and her curiosity. I don’t like that she doesn’t always think of the danger. I have heard it said, what you don’t like in someone else may be because you don’t like it in you. I’ll leave that there. Haha. Jason had me furious. I’m not certain anyone will like him. Yet I married someone who acted like that. I really think most of us have met a Jason. After experiencing one, I hope you haven’t been up close and personal with one. If you have, I hope you made it out okay. I understand his reasonings but bad things happen to us all. It doesn’t give you the right to treat others badly. I’m torn on my feelings for Maura. Amy was once again the only character I was trusting...and she was only eight months old. Good job Ms. Collins.
I hope you didn’t think I was going to go into the plot. I’m too afraid I’ll give out spoilers. Go read the book. I hope you enjoy it!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Review: Wings and Broken Things: Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Wings and Broken Things: Paranormal Cozy Mystery Wings and Broken Things: Paranormal Cozy Mystery by Trixie Silvertale
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the series. I have read it in the order written. I would encourage that because you will appreciate the growth of Mitzy, the main character. That growth is most noticeable in this book. I really loved how Mitzy is settling in with her “family,” which I believe is where her personal growth is coming from. By family, I am referring to more characters than her dad and ghostly Gram. Family is often people we choose. Mitzy is also becoming more comfortable with her gift and learning to use it. I have personally enjoyed the slow paced discovery and education of this part of the story. It allows me time to adjust along side of Mitzy.
There is a romance angle, of a sort. Mitzy has been smitten by a certain hot sheriff since she came to town. Aforementioned hot sheriff may, or may not, return the affection. Now, I don’t mind a background romance going on in my cozy mystery. Depending upon various factors, I don’t even mind when it goes from strike to home run in a few books. I can handle a triangle happening for a number of books that eventually goes one way or the other. (Please no stranger popping in after twenty books and that turns out to be the pick with marriage happening before the book ends. I mean we’ve gone twenty books with her debating which guy how does marry in one book someone we don’t know? But I digress. Sorry.) There is something to be said for an uncertain relationship. Mitzy and Erick have chemistry. They also don’t always see eye to eye. So will they or won’t they? I don’t know but I’m having a fun time with the dance. In this book, we have a possible new dance partner enter the scene. I’ll leave that there for you to discover how that goes. Along with a brand new mystery or two that need to be solved. I never give out anything on that. I’m too afraid to spoil your fun. Go enjoy the book!

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Review: The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude

The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. My opinions stated here are how I feel about the book.
This book is actually a companion to a book called Simple Abundance. I have not read that book. I am thinking of getting it. You do not need to read it to enjoy this book.
I have always been a grateful type of person. My experience with life has been more difficult than easy, starting in childhood and continuing through adulthood. I believe that when you are repeatedly hurt as a child you come to believe what you are told. You start to believe that you do deserve to be hurt. It can lead to a lifetime of pain. Unless someone steps in to teach you different, you most likely stay with what you know. You choose the type of people you are familiar with. I wanted different for my children. I actively choose everyday to do my best to show them they were loved and worthy of kindness. Unfortunately, I never felt that. So they were witnesses to the complete opposite of what they were getting. I know, now, how confusing that must of have been for them.
Somewhere in my childhood though, most likely through the books I read, (definitely Anne of Green Gables), I learned to be grateful for whatever good came my way. I learned that you can choose if that glass is half empty, half full or waiting to be topped off with something delightful. I learned that you can’t control how anyone treats you or what they say to you. You can, though, choose how you let it affect you. You can choose how you respond. That’s not to say it is easy or makes anything better. Some things hurt with a hurt so deep you absorb it even as you choose to respond with forgiveness or kindness. But you can still find little things to be grateful for. You may have to look hard at something you would rather bury deep inside but, if you do look, you will find it. That’s what this book is about. The challenge of finding five things, no matter how small, to be grateful for each day. You can go a step further and make that five things you have not written on any other day. That means you only get to say I’m grateful for health, family, friends, my pet, the sun, moon and stars one time in one year. The rest of the things must be different. This will prevent the book from becoming repetitive and force your brain to think positively in almost every situation.
The book starts out with words from the author. I found them realistic and inspiring. She then goes on to 150 Overlooked Blessings. I love this list. Yes, you can cheat and use this list to write on your paragraph. But it is only 150. You need 365 days of five not repeated blessings to be grateful for. That’s a lot. It might seem too much right now. All those months with the days listed and blank lines waiting for you. But as you go along, if you do this each day, you will find an odd thing happens. It becomes easier to find the blessing, the one tiny good thing in something horrible, the one thing you will choose to be grateful for. No. It doesn’t stop bad things from happening. You will still have unexpected things to get through. But you may find instead of a bad day, you now have had a bad moment. The day is still good. Tomorrow is still unblemished, a promise of deliciousness in waiting.
I find this book, with it’s monthly paragraph of inspiration and the scattering of quotes throughout, to be a good focus point. It encourages me and keeps me on track. The end of the book has lined pages eagerly waiting for your moments of happiness to be recorded. That is what we want, isn’t it? Happiness. Joy. Love. Kindness. They don’t need to be profound moments of great inspiration. A joke that made you laugh joyously and with abandon. A smile of understanding. A quiet moment of a shared burden. A surprise kiss. A flower picked for you. A poem that touched you. A song that had you dancing. Whatever it is that brought a moment of happiness, it was time well spent. Record it there.

* Thank you Goodreads, Grand Central Publishing, The Hachette Book Group and the author, Sarah Ban Breathnach for the opportunity to review and delight in this book. I shall put it to good use and I will use a gratitude space on you.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Review: Year-Round Trouble: 14 Original Cozy Holiday Mysteries

Year-Round Trouble: 14 Original Cozy Holiday Mysteries Year-Round Trouble: 14 Original Cozy Holiday Mysteries by Susan Y. Tanner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Year-Round Trouble is my first encounter with Trouble the wonderful black cat. I am so enchanted by him that I want to find every book he is in! If, like me, you haven’t read of him, I cannot encourage you enough to get this book. If you read his adventures than you are probably already planning to get it.
This book, written by various authors, is centered around a year of American holidays, (and yes, Cinco de Mayo, the way it is celebrated, is an American holiday. My ex-husbands as from D.F. and had no idea what we were doing. It took a couple of years for him to get over us making a huge fiesta over it.). I loved that smaller holidays were included, including my son’s favorite, Veteran’s Day. I know and love several of the authors included in this anthology. Many of them, though, I had not read before or had only read in other anthologies. I was blown away by how well this came together! You have 14 different authors with 14 different main characters who wrote in 14 worlds yet kept the book flowing flawlessly! That is a major feat. Kudos to all the authors! You are all tremendously talented and dedicated to be able to blend the stories so they stayed true and separated yet connected around Trouble.
As I stated all the stories have their own main character. Some of them are familiar to many cozy mystery readers. For me, I looked forward most to seeing who Ritter Ames was going to write about, (Mia on a train ride you don’t want to miss reading about); catching up with Lily Gayle from Susan Boles; and Cherry Tucker, (why can’t I just say Cherry? It’s always Cherry Tucker for me, as if there are tons of women named Cherry.), from Larissa Reinhart. I looked forward to reading some authors I have on my TBR and keep promising myself I will read them and to reading completely new to me authors. I am so happy to say I was not disappointed. Every author wrote fun stories that made me want more of them. Do you know what surprised me the most though? All these different styles of writing and Trouble stayed consistent throughout the book! I was prepared to have his personality or speech slightly changed because of all the different authors. That did not happen. No matter who was writing the story, Trouble was Trouble. I marvel at that. It was amazing!
Yes, I am recommending you get this book. You can read it all at once. Or you can read each story around the holiday it celebrates. If you are doing a cozy mystery travel challenge, this book will help you knock off a few states. Whichever way you decide to read it, I’m sure you will be as surprised and delighted as I was.

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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Review: The Christmas Secret

The Christmas Secret The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know. It’s sappy sweet. Some of the characters are less than desirable. But it’s Christmas! And I have a love of all things Christmas. The town and residents are so sweet you might need to check your blood glucose levels. Christy is a struggling single mom. She comes to the aid of an elderly woman and it sets off a train of events leading to a happy ever after.
This book has been made into Hallmark movie. Yes, I watched it. Yes, I enjoyed it. Even more so since it did follow the book. If you watch Hallmark Christmas movies than you probably have seen it.
I would recommend this book to Christmas lovers who enjoy sugary sweet romances.

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Friday, January 3, 2020

Review: Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun Midnight Sun by James Dommek, Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this selection greatly. I listened to it in one sitting because I was so engrossed in the book. It brings up points that need to be discussed. What does make up a jury of peers, is one. Mental health and alcoholism are others. It is a sad tale though interesting. I don’t always enjoy narrators who are the author. In this audio selection, I did. Perhaps be the story is a true one and the narration respected that. In my opinion it was well done. I’m happy I listened to it.

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Review: Only Lies Remain

Only Lies Remain Only Lies Remain by Val Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This book! It kept me guessing. I did not see it coming. I was everywhere with who was doing what. I only put it down because I had some health issues crop up. Otherwise this would have been a sit down and read until I’m done book. Every time I had to put it down, my mind was on the book, what happened and what I thought might happen. I am planning to read it again when I’m over this medical thing so that I can read it in one sitting. The plot is twisted. I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone, even Aoife and I really liked her. I just felt like she was allowing her feelings to get in the way of believing people and what they were or weren’t doing. I’m not going to say anything else really. The book has a lot going on and you really need to discover everything yourself. I highly suggest you put this on your TBR and look for it’s release. Make sure you add it to your want to read shelf here on Goodreads so you get updated. You really don’t want to miss this one!
*The book is set in Ireland so some things may look like typos to American readers. It’s not. The author also has a very short video on Instagram where she pronounces the names that may be unfamiliar to us. I knew two of the names. The third I didn’t so I was super happy with that.
**A big thank you to the author and Goodreads for putting this book in a giveaway. I’m grateful to have won a book I greatly enjoyed. The review is voluntary and is based on my thoughts and feelings while reading and afterwards in thinking over the book.

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Review: Theater Nights Are Murder

Theater Nights Are Murder Theater Nights Are Murder by Libby Klein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the fourth book in the Poppy McAllister Mystery Series. You shouldn’t read it out of order because you would miss so much fun. Actually each mystery does wrap up so you could but you really would be missing out on a lot. There is a love triangle, most likely going to wrap up, at least temporarily, soon. I have confidence in the author to not drag that on. But love is elusive and fickle at times, so who knows if Poppy’s choice works out or not? I’m leaning towards being Team Gia but, still having feelings for my first love..I wouldn’t hate if she chooses Tim. Then there is the relationship that builds with each book between Poppy, her Aunt Ginny and the Biddies. Trust me, you don’t want to miss any of that action. Every book just gets better until we arrive at this one. This book had me cry-laughing. The worst thing is I would wake in the middle of the night and start reading. I have no idea why. I know better. I know Libby Klein is going to get me in trouble. But some things are just worth it. So there I was, trying not to wake a bear, loving my kindle because you can easily read under the covers, tears streaming while I was trying not to laugh out loud. Suddenly, I hear a deep voice say a naughty word followed by which aunt? (I have a similar issue with another book aunt). I answer Aunt Ginny. After a pause, the voice, “why aren’t we listening to it? You act like she’s just your aunt.” Huh? Who knew? So I’ll be investing in the audiobook soon. Whichever form you prefer, be ready for a good time.
There is a bit more going on in this book but I loved it. The surprises, (there were a few), wrap up nicely and, I felt, enhanced the series. Libby Klein has me hooked, (apparently the bear, too). Get the book, (or the four of them), and get hooked.

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Review: Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery

Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery by Jamie Rutland Gillespie My rating: 5 of 5 stars ...