The Reason for this Blog

Although I track my books on Goodreads, I wanted a place of my own to talk about books.  I will post reviews for the most part, but I reserve the right to ramble.

 

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Furbidden Fatality (Catskills Pet Rescue Mystery, #1) by Deborah Blake

Furbidden Fatality (A Catskills Pet Rescue Mystery #1)Furbidden Fatality by Deborah Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Furbidden Fatality
Author: Deborah Blake
Series: Catskills Pet Rescue, #1
Pages: 288
Publisher: Berkley Books
Date: February 23, 2021

Summary:

Kari Stuart’s life is going nowhere–until she unexpectedly wins the lottery. The twenty-nine-year-old instant multimillionaire is still mulling plans for her winnings when trying to rescue a bossy black kitten leads her to a semi abandoned animal shelter. They need the cash–Kari needs a purpose.

But the dilapidated rescue is literally going to the dogs with a pending lawsuit, hard to adopt animals, and too much suspicious attention from the town’s dog warden. When the warden turns up dead outside the shelter’s dog kennels, Kari finds herself up a creek without a pooper-scooper.

With the help of some dedicated volunteers, a cute vet, and a kitten who mysteriously shows up just when she needs it, Kari must prove her innocence all while trying to save a dog on death row. Now she just needs to hope that her string of unexpected luck isn’t about to run out.

Review:

Alright. Now I have another reason I NEED to win the lottery. I want to buy an animal shelter for my community. I cannot think of a better use of the money.

Of course, what I don’t want is to find a dead body in the backyard. Unfortunately, that is what happens to Kari.

Furbidden Fatality is the first in a new cozy mystery series and I loved it. I have read several of Deborah Blake’s paranormal titles, but I believe this is her first realistic mystery. There are numerous characters, both good guys and bad, but mostly good. As I said, there is a murder, but not anyone who didn’t need killing. This was just a great book.

Even though it seemed like the main bad guy should be obvious, I did not have it figured out until the end. The clues were all there; I just didn’t put it together and that’s a good thing. I hate figuring out the ending too soon.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes cozies and especially to anyone who loves animals. I can’t wait for you to meet the boss of everyone: Queen Nefertiti, a small, black kitten!

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Joint Custody by Lauren Baratz-Logsted & Jackie Logsted

Joint CustodyJoint Custody by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Joint Custody
Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted & Jackie Logsted
Series: n/a
Pages: 256
Publisher: Berkley Books
Date: January 5, 2021

Summary:

A mischievous dog takes matters into his own paws when his beloved owners split up in this offbeat romantic comedy.

The Man has custody Monday through Friday, The Woman has custody on the weekends. But that’s not enough for Gatz, who will do anything to bring them back together–even if it kills him. And it almost did. Of course he knows chocolate is bad for him, especially two whole pounds of it, but it’s the risk he’s willing to take to get them back together.

Gatz knows that The Man and The Woman are perfect for each other–how can they not see it too? She is an editor and he’s a writer. She’s a social butterfly and he’s as introverted as a guy can get. After the misguided death-by-chocolate attempt, Gatz thinks he still has time. But when New Man–so handsome, so nice, so perfect–enters The Woman’s life, he realizes he’ll need to step up his game. And you know what they say: drastic times call for drastic doggy measures.

A laugh-out-loud romance that will touch your heart and make you want a furry friend of your own.

Review:

I requested this book simply because I loved the idea of a book from the dog’s point of view. At first, I thought I had made a mistake. Initially, I thought it was trying too hard to be cute . . . the book, not the dog. Gatz is cute and he knows it. He, however, does not like to be called cute. It is so overdone!

The two main human characters love each other, but are horribly mismatched. The relationship finally falls apart and Gatz is devastated. He has to get his people back together and will stop at nothing to accomplish that.

As I said earlier, I thought the first person dog was a bit much. However, the premise worked much better than I expected. To be honest, Gatz has more of what I would call a cat attitude than a dog. He knows he is the most important character in the book and thinks very highly of himself. To me, that is all cat.

Anyway, this book was fun and heartbreaking all at the same time. Yes, it is a romantic comedy, but it is really more about relationships than romance. It is not all light and fluffy. All of the main characters, including Gatz, demonstrate emotional growth and the willingness to admit they could be wrong about some things.

Did I love this book? No. I did enjoy it though and am glad I read it. There was a lot more depth than expected and as in all good romances, things work out in the end.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Future is Yours by Dan Frey

The Future Is YoursThe Future Is Yours by Dan Frey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Future is Yours
Author: Dan Frey
Series: n/a
Pages: 352
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Date: February 9, 2021

Summary:

Two best friends create a computer that can predict the future. But what they can’t predict is how it will tear their friendship—and society—apart.

If you had the chance to look one year into the future, would you?

For Ben Boyce and Adhi Chaudry, the answer is unequivocally yes. And they’re betting everything that you’ll say yes, too. Welcome to The Future: a computer that connects to the internet one year from now, so you can see who you’ll be dating, where you’ll be working, even whether or not you’ll be alive in the year to come. By forming a startup to deliver this revolutionary technology to the world, Ben and Adhi have made their wildest, most impossible dream a reality. Once Silicon Valley outsiders, they’re now its hottest commodity.

The device can predict everything perfectly—from stock market spikes and sports scores to political scandals and corporate takeovers—allowing them to chase down success and fame while staying one step ahead of the competition. But the future their device foretells is not the bright one they imagined.

Ambition. Greed. Jealousy. And, perhaps, an apocalypse. The question is . . . can they stop it?

Told through emails, texts, transcripts, and blog posts, this bleeding-edge tech thriller chronicles the costs of innovation and asks how far you’d go to protect the ones you love—even from themselves.

Review:

One year. How wonderful would it be to know what will happen one year into the future? We would know the results of the presidential election. We would know where the world stands with the COVID-19 crisis. And yes, we would know the winning lottery numbers. Yes, that would be wonderful!

But why can we only see one year into the future? Has something happened? Is it a glitch with the software? Did we cause it?
Quantum physics is used to explain the ability of information to travel from the future. Don’t let that worry you though. There are only a couple of places where the science gets heavy and it does not disturb the flow of the story. I am not a scientist. I know the words/concepts they use, but I do not understand the science. Not understanding did not disturb the flow of the plot at all.

Underneath what is a wonderful science fiction story is a slow building tension. What really does happen in the future and does the “time machine” affect it? Can it, should it, be fixed?

I never saw the ending coming, but I should have. The clues were there. I just didn’t put it together.

This is not just a science fiction novel, but a novel of human relationships. There is jealousy, both professional and personal. There is a fear of the future and how this science can and will influence that future. There are politicians, scientists, and the common man. Everyone is involved!

I generally don’t care for books that are not written in straight prose. This one, however, makes the variety of styles work. The only thing is you have to pay attention to the dates because they jump around and I found that confusing at first.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely, but only to readers who enjoy science fiction. I don’t think this is a book for the general populace. I think that it would only be appreciated by readers who enjoy science whether they truly understand it or not.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Truth, Lies, and Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson

Truth, Lies, and Second DatesTruth, Lies, and Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Truth, Lies, and Second Dates
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Series:
Pages: 320
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Date: December 15, 2020

Summary:

Captain Ava Capp has been flying from her past for a decade. She’d much rather leave it, and her home state, behind forever. But when she finds herself back in Minnesota, against her better judgment, everything goes sideways in a way she never expected it to.

M.E. Dr. Tom Baker has never forgotten Ava and the cold case she ran away from. When she shows up unexpectedly in town, in spite of himself, sparks fly. Which is terrible because he can’t stop his growing attraction to her. Can these two Type-A’s let their guards down and work together to put Ava’s tragic past behind her for good? And keep their hands off each other at the same time?

Review:

Unlike the first two books in this loosely connected series (Danger, Sweetheart and The Love Scam), Truth, Lies, and Second Dates stands alone. The only connection is the H in Danger, Sweetheart and the h in TLSD (that is way too long to keep typing out) are former hookups. They were not a couple. They were not even really friends, but simply got together when Ava was in town.

And Ava – Ava is a pilot for a wonderful domestic airline that I would really like to be for real. It sounds like a great place to work and fly with. Anyway, she ends up back in her hometown, which she hates, for a layover. She left ten years earlier when her best friend was murdered AND that is the basis for the plot. The murder was never solved and now it looks like the murderer is after her.

As in the earlier books, I started out not liking this one. I thought it was dumb. Of course, the premise of the series is to address as many romantic tropes as possible, so it kind of meant to be dumb. But like the earlier books, I really enjoyed it. I adore Tom and how literal he can be. At the very end of the book and this is not a spoiler because it is so obvious, it’s stated that he is on the spectrum. As the kids used to say, “Well, duh.”

My favorite character of all is Tom’s niece Hannah. She is only six and her I.Q. is off the charts. I really hope we get her book when she has time to grow up. That’s if she hasn’t destroyed the world by then.

As I said, I ended up liking all three of these books. They’re fun and they don’t take a lot of thought. If you’re looking for escapism, I couldn’t recommend anything better.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Review: Spells for the Dead (Soulwood, #5) by Faith Hunter

Spells for the Dead (Soulwood #5)Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Souls for the Dead
Author: Faith Hunter
Series: Soulwood; #5
Pages: 384
Publisher: Ace Books
Date: July 28, 2020

Summary:

Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she’s taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she’ll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case.

Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene–dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone’s eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, knows this can only be one thing: death magic, a rare type of craft used to steal life forces. PsyLed needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, they find themselves under attack from all sides.

Review:

This was an absolutely amazing book. At times, I held my breath due to the tension. At other times, I laughed out loud (Marilyn! When you read the book, you’ll understand). I have enjoyed all of these books, and the Jane Yellowrock ones, as well, but this one was my favorite.

Nell has grown so much as a woman and in her power. The relationship with Occam is warm and loving. I want a cat-man. Mud is in some ways a typical pre-teen and in others so exceptional due to her raising and her gifts. Nell definitely has her hands full with her.

All of my favorite characters make an appearance. Firewind, who I don’t want to like, is growing on me. Ricky-bo is also becoming likeable. There are hints of something unnamed going on with other team members and I can’t wait to find out what that is all about.

I have been in a terrible reading slump recently. This book has helped tremendously. It was engrossing, exciting, and so satisfying.

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Review: The Princess Knight (The Scarred Earth Saga, #2) by G. A. Aiken

The Princess Knight (The Scarred Earth Saga, #2)The Princess Knight by G.A. Aiken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Princess Knight
Author: G. A. Aiken
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga, #2
Pages: 352
Publisher: Kensington
Date: November 24, 2020

Summary:

Gemma Smythe dedicated her life to the glory of battle. With her fellow War Monks, she worshipped the war gods, rained destruction on her enemies, and raised the dead when the fancy took her. Until her sister Keeley became the prophesied Blacksmith Queen, and Gemma broke faith with her order to journey to the Amichai Mountain and fight by Keeley’s side.

The Amichai warriors are an unruly, never-to-be-tamed lot, especially their leader-in-waiting, Quinn. But when the War Monks declare support for Gemma’s ruthless younger sister Beatrix, the immaturity of her key ally is the least of Gemma’s problems. She has to get to the grand masters, dispel their grudge against her, and persuade them to fight for Keeley and justice. If her conviction can’t sway them, perhaps Quinn’s irritating, irreverent, clearly unhinged, ferocity will win the day.

Review:

I have my favorite Shelly Laurenston/G. A. Aiken series and I never think a new one will be as good. I am also wrong every time. This is the second book, after The Blacksmith Queen, of the Scarred Earth Saga and it is just as funny as all her others.

When I read The Blacksmith Queen, I did not think I particularly liked Gemma. However, this book explains her backstory and makes her a lot more understandable. It doesn’t make her nice by any means. But really, are any of this author’s characters nice? No! And that is why we love them.

The Princess Knight, and yes, Gemma hates that title, continues the war that began in the last book. I can’t say much more than that due to spoilers. (READ THE PREVIOUS BOOK FIRST! You will regret it if you don’t.) Anyway, there is a not-really-new enemy. He was in the first book, but I had almost forgotten about him. There is also a focus on another of Gemma’s and Keeley’s sisters. Keep an eye on her. I think, hope, she will be the star of the next book.

There is an influx of new characters and that is my only problem with the book. A lot of new people are introduced almost at one time and I felt like I needed a cast list to keep track of everybody. They all had a part to play, so no one was superfluous. We’re talking witches, assassins, and virgins, oh my . . . and we can’t forget the centaurs!

The ending was wonderful. It was a solid ending with a not-quite-cliffhanger and an appearance of a surprise character. I cannot wait for the sequel!

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Devil’s Maverick by Lori Fayre

The Devil's MaverickThe Devil’s Maverick by Lori Fayre
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: The Devil’s Maverick
Author: Lori Fayre
Series: n/a
Pages: 153
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Date: January 28, 2020

Summary:

When Alva Eastman is taken captive by the devilishly handsome pirate Elijah Maverick, she finds that she may be exactly where she wants to be.

Alva Grace Eastman is a young woman desperate to start a new life. But her plans are hindered when her ship is overrun by pirates and she is taken as a prisoner aboard The Diablo. With the notorious Captain Elijah Maverick as her captor, Alva doesn’t have much hope of escape, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. What does change her mind is when the dashing pirate captain saves her life…twice.

Now willing to give him a chance, Alva discovers that there’s more to Elijah Maverick than the reckless, carefree pirate she thinks he is. Not only is he a kind and compassionate person with an extreme distaste for the oppression of innocents, but he is also a man torn. Elijah is plagued with nightmares from his past, consumed with a quest for revenge and desperate for human comfort, which he believes he’s found with Alva. But he’s not the only one keeping secrets.

Alva’s dark past soon catches up with her, exposing her own misdeeds and need to protect the innocent. Together, Alva and Elijah face many forces that seek to tear them apart. From the Royal Navy to an obsessed plantation owner, the pair must fight for their lives, their love and their freedom.

Review:

It’s been awhile since I have read a historical romance based on the pirate trope. And I mean a long while! Probably since the 1970s. Therefore, I was a little concerned I was going to be reading a plot that was outdated with a weak female cowering before the mighty pirate.

Boy, was I wrong.

Both Alva and Elijah were a surprise. Elijah was a lot more caring than I expected and Alva was much stronger than women in pirate novels are normally portrayed. And that aspect of Alva is where I had problems with the book. She was too strong and capable. It was not her personality that bothered me. It was the fact that she was more capable than the men around her. Even though she was inexperienced with most of the weaponry, she was able to successfully defend herself and the men around her. They did not help her so much as she rescued them.

That just did not ring true.

I spent far too much time thinking, “Yeah, right!” when reading this book.

Having said that, I enjoyed the plot line. The writing was solid with a likable heroine. This is a debut novel and I expect the next book will be even better. A sequel has not been mentioned, but one character needs his own book and the author did leave the ending open enough to allow for his story.

I gave this book three stars and I imagine subsequent books will be even better.

Good luck to a new author who has made a solid beginning on their career.

This book was sent to me by the author in return for an honest review.

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A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1) by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: A Bad Day for Sunshine
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Sunshine Vicram, #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date: April 7, 2020

Summary:

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free. 

Review:

I love the Charlie Davidson books and I never thought the author would be able to write anything that I would enjoy as much.

I was wrong. I know. Shocker, right?

These books are so funny. They are set in a normal, not paranormal, world, but I use the term normal loosely. Del Sol, is a weird town. Even, no especially, the sheriff knows that it is weird. Sheriff Sunshine Vicram was raised in Del Sol, but left home when she was a teenager. Now in her thirties, she has returned to raise her daughter in the town she loved as a child. Let the drama ensue.

I love Sunshine’s snark. It really reminds me of Charlie. And I love how she has entire conversations in her head. I love how no one in the town seems completely normal, but they are all pretty much accepted anyway. I think I would like to live in Del Sol, but only if I could be friends with Sunshine. She is definitely a woman you want on your side.

My only problem right now is I received this book several months before publication. I have already read it twice and cannot wait for the sequel. There is not a cliffhanger (hate, hate, hate cliffhangers), but there is definitely more of the story to be told.

Just like the Charlie Davidson books, the Sunshine Vicram series is on autobuy.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4) by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4)A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: A Dangerous Collaboration
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell, #4
Pages: 336
Publisher: Berkley
Date: March 12, 2019

Summary:

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund…

Review:

The first time I read this book I didn’t particularly like it. There was too much stress between Veronica and Stoker. It wasn’t the normal disagreements and shouting matches, it was indifference. Even though I thought Stoker’s attitude was false, I wasn’t sure. And Veronica is never comfortable showing her softer feelings.

With the second reading, however, I was better able to see that even though it looked like they were drifting apart, they were really struggling to make a connection. I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Stoker’s eldest brother Tiberius is integral to the plot. Not only does he drag Veronica and Stoker into solving a murder, there are subplots as well. They grew up together as brothers, but Tiberius had always tormented Stoker. And Stoker being Stoker certainly returned the favor. Their relationship was explored and hopefully improved in this book. In addition, Tiberius strikes me as a man-whore and he definitely makes a play for Veronica. I am not sure how much is because he desires her or because he is getting back at Stoker. Either way, he doesn’t come across as very likable.

The murder case itself is three years old. The way they talk about it, it seems more like decades old. Anyway, I can’t really say Stoker and Veronica solve the case. It is more the murderer gives themselves away because they are afraid of being discovered. It all takes place on a island off England which is inhabited by mermaids, piskies, and those with the sight. There is a garden of poisons where even breathing the air is dangerous. All in all, not a comfortable place to live . . . or die.

My immediate reaction after finishing the book the first time was when is the next one due out? After the second reading, my reaction is “I want it now!” It’s definitely worth four stars and if I hadn’t spent most of the book worrying about Stoker’s and Veronica’s relationship, I would probably have given it five stars.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave (Charlie Davidson, #13) by Darynda Jones

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #13)Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Charlie Davidson, #13
Pages: 304
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date: January 15, 2019

Summary:

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plain for eternity – which is the appropriate amount of time to make a person stark raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.

She’s missed Reyes and her daughter, Beep, but now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

Review:

There is no way this is the last Charlie Davidson book. It may be the last Grave book and future books may not focus on Charlie and Reyes, but there is still too much story left to tell for the series to be over. I have not heard anything officially, but there has to be a spinoff series focusing on Beep.

Like most, if not all, of these books the ending has a cliffhanger. Don’t worry, the author does a wonderful job of tying up loose ends, but she couldn’t leave well enough alone. One question. She ends the book with ONE QUESTION and I was “Wait! What?” So yes, there has to be a spinoff series.

I loved the book. Charlie is in her normal, snarky glory. I laughed out loud. I almost cried. In other words, a typical Charlie Davidson book. There were plots and subplots which I enjoyed, and they cleared up some issues that I didn’t even know I had. Old characters returned and we lost people I was not ready to lose. And I have to tell you, there is a character reveal that blew my mind!

My only problem with the book is I need a timeline. When did Reyes and Charlie first meet as adults? When was Beep born? How long did Charlie have amnesia? I guess I just need to re-read the entire series . . . and that’s a wonderful thing!

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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