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September 26, 2020

10 New & Notable Romance Novels

by MK French



Romance novels are great for escaping reality for a few hours. Whether you want hot & steamy, fun & fluffy, or sad but sweet, the romance genre has it all. Check out some new and notable romance novels that I've read recently.

September 25, 2020

September 24, 2020

3 Short Story Anthologies to Read

by MK French


Short stories are great for busy schedules or times when it is hard to concentrate on longer works. Both situations we are dealing with during the pandemic as we juggle work (from home or office) and school schedules (in person or virtual). If you are finding yourself having trouble settling in with a novel, then check out the short fiction recommendations below.

September 23, 2020

Remedios by Deborah Clearman ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


"Do you know what this stuff does to  people?  Fernando wanted to ask.  As if he'd read his thoughts Felix said 'No one here uses it. It's going far away.  We don't have anything to do with that."  (p 85)

September 22, 2020

Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


Hannah Swensen was just taking a pan of German Chocolate Cupcakes out of her industrial oven at The Cookie Jar, when there was a knock on the back kitchen door. Hannah quickly slid the pan of cupcakes on a shelf in the baker's rack, and hurried to answer the door. A man was standing there and he stepped back a few feet from the door, a man Hannah had never seen before. (chp 1)

September 21, 2020

A Borrowed Life by Kerry Anne King ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


"The house looks strange, as if I've never seen it before.  The greens in the throw rug in the living room grate on my nerves.  I hate green, at least in that color, would have chosen blues if I'd had a say.  Everything is so freakishly neat, it looks like a stage set.  There is not one thing in this room that I love, that belongs to me.  My entire married life feels like a book I read, a movie I watched." (p 17)

September 20, 2020

The Gilded Wolves series by Roshani Chokshi ~ a Revew

by MK French


Book 2 in Roshani Chokshi's Gilded Wolves series hits shelves on Tuesday. I hadn't read book 1 so I got it from the library before picking up The Silvered Serpents. Now I can't wait for book 3, which is slated to come out in 2021.

September 19, 2020

2 Romance Novels to Read

by Susan Roberts


It's always good to have a few romance novels around the house to read on your sad days.  I like to read a light, happy novel with a happily ever after ending to cheer me up.  Here are two that I read recently.

September 18, 2020

Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


I tried out another new to me cozy mystery. I've had good luck picking up new series, even when starting in the middle, so I decided to give Handbook for Homicide a try.

The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox ~ a Review

by MK French


Tabby and her sister Alice fled from their Aunt Belefonte, who was exploiting Tabby's gift to communicate with the dead. After getting separated from Alice, Tabby was adopted by Eli, the caretaker for the city's cemetery. There were graves robbed by resurrection men, so Tabby's gift will either help save the cemetery or lead to her own destruction.

September 17, 2020

Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


"I first met Charlie Fish in Chicago in the fall of 1943.  First I dismissed him, then I liked him, then I ruined him, then I saved him.  In return he taught me what love was, lust, too, and above all what it is like to have a powerful conscience. (p 1)

September 16, 2020

Chance of a Lifetime by Jude Deveraux and Tara Sheets ~ a Review

by MK French



In 1844 Ireland, Liam O'Connor fell in love with Cora McLeod, the squire's daughter. When she ran off with him, it altered the fate planned for many. Angels intervened and sent him to Providence Falls, North Carolina so that Cora's reincarnation can fall in love with and marry Finn, the man she should have married in 1844. This Cora is very different from her past life, and Liam is tempted to damn his soul just to be with her again.

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow ~ a Review

by Alison DeLuca



Lately, I've been absorbed by Catch and Kill. I read this book during a difficult start to a new school year, made all the more delicate with COVID and my daughter's 11th grade challenges during a pandemic. 

September 15, 2020

What I Learned While Writing Dragon's Winter by guest Kandi J Wyatt


You’d think writing fantasy I don’t need to do research, but that’s not the case. One of the reasons my tag-line is “where fantasy and reality meet” is because I write realistic fantasy. That can require research. 
While writing Dragon’s Winter, I had several different places pop up that required me to look them up to see if they fit within the timeframe or even how they were done. 

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat ~ a Review

by MK French




A monster of a mango tree grew in the courtyard of Namwon Prison. Its fluffy green branches stretched across the cracked cement and hung over the soupy brown water of the Chattana River. The women inmates spent most of their days sheltered under the shade of this tree while the boats glided up and down and up again on the other side of the prison gate. (p. 1)

September 14, 2020

The Brothers of Auschwitz by Malka Adler ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


"I realized that the war had ended in the world but not in people's hearts.  I knew the war would never leave us. Just like putting a boiling iron with a number on the body of a calf. The calf grows older, the number remains unchanged." (loc 2298)

A Witness to Murder by Verity Bright ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


I have discovered the most delightful cozy mystery series. I saw mention of the upcoming Christmas book in the series and since I'm a sucker for Christmas stories I went to Netgalley in hopes of scoring an ARC. That book wasn't listed yet but I did find that a new book in the series was available. I requested it straight away and couldn't wait to start reading it.

September 13, 2020

An Exciting New Trilogy by Deborah Rogers

by Susan Roberts


Deborah Rogers is a new author for me but after I read the first book in her Amelia Kellaway series, I had to read the next two books right away.  I have added her to my favorite author list after reading this trilogy and am anxious to read whatever she writes next.  If you want a series with a strong female main character who gets involved with a serial killer that will keep you rapidly turning pages, this is a book series you don't want to miss. And if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can read the ebooks for free.

September 12, 2020

4 Thrillers for the Cooler Weather

by MK French


With the cooler temperatures are you looking for more dark and gritty reads? Thrillers can be perfect for this time of year when all you want to do is curl up next to the fire with a blanket and a book you can't put down.

The Hitwoman Plays Games by JB Lynn ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


Maggie and the gang are all back for another adventure in JB Lynn's Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series. Though calling her a hitwoman isn't so true anymore. But what is true is that this series is still just as enjoyable.

September 11, 2020

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine ~ a Review

by MK French


Wylodine grew up poor and paranoid, as her family grew marijuana. Winters grew longer and longer, and she wants to restart. The way there in the extreme cold is dangerous, even with a group of exiles going with her. A cult leader is after them for Wil's ability to grow plants, especially necessary as winter continues to drag on.

September 10, 2020

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


Determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II’s secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.

September 9, 2020

6 More Fantasy Novels to Read

by MK French


Last week, I shared 5 books for fans of young adult fantasy that I had read recently. Today, I have 6 more fantasy novels to recommend. 5 of these books are more for adults but as many fantasy novels are enjoyed regardless of the target audience age I also included one young adult novel. 

September 8, 2020

The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts



September 28, 1918

The deadly virus stole unnoticed through the crowded cobblestone streets of Philadelphia on a sunny September day, unseen and unheard amidst the jubilant chaos of the Liberty Loan parade and the patriotic marches of John Philip Sousa. More than 200,000 men, women, and children waved American flags and jostled one another for prime viewing space along the two-mile route, while the people behind shouted encouragement over shoulders and past faces to the bands, Boy Scouts, women's auxiliaries, marines, sailors, and soldiers in the street. Planes flew overhead, draft horses pulled eight-inch howitzers, military groups performed bayonet drills, church bells clanged, and police whistles blew;  old friends hugged and shook hands, couples kissed, and children shared candy and soda. Unaware that the lethal illness had escaped the Naval Yard, the eager spectators had no idea that the local hospitals had admitted over two hundred people the previous day, or the numerous infectious disease experts had pressured the mayor to cancel the event. Not that it would have mattered. They were there to support the troops, buy war bonds, and show their patriotism during a time of war. Victory in Europe - and keeping the Huns out of America - was first and foremost on their minds. (chapter 1, first paragraph)

September 7, 2020

A Question of Betrayal by Anne Perry ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


I discovered Anne Perry earlier this year when I read One Fatal Flaw (read my review). I didn't love it, but I thought it was more the time period of the book than anything to do with Anne Perry's writing. So when I saw she had another new book this month and it was set during one of my favorite time periods I decided to give it a chance.

September 6, 2020

3 Literary Novels that Entertain

by MK French


Literary fiction, also sometimes considered "serious fiction", is a category of fiction that tends to have more literary merit than commercial fiction. Often classics fall into this category. While the story may include elements of mystery, fantasy,  adventure, etc, literary fiction has elements that elevate it beyond what you would find in purely genre fiction. 

September 5, 2020

3 Thrillers to Read This Fall

by Susan Roberts


We are almost finished with the Dog Days of Summer and soon the weather will cool. A good suspense novel can be the perfect read on a cool, fall day. If you missed these books this summer, they will pair perfectly with your pumpkin spice latte.

September 4, 2020

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim ~ a Review

by MK French


Margot Lee finds her mother Mina dead under suspicious circumstances in Koreatown, LA. Margot investigates and learns more about her single mother's life as a Korean War orphan and undocumented immigrant. This story is interwoven with Mina's first year in LA, which had long-lasting repercussions.

Secret Crush Seduction by Jayci Lee ~ a Review

by MK French


Adelaide Song wants to be a fashion designer, and not seen as a pampered heiress. Michael Reynolds is her brother's best friend, and she had a crush on him for years. She needs his help and is drawn into a liaison with him. Doing that just might ruin her plans, however.

September 3, 2020

The Doctor of Aleppo by Dan Mayland ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts



 
In the Spring of 2011. protests erupted throughout the Middle East.  Governments were overthrown in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

In Syria, the regime of Bashar al-Assad shot, beat and tortured protestors, but instead of crushing the opposition, it sparked a civil war.  By July of 2012, that war had breached the walls of Syria's capital, Damascus.  But to the north by the border with Turkey, in what was then Syria's largest city, an uneasy peace still held...

September 2, 2020

A Deception at Thornecrest by Ashley Weaver ~ a Review

by Donna Huber



I was kind of on the fence about continuing with this series. However, I have enjoyed it more and more with each book that I've read. A Deception at Thornecrest has moved it to my must-read series list.

September 1, 2020

5 Books for Fans of Young Adult Fantasy

by MK French


Young adult fantasy has long been a popular genre for both the target audience as well as adults. There are a great number of fantastic books in this genre and it can hard for new books to stand out from the crowd. Here are 5 books you don't want to miss.

One for the Books by Jenn McKinlay ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


"Why is everyone staring at us?" Lindsey Norris asked her fiance, Mike Sullivan, know to everyone in their small Connecticut shoreline town a "Sully." (chapter 1)

August 31, 2020

Unfettered Journey by Gary F. Bengier ~ a Review

by MK French


An AI developer seeks to create an artificial consciousness and travels to a small college to do so. While there, he finds love and a secret plot, as well as the answers to the fundamental questions regarding the nature of the conscious mind and free will.

Favorite Reads of August


Have you read any good books this month? We are wrapping up summer and starting to transition to more fall reads. But before we say good-bye to summer, we wanted to share our favorite reads of the month.

August 30, 2020

The Last Month of Summer

by Donna Huber


August has felt like a long month (compared to recent months that have blurred one into another). I got a lot of reading done as there isn't much else to do. I'm still working from home but there is very little on television in the evenings (and I've even re-watched some series). It has been raining a lot so yard work and pool time have been curtailed.

August 29, 2020

Getting Caught Up With My Reading

by Susan Roberts


With more time spent at home due to the Covid crisis, I have had a chance to read some of the books on my shelf.  I spent the first two months of the stay at home order unable to read much but since then I am reading constantly - probably because there is nothing on TV this summer and I have quit watching the news so my TV rarely even gets turned on.  I have been reading several different genres and here are reviews of the last four books that I've read.

August 28, 2020

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia ~ a Review

by MK French


Living in Eden, Georgia, Garfield Logan was always overlooked, even with green streaks in his hair. His best friends don't know why he cares so much about being popular, and miss who he used to be. Gar is accepting every dare from the popular crowd in order to remain liked, but the ante keeps rising and his life feels like it's spiraling out of control.

Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 by Jennifer Haupt

by Susan Roberts


"We can stay physically safe from coronavirus with social distancing and protective gear.  We can also manage the overwhelming fear of it by limiting stimuli and practicing mindfulness until the discomfort subsides.  And because this threat isn't going away anytime soon, we can resolve to keep doing these things for as long as it takes." (loc 1457)

August 27, 2020

A Deep Dive into Lewis Carroll and His World of Alice

by Donna Huber



I recently listened to the audiobooks of Alice's Adventure in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. It is the first time I've "read" these books and it made me curious about Lewis Carroll and the lasting popularity of these stories. So I decided to take a deep dive into the life of Lewis Carroll and his world of Alice.

August 26, 2020

Don't Skip These 11 Beach Reads

by Susan Roberts


For many of us, summer isn't complete without a trip to the beach.  Either the ocean or a lake, the beach is the ultimate summer place to go.  This year with many beaches closed or so over-crowded that you don't want to take a chance,  beach reads are even more important.  If you can't physically go to the beach, at least they can help you take a mental trip.   Here are a few of my favorite beach reads published in 2020.

August 25, 2020

The Royal Governess by Wendy Holden ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


The classroom was gloomy. Everything was brown, from the desks with their lids and inkwells to the wooden forms and floorboards. Brown was the heavy Bakelite clock and brown the picture frame surrounding a bulge-eyed King George V and a flint-faced Queen Mary. A brown leather strap, or tawse, jiggled in the schoolmaster's bony hand. It looked well-worn, as if often used. (chapter 1, ARC)

August 24, 2020

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles ~ a Review

by MK French


A group of magicians faces off to determine who will be the next headliner for the Conquering Circus. There is danger waiting, and more and more magicians are going missing. Three in particular have to face the secrets they kept and lies they told before the darkness claims them.

August 23, 2020

Twin Daggers by MarcyKate Connolly ~ a Review

by MK French



Aissa and her sister Zandra work as Technocrat apprentices, but at night plot to retake the city from them. Aissa is given the mission to kidnap the Technocrat heir, who is rumored to be Heartless - a person born without a heart that survives with a mechanical one. Her mission is complicated by researchers hoping to find a cure for the Heartless, and someone capturing her sister. Aissa will do whatever it takes to get Zandra back, even if it means working with the enemy.

August 22, 2020

When I Was You by Amber Garza ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French


Kelly Medina got a call from her son's pediatrician about an upcoming well-baby visit when her son is actually in college. It turns out there's another Kelly Medina with an infant son, and Kelly soon becomes obsessed with her. The two strike up a friendship, which brings the older Kelly a sense of purpose. But when one Kelly disappears, the other may know why.

August 21, 2020

Say No More by Karen Rose ~a Review

by Donna Huber


Say No More is the second book in Karen Rose's Sacramento series. It continues the story of Mercy and Gideon and their escape from a religious cult.

August 20, 2020

The Girl from Vichy by Andie Newton ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts



"I wanted to fight with this war with all my bones. Now my bones are all I have left." (p251)

August 19, 2020

The Wrong Mr. Darcy by Evelyn Lozada and Holly Lorincz ~ a Review

by MK French


Hara Isari is determined to make it as a sports reporter for a big newspaper, leaving behind her felon father, mother insisting that she should marry, and the small town that won’t let her forget either. When she is selected to interview a big football star, she jumps at the chance. There she also meets Derek Darcy, a rookie who is determined to show he can play the game and isn’t relying on his monied background. As much as the two don’t hit it off right away, they keep crashing together thanks to fate.

August 18, 2020

The House at Mermaid's Cove by Lindsay Jayne Ashford ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


Cornwall, England: April 1943
I though the sea would take me, but it spat me out as the sky was turning pink. I drifted in like flotsam, washed up in a sandy hollow among weed-strewn rocks. I lay there, numb with cold, broken shells prickling my cheeks. Why could I feel my face by not the fashes on my feet? (p. 1)

August 17, 2020

The Vanished Queen by Lisbeth Campbell ~ a Review

by MK French


Queen Mirantha vanished in what King Karolje claimed was an assassination. The people know he Disappeared her himself, and that he's a tyrant. Anza finds the queen's diary, and a chance encounter with Prince Esvar might be the way that they both can work with the resistance. Together they might be able to fight against the king. But if they fail, restrictions would last for generations to come.

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