Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme: Genre Freebie.

I love THRILLERS! Especially when there are unexpected twists, a bit of edge and darkness, and some good psychological suspense. So I went through my past blog posts and chose 10 of My Favorite Thrillers:

If you've never read a thriller and want to give one a try, I recommend any
and all of these! I also list more thrillers I've loved on my Memorable Reads page.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Quick book recommendation...


Flamebringer by Elle Katharine White

This is the third book in White's Heartstone trilogy, and I almost didn't read it. Not because I didn't love the first two books,  Heartstone  and Dragonshadow, which I first read back in 2019, but because it had been so long since I'd read them I felt like I'd forgotten too many of the important plot points. Luckily, I decided to give this one a try anyway, and I'm so glad I did. It quickly drew me back into the story of Aliza and Alastair Daired and their dragon, Akarra, and all the dark intrigue and magical battles brewing across their land. I love these characters! And White's writing is so compelling and lyrical. And I love that the first book in this series is a loose retelling of Pride and Prejudice but with magic, swords and dragons. If you're looking for a captivating fantasy series, I absolutely recommend this one. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

On Spine of Death by Tamara Berry


Tess Harrow is a best-selling mystery author. She and her teenage daughter, Gertrude, recently moved to Winthrop, a small town in Eastern Washington. They're remodeling Tess's grandfather's old hardware store hoping to turn it into a bookstore when they unearth not one skeleton, but two. And once again Tess finds herself in the middle of another murder investigation, both helping and hindering the sheriff, Victor Boyd, all while finding needed inspiration for her next novel. 

Tess comes up with some wild and crazy theories about the murders, some of which turn out to be true. I like her  push and pull relationship with Victor. They two of them make a great team. And their kiss? Very swoony. 

There's also a young and handsome undercover FBI agent, Jared Wilson, in town, working on a case while pretending to be Tess's contractor. Tess finds his interest in her flattering. He's also good at following suspects. The fact that he makes the sheriff jealous is an added bonus. Jared's ineptitude at lying made him a surprisingly appealing character. 

Besides taking care of her mom, Gertie takes an interest in forensic science in this one and starts spending a lot of time at the morgue with the coroner, Sylvia Nerudo. She was my favorite part of this book. I love her teen-age attitude and eye-rolling, and all her humorous interactions with her mom and the sheriff. 

All in all this is another enjoyable cozy from Tamara Berry. I like how Tess uses her research and skills as a mystery author to figure out certain aspects of the case. This book is almost as good as the first one, Buried in a Good Book, which I loved. I'd give On Spine of Death ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This counts as another read for Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme? Favorite Heroines.

I narrowed my list down to 10 by going with favorite heroines who are smart, gutsy and fierce.

1. Mina Harker 
(from Bram Stoker's Dracula)

2. Mercy Thompson
(from Patricia Briggs' series)

3. Lizbeth Rose
(from Charlaine Harris' Gunnie Rose series)

4. Casey Duncan
(from Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series)

5. Hero Jarvis
(from C.S. Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr series)

6. Nancy Drew!!
(Do I need to say more?)

7. Ellie Jordan
(from J.L. Bryan's Ghost Trapper series)

8. Ada von Hasenberg
(from Jessie Mihalik's Polaris Rising)

9. Alexia Tarabotti
(from Gail Carriger's Parason Protectorate series)

10. Dagny Taggert
(from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged)

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Haiku Reviews....


Love and Kerosene by Winter Renshaw

His brother conned her, 
left her with nothing. But Lachlan's
nothing like his brother.

Contemporary romance .... 235 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(Gotta love that cover! And Lachlan's such a great guy.)

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron

Fusia and her young sister
risk their lives to hide thirteen Jews
during World War II.

Historical fiction .... 377 pages .... 5/5 stars.
(Based on Stefania Podgorska's real life, this novel captures her amazing faith and courage. I loved it!)

Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca

Jobless, Lulu finds
help, friends, love and happiness
on the RenFaire circuit.

Contemporary romance .... 302 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(Hopeful, humorous, captivating and swoony.
It's as good as the first one, Well Met.)

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

When She Was Good by Michael Robotham

Evie Cormac is a defiant, clever, stubborn, sometimes dangerous and fierce, but also fragile and vulnerable teen-ager. She doesn't trust others and can tell when someone is lying to her. Seven years ago she was found at the scene of a horrific murder. But she won't talk about her past; she won't even tell anyone her real name or age. And she's very afraid that the men from her past will find her someday. 

Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven has been looking into Evie's past, hoping to find the truth about her family and who hurt her all those years ago. But he's digging into a hornet's nest of secrets that should not be disturbed, putting both him and Evie in danger. Then other people close to the investigation start to die.

My thoughts:  I forgot how much I love Robotham's writing! His books are always so suspenseful and well-layered, his characters memorable and captivating. This is the second book about Evie and Cyrus and it's just as propulsive and compelling as Good Girl, Bad Girl (which you really need to read first). Evie's past is revealed in this one--a past that involves sex trafficking and abuse--and it made me angry and broke my heart at the same time. Evie's a true survivor. And Cyrus? He's the best. I could not put this book down. Another 5-star read!

Happy Reading!

Other Robotham books I've read and reviewed (and loved):
(These books are all part of his Joe O'Loughlin series which is awesome.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl

This week's theme? Love/Valentine's Freebie.

So, I'm going with 10 Cute 💗 Stories I Loved:

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

The Match by Sarah Adams

Love Unexpected by Jenny Proctor

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Compared by Kortney Keisel

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

The Suite Spot by Trish Doller

The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden

How Sweet It Is by Dylan Newton

The Vampire's Fake Fiancee by Kristen Painter

Happy Valentine's Day!
(You can also check out my Bookish Valentine post if you want to see
 the very first list of favorite romances I ever did back in 2013.)

Saturday, February 11, 2023

February's Bookish Art...

Sadie Wendell Mitchell - 1909

"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them!
How I need them!
--Arnold Lobel

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Still Waters by Sara Driscoll


The plot:  Meg Jennings is a search-and-rescue dog handler for the FBI's Human Scent Evidence Team. Her K-9 partner is a black labrador named Hawk. They're camping in Minnesota with several other search teams for a weekend of water search training. There's also a trials competition for all the handlers and their dogs...a competition Meg hopes she and Hawk will win. But then, on the second day, Hawk alerts to the dead body of one of their competitors. And Meg finds herself one of the suspects. She and her friends must move quickly to find the real killer.

My thoughts:  There are so many reasons I love this K-9 mystery series! The setting is always different and interesting. The search-and-rescue work with the dogs is fascinating. And there's not just Meg and Hawk, but also fellow FBI handler Brian with his German Shepherd, Lacey. They make a good team; and their dogs are so endearing! I also love Meg's relationship with firefighter, Todd Webb, and her friendship with newspaper reporter, McCord. It's really the characters and their interactions that make these books so good. (The camping scenes in this one with Meg, Todd and their friends were especially fun.) And, of course, the murder investigation in this one was as compelling as ever. This series just gets better and better, which is another reason why it's one of my favorites. 

Happy Reading!

Other books in this series I've reviewed:         


Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa

"Natsuki Books was a tiny secondhand bookshop on the edge of town. The shop didn't lose enough money to be considered a liability, nor did it make enough to be considered a fortune. It wasn't much of an inheritance." 
But the bookshop is all Rintaro Natsuki has left after his beloved grandfather dies. Rintaro is an awkward and reclusive high school student who spends most of his days skipping school and hiding out among the books he loves. Not even Rintaro's pretty classmate, Sayo Yuzuki, can lure him outside. Then one day a talking tabby cat shows up in the bookshop and talks Rintaro into going on several strange and fantastical quests to rescue books. Though, in the end, maybe it was Rintaro himself that needed rescuing.  

My thoughts:  It was the title and cover of this Japanese novel that first made me want to read it. Then finding out it had a talking cat, too? I couldn't resist checking it out right then and there. And I'm glad I did. This is a quirky and enchanting little book. Rintaro's struggle to articulate his love for books and reading made him such an endearing character. The tabby cat was blunt and often rude, but he made Rintaro step outside his shell and that was good. And Rintaro's interactions with outspoken and spunky Sayo made me smile. I liked their friendship a lot. But what's at the heart of this bookish novel is the idea that books truly are more than mere words on paper and are therefore very much worth saving. And I completely agree. 

Happy Reading!

This book counts as one of my reads for Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Bookish Randomness...

 Quick book recommendation:

Winterkill by C.J. Box

This is the first Joe Pickett novel I've read, and I quite enjoyed it. He's a Wyoming Game Warden and in this book he has to deal with a murder, a winter storm, the return of his foster daughter's birth mother, a band of extremists, and a crazy Forest Service bureaucrat. It's a tense and compelling thriller. C.J. Box is an author I would definitely read again.

February's Reading Plan:

Between the unread books on my shelves, the stack of library books near my bed, and all the books on my ever-growing TBR list, I sometimes have a hard time deciding what I want to read next. It can be a real juggling act between new and old, borrowed and owned. Especially when I want to read all of them all at once. So how do you decide? I still don't have a good answer. But for February, I think I'm going to focus on those sequels and series I need to catch up on, or finish. Like these books I just checked out of the library:

A Single Light by Tosca Lee
Flamebringer by Elle Katherine White
The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep
When She Was Good by Michael Robotham
Dark Night by Paige Shelton
Winter's End by Paige Shelton
Still Waters by Sara Driscoll
Murder on Madison Square by Victoria Thompson
On Spine of Death by Tamara Berry

Melody and I are also planning a buddy read this month:  A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy Lin.

Meet Moose!  This Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound was the inspiration for Moose, my favorite character in Ghosts of Grayhaven, the Kindle Vella story me and my sister wrote last year. We posted the final episode of this story in December, but it's still there for all to read. We hope to write more about Moose in the future because he's not your ordinary hound...he has supernatural skills. If you're curious, you can check out the first 3 episodes of our story for free at the link above. 

Happy Reading!