Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Vanishing Edge by Claire Kells

 "Bad things happen in the wilderness--and sometimes they're not accidents."

An abandoned glamping campsite near Precipice Lake in Sequoia National Park. Two missing campers. Who were they? And what happened to them? Park ranger Ferdinand "Hux" Huxley suspects foul play. But it's up to Special Agent Felicity Harland to investigate. But with no witnesses and sparse clues, it's not going to be easy to track down the truth. 

What I liked best about this mystery:
  • Getting to know Felicity and Hux. These two characters have interesting back stories, and they work well together. Hux is a former Navy Seal with a talent for finding people; Felicity is recovering from a devastating accident and travels with a cute dog named Ollie. I look forward to reading their next investigation.
  • That beautiful National Park setting with its isolated wilderness, icy blue lakes, mountain peaks, and forested trails. It's always a favorite of mine.
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Happy Reading!

Another favorite read by Claire Kells:  Girl Underwater

Monday, May 27, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is supposed to be "Books I was Super Excited to Get My Hands on but Still Haven't Read." Only I wasn't feeling this one; so I decided to go rogue and do my own thing instead. 

Here's my list of 10 Favorite Books Read in May Over the last 10 Years. It was actually really fun to go back to 2013 and continue forward to 2023 and see what books I was reading each very own bookish walk down memory lane. (And if any of these books interest you, I've included a link to my original review posts.)

Happy Reading!

Friday, May 24, 2024

Haiku Reviews...


Funny Story by Emily Henry

Dumped by her fiance,
Daphne moves in with Miles whose
girlfriend just dumped him.

Romance .... 384 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(Another charming romance from Emily Henry.)

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

When her Grand Slam record
is eclipsed, she un-retires
to win it back.

Fiction .... 364 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(As good as everyone said.)

The Chocolate Cobweb by Charlotte Armstrong

Can Mandy save Thone
from his stepmother's plotting? 
Or will she die, too?

Psychological suspense.... 242 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(I thought this classic mystery was a lot of fun.)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

What You Are Looking For Is In The Library by Michiko Aoyama


What it's about:

Five lost souls, each with a yearning inside them to be or do something more. And a wise community librarian who guides them to the book that will help them see a path forward to seizing opportunities and fulfilling their dreams. Each book is different. But then so are the five characters. There's Tomoka, who is a young sales assistant in a department store; Ryo, who wants to open his own antique store; and Natsumi, a former magazine editor who is struggling to balance motherhood and her career. I really liked those three, but I think the last two were my favorite:  Hiroya, an unemployed artist who feels like a failure; and Masao, who just retired from his job of forty-two years and now doesn't know what to do with his life. Every chapter introduces another character, another book, another dream. I enjoyed their individual journeys and their moments of intersection. 

My thoughts:  

This was a bittersweet read for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved this quiet literary novel, but it's the book I was supposed to read this month with Melody. We planned it back in February. And I kept wanting to talk to her about it, ask her which character she liked best, compare notes, hear her thoughts and insights. I know she would have loved the Japanese setting and how books played a role in each character's journey. I really wish I could have read this book with her. I bet she would have given it 5 stars. I did. 

Happy Reading!

Friday, May 17, 2024

One Last Shot by Susan May Warren

From the blurb:  "When country music star Oaken Fox joins survivalist Mike Grizz's new adventure show in the Alaskan wilderness, he just wants to boost his fan base. But when tragedy strikes and Air One Rescue must save them, Oaken wants to quit. Too bad his producer has other plans--signing him on with Air One Rescue as a recruit and making a reality show.

"EMT Boo Kingston did not join Air One Rescue to train a celebrity. But she's a rookie to the team, so yes, she'll train Oaken and keep him alive and not for a minute pay attention to his charm.

"Then five women go missing from a resort during a bachelorette weekend gone wrong. Now, Air One and the rescue team will have to use all their skills and manpower--including Oaken--to find them before a blizzard settles in. But can they work together before tragedy strikes?"

My thoughts:  Ashley @ The Rustic Reading Gal, who recommended this book, said I would love it...and she was right. The compelling action starts on page one and continues throughout the book. But there are also quiet moments with Oaken and Boo and the other members of the rescue team--moments of heart, humor, redemption, forgiveness, and faith. I loved all the rescue guys, but I especially loved Oaken and Boo and how they slowly came together over the course of the story. And that Alaskan wilderness setting is always a favorite of mine. All the rescue scenes felt very realistic, and were nicely suspenseful, too. And I loved the positivity and the happy ending. I will definitely be checking out the next book in this series when it comes out next month. 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

May's Bookish Art...


Yumeji Takehisa -- Woman Reading

"Lose yourself in books, in art, in the haze of new horizons. Lose yourself in curiosity, in knowledge, in passion. Lose yourself in feeling it all..."

--Bianca Sparacino

Friday, May 10, 2024

Two Quick Recommendations...


Just For the Summer by Abby Jimenez

"If you can choose between anger and empathy, always choose empathy."

Once again Jimenez has woven together a magical story of two lost souls finding love and home together. Justin's dealing with becoming the guardian to his three younger siblings while Emma has to work through her abandonment issues and childhood traumas caused by her very toxic mother. I loved Justin's cute pre-date questionnaires for Emma and their online conversations; I also loved how he tries so hard to take care of his brother and sisters. And how good he is with Emma. Her struggles went deeper and were harder to overcome, which made their ending a bit bumpy. But I was rooting for her and Justin all the way. This heartwarming romance deals with some heavier issues, but it does so with hope and humor. And I liked it a lot.  

No Excuses by Derrick Coleman Jr. 

"I didn't do anything special to make it into the NFL. All I did was work hard. Real hard. And I didn't listen to the people who told me it couldn't be done." 

Legally deaf and dependent on hearing aids and lip reading, Coleman went from not even being allowed to play football in the sixth grade to playing for the Seattle Seahawks and winning the 2014 Superbowl. His is a compelling and interesting journey. And while I enjoyed all the football parts, what I admired most about his story is his focus on working hard, putting in the effort every time, and never giving up. This is a book worth reading.

"Life is too short to settle for excuses. If you settle for excuses, then you'll always arrive at second best. Aim for your dreams, don't doubt yourself, don't let anyone tell you that you're a failure, and put in the work."

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is MAY FLOWERS. But since that's such a broad category, I decided to narrow my list down to books and titles with gardens in them. 


Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen


The Wishing Garden by Christy Yorke

The White Garden by Stephanie Barron

Wild Designs by Katie Fforde

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart

Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens by Andrea Penrose

A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

The Kew Gardens Girls by Posy Lovell

The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly

The Twilight Garden by Sara Nisha Adams

I've read the first seven books on this list, but not the last three. 
Those are on my TBR list however. 
Got any favorite "garden" books?

Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes


An abandoned planet.

An isolated crew.

Dark secrets.

Looming madness.

And unsettling horror.

My thoughts:  I don't even know how to begin to summarize this one without giving away any spoilers, so I'm not even going to try. I think it's best to just let this story unfold on its own. What I will say is that Barnes has once again written a very compelling and suspenseful science fiction novel with hints of mystery and horror in it. Her main character, Dr. Ophelia Bray, comes from a very prominent and rich family who have practically disowned her; she has some demons and secrets from her own traumatic childhood that make her a sympathetic character. I also loved the impending sense of doom that Barnes creates as the six-person team starts to explore the abandoned planetary station, and strange things start to happen to them. She keeps you guessing about the truth of it all right to the end. This one's creepy and atmospheric and it reads fast. An entertaining summer read (even though it's not quite summer yet). I gave it 4 stars.

Happy Reading! 

Previous S.A. Barnes' novel:  Dead Silence

Wednesday, May 1, 2024


I won another free book from Goodreads! This time I won a copy of A Pair of Wings by Carole Hopson. It's a historical fiction novel about pioneer aviatrix Bessie Coleman. And if you think it looks good, Goodreads has a second giveaway for it going on right now. I'm excited to read it because Coleman's life sounds fascinating. Plus, I always like reading about the early days of aviation.

What do you look for or like in a book review? Do you prefer a longer, more detailed summary of the plot? Or something short and sweet? Insightful thoughts on character and theme? Or the blogger's emotional reaction to the story? Do you appreciate a little literary analysis, or just a 1- to 5-star rating? Do you like quotes? First lines? Bullet points? Links to similar reads? 

For me, I like honesty and humor in a review. I also like to know if the ending is satisfying, or disappointing. And if the main characters are likable. I like to know if the pacing drags, or if it reads fast. And whether the story will make me laugh or cry. And I appreciate a content warning when the book is graphic--whether that's in violence and gore, or steamy sex scenes. 

What makes reading a review fun for you?

And here are a few of my recent 'glad' things:
  • Lunch last week with a friend I hadn't seen in was very fun to catch up with her and we even made hiking plans for June.
  • I saw an excellent movie last month:  Escape From Germany. It's based on a true story, and the woman sitting next to me in the theater turned out to be the niece of one of the missionaries portrayed in the movie, which was a fun coincidence.
  • New socks! I know this seems like a small thing, but I really needed new socks and I found some that are both colorful and comfortable, and I'm happy to have them. 
  • My lilac bush is finally in bloom, which always makes me glad because I love the scent of lilacs!
  • And I've got a lovely new stack of books from the library to read this month. Life is good.