Saturday, December 30, 2017

2018 Literary Pickers Challenge Goal Post

I finally decided to give this challenge a go. I can’t wait to dig in and see what I can discover. I’m going to aim for 25 but if I can do 50, that will be grand!


Goal: Level Two – Garage Sale Guru- 25 items/ 25 places

2018 Literary Pickers Challenge- Scavenger List

Around the House
1 Patio Furniture
2 Walk-In Closet
3 Dust or Cobwebs
4 Gaming System
5 Grandmother’s China/any dishes past down
6 Porch light
7 Quilt
8 Area Rug
10 Pots and Pans
11 Fruit Trees/Orchard
12 Keys
13 Rocking Chair
14 Bathroom Mirror
15 Attic
16 Toy Chest/bin
17 Mixing bowl
18 Barn
19 Curtain/Drapes
20 Napkin/serviette
Around the World
1 Japan
2 Italy
3 Africa
4 Caribbean
5 New Zealand
It Goes Zoom Zoom
1 Motorcycle
2 Navy Ship
3 Raft
4 Roller blades/skateboard
5 Carriage
6 Riding Horse
7 Shuttle/small space ship
8 Classic Car
9 Surfboard
10 RV/Caravan/Camper
Elements to Factor
1 Friends to lovers/Bestfriend
2 Love at First Sight
3 Commitophobe
4 Arranged Marriage/Marriage of Convenience
5 Miscommunication
6 Threesome/Love Triangle
7 Gender bender/Role Reversal
8 Office Romance
9 Enemies to Lovers
10 Small Town
11 Rocker Romance
12 A Murder
13 Secret baby/accidental baby
14 Another dimension/fantasy world
15 Kink/BDSM
16 Post-apocalyptic/Dystopian/Futuristic
17 Historical
18 Humor/Comedy
19 First time author/narrator
20 On your TBR stack for more than a Year
All Terrain
1 Lake
2 Volcano/Hot Spring
3 Blizzard or Polar Region
4 City streets
5 Castle/Fortress
Bon Appetit
1 Pudding/Mousse
2 Vegetarian/Vegan fare
3 Ale
4 Campfire Cooking:Reed by R.C. Ryan
5 Saute it (veggie or meat)
6 Fresh Catch (fish/seafood)
7 Waffles
8 Tortilla/flat bread
9 Tropical Fruit
10 Specialty Tea or Coffee
Tools of the Trade
1 Fire hose
2 Hammer
3 Gas can/pump
4 Rifle
5 Scuba gear
6 Handcuffs
7 Toolbox
8 Shovel
9 Oven
10 Laptop Computer
1 Space suit
2 Uniform   Hammer
3 Costume/Disguise
4 High Heels
5 Engagement Ring
6 Belt
7 Boots: Saving the Sheriff by Kadie Scott
8 Skirt
9 Overalls
10 Trousers
Cover Clues
1 A number in the title
2 Mostly Yellow
3 No people
4 A season in the title
5 No face/hidden features
6 Holiday theme
7 A hat
8 Just a guy
9 Just a gal
10 A paranormal or sci-fi element

2018 Bad Boys of Romance Reading Challenge (Delighted Reader) Goal Post

So, I really need to keep better track of this one this year.

Challenge: Bad Boys of Romance Reading Challenge
Host: Delighted Reader
Goal: Level Two 10-15 books – Engaged to the Bad Boy

2018 Blogger Shame Challenge Goal Post

Yeah, blogger shame, I still have it—hangs head. My goal is to get through the books left on my NetGalley account. At the moment, I don’t have an exact number, but I’m aiming somewhere between 15-20 books.

Challenge: Blogger Shame

Goal: Clean up my NetGalley account (15-20 books)


1. Reed by R.C. Ryan (audio)





















Blog All About It Challenge (Herding Cats & Burning Soup)

This sounds like such a fun and creative challenge. The just of it is each month there’s a prompt and you blog about it whatever way you want to.
 Examples: If the prompt is BLUE you could...
--make a blueberry cobbler
--review a book with a blue cover
--interview an author who's name has blue in it
--discuss how you break out of a 'blue' mood
--share blue photos you've taken
January-- Winter
February-- Red
March-- Favorite Scent
April-- Art
May-- Organize
June-- Growl
July-- Spirit
August-- Beginning
September-- Escape
October-- Trees
November-- Truth
December-- Shine/Sparkle

Top Ten Books of 2017

So, 2017 was a weird year for me and, sadly, my reading time suffered a bit because of it. While the number of books I read was rather low compared to my norm, I did read a variety of books so my Top Ten Books of 2017 has a bit of everything. 

2018 Reading Challenge All About That Trope (Herding Cats & Burning Soup) Goal Post

Anna, the brilliant mind behind Herding Cats and Burning Soup, is running a Trope challenge so I thought this would be just the right kick I needed to read a few of the tropes (yeah, I picked two) that I enjoy but for some reason never getting around to reading much of. 

The tropes I’ve picked are Beauty and the Beast (I’m such a sucker for this one) and Forced Proximity (this one is so fun to read, especially when they despise each other at the start). I’m aiming for 6-10 but hoping I’ll be able to manage  a few more

Rules:  Pick a trope…and read it as much as you can! Any genre/format counts.

Tropes:  Beauty and the Beast Goal: Level 6-10 Forced Proximity Goal: Level 6-10
Beauty and the Beast
Forced Proximity

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.
At first, they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

Rating: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For: Blogger Shame -

Total blogger shame on this one. It arrived last year and I didn’t have time to pick it up so it was the first on the pile of reads for the HoHoHo Readathon.
So, I broke my own reader-rule, I watched the Hallmark movie (which happens to be one of my favorites) before reading the book. I thought I knew what to expect with the book but I was so wrong. I couldn’t believe how much different the movie version was.
Here’s what’s going on in the book. Unable to get a plane ticket, Ashley finds herself sharing the last rental car with Dash, a handsome yet surly stranger. As they journey to Seattle—picking up a furry friend along the way—they find themselves growing closer. As their trip comes to an end, they soon realize a case of mistaken identity has landed Ashley on the terrorist watch list.
In the movie, it’s the same premise but rather than Dash needing to get to Seattle for a job interview, he’s an undercover agent trying to figure out Ashley’s agenda.
Both the book and the movie are fantastic but there were certain parts of each that I liked better than the other.
In the book, I really enjoyed Dash. He was gruff, broody, surly, and totally drool-worthy. In the movie, he’s a bit softer, more pleasant, and totally Hallmarky. Book Dash was more my speed. While I liked book-Dash more, movie Ashley was so much better. Both book and movie Ashley had Christmas spirit in droves, but movie Ashley was this artsy type. She sort of went with the flow and I really enjoyed that Gypsy-vibe she has. Book Ashley was more serious—she was a college student so she was more settled in her life and slightly boring.
I felt the romance and Dash’s character was more fleshed-out in the book, I felt like Ashley’s character and her story was more fleshed-out in the book. I felt like the suspense was stronger in the movie yet the character/relationship development was stronger in the book.
Overall, while both had their strengths and weaknesses, I loved both of them. They were such great additions to my Christmas romance collection.

Have you watched the movie?


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

 Rachel Stone's bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car's that's spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she's come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she'll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on. . .

Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who's invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel's feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.

Series: Series: Chicago Stars #4 | Publisher: Books on Tape | Narrator: Anna Fields | Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Ratings: 1.5 Cups

Challenges Read For: Blogger Shame

Okay, so it’s official, while I like most of SEP’s romances, the Bonner brothers are not for me and, apparently, neither is Anna Fields’ narration.
While this one wasn’t nearly as torturous as Nobody’s Baby but Mine, I still spent the majority of the book wanting to hurl things at the characters.  So, why did I read/listen to it? Apparently, I like to be tortured and I really wanted to mark this one off my Blogger Shame list because it was now or never with this one.
Here’s what drove me insane, I mean, what’s going on. Penniless and with a five-year-old son, Rachel Stone decided to return to the town that hates her in search of something that could improve her and her son’s future but when her car finally gives up the ghost across from the drive-in Gabe Bonner is renovating, she makes it impossible for him to say no to hiring her. Gabe wants nothing to do with Rachel Stone and her son but seeing as the town is treating her like a pariah and she is in danger of losing her son, he steps in and soon finds Rachel awakening things he thought he lost.
This one had the potential to be a great read but the characters ruined it.
Okay, so I understand that Rachel’s desperate and, at this point is willingly to do anything for her son, but I don’t understand why a mother would return to the town that basically cast them out to search for something that may not exist. She knows the town residents will treat her and her son like garbage and that no one would be willingly to hire her so I can’t understand why someone would be willing to subject their child to that. It was very hard to get behind her actions. Then there’s the fact that she was willing to be with Gabe knowing that he hates her son and is mean to him.
I couldn’t stand Gabe. I understand that he lost his wife and child in a car accident but that doesn’t justify his treatment of Rachel’s son or his actions toward Rachel. And rather than holding him accountable, his brothers coddled him and treated him like a toddler. Gabe does eventually change is behavior but by that time it was way too late.
So, there’s a side plot that gives Ethan Bonner’s story and, honestly, I could have done without it. He’s a preacher that’s highly judgmental of Rachel—without knowing or caring about her side of the story—yet he’s basically a horny toad lusting after the women in his congregation who wear tight clothing. Apparently, he’s not the practice what you preach type of preacher. Then there’s his secretary, who’s trying to catch his attention, so she enlists Rachel’s help with a makeover, then Ethan turns around and calls her a whore and slut for dressing like that—allthewhile he’s still lusting over the women who dress the same way. Then there’s the fact that he hears God’s voice as three different t.v. personalities. Cue the eyerolling.
I’m just not a fan of the narrator. She makes a trying book even more trying.
Overall, that Bonner brothers are so not my cuppa tea. I’ve heard good things about the rest of this series so, hopefully, one of the other books will catch my fancy.

Have you read the Chicago Stars series?


Friday, December 1, 2017

To The Duke, With Love by Amelia Grey

Sloane Knox, The Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his eighteen-year-old sister who is set to make her debut in the spring. But due to circumstances involving Hawk’s misguided past he’s hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect man in mind, a gentle soul he feels certain will be a good match for his sweet sister.

When Hawk goes to see the chap, he encounters Miss Loretta Quick instead. She’s witty, gorgeous, and clearly not the least bit enchanted by him. Had he not been so intrigued he might have been insulted. He’s even more surprised when he learns that the fiery female is that “gentle soul’s” sister. And the more he gets to know her, the more he is determined to make her his. But Hawk soon discovers the miss has a mind of her own as she manages to undermine his every tactic to arrange a match between their siblings. She also makes it clear she will do everything in her power to challenge his attempts to win her affection.

Miss Loretta Quick barely escaped an arranged marriage to a Viscount by her tyrannical uncle. Now the irritatingly and captivating Duke of Hawksthorn shows up at her door seeking out another sort of arranged union — this time between her beloved brother and the duke’s sister. Determined that her brother should be able to make his own choice and marry for love or not at all, she promises the duke she will do everything within her power to protect her brother from a marriage arranged by a scoundrel duke waving money and prestige in front of him.

Loretta also learns that she must protect more than just her brother when she realizes she’s losing her own heart to the rakish duke.

Series: Rakes of St. James #2 | Publisher: St. Martin's| Release Date: December 5, 2017 | Genre: Historical Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4.5 Cups

It’s been way too long since I’ve read an Amelia Grey romance and I’m so glad I decided to get back into her book with To The Duke, With Love.
As one of the three notorious Rakes of St. James, Hawk isn’t going to allow his folly to damage his sister’s heart and reputation. So, rather than letting her attend her first Season, he’s found the perfect husband for her. The only thing he didn’t plan on was losing his heart to the gentleman’s sister. After fleeing on her wedding day, Loretta’s vowed to never marry and as her punishment, her uncle condemned her to living in near solitude. She’s never questioned her fate until Hawk captures her attention and her heart. The only problem standing in her way is that pesky little vow she made.
I cannot believe I forgot how addicting Amelia Grey’s writing is. I started this before I went to bed and ended up finishing it in the wee hours of the morning.
So, Hawk and Loretta were amazing together. He finds her alluring and somebody worth fighting for and she’s finally found someone to make her feel what loves all about. They were both so determined and she was so bloody stubborn I was really wondering if she was going to give him a chance. Thankfully, he’s not one to give up easily.
There were two side stories and added extra depth to the story. The first was the developing relationship between Loretta’s brother and Hawk’s sister and the second was the story of an orphan Loretta rescues and attempts to reform.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and look forward to reading more in this series.

The Rake of St. James Series
Last Night With The Rake
To The Duke, With Love
It’s All About The Duke (May 2018)


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Arsenic with Austen: A Mystery by Katherine Bolger Hyde

When Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from her great-aunt, she expects her life to change. She doesn't expect to embark on a murder investigation, confront the man who broke her heart 35 years before, and nearly lose her own life.

Emily travels to the sleepy coastal village of Stony Beach, Oregon, to claim her inheritance, centered on a beautiful Victorian estate called Windy Corner but also including a substantial portion of the real estate of the whole town. As she gets to know the town's eccentric inhabitants - including her own once-and-possibly-future love, Sheriff Luke Richards - she learns of a covert plan to develop Stony Beach into a major resort. She also hears hints that her aunt may have been murdered. Soon another suspicious death confirms this, and before long Emily herself experiences a near-fatal accident.
Meanwhile Emily reads Persuasion, hoping to find belated happiness with her first love, as Anne Elliot did with Captain Wentworth. She notices a similarity between her not-quite-cousin, Brock Runcible, heir to a smaller portion of her aunt's property, and Mr. Elliot in Persuasion, and her suspicions of Brock crystallize. But as she and Luke continue to investigate and events speed toward a climax, Emily realizes that underneath the innocent-looking rocks of Stony Beach lurk festering jealousies that would have shocked even the worst of Jane Austen's charming reprobates.
Series: The Crime with the Classics # 1| Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.| Narrator: Caroline Shaffer | Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins | Genre: Contemporary Cozy | Source: Publisher | Ratings: 3.5 Cups
I’m always looking for a new cozy mystery series and when I received the second book in the series, Bloodstains with Bronte, for review, I immediately picked up the first book on audio. While I liked most of it, I’m a bit on the fence about some things.
Emily’s a bit hard to take. She’s snobbish, judgmental, and—for a woman in her fifties—she’s occasionally immature. Yet, at times—even though they were rare—I found her to be likable.
Luke, the sheriff, wasn’t exactly on the top of his game when it came to his job. Several times, I found myself questioning his practices and procedures. I seriously wondered how he became sheriff. However, I did like Luke the man, he was just a good guy.
The mystery was actually solid although I did figure it out fairly early on. Still there were a few red herrings thrown in that made me question my choice.
So, the romance aspect was interesting—it’s a second chance romance for Luke and Emily. The attraction and old feelings are still there but Emily spent so much time trying to distance herself from Luke while carrying on lengthy internal ramblings about how she still loved/longed for him that it became annoying. On more than one occasion, I found myself wanting to shout at her to just tell him how she was feeling.
I really enjoyed how this one mirrored the actions of characters from Persuasion. I liked combination of a cozy and a classic and it was fun hunting for the Easter eggs. There were also a few nods to Agatha Christie and Harry Potter.
I had more than a few problems with this one but the ones that really stood out to me were the following. Emily referred to an overweight character as a ‘marshmallow’ and ‘memory foam’. I thought it was a bit distasteful. Then there was the town doctor who knew the cause of her aunt’s death and swept it under the rug so she would get the money that was left to her in the will. And rather than doing anything about it once she found out, Emily decided to keep it to herself. There was also the fact that Emily more or less threw a tantrum over the stupidest things.
I wasn’t a fan of Caroline Shaffer’s narration. She just couldn’t keep my attention and I’m wondering if her overly snobbish portrayal of Emily is made me dislike Emily.
Overall, this one had its share of problems—I’m hoping that’s due to the fact it’s the first book in a series and the author was trying to find her footing. There were a few pacing problems and some scenes just felt a bit odd but I still found aspects of this one to be interesting. We shall see what the next book holds.

Do you struggle with narrators?  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #69: A Perilous Passion by Elizabeth Keysian

Release Date: December 11, 2017
Why it’s my WoW: First off, the cover practically screams ‘read me’. Then there’s the small fact that I love anything spy related. And last but not least, I have a feeling Charlotte and the Earl of Beckport are in for some interesting times.

Miss Charlotte Allston is unwittingly ensnared in a sinister web of traitors and spies when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome stranger on the beach. Fiercely determined to redeem his honor after a humiliating military defeat, the Earl of Beckport is living incognito, hunting a band of smugglers at the center of a French plot to invade England.

The enigmatic Miss Allston instantly becomes a person of interest to the earl...and not just in the smuggling case. Passion flares swift and hot between the two. But when her attempts to help with his secret mission only endanger it, he must question where her loyalty truly lies.

Stunned by the sudden revelation that the woman he is falling for is the daughter of a notorious smuggler, Beckport feels duty-bound to report her. But then Charlotte is captured by the very traitor he's after, forcing the earl to decide between redemption...and love.

What are you lovelies waiting on?