Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Peace, Blood, and Understanding by Molly Harper by Molly Harper

Ever since Jane Jameson took over running the Vampire Council for Half-Moon Hollow, things have been a little unorthodox, and that doesn’t sit well with the head office. Who would have thought vampires were so into bureaucracy and tradition?



Enter a vamp from corporate who’s determined to unseat Jane and get the council back on track - which means no more of this Kentucky neighborliness and mixing with humans, werewolves, witches, or anything else.



But Jane’s not interested in going back to the bad old days when the council was mired in corruption and tended to "accidentally" eat people now and again, but she might be in over her head this time. Good thing there’s a pretty new face in town who just might be the perfect distraction and help save Jane’s career.
Series: Half-Moon Hollow #15 | Publisher: Audible Studios | Narrator: Amanda Ronconi | Length: 6 hrs, 50 mins. | Genre: Paranormal Romance | Source: Purchased | Rating: 4.5 Cups



Challenges Read For:  - Literary Pickers  - Tea Tray/Cart
 
Cue happy little Snoopy dance! It’s been a minute since there’s been a new Half-Moon Hollow book, so when I found out Peace, Blood, and Understanding was coming out, I couldn’t contain my excitement.
 
While I like all of Molly Harper’s work, there’s just something about her Jane Jameson/Half-Moon Hollow series that will always be my favorite. When I pick up a new book from this series, it’s just like meeting up with old friends.
 
Here’s what’s going on: Meadow, a vampire on probation, has been doing everything in her power to live a tranquil life. Running her a tea store and working for the Council in their archive department has kept her focused and busy but when a run in with jackass threatens her calm, she’s determined to keep herself far from the attractive, yet arrogant vampire. When Erik Weston, auditor for the Council, shows up in Meadow’s teashop, he doesn’t want to be attracted to the annoying but attractive vampire he ran into when he first came to town. The only thing he has time for is facts and figures—not falling for Meadow.
 
While Meadow seems to reciprocate the feelings, she’s hesitant to start something when Erik is investigating Jane’s leadership and determined to bring Dick down.
 
Did I mention I love this series? This was a bit different from the previous books. While it focused on the romance between two new characters, it also focused heavily on Dick and Jane and the problems they were facing with the council business. I did like that this one had extra layers to it.
 
Erik and Meadow were definitely a chalk and cheese pair; he’s straight laced and facts/figures oriented and she’s what Dick lovingly refers to as ‘Hippy-Dippy’. They’re not the type of couple that works on paper—they’re not even in the same filing cabinet—but that’s what made them such a fun and interesting couple to watch.
 
Jane and Dick had their hands full with the audit and with someone trying to sabotage the council. I had a feeling who was behind it but I second guessed myself a time or two.
 
Like the other books in the series, we get to see what’s going on with the other residents of Half-Moon Hollow and I enjoyed that.
 
As always, Amanda Ronconi nailed this narration.
 
While this is an already established series, this one does read as a standalone.
 
Overall, another great addition to the series. Even though there were a few different threads going on, each were fleshed out and fully developed.






I know some of you have been wondering about the reading order of the Jane Jameson and Half-Moon Hollow books so I thought I would help you out with this reading guide.

 

The Jane Jameson Series (also referred to as the ‘Nice Girls’ series) started it all. It contains four books and this is a complete series. These books work best if you read them in order.

 

1-Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs

2-Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men

3-Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever

4-Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors

 

Then we have the spinoff series, Half-Moon Hollow. These can be read without reading the Jane Jameson/Nice Girls series—although characters from the Jane Jameson series and Jane herself often pop up. Most of these can be read out of order.

 

0.5 Fangs for the Memories (novella) This one actually happens in the middle of Nice Girls Don’t Dead Men—Jane Jameson #2.

1- The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

1.5-Driving Mr. Dead (novella)

2-A Witches Handbook of Kisses and Curses

2.5-Undead Sublet (short story found in the Undead In My Bed anthology)

2.6-I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas (novella) This needs to be read before  The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire

3-The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire

4-The Single Undead Moms Club

5-Where the Wild Things Bite

5.5-Big Vamp of Campus (novella) This needs to be read before The Accidental Sire

6-The Accidental Sire

7-Peace, Blood, and Understanding

Monday, November 11, 2019

Flirting with the Frenemy by Pippa Grant

He's a hot single dad. A military man with abs of steel. My brother's best friend. My biggest enemy. And now my fake date to my best friend's wedding. Disasterville, here we come....


Mission: Survive my best friend's wedding, where I must play nice with my ex and his perfect new girlfriend.

Strategy: Bring the hottest fake boyfriend on the planet.

Target: Grady Rock. Master baker. Dimples. Muscles. The unicorn of fake boyfriends.

Complication: Wyatt Morgan. My brother's best friend. My sworn enemy. Military man. Sexy as hell single dad. The man I let into my panties for one night of hot hate sex after my ex dumped me.

And the man who just scared off that perfect fake boyfriend.

By pretending to be my real boyfriend.

I can roll with this though. What’s the harm in Flirting with the Frenemy if it helps me get the job done?

Complete my mission and move on.

Or so I thought.

Until Wyatt kisses me again and I start feeling things I shouldn't.


The thing about weddings...nothing ever goes as planned.
Series: Bro Code #1 | Publisher: Pippa Grant | Narrators: Erin Mallon, Joe Arden  | Length: 6 hrs, 22 minutes | Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy  | Source: Gifted | Rating: 3.5 Cups
Challenges Read For:  - Literary Pickers:  Socks-  2019 Try Something New : New-to-me Author


I went on a thriller/mystery/horror binge, as one does in October, but I needed something fun and light to clear my mind and that’s just what this one was.

Here’s what’s going on: When Ellie and Wyatt decide to put their feuding on hold to ease each other’s woes it doesn’t go as expected. Now six-months later, they’re accidentally back in each other’s lives and somehow Wyatt’s been mistaken for her boyfriend. As Ellie spends more time with Wyatt and his adorable son, she feels the wall she put up to guard against Wyatt starting to crack. Although when they’re together, Ellie knows the universe is trying to keep them apart.

 

Okay, so I’m not going to lie, it was the Pirate Festival that made me pick up this one. I’m such a sucker for anything pirate related and it added such a fun element to this book.

 
Ellie and Wyatt have a history that goes beyond their feuding. Because of certain events, Ellie believes that they’ll bring doom down upon them if they actually give a relationship a chance. That got a little old and annoying. While I liked Wyatt and the way he cares for his son, it drove me a bit mad the way he constantly tried to pacify Ellie.
 

I enjoyed that this was dual narration. While I enjoyed Joe Arden from the start, Erin Mallon took a minute or two to get used to as she seemed a bit whiney at times.



Overall, This book was a little out there in everything that happened but it worked. It wasn’t one of the best that I’ve read but it was a fun listen. While this was the book I needed at the time,  I’m not sure if I’ll be picking up the other books in the series.  


Friday, November 8, 2019

#HoHoHoRAT Book Bingo Challenge

Hello Lovelies,

 

I’m so excited to be an elf for the Seventh Annual #HoHoHoRAT. If you don’t know what the HoHoHoRAT is let me introduce you to this Wintery readathon hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer.

 

#HoHoHoRAT will beginning at 12:01 am Friday, November 8th and end Sunday November 17th at 11:59 pm in your time zone. The goal is to read/listen to as many Winter and/or Holiday themed books as you can in any genre.

  

When sharing your progress on Twitter or Instagram, don’t forget to use the #HoHoHoRAT hashtag.
 
Now…on to #HoHoHoRAT Book Bingo Challenge

 

It’s time to scour your shelves, e-readers, and audiobook collections for titles that coordinate with the bingo prompts.  Any type of bingo counts: horizontal, diagonal, vertical, or postage stamp. Or go wild and fill the entire card! The choice is yours.
 



 

Baby’s It’s Cold Outside—Snowed in/Snowstorm
Last Christmas— a Holiday/Winter read that's been in your TBR pile for a year or more
Step into Christmas—A book with Christmas in the title
Winter Wonderland—A book with a Snowy Cover
Free Space— Book of your Choice
Merry Christmas Baby—Christmas/Holiday Romance
Audle Lang Syne—New Year Read (New Year’s Eve is featured somewhere in the book or title or a Winter-themed read released in January)
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree—A book with Mistletoe in the title

The Bells of St. Paul—book set in Britain (England, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland)


To enter, you must be signed up for the HoHoHo Readathon. Please leave your answers to the bingo prompts in either the comment section below or post a link to your own post in the comment section below.





Baby’s It’s Cold Outside—Snowed in/Snowstorm


Last Christmas— a Holiday/Winter read that's been in your TBR pile for a year or more



Step into Christmas—A book with Christmas in the title


Winter Wonderland—A book with a Snowy Cover


Free Space— Book of your Choice



Merry Christmas Baby—Christmas/Holiday Romance


Audle Lang Syne—New Year Read (New Year’s Eve is featured somewhere in the book or title or a Winter-themed read released in January)



Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree—A book with Mistletoe in the title


The Bells of St. Paul—book set in Britain (England, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland)








I thought that I’d make this challenge a bit more cozy and make each prompt a song title! Below you will find YouTube links to each song!

 



Terms and conditions: One lucky winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter to win a $10 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open international and runs from October 10, 2019 to October 16, 2019. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Must be 13 or older to enter or have your parents/guardians permission. More information can be found in my Terms and Conditions.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, November 4, 2019

Shifter Made by Jennifer Ashley





Alanna, sister to a Fae prince, is sent on a thankless mission--to return to medieval Ireland and coerce a Shifter to craft an incredible sword. Niall O’Connell, master sword maker of the old Kingdom of Ciarrai, hates Fae, resenting the time when Shifters were little better than Fae slaves. But Alanna's heartbreaking story and her beauty are difficult to resist. Together, she and Niall forge a sword that changes Shifter history, at the same time forging an unbreakable bond between their hearts.

Series: Shifter's Unbound #0.5 | Publisher: JA / AG Publishing
 Genre: Paranormal  | Source:  Purchased | Rating: 4.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Literary Pickers : | FraterfestRAT
 
I’ve had this one sitting on my Kindle since 2015 so I thought FraterFestRat would be the perfect excuse to dive into it.

 

Here’s what’s going on: When a Fae comes seeking out Niall, he’s determined to get rid of her before she can cause harm to his kind. Although when he discovers that Alanna’s brother, the Fae Prince, has had his cubs kidnapped so Niall will do his bidding and forge a special sword, Niall’s reluctant yet willing to do so to get back his cubs. As Niall and Alanna work side-by-side forging the sword, they find themselves growing closer. Will their bond endure or will the sword be used against Niall and his kind?

 

The Shifter’s Unbound Series is one of my favorite shifter/paranormal series and it was nice to go back to the beginning to see the origin of the Sword of the Guardian.

 

Yes, this one was short and a bit insta-love/lust but it worked. I often find that I don’t mind the whole insta-love/lust thing if it’s a paranormal romance. I would have liked to have seen a bit more after everything was said and done yet I still enjoyed this one.

 

Overall, it was a quick read but one that I enjoyed. If you’ve only read the full length books in the Shifter’s Unbound Series, I highly recommend picking this one up and checking out the other novellas.




Shifters Unbound Series

Shifter Made #0.5 novella 
Pride Mates #1
Primal Bonds #2
Bodyguard #2.5 novella
Wild Cat #3 
Hard Mated #3.5 novella
Mate Claimed #4 
Perfect Mate  #4.5 novella
Lone Wolf  #4.6 novella
Tiger Magic #5 
Feral Heat  #5.5  novella
Wild Wolf  #6
Bear Attraction #6.5 novella
Mate Bond #7 
Lion Eyes #7.25 novella
Bad Wolf #7.5 novella
Wild Things #7.75 novella
Guardian's Mate #9 
Red Wolf  #10
Midnight Wolf  #11
Tiger Striped #11.5 novella

Friday, November 1, 2019

Mail Order Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Jackson Reid is a man fully in control of his world, and his ranch. But when a past one-night stand shows up without warning and leaves him holding a baby, his whole life is turned upside down. He’s in over his head, and he has one solution: a nanny. But when he picks Savannah Sturm up from the airport, he finds that she’s so much more than the “plain and tall” woman she described herself as…


With one glance, Savannah’s new boss makes her feel more than her cheating ex ever did. Jackson insists he can’t do relationships, especially now that his priority is baby Lily. But his “no strings, just sex” offer is irresistible. And as raw desire gives way to something far deeper, maybe it’s Jackson’s turn to learn how right being wrong can feel…


Series: Gold Valley #1.5  | Publisher: HQN |  Genre: Contemporary Romance  | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 3.5 Cups



Challenges Read For:  - Bad Boys of RomanceBlogger Shame -



I’ve been reading a lot of horror and mystery/thriller books as of late and I needed something light as a refresher. I know I’m going to have a good time when I pick up something by Maisey Yates and this one was no exception.

 

Here’s what’s going on. Jackson’s been content with a series of one-night stands until it finally catches up with him. Now he’s a single father of a bouncing baby girl. Knowing he needs help, he hires a nanny. Savannah’s looking for a new start far away from her ex-husband and the town that adores him so becoming a nanny is the perfect escape. Although she never thought that Jackson would make her feel things she never felt before and Jackson never imagined he’d be able to fall for just one woman.

 

So, I’ve had this one for a bit. Apparently, I received it for then forgot about it. Sadly, that happens from time to time. I found it when I was cleaning up my Kindle and it was the perfect time to read it.

 

I really liked Jackson and Savannah. They both had problems they needed to overcome: thanks to her husband, Savannah believes she’s ‘frigid’ in the bedroom and Jackson has abandonment issues, which has caused him to be afraid of settling down.

 

Overall, this one was enjoyable but there could have been more to it. I would have liked to see more about their relationship and more interaction with baby. I don’t think it was as fleshed out as it could have been.



Thursday, October 31, 2019

Penhale Wood by Julia Thomas

If it's the last thing she ever does, Iris will find Sophie's killer and make her pay.

On a cold December night in Cornwall, nanny Karen Peterson disappeared with three-year-old Sophie Flynn. The next day, the child's body was found on a riverbank in Penhale Wood.


A year later, Sophie's mother, Iris Flynn, appears on the doorstep of investigating officer Rob McIntyre, determined to make him reopen her daughter's case. McIntyre has his own personal demons, but Iris hijacks his life in order to find the woman she thinks is responsible for Sophie's death. Following the slimmest of leads, they are soon confronting ghosts from the past and a chameleon-like killer who will do anything to stay hidden.
Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Ana Clements | Length: 8 Hours, 17 Minutes  | Genre: Contemporary Thriller/Mystery | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups


Challenges Read For:  - 2019 Try Something New: New-to-me Author
 
I wasn’t sure what to expect with one as I had hadn’t heard about the book or the author. I took a chance and found this one to be a gripping mystery.
 
Here’s what’s going on. A year after her daughter’s murder, Iris Flynn is back in the U.K. and determined to find her child’s killer. Unrelenting in her pursuit, she’ll do everything in her power to force Rob McIntyre to reopen the case. Rob has his own problems; a relationship that crumbled, a life nowhere near what he imagined, and a case he hasn’t been able to solve. He knows he doesn’t need Iris in his life but when they stumble upon a new lead, there’s no way he can let Iris down or let Sophie’s killer go free.
 
This one was a bit different from the normal mysteries that I’ve been reading. Yes, it was mystery, a solid one at that, but there was a different layer to this one. It was also about the characters discovering who they were and what they wanted.
 
My heart hurt for Iris. She’s lost a child, she has a husband who never really cared about anything but himself, she’s estranged from her mother and siblings, and she’s been living a Gypsy life for so many years she not sure what it’s like to establish roots. She had to leave her two remaining children behind in Australia to return to the U.K. in order to press the police into reopening her daughter’s case. She failed Sophie before and she’s determined not to fail her again.
 
Rob, while he has his work life under control, his personal life is in a bit of a tailspin. He’s attempting to get over his breakup but there’s a part of him that’s holding on to his ex, and that was a bit trying at times given his ex could care less. He’s also seeing the life his brother has and wanting that sense of family. While he’s reluctant to let Iris in, there’s something about her that makes him want to protect her. He’s also ready to tear everything apart in order to find her daughter’s killer.
 
While I liked both Rob and Iris, they both had their flaws. I couldn’t understand why Iris was so willing to stay with a worthless husband or why she made her kids live a vagabond life. Rob was an arse at the start. He was constantly going on about the woman who left him and how inconvenienced he was at having to tote Iris around. Thankfully, his character did a 180 and I ended up liking him. They both needed each other to heal and to become whole. While there was no cheating, there was definitely a bond that was formed between them and it changed both of their lives for the better.
 
The mystery in this one isn’t going to be for everybody. It was a heavier mystery yet not gruesome. There were things that I questioned such as why a mother would agree to bring a woman into their home that she didn’t know and why would she let her young children go with this woman. I also questioned some of the policing in this one. Like why wasn’t CCTV consulted as soon as the nanny vanished? Why did it take a year for visas to be checked out?
 
Even though the murderer was known from the start of the book, this was one twisty mystery. There were a few things that I had figured out early on yet some of the others caught me off guard. There were also a few questions I had that were either partially answered or unanswered.
 
This was my first time listening to Ana Clements and I found her to be enjoyable. She was brilliant with the narrations and bringing the characters to life. While I did enjoy her narration, I think this one should have had a male narrator as well. I think I’ve just grown accustomed to dual narration and miss it when it’s not there.
 
Overall, I do wish that some of the aspects would have been expanded on a bit and the ending could have been little lengthier but it was still a brilliant mystery. If you’re a fan of British crime dramas/mysteries you’ll want to pick this one up.




Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.
 
To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn't hers, left on the page of an old diary: "Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me."
 
Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?
 
Publisher: HMH | Genre: Gothic Mystery/Thriller | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3 Cups

How could I resist a gothic novel where the character’s favorite horror story is played out right in front of her?
 
Since her divorce, Clare Cassidy has focused her attention on two things: her daughter and the life and work of Gothic writer R.M. Holland. When her best friend, and fellow teacher, is murdered and a quote from Holland’s horror story, The Stranger is found next to her body, Clare becomes a person of interest. Although things take an alarming turn when Clare discovers someone, possibly the killer, has been writing in her journal. As events play out, Clare starts to realize that her favorite horror story is coming to life.
 
This one arrived, unexpectedly, a few months ago and I immediately added it to my FraterFeastRAT pile. I picked this one up the second day of the readathon and, I have to say, I was a bit surprised at how hard I struggled to get into the book. I was a good 30-40 pages in before this one caught my interest, which I found a bit odd because Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway mysteries hook me from the start.
 
The book is told from three different POVs. We have Clare, the teacher, who is sorting out her life after her divorce. She’s thrown a good amount of her time researching the life of R.M. Holland almost to the point she’s obsessed with this man. Clare’s not unlikable but I found her a bit hard to warm up to and I think that’s because there’s two parts to her: the reserved one she shows the world and the, I think, real part of herself, which she shares only with her diary.
 
Then there’s Georgia, Clare’s fifteen-year-old daughter, who is dating an older guy. She’s dabbling in a few secretive things that her mother doesn’t know about and trying to figure out her own path. I found Georgia to be a bit odd. She would say or do something then follow it with an internal thought, “that’s how a normal teenager would act” or “that’s what a normal teenager would do”. It was almost as if she was playing the part of a teenager rather than being one.
 
Finally, we round out the book with DS Harbinder Kaur, the lead investigator. She’s very judgmental towards Clare from the start due to Clare’s ‘upper crust’ style of clothing and the way she presents herself. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Harbinder, but as the book progressed, she became my favorite. It almost seemed that her story was a bit more layered than Clare’s and Georgia’s.
 
There’s a few mysteries going on. The first is the brutal murder of Ella, Clare’s best friend and fellow teacher, which happens to follow the murder in the (fictional) story The Stranger, wrote by the (fictional) gothic author R.M. Holland. Because Clare has studied Holland and The Stranger so closely, she immediately becomes suspect number one. Then we have the ‘Holland’ mysteries. There’s the mysterious death of his wife—did she trip or was she murdered? There’s also the mystery of whether or not Holland had a daughter. If he did have a daughter, what happened to her?
 
All of those threads are strung throughout the book; sadly, not all are handled with the same care. It irritated me because the author spent so much time crafting this fictional horror story and life of the author just to have it fall by the wayside because the ending and the reasoning came out of left field. I needed more from the ending or rather the reasoning.
 
While this has gothic elements, it almost seems like it’s a modern police procedural masquerading as a gothic novel, which is often the case of modern gothic mysteries. Having read the Ruth Galloway mysteries, which I feel is heavy on the modern gothic vibe; I was a little letdown by this one.
 
Overall, when I finally got into the book I like the story but the ending ruined the book for me. It left me disappointed as it felt like the author was running out of steam and just picked a random reason.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses Hallmark Movie and Mini Book Review

Hello Lovelies,


I hope you’re all doing well! If, like me, you missed the original airing of Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses on Hallmark (sadly, my DVR failed to record it) I wanted to let you know that Hallmark is re-airing the show on October 31st at 8 PM Eastern. If you’re unable to catch it then, here’s the complete listing of showtimes (please note, the times are Eastern)


If you’d like to purchase the DVD, it’s a Wal-Mart exclusive, at the moment it’s currently sold out but you can sign up for in stock alerts HERE.

 

Here’s more about the show:

Weeks before Christmas, Abbey is hired to decorate the estate of businessman Nick. She must break down the wall between her and Nick, all while keeping the holiday spirit alive. Starring Jill Wagner, Matthew Davis, and Donna Mills.



Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Publisher: Forever | Rating: 4 Cups
 
Christmas magic happens when a family focused single mom meets a work-driven man determined not to let love in.
 
When single mom Abbey gets her chance to fulfill her dream of becoming an interior decorator, she jumps at the chance. The only hitch in her plan is that she’s falling for Nick, the handsome, broody, and somewhat reclusive millionaire. While Nick’s always been work-driven, he finds himself falling for Abbey and her son as they decorate his home. Will Nick allow himself to fall for Abbey or will the next work deal be too tempting to refuse.
 
While this one had a few flaws, it’s still one of my favorite Christmas romances. Abbey and Nick were two very different characters, which made this book so much more interesting.
 
If you like sweet heroines and gruff, broody heroes, this book’s for you.