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Friday, May 28, 2021

Reserved for Murder (Booklovers B&B Mysteries #2) by Victoria Gilbert

Reserved for Murder
(Booklovers B&B Mysteries #2)

by Victoria Gilbert

Hardcover, 336 pages

Expected publication: June 8th 2021 by Crooked Lane Books


More bloodshed at a bibliophiles' bed-and-breakfast as Victoria Gilbert's delightful series continues.

Meeting your favorite author in the flesh can be the chance of a lifetime. But for one unlucky fan, her plum place in line at a book signing will lead to her untimely demise.

Beaufort, North Carolina, is home to Chapters Bed and Breakfast, owned and operated by former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed. This historic 18th-century inn draws in voracious readers from far and wide with its lovingly curated special events celebrating a host of genres and authors.

On this sunny July weekend, a visit by one of the biggest names in romantic fantasy attracts throngs of admirers to the quaint coastal village. That's not ideal, as the author retreated to Chapters to get away from it all for a while. No matter--she'll appease her fans with a "Tea and Talk" meet-and-greet at the B&B celebrating her bestselling series (starring a devilishly dashing, time-traveling pirate), follow that up with a quick book signing at Bookwaves, the hip indie bookstore across town, and spend the remainder of the weekend in delightful repose.

But when the president of the reclusive writer's fan club is found dead in the harbor by the Beaufort docks--done in by a blunt-force blow to the head--it's up to Charlotte Reed, her neighbor Ellen, and Ellen's trusty Yorkshire terrier to sniff out the killer. Because if they can't, a spectacularly successful book series--and its author--may come to a sudden, lethal conclusion.


4.5 stars

This is the second book in the Booklovers B&B mystery series by Victoria Gilbert.

This is a great book. This is one of those tales that is about authors for readers to enjoy. There is an old rivalry between two fan fiction authors in this plot which finds its way into be a big clue into what is really going on with the murder. A mega-popular romantic adventure author comes to Charlotte’s bookstore for an author chat with local fans. Then the president of her fan club is found dead. But all is not what it seems and they have to dig into all the motivations behind what happened in the past that lead to this unfortunate death.

Great story. I loved following this former teacher and her friend the former spy. I also enjoyed the romantic adventure author, Amanda. She would make a great recurring character, I think. I like how this book was structured and the characters all really stood out to me and made me fall in love with the series all over again.

I have to admit that I resonated with this book but I couldn’t recall the previous book in the series. I took a look back, and I read book one a few weeks before my mother passed away last year. A lot of the things back then were a bit more difficult for me. You know the drill, I was just stunned and shocked for a long time. I am afraid I blocked a lot of stuff I truly want to remember more clearly… especially the backstory to the characters in this series. I am definitely going to reread book one in order to cement it into my mind so I am well up on the series when book three comes out.

Highly recommended.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title. Opinions are completely my own.

An Unlikely Spy by Rebecca Starford


An Unlikely Spy

by Rebecca Starford

Kindle Edition, 172 pages

Published February 10th 2021


A twisting, sophisticated World War II novel following a spy who goes undercover as a part of MI5—in chasing the secrets of others, how much will she lose of herself?

Evelyn Varley has always been ambitious and clever. As a girl, she earned a scholarship to a prestigious academy well above her parents’ means, gaining her a best friend from one of England’s wealthiest families. In 1939, with an Oxford degree in hand and war looming, Evelyn finds herself recruited into an elite MI5 counterintelligence unit.

A ruthless secret society seeks an alliance with Germany and, posing as a Nazi sympathizer, Evelyn must build a case to expose their treachery. But as she is drawn deeper into layers of duplicity—perhaps of her own making—some of those closest to her become embroiled in her investigation. With Evelyn’s loyalties placed under extraordinary pressure, she’ll face an impossible choice: save her country or the people who love her. Her decision echoes for years after the war, impacting everyone who thought they knew the real Evelyn Varley.

Beguiling and dark, An Unlikely Spy is a fascinating story of deception and sacrifice, based on the history of real people within the British intelligence community.


3 stars

This book had a bit of a climb uphill with me to start with since it was set in World War II. I have always struggled with reading about this time period. Not sure why. Maybe I had a past life here I disliked.

I felt like this was hard to get into. I didn’t really resonate with the main character and felt like other characters appearing in the beginning would be better people to follow around. But as the story moves forward and you get to know her better, you get an understanding of what she has to bring to a novel like this.

Evelyn was recruited into the infamous MI5 to infiltrate an underground group of Nazi sympathizers. It shows a balance of a woman caught between two lives. This book is really deep as it shows how the life of a spy could completely change the balance of who you are.

The story was indeed interesting since I love everything about the spy game but I kept wanting to put this down and reach for another book that had grabbed my attention. The writing here is good, the story well-plotted but it just missed that It Factor for me.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title. Opinions are completely my own.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

With Scream and Sugar (Vampire Tea Room Magical Mystery #2) by Erin Johnson


With Scream and Sugar

(Vampire Tea Room Magical Mystery #2)

by Erin Johnson 

Kindle Edition, 172 pages

Published February 10th 2021


Welcome to the coziest, vampire-owned tea room in Bath! It’s steeped in magic and mystery.

You’d expect serving afternoon tea to a high-society ladies club to go smoothly, right?

Newbie witch and marketing whiz Minnie Wells thought so. She’s in need of some smooth sailing, considering her plate is full with magic lessons, marketing the tea room, and navigating a divorce during the most romantic time of the year. But the women’s “Galentine’s” Day celebration is thrown into chaos when their event coordinator is stabbed in the back with a pink stiletto.

Now her handsome boss (who Minnie might have a little crush on) is in hot water with the vampire council and the group’s down a guide.

When Minnie’s offered the position for the weekend, she eagerly agrees to show the women around the gorgeous city of Bath. Not only to make some extra cash so she and her black cat can stop crashing on her vampire bestie’s couch, but also because she’ll get an an all-access pass to snoop out the killer and clear her boss’s name.

When another body turns up though, Minnie suspects she may be in over her head!

Will Minnie figure out who’s got it out for these upper class ladies and save her boss from the vampire council’s wrath? Or will the killer tire of Minnie’s meddling, and have a score to kettle?


4.5 stars

This is the second book in the Vampire Tea Room Magical Mystery series by Erin Johnson.

Minnie is back and a new death has come knocking at the door of Fitz’s Butler’s restaurant in Bath. Amanda, a Jane Austen Tour Guide is found murdered outside the restaurant with a stiletto shoe shoved in her back. This murder has consequences for Fitz when he is called to the Vampire Council to plead his case. Too many murders have happened in Fitz’s restaurant  and his sire wants to bring him back to “the nest” due to his insolence. Minnie promises to find the real killer putting herself and her pretty little heck in danger if she doesn’t succeed.

These books are easy to read and very addicting. I look forward to learning more about Minnie, Gus, Fitz and DC Prescott with each book. The characters are more rounded out now and I understand their motivations a little better. Book three is definitely on my must read list.

You cam read this book for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription but I had bought this book via the Kindle store earlier in the year.

No Going Back by Casey Kelleher


No Going Back

by Casey Kelleher 

Kindle Edition, 286 pages

Published April 29th 2021 by Bookouture


A child has been taken. A family is out for revenge.

Riley Cooke is just one day old when he is stolen from the hospital. His young mother, Shelby, is beside herself. DC Lucy Murphy and her team face a race against time to find the vulnerable baby and bring him home – before the child’s grandfather, fearsome gangster Pete Baker, takes matters into his own hands.

Pete is sure he knows who’s behind baby Riley’s abduction, and he thinks they ought to pray Lucy finds them before he does. Because someone is going to pay dearly for causing this much pain to his family.

They say never stand between a gangster and his target. But that’s exactly what Lucy must do – because if Pete is wrong, innocent blood could flow.

A shocking and addictive read that will keep you turning the pages. Fans of Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers and Emma Tallon will love this.


4.5 stars

This is a book in the DC Lucy Murphy series by Casey Kelleher.

I am always a little bit disappointed by this series. I am really interested in DC Lucy Murphy and what is going on with her. I feel like I don’t get enough of that thread and get way more of the mystery and all the new characters it brings.

Don’t misunderstand me. This is an excellent book with a well-plotted story and well-rounded characters, even the new ones that show up for this book only. I just want to connect to the main character more. Plus, I totally didn’t see this possible relationship between her and her co-worker. I was kind of sensing a relationship between her and DI Morgan instead. Kinda threw me for a loop.

This story is basically about a gal who gets her baby stolen from the hospital. There has been a previous attempt to obtain the baby of another pregnant woman but this resulted in the baby being slashed out of her tummy. This is a very intense story and there are trigger warnings for violence and being attacked. 

Definitely an interesting read. You pick sides almost immediately and know that these characters are indeed more into the criminal element than they at first seem. I am putting Casey Kelleher on my must read list for sure.

Read this book for free via my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

In Plain Sight (Arcane Casebook #1) by Dan Willis


In Plain Sight

(Arcane Casebook #1)

by Dan Willis

Kindle Edition, 274 pages

Published December 4th 2018


When a magical plague is released in a Depression-era New York soup kitchen, private detective Alex Lockerby finds himself in a desperate hunt to catch a madman before he can strike again.

His investigations lead Alex to a famous thief, a daring heist, and the search for a mythic book of ancient magic, but none of that brings him any closer to finding the man responsible for the massacre. With the police and New York’s Council of Sorcerers desperate to find the culprit, Alex becomes a suspect himself, thanks to his ties to the priest who ran the soup kitchen.

Now Alex has his book of spells, a pack of matches and four days to find out where the plague came from, or that authorities will hang the crime squarely on him.


5 stars

This is the first book in the Arcane Casebook series by Dan Willis.

Wow, this amazing book will surprise you.

I didn't know what to expect when I opened this book, but what I found inside is an amazing world. This is a world I would like to discover more of. Definitely digging more into this wonderful series.

Read this book for free via my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend's Sister (The Bromance Club #1) by Meghan Quinn


The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend's Sister

(The Bromance Club #1)

by Meghan Quinn 

Kindle Edition, 1st Edition, 344 pages

Published January 3rd 2019 (first published December 22nd 2018)


How do you date your best friend's sister? Easy.

Step one: Pretend you want her to set you up with someone else. That will bring the two of you closer.

Step two: Go on date with lots of random women, proceed to get stupid drunk and talk about your best friend's sister, thus gaining the courage to finally make a move.

Step three: Randomly show up at her apartment and confess your love. Women love that, right?

It all seemed so simple. A fool-proof three step process that will guarantee the love of your life to fall madly in love with you.

At least--that's what I thought was going to happen. But my attempts to win over Julia Westin backfired in more ways than I can count. The thing about Julia? She's smart--really smart--and her wicked gaze cuts through all the charm I've tried slinging her way. She's not interested in games, my gifts, or my stories. She might want me too; but she's not giving in that easy...


4.5 stars

This is the first book in the Bromance Club by Meghan Quinn.

This was a really fun book to read. I was totally charmed by real estate mogul Bram and his attraction to nerdy Julia (Jules).

It took a lot for Julia to finally wake up and see that she was definitely in Bram’s league and he had wanted her since college. I think this love story could have come to pass earlier if Julia had let herself feel her feelings and test out the waters with Bram. Lots of wasted time getting to the good stuff in their lives.

I am always impressed with Meghan Quinn’s stories and look forward to the next one I might pick up.

Read this book for free via my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Castle of Refuge (The Dericott Tales #2) by Melanie Dickerson


Castle of Refuge

(The Dericott Tales #2)

by Melanie Dickerson

Kindle Edition

Expected publication: June 1st 2021


Audrey is a viscount’s daughter who has suffered her sister Maris’s cruel, jealous behavior all her life. An act of malice led their father to send Maris to a convent, but Audrey was still left with scars. Three years later, Audrey’s father is determined to marry off his damaged daughter, and Maris is returning. Desperate, Audrey sneaks away.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, injured, and in dire straits. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, each must make a life-changing decision about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a high-stakes, encouraging tale about the power of love.


4.5 stars

This is the second book in the Dericott Tales series by Melanie Dickerson.

This is one of those slow burn types of stories. We follow along with Audrey and how she is mistreated by her sister and causes her to lose her chance to marry Edwin/Lord Dericott when she is facially burned by falling into the fire after being tripped by her jealous sister.

I really felt for this character and all her struggles. And even though she had these struggles, she maintained her happy disposition and need to want to help others learn how to read which was her true calling.

I totally fell in love with this unique fairytale-like love story which is what Melanie Dickerson does best. I totally recommend any book from this author. Each one is unique, compelling and gives you hope in a possible wonderful future for all of us.

Highly recommended. If you love a fairytale-like or just a true love happily ever after story, definitely check this out.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title. Opinions are completely my own.

Time Stranger by Elyse Douglas


Time Stranger

by Elyse Douglas 

Kindle Edition, 260 pages

Published March 3rd 2021 (first published 2021)


When a Bomb Strikes Single Mom Anne Billings and her young son in 1944 London, Anne is blown through time over half a century into the future. With the help of handsome Dr. Jon Miles, Anne desperately attempts to piece together her identity and return home.

IN 1944 LONDON, Anne Billings is off to meet Ken, a dashing American bomber pilot, when she and her 4-year-old son, Tommy, get caught in an air raid.

Anne clutches Tommy's hand as they run for the nearest shelter. In a terrifying blast, Tommy is swept away and Anne is blown into the air... landing, near death, in New York's Central Park. When she awakens in the hospital, she has no memory. It is 2008.

The handsome Dr. Jon Miles falls for the mysterious Anne, and he attempts to help her as she begins to remember her true identity. When an aggressive CIA agent pursues her, determined to learn the truth, Anne struggles to escape and return to her own country and her own time.. 


5 stars

This book sucks you in and doesn't let go

Completely enjoyed this time travel romance. The author truly brought 1944 London in World War II to life in a genuine and unique way. The story of Anne is so unique that I don't want to give a bit of the plot away so you can enjoy it thoroughly. Anne fell through a rip in time and was transported to 2008 where she spent time in a hospital with no memory. A benefactor came to her aid and their story is a touching testament to the loveliness of this book. Please check it out. 

Read this book for free via my Kindle Unlimited subscription.