Review: When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

When Sparks Fly 

Helena Hunting 

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.

But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.

Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.

3.5 Stars

Friends to lovers are some of my favorite stories. There is no denying the strength of the friendship between Avery and Declan. You can definitely tell that they are each other’s ride or die. Their friendship has stood the test of time and a few ups and downs along the way. To the average outsider they would be considered not then friends.

When Sparks Fly finds two friends that don’t realize what is right under their noses. It takes a major event for the reality to come to light. Avery is in a major accident and requires a good deal of care. Declan steps up to the plate no question asked. As they discover new things within their friendship, some of their inner flaws show up and take root. Avery and Declan take the leap now they just have to stay a float.

I honestly enjoyed this friends to lovers tale, I do feel there were several parts that seemed to drag on. With that being said, I really liked how Avery and Declan worked through their issues to be able to find their happiness.

Review: The Moonshine Shack Murder by Diane Kelly

 

The Moonshine Shack Murder 

Diane Kelly

Southern Homebrew Mystery Series, Book 1 

Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Berkley Books
In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright–until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new ‘shine shop will be a smashing success. What’s more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store’s doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

The homicide detective can’t seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie’s longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn’t talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

4 Stars

A fantastic new cozy series.

Mystery and humor combined in one. You can’t ask for a better combination and a cozy mystery. The Moonshie Shack Murder is a great start to what I think is going to be an intriguing and humorous cozy mystery series.

Hattie Hayes is carrying on a long family tradition. She’s just doing it the legal way. Hence, The Moonshine Shack! Hattie is thrilled to be sharing her grandpa tradition shine along with her flavorful line of shine. During her grand opening party Hattie believes she has a local pub convinced to sell her shine but later backs out and just a bit later is found dead. On Hattie’s doorstep not less. And with a jar of her shine smashed on the ground next to him. To clear her name and save her reputation before it could even really start Hattie Puts her nose to the grindstone to distill the true culprit.

What a great start to a new series. Diane Kelly definitely has something special with this one. I love the family legacy being revived in a new way. The characters are amazing. Grandpa was a hoot. He was thoroughly entertaining every moment he was on the page. Whether he was strapping himself to his rocking chair or getting rowdy with the young folk he’s a true gem in the story. Hattie is still coming into her own and beginning to let her dreams flourish but she still has a lot to learn. Her determination and tenacity just makes you love her.

A little mystery, a little shine and a dash of romance, that a winner in my book.

Review: Falling for the Girl Next Door by Melissa Schroeder

 

Falling for the Girl Next Door 

Melissa Schroeder

The Fighting Sullivans Series, Book 2

Kindle Edition
Published September 9th 2021

 

 

 

From the USA Today Bestselling author of The Santinis comes a story of another group of military brothers who are about to meet the women who will own their hearts.

Alyx Sullivan finds that opposites attract in the most delightful ways.

My siblings give me crap about being the one with the bad temper. I’m not denying it. I say I make it work for me. Especially with my neighbors. They’ve all stopped making eye contact with me in the elevator, and I like it that way.

Except for Lizbeth.

She’s my next door neighbor, teacher of little people, and all around happy person. She probably wakes up smiling and happy. The first moment we met, I wanted her, but I am not a man made for happily ever afters.

So I’ve been as rude as possible to her, but she just doesn’t care. And with each interaction, it’s harder to resist the need I have for her. She’s wholesome and pretty and I just want to do all kinds of wicked things to her and with her…just EVERYTHING.

And in one moment, I  give into my desires and let’s just say…MIND BLOWN…along with other things.

Only, Lizbeth has a secret she’s been keeping, one that could have deadly consequences.

 

 

 

4 Stars

 Lizbeth is a sweet and charismatic woman. She has an abundance of patience and a sharp mind. That’s the nature of the game when you’re a kindergarten teacher. Lizbeth’s mother had a tradition of turning neighbors into friends and family. When her stubborn but extremely sexy neighbor resists all her tries at friendship she breaks out the big guns. Yet, Lizbeth may be getting more than she is asking for but just what she needs.

Alyx is kind of on the quiet side, is grumpy most of the time and is fine with that. He’s that neighbor that wants to be left alone but when Lizbeth’s Genuine and innocent nature is all over the hallways of their building he can’t help but take notice. The more Alyx tries to resist the more he can’t stop thinking about her. The moment he allows himself to get to know her he knows that he must protect her and that she is the one.

I loved this short read. Perfect for an afternoon escape. Alyx is the kind of grumpy that you can’t help but to swoon over. Lizbeth is sweet and infectious in the best way. Falling for the Girl Next Door Is classic Melissa Schroeder writing. You have characters that are interesting, humor to go along with your story, a little bit of action and quite a bit of heat. Perfect on site read.

 

 

 

 

Review: What the Cat Dragged In by Miranda James

What the Cat Dragged In

Miranda James 

Cat in the Stacks Series, Book 14

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 31st 2021 by Berkley Books

Librarian Charlie Harris and his faithful feline companion, Diesel, have inherited Charlie’s grandfather’s house, along with a deadly legacy: a decades-old crime scene, in this all-new mystery in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Charlie has always believed that his grandfather had sold his house to his longtime tenant, Martin Hale. So when Martin dies, Charlie is surprised to discover the house was not left to Martin but instead belongs to Charlie. As he and Diesel check out the house he remembers fondly from his childhood, he is pleasantly surprised that it is in better condition than expected. That is, until they find a literal skeleton in a closet.

While the sheriff’s department investigates the mysterious remains, Charlie digs deeper into the past for clues to the identity of the bones and why they are there. But the cold case heats up quickly when Martin’s grandson is found dead on the farm.

As Charlie delves into his own family history, he encounters many people who might have been motivated to take a life. But Charlie and Diesel know that things are not always what they seem, and that secrets seemingly lost to time have a way of finding their way back to haunt the present.

4 Stars 

Look What the Cat Dragged In is a thoroughly enjoyable cozy ministry. This was my first adventure with The Cat in the Stacks series and will definitely not be my last. 

Charlie Harris has just gotten some very surprising news. A house and land believed to be long gone from the family has just surprisingly come back to them.  With the ownership of the land reverting back to Charlie it also opens a big mystery along his family lines. The past and the present collide to unravel The mysteries along the family line.  

I really enjoyed getting to know Charlie Harris and his two furry and lovable companions, Diesel and Ramses.  I really enjoyed how Charlie tried to stay out of the mystery but yet kept himself within it.  I love the complex genealogical history that flows through the story allowing the reader to have that much more interest in what was going on. The mysteries piled up but the research and a few hidden family secrets help pave the way to finding the answer.  I love the family connections and the strong friendships that have obviously been well developed through this series. I love that jumping in at book 14 I was able to navigate my way easily through the story and know what was going on. Author Miranda James has a unique talent for writing I thoroughly enjoyable cozy mystery.

Audio Review: Flirt With Me by Kristen Proby

Flirt With Me 

Kristen Proby

The O’Callaghan Series, Book 4,

With ME in Seattle Series, Book 17

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 17th 2021 by Ampersand Publishing, Inc.
Narrated by: Stella Bloom, Connor Crais

From New York Times Bestselling Author Kristen Proby comes an all new novel in her beloved With Me In Seattle Series!

There are two things Maeve O’Callaghan values more than anything else: her family and her career. Being the eldest daughter in a large, close-knit and somewhat chaotic Irish family means spending most of her nights in the family-owned pub, serving drinks and food, always accompanied by a smile. During the day, she’s a superstar real estate agent, selling homes on her beloved island just across Puget Sound from Seattle. She doesn’t have time for much else, and she’s perfectly okay with that.

Enter Hunter Meyers. He’s looking for a new place to call home, somewhere out of the city, and believes life on the island could be just the thing for him and his troubled teenage daughter. While in search of finding the perfect house, his sexy realtor catches his eye, making him feel things he hasn’t in years. But with the added baggage of a surly teen and a past that will never be forgotten, how can he make something permanent with the gorgeous Irishwoman who tempts him like no other?

Maeve isn’t just attracted to Hunter with his killer grin and muscles for days. The teenager that tries so hard to push her away also pulls at her heartstrings. Maeve understands the importance of family, and can see herself making just that with Hunter and his daughter. But when his past comes back to haunt him, will their love be strong enough, or will they be ripped apart forever?

4 Stars

What a story, what a family and what a romance. I loved Maeve and Hunter. 

Maeve is a one of a kind woman. She’s intelligent, has a career she loves and a family she loves even more. Her heart is so big and shines brighter than her personality. She has a very happy and productive life and there’s not much more she could possibly ask for, except for maybe that dream house that she’s had her eye on. That is until a handsome man walks into the family pub and makes her want something she didn’t even know she needed.

Hunter, my goodness I don’t think I have swooned over a man, real or fictional, like I did with him in a very long time. Is a retired MMA fighter and single father with a rebellious teenage daughter. He’s strong, a bit hard headed, totally alpha and willing to do anything to keep his daughter safe. In an effort to pull his daughter from the questionable crowd she is running with, Hunter decides maybe it’s time for a move and the island is calling his name. Little did he know a night of fun flirting in an Irish pub would lead to the same woman who is showing him houses. This move might not only change his daughter’s life for the better but his as well.

Flirt With Me was a fantastic read. I absolutely loved Maeve and Hunter. From their flirtatious beginnings, to the way their chemistry bloomed and how it just fell together and felt so natural. They welcome each other and to their worlds and it fits together like pieces of a puzzle. The Callahan’s are a big Irish family with a lot of love to give. I love how they opened their arms willingly for Hunter and Rachel and how you could feel the love that they had for their daughter.  Even with the trials and tribulations that Hunter and Maeve faced they learned together they are much better than they are apart.

Kristen Proby wrote a magically romantic story and narrators Stella Bloom and Connor Crais performance is spectacular. Together they truly make you feel like you’re right in the story.

Review: Seduced by the Mafia Boss by Shayla Black

 

 

Seduced by the Mafia Boss

Shayla Black 

Forbidden Confessions Series, Book 8

Kindle Edition
Published August 17th 2021
What will he risk to make his one-night stand last forever?

I’m Ridge.
I’m living a lie—except the night I met Kristi.
After hours of sweltering passion, I fell hard.
And I vowed to end my enemies to claim her.
Instead, she ran straight into danger.
So I have to kidnap her.
But she has a surprise for me, too…
Now I’m even more determined to mete out justice so I can spend the next fifty years with her.
Unfortunately, the mafia has a nasty habit of not letting go…

3.5 Stars

Intense, dangerous and riveting. Seduced  by the Mafia Boss is a quick, dark , edge of your seat read.

Ridge is living a dangerous life. Working an undercover job that has his life on the line every day. But one night with one very special person changed everything. Now to finish what he started, wrap it up and go and claim his woman. Sounds like an easy plan however when his gorgeous beauty walks right into the danger zone it changes the nature of the game. 

Kristi was swept off her feet in a way she couldn’t have  even thought possible the night of her best friend’s wedding. Only to wake up alone the next morning. Longing for that mystery man who left her in a blink of an eye.  Weeks later when her cousin comes up missing Kristi finds out just what happened to her mystery man.  Is everything as it seems or is there something much deeper and darker going on around her.

Holy hotness!  I love these forbidden confession stories. Quick intense reads that keep you very much on the edge of your seat. Seduced by the Mafia Boss crosses into one of my secret guilty pleasures zones of mafia romance. Kristi and Ridge have a fast, intense,  on the edge of danger story. They will grab you hard and fast and keep you hanging on right until the very end.

Review: Dawn Unearthed by Carrie Ann Ryan

Dawn Unearthed  Read the rest of this entry

Review: A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

A Good Day for Chardonnay

Darynda Jones 

Sunshine Vicram Series, Book 2 

Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: July 27th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff–and even fuller-time coffee guzzler–Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

4 Stars

 Humor, a few mysteries, fun and a lot of sarcasm. A Good Day for Chardonnay is a jaw dropping, laugh out loud story. 

Sunshine Vicram leads a very busy life. Being a mother to a teenage daughter, the running of her small town,  investigating a cold case murder and trying to piece together a few things from her. She’s got a lot on her plate and that’s just the beginning.  A Good Day for Chardonnay has so many things going on but it keeps the reader that much more intrigued into the book. We start out with a major accident involving Sunshine‘s one true love, Auri Finds herself in the mitts of what could be a serial murder case and teenage love sprouting its roots. There is a lot of growth for both Sunshine and Auri. The back-and-forth between these two it’s truly comical. I love the way they interact and you can tell that the daughter is a chip off of her mother’s shoulders and that they truly do care and love each other.  Sunshine is the type of person that you want to be your friend and it shows in everything she does. From the way she is a mother to the way she cares for others and the way that she feels with every part of her being. Even with several storylines going on I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable book. Even if we readers we’re left with a bit of a cliffhanger.

A Good Day for Chardonnay is classic Darynda Jones in every way. You will laugh, you will feel, and by the end you just may be drowning yourself in coffee or a nice bottle of Chardonnay

Review: Bayou Beauty by Lexi Blake

Bayou Beauty 

Lexi Blake 

Butterfly Bayou Series, Book 4 

Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: July 27th 2021 by Berkley Books

Love returns to Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou in a new small-town contemporary romance sure to charm hearts, from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Sylvie Martine was prepared to take Washington D.C. by storm, but she put that dream on hold when her beloved hometown of Papillon, Louisiana, needed her most. Now Sylvie’s the mayor of the tiny town on the bayou that holds her heart. But for Sylvie, this can only be a pit stop on the way to bigger and better things. The last thing she needs is an old love to resurface and threaten her goals.

Rene Darois’s whole life has been about serving his family–no matter how much it hurts. He’s used to sacrificing for his large extended family and the company his grandfather created. But he can’t believe the latest demand: he needs to find a wife and quick or he could lose it all. It would be a horrible situation. But he has just the solution: his high school sweetheart. Sylvie is everything he wants in a wife–smart, funny, and caring–and he planned to woo her anyway.

Now he just has to convince Sylvie that their love is worth it all, or he and the bayou will lose her forever.

4.5 Stars

There is nothing like a visit to the charming and colorful Butterfly Bayou. Bayou Beauty is a fantastic small town romance.

Sylvie has been crushing on her brothers best friend for as long as she can remember. There was a moment when she thought things may go to something more yet he left her brokenhearted for many years to come. Sylvia is an amazing woman but with a mom like hers how could she not be. She is independent and strong yet caring and just. I don’t think there could be a better mayor for Papillion.

Rene has known two things for a very long time. Number one he’s been groomed to take over the family company. Number two, he has known that Sylvie has been and always will be the woman for him. Many years ago Rene let Sylvie walk away to be able to continue her dreams while he kept his promise to his father and the legacy of their company. When greed infiltrated the family in a way that made Rene have to make some big choices or he could lose the legacy his father created.

Bayou Beauty is a sweet, funny, heartwarming and charming small town romance. Sylvie and Renee have history and that history goes deeper than either one of them realize. It’s a twisted messed up situation and I believe that Sylvie acts like any other woman would when propositioned with a proposal. Renee is truly a genuine and sincere man who is really looking out for his family. Little does anyone know he’s just been waiting for the day that he could truly sweep Sylvie off her feet. I truly enjoyed this sweep you off your feet story. Sylvie and Renee are truly a pair and I love their interactions from the very beginning. It’s always fun to visit the Butterfly Bayou. The secondary characters throughout the story truly help make the book what it is. They are colorful and charismatic and you even have to laugh when ol Ottis shows up. Lexi Blake continues this fabulous Siri‘s filled with laughs, love and some amazing characters that you can’t help to enjoy.

Murder in a Teacup by Vicki Delany

Murder in a Teacup 

Vicki Delany 

Tea by the Sea Mystery Series, Book 2 

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: July 27th 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
National bestselling author Vicki Delany’s delightful Tea by the Sea mystery series continues, as Cape Cod tearoom proprietress and part-time sleuth, Lily Roberts, stirs up trouble when she unwittingly serves one of her grandmother’s B&B guests a deadly cup of tea…

Lily has her work cut out for her when a visit from her grandmother Rose’s dear friend, Sandra McHenry, turns into an unexpected–and unpleasant–McHenry family reunion. The squabbling boils over and soon Tea by the Sea’s serene afternoon service resembles the proverbial tempest in a teapot. Somehow, Lily and her tearoom survive the storm, and Sandra’s bickering brethren finally retreat to Rose’s B & B. But later that evening, a member of their party–harmless Ed French–dies from an apparent poisoning and suddenly Tea by the Sea is both scene and suspect in a murder investigation!

Mercifully, none of the other guests fall ill. They all ate the same food, but Ed insisted on bringing his own special blend of herbal teas. So it seems, amid the whining and dining, someone snuck up to one of Lily’s cherished teapots and fatally spiked Ed’s bespoke brew, but who? Was it Ed’s long-estranged sister-in-law? Did teenage troublemaker Tyler take a prank too far? Or perhaps the family’s feuds have been steeping for longer than anyone realizes? It’s up to Lily, Rose, and their friends to get to the bottom of the poisoned pot and bag the real culprit behind the kettle murder plot.

4 Stars

 I am beginning to adore the Tea by the Sea Series. 

Murder in a Teacup takes us back to the Massachusetts coast line with Lily and grandma Rose for another adventure.  Grandma Rose is visited by family and friends that have insisted that during their stay they must do you High Tea at the Tea by the Sea. The serene setting of the tea room may have just been too much for this group of colorful and distinctive personalities because chaos is on the loose. In the midst of everything one of the visiting parties dies of poisoning putting Tea by the Sea on the map as a suspect. Lily, Grandma Rose and Bernie come together to try to figure out just what is going on in that tea shop.

Vicky Delany is a fantastic storyteller. I love how she is able to combine A very thought-provoking mystery while allowing you to laugh out loud at her characters. She creates a pleasant environment that you just can’t help but to feel cozy in. Not to mention the characters she writes have depth, are funny and at times even remind you of someone in your own life.  I love the duo of Lily and grandma Rose. That is a team that I can’t wait to see what is going to come out of them in future books. As for Murder in a Teacup, this is one that is best to not even try to figure it out but to just sit back and read and go along for the ride. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Delany has in store for future installments in the series.