Category Archives: ARC

Review: Strawberried Alive by Jenn McKinlay

Strawberried Alive 

Jenn McKInlay 

Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series, Book 14

Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2022 by Berkley Books
The crew from the Fairy Tale Cupcakes shop risks getting burned when they set out to find a murderer who is terrorizing their town

Life is smooth as buttercream at the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery, and newlyweds Mel and Joe are stopping to smell the flours. But things start to crumble one night when an unknown gunman takes a shot at Mel. Though the bullets miss their mark, the cupcake crew goes on high alert to figure out who would want to kill a small-town baker, and why.

When more business owners are attacked, things turn fatal, and locals begin to wonder if the killer could be one of their own. Every shop owner in town starts to fear it’s only a matter of time before they too become victims of the mystery murderer. Despite the cupcake crew’s superb baking skills, it will be anything but a piece of cake to catch the killer, as they try to prevent anyone else from being berried.

4.5 Stars
Mel is having one of those weeks so the cupcake levels are high. A bridezilla with last minute changes to cupcakes all but ready to go and after the long hours Fixing the last-minute changes to the cupcakes as Mel is heading home, shots are fired in the alley behind the bakery. Now Mel is looking over her shoulder, another shop owner thinks Mel is at the center of the crime. With neighboring shops turning against her and shooter on the loose, Mel goes into hiding but keeps her eye on all that’s going on to get to the bottom of this cupcake caper.
Strawberried Alive Is a fantastic dive back into the world of the Fairytale Cupcakes crew. There is so much emotion going through this book. Everyone is worried and before they can figure anything else more events keep happening. Angie can’t stand that she can’t help her best friend, Mel doesn’t understand why the town is against her and her bakery and why someone would be shooting at her. Jenn McKinlay did a fantastic job with keeping me glued to the page. Strawberried Alive was a one sit read for me. I could not put it down. It’s always fun to visit with Mel, Angie Tate, Oz and the gang. I love how they come together no matter what is going on. Although I have come to realize it’s very hard to keep a secret that involves anything to do with the Fairytale Cupcake Bakery.

Review: A Margin for Murder by Lauren Elliott

A Margin for Murder 

Lauren Elliott 

Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series, Book 8

Kindle Edition, ‎, 304 pages
Published April 26th 2022
In the riveting new mystery from the USA Today bestselling author, a murder and a missing first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses send rare bookstore owner Addie Greyborne on an investigation to challenge even the most distinguished of bibliophiles…

Addie leaves her Greyborne Harbor bookstore, Beyond the Page Books and Curios, in the capable hands of her assistant while she travels to the neighboring town of Pen Hollow to attend a book sale at a library that is closing due to lack of funding. But the real find is a bookmobile bus, which she’s excited to refit as a traveling bookstore to hit all the summer festivals. The bookmobile also holds a surprising treasure: several classic first editions and an early edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.

But before the bookmobile can be delivered to Addie, a fatal car crash occurs. When an autopsy reveals poison in the victim’s system and the first editions go missing, it’s up to Addie to determine what would drive someone to murder. If she’s not careful, however, she may be the next one to be dead on arrival…

4 Stars

Addie and Paige are on a simple trip to purchase books from a library sale in a neighboring town. What should be a fun and simple visit to get some new things for the bookstore turns into a complicated mess that no one saw coming. They find some books, obtain a few pieces of furniture and are now the new owners of a bookmobile. The glory is only celebrated for moments when they should be receiving the bookmobile that they just purchased, the said vehicle is involved in a murder. A murder that has Addie and Paige as the number one suspects. With not being allowed to leave town and a police chief that doesn’t seem to want to look any further for suspects, Addie can’t help to do what she does and get to the bottom of this even if no one else wants to look in any other direction.

Lauren Elliot has a way of keeping you guessing and laughing throughout the entire story. That was no different with A Margin for Murder. This story is well plotted with plenty of clues dropped here and there to keep you guessing all along the way. Addie goes through A roller coaster of emotions throughout the story. Not only is she dealing with being a murder suspect and a wrecked bookmobile that she’s owned for an hour, Addie should be celebrating her birthday. Even with all of the emotions going on, Addie does what she does best and gets to the bottom of this mystery. I very much enjoyed this read and I very much look forward to seeing what happens to Addie in the future.

 

Review: That Cowboy of Mine by Donna Grant

That Cowboy of Mine 

Donna Grant 

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 26th 2022 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Is he an enemy?

Dillon Young is proud that she inherited her aunt’s ranch. The problem: someone is trying to run her off and is willing to do whatever it takes. Strange, dangerous things keep happening. Dillion suspects her no-good neighbor and fellow wealthy rancher Hank Stephens. Never a man to get his hands dirty, he sends others to get the job done. So, when the irresistible Cal Bennett is found passed out drunk on her property, Dillion is on high alert. Until someone takes a shot at her and Cal springs to her rescue. When the hard-bodied, no-nonsense-talking cowboy points out that she may need some help, Dillion is inclined to reluctantly agree.

Or a lover?

Waking up on a stranger’s property with a shotgun in his face is not Cal Bennett’s idea of a good time. Never mind that the woman on the other end of the barrel is one of the most fiercely beautiful women he has ever seen. Things get more interesting when he finds himself shielding her from flying bullets. It’s clear that this smart, savvy woman could use a hand and he is all too happy to lend any part of his body she requires. His proposal: pose as lovers until they find out who is after her ranch. As the danger rises and secrets are revealed, the passion explodes between them. There is no turning back.

4 Stars

Was it a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or being in the right place at just the right time? That Cowboy of Mine starts with one of those moments and keeps on edge until the end. 

Dillon has inherited her late aunt’s ranch and is bound and determined to keep it up and running. Even with the mishaps that are happening that no one can seem to explain. When a stranger turns up on her land, her prized horse is missing and someone fires shots at her,  things just got way more serious than a mishap. 

Cal turns up on Dillon’s land after a night of hard-core drinking with no knowledge of how he got there. To be awakened by her holding a shotgun aimed at him,  then moments later saving that same woman from being shot herself raises questions. Cal is not only determined to prove that he had nothing to do with the disappearance of her horse but yet protect her and figure out who is threatening her life.

Donna Grant delivers an action packed, engaging and suspenseful read with That Cowboy of Mine.  I really liked the story. The cowboy who has come to the realization that his rodeo days are over and the woman bound and determined to keep her ranch running. This is a slow burn romance. They definitely have chemistry and when Dillon and Cal allow themselves to connect they are explosive. I love the determination, the suspense kept me thinking and that slow burn romance kept me rooting for both of them. Donna Grant gives us another fantastic standalone cowboy read.

 

Review: ‘TIl Death by Carol J. Perry

‘Til Death 

Carol J. Perry

A Witch City Mystery Series, Book 12

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 26th 2022
The staff at Salem, Massachusetts’s local station, WICH-TV, is looking forward to the wedding of their program director, Lee Barrett. But when Lee heads off on her Maine honeymoon, she’ll be haunted by the ghosts of her own past . . .

Lee and Detective Sergeant Pete Mondello are finally tying the knot—and Lee is tying up loose ends before the big day. It’ll be an adjustment moving out of Aunt Ibby’s house, but the couple will stay nearby—after all, they have to share custody of O’Ryan, their clairvoyant cat. And Aunt Ibby will be renting out Lee’s old apartment . . . though she’s getting some bad vibes from her current prospective tenant.

After the celebration, complete with a cake made by the station magician, there should be time to relax—but the Maine island happens to be near the site of the crash that long ago killed Lee’s parents, a mystery she’s never been able to solve. Soon she’ll be putting wedding gifts aside and turning to her psychic gifts instead, to wrap up crimes both past and present . . .

4 Stars

This is my first experience with the Witch City Mystery Series and I so wish I would have discovered it before now.  ‘Til Death was a fantastic, edge of your seat and engaging cozy Mystery.

Lee is a local program director for Salem’s WICH-TV network. She loves her job and is very good at what she does. She has worked her way up from almost the bottom and has made a wonderful name for herself. In this installment of the series, Lee Is about to marry the local detective and her love Pete. With the plans of a honeymoon to be more like a road trip finishing up the last minute things for the station is all she wants to get done.  Parts of Lee’s past and family show up in the story. Making her honeymoon into an info gathering adventure while celebrating her marriage. Not everything goes as planned and some family secrets are unearthed.  

Oh I absolutely love this story.  From the concept of the series to the themes that are sprinkled all throughout the book and a strong woman who is bound and determined to figure out something that has happened in her past. Carol Perry Has created a fan of me with just one book and that’s the 12th book in the series.  ‘Til Death ‘is the 12th book in the series but even A newbie like me was able to catch on quickly and enjoy this very intriguing tale. Also making me want to go back and start at the beginning of the series and see how we ended up where we are at now.

Shadow Fallen by Sherrilyn (Kenyon) McQueen

Shadow Fallen 

Sherrilyn (Kenyon) McQueen 

Dream Hunters #6

Dark Hunters 

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 12th 2022 by Tor Books

 

New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon returns with Shadow Fallen, a brand-new entry in her Dream-Hunter series.

For centuries, Ariel has fought the forces of evil. Her task was to protect the souls of innocent mortals when they die. Captured by a powerful sorceress, she is transformed into a human who has no memory of her real life or calling.

And is plunked into the middle of the Norman invasion of England.

Cursed the moment he was born with a “demonic deformity,” Valteri wants nothing of this earth except to depart it and will do his duty to his king until then. When a strange noblewoman is brought before him, Valteri realizes he has met her before…in his dreams. When others come for her, bringing with them preternatural predators, he is faced with a destiny he had no idea was waiting. One he wants no part of.

The truth is that Valteri isn’t just a knight of William the Conqueror. He is the son of one of the deadliest powers in existence, and if he doesn’t restore Ariel to her place, she is not the only one who will be in peril. The world itself hangs in the balance, and he is the necessary key to hold back the powers of evil. But only if he can find a way to work with the woman who stands for everything in the universe he hates.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Sherrilyn is back 

 

Fallen Shadow marks a comeback with everything that I have come to love from Sherrilyn’s writing. 

 

In a medieval setting, the Battle of good and evil continues.  Valteri has known nothing from life other than sorrow, pain and battle. Born with different color eyes made him an outcast from the beginning. Some say he was evil, others say he was a demon and some call him as a son of the devil himself. He is brother to the king and undefeated in war. A hardened man who is whispered about behind his back does nothing to change what people think of him. Knowing nothing of the good side of life, the Temptations of a beautiful woman make Valteri think quite differently than he normally does.

 

Ariel has been a part of the battle of good and evil for as long as she knows. Her job is to collect the souls of the dying on the battlefield for the unknown war of good and evil that’s going on. Ariel finds herself bound to the earth knowing nothing of who she is and with a curse because of the grief of a mother’s loss. Not knowing who or what she is Ariel stumbles onto the lands of a feared man but yet she embraces him. Sewing is not something Ariel knows but skill with a sword can’t be denied. Ariel is about to embark on something she’s never known but yet can’t seem to say no to.

 

As a long time fan I am very excited to see this wonderful author back in action. From beginning to end this book is classic Sherrilyn everything!  Ariel and Valteri are perfect for each other. From the moment they met to the interactions they had there was no lack of chemistry whatsoever. I love the way they talked and interacted with each other. Whether it be funny, protective or sensual they seem so in tune to each other and just wanted the best for one another. A broken hero and a kick butt angelic woman find their happily ever after. 

I know some will  complain that this is not one of the big name characters that long time fans have been very patiently waiting for. However when a series is this long and has this many characters sometimes we have to be patient longer than we would like. Some wonderful bits of information are discovered within the pages Shadow Fallen And have some nice foreshadowing for one of those big names that we have been waiting for.  And we even get treated with an appearance from one of the all-time favorite dark hunters. I very much enjoy the book and look forward to the things to come within the Dream Hunter/ Dark Hunter world. 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Three Shots to the Wind by Sherry Harris

 

Three Shots to the Wind

Sherry Harris 

Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series, Book 3

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 29th 2022 by Kensington

Chloe’s Windy City ex-fiancé gets blown away in the Florida panhandle . . .

DEAD EXES TELL NO TALES

Saloon owner Chloe Jackson appears to have a secret admirer. She’s pouring drinks at the Sea Glass Saloon in Emerald Cove when an airplane flies by above the beach with a banner reading I LOVE YOU CHLOE JACKSON. She immediately rules out Rip Barnett. They are in the early stages of dating and no one has said the L word. Then a bouquet of lilacs—her favorite flower—is delivered to the bar, followed by an expensive bottle of her favorite sparkling wine. It couldn’t be . . .

Sure enough, her ex-fiancé from Chicago has flown down to Florida for an accountants’ convention. But is he trying to mix business with pleasure and win her back? Unfortunately he’s not in a hotel conference room, he’s floating facedown in the lake next to her house, clutching a photo of Chloe. Who murders an accountant on a business trip—it just doesn’t add up. When Rip becomes the prime suspect, Chloe is determined to find the secret murderer. But if she isn’t careful, it may be closing time and lights out for her .

4 Stars

I love this beach saloon!!
Chloe Jackson is a part-time waitress, learning to be a bartender and part owner of the most popular little beach saloon in Emerald Cove, Florida. As we begin our tale, Chloe is having one of those days. It’s one of those days where it just gets more strange as the day goes along. On what should be a relaxing run Chloe stumbles upon the local deputy investigating the murder. For me to add on to the strange events of her day it’s Chloe‘s ex fiancé who is found dead.
This is a fantastic story. Sherry Harris gave us a Mystery that kept us on the edge of our seat. The moral of the story is don’t judge a book by its cover and Chloe found out that her ex was not the man whom she thought he was. This mystery has fingers pointing at the man Chloe is currently dating but she knows he had no hand in it. As a mystery unfolds I became more and more engrossed in the story. It’s a great story with lots of humor and a fantastic Mystery woven in.

Review: Evernight Unleashed by Carrie Ann Ryan

Evernight Unleashed 

Carrie Ann Ryan 

Ravenwood Coven Series, Book 3

ebook
Published March 15th 2022
In the dramatic conclusion to the Ravenwood Coven series by NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan, this sleeping magical paranormal town knows that war can be a beginning…and an ending.
Rowen Ravenwood is the final witch of her line—the only one standing in the way of Oriel, the dark necromancer who wants the core of the town’s magic for his own. With each passing battle and loss, Rowen is one step closer to losing it all if she doesn’t rely on the one man she refuses to love again. Only this time she might not have a choice when family secrets come to light.
Ash Christopher’s family curse hit him harder than anyone knows. He’s cool, relentless, and only feels what he needs to in order to survive. He’s gained everything in power and lost all else to his ambition—including Rowen. After all, a man cannot have a soul mate when he does not possess a soul.
The town of Ravenwood is dying and as the final battles come to pass, it will take the courage of a coven reborn, a mating bond broken, and a love worth fighting for in order to save all before it is lost.\
4 Stars

Ash and Rowen, swoon my heart. Their road was a crazy one but they made the magic happen in the end.

Overnight Unleashed Is the epic conclusion Ravenwood Coven Series and the couple that I have been most eager for. Rowen is the last of her line and an original family of Raven Wood. Rowen is tied to the Town in ways deeper than even she knows. With each battle she loses a bit herself, also taking away the protection of the town. Rowen has strength beyond measure yet one of the things she wants the most she can’t have even though it crosses her path on a regular basis.

Ash I just found the love of his life and bonded in a way that he knew was forever only to have the curse hit him harder than anyone in the family. He’s become a cool and relentless man who doesn’t feel remorse, he is only out for gain. As a town begins to fall, Ash takes measures, putting himself in the line of danger hopefully, to succeed and helping save his family in town. Not to mention his soulmate.

I absolutely loved this conclusion. Evernight Unleashed is emotional, magical and action packed. Rowen and Ash have some serious history. There is so much emotion between the two of them that it’s hard to describe but you know that they belong together and even when Ash is having some of his moments you know that they were meant to be together. Carrie Ann Ryan keeps readers on the edge of their seats with a fast paced, action packed and quite steamy romance. Although I am sad to see this series end, I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I have spent with The Ravenwood Coven.

 

 

Review: The Man from Sanctum by Lexi Blake

The Man from Sanctu

Lexi Blake 

Masters & Mercenaries: Reloaded Series, Book 3

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 373 pages
Published March 8th, 2022, by DLZ Entertainment, LLC
A painful past

Deke Murphy and Maddie Hall should never have worked as a couple in high school. She was the class valedictorian and he the jock who took nothing seriously…except her. Together they formed an amazing team, and young love blossomed into something that strengthened them both. Until tragedy struck and Deke made a sacrifice that split them up forever.

An unexpected reunion

Seventeen years later, Maddie is living her dream working for a brilliant tech guru in the beauty of Southern California. She’s made a life for herself and it’s first class all the way. She rarely thinks of the jock who dumped her all those years ago. But when Maddie realizes her boss might be part of an international conspiracy, she can’t deny Deke might be her best bet to solve the mystery. Her one-time sweetheart works for one of the world’s premiere security and investigative firms. She’ll hire him and prove to herself their relationship could never have worked.

A dangerous future

As Maddie and Deke begin to uncover her boss’s secrets, they can’t deny the chemistry that has reignited. But before they can explore the connection growing between them, they must survive the deadly forces hunting them down.

4.5 Stars
A second chance at romance, intense suspense, jaw dropping moments ……The Man from Sanctum is classic Lexi Blake!
Deke thought he did the right thing by Breaking ties and sending the love of his life on to fulfill her dream without him. He may have continued on with his life but he had never really gotten over his love for her. The thought of her was the one thing that kept him going through all the torment he has been through. Many years later Deke has become comfortable with his life. It has taken years of therapy and an unconventional family to get him back on his feet. Decades after the last time he saw her she shows up on his doorstep out of the blue with a problem she feels only he can help her with.
Maddie is smart. Just may be a little bit too smart for her own good. She has built a very successful career in a male-dominated world. She has become the Intercal part of an artificial intelligence satellite program and strange things are beginning to happen. Afraid for what her boss maybe up to Maddie pieces together a plan to see the one person that she knows that she can trust with this information. That one person is also the man that broke her heart two decades ago but yet can’t seem to let go of either.
Holy hotness, intensity, suspense and chemistry. I’m not sure which good one got me more. The Man from Sanctum is my favorite read of the year thus far. I love that this is a second chance romance because those are my favorite. Maddie and Deke had the chemistry and had the passion. And they had history, history they hold closer than they would like to admit. I love how Deke did not hesitate to help when Maddie showed up. His love and need to Protect her didn’t skip a beat. I love the way that they work through their issues of the past while battling the danger of the present. Their chemistry is off the charts and my goodness were they hot together. The suspense aspect of the book is top notch. I did not want to stop reading because I had to know everything. Lexi Blake never fails to deliver some jaw-dropping moments that we readers both love and hate. The Man from Sanctum is a highly intense read in both suspense and romance that to me in from the beginning and had me Noring all of my adult responsibilities for an entire day so I could plow through this amazing read.

Review: The Poisoned Forest by Yasmine Galenorn

The Poisoned Forest

Yasmine Galenorn

Hedge Dragon Series, Book 1

Kindle Edition
Published February 22nd 2022 by Nightqueen Enterprises LLC

 

To the rakshasa who enslaved my sister: you just made the worst mistake you’ll ever make in your life.

Yes, I’m a hedge dragon. An abomination, or so they call my kind. I’m a loner, but I’m also loyal to my sister. Turns out, the rest of the family couldn’t care less. I’m the only one willing to go after her when she vanishes.

She’s being held in Owlanvine, a city in the desert. To reach her, I must travel through the Poisoned Forest, one of the darkest, deadliest places in Wildemoone. But the Lord of the Hunt and his Lady take pity on me and offer me help.

Now, together with a small band of allies who I swear are more trouble than they’re worth, I’m out to save my sister before she’s lost forever, and before the forest does all of us in.

This is a spinoff of the Wild Hunt Series. You do not need to read the Wild Hunt Series to read the Hedge Dragon Series.

 

 

 

4 Stars

Ms. Galenorn creates an all new world of magic, mystery and danger with her new spin off series Hedge Dragon with The Poisoned Forest.

Storm is a Hedge Dragon. Seen as an outcast to many, yet she is a unique and beautiful creature. And person for that matter. Storm is on a mission to save her sister who has been sold. Leaving her home and another sister, Storm journeys into new lands and places to seek her kin. Along the path she is fortunate to have stumbled upon good hearted people who are willing to go above and beyond to help her in her cause. Storm is a warrior and a protector. She has lived a rough life but quickly learns that things are far beyond things she would have realized. She has a heart and that makes her stand out.

The Poisoned Forest is a fantastic beginning to this new series. I am very excited to see where Storm’s path is going to lead. As with being the first book in the series there is a lot of world building an introduction. One of the things I believe Ms. Galenorn is at the top of her game in world building. I love the way she brings you into her worlds with a uniqueness that is all her own. The Poisoned Forest starts the series off already having this reader wanting more. Storm has strength and determination yet a bit naïve to the world that she does not know. She learns hard lessons quickly, trying to do all she can.

I read this book in one sitting and then read it again slowly. I am so excited for what is to come with the Hedge Dragon series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly

Batten Down the Belfry

Diane Kelly 

A house Flipper Mystery Series, Book 4

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Batten Down the Belfry is the fourth in the delightful cozy mystery series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville, Tennessee—where the real estate market is to die for.

Here is the church, here is the steeple…

Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck have successfully flipped houses, but this is the first time they’ve attempted to renovate a house of worship. Still, the colorful stained glass in the country church has caught Whitney’s eye, and she’d love to breathe new life into the abandoned building. What’s more, the place has perfect acoustics. Could the worship hall be reborn as an entertainment venue with its parsonage repurposed as a pre-show bistro?

Open the doors, and see all the trouble.

The owner of the horse farm next door has asserted a legal claim to the church property, rendering their title uncertain. If that’s not bad enough, while rehabbing the church, Whitney’s cat Sawdust discovers a bombshell in the bell tower—the body of the man who’d delivered their beautiful new replacement windows. What transpired in the spire? Who rang the man’s bell and why?

The steeple is keeping its secrets and, when a second body turns up, things become even less clear. Can Whitney help Detective Collin Flynn solve the crimes before someone else is sent to meet their maker.

4 Stars

 What a fun visit and adventure with Whitney.

Batten Down the Belfry has Whitney and Buck flipping something a little bit different this time. Instead of a house they are transforming a church with beautiful Stained Glass into possibly an entertainment venue.  This fun endeavor takes a turn when a delivery driver is found dead and this becomes all too personal for Whitney when a second body is discovered.

Whitney and her cousin Buck are a great team. I love what they do to the houses and I love that we get a good mystery in there as well. Whitney is smart and beyond capable. I love how she clues in the local detective along the way. We get a bit of suspenseful action with a good storyline and a mystery that I didn’t figure out until the end. Diane Kelly Rights to draw you into the story and gives you and exciting mystery in the end.