Book Review Tuesday: I Wouldn’t Be Surprised @dlfinnauthor

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageGood morning, friends! Happy last Tuesday of July. I only have one book review for you today, but it is a wonderful short read that I highly recommend. I give five fantastic stars to I Wouldn’t Be Surprised by D.L. Finn

Book cover for I Would Be Surprised by D. L. Finn shows title text over flames on black backgroundI Wouldn’t Be Surprised: A Short Story
by D. L. Finn

This is a short, quick read, that delivers creepiness and suspense. Janice and her husband Dale live in an isolated location, surrounded by woods. One night over dinner, Janice makes jokes about things that wouldn’t surprise her (Bigfoot, UFOs, etc. ) if they suddenly showed up. The next morning, her husband finds something unexpected outside–a possible “gift” from an unknown “someone.”

After that, the oddities multiply. It’s hard to say much without giving away the plot, but I found all the strange things that kept happening, and the sense of steadily mounting danger to be very well done.

When Janice finds herself alone in the house, circumstances go from eerie to outright menacing. Elements of the supernatural combine with an old mystery for a satisfying conclusion. I could also see this becoming a ongoing series. I read this over a lunch break and was sad when it ended. Well-written and suspenseful!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: 45-Minute Literature & Fiction Short Reads


As always, I wish you happy reading, and adding to your TBR! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: This Last Chance, Songs of Heartstrings, Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine @dlfinnauthor @mhurdle112 @teagangeneviene

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHi, friends. If you live in the U.S., I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday. We had relatives on hubby’s side visit from out of state. I’m still freaky about the social distancing thing, but I am venturing out more these days—visiting family, and going to stores. We even went to a restaurant for the first time. Not sure I’ll do that again, but we wanted to get together with a friend who is leaving for the summer. I have to say the restaurant did a good job with social distancing and sanitizing.

And now for the latest round of book reviews . . .


Book cover for This Last Chance by D. L. Finn has glowing red eyes looming above angel wingsThis Last Chance
by D. L. Finn

I really enjoyed the combination of mystery and supernatural elements in this book. On the mortal realm, the story revolves around Amber who is determined to discover who murdered her sister. In the spiritual realm, angels and evildwels battle for control of human souls. At the center of that conflict is Nester, an evidwel who suddenly finds himself questioning his beliefs. Toss in a remote location, plus a group of potential suspects trapped under one roof by a snowstorm, and you’ve got a tense and intriguing plot.

I loved the claustrophobic atmosphere created by the snowstorm, and the characters (both human and supernatural) present a varied and interesting group. Nester is a standout, as is Ed, an angel. The quips between them are priceless. This Last Chance fuses mystery, spiritual warfare, even a hint of potential romance. When the climatic scenes—on both planes—happen, there are more than a few surprises in store. An engaging read!

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Supernatural Thriller > Paranormal Suspense


Book cover for Songs of Heartstrings, a collection of poetry by Miriam HurdleSongs of Heartstrings
by Miriam Hurdle

The author of this collection of poetry and short snippets takes us on a journey through life—her life—as seen through the music of words and photographs. She shares experiences through marriage, parenthood, the loss of loved ones, even cancer treatments. Heartfelt and often spiritual, the book resonates with strength, love, and faith.

There are multiple poems and snippets that touched me, but a few that really stood out are Cocoon-Butterfly, A Tribute to My Dad, and Gratitude for Being. Each reader will no doubt find poems that speak to their heart. Although this collection is a reflection of the author’s life, the beauty and spirit of the work brings something for everyone.

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Religious and Inspirational Poetry > Personal Growth and Christianity


Book cover with cute illustration of woman in steampunk dress with pink umbrella and a duck by her skirtFiona Finch and the Pink Valentine
by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

This is a cute, whimsical novella that is sure to leave you with a smile. The characters are fun, the story highly imaginative, and the descriptions dazzle like a kaleidoscope of vibrant color. Fiona Finch is a young woman with a fondness for pink.

Her brother, Steele, is an inventor whose mentor carries a heart full of unrequited love for the woman he let get away thirty-five years ago. Toss in a scene-stealing duck, a masquerade party, and a pink valentine, and you have all the elements for a light-hearted romp with threads of romance. If that isn’t enough, the ending with Quellie the duck will have you grinning ear to ear. Simply delightful!

5 STARS

Amazon Link
Genre: Steampunk > Holiday Fiction > Fantasy


That’s it from me for today, but I hope you are enjoying plenty of summer reading!

Book Review Tuesday: For the Love of Money @KimCoxAuthor

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHi, friends. Thanks for joining me for Book Review Tuesday. I’ve cut back on my blogging temporarily, trying to stay on top of things in the current environment of insanity related to Covid-19. If you don’t see me online as regularly as I normally am, rest assured I fully intend to get back to my regular schedule including posts of Wednesday Weirdness. For the immediate future, I intend to keep sharing Book Review Tuesday posts and other sporadic posts here and there. I’m hoping all of you stay healthy and well. We will get through this mess, together!

And now, enough of that! 🙂

I have a great book to share with you. If you like romantic suspense twined up with mystery, you’re sure to love this five-star read:


Book cover for Love of Money by Kim Cox shows young couple facing away with arms around each other, German shepherd in foregroundFor the Love of Money is a book that will appeal to both fans of mystery and romantic suspense. When his best friend, Daniel, dies in a car crash, Alan Pearce heads to the small town of Bears Hollow in North Carolina. Reports say Daniel’s car plummeted off the side of the mountain, but Alan refuses to believe his friend could make such a tragic mistake on roads he knew so well.

Once in Bears Hollow, Alan crosses paths with Police Chief Jessie Kendall, who suspects foul play. At the top of the list is Daniel’s superficial wife Leta, who had been begging her husband to relocate to California so she could pursue an acting career. But it isn’t long before other suspects crawl out of the woodwork. Jessie even briefly considers Alan a suspect, until the two start to work together to get to the bottom of the tragedy.

Cox creates enjoyable characters. Both Jessie and Alan are strong, but (for me) Alan really took center stage. His interactions with both Leta and Jessie are deftly handled. Leta comes across spoiled and shallow but with a few glimmers of humanity underneath. When the killer and motive are unmasked, both come as a surprise.

I liked the gradual growth in the relationship between Alan and Jessie as attraction builds between them. And Jessie’s German shepherd is a scene stealer! The writing is polished and the story flows at a steady pace as suspects and clues are addressed. If you like books that include both a murder mystery and a sweet romance, you’re sure to enjoy For the Love of Money. 5 Stars!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Romantic Suspense > Mystery Romance


Although I am working full days remotely from home, I know many people are stuck indoors. It’s the perfect time to catch up on your TBR and add new books like For the Love of Money. I wish you happy reading!

Book Review Tuesday: Grinders by C. S. Boyack

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHappy St. Patricks Day, everyone! Whether you’re Irish or not, ’tis a day for the wearing’ o’ the green, and a tip o’ the hat to the wee folk. Right now, we could all use a little luck given the state of the world in view of Covid-19. Whatever your corner of the planet, I hope you stay safe and well. If you’re stuck inside, it’s the perfect time to catch up on your reading.

With that in mind, let’s jump into this week’s book review!


Book cover for Grinders, a speculative fiction novel features neon lights and holographic images by C. S. BoyackJimi Cabot, and her partner Lou, are two cops assigned to the “Grinder Squad” in a futuristic San Francisco. Grinders are people who have their bodies altered through illegal surgeries which use computer chips to provide enhanced senses. Despite their department assignment, Jimi and Lou usually find their days eaten up by the drudgery of routine patrol and domestic disturbance calls—until they happen upon a trail that may lead to the most wanted grinder in police databanks.

There is strong parallel storyline involving the grinder they’re after, enabling the reader to see both sides of the situation. Beyond that, however, there is so much more that goes on in this book. I loved the friendship that developed between Jimi and Brandi (a grinder), and I loved Lou’s tie to Sailor, the horse he rode when he was on mounted patrol before the division was disbanded.

Most intriguing of all is the world Boyack has created. One that includes a “grid” for travelling, bots in all shapes and sizes, and a constant bombardment of advertising. “Holobarkers”­—floating globes broadcasting advertisements—roam the streets, swarming around people with their messages. Cars and buses flash moving advertisements and 3D holographic images are found everywhere. There is an “electric forest” (one of my favorite elements), in the process of being torn down because it is already considered old technology. Holographic spiders and jack-o-lanterns bob around on Halloween, and a 3D King Kong climbs a building to promote a movie. The creativity of this world is off the charts. Every page brings some new wonder or futuristic element that is vividly portrayed. Between the story and inventions, I was mesmerized. A highly original work!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Cypberpunk > Science Fiction


Grinders is quite the gritty and colorful world. I could so see this as a series on Netflix! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: Tattoos and Portents by Judi Lynn @judypost

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Welcome to the last Tuesday of February. It’s amazing how quickly time passes—didn’t we just celebrate Christmas not that long ago?—although when it comes to winter, that speedy passage is appreciated. At least when it’s cold outside, I can snuggle up with a few good books indoors. You’ll find my latest review below, a well-deserved five stars!


Book cover for Tattoos and Portents by Judi Lynn shoes attractive blonde woman i with tattooed arm and mystical headdress holding an orbTattoos and Portents
by Judi Lynn

In the latest Muddy River novel, Hester—a powerful witch—and her sexy fire-demon mate, Raven, are up against an evil priest intent on killing mortals to create an army of zombies. In the process, he abducts three witches who use spelled tattoos to alert others of their captivity.

Muddy River is a series you can basically pick up and start reading anywhere because each book has a standalone plot, but if you’re a follower and fan like me, reconnecting with old friends is a plus. And this time, the supernatural citizens of Muddy River are the midst of Yule celebrations. All the characters I’ve come to love are back, plus several new ones are introduced. There are two fun flirtatious subplots, but the main battle of good magic vs. dark magic is at the core. Druids and voodoo practices also get a splash of attention, building to the ending confrontation. I love when Hester, Raven, and their friends engage in battle!

What makes this series so unique for me is the combination of supernaturals who inhabit Muddy River. Lynn populates her books with all manner of hybrids instead of the usual “stock” preternatural characters. There are pureblood vampires, shifters, etc., but there are also half-sirens/half vampires, half-shifters/half fae—the combinations she comes up with make for fascinating reading as Lynn deftly sucks us into the lives of each. Tattoos and Portents even introduces a Phoenix, who I hope becomes a regular of Muddy River. If you like cozy mysteries with plenty of paranormal and adventurous aspects, plus engaging characters who feel like friends, you’ll love this book and this series. I’m hoping there will be many more to come. A five star gem!

Amazon Link
Genre: Werewolf and Shifter Mysteries > Witch and Wizard Mysteries

 

Book Review Tuesday: Haunted House Ghost @jamescudney4, My Girl @JacqBiggar, Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins Clark

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

I’m back with my second and final Book Review Tuesday post for the month of December. As mentioned in last week’s post, I won’t be sharing reviews on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, as I fear many readers won’t be online and I’d like to give the authors of the books I’ve read as much exposure as possible. Today’s variety includes a cozy mystery, a second-chance romance, and young-adult horror.


Book cover for cozy mystery Haunted House Ghost by James J. Cudney shows cartoon sketch of old house on hillside in front of full moon with cartoon ghost aboveHaunted House Ghost
A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 5)

by James J. Cudney

This is my first Braxton Campus mystery. It was a delight discovering these characters—and there are many. When you join a series in progress, it’s easy to get lost, but not with the Braxton series. The author did an excellent job of establishing who was who, as well as explaining the relationships that connected all the people in this fabulous fictional setting.

College professor and amateur sleuth, Kellan, moves into an old house only to discover it may be haunted by ghosts of the past. Set during Halloween, this cozy relies on past connections, family histories, plenty of secrets, and a cast of suspects that keeps the reader guessing. Toss in a fifty-year old skeleton, an eccentric psychic, plus Halloween happenings, and you can’t go wrong.

Kellan’s family is a delight—especially Nana D who is fond of calling him “brilliant one.” His developing romance with town sheriff, April, adds a nice hint of romance to the layers of mystery. Grab your scorecard, tally up the suspects, and take your best guess. If you like cozies, you’re sure to enjoy this charmer! 5 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychic Mysteries > Mystery Series > Ghost Mysteries 


Book cover for My Girl by Jacquie Biggar shows couple sharing a kiss behind a bouquet of flowersMy Girl: Gambling Hearts—Book Three
by Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar does it again! If you love second chance romances, you’re sure to love this story! Trish is a city girl from a corporate background, Aaron, a Texas rancher. Romantically involved for a time, family conflicts forced them to part. Now Trish, her parents, and her fiancé, are the first guests at the ranch Aaron owns along with his sibling—a place now opening as a dude/guest ranch.

Sparks fly right from the get-go, but there is plenty of trouble in the form of Trish’s slimy fiance (her father forced the arrangement) and her interfering parents. There’s also a surprise or two tucked into the plot, including how some of these characters end up. But one thing you can count on is the HEA at the end. It’s a sweet journey getting there with plenty of ups and downs, but the conclusion will leave you with a fuzzy feeling and a sloppy grin. I love everything Jacquie Biggar writes, but she really hit a home run with this charmer. Of special note: although this is the third book in a series, it easily stands on its own as well. 5 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genres: Western Romance > Women’s Romance Fiction


Book cover for Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle shows young girl standing in open doorway at top of dark staircase descending downThrough the Nethergate
by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Margaret is a girl with a special gift that allows her to see ghosts who are trapped in an overworld between Heaven and Hell. She’s able to help them regain life, then help them move on in the hereafter. When she moves in with her grandfather after the death of her parents, Margaret encounters a number of ghosts, and a particularly nasty black dog that is actually the embodiment of Hugh Bigod, an evil spirit who has held the ghosts trapped for centuries. Hugh has his own ideas how Margaret’s gifts can be used to his benefit.

This is a YA horror novel that will also appeal to adults, especially with the deep research the author layers into the historical aspects of the book. I found those the strongest and was enthralled by how skillfully Cheadle brought the past to life. There are a few POV issues and a good deal of internal thought, the latter which occasionally bogs things down, but for the most part this is a quick and easy read. Margaret’s grandfather is also a strong character, and the background of many of the ghosts adds a fascinating aspect. Most of the spirits are based on historic figures. I don’t usually read books that employ Lucifer as a character, and admit to skimming some of those chapters, but overall, I found this a compelling story on multiple levels. 4 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Young Adult Horror


Book cover for Moonlight Becomes you by Mary Higgins Clark shows full white moon on surrounded by clouds on dark skyMoonlight Becomes You
by Marry Higgins Clark

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Mary Higgins Clark. I was anxious to try this one because of a plot thread regarding Victorian burial customs. Maggie Holloway reconnects with her stepmother, Nuala, at a cocktail party. The two women haven’t seen each other since Maggie was a child but their connection is immediate. Shortly afterward, Nuala is murdered by an unknown assailant and Maggie inherits her home.

The plot involves residents of Latham Manor, a luxury living center for seniors, complete with medical staff on the premises. Maggie becomes friendly with one of Nuala’s friends, only to have that woman die unexpectedly. She soon realizes that several residents of Latham Manor have passed away in a short amount of time, and while visiting their graves discovers Victorian burial bells by their tombstones. Although this isn’t the main thread of the story, it adds an interesting twist.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of, and the book bogs a bit as each are introduced and their connections to the others become apparent. The story starts with a bang then slows down for quite a while before gaining momentum again, but it’s worth sticking with. While I deduced the identity of the killer around the 60% mark, it was entertaining to see the mystery unravel. The suspenseful ending, along with a nice wrap for the various plot threads made for a satisfying read. 4 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Psychological Thrillers
(Note: I think this reads more like cozy despite the tags on Amazon)


I’ve seen a few of these books getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere within the last few months, so my guess is that some of you have read them, or have them on your TBRs. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s reviews!

Book Review Tuesday: Serang @Virgilante, If Darkness Takes Us @bsmithnovelist, My Baby Wrote Me a Letter @JacqBiggar

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHello, and welcome to my first Book Review Tuesday of December! Bear with me, because I plan to share several books I read in November today and next week. After that, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve pop up on Tuesdays and I know many people go offline until the first of the year. Because I want to ensure the authors have exposure for their hard work, I won’t be reviewing on those days. Hopefully, that makes sense. :)

I’m pleased to say all of today’s books earned 5-Star reviews from me. Now, let’s get started!


Book cover for Serang by C. S. Boyack shows young female monk with shaved head in martial arts poseSerang
by C. S. Boyack

A vivid story that follows an orphan’s path as she matures from a child adrift, to a confident young woman and warrior. Serang is a character from Boyack’s popular Voyage of the Lanternfish tale, but you needn’t have read that book to enjoy this story. It stands on its own, allowing the reader to grow with Serang.

Through the course of the story she learns valuable lessons—many from a wise monk—faces multiple challenges and discovers herself along the way. There is danger and adventure. Heartbreak as well, but there is also plenty of humor, and the ending delivers a beautiful reward. As a reader I loved seeing the growth of Serang’s character. Enjoy this as a backstory to Voyage of the Lanternfish, or as a brand-new tale. Either way, it is a wholly entertaining read!

Amazon Link
Genre: Coming of Age > Travel Adventure Fiction


Book cover for If Darkness Takes Us by Brenda Marie Smith shows high tension utility tower shrouded in darknessIf Darkness Takes Us
by Brenda Marie Smith

I’ve always had a weak spot for apocalyptic novels. What makes this one so intriguing is the author confines the action to a single suburban neighborhood. A solar pulse is responsible for wiping out the power grid, turning life upside down. Bea Crenshaw is a 70ish woman who has her four grandkids for the weekend when the disaster strikes. As the world she knows falls apart around her, she steps up to take charge, not only in protecting her family—teaching them how to function in a world without internet, cell phones, or even refrigeration—but also taking on a leadership role in her neighborhood. Fortunately, Bea has been stockpiling goods for some time, preparing for the day when tragedy strikes, though she never expected it to come from the sun.

The kids vary in age from grade school to older teens, and each are forced to do some serious growing up before the book is over. Bea is a strong character who does what she can in an impossible situation. There are plenty of hardships including balancing the need to help others with caring for your own family. Bea has a huge heart, but she can also be secretive and controlling when she needs to be. She makes a unique MC, especially in a novel of this type. Her oldest grandson, Keno, is also particularly strong, as is neighbor Jack Jeffers. The characters lodge in your heart, including many of the secondary ones who arrive halfway through the book. The pace moves swiftly, and the author’s easy style of writing will keep you flipping pages to find out what happens next. The ending is rather surprising and not one I expected. As an apocalyptic novel this one is unique in its approach and characters, and well worth reading.

Amazon Link
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction > Thrillers > Dystopian Science Fiction


Book cover for My Baby Wrote Me A Letter by Jacquie Biggar shows young woman in front of old manual typewriting, sepia-tone wash over coverMy Baby Wrote Me a Letter
by Jacquie Biggar

This is a beautiful, heart-warming story of family, long-ago secrets, and healing. When Grace Freeman discovers a letter from her mother–a woman who abandoned her, her brothers and her father many years ago–it opens a door to the past and wounds that have never quite healed. Impacting the emotional level even more—Grace is expecting her first child, and her Navy husband is overseas.

I love Jacquie Biggar’s stories. She knows just how to tug on a reader’s heartstrings, and she does it again in this tender short story that touches on so many levels—fathers and daughters, sisters and brothers, fathers and sons, husbands and wives. The warmth in this story is like wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket, then settling in front of a fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Sheer bliss!

I particularly enjoyed the thread regarding the names Grace chose for her unborn baby. Each one made me smile and appreciate the effortless warmth in this beautiful tale. A true gem!

Amazon Link
Genre: 90-Minute Literature and Fiction Short Reads > Family Life Fiction > Contemporary Short Stories


Have you read any of these? Are they on your TBR? Did you have a hard time balancing NaNo and reading, like I did? I can’t wait to get back to my regular patterns, LOL!