Thursday, January 20, 2022

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Veronica Speedwell

 


So Stormi and I are at it again with one of our favorite series. This one has pretty steadily released a new book each year and it's one we always make a point of reading together.  I know Stormi and I looked forward to this one so much so read on to see my thoughts and then  hop over to Stormi's at  Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see what she thought as well.


TITLE: An Impossible Imposter (Veronica Speedwell #7)
AUTHOR: Deanna Raybourn
PUBLISHER: Berkley Books
PUBLISHING DATE: February 15, 2022
PAGES: 336
SOURCE: D-ARC

FROM GOODREADS: London, 1889. Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian beau Stoker are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. He has a personal request on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. After years of traveling the world, her eldest brother, Jonathan, heir to Hathaway Hall, was believed to have been killed in the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa a few years before.

But now a man matching Jonathan's description and carrying his possessions has arrived at Hathaway Hall with no memory of his identity or where he has been. Could this man truly be Jonathan, back from the dead? Or is he a devious impostor, determined to gain ownership over the family's most valuable possessions--a legendary parure of priceless Rajasthani jewels? It's a delicate situation, and Veronica is Sir Hugo's only hope.

Veronica and Stoker agree to go to Hathaway Hall to covertly investigate the mysterious amnesiac. Veronica is soon shocked to find herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. To help Sir Hugo discover the truth, she must open doors to her own history that she long believed to be shut for good.

MY THOUGHTS:  This is the 7th book in the series so let's be honest, it's hard to review without giving a lot away.  So I'm really not going to go into much plot detail.  However, let's just say this book frustrated the hell out of me.  

I have been in love with these characters since day one and come on, Stoker is the closest I'd ever come to saying I had a "book boyfriend" because that concept always makes me shake my head.  But in the book, I really wanted to shake Stoker.  This book is filled with technical and scientific stuff around eery turn and my use of the work stuff should tell you I quickly grew tired of it.  If I had to see Stoker lust after his elusive taxidermied thylacine one more time, I might have screamed!  For reference, THIS is a thylacine, aka a Tasmanian Tiger.


And we also learn more about Veronica's past which made me shake my head.  I know there has to be more character development as time the series progresses and it did add some extra substance to the plot, I just wished it hadn't gone in that direction.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed this book to give it 4 stars.  We get to see some of our favorite side characters and get to meet a few more whom I would not be surprised to see pop up again in the future.  And the ending does give us a hint at the direction of the next book which I appreciated.  I also must admit the book probably earned an extra star just because there are some cute dogs in it - surprise surprise.  

I am sure people who love this series will love this book.  I was just a tad disappointed and reading it was a much slower process than the previous installments. Still, a disappointing read with a 4 star rating is still pretty impressive right?

RATING: 4 Paws







Thursday, January 6, 2022

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Blindsighted



So Stormi convinced me to give another series a try in 2022 (well, she didn't have to work too hard because I've enjoyed the author in the past).  So this month we started with the first book in the Grant County series and boy was it just what I needed!  Read on to see what I thought about it and then hop over to Stormi's at  Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see what she thought as well.

TITLE: Blindsighted (Grant County #1)
AUTHOR: Karin Slaughter
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUBLISHING DATE: May 1, 2001
SOURCE: Library
PAGES: 440

FROM GOODREADS: A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it's only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer's twisted work becomes clear.

Sara's ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation—a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he's got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county's sole female detective, Lena Adams—the first victim's sister—want to serve her own justice.

But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath .. or mean her death.

MY THOUGHTS:  As I mentioned, I've read a couple of books by Slaughter in the past and really enjoyed them so I had no hesitancy in picking this one up.  I'm actually wanting to focus on some backlist books this year as I dip my toes back into the blogging world and this series seems like a great addition to my lineup.  

Sara Linton does double duty in her small Georgia town.  She's the local pediatrician as well as the county coroner.  One day she is having lunch with her sister in the local diner when she discovers a woman dying in the bathroom stall.  The scene she stumbles upon is graphic and very traumatic and the whole incident brings back memories of Sara's past.  The deaths start piling up and Sara begins working with her ex-husband and police chief, Jeffrey Tolliver.

Having read Slaughter before I know her books can be pretty graphic and contain all kinds of trigger warnings which really doesn't bother me but at least I was prepared.  The book was fast-paced and the mystery suspenseful and intriguing.  I basically read it in 24 hours on a vegetative New Year's Day.  Sara is a very complex and interesting person and I enjoy seeing some of her family dynamics as well as her relationship with her ex.  It's full of tension and annoyance but also love and respect and I'm interesting to see what happens in the future.

I'm so glad I picked this one up and don't know if we have the next one slated for February but I'm definitely hoping so.  If you love thrillers give this one a go and if you've already read it, let me know what you thought and if the rest of the books are as good as this one.

RATING: 5 PAWS




Thursday, December 23, 2021

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Paradise Valley

 


So the Virgin River series has quickly become one of my favorites and pretty much my go-to now when I'm craving a cozy read.  I'm really glad I don't have a difficult time convincing Stormi to pick up these books.  So read on for my thoughts and then hop over to Stormi's  at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see what she thought as well.


TITLE: Temptation Ridge (Virgin River #7)
AUTHOR: Robyn Carr
PUBLISHER: Mira Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 1, 2009
PAGES: 411
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS:  Marine corporal Rick Sudder is home early from Iraq—his tour ended abruptly on the battlefield. The carefree boy is gone, replaced by a man who believes his future is as bleak as his mirror image. But can the passion and commitment of a young woman who has never given up on him mend his broken body and shattered heart? 

As the people of Virgin River rally around Rick, another recent arrival tests the tightly knit mountain town's famous welcoming spirit. Dan Brady has a questionable past, and he's looking for a place to start over. He'd like it to be Virgin River…if he can find a way in. But he never expects to find it in the arms of a woman who was as much an outcast as himself. 

For a favorite son returned from war and an outsider looking for a home, Virgin River offers them a chance to make peace with the men they once were…and to find the dreams they thought they'd lost.

MY THOUGHTS: There is a lot going on in this installment and let's be honest, I loved every minute of it.  In this book Ricky has returned back from services with a lot of baggage (trying to avoid some spoilers but it might be hard).  His only goal is to push away everyone who means something to him.  We also follow two fairly new couples - the new doctor in town and the pregnant woman he wants to be more than a one night stand and a little bit of Brady, a guy with a shady past trying to reform himself. 

This book once again contained so many of my old favorite characters although you know it's coming - there's not enough Preacher.  It's always nice to see what some of our old favorites are doing while making some new ones.  I will admit there were times I wanted to smack Ricky though.  I used to find Lizzie so annoying (and I blame the Netflix show for that) but this time around, I started to think the girl is a Saint.  The new Doctor is quickly growing on me as well.  It's funny how the author can introduce a new character in another setting who might initially be someone I don't like very much, move them to Virgin River, and then make me love them.  

I'm so glad I started this series this year and I hope I can convince Stormi we need to make finishing it a 2022 goal.  I have yet to grow tried of this small mountain town and its zany characters and I hope I never do!

RATING: 5 PAWS








Friday, November 19, 2021

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Temptation Ridge

 

So once again Stormi and I are diving into the Virgin River series.  Even though we are taking our time with them, neither one of seems to be finding them boring so I'm hopeful maybe next year we can finish up.  I do know that as soon as I put one down, I'm always in the mood to pick the next one up.  So read on for my thoughts and then hop over to Stormi's  at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see what she thought as well.

TITLE: Temptation Ridge (Virgin Rive #6)
AUTHOR: Robyn Carr
PUBLISHER: Mira Books
PUBLISHING DATE: February 24, 2009
PAGES: 416
SOURCE: Library/Hoopla

FROM GOODREADS: At twenty-five, after five years as her mother's caregiver, it's time for Shelby to experience freedom and adventure. Time for travel, college and romance. But when she visits Virgin River, she runs into Luke Riordan, decidedly not whom she has in mind.

A handsome Blackhawk pilot, Luke exited the army after twenty years, four wars and having been shot out of the sky three times. At thirty-eight he's tough and jaded. His major was in one-night stands, with a minor in commitment avoidance.

Technically, these two are all wrong for one another. But sometimes what you want and what you need are two different things...two very good things.

MY THOUGHTS:  Just when I think there's no way the author can introduce characters I love as much as the previous ones, I'm proven wrong.  This book introduces up to Luke, who is entirely new on the scene, and Shelby, who we got pieces of during the last book.  Shelby has come to Virgin River to stay with her Uncle following her mother's death.  She put her life on hold for several years caring for her mother and is now ready to experience the world.  And to her, experiencing the world means experiencing Luke Riordan, a retired Blackhawk, who has arrived in town with lots of baggage.

I love how Carr shows us the development of relationship and admits when something starts out as pure lust rather than covering it up in insta-love.  And personally I've also fallen in love with the little town of Virgin River.  I could totally see myself settling down in such a place which if pretty darn scary if I say so myself.  This book also lets he visit some of our old favorite characters however I'd be remiss to say there just isn't enough Preacher in the book.  

I'd say it's says a lot when 6 books into the series and I'm still giving out such high ratings.  I can't wait to pick up the next one and I can't recommend this series enough.  I will warn you there's a pretty heavy death in this one and without spoiling things, let's just say I wasn't prepared.  However, Preacher is safe so I'm good to continue on!

RATING: 5 PAWS





Tuesday, November 2, 2021

2 Bloggers 1 Book - Faithless

 



YES!  I am still alive.  I'm so sorry to have went radio-silence on everyone but life kind of kicked my butt.  I am planning on a revamp and glorious return (well at least in my opinion) with the new year.  Just know that the family and pups are fine and I am still reading, but sort of just enjoying a hiatus and grabbing whatever my mood tells me. However, Stormi and I are still doing lots of reads together and we both couldn't wait to get our hands on the new Hunter Shea book.  So read on for my thoughts and then hop over to Stormi's @ @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and read her review.


TITLE: Faithless
AUTHOR: Hunter Shea
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: October 26, 2021
PAGES: 256
SOURCE: Own Library

FROM GOODREADS: How do you survive hearing your family being brutally murdered over the phone? For Father Raul Figeuroa, all faith and hope are lost. Turning away from the priesthood behind, he retreats to his aunt's empty farmhouse in upstate New York, hoping to drink himself to oblivion. But he's not alone in the house. Something is trying to reach out to him. Or is he losing his grip on reality? When his childhood friend Felix comes to visit, things take a darker turn. The deeper they dig into the mystery, the closer they get to hell literally breaking loose.

MY THOUGHTS: I have to admit that in the beginning, I was starting to question if I would love this book as much as I hoped but in the end, Shea pulled and it and I can definitely put it on a "must recommend" list.  Especially for fans of movies like "The Exorcist."

Father Raul Figeuroa is on his way home one rainy night and speaking to his wife on the cell.  Suddenly he hears a commotion at the home and surmises that someone has broken into the residence.  Second by second he hears the brutal slaughter of his family with him only 5 miles from the residence.  What happens make Raul question all of his faith and life's work so he retreats to his Aunt Ida's rustic farm to contemplate what his life holds next and basically drink himself into a drunken stupor everyday.  He is befriended by a cat he names Bruiser - who I love by the way.  When Raul has finally hit bottom, his friend Felix shows up and offers to try to do what the police can't - find justice for Raul and his family.

Let me say this book kind of starts out slow and there is a hint of the unreliable narrator trope which rarely works for me.  But about 60%, this book takes a HUGE turn and at that point, I couldn't flip the pages fast enough.  Raul was a likable character and while Shea really drives the point home that the character has lost all hope, it's easy to understand why he is at that point.  And as  I eluded, Shea made me love a cat - don't tell my boys!

If you don't mind a slow introduction, then definitely pick up this latest horror release.  The ending was great and I'm still a huge fan on the Shea bandwagon (and is it scary that sentence just made me think of Annie Wilkes?)  

A minor note:  I do think this book needed better editing in a few places.  One one page Aunt Ida goes from not reading much except Reader's Digest to having a huge reading haven upstairs of rescued books.  And on another, Bruiser is in too places at once.  These were minor things and had this not been a buddy read where Stormi and I were discussing it on a regular basis, I might not even have caught them.  I'll still consider reading anything Flame Tree releases though.

RATING: 4 PAWS







Thursday, September 16, 2021

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Enjoy of View

 


This month Stormi and I decided to continue on with the Moose Springs series.  I was in need of a comfort read and this has to be one of my favorite series of all time.  And yes, I loved this one as much as the others and am thrilled to see there is a #4 in the works.  So check out my thoughts and then hop over to Stormi's  at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see what she thought as well.


TITLE: Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, Alaska #3)
AUTHOR: Sarah  Morgenthaler
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Casablanca
PUBLISHING DATE: January 19, 2021
PAGES: 352
SOURCE: Library


FROM GOODREADS: 

A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet And miles of untamed wilderness... What could possibly go wrong?
Former Hollywood darling River Lane's acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River's going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.
Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb. 
Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that's a big if. The wildlife's wilder than usual, the camera crew's determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton's job tougher, but there's only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it'll take all of Easton's skill to get them back home safely...and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.

MY THOUGHTS: I always enjoy the grumpy/sunshine trope so I had no doubt this would turn out to be a great read. And I swear, every grumpy male in Moose Springs, and seriously, there seems to be quite a few, always put me in mind of Luke from Gilmore Girls.  And I've ALWAYS been a Luke fan.

River Lane has come to Moose Springs for her directorial debut on an Alaskan documentary.  However, no one warned her how hard it would be to get filming permits in Moose Springs, a town that definitely doesn't want any added attention.  River and her minimal crew end up getting kicked out of most of the town establishments, so she decides to take the crew and summit Mount Veil, a mountain peak known to locals as "The Old Man."  And while her first run-in with Easton didn't go off as planned, he winds up being the guide tasked with making sure River and her crew make it off alive.

I adored the banter between River and Easton and I have to say, even though the attraction between the two was almost immediate, the author never ventured into insta-love territory.  The relationship developed over time and it was never a given conclusion.  The side characters of River's crew were also hilarious, especially Jessie, who clearly had no business scaling a mountain, even on a good day.  Easton's patience often runs thin, but in the end, he had a giant heart and he doesn't want to let River down.  We also get to see Graham and Zoey from book #1 a fair amount and seriously, they will probably always be my favorite couple in Moose Springs.

And finally I have to mention the marmot.  On the way up the peak, Easton is befriended by a love-struck marmot and I never knew I could get attached to him almost as much as I was Easton and River.  Morganthaler has a way with animal additions and this one was no exception.  I can't wait to see what book #4 brings. Will it be about Easton's sister Ash?  Or Ben, Easton's assistant?  Or maybe Jax, who I have to remember I don't remember too well.  Come on, I NEED ANSWERS!

If you are in the mood for a little romance, then definitely give this series a go!

RATING: 5 PAWS





Wednesday, September 1, 2021

TBR Jar of Horror #1 - Bite

 


So Stormi and I were kind of striking out with our Retro Horror feature.  It seems the books we picked were never as good as we hoped.  So we revamped the feature and are now doing a TBR jar where we're each putting horror titles we've always wanted to read - no matter of their publication date.  And now, every other month, we will draw a pick out and that's what we'll read and review.  So read on to see how this worked for me this month and the hope over to Stormi's to find out what she read.

And don't you love our new graphic?  It was created by Michelle over at Lima Bean Designs!


TITLE: Bite (Wastelanders #1)
AUTHOR: K.S. Merbeth
PUBLISHER: Orbit
PUBLISHING DATE: July 26, 2016
PAGES: 376
SOURCE: Own library

FROM GOODREADS: 

Kid is trying to survive in a world gone mad. Hungry, thirsty and alone in a desert wasteland, she's picked up on the side of the road by Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy - outlaws with big reputations and even bigger guns.
But as they journey across the wild together, Kid learns that her newfound crew may not be the heroes she was hoping for. And in a world that's lost its humanity, everyone has a bit of monster within them

  MY THOUGHTS:  Let's just say that I spent years thinking this was about vampires despite there clearly being a license plate on the vehicle which indicated cannibals.  However, I was glad to knock it off my shelves and give it a go.  And man, what a fun ride this one was!

The novel takes places in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone is struggling to survive. Think Mad Max, because honestly, that's probably the best comparison for this book.  Kid is 14 and has been struggling to make it on her own since her father died.  She ends up meeting a ragtag group which consists of Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy.  While she is more than a little afraid of them at first, she ends up running with them.  There's just one small issue - they are considered "sharks" meaning they cook and eat human flesh.  Wolf leads the group on some crazy raids and trades and gets them into some pretty sticky situations.  And someone new named Saint is trying to take over the Wastelands, but they must go through Wolf to do it.

Never in my life did I see myself cheering a group of cannibals on to succeed, but cheer I did.  This was the most likable group of characters I've read about in a long time.  I loved them all and I loved how little by little Kid began to fit in and began to find a place where she belonged.  This book had action, blood, gore, humor, friendship and a riveting plot.  There's really nothing to complain about here.  I really think more people need to pick up this little hidden gem and hang on tight.  I can't wait to get my hands on book #2!

RATING: 5 PAWS