Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mira Blog Tour - We Could Be Heroes


TITLE: We Could Be Heroes
AUTHOR: Mike Chen
PUBLISHING DATE: January 26, 2021
PAGES: 384


An extraordinary and emotional adventure about unlikely friends and the power of choosing who you want to be. 
Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories—a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books. 
Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And she’ll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it. 
When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.

MY THOUGHTS: I feel in love with Mike Chen after reading A Beginning at the End.  So when I was offered the chance to help promote his newest book, I knew it was something I wanted to do.  I recommended A Beginning at the End so much that I need a new book by him to pimp out.  

So in this novel, the reader meets two unlikely heroes.  Zoe doesn't recall anything about her life except the past two years or so.  She also has learned she has some pretty good supernatural abilities - she is fast, can hover and is really strong.  Jamie also can't remember his past.  All he knows is that he can manipulate people's minds and make then forget things that have happened.  While Zoe is using her powers for good, Jamie is using his to rob banks, which he sees as a victimless crime, so he can get enough money to leave town with his cat Normal and move to an island where he can read all day and drink coffee.  As expected, Zoe and Jamie's paths meet one night and the two form an unlikely friendship.  Both decide to work together to learn more about their past and in doing so, learn they are part of a scientific experiment for an even more devious reason.  Can they get to the bottom everything before many others die?

I loved the two main characters in this tale.  Zoe is headstrong and drinks too much liquor.  She saves people and delivers food.  She also has a detective board on her apartment wall which she uses to try to decode her past.  Jamie is quirky and deep down a good guy.  He doesn't want to harm people and is okay not knowing about his past until he meets Zoe.  He has had no real friends the past two years and although he is somewhat afraid of her, he also wants to help her.  These two start out as enemies because they are on two sides of the law but quickly become pals.  Each character is special in their own way and the alternating chapters really allow the reader to get to know them pretty well - flaws and all.  Being the second book by Chen I have read, I can honestly say that it's his characters that draw me in even more than the story line.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the plot.  The pacing was good and never bogged down.  Chen is able to link everything together so that even thought the story is a tad beyond belief, I actually fell into believing it was scientifically possible.  And the ending was just what I wanted.

If you haven't read Chen yet and you love speculative fiction and what I like to call "mild sci-fi" then I seriously don't know what you are waiting for. Definitely pick up this book and his previous one as well.  I don't think you'll regret it! And hey, he even has rescue animals so he is Cassius and Apollo approved.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Chen is the author of Here And Now And Then (a finalist for Goodreads Choice - Best Sci-Fi, CALIBA Golden Poppy, and the Compton Crook Award) and A Beginning At The End ("a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness" -- Library Journal). His short fiction is featured in Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View -- The Empire Strikes Back, and he has covered geek culture for sites such as, The Mary Sue, and In a previous life, he covered the NHL for Fox Sports, SB Nation, and other outlets. A member of SFWA, Mike lives in the Bay Area with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday (307)


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

FROM GOODREADS:  Finding your feet in a new job isn't always easy. That goes double for Josie Way, who's settling in as Wilfred, Oregon's, new librarian--and has just discovered she's a witch. But will her fledgling powers be enough to save her from a spell of murder?

While Josie develops her witchcraft with the help of letters left by her grandmother, there are other changes happening in her new hometown. A retreat center is being built at the old mill site, and rumor has it that the location is cursed. That piques Josie's interest almost as much as Sam Wilfred, handsome FBI agent and descendent of the town's founder...

When Sam's soon-to-be ex-wife, Fiona, goes missing at the same time that a bloodied weapon is found, Josie enlists her witchy insight, and her cat familiar, to clear Sam's name. But then the mill project's architect is found dead, and it's clear that someone has been drawing up a vicious plan. Now Josie will have to divine her way out of fatal mischief, before this deadly trouble turns double...

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I picked up the first book in this series this past weekend (look for my review soon) and fell in love with the small-town charm and witchy whimsy (is that a thing)?  I am thrilled that I don't have to wait until next year for the next installment. 


FROM GOODREADS: Mercy and Elvis are back in The Hiding Place, the most enthralling entry yet in USA Today bestselling Paula Munier's award-winning Mercy Carr mystery series. When the man who killed her grandfather breaks out of prison and comes after her grandmother, Mercy must unearth the long-buried scandals that threaten to tear her family apart. And she may have to do it without her beloved canine partner Elvis, if his former handler has his way….

Some people take their secrets with them to the grave. Others leave them behind on their deathbeds, riddles for the survivors to solve.

When her late grandfather’s dying deputy calls Mercy to his side, she and Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him—and may have killed him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear.

The timing couldn’t be worse when the man who murdered her grandfather escapes from prison and a fellow Army vet turns up claiming that Elvis is his dog, not hers. With her grandmother Patience gone missing, and Elvis’s future uncertain, Mercy faces the prospect of losing her most treasured allies, the only ones she believes truly love and understand her.

She needs help, and that means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner long enough to enlist his aid. With time running out for Patience, Mercy and Elvis must team up with Troy and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to unravel the secrets of the past and save her grandmother—before it’s too late.

Once again, Paula Munier crafts a terrific mystery thriller filled with intrigue, action, resilient characters, the mountains of Vermont, and two amazing dogs. 

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  I keep telling Mom she needs to start this series and now look, she's going to be so far behind!  I think Elvis is looking pretty regal there on the cover too.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020


The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed over the reins to That Artsy Reader Girl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading.

This week I am sharing with you authors I read for the first time last year.  I'm not really sure how this one will work out so let's hop over to Goodreads and see!

Thanks to my buddy reads with Stormi, I read 5 books by Gail Carriger last year when I had previously read none.

I was excited to read my first Alyssa Cole last year.  Too bad the excitement didn't last.

I feel in love with Steve N. Lee's dog book last year.

This is the first book I read by Jason Parent but it won't be the last!

I enjoyed this book so much more than I anticipated and can't wait to read Henry's next book.

I loved The Bone Jar and need the sequel NOW!

I LOVED this book and will definitely be picking up more from Holly Jackson.

Really glad I decided to give Kimberly Belle a try.  I highly recommend this book.

It took a buddy read with Anne from Books of My Heart for me to finally read a Harlan Coben book.

I can't believe I waited so long to try Samantha Downing.  That reminds me, I still need to grab her first one.

So there you have it.  And actually, I could have kept going.  I'm actually quite surprised at how many authors I read last year were new to me.  

Did any of these make your list??

Random Things Tours - Hopscotch and the Case of the Missing Memories


TITLE: Hopscotch and the Case of the Missing Memories
AUTHOR: Kara Mugleston
PUBLISHER: Self Published
PUBLISHING DATE: January 27, 2021
PAGES: 143
SOURCE: Physical ARC


Hopscotch isn't your average detective. First, he's a rescue dog. Second, he only has three legs. When his new, twin owners, Drew and Camilla, help their friend find his missing bike— and memories— Hopscotch tags along. The answer to their mystery will help the local police solve another investigation. But the answer also makes them primetargets for a criminal who'll stop at nothing to escape. Hopscotch must catch the culprit, find the memories, and keep the twins safe. Otherwise, he risks being homeless . . . again.

MY THOUGHTS: Hopscotch and the Case of the Missing Memories is a cute MG novel sure to delight both children and adults alike.  Hopscotch is owned by two twins and their father.  The mother of the home passed away about a year ago and the family is striving to reach some sort of "normal" which isn't easy because their father is a police officer and always on the go.

Drew and Camilla's schoolmate enlists them to help him find his lost bike as well as learn why he doesn't remember what happened to him the day it disappeared.  The twins are eager to help but little do they know that their investigation may very well overlap with a convenience store burglary their father wants them to stay far away from.

This book is just so darn cute.  It's told from Hopscotch's POV and he really touched my heart.  He was rescued by the family when his original boy got sick and he loves showing everyone what he is capable of, despite only having three legs.  Drew and Camilla clearly love this pooch and take him everywhere, even the library.

Not only does this book have a cute mystery kids are sure to love, but it also promotes rescue animals and addresses grief, friendship and bullying.  What more could you ask for?  Make sure you grab a copy for the young ones in your life, or even for yourself if you just want to remain young at heart!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kara is an author, a mother (of two precious girls), an animal lover, and a world traveler. She love all things German, every pet in the world, and fuzzy socks. 

Her middle grade mystery, Hopscotch and the Case of the Missing Memories, debuts January 27, 2021

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Random Things Tours - Danger


TITLE: Danger
AUTHOR: Robin Nye
PUBLISHER: Conrad Press
PAGES: 672

SYNOPSIS: Danger is a riveting, fast-paced thriller that ranges from the leafy countryside of Kent to the windswept shores of the Black Sea and to the dramatic coastline of Cornwall. At its heart, 'Danger' is a compelling story depicting the hopelessness, desolation and suffering of those caught up in people-trafficking across Europe. A guest goes missing from a five-star country hotel, sparking an investigation which leads DI Sarah Hunter and DS Ted Selitto of Kent Police to the discovery that young girls are being trafficked from Eastern Europe to the UK for exploitation in the sex industry. As the body count rises, Hunter and Selitto find themselves caught up in a ferocious war between gangs of ruthless traffickers, each vying for supremacy in this sordid world. But will Hunter and Selitto be able to identify the mastermind who controls the UK operation before he can be silenced forever?

MY THOUGHTS: This book is a great thriller if you are looking for something dealing with the dark and seedier side of criminal investigations and crime.  It focuses on two Kent Police Officers, Sarah Hunter and Ted Selitto, as they investigate the disappearance of a high-scale hotel guest.  In doing so, they uncover sex trafficking and all of it's trappings.

Danger is a rather lengthy novel and I felt at times, it could have been somewhat shorter.  There's a lot of detail and honestly, it's not an enjoyable subject matter to begin with.  I did enjoy the partnership of Hunter and Selitto and I always like seeing how law enforcement in other countries compares with mine in the US.  The author clearly did his research and it's evident that he is very knowledgeable.  If you are looking for a dark, detailed thriller, this might be one you want to consider. 


Robin Nye has had a life-long interest in writing. 'Danger' is his first full-length novel. Leading a busy life in the commercial and voluntary sectors, he has plotted numerous stories over the years when travelling the world but has never had the time to write in earnest until now. He's already well advanced with his follow-up Hunter and Selitto novel.




Thursday, January 21, 2021

2 Bloggers 1 Book - An Unexpected Peril


This month Stormi and I are revisiting one of our favorite series.  I'm always happy when we get to skide into Veronica and Stoker's world again.  So check out my review and then hop over to Stormi's at to   Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see her opinion! 

TITLE: An Unexpected Peril
AUTHOR: Deanna Raybourn
PUBLISHING DATE: March 2, 2021
PAGES: 336


A princess is missing, and a peace treaty is on the verge of collapse in this new Veronica Speedwell adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn. 
January 1889. As the newest member of the Curiosity Club—an elite society of brilliant, intrepid women—Veronica Speedwell is excited to put her many skills to good use. As she assembles a memorial exhibition for pioneering mountain climber Alice Baker-Greene, Veronica discovers evidence that the recent death was not a tragic climbing accident but murder. Veronica and her natural historian beau, Stoker, tell the patron of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald, of their findings. With Europe on the verge of war, Gisela's chancellor, Count von Rechstein, does not want to make waves—and before Veronica and Stoker can figure out their next move, the princess disappears. 
Having noted Veronica's resemblance to the princess, von Rechstein begs her to pose as Gisela for the sake of the peace treaty that brought the princess to England. Veronica reluctantly agrees to the scheme. She and Stoker must work together to keep the treaty intact while navigating unwelcome advances, assassination attempts, and Veronica's own family—the royalty who has never claimed her.

MY THOUGHTS: As I mentioned, I'm always excited when there is a new Veronica and Stoker book coming out.  I've pretty much loved the whole series and it's definitely one of my favorite.  In this installment, there are basically two mysteries and if you want to see how they tie together, then you'll just have to read it.

A famous Alpenwald mountain climber, Alice Baker-Green plummeted to her death doing what she loved.  The Curiosity Club, a woman-centered society, is doing an exhibition honoring her life, and while putting it together, they stumble on something which indicates the death might not have been accidental.  The Alpenwald royalty have traveled for the opening when Princess goes missing.  While her court basically knows she just takes off from time to time, they do need her presence and since Veronica really resembles her, they convince her, against Stoker's wishes, to pose as Gisela.

So basically there is a whole lot going on in this book.  Once again, I love the relationship and banter between Stoker and Veronica.  It never gets old to me and I'm glad that six books in that it still seems fresh and going strong.  I also feel that Raybourn does a great job weaving intricate mystery plots and I was never quite sure how this one would wrap up until it did.  However, I do believe that I enjoyed this one a tad less than those previously released.  I think it's because it went into a lot of detail about mountain climbing as well as royalty and all the trappings.  

I know Stormi loved this one more than I did but I still think it's a really strong book and anyone who is already in love with this series will definitely love it.  And if you haven't started the series, just think, you have the option to binge read at least the first six once this one is published - which I highly recommend.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday (306)


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

FROM GOODREADS: 17-year-old Mina, from England, arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. After growing up in Whitby, the town that inspired Dracula, Mina loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie. She can't wait to explore the city's darkest secrets - vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths...

And it gets even better when Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby's gorgeous housemate, co-worker and fellow horror enthusiast.

But the perfect summer bliss is broken when, while exploring the mansion, Mina stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby's... Someone is replicating New Orleans' most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister's innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth.
WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I'm a sucker for New Orleans settings (pun not intended) and they say vampires are making a comeback.  This one at least sounds like a lot of fun.


FROM GOODREADS: It’s up to a trio of adorable rescue huskies to make two lonely hearts in a coastal Alaskan town realize that true love is worth too much to turn tail and run.

Glaciers have nothing on Kelsey Porter when she decides to freeze someone out. After getting burned once, she’s not about to let it happen again. And right now all that icy contempt is focused on one annoyingly attractive and entitled interloper: Ian Roth. Not only is he looking to take advantage of her quaint, coastal community, tainting the small-town charm of Helen, Alaska, but he has committed the one crime she can never forgive–he doesn’t like her dogs.

Unlike what Kelsey believes, Ian loves Helen’s charms as much as she does. That’s partly why he’s determined to open a brewery there, and he’s not about to let anything or anyone stop his dream from coming true. But he didn’t count on the beautiful, prickly woman getting under his skin. Or having to be within hand-biting proximity of her three huge huskies.

When Kelsey’s family conscripts her into helping Ian get his brewery off the ground, she finds herself caught between a rock and a hard . . . muscular . . . man who has a fear of dogs. But the longer they work together, the more she can feel herself begin to thaw. Now she’ll have to choose: let sleeping dogs lie to protect her heart, or mush head-on toward love.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Mom has the first one in this series on her TBR and I know she isn't going to be able to resist the cover of this one.  In her defense, the first one isn't released until April.  Wonder if those puppies are as ornery as Apollo???


Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - In Darkness Shadows Breathe


TITLE: In Darkness Shadows Breathe
AUTHOR: Catherine Cavendish
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: January 19, 2021
PAGES: 240


Carol and Nessa are strangers but not for much longer. In a luxury apartment and in the walls of a modern hospital, the evil that was done continues to thrive. They are in the hands of an entity that knows no boundaries and crosses dimensions - bending and twisting time itself - and where danger waits in every shadow. The battle is on for their bodies and souls and the line between reality and nightmare is hard to define. 
Through it all, the words of Lydia Warren Carmody haunt them. But who was she? And why have Carol and Nessa been chosen? 
The answer lies deep in the darkness…

MY THOUGHTS: It's actually kind of ironic that I read The Devil's Dreamer for my Retro Horror post at the beginning of the month because that is pretty much what this book reminded me.  However, while I felt that book was a waste of my time, In Darkness Shadows Breathe took the same concepts but did it so much better. 

The book is divided in two parts.  The first is about Carol, who has no real connections to anything and decides to watch an apartment for a wealthy couple while they are out of town on work assignments.  Strange things start to happen to Carol and she finds herself intermittently thrown into the past and into the body of Lydia Carmody.  The second part tells Nessa's tale.  Nessa is suffering from cancer and enters a local hospital for surgery and treatment.  While there, she also starts having similar experiences and is scared when she finds herself experiencing things that could not have happened to her.  Eventually Carol and Nessa's paths cross and they need to figure out how to stop the past from becoming their present.

This is the third book I've read by Cavendish and I can now say she is a must read author.  She has a distinct way with words and settings and all of her books I have read always have a strong Gothic undertone.  I was truly invested in what was going on with Nessa and Carol and found myself as confused as they were at times, but only because the author managed to pull me into the book, not because I wasn't enjoying what I was reading.  It would have been easy to portray both female protagonists as unreliable narrators but I never felt that for a moment.  Something unexplainable was clearly happening to these women and I was pleased to be along for the ride.

If you are looking for an extremely atmospheric read, then look no further.  In Darkness Shadows Breathe is one you definitely need to grab!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels and novellas. She lives with her long-suffering husband and black cat in a 260 year old haunted apartment in North Wales

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Random Things Tours - The Dark Room


TITLE: The Dark Room
AUTHOR: Sam Blake
PUBLISHING DATE: January 7, 2021
PAGES: 304


Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare's Landing. 
New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly's career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare's Landing begins to reveal its own stories - a 30-year-old missing person's case and the mysterious death of the hotel's former owner. 
As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined - and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth...

MY THOUGHTS: I'm always in the mood for a good thriller, especially when there is a creepy home involved.  That's one of the main reasons I considered picking up The Dark Room and I'm glad I did.  One day Rachel's partner is knocked off his bike in a hit-and-run accident and it just happens to be the that the subject of their most recent documentary, Alfie Bows, has also disappeared. Thinking it has to be more than coincidence, Rachel travels to London to visit the only place really connected to Alfie, Hare's Landing.  There she meets up with the only other guest at the hotel, Caroline Kelly.  A lawyer who is in much need of a rest, Caroline and Rachel gravitate toward each other and both start working together to unravel the mysteries of Hare's Landing.  

If you really like cozy mysteries, this is a great thriller to grab.  It really is reminiscent of a cozy and I thoroughly enjoyed both the mystery and the setting.  I also like that the book features two strong and capable female protagonists.  It also doesn't hurt that the book is told in alternating perspectives of Caroline and Rachel which just happens to be a writing technique I love.  The books is full of suspense and some plot twists which always kept me engaged and there may even be some paranormal aspects thrown in - I guess it's all up to interpretation.

The Dark Room is a great read and as I know some people really seek out stand-alones, this is definitely the place to look.  I would recommend it to both mystery and thriller lovers as well as individuals who like smart female characters.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the hugely popular national writing resources website She is Ireland's leading literary scout and has assisted many award-winning and bestselling authors to publication. As Sam Blake, she has written four previous novels and has topped the Irish bestseller chart.

Top Ten Tuesday - I Really Wanted to Read You Last Year But...

The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed over the reins to That Artsy Reader Girl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading.

I don't know about you guys but I'm not going to have any difficulty at all sharing with you books I meant to last year.  In fact, I think unfortunately this is going to be TOO easy.

HORRID - Katrina Leno



IF IT BLEEDS - Stephen King

SAD JANET - Lucie Britsch


MEXICAN GOTHIC - Silvia Moreno-Garcia

THE FINDERS - Jeffrey B. Burton

DEVOTED - Dean Koontz

As I anticipated, that was way too easy and I could have actually kept going #BOOKWORMPROBLEMS

Did you mean to read any of these as well?