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MuseAndRamble

Musings and Ramblings

Of a self professed bookworm and geek girl.

Review: Pumpkin Picking With Murder by Auralee Wallace (@AuraleeWallace)

 

Series: An Otter Lake Mystery, #2
Publisher: St. Martin's
Published: August 30, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 352 pages

I had a great time with the first book in this new series, Skinny Dipping with Murder. It's a cozy mystery series set in the small town of Otter Lake, New Hampshire. Our main protagonist is Erica Bloom and she, along with her best friend Freddie Ng, can't help but get involved when murder is suspected.

http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/review-skinny-dipping-with-murder-auralee-wallace.htmlErica is back in Otter Lake for the annual Fall Festival. There have been some changes since she left a few months prior. Her best friend Freddie has opened a security company and is playing up to the local residents. So much so that Erica's love interest and local Sheriff Grady, has been taking a beating in the popularity polls.

Erica came back to see if she and Grady can make a relationship work. That is until the death of a prominent member of the town. A married man who died while on the Tunnel of Love ride with Erica's "Aunt" Tweety, who was not his wife. Now Erica is determined to make sure that neither Tweety nor her twin Kit Katt take the fall for his murder.

There was an interesting twist in this book, with the introduction of a second love interest for Erica. One that I think suits her better than Grady. But we will have to see how that plays out in future books. I was also glad to see that Erica would be staying in Otter Lake instead of returning to Chicago. We knew it would have to happen and I was happy that it wasn't drug out.

St. Martin's and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

When murder strikes in the Tunnel of Love, Erica Bloom has to rock the boat to catch a killer…

For a small town like Otter Lake, New Hampshire, the annual Fall Festival is a big deal: a Ferris wheel, corn maze, caramel apples and pumpkin pies—even a Tunnel of Love. Back in her hometown, Erica Bloom is trying to enjoy herself, which includes getting better acquainted with Sheriff Grady Forrester. But when a swan boat sails out of the heart-shaped exit of the tunnel with a dead man slumped over a wing, her own romance will have to take a backseat.

PUMPKIN PICKING WITH MURDER

Speaking of love affairs, the other passenger in the boat—and only witness to the elderly Mr. Masterson’s swan song—is not his wife. It’s Erica’s beloved and feisty “aunt,” Tweety, who quickly becomes the prime suspect. Vowing to clear Tweety, Erica teams up with her sassy BFF and self-appointed security expert Freddie Ng to solve the murder—despite the objections of Grady, who’s convinced the amateurs are going overboard in their investigation. And he just may be right. But as Erica and Freddie start to dredge up long-kept small-town secrets, will they heading straight into troubled waters?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29756485-pumpkin-picking-with-murder  http://amzn.to/2bNwP0F http://goo.gl/4mQBZq http://goo.gl/IVgyi3 
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/10/review-pumpkin-picking-with-murder-by.html

Review: She's Got a Way by Maggie McGinnis (@Maggie_McGinnis)

 

Series: Echo Lake, #3
Publisher: St. Martin's
Published: August 30, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages

First off let me say that I wanted to like this book, I really did. I enjoyed the other books in the series that I have read and looked forward to another enjoyable read.

Unfortunately my OCD germaphobe issues got in the way and I had to DNF at about 29%.  My personal "Ewww" was just too high.

See, our heroine and the 4 girls in her care are at a rustic summer camp. One that's not currently offering indoor toilets or running water. Yes, as in outhouses and bathing in the lake. Now, let me go one further and tell you that for many, many years this summer camp was an all boys camp. All I could think about was the fact that boys are known to urinate anywhere and everywhere and they were bathing in the lake.

First of all, whenever you get out of the water, any swimming type water, you should wash. With Soap and fresh water. And I don't care how much bio-safe soap you use, bathing in the lake is not really bathing. You are washing yourself where fish and other creatures live and potty. Don't try to tell me water from the tap is being pulled directly from similar areas. There are filters and such to keep most contaminates out. Plus let's not discount the many, many years of boys most probably peeing in that very same lake. Nope, nope, nope. Ewww, yuck, gross, blergh. *shudders*

Needless to say, I just couldn't keep going. I'm sure that for others, this is a non issue and are quietly laughing about my personal squicks. It's all good, I don't mind. :)  I will definitely try another book (as long as they don't use the lake to bathe in), but I had to pass on this one.

St. Martin's and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

LOVE WILL FIND A WAY

Gabriela O’Brien is devoted to the girls at Briarwood Academy, the exclusive boarding school where she works—even when they screw up royally. Their latest prank has earned them an entire summer at a remote campground in Echo Lake, Vermont—no boys allowed. When the headmaster assigns Gabi to be their chaperone, how can she refuse? A long, hot summer with neither indoor plumbing nor wireless access might be just what she needs to get her own life in order… right?

Before Briarwood took over Camp Echo, Luke Magellan spent years there helping needy, troubled boys. He can do without four spoiled rich girls and their seemingly uptight den mother. It’s hard to hide his amusement as he watches them cope with collapsing tents and raccoon invasions. But it’s even tougher to resist the passion and strength he sees in Gabi—especially when he learns about her past, and sees how much she cares about her students. Is this destined to be just a grownup version of a summer-camp romance—or can they find enough in common to build a love for all seasons?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30111744-she-s-got-a-way  http://amzn.to/2c5YTue http://goo.gl/318YWL http://goo.gl/HKf7Ka 
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Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/10/review-shes-got-way-maggie-mcginnis.html

Audio Review: Merrick's Maiden by S.E. Smith (@sesmithfl)

 

Series: Cosmos' Gateway, #5
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Published: April 14, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins

I'm going to be honest here and admit that I never read the descriptive blurb. I just saw the next book in the Cosmos' Gateway series and put in my request. An earlier book in the series is when Merrick gets captured, and we even find out that he gets away, but his story wasn't even hinted out. Since he has been a secondary character since the first book, I was eager to get his story. 

It was after I started listening to this book that I realized that our heroine was deaf. And it hit me that I don't think I have ever read about where one of our lead characters was deaf. The author did a great job making sure that the character stayed true to the limitation the disability would cause. 

The narrator did a good job with the emotions of the characters. The men still sound a bit stiff, but overall it was a decent listen.

If you like some sci fi mixed with your romance, this series just might be for you.

Audiobook Jukebox provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


Merrick Ta'Duran is the powerful leader of the Eastern Mountain Clan on the Prime world of Baade. His people, known as the Ghosts of the Forests, live high in the Eastern Mountains. Merrick feels the weight of responsibility as the males within his clan become desperate to find mates among the few remaining females. When word comes that a new species has been discovered, he knows he must do what is right for his people, even if it means traveling to a strange, alien realm to do it.

Merrick's world changes when he is injured and captured by a ruthless group of humans. Drugged and held against his will, he is the subject of experiments and testing as the humans try to discover where he came from and to duplicate his strength and ability to heal quickly. After months of captivity, he fears his life will end on the strange world--until one chance encounter gives him hope.

Addie Banks' life has been one of silence since a devastating illness when she was sixteen. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she goes to school during the day and works at night to put herself through college. Her life unexpectedly changes when she stumbles across something she wasn't supposed to see while at work. Now, she hears a voice in her head, and it is driving her crazy. Her only hope for peace is to help the creature talking to her to escape from the men holding him.

Merrick knows the female who helps him is his bond mate. She may deny it. She may fight it. She may even try to run from it, but it won't matter. She is his, and he will do everything he can to convince her: hold her or even kidnap her if that is what it takes to make her realize that they belong together.

Will Addie hear the love and longing in Merrick's voice? Can she trust and accept the new life he has to offer? Or will a ruthless killer silence him before she gets a chance?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28390043-merrick-s-maiden  http://amzn.to/2bEDLvq http://goo.gl/wNNKWr http://goo.gl/2yglfp http://goo.gl/V4G6qU
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/10/audio-review-merricks-maiden-se-smith.html

Review: Unraveled by Jennifer Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)

 

Series: Elemental Assassin, #15
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: August 30, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: 400 pages

If you have been following my reviews for any length of time, you know that I have been a HUGE fan of Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series since the very first book. And if you haven't or are new to the series, I strongly suggest starting from book 1. This is an on going series, and each story builds on the next to create a fascinating world full of unique and complex characters. 

In the last full book, Gin was taunted with information that led her to discover what she thought she knew about Ashland's criminal activities was the mere tip of the iceberg. A group called the Circle has been manipulating and plotting from behind the scenes for decades. And she was just informed that not only was Mab Monroe a member, but so was her very own mother. Talk about turning your world upside down!

So when Finn receives a surprise inheritance from his recently departed mother, they decided to take a break and go check out this Old West Theme park and resort. But of course, just like the last time Gin and the gang tried to get away for a few days, there is no relaxation to be found. And when Brea, Finn and Owen are held prisoner, it will take all of Gin's resourcefulness and the help of their friends to overcome the odds stacked against them.

This was an exciting book, full of all the action and resourcefulness that we have come to expect from Gin.  One thing you have to admit about Gin, she may get knocked down, but she comes up swinging. This was a magnificent addition to the series.

Pocket Books and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

 
 
After the shocking revelations of the previous book, Bitter Bite, the world of Ashland’s become even more sinister, and Gin Blanco (aka Ashland’s most fearsome assassin, the Spider) no longer knows who—or what—she can count on. Only one thing is for certain: danger and new enemies await Gin in Unraveled.

What could go wrong when you’re trying to unravel a decades-old conspiracy?

As the current queen of the Ashland underworld, you would think that I, Gin Blanco, would know all about some secret society controlling things from behind the scenes. I might be the Spider, the city’s most fearsome assassin, but all my Ice and Stone elemental magic hasn’t done me a lick of good in learning more about “the Circle”. Despite my continued investigations, the trail’s gone as cold as the coming winter.

So when Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, gets word of a surprising inheritance, we figure why not skip town for someplace less dangerous for a few days? That place: Bullet Pointe, a fancy hotel resort complex plus Old West theme park that Finn now owns lock, stock, and barrel. At first, all the struttin’ cowboys and sassy saloon girls are just hokey fun. But add in some shady coincidences and Circle assassins lurking all around, and vacationing becomes wilder—and deadlier—than any of us expected.

Good thing this assassin brought plenty of knives to the gunfight…
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27863207-unraveled  http://amzn.to/2bRTmZl http://goo.gl/wZk5Oh http://goo.gl/r5scKU 
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Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/10/review-unraveled-jennifer-estep.html

Review: Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Title (@TitleAuthor)

Series: Southern Comfort, #5
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Published: August 30, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 90 pages

I always stop and take a look at books featuring Librarians. I thought long and hard about becoming one, but finally decided that though I enjoy reading books, I personally wasn't professional librarian material.  However I still love libraries and those that take care of the books held within.

But this book had more than just librarians, it also had basset hounds. I have been in love with basset hounds since watching The Fox and The Hound as a child. Who can resist those sad eyes and that squishy face? Then we top that off with a guy who wears a bow tie. A history professor doing research about a brothel, all while wearing a bow tie. I mean, how adorkable is that?

The love story between Helen and Henry was one of friends to lovers. He was so sweet to read romance novels to help figure out how to woo Helen. I couldn't help but develop a bit of a crush on him as well.

This was a very nice read and I had a good time with it. Though this is part of a series, it would work fine as a stand alone.

Kensington and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sometimes the best surprises come wrapped in a bow-tie…

Helen Lee has a top-secret dream: to publish a romance novel. There’s just one problem, and her most recent rejection letter doesn’t mince words: Helen can’t write a love scene to save her life. As Head of Reference at Willow Springs, Kentucky’s Pembroke College, Helen is hoping her library research skills will do the trick. But she may have to resort to a far more “hands-on” course of study. Luckily, there’s someone who’s more than happy to instruct her…

History professor Henry Beckham has noticed that his friend, Helen, is behaving strangely. Known for her laser sharp focus—not to mention her snorting laugh—she’s been oddly distracted. He misses that laugh. But it all makes sense when he catches Helen researching erotic writing and discovers her ambition. She seems to think her only option is to die of embarrassment or give up and surrender to spinsterhood in the company of her two basset hounds. Good thing Henry has a much more real-life approach in mind. And his tutorial just might teach them both a thing or two…
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31248236-practice-makes-perfect  http://amzn.to/2bw2pT6 http://goo.gl/ymr0Vb http://goo.gl/nW3s4U 
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Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/10/review-practice-makes-perfect-sarah-title.html

Review: The Sight by Chloe Neill (@chloeneill)

 

 

Series: Devil's Isle
Publisher: NAL
Published: August 16, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: 347 pages

In the first book in this series, we were very quickly shown that this wasn't going to be a remix of the Chicagoland Vampire series, the New Orleans version. Merit, Ethan and the gang are set in present day, just with addition of vamps and shifters. Claire lives in a much darker time, almost post-apocalyptic in tone, what with a war having been fought and martial law being enforced in the area.There are no shifters or vampires in Claire's world. There are however, angels, demons, and a whole host of creatures straight out of Grimm's Fairy Tales, the original, non-kid friendly version. I'm not generally one for such dark story lines, but there is enough humor and hope to keep this from being depressingly bleak or sinister.

http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/08/review-veil-chloe-neill.html


Claire is working with a group called Delta, to learn how to not only save herself from Devil's Isle, but to protect the city itself from further attack by those beyond the Veil. Claire has to learn how to harness and control her power of telekinesis, or one day it will one day turn her into a magic sucking Wraith. She is also training with Liam, to be a bounty hunter, going after Wraiths before they can hurt innocent people. In addition to all this, she is still running her father's store, The Royal Mercantile.

The world building continues to expand as more secrets are revealed and Claire figures out who are Allies and who are Opponents in the struggle for the City of New Orleans and the paranormals and Sensitives who now live there. Not only is the world building top notch, but the dialogue is superlative. Take for instance, the following where Claire and Liam are talking while out canvassing a neighborhood for a suspected Wraith.

I glanced at him, his muscles taut beneath the short-sleeved shirt, strong hands on the steering wheel. "You like to sports?"

He lifted an eyebrow. "Do I like to sports? You should like a woman who's never said that word before."

"My dad didn't care about sportsball."

"You know that's not a thing."

"I do," I admitted. "But I like the sound of it."

Overall, I am really enjoying this serious divergence from the Chicagoland series. If you are a fan of the darker fairy tales or post-apocalyptic tales, you should really check this series out.

Berkley Publishing and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The paranormal war that engulfed New Orleans seven years ago is over. But the battle for the city is just beginning...

Claire Connolly is a Sensitive, infected with magic when the Veil that divides humanity from the world beyond fell. Magic can easily consume and destroy a Sensitive, and if Claire’s secret is discovered she’ll be locked into the walled district of Devil’s Isle along with every other Paranormal left in the city.

Bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered Claire’s secret, but refused to turn her in. Together they saved New Orleans from the resurgence of magic that nearly destroyed it. But now a dangerous cult is on the rise, and it will take both Claire and Liam—and magical allies within Devil’s Isle’s towering walls—to defeat the occult threat before magic corrupts them both...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28092680-the-sight  http://amzn.to/2c0TDc7 http://goo.gl/BREgqL http://goo.gl/mFDBHa 
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/08/review-sight-chloe-neill.html

Review: Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle (@katieruggle)

 

Series: Search and Rescue, #3
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: August 2, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 448 pages

I have to first comment on this cover. It is so fierce, I just adore it. He definitely looks like someone who could get you through the forest in one piece. Let's just say that I would "hug him and pet him and squeeze him and call him George"... Okay, sorry, I just had to get that out of my head.

This book introduced us to Ellie Price, daughter of a friend of the HDG from book one. When she gets an odd call from her father, she decides that she really needs to check on him. Especially as he has suffered from some serious mental health issues.  When she gets to town, Lou from book one, helps her to hook up with George to head into the mountains looking for her dad. The majority of this book is Ellie and George alone together. Their interactions with each other really drive the book and I especially like how they overcame the obstacles to them being together in the end.

It's a good thing the books in this series has been release so close together, what with the cliffhanger endings; each one has left us with more questions that need answered. This one has quite a doozy that I totally didn't see coming and I am excited to see how things are going to turn out in the next book.

Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

George Holloway has spent his life alone, exploring the treacherous beauty of the Colorado Rockies. He's the best survival expert Search and Rescue has, which makes him the obvious choice to lead Ellie Price through deadly terrain to find her missing father. There's just one problem-Ellie's everything George isn't. She's a city girl, charming, gregarious, delicate, small. And when she looks up at him with those big, dark eyes, he swears he would tear the world apart to keep her safe.

With a killer on the loose, he may have no choice.

Ellie's determined to find her father no matter the cost. But as she and her gorgeous mountain of a guide fight their way through an unforgiving wilderness, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a dangerous man in search of revenge. And they are now his prey...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29539961-gone-too-deep  http://amzn.to/2brpN1C http://goo.gl/BGNwBG http://goo.gl/dB2WkY
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Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/08/review-gone-too-deep-katie-ruggle.html

Review: Waking the Bear by Kerry Adrienne (@kerryadrienne)

Series: Shifter Wars
Publisher: Carina Press
Published: August 1, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 212 pages

I am a huge fan of the Bear when it comes to shifters. Just call me Goldilocks, because bear shifters are Just Right! So whenever I see a bear book, I tend to not bother looking twice and just throw caution to the winds. This doesn't always work out the way I hope though. Such was the case for this book.

I wanted to really like this book. I mean, hello, there is a picture of a bear and the words Shifter Wars right on the front cover. Unfortunately, this one just didn't do it for me. I mean, it was all right. But I had some issues.

First off, our girl, Amy started out a bit spunky. Starting over after her loser boyfriend stole her ad campaign and her promotion, she is planning on focusing on her 'art'.  But it takes her weeks to unpack and get in the groove, and very little is said about her actual painting, other than the fact that it's "good". Pfft. Weak. I really would have liked to seen her art more developed, it might have given her more personality, especially since it's what she is supposed to be so passionate about.

Then there are the Bears. They are protecting the area and this sacred cave from the "lions". Yeah, not the big haired african kind apparently, more like the bobcat/cougar/mountain lion type. I was bummed about that. Plus all we really hear is that the Lions are bad, and the Bears are good. Why the hell can't they share? Don't know. Even the sacred spirit in the cave is meant for both of them. Sure, sure, the bad guy happened to be a lion, but I really didn't see why there was this whole big war going on. The rest of the lions didn't seem all that bad to me.  I needed some real reasons besides, 'because'.

I guess the whole war thing felt a bit contrived and not very well thought out to me.  Maybe that will change in the coming books. Eh, I don't know, but I probably won't read another in this series. This book got a 2 star ranking. It was okay, but nothing special.

Carina Press and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

 
Sexy shifter passion is awakened when two unlikely lovers are challenged by secrets, danger and an unstoppable need to claim one's mate…

For human Amy Francis, the secluded cabin in Deep Creek is the haven she needs to map out a fresh new start. She never expected her heart to be reawakened by a distraction like Griff Martin, commanding yet gentle, too ferociously sensual to ignore. It's clear that patrolling the forest is more than a job to Griff—it's a means of survival. But what Amy doesn't realize is she's reawakened the beast within him.

Griff's dormant hunger is stirred by this intoxicating woman…and threatened by the secret she must never learn. Duty-bound to defend his bear clan against an avenging pride of lion shifters, Griff's entire world is upended when he meets Amy. His animal need to claim his mate has taken hold, but that very desire could seal her fate as an unwitting pawn in battle.

Now, as a shifter war looms, Griff must decide between letting Amy go or following his most carnal instincts. To have her would change his life…but risk everything he knows and was born to protect.

Book one of the Shifter Wars series

Previously published, newly revised by author
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30249333-waking-the-bear  http://amzn.to/2bronE3 http://goo.gl/x0Gn6q http://goo.gl/qYlYWJ 
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/08/review-waking-bear-kerry-adrienne.html

Review: Unwanted by Jennifer Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)

 

Series: Elemental Assassin, #14.5
Publisher: Pocket Star
Published: July 18, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: 74 pages

To say that I am a huge fan of the Elemental Assassin Series could be an understatement. I have all the books in the series in both e- and paperback format. It's actually one of the few series that I allow on my physical book shelf. I have also read all the free shorts available on the the author's website. This isn't the first story told from Finnegan Lane's point of view, but the other was told by teenage Finn.

This book follows the events Bitter Bite, where Finn's mother returned to Ashland and surprised him and everyone else with her "resurrection". If you didn't read that book, you really want to wait on this one until after you read it. Because basically this is Finn's reaction and semi-redemption from the end of that book. 

I adored getting to sneak a peak into Finn's head, and see Gin from his perspective. Plus, even though this was a novella, there was still plenty of action to be had, just a lot less elemental magic being used.  I had a wonderful time with this novella and gave it 4 stars.

Simon & Schuster and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella--from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, the foster brother of Gin Blanco, and a fan favorite of readers of the series.

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes...
    
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Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/08/review-unwanted-jennifer-estep.html

Review: Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M Boyer (@susanmboyer)

 

Series: Liz Talbot Mystery, #5
Publisher: Henery Press
Published: July 5, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 268 pages

My reading tastes encompass many genres, but a few things remain constant: I liked a strong heroine, exceptional dialogue and enough action or mystery to keep me guessing and engaged. Whether it's a romance, a cozy mystery, a romantic suspense, an urban fantasy, or some crazy, mixed up, mashup of genres, those are my three must haves in a good read. This series has all of them in spades.

Though this series is set in the genteel region of Charleston, South Carolina, where manners and breeding are the by words to live by, and the seeming pace of everyday life matches the slow as honey speech, there is plenty of mystery just below the surface of even the most sedate lives. That's actually one of the reasons I like it so much, the notion that there is so much more below the surface and with a bit of patience, some stellar planning and a bit of luck, it can all be brought to the surface.

This time Liz and her new husband Nate are investigating the murder of a local heiress and philanthropist. The police think her husband did it, and don't plan on looking any further. It's up to Liz and Nate to discover just who would want the woman everybody adored dead and keep an innocent man from going to jail.

All of the wonderfully eccentric characters from the first books are back, including Colleen, the guardian of Stella Maris, and Liz's wacky family. I just can't help but smile, every time I read about them. This was a wonderful addition to the series, and kept me in suspense about the whodunit right till the end.

Henery Press and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

 
Somebody pushed Shelby Poinsett out her second-floor library window and it wasn’t her husband. At least that what Charleston’s most prestigious law firm wants Liz Talbot to prove. Liz must run the spectrum of Southern society, from the local homeless shelter where Shelby volunteered to the one-hundred-year-old book club where Charleston’s genteel ladies are dying to join, to bring a killer to justice.
    
 
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Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/08/review-lowcountry-book-club-susan-m-boyer.html

Review: Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker (@JAWalkerAuthor)

 

Series: Deep Six, #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: July 5, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 384 pages

The first book in this series, Hell or High Water, earned a 5 star read from me. I couldn't believe how awesome it was, great dialogue and action that just swept me away! So I was super excited to dive into book 2.

http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/07/guest-post-review-hell-or-high-water-julie-ann-walker.htmlWe met our heroine, Maddy Powers in book one, when the guys saved the yacht she was on from modern day pirates. I liked Maddy when we met her. She was scared to death, but did her best to keep up the illusion that she wasn't. Her spunky attitude in the face of danger, earned her kudos from me.

The book starts about 3 months following the Maddy's pirate adventure.  Bran and Maddy have been corresponding during this time, and now Maddy has written to him that she will be coming from Texas to the Dry Tortugas, about 15 nautical miles from the island the team is living on, with 3 scholarship winners for a camping trip.  She has invited him to come by and see them, and maybe talk to the girls about the guys search for the Santa Cristina. Sounds like an nice little trip, right? Something sweet and easy, and a chance for Maddy and Bran to have some face time?  Yeah, no.

Everything starts out okay, but then a group of guys with machine guns show up, intending to kidnap Maddy.  Pfft. Like Bran is going to let that happen. He is a SEAL after all. Bran and Mason manage to rescue Maddy, but the girls were taken hostage.  And thus begins an action packed game of hide and seek on the island. Maddy insists on going along since she actually knows the island and it's history, while Bran growls and goes just a bit caveman.

I had a fantastic time with this book. As with the first book, once I started it, I didn't want to put it down.  Luckily, I planned ahead and had a nice block of time set aside with no interruptions. And again, I just zoomed through the book not coming up for air until the book was done. It was an amazing read and worth everyone of it's 5 stars.

Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The former SEALs of The Deep Six return in a sizzling series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker.

A COVERT MISSION
Maddy Powers's life revolves around cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events - but she can't forget the daring former SEAL who appropriated her father's yacht a few months ago... or the scorching kiss they shared before he disappeared into the deep blue sea.

SPARKS A FLAMING DESIRE
Bran Pallidino carries a dark secret behind his lady-killer eyes - one that keeps him from pursuing a serious relationship with Maddy. But when she's taken hostage during a trip to the Dry Tortugas, the men of Deep Six Salvage drop their treasure hunt for a sunken galleon and embark on a dangerous mission to save Maddy.

WITH EARTH-SHATTERING REPERCUSSIONS
As they fight her merciless kidnappers, they discover this isn't a simple hostage situation, but something far more sinister. Passion boils between Bran and Maddy, but what good is putting their hearts on the line if they don't survive the dawn?
    
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/review-devil-and-deep-julie-ann-walker.html

Review: Always My Girl by Samantha Chase (@SamanthaChase3)

 

Series: The Shaughnessy Brothers, #3
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: July 5, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages

I was excited to see another Shaughnessy Brothers book come available and I am adoring that cover.  There is something about it that just makes me think of long summer days and flirting with that cute boy next door.

As I have mentioned in my reviews for the first two books in The Shaughnessy Brother's series, the author has once again thrown us a curve ball.  What do I mean by that?  Well, in the very first book, it was clear there was some not only massive chemistry between best friends Quinn and Anna, but Anna's been fighting a major crush most of her life.  So with this sweet teasing build up between the two characters, I figured we wouldn't get their happily ever after until the last book.  You know, keeping us in suspense throughout the entire series? That would be standard operating procedure for most authors.  But nope, here we are, mid-way through and *Bam*, we get their story. 

And what a story it was. Anna was such a strong character. Yes, she does try to change herself to please and attract Quinn, but she also makes some wonderful discoveries about herself in the process. Then, just as she is throwing in the towel and working towards trying to get over Quinn, he finally figures things out. Quinn turned out to be a much more complex character than he had appeared in the first two books. I really enjoyed their interactions and the dialogue was so clever.  I had a great time with this book and gave it 4 stars.

Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Falling in love with your best friend? Easy.
Telling them how you really feel? Impossible.

Quinn Shaughnessy believes there's a lot more to life than romance, and he always thought his best friend Anna agreed. But now she's coming out of her shell and dating... and Quinn starts seeing her in a very different light.

Anna can tell Quinn anything, except the big secret she's been hiding for years-that she's fallen in love with him. Now Anna is determined to make a life for herself that doesn't include hopeless pining. But just as she's ready to move on, Quinn seems determined not to let go-and the way he's looking at her might be enough to finally change them from best friends to best everything.
    
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/review-always-my-girl-samantha-chase.html

Review: Curse of the Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones (@darynda)

 

Series: Charley Davidson, #10
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: June 28, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: 353 pages

I have had the hardest time actually sitting down to write this review.  I have put it off multiple times, always finding some reason why I didn't have the time, energy or brain power to write it. Although I'm not exactly sure why. I mean, at first glance, this was another great story in the Charley Davidson series. Full of all the snarky Charlie and darkly sexy Reyes that we have all come to know and love.  And yet...

Yeah, there's that 'and yet'.  This is the book after Charley gets her memory back after giving up her child. After having her father cross over through her, compounding the trauma of his death.  This is the story that takes place after finding out more about Reyes origins and the true depth of the deceptions and manipulations that are happening.  Charley vacillates between her earlier persona where she was so uncertain of Reyes and where their relationship was heading, spending time brooding over him, and this new, harder persona where she is so seemingly casual about what amounts to torture to her friends and allies.

Overall this was a great book, though darker in it's theme. I don't think we are done seeing the lengths Charley will go to to get her daughter back. This book stayed with me and kept me thinking about more than the cheap laughs that it is know for. I gave this book 5 stars, for being an amazing read.

Netgalley and St. Martin's Press provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

As a Part-time PI and fulltime grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers?

Those are just a few of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murder, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…
    
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/review-curse-of-tenth-grave-darynda-jones.html

Review: Cracked to Death by Cheryl Hollon (@cherylhollon) #kLover

 

Series: Webb's Glass Shop Mystery, #3
Publisher: Kensington
Published: June 28, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 320 pages

I read the first book in this series, Pane and Suffering, because it was a cozy mystery set not too far from me, in my home state of Florida. I have kept reading the series, because the author does not only a fantastic job of capturing the uniqueness that is St. Petersburg and the entire Suncoast area, but also telling an first rate story.

Our story revolves around Savannah Webb, glass artist and owner of Webb's Glass Shop.  Occasionally, we see things from Homicide detective David Parker's viewpoint, but that is usually when explanations need to happen that Savannah wouldn't have access to. It's a great way of keeping us, the reader, informed and up to date, as well as seeing how things are progressing from the official law enforcement view.

The romance that I had predicted in book one, is really coming alive between Savannah and her work neighbor Edward.  More of the neighborhood is explored, especially as Savannah has opened up a new venture, Webb's Studio, nearby to cater to artists needing space to create. As the characters move around the town and surrounding area, the descriptions are so distinctive, that I could almost smell the salt in the air.

If you are like me, and enjoy reading cozy mysteries in part for the slice of small town life they typically explore or for the many wonderful hobbies and crafts that are described, this would be a great series to explore. This was another wonderful addition to a series that has been top notch and I gave it 4 stars.

Kensington and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it's up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer...

It's the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb's Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat--a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane...

Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah's interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin's lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through unchartered territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin's death...
    
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/review-cracked-to-death-cheryl-hollon.html

Review: Fixin' to Die by Tonya Kappes (@tonyakappes11)

 

Series: Kenni Lowry Mystery, #1
Publisher: Henery Press
Published: June 14, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 224 pages

I have been a fan of Tonya Kappes and her offbeat paranormal mysteries for a while now, so I was excited to see a new series coming out. This is an author who does a wonderful job with slightly offbeat, yet incredibly down to earth characters.  Plus she totally has the unique southern small town vibe nailed down.  Even though there is some form of paranormal going on, she makes them seem almost believable. It's one of the reason I keep going back to her work.

Which is why it pains me so, that I had a hard time getting into the beginning of this book.  It just wasn't flowing for me. It wasn't until well into chapter 6 (about 25%) that I really became engrossed and fully committed to the book. I'm hoping it was the fact that we spent most of that time going around the town and getting to know it's inhabitants, and basically laying most of the groundwork. I just wasn't sure if I was going to like Kenni or not. It took a bit for me to really warm up to her.

In the end, I was elated to see that I had figured out who the bad guy was. I didn't have the motive, but that was a tricksy surprise that Kenni didn't figure out either, until the big reveal. Overall, I did enjoy this book and happily look forward to the next Kenni Lowry book. I gave this book 3 stars.

“Aren’t you ordering?” he asked.
“She knows what I want.” I waited patiently but my taste buds were already oozing.
“Sunny Goose Sammy for you.” Jolee put my usual in a paper carton on top of the counter, a cup of coffee next to it. “And a Yankee sandwich for you.” She sat Finn’s plain turkey sandwich next to mine.
“Pepsi?” Finn asked.
“You didn’t order a Coke.” Jolee was getting a little feisty.
“Right, I’m ordering a Pepsi…” he said, trying to figure her out.
“Well.” She straightened her shoulders and twirled one of her pigtails with her finger. “When you ask nicely.” She grinned back. “One problem, we only serve Coke.”
“That’s fine,” Finn stuttered, not knowing how to handle Jolee.


Netgalley and Henery Press provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Kenni Lowry likes to think the zero crime rate in Cottonwood, Kentucky is due to her being sheriff, but she quickly discovers the ghost of her grandfather, the town’s previous sheriff, has been scaring off any would-be criminals since she was elected. When the town’s most beloved doctor is found murdered on the very same day as a jewelry store robbery, and a mysterious symbol ties the crime scenes together, Kenni must satisfy her hankerin’ for justice by nabbing the culprits.

With the help of her Poppa, a lone deputy, and an annoyingly cute, too-big-for-his-britches State Reserve officer, Kenni must solve both cases and prove to the whole town, and herself, that she’s worth her salt before time runs out.
    
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Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/review-fixin-to-die-tonya-kappes.html

Review: Test Drive by Marie Harte (@MHarte_Author)

 

Series: Body Shop Bad Boys, #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: June 7, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 386 pages

This is a spin off of The McCauley Brothers series, about 4 brothers who find their lady loves and deal with their parents separation and eventual reunion over the quartet of books. The final and oldest brother Mike, fell for Delilah 'Del' Webster, who is a mechanic and works in her father's garage. This series is about some of the other mechanics in that garage. I was super stoked for this series, because I love me some blue collar guys. There is just something about a guy who works with his hands and doesn't mind getting dirty that just revs my engine. [See what I did here? ;)]

At first I wasn't sure how well I was going to like Johnny. After all, he seemed a bit of a player in the beginning. But the more I got to know him, the more I saw it was mostly for show. He's had a thing for Lara, the bartender/waitress at the local watering hole for ages, but hasn't done the hard press for her attention. Then one night, when she was out in the parking lot fending off the unwanted advances of her sister's ex-husband, he completely steps up and saves the day.  Plus, he was totally the sweetest thing with Lara's nieces. There was a cute little scene one night when he came over while Lara was unexpectedly babysitting them. The youngest niece has a thing for unicorns, and Johnny was willing to talk with her about them, earning him serious little girl cred. Here is a bit of dialogue that followed later that night:

“If it makes you feel any better, he’s not my type.”
“Yeah?”
“I like my men big, strong, and able to take a punch. Ones who know what unicorns are.”
His frown turned into a sexy smile. “I like pink too. I’m in touch with my feminine side. Really.” He ran a finger down her cheek. “In fact, I want to be in touch with your feminine side.”

I liked Lara a lot as well. She's working full-time and going to school to become a nurse. She helps her sister out and is very close with her parents. She lives paycheck to paycheck, but has a dream and a plan to get there. I could completely relate to her and thought she was a very likable character.

I have a feeling that I am going to be completely loving this series. The author has done a great job of taking ordinary people and giving them a hot and steamy romance that I can totally relate to. I can't wait for the next book in the series. This was a 4 star read.

Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

GET TO KNOW THE BODY SHOP BAD BOYS
Johnny, Foley, Sam, and Lou are the rough and tumble mechanics of Webster's Garage. These reformed bad boys are used to living fast, but it's the women in their lives who take them from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.

JOHNNY
Johnny Devlin's a charmer with a checkered past. He's has had his eye on scorching-hot bartender Lara Valley for ages, but she's rejected him more than once. That doesn't mean he won't come to her aid when some dirtbag mauls her. When she asks him on a date as a no-strings-attached thank you, he can't say no. And then he's saying nothing but hell, yes.
    
Source: http://www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/review-test-drive-marie-harte.html