Saturday, November 30, 2019

#Book #Review ~ Ghosts of Painting Past (An Aurora Anderson Mystery, Book 5) by Sybil Johnson ~ #CozyMystery @SybilJohnson19

Book Details:

An Aurora Anderson Mystery
Cozy Mystery 
5th in Series 
Henery Press
November 19, 2019
Paperback: 264 pages 
ISBN-10: 1635115590 
ISBN-13: 978-1635115598 
Digital ASIN: B07XC3DXGN

Purchase Links:

About Ghosts of Painting Past:

It’s Christmastime in the quiet Los Angeles County city of Vista Beach, home of computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson. The magic of the season fills the air as residents enjoy school concerts, a pier lighting ceremony and the annual sand-snowman contest.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Rory plans on painting ornaments to sell at the local craft fair and joining in on the holiday fun. But she finds the season anything but jolly after the house across the street is torn down, revealing a decades old crime. Past meets present when her father is implicated in the murder.

Fearing for her father’s future, Rory launches her own investigation, intent on discovering the truth and clearing his name.
About Sybil Johnson

My Review:

Ghosts of Painting Past is another wonderful book in the Aurora Anderson Mystery series. I’m so happy to be visiting Vista Beach again. Rory, Liz, Martin, and Rory’s parents are back in a mystery that pulls on the memories of citizens of Vista Beach. Swan and Arika Anderson are swept back into their pasts as high schoolers in Vista Beach when the discovery of a missing classmate rocks the community.

The story's setting is during the Christmas season in Vista Beach, California. As the town is gearing up for the festivities, Rory is assisting in the preparation of the Christmas craft show, the lighting of the trees along the pier, and the annual sand-man contest. As she’s working at home though, a disturbance across the street pulls her away. The property soon becomes a crime scene and past and present collide into an unsavory case for Martin, Rory’s police officer boyfriend.

There are several storylines in Ghosts of Painting Past that are seemingly distinct, but the author takes each thread and magically weaves them all together. Ghosts of Painting Past is engaging, flows well, and keeps the reader on their toes. The red herrings tossed in will keep the reader guessing what exactly is going on and then near the end everything seamlessly falls into place.

Rory is a great character, very compassionate and determined exonerate her father, even if it means taking unsafe and unnecessary chances. Her boyfriend, Detective Martin Green, is a wonderful character and we see a bit more of their romance but also some doubts. The couple has some emotionally charged scenes and I’m happy to see their characters are human and imperfect.

I enjoy the fact their romance doesn't overshadow the other threads in the book. Martin is my favorite character in the book. He's capable and competent, and I love his interactions with Rory, even when things are tense. I loved Liz, Rory's friend, and Arika, Rory's mother. They were unique and added to the story.

The story was a quick and easy read. There wasn't anything confusing or hard to understand. The dialogue between all the characters was fluid and comfortable. The author does a great job creating a world that grabs the reader and pulls them in, keeping them engaged from start to finish. The characters are vibrant and exciting for the most part. I really enjoyed Ghosts of Painting Past.

My Rating:

Monday, November 25, 2019

#Book #Review ~ Unravel You: A Hot Billionaire Romance (Cole Brothers Series, Book 1) by Diana A. Hicks ~ @diana_hicks @XpressoTours

Unravel You

Diana A. Hicks

(Cole Brothers, #1)

Publication date: November 18th 2019

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Add to Goodreads / Purchase from Amazon

About the Book:

UNRAVEL YOU is the enthralling sequel to LOVE OVER LATTES and can be read as a standalone. It is also book one in the Cole Brothers series, a new family saga, binge reading experience: 5 brothers, 5 full-length novels in 5 months.

College graduate Valentina never expected to fall for the hot as hell and intimidating Derek Cole when she accepted his offer to rent his property.

From cottage to mansion, Valentina is certain she doesn’t deserve the fairytale unfolding. But Derek gets what he wants… and he wants her.

He’s “the one” for her, but before she says I do, she has to survive a month long trip to his family’s estate in Atlanta. Gaining approval from four brothers and an over-protective mother might just be her hardest test yet.

For billionaire Derek Cole, this homecoming is a chance to mend the damage he caused when he walked away from the family business.

Just when they think they have a handle on their happily ever after… their past and future collide.

Note: This is a steamy romance with explicit sensual scenes, happily ever after, no cheating, and no cliffhanger. Can be read as a standalone.

Unravel You is an enjoyable steamy romance with a side of suspense. Not having ready any other books by this author, including Love Over Lattes (Desert Monsoon Series, Book 1) many references in Unravel You were lost on me. I was able to keep up with the story, however; and found Valentina and Derek a cute couple. Their romance seems a bit fast but when you find the love of your life, you just know. My husband and I have been married for 10 years and we moved in together after only knowing each other for 1 1/2 months. We got engaged a year later and married a year after that. Anyway, back to the story. 

One thing about the way the author wrote this book that stood out to me was the way our hero and heroine were not flawless. Sure, Derek is a billionaire but he has problems just everyone else. He's still fighting with events in his past. Having money does not mean everything in one's life is perfect. Valentina is still fighting the ghosts of her past, too. She caught the eye of the bachelor billionaire but her baggage and mistreatment has her doubting and second-guessing. When both of their pasts collide head-on it becomes time to open up, be honest, and trust one another. 

The chemistry between Valentina and Derek was strong, unwavering, and believable. Their characters are strong and written with realism. I was engaged in the story long before I began reading chapter one, since the synopsis in the book intrigued me. The book flows along perfectly paced, had a wonderful plot, side stories, and secondary characters. I began the book on a Sunday morning and finished it just past lunchtime. I could not put Unravel You down. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the Cole Brothers Series.

I was provided a copy of this book to review.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

#Book #Review ~ Coldest Fire (Dominion, Book #3) by Juliette Cross ~ #PNR #Paranormal #Romance ~ @Juliette__Cross @EntangledPub

Book Details:

Print Length: 234 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Sold by: Macmillan

About the Book:

Archangel Uriel is hell bent on revenge on the demon prince Vladek. To get into the prince’s impenetrable fortress, he’ll have to fight in the pits of the underworld. And he’ll need the help of the last person he can trust––the demon witch Nadya.

There is no way Nadya, who spends her days taking care of others, expected to find Uriel on her doorstep. He seems no happier about being there than she does. But helping him means evening the scales against her backstabbing sister, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make that bitch pay.

Using the fight pit circuits in the demon underworld, Nadya helps Uriel combat his way to the arena at the castle in Russia. Only she isn’t what she seems. As a matter of fact, she may hold the key to his redemption...and to his heart.

Each book in the Dominion series is STANDALONE:
* The Deepest Well (prequel)
* Darkest Heart
* Hardest Fall
* Coldest Fire

Be still my heart! Coldest Fire is a magnificent ending to a phenomenal series by Juliette Cross. While the books are technically stand-alone, there are characters and references to the previous books in the series. I highly recommend reading the series in order. 

Nadya and Uriel have something in common. Both slaves at one point - Uriel to Lisabette and Nadya to demon prince Vladek - Nadya and Uriel have escaped. The scars inflicted, internally and externally, have influenced how both characters have lived since escaping the clutches of their tormentors. Nadya is in hiding and Uriel has been planning a way to wreak revenge upon Vladek. When Uriel's plans involve infiltrating the fighting pits and clawing his way to Vladek, he knows the only person who can get his foot in the door involves the one woman he can't trust - Nadya, the demon witch.

As Uriel and Nadya plan how to move Uriel through the ranks in the fighting pits, Uriel learns that Nadya may not be the demon witch he has told himself she is since his liberation from Lisabette. Their relationship evolves subtly at first, neither character wanting to take the next step but not wanting to be without the other. Their romantic dance made my heart swell as Uriel and Nadya realize they were meant for each other. 

This story is described in such an epic way that I visualized every scene, felt every emotion, and became so absorbed I thought I was there. The description of events at the beginning of Chapter 28 impressed me so much. I was in awe, excited, and had a definite "what now, bitches!?" reaction the way the author presented the scene. I couldn't ask for better writing than what I find in all of Juliette Cross's books. 

I'm sad to see the stories of the characters from The Vessel Trilogy and the Dominion series come to an end. I enjoyed every book that lead to Coldest Fire. I was captivated by each story, the characters, and the setting of each book. The uniqueness of each story kept me interested, I was happy about the crossing over of  characters, the writing style and plot kept me engaged, and the swoon-worthy romances lifted me up and filled me with joy. 

I was provided a review copy of Coldest Fire.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Cozy Mystery #Book #Review ~ City of Scoundrels (Counterfeit Lady, Book #3) by Victoria Thompson ~ #Cozy #Mystery @BerkleyMystery

Book Details:

City of Scoundrels
Series: A Counterfeit Lady Novel (Book 3)

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: November 5, 2019

ISBN-10: 1984805657
ISBN-13: 978-1984805652

About the Book:

Elizabeth Miles finds herself in a position no con can help her escape. Her beloved fiancé, Gideon Bates, is awaiting his turn in the draft to fight in the Great War. Elizabeth is finding it hard to think of anything else, but Gideon has thrown himself into his work, preparing wills for soldiers before they ship out. Corporal Tom Preston is part owner of Preston Shoes, a company that is making footwear for the army, so he has a rather large estate. He needs a new will, however, because he has just been secretly married to a woman whom his family would never approve. He wants to make sure she and their unborn child are provided for if he does not return.

When Tom is later reported killed, Elizabeth and Gideon learn that the new will has gone missing after Tom's bride revealed her identity to his family. Unless the new will is found and validated, the original will, which leaves everything to Tom's brother, will prevail and the wife and child will get nothing. If Tom's new bride survives, that is. Some terrible threats have been leveled against her, and Elizabeth and Gideon must figure out a way, legal or not quite, to secure Tom's fortune for his wife and child while saving her life in the process.

City of Scoundrels is the third book in the Counterfeit Lady series. This book continues through World War I and Elizabeth and Gideon are waiting for Gideon’s draft summons to fight. Both characters are anxious and Gideon’s too honorable to try to find a way to finagle his way out of his duty. While awaiting his turn, Gideon and the law firm for whom he works, are treating soldiers with kindness and preparing wills in case of the unfortunate actions of war. One will, in particular, is that of Tom Preston, an industrialist who co-owns a shoe factory with his brother and stepmother. Tom is recently married to a woman his family would never approve of, let alone support if something were to happen to him. He takes it upon himself to have a new will drawn up to supersede one his brother insisted upon not too much prior. 

After receiving word of Tom’s unfortunate death, Gideon learns Rose, Tom’s widow, is robbed of both the marriage certificate and the new will. She was also attacked in her own home. Fearing for her safety, Gideon involves Elizabeth to help keep Rose safe. Now, Gideon and Elizabeth must figure out who’s behind the theft and assault and Gideon must figure out how to help Rose secure the part of the shoe factory’s fortune Tom wanted her to have. Unfortunately, what Elizabeth and Gideon encounter goes further than Tom’s scandalous marriage to Rose. 

City of Scoundrels is my favorite book in the Counterfeit Lady series so far. Don’t get me wrong, the first two books are absolutely amazing, but City of Scoundrels has so many emotional moments, plot twists, and truly spectacular moments. The author did a wonderful job with this book in the series and I couldn’t put the book down. I love how the author weaves truly historic events into this series in such a way that I feel like I’m there. The character development continues, and I love the strength written into Elizabeth and Gideon. I highly recommend this series. 

I was given a hardcover copy of this book to read.

My Rating:

Friday, November 15, 2019

Series Review: Hush, Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick ~ Hush, Hush; Crescendo; Silence; Finale ~ @becfitzpatrick @hushhushsaga #PNR #Paranormal #Romance #YA

Series Review: Hush, Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick 


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.

If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.


Nora Grey can't remember the past five months of her life. After the initial shock of waking up in a cemetery and being told that she has been missing for weeks - with no one knowing where she was or who she was with - she tried to get her life back on track. Go to school, hang out with her best friend, Vee, and dodge mom's creepy new boyfriend.

But there is this voice in the back of her head, an idea that she can almost reach out and touch. Visions of angel wings and unearthly creatures that have nothing to do with the life she knows.

And this unshakable feeling that a part of her is missing.

Then Nora crosses paths with a sexy stranger, whom she feels a mesmerizing connection to. He seems to hold all the answers...and her heart. Every minute she spends with him grows more and more intense until she realizes she could be falling in love. Again.

Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank's absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels - destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.

Find all of the Books on Amazon

My Review:

I have been wanting to read the Hush, Hush series for years and have just been able to over the course of the past 6-8 weeks. Why is that? Well, between 2008 and 2019 I was in college earning my Bachelor's and Master's degrees. I just never found time to fit the series in between family, working, school, and other obligations. On the one hand, I really regret not moving them to the top of my TBR pile sooner. On the other hand, I was able to read them all back-to-back. No waiting for the next one to come out. I would have gone insane if I would have had to wait. 

Nora was a great teen character who had her entire life and belief system shaken to the core. As she learned more about her father and ethereal creatures, Nora became less the normal teen and more distanced and separated from her peers. She becomes the teenager that parents hope their kids don't become - disobedient, sneaky, and tellers of lies. Except, Nora isn't doing this to rebel against her mother; she's doing it to protect her mother from what she doesn't understand.

Patch's character was a favorite. His intentions in the first book aren't exactly pure but I loved seeing his character grow. His relationship with Nora is rocky at times but they are meant to be together. The author has a wonderful way of keeping the reader guessing if they are going to be united together, stay together, or be ripped apart. 

Scott, oh Scott. I can't say anything about this wonderful secondary character without ruining things. He deserves to be learned about, loved, and cheered on without spoilers. Scott is a wonderful character and I'm glad the author shared him with us. 

Vee's character is Nora's bestie who always has her back. She does whatever Nora asks and provides a solid sounding board. Her dislike of Patch is not unfounded and she tries to protect Nora from getting hurt. If only Vee knew what was really going on....

Certain scenes and revelations in the fourth, and final, book felt rushed to me. I wish the author would have taken more time for development of the war, Vee, and the aftermath of said war.  Instead we just right to the epilogue. The epilogue was disjointed from from the rest of series, leaving more questions than providing answers or tying up the series. 

Regardless, the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick is utterly amazing. Each book pulls the reader more into the world the author created. I couldn't put the books down, devouring each one sooner than my local library could get me the next one in the series. 

My review copies came from the library through the state of Michigan's Interlibrary Loan program. 

My Ratings: