WWW Wednesday: January 15th, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

Dark Alpha's Temptation

There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

Carrying Death’s orders is my sole duty. I’ve never had reason to question her, even if I disagreed. But Kyra’s fierceness and willpower sheds light on my mission. She drives the darkness of my world away. The answers to the Others’ goals lie in her past. For Kyra, I will risk going against Death’s wishes. For her…I will battle the past and the future itself.


I recently finished reading:

Jane Anonymous

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?


What books I think I’ll read next:

Scot Under the Covers (Wild Wicked Highlanders, #2)

When a resourceful English lady and a hot-blooded Highlander join forces to trick a scoundrel, every rule will be broken!

Miranda Harris is known for her charm, wit, and ability to solve any problem she encounters. But when her brother lands neck-deep in gambling debt to a crafty villain and Miranda is subsequently blackmailed into marrying him, she must enlist the help of the devil himself to save the family honor―and herself.

Devilishly handsome Highlander Aden MacTaggert knows next to nothing about the ways of the ton, but he most certainly knows his way around gaming halls and womens’ hearts. Still, Aden is not sure how he’ll manage to find a Sassenach bride in time to save his family’s inheritance. When his almost sister-in-law Miranda comes to him for assistance, he proposes a partnership: She will help him navigate London society and he’ll teach her everything about wagering…and winning back her freedom. The beautiful, clever lass intrigues Aden―but is she playing her own game, or are the sparks between them real? He is accustomed to risking his pocket. But betting on Miranda’s love is a game he can’t afford to lose. . .

Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas: Tucker (The McBrides of Texas #2; Eternity Springs #17)

Hope springs eternal in this enchanting Texas town.

Meet Gillian Thacker. Her business: Bliss Bridal Salon. Her passion: Weddings. Her own wedding: It’s complicated. Life isn’t turning out like she’d planned. The last thing she wants is for a real-life hero to ride to her rescue but when an unexpected event puts her entire future in Redemption, Texas, at risk. So what’s a broken-hearted bridal expert to do? Maybe a new set of survival skills is exactly what she needs…

Tucker McBride has been proud to call himself a U.S. Army Ranger. But now that his days of service are over, he’s decided to put his expertise to use by founding a wilderness skills training school. He sets up shop in Redemption, next to Bliss Bridal, and so begins life: Part Two. Marriage has been pretty low on his agenda, but as soon as he meets Gillian, Tucker can’t help but contemplate the ultimate challenge: Convincing the reluctant bride to take his hand and leap into the adventure of a lifetime. . .until death do they part.

The Impossible Castle (Guardian of the Realm Book 1)

Who (or what) is building a castle in the middle of nowhere?

For the young Guardian of Andoran’s Realm, it’s a real concern. People are relying on her. Okay, most of the populace don’t even know she exists, but it’s still her job to protect them. Well, one of her jobs. She’s also teaching martial arts and helping to raise her orphaned cousins. Life is complicated. Anyway, it’s her first real crisis, and she’s anxious to prove herself.

Fortunately, our powerful-but-inexperienced Guardian is not alone. She has friends she can rely on for help and advice, including some who are seasoned adventurers. Of course, they have their own issues to deal with, especially the one who’s half demon. But who doesn’t have problems?

If you’re looking for a sword & sorcery tale that’s decidedly different from the mainstream, then The Impossible Castle might be just what you’ve been looking for. Check it out now.

Things in Jars

In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds: A Novel by [Jimenez, Simon]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: January 14th 2020

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Where you can find The Vanished Birds: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.


First Line:

He was born with an eleventh finger.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

My Review:

I was on the fence about reviewing The Vanished Birds. To make up my mind, I read the first four reviews on Goodreads. That is something I never do, but I was conflicted. The reviews were evenly conflicted about the book. So, I decided to take a chance on it. For the most part, it was a good book. But some parts made me wonder why they were written, even after finishing the book.

The Vanished Birds had a slow to a medium-paced plotline. When the book focused on Nia and her relationship with Ahro/their travels until he was 16, the book moved at a medium-paced. But, when the book focused on Fumiko Nakajima (past and present) and her travels, it slowed to a crawl. I will be honest; I skimmed over a large part of her story. I started paying attention when she was on the secret base and the events afterward.

I enjoyed reading about the type of space travel that Nia used to go between planets. It fascinated me. I couldn’t imagine being in space for what I would have thought would be a few months and to find out that 15 years have passed.

Nia was a tough cookie to like during the book. She made some questionable decisions that affected the people around her. Nia kept people are arm’s length. She did unbend, slightly, when she met Ahro. She unbent, even more, when Fumiko asked her to keep him safe for 15 years. But, I couldn’t quite bring myself to like her.

When Fumiko was introduced in The Vanished Birds, I didn’t understand what her role was. I mean, it was explained relatively early on that she was the founder of the colonies in space, and she invented the engine that allowed space travel. But I didn’t know why her backstory was being told. It didn’t go with the flow of Nia’s story. Even when her story was brought to the present, I still wondered: “Why?” I also wondered why she was so invested in Ahro. It was explained, and it didn’t show her in a good light.

I loved Ahro. I loved seeing his character growth throughout the book. I wasn’t prepared for what his secret was, though. I honestly thought that it had something to do with music and his affinity for it. So, when it was revealed, I was shocked. I loved watching his relationship with Nia and her crew grow, which made what happened and who caused it such a shock.

I do wish that more time had been spent on the times they visited the planets. There were so many locations!!! All exotic and all made me want more. But that didn’t happen.

I wasn’t a fan of the last half of the book. I had questions about what was going to happen to Nia and Ahro once the dust settles. I also had questions about Fumiko. I can only assume what happened to her. And then there is the question about where Ahro originally came from and who The Kind One was.


I would give The Vanished Birds an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The Vanished Birds. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Small Town Family (Door County: Book 2) by Margaret Watson

Small-Town Family (Door County Book 2) by [Watson, Margaret]

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Door County

Small-Town Secrets—Book 1 (review here)

Small Town Family—Book 2

Stranger in a Small Town—Book 3

Where you can find Small Town Family: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Reporter Dylan Smith comes to Sturgeon Falls to find his father. He has only one lead – charter boat captain Charlotte Burns.

After a rocky childhood and disastrous marriage, Charlotte is wary and guarded. The charming reporter sets off all her alarms, but she can’t resist him.

His questions point to Gus, who was like a father to Charlotte. Knowing this could destroy Gus’s marriage, Charlotte’s caught between her loyalty to Gus and her growing feelings for Dylan.

Families come in all shapes and forms. Can Dylan and Charlotte create the bonds that make a family? Or will secrets tear them apart?


First Line:

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Small-Town Family by Margaret Watson

My Review:

As I was reading Small-Town Family, I realized, it has been a while since I have read any romance. Which is crazy since they are the books I like to read the most. I was super excited to start reading Small-Town Family.

Another reason why I was so excited to read this book was that I kept pushing it to the back burner, which I try not to do. When indie authors contact me, I try to make their book a priority. But, sometimes, life gets in the way – which is what happened here. When I rewrote my reading schedule (something I do 2-3 times a year), I made sure that all indie authors were first.

The plotline for Small-Town Family was surprisingly fast-moving. I wasn’t expecting this book to have a fast-moving plotline. I was expecting it to be slower. But, it was a pleasant surprise and fit with the storyline. There were no dropped characters or storylines, either. That made for a great read.

I thought that the main characters in Small-Town Family were well written. I liked that they weren’t “perfect.” Charlotte had issues with trust, and she had a temper. Dylan was secretive to the point that it interfered with his and Charlotte’s relationship. I liked that the author wrote those characters like that. It made for an exciting read.

The main storyline, Dylan’s search for his father, was well written. I did figure out early on in the book who Dylan’s father was. I was suspicious at first because, hey, it was too convenient. It wasn’t until Charlotte was talking to a specific character that my internal radar went “ding, ding, ding.

The secondary storyline about the marina was exciting, but honestly, I was not too fond of it. I get why the author put it in the book. There needed to be a common ground for Charlotte and Dylan to bond over. I figured out what was going on the minute Charlotte’s boat was chartered. I wasn’t surprised when the bad guys were revealed.

The romance between Dylan and Charlotte was sweet, but man, it seemed to take forever to get there. Charlotte’s instant distrust of Dylan was a big drawback. But, once Charlotte decided to let Dylan in, my cup runneth over. I liked that Charlotte was the one who chose to let things move forward. That led to some pretty hot sex scenes.

The end of Small-Town Family was satisfying. I wasn’t sure if I liked how Dylan’s father was revealed or the anger that went along with it. I also think that what was asked of Charlotte was wrong. But it did work out in the end. Both storylines were wrapped up in a way that made me smile and do a fist pump.


I would give Small-Town Family an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Small-Town Family. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town: A Novel by [Chamberlain, Diane]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: January 14th, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Big Lies in a Small Town: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?


First Line:

The children knew it was finally spring, so although the air still held the nip of winter and the grass and weeds crunched beneath their feet, they ran through the fields and woods, yipping with the anticipation of warmer weather.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

My Review:

When I was approached to review Big Lies in a Small Town, I was a little hesitant to read it. I knew from reading the blurb that this was going to be a dual plotline book, which I am not a fan of. I also knew, from reading the book, that this was going to be an emotional read. I have to be in a certain mood to read a book that I knew was going to make me cry. I ended up accepting the review because I was curious. I wanted to know how the mural and Morgan were tied together.

Big Lies in a Small Town had two fast moving plotlines. I didn’t have an issue with following either plotline. What I liked, and what made the book enjoyable for me to read, was that the flow of the book wasn’t disturbed when going from 1940 and 2018. The author clearly marked those chapters with the names of Morgan or Anna at the beginning.

I had a hard time connecting with Morgan. Her attitude at the beginning wasn’t the best. But as the author got into her backstory, I understood why she acted that way. By the end of the book, I loved her. She was committed 100% to finding out what happened to Anna and to refinishing the mural. I liked that she was able to keep her head on straight during certain situations (the bar fight was one) and that she was able to admit that she had major issues. Her character grew so much during this book and it was wonderful to read.

I didn’t feel the same way about Anna. I liked Anna right from the beginning. She was determined to paint that mural the way she wanted it, not the way the influential men wanted it. I loved that she didn’t care if her friendship with Jesse was causing issues with the “good folk” in town. I also loved that she didn’t back down when Marvin Drapple’s wife and her friends were douchenozzles.

I do want to throw in a trigger warning. There is a somewhat graphic rape scene that ends with the death of the rapist. To be honest, it took me by surprise. I was not expecting it. I wasn’t expecting the aftermath either. What I was expecting was the blatant racism shown when it was in the 1940’s. It was the South. There were derogatory names used. There was the threat of violence (lynching was discussed). So, a warning.

There are a couple of twists in the plotline that took me by surprise. The first one involved Morgan and her release from jail. The other, well, it happened at the end of the book. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. So, I was taken by surprise.

There was a romance angle to the book. I’m not sure if I like it or not. The only reason being what was happening in the other plotline. Both started about that time.

I learned more about art restoration than I ever wanted to know. I will admit, it was fascinating to read about how to do it. I never thought that much work went into restoring old paintings. But then again, until this book, I never had to think about that.

The end of Big Lies in a Small Town was bittersweet. The 2nd plot twist happened towards the very end of the book. Like I said above, I was taken by surprise. I shouldn’t have been. The very end of the book was a bit frustrating. Only because it ended and I wanted to see that meeting!!


I would give Big Lies in a Small Town an Adult rating. There is no sex (but an explicit rape scene). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Big Lies in a Small Town. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Discoveries I Made in 2019

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


#1

The Great Devil War series

The Devil's Apprentice (The Great Devil War, #1)

#2

Kindle Paperwhite

My husband got me the newest Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday in May. I love it!!


#3

Grammarly

I know that this isn’t exactly bookish but I absolutely love the Grammarly app. I upgraded to the paid version and I can’t live without it.


#4

The Tattooist of Auschwitz series

Weekly Wrap Up: January 5th through January 11th, 2019

Books I’ve Read:

No Mercy

The Vanishing Season

Small-Town Family

A Critical Tangent

An Everyday Hero

Wager for a Lady’s Hand: A Lockhart Sweet Regency Romance

Jesse, Jake, and the Return to Antheia (no Goodreads Page)


Books with Pending Reviews:

An Everyday Hero—Review coming February 7th


Books with Published Reviews:

A Critical Tangent—Review Here

The God Game—Review Here

Westering Women—Review Here

Wager for a Lady’s Hand—Review Here

Jesse, Jake and the Return of Antheia—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

Starting Over at Blueberry Creek—Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Can’t Hurry Love—Forever (Grand Central Publishing)


NetGalley Requests:

My One True Cowboy


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

A Critical Tangent (Moonlight and Murder: Book 1) by Reily Garrett

A Critical Tangent: A Suspenseful Romantic Thriller (Moonlight and Murder Book 1) by [Garrett, Reily]

3.5 Stars (rounded up to 4 for major sites)

Publisher:

Date of publication: December 29th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Moonlight and Murder

A Critical Tangent—Book 1

Where you can find A Critical Tangent: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Enter world where ignorance and darkness mask chaos and deceit.

Keiki’s focus on designing drones shatters one morning when her prototype records the murder of her friend. Captured video detailed the masked killer’s promise to find his witness and finish the job.

Experience has given her good reason to not trust cops, especially when they come knocking on her door. Their suspicions narrow when her roommate disappears without a trace.

Conflicting evidence at a brutal crime scene leaves gossamer threads weaving a complicated web of lies and deceit. Every lead Detective Garnett finds steers the investigation to a deeper, darker network entangling Keiki in a labyrinth of cunning subterfuge.

Garnett is torn between following the letter of the law and protecting the witness determined to clear her name. Can he earn Keiki’s trust in time to save her life, or will a psychotic killer destroy the woman who has demolished his emotional barriers?


First Line:

“Aw, Keiki, if I could find the fun button in your brain, I’d switch it to permanent on.”

Critical Tangent by Reily Garrett

My Review:

When I read the blurb for A Critical Tangent, my attention was caught. I have read very few books where drones have been made part of the plotline. Add in that the drones were part of a murder mystery, and I knew I needed to read the book. Add that it is romantic suspense, and I would have been a fool to turn this book down.

A Critical Tangent had a fast-moving plotline. I like the fast-moving plotline in these genres. My only fault with a fast-moving plotline is that sometimes there are dropped plotlines/characters. I didn’t find that in A Critical Tangent. But I did find that there were some interesting facts (that kept coming up) that would have made for a fantastic secondary storyline. There was a tiny bit of lag towards the middle of the book, but the author was able to bring the book back on track with no trouble.

I was not too fond of Keiki during the first half of the book. She was vehemently anti-police, held back vital information about the case, and was just an overall pain in the bottom to Coyote and Noah during the investigation. I did start to like her in the second half of the book. She didn’t quite do a 180, but she came close.

I liked Noah. I liked that he was able to look at both sides of the case and was able to make decisions based on the facts. I liked that he dealt with Coyote’s insinuations with a sense of humor (at times). I was a little put off that he treated Keiki like she was a kid. By the way, he acted, I was expecting him to be considerably older than her. So, when his age was revealed, I was surprised.

The romance angle of the book was very slight. In hindsight, I am glad that the author wrote it that way. If Keiki and Noah’s romance had been written any other form or introduced sooner in the book, it would have taken away from the main story.

I do want to include a trigger warning. There is a harrowing scene where Keiki and Gabby are being held together. Gabby confesses to Keiki that she has been repeatedly raped and beaten for information. It is a raw scene, and it is made even more so by what happens after Keiki escapes. There are also a couple of smaller scenes where the kidnappers (and Porter) talk about raping Gabby. So, if that triggers you, I would suggest either not reading this book or entirely skipping those scenes.

I was confused by the main plotline at first. While I understood that someone was after Keiki and her drones, I didn’t understand why. Even the small chapter with Gabby and Porter didn’t explain anything. It wasn’t until the middle, when Porter explains everything to Keiki, that it finally made sense. I wish that explanation had come sooner.

I will say that the whole drone/Porter storyline was interesting. My attention was caught when the drone was used to attack Keiki at the Fun Run. I also liked that the author explained everything, down to how they were made. Now Porter did freak me out. He knew things he shouldn’t, and he was gunning for Keiki. I will say that he got what was coming for him.

The end of A Critical Tangent was excellent. The author did a good job wrapping up all of the storylines. I was excited to see how Keiki and Noah ended up. I was also excited when there was a hint as to who the next book was about.


I would give A Critical Tangent an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread A Critical Tangent. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**