Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag—July 2019

I have been seeing this come up a ton on the blogs that I follow. So I figured, why not!! So, here I go!!


Goodreads Challenge

Since I am technology impared today (I can’t get my Goodreads challenge to show up here), here are my stats:

I have read 120 books out of 250. I am 48% done with my challenge and am 7 books behind schedule. Which isn’t bad considering I had some real life challenges thrown my way!!


Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2019

This is a hard one. I have read so many good books this year. But the winner is:

Glory Bishop by [King, Deborah L.]
click here for my review

I loved this book. It struck a nerve with me while reading it and I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I was done.


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

Crown Of Contempt (Novi Navarro Chronicles, #2)
click here for my review

I absolutely loved this sequel. Loved, loved, loved it!!


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To

The Farm: A Novel by [Ramos, Joanne]

This is on my must read list. I keep seeing reviews for it on blogs I follow. As soon as I am done with my backlog, this will be the first book I read.


Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of 2019

The Grace Year

and

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

I was psyched when I got approved for The Grace Year. I was also psyched when my wish got granted for The Girl the Sea Gave Back. Hoping that these books are as good as the blurbs make them out to me.


Biggest Disappointment:

Let's Talk About Sext (Let's Talk About Sext, #1)
Review here

Awful female main character, pushover male main character, lack of any sort of sexual attraction. Just a small bit of what disappointed me about this book. Which is sad because I had read Evie Claire’s books before and loved them.

I thought that the story itself was good. But I couldn’t get past the main characters.


Biggest Surprise

Darwin's Cipher
review here

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I couldn’t put the book down!!


Favorite New to You or Debut Author:

Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer, #1)
review here

I devoured this book and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Favorite Crush:

Touch of Smoke

Owen Amir – A Touch of Smoke. He was the complete package. He was head over heels for Rikki. He also risked everything for her.


Favorite Character:

I got two from the same book:

Cruel Intentions (Rydeville High Elite #1)
my review here

Abby: She was tough as nails and didn’t back down from anyone. I loved her!!

Cam: Even though he was a jerk for most of the book, I loved him.


Book That Made You Cry:

Mrs. Everything
my review here

Book That Made You Happy:

Can't Stand the Heat? (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 2)
my review here

and

Keeping Lucy: A Novel

Book to Movie Adaptation:

Eh, I just realized that I haven’t seen any book to movie adaptations so far this year.


Favorite Blog Post of Mine:

People really seem to still be digging my review of The Sweetest Oblivion. Since I don’t do discussion posts (I would rather read), that will have to do.


Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year?

My review of Cruel Intentions. I loved that book!!!


Most Beautiful Book You Bought or Received So Far This Year?

I won these two books off of Goodreads. Which never happens, so I am excited to be showing them off…lol.

I'll Never Tell

and

Southern Sass and Killer Cravings (Marygene Brown #1)

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

Oh boy, that is a loaded question. So, I’ll just take a few off of my “waiting to be review pile” that haven’t been on here yet

Steel Crow Saga
Nocturne in Ashes (Riley Forte #1)
The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empires, #1)
Followers

This is where I am supposed to tag people. But, instead, I am going to leave this open ended. Can’t wait to read everyone’s!!

Weekly Wrap Up: April 21st through April 27th, 2019

Clicking on the link under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Haul,and Email Haul will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on the link under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on the link under Freebies I Scored (which were free at the time I got them.) will take you to Amazon, BookFunnel, or Prolific Works (I will say which one next to the title).


Books I’ve Read

The Roads to Damascus

No Feelings Involved

Pray for the Girl

Sullivan’s Promise

Then Came You

Books with pending reviews:

No Feelings Involved—review coming April 30th, 2019

Kingdom of Exiles—review come June 25th, 2019

Books with published reviews:

Darwin’s Cipher—review here

The Mother-In-Law—review here

The Stone Mothers—review here

NetGalley Haul:

Twenty-one Truths About Love

Mrs. Everything

The Right Sort of Man

Email Haul:

Waltz of the Crows

Freebies I Scored (Free at the time of posting. Please check the price before purchase!!):

Giveaways/Contests I entered:

The Invited—ReadItForward

Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Own to Obsess—Release Blast

Highland Crown—Excerpt

The Right Sort of Man—Blog Tour Invite

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Darwin’s Cipher by M.A. Rothman

Darwin's Cipher by [Rothman, M.A.]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: February 18th, 2019

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Where you can find Darwin’s Cipher: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

Juan Gutierrez, a cancer researcher, has spent years studying the genome of animals that exhibit immunity to some types of cancer. Over the course of his study, Juan discovers a pattern that allows him to predict the course of a species’ evolution across thousands of generations.

Using the algorithm he’s developed from the pattern, Juan uncovers what he believes to be the key to conquering humanity’s susceptibility to cancer.

Others are interested in using what Juan has dubbed “Darwin’s Cipher,” however, instead of cancer research, they see very different applications for the new genetic algorithm.

Nate Carrington, an FBI forensic analyst has been struggling with several cold cases when he’s alerted to an incident at a nearby ranch. It’s a case of a newborn calf who is found in the middle of a herd of dead cattle. It provides a single link to Nate’s other cold cases: the DNA analysis of the calf doesn’t match anything in the FBI’s database.

Somewhere in a rural hospital in West Virginia, four hospital workers are dead and a newborn child has been transported to the NIH’s level-4 bio-containment unit.

It’s only when the NIH sends out an alert to all hospitals and law enforcement agencies that the world realizes the danger that faces them.


My review:

I am not a medical thriller fan. I haven’t read a book in this genre that I liked. So when I was approached with an invite to review Darwin’s Cipher, I was hesitant. But then I read the blurb, and my interest was caught. So I accepted. I am happy I did because this book was fantastic.

The plot with Juan made me both angry and sad at the same time. I was sad because he poured his life into researching a cure for cancer. I was mad because people were using his research in the wrong ways. I was interested in seeing what went on behind the scenes in a research lab. The author was able to capture the sacrifices researches make in their quest to find a cure.

The plotline involving Nate and his investigation was interesting. It was interesting to see what he was going up against in his investigation. The scene where the evidence disappeared from the locker was huge. Like he said, how does evidence disappear from a protected federal agency?

Frank and Katie’s plotline showed a 3rd side to what was going on. It was refreshing to see everything happen from a regular person’s point of view. Every thing that Frank, and then Katie went through, horrified me. Even now, I get shivers thinking about it.


All the main characters in Darwin’s Cipher were well written. I was able to form a connection to them. They were 3d. Everytime I thought I had a character figured out, another layer would be revealed. Loved it.

Out of the three main characters, I’d have to say that I liked Katie the best. She was an ordinary woman caught up in something that bigger than her. Her actions and reactions would be close to what I would do. I also liked how her character developed throughout the book. She started as an immature girl and ended up as a mature woman.

Juan was a force of nature in this book. He was passionate about his research. The author did a fantastic job of portraying that. He sacrificed so much to get where he was. My only fault with him was that he had tunnel vision about his career. But, that passion came in handy at the end of the book.

Nate was the only character in the book that I felt I could have gotten to know better. Still, I liked him.

The secondary characters in Darwin’s Cipher added depth to the book. I will include the dog in with the secondary characters. Not saying why. Need to read the book to find out.

The bad guys gave me chills. While I understood why one of the bad guys did what he did, I couldn’t get past it. The other bad guys were evil. There were surprises about them, though. A couple of people who I thought were in on it wasn’t. And a person who I thought was on Juan’s side wasn’t.


Darwin’s Cipher does get technical. I don’t even begin to understand lab procedures. There was also technical jargon that made me go “huh.” I was able to google/use my Kindle dictionary to look that stuff up.

I wasn’t a fan of the Juan/Katie romance in the book. It did make sense at the end of the book. It fueled Juan to do what he did. But, I didn’t like it.

The end of Darwin’s Cipher was a nail biter for me. The author had everything happening so quickly that I almost couldn’t keep up reading. I had to reread pages so I could process what was happening. The way the book ended had me wondering if there was going to be another book.


I would give Darwin’s Cipher 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 Darwin’s Cipher. I would also reccomend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Darwin’s Cipher.

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


Have you read Darwin’s Cipher?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

Weekly Wrap Up: April 14th through April 20th 2019

Clicking on the link under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Haul,and Email Haul will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on the link under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on the link under Freebies I Scored (which were free at the time I got them.) will take you to Amazon, BookFunnel, or Prolific Works (I will say which one next to the title).


Books I’ve Read

Ten: Part 1

A Light in the Desert

Darwin’s Cipher

Kingdom of Exiles

Sunset Beach

Journey to Territory U

Journey to Territory M

Extinction of All Children

Books with pending reviews:

Sunset Beach—expected publication date May 7th, 2019

The Perfect Wife—expected publication date August 6th, 2019

Books with published reviews:

Journey to Territory U—review here

Journey to Territory M—review here

Extinction of All Children—review here

NetGalley Haul:

Raze

We Are All Good People Here

Jackson

The Perfect Date

Unsuitable

Email Haul:

Dark Matter

An Indigo Wind

Freebies I Scored (Free at the time of posting. Please check the price before purchase!!):

Giveaways/Contests I entered:

Enter to Win Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis—Read It Forward

Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Jackson—Blog Tour Invite

The Perfect Date-–Blog Tour Invite

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

WWW Wednesday: April 17th, 2019

IMG_1384-0

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

The Three Ws are:

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


Personal:

Miss R: She went to a friend’s birthday party last Friday. She had a blast. Her friend lives in the country and next to a farm. Which meant that there were cows next to her yard. Miss R was in heaven.

Miss B: She went on a band field trip the beginning of the week. The field trip was to LRU (Lenoir Rhyne University…..which is in our city) and to a place called Bo’s in Lenoir. She also had an orthodontist appointment today (which is why this blog post is late). Guess who is getting top and bottom braces next Thursday? Yup, Miss B.

Mr. Z: He also had an orthodontist appointment today. At his appointment he ended up getting spacers and they put an order in for some sort of retainer like thing to be installed in 2 weeks. Then he has to have 4-5 teeth pulled. Yes, you read that right. 4-5 teeth. I am wincing for him.

Me: Nothing special going on here. Besides shuttling kids to appointments and activities.

Reading/Reviews/Blog:

I have been reading my fool head off this week. Knock on wood, but I am way ahead of where I thought I was going to be at this point in the week. So, yay me…lol.

While I am ahead on reading, I am behind on writing reviews. Which is fine by me. I just keep plugging along. I am suffering some sort of writers block when it comes to starting my review. Hate it and hope I get over it soon.

I got a few new followers this week (waves and says “Hey all”). I am fighting the urge to change my blog’s theme again. I must not give in. Saying that, sorry in advance if there is a change….lol.


What I am currently reading:

Darwin's Cipher by [Rothman, M.A.]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Juan Gutierrez, a cancer researcher, has spent years studying the genome of animals that exhibit immunity to some types of cancer. Over the course of his study, Juan discovers a pattern that allows him to predict the course of a species’ evolution across thousands of generations.

Using the algorithm he’s developed from the pattern, Juan uncovers what he believes to be the key to conquering humanity’s susceptibility to cancer.

Others are interested in using what Juan has dubbed “Darwin’s Cipher,” however, instead of cancer research, they see very different applications for the new genetic algorithm.

Nate Carrington, an FBI forensic analyst has been struggling with several cold cases when he’s alerted to an incident at a nearby ranch. It’s a case of a newborn calf who is found in the middle of a herd of dead cattle. It provides a single link to Nate’s other cold cases: the DNA analysis of the calf doesn’t match anything in the FBI’s database.

Somewhere in a rural hospital in West Virginia, four hospital workers are dead and a newborn child has been transported to the NIH’s level-4 bio-containment unit.

It’s only when the NIH sends out an alert to all hospitals and law enforcement agencies that the world realizes the danger that faces them.

I technically haven’t started reading Darwin’s Cipher. I did download it last night and I meant to start reading it. Then I fell asleep. So, I will start reading it at some point today. Darwin’s Cipher is currently available for purchase.


I recently finished reading:

Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer Book 1) by [Martineau, Maxym M.]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.

I loved this book. I couldn’t put Kingdom of Exiles down. It was that good. Kingdom of Exiles is currently on pre-order. It’s expected publication date is June 25th, 2019.


What books I think I’ll read next? (click on the pictures for Amazon links)

No Feelings Involved

Can this skeptical player let down his guard long enough to let love into his life, or is this forbidden romance a train wreck in the making?

Ryan James doesn’t believe in love. 

It’s a truth he learned early in life. A truth he carried with him into adulthood. He broke his golden rule one time, but Myndi trampled all over his heart, cementing his belief that love is a lie and not worth the effort.

Now he’s returned to his cynical views and promiscuous lifestyle, racking up more notches on his bedpost than he can count.

Until Summer Petersen comes crashing into his world, threatening to knock down his walls with her tempting body and sunny, sweet personality.

Summer is determined to lose her V-card before she starts freshman year of college, and the hot, older guy with the cute dimples, dazzling smile, and rippling biceps is just the man for the job. Ryan doesn’t take much persuading, and he rocks her world, giving her a night to remember.

When they walk away, there’s an unspoken agreement it was a one-time thing. Ryan doesn’t do feelings, and Summer doesn’t want to be tied down at eighteen.

But when she moves into her brother Austin’s apartment, she’s shocked to discover her new roomie is the guy who recently popped her cherry.

Ryan can’t believe he slept with Austin’s baby sister, and if he finds out, he’ll literally kill him. Keeping their hook up a secret is nonnegotiable. Keeping his thoughts, and his hands, off Summer, less so. Because the longer he’s around her, the more he finds himself catching feelings for the gorgeous brunette. 

Summer doesn’t want to care for her older brother’s best friend, but Ryan makes her feel things she’s never felt before, and she’s slowly falling under his spell.

Embarking on an illicit affair behind Austin’s back has train wreck written all over it, but provided they keep their feelings in check, they can end this before he ever finds out. 

It’s not like either of them is in love.

Right?

A Light in the Desert by [Montgomery, Anne]

A Light in the Desert traces the story of a lonely pregnant teenager, a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper who, as he descends into the throes of mental illness, latches onto the girl, and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. The Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst’s, a deadly act of sabotage. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters make camp by the twisted wreckage of the Sunset Limited. As the search for the saboteurs continues, the authorities find more questions than answers. The girl mysteriously vanishes, the assassin struggles to maintain his sanity, and a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

TEN: Part 1 by [Ribbon, Sin]

Is fate a shield against the agony of choice or a force that suffocates free will?

From diverse walks of life and different corners of the globe, ten strangers are being brought together. Prejudice, fallen dreams, loss, and trauma have plagued each of their lives . . . until they find each other, and for once it seems serendipity may heal their collective pain.

But what lurks behind these fated meetings is something far more sinister.

Terrible and elusive forces have endowed the ten with supernatural abilities. Far from a gift however, some are drowning in these overwhelming new powers to the point of possession.

What does fate permit us to do? Are we a product of choice or design? In this urban fantasy adventure, the ten must resist the will of destiny if they wish to carve their own paths. Armed only with camaraderie, they will discover if the strength of their choice is enough to prevent the looming, catastrophic future thrust upon them.

The battle for free will begins here.

Sullivan's Promise: A Bitter Creek Novel by [Johnston, Joan]

Two unforgiving lovers reunite for the sake of their child in this fiery contemporary romance from Joan Johnston, the New York Times bestselling author of Surrender.

Facing the unexpected consequences of a life-altering night of passion with a cowboy she met in a Jackson Hole bar, and with her life committed to protecting endangered species, Victoria Grayhawk does what she believes is the right thing. She hunts down the cowboy, seeking his agreement that their baby should be adopted by a loving family.

Montana rancher Ryan Sullivan has no intention of giving away his own flesh and blood, and takes their son to raise himself. When Vick realizes what a horrible mistake she’s made, and wants back into their child’s life, Rye remains inflexible—because once trust is lost there are no second chances—until an attack by one of the grizzlies Vick has spent her life protecting changes everything and Rye learns that sometimes love can heal all wounds.

The passionate Westerns in Joan Johnston’s Bitter Creek series can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order:
TEXAS BRIDE • WYOMING BRIDE • MONTANA BRIDE • SINFUL • SHAMELESS • BLACKTHORNE’S BRIDE • SULLIVAN’S PROMISE

Then Came You: A Laws of Attraction Novel by [Meader, Kate]

In the courtroom, they’re rivals. In the bedroom, they’re . . . divorced. But could the road trip from hell lead to a second chance at love?

Aubrey Gates is the hottest divorce lawyer in Chicago, a barb-tongued stiletto with legs that go on for miles. When her cool gray eyes meet mine across the battlefield, I want her like I’ve never wanted anyone or anything. Then I remember who she is: the woman who brought me to my knees. The woman who destroyed my faith in relationships.

The woman I used to call . . . wife.

And she needs a favor from me, Grant Lincoln.

It seems my ex forgot to mention the demise of our marriage to her dear old grammie, and now we’re both expected to attend her ninetieth birthday party. In Boston. And because it isn’t already awkward enough, Aubrey and I are driving there together from Chicago. That’s more than a thousand miles of tension, heartbreak, and barely concealed lust.

A little piece of paper might say we’re over, but this road trip is the true test. I intend to get my wife back . . . and I won’t stop until “I do.”

Pray for the Girl by [Souza, Joseph]

Joseph Souza, acclaimed author of The Neighbor, brings readers into the dark heart of a small town in this riveting, relentlessly twisting new novel . . .

Lucy Abbott never pictured herself coming back to Fawn Grove, Maine. Yet after serving time in Afghanistan, then years spent as a sous chef in New York, she’s realized her only hope of moving on from the past involves facing it again. But Fawn Grove, like Lucy herself, has changed.

Lucy’s sister, Wendy, is eager to help her adapt, almost stifling her with concern. At the local diner, Lucy is an exotic curiosity–much like the refugees who’ve arrived in recent years. When a fifteen-year-old Muslim girl is found murdered along the banks of the river, difficult memories of Lucy’s time overseas come flooding back and she feels an automatic connection. At first glance, the tragedy looks like an honor killing. But the more Lucy learns about her old hometown, the less certain that seems.

There is menace and hostility here, clothed in neighborly smiles and a veneer of comfort. And when another teen is found dead in a cornfield, his throat slit, Lucy–who knows something about hiding secrets–must confront a truth more brutal than she could have imagined, in the last place she expected it . . .

The Roads to Damascus: A Mystery Novel (Appalachian Mountain Mysteries Book 2) by [McDaniel, Lynda]

Abit is back! Four years after that fateful summer in “A Life for a Life,” Abit Bradshaw faces the biggest challenge of his life in “The Roads to Damascus,” the much-anticipated second book in the Appalachian Mountain Mysteries trilogy. When a family of con artists fleeces his school and casts suspicion on him, Abit, with the support of his friends Della Kincaid and Alex Covington, sets out to find them and get payback. He takes a life-changing journey from Washington, D.C., through the mountains of Virginia, and finally home again to Laurel Falls, N.C. Along the way, he draws on every bit of courage and faith he can muster as he encounters a slew of characters—from sinners to saints—who help him come to terms with his rightful place in the world.

The Scent of Murder: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery Book 1) by [Logan, Kylie]

First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs.

The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.