Weekly Wrap Up: October 28th through November 3rd 2018

Weekly wrap-up banner

Books I’ve Read (clicking on the picture will bring you to Goodreads page):

Pandemonium

The Wizard's Gift

Black Diamond Fall

The Storyteller's Throne

Books with reviews pending (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

Books with published reviews (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

The Wizard’s Gift—review here

The Wizard's Gift by Michael Waller

Black Diamond Fall—review here

Black Diamond Fall

Kiss Me at Christmas—review here

A True Cowboy Christmas—review here

A True Cowboy Christmas (Cold River Ranch, #1)

The Corner of Holly and Ivy—review here

The Corner of Holly and Ivy: A feel-good Christmas romance

The Storyteller’s Throne—review here

The Storyteller's Throne

The Rain Watcher—review here

The Rain Watcher

A Nanny for Harry—review here

A Nanny for Harry

Stripped Down—review here

Stripped Down

NetGalley Haul(clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Foam On The Crest Of Waves

The Night Before

You Are The Everything

Email Haul (clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Deadly Cage—Tom Howard (No Amazon/Email page yet)

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

 Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday

Advertisements

Black Diamond Fall by Joseph Olshan

Black Diamond Fall

4 Stars

Publisher: Polis Books

Date of publication: September 18th, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find Black Diamond Fall: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of CLARA’S HEART and CLOUDLAND comes a rich, literary mystery based and united by two real events that occurred at Middlebury College; the disappearance of a student during winter break; and the vandalism of the Robert Frost Homestead on one of the outer campuses.

Luc Flanders has just finished playing a game of pond hockey with his college roommates when he realizes he has lost something precious and goes back to the ice to find it. He never returns, and the police department in Middlebury, Vermont are divided in their assessment of what may have happened to him. Some feel that Flanders left on his own accord and is deliberately out of touch. Others, including detectives Nick Jenkins and Helen Kennedy, suspect that harm may have come to him. As the search for Luc Flanders widens and intensifies, suspicions about several different people, including his Middlebury College roommates and ex-girlfriend arise. Unfortunately, Sam Solomon an older man with whom Luc has had a secret relationship, cannot prove his whereabouts during the hours when the younger man may have disappeared and Solomon, too, comes under suspicion.

BLACK DIAMOND FALL is at once a lush, evocative literary novel, a portrait of love between a younger and older man, and a riveting mystery that could only come from the mind of acclaimed writer Joseph Olshan.


My review:

Luc is a college student who had finished playing a pickup game of hockey with his friends. Realizing that he lost the class ring of his boyfriend, Luc goes back to find it. He disappears. Sam, Luc’s older boyfriend, comes under suspicion when he cannot provide an alibi for the night he disappears. Hurt in a skiing accident, Sam goes back to Vermont to recuperate and cooperate with the police in Luc’s investigation. What happened after the hockey game? What happened to Luc? Did Sam have something to do with it? Will Luc be found alive?

When I started reading Black Diamond Fall, I thought it was going to be a wham-bam-thank you ma’am mystery. You know the ones that it is obvious who the killer is from the beginning. That isn’t the case here. The author did a fantastic job of keeping exactly what happened to Luc that night under wraps until the end of the book. I was surprised at who it ended up being. Because that person wasn’t on my radar at all. I thought it was the other person that the police kept questioning. To add that twist added to my enjoyment of the book.

I liked how the author interwove Luc wandering around the woods with the police investigation. I was mentally going “Check the darn woods” everytime they brought Sam or Luc’s friends in for questioning. Saying that it was frustrating is an understatement. I also wanted to reach through the book and give Luc some food and a blanket. That was frustrating to read too.

I wish more insight was given into Luc and Sam’s relationship. What they had seemed to be true love, even though they broke up right before Sam went away on his trip. Their relationship was one of the more realistic ones that I have read lately.

I liked how the police investigation didn’t focus on one person. Instead, they had a sizable pool of suspects to question. What I enjoyed about that storyline was how the officers went about narrowing down the field of suspects. I mean, who would have thought that Robert Frost’s Homestead being vandalized would lead to a clue about what happened to Luc. I also like how they caught the person.

The end of the book was bittersweet. I am not going to say much beyond that. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the plotlines. He left nothing hanging. I am hoping that more books will be written with Sam as the main character. I did like him.


I gave Black Diamond Fall a 4-star rating. This was a great read with characters that I could connect with. The plotlines were wonderfully written. The mystery angle kept me on the edge of my seat.

I would give Black Diamond Fall an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language (some homophobic slurs). There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Black Diamond Fall. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank Polis Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Black Diamond Fall.

All opinions expressed on this review of Black Diamond Fall are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read Black Diamond Fall?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

WWW Wednesday: October 24th, 2018

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

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


What’s going on with me this past week:

Personal: Two out of my three kids have been sick. On top of it, I am getting sick with the same thing. Yay…not.

Reading: Because of my kids being sick, I have fallen behind on review and reading. I also restructured my review schedule. I noticed that I had some blog tours coming up that I hadn’t read the books for. That took me about 1 1/2 days to do. Hopefully, once everything is settled (kids + me being sick), I can catch up on writing reviews.


What I am currently reading:

Stripped Down

click on the picture for Amazon link

His best friend’s hot older sister.
Her younger brother’s annoying sidekick.
And one forbidden kiss in high school…

It was complicated back then. It’s even more so now.

Because former mean girl Sloane rolls back in town to find Rick stripping at a charity event like he was born with biceps.
And single dad Rick is her landlord.
And her brother will murder him if he has sex with her.

But sometimes you have to strip it all down to see what was there all along…


What I finished reading:

Big Stick (Aces Hockey, #7)

Click on the picture for Amazon link

A brooding hockey hunk learns to embrace life—and love—from a single mom who takes the world one puck at a time.

Big move . . . Jodie’s motto is “Don’t wait for the perfect moment – take the moment and make it perfect.” And that’s just what she decides to do when she moves to Chicago with her two-year-old daughter. Now all Jodie needs is a place to live, and her best friend’s boyfriend has just the answer.

Big stick . . . Nick Balachov has zero interest in socializing, partying, or flirting right now. It’s not that he doesn’t like women. He loves them. It’s just that hockey, casual hookups, and hanging out at home are enough for him these days. Now Nick has a big problem – because the woman living in his empty coach house is a major distraction.

Big deal? The more Nick tries to keep his distance, the more Jodie needs him – around the house, that is. First, he helps with the snowstorm, then the power outage. Nick even finds himself trying to impress her little girl. What the hell is wrong with him? Jodie represents everything Nick doesn’t want. But maybe she’s just what he needs. . . .


What I am reading next (click on the pictures for Amazon links):

A Nanny for Harry

JUGGLING ON EMPTY? WHO’S YOUR NANNY?
Kali Miller hasn’t even given birth to baby Harry when doctor-husband Matt ‘helpfully’ hires a live-in nanny. Britta is svelte, blonde and beguiling, and Swedish enough to make any new mother insecure, especially one who looks and feels as ginormous post-delivery as she did the day before. But a nanny means Kali can go back to work at her law firm where she is desperate to make partner. The Millers’ seaside house will be nice and clean; their meals healthy and fresh, and Harry well looked after. It’s the only option, really, for career women like Kali.

But Britta’s idea of cooking is fiskpinnar (fish sticks) in the microwave. She leaves blonde hairballs between the sofa cushions and has cute, broken-English convos with Matt, leaving the dirty diapers and other chores for Kali. The only thing Britta has in common with those super-nannies that all Kali’s friends seem to have is that she’ll probably never quit. And of course, Harry adores her!

As Kali’s life becomes increasingly frenetic —not helped by a disgruntled client out to get her for a deal gone bad—she starts losing her grip on reality. The top brass at her firm now views her more as a potential liability, than partnership material. And Matt seems to have some mysterious ‘history’ with Harry’s nanny. Just who is this Britta Edvardsson? And what does she want with Matt… and little Harry?

The Storyteller's Throne Grace was born a storyteller with a beautifully brilliant mind. Trauma twisted her reality into a tale of darkness. Now, at eighteen, Grace has found herself on the shores of a shadow world created to heal a generation. A world whose purpose is to release our emotions from the bonds of youth.

But she is not alone. It’s a world inhabited by others, those working on their own hearts and one other like herself. An amazing and yet afflicted empath and musician by the name of Kai that Grace feels inexplicably drawn to.

Will she be able to handle the suppressed memories of her youth? Accept the vulnerability necessary to explore her own heart and that of another? Fulfill the true purpose it seems she is destined to serve?

Come along with Grace as she learns to uncover her past, harness her gift, open her heart to love and embrace her future.

Black Diamond Fall

From the acclaimed author of CLARA’S HEART and CLOUDLAND comes a rich, literary mystery based and united by two real events that occurred at Middlebury College; the disappearance of a student during winter break; and the vandalism of the Robert Frost Homestead located on one of the outer campuses.

Luc Flanders has just finished playing a game of pond hockey with his college roommates when he realizes he has lost something precious and goes back to the ice to find it. He never returns, and the police department in Middlebury, Vermont are divided in their assessment of what may have happened to him. Some feel that Flanders left on his own accord and is deliberately out of touch. Others, including detectives Nick Jenkins and Helen Kennedy, suspect that harm may have come to him. As the search for Luc Flanders widens and intensifies, suspicions about several different people, including his Middlebury College roommates and ex-girlfriend arise. Unfortunately, Sam Solomon an older man with whom Luc has been having a secret relationship, cannot prove his whereabouts during the hours when the younger man may have disappeared and Solomon, too, comes under suspicion.

BLACK DIAMOND FALL is at once a lush, evocative literary novel, a portrait of love between a younger and older man, and a riveting mystery that could only come from the mind of acclaimed writer Joseph Olshan.

The Wizard's Gift

The last of an ancient group of wizards leaves a gift to the newly arrived race of men. It is revered and cared for by a line of priests until it is stolen, and the high priest and his sovereign murdered by a king who believes himself destined to be a great wizard. But from ancient writings, the high priest had discovered that the gift is not benevolent as was thought. This forces the son of the high priest unexpectedly elevated to his father’s position, and the young prince who is equally suddenly king, into a race to find the gift before it can be used as that may cause the destruction of the world. Accompanied by the retired captain of the palace guard they hope to speed their journey by crossing the Wasteland, a seeming desert, which is fabled to be populated by monsters, and from which no visitor has ever returned. In the course of their adventures they are hunted by dog-faced men and captured by slavers, but the young prince truly becomes a king, and the priest discovers that he has a destiny that goes beyond the bounds of his world.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

WWW Wednesday: October 17th, 2018

 

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

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


What’s going on with me this past week:

A whole bunch.

Personal: I am currently not on speaking terms with my across the street neighbor. Miss B decided that she was not going to turn in ANY of her homework. Which resulted in her failing two classes and be close to failing her other two. So, I had a meeting with her teachers this morning to see what we could do about it. Michael swept through the area, canceling Miss R’s field trip to the apple orchard and causing flash flood warnings. Mr. Z had a field trip to the local science center the day Michael swept through. I need to say this “I hate rain!!!

Reading: I have fallen behind with reviews and reading. Not by much and I hope to catch up over the weekend. I finally read Limits and it is a tear jerker. You definitely need a box of Kleenex when reading this book. It was totally not what I thought it was going to be.


What I am currently reading:

The Corner of Holly and Ivy: A feel-good Christmas romance

click on the picture for Amazon link

Sometimes love is just around the corner . . .

With her dreams of being a wedding dress designer suddenly over, Arianna Bell isn’t expecting a holly jolly Christmas. Instead, her heart feels about three sizes too small. That is until her high school sweetheart Connor Gallagher returns to town and she finds his mere presence still makes her pulse race. But just when she starts dreaming of kissing under the mistletoe, he announces that he will be her opponent in the upcoming mayoral race….

Hot-shot attorney Connor Gallagher has something to prove. He’s tired of playing runner-up to his high-achieving brothers. So when the opportunity to enter the campaign comes up, he takes it. Even if it means running against the only woman he’s ever loved. But with a little help from Harmony Harbor’s local matchmakers and a lot of holiday cheer, Connor and Arianna may just get the happy ever after they both deserve.


What I finished reading:

Limits

Click on the picture for Amazon link

For as long as she can remember Millie has had her limits. Staying within them keeps her isolated, safe; helps her to cope. Why then have they started to feel so stifling? Why is her loneliness starting to rival her fears?

When she watches him she wishes she could be normal; she wishes she could be like the people he interacts with so seamlessly. Pavlos Martakis is her complete and total opposite: physically intimidating, likable, naturally attractive, extremely confident, sexually promiscuous: the most uninhibited, charming, outgoing and free person she has ever encountered in her life. He fascinates Millie; thrills and intimidates her in equal measure.

But, as the culprit behind the invention of her nickname Nuclear Winter, Millie knows that if Pav feels anything for her it is more than likely contempt. Cold, boring, robotic: that is how the rest of the hospital sees her. So she can safely watch him from afar. He would never notice her … would he?

This book is a full-length contemporary romance of approximately 90,000 words with no cliffhanger and its own HEA. 


What I am reading next (click on the pictures for Amazon links):

Until We Are Free (Until #1)

Nyl Jayms is tasked with kidnaping the Elder princess, to force her brother, the king, to negotiate with humans. The alternative is a war that could lead to the annihilation of both humans and Elders.

A Rider Council faction, led by Nyl’s father, is opposed to any negotiations. They will do anything, including sabotaging his assignment, to trigger a war.

Nyl and his team have to outsmart the king’s elite Royal Guard, to get to the princess, and somehow stay one step ahead of the faction opposed to negotiations. Everyone will be forced to re-evaluate ideology they were raised with, as an impending war looms ever closer.

Join these elite rebel warriors on a journey of war, betrayal, and political scheming, in Until We Are Free. In this debut novel from TM Blayte, faces of friends, family, allies and enemies will blur. Loyalties will be tested, until the determination to be free becomes the only thing that matters. After all, does one person’s freedom mean another person’s oppression?

Big Stick (Aces Hockey, #7)

A brooding hockey hunk learns to embrace life—and love—from a single mom who takes the world one puck at a time.

Big move . . . Jodie’s motto is “Don’t wait for the perfect moment – take the moment and make it perfect.” And that’s just what she decides to do when she moves to Chicago with her two-year-old daughter. Now all Jodie needs is a place to live, and her best friend’s boyfriend has just the answer.

Big stick . . . Nick Balachov has zero interest in socializing, partying, or flirting right now. It’s not that he doesn’t like women. He loves them. It’s just that hockey, casual hookups, and hanging out at home are enough for him these days. Now Nick has a big problem – because the woman living in his empty coach house is a major distraction.

Big deal? The more Nick tries to keep his distance, the more Jodie needs him – around the house, that is. First he helps with the snowstorm, then the power outage. Nick even finds himself trying to impress her little girl. What the hell is wrong with him? Jodie represents everything Nick doesn’t want. But maybe she’s just what he needs. . . .

Sleepover

A brand-new contemporary romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Head Over Heels.

Elle and Sawyer just look so happy. Which is, of course, exactly how they end up.

But it’s not an easy trip.

It was just supposed to be once.

It was just supposed to be sex.

But now they’re next-door neighbors. And before they can put up their fences—or defenses—their eight-year-old sons have forged an unstoppable friendship.

They’re still reeling—Elle, from a Facebook message she was never supposed to see, Sawyer, from the kind of death it’s hard to live through. A relationship seems like a terrible idea. So they make a deal. One more blazing hot night, at Elle’s ex-husband’s wedding.

You know, because the “just once” thing has worked out so well for them …

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold, #2)

An action-packed, compelling historical fantasy, from the pen of an award-winning author

The battle-scarred warrior princess Bluebell, heir to her father’s throne, is rumoured to be unkillable. So when she learns of a sword wrought specifically to slay her by the fearsome raven king, Hakon, she sets out on a journey to find it before it finds her. The sword is rumoured to be in the possession of one of her four younger sisters. But which one? Scattered as they are across the kingdoms, she sets out on a journey to find them.

Her four sisters all have their own paths to tread, the gifted magician Ash is on a journey to find a dragon that could determine her destiny. The beautiful, unhappy Rose has left her undermagician Aunt and is speeding to the aid of her daughter, Rowan, who has been lost to her. Ivy, sold into marriage for the sake of an alliance, is now set to become the ruling Duchess of Seacaster with the imminent death of her much older and sick husband, and the power-hungry Willow is raising her infant child as a potential trimartyr king and training to be a warrior for the fanatical religious order Maava.

From wild rocky coastline to granite-topped tors, from bustling harbours to echoing ghost towns, from halls of kings to ancient primal woodlands, this story follows five sisters upon whose actions kingdoms will rise and fall.

Dragonfire (Dark Kings, #14)

Passion burns hot in Dragonfire, the next Dark Kings novel from New York Times bestseller Donna Grant. 

It was a soul-deep longing, one that got into his bones and settled there, sending whispers of desire through him. The need, the hunger, grew tenfold with every breath. . . .

As a Dragon King, Roman is sworn to protect all mortals–even though they no longer believe in dragons. But deep in the Carpathian Mountains, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious gypsy who possesses the power to see into his very soul. To reignite the fire in his heart. And to help him find the long-lost sword that could save the dragons forever…

Sabina remembers the stories her grandmother told her. Legends of dragons and kings, fire and ice. And she’s never forgotten the dark prophecy that filled her ancestors with fear–a fate they tried to prevent by stealing a Dragon King’s sword. Sabina knows that helping Roman is dangerous. He is a dragon betrayed, and more powerful than any man. He could destroy her in a single fiery embrace. But how can she resist the longing in his eyes–or the feelings in her heart–when their destinies are bound by desire?

What About Us (Panic, #4)

Irresistible beats and tantalizing bodies heat up the night at South Beach’s most scandalous new club.

Alex: I hate doing business in clubs. Especially one like Duality. I’m here to seal a deal, not indulge in whatever hedonistic illusion they’re selling. Until, through all the skin and sex on display, I see her. Helen Blackwood. The girl who once filled my youthful fantasies, whose name is now synonymous with pain. Her father’s lies destroyed my family, leaving me with nothing to lose. And yet I can’t deny my electric response to her touch . . . or my urge to protect her when I see the bruise on her face.

Helen: Growing up, life prepared me for society galas and powerful men, not minimum-wage jobs or drunk exes with anger issues. But I’m a survivor. So here I am, practically naked, serving drinks at a Miami nightclub. I don’t mind the stares. Apparently, Alex Archer does. After twelve years, we aren’t exactly friends, but money is something we both understand. Something he knows I need. I’ll be his personal assistant, even if it means working with the man I hate . . . and the man I still want.

No cheating. No cliffhangers. And no dress code.

Black Diamond Fall

From the acclaimed author of CLARA’S HEART and CLOUDLAND comes a rich, literary mystery based and united by two real events that occurred at Middlebury College; the disappearance of a student during winter break; and the vandalism of the Robert Frost Homestead located on one of the outer campuses.

Luc Flanders has just finished playing a game of pond hockey with his college roommates when he realizes he has lost something precious and goes back to the ice to find it. He never returns, and the police department in Middlebury, Vermont are divided in their assessment of what may have happened to him. Some feel that Flanders left on his own accord and is deliberately out of touch. Others, including detectives Nick Jenkins and Helen Kennedy, suspect that harm may have come to him. As the search for Luc Flanders widens and intensifies, suspicions about several different people, including his Middlebury College roommates and ex-girlfriend arise. Unfortunately, Sam Solomon an older man with whom Luc has been having a secret relationship, cannot prove his whereabouts during the hours when the younger man may have disappeared and Solomon, too, comes under suspicion.

BLACK DIAMOND FALL is at once a lush, evocative literary novel, a portrait of love between a younger and older man, and a riveting mystery that could only come from the mind of acclaimed writer Joseph Olshan.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

Weekly Wrap Up: September 30th through October 6th 2018

Weekly wrap-up banner

 

Books I’ve Read (clicking on the picture will bring you to Goodreads page):

The Forbidden Door (Jane Hawk, #4)

The Christmas Star (Christmas Hope #9)

America's Sweetheart (Real Love, #5)

The Wartime Sisters

First Earl I See Tonight (Debutante Diaries, #1)

Rough & Ready (Lightning, #3)

After the Fire

Books with reviews pending (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):’

The Wartime Sisters—review coming January 22nd, 2019

The Wartime Sisters

First Earl I See Tonight—review coming November 2nd, 2018

First Earl I See Tonight (Debutante Diaries, #1)

Rough & Ready—review coming October 16th, 2018

Rough & Ready (Lightning, #3)

After the Fire—review coming October 1st, 2018

After the Fire

The Rain Watcher—review coming October 23rd, 2018

The Rain Watcher

Books with published reviews (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

America’s Sweetheart—review here

America's Sweetheart (Real Love, #5)

In the Mood Fur Love—review here

In the Mood Fur Love

The Dream Daughter—review here

The Dream Daughter

After the Fire—review here

After the Fire

NetGalley Haul(clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Black Diamond Fall

In the Blink of an Eye

Big Stick: An Aces Hockey Novel

Email Haul (clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday