Weekly Wrap Up: May 12th through May 18th 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 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:

Realm

Touch of Smoke

Stolen Gypsy

An Indigo Wind


Books with pending reviews:

Stolen Gypsy (review coming as soon as I get the date for the blog tour)


Books with published reviews:

Touch of Smoke—review here

An Indigo Wind—review here

The Night Window—review here

The Night Before—review here

I Know You—review here


NetGalley Haul:


Email Haul:

Nocturne in Ashes

Letters from Angels (No link available until July)


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


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Sylvana—Book Blitz


Giveaways I’ve Entered


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

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Touch of Smoke by Karissa Laurel

Touch of Smoke by [Laurel, Karissa]

5 Stars

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Date of publication: February 8th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult

Where you can find Touch of Smoke: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.


My Review:

Touch of Smoke was a fantastic read. I don’t give 5-star reviews easily. A book has to capture my attention and keep it. I have to form a connection with both the male and female lead. Touch of Smoke hit all those and then some.

Touch of Smoke has a dual plotline. One takes place in the past and the other in the present. Usually, I don’t like that type of plotlines. In my experience, this type of plotlines generally gets me confused. Which in turns makes me lose interest in the book. In this case, though, the author was obvious when she was switching from the past to the present/the present to the past. She also did not give away what happened in the past. There were hints, but nothing prepared me for what happened. She also did a fantastic job of merging the two storylines mid-book. It was flawless.

The main plotline of Touch of Smoke centers around Erika (or Rikki), Owen and what happened that night her best friend, Mina, was killed. Rikki came back to town to face her demons, which meant that she had to face Owen and his role in what happened that night. When an ancient evil arrives in Evansville, Rikki needs to make a choice. Will she trust Owen and help him? Or will Rikki stand aside and let that evil destroy him? If she does help him, what will be the price that she pays?

I loved Rikki. She was a tough cookie. She was also the hardest working character that I have come across in a while. This woman worked two jobs while going to a community college. She was an EMT, and she worked in stable, cleaning stalls. I did think she was silly for pushing Owen away. I wanted to reach through the book and shake her. Her actions at the end of the book were amazing. And selfless.

I fell in love with Owen every time he showed up in the book. Who wouldn’t? He was an Army veteran who fell head over heels with Rikki. I loved that he didn’t push her into doing anything that she didn’t want to do. He let her set the bar for their relationship. He did have his secrets, though. I liked how the author revealed them.

The romance angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific. I loved seeing Owen and Rikki’s relationship evolve. It wasn’t Instalove (far from it). The author chose to have Owen and Rikki date and go from there. The scene where Rikki decides to throw caution to the wind was poignant. Mainly because of what happened a few days (at least I think it was a few days) later.

The fantasy angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific also. I liked how the author took the jinn myth and made it her own. I had no issue believing that jinns weren’t like Genie from Aladdin. Instead, they were out for themselves. The story that Owen tells about the boy, the ring and the jinn explains everything.

The end of Touch of Smoke broke my freaking hearts into little bits. Like I mentioned above, what Rikki did was selfless. I was ugly crying in the chapter after that. Of course, I liked how the author had Owen explain everything to Rikki in a story, including what he did after. But still. Ugly Crying. In the middle of the day. Enough said!!


I would give Touch of Smoke an Older Teen rating. There is sex (nothing graphic). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Touch of Smoke. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

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

WWW Wednesday: May 15th, 2019

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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: Everything was fine with Miss R until Friday. Friday, she went over a friend’s house after school. The mom took them to a local park/splash pad. When we were getting ready to leave, Miss R ran up a metal slide with wet feet and face planted on it. She hit her face hard enough to give herself a bruised nose and two black eyes. That night, she was complaining about her ear hurting her. Saturday morning, she was complaining about her other ear hurting her. So, I took her into the Dr. I figured the ear infections. What I didn’t figure was bronchitis. Then Sunday, I noticed her eyes were red and goopy. She has pinkeye. Wonderful. Monday, she got eye drops and the nurse told me to keep her out until Weds. Which meant she missed her Mother’s Day Tea concert and her T-Ball game. She is on the mend and she did go back to school today. We also had her spring parent/teacher meeting. She is ahead and her teachers told us that she should have it easy adjusting to kindergarten in September. It helps that 10 out of the 15 kids in her preschool class are attending the same elementary school.

Miss B: Nothing too much going on with her. Just your usual battles that a normal teenager puts parents through. She does have stuff going on later this week, but I will save that for the next WWW Wednesday.

Mr. Z: Nothing much going on with him either. Like Miss B, he does have stuff going on next week. And I will save that for the next WWW Wednesday.

Me: I did something last week which ticked off the people who live across the street. One of their cats had kittens under my house. That cat got hit by a car and then died. BK had gone under the house on Tuesday to fix something and heard them meowing. I called AC, they told me that they do not go under houses to retrieve animals (safety issues) but to call if we get them. So, Miss B went under the house and grab the kittens. 3 of them. All with blue eyes and ears that weren’t fully open yet. AC came and got them. Well, the lady across the street tried to make AC give her the kittens (saying that they were theirs and I had no right giving them away). AC turned around, told her that the kittens were found under my house, she wasn’t getting the kittens, and maybe she should spay the females he sees wandering around the yard (they are all obviously pregnant). He followed that up with a “I will be back.” So, yeah, she’s not happy with me. Oh well. She shouldn’t have opened her mouth. I did make sure that the kittens were not going to be put down. AC said that he had a rep from the Humane Society waiting for him. They were going to health assess the kittens and if they are healthy, they will go into foster homes until they can be adopted out. He was pretty positive that these kittens would be fostered.

Reading/Reviews/Blog:

I got through my entire WWW “what books I think I will read next” list over the week. Miss R being sick did help with that because I wasn’t able to go out. I spent Saturday through yesterday reading.

I have two reviews that I need to write. Which I will get to today. Other than that, I am caught up. Still trying to find my happy medium here.

Nothing new going on with the blog. I haven’t wanted to change the theme or the fonts or the background. It is safe to say that I am happy with it.


What I am currently reading:

Realm by [Weis, Alexandrea]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.


I recently finished reading:

Touch of Smoke by [Laurel, Karissa]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.


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

Attracted to the Earl (Imperfect Lords Book 3) by [Evans, Bronwen]

Unable to read or write, an earl discovers love in the last place he expects to find it—within the embrace of a brilliant woman—in this sexy, irresistible novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

What’s an earl to do?
The Earl of Argyle has died suddenly, leaving his brother Guy Neville at a complete loss. The dull-witted second son, as his father used to call him, Guy is now responsible for the estate and his brother’s seat in the House of Lords. Shamed by an inability to read or write, his distress is multiplied by an inquiry from a dyed-in-the-wool bluestocking who wishes to use the Argyle library and study a rare plant on the estate. Guy’s first instinct is to decline her request—until he catches a glimpse of Miss Abigail Pinehurst.

How’s a girl to behave?
Abigail cares for only one thing: plants. She is unconcerned about how she looks, what she wears, or the impression she makes on men. An orphan who turned to books for solace in a miserly, cruel institution, she now makes her living illustrating the greenery she adores. Lord Argyle, in fact, with his uncanny memory and chiseled features, is the first man to capture her attention—a ridiculous distraction since he is so far above her station. But her unreasonable heart has a mind of its own.

The Scent Keeper: A Novel by [Bauermeister, Erica]

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

Unsuitable: A Forbidden Cove Novel by [Kent, Lavinia]

Cougar . . . MILF . . . Mrs. Robinson.

Jordan Robinson knows firsthand that when a woman marries a rich older man, people are going to talk. But now, with her husband gone, Jordan lives a quiet life of seclusion, managing her charities and staying away from the limelight. Then everything changes after an unexpected kiss leads to the best sex of her life—and a secret affair Jordan never wants to end.

A sexy young mogul who’s used to getting what he wants, Clay has wanted Jordan Robinson ever since he was seventeen and saw her emerge dripping from a swimming pool in a white bikini. But now he’s all grown up . . . and now she’s his. But when their relationship is exposed, the fallout is devastating. Yet Clay’s a man in his prime—and Jordan’s a woman worth fighting for. They may have started as a fling, but Jordan Robinson belongs in his bed, in his life . . . and forever in his heart.

Bright Burning Stars by [Small, A.K.]

Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.

But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.

WWW Wednesday: May 8th, 2019

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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 had a ton going on this past week. First, she had Kindergarten Orientation. She got to play on the playground at the elementary school while I sat in a 30 min meeting. The next day, she had her first T-Ball game. She wasn’t motivated at all (which cracked me up). She walked the bases. She walked to get the ball. She covered her face with her glove. She played with her hat. You guys get the theme here…lol. Yesterday, she had her 2nd T-Ball game. I didn’t go because we had to divide and conquer.

Miss B: Out of the three kids, she was actually the least busy. Which was great because I had my hands full with the other two. She had a concert at LRU. It was her middle school, the other middle school, and the main highschool putting it on. Her middle school rocked!!! They headlined the concert (with a total of 5 pieces performed). So, yes, I am a proud band mama here :).

Mr Z: He had a busy week this week. Thursday, he went to the orthodontist and got a palate spreader installed. Yeah, he wasn’t happy about that. We also found out at that appointment that he’s to get 4 teeth pulled with more in the future. He goes in 2 weeks to get it done. Again, he’s not happy about that. Monday, his elementary school had a tour of the middle school. When he came home, we (and Miss R) went back to the middle school to sign him up for Orchestra. He’s playing the violin. We went home and then we went back at 6pm for his Parent Orientation.

Me: So, considering the week I’ve had since last Thursday, I am happy to be staying home tonight and relaxing. Then back to running around. Lucky me. I did forget to mention, last week, that my garden is up. We planted potatoes, onions, leeks, corn, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, cayenne pepper, lettuce, and cabbage. We also have a raspberry bush that is growing out of control and a strawberry plant that is already producing strawberries (plus BK planted 4 more in that general vicinity that are sprouting)

Reading/Reviews/Blog:

I didn’t read anything from my WWW from last week. I ended up rearranging my list. I have books that I need to read ASAP because, well, I forgot about them <wince>.

I have caught up with reviews. I can’t even begin to express how happy I am. Now, to keep it that way!!

I had to DNF a book this past week. Which I wasn’t happy about. I could not get into it. I couldn’t even get past the first chapter.

Nothing new going on with my blog. I’ve decided to leave well enough alone.


What I am currently reading:

Into the Shadows: A Young Adult Paranormal Vampire Romance (The Shadow Vampires Trilogy Book 1) by [Crawford, Sara]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Is Chloe ready to travel into the shadows?

Chloe Chastain thought the mysterious stranger from the internet was just another obsessed fan of her favorite vampire books, and she grew close to him, letting him see into her soul. When she discovered that he was the actual dangerous vampire, Theodore Dupont, from her favorite books, she vowed to forget him. 

After an encounter with her childhood bully goes horribly wrong, she knows Theodore is the only one she can turn to for help, and she travels to New Orleans to find him. As she learns all about the world of the vampires and her role in it, she tries to resist her connection with Theodore, but she’s not even sure if she wants to anymore. 

When she finds out how much is at stake for not only Theodore and herself, but the entire New Orleans supernatural community, she’s forced to make an impossible choice. 

Fans of The Vampire Diaries and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles will love this Southern gothic young adult vampire romance.


I recently finished reading:

A Safe Place (The Devereux Family Book 1) by [Watson, Margaret]

click on the picture for the Amazon link

Tough, tender-hearted Frankie Devereux doesn’t have time to babysit a smooth-talking football player who’s supposed to be doing community service at her after-school center for troubled teens. She’s dealing with serious stuff – gang problems, a homeless pregnant girl and scraping together enough money to keep her center open. 

But when a dark secret from her past threatens Frankie and the existence of her program, Cal tries to step up and help. But with his career on the line, which will he choose? Football? Or Frankie and her vulnerable kids? 


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

I Know You: A gripping suspense thriller with a heart-stopping twist by [Therme, Erik]

Sisters Bree and Alissa Walker share a special bond. Neglected by their parents, they have always looked out for one another. But one day, sixteen-year-old Alissa goes missing. When Bree discovers her green backpack with all her belongings, abandoned on the steps of their run-down trailer, she knows that something bad has happened …

Then she receives a chilling text message. Someone has Alissa. But Bree will have to give up something very precious in exchange.

Desperate to save Alissa, Bree looks at everyone close to their family. She’s sure that Alissa’s best friend is keeping something back about her little sister and a boy at school, and why has their estranged uncle, who they’ve not seen in years, been hanging around again?

It soon becomes clear that the person behind the message knows a lot about the dark truths within the Walker family and will go to any lengths to get revenge. And as the search for Alissa continues, Bree discovers something about her brother Tyler that she wishes she hadn’t, a dangerous secret, which is also the key to bringing her little sister back home …

Stolen Gypsy by [Horton-Newton, Elizabeth]

“Her parents are dead. The government has failed her. Now she doesn’t even know who she is. Terza Blackstone is rescued by handsome Irishman Tristan Devlin and that begins the search for her true identity. When everything you thought was yours has been stolen from you, there’s only one thing to do. Steal it all back. What do gypsies, the Witness Protection Program, a drug cartel, and a young girl running for her life have in common?”

 

Touch of Smoke by [Laurel, Karissa]

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.

Realm by [Weis, Alexandrea]

Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.

An Indigo Wind (The Four Book 2) by [Watson, Margaret]

Firefighter Gianna Fallon struggles to hide her unusual talents – especially her ability to control fire. But when she and Callan Doyle are tasked with taking down a compound creating warriors with superpowers, both will need every tool they possess. 

Callan Doyle, surfer and former SEAL, hates what happened when he began receiving the mysterious injections that changed who he was. Still, he’ll use those changes to help destroy that compound. 

But a powerful evil hides in plain sight in the compound, making their task more treacherous. As a net slowly surrounds them, can they neutralize the evil in the compound before the net pulls tight and evil eliminates them?

Weekly Wrap Up: March 17th through March 23rd 2019

Weekly wrap-up banner

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

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

Clicking on the pictures 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 under the picture).

Also, all links are Amazon Affiliate links. I get a small commission out of every purchase you make. I would love it if you clicked my link when buying!!


Books I’ve Read:

The Invited: A Novel by [McMahon, Jennifer]
The Night Window: A Jane Hawk Novel by [Koontz, Dean]
The Soul of Power (The Waking Land Book 3) by [Bates, Callie]
The Hemlock Girl by [Heckman, C. L.]

Books with pending reviews:

The Soul of Power (The Waking Land Book 3) by [Bates, Callie]
Smitten by the Brit (Sometimes in Love Book 2) by [Johnson, Melonie]

Books with published reviews:

The Hemlock Girl by [Heckman, C. L.]
review here
Play to Win: A Wynn Hockey Novel by [Jamieson, Kelly]
review here
Inspection: A Novel by [Malerman, Josh]
review here

NetGalley Haul:

Twisted Family Values: A Novel by [Chickering, V.C.]
Sullivan's Promise: A Bitter Creek Novel by [Johnston, Joan]
Touch of Smoke by [Laurel, Karissa]
The Stories You Tell: A Mystery (Roxane Weary Book 3) by [Lepionka, Kristen]

Email Haul:

Book Cover

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

Giveaways/Contests I entered:

Book Giveaway for Southern Sass and Killer Cravings—Goodreads

Book Giveaway for Teeth in the Mist—Goodreads

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday