November 2022 Wrap UP

Here is what I read/posted in November.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.

Books I Read:

No review
No review
No Review
No Review
Review coming December 1st
Review coming December 27th, 2022
No Review
Review coming January 3rd, 2023
Review coming January 10th
Review coming December 9th
No Review
No Review
No Review
Review coming December 2nd
Review coming December 10th
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
Review Coming December 3rd
Review Coming December 4th

Books I got from NetGalley:

Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
It was a limited-time Read Now book
It was a limited-time Read Now book
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
SMP/Minotaur Influencer Program
SMP Widget invite
SMP Widget Invite

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

From Author
From Novel Cause
Author Request
Author Request
Author Request
From Novel Cause
From Novel Cause

Goodreads Giveaway


Books Reviewed:

The Last Huntress by Lenore Borja (review here)

Alias Emma by Ava Glass (review here)

A Broken Clock Never Boils by C.J. Weiss (review here)

The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu (review here)

A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor (review here)

Shadowed Intent by Reily Garrett (review here)

Death in a Dark Alley by Bradley Pay (review here)

Conviction by Michael Cordell (review here)

The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang (review here)

Wicked Bleu by E. Denise Billups (review here)

A Maiden of Snakes by Jane McGarry (review here)

Mostly Human 2 by D.I. Jolly (review here)

Shampoo & Condition by M.L. Ortega (review here)

Spies Never Lose by M. Taylor Christensen (review here)

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (review here)

Bookish Travels—November 2022 Destinations

I saw this meme on It’s All About Books and thought, I like this!! So, I decided to do it once a month also. Many thanks to Yvonne for originally posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are wonderful and take you to places you would never get a chance to go. That includes places of fantasy too!!

So….enjoy!! Please let me know if you have read these books or traveled to these areas (other than the fantasy….lol).

United States:

New York (Brooklyn), Louisiana (New Orleans)
New York (New York City), Texas (College Station, Bryan), North Carolina (Raleigh), Washington D.C.,
California (Los Angeles)
California (Orange County)
Georgia (Atlanta), Alabama (Birmingham)
Utah (Salt Lake City, Hill AFB), New York (Long Island, Manhattan, New York City), New Jersey (Glenn Rock), California (San Francisco, Lake Tahoe), Washington (Seattle), Missouri (Branson), Michigan (Detroit, Ann Arbor), Florida (Tampa), Ohio (Columbus), New Mexico (Albuquerque)
Alabama, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pittsburg), New York (New York City), Washington (Seattle)
New York
New York (Long Island, Lake Ronkonkoma), New Mexico (Los Alamos)
North Carolina (Asheville)
California (Los Angeles), Georgia (Atlanta, Isle of Hope, Savannah, Beaufort)
New York (New York City, Manhattan)
California (Berkeley)
Vermont (Lake Salem), New Hampshire, Connecticut (Hartford, Mercy Hills)
Nevada (Las Vegas)
New York City, New York
New York (New York City), Wisconsin

The Netherlands



Strasbourg, Southern France, Paris




Geneva, Zürich






St. Petersburg
Vladimir, Murimstevo Castle
Lake Chebarkul


Monferrato, Naples
Orvieto, Rome
Naples and Capri


Bergen, Borgefjell




Syn Island
Prince Edward Island (Georgetown), Quebec


Tokyo, Mako Island, Tomo Island


Australian Coast, Lord Howe Island



Forest of Ghosts (Flamehaven),




Granada, Carboneras, Barcelona, Cantabrian Mountains (Torre Cerredo), City of Lights (fictional)


Regency London
1970’s London
London, Reading
Little Hanting, Cumbria (Carlisle)

Outer Space

Mars (Carson), Eden




Dagor, Gammod-Dhol



South Georgia Island

New Zealand






Shampoo & Condition (A Me Too Mystery) by M.L. Ortega


Date of publication: August 30th, 2022

Genre: Short Story, Mystery

Series: Me Too Mystery

Turn Key Condition—Book 1

Shampoo & Condition—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound \

Goodreads Synopsis:

If Janet Evanovich’s signature character were a single mom, she’d answer to the name Maggie Chessman. In Shampoo & Condition, Vivian, Maggie’s soon to be ex sister-in-law, drops dead in a beauty salon and Maggie’s brother becomes suspect number one – creating friction between our main character and her policeman boyfriend.

What can a girl do but pursue other suspects: Vivian’s shifty sisters, a smooth financial operator, and a secretive shampoo girl.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s best friend is matching corpses with missing persons on the Jane Doe website, eventually spotting a dead person in their midst.

First Line:

The pressure exerted on Jane’s head and the fumes inside the metal casing overwhelmed her.

Shampoo and Condition by M.L. Ortega

Cozy mysteries are low on my list of books to read. I don’t know why because I do enjoy reading them. So, when the author emailed me her request, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I am glad I did because this was a good mystery.

Shampoo & Condition had two main plotlines. The first one centered around Maggie and her investigation into her soon-to-be ex-sister-in-law’s death (at a popular beauty salon). When Maggie starts following leads, she discovers that her sister in law was going to try and bankrupt her husband (Maggie’s brother). But the leads start getting more convoluted when a handsome man, a financial advisor to the school, takes an interest in Maggie.

The other storyline centers around a secretive woman who has just gotten hired at the same beauty salon (where Maggie’s sister-in-law dropped dead). Her backstory: She is on the run from her abusive ex-husband, a police officer. But things aren’t what they seem with this woman. Everything gets thrown up in the air when Jane (Maggie’s best friend) matches this woman with a cold case on a Jane Doe website. Exactly who is the new employee, and what is her connection with Maggie’s sister-in-law? Can Maggie solve her sister-in-law’s death? Or will this case be a wash?

This is book two in the Me Too series. You do not need to read book one to understand what is going on in this book. Also, this book is a quick read at 101 pages.

Shampoo & Condition is a fast-paced mystery that takes place over several days. It is set entirely in Orange County, California.

The main characters, Maggie and Jane, were a hoot to read. They are around my age, and I was able to connect with everything they did or wanted to do.

  • Maggie—I loved how devoted she was to her brother. I also was in awe of her investigation skills. She could decipher clues from things I wouldn’t have thought to look at. Her work solved what happened to Viv (her sister-in-law). And it was also her investigation that exposed what Viv would do to her brother. I questioned when she got involved with the financial advisor working with the school board.
  • Jane—I loved her as much as Maggie. She had a little more skill at investigating than Maggie. Her observation skills were on point, as was her memory. I also liked how she zeroed in on Lilith.
  • Lilith—-I have to admit, I did believe her story. But minor inconsistencies did crop up, and oh boy, when the author revealed everything, I was surprised. Talk about not seeing that coming!!

As with every book that I have read, the secondary characters add extra depth to the book. Shampoo & Condition’s secondary characters were no different. There were a couple I wished had more page time (Viv’s sisters and Dominga are the two that stand out).

Shampoo & Condition fit perfectly with the cozy mystery genre. The author had me guessing who killed Viv and why. She also had me thinking about Maggie’s new friend and who Lilith was. I loved it.

The storyline with Viv, Maggie, Viv’s death, and Maggie’s investigation was well written. As stated above, I was genuinely perplexed about who killed Viv and why. I loved seeing the twists and turns that Maggie’s investigation took.

The storyline with Maggie and the new financial person the school brought in was interesting. But, honestly, I didn’t care for it. I had thought Maggie was with Tuna (her policeman boyfriend) and having a semi-love triangle happening didn’t do it for me.

The storyline with Jane, Lilith, and Lilith’s identity was interesting. I thought that Jane did some fantastic work digging into Lilith’s background. And once it was exposed, I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting the storyline to go in the direction it did.

The end of Shampoo & Condition was interesting and exciting. I loved how the author tied everything together. The author also released a couple of small twists in the plotline at the end of the book. A couple I saw coming, but one (and it concerned Lilith) I didn’t see coming at all.

Three Reasons Why You Should Read Shampoo & Condition:

  1. The book was short—-only 101 pages
  2. Readers can read it as a standalone
  3. The mystery kept me guessing to the end.

Three Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Read Shampoo & Condition

  1. A semi-love triangle is hinted at in the book. I wasn’t a fan of it.
  2. How Lilith took everyone for a ride. I was so mad about that!!
  3. Viv and her sisters’ plot.

I would recommend Shampoo & Condition to anyone over 16. There is mild language, mild violence, and no sex.

WWW Wednesday: November 2nd, 2022

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?


  • Thursday: I took Vinnie in to get his microchip. The head vet of the shelter came out and apologized to me. She said she would make sure that it didn’t happen again. Vinnie was a little miffed at me for taking him, but he got over it.
  • Friday: I had a doctor’s appointment. I walked in thinking the worse thing that would happen to me would be a flu shot. I walked out with a referral for a mammogram, a pamphlet for a colonoscopy (bleh), and a referral for an MRI (I am having unexplained dizzy spells). Oh, and I got the flu shot, too…lol. Miss R had horseback riding, and she did very well. She was the only person in her lesson and got personalized attention from her instructor. It was dark when we were done, and we had to use flashlights to see the pasture we were turning the horse into.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Miss B had a sleepover with 6 people. I had 7 teenage girls stuffed into my tiny living room. It was cramped, but they all had a blast.
  • Monday: It was Halloween!! Also, Tony went to the vet to get his last kitten shots. Thank God that I don’t have to go back until next year. I think they were sick of my face. Miss B had 3 friends come over to trick or treating with us. Speaking of that, Mr. Z’s plague doctor costume was a huge hit. He was asked a few times for pictures. Miss R went as Samara from The Ring, but she refused to wear her wig (we got her a long hair, black one). Miss B was a greaser. Everyone got a ton of candy.
  • Tuesday: Miss R stayed home from school. She was complaining of a stomach ache and wasn’t feeling the best. Since she did so well on her report card (A honor roll), I let her.
  • I am killing it with my reading. I am almost done with my author/indie publisher requests for this month (I have 3 left). I am also a week ahead with my reviews. I am beginning to feel the way I did before Covid hit!!
  • My longest book this week was the Hell Hath No Fury Anthology. It took me from last Wednesday to Sunday night to read it.
  • My shortest book this week was Death in a Dark Alley. I read it in a couple of hours yesterday.

So that’s the essential things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!

What I Recently Finished Reading:

I have two this week (since I finished both last night)

What I am currently reading:

What books I think I’ll read next:

WWW Wednesday—October 26th, 2022

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?


  • Thursday—nothing too spectacular happened. I did get a review written (Steel Fear) and continued my knocking out of my TBR list. Miss R also had an appointment in the morning.
  • Friday—No school for the kids because it was a teacher work day. Miss R had camp at the barn she rides at. I dropped her off at 9 am and picked her up at 330 pm. She had a blast. I also got to meet (and exchange numbers with) one of her friend’s mom’s. Miss R wants to play with her, and I was cool with that (even though the mom rubbed me the wrong way). I also think I convinced her to start riding at the barn….lol. I also got the review for Locklands written.
  • SaturdayMiss R attended a birthday party at our local science center. That is one of the cool things about our city. We have a little plaza with a library, a small aquarium, a planetarium, an art gallery, and a museum. The museum rents out classrooms for birthday parties. I did feel bad for the birthday boy, though. Out of 17 kids, only 3 showed up. I don’t think it mattered in the end because they all had a blast.
  • Saturday (cont)—-We almost took Tony (our youngest cat) to the emergency vet. BK left the silverware drawer open in the kitchen. Tony decided to squeeze behind it and explore the cabinets underneath. Unfortunately, behind the dishwasher, we have glue traps for mice (we have an issue in the fall/winter), and Tony stepped on them. He had one stuck to his chest and one on his front paw. Thankfully, olive oil dissolves the glue but try telling that to a very upset kitten. Tony also got a bath in with Blue Dawn. BK and I had a rather heated discussion about using glue traps again. Tony hasn’t suffered any ill effects from his adventure and was running around like a maniac the next day.
  • SundayMiss B had that stomach bug everyone in school was getting. So, she stayed in bed for most of the day. BK, Mr. Z, Miss R, and I decided to go on a day trip to a place called Murray’s Mill. It was not what I expected at all. We went because we had never been, but also, Miss R has a field trip there next week. They had some nice walking paths along a stream and an awesome general store. We got some homemade jam and these things called Cheese Tiddies. And yes, my 15-year-old had a blast with that. Everything was Tiddies for the rest of the day…lol.
  • MondayMiss B had an eye Dr appointment. For some reason, I made this one super early in the morning (8:20). Anyway, she came out of that appointment thrilled. Why? Because she needs glasses. I swear she is the only person in the world who is happy to get them…lol. I dropped her off, came home, did my chores, and wrote a review for The Last Huntress.
  • Tuesday—-It was a busy day. First off, report cards went home. Miss R had straight A’s. She didn’t understand why she got S’s in PE, Art, and Music. She thought they needed A’s, too…lol. Mr. Z and Miss B had dentist appointments. Later on, that night was Mr. Z’s orchestra concert. They did fantastically. I also wrote a review for Alias Emma.
  • I am super ahead reading-wise. Looking at my calendar (as an aside, am I the only one who uses a wall calendar to keep track of reviews and ARCs?), I am 3 weeks ahead with my reading. I am also a week ahead with my reviews. I love being ahead of things. Of course, now that I said that, I will fall behind….lol.
  • The book that took me the longest to get through this week: A Broken Clock Never Boils. I could not get into it at first. It was a short read, but man, I dragged on it.

So that’s the essential things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!

What I Recently Finished Reading:

Detective Wade’s search for her sister leads to an abandoned building and a man with two teens, a fierce battle where light poles bend like pipe cleaners, and twenty-six unmarked shallow graves.

A sibling addicted to extreme sports used to be her biggest challenge. Now fate has chosen to widen her horizons and test her unique psychic skill set. With her Bernese mountain dog by her side, they must fathom friend from foe while staying one step ahead of the organization responsible for kidnapping those with psychic abilities.

Parker Ratham’s goal of locating psychically talented teens and adults held prisoner takes him deep into the Connecticut forests. On a stormy night, he crosses paths not only with a serial killer, but also a young teen running from unknown assassins.

Each must learn to trust and work as a unit while staying ahead of those seeking to capture or kill.

What I am currently reading:

We will not be silent.
We will not stand down.
We are furious.
We are the storm.

More than forty of your favorite authors have gotten together to create an anthology where 100% of the proceeds go toward charities fighting for our reproductive rights.
Bradley Pay is back with a jaw-dropping sequel to The Killings Begin! Travel across the world and dive into the complex hearts and minds of Tracey Lauch and a cast of unsuspecting new characters in Death in a Dark Alley. Boasting the Spectrum Series’ iconic fusion of contemporary romance and psychological suspense, Bradley Pay has created another tangled web of love, loss, and an insatiable desire to kill.

Tracey Lauch may be a murderer, but he is still a man. Although his childhood abandonment trauma began decades ago, now his compulsion to strangle women who resemble his mother has begun to evolve. Outrunning his past, embracing love in the present, and creating a future free of investigation proves increasingly complicated.

Isabelle’s life in Brazil is burdened with mistakes and abandonment, too – but not in the same way. She falls in love with all the wrong men at all the wrong times, and her best friend Frank shows his true colors when, over and over again, he is not there for her when she needs him most. Aside from the stark difference that Isabelle is not a murderer, she and Tracey both desire love, a life partner, and the warmth of a family. 

But what does Isabelle’s story have to do with Tracey? How can an innocent trip to Strasbourg, France, become a heart-stopping event that changes their lives forever?

Peek behind the curtains of this cold-case investigation and catch an intimate glimpse inside the characters’ lives.
A 103-year-old murder mystery.

An amateur ghost sleuth.

Can a wrong be rectified in death?

Eight months ago, Simone experienced her first spectral encounter. It awakened a dormant second sight and opened a chasm to the afterlife. Now, another spirit from 1917 New Orleans has wandered through that passage, haunting her with an intoxicating jasmine fragrance and wicked antics.

To escape this mysterious ghost, Simone jumps at a seven-day complimentary Mardi Gras hotel package, unaware there might be an ancestral power behind her decision, an identity she grapples with.

Is the ghost’s name Bleu?

She’s a lady of the night who lived a dangerous life in the infamous Storyville. A place lined with mansion-like brothels on the edge of the French Quarter run by unscrupulous madams and frequented by dangerous criminals. WWI is on the horizon, jazz music is burgeoning, and Bleu’s life unravels.

Visions of her past and horrific death beset Simone as she explores present-day New Orleans with her three roommates.

But why are the images fragmented? Has Bleu forgotten what happened the stormy night she died? Can Simone uncover Bleu’s murderer and reunite her with her loved ones before it’s too late?

What books I think I’ll read next:

When Marchioness Lamberico fails to conceive a child, she solicits the help of Imelda, the village witch. Nine months later, she gives birth to a baby girl. Biancabella. Though perfect in every other way, the infant is born with a snake wrapped around her neck. To the relief of the marchioness, the creature vanishes at once and, in the joy of motherhood, is soon forgotten. When Biancabella is a young girl, the snake reappears and explains their uncommon sisterhood. Samaritana helps Biancabella unlock her magical gifts and asserts that so long as they are together, all will be well. Their close, though secret, relationship unites them above all others. Years pass, the sisters contented, until the day King Ferrandino of Naples arrives, seeking Biancabella’s hand in marriage. What follows shatters the sisters’ bond, leading to misfortune and betrayal, which forces them to grapple with not only the loss of their connection, but leaves each fighting for her life. Loosely based on the Italian fairy tale Biancabella and the Snake, the story explores how the love can transform from a domineering and covetous power to authenticity and, ultimately, redemption.


He orchestrated a murder. Now he must defend the man charged with the crime.

Thane Banning is ready for a fresh start. He survived 5 years in Forsman Prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and now he’s started a law firm to defend the innocent. But the past won’t stay buried for long.

Kilo Miller, a violent felon who tried to kill Thane in prison, is charged with Joseph Crowell’s murder, and Thane agrees to take the case. Thane knows for certain that Kilo didn’t kill Crowell—because Thane knows who did. It’s a secret he must protect in order to keep his family safe, but LAPD’s top detective is getting closer to the truth.

When strong evidence surfaces implicating Kilo in the murder, Thane discovers that conspiracy runs deep in L.A.’s court system. But proving Kilo’s innocence could reveal Thane’s own dark history and send him back to death row.

With help from his colleagues Gideon and Kristen, Thane must uncover who is framing Kilo and targeting his associates before he loses the case—and even his freedom. His conviction to represent the innocent forces him to face the ultimate test:

Is he willing to let an innocent man go to prison to avoid his own life sentence? (

I, Alex Harris, have run away from home.

I’m running from my problems, from my mistakes, and from myself.

I killed some people and I don’t think anyone is chasing me, but I can’t stop running, and as much as I miss the people I love. I feel like if I go home now, I’ll be going back empty-handed.

I have to find out more about this curse, where it comes from and what it really means to be a werewolf.

Because the truth is…

The truth is that when I stop and really look at myself. I’ve been running my whole life.

Maybe it’s time to stop.

If Janet Evanovich’s signature character were a single mom, she’d answer to the name Maggie Chessman. In Shampoo & Condition, Vivian, Maggie’s soon to be ex sister-in-law, drops dead in a beauty salon and Maggie’s brother becomes suspect number one – creating friction between our main character and her policeman boyfriend.

What can a girl do but pursue other suspects: Vivian’s shifty sisters, a smooth financial operator, and a secretive shampoo girl.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s best friend is matching corpses with missing persons on the Jane Doe website, eventually spotting a dead person in their midst.