September 2022 Wrap Up

It has been a while since I have done a monthly wrap-up. Usually, I am pressed for time (between the kids, their activities, and other life issues), and I choose not to do one. But I am making a change starting with this month. I will do a monthly wrap-up (even if it is only a couple of things).

So, here is what I read/posted in the month of September.

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:


Books I got from NetGalley


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers


Books Reviewed

The Diseased by S.M. Thomas (review here)

Shadowed Spirits by Reily Garrett (review here)

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts by Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Sylvia Nay, Katie Klein, Michael di Gesu, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, Sammi, Spizziri (review here)

Last Place Seen by Alessandra Harris (review here)

Love Secrets Lies by Teresa Vale (review here)

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith (review here)

Owl Manor: The Dawning by Zita Harrison (review here)

Owl Manor: Abigail by Zita Harrison (review here)

Owl Manor: The Final Stroke by Zita Harrison (review here)

Shadowed Spirits (The Guardians: Book 4) by Reily Garrett

Publisher:

Date of publication: August 19th, 2022

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Series: The Guardians

Shadowed Horizons—Book 1 (review here)

Shadowed Origins—Book 2 (review here)

Shadowed Passages—Book 3

Shadowed Spirits—Book 4

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

One man’s curse is another man’s weapon.

Genetic engineer Neah Haversham thought unlocking the code to her psychic gift would ease the way to blocking it, something she’d wanted since puberty.
Unable to turn off heightened senses means experiencing life on a different level. Shiya, her golden retriever, is the only companion tolerated.
Within months of finishing her studies, she learns the life she planned has vanished with the rescue of a sarcastic, hardheaded teen with an unprecedented ability.
Ouray Bernard is a healer and warrior, a Native American who uses his skills to train other uniquely talented individuals. When called to help the woman invading his dreams, he can’t refuse.
Loyalties collide as each defends their position in the battle against a secret society determined to dominate them all.


First Line:

Concrete is porous. Most people think it’s the same as cement.

Shadowed Spirits by Reily Garrett

I was immediately sucked into the book when I started reading Shadowed Spirits. I was thrilled that Ouray was getting his HEA, and I couldn’t wait to see who Neah was and what abilities her character would have. I wasn’t disappointed!!

Shadowed Spirits are the 4th book in The Guardians series. Technically, readers could read this book as a standalone mainly because the author does go over what happened in the previous books in the beginning. I would, however, strongly recommend reading the first three books before reading this one.

As noted in the first paragraph, Shadowed Spirits are the love story between Neah and Ouray. This book starts shortly after the last book’s events and introduces Neah. Neah is a genetic engineer coming close to cracking the code of not only her psychic gift but everyone like her psychic gifts. But Neah is on a mission from her mentor when the book starts. That mission is to rescue a gifted teenager from people who wish to harness her ability. But that mission goes sideways, and Neah finds herself joined to Ouray’s group. Determined to keep the teen safe and finish her research, Neah doesn’t have time for romance. But as she gets to know the group, Neah realizes that maybe her research wasn’t for the greater good and was selfish. When her research is stolen, and the teenager kidnapped, Neah must put aside everything she thinks about her gift and use it. Will Neah and the group be able to rescue the teen? Will Neah come to terms with her gift? And more importantly, will Neah and Ouray recognize their feelings for each other?

I liked Neah. From the minute she was introduced in the book, I was fascinated with her. Her gift was unique, and I could sympathize with her frustration with it. It must have been not very good to live with heightened senses. I understood why she went into genetic research. She wanted a way to turn it off. It made sense to me. She mildly annoys me when she refuses to listen to reason with her research (it could put people like her at risk). But other than that, I enjoyed her character.

I was super happy that Ouray got his love story. A little of his background was released, and I wish the author had released more of his background. He was a stabilizing force with Caspar and Neah once they overcame their initial distrust of him. Plus, he trained them (which they both needed). I enjoyed his character a lot.

I wasn’t expecting Caspar and her abilities. Just for the record, Caspar is not her real name. She got the nickname because of her ability. Caspar can phase through inanimate and animate objects. She reminded me of my almost 17-year-old daughter: headstrong, spunky, and with a heart of gold. She cared more than she let on. I also was in awe of her ability. The more the author released, the stronger it got. She phased through a mountain to escape the bad guys while holding Neah in one memorable scene. In another memorable scene, she could phase her hand through a chest and grab a heart in her hand as an intimidation tactic. I cannot wait to see where her story ends up.

The romance angle of Shadowed Spirits was very slight and almost overlooked. I didn’t feel Neah and Ouray liked each other that way until nearly the end of the book. And that was only after Christine’s vision that Neah saw herself with a black-haired toddler boy.

There were zero sex scenes in Shadowed Spirits. Ouray and Neah kiss, but it is towards the end of the book. Honestly, I liked it like that. I felt that sex would have taken away some of the storylines with everything going on.

The author very well wrote the plotline regarding Neah, her research, the two groups helping her, and the group kidnapping people with abilities. Some of those scenes were gripping, and I couldn’t put my book down. I also loved what happened with Pandora towards the end of the book. Let’s say that she deserved what she got.

The plotline centered around Neah; her background and her abilities were interesting. I did figure out who Neah was related to by the middle of the book. But, I was still surprised when the author made the grand reveal at the end. It did make sense.

The plotline centered around Caspar, her background and her abilities were well written. I enjoyed watching her character flesh out during the book. As I mentioned above, I was in awe of her abilities. She was one of the more powerful, gifted people I have read in the series. Her background is revealed at the end of the book. She found out where she came from and how she ended up in the foster system. The only thing that the author didn’t release was her true name.

The end of Shadowed Spirits was terrific. The author wrapped up Neah and Ouray’s storyline and part of Caspar’s. But she left all the rest open and threw in a shocking bit of information that made my mouth drop. I have a feeling I know who the next couple will be, but I’m not going to say.

I would recommend Shadowed Spirits to anyone over 21. There is no sex. There is language and violence. There are also scenes of people being held against their will and drugged and kidnapped.

WWW Wednesday: August 24th, 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?


Personal:

  • Miss R had been having confidence issues with her riding over the past month. It didn’t help that she got thrown before her surgery, had 3 weeks off (her surgery), got thrown on her 1st lesson, and then had a pony who was hard to control. She was seriously considering leaving until I had a long talk with her after that lesson. She also watched an equestrian YouTuber who had gone through similar experiences that she did. That helped her make up her mind to keep riding. And guess what? She was put on the pony that was hard to control and killed it last Friday. Not only did she control the pony, but she also got her to trot and stay trotting. She was so proud of herself.
  • Mr. Z had his freshman orientation yesterday. It was the first orientation that was without Covid protocols (Miss B’s were scheduled and only had 10 people per session). The cafe (aka the cafeteria) was packed. We met all of his teachers and got the school supply lists.
  • Miss R has her Open House today. We got her teacher assignment a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn’t surprised with who it was. We find out who’s in her class. She is praying that the girl that was bullying her is in another class or was taken out of the school (the mother threatened after the girl was caught stealing from the teacher). I don’t need to buy school supplies for her either. The school had the option of prebuying supplies at the end of last school year—which I did.
  • I have been going through and updating my posts. And what I mean by that is formatting my posts the same way, fixing links, updating covers, updating blurbs, and fixing any grammatical issues I missed the first time.

So that’s the major 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:

One man’s curse is another man’s weapon.

Genetic engineer Neah Haversham thought unlocking the code to her psychic gift would ease the way to blocking it, something she’d wanted since puberty.
Unable to turn off heightened senses means experiencing life on a different level. Shiya, her golden retriever, is the only companion tolerated.
Within months of finishing her studies, she learns the life she planned has vanished with the rescue of a sarcastic, hardheaded teen with an unprecedented ability.
Ouray Bernard is a healer and warrior, a Native American who uses his skills to train other uniquely talented individuals. When called to help the woman invading his dreams, he can’t refuse.
Loyalties collide as each defends their position in the battle against a secret society determined to dominate them all.


What I am currently reading:

Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . .
 
Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .
 
Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . .


What books I think I’ll read next:

The sweetness of first love…

Could a fiercely independent cop’s heart be stolen by the guy who makes her favorite doughnuts? Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband get a dose of her own medicine? Can her handsome neighbor rescue a modern-day “princess” from a tenacious ex-boyfriend? Can two strangers in a rideshare be honest enough to fall in love for real? Can you remember your first love? How about your second? Third? Fourth?

Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father’s life.

Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage…until he discovers she’s vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?

If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?

In Darkest Flame by Donna Grant, the Dark Kings have fought for centuries to preserve their dragon magic. But one of the most powerful warriors of his kind will be put to the ultimate test. Is he strong enough to resist his greatest temptations? Or will he be forced to surrender—body and soul?

HER BEAUTY IS A WEAPON.
Denae Lacroix is a beautiful MI5 agent on a deadly mission. Sent to the Scottish Highlands to spy on the mysterious Dreagan Industries, she discovers too late that she’s been set up—as human bait. She is an irresistible lure for a man who has not seen or touched a woman for centuries. He is a man with a destiny—and a desire—that could destroy them both…

HIS PASSION IS A CURSE…
It’s been twelve hundred years since Kellan has walked among humans—and there’s no denying the erotically charged attraction he feels for Denae. But as a Dragon King, he is sworn to protect his secrets. Yet the closer he gets to this smart, ravishing woman, the more her life is in danger. All it takes is one reckless kiss to unleash a flood of desire, the fury of dragons…and the fiercest enemy of all.

In the aftermath of her husband’s life-altering mistake, Tiana Williams grapples with lingering resentment while working full-time and raising their toddler. But when Jay becomes a person of interest in the kidnapping of ten-year-old Zoe Miller, Tiana is torn between trusting her husband and believing the growing pile of evidence. After she gets dragged further into the mystery and discovers her connection to the missing girl, the shaky ground beneath her crumbles.

With the odds stacked against him, Jay does everything in his power to prove his innocence. Racing against the clock, he must uncover the truth about Zoe’s kidnapping before he loses everything he loves—including his freedom.

During a sweltering heat wave and a raging California wildfire, Tiana and Jay will stop at nothing to find Zoe, even if it means tearing apart their marriage and risking their own lives in the process.

WWW Wednesday: August 17th, 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?


Personal:

  • Miss B and Mr. Z got their schedules for their HS classes this week. Miss B is taking 5 classes (English, History, Criminal Law, Introduction to Criminal Justice, and Ethics and Communications Relations) that will give her dual HS and college credits. She also takes Physical Science, Math 3, and Psychology to round out her schedule. Mr. Z is taking Math 2, Honors Earth Science, Spanish II, Honors English 1, Honors World History, Introduction to Computer Science using MakeCode, and Intermediate Orchestra. He started HS with 2 credits, having taken Spanish 1 and Math 1 last year in middle school.
  • Miss R found out who her 3rd-grade teacher is. I felt it was going to be this specific teacher (Mr. Z had her), but nothing was confirmed until I got the letter on Monday. She is very excited, and I can’t wait to see how this teacher will push her (she is smart and get bored fast)
  • I had to take our newest kitten, Tony, to the vet on Monday. I had scheduled a visit for him just so the vet could give him a once over. But, a few days after we got him home, he developed a nasty cough and was very sick. He didn’t eat at all on Sunday, which concerned us. He ends up having a nasty upper respiratory infection. He is currently taking amoxicillin for cats and just finished up pain meds (for his throat, the vet said it was very red). He is feeling much better but would rather not take the medication….lol.
  • I have been neglecting my StoryGraph reading challenges up until this week. I went over the 5 I was doing, updated them, and added books from my TBR to all of them. What challenges am I doing? They are Popsugar 2022, Beat the Backlist, The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge 2022, The StoryGraph Reads The World 2022, and The StoryGraph’s Onboarding Reading Challenge 2022. I realize and know that I probably won’t finish all of them, but I will try it. I’ve already knocked two books off Popsugar and Beat the Backlist this week and hope to knock off more in the coming weeks.
  • I have been watching Season 3 of The Orville on Disney Plus with my kids. I watched the episode with Isaac and cried my eyes out. The writers (and Seth McFarland) did a great job of tackling a couple of sensitive subjects.

So that’s the major 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:

Book One of The Dawning of Power Young Adult Epic Fantasy trilogy. Echoes of the ancients’ power are distant memories, tattered and faded by the passage of eons, but that is about to change. A new dawn has arrived. Latent abilities, harbored in mankind’s deepest fibers, wait to be unleashed. Ancient evils awaken, and old fears ignite the fires of war.


What I am currently reading:

In his semi-autobiographical novel, This Time Next Summer, Mikheyev weaves a tender tale about love and loss, one that is distinctly personal and yet universally human.

She was beautifully broken. And his everything.

Hurt and scarred by every man in her life, Jasmine had vowed to never love again. Then she meets Avgust, and her broken heart resumes beating.

A romantic idealist who measures love by his poetry output, Avgust had given up on finding that elusive once-in-a-lifetime kind of love he’d always dreamed of. But the moment he spies Jasmine in a coffee shop, he knows unequivocally that she is his Her—the woman who will change his life.

It was the perfect love story.

Until the secrets and betrayals of the past threaten to break them apart.

Will their love be strong enough to save Jasmine from her past, and Avgust from his future?

Zoe was still in high school when she saw her father shot dead by a classmate obsessed with her, and then still a kid, witnessed the killer’s sentencing. A horrible tragedy, but now, thirteen years later, she’s thoroughly rebooted her life.

She’s the CEO of her own cyber security company, a celebrity in her field, and a speaker in high demand.

She’s just the kind of strong, self-reliant woman who can take care of herself in any situation.

Except the one she’s in.

She’s got a stalker.

And she already knows he’s a killer.

Given her background, Zoe knows instantly that she needs protection and she knows how to get it—her sister Mel’s the owner of Blackhawk Security.

But trust Mel to send Spence Flynn, the one agent Zoe can’t be alone with, but not because they don’t get along. It’s because attraction sizzles between the two of them like runaway electricity. And because they both know the last thing a body guard should do is get into a relationship with his principal.

It’s unethical and dangerous.

But how are they supposed to fight this thing? Spoiler: Good intentions suffer a knockout in the first round. And then, to the delight of the reader, the earth moves in the most delicious way.

Meanwhile, Zoe’s stalker is still sending her charms from a bracelet he stole from her thirteen years ago, the scariest being a heart he’s had engraved with both their names. Unnerving enough– and then he starts dropping off lunch for her, tailing her in a white Subaru, and trying to break into her condo.

Spence has his hands full in more than one way. And Zoe has a public appearance coming up. The perfect time for a stalker to strike.


What books I think I’ll read next:

They were from two different worlds.

Like two trains never crossing paths, they would have gone on without any shred of their lives coinciding. Until a late-night encounter brings them crashing into each other’s lives.

Cole, a small-time New York gun trafficker who has been unlucky for the better part of his life knows better than to dream of a better life. Jaded, exhausted and down on his luck, he struggles to deal with the reality of his choices.

Amidst dodging the keen attention of the authorities, and evading the sly notice of his crafty companions, he certainly has no patience to indulge a spoilt busy-body reporter with peas for brain and a hankering for danger. He thinks she’s crazy and wants nothing to do with her even if her smile takes his breath away and her presence soothes his wounds.

Samantha, on the other hand, is not letting go. She is a shark who has smelt blood and is honing in for the kill or the caresses.

But one thing is certain; Cole is a puzzle she is determined to unravel.
As the web of dark schemes and mysterious ploys thicken around them, passion flares to life, and so do other threats. These two are utterly defenseless against the attacks or the kisses.

Will they survive the imminent explosion that draws ever nearer or will these two finally get a chance to go after their fairytale romance?

The sweetness of first love…

Could a fiercely independent cop’s heart be stolen by the guy who makes her favorite doughnuts? Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband get a dose of her own medicine? Can her handsome neighbor rescue a modern-day “princess” from a tenacious ex-boyfriend? Can two strangers in a rideshare be honest enough to fall in love for real? Can you remember your first love? How about your second? Third? Fourth?

Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

One man’s curse is another man’s weapon.

Genetic engineer Neah Haversham thought unlocking the code to her psychic gift would ease the way to blocking it, something she’d wanted since puberty.
Unable to turn off heightened senses means experiencing life on a different level. Shiya, her golden retriever, is the only companion tolerated.
Within months of finishing her studies, she learns the life she planned has vanished with the rescue of a sarcastic, hardheaded teen with an unprecedented ability.
Ouray Bernard is a healer and warrior, a Native American who uses his skills to train other uniquely talented individuals. When called to help the woman invading his dreams, he can’t refuse.
Loyalties collide as each defends their position in the battle against a secret society determined to dominate them all.

“Where is your husband?”

Since waking up from the accident Dr Paige Hanson has been asked that question over and over. By the hospital staff, by her mother in law and by Government officials.

As she struggles to grasp the wisps of memory returning to her Paige learns that there’s more at stake than Leo’s whereabouts.

Turning towards the teachings of the one person she swore never to become she begins to realise that some questions are best left unanswered.