The Last Straw

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sharon Sala

General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Published February 23, 2021 by MIRA

Charlie Dodge may be down, but he’s most definitely not out. He’s still reeling after a series of earth-shattering events, so when a desperate woman hires Dodge Investigations to find her missing sister, the head-scratcher of a case is exactly the distraction Charlie and his steadfast partner, Wyrick, need. Two weeks prior, Rachel Dean disappeared without a trace from her locked-from-the-inside Dallas apartment, and every possible trail has gone cold.
Grappling with the fallout of her efforts to dismantle the shadowy organization Universal Theorem, Wyrick throws herself into her investigative work. Charlie knows his partner can handle herself, but when she uncovers a past connection that paints a target on her back, the threat of losing her hits Charlie hard. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to keep Wyrick safe, but with the clock ticking on a victim they’ve yet to find, it’s only a matter of time before the cold-blooded killer leads them to a deadly end.

My Thoughts:

I got this ARC and immediately went and found the first 3 books so I would know everything that had happened from the beginning. I read all 4 within 1 week. I loved the mystery. A woman disappearing without a trace? It was spooky and a little creepy. Once I started reading I was completely invested from the first page to the last. While I knew the romance part of it was coming, it still was hard to switch gears from them holding each other at arms length to “let’s have a relationship!” I liked that they became a team in more ways than one, but it was still a hard switch.

Thank you to #SharonSala and #Edelweiss for allowing me to read this book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

**Affiliate link

To buy your copy of this book, please consider doing so from this link via BookShop. I receive a tiny commission, but more importantly, BookShop is an online bookstore that contributes 75% of each book’s profit margin to independent bookstores. You can even select the bookshop you want to support via Find a Bookstore.

The Paris Library

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Janet Skeslien Charles

Historical Fiction

Published February 9, 2021 by Atria Books

Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.

My Thoughts:

I almost passed this up. I was tired of WWII books and was reluctant, but it sounded so good and it involved a library! I am so glad I requested it. I adored this book and have been glued to it all day. Trying to read while drying my hair? Check. While eating breakfast? Check. While brushing my teeth? Yup. In the carpool lane waiting to pick up my kids? Yes to that too. I ended up being late to work because I couldn’t put the book down. My heart was alternately racing while I read as fast as I could or breaking a bit for what I was reading. I never knew about the American Library in Paris or crow letters during the war.

I couldn’t decide whose story I loved more or who I was more emotionally attached to: Lily’s or Odile’s. I only wish there was more resolution when it came to Odile’s story. I want to know more!

To learn more, here is the link to The American Library in Paris. See pictures of the individuals you meet while reading The Paris Library.

To purchase this book, please consider using this link. I earn a tiny commission, but most importantly, Bookshop.org supports local bookstores. They give 75% of their profits to support local bookstores and authors.

Thank you to #NetGalley and #JanetSkeslienCharles for allowing me to read this book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am sharing this review voluntarily.

The Last Garden in England

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Julia Kelly

Historical Fiction, Romance, Women’s Fiction

Published January 12, 2021 by Gallery Books

Present day: Emma Lovett, who has dedicated her career to breathing new life into long-neglected gardens, has just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to restore the gardens of the famed Highbury House estate, designed in 1907 by her hero Venetia Smith. But as Emma dives deeper into the gardens’ past, she begins to uncover secrets that have long lain hidden.

1907: A talented artist with a growing reputation for her ambitious work, Venetia Smith has carved out a niche for herself as a garden designer to industrialists, solicitors, and bankers looking to show off their wealth with sumptuous country houses. When she is hired to design the gardens of Highbury House, she is determined to make them a triumph, but the gardens—and the people she meets—promise to change her life forever.

1944: When land girl Beth Pedley arrives at a farm on the outskirts of the village of Highbury, all she wants is to find a place she can call home. Cook Stella Adderton, on the other hand, is desperate to leave Highbury House to pursue her own dreams. And widow Diana Symonds, the mistress of the grand house, is anxiously trying to cling to her pre-war life now that her home has been requisitioned and transformed into a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers. But when war threatens Highbury House’s treasured gardens, these three very different women are drawn together by a secret that will last for decades.

My Thoughts:

This was one of my favorite types of books. Historical fiction with some romance (clean) woven into the tale. Once I started reading this I could hardly put it down. 

Throughout the book we follow 4 different women in 3 time periods. At first it was a little confusing to keep track of the cast of characters, but I quickly sorted out who’s who and didn’t have trouble after that. I liked all the time periods and each of the women were strong individuals who had something about them that I admired. 

The garden is wonderfully described and loved that it is based on a real life garden. 

To buy your copy of this book, please consider doing so from this link via BookShop. I receive a tiny commission, but more importantly, BookShop is an online bookstore that contributes 75% of each book’s profit margin to independent bookstores. You can even select the bookshop you want to support via Find a Bookstore.

Thank you to #NetGalley and #JuliaKelly for allowing me to read this book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Our Italian Summer

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jennifer Probst

Romance, Women’s Fiction

Published January 12, 2021 by Berkley Publishing Group

Workaholic, career-obsessed Francesca is fiercely independent and successful in all areas of life except one: family. She struggles to make time for her relationship with her teenage daughter, Allegra, and the two have become practically strangers to each other. When Allegra hangs out with a new crowd and is arrested for drug possession, Francesca gives in to her mother’s wish that they take one epic summer vacation to trace their family roots in Italy. What she never expected was to be faced with the choice of a lifetime. . . .

Allegra wants to make her grandmother happy, but she hates the idea of forced time with her mother and vows to fight every step of the ridiculous tour, until a young man on the verge of priesthood begins to show her the power of acceptance, healing, and the heartbreaking complications of love.

Sophia knows her girls are in trouble. A summer filled with the possibility for change is what they all desperately need. Among the ruins of ancient Rome, the small churches of Assisi, and the rolling hills of Tuscany, Sophia hopes to show her girls that the bonds of family are everything, and to remind them that they can always lean on one another, before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

I struggled with this book at first. I didn’t identify with any of the characters and really disliked Francesca at the beginning. But now that I’ve read the book, I think that was the point. I wouldn’t have appreciated her metamorphosis if I had liked her from the start.

I am a homebody and don’t really have a desire to travel, but this book made me want to go to Italy. The food, countryside and art were all beautifully described. The relationships felt authentic.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.

To buy your copy of this book, please consider doing so from this link via BookShop. I receive a tiny commission, but more importantly, BookShop is an online bookstore that contributes 75% of each book’s profit margin to independent bookstores. You can even select the bookshop you want to support via Find a Bookstore.

Thank you to #NetGalley and #JenniferProbst for allowing me to read this book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

The Forever Girl

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jill Shalvis

General Fiction, Romance, Women’s Fiction

Published January 12, 2021 by William Morrow and Custom House

When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.

Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery. 

Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger.

My Thoughts:

The forever girl is a novel of friendship, second chances and the transformative power of love in all its forms. This is the 6th novel in Ms Shalvis’ wildstone series, but it is not necessary to have read the previous 5 to enjoy this. It’s a stand alone book, and  I enjoyed it so much I’m going to find the rest of the series.

Maze has been hurt and rejected her entire life and has learned to shut everyone out to protect herself. And it is the same for Walker. They are forced to be together the week leading up to Caitlin’s wedding and they slowly learn that past events may not have been exactly  the way they had thought. Watching them overcome and learn to trust themselves and each other was heartwarming and enjoyable. Through the course of their story you come to care so much about these characters that you almost forget they aren’t real. Normally I speed through books but this time I dragged my feet a bit. I didn’t want it to end.

  • A few scenes are for mature audiences.

A huge thank you to #NetGalley and #JillShalvis for allowing me to read this! I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

To buy your copy of this book, please consider doing so from this link via BookShop. I receive a tiny commission, but more importantly, BookShop is an online bookstore that contributes 75% of each book’s profit margin to independent bookstores. You can even select the bookshop you want to support via Find a Bookstore.

Favorite Friday – The Other Side of Lost

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jessi Kirby

YA Adventure

Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.

Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.

With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.

My Thoughts:

I loved this one! I recommend this to a lot of the students that come into the library and those that take me up on it, love it as much as I do. Jessi Kirby has a way of conveying the emotions of the characters and you really care about Mari, those she meets and her journey. We start out with Mari’s world imploding and the guilt and devastation of her cousins death. It was a joy to read as Mari hiked her way through it and finds herself to ultimately come out on top. I loved reading about the hiking aspects of the novel as well. Made me want to lace up some hiking boots (I’d have to go and buy them first) and hit some trails.

To purchase this book, please consider using this link. I earn a tiny commission, but most importantly, Bookshop.org supports local bookstores. They give 75% of their profits to support local bookstores and authors.

All the Colors of Night

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jayne Ann Krentz

Romance

Published January 5th, 2021 by Berkley Publishing Group

Two psychics plunge into a dark world of deadly secrets in this second installment of the Fogg Lake trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz.
 
North Chastain possesses a paranormal talent that gives him the ability to track down the most dangerous psychic criminals. When his father suddenly falls into a coma-like state, North is convinced it was caused by a deadly artifact that traces back to the days of a secret government program known only as the Bluestone Project. North knows his only hope of saving his father is to find the artifact. He is good when it comes to tracking down killers, but to locate the relic he’s going to need help from a psychic who knows the shadowy world of obsessive collectors, deceptive dealers and ruthless raiders.…
 
With her reputation in ruins after a false accusation, antiques expert Sierra Raines is looking for a fresh start. She turns to the murky backwaters of the paranormal artifacts trade, finding and transporting valuable objects with a psychic provenance. When North Chastain approaches her for help, Sierra takes him on as a client, though not without reservations. North represents the mysterious Foundation, the secretive organization established to police the underworld populated by psychic criminals and those, like Sierra, who make a living in the shadows of that world.
 
North and Sierra soon find themselves at the scene of the Incident, which occurred decades ago in Fogg Lake. The town and its residents were forever changed by the disaster in the nearby Bluestone Project labs. The pair unearths shocking truths about what happened that fateful night, but they are playing with fire—someone in town knows what they’ve discovered and will do anything to make sure the secrets stay buried.

My Thoughts:

I read “All the Colors of Night” in less than 24 hours. I loved it! I’ve read just about everything Jayne Ann Krentz has published and this book did not let me down. Fans of JAK will be very happy and fans that loved the Arcane series will be even happier. Even though it was very minor, I love the Jones references. I squealed like the fan girl I am. Sierra and North are classic Krentz characters. Strong, determined and perfect for each other. They were a great couple and I liked the trust they had in each other.

To buy your copy of this book, please consider doing so from this link via BookShop. I receive a tiny commission, but more importantly, BookShop is an online bookstore that contributes 75% of each book’s profit margin to independent bookstores. You can even select the bookshop you want to support via Find a Bookstore.

Thank you to #NetGalley and #JayneAnnKrentz for allowing me to read this book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Out of the Storm

⭐⭐⭐⭐

B.J. Daniels

General Fiction, Romance

Published December 29, 2020 by HQN

She can’t lose him again…

One look at his warm brown eyes and Kate Jackson knows she’s found her husband. It’s been twenty years since Daniel was declared dead in a refinery explosion, but Kate never gave up hope, convinced he was somewhere out there, suffering from amnesia. Then, on a trip to Buckhorn, Montana, she sees him—working as a carpenter, scarred, but still her Danny. Yet Jon Harper, as he calls himself, insists he’s a stranger.

Jon is certain he’s not the man Kate’s looking for. Though some of his memories are lost in shadow, how could he ever forget a woman like that? One thing Jon’s instinct does tell him is that she’s in danger from the very person she should trust most. Helping loyal, lovely Kate will mean exposing his own perilous past…but it’s the only way to protect her and this new chance at forever…

My Thoughts:

I really liked this book. Some of the twists and turns I saw coming, but a few surprised me too. You get to know the characters pretty well although I felt the character of Jon could have been developed a little bit better. If we had more of his thoughts and backstory, instead of this mysterious “strong and almost completely silent” guy, their relationship would have flowed better.

My one big complaint is how the book started. From the first paragraph you are dropped into a fast moving story. There is no “set the scene” lead in, just boom you are off and running. If B.J. Daniels had done a prologue where we went through the last day with Kate and Danny, saw their devotion to each other, examples of their love and life, and what it was like when Kate learned of the explosion, I think the reader would have been better prepared to believe Kate’s 20 year devotion and unwillingness to move on. Chapter 1 could have started with the header, “20 years later….”

One scene is for mature audiences although it’s easily skipped since it was short. (I don’t feel like I missed anything by skipping it) Other than that, it’s a clean read.

Thank you to #edelweiss and #BJDaniels for allowing me to read the book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

The Jigsaw Files – #1-3 – Sharon Sala

⭐⭐⭐⭐ for all three

Overall: I loved them. I read the first book on Monday, the second one on Tuesday, and the third, I read Wednesday and Thursday. (Life got in the way) Can’t wait for book #4.

PI Charlie Dodge knows what it’s like to have something important disappear. His wife, Annie, suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s, causing her to remember little of the life she shared with her husband. Charlie has devoted his career to saving what he can—missing people, threatened lives. But when prominent Denver multimillionaire Carter Dunleavy vanishes without a trace, Charlie and his assistant, Wyrick, discover missing doesn’t always mean gone.

It turns out Carter didn’t vanish after all—he’s gone into hiding. Someone in his inner circle wants him dead and now Carter needs Charlie to expose the culprit before the Dunleavy empire spirals into ruin. But with a tangled web of suspects looking to silence Charlie’s investigation, he’ll have to find Carter’s would-be killer and fast, before the traitor can finish the job.

My Thoughts

This is different from all of Sharon Sala’s other books (no romance) but there are still key elements will be familiar to long time readers (I’ve been reading her stuff since she was writing as Dinah McCall) such as seeing the view point of the “bad guy. ”

At first I was a little put off by Wyrick because she is so different from the typical heroine, but the more I learned about her, the more I loved her. Charlie and his devotion to his wife made my heart melt and Wyrick is a kick-ass woman with a tough no nonsense shell that protects who she really is. Charlie and Wyrick are the perfect team and I loved the first book so much I rushed to find the second the moment I read the last word. The language isn’t too bad but there is one scene (really a paragraph) that I found rather crass and I wished the author had skipped it. It didn’t add anything to the plot or storyline.

The clock is ticking…

When Charlie Dodge gets a phone call from a frantic woman stating her daughter has been kidnapped by her ex-husband and taken into a cult called Fourth Dimension, he takes the case without hesitation. The cult’s rumored purpose is to gather men with psychic abilities with the goal of breeding a race of people who have supernatural powers. Once accepted into the cult, men are given a young girl to marry in exchange for one of their own daughters.

The FBI has been monitoring the cult’s activities, but Charlie and his assistant, Wyrick, aren’t bound by the same rules as the feds. They head to the mountains of West Virginia to infiltrate the cult’s compound. The lives of children are at stake, and Charlie and Wyrick will risk everything to destroy the cult and its leader—no matter the cost—because this case is personal.

My Thoughts:

Oh I loved this one! I listened to the audio book most of the time ( I didn’t want to put down the book, so when I had no choice I switched to the audio book and then stuck with it) and the narrator was so great. The voice of Charlie!!! Oh, that’s a voice I could listen to for a long time. Anyway, I adored Jordan. Sometimes she seemed older than 12, but when you add in her physic powers and the stubbornness of a 12 year old girl, it worked. It goes to show that if one person has the courage to resist and stand up to what is wrong, it gives others the courage to do so as well. The storyline was fast paced through out the book and I never got bored. Charlie and Wyrick are still a favorite! Clean-ish: occasional language, not excessive.

He has nothing and everything to lose…

When a seventeen-year-old boy goes missing while camping with his buddies in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend, the case is right up PI Charlie Dodge’s alley. Charlie’s reputation for finding missing people—especially missing kids—is unparalleled. Unfortunately, trouble seems to be equally good at finding him.

Charlie’s still in the thick of it when bad news arrives regarding his wife, Annie, whose early onset Alzheimer’s is causing her to slip further and further away. The timing couldn’t be worse. Thankfully, Charlie’s ride-or-die assistant, Wyrick, has his back. But when Universal Theorem, the shadowy and elusive organization from Wyrick’s past, escalates its deadly threats against her, it pushes both partners past their breaking points. Finding people is one thing; now Charlie will have to fight to hold on to everyone he holds dear.

My Thoughts:

This one wasn’t as fast paced as the other two, but still a great read. Charlie is losing his Annie at a faster rate and UT won’t leave Wyrick alone. The beginning had my heart pounding (don’t like heights, and when I hike I’m always worried about falling over the edge, even when it’s not warranted.) But after that, the cases take a bit of a back seat as each character has to deal with more problems in their personal lives. Cleanish: language, not excessive.

Gobbledy – Book Tour

Gobbledy
Lis Anna-Langston

232 pages

Genre: Fantasy – YA – Middle School – Holiday  

From the Award Winning Novelist Lis Anna-Langston comes a new fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, & one little alien far, far from home. 


Ever since eleven-year-old Dexter Duckworth and his brother, Dougal, lost their mom, everything has been different. But “different” takes on a whole new meaning when, one day just before Christmas (or Kissmas, as they call it), Dexter finds a golden rock in the forest that hatches into an adorable alien. Gobbledy is smarter than he seems and is lost on planet Earth. Before long, Gobbledy takes Dexter, Dougal, and their best friend Fi on an adventure of friendship, family, and loss—one that requires them all to stay out of trouble, protect Gobbledy from a shadowy group called the Planetary Society, and prepare for their school’s Winter Extravaganza Play, where Dexter has to be a dreaded Gingerbread Man. 


Gobbledy is a fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, and one little alien far, far from home.  

You can purchase Gobbledy at the following locations:

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNESANDNOBLE | APPLE

About the author

 Lis Anna-Langston | Instagram | Goodreads

Lis Anna-Langston is a 2020 NYC Big Book Award winner, a Parents’ Choice Gold Book Award winner, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award winner and the Dante Rossetti First Place Award winner for YA Fiction. She is the author of Tupelo Honey, Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond and the short story collection, The End of the Century. Born in the South she loves writing about misfits, screw ups, outlaws and people who generally don’t fit into nicely labeled boxes. She loves zany, wild rides and is the recipient of many awards including; a two time Pushcart nominee, a five time WorldFest winner, Telluride IndieFest winner, Helene Wurlitzer Grant recipient, New Century Writers winner, a finalist in the prestigious William Faulkner Competition, & Second Place Winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award. She writes Young Adult, New Adult and Middle Grade novels and loves every second of it. 

Her fiction has been published in Word Riot, The Blotter, Petigru Review, Hot Metal Press, The Smoking Poet, Eclectic Flash Literary Journal, Paper Skin Glass Bones, 491 Magazine, Fiction Fix, The Monarch Review, 5×5 Literary Magazine, Red Booth Review, Hint Fiction Anthology, Chamber Four Literary Magazine, Emyrs Journal, Literary Laundry, Barely South Review, Flash Fiction Offensive, Flashquake Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, Cactus Heart Press, Empty Sink Publishing, Prick of the Spindle Literary Review, Per Contra, Storyacious, Gravel Literary, Bedlam Publishing, The Merrimack Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Kaaterskill Basin Journal, Sand Hill Review, Conclave. Milk Journal and The MacGuffin Literary Review. 

She is a punk rock Harper Lee word ninja who loves fast moving rivers, improvisational French gourmet cooking, wild encounters with great films and the sounds of chinchillas dreaming. 

Tour Schedule

My Thoughts: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Gobbledy was a darling book and I encourage everyone to go out and buy it! I was asked to read and review this and honestly didn’t have high expectations. I opened up the document on my laptop and was hooked by the 3rd paragraph. I read for a bit and then transferred it to my phone so I could continue reading as I wandered around the house doing all the mom things I had to do. I finally sat back down and finished it in less than two hours. It was entertaining and I loved all the kids. I really didn’t like the Dad at the beginning (I really don’t think you are supposed to, just yet) but as the story went along my sympathies changed and I really felt for Dad and loved him. All of them. None of them really know how to deal with the first Christmas without their mom. Gobbledy was cute and I loved seeing his story unfold and he even made me tear up in one spot. I would love to see more from this author and the fun world she has created.

Enter the giveaway below! Win a $50 gift card and a signed copy of Gobbledy. Giveaway ends December 16th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway <