Showing posts with label Summer Reads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer Reads. Show all posts

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Summer Reads: Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller

*This is sponsored review. All opinions 100% mine.

I'm up bright and early and on a Sunday morning to write a review for the romance novel Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller, which I just reading yesterday. That's right, I read the entire 352 page novel yesterday afternoon, despite the fact it was a difficult for me to read thanks to my allergies and dry eyes. I just received the title a few weeks ago for the Kregel Publications book tour, and, I guess you can say time slipped away from me pretty quickly as I almost forgot I had to review the book by August 4th, which is today.

I used to read (and review) a lot of romance novels but after a while I gotten a bit burned out on them and this has resulted in me reading a wide variety of genres this year. The only reason why I signed up to review Underestimating Miss Cecilia (the second novel in Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley series) is because I've previously read a few other titles by author Carolyn Miller. She's a good writer and I figured I would like her newest novel.

What's the book about?

It's set in the early 19th Century England and centers around Cecilia Hatherleigh, a young woman who has always had her eyes on the earl's son, Edward "Ned" Amherest. The only problem is Edward has never had the same affections for Cecilia. He's always treated her more like a sister than a possible future wife. Despite her intelligence, she's is seen as nothing more that the second daughter of Lord Aynsley in the eyes of many, including Ned.

Circumstances occur that leads Ned to make a few major decisions in his life, which includes resurrecting his legal career and looking for a wife. He's also determined to help the poor and suffering people living on the streets of England. His quest to help other leads him to spend more time with Cecilia. Remember, this is a romance novel, so you can take a guess at what happens next.

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Summer Reads: Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Like many (and many) other readers, I was eager to read Thomas Harris's newest novel Cari Mora ($29; Grand Central Publishing). Mr. Harris wrote two of the best thrillers ever published - Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, which introduced the world to the serial killer Hannibal Lector. The author has written three other books: Black Sunday, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising. All of this novels have been adapted into feature films. A television series, Hannibal, was inspired by the "Hannibal Lector" novels and aired on NBC for three seasons.

Cari Mora is the author's first new title in thirteen years. The plot centers around half a ton of gold that's buried beneath a mansion located on the Miami Beach. Cari Mora is the current caretaker, an immigrant with a deadly past. Due to being on the Temporary Protected Status, she can't leave Miami and spends most of her days working a variety of odd jobs.

A psychopathic hit-man, Hans-Peter, is one of several men who are hired to find the treasure and the only person standing in their way is Cari. At first glance she looks like an easy target for Han, but she's a survivor and won't let anyone bully her.

Final Thoughts

Monday, July 8, 2019

Summer Reads: Treasure Hunters: All-American Adventure

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Though it's only July, this summer has been a bit too long for me for already. Typically, I read many (and I mean dozens) of books during the summer, but that isn't the case this year, as the titles I have read have been at least 450 + pages. So, basically, there haven't been very many short reads for me.

However, last month, I did have time to read a shorter book, titled Treasure Hunter: All-American Adventure written by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein with illustrations by Juliana Neufeld.

"All-American Adventure" happens to be the sixth installment in the Treasure Hunters children's book series which is published Jimmy Patterson (James Patterson's imprint at Little, Brown, and Company). The series is told from the point-of-view of Bickford "Bick" Kidd, who is supposed to be writing the story while his twin sister, Rebecca "Beck" Kidd, is handling the illustrations. They have two older siblings, Tommy and Storm. They travel around the world with their archaeologist parents, where they get tangled up in some sort of adventure.

The sixth entry has the Kidd kids stuck in Washington D.C. and bored out of their minds while their parents are working on a project at the Smithsonian. To keep the kids out of trouble, their parents get a babysitter for them - Uncle Richie. (Their great-uncle to be precise.)

What starts out as a simple day of visiting tourist attractions quickly turns into an all-new Kidd's adventure that takes them across the USA in the attempt to unravel a conspiracy involving fake Bill of Rights documents.

Final Thoughts

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Summer Reads: The Son by Philipp Meyer

For the last ten weeks, I've spent my Saturday night watching the second (and final) season of AMC's The Son starring Pierce Brosnan, which is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Philipp Meyer. The first season (or the first 10 episodes) aired in 2017. I didn't start watching the series until several seeks after it premiered on On Demand. I was addicted to the series after the first episode. It's a shame that AMC didn't have faith in the series and cancelled it several months for the second season began. I bet the two year gap between seasons didn't help much.

Before I had finished watching the first season in 2017, I bought the novel by Philipp Meyer, which is nearly 600 pages with small lettering. Like many other titles, I had intended on reading the book right away, but that didn't occur. Actually, the book was put up and I just forgot about it until final season of the series started, this is when I remembered I owned a copy. Considering the page length, I figured it would take me at least two weeks to read the novel, but I ended up reading the book fairly quickly.

The novel is mostly told in three different point-of-views - Colonel Eli McCullough, Peter McCullough, and Jeanne Anne McCullough. Now I say "mostly" because are there are two others included towards the latter of the novel but I'm not going to mention the names here, as it would give away the twist.

Colonel Eli McCullough's story book begins in 1936 when he was 100-years-old and the rest of his story is told in flashbacks beginning when he was a 13-year-old in 1849 living in Texas with his mother, brother, and sister. Comanches attack their home, they rape and murder his mother and sister, and capture him and his older brother, who later dies. Eli is adopted by the Kotsoteka Comanches and is named Tiehteti. While living with the Comanches, Toshaway (the Indian who kidnapped him) becomes his new father. At first, he is treated cruelly by the other tribe members, but eventually he earns their respect. He spends three years with the Comanches until fate leads him on a different path to become a cattle baron and oil king.

Peter is the son of Eli McCullough and Madeline Black and his story is told from journal entries dating from 1915 to 1917. During these years, his father and sons murdered the neighboring Garcia family in cold blood, took their land, and buried their bodies in a mass grave. There was only one survivor - Maria Garcia, an ex-flame. Peter will do anything to protect her, even if it means leaving his wife, Sally, and their sons behind.

Jeanne Anne is the granddaughter of Peter and Sally. Though she never met her grandfather, she has found memories of her great-grandfather, the "Colonel." Despite being the only daughter out of four children, Jeanne become the inheritor of the family's cattle and oil business. Her story is told through flashbacks beginning when she was ten-year-old up until the year 2012 when her family's past comes to haunt her.


Final Thoughts

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Summer Reads: Star Trek: The Captain's Oath

If you're a diehard trekker or just a casual Star Trek fan, then you've probably read at least one tie-in novel.

The first Star Trek tie-ins were episode novelizations of the original series were written by James Blish and published by Bantam Books from 1967 to 1978. James Blish also wrote the very first original Star Trek novel, Spock Must Die!, which was published in 1970. Bantam Books continued to publish Star Trek titles until 1991.

From 1974 to 2006, Ballantine Books (and Del Rey) published the Star Trek Log book series by Alan Dean Foster, novelizations of the short-lived Star Trek animated series.

From 1979 to 2017, all Star Trek tie-in novels, anthologies, and novelizations were published by Pocket Books (an imprint of  Simon & Schuster). The books are now published by Gallery Books, which is also an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

The newest Star Trek novel "The Captain's Oath" written by Christopher L. Bennett was published at the end of May and marked the first new story of "The Original Series" since 2016.

"The Captain's Oath" is a prequel spanning several years - 2261 - 2265. The prologue begins in 2265 on the very first day James T. Kirk is given command of the U.S.S. Enterprise and meets Mr. Spock. The novel jumps back and forth to tell how and why Kirk was given the U.S.S. Enterprise.

In the years 2261 to 2264, we see Kirk taking over the captain's chair of the U.S.S. Sacagawea and his brief stint overseeing the Starfleet archaeological station in Eagle's Landing. From early battles with the Klingons, encountering mysterious sphere ships, to saving endangered civilizations, Kirk learns the discipline he'll need to become a great captain.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Summer Reads: A Justified Murder by Jude Deveraux

Welcome to my first Summer Reads post of the 2019! And, yes, I'm well aware it's not official summer according the calendar, but the Mother Nature clearly has a different opinion on the matter.

Yesterday morning, I finished reading the novel A Justified Murder, which is the second installment in the new A Medlar Mystery series that started with last year's A Willing Murder. (Read my review here!) The series reminds me of the old murder mystery television series, such as Murder, She Wrote, Columbo, and Monk, but instead of a single main character there are three - novelist Sara Medlar, her niece Kate, and her unofficially adopted grandson, Jack Wyatt.

Set once again in the small town of Lachlan, Florida, the detective trio find themselves investigating the bizarre death of Janet Beeson, an elderly woman who had been shot, stabbed, and poisoned!

Sara only became involved in the case after the county sheriff asked her to take photos of the crime scene, and of course she brought along Kate and Jack. One would think they would just let the authorities investigate the murder, but after getting a taste of the crime fighting last year, the trio is itching to solve another mystery; despite the little fact that they originally vowed not to get involved in the first place.

I don't want to spoil too much of the plot, but lets just say the murder is linked to an old kidnapping case.


Final Thoughts

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Summer Reads: The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

Thomas Nelson; 340 pages; $15.99; Amazon
I was bit under the weather last week with three canker sores, so I spent a lot time indoors resting. While I didn't have a whole lot of energy, I did have enough energy to do some much needed reading, which included The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble. The book is part of the Lavender Tides series. The book has been sitting in my needs-to-be-reviewed pile for awhile now. Actually, I believe I had received the book back in January, but due to a few personal issues in my life, I haven't gotten back into reading until recently, so you'll be seeing more reviews on this blog soon.

Set in the small town of Lavender Tides, the home of four thousand residents, the novel centers on Shauna McDade, a helicopter pilot and widowed mother of one child, Alex. Her husband died in a climbing accident over a year ago and she's still mourning his death. 

Shockingly, Shauna's helicopter charter business partner, Clearance, is murdered in an explosion. Shortly before his death, he had given a package to Shauna with instructions to give it to his wife, Marilyn. While it seemed to be an accident at first glance, Zach Bannister, a firefighter, believes that foul play is at play here. After Marilyn is found murdered, it's obvious that Shauna and her son are now in danger. 

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Summer Reads: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Broadway; 424 pages; $9.99
Has anybody else been watching Sharp Objects on HBO?

The fifth episode of the limited series (miniseries) aired on Sunday night, and I believe there are three episodes left. The series is based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl and Dark Places. I was hooked to the series after watching the first episode and I later purchased the novel a few days later, but I didn't start reading it until a day prior to the third episode and I ended up finishing the book a few hours after the episode.

The novel centers around Chicago newspaper reporter Camille Preaker, who has a share of personal demons with alcohol and cutting words into her skin. Shortly after spending time in a hospital, her boss, Curry, encourages her to travel back to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri to cover the murder of a young girl, Ann Nash, and the disappearance of another girl, Natalie Keene.

Somewhat against her will, Camille returns to Wind Gap, where she sorta invites herself to stay at her family's home, which she hasn't visited in many years. Camille grew up with Adora, her high maintenance mother, and an emotionally estranged step-father, Alan. Her half-sister Marian, who she was very close to, died mysteriously at a young age, which sent her down an emotional roller coaster that has never stopped. She has another half-sister, Amma, a spoiled thirteen-year-old that she barely knows. Amma has a weird control over the people of Wind Gap.

After the body of Natalie Keene is found with her teeth removed (the same happened to Ann Nash), the town goes into a frenzy, pointing fingers at Natalie's brother, John. Still working on her own emotional problems, Camille works with Richard Willis, a Kansas City cop assigned to help solve the murders, to track down the killer. However, the further she investigates, the more she learns that her past is connected to the murders.

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Summer Reads: Goosebumps Slappyworld: Escape From Shudder Mansion by R.L. Stine

Scholastic; $6.99; 154 pages; Amazon

Many children's books from the 1990s have quickly fizzled and disappeared, but that isn't the case for the popular Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Since 1992, Mr. Stine has been scaring young readers with his Twilight Zone-like tales. The fifth book in the Goosebumps SlappyWorld spinoff series, titled "Escape From Shudder Mansion," just arrived in paperback last month.

The book centers around Riley Shiner, a twelve-year-old who is obsessed with the video game "Escape From Shudder Mansion," which he believes is based on an actual haunted house in his neighborhood. Though the house looks exactly like the one in the game, nobody believes him, not even his twin sister, Scarlet. He's seen the horrors in the game, so he wants nothing to do with the real house.

Unfortunately for Riley, he has to get over his fears of Shudder Mansion when his teacher splits his class into groups and gives them an assignment which involves the kids making an adventure documentary. Riley is paired up with his sister, along with Danitia, Carter, and Cheng. What is their assignment? There assigned to spend the night inside Shudder Mansion.

Despite objections from Riley, he follows his sister, her new weird friend Mia, and their classmates to Shudder Mansion. While their parents stay on the first floor, the kids take their GoPro cameras and explore the upper floors of the mansion. Riley is the only one who has played the video game, so he already knows what horrors are awaiting them.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Summer Reads: House of Secrets by V.C. Andrews

Pocket Books; 400 pages; Amazon
It's no secret that I like reading a wide variety of authors and genres, which includes V.C. Andrews, the Gothic-horror novelist who wrote the bestselling Flowers in the Attic and its sequels. Though the author died in 1986, Simon & Schuster has continued to publish other novels, which have all been written by a ghostwriter (a.k.a.  - Andrew Neiderman).

The first book in newest "V.C. Andrews" series, titled House of Secrets, was published early this year. Pocket Books nicely set me a paperback copy to review on this blog. I read the book right away, but I kept putting off writing my review for it. I ended up rereading the book last month, so the story would be fresh in my mind when I eventually got around to writing the review.

House of Secrets centers around Fern, a teenager who lives with her mother at the Wyndemere House, which is owned by the Davenport family. Before Fern was born, her mother took a job as a nanny for the Davenports. After Mrs. Davenport died in a car accident, Fern's mother stayed on to help look after Davenport's son, Ryder. Years later, Dr. Davenport remarried to a woman named Bea Howell and they had a daughter named Samantha (named after his first wife). Things changed within the household when Bea arrived. Fern (who is two years younger than Ryder) was no longer allowed to play with him, as she was only the help's daughter.

Though they aren't supposed to have a relationship, Fern and Ryder find ways to be around each other, which makes things a bit awkward for them now that they are in their teenage years. Secretly, they find each other attractive and have romantic feelings for another. However, they wouldn't dare act on their feelings, as they fear Bea's wrath!

Final Thoughts

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer Review: Goosebumps Slappyworld: Please Do Not Feed the Weirdo

Scholastic; 152 pages; $7.99; Amazon

It's a great year to be a Goosebumps fan, as there will be a new movie, titled Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween, being released to theaters in October. Until then, you can by your time by reading the new installments of the Goosebumps Slappyworld series.

Early this year, Scholastic released Goosebumps Slappyworld: Please Do Not Feed The Weirdo by R.L. Stine, which is the 4th entry in the spinoff book series. Unlike the previous spinoffs, this one is hosted by the ventriloquist dummy named Slappy, who's the most popular antagonist of the Goosebumps franchise.

"Please Don't Feed The Weirdo" centers on a Jordan Keppler, a twelve-year-old who finds himself visiting Carnival World along with his young sister, Karla, and their parents. Most kids would be excited to visit a carnival, but not Jordan, as he has a fear of scary rides. Nevertheless, Jordan accompanies his sister on the Tunnel of Fear ride, which will change their lives forever.

How exactly do their lives change?

Well, while getting stuck inside the Tunnel of Fear ride, they come across a boy named Robby, who was locked inside a cage. Ignoring the warning sign "Please Do Not Feed The Weirdo," Jordan and Karla feed the boy, which turns him into a monster, who just won't go away.

Final Thoughts

Monday, August 21, 2017

Summer Reads: Fault Lines by Thomas Locke

Revell; 398 pages; $14.99; Amazon

Now available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, is the thriller Fault Lines by Thomas Locke. The novel is a prequel to Trial Run and Flash Point.

Fault Lines centers on Charlie Hazard, who leaves his post as a security expert at the Satellite Beach community center for a more exciting job after meeting the lovely and mysterious Gabriella McLaren, an experimental psychologist. She works for a group of scientist who are measuring unseen experiences. Basically they are studying how the human conscious can leave the physical body, which will hopefully lead to out-of-body experiences, and maybe even the possibility for the mind to see the future.

Another group called the "Combine" are trying to destroy Gabriella's group, as they want to take a more "global conquer" approach.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer Reads: Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Revell; 336 pages; $14.99; Amazon

Now available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, is the suspense thriller Chasing Secrets, book four in the Elite Guardians series, by Lynette Eason.

Chasing Secrets centers on Haley Callaghan, a young woman who works as a bodyguard for the Elite Guardians agency. Her deadly past catches up with her when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open up a twenty-five-year-old cold case, which could be possible be connected to Haley's family.

As Haley investigates her own past with the help from her co-workers, her life is put in danger. This is when she turns to Detective Steven Rothwell, who is determined to help her unravel the mystery.

Summer Reads: The Return: An Amish Beginnings Novel

Revell; 335 pages; $15.99; Amazon

Now available from Revell ( a division of Baker Publishing Group) is the Amish romance tale The Return, book three in the Amish Beginnings series) by award-winning, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Inspired by true-events, The Return is set in the prerevolutionary Pennsylvania and mostly centers on Betsy Zook, a seventeen-year-old who is captured by an Indian tribe during a surprise attack. During her captive, Betsy's Amish faith is put the ultimate test. Later, upon returning to her family, she must deal with mixed feelings she has between her Amish family and the Indian man she met while she was captive.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Reads: My Daughter's Legacy

Harvest House Publishers; 398 pages; Buy Link; Blog Tour

Now available from Harvest House Publishers is the historical drama My Daughter's Legacy, book three of the Cousins Of The Dove series, by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould.

Unlike most of my reviews, I keeping the book synopsis extremely short for this one, as I don't want to give away too many spoilers with this title.

My Daughter's Legacy weaves together two different stories that are over one hundred fifty years apart. 

In the present day Virginia, the story centers on a recovering-addict named Nicole Talbot, who is working at a therapy center during summer break from college. 

In 1864, the story centers on Therese Jennings, a young woman who works as a governess during the day and tends to wounded soldiers at night.

legacy pin 2

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Reads: A Letter from Lancaster County

Harvest House Publishers; 336 pages; Buy Link; Blog Tour

Now available from Harvest House Publishers is  A Letter from Lancaster County, book one of the Lancaster Discoveries, by bestselling author Kate Lloyd.

The novel centers on Angela, a wife to a successful lawyer and the mother of two children, who had recently lost her own mother. Despite her comfortable lifestyle, she is anything but happy. Her younger sister, Rose, is an unmarried businesswoman, who wants to be closer to Angela, as the two have been estranged.

After receiving a letter from their Aunt Silvia, a Mennonite, the sisters take a trip to Lancaster County. While it seems like a mini-vacation at first glance, the two sisters uses this time to mend their relationship, and unveil a buried family secret.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Reads: His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon Inspire; 288 pages; $12.99; Buy Link; Blog Tour

Now available from Avon Inspire is the Amish romance-drama His Guilt by New York Times bestselling author Shelly Shepard Gray. It's the second novel in The Amish Of Hart County, which started with Her Secret (read my review here).

His Guilt centers on a young Amish man named Mark Fisher, who has returned home to Hart County in the attempt to put his painful past behind him. Despite being raised Amish, Mark grew up in an abusive household, but somehow found a way to survive. While he always thought of himself as a good person, two years ago he was wrongly accused of assaulting a young Amish woman.

After leaving his home for two years, Mark has now returned to Horse Cove, Kentucky with the dream of fixing up his family's old house. Of course finding a job wasn't easy, as everyone believe he's guilty. The only job he could get is at the Bloom and Berries nursery, which happens to be the same store where Waneta "Neeta" Cain works, a young Amish woman who believes Mark is guilty of assaulting the girl.

Eventually, Neeta''s feelings for Mark changes, and she eventually believes he is innocent of accusations. However, their blossoming friendship becomes in jeopardy when one of Neeta's friends is attacked, and everyone in the community believes Mark is responsible for the crime.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer Reads: Dragon Seed

New Growth Press; $15.99; Buy Link; Blog Tour

Now available from New Growth Press is the exciting young adult adventure Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski.

Dragon Seed centers around an angry teen named Nick with a not-so normal life. With his father missing from life, his mother has become a little hysterical when it comes to her son. Things are so bad at home, that Nick has considered running away.

Nick's life takes an unexpected turn when he mysteriously receives a handwritten, leather-bound old book called the "Dragon Seed." It contains a family legend that has been passed down to him from his great-grandfather. The legend tells a story an angry young man (similar to Nick) who lived his life in the shadows.

Machowski pin2

Monday, July 3, 2017

Summer Reads: Under a Summer Sky

Revell; 321 pages; $14.99; Amazon
Now available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, is the Savannah-romance Under a Summer Sky, book three in the Follow Your Heart series, by Melody Carlson.

Under a Summer Sky centers on Nicole Anderson, a high school art teacher who agrees to manage an art galley in Savannah for the summer for an old friend, Vivian Graham. Taking a summer sabbatical wasn't exactly how Nicole was planning on spending her summer vacation, but thanks to her mother, she's now house-sitting a mansion, as well as running an art galley.

What sounds like a fun summer, becomes very stressful for Nicole after meeting one of the gallery's employee who wants her job as manager. Then there are the Graham brothers, old childhood friends who are now dying to get her attention. It seems this summer will be anything but ordinary for Nicole.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summer Reads: Freedom's Price by Christine Johnson

Revell; 336 pages; $14.99; Amazon
Now available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, is the historical romance Freedom's Price, book three in Keys of Promise series, by Christine Johnson.

Set in 1856, the novel centers on a twenty-three-old Englishwoman named Catherine Haynes, who has no other choice than to leave her home in Staffordshire, England after her father's death. With nothing else keeping her in England, she decides to cross the Atlantic and travel to Louisiana in search for late mother's family.

While traveling on a ship called the Justinian, she meets Tom Worthington, a Key West man who makes a living salvaging wrecked ships. Once Catherine arrives in Louisiana, she seeks out Tom to help in a dire situation. All that is left her mother's family is the run-down Black Oak Plantation, which is in the hands of the estate's evil manager. Catherine must work with Tom to help her take claim of her inheritance.