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

Friday, December 6, 2019

Winter Reads: Misleading Miss Verity

*This is a sponsored review with affiliate links.
All opinions are my 100% mine.

Last week, Kregel Publications published Misleading Miss Verity, the third book in Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley series by Carolyn Miller.

Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own—but her actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren’t always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he’s finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He’s falling in love with her, but she doesn’t share the faith that’s his foundation—not to mention he’s been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness—and for the tenants of Dungally.

Buy the Book at:

Final Thoughts

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Winter Reads: The Passage

I hardly ever watch network television anymore. Most of the scripted series are almost unbearable to watch, and the ones I do find interesting are most likely to be cancelled quickly.
Nevertheless, I've have been watching the new FOX vampire series The Passage, which is based on the trilogy by Justin Cronin. After watching the first few episodes, I ended up purchasing The Passage paperback at my local Walmart store, which has a new art cover to tie-in with the television series.

Published in 2010 by Ballantine Books, The Passage is a massive read at over 800 pages and is broken into 11 parts, with the first two parts being set before & during the vampire virus outbreak, and the rest of the novel is set 93 years after the apocalypse.

The beginning plot centers around the government's secret project known as "Project Noah," where they have been experimenting on a new drug that will prolong life. All the test subjects have been death row inmates, who have been transported from prisons to a Colorado military compound. The experiments began with "patient zero," Tim Fanning, who was infected by a Bolivian bat carrying an unknown virus.

Brad Wolgast is one of the FBI special agents assigned to locate and transport the test subjects to the military compound. It's not an easy job, but Wolgast has never had a problem completing an assignment. Well, that is until he's assigned to transport a six-year-old orphan, Amy Bellafonte, who will become youngest test subject in the experiment. Unlike the other test subjects, the virus doesn't consume Amy, but instead it gives her telekinetic powers and immortality. Against orders, Wolgast takes it upon himself to protect Amy.

Fast-forward 93 years into the future, the plot shifts to an isolated, walled California colony. The people there are shocked when a now fifteen-year-old Amy arrives and leads an expedition to the colony in Colorado, where she must face her past.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Winter Reads: The Making of Mrs. Hale by Carolyn Miller

Originally, I had read The Making of Mrs. Hale by Carolyn Miller in early December, but due to a family emergency involving my grandmother and dealing with everything Christmas, I had completely forgotten what the book was actually about when it came time for me to write my review for it. I ended up rereading it last week, so I could refresh my memory.

The Making of Mrs. Hale (a.k.a. - the third book in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope) centers around Julia Winthrop, a young woman who had ran off and married Thomas Hale eighteen months ago. I guess you can say her marriage hasn't been a "happily ever after" one, as her husband is never around. Actually, Thomas seems to be missing!

Julia's husband has disappeared and she has no idea what has happened to him. Believing she's carrying his child, she has no other choice but to to return home to her family, who she had betrayed by eloping with Thomas in the first place. Of course her family wants her to divorce him right away, but Julia is still deeply in love with Thomas and hopes he will return to her.

Final Thoughts

Monday, January 28, 2019

Winter Reads: The Silhouette Girl by V.C. Andrews

Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Being released tomorrow from Gallery Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) is the thriller The Silhouette Girl by V.C. Andrews ($14.99; 362 pages).

Wait a minute, please let me correct that. The novel is written by the ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman, the author who took over the task of writing under V.C. Andrews's name after her death in 1986.

The Silhouette Girl is told from two different point-of-views. One is told through the eyes of Pru Dunning and the other is told from the POV of Scarletta Barnaby. Pru is a twenty-something nurse who has a normal adult life, well, except for the little fact that she's possibly being stalked by a former patient, Douglas Thomas, and she keeps receiving weird phone messages from a woman named Scarletta.

Scarletta is a teenager who's mother had recently packed her bags and disappeared with an unknown boyfriend; leaving Scarletta's father devastated. While the girl tries to live like a normal teenager, a family dark secret attempts to destroy her life.

Like almost every other V.C. Andrews' title (well, the ghostwriter's), there's a wicked twist that intertwines the two character's lives.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Winter Reads: Dog Diaires: A Middle School Story

AMAZON; Barnes & Noble
One of the most popular book series for middle graders in recent years is the Middle School series by James Patterson, which centers around a character named Rafe Khatchadorian. Of course when a series becomes extremely popular spinoffs are eventually released, such as the I Funny series. Now there is a new spinoff called Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story (Jimmy Patterson; $9.99; 208 pages) that focuses on Rafe's dog, Junior!

Co-written with Steven Butler and featuring illustrations by Richard Watson, Dog Diaries chronicles the early life of Junior; starting from his days at the Hills Village dog shelter to winning a big "prize" for losing a "Best in Show" dog competition.

Life of a dog can be great when your best friend "Ruff" (a.k.a. - Rafe) always has your back. However, being a dog does has its obstacles, such as running away from the vacuum cleaner, staying on the good side of Mom-Lady (Rafe's mother), protecting the yard from monsters (birds, raccoons, and squirrels), and staying clear of the evil Jawjaw (Rafe's little sister).

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Winter Reads: Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin

AMAZON; Barnes & Noble
What I hate about living in small town is that my local Walmart has an extremely small book section. However, the store does normally get in the novels by popular authors, so I had my hopes that the massive book Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin would be there. Well, I was disappointed when the book didn't come in stock last November. Due to the holidays and a family emergency, I had completely forgotten about the novel until I stumbled upon it at the local library.

Fire & Blood is volume one of two in the History of the Targaryen Kings of Westeros, which is set 300 years before A Game of Thrones (a.k.a. - A Song of Ice and Fire series).

At over 700 pages, Fire & Blood is written like a history book with George R.R. Martin telling us about all the past Targaryen kings and queens, as well as all the dragons that once ruled across the lands. It begins with Aegon the Conqueror, the creator of the Iron Throne and takes you to the Dance of the Dragons.

The book features gorgeous illustrations by Doug Wheatley!

Final Thoughts

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Winter Reads: Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

AMAZON; Barnes & Noble
Last month was a little chaotic for me. If you've been following this blog as of lately, then you would know I had a family emergency recently; which has resulted in me being slightly late with a couple of reviews. I had read Mind Games by Nancy Mehl back in early December, but with everything that was going on with my grandmother, I had completely forgot about writing the actual review for it!

Mind Games ($15.99; Bethany House Publishers; 396 pages) is the first book in the all-new Kaely Quinn Profiler series. It centers around FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn, a woman who made it her mission to track down serial killers after a childhood "event" changed her life forever. She has tried her best to put her past in the past, but she can no longer do so after a reporter unveils the truth about her: She is the daughter of a serial killer.

Demoted and transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, Kaely once again tries to move forward with her life; well, until the same reporter reenters her life, claiming he received an anonymous poem predicting a series of murders.

Along with her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, Kaely investigates a murder that fits the exact details that was in the poem. Now she must race against the clock to stop the killer before he or she strikes again.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Winter Reads: Ashes in the Snow by Ruta Sepetys

AMAZON; Barnes & Noble
As many of you probably already know, my least favorite historical setting to read about is WWII. I don't really have a reason why; I just don't like reading books set in this era. It just doesn't interest me, though I do like watching WWII movies and documentaries.

Over the last few days, I have been reading Ashes in the Snow by Ruta Sepetys, a WWII drama about the the genocide of Baltic people in 1941. The book was originally published as Between Shades of Grey, but was retitled to tie-in with the film adaptation that was just released to limited theatres and VOD on January 11th!

The novel centers around Lina Vilkas, a fifteen-year-old girl who, along with her mother, Elena, and her 10-year-old brother, Jonas, are removed from their home in Kaunas, Lithuania on June 14, 1941 by the NKVD (Soviet officers). Lina's family has been put on a list of citizens (teachers, scholars, lawyers, doctors, etc.) who are threat to Russia's leadership (a.k.a. - Joseph Stalin). Separated from her father (a professor), Lina, Jonas, and their mother are forced into a train car with many other innocent people who are deemed as criminals.

Given barely little food, Lina and her family survive the extremely long train ride, though many of the other people didn't survive the journey. They are taken to a work camp in Siberia, where they are all treated cruelly by the NKVD. Lina befriends Andrius Arvydas, a teenager boy who she met on the train. Their relationship grows throughout the years. And, yes, I mean years, as Lina and many others were imprisoned for twelve years.

Final Thoughts

Winter Reads: Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

AMAZON; Barnes & Noble
I spent yesterday morning sipping on a cup of coffee while reading the newest romance from bestselling author Robin Lee Hatcher, titled Who I Am With You, which is book one in "A Legacy of Faith" series.

Set in Hope Springs, Idaho, the novel centers around pregnant Jessica Mason, who had lost her husband and daughter in a car accident five months ago. Now her Grandma Frani has passed away. To deal with all this grief, as well as learning about her husband's betrayal, she turns to great-grandfather's Bible for guidance through this troubling time.

Since this is a romance, there has to be a leading male character, which happens to be Ridley Chesterfield, who finds himself hiding from the media in Hope Springs after a political scandal. The last thing on his mind is romance, but that's exactly what he is thinking about after he befriends his neighbor, Jessica.

The book is split up into two different timelines - one set in the present day with Jessica and Ridley and the other set in the 1930s centering around Jessica's great-grandfather, Andrew Henning. Inside the Bible, Andrew had marked specific verses and scribbled words in the margins, which mysteriously connects to what Jessica is currently going through emotionally.

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Final Thoughts

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Winter Reads: The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

I very seldom seek out a novel unless I'm extremely interested in reading it, which happened to be the exact case with The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr. It was first published in German as Die Sunderin in 1999 and was adapted into a limited series on USA that aired in 2017 starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman. I attempted to watch the series on Mediacom On Demand, but for some reason the cable company decided not to put up the final four episodes. I ended up buying the series on DVD around the same time I got the novel. Despite my eagerness to finish watching the series and then read the book, I never got around to doing either. I had forgotten about both until I stumbled upon season two's DVD last month, which I ended up buying. It seems the second season is an original story with Bill Pullman's detective character investigating another crime.

Anyways, I'd picked up the book, which was collecting dust on the coffee table, on Dec. 23rd. I had a few minutes to kill until Outlander started on STARZ, and I read a few pages with no real intent to actually reading it. I didn't open the book again until the end of last week and I finished reading it last night.

While I had only seen 4 episodes of the USA series, I could clearly tell many differences between the series and the book. For starters, the book is set in Germany and many of the character's names have been changed. In the book the main character is named Cora Bender, but in the television series her name is Cora Tannetti. Her husband Gereon was changed to Mason and police commissioner Rudolf Grovian was changed to Detective Harry Ambrose.

The novel centers around a very troubled twenty-four-year-old Cora Bender. Sure, on the outside she looks like a loving wife and mother to a little boy, but she actually has a deranged past that she can no longer run from anymore. On a nice day at the lake, Cora jumps in the water for a quick swim, well at least that's what she told her husband. However, she had all intentions of drowning herself, but she doesn't go through with it. She returns to her husband and son at their picnic spot. Nearby, two couples are having a bit of fun listening to a radio cassette player. After one of the couples begins making out, Cora snaps, picks up the knife that she had just used to cut her son a piece of apple, and charges at the couple. She attacks the man, Georg Frankenberg, and stabs him to death!

To everyone else, Cora is a cold-blooded killer, but Rudolf Grovian, the police commissioner, suspects Cora somehow knew the victim. He takes it upon himself to investigate a connection between the two, but in order to find out the truth, Cora must unravel her own dark, twisted past!

Final Thoughts

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Winter Reads: His Promise by Shelley Shepard Gray


Yes, I'm well aware that is Christmas is officially over. So why I am reviewing a Christmas themed romance novel?

Well, I actually read this book a few weeks ago and my originally attention was to have my review posted on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Things didn't go as planned, but nevertheless, here I am writing my review for it.

His Promise (Avon Inspire; 352 pages; $7.99) is the sixth installment in the In Hart County series by Shelley Shepard Gray, who has written many novels set in the Amish world, which is one of my favorite genres to read.

The novel is centered around Grace King, a young woman who finds herself pet-sitting a dachshund named Snooze for two weeks near Christmastime. Coincidentally, John Michael Miller happens to live next door, a fireman who had courted and broke her older sister's heart five years ago. As guess you can say Grace is pretty upset with John for what he did to her sister. However, Grace doesn't know that John broke up with her sister because he had realized he was actually in love with her.

Several suspicious fires occur across the county and John is determined to keep Grace safe, even if she doesn't want his protection.

Final Thoughts

Friday, December 21, 2018

Winter Reads: Girls of Paper and Fire

I no longer even attempt to keep up with all the new YA books that are being published, as there are just way too many new titles out there. The only reason why I even knew Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan even existed is because I happened to see it listed on author James Patterson's website. And, no, he's not a co-author of this book, but the title is published under his Jimmy Patterson children's book company, which is a division of Little, Brown and Company.

Girls of Paper and Fire (336 pages; $18.99) is set in a fantasy world that's a mixture of Malaysian and Chinese culture. The main character is Lei, a Paper Caste (a human) from the oppressed class in Ikhara. She is kidnapped by a kingdom guard that presents her as a gift to the Bull King, a Moon Caste (a full demon), so she can become the King's mistress.

Despite the cruel world she has been placed in, Lei finds the courage to fight back against the kingdom.

Final Thoughts

Monday, February 19, 2018

Winter Reads: Last Stop In Brooklyn: A Mary Handley Mystery

Broadway Books; 313 pages; $15

I'm always a sucker for a good mystery, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to review the book Last Stop In Brooklyn: A Mary Handley Mystery by Lawrence H. Levy. It's a sequel to Second Street Station and Brooklyn On Fire.

Set in 1894, Last Stop In Brooklyn centers on Mary Handley, a private detective who finds herself traveling to Coney Island on an "adultery" case. Out of the blue, Mary is approached by a man requesting her to help her brother who was convicted of killing a prostitute in a New York hotel room.

Of course, Mary agrees to take on the case, which leads her to Thomas Byrnes, the New York City detective that swears he put the right killer behind bars. As she digs deeper in the case, the more she believes that Jack the Ripper could possible be the real killer.

Mary will have to team up with reporter Harper Lloyd and a few others, as she tries to unravel the murder mystery.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter Reads: Long Black Veil

 Broadway Books; 308 pages; Amazon
Typically, I don't read a book right away after receiving a review copy, but that wasn't the case with Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan. The book arrived in the mail on Tuesday afternoon and I ended up reading several chapters that night. I had the story on my mind throughout that night, so I finished reading it yesterday morning.

Long Black Veil is a murder mystery thriller that spans over thirty-five-years. It all began in 1980 when six college friends (Jon Casey, Rachel Steinberg, Masie Lenfest, Tripper Pennypacker, Wailer Curtin, and Quentin Pheaney), a boy (Lenny Lenfest), and a college professor (Nathan Krystal) went inside the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania in the middle of the night. They only wanted to take a look around the supposedly "haunted" prison, but they ended up staying the entire night, as someone traps them inside the place. Eight people went inside the prison, but only seven come out the next morning.

Thirty-five-years later, a body is found inside a prison cell's wall and the prime suspect is celebrity chef John Casey. As the media gets a hold of the story, the remaining survivors of the1980 incident come aware that one of their friends died that night. If Casey is innocent, then who is the murderer?

The answer to the truth might lie within Judith, a fifty-something journalist who knows a bit too much about what occurred that miserable summer night in 1980.

The paperback edition has a Reader's Guide and a few recipes in the back of the book.

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Winter Reads: A Place At Our Table

Zondervan; 333 pages; Amazon

I have a bad habit of signing up to review books just because it's set around the Amish. Yes, I do like reading Amish fiction, but there are good ones and then there are the ones that aren't so great. I keep telling myself to try a different genre, but here I am reviewing the book A Place At Our Table by Amy Clipston, and as you have probably have guessed, it's an Amish romance tale.

Set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the novel centers on two main characters - Kayla Dienner and Jamie Riehl. Kayla has had her handful trying to stop her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. Their older brother had died in a fire and she'll do anything to keep Nathan safe and sound. The last thing she has on her mind right now is love, but this is a romance story. Isn't it?

When Jamie Riehl isn't busy working on his family's farm, he's volunteering at the local fire department. Shortly after meeting Kayla, he starts to fall in love with her. However, her feelings aren't exactly the same, as she trying to protect herself from getting hurt.

Final Thoughts

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Winter Reads: The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

Thomas Nelson; 306 pages; Amazon
Why is it that Jane Austen's novels are supposed to be read by women? I'm a guy and I like reading her books. Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park are my favorites by the author. Anyway, there are many modern day versions of Austen's classic tales, and I've read a few of these over the years. Some are good and some are not that great. Nevertheless, I had signed up to review The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay a few months ago through the BookLook blogger program. 

The novel centers on Mary Davies, an engineer who is more or less bored with her day-to-day life. I guess you can say that she needs some excitement and adventure; you know like the ones found in books. Out of the blue, Mary's estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer, offers her to stay at an English manor for two-weeks, and of course Mary take her up on the offer. 

Mary had these wonderful ideas of what life is like at the manor, but sadly all these thoughts disappear as soon as she arrives. It seems her friend Isabel has lost her memory and for some reason she believes she lives in Jane Austen's Bath!

While Isabel takes a mental vacation into the world of Jane Austen, Mary has to role play in order to help her friend.

Final Thoughts

Monday, January 8, 2018

Winter Reads: The Great Library: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

New American Library; 374 pages; Amazon
Ink and Bone, book one in The Great Library series, has been sitting in my to-be-read pile for awhile now. I believe I had received the book through the Blogging for Books program. I knew nothing about the series prior to reading the book last Friday, well, except for the fact that's it's written by Rachel Caine, the author of the Morganville Vampires series.

The novel is set in a world where the Great Library is available in every city. While people can have access to the wide-range of books in the library, you cannot own any books. Alchemy (aka the government) wants to control what written knowledge is available to the people.

The main character is Jess Brightwell, who believes in the value that each book possesses in the library. However, most of his knowledge came from the illegal books owned by his family.  At the request of his father, Jess joins the Library training program, which is located in Alexandria. Of course his father has other reasons for why he wanted Jess to join, such as stealing books.

The training program is led by Scholar Christopher Wolfe, who doesn't want to teach a bunch of teenagers the way of the Great Library. One by one the students are kicked out the program, but Jess makes it to the final assignment, which involves searching for lost books in a war zone area.

Final Thoughts

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Winter Reads: Cars, Coffee, and a Badass Ninja Toilet by K.C. Hilton

Book Boss Publishing; 276 pages; $15.99; Amazon

I know I keep saying that I'll finally catch up on all my "needs-to-be-review pile, but I really mean it this time. Well, at least that was one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2018.

For my first review of the year, I'm reviewing the book Cars, Coffee, and a Badass Ninja Toilet by K.C. Hilton. I've had this book sitting around for awhile now. I've attempted to read it several times, but something always comes up and I have to set it aside.

Loosely inspired by the author's own life, the novel is more or less a series of short tales centering around Julia Karr, a used car lot owner. It's a hilarious look into the life of a business owner who must deal with rude, odd, and just downright weird customers. Then's there's Julia's quest to buy a toilet that can flush multiple golf balls.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Winter Reads: Seeds of Hope

Gilead Publishing; 270 pages; Buy Link; Blog Tour
Now available from Gilead Publishing is the Amish-romance Seeds of Hope, book one in the Harvest of Hope Series, by Barbara Cameron.

The novel centers on an Amish woman named Miriam Troyer, who receives a blast from the past when her childhood crush, Mark, returns to the Amish community.

Mark isn't Amish, but instead he was raised an Englischer, but spent his summers on his grandfather's farm in Paradise, Pennsylvania. After losing his job as lawyer, he finds himself traveling back to Paradise to help his family's farm with the harvest, which is more of a way for him to distract his mind of his recent failures. He keeps telling himself that's he's only just visiting and not planning on staying, well, that is until he meets and old friend - Miriam.

Cameron pin2

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Winter Reads: Christmas at Grey Sage

Gilead Publishing; 224 pages; Buy Link; Blog Tour
I'm not only read two books today, but both of the titles have are set around Christmas. I read the novella The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall early this morning (read my review here), and the this afternoon I read Christmas at Grey Sage by Phyllis Clark Nichols.

The novel centers on a retired doctor, Silas, and his wife, Maude, who run the Grey Stage Inn, which is nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe. Normally, they close down the inn for two weeks around Christmastime and take a trip, but this year they agree to host a few visitors who are visiting Santa Fe for Christmas.

Out of the blue, an unexpected snowstorm hits Santa Fe, causing Silas, Maude, and all their guests to be stuck inside the inn for Christmas. As the storm gets worse, tension and fear mounts all around them.

Nichols pin1

Final Thoughts