Sunday, March 19, 2023

Book Review - Minotaur Sampler Volume 8

The Minotaur Sampler, Volume 8: New Books to Make Your Heart Race

The Minotaur Sampler, Volume 8: New Books to Make Your Heart Race by Melissa Adelman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Looking for a new book that will make your heart race? The eighth edition of The Minotaur Sampler compiles the beginnings of six can't-miss novels--either standalone or first in series--publishing Spring/Summer 2023 for free for easy sampling.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this sampler from Minotaur and it did kick out a couple that I'd like to continue reading!

The New Mother - Nora Murphy
I was really beginning to get into this one about a woman being a first time mom and going thru all those anxieties add in being in a new house a new neighborhood and a creepy neighbor to boot! (Yes please! Got to continue with this one!)

What the Neighbors Saw - Melissa Adelman
(Yes! Another I am wanting to Continue!) A couple pregnant with their second child moves into a new neighborhood and it sounds like there may be some creepy neighbors here. Most all of them welcome the new couple to the neighborhood but treat the wife kind of strangely standoffish and then she goes snooping around the neighborhood after dark peeping in places she shouldn't have and it seems it's about to hit the fan!

Speak of the Devil - Rose Wilding
This opens with a head. Yes a severed head of what appears to have been a despicable man who most wanted dead. We have seven women who had reason for him to be dead but all of them say they didn't do it. (This one sounds like it should be good but for some reason the writing style just isn't sitting well with me. This is a "maybe" on my list)

The Bitter Past - Bruce Borgos
This is told in multiple timelines and opens with a guy who gets a job in security in the Nevada desert back in the nuclear time. We know something is about to happen because of all the secretive talk. I mean you can just tell. (I enjoyed the feel of the authors writing because usually I wouldn't have even picked up a book like this so this is another "maybe".)

The Trade Off - Sandie Jones
(Sorry but this didn't interest me in the least. I wont be carrying on with this one.) We open with a lady getting a job at a newspaper and trying to fit in. I just am not interested in all the newspaper world chatter and what goes on behind the scenes, how they develop their stories and so forth. Nothing really juicy was offered up in the small teaser here but I got enough to know I dont want to continue sadly.

North of Nowhere - Allison Brennan
Wow the action is there from the start for this story and I can't wait to grab it to find out what happens next. It opens with a man on the run with his two kids only they aren't really his but two that he has promised to protect and treated as his own for 5 or 6 years and now their crime family biological father has found them.

#TheMinotaurSamplerVolume8 #NetGalley

Thanks to Minotaur and Netgalley for these samplers in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Book Review - The Doppelganger by Cole Baxter

The Doppelganger

The Doppelganger by Cole Baxter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  He looks just like her husband. But who is he really? And what is he planning to do with her?

Emmeline Hopkins-Keller is in paradise, sharing a luxurious holiday on a tropical island with her husband Jeffrey and his family. But it’s hard to relax and enjoy it when she knows her marriage is in deep trouble.

One fateful night, a cataclysmic argument between Emmeline and Jeffrey sends him fleeing into the deep, dark forest. A day later he is still missing, leaving everyone shocked and bewildered.

Then, a miracle. Jeffrey turns up unharmed and wants to reconcile. But something is horribly wrong. He looks and sounds like Jeffrey, but Emmeline is 100% sure he's not the man she married. Even if everyone in his family is welcoming this stranger with open arms.

Which leaves her wondering, who exactly is this imposter? And how can he deceive everyone around him? And most of all – what are his plans for Emmeline?

Struggling to believe that everyone around her is lying, Emmeline begins to doubt herself, to lose her grip on reality. Only one thing is certain – when she finally uncovers the terrifying truth, her life will be changed forever.

My Thoughts: This wasn't a bad read although I came close to not finishing it several times. The actual story was great but it got so repetitious with Emmeline's whiny pathetic character I could hardly bear it sometimes. Hate is a strong word but I really despised her. I have no clue what Jeffery ever saw in her. If that's what she considers love I wouldn't want any part of it.

I loved what happened here even if it did have me wondering "what the heck" a few times!

#TheDoppelganger #NetGalley

Thank you NetGalley for this copy for an honest review.

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Monday, March 13, 2023

Book Review - Borrow My Heart by Kasie West

Borrow My Heart (Borrow My Heart #1)

Borrow My Heart by Kasie West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  When a girl overhears a guy getting verbally destroyed by his friends for being catfished, she jumps in to save the day—and pretends to be his online crush. A young adult romance from the critically acclaimed author of Places We've Never Been.

Wren is used to being called a control freak. She doesn’t care; sticking to the list of rules she created for herself helps her navigate life. But when a cute guy named Asher walks through the door of her neighborhood coffee shop, the rulebook goes out the window.

Asher is cute, charming . . . and being catfished by his online crush. So Wren makes an uncharacteristically impulsive decision—she pretends to be the girl he's waiting for to save him from embarrassment. Suddenly she’s fake-dating a boy she knows nothing about. And it’s . . . amazing.

It's not long before Asher has her breaking even more of her own rules. But will he forgive her when he finds out she's not who she says she is? Wren's not so sure. . . . After all, rules exist for a reason.

My Thoughts: I am totally in awe with the cute cover with the dogs! I usually have been shying away from young adult books lately but when I read the description for this one I had to check it out and am so glad I did because I fell in love with Wren's big heart not only for trying to help out a total stranger but for the love, heart, and soul she put into her work at the local animal shelter. The dogs was just icing on the cake for this incredible read.

This was a fun short read about social media, young love, and the angst of just being a teen tossed with a bit of family drama.

#BorrowMyHeart #NetGalley

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for providing a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are all my own.

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

Book Review - Not Your Valentine by Jackie Lau

Not Your Valentine

Not Your Valentine by Jackie Lau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Helen Tsang is tired of the pitying looks. From her parents, her friends, and even the bubble tea shop guy, who recognized her from the video. Almost one year ago, some loser couldn’t mind their own damn business and filmed an unsuspecting Helen's very public break-up during what was supposed to be a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. A video of her ex-boyfriend saying, "It's not me, it's you. You're holding me back" went viral.

Desperate to give everyone something else to talk about and with Valentine’s Day approaching once again, she asks her long-time friend Taylor Li to be her fake boyfriend, just to prove that she's moved on and hasn’t sworn off love. (Spoiler alert: She's totally sworn off love.) Taylor is the perfect option—single for once, and for some godforsaken reason, he loves Valentine’s Day.

But Helen didn't expect was how easy it would be to get Taylor on board, fitting right into the boyfriend-shaped hole in her life. All she wanted was a couple sickeningly sweet dates to fill her social feeds, not corny text messages of silly heart-shaped cakes, and bouquets of flowers that harbor hidden meanings. Wanting to be around his sunshine attitude and delicious forearms all the time? That definitely wasn't expected.

With February 14 quickly approaching, it's getting increasingly difficult to ignore her feelings, especially when she starts wishing it wasn’t all an act.

Oh God. What has she done?

My Thoughts: 3.5 - So short and sweet! But not heart shaped cake sweet because Helen our main character doesn't like those heart shaped!

Sometimes you just need something a little light and fluffy and this fit the bill for that. I adored the relationship between Helen and Taylor. There was never much of a surprise as to what was going to happen but this is one of those stories that you just go on for the sake of going..... a soft cushy ride and a nice breather between heavier reads like thrillers and such.

Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for this copy for my honest opinion.

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Saturday, March 11, 2023

Book Review - Barkcuterie by Hammy

Barkcuterie: 25 Pawsome Snack Boards Your  Dog Will Love

Barkcuterie: 25 Pawsome Snack Boards Your Dog Will Love by Hammy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Now you don’t have to exclude your fur babies from the festive food with over 25 themed snack boards for holidays, special occasions, milestones, and just because. This special take on the classic charcuterie board is for every human’s best friend. Curated by social media’s favorite corgis, Hammy and Olivia (@hammyandolivia), each artfully designed barkcuterie board is chock-full of delicious homemade and store-bought dog treats. You’ll have fun making the quick and easy boards and even more fun sharing all the goodies with your dog. For cat owners, don’t worry! Hammy and Olivia have included a cat board for their feline friends. So, dress up your pup, get the camera ready, and celebrate:

National Dog Day
Valentine’s Day
Gotcha Day
Cinco de Mayo
and more

Including over 35 easy-to-make recipes for pupcakes, biscuits, donuts, and pupsicles and adorable photos of Hammy and Olivia, Barkcuterie is the ultimate way to let your dog know how much you love them.

My Thoughts: Oh good grief this is super super cute as well as giving knowledge on some wonderful treats for your fur babies! This book combines three of my favorite things (dogs, food, and charcuterie boards) so it's hardly a no brainer that I had to have it!

I must try the banana balls and chicken jerky treats soon. It has fabulous colorful photo's and easy directions to create each board/recipe! A total must have!

#Barkcuterie #NetGalley

Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group for providing this complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

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Friday, March 10, 2023

Book Review - The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

The Hacienda

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis: In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

My Thoughts: While I'm not a big historical reader this was written in such a way that I was interested in it especially when being mingled with the horror/gothic genre. It was creepy, gory at times and danced around the notion of a forbidden romance and add to that a priest/witch and I was all in!

I feel like I missed out by not having access to the audio book to read along with so I can almost guarantee this will be a re-read as soon as the audio comes in at my library. It was creepy enough just reading it but I just feel the audio would make it more so!

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Friday, March 3, 2023

Book Review - The Watchers by AM Shine

The Watchers

The Watchers by A.M. Shine
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis: This forest isn't charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its treeline. Mina's is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams.

Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans—and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn't reach the bunker in time.

Afraid and trapped among strangers, Mina is desperate for answers. Who are the Watchers? Why are these creatures keeping them imprisoned? And, most importantly, how can she escape?

My Thoughts: I tried and really wanted to like this. The first couple of chapters were good and promising but it just drags out to long. Could have been shaved by about 150 pages. I had to quit with it several times because I was starting to get into a reading slump. It had creepiness to it and would have been enjoyable had it not been so long.

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Thursday, March 2, 2023

Book Review - The Suffering by MJ Mars

The Suffering

The Suffering by M.J. Mars
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis: “It was a suffering like no other. And, oh, how they suffered.”

Recreating the séance that led to the infamous Victorian Suffering massacre seems like a good idea at the time. But Kyle Birbeck soon discovers that the ghosts his distant ancestor banished into the walls of Brackenby House in 1876 have been lurking, waiting for a chance to come out.

One by one the 5 terrifying ghosts latch onto each of the students who reside at Brackenby, preying on their deepest fears: A 3-eyed Incan giant. A member of the Hellfire Club who struck a deal with the devil to keep his fortune in the afterlife. A thieving factory hand who fell to his death, torturing them with endless footsteps. An oracle with a horde of dead sailors to do her bidding, and a 17th century axe-wielding executioner with a murderous hobby.

It’s up to Kyle and his friends to uncover the real secrets of the séance and banish the ghosts for good. But they soon come to realise it isn’t Brackenby House that’s haunted. They are. And the ghosts will stop at nothing to continue The Suffering…

My Thoughts: 4.5 so so close to being a 5 star for me. What a way to start a story... at Halloween with a seance! Creepy! I would have loved to have listened to this on audio! I bet it was twice as creepy. Loved the ghost and their background stories. I had no problem flying thru as the ghosts became more apparent and forced themselves into the daily lives of the houses occupants. I can't say I really had a favorite character as all of them were unique and fun to follow in their turmoil but Cassie... I really felt badly for what all was happening to her especially. The last few pages.... I literally stood from a seated position and exclaimed oh hell naw!

If you like creepy and things that go farther than a bump in the dark don't miss The Suffering. Don't recommend reading it in the dark alone either.

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