A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

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A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

Sunshine Vicram #2

Expected Publication Date: July 27, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

416 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff–and even fuller-time coffee guzzler–Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

Review: Please note that if you haven’t read the first book there may be spoilers in this review. After reading and loving A Bad Day for Sunshine last year, I was SO excited to get an advance copy for the sequel. I couldn’t wait to find out what was in store for Sunshine, Auri, Levi, and the rest of Del Sol. First things first…. I absolutely LOVED this book! I think I liked it even more than the first book. While I was reading I never wanted to put it down. When I finished the book I could not stop thinking about it. I had such a book hangover! Everyday for a few weeks, all I could think about was this book and everything that happened. I couldn’t read anything else because I just wanted to read this one all over again. It had everything I have come to love and expect from a Darynda Jones novel. I laughed, a lot, I was angry, I even cried a couple of times. The growing tension between Sun and Levi… whoa… You could cut it with a knife. And my heart was completely crushed for Cruz. I couldn’t believe it *insert crying emoji here*. I loved seeing Sun and Auri’s unique mother-daughter relationship continue. If you’re a fan of the relationship between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, then you will love them as much as I do. Clay, one of Levi’s uncles, made his appearance in this book as a convict in neighboring state Arizona. He summoned Sun to see him and oh man… the things he had to say were shocking.

As the story went on I was hoping like hell that we would get some answers about Sun’s abduction and Auri’s father. I had my own suspicions that I was hoping to confirm. Once the reveals started happening, damn! Without saying too much about it…. it was everything I wanted. I am very much hoping that there will be a 3rd book in the series because I have SO many things I still want to read about these characters and this town.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker

A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker

Fate & Flame #1

Published May 25th 2021 by K.A. Tucker

533 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Gifted thief Romeria has flourished from her days as a street kid pilfering wallets to survive. Now she thrives, stealing jewels from the rich under the involuntary employ of New York City’s most notorious crime boss. But when an enigmatic woman secures her services at swordpoint, Romeria is plunged into a startling realm of opposing thrones, warring elven, and elemental magic she cannot begin to fathom.

Her quest is straightforward: Steal a stone from Islor’s sacred garden without anyone discovering her true identity, which would earn her certain death. But the identity she has inexplicably assumed is that of the captured Ybarisan princess—an enemy to Islor after she poisoned their beloved king and queen on the day she was to marry the prince.

Her betrothed, the newly crowned King Zander, detests her with every grain of his handsome being. Fortunately for Romeria, she is more valuable to him alive than dead. Zander gives her a choice: life in a cell, or an acquittal of all charges in exchange for her help in exposing the growing plot against him.

Romeria sees no other option and embraces the tricky role of smitten queen-to-be until she can escape, a ruse that brings her far closer to the king than she anticipated and threatens more than her safety. As she digs deeper into this sacred garden and the ancient feud between Ybaris and Islor, she discovers monstrous truths that could spell ruin for all.

She would know the world of vengeful gods and monsters, and the lengths one would go for love. And nothing would ever be the same for her again.

Review: In the past year and a half, I started reading and loving K.A. Tucker’s novels. I really enjoy romance however, add in the fantasy genre and I am sold. When I first found out about this book, I was so excited! I mean, first of all look at that gorgeous cover! Second of all, did you read the summary?! And I was even more excited when I got to receive an advance copy to review!

First off… the characters… Romeria is a total badass in NYC earning her way by stealing goods for a notorious crime boss when she meets the mysterious Sofie. Romeria is definitely the kind of heroine I love reading about… strong, independent and can defintely take care of herself in tricky situations but has some emotional baggage that you know will come out to play at some point in the story… and boy, just wait until the twist about her dad! Zander is the new king of Islor and most definitely has baggage of his own, some of which involves Romeria, or should I say the original Romeria… *you’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean there, wink*. There are so many other colorful characters that I came to love while reading this book… Corrin, Elisaf, Wendeline, etc.

I don’t even know where to begin with the storyline, and in a good way! Everytime I picked up my Kindle to read, I did not want to have to put it down. I was completely enthralled by this world and the magic system, the different types of creatures, etc. I could not get enough. I think having Romeria end up there was a great help to the reader being new to the world because it didn’t feel like a total info dump on learning about the world as the book went on, it felt very natural. I loved seeing Romeria grow as she learned the new world around her and how she reacted towards the negative as well as the positive.

The closer I got to the end of the book, the more my heart raced as I was reading. The events at the end had me completely shocked and dying to get my hands on the next book! I loved this book so much and hope we won’t have to wait too long for the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy novels and especially for those fans of From Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout… this book will be right up your alley!

5 Stars

I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Meet Kathleen

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the internationally bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, Be the Girl, and Say You Still Love Me. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, Oprah Mag, and First for Women.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto.

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April 2021 TBR

Happy spring! It is hard to believe that it is already April 2021 but I’m definitely not complaining. I don’t know about you guys but I am so ready for spring. This has been one of the easiest winters for me in quite awhile but it’s still my least favorite season. Since I am still working from home, I didn’t have to drive to or from work in any snowstorms and am so grateful to have had at least one winter off from that. But enough about that… Today I am presenting to you my April 2021 TBR in all its singular glory. That’s right, folks, there is indeed only ONE book on my TBR this month. And no, this is not an April Fool’s joke! 🙂

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace is a mighty tome that I have been wanting to read for many years now and I decided that this would finally be the year that I would make it happen. I spent the past few months consuming books in the attempt to get a good start on my Goodreads reading challenge before I would have to devote a lot of time to reading this Russian classic. Clocking in at 1,440 pages, I knew that I would need to block off at least a few weeks, if not more. A couple of weeks ago I sat down with my copy and in addition to relaxing the spine a bit to prevent the dreaded broken spine, I also leafed through and tabbed off the volumes and parts of the novel in an effort to come up with a loose schedule for reading it. There are 4 volumes plus an epilogue and within those are 17 parts total. I figure that if I can read one part every couple of days, I will need just a little over a month to complete the entire book. Once I start reading it I will be able to better gauge how quickly I can read it or how slowly I want to take it. From what I’ve gathered doing research on this book, this is not one to rush through.

When I first decided to read War and Peace this year, I wanted to do a little research on the different translations to find the right one for me. This article from Tolstoy Therapy really helped me start to narrow down the translation I wanted to read. I already owned a used copy of the Aylmer and Louise Maude translation but after finding a blog post by The Ardent Biblio where the author included a single line from three of the more popular translations, I decided that it was not the translation for me. I ended up choosing the Anthony Briggs translation which just seems to flow a little better for me. If you are wanting to read this book, I highly recommend doing some research to decide which translation will fit better for you. What works for me may not work for you or the next person.

I am really excited to get started on this book and I am hoping to do a few updates here on the blog and Instagram as I read.

Are you a fan of reading the classics? What’s the biggest book you have ever read?

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

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Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Published November 14, 2017 by St Martin’s Press

346 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.

Review: I am so behind the times on this review but I just have to say that I unexpectedly enjoyed this one so much. I wasn’t really expecting to care for it too much, especially with having gone this long without reading it. But the more I read, the deeper I was drawn into Weylyn’s story and unusual life. There was so much heart in this story and I found myself in one of those moments where I was fully visualizing the story and setting in my mind so easily. Many of the characters were so memorable but Weylyn and Mary were my absolute favorites. Their shared affinity with the wolves and how that brought them together… so beautiful. My heart broke for Weylyn when he started to believe that he was a danger to those he loved because of his magical ability to affect the weather. As Weylyn traveled around the country, I was so fascinated to see what he would be up to next. I don’t want to give too much away about the ending but I felt very happy for the way Weylyn’s story ended. Also, side note… I would very much like to have a one-horned pig named Merlin… thank you. Overall, I loved the themes of friendship and being true to who you are. The author did such a wonderful job writing this book and creating this unique story. I will definitely be looking forward to more books by Ruth Emmie Lang.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Namesake by Adrienne Young

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Namesake by Adrienne Young

Fable #2

Published March 16th 2021 by Wednesday Books

368 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology.

Review: Friendly reminder that Namesake is the sequel to Fable so beware of any spoilers head if you haven’t read Fable.

I absolutely fell in love with Fable last year so I had been eagerly awaiting the sequel which luckily enough we didn’t have to wait too long for. Namesake picked up right where we left off with Fable having been kidnapped by Zola and taken on board his flagship where she found Clove, former right hand man to her father, Saint. When she had last spoken to Saint about Clove, he made it seem as though Clove was dead. So when Fable encountered him acting as navigator to her father’s arch nemesis, she was consumed with hatred for him. But of course, looks can be deceiving! I was really surprised with the turns that this book was taking. Most of it I didn’t see coming. Just like in Fable, there is never a dull moment in Namesake. The action and drama keep churning throughout the entire book. I was rather shocked when it came to certain revelations that will remain nameless in this review because major spoilers, so you’ll just have to read the book to find out what I’m referring to. One thing I didn’t really care for though was West’s attitude and his actions. Yes, Fable was kidnapped, but that didn’t give him the right to go around in a path of destruction at every port trying to find her. His character seemed a lot darker than how he was portrayed in the first book. On the other end of the spectrum, I really loved how Saint softened up in this book. I’m a total sucker for father-daughter redemption type stories so there were some scenes in Namesake that really choked me up.

Overall I really enjoyed this final foray into Fable’s world and I very much wish that it wasn’t the end of her story. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did the first book, but that’s kind of to be expected with sequels.

4 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Also… one last thought before I sign off… When I’m reading I often visualize place settings and characters and sometimes if it’s vivid enough I make a connection to an actor/actress and while for this duology, I don’t quite have anyone picked out for the younger crowd, I can’t shake this gent for Saint… Sebastian Roché, aka Mikael from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

Sebastian Roché on Twitter: "Congratulations #Supernatural on ending your  run of 15 seasons, it was such a pleasure to play a small part in this  great adventure and the friendships that ensued,