WWW 9.22.21

This fun weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

This week both the PopCulture Readathon and the Fall into Readathon started and I am currently reading Perfect on Paper for one of them. I’m about a hundred pages in and this is a fun and heartwarming YA contemporary. It also has great representation and I love that books like this exist so readily nowadays.

What have you recently finished?

It’s been three weeks since I last had a chance to do one of these posts but I did manage to read quite a few books in between. Most of these are review copies so I need to get a move on reviewing them. We have one more trip out of town and then next week I’m hoping to buckle down and catch up on a lot of these. I will link any reviews that I have done.

This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

What do you think you will read next?

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. 

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications. 

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will. 

Most of them.

~Cassie

September weekly kindle haul #3

I am so excited that we are so close to the end of September because this has been one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time and I just want to catch my breath. I am behind on so many things but I am crossing my fingers that October will be a more peaceful month. I also bought the last two Kindle books I am “allowed” to buy a few days ago but I still feel confident that I can stick with it. Let’s get into the books that I bought last week.

An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don’t often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she’ll come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her.

A vicious small-town murder, two unusual suspects, one big lie…

Tina is terrified when mysterious hand-written notes appear in odd places around her home. She strives to uncover who is behind the notes, and why, but finds no answers. Until, one gloomy night, she catches a familiar face watching her through her bedroom window.

Maddison remains in her loveless marriage for the sake of her two young children. Still wearing the mental scars her husband inflicted after his years of betrayal, she uses alcohol and prescription drugs as a crutch. This starts her on a rapid ride to rock bottom.

Approaching forty, Isabelle marries for the first time. Life couldn’t be better, except her husband is still on good terms with his ex-wife. Isabelle doesn’t like his ex, especially when she starts making trouble for the newlyweds.

When a vicious murder is committed on a quiet street in this small, blue-collar town, the three women are caught in the riptide of an investigation. Two are suspects. One will lose everything. And someone is lying.

A tangled lattice of manipulation and deceit must be unravelled to discover who the true culprit is.

New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby explores the lives of Caroline, Augusta, and Savannah Aldridge, three sisters who share a dark past and an uncertain future…

After the death of their mother, a newspaper heiress, Caroline Aldridge steps up to head the paper. But a killer is making headlines, and Caroline may have unwittingly stepped into the crosshairs. Even as she mends the tattered bonds of sisterhood, a sinister force beyond their control may tear them apart forever…

FREE

He’s gonna make sure he’s her first.

Ryan Scott is big, bad, and he has a body made for sin. When he leaves the SEALs and heads home to D.C., the first person he wants to see is his best friend, Poppy Baker. Just to be around her, of course… nothing funny. Their friendship isn’t like that.

Except… one look at the beautiful blonde and he starts to question how he never thought of her as more than just a friend before. Ryan likes to imagine how it could be more. It doesn’t hurt anyone if it’s just in his head.

When Poppy starts to give him that look — the seductive eyes, the pouty lips, the head cocked just so — he can’t help but imagine bending her over and taking her right there. How her eyes would close, her breasts would bounce, and the noises she would make… 

Ryan has to get his act together, because that’s his best friend he’s thinking about. They have a long history together and he can’t lose her friendship. He won’t risk it. 

But once Ryan has a taste of Poppy, she’s all he can think about. She’s a walking, talking fantasy… and she’s only a hair breadth away… One wrong move could take what he values most.

One winter night, 28-year-old Detective Inspector Embla Nyström receives a phone call that sends her reeling. It’s been fifteen years since Embla’s best friend disappeared from a nightclub in Gothenburg, but Embla recognizes her voice immediately, though the call quickly disconnects. Lollo is still alive. But before Embla can dive into the case, she gets another phone call, this time from her cousin. A man has been found shot to death in one of the guest houses he and his wife manage in rural Sweden.

When Embla arrives on the scene, she receives another shock. The dead man is Milo Stavic, a well-known gang member and one of the men she saw with Lollo the night she disappeared. And, as Embla soon learns, the same night that Milo was shot in bed, his brother Luca was also killed. Why, after all these years, is someone targeting the Stavic brothers, and where is the third brother? With help from a handsome local detective and his poorly trained Belgian shepherd, Embla launches an investigation into the three Stavic brothers, hoping it will bring her closer to finally finding Lollo and putting an end to her terrible nightmares.

“People like you don’t fall in love with people like me.” 

Meet Holly Hughes, a moderately successful teen advice columnist living in a studio apartment on the Upper East Side with her boyfriend Stephen. She has it all, but at the ripe age of thirty-one, she wants more. She wants to be married, she wants a family, and she’s going to have it all with Stephen. 

At least, that’s what she thought, until Stephen announces he’s gay, and the domino effect of unfortunate events begins. She soon finds herself unemployed, single, and living in her sister’s house on Long Island, working as her niece’s babysitter for less than minimum wage. She’s pretty certain she’s destined to live in the Land of Mediocrity forever.

And then, her niece runs face-first into a tall, handsome man at the bookstore.

* * *

Holly Freakin’ Hughes is an HFN title about acceptance, feeling good enough, and the reality that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. 

NOTE: This book contains some strong language and sexual situations. Age discretion is advised. 

This book will also be a part of a series of at least three books. They just haven’t been born yet. Patience is appreciated.

From USA Bestseller Natasha Madison comes a brand new Hockey series The Only One.

Ralph 
Being traded to Dallas was a dream come true. I had everything I wanted, my game had never been better, and my wife was due to have our baby any day now.

What could go wrong?
Everything.

I was now raising our baby on my own. After hockey practice and games, I didn’t have time to sleep, let alone make sure my social media was up to par.

I never thought I’d get a second chance at love.

Candace 

When my hotshot brother was drafted in the NHL, he didn’t have time to do his social media, so I took over for him. Little did I know it would become my career.

My plate was full with over fifty NHL players, and I wasn’t taking on any new clients.

Yet when he showed up on my doorstep with the cutest little girl in the whole world, I couldn’t say no.

I was just helping, but it turned into more than that. He’s the man I’ve been waiting for.

All it takes is one touch, one night, one chance, and only one kiss.

I’ve lost it. 😦 The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive 🙂 !!
 
Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!
 
Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.
 
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.

Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

A sweeping, multi-layered romance with a divine twist, by the Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa, set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also provided all info and graphics.

This Is Why We Lie  

Gabriella Lepore

On Sale Date: September 21, 2021

9781335418609

Hardcover

$18.99 USD

Ages 13 And Up

320 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Riverdale meets One of Us Is Lying in This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, a standalone thriller following two teens who discover a body off the coast of their seaside town. As they search for the killer, they will learn the students of both the local prep school and the nearby reform school will do anything to protect their secrets.

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

Review

This is an extremely fast paced thriller that I flew through in less than a day without even meaning to. I would pick it up and the next thing I knew I had sped through 30% of the book in a short amount of time. The short chapters helped as well as Lepore’s captivating writing style. The story itself was intriguing enough to keep me guessing on who killed Colleen although I didn’t necessarily care why. The synopsis makes it seem like the schools the characters go to are important but they really aren’t which was a little disappointing. I also found it odd that our two main characters, Jenna and Adam, act like they don’t really know each other but we quickly find out that they run in the same circle of people. The story is told through Adam and Jenna’s perspectives which I enjoyed. It helped give the story a well rounded feel since we see both the boys’ and girls’ sides. However, they both use a lot of flashbacks to tell their side of the story and some of the time it just felt very repetitive to what we just found out. On the other hand, I did enjoy the way Lepore interspersed the story with police interviews, news articles and texts. It helped keep the fast pace of the story and also added a bit of fun.  While the ending was action packed and somewhat surprising I do think the fast pace makes it a little difficult to connect to the characters. I do think that you will get the most enjoyment out of this book if you are already a fan of YA thrillers like I am.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.


SOCIAL LINKS:
 

Twitter: @GabriellaBooks 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gabriella-Lepore-Books-240139339377522/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gabriellalepore_books/?hl=en 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4814169.Gabriella_Lepore 

Excerpt

JENNA

Gardiners Bay at dawn is my secret. There’s a moment, right before the day starts, when the ocean is bathed in amber light. That first golden breath of morning. Everything is still, apart from the pelicans gathering near the water, their plump bodies shuffling along the shoreline. Sometimes I sit on the promenade for hours with my legs suspended over the pebble beach below, just watching the night turn to day. Watching the darkness turn to light.

It’s often like this, just me and the birds. The only other people I tend to cross paths with at this hour are fishermen wearing heavy-duty gear and hugging their thermoses. They sit on the benches and swig their hot drinks while skimming the daily newspaper. Then they leave. A little while later, their boats drift out onto the water.

Today, though, I’m the only one here.

I raise my camera and adjust the focus, capturing the new light as it spills over the ocean. In the muted daylight, the silver tide is a murky, dull gray and frothing as it slaps against the shore.

“Help! I need help!”

My eyes dart across the shoreline. There’s a boy on the stretch of beach at the foot of Rookwood Cliff. He’s kneedeep in the water, fully dressed.

He shouts again.

I spring to my feet and run along the promenade. Ducking beneath the boardwalk railings, I jump down to the pebbled cove.

The soles of my feet sting at the impact of the stones beneath my Converse. I scramble toward him, my footing slipping on the damp pebbles.

It’s then that I recognize him.

Adam.

His jeans are soaked to the thigh. He’s wading through the shallows, his legs tangled in fishing net and seaweed. And a body lies limp in his arms. A girl. She’s swollen, her skin has turned purple, and one arm is swinging downward with the momentum of Adam’s labored movements.

I press my hand to my mouth.

“Call an ambulance,” he shouts.

But all I can do is stand there, paralyzed by the sight. He lowers the girl onto the sand and begins CPR, breathing into her mouth.

It’s too late, I want to tell him.

She’s already dead.

Excerpted from This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, Copyright © 2021 by Gabriella Lepore. Published by Inkyard Press. 

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/this-is-why-we-lie/9781335418609 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-is-why-we-lie-gabriella-lepore/1138317761 

Powells: https://www.powells.com/book/this-is-why-we-lie-9781335418609 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/This-Why-Lie-Gabriella-Lepore/dp/1335418601

Target: https://www.target.com/p/this-is-why-we-lie-by-gabriella-lepore-hardcover/-/A-82007842 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gabriella_Lepore_This_Is_Why_We_Lie?id=eqsJEAAAQBAJ

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/author/gabriella-lepore/id1153311848

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/this-is-why-we-lie 

~Cassie

September Weekly Kindle Haul #2

It’s Sunday which means it’s time to wrap up all the Kindle books that I acquired the past 6 days. My goal is to only purchase 13 kindle books a month and right now I’m at 9 which doesn’t leave me much for the rest of the month but I still think I can stick with it. Last week ended up being unexpectedly crazy and didn’t leave me a lot of time to do much but I’m hoping this week I can get back on track with my blog posts and reading. But for now let’s get into the haul.

Tara Heinz began her modeling career at the tender age of twelve. After spending fifteen years drooling over forbidden foods, she does the unthinkable. She enrolls in culinary school and becomes a pastry chef.

After a nasty breakup with her rock star boyfriend that leads to tabloid war, Tara takes a job at a rural lodge in Oregon to escape the spotlight she no longer desires.

James Cavanaugh is a farmer in Oregon. His days are spent building his business and his nights are spent sleeping, so he can get up at four in the morning.

Ruby Cavanaugh has plans for her son that involve her new pastry chef. Of course, neither James nor Tara know what’s going on until it’s too late.

Jamie Layton has a secret.

Running from her past, Jamie Layton takes a new job as a nanny to two volatile, rebellious children at a stately mansion in a reclusive area of town. Rumors fly about the mysterious death of the children’s father, and when strange things happen at night, Jamie and the children must confront the horrors that haunt the house.

FREE

To win her submission, he’ll have to lay to rest the dangerous ghosts of their past. 

Isabella lost her husband years ago to his addictions. Abandoned in their silent home, rudderless, she lost herself, diminished to nothing. Now widowed, she’s returned a year after the funeral to finally dispose of that house. Alone. An epic mistake, with memories still echoing from the walls.

When his brother Marcos appears, holding out his hand to help, calling her Ella in that commanding voice, her insides go warm, pliable, willing. Soaking up the strength and calm she’s been sorely lacking.

An ex black-ops operative, Marcos Santos did the right thing. He let Ella go to the arms of his brother, thinking she’d be safer. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Now he’s determined to make the most of his second chance with the woman who’s never left his heart. The woman who trusted the wrong man to be her Master.

But before he can win the gift of her submission, he’ll have to lay the ghosts of their past to rest. Ghosts that are dangerous…and armed to the teeth. 

Perfect, a stand-alone book in the interconnected Elite Doms of Washington series, is a smoking-hot romance to leave you breathless.

Whiskey River businessman Zack Banister has had his eye on Laurel Lewis for years, even though she’s always been off-limits. The timing has never been right between them, but now that they’re both free, Zack is determined to convince Laurel that he’s the perfect man for her. 

The last thing Laurel needs is a white knight. She’s a single mom and knows she can only rely on herself. But the thought of a fling with Zack is a different matter—and far too tempting to resist. 

Then reality crashes in and Laurel faces hard decisions. And Zack will do anything to convince her to take a risk on him for their happy ever after.

FREE

What do you do when you’ve agreed to a pact with your friends to get married, but neither you nor the guy in your sights is quite ready to fall in love?

Bailey De Luca is the last of her friends to complete the Last First Date pact–to marry the next guy she dates. But lady luck must be in a bad mood because so far, it’s all come to nothing.

Everywhere she looks people are in love. Everyone except her. Is she fundamentally unlovable? Or is it that she’s already found–and lost–The One? Whatever the reason, one thing’s for sure: Bailey never expected to be alone at thirty.

When one of her friends announces her engagement with a rock that could eclipse the sun, Bailey throws herself into a new business. Starting up Cozy Cottage Catering seems like the perfect way to bury her head in the sand. But fate has other ideas, and soon Bailey is swept off her feet by the oh-so cute Ryan Jones.

Ryan may seem like the perfect combination of Prince Charming meets Thor (without the hammer), but is Bailey ready to be with him?

Or will the ghost of her past love prevent her from finding happiness again?

Four Last First Dates is a full length novel and can be read as a stand-alone title.

She’s the woman he doesn’t remember. He’s the man she can’t forget.

Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus used to have everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. With his family pressuring him to try a groundbreaking treatment, Hank self-medicates with too much tequila instead.

Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to her newest patient they they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit that she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department.

With another Vermont winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.

This book is a standalone novel, no cliffhangers, no prior experience necessary.

FREE

Josie 
I’m an actress between gigs crashing on the couch at my cousin’s old place. I won’t be here forever. I just filmed a pilot and, if the show gets picked up, I’m off to LA for my dream job. Only I never expected my new roommate would be the grouchiest man on earth. It almost cancels out his sexy rugged good looks. Almost.

Sean 
The last thing I need is a woman moving into the house I’m renovating on the side. First of all, I live here. Second, I’m running on fumes trying to juggle my day job too. I don’t have time for her irritating cheer or her distractingly cute little body. I’ve got work to do.

And then Josie decides to “help” me renovate, which has the aggravating effect of making more work for me. I’m losing my damn mind. Yet, somehow, I can’t stop looking at her.

The New York Times bestselling Driven series continues with a standalone story about finding love where you least expect it…

Behind the wheel, racing champion Zander Donavan is at the top of his game. But after too much excess in his personal life, he’s forced to step away. He needs to accomplish something all on his own—outside of his famous father’s shadow.  

Getty Caster is running away from the abuse that clouds her past. She thinks she’s found the perfect escape—until she discovers a stranger in the beachside cottage she’d been promised. He’s undeniably sexy, but she’s there to heal. Alone.

Before long though, fighting with each other turns into fighting their attraction. And giving into desire sets off a chain reaction that has their pasts colliding. With an unexpected love on the line, can they overcome the fallout to build a future?

FREE

Being able to stand on your own two feet, sometimes requires getting knocked off them completely… 

McKenzie “Kenzie” Lane is newly graduated from college and looking forward to a dream internship she has lined up for the summer in LA. Unfortunately, her controlling mother has other plans. 

Colby Singer, with his hot-as-sin looks and wicked charm, is never without attention from the ladies. Despite suspecting how Kenzie feels about him, he’s always kept her comfortably off-limits since she’s the baby sister of one of his best friends. But when he’s determined to distract her temporarily from the stress of her mother’s ultimatum, deciding to show her some fun, he quickly finds that keeping her in the friend zone is not as easy as he’d hoped. 

Once Kenzie realizes this may be her last opportunity to gauge her long-time crush’s true feelings, she puts it all out there in the form of a bet. It’s the perfect idea for her perfect man.

Until he isn’t.

Will a dose of reality lead to true love? Or will it crash and burn before it can even get started?

***Bet Me Something is for mature audiences due to steamy bedroom scenes that are in no way contained to just the bedroom.***

Full Length Standalone book with no cliffhanger. Third book of the “Something Series”

There is no rule in the Man Code as unbreakable as this: no matter how beautiful, smart, clever, and witty she is, do not—under any circumstances—fall in love with your best friend’s woman.
Yeah. So there’s that. Look, it’s not like I didn’t know I screwed up by falling for her. 
Also, for the record, unrequited love sucks big time.
And, I might have cut myself some slack by now, given everything that went down in the last few years, but Lulu just walked back into my life in a big way.

***
There are three things I’ve never been able to resist—my friends, my family, and chocolate.
Leo Hennessy? He was nowhere on that list. He’s been a true friend—a friend who walked through hell and back with me.
Now, I’m stepping into my new future. I didn’t expect it to include a riddle-filled, race-against-the-clock scavenger hunt across New York City.
With Leo.
Suddenly, I’m looking at this man with new eyes…
But my life spun out because of a man once before, and I can’t risk my fresh start, no matter what the temptation. And Leo is most definitely a temptation of the sexiest, sweetest, and most dangerous variety. 
More irresistibly delicious than chocolate…

Cassidy’s a fighter, designed to survive.

After the crushing death of her parents, she persevered. When she caught her fiancé with another woman, she held her head high and moved on. Fighting always came easy, because she never had to do it alone.

She had Liam.
Her best friend. Her protector. Her rock.

But every bond has its breaking point, and they found their’s… with a kiss. One weak moment upturns the foundation of their relationship, making Cassidy look at Liam in a whole new light.

Now, she has a choice to make. Is the shift from friends to lovers even possible? Or will Cassidy lose the one person she can’t live without?

FREE

Piss off the hot farmer ✔️ 
Find out I’ll be living in a funeral home ✔️ 
Meet my pet pig Petunia ✔️ 
Day one in town proved one thing… I’m screwed. 

Welcome to Mudville, home of KISSING BOOKS, a standalone small town, opposites attract, fish out of water romantic comedy with lots of kissing (and other things), a cocky farmer, a sassy misplaced heroine with too many animals, some crazy locals, a decades’ old mystery, and a very happy ending for all of them!

A sweet Southern town. A failing family manor. And a plan to save it all…

Moving to Oakleaf Manor was the last thing Brynn Townsend had planned after losing her job in the city, but even more unexpected was the headstrong son of the owner stealing her heart. Her only hope of building a new life in the quaint town of Sugar Maple rests on saving his family farm. But when he threatens to derail not only her plans to save Oakleaf Manor, but also her newfound home, Brynn knows she must risk their budding romance in order to save it all.

Preserving his family’s legacy and restoring his home to its former glory means everything to Jack. Generations of the Oakley family have owned and run the historic estate of Oakleaf Manor, but Jack’s past mistakes have left his family in danger of losing their home. With the fate of Oakleaf Manor resting solidly on his shoulders, he can’t risk failing again, even if it means putting his growing relationship with Brynn in jeopardy.

When Brynn crafts a daring plan to save Oakleaf Manor, Jack’s deeply rooted fears resurface. He’s tried this plan before with disastrous consequences. Can Brynn find a way to convince Jack to trust both her and their love? Will Jack realize where his heart truly belongs before it’s too late? Or will the happiness they had found and Oakleaf Manor end up in ruins?

If you love winding country roads, quaint cozy shops, and quirky, but caring neighbors who love like family, you’ll adore Love at the Fall Festival.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also provided all info and graphics.

NEVER SAW ME COMING

Author: Vera Kurian

ISBN: 9780778311553

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Park Row Books

Book Summary:

“I’ve never met someone like me, but when I do, eventually, I think it will be like two wolves meeting in the night, sniffing and recognizing a fellow hunter.”

Meet Chloe Sevre. Freshman honor student. Average-seeming, legging-wearing, hot girl next door…and diagnosed psychopath with an IQ of 135. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Now Chloe and six other students at John Adams College are part of an unusual clinical study that includes smartwatches to track their moods and movements, in exchange for free tuition. The study, led by a renowned psychiatrist, has inadvertently brought together some of the most dangerous minds who feel no guilt or fear. When one of the participants is found murdered, it becomes obvious they’re all in danger. Chloe goes from hunter to prey, and joins forces with two other psychopaths in the program to discover why they’re being targeted – if they could only trust each other.

Wildly entertaining with compelling characters and a vividly conjured campus setting, NEVER SAW ME COMING will keep you up all night, pinned to the page, wondering why you’re rooting for a would-be killer.

Review

This character driven story was well written and engaging much in the vein of YOU and Dexter. Except Kurian had the task of balancing multiple characters with psychopathy and she did it brilliantly. I adored the way this story slowly unravels and the scope of it becomes larger until you are fully immersed in the world with these characters..Because this book has a few different narrators there were lots of tendrils of storylines that we were constantly following but it never felt overwhelming or confusing. I also appreciated how Kurian still made time to let the characters naturally develop and we really got to know our main characters intimately. It would have been so easy to make the study participants all seem one dimensional but instead Kurian really showcased the different sides of psychopathy which gave each character their own distinct voice. I will say that if you are not a character driven reader than parts of this book may not work as well for you as they did for me since this book mostly feels like a character study. There is a lot of action and twists and turns but there are also quiet moments where we are just getting to know our characters and those happened to be my favorite parts. I did think the ending was satisfying but also farfetched at certain moments. It is an odd feeling to have strong emotional connections to characters who are supposed to be on the “bad” side and yet it is something that Kurian easily succeeded at. For that reason, I highly recommend this book to any fan of true crime or psychology because I think you will also find a lot of value in reading this. I also recommend this to anyone who loves to delve into characters because this is where the book really shines.

Author Bio: 

Vera Kurian is a psychologist and writer and a longtime resident of Washington DC. She has a doctorate in social psychology, specializing in intergroup relations, political ideology, and quantitative methods. She has studied fiction at Breadloaf, Sewanee, VONA, and attended juried workshops at LitCamp, Colgate, Juniper, and the Marlboro Summer Writing Intensive. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a semifinalist for the Mark Twain Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @vera_kurian

Instagram: @verakurianauthor

Goodreads

Excerpt

One

Day 60

As soon as the door to my new dorm room closed, I went to the window, scanning across the quad for him. It wasn’t like there was any possibility he would just happen to be out there among the families lugging moving boxes or the handful of students sprawled in the grass.

But there! A head of dirty-blond waves. Will. My mouth opened. Then the person turned and I saw it was only a girl with an unfortunate haircut. Seriously, you’d think she’d put in more of an effort for move-in day.

I turned and faced my empty dorm room with its sad linoleum floors, mentally going through my to-do list. 1. Get rid of Mom. Check. She had already left and was probably speeding up the I-95, popping open a bottle of champagne now that she was finally rid of me. 2. Claim the most advantageous space be-fore my roommate, Yessica, arrived. 3. Make six to eight friends before 4. My mandatory check-in appointment at the psychology department. 5. Find Will.

We had a double with two bedrooms, one clearly larger than the other. While my normal instinct was to claim the larger one, I immediately saw the problem with that. The larger bed-room had windows that overlooked the quad. What if I wanted to crawl in or out of my window in the middle of the night? People will record anything even remotely interesting on their phones these days, and I could be easily seen from the other dorms and academic halls that lined the quad—too much of an audience for my liking.

I took the smaller room. My generosity would score me points with my new roomie, but more importantly, the room had a view of the brick wall of the building next to us and there was a metal fire escape attached directly to the window. Easy access in and out of my room without detection—perfect. I dumped some of my boxes into the room and made the bed, placing my stuffed plushie whale on top to clearly stake my claim. The voices inside the dorm were calling me and I had to establish myself quickly.

I gave myself a brief once-over before leaving the room, reap-plying my lip gloss and fixing my hair. The hair had to be just right—a loose, effortless side French braid that actually wasn’t effortless. You have to be the kind of girl who “doesn’t put any effort in” but naturally rolls out of bed looking like a horny but somehow demure starlet. If you meet some standard of objective attractiveness, people think you’re better than you actually are—smarter, more interesting, worthier of existing. Combined with the right personality, this can be powerful.

Brewser had one long hallway with rooms shooting off on either side. I peeked into the room next door where two brunettes were wrestling a duvet out of a plastic package. “Hi!” I chirped. “I’m Chloe!” I could be whatever they wanted me to be. A fun girl, a potential best friend, someone to tell secrets to over midnight snacks. This type of socializing was just me playing little roles for a few moments, but when I need to go all in, I can. I can make myself younger when I want to, opting or looser clothes that hide my body and making my eyes shiny with dumbness—a whole costume of innocence. I can look older with makeup and carefully selected clothes, showing skin when necessary. It’s easy because people tend to see what they want to.

I went door to door. Room 202. “Omigod I love your hair,” I said to a bubbly blonde I suspect will end up popular.

Room 206. “You’re not brothers, are you?” I said shyly to two boys on the crew team (nice bodies but baby faces—not my taste). They grinned at me, looked at my boobs, and each vied to say something clever. Neither was clever.

Room 212 was a pair of awkward girls. I was friendly to them but didn’t linger long because I knew they would never be key players.

While I met a few more people, I was simultaneously assessing who seemed like they were going to be part of Greek life. Will was in a frat—SAE—and one of my first orders of business was to get in with that frat. The crew boys were already in the hallway loudly talking about going out to a club that night. That was good—an outing, and the crew boys seemed like they would be the type to pledge a frat. “I love dancing,” I said to what’s-his-name, the taller of the two, fingering the end of my braid. “It’s the best way to get to know people.” He smiled down at me, his eyes crinkling. If high school taught me any-thing, it’s that social life is a game that revolves around navigating hierarchies. Be someone guys want to fuck or you will be invisible to them. Be someone the girls want firmly tucked into their inner circles, whether as friend or enemy, or die the death of being totally irrelevant.

Even from our brief interactions, I could tell no one in this dorm was in my program. I’ve never met someone like me, but when I do eventually, I think it will be like two wolves meet-ing in the night, sniffing and recognizing a fellow hunter. But I doubt they would put two of us in the same dorm—there were only seven and they probably had to spread us out to prevent a war from breaking out.

I had to go then, leaving my new friends behind, to check in with the program.

The psychology department was diagonally across the quad, visible from the windows of the common area of my room. The quad was lush grass crisscrossed with brick paths, with each brick having the name of an alumnus engraved into it—John Smith, class of ’03. Funny—Will was never going to get a brick, but I was. One of the larger dorms, Tyler Hall, had a massive banner hung on it that said WELCOME FRESHMAN!!! I stopped to take a selfie with the banner in the background: here’s a girl excited for her first day of college, busy doing college things!

It’s practically destiny that I ended up at John Adams University. I knew I had to be in DC, which meant applying to Georgetown, American University, George Washington University, John Adams, Catholic University, and Trinity College—all of which are inside the District. As safeties, I also applied to reasonably close places like George Mason and the University of Maryland. I got into all of them except for Georgetown. Seriously, fuck them. My application was golden: I have an IQ of 135—five points short of genius—solid SATs and grades. I paid for most of my wardrobe with a business I set up writing papers for other students. Who knows how many of them got into college with a heartfelt essay about the dead cancer grandmother they didn’t actually have.

I had been offered scholarship money at various schools, but nothing like what Adams had offered. Even if I had turned down the psychology study, I still could have gotten generous scholarships given to students with my pedigree to entice them to a Tier 2 liberal arts school. But I didn’t care—Adams was always my first choice because of Will. Another bonus was the school’s placement in DC: a busy city with a relatively high murder rate. The campus was in the gentrifying neighborhood of Shaw, just east of bougie Logan Circle, and south of U Street, a popular going-out destination. A neighborhood that, despite the presence of nice restaurants, was also a place where drunk people occasionally got into fights and stabbed each other and pedestrians got mugged. Law enforcement was busy with the constant parade of protests, conferences, and visiting diplomats—they probably gave two shits about what was going on in the mind of a random eighteen-year-old girl with an iPhone in her hand and a benign look on her face.

I liked the somber castle look of the psychology department. Its dark red bricks were covered with ivy and the windows, edged with black iron, were warbled like they had old glass in them. The inside was dimly lit by a hanging chandelier with flickering amber bulbs, and the cavernous foyer smelled like old books. When I walked through it, I imagined a camera following me, viewers worried about what dangerous things might come my way. I would be the one they would root for.

I went up the curving staircase to the sixth floor where I was supposed to check in with my program. Room 615 was tucked at the end of the hallway, secluded. A placard on the door said Leonard Wyman, PhD, and Elena Torres, Doctoral Candidate. I recognized the names from my paperwork.

I knocked and a few seconds later a woman flung open the door. “You must be Chloe Sevre!”

She stuck out her hand. They probably had a whole dossier on me. I had had a bunch of phone interviews with a couple of screeners, then one with Wyman himself, and they had also interviewed my mother and high school counselor.

The woman’s hand was bony, but warm and dry, and her eyes were chocolate brown and unafraid. “I’m Elena, one of Dr. Wyman’s grad students.” She smiled and gestured for me to come inside. She led me past a messy reception area, a desk cluttered with papers and three laptops, and down a hallway to a smaller office, hers presumably.

She closed the door behind us. “We’ll get you all settled. Everything was fine with the financial aid office before you got here?” As one of the seven students in the study, I was granted a free ride to John Adams University. All I had to give in ex-change was my willingness to be a full-time guinea pig in their Multimethod Psychopathy Panel Study.

I nodded, looking around. Her shelves were crammed with books and stacks of printed-out articles. Three different versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Tomes on “abnormal” psychology. Robert Hare’s book Without Conscience, which I had read.

“Great,” Elena said. She pulled something up on her computer. She took a bite of the scone resting on her mousepad and chewed loudly. She was pretty in a grad student sort of way. Olive skin and a nice collarbone. You could picture her falling in love with some reedy nerd and trying to have children too late. “Here you are!” She clicked a few times and her printer came to life. When she stood up to retrieve the paper, I leaned over, trying to see her computer screen, but she had a privacy shield. I didn’t know if it was supposed to be a secret or some-thing, but I had found out how many students were in the pro-gram when one of the administrators had been working out my financial aid package. I was dying of curiosity about the other six students. The bizarre elite.

Elena handed me a bunch of paper-clipped documents. They were consent forms for the study, assurances that my data would be kept private, that there was minimal risk associated with computer-based surveys, that blood drawings would be performed by a licensed phlebotomist, blah blah blah. A lot more about privacy, location tracking—which I paid closer attention to—and what their legal obligations were to report it if I threatened to either harm myself or others. Oh, please. I wasn’t planning on making any of my threats known.

Excerpted from Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian, Copyright © 2021 by Albi Literary Inc. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

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Powell’s 

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Thank you to Flatiron books for gifting me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 304

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warning: Check out my Goodreads review here

This deliciously creepy thriller is another stunning work of fiction from the queen of the unreliable narrator, Alice Feeney. Amelia and Adam are having troubles in their marriage so when they win a weekend away in Scotland, and their anniversary is coming up, it seems perfect. Amelia has been wanting to get Adam, a workaholic, away to spend some quality time so she jumps at the chance to plan this trip. However, we quickly realize not only how far things have unraveled between them but also that things are not as they appear with their vacation. Adding to the intrigue is Adam’s prosopagnosia which means he can’t recognize people’s faces. This story is seamlessly interweaved with letters Adam’s wife writes every year on their anniversary that she doesn’t intend for him to read.

There is so much to sink your teeth into with this beautiful but insidious story. Not only is the format of this story brilliant because of the letters that are perfectly placed throughout but Feeney also balances telling the complete story of their marriage along with the spine-chilling situation in Scotland. Despite all the moving parts of this story it still manages to be perfectly paced. I was gripped from the first chapter with the atmospheric setting. I do think a few bits of this book were a little overwritten but overall I was blown away by the gorgeous and mesmerizing writing. Feeney might also be the queen of a great red herring because this book takes you on a whirlwind ride where you aren’t quite sure what is happening.

I’m sure by now it is no surprise that this is one of my favorite books of all time. If you love thrillers then this is one that you cannot pass up. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of thrillers then I still highly recommend this one. Regardless of genre this is easily one of the best books to come out this year and you don’t want to sleep on it. Feeney is a true master of her craft and her talent only seems to improve with each book.

Sometimes home is more of a memory than a place.”

Kind lies are the cousins of white ones.”

We are our parents’ echoes and sometimes they don’t like what they hear.”

The scariest haunted houses are always the ones in which you are the ghost.”

~Cassie

September Weekly Kindle Haul #1

I know I never caught up on my August Kindle books bought but I miss sharing books as I buy them so I’m just fast forwarding a month and we are starting off fresh. I was also thinking about putting some parameters on how many Kindle books I buy each month and I am planning on cutting myself off at 13. If 13 seems random to you it’s just because it’s my favorite number and so it was the first one to pop into my head 🙂 Of course, free books don’t count as part of the 13. Right now I’m at 5 books bought which doesn’t leave me a lot for the rest of the month but I still feel confident! The books in this haul are from August 29-September 6 so maybe some of them will still be on sale.

FREE

The world knows Ford Malone as the heir to a real estate fortune.

But to me he’ll always be my best friend.
The guy who saved me from my bullies back in school.
The man I’ve secretly loved for years.

When he needs me to be his plus one at a family event, I agree without hesitation.

Imagine my surprise when he announces our engagement.
As usual, I’ll play along.
Nothing has to change except the way we behave–the way we touch–in public.
But his private touches change everything.

Soon the crush I’ve hidden for so long is threatening to swallow me whole.
If I tell him how I feel, it could ruin our friendship forever.
But if I don’t, the lie will ruin me instead.

She’s on a mission to turn things around on the ranch. He’s a soldier battling a past injury that refuses to heal. A last-minute Christmas project might be just what they both need. 

Holly Maxwell is running out of time to turn things around on the ranch. Christmas—her deadline—is two weeks away. It’s the only reason she gambles and takes on the massive Christmas Eve project she doesn’t have the time nor manpower to accomplish. 

When help arrives in the form of the man she used to crush on as a teen, Holly is determined not to let feelings get involved. After all, she’s not fourteen anymore, and he’s not staying. 

Sergeant First Class Mason Montgomery is desperate to kick his insomnia to the curb so he can be cleared for duty. He returns to Starlight, to the ranch he used to work on as a teenager. What he doesn’t expect is to find Lawrence Maxwell’s granddaughter all grown up and managing the ranch. 

The more time he spends with Holly, the more he starts to develop feelings he vowed he’d never allow himself to have about anyone, let alone the off-limits granddaughter of his former boss. 

Heat Level: Sweet/Mild

It’s easier to face the day when you know God is with you.

God Is With You Every Day is a brand-new 365-day devotional from Max Lucado, and his first new devotional since the creation of the Grace for the Moment® line. Max’s signature reassuring and encouraging voice, paired with the practical, relevant, and personal message that God is with you every day, makes a great way to start each day of the year.

This devotional begins each week with a prayer and scripture, followed by six days of devotions and scripture for reflection. Weaving messages of comfort, grace, and encouragement, this book is wonderful for anyone who wants a fresh infusion of faith to start each day, as well as those walking through difficult seasons of life such as loneliness, grief, or change.

You can face each day with courage – because God is with you.

FREE

A one night stand that’s as hot as H E double hockey sticks. That’s all either of them want.

Pro hockey player Jase Heller isn’t ready for serious. After getting out of a relationship, jumping into a new one is the last thing on his mind. But one night? Yeah. He’s more than ready to raise his stick for that…

Remi Buchanan is free of all her responsibilities for the first time in her life. She’s ready to blow off some steam and live a little…even if only this once. And she can’t think of a crazier thing to do than a one-night stand with a man who has a smile that makes her want to lose her panties. 

But when one night turns into more, they may not like what they find. When Remi finds out Jase is a pro athlete with paparazzi and puck bunnies stalking him, she knows she doesn’t fit in his world. She’s just a schoolteacher, after all. And teachers? Ugh. Jase has painful memories of the torture his teachers inflicted on him. 

They definitely fit together between the sheets, but when love checks them against the boards, can they work in the real world?

Olivia Brent has one summer to save the dairy farm she just inherited.

But there’s one problem, and it’s not her lactose intolerance.

Jake Milovic.

The brooding farmhand has inherited exactly fifty percent of Brent Farm, and he’s so convinced the city girl can’t work the land, he bets she can’t save it in a summer.

Determined to prove him wrong, Olivia accepts what might be the dumbest wager of her life.

His strategy to win seems simple: follow her around, shirtlessly distracting her between bouts of relentless taunting. And it’s effective—if his dark eyes and rare smiles aren’t enough to sidetrack her, the sweaty, rolling topography of the manbeast’s body would do the trick.

What they don’t know: they’ll have to weather more than each other.

Mysterious circumstances throw the farm into disarray, and with the dairy farm in danger, Olivia and Jake have to work together. But when they do, there’s more to fear than either of them imagined.

Because now their hearts are on the line, and the farm won’t be the only casualty if they fail.

Welcome to Elm Ridge, Kentucky, where you’ll swoon, smile, and fall helplessly in love with the Green family. 

In first grade, Weston Green told his mom he would marry Veronica Farmer. 
Such a sweet boy. 
As years passed, it turned out Veronica didn’t care for sweet. She favored bad boys.
That could be why, home from the military, Weston found her on the side of the road contemplating her broken car and broken dreams. 
Veronica wants to get her life in order. Her plan is to find a place to live in Elm Ridge, possibly get her old job back, and be done with men. 
Done for good.
Unless of course, a really good one comes her way.
One too sweet to let go. 

Gaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.

Her public life
Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

FREE

When chemist Grace O’Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy’s run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.

Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can’t handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny.

With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic…and also about herself?

FREE

Living on Violet Circle, a place that’s less of a neighborhood and more of an insane asylum poured into the street, I thought I was prepared for anything. After you’ve seen a woman strip down at the laundry room to wash the clothes she’s wearing, then saunter across the street naked, you’ve seen it all, right? 

How naïve I was. 

After the factory closed, leaving me and a good portion of the town unemployed, I took a job managing Scarlet Toys. I knew it wouldn’t be a typical work environment, selling adult toys in a town more uptight than a constipated nun, but some things you just never see coming. 

Like the protesters covered in poison ivy, screaming about smut peddlers. 

Or a dancing dinosaur named Fappy. 

Or the allure of the man standing in the center of all the chaos. 

Wyatt Lawson, a six foot, four inch heap of muscle with a quick smile, ignited my interest in more than the available manager position. Like the missionary one. Or the rodeo. Maybe the side rider. What can I say? I’m an overachiever. 

Let’s just hope he doesn’t scare easily. 

This is the first book in a series of standalone novels.

FREE

It’s the last day of school, and everyone is excited for the big summer leading up to our senior year. I was too… until my heart was ripped out of my chest. 

As if getting dumped wasn’t bad enough, I’m forced to endure the humiliation of witnessing my ex-boyfriend flaunt his new girl — who also happens to be my now ex-best friend — all over town. Double whammy. 

Now I’m the pathetic ex-girlfriend left gutted, heartbroken, and nose deep in a bucket of ice cream. I’m doomed to spend the summer sulking over a guy who thought I was predictable and bad in bed. 

So, when I get an offer guaranteeing me some well-deserved payback, of course I’m going to take it. Besides, the plan is simple. Pretend like I’m dating Ryder, the town’s popular bad boy, and make my ex wallow in a pit of jealousy and regret. It’s perfect. 

I mean… what could possibly go wrong?

When he falls, he falls hard.

Millie Baylin just moved to a new city to start college. Introverted and studious, she plans on spending most of her time holed up in the library working on her novel and keeping to herself. But when she gets dragged along to a school football game by her fun, football-mad new roommate, the hot alpha quarterback almost drops the ball at his very first sight of her.

Bo McCabe is saving himself. A hopeless romantic at heart, he’s holding out for the real thing. As soon as he lays eyes on the shy stranger with the striking gray eyes and the angel’s face, he’ll stop at nothing to find out if she’s the one he’s been waiting for all along. Millie thinks Bo’s insta-obsession is insanity and wants nothing to do with him. But Bo is determined. Because, somehow, Millie has already stolen his heart … and he is now utterly obsessed with winning hers.

Can Bo convince Millie he’s the man of her dreams? 

Hopeless Romantic is a sexy standalone novella, starring an obsessed hero and the love of his life (includes three hopelessly romantic HEA epilogues!). This book is a tribute to love at first sight and insta-everything (because it happened to me 🙂

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven’t seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she’s got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter’s been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

Hockey players are off limits especially … if they’re on your brothers’ team. 

The last time Jordan did that, it ended in disaster. 
It was easy to promise her brothers she’d never date another one of their teammates again. 
Until she meets Jake. 
The spark she feels when she spends time with him makes her promise harder and harder to keep. 
Surely her brothers would understand breaking this promise if it means following her heart. 
Wouldn’t they? 

Never sleep with a teammate’s sister. 

This is the universal rule of athletes everywhere. 
Until he meets Jordan. As soon as Jake sets eyes on her, he wants her. 
The goalie’s job is to see missed shots and failed opportunities on the ice. 
This is one shot he’s not going to miss, no matter what obstacles get in his way. 

POWER PLAY is a flirty, swoon worthy sexy rom-com and the first book in the BTU Alumni series. It can be read as a stand alone. If you like hockey boys, sarcastic friends, matchmaking K9’s, too-cute-to-handle kindergarteners, fierce heroines and swoony hot as puck Alpha heroes, then you want to get to know these cast of characters. One puck head and a HEA guaranteed.

Back in high school, Lily Wang wanted to be popular, but she considered herself lucky to be part of a tight group of oddballs and honors students called the Nerd Herd. Now, at twenty-eight, she feels like she’s finally on the cusp of succeeding as a beauty influencer—if she can hit five million subscribers, brands will take notice and she could get her own makeup line.

Fellow Nerd Herd alum Tobin Bui has had a lot of success as a YouTube gamer. But the road to online stardom has been rocky. First, he disappointed his parents by dropping out of college, and now, after years of pranks, skits, and playthroughs, he’s struggling to come up with new content to satisfy his ever-growing fan base. His agents say he needs cross-audience appeal, a new twist.

When Nerd Herd frenemy Lily approaches Tobin about teaming up to do a video to bolster her brand and reinvigorate his, he agrees. But when their first collab video goes viral, their relationship heats up too. With the whole internet watching, will these two former misfits finally realize they’re perfect together?

FREE

Downton Abbey crossed with Murder, She Wrote…set in a Yorkshire village!

Evelyn Christie has resigned herself to another long, boring weekend at Hessleham Hall, the home of her husband, Tommy’s, family. However, it turns out to be anything but dull when his uncle, the Earl of Northmoor, is shockingly murdered!

Evelyn must use all of her sleuthing knowledge, gained whilst she was a member of the Police force during the war, to find out who the murderer is before the bungling local police force decide the Earl was bumped off so Tommy could inherit his title.

If you enjoy the glamour of bygone eras like 1920s Downton Abbey and gentle, cozy mysteries set in the English countryside then you will love this new series.

FREE

Love blossoms in the unlikeliest places…Tarnation, Texas. 

Buzz Colt was a liar, cheat, and a scrooge but the one thing he did right was father five sons. 
Growing up without a father, Baxter Colt learned how to be a man on his own. He’d written Buzz out of his life until he passed and left a few surprises and secrets—and hoops to jump through. 

Fury wasn’t a strong enough word to describe Baxter’s feelings when he heard the stipulations of his father’s will. Five brothers who are strangers are given the choice to live together for six months and work the Grinning Spurs Ranch or give up everything they’ve worked for—including their homesteads. 

However, that’s only the beginning. All five must be married before time is up. 

Since her mother was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease, Abriella Craig was responsible for the family bakery and her little brother. Financially she was strapped and emotionally and physically she was alone, but when a brooding, handsome stranger strolls into town he might be the answer to her prayers. 

Abriella is as sweet as the cupcakes she creates and would make the perfect wife, but as secrets start to unfold Baxter realizes he wants more than a marriage of convenience. But is he too much like his father to ever find love? 

The Colt brothers will each take a journey in finding love, brotherhood and forgiveness in the small town of Tarnation, Texas where love blooms in the unlikeliest places.

FREE

Remington 
We’d had a deal. One night only. 
He broke that deal when he called the next day. 

For two years, I’ve worked to forget the taste of his skin, but then he shows up at a time I need him the most and wants more that I’m able to give. 

Finch 
One night with her wasn’t enough, but I gave her space and let her go. 
Now she’s in trouble, and I’m no longer willing to watch her walk away. 

I have one chance to slay the dragons of her past. 
The problem is, I’m no one’s knight in shining armor.

A series of chance encounters leads to a sizzling new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series. 

The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn’t hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it was–until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.

When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb’s orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he’s stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart’s in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she’s made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn’t quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her….

FREE

Kate Bennet owns a small bookstore in Cambria, California—the kind of shop that smells like mildew, furniture wax, and old pages, the kind where you’ll find a cat napping atop the used biographies. Two years out from a divorce that left her emotionally fragile, Kate is starting to think that maybe she’s ready for love again—or at least for a fling with a hot man. Jackson Graham is a local chef who’s controlling when it comes to food, careless when it comes to women, and temperamental when it comes to just about everything. 

When Kate’s friends mobilize to set things up between Kate and Jackson, she expects some casual pleasure followed by a hasty goodbye, but Jackson’s long-term crush on Kate means that he’s in this one to win. The problem is, neither he nor Kate knows whether he can change the self-defeating habits that usually send women scurrying for the door as soon as the afterglow fades. 

Throw in a beautiful backdrop of rocky beaches and rugged coastline, a manipulative father, a Mary Kay–pushing stepmother, a yapping Pomeranian, and a nervous ring-tailed lemur, and you’ve got Moonstone Beach, the first contemporary romance in a series of four about Kate and her friends, Gen, Lacy, and Rose.

FREE

Could you love a man surrounded by danger?

Gigi Gallo’s childhood was filled with the roar of a motorcycle and the hum of a tattoo gun. Fresh out of college, she’s about to start working at her family’s tattoo studio — Inked. But when she shows up the first day, she never expects to run into someone tall, dark, and totally sexy from her not-so-innocent past.

Pike Moore is a bossy biker with a cocky attitude and an even bigger ego. He came to Inked to start over. New town. New job. New roots. None of that included coming face-to-face with the hot chick who spent a week in his bed before she vanished without a trace.

But when Pike’s dark family history catches up with him, can he stop Gigi from being caught in the crossfire?

Flame is book one in the Men of Inked: Heatwave series by USA Today bestselling author Chelle Bliss. The Men of Inked: Heatwave series features steamy romance, hot heroes, and strong women.

FREE

In that perfect stranger, I found my fairytale…

Olivia Cadwell, brilliant with numbers but still having trouble figuring out where she fits into the world, is on the run from her hometown, courtesy of her mother’s boyfriend—who has decided that Olivia is his next target.

Leo Folley, head of the multi-billion-dollar company his father started, is minding his own business and carrying on as usual… until his publicist gives him a deadline: Find a girlfriend, play nice with the press, and be a better face for the company, or the board is going to make trouble.

When Leo finds Olivia sleeping in her car in the alley outside of his office, he sees the perfect answer to his dilemma: a girl who needs money and a place to stay in exchange for playing his date for the big charity auction. For Olivia, it’s the perfect solution: money, a place to stay, and safety from the man she’s sure is searching for her. What’s not to love?

They both believe they can get through the week without taking anything too seriously.

They’re both wrong.

A job is a job, until you’re the bosses pretty woman…

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

*No synopsis since this is the third book in the series

At Oak Leaf Farm you will find a haven.Welcome to The Family.
Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home. But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go. Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

From USA Today bestselling author, Louise Jensen, comes another mind-bending thriller that is “creepy and compelling” as the best intentions go horribly awry (B.A. Paris, USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors).

~Cassie

Where I Left Her by Amber Garza

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: August 24, 2021

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 304

Genre: Thriller: Domestic

Rating: 3.5/5

Trigger Warning

This book starts off with our main character, Whitney, dropping her 16 year old daughter, Amelia, off at her friends house where things start to quickly unravel. The next day Amelia’s phone is off and the place where Whitney dropped her off at doesn’t know who she is talking about. As Whitney is trying to figure out where Amelia is, she not only realizes that she doesn’t know her daughter as well as she thought she did, but also her past might be coming back to haunt her.

I was hooked instantly when I started reading this book because Garza did such a great job of reeling me in with her great pacing and storytelling. Whitney’s urgency in finding her daughter really shone through and rubbed off on me and I felt like I was right there with her. That being said, Whitney is a character I didn’t particularly like and definitely didn’t identify with in any way. She is also somehow overbearing but also clueless which was an odd juxtaposition. Garza sprinkles lots of reveals into the story that are both surprising but also help set up the end of the story in a masterful way. Things were constantly building and I was enjoying the ride and then things quickly derailed for me at the end.

First, I wasn’t expecting where this book was going to go and while I’m not particularly sensitive to most topics I do find a couple to be hard to read and one was a big part of the ending. I have linked a Trigger Warning above that will link to a specific Goodreads review if you want to check them out. I don’t want to explicitly say them because it would spoil the whole ending but I do think it is important to include them. Secondly, the ending was so unbelievable that it completely took me out of the story. I feel like Garza could have spent some time and developed it more and it would have been a much stronger ending.

While I did have some issues with this book I still enjoyed it overall. If you are looking for a book that you will fly through during a weekend that will completely capture your attention and you think you can handle the trigger warnings and a possible disappointing ending then I do recommend you should check it out. I am a big fan of Garza’s writing and I recently saw that she has written romance in the past so I plan to dive into her backlist sometime soon.

~Cassie

WWW Wednesday 9.1.21

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I started reading Nine Perfect Strangers a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of the Hulu adaptation and I’m currently halfway done. It is definitely different then the show (I’ve only watched the first two episodes) and I’m enjoying it. The book takes it time to build up the creepiness of the health resort and the show really jumps into it. I do enjoy the humor of the show though.

Since today is the first of the month I wanted to start on my September TBR so I went with Rock Paper Scissors since I need to review it next week and wow, am I obsessed. I’m 34% through and it just keeps getting better and better. It’s incredibly atmospheric and even though it was in the high 80’s today I was feeling all the chilly vibes. The writing is also incredible and I have been highlighting lines in my Kindle. This is one of those books that is dangerous to read before bed because I might just stay up until I finish it. Fingers crossed that this book has an ending worthy of the five stars I really want to give it!

What have you recently finished?

My review for Dark Notes should be up early next week but I ended up giving it 2 stars.

I picked up Locke and Key Vol. 1 last time I was a the library and I decided to bring it with me when we traveled for my son’s laser treatment. I ended up enjoying this so much more then I thought I would and gave it 5 stars. I will also hopefully have my review up next week for it. Unfortunately, my library has every volume of this series except for the second but I did see it was on Kindle Unlimited so I might try to read the next one that way. If not, then I will just buy it, which I might do anyways, since I really loved the first one.

I will have my review for Where I Left Her up tomorrow but this is another one where the ending really disappointed me. I gave this 3.5 stars.

What do you think you’ll read next?

This comes out September 7 and my blog tour post for it is September 9

Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a leggings-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

Never Saw Me Coming is a compulsive, voice-driven thriller by an exciting new voice in fiction, that will keep you pinned to the page and rooting for a would-be killer.

~Cassie

September TBR: 4 Readathon edition

I remember last month when I said that I was just going to keep mood reading my review books and I laugh at that woman. I don’t how I didn’t even realize there were so many readathons going on this month but there are FOUR that I want to participate in. Two of them are month long ones, one is a two week long one and one is a week long. I will have everything laid out by readathon for organization although there is a lot of overlap. Despite the four readathons I managed to keep it down to only 19 books plus two that I need to have finished by April 2022 (which will make sense when we get to it). But because of the different length readathons I need to read 10 the first half of the month, 6 during one week and the remaining 3 the last four days of the month. So it will be an intense month of reading and I probably won’t complete it all but I’m excited to jump in tomorrow. I did keep my promise to read mostly review books but there are some books that I couldn’t get to fit the prompts so I added a few highly anticipated books in as well. I also managed to get my three blog tour books in, my buzzwordathon book in and my literally dead book club picks in so I think this was a pretty successful TBR. Fingers crossed I can get it all done!

Bookoplathon

Becca and the Books is hosting another month long round of Bookoplathon and I chose to do 8 rolls although I did end up with doubles one time so I have 9 prompts.

Roll 1: Chance

Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

Roll 2: Current news/events

Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly.

Alexa Donne delivers a nail-biting and timely thriller about teens who will stop at nothing to get into the college of their dreams. Too bad no one told them murder isn’t an extracurricular.

Roll 3: Last color (white)

Sadie meets The Glass Castle in a smart, gripping, and twisty YA debut about a girl seeking to reveal the truth about her mother-and herself.

Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has spent much of her life drifting from town to town with her mom Nina, using their charms to swindle and steal to get by. Now they’ve made it to their ultimate destination, Mom’s hometown of Jasper Hollow. The plan: bring down Ellis Bowman, the man who ruined Nina’s life.

When Phoenix gets caught spying on Ellis, she spins a convincing story that inadvertently gives her full access to the Bowman family. As she digs deeper into their secrets (and begins to fall for daughter Melody), she finds herself entrenched in the tale of a death and a disappearance that doesn’t entirely line up with what Mom has told her.

But there’s even more to this story Phoenix doesn’t know. Who, if anyone, is telling the whole truth about what happened? Debut author Brooke Lauren Davis explores the murkiness of right and wrong, of choices and consequences, of heroes and villains, in an eerily compelling and thought-provoking small-town saga.

Roll 4: Most Recent Purchase

*I just picked my Book of the Month books and this was one of them. I already have a review copy because I have a blog tour post coming on September 7,

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife. 
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Rock Paper Scissors is the latest exciting domestic thriller from the queen of the killer twist, New York Times bestselling author Alice Feeney.

Roll 5: Community Shelf (read a book that I previously started and put down)

From the author of Annihilation, a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things.

Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.

Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out—for her and possibly for the world.

Hummingbird Salamander is Jeff VanderMeer at his brilliant, cinematic best, wrapping profound questions about climate change, identity, and the world we live in into a tightly plotted thriller full of unexpected twists and elaborate conspiracy.

Roll 6: Gods

A Modern Hades and Persephone Retelling

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

Roll 7: Buzzword Color

What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume.

Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tidy sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, GA. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit.

Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an alley with a kitchen knife in his chest.

A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit mean to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings in Peach Clobbered, Anna Gerard’s charming first Georgia B&B mystery.

Roll 8: Chance

*This book has been on my radar since I saw Misty from Misty’s Book Space raving about it. I hope I love it as much as she did!

Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband, Scott, two years ago, after a twenty-five year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was an award-winning, bestselling novelist and a very complicated man. Early in their relationship, before they married, Lisey had to learn from him about books and blood and bools. Later, she understood that there was a place Scott went–a place that both terrified and healed him, that could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it’s Lisey’s turn to face Scott’s demons, Lisey’s turn to go to Boo’ya Moon. What begins as a widow’s efforts to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited. Perhaps King’s most personal and powerful novel, Lisey’s Story is about the wellsprings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love. 

Roll 9: Steal a book

*I stole this book from Codie at CodiesBookCorner.

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. 

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications. 

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will. 

Most of them.

Magical Readathon

This is the most creative readathon of all time and G did a an incredible job rebranding this readathon. This is another month long readathon and there are few books that I used for Bookopolathon so I will just share the cover image for those ones. There are 7 path prompts although you only need to read two of them to pass. I, of course, picked a book for each prompt and I will be attempting to read all of them. There are also 3 prompts to help create your character although you have until the next round of the readathon (April 2022) to complete them. One of the three I’m using for the two other readathons I’m participating in so I know that I will get that one done this month.

Path Prompts

Novice Path (book with a map)

Introducing Detective Inspector Darko Dawson: dedicated family man, rebel in the office, ace in the field—and one of the most appealing sleuths to come along in years. When we first meet Dawson, he’s been ordered by his cantankerous boss to leave behind his loving wife and young son in Ghana’s capital city to lead a murder investigation: In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman—a promising medical student—has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Dawson is fluent in Ketanu’s indigenous language, so he’s the right man for the job, but the local police are less than thrilled with an outsider’s interference. For Dawson, this sleepy corner of Ghana is rife with emotional land mines: an estranged relationship with the family he left behind twenty-five years earlier and the painful memory of his own mother’s inexplicable disappearance. Armed with remarkable insight and a healthy dose of skepticism, Dawson soon finds his cosmopolitan sensibilities clashing with age-old customs, including a disturbing practice in which teenage girls are offered to fetish priests as trokosi, or Wives of the Gods. Delving deeper into the student’s haunting death, Dawson will uncover long-buried secrets that, to his surprise, hit much too close to home.

Ashton Tree (a book you really want to read)

This is also the Sept book for the Literally Dead book club

From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny, a darkly funny novel about a theater professor suffering chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly and miraculously recovers.

Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.

That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.

With prose Margaret Atwood has described as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged…genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. All’s Well is the story of a woman at her breaking point and a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness and believe female pain.

The mist of solitude (standalone)

Ruin of Skye (supernatural)

This is a review copy I have but I just saw that it has really low reviews on Goodreads so I’m going to keep my expectations low for this one.

They know something we don’t.

For horror Youtubers Lilith and Nate, zombie movies are escapist fantasies. So when a real zombie uprising in the streets of New Southport is quickly thwarted, they know those familiar-looking ghouls are hiding something. They should know. Born with a weak heart in the funeral town of Leatelranch, built around the largest cemetery in the world, Lilith’s parents raised her with zombie stories to keep her from learning the truth about what happens inside the cemetery walls.

As for Nathan, the caretaker’s son… he has his reasons to be so cowardly. So when they get outsmarted by seemingly droning ghouls and are forced to split up, the uncanny coincidences are undeniable. And as things start to look more and more like Lilith’s apocalyptic visions, and as a darker threat lurks, it’ll be up to them to piece the puzzle before everyone they love faces a fate worse than becoming a zombie.

Can they be stopped? Are they just playing dead? Do they have a plan?

They know something we don’t. And whatever it is, they hate us for it.

Obsidian Falls (mystery or thriller)

Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a leggings-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

Never Saw Me Coming is a compulsive, voice-driven thriller by an exciting new voice in fiction, that will keep you pinned to the page and rooting for a would-be killer.

Tower of Rumination (5 star prediction)

Orilium Arc (school setting)

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

Character Prompts

Where you live: Wilding (a book set outside/forest)

ONE DEAD BODY
TWELVE SUSPECTS
TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DARKNESS

In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.

A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the chance to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.

The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all. And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes for them all . .

Province: Darkmeadow (dark academia)

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. 

Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light. 

Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. 

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

Heritage: Itirian (red book cover)

A charmingly eccentric hotel maid discovers a guest murdered in his bed. Solving the mystery will turn her once orderly world upside down in this utterly original debut.

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misinterprets the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has had to navigate life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is turned on its head the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself very dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

PopCultureReadathon: Final Destination

This is a mini edition of my favorite readathon and it takes place Sept 19-30. There are 5 prompts that coincide with all five Final Destination movies.

Final Destination: Middle Grade Horror

*No synopsis since this is the second book in the series.

Final Destination 2: A murder mystery

Final Destination 3: A thriller or horror with supernatural events

The Final Destination: final girl trope

A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Final Destination 5: Creepy cover

*THE MUST-READ GOTHIC THRILLER OF 2021 FROM THE SHIRLEY JACKSON AND AUGUST DERLETH AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF LITTLE EVE AND RAWBLOOD *

‘I NEED IT’ – Stephen King via Twitter

‘THIS IS THE BEST HORROR NOVEL I HAVE EVER READ’ – Natasha Pulley, bestselling author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

‘BREATHTAKINGLY BRILLIANT’ – Lisa Hall, bestselling author of The Party

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

Fall into Reading Athon

This is a week long readathon from Sept 20-26 that is hosted by Mel at Completely Melanie and two of her friends. They run this readathon every season and I don’t think I participated last time so I really wanted to participate.

School is in session (school setting)

This is also the group book for the readathon

In Perfect on PaperLeah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

Online Learning (ebook/audiobook)

Friday Night Lights (a book involving competition)

Who wants candy corn ( a book with yellow, orange or white on the cover)

Pumpkin spice latte and apple picking (a book with a drink or fruit on the cover)

Beneath the harvest moon (all the Tommy’s in the world)

~Cassie