Thursday, July 27, 2017

ARC Review: A Wedding Tail by Casey Griffin

A Wedding Tail
Author: Casey Griffin
Series: A Rescue Dog Romance (Book 3)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks (August 1, 2017)

Description: ’TIL DEATH DO US BARK…

Wedding planner Zoe Plum has brides from all walks of life vying for her services. The only problem is: happily-single Zoe doesn’t actually enjoy weddings―but that might change when she meets the singer of a local band playing at one of her weddings. His name is Levi Dolson and he’s too gorgeous for his own good. And now he’s gone ahead and charmed her new dachshund. . .

It’s no secret that Zoe doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to make sweet music with Levi. While she’s convinced she doesn’t need a man, when someone starts setting one trap after the next to make sure she never plans a wedding ever again, she might need Levi in more ways than she could have imagined. But just how far is Zoe’s hidden enemy willing to go? The only thing Levi knows for sure is that he will do everything in his power to protect the woman who brings music to his soul. Maybe that will prove to Zoe, once and for all, that he is a man worthy of her heart. . .
My Thoughts: This is the third book in the Rescue Dog Romance series and tells Zoe's story. Zoe Plum is a Japanese-American wedding planner who doesn't believe in romance. Since her own fiance left her at the alter about six years previously, she has buried her emotions and given up on men. She has a side business hosting parties and selling sex toys for Pure Pleasure and is a very good customer for their products. I just about gave up on this book because the first half had lots more to do with sex toys than rescued dachshunds.

The story begins at a wedding where everything goes wrong. From battling in-laws, to drunk relatives, to a church with broken air-conditioning in a heat wave, to a sick priest, a flower girl determined to release the doves into the church, a missing horse to assist in the new husband and wife's getaway, and a missing groomsman, everything is testing Zoe's ability to work under pressure.  I believe that this whole set-up was designed to be funny but it missed the mark for me because I was seeing it through Zoe's humorless eyes.

The wedding fiasco does lead to the introduction of the hero. Levi Dolson is the missing groomsman. He is a musician and laid back person who falls for Zoe. Zoe doesn't do anything to encourage him which makes me wonder why he persists.

The wedding fiasco only begins Zoe's troubles. The disgruntled bride is trashing her reputation at a wedding expo, her booth has been changed from a prime location to the outskirts at that expo, her assistant jumps ship and hires on with Zoe's fiercest competitor, someone vandalizes her van and cuts its brake lines, someone bombs her office.

Through all this, she and Levi are trying to build a relationship through her cynicism and distrust and their different goals.

This ended up being a nice romance and the mystery was resolved too. Along the way Zoe does rescue a dachshund to be her companion. Freddy is an interesting character in his own rite who adds some humor to the story.

Favorite Quote:
Emotions always ran high leading up to the big day, and a good wedding planner knew how to maintain perspective, to be empathetic but remain neutral. Zoe could see the bigger picture. She was objective. She didn't get wrapped up in all the fantasy of romance and love. It was all bullsh*t anyway. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: A Wedding Tail by Casey Griffin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser (from 10% in the eARC):
"I've got this," she said. "I have a plan." But just as she was wrangling the dog out the doors with the promise of treats, she saw the bride racing through the church's front doors to wave down a cab.
This week I am reading A Wedding Tail by Casey Griffin. I got his eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
’TIL DEATH DO US BARK…

Wedding planner Zoe Plum has brides from all walks of life vying for her services. The only problem is: happily-single Zoe doesn’t actually enjoy weddings―but that might change when she meets the singer of a local band playing at one of her weddings. His name is Levi Dolson and he’s too gorgeous for his own good. And now he’s gone ahead and charmed her new dachshund. . .

It’s no secret that Zoe doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to make sweet music with Levi. While she’s convinced she doesn’t need a man, when someone starts setting one trap after the next to make sure she never plans a wedding ever again, she might need Levi in more ways than she could have imagined. But just how far is Zoe’s hidden enemy willing to go? The only thing Levi knows for sure is that he will do everything in his power to protect the woman who brings music to his soul. Maybe that will prove to Zoe, once and for all, that he is a man worthy of her heart. . .

Monday, July 24, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 24, 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup. YA and middle grade reviews will still be posted on  Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Other Than Reading...

This week was still filled with details about selling houses. We have accepted an offer on the Locust Street house and are now waiting for the assessor and the home inspection. The tentative closing date is August 28.

I have had an offer for my townhouse and we are in the counter offer stage. I made one counter offer, they countered back verbally, and I countered again verbally. I hope to get that settled this coming week once the buyer's realtor gets back from a wedding. My realtor and I had a lot of conversations and emails flew because she was supposed to send me the offer so that I could sign it electronically. However, it didn't arrive and didn't arrive. She finally figured out that they had left one letter out of my email address. Once that was solved, I quickly signed and got it back to her.

I still have to make a trip back to my townhouse because I forgot to pack the boxes in one closet. All my DVDs and some other assorted stuff from my living room are in those boxes. Tentatively my brother and I will make a long one day trip down and back sometime the first week of August. Eight hours of driving is more than I want to drive in one day. It's doable with two of us taking turns driving.

Otherwise, things have been quiet. We have had a few hot days which were capped off by severe thunderstorms on Friday night. Luckily, we didn't have any damage. Coincidentally, these storms happened on the one year anniversary of another set of severe storms. That one took down a tree or two in our yard and ripped enough shingles off the roof that we had to get the roof replaced. The new owner of Locust Street will have one-year old shingles while our new house is sitting with the original 1999 shingles. Would it be tempting fate to ask for hail on the new house's roof?

Read Last Week
Due Diligence by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller is a new novella set in the Liaden Universe. This one tells the story of Daav yos'Phelium's biological father and how he happened to find himself under Korval's eye. I won't be reviewing this one on my blog but you can see my reviews at Amazon, GoodReads, and LibraryThing.

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts was an engaging story but not, I think, one of Roberts's best. My review will be posted here on August 12.
White Hot by Ilona Andrews has been sitting on my Kindle since May. I loved it and can't wait until Tuesday for the third book set in this world. My review will be posted here on August 19.

Heart of the Storm by Michael Buckley is the 3rd book in the Undertow YA trilogy. This science fiction dystopia was action-packed and had great characters. My review will be posted on Ms. Martin Teaches Media August 11.
Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger had been on my Kindle and my radar for a while. It was written in 1998. It is the first of 16 books starring Cork O'Connor and is a mystery set in northern Minnesota. With all those things going for it, I should have started this series years ago. My review will be posted on August 17.

The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy) by Nick James had been lingering on TBR mountain since 2011. When I was browsing my YA TBR mountain, it caught my eye. This is also a science fiction dystopia told from two points of view. I enjoyed one character much more than the other but intend to carry on reading what is now a series someday. My review will be posted on Ms. Martin Teaches Media August 23.
Hungry for a YA mystery, I discovered the Enola Homes books by Nancy Springer on my TBR mountain. I had read the first one years ago and greatly enjoyed the second and the third this week. I mean, Sherlock Holmes's fourteen-year-old sister solves mysteries in Victorian England! I'll be reviewing these on Ms. Martin Teaches Media.
Currently
Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis is my current book. It is an adult fantasy. Think Jane Austen with magic. The author offered it to me and, since I've never not loved her books, I didn't hesitate to say yes.

Next Week

It's back to review books for my adult side. Publication dates are in parentheses.
Her Dark Half by Paige Tyler (Sept. 5)
On the Chase by Katie Ruggle (Sept. 5)
The Bronze Skies by Catherine Asara (Sept. 5)
A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (Sept. 5)

On the YA side, I have one book and then plan to continue exploring TBR mountain.
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (August 29)
Mind Games (Lock & Mori) by Heather W. Petty

Reviews Posted
The Hunting Grounds by Katee Robert

Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

I had to have the final three books in the Enola Holmes series after finishing book 3.

What was your week like?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

ARC Review: The Hunting Ground by Katee Robert

The Hunting Grounds
Author: Katee Robert
Series: Hidden Sins (Book 2)
Publication: Montlake Romance (July 25, 2017)

Description: For two FBI agents with a past, love becomes a matter of life and death in the new Hidden Sins novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert.

Maggie Gaines used to be an FBI agent—top of her class and one of the bright, up-and-coming stars—until she spectacularly fell apart during her first high-profile case. That was eight years ago. Now she’s a ranger at Glacier National Park, and she’s found some measure of peace. But when the body of a murdered woman is discovered, she must finally put the past behind her and work with the one man she thought she’d never see again.

For months, Vic Sutherland has been hunting a killer who’s been targeting unsuspecting hikers in national parks—and now the predator has come to Glacier. Vic knows the case will bring him face-to-face with his former partner, yet nothing can prepare him for seeing Maggie again after all these years, or for the memories of passion it stirs in both of them.

As the investigation brings them closer together—and closer to the killer—Maggie and Vic fear they have only each other to trust. But even that might not be enough to make it out of Glacier alive.

My Thoughts: Maggie Gaines used to be an FBI agent until a high-profile case caused her to burn out. She had remade herself as a park ranger at Glacier National Park and is happy with her life. But when a body is discovered, her nice quiet life changes.

Vic Sutherland was Maggie's former partner. He has been hunting the unsub who is killing people in national parks and comes to investigate the crime at Glacier. Maggie had a crush on him when they worked together but he was married. Now he's divorced and seems to be returning Maggie's feelings.

Their relationship will have to be set aside because the serial killer didn't just kill one person and move on. As more bodies are discovered, Vic and Maggie need to work together to find out who is killing a group of school friends in the park.

The viewpoint in this story switches from Vic's to Maggie's and to one of the group of school friends. We also find out more about the relationships between the school friends in flashbacks to five years earlier when they are just graduating from high school and going their separate ways.

This was an engaging mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.

Favorite Quote:
She hated the way her cheeks heated. She had more control than this. He was attractive and they had something of a history, sure, but he hadn't tracked her down because he missed her so much. Even if he had...
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Memes: The Hunting Grounds by Katee Robert

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
"Somebody just reported a body being found out at Kootenai Lakes campground."
Friday 56:
She was breaking his heart. "Maggie, the BAU spends all its time hunting monsters, which gives us a disproportionate reality about how many of them there actually are."
This week I am reading The Hunting Grounds by Katee Robert. I got this eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
For two FBI agents with a past, love becomes a matter of life and death in the new Hidden Sins novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert.

Maggie Gaines used to be an FBI agent—top of her class and one of the bright, up-and-coming stars—until she spectacularly fell apart during her first high-profile case. That was eight years ago. Now she’s a ranger at Glacier National Park, and she’s found some measure of peace. But when the body of a murdered woman is discovered, she must finally put the past behind her and work with the one man she thought she’d never see again.

For months, Vic Sutherland has been hunting a killer who’s been targeting unsuspecting hikers in national parks—and now the predator has come to Glacier. Vic knows the case will bring him face-to-face with his former partner, yet nothing can prepare him for seeing Maggie again after all these years, or for the memories of passion it stirs in both of them.

As the investigation brings them closer together—and closer to the killer—Maggie and Vic fear they have only each other to trust. But even that might not be enough to make it out of Glacier alive.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Iron Lake by William Kent Kruger

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
Darla brightened a moment. "Sometimes Paul stops there a while. The judge seems to like him. Tells him stories and things. Paul hates it, but I've told him to be polite."
This week I am reading Iron Lake by William Kent Kruger. It is my first book by this author. This copy has been on my Kindle for more than a year. Here is the description from Amazon:
New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger joined the ranks of today's best suspense novelists with this thrilling, universally acclaimed debut. Conjuring "a sense of place he's plainly honed firsthand in below-zero prairie" (Kirkus Reviews), Krueger brilliantly evokes northern Minnesota's lake country—and reveals the dark side of its snow-covered landscape.

Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. Embittered by his "former" status, and the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago's South Side, there's not much that can shock him. But when the town's judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption, and scandal.

As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 17, 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup. YA and middle grade reviews will still be posted on  Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Other Than Reading...

This past week has been filled with house showings. We have had one offer so far on the Locust Street house but it was too low. Friday there were at least three showings with one person expressing a lot of interest but not an offer yet. Sunday there will be an open house. Things look to be moving right along there. There was also a showing for my townhouse on Saturday. The realtor hopes that one will result in an offer too. It would be nice to get these houses off our hands.

I have read all of my August review books except the one that comes out on August 29 and am dipping into TBR mountain for my current reading. I'm sort of taste testing what's there. If it doesn't grab me quickly, it's going back on the pile for another day. I'm going to take a couple of weeks to read what interests me before going on an reading my September releases. There are fifteen of them so I don't want to wait past August 1 to start reading them.

Our weather has been changeable this week. One day in the 50s, one day in the 80s, and today a very pleasant lower 70s. We have almost had enough rain-free days that my two Adirondack chairs are dry enough to stain. Of course, it will probably rain again before I get around to it. I may have to put them in the garage for a few days. Speaking of which, construction should begin soon on our new garage which will give us space for more storage and also space for my car in a garage. My car has been sitting out since I moved back home because the garage has been full of my brother's two cars.

Read Last Week
Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock was an entertaining contemporary romance. My review will be posted on July 29 on Ms. Martin Teaches Media.

In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody was also entertaining. This one tells the story of a girl who hits her head and then jumps to an alternate timeline where she lives the life she always sort of wished for and learns that it isn't quite what she hoped. My review will be posted on Ms. Martin Teaches Media August 2.
Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima is the third Timber Creek K-9 mystery and was quite good. My review will be posted on August 3 on this blog.

Dead Man's Bridge by Robert J. Mrazek was another enjoyable mystery. I especially liked the main character in this one. My review will be posted here on August 5.
Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes concludes her Naturals series. This was an intense thriller populated by a fascinating group of teens. My review will be posted on Ms. Martin Teaches Media August 4.

Among the Dead by J. R. Backlund was an entertaining thriller with an intriguing main character. My review will be posted here on August 10.
To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough was a fascinating mystery about a girl looking for her past and trying to solve the murders of her mother and her favorite teacher. My review will be posted on Ms. Martin Teaches Media August August 9.

Currently
I am currently reading Come Sundown by Nora Roberts. This one is a little different for her but I am enjoying it.

Next Week

With a gap in my reviewing calendar, I'm taking the time to read some books from my TBR mountain. With no obligation to read and review, I'm going to start with these. I may choose something else if they don't grab my attention though.
White Hot by Ilona Andrews (favorite author)
Iron Lake by William Kent Kruger (on TBR mountain since January 2016)
Heart of the Storm by Michael Buckley (3rd in a series)
Exile by Anne Osterlund (on TBR Mountain since December 2012)

Reviews Posted
Shallow Grave by Brian Thiem
The Emperor of Mars by Patrick Samphire
Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener
Midnight Curse by Melissa F. Olson

Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (new YA review published Jan. 9, 2018)
Due Diligence by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (novella by favorite authors)

What was your week like?