Wednesday, May 25, 2022

ARC Review: The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery

The Boardwalk Bookshop

Author:
Susan Mallery
Publication: MIRA; Original edition (May 31, 2022)

Description: When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it's a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not.

Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband's ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley's brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He's the first man to see past Bree's barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she's stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she's ever wanted?

At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.

My Thoughts: This book is packed with relationships. Bree, Mikki, and Ashley met when they all looked at a building on the beach for their businesses. It was too big for any one of them, but they decide to lease it together. Bree will run the Boardwalk Bookshop. Micki will have her gift shop. And Ashley will run her muffin and cupcake bakery. 

Meanwhile, Mikki who has been divorced for three years is getting into the dating game again by joining a dating app. She has a great relationship with her ex and likes him much better now that they are divorced, but she's looking for a man who matches her own current interests.

Ashley is in a relationship and is very happy until she realizes that her boyfriend never wants to get married. He wants a long-term committed relationship with a house and children but doesn't want a wedding or a marriage. While Ashley isn't the sort of woman who began planning her future wedding as a teen, she can't get over the fact that her boyfriend never wants to make the final commitment of marriage.

Bree is widowed and lives her life with a series of one-night stands. She doesn't want any sort of emotional commitment. She was neglected and emotionally abused by her distant parents who are also famous literary authors. And her marriage was also emotionally a failure since she was the only one who loved and he was just using her. She knows she's damaged and afraid to take a chance again.

When Ashley's brother Harding, who suffered a very severe accident as a teen and who is now an author, is scheduled for a book signing at Bree's store, Ashley asks her not to start a relationship with her brother. Even though she is younger, Ashley feels very protective of her brother and his heart. 

Harding isn't in agreement. He wants a relationship with Bree and has the love and patience to wait her out. 

It was nice that all three women managed to find happy relationships, but the journey for each of them was traumatic and heart-wrenching. I enjoyed getting to know all three of the women and rejoiced when things finally worked out for all of them.

Fans of women's fiction will enjoy this emotional story. 

Favorite Quote:
Because love didn't transform a person into someone else, she thought as she parked in her spot. Love wasn't a cure or a solution. Love might make a person want to be their best self but it didn't fundamentally alter beliefs.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Book & Audio Review: The Way to Glory by David Drake

The Way to Glory

Author:
David Drake
Narrator: Victor Bevine
Series: Lt. Leary (Book 4)
Publication: Baen Books; 1st edition (December 9, 2013); Audible Studios (November 4, 2008)
Length: 424 p.; 14 hours and 20 minutes

Description: Lieutenant Leary and Adele Mundy are Back in This Blazing Sequel to The Far Side of the Stars

Violence racks Cinnabar. The fleets of the tyrannical Alliance are on the move, and at home class riots threaten to rip apart not only society but the Republic of Cinnabar Navy. Lt. Daniel Leary has earned promotion, but the needs of the Republic and the RCN require that he serve under an officer whose paranoia has already led him to execute crewmen out of hand. 

Signals Officer Adele Mundy has repeatedly proved her skills and loyalty as Cinnabar's most accomplished intelligence agent, but now elements within the Republic want to draw her into a conspiracy like the one that led to her parent's massacre. Leary and Mundy battle their way from riot-torn streets to spies in an outlying base and an anarchic planet where violence is the only law, but if they succeed at every stage, one test still remains: a space battle against an overwhelming Alliance force. Even for Daniel Leary it will be a difficult fight to win—and almost impossible to survive.

My Thoughts: Class warfare is heating up in Cinnabar exacerbated by the actions of a ship commander who executed some crew for mutiny and who was then exonerated by the court martial held to look into the incident. Now Daniel Leary has been assigned to the man's ship and sent off to deal with pirates. The ship commander doesn't like Daniel at all either because he blames Daniel for actions of Daniel's father which caused the death of the commander's brother. 

Meanwhile, factions are trying to recruit Adele Mundy for a conspiracy similar to the conspiracy that caused the deaths of the whole of Adele's family. But Adele's spymaster has a mission for her that can be accomplished by going along on Daniel's new mission.

Pirate hunting should be easy. But spies and the dastardly Alliance's plans to establish a base just where Daniel has been sent, means that Daniel and Adele are in the right location to foil their plans ... if they can get their suspicious commanding officers to pay attention to them.

The story was filled with action, politics, space battles, and other exciting things. I really like both Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy who, with very different personalities, make an amazing team fighting for Cinnabar's future.

The narration was well done. The world building was excellent. Fans of space opera will enjoy this series. 

Favorite Quote:
The difference between victory and failure was very often the willingness to see what had to be done, and to do it instantly and with all the strength at your disposal.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Book & Audio Review: Sword and Shadow by Michelle Sagara

Sword and Shadow

Author:
Michelle Sagara
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Wolves of Elantra (Book 2)
Publication: MIRA; Original edition (February 22, 2022); Harlequin Audio (February 22, 2022)
Length: 518 p.; 16 hours and 50 minutes

Description: Beyond the Emperor's law

In the city of Elantra, the law is upheld by a few groups, and the most feared are the Wolves—the Emperor’s executioners. The newest member of this elite force is Severn Handred.

Granted a leave of absence to pursue information about his unknown past, Severn joins a mission to an enclave well outside the boundaries of the Empire. And he will be in danger the entire time. Still, the instincts that led him to the Wolves and the sense of duty that keeps him there can’t be discarded as easily as the tabard he wears.

While he's in the heart of the West March, enmeshed in a tangled web of mysteries that have been held for centuries, Severn's belief in justice is going to be tested. It's one mortal man and his single ally against a community of immortals who will kill to keep their secrets. But they don't know who they're up against.

My Thoughts: Severn Handred is the newest of the Emperor's Wolves and is already getting involved in a number of areas that could be dangerous for him. When he is asked to travel to the West March with An'Tellerus, he knows she has an agenda. But Severn has an agenda of his own. 

An'Tellerus has promised to tell Severn about his past. All he knows is that he was raised by a Barrani until he was ten. He doesn't know anything about his parents or why he was raised by a Barrani. Severn also has a quest for another Barrani lord who is curious about the fate of one of his childhood friends. Since Severn feels he owes a debt to that lord, that becomes his first priority.

But the West March is very different from Elentra and Severn finds himself entangled in quite a few plots. Even the mysterious Green seems to have its own use for him.

This was an entertaining and intriguing fantasy. The world building is complex and fascinating. Severn is also a wonderful character. 

I alternated between the Kindle and audiobook of this one. The narration was very well done - but seeing the unfamiliar names was also very helpful in keeping track of the many characters in the story. 

Favorite Quote:
An'Tellerus laughed. "No. Never waste time with regrets if you can help it; it is idel and dark as a pastime, and it brings no peace."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 23, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 23, 2022)

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.

Want to See What I Added to My Stack? links to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality.

Other Than Reading...

This was a pretty quiet week. The lawn people came and aerated and fertilized around the rainy days. The grass is nicely green, but we don't have leaves on the deciduous trees yet. The forecast doesn't give much hope for leafing out this week either.
Yes, that word is "Frost." Notice all the rain and sprinkles in the forecast too.

I finally made an appointment for my second Covid booster but have to wait until June 1 to get it. I should also make an appointment with my doctor because I've been coughing for a couple of months. Some days it is worse than others. Some days I cough very little and I keep hoping it will finally stop. It hasn't yet. 

I've quit my listening to the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series since I remembered how traumatic I found Justice Hall and wanted something lighter. I did read one from 2008 and decided I didn't want to read another. After another round of discarding books I no longer want to read, my remaining unread books from 2008 number only 7. All of them are books in various series that I have started. I'm afraid that I'll have to reread earlier books for these to make sense. 

Read Last Week

If you can't wait until the review shows up on my blog, reviews are posted to LibraryThing and Goodreads as soon as I write them (usually right after I finish reading a book.)
  • O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King (Audiobook reread)
  • The Moor by Laurie R. King (Audiobook reread)
  • Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters (Kindle Daily Deal & Audiobook) -- Reread of book I read many years ago. My review will be posted on June 8.
  • Her Dying Day by Mindy Carlson (Review; June 7) -- Slow starting contemporary mystery about a film student who finds herself in danger when trying to make a documentary about the disappearance of her favorite author. My review will be posted on 7.
  • A Little Too Familiar by Lish McBride (Mine) -- This was a very engaging paranormal romance. My review will be posted on June 9.
DNF
  • Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman (Review; June 7) -- I read 10% before abandoning this title. It was historical fiction that didn't compare in writing quality or characters to the Laurie R. King books I was listening to at the same time. 
Currently
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
What was your week like?


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Book Review: Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh

Kiss Hard

Author:
Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play (Book 4)
Publication: TKA Distribution (May 3, 2022)

Description: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh brings you a sinfully playful contemporary romance between two sworn enemies turned partners in crime...

Daniel Esera is a young god on the rugby field, a sexy and charming man who's got the world at his feet. There's just one problem: his sudden potent attraction to his number one nemesis--Catie River. No. Just no. Not happening.

Catie River is on her way to Paralympic gold, and she's not about to allow Danny "Hotshot" Esera to derail her plans. Too bad her body isn't cooperating. Even worse? Her heart might be coming along for the ride. No. Nope. Never.

The pair are united in their desire to remain enemies... until a stranger's reckless action threatens both their careers. Now, the only way out for Catie and Danny is to pretend to be in a relationship. How bad can it be? They're adults in full control of their hormones and their hearts. There will be no kissing. No PDA. And definitely no falling in love.

Let the games begin.

My Thoughts: KISS HARD was an engaging sports romance. Catie River is preparing for the Paralympics since she lost her lower legs in an accident when she was a young teen. Danny Esera is a champion rugby player. They have known each other since her sister began her relationship with his brother when both Catie and Danny were young teens.

Catie and Danny have always been frenemies. The delight in teasing each other. Neither could imagine thinking of the other as any sort of romantic interest. Or at least, that's what they try to tell themselves. But when Danny is drugged at a club and Catie manages to rescue him, the optics seem to show that they are in a relationship. 

To preserve their reputations with their sponsors, they have to continue to pretend that they are the newest, hottest item. The only problem is that the pretense soon becomes real though neither wants to admit it to the other. 

After Catie's history with her neer-do-well father, she has difficulty trusting any man with her heart. Danny has been raised in a family where love and trust are natural. He needs to convince Catie that she can trust him.

This was an excellent addition to the Hard Play series.

Favorite Quote:
She and Danny might be frenemies at the best of times, but even she'd admit he was one of the genuine good guys. Smart, loyal, trustworthy - and irritating as all fuck. But when the shit hit the fan, Danny Esera would be the man you'd want beside you.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday Memes: Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh

 Happy Friday everybody!

Book Beginnings on Friday is 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:
Catie stared out the rain-washed window.
Friday 56:
Delicious smells permeated the air by the time she finally finished reading the contract -- she refused to think about why it had taken her so long to concentrate. 
This week I am spotlighting Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh. It is a new arrival on my TBR stack and is the fourth in the Hard Play series. Here is the description from Amazon:
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh brings you a sinfully playful contemporary romance between two sworn enemies turned partners in crime...

Daniel Esera is a young god on the rugby field, a sexy and charming man who's got the world at his feet. There's just one problem: his sudden potent attraction to his number one nemesis--Catie River. No. Just no. Not happening.

Catie River is on her way to Paralympic gold, and she's not about to allow Danny "Hotshot" Esera to derail her plans. Too bad her body isn't cooperating. Even worse? Her heart might be coming along for the ride. No. Nope. Never.

The pair are united in their desire to remain enemies... until a stranger's reckless action threatens both their careers. Now, the only way out for Catie and Danny is to pretend to be in a relationship. How bad can it be? They're adults in full control of their hormones and their hearts. There will be no kissing. No PDA. And definitely no falling in love.

Let the games begin.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Audiobook Review: Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll

Like a Charm

Author: Elle McNicoll
Narrator: Carmella Brown
Publication: Audible Studios (April 12, 2022)
Length: 8 hours and 34 minutes

Description: Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them...except Ramya Knox.

As she is pulled into her family's world of secrets and spells, Ramya sets out to discover the truth about the Hidden Folk with only three words of warning from her grandfather: beware the sirens.

Plunged into an adventure that will change everything, Ramya is about to learn that there is more to her powers than she ever imagined.

My Thoughts: This was an engaging middle grade title with an intriguing main character. Ramya Knox has a learning disability - dyspraxia. It is a motor disorder meaning she falls often and has really messy handwriting. Since her intelligence is not affected, she's bright and really frustrated to be in special education classes when she sees her cousin in Gifted and Talented classes. 

Ramya's parents are news presenters on television. They are really busy people who don't seem to have time for her. Her mother is also frustrated about her motor issues and is constantly criticizing her. A recent move to Edinburgh has brought Ramya from London to the same city where her aunts live. But a long ago disagreement has estranged Ramya's family from her other relatives.

When her grandfather dies, Ramya attends the funeral - without her parents - and learns that he has left her a gift. The gift opens up a whole new world for her. There is a whole magical side to Edinburgh that she has never seen. But now she learns that she can see through the glamours the hide all the non-human residents. And she learns that sirens are evil and have chaos and divisiveness as their goal. 

She and her cousin - who is bright but doesn't see through glamours - are on a quest to help the magical residents of Edinburgh and to reunite Ramya's family.

The story was filled with adventures for both cousins. It was an engaging and imaginative story. It also had nice things to say about those who have learning disabilities and about the importance of families. I enjoyed the story very much.

This Audible book was included as part of my membership. You can buy your copy here.

ARC Review: Midnight Dunes by Laura Griffin

Midnight Dunes

Author:
Laura Griffin
Series: The Texas Murder Files
Publication: Berkley (May 24, 2022)

Description: When the shocking discovery of a murdered woman’s body disturbs the tranquility of tourist season, the police detective in charge of the puzzling case must work alongside the new filmmaker in town to pursue every lead in the new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

After a scandal derails her television reporting career, Macey Burns comes looking for a change of pace in Lost Beach, Texas. She’s ready to focus on her first passion—documentary filmmaking—and has a new job working for the island’s tourism board, shooting footage of the idyllic beachside community. Her plans for a relaxing rebound are dashed when she realizes the cottage she’s renting belonged to the woman whose body was just found in the sand dunes.

Detective Owen Breda is under intense pressure to solve this murder. Violent crimes are rising in his small town, and he can’t stand to see anyone else hurt…especially not the beautiful documentarian who keeps showing up at the precinct

With the clock ticking, cameras rolling, and body count climbing, Macey and Owen must use all their resources to find the killer without getting caught in the crosshairs.

My Thoughts: This is a romantic suspense title that is third in a series. In this episode, Detective Owen Breda is trying to solve the murder of a woman found buried in one of the area's famous sand dunes. And filmmaker Macey Burns is trying to make commercials to highlight the attractions of the area for the tourist board.

Macey has left her current career as a television personality in disgrace. She's sunk all her savings into her new business as a filmmaker. She has self-doubts and still some guilt about her previous bad choices.

Owen is busy trying to prove himself as a detective and suffering some doubts of his own. He feels he isn't measuring up to the standards set by his older brother who is a successful detective. 

Macey finds that she has unknowingly leased the same house that the murdered woman lived in - and it seems someone wants something she might have left there. 

Owen and Macey's paths keep crossing as he's searching for clues and she's searching for perfect locations on the island to film. Both are really busy people who have different desires for a relationship. Owen is fascinated with her, but she is hesitant to start a new relationship with memories of her former relationship's implosion firm in her mind.

For me, this story suffered from an overabundance of characters. I'm assuming that quite a few of them were introduced in the previous two books of the series and were here to let readers know what was happening with them. I found it hard to focus on the two main characters of this story because so many other characters kept showing up.

The mystery was interesting and there was a nice amount of suspense both in relation to the crime and to the new relationship. Fans of the previous two books will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
When she'd opened up to Owen, he'd seemed so nonjudgmental. He'd made her feel like he understood what it was like to screw up and regret it. She'd thought they had connected, but now it seemed like he was using their conversation against her. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

ARC Review: A Daring Pursuit by Kate Bateman

A Daring Pursuit

Author:
Kate Bateman
Series: The Ruthless Rivals (Book 2)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks (May 24, 2022)

Description: The Davies and Montgomery families have been locked in an ancient feud. But it’s a thin line between love and hate in Kate Bateman's A Daring Pursuit.

TWO ENEMIES
Carys Davies is doing everything in her power to avoid marriage. Staying single is the only way to hide the secret that could ruin her―and her family―if it was revealed. For the past two seasons she’s scandalized the ton with her outrageous outfits and brazen ways in a futile bid to deter potential suitors. Outwardly confident and carefree, inside she’s disillusioned with both men and love. There’s only one person who’s never bought her act―the only man who makes her heart race: Tristan Montgomery, one of her family’s greatest rivals.

ONE SCANDALOUS BARGAIN
Wickedly proper architect Tristan needs a respectable woman to wed, but he’s never stopped wanting bold, red-headed Carys. When she mockingly challenges him to show her what she’s missing by not getting married, Tristan shocks them both by accepting her indecent proposal: one week of clandestine meetings, after which they’ll go their separate ways. But kissing each other is almost as much fun as arguing, and their affair burns hotter than either of them expects. When they find themselves embroiled in a treasonous plot, can they trust each other with their hearts, their secrets…and their lives?

My Thoughts: The second book in the Ruthless Rivals romances stars Carys Davies and Tristan Montgomery. They have secretly been fascinated with each other since they were children, but the Davies-Montgomery feud has kept them apart. 

Carys is built herself quite a reputation in London for her outrageous outfits and bold nature. After a distressing encounter with a man she thought would be marrying her, Carys needs to hide that she is no longer a virgin. That and blackmail from the blackguard who seduced her, has kept her from any thought of marriage. Besides she knows that sex just isn't that great.

Tristan Montgomery is back from the war with Napoleon and trying to build his career as an architect. He's looking for the perfect woman to be his wife. She should be someone who will support his career. He's found a candidate even though she doesn't interest him nearly as much as Carys.

When he comes upon Carys after a brief encounter with her blackmailer, he discovers that he has major protective instincts where she is concerned. He also proposes that he would be an excellent teacher for the amatory arts. After all, she doesn't know what she would be missing if she remained unwed or married one of her suitors who preferred men.

As they two explore each other, each becomes more in love than they were before, but neither is thinking of marriage, until one encounter goes too far, and her blackmailer threatens to destroy her reputation. It helps their cause that the blackmailer is being blackmailed into funneling money to Napoleon which would do a lot more than ruin his reputation if it came out.

This was an entertaining and romantic story. I enjoyed both main characters.

Favorite Quote:
Wasn't that the true measure of love? entrusting something with its freedom, and having it return to you through choice? Keeping it with kindness, not restraint?
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Book & Audio Review: The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn

The Dead Travel Fast

Author:
Deanna Raybourn
Narrator: Charlotte Perry
Publication: MIRA; Original edition (July 12, 2021); Harlequin Books (March 1, 2010)
Length: 318 p.; 10 hours and 4 minutes

Description: A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all.

With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh—and a disappointed suitor—far behind. She is bound for Romania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence.

She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians, replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle’s master, Count Andrei Dragulescu.

Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora’s imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute—Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway.

Before her sojourn is ended—or her novel completed—Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal…and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire.

My Thoughts: Theodora Lestrange has just lost her grandfather and thinks this would be a perfect time to take control of her own life. With a modest inheritance, she decides to visit an old school friend in the Carpathians to work on finishing her novel. She leaves behind her publisher who would very much like to be her husband. But Theodora does want a life of domesticity when she can have a life of adventure. 

She arrives at an isolated castle complete with an ailing countess, her companion, the companion's son who is the steward, and her school friend Cosmina. Also present is the new master of the castle Count Andrei Dragulescu who is back from his life in Paris now that his father has died. 

This story is filled with Gothic goodness. From the werewolves in the woods to vampires in the castle, all the elements are here. From a hero who has spent years seducing women in Paris to a heroine who has plans for a career and an independent life, the characters also run the gamut. 

The story has elements of horror, a murder, an exhumation of the former count's body, and elements of romance as our heroine lets herself be seduced by and fall in love with the count. I enjoyed the setting and atmosphere of this story. I thought the writing was both descriptive and engaging. Charlotte Perry did an excellent job in bringing the author's words to life with her narration. 

Favorite Quote:
"I do not require love," he said stonily.

"We all of us require love," I replied. "You think me childish and silly for clinging to the promise of it, but it is human to want happiness, and if there is happiness without love I am not convinced of it."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

ARC Review: Nightwork by Nora Roberts

Nightwork

Author:
Nora Roberts
Publication: St. Martin's Press (May 24, 2022)

Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts introduces an unforgettable thief in a new novel of suspense, greed, love, and survival…

Harry Booth started stealing at nine to keep a roof over his ailing mother’s head, slipping into luxurious, empty homes at night to find items he could trade for precious cash. When his mother finally succumbed to cancer, he left Chicago―but kept up his nightwork.

Wandering from the Outer Banks to Savannah to New Orleans, he dons new identities and stays careful, observant, distant. He can’t afford to attract attention―or get attached. Still, he can’t help letting his guard down when he meets Miranda Emerson. But the powerful bond between them cannot last―because not all thieves follow Harry’s code of honor. Some pay others to take risks so they can hoard more treasures. Some are driven by a desire to own people the way they own paintings and jewels. And after Harry takes a lucrative job commissioned by Carter LaPorte, LaPorte sees a tool he can use, and decides he wants to own Harry.

The man is a predator more frightening than the alligators that haunt the bayou―and when he strongarms Harry into robbing a Baltimore museum, Harry abandons Miranda―cruelly, with no explanation―and disappears. But no matter what name he uses or where he goes, LaPorte casts a shadow over Harry’s life. To truly free himself, he must face down his enemy once and for all. Only then can he hope to possess something more valuable than anything he has ever stolen…

My Thoughts: Harry Booth became a thief at the age of nine. His mother was battling cancer and someone had to help with the bills. Besides, it was a thrill to enter other people's homes and help himself to their belongings. He and his aunt Mags took care of his mother, and he developed skill at his nightwork, until she died when he was just eighteen. 

Then Harry began a journey to find out where he wanted to be. He headed East and his aunt headed West and they promised to meet again at least once a year around April 1. Harry wanted to learn so he headed to college towns where he continued his nightwork and began to take classes in things that interested him. 

He settled for a while in New Orleans where he met some friends including a successful thief who helped hone his skills. But he also introduced him to a man who would haunt his life. LaPorte was rich and greedy for things, especially things that others had, so he hired Harry to steal a painting for him. Unfortunately, Harry was so successful that LaPorte decided that he wanted to keep Harry too.

So Harry disappeared, changed his identity, and landed in Savannah where he attended college and met a young woman named Miranda Emerson. They fell in love, but LaPorte found him, and blackmailed him into another heist. To protect the ones he loved, Harry, now known as Booth, had to break the heart of the woman he loved, steal the statue, and disappear again. 

He traveled all over the world, stealing, and keeping one step ahead of LaPorte until he decided to take a sabbatical and work as an English and drama teacher in a small town. He wasn't expecting Miranda Emerson, now a best-selling author, to come there to work on her next book. When the two reunite, Booth and Miranda realize that they are still in love and Booth realizes that he has to do something permanent to get LaPorte off his back so that he and Miranda can have a future.

This was another excellent story by Nora Roberts. Roberts' writing has a way to really touch my emotions. She made me cry when I read about the loss of Harry's mother and made me ache for a happy ending for him. 

The characters were well-rounded, intriguing people. I loved the relationships between them all. The writing was engaging and the story gripping. Fans of Nora Roberts will love meeting these characters and enjoy this heist story. 

Favorite Quote:
He hadn't - precisely - waited up. He'd been reading. But now that the center of his world had come home safe and sound, he could sleep.

Maybe he'd worry a bit about his little girl's starry eyes when she'd talked about the boy, but he could sleep.

"Six languages?" Ben muttered when he turned off the light. "At his age? We'll see about that one."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 16, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 16, 2022)

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.

Want to See What I Added to My Stack? links to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality.

Other Than Reading...

I had a nice week despite the fact that my friend cancelled her visit. Her assistant was ill and being tested for Covid and she didn't want to take any chance of bringing Covid north with her. 

We had a few days with heavy rain, lightning and thunder. Duluth didn't have the heavy, damaging storms that hit a large part of Minnesota. The rivers and creeks are very full right now and flooding is possible. However, I live on the top of the hill and am not in any danger of flooding. The rest of the week was nice, sunny and very spring-like.

I caught up on posting reviews at Amazon which I hadn't done for a month. I also caught up posting on LibraryThing. I made good progress on lowering my stack of June review books. I also watched a lot of baseball. 

Read Last Week

If you can't wait until the review shows up on my blog, reviews are posted to LibraryThing and Goodreads as soon as I write them (usually right after I finish reading a book.)
  • A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong (Review; May 31) -- First in a new time travel series by a favorite author. My review will be posted on May 26.
  • A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari (Review; June 7) -- Entertaining historical mystery set just after World War I in England. Lots of social commentary. My review will be posted on May 31.
  • The Ambitious Card by John Gaspard (Mine; Kindle & Audiobook) -- This audiobook set in Minneapolis/St. Paul stars magician Eli Marks. It had engaging characters and an interesting plot. My review will be posted on June 7.
  • The Gatekeeper by James Byrne (Review; June 7) -- Great hard-boiled thriller that was packed with action and engaging characters. My review will be posted on May 31.
  • A Fatal Booking by Victoria Gilbert (Review; June 7) -- Cozy mystery that is third in a series. Nice characters and engaging mystery. My review will be posted on June 1.
  • The Murders of Richard III by Elizabeth Peters (Audiobook Reread) -- I read this one years ago and got it as an audiobook as part of my membership recently. It was a fun story. My review will be posted on June 9.
  • Peril at Pennington Manor by Tracy Gardner (Review; June 7) -- Second Avery Ayres cozy mystery. Nice characters and story. My review will be posted on June 2.
  • Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron (Review; June 7) -- Beginning of a new cozy series set in New Orleans. Filled with quirky characters and a nice mystery. My review will be posted on June 2.
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (Audiobook Reread) -- I wanted a comfort read to listen to while playing computer games. I reviewed this one back in 2021.
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What was your week like?