Thursday, February 22, 2024

Mother Daugther Murder Night

This is my first read by Ms. Simon, and I'll be back for more. 

It's so hard to find a clean murder mystery these days, free of gore, foul language, and sex. Ms. Simon proves that a good mystery can be written clean and thoroughly enjoyed. 

The murder of a naturalist brings the three women in one family together, even if some of them are reluctant. 
There's a great deal of research that Ms. Simon did to accurately portray the town and the issues of land use that revolve around the murder. She likely only put in a quarter of what she learned, and parcels it out bit by bit over the course of the novel. 

This novel is a womencentric story, and I enjoyed getting the perspectives of each woman. 

The only question on the table is which motive is the strongest: love, money, or power. 



High-powered businesswoman Lana Rubicon has a lot to be proud of:her keen intelligence, impeccable taste, and the L.A. real estate empire she’s built. But when she finds herself trapped 300 miles north of the city, convalescing in a sleepy coastal town with her adult daughter Beth and teenage granddaughter Jack, Lana is stuck counting otters instead of square footage—and hoping that boredom won’t kill her before the cancer does. 

Then Jack—tiny in stature but fiercely independent—happens upon a dead body while kayaking. She quickly becomes a suspect in the homicide investigation, and the Rubicon women are thrown into chaos. Beth thinks Lana should focus on recovery, but Lana has a better idea. She’ll pull on her wig, find the true murderer, protect her family, and prove she still has power.

With Jack and Beth’s help, Lana uncovers a web of lies, family vendettas, and land disputes lurking beneath the surface of a community populated by folksy conservationists and wealthy ranchers. But as their amateur snooping advances into ever-more dangerous territory, the headstrong Rubicon women must learn to do the one thing they’ve always resisted: depend on each other.


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Jennifer's Football Collection

Lots of love in this four book collection. 

Each one is a stand alone. The Titans carry the first two books but the second two are about nonfootball players who are side characters to the original books. You won't get football players all the way through. I was hoping for at least Kade's story. 

But you won't be disappointed. Each couple has their own barriers and issues to overcome to get their HEA and are diverse in their problems and solutions. 

Lots of good sweet kisses and nothing more is needed. 


AMAZON

A collection of four, standalone novels from the popular Texas Titan Romance Series. Lives are changed and worlds are rocked when these take-charge, alpha pro players find the right women to settle scores of the heart.


The Persistent Groom

When single mom Silver Coulter gets a chance to plan the bachelor auction event of the season, she has no idea it’ll bring her face-to-face with the very man she’s spent years trying to forget—Ace Sanchez, superstar running back for the Texas Titans.
Long-held attractions sizzle to the surface as Ace tries to get back into Silver’s life. But Silver has a sordid past that includes a nasty ex-husband and ruthless ex-mother-in-law who’ll stop at nothing to keep Silver in her clutches.

The Ghost Groom

After a long, painful search that involved legions of duds, Ariana Sanchez, fitness guru and gym owner, finally meets the perfect guy when she least expects it. Not only can Rennen tear up the dance floor, but he has these adorable blonde curls and compelling green eyes, specked with gold. When Ariana’s around him she feels oh, so alive! And the best part is that he’s a perfect gentleman and easy to talk to. Their first encounter leaves Ariana floating on air, thinking there’s hope for her love life after all … until she learns that Rennen is the celebrated rookie who’s taking her brother’s position as starting running back for the Titans. Too bad she’s totally loyal to her brother and has to hate him now!

The Hometown Groom

Emerson Stein has no intention of marrying billionaire Finley Landers just so her daddy’s merger will go through, no matter how much of a hissy fit her mama throws. When she skips out of a high-profile barbecue to barrel race at a rodeo, she never expects to meet Riker Dylan, the new starting quarterback for the Titans. With his startling blue eyes, easy smile, and boyish charm, Riker turns Emerson’s head and sends her pulse racing to the stars. Too bad she chews him out and punches him in the gut.

Growing up just outside Dallas, Riker Dylan never imagined he’d get the chance to play football for the Titans. An unexpected encounter with a copper-haired beauty puts him on an uncharted path. Why does he get the feeling there’s more to her than meets the eye?

When the stakes get impossibly high, will Emerson have the courage to choose her own path to be with the man she loves, or will the family pressure prove to be too great?

The Jilted Billionaire Groom

Still reeling from getting dumped on national TV, Finley Landers flees Dallas and takes solace in his hotel in Park City, Utah. When a young hooligan tries to steal his money, Finley gets an explosive introduction to Sunny Day who happens to be a maid at his hotel. Intrigued by the dark-eyed beauty and her sharp tongue, he can't seem to get her out of his mind.

With her sister's killer hot on her trail, Sunny has no room in her life for a relationship. But try as she might, she can't seem to avoid Finley who's determined to sweep her off her feet. When an unfortunate accident sends Sunny running to Finley for help, she must decide if she’ll close off her heart to protect her secret or risk it all for love.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Crying in Hmart

This is an interesting nonfiction read. 

Ms. Zauner reflects on what it's like to grow up as part Korean in America. 

The struggles and how it took time to embrace all the parts of her to become who she is, to come to a place of peace with her relationships with her parents, and how to move forward with her future. 

I recommend the audiobook narrated by the author. 


AMAZON 

From the indie rock star of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian-American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band - and meeting the man who would become her husband - her Korean-ness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was 25, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and enjoy many times.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Horse

There are there timlines runing in this book, back and forth. 

I learned so much about the horse racing industry in early America and how we owe much to the enslaved for the breeding and racing of the thoroughbreds. 
I learned about how the paintings came to be a circulated. 
I was reminded of how our country still has much to do with seeing equality instead of race. 
This is worth a read. 
Well researched. Well constructed. Well done. 
I recommend the audiobook. 


A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history

Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamor of any racetrack.

New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.

Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse—one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.

Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism.



Thursday, January 25, 2024

When a Star Falls

Ms. Eliker certainly has a talent for romantic comedy. 

Poor Ruby. She's clumsy in both body and words. And yet, you can't help feel sorry for her putting her foot in her mouth and speaking without thinking. 
Collin will be your next book boyfriend. And Jill will be the next wicked witch you want to drop a house on. 

Lots of fun reading how our lovebirds navigate long distance while living out their dreams. 



How many ways can I embarrass myself? A lot.

I wish I could say tripping a hot guy and tumbling across the grass with him was the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s not. Somehow, it turned into a date with him, ending with a seriously incredible kiss.

I’d say that was a pretty good recovery.

Especially since that date with Collin led to me being discovered by a record label powerhouse. Whoa. An amazing boyfriend, and becoming music’s next big thing?

Yes, please!

I thought I was ready for fame, but I’m not so sure. Collin’s career is taking off at the same time as mine, and I swear his personal assistant is making gaga eyes at him.

Over my dead body!

Except she’s conniving enough that she would stab me in the back.

Turns out, stardom isn’t all glamorous. I just wish I didn’t have to choose between Collin and making a name for myself.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

How to Find a Keeper

Mr. Banner tackles a difficult premise in this romance. A married woman and single man are attracted to one another. 

No one likes a cheater. So I want to root for them and not root for them at the same time, very conflicting. 
This makes it hard to build the romance between them. 
And so this isn't a straight forward romance for me as both characters are, blessedly, highly moral and won't act on the attraction until the way is clear, which doesn't come until the end of the book. 
This novel felt more like a prequel to their love story rather than the love story itself. 
And so the romantic declarations missed their powerful punch for me. 
Worth a read? Yes. Does it follow the typical romantic plot line? Not so much. 
Keep those points in mind when you pick up this book. And, yes, you will enjoy it. 


Zandra Curtis’s world is turned upside down when she finds out her husband has cheated. But she doesn’t believe in throwaway marriages, and she won’t let go without a fight. As Zandra tries to heal her marriage, she is also trying to figure out how to heal the lesions on her French Mastiff’s joints. Dog coach Cason O’Connor, with his easy-going manner and good looks shows up at just the wrong time and Zandra, ever-faithful to her husband, keeps her distance.

Cason quickly falls in love with the Curtis’s Mastiffs, but he’s careful about getting close to the attractive—but very married—owner. Having been hurt by a cheating fiancĂ©e, the last thing Cason wants is to cause problems for the young couple.

Can Zandra find a way to convince her husband to fight for their marriage? Or is she fighting the wrong fight altogether?

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Snow Valley Romances

This is a four book box set of Jeanette Lewis's Snow Valley Romances. 

These stories are all well told with lots of heart. Enjoyable characters, idyllic setting, and soft kisses. 
Easily enjoyable and clean with just kisses. 

I only wish two things: the stories were just a bit longer, and that the editor had taken more care. There were multiple missing commas in every chapter. 



From Book 1: A sweet romance about second chances and finding the love of your life right where you left him.

Christmas in Snow Valley is the perfect way for April Winston to introduce her city slicker fiance, Scott Mecham, to life on a farm. If only Wade Hadley, hometown boy and high school sweetheart, will cooperate! But Wade has no intention of letting April go without a fight. This Christmas, he is determined to overcome their painful past and show April that she already has what she’s been seeking all along.