Release Blitz hosted by Grey’s Promotions for The Commander, Men of Hidden Justice 3 by Melanie Moreland

Julian and Tally’s story arrived in the deep chill of a Mid Atlantic winter and proceeded to melt my heart. Julian is the operations commander at Hidden Justice while operating Elite Security as a front.

In need of a new hire to act as Julian’s secretary to replace a retiring employee, Tally arrives almost late to interview for the position. Tally is not at all what Julian is looking for to fill the position, but the string between them ties itself around his heart and Julian is forever bound to Tally.

A lot happens between Tally and Julian as their relationship develops and Julian makes a misstep with their relationship. Tally disappears and keeps a big secret from Julian.

Both of these characters are flawed and make mistakes in their relationship but they know they are meant to be together. It’s an emotional roller coaster but they get their HEA. The romantic suspense is superbly written and just the right amount of sensupense.

This series, along with Melanie Moreland’s contemporary backlist, puts her firmly in my must read author list.

Much thanks to Grey’s Promotions for providing this ARC.

Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Visit Melanie Moreland’s website!

Playing Dirty in Alaska by Samanthe Beck

Playing Dirty in Alaska by Samanthe Beck is book two in the Captivity Alaska series. I did not read book 1, but these can be read as stand-alone novels.

This book is about Bridget Shanahan, a bush pilot, who has grown up in Captivity, Alaska, and whom’s family runs a cargo and transport company with an airfield. Her former boyfriend of three years, Archer Ellison III, left her unexpectedly while studying at Stamford. This experience crushed her, and from then on, she committed herself to remain single and only have casual hookups.

Archer Ellison III comes from a well to do family that owns a successful business and his parents aren’t supportive of Archer. Archer has a sister who wants to run the family company after their father retires, but I guess Archer’s father wants Archer to run it? Either way, his family wants him in the family fold. Archer has been working his way back to Bridget since he left her abruptly, but it’s taken four years and a lot of planning to get back to her. He purchases an air freight business from his father, which frees him from his family commitment.

These two have a lot to work out, and they both make missteps along the way.

I gave this book 4 stars, it’s well written. There are many intimate scenes, a random, adorable kitten named Wally and a malamute called K’eyush or Key.

Triggers: tragic/sudden death of a sibling which happens prior and off page to this story, grieving, abandonment, sleepwalking, contact from departed loved one who appears in ghost form.

Thank you to Greys Promotions for providing an ARC.

4 stars!

Good Girl Bad by S.A. McEwen

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I read it knowing this book is a thriller, however, I do believe this is more an in depth examination of a dysfunctional family whom continues to be mired in the results of unaddressed trauma. It involves three generations, but the older generation, the protagonist’s parents, do not have a front row seat to this train wreck, we hear from them, but not until they need to provide their piece of the puzzle.

This book really pushes the twist by placing a woman in the position of a psychological abuser. This woman reeks havoc on her oldest child and, by association, her younger daughter and earlier, with her ex husband. It’s all very strange that no one identified what was happening or answered the oldest child’s subtle cries for help. What we do know is our protagonist is a person you will deeply dislike, her ex husband and her new husband are also not likable in any way either. The protagonist is very unhinged and surely looks to be, at the very least, a sociopath, but then you find out her story which is mired in buried trauma and apparently, her parents are responsible for this trauma by their actions during a rough patch in their marriage. This lead to an unthinkable tragedy that the protagonist carries. Everyone has excuses and things blow up needing immediate attention. The end is pretty dissatisfying in the sense that I wanted comeuppance and that wasn’t realized.

I enjoyed this book, if you read it as a case study it’s fascinating, but this is not an entertaining read; as you read you feel that you’re walking beside the characters as the story plays out which is not a bad thing; this story is a page turner. There are many twists and it unfolds in a very well paced way. Overall, this is a 4 star read for me and I would read this author again.

Thank you for this ARC provided by Grey’s Promotions.

Review of Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

I rang in the New Year by reading Things We Never Got Over, my second book of 2022. This book is a roller coaster ride of emotions, but I was comforted that this is a romance with a guaranteed Happily Ever After.

To start with: hello, I’m Jeanette AKA Jenny and a super fan of Lucy Score’s. I’ve attended signings and reader events because Lucy Freaking Score was there and almost always, she’s there with Mr. Lucy, her teddy bear partner. She’s amazing, he gives good hugs and they are caring, kind human beings. She writes, he runs their publishing business and both of them are hard workers, they are a success story in the romance genre, and they have earned every single bit of their sucess with dedication, and focused hard work.

Now that that is out of the way, Things We Never Got Over brings us to Knockemout, Virginia, a small town not very far from the border of DC. This is a sunshine/grump trope, and if you haven’t read this author’s work before, she’s the queen of the trope and although this book falls under sunshine/grump, TWNGO is a reflection of life, loving someone, the joys, losses and risks that come with handing your heart and love over to someone.

Our heroine is Naomi who ends up in Knockemout because her twin put out a distress call and Naomi, coincidentally, needed to get out of a situation she was in. She meets Knox within minutes of arriving at a coffee shop in Knockemout and he comes at her in an extremely aggressive way. We soon find out that Knox mistakes Naomi for her twin sister.

I love Naomi, she’s a giver to the point of putting everyone’s needs in front of her own and sometimes to her detriment. She goes to great lengths not to inconvenience anyone and she tries to pay people back if they do something for her. She has a hard time understanding why someone would help her. She really resonates with me because I am exactly like Naomi.

Knox is a good guy, but there are times I wanted shake some sense into him because he is not always nice in the things he says to and about Naomi. I have to give it to our girl though, because she has patience. Their love is strong, but Knox, particularly, has a back story and when you get to that reveal, a lot of his actions make sense. He’s also a caretaker and he means well, but sometimes he’s misguided and makes mistakes that piss people off and he doesn’t understand why when he see his actions as helping. Knox has a deep seeded need to control people and situations, and he tries to do that to the best of his abilities while maintaining an aloofness to emotions. When it comes to Naomi, he cannot resist her and he becomes fiercely protective of her, but he made sure to make their entanglement conditional. Both Knox and Naomi have things they need to work out and on; it’s baggage from traumas, meeting expectations and disappointments.

Waylay, who is Naomi’s 11 year old niece, plays a huge part in this story. She’s so resilient and Naomi does her best to meet Way’s needs, but Knox has a knack for saying the right things at the right time; when it comes to Way, there isn’t anything he won’t do for her and the same goes for Naomi.

Sometimes we are granted much more than a hero and herione and in Things We Never Get Over we are given a community and it is a wonderful community. There are multiple side characters like Knox’s brother, their best friend Lucian, Stef, who is Naomi’s best friend, Knox’s Grandmother, Liza and Naomi’s parents that play big parts in this story.

This book gave me big feelings and reminded me that everyone has a story, you just need to be open to hear it. I had a massive book hangover when I finished and I didn’t want to leave Knockemout. I can not only hope we’ll return for two more stories if not more.

If you read Things We Never Got Over. Please be sure to read the author’s note at the end. You may need a tissue, so have one nearby.

Things We Never Got Over is available now! Go get it!

5 stars!

December Flew By

After a hiatus, I’m back, well, sort of back. I had a lovely Thanksgiving, followed by a broken water heater for four days and all the cold showers I could deal with. Simply put: I do not advise. Then, I had a tooth extraction that turned into a dry socket that turned into a swollen face on a Sunday morning and an antibiotic prescription. I slept a lot, read a little, worked, and got through my final exams for a couple of classes I’m taking. Sleeping took precedence over everything else because the tooth extraction issues knocked me out.

So, what did I read? Holiday books! Little slices of feel good holiday happiness with happily ever afters. Most of them were novellas but a few were full length. I also read It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover and, although the subject matter could be a trigger for some, I felt it was a good book with deep thoughts about domestic abuse, how confusing it can be for the victim, and how it shapes a person.

Once I get myself together, I’ll post some reviews and a recap of 2021. I will be challenging myself to read a bit outside of my comfort zone in 2022.

I hope you had a wonderful Hanukkah or Christmas and, a Happy New Year to you!

Indies Invade Philly

On Saturday November 13, I attended my 3rd Indies Invade Philly signing and it was fantastic as always! This signing is so well run and amazing. I was able to secure a VIP Blogger ticket which allowed early entry, one hour before other attendees. Because I had the blogger ticket, I was able to see all the authors that were ticketed and chat as well. It was an amazing signing!

I was also able to see book friends and catch up as well as meet many online friends for the first time. Another awesome moment was when members of a reader group I started in 2020 met for a big group photo, it was a pretty warm hearted moment for me to see how my group has grown and how much it means to everyone.

I also met up with Kelly who has an amazing podcast; Boobies and Noobies (I highly recommend this podcast!) and she’s a ray if sunshine!

Aside from meeting all my fabulous book friends, the authors were amazing and some of them, well, it was like a dream to meet them for the first time!

Here’s who I had the honor of meeting:

  • Pippa Grant (she’s magical)
  • Lucy Score (She’s a darling)
  • Claire Kingsley
  • Kym Grosso
  • Susan Stoker (I almost passed out)
  • Jess Bryant (this was a dream!)
  • A.M.Johnson (Another dream!)
  • Melanie Moreland (They are so funny!)
  • Avery Maxwell (She’s super sweet!)
  • Stephanie Rose (she’s a doll!)
  • Sarina Bowen (😱)
  • Kathryn Nolan (Freaking burst of sunshine)
  • Melanie Harlow

There were many more authors there and many, many narrators as well, but, if I’m being honest, I was started feeling extremely overwhelmed because there were a lot of people in the room and not a lot of room to move around. I don’t remember the two I previously attended being quite so crushed. After the blogger hour, I hung out a little bit in the break area and chatted with people, then I dropped off my stuff at the car and went back to the signing.

I’m looking forward to next year and hopefully, I won’t feel so overwhelmed.

Second-In-Command by Melanie Moreland

This book is second in The Men of Hidden Justice Series by the talented Melanie Moreland, this book follows The Boss, book 1 and while The Boss fell a little flat for me, Second-in-Command deserves a standing ovation. Marcus and Missy are everything…just everything. Marcus has taken over command of a small unit after Matteo and Evie change their lifestyle. He missed Mateo but is doing a good job heading up his small unit. Marcus finds Missy when he and the other unit members bust a human trafficking hold and when getting ready to implode the structure, they realize that they left someone behind. Marcus finds Missy in a horrific situation and there’s something about her Marcus is attracted to. As Missy recovers from her ordeal, it becomes clear Missy has some training. I love that Missy is determined and she will not give up her space to Marcus, she’s very strong with some amazing skills.

This book recieves a trillion stars from me, the pacing is great and I couldn’t put it down. I read it all day into the night snd finished it the next morning, so I highly recommend Second in Command if you love romantic suspense!

Second-in-Command

ARC was provided by Grey’s Promotion.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Well, this is a book I’ve seen so much love for around the book world and the audiobook finally became available from my hold shelf at the library. I went in blind and I was really surprised by this story, but surprised in a good way.

This is a story told from Poppy Wright’s perspective and it chronicles a friendship with Alex Nilson, a man she met when she went to college. They figure out they are from neighboring high schools and they don’t see each other for the semester then fate intervenes and a mutual friend makes arrangements for Alex and Poppy to carpool home together for school break. They bond over that drive home. They form a close friendship that’s fun and wacky and they are so close to each other and develop a fun, but deep relationship. The friendship they form is one we all crave; to have someone like that in your life is a real gift, but as their friendship evolves, they are both faced with the trauma of their pasts lives in the sense that it’s a bit crippling and it really does throw a wrench in their lives in the sense that they are both in the wrong places from these traumas and the inner searching they do and the therapy they enter helps them. They both make mistakes along the way but at the base of their relationship is a love that can’t really be ignored and a sense that they need to be with one another.

My take on this novel is that I loved it, I’m definitely not a millennial reader so I didn’t read this in that frame of mind but as a human who has a similar story to Poppy’s and I can empathize with her as a character.

This was a five star read for me and I’m glad I waited out receiving it from the library.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

This book series was a recommendation from a friend and after waiting for it for months from the library, it finally became available.

Annabelle Archer is a little bit older and a suffragette and activist in 1878 England. A “country girl,” Annabelle is destitute and working as a housekeeper to her cousins household; her cousin inherited Annabelle’s family home after Annabelle’s father passed away. Annabelle gained admission to Oxford college in their first round of admitting women to the college. As part of her agreement, she works for the suffragette movement and hands out pamphlets to men whom are in Parliament. Incidentally she meets Sebastian Devereux, Duke of Montgomery and there’s an attraction there.

A whole series of events happen in this book that are directly related to the characters social position and is eye opening in a sense that so many things were out of women’s control, and, as with all books like this, I had to spend some time researching the political climate of the time period this book took place. It’s always a good thing for a book to motivate me to do some historical research because things we take for granted have been hard fought for by those before us.

But, back to the story of Annabelle and Montgomery! I loved their story, Montgomery is inside his box of thinking and, although he professes love for Annabelle, he can not/will not see a relationship with her that fits into his life that consists of ton society and maintaining his dukedom. He offers her what society expects a Duke to offer a woman in Annabelle’s situation. All sorts of things happen to Annabelle’s life as a result and it’s pretty awful but in 1878 London, it’s what you would expect. Annabelle bears the brunt of her “inappropriate” ties with Montgomery, while mourning the loss of him because she won’t stoop to the level expected of her, because there can be not any other sanctioned relationship between them, but can there be?

I highly recommend this book, not just for the romance but for the historical perspective. 5 stars!

Roasted Crispy Chickpeas!

This is a recipe I use for Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. These are great for a snack or to toss with a salad.

Ingredients:

  • Canned Chickpeas
  • Olive oil to coat
  • Sea salt
  • Your choice of spices
  • A clean kitchen towel for drying the chickpeas
  1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and spread them out on the kitchen towel and gently Pat them until dry, remove any loose skins. Completely drying the chickpeas is important; if they are too wet they won’t crisp up in the oven.
  3. put the chickpeas on the parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Drizzle with oil and seasoning with sea salt
  5. Roast until crispy. Check them at the 20 minute mark and continue roasting until crisp.
  6. After removing from the oven, and while they are still warm, season the chickpeas with your favorite seasonings. I usually use these within a week. After cooling they can be stored in an airtight container.