The Mad Hatter’s Son by Helen Starbuck

  • Available in Kindle Unlimited
  • Trope: Mystery with a dash of romance
  • Triggers: murder, attempted murder, a body count, trauma, potential PTSD, mortal danger, informal police procedure.
  • Pining neighbor
  • Book 1 in a 3 book series
  • Warning: may cause a kindle to be tossed, but do not toss the kindle, take a break and make a cup of tea.
  • Binge reading warning
  • Rating: 1000 stars

Wow, all I can say is I was searching for a book about an OR nurse for a challenge billed “book with a character in your profession.” I’m an OR nurse, this book was written by an OR nurse and our main character, Annie Collins, is an OR nurse.

Even though we only get snippets of the OR life, the snippets were very spot on and made sense to an OR nurse.

Onto the story. This is a page turner in every sense of the expression. I was very challenged to put this book down and get adulting done this past weekend, and I don’t regret choosing not to do everything on my to-do list.

Annie Collins lives in Colorado and works as a PRN OR nurse, so she makes her own schedule which works out great for this story, if she was regular staff, nothing in this story would have been possible. This story starts with Libby, a college friend of Annie’s, who is unwell and asks Anne to take care of her. She had a miscarriage several weeks prior but her health is declining. Annie takes this on, but her friendship with Libby had a disconnect 4 years prior when Libby married an IT superstar, but Annie never liked him. Libby is a talented and sought after artist. Annie and Libby don’t have a smooth reunion and everything in this story moves quickly along.

There are many moving parts to this story and I can only advise you to strap in for the ride and carve out the time to give this book your attention, stock up on snacks, tea, wine, or whatever you enjoy!

Spring Break!

I’ve been busy with work and school, but I have squeezed in a few books!

The Last Eligible Billionaire by Pippa Grant is everything I love in a romance! Fake relationship with sunshine and grump! Plus an adorable dog. This one is the perfect read for a weekend. It just oozes happiness!

Next up, Hollywood Ball by Annie Dyer. This is book 2 in the Manchester Athletic Series, all written by Annie Dyer. This book is absolutely amazing. Ryan is a pro footballer as well as having some serious coding skills. This can be read as a stand-alone.

This is a fiction novel and takes us back to the late 1960s early 70s and the sad results of having a child with special needs, places that would “keep” them and throws a light on misogyny and the patriarchy of the 20th century.

Next up, I listened to Impact Winter, an Audible Original, this was a great listen. It’s more like an audio play with a cast and sound effects. It’s post apocalyptic. You do not need an Audible membership to listen.

Books, Books and More Books, Plus, It’s Mpreg Day

I’ll admit, I have way to many books on my e-reader. It feels like too much at times and I’ll never read them all, but maybe there is a gem or two hiding in the stacks? The ereader has allowed me to one click my way into this current situation! How will I ever give these books my eyes? I can’t even spare the time to organize them or even thin out my library.

Since I’m currently a student as well as working, my reading time has been reduced a bit so I’m in reading crisis mode. I’m reading ARCs and that’s just about it because studying has taken over my life. It doesn’t negate my guilt when I see my ereader library, but hopefully, a better day will come and I’ll be able to read all I want when I’m done with the program I’m studying.

So, I wasn’t aware until I got an email, but today, in Romanclandia, it’s Mpreg day. If you’re unfamiliar with this, Mpreg is a male pregnancy and you’ll see this is the Omegaverse sub genre.

Omegaverse also is called A/B/O which is “alpha/beta/omega” and is speculative erotic fiction. It’s basically a fantasy world created by the author, the characters have animal like behaviors and may include shifters. There is the term knotting used to describe sex between the characters and is used to describe the male appendage. Males can become pregnant in Omegaverse romances. Bringing me to Mpreg Day. There are freebies around today for you to try out! Just Google Mpreg Day and you’ll be able to find freebies.

Personally, I enjoy Omegaverse books, but it’s a very specific sub genre, but maybe you’ll give it a try.

The Mastermind by Dylan Allen A 1001 Dark Nights Novella

The Mastermind by Dylan Allen

The Mastermind by Dylan Allen in in the author’s Rivers Wilde World. You can read The Mastermind as a stand alone.

Ok, honestly, Dylan Allen in the best at writing emotional dialogue with mature characters. I love how dialogue is constructed in Dylan Allen’s books. It’s so careful and thoughtfully written and it just takes you right into the story.

Our main characters are Omar and Jules. Omar is a retired professional football (soccer) player turned businessman. He was based in the UK for much of hisfootball career, but moved to LA at the end of his career to play soccer there. He carries quite a bit of responsibility related to his family, mainly his Dad and sister as he bears the burden of supporting them financially. After a falling out with his father, Omar returns to London.

Jules lives in London and is a strong woman. At the beginning of this book, she has completed law school and been called to the Bar and starts her pupillage. She also works as a bartender. She’s a survivor and I won’t share to much of her story here to avoid spoilers.

Omar is a little gruff and grumpy but he’s the connsumate care taker of those he loves. When he meets Jules, he’s immediately tied to her and likewise for Jules. I really love Omar. He’s really good, mature man.

This story is an emotional roller coaster with many beautiful and unexpected highs and lows.

5 stars for this beauty, and I can not wait for what Dylan Allen has for us next!

ARC provided by the author, and this is my honest review.

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.