Firefly Cove – a book review November 23, 2022

Firefly Cove (Miramar Bay Book 2)  by Davis Bunn

I cried and still want to, although with time the need is finally fading. The book ended. Intensely bitter sweet.

Honestly, the story brought me to tears a number of times, I would dare you to read it and not cry too. It can’t be done. Really.

Davis Bunn understands on a deep level the way we as people behave in complex situations, which I find amazing.

I think it’s amazing because not many authors are able to do and do it so very well. Charles Martin is the other name that springs to mind when I read a book like this. He has the same deep understanding of human nature.

In both cases their characters are believable, the stories are rich, and every word must be read or we will miss important threads in the story.

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This is a story of the unexpected, a story of second chances, a story of mind bending situations.

Anything could be possible, right?

The impossible starts this way . . .

Luke has been attempting suicide, four times. This time it works. A neighbor notices something is not right and intervenes calling for an ambulance, but it’s too late.

Then there is an issue with getting a pick up from the morgue so it’s decided to place him in the basement of the hospital while they are waiting.

Before they leave him Luke moves and wakes up to a cold room with a sheet over his head. It’s a harrowing experience. As could be expected, things don’t go well and he ends up totally restrained in a hospital bed. With burly guards, nurses, a doctor, and his therapists all surrounding him.

It seems he’s lost his memory because he has no idea about this person they think they are talking to.

Here is some back story.

Since the age of seven, Lucius Quarterfield has known he is dying. Doctors told him he had a “bad ticker” and might not live to see his next birthday. But somehow, the frail yet determined boy managed to hang on and surprise everyone. Lucius not only survived to adulthood, he thrived, turning a small car dealership into a successful chain. But now, at twenty-eight, his time is finally running out. So he’s returning to the one place he ever felt happy, near the only woman he ever truly wanted—the California seaside town of Miramar Bay
 
Jessica was the only daughter of the only dentist in town. She was able to follow in her father’s footsteps, as he desired. But Jessica preferred the simple things in life—a trait that captivated Lucius from the moment he arrived in town. Her quick wit and carefree approach to life were a breath of fresh air to a man who devoted all his time to work. Soon they were falling head over heels—until Lucius pulled away, to spare her the pain of his inevitable fate.

Now, after all this time, he’s going to make each moment count. Because he knows that everything is about to change…he just can’t know exactly how.

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I loved this 5 star book and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of these kinds of stories. The genre is listed as romance but it is so much more than that. Love it.

You won’t know how good it is until you get into it.

Happy Reading.

A little of this, a little of that November 13, 2022

This is one of those days when I have nothing.

Although, it’s not strictly true in that while there is nothing structured, and filled with good content, there are still a few things on my mind.

Like how insanely frustrated I am with the recent changes to the stats page. I am sure someone loves the new feature but it’s not me. There are three little pieces of information that could fit in 1/2 inch horizontal space but no, it has to take up 3 inches, at least, meaning I have to scroll back and forth to see the information pertinent to me.

The irony in all of this is my recent decision to share only positive rather than negative thoughts and opinions. It didn’t take long for that good intention to fly out the window.

The whole negative-thoughts decision was related to my less than glowing assessment on several recently read books. My insecure mindset viewed the weak response to the post as a good indicator that I should stick to compliments. The old adage, if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.

The thing is – not all books are created equal. In truth, there are probably fewer well written books than there are not-so-well written. Like anything else in life some of us find certain tasks easier than others do. There is nothing wrong with that. In the end though, talent is one thing but willingness to do the hard work is the magic key. So, while not all books are great, I don’t need to comment on them. I’ll just keep quietly removing them before sharing a recently read and enjoyed post. Besides it not like I have a large audience and my opinion matters to the masses.

I am envious of one blogger I follow, she can, and often does, declare loudly about hating a book. She says it and we smile. I don’t have that gift, wish I did (big smile.)

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So, on to read and enjoyed.

Last night I finished Book 1 in a series and loved it. Kindle has a new feature that groups series together. It turns out, using this feature, I have Book 2 as well. I do remember starting it but having trouble making a solid connection. Now that I’ve read book one the beginning of book two is making more sense to me. Hopefully it will turn out to be as good as book one.

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Final thoughts on the rant we started out with.

Years ago we lived near a talented friend with an amazing voice. He loved to participate in community events singing solos of all kinds. We all thought he could have made it in the music industry if he wanted. He could have but he didn’t have the want to or the drive and dedication needed to make it happen. We’ve seen others with less talent who did make something special out of their gift.

We’ve seen it happen in other areas of life too, where the most talented weren’t the most successful.

It’s amazing how much of our success depends on the way we think and the way we act. A revolutionary thought.

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Tomorrow is Monday. Up and at’em

In the meantime. . .

Happy Reading

Review update October 23, 2022

False Pretense (A Murder in the Mountains Book 4)

It’s been decided. Yesterday I mentioned that the beginning of my current read left me undecided about interest level, was it going to be worth my while? It was too early to tell given I’d only read a few pages. My assessment soon was that the story looked interesting but the writing was left wanting. In the end I didn’t read every page but did read the whole book.

My final decision? The story was well thought out, strong, and interesting. The writing/editing was inconsistent. There were large segments that worked well interspersed with smaller ones that were weak and dissatisfying.

Most of the weak segments were part of the transition between scenes. Tense seemed to be part of the problem at times. (Present? I mostly noticed when it felt off. I wasn’t paying enough attention to tell for sure what was originally intended. I’ve been told present tense is not easy to do well.) But the main distraction involved the regular habit of switching between showing and telling. I can see how it may have been easier to list the needed information leading into scene changes but that practice weakened the story.

In the end though, I loved the book.

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My current read is going much better. The stories, strength wise, are on a par but the writing/editing is much better in this one. My one complaint is excessive descriptive detail. I’m skimming pages fairly often in this read too. But I’m loving it otherwise.

Sunrise (Sky King Ranch Book #1) 

Pilot Dodge Kingston has always been the heir to Sky King Ranch. But after a terrible family fight, he left to become a pararescue jumper. A decade later, he’s headed home to the destiny that awaits him. 

That’s not all that’s waiting for Dodge. His childhood best friend and former flame, Echo Yazzie, is a true Alaskan–a homesteader, dogsledder, and research guide for the DNR. Most of all, she’s living a life Dodge knows could get her killed. One of these days she’s going to get lost in the woods again, and his worst fear is that he won’t be there to find her.

When one of Echo’s fellow researchers goes missing, Echo sets out to find her, despite a blizzard, a rogue grizzly haunting the woods, and the biting cold. Plus, there’s more than just the regular dangers of the Alaskan forests stalking her . . .

Will Dodge be able to find her in time? And if he does, is there still room for him in her heart?

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Sometimes I wonder if excessive descriptions are used as a tool for achieving word count. In most cases the stories would survive without them.

I’m happy reading.

Read and enjoyed September 09, 2022

Three books in a row, great books. Every one of them kept me reading much too late at night but the last one read was the best one. They were well written (less-well is a distraction to me. that’s the trouble with reading so many books, it’s easy to become picky about likes and dislikes,) and there was a satisfying amount of meat on the bones of the story.

There were a few things in each book that were less than thrilling but in the long run they were minor when stacked up against the good. Best one first.

Buried Cold Case Secrets (Deputies of Anderson County Book 1)

Recovering her missing memories

could be the key to solving a murder

Searching for her best friend’s remains could help forensic anthropologist Melanie Hutton regain her memories of when they were both kidnapped—unless the killer gets to Melanie first.

For her safety, Melanie must rely on Detective Jason Cooper, who still blames her for his sister’s death. Can Jason set the past aside to solve the cold-case murder…and shield Melanie from the same fate?

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This next story turned out to be much better than expected. A pleasant surprise, indeed. It may even be a tie for first place on this favorites list, now that I refresh my memory of the story.

Even Forever: A Clean Western Romance (Boulder Creek Romance Book 1)

The last thing Rosalie Tomkin wants is another man trying to control her life.

Rosalie’s abusive jailbird father and her ne’er-do-well brother have cured her of that. Not even the wealthy visitor staying in her beleaguered mother’s boarding house can tempt her. She plans to leave Boulder Creek as soon as she can scrape together the funds to do so, and when she does, she won’t ever look back.

Michael Randolph is in a high-stakes competition for the family business and intends to beat his half-brother, no matter what. So when an innocent encounter with Rosalie threatens to cost him everything he hopes to achieve, he’s willing to pay the price demanded by her no-good father. Even if it means marrying a damsel in distress.

Strangers placed in an impossible position, Michael and Rosalie can agree on one thing. Neither of them wants to stay together any longer than they must. What they don’t know is that fate might have a better future in store for them than either could imagine.

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Last but not least another good book.

Risky Ambition (Vanishing Ranch Book 3)

Former Navy fighter pilot Nate Casper, also known as Ghost, splits his time between flying jet-setting celebrities around the world and volunteering to help with rescues at Vanishing Ranch. When movie star Chesney Blake books a trip with him, Ghost sets aside his attraction to her in order to remain professional.

But when his flight plan gets waylaid by a barrage of bullets, putting Chesney in danger, his intention of keeping his distance takes a nosedive.

Chesney Blake needs a break before filming her next movie. But when her getaway erupts into nothing short of chaos and her pilot transforms into her protector, her vacation plans are forgotten. Does someone really want her dead? Or was she even the intended target?

As more incidents threaten their safety, Chesney and Ghost set out to uncover the truth. But as they get closer to finding answers, Chesney is faced with a fate worse than she ever imagined—even worse than death itself.

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The last two are still on at bargain prices if you are interested.

Happy Reading y’all

Short and sweet August 26, 2022

No new books today. But it’s Friday so that makes up for the disappointment.

I’m enjoying the current read more than I expected. It isn’t intense like the murder mystery but the characters have depth and their interactions are meaningful. Some of the situations and discussions are thought provoking. I think it’s fair to say there is a point to the interactions and it’s not a bad one. They are gradually allowing new perspectives in their long held habits and opinions and that is always a good thing.

There was an exciting birthing scene where they had to help a new mother-to-be who was in trouble. Her calf was in a bad position and it was touch and go on whether they could help her push out this big baby. Quite the experience for a citified music teacher. In her defense, it was all new but she took it in stride and did an excellent job as assistant to the impromptu “vet”.

It’s amazing how an experience like that can change our outlook on life.

I thought I might finish reading this book tonight but I’m not sure I can stay awake long enough.

My oldest grandson is leaving for college in the morning so we had a going-away/send-off party for him tonight. The backyard party was fun and travelling into the city wasn’t too bad except there was more traffic on the highway than usual. Although I guess, not really for this time of year. Summer is quickly coming to an end and people are making the most of it.

Here is the book, nearly finished.

The male main character is a reluctantly retired farmer who is frustrated because his heart condition does not allow him to work as hard as he wants to.

The female lead character is teaching his grand daughter piano. The student is as frustrated as he is because she wants to be in the barn with her animals, not trying to make pleasing sounds come from a piano.

Grandpa listens intently to the lessons while he is waiting for the lesson to be over. He is picking up the skill much faster than the pupil.

This guy reminds me of a landlord we had once. In his sixties, taking piano lessons for the first time and loving it.

Look at the time, must go.

Happy Reading folks.

Book of the month? August 19, 2022

I think it is. This book stood out for me, way above the rest of this months reads. I love it when that happens.

A well crafted story is what did it for me this time. The relatable characters were fully developed and interesting. From beginning to end the tale was engaging. But the biggest reason, aside from the plot, was the slow reveal of a complex story. The unforeseen twists and turns continued right to the very last page.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Nothing is ever perfect though and one scene did rankle. There was an altercation with life threatening injuries but the outcome was barely mentioned. The story just stepped over the body and kept moving on. We, the readers, were left stuck at that spot needing resolution of some sort. The incident was briefly mentioned later but it came across as an after-thought.

In a way I can see why it was left hanging like it was. More time given to the who and why of the incident could have taken the story down an unwanted rabbit trail. The event did clear up an aspect of the mystery and was needed for that but . . .

I can see the issue but have no thoughts on how it could have been handled any better.

In spite of that blip, I loved the book. Well done.

A Midnight Dance 

“Politano writes beautifully, evoking the magic of ballet and the theater from the opening turns to the final curtain, leaving readers applauding for an encore.”–Booklist starred review

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All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most–and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. Yet as she struggles to maintain her tenuous place in the ever-shrinking ballet company, win the attentions of principal dancer Philippe, and avoid company flirt Jack, Ella cannot deny the uncanny feeling that her life is mirroring that of the dead ballerina.


Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past?

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Usually I open a new book the minute a last page is read.

Out of respect, this beloved book needed to be savored for a while.

Morning might be soon enough to move on.

Or not.

I doubt I can wait that long.

I’ll check out today’s book suggestions while I’m waiting and reassess later.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Read and enjoyed March 30, 2022

Three books and the first one was my favorite.

Catching Katie: A Novel 

Katie is strong willed and unconventional. Definitely raising eyebrows everywhere she goes. There are many restrictive expectations put on the women of her day and Katie defies pretty much all of them. University – where women are the oddity, arriving back in town driving a motor car… unescorted. All of it scandalous. Even more so when she hops out of said motor car wearing bright pink bicycling bloomers, showing off her stockinged calves. It is more than her scandalized audience can bear.

The only one not running from Katie is her lifelong best friend. He knows all of her quirks and supports her vehemently, even when he would rather not. They’ve been on many wild childhood adventures together, this day is just an extension of all that.

I loved the way the story unfolded. Katie is caught up in the cause she vowed to support with her life. Then finds herself in a tough place when conflict develops between her pledge to the cause and her blossoming love for her best friend.

Experiencing history in a story like this is enlightening and in this case, enjoyable.

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My next favorite was…

Charming the Troublemaker (Mitchell’s Crossroads Book 2) 

This story was enjoyable and engaging. Both characters have experienced hard places in their lives. Trust and insecurities prove to be mountainous obstacles for each of them at times. But then, tense keeps the story interesting.

The story line was unremarkable, other books use similar bones. It was a good thing the details worked to make it unique.

Why didn’t I love this like the first one? There were too many repetitive scenes. I confess to scanning through many pages aiming for the good parts.

I did like the read though and I have enjoyed other books by this author. I don’t recall this experience with other Basham books so it’s likely just not one of her better books. It was good enough though, that in good conscience I couldn’t help but give it 4 stars.

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This next one I gave 3 stars. The three stories in the collection were OK but they were basically all the same. Maybe if I hadn’t read them in one sitting I’d think differently. But then again, maybe not.

Carsen Brothers of Sweet Rivers Ranch Books 1-3

At first it reminded me of past reads and it took awhile to figure out if I had or hadn’t read some of them already. The details were different enough to finally convince me this was a new read.

There were six brothers in this series. Unrelated by blood they still developed tight knit relationships as a band of adopted brothers. There wasn’t one healthy romantic relationship among them and it’s easy to see why they unanimously decided to be done with love and marriage. Breaking the pact was unthinkable.

Their beloved adoptive father’s tender heart was committed to family and he wanted that for his boys. For a legacy to live on there must be offspring. You get the picture.

To their collective horror, their dad succumbed to cancer, leaving an iron-clad will specifying all six brothers must be married within twelve months for them to receive ownership of the ranch they love. How could he do this to them?

Not my favorite style of writing but I’m not sorry to have stuck with it to the end. (albeit with lots of skimming)

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I’m between books and think my next read will be the latest Christy Barritt mystery. This one is still a bargain. Check it out.

Dylan (Lantern Beach Blackout: Danger Rising Book 2)

Happy reading y’all

Another read and enjoyed August 27, 2021

This was a good story but not a favorite. Not a very good lead-off for something to do with a favorite author.

I’ve read many of her books and have positive thoughts whenever I see her name come up. But the truth is, not every book written is going to be the author’s best one. It wasn’t all bad though, really.

Vanished in the Night (Wrangler’s Corner Book 6) is the book in question.

The Amazon quote is really short so I’ll use it.

After saving Kaylee Martin from abduction and delivering her baby boy on the side of the road, Dr. Joshua Crawford can’t get them out of his mind.

Unfortunately, neither can Kaylee’s violent stalker. He’ll stop at nothing to get to the new mom and her child. Can Joshua keep them safe so they can become the family he’s dreamed about?

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It was a good story, when I stop and reflect honestly. It was well put together and had new and interesting twists and turns. I mean they weren’t entirely new, it was the variations that were new and fresh.

I enjoyed the characters. They were well developed and not always as they seemed. Which was good for the advancement of the story.

So, I enjoyed the read. Mostly. There was one just one frustrating element. I know it happens in real life. We get lost in our heads, fixated on certain aspects that we worry to death. It works in real life but in a book it’s annoying, reading the same pieces of information over and over. It’s OK to reflect real life, but it pays to look at things from a reader’s perspective, to avoid frustrating them.

Overall, I liked the book and Lynette Eason is not in any danger of removal from my favorite authors list.

Now that I’ve said my piece I can figure out what I’d like to read next.

Happy Reading.

Read and enjoyed August 17, 2021

I loved this story. For a number of reasons.

I’ll admit I was uncertain at first as I tried to read the first chapter. Watching hulking men storm the beautiful house brandishing weapons in a uncivilized manner was disconcerting. Reading on was looking highly unlikely.

Fortunately, as I read on a little further and other characters were introduced, the story began looking more and more appealing.

There were so many interesting aspects added as the story unfolded. The nationality, culture, and customs of the “invading army” lent a flavor to the story different from what we are used to. The complex family, residents of the house, were definitely not the norm. Each family had deep secrets which added stress to the precarious legal situation.

And, just when I thought I had something figured out there was another twist to the story.

In the end my only complaint was the first chapter and the last page. For the same reason. They were both awkward and dissatisfying.

Aside from that though, it was a great read, one I would gladly do all over again.

The hulking warriors were definitely becoming more civilized as trust grew. A point in their favor. Really, they were just being as protective as an angry mama bear. It was beautiful to see… unless their anger was being directed at you.

The Rose of Winslow Street 

Romance and Drama to Capture the Heart in This Emotional Tale

The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.

When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.

As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.

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I’m looking forward to my next read which will be the most recent Christy Barritt download. It is still a bargain.

Run Aground (Lantern Beach Mayday Book 1)

A dead captain on a luxury yacht leads to a tumultuous seafaring journey . . .

Med student Kenzie Anderson, tired of letting others chart her future, accepts a job as second steward aboard Almost Paradise. But when she finds the captain dead before the charter even begins, her plans seem to capsize.

Jimmy James Gamble senses something vulnerable and slightly naive about Kenzie when he finds her on the docks. Realizing danger may still be lingering close, he uses his hidden skills to earn a place on the charter. But being there causes him to risk everything—especially as more suspicious incidents occur.

As they set out to sea, Kenzie and Jimmy James both wonder if they’re in over their heads. They must figure out how to stop a killer before anyone onboard is hurt . . . otherwise, both their futures might just run aground.

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Happy Reading…

on this warm smoky day

Read and enjoyed July 21, 2021

This was my favorite read of the week. A story full of family secrets.

Going in, I never would have guessed how far they extended.

It seemed like many of the secrets started with a particular tragedy. If that heart breaking event could have been prevented, life would have been so much different. That was the general opinion.

But would it have, really?

On the surface you would think so but further down the road, the truth of that seemed much less likely.

There was nothing predictable about this story. The secrets seemed to multiply as the story went on. Details were allowed to filter out a little at a time. In some ways it was frustrating but mostly it was appreciated.

The characters were well developed and one couldn’t help but be drawn into their emotional struggles.

I could never have predicted the ending. A couple of details, maybe, but not the overall picture. Very nice.

Things Left Unsaid

Amazon quote:

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

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I would definitely read this book again.

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Currently I’m reading a book I shouldn’t be, I don’t think.

It’s a short story, I’m already 1/4 of the way through. I’m not entirely sure what is going on yet as details are being doled out sparingly.

Pulling up the cover to include in this post, I realize my mistake. It’s a novella, meant to be a bridge between book 1 and 2 in the series. Oops.

Book 1 begins only 10 years earlier. Now, I’m not sure if I should stop and read book 1 first or carry on and take my chances.

I think I will be taking my chances.

I’m intrigued with the novella, I’m looking forward to book 1 being just as engaging.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy Reading!