Sunday, April 23, 2023

Book Review - SWAMP STORY by Dave Barry


Dave Barry

Genre: Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Available for Pre-order Now!

About the Book:

Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times bestselling author and actual Florida Man Dave Barry returns with a Florida caper full of oddballs and more twists and turns than a snake slithering away from a gator.

Jesse Braddock is trapped in a tiny cabin deep in the Everglades with her infant daughter and her ex-boyfriend, a wannabe reality TV star who turned out to be a lot prettier on the outside than on the inside. Broke and desperate for a way out, Jesse stumbles across a long-lost treasure, which could solve all her problems—if she can figure out how to keep it. The problem is, some very bad men are also looking for the treasure, and they know Jesse has it.

Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer has hatched a scheme to lure tourists to his failing store by making viral videos of the “Everglades Melon Monster.” The Monster is in fact an unemployed alcoholic newspaperman named Phil wearing a Dora the Explorer costume head. Incredibly, this plan actually works, inspiring a horde of TikTokers to swarm into the swamp in search of the monster at the same time villains are on the hunt for Jesse’s treasure. Amid this mayhem, a presidential hopeful arrives in the Everglades to start his campaign. Needless to say, it does not go as planned. In fact, nothing in this story goes as planned. This is, after all, Florida.

Buy Links: Amazon 
Available for Pre-Order
Release Date: May 2nd, 2023

My Review:

Ohmygosh! I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard while reading a book! I could not put this book down! Thank you Dave Barry for erasing the stress of daily life... at least for a while.

Perhaps it's because I have lived in South Florida for most of my life. Or perhaps it's because Dave Barry is such an amazing humorist. Whatever it was, I had this laugh-out-loud movie playing in my head while I read all the crazy antics on page after page. Yes, there was a bit of drama too. And there was some scary stuff mixed in with the funny stuff.  Even the acknowledgements at the end of the book had me laughing. 

I was sipping a glass of wine when I read about Buddy, the wild boar, and ended up with the wine coming out my nose I laughed so hard.

Great characters, some of which you may find unbelievable unless, like me, you are from Florida. Yep! I've met a few just like them. 

I highly recommend this book to all of my Florida friends. And even if you're not from Florida, you really need to read this book if you need a bit of escape from reality. Loved it!!

I received an ARC from the author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

The New York Times has pronounced Dave Barry "the funniest man in America." But of course that could have been on a slow news day when there wasn't much else fit to print. True, his bestselling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books that reveal him as an American icon. Dave Barry Slept Here was his version of American history. Dave Barry Does Japan was a contribution to international peace and understanding from which Japan has not yet fully recovered. Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys is among the best-read volumes in rehab centers and prisons. Raised in a suburb of New York, educated in a suburb of Philadelphia, he lives now in a suburb of Miami. He is not, as he often puts it so poetically, making this up.

Dave’s most recent books are “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland,” and “Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog.” His next book, “A Field Guide To The Jewish People,” which he co-wrote with his friends Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel, will be published September 24. Dave is not Jewish, but Adam and Alan are, so it’s kosher.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Book Blitz & Giveaway - QUEEN OF ROSES by Briar Boleyn

Queen of Roses
Briar Boleyn
(The Once and Future Morgan Le Fay, #1)
Publication date: April 15th 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

A doomed love, a dangerous mission, and a kingdom on the brink of war…
A cast-off princess…

Born into a life of duty and sacrifice, Morgan Pendragon’s destiny has never been her own. Rumored to carry the tainted blood of the fae in her veins, her birthright is stolen from her when she is a mere child. Growing up in the shadow of her brother the king, she has been promised to the goddesses when she comes of age. So, when her brother commands that she seek out a fae weapon of legendary power, Morgan seizes the chance to break free from the chains of her fate.

A dangerous temptation…

As she travels, Morgan finds herself drawn into a strange group of outcasts, led by a dark and enigmatic warrior whose sharp wit and fierce beauty set her heart ablaze. But while Morgan struggles to reconcile her desires with her duty, she and her new comrades discover dangers that await them beyond anything in their wildest nightmares.

A slumbering kingdom awoken by blood…

Believed to have vanished generations ago, a fae kingdom dreaded by mortals is ascending once more, bound to reclaim what was lost by violence and bloodshed. As the fae world, with its intricate web of lies and mysteries, is slowly revealed to Morgan, she is led to the terrible realization that the secrets she carries in her blood make her a greater threat than she could ever have imagined.

The first in an action-packed new series brimming with magic, danger, and spellbinding slow-burn romance, Queen of Roses is perfect for fans of Holly Black, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Sarah J. Maas.

Goodreads / Amazon


“Please–” I tried to say, but the knife tightened, cutting into the soft skin of my throat. I felt something warm trickle down my chest. Blood. My blood.

“She’s bleeding, you fool,” Baudwin exclaimed. “You’re hurting her.”

“Hurting the Pendragon fae-blooded bitch? The tainted heir?” The man holding me gave a nasty chuckle. “And you expect me to care when—”

Abruptly, his words ceased.

The knife against my throat slid swiftly away, nearly cutting me again as it fell to the ground still clutched in the man’s hand.

I turned to see my would-be-captor lying on the ground with an arrow through his chest and blood spilling from his still-open mouth.

Behind me, Baudwin and the other man were shouting to one another in confusion.

I didn’t know whether to face them, join them, or run out of the alley. Before I could finish deciding, I heard the sound of pounding hooves, then caught a glimmer of steel flashing past me.

I fell back against the wall of the alley as a stallion sped past me. I glimpsed a man in the uniform of a Royal Guard sitting tall and upright in the saddle, his weapon drawn and ready.

The shouts behind me rapidly became screams.

By the time I had stood up again, it was already too late. Baudwin and the cloaked man were crumpled on the ground, blood pooling around them.

I stared at their bodies, horrified.

The guard on the horse dismounted quickly and strode towards me, gripping me by the shoulders.

“Are you all right? Did they hurt you?”

I recognized the voice. I forced myself to focus.

The white linen and black leather of the guard’s uniform. The glint of a silver ring in his ear. Dark hair falling over his brow.

I pulled away from Kairos Draven as hard as I could, stepping backwards until I hit the wall.

“You,” I said in disbelief. “You’ve killed them all. Why? Why did you do that?”

Author Bio:

Briar Boleyn is the fantasy romance pen name of USA TODAY bestselling author Fenna Edgewood. Briar rules over a kingdom of feral wildling children with a dark fae prince as her consort. When she isn't busy bringing new worlds to life, she can be found playing RPG video games, watching the birds at her bird feeder and pretending she's Snow White, or being sucked into a captivating book. Her favorite stories are the ones full of danger, magic, and true love.

Website / Goodreads / Bookbub / Instagram

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Friday, April 14, 2023

Book Blitz & Giveaway - I USED TO BE FUN by Melanie Summers

I Used to be Fun
Melanie Summers
Publication date: April 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, Women’s Fiction

“Insightful, entertaining, and satisfying. A deliciously dishy look at a typical American family behind closed doors.” ~ USA Today Bestseller Whitney Dineen

“A life-affirming emotional rollercoaster. Perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette!” ~ USA Today Bestseller Kate O’Keeffe

A richly satisfying family dramedy for any woman who has asked, “Whose life is this?”

Jessica Holloway is miserable. As mom to two ungrateful, almost-grown children and wife to one appreciative-but-needy husband, she has all-but-abandoned the extraordinary—and extraordinarily fun—woman she used to be.

She may be smiling while she volunteers at the school’s dog wash fundraiser, but inside, she’s seething. Having traded her future as a high-powered attorney for motherhood nearly two decades ago, she’s now desperate to reconnect with the woman she once was.

Pushed to her breaking point, Jessica is secretly terrified at what she might do.

Go on strike permanently?

Take the dog and run away to Mexico?

Tell her mother-in-law what she really thinks of her?

Whatever it is, it’s going to be a disaster. Because this time, Jessica will stop at nothing to get her power back – no matter the cost.

Goodreads / Amazon


She was bored. No, not bored. How can someone so busy be bored? It was more like disconnected—slightly separated from everything and everyone around her. She didn’t see the point of any of it, which seemed ridiculous because on paper, Jess had it all. A healthy, mostly-happy family, a part-time job she didn’t mind going to, financial security, good friends. It was enough that she felt guilty wanting anything more. But that didn’t change the fact that she did want more. She wanted to live. Some other life. One that amazed her or, more accurately, one in which she was amazing. Before she was Jessica Halloway, she was Jessica Saunders. And Jessica Saunders was supposed to be extraordinary. She was going to do something important in this world, like run a Fortune 500 company or be a high-powered attorney. She’d be out in the world making her mark and people would say, ‘There goes Jessica Saunders. Look at her. So determined and talented, not to mention dressed to kill.’ Jessica Saunders had actually settled on going to law school, and had even scored in the top five percent in the country on her LSAT. But then she got married and she and Mike decided he should focus on his career first, since he already had his degree and only needed to sit for the exams to get his Chartered Professional Accountant designation. But then Winnie came along, followed by Noah, and pretty soon, she’d forgotten all about picking up her studies where she’d left off.

That had happened so long ago, she completely forgot that she used to be thrilled by it all. Jess Saunders was one of those enthusiastic, take-life-by-the-horns sort of girls. The life of the party. She’d dance all night, she’d laugh all day. She was witty. Smart. Great at banter. People were drawn to her. She loved everything. Impromptu trip to Mexico? I’ll grab my passport. Sex? Yes, please. Plenty of it. Mountain mud pie with caramel sauce for dessert? Hand me a fork.

Jess missed her. She really, really frigging missed her. She knew that impressive young woman was buried somewhere inside her. She must be there, right? So, where was she?

Author Bio:

Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.

Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.

In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for 'K' Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn't require makeup and/or nylons).

Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken 'from above'. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something--more like just staying until they turn the lights off.

She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Book Blitz & Giveaway - MID-FLIGHT by Lisa Wilkes

Mid Flight
Lisa Wilkes
Publication date: March 31st 2023
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

2037 was a really bad year.

Lexi Brennan’s best friend was killed in a plane crash. Two weeks later, an intergalactic crisis threatened the fate of humanity. Authorities responded by launching a genocide.

Lexi opposed this vicious attack. Then again, what could she do? An eccentric flight attendant drawn to glamorous trysts, she felt powerless to incite change.

Until tragedy struck close to home. Suddenly, Lexi was forced to acknowledge the widespread atrocities. She uncovered a network of lies along with an opportunity to restore basic human rights. To protect others, Lexi would have to launch a movement that could destroy everything important to her, including her promising new romance.

Goodreads / Amazon


Wordlessly, Lexi grabbed her purse and darted for the exit. She needed to see it. She had to know for sure.

The midnight sky was pierced by jagged red veins. A thousand burgundy fingers tore through the stratosphere like lightning etched in the wrong color. Puffs of smoke dotted the horizon, mushroom clouds rising toward the ominous red ether. From the descriptions and images in Lexi’s VirtuAlarms, it appeared Santa Fe had gotten off easy. Other cities looked like they’d been struck by an atomic bomb.

The world was blazing. The sky was breaking apart in pieces.

AutoScan—Jorge Rodrigues, I didn’t see your texts ‘til just now. They’re grounding all planes immediately? Scary stuff. Wish I was there with you. Where’s your plane landing?

With a rapid-fire double blink, Lexi sent the message.

Jorge’s response flitted across Lexi’s cornea. His words felt frantic. Can’t get down. Capitol Hill is burning. Dense population, nowhere to land. 80 miles from Dulles Airport. I don’t think we’ll make it.

Lexi read the last sentence and crumbled. She fell to her knees on the hot New Mexico concrete, sirens blaring in the distance and meteors crashing to the ground with a fiery scarlet vengeance.

“No,” she begged the universe. “Please, no.” Her vision blurred. Lexi ached to rip her skin off her body, inch by inch, melting into a heap of exposed veins. It was so enticing. She wanted it so badly. It was what she deserved, truly.

She should’ve been on that airplane with Jorge. Self-reproval flitted through her mind on an endless loop. Should have, should have, should have, you worthless idiot.

She gasped for air.

AutoScan—Colin Brennan, dial right now, she instructed, calling her brother via electrical impulses connected to her cranium. Five beeps sounded in her ear, then the line went dead.

Tears rolled down Lexi’s cheeks as she mentally composed another note to her best friend at SkyLine. AutoScan—Jorge Rodrigues, don’t talk that way. You will land safely. Reagan International probably has space for diverted aircraft. You’ll be fine. I promise.

As she waited for Jorge’s reply, she dug her nails into her leg, reopening the wound on her thigh. She picked at it, forcing the gash to widen. It was the size of a dime, then a quarter. She kept pulling, peeling, exposing her insides. She wanted her entire soul to leak out.

“Don’t leave me, Jorge,” she whispered. “Don’t you dare leave me.”

Colin tried to leave all the time. Lexi couldn’t handle another loss. She needed Jorge. He was her partner in crime, her other half. He was the best thing about being a flight attendant.

Words appeared in front of Lexi’s eyeball. Her chest tightened.

I don’t think we— Jorge began.

“What?” Lexi murmured aloud. Her hands fell to her sides, limp. “What is it, J.R.?”

Lexi craned her neck toward the red-streaked sky. She shouted, pleaded, implored her buddy bidder to write back. She wanted to hear details about his safe landing, after the pilots found an open runway someplace in Maryland.

Arms clasped around Lexi’s waist, dragging her back into the restaurant. She kicked and screamed, fighting to stay outside. She wanted the sky to collapse on her and drag her into the deep black unknown. She didn’t deserve the safety of four solid walls and a roof. She didn’t deserve to be in a city that had received minimal damage from the celestial hellfire.

Lexi began to chuckle as she was forced back inside the restaurant. She could barely breathe from laughing so hard. Through narrowed eyelids, Lexi saw customers and staff staring at her in disbelief. She continued flailing her limbs. She laughed with all her might, a deep guttural guffaw that echoed through the bar.

When a VirtuAlarm informed Lexi that two planes in the Northeast had been struck down, she was convinced she’d dreamt the whole thing. The aircraft she was supposed to be on that night had not burst into flames. No way, no how. Jorge was not dead. Lexi would wake up soon, she knew. She would call him. They’d talk about her silly nightmare, her tendency to imagine the worst possible scenario, her bizarre fear of erupting into laughter during a moment of crisis.

Lexi would wake up and chat with Jorge for hours. And she would not swap out of their next scheduled airline trip.

Author Bio:

Lisa Wilkes has spent 13 years as a flight attendant, jetting across the globe and collecting inspiration for her writings. Her debut novel, Flight Path, is a fast-paced romance laced with serendipitous encounters. This book follows a daydreaming stewardess as she learns to navigate a new terrain: unconditional love.

In her second novel, Mid-Flight, Lisa transports readers to the year 2038. A flight attendant begins to unravel after her best friend is killed in a plane crash. In the throes of unspeakable grief, she uncovers a political ploy to decimate one-fifth of the population. To combat this sinister plan, she must risk everything. Including her breathtaking new romance.

Lisa’s writing is provocative and timely, with a focus on societal issues and powerful internal conflict. Flight Path’s readers will appreciate Mid-Flight's emphasis on hope and redemption, while newcomers to Lisa’s work will be drawn to the power of her storytelling.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram

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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Book Review - IDENTITY by Nora Roberts


Nora Roberts

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Crime Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Available for Pre-order Now!

About the Book:

The #1 New York Times-bestselling author's terrifying new thriller about one man's ice-cold malice, and one woman's fight to reclaim her life.

Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan's job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who'd been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.

Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. "Luke" is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.

What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn't his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan's nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother's home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn't flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn't forgotten the one who got away.

Buy Links: Amazon 
Available for Pre-Order
Release Date: May 23rd, 2023

My Review:

There is a reason why Nora Roberts is the #1 romance author in the country. And there is a reason why she has sold over 500 million copies of her books. She is just that good of a writer. And this book did not disappoint! It had everything! 

When Gavin, the smooth con-man, murdered Nina, I think I stopped breathing for a moment. And then when he stole Morgan's identity, I felt it down to my inner core. No one should ever have to go through losing everything the way Morgan did.

I don't want to give away any spoilers beyond what is already written in the blurb, but this story showed how a person can come back from all of that horror. It showed how a person can rebuild their life... and all for the better.

The romance didn't show up until halfway through the book, but that was good. I liked the slow buildup. Morgan had to find herself first. And the romance was indeed very, very good. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes romantic suspense.

I received an ARC from the author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Nora Roberts
is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Hideaway, Under Currents, Come Sundown, The Awakening, Legacy, and coming in November 2021 -- The Becoming -- the second book in The Dragon Heart Legacy. She is also the author of the futuristic suspense In Death series written under the pen name 
J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

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