Tea, Rain, Book

I enjoy romances, cozy mysteries, police procedurals, and non-fiction.

 

You can also find me on the following sites:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/840708-melissa

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tea_rain_book

 

 

 

 

Friday Reads - June 22, 2018

Wishing Lake (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart After the Eclipse: A Mother's Murder, a Daughter's Search - Sarah Perry The Spirit of '76: From Politics to Technology, the Year America Went Rock & Roll (Kindle Single) - David Browne Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah Cafe Au Lait - Liane Spicer Welcome to Last Chance - Cathleen Armstrong If Ever I Would Leave You: A Montana Rescue Prequel - Susan May Warren Submerged - Dani Pettrey

This week I read Wishing Lake by Regina Hart (my favorite in the Finding Home series...so far), After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry, and The Spirit of '76 by David Browne. I hope to get to reviewing those books over the weekend.

 

Something is screwy with USAFE's e-lending system, so I had to put One in a Million on the backburner until the system is working again.

 

This weekend I want to get Trevor Noah's Born a Crime (borrowed a physical copy from library) and Café Au Lait by Liane Spicer (PRIME lending library borrow) read. I need to write my personal essay and resume for my grad school applications. Transcripts have been ordered (I swear the Air Force loves to make easy, mundane tasks HELLA complicated via the Internet....). Waiting on my mentor/friend for the recommendation letter. Oh man....it's really happening!!!!

 

Next week I want to get to Welcome to Last Chance (Last Chance #1) by Cathleen Armstrong, If Ever I Would Leave You (Montana Rescue #0.5) by Susan May Warren, and Submerged (Alaskan Courage #1) by Dani Petry. The first and last book are Prime lending library reads and it is my hope I can be done with these books and cancel my Prime membership by the end of the month. As if I don't have enough series to keep track of, now I am starting new ones.

 

Happy Reading!

Friday Reads - June 15, 2018

Wishing Lake (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart One in a Million  - Jill Shalvis Cafe Au Lait - Liane Spicer Welcome to Last Chance - Cathleen Armstrong The Spirit of '76: From Politics to Technology, the Year America Went Rock & Roll (Kindle Single) - David Browne

Today is the first full day of summer vacation for my kids. Don't know how much reading I will be getting done while they are home, but I hope to finish Wishing Lake and at least get started on One in a Million this weekend. Keeping on the contemporary romance track, I hope to get Café Au Lait and Welcome to Last Chance done next week. On the non-fiction side, I want to get The Spirit of '76 read.

 

I am hoping that Storm Hector brings relief from my allergies. Happy reading!

A Radiant Soul by Kianna Alexander

A Radiant Soul: A Sweet Way to His Heart Novella - Kianna Alexander

This story involves Rosaline's  (from Drifting to You) former apprentice, Sarah, as she carves out a career baking in a luxury resort in Wyoming territory while volunteering for the women's vote. She is called home for her mother's upcoming 45th birthday and decides on the way back to Wyoming that she will go to Washington DC to network with other WOC suffragettes. While home, she meets Owen, a carpenter that is building a gazebo as a birthday gift to her mom. Owen also volunteers his time to clandestine organization (the Sons of the Diaspora) that works to maintain and forward the progress of the black male vote, even at the expense of the women's vote. 

 

I really enjoyed reading Sarah and Owen's story except for the fact that they met because her father's manipulations - dear father wanted Sarah to move back home and be more "traditional". Screw that, I liked Sarah the way she was and in the end Owen did to which is why they continued to court through letters and trips to see each other after she returned to Wyoming. Plus, after they got engaged, they decided to leave Fayetteville and Wyoming and make their home in a place that offered both of them opportunity for employment and to continue their volunteer work. I also loved that I got to see Sarah and Will together with their new daughter.

 

In both Drifting to You and A Radiant Soul, Alexander explored the lives of African-Americans during the Reconstruction/Gilded Age by the characters' back stories; Rosaline and Will were former slaves, Owen grew up the child and grandchild of escaped slaves that hid in the Great Dismal Swamp until after the Civil War, and Sarah grew up freed. There is a lot of great history within these romances and a great way to discover parts of history that don't get told in classrooms. 

 

*This story was originally published in Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology.*

Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander

Drifting to You: Cape Fear Shipworks - Kianna Alexander

A great historical romance novella set in Fayetteville, NC. The heroine (Rosaline) is working as a baker with dreams of owning her own storefront; she has the opportunity to meet wealthy clients and get a fat profit by baking and serving a cake for the Goodman family when they set sail on their new pleasure boat. The hero (Will) is the shipbuilder who has been having his eye on courting Rosaline and thinks the cruise down the Cape Fear River is the perfect time to ask for her consent to his courting. 

 

There is a lot to their individual back stories, namely that both Rosaline and Will were former slaves and they learned their trade prior to being free. I liked both as individuals and as a couple. Will accepted Rosaline's medical condition and didn't make a big deal out of creating a family with her through other means. A sweet but not cloying romance.

 

 

*This story was originally published in The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance anthology*

The Valcourt Heiress (Medieval Song #7) by Catherine Coulter

The Valcourt Heiress - Catherine Coulter

What a fun ride this book turned out to be! I don't know how I came in possession of it but I have had the book on my physical book shelf since we lived in California and never felt in the mood for a medieval. So it gathered dust until I was making a list of books for the Ripped Bodice Bingo and saw that this book would be good filler for a square (the "Pre-Renaissance" box). On a whim I started the book and was immediately engrossed in the story involving a second son inheriting a mid-size keep that was left in almost ruins, a runaway heiress, a wannabe sorceress who is the heroine's mother, dubious "natural" deaths of relatives, the stupidest villains in all of England, several kidnappings, and just King Edward enjoying the real life drama of his citizens while thinking of the value of the coins can help him squash the Welsh and Scottish uprisings. 

 

A lot is packed into this story line, but the developing romance between Garron of Kersey and Merry (the heiress in the title) was actually real and I rooted for them to get their HEA, whatever that looked like. He didn't really notice her until she mentioned her preference for making lists to help with big projects (like restoring a mid-size keep to its' former glory), then he was like "hey! you seem like a decent person to have help me" - no pants feeling at first, theirs was a meeting of the minds and intentions. Merry to her credit had major administration skills, as she was running things over at Valcourt until the death of her father, plus she didn't mind doing menial labor, like making soap or milking Eric(a) the goat, while also advising Garron on the political situation outside the walls of Wareham. 

 

A highly entertaining read.

Harmony Cabins (Finding Home #2) by Regina Hart

Harmony Cabins (Finding Home Series Book 2) - Regina Hart

Another good installment in the small town contemporary series. This time we find Jackson Sansbury, the last living member of Trinity Falls, OH founding family, owning and running a cabin resort at the edge of town. Jackson has had a rough couple of years; his wife cheated on him while he was at the hospital with their daughter who was fighting (and ultimately lost her battle with) cancer. With the towns 150th birthday celebration just weeks away, the citizens of Trinity Falls hope that he can come around to celebrating with them; but for now he is just dealing with his grief in his own way by being a grumpy recluse.

 

Until Audra "Penny" Lane comes to spend a summer in the one renovated cabin at the resort. Her manager is a native of Trinity Falls and thinks that getting Audra away from the pressure cooker that is Los Angeles will help her get over her writer's block (Audra is a songwriter who just won a Grammy) and help with her insomnia. She finds the small town life very liberating and begins to find her muse again. 

 

Jackson and Audra make a sweet, wonderful couple and both their exes can die in a fiery mosh pit. Doreen amps up her mayoral campaign and gets caught in a sort of love triangle (but let's face it, anyone is better than that asshole Coach Leo). I kind of knew what secret woman Darius was seeing in the next town over and was proven right. The secret coming to light was a nice bit of fireworks to end Trinity Falls celebration.

 

Plot wise, this book moves slow in the first half and then layer upon layer of revelations begin to emerge and makes the story so engrossing. There are other plotlines that are a continuation from the previous book and are left hanging somewhat to be continued in the next book, but these plotlines give the reader a fuller sense of the world building and help set up the next book. Darius really shines in this book and I can't wait to read his story.

He's So Fine (Lucky Harbor #11) by Jill Shalvis

He's So Fine - Jill Shalvis

I liked this one better than the previous book in the trilogy within a series. I really wanted to know Olivia's story and didn't care which of Sam's co-workers she ended up with, but in the end I glad she was coupled with Cole. Her story was interesting but realistic, as seen by the lives of several Disney channel child stars; her starting over and how she went about doing it showed maturity. Cole's family was a little OTT but luckily their scenes were kept to a minimum. Lucille is just too creepy to bring comedic relief. 

 

Looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

When Summer Comes (Whiskey Creek #3) by Brenda Novak

When Summer Comes - Brenda Novak

There wasn't much to Callie's character in the previous books, so I went in with only the reference that she was a bit of shallow gossip from the one or two scenes she was featured in the last book. Luckily, she has a lot more going for her personality wise here; she is a professional photographer who enjoys taking photos of weddings and other pedestrian life events rather than try to make "art", only child of doting parents, and a good friend especially to Baxter. I really liked Callie and understood her need to not tell everyone about her diagnosis, as she was too busy physically, mentally, and emotionally dealing with it herself to also have to deal with loved ones' reactions. Callie is dying from non-alcoholic fatty liver and she won't make it through the summer if she doesn't find a donor. 

 

In walks (limps) Levi McCloud, a vagabond who shows up on her door step in a world of hurt. Callie decides she needs to rescue him/nurse him back to health as a way of living life to its' fullest before she succumbs to her disease. Levi is an Afghanistan veteran who went into the military to escape an abusive home life. He has his motorcycle and does enough day labors to pay his way across the western part of the US. I liked Levi right off the bat and felt that Callie was in good company whenever he was around.

 

Unfortunately, like the previous book, the story suffers from the inclusion of Callie's asshole friends, save Cheyanne (heroine from the previous book) and Baxter. Kyle is still a MAJOR dickhead after screwing up his life so royally in the prequel to the series and I wanted to slap the hell out of him. The only good thing that involved Kyle was the tidbit that Olivia and Brandon (couple from the prequel) got married and Kyle has to deal with his "one true love" that he cheated on with her sister at all family get-togethers as his step-sister-in-law. Serves his ass right. Eve has been wrong enough times about her friends' decisions on relationships that she really just needs to STFU already. Thankfully most of the time Baxter was the friend Callie called on and had a meaningful friendship with; and it was nice to see Dylan and Chey going strong together. Little scenes mean a lot in small town contemporary romance.

 

Still a good reading time was had and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Winds of Salem (The Beauchamp Family #3) by Melissa de la Cruz

Winds of Salem - Melissa  de la Cruz

This installment of the trilogy was a let down. Coming off the cliffhanger that ended book two, I was expecting the action to continue. Instead I got life in Puritan Salem, MA for 85% of the book, interspersed with present day happenings that slowed down the plot, including a weird unrequited love of Thor towards Ingrid. I find Puritan history boring on the best day, this was more so. This book was kind of a mess plot wise, but still keeping true to the characters from book one and two, which made it any easy and fast read. The ending helped prop up my rating; I thought it was a fitting and gave a good foundation for a spin off series if the author chooses to do so. Just a lackluster ending to an addictive series for me.

Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule

Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial Murderer - Ann Rule

This was my first time reading Ann Rule and for the most part I liked it. First published in 2004, this was a book that took a long time to write because it took decades to solve the murder cases.

 

What I liked: Rule goes to great lengths to humanize the numerous victims. Each victim gets her back story told as well as when she was last seen. I liked how she also wrote in the killer's backstory/where abouts when the murders happened, so the reader was given a full view of events and how he was ultimately found. Rule also wrote the story in a way that helped the reader define each of the law enforcement personnel named in the story so that they didn't blend into one super cop. The world building of late 1970s/1980s Seattle was detailed enough to understand the community of that community. The detective work was interesting, especially as technology advanced in areas such as DNA testing.

 

What I didn't liked: First, Rule wrote herself into the story way too much - and Rule thinks Rule is amazingly awesome.....*eyeroll*. Although Rule and the police insist that the killer didn't have a type of victim he favored, it was clear he did after reading the third or fourth victim's back story - abusive home life, early drug use, teenage prostitution, etc. After reading 10 painful upbringing background leading to life on the streets stories, the victims start to blend in together despite Rule giving each victim their own spotlight. It didn't help that the backstory and abduction took place sometimes months prior to finding the bodies/skeletons. So the reader gets three or four victims' stories, then 20 or so pages later a body/bones are discovered. It makes for choppy reading. I think Rule also gives the county and small town police too much of a pass when they were definitely wrong/going in the wrong direction with the investigation - there was no analysis or criticisms but lengthy reasoning why law enforcement thought they were one the right track and how disappointed they were when they were proved wrong. She was just too friendly with the police to write with some distance that a more impartial writer would be.

 

I would be open to reading more from Rule, hopefully with a case that she has some distance on so that I don't have to read over and over again how awesome Rule is.

Summer Edition of 24 in 48 Read-a-thon

The summer edition of the 24 in 48 Read-a-thon (July 21st-22nd) is now open for signing up. I will update throughout that weekend here and on Twitter. I am doing a Christmas in July theme for my reading. 

Friday Reads - June 8, 2018

Drifting to You: Cape Fear Shipworks - Kianna Alexander A Radiant Soul: A Sweet Way to His Heart Novella - Kianna Alexander The Valcourt Heiress - Catherine Coulter

Tomorrow is the kick-off of COYER Big Summer Birthday Bash. To start, I am reading two books off my COYER reading list, Drifting to You and A Radiant Soul by Kianna Alexander. These were historical romance novellas from two different indie published anthologies that are now sold separately, at least in the Kindle store. 

 

I already have two books done for Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo this week: Winds of Salem for "time travel" square and When Summer Comes for "heroine is older than the hero" square. Right now I am working on a third, the one for the "Pre-Renaissance" square (The Valcourt Heiress by Catherine Coulter, set in medieval England).

 

I gave up on that WWI book because I couldn't get through the first chapter. I am taking the summer off from the reading list and will get back to it in September.

 

Started the grad school application process this week. Hopefully by September I will be back in school along with my kids.

 

 

2nd Annual The Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo

 Click here for rules and game board: https://www.therippedbodicela.com/bingo.

 

I did this last year and while I didn't get any bingos, it was fun to play along. This year's categories/prompts seem more based on genre conventions and less influenced on news makers. My favorite is "birds are involved somehow" - and they recommend the Call of Crows trilogy as an example, so interpret these categories as you want.

 

I am using my current read, Winds of Salem, for the time travel square.

Source: http://www.therippedbodicela.com/bingo

Friday Reads - June 1, 2018

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 - Christopher Clark Winds of Salem - Melissa  de la Cruz One in a Million  - Jill Shalvis Wishing Lake (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart When Summer Comes - Brenda Novak

Spent the day after Memorial Day at the doctor's, as my son came down with Strep Throat (must be his yearly need for amoxicillian, lol). Counting down to summer vacation (son has 8.5 days left and daughter has 4 days) and the reading for our library's Summer Reading Program started today. I wish I could read faster, but my seasonal allergies are a doozy this year and I am either in a sneezing fit, sinus pain, or blacked out due to allergy medications. 

 

I ended up finishing the Ann Rule book yesterday; luckily, I picked up the last book in the Beauchamp Family series, so I am reading Winds of Salem first. I am also going to buckle down and read The Sleepwalkers, even if it is just 50 pages at a time every day. For next week, I plan on reading One in a Million (last book in the last trilogy that forms the Lucky Harbor series), When Summer Comes (third book in the Whiskey Creek series) and Wishing Lake (third book in the Finding Home series).

 

Happy June and the beginnings of summer (which means daylight from 4 am to 11 pm here in England) or winter depending on which side of the equator you live on.

June 2018 TBR

Winds of Salem - Melissa  de la Cruz One in a Million  - Jill Shalvis Wishing Lake (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart When Summer Comes - Brenda Novak Cafe Au Lait - Liane Spicer Welcome to Last Chance - Cathleen Armstrong Submerged - Dani Pettrey The Bounty - Beth Williamson The Icecutter's Daughter - Tracie Peterson All I Am (A Farmers' Market Story) - Nicole Helm

COYER and my library's Summer Reading Program are now live. I want to continue or finish some of my series reads and get through that one WWI book that is a door stopper. I want to read all the books I borrowed from Prime Lending so I can cancel my subscription over the summer (I just don't feel like the benefits are worth the ever increasing price). 

 

TBR:

1. Winds of Salem (The Beauchamp Family #3) by Melissa de la Cruz

2. One in a Million (Lucky Harbor #12) by Jill Shalvis

3. Wishing Lake (Finding Home #3) by Regina Hart

4. When Summer Comes (Whiskey Creek #3) by Brenda Novak

5. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark

6. Café Au Lait by Liane Spicer

7. Welcome to Last Chance (Last Chance #1) by Cathleen Armstrong

8. The Spirit of '76 by David Browne

9. Submerged (Alaskan Courage #1) by Dani Petry

10. The Bounty (Malloy Family #1) by Beth Williamson

11. The Ice Cutter's Daughter (Land of Shining Water #1) by Tracie Peterson

12. All I Am (Farmers Market #2) by Nicole Helm

2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge Progress - May Progress

My friend talked me into this challenge again this year. Prompts filled are in bold; this is my progress so far (May reads). 

 

 

2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

  • Book made into a movie you have already seen - The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman
  • True Crime - American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
  • Next book in the series - The Jade Temptress (Pingkang Li #2) by Jeannie Lin
  • A book involving a heist
  • Nordic noir
  • Novel based on a real person
  • Set in a country that fascinates me - The Lotus Palace (Pingkang Li #1) by Jeannie Lin
  • Time of day in the title - Evening Stars (Blackberry Island #3) by Susan Mallery
  • Book about villain or anti-hero
  • Book about death/grief - The Great Silence 1918-1920: Living in the Shadow of the Great War by Juliet Nicolson
  • Female author/male pen name - Wonderment in Death (...In Death #41.5) by J.D. Robb
  • LGBT+ MC - George by Alex Gino
  • Author with a different ethnicity than me - Ms Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
  • Book that is also a stage play or musical
  • Book about Feminism - The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich
  • Book about mental health - It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor #10) by Jill Shalvis
  • Book that was borrowed or gifted to you
  • Book by two authors 
  • Book about or involving sport
  • Local author
  • Favorite color in title
  • Alliteration in the title - Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics by Kathryn J. Atwood
  • Time Travel - Paper Girls (Book One) by Brian K. Vaughn et al
  • Weather Element in Title - When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek #2) by Brenda Novak
  • Book set at sea
  • Book with animal in title
  • Book set on a different planet
  • Book with song lyrics in the title - One Wish (Thunder Point #7) by Robyn Carr ("One Wish" is also a song, released in 2006,  from the Swedish pop group Roxette)
  • Book set on or about Halloween
  • Book with a set of twins - Three Sisters (Blackberry Island Novel #2) by Susan Mallery
  • Book mentioned in another book
  • Book from a celebrity book club
  • Childhood classic you’ve never read - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Entengle
  • Book published in 2018 - Dark in Death (In Death #46) by JD Robb
  • Past Good Reads winner
  • Book set in the decade you were born
  • Book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t - Love is Love anthology by Various Authors
  • Book with an ugly cover - White Witch (Texas Devlins #1) by Lyn Horner
  • Book that involves bookstore or library - Trinity Falls (Finding Home #1) by Regina Hart
  • Book set in your home state (prompt from 2016 reading challenge)

 

Advanced List

  1. Bestseller from the year you graduated high school
  2. Cyberpunk book
  3. Book read by a stranger in public - I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  4. Book tied to your ancestry - The Irish Americans: A History by Jay P. Dolan
  5. Book with a fruit in title - Barefoot Season (Blackberry Island #1) by Susan Mallery
  6. Allegory
  7. Author with same first name as you - Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la Cruz 
  8. Microhistory - Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo
  9. Book about a problem facing todayAWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service - and How It Hurts Our Country by Kathy Roth Douquet and Frank Schaffer 
  10. Book recommended by someone else doing the challenge

Currently reading

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong
If Ever I Would Leave You: A Montana Rescue Prequel by Susan May Warren
Submerged by Dani Pettrey