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

 

 

 

 

$2.99 at B&N NOOK store

New York - Edward Rutherfurd

Sale! I picked this up because I really enjoyed London: The Novel

Evening Stars (Blackberry Island #3) by Susan Mallery

Evening Stars - Susan Mallery

This is a story about Nina and her weird, sometimes dysfunctional family. Nina is the lead nurse and right hand woman to Dr. Andi from book two. Nina had dreams of medical school and leaving the island, but family issues convinced her to choose nursing school and staying to help take care of her family and the family business (antiques). So Nina pushes her sister to leave the island and explore her dreams, but that leaves Averil at almost 30 with a lot of unanswered questions and stunted maturity which leaves her marriage to a great guy in jeopardy. To help her move on and become an adult, Averil returns home and old wounds are re-opened but are actually dealt with by Averil and Nina (not so much the mom). 

 

Added to Nina's plate is the return of her high school sweetheart Dylan. He broke her heart and she gave up on her dreams after that. He is back to go into practice with his father and to try and win back Nina. Complicating that is Kyle, a Navy fighter pilot who had a huge crush on Nina when he was a kid and she was babysitting his little sister. Kyle is a smooth talker and according to Nina, a sex god - according to me he came off as CREEPY AS FUCK. Seriously, everything he said was a line or a dramatic declaration of undying love. I'm glad Nina got her needs taken care of by him, but slow your roll dude. He walked the devoted/stalker line every time he was on the page. 

 

I read this book in one day, because there was a good mix of plot and character arc development. I'm firmly on Team Bertie - she was the unsung hero of the book, with a honorable mention to Cindy, the antique miracle worker.  Also loved Nina's ending, giving a strong HEA vibe without engagement/marriage/baby mentions that typically end a romance novel.

Wonderment in Death (In Death #41.5) by J.D. Robb

Wonderment in Death (In Death Series) - J.D. Robb, Susan Ericksen

A twisted take on the Mad Hatter Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland. I wasn't planning on reading this installment, as the novellas in the In Death series don't move the series forward and are just quick snippets of the police work involved in the full length books. When I saw this was available on RB Digital (a service my library uses to borrow digital material), I borrowed and read so I could complete my In Death series reading one more time. 

 

Oh hey look - it's Dr. Louise and Charles! I thought they moved to Westchester the way the recent books don't bother to even to mention them. Nope, they are still alive and well, except they found their friend's dead body and the friend's sister's dead body. Louise called in a favor for Eve to be the lead murder cop on the case. Eve decided to dig deeper on the sister and was able to solve the case before anyone else was murdered. 

 

A quick but fun read.

Hospitality and Homicide (Tourist Trap #8) by Lynn Cahoon

Hospitality and Homicide (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

Going to be honest, I was very generous with this rating. This is a real fluff of a book, with the mystery barely getting any page time. This was a book about Jill's staffing issues at Coffee, Books and More, her first semester back in college, and her relationship with Gregg. The B plot line involving a missing boy and Esmeralda's attempts to find him were more interesting than what was going on in the rest of the book. It was a fast read and I was happy to be back in South Cove with the gang, but I needed less fluff and more mystery. 

 

Honestly, only read this installment of the series if you are a completionist like me.

Three Sisters (Blackberry Island #2) by Susan Mallery

Three Sisters (A Blackberry Island Novel) - Susan Mallery

I did enjoy this book, but not as much as I did books one and three. The title refers to the three Queen Anne style homes that sit on a hill on the island. 

 

House on the left is home to Deanna and her family. On the outside they are a picture of polished perfection; internal strife among the family is starting to crack the façade. Deanna had a shitty childhood and deals with her insecurities via her undiagnosed OCD. Her life is spinning out of control and she honestly wants to change, but is very isolated.

 

House on the left is home to Boston and her husband. They are still grieving the sudden death of their baby and drifting apart. Boston channels her artistic ability into creating and recreating images of her baby. Her husband is mean to her on purpose or drinks a lot as his coping mechanism. Honestly Zeke could go fuck right off the planet and I would cheered. 

 

House in the middle is a run down, ready for Halloween all year round fixer upper. As the book starts, Andi is the new proud owner of said house of Halloween and is doing a total gut of the inside and clean up of the outside. She is a pediatrician and wants to open her own practice on the ground floor of her home, then live in the other two levels. She was stood up at the altar by a guy she dated for ten years, but his name is erased from her mind at the sight of her contractor's fine butt. 

 

Over time, the three women grow close (awkward moments early in the friendship made it feel more realistic and less like a sorority) and reach out to each other when the men fuck up (looks at Zeke). There is a lot of wine drinking in this story. Deanna's mental condition is treated by medication and her family dynamics are treated by a therapist. Again, something that in regular romance would have been cured by an orgasm or two is actually dealt with honestly and with grace in this book. Boston drew courage from Deanna's change and started moving forward in a healthy way as well. Both of these character's arcs were wonderful to watch unfold.

 

Then there was Andi's arc - the author made her a TSTL sex kitten a little past the half way mark and her ending was so typical of the run of the mill contemporary romance genre. In the second half of the book she just got on my last damn nerve. Still her meeting with her ex-fiancé was great to read. But the rest of her story was crap.

 

I went into reading the third book soon after finishing this book, so Andi's arc issues didn't sour the story overall and I wanted more Blackberry Island life. Appearance by Michelle from book one was fun to read.

Barefoot Season (Blackberry Island #1) by Susan Mallery

Barefoot Season (Blackberry Island) - Susan Mallery

I loved this book. It is definitely going on my best of list for this year. This is going to be nothing but a love fest of a review.

 

Michelle is back home in Blackberry Island (located off the coast of Seattle and in the Pugent Sound) after being wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan (the book only mentions "the desert") - she is home to rehab her hip and claim her inheritance, the Blackberry Island Inn. She is in pain, has crippling PTSD, and soon realizes that her inheritance is more a PITA than her hip. She is snarly, adjusting poorly to civilian life, and is drinking heavily to help her deal with everything.

 

Carly is the manager, jill-of-all-trades of Blackberry Island Inn. She and Michelle have a twisted history, and she is struggling to take care of her 9 year old daughter and run the inn now that the trustee of the inn is deceased - Michelle's mom Brenda. 

 

Michelle and Carly are trying to rise above their shitty childhoods and fucked up family dynamics; together, they help each other get a really good place in their lives at the end. Oh, but that journey is a minefield of past hurts, truths long buried, and one bank manager who holds onto grudges for more than a decade. There are romantic elements, mostly on Carly's end as Michelle's romantic relationship started off with the grumpiest former Army sniper trying to help her deal with her shit from three deployments.

 

What I love is that Michelle is not a SEAL, Delta Force, Ranger, SOF or anything - she was a supply troop! But the nature of war has changed; no longer is the super duper elite macho types getting killed, but anyone could be blown away by an IED or sniper fire. I loved to see women vets in romance, even better when they are given such a realistic portrayal like in this book. Also this book showcased what PTSD really looks like for women vets and no magic peen was used to "cure" Michelle. Instead she got into a vet support group, got on some medication, and stopped drinking so heavily (her drinking was a coping mechanism and not alcoholism, but she still watches what and how much she drinks). And she rehabbed a neglected/abused dog, giving her purpose - this happens in the real world and there are vet groups designed to give emotional support dogs to vets to help them recover. 

 

Seriously recommend. I was so glad I decided to request all three books from ILL so I could start book two right after finishing this book.

Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Witches of East End - Melissa  de la Cruz

It was hard to put this book down, even to just fold laundry. However, it should be noted that de la Cruz has a particular writing style - very short chapters, heavy on plot, rotating third person POVs (in this case Freya, Ingrid, and Joanne), and for an adult book, very little sex on the page. I was familiar with de la Cruz's writing after reading three books in her YA vampire series (with one of those vampires making a guest appearance in this book), and it suited to the story she was telling in this book.

 

And what a book it was - a mix of lessons from early American history (the Salem witch trials in particular), Norse mythology (yeah, with names like Freya and Ingrid kind of give it away), and straight up paranormal. Joanne, Freya, and Ingrid are witches and mother-daughters that were exiled by The Council and banned from using their gifts. After a few centuries, each woman was tired of keeping herself on the down low and starting using her gifts for the good of others - honest intentions to help people. As they continue to use their powers, equally crazy shit happens and it is up to the women to find the source and stop it. 

 

I just loved this book. The women were intelligent, thoughtful, and worked together while still being themselves and the romantic elements were there, but not the focus of the book. It was a joyride with heart. I am definitely going to continue reading this series. Forewarned: you have to read the series in order because the end of one book sets up the next book. So although the problem the women faced ended at the end of this book, the epilogue dropped a big plot line for book two.

Once Upon a Spine (Bibliophile #11) by Kate Carlisle

Once Upon a Spine  - Kate Carlisle

FYI: This is the only book I have read in the series. So take what I have to say about this book with a huge grain of salt.

 

 

Well I got through this book just because I wanted to know the who did the murders. I waddle through a ton of fluff and absurdities to get the reveal just to have that reveal be a series of dumbass antics from the obnoxious characters that populated the setting. Also quite disappointing was the lack of authentic San Francisco culture/atmosphere. SF is one of my favorite cities and the author gave me the tourist trap version of SF but nothing that residents would talk about or go to. 

 

I never connected to Brooklyn, Derek or their parents and yet that part of the book made up at least 70% of the book, with shoddy police work taking up the rest. Seriously, the police detective should have to turn in her badge for letting Brooklyn and Derek go on with their interference in the investigation. Overall, I found this book to be a waste of time and I won't read anymore from the series.

Friday Reads - April 20, 2018

The Miner's Lady - Tracie Peterson Island Girls - Nancy Thayer To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 - Adam Hochschild

This weekend is the big base clean up, so the son and his cub scout pack are cleaning up their school which means my butt has to wake up early on a Saturday and go pick up trash. We are having a heatwave with temps in the 70s and 80s, so I got out the pool for the kids to cool off in. So trash detail first, then lunch, then pool - all while mom sits to the side with one eye on the kids and one eye on my books.

 

First goal is to get through the last of my library borrows: The Miner's Lady by Tracie Peterson, One Wish by Robyn Carr, and Island Girls by Nancy Thayer. I am hoping to get a couple chapters of To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild in this weekend as well. 

 

Next week we will be having rain and temps in the 50s, so I am taking advantage of all the sun-induced Vitamin D production this weekend. I hope you all got some good reading ahead of you as well!

Tea's TBR Thursday - April 19, 2018

Under His Kilt - Melissa Blue A Perfect Holiday Fling (Moments in Maplesville) - Farrah Rochon Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated - Alison Arngrim Cheer Up Love: Adventures in depression with the Crab of Hate - Susan Calman You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain - Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams Dueling the Desperado - Mimi Milan Are You There Coffee? It's Me, Mom - Kianna Alexander Cafe Au Lait - Liane Spicer An Uncommon Protector - Shelley Shepard Gray Howard Haskell Takes a Bride - Merry Farmer

I haven't done a TBR meme post in a while due to being in limbo about the status of our leaving England's shores for the US - turns out we are staying put a year, so we will be moving next summer. So I have lots of time to get through all the books I stuffed my NOOK and Kindle with. At least I can focus on grad school applications now.

 

Anyway a bunch more books were added to my TBR pile (which now stands at 257 ebooks) in the three weeks I haven't done a TBR post.

 

Added to NOOK:

1. Frey by Melissa Wright

2. The Robber Bride by Jerrica Knight-Catania

3. Verity, Clarity, Adversity, and Purity (Cursed series #1, 1.5, 2, 3) by Claire Farrell

4. Marrying Miss Marshal by Lacy Williams

5. Wishful Romance, Volume 1 by Kait Nolan

6. The Sweetest Thing by Lilan Darcy

7. When You Got a Good Thing by Kait Nolan

8. Once Upon a Campfire by Kait Nolan

9. Bitter Roots by C.J. Carmichael

10. Down Deep by Virna DePaul

11. Atlantis Riptide by Allie Burton

12. Love Like This/For Now and Forever by Sophie Love

13. The Duke in Denial by Alexandra Ainsworth

14. Once Upon a Christmas (anthology) by Various Authors

15. Lone Star Love (anthology) by Various Authors

16. You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

17. Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman

18. A Search for Refuge by Kristi Ann Hunter

19. On a Cold Christmas Eve by Bethany M. Sefchick

20. The Chef's Mail Order Bride by Cindy Caldwell

21. His Prairie Princess by Kit Morgan

22. Catherine Finds Love by Karla Gracey

23. Brony's Destiny by Karla Gracey

24. A Bride for Carlton by Karla Gracey

25. Winter Eve by Lia Davis

26. Opal by Juliet James

27. Under His Kilt by Melissa Blue

28. The Prequel by Mona Ingram

29. Return to Love by Christine Kingsley

30. Star King by Susan Grant

31. A Perfect Holiday Fling by Farrah Rochon

32. Bruised by Stacey-Deanne

33. Desperate by Sylvia McDaniel

34. Rocky Mountain Haven by Vivan Arend

35. A Dangerous Nativity by Caroline Warfield

36. Rebel Cowboy by Nicole Helm

37. Stardust by Kristen Strassel

38. Doc's Town by Cheryl Phipps

39. Pride of Africa by Tori Knightwood

40. Strange Tango by Michelle Dayton

41. Spring in Sweetwater County by Ciara Knight

42. An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepherd Gray

43. The Lieutenants Online Love by Caro Carson (technically a pre-order)

 

Added to the Kindle:

1. Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

2. Café Au Lait by Liane Spicer

3. The Corner of Forever and Always by Lia Riley

4. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim

5. Dueling the Desperado by Mimi Milan

6. The Dancing Lady by Mimi Milan

7. Howard Haskell Takes a Bride by Merry Farmer

8. The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi

9. A Radiant Soul by Kianna Alexander

10. Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander

11. Are You There Coffee? It's Me, Mom by Kianna Alexander

12. Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

George by Alex Gino

George - Alex Gino

I picked this title to fill a Pop Sugar prompt. What a lovely story about a trans kid coming to terms with her identity and beginning to out herself. Due to the great writing by Alex Gino, I really connected to George/Melissa from the beginning and saw her as a girl from the first page. I loved Scott's reaction to Melissa's coming out to him; not only does it make sense for Melissa to identify as a girl, it also made sense to Scott, as it finally clicked into place how he sees Melissa and feels about her. And I loved Melissa's BFF Kelly, although at times she seemed aggressively positive at Melissa's coming out; it seemed the school principal had a much more subtle approach to Melissa's gender expression that conveyed support but not so loud as to draw unwanted attention to Melissa as she navigates this stage of her life.

 

Overall, a great MG read with humor and heart.

Paper Girls (Book One) by Brian K. Vaughn et al

Paper Girls (Book One) - Matt Wilson, Cliff Chiang, Jared K. Fletcher, Brian K. Vaughan

I almost gave up on this comic series at page 10 as I had all the homophobia I could take from a comic book. Then Tiffany called Mac out on her shit and told her to knock off the slurs and not make an AIDS joke, and I was well, I like Tiffany. So I kept reading for Tiffany, but by the end of the book I was rooting with all the girls (including Melissa). What a great ride the first 10 issues were; I really picked up my reading pace after they time warped/traveled to 2016. Leaving this story at the end (they have reunited with KJ in the fourth fold) was bittersweet. Although I am not one for 80s nostalgia (I was 10 in 1989) except for music, I really rooted for the four papergirls to get back to 1988 and save the world. Brian K. Vaughn is quickly becoming my favorite indie comic writer - the humor, the emotional turns, the science fiction that isn't too over my head makes for such fun reading. Highly recommend, just take those first few pages with promise that it does it better.

Forgotten Voices of the Great War

Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Max Arthur, Imperial War Museum

Unless you are a hard core WWI military history buff or in need of primary sources to add to an academic paper, skip this. I liked the first chapter and the opening paragraphs of each chapter where Max Arthur gives the reader a path to the events in each chapter before turning the narrative to those that survived the war. There are four chapters, one for each year of the war - however that is where the organization of the book ends and chaos reigns. There aren't many headers, just for the ones that indicate a major battle is being talked about, but no signal to show the narratives for that particular battle has ended and a new topic is started. So when the narratives turn from one battle memory to another battle memory then all of a sudden the men are talking about venereal disease and how one guy's penis was all gangrene and disintegrating from VD he got from the many French prostitutes he paid for - it was jarring and interrupting the flow of reading. Then there is lots of talk of how boring it is sitting in a trench, trying to burn the lice off their uniforms; there is also a lot of talk about food rations - so much bully beef was mentioned.

 

The one part I really enjoyed was the section on the Christmas Truce of 1914. Otherwise it was a slog to get through.

****SPOILERS******A Wrinkle in Time - The Movie ***********SPOILERS

Ye be warned, there be much spoilers about the newly released A Wrinkle in Time movie, directed by Ava Duvray.

 

So I took the kids to the movie, ready to see Ms. Duvray's vision of this book. I was awed by the visual aspect, but the movie's emotional arcs were what I was most impressed with. Everything else I will talk about after the page break.

-read more-

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle

This is my first time reading this book. It was a decent read. I liked Meg at the beginning, but she got on my last nerve with her constant shouting/crying statements that always end with an ! There was so much !!!!!! in the second half of the book its a wonder Meg didn't lose her voice. I loved Charles Wallace and Calvin - from their first conversation straight to the end. I don't understand why the twins were even mentioned, they didn't do anything in the book. The three witches were great, but I don't think we needed to have each line of Ms. Which having toooo bbbbbbbeeeeee ssssssoooooooommmmmeeeeetttthhhiiiiiinnnnggg that looks like that.

 

The religious tone of the book got heavy-handed in some parts, and owing to when the book was published, seem like another way to show how different Americans Earthlings were than the Soviets  people of Camazotz. 

 

Absolute favorite part of the book was when Meg understands that "Like" and "Equal" are not the same thing - I need to cross stitch that on a pillow! Overall though I am glad I read the book and will encourage my kids to read it when they are ready. 

Deadly in High Heels (High Heels #9) by Gemma Halliday

Deadly in High Heels - Gemma Halliday

Maddie and Dana go on a working vacation to Hawaii, Marco comes just to hang out/flirt with every surfer dude that comes within his line of sight. The beauty queen premise reminded me a lot of Miss Congeniality movies. With the babies and Ramirez back on the mainland, Maddie and crew get into the investigation. I could of done without Maddie's mom and her BFF stupid side plot to cleanse Maddie's aura. Everything else in this story was great. 

Currently reading

The Miner's Lady (Land of Shining Water #3) by Tracie Peterson
Progress: 15%
One Wish (Thunder Point) by Robyn Carr
Progress: 42%
To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild