Sunday, November 17, 2019

Bookish Mewsings: On His Watch, Hold Your Breath & Fan the Flames in the Search & Rescue Series by Katie Ruggle

I have long wanted to give Katie Ruggle’s romantic suspense novels a try, and dove into the first three books of her Search and Rescue series. I had not realized I had the first book in my TBR pile already, and so jumped into the second book in the series first. I followed it up with the first book and then the prequel to the series. While each of the books can be read a standalone, there is an over-arching mystery that runs through the series, and so it might be a good idea to read this series in order.

The series is set in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and each one features a different couple. Although I am not a fan of snow, I do love the mountains and Colorado has a special place in my heart. It makes the perfect setting for this series—close knit community and isolated.


On His Watch (Search and Rescue, #0.5) by Katie Ruggle
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2016
Romance/Suspense; 100 pgs
Source: Purchased

This novella kicks off Katie Ruggle’s Seach and Rescue series by introducing readers to Derek Warner and Artemis Rey. While on a school field trip, two girls go missing. Ice rescue diver Derek is teamed up with a former girlfriend, Artemis, a teacher, to search the area for the girls. Both Artie and Derek clearly never stopped loving each other, despite going their separate ways. Being thrust together under such tense circumstances, the two are forced to not only work together but also are forced to face their feelings for one another—and finally talk about what happened in the past. Derek and Artie have good chemistry even though they seem like the least likely couple on the surface, and I enjoyed reading their story. I admit I was most interested in seeing how Lou and Callum met—I had come to really like them both in Hold Your Breath. Derek has a great sense of humor and I really liked his character. This one was much more romance heavy than Fan the Flames, but there was some action and a mystery to solve just the same.


Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle (Search and Rescue, #1) by Katie Ruggle
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2016
Romance/Suspense; 386 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Even reading Fan the Flames I knew I was going to have to read Lou and Callum’s story. I loved Lou right away. It is probably my favorite in the series so far. Callum is a man of few words and Lou is, well, she is rarely at a loss for words. Callum Cook is the captain of the ice and rescue dive team and is a bit of a perfectionist. Louise “Lou” Sparks is new to town, trying to get a fresh start and break free from her controlling parents and ex-boyfriend. She joins the dive team as a volunteer, and on a routine training assignment, comes across a body. Determined to find out who the person was, Lou turns to Callum for help. And they step right into trouble. I loved Lou and Callum as a couple and individually. I only wish Ruggle would have let us into Callum’s past a little more. High in action with lots of sparks (no pun intended) between the two leads, this was a fun and entertaining novel.


Fan the Flames (Search and Rescue, #2) by Katie Ruggle
Sourcebooks Casablanca; 2016
Romance/Suspense; 450 pgs
Source: Purchased

Rory Sorenson was raised by survivalist parents and is a very private person. She owns a gun shop which is frequented by the local motorcycle clubs. While she may sometimes make an under the table sale, she is always careful of who she sells too. When someone attempts to break into her well-secured shop, childhood friend Ian Walsh jumps into help. Ian Walsh walks a fine line between the good and the bad guys. He feels a strong sense of loyalty the motorcycle club and its members who have long been there for him. While at the same time, he feels the pull of his new family of firefighters, who always have his back in a pinch. Soon he finds himself accused of murdering one of his MC brothers and trying to save Rory who is being targeted by not only his own but another motorcycle club.

When I began reading Fan the Flames I wondered what I had gotten into. I am not a huge fan of the bad boy romance trope, but I soon was swept up in the story. It is a slow burn romance and action packed with a lot of tense moments. I like it when the female lead can hold her own alongside the alpha hero of the story—and Rory definitely did that. Rory and Ian both have a lot of baggage—their pasts have left deep scars and trust does not come easy for either of them. I appreciated that Katie Ruggle did not gloss over this over the course of the novel.

Overall: I need to find time to jump back into this series because I am enjoying it and am looking forward to seeing how the over-arching mystery plays out. The body found under the ice may now have an identity, but who would want him dead and why? The mystery definitely takes a backseat to the romance in each of these books, but it is never completely out of mind.

Have you read this series or another by Katie Ruggle? What did you think? Does this sound like something you would give a try? Do you enjoy romantic suspense? 


© 2019, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Bookish Mewsings Double Header: Read and Gone & Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook



Along with my mini reviews, I am linking to both Book Beginnings, a meme in which readers share the first sentence of a book they are reading, hosted by Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader and Friday 56 hosted by Freda of Freda's Voice, in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading.

At the moment I am finishing up Sarah Morgan's A Wedding in December and will soon be starting my November TBR Poll Winner, The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor. I need a little something different from all the holiday romances I have been reading as of late, and so am looking forward to it. 

In an effort to catch up with review posts, I thought I would share two of my recent reads, which seem very fitting for the upcoming winter season. If you have not already, I recommend you give the Haunted Library series a try!


Read and Gone (The Haunted Library Mysteries #2) by Allison Brook
Crooked Lane Books, 2018
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 320 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Book Beginnings:
I glanced around my cottage at the thirty or so guests laughing and chatting, and grinned.
Friday 56 (excerpt from 56%):
Dina cackled. "Here we sit in a pizza parlor, the daughters of two thieves."
"I grew ashamed and embarrassed, knowing my father was a thief," I said. "Jim was away most of the time, and I missed him a lot. Now I'm glad he wasn't around." 
My thoughts:
Head of Programs and Events at the public library, Carrie Singleton, is settling nicely into her new cottage and life in Clover Ridge. On the night of her birthday and house warming party, she is awakened in the wee hours of the morning by her father who has a favor to ask. Carrie hasn’t seen him in years, and his visit now is less than welcome. He was in and out of her life when she was growing up, stealing and serving time in prison. Now he wants her to talk to his former partner in crime about getting his share of gems they had stolen together. Carrie, of course, says no immediately. Then the body of the jeweler her dad had asked her to speak to is discovered—with her dad caught at the scene of the murder. Carrie believes her dad is innocent of the murder.

Despite everything he’s done in the past, Carrie feels protective towards her dad. When it comes to him, her decisions are not always the brightest. His presence in her life threatens the perfect life she’s created, including getting in the way of her fairly new romantic relationship. I felt like I got to see a different side to Carrie in Read and Gone. Family can bring out the best and worst of us. And with a personal stake in this particular case, Carrie isn’t always at her best. Still, with the help of Evelyn, the librarian ghost, and her cat Smokey Joe, Carrie is able to keep her head enough to ask the right questions to get closer to the truth.

I raced through Read and Gone just as I had the first book in the series. There is just something about the way Allison Brook writes that has me wanting to read her books every chance I get—and even when I’m not supposed to. The reader gets to know more of the Clover Ridge residents, as well as more about Carrie’s past. The mystery was strong—at times intense—and I enjoyed seeing more of Carrie’s love interest in this second book of the series. I am really enjoying this series so far.



Buried in the Stacks (The Haunted Library Mysteries #3) by Allison Brook
Crooked Lane Books, 2019
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 316 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Book Beginnings:
"The blue-cheese burger and fries are calling to me, but I'm going with a small salad, no bread," Angela said, looking up from the lunch menu with a sigh.

Friday 56 (excerpt from 56%):
My hand shook as I opened the door. I stood outside the staff room, too dazed to move.
My thoughts:
With winter coming and temperatures dropping, the homeless residents of Clover Ridge are taking shelter in the library, much the consternation of some of the town’s more fortunate residents. Carrie wants to do what she can to help the homeless and joins the committee of volunteers seeking to renovate an old house the homeless residents can use during the day when the shelter is closed. Only, the more Carrie learns about the plans for Haven House, the more she questions the motives behind those involved with getting it off the ground. Could it be a cover for an illegal operation? And what about the alleged accident and later death of a not-so-well-liked librarian? Could the two be tied together or was it just a freak accident? Librarian Carrie, with the help of the library’s ghost Evelyn, and the library cat Smoky Joe are ready to take on another case—or will Carrie be in way over her head this time?

Carrie continues in her role as Head of Programs and Events at the public library, and is proving she is more than well suited for the job. I wish my library had half the programs the Clover Ridge library has. This is the third book in the Haunted Library series, and I continue to enjoy the series. Carrie puts herself in danger’s way more than once during her investigation, despite the warnings from both her boyfriend and the police chief, making me want to shake a little more sense in her. She should know better, but she’s a bit impatient when it comes to waiting for the police to do their job. Besides, there isn’t much they can do without evidence.

On a personal note, Carrie and her boyfriend are still feeling out their relationship. Carrie seems to have difficulty with trust, which is understandable given her past. I found it ironic that some of her concerns about her boyfriend’s occupation are the same concerns he voices about her amateur sleuthing—at least he has the excuse of being trained and doing his job professionally.

While the outcome and twists in this particular installment were not always surprising, Buried in the Stacks was still an entertaining read, and I enjoyed seeing how everything played out. The author gives us a glimpse of what is to come in the series at the end of this novel, and I am looking forward to seeing what trouble Carrie finds herself in next!

Does this sound like a series you would be interested in trying? (You can find my review of the first book in the series Death Overdue here.)


 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!


© 2019, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

My November TBR List Poll Winner!

Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:

My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 




I hope you all had a good week. Bad news seemed to come the way of many of my friends this past week, and my heart goes out to them. Whether you lost a loved one, are struggling with an illness, are having financial difficulty, or just are not feeling good, know that I am thinking of you and sending you hugs.

Thank you to everyone who voted in my November TBR List Poll! I had to call in a tie breaker because it was a three way tie there in the end! As much as I would love to read all three books this month, I have a feeling that will not be possible.


The two finalists earned 6 votes (I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon and Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt) each and the winner, Hazel Gaynor's The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter took the poll with 7 votes.

“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.
1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.
1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love. [Goodreads Summary]

Thank you for voting! What are you reading right now? I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!


© 2019, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Weekly Mews: Book Crazy / October Wrap-Up / Vote For My November Read!

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post, where any book bloggers who write monthly wrap-up posts can link up and visit other bloggers to see what they have been reading.   I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. 


New to the Shelves:

I kind of went crazy when I received an invitation from Amazon to spend $45 on e-books and earn $30 in e-book credits. I put to use an Amazon gift card I had been saving for a rainy day, and so it worked out perfectly--no money out of my pocket! Several of these are early books in series I have the second, third or fourth book in already, and others have been on my wish list awhile now. One I got for my husband.


An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose #1) by Charlaine Harris
White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
The Spectral City (Spectral City #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber
Spectacle (#1) by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Mouse loves a good yard sale, and so when a friend of ours held one this past weekend, we thought it would be a great time for a visit. Wouldn't you know it, Mouse and I both gravitated mostly toward the books. We ended up bringing home two for each of us.


The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich


What I Am Reading: I am in the middle of Jenn McKinlay's The Christmas Keeper, set in North Carolina. I imagine I will be finishing it this weekend. I am not yet sure what I will be reading next, but I had better choose quick!

What I Am Watching: We have jumped on the Masked Singer bandwagon, and watched the first season and just started the current season. Mouse has especially gotten into it. I finished season 14 of Supernatural and now have several months to wait until the final season comes out on Netflix (it's airing now on network television). A coworker and I were talking about television shows recently, and it put me in the mood to re-watch The Vampire Diaries. I stopped watching the show before it officially ended, but decided to start from the beginning instead of trying to figure out where I had left off.

Earlier this month, we went to see a local theater's production of The Addams Family Musical. One of the singers/dancers who had performed with Mouse and my husband this past summer was in it, and we joined up with a handful of our dance studio friends to show our support. It was a great show, and we all had a good time. This past weekend we went into Hollywood to the Pantages Theatre to see the musical Anastasia, which we all enjoyed. It's such a beautiful theater and the cast did an awesome job. It's similar in story line to the animated movie that came out years ago--only with a few added songs and a different villain.


Off the Blog: October is a bit of a blur; it went by so fast. We were very busy all month. School. Work. Dance. Girl Scouts (we made wind chimes out of twigs, strings and little metal pieces found around the house--they turned out really well). Mouse spent the entire month counting down to Halloween, one of her favorite holidays. She certainly got to celebrate all week long! With the dance studio's Halloween party, her class party, trick-or-treating around our neighborhood, and her school's Fall Festival (which was technically in November--just this Friday), we had our fill of Halloween.

With the Santa Ana winds came fire and the city and county firefighters and other first responders have been working extra hard to put out fires here in the city and and in neighboring communities, help with evacuations and doing what they can to keep damage and loss of life to a minimal.  Other parts of the state have been engulfed in flames as well.  We are all so grateful for the first responders, especially the firefighters, and also the volunteers who have been working on the Frontline and behind the scenes.

 My little cuddle kitty. Sometimes, at least.

Several of our trick-or-treaters complimented us on our cute cat.
Nina may not be very affectionate, but she's also not shy. 

 Mouse's decorated pumpkin for the school pumpkin pageant
Is it a bat? No! It's a cat!

Mouse and her dad's carved pumpkin
(thank goodness for stencils)


Here is what I finished reading in October:
  • Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece (Haunted Craft Fair, #1) by Rose Pressey (Paranormal Cozy Mystery)
  • Silverlicious by Victoria Kann (Children's)
  • Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper (Children's)
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Children's)
  • Possum Magic by Mem Fox & Julie Vivas (Children's)
  • A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams (Children's)
  • Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine & Kadir Nelson (Children's)
  • Ivy + Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go (#2) by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall (Children's)
  • Me With You by Kristy Dempsey & Christopher Denise (Children's)
  • Wild Hunger (Heirs of the Chicagoland Vampires, #1)) by Chloe Neill (Urban Fantasy)
  • Death Overdue (Haunted Library, #1) by Allison Brook (Paranormal Cozy Mystery)
  • Read and Gone (Haunted Library, #2) by Allison Brook (Paranormal Cozy Mystery)
  • Amelia Bedelia Tries Her Luck by Herman Parish & Lynn Avril (Children's)
  • Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record (#3) by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall (Children's)
  • I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer (Children's)
  • Buried in the Stacks (Haunted Library, #3) by Allison Brook (Paranormal Cozy Mystery)
  • Wicked Hour (Heirs of the Chicagoland Vampires, #2) by Chloe Neill (Urban Fantasy)
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Children's)
  • Coming Home For Christmas (Haven Point, #10) by RaeAnne Thayne (Holiday Romance)
  • One Wish by Jodi Thomas (Historical Holiday Romance)
I may not have been around the blogging community much this past month, but I did manage to get in a bit more reading than I usually do. I enjoyed all of my reading again in October--I seem to be on a roll. If I had to pick a favorite, however, I definitely would go with RaeAnne Thayne's Coming Home For Christmas. I just love RaeAnne's books, and this one really touched my heart.

Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your October? Do you have anything planned for this month?


Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:

My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 




I have been in the mood for a good historical fiction novel, and these three particularly caught my eye on my TBR shelf. They all feature stand out female characters, which in and of itself appeals to me.  Gaynor's book because I love all things Hazel Gaynor--and lighthouses! Although I do not read much in the way of Old West fiction, the idea of a book focusing on an all female gang is too good to pass up. Then of course, Lawhon's novel appeals to me especially because I recently say the musical Anastasia on stage, and have always had a particular interest in that period in history.


I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Russia, July 17, 1918 Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.

Germany, February 17, 1920 A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.

Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson.

As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened.  [Goodreads Summary]

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love. [Goodreads Summary]

Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt
They were the first and only all-female gang in the American West. Though the newspapers refuse to give them credit, their exploits don't go unnoticed. Now, they've got a rival male gang on their trail and an old score to settle.

Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to turn outlaw.

After being run off their ranch by a greedy cattleman, their family is left destitute. As women alone they have few choices: marriage, lying on their backs for money, or holding a gun. For Margaret and Hattie the choice is simple. With their small makeshift family, the gang pulls off a series of heists across the West.

Though the newspapers refuse to give the female gang credit, their exploits don't go unnoticed. Pinkertons are on their trail, a rival male gang is determined to destroy them, and secrets among the group threaten to tear them apart. Now, Margaret and Hattie must find a way to protect their family, finish one last job, and avoid the hangman's noose. [Goodreads Summary]




Thank you for voting! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!


© 2019, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.