Review: Marriage and Murder (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries #2) by Penny Reid

The Devil is in the details . . .

Cletus Byron Winston wishes to marry Jennifer Anne Donner-Sylvester (aka The Banana Cake Queen) posthaste! He’s spent the last year wanting nothing more than for the celebrations to be brief, libations flowing, and BYOB (bring your own blueberries). His future mother-in-law has other plans, plans his intended has been willing to indulge, much to Cletus’s chagrin. Therefore, so must he. To a point. But truth be told, he wouldn’t mind if the meddlesome matriarch disappeared, at least until the nuptials are over.

On the night of Cletus and Jenn’s long-awaited engagement party, just when the surly schemer is of a mind to take matters into his own hands, a shocking event upends everyone’s best laid plans and sends the small hamlet of Green Valley into complete disarray. The final months leading up to Cletus and Jenn’s matrimonial bliss are plagued with chaos and uncertainty. Will Cletus and Jenn finally make it to the altar? Or will murder and mayhem derail their happily-ever-after?
And most importantly, who done it?

‘Marriage and Murder’ is the second book in the cozy mystery series Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries. It is best read after Winston Brothers #3, ‘Beard Science’ (which can be read as a standalone) and Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries #1, ‘Engagement and Espionage.’

About Penny Reid

There’s a certain level of fear when picking up a book that is a spin-off of a series that you love, especially when it’s about your absolute all-time favorite character in any book, ever. Is there a point where too much information about a character, their love interest, and their families becomes tedious and perhaps ruins what you’ve loved about all of them for so long? In this case, no, there doesn’t seem to be a point where it all feels like too much.

I read to get lost in a world that isn’t the dumpster fire we’re currently experience but no world seems to suck me in and take me away from reality in the way that the Winston family and Green Valley does. For the glorious few hours I’m swept away into this amazing place I’m put through just about every emotion under the sun. Nobody makes me laugh like Cletus Winston. Nobody makes me cry tears of deep sadness AND pure joy the way that the Winstons do. Nothing fills my heart and my mind the way that Penny Reid’s words do.

If your leery of picking up the books in this series because of the cozy mystery aspect, don’t be. This feels very much like a Winston brothers story but in a different way. So many questions are being answered and in an entertaining, but authentic to the characters, way. I’m not sure how it’s possible but I’m falling in love with these characters more and more with each book and feel like I’m getting to know them in ways that I didn’t from the original series and I’ve yet to feel like it’s overkill.

I’m so excited for more Cletus and Jenn and the mysteries of Green Valley but I’m also extremely excited for the other spin-offs with some of our favorite, lesser “known” secondary characters!!

Review: Man Down (Rookie Rebels #3) by Kate Meader

I’ve been texting the wife I lost, the woman I loved beyond measure . . . Now someone else has answered back.

Gunnar Bond is broken.

Three years ago, he lived through the car crash that took his wife and twins away from him—though “lived” barely describes his current state. Giving up professional hockey, going off grid, and drinking himself into oblivion are his coping mechanisms. Another is texting his dead wife about his days without her. Therapeutic? Doubtful. Crazy? Definitely. But those messages into the ether are virtually the only thing stopping him from spiraling to even darker places.

Until someone texts back …

Sadie Yates is losing it.

Suddenly guardian to a little sister she doesn’t know and a misbehaving hound she’d rather not know at all, she’s had to upend her (sort of) glamorous life in LA and move back to Chicago. The nanny has quit, the money’s running out, and her job is on the line. The last thing she needs is her sister’s hockey camp counselor, a judgmental Viking type, telling her she sucks at this parenting lark. Thank the goddess for her sweet, sensitive, and—fingers crossed—sexy text buddy who always knows the right thing to say. In the same city at last, they can finally see if their online chemistry is mirrored in real life. She just needs to set up a meeting …

A ruined man who claims to have used up all his love is surely a bad bet, but Sadie’s never been afraid of a challenge … even if this one might shatter her heart into a million pieces.

About Kate Meader

I knew going into this book that Gunnar’s story was going to be heartbreaking but as much as I thought I was prepared for it, I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR IT!!

Kate Meader just jumps right in from the first page and starts tugging at your heartstrings but you’ll immediately fall in love with Gunnar just as hard as your heart will break for him. But fear not friends, Sadie will step in at just the right moment with just the right joke to lighten the mood and therefore set the tone of their story in the most perfect way.

Sadie and Gunnar’s romance is a slow-burn, sort-of mistaken-identity, friends with benefits romance that blends some pretty heavy topics with just enough humor that you’re not too weighed down with emotion.

Between Sadie’s angsty teen sister, her hateful father, and the memories that haunt Gunnar, preventing him from wanting to move on, this story could have easily turned into an angst fest. However, there were plenty of light-hearted and sweet moments to break up the sad ones. Plus, Theo Kershaw played a huge role in this story and you just can’t NOT laugh when he is involved.

I will admit that a part of me struggled with worry that the connection that Sadie and Gunnar formed through his late-wife’s phone number might not be a solid way for them to start off, so I appreciate that they formed a different connection without the tie-in of the memory of his wife. I needed that to accept that Sadie was more than just the rebound from his grief.

All in all, I highly recommend this book! Kate Meader never fails to deliver a great story. Each new book becomes my new favorite and as soon as I finish I’m already looking forward to what comes next!! I can’t wait for Mia’s book!

Review: Engagement and Espionage (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries #1) by Penny Reid

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.

Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

‘Engagement and Espionage’ is the first book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series, is a full-length cozy mystery, and is a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. This novel is best read after ‘Beard Science,’ Winston Brothers #3.

About Penny Reid

Cletus and Jenn are back and Cletus is as crazy as ever!!

This is my first time ready a cozy mystery and I’ll admit, if it weren’t for Cletus and Jenn, I’m not sure I would’ve even ventured into the genre. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I ended up loving the story since Penny Reid can write no wrong in my eyes, but it also made me feel like perhaps I should be more open to broadening my horizons to other authors who also write in this genre.

Back to Cletus and Jenn. First, I don’t think I’ve laughed this much or highlighted so many pages in a book for a really long time. I knew Cletus wouldn’t disappoint but one of my favorite things about this book was watching Jenn continue to find her voice and showing all of Green Valley just how strong and capable she is.

I love how Cletus has this way of pushing Jenn to stand up for herself while trying not to make any decisions for her. It’s so sweet to watch both of them grow, together but separately, at the same time. I’m so happy that Penny chose to pick up where we left off with them in Beard Science. I don’t think I want to miss a moment of their shenanigans and everything that is pure and sweet, and ridiculous and hilarious about their relationship.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how invested I was in the mystery of what was happening to the local farms and how hard it was for me to not skip ahead to get answers. I’m not a huge fan of suspense, if you couldn’t tell. I have no patience and want to know if the “bad guys” get what’s coming to them and get anxious waiting for that to happen. I suppose that’s the fun in these though, right? Trying to figure out what’s coming next but having to wait for the pieces to fall into place. Who doesn’t want live the live of an amateur sleuth once in a while?

Consider me completely invested in this series!!

Review: Summer on Honeysuckle Ridge (Highland Falls #1) by Debbie Mason

Sparks fly between an L.A. career woman and a former Army Ranger in this delightful enemies-to-lovers romance from the USA Today bestselling queen of small-town love stories.

Welcome to Highland Falls, a small town where love is always in the air.

In just a few months Abby Everhart has gone from being a top LA media influencer to an unemployed divorcée living out of her car. So inheriting her great-aunt’s homestead comes at the perfect time. Abby heads to Highland Falls, North Carolina, to spruce up Honeysuckle Farm before putting it on the market for some much-needed cash. But instead of finding a charming getaway, she discovers a serious fixer-upper, complete with a leaky roof, overgrown yard, and a reclusive — albeit sexy — man living on the property.

Ex-Delta Force soldier Hunter MacKenzie has faced war and loss, but nothing has quite prepared him for an outgoing redhead who’s determined to turn his life upside down. Hunter doesn’t want to get involved with anyone, especially a city girl who plans to sell the only place he’s ever felt at home. But the sparks between them are undeniable. Spending time with Abby is easy. Convincing her to stay for good is another matter entirely.

About Debbie Mason

Well…it happened. I made it through a Debbie Mason book without hating the hero for a good chunk of the story. Lol.

This was such a fun, small-town read.

I know that the adorable, energetic but clumsy heroine gets a lot of flack for being cliché but I happen to be one reader who loves the cliché. Abby is the epitome of the cliché but she comes with a backstory about it that, honestly, made her quirkiness more than just a silly character trait meant to make her seem “cute” and lent a unique angle to the whole story. Despite the things that Abby has gone through and the occasional self-doubt that crept in on occasion because of her family and relationship history, she had this bright and motivating light about her that I couldn’t help but love.

Hunter is a version of the grumpy, reclusive hero that I always fall in love with but he also wasn’t. While he hid himself away in order to avoid facing his demons, he didn’t come across as angry and bitter. In fact, it didn’t seem to take much time for him to seemingly let go of his need to hide away and, even though his demons showed up a few times, he didn’t fight his attraction to Abby as much as I would have expected.

The banter between the two of them made this such a fun read. There was just enough sexual tension between them that I didn’t miss descriptive sex scenes. Debbie Mason is one of my favorite closed-door romance authors because she does it so well that I never miss those detailed scenes or struggle to see the connection between the hero and heroine without them.

This was an excellent introduction to a brand new Debbie Mason world and I’m already completely wrapped up in the characters of Highland Falls. Do I really have to wait for the Fall for more?!?

Review: Big Bad Cowboy (Once Upon a Time in Texas #1)by Carly Bloom

Fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips will delight (Publishers Weekly) in this “sexy, smart” (Lori Wilde, New York Times bestselling author) western romance about a cowboy who comes home to save his ranch, and finds a family along the way.

One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Romances of 2018!

After one too many heartbreaks, Travis Blake hung up his cowboy hat and put Big Verde, Texas, behind him. But when he gets the call that his young nephew needs him, he knows he has to return home. His plan is to sell the family ranch and hightail it back to Austin, but there’s a small problem: the one person who stands in his way is the one person he can’t resist.

Maggie is pretty sure she hates Travis Blake. He’s irritating, he’s destroying her business, and . . . and he’s just so frickin’ attractive. But when they’re forced to work together, Maggie discovers that the Most Annoying Man in the World is more than he seems. He’s sweet with his nephew, he helps out in the community, and he makes her heart flutter. Maggie doesn’t want to risk everything on a man who wants to leave, but what if she can convince this wayward cowboy to stay?

About Carly Bloom

This was one of those books that snuck up on me and surprised me in the very best of ways. Neither the author or the book were on my radar before I started seeing it all over my Instagram feed after release. So, thank you bookstagrammers!!

My fictional hero kryptonite is outwardly nice guys who have a serious alpha side that only comes out in the right circumstances and Travis fit the bill to a point of perfection! His Big Bad Wolf persona gave me all kinds of feelings and don’t even get me started on his relationship with his nephew!!

Travis and Maggie’s story played out through some of my favorite tropes: enemies to lovers, mistaken/secret identity, small-town, single-father romance and Carly Bloom did every one of those very well.

I’m already super pumped to read the next book in the series because this author and this series are definitely on my radar now!!

Meet Your Next Book Boyfriend Tour: Theo Kershaw from Instacrush by Kate Meader #YourNextBBF

Welcome to Fiction Fangirls stop on the #YourNextBBF tour!! I’d like to introduce you to your next BBF, THEO (SUPERGLUTES) KERSHAW from INSTACRUSH (Rookie Rebels #2) by Kate Meader 

He smelled like naughty nights and comforting arms and dumb jokes and the guy who had all the answers.

Who is Theo Kershaw:

✔️ Rookie Hockey player (Nickname: Superglutes because well….his glutes are super!! )

✔️ Instagram famous (funny, entertaining, gorgeous)

✔️ Big Heart (Has so much love to give)

✔️ Playful (Flirty)

✔️ Totally Swoonworthy

But he saw no reason why he should hide his great ass on the day before the baby Jesus was born.

What I LOVED about Theo : 

He is the perfect blend of childlike, yet responsible and incredibly self-aware. He shows respect for women, especially his heroine, Elle Butler. He pays attention to other people’s feelings and needs. He’s goofy and immature at all of the right times and serious and responsible when it’s most important for him to be. He’s so full of love and isn’t afraid to show it, especially when it comes to his family! He was just literal perfection to me because he was imperfect in the most endearing ways.

“I’m not afraid of looking like I don’t understand something. There’s no shame in relying on other people.”

“A lot of people would jump at the chance to be seen with me, y’know.”
Her expression was pitying. “Poor Superglutes, aren’t you getting enough attention from your millions of Instagram followers? Is it lonely being adored by all your fans?”

“Very! All they see is this amazing body and gorgeous hair and beautiful cheekbones. Sure, I’m hilarious and great in bed, but do they appreciate it? Do you appreciate it?

KindleNook  |  Kobo Apple Books  |  Google Play  |  Audio

Theo Kershaw is the luckiest guy alive.

Roaring back from a life-threatening injury, he has the world at his skates as defenseman for his new team, the Chicago Rebels. Everyone adores his big personality, his on-ice talent, and his killer smile. Everyone but his prickly neighbor–or so he thinks. One chilly Christmas Eve, Theo will learn that maybe the girl next door isn’t such a hater after all …

Elle Butler is the most embarrassing person on the planet.

How else can the ex-military-now-bartender explain her crush on the hot jock who lives across the hall? True, he has gorgeous green eyes and perfect cheekbones, but the filter between his brain and too-sexy mouth is permanently malfunctioning. Yet she can’t stop checking out his Instagram antics or sneaking looks at him when he’s in her bar. Absolutely mortifying. Running from a past filled with damning secrets, Elle’s determined that this guilty pleasure remains buried in her deepest fantasies.

Because she couldn’t possibly indulge with the Theo Kershaw. Or make a mistake that draws attention to her under-the-radar life. And she especially couldn’t be a mom to a pro-athlete’s baby … could she?

5 Star Quickie Review

This book is the perfect example of why I read romance. Showing how imperfect people can be perfect for each other and despite the many obstacles that life throws in your way, love will always be there to offer hope and a true chance at finding happiness within yourself as well as with someone else.


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Review: Spiced (Misfit Brides #6) by Jamie Farrell

Dueling neighbors, baby fever, fake boyfriends, and pizza… Life in Bliss has never been better!

Pepper Blue wants a baby. Forget the husband. She’s better at training men to be good husbands for other women than she is at getting one herself, so she’s doing this on her own.

But she hasn’t exactly shared the news with her family, and they’re determined to find her a date to the next family wedding. A date that won’t ditch her for one of her sisters or cousins. This time.

Which means Pepper Blue needs a fake boyfriend. A fake boyfriend that she has no chance of actually falling in love with. A fake boyfriend like her obnoxious neighbor.

Tony Cross is a pizza god with a sausage problem. He’s putting on a good show—a different woman at his house every night, flirting with all the right customers, flexing his muscles when called upon—but since his divorce, his meat has been more on the undercooked side. If you know what he means.

Except, unfortunately, when it comes to his annoyingly perfect, always put together, too good for him neighbor. Pepper Blue. Who is not a viable candidate for fixing his “little problem.”

So he’s not sure why he’s coming to her rescue, pretending to be her boyfriend to save her from a bad date at his pizza joint. He just knows it’s fun. And it irritates her. And it turns out, she might be able to help his flagging pizza sales as much as she’s helping his flagging… you know.

So long as this is just business, he’s happy to keep pushing her buttons.

All night long, if he has to.

About Jamie Farrell

This book was both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Tony and Pepper both have so much baggage from previous relationships that their cynicism and insecurities are completely warranted. I adore how they eased into this comfortable friendship so easily and how it morphed into so much more without them having the opportunity to second guess everything. Until their baggage catches up to them and everything seems to fall apart. It was devastating to read because you could feel their pain. But just as easily as my heart was broken, Jamie Farrell parched it up on the best way possible.

Review: Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

About Lauren Layne

I knew from the very first book that Kennedy and Kate were going to be my favorite couple from this series!! I was not wrong!!

Kennedy was frustrating and oblivious for so long when it came to Kate but when it finally hit him, man did he go all in!! Kate was feisty, fun and so relatable. I couldn’t wait for these two to sort out their shit and just give into their feelings already.

This book was broken into two parts but not in a way that felt disjointed or with huge time lapses or over top drama. It definitely went in a direction I was not expecting but I really enjoyed the journey.

I highly recommend this whole series!!!

Review: The Last Real Cowboy (Cold River Ranch #3) by Caitlin Crews

USA Today bestselling author Caitlin Crews returns to the Cold River Ranch series with The Last Real Cowboy!

In Cold River, sometimes forbidden love is the sweetest of them all…

Perennial good girl Amanda Kittredge knows that her longtime crush on Brady Everett was never really supposed to go anywhere. But when Brady comes home during Amanda’s first attempt at independence, well, who better to teach her about rebellion than her older brother’s bad-boy best friend?

Brady’s plans did not include being forced to work the family homestead for a year—and yet, here he is. And, to make matters worse, his best friend’s innocent little sister is making a menace of herself in the most grown-up, tempting ways. When Amanda begs Brady to teach her about men, he knows he should refuse. But could Brady’s greatest temptation be his salvation?

About Caitlyn Crews

I really did enjoy this story despite the fact that I’m going to now go on a rant about some parts of it.

I hate hate hated the way that Amanda’s brothers “protected” her for her whole life and I really disliked the way that Brady’s brothers treated him. I know that all of these things were important to the story and the growth of the characters but the whole overly protective brothers scenario is my least favorite trope. I also understand that the way that Brady’s brothers treated him stemmed from misunderstandings and leftover baggage from their awful, horrible father. I just wish they had maybe talked about those things instead of just always going at each other. However…it was because of this behavior that my absolute favorite scenes from this book came to be so I can’t even stay mad.

Amanda might be young and inexperienced but she was full of piss and vinegar and when she found her voice, boy did she use it!!

The pure unadulterated sexiness in this book came as a bit of a surprise to me. Brady and Amanda’s sneaking around was delightfully dirty and fun!! Despite my annoyance at their family members, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Brady and Amanda and enjoyed seeing them wade through the ups and downs of falling in love, family be damned.