Chasing Pebbles by Felicia Blaedel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Chasing Pebbles has this wonderful message of being who YOU are, not what others expect you to be. I thought it was just an absolutely lovely thing to weave into this beautiful story.

My Synopsis:

Frida left home a year ago, and she never intended to look back. After losing her living arrangements, she is forced to head back home. Filled with anger, she arrives like a storm and intends to stay that way until the moment she can leave again.

In steps Oliver. Oliver and Frida had been best friends once long ago, but after rumors and deceptive actions ruined their connection, Frida never expected to see him again. Oliver has other plans though. He fully intends to make things right with her. He’s got the summer to do it, and he doesn’t plan to fail.

How I Felt:

I loved that this story was told from both Frida and Oliver’s (Ollie) POVs. They are both wonderfully lovable characters, and I found myself rooting for them from the start. Ollie and Frida are both goofy in their own ways, and it made them relatable and real for me. Felicia Blaedel did an excellent job creating and building their characters!

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This Eternity of Masks and Shadows by Karsten Knight

Welcome to the This Eternity of Masks and Shadows blog tour
hosted by RockStar Book Tours!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This Eternity of Masks and Shadows had this fabulous mix of mythology creatures and stories that made the overall-fantasy of this book so exciting! I really enjoyed that this was all layered into a murder mystery! It was an interesting story and a good read!

How I Felt:

This story’s world has humans and gods walking around together, living life side-by-side. I loved the research that the author so obviously put into the mythological creatures as he built this story. I found that the references and descriptions fit into the plot really well.

The pace for This Eternity of Masks and Shadows was probably too fast. I would have enjoyed this a bit more with a few additional breaks in the action to build the world a bit more, and focus on the character building. It was, however, FILLED with action. There was a lot going on, and it led to a very fast-paced, quick read. Readers that enjoy action-packed stories are going to love this one!

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The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Charles Martin has this beautiful writing style that draws the reader in immediately. I enjoyed every word in this book because of his prose.

How I Felt:

Murph, the main character, was heartbreaking and raw with emotion, and yet he finds it in himself to overcome those feelings to help others every time he can. He comes across a multitude of characters on his journey and they are all wonderfully built and add so much to the story.

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The Apartment by K.L. Slater

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This book was crazy! I really enjoyed the twists that were carefully woven into the story to provide lots of heart-racing moments! I especially enjoyed that we get to read the POV of the antagonist as well as the protagonist. It created an interesting perspective for me as I was reading, and I loved it!

My Synopsis:

Freya Miller is trying to get her life in order after the death of her husband. Without a job, she’s quickly running out of money. She has sold her home and is prepared to temporarily move into a friend’s place when the opportunity of a lifetime falls into her lap.

Dr. Marsden is looking for a new tenant and a coffee shop accidental meeting leads him to believe Freya is just what he is looking for. Freya quickly agrees to this upscale, beautiful apartment for such a ridiculously low rent, she can’t believe her luck.

Freya is soon moved in but doesn’t even get a chance to be happy. Everything seems a little off. Dr. Marsden and Mrs. Marsden seem extremely controlling. They want to install a video camera in her apartment entrance, and they don’t like visitors. The list goes on and on.

The apartment building, Adder House, seems to have a dark history that people won’t tell Freya about. She begins hearing sounds and voices, and things are moved around in their apartment. Freya is starting to think this was too good to be true.

How I Felt:

The plot for The Apartment was so good! I felt like all the pieces fit together perfectly to provide an exciting thriller for the reader. I did guess what was going on but didn’t have all the details figured out. I don’t mind guessing at a thriller, I like to see if I’m right. So, it doesn’t bother me as long as it’s still a good story.

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The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony: Gunner Meets Stella by Lynne McGlothlen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoy seeing children’s books that help them to understand and manage their emotions. Adults struggle to handle their emotions sometimes, so helping a child to understand something can be extremely difficult. The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony is a wonderful book that introduces grief for a child in a way that is uplifting, and I loved that.

My Synopsis:

Gunner, a very special dog, is heading to work at the Hospice center. He enjoys helping people feel better when they are sick or sad. He meets Stella at the center, a young girl who is visiting her sick grandmother.

Stella and Gunner become fast friends, and Gunner helps Stella to understand her emotions and help her to feel a bit better. He promises to tell her more stories when they see each other again, which makes me think there might be more Poodle Pony books coming!

How I Felt:

I thought this story was written so that it is easy for a child to understand. It is told through Gunner’s perspective, which makes it fun for a child, but Stella’s emotions are easy to relate to.

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Life’s a Witch by Skyler Andra

Welcome to the Life’s a Witch blog tour
hosted by RockStar Book Tours!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Life’s a Witch is a perfect book to jump into if you are looking for a new paranormal romance series! It’s book one in the Guild of Guardians and is a spin-off story of one of the characters, Astra.

Astra has been convicted of theft and is sentenced to The Guild of Guardians, a prison for the supernatural. The prisoners spend their sentences working to capture other criminals. Astra is assigned to a group with a cast of characters that hit on a ton of personality types. Knoxe, Tor, Raze & Pascal are the others in her group, and she finds them less than friendly at first, but soon finds a rhythm with them.

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Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Well, this book was just fabulous! I absolutely loved that the story kept taking me in a different direction. I would think I knew what was happening, and then something would change, and I’d be blown away by the new information. It was absolutely wonderful!

My Synopsis:

Eleanor Hardwicke has just found out that her father, a man she wholly loves and respects is not actually her biological father. She has just the name of her actual father and begins to research who he is. What she finds is a half-sister she didn’t know she had living the life she feels was meant for her.

Victoria, Eleanor’s newly-found sister seems to have everything and as Eleanor learns more and more about Victoria, she wants nothing more than to be her.

How I Felt:

The characters in this book drew out such emotion from me. I would be infuriated by Eleanor’s actions, and then the next minute, I would totally understand her anger and resentment. She is a deeply flawed character, and I felt that this made her easier to connect to. Eleanor’s relationships with everyone, except her father, are terrible. She has trouble connecting with others, and I really enjoyed her character arc as she begins to explore who her real father and his family are, and what kind of relationship she could have with them.

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Guest List had so many questionable characters and it made it impossible for me to figure out who the killer was. I loved that suspenseful feeling the story gave me! Every chapter brought new information, building a motive for each character!

How I Felt:

The story is told through the point-of-view of multiple characters as well as an omniscient narrator. The narrator’s story is told in the present, during the discovery of the murder. The other POV’s sort of rewind to the beginning of the weekend and progress in time to the wedding night and murder. I thought that the author found a way to write these different views in a way that was easy to follow, which was much appreciated! Each chapter started with the character’s name as well as their character title, such as “Wedding Planner”, “Plus One”, and “Bridesmaid”. These labels helped to keep everyone straight throughout the story.

Everyone has traveled to a secluded Ireland island for the wedding of Jules and Will. Each character has something to hide. The book starts with an “event” that has happened at the wedding, but you don’t quite know what it is. You do know that it’s not good. There’s clearly chaos and confusion, but it’s a mystery. As the story progresses, you learn about each character and their connections to other characters. More details about the “event” are revealed and you begin to suspect everyone of everything!

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Wives had an awesome premise that had me so excited to pick this book up. I loved all the secrets that surrounded the intricacies of this relationship!

My Synopsis:

Thursday is married to Seth. Seth is married to Thursday…and two other women, sort of.

Thursday went into her marriage fully aware that Seth had two other wives, but she was okay with the arrangement because she loved him so much. She’s happy with their arrangement. She gets to see him once a week, and that makes her content.

Until she accidentally finds the identity of one of his other wives and a receipt for a prenatal doctor’s visit. One thing leads to another and Thursday finds herself on the doorstep of this wife to see what she’s like.

Thursday’s life begins to spiral out of control from there as she suspects Seth of abusing this other wife. Except that her Seth is nothing like that…is he?

How I Felt:

This story did not go where I thought it was going to go and it threw me for a loop! I was really hooked on the whole plot until about halfway through. Then everything kind of got turned upside down, and I felt like I was reading a different book. The story completely changed and it felt less like a thriller and more like an odd domestic fiction.

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Bandit the Cow Dog by Phil Mills Jr.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This story reinforces the importance of responsibility and consequences for a child in a way that made it easy to understand and an enjoyable story. I loved the way it was written and my daughter did too!

My Synopsis:

Mary Andrews is spending the summer on her grandparent’s ranch. Her grandmother discusses with her the chores she will be responsible for while at the ranch. There are eggs to collect and in an exciting turn of events, a horse that she can care for!

Bandit, the retired cow dog on the ranch, still keeps on eye on everything happening. One night, he sees Mary sneak out to give her new horse some carrots. The next day, when the horses are missing because the gate was left open, grandpa is very upset. Thinking it was a forgetful cowhand, grandpa is close to firing him, but Bandit knows the truth and so does Mary.

How I Felt:

I found this book to be a delightful story that captured a child’s actions perfectly. Children are often forgetful and accidents happen. I liked that Bandit was there with Mary, acting as a conscience for her as she considered her options. The story shows Mary’s guilt over what happened and her struggle with deciding to make the right choice or not.

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The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Jane Austen Society is filled with conversations about Austen’s work and characters. It was an absolute delight to read about people that loved her books and enjoyed discussing them.

My Synopsis:

It’s just at the end of World War II in England. We are introduced individually to a group of people that have one thing in common, a love for Jane Austen.
🙋‍♂️ A village worker who is lonely and living with his mother.
🙋‍♂️ A widowed doctor trying to find happiness without his wife.
🙋‍♂️ A lawyer for the Austen estate.
🙋‍♂️ An auction house employee.
🙋 A pregnant war-widow.
🙋 An American movie star in the twilight of her career.
🙋 A young housekeeper with a brilliant mind.
🙋 The Heir Apparent to a Jane Austen residence

That is quite the eclectic group of people! They each for relationships with one another through completely different avenues as the book progresses. This group takes one little idea and collaborates to build it into a functioning society when it looks like one of the Austen estates could change ownership.

How I Felt:

I think that I may have made my synopsis sound a bit like a game of Clue and that is not what this book is at all…so mystery readers…sorry. The Jane Austen Society is a beautiful story of building unlikely friendships, personal growth and overcoming loss and disappointment. Each character has their own troubles that they struggle with throughout the story, and the friendships they form help them to become the person they want to be.

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Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoyed the mystery of this story. Roux is this mysterious woman with a secret story that Amy has to understand so that she can beat Roux at her own game.

My Synopsis:

Amy is the mother of an adorable infant boy, the stepmom of a lovely teenage girl, and married to a wonderful husband. Her life feels picture-perfect.

Then, a bookclub meeting is taken over by new-to-the-group Angelica Roux. A dominant woman who starts a game of “Never have I ever” where the women share the worst thing they have done today, this week, this month, this year . . . ever. Amy immediately dislikes Roux and knows that she’s playing dirty for some reason.

Then, Angelica Roux confronts Amy revealing that she knows what Amy did. It turns out Amy has a secret and she’d like to keep it buried. Roux blackmails Amy, but Amy isn’t just giving in. Now, she’s on a dangerous path to find out who Roux is and just what she knows.

How I Felt:

The characters were extremely interesting, but I didn’t really connect with Amy as I would have liked. As the MC, I wanted to care a bit more about her. Angelica Roux was definitely a character I loved to hate. She always seemed to be one step ahead of Amy, and I couldn’t wait to see what it would take for Amy to outsmart her.

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