Smugglers and Scones – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars

Smugglers and Scones is the 1st book in a new series, Moorehaven Mysteries, by Morgan Talbot and what a great beginning to the series it is! I cannot wait for the 2nd installment, even tho’ this one was just released on January 31!

** Stay tuned in a few days for an author interview with Morgan Talbot! **

Smugglers & Scones - Moorehaven Mysteries: Book 1 - Morgan C. Talbot - blue background with a steaming cup of coffee and two scones split in the middle with blueberries spilling out

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Brief Synopsis

Pippa Worthy runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world.

Juggling her book-writing guests, small-town intrigues, secret club agendas, and a possibly fatal attraction, Pippa must sort fact from fiction to know who to trust before a desperate killer claims a final revenge nearly a century in the making. (Source: Goodreads)

line of baked goods - cupcake with chocolate frosting and a cherry, triple layer cake with strawberries, muffin, and cookie repeated
© Graphic Garden


I absolutely loved this first book in the Moorehaven Mysteries series! I was hooked from the start and it didn’t take me that long to read it. I started it late Thursday night and was finished by early Saturday morning. Not bad, considering that I did work on Friday!

I love the characters in this series. Pippa, Uncle Hilt, Lake, Jordan, and all the rest are just delightful. They’re well-rounded characters, complex, likeable and believable. I’m really looking forward to learning more about them and seeing where Pippa and Lake’s relationship leads them, if anywhere!

The setting descriptions were rich without being too over the top. The town sounds like a lovely place to visit or live. The story line moved along at a good pace. I never guessed who the villain was until Pippa figured it out herself. I had considered someone close to the villain, but not the villain himself.

I have to admit being a bit amazed at all the back story Ms. Talbot created for the author, A. Raymond Moore, his family, and the house that now houses the Bed & Breakfast. I’ve read a few books where authors have written things like “journal entries” by other characters and such, but I think this is the most complete back story I’ve ever seen. I’m very impressed.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it! I cannot wait for the second one to come out!

** I received a free ecopy of this book from the author. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

line of baked goods - cupcake with chocolate frosting and a cherry, triple layer cake with strawberries, muffin, and cookie repeated
© Graphic Garden

About the Author

Morgan Talbot, author - White woman in her 30s or 40s, dark brown hair, wearing sunglasses halfway down her nose, a grey overshirt and a purple blouse

Morgan is an outdoorsy girl with a deep and abiding love for the natural sciences. Her degrees involve English and jujitsu. She enjoys hiking, camping, and wandering in the woods looking for the trail to the car, but there isn’t enough chocolate on the planet to bribe her into rock climbing. When she’s not writing, she can be found making puzzles, getting lost on the way to geocaches, reading stories to her children, or taking far too many pictures of the same tree or rock. She lives in Eastern Washington with her family.

Armada – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Armada by Ernest Cline Book Cover - black background with a fleet of green triangle spaceships at the top and 6 tiny white triangle ships at the bottom

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Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and video games he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon


Armada by Ernest Cline is Mr. Cline’s second novel. His first novel, Ready Player One, was quite successful and is being made into a movie. I’ve heard from many colleagues and friends that they didn’t like this one as much as the first book, but I felt differently. I really enjoyed Ready Player One, but I loved this book. I was riveted from the start and had a hard time putting the book down.

I think  part of the reason I liked this one even more is because this one seems more plausible than Ready Player One. Sure, it’s still fiction, but it’s not too far out of the realm of possibility of what could happen in the near future. It’s not likely to happen, but it could and that gave it an extra level of excitement for me.

I felt the characters were very “real” and not too “perfect” or too horrible. The main character, Zack was very believable as a 17/18-year-old. He was brash, somewhat arrogant, reacted without thinking at times, thought his way was better sometimes to the detriment of others, etc. – all things I’d expect from someone of his age.

The settings were realistic and the plot line moved along at a good pace. It wasn’t so fast that you were confused about what was happening, but it certainly wasn’t a slow book! Plus, the ending was a twist that I didn’t really see coming.

I would definitely recommend this to others who enjoyed Ready Player One or just enjoy science fiction in general. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time!