Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Art of Rivers (Coastal Hearts #3) by Janet W. Ferguson

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

There was so much to enjoy in The Art of Rivers.  I love when a book can draw emotion from me and this one definitely accomplished that.  Rivers and Cooper have been through so much that my heart just ached for them.  There seemed to be trouble at every turn, walls blocking their paths and emotional turmoil that left even me breathless.  Through it all was a sliver of hope that kept me invested and pushing forward right along with Rivers and Cooper.

Cooper and Rivers dedicate their lives to helping others who have struggles similar to their own.  I loved their dedication and devotion to those struggling.  It takes a special kind of individual to do something like that, not only in this book but in real life too.  I know there are so many people trying to make the world a better place by helping others through the tough patches and I'm so grateful for them.

I loved how the relationship between Rivers and Cooper developed.  It was a sweet romance born in the midst of struggle and it was extremely satisfying.

I will say that this book is heavy on the Christian elements.  It was a bit more than I personally prefer in a fiction book but that is just a personal preference.  If you are looking for a light Christian or inspirational book, this would not be the one to pick up. 

Content:  alcohol and drug abuse, death, some violence, heavy Christian elements

- I borrowed this book through Kindle Unlimited.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Lady's Maid by Jen Geigle Johnson + Win This Book!

Molly O’Malley, lady’s maid to the progressive Lady Amanda Halloway, is determined to continue the life’s work of her lost love, killed in the Peterloo Massacre. But when her efforts and a trip to Lady Halloway’s charitable orphanage culminate in her own abduction, Molly’s eyes are opened to the horrifying crimes transpiring in the city’s slums. Despite the risks, she broadens her mission and is drawn ever closer to the peril all around them.

Thomas Flaherty, a footman in the Halloway household, has been with Molly from the beginning, but he fears she will never trust him with her heart. Even though her cause and happiness are of foremost importance to him, his loyal patience is tested by the fears that keep her at a distance. But with their safety on the line, Thomas is resolved to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves.

Risking their lives and their love, Molly and Thomas and a team of nobles on their side will stop at nothing to empower the powerless, no matter the personal cost.

Jen Geigle Johnson has crafted a beautiful story, bringing to light the early days of women's suffrage and the oppressive conditions in the more poverty stricken areas of England.  She built the story around characters I can relate to and root for making it easy to fall into this historical fiction.

The story contains a host of characters with Molly and Lady Amanda being the center of all that is happening.  One of those revolving around these two is the shy and reserved Lady Chloe who is just beginning to find the power of her own voice.  One of my favorite lines comes from her, "Because my voice is my own.  I am a unique and valued person in my own right, and I deserve to have a say in the process of our government and in who represents me."

While the book's main message and theme is the women's suffrage movement, there is also sweet romance, a bit of danger and intrigue.  This book reminded me of all the brave women who desired something more and weren't afraid to take a stand and work hard to change the ways of a society of repression.  It made me proud to be a woman.  It also made me especially grateful for the good men through time who have supported and championed the women in their lives- wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.  Many of those men types of men were represented well in this book.  The world needs good women and men, working together to bring about better lives for all.

This was a very enjoyable and enlightening read.  I appreciate the amount of research and time the author took to represent the time and people accurately.  I'm looking forward to the next book, set to release next year!

Content:  mild violence, mild peril, kissing, mention of brothels

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them―the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor's Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor's Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apart―and each is thrust into their own new hell.

Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits.

Last year I read Dance of Thieves and there was no question that I would be coming back for the next installment in this series and here it is!  Finally!

It took me a quick minute to remember the details of the previous book and get back into the groove of this series but the author did a good job of giving me reminders to jog my memory.  I'm so glad the book started off with Jase and Kazi together so I had that solid relationship foundation to kick things off.  It really helped with all the crazy awful stuff that came next.  

This book is full of political intrigue, deadly games, kings and traitors.  Jase and Kazi spend a majority of the book apart each battling through their own horrible circumstances.  But they are fierce.  Fierce in their love, fierce in their loyalty, and fierce in their will to survive and protect.  They are awesome characters and I couldn't help but be pulled into their world.  I was firmly planted in their corner the whole way through.

I don't think I had a chance to catch my breath this whole book.  It was so full on and constant that I could hardly keep up.  The few times I had to put this book down to "real life", I was thinking about it and longing to get back to reading.  I love when that happens.

This series needs to be read in order.  Jase and Kazi's story wrapped up nicely in this book (it was such a relief to have some good things happen!) but there was definitely an opening left for another story.  Fingers crossed!  :)

Content:  violence, death, torture, swearing. Kissing, mild innuendo.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower (Steampunk Proper Romance #3) by Nancy Campbell Allen

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

I think the thing I like most about this book and the others in this series is that it feels different to me.  When I start reading, I know I will get a story that isn't like all the others.  The light steampunk feel is fun and I love the creativity it allows the author to build up a world unlike the one I know.  While this book is based on Rapunzel, it really doesn't feel that way at all, which also makes me happy. 

This book has mystery, danger and a growing intensity that I really felt.  The darkness sort of hovered around everywhere, waiting to jump at me. It gave the story a bit of edge that I really liked. 

 Sam and Hazel are two intelligent, even tempered people.  They suit each other very well in their professions and as people falling in love.  I loved being right there with them as they research, learn and put all the clues together.  I think what I most appreciated was that even though they were smart, it was their intuition that they followed.  Those gut feelings should never be ignored.  Oh!  And I cannot forget Eugene!  He was definitely the comedic relief in this story.  He kept things entertaining and light which was a much needed balance to the heavier feel to other parts of the story.

Overall, this was a fun story.  I always love reading books by this author and can't wait to see what comes next!

Content:  dark magic, death, mild violence, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 5, 2019

My Not So Wicked Boss (My Not So Wicked Series) by Jennifer Peel + $.99 Book Deal to Celebrate New Release!

Aspen Parker's life can be summed up in one word. Unexpected. For instance, she never expected to become a mother at twenty. Her divorce at twenty-one really threw her off. She certainly didn't see losing her promotion at the bank to that weasel Stephen. And she most definitely didn't see Miles Wickham, better known as Taron Taylor--international bestselling author, the man whose words have captivated her--offering her a job to be his nephew's nanny.

But there's a caveat to accepting the position; she must sign a contract agreeing to no romantic entanglements between her and the debonair Brit. Aspen doesn't expect this to be an issue seeing as she's not particularly fond of men. Once again, though, life is not turning out how she expected.

While Aspen and Miles traverse single parenthood together, there's no denying the chemistry between them. She can't figure out how her charming boss knows how to pierce the protective layers of her heart, and it's driving her mad. Mad with desire that is. Miles, too, is finding it hard to resist the reserved beauty who brilliantly takes care of his nephew and him. But with both their tentative hearts on the line, can they risk taking a chance on each other? Which will win? Love or the contract?

Ooh la.  Ooh la la.  I am in love with Aspen and Miles.  L.O.V.E.  Here's why:

Attraction? ✅ 
Sexy Brittish author with a swoony accent? ✅ 
Sweet three year old who will steal your heart? ✅  
Tension so thick you can't even cut it with a knife? ✅✅  

While it isn't insta-love for these two, it IS insta-attraction.  Aspen nearly faints away when she realizes that Miles is her fangirl crush of an author.  Yeah, I can totally relate to Aspen.  There is zing and a tangible growing tension throughout that I absolutely crave.  But, it was more than just that.  It was real characters with real struggles and flaws, trying to figure life out.  I connected to Aspen on a deeper emotional level and that's the true test, right?  When your emotions become involved in lots of different ways?  I think so.

Aspen is kind, caring and smart.  Her sensitive mothering nature comes naturally to her.  She is patient with not only Henry and Chloe but with Miles as well.  Aspen is guarded though.  She keeps things close to avoid being hurt.  But she is tough when she needs to be.  She stands up when the need arises and doesn't take crap.  I really loved her.  

Two of my favorite bits?  The "research" (😍) and of course the phrase "strictly business".  

"Wow, did he follow directions well.  The butterflies in my stomach gave him an A+"

You know what I really want?  This book in audible with dual male/female voices and of course, the male needs to have an authentic British accent.  Yup, that's my fantasy, I mean dream.  My dream.  My really good dream.  And then me and my book friends can have a listening party.  At a beach setting.  Drinking yummy, fruity drinks and eating chocolate.  Oops, getting carried away.  😳

I love this book and I love this series.  I love that the characters from previous books are still part of each book and I don't have to miss them.  This book was everything I've come to expect and love from Jennifer Peel.  I don't know how she does it but I hope she never stops.  My heart finds it's happiest place in her books.

This is available on Kindle Unlimited if you have that.

Content:  kissing, mention of affair

To celebrate this new release, you can pick up My Not So Wicked Step Brother for just $.99!  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Killing Tide (Coastal Guardians #1) by Dani Pettrey

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

When investigative reporter--and Finn's boss's sister--Gabby Rowley arrives, her unrelenting questions complicate an already volatile situation. Now that she's back, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Guess what is releasing this next week?  Good news, right?  Dani Pettrey is a talented author and one of my favorites in the romantic suspense genre.  I've been anticipating this book for what seems like a long time.  Oh and just a shout out to the cover!  I love when a book cover represents what is inside so well.  It just makes me happy.  And I love those colors!!

You better buckle up for this book.  Seriously.  It is nonstop, petal to the metal, fast paced, forward momentum.  I was sucked in from the first few pages and had a hard time putting this one down for "real life".  haha.  Sometimes with suspense novels, it's more about the plot than the characters.  I don't know how Dani Pettrey does it, but there is such a fantastic balance of character building in the midst of a growing mystery and death defying scenes.  It makes for such an awesome story.

I love the setting for this new series and also the homage it pays to some largely unsung heroes that protect our waters.  I'll admit that some of it creeps me out (think underwater fighting, drowning and sharks!) but it's okay, I'm okay.  😨  It could never be my job but I sure am grateful for those who are our coastal guardians.

This book spotlights Finn and Gabby (I LOVE Finn! Gabby, not so much.) but also introduces us to a team of people who this series will revolve around.  The stage has been set for the next novel and once again, I am left anticipating the next book.  It cannot get here fast enough.

Content:  violence, death, Christian elements, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cover Reveal!! The Aftermath (A Love in Chaos Novel) by Amy Matayo

Cover reveal! Check out Amy Matayo's new LOVE IN CHAOS novel, THE AFTERMATH, releasing Sept 12. Pre-order now: https://amzn.to/2GA36XG   #theaftermath #loveinchaos #amymatayo #comingsoon #Sept12 #romance #cantwaittoread #mustread #coverreveal #coverlove

According to Riley Mae Floss, life is a ten-page menu of possibilities. As the owner of a cupcake shop in small-town Missouri, she thrives on candies and rainbows and spreading joy every chance she gets. Even her hair is the color of bubble gum. Life is just the way she likes it, so why would she want anything to change now?

But when a tornado rips into Riley Mae’s southern town and destroys nearly everything in its path, her happy little life changes in less than forty-two seconds. Buildings gone. Homes carried away. People missing or even dead. Her bakery a shell of what it once was; also her life. Riley Mae’s picture-perfect world is shattered, and everyone she cares about has been hurt in the process.

According to insurance adjuster Chad Gamble, life always works out exactly the way it’s supposed to…for other people. As for him, life is a bit of a crapfest—one where he never wins the prize, makes the starting team, or gets the girl. He’s straight-laced, suit-and-tie, all-business, and sees the world for the color it is: muted gray with a little black around the edges.

So when Chad Gamble walks into Riley Mae’s ruined bakery to “assess the damages”—his words, not hers—he has no intention of getting bogged down by sentimental nonsense. Sparks immediately start to fly, and not the good kind. Who does this pushy, pink-haired chick think she is, treating him like an outsider when all he came to do was help? He can’t figure out why the locals like her so much.

Or worse, why he can’t stop thinking about her.