Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Piper's Pursuit (Hagenheim #10) by Melanie Dickerson


A plague of rats. Children going missing. A giant beast attacking just outside the walls of Hamlin. And one young woman determined to save her town.

Katerina’s stepfather, Hennek, is neither a good father nor a good husband, but he is the mayor of Hamlin. Could he somehow be causing the misfortunes that have befallen her beloved town? The evidence points to a beast of unusual size—a wolf, perhaps, or a large dog—killing people who venture too far from town. But does that explain the disappearance of so many children, many of whom seem to have gone missing from inside the town walls?

Steffan knows he must reconcile with his father, the Duke of Hagenheim, but he’s not sure he’s ready. In the meantime, he roams from town to town seeking adventure and reward. When he hears of a giant beast terrorizing the town of Hamlin and an equally giant reward that includes gold, money, and the mayor’s daughter in marriage, he heads to Hamlin. Steffan plans to kill the beast, rid the town of its rat infestation, and take the reward—everything except the girl in marriage. However, when he meets Katerina, he’s not so sure. Perhaps his plans need changing.

Katerina is hunting the Beast of Hamlin for herself, determined to win liberation from her conniving and controlling stepfather. When she finds one of the children who has been missing for many months, dirty and wandering around the woods, the mystery only seems to deepen. Katerina will have to team up with Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son who infuriates her—he’s the only one in town who isn’t controlled by the mayor. Danger dogs them from both man and beast. Can Katerina and Steffan stop the “Pied Piper” from stealing every last child from Hamlin? Or will their interference create an even worse fate?

 * Amazon * Goodreads

I really love the cover for this book.  I think it's so pretty.  

This story has excellent character growth, for Steffan especially.  He holds much guilt and remorse over past decisions and actions and is anxious to prove himself better.  His road to redemption is a satisfying one.  I love how hard he worked to be someone Katerina could trust and depend on.

Steffan and Katerina have quite the adventure, trying to solve the mystery of the missing children.  There is danger everywhere and working together proved to be better than working alone.   The author did an excellent job at creating a villain of Hennek.  My skin crawled right along with Katerina's every time he appeared.  I love the way Katerina stood tall and didn't cower to his vile words and actions.

 I enjoyed the story but mostly the character growth.  The romance is gentle and very slow building- definitely not the prominent part of the story.  This one got a little long winded with the whole "confession" and I will admit to skimming over that part but overall there was much to enjoy here.

Content:  mention of abuse, bullying.  Some violence, fighting.  Kissing.  Christian elements.

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson

Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.
Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

 * Amazon * Goodreads

There were so many bits I enjoyed in this book.  The main characters are genuinely good people so it was easy to like them and root for them.  The brief moments they were actually together and interacting were great but those were few and far between.  It was mostly about Cassie and Jett in their separate lives, dealing with unexpected events and struggles.  The story sometimes got a little long winded with the secondary characters (there were SO many of them!) and I will admit to some skimming.  😳  I guess I thought this was more of a romance than it turned out to be but it was a love story.  A love for children however they come to you and how that love makes a family.  Family isn't always about who you were born to- sometimes it's more about who you choose to love.  It was a feel good aspect of this book.

I thought the ending was cute and again, I loved the overall message of this book.  I just wish there were more moments of connection between the two main characters and less of the secondary characters.

Content:  abuse mentioned in several different forms, mention of drug abuse.  Kissing.

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

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Rules Are Made To Be Broken (Love Under Wraps Book 2) by Mylissa Demeyere + $50 Giveaway!


I’ve loved Will Henderson from the first day I laid eyes on him. But I made a solemn promise that same day. I would never, ever date Will Henderson.

For almost a decade, Charlotte Dubois has loved Will Henderson from afar, squelching her heart's silent yearnings. But no way could she date her best friend Kelsey’s brother. Their whole friendship is based on one rule: No friend of Kelsey can ever date Will. Instead, Charlotte has watched him date and break more hearts than should be legal.

Will Henderson never got over that stolen kiss he shared with Charlotte years ago—though he's tried valiantly to rid his system of his sister's best friend.

When circumstances bring the two into each other’s arms again, Will wants to convince Charlotte to break the rules and take a chance on him. But to do so, they will have to hide their relationship from the ones they love most. Can true love triumph, or will they both end up losing?

 * Amazon * Goodreads *



Wowza.  This book has loads of excellent, sparking chemistry!  I loved that so much.  That whole forbidden love vibe really set the stage for the growing intensity between Will and Charlotte.  They have known each other for so long that all those repressed feelings are just bound to explode out at some point, right?  It's something you can just feel coming and the anticipation was fun!

Charlotte is trying so hard to guard herself against Will.  For her, it's more than just a promise made when she was young.  As her backstory unfolded, I found myself more and more sympathetic to Charlotte's plight.  I was rooting for her and I wanted so badly for all the good things to swing her way. 

As a reader, I am always looking for those personal connections to the characters and I want to feel emotion as I read.  This book had all of those things and I had a hard time putting it down.  I read late into the night to finish and it was ever so satisfying!  I really loved this one.  💙

This book is also on Kindle Unlimited!

Content:  kissing

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

Excerpt:
CHARLOTTE

“I let you out of my sight for one minute, and already you almost ruin a perfectly great tray of stuffed mushrooms, Charles?”

I didn’t need to turn around to know who had spoken. If the voice didn’t give him away, there was only one person in the world that would ignore using my given name and call me Charles, just to get a rise out of me. Will had an uncanny talent of sneaking up on me when I least expected it, delivering a line that sounded like melted chocolate with that husky voice of his. Most women swooned in his presence, especially when he worked his magic. I was not one of them. Well, at least not that I let him see. I’d known him too long and had trained myself to not give in to his charm. I’d been weak once before. Never again.

“You know me. I’m useless without you.” I laid on the sarcasm, and to add an extra push, I added, “William.”

It was our thing. Will riled me up by calling me Charles, I retaliated by calling him William. It was a childish habit we’d yet to outgrow.

Will’s face broke out into a wide grin, and I felt a flutter in my belly. No surprise there. He had that effect on me. He’d caught my attention that first day in high school, before I even met Kelsey. Who wouldn’t notice those ice-blue eyes and short, blond curls? It didn’t hurt that he had a broad chest with toned abs. I knew; I’d seen them up close many, many times. Be still my heart!

A female server passed with another tray, momentarily breaking up the intense stare-down between us. I took the opportunity to catch my breath and remind myself that Will was off limits. I would remain strong.

Will’s eyes followed the female staff member’s retreating form. She turned back and caught his eyes on her. I couldn’t blame her for turning back to take another look. The man was a nearly perfect specimen—absolute eye candy. He gave her his classic look, the one that made women want to have his babies, and her cheeks darkened. Instead of watching their exchange, I focused on Will. I’d seen him work his charm for almost a decade. I knew he was a player. So why did I let him get to me like this?

Without another word, I turned from the familiar scene. I was done having my heart crushed, as much as I hated to admit he still possessed the power to crush it.



Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, exercising, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast. 


Rafflecopter Giveaway:
Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Ends 21/12/2019

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway is organized by Mylissa Demeyere. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Faceoff (Northbrook Hockey Elite) by Rebecca Connolly, Heather B. Moore, Sophia Summers

She isn’t supposed to want him. He isn’t supposed to want her. But wanting each other is inevitable.

Clint McCarthy has finally achieved his dream of playing for a professional hockey program, and is eager to make his mark with his new team. While getting settled in his new city, he happens across Bree Stone, whom he has known for years, with their respective brothers both being in the famed Belltown Six Pack. But for the life of him, he can’t remember Bree ever looking so attractive. Or being so captivating. Or taking over his every waking thought.

In the middle of her graduate degree, Bree has no time or desire for working on her dating life, or lack thereof, but the impossibly handsome Clint McCarthy coming back into her life makes everything complicated. She shouldn’t be focusing on him, or on them, not when her professional future hangs in the balance. But once she hears about Clint’s past with the Northbrook Hockey Elite program, and where that program stands now, Bree just might find a way to make her career, and a future with Clint, come to life.

Welcome to Northbrook Hockey Elite!

Six professional hockey players used to play on an elite club team together, but have all separated and now play in the pro-hockey leagues. Not all of them were friends, yet circumstances bring them together, and for the greater good, maybe they can put aside their differences.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

I can't tell you how excited I am for this series!  After reading (and LOVING!) the Belltown baseball series, I've been anxious to get started on this one.  I actually know next to nothing about hockey which makes me more like Bree because I was raised with baseball but that isn't going to stop me from enjoying this series!

One of my favorite things about this story is that Clint is in from the first moments of seeing Bree again.  He is pursuing her and she knows it.  The chemistry and the intensity increases between them and I could feel it.  It was a natural progression of feelings.  I love that once Clint and Bree are in it, they don't have any major misunderstanding that drives them apart.  They work on a problem together but they don't ever fight.  That was refreshing and I loved it.

The first kiss was yummy, Bree's friends and the whole hockey community are fun, and I love that we don't have to say goodbye to the six pack!  This book was so good and I can't wait for the next book, out next month!!  Yay!!

Content:  kissing

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


Rebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.







Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty publications. Her historical novels and thrillers are written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women's fiction, romance and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom. Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. Heather is represented by Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.

Goodreads:
Email list: http://hbmoore.com/contact/



Sophia Summers is an award winning author who just wants to relax a little and enjoy a great beach read. She lives in a quiet southern town brimming with an extra dose of hospitality and a whole lot of charm.


She writes historical romance under a different name. You can follow her on http://www.sophiasummers.com. Be SURE to join her Newsletter for freebies and fun. 



Thursday, November 21, 2019

To Die To Sleep by Stephanie Black + Win This Book!


After surviving a difficult year, Natalie Marsh is heading for Ellsberg Keep, an exclusive mountain resort that promises to provide the tranquility she desperately needs. She’s eager to relax and to reconnect with her estranged cousin Lily, who works as the Keep’s nurse—a reunion that begins abruptly when an accident on the winding mountain roads lands Natalie in the infirmary in the care of her cousin. They have little time to bond over childhood memories, however. Everything is thrown into chaos when the owner of the Keep is rushed to the medical wing, wildly delusional and raving about a murder plot.

Despite Lily’s care, the owner dies. Is his death simply an accident, or are his frenzied suspicions true? Determined to help Lily cope with the loss of her patient—and the accusations that she’s to blame for his death—Natalie searches for answers and is swept into a mystery that grows more puzzling as frightening hallucinations torment the dead man’s son. When a staff member who asks too many questions disappears, it is clear that this idyllic resort harbors someone with deadly intent—and Natalie may not survive to uncover the truth.


Stephanie Black is an author whose books I have been reading for a long time.  I know exactly what I'm going to get when I pick up one of her books and I love that.  

This book is labeled suspense and there was some of that but to me it felt more like a mystery.  The characters are trying to piece together what is happening around the Keep because things are definitely not as they should be.  I kept trying to guess who the "bad guy" was but it was always changing.  The author was great at casting suspicion on all the people at some point or another.  There were a lot of characters in this book but I never felt confused or overwhelmed by who was who, which is another tribute to the author.

I enjoyed the building nature of the story and the climactic ending where everything starts coming together.  I tend to start reading faster when things get climactic and I really had to purposely slow myself down several time toward the end.  So good!!

This book is definitely more plot driven than emotionally driven.  There isn't much romance to speak.  It was interesting and engaging though, from beginning to end.  I really enjoyed it!

Content:  death, mild violence, peril

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

About the author:  

I’ve enjoyed making up stories since I was a child, when my sisters and I would play long Barbie games full of intrigue and danger, or write and direct plays for ourselves and our younger siblings. I took a creative writing class in high school, but my stories stunk, since I hadn’t yet figured out that a story needs a plot. An encouraging comment from the teacher got me rolling in the right direction (thank you, Mrs. Owen!) and my final story for that class eventually developed--after many years, much studying of fictional technique, and countless hours of writing and rewriting--into my first published novel: The Believer, a dystopian thriller, was published in 2005 by Covenant Communications.

Four of my contemporary mysteries are Whitney Award winners for Best Mystery/Suspense, and my second dystopian novel was a Whitney Award Finalist for Best Speculative Novel. My novella “An Eye for an Eye” was part of the RONE Award-winning anthology Timeless Romance: Autumn Suspense collection.

My husband Brian and I have five children, two children-in-law (with one more on deck), and a rather majestic cat. I love spending time with my family, enjoy homemade pizza and anything chocolate, and have recently developed a fondness for LEGO projects. I play the violin in a community symphony (but never practice enough), and always have unmatched socks, post-laundry. At the center of everything that matters most is my love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.


 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

To Love a Governess (Timeless Regency Collection) by Josi S. Kilpack, Heather B. Moore, Julie Daines

Governesses are not supposed to fall in love. Governesses are not supposed to marry. Governesses don't always follow society's conventions. 

Til’ All the Seas Gang Dry by Josi S. Kilpack
It has been six years since Dina left London and David and whatever fantasy she had allowed to grow in the months of flirtation that had nearly overtaken them both. Now, David is getting married and he and his fiancé are guests at the home where Dina works as a governess. Convinced the connection they felt was nothing more than childhood fancy, Dina is taken by surprise to find that her feelings have not changed, and, she fears, David’s have not either. Still, she is determined not to interfere with the life he has worked so hard to build … until she realizes that his fiancé is not nearly as committed to him as he is to her. No one will trust her motivations for revealing the truth, not even David, and she could ruin everything she had built here, but if it spares David heartbreak, is it worth the sacrifice?

The One-Year Governess by Heather B. Moore
When Emmeline Finch's best friend becomes betrothed to the man Emmeline had picked out for herself, she decides she needs to get away for one year. Her aunt has the perfect solution. Become a governess for two children who are under the guardianship of their uncle, Captain Jasper Ridout. But when Emmeline arrives at the home, she finds the Captain not at all ancient as she assumed, but a man only a handful of years older than she, and most certainly single.

Visible by Julie Daines
Orphaned at a young age, Sarah Woolsey’s prospects for a meaningful future are grim, especially as a housemaid in the home of the handsome but aloof Arthur Selwood. When an abandoned child is left at Mr. Selwood’s door, Sarah is elevated from housemaid to governess in the blink of an eye. But with a man she’s running from closing in, Sarah is desperate to escape. Leaving would mean breaking the trust of the child she’s come to love, not to mention her growing attachment to Mr. Selwood


 * Amazon * Goodreads

 Happy release day to this book!

Three amazing authors have teamed up to bring these sweet stories of love that go against the rules of society.  Who doesn't love rooting for the underdog?  All three of these stories had young women who were gentle but strong and yet still what I would label as an underdog.  I loved watching love come softly to them from men who were willing to "see" them for who they really were.  Each story was ever so sweet and made me happy.  I loved each one.

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

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Her Stand-in Cowboy by Crystal Walton


When a wary farm girl takes on a big city chiropractor as her stand-in boyfriend, convincing her family they’re in love might be easier than convincing themselves they’re not.

There are certain things a single country mom learns to accept. Like the fact that she now shares a sacred bond of empathy with her dairy cow, that spit-up can reach places it never should be able to, and that a pretend relationship is far less complicated than one her southern mama insists on setting her up in. At least, it is when you have anyone’s luck besides Ainsley Jamison’s.

Only in Ainsley’s life would her imaginary decoy turn out to be a real-life city boy who is as hilariously wrong for her as he is persistent. With less than four weeks before her entire family shows up for Thanksgiving, they don’t have a cotton-picking prayer of turning Connor into a believable cowboy in time, let alone fix up her place while they’re at it.

Heaven knows Ainsley’s already maxed out her faith hoping she made the right choice raising her son there. But while praying she didn’t make a mistake taking on her daddy’s farm is one thing, praying she didn’t make one taking on Connor Allen is another entirely. One that’s about to turn everything in her life upside down.


 
The premise of this book is fun and I always love to read fake anything that turns into something real.  The farm setting lends itself to many humorous situations because hello, animals are unpredictable.  There were many smile worthy moments- the goat and pig being some of them.  The author obviously understands the ins and outs of being a new mother and dealing with all the "fun" things that can create embarrassing and laughable situations.
 
I enjoyed the "family" of characters in this book and how, despite their quirks and oddities, they loved each other well.  The names of the animals made me smile.  Conner is such a good sport, at all times.  I loved his easy going nature, his desire to please and his consistency.
 
I've been reading (and loving) this author's books for a long time but this one felt different to me.  I think it might have been the attempt at lightness and humor which sometimes felt a bit far fetched when so many things happened at once, repeatedly. The real emotions were there but it was hit and miss because I was distracted.  It would feel like a Crystal Walton book but then it would snap out and feel like something else.  It didn't have that emotional build up that I've come to love from this author.  Maybe I just love her more serious stuff.  
 
I didn't LOVE this book, but I did LIKE it.  
 
Content:  kissing
 
- I picked this book up on KU.