Saturday, April 25, 2015

Together With You by Victoria Bylin

When a Lost Child warning blasts over the mall's PA system, toy store manager Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about five-year-old Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that Penny suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's own past suddenly confronts her. Never again will Carly become involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart. Before she has time to think it through, she agrees to a much-needed job as a nanny.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine knows he messed up his life. But this summer he will redeem himself. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan is dedicated to his sink-or-swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruiting Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.

Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

When I saw this title on NetGalley, I knew I wanted to read it.  I'll admit that the cover attracted me too.  :)

This is a meaty sort of book.  Yes, it has a developing romance but nothing is really acted upon until the end of the book.  Ryan and Carly are attracted to each other from the beginning but there are some major issues that separate them.

Ryan and Carly are really opposites as to where they are in life.  Ryan is a bit older than Carly with teenage sons from a first marriage, and a daughter from an affair he had.  He is trying to make up for his mistakes and be a good father to his children but he is in a bit over his head.  His daughter suffers from FAE (fetal alcohol effects) and needs extra special care and attention.  It's a lot for one single dad to handle.  Ryan needs Carly so badly.

I loved Carly.  She is smart and capable but very soft and human too.  She loves with her whole heart.  She was easy to connect with.

Like I said, this book has some meat to it.  Real life complications are everywhere in this book.  The author does a great job of balancing things so the book doesn't ever feel too heavy.  This is also a Christian fiction book so there is talk about God.  

I really liked this book.  I read through it quickly and became invested early on.  I'll be looking for more books by this author!

My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to read and review titles for them via NetGalley.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Perfect Fool by Bethany Zohner Herbert

Plucked from the streets to become a court jester, Farrago’s life couldn’t be better, especially now that he’s flirting with scullery maid Thea. But when Thea turns out to be a queen in disguise, Farrago may become as much a fool in love as in his occupation. This medieval tale is filled with romance, humor, and twists that will keep you guessing to the last page.

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

The beginning of this book was slow going for me.  I wasn't convinced I was going to like this book at all but thankfully things picked up and I ended up really enjoying myself.

This is supposed to be a "medieval" tale but it reads more like contemporary fiction.  The setting is in a more medieval time but the characters do not talk or act as such.  Which is fine, but just don't go into this book thinking you are getting a authentic feeling medieval tale.

I didn't love Farrago at first but he grew on me.  By the end I was a Farrago fangirl.  The book is told from his perspective only, so by the end I really felt like I knew Farrago and understood him more completely.  He really is a good guy.  :)

There is a fun cast of characters, a bit of intrigue and a happily ever after ending that wasn't completely what I was expecting.  I liked that.

Content:  Clean!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade + $50 Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Order your copy of A Love Like Ours by May 17th to have part of your proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (more details on the Launch).

A Love Like Ours (Porter Family #3)A Love Like Ours
(Porter Family #3)
by Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 368 Pages
May 5th 2015 by Bethany House Publishers

Deeply scarred from a day he wishes he could forget during his military service, Thoroughbred trainer Jake Porter has given up on love. He struggles against symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, returns to their hometown of Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake trusts her with his prized racehorse, Silver Leaf, then battles his hopes for his horse against his increasing fear for Lyndie's safety.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

I honestly love this series.  I'm always anxiously awaiting the next book and the chance to read and review it.  This is one of my favorite Christian Fiction series.

Jake is a tough nut to crack.  Because of the horrific events surrounding his military service, Jake suffers from PTSD.  In order to keep it all together, he has hardened himself and built walls of protection.  It's how he copes.  But, Lyndie has loved Jake forever and she is determined to find a way in and make Jake love her again.

I love Lyndie.  She is determined but always gentle and loving.  She tries to understand and she wants to help.  Not pity, but compassion and empathy.  I think people who have grown up with a special needs sibling in their home have a special knack for understanding and loving people better.  That natural instinct for compassion and patience is so attractive.  This is what Lyndie brings to the relationship.

The slow progression for Jake is so satisfying to read.  I loved the flow of the book and I loved learning in bits about both Jake and Lyndie.  This is one of those "feel good" books leave you so content in the end.  It's a great addition to this Porter Family series.  I loved it!

Content:  Clean- some kissing.  Flashback to a violent military accident.  

During her childhood in California, Becky Wade frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She’s delighted to be penning warm, wry, and heartwarming contemporary romances for the Christian market. She's the Carol Award and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, and Meant to Be Mine.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Other Books by the Author
Tour Schedule:
April 20th - Launch
April 27th - Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Signed copy of A Love Like Ours (US Only)
1 Kindle ebook (gifted through Amazon) of A Love Like Ours (INT - if available in your area)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Vagabond Vicar by Charlotte Brentwood

William Brook is an idealistic young cleric, desperate to escape dreary England for a mission adventure in exotic lands. It's his worst nightmare come true when he is posted to a parish in a small backwater village, populated with small-minded people and husband-hunting mamas. He’s determined not to form any ties and to escape the country as an independent single man.

A free spirit, Cecilia Grant is perfectly content to remain in her family home in Amberley village - when she's not wandering the countryside at all hours painting. Marriage options are few, but that won't stop her mother from engineering a match with one of the ruling family's sons. Cecilia attempts to win the man, but what is it about the new vicar and his brooding ways that is so appealing? Could he be the only one who has ever really understood her, and can she discover what he is running away from?

As William struggles not to fall in love with the lady's intoxicating beauty and mysterious eccentricity, he finds himself drawn into the lives of the villagers, despite their best efforts to alienate the newcomer. When he makes it clear he's not sticking around, Cecilia strives to restrain her blossoming feelings for him. Just when it seems love may triumph, dark secrets are revealed in Amberley and a scandal from William’s past may see the end of not only his career, but his chance at finding an everlasting love.

The Vagabond Vicar is an unashamedly romantic historical novel you'll fall in love with. If you love Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, can't get enough of Downton Abbey or Cranford, or just prefer old-fashioned boy-meets-girl stories, try reading Charlotte Brentwood.

Sensuality level: sweet (only kissing)
Please note, although there is some mention of religious subject matter due to the hero's occupation, this is not an "inspirational" novel.

* GoodreadsAmazon *

Since the blurb for this book is so long, I won't do any sort of recap summary here.  I'll just jump right into what I thought!  :)

This was a good regency romance.  It was gentle and slow moving as you might expect.  The characters were good and although I didn't feel particularly attached to them, I was interested in them and their outcome.

Both William and Cecilia (especially William) spend a lot of time in the book remunerating the many fantastic qualities of the other.  Sometimes the on and on repeated descriptions got a bit much but overall this was a book I enjoyed.  It was clean and sweet and full of classic, small English town quirks and had many of the qualities you might look for if you love regency romance.

Monday, April 20, 2015

California Dreamin': A Timeless Romance Anthology

Six brand new contemporary romance novellas with bestselling and award winning authors.

In the sweet novella TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by Heather B. Moore, Gwen uses her wedding photography business to keep her life simple and focus on something other than her own broken heart. When Jack, a guy too handsome for his own good, helps her clean up after a photoshoot, then asks her out, she doesn’t know if she can handle dating again. But Jack’s charm wins her over, and she agrees to meet him for dinner. The more she gets to know Jack, the more she likes him, but everything about him seems too good to be true.

GONE FISHING, a charming novella by Kaylee Baldwin, follows Claire as she tries to convince her dad to leave his start-up company as a boat guide and come back home to Colorado. He’s the only one who can defend Claire against her domineering mother. But when she arrives at the San Diego harbor, she’s met with more than one surprise. First, that her dad is truly living his dream and has never been happier, and second, she’s unexpectedly attracted to his business partner, Miguel.

In THE PIER CHANGES EVERYTHING, an enchanting novella by Annette Lyon, Alexandria has one last task to perform for her late husband, who died much too young: scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean. She goes to the Santa Monica Pier to do just that, but her plans get sidetracked after meeting Michael and feeling an immediate connection to him. They grab lunch, and the more time they spend together, the more they discover that they have in common—including past romantic hardships. As the day wears on, Alexandria begins learn that her heart just might be able to find love again.

In Jennifer Moore’s captivating novella A HERO’S SONG, AnneMarie’s career as a romance novelist is skyrocketing and her agent books her on a late night talk show. The host gets her to admit that she was in love once, with a guitar player. Moments after her segment, Lance Holden appears on the same stage, to perform his newest song. Is it a terrible coincidence? AnneMarie hasn’t seen Lance ever since he broke her heart ten years ago, and she has refused to think about him again. Their lives are worlds apart, but as Lance tries to reconcile with AnneMarie, she finds herself taking a second chance.

In STAY WITH ME, an endearing novella by Shannon Guymon, Jolie moves to L.A. to take on a nanny position for the summer, since apparently having a degree in art doesn’t translate to getting a job as a graphic designer. When Fitz, the family’s chauffeur, picks her up at the airport, she wonders if every man in LA is model-gorgeous. When Jolie meets her two charges, she finds them adorable and needy. But it’s harder to hold onto her job than she thought with a hostile Mrs. James and her spoiled brother. Fitz becomes both the silver lining of her job and the man who just might convince her to stay in L.A.

In the delightful novella, A PLACE TO CALL HOME, by Sarah M. Eden, Ada is the best realtor around. The best. She prides herself in matching each client with the house that will fit all of their needs. She hasn’t failed yet. So when Craig hires her to find him the perfect condo for him and his son, Ada is up for the challenge. What she may not be prepared for is her unforeseen attraction to Craig, her immediate attachment to his nine-year-old son, and her heart telling her that it’s okay to take another chance.

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

Ooh, this one was L*O*V*E for me!  My favorite authors all combined with my favorite setting in the world.  California.  Yes, I'm biased.  I grew up in California, my family is in California and even though I'm not living there now, bits of my heart are scattered all over that state.

 These romance novellas are all sweet and clean.  They made my romantic heart flutter and brought a smile to my face.  I really loved all of them.  As per usual, I plowed right through them all, one right after the other. The great thing about these collections is you can read them one at a time when you have a few spare minutes, or you can devour them all in one sitting like me.  :)

Love, love, love!  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lord John's Dilemma (Grenville Chronicles Book 2) by G.G. Vandagriff

When Lord John returns from the Battle of Waterloo nursing a serious wound and a case of melancholia, he is hopeful of beginning a happier phase in his life. His sights are set on the lovely Miss Lindsay, his country neighbor’s daughter. But to his mystification, he keeps getting distracted by her family’s governess—a little dab of a thing who is not at all what she seems.

His determination to solve the mystery of Miss Haverley begins to seriously undermine his interest in Miss Lindsay, who is confident he is about to offer for her. In the face of this, how can he pursue his interest in the family governess? Not only must he solve this dilemma, but he must discover what the petite woman is hiding.

When Miss Haverley begs him to resist satisfying his curiosity because such a course could bring her harm, his dilemma doubles. He is more determined than ever to rescue her from whatever demons she is trying to escape, for Miss Haverley alone seems to have the power to stir him to passion and hope for a new life.

 * GoodreadsAmazon *

Sometimes this girl is just in the mood for a good regency romance.  This book fit the bill perfectly.  Imagining those lovely dresses, walks in the garden and taking tea is all part of the regency charm.

Lord John is tired.  After facing the atrocities of war, he is longing for a quiet life in the country to lift his spirits and rejuvenate his soul.  Now he needs to find a wife who shares the same desires.  Lord John thinks he knows what he wants but then he meets Miss Haverley and he becomes distracted by her loveliness and charm.  He knows there is more to Miss Haverley than meets the eye.  She is hiding something and he is determined to find out what and why.

Miss Haverley is a mystery and there are things about her that just don't add up.  She has everyone wondering.  Especially Lord John.  He is determined to unravel her secrets because she is the sunshine and light to his darkness.

I enjoyed this book and it's characters.  It was a gentle, easy read and I was quite content to stay in the English countryside with Lord John and Miss Haverley.  I need to pick up the first book in this series because I'm so curious about Lord John's brother and his story.  This book can stand alone though.  I don't think you need to read the first to be fully invested in the second.  It's just my curiosity now, driving me to read the first book.  I know where I'll go when that regency mood hits again!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Summer Queen (Fairy Queens #2) by Amber Argyle

Nelay never wanted to be queen.

Poised to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, Nelay doesn’t have time to become a pretty bauble for the king. She’s too busy saving her people from the invading army sweeping across her kingdom.

But in defeat after defeat, Nelay begins to realize a bigger power is at play than that wielded by mere mortals. Only she can stand between the cinders of her once-great nation and the vengeance of a goddess.

Oh, man.  Wowza.  Okay.  Where do I start and what do I say?

Summer Queen is the second book in this series.  The first book in the series, Winter Queen (Fairy Queens Book 1) , will be on sale for .99 cents from April 10th-17th.  Of Fire and Ash is the prequel to Summer Queen and gives an excellent background on Nelay.  It really sets the stage for Summer Queen and helps you understand who Nelay is.  You can read Of Fire and Ash free!  Just click on the ebook format of your choice.  Mobi  Epub 

Summer Queen was intense.  Like scary intense.  At least for me it was.  There was so much going on in this book.  There were plots and sub-plots.  It was full on, all the time.  Several times I had to walk away from this book because the emotional intensity was too much.  I just needed to breathe for a few minutes and let the anger go.

Nelay is strong and smart and determined.  She knows what she wants and she has a plan.  Unfortunately, other people try to force her into things she doesn't want but Nelay is so determined.  She will accomplish what she has set out to do.  No matter what.

Nelay is also angry a lot.  She is a force to be reckoned with.  She is fiercely loyal to her family, her people and close friend.  Actually, Nelay is just fierce.  I wouldn't want to go up against her!  That is not to say that she doesn't have some softness in her, because she does.  It just doesn't come out a lot because she cannot afford to be soft.  To be soft would mean death in most instances.

This book is very violent.  So much fighting, so much death.  It was hard for me to read.  That, combined with the intensity, is the reason I had to put it down and walk away several times.  But this is a book about war and Nelay is in the middle of it, fighting for her life and her people.  She never gives up.  She never gives in.

I think the message I took away from this, in the end, was about love.  Love is what keeps us anchored.  It keeps our humanity.  Love is worth fighting for.

Amber Argyle is such a gifted writer.  She obviously knows how to draw the reader in and evoke real emotion.   The scenes were vivid and real in my head.  It takes talent to write like that. 

Content:  Violence (graphic, and lots of it), sexual innuendo and situations.  

Amber Argyle is the number-one bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. Her books have been nominated for and won awards in addition to being translated into French and Indonesian.

Amber graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people.

To learn more about Amber, visit her blog at