Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Matchmaker's Match by Brittany Larsen

Eliza Woodhouse has everything a girl could want: a delightful little beachside flower shop, a loving family, and the best friend a girl could ask for. And while she suffers a chronic lack of romance in her own life, the bohemian beauty is a self-proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, as evidenced by her recent successes. Having found a fiancé for her sister and a boyfriend for her best friend, she is now taking her lovelorn new employee under her wing. Yes, life is working out quite nicely for Eliza. Until Parker Knightley walks back into her life.

After three years in Hong Kong, Parker is in town for his brother's upcoming wedding to Eliza's sister. They've all known each other their whole lives, and Eliza will never be anything but Little Liza Belle to her handsome childhood tormenter. So the fact that their siblings are getting married simply puts Parker one step closer to becoming the big brother he and Eliza have always joked about him being. But the more time they spend together, the more confused Eliza's feelings become. Because she has come to the shocking realization that the role of brother is the last role she wants Parker to play in her life.

Are you a fan of Jane Austen?  Then you will want to check out this book and the other books by this author.  She is so good at writing the contemporary versions of classic Austen books.  Even if you aren't a Jane Austen fan and don't get the connection, this is still a very fun book!

This book in particular had that classic "feel" to it.  All the emotions I remember as I read Emma really shined through in this book as well.  I love that I had the same sort of feelings of familiarity even though the circumstances varied from the classic.  That's how I want my re-take on classics to feel.

I was frustrated with both Parker (who is always criticizing Eliza and telling her all the things she does wrong) and Eliza who bumbles so many things.  Eliza isn't malicious though, she just makes some mistakes.  I love how Eliza tries so hard to help people and make up for the mistakes she does make.  She loves her family and takes especially good care of her father.  She is an endearing character.  The whole cast of characters were just perfect and I loved them.

I read through this book quickly and enjoyed every minute of it!

Content:  clean, kissing

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


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2) by Nancy Campbell Allen

A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date—after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette—the witch who cursed her—Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

It took me a quick minute or two to get into this book but once I did, I was hooked.  I couldn't put it down.  The story builds and builds until by the end I was feeling quite frantic and desperate.  It was so exciting!  I love when that happens.

I love that Nancy Campbell Allen is writing these steampunk romances loosely based on classic fairy tales.  It gives everything such a fun twist.

The relationship and chemistry between Isla and Daniel was also one that kept building.  I loved the explosive first kiss (😍) but mostly I loved how devoted Daniel was to Isla once he learned how vulnerable she was because of her curse.  He was so sweet, so invested in her.  I just LOVED him.

Yup, this was a good one!  I'm so excited to see what's coming next!

Content:  some violence, kissing

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

Friday, July 6, 2018

#Moonstruck (#Lovestruck #2) by Sariah Wilson

After pop star Ryan De Luna praises Maisy Harrison’s YouTube cover of his classic hit, he offers Maisy and her fledgling band the opportunity of a lifetime: to be his opening act.

Music may be Maisy’s life, but she has one ground rule: never date a musician. That goes double for a heartbreaker like Ryan. If only she didn’t feel so vulnerable to his larger-than-life charm. And maybe now more than ever, when he asks for her help to shake off his playboy image. How can she resist playing the part of his fake girlfriend for the duration of the tour?

Ryan’s never met anyone like Maisy. She sees past all the star-studded fame and treats him like any other guy. And the more time they spend together, the more he finds himself falling for her. Now he’d like to make their imaginary fling an IRL thing. But can he convince her to take a chance and trust him with her heart?

This book had all the yummy elements I look for in a "take me away" romantic book.  

Fun characters?  ✅ 
Witty banter?  ✅ 
Tension and build up? 
Great secondary characters? 
Sizzling chemistry? 

I knew I was going to love this book.  I love everything Sariah Wilson writes for all the reasons above.  The musical aspect in this book had me hooked and led to some very romantic situations!  <sigh>  I'm swoony just thinking about it.  😊 

If you haven't picked up the first book in the series, you really should!  (#starstruck)  This book isn't dependent on the first book at all, but it is equally as good.  

Content:  kissing, talk about waiting for marriage for sex

- I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher at my request.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Dead Drift (Chesapeake Valor #4) by Dani Pettrey

Private Investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving Luke Gallagher after he disappeared. Now he's back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal while on the brink of a biological disaster that will shake America to its core. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist's next target?

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

I have been anticipating this book for so long!  It's the final book in the Chesapeake Valor Series!  I would recommend reading these books in order.  They follow a group of friends and while each book is focused on one main character, each friend has story development in each one.  The books are so intertwined that reading them in order is essential.  I was so excited to finally get to Kate and Luke and reach some resolution for all these friends.

This book, as with all the other books in this series, is full of fast paced action and suspense.  It is balanced so well with character interaction and story development.  I love reading these kinds of books and Dani Pettrey is a master at writing them.  

I have loved getting to know these characters.  They feel real to me which is exactly where I want to be as a reader.  I am glad to see the conclusion of this series and some resolution for the characters.  They deserve a nice, long rest!  ha.  

Content:  violence, murder (some described in details), Christian fiction (talk of God, praying, forgiving)

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

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain #1) by Joanne Bischof

When Aven Norgaard leaves Norway to serve as housekeeper to her late husband’s cousins in Appalachia, she expects lads in need of care, not three grown men—each in need of a wife and bound by a powerful brotherhood. As the men carve out a living by brewing artisan liquor, young Haakon’s pursuit tempts Aven’s lonely spirit . . . but it is his deaf brother, Thor, whose silent strength shows her the depths of real love.

Unable to speak to any woman, Thor Norgaard never anticipates Aven will befriend him, let alone treat him as her safe harbor. Though hard cider is their livelihood and his greatest talent, he fights his way to sobriety with Haakon’s help, defying the bottle for Aven’s hand—only to face a battle of the heart that tests even the strongest bonds of brotherhood.

 * Amazon * Goodreads

This is going to be a gushy sort of review because I just cannot help myself.  Last year I read my first Joanne Bischof book, The Lady and the Lionheart.  Words cannot express how much I loved that book.  I still love that book.  It was one of my favorite books last year.  I have been anxiously awaiting this new book for months and I finally, finally, got to sit down and immerse myself in it.  I say immerse because Joanne Bischof has a way of writing that  pulls you in and makes all your senses come alive.  It's effortless on my part- I just start reading and I'm in.  It's so fantastic.

This story is rich and thick, layered and dynamic.  I just loved how I felt a part of everything that was happening.  I saw, felt, heard, and tasted.  My personal investment in this book increased with every page I read.  The characters were complex and flawed with purpose and energy.  Ugh.  I really, really loved it. 

This book leaves me with many questions regarding Haakon.  I'm hoping that his story will be coming next but honestly, I don't care what story comes next as long as a story comes.  I'm already in.

If you haven't read a Joanne Bischof book, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.  Or The Lady and the Lionheart.  (which is still my favorite, even though I loved this book too)  

Content:  alcohol addiction, some violence, a scene with unwanted sexual advances (that may be a trigger for some people), racial tension, abuse (that you know about and see evidence of, with no details), light Christian elements- characters attend church, pray.

- I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher at my request.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life by Carol J. Decker, Stacey L. Nash

On June 10, 2008, Carol Decker walked through the hospital doors a healthy woman with flu-like symptoms and early labor contractions. Three months later, she returned home a blind, triple-amputee struggling to bond with a daughter she would never see.

Unshattered: Choosing a Beautiful Life after Unspeakable Tragedy recounts Carol's fight for survival against sepsis and its life-shattering complications. From excruciating skin grafts to learning how to function in daily life without lower legs, a left hand, and her sight, Carol takes us on a personal and raw, yet inspiring journey. She travels through the darkness of trauma, anxiety, and depression to arrive, literally, at the peak of a mountain with a heart full of gratitude and love. More than a story of triumph over tragedy, the book offers inspiring life-lessons and insights which can help readers to do more than endure unimaginable pain and darkness in their own lives. This book can give them the perspective and strength to pick up the pieces of their own tragedies and choose a life of healing, purpose, and joy--a beautiful life.

Occasionally I love to pick up books about real people who have endured intense hardships and persevered, overcome.  It's always amazing to me how resilient the human spirit can be.  Reading books like this one restores my faith in humanity.  There really are so many good people out there, working hard to help other people and extending kindness in times of trouble.  Mostly it helps me put life back into perspective and remember the things that are most important.  I never want to take the good things and blessings in my life for granted.
Obviously, Carol Decker is a miracle.  She survived something few people do.  I am in awe of her persistence and how she has transformed something horrible into something beautiful.  Now she shares what she has learned with others and many lives are blessed by her courage and determination.  I am glad I picked this book up.  I feel better for reading it and that's one of the great things about books.  They fill so many different roles in life.  Sometimes I read to escape and be entertained, sometimes I read to learn something new.  Sometimes I read to be inspired by the triumphs of other people and I always read with the hopes of being a better person when I'm done.  Mission accomplished here.
- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Sleepless Beauty (Someone Else's Fairytale #6) by E.M. Tippetts

Chloe could have had the perfect childbirth…

If only the baby hadn't come two weeks early

If only Jason wasn't working overtime to save his new television series

If only the television crew wouldn't antagonize the archaeologists working next to the set

If only the archaeologists hadn't found that dead body

If only the main suspect wasn't the beloved boyfriend of sweet Lizzie Warner, a girl who deserves to have it all…

Chloe’s first week of motherhood isn't going at all how she hoped, so she is determined to solve the murder, no matter what it takes. Perhaps then the second week can be magical.

This is a series I've been reading since the very beginning and one I would highly recommend reading in order.  If I would have started with this book, I would have been completely underwhelmed.  The characters development happen over the course of the series and the secondary characters all have a major part in different books so yeah, read them in order or you won't be very happy.

Because I have read all the books in this series, it was good to be back with Jason and Chloe again, starting a new chapter of their lives.  I really wish there would have been more interactions between Jason and Chloe, more personal and intimate conversations.  I felt like everything was very surface and I was lacking those emotional connections.  Having said that though, I did still enjoy this story.  Chloe is a smart gal and it's fun to watch her work her magic in solving crimes.  I like where this next book is headed and how the characters are coming together in new ways.  The ending left me wanting more for sure!

Content:  A murder and murder scene is discussed in detail which was a bit gruesome.

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

Here is something very happy!  You can pick up the first four books in this series right now through July 5th for just $.99!  How awesome is that?!  Four full length books for just a dollar.