Thursday, September 28, 2023

Insta Family: A Sweet Romantic Comedy by Jen Atkinson


Meeting your birth family is nerve-racking. So, it’s helpful when tall, dark, and lovable shows up to hold your hand.

Coco had never planned to find her birth parents. But when Jude finds her—confessing that he knows her birth mother and he wants to set up a meeting, it’s suddenly all she can think about. Okay… maybe not all she’s thinking about. The messenger, Mr. Jude Taylor, himself, is pretty difficult to get off the brain.

Still, Coco’s working on becoming a partner at her clinic. She’s got friends and clients and a life—she can’t just pick up and leave. Can she?

Jude has enough on his plate—single dad, crazy ex, boring job. Yep—he’s got plenty to take up his time. But when his best friend’s mom asks him to do her a favor, he knows he’ll come to the rescue. Lucy has always been like another mom to him—often more supportive than his own mother. The only problem—Lucy’s favor is a big one. He isn’t running to the store to pick up groceries, but flying one thousand miles to find a stranger and inform her that he happens to know who her birth mother is.

That’s a big ask. Like a huge ask. What about his job? What about his daughter? It’s too much. So—of course he’ll do it. Yep, he’s the best… or maybe he’s just a sucker who can’t say no to Lucy Bailey.

But Jude is logical and organized. He’s got a plan. He can get this job done in less than a day. Or at least he could if Coco would follow along with the plan. It also isn’t helpful that somehow this girl, Lucy’s daughter is sending sparks throughout his sparkless body and forget tugging, Coco is the commander in control of Jude’s heartstrings.

But Jude has a daughter to consider and Coco has an entire family to get to know. This isn’t the right time or the right place to fall in love. Too bad his heart isn’t listening to logic.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

Aw.  What a cute, cute story!  I fell in love with these characters almost instantly.  How is that even possible?!?!  Coco, Jude and Alice.  But here's where I admit that maybe, just maybe, Alice stole the show.  All of her 6 year old adorableness,  sparkling up the pages.  This author did such a good job of creating a community and family of characters that I related to and connected with.  I felt like I knew them all.  And more than that, I liked them all.

There were so many memorable moments in this book.  So many smiles, so many feel good, fuzzy feelings.  

* Jude the pilot (he'll save Coco first)

* first meet poop incident

* sparkle punch

* code names

* Coco's generous heart

* pink dresses 

* Coco standing up for herself

*  hugs

I loved snuggling in with this book.  It was so sweet, so cozy.  I can't wait for more of this family of four brothers!!  It's going to be such a fun ride!  If you haven't read anything by this author and you love sweet romance, go right now and pick one up.  She's the real deal.

Content:  kissing.  Adoption, connecting with biological family.

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

Just as a fun side note, I got to meet Jen Atkinson this past summer at an author/book event that went to with my friend.  She is a lovely person.  So fun and so sweet.  I'm so glad I had the chance to meet her!  I'm holding her first book in this series, Insta Boyfriend.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Wedding Jinx Becky Monson


A a person or thing that brings bad luck.

I'm Mila Banks, the ultimate jinx. Not just in theory—I've got a track record. Seven weddings, seven disasters. Everything from a groom with a concussion to an attack of red ants (a long story) has happened because of me. So, when my bestie, Nadia, insists on making me her maid of honor, I can't help but try to find a way out of it. To make matters more complicated, my boss, Grayson Manning, is going to be the best man. Did I mention I'm head over heels for him? Well, sort of. You see, I have a knack for falling for my bosses, so it's all a tad confusing. The bottom line? My life is a bit of a disaster right now.

Here's to hoping I don't turn Nadia's big day into another catastrophe, and that, for once, I won't hand my heart to the wrong guy. My bad luck has to run out eventually, right? I guess we're going to find out. All I wish for is that, in the end, my best friend gets the dream wedding she deserves, and maybe, just maybe, I'll snag the man I truly deserve too.

The Wedding Jinx is a boss romance filled with laughs, tears, and the unforgettable chaos of weddings. Expect sizzling chemistry but low on spice.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

I am currently basking in the afterglow of this book.  It was all things yummy and romantic and swoon worthy.  You know how some books hit you in your sweet spot?  The perfect book at the perfect time- and all your senses just come alive and dance happily because you are fully entertained and filled up with looooooove?  That's this book.  It's no wonder I'm now basking in the afterglow.  Seriously.  BASKING.

Mila is hilarious.  And loyal.  Hardworking, sweet.  She's also a fibber.  Because, well, Fake Dave.  It's kept her from Grayson who is, by all accounts, a workaholic.  But, the most attractive, kind and smart workaholic ever.  And did I mention he looooves Mila?  See?  Dumbest fib ever.

I adored every interaction between Mila and Grayson.  The dual point of view was on point, and the first kiss?  I maybe read it more than once.  😁🗢 Also, no third act break up.  That was seriously one of my favorite things.  Mila might have tried, but Grayson wasn't having it.  It may have ended in a scene that I maybe, again,  read more than once.  hahaha

If you can't tell already, I loved this book.  So, so much.  Go grab it.  Let it make you smile.

This book is on KU if you have that.

Content:  kissing

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

Friday, September 15, 2023

Wildflower Falls (Riverbend #4) by Denise Hunter


He’s here to train her horses and then skip town. She’s keeping her true identity a secret. But their spark complicates both of their plans.

When Charlotte Honeycutt, owner of Stillwater Ranch, discovered her deceased mother’s safety deposit box, she was not expecting life-changing news inside—the long-hidden identity of her biological father and the location of her two half brothers, Gavin and Cooper Robinson. While her father’s location is unknown, her brothers have grown up in Riverbend Gap, just as she did. Charlotte is determined to know them, but she is unsure how the revelation of a new sister might be received. Fortunately, her plans to build a new stable on her horse farm coincide with this dilemma since Robinson Construction is the only game in town, and she jumps at the chance.

Horse trainer Gunner Dawson is averse to the idea of settling down—or having lasting connections of any kind. His time at Stillwater Ranch is only meant to be temporary, but the young woman he finds there isn’t at all who he expected. Despite an inner warning that she might threaten his peace of mind, he accepts the task of getting her training program off the ground. Before long, he’s not only working at the stables—Charlotte has somehow dragged him into a search for her biological father. And Gunner soon discovers he was right about his peace of mind. Meanwhile, an abused horse tugs at his heart, Charlotte’s brother becomes a loyal friend, and the town of Riverbend Gap is getting some kind of strange hold over him. He’s always run from connections before, but this time leaving seems harder than ever before.

Both Charlotte and Gunner will have to be honest with others and themselves if they have any hope of the future they’re both starting to long for.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

It's book four in the Riverbend series!  I've been reading this series since the beginning and I love it.  I would recommend reading this series in order.  Backstory is so important with this one.  But, I think it could stand alone, you just won't have as much depth of understanding with all the characters.

It was so good to be in this small town again, with this community and this family.  I loved having all the characters I've come to know and enjoy around and involved in this story too.  Charlotte is such a great character.  She is so well rounded and hard working.  She cares on a deep level and I loved her.  Gunner has some heavy childhood trauma to deal with which we don't get the details about until pretty far into the story.  The characters all felt authentic and real, dealing with the bumps in the road the best they can.  And such a pretty setting, too.

The overall story is gentle in nature, flowing steady and sweet.  I loved it.

Content:  kissing.  Loss of parents.  Search for biological parent.

Friday, September 8, 2023

(Not So) Famous in Paradise: A Fake Dating Sweet Romantic Comedy by Brittany Larsen


Which is easier, pretending to date my best friend, or pretending not to be in love with him? 

When the biggest career opportunity of my life–my own home reno TV show–sends me back to my hometown, I’m less than excited. Paradise, Idaho might be paradise for everyone else, but it never was for me. Except for my best friend, Zach. 

When he signs on to be a contractor on my show, things start to look up. And heat up . If only Zach wasn’t about to propose to someone else. Even my rocking curves and great hair can’t compete with that. 

Problem is, my fans think we’re a thing and want to see us together. And my show’s producers want what the fans want. My TV show is about to become my fantasy–a love story about Zach and me. But TV is the only place where the story can be true. 

Telling Zach how I feel means risking my business, and even worse, our friendship. I could lose everything. Including the one person I want more than anything . 

The second book in the Love in Paradise Valley series, ( Not So) Famous in Paradise is a laugh-out-loud, friends to more, romantic comedy that can be read as a stand-alone.

Do you love the friends to lovers troupe?  I do.  It generally means a slower burn because friends to more isn't an easy jump to make.  You risk losing a great friendship if goes south.  But the tension and the build up makes things interesting and Georgia and Zach have lots of build up!!  Especially when this friends to lovers troupe mixes with fake dating!  Yup, things get super swirly.  I loved it.

Georgia is so fun.  I loved how she created herself- her brand and her career around her passions.  She is independent, fun and full of life.  And so devoted to Zach.  

Small towns are full of quirky things and that sure comes out in this book as well.  Family, community and love.  It was all the best things.  I sure can't wait to see what comes next for this family of siblings in Paradise, Idaho.  

Content:  kissing

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Under the Java Moon by Heather B. Moore


Based on a true story, this gripping WWII novel captures the resilience, hope, and courage of a Dutch family who is separated during the war when the Japanese occupy the Dutch East Indies.

Java Island, 1941

Six-year-old Rita Vischer cowers in her family’s dug-out bomb shelter, listening to the sirens and waiting for a bomb to fall. Her charmed life on Java—living with other Dutch families—had always been peaceful, but when Holland declares war on Japan and the Japanese army invades Indonesia, Rita’s family is forced to relocate to a POW camp, and Rita must help care for her little brother, Georgie.

Mary Vischer is three months pregnant when she enters the Tjident women’s camp with thousands of other women and children. Her husband, George, is somewhere on the Java Sea with the Dutch Navy, so she must care alone for her young children, Rita and Georgie, and her frail mother. The brutal conditions of the overcrowded camp make starvation, malaria, and dysentery a grim reality. Mary must do everything she can to keep her family alive.

George Vischer survives the bombing of his minesweeper but feels little hope floating on a small dinghy in the Java Sea. Reaching the northern tip of the Thousand Island would be a miracle. Focusing on the love of his life, Mary, and his two children, he battles against the sea and merciless sun. He’ll do whatever it takes to close the divide between him and his family, even if it means risking being captured by the Japanese.

Under the Java Moon highlights a little-known part of WWII history and the impact of war on Indonesia, its people, and the more than 100,000 Dutch men, women, and children who were funneled into prison camps and faced with the ultimate fight for survival.

 * Goodreads * Deseret Book * Amazon *

First, book cover love!!  The cover on this book may just be one of my favorites this year so far.  It's gorgeous and I absolutely love it.  The picture is pretty but the cover in real life is even more beautiful.  

Next, the story.  Wow.  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and this book is exactly the reason why.  I love learning about events in history told like a story filled with emotion and personal connections.  Author Heather B. Moore knows just how to weave a story that fills my mind with vivid pictures and heartfelt emotion.

I listened to a podcast (All In, April 5th) with Maria Vischer Elliott (Rita) before I read this book.  I was interested because I knew I was going to be reading this book and what a treat to hear her voice and tell bits of this story in her own words.  It really gave me an emotional base and interest before I even started reading.

War is horrible.  What war does to people is horrible.  I wish it never had to happen.  But stories like this are a testament to how resilient people can be, especially when driven by love and hope.  I hadn't even heard the story of the people of the Dutch East Indies during WWII so this was all new to me.  My heart is both saddened and grateful.  The Vischer family is a real family, whose lives were torn apart by war.  They are one of so many.  I'm so glad for authors who tell stories like this so we can honor them and remember.

Content:  war time elements of peril, abuse and violence.  

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

Thursday, August 31, 2023

A Bounty of Secrets and Rebellion Sharayah Maurice + Deleted Scene!


An historical alliance between two gifted races is threatened when Princess Alana Bell Sundry is attacked and a bounty is placed on her head. With powerful enemies on two borders, the kingdom of Latera is relying on her arranged marriage to the Gaellen Prince to strengthen their position in Tanithor.

Enlisting the help of a mysterious bodyguard to keep her alive until her prince arrives to claim her, Alana soon learns there’s more to the undercover guard than meets the eye. As she spends time with her new bodyguard, she realizes that the attacks on her life aren’t the only threats to the alliance. Her heart may prove just as effective at dismantling a union that has been years in the making.

Meanwhile, across the Great River, Griff Shoshone is unaware of the political events happening around him. The girl he’s loved for years has recently been promised to his little brother, the future Chief of Hoken, and Griff must find a way to reconcile his heart to the Oracle’s prophetic declaration. However, after a fateful decision with deadly consequences leaves him and his brother’s betrothed captured in enemy territory, Griff must now come to terms with his new fated destiny.

A Bounty of Secrets and Rebellion is the first in the Chronicles of Tanithor YA fantasy romance series told from multiple POVs. If you like clean romance, characters with elemental powers, and action packed chapters with cliff hanger endings, then you’ll love the enchanting world of Tanithor.

Wow, what a great start for debut author, Sharayah Maurice!  This story is the beginning of what will be an epic fantasy adventure series.  It's full of royal intrigue, adventure, magic, danger and growing love.  Literally everything you want in this type of book, right?  The characters are growing on me and I'm starting to feel invested.  The plot grew in intensity and the last bit of the book had me so anxious for all the characters.  And then left me hanging.  Which, I'll admit, is my least favorite place to be.  boo.  I'd like to keep reading this story!  But I have to wait.  Sigh.

A couple of notes:
1. I love the boys more than the girls.  (shrugs)  I can't help it.
2. The elemental magic is cool.  (water, earth, wind)

This book releases tomorrow, September 1st!  If you love epic fantasy romance, you should definitely check it out.  It will also be on KU if you have that.

Content:  peril, violence, death.  Kissing.

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

As part of the blog tour for this book, I have a special deleted scene for you all!  Enjoy!

There was a cough and a grunt and Koa looked up from his painting to see Menard sitting up in bed. “What time is it?” he croaked, rubbing his eyes.

Koa glanced out the window. “A little after mid-day.”

“Dang night shifts. They get me all messed up,” Menard grumbled, stretching out his arms and neck. Koa leaned back over his work as Menard slowly stood up and made his way over to Koa’s corner of their room. He peered over Koa’s shoulder at the canvas. “That’s good.”

Koa frowned. “It’s not turning out how I want it.” He set his pallet down and let out a breath of frustration.

“Want to come train with me? It’s what I do when things aren’t working out how I want,” Menard asked, grabbing a fresh shirt and switching out the one he had on. Koa briefly glimpsed big, black tattoos all over Menard’s upper body. 

He nodded, quickly putting his supplies away and followed Menard out to the training grounds.

It was a cooler afternoon. Between the hot sun and crisp breeze that blew on the wind, the temperature was perfect for staying cool while training. Menard brought Koa to the center ring for some sword practice. As they faced off, swords at the ready, Menard asked casually, “So, you’ve been taught sword play, huh?”

And then he lunged at Koa.

Koa grunted as he quickly blocked the move and came back at Menard with his own. “Yes.” Clang! “Where did you learn? The Academy?”

Menard stepped left and swung his sword, steel on steel crashing as the blades met between them. “Yes. I was the top of my class,” Menard boasted with a gleam in his eye.

Koa raised a brow as he caught the challenge in Menard’s expression. He quickened his pace, swinging his blade to the right as Menard lunged left to parry his attack. As he stepped, Menard turned his foot out and Koa tripped, sending his sword flying up as he went down to the ground. Menard caught his sword and smiled proudly. “Want to go again?”

Koa peered up at him with a grin, retrieving his sword from Menard’s outstretched hand. Getting back to his feet, they took their positions in the ring and started again. Koa kept his eyes on Menard’s movements, learning from him as their blades met again and again. Koa managed to hold his own longer this time, but his energy was giving out. Late nights and full days were taking its toll. Finally, Koa yielded, out of breath and beginning to sweat despite the coolness of the breeze.

Menard lowered his sword with a wolfish grin. “Not bad, buddy.” He turned around and waved Koa over. “Let’s get some water.”

Koa matched Menard’s stride as they made their way to the water barrels. Eyeing the bulky man, Koa pegged him to be in his late twenties, early thirties at most. He had hazel eyes and short, cropped light brown hair. As Koa took a sip of water, he spotted the the dark black markings peeking out from under his shirt. “What’s with all the tattoos?”

Menard gulped back his water and hissed a sigh of relief. He took a seat on the bench, looking out at the soldiers on the training field. “The tattoos are symbolic of major events in my life. They each tell a story of how I came to be where I am now. It’s a tradition back where I’m from.”

“Where are you from?”

“The Very Islands. My family and I actually came over with Queen Malia when she married the king. My father was her body guard which was why we came. Plus, my mother was a good friend of the queen’s mother. I think she wanted to be able to look after the queen.”

“So being a guard is a family business?” Koa commented, and Menard smiled. “I guess you could say that.”

Koa took a seat next to Menard on the bench. “What are some of the major events in your life?”

Menard leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “I have one for when I left the Very Islands. There’s one for completing the Academy. I have one for when I was accepted into the king’s army, and I plan to get one for being promoted to the princess’ guard.”

Koa had considered getting a tattoo many times. Being an artist, he had thought of many designs he might like to have inked on his body; however, tattoos were permanent. There was no way to erase them. What if one day he no longer liked the permanent marking he’d gotten? It was because of this that he never ended up getting one. “Have you ever regretted a tattoo you’ve gotten?”

Menard was silent for a moment before he pulled down the collar of his shirt to reveal a large tattoo over his heart. The design comprised intricate little dots that formed the center and spread out wider and wider. Lines then encircled the dots and flowed out over his chest, curling up to his shoulder and down to his ribs, creating the shape of a flower. “This represents my ex-fiancé. We got them the night I proposed. Then, long story short, I realized she wasn’t the one and called it off.”

Koa glanced at Menard sidelong. He shrugged and released his shirt, covering the flower so that only a small tendril peeked out of his collar. “I don’t regret it though. It serves as a reminder that if I ever want to propose again, it will be with forever in mind and she has to be worth forever.”

Sharayah Maurice has been a lover of books since she first learned to read and has dreamed of being an author for just as long. She is the author of The Chronicles of Tanithor: Age of the Oracle series. Her stories are filled with adventure, political intrigue and swoony romance that will leave you desperate for more. She lives in north Texas with her husband and five children.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Trespassers by Stephanie Black


Rayna Kirkpatrick has lived her entire life with a secret: she possesses dangerous paranormal abilities. But she’s carefully kept her powers hidden from the world―or so she thinks. When new struggles in her life prompt her to seek information about her abilities, her internet search sends up red flags. Without her knowledge, she is placed under surveillance by a government team who monitors people with unique gifts like hers, individuals known as Trespassers. There are only two options for those manifesting such supernatural abilities: submit to regulation and scientific study or be eliminated.

Damon Hale is an invaluable asset to the government. As a Trespasser himself, he is perfectly positioned to determine how to handle others like him. When a series of unexplained deaths is connected to Rayna, Damon is assigned to go undercover to her California hometown to determine whether she’s the killer they suspect she is. As he gets to know this kind and charming woman, he’s determined not to allow his growing attraction to her to shake his objectivity. But the deaths surrounding her are no coincidence, and as his suspicions about her guilt begin to fade, he realizes he and Rayna must work together to discover the truth or risk becoming the next victims.

 * Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book *

First, I have to say that I think the cover on this book is super cool.  I love how it represents this book so perfectly.  Yeah, very cool cover.

The story is pretty cool too.  All mystery and a bit of suspense.  The plot thickens with every turn of the page while I suspect everyone at some point or another.  There is a big cast of characters but I never felt overwhelmed or lost in keeping track of them all.  That's a huge credit to the author.

Rayna has a crazy supernatural, paranormal type of ability.  I can't even imagine how that would be but it was fun to be immersed in a world that was nothing like my own for a bit.  It all felt so real, so plausible.  It was good stuff.

I'm hoping this has set us up for a whole new series by this author.  Rayna's story definitely isn't over so it better continue on!  Also, as a note, there is no romance in this book.  Just in case that is a make or break for you. 😉

Release day is September 5th!  You can pre-order now.

Content:  peril, mild violence, death.  Mention of miscarriages, divorce, abuse.

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