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. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Lake Season (Bluebell Inn Romance #1) by Denise Hunter


When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic home back into an inn.

Adam Bradford (a.k.a. bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive author with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to a North Carolina lake town, the setting of his next novel. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.

When Molly finds an old letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But the guest she invites along has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.

 * Amazon * Goodreads

I'm always happy to pick up a new book by author Denise Hunter.  I've been reading her books for a long time and always enjoy the stories she creates.  This is the first book in a new series and it's off to a good start!

If you love sweet, gentle romances, this is your book.  It's predictable like a Hallmark movie but I LOVE Hallmark movies!  It kind of has a story within a story with some flashbacks to the past as Molly and Adam are trying to find the people associated with a long, lost letter.  In the beginning the story progression was slow.  It seemed to spin in the same place for a long time before moving forward but it really gave me time to get to know the characters of Molly and Adam- who are endearing and so easy to root for.

I don't think this is my favorite book by Denise Hunter but I did enjoy it and I'm looking forward to the next book!

Content:  kissing, Christian fiction elements

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

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1) by Sara B. Larson

"The night my sister was born, the stars died and were reborn in her eyes…".

Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, an abandoned fortress where legendary, magical warriors once lived before disappearing from the world―including their Paladin father the night Inara was born.

On that same night, a massive, magical hedge grew and imprisoned them within the citadel. Inara inherited their father’s Paladin power; her eyes glow blue and she is able to make plants grow at unbelievable rates, but she has been trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out―leaving Zuhra virtually alone with their emotionally broken human mother.

For fifteen years they have lived, trapped in the citadel, with little contact from the outside world…until the day a stranger passes through the hedge, and everything changes.


Mystery surrounds Zuhra and Inara.  Secrets whose answers seem just out of reach for Zuhra who so desperately tries to take care of her sister, Inara, and gain the approval of her mother.  Zuhra carries the weight of the world on her shoulders.  I could feel her longing, isolation and her discouragement in the beginning.

After a slow start, this book gained momentum and I was pulled deeper and deeper in.  By the end I was reading so fast, desperate to know what was going to happen next.  It's hard to say much without giving things away but I loved how the story expanded.  It started out small and grew and grew to include more people, places and emotions.  It was really good and very engaging.  

My biggest complaint is where the story ended- on the edge of a cliff with me hanging off.  Seriously, cliff hangers are the worst.  This is a series I would rather read after the whole thing is finished because waiting another year for the next book is crazy!  Ugh.  So far away.

Content:  peril, some mild violence, kissing

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

Friday, November 8, 2019

Catch a Falling Star: Hudson Brothers Romance (The Royal Palm Resort Book 4) by Cindy Roland Anderson

She dreams of happily ever after. He doesn’t believe in love. What happens if their hearts belong together?

Londyn Montgomery has had enough of doing what her parents want, especially when they’re determined to marry her to a man who isn’t faithful to her. She decides to run away, hoping to find out who she is and what she wants out of life. In her desire to escape a life of being controlled, she speeds straight past Sheriff Owen Hudson and narrowly avoids a ticket. She vows to stay off his radar, but destiny has other ideas, placing Owen and Londyn on a path that leads straight to a future neither one of them planned for.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

I'm doing the HAPPY, happy dance because YAY!!  Cindy Roland Anderson finally gave me a new book to read!!  I feel like I've been waiting forever.  I haven't really, but it feels that way.  I just love her books and how they fall right in my sweet spot for contemporary romance.

Londyn and Owen have a fun first meet!  Well, maybe not fun for them, but fun for me to read about.  Their second meet might just top the first one!  haha!  From there the attraction grows and they sure fan the flames of that attraction by being in such close proximity to each other!  Londyn is kind and tries so hard to be accepted by those around her.  She absorbs the tenderness, kindness and love she is offered like a sponge.  Owen is determined to keep things from getting serious but he just cannot help himself.  He is drawn to Londyn and cannot look away.  I loved it all.  😍

This book has a fantastic cast of characters and I cannot wait to see them in future books.  The stage is set for the next Hudson brother and I hope I don't have to wait too long to read it!

Content:  kissing

I picked this book up on kindle unlimited.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Heart of the Rebellion by Sian Ann Bessey + Win This Book!

September 1400King Richard II of England is dead. And after three years in His Majesty’s service, Rhys ap Tudor and his brother Gwilym are finally free to return to their ancestral home in North Wales. Their long- anticipated homecoming is overshadowed, however, by the harsh changes they encounter in their once peaceful land. The new king, Henry IV, rules with an iron fist, and the country is ripe for rebellion. Instantly thrust into the forefront of the conflict, the proud Tudor brothers enter the fight for their freedom.

Lady Catrin Buckley is alert to the unrest swirling around her. As the daughter of an English father and a Welsh mother, she knows too well the trouble her lineage poses. Her own battle, however, is one of the heart: she is to be married to a man she neither knows nor loves. Then an unexpected encounter with the enigmatic Rhys ap Tudor changes everything. Soon, Catrin finds herself swept into a rebellion that could not only change history but also rewrite her own future.


Can I just say that I LOVE the cover of this book?  I think it might be one of my favorite covers ever.  It represents perfectly what is inside and honestly, I think it is gorgeous.  I got to meet author Sian Ann Bessey at a book signing!  It's always fun to meet authors and get books signed, right?


One of the things I loved about this story is that it transported me to another time and place.  I could feel the weather, see the landscape and I could ALMOST hear that beautiful welsh language.  Almost.  I wish I could have the author read this book to me- then all the names and places would sound just right instead of my very inadequate attempts.  In this story, Lady Catrin speaks Welsh and it is the only thing that calms her very spirited horse.  He seems to know and understand her every word.  I love that the language played a large role in the story as a whole.

Lady Catrin is the perfect heroine.  She is trying so hard to become who she believes she is meant to be which is hard given her split heritage of Welsh and English and the conflicts between them.  Lady Catrin shows great strength of character along with empathy and kindness, making her someone you root for the whole way through.  

Medieval history is one of my favorite time periods to read about.  This author excels at portraying it.  I really loved this story, the gentle but growing intensity and the fantastic characters that kept me invested from beginning to end.

Content:  some mild violence, personal peril, kissing

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


 
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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Olive by Michelle E Wilson, Angie Penrose


Meet Olive. She's optimistic and well-intentioned . . . and a magnet for mishaps. When Olive's day goes from bad to worse, she wonders if her family and friends can love her in spite of her flaws.

 * Amazon * Goodreads


I just love children's book that promote positive learning for children.  Learning is more than just listening, it's talking too.  That's why this book is fantastic- it gives the story of sweet Olive Ewe (who makes mistakes!) and then gives several pages of pictures and prompts so adults can talk with children about feelings, mistakes, forgiving and love.  This is so needed in a world of electronics and distraction.  Adults and children need ways to express, feel and talk together about important things.

"If you're like Olive, you've had some thumps and bumps and lumps along your way.  Some thumps can be fixed fast.  Some bumps take longer.  And some lumps can't be fixed at all.  But we can always do our best to make it better.  You can follow Olive's example and fix yours, too."

Not only is the story fun, the pictures are fun too.  They express emotion and engage interest.  It's a very sweet book and I just love it.  

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


Michelle lives in the Northwest with her family, three indoor dogs, and a totally stuck-up cat. And somehow, they all get along. She writes inspirational nonfiction and women’s fiction. Olive is her first children’s book and the most fun to write. Olive came to life in a poem Michelle wrote for her adoptive daughter as a way to express unconditional love for her. Family, faith, and fun are important to Michelle. She loves watching movies, playing Guitar Hero, and taking long walks to the fridge. You can find her at www.michellewilsonwrites.com
Instagram:  @authormwilson
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authormwilson/ 




 

Angie is a married mom of three spicy boys. She is an artist at heart, with interests spanning from drawing to painting, crafts, and photography. She runs a successful photography business. Olive is her first illustrated book. She loves watching movies and reading books. She has a collection of crayons her children aren’t allowed to touch and loves everything Disney. Like, a crazy amount of love. You can find her at www.angiepenrose.com


Publisher Website: pinkumbrellabooks.com

Friday, November 1, 2019

Heart Thief (Love Under Wraps Book 1) by Taylor Dean


I was warned about him. I should've listened. But I didn't.
Of course, I also thought Ryker Martel was about to propose.

He didn't.

I was ready to say yes.

He was ready to wait a little longer.

Now he's out of the country on an extended business trip and I'm staying in his penthouse apartment with seeds of disillusionment taking over my soul.

Ryker reminded me that his estranged brother might show up out of the blue at his penthouse. He told me to let him know right away if he did. He'd take care of it.

His brother is bad news. The rebel, the black sheep of the family.

"Don't trust him," Ryker said. "Stay as far away from him as possible. He's a thief, a snake."

Warning duly noted.

And ignored.

I considered myself equipped to handle whatever was thrown my way. I was wrong.

Nothing prepared me for Zane and the havoc he would wreak in my life--and in my heart. He turned me upside down and knocked me sideways.

Falling for the other brother is never a good idea. Keeping it a secret, even worse.

Especially when he proves to be the thief he was purported to be.

My heart will never be mine again and I want it back.

But it has been stolen and I'll never be the same.

Never.


This book is yet another reason I adore Taylor Dean.  Honestly, I just LOVE her books.  They make me feel things and that is ALWAYS what I'm looking for as a reader.  The characters feel real- like they could be me or someone I know.  It's that familiarity that Taylor Dean excels at.  I will tell anyone who will listen that Taylor Dean is one of my favorites.  I was hooked from my very first book, years ago, (I Have People) and from there I binged on every book she had written.  Then I stalked her, I mean followed her, and I've never looked back.

Do you know that song, Stolen by Dashboard Confessional?  🎵 You have stolen my heart🎶 ?  That was the song playing through my head for half of this book.  Mila's heart is definitely put through the ringer in this book because life is not easy.  Bad things happen to good people.  Life can get overwhelming and sometimes, sad.  Mila feels the high of highs and the low of lows.  See?  Real.

There are so many things I loved about this book. The San Francisco setting!  Mila's love for music and piano playing.  Sparks!!  (vs. no sparks and the very real distinction in this book)  I loved the conclusion and the epilogue.  It made me utterly happy and content.

Oh!  And one more comment about this book cover.  I loved it before I read the book but then, after reading this book,  oh my perfection.  This cover is an absolute PERFECT snapshot of a scene from this book.  😍💙!!

No matter what kind of day you are having today- good or bad- my advice is to pick up this book and enjoy the journey it will take you on.  You won't be sorry.  This book is on KU if you have that!  Happy reading!

Content:  kissing, depression

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