Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Novel Proposal by Denise Hunter


When novelist Sadie Goodwin is forced to stop writing westerns and charged with penning a contemporary romance novel to rescue her lackluster sales, there’s only one tiny problem: She’s never been in love.

Desperate to salvage her career, Sadie begins devouring romance novels. Knowing she must devote herself to this confounding genre, she accepts an invitation to hole up at her friend’s beach duplex for the summer. Where better to witness love in bloom than on the beautiful North Carolina shore?

However, once ensconced in the charming ocean-front home with her sweet maltipoo Rio, she finds many ways to procrastinate. First there’s the beach, right outside her backdoor, with all its interesting visitors (research). Then there’s the free library she decides to build and set up by the back deck (She has to do something with all those romance novels). To say nothing of Sam Ford, the grumpy neighbor on the other side of the duplex . . . who she can’t seem to stop annoying.

A social butterfly by nature, Sadie soon gets to know all the beach regulars—sunbathers, walkers, and surfers alike. The free books draw a crowd right up to the house for nice little book chats, which further irritates her reclusive neighbor, to break up her “writing.” But things take an unexpected turn when Sadie opens a recently-placed novel to find a secret compartment—and tucked inside is a beautiful engagement ring. To whom does the ring belong? Sadie is convinced she needs to find the owner and save the man’s proposal from certain doom.

She draws a reluctant Sam into the project, and slowly their connection begins to develop. Are these weird fluttery feelings the first stirrings of love? Has Sadie managed to stumble upon the very subject about which she must write—and wouldn’t Sam make the perfect alpha hero?

Will Sadie find the ring’s rightful owner? And will she manage to pen a career-saving romance novel by summer’s end?

There was so much to love about this book.  

* The ocean front setting
* The tiny library
* The mystery of the hidden ring
* All the book/writing references
* A cute dog

Sadie is a fun, friendly, lively character.  She's easy to like and easy to root for.  Her tangents made her human and relatable.  Sam wasn't really loving all that at first, but Sadie grew on him.  Of course she did.  It's hard to resist Sadie.  Almost no chance of it, really.  Poor Sam.  haha.  He just didn't know that he needed a Sadie in his life.

I really enjoyed reading this story!  It was personable and easy on the brain and heart.    
4/5 stars.

Content:  kissing

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A Waltz with Traitors by A.L. Sowards


The Former Russian Empire, 1918

Czech soldier Filip Sedlรกk never wanted to fight for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So at the first opportunity, he defected to the Russians. Now he and others like him have formed the Czechoslovak Legion. Their goal: leave the chaos of Russia, sail to France, and help the Allies defeat the Central Powers, thereby toppling a hated empire and winning an independent Czechoslovakia.

With the fall of the tsar, Nadia Linskaya’s life is in ruins. Her family is dead, her lands are confiscated, and her aristocratic world is gone forever. But Nadia is determined to elude the Bolshevik agent who destroyed her family and find a way to survive in this changed world.

When Nadia takes refuge with the Czechoslovak Legion, the last thing she expects is an ally. But when Filip proposes a sham marriage to ensure her safe passage across Siberia, she takes it. Neither Filip nor Nadia expect real love, not when the legion has to take over the longest railroad in the world—and then hold it against Bolshevik counterattacks, partisan sabotage, Allied intrigue, and a set of brutal Siberian winters. At risk is the future of Czechoslovakia, the fate of Russia—and their hearts.

* Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book *

I can't stop thinking about this book- the characters, the setting, the situations. It's just, WOW. This author did an amazing job at creating a world with emotion, conflict and purpose. I'm overwhelmed by it all in the best of ways.

Historical fiction is a favorite of mine because I love learning about events in history in a less "history lesson" sort of way. I had no idea about any of these events or the people of Czechoslovak legion who fought so hard and gave so much for the dream of a country of their own. What determination and endurance. What suffering, sorrow and loss. War is brutal and unfair. It was hard to read that part of it but necessary because we need to remember these brave people. I loved reading the author's notes at the back of the book too. Don't miss those.

Filip and Nadia are fantastic characters. I grew to love them so much. It's slow going for their relationship but I'm glad they really came to know each other through their actions. Neither one had a life they thought they would, but the way they adapted with grace and honor just swelled my heart. The whole cast of characters around them were all so good. There were multiple points of view throughout the book and I really enjoyed that.

I loved this book, I love this author. Oh! And I love this cover. It's beautiful and represents the story perfectly.

Content: violence (this is high because this is a war story), peril, death. Mention of rape and abuse with no details. Intimate relations between and husband and wife with no details. Kissing.

Covenant has a launch bundle for the first 100 people who buy a paperback copy of A Waltz with Traitors and submit their receipts.
Bundle includes a signed bookplate, bookmark, art print, vintage map, and exclusive stickers.

Author Info:

A. L. Sowards is the author of multiple historical fiction novels, with settings spanning the globe from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries. Her stories have earned multiple awards and nominations, including a Whitney Award and a Readers’ Favorite gold medal. Sowards grew up in Washington State, spent a few decades in Utah, and now resides in Alaska with her husband, three children, and ever-growing library. She enjoys hiking and swimming, usually manages to keep up with the laundry, and loves it when someone else cooks dinner.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

To Win Her Hand (A Gentleman's Match #1) by Jen Geigle Johnson


An expert at winning a woman's hand. A woman who cannot be won.

Lord Featherstone has the world on his shoulders. Or at least his world. With two brothers and a failing estate he must make funds somehow. But what happens when he falls for a woman? Will his tactics work when the situation is so close and personal?

Everyone thinks Lady Loveluck is a wealthy widow. What they don't know is that she is on the brink of hiring herself out as a Governess in order to pay for her next meal. The only thing keeping her from employment is a growing reputation as a matchmaker. As long as she never falls for another man, as long as she doesn't allow herself to be fooled into marrying, she will be just fine.

But she never counted on being caught up in the beguiling tactics of London's renowned and not so secret matchmaker for men.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *


๐ŸŽœMatchmaker, matchmaker make me a match . . . Find me a find, catch me a catch.๐ŸŽœ  Does anyone know this song from Fiddler On the Roof?  This is the song that kept running through my head throughout this book.  It's now my theme song for this book.  

Lord Featherstone and Lady Loveluck are matchmakers of a sort.  They help people fine tune themselves so that they can make a love match.  They help them navigate society and give them confidence.  But then Lord Featherstone finds himself enamored with Lady Loveluck and has to become the matchmaker for himself!  (This makes me laugh because then he is singing my theme song to himself! ๐Ÿ˜‚ )  Lady Loveluck is harder to convince than most women.  And Lord Featherstone isn't the only one vying for her attention.  Competition!!

There is a lot of back and forth in this book.  Both characters trying to sacrifice for the greater good- their clients, mostly.  There is a slow growing awareness and attachment.  It was all very sweet and gentle in nature.  Pure regency.  A fun start to a new series by this author.

This book is also on KU if you have that!

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

Jen Geigle Johnson is an award-winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards and LDSPMA Praiseworthy's top award for Romance,

Jen has more stories circulating in her brain than can possibly be told. She discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. History is her main jam. Her literary heroes include the greats: Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. But she has modern sensibilities as well.

Six children and an inspiring husband keep her going and make certain she doesn't stay glued to a keyboard or lost in obscure fascinating details of old castles.

Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Wyoming Wild Sarah M. Eden


Wyoming Territory, 1876

US Marshal John “Hawk” Hawking is one of the most respected lawmen in the West, so when a telegram arrives from the small town of Sand Creek warning him of a death threat against him, he immediately begins an investigation.

Posing as a farmer, Hawk heads to Sand Creek, a town ruled by a violent and corrupt sheriff. Only one person is trying to stop him—Liesl, the sheriff’s own daughter. When she meets the self-assured and attractive new farmer, John, she hopes he might help her in the fight for justice.

John is completely unfazed by Sheriff Hodges’s attempts at intimidation, and Liesl is quickly swept up by Hawk’s courage and integrity. Just as quickly, Hawk finds himself falling for Liesl’s strength and bravery, as well as her grace and beauty.

When Liesl discovers John’s true identity, she feels betrayed. Despite her lingering distrust of him, Liesl agrees to work with him to enact a dangerous plan that will put the criminals away forever. Liesl must put her life, and her heart, in the hands of his lawman if she has any hope of saving her family and her town.

It was so good to return to Savage Wells and see some old friends again.  Western romances are a fun change of pace for me so I was excited to delve into this one.  I read through it quickly and really enjoyed myself!

I think Liesl is my favorite.  The beginning finds her aiding the people of her town who are being hurt and tortured by her father who is the sheriff.  She is smart and brave.  I loved how hard she tried to protect people at the risk of her own well being.  Then she reluctantly joins forces with John to take her father down.  It's quite the bumpy road with more sneaking, pretending to be married and hiding out in a new town.  Liesl just handles everything with so much dignity and grace.  She is intuitive and definitely gives more than she takes.  What's not to love about that kind of heroine?!

Hawk finally find someone to love and trust.  That's saying a lot.  It was a longer road to get to that place than Liesl, mostly because he denies it for so long but he gets there.  I love his fierce determination to protect people and bring peace to his territory.

Welcome to the rough and wild west.  They say "ain't" and lots of other words that might have you scratching your head.  Horse rides, shoot outs and plenty of bad guys that will have you rooting for the good guys.

Content:  mild peril, violence, kissing.

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


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Just Add Mischief (An Everly Falls Novel) by Heather B. Moore


New neighbor? No, thank you. Peace and quiet? Yes, please.

Fresh from a broken engagement, the last thing Brandy Kane wants is to deal with her standoffish new neighbor, even if his dog is a sweetheart.

Ian Hudson doesn’t like people, which includes the busybody family who’s apparently moving in the property below his private cabin. A place he thought was abandoned for good. He’s secluded himself for a reason, and he isn’t about to allow his peace to be disturbed.

But when the rest of his teetering world takes a nose dive, his new neighbor might be the only one to get him through. It will just take adding a little mischief.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

Aw, what a sweet romance.  I loved the peaceful setting in the woodsy area, the gradual building friendship to romance between Ian and Brandy, the pop of suspense and the cute dog!

This is a sunshine/grump, fake dating troupe with the bonus of a little suspense toward the end to liven things up.  I love a little suspense.  Or a lot.  I like that too.  :)  

It was fun to see Brandy win over Ian with her kindness and understanding.  Both Ian and Brandy have some past (and present) hurts they are trying to work through and I love how they discovered it was better to deal with them together.  They were fun characters and I enjoyed getting to know them through this story.

Content:  mild peril, mild violence.  Kissing.  Mention of infidelity.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Memory Lane by Becky Wade


After surviving a trauma several years back, Remy Reed relocated to a cottage on one of Maine’s most remote islands. She’s arranged her life just the way she wants it, spending her time working on her wood sculptures and soaking in the beauty of nature. It’s quiet and solitary—until the day she spots something bobbing in the ocean.

Her binoculars reveal the “something” to be a man, and he’s struggling to keep his head above water. She races out to save him and brings him into her home. He’s injured, which doesn’t detract from his handsomeness nor make him any easier to bear. He acts like a duke who’s misplaced his dukedom . . . expensive tastes, lazy charm, bossy ideas.

Remy would love nothing more than to return him to his people, but he has no recollection of his life prior to the moment she rescued him. Though she’s not interested in relationships other than the safe ones she’s already established, she begins to realize that he’s coming to depend on her.

Who is he? What happened that landed him in the Atlantic Ocean? And why is she drawn to him more and more as time goes by?

There’s no way to discover those answers except to walk beside him down memory lane.

First, I have to say that I am a fan of this author.  I've been reading her books for so long.  She's an auto read for me and I rarely read the blurbs for the books before agreeing to review.  That's why this book caught me a bit off guard.  It is totally different than what I've read before and not what I was expecting at all.  That isn't a bad thing!  

This book was more mystery.  Remy finds a man in the ocean that has been through things, clearly.  He's battered and can't remember anything.  There is the whole mystery around what happened and as he tries to recover and remember, the plot thickens.  I really liked *Jonah*.  He was quite determined and ever so patient with Remy, who has a shell harder than a turtle. The things he did to help and support Remy were so sweet.  He was always thinking of her.   I'm not exactly sure how *Jonah* became so enamored with her because man, was she hard to get to know and like for me, as a reader.  So prickly, that one.  Yes, she has some good reasons due to her own trauma, but still.

I would say this story was a bit heavier due to some of the trauma the characters experienced.  This wasn't a light read.  It was a little gritty and stayed pretty heavy all the way through but the ending was really good.  Everything came together in a great climactic showdown and it was completely engaging.  I loved that part!  The epilogue helped lighten things and gave me some happily ever after vibes.

I'm looking forward to the next book about Joel, who is *Jonah's* brother.  FBI and going under cover.  It should be so good!

Content:  peril, mild violence.  Kissing.  Some trigger warnings for rape and infidelity.  Some Christian elements.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Fraser (Minnesota Marshalls #1) by Susan May Warren


Fraser Marshall is pretty sure his career as a Spec Ops fighter is over. Yes, he’s gone into private security, working for Jones, Inc, but his last gig ended with him wounded and taken captive. And those wounds just won’t heal. The last thing he wants to do is stick around his family’s winery pressing grapes. But what choices does he have?

The answer comes via a panicked phone call from his kid brother, Creed.

Help, Fraser. I’m in over my head…

Yeah he is, because he’s run away with a princess, with her bodyguard hot on the trail. And said bodyguard, Pippa Butler is going to hunt them down, no matter the cost.

Even if she has to join forces with a bossy, arrogant former American SEAL. But Pippa has her own set of lethal skills, and if Fraser gets in the way, she’ll leave him on the side of the road. Still, maybe he’s not a terrible side-kick. He is handsome, and he makes her laugh…

No, no, bad Pippa! She has no room for a man—an American—in her life. And Fraser hasn’t ever considered slowing down. Even if Pippa has him wondering if there is a different future ahead.

But there’s more to the story than a Romeo-and-Juliet runaway romance. Princess Imani has seen a murder, and the perpetrator isn’t going to let her get away. Will Fraser and Pippa find the couple first?

And if they do, can they work together to keep them safe?

It’ll be tough if their hearts get in the way…

In true Susan May Warren fashion, this story is full on, fast paced, heart pounding, edge of you seat excitement.  It really had me invested and anxious all the way through.

The first meet between Fraser and Pippa is literally shocking.  Haha.  It's definitely one to remember.  Forever.  Poor, poor Fraser.

Fraser and Pippa are both strong, smart and capable people.  I love how they learned that working together made them stronger.  They both have baggage and hard things to deal with but that never stops them from doing the next right thing.  They learned to trust each other and that was so satisfying.  I also loved the mending relationship between Fraser and Creed and the more trusting one that was formed between Pippa and Imani.  This author really does family/romantic relationships well.

This story has a halfway ending, with some resolution for Pippa and Fraser, but there is an overarching story that is continuing in the next book.  I can't wait!

Content:  violence, peril.  Moderate Christian Fiction elements.  Kissing.

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