Tuesday, July 31, 2018

As Wide as the Sky by Jessica Pack

Five a.m.: Amanda Mallorie wakes to the knowledge that her son Robbie is gone. And a new chapter of her own life must begin. She has spent four years as her son's only support, desperately trying to understand the actions that landed him on death row and to change his fate. Now Amanda faces an even more difficult task--finding a way, and a reason, to move forward with her own life.

Before the tragedy that unfolded in a South Dakota mall, Robbie was just like other people's sons or daughters. Sometimes troubled, but sweet and full of goodness too. That's the little boy Amanda remembers as she packs up his childhood treasures and progress reports, and discovers a class ring she's never seen before. Who does it belong to and why did Robbie have it in his possession? So begins a journey that will remind her not only of who Robbie used to be, but of a time when she wasn't afraid--to talk to strangers, to help those in need, to reach out. Robbie's choices can never be unmade, but there may still be time for forgiveness and trust to grow again. For a future as wide as the sky.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Oh.  Wow.  I really, really wasn't expecting that.  Yeah, I don't really read blurbs for books of authors I am familiar with and trust.  I like the surprise of it all and wow, was this book a complete surprise for me.

This story is told from alternating points of view, every other chapter being Amanda, the mother.  Honestly, I was completely overwhelmed as a reader a few times and had to put the book down and take a breather.  It was hard for me to digest all of Amanda's feelings and emotions in such a small space of time.  Which is a good thing, right?  I was feeling so many emotions and as a mother, it was so intense for me.  There was so much to try to reason out in my mind as I grappled with Amanda's many thoughts.  Emotional, intense.  Those are the two words that keep coming back to me.

This definitely isn't a fluffy story.  It's not romance.  It's not light.  It deals with several real and difficult issues.  Mental heath, divorce, alcoholism, and of course, a mass shooting.  That is intense stuff.  I loved the added bits of "smart stuff" that had me thinking as well.  The timers at the start of every chapter were interesting and had me thinking until I finally figured out what it was about.  I like things like that.

I really am blown away with the amounts of intense feelings and emotion captured in this book.  It's hard to imagine the place the author had to go to to achieve this level of emotional depth and understanding.  She must have been completely wrung out every time she stopped writing.  I am grateful for the place this book led me to.  I have never really given much thought to the struggle of families of mass shooters left behind other than fleeting thoughts of how awful.  Which it is.  This book just leaves me with the reoccurring thoughts that the world needs more love.  More kindness.  More understanding.

Pick this book up.  Be prepared for a gripping, emotional journey.  This is like no other book that I have read.

Content:  mental illness, alcohol abuse, divorce, mass shooting, death, mild swearing

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

About the author Jessica Pack:  Jessica Pack is a pseudonym for Josi Kilpack, author of twenty-six novels.  Find more here:

Friday, July 27, 2018

$25 Cover Reveal for Rachael Anderson's Newest Book!

Coming in November!
A New Book by A Favorite Author!!

Abigail Nash leads a lonely existence. Her mother died giving birth to her, her father's business dealings took him away more often than not, and her ailing great-aunt, unable to provide much in the way of companionship, was a lack-luster guardian at best. So when her dear friends offered to launch her into London society, it appeared Abby's life was taking a turn for the better, with suitors and social engagements aplenty. When she marries a proclaimed darling of the ton, it seems she will at last settle into the life of her dreams. But appearances aren't always what they seem, and dreams often become disappointments. Just months into her marriage, Abby finds herself widowed, penniless, increasing, and determined to never hope again. But when her late husband's brother, the Earl of Brigston, attempts to thaw the numbness surrounding her heart, Abby must decide if she has it in her to risk another chance at happiness, knowing the odds are not in her favor.


Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.  

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in Paypal Cash Ends 8/31/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Memory Tree (Carson Chronicles, #2) by John A. Heldt

Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents' Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T's.

I've been reading John Heldt's books for a long time. I keep coming back to them because I love the way he incorporates historical events, big and small into his books. It's time travel through history and I love that. He does such a good job of researching events and bringing them to life for me. There is a feeling of continuity throughout all his books as far as the time travel aspect goes. I like that too.

This is the second book in this Carson Chronicles series so it picked up right where the last book left off. In this book, the Carson children are still on the hunt for their parents. They decide to split up so each sibling takes a different journey in different parts of the country, hoping that someone will be where there parents are. Each chapter comes from a different point of view as we follow the siblings and parents on their adventures. Normally I like this but this time, because there were so many of them, the book got REALLY long (over 650 pages!!). Forward progression was slow and I felt like it was taking forever to get anywhere. I struggled a bit. I think I would have preferred following maybe one or two siblings per book.

I wasn't a fan of some of Greg's decisions, well, one in particular. He pulled a real jerk move and it sort of tainted my view of him.

While this wasn't my favorite book, I still appreciate all the things I mentioned above. I have come to know this Carson family quite well and I'm looking forward to what may be coming next because this book leaves off in place where so many things could go right or wrong!

Content: swearing, sexual relations behind closed doors with no details but you know it happens, some war violence mentioned with no details, death, peril.

I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Promise of Home (Hearthfire Scottish Historical) by Michele Paige Holmes

As Katie and Collin MacDonald prepare to embark on the most perilous journey of their lives— crossing the Atlantic to Nova Scotia— an ocean away Collin’s brother Ian is seeing the coast of Virginia for the first time.

After a voyage that would have cost Ian his life, except for the courage and timely aid of Elizabeth Campbell, Ian plans to risk the same returning to Scotland as soon as possible, even if that means stowing away. But as Eliza and Ian form an unlikely friendship, Ian realizes he cannot simply abandon Eliza and their fellow passengers to the cruel fates that await them. At the risk of his own freedom, he decides he must do what he can to help.

After a narrow escape in London, Katie and Collin cross the ocean swiftly, with the smaller ship Cleopatra making good time until she encounters a fierce storm near Sable Island. The tempest threatens both the ship and Katie’s fragile health, and their arrival in Halifax brings little relief, but further proof that the dangers of this new continent will equal or surpass the old.

 * Amazon * Goodreads

I have been anxiously awaiting this book- this final book in this series- for months.  It feels like a lot longer!  ha.  First and foremost, you must read this series in order.  This book will not make sense or feel right if you don't read the others first.  I promise you will be glad if you do.  If you haven't read the first book, now is an excellent time to start as the series is now finished.  No waiting in between books!

It was so good to be back with Katie and Collin again.  I have missed them.  The first two books in this series were SO, so good.  I fell in love with both Katie and Collin there and in this book I was longing for that happily ever after for them.  There were so many sweet moments between them in this book but the road has been so long and so difficult.  Included in this book was the alternate viewpoint of Ian, Collin's brother.  He is an interesting character and it was good to see and feel his take on past events as he tries to reconcile that with the present.   I kind of wish he could have had his own book so his relationships could have developed in a similar way to Katie and Collin's.  But still, it was good.

While I really enjoyed this book, I felt more connected to the first two in the series.  I'm not sure why but this one felt a little different to me.  It was still good and I am completely satisfied by the ending.  This is a series I would love to read again all the way through.

Content:  clean, some danger and peril.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Veins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmberg

Desperate to save her siblings from poverty, a young woman discovers magic fueled by gold . . . and a love for the man who wields it.

Abandoned by their father for the gold rush, Gentry and her siblings labor to survive alone in the inhospitable west. When bizarre natural disasters begin wreaking havoc on the land, Gentry discovers a world of magic. Desperate for help, she accepts aid from a mysterious stranger.

Winn not only sees the magic, but controls its hunger by feeding it gold—the very thing Gentry’s father left to acquire. But the earth’s unrest only grows worse, and Gentry’s fear leads her to a terrible choice: marry a wealthy man she does not love, or trust in Winn’s unpredictable power to save her family.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

This book incorporated so many interesting dynamics.  It was a little bit history- set during the time of the California gold rush but the characters were in Utah.  It was also magical, which twisted the story around and made it far from a historical novel.  I loved the earthy feel that weaved itself into everything and everyone.  The land, animals and people were all connected and it was cool.  The author took something that I'm familiar with and turned it into something full of imagination.

I really think the best word I can use to describe this book is interesting.  I was so interested in knowing where this book was going and where it would end up.  When I had to put it down, I was thinking about it, anxious to get back and see what would come next.  I like when that happens!

This is actually the first book I've read by this author.  I have a couple of her books, but haven't read them yet.  I'll have to remedy that soon!

Oh!  And one more thing.  I love when a cover is a perfect representation of the story inside.  This is cover is exactly that.  And it's pretty too.  :)

Content:  A couple instances of mild swearing, mention of a mother's infidelity.

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

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.