Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there's only one match she's committed to now--the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency's requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Was there ever a better book boyfriend than Joshua Avery?  I'm having trouble thinking of any others at this very moment!  I know this story was prominently about Lauren (and she is a hero too) but Joshua?  Wow.  I loved his steady goodness and his optimism.  And the way he set Lauren up to support and love her? He was really, truly amazing.

I loved how much emotion this story held.  My favorite kind of stories are the ones that make me feel wrapped up and immersed in the lives and feelings of the characters.  Before I Made You Mine did this expertly. This was a fantastic journey of love of all kinds.  Familial love, romantic love, parental love and love for God.  It's no wonder why author Nicole Deese is one of my favorites.  💙

Content:  Christian fiction, kissing

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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Deadly by Design by Paige Edwards

For up-and-coming Formula One engineer, Jack Pressley-Coombes, there is nothing better than the smell of rubber and the roar of a racecar engine. When he witnesses a crash at the first international grand prix of the season, Jack makes a shocking discovery. His design is on a competitor’s car.

To keep Davis Racing LTD, his British Formula One employer from closing its doors, Jack goes undercover for MI6 to ferret out the company saboteur. When the investigation interferes with his and Gillian Buchanan’s blossoming romance, Jack can’t extricate himself from the web of deceit. But he’s not the only one with something to hide. Gillian too carries secrets. With time running out for Davis Racing, the evil which walks its corporate halls turns in Jack’s direction and threatens all that he holds dear.

There was a lot to like about this book.  The story grows steadily (although sometimes a bit slowly) and I could feel the tension and danger mounting.  I happen to like the fact that I knew the "bad guy" from early on.  It made each moment paths crossed even more nail biting. The last third of the book was my favorite as the story reached it's climax and all things came crashing together.

I really liked Gillian with her struggles and past.  I loved her determination and her spunk.  She was an easy character to root for.

Jack?  I could take him or leave him, either way.  He lacked in the personality department a bit.  His integrity is probably his most redeeming quality and that is definitely something I value in someone.  I didn't really feel that spark of chemistry thrumming between the characters because, well, Jack.  He's not really a butterflies in the tummy kind of guy, I guess.  But, Thierry made up for lots of things in the personality department.  She was a great addition to this story.

I don't think I liked this book as much as the previous book (Catherine's Intrigue) by this author but it was still good.  I enjoyed seeing Catherine and Nick and their bit of happily ever after thrown into this book.  I don't think you need to read the previous book to enjoy or understand this book but it will probably help you enjoy the characters more if you do.

This book releases April 1st.

Content:  This book contains religious content specific to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Mild peril, death, kissing.

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Reunion (Love In Chaos #4) by Amy Matayo

It’s been quite the year for the Hayes/Gamble family, but now things are looking up. When you’ve survived a tornado, a concert shooting, and being stranded on a deserted island, what else can possibly go wrong? After all, isn’t that the rule—three strikes, and you’re out?

That should totally be the rule.

Dillon Hayes has dreamed of her wedding day since childhood. Now, after months of planning, the chapel is booked, the invitations are sent, and the dress is ready and waiting. In only a few days’ time, Dillon will become Mrs. Liam Gamble in front of God, Tennessee, and everyone she loves.

But when a rare blizzard dumps piles of snow on Nashville and the entire southern region three days before the wedding, all that planning goes up in, well…snow. Businesses close. Flights are grounded. Roads are nearly impassible. Even the chapel now has a gaping hole in the middle of the roof and a giant mound of white powder blocking the aisle.

Dillon can feel her dreams dying one by one…and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. A year filled with one mishap after another can wear a person down. But what Dillon soon discovers is this: the death of one dream isn’t necessarily the end.

Sometimes it can lead to an even better beginning.

 * Amazon * Goodreads

This is equally happy and sad news.  The last Love in Chaos book.  But hey, hey, the gang's all here and for the happiest of events.  Now if everyone can actually make it there and if the wedding can actually happen, things would be perfect.  Ha!  When does anything ever go perfectly?!?!  

I love that we got a sort of epilogue for all the characters from previous books.  It was so good to be with them again when they are all together and happy in love.  This book felt so good despite the harrowing snow storm attempting to ruin all plans.  I love how this group of friends/family supported and loved each other.  They are all in type of people and that's the type of people you want in your life, right?  I really loved this bonus book to end this series on a happy, romantic note.  Thank you, thank you author Amy Matayo for this!

Content:  mild peril, kissing

This whole series is on Kindle Unlimited if you have that.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Where the Stars Meet the Sea by Heidi Kimball + Book Giveaway

A broken man. A fiery young woman. Neither one's heart will come away unscathed.

Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twenty-first birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself. That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man—who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her.

Drawn to the duke in unguarded moments, Juliet finds herself more and more intrigued by the man who shuns Society’s rules as completely as she does, and over the next few weeks, their unlikely friendship deepens into a connection neither expected.

But even as Juliet comes to recognize her true feelings, her scheming aunt issues an ultimatum that threatens the future she was just beginning to hope for. Juliet must choose: either break the promise she made to herself years ago, or lose the man who has captured her heart and soul.

 * Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book

I knew from the very first chapter that I was in for a great story- the kind of story you don't want to walk away from.  It was interesting, engaging and gave me so much to dig into with characters and emotions.  I was never sure exactly what Juliet would do or say next because she is quick to temper but only in a way that stands up for herself or others she cares about.  She is a loyal sister and devoted daughter even though her parents are no longer alive.  Her emotional connections to memories were where I really felt her deeply and came to love her.  Juliet definitely finds herself in a few more embarrassing scrapes which lead so some interesting interactions with the duke which were my favorite scenes in the whole book.  They are charged with all sorts of emotions- frustration, disappointment, tenderness, sadness, determination, attraction, comfort, embarrassment and so on.  It's what really kept me wondering and hoping the whole book through.  I really loved this story!

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

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

One Little Lie (Pelican Harbor #1) by Colleen Coble + Tour Giveaway

One Little Lie

(Pelican Harbor #1)
By Colleen Coble
Christian Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 352 Pages
March 3rd 2020 by Thomas Nelson

It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth in this gripping new romantic suspense.

Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama, after her father retires, but there's no time for an adjustment period. When her father is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, Jane quickly realizes she's facing someone out to destroy the only family she has.

After escaping with her father from a cult fifteen years ago, Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Bechtol is well-known for his documentaries, and his latest project involves covering Jane's career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid's calm manner as he follows her around filming, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross—especially once her father’s lie catches up with him.

Wow, there was a lot going on in this book!  I loved the first chapter of the book which really set the stage for the rest of the story.  It gave me an instant connection to emotion and really peaked my interest.

From the beginning there is a steady build of information and mystery.  There are a LOT of characters in this book and because of that, this book is more plot driven than character driven.  I liked the main characters but I didn't really connect with them emotionally aside from the very beginning.  I wouldn't call this a romantic suspense because the romance was barely there at all.  It was more a mystery/suspense with a toss of awareness/attraction that is mostly not acted upon.  This story ends with some mystery resolution, but left most other things hanging.  I guess the story continues in the next book which will be great, but I was left feeling a bit let down.

The mystery though was on point.  I was suspecting many people and trying to work it all out in my head but yeah, I didn't get it right.  The intensity ramps up slowly but I could feel it happening.  It's exactly what you want to feel when reading this type of book.

Content:  some gruesome murder scenes, some violence, peril.  Christian elements.

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

About the Author

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a print copy of Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble (US only)
Ends March 25, 2020

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Breakaway (Northbrook Hockey Elite #5) by Heather B. Moore, Sophia Summers, Rebecca Connolly

He’s trying to keep his position on the team, but everything seems to be working against him. She has one job to do and won’t let anything get in her way. Especially a hockey player.
Pro hockey player Declan Rivera is nicknamed Dice for a reason. His playing is either hot, or cold, just roll the dice. And right now, things aren’t great. He’s on his fourth trade, and once again, his contract is on shaky ground. So he vows to do everything he can to please the Denver Chargers team’s owner, even if it means taking part in the dreaded social media campaign.

Camila Brandon, daughter of the Denver Chargers team owner, is hired to amp up the team’s image and get tickets sold. This is not her first time dealing with a group of pro hockey players and working with them to turn social media into positive exposure for the team. She just has to stick to her rule of never dating a hockey player. Not even a guy like Declan Rivera, who is nothing like she expects, and makes her question her own rule.

 * Amazon * Goodreads

I am loving this series so much.  Each book is individual but connected to the other books and characters from the other books.  It really gives it an overall sense of community and family that I find so attractive as a reader.  There is a feeling of camaraderie between the hockey players even when they are opponents on the ice.

Declan (Dice) is a fantastic character.  I loved how hard he tries to be better and more consistent.  Not just for himself but for his mother as well.  He is a kind and patient son who really cares for his mother (and her cat!).  It's endearing.  Declan is fierce on the ice though and the contrast between that and his off the ice, private personality was interesting.  I loved the steady and gentle build to Declan and Camila's relationship.  It was sweet and easy to fall into.  I enjoyed it!

Content:  clean romance, kissing

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Runaway Bride (The Bride Ships #2) by Jody Hedlund

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship still wearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately has suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy and is held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker and has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl abandoned by her tribe. Intent on helping the girl, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

This is a series I am so interested in and excited about.  I love the way this author infuses bits of history into these romances.  It makes the story come alive for me.  This is the second book in this series and while I think it can stand alone, I would recommend reading the first book before this one just because it really sets the stage for these women that came over from England on bride ships.  It's also really good.  You won't regret it.

Arabella is an interesting character.  Her backstory unfolds in bits as we get to know her.  I loved how she gradually came into her own and learned to think and feel for herself.  It was a precarious road for her but it felt real, vulnerable and human to me.  

Peter Kelly is larger than life.  I loved his character so much and I loved how he viewed Arabella.  The alternating perspectives in this book really helped hone in on Peter's motivations and his desires.  

This story had my heart fluttering.  The flames of attraction were burning bright and the love came softly, at least for Arabella.  For Pete it all came on rather strongly.  There were so many memorable moments in this book and I really, really enjoyed it.

Content:  mild peril, mild violence, physical abuse, kissing, light Christian fiction.

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

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Shoes by Yvette Cragun, Myra Romano (Illustrator)

Flip-flops for the beach, sassy flats for shopping or black heels for a night out on the town--Mom's closet has the perfect pair of shoes for any occasion. Playing dress-up for a while can be fun, but at the end of the day, one little girl learns that she doesn't need to be in a hurry to fill her mom's shoes.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

I don't think there is a child out there who hasn't wanted to wear their parents shoes.  My kids sure did- all the time.  This book is about a young girl trying on her mother's shoes and imagining herself in different places with them on.  The words have great rhythm and rhyme.  The illustrations are bright and happy.  It's a great book to read aloud to young children.  Very cute!

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

About the Author:

Yvette Cragun is the third of nine children. Growing up in a big family meant life was always an adventure. Yvette started devouring books at a young age and still truly enjoys getting lost in fictitious worlds. She started writing stories in 2011 with encouragement from her husband, big sister and mother-in-law. Her six children are her inspiration and her greatest blessing.

About the Illustrator:

Myra Romano grew up reading all the books, drawing all the time, driving tractors, racing snowmobiles and drag racing her 1985 Chevy Citation. Her love and passion for art grew as she went on to the Columbus College of Art and Design and received her BFA in advertising and illustration. After graduating, she worked at a number of different dot-com companies including americangreetings.com. Working in the industry for 10 years, she received many acknowledgments and awards until making the decision to start a family. With her boys now almost grown, she has the opportunity to come back to her passions and has started a new chapter in her life, illustrating and writing children’s books and licensing her artwork.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Royal Heir by Traci Hunter Abramson

Within a fairy-tale palace overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean, Princess Cassandra of Sereno leads a charmed life—until that life is nearly cut short in an assassination attempt. Desperate to protect his daughter, the king sends the princess to safety in the one place he trusts: the neighboring country of Meridia. There, Cassie’s life is placed in the hands of a man who possesses the skills to protect her. CIA agent Levi Marin has years of experience pretending to be someone he’s not, but posing as the boyfriend of a real-life princess is new, even to him.

With the CIA and Interpol hot on the trail of the assassin, Levi and Cassie do their best to blend in in Meridia and to remain professional amid their charade. Yet despite their best efforts, the charade begins to feel all too real. Their chemistry is undeniable, but forgetting the dangerous reality of their situation could prove a deadly mistake. Cassie’s would-be killer is still at large, and her search for answers is leading her ever closer to a shocking revelation that will rock the monarchy of Sereno to its core.

Traci Hunter Abramson is one of my favorite go-to authors.  She writes several different genres and I enjoy them all.  This book is a continuation of her royal books but can easily stand alone.  I have to say that I sure love this cover better than the previous ones!

I love the setting of this book and wish I could go somewhere with warm azure waters right now.  There is something about imagining the life of a princess in danger and a dashing, strong man to protect her.  It definitely feeds those romantic notions that live in my head.  Levi is awesome.  Trustworthy, brave, smart.  All the things a great hero lead should be.  Levi and Cassie's relationship feels mature and believable.  I enjoyed them both very much.

The plot in this story has a great build up.  Information comes in a steady stream and keeps building until the explosive climax hits.  I was interested from beginning to end.  This is a clean romantic suspense.

Content:  mild violence, mild peril, kissing

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