Thursday, April 30, 2020

His Lady in Hiding by Jen Geigle Johnson

Lady Elizabeth Davenport is desperate. Her hand in marriage has been offered to the highest bidder, a distressing proposition in and of itself but made all the more repulsive when she meets her father’s first choice for her hand: Lord Pinweather. When her parents refuse to hear her pleas, Liz is forced to take drastic measures—she will impersonate her maid and begin anew in America on her own terms.

Once on board the ship to America, another passenger, Lord Barton, almost immediately discovers her true status as a noble. After listening to Liz’s highly modified version of her life and her plans to begin again, Barton has compassion on her and teaches her how to abandon her noble mannerisms. Upon disembarking, however, Barton’s generous spirit quickly dampens when he discovers Liz has indeed found work—as his own head housekeeper. Suddenly, the tender feelings they hid from each other on the ship are inescapable, but their difference in station makes romance impossible. As misunderstandings abound and a shocking character from Liz’s past looms, she knows she can’t hide her true identity forever. But as her deception begins to unravel, will her charade cost her the man she loves?

I've been looking forward to reading this book because I've been hearing good things about it.  I'm glad a finally got to sit down and read it for myself.

I love the way this book progressed and the many places it took me.  I went from England, on a boat to America and back again.  There were a lot of characters in this book but I never felt overwhelmed or confused.  The author did a great job of introducing characters in a way that felt easy and natural.  I had a clear vision of everyone and that always feels good as a reader.  I liked Elizabeth so much.  And Barton.  But mostly Elizabeth.  😊  She is someone I would like to be friends with.  Her kindness drew people to her and in the end it was that kindness that saved her because those people rallied around her.  I loved that.

This was a good diversion for me this week and I enjoyed the journey of Lady Elizabeth very much.

Content:  mild peril, kissing

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

This is the kind of book that stays with you, in your mind and in your heart, for days after reading it.  I finished this book almost a week ago and I'm still thinking about it.  It took me two days before I could pick up another book and for me that's crazy talk.  haha.  I think that Amy Harmon creates such an intense emotional connection to her characters and her story that it all just feels so real and raw.  It's hard to let go of.

First, I will say that I wouldn't classify this book as clean.  Please make sure to read my content disclosure if you are a clean reader or if you are worried about the content. 

I don't think you can write a story set on the Oregon Trail and not expect some gritty and heart wrenching things to be happening.  The May family will steal your heart- the whole lot of them.  Naomi and John are so interesting.  I loved learning about them and I loved feeling so connected to them and their stories.   I was pulled in from chapter one and I honestly could not put this book down. 

This is the story of sacrifice, love, determination, loss and endurance.  It's not an easy story but it is full and it expands your heart and your mind.  

One of my favorite quotes from the book:  
"He suffers when you go", she says softly. 
"That's not true."  
"It is.  It is the suffering of love.  Every parent feels it.  It is the suffering of being unable to shield or save.  It is not love if it doesn't hurt."

Content:  mild swearing, death, violence (some more graphic in nature), peril, kissing, sexual situations (intimacy with some detail between a married couple, rape with some detail), some innuendo, mention of child molestation.

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

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Steal My Heart (Prosperity Ranch #2) by Heather B. Moore

Disaster seems to follow Evie Prosper’s dating life everywhere. A fresh start can only mean leaving Prosper forever, which is what she’s determined to do, until she meets Carson Hunt. He unknowingly saves her from another dating disaster, yet their paths keep crossing. Carson is relocating to Prosper of all places, and if Evie could change that one thing about him, she might rethink their connection.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Characters really make or break a book, right?  Good thing Heather B. Moore really knows how to create characters with definable personalities that draw you in.  I enjoyed Evie and Carson separately and together.  Their relationship had a steady progression that felt natural and healthy.  I really loved the way Carson believed in Evie and stood up for her no matter who that meant he was confronting.  That is such an attractive trait.  The confidence he displayed helped Evie believe her worth and value as well.  Carson was definitely the star of the show in this book.

The Prospers are an interesting family with lots going on.  This is the second book in the series and I would really recommend reading this series in order.  Even though each book's focus is on one particular character, this series is all about family and they all appear throughout each book.  I really like that this family is flawed as all families are but they are willing to work and change, forgive and support.  That's what a family is to me.

Content:  kissing

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

About the Author:

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty publications. Her historical novels and thrillers are written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women's fiction, romance and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom. Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. Heather is represented by Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Noble Smuggler by Sian Ann Bessey + Win This Book!

Despite living at her father’s inn her entire life, Elizabeth Doyle has always managed to avoid involvement with the smugglers who frequently gather there. Until now. When a handsome smuggler is brought to her with dire injuries, Elizabeth risks everything to hide him—completely unaware that the wounded man is not who he appears to be.

When an opportunity arises to infiltrate the notorious smuggling gang he believes caused his father’s death, Jonas Ainsworth, the Viscount Langton, pretends to be one of them. But when he is wounded midcharade, Jonas’s life is placed in the hands of an unlikely savior: a smuggler’s daughter. Forced to flee before his wounds have fully healed, he does not think he will ever see her again—until she appears on his doorstep, seeking safe haven. Divided by their social standings yet united in their mutual desire to expose the leader of the smuggling ring, Jonas and Elizabeth are undeniably drawn to each other. Neither realizes, however, that they are dangerously close to uncovering explosive secrets from the past—secrets that will alter the course of their lives forever.

I am such a fan of Sian Ann Bessey.  Her books make me happy and so grateful to be a reader.  Seriously.  I'm a fan.

This book transported me right to the coast in England and a little inn with Elizabeth who I fell in love with right away.  Downtrodden, abused and lonely yet still keeping that little light in her heart, Elizabeth is a heroine worth rooting for.  I loved her resilience, determination and the softness that she carried despite the hardness around her.

Jonas is a good man from a good family.  I loved the dynamics of his family and how it really gave me a sense of who Jonas was at his core.  He is all things a hero should be in my book.

This book had a great flow that had me invested and interested from beginning to end.  There was a growing plot that developed right along with the relationships in this story.  It felt full and I had the best time watching it all play out in my head.  I didn't want to put it down and I was a wee bit sad when it was over.  I loved it.  LOVED it.

Content:  peril, violence, kissing

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

This is the first book I've read by this author and I am really excited to be able to add her to my list of historical fiction authors to follow!  I am a fan of historical fiction and this one was so engaging and interesting to me.  The 1940's setting in Paris during WWII was the perfect backdrop for this book.  

All three of the main characters (Kat, Barrett and Ellie) in this book were so interesting.  It was a pleasure getting to know them and understand their fears and dreams and see how those motivated their actions.  They were all layered and human, making mistakes, making sacrifices and showing courage.  Trust didn't come easily for any of them yet they all desired it.  Trust and love.  Which leads me to the growing romance between Kat and Barrett.  Mmmm, yum.  I loved it.  The attraction, the chemistry, the kissing.  Yup, it was nicely done.

Once I got into this book I had a hard time putting it down.  It had an excellent balance of intense situations and emotional moments.  The plot moved forward at a good pace and I was fully invested in it.  I was surprised a few times with the twists the plot took which is always a good thing!  I loved this story!

Content:  violence, peril, kissing, mention of affairs and mistresses (with no details)

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Shootout (Northbrook Hockey Elite #6) by Sophia Summers

Trane wondered if he would ever be the kind of guy who settled down and had a family. He had too much in his past, too much to deal with in his present to have hope that his future would be anything other than many years as one of the best goalies in the NHL. Until he meets the new ice girl.

Former dancer on Broadway, Janae, can't seem to get a job anywhere but as an ice girl for the Detroit Comets. Her plan? To make her mark in Detroit so she can get back to Broadway as soon as possible. Things are going well. Her new dance routines for the team become an industry sensation. She predicts she'll be back in New York within the year. But then she goes out with Trane Jones. And suddenly everything she thought was important might not be.

How can this be the last book in this series?!  I don't think I'm ready for this to end.  I have loved the feeling of family and camaraderie I've felt throughout the whole series.  Each book focuses on one particular hockey player but the whole group appears somehow in each book.  It's like keeping old friends while making new ones.

These books are easy reading, romantic distractions.  I know what I'm going to get going in and that just feels good.

Trane is such a good guy.  I love how hard he works at being that stand up guy at all times.  He is a defender of the underdog because he was the underdog and he knows how it feels to have someone in his corner, making a difference for him.  I loved how Trane's story came full circle in this book.

My only complaint about this book would be Janae and her backstory.  I feel like we got mentions of it but nothing fleshed out.  I don't know where she came from or what happened in her family.  Only brief comments here or there.  I wish I understood her more.

The Northbrook Hockey series has been a fun ride and I'm sad to be at the end.  I'll miss this family of Hockey players.  

Content:  mild violence, kissing

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

Monday, April 6, 2020

Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker

Brighton, England 1820

Amelia Moore wants only one thing—to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own—without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.

I'm pretty sure this book will go down as one of my very favorite regency romance books of the year.  I absolutely adored it.  From the very beginning I was pulled into the life of Amelia.  It's a troubled life and the difficulties and cruelties weigh heavy on poor Amelia's shoulders.  I felt them too, along with her clear determination to give her sister Clara what she not only needs but what she wants as well.

This book gave me so, so many moments to sink my heart into.  Honestly, if I could picture it out on a keyboard it would look something like this: ~~{ 💙 } ~~{ 💜 } ~~{ 💚 } ~~{ 💛 }~~{ 💗 }~~{ 💖 }~~{ 😍💋💙 }  It was like going from one beautiful scene to the next.  Amelia and Peter have a terrible first meet and it carries into their next encounters but the chemistry was there from the beginning- the battle of the wills, the angst (mostly on Amelia's part).  But every single moment there was a tangible shift, little by little and I could feel it.  I could feel my heart turning, softening and falling with Amelia's.  It was so beautiful.  So, so romantic.  Ummmm.  I loved it.  Lovey- loved it.  Read it again, loved it.

Clean regency romance.

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

Megan Walker was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings of Regency England wouldn't leave her alone, so she picked up a pen and wrote her first novella, A Beautiful Love: A Regency Fairy Tale Retelling which was published in 2019. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and three children. Lakeshire Park is her debut novel.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep

What Can a London Opera Star and an Escaped Dartmoor Prisoner Have in Common?
Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

I am always on the lookout for a new book from Michelle Griep because while her books vary in setting and time, her writing is consistent and I've come to love how her stories flow.  This story was interesting because the voice switches between first person (Maggie) to third (Oliver).  Getting to know them both was a pleasure.

The story progresses steadily and definitely increases in tension and intensity as Maggie and Oliver begin to put together how their life stories intersect.  I couldn't help but feel for Oliver and his unfair plight.  His determination had me rooting for him from the very beginning.  Oliver just never gives up.  I don't know that I would be able to be as strong as him given the same circumstances.  I guess that makes me Oliver's admirer.

Maggie is also strong and courageous.  Because we get a more intimate view of her thoughts from the first person point of view, she was easy to connect to emotionally.  Her fears, her hopes and even her dreams were easy to see.  Maggie is kind and gentle.  I really loved that about her.  I loved how naturally the relationship between Oliver and Maggie developed.  It felt believable and fell comfortably around my heart.  I loved the added intrigue and constant threat of danger.  It added a much needed dimension to propel the story forward.  It was so good!  Oh, and I think the cover is just lovely. 😍

Content:  violence, peril, kissing, Christian elements

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