Thursday, April 29, 2021

An Uncommon Earl by Sian Ann Bessey + Enter To Win This Book!



Alexander Allerton, the Earl of Bloxley’s, greatest desire is to alleviate the suffering of the poor and less fortunate of England. So when his hackney carriage is involved in an accident that results in the death of one of those he is determined to help, he is devastated. Alexander vows to keep the promise he makes to the injured woman as she takes her final breaths: he will not rest until he finds her young son.

After a crippling accident years ago, Jane Hadford is accustomed to being largely ignored at social events. But being overlooked has allowed her to hone her observational skills—and she quickly perceives that all is not well with the handsome Lord Bloxley. When an unexpected opportunity arises to talk to the earl, he surprises them both by sharing with her his fruitless search for the child. Touched by Lord Bloxley’s story and by his desire to make things right, Jane determines to help him fulfill his promise. What she cannot anticipate, however, is that the quest she has chosen to undertake will bring into her life a small boy who will steal her heart and a gentleman who might well do the same.

 * Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book * 

I am in complete character love right now.  Lord Bloxley (Alexander), Jane and little Asher literally stole my heart away.  Oh and Aunt Millward!  I cannot forget her!  Great characters make great books.

Okay, yes.  The whole story was good.  I just love when a story includes real historical events that I can learn more about.  In this case it was chimney sweeps and the law to change the age of the young workers.  The book flowed gently and easily with a great buildup in the end and the sweetest epilogue but for me this book was all about those characters.  They just shine bright throughout the whole book.  Kind and gentle but strong Alexander who fights for the downtrodden, the underdog.  Jane is observant, smart and brave.  Her heart is so big and it expands to include sweet little Asher.  I adored them all.

Clearly this was a delightful book.  It made me happy.

Content:  kissing, mild peril

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


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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Seat Filler by Sariah Wilson


The movie star and the dog groomer are one kiss away from the perfect love story. That’s the hiccup in a warm and witty romance by the bestselling author of Roommaid.

The meet-cute award goes to dog groomer Juliet Nolan. It’s one of Hollywood’s biggest nights when she volunteers as a seat filler and winds up next to movie heartthrob Noah freaking Douglas. Tongue tied and toes curling in her pink Converse, she pretends that she doesn’t have a clue who he is. It’s the only way to keep from swooning.

She’s pretty and unpretentious, loves his dog, and is not a worshipping fan. No way Noah’s giving up on her, even if his affectionate pursuit comes with a bump: Juliet has a pathological fear of kissing and the disappointments that follow. What odds does romance have without that momentous, stupendous, once-in-a-lifetime first smooch? Patient, empathetic, and carrying personal burdens of his own, Noah suggests a remedy: they rehearse.

The lessons begin. The guards come down. But there’s another hitch they weren’t betting on. As for that cue-the-orchestra-and-roll-credits happy ending? It might take more than practice to make it perfect.

* Amazon * Goodreads *

Oh, wow.  Wowza.  Wowza yumma stuff.  Loads of it.  So, so good.  Swoony everything.  I'm having a problem with full and complete sentences, obviously.

The banter?  Yeah, top notch.  The buildup?  Two thumbs up.  The kissing?  Get my fan and a cold glass of lemonade.  No joke.  This story was SO. MUCH. YUM.  Sigh.  I want to go back and read it again right now.  I probably should since I read through it so quickly.  That happens when you can't put it down.  And yeah, now I have a book hangover which is also what happens when you have a book like this.  It's hard to move on.

So yeah, read this book.  Carve out some time so you don't have to put it down and be angry at the people around you for living and mistakenly assuming you want to leave your book world for the other world we live in.  Just giving you a head's up.

Content:  PG-13 intimacies (kissing, making out)

- I received a complimentary copy of this book but have since bought my own copy. 😍

Thursday, April 22, 2021

River's Song: Spring Flings and Engagement Rings by Stephanie Fowers


A country singer rediscovers his passion for music when he meets a spunky small town girl who lives her life to the fullest. Too bad she's his best friend's ex.

Now he'd better forget his racing pulse so he can get a photograph back from her that could ruin his career.

The trouble is that spending time with her feels like a good old fashioned love song, and he can't get that stupid tune out of his head... or out of his heart.

Isn't the cover on this book pretty?  I loved that is goes perfectly with the story.

Wowza, River and Liv have some sparking chemistry!  I loved all the kissy kissing.  It was swoony fun.  I also loved that Liv was a photographer and brought out emotion through her pictures.  It was the perfect way to bring her into River's world, or, maybe more accurately, River into her world.

The story progresses nicely, with some minor bumps in the road and an ex you love to hate.  I enjoyed the feeling of family and community and the two little boys who helped everything feel natural and brought a few smiles too.  I sure hope there are more stories to be had in this small town- it sure feels like there will be.  (fingers crossed)  4/5 stars

Content:  mention of substance abuse, Christian elements

- I picked this up on Kindle Unlimited

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Full Rigged (Lost Creek Rodeo #4) by Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers, Heather B. Moore


Ford Hopkins is a simple guy. Loves his rodeo life, loves his family, loves his dog, and wants to find his place in the world. Not too complicated, and spending more time down in Lost Creek, Texas, is just what he needs to remind himself of that. But a spitfire doctor staying at his friend’s ranch there could change his simple, uncomplicated life.

Brynn Kershaw needs Broken Hearts Ranch and the haven of recovery it claims to be. Her ex-husband had broken her ability to trust and her emotional stability, both of which are keeping her from living a fulfilling life after the divorce. While she’s at the ranch, calm, quiet, unassuming cowboy Ford somehow manages to sneak through her defensive walls, and could be the key to breaking them all down.

Welcome to Lost Creek Rodeo!

Best friends at a small college in Texas, six cowboys rise to become pro-rodeo stars. Follow Ryan, Reid, Westin, Ford, Eric and Lars in these six swoony sports romances.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

It's always fun to head back to Lost Creek, Texas with this fun group of rodeo stars.  This time the focus was on Ford.  Easy going, calm, loyal Ford.  He was super easy to like and the story was easy to settle in with.

While the spotlight shines on Ford in this book, I feel like the focus with this book and the others in this series is with the Broken Hearts Ranch and the women staying there.  The rodeo boys are definitely a big part of that but with each book we learn about a new woman staying at the ranch for healing and help.  They come with varying hurts and struggles but find space to breathe and heal at the ranch.  Brynn is one of those.  Ford is an excellent balance for Brynn.

I enjoyed this story and I especially loved the ending and epilogue.  It felt good around my heart.

Content:  mild peril, kissing

- I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese


Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a big paycheck each month. When her manager-turned-boyfriend says she has an audition to appear as a host on a makeover show that nominates underprivileged youth, her dream of further fame seems to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.

When her manager-boyfriend convinces her to partner with a local organization, she begins volunteering with a summer youth program. The program's director, Silas Whittaker, challenges her at every turn, but she swiftly grows more attached to the kids--and him--every day.

As Molly experiences an acceptance unlike anything she's known, she wrestles with the lies she's been believing about herself for years. She thought she knew what mattered most in life, but maybe she's had it wrong this whole time, and there's more to being truly seen than what she's built her entire life on.

When I pick up a book by author Nicole Deese, I know that I am in for an emotional, deeply rooted story with smiles, romance and tears.  Her writing is packed with layers and I love it.  Oh!  And I also love this cover.  LOVE it.

This story is so good.  Just wait until that emotional investment kicks in because when it does, BAM.  I liked Molly from the first moments I met her.  Silas took a minute longer but not by much.  Getting to know both these characters bit by bit was fantastic.  They felt so real, so raw.  It felt like I was there with them.  One thing I really loved was that once it was Molly and Silas, it was Molly and Silas.  They were a team and it was them against the world.  They didn't have a falling out, a walking away or a tuning out.  They were there, together for the haul.  That felt so good.

And, speaking of a team.  Wow, the ending of this book felt like a rally.  All people unite and forge ahead together for the good of all.  It was full of all the warm, fuzzy, inspiring feelings.

These characters, all of them, pack emotional hurts and scars.  They battle inner demons and face moral issues.  It is gritty and it is beautiful.  I loved every page of this book.  5/5 stars

Content:  mild violence, kissing, Christian elements

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter


After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie found herself serving as a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance.

When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Wow, I sure love this cover and I would sure love to go to this bookshop by the sea.  Actually, I'd love to own a bookshop just like this and be like Sophie.  Books and the beach should always go together.  At least for me.

Sophie and Seth have a history together.  An unresolved, wounded history, at least for Sophie.  I liked Seth's determination to get to the root of it and work it out.  He was really trying to understand and fix things.  Sophie is so soft hearted and had given up so much of her life for her family.  I loved her dream for a bookshop and how hard she worked to achieve that goal.  The characters were real, flawed and easy to like.

I loved watching Seth and Sophie unravel the past and the present together.  It wasn't easy but it was worth it.  For them and for me as a reader.  Very satisfying.  I really enjoyed this one.  4/5 stars

Content:  kissing, 

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

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Curse Queen (Forbidden Forest #4) by Amber Argyle


A warrior enchantress. An unrequited love. A brand new fairytale...

The path of a warrior enchantress is bathed in blood and magic.

Born to one of the most powerful families in the kingdom, Eiryss lives a life of luxury and magic. Until her father commits the ultimate act of treason.

Treason that sparks a war.

The life Eiryss knew is over. Her one-time friends are gone. All but Ramass. And if he would just look at her - touch her - the way she longs for, she might be able to bear it. But his heart belongs to another. There is only one path for Eiryss now: become a warrior enchantress and fight for what's rightfully hers. And if the powers that be deny her, well...

If they won't give Eiryss magic, she'll steal it.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Wow, okay.  So, this book is the fourth book in this series and really should be read in order.  Even though this story is set in time before the rest of the books, it will have spoilers and trust me when I say you don't want that.  Nope, better to read this series in order and be spoiler free.

I took me a quick minute to remember what this book was.  I didn't realize (or remember) that this book was set back, back, back in time, before the other books in this series.  I was a bit confused at first, thinking I had missed something.  Only one character name was etched into my memory (Ramass) but it all came back to me quickly. 

This is the story that started it all.  Good versus evil, light versus darkness.  There was literally a battle through the whole book.  This author is so good at crafting characters who are complex and flawed but have such a gravitational pull to them.  I literally couldn't look away.  I became invested in the story quickly.  It is on the darker side.  There is heartbreak, pain and devastation throughout but there is also a tiny thread of hope, friendship and strength.  Eiryss is definitely a strong woman who keeps getting thrown down (stomped on, lied to, beaten) but keeps getting up.  She just doesn't ever give up.  How can you not admire that?

I'll admit that here, at the end, I am a bit sad.  This part of the tale isn't happy.  Engaging, interesting, yes.  Happy, no.  Happy comes later in the story but wow, what a journey.  I've been reading books by author Amber Argyle for a long time because she is so good at this dark fantasy type of book.  It's different from most things I read and I really like that.

Content:  violence, peril.  Kissing.  Intimate relations behind closed doors.

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

In Times of Rain and War by Camron Wright


During World War II, an American soldier encounters a German woman living a secret life in bomb-blighted London.

In September of 1940, the Blitz had begun. Like other British civilians, Audrey Stocking is determined to survive, except she isn’t from England. She is a German—a young Jewish woman with a fake passport and a nearly-perfect British accent, trying her best to blend into the city. Her days are kept busy working for the Woman’s Voluntary Services to evacuate British children into the countryside, saving them from nightly bombings over London. But she also writes secret letters addressed to her father’s factory back home. Audrey longs to be reunited with her father and younger brothers in Germany, but she isn’t holding out much hope. If the bombs don’t get her, British Military Intelligence will. And then there’s the paralyzing nightmares and flashbacks—something from her past she can’t quite remember. When an air raid leaves an unexploded bomb wedged in the floor of Audrey’s flat, an American soldier training with Bomb Disposal Company 5 is a welcome sight.

Lieutenant Wesley Bowers arrived in England the day the Blitz began. He knows the average life expectancy of soldiers disarming bombs is ten weeks, and not all of the men in his unit will survive. Wes struggles with the idea of losing men who are starting to feel like family. Although he’s committed to being a soldier, he grapples with the thought of death. Meeting Audrey, an attractive, intelligent, and caring British girl has been the one bright spot during the war’s unending bleakness. Wes has a girl waiting for him back home, but he’s never met anyone like Audrey. There’s an immediate connection between them, and they open up to each other, sharing their innermost feelings. Will he still feel the same if he discovers the truth about her identity? Even Audrey doesn’t know the whole truth. Not yet.

In Times of Rain and War is a gripping and heartbreakingly beautiful story about the strength and resilience of the human heart and spirit, reminding us there is always hope in hard times.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I really love books set during WWII.  My grandparents lived through this war in England and in fact, had a bombing the night before their wedding.  My grandma ran down the stairs of their house, worried about her cake that they had saved sugar rations for, crying "my cake, my cake!"  She didn't even know if my grandpa would make it to the wedding.  The bombings made it difficult to get to the church from where he was stationed because the roads were demolished.  He hitchhiked, and finally made it.  Late, but grandma didn't give up.  Thank goodness.  See why I love books like this?  It feels like I know a bit of my own history better.

I haven't ever read anything about the many men who defused the many bombs during WWII that fell but didn't explode.  Crazy stuff.  Absolutely crazy.  But how important they were to saving so many people.  It was amazing to read about and I learned so much.  I love when a book does that for me.

This book was heartbreaking.  War is so devastating.  I wish all people, everywhere could avoid it.  There were many moments of hope and love and friendship, but this story was a bit heartbreaking overall.  I'm grateful though, for the reminder of all I have to be grateful for and all those that deserve to be remembered for giving up so much, sometimes everything, for others.  Here is my favorite quote:

" The soul is a tender and complicated thing, and it can bruise easily, but I've learned it's after fighting through our deepest moments of distress that our greatest strength are found."

Content:  war violence, death, peril.  One kiss.  A couple instances of mild swearing.

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

Monday, April 5, 2021

Danger on the Loch by Paige Edwards


Raised by a cold and distant mother, photographer Paisley Clark has spent her life daydreaming about the father she doesn’t remember. Paisley’s dream turns to reality when a DNA test brings her in contact with the mysterious man. With her financial situation a disaster and her childhood friend James Pressley-Coombes working across the pond in Scotland, Paisley is emboldened to accept her father’s invitation to visit him.

She arrives in the Highlands only to discover that she isn’t Paisley Clark at all but a titled lady, the daughter of a Scottish duke. Despite the warm welcome and the comfort of James’s presence, dangerous undercurrents surround Castle Rannoch, her father’s estate. Overwhelmed, Paisley takes refuge in her camera and James’s steady presence to provide a sense of normalcy in her rags-to-riches transformation. But her once-easy relationship with James is changing, deepening beyond friendship in a surprising twist of events. Before they have time to examine their feelings, Paisley inadvertently captures a shocking image in one of her photographs—a picture worth killing for.

* Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book *

Paige Edwards is an author whose books I have come to anticipate and enjoy because romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres.  Oh, and props to the cover art.  It's another beautiful one by this publisher.

Paisley has quite a few big changes come her way all at once.  I thought she was a likeable character with a kind heart and a good head on her shoulders.  Her relationship with James was more friendship based as they have known each other most of their lives but it made for a strong, dependable foundation.  The relationship progressed but the plot was responsible for the forward momentum of the story.  I liked how little nuggets were given along the way to draw suspicion to different characters but I always had my eye on the true culprit which I'm sure was meant to be.  The nuggets and intense moments all came together for one final explosive ending.  It was a fun ride.  I think one of things that I really loved was the ending.  After the big finale, the author brought things back down and wrapped the characters and plot up with a nice bow.  It left me with a warm fuzzy feeling.  I love happy endings after rough roads.

I also loved traveling in Scotland for this book.  It's a place I'd love to visit one day and this book made me want to bump it up on my travel list but you will not find me eating Haggis.  😂

Content:  kissing, peril, violence.  Some mild Christian elements.

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

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Crown of Rosemund by Michele Ashman Bell


Anduron, 1498

The king and queen are dead, murdered by one who will stop at nothing to rule. But the young princess—Rosemund—has survived, spirited deep into the forest by her parents’ most trusted advisor. There, she finds refuge in a small cottage and a new life, one in which she must play a role that will ensure her survival. Soldiers are combing the countryside searching for the lost princess, and they will not rest until she is found—and eliminated.

Rosemund’s strength grows as she trains for battle and endures the hardships and dangers of peasant life. When chance brings Maxwell, a young man from the nearby village, into her life, Rose finds in him an ally and a friend. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, the time has come for Rose to reclaim her birthright, and in a court controlled by a vengeful new ruler, she must play a deadly game of politics in order to seize the throne that is rightfully hers.

 * Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book *

I really love the cover of this book and I have to say that this publisher is crushing it with novel covers overall.  They are so unique and connected to the story, just like this one is.  I'm a fan.

The Crown of Rosemund is a mixed bag for me.  I guess I was expecting something a bit more than I received.  The first half of the story is slow.  So slow and so repetitive.  It was a struggle sometimes to stay connected.  I didn't ever feel an emotional connection to any of the characters so the plot really had to be the primary motivator for me to read.  The second half of the story got better and picked up in pace a bit.

I really liked the transformation of Rosemund from insecure, sheltered princess to a strong, resilient young woman, ready to fight to be queen.  The last bit of the book was my favorite because it was where Rosemund really steps into her role as leader and queen.  She bands people together and takes her castle and her position back.  There are some good fighting scenes and it felt climactic for sure.

I'm not really sure of the target audience for this book.  After reading, I would say the younger set because of the age of Rosemund (about 16) and how the story progresses.  The romance isn't really a romance, just a friendship for most of the book.  Everything stays pretty surface and as an adult, I was really hoping for more.  So, maybe this book would be better suited for the younger YA crowd?  That would make more sense.

3/5 stars for this book.

Content:  peril, some violence and fighting.  One chaste kiss at the end.

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