Thursday, September 28, 2023

Insta Family: A Sweet Romantic Comedy by Jen Atkinson


Meeting your birth family is nerve-racking. So, it’s helpful when tall, dark, and lovable shows up to hold your hand.

Coco had never planned to find her birth parents. But when Jude finds her—confessing that he knows her birth mother and he wants to set up a meeting, it’s suddenly all she can think about. Okay… maybe not all she’s thinking about. The messenger, Mr. Jude Taylor, himself, is pretty difficult to get off the brain.

Still, Coco’s working on becoming a partner at her clinic. She’s got friends and clients and a life—she can’t just pick up and leave. Can she?

Jude has enough on his plate—single dad, crazy ex, boring job. Yep—he’s got plenty to take up his time. But when his best friend’s mom asks him to do her a favor, he knows he’ll come to the rescue. Lucy has always been like another mom to him—often more supportive than his own mother. The only problem—Lucy’s favor is a big one. He isn’t running to the store to pick up groceries, but flying one thousand miles to find a stranger and inform her that he happens to know who her birth mother is.

That’s a big ask. Like a huge ask. What about his job? What about his daughter? It’s too much. So—of course he’ll do it. Yep, he’s the best… or maybe he’s just a sucker who can’t say no to Lucy Bailey.

But Jude is logical and organized. He’s got a plan. He can get this job done in less than a day. Or at least he could if Coco would follow along with the plan. It also isn’t helpful that somehow this girl, Lucy’s daughter is sending sparks throughout his sparkless body and forget tugging, Coco is the commander in control of Jude’s heartstrings.

But Jude has a daughter to consider and Coco has an entire family to get to know. This isn’t the right time or the right place to fall in love. Too bad his heart isn’t listening to logic.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

Aw.  What a cute, cute story!  I fell in love with these characters almost instantly.  How is that even possible?!?!  Coco, Jude and Alice.  But here's where I admit that maybe, just maybe, Alice stole the show.  All of her 6 year old adorableness,  sparkling up the pages.  This author did such a good job of creating a community and family of characters that I related to and connected with.  I felt like I knew them all.  And more than that, I liked them all.

There were so many memorable moments in this book.  So many smiles, so many feel good, fuzzy feelings.  

* Jude the pilot (he'll save Coco first)

* first meet poop incident

* sparkle punch

* code names

* Coco's generous heart

* pink dresses 

* Coco standing up for herself

*  hugs

I loved snuggling in with this book.  It was so sweet, so cozy.  I can't wait for more of this family of four brothers!!  It's going to be such a fun ride!  If you haven't read anything by this author and you love sweet romance, go right now and pick one up.  She's the real deal.

Content:  kissing.  Adoption, connecting with biological family.

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

Just as a fun side note, I got to meet Jen Atkinson this past summer at an author/book event that went to with my friend.  She is a lovely person.  So fun and so sweet.  I'm so glad I had the chance to meet her!  I'm holding her first book in this series, Insta Boyfriend.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Wedding Jinx Becky Monson


A a person or thing that brings bad luck.

I'm Mila Banks, the ultimate jinx. Not just in theory—I've got a track record. Seven weddings, seven disasters. Everything from a groom with a concussion to an attack of red ants (a long story) has happened because of me. So, when my bestie, Nadia, insists on making me her maid of honor, I can't help but try to find a way out of it. To make matters more complicated, my boss, Grayson Manning, is going to be the best man. Did I mention I'm head over heels for him? Well, sort of. You see, I have a knack for falling for my bosses, so it's all a tad confusing. The bottom line? My life is a bit of a disaster right now.

Here's to hoping I don't turn Nadia's big day into another catastrophe, and that, for once, I won't hand my heart to the wrong guy. My bad luck has to run out eventually, right? I guess we're going to find out. All I wish for is that, in the end, my best friend gets the dream wedding she deserves, and maybe, just maybe, I'll snag the man I truly deserve too.

The Wedding Jinx is a boss romance filled with laughs, tears, and the unforgettable chaos of weddings. Expect sizzling chemistry but low on spice.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

I am currently basking in the afterglow of this book.  It was all things yummy and romantic and swoon worthy.  You know how some books hit you in your sweet spot?  The perfect book at the perfect time- and all your senses just come alive and dance happily because you are fully entertained and filled up with looooooove?  That's this book.  It's no wonder I'm now basking in the afterglow.  Seriously.  BASKING.

Mila is hilarious.  And loyal.  Hardworking, sweet.  She's also a fibber.  Because, well, Fake Dave.  It's kept her from Grayson who is, by all accounts, a workaholic.  But, the most attractive, kind and smart workaholic ever.  And did I mention he looooves Mila?  See?  Dumbest fib ever.

I adored every interaction between Mila and Grayson.  The dual point of view was on point, and the first kiss?  I maybe read it more than once.  😁🗢 Also, no third act break up.  That was seriously one of my favorite things.  Mila might have tried, but Grayson wasn't having it.  It may have ended in a scene that I maybe, again,  read more than once.  hahaha

If you can't tell already, I loved this book.  So, so much.  Go grab it.  Let it make you smile.

This book is on KU if you have that.

Content:  kissing

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

Friday, September 15, 2023

Wildflower Falls (Riverbend #4) by Denise Hunter


He’s here to train her horses and then skip town. She’s keeping her true identity a secret. But their spark complicates both of their plans.

When Charlotte Honeycutt, owner of Stillwater Ranch, discovered her deceased mother’s safety deposit box, she was not expecting life-changing news inside—the long-hidden identity of her biological father and the location of her two half brothers, Gavin and Cooper Robinson. While her father’s location is unknown, her brothers have grown up in Riverbend Gap, just as she did. Charlotte is determined to know them, but she is unsure how the revelation of a new sister might be received. Fortunately, her plans to build a new stable on her horse farm coincide with this dilemma since Robinson Construction is the only game in town, and she jumps at the chance.

Horse trainer Gunner Dawson is averse to the idea of settling down—or having lasting connections of any kind. His time at Stillwater Ranch is only meant to be temporary, but the young woman he finds there isn’t at all who he expected. Despite an inner warning that she might threaten his peace of mind, he accepts the task of getting her training program off the ground. Before long, he’s not only working at the stables—Charlotte has somehow dragged him into a search for her biological father. And Gunner soon discovers he was right about his peace of mind. Meanwhile, an abused horse tugs at his heart, Charlotte’s brother becomes a loyal friend, and the town of Riverbend Gap is getting some kind of strange hold over him. He’s always run from connections before, but this time leaving seems harder than ever before.

Both Charlotte and Gunner will have to be honest with others and themselves if they have any hope of the future they’re both starting to long for.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

It's book four in the Riverbend series!  I've been reading this series since the beginning and I love it.  I would recommend reading this series in order.  Backstory is so important with this one.  But, I think it could stand alone, you just won't have as much depth of understanding with all the characters.

It was so good to be in this small town again, with this community and this family.  I loved having all the characters I've come to know and enjoy around and involved in this story too.  Charlotte is such a great character.  She is so well rounded and hard working.  She cares on a deep level and I loved her.  Gunner has some heavy childhood trauma to deal with which we don't get the details about until pretty far into the story.  The characters all felt authentic and real, dealing with the bumps in the road the best they can.  And such a pretty setting, too.

The overall story is gentle in nature, flowing steady and sweet.  I loved it.

Content:  kissing.  Loss of parents.  Search for biological parent.

Friday, September 8, 2023

(Not So) Famous in Paradise: A Fake Dating Sweet Romantic Comedy by Brittany Larsen


Which is easier, pretending to date my best friend, or pretending not to be in love with him? 

When the biggest career opportunity of my life–my own home reno TV show–sends me back to my hometown, I’m less than excited. Paradise, Idaho might be paradise for everyone else, but it never was for me. Except for my best friend, Zach. 

When he signs on to be a contractor on my show, things start to look up. And heat up . If only Zach wasn’t about to propose to someone else. Even my rocking curves and great hair can’t compete with that. 

Problem is, my fans think we’re a thing and want to see us together. And my show’s producers want what the fans want. My TV show is about to become my fantasy–a love story about Zach and me. But TV is the only place where the story can be true. 

Telling Zach how I feel means risking my business, and even worse, our friendship. I could lose everything. Including the one person I want more than anything . 

The second book in the Love in Paradise Valley series, ( Not So) Famous in Paradise is a laugh-out-loud, friends to more, romantic comedy that can be read as a stand-alone.

Do you love the friends to lovers troupe?  I do.  It generally means a slower burn because friends to more isn't an easy jump to make.  You risk losing a great friendship if goes south.  But the tension and the build up makes things interesting and Georgia and Zach have lots of build up!!  Especially when this friends to lovers troupe mixes with fake dating!  Yup, things get super swirly.  I loved it.

Georgia is so fun.  I loved how she created herself- her brand and her career around her passions.  She is independent, fun and full of life.  And so devoted to Zach.  

Small towns are full of quirky things and that sure comes out in this book as well.  Family, community and love.  It was all the best things.  I sure can't wait to see what comes next for this family of siblings in Paradise, Idaho.  

Content:  kissing

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Under the Java Moon by Heather B. Moore


Based on a true story, this gripping WWII novel captures the resilience, hope, and courage of a Dutch family who is separated during the war when the Japanese occupy the Dutch East Indies.

Java Island, 1941

Six-year-old Rita Vischer cowers in her family’s dug-out bomb shelter, listening to the sirens and waiting for a bomb to fall. Her charmed life on Java—living with other Dutch families—had always been peaceful, but when Holland declares war on Japan and the Japanese army invades Indonesia, Rita’s family is forced to relocate to a POW camp, and Rita must help care for her little brother, Georgie.

Mary Vischer is three months pregnant when she enters the Tjident women’s camp with thousands of other women and children. Her husband, George, is somewhere on the Java Sea with the Dutch Navy, so she must care alone for her young children, Rita and Georgie, and her frail mother. The brutal conditions of the overcrowded camp make starvation, malaria, and dysentery a grim reality. Mary must do everything she can to keep her family alive.

George Vischer survives the bombing of his minesweeper but feels little hope floating on a small dinghy in the Java Sea. Reaching the northern tip of the Thousand Island would be a miracle. Focusing on the love of his life, Mary, and his two children, he battles against the sea and merciless sun. He’ll do whatever it takes to close the divide between him and his family, even if it means risking being captured by the Japanese.

Under the Java Moon highlights a little-known part of WWII history and the impact of war on Indonesia, its people, and the more than 100,000 Dutch men, women, and children who were funneled into prison camps and faced with the ultimate fight for survival.

 * Goodreads * Deseret Book * Amazon *

First, book cover love!!  The cover on this book may just be one of my favorites this year so far.  It's gorgeous and I absolutely love it.  The picture is pretty but the cover in real life is even more beautiful.  

Next, the story.  Wow.  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and this book is exactly the reason why.  I love learning about events in history told like a story filled with emotion and personal connections.  Author Heather B. Moore knows just how to weave a story that fills my mind with vivid pictures and heartfelt emotion.

I listened to a podcast (All In, April 5th) with Maria Vischer Elliott (Rita) before I read this book.  I was interested because I knew I was going to be reading this book and what a treat to hear her voice and tell bits of this story in her own words.  It really gave me an emotional base and interest before I even started reading.

War is horrible.  What war does to people is horrible.  I wish it never had to happen.  But stories like this are a testament to how resilient people can be, especially when driven by love and hope.  I hadn't even heard the story of the people of the Dutch East Indies during WWII so this was all new to me.  My heart is both saddened and grateful.  The Vischer family is a real family, whose lives were torn apart by war.  They are one of so many.  I'm so glad for authors who tell stories like this so we can honor them and remember.

Content:  war time elements of peril, abuse and violence.  

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

Thursday, August 31, 2023

A Bounty of Secrets and Rebellion Sharayah Maurice + Deleted Scene!


An historical alliance between two gifted races is threatened when Princess Alana Bell Sundry is attacked and a bounty is placed on her head. With powerful enemies on two borders, the kingdom of Latera is relying on her arranged marriage to the Gaellen Prince to strengthen their position in Tanithor.

Enlisting the help of a mysterious bodyguard to keep her alive until her prince arrives to claim her, Alana soon learns there’s more to the undercover guard than meets the eye. As she spends time with her new bodyguard, she realizes that the attacks on her life aren’t the only threats to the alliance. Her heart may prove just as effective at dismantling a union that has been years in the making.

Meanwhile, across the Great River, Griff Shoshone is unaware of the political events happening around him. The girl he’s loved for years has recently been promised to his little brother, the future Chief of Hoken, and Griff must find a way to reconcile his heart to the Oracle’s prophetic declaration. However, after a fateful decision with deadly consequences leaves him and his brother’s betrothed captured in enemy territory, Griff must now come to terms with his new fated destiny.

A Bounty of Secrets and Rebellion is the first in the Chronicles of Tanithor YA fantasy romance series told from multiple POVs. If you like clean romance, characters with elemental powers, and action packed chapters with cliff hanger endings, then you’ll love the enchanting world of Tanithor.

Wow, what a great start for debut author, Sharayah Maurice!  This story is the beginning of what will be an epic fantasy adventure series.  It's full of royal intrigue, adventure, magic, danger and growing love.  Literally everything you want in this type of book, right?  The characters are growing on me and I'm starting to feel invested.  The plot grew in intensity and the last bit of the book had me so anxious for all the characters.  And then left me hanging.  Which, I'll admit, is my least favorite place to be.  boo.  I'd like to keep reading this story!  But I have to wait.  Sigh.

A couple of notes:
1. I love the boys more than the girls.  (shrugs)  I can't help it.
2. The elemental magic is cool.  (water, earth, wind)

This book releases tomorrow, September 1st!  If you love epic fantasy romance, you should definitely check it out.  It will also be on KU if you have that.

Content:  peril, violence, death.  Kissing.

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

As part of the blog tour for this book, I have a special deleted scene for you all!  Enjoy!

There was a cough and a grunt and Koa looked up from his painting to see Menard sitting up in bed. “What time is it?” he croaked, rubbing his eyes.

Koa glanced out the window. “A little after mid-day.”

“Dang night shifts. They get me all messed up,” Menard grumbled, stretching out his arms and neck. Koa leaned back over his work as Menard slowly stood up and made his way over to Koa’s corner of their room. He peered over Koa’s shoulder at the canvas. “That’s good.”

Koa frowned. “It’s not turning out how I want it.” He set his pallet down and let out a breath of frustration.

“Want to come train with me? It’s what I do when things aren’t working out how I want,” Menard asked, grabbing a fresh shirt and switching out the one he had on. Koa briefly glimpsed big, black tattoos all over Menard’s upper body. 

He nodded, quickly putting his supplies away and followed Menard out to the training grounds.

It was a cooler afternoon. Between the hot sun and crisp breeze that blew on the wind, the temperature was perfect for staying cool while training. Menard brought Koa to the center ring for some sword practice. As they faced off, swords at the ready, Menard asked casually, “So, you’ve been taught sword play, huh?”

And then he lunged at Koa.

Koa grunted as he quickly blocked the move and came back at Menard with his own. “Yes.” Clang! “Where did you learn? The Academy?”

Menard stepped left and swung his sword, steel on steel crashing as the blades met between them. “Yes. I was the top of my class,” Menard boasted with a gleam in his eye.

Koa raised a brow as he caught the challenge in Menard’s expression. He quickened his pace, swinging his blade to the right as Menard lunged left to parry his attack. As he stepped, Menard turned his foot out and Koa tripped, sending his sword flying up as he went down to the ground. Menard caught his sword and smiled proudly. “Want to go again?”

Koa peered up at him with a grin, retrieving his sword from Menard’s outstretched hand. Getting back to his feet, they took their positions in the ring and started again. Koa kept his eyes on Menard’s movements, learning from him as their blades met again and again. Koa managed to hold his own longer this time, but his energy was giving out. Late nights and full days were taking its toll. Finally, Koa yielded, out of breath and beginning to sweat despite the coolness of the breeze.

Menard lowered his sword with a wolfish grin. “Not bad, buddy.” He turned around and waved Koa over. “Let’s get some water.”

Koa matched Menard’s stride as they made their way to the water barrels. Eyeing the bulky man, Koa pegged him to be in his late twenties, early thirties at most. He had hazel eyes and short, cropped light brown hair. As Koa took a sip of water, he spotted the the dark black markings peeking out from under his shirt. “What’s with all the tattoos?”

Menard gulped back his water and hissed a sigh of relief. He took a seat on the bench, looking out at the soldiers on the training field. “The tattoos are symbolic of major events in my life. They each tell a story of how I came to be where I am now. It’s a tradition back where I’m from.”

“Where are you from?”

“The Very Islands. My family and I actually came over with Queen Malia when she married the king. My father was her body guard which was why we came. Plus, my mother was a good friend of the queen’s mother. I think she wanted to be able to look after the queen.”

“So being a guard is a family business?” Koa commented, and Menard smiled. “I guess you could say that.”

Koa took a seat next to Menard on the bench. “What are some of the major events in your life?”

Menard leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “I have one for when I left the Very Islands. There’s one for completing the Academy. I have one for when I was accepted into the king’s army, and I plan to get one for being promoted to the princess’ guard.”

Koa had considered getting a tattoo many times. Being an artist, he had thought of many designs he might like to have inked on his body; however, tattoos were permanent. There was no way to erase them. What if one day he no longer liked the permanent marking he’d gotten? It was because of this that he never ended up getting one. “Have you ever regretted a tattoo you’ve gotten?”

Menard was silent for a moment before he pulled down the collar of his shirt to reveal a large tattoo over his heart. The design comprised intricate little dots that formed the center and spread out wider and wider. Lines then encircled the dots and flowed out over his chest, curling up to his shoulder and down to his ribs, creating the shape of a flower. “This represents my ex-fiancé. We got them the night I proposed. Then, long story short, I realized she wasn’t the one and called it off.”

Koa glanced at Menard sidelong. He shrugged and released his shirt, covering the flower so that only a small tendril peeked out of his collar. “I don’t regret it though. It serves as a reminder that if I ever want to propose again, it will be with forever in mind and she has to be worth forever.”

Sharayah Maurice has been a lover of books since she first learned to read and has dreamed of being an author for just as long. She is the author of The Chronicles of Tanithor: Age of the Oracle series. Her stories are filled with adventure, political intrigue and swoony romance that will leave you desperate for more. She lives in north Texas with her husband and five children.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Trespassers by Stephanie Black


Rayna Kirkpatrick has lived her entire life with a secret: she possesses dangerous paranormal abilities. But she’s carefully kept her powers hidden from the world―or so she thinks. When new struggles in her life prompt her to seek information about her abilities, her internet search sends up red flags. Without her knowledge, she is placed under surveillance by a government team who monitors people with unique gifts like hers, individuals known as Trespassers. There are only two options for those manifesting such supernatural abilities: submit to regulation and scientific study or be eliminated.

Damon Hale is an invaluable asset to the government. As a Trespasser himself, he is perfectly positioned to determine how to handle others like him. When a series of unexplained deaths is connected to Rayna, Damon is assigned to go undercover to her California hometown to determine whether she’s the killer they suspect she is. As he gets to know this kind and charming woman, he’s determined not to allow his growing attraction to her to shake his objectivity. But the deaths surrounding her are no coincidence, and as his suspicions about her guilt begin to fade, he realizes he and Rayna must work together to discover the truth or risk becoming the next victims.

 * Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book *

First, I have to say that I think the cover on this book is super cool.  I love how it represents this book so perfectly.  Yeah, very cool cover.

The story is pretty cool too.  All mystery and a bit of suspense.  The plot thickens with every turn of the page while I suspect everyone at some point or another.  There is a big cast of characters but I never felt overwhelmed or lost in keeping track of them all.  That's a huge credit to the author.

Rayna has a crazy supernatural, paranormal type of ability.  I can't even imagine how that would be but it was fun to be immersed in a world that was nothing like my own for a bit.  It all felt so real, so plausible.  It was good stuff.

I'm hoping this has set us up for a whole new series by this author.  Rayna's story definitely isn't over so it better continue on!  Also, as a note, there is no romance in this book.  Just in case that is a make or break for you. 😉

Release day is September 5th!  You can pre-order now.

Content:  peril, mild violence, death.  Mention of miscarriages, divorce, abuse.

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

Friday, August 25, 2023

Crown and Serpent: A Fate of Eyrinthia Novella by Heather Frost


Genre: YA Fantasy (Villain Origin Story)

Series: Fate of Eyrinthia (Prequel)

Release Date: August 25, 2023

All she wanted . . .

Seventeen-year-old Iris Winn loves her quiet life with her father, studying the poisons that fascinate them both. But after his sudden death, Iris is now the ward of her estranged aunt and uncle. In order to claim her inheritance, she must live in the capital city of Lenzen for one year. While there, she must attend parties, balls, and participate in every other vapid thing the elite of Ryden value. Iris doesn’t care about learning their rules or joining their ranks–her only goal is to endure the next year. Then she meets Prince Henri Kaelin.

Everything they demanded . . .

Every young woman in Lenzen wants Henri–except for Iris. Unfortunately, the prince only has eyes for her. The king has decreed that Henri must choose a bride before his birthday, and Iris is determined it won’t be her. Dodging a prince’s focused attention while placating her relatives and the rest of Ryden’s high society is exhausting–and more dangerous than Iris could have ever imagined. She is about to learn that not all games are innocent, and some smiles are more lethal than poison. Luckily, Iris is a quick study, and this is a game she is determined to win.

She would take it all.

*Crown & Serpent is a Fate of Eyrinthia prequel novella that’s actually the length of a novel. This villain origin story was released after Royal Rebel, but it can be read at any point in the series.*

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Here it is!  The backstory for King Henri (booooo) and Queen Iris (booooo) who are the most evil, horrible, awful, terrible villains in a series that I absolutely love.  I was equally terrified and excited heading into this story and rightly so.  (Yikes! Haha.)  But how can you turn down a chance at a glimpse into how these two people not only came together but came to reign with such terror and evil?  I couldn't.  Ugh.  It was SO, SO good.

This author does such a good job at weaving this backstory for Henri (booooo) and Iris (booooo) that is so believable.  You can see the events that triggered them and shaped into warped things in their minds.  It's like a train wreck you can't look away from.  And can I just say something here?  Poisons are SCARY!!

I was surprised at a few things and caught off guard with others.  In the end, I was completely satisfied and felt justified with my hatred for Henri (booooo) and Iris (booooo).  I'm not giving away more details because I want you to experience this for yourself.  If you haven't started this series, what are you waiting for?!?!  It's seriously one of my very favorites.  

Content:  peril, violence, death.  Kissing.

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

PAUSE by Taylor Dean


Marin and Blu, a lifetime for two.

Such a cute rhyme for our wedding invitations. Until my wedding day didn’t happen.

I felt sure my life was over and there was nothing left for me except heartache and loneliness. I had a lot to learn. About life, love, and loss.

When I heard Blu took off on our honeymoon trip by himself, I decided to make an escape as well. I needed to pause my life, take time to heal. Breathe. Laugh. Feel the sun on my skin.

Marin and Blu, boo hoo.

I wasn’t expecting to meet Slade Sheridan on the heels of losing the false love of my life. He erased my grief and drew a picture-perfect future of us together. I thought I knew love. Turns out, we’d never even met before. Until now.

Blu who?

But when Blu makes a reappearance, my hasty actions threaten to destroy my new love. I know which man is the one for me. I have a new rhyme planned for my life.

Marin Sheridan.

Slade’s the one for me.


 * Goodreads * Amazon *

After a brief pause in life, author Taylor Dean (one of my favorites) is back on the scene.  I've really missed her writing and her books so excitement levels are high with this new book, releasing on August 25th!  

Do you ever just want a dreamy love story where you get to let out breathy sighs the whole way through because it's just so romantic and sweet?  That's pretty much this book.  I absolutely loved basking in the growing attractions and love of Slade and Marin.  It was, well, dreamy.  All the heart eyes, dreamy.  Because Slade is DREAMY.

I could gush on and on about Slade but honestly, you should just experience him firsthand.  He'll make you smile.  And swoon.  Marin is one lucky girl to find and experience real love, true love, on the heels of something heartbreaking.  Because yeah, there were some moments of sadness, shock and anxiety in this story but mostly, love.  And now I want to go to Venice.  It's always been on my bucket list.

The whole cast of secondary characters are great.  They felt comfortable and familiar the whole way through.  It was easy to settle in with this story and stay there, in that dreamy, comfortable state until the end.  I loved it.  Adored it. 

Speaking of the end, it made me excited for the next book, that must come soon!  Ooh, I'm SO curious about what is coming next.  Blu?  Is that you?

Content:  Kissing

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Voice of the Ancient (The King's Men #1) by Connilyn Cossette

As the eldest son of a Levite and a Philistine, Avidan is torn between his duty to his family legacy and the desire for something more. When Ammonites attack the city of Yavash-Gilead, he takes the opportunity to fight with his cousins for the newly crowned King Saul. But when one of the cousins goes missing during the battle, Avidan stays behind to search for him in hopes that he's still alive.

Keziah is the daughter of one of the most powerful clan chiefs in the territory of Manasseh. On the brink of a forced marriage to a loathsome man decades older than her, she has no choice but to run. Dressed as a boy, she takes her horse and heads for the south, hoping to find sanctuary with her mother's family.

Battling to survive the dangers surrounding them, Avidan and Keziah make a pact to travel together. As Keziah's true origins are revealed and Avidan's search for his cousin becomes increasingly futile, they must not only rely on each other to stay alive but learn to trust the true and eternal King of Israel to guide their every step.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

My first book by author Connilyn Cossette was A Light on the Hill (Cities of Refuge Series) and I actually listened to that book in my car.  I was so entranced by not only the characters and the story but the way the author made it all come to life for me.  The way historical biblical settings and customs were brought to life just drew me in.  I actually listened to that whole series through audible in my car.  It was fantastic.  Because of that, when I saw this title up on NetGalley for the beginning of a new series, I knew I wanted to read it.

This book is so much like the other series in that the traditions, customs and beliefs of the people of King Saul's reign are brought to life.  It is so interesting to me.  The foundation for this series is being laid down in this book.  The families, the warring factions, the reign of a new king and four boys, on the brink of manhood, wanting to prove themselves.  There is war, danger and a consistent forward momentum that felt exciting.

I loved Avidan and Keziah.  Both are fantastic characters, full of life and love.  Avi had a great arc of development.  He learned some hard lessons but through it really came to know himself and who and what he wanted to be.  I love that he is a storyteller- an audible book for any who will listen.  Keziah has been through so much but she is resilient and brave.  She didn't allow bitterness to override her other emotions and she was open to love when it came in it's many different forms.

What a great start to this series!  I'm so anxious to know how things go for the rest of the cousins.

Content:  peril, violence, kissing.  Christian (old biblical) beliefs and customs.

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

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Unseen (Guardian #7) by Traci Hunter Abramson

You never know when you’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Manuel never expected to be condemned to life in prison for something as mundane as going to buy milk. When the guardian program offers him a way out, he fakes his death and becomes a ghost, protecting U.S. government operatives in Central and South America.

Laura’s work as a nurse practitioner in San Diego has pushed her to the breaking point. Her visit to Honduras to see her abuela is supposed to be a respite from the pressure. In a split second, however, Laura is captured in a deadly case of mistaken identity. The outlook is dire until a mysterious rescuer appears, launching the pair on a desperate flight to freedom.

Manuel’s skills are pushed to the limit as he races to get Laura out of the country alive. What begins as a connection forged in a shared ordeal quickly deepens, and Manuel and Laura must learn to trust their instincts―and their hearts―if they hope to survive..

I love this series so much and getting my hands on a new addition to it feels a bit like Christmas.  This author really knows how to deliver the growing tension of suspense that keeps me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book.  There was plenty of action and the story had great forward momentum with a few of those quiet moments interspersed so I had the chance to really get to know the characters better and feel their growing connection.

Manuel was a great protector and defender.  How can you not admire a guy who was dealt a bad hand and makes the very most out of it?  He was so easy to like.  He and Laura worked so well together and I liked the way their friendship and trust grew.

I think you can read these books as standalone's, in any order, but you might be happier if you read them in order.  The references to characters from other books will have more meaning.

Content:  peril, violence.  Death.  Kissing.

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Countdown (Extreme Measures #4) Lynette Eason


A stalker who wants to finish what he started. A US Marshal who's vowed to protect his charge. And one woman who is determined to put the past to in the past.

Flight paramedic Raina Price has been running so long it's hard to stop. To escape a dangerous stalker, she changed her name and disappeared, building a new life with the help of a friend from her time in juvie. It feels good to put her energies into saving people's lives, but because her stalker was never found, she's never stopped looking over her shoulder. And one can only run so far before the past finally catches up.

US Marshal Vincent Corelli's job is to hunt down fugitives and protect those who are assigned to him. When Raina is almost killed right in front of him, he vows to protect her at all costs--whether it's his job or not. Together they work to solve the mystery of Raina's past. But someone is out to make sure Raina doesn't live long enough to do it.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Wow, I really love fast paced, heart racing suspense stories and this author does them so well.  This whole series has been so good.  I've read every single one.  As the story ramps up, so does my reading rate.  Faster and faster until I have to force myself to slow down and enjoy the story instead of being caught up in the intensity that keeps propelling me forward.  That's when you know it's good stuff.

The romance is really on the lighter side in this story.  It's in it's beginning stages and definitely not the focus of the story but I really enjoyed Raina and Vince.  They are pretty chill people despite the crazy things that are happening.  They mostly keep level heads, think things through and remained focused on the most important things.  It was easy to like them.  I loved Vince's desire to support, protect and stand by Raina through it all.

If you love romantic suspense, you should give this series a try.  It's so good!

Content:  peril, mild violence. Some Christian elements (talk of believing in God, praying). Adoption. PG kissing.

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

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Wedding at Sea (Muir Harbor #3) by Melissa Tagg


Lilian doesn’t remember anything about her life before the day Maggie Muir found her on her front porch—a toddler, abandoned and alone. And maybe that’s okay. She has a beautiful life at Muir Farm, including an adopted family she adores and a successful career as a lawyer. But she also has a secret . . . one that raises just as many questions about her future as it does her unknown past.

And, of course, it would be private investigator Wilder Monroe, her brother’s best friend and the bane of her existence, who sniffs out her secret before anyone else.

Wilder has spent the past three years trying to close the one case his father couldn’t—the mystery of Maggie Muir’s long-lost granddaughter. But the decades-long search has become more tangled than ever. It’s become more personal, too. Not only are the Muirs the closest thing to family he has left, but if he can solve this mystery, maybe he'll keep himself from drowning in the one he can’t . . . the truth about his father’s death.

In the midst of secrets and swirling questions, Maggie asks a favor of both Lilian and put aside their bickering and work together to plan her summer wedding. It’s a big ask, made all the more difficult when danger comes calling at Muir Farm. But if the two enemies can stand each other long enough to pull off the event of the year, they just might solve a mystery in the process.

And the biggest discovery of all? That sometimes the one your heart longs for is the last person you ever would've expected.

I've been waiting for this story since I read the first book.  I just knew it was going to be good because, well, Lilian and Wilder.  Okay, okay.  Wilder.  Please don't tell the others, but he is my favorite.  Don't get me wrong, I've loved all the books and characters in this series so far but there is just something about Wilder.  Sigh.  Wilder.

One of the things I love about this series is the ongoing mystery/investigation going on.  It threads through all three books and it involves everyone.  This author knows how to write characters that draw you in and make you love them.  This Muir family is honestly so easy to love.  And can we just talk about the setting for a moment?  Seaside.  That's all I really need to say.  I love seaside settings.

Best news today?  The author said in her newsletter that she will be writing another book in this series!!  That makes me VERY happy.  If you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for?  It's on KU if you have that.  :)

Content:  mild peril, mild violence.  Kissing.  Some Christian elements (praying, believing in God).

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

His North Star by Amanda P. Jones


I fell in love with my best friend, but he only ever loved me like a sister. So I moved on—with idiots. In an attempt to ignore the fact that my best friend, Ty, would never love me the way I wanted him to, I dated a lot . I even got engaged to Ty’s cousin. Except my ex-fiancé wasn’t the man I thought he was. When he broke off our engagement and fled to LA, I was left devastated and emotionally wounded. Leaning on Ty—the only man who has ever stayed by my side—I drowned myself in work and helping Ty renovate his new house. When Ty confesses he’s in love with me, I’m torn. He’s all I’ve ever wanted, but I’m scared, shattered, and nowhere near good enough for him—something my ex made sure I knew. How can I risk a relationship with the one person I can’t live without? His North Star is a sweet contemporary romance with a sprinkling of heat romance.

Cute, cute, cute!  I love the cover of this book and how perfectly it matches what is inside.  Ty and Maren have a fantastic relationship and a solid friendship.  It's been built on a firm foundation over the years.  I really loved how easy it was for them to be supportive and have fun.  Of course, friends to lovers generally means you have to wait FOREVER for the kissing to start and yup, that's what happened here.  But the buildup and tension were good so the wait only felt like forever and not forever and EVER.  😂  This was a quick romantic fix for me and I enjoyed it.

Side note:  I got to meet this author recently at an event our library was having.  She is lovely.  I had previously read a couple books by her so it was good to meet her face to face. 

Content:  kissing, some light innuendo.

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

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Along a Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks


France, 1794

Maxence Étienne, a soldier for the République, believes fiercely in the revolution that is bringing liberty to France. But even though the monarchy has fallen and Maxence is part of a great cause, he is still searching for a place to belong.

Armelle Bernard is a young woman from Breton whose father was sentenced to death for hiding counterrevolutionaries. She decides to confront the priest who betrayed her father, and as the conflict escalates, she herself is ordered to be executed—an order to be carried out by Maxence.

Maxence has seen his share of violence and bloodshed, but he also carries a tragic secret and can’t bring himself to carry out his assignment. In allowing Armelle to escape, he is forced to combat a fellow soldier, who dies in the struggle.

Though Armelle and Maxence are strangers and on opposite sides of the revolution, they find themselves united as fugitives of the new republic. Now they must find a way to trust each other as they search for a path to peace, and to freedom.

 * Amazon * Goodreads * Deseret Book *

I love historical fiction.  I was SO excited to start this one and then I opened it up to 8 pages of pronunciation and word definitions.  That really intimidated me!  I figured if there were eight pages of words I needed help with, this might be a hard book to read.  So, then I put it off and set it aside, thinking I needed to wait until I was in the right space to really tackle it.  I really shouldn't have waited.  It wasn't that bad and I was being silly.

Armelle is so spunky and smart.  I love her wit, her fire and her hope.  She is so consistent, loyal and everyone she meets loves her too.  Maxence though, he has quite the emotional and personal journey which Armelle helps facilitate with her kind, easy, yet direct personality.  I loved their interactions and conversations.

This book is set during the French Revolution but there isn't much actual war violence described in the story.  There is danger at every turn but mostly it is a love story that takes shape in the midst of a war with two characters on opposite sides.  It's a story of loss, hope and reconciliation.  It was so, so good.

Content:  violence, peril.  Kissing.

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

About the Author: 

ARLEM HAWKS began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in print journalism, and she lives in Utah with her husband and four children. 

Friday, June 2, 2023

Naming of the Queen (Return of the Ancestors, Book 2) by JJ Makenzie


What is the cost of a name? Everything.

The princess always knew her name would come with a price, but she never knew how steep the cost would be. Falsely accused of killing her husband’s family, she’s on the run with the father she never knew. With help from him and a band of outcasts, she’s learning just how much she might have to pay, not only to save herself but all of Greatland. It’s up to her to learn who she truly is and restore the ways of the Ancestors. Yet what her heart yearns for most is to be reunited with the man she must speak her name to first—Rowan, king of Northrend.

Rowan vowed no woman would ever own the heart of the king of Northrend again. But the woman with no name captured not only his heart but his soul. And despite the crimes she’s been accused of, he’s having a hard time believing he was wrong about her. Yet with the balance of Northrend and Greatland in his hands, he has a choice to make—choose the woman he loves, or save his kingdom from going to war.

It is a dangerous game they play. One where it’s hard to know who is a friend and who is a foe. But if they wish to win, the lovers must reunite and help their people choose love and freedom before a shadow overcomes the land. The people must name their queen before it’s too late.

* Amazon * Goodreads *

Oh. My. Heart.  It's feeling all the emotions like a roller coaster.  Up and down.  Over and under.  Around and around.  Frustration, anticipation.  Sadness, happiness.  Hope, relief.  The thing about these emotions?  They are BIG.  This book (and this series) is like riding the wave of emotions.  I love books that make me feel.

First, I should say that you absolutely need to read the first book, The Queen with No Name, before you dive into this one.  And if you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?!?!  It's time.  Seriously.  

This second book really brought out my love for the princess.  She will capture your heart in the first book but she really steps into who she is in this book.  As her power as a woman and a leader settles within her, I could feel her strength growing.  It made me so proud of her.  Even with the growing power she keeps the softness and kindness present as well.  Princess/Queen is such a fantastic balance of all things a strong woman should be.  I love her.  Adore her.  AND!!  She finally shares her name!!  Sigh.  It's perfect.

The story really ramps up in this book.  The first book left me in a state of worry and concern and luckily the second book picks up right where the first left off.  I was worried for a minute that I was going to have to hate Rowan (again) 😂.  (Their angry reunion is awesome.)  As I said before, it was a roller coaster of emotions but I'm happy to say that it all ended in such a satisfying place.  I am still basking in the afterglow of happiness and contentment.  This book is still in my mind and my heart days, weeks after reading it.  And, I've read it twice already.  It's full of intrigue, action, emotion and magic.  I love it so, so much!!  

I have hopes for a book three.  I REALLY want to get a story about Marek and Sasha!!  Or anyone really.  I just want more of this type of book.  🙏🙏🙏

Both of the books in this series are on KU if you have that.

Content:  violence, peril.  Kissing.  Intimate relations between a married couple with fade to black.  Some innuendo between them.

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

In This Moment (Timeless #2) Gabrielle Meyer


Maggie inherited a gift from her time-crossing parents that allows her to live three separate lives in 1861, 1941, and 2001. Each night she goes to sleep in one time period and wakes up in another. Until, that is, she turns twenty-one, when she will have to forfeit two of those lives--and everyone she knows in them--forever.

In 1861, Maggie is the daughter of an influential senator at the outbreak of the Civil War, navigating a capital full of Southern spies and wounded soldiers. In 1941, she is a Navy nurse, grappling with her knowledge of the future when she's asked to join a hospital ship being sent to Pearl Harbor. And in 2001, she's a brilliant young medical student, fulfilling her dream of becoming a surgeon, yet unable to use her modern skills in her other paths.

While Maggie has sworn off romance until she makes her final choice, an intriguing man tugs at her heart in each era. The mysterious British gentleman. The prickly, demanding doctor. The charming young congressman. She's drawn to each man in different ways, only complicating the impossible decision she must make, which looms ever closer.

With so much on the line, how can Maggie choose just one life to keep and the rest to lose?

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

Do reviewers make a difference when recommending a book?  They absolutely do for me.  I have so many fellow reviewers that I trust so when several of them mention a book and rave over it, I'm going to pick it up and read it.  That's what happened with this book.  It popped up multiple times in my reading circles and everyone was gushing over it.  I knew I had to pick it up.  Plus, the combination of genres was just too enticing to me.

Historical Fiction.  Time Travel.  Romance.  Sounds like a good mash up, right?  This book had me hooked from the very start.  It's a fascinating concept with Maggie living in three alternate time periods.  It's like three stories in one, three lives in one.  I liked that it didn't hurt my head to try to figure out the time travel aspect and Maggie was such an easy character to like.  I was so invested in which pathway she was going to choose.  There were some surprises along the way and I always like that too. 

Every time I had to put this book down, I was thinking about it and wishing I was back reading it.  I love when books have a powerful pull like that.  This is actually book two.  I didn't read book one but I had absolutely no problems with anything.  From what I understand, this book may be a spoiler for the previous book and it's characters though.  I will be going back to read that one and I will be following this new to me author and reading whatever comes next.  LOVE!!

Content:  peril, kissing.  Some Christian elements (mention of God and praying, faith)

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