Monday, March 25, 2019

Maybe It's You by Christy Hayes

Maybe it's YouMaybe it's You by Christy Hayes
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  Reagan Bellamy’s neighbor is everything she never wanted. Despite her best efforts to ignore him and fly under his radar, Dash Carter refuses to wither under her stare and leave her alone. So what if he’s totally hot? Who cares if her roommates think he’s adorable? Reagan’s too busy to waste time on a loser with musical pipe dreams. Between classes, studies, and her need to stay ahead of the game, she’s got too much on her plate to give him the time of day.

Dash Carter is a man on a mission. He’s done a total 180 and for the first time in a long time feels optimistic about the future. He’s clean, he’s on a good path, and he’s surrounded himself with people who make life better, not worse. Unfortunately, his neighbor—the one girl who’s always piqued his interest—still thinks he’s a slacker, bothering Dash more than it should. 

Acting on an opportunity to show Reagan he’s a changed man, Dash inadvertently puts her in a difficult position with her new boss and sends her down a path she hasn’t the time or inclination to pursue. Desperate to make things right, Dash becomes more invested in her life despite warnings from his mentor to not get involved with someone whose beliefs don’t match his own.

Reagan’s not sure what it says about her that she’d rather deal with Dash the deadbeat than Dash the Bible thumper. The more she digs her heels in against the religious freaks she’s forced to interact with, the more she begins to question everything she’s built her life upon. When the tide begins to turn in Reagan’s heart and her worldview flips upside down, trusting God means putting everything on the line, including her heart.




My thoughts: This Christian Fictional Romance has a more edge than I am used to reading in this genre. It has a lot of raw and realistic content. When I first started reading the book I had to check to make sure that I was reading the right book because I was not sure where the author was going to take things.

Basically, it is about a guy who has experimented with drugs, alcohol abuse, and sleeping around making changes in his life and then trying to help another find her way. It helps that he is hopelessly attracted to her.

I liked that the characters seemed real and the story centered around change and forgiveness. I liked that it wasn't instant love, for her. I liked that the characters either found or worked on their relationship with God. The thing that I struggled with is that the book came across as preaching. I understand why the author took the slant on religion that she did, it worked out well in the end.

Overall, this is a sweet romance where the characters discover their Faith. The book has reference to hook-ups, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and religion.



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About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  My husband and I live outside Atlanta, Georgia, with our three dogs and two college-aged kids. I have a journalism degree from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and I’m a member of Romance Writers of America .

Find out more at http://www.christyhayes.com

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Book Blog Tour for "Catherine's Intrigue" by Paige Edwards. Enter the tour Giveaway!


Catherine's Intrigue by Paige EdwardsCatherine's Intrigue by Paige Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source; Received to Review
Genre:  Romance/Suspense


Book Description To fulfill her mother's last request, twenty-four-year-old historic design specialist Catherine Pressley-Coombes travels to England in order to investigate an elusive family line. Armed with an illegible diary, she is determined to discover the identity of her mysterious ancestress. Distracted by an Elizabethan manor and unused to British country roads, Catherine runs her car into a ditch. Luckily, Nick Davidson, a handsome, hard-working local rides in on his tractor to save the day. As the down-to-earth manager of his family's estate, Nick also happens to be one of England's most eligible aristocrats.
Nick is certainly not the kind of man Catherine would fall for a man dogged by media and rumor. So why does she find the English lord so irresistible? Even though she can't overlook their differing values and beliefs, as she and Nick spend time together, their attraction deepens. While she battles through romantic turmoil, Catherine is beleaguered with far more sinister concerns: a series of unexplainable misfortunes that are not mere accidents. With her heart on the line, Catherine discovers her life is in jeopardy, and she has no idea who the perpetrator is but she has a growing suspicion that the danger might be connected to whatever secrets lie hidden in her ancestor's diary. 


My thoughts; This book was different than I expected. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this book surprised me in some ways. First off, Catherine is visiting her brother in England. She is trying to solve the family mystery that genealogists have not been able to unravel. Armed with an illegible diary, a first name, and a general location she is set to find her family roots.

The book holds romance and suspense elements. Catherine and the local noble are drawn to each other from the moment they meet. Nick is the kind of man that makes romance fun to read. He is a hero who swoops in on his tractor to save the day. (Yes, tractor.) There are religious differences that are a concern and the romance doesn't run smoothly.

Catherine is also being targeted by a villain. This person wants to claim the inheritance that comes to the descendants of the ancestor mentioned above. You know from the start who the "bad guy" is. You also know what is being planned to take Catherine out of the running for the inheritance. You see the disaster about to happen and can't stop it, because it is a book and the events have been predetermined. Ugh!

I really enjoyed this book. This book contains religious aspects. Catherine and her brother are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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Paige EdwardsAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  Born and raised in Southern California, Paige Edwards is a multi-award-winning author who enjoys clean romances and thrillers. A BYU-I alumna, she went on to graduate summa cum laude from NOVA with a degree in interior design. Her husband’s job transferred their family to the mid-Atlantic states where they have lived ever since. As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and former chapter registrar, she has spent time researching applicants’ genealogical credentials. When she needs a break from writing, you can find her shooing deer out of her garden, biking battlefields, or kayaking on the lake.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Powerful DVD ~ Jane and Emma ~Enter the Tour Giveaway!


Movie Synopsis: JANE & EMMA is based on the life of Sister Jane Manning, one of the first black Mormons. She returns to Nauvoo to find that Joseph Smith, her prophet and friend, has been assassinated. Jane spends a ceaseless night with his widow, Emma Smith, sitting watch over the body of the prophet as a whirlwind of loss and confusion leaves them wondering how either one of them will be able to move forward. Through the long night, Jane wonders if the prophet’s promise to extend the blessings of eternity to her has died along with him. The film explores the possible events of that night, including Jane’s endeavor to remain amongst the Mormon people and Emma’s struggle to cope with her heartbreaking loss. Poignant issues of racism and polygamy threaten to break their bond of friendship. In the end, will Jane and Emma have the courage to follow the path each believes they must take? 



Jane and emma dvd

My thoughts: Wow!  When you have just watched a movie that has touched you it is difficult to formulate the words to describe your feelings.  This movie tackled subjects that are uncomfortable and eye-opening.  My sympathies for the time period have been stirred.  There is something about having it acted out and presented to you that adds another level of understanding than just reading it as part of history. I'm grateful that the message wasn't sugarcoated.  

This story deals with grief.  The grief of losing a husband and grief from bigotry.  The emotions drive the movie.  The actresses who portray Jane and Emma did a fantastic job!  This DVD is definitely a keeper.  It's worth sharing with your friends and family too. (If you can stand to let someone borrow it.)

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy of the DVD.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Sanctuary by Traci Hunter Abramson (Book Tour with a giveaway!)



Sanctuary

Sanctuary by Traci Hunter Abramson
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre:  Suspense/Romance

Book Description Kristi Hartinger has come to terms with her life as a single, thirty-something woman. She was in love . . . once. But following her boyfriend's tragic death, no one else could capture her heart. And nothing else could fill that void, though the serenity of the ocean came close. Two years ago, Kristi left the craziness of her Wall Street career behind and embraced a simpler life on her family's private island off the coast of Maine. As a resident of the small beach community, she anticipates a quiet future—until she comes face-to-face with her past.

Ace Samson is dead, or so the world believes. As a member of a secret organization known as the guardians, he was forced to fake his death years ago, leaving everything behind when he became an agent. So when he is selected to offer a potential new recruit a job with the organization, Ace braces himself: for the first time in more than a decade, he must face the woman he loved—and left.

Kristi's world is rocked by Ace's sudden reappearance, and she's soon drawn into his world of danger and cover-up. But when Kristi herself becomes a target, Ace will do whatever it takes to protect the only woman he has ever loved.


My thoughts: They say that the path to true love never runs smooth, but 20 years is a long time to wait!  This is definitely a second chance at love book with a lot of suspense and trying to figure out who is the bad guy.  You don't know why anyone would want to kill Kristi because she is really a nice person. (Since when do crooks need a reason?)

Kristi and Ace fell in love when they were young.  The problem is that Ace died.  At least that is what everyone was told.  Kristi mourned him only to have him show up 20 years later offering her a job working for a top secret organization.  He is a "ghost", an agent that works without an identity to protect others.

This book is a page turner.  You'll start and not want to put it down until it is finished!






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Monday, March 11, 2019

Enduring Promises of the Heart by Valerie Lovelss (Blog tour with a giveaway!)



Enduring Promises of the Heart
Enduring Promises of the Heart by Valerie Lovelss
Source: Received to Review
Rating:  4 of 5 stars
Genre:  Adult, New Adult, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: February 8, 2019
Book Description:  “What if I told you there is a way that we could all be happy? That if I were to propose to you, your father couldn’t deny us?” “What is it, John? Tell me!”
Just then the basket hit the water and the sea began to stream in through the spaces between the reeds. This was the end.
The year is 1887, and the small community of Pleasant View is abuzz over Penelope Pottifer’s serialized romances in the local paper. Since the release of the first volume, the thrilling story has captured the hearts and minds of the entire town— and several towns over!
Each successive edition of the Pleasant View Gazette spins a breathtaking tale of kidnappers, pirates, and forbidden love. Between volumes, however, Pleasant View resident Mary Clarence, the story’s toughest critic, hears a rumor that Penelope Pottifer is not, in fact, the author’s real name. Determined to uncover the mystery, Mary drags her friend Elizabeth Black into a hunt for the elusive author’s true identity. But fiction and reality seem to entwine when along the way, Mary and Liz discover unexpected truths, exciting adventures, and dramatic romances of their own.
My thoughts:  This is such a cute and FUN read.  Imagine a young woman sitting at the table reading the newspaper, while hiding the fact that she is, in fact, reading a section featuring a romance.  (Reminds me of my teenage years and my 8th-grade math teacher.)  Gasp, what a scandalous thing to do, particularly in the 1800s. 

This book tells two stories in one.  You read the story progressing in the Gazette along with the women of the town.  Plus, you get the story of  life in Pleasant View.  This one will keep you smiling and entertained.


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Read an Excerpt:

********************

“I cannot read anymore! I can’t!” Sarah Clarence threw the Gazette on the tea table next to the settee, where Mary was arranging flowers on a hat. “Read it! Tell me everything turns out all right!” Sarah shouted at Mary with tears streaming down her face. She shoved the Gazette at her and ran from the room sobbing.
“Oh, good heavens, Sarah!” Mary called after her little sister. “It’s just a bit of fiction!” Mary eyed the paper for a few moments. I wonder what could make Sarah so desperately distraught?
“Fine. I will finish it, for Sarah.” Mary convinced herself knowing full well she was dying to know what could make Sarah so agitated.
She read up to the point Sarah had stopped and could go on no further. A little tear had welled in her eye. How ridiculous she must look, crying over the Gazette featurette. It wasn’t even by a real author!
“Dagum story!” Mary clutched the paper, crumpling it slightly in her tightened fists, wrenching it the same way the literature wrenched her heart.
“Mary! Language!” her mother chastised from in the kitchen.
“Sorry, Ma!” Mary apologized and took a deep breath. Then she wiped the errant tears from her cheeks.

********************


BOP_Valerie-50 (1)About the Author:  Valerie has a love for stories with happy endings and bright comedy. A native to the California high desert, she now considers Utah her home where she lives with her husband, three children and two chihuahuas. Growing up in a family of seven kids, Valerie learned to embrace her unique creativity and way of looking at the world and hopes it will enrich other’s lives. In 2015 she published two children’s books, Singing Not so Sweetly and Anabelle Loves Babies. She believes writing is the ultimate end-all for creative pursuits because there are no limits to what you can create. A picture may say a thousand words but a novel is usually around seventy-thousand.

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March 5


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Blog Tour ~ A Guarded Heart by Heidi Kimball ~ Enter the tour giveaway!


A Guarded HeartA Guarded Heart by Heidi Kimball
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre:  Regency Romance

Book Description Three years after a shocking scandal destroyed her family and forced her into isolation, Eleanor Hayward finally has an opportunity to put her painful history and dashed hopes behind her. But reentering society is no simple task. In her cousin's glittering ballroom, Eleanor is stunned when she comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart those years before.

Edmund Fletcher thought he had laid the past to rest until he unexpectedly encounters the woman who so nearly became his wife. Soon to be engaged to another, Edmund knows he must let go of the complicated feelings he harbors for Eleanor. However, when the Hayward scandal resurfaces and the truth behind their parting is revealed, Eleanor and Edmund are left reeling. Tormented by thoughts of what could have been, they realize it is impossible to rewrite history. But is there a future in which they might both find happiness—and true love?
 


My thoughts: This book is sweet and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Three years prior to the beginning of this book Eleanor Hayward and Edmund Fletcher met and fell in love. They parted on bad terms and both carry anger and regrets.

A second chance comes around as Eleanor is a guest staying with extended family at the neighboring estate from Edmunds newly inherited home. Time has passed and not treated Eleanor kindly. They are thrown together often but Edmund is about the become engaged to another woman.

This book is told from two time periods and perspectives. I enjoyed the flashbacks to their courtship and falling in love. It added depth to the hurt they are experiencing and how the misconceptions led to their parting. The societal expectations are explained and how one can fall from grace and be shunned by society. It was refreshing to read about characters who do not follow all of the rules of etiquette and reach out a hand to someone who has been ostracized.

This book is well done. I enjoyed every moment of reading it.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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Heidi KimballAbout the Author:   At a young age Heidi perfected the art of hiding out so she could read instead of doing chores. One husband and three daughters later, not much has changed. She has an abiding love for peanut butter M&Ms, all things fall, and any book that can make her forget she’s supposed to be keeping her children alive. 
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Monday, March 4, 2019

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim, #9)The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Fairy-Tale Retelling



Book Description:  From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

Mulan isn’t afraid to pretend to be a son and assume her father’s soldier duties in war. But what happens when the handsome son of a duke discovers her secret?

Mulan is trying to resign herself to marrying the village butcher for the good of her family, but her adventurous spirit just can’t stand the thought. At the last minute, she pretends to be the son her father never had, assumes his duties as a soldier, and rides off to join the fight to protect the castle of her liege lord’s ally from the besieging Teutonic Knights.

Wolfgang and his brother Steffan leave Hagenheim with several other soldiers to help their father’s ally in Poland. When they arrive, Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier Mikolai who seems to either always be one step away from disaster... or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.

When Wolfgang discovers his former rival and reluctant friend Mikolai is actually a girl, he is determined to protect her. But battle is a dangerous place where anything can happen — and usually does.

When Mulan receives word that her mother has been accused of practicing witchcraft through her healing herbs and skills, Mulan’s only thought is of defending her. Will she be able to trust Wolfgang to help? Or will sacrificing her own life be the only way to save her mother?
 



My thoughts: I love fairy-tale retellings when they are well done. This book was very well done! I wasn't sure how the story of Mulan would be told in a German/Polish setting. The only similarities to the story that I am familiar with are that Mulan is Asian and that she fights in her father's place because he is unable to.

This really was a fresh and unique take. Mulan is amazing. Really, who doesn't love a woman warrior in a time when women were basically oppressed? Wolfgang is an unlikely romantic interest for her. He is the son of a Duke and a warrior. He always thought that he would be the typical male defender of his home, not fighting as an equal partner, but he overcame his preconceived notions to fall in love with Mulan, sigh.

There is a lot of great story from the beginning to the end, I don't think anything I have mentioned would be a spoiler because we expect a happily-ever-after from a good retelling. This story has action and adventure, it also has descriptions of the time and the political climate. I have read a few of the stories in this series and realize that I have a lot of catching up to do.

This book contains kissing and non-graphic war violence.

Source: I requested a review copy using Netgalley. My thanks to Thomas Nelson for the ebook copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.




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Melanie DickersonAbout the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.
Visit her WEBPAGE.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano

Flights of Fancy (American Heiresses, #1)Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Netgalley
Genre:  Historical Christian Fiction

Book Description:  Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she's always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he's unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora's secret threaten those they love, they'll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.




My thoughts: I really needed a laugh and this book took care of that need. There are so many wonderfully crazy things in this book that kept me turning the pages wondering how it would all turn out. Seriously, who would let a chicken or a cow in the house as pets? Would you hire a housekeeper who couldn't boil water? Crazy!

Isadora is a New York socialite who needs a place to hide from an unwanted and murderous suitor. She finds it at a farm in Pennsylvania. She struggles and wants to be successful as a housekeeper, but when you have goats eat the laundry, it can cause complications. She has one complication after another. There are many moments where you had to laugh.

Ian is a successful attorney. He needs the farm to be as uncomplicated as possible so he can conduct business in the city. He just needs someone to manage things, deal with his aging Aunt and Uncle and the four kids they decided to take in in their old age.

This book isn't all about the humor, there are some conflicts. Ian and Isadora have some huge challenges to overcome. But really, the humor runs the book.

Source: I requested a copy from Netgalley. My thanks to Bethany House for approving my request. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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Jen Turano
About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she's not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado. Learn more at www.jenturano.com.