Friday, May 21, 2021

Eye for an Eye by Stephanie Black #blogtour #giveaway #suspense


Eye for an EyeEye for an Eye by Stephanie Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Suspense Novella
Source:  Received to Review

Book Description:  After a family tragedy nearly destroyed Mallory Ingram, she's fighting to get her life on track. When her sister and brother-in-law open their home to her, Mallory is certain that moving across the country will allow her to focus on a hopeful future. That future looks even more promising when her enrollment at a local university connects her with the charming Darien Thomas.

However, when illegal drugs turn up at her sister's house, the first person accused is Mallory, and suddenly, she doesn't know who to trust. Mounting evidence of Mallory's guilt is straining the tenuous bond she has just begun to develop with her sister after years of living separately. Desperate to prove her innocence and keep the harmful patterns of the past from hijacking her future, Mallory reaches for Darien's help to discover the truth.

But the truth may be more dangerous than any of them imagine.

My thoughts: I usually prefer a full-length novel because I love to see the characters grow and develop during the course of the book. I was surprised by the development of the characters and the plot.

Mallory is a student who has had her fair share of tragedy due to illegal drug use. Her past and present collide when drugs are found in her sister's home and she is blamed for them. With the help of a new friend, the clues are waiting to be discovered and the real villain revealed.

This book is pretty intense considering its size. I was engaged right from the start and enjoyed the story. It was a wonderful short escape into the world of suspense and fiction.

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

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About the Author:  Stephanie Black has loved books since she was old enough to grab the pages and has enjoyed creating make-believe adventures since she and her sisters were inventing long Barbie games filled with intrigue and danger or running around pretending to be detectives. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner for Best Mystery/Suspense Novel. Stephanie lives in northern California, plays the violin in a community symphony but never practices enough, and likes to wander around taking pictures of birds. She enjoys spending time with her family, is a fan of homemade pizza, chocolate-chip cookies, and naps, and ranks as the cat's third-favorite person, though that ranking is shaky. Follow her on Facebook at or Instagram at stephanieblackauthor.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Royal Spy by Heather Frost #BlogTour #YAFantasy

Royal Spy by Heather Frost
Rating:  4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: YA Fantasy

Book Description:  A DECOY recruited to be a spy.
A PRINCE compelled to become an assassin.
A SERJAH pressured by an unwanted crown.
A WORLD covered in shadows.

Mere months ago, Clare was just a kitchen maid. Now, she is a decoy for Princess Serene and a novice spy, caught in the royal family's web of secrets. While journeying to Mortise to finalize the princess’s betrothal to Serjah Desfan, Clare lives for the stolen moments she has with Bennick, the bodyguard who is quickly claiming her heart. But when a notorious assassin is hired to kill her, Clare’s life and the alliance hang in the balance.

In Ryden, Grayson prepares to leave for Mortise with his brother, Liam. Their orders are to ignite a war between their enemies, and Grayson has been tasked with assassinating Princess Serene. It may cost his soul, but he is ready to comply, as long as he gets something in return: freedom for Mia, the girl he loves. But the more time he spends with his brother, the more he begins to wonder if Liam is what Grayson wishes he had the courage to be . . . a traitor. 

Desfan feels trapped. By his disapproving council, his impending marriage to a stranger, and the imminent arrival of enemy princes who may not want the peace they profess. When a dangerous drug threatens his people, Desfan jumps at the chance to rely on his swords instead of politics. But his investigation uncovers more than he bargained for—a plot that may destroy Mortise from within.

Eyrinthia hovers on the edge of war. Spies. Rebels. Traitors. All must choose a side.

My thoughts:  Wow!  What a ride book two in the "Fate of Eyrintha" series is.  It's been a while since I read the first book, Royal Decoy, and I had to catch up on events from the first book. All is not well in the Kingdoms.  Wars, rumors of wars, people trying to start wars...   The cast of characters is huge and all have an agenda of their own.

There is a lot of story happening in the pages of this book!  It is fascinating to me how Frost is able to keep it all running smoothly. I was able to pick up where one narration stopped and another began.  The flow and the pacing are fantastic.

This book has political intrigue, romance, reckless behavior, ruthless rulers, and some unsavory characters.  It grabs your attention and holds it until the end.  It is very hard to put down once you start.  If you haven't read this series, you want to start with the first book.  This is a story that builds upon itself and I think I would have been hopelessly lost without the background for this one.

I was very excited to be asked to read this installment.  I loved the first one, and I anxiously look forward to the next.  I received a complimentary copy to review.

The book contains violence.  It isn't overly graphic, but may be hard for sensitive readers.

When you look at the tour schedule you will see that I am a day late in posting.  My thanks to Heather Frost for her understanding.

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About the Author:  Heather Frost writes mostly YA fiction and has a soft spot for tortured characters, breath-stealing romance, and happy endings. She is the author of the Seers trilogy and the Fate of Eyrinthia series. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework. When she's not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and hold Lord of the Rings movie marathons. She lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in the wilds of Utah. To learn more about Heather and her books, visit her website:

Oooh!  It's a deleted scene! 


Author Explanation: This is a fun scene that just can’t seem to make it into a book, haha! I have written

two different versions of this scene; one for Royal Decoy, and then this one for Royal Spy.

Unfortunately, pacing has been an issue both times, and in the end it had to be cut.

Bennick was in a late night meeting with the Winsel’s guards, so Wilf escorted Clare and Vera

to the spare room that had been overrun with gifts. The Winsels said they’d begun arriving a

week ago, offerings from nobles eager to send their congratulations on the upcoming marriage

and alliance. 

Ivonne sat at a desk, apparently jotting down notes about a necklace that sat beside her. She

spotted Vera and groaned, dropping the quill at once. “Thank the fates you’re back, my hand is


Vera moved to the desk, easily taking over the inventory while Ivonne shook out her fingers.

Clare scanned the room, marveling at all the paintings, boxes, bolts of fabric, and endless

jewelry. “How are there so many?” Clare asked. 

Ivonne snorted as she lifted a thin, narrow box. “Because there are too many nobles trying to

outdo each other.”

“And sometimes themselves,” Venn added. His arm was no longer in a sling, though he still

moved gingerly. “I’ve found three gifts alone from Lady Finn. Apparently, each subsequent one was


“How did you end up here?” Clare asked.

He sighed. “Just eternally lucky, I suppose.”

“Bennick won’t put him on rotation quite yet, so he might as well be useful,” Ivonne told Clare.

Venn’s face broke into a smile. “You think I’m useful?”

Ivonne just rolled her eyes.

Clare approached the pile in the middle of the floor, spotting a stack of what must be rare books,

and a trunk that was so decorated with gold, she thought it looked like a pirate’s chest. “I still don’t

understand why people would send so much.”

“It’s a royal wedding,” Ivonne said. “But more than that, I think people are worried they might be

seen as unsupportive if they don’t give something truly magnificent.” She spoke over her shoulder to

Vera. “Another gold necklace, this one with small rubies, from Lord and Lady Bent.”

Vera noted it.

“Sometimes there are amusing gifts,” Venn said. “That helps drive away the monotony.”

Clare reached for a framed painting and found the attached card. “A painting from Lord Tripp. It

appears to be a portrait of himself.” She double checked the card. “Done by himself.”

Venn choked out a laugh, dropping the box he’d just lifted. “Let me see!”

Everyone crowded around the less-than-masterfully-done painting, and even Wilf grunted in


Vera finally set it aside and made a note in the inventory. “That will definitely go to Iden.”

“Can we please include a note that states it should be hung in the entrance hall?” Venn begged.


Clare returned to the pile and Wilf moved to the far corner of the room to sort through some cards

that had been separated from their packages.

Ivonne found the next strange yet hilarious gift—a beloved dog’s ashes. “To sprinkle in the ocean and

know that a beloved soul of Devendra is with you,” Ivonne read from the card, her eyes wide in

disbelief. “Why? Why would anyone think their dog’s ashes would make a good wedding gift?”

“Nobles are insane,” Venn said. “Haven’t you noticed?”



Friday, May 14, 2021

A Proper Scoundrel by Esther Hatch #Giveaway #BlogTour #HistoricalRomance


A Proper ScoundrelA Proper Scoundrel by Esther Hatch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Kindle edition purchased by me
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Description:  As the successful owner of multiple railroad lines, Diana Barton is all too accustomed to fending off suitors seeking to stake their claim on her wealth. In order to keep the wolves at bay, Diana has contrived the perfect plan: appeal to the most notorious rake in London, the Baron Lord Bryant, to ruin her reputation and scare off the worst of the time wasters. The ruse will be no hardship—she’s secretly been fascinated by the man for years.

Lord Bryant is well aware of his questionable reputation. Indeed, he has cultivated the image carefully, and the last thing he wants is a wife. But when he’s approached by the younger sister of a business associate, he tells her in no uncertain terms that he cannot help. However, when he sees for himself what she is up against, Bryant grudgingly offers his assistance. Faced with his most complicated entanglement yet, Bryant is firm in his conditions—and Diana knows that to get romantically involved with Bryant would spell certain heartbreak. But as the counterfeit couple grow ever closer, the line between truth and lies becomes blurred, threatening both Lord Bryant’s well-laid plans and the future of Diana’s railroad business.

My thoughts: A quote by Sir Walter Scott comes to mind when I think about this book. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." There is definitely weaving and deceiving that happen in this delightful book!

It all begins with a railroad company or two. Diana Barton is doing her best to find investors to expand her railroad company. Unfortunately, her investors are fortune hunters. They figure the best way to get the company is to marry the owner. This is not part of her plan. Instead, she concocts a devious plan to get Lord Bryant to pretend to be her suitor and scare away everyone else. Another quote comes to mind. This time from Robert Burns, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." This book has me thinking about poetry. (Love can do that to a person.)

The book is full of "laugh out loud" moments. I love, love, love the banter and teasing that Lord Byrant puts her through. Fortunately, she is a woman who has a strong sense of herself and knows her worth. Both characters are not interested in falling in love or marriage. I will refer to the Robert Burns poem quoted above.

This book is fun to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the moments that I spent reading it. This book has great pacing and an interesting story. It is easy to get lost into the pages of A Proper Scoundrel. I already loved Esther Hatch's books. Now there is no way that I will miss one in the future.

This is the third installment in the series. It can be read and understood without reading the first two, but you gain an appreciation for the characters by reading A Proper Scandal first. While you are at it, read A Proper Charade too. Because you know, it's fun!

I received a review copy, but I read the copy I purchased for my kindle because I knew that I wanted to have a copy of it for myself. I am waiting for the print copy to come. Hopefully, any day now.

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About the Author: Esther Hatch grew up on a cherry orchard in rural Utah. After high school, she alternated living in Russia to teach children English and attending Brigham Young University in order to get a degree in archaeology. She began writing when one of her favorite authors invited her to join a critique group. The only catch was she had to be a writer. Not one to be left out of an opportunity to socialize and try something new; she started on her first novel that week. Visit her at

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson #BlogTour #HistoricalFiction #VictorianRomance


Isabelle and AlexanderIsabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to review from Netgalley.
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Description:  Manchester, 1850

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time. Alexander Osgood is handsome, well-known, and wealthy, but he is distant and aloof, spending much of his time at his textile mill.

Moreover, Northern England is nothing like Isabelle's home in the Lake Country, and her marriage is far from the fairy tale she expected. Conversations with Alexander are awkward, when they happen at all, and Isabelle struggles with loneliness.

Sensing his wife's unhappiness, Alexander brings Isabelle to his country estate. During their time together, the couple begins to build a friendship, opening up to each other about the details of their lives. But when a tragic accident leaves Alexander unable to walk, their fledgling relationship is tested.

Isabelle is determined to see to her husband's recovery, and in caring for him, she discovers within herself an untapped well of strength and courage. In learning to rely on each other, the couple has an opportunity to forge a love connection that they both have longed for but never dreamed could be.

My thoughtsIsabelle and Alexander is a sweet story that deals with an arranged marriage with unexpected difficulties.

Isabelle is a woman of fortitude. Life has not turned out how she expected, in spite of disappointments, she rises and excels at the challenges placed in front of her. When the story begins she is looking forward to an arranged marriage to Alexander Osgood. He is new money and the owner of a clothing mill. He is not a man of many words and it leads to frustration on both of their parts.

Shortly after their marriage, Alexander is thrown from his horse and left with paralysis. This is not a good start to their marriage, particularly one where they are strangers. This was an interesting conflict that is not typically part of a romance book. I loved how Rebecca Anderson was able to write this realistically. She portrayed the frustrations of the characters. The story is written in the first person, but she described Alexander's reactions that indicated his feelings.

It is at this point that Isabelle really shined for me. Her determination to take care of her husband and help his recovery was admirable. She is compassionate, not just in her dealings with her husband but also with Glory, a disabled young woman that Isabelle takes under her wing. She is so patient and kind. It became understandable how Isabelle could transition into a caregiver.

I loved this journey. This wasn't just a book of romantic fiction to me. I was inspired by the characters. This is not your typical romance, this is something more.

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

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About the AuthorRebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel. 

High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.


Friday, May 7, 2021

Spiritual Resilience by Sharla Goettl #blogtour #spirituality #giveaway


Spiritual Resilience: Leading Our Youth to Go and DoSpiritual Resilience: Leading Our Youth to Go and Do by Sharla Goettl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Inspiration/Religion
Source:  Purchased a copy for Kindle

Book Description:  Latter-day youth and parents need spiritual resilience to face the future head-on. How do you get it? How do you teach it? Nephi had these same questions. His answers will lead your family to resilient faith.

Raising youth who are Spirit-led and resilient requires parents who are Spirit-led and resilient. Christ can enable you to build faithful strength together with your children-in a way that uniquely fits your family.

In Spiritual Resilience, author and youth leader Sharla Goettl uncovers Nephi's insights for parents on how, as a teenager, he developed his powerful testimony of Christ. His message will impact how you teach your children. You will learn how to:

Determine the next step in your situation.
Discover your unique role in God's plan.
Fill the gaps in your faith.
Motivate youth to make righteous choices.
Act fearlessly by understanding your covenants.
Feel confident you can succeed with Christ's help.

You can be exactly what your family needs-learning, as Nephi did, to prepare for an unpredictable future. Spiritual Resilience offers a blueprint for families to become spiritually prepared and committed to answering Jesus Christ's call to "go and do."

My thoughts: I love the take that Sharla Goettl shares about this strange time we live in. She shares insights on how we can share the gospel with children/family while the world is in turmoil.

I highlighted a few quotes that illustrate some of the key points that I have taken away from this book.

"Time would not have been taken from our church meetings if Christ did not believe more personalized family instruction would be most instructive. We may feel ill prepared, that we have few options, or that we are strapped for time and resources. I contend that we have what we need for now—for the next few steps, at least."

"The question should not be whether the light is available, but whether we are recognizing these ideas as prompting from the Holy Ghost and following where they lead."

"It may help our children feel more comfortable talking to us about their struggles if we show humility and honesty about our own."

The book isn't all about children, there are many ideas that I am working on incorporating into my own life. If you are looking for a book that lifts your spirit and makes you think about your spirituality, this would be a great one to pick up.

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About the Author:  My Savior has taught me not to fear. From a young age, he promised me I did not need to fear loneliness because I was baptized into a church fellowship. I now know I do not need to fear inadequacy because I can repent, again and again. I do not need to fear worthlessness because of the destiny described in my temple experience. I do not need to fear losing my way because the Holy Ghost, my prophet, and the scriptures guide my steps.

I have served as a youth leader almost every year of my adult life. As a stake Young Women president and parent of three teenage daughters, I felt an urgent responsibility to find better answers to teenagers' reoccurring questions. I felt I needed to find a better way to prepare them for a future that can be bright, but unpredictable. How can we build a consistent faith of action like Nephi's, Mary's, Daniel's or Esther's? What did they know that helped them do what they did? I have been looking for answers to these questions so it can be helpful to my children and to yours

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