Review: White as Silence, Red as Song by Alessandro D’Avenia

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hailed as Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars, this Italian bestseller is now available for the first time in English.

“I was born on the first day of school, and I grew up and old in just two hundred days . . .”

Sixteen-year-old Leo has a way with words, but he doesn’t know it yet. He spends his time texting, polishing soccer maneuvers, and killing time with Niko and Silvia. Until a new teacher arrives and challenges him to give voice to his dreams.

And so Leo is inspired to win over the red-haired beauty Beatrice. She doesn’t know Leo exists, but he’s convinced that his dream will come true. When Leo lands in the hospital and learns that Beatrice has been admitted too, his mission to be there for her will send him on a thrilling but heartbreaking journey. He wants to help her but doesn’t know how—and his dream of love will force him to grow up fast.

Having already sold over a million copies, Alessandro D’Avenia’s debut novel is considered Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars. Now available in English for the first time, this rich, funny, and heartwarming coming-of-age tale asks us to explore the meaning—and the cost—of friendship, and shows us what happens when suffering bursts into the world of teenagers and renders the world of adults speechless.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

White as Silence, Red as Song by Alessandro D’Avenia is emotionally just as good as The Fault in Our Stars. I was hooked. The sadness swept me up within its current. Immediately, I felt the love, the pain, and the loss. But there was also hope and happiness to be gained. The characters are young and have a lot to to learn. Especially, Leo. He is hopelessly in love with a girl who ends up with cancer. That cancer eats away at her until, she passes. I was just as anguished as Leo. But I enjoyed watching Leo fall and then slowly rise up, again. He found a new hope. A new direction that involved love. Love is red. Silence is white. The original girl of his heart, teaches him lessons that help Leo move forward in life. His family was supportive. This YA novel was completely sad, engaging, and beautiful. I recommend it to readers everywhere.

 

Review: What Ales the Earl by Sally MacKenzie

What Ales the Earl (Widow's Brew, #1)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Scandal does not define the “fallen” ladies of Puddledon Manor’s Benevolent Home. Instead, it’s a recipe for an intoxicating new future as the women combine their talents—to operate their own brewery and alehouse…

When Penelope Barnes arrived at the Home with her young daughter, she discovered a knack for horticulture—and for cultivating the hops needed to produce a superlative pint. She put her scandalous affair with Harry Graham firmly in the past, along with the wrenching pain she felt when he went off to war. After all, she’d always known a farmer’s daughter had no future with an earl’s son. Now she has the pleasant memory of their passion, and she has little Harriet, for whom she would do anything—even marry a boring country vicar.

Harry went off to fight for the Crown, unaware that his delightful interlude with his childhood friend had permanent consequences. Now he’s back in England, catapulted into the title by his brother’s untimely death. He sorely misses his former life of unfettered adventure, so when he has reason to explore Little Puddleton, he jumps at the chance. But what he finds there is something—and someone—he never knew he’d lost, and a once forbidden love whose time has come, if only he can persuade Pen he’s home to stay.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

What Ales the Earl by Sally MacKenzie is an interesting twist for a historical romance tale. I never once heard of a young lady creating and maintaining her own brewery. Yet that’s exactly what happens here. A farmer’s daughter fell in love with an Earl’s son. They had shared one romantic moment together before he left for war. But what he left behind was more than just the woman who consumes his thoughts…a surprise awaits him. Harry’s mother wants her son to marry and settle down asap. But Harry is experiencing seconds thought to that marriage promise. The lady is he supposed to marry, talks nonstop. A beauty that she is…but not very good company.

While Harry struggles with his new responsibilities, Pen struggles with her own problems. Pen still loves Harry. But she knows deep that a tenant like could not marry an Earl. Harry is above her station. Accepting that, Pen tries to move forward. Marriage to the vicarage is her option. However, her daughter dismisses that notion. She wants her father and mother to marry…but can a union from opposites classes happen? Or will that only tear down the world she has fought to build up for her herself and her daughter?

What Ales the Earl is entertaining, fresh, and full of good humor. I loved the intensity of the character’s situations. It made for a fun read.  I got to explore rules of society and rules of the heart. When mixed it created a heedy and complicated mixture. One that was worth reading.

 

Review: Wedding the Widow by Jenna Jaxon

Wedding the Widow (The Widows' Club, #2)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are reentering London society, where they’ll learn how to live—and love—again…

Of all the widows of Lyttlefield Park, Elizabeth Easton seems least likely to remarry. Though many gentlemen would love to get to know the charming Mrs. Easton better, she is devoted to the memory of her late husband. Which is why she’s so shocked to be overtaken by passion during a harvest festival, succumbing to an unforgettable interlude with the handsome Lord Brack.

After enduring years of war, Jemmy, Lord Brack, plans to defer matrimony in favor of carefree pleasure. But who could resist a lifetime with Elizabeth Easton, a woman as marvelously sensual as she is sweet? Yet despite their mutual desire, she refuses to consider his proposal. With scandal looming, and their families bitterly opposed to the match, Jemmy must find a way to convince Elizabeth to risk her wary heart on him—and turn one infamous night into forever.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Wedding the Widow by Jenna Jaxon is a hot historical romance. From the first page, Jenna Jaxon swept me into the plot. A young widow is not in a rush to remarry. But when she met Jem at an event, he never once left her side. She felt an instant pull towards Jem. He was completely a gentleman and never pushed her to far. Elizabeth’s heart still belongs to her former husband. That loss hasn’t left her yet. Jem understood. I liked how well they treated each other and others around them. There were plenty of sexy scenes. Scenes that made me blush as red as a beet and melt to my toes.

However, Jem and Elizabeth seem to always be in company or in a situation that didn’t allow them as much alone time. I was a tad disappointed there. But I could still feel the lust coming off the pages. Instant heat, attraction, and love at first meeting. Neither one planned to marry but it just happened. There are some obstacles that were different than most. I wasn’t expecting the big obstacle but loved how they all bounded together as a group. Truth, anger, love, and a strong HEA are all found, here. Absolutely one of the best romances, I have read.

Review: Santa’s on His Way by Lisa Jackson, Maisey Yates, Stacy Finz, and Nicole Helm

Santa's on His Way

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Open your heart to the holidays with these stories of unexpected love . . . 
 
A BABY FOR CHRISTMAS * Lisa Jackson
The uneventful Christmas Annie McFarlane expected is suddenly anything but. First, there’s the adorable baby left on the snowy doorstep of her Oregon cabin. Second, there’s the extremely attractive, yet extremely angry man claiming to be the father. Liam O’Shaughnessy may be intimidating, but this is one precious gift Annie isn’t giving up so easily . . .

WHAT THE COWBOY WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS * Maisey Yates
When Meg O’Neill’s longtime boyfriend lets her down, again, on Christmas no less, she braves an Oregon blizzard to get to her best friend Noah’s comforting arms. But this time Noah’s not telling her what she wants to hear—he’s telling her the truth, from his heart. And his words just might be the gift Meg’s been wishing for all along.

SNOWED IN * Stacy Finz
Rachel Johnson has found the perfect spot for her second Tart Me Up bakery in Glory Junction, California. Except she’s in fierce competition with hunky bar owner Boden Farmer. Worse, while the icy rivals await the city’s decision, they end up catering the same Christmas Eve mountaintop wedding—and getting snowed in. But sometimes a loss of electricity generates a different kind of heat . . .

A COWBOY WEDDING FOR CHRISTMAS * Nicole Helm
Big city art teacher Lindsay Tyler isn’t just back home in Colorado for her brother’s wedding at the Barton Christmas Tree Farm and Ranch. She’s back for good. She just hasn’t told anyone yet—including Cal Barton, the ex-boyfriend she left behind. Will it take a Christmas miracle for him to welcome her back with open arms? . . .

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Santa on His Way is a heartfelt collection of four romantic stories. Christmas has that magical feeling…and these characters have captured my heart.

In one story, I found a young, brave, yet broken hearted woman. Her one love, aka boyfriend, has let her down for the last time. She immediately goes to her best friend, Noah. Noah has loved Meg since he was seventeen. Nothing has ever stopped his feelings for her. He pushed them aside every time, because Meg was so wrapped up in the other guy. But now, they have a chance at forever. But will the always there Noah be brave enough to accept Meg as his?

The next story, presented me with two rivals. Each one wanting the old saw mill for a restaurant of sorts. One currently owns the town’s brewery and the other is the town’s baker. Then, they get stuck at a wedding reception during a snowstorm.  The cold has a way of bringing out the truth and romance. Can either one settle aside their anger and accept a partnership in both love and business?

The third tale, was about the youngest sibling of a cowboy family wanting to leave her ever demanding family. Lindsey wanted to find herself. But she never once thought how her leaving town affected the one man she loved and left behind. All those years, and Cal still loved her. His anger makes it hard for either one to move forward. But Lindsey isn’t backing down now. Love is worth fighting for…but only if Cal lets her back inside his heart.

The last story, is a about a woman whose husband divorced her. She went through a lot of miscarriages. It’s Christmas time, and Annie is feeling lonely with her dog. Until a noise brings her to her door where she finds a baby left behind. Puzzled, she finds a note addressed to her. The baby belonged to her sister who, couldn’t raise it. And the father didn’t want it. Then, there’s the other man who comes barging onto her doorstep. Liam thinks the baby is his. Nola set him for for murder and then recanted it. But he’s still a suspect to the police. Only Nola knows the absolute truth of the crimes committed. But it will take everything to trace her down and ask the questions. Liam won’t leave without the newborn baby. However, Annie isn’t sure it’s his and won’t let him take the baby away. Both want the baby. Christmas around the corner, a snowstorm, and a baby in the cabin leave for funny ideas. Romance, marriage, and creating a family…but can the characters find the truth and happiness before they lose everything that matters?

Overall, Santa’s on His Way is an amazing collection. I loved each of these romantic stories. Forgiveness, family, and finding love…are major themes. I highly recommend this contemporary set to all readers.

 

 

Review: Consumed by J.R. Ward

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Consumed by J.R. Ward is draws me in like a moth to a flame. Irresistible to the flame, I couldn’t stop reading this book. Emotionally gripping, hot, and full of risks, this writer captures my full attention. The plot moved quickly. Attitude, loss, grief, and romance fill these pages. I enjoy watching the two siblings give each other shit. It was funny. They obviously care about each other but show it differently than most. Then, there’s the attraction between two firefighters who have a knack for danger. Just as they go on a scene they end up in a situation neither thought they would be in…the reality comes and shakes their world. Sending it breaking into pieces. Their confidence shatters. But with time and a team that still cares, they might just survive…unless someone they trust tries killing them and succeeds. Overall, this book consumes. It takes me in deep and does not let go.

 

Review: Vampires like It Hot by Lynsay Sands

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands brings the heat in this new Argeneau novel, as one woman is rescued by an irresistible immortal

“Vampires…”

When Raffaele Notte pulls a barely dressed disoriented woman from the ocean, the last thing he expects is for her to utter that word. The immortal has come to the island resort to help his cousin, but now, it seems there are rogue vampires dining on unsuspecting tourists. And he soon realizes that not only is Jess a target, she’s also the life mate he’s been waiting for…

Vampires are real. Jess would’ve never believed it until she saw them with her own eyes. She knows she has to get off the island, and her gallant rescuer has offered to help. There’s something about Raffaele that’s unlike any man she has ever met, and his touch sends pleasure through her that is beyond all imagining. But when Jess discovers who he really is, will she risk life as she knows it for a chance of forever by his side?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Vampires like It Hot by Lynsay Sands is another great adventure. Hot, spicy, and hilarious. The Argeneau vampire family get another fun journey to enjoy. A young woman goes to a foreign tropical island as a wedding retreat with her unlikable cousin. What starts out normal ends up going into a dark and fearful territory.

Jess is and her cousin are lured by pirates. Not just actors dressed up as pirates but vampires needing a blood snack. Jess is overcome by desire that is set from one greasy haired vampire who may be her life mate. But she ends up witnessing a horror scene that leaves her swimming in shark infested waters.  That’s where her other possible vampire life mate finds her. Struggling to swim any further, Raffaele rescues the beautiful human. Only he finds out that she’s running from vampirates and is his life mate. Talk about complex situations and tons of heat. Lynsay Sands delivers an outstanding emotional journey and one packed with action to entertain. I was both laughing and falling in love with the characters, even the greasy haired vampirate with his silly vocabulary.  Overall, I highly recommend this paranormal romance to all.

 

Review: The Healing by Linda Byler

The Healing

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A hopeful story of unexpected love in the midst of illness, pain, and family conflict

John is the youngest of seven boys and is constantly overshadowed by his big brothers who seem to all be stronger, smarter, and better looking than he is. As a teenager, he knows he’s overweight and is sure he’ll never be popular like his brothers are. But those struggles are nothing compared to the battle he is about to fight. After weeks of feeling exhausted, depressed, and achy, he has no idea what’s wrong with him and begins to wonder if he’ll be miserable for the rest of his life. By the time he is finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, his body is failing and his spirits are nearly at rock bottom.

John’s parents and brothers try to help him, but as weeks turn into months with no real sign of improvement, the illness begins to take its toll on all of them. Minor disagreements turn into angry fights and old hurts surface amidst uncertainty and exhaustion. The Amish family that was once so tightly knit is unraveling before John’s eyes.

When John’s older brother Samuel begins dating Lena Zook—John’s eighth grade teacher—he tries to be happy for them, but it’s hard not to feel jealous. With all his health issues, John figures he’ll be lucky if he makes it through rumschpringe at all; he doesn’t dare hope to date anyone as lovely and smart and fun as Lena is.

Determined not to continue burdening his family, John begins to discover a quiet inner strength, even as his body falters. Recovery seems far off, but he nurtures a glimmer of hope that God has not forgotten him. And is it his imagination, or is Lena starting to spend more time with him than she’s spending with Samuel? Torn between following his heart and the fear of tearing his family apart even more, John’s struggles seem to only get more complicated, even as that glimmer of hope fans into flame.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Healing by Linda Byler is a Christian novel that grabbed me in quickly. An Amish family once happy and fine, suffers. The youngest Amish boy is constantly picked on by his brothers. None of them understood what he was going through nor how he felt. I felt so much sympathy for John I wanted to hug him. But seeing as I couldn’t, all I could do was cheer and pray for him. His journey is one filled with sadness, shame, guilt, responsibility, and love. God is good. Themes of faith, family, and love are strong. The mother wanted to give up multiple times, when John was suffering. Yet, her husband never let her fall down from her faith. He kept strong holding her up despite the downfalls. I fell in love with the entire family. It was hard not to…I saw them at their best and their worst. No novel, I have read has quite shown me the realistic sides to an Amish family. No one is perfect. We all suffer. How we handle it is where we might differ. Overall, this novel tested my strength.

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The second unforgettable novel in USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series.

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson.

The accidental governess…

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart… without risking her own.

The infamous rake…

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling… and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Tessa Dare has captured my whole heart and soul with this read. I was swept up by the bad guy rep who cares more than he admits about his two little wards. I was amazed that such a playboy could be so sweet. I felt myself melt into puddles every time! Chase thought his was not responsible enough for the girls. Two family members lost their mother was were moved from place to place. No one wanting them. Until Chase…He takes them in despite their bad behavior. There’s more to their behavior than Chase can see. When a sexy clock worker is taken under his care to be the governess, Chase cannot resist her. Alex met Chase in a bookstore. He obviously doesn’t remember her at all. Despite feeling so invisible, Alex takes care of her charges. Both little girls managed to wrap their ways around Alex’s, Chase’s, and my heart. Trouble, mischief, humor, action, and love are filled in this heart melting book. I could not stop reading, The Governess Game. 

 

Review: Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s Christmas in Gold Valley, and this wounded widower is about to get another shot at love…

Grant Dodge didn’t expect to find a woman sleeping in an abandoned cabin on his family ranch. Or to find her so intriguing. Unlike every other woman in town, McKenna Tate doesn’t know Grant’s a widower. There’s no pity in the looks she gives him. McKenna wants him, and Grant has forgotten what it’s like to feel like a man. A no-strings fling for Christmas might be the kind of holiday cheer Grant needs…

With only a suitcase to her name, McKenna came to Gold Valley to confront her birth father. She didn’t plan to work at the Dodge ranch or fall for the gorgeous cowboy who keeps his heart roped off. But there’s no denying the way their broken pieces fit together. Hope brought her to Gold Valley—but will it be the gift that could finally heal Grant, and McKenna’s own wounded heart?

Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Snowed in with the Cowboy!

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates is a book that grabbed my whole heart and soul. A young woman is sent off to live in the fosters homes at the age of two. From there, she goes back and forth with no one loving her. She has no family. Just as she leaves the foster system, they give her a birth certificate. One that led her to her birth father. Now, she has the opportunity of a lifetime. Meet her family. But she’s afraid. Then, upon her way there, she sleeps in a broken down cabin where a tall, dark cowboy found her.

Grant Dodge has lost his mother. And then his young wife. She died of cancer. His heart has never been the same. Until he found a young tiny woman sleeping away in a cabin. That’s when his world got turned upside down. Utter chaos, complicated, and hot sex…make Grant feel again. Things he never wanted to feel yet he does. All because of McKenna. A lost woman searching for family.

Maisey Yates created a beautifully written novel about family, hope, and love. Letting go of the past is harder to than others say. Grief, loss, and unexpected love found its way into my heart. I cried. Their loss and pain felt like it was my own. The characters were downright charming. Irresistible banters and plenty of humor to keep my interest. Overall, this sexy contemporary is a must read for all.

Review: Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Thirty-one-year-old Charlie isn’t in the mood for Christmas cheer.

Her boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, her mother has absconded with her latest husband for the holidays, and—adding insult to (literal) injury—her London apartment has just been destroyed by a gas leak. Single, mildly concussed and temporarily homeless, Charlie realizes there’s only one place to go: Cozy Canine Cottages, where she’ll spend the season looking after her cousin Jez’s doggy day care center. And if she’s not exactly a dog person, well, no one has to know…

But her plans for a quiet Christmas in a quaint country village are quickly dashed. Peggy the pregnant beagle and Malcolm the anxious Great Dane seem determined to keep her up all night. A strange man has been casing her cousin’s house. And where is Cal, the unbearably patronizing but disturbingly handsome local vet, when she needs him?

As the days tick down to Christmas, Charlie’s life has never felt so out of control—but with some help from her new four-legged friends, she just might learn a thing or two about living in the moment, embracing the unexpected and opening herself up to love…

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox is an amusing read. Instantly, I was swept in its charm, humor, and quirky settings. Christmas is a magical time. It is also time for moving forward, healing, and falling in love. That is exactly what I discovered here. Young people finding a direction and battling their inner struggles. Struggles of the heart. Attraction flares and their encounters are entertaining. But there’s more than to them than the hot vet and the wild city lady. Risks are taken. Time will only tell if the characters found what their hearts seek.

This novel brought out a bunch of crazy situations. Like a city lady trying to take care of animals for the first time. She loves the fur balls but isn’t really sure what they need nor how to care for them. That’s where she and the vet butt heads constantly. I found those banters enjoyable. The way they are with each other and the animals made me root for them. I kept hoping. Deliciously sweet, hilarious,  and heartfelt, Mutts and Mistletoe is a winner. The character grew and their hearts unfroze.

 

Review: The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands

The Wrong Highlander (Highland Brides, #7)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A laird’s daughter kidnaps a Highlander—and loses her heart… in New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new historical romance…

Lady Evina Maclean has heard much about Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. What she hasn’t heard is how good the brawny Highlander looks bathing in a waterfall. But Evina can’t afford the distraction, for her ailing father urgently needs care. Only when she’s rendered Buchanan unconscious and dragged him back to her family’s castle does the truth emerge—it’s not Rory she’s kidnapped but his brother Conran.

Other ladies try to ensnare Conran with flattery. Evina hits him over the head with the hilt of her sword to save her kin—and Conran likes the spirited redhead all the more for it. He’s learned enough from his brother to heal Evina’s father, but there are other dangers swirling around the Maclean clan. And while the beautiful, independent lady has sworn not to marry, this wrong Highlander may be just the right man for her.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands is an incredible Scottish adventure. From kidnapping a handsome Highlander to saving family, these Highlanders have their hands full. A young unmarried woman thought she kidnapped the right man. Turned out, it was his brother who also knew how to act in as a healer. Saved her da’s life and then, working to save hers, Conran falls helplessly in love with the red hair beauty. Lady Evina is quick with a sword, a good horse rider, and clever as she is beautiful. It didn’t surprise me that the two would eventually fall in love. But getting to that point was difficult with a murderer running somewhere around the castle. Family and trust were strong themes found on these pages. They tied in well with the plot. Plenty of action, heat, and mystery to keep my interest. Overall, I recommend this novel to all.

Review: My Kind of Christmas by Janet Dailey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Returning to Branding Iron, Texas, is Travis Morgan’s last resort, and the abandoned ranch he inherited isn’t much more welcoming than the prison cell where he spent the last three years doing time for a tragic accident. Completely without funds or family, Travis finds celebrating Christmas is the last thing on his mind, but there’s no escaping the holiday spirit in this close-knit little town—not with Branding Iron’s longtime Santa retiring, and sweetly stubborn Mayor Maggie Delaney determined to find a replacement. When her no-nonsense façade slips to reveal the sensual, vulnerable woman beneath it, Travis realizes Maggie just might be as lonely as he is—and that this holiday season, love could be the gift that heals them both.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

My Kind of Christmas by Janet Dailey is one that contains a lot of surprises. I was hooked. The characters have their own background story that affects their present lives. Other characters try to help. But it only gets messier. The troubled characters are so stubborn that it’s funny and frustrating at times. All that misery because of some past hurt feelings. People change. That’s what the father and son must learn now. Otherwise their future is bleak without the forgiveness. It takes another man to help show them what each one would go to, to defend each other. Risks, pride, and love are found on these pages.  The males are tough. But so are their women. Overall, I love a good story that sweeps me into the plot. Funny, entertaining, and sweet, My Kind of Christmas felt so real.

 

Review: The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…

Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…

As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan is a lot different than her previous novels. This one is deeper than the others. It has stories from three sisters each with their own issues. Their issues stem from their parents’ death and from various other things in their lives. They each struggle with what they want to do, what they should do, and what they actually end up doing. I felt sympathy immediately for these women. They are full grown and still coming to terms with their loss. Love, family, and hope were common themes that I found on these pages. It was a bit inspiring to watch them each battle their demons and come to terms with their grief. Heartbreaking but hopeful, Sarah Morgan created a realistic novel. I found myself sounded by her characters and enjoying as they grew emotionally and mentally. Unconditional love was on every page. The sacrifices that the adoptive mom made blew me away. There was so much attached to this story. It wasn’t like most novels. This one gripped a hold of me and didn’t let go…

Review: Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A mysterious English stranger appears in Mary Katherine Ropp’s kitchen one autumn night, heralding the beginning of a new chapter in the widow’s life.

The mother of ten, Mary Katherine is an empty-nester who lost her husband four years earlier. She misses her husband so much, she still talks to him. She pours her creative spirit into writing stories and serves as the district’s Budget newspaper scribe. An avid reader, her dream is to open a bookstore with her English friend, but the church elders want this wayward widow to work in an Amish-owned combination store.

When an English man breaks into her house looking for food, Mary Katherine doesn’t call the sheriff. She turns to her good friend, Ezekiel, who needs a cook at the restaurant he started after his wife died ten years earlier. Mary Katherine and Ezekiel set out separately to make sure their new friend isn’t caught up in the investigation, and their efforts keep bringing them together. They’re both still so in love with their long-gone spouses, so when the sparks begin to fly, they are beyond confused. Is it possible to find “The One” more than once in a lifetime?

But as Mary Katherine stands by her dear friend after the death of her husband, Mary Katherine is reminded of the terrible risk in giving her heart to someone. Can these two people, well-versed in the pain of loss, put the past behind them and trust in the hope of the future?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin is a heart melting tale. Two spouses have lost a loved one. They are still feeling the pain of their loss. To coupe they end up having conversations with their dead spouses. It was a bit heart breaking and understandable. No one wants to let go of someone they love. From there, the plot quickly turned interesting. It took just one stranger to bring two widowed people together. God is good. It showed that God has ways of bringing happiness to others. First, the kindness and understanding towards a stranger, and then their growing romance….Friendships have a way of evolving deeper, if we let them. In this case, I fell in love with the characters. I couldn’t help it. They had a way of pulling me in deeper. Sweet, engaging, and full of surprises, Through the Autumn Air is one wonderful Amish journey.

 

Review: The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From USA Today bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…

A delightful Christmas novel in the New York Times bestselling Eternity Springs series.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March is a story that captures my interest right away. I feel the emotion from the characters as though I were the one going through it all. The ups and downs are realistic. Sad, heartbreaking, and emotionally gripping Emily March writes a tale worth reading. From danger to healing, there is so much to offer for readers like me. Plenty of action, intrigue, and what-ifs to keep me guessing the whole way. I was not sure how the book would end. It could have ended completely different.

Inside, I meet a young woman who took a young boy into her home and heart. The boy’s mother is too young and battling an abusive situation. She gives birth and the boy is given to Jenna Stockton. From there the boy has been in Jenna’s care. She raises him like her own son. Until a stalker and dangerous threats start to happen, Jenna and her son’s lives become anything but happy ones. I love how Emily March wove hope and love into scenes despite all the risks and danger present. It made my heart melt at the boy’s innocent talk with a man whom he believed to be the real Santa Claus. How can a man hurt the young boy’s hope and Christmas wish? Devin des everything he can to help the boy on the phone. Jenna at first thinks Devin is the stalker but soon realises her mistake. From there Devin becomes a ray of sunshine for both mom and boy. But the  troubles they go through are far from over…can their nightmares end? Will their lives know no peace or happiness? The Christmas Wishing Tree brings back the innocence and heartwarming memories of what the season gives us. Hope, faith, and kindness and maybe, love. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to all.

Review: Cross Breed by Lora Leigh

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fans of #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh’s scorching Breed series first met Cassie as a little girl in Elizabeth’s Wolf. Now Cassie has finally come into her own as a young woman, and she’s about to discover the one she is destined for–but it is unclear whether her fate is to be mated for life, or marked for death…

The Breeds are humans altered before conception with the DNA of the predators of the earth. But although they all carry the genetic material of beasts within them, Cassandra Sinclair stands apart. A unique mix of wolf, coyote and human, she is revered by many–but preyed upon by others. She is fiercely protected by her community…but no one manages to stop her when she slips away one day to offer her body in exchange for her sister’s safety.

The man she succumbs to surprises her by unleashing her inner animal in ways she never dreamed possible–and provokes her deep, furious rage. To Cassie’s shock, he is the mate she has long awaited. She may never be able to forgive his deception. Still, as dangerous enemies track her, and as the threat of all-out war between Breeds and the humans who despise them hovers in the air, they must join forces and hold fast to each other.

But the passionate union between them holds a potential that could change the world–and some will do anything to stop it…

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Cross Breed by Lora Leigh is an intense paranormal romance tale. I was sucked into the whole Breed and Human world. Scientists took children away from their families only to use their embryos for creating half humans and half animals. Taking sperm from coyotes and wolves the government thought they could create an army to use as a weapon against others. Only it backfired on them in ways they did not expect. Eventually, enough human families had missing family members used and killed for these experimentations. The offspring were not looked at as monsters by the majority of the humans. But that did not mean that others were not disgusted with the Breeds and hybrids.

A young woman, Cassie, is overpowered by the feelings of lust and lack of fear towards a man who first aimed to kill her. He knew she was his mate when he saw her at eighteen. But he never went to claim her until 6-years later. One challenge between, and a night of exotic passion lead to distrust and anger. No matter the danger towards them both, their mating heat keeps increasing and only they can help each other survive its brutal wave.

Dog, aka Cain, is a coyote Breed. But he lets the council who created him think he’s undercover for them. Dog wants to get the info to take them out and destroy them. The council are the ones responsible for creating the Breeds and Hybrids like himself. Anger and loss is all Dog knew until his mate. Cassie gives him hope and tears his world upside down…but he’ll do everything in his power to keep her alive and with him.

Lora Leigh created a world full of drama, risks, and heat. I felt the instant attraction between both protagonists. They reeled me in deep. The plot is full of adult language from time to time, some fighting but not graphic, and a little bit of BDSM is inside the sex scenes. I recommend this paranormal romance to all adults.

Review: When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica. 

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica is a very depressing yet intense novel. Inside, I followed a young woman’s journey through nightmares. She has been in the hospital at her mom’s side and won’t sleep until her mom gets better or passes away. The doctor tried to tell Jessie to get some sleep, but she won’t listen. I felt her pain and her tiredness. Her confusion and pain about finding her father and her mom’s cancer was horrifying. Jessie could not tell apart reality from nightmare. I could not tell the difference until the ending…that’s when all became clear. Grief, loss, and secrets are explored in this novel. I cried a lot when I read this story. Jessie did want her mom to die from cancer. She kept hoping she would get better. Then, there was the fact that Jessie never knew her own father. Mary Kubica never revealed that secret. But the man that should have been her father became one to her while her mom was passing away from her cancer. The death was slow…and when the last moment came, it sped by quickly. My heart broke. Overall, this was intriguing, dark, and heartbreaking.

 

Review: One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Love Me Again returns to the town of Hope, Oklahoma where school is in session and love rules the playbook.

Josie Barnes has always craved a sense of home. She’s found that in Hope, Oklahoma–she bought a house, has a new job as an English teacher at Hope High, she’s made wonderful friends, and she’s taking in stray animals that no one else wants. Now she’s flirting with fellow teacher and hot high school football coach Zach Powers. But he’s almost too good to be true, and Josie learned long ago not to trust in the too-good-to-be-true, because it has always let her down.

A former pro football player, Zach had to pull back when a career-ending knee injury forced him to rethink his future. Now he’s happy calling plays as Coach. If he could just get Josie Barnes to stop benching his players for their poor grades, life would be perfect. Instead, she drives him crazy as the stern teacher at school and the sexy woman of his dreams outside of the classroom. He knows she’s been hurt in the past, but he wants to be that guy she can trust.

The one thing Josie has never been able to count on is the people closest to her. But Zach intends to show her that what they have between them is a textbook case of love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton is a romantic contemporary romance read. It was simple, fast-paced, and heartfelt. I loved the funny yet fun banters between football coach and English teacher. Both feel an undeniable attraction towards each other. Good looks, intelligence, and a passion for helping others in need made this a sweet story.

Josie is experiencing family issues from her past and present. Her mother is struggling to keep a job and to stay drug free. Her mother is always calling her for help…more like more money for drugs. Yet somehow, Josie finds the courage to not feel bad about giving into her mother’s needs. Then, there’s her stereotyping towards men like Zach. Good looking yet popular men. However, Zach keeps proving to Josie that there’s more depth to him than just his looks.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel. It had themes of overing coming one’s fears, relationships both romantic and family wise, and friendship. I fell in love with the characters. Their journey was one that melts my heart and makes me swoon.

Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff is one YA romance that swept me up quickly. I couldn’t read fast enough. The plot was that juicy…and addictive. The characters felt real. Their dilemmas had me laughing, crying, and left wondering what next.

A young finds her her boyfriend in an unexpected situation. To Sari, it looked like betrayal and felt like it too. Her boyfriend, Zev, tried to explain but Sari wasn’t having any of it. She just wanted to leave immediately and be rid of him. But love, if  real, doesn’t back down nor die. Nor does it give up that easily. Sari will have to find the answers to how to deal with the shocking betrayal and decide where her and Zev’s fate lie.

Shani Petroff had me hooked. This book was a lot of fun. I really like the teenagers that were created. First love, kisses, and the confusion of what to do in those cases led me back to a time when I too, was that young. Overall, I recommend this romantic and heartfelt tale to all readers.

Review: Freshman Year of Life

Freshman Year of Life

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

38 essays from top millennial writers on how they survived their first years out of college—a book conceived and promoted by a groundbreaking crowdsourcing startup.

Freshman Year of Life tells the truth about life after college graduation. But this isn’t your standard step-by-step guide to landing that interview or surviving a long distance breakup with your college sweetheart, though there are stories on both these topics. Freshman Year of Life is a collection of essays from top millennial voices that have been there before, wish they’d known some things they didn’t, but made it through all the same. This is not your mother’s first year out of college book, but a starker more inclusive portrayal of what it’s like to be out of school for people from all walks of life. These are the people recent grads turn to on the Internet to offer poignant witty advice or sly one liners about pop culture and politics, and these are the personal stories their social media followers and fans haven’t heard. This anthology is full of advice, insights, and anecdotes from 38 millennial role models’ lives, the real stories that show just how disillusioning, hilariously embarrassing, and self-revelatory the transition to the adult world can be. Readers will delight in the honest and down to earth tone these authors take when looking back on their first years out of college, and will find it easier to tackle adulthood on their own because of it.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Freshman Year of Life is a collection of essays referring to life after college. It is a refreshing read. One that many young college people and recent graduates should read. There were a lot of circumstances that are easy to relate to and others that held very good advice. The pages are short and that made this entire book a quick read. The situations inside gave me a real perspective on work, home, and love. I especially, loved the essays centered around work related topics. It was like living through through individuals who wrote these essays. I found a lot of value to be held. Overall, I would highly recommend this to all young adults.

 

Review: One More Moment by Samantha Chase

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Julian Grayson is taking a break
…from his cheating fiancée
…from his band
…from his life in the spotlight

Charlotte Clark is devoted to her work
…to save the world
…to help the homeless
…to get a broken man back on his feet

When Charlotte Clark offers to pay for Julian Grayson’s coffee, the world-famous drummer assumes she wants something from him. But Charlotte has no idea who he is, and Julian can’t resist keeping up the charade—being incognito is a novelty and a relief. He’ll have to tell her…eventually. But as Charlotte cheerfully undertakes to transform his life, Julian realizes there’s something about her that gives him what he hasn’t felt in years: hope.

Shaughnessy Brothers: Band on the Run Series:
One More Kiss (Book 1)
One More Promise (Book 2)
One More Moment (Book 3)

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

One More Moment by Samantha Chase is the best novel yet in this Band on the Run series. I could not tear my gaze away from the pages. Heat plus, raw emotions, and flaws that make it super easy to connect with the characters, make this a must read. Inside, is a famous rock musician who was badly burned. His ex burned him repeatedly and broke his pride. Julien is so full of anger that his character had this heavy weight constantly keeping him from being happy. Everyone tells him what and how he should live. He’s not ready to let go of his anger. That was until he met, a beautiful kind hearted woman. Charlotte has a way of stunning the drummer. He expects her to ask him for something. Yet she continuously proved she wanted nothing more than to help him. Julien needs to let lose his anger and face his past. Otherwise, his present happiness won’t be his future. And Julien wants Charlotte in his future more than he knows.

Once more, Samantha Chase has created a masterpiece. One that everyone can relate to…as well as remembering way after the last page is read. The characters made me fall in love and root for their happiness. Julien was a stubborn man. That made his fight tougher and more realistic. I liked how he was an average joe, who looked good, and had  a heart of gold despite his wealth and music talent. Charlotte was just an ordinary woman helping the homeless finds jobs. She complimented Julien and was his light to his darkness. Both were strong and independent characters. I cried for Julien’s pain, I laughed at how ridiculous Julien’s jealousy was, and I melted when they had their good moments. I cannot read a book by this writer without my heart and soul getting attached every damn time. Overall, I highly recommend this sexy as hell contemporary romance to all.

 

Review: Dagger’s Edge by Lora Leigh

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

#1 bestselling author Lora Leigh is back–with a vengeance–in her latest novel of passion and intrigue, Dagger’s Edge, featuring the men of Brute Force. 

Ivan Resnova wants nothing more than to escape his hard, brutal past. Starting over is not so easy once you’ve been a powerful crime boss but now, instead of being punished for his alleged crimes, Ivan fears that the one woman he can’t forget is in danger of paying the price.

Crimsyn “Syn” Delaney thought the danger she’d faced was over, and that she could resume her life. She never imagined it would return with a vengeance and throw her back into Ivan’s world. But when an attempt is made on her life, she needs Ivan more than ever to keep her safe–even if she is in danger of falling deeply and dangerously in love. . .

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Dagger’s Edge by Lora Leigh is one hell of a romantic suspense novel. Dark and intense like J.T. Ellison’s books yet hot and steamy like that of Lynsay Sand’s books. I could not tear my eyes away from this read. It was so intense, dark, and sexy. The characters were on edge constantly. Danger hung in the air on every page. One pair also had to battle their raw lust and love for each other until it exploded. Their lives were at risk and the depth to which they went to stay alive was amazing. Lora Leigh did not disappoint. Her words created vivid scenes and plenty of action to keep myself entertained. Overall, I highly recommend this epic romance to all.

Review: Happy Endings by Joe Cosentino

Happy Endings (Cozzi Cove, #5)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s summertime, the perfect season for another trip to Cozzi Cove: the magical place where nothing is what it seems, and romance is always in the sea air.

Welcome back to hunky Cal Cozzi’s seven guest bungalows on the New Jersey Shore. This summer Cal is visited by Kevin Donovan, a handsome man from his past who makes Cal a tempting offer to buy Cozzi Cove and provide financial security to Cal and Michael’s baby. Cal’s Wall Street sister, Taylor, has hopped aboard Kevin’s green wagon. However, Cal’s husband, Michael, and Taylor’s wife, Carla, sense something much deeper in Kevin’s offer than meets the roving eye. Cal’s exhibitionist new houseboy, Carlos, is smitten with Cal’s sweet-faced nanny, Alfred, who carries a shocking secret in his magic Mormon underwear. Middle-aged Matchmaker Gilead has matched guests Marine Master Sergeant Matt Pummel and much younger businessman Keone Paoa to the chagrin of cute young lawyer Luis Lui. As skeletons come out of their closets, the bears and cubs search for their true honey. Woodsy guest Nyx Oberon meets a sexy werewolf at the cove and they share a howling moonlit night. Nyx believes his newfound lover could be part of a much larger plan that would change his life and the world forever.

Will Cal, his family, and his guests have happy endings? It’s Cozzi Cove after all.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Happy Endings by Joe Cosentino is the must have summer vacation spot. Once more, I was lured back into Cal’s family at Cozzi Cove. Here, some of my favorite characters were around and new ones introduced. The variety of characters is amazing. I don’t know how Joe Cosentino does it, but it works out perfectly every time. This tale was full of action, raw emotions, and a bit of mystery. The pages heat up and the intensity was stunning. Jealousy, secrets, fear, and lust…are found here. But there was also a lot of charm, laughs, and heart tugging moments…I wasn’t sure how it would turn out only to find that my heart was captured.

Happy Endings is about family, love, and friendships that last a long time. The depth of emotion that Joe Cosentino sparks from his characters was the best part. I loved it all. Funny, charming, and well-written, this is one hot summer read for all.

 

Review: Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman

Amish Celebrations: Four Novellas

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Gift of Sisters 

Hannah and Rachel are fraternal twins approaching their sixteenth birthday—a time when they will be allowed to spread their wings and enjoy their rumschpringe. The sisters couldn’t be more different: Hannah is outgoing and beautiful, while Rachel is shy and withdrawn. And when newcomer Abraham Stoltzfus arrives in Lancaster County, both women fall head over heels for him, each fighting for his affections in their own ways and driving the sisters to turn on each other. Who will Abraham choose? And will Hannah and Rachel reunite after a devastating heartbreak?

A New Beginning 

Rebecca and Noah are in love and about to be baptized. But when Noah decides to enjoy one last night of his rumschpringe a few weeks before the ceremony, he does something that causes Rebecca to reconsider his proposal. As Rebecca and Noah navigate the turn in their relationship, Rebecca must learn to forgive Noah or abandon her dreams of marrying him. If Noah won’t forgive himself in time for the baptism, his guilt could cause him to run from his love for Rebecca and leave his community behind.

A Perfect Plan  (previously published in An Amish Wedding)

Priscilla King has been planning to marry Chester Lapp since she was sixteen years old, and when Chester pops the question on Priscilla’s nineteenth birthday, wedding plans begin immediately. But everything begins to fall apart as Chester works to build a house for his new bride, only to have one disaster after another occur. Can true love take this couple through the challenges that threaten their union, or will they begin to doubt that they are on the right path, the one God has chosen for them?

A Christmas Miracle 

Mary is twenty-seven years old and already has five young children. Married to her husband at age eighteen, she wasn’t quite prepared for motherhood, and exhaustion and frustration are sending her into a downhill spiral as the holidays approach. Too proud and ashamed to ask for help, Mary’s situation begins to take a toll on her marriage. But when an elderly man in a red suit and his sidekick elf befriend Mary, showering her with wisdom and advice, she must choose to accept help, learn to cope with her situation, and ultimately find the true meaning of Christmas.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman is a heartfelt collection of four inspirational stories. Each one with it’s own unique message. However, all four shared common themes such as family, faith, love, and friendship. The characters were both Amish and non-Amish. I loved how these tales showed that both groups can be friends despite their differences in faith. Beth Wiseman displayed the real accuracy of Amish living. From the rules to living out their faith, I was brought into each character’s life. I laughed, cried, and cheered for them. This set was an emotional journey that I highly recommend to all.

 

Review: Don’t Look Back by Dawn Ryder

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In DON’T LOOK BACK by Dawn Ryer, she is the only woman worth fighting – or dying – for…

Shadow Ops Agent Thais Sinclair has sworn off falling in love for good. It’s what’s kept her calculated, steady, and on-task in a world dominated by men. She needs nothing and no one but her own wits and strength to guide her. But when she’s slated to shadow the one man who could reveal their entire operation, all bets are off.

Dunn Bateson, illegitimate son of a Southern debutante, has always had to fight harder than the rest to get what he wants. Now, the last thing he needs is Thais following his every move. She is so strong, sly, seductive. . . No woman has ever captivated him so completely. Thais may only have room for her mission in her heart, but is Dunn up to the challenge of showing her that she’s worth every risk he is willing to take?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Don’t Look Back by Dawn Ryder is a hot as hell romantic suspense novel. I love the characters. Thais and Dunn make the perfect pair. Both are tough, smart, and willing to take risks. Only Thais is willing to risk her life for her career. Dunn will not sit back and watch the woman her cares about get hurt. Dunn has issues but he’s so attracted to Thais he can’t stop thinking about her. Thais drives Dunn crazy by teasing him. Both are playing with fire. Thais is now in jeopardy due to the bad guys making her look like a murderer. A warrant is out for her and both her team and Dunn are working to keep her alive. The fun banters between Dunn and Thais is charming, intense, and sexy. These pages are smoking in humor, action, and danger. This one one romance book that I recommend to all readers. Dawn Ryder does not disappoint.

Review: Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant

Cowboy, Cross My Heart

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close–and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger–without risking his heart?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant is a strong read. There are issues of sexual harassment, rape, and unlawful men abusing their power status. The emotional journey was a roller-coaster ride. There were just as many ups as there were downs. I cried for the women being abused by men who should have been trusted. It was sickening reading how a strong character broke into a frightened women for her life. Until her best friend came back to visit her and start investigating into what was happening…the young lady would have been drowning in a miserable life. Their friendship was unbreakable and held them together. The men, aka the cowboys, who came to the rescue made my heart melt multiple times. I fell in love with each cowboy who swore to protect the women and their family. Also, the theme of family was strong here. It showed how one family who went through abandonment survived. Their love and support for each other made me smile. Their were parts that were funny, charming, and romantic as hell. Other parts were intense, dangerous, and scary. Donna Grant provided a lot of action-packed scenes. This made the contemporary romance novel a quick read. I loved it. Overall, I would highly recommend this title to all readers. Plus, it provided an inspiration for women to stand up for themselves.

Review: The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelai will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

“Byrne is a force in the genre.”—RT Book Reviews

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne is a fun filled historical adventure. A young man goes after a bad man. This leads him to life in prison and where he meets his friends. A group of other men in jail for lesser crimes banding together like brothers. Ash ends up being beaten to death due to switching a cell with a friend. That friend still lives thanks to Ash for that day. Ash is then found by a young woman. She nurses him back to health. They become best of friends…and their attraction grows. Ash has to keep reminding himself to wait…that his friend is too young for where his heart and thoughts take him. Her deceitful older brother ends up taking Ash to a life of misery and hell. Ash fights his way through it all by thinking of his lady friend. Until one day he does find her again…only to find she’s about to marry an old man. Ash’s anger gets the best of him. He kidnaps her and her lady friend. Taking them both to his ship. Ash forces her to marry him. Only his plans keep falling apart…Ash will have to fight again to save his lady. But he must also find a way to gain back her trust. Only then, can he have her heart…

This novel was funny, heartbreaking, and romantic. The intensity of the attraction from both Ash and his lady is engaging to follow. It’s full of sweet and innocence. Two injured and bullied people coming together to form a long lasting relationship. Only it gets taken from them, and as the years grow, they lose each other. The characters were believable. I loved them. Ash had so much hell to go through, I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Overall, I would highly recommend this pirate historical romance to all.

 

Review: On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman

On Turpentine Lane

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state.) And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall. When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman is a romantic comedy for 30-year-olds. Faith is engaged to a man named Stuart. Stuart appeared to be nothing more than a douchebag as the cool character, Nick said. I had to agree. Honestly, I could not fathom why Faith allowed her fiance, Stuart, to travel alone with her credit card/card number. He never tried to contact her. The few times he did, it was like hi and bye. I felt no romance from him to Faith. Faith was just as her name suggested. She was faithful to her fiance. Stuart made me hate him with every page. Faith for some reason stuck with Stuart longer than I would have liked. However, she had to find herself, juggle her dysfunctional family, and a friendship that turned into more. Nick is the best character in this read. He was likable from the beginning to end. Overall, the plot was quirky, entertaining, but very slow.

Review: How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You by Tara Eglington

How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You (Aurora Skye #2)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After a perfect first kiss, Aurora’s second kiss lands her boyfriend in the hospital, and her matchmaking strategies start to backfire in this sequel to Tara Eglington’s How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You.

For a girl who shares her name with a princess (aka Sleeping Beauty), Aurora Skye’s romantic life seems fathoms away from a fairy tale. Sure, she’s landed her prince charming, Hayden Paris. And she got her wish—one first kiss with all the knee-trembling, butterfly-inducing gloriousness she’d hoped for. But instead of happily ever after, their second kiss landed Hayden in the emergency room. If that’s not mortifying enough, the whole school is now referring to her as “Lethal Lips.”

When Aurora’s best friend decides to run for class president and offers up Aurora’s matchmaking service as one of her campaign initiatives, the kissing games begin. Aurora has to convince everyone that her program works—but that might be hard to do when it seems like her own love life might be falling apart.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You by Tara Eglington is a lighthearted read. It’s funny, sweet, and realistic. I loved Aurora’s list for finding the perfect guy. Do not settle for anything else than what you are worthy for-according to Aurora. I wished I had met this teenage girl when I was in high school. She’s cool, caring, and energetic. Aurora has waited a long time for her first kiss and got it. Her second kiss turned out to be a disaster and from there life got messy for her. The trials, friendship, and relationship stuff was fun to follow. It felt like I knew her for years. Out of all the YA contemporary fiction novels that I have read, this one beats them all. The morals, laugh out loud moments, and heart melting scenes made this a special read. Overall, I recommend to readers everywhere.

Review: Miramar Bay by Davis Bunn

Miramar Bay (Miramar Bay #1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the tender, heartwarming tradition of Nicholas Sparks, this compelling novel of two strangers in a small coastal town marks a romantic tour de force for internationally bestselling author Davis Bunn.

He had not come all this way just to break another woman’s heart.

When Connor Larkin boards a late night bus in downtown LA, he’s not sure where he’s going or for what he’s looking. Putting his acting career and his fiancee on hold, he’s searching for something he can’t define, a part of himself he lost on the road to success. Once he dreamed of being a singer in the classic style of Sinatra and Bennett. But his lean good looks soon landed him in movies as the sexy bad guy and in the arms of a famous young heiress. Now, with his wedding day approaching, Connor finds himself stepping into the sleepy seaside town of Miramar Bay where one remarkable woman inspires him to rethink all of his choices.

She needed to know his secrets, and to see if he’d tell her the truth.

Sylvie Cassick is nothing like the pretentious starlets back in Hollywood. The daughter of a nomadic painter, she’s had to work hard for everything unlike Connor’s fiancee. When Connor hears familiar music drifting out of Sylvie’s restaurant, he feels as if he’s finally come home. Sylvie isn’t sure what to think when this impossibly handsome stranger applies for a waiter’s job. Yet once he serenades her customers and slowly works his way into her heart she realizes there’s more to him than he’s letting on. And Connor realizes he’s found his destiny.

But as the outside world encroaches, threatening their fragile bond, Connor will have to risk losing everything to gain the life he longs for, and be the man Sylvie deserves.

Filled with bittersweet longing, Miramar Bay is an unforgettable journey through doubt and desire to the truth that can be discovered along the road less taken.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Miramar Bay by Davis Bunn is similar to novels by Debbie Macomber, Sheila Roberts and Sherryl Woods. It was about a woman wanting to spend time with her father and own a restaurant without the debt. She also wanted to know what it felt like to have a man love her. I could totally relate to the last one. Then, there was Connor. He’s a man on a mission. His life is missing something and he doesn’t stumble across it until he meets, Sylvie. Sylvie is a strong ordinary woman working her butt off to live. Unlike, Connor and his former love. Two opposites found each other making something beautiful. The plot was engaging but felt too slow for me. Otherwise, it’s a great contemporary tale.

Review: The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Janet Peery’s first novel, The River Beyond the World, was a National Book Award finalist in 1996. Acclaimed for her gorgeous writing and clear-eyed gaze into the hearts of people, Peery now returns with her second novel, The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs.

On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kansas, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, town judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling—with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors—passes out in his devil’s food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy’s sobriety.

Billy’s misadventures have too long consumed their lives, in particular Hattie’s, who has enabled his transgressions while trying to save him from Abel’s disappointment. As the older children—Doro, Jesse, ClairBell, and Gideon—contend with their own failures, they compete for the approval of the elderly parents they adore, but can’t quite forgive.

With knowing humor and sure-handed storytelling, Janet Peery reveals a family at its best and worst, with old wounds and new, its fractures and feuds, and yet its unbreakable bonds.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery is a story of family. Families are the center of the community. This one displayed how a family struggled yet still supported and loved one another. It was heart felt, emotional, and entertaining. The funny part was that the mother seemed to head the family even though she feared how her husband would react to their son’s behavior. Grief, mischief, and and unconditional love are shown here. It was amazing to follow them all. The characters gave this book a three-dimensional touch. It felt like I knew the family for years. Overall, I recommend this dramatic yet beautiful story to all.

Review: Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith

Red Velvet Crush

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Rock music, a broken family, challenging sisters, and the crush of first love—Red Velvet Crush has everything you need in a summer read. For fans of Nick & Norah’s Infinite PlaylistEleanor & Park, and This Song Will Save Your Life.

Teddy Lee’s mother ran off when she was in second grade. And ever since, Teddy Lee, the often-overshadowed middle kid, has tried to keep her family together. But her older brother Winston usually keeps himself busy with smoking, drinking, and girls, and who knows what else. Her younger sister Billie is occupied with her shoplifting habit and boys . . . and who knows what else. So when Teddy Lee finally takes the songs she’s always written and forms a band, maybe it’ll bring everyone closer together, maybe it’ll be her time to shine. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does. Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters—both the unconditional love and the unavoidable resentments—in a novel full of music, urgency, the first blushes of love, and the undeniable excitement of hitting the road.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith is a deep story of two sisters. One of them is always being overshadowed by the other one. Teddy Lee just wants her family to be a family again. So, she comes up with an idea and let it roll. But it isn’t too long before her sister, Billie once again takes over…and things go down hill from there. I liked Teddy. She seemed likable and wanting what’s good for others. Her family is in this broken weird phrase. One that cannot be shaken. Her father loves her and her sister. He raised them when the mother left and still sends stuff to Billie despite what she does. Christina Meredith realistically displayed a dysfunctional family, teenagers, and dreams. I found it all interesting.

Review: I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain

I'm Not Missing

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Miranda Black’s mother abandoned her, she took everything—the sun, moon, and stars—and Miranda found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor: Our mothers abandoned us. We won’t go begging for scraps.

When Syd runs away suddenly and inexplicably in the middle of their senior year, Miranda is abandoned once again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is—and if she’s even a friend worth saving. Her only clue is Syd’s discarded pink leopard print cell phone and a single text contained there from the mysterious HIM. Along the way, forced to step out from Syd’s enormous shadow, Miranda finds herself stumbling into first love with Nick Allison of all people and learning what it means to be truly seen, to be finally not missing in her own life.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain is a heartfelt YA novel. I followed a young Latina girl as she went through abandonment from her mom and her so-called best friend, Sydney. The girls relationship felt more one-sided. Miranda was more of a friend to Sydney than Sydney was to her. I was glad that Miranda didn’t have such a toxic friend in her life. It was sad but in a good way. Miranda is a protagonist that was easy to love. She’s bright, kind, and energetic. Her life seemed empty until she fell in love with a guy. Nick is a top boy scout and is headed to Harvard. Miranda is headed to Brown. Their colleges are pretty close…and it’s up to them to see where their stars lay.

Carrie Fountain had me falling in love with her characters. A young girl trying to step out into the light after being hidden away by a friend. Sydney was rude, obnoxious, and overbearing. She kept her friend in the dark, literally. The two girls had one connection other than that, they were complete opposites. I cried, laughed, and cheered as Miranda found herself. She totally blossomed by the ending. Overall, this novel was spectacular.

Review: The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard

The Atomic City Girls

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes a riveting novel of the everyday women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard gave a realistic yet deep look into women and their roles during war especially, in 1944. The story told how two women who have goals go about obtaining them. But not all ends up well. June wanted to learn more about their missions and is successful. Her friend Cici wanted a husband and she had for a time but then lost even that. One got what she wanted while the other sort of lost out on hers. But even when Cici’s life ended up a disaster she somehow holds herself up and keeps moving forward. I liked that about her. Then, there was the African American mistreatment that was explored. I felt as though I was transported back in time. The poor group suffered greatly at the hands of the white people. It hurt to watch as Joe lived in fear. He worked to protect his family and keep them safe. I felt overjoyed to see how Joe and his family survive through the tough times in their world. It made this book so much more than just a work of fiction. It combined history and strong themes to make an entertaining yet emotional story. All three main characters were brave, bold, and good people. It showed how they moved forward despite what life brought them. They made lemonade out of lemons. Overall, it was a good read.

Review: Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Sister of Mine

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A debut novel of domestic suspense in the vein of Liane Moriarty, Shari Lapena and Claire Douglas about two sisters bound together by a murder

Penny and Hattie have always only had each other—their father left long ago and their mother died in a sudden tragic accident. Penny has always watched out for Hattie, even when she felt usurped by her younger, more vivacious sibling. When Penny’s marriage turns sour and her once-charming husband becomes controlling and abusive, who does she turn to for help but Hattie? An unguarded cigarette, helped along by a few conveniently lit matches and some sleeping pills, creates a deadly fire that frees Penny from an unimaginable life, but not without a cost. The weight of their secret binds the two sisters together, for better or worse. When a new man enters their lives, the twists deepen and the secrets compound. Meanwhile, incidents of arson begin to break out locally and the detective who investigated the death of Penny’s husband develops renewed interest in the case, threatening to unravel all their secrets.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou is a haunting yet intense journey. Two sisters who are close end up with a deadly secret. One that can shatter their bond forever or keep it closer. The story consumed me. The emotional bond between Hattie and Penny made me cry. Penny suffered so much only to fall further away from everything. It felt terrible knowing that disaster was hanging over them constantly. Fear of their secret breaking out…then, to end up having their lives separated and utterly destroyed. It broke my heart to know how it ended for Penny. I had hoped for so much more for her. Penny was weak in the beginning yet became a strong woman in the end. Her life felt like it was over before it could even blossom. There’s nothing greater than two sisters who bond together…Overall, this mystery was good. I recommend it to others who love a dark and gripping story.

 

Review: Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

Paper Ghosts

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer. That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted. before his admission to a care home for dementia. Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip. Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .

Because Carl’s past has finally caught up with him. The young woman driving the car is convinced her passenger is guilty, and that he’s killed, other young women. Including her sister Rachel. Now they’re following the trail of his photographs, his clues, his alleged crimes. To see if he remembers any of it. Confesses to any of it. To discover what really happened to Rachel. Has Carl truly forgotten what he did or is he just pretending? Perhaps he’s guilty of nothing and she’s the liar. Either way in driving him into the Texan wilderness she’s taking a terrible risk. For if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s alone in the most dangerous place of all . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin is a frightening thriller. A young girl looses her sister to a murderer. But no one knows who killed her. The young girl girl, now a grown woman, is desperate to find answers. She believes an older man, a photographer with dementia, is the killer. Yet, nothing fits. She goes a long way out to set-up an adventure to help the old man remember details. The longer she’s with him, the more she’s not sure if he’s really forgetting or just playing her. Traveling a lone with a possible murderer is the craziest thing ever. However, Grace is willing to do it. The plot was steady. Sometimes slow. It felt like the who dun it was dragged out so much that finding the real killer was lost. I am still left questioning everything that I just read. The ending to me, was unsatisfactory. It left more things open than closed. I wanted to know all the answers. Only questions kept popping up instead. Overall, it was creepy and strange.

Review: The Amish Christmas Letters

The Amish Christmas Letters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time for Amish families to include holiday greetings in their circle letters, each writer adding to a growing collection as it travels on to the next. In this delightful trio of stories, three cousins scattered across the country share their blessings—and reveal news of romantic surprises . . .

To win a friendly annual competition, matchmaker Marybeth Martin must bring one more couple together by Christmas. Her only prospect is a man more interested in a nanny than a wife—until his little girl shows him the light. . . . Struggling farmer’s daughter Katie Mae Kauffman discovers that she and a local widower and father of four can harvest more crops—and profits—together than separately. But she’ll have to put pride aside to make room for unexpected love. . . . Corralling an unruly brood of seven is not babysitter Carolyn Yutzy’s first choice for celebrating the season—but the sparks between her and their unsentimental yet irresistible uncle may be a gift neither was counting on . . .

Now, one by one, each resourceful young woman will have a holiday to remember—and to write home about . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Amish Christmas Letters is a heartfelt Amish anthology that swept me off my feet. I loved the characters.

Marybeth is a single Amish woman trying to win a bet from her cousin. The loser has to house their mean relative. Only this bet ends up leaving Marybeth falling deep in love with the man she’s helping. As she works as a nanny, Marybeth gets to know the man she’s setting up…maybe, she will end up winning the Christmas met in more ways than expected. The man she’s trying to set up with a date, is strongly against marriage. But spending more time with Marybeth, the idea of marriage starts to look better. Then, there’s her cousin Katie.

Katie is a young unmarried Amish woman. Her father had a stroke and that left everything up to Katie to do. Doing women’s work in the house and keeping up with the farm, proves to be more than Katie can handle. Her Bishop notices it and sets a plan in motion. Little does Katie, her father, and the man with his kids know, but all of them will end up helping each other. At first, their resist the help and each other. But with a little more time, they each start to see the other one in a new light. From sassy and strong willed to becoming more than friends, these two were fun to follow.

Last, there was Carolyn. She was blindsided into babysitting for seven unruly kids. This one touched my heart even more so. The kids were misbehaving constantly, yet as soon as the parents entered into the scene, it was easy to see why. The children wanted their parents’ attention. Neither parent was giving their kids any attention. Their mother ignored their bad behavior. Their father refused to believe his kids were being bad. Both parents were to blame. At first, the children’s uncle thought it was Carolyn’s fault.  Thinking she was a bad babysitter, the uncle tried to get her fired. But he was wrong. Carolyn gave the kids more attention and love than their own parents. Soon or later, the parents would have to do something…In the meantime, Carolyn and their uncle keep bonding over the mishaps. Maybe, they will get their Christmas gift after all.

Overall, these three stories were sweet. I couldn’t stop reading them. The plots were fast. Plenty of action, intrigue, and romance to keep me interested. Themes such as faith, family, and love were shown. Obedience and respect were other lessons in this Amish journey. I recommend this collection to all readers.

 

Review: A Simple Christmas by Charlotte Hubbard

A Simple Christmas (Simple Gifts #3)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

“Hubbard writes Amish stories with style and grace.”
–RT Book Reviews 

The rustic beauty of a country Christmas fills the Simple Gifts crafts shop, while the Amish residents of Willow Ridge pull together in uncertain times–and in the face of an unexpected homecoming. 

Nora Hooley’s shop is abuzz with preparations for the holiday open house, and Rosalyn Riehl is handcrafting wreaths from evergreen boughs, pinecones, and other natural materials. The work is a welcome diversion for the only unmarried daughter of Cornelius Riehl: her gruff dat has been receiving envelopes marked Past Due, leaving dutiful Rosalyn to manage the household’s inexplicably shrinking budget. Then another distraction swaggers into Simple Gifts–blue-jeaned and leather-jacketed, with a reputation that precedes him.

Marcus Hooley hightailed it to Willow Ridge on a wing and a prayer–not that he’s the praying type. He rejected his Amish roots long ago. But behind the bad-boy attitude is a gifted horse trainer who’s counting on some
bent-but-not-broken family ties to throw him a lifeline. He can’t erase his past, but a sparking attraction with strong, spirited Rosalyn holds the promise of a second chance . . . and of shedding light on shadowy secrets to build a bright tomorrow.

Praise for A Simple Vow

“Charlotte Hubbard has a way of writing that draws you into the story from beginning to end.”
–Romance Junkies

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Simple Christmas by Charlotte Hubbard is a sweet Amish tale. There is plenty of trouble, intrigue, and emotion to keep the pages turning. A person runs from his  life only to head straight into another mess. Only this one leads his heart  into a bright future. But until he figures out his path, a lot of mischief and sadness follow him everywhere. Another young person, is dealing issues with her father. A secret that is eating up the family and soon tears them apart. Meeting each other, leads them to hope…and maybe, happiness. Charlotte Hubbard brings a warm heartfelt story to life. Her characters are open and inviting. It is easy to get lost within their journey. Themes such as forgiveness, family, and faith is inserted into this book. I am in love with the novel. Perfect, clean, and inspiring…to read. Overall, I recommend to all Christian readers. This Amish tale is must read.

 

Review: Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz

Among the Red Stars

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz is a heart breaking tale. One of war, loss, and grief. But with that also comes hope, love, and strength. A young woman bravely goes into the air force knowing the risks. Her male friend is also fighting on the front lines. Danger, nightmares, and risks await them both. Their friendship never fades even as the war breaks out all around them. Hope keeps them both going.

Females are being allowed to fight in the war as pilots. Valka is one of them. She defies all the stereotypes that go against women during that time. Valka is brave, smart, and a good woman. I like her. Her personality makes this sad journey more enjoyable. I easily got lost within the pages. The relationship between both Valka and her male friend, Pasha, is heartfelt. Missing opportunities before the war, now have the chance to happen. But only if they both make it out alive. Overall, I would highly recommend this historical/women’s fiction novel to all.

 

Review: California Summer by Anita Hughes

California Summer

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“The perfect beach read!” —Mary Alice Monroe, New York Timesbestselling author of Beach House Reunion.

“Tender and triumphant…California Summer made my heart sing. —Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Between Me and You

Anita Hughes’s California Summer is a charming and beautiful love story about a former Hollywood producer who trades her cast list in for cookbooks in the hopes of following her dreams and finding new love.

Ben and Rosie are Hollywood’s newest director/producer dream team. After hitting it big at Sundance, it seems that their ten years of love and hard work are finally paying off. Rosie is happy making independent films, but Ben wants the A-List celebrity package: a house in Beverly Hills, fancy cars in the driveway, and his name on the biggest blockbusters. He’s willing to do anything, even sleep with the most famous producer in town, to get them.

Rosie is devastated by Ben’s affair, and she decides to take a break from show business. She accepts her best friend’s invitation to spend the summer at her parents’ estate in Montecito. It’s far away from L.A., the perfect place to start over.

In Montecito, Rosie meets a colorful cast of characters including Rachel, who owns a chocolate store, and Josh, a handsome local who splits his time between surfing and classic cars. Suddenly Rosie has new friends and a new purpose. She starts a business in the village, and her luck seems to be turning around. But Rosie knows all too well that success comes with a price, and the price might be losing love…again.

California Summer is a touching and romantic story about following your dreams but not letting them get in the way of love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

California Summer by Anita Hughes is definitely for fans of Samantha Chase, Brenda Novak, and Debbie Macomber. Here, I got to meet a young woman who finds betrayal where she least excepts it. From there, she moves forward creating a new life. New friends, following a dream, and maybe, even a new romance. But balancing her dreams and a new love seems impossible…this story is about finding the courage to chase after one’s dreams. It is sweet, engaging, and had me rooting all the way. California Summer is an easy read. The pacing is steady and fun.

Anita Hughes introduces Rosie. She lives with her love until she finds him breaking her heart. After the betrayal, Rosie leaves her old life. Starting a new one, seems like the best thing. Until she falls in love again. Fear, challenges, and acceptance are featured on these pages. I am in love with all the characters. Rosie is determined to keep everything she wants in her new life. But whether that happens is to be seen. Josh is a handsome man who makes Rosie believe in love again. Suddenly, the future looks bright. Overall, I recommend this contemporary to all readers.

 

Review: Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

She’s never had a no-strings fling. He’s never had anything else. But maybe this time will be an exception?

After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she wants out of life. Fresh out of the military and back stateside, her brother offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker Jake Cooperon a Stag cross-country promotional tour. He may have an infamous playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And she likes what she sees. . .

Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agree that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: to keep their fling confined to the RV, and everything will go back to normal once they head home. Things progress in ways neither of them could have imagined, and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can he convince her that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot?

Rating: 5-stars

Review: 

Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin is both sad and a happy journey. A young woman loses her parents, and then her fiance. Alex feels like she can never love anyone for fear of losing them. Yet she is falling in love with her best friend, Jake. Jake is known for not having relationships. But with Alex, it feels right. Being with her, Jake feels happy. He now has to prove to her that they’re made for each other. Happiness can exist once more. But the journey will be totally chaos.

Nicole McLaughlin’s book made me cry and laugh. The characters just have a way of pulling my heart into their life story. They swept me up into their beautiful chaos. Love, fear, and new beginnings…that’s what this book explored. Plans can be difficult. One path closes but another one opens. Alex is a strong yet determined woman to show that she can move forward. Losing a loved one is never easy; however, she held her own. Jake was the good man. Always being there for her, Jake made me swoon from page one. He is this irresistible man that every woman dreams about…overall, I highly recommend this romantic tale to all readers.

 

Review: Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

Second Chance At Two Love Lane

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From USA Today bestselling author Kieran Kramer, comes Second Chance at Two Love Lane, a fast-paced tale about the intoxicating effects of fame and what happens when a past romance is rekindled behind the silver screen.

Sometimes love is waiting in the second act…

In her professional career, Ella Mancini plays matchmaker at Two Love Lane but, in her personal life, she takes the stage at the Dock Street Theatre. Now she has a chance at a new role in a Hollywood movie that happens to be filming in Charleston—one that features a big-name actress, Samantha Drake. Long ago, Ella passed up a major audition while awaiting a marriage proposal. Not only didn’t she get the role; she never got the ring, either. Instead, her boyfriend Hank went on to become a huge film star…leaving her, and all her dreams, behind.

But now Hank’s back in Charleston, cast as the male lead in the same movie Ella’s in. In spite of the dramatic tension off-screen, he and Ella try to stay cool onset. But when their old feelings start to heat up—at the same time leading-lady Samantha tries to play cupid—all bets are off. How can Hank convince Ella, after all this time, that she’s the one he really wants to be with in real life—and that some happy, rom-com endings really can come true?

 

“Readers who enjoy works by Nora Roberts and Luanne Rice will want to give Kramer a try.”—Library Journal

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer is a sweet heartfelt story of second chances. New beginnings await a young pair. Their future lies in their hands. I loved the father-daughter bond. It was engaging…and brought me a little closer to the main protagonist. I felt her passion for theater, as well as her love for her father. Ella is a woman who leaves people liking her. Her personality if warm. Determined and ready, Ella leaves to tackle a college career. She will be the first to get a degree in her family. I felt the happiness bloom inside of her. A young guy catches her attention early and it is from there that they have a connection. Love on the horizon…or is it? They proved they have the heat and attraction, but they need more if there is to be a future together. Overall, I loved the fiery banters and chemistry that was displayed on every page. Tugging at me heart, I will never forget this story.

 

Review: Highland Betrayal by Alyson McLayne

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Laird Callum MacLean vowed to marry Maggie MacDonnell. But when his father’s supposed suicide makes him Laird of a clan, he’s too busy unmasking his father’s killer to bring her into his dangerous new home.

Maggie’s home isn’t any safer, so she does what any resourceful Highland lass would do. She escapes―and finds herself toe-to-toe with Callum, who’s determined to fulfill his promise. Maggie can’t bring herself to trust him with her heart again. But with a traitor still at large, they must rely on each other in every way, or their clans―and their love―will be destroyed.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Highland Betrayal by Alyson McLayne is one exciting Highland adventure. From one danger to another, Alyson McLayane kept me intrigued. Danger hung onto every page. Enemies seemed to appear from everywhere. Spies were in every clan making the intensity of the deadly situation for the heroine and hero that much more interesting. I loved how the lead female protagonist was just as strong, if not stronger, than the male protagonist. It brought a lot of humor to the dark journey.

Inside this tale, I found a young Highland woman left by her fiance, to stay, at her home. It was supposed to be safer for her there. Callum had every intention of returning as soon as possible for her. But his father’s death kept him away. Maggie thought her fiance broke his promise to come back for her. Now, her clan was full of traitors and enemies. The leading enemy being her cousin. He has planned to take the Laird title from her dying brother. Then, he planned to force her into marrying him. His evil plan went as far to have rapped to get her pregnant. Talk about betrayal…

Maggie came up with a plan. One that involved her leaving behind her home and running to find her other brother. She never intended to run into her old flame…

Callum loved Maggie and when he found out she’s in danger, he won’t let her go. He has a plan to take her to his home and keep her safe. Even marrying her…but was he too late? Overall, I recommend this exciting read to all readers.

A love that never died out…

Mistrust on both sides…

And enemies wanting them both dead…

Can they survive?

 

Review: A Dash of Love by Jill Sanders

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Head back to Pride Oregon to find out what some of your favorite Jill Sanders’ characters are up to.

Sara Jordan has finally been given the chance to run The Golden Oar, a restaurant that’s been in her family for generations. But the sexy know-it-all carpenter that her uncle hired to make some changes, keeps getting in her way. She’ll have to use all her skills just to prove that she’s up to the task.

Parker was hired to bring new life to the old building, but he hadn’t expected sparks to fly from the owner’s niece. As a series of mysterious accidents start to plague the job site, he finds himself working one-on-one with the temptress to avoid losing everything.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

A Dash of Love by Jill Sanders is a sweet romantic temptation. I found the main characters funny, charming, and three-dimensional. Their lives were lonely, sad, and moving slowly until they met each other. Now, their world has just gotten complicated. A young man who lost his only mother figure is now coming back to make his business thrive. Only, he didn’t expect a beautiful minx to tempt him back into relationships. The young woman is working to prove herself. Working hard, determined, and not ready to settle, she soon find a hot tempting carpenter who sparks her insides.

A Dash of Love has melted my heart. The story was realistic. I can see the characters acting like this in real life. Their banters were fun to follow. I couldn’t stop laughing or falling in love with them. The backstories of both Parker and Sarah made me root for them harder. Jill Sanders captured life at both it’s weakest and strongest points. I loved reading, A Dash of Love. Overall, I would highly recommend it others.

Review: Jealousy by Nancy Bush

Jealousy

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

HATRED LEADS TO OBSESSION . . .

It’s taken time for the plan to unfold, years spent waiting, watching, hating. . . . And after the first victim, the killing gets easier and easier . . .

OBSESSION LEADS TO JEALOUSY . . .

The Crissmans, owners of Crissman & Wolfe department store, were once one of Portland’s most powerful families. There’s still enough fortune left to sow mistrust between Lucy, her bohemian sister Layla, their brother Lyle, and his grasping wife Kate. When a charity event at the Crissman Lodge ends in a fatal poisoning, Lucy becomes a prime suspect. But the truth is even more twisted, and Lucy can’t be sure which of her family is being targeted . . . or who to fear.

AND JEALOUSY LEADS TO MURDER . . .

Renowned defense attorney Dallas Denton has been hired to clear Lucy’s name, unaware of the secret that ties them together or of the deep cracks in the Crissman legacy. Someone is ready to eliminate every obstacle to get what they most covet, and prove that envy runs deeper
than blood . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Nancy Bush is the new Mary Higgins and J.D. Robb. Jealousy is a new mystery/thriller that quickly spirals out of control. Secrets are coming out from the grave. A family is tearing apart. Murder, blackmail, and mistrust add to the suspense. I liked the fact that I wouldn’t be able to predict who or what was really going on…but the pacing seemed steady no matter how much drama was added.

Jealousy is about a family that has and still is experiencing a lot of issues. A father who never let wife leave him. Kids who thought their mother left them. A family will that has been hidden and another one was recently found. Secrets make for a lot of trouble. The siblings are struggling to trust each other when they really need to…danger is closing in around them. It’s only a matter of time before more are killed. Death hangs in the air…as the family scatters to catch up.

Overall, it was a good read. I didn’t see the ending coming. The plot was intense and emotional.

Review: House of Belonging by Andrea Thome

House of Belonging (Hesse Creek #3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

Who can we count on? The family we’re born into, or the one we create for ourselves?

Renowned chef Laina Ming walked away from the culinary spotlight and an unhealthy relationship—one that still haunts her a year later. She’s trying to start fresh in the Rocky Mountains, opening a concept restaurant on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, where she hopes she’ll be able to express her passion for food and bury her heartache.

Horse rancher Logan Matthews moved to Aspen to be near his sister and her husband, grateful for his newfound family. Since a chance meeting with Laina the previous summer, Logan’s been enchanted. But she doesn’t want anything to do with him—which makes her all the more appealing.

Despite Laina’s efforts to protect her heart, Logan has been on her mind, too—and he has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places. Can they learn to trust one another and finally find the sense of belonging they’ve both been searching for?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is so much more than it appears. I thought it was about a woman or women overcoming an obstacle and moving forward. Yes, it was about that. But it had more depth and emotion than I knew. The journey that each character went through to get to where they ended up was heartfelt. I could not be happier. They were so realistic. I felt as if I lived right beside them for years. Sad, funny, and charming-Andrea Thome hooked me. I couldn’t stop reading. One chapter turned into several and then I was finishing the whole book. Love, new beginnings, and a promising future were shown here. I enjoyed it. Overall, I would recommend this inspirational and heart warming tale to fans of Hallmark, Debbie Macomber, and Susan Mallery.

 

Review: Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

Dead Drift (Chesapeake Valor, #4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Private Investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving Luke Gallagher after he disappeared. Now he’s back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal while on the brink of a biological disaster that will shake America to its core. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next target?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey is an exciting yet deadly journey. One that will reunite two old lovers who never gave up…time has a way of pushing old memories to surface and soon anger turns to passion. But now, they’re both targets. A fierce enemy has found out who they are and where they’re located. The end goal was to kill them both. However, FBI Agent Kate Maxwell and top agent Luke Gallagher are not to be stopped.

Inside Dead Drift, I got to experience the thrill of chasing down and stopping the bad guys. Especially one that wouldn’t stop targeting the FBI members. Danger, romance, and suspense kept me turning the pages. Dani Pettrey brought to life, the law enforcement and organization of a federal criminal case. It was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I wasn’t sure what to expect and numerous times I thought both main characters would die. Death hung in the air as the agents worked to escape and capture an enemy. Overall, I would recommend this to all Criminal Minds and NCIS fans. This book has all the similarities but the danger feels so much more realistic.

Review: The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs

The Winter Lodge (Lakeshore Chronicles #2)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

On the longest night of the year, Jenny Majesky loses everything in a devastating house fire. But among the ashes she finds an unusual treasure hidden amid her grandfather’s belongings, one that starts her on a search for the truth, and on a path toward a life that she never imagined. The Winter Lodge, a remote cabin owned by her half sister on the shores of Willow Lake, becomes a safe refuge for Jenny, where she and local police chief Rourke McKnight try to sort out the mysteries revealed by the fire. But when a blizzard traps them together, Jenny, accustomed to the safe predictability of running the family bakery, suddenly doesn’t feel so secure. For even as Rourke shelters her from the storm outside, she knows her heart is at risk. Now, following her dreams might mean walking away from her one chance at love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs was a heart felt tale about loss, grief, danger, and love. Moving forward and hope for the future were the other themes. The book was realistic. I could see everything that happened-happening in real life. It was emotional. I felt the characters’ pain and fear. Family is a huge thing. Having no parents and losing the grandparents that were like parents to the female protagonist was sad.

Imagine having loved someone yet someone else got between…that middle person died and all that’s left is an open sore. One that doesn’t diminish…but maybe, with a little hope there could be some healing. The pacing was steady. I never got bored while following the characters. The plot intensified as the bond between the protagonists grew. Their love never died…overall, I loved this story. It was sweet, heart breaking, and utter chaos. But it was so good.

,

 

Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

Friction

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctively and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Sandra Brown’s latest novel, Friction, was just the way I liked it. Raw, complicated,  dangerous, and emotionally charged. The plot was fast-paced. It had my adrenaline pumping, like the moment when the judge got into her car and there was the other main character…inside it with blood and a gun in his hand. Frightening and intense is the temperament of this tale. The characters have everything to lose. One has lost a lot more than he knew and has an even greater risk of losing what’s left. Loss, grief, and justice are the main themes to this novel.

Friction held my attention from the start. It gained my sympathy for a father who lost his wife and found out that his daughter who survived a deadly situation wasn’t really his. But he loved the little girl as if she were his own. Despite his dead wife’s betrayal, he was still in love with her. That proved how great of a man he was inside and out…then there was the lady judge whose life just got complicated. A man whose case she handled ended up being the one man she fell in love with…it was not intentional but it happened. He was not going to let a second woman die. So, he risked himself to save her…but the bad guys are still loose. Overall, I loved reading this thrilling book. I highly recommend it to all readers.

Review: Deep Cover by Scarlett Cole

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

ARE THEY IN TOO DEEP?

Ex-Navy SEAL Cabe Moss always comes when called to duty―at all costs. Even though the death of his fiancée nearly destroyed him, Cabe won’t let his past interfere with any work that has to get done. When his latest task pushes him to team up with FBI Agent Amy Murray, a fierce beauty with the undercover skills to match, Cabe must admit that, for the first time in years, he wants to do more than just complete their mission together…

Amy was born ready for this assignment, but working side-by-side with the the strong, silent, and frustratingly professional Cabe seems to be the biggest challenge of all. But when the sparks begin to fly―and the stakes rise to dangerous heights―the only thing Amy is left worrying about is how she can resist him. Their lives may be in danger, but their hearts hold the biggest risk of all…

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Deep Cover by Scarlett Cole is a sexy yet dangerous journey. Loss, grief, and moving forward after a death are commonly found here. I found them realistic, inspiring, and heart melting. The characters felt like I knew them forever. One character loss a loved one and on the two-year anniversary finds a woman who interests him. Instantly guilt hits him hard and he leaves. It isn’t until later that the same woman is working with him on the same op. That’s where everything rides like a roller-coaster from a theme park. A separation of work and love are seen on the pages. Also, there’s a hint of women harassment in the workforce dominated by males. I found it interesting.

Inside Deep Cover, I got to meet a Navy Seal who lost his love. Both him and his loved one were in the military and just started to get serious when he lost her. The loss has plagued Cabe ever since. He goes to work but is like a robot. Cabe keeps putting one foot in front of the other, until he meets, FBI Agent, Amy. Amy is a young gorgeous yet clever woman in a male dominated sector. She has just been sexual harassed by a senior male agent before meeting with Cabe. Cabe changes everything. He is nothing like the men she has worked with or met. He loves her intelligence and beauty. Both feel happy being near each other. However, Amy is on a deadly deep cover op that could go wrong any second. Cabe has to fight with letting Amy do her job as an agent while, doing is job to protect her. It’s a difficult situation for both of them. Yet Scarlett Cole made them so likable, I couldn’t stop reading. The intensity of their attraction and danger of the op made this a must read. Overall, I would highly recommend it to all romantic suspense readers.

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