Monday, September 16, 2019

The Aftermath (Love in Chaos Book 2) by Amy Matayo {Review}

The Aftermath (A Love in Chaos Novel) by Amy Matayo
Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Published September 12th 2019 by SYG Productions 
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/31imEbv    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47490436-the-aftermath
 
According to Riley Mae Floss, life is a ten-page menu of possibilities. As the owner of a cupcake shop in small-town Missouri, she thrives on candies and rainbows and spreading joy every chance she gets. Even her hair is the color of bubble gum. Life is just the way she likes it, so why would she want anything to change now?
 
But when a tornado rips into Riley Mae’s southern town and destroys nearly everything in its path, her happy little life changes in less than forty-two seconds. Buildings gone. Homes carried away. People missing or even dead. Her bakery a shell of what it once was; also her life. Riley Mae’s picture-perfect world is shattered, and everyone she cares about has been hurt in the process.
 
According to insurance adjuster Chad Gamble, life always works out exactly the way it’s supposed to…for other people. As for him, life is a bit of a crapfest—one where he never wins the prize, makes the starting team, or gets the girl. He’s straight-laced, suit-and-tie, all-business, and sees the world for the color it is: muted gray with a little black around the edges.
 
So when Chad Gamble walks into Riley Mae’s ruined bakery to “assess the damages”—his words, not hers—he has no intention of getting bogged down by sentimental nonsense. Sparks immediately start to fly, and not the good kind. Who does this pushy, pink-haired chick think she is, treating him like an outsider when all he came to do was help? He can’t figure out why the locals like her so much.
 
Or worse, why he can’t stop thinking about her.
 
My Review: 5 Stars 
 
Riley Mae hasn't been handed the best cards in life, but she's sweet to the core and I loved the descriptions of her creative cupcakes at her bakery. This sugar-laden world came to a screeching halt when a massive tornado rips through town and I must say, I was chilled to the bone. Matayo does a great job of describing the fallout and I was swirled away and transported smack in the middle of Springfield, MO. My sister doesn't live far from there and I found myself getting upset, thinking about what my sister must be facing, only to realize--this is just a book! But it was that realistic
 
As an insurance man, Chad follows disaster, but the trail of help, hope, and light he leaves behind makes him one super amazing man! He goes above and beyond with his job responsibilities and his personality makes him perfect to diffuse any situation...except for those involving Riley Mae...because of his awkward compliments.
 
You'd think with all the devastation around, there would be no time for sparks, but that's completely wrong. A complete, yet subtle, attraction is fueled with good intentions, misunderstandings, a darling little girl, and lots and lots of cupcakes. 

Even though there are some serious situations the characters find themselves in, the goodness, selflessness, and light radiating through these pages warmed my heart and slapped a smile on my face. 

PS Can Teddy's story be next?

Content: mild romance with some light innuendo; mild-moderate moments of peril, danger, violence; mild+ language (mostly at the beginning)

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Marquess Meets His Match by Julie Coulter Bellon {Blog Tour + Review}


A traitor with a deadly plan. Two agents sent to expose his identity before he strikes. But danger is closer than they think . . .

Lord Christian Wolverton―known as Wolf in a covert group operating during the war against Napoleon―has been called home from his military duties. For the moment, his family responsibilities require him to suspend his more clandestine activities. But information falls into his hands that a traitor will soon try to tip the scales back into French favor and Christian doesn't have much time to stop it from happening.

Going to the one person who can help him, the powerful Duke of Huntingdon, Christian comes face to face with Lady Alice. She's a beautiful member of the ton with a very big secret―she's also a trained agent and already on the case. Forced to partner with her to lure the traitor out of hiding, Christian wants to quickly close the case himself, before Lady Alice is more closely involved. But Lady Alice has ideas of her own and she's going to prove her theories correct―with or without him.

Danger is closer than they think, however, and it's a race against time to expose the traitor's identity before British lives are endangered. Both Christian and Alice have strong opinions on who he is, but which one will be proven right and can they catch him before it's too late?  
 
amzn.to/2TxCKeh
 
 
My Review: 5 Stars
 
Sometimes I hold a story to high standards and expect it to be realistic. However, this book, with a lady of the ton who is also a spy in the Regency times, was the perfect element of fiction to top off a wonderfully delicious tale.

Alice is a delightful character. Under the tutelage of her father, she's the perfect spy to infiltrate the organization to unearth the traitor in their midst. She's sweet; she's tough; she's demure, with near perfect manners, and she's terribly good at what she does. When "The Wolf," otherwise known as Christian, comes into the scene, well...the match has been met and the sparks fly in all the ways imaginable.

The adventure, danger, romance, and mystery were wrapped up in an entertaining plot that sucked me right in and I couldn't put it down. The swoon is strong with this one, and there were times when I couldn't help but to smile, laugh, and squirm in some of the uncomfortable situations. I'm looking forward to the next book!

Content: mild romance; mild violence/moments of danger

*I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.*  

Author Bio
 
Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of nearly two dozen romantic suspense books. Her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense, Pocket Full of Posies won a RONE Honorable Mention for Best Suspense and The Captain was a RONE award finalist for Best Suspense. Most recently, her books The Capture and Second Look were both Whitney finalists for Best Suspense/Mystery.

Julie loves to travel and her favorite cities she's visited so far are probably Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. In her free time she loves to read, write, teach, watch HawaiiFive-O, and eat Canadian chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

If you'd like to be the first to hear about Julie's new projects and receive a free book, you can sign up to be part of her VIP Readers Group at juliebellon.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Redgrave Murders by A.L.Sowards {Review}

The Redgrave Murders by A.L. Sowards
ebook, 272 pages
Published July 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

 https://amzn.to/317JLVX    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41735634-the-redgrave-murders

Loss is inevitable, as Evie Hampton knows all too well. But despite losing her mother to cancer and her older brother to a war, she knows she’s one of the lucky ones. After all, she still has her father, a distinguished professor of medieval history. And she has Gary Redhawk, the man she loves despite the emotional scars he carries from the Second World War—and despite her father’s opposition to their relationship.

When a freak accident sends Evie’s car careening off the road, she chalks it up to poor maintenance, or sheer bad luck making another appearance in her life. Little does she know a host of hardships is just beginning—the car was her father’s, and the brake lines were deliberately cut. Someone wants them dead—but why? All fingers point to Gary, a man with a troubled past and no solid alibi, but Evie is unwilling to believe he’s involved. Determined to uncover the truth, she begins to piece together a startling picture of deception and vice. But as she closes in on the truth, it is clear that someone is determined to silence her—and the next attempt on her life may be a deadly success.


My Review: 5 Stars

A.L. Sowards always does a fantastic job of transporting me back in time, creating a world that isn't always common for the era. In this case, post World War II in New York state, Evie and her Native American boyfriend find themselves in the middle of a serious murder mystery. I was captivated from start to finish and loved every minute of trying to figure out this story.

Evie and Gary are great characters, who don't fit the typical mold and relationship that one would picture of the time. They are such a great balance and support for each other, especially as Evie's loved ones start dying. Evie works so hard to prove Gary's innocence when signs show otherwise and I loved how she takes matters into her own hands, showing her incredible strength and determination. Characters like hers are some of my favorites--strong, yet vulnerable, and completely resilient. Honestly, I think I would melt into a puddle of anxiety with what Evie and Gary go through.

The romance is a great supplement to this thriller and I couldn't help but to cheer them on and hope for them to defy society. The climax of the story was chilling and intense and the ending left me completely satisfied. 

Content: mild romance (some implications and light innuendo); mild+ violence (deaths/murders, attacks, kidnapping, etc)   

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Schoolhouse: A Hickory Grove Novel by Elizabeth Bromke {Review}

The Schoolhouse: A Hickory Grove Novel by Elizabeth Bromke
Kindle Edition, 181 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Booksprout. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2HV1zfD   
 
A heartwarming romance about a one-room schoolhouse and the woman who is determined to bring it back to life.
Becky Linden needs a job. After seeing her son off to college, the single forty-something returns home to Hickory Grove, Indiana, where she has a nostalgic notion that things will fall into place. 

They don’t.

Her beloved grandfather is ill, and job opportunities are non-existent. 

Prepared to leave home again, for good, she stumbles across the long-abandoned schoolhouse where she played as a child and had her first kiss as a teenager. The one her grandfather attended in the 1940s. 

Becky sees a passion project and business opportunity, but locals see an eyesore.

Desperate but hopeful, she visits her ex-boyfriend, Zack Durbin, who now works for the school district that owns the run-down building. He has a chance to help her get back on her feet (and save a piece of the past), and his love for Becky never really went away. 

But Hickory Grove is trying to move forward in time, not backward. Is Zack moving on, too?
Becky and Zack can either bury history or embrace it. Find out if second chances prevail in The Schoolhouse, a second-chance romance and sweet women's fiction.

My Review: 5 Stars

Bromke is an author who writes such sweet, heartwarming stories that anchor a nostalgic feeling deep into my soul. THE SCHOOLHOUSE takes place in a small town and although Becky has been gone for over 18 years, this town has claimed a piece of her and she fits right in when she goes back. I love the small town feels--the eccentric characters, the charm of the historical schoolhouse, the memories from the past that assault her, and the love that still awaits.

Becky is the type of character who devotes her entire life to her child and I loved watching her discover what she's truly passionate about and the length she goes to in order to fulfill her dreams. I also enjoyed watching her grow into the person she's meant to be, even though she's a little older, and especially as she struggles through hardships and setbacks. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Zack is a solid character who complements Becky well and he's no puppet. Although she's love to pull some strings, he has his reasons for contradicting her wishes, which makes for some fantastic romantic tension. I love a great, feel-good, second chance romance and this one has all the feels. I'm looking forward to more amazing stories in this series.

Content: mild romance

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Tailor Made by Annette Lyon {Review}

Tailor Made (The Grand Duchy of Finland Book 1) by Annette Lyon
Kindle Edition, 148 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Blue Ginger Books 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2ZTEOik    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47972736-tailor-made
 
Two people. An impossible Task. A traitor in their midst.

Sofi’s mother desperately needs medicine, and Sofi will do anything to get it—including a one-month stay at the Brunberg mansion in Helsinki, the capitol. There she’ll spend her days at the Kangas Tailor Shop, knitting silk stockings and other items from sunup to sundown for the biggest wedding of the decade. If she can do it, Sofi will have the ability to get the medicine her mother needs, with money to spare.

But Sofi’s safe world of knitting needles and thread is turned upside down when she finds herself in the middle of political intrigue. Antti, tailor and owner of the shop, Sofi uncover a plot to sabotage the Brunberg daughter’s wedding and threaten to bring Russia’s fist onto the Grand Duchy, removing the Finns’ self-governance, and possibly lead the countries into war.

As Sofi and Antti work together to save their country, she can’t help falling in love with the unassuming and attractive head tailor, though she knows she can’t have him. Her country and her family need her, and when her job is done, she’ll go home to Porvoo, never to see him again.

As they race to stop the traitor, the battle in her heart intensifies, and she fears that the victor won’t be love.
 
My Review: 4.5 Stars
 
I was fascinated by the world outfitting a big, royal wedding party through sewing and knitting. Antti, the tailor, runs a successful business, but doesn't quite have the skills to breakdown the workload into manageable bites. Sofi not only knits extremely well, but she has the knowledge to make this overwhelming endeavor possible.
 
I loved the characters and the way this story alternated points of view, but I especially enjoyed the bits of romantic attraction, mystery, and intrigue. This is a fun story that pulls the reader back in time, while delivering an entertaining and unique tale.  

Content: mild moments of peril; mild romance

Monday, September 2, 2019

A Stronger Version of Me by Cindy Ray Hale {Review}

A Stronger Version of Me by Cindy Ray Hale
Kindle book, 112 pages
Expected Publication: September 2, 2019
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

https://amzn.to/2YY3PYQ    https://www.goodreads.com/review/new/47587900-a-stronger-version-of-me

Can new love heal old wounds?

I want to stop thinking about my ex boyfriend. 

He doesn’t deserve to be remembered. 

For some reason my brother’s best friend, Preston, has been awesome lately. 

He was super supportive after my break up.

I told him I wasn’t looking for another relationship, but I’m not sure he’s listening. 

And I’m starting to think that he might be the key to forgetting about my ex. 

Maybe a fresh start with someone new is exactly what I need. 

Or I’m a heartbroken fool who has no business staring at Preston’s chiseled abs. 

A Stronger Version of Me is the fifth book in a nine-book rewrite of a contemporary sweet romance series called The Destiny Trilogy. In this series you can expect flirting, blushing, and kisses in the woods, but you won’t find any swearing, nudity, or sex.

My Review: 5 Stars

Love triangles. How in the world do you choose between two completely different, yet equally fantastic guys? That's the dilemma that Destiny is facing. Her family would have her choose one guy, because they belong to the same religion, yet her heart can't forget the guy who broke her heart.

This episode in the saga is heart wrenching, to say the least, and is full of longing, swoony exchanges, and big decisions. This series captures the essence of young love, with the added elements of forbidden attraction and coming-of-age angst.

Destiny is a character worth reading about and I can find pieces of my younger self in her, which makes her fun to relate to. I love the added scenes, as they really solidify the plot and character emotions. Stolen looks, secrets, devastating family news, and steamy kisses in the woods will definitely cause for some serious swooning.

Honestly...how to choose?

Content: mild romance; moderate religion

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Marquess Meets His Match by Julie Coulter Bellon {Review}

The Marquess Meets His Match by Julie Coulter Bellon
Kindle Edition
Published August 15th 2019 by Stone Hall Books 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2L2DUf1    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47489094-the-marquess-meets-his-match
 
Lord Christian Wolverton―known as Wolf in a covert group operating during the war against Napoleon―has been called home from his military duties. For the moment, his family responsibilities require him to suspend his more clandestine activities. But information falls into his hands that a traitor will soon try to tip the scales back into French favor and Christian must stop it from happening.

Going to the one person who can help him, the powerful Duke of Huntingdon, Christian comes face to face with Lady Alice. She’s a beautiful member of the ton with a very big secret―she’s also a trained agent and already on the case. Forced to partner with her to lure the traitor out of hiding, Christian wants to quickly finish the mission himself, before Lady Alice is more closely involved. But Lady Alice has ideas of her own and she’s going to prove her theories correct―with or without him.

Danger is closer than they think, however, and it’s a race against time to expose the traitor’s identity before British lives are endangered. Both Christian and Alice have strong opinions on who he is, but which one will be proven right and can they catch him in time?
 
My Review: 5 Stars
 
Sometimes I hold a story to high standards and expect it to be realistic. However, this book, with a lady of the ton who is also a spy in the Regency times, was the perfect element of fiction to top off a wonderfully delicious tale.   
 
Alice is a delightful character. Under the tutelage of her father, she's the perfect spy to infiltrate the organization to unearth the traitor in their midst. She's sweet; she's tough; she's demure, with near perfect manners, and she's terribly good at what she does. When "The Wolf," otherwise known as Christian, comes into the scene, well...the match has been met and the sparks fly in all the ways imaginable.
 
The adventure, danger, romance, and mystery were wrapped up in an entertaining plot that sucked me right in and I couldn't put it down. The swoon is strong with this one, and there were times when I couldn't help but to smile, laugh, and squirm in some of the uncomfortable situations. I'm looking forward to the next book!
 
Content: mild romance; mild violence/moments of danger