Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Heart of Gold by Stacy Henrie {Review}


A Heart of Gold by Stacy Henrie

ebook, 250 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway 


They'll have to conquer more than the Klondike Trail to reach her father in time—they’ll have to overcome their past too.

After months of silence from her father in the Klondike, Tava Rutherford finally receives word from him. Only the outdated letter reveals that her father is ill and may be dying. Desperate to discover his fate, Tava resolves to make the journey to the wilds of northwestern Canada. But Jess Lawmen, her ranch foreman and the man who broke her heart, insists she doesn't go alone. Jess intends to keep his promise to look out for her—even if that means traveling thousands of miles with Tava, the woman he claims to feel just friendship for but has never stopped loving.

With their own ragtag group of travelers in tow, Tava and Jess confront one challenge after another as they join the hundreds of stampeders scrambling to reach the goldfields. But as the two of them come face to face with their past hurts and mistakes in their race to reach Tava’s father, they will have to decide whether to cling to safety or risk their hearts for something even greater.  

My Review: 4 Stars
This story reminded me a bit of that old animal adventure movie, The Incredible Journey. Tava and Jess embark on a journey to the Klondike to find out if her father (and his employer) is still alive and the ragtag crew they find themselves traveling with rounded out the story.

Everyone has issues to work through, but Jess's seem heavier than usual and this rough and tough trek seemed more mental and emotional for him than it was physical. In fact, it seemed that way for most of the group and I was really hoping for a grand (and difficult) expedition. Even though their trip wasn't as perilous as I was hoping for, Jess and Tava were both likable characters and their growth was satisfying.

Sweet and gentle, for the most part, along with redemption, are recurring threads running throughout this book and it was an enjoyable trip through the pages to take. 

Content: mild romance; mild religion; talk of drinking; mild danger

A Heart of Gold Tour schedule

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sticking to Emma Daniels (Romantic Comedy Catastrophe #1) by Elle Weston {Review}

 Sticking to Emma Daniels (Romantic Comedy Catastrophe #1) by Elle Weston

Kindle Edition, 215 pages
Published July 31st 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
How bad can one vacation get?

Emma Daniels is a workaholic buyer for a top art gallery in LA. Her current goal, fly to Vancouver to purchase a well sought after painting by Haesung Hill for her demanding boss’s Women in Art exhibit. Emma thinks its a lucky trip because she can surprise her long-distance boyfriend with a visit.

Henry Hill is an acclaimed artist who might not work as hard as he should. Just ask his Mom, Haesung Hill, who Henry is currently avoiding. But Henry’s bills are about to be due which means – time to actually sell a painting. Luckily, he has a client lined up in Vancouver.

When their luggage gets switched at the airport, Emma’s well-organized day becomes a mad dash to meet HH (ie. Henry), swap back, and hurry to her auction.

Only, things go haywire from jump street when she catches her boyfriend cheating at the restaurant she meets Henry. One viral slap, a high flying flip over a rental car, and a concussion later, sends Henry and Emma to the hospital and saddled with a doctor's order: you must keep him awake for 6 hours.

Now reluctantly attached at the hip and internet famous, Emma and Henry have to work together to get to Henry’s meeting on one side of Vancouver and to Emma’s auction on the other without tearing each other’s heads off. Of course, they definitely won’t fall in love.

Sticking to Emma Daniels is a fun mistaken-Identity romance through Vancouver, Canada. I hope it makes you smile, escape from the day, and even laugh. It is perfect for readers who enjoy sweet romcom books without explicit content.

Sticking to Emma Daniels is book one in the lol Romantic Comedy Catastrophe series. You will love this book series if you love Hallmark movies, Korean dramas, adorable heroes, spunky heroines, and, of course, oodles and oodles of serendipity!

My Review: 3.5 Stars
I appreciated the author's note at the end of this book--that this book was meant to be light-hearted with all that's going on in the world right now. It was fast-paced, crazy, and packed full of a series of events that left my head spinning, wondering what on earth could possibly happen next. 
Emma and Henry had a meet cute that was adorable and exciting, and the fun didn't stop there. To think that most of this book took place in less than 24 hours is unbelievable, but the madness just kept coming. Henry is a good match for Emma's sassiness and they were both likable characters. For as successful as they each are in their own rights, they were pretty scattered at times, but that only made them more relatable.
I guess for me, there was a little too much going on and it left me feeling exhausted. It was amazing to think of not only everything they packed in, but also of the unplanned things that occurred. Honestly, if I had a day like that, I'd be sleeping for the next week, but it truly was a fun escape.
Content: mild+ language; very mild violence/danger; mild+ romance (implied intimacy, kissing, innuendo)

Monday, September 21, 2020

Stolen Kisses From a Rock Star by Judy Corry {Review}

 Stolen Kisses From a Rock Star by Judy Corry

Paperback, 154 pages
Published September 13th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given


When I met my favorite rock star backstage at his concert, I never expected to leave with a kiss.

I also didn't expect the man behind the mask to remind me of my neighbor, Landon Holloway--the guy I haven't seen since I rebound made-out with him two months ago.

Is the similarity between the two men just a coincidence? Or is there something more to the boy next door than meets the eye?

This novella was previously published in the Sweet Kisses Limited Edition Sweet Romance Box Set.
My Review: 5 Stars
I love a story with depth just as much as I love a fluffy book chock-full of sweet romance. It's all about balance, people! This story delivers a super sweet romance between Maya, her childhood best friend/next door neighbor Landon, and an ultra famous masked singer/celebrity crush, Incognito. 
It was fun to escape into this story and watch Maya battle with herself on who to choose. The friendship between Maya and Landon was amazing, even though they had a rebound make out session a few months prior. Landon is one sweet and caring man and if she doesn't want him, I'll take him, hah! My favorite thing was his encouragement. But...who hasn't had a celebrity crush? It was so much fun to put myself in Maya's shoes for a few hours and live vicariously through her experiences and excitement.
This whole thing, from start to finish, was pure delight!
Content: mild romance

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown {Review}













The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Hardcover, 404 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Viking 
Source: Audiobook
For readers of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys' own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam's The Amateurs.

My Review: 5 Stars
Non-fiction histories aren't my favorites, but this book was written in a way that felt like a historical fiction. I was drawn right in and was completely fascinated and engaged with these boys and their quest for victory. I loved learning their backgrounds--where they came from, what shaped them, and their experiences in their impossible journey.
I'm not a crier, but my heartstrings were sharply tugged and I found myself tearing up with pride for their well-deserved accomplishments, as well as for their joys, hardships, and unity. This story is definitely inspiring and I was touched.

Content: mild language

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Amethyst (Heart of a Miner #4) by Krystal M. Anderson {Review}


Amethyst (Heart of a Miner Book 4) by Krystal M. Anderson

Kindle Edition, 116 pages
Published July 24th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Maybe she hadn’t failed at love. Maybe he just hadn’t been the right man…
Life had never been melancholier for Eliza Loring since the man she loved had up and married someone else. But when she meets a handsome stranger whose genuine compliments and soul-searing gazes seem to reach way deep inside her, she wonders if maybe there’s another man out there for her after all.

Miner Gill Mabry has seen and done many things in his nearly 40 years, much of which he’s not proud of. He’d put his days at war far behind him, though the memories seem determined to haunt him while he sleeps. It was love at first sight when he met Eliza, but when battle with the Bannock Indians seems imminent, he must decide if he can summon the strength to take up his rifle once more – this time for the woman he loves.

A sweet western historical romance that will transport you to another time and place where outlaws, Indians, and other unknown threats roamed the wild, rowdy west. 

Amethyst is book four in the Heart of a Miner series and can be read as a standalone though would be best appreciated if read in order.
My Review: 5 Stars
This mining community in the wild west of Idaho is very interesting to me and I loved learning more about its residents. I especially enjoy watching as all of the different characters lives connect and thread together throughout the series.
Gill has a slightly colorful past and falls head-over-heels with Eliza, who also has some skeletons in her closet and feels like a failure because of them. These imperfect characters have a lot to navigate, with their past issues and a blossoming romance, but their journey is adventuresome and tender. I adored getting to know them each better and appreciated their personalities and qualities.
This historical western delivers the dangerous elements of the west during the 1870s, as well as the charming details. It would be challenging to live during this time and it was fascinating to discover the pros and cons of this time in history. Anderson does a good job of transporting a reader to a time gone past era and supplying a gripping, yet sweet, tale.

 Content: mild romance; mild elements of violence/danger

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Roommaid by Sariah Wilson {Review}

Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2020 by Montlake 
Source: I received a copy through Kindle First Reads
Madison Huntington is determined to live her dreams. That means getting out from under her family’s wealth and influence by saying no to the family business, her allowance, and her home. But on a teacher’s salary, the real world comes as a rude awakening—especially when she wakes up every morning on a colleague’s couch. To get a place of her own (without cockroaches, mold, or crime scene tape), Madison accepts a position as a roommaid. In exchange for free room and board, all she needs to do is keep her busy roommate’s penthouse clean and his dog company. So what if she’s never washed a dish in her life. She can figure this out, right?

Madison is pretty confident she can fake it well enough that Tyler Roth will never know the difference. The finance whiz is rich and privileged and navigates the same social circles as her parents—but to him she’s just a teacher in need of an apartment. He’s everything Madison has run from, but his kindhearted nature, stomach-fluttering smile, and unexpected insecurities only make her want to get closer. And Tyler is warming to the move.

Rewarding job. Perfect guy. Great future. With everything so right, what could go wrong? Madison is about to find out.
My Review: 5 Stars
This is exactly the type of story that I just want to pack up my bags and move into. With its hilarious moments, fantastic characters, and super swoony romance, this sweet escape hit the spot of a fun romantic comedy.   
Madison is desperate for a place to live after being cut off from her wealthy family. Solution? Move in with Tyler and become his roommaid (roommate and maid), helping out with his adorable dog and apartment while he travels. Madison and Tyler have an easy and comfortable friendship, but the misconceptions, mishaps, and misinformation lead to some seriously hilarious moments that brought a smile to my face and a flutter to my heart. The supporting cast of characters was just as amazing as the main characters were and I'd love them to get their own stories (hint, hint).

Sariah Wilson is brilliant at bringing a story together in a way that engages the reader and sends delicious tingles down the spine. I devoured this one faster than a dog eats a shoe. I couldn't get enough of the flirtatious banter, Madison's tenacity, and the way each character unfolded, exposing their innermost souls. 
With an explosion of poms, The Bachelor, Pigeon, dish soap, bleach, and more, Roommaid was a definite winner!
Content:  mild+ romance

Monday, September 14, 2020

Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen {Review}












Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen

Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 8th 2020 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were voluntarily given
When Riley Madigan moves to the sleepy mountain town of Miracle Creek, she hopes her new job as a high school art teacher will help her mend her recently broken heart. A little peace and quiet would be a gift this Christmas season. The last thing on her mind is love.

Former firefighter Mark Rivers has spent the last year recovering from burns sustained during a rescue operation. He’s been trying to piece his life back together but still struggles both emotionally and psychologically. When he meets Riley, he finally sees something that might bring some light back into his life.

When Mark asks Riley to work on a special nativity project, he finds himself falling for her quirky, unaffected ways. Riley doesn’t seem bothered by his scars, but is her affection for him real, or is this just another act of charity? One thing’s for certain, in a small town that views Mark as a fragile hero, it’s hard to pursue a relationship without everyone in his business. And although Riley has sincere feelings for Mark, is she ready to risk her heart?

Broken hearts and lives are mended as the town of Miracle Creek comes together to celebrate a Christmas to remember.
My Review: 5 Stars 
There's nothing sweeter than a Hallmark-y Christmas romance that embraces the lives of two scarred characters. While Mark's scars are both physical and emotional, Riley's are inner and they each have issues to overcome and work through. Their journey in helping each other finalize their individual healing is heartwarming.
Jensen does a great job of drawing the reader into this small town. It was easy to visualize the setting and the quirky residents, and I especially enjoyed the simplicity of life in Miracle Creek. Most of the characters are loyal, watching out for each other, which can make them seem nosy at times, but the camaraderie felt make me want to have something like this in my own life. For me, this place is reminiscent of times gone by, and while there are complex issues to deal with, Miracle Creek felt removed from modern concerns.
Mark and Riley are solid and likable characters and I adored how gradual even their friendship was. There are many journeys to be taken within these pages and I hope to see more of Miracle Creek in the future.
Content: mild romance; mild moments of danger (burns)