Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Proper Scandal by Esther Hatch {Blog Tour Review and Giveaway}

A Proper Scandal by Esther Hatch
Paperback, 222 pages
Published May 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

Grace Sinclair has been callously cast out of her home. And though taken in as an orphaned child by the vicar and his wife, her unsurpassed beauty makes it impossible for her to remain in the vicar’s household—with two daughters of their own about to enter Society, the vicar and his wife see Grace as nothing but competition. Thankfully, Grace’s estranged Aunt Bell has agreed to take her in to her home in London. But Grace soon learns her situation has just gotten much worse.

It takes only a moment’s acquaintance for Grace to ascertain that her aunt has married a detestable rake. And Aunt Bell, recognizing the danger of having her lovely niece too near her husband, gives Grace an ultimatum: the young woman has two weeks to find a man to marry, after which she will be turned out. With no experience in the art of attracting a husband, Grace quickly realizes that a worthy suitor might not be so easy to ensnare.

My Review: 5 Stars

Beauty can't give you everything in life, as Grace comes to discover. Unbelievably gorgeous, she's an orphan and has been asked to leave the vicar's home to allow for his daughters to find a match. Her aunt takes her in, but the situation there is dreadful. Her only option is to marry, which is easier said than done.

Grace is utterly adorable! She doesn't know the first thing about flirting and her attempts made me laugh out loud. Her first encounter with Nate was so hilarious, yet charming at the same time, and I couldn't stop smiling (and swooning) as they kept running into each other, especially with Grace's bumbling efforts at snagging herself a match. She definitely isn't comfortable with her situation, but she spares nothing in her endeavors to find her place in society--happy and secure, freedom to be herself, and free from annoying rakes.

I was completely enchanted with this tale and didn't want to put it down. I loved the whimsical characters (and even enjoyed hating the slimy ones) and the story line was a pure delight. This author has a fun writing style that really captured my attention and didn't let go.

Content: mild romance

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

#SweetOnYouTour - Sweet on You by Becky Wade {Review}

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Sweet on You
(Bradford Sisters #3)
By Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
April 30th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who's spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He's achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him--Britt's heart.

When Zander's uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle's tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

My Review: 5 Stars

I have absolutely loved this series and have loved each sister's story. I've been (im)patiently waiting for Britt's true love, because she's flirty and flighty, as the baby, but her best friend of over a decade is so perfect for her--and she doesn't seem to see it! She also harbors a bit of guilt and I desperately wanted her to find her happily ever after. But...I wasn't expecting the added bonus that I got.

Not only does this story deliver a sweet, budding, new romance, but the reader is treated to a real live mystery! This element weaves so well into the story, adding a dimension of suspense and drama that really flavors the chemistry wafting off the pages, and forms a truly delicious tale. I couldn't get enough!

I'm a huge fan of the friends-to-lover angle and this one is very well done. I loved how compatible these two friends are and their voices and interactions are charming, engaging, and swoony. This story was definitely worth the wait!

Content: mild romance; mild violence/moments of peril; mild+ religion elements.

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

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance! She’s the Christy Award and Carol Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

  • Tote bag highlighting Britt’s chocolate shop, Sweet Art
  • Paperback copy of Sweet on You
  • $100 Visa gift card
  • 1 pound box of See’s chocolate truffles
  • Set of chocolate scented soap
  • Box of colored pencils
  • “Tattoo” coloring book
Enter on Becky's website HERE

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chemistry of a Kiss by Kimberly Krey {Review}

Chemistry of a Kiss by Kimberly Krey
Kindle Edition
Publication: May 21st 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.   

How did I end up in a fake relationship with the gorgeous captain of the basketball team, Jett Bryant? Where do I start?  
I used to dream about kissing Jett, the adorable brown-eyed boy back in kindergarten. He was the pastor's son but that didn't stop me from tackling him on the playground and kissing him smack on the lips.       
  Fast-forward to senior year when Jett and I got partnered to research--of all things--The Chemistry of a Kiss. It had me thinking about those yummy lips of his, which was not good since I was dating bad boy TJ Reynolds.
            But then TJ kissed Jett's ex-girlfriend, causing me to break things off, and that's how the whole fake relationship between Jett and me began.
            Now, all the feelings I had for Jett over the years have come flooding back as we've spent time researching the kiss. We've even started exploring the chemistry of our own mind-blowing kisses while we "pretend" to like each other during our study dates.
            Things really get complicated when Jett starts cozying up to me when nobody's around to witness it. It seems like this whole fake relationship is turning into the real thing. But how can I be sure?

My Review: 5 Stars

Kimberly Krey has a way of writing that takes me back to my own high school years. If only I knew then what I know now...hah! Being a teenager is hard, especially when feelings get involved. Harper doesn't want to make the same mistakes as her mom, yet history has a way of repeating itself. She shows real maturity in recognizing things for what they're worth.

Harper's had a crush on Jett since kindergarten and now they're assigned partners in class and their topic is on the chemistry of a kiss. Can you imagine? Getting to research that topic with your crush would be a dream come true--especially if might want to practice what you read to see if this research holds true (wink, wink). In a make-my-ex-jealous battle, they find themselves in a fake relationship with real, smoldering embers, threatening to explode into a raging hot fire. The chemistry is swoon-worthy, yet sweet, and these characters are extremely likable.

I love a good story that explores young love and dips into realistic topics, yet stays fluffy and fun. Look no further if you want a light, summer escape! This is a great series, especially for teens and inner teens (like me) alike.

Content: mild+ (swoony) romance; very, very mild religion (he's a pastor's son)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Scripted Unscripted by Kristina Miranda {Review}

Scripted Unscripted by Kristina Miranda
Kindle Edition, 267 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Turner
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Ellie Quinn has spent most of her sixteen years behind the scenes, helping her father manage a crew of four-legged movie stars. Although she longs to be acknowledged as an animal trainer in her own right, she often gets stuck babysitting actors' personal pets and is known around the studio as "the dog sitter for the stars."

When teen megastar Kate Montgomery's sidekick gets fired while filming a pilot, Ellie is forced to temporarily fill-in. The producers seem to be enamored with Ellie--and so do Kate's two love interests on the show, "it boy" Logan Canfield and brand-new actor Cam Alvarez--causing trouble on and off the set.

Now Ellie must decide between living the drama in front of the camera or behind it. If she quits and the pilot fails, she and her father will have to close their failing business and move to her grandfather's lettuce farm. But if she stays on the road to stardom, it could mean losing the boy she's fallen for--and herself--in the process. Can she save the TV show and her father's business without losing everything else?
My Review: 4 Stars
Fun facts about me: I haven't ever had the desire to be an actress, but I love Hollywood and celebrities. I'm fascinated with the behind-the-scenes of movies/tv shows. I enjoy a good story about an every-day-normal girl rubbing shoulders with the stars. Of course I had to read this one because it incorporated so many of these interests into this story.
Ellie assists her dad with animal handling for Hollywood movies and tv shows and finds herself acting in the pilot of a new show. In a effort to save her family's business, she ends up navigating the cold, brutal, and lonely world of fame. 
The confidence and wisdom that Ellie imparts is atypical of a teen girl her age, but those characteristics made me adore her, especially as a parent. The drama, backstabbing, and good acting allow for an entertaining story, with characters to love and others to hate, but overall, the message and moral of the story is a good one. Mistakes are made and compromises are requested, which makes it hard for some of these characters to stay true to who they are. This is a fun coming-of-age tale, Hollywood style, and I think most teen girls would enjoy it.
One last note--I felt the book ended way too abruptly and would have loved a more solid and complete finale.  

Content: mild romance

Friday, May 17, 2019

Missing in Maplewood by Elizabeth Bromke {Review}

Missing in Maplewood by Elizabeth Bromke
Kindle Edition
Published May 7th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 Can a plane ride save a turbulent marriage? Only if the couple survives the flight...

After marrying his high school sweetheart, everything falls into place for Ben Stevens. He nails a college coaching gig. He and his wife have twin boys. Life is perfect.

Erica Stevens disagrees. Desperate to prove she’s as perfect as she seems, she needs more. After an early miscarriage and a cross-country move back to the state she was happy to leave, her picture-perfect image shatters.

Things get worse before they get better…

As if miscarriage and a looming divorce aren’t enough, Ben’s father falls ill. Together the couple boards a private flight to the small mountain town to see his dad. But they never arrive.

Find out if Ben and Erica can survive to save their marriage in Missing in Maplewood, a standalone romantic suspense.

My Review: 4 Stars 

I used to think once a couple said, "I do." and married, the happily ever after began, but that's not true. Marriage is hard and as life progresses, people can get beaten down with grief, changes happen, and a couple may grow apart. High school sweethearts, Ben and Erica, find themselves in exactly this situation and my heart broke for them as their struggles are real and upfront from the very beginning. In a series of unfortunate events, Ben and Erica find themselves digging deep to survive and in the process, may just heal the deep rifts in their marriage.

I would be absolutely terrified to end up missing, especially with the stress and heartache of an impending divorce hanging over my head. Bromke does a good job of conveying these perilous events to the reader, but I would have loved to have more background to their romance and how things fell apart. Yes, we're given snippets, but not enough to invest me emotionally. That said, this is a gripping adventure, where things go from back to worse, and I was entertained and on the edge of my seat.

I've read all of the books in this series and this one can stand alone.

Content: a lot of mild language; mild violence/peril; mild romance (implied intimacy between minors and between a married couple)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Finding Anne de Bourgh by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen {Blog Tour Review and Giveaway}

Finding Anne de Bourgh by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
Paperback, 263 pages
Published May 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
As heiress of Rosings Park, Anne de Bourgh’s health is of utmost importance to her mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Thus, following the shock of a recent fire at Rosings Park, the young woman is spirited away to Brighton to take the cure. While her domineering mother is bent on healing her daughter’s sickly constitution to secure her a suitable match, Anne herself is far more concerned with sketching the flora and fauna of the lovely sea town. It is in pursuit of artistic inspiration among the flowers that Anne becomes acquainted with Mr. Owen Talbot, a charming man with whom Anne feels an immediate connection, notwithstanding their differing stations.

But despite their growing esteem for one another, the couple faces an insurmountable problem: Lady Catherine has set her sights on a rich, well-connected man for her daughter, and Mr. Talbot is simply too common. With their love in jeopardy, the couple soon faces far graver problems. There has been a murder in Brighton, and Anne is innocently drawn into an amateur investigation that ultimately traces its roots to her own family. With a frightening foreshadowing regarding the de Bourghs, Anne begins to question whom she can truly trust.
My Review: 4 Stars

Anne de Bourgh isn't a character that I've given much thought to at all. I mean, Elizabeth is Mr. Darcy's true match, so why give a second thought to Anne, his original intended? But Anne has a story to tell and in doing so, she truly finds herself. 

I love how Anne and her mother are at odds--Anne dreams of drawing plants, while her mother is bent on finding her a suitor; Anne feels a connection with a Mr. Talbot, while her mother insists on her forming a match with his younger brother--the one with a title; Anne is content to meander through life, while her mother is intent on finding a cure for her health issues. Sometimes I wanted to tell her overbearing mother to leave her be and to back off already! Hah!

With all the romance blossoming, along with the beautiful gardens, there is a mystery in the wings and this fact gives the story an interesting, slightly dangerous, and deeper element. I really enjoyed Anne's character and loved the pathway she took to discover herself, but I especially loved her brushes with romance. 

This is a great story for any Regency romance and/or Pride and Prejudice lover.

Content: mild romance; mild violence
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Daisies and Devotion (Mayfield Family #2) by Josi S. Kilpack {Review}

Daisies and Devotion (Mayfield Family #2) by Josi S. Kilpack
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Timothy Mayfield is ready to marry for love, but, since his personal finances are thinner than he’d like, he knows he’ll also need to find a wife with wealth. After receiving an unexpected inheritance, Timothy’s circumstances change, and he is free to pursue his “perfect woman”—one with blonde hair, blue eyes, a light laugh, arched eyebrows, elegant fingers, and a dazzling smile, among nearly twenty other characteristics.

Maryann Morrington doesn’t match anything on Timothy’s list—except for wealth. An heiress in her own right, she is tired of men pursuing her only for her money. But at nearly twenty-two years old, and not a particularly stunning beauty, she can’t be as picky as her friend Timothy is.

The two friends end up playing matchmaker for each other. Timothy will find a decent gentleman for Maryann, and Maryann will prove to Timothy that his “perfect woman” doesn’t exist.

Until Miss Shaw comes to London.

Now, with Timothy’s heart captivated by the blonde, blue-eyed beauty, Maryann must decide if she should risk her heart and reveal her true feelings for her friend, or if she should settle for someone else. It’s an up-and-down game of “he loves me, he loves me not” with both hearts and friendship on the line.
My Review: 5 Stars
What a delightful story! Maryann and Timothy have a wonderful "accord" with one another and I love how comfortable their friendship is. While Maryann harbors an unrequited crush, she is still willing to help Timothy find his perfect wife, one who matches every quality on his list. She is opposite of everything on his list and can't afford to be choosy, yet Timothy is willing to reciprocate the favor.
Let's talk about the characters. Maryann is "older" and not a stunning beauty. She possess a quick wit, full of sarcasm and honesty, and while she has money, she isn't one to settle for just anyone. I love how resourceful she proves to be. Meanwhile, Timothy is "silly" and full of boyish antics. He's constantly "in the dog house" and resorts to sending daisies and notes of apology. Although these two are opposite, they bring things out in each other that provide stability and balance. Their friendship is what seals the deal for me.
Kilpack delivers a charming tale that isn't full of stereotypical characters and scenarios. The unique breaths of fresh air deliver a newness to this beloved genre that captured my interest and my heart. This is Book 2 in the series, but can stand alone.
Content: mild romance