Friday, August 23, 2019

Robin & Marian by Stephanie Fowers {Review}

Robin & Marian by Stephanie Fowers
Kindle Edition, 394 pages
Published August 14th 2019 by Triad Media and Entertainment 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2HkCM40    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47493840-robin-and-marian
 
Who says Chivalry is dead?
Robin King lives up to the legendary name of Robin Hood more than he should—a bigshot billionaire and successor of King enterprises, a Prince of Mischief and a rogue who steals hearts ... and maybe even a few kisses. He never thought he’d follow the storyline so closely, until the day he gets in trouble with the law and pays the price—all for protecting his younger sister Scarlett.

Taken in by an Outlaw
Marian is a hard-hitting reporter … or would be if the New England Chronicle would stop assigning her puff pieces. Now she has the chance to prove herself, but it could prove her undoing—since the story of a lifetime might just be Robin King, a ruthless scoundrel, who she swore would never break her heart again.

Making New England Olde again
Together, they must overcome their differences to save their hometown from thieves and corruption. And they’d better do it before someone gets killed. As danger lurks closer, legend becomes life, and Robin’s feelings for Marian deepen as he struggles with sharing the secrets that could clear his name and ruin his sister. 
 
My Review: 4.5 Stars
 
I love Robin Hood and it was so much fun to read a modern take on this classic favorite, with an added billionaire twist. This story is slightly edgy, with twisty and intrigue details, interesting and mysterious characters, and an intensity that drives the adventure from start to finish. My biggest complaint had nothing to do with the book--I wanted to devour it (it's long), but I had some unexpected things come up in life that had to be dealt with and it took me days to finish because I couldn't just sit and read, ha ha.
 
Robin is extremely loyal, yet a trickster at heart and at times I honestly wondered if he was a good guy or a bad guy and eagerly awaited to find out just how closely this tale would follow the original. He's truly a prince of thieves, yet extremely likable. Marian is a little skittish, but can't resist Robin's charms and their undeniable and powerful connection. Yes, there's some romance, but I felt like this book focused more on the adventure, danger, and mystery.
 
Some of the character parallels were easy to figure out, but others were a little trickier and there are enough differences to leave the reader guessing at what was going on and who was behind it all. The culmination of events was heart-grippingly suspenseful and I really enjoyed the story overall.
 
Content: mild romance; mild+ violence/moments of peril/danger

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Million Dollar Date by Susan Hatler {Review}

Million Dollar Date (Do-Over Date Series: Second Chance Clean Romances Book 1) by Susan Hatler
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: August 22nd 2019 by Hatco Publishing 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/31Zl0eT    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46039496-million-dollar-date
 
Abigail Apple is running late to meet her blind date when she’s pulled over for speeding. Unfortunately, the follow-the-rules cop doesn’t care that she’s late, let alone that she’s heartbroken because her favorite dog rescue is in danger of being closed. Now she has to meet her date with mud drying on her heels, dog hair covering her dress, and the smell of a barn perfuming her hair. When she arrives, however, Abigail learns her handsome blind date is none other than the cop who pulled her over.

Abigail has no intention of staying until she learns Cooper Hill is heading a committee for the city that will award a six-figure donation to a charity of their choice. So, what’s a girl to do? Abigail decides a second date is the perfect way to convince Cooper to vote for the dog rescue. Soon, however, Abigail is less interested in Cooper’s vote than she is in his deep voice, kind heart, and tender touch.

Will this follow-the-rules cop and this follows-her-heart animal lover learn that despite poor first impressions, second chances can lead to love?
 
My Review: 5 Stars 

Things aren't always as they seem... Abigail has a big heart that's focused on a dog rescue, while Cooper is a rigid stickler for rules. They seem to be complete opposites in every way, yet when they truly "see" each other, the truth just may be uncovered.

I was dying over the first meet between this couple. Dying! This story is full of laughs, dogs, and super great characters. Abigail is so intense, while Cooper is so serious. Opposites really can complement each other and I enjoyed seeing their attraction battle their instincts and interests. Of course, the chemistry was sparking and I lived for those moments of combustion. The secondary characters were a lot of fun too and I'm hoping they each get their own stories.

I love that both Cooper and Abigail are supportive of different charities and are so passionate about them, but it was also good for both of them to think outside of themselves, and said charities, to get a glimpse of other issues out there, causing their eyes to really open.

All in all, this story captures everything--it's light-hearted and fun, yet touches on the reality of life. And above all, the character growth, on all levels, warmed my heart.

Content: mild romance

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Week in Brighton (Timeless Regency Collection) {Review}

A Week in Brighton (Timeless Regency Collection)
Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Mirror Press
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2MYkpWe    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46672965-a-week-in-brighton
Every woman dreams of love, but is a week in Brighton long enough to find happily ever after?

THE GRANDE HOTEL BY THE SEA by Jennifer Moore
After years of planning, Arthur Grande’s vision for a luxury hotel in Brighton is finally becoming a reality. But unlike the rest of the town, Daphne Dayley isn’t taken in by the newcomer’s cheerful smile or generous nature. She sees only a wealthy opportunist threatening to close her parents’ bakery. With the lease expiring in one week, the two clash in a battle of wills and wits. But they both come to discover that ambitions which had once seemed so clear may evolve when hearts are softened.

SIGNS OF LOVE by Annette Lyon
When the Hughes family vacations in Brighton, Julia goes exploring for fossils along the Undercliff path—a hobby she’s developed thanks to her curiosity in science. Instead of finding fossils, she stumbles upon Silas Hayward, a handsome wine smuggler, and one of his crew. She slips away undetected but is intrigued by Hayward and drawn to him later at a ball held at the Royal Pavilion. Her long-time friend Andrew is in love with Julia and declares his heart to her at the ball. She’s stunned and doesn’t know how to answer, but right then, Mr. Hayward conveniently takes her away to the dance floor. The distraction is brief, however; Julia quickly learns that the Hayward is far more than a harmless wine smuggler: he’s a traitor to the nation. If she can’t stop his plot with Andrew’s help, the country will fall to Napoleon.

THE RELUCTANT HEIR by Donna Hatch
Angry and grieving over his brother’s sudden death, Rowan turns his attention to finding his late brother’s long-lost love so he can personally inform her of the tragedy. One problem: he only has a lock of her hair, a miniature painting of her eye, and the name “Ann” as clues to her identity. With far-reaching dreams of being a renowned artist, Isabella has one shot at becoming one of the few women to be accepted as a student under a local art master. But when she encounters a mysterious gentleman searching for his late brother’s love, her heart tugs on her to help the lost soul. Helping him may mean sacrificing her dreams, and worse—falling in love with a man she cannot have. 

My Review: 4 Stars
Brighton has always been a fascinating place to me and I loved my visit through these pages. I love these collections because each author adds a unique spin to a common theme and the stories are long enough to be satisfying, but short enough to be read in a sitting.

My stomach was rumbling in THE GRANDE HOTEL BY THE SEA. I could almost smell Daphne's baking and love her tenacity in keeping her business alive until the last possible moment. She's spunky and it was fun to visualize her interactions with Arthur.

The intrigue and danger in SIGNS OF LOVE was fun and I enjoyed watching the story play out. Julia's interest in fossils was fun because she reminded me of my daughter. I loved the importance placed on being educated and smart, especially for women, as this gave the story a progressive feel.

The humor and sweet romance in Rowan's quest were a great ending to the set with THE RELUCTANT HEIR. These characters were fun and heartwarming, and I enjoyed the art aspect.

I loved the setting by the sea with this set. I hadn't ever heard of the prince's summer palace and found the descriptions vivid and interesting. I need to go look up some pictures of this place.

Content: mild romance

Friday, August 16, 2019

27 Ways to Find a Boyfriend by Shari L. Tapscott {Review}

27 Ways to Find a Boyfriend by Shari L. Tapscott
Kindle Edition, 268 pages
Published June 17th 2019 
Source: Kindle Unlimited
 
 https://amzn.to/2KBJSlG    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44816799-27-ways-to-find-a-boyfriend
 
If at first you don't succeed, keep going down the list...

Addison:
I need you to know I’m not pathetic. A little desperate, sure. But not pathetic. And mostly I agreed to Jessa’s insane boyfriend-finding list idea because Carter was looking at me like it was the stupidest idea known to man, and I wanted to irk him.

Carter:
Jessa’s guy-finding list is the stupidest idea known to man. The only reason Addison doesn’t have a boyfriend is because she’s the boss’s daughter, and none of the guys in our shop want to be fired.

Addison:
Maybe if he hadn’t kissed me last weekend, I wouldn’t be thinking about him constantly. See there? This is his fault. If I need to use a list to find someone who will get him out of my head, then so be it.

Carter:
Maybe if I hadn’t kissed her last weekend, the list wouldn’t bother me so much, but now I can’t get her out of my head. So I’m going to do the only thing a sane guy would do in my position. I’m going to sabotage the experiment…


Author’s note: 27 Ways to Find a Boyfriend is a steamy-clean adult romantic comedy with all the sizzle but no sex.
 
My Review: 5 Stars
 
Steamy clean romantic comedies are my favorite and guess what? I've found a new-to-me author who writes them! I laughed; I swooned; and I wished on a star that things would work out just the way I wanted them to. And guess what again? There were a few twists that I didn't expect, which made it all the more fun to read.

Addison is finally ready to find someone after her best friend, Jessa, gets married and produces a list of ways to find a man. Of course, Jessa's brother, Carter, thinks it's stupid, but things start getting pretty interesting when he takes a vested interest in the items on said list.

The family dynamics were both fun and heartbreaking, but it was the sizzling sparks that caught my heart on fire. I loved the alternating points of view and eagerly awaited each switch to see what the other one was thinking. And I loved all the car stuff!
 
This is just the kind of book that I could visualize as a movie playing out in my mind while I was reading it. I adored every single character and loved the way everything was woven together to make a deliciously beautiful story that made me laugh out loud multiple times. You can bet your bottom dollar that I'm clearing my calendar for the day when the next book is released. 

Content: mild+ steamy clean romance (kissing, some innuendo)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fool's Deadly Gold by Clair M. Poulson {Blog Tour Review + Giveaway}



Fool's Deadly Gold by Clair M. Poulson
Kindle Edition, 248 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary book. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2YXXBbD    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47494121-fool-s-deadly-gold
Lauralyn LaPlant and her sister, Bridgette, could not be closer. Their shared passion for adventure draws them to scale a sheer cliff one fateful day, but despite their experienced precautions, Bridgette suffers a terrible accident and plummets to an untimely death. Shattered by grief, Lauralyn soon makes a sobering discovery: this was no accident—her sister’s climbing rope was cut. But who wanted Bridgette dead, and why? It’s up to Lauralyn and her grieving brother-in-law, Dade, to uncover the truth, even if it means putting themselves in the path of a ruthless killer. As their search for clues leads them deep into the heart of Gold Country, they discover that in the world of prospecting, greed knows no limits.
My Review: 4 Stars

This suspense was fascinating because I could visualize some of the places where it took places, as I've been in the area before, and because I could picture these types of events really happening. Clair Poulson does a great job of building a suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat and had me reeling from the twists and turns that popped up without warning.

The death of a casual, part-time gold hunter's wife is the catalyst for a tangled web of mystery and greed, resulting in deaths and evil. The author has a background in law and it's evident with the way events unfolded. This fast-paced story focuses on a riveting suspense, which doesn't allow for deep character development and emotion, but those elements aren't really missed with the intensity of the suspense.


There were times when the dialog felt a little lacking, but the suspense made up for it. This was an interesting story that swept me away in a ball of tense anxiety--and that's a good thing.

Content: mild+ violence/death; mild religion

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Forever Yours by Judy Corry {Review}

Forever Yours (A Ridgewater High Novel) by Judy Corry
Kindle Edition, 291 pages
Published August 7th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/31AuWv8    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47173530-forever-yours
 
Her crush is back. Too bad she’s dating his best friend.

For Alyssa, Friday nights are all the same. She cheers at whatever sporting event is in season, then goes to a party with her boyfriend, Trey, and tries to keep him from getting too drunk. So when her childhood crush, Jace Carmichael, shows up one night, she’s not sure what to do with the feelings that come flooding back.

When Jace moves back to Ridgewater, he only has two goals: fit in with his old friends and make sure Trey never finds out that he kissed Alyssa the night before he moved away. But when he discovers that Trey might be cheating on Alyssa, he wonders if those goals are worth having anymore.

Soon, Jace confronts his friend and accidentally lets his true feelings slip. To his surprise, Trey challenges him with a bet. One week to charm Alyssa and if he succeeds, Trey will step aside. Making a bet is crazy, but Jace is desperate for a chance at Alyssa’s heart. As long as she doesn’t find out, it will be worth it, right?
 
My Review: 4 Stars
 
I can't imagine how hard being an identical twin might by, but the opening scene in this story makes it seems fun at times. Jace and Logan moved away 18 months ago and are now back, partway through their Junior year of high school. Jace's long-time crush is now taken, but his best friend, who knows who will end up with her at the end of a bet.
 
I loved loyal Alyssa and her winsome personality. She's in for a load of trouble with this love triangle of sorts, and I definitely knew my favorite of her two choices. 
 
This is the type of story that throws me right back into the midst of my angsty teenage years (although I never had a dilemma like this) and brings back the young love feels to my heart. The sizzling swoon is so much fun and the characters are great--even the ones I loved to hate. It looks like I need to catch up on some of these Ridgewater High stories and I'm not mad about it at all.
 
Content: mild+ romance (kissing, talk of going further, some innuendo); underage drinking/partying

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Captain's Lady by Sara Cardon {Review}

The Captain's Lady by Sara Cardon
Kindle Edition, 158 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Amazon Digital Services
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

 https://amzn.to/2YVXyBc   

When a determined heiress tries to convince a rugged captain to stay invested in her bank, she risks losing everything, including her heart.

Lucy Brook is desperate. With two measly weeks to save her bank, she chases her wealthiest patron to a house party. But the more she comes to know the ruggedly handsome war hero, the more she fears revealing her purpose.

Captain Jack Sharpe excels at seamanship. Navigating politics, however, is an entirely different matter. But despite his lack of polish, he must succeed or fellow naval men will hang. When an intriguing bluestocking ends up in the wrong place, his intuition tells him pursuing her may wreck his course. Still, he’s resolved to try.

As the unlikely pair find themselves falling for each other, will his past and her determination to keep the bank at any cost end up jeopardizing their future?


My Review: 5 Stars

It's no secret that I love a good, sweet Regency romance, but I love elements that make the story unique and this one delivers on all counts. Lucy is a competent and successful darling, but she's not your typical debutante. She owns and runs a bank. She chases down Captain Jack, who isn't your typical seaman, in an effort to save her business, and the sparks fly when the worlds of these two individuals collide. 

House parties are so fascinating to me and I enjoyed the setting for this burgeoning romance immensely. I loved the driven and determined characters and eagerly anticipated any and all interactions, especially the ones of the romantic variety. 

This is my first book by this author and it won't be my last. I love the writing style and the way I was engaged from start to finish.

Content: mild romance 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Never Let Me Forget by Michelle Pennington {Review}

Never Let Me Forget (Summer of First Kisses #2) by Michelle Pennington
Kindle Edition, 139 pages
Published July 29th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2YZhezS   
I want more than a kiss. I want forever. 
Basically, I have a short, silly list of what I want in a guy:
Fascinating Smile Stormy Eyes Passionate Soul Sees the real me when no one else does.
Okay, maybe I've read too many romantic fantasies. But even though I have dozens of book boyfriends, I'm ready for a real one.


My friends are determined to help me have my first kiss before the end of the summer, but I want more than just a surface attraction and a brief fling.

I want real, lasting love.

Too bad I'm a nerdy, boring, curvy kind of girl. Guys just aren't interested in that.

My friend Dante, however, is a charming girl-slayer and the perfect person to help me figure out how to attract the guy of my dreams.

I just have to ignore the fact that he checks all my boxes.

Because he isn't interested in the forever kind of love.


My Review: 5 Stars

Sadie is like almost any bookworm--she lives vicariously through characters in books and has a lot of book boyfriends. When challenged to have her first kiss by summer's end, she decides to take it a step further and find love, and who better to help her than her good friend, Dante?


Friends-to-lovers is a favorite trope of mine because I love that the characters have a solid relationship to build on and the first realization that something more might be in the wings is so satisfying.

My heart went out to Sadie. She's not model thin and isn't super confident about herself, her looks, her size, and her ability to find someone to love her. That seems to be the plight of so many out there. Dante definitely didn't help things a time or two, but he's got goodness in his core.

The give and take of this coming-of-age story resonated with my heart and I really enjoyed Sadie's journey to find love. This is such a fun summer beach read series and I can't wait for more!

Content: mild romance

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Lady's Maid by Jen Geigle Johnson {Review}


A Lady's Maid by Jen Geigle Johnson
Kindle Edition, 350 pages
Publication: August 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given. 

https://amzn.to/2LEL3DR   

Molly O’Malley, lady’s maid to the progressive Lady Amanda Halloway, is determined to continue the life’s work of her lost love, killed in the Peterloo Massacre. But when her efforts and a trip to Lady Halloway’s charitable orphanage culminate in her own abduction, Molly’s eyes are opened to the horrifying crimes transpiring in the city’s slums. Despite the risks, she broadens her mission and is drawn ever closer to the peril all around them. 
Thomas Flaherty, a footman in the Halloway household, has been with Molly from the beginning, but he fears she will never trust him with her heart. Even though her cause and happiness are of foremost importance to him, his loyal patience is tested by the fears that keep her at a distance. But with their safety on the line, Thomas is resolved to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves. 
Risking their lives and their love, Molly and Thomas and a team of nobles on their side will stop at nothing to empower the powerless, no matter the personal cost.

My Review: 4 Stars

I don't know what it is exactly, but when given a straight history book, I'm bored to tears and have a hard time picking it up. But I love a good historical fiction! When I can learn something about history in a story with fictional characters, especially when a sweet romance is thrown into the mix, I'm all over it. A LADY'S MAID delivered just what I was hoping for.

Molly is so passionate about her cause and it was interesting to read about women's suffrage and child labor issues in the 1830s and what some people were willing to do to ease the plight of so many. I love the support Thomas is for Molly.

This story is more than just a romance, which plays a secondary part to the story. I could almost taste the characters fears and adrenaline over their situations. These are some rock solid characters and the risks they took gave me some anxiety. I enjoyed learning more about this time in history through a well-told story.

Content: mild romance; moderate violence/suffering

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Shanty by the Sea by Kelli Pizarro {Review}

Shanty by the Sea by Kelli Pizarro
Kindle Edition, 123 pages
Publication: August 7th 2019 by Dragon Soul Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/30Z9KOZ  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46440823-shanty-by-the-sea 
Scarlett Cooper’s goals in life up to this point have been simple enough: run The Little Latte coffee shop by day and finish a novel-in-the-making by night. When her creative writing juices dry up, she visits the local bookstore for inspiration and leaves with a flier promoting an upcoming writer’s retreat in Cape Cod.

When announced as a winner, Scarlett crosses the state line from New Hampshire into Massachusetts. What she doesn’t realize is the retreat is themed The Great Writers of History, and she has been selected to play the part of starving artist Charles Dickens.

Hilarity ensues as Scarlett dresses in costume and competes against two fellow writers playing the parts of Jane Austen and William Makepeace Thackeray, spends her nights in a tiny shack on a cliff overlooking the sea, and finds herself developing feelings for a local man hired to tend to the retreat pet: a decrepit donkey named Janet.

Although things at the retreat don’t run as smoothly as Scarlett had hoped, and the competitive nature of the other writers tests her in a way reminiscent of Job who lost half his donkeys (one of which was probably named Janet), she learns that no amount of adversity is worth letting go of one’s dreams.
My Review: 4.5 Stars

There's nothing wrong with being a crazy cat lady, is there? Scarlett's life is very predictable and uneventful. At 29, she manages a coffee shop, is trying to write a book while dealing with writer's block, and she's never been kissed. 

I felt sorry for Scarlett, yet I was fascinated with the mundane events of her life, her interesting friendship with Kyle (her co-worker), and the brief encounters with the mysterious Mr. Coffee. But the story really took a quirky turn when she took a chance and followed her dreams. Honestly, I couldn't put this one down because I was dying to know how it would all turn out.

Scarlett is a character with many facets that a reader can relate to. This story is hilarious and far-fetched at times, but I found myself rooting for the unbelievable. Kudos to Kelli Pizarro for writing such a witty and fun story, and giving a dose of hope to her readers. Anything is possible if you just dream. My only wish? The epilogue felt rushed and while I was glad to have it, I wanted things fleshed out more.

Content: very mild romance/very light innuendo

Monday, August 5, 2019

My Not So Wicked Boss by Jennifer Peel {Review}

My Not So Wicked Boss by Jennifer Peel
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published July 31st 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2yvPCrx    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47495001-my-not-so-wicked-boss
Love knows no contract.

Aspen Parker's life can be summed up in one word. Unexpected. For instance, she never expected to become a mother at twenty. Her divorce at twenty-one really threw her off. She certainly didn't see losing her promotion at the bank to that weasel Stephen. And she most definitely didn't see Miles Wickham, better known as Taron Taylor--international bestselling author, the man whose words have captivated her--offering her a job to be his nephew's nanny.

But there's a caveat to accepting the position; she must sign a contract agreeing to no romantic entanglements between her and the debonair Brit. Aspen doesn't expect this to be an issue seeing as she's not particularly fond of men. Once again, though, life is not turning out how she expected.

While Aspen and Miles traverse single parenthood together, there's no denying the chemistry between them. She can't figure out how her charming boss knows how to pierce the protective layers of her heart, and it's driving her mad. Mad with desire that is. Miles, too, is finding it hard to resist the reserved beauty who brilliantly takes care of his nephew and him. But with both their tentative hearts on the line, can they risk taking a chance on each other? Which will win? Love or the contract?
My Review: 5 Stars

The biggest reason why I like to read is to escape and wowza! this story was a delicious escape from my insanely stressful week. Aspen's life hasn't gone according to her plans and that right there caught me. My life hasn't been a walk in the park lately and I get so uptight about it, but watching how Aspen handled life gave me hope. Okay, so she's not real, but Jennifer Peel sure knows how to write realistic characters and I felt like I was learning a few lessons from a good friend through the course of her story.

Part of Aspen's problem stems from the lack of trust towards the male species. Enter Miles--the gorgeous, talented, famous Brit, who is also a man of many powerful words. In other words, her favorite author.   

In an epic battle of wit, chemistry, and swoon, Miles and Aspen navigate uncharted territory, with an odious contract hanging over their heads, and I happily immersed myself in their story for a time. Their relationship is like chocolate and peanut butter--smooth, rich, creamy, and totally meant to be together. Kudos to Ms. Peel for writing yet another fabulous swoony romance that resonated in my heart long after the last page was devoured.

Content: mild language; mild+ swoony romance (kissing, some innuendo)

Friday, August 2, 2019

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

A Smarter Version of Me by Cindy Ray Hale
Kindle Edition, 107 pages
Publication: August 1st 2019 by Amazon Digital Services LLC
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

https://amzn.to/2YkTy8O     https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47197948-a-smarter-version-of-me



Can she keep him, or will his ex steal him back?

I’m back to sneaking around with my boyfriend, Isaac.
It’s the worst.
But then my parents find out, and I have a new definition of “the worst.”
It’s time to stage a breakup.
But my plan backfires when Isaac’s ex is newly available.
Thanks to our fake breakup, she thinks he’s available, too.
Now she wants him back.
And I’m back to declaring my feelings of rejection onstage while Isaac sings love songs to his ex in our Les Miserables rehearsals.
Isaac swears he only has eyes for me. But I can’t dismiss the feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me otherwise.
Will I be able to overcome the fear threatening to tear us apart, or will I lose trust in Isaac forever?

A Smarter Version of Me is the fourth 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: 4.5 Stars

If you love drama, you'll love this next installment of The Destiny Clark Saga. Isaac and Destiny are officially boyfriend/girlfriend, but both sets of parents are completely against the relationship, which leads them to try and hide it.

Although they each fell hard and fast for each other, there are some misgivings and insecurities that plague the romance. I love how the author delves into each of their minds, bringing out their innermost feelings and desires, along with struggles, making this a very relatable and entertaining story.

As always, the ending is abrupt, but I know the next book will pick up exactly where this one leaves off and I can't wait to dive back into Destiny's teenage saga.

Content: mild romance (kissing, sneaking around, some light innuendo); moderate religion

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen {Review}



The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: August 6th 2019 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2SBPhwA   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40878706-the-lady-in-the-coppergate-tower
Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

 
My Review: 5 Stars

I've always loved fairy tales and the twists that Nancy Campbell Allen adds to them are phenomenal! Rapunzel, Steampunk style, had me on the edge of my seat. In fact, I couldn't put it down and read it all in one day.

Hazel is a healer, of sorts, and assists a cutting edge surgeon, Sam, with his work. I loved those medical aspects, as they really showed the teamwork and foundation necessary for a solid relationship. When Hazel leaves with her uncle to go find her sister, Sam and his automaton (bot), Eugene, tag along, despite fears and misgivings. 

The dark overtones complemented the complexity of this mysterious and dangerous tale and I was captivated with the imaginative elements, twists and turns, and fantastic characters (Eugene almost stole the show with his robotic sarcasm and wit). The secrets unraveled to reveal a wonderfully intense climax and I just couldn't get enough. Of course, I adored the budding romance, which only served to add to the deliciously satisfying layers of entertainment. This is definitely a story you won't want to miss!

Content: mild romance; mild+ violence/moments of peril 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Aftermath by Amy Matayo

Cover Reveal!!!





The Aftermath (A Love in Chaos Novel) by Amy Matayo
Coming...September 12, 2019

Pre-order your copy here!


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.

Monday, July 29, 2019

One Last Dance by Linda Weaver Clarke {Review}

One Last Dance by Linda Weaver Clarke
Kindle Edition, 195 pages
Published August 26th 2018 by Red Mountain Shadows Publishing 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given. 
 
 https://amzn.to/2LFbBVs    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41553887-one-last-dance
 
Felicity Brooks is a talented artist but her career is cut short when her father passes away. Realizing the importance of family, she travels home to care for her mother. When Felicity meets their new neighbor, a fine-looking bachelor, she soon discovers that he is hiding his true identity. Nicholas Adams is on a quest. But that is not all. When she finds out that someone is after a valuable heirloom…a precious treasure that her father discovered in his attic, her life takes a new turn.
 
My Review: 3.5 Stars
 
I loved the author's personal experience that gave this story its title and a pivotal point for the main character. Felicity moved back home to help her mother after her father's death and meets the new, slightly mysterious neighbor, Nicholas. 
 
This story takes place in the USA in the 1830s, but I had a hard time believing that at times, due to the language the characters used--it felt old fashioned, yet too modern for the era. However, I did enjoy the glimpses into history through Felicity's father's journal and was also fascinated by the cozy mystery that emerged. The romance was very mild and sweet, which was endearing and complementary to the gentle mystery. 
 
Felicity and Nicholas are great, witty, and strong characters, and the way their romance blossomed was soft and natural, but a lot of their connection is told, rather than shown, which is not my preference. It makes it harder for me to connect with a character when I'm not emotionally involved.
 
Overall, I did enjoy this story and loved the easy writing flow.

Content: very mild romance; very mild danger; mild religion

Friday, July 26, 2019

Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter {Review}

Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 1st 1988 by Indiana University Press (first published 1913)  
Source: Free on Kindle
 https://amzn.to/2lA0Jwn    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/823516.Laddie
Loosely based on Stratton-Porter's own childhood, Laddie is a double tale -- the classic poor-boy/rich-girl romance and the story of a child of nature and her idyllic childhood.
My Review: 4 Stars

I love the type of story that makes me long for the simpler times, aka my childhood. The narrator (Little Sister) is sweet, precocious, adventurous, and very imaginative. I really enjoyed the way she found things to entertain herself, the way she made friends, and the way she absolutely adored her older brother, Laddie. 

As stated in the blurb, this story is a double tale and the romance is sweet. This story has all the feel-goods and each chapter is a mini story in itself. I enjoyed my time spent within the pages of this endearing and charming book.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Simply Starstruck by Aspen Hadley {Review}

Simply Starstruck by Aspen Hadley
Kindle Edition, 252 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Cedar Fort, Inc. 
Source: Kindle Unlimited
 https://amzn.to/2LCuh8x    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40644703-simply-starstruck
It’s been two years since Kate Evans unexpectedly lost her husband and one year since her aunt Cassandra stepped in and moved Kate and her son back to Colorado to start a new life.
 
Just when Kate is starting to get comfortable in her new reality, three very different men enter her life. Alec is young, easygoing, and up for anything. Nate is a divorced dad who is steady, reliable, and everything Kate should want. Jess is quite literally the boy next door, not to mention a real-life movie star straight from every girl’s dreams.
 
Is she really ready to jump into the dating scene again? Or does she stay in the same safe place free from heartache? In between braving water slides to cheating at croquet, Kate is forced to confront things she’d rather leave buried, along with the possibility of a new love that is exactly what she needs.
My Review: 4.5 Stars

Imagine struggling to get back on your feet after the loss of your husband and discovering that a movie star is moving in next door. That's just what happens to Kate. I enjoyed watching her find herself again after her devastating loss, through a series of dating relationships and self-evaluations. 

Kate is the type of character that I want to mother. Luckily, she has her aunt and her aunt's help/friend to get her back on her feet again. She's endured so many losses and in the process, as lost who she is. She's a slightly snarky and hilarious character, with two left feet and a penchant for sweats, but underneath all that is a real treasure.

Her dating experiences were fun, and somewhat cringe-worthy, but the icing on the cake is Jess. He's everything from every girl's dreams all wrapped up in a Hollywood persona. It's a fun story to read because the emotions are real and the characters are well-written, and when you add that to humor and romance, it's a recipe for a winner.

Content: mild romance