Friday, February 28, 2020

The Dear Wife (More Than a Wife #3) by Jennifer Peel {Review}

The Dear Wife (More Than a Wife #3) by Jennifer Peel
Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published February 12th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.   
She’s been holding on for dear life, now she must learn to let go.

Marathon runner and quintessential wife and mother Avery Decker appears to have it all together. But don’t let her smile fool you. Since the death of her daughter four years ago, she’s been trying to fake her way through life.

So far, it hasn’t worked out so well.

Avery is overwhelmed not only with the grief of losing her daughter, but with the fear that she’ll lose someone else she loves—her husband James. This time not to death, but to the secret demons he’s been using to cope with the loss of their little girl. Day after day she’s been privately battling to save him and their marriage, but it’s only left her exhausted and lonely. Tired of pretending, she turns to the strongest women she knows. Together they help her face the truth and realize that the only person she can save is herself. But will it cost her the person she loves the most? Or will James remember who he is and hold on to the person he holds most dear?

Content warning: This book contains sensitive subject matters including pornography addiction and the loss of a child.  
My Review: 5 Stars
Some couples seem to be perfect, but there's the key word--seems. No one is ideal and everyone has their demons to face and battles to wage--even fictional characters. Jennifer Peel manages to peel the layers back and exposed the real and raw pain and hurt that secrets can cause, allowing for a deep reader connection with these realistic protagonists.
It's not a secret that I HATE to cry, but this book turned me into a blubbering pile of goo...and more than once. Although there are some heavy and sensitive topics within these pages, I felt the glimmering threads of hope streaming throughout. I had no idea how this story would end, but I had a strong desire to see it conclude how I wanted it to. Alas, life doesn't always go as we would like or how we would plan, but how God sees fit. 
My whole world revolved around this book and these characters from start to finish and Peel tackles these tough issues in a tactfully refreshing way. I feel like a better person for reading this book and would like to think that my compassion for others has expanded because of it. This story was worth every tear in my eye, sniffle sniffed, and crack in my heart. While this may not be a book for everyone, and especially not for younger readers, I would highly recommend it.
Content: moderate romance/sexual elements (no sex, but innuendo and talk of porn, affairs, vague talk of sex--no details); moderate language; moderate religion elements; loss of a child

Thursday, February 27, 2020

To Love Every Season by Stacy Henrie {Blog Tour Review and Giveaway}

To Love Every Season (A Romance Collection) by Stacy Henrie

ebook, 250 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

Her Winter Suitor
If Callie doesn’t attract the interest of a suitor by the Patriarch Ball, she’ll be shipped off to England to find a husband. Unwilling to let that happen, Leo, the son of Callie’s favorite chocolatier, volunteers to pretend to be her secret admirer. In return, Callie will ensure his family’s shop provides chocolate favors for the ball—in hopes of keeping the shop from closing. But when their arrangement deepens into real feelings, the two must decide if a humble maker of chocolate and a wealthy heiress can find more than temporary happiness together.

An Unlikely Spring Courtship
Tempest and Bram are both eager to have the most successful mercantile in town. But there are only enough customers to support one store, and neither Tempest or Bram are willing to concede defeat. In spite of their initial competition, the two can’t help but admire the tenacity of the other and eventually they form a bond of friendship. When disaster strikes the town, the pair will have to choose what matters most—success in business or in following one’s heart.

A Summer for Love
When circumstances thwarted their young love, Wyatt and Loralee promised to meet in eight years if neither of them had found someone. This time Loralee isn’t returning to the beach resort as a lowly hotel maid, though—she’s become a renowned singer, performing across the country. Wyatt’s situation has also changed. He’s become a father to his orphaned niece and wishes to provide her with a stable home. But when Wyatt and Loralee see each other again, they begin to wonder if their love hasn’t lessened with time but has deepened instead into something lasting.

Romance in Autumn

Once the daughter of a servant, Phoebe is now an heiress with enough funds to provide herself and her mother with a home of their own. And she knows exactly which house she wants to buy—the mansion at the seaside where she and her mother once worked in the summers. However, James, the son of their former employer, has been tasked to sell the mansion at auction for a price much higher than Phoebe can likely afford. Still hopeful, she volunteers to help James return the neglected mansion to its former glory, and the two become good friends. Yet as the auction draws nearer, they will need to determine which dreams are worth pursuing and which are worth changing.

A Long Winter Kiss
Once the best of friends, with the promise of being something more, Samantha and Rex have seen little of each other since Rex returned home from the war. Samantha is still hurt over Rex eventually asking her not to write him anymore while he was away, and Rex is certain Samantha doesn’t deserve to be with a man who bears the emotional scars of a soldier. However, the two of them are thrown together again when Samantha’s father is unable to deliver his annual Christmas Eve gifts. As Samantha and Rex perform the task, the walls between them start to crumble, making them both hope in the miracles of the season.
My Review: 5 Stars
It's true that I complain about winter--it really isn't my favorite season because I despise being cold and the long, dark nights. However, I really do enjoy living in a place that has different seasons because there are reasons to celebrate each and every one (yes, even winter). I adored this collection by Stacy Henrie for those very reason--any season is a good season for falling in love and there's something to be found within each one. Each of these novellas does a great job of detailing a sweet, tender union, while embracing the season and transporting the reader right into the story. As with all novellas, these offerings are short, yet Henrie manages to fully develop the characters and plots, earning this collection a spot in my heart.
Content: very mild romance; mild+ Christian religious elements 

Tour schedule To Every Love a Season

Feb 24: Heidi Reads / The Bibliophile Files
Feb 25: Empower Moms
Feb 26: Literary Time Out / Wishful Endings
Feb 27: Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Feb 28: My Book a Day / Peggy Urry


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

A USA TODAY bestselling author, Stacy Henrie graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in public relations. Not long after, she switched from writing press releases and newsletters to writing inspirational historical romances. Born and raised in the West, where she currently resides with her family, she enjoys reading, road trips, interior decorating, chocolate, and most of all, laughing with her husband and kids. Her books include HOPE AT DAWN, a 2015 RITA Award finalist for excellence in romance.

One Summer Day by Heather B. Moore {Blog Tour Review}

One Summer Day (A Prosperity Ranch Novel) by Heather B. Moore
Kindle Edition, 166 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
She’s desperate to start over. He represents the past she wants to leave behind. But falling in love is never about logic.

USA Today bestselling author Heather B. Moore welcomes you to Prosperity Ranch!

Macie’s divorce has left her at rock-bottom, and she uproots everything and takes her young daughter to visit Prosperity Ranch for the summer. Every kid deserves to know her grandparents, right? Macie hopes for some healing time, even if she is staying at her ex in-laws ranch. What she isn’t expecting is her ex-husband’s brother, Holt Prosper, to fit every ideal she’s ever hoped for in a man. 
My Review: 5 Stars
Some relationships are very tricky to navigate, but nothing seems as sticky as an attraction to your ex-husband's handsome brother. To clarify, Macie met Holt first, but suave and outgoing Knox stole her right from under his brother's nose. 
This author does a fantastic job of portraying the broken parts of Macie and her heart, as she struggles to give her young daughter, Ruby, a family support system, and in spite of the loyalties her child's grandmother shows towards her ex. There's a hazy mist of hope whirling throughout Macie's trials, but man, that woman is as tough as nails and willing to swallow her pride to do right by Ruby. 
I was kind of mad at Holt and Macie for trying to hide their true feelings at first, but given the complicated nature of the family dynamics, I could understand. And wowza! Those true feelings were quite explosive, so naturally, trying to hide dynamite doesn't last for long.  
I've decided that this author could write the phone book and I would love it. I'm looking forward to guzzling this new small-town Texas series.
Content: mild+ romance (kissing, swoony, implied cheating); mild language 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Note of Change (A Timeless Romance Anthology) by Esther B. Hatch, Nichole Van, and Annette Lyon {Review}

A Note of Change by Esther Hatch, Nichole Van, and Annette Lyon
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.'
Can a single note can change a life, start a romance, or drive two people apart?

Waiting for the Post by Esther Hatch
Now that Harrison Chase has finally made his fortune as a working man, he will risk it all to save his factory workers from starvation. In the middle of his charge to reverse the Corn Laws, his housekeeper helpfully mails a letter she finds languishing amongst his things. A six-year-old love letter. With no other choice, he rushes back to his childhood home on Christine Stone’s estate. If he can’t get his hands on that letter before she does, Christine will discover what a pitiful and pretentious fool he had been. The one thing he hadn’t counted on was the mail being delayed. Now Harrison must decide which is worse—waiting with Christine as he not-so-slowly falls back in love with her, or leaving, knowing once she reads his letter he can never return.

A Ring of Gold by Nichole Van
Viola Brodure longs for something more from her life. So when that something more arrives in the form of a letter from the renowned Highland Poet, Ethan Penn-Leith, she seizes her chance. After all, Mr. Penn-Leith merits every swoon-worthy adjective Viola can muster. What woman wouldn’t want to be in her shoes? But after journeying to Scotland and meeting the poet himself, Viola faces a difficult question: What happens if you don’t want the thing you thought you did?

A Rose by Any Other Name by Annette Lyon
As an orphan whose only home has been the Foundling Hospital, Rose is tasked to work in the fine houses of Bloomsbury. She knows her duty—take care of the family upstairs and never forget her place. But her traitorous heart won’t follow the rules, and she falls in love with Oliver Withey, a man far above her station. Though she feels like she’s found a home in Oliver’s arms, his mother has other plans for her oldest son—and marrying a servant isn’t one of them. She’ll do anything to keep Rose and Oliver apart, including making a devil’s bargain that ensures they’ll never see each other again. When a mysterious old woman appears, she seems to have answers to Rose’s past. Could those long-held secrets hold the key to the future with Oliver that Rose longs for?
My Review: 5 Stars
Ooh, notes are such a intriguing premise! Although I obviously didn't live in the Victorian age, handwritten messages take me back to my younger years, when friends would pass notes in class or secret love notes were discovered in random places, causing all kinds of elation. I love how each one of these stories is tied by a time period and a note of some kind, although each book is completely different, yet equally beloved and entertaining.
The collection starts out with a bang with a tale of a note mistakenly posted to a childhood crush and a mad rush to intercept it. My heart melted with the tenderness and sweet love found within these pages.
The reader is then treated to a delightfully charming story set in Scotland, where hearts are changed after notes are exchanged and true love is found.  
The wrap-up book is a forbidden love full of secrets, desire, and an undiscovered past, which played upon my emotions.
This set proves true to the Timeless Romance Collection in that it delivers reliably sweet and wholesome entertainment that is well worth the reading time.
Content: mild romance in each one 

Saving Grace by Jennifer Youngblood and Amelia C. Adams {Review}

Saving Grace (Jackson Hole Firefighter Romance #3) by Jennifer Youngblood and Amelia C. Adams
Kindle Edition, 155 pages
Published February 19th 2020 by Ditch Lily Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.   
He’s fire. She’s Ice. Sparks will fly, and her greatest source of irritation might just become her saving grace …

Ian Douglas is tired of being set up on blind dates. It seems that everyone wants to go out with a firefighter-paramedic, but no one wants to settle down and get serious. He's looking for something lasting, a woman who will be by his side for the rest of his life. Children, grandchildren, dogs running around in the yard—he wants the whole package, and he's not willing to settle for anything less.

Alicia Teague gave up on romance a long time ago. She's much more comfortable in her laboratory poring over her microscope. Science makes sense in a way people never will, and she appreciates the organization and logic of facts and figures. When her sister Tammy calls from Jackson Hole and tells her about a family emergency, she drops everything and flies out there—but she's less willing to comply with Tammy's second request, to go out with one of the guys from the nearby fire station.

He may be hunky and heroic, but who has time for yet another broken heart?

When Ian and Alicia meet, however, sparks begin to fly. Their chemistry is undeniable, but so is their annoyance with each other. They both want what's best for Tammy, but their goals are completely opposite. It's going to take a whole lot of conversation and compromise to bring this fire under control.
My Review: 4 Stars
There's something pretty exciting about a big, tough firefighter, especially when he can't seem to put out the sparks of romance, try as he might.
Ian is hesitant to be set up on yet another blind date, but when he catches a glimpse of Alicia, he's whipped. She feels the same connection, but feels they're too different to make things work, and that's exactly when hard work and effort, which these characters are no stranger to, comes into play.

It was a treat to watch the romance unfold in the midst of a traumatic situation, as well as the minor day-to-day of Ian's job. I love the Jackson Hole area and was delighted to be able to vividly picture the setting, which was an added bonus to this sweet romance. In fact, my husband and I spent many hours hiking around this area while we were busy falling in love, so I was definitely cheering Ian and Alicia on for the same fate.

As entrancing as this sweet romance was, I wanted just a tad more. I felt there were a few gaps in developing feelings and events, and while it was easy to piece together, obviously, I wanted to savor it. 

This was my first in this series and could definitely stand alone. And it won't be my last!

Content: mild romance; mild violence/peril

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Shoes by Yvette Cragun, Illustrated by Myra Romano {Blog Tour Review}

Follow the tour HERE.


Shoes by Yvette Cragun, Illustrated by Myra Romano
Paperback, 32 pages
Published January 20th 2020 by Pink Umbrella Books LLC
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Flip-flops for the beach, sassy flats for shopping or black heels for a night out on the town--Mom's closet has the perfect pair of shoes for any occasion. Playing dress-up for a while can be fun, but at the end of the day, one little girl learns that she doesn't need to be in a hurry to fill her mom's shoes.
My Review: 5 Stars
Shoes. I think it's safe to say that most little girls love shoes and each pair can drum up a vivid playtime, full of creativity and fun. These shoes can transport a girl to a myriad of settings and events, allowing for a fun-filled romp through the imagination. 
From the very first page, I was carried back in time to when I was a child and the worlds I created through shoes. I loved how each page introduced a new type of shoe with a rhyme that relates to the way this young girl feels when she wears each pair. Of course, they're her mother's shoes, and while each has a purpose, she realizes when she wants to be herself and to be carefree and young, she doesn't need them--at least, not quite yet.
This is an enjoyable read for anyone who loves shoes.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Best Friends with a Royal Billionaire by Sophia Summers {Review}

Best Friends with a Royal Billionaire by Sophia Summers
Kindle Edition, 106 pages
Published February 10th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Being the Prince's best friend had its perks. Being his Gardener did not.

Prince Arlo just wants to date and marry Amara, but she pushes him away every time he tries. She knows what the press would say. She's already seen what his parents think about the match.

They agree to spend a month of the summer together at the annual prince's yacht party, anchored on a sand bar in the Mediterranean but everything becomes that much more complicated when a family of royals show up, with the daughter Arlo is expected to date. But everything comes to a stand still when the hurricane of the decade slams into Arlo and Amara's home country.

Will Arlo's parents finally see that Amara is the perfect queen for their country? Will Amara herself accept that fact?

Read this third book of friendship, loyalty and service as two best friends find their way into love.

Get to know more of the men in the royal prince society, the perks of the wealthy, their games as royals, and their adventures on the Mediterranean.
My Review: 4 Stars 
Mingling with a bunch of royals on a yacht with a storm brewing sounds like the perfect way for Amara to spend her summer break, especially when Prince Arlo, her best friend, extends her a personal invitation. 
I've always had a fascination with royals and I love reading a story about one who seems so normal. I kept picturing Harry and Meghan, although Arlo and Amara don't resemble them at all in my mind. They just seem like that type of couple--very much into volunteering and service, kind, humble, down-to-earth, and definitely in the spotlight.

I enjoyed spending time with these characters and absolutely loved the setting. There were a few unexpected twists and turns that kept me entertained, but I would have loved for the story to be longer, adding more detail to a few parts.

I haven't read the others in this series and felt that this one could stand alone. This easy, breezy romance was a delicious escape for a cold, wintry day!

Content: mild romance; mild moments of peril