Friday, October 30, 2020

Her Movie Star's Secret Plan {Maple Creek Brides #2) by Cindy Ray Hale


Her Movie Star's Secret Plan (Maple Creek Brides Sweet Romance #2) by Cindy Ray Hale

Kindle Edition
Publication: October 30th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given 

He has enough charm for Hollywood, but she’s not impressed. Can he win this baker’s heart?

Bakery owner Alexis Remington has had a crush on Owen Hadley since before he was a world-famous actor. When she finds out he’s going to be the best man in the wedding where she’s the maid of honor, she feels incredibly nervous. But her anxiety quickly turns to anger when she realizes her old crush is cutting into her bakery’s much-needed revenue with the competition he’s created by opening a restaurant with a pastry chef.

When movie star Owen Hadley returns to Maple Creek to be in his best friend’s high-profile celebrity wedding, he decides it time to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening a restaurant. And where better than in his hometown? What he wasn’t counting on was the beautiful maid of honor blaming him for her bakery’s demise. When he realizes he can’t charm himself out of this situation, he learns that the only way to thaw her heart is to take the mask off. But is it too late?

If you enjoy sweet romance set in a small town with swoony moments, then you’ll love this book!

My Review: 4 Stars

I love Maple Creek and I'm enjoying getting to know the different characters better through their individual stories. Alexis and Owen have known each other forever, but since he's become a big shot actor, there hasn't been much interaction. I love how the starstruck wonder wore off quickly as Alexis realized that deep down, Owen is still Owen. I also enjoyed the common goal these two shared with their dreams of running food-related businesses. And honestly, I was quite hungry after reading about a lot of their creations and offerings.

I always wanted a protective older brother and loved the way Chase was so over-the-top with his baby sister and best friend. Owen is the sweetest man alive and Alexis drove me batty with her waffling between allowing herself to feel and her determination to doom the relationship. There wasn't a lot of compromise and the tug-of-war between "I love you" and "I hate you" was strong, but the attraction was undeniable and ultimately, this sweet story won a well-deserved spot in my heart.

Content: mild romance

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Voyage (The Kingdom Chronicles #6) by Camille Peters {Review}

Voyage (The Kingdom Chronicles #6) by Camille Peters

ebook, 354 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Rosewood Publications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given 

Princess Seren has always expected her life to be one of duty and order, and her upcoming marriage alliance is no exception: she’ll sail to Bytamia to marry the crown prince as expected. But what she doesn’t expect is for the voyage to her new life to be delayed by the whims of an enchanted map and an adventure to a mystical island rumored to contain a legendary treasure.

She especially doesn’t expect—nor does she appreciate—the unwanted attentions of the charming yet infuriating captain who seems determined to befriend her and also possesses the uncanny ability to see beyond the mask she's always shown the world. Seren feels her careful control rapidly slipping away as the captain breaks down her defenses one by one, forcing her to face her fears and vulnerabilities and causing her to experience feelings she’s never felt before.

But this voyage will soon involve more than ships, treasure, and a far-too-endearing and persistent captain; it will also lead Seren on a journey that will allow her to heal, discovering both her own true worth and the greatest treasure of all: love. But is love even possible with the duty Seren must perform, a duty that just may be her last chance to redeem herself?

Inspired by King Thrushbeard

My Review: 4 Stars
I've never heard of the fairy tale King Thrushbeard but that didn't make this tale any less interesting and entertaining. A romance on the high seas with a beautiful princess on a journey to marry the man betrothed her makes for a satisfying story.
Honestly, Seren, aka the Dragon Princess, wasn't a character I looked forward to reading about. She was cold in the other books, but that right there should have warned me. Everyone has a story and when examined on a deeper level, usually has good reasons for such behavior and it was a treat to discover who Seren really was. As for Captain Ronan--he was one of my favorites!

Peters does a good job with attention to detail, but also in crafting a story full of adventure, romance, and growth. This series is fun to read and the covers are delicious as the chronicles within.

Content: mild romance; mild adventure

Monday, October 26, 2020

In Name Only (Pine Falls #2) by Jennifer Peel {Review}

In Name Only (Pine Falls #2) by Jennifer Peel

Kindle Edition
Publication: October 26th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given


He gave his name to protect her. All she wanted was his heart. 

Dani Kramer used to think growing up in foster homes was the most difficult thing she would ever have to do until all her dreams come true. Married to the love of her life, Dr. Brock Holland, and running a foundation that specializes in finding jobs for kids out of foster care, Dani seems to have it all. What no one knows is that it could all go away tomorrow if anyone finds out about the precious secret she carries.

For Brock Holland, military doctor, life has always been about duty to his career and country. But when he's captured during a joint allied training mission, thoughts of Dani, his best friend, the woman he's tried for years not to fall in love with, help him not only survive but reevaluate his priorities. However, when he returns home, he finds Dani is pregnant. In a cruel twist, duty calls again. He must marry Dani to save her from becoming a political pawn in a dangerous game she didn't know she had signed up to play. 

But who will protect Dani's and Brock's hearts from each other? Or will they discover their marriage is more than only sharing a last name?

Content warning: This book contains sensitive material related to PTSD, brief military violence, and pregnancy. For more detailed descriptions that include spoiler alerts see the authors blog on her website.



My Review: 5 Stars

I always wonder what I would do in given situations and it's hard to know until I'm actually in them. I could see both sides to these heartbreaking circumstances and I still don't know what I could do, even though I was treated to a front row seat in this emotionally charged novel that took me through all the feels.

Peel is a master at drawing the reader right into the book, and this one was no exception. As always, she does a fantastic job of creating characters to care about. They become realistic and friend-like, and I was beyond emotionally invested in this story, even though I had my feelings jerked all over the place. I personally know someone who went through a snippet of what Brock and Dani did and while shattered trust is tragic, I loved that Peel sprinkled glimmers of hope throughout. 

In this modern twist of a marriage of convenience, Brock and Dani shine in their individual and joint journeys towards healing and wholeness. I loved these characters and enjoyed watching them grow and become strong in their convictions and relationships. 

Content: moderate romance; moderate language; moderate triggers (see above)

Friday, October 23, 2020

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie {Review}

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 3rd 2004 by St. Martin's Press (first published November 6th 1939)  
First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:

"Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little boys traveling in Devon; One said he'd stay there then there were seven. Seven little boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in half and then there were six. Six little boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four. Four little boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two. Two little boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one. One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none."

When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.
My Review: 5 Stars
A creepy murder mystery was just what I craved around this Halloween season. A group of people were invited to an island where they ended dying, following the pattern of an old children's poem. I enjoyed watching this mystery unfold, especially as the characters tried to deduce who the culprit was behind these deaths. 
It was interesting to me that someone would die and the rest of the group would carry on as normal after laying the body in his or her room. I love trying to guess who-done-it, and this one was really fun to question. The characters each have secrets from their pasts, skeletons in their closets, and that makes it even more interesting. 
I thought the plot was well done and the story was well written, moving along at a good pace, but delivered pertinent information. 
Content: mild+ violence (deaths, non-graphic) 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Holiday Affair (Holiday Harbor Book 1) by Michele Paige Holmes {Review}


A Holiday Affair (Holiday Harbor Book 1) by Michele Paige Holmes

Kindle Edition, 227 pages
Published November 15th 2019 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
Welcome to Holiday, Alabama—population 765. In Holiday everyone knows their neighbors—and their business—a Mr. Roger’s look alike leads the local congregation Sunday mornings, and Annabelle, Breanna, and Carson have been best friends for over two decades.

On the eve of Anna and Carson’s wedding, Bree shares a secret and she and Carson embark on a journey that will break hearts and rock the town, where the biggest news is usually the size of the trout pulled from the harbor.

But the force of the river running through Holiday is nothing compared to that of its citizens, whether they’re holding a grudge, or standing behind someone. With both hearts and lives on the line, Breanna and Carson’s love story becomes a true Holiday affair.

My Review: 5 Stars
I'm a sucker for a sweet small town romance and I was captivated, in both good and bad ways, by this story. This read won't be for everyone, as there are triggers for some and difficult content. Small towns can be sticky--everyone knows everyone's business and scandals become a fodder for gossip and grudges, yet they can also be the glue that supports a person in hard times, as is evident in many ways throughout this tale.
Anna, Carson, and Bree have been best friends forever and their life-long friendship is challenged by an unforeseen event, throwing these three into the most difficult trials they've yet to face. This story is full of angst, hope, redemption, and forgiveness, and I was completely immersed in the happenings. I admired the dedication and loyalty to the choices and decisions that were made and could feel the hope and pain of these characters. I kept wondering what I would do and this story, although fictional, forced me to consider how I treat others--do I unfairly judge without truly knowing the hearts and intents of others? 

Content: moderate romance (innuendo, kissing); moderate religion

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Christmas Waltz by Josi S. Kilpack {Review}

 A Christmas Waltz by Josi S. Kilpack

ebook, 130 pages

Publication: November 9th 2020 by Mirror Press 

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

One dance, once a year.

This defines Marta and David’s friendship from the moment they first meet at the Yuletide Ball. Now, dancing the annual Christmas Waltz is a tradition between the pair in which they agree to tell each other the truth about their lives. Over the years that follow, their lives take different directions, wrong turns, and heartbreaking spirals, but they never miss their chance to reconnect and encourage one another to live their best lives, even if they can’t live them side by side. 



My Review: 5 Stars

A Christmas Waltz wasn't set up in a way that I was expecting, yet that's what made it all the more sweet. Marta and David dance the Christmas waltz at the annual Yuletide Ball each year, and that single interaction is all they have. One dance, once a year, over the course of several years. Through that sole dance, a deep connection and friendship emerges, as these characters go through the ups and downs of life--apart.

David is an "older" gentleman, while Marta is just 16 when the story begins and the character growth, on both parts, is endearing. Although it might seem inappropriate for them to continue dancing throughout the years, that waltz had me, heart and soul and I eagerly looked forward to it. In a slightly melancholic manner, I was drawn in and tangled up in the unforeseen events. This story, from start to finish, was unanticipated, but was very well written.

If you're looking for a sweet Christmas Regency romance without all the fluff, consider this one, as its depth hit the spot.

Content: mild romance

Monday, October 19, 2020

Marrying Miss Kringle: Stella by Lucy McConnell {Review}


Kindle Edition
Published October 12th 2020 by Orchard View Publishing LLC 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
Christmas Magic is up to no good in this holiday romance about Santa’s daughter’s quest to find true love before Christmas.

Stella is the last “Single Kringle.”

Which means it’s up to her to save Christmas.

The trouble is...

The one man who makes her heart merry and bright—turned her down under the mistletoe.

Pastor Kristopher Willis performed the wedding ceremonies for all four Kringle sisters. He believes in Santa. He’s flown in a sleigh. But he doesn’t understand the true meaning of Christmas. He messed up with Stella last Christmas Eve and has no idea how to make things right.

The longer it takes for Stella to fall in love, the less Christmas cheer in the world. You don’t want to be around a grumpy elf during the holiday rush, and crowded department stores are a nightmare.

Can Santa’s Naughty-List daughter do the right thing this holiday season?

Find out in the 5th book of the Marrying Miss Kringle series.
My Review: 4 Stars
I'm always intrigued by Christmas magic and this story is full of rainbows, unicorns, and all the magic that surrounds one of the most beloved holidays.   
Stella's exuberant personality shines in her quest to be married in just weeks, in order to save Christmas. Although she has a lot of challenges going against her--such as naughty reindeer, orphaned children, a pastor who doesn't understand and truly believe--her strength and tenacity thrive, leading her into new and unexpected situations, but ultimately helping her achieve her dreams. 
Although things don't go according to plan, there is a definite cheerfulness that permeates these pages and casts a glittery, happy spell over this story. I enjoyed the cast of characters and their interesting adventures. 
Content: mild romance 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Don't Forget Me (Ridgewater High #2) by Judy Corry {Review}

Don't Forget Me (Ridgewater High #2) by Judy Corry

Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published October 25th 2017 
Source: Audiobook
Eliana Costa has never kissed a guy. Her best guy friend, Jess, is more than willing to help her out. He has plenty of experience, since he finds a new girlfriend every other week. But when a practice kiss brings on feelings Eliana hadn't bargained for, her already messy life is thrown into a new level of chaos. 

Life is already more than she can handle after her dad's disappearance. Eliana worries that if she admits her feelings to Jess, she just might lose her best friend. And right now, a best friend is all she needs. But when another girl tries to date Jess, Eliana is forced to decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.

Don't Forget Me is a standalone novel in The Ridgewater High series, a collection of simmering YA contemporary romances. If you like sweet romance with ballad-worthy chemistry, and endearing characters then you'll love Judy Corry's latest romance series.

My Review: 4 Stars 

This series has rooted itself in a place in my heart and although I read the books out of order, they were each so good with a depth that always surprised me. In this story, Eliana and Jess are best friends who deal with a lot of blows to their long relationship, causing it to capsize in the storm of life. Eliana, especially, has a lot to deal with, as her personal life has blown up, changing everything she's known, yet she still remains the sweet, loyal, and kind person she's always been.

Honestly, Jess was pretty much a jerk for most of the book, allowing misunderstandings and pride to cloud his view. I was so worked up over him and it forced me to realize just how good of an author Ms. Corry is to evoke those strong emotions in me.

The relationships are complicated and tightly woven together in a tangled up ball of yarn, making it difficult, but not impossible, to unravel and I enjoyed the process. I love how these young adult stories have substance to them, yet aren't whiny and too angsty.

Content: mild romance; alcohol abuse, very mild physical abuse and neglect

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Billionaire's (Not So) Fake Engagement by Kimberly Krey {Review}


The Billionaire's (Not So) Fake Engagement (Benton Brothers #5) by Kimberly Krey

Kindle Edition
Publication: October 15th 2020
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given


One little nod.

Just one simple nod under pressure and Burke found himself fake-engaged to a gorgeous country girl who needed a lift.

She cries about cats dying that aren't even hers.
She turns old furniture into beautiful pieces of art.
And she tells her aging grandpa that she's engaged so he'll stop hooking her up with odd guys who come through town.

The crazy thing is, Burke might actually be falling in love with her. 

My Review: 5 Stars

The cap on the Benton Brothers series has been placed and it's perfection! Burke is the half brother of the famous family and their acceptance of him is heartening, but what really grasped my heart was unique Justine and the way she lives in the moment and seizes the day, which was apparent from their very first encounter. This meet-cute had me laughing out loud, and things only got better from there. 

This fake engagement story set in a small town settled right into my heart--I laughed, I swooned, and even teared up. Both of these characters just want to find their place in life, and to love and be loved. Although their relationship was build on lies, omissions, and half-truths, the intent was pure and I couldn't get enough of the humor and swoon as this sweet story developed.

Ms. Krey does a great job of finalizing this series, tying it all together, while allowing this installment to stand alone. I love her ability to write a romance that's "clean without losing the steam" as these are my favorite kinds of love stories. I loved everything about this one!

Content: mild romance

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

One Singing Bachelorette by Jennifer Youngblood {Review}

 One Singing Bachelorette (A Romeo Family Romance) by Jennifer Youngblood

Kindle Edition
Published October 1st 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
The Romeo Family Romance Series continues with Lexi Romeo’s story. This one is a crossover with the popular O'Brien family romance series.

It's not easy being a cousin to the illustrious Romeos and having to walk in their shadows. However, Lexi Romeo is holding her own. She's determined to make it as a singer and songwriter. A chance to become one of the hopeful bachelorettes on a TV reality series might just be her ticket to fame. However, one look into Asher O'Brien's piercing blue eyes, and her world is rocked ...

My Review: 4.5 Stars
This is such a great family saga and it's no secret that I love a good reality TV type of story. What's extra fun about this one is that it's not only about finding love, it's about music.

Lexi definitely has talent and when a last minute spot opens up on the show, she manages to snag it with her family connections. It can't be easy being kind to catty women, but Lexi is such a sweet soul and manages to steal the show with this story. I was drooling over her culinary creations, cheering her on in love, and longing to hear her voice singing her songs. Bachelor Asher was completely dreamy and I loved how gentlemanly he was towards this cast of women and enjoyed watching all interactions unfold.

Although drama is expected in this type of story line, I was caught off guard by some of the happenings. I loved it, I hate it, I just couldn't look away, and I definitely wanted a few more romantic and emotional interactions. My world was rocked by this sweet and entertaining story.

Content: mild+ romance (kissing, near rape); mild religion

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

My Second Chance (Ridgewater High #4) by Judy Corry {Review}


My Second Chance (Ridgewater High #4) by Judy Corry

Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published October 12th 2018 
They broke the rules. He broke her heart. Does their love deserve a second chance?

Sixteen-year-old Juliette Cardini has been keeping a secret for months. Before she went to her semester abroad in Paris, she dated her best friend's older brother, Easton Stevens. What had started as a whirlwind romance filled with forbidden meetings, came to a crashing halt when they crossed a line together that neither of them could return from.

Now she's back in Ridgewater and has to face everyone she left behind. But there's one more secret she is afraid for anyone to discover. She's pregnant. And Easton is the father.

But she has a plan: go to her grandma's house in Buffalo for the next few months. Keep the baby a secret. No one will ever have to know. But when Juliette sees signs that Easton might want a second chance, she wonders if keeping everything to herself is the best choice.

Can a relationship built on such a rocky foundation have a chance at a happy ending? And what will Easton do if Juliette's secret comes out?

MY SECOND CHANCE is a standalone novel in The Ridgewater High series, a collection of simmering YA contemporary romances. If you like sweet romance with ballad-worthy chemistry, swoony kisses and endearing characters then you'll love Judy Corry's latest book.

**This is a clean romance with a positive message.
My Review: 4.5 Stars
This was a hard book for me to rate. On one hand, I absolutely loved it and the message it sent, but on the other hand, it was a tough topic to read about (or listen to, in my case). After listening to Book 1 in the series, I grabbed the others and this was the next one in line. I listened to the whole thing in less than a day because I just couldn't let it go. In some ways, it was like passing a car accident, all messy and concerning, but in other ways, it simply had a strong grasp on my emotions that just wouldn't release. I couldn't fathom what Juliette and Easton were going through and I could not imagine how things could possible resolve. I was more than invested in their lives for a time and I'm not mad about it.
Everyone makes mistakes in their lives--some just have more lasting consequences than others. The positive messages and vibes in this book were so encouraging, especially with the romantic tension oozing off the pages. One accident doesn't mean the game is over and lessons can be learned moving forward. I utterly loved these characters!

Corry does a fantastic job of tackling a modern, sensitive topic and portraying some pretty accurate emotions and reactions. Juliette and Easton are fantastic characters and I was riveted to their story.  
Content: moderate romance (kissing, teen pregnancy) 

Monday, October 12, 2020

It Was Always You (Ridgewater High #3) by Judy Corry {Review}

 It Was Always You (Ridgewater High #3) by Judy Corry

Kindle Edition, 292 pages
Published July 6th 2018 
Source: Audiobook
What’s the first rule when pretending to date your brother’s best friend? Don’t let feelings get involved.

Sixteen-year-old Lexi Stevens has never been kissed—never even been asked on a date. So when she humiliates herself in front of her crush and her brother’s best friend offers to be her fake boyfriend for the week to make her crush jealous, she doesn’t know if it’s the stupidest idea ever, or a dream come true.

When Noah Taylor’s abusive stepdad kicks him out of the house, the last thing he needs is for anyone at school to find out—not even his best friend. But when his new “girlfriend” discovers he’s homeless and lets him sleep in her closet, he starts to wonder if he’s found someone he can confide in after all.

Soon Noah and Lexi are putting on a big show in front of the whole school while sneaking around behind her overprotective father’s back. It isn’t long before feelings develop, and it becomes harder and harder to discern between what’s fake and what’s real.

My Review: 4 Stars
This series has surprised me. I haven't read it in order and believe each installment can stand alone, yet there is a depth to the characters that can't be understood without delving into each story. Noah was a big, fat jerk in Book 1, but realizing his situation redeemed him. Why the surprise? I feel like most high school teen romances are fluffy and superficially deal with drama and angst, but this series digs deep into sensitive modern-day issues, and because of that, an unexpected depth is delivered.
Noah and Lexi began with a mutually beneficial fake relationship, but things quickly take unforeseen twists and turns that convey all the feels. Abuse is one of the hard issues addressed and it was hard to read about that as a parent, yet was written about in a realistic and tactful way.
This opposites attract, brother's best friend, fake romance, young adult romance stuck with me for awhile. The romance is a little heavier than I prefer for a teen romance, but it's reality and in all honesty, kind of swoony. Corry does a great job of playing on the reader's emotions in this series. While each story is super cute, they're real, raw, and believable.

Content: abuse (not graphic); mild-moderate romance (talk of sex and waiting, some innuendo, steamy clean kissing, implied teen relations)

Meet Me There (Ridgewater High #1) by Judy Corry {Review}


Meet Me There (Ridgewater High #1) by Judy Corry

Kindle Edition, 266 pages
Published March 6th 2018

 A dark Chemistry lab. A fake British accent. It's all fun and games until somebody falls in love.

When sixteen-year-old, Ashlyn Brooks, runs into a sweet British guy in the dark Chemistry lab, she has no idea she's actually sitting in the pitch black room with her longtime rival, Luke Davenport. She also doesn't know that she's stepped into another one of the football captain's pranks. It isn't long before she's sharing things she's never told anyone, and starting to fall for the mysterious guy with a sexy accent who seems to understand her in a way no one ever has before.

When Luke's mom dies the summer before his senior year, he turns to pranking Ashlyn to keep his mind off his loss. But the more he gets to know her, the more he regrets using his fake British accent in the first place. Soon Luke is walking the thin line of keeping his lies a secret and wishing he could tell her that the boy she's falling for is really him.

Meet Me There is a standalone novel in The Ridgewater High series, a collection of simmering YA contemporary romances. If you like sweet romance with ballad-worthy chemistry, swoony kisses and endearing characters then you'll love Judy Corry's latest book.
My Review: 4 Stars
There's something so delicious about a secret identity romance and this one, set in a dark corner of a high school, was pure fun. Although I keep getting older, these teen romances will always hold a piece of my heart, catapulting me back to the good parts of my past.
Full of cuteness and fluff, I wasn't expecting the thick ribbon of depth that I found. I loved watching the story unravel, as the characters grew and matured. I loved feeling different emotions, without wading into too much angst, and the dancing scenes were an added bonus.

Content: mild romance (kisses); mild moments of seriousness (death, bullying, abuse, etc)

Friday, October 9, 2020

Standout Saints by Sierra Wilson {Review}


Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World by Sierra Wilson
Illustrated by Emily Shay Tueller

From prophets to pioneers, from songwriters to scientists, Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World presents the fascinating true stories of twenty women and twenty men from Church history. Each one-page biography describes impressive achievements and shares stories of great faith. Readers will encounter well-known and beloved Saints such as Joseph Smith and Eliza R. Snow along with lesser-known heroes from around the world such as Hu Wei-I, who miraculously translated the Book of Mormon into Chinese, and Mere Mete Whaanga, a prominent Maori woman who helped the Church spread into New Zealand. In addition, Standout Saints includes uplifting quotes, a Church history timeline, and resources for further study.

The courage and faith of these Saints made them stand out from the world, and this educational and inspiring book helps young readers know that they too can stand out.

My Review: 5 Stars

This book is a great way to introduce children (and adults) to some of interesting people in church history. I love how stories of all races and nationalities are included, and how inspiring each story and person is. I hadn't heard some of these stories before and found them fascinating. Each story is short and sweet, hitting the highlights of each person's personal tale. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Widows of Somerset by Rebecca Connolly, Jen Geigle Johnson, and Heather B. Moore {Review}


Widows of Somerset by Rebecca Connolly, Jen Geigle Johnson, and Heather B. Moore

Paperback, Timeless Regency Collection #15, 320 pages
Publication: October 6th 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given 


Rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows:
Rule 1: Be a widow.
Rule 2: Have an impeccable reputation.
Rule 3: Don't fall in love again.

AN HEIR TO SPARE by Rebecca Connolly
Widowhood has changed much for Anna—Lady Lyndham—but an unconventional heir to the estate was not something she had anticipated. Nor had she anticipated that he would have no intention of forcing her out, although he has every right to. And she certainly did not anticipate finding him handsome, charming, and unfailingly generous. But Ned Richards, the new Lord Lyndham, has a world of surprises in store for her, and not anticipating them will become quite the adventure.

As a widow, Lillian Hunter has never been in love and plans to never marry again, so the rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows suit her just fine. Her days are spent attempting to transform her newly inherited Lavender Cottage into a livable space until Oliver Wentworth shows up, asking for her late husband. Anxious to establish himself as a landed gentry in Somerset, Oliver is none too pleased to discover that a widow lives alone in a tiny run down cottage bordering his new property. The fact that she’s young and attractive only adds frustration to his sense of responsibility over her. And confound her, she challenges his every attempt to help manage her affairs.

Charlotte Ashford never thought she’d marry a vicar, and she never thought she’d find herself widowed with a young child to care for on her own. She certainly never thought she’d return to Somerset to live with her mother again, and Charlotte never thought she’d see him again. But Lord Wilshore has never forgotten her, and he has never forgotten their promise made long ago. Charlotte would love nothing more than for Lord Wilshore to forgive her, but too much heartache and too much time might make that impossible. Friendship is all she can hope for, but that hope may be dashed as well.
My Review: 5 Stars
I think a secret society for young ladies in the Regency time period would be so much fun--but not exactly under these circumstances. Each of these ladies is invited to join because she's a widow. I absolutely adored how different each story was, yet how they had a common thread of this society ran by Lady Joanna to connect them. And can I just say that Rule #3 is definitely meant to be broken.
Each story was charming in its own right. We're treated to watching Lady Joanna teach these women to understand finances and become independent, while watching each widow move on. In AN HEIR TO SPARE, Anna and Ned are awkwardly delightful in their dance of life and love. I almost felt evil for delighting in their discomfort.

THE WIDOW OF LAVENDER COTTAGE delivered a story of boundaries and two individuals determined to work hard and to be fair in all things. I loved the challenges that arose from their interactions.

And finally, the collection was capped with a tale of broken promises and a shared past.
A PROMISE FORGOTTEN was the icing on the cake with its threads of hope and forgiveness, mingled with newness and love.

This is a wonderful set for those who enjoy Regency romances and left me curious about the other women in the group. I hope there's a continuation.

Content: mild romance

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Billionaire Ghost Tour by Stephanie Fowers {Review}


Billionaire Ghost Tour (A Billionaire Bachelor Mountain Cove Novel) by Stephanie Fowers

Kindle Edition
Publication: October 7th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Who says opposites attract?

When Janson and Mollie get off on the wrong foot at the bachelor auction, the two never want to see each other again... except they sorta do. In fact neither of them can stop thinking about that night.

Mollie doesn’t know what’s wrong with her. Janson Styles tops her list of most arrogant men—with his wealth, good looks and a bad boy charm that gets him in trouble with the media (not to mention with her) so why isn’t she immune to his sultry smirks?

Janson can’t stop playing with fire. Of course, he's strong enough to withstand the fiery temptation of Mollie Sawyer—not only will he book a ghost tour with that molten hot redhead, but he’ll also bring a date! It doesn’t help that the moment he sees Mollie, he loses his head again.

Now they're both in for the night of their lives, fighting attraction and unexpected dangers, while everything that can possibly go wrong does—but in all the right ways. After all, can they really be such opposites when they fit so well in each other’s arms?

My Review: 5 Stars
I've dabbled in this series and love this quirky small town in Arkansas that's quickly becoming the home to a crew of billionaires. I'm a seasonal reader and I loved that Halloween plays such a big part in this community, since that holiday is coming up later this month. The whole town turns out for events such as zombie crawls and parades, and more and I was bewitched. 
Mollie is a bit bizarre, leading ghost tours for a living, and the walls she has up around her heart and soul are higher than New York City skyscrapers. Her first encounter with Janson, a half Brazilian billionaire, was highly entertaining, as they are complete opposites and the snark is high. But those cutting barbs quickly led to a fibril of attraction--be still my heart. The crazy danger that happened during Janson's personal ghost tour had the hairs standing up on my arms and the butterflies swarming in my stomach.

I loved the descriptions of the celebration, but most of all, I loved these characters and the fragments of their brokenness. The whole story was peculiar, in a good way, and I couldn't get enough of the swoon and action. Serious swoon with this one!

Content: mild+ romance (kissing, some light innuendo); mild+ moments of violence/danger

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen {Review}













Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

Paperback, 368 pages
Publication: October 6th 2020 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.

Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?
My Review: 5 Stars
I'm always up for a fairy tale retelling and I love the way this author brings these beloved stories into a steampunk world, allowing for a fresh twist on a classic. 
In this installment, a Cinderella format is followed, although the fantasy elements and steampunk ingredients add a strand of excitement and suspense to the romance. I absolutely adored spunky Emme and her dashing enemy, Oliver, and was drawn into the thrill of their adventure and romance. They're equally strong characters and it was a rush to watch them join forces to battle evil.
The twists and turns with this story was exhilarating and the pages flew by. Steampunk is such an interesting genre and I enjoyed the way it added quirky modifications to a historical time, giving it a unique feel. I've read this series from the story and I don't feel that this genre and series are exhausted yet.
Content: mild romance; mild+ moments of danger/violence