Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas in Snow Valley by Multiple Authors (see summary)

Christmas in Snow Valley by multiple authors, see summary.

Summary from Goodreads:
#1 Bestselling Christmas Fiction, Christmas in Snow Valley is packed with six wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring romance into your holiday season.

Snow Valley, Montana, is a small community with the tradition of doing Christmas big. Festivities begin with tree lighting in the town square the day after Thanksgiving and continue until the culminating romantic Christmas Ball. From the Polar Express to a Winter Carnival, there's something for every wonder-filled child--and every couple who's in love--or about to be.

An Unexpected Kiss by Amazon Top Seller Cindy Roland AndersonLucy Phillips doesn't want to spend her Christmas vacation dodging her ex-boyfriend, so when he turns up at the airport to give her a ride home, Lucy panics and asks a complete stranger to kiss her. Although the kiss is incredible, Lucy never expects to see the guy again. Is it bad luck or destiny when Lucy comes down with a sore throat and the new doctor in Snow Valley is none other than the guy she kissed at the airport?
Feels Like Love by Jeanette LewisChristmas in Snow Valley is the perfect way for April Winston to introduce her city slicker fiancé, Scott Mecham, to life on a farm. If only Wade Hadley, hometown boy and high school sweetheart, will cooperate! But Wade has no intention of letting April go without a fight. This Christmas, Wade is determined to overcome their painful past and show April that she already has what she's been seeking all along.

Full Court Devotion by Amazon Top Seller Cami CheckettsKazlyn is too busy with her schooling and future plans to enjoy life, let alone fall in love with a man who has heartbreak written all over him. Tyrese Hamilton, a college basketball star and major heartthrob, is intrigued when Kazlyn doesn't pursue him or even seem interested. Ty's career is in jeopardy, and he needs a miracle and Kazlyn to save him.

The Christmas Eve Kiss by Taylor HartMolly O'Hare gets the utterly ridiculous prediction that she will kiss her true love on Christmas Eve. But when she returns to Snow Valley and comes face to face with Kevin Snow, suddenly the kiss thing seems...a lot less ridiculous. Too bad the reason she left still has the power to make her deny her real feelings. Now Molly is left with a choice--forget the home town and the boy that she never quit loving or let Christmas work out a miracle all on its own.

Risking it all for Love by Award-Winning author, Kimberley MontpetitSuccumbing to family pressure, Jessica Mason reluctantly comes home for Christmas. Ever since her high school boyfriend's death from a car accident three years earlier, Jessica and religion have not been compatible. So, when she visits Michael's grave, she's surprised to meet the handsome James Douglas, Pastor John's nephew, who's studying for the ministry. James can not only dish back Jessica's finely-tuned sarcasm but understands grief all too well, turning Jessica's world upside down. Is she ready to take another risk on love?

Blue Christmas by Lucy McConnell
As head of Snow Valley hospital's fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn't have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She's been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.


Read December 2014

4 Stars (5 stars for some, 4 stars for some, 3 stars for some)

Ebook from Amazon

My Review:
This was a nice read during the holidays.  I enjoyed reading about this cute town, the characters, their experiences in "coming home" and celebrating the Christmas season.

I had 3 favorites.  Unexpected Kiss was the first story and it was my favorite out of all of them.  It was a great way to start off the book collection.  I also really liked Full Court Devotion.  It was not what I expected and it was refreshing to read.  Risking it all for Love was a sweet story that expressed the healing that can take place through the power of forgiveness.

All of these stories have a bit of religious content.  Some of them reference religion more than others, but for me they were not over the top.

Warnings: Some of the stories deal with more adult themes like accidental death.

I would let my 16 year old daughter read these if she were interested.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Favorite Reads of 2014

Dear Readers,

I have read a lot of books this year, over 60.  I have not blogged about many of them.  For some reason I haven't been motivated to blog this year.  However, here are some of the stand outs for me this year, in no particular order.

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letter Collection by Multiple Authors

Longing for Home: Hope Springs by Sarah M. Eden

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

As You Are by Sarah M. Eden

Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon

The Stranger She Married by Donna Hatch

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Falling for You by Krista Lynne Jensen


Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

The Husband Maker by Karey White



What are some of your favorites this year?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram

Summary from Goodreads:
It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.
 


Read November 2014

4 Stars

Received Free e-book for an honest review

My Review:
This is not what I would call a retelling of Cinderella, but it definitely has references to the fairy tale.  It is contemporary, it has a very current feel with the technology used in the story and the references to modern day popular themes.

I am struck with how Kelly Oram tackles difficult topics.  Her book, V is for Virgin, caused me to really think about some things in a different way, specifically one's sexuality.  In this book, Kelly Oram tackles personal recovery from a very serious accident.  The loss that the main character faces is huge.  Her struggles are at times hard to read about, but at the same time rewarding in seeing how she deals with and in some ways overcomes those challenges.


The romance in this book is complicated, but also sweet.  The two don't meet until later in the book so it is not so much about their physical relationship.  They develop their relationship through email and talking and it is refreshing to see a relationship in another way.  They also have fun banter which at times surprised me.  I will be honest, I'm not a fan of swearing.  The banter does have some swearing, but none of it was very bad.

The secondary characters are a big part of this book.  The relationships that Ella has with family and friends is really important in this book.  Between her new step family and the new school, Ella has a lot to adjust to.  These characters are vital in Ella's struggles and recovery.

My biggest complaint about the book is the cover.  I don't like it.  It doesn't do the book justice.  And sorry to the models, but in my opinion, they don't look like Cinder and Ella.  Oh well...Don't judge a book by its cover.

Warnings: Swearing, mild.  Character references multiple sexual relationships.


I would let my 16 year old read this book.  I would probably not allow my 13 year old to read it at this time.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Longing for Home: Hope Springs by Sarah M. Eden

Longing For Home: Hope Springs by Sarah M. Eden

Summary from Goodreads:
All is not well in Wyoming. Katie Macauley gave up her life-long dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, but her future has never been so uncertain. The town is more divided than ever, with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives.

Katie’s heart remains sharply divided between her love for playful Tavish and steady Joseph, a decision she feels ill-prepared to make. In the midst of the growing unrest, temperatures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter.

Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will it be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?


Read 2014

5 Stars

Library Book through Inter-Library Loan

My Review:
This is the second book in the Longing for Home series.  It is part of the Proper Romance line from Shadow Mountain Publishing which also included Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.

The story continues from the first book as Katie adjusts to the idea of staying in Hope Springs instead of returning to Ireland.  I like seeing Katie's relationships with the town grow.  I like seeing her be able to bridge some gaps that no one else is able to bridge, at her own expense.  She is truly a remarkable woman.

The romance in the book continues.  I like seeing how Katie discovers what is important to her and how that influences her relationships with the 2 men vying for her love.  

This is an emotional book.  I don't often read books that make me cry.  I admit that I read to escape and I like "happy" books.  I cry when I read this book.  There is long standing conflict between the two areas of town.  There are wounds that are extremely difficult to heal.  Reading these aspects of the book are rewarding and at the same time make me cry.  Luckily, Sarah M. Eden gives us hope in Hope Springs.  

Warnings: Conflict and injury between the town factions.  Nothing graphic.

I would let my 16 year old read this book.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells Collection

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells Collection
by Lucinda Brant, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Lu Ann Brobst Staheli, Annette Lyon and Becca Wilhite

Summary from Goodreads:
Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells. Readers will love this collection of six historical novellas, all centered around the Christmas season with one thing in common: Romance.

In NY Times & USA Today’s bestselling author Lucinda Brant’s delightful novella, FAIRY CHRISTMAS, Kitty Aldershot is orphaned and forced to live on others’ charity. Offered a home under the generous roof of her relatives, the Earl of Salt Hendon and his countess, Kitty wants for nothing, not even the affections of Mr. Tom Allenby. But when Kitty stumbles across a letter written by Lady Caroline that reveals how Mr. Allenby would be ruined should he marry the likes of Kitty, she realizes she has been fooling herself all along. Kitty’s world crumbles around her as she recognizes she will forever be alone with no prospects at all.

Sarah M. Eden’s charming romance novella A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, Sean Kirkpatrick is trying to get to his new place of employment, Kilkenny Castle, in order to start as the new stablehand. His only requirement is to drive a team of high-spirited nags from Dublin to Kilkenny in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately he winds up in a muddy field, stuck, lost, and running out of time. He’s about to lose the job before he can prove himself capable of finishing his first assignment. When Maeve Butler arrives on the scene, Sean isn’t sure if she’s intent on rescuing him or bent on torturing him with her fiery wit and lovely dark eyes.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, TWELVE MONTHS, Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watches over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. But over the course of the next few days, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

In Lu Ann Staheli’s sweet romance novella, A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS, Dick Wilkins and his best friend Ebenezer Scrooge have been looking forward to the annual Fezziwig Christmas dance for weeks. Ebenezer is practically engaged to Annabelle Fezziwig, and Dick hopes to start courting her younger sister, Pricilla. Once the dance starts, and Pricilla arrives, as pretty and charming as ever, Dick discovers that he’s not the only man vying for her attention. His best friend advises Dick that he has to win Pricilla’s heart, as well as her mother’s favor. Losing his heart has suddenly become very complicated.

A TASTE OF HOME, a captivating romance by Annette Lyon, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

Becca Wilhite’s entrancing novella, MY MODERN GIRL, follows Margie, who lands her dream job as a clerk at Macy’s department store in New York City. Margie might be new in town, but she’s determined to succeed and prove to Henry that moving to the city was the right decision. As the Christmas season approaches, Margie realizes that being a “modern girl” might not be all she had dreamed of and Henry might have more to offer than she ever imagined.
 


Read October 2014

4 Stars

Free ebook from author for an honest review

My Review:
Another anthology!  I love these anthologies.  Even though there is conflict, I always know there will be some sort of satisfying ending.  Sometimes I need to be swept away and know that everything will work out.  

This particular collection has nice conclusions.  However, I found the conflict in the stories more angsty than I usually find in the stories.  At times I wanted to get to the conclusion so that I would know everything would work out alright.  I don't usually have that feeling as I read the anthologies.  Even with that feeling, I still enjoyed this collection and would recommend it to those that like clean romance.

My favorites in this collection were A Christmas Promise and Twelve Months.  

Warnings: None

This is a clean read and my 16 year old would be able to read it.  However, the subject matter is a little grown up and I don't think she would enjoy it at this time in her life.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Summary from Goodreads:
One war.
Too many deadly battles.
Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seems unlikely?


War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya's throne?

Rousing and affecting, Jaron's adventures have thrilled and moved readers in The False Prince and The Runaway King. Journey once again with the Ascendant King of Carthya, as New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen brings his story to a stunning conclusion with The Shadow Throne.


Read April 2014

5 Stars

Library Book

My Review:
What a fantastic end to this fun trilogy!  If you enjoyed the other 2 books then you won't be disappointed with this one.  The story continues with the same feel as the other books.  Jaron is snarky, brave, makes mistakes, and fools you with what he is doing.  The secondary characters continue to develop and I enjoyed seeing them grow in their own ways, especially Roden.

This is a satisfying conclusion.  

Warnings: None

I would let my 16 year old read this book.  In fact, my 13 year old read the book before me and she loved it.



Friday, September 5, 2014

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Old West Collection

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Old West Collection by Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, Liz Adair, Heather B. Moore, Annette Lyon, Marsha Ward

Summary from A Timeless Romance Anthology Blog:

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Old West Collection. Readers will love this collection of six historical western novellas, all with one thing in common: Romance.

In Break a Leg, a charming story by two-time Rita Award winner Carla Kelly, hospital steward Colm Callahan is ready to move away from army life at Fort Laramie. His only regret is leaving behind exotic Ozzie Washington, easily the prettiest woman on the post. As a maid to the lieutenant colonel's wife, Ozzie is no wilting flower when it comes to hard work. When the post surgeon leaves for an extended week, Colm must handle several medical emergencies on his own. He pleads for Ozzie's help at the hospital. While they spend long days and nights working together, Colm, a shy man, realizes he can't hide the truth of his feelings for Ozzie. He needs a little help, though. Enter from stage left, Lysander Locke, Shakespeare tragedian on his way to Deadwood.

The Soldier’s Heart, an enchanting novella by Sarah M. Eden, follows Gregory Reeves has fallen in love with a woman he’s never met. Her brother’s dying wish is that Gregory checks on his family, and after the war, Gregory is only too happy to meet the woman he’s been dreaming about. Helene mistakes him for a hired hand and sets him to work immediately. As time passes, Gregory finds it more and more difficult to reveal his true connection to her family, fearing that a woman who loathes liars will turn her disapproval on him.

Hidden Spring is an enthralling novella by Liz Adair, in which Susannah Brown is just getting her life back together after becoming a widow. She still misses Wesley with a fierce longing, but when she meets his half-brother, Douglas, she learns her heart is not completely dormant. Over the next several weeks, Douglas helps Susannah with repairs on her small ranch in exchange for supper. The exchange becomes more and more meaningful as Susannah realizes that Douglas might be the one to finally heal her heart.



The Silver Mine Bachelor, by Heather B. Moore, is a sweet romance between an unlikely pair. Lydia Stone has a checklist for men who qualify as the eligible bachelors in the mining town of Leadville, Colorado. Her new boss, Mr. Erik Dawson, is about to be struck off the list when she sees him coming out of the town brothel. Lydia doesn’t know that Erik Dawson’s sister has been living the brothel lifestyle for years, and he’s set on redeeming her soul. When Lydia discovers Erik’s secrets, she learns that life is not as black and white as she thinks.

In Annette Lyon’s delightful story, The Sweetest Taste, Della Stafford hates being a farm girl in the tiny town of Shelley, Idaho. She’ll do anything to live in a big city and experience real city life. Her only regret is that she’d have to leave Joseph behind, the young man who makes her heart flutter. But she's convinced that moving away is for the best; her dreams and Joseph's dreams are too dissimilar. Then Della takes a job as a maid in Los Angeles and must face the truth that what she thought would make her happy and what really will are totally different things.

In the captivating novella, Faith and the Foreman by Marsha Ward, Faith Bannister is forced to travel west to earn a living as a school mistress in Arizona Territory. Faith soon learns that living the frontier lifestyle of a single woman has many harsh challenges. But when she meets Slim McHenry, she discovers that life doesn’t have to be so lonely. Unfortunately the dangerous Rance Hunter stands between her and Slim, and she must act with courage before everything is lost.

Read June 2014

4.5 Stars

Ebook from one of the authors in exchange for an honest review.

My Review:
It is no secret that I love these collections of stories.  I have read every one that has been put out and plan on reading any that the publishers put together.  One of the things I really like is that I am introduced to new authors through these anthologies.  

I love historical romance.  It really doesn't matter what time period or location.  I like being carried away to another place.  The Old West is no exception.

This collection starts out with a story that takes on a controversial subject matter for the time period, inter racial relationships.  As much as I love the happy and romantic stories that have come out of the anthologies, I really like that some of the stories have some edge.  I like getting caught up in the fun and sweet, I admit it.  But I am glad that some of the stories make me think as well.  

Warnings: None

I would let my 16 year old read this collection of stories.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer in New York Collection

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer in New York Collection
by Janette Rallison, Heather B. Moore, Luisa Perkins, Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, and Lisa Mangum

Summary from Goodreads:
In USA Today bestselling author Janette Rallison’s delightful novella, JOB HAZARDS, Lydia Robinson is posing as a prostitute. Undercover of course. Lydia’s job as a police officer hasn’t reeled in her prince charming yet. That is, until Harrison Aldridge, old high school flame, pulls up to the corner to rescue the fallen damsel. Lydia can’t exactly give Harrison the truth without blowing her cover, and it takes a series of mishaps and another whole set of misunderstandings before Lydia will even consider letting Harrison back into her life. 

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, A TASTE OF SUN, Winona Grant embarks on a summer-long visit to NYC to house-sit for her great-aunt after a nasty break-up with her boyfriend Paul. But when her aunt commissions neighbor Steve Monti to tour Winona around, they strike a deal. Winona has too many deadlines to play tourist, and Steve is looking for a distraction from his looming gallery opening. So Steve goes on the tours by himself, and Winona reports back to her aunt as if she’d gone too. The longer this happens, the more Winona wants to change her mind. Seeing the city with Steve might be the perfect solution to forgetting about Paul. 

In Luisa Perkins’s sweet romance novella, DULCE DE LECHE, Marisol is desperate for another nanny job after being unfairly fired from her previous position. She has only two more semesters of college, but she’s too proud to ask her wealthy parents for financial help. When her potential new employer, a single father working long hours as an anesthesiologist, decides she’s too young and pretty to hire, she practically begs him for the job. Darius finally agrees, and as he watches her work miracles with his Asperger’s son, he realizes there is much more to Marisol than he first believed. 

In TAKE A CHANCE, a captivating story by Sarah M. Eden, Miguel Santos has a stopover in New York. When the announcement of delayed flights comes over the PA system, Miguel is looking at spending several hours at the airport. Determined to get comfortable for the long wait, he’s surprised when he spies a familiar face amongst the stranded passengers: Jane Schoonenburg, the last person he expected to see. Three months have passed since he asked Jane to marry him—three months of misery. And now he knows that he must talk to her, if only to find out why she broke his heart. 

Annette Lyon’s entrancing novella, FIRSTS AND LASTS, begins with Dani’s last week in New York. She’s failed in her dreams to catch a break as an actress and is now ready to return home and dust herself off. As she visits the places on her final to-see list, she meets Mark, another New York City transplant with big dreams. Except Mark hasn’t given up on his. As they spend the day together, Dani realizes that even though she hasn’t hit the “big time” she might be living her dream after all. Only problem: she has a one-way ticket back home. 

In Lisa Mangum’s whimsically titled story: &, Lucy is riding a wave of success at having found a bestselling novel in the slush pile at an exclusive New York publishing house. If only her personal life was storybook perfect as well. Her relationship with Devon is on the rocks, and even though she's been put in charge of the house while her boss is gone on business, Lucy isn't sure she's up to the task. It will take a chance encounter with a handsome wordsmith to help Lucy claim the courage that has always been a part of her heart.


Read July 2014

Stars

Ebook from one of the authors in exchange for an honest review

My Review:
I have read all of the Anthologies published so far.  I have enjoyed reading each set.  Because they each have a different theme to their collection, they each have a different feel to them as well.  The same holds true with this collection in which each story takes place in New York City.

When I think of New York City, I think of people on the move, I think of beautiful architecture, I think of expensive stores and hotels, I think of historical landmarks.  I think of New York City as a grown ups city.  I can't imagine children there.  I know children live there, of course they do.  But for some reason I see it as a city full of adults.

I found this collection of short stories to be more adult than the others I've read.  Of course, all of the stories from each collection have adults in them.  But for some reason these stories seem to deal with more grown up issues.  I like historical fiction, it takes me away to another place.  I like contemporary fiction occasionally if it's happy.  What I like about the anthologies is that they are happy.  These are romances to make you smile.  This particular collection is a bit more "edgy".  And I put "edgy" in quotes because many would laugh at me for using that word in relation to these stories.  But, compared to the other collections, I found this one a bit more adult and "edgy".  

Having said all of that, the stories appeal to me.  I like the setting of New York City because it took the collection away from a specific time period (Old West) or specific theme (Love Letters) and made the collection based on location.  I like seeing the different perspectives of New York through the different stories.  And, of course, I like the romance.

Warnings: None (although it is a bit more mature in the way it talks about some situations)

I would let my 16 year old read this collection based on it being clean, but I don't think she would appreciate the stories as they are more grown up.





Monday, July 21, 2014

As You Are by Sarah M. Eden

As You Are by Sarah M. Eden

Summary from Sarah M. Eden's Blog:
A horse breeder by trade, Corbin Jonquil is more at home in the stables than in the ballroom of his sprawling estate. Corbin is the quietest of the Jonquil brothers and has always faded into the background, contentedly unnoticed. When a mysterious young widow, Mrs. Clara Bentford, moves into the neighborhood, however, Corbin quickly comes to realize that being noticed has its advantages. But how to catch the eye of the lady? According to his brothers, Corbin need only make a few simple changes to transform himself into the object of any woman’s desire—dubious advice, indeed. Following a series of misadventures, Corbin and Clara slowly lower the facades behind which they’ve been hiding, leaving Corbin shocked by the horrors that haunt the woman he’s coming to care for so ardently. When the menace of Clara’s past threatens to tear them apart and tensions mount, will the couple have the courage to fight for the promise of forever?

Read May 2014

5 Stars

Inter-Library Loan, clean historical romance

My Review:
Have a mentioned how much I love Sarah M. Eden's writing?  I LOVE HER BOOKS!

This book is no exception.  Sarah M. Eden has been writing several stories that have the Jonquil Brothers as main characters.  These men are so fun to read about.  I especially liked reading this one, as it had a different feel to it.

Many of the Jonquil Brothers are gregarious and we know a lot about them by what they say and do.  However, even though Corbin has been included in previous stories, we don't know a lot about it.  This story gives us insight in to his character as a quiet, compassionate, and upstanding gentleman.

Although I think it is worth reading the other books first, this book could be read on its own.

The previous books which are worth reading are:
The Kiss of a Stranger (this book is not about the Jonquil Brothers, but is where we are introduced to them)
Friends and Foes
Drops of Gold

Honestly, I wish I could read a book about each of these brothers.  Hopefully Ms. Eden will keep writing about these fine, funny, and very handsome men.  Gotta add the handsome, right?!

And, as a side note, Ms. Eden recently introduced this new t-shirt for those that love the Jonquil Brothers like I do.  Very cute.

T-shirt

Warnings: None

I would let my 16 year old read this book.


The Fortune Cafe (A Tangerine Street Romance) by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather B. Moore

The Fortune Cafe by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson, and Heather B. Moore

Summary from Goodreads:
Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. The Fortune Café, situated in the middle of this charming collection of shops and cafés on Tangerine Street, is a Chinese restaurant unlike any other because, well, to be honest, the fortunes found in the cookies all come true…

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidentally cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered how she met her fiancé lucky. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows. 

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?


Read April 2014

4.5 Stars

Collection of contemporary romance novellas, received an e-copy from one of the authors for an honest review.

My Review:
This collection of novellas are all connected by The Fortune Cafe.  This is no ordinary Chinese Restaurant.  I loved reading about the quirky characters that work at The Fortune Cafe.  The setting of this restaurant and the folks that work in the area and, of course eat at The Fortune Cafe, are what make these 3 stories work.

I like that although the stories are written by 3 separate authors, they work together.  I don't feel like I'm jumping in to a completely different world.  That being said, the stories are separate and each would do well on its own.  

The stories are clean, fun, and of course, full of romance.

Warnings: None

I would let my 16 year old read this collection.  

I also read this book as part of the Summer Book Trek on newldsfiction.com.  Check this blog out!  I love it.




Friday, May 9, 2014

Falling for You by Krista Lynne Jensen

Falling for You by Krista Lynne Jensen

Summary from Goodreads:
Jetsetter Elizabeth Embry is the toast of the town. A rising star in the fashion industry, she has traveled the world and lived a life of glamour and fortune. But beneath her carefree façade, Elizabeth is running from a past that won’t let her rest. When a former colleague reaches out with a job offer in the sleepy town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Elizabeth feels a spark of hope—perhaps this drastic change of scene will finally allow her to slow down. Envisioning an idyllic getaway at the mountainous bed & breakfast that has been arranged for her, Elizabeth is caught off guard by her immediate attraction to the aloof innkeeper. Ryan Brennan is certainly handsome, but what secrets hide behind that withdrawn exterior? Surrounded by people bent on playing matchmaker, the stage is set for a picture-perfect romance. But as past heartache threatens to overwhelm them both, can Elizabeth and Ryan let go of their pain and grab hold of a promising future together?

Read March 2014

5 Stars

I was blessed to win this book in a contest held by the author, Krista Lynne Jensen.  She is so sweet.  Not only did she send a signed copy of the book, but she also included a handmade scarf!

My Review:
First, how cute is the cover of this book.  It makes me want to curl up with hot cocoa and watch the snow falling outside.

The setting of this book is terrific.  I have only been to Jackson Hole once, but I can picture the town in my mind as I read.  I can imagine the Inn and the boutiques.

The characters are flawed.  They each have their own issues, but they are each trying to be better.  They are doing the best they can, day by day.  That includes the main characters as well as the supporting characters.

I like the theme of forgiveness in this book.  I am especially impressed with the theme of forgiving oneself for mistakes we have made.  What a powerful message for each of us.  And, one of the things that makes this possible is the love we have for each other and the love we have for ourselves.

Warnings: Some adult themes

I would let my 16 year old read this book, but not my 13 year old.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon

Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon

Summary from Goodreads:
When Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy, crashes headlong into new kid Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms. Josie teaches Samuel about words, music, and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit. Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young mentor behind. Many years go by, and Samuel returns to find his old friend in need of the very things she offered him years before. Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go.

Deeply romantic and poignant, 'Running Barefoot' is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind us to our homes and families, and the love that gives us wings.


5 Stars

Read February 2014

Young Adult, ebook on Nook

My Review:
I had a friend recommend the book, A Different Blue, by Amy Harmon.  I have not read it yet.  But when I saw Running Barefoot for free one day on Barnes and Noble, I snatched it up.  

Wow!  I loved this book!  I'm not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it.  First off, the story was set in Levan, UT.  I have lived in UT before, but never in this kind of rural area.  It was fascinating to get a glimpse into the culture of this small town.  I enjoyed learning about the people in the town, how they lived their lives, and what kinds of hopes and dreams they had.

Second, the author made one of the main characters an American Indian.  I am not familiar with much of American Indian culture.  Again, it was a fascinating look at a culture.  I have a minor in Anthropology and I love learning about other cultures and in this book I got to learn about two.  

Third, the main female character was a young teenager and we follow her through her life until she is a young adult.  She was a strong young woman who did her best under all circumstances.  She had a lot of adversity, but seemed to keep going and work through those trials.  I admit I was in tears in parts of this book.  She was also a musician and I loved hearing about the songs she would play and listen to.  I wished I had continued playing the piano!  She also read her scriptures and had verses that inspired me as she would write them and study them.

Fourth, this book had a great love story.  It warms my heart just now thinking about it.  It was an unusual romance with people from different cultures and backgrounds.  It started as teenagers and evolved when they were adults.  

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good, clean romance as well as learning about cultures with which they may not be familiar.  

Warnings:  Difficult adversity, but nothing graphic or violent

I would let my 16 year old daughter read this book.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore

Summary from Goodreads:
A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want?

Except for maybe her life.

In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.

While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.

After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza's life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt's death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.



5 Stars

Read March 2014

Received e-book from the author for an honest review

My Review:
When I first heard that this was a ghost story I was disappointed.  I'm not a huge fan of ghost stories.  However, as you can tell by my rating, I loved this book.  Even though this book had a ghost, it was not what I consider a ghost story.  This story had mystery, romance, suspense and drama.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and ghostly aspect of the story.  It was the backdrop and setting for the two main characters to experience their own story.  That part of the story was set in a Puritan town in Massachusetts.  It is not an area of the country I am familiar with and the author described the area well enough that I could picture the setting without the setting becoming the main focus.  

This book brought two people together that from the beginning look like they are so different.  However, as we the reader get to know these characters we realize that they have more in common than we thought.  I liked seeing the two main characters working together and the wonderful, fleeting moments they had together.  There were lots of twists and intertwining of the two lives that was unexpected.  I was definitely routing for them and hoped that their fleeting moments would lengthen out.

Warnings: Some violence described and some read/dreamed/remembered (including murder and rape)

I would let my 16 year old read this book.