Monday, March 23, 2020

Hoping for Hawthorne by Tara Grace Ericson

About the Book
His sister's friend.
Her childhood crush.
All grown up.
Hawthorne Bloom is living for the moment, until a beautiful stranger with intriguingly familiar eyes gives him a tongue lashing he'll never forget. When she shows up again at a family event, Hawthorne finds himself trying to dig a way out of a hole he didn't realize he was in.
When Avery Chase returns to Indiana, the last thing she expects is to run into her childhood crush, let alone to realize in the years since she left, he's turned into a complete jerk. Hoping for a man to change is a mistake she's made once before and is determined not to make again.
Then again, it's hard to resist when your childhood crush finally notices you.
A sweet and clean, stand-alone Christian romance novella that will have you falling in love with the Bloom Family. Hoping for Hawthorne is the launch prequel for the upcoming Bloom Sisters Series, rapid releasing in Summer 2020.

My Thoughts
When I was asked to read this book I had no idea what I was getting into since I’d never heard of the author but as a sucker for contemporary romance I decided to give it a chance, and I’m glad I did! After a tiny bit of an unsure start I found myself lost in the story and thoroughly enjoying it! Hawthorne wasn’t all that admirable at the start but I loved watching him find his way back to the right path and the man God wanted him to be! Avery was spunky and I enjoyed her character and the way she didn’t back down from a challenge. The two of them were really cute together and even though this was a short novella you could really feel the romance-and that first kiss deserves all the heart eyes! The author packed a lot into this novella, introducing us to a whole cast of characters without bogging the reader down or causing confusion and also creating an authentic relationship! I really enjoyed the whole Bloom family and I’m looking forward to their stories! Also, Hawthorne’s friend Josh was a favorite of mine and I’m really hoping he ends up with a Bloom sister!

Meet the Author
Tara Grace Ericson lives in Missouri with her husband and two sons. She studied engineering and worked as an engineer for many years before embracing her creative side to become a full-time author. Her first book, Falling on Main Street, was written mostly from airport waiting areas and bleak hotel rooms as she traveled in her position as a sales engineer. She loves cooking, crocheting, and reading books by the dozen. Her writing partner is usually her black lab - Ruby - and a good cup of coffee or tea. Tara unashamedly watches Hallmark movies all winter long, even though they are predictable and cheesy. She loves a good “happily ever after” with an engaging love story. That’s why Tara focuses on writing clean contemporary romance, with an emphasis on Christian faith and living. She wants to encourage her readers with stories of men and women who live out their faith in tough situations.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund

About the Book
Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship still wearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately has suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by a poor choice.
Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy and is held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker and has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.
As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need--a starving girl abandoned by her tribe. Intent on helping the girl, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?

My Thoughts
I have been a Jody Hedlund fan since almost the beginning of her writing career and I have to say this series is fast becoming a favorite of mine! After loving A Reluctant Bride and getting to meet Arabella in that book I was more than I little excited to dive into this one! So much so that I finished it less than ten hours after starting despite having work and volunteer obligations-I literally read it every spare second I had! This is one of those books that is just a pure joy to read from start to finish and it was everything I was hoping it would be!
I really liked Arabella and it was good to finally find out what had happened in her past. While to an outsider it would seem like she lived a charmed life, the way she was controlled and the things she had done to her broke my heart. I loved watching her blossom as she finally had space to discover who she really was and actually dream about a life she could find joy in. Despite her upscale upbringing she had a tender heart and was willing to try and do things that many could, and did, consider below her station.
And Pete, gosh I loved Pete! From the moment he showed up on the page I knew he was going to be a hero to root for! His self-assured charming ways endeared him to me immediately, especially since he also had such a kind, generous, and selfless heart! His confidence as he pursued Arabella had me smiling so much as I read and while I understood the reasons she felt she couldn’t have a relationship with him I couldn’t wait for her to realize how wrong she was! The two of them together were just so perfectly sweet and natural and everything each other needed! Pete was also a man of integrity, which I loved. He never made any secret about the mistakes he had made in the past and his determination to never make them again. And he never stooped to the lieutenant’s level of underhanded ways in the battle to win Arabella’s love.
Basically this book was absolutely wonderful and I couldn’t have loved it more!

Meet the Author
Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh

About the Book
Emily Ackerman has traveled the world, her constant compass and companion a book of letters her mother left for her when she died. With no father in the picture, her mom’s advice has been her only true north. But when professional failure leads Emily back to Nantucket to renovate and sell the family cottage she inherited, she wonders if her mom left advice to cover this . . . especially when her grandmother arrives to “supervise.” And especially when her heart becomes entangled with Hollis McGuire, the boy next door–turned–baseball star who’s back on the island after a career-ending injury.

As sparks fly between her and Hollis, Emily is drawn to island life, even as she uncovers shocking secrets about the tragic accident that led to her mother’s death. With her world turned upside down, Emily must choose between allowing the voices from her past to guide her future or forging her own path forward.

My Thoughts
“If For Any Reason”, I loved this title and the way it played into the story. When I first heard it, it sounded a bit strange but I didn’t think much about it. Then as the story of this book started to unfold it made complete sense and I loved it.
Courtney Walsh knows how to put her characters through the hard things in life and she writes in such a beautiful way that their pain, struggles, and emotions become yours. I always connect with her characters in a way that I don’t often do and it’s honestly beautiful. This was definitely the case with Emily and Hollis. Emily was such a broken character, she had lost so much and built so many walls and my heart honestly broke for her. But I loved watching her journey to healing and finding where she belonged. And Hollis, while it was his own choices that led him to where he was he’s deep remorse and dedication to being better was enough to endear him to me. I also loved the quiet way he broke down Emily’s walls and showed her unconditional love. I really enjoyed the way their relationship played out and how real they were able to be with each other.
Jolie was a sweet kid and the author did a great job of writing an authentic preteen who was still likable! I also loved Hollis’s family!
The setting of this story was beautiful and the escape to Nantucket was exactly what I needed on these dreary winter days!
If you like fiction with a lot of heart, tender romance, and emotions that reach deep then I cannot recommend this book enough!

Meet the Author
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. She writes small town romance and women's fiction while juggling the performing arts studio and youth theatre she owns and runs with her husband. If For Any Reason is her eleventh novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category, and her contemporary romance Just Let Go won the Carol Award in 2019.
A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children and a sometimes naughty Bernedoodle named Luna.
Connect with Courtney online at her website (courtneywalshwrites.com) or on any of these social media platforms:
Facebook.com/courtneywalshwrites Instagram.com/courtneywalsh Twitter.com/courtney_walsh


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

About the Book
How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.
Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.
When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

My Thoughts
I loved this book! Contemporary romance with humor is my absolute favorite and this book had it in spades! From the very first sentence I was grinning like a fool and it didn’t stop the whole time I was reading! Often it actually made me laugh out loud! But it wasn’t all humor, this book has a lot of heart to it as well and I really resonated with some of the lesson the characters had to learn!
At first glance Kimberly and Sam are too opposite to work together (and believe me it’s hilarious) but I loved watching them discover how well the actually complimented each other and balanced one another out! Kimberly had the vision and plans and Sam had the heart and they really just made a perfect team. It was so fun to see them move from constantly frustrating each other to cautiously working together, to realizing that they were made for each other!
I also absolutely loved the secondary story between Jules and Mick! Their story was sweet and I really enjoyed seeing them find their way back to each other!
It was really fun to have the story set in rural Australia and I loved all the Aussie stuff and lingo that was in it! And the farm life was really well-written giving the reader an extremely clear picture of how it was run without ever leaving me feeling bogged down by the details!

In short this book was amazing and it may have been my first Jessica Kate but it for sure won’t be my last!

Meet the Author
Australian author Jessica Kate is obsessed with witty romances.
She packs her novels with love, hate, and everything in between—and then nerds out over her favorite books, movies and TV in the StoryNerds podcast (official podcast of Reading Is My Superpower!) When she’s not writing or discussing fiction, she’s hunting the world for the greatest pasta in existence.
Her debut novel Love and Other Mistakes released July 2019, while A Girl’s Guide to the Outback hit shelves in January 2020.

Receive her sassy shorts The Kiss Dare and The Kiss Thief FREE when you sign up for her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

About the Book
Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district, they lose much more than just their store.
The sisters become separated from their father and make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend was murdered on the night of the fire. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.

Though homeless and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father's innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

My Thoughts
I need to start by discussing this stunning cover! It’s so striking and captivating and I absolutely love it! The buildings, the smoke, the back of the dress, it’s just all so perfect!
Jocelyn Green’s superb writing skills once again shone through and she crafted a vivid story that transported you back in time. And overall this was a beautifully written story. But I will admit that the first three-quarters were a little slow going for me and I found it easy to get distracted. Now again, this is in no way a knock on the writing at all, it was more a matter of taste and me liking things to move a little faster. I also really really wanted more from the romance-most of the moments that could have been considered romantic we were only told about in hindsight. The last quarter though was a lot more fast paced and I was really intrigued by the twists she threw in!
As for the characters, some were likable, like the hero, Nate, and some were a little harder for me to get behind. Stephen, the father, was the hardest for me. The mental issues he had as a result of his time in the war, while heartbreaking, were really hard to read, especially when we got his point of view as well.

Overall this was a beautifully written historical! And I loved getting to know more about the Chicago Fire and what life was like afterward for those who lived through it.

Meet the Author
Jocelyn Green is the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King, A Refuge Assured, and Between Two Shores. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly and have been honored with the Christy Award and the Golden Scroll. Jocelyn lives with her family in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Wrap-Up


Wrap Up

This read-a-thon went so much better than I ever could have ever hoped! I officially broke my record for most books read in a week! My total for the week was 25 books and 5,726 pages! I read a bunch of new great books and reread some books that I still enjoyed the second time! My favorites were definitely The Way of the Brave, Lake Season, and my reread of Love You, Truly!


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 6 Update


Day Six Update

Books I Read Today: 
Don't Kiss Him Goodbye by Sandra Byrd (112 pages)
Love You, Truly by Susan L. Tuttle (322 pages)
Premiere by Melody Carlson (204 pages)
Catwalk by Melody Carlson (204 pages)
Rendezvous by Melody Carlson (202 pages)
Spotlight by Melody Carlson (90 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Premiere by Melody Carlson
Catwalk by Melody Carlson
Rendezvous by Melody Carlson
Don't Kiss Him Goodbye by Sandra Byrd
Love You, Truly by Susan L. Tuttle

Pages Read Today: 1,134

Total Books Finished: 20

Total Pages Read: 4,750

My Thoughts on Day Six:
Read a little slower than I planned to today but still managed to read a ton so I was happy!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 5 Update


Day Five Update

Books I Read Today: 
Papua New Guinea by Melody Carlson (231 pages)
Mexico by Melody Carlson (225 pages)
Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd (182 pages)
Through Thick and Thin by Sandra Byrd (170 pages)
Lake Season by Denise Hunter (334 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Papua New Guinea by Melody Carlson
Mexico by Melody Carlson
Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd
Through Thick and Thin by Sandra Byrd
Lake Season by Denise Hunter

Pages Read Today: 1,142

Total Books Finished: 15

Total Pages Read: 3,616

My Thoughts on Day Five:
Well since it was day five, why not read five books? Lol! Honestly kinda shocked I got this many read in one day but also pretty happy about it!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 4 Update


Day Four Update

Books I Read Today: 
Ireland by Melody Carlson (240 pages)
The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy (298 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Ireland by Melody Carlson
The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy

Pages Read Today: 538

Total Books Finished: 10

Total Pages Read: 2,474

My Thoughts on Day Four:
Not a bad day overall! Read a little less than previous days since it was the only night this week that I had somewhere to be!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 3 Update


Day Three Update

Books I Read Today: 
Forever Yours by Judy Corry (112 pages)
The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy (296 pages)
The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren (345 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Forever Yours by Judy Corry
The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy
The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren

Pages Read Today: 753

Total Books Finished: 8

Total Pages Read: 1,936

My Thoughts on Day Three:
Really pleased with today's results especially since tomorrow won't have as much reading time!