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

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!

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day Two Update

Day Two Update

Books I Read Today: 
Romancing Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (194 pages)
Goodbye Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (189 pages)
Forever Yours by Judy Corry (172 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Romancing Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Goodbye Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson

Pages Read Today: 555

Total Books Finished: 5

Total Pages Read: 1,183

My Thoughts on Day Two:
Not a bad second day! Was hoping to finish one more book but needed sleep!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day One Update

Day One Update

Books I Read Today: 
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (209 pages)
Finding Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (185 pages)
Hereafter by Jody Hedlund (234 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Finding Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Hereafter by Jody Hedlund

Pages Read Today: 628

Total Books Finished: 3

Total Pages Read: 628

My Thoughts on Day One:
Pretty pleased with my start and hoping to continue the momentum!

On Wings of Devotion by Roseanna M. White

About the Book
All of England thinks Phillip Camden a monster--a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But as nurse Arabelle Denler watches the so-dubbed "Black Heart" every day, she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their paths twist together and he declares himself her new protector, she realizes she has her own role to play in his healing.
Phillip Camden would have preferred to die that day with his squadron rather than be recruited to the Admiralty's codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved. What comes as a shock is the reborn desire to truly live that Arabelle inspires in him.
But when an old acquaintance shows up and seems set on using him in a plot that has the codebreakers of Room 40 in a frenzy, new affections are put to the test.

My Thoughts
Oh where to even begin with this absolutely amazing book?! Roseanna M. White has done it again and has delivered a stunningly beautiful story that has it all! I don’t know how in the world she does it but her writing always blows me a way and there are countless times that I find myself stopping to reread a sentence multiple times just to appreciate how brilliantly crafted each word is!
When we met the surly Phillip Camden in the previous book I just knew there was more to his story and desperately couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! And boy did he have a story to tell! My heart broke for him from the very beginning and as we got more layers peeled back he just endeared himself to me more and more. Yes, he had made poor choices in the past but at his core he was truly a good man who would rather suffer himself than let any bad fall on anyone he cared about. As we slowly pieced together what had happened in the events of “The Incident” you could see the depth of his regret for the man he’d been and see him find his footing on the other side of things. His quick wit was perfectly timed and so well written that it had me laughing so often, even when he wasn’t trying to be funny!
And Arabelle, she had such a pure and kind heart that it was impossible not to love her! I deeply admired the way she prayed for those around her, the selfless way she gave of herself, her time, and her resources, and the way she handled situations with such grace. To the outsider looking in you couldn’t pick a more mismatched pair than Camden and Arabelle, but at their core they couldn’t have been more perfect for each other. Ara was just the ray of light Cam needed to see through his prickly persona and to pull him back from the darkness, leading him to the ultimate Light. And Cam’s loyal nature, and the way he noticed her emotional needs was just what the girl who’d been left time and again needed.

And if all of that gushing wasn’t enough to make you go buy this book, add in some fascinating WWI espionage and code breaking, smashing banter, and cameos from characters you love and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful book that will leave you dopey grinning long after you turn the last page!

Meet the Author
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book | Roseanna’s Shop (signed)

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. 

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason

About the Book
Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others--but her days of helping military personnel are over. She's got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she's not equipped to take on more. Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way--terrorists, bombs, bullets. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.
Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor, and Brooke is pressed by her boss to take him on. When he arrives at her office she isn't there--but a dead body is. Brooke is devastated when she walks in, and Asher is a conveniently strong shoulder to cry on. But she can't take him on as a client after sharing such an intimate and unprofessional moment, can she? And he's not sure he can handle sharing his deepest fears with such a beautiful woman.
When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack--and that her secrets go even deeper than his own--Asher vows to protect her no matter what.
Bestselling author Lynette Eason is back with a new series that spans the globe and will have your heart working overtime.

My Thoughts
Like all of Eason’s books this one definitely got started with a bang and I felt like I was there with the characters in the war zone. Unfortunately things got a little chaotic for a bit as there were a lot of characters and different plots that initially didn’t seem to jive. But like the skilled author she is Eason managed to bring it all together in ways that were surprising me up until the end! And after the initial confusion of the first 100 pages or so I got totally hooked into the story and was on the edge of my seat watching it all play out!
The characters were likable and I appreciated that the romance level was on a slow burn that was realistic for the circumstances. We also got to meet some other characters that I believe will be appearing in future books and I am excited to see where their stories take them!
All in all another action-packed read from Eason that will be sure to delight her fans and lovers of romantic suspense!

Meet the Author
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at

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. 

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Sign-Up

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 27 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Excited to participate in this read-a-thon again! Always love kicking off the year with this!

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz

About the Book
Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.
Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.
Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand--and heart--are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.
Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

My Thoughts
One of the things Laura Frantz is best known for is her vivid descriptions of the early American frontier. She writes in such a way that you are transported back in time and feel like you are really there. Such was the case in this book, and though it unfortunately bogged me down a little in the first half, I still recognized the beauty of the writing and appreciated it. I was definitely more sucked into the second half but the book as a whole was still a wonderful read! And I definitely enjoyed all of the mentions of places close to where I live!
I loved Clay and Tessa’s characters and I really loved them together! Their interactions were such fun and I loved their little banter! Selfishly I wanted more of them together in scenes and getting to see more of the sparks fly but what we got was still enough to wholly enchant me! The rest of the characters, namely Tessa’s family, were great too and I definitely wouldn’t mind getting more of their stories in the future (hint hint)!
All in all another great book from a masterful storyteller that I’m sure all fans of her books and/or frontier romances will enjoy!

Meet the Author
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel's Lady, The Lacemaker, and A Bound Heart. Learn more at

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. 

Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

About the Book
When cybercriminals hack into the US Marshals' Witness Protection database and auction off witnesses' personal details to the highest bidders, the RED Team led by FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. But before he can even get started, the first witness is targeted and barely escapes with her life. Sean believes Phantom, an obsessed hacker who previously outwitted the top minds in the field, is behind the attack, and Sean needs this witness's help, as she's the person who has come closest to discovering Phantom's identity.

Trouble is, she's a witness under the care of US Marshal Taylor Mills, and Sean is reluctant to work with the captivating marshal who knows his deepest secrets. But Phantom claims he knows where the witness is hiding and will kill her, so to stop the hacker, Sean and Taylor must work through their personal pain and learn to trust each other. . . . The seconds are ticking down before someone dies.

My Thoughts
I’m always on the lookout for new suspense authors so when I heard about this book I was instantly intrigued. The cover especially, drew me in with its bold colors and minimalist design it really is a perfect fit for this genre! Then I read the description and it was enough to reel me in the rest of the way. Sadly though this book didn’t quite live up to my expectations and I found myself uninterested in finishing. The premise was well done and I like the WITSEC angle. But the main characters weren’t very likable or believable as a couple and some of the side characters just kind of grated on my nerves. I did think it was interesting that the witness was an identical twin and there was definitely potential for some twists with that aspect.
Another thing I had some trouble with was there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary information dumped in the beginning and it kind of bogged things down plot wise.

So, this book wasn’t for me and I ended up DNFing it but I can definitely see how others might enjoy it and if it sounds like your cup of tea please don’t let my opinion dissuade you from checking it out for yourself!

Meet the Author
Susan Sleeman is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five romantic suspense novels with more than 1 million books sold. She has won several awards, including the ACFW Carol Award for Suspense for Fatal Mistake. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts She has lived in nine states but now calls Portland, Oregon, home. To learn more about Susan, visit her website at

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.