Thursday, November 19, 2020

Some Bright Someday by Melissa Tagg

About the Book

He’s torn between love and honor... 

Lucas Danby has always regretted the decisions that caused his dishonorable discharge from the military—and he’s never stopped trying to redeem his honor. He's spent the past decade taking on dangerous short-term missions as an elite private soldier—the only part of his life that's ever gone right. But the high-risk work never cures his shame. Now he’s stuck stateside, mentoring a new recruit. Worse, he's sick of lying to the people he cares about most—including the woman he’s secretly loved for years. 

She can’t escape her house of memories... 

Jenessa Belville should be happy. She's the hometown girl everyone loves, after all. But she’s also the last Belville left—and if she had her way, she'd leave the name and all its painful memories behind. Which is exactly what she hopes to do once she sells Belville Park, the massive estate she inherited from her parents. First, though, she needs to restore the property’s once-glorious gardens. But on the same day she puts up the “For Sale” sign, she discovers three children hiding in the caretaker's cottage, thrusting her into the unexpected role of temporary guardian. 

Fighting for their future means healing from the past... 

Struggling to mentor a young man with scars nearly as piercing as his own, Lucas offers to help Jenessa restore the Belville grounds. Though drawn together by a trio of kids who tug on their hearts and the sparks they can’t deny, past secrets and current sorrows threaten to pull them apart. Only the brightest love and hardest sacrifice can turn the house Jenessa never wanted into the home she and Lucas have always longed for. 

My Thoughts

I’m always in a happy giddy place when I finish a Melissa Tagg book and this time was no different! I was so happy my copy came when I had a free weekend and I literally read it in one afternoon! 

I have been intrigued with Lucas since we met him in Keep Holding On and then getting to see more of him and Jenessa in Now and Then and Always had me chomping at the bit for their story, and it more than met my expectations! 

Neither Lucas or Jenessa had had an easy life, countless times of people leaving or not being the support they needed had left both of them with walls and masks they hid behind. 

Lucas was a man who quietly did the right thing time and time again but he let the one blemish from his past define him and keep him from truly sharing himself with the people close to him. Seeing him find healing and learning to open up was awesome to watch and I found myself falling a little more in love with him with each page!

Jenessa didn’t leave a favorable impression when we first met her in Like Never Before but after learning about the circumstances behind her bitterness at first and seeing her find her way out of that I truly loved her character by the time we got to this book. I loved the no nonsense way she collected her friends, barely giving them a say in the matter, and the way she turned a bunch of lonely people into their own makeshift family. 

We all know Lucas has been in love with Jenessa for ages and it was so much fun watching her realize it and realize that she felt the same. Their romance was sweet and natural, a friendship that seamlessly turned into something more!

Adding kids to a story can sometimes be risky and doesn’t always work with a story but they did in this one! I loved that they were authentic (a lot of times kids are written sounding older or younger than they are and as someone who works with kids I absolutely hate that) and I loved seeing them make their way into Jenessa and Lucas’s hearts. 

All of the other Maple Valley characters popping in and out was just the icing on the cake for this book! I love getting to see where everyone’s lives are going since last we saw them! 

In short, I absolutely adored this book and now I’m off to start anxiously awaiting the next one!

Meet the Author

Melissa Tagg is the Christy and Carol Award-winning author of swoony and hope-filled small-town contemporary romances, including the Maple Valley series, the Walker Family series, the Where Love Begins series, and the Enchanted Christmas Collection. She's also a former reporter, current nonprofit marketing strategist, and total Iowa girl. 

Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women's retreats. When she's not happily lost in someone else's book or plugging away her own, she can be found spoiling her nieces and nephews, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next fictional hero. Connect with Melissa at

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, November 17, 2020

To Steal A Heart by Jen Turano

About the Book
After a childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she'd put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. In the middle of breaking into a safe that holds the proof to prove her friend's innocence, Gabriella is interrupted by Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend--until he abandoned her.
After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agreed to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he'd be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.
As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step. 

My Thoughts
This harkened back to the early Jen Turano and I absolutely loved it! I have been a fan of her’s since she debuted but for me the last couple series have been heading a little bit too far down the over the top side of things. They’ve still been fun reads but I wasn’t loving them as much. So I was so excited to start this one and see that it was a lot more like her first books! I loved that Gabriella and Nicholas were both intelligent types and were both pretty straightforward. They didn’t have a lot of blundering about with each other and I loved seeing that their connection stayed strong despite the many years they were separated. They may have just been children when last they saw each other but they had a tight bond and it allowed them to pick right back up (after clearing a few things up) where they’d left off. Their romance wasn’t all that prominent, it was more of a friendship that suddenly realized they wanted more and I actually liked it and thought it worked well for these characters.
There was a large cast of supporting characters that I enjoyed (a certain one annoyed me a little at the start but I got over it) and I liked seeing all the different personalities come together.
The mysteries were fun to follow along with and there were definitely some twists.
This book was everything that caused me to fall in love with Turano’s writing in the first place and I hope she keeps it up!

Meet the Author
Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She's been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. Readers can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and 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. 

Then Again, Maybe by Susan L. Tuttle

About the Book
Former beauty queen Belle Thornton knows what it is to think she has it all, only to discover she never valued what was truly important. Raising her daughter and building a thriving thrift shop that helps single mothers like herself has taught Belle what the word beautiful really means. Unfortunately, thanks to her shady landlord, Belle must toss those hard-earned dollars into the money-pit of a rental that houses both her tiny apartment and her business or risk the city closing her doors. When funds dwindle as quickly as her to-do list grows, she is forced to rely on the absolute last rescuer she’d choose: Micah Shaw. Leaving Belle at the altar, pregnant, was the worst choice Micah ever made. He returns home, hoping to reconcile with Belle and their toddler. While balancing his medical residency with caring for his ailing mother, he strives to win Belle’s heart again and ensure her business remains open. Helping with that is the easy part. Chiseling through the rock encompassing Belle's heart is more of a challenge, but one he’s determined to conquer. If only he could get her to realize that a new lease on love may be their best collaboration of all.

My Thoughts
Just when you think an author can’t outdo herself she goes and gives you this masterpiece! I am honestly a bit speechless trying to come up with the words to describe just how much I adored every single second of this book! I literally lost track of time lost in its pages and as I reached the end I was floating on a cloud of giddy joy! I don’t say this lightly but I’m pretty sure this book was perfection.
If you read book one of this series you know that Micah and Belle were not the most lovable people when we first met them. Years of their parents treating them as less than or placing unrealistic expectations on them had really done a number and it came out in words and actions that made me wonder how they could ever be redeemed enough for me to like them. I needn’t have worried though because they were in the hands of a master and wow did she redeem them!
Three years have passed since the events at the end of At First Glance and I loved that there was that gap, because the years had allowed both Micah and Belle to grow and mature and gave authenticity to the fact that they really were different people.
The new and improved Micah seriously gave Jonah a run for his money (and if you don’t understand what I mean by that, see my review of At First Glance and take note of the Jonah crushing). He was everything you could want him to be, from the way he humbly admitted his faults and took full responsibility for his actions, to the way he bent over backward, literally running himself ragged, to be there for Belle and Anna and prove he’d changed, to the way he stood up for himself when the situation demanded it and called things like they were. He reentered Belle and Anna’s lives and refused to back away while also letting Belle have complete control over the pace of everything. He showed her with his every word and action that he was here to stay for Anna and for her if she’d just let him in.
I really loathed Belle a lot in the first book so she had the most work to do in my mind but I loved how between having Anna, getting her relationship with Penny back on the right track, and stepping out from under her mother’s controlling thumb she had softened into a genuinely sweet human being. The way she was determined to not repeat her mother’s mistakes with her own daughter and the way she let Anna be herself was beautiful to watch and I loved how she had turned her whole life into helping others! I also loved how she, like Micah, didn’t hide from or sugarcoat past mistakes but instead owned up to them and determined to be better going forward.
One of the most beautiful things about Tuttle’s writing is the authenticity. The characters feel so real, like people you could meet on the street, and the emotions are so well-written that I honestly find myself feeling them all with the characters, from the laughter and joy , to the pain and heartache I feel like I lived it all right alongside them.
Watching Belle and Micah fight their way not back but forward to a better future was truly beautiful and I was rooting for them every step. Their story was messy and hard but that just made the ending and reconciliation all the sweeter because true love isn’t easy.
I also can’t write this review without mentioning all the secondary characters! I loved catching up with Jonah and Penny, as well as seeing more of Rachel and her son Gavin and meeting Evan (who I think is gonna be someone special)! Plus all of the “Grands” that help out at Belle’s store who were so sweet and funny and gave a good kick in the pants when necessary!
So if all this gushing didn’t make it clear, let me state it again, I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK and you need to read it ASAP, no if, ands, or buts about it!

Meet the Author
ACFW Carol Award Finalist, Susan L. Tuttle was born and raised in the Mitten State where she met and married her best friend. A homeschooling mom of three, somewhere along the way she blinked and those three littles aren't so little anymore. Now she balances their young adult years with directing the women's ministry at her church and writing new stories. She fully believes that God is the biggest romancer in the world and that He loves each one of us lavishly even in all our imperfections--a belief tried and tested by her own misses at perfection. Never having met a cookie she didn't like, most days you'll find her enjoying one for a treat between chauffeuring her kiddos around, attempting housework, contemplating exercise, or coaxing her current characters to talk.

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. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

About the Book
All’s fair in love and prank wars. 
Bree Leake doesn’t want to be tied down. She’s had more jobs than she can count, and she plans to move as soon as the curtains fall on her less-than-minor stage role at The Barter—the oldest live performance theater in the US. But just when it’s time to move on again, Bree’s parents make her an offer: hold steady for a full year, and they will give her the one thing she’s always wanted—her grandmother’s house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life at the theater throws her some curve balls. 
And then there’s Chip McBride—her handsome and infuriating next-door neighbor. 
Chip just might be the only person whose stubborn streak can match Bree’s. She would move heaven and earth to have him off her cul-de-sac and out of her life, but according to the bargain she’s struck, she can’t move out of her house and away from the man who’s making her life miserable. So begins Bree’s obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood—and fast. 
Bree isn’t the only one who’s a tad competitive, and Chip is more than willing to fight fire with fire. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur—and their heated rivalry threatens to take a hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic new turn.

My Thoughts
Last year Melissa Ferguson blew my socks off with her debut novel and I instantly fell in love (if you follow me on Instagram you may have heard me rave a time or two). So of course I was anxiously awaiting her second book! I did have the privilege of reading a super advanced version last year but I was so excited to get the finished product!
This story was hilarious and entertaining from start to finish and I just loved it! All the crazy back and forth pranks from Bree and Chip had me laughing out loud more than once-so many creative ways to torment your neighbor! From overly friendly dogs to Christmas trees to craigslist ads it was just so uniquely crazy! It may have been a little over the top at times for some people but I was here for it and enjoyed every moment!
I will say that the romance wasn’t necessarily as prevalent in this book and I actually didn’t mind. Considering that they were both seeing other people in the beginning it would have come off kinda slimy so I appreciated the way that the author kept things purely antagonistic until they suddenly realized there was more and were available.
This book was just as much fun the second time and while the first book may still be my favorite this one has cemented Melissa Ferguson’s spot on my favorites list!

Meet the Author
Melissa Ferguson lives in Tennessee, where she enjoys chasing her children and writing romantic comedies full of humor and heart. Her favorite hobby is taking friends and acquaintances and turning them into characters in her books without their knowledge. She is confident you should read all her novels, starting with this one. Connect with her (and prepare for the possibility of becoming her next character) at: 
Instagram: @melissafergusonauthor
TikTok: @melissafergusonauthor
Facebook: AuthorMelissaFerguson”

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. 

The Red Canary by Rachel Scott McDaniel

About the Book
Music sparks her world, but can love ignite her heart?
In 1928, soot from the local mills and music from speakeasies linger in the Pittsburgh air. When the manager of The Kelly Club is found dead, nightclub singer Vera Pembroke is thrust into peril. As the only witness to the crime, she’s sentenced to hide away in the Allegheny Forest with a stuffy police sergeant as her guardian.
Sergeant Mick Dinelo harbors a burning hatred for Pittsburgh’s underworld after the devastation it left on his life—and heart. He should be out exposing culpable gangsters rather than tending to the impetuous woman who defies his every effort to keep her safe.
Mick and Vera must set aside their differences to solve the murder that someone wants to keep buried beneath the soot of Steel City.

My Thoughts
Nobody writes 1920’s fiction like Rachel Scott McDaniel! From the smoky haze of historic Pittsburgh nightlife to the quiet beauty of the Allegheny National Forest McDaniel truly transports her readers to another time and place! The way she slowly draws you in, painting the story and scene in such vivid detail, is truly a gift. Everything is skillfully placed, giving us all the important information whether we can see it in the moment or not.
The story starts by giving us a glimpse of the life Vera lives, just enough to truly understand where she’s coming from without bogging the reader down with unnecessary information. Then things take off with a bang, gripping the reader with the mystery, danger, and romance!
Vera was a bit of a hard nut to crack. Life hadn’t been kind and people had been even crueler so it was no surprise that she had a tough exterior but underneath it all was a scared little girl who just wanted to be loved. McDaniel did an excellent job of really making you understand Vera and her emotions so while she might’ve been tough to swallow at the start by the end you loved her and were truly rooting for her!
I really liked Mick and the way he stood on the side of justice even while living in a city where falling in with the bad guys was almost too easy. He stood by his convictions and was willing to do whatever necessary to protect innocent people and see good win out. Vera may have seen him as a square at the start but he was just what she needed, someone who wouldn’t kowtow and gave as good as he got. I loved watching them butt heads and then seeing those sparks turn into a fire of a whole different kind! Falling in love kind of snuck up on both of them and it was fun to see the journey!
McDaniel does a fantastic job of giving her readers a little bit of everything, romance, humor, mystery, action, and all while giving off classic movie vibes! Honestly I adore every single word she writes and she always leaves me begging for more!

Meet the Author
Even though Rachel Scott McDaniel won a writing award at the ripe age of eleven, the love of storytelling didn't enter her heart until she became a mother. Now her stories are channeled to an older crowd, but her message of faith and grace remain the same. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched by Love Award, Rachel pens novels brimming with romance and mystery. She embraces her fanatical penchant for classic movies and has never been known to turn down chocolate. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn from The Seymour Agency. Rachel currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids.

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, November 03, 2020

Things We Didn't Say by Amy Lynn Green

About the Book
Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.
Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they're not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.
As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred--and it's no longer clear whom she can trust.

My Thoughts
My anticipation of this book was on a bit of a roller coaster, first giddy excitement at the thought of a epistolary novel set during WWII, my absolute favorite time period, then fear that it wouldn’t be as good as I hoped especially since it was a debut, then back to excitement because it just HAD to be good! And thankfully it more than exceeded my expectations and I absolutely loved it!
Amy Green provides a unique and fresh new voice in the Christian Fiction world and I was captivated from the very start! It amazed me how she managed to make me fall in love with characters simply through letters. Jo was fiery and spunky and I absolutely loved her no holds barred approach, her unsent letters with her snarky replies were some of my favorites to read. Peter was the perfect quiet hero, the calm and thoughtful way he approached everything was just the balance Jo needed and I loved that she trusted him enough to let him speak into her situations.
The prison camp was such a fascinating setting and I truly admired the way the author, through Jo, spotlighted their humanity even though they were the enemy. Too often we write people off because they’re on the other side without stopping to consider how they are just like us in so many ways.
This story had me on the edge of my seat and made me quite frustrated with the craziness of life that kept interrupting my reading! If you try one new author this year, let it be this one, you won’t be disappointed! I definitely wasn’t and I’m anxiously awaiting what the author has in store for us next!

Meet the Author
Amy Lynn Green is a publicist by day and a freelance writer on nights and weekends. She was the 2014 winner of the Family Fiction short story contest, and her articles have been featured in Crosswalk, Focus on the Family magazines, and other faith-based publications over the past 10 years. This is her first novel. 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.