Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Just Enough Luck by Aspen Hadley

About the Book
Lucy Moore never lost faith in her fairy godmother, and when she lands an unbelievable dream job working for Drake Enterprises, she knows exactly who to thank for the opportunity. That dream job, however, comes with a twist that has her heading to northern Montana for the month-long annual family retreat at The Lucky Wolf ranch. She packs a suitcase of warm clothes and a fake it 'til you make it attitude, prepared to do all she can to win the family over. Once there she comes face to face with the Drake brothers.
Alexander, Lucy's new boss, is literally a magazine cover model. He's also a numbers geek like her, which makes him dreamy beyond belief, and Lucy can't stop staring. He's too perfect to be real. Daniel is the first person Lucy meets when she arrives at the ranch in the most humiliating way possible. His warmth and humor quickly put her at ease, and she's grateful to have a friend in this unknown, way off the beaten path, frozen part of the country.
In one short month Lucy contends with animal attacks, a temporary roommate who's more robot than human, some ranch-hand flirting sessions, and a little eavesdropping, all while attempting to show her new boss that she can do the job.
When the month ends, and it's time to return home, her story is far from over. Now her heart belongs to the one man who seems perfect for her. Can they overcome all the obstacles in their way?

My Thoughts
Guys, this book was just all the happy things and I’m kind of obsessed!
I absolutely need to start with the banter and interactions between Lucy and Daniel! It was on fire and so authentic and had me laughing out loud so many times! From the moment they met they perfectly clicked and had a genuine friendship that was naturally turned into something more. They both were kind of just unapologetically themselves and didn’t really have any pretense with each other which allowed their relationship to grow without even trying. They were just so adorably cute together and I had a giddy smile on my face whenever they were with each other! Also, random fact about me is that I love when the hero/heroine have nicknames for each other so that fact that Daniel was always making up new ones for Lucy on the spot was my favorite and made me love him even more!
I also appreciated how they had disagreements or conflict and resolved it without being unnecessarily dramatic about it! That’s a rare find and I’m always here for it!
This book had me hating to put it down and wanting to be reading it whenever I had to actually live life-and for someone who normally can set books down and pick them up whenever that’s saying something! I just genuinely loved the whole thing and I’m a little bit sad to leave the happy bubble of these pages! But thankfully there’s another connected book coming and this won’t be the last I see of these characters!
If you love books that put a dopey grin on your face and make you laugh definitely check this one out!

Meet the Author
Aspen Hadley loves nothing more than a great story. She has devoted herself to story-telling for the majority of her life, writing her first novel at her kitchen table in the 8th grade. Aspen writes what she wants to read: clean, sassy, romantic comedy novels that give you a break from real life and leave you feeling happy.
Outside of writing, Aspen's number one hobby is reading. Number two is sneaking chocolate into and out of her private stash without being caught. Other favorite things include: playing the piano, listening to classic rock, telling jokes around the dinner table, eating ice cream, traveling, a good case of the giggles, and riding on ATVs over the many trails in her home state of Utah.
Aspen shares her life with a patient husband, 4 hilarious children, and 1 grumpy dog in a quiet suburb next to her beloved mountains.
Given the choice she would road trip her life away, singing along to the radio and sleeping in every morning.

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 02, 2021

Lights Out by Natalie Walters

About the Book
CIA analyst Brynn Taylor developed a new program to combat terrorism, and she invited members of foreign intelligence agencies to America to foster cooperation between countries. Now one of them, Egyptian spy Remon Riad, is missing.
Jack Hudson has been working for the Strategic Neutralization and Protection Agency (SNAP) for almost nine years and takes the lead in hunting down the missing spy. But he isn't at all pleased to find out Brynn is involved. It's hard to trust a woman who's already betrayed you.
Every lead they follow draws them dangerously deeper into an international plot. Kidnapping, murder, explosions, poisoning--the terrorists will do anything to accomplish their goal of causing a digital blackout that will blind a strategic US military communications center and throw the world into chaos.
Can Brynn surrender control to a man who doesn't trust her? And can Jack ever get over what she did to him? The fate of the world--and their hearts--hangs in the balance.

My Thoughts
We had to wait over a year and a half for this new novel from Natalie Walters but in this case it was definitely worth the wait!
Things were a little detail heavy at the very beginning but it was all necessary information so bear with it! And once the story gets set up and rolling you totally get sucked into it!
My favorite part of this book was definitely the S.N.A.P. team! I absolutely love well done team dynamics and these guys definitely had that! The banter and camaraderie between all of them was fantastic!
Jack was a great hero and I admired his calm amidst the storms and his selfless desire to protect others.
Brynn was a little harder to like at the start but she definitely grew on me and I enjoyed seeing her character growth throughout the story!
I liked the fact that Jack and Brynn had a history that gave them a stronger basis for their relationship even if it meant they had some things from the past to work through. The two of them were great together and I was rooting for them the whole time!
This wasn’t your typical find the one bad guy and stop him suspense but rather it there were several puzzle pieces and the team was in a race to fit them together before time ran out! There were several close calls throughout and I was completely invested in every twist and turn!
This book was a wonderfully enjoyable suspense and I definitely recommend it! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Meet the Author
Natalie Walters is the author of Lights Out, as well as the Harbored Secrets series. A military wife, she currently resides in Texas with her soldier husband and is the proud mom of three. She loves traveling, spending time with her family, and connecting with readers on Instagram and Facebook. Learn more at www.nataliewalterswriter.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. 

The Mobster’s Daughter by Rachel Scott McDaniel

About the Book
The one man who could help her, must never know her name.
If Kate Chamberlin can't reveal her true identity to the world, she must settle for sharing only her talent. Hired as a musician for KDKA radio, Kate plays everything from sponsors’ jingles to complex sonatas. As long as the whispers around the broadcasting room refer to her as “Killjoy Kate” and not “Catarina the crime boss's daughter,” then her life is safe from danger.
Or so she thinks.
When anonymous, violent threats surface, Kate's wary of accepting protection from the handsome private investigator, Detective Jennings. His save-the-world attitude is as charming as his manners, but no one, especially him, can know the gruesome realities of her birth.
The 1924 Pittsburgh underworld is as complicated as it is elusive, and though the dealings of the Salvastanos have dwindled, Rhett Jennings is certain the man responsible for his father's death is still at large. But his personal hunt for justice must be set aside when his day job requires him to investigate threats directed at a young radio broadcaster with enamoring brown eyes and secretive behavior.
When danger surrounds them, will the truth of Kate's past become the key to their survival?

My Thoughts
Oh my gosh!! I freaking loved this book and it just might be my favorite McDaniel book! I was hooked from the very first page by this author’s unique brand of vivid imagery. She literally transports you to 1920’s Pittsburgh and you feel like you are walking the soot filled streets.
Kate aka Catarina had me invested in her plight from the moment we met her. She had endured so much loss and hardship in her life but I loved how she didn’t let it stop her from making a life for herself or keep her from loving and caring for everyone in her path. She was selfless and kind and it shone through her every action.
Rhett also charmed me from the start. I admired the way he stood for justice even though those around him weren’t and when he saw what things were becoming he forged his own path. He was a protector at heart and that was glaringly evident in the way he kept Kate safe even if it meant sleepless nights and long days. Rhett also had a compassionate heart and I loved his interactions with the little boy Kate cared for!
The romance between Kate and Rhett was soft and sweet and they had me melting more than a few times!
There was also some mystery and intrigue and it totally sucked me in! There were some parts I guessed at but I didn’t see the full picture coming!
One of my favorite things about McDaniel’s books is the way she brings historic Pittsburgh to life! I’ve lived near the city all of my life and I love reading about what life was like here all those years ago! It’s so fun to see the places that I know mentioned in the story! And the fun historical tidbits she includes fascinate me!
Honestly this book had it all, I laughed, I swooned, I teared up, and I was happy sighing at the end! Rarely do books hold my attention so fully like this one did, typically I can just stop whenever and I’ll admit I can get distracted by my phone, but that wasn’t the case with this story! I started it with the intention of just a couple chapters before bed but then I was so hooked that next thing I knew it was 2am and I couldn’t keep my eyes open! And the next day I had to force myself to put it down when other things needed my attention! Basically this book was amazing and you need to read it as soon as possible-you won’t regret it!

Meet the Author
Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.

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. 

Never Too Late by Susan L. Tuttle

About the Book
Once, her art brought her fame. This time will it bring her love?
Widowed homemaker Rachael Stark isn’t quite sure what comes after her only child leaves for college. To fill her suddenly quiet hours and scrawny bank account, she needs a job. But painful memories prevent her from resurrecting her former art career, and “motherhood” isn’t much of a résumé. When her best friend needs help recovering from a gunshot wound that occurred in the line of duty, she is there. Finally, someone to take care of.
Evan Wayne won’t let his injury keep him from being a police officer. His dedication to protect the innocent stems from the guilt he carries over having failed his childhood friend. What he needs now is to recover and get back on the streets. Instead, he’s handed a myriad of light-duty tasks by his captain—one of which involves heading up the department’s entry into the town’s annual mural contest. He’s not an artist, but he definitely knows one. And he’ll take any excuse to spend more time with her.
When Rachael agrees to paint for Evan, she never expects to also be drawn into finding answers for the mother of a missing child. As the two friends work side by side on the mural and the case, their feelings move beyond friendship. But with Evan unwilling to leave his dangerous job, and Rachael unwilling to risk another loss of a loved one, their fears may paint over the promise of a beautiful future together.

My Thoughts
Speechless. I am always speechless when I finish a Susan Tuttle novel. I honestly just sit there in awe for a few minutes after reaching the end and wonder how I can ever right a review that will do it justice. But then I start typing and all the things I loved come spilling out and turn into my longest reviews ever.
I have been waiting for Rachael’s story since we first met her, even though she had loved and lost I just knew she had so much more in store. And the second she and Evan were on the page together I knew he was her more. Their friendship was absolutely perfect, the banter and understanding between them was just spot on. And as someone who really likes friends-to-more stories I was so ready to see their journey.
One of my favorite things about Tuttle’s writing is the realness of her characters. They are written so authentically that you feel like you genuinely know them. Every pain and struggle they go through is felt on a deep level and you truly understand the things they wrestle with. Even when I wanted to shake Rachael to make her realize what she had in front of her I felt every part of her fear and understood why she held herself back.
Both Rachael and Evan had experienced some of the most horrendous losses imaginable and they had so much unresolved pain to work through. It was raw and tough but I loved how they helped each other through, though it took outsiders wisdom and God to really break the walls down. They had such a special bond that allowed for speaking truth even when it wasn’t what the other wanted to hear and I admired the way they fully knew when to push and when to step back. They were connected in such a beautiful way and the fact that they were meant to be together was the most obvious thing in the world.
Their relationship had its ups and downs that had me alternatively laughing, yelling at them, sighing in happiness, and even tearing up. Basically it was perfection!
It was also so much fun to see more from Jonah and Penny, and Micah and Belle from the previous books! And Blake and Harlow from her standalone novel even made a cameo which made me so happy!
I cannot say enough how much I loved this book and this whole series! Definitely staying permanently on my favorites list!

Meet the Author
ACFW Carol Award finalist Susan L. Tuttle lives in the Mitten State of Michigan where she's a mom of three and happily married to her best friend. Between still homeschooling her youngest and leading the women's ministry at church, she finds time to write stories filled with inspiration, hope, and encouragement. Connect with Susan at susanltuttle.com.

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. 

Monday, November 01, 2021

Labyrinth of Lies by Irene Hannon

About the Book
When the daughter of a high-profile businessman disappears from an exclusive girls' boarding school, police detective Cate Reilly is tapped for an undercover assignment. It doesn't take her long to realize that beneath the veneer of polish and wealth, things are not as they seem at Ivy Hill Academy. But the biggest surprise of all? The only man she ever loved is also working at the school.
Zeke Sloan has never forgotten Cate, but now isn't the best time for their paths to cross again. When their two seemingly disparate agendas begin to intertwine--and startling connections emerge among the players--the danger escalates significantly. But who is the mastermind behind the elaborate ruse? And how far will they go to protect their house of cards?
Queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon invites you to scale the heights of human folly and plumb the depths of the human heart in this second gripping book in the Triple Threat series.

My Thoughts
I’m not going to lie, book one in this series was a major miss for me and made me a bit wary of this one. But since I’ve long been a fan of the author I wanted to still give it a chance.
It was better than the first but still missed the mark for me. The premise of a 33 year old woman being able to pass as a high schooler for an indefinite amount of time without any one even questioning it for a second was not believable in the slightest. And the fact that she was posing as a student while the love interest, Zeke, was undercover as a teacher just felt icky despite the fact that they had a previous relationship and knew who the other was immediately. It also made it hard for there to be any actual romance because it would have been wrong to every one watching who weren’t aware of their true identities and ages. The only time they really got to spend together one on one were the twice weekly “tutoring” sessions he arranged which somehow never raised anyone’s suspicions even though he didn’t offer tutoring to any other students. Their past history did make the romance not completely unbelievable even if we didn’t get to see a lot of on page interactions.
There were a lot of characters and POVs which gave us a lot of the story throughout so there wasn’t a lot of keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat mystery or suspense but the crime story was still interesting and kept me reading to see how it was resolved.
I could have done without the epilogue proposal that seems to always be at the end of suspense books and is a major pet peeve of mine but I know other people like that so it is what it is.
All in all while this wasn’t a favorite of mine it was still readable and kept my interest throughout.

Meet the Author
Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than sixty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. Learn more at www.irenehannon.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. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Hostile Intent by Lynette Eason

About the Book
Ava Jackson entered the military shortly after high school, but her mother's illness has forced her to request an early discharge. She already lost her father while deployed, and there's no way she's going to let her mother die alone. But after a visit to the nursing facility where her mother lives, Ava is attacked walking back to her car. Fortunately, FBI Special Agent Caden Denning arrives in time to help fight off her attacker.
Caden reveals to Ava that she may hold the key to the murders of three families, and he needs her help before anyone else is harmed. The hits show a pattern, and clearly the killer has an agenda. But if Caden and Ava can't discover what it is, Ava may be next on the hit list.
Bestselling author Lynette Eason concludes her latest suspense-filled series with a bang as secrets are revealed and the guilty are brought to justice.

My Thoughts
This series has been a bit rocky for me and after really not enjoying the last one I kind of decided I wasn’t going to read this one. But then my bestie read it and said it was amazing so I decided to give it a shot. And she was absolutely right! From the very first page I was completely hooked and couldn’t read fast enough! Eason struck the perfect balance between all the things! The villain was pure evil and had a backstory that showed how he became what he was but it wasn’t taken to too dark of a place. The action and suspense was steady throughout but not to the point of never catching your breath. There was enough revealed at the right time that you didn’t feel in the dark as a reader but there were also some pieces you just had to wait to figure out! And the romance wasn’t the insta-love you normally find in suspense since the characters had know each other since childhood. So yeah this book really hit the sweet spot in basically every aspect and I loved it!
Caden and Ava were both fabulous and the type of characters you could easily root for. I really appreciated how Ava was skilled and capable but wasn’t above letting people help her. She knew when she needed to do things and when she could let someone else do them. And on the flip side Caden trusted her to handle what she said she could but was always there to step in when needed. You don’t see that often in books and I loved it so much that it deserved a mention!
The only thing that wasn’t my favorite was the epilogue, it went down the cheesy route that is for some reason the norm in suspense and I could have done without it. But it didn’t damper my love for this book and I definitely recommend this one!

Meet the Author
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Danger Never Sleeps, 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. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Cryptographer's Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander

About the Book
A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring
Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.
FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?

My Thoughts
WWII is my absolute favorite time period to read about so I was very excited to dive into this story, especially after a ringing endorsement from my bestie!
Eloise and Phillip were both great characters and I really admired their desire to serve their country no matter the cost! Their relationship went from annoyance to friendship to something more rather seamlessly and while I would have enjoyed more romance I thought it was well paced.
The “Doll Woman” spy was a story I hadn’t heard before and I was fascinated by the details of it and the process of hunting her down! I also enjoyed traveling around the country through the characters!
In short this was a really solid read that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Meet the Author
Johnnie Alexander is a wannabe vagabond with a heart for making memories. Whether at home or on the road, she creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won't forget.
Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, is a CBA bestseller and has been translated into Dutch and Norwegian. She also writes contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and historical novellas. The Mischief Thief is her first suspense novel.
Johnnie is on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and interviews inspirational authors for her Novelists Unwind program. She also teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy.
A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, Johnnie shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon.

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, October 29, 2021

To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano

About the Book
Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she's determined to solve.
Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.
As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne's way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.

My Thoughts
Opening a Turano book is always a mix of knowing what to expect and also having no idea what is coming! You know there will be humor, hijinks, and a special brand of charming ridiculousness that only Jen Turano can pull off, but there’s just no way to guess how it will play out!
This particular book took a little bit of time to pick up speed at least for me. I felt that not a lot was happening in the first half but the pace definitely sped up some for the second half and finished well!
The main characters were both writers and bookish types which is always fun as a reader to have something major in common with the heroine and/or hero! Daphne and Herman intrigued each other from the start and it was fun to watch their relationship play out!
There was a full cast of supporting characters and lots of amusing, what I call “Turano quirks”, sprinkled amongst them to make for lots of entertaining moments!
So all in all, despite the slow start, this was another Turano win!

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 jenturano.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. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Carved in Stone by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book
After years of tragedy, Gwen Kellerman now lives a quiet life as a botanist at an idyllic New York college. She largely ignores her status as heiress to the infamous Blackstone dynasty and hopes to keep her family's heartbreak and scandal behind her.
Patrick O'Neill survived a hardscrabble youth to become a lawyer for the downtrodden Irish immigrants in his community. He's proud of his work, even though he struggles to afford his ramshackle law office. All that changes when he accepts a case that is sure to emphasize the Blackstones' legacy of greed and corruption by resurrecting a thirty-year-old mystery.
Little does Patrick suspect that the Blackstones will launch their most sympathetic family member to derail him. Gwen is tasked with getting Patrick to drop the case, but the old mystery takes a shocking twist neither of them saw coming. Now, as they navigate a burgeoning attraction and growing danger, Patrick and Gwen will be forced to decide if the risk to the life they've always held dear is worth the reward.

My Thoughts
These are the kinds of reviews that are the hardest for us reviewers to write, trying to find the balance between honesty and kindness when a book misses the mark, so bear with me. Let me start by saying that I have been a fan of Elizabeth Camden since her first few books and I’ve been along for the ride ever since. There have been a few books here and there that haven’t been my favorite but overall I generally find myself loving her books which made the fact that I couldn’t get behind this one even harder to swallow.
Overall this book suffered from having to much going on at once but without any of the subplots being developed enough to take center stage. There was a vaccine, a merger, a lost heir, a mistress with an illegitimate child, a few murder attempts, some strange family dynamics, and a relationship battling class separation. I really felt that the story would have been strengthened and more cohesive if some of the plot points were cut out and others were more strongly developed.
The characters themselves were also a bit all over the place and they didn’t do much to endear themselves to the reader. Gwen was described as this bright ray of all that is good in the world but her actions and thoughts never really backed that up. Instead, she portrayed a lot of typical traits of someone who was raised with money and only had to do work they felt like doing. And the way she tried to throw money at every problem, especially where Patrick was concerned, was rather distasteful. Patrick himself didn’t have a lot to recommend him either, though I did admire the way he helped the less fortunate, his thoughts and attitude were just kind of off putting. I also did not buy them as a couple, nothing about their personalities or life circumstances were complimentary, and I truly think they would have been better apart.
And the last thing I’m going to mention, because I really don’t want to harp on things for too long, is the fact that I had a hard time with the entirety of the Blackstone family. I’m not sure if we were supposed to start liking them by the end but I honestly couldn’t recommend a single one of them and I really am not excited to continue interacting with them in the following books.
In the end, despite the fact that I wanted to love this book, there were just too many head scratching moments and unlikable characters for me to recommend it. As always though, please don’t just take my word for it, read some other reviews, read the synopsis, and make your own informed decision.

Meet the Author
Elizabeth Camden (www.elizabethcamden.com) is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award and have appeared on the CBA bestsellers list. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

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. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes

About the Book
A mysterious song in the forest . . .
A discovery in war-torn France . . .
A journey toward hope.
The trenches of the Great War are a shadowed place. Though Platoon Sergeant Matthew Petticrew arrived there with a past long marked by shadow, the realities of battle bring new wounds--carving within him a longing for light, and a resolve to fight for it.
One night, Matthew and his comrades are enraptured by a sound so pure, a voice so ethereal, it offers reprieve--even if only for a moment. Soon, rumors sweep the trenches from others who have heard the lullaby too. "The Angel of Argonne," they call the voice: a mysterious presence who leaves behind wreaths on unmarked graves.
Raised in the wild depths of the Forest of Argonne, Mireilles finds her reclusive world rocked when war crashes into her idyllic home, taking much from her. When Matthew and his two unlikely companions discover Mireilles, they must embark on a journey that will change each of them forever . . . and perhaps, at long last, spark light into the dark.
On the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier comes an emotive tale inspired by the courageous soldiers of World War I.

My Thoughts
It is always the most daunting of tasks to try to find the words to tell of an Amanda Dykes novel because there are none that truly do justice to the breathlessly beautiful stories she gives us. But this will be my attempt to at least give you the barest glimpse into this newest gift so that you will be persuaded to pick it up yourself.
Normally I fall in the less is more category when it comes to points of view but even though there were five I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Each character embedded themselves into your heart and together wove this intricate tapestry of a story that would have been incomplete without each of them. They each had there own story arc and character growth but they also formed unbreakable bonds with each other that were beautiful to see.
Mira and Matthew were the main focus of this story and they both had had quite the unique journey to the point at which they met and their meeting was like all of the puzzle pieces of their lives falling into place. I loved watching them build a trusting relationship that slipped seamlessly into love.
I loved the way the author drew attention to The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as we approach the 100th anniversary of when he was finally laid to rest. And while she didn’t fictionalize him or try to put a name on him she did give us a glimpse of what it was like for those who wonder if the unnamed soldier could be their soldier.
This story captured me wholly and I lost myself in it every time I picked it up.
Like I warned at the start these words don’t even begin to encompass all that is inside this amazing book and I cannot recommend that you read it (and all of Amanda Dykes’ other books) as soon as you possibly can!

Meet the Author
Amanda Dykes's debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, is the winner of the prestigious 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, and the winner of an INSPY award. She's also the author of Set the Stars Alight and three novellas. A former English teacher, Amanda is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. Find her online at www.amandadykes.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. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Riverbend Gap by Denise Hunter

About the Book
She came in search of the family she’d always wanted—and found the kind of love she’d never dared imagine.
When Katelyn Loveland’s car veered off a winding Appalachian Mountain road, she thought she was done for. That is until Cooper Robinson, local sheriff’s deputy, came to her rescue. And though Katie narrowly escaped her brush with death, she still fell. Hard.
She wasn’t the only one. But soon Cooper learns that the woman he’s more attracted to than any he’s ever met is his brother’s new girlfriend—and therefore unquestionably off limits. Yet, despite their best efforts, Cooper and Katie can’t seem to avoid running into each other. Or ignore the undeniable chemistry between them.
As they grow closer, Katie shares secrets from her past and the real reason she moved to their small North Carolina town. She also wins over Cooper’s welcoming and bighearted family. But they don’t know that her feelings for Cooper keep growing—all while she’s dating his brother. Soon the stakes of their emotional connection become higher than either could have imagined.
Katie stands to lose the first family she’s ever had, and a scandal could doom Cooper’s campaign for sheriff. Suddenly they find themselves on the edge of another precipice—and they’re forced to make a decision that could change their lives forever.

My Thoughts
I’ve been a Denise Hunter fan for over a decade and have absolutely loved almost every book of hers I’ve read. Sadly though, this one was a bit of a miss for me. The main sticking point for me was the whole falling for someone while in a relationship with someone else trope. It’s a tough situation to navigate well in best case scenarios but adding in the fact that the two guys were brothers made it even trickier. I was hopeful that the author would find a way to work things out without crossing any lines but the line got blurrier and blurrier as the book progressed till it got crossed in a major way that was not okay in my book.
The main characters did have great chemistry and I would have loved them as a couple if only their “moments” together weren’t happening while she was dating his brother. I wish the author could have found a way to have the relationship with the brother end in a drama free way earlier in the story so we could have enjoyed the romance.
The family dynamic between the Robinsons was great and I admired how they fought through the tough situations to still be there for one another.
So this wasn’t the book for me but if this type of trope and situation aren’t a problem for you the writing was still great and this may be a win for you!

Meet the Author
Denise Hunter is the internationally published, bestselling author of more than 40 books, three of which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won the Holt Medallion Award, the Reader's Choice Award, the Carol Award, the Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking chai lattes, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are now enjoying an empty nest and two beautiful granddaughters. To learn more about Denise, visit her website DeniseHunterBooks.com; Facebook: @AuthorDeniseHunter; Twitter: @DeniseAHunter; Instagram: @deniseahunter.

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, October 25, 2021

To Marry an Earl by Karen Thornell

About the Book
Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes.
When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed from the start?

My Thoughts
After thoroughly enjoying this author’s contemporary Christmas story I was excited to read more from her! When I found out she would be publishing a regency I was definitely intrigued, and if I’m being honest a little wary. It’s tricky to do historical and contemporary and keep them both true to their genre. But Karen Thornell did it exceptionally and this story had everything I love about regencies!
I’m always a fan of friends to more, though this one had a slightly different spin due to the fact that they had been separated for years.
James was great and truly desired to do the right thing, even if he was misguided occasionally about the best way to do it. I greatly admired the way he wanted Kate’s happiness and safety above any of his own desires. I wanted him to tell Kate the truth faster than he did but I did understand the reasons he held back so I didn’t dislike him for that.
I felt so bad for Kate and the life she’d been forced to endure under her father’s thumb. She didn’t let it turn her bitter though and she had the kindest heart. She also had some trust issues that needed to be worked through thanks to her father and other circumstances and I was so happy to see her start to let her walls down.
I thought James and Kate made a wonderful couple and their romance, while a bit of a bumpy road was still so sweet!
I absolutely enjoyed everything about this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author!

Meet the Author
Karen Thornell grew up reading when she should have been sleeping, but it wasn't until 2019 that she started writing. Tired of ending books and saying 'goodbye' to beloved characters, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters that lived in her head always. It was probably a mark of sleep deprivation that she wanted people living in her head, but the idea was planted regardless.
Karen lives in Utah with her husband and kids. When not writing contemporary or regency romance, she spends her free time doing endless loads of laundry, playing board games, and, yes, talking to those characters in her head.
You can connect with Karen on Instagram, Facebook, or on her site at www.karenthornell.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. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Autumn By the Sea by Melissa Tagg

About the Book
Get swept away to the seaside in Maine in this captivating romance brimming with mystery ⁣
Abandoned as a toddler, Sydney Rose has spent years wondering who she really is, homesick for a life she’s never lived. When a private investigator crashes into her world, she finds herself heading to a tiny seaside town in Maine to meet a woman named Maggie, who’s searching for the granddaughter she lost decades ago. ⁣
If not for Maggie, Neil MacKean might still be back in Scotland, bereft and alone. Instead, he has a full life in Muir Harbor with an adopted family he loves and a blueberry farm to run. But the farm is struggling and strange occurrences have him concerned. Worse, Maggie’s once again caught up in the past, convinced she’s finally found her long-lost granddaughter. ⁣
Worried for Maggie, Neil is suspicious of the city girl who shows up at the farm. But there’s something about Sydney that tugs on him, drawing out secrets he never meant to share. While Neil grapples with the future of the farm, Sydney wrestles with a past that’s messier than ever. Together, they’re pulled into a mystery complete with a centuries-old legend, unexpected danger . . . and a love as deep and wild as the sea. 

My Thoughts

You probably get tired of me raving about Melissa Tagg novels but I just can’t help it that she delivers an amazing story EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

From the very first page I was drawn into Sydney’s story and her journey to finding her place and discovering her history. Neil was a fabulous hero that I definitely have a crush on lol! I mean, who wouldn’t love a flannel wearing Scot who works tirelessly and selflessly to take care of those he loves?

From the very first moment they met (Tagg once again cements her place as Queen of the Meet Cute FYI) the sparks were flying between Sydney and Neil and I adored watching their relationship unfold. They fit together so seamlessly and from light banter to heartfelt conversations their connection was completely genuine and I was rooting for them from the start!

I also instantly fell in love with Maggie and ached for the losses she’d experienced but was awed by her capacity to love deeply the ones God had placed in her life. And of course Neil’s sisters were great, I’m definitely looking forward to their stories, as well as Wilder who was such a charming character!

Trying to unravel the mystery of Sydney’s parentage had me intrigued throughout and I’m definitely still curious about the pieces that didn’t get discovered in this story. 

Basically, I loved this book and absolutely cannot wait for book two!

Meet the Author

Melissa Tagg is the USA Today bestselling, Christy Award-winning author of swoony and hope-filled small-town contemporary romances. 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 melissatagg.com⁣

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. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Undercurrent of Secrets by Rachel Scott McDani

About the Book
Two women, a century apart, are bound by a haunting secret aboard a legendary steamboat. ⁣
Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure. ⁣

As wedding coordinator for the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville, Devyn Asbury takes pride in seeing others’ dreams come true, even though her engagement had sunk like a diamond ring to the bottom of the Ohio River. When the Belle becomes a finalist in the Timeless Wedding Venue contest, Devyn endeavors to secure the prestigious title with hopes to reclaim some of her professional dreams. What she hadn’t planned on was Chase Jones showing up with a mysterious photo from the 1920s. ⁣
A century earlier, Hattie Louis is as untamable as the rivers that raised her. As the adopted daughter of a steamboat captain, her duties range from the entertainment to cook. When strange incidents occur aboard the boat, Hattie’s determined to discover the truth. Even if that means getting under First Mate Jack Marshall’s handsome skin.⁣

My Thoughts 

Every time Rachel Scott McDaniel sets her fingers to a keyboard she blows me away! I swear with each new book I read I declare it my favorite but honestly they’re all so good I don’t know if I could honestly pick a favorite. But since this is the latest one I’ve read I’m claiming it as my favorite for now! 

I was genuinely impressed with the seamless way she switch from the historical timeline to the contemporary one and I loved them both so equally! I would be sad to leave whichever one I was currently in but all it took was a sentence and I was sucked right back into the second one! The historical may have been my favorite of the two but only by the smallest hair and I think mainly due to the fact that McDaniel shines in the 1920’s world! 

All of the characters were wonderful and their love stories were just sweet perfection. I loved the similarities/parallels between their romances but each was uniquely its own and had me all sorts of swoony.

The boat was like another character in both stories and I loved getting to learn interesting tidbits about it’s history! It’s now on my bucket list of things I want to see!

The mysteries in both timelines had me completely hooked and I loved the way everything played out! There were some things I guessed but they were unveiled brilliantly and still gave that aha moment. And while there was the small mysteries to figure out I loved that the characters and their stories were the main focus and it was just the kind of read that you just settle into and enjoy every second! 

I cannot recommend this book enough, fans of McDaniel’s work will be in love again and newcomers will have a new obsession! 

Meet the Author

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.

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, July 06, 2021

The Chase by Lisa Harris

About the Book
US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing--it's time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that's gone wrong--and things are about to get worse. ⁣
For these bank robbers, it's never been just about the money. It's about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else--someone close to them--gets hurt . . . or worse. ⁣
From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn't an option.

My Thoughts
Romantic suspense has long been a favorite genre of mine but lately they’ve all been missing the mark for me, until this series. The author’s last few stand-alones haven’t been my favorite and so when The Escape released I decided not to read it. But my friend did and swore it was really good and worth a read, it took a little while but with book two coming out I figured I’d try out the first one, and I loved it! It had everything I like in a romantic suspense book and when it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger I was so happy I had already requested The Chase!⁣
I think this one was even better! I started it late on a Friday evening and only managed to put it down because I was exhausted! I picked it up the next morning and basically finished it in one sitting! The action was legitimately non-stop but not in a contrived way. I was completely sucked in and turning pages as fast as I could as everything played out! Their hunt for the bank robbers led them all over and had me anxiously following along.⁣
Since the series is all about the same people we already had the groundwork laid for knowing the characters which allowed the reader to just fully slip into the story. And since a few months had passed since the last book there was a deeper connection between Madison and Jonas that isn’t easy to find in the genre. They were building a close friendship that was starting to shift to more so there wasn’t a lot of lovey-dovey romance which I actually didn’t mind because it was a genuine connection they were building.⁣
I honestly have no complaints about this book! The gripping plot, great characters, and overarching mystery of Madison’s husband’s death all have me completely captivated and counting down the days till book three releases!

Meet the Author
Lisa Harris is a  USA Today bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from  Romantic Times for her novels  Blood Covenant and  Vendetta. The author of more than forty books, including  The Escape, The Chase,  The Traitor's Pawn, Vanishing Point,  A Secret to Die For, and  Deadly Intentions, as well as The Nikki Boyd Files and the Southern Crimes series, Harris and her family have spent over 17 years living as missionaries in southern Africa. She is currently stateside in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

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. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

That Fine Line by Cindy Steel

About the Book
All I wanted was a quiet summer on my family’s ranch in Idaho…I didn’t think that was too much to ask. With my fiancé in California, I was back home for three months to plan my wedding. I had colors to pick, cows to milk, and a wedding dress to squeeze into. Which was why I didn’t need anybody messing with me. Especially not the guy who had dedicated his whole life to making mine a joke. The guy who filled my high school locker with frogs and my hot car with cans of tuna. I mean…I always got him back. But not this summer. Things were different now. I was engaged. I had grown up. I would NOT fall victim to Cade’s pranks, teasing, or his manly charms. If only my dad hadn’t hired the moron to cowboy for him this summer. Now my childhood enemy is living on our ranch and seems to think we have a score to settle. And all bets are off.

My Thoughts
I randomly stumbled upon this author last December thanks to bookstagram, she had a Christmas novella releasing and I was devouring all the Christmas stories I could get my hands on so I immediately got it. It was a short little story but I absolutely loved every second and it ended up being one of my favorite reads for the season. So when I saw the chance to be on the ARC team for this book I jumped on it without even stopping to read the description! When I did finally look at what it was about I was slightly nervous because I’ve discovered that I’m very picky about my enemies to more stories, especially the ones that involve pranks. Thankfully any worry was for naught and I absolutely loved this story! The pranks were the perfect lighthearted kind that had me laughing out loud. And the characters animosity towards each other was entertaining and not based in any major drama so that kept it fun. I was also a little hesitant about the fact that the heroine was engaged to someone else at the start, because that can be tricky to handle, but the author did it exceptionally well! There was banter and fun but no lines were crossed while she was still in the other relationship, which I really appreciated.
Cade was absolutely fantastic! The way he pranked, teased, and flirted with Kelsey was hilarious, but he also knew when to draw a line and he could be exceptionally caring when he wanted to be. I also really loved that he called Kelsey, Red, I am a total sucker for a good nickname so this was definitely a point in his favor!
Kelsey was a bit of an enigma, which could be blamed on the fact that she had a foot in two worlds and was trying to discover who she was and where she belonged. At times I wanted to make her realize the truth faster but she had to make the journey herself and even if her choices frustrated me at times I could understand what drove her to make them. She gave as good as she got with the pranks and by participating she got to loosen up and settle in to the person she was becoming/finding again.
Cade and Kelsey’s relationship was so fun from start to finish and it played out with just the right timing. And even though they weren’t together to later in the book and they didn’t cross any lines beforehand you could definitely see the groundwork being laid that allowed it to grow quickly when given the chance!
So yeah, I may have like this book just a lot! Can’t wait to see what else this author has in store for us and I know I’ll be reading whatever it is!

Meet the Author
Cindy Steel was raised on a dairy farm in Idaho. She grew up singing country songs at the top of her lungs and learning to solve all of life’s problems while milking cows and driving tractors—rewriting happy endings every time. She married a cute Idaho boy and is the proud mother of two wild and sweet twin boys. Which means she is also now a collector of bugs, sticks, rocks, and slobbery kisses. She loves making breakfast, baking, photography, reading a good book, and staying up way past her bedtime to craft stories that will hopefully make you smile.
Follow her for updates and new release information at www.cindysteel.com and at Instagram: @authorcindysteel

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. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Audacious Miss Eliza by Laura Rollins

About the Book
As it turns out, a London Season is the worst place to find love.⁣
Eliza Mulgrave never expected to make her bows to society. Yet here she is, dancing at Almacks and riding through Hyde Park. It would be perfectly delightful if it weren’t for the whispers and scornful glances. She certainly never sought to quit her place in society as a tradesman’s daughter. At least then she had known who she was and how to act; now, she’s completely lost.⁣
Adam Lambert has been raised to be a viscount and though the time has come sooner than expected he is confident stepping into this new life. Until he meets his Father’s best kept secret—a little girl. And now she’s Adam’s responsibility. Surely someone ought to have told him about her before now.⁣
After stumbling through an initial meeting, Adam and Eliza both find in the other what they most need this Season—a sincere friend. But society is not often willing to grant two people room to learn for themselves who to be, or who to love.⁣
As the first stand-alone novel in a new series by author Laura Rollins, The Audacious Miss Eliza begins the Daughters of Courage series. This charming story is a light-hearted, clean and wholesome romance set in the Regency era.

My Thoughts

This was a new to me author and I took a bit of a gamble agreeing to review it without knowing much about it. 

This story is all the things I’ve come to expect from these lighthearted regency reads, good clean romance without much drama.

The characters were likable, Eliza was selfless and kind and Adam was the a definite gentleman with a good heart. Both of them were navigating unexpected changes to their circumstances and they complimented each other well. 

There was a bit of an amateur feel to the writing at times but overall it was a cute and quick read that entertained me.

Meet the Author

Laura Rollins has always loved a heart-melting happily ever after. It didn’t matter if the story took place in Regency England, or in a cobbler’s shop, if there was a sweet romance, she would read it.⁣

Life has given her many of her own adventures. Currently she lives in the Rocky Mountains with her best-friend, who is also her husband, and their four beautiful children. She still loves to read books and more books; her favorite types of music are classical, Broadway, and country; she loves hiking in the mountains near her home; and she’s been known to debate with her oldest son about whether Infinity is better categorized as a number or an idea.

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, April 06, 2021

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese

About the Book
Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a shiny monthly paycheck. When her manager-turned-boyfriend tells her of an upcoming audition to host a makeover show for America's underprivileged youth, all her dreams finally seem to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.
To gain an edge on her competitors, she applies to volunteer at a transitional program for aged-out foster kids during summer, only the program's director, Silas Whittaker, doesn't find her as charming as her followers do. But since forfeiting a goal has never been her style, Molly's only option is to accept the terms Silas lays out and submit to his rules--even the most ridiculous ones pertaining to social media.  
Soon as the residents of the home become more than a means to pad her career resume, and Silas becomes more than an obstacle on her path to fame, her once-narrow focus expands to include the deep needs of those she's serving... and perhaps the ones she's neglected inside herself as well. It took years to build her platform, but only one summer to discover what really matters most.

My Thoughts
Well, I’m officially, once again obsessed with a Nicole Deese novel. I will admit I was nervous about this one, because it was honestly one of my top five most-anticipated reads for 2021, and because a lot of books I’ve been excited for have been missing the mark lately. But this one didn’t just meet my excessively high expectations, it exceeded them beyond my greatest hopes! I was dopey grinning my way through the whole book, wanting to just ignore the world and devour it any chance I got.
Let’s start with the characters, because lets be honest they can make or break a book. Molly was so much more than I thought she would be based on the synopsis. Yes, she was a girly girl who loved make-up and fashion but she had such a genuine caring heart and I ached for the way she felt like she didn’t fit into her family and the loneliness she experienced despite her social media fame. I absolutely loved seeing her discover the ways her gifts and talents could be used to help others and finding the connections she’d been seeking long before she even realized she needed them. She had such a bubbly magnetic personality and was one of those people you couldn’t help loving.
Now for Silas Whittaker (can we take a moment to once again appreciate this author’s hero naming magic ability?) I loved him so stinkin much! He was more on the serious side, especially when compared to Molly, but not to the extent of being a fuddy-duddy. His job required a level head and he was the perfect man for the job but he had a sense of humor that snuck up on you and made me laugh out loud several times! The way he saw potential in people before they even saw it themselves was incredible and the compassion he had was unmatched. He took his hard childhood and turned it into an amazing way of helping others. He was everything I could want in a hero!
And the two of them were absolutely perfect together! From their rocky first meeting, to working together, to friendship, to the beautiful more than friends, every step played out in perfect timing and I loved watching their relationship unfold. Their strengths and weaknesses complimented each other balancing out to make them a pretty unstoppable team that I was behind 100%!
I also loved getting to know the residents at the manor with their unique stories, the author really made you feel their pain and be totally rooting for them to overcome! Glo was such a hoot with her wisdom and wit and I also loved Molly’s brother Miles and her assistant, Val. The entire cast of characters was so well done!
In addition to the characters, I was so impressed with the way Deese handled the plot. She tackled the issue of teens who’ve aged out of the foster system with such skill and really gave an authentic view of the troubles they face. And I absolutely loved the way that every time I thought things were about to go down a certain way, a way that I didn’t want them to, she somehow flipped the script and turned the whole situation around to a way that had me cheering for the characters. Grace was given instead of judgement, listening instead of jumping to conclusions, and admitting fault instead of laying out excuses. I wish more books handled things this way because I’m here for it!
So, if you made it this far in my ramblings I will end by saying that this book was amazing from start to finish, it’s going on my favorites list, and you absolutely need to go read it!

Meet the Author
Nicole Deese is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and INSPY Award finalist. When she's not working on her next contemporary Christian romance novel, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior. Find her online at www.nicoledeese.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. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book
Luke Delacroix has the reputation of a charming man-about-town in Gilded Age Washington, DC. In reality, he is secretly carrying out an ambitious agenda in Congress. His current mission is to thwart the reelection of Congressman Clyde Magruder, his only real enemy in the world.
But trouble begins when Luke meets Marianne Magruder, the congressman's only daughter, whose job as a government photographer gives her unprecedented access to sites throughout the city. Luke is captivated by Marianne's quick wit and alluring charm, leading them both into a dangerous gamble to reconcile their feelings for each other with Luke's driving passion for vital reforms in Congress.
Can their newfound love survive a political firestorm, or will three generations of family rivalry drive them apart forever?

My Thoughts
I have been absolutely loving this series and I think as a whole it just might be my favorite work of Camden’s to date!
I love the way the stories are intricately connected telling a story as a whole while also being three individually complete works. And the way that this is reflected in the covers is definitely one of the coolest things ever!
I have loved Luke since the moment we first met him and I have been anxiously awaiting his story! He was as charming as ever but we also got to see his maturity and his drive for justice that had developed over the years. He was a bit reckless at times but it often served him well and the world needs people who aren’t afraid to jump in and get their hands dirty in the name of justice!
I had a love/hate relationship with Marianne. I appreciated the way she saw and captured the world through her camera lens and she had a genuinely kind heart that just wanted the best for everyone. But her naïveté and blind loyalty when it came to her family got a little bit frustrating at times, especially since her family was awful and did nothing to earn it. Also (and this is going to be super vague to avoid spoilers) when she had the chance to speak up and come clean about something and she didn’t even though she knew someone was suffering unjustly for what she’d done, I lost a lot of respect for her.
Overall though I did enjoy the romance between the two of them and they were really cute together!
One of Camden’s greatest strengths as an author is the way she weaves history into the very fabric of her stories, and this book was no different! The surprisingly captivating journey to see that there were regulations in place for what was put into food that was being sold was honestly something I’d never thought of before this series but now I know so much about it! And the parts about the changes they were making to the landscape of our nation’s capital that we see today were extremely interesting to me!
I enjoyed the way the story played out and watching them fight for justice while also learning that it doesn’t always come how you imagine it and that there is room for grace as well. There was a bit at the end that seemed a little off the rails, connected but I didn’t fully understand why the author went the direction she did-it kind of felt like that moment in old musicals where a random song and dance routine is thrown in that just makes you scratch your head. But in the end I thoroughly had a delightful time reading this book and I was definitely sucked into the plot! I’m looking forward to whatever the author has in store for us next!

Meet the Author
Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America featuring clever heroines and richly layered story lines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Awards and have appeared on the CBA bestsellers list. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books. Learn more at www.elizabethcamden.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.