Tuesday, October 18, 2022

A Game of Hearts by Joanna Barker

About the Book
If you can't join them, beat them.
Marigold Cartwell has only one goal: to defeat her long-time rival on the archery field. She knows she can outshoot irritating, cynical Tristan Gates, but the local bowmen’s society—the one he belongs to—refuses to allow women to compete. Spurred on by their rejection, Marigold decides to start a new society. Naturally, it has only one rule: no men.
Tristan Gates is used to Marigold Cartwell always getting her way, so he is far from surprised when she forms her own society. He knows how relentless she can be, something he learned firsthand facing her at the targets. But Tristan has enough worries of his own, what with his bachelor uncle falling in love with a fortune hunter. He has no time to entertain Marigold’s ambitions.
However, after a visit to the seashore ends in disaster—and scandal—Marigold and Tristan soon realize how little they know about each other. The strained tension between them quickly turns to simmering attraction, but an important archery competition looms ahead. Lines are drawn all around them, with Marigold and Tristan on opposite sides, and neither can afford to lose. Yet winning might be the very thing to tear them apart.

My Thoughts
This is one of those books that was just a complete delight from start to finish! Enemies to more can be hit or miss for me but the author absolutely hit the bull's-eye (pun totally intended) with this one! Tristan and Marigold had such fun wit and banter and their dislike for each other was completely genuine at the start but it slowly turned to a different emotion all together! I loved their every interaction and they had me laughing out loud several times! They were so perfectly matched in every way and I loved watching them slowly discover that!
I won’t spoil anything but I was highly satisfied with the way things played out and certain problems were resolved! I kept fearing things would go one way only for them to go a much better route!
I also really enjoyed the side characters and their relationships with Tristan and Marigold-they truly had a great support system!
The archery angle was unique and fun and added a cool layer to the story!
This book will for sure be one of my favorites this year and I cannot recommend it enough!

Meet the Author
Joanna Barker firmly believes that romance makes everything better, which is why she has fallen in love with writing Regency romances. When she’s not typing away on her next book, you’ll find her listening to podcasts, eating her secret stash of chocolate, or adding things to her Amazon cart. Joanna is a three-time Whitney Awards finalist, and her books have received praise from Publisher’s Weekly, the Historical Novel Society, Readers’ Favorite, and more. She thinks being an author is the second-best job in the world—right after being a mom. She is just a little crazy about her husband and three wild-but-loveable kids.

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 12, 2022

A Hope and A Prayer by Julie Lessman

About the Book
She’s in love with her best friend. 
He’s in love with her cousin.
But when the war reveals a gift so rare, 
will they be saved by a hope and a prayer?
As Head Nurse at 2d Hospital in Nancy, France, Lieutenant Hope Dennehy is known for her healing touch, especially when it comes to mending the wounds and spirit of her best friend, Lieutenant Bren O’Neill. When Hope’s cousin breaks Bren’s heart, Hope is always there, helping to heal him with a friendship so anointed and deep, it threatens to break her heart too.
Flying high as a daredevil aeromedical evac pilot in the European Theatre, “Lieutenant Love” O’Neill crashes and burns when the woman he loves falls for another. Depending on the support and prayers of Nurse Hope Dennehy to save him, Bren re-evaluates his free-wheeling lifestyle when he witnesses the heinous atrocities of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Suddenly nothing in life is as important as taking care of those he loves … or is it? Battling demons from his past, Bren learns that only one thing can truly save him from himself.

My Thoughts
The O’Conners have long been one of my absolute favorite fictional families so I’m always excited to reenter their world! This time it’s the first of the O’Conner grandchildren’s turn to find love.
Hope is a very selfless and loving person and her faith shines through everything that she says and does. Bren appears to be her opposite with his reputation and drinking but he also has the biggest heart and would do anything for those closest to him. He’s a bit thick headed though and it took him far to long to get his act together despite the love and care of his friends, sobering experiences, and the risk of losing everything he cared about. He finally does wake up and he and Hope are very well matched, she softens him and he brings out some of her fire.
There were times where the story dragged a little and I wasn’t as engaged with the plot but I did still enjoy Hope and Bren’s journey and was happy to see them come together in the end.
It was also great to get to see more of the rest of the O’Conners and catch up on their lives!

*Couldn’t end this review without a little bit of a disclaimer/warning. There are a few chapters that take place at a liberated concentration camp and it gets a little more descriptive than necessary at times. Plus there are a few comparisons that’s aren’t particularly sensitive so just a heads up if that's something that bothers you.

About the Author
A lover of all things Irish, Julie Lessman writes close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 21 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017-2020, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction.
Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.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, October 05, 2022

A Seaside Wonder by Melissa Tagg

About the Book
In one evening, Indi's world falls apart. Enter the shy professor her family mistakes for her fiancé . . . make that ex-fiancé.
Professor Philip West never wanted to return to Maine . . . or his grandfather’s miserable old house. But after his mother’s death, he’s now the guardian of a teenage half sister who doesn’t want anything to do with him. He longs to help her heal, but he’s exhausted and numb, desperate for relief of his own. Maybe that’s why he’s so easily distracted when he happens upon the little shop with an intriguing owner—one who happens to share a name with someone from his grandfather's mysterious past.
More than a decade has passed since Indi Muir made the heartbreaking decision she’s never recovered from—though she’s certainly tried. She has a full life running her shop and creating the artsy pieces that fill its shelves. If she can just stay busy, she’ll keep her hurt and regret at bay. But when her ex-fiancé returns to Muir Harbor, he brings news that shatters her carefully built walls. Things only get worse when lurking danger comes calling at her childhood home.
The one bright spot amid Indi’s turmoil is the shy stranger who wandered into her shop months ago and his moody but lovable sister. As she confronts her past and the mysterious threat facing her family, she’s intent on helping Philip win over his sister. He just might win over Indi, too, if they can overcome old secrets and wounds, outrun rising peril . . . and take a chance on love.

My Thoughts
The wait is always worth it for a Melissa Tagg novel! I have be anxiously awaiting this second book in the Muir Harbor series since I read the last page of the first one and I’m so happy to report that it is every bit as beautiful as I knew it would be!
Indi intrigued me from the moment we met her and I loved getting to know her more as we got to get in her head. She had a very vibrant personality that circumstances and regrets had dulled but I loved seeing her start to come to life again.
I absolutely loved Philip! I definitely have a soft spot for the nerdy and slightly awkward heroes and he definitely fit the bill. He was so gentle and unassuming with Indi and was just the steady presence that she needed in her life. And the way he stepped in with his half sister and was willing to do whatever necessary to mend their relationship and help her was entirely endearing. Honestly everything about him was endearing from the way he stuttered when he was uncomfortable to his calling Indi “Farmgirl” I just loved it all!
Holland, Philip’s half sister, had a lot of snark and just enough sweet to make her lovable, which was the perfect mix!
It was really fun to escape back to Muir Harbor and spend more time with all the Muirs! We got some more pieces of the mystery figured out and I can’t wait for book 3 to find out the rest! Also Wilder and Lillian’s story is just going to be the best!

Meet the Author
Melissa Tagg is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and Carol 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 on 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 publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunburst by Susan May Warren

About the Book
When former Navy SEAL and lifelong bachelor Ranger Kingston is called upon to take part in a rescue mission to save his brother Colt, who has been kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria, he is shocked to find among the hostages a woman he knows and could never forget.
Noemi Sutton was attempting to return a young girl to her family in Boko Haram territory when she and the girl found themselves taken hostage, along with several others.
And while Ranger Kingston may be able to get the hostages away from their captors, he'll need Noemi's help if he ever hopes to get out of Nigeria alive.
Her solution? Pose as husband and wife. But when her uncle discovers the union, he insists on a traditional Nigerian wedding--binding Noemi to a man destined to break her heart. Worse, she's discovered the real reason she was kidnapped, and anyone around her is bound to be caught in the cross fire. Including her so-called new husband.
She'll need to figure out a way to leave the man she loves if she wants to save his life.
USA Today bestselling author Susan May Warren throws you into the thick of the action in this high-stakes, globe-trotting romance.

My Thoughts
I always jump at the chance to read a Susan May Warren novel and this one was another stellar story!
I loved that we got to experience Africa and Alaska-two very different cultures but Warren was able to immerse us in both!
There was plenty of action but not so much that you couldn’t catch your breath which is the perfect balance in my opinion!
Ranger intrigued me from what we got to know of him in the last book so I was really excited to dive into his story and he did not disappoint! I loved his determination to do whatever needed to be done and felt for him as he tried to figure out his next steps after his life plan was derailed.
Noemi was a great match for Ranger, her stubbornness got her in trouble sometimes but it also gave her strength to do hard things.
The two of them were fantastic together and I loved the sparks between them! I also liked how they had a bit of history to their romance!
All in all another fantastic SMW novel and it left me highly anticipating book 3!

Meet the Author
Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly 90 novels with more than 1.5 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise and Sunburst. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers' Choice Awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook @SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @SusanMayWarren.

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.