Saturday, November 25, 2017

GAME CHANGE by Joseph Monninger

Can one game really change everything?

Seventeen-year-old Zeb Holloway works in his uncle’s auto repair shop and spends his weekends deer hunting in New Hampshire’s backwoords. He’s a quarterback on his high school’s undefeated football team, but he never plays. Why would he when T.T. Munroe—a walking, talking highlight real—is around? That is, until T.T.’s injured a week before the state championship game.

Now Zeb’s tapped to start. As he assumes the role of QB and team leader, it feels like the entire town is watching. Girls want to talk to him and adults want to shake his hand. When a college recruiter says Zeb could have a future beyond his small New Hampshire town, he realizes there’s a bigger life out there for him…if he can play his heart out.




  Opening line:
"Later, in the week that followed, Zeb Holloway watched the injury form again and again."

A coming-of-age story told from a second string football players perspective.
Zeb Holloway doesn't plan on playing much on his high school football team, thanks to the awesome QB who is bring the team to state. Until the QB is hurt. Zeb is thrust in the spotlight and he's not too sure what to think about the instant notoriety.
The story follows Zeb through the week leading up to the state game. He wrestles with who he is, where he's from and what he really expects out of life. Each day leading up to the game seem to solidify and center him in what he wants. Things move a little fast compared to what it might move in real life but I liked the day-to-day decisions and effects.

There are a few "F" bombs and a bit of swearing.
There is kissing.
There is "boy" humor.

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!

Friday, November 24, 2017

IF MY MOON WAS YOUR SUN by Georges Bizet, Sergei Prokofiev, Nele Palmtag

Did you hear the story about Max, the boy who kidnapped his grandfather from a nursing home ? You didn't see it on the news? Well, let me tell you about it.

Max lives in a small town, much smaller than yours. His grandpa is losing his memory, but still remembers quite a bit. You can imagine how they hurried, Max and his grandpa, followed by old Miss Schneider, who insisted on coming along. Why were they in a hurry? Because everyone was after them. Max had skipped school to rescue his grandpa, and they were just starting out on what promised to be one of the best days of their entire lives.

A touching story about dementia and the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, with full-color illustrations and a read-along CD audiobook featuring twelve classical pieces for children by Georges Bizet and Sergei Prokofiev.


 Opening line:
"Early one morning--just a week after his ninth birthday--Max woke up filled with a feeling that something was missing."

Max misses his grandfather, who is in a nursing home with the early onset of dementia. He visits his grandpa often and one day comes up with a plan to break his grandpa out of the home and take him on an adventure. Max is afraid of losing his grandpa because of the loss of memory; he doesn't want grandpa to forget him.

This was beautifully told and illustrated. I didn't get the audiobook and music, only the book to review. I want to listen to it now. The only teeniest part that bothered me: I hope no grand children try to kidnap their forgetful grandparents! :)

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines

When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.

 Opening line:

"Two hundred fifty miles into this journey and not a word spoken."

Deception, lies, romance, unrequited love and smugglers all roll along in Ms. Daines newest, delightful book.

Elaine's family is still reeling from the death of her brother and now from the scandal of something her father did. They move from London, and the wagging tongues of gossips, back to Havencross, their little country home. Elaine has no hope of marriage prospects now. How she wishes she would have accepted the marriage proposal of Gareth now.
Gareth's family is always reeling from a death. His father was killed by smugglers and he wants them brought to justice. But the local authorities don't seem to make any progress on finding the killers. When he sees Elaine again, he tries to stay away from her; she did break his heart, after all.

This story is set in Cornwall, England, in the era when there were smugglers. The story is woven masterfully to include tension, romance and suspense. There were tender moments between different characters. I really enjoyed the interchange between Elaine and her Aunt Rose and creating your own Camelot.

If you like regency romance, a well-written story and characters you can love, this book is for you! 


PS I LOVE THIS COVER!!!

Friday, November 10, 2017

ROYAL BASTARDS by Andrew Shvarts

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey...


 Opening line:
"Princess Lyriana came to Castle Waverly two months after I turned sixteen."

I have to admit the title threw me off when I first got the book. But as I read I totally understood the title. The story is full of adventure, tension and a plot to stop a war.
Tilla is the main character, or bastard. Placed to the side so her father king can produce legitimate heirs, she longs for his approval and love. She's never invited to go places with him or sit at his elbow at dinners. She's relegated to the 'bastard' table in the back, far away from others. Her best friend is her half brother, another bastard, Jax. Miles is from a royal house but is also a bastard BUT his mom said she would make him legit soon. He hopes to marry Tilla. One fateful evening, two more bastards join the table: Zell, a son from a warrior clan, and Lyriana, a visiting princess who rules over all the lands. She's not so much a bastard, but we learn through the story that being a bastard isn't always from a illegitimate marriage.
These five are thrown together in a mission of survival after they witness a horrific murder. Their faces are plastered throughout the land so they are on their own to get to the country of Lyriana's cousin who she vows will protect them. The tension is taut, thanks to all who are hunting them down to kill them, including Zell's crazy brother.
There is magic and romance and great characters. They all grew as their quest moved along. The bad guys are real, the twists are surprising but then again, not, and the fights are great. Their is a bit of a love triangle, some generic tropes but there is also funny dialogue, world building and character growth.
There is a scene with talking about their "conquests," a make-out scene that turned into something more (while not graphic still...) and plenty of swearing.

I look forward to reading the next book!

Thanks to netgalley for the early read.


Friday, November 3, 2017

AN OCEAN AWAY by Heather B. Moore

Gina Graydon knows the last thing she’ll attract on her holiday in France is an eligible bachelor. Tall, outspoken, and with a weakness for laughing at the wrong moment, not to mention being much too occupied with reading gothic romances, Gina decides she’d rather live in her fictional world. Besides, the only man who pays attention to her at the resort hotel happens to be her father’s worst enemy. And that is far from romantic. Reading in a secluded garden, and dreaming about the perfect kiss, all keep Gina much too busy to consider Mr. Edmund Donaldson any sort of hero.

AN OCEAN AWAY was originally published in the Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection, and it's a companion novella to the USA Today bestselling romance HEART OF THE OCEAN.



 Opening line:
"Gina Graydon tucked a deliciously romantic gothic novel under her arm and stepped onto the hotel balcony of her second-floor room."

Gina is fun and spunky and adventurous. And the swoon-y Edmund was delicious. Because this was a quick read, their romance blossomed quickly which I don't always think is a bad thing. Especially when the reader gets to the kissing soon. :)

Another great story from the amazing Heather B. Moore!

There is kissing and hugging and blushing in the story.

Friday, October 27, 2017

THICK AS THIEVES by Megan Whalen Turner

Deep within the palace of the Mede emperor, in an alcove off the main room of his master’s apartments,. Kamet minds his master’s business and his own. Carefully keeping the accounts, and his own counsel, Kamet has accumulated a few possessions, a little money stored in the household’s cashbox, and a significant amount of personal power. As a slave, his fate is tied to his master’s. If Nahuseresh’s fortunes improve, so will Kamet’s, and Nahuseresh has been working diligently to promote his fortunes since the debacle in Attolia.

A soldier in the shadows offers escape, but Kamet won’t sacrifice his ambition for a meager and unreliable freedom; not until a whispered warning of poison and murder destroys all of his carefully laid plans. When Kamet flees for his life, he leaves behind everything—his past, his identity, his meticulously crafted defenses—and finds himself woefully unprepared for the journey that lies ahead.

Pursued across rivers, wastelands, salt plains, snowcapped mountains, and storm-tossed seas, Kamet is dead set on regaining control of his future and protecting himself at any cost. Friendships—new and long-forgotten—beckon, lethal enemies circle, secrets accumulate, and the fragile hopes of the little kingdoms of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis hang in the balance.


  Opening line:
"It was midday and the passageway quiet and cool."

I LOVE the Queen's Thief series (most the King of Attolia) and I looked forward to holding this book baby in my wee hands and take my time reading it. When it came in the mail, I settled myself on my comfy-reading couch near a sunny window and began. I didn't get far, maybe 2 chapters before I had to set the book down do adulting things like fix dinner for my hungry family (seriously! Couldn't they just pour some cereal and milk?)(JK)
But I didn't make it back to the book and it languished on the side table, calling out to me, wanting me to caress its pages again. For some reason, I was able to resist it's siren call. Probably because I didn't care about Kamet or the Attolian who "steals" him. I ended up buying the audio book so I could listen to it while I did house and yard work and it only took a few hours to finish.
I did enjoy the story and the characters. BUT the biggest disappointment for me was so little of the king and queen of Attolia. So little! And then the author threw in something that made me think they wouldn't make it into the next books, how many that will be. AND I thought this book wrapped up the series. NOT.
I probably will read more only because I LOVE this series.


4 1/2 STARS

Friday, October 20, 2017

LIES JANE AUSTEN TOLD ME by Julie Wright

Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she's good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can't understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake's arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn't until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas's biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it's time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it's time for him to love her back.


 Opening line:
"Jane Austen is a horrific liar."

LOL!
That is a great opening line. And for Emma Pierce, the sum of her romantic relationship.
Emma is a Marketing guru in a successful health club company. Her boyfriend is hot and rich. Her BFF is supportive and funny. Emma's got a great life! Until she breaks up with said boyfriend because he was having dinner with another girl. Not wanting to hear his excuses, she stomps off only to be approached by the younger brother, Lucas.
They rest, as someone likes to say, is history. Lucas is hired as a temporary consultant to Emma's company and they are thrown together as partners. Of course, this leads to thoughts and ideas and both fighting the attraction because Emma is his older brother's girlfriend and Emma because she's on the rebound. But they push each other away more because they both feel inadequate with all the baggage they emotionally carry.
The Emma comes through her tough times is beautiful and she learns to trust and let someone close to her. It's a fun, romantic story with ups and downs and a bit of kissing.
This is a great read for anyone wanting a good, clean romance!

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!


5 STARS

PS I LOVE the cover!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

THE FIRE QUEEN by Emily R. King

In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.

But as Kalinda’s tournament strengths are once again challenged, so too is her relationship with Deven. While Deven fears her powers, Ashwin reveres them—as well as the courageous woman who wields them. Kalinda comes to regard Ashwin as the only man who can repair a warring world and finds herself torn between her allegiance to Deven and a newly found respect for the young prince.

With both the responsibility to protect her people and the fate of those she loves weighing heavily upon her, Kalinda is forced again to compete. She must test the limits of her fire powers and her hard-won wisdom. But will that be enough to unite the empire without sacrificing all she holds dear?



 Opening line:
"Death has a stench, and it is not decaying flesh but the bitter scent of smoke clawing into my pores."

I enjoyed this book just as much as the first one! I was enthralled from the beginning and had a hard time putting the book down (I'm two hours behind in my chores!!).
Kalinda is the same brave woman we watched grow in book 1 but now she feels guilt for making bargains to save her empire and those bargains didn't quite work out.
Deven is still the devoted guard who wants to help and protect everyone.
The two are separated and a new "man" comes on the scene: Prince Ashwin. He is instantly enamored with Kali. Unfortunately for him, he looks just like his daddy who Kali killed: Turek.
There are also new friends added, who I really like, and new relationships. There was tons of palace intrigue that I thought Kali could dismiss because of who she was and how strong she is but that didn't happen. There are reasons...
I was so annoyed and frustrated with certain characters that I didn't mind when they were no longer part of the story. :)
Kali has a decision to make: be set free or defend her people. It's a big decision with lives and love in the balance.
Emily King does a great job developing characters and worlds and pulling readers in from the beginning (and the readers don't get the floors mopped because they. can't. stop. reading!).
I WILL read the third book! I can't wait to see what happens next!

Violence: fighting, whipping, death
Sex: kissing
Language: none

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Killing Curse by H.B. Moore

Omar Zagouri should have known that the hunt for an ordinary art thief in London would end up being far from ordinary. Abducted and carted across several countries until he’s locked up in the middle of Jordan’s desert, Omar becomes the target of an underground crime organization that dates back to the Crusaders era. As Omar works to uncover the deadly secrets that connect centuries of deceit, he finds himself trying to prevent an honor killing from turning into another tragedy, while exposing the ancient crime organization for generations of lethal corruption.

More Omar Zagouri Thrillers:
Finding Sheba
Lost King
Slave Queen
First Heist (novella)
Beneath (short story)


   

Opening line:

"Taheer Sayid picked up his cell phone and selected his most trustworthy contact."

HB Moore kills it again! Another great addition to this series! I love how there are two stories in each book: one set in the present and one in the past; and they both have awesome romances!


5 STARS!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen

Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?


 Opening line:
"Anthony Blake, the new Earl of Wilshire, stepped from white'sGentleman's Club with a light heart and a smile on his face."

On the eve that Anthony Blake was going to propose to his best friend's sister, he is thrust back into the British spying game that he thought he left behind. Because of the danger his mission would bring to hs family and loved ones he cuts off his relationship with Sophia Elliott and resume his guise as a "womanizer."
Poor Sophia! She thought her and Anthony had a spark of affection for each other and now he's traveling the globe and flirting with all the women. How could she be so wrong about him? She decides to get away from England and explore a different country. And she's loving her adventure...until all of a sudden, Anthony Blake is there beside her. She's hurt, confused and angry. And she still loves him.
Trying not to blow his cover, Anthony has a hard time concentrating on his mission while Sophia is giving him the cold shoulder Or reminding him that they are brother and sister (as he stated in his letter when he broke ties with her.).
But it doesn't matter if he's trying to protect her. There's romance, intrigue and a murder.
I enjoyed this story! It clipped along with the tension and witty banter and mystery. I really did like how the characters were kind to each other and cared about each other. Other than the villain, of course.

Thanks to netgalle and Shadow Mountain for the early read!



5 STARS 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Havencross by Julie Daines

When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.





 Opening line:

"Two hundred fifty miles into this journey and not a word spoken."

Deception, lies, romance, unrequited love and smugglers all roll along in Ms. Daines newest, delightful book.

Elaine's family is still reeling from the death of her brother and now from the scandal of something her father did. They move from London, and the wagging tongues of gossips, back to Havencross, their little country home. Elaine has no hope of marriage prospects now. How she wishes she would have accepted the marriage proposal of Gareth now.
Gareth's family is always reeling from a death. His father was killed by smugglers and he wants them brought to justice. But the local authorities don't seem to make any progress on finding the killers. When he sees Elaine again, he tries to stay away from her; she did break his heart, after all.

This story is set in Cornwall, England, in the era when there were smugglers. The story is woven masterfully to include tension, romance and suspense. There were tender moments between different characters. I really enjoyed the interchange between Elaine and her Aunt Rose and creating your own Camelot.

If you like regency romance, a well-written story and characters you can love, this book is for you!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Romancing Daphne by Sarah M. Eden

As her first London Season looms before her, the thought of the impending social whirl fills Daphne Lancaster's timid heart with dread. She hasn't her sisters beauty nor their talent for conversing easily. Even her family's enviable connections may not be enough to prevent disaster.

But Daphne's misery turns to surprised delight when the first event of her Season brings an unexpected visitor to her door—James Tilburn, whose tender kindness stole her heart in her youth. When the handsome young gentleman expresses his desire to court her, Daphne is elated. Their feelings for each other quickly grow, and it appears that, much to Daphne s disbelief, her happily ever after is within reach.

Yet nothing is as it seems. The couple finds themselves caught in a tangled web of greed and deceit, leaving James and Daphne to determine whether they are willing to risk everything for true love.



 Opening line:
"Daphne Lancaster stood hidden in the shadows of her brother-in-law's terrace, spying on Society's first introduction to a young lady of unparalleled beauty."

Poor Daphne! She is overshadowed by her beauty sisters; placed in the corner and ignored. She feels this is justified as she had been told many times how plain she is. A chance encounter with a kind young man gives her hope that she isn't forgotten, and she falls in love.

James Tilburn was the young man who called the young girl Little Sparrow and stole her heart, unbeknownst to him, of course. Six years later they chance to meet again. But it turns out to be more than chance and the lies and manipulation could ruin James and Daphne's hope at love forever.

Sarah Eden does a superb job at giving her readers character they come to love as one of their own family members. The plot moves along nicely as we move deeper into the story and intrigue that is keeping the couple (or couples) apart.
I really liked Daphne. I enjoyed watching her overcome her shyness and become a stronger person. I liked James too but I really wanted him to man up and tell Daphne the truth! I do have a confession...I ADORE the Duke of Kielder!

Thanks to netgalley and Covenant Communications for the early read!


5 STARS!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Seaon in london (Timeless Romance Anthoogy) by Elizabeth Johns, Heather B. Moore, Rebecca Connolly

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean Romance, comes A SEASON IN LONDON.

Three brand new Regency Romance novellas by Elizabeth Johns, Heather B. Moore, and Rebecca Connolly.

POOR RELATIONS by Elizabeth Johns
As a ‘poor relation,’ Emma Standrich has already pre-empted her dismal Season by applying for a governess post. Her aunt and cousin are kind enough to sponsor her, but in truth, Emma is just waiting for it to all be over. Emma’s grief over the death of her brother while in military service casts a pallor on everything else in her life. When Colonel Shelton, the man who was her brother’s superior, asks her to dance at her first ball, Emma is more surprised than anyone. But she has questions for him, and soon she’s caught up in an intrigue she wasn’t expecting—both of the heart and the mind.

EDWARD & EMILY by Heather B. Moore
As a second son, Edward Blackwood never anticipated becoming heir to his family estate, or the need to find a wife and secure that inheritance. But with the death of his older brother, Edward is thrust into a life he never wanted. When his mother encourages him to be kind to his long-time neighbor Emily Foster, a girl he’d hardly paid attention to while growing up, Edward realizes that returning home might not be such a set-back after all.

A SPORTING SEASON by Rebecca Connolly
Daphne Hutchins is no simpering female who aims for a husband with a fortune. In fact, she’d be more than happy to live her life free of the heartache that men seem to bring. So when she sets out to play the fool in front of the ton during her first Season in order to send all eligible men running, she’s quite unprepared for James Woodbridge. Bored, but with a sense of family duty, James arrives for the Season, anticipating going through the expected motions befitting any gentleman. What he isn’t prepared for is Daphne Hutchins and the way she completely upends his heart.


 Another great addition to the Timeless Anthology!

Poor Relations by Elizabeth Johns
""This is my cousin, Emma Standrich," said Jane Wetherby said for the hundredth time that evening."
Emma feels she needs to become a governess to save her family. Colonel Shelton is smitten with her and offers his hand in marriage and the access to his money to help her save her family.

Emily and Edward by Heather Moore
""You are nearly thirty years of age," Edward Blackwood's mother said in her sharp voice as se peered at him through a raised quizzing glass."
Ah! Emily and Edward! What a sweet story! Edward is happy with his life of solitude but one look at his neighbor all grown up and he wonders if he shouldn't change his plan.
Emily is reeling from the loss of her father and doesn't want to be out in society but her mother insists they go out. She finds Edward all grown up and wonders why she didn't notice how handsome he was before.

A Sporting Season by Rebecca Connolly
"A season in London."
What a fun read! Daphne is determined to ruin her season in London before anyone else does and Jaime is determined to have a front row seat. Their dialogue is snappy and intelligent and their chemistry sweet.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Bordi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.


  CLEVER!

That's what this story is all about! It's clever. Funny. Smart. Hilarious at times. Intriguing all the time. The story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen, is told from the three different, rich viewpoints, thanks to three great writers. So many awesome quotes. Here's one that made me laugh out loud (I was listening to the audio book which made my laughter even more startling) and caused my children to look askance at me:
"Your mother was a hamster and your father reeked of elder berries!"

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Relax, I'm a Ninja by Natalie Whipple

A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable—but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did.

When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato—newest ninja recruit and his best friend’s crush—and sets out to uncover the killer’s identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined.

As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.


  Opening line:
"All I wanted was sleep, but my stomach groaned until I couldn’t take it anymore."

Awesome, fun story about teen ninjas and how they kick butt and still have time to kiss and go to high school dances. I was drawn into the story right from the beginning! I never felt lost with all the karate, ninja talk or fight scenes. It was a unique story that I had to keep reading.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past...

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar's loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.

The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson's novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology--and riveting action.


 Opening line:
"The age of the thing is in the feel of it."

I wasn't sure how much I would like this book but I then I couldn't put it down so I guess it's safe to say I did like.
The story is told in the past and present from two different viewpoints: Peter the avomat, or robot and June, the human. I liked the back and forth of the chapters and the telling of the history of our world. It intrigued me how the author wove our world and the avomat world together. He did a great job at world building.
Though I think the characters cold have been written with more depth, the way the avomats "lived" was detailed. I remembered the characters names and what place they had in the story. Spoiler: there is no romance. I just realized this as I was writing. Obviously, the story didn't need any. lol
I felt the ending came too quickly and maybe there will be another book? I'm not sure...

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A FINE GENTLEMAN by Sarah M. Eden

London barrister Jason Jonquil has spent his entire life working to establish his identity as a gentleman, a man of refinement like his father and brothers. But when fiery Spanish beauty Mariposa Thornton walks into his office, he finds himself losing his grasp on his dignified character. The woman is infuriating, pushing him to the limit of his legendary patience. However, her case seems simple enough—a small matter of inheritance. Or so he believes.

Once a well-born lady, Mariposa fought to survive the brutalities of Napoleon’s war on Spain. She braved horrific perils and undertook dangerous missions on behalf of those fighting against the invading French army. But her greatest battle still lies ahead: after being separated from her family, Mariposa sets in motion a plan to reunite with her loved ones in England. To avoid drawing the attention of the French, Mariposa dons a carefully crafted persona to conceal her true purpose. As Jason and Mariposa are drawn together by the case, they come to know the people beneath the masks they both wear.

When the truth of Mariposa’s quest is revealed, the couple is pulled into a mystery that will test the limits of their courage—and expose the true desire of their hearts.



  Opening line:
"The commotion outside his office ought to have served as something of a warning, but Jason Jonquil, barrister and proud perfectionist, had done nothing more than glance up from his ruler-straight stack of papers when the first noises had drifted through his closed door."

Hurrah! Another story about the Jonquil boys!!


5 STARS

 

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

  From the New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street series comes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems....

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It's not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren't helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee--something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar's stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother's seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee's house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women...


Opening line:

"The Playing Fields Blog: Observation of Suburban Life from Sweet Apple, Georgie; Written by Your Neighbor"

There is a lot of info in the first bit of this book! Smart, sassy, small town with drama.
What a fun and intriguing story. There were times I wanted to put it down when it dragged just a bit but the author made it so I really wanted to see the relationships grow, the memories expanded on and the mystery solved.
The Night the Lights Went Out was told from a three different viewpoints: Sugar (young and old), Merilee and a anonymous blogger. The blog brought in insight and lots of humor; so did Sugar. She's quite a character (in all sense of the word). She's strong, stubborn Southern woman who knows her own mind and will. But her facade, and secrets, slip away as a newly-divorced mother of two rents out her old home behind where she now lives.
Merilee is fresh of a divorce and painful relationship when she meets Sugar and "the love interest (I heard a man's deep voice draw that out...)." Lucky for Merilee, one of Sweet Apple's favorite daughters is there to scoop her up and take care of her "because that's what friends are for!."
This is a story of relationships on all ends of the spectrum and it was enjoyable to watch the build up of where the grenade finally went off.
I would read another of Ms. White's books!

L: a few swear words
V: a murder and fight at the end
S: kissing

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

THE SCOURGE by Jennifer A Nielsen

As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge—and quarantine colony—for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there.

However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. But will she and Weevil survive the Scourge—and the gorvernor’s wardens—long enough to make their escape and expose the cruel plan?






  Opening line:
"Few things were worth the risk to my life, but the juicy vine fruit was one of them."

I listened to this book and couldn't stop! Another great book from Jennifer Nielsen! 


5 STARS 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

THE VICAR'S DAUGHTER by Josi S. Killpack

Cassie, the youngest of six daughters in the Wilton family, is bold, bright, and ready to enter society. There's only one problem: her older sister Lenora, whose extreme shyness prevents her from attending many social events. Lenora is now entering her third season, and since their father has decreed that only one Wilton girl can be out at a time, Cassie has no choice except to wait her turn.

Evan Glenside, a soft-spoken, East London clerk, has just been named his great-uncle's heir and, though he is eager to learn all that will be required of him, he struggles to feel accepted in a new town and in his new position.

A chance meeting between Evan and Lenora promises to change everything, but when Lenora proves too shy to pursue the relationship, Cassie begins to write Mr. Glenside letters in the name of her sister. Her good intentions lead to disaster when Cassie realizes she is falling in love with Evan. But then Evan begins to court Lenora, thinking she is the author of the letters.

As secrets are revealed, the hearts of Cassie, Evan, and Lenora are tested. Will the final letter sent by the vicar's daughter be able to reunite the sisters as well as unite Evan with his true love?



 Opening line:
"Cassie fidgeted with the skirt of her day dress and said a silent prayer: Please help me remain calm."


Cassie is the youngest daughter (out of six) of the vicar and he and his wife have decided that only one daughter will be out in society at a time. This is frustrating for Cassie because her sister, Lenora, is shy and anxious. To "help" Lenora, Cassie starts writing letters to Evan, a man Lenora met at a ball, in Lenora's name. Cassie could not have seen the problematic outcome of her innocent actions. This "help" proves to have a ripple effect that is negative to those involved and those not. This is really where the story sucked me in and held me tight.
Cassie fell in love with Evan. Evan fell in love with the woman in the letters but was determined to get to know Lenora better. Lenora was happy Evan paid attention to her. Then Evan proposed to Lenora and everything went downhill.
I wanted to keep reading to find out how in the world the characters got out of this mess! It really seemed hopeless. Josi Kilpack is an excellent writer who keeps her readers guessing and reading.
I really, really loved the character arcs. Cassie's was especially fascinating to read. She grew and matured so much in the story it was delightful to read.

Thanks to netgalley for the early read. I loved it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.


 Opening line:
"A young queen stands barefoot on a wooden block with her arms outstretched."

Oh man! I can't wait to read the next book in this series! 


5 STARS

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

DARK BREAKS THE DAWN from Sara B Larson

On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.


   



Opening line:
"The jeweled forest blurred into a tapestry of color as Evelayn sprinted away from the castle."

An intriguing retelling, or the start, of Swan Lake. Princess, danger, magic, bad guys, one cute guy, this book has it all plus a slow burn romance. Is the next one out yet??


5 STARS 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

CONDEMN ME NOT by Heather B. Moore

“This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life.” —Reverend Cotton Mather, 1692

USA Today Bestselling author Heather B. Moore brings the life of her 10th great-grandmother to center stage. Susannah North Martin, accused of witchcraft in 1692, joins five women in the Salem Jail, all sentenced to death for their crimes. Amidst tragedy, Susannah finds hope and compassion as she remembers a well-loved life, and readers discover that love reaches far beyond the grave as Susannah faces the magistrates in Salem.



  Opening line:
"This woman was on of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trail discover herself to such a one."

If you want a personal, beautiful and haunting look into the Salem Witch Trials, this is your book!

This is the story of the author's 10th great-grandmother, Susannah North Martin, who was hanged during the trials. Even though it was really hard and frustrating to reading the chapters about the time of the trials and Susannah's depraving time in jail, there were chapters of love and hope as Susannah and George meet and court and marry. Heather knows how to write romance so the "love" chapters were sweet.
What I liked too was the quotes and dialogue from the actual accusers. Heather put a lot of time and research into this book and it reads smoothly with the history interweaving with the storytelling.
The story is disturbing in that humans could treat other humans so badly. Just straight up lie and someone would die. With that said, if it made me uncomfortable (in the sense of lack of human kindness), it was well-written.

I'd recommend this book to anyone older reader (older teens and up).
There are scenes where the victims are stripped to nothing and scrutinized and abused; death; kissing; intimate touching; martial relationships (not graphic).

Thanks for the early read! I loved it! And I LOVE the cover!


5 STARS

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Vicar's Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack

Cassie, the youngest of six daughters in the Wilton family, is bold, bright, and ready to enter society. There's only one problem: her older sister Lenora, whose extreme shyness prevents her from attending many social events. Lenora is now entering her third season, and since their father has decreed that only one Wilton girl can be out at a time, Cassie has no choice except to wait her turn.

Evan Glenside, a soft-spoken, East London clerk, has just been named his great-uncle's heir and, though he is eager to learn all that will be required of him, he struggles to feel accepted in a new town and in his new position.

A chance meeting between Evan and Lenora promises to change everything, but when Lenora proves too shy to pursue the relationship, Cassie begins to write Mr. Glenside letters in the name of her sister. Her good intentions lead to disaster when Cassie realizes she is falling in love with Evan. But then Evan begins to court Lenora, thinking she is the author of the letters.

As secrets are revealed, the hearts of Cassie, Evan, and Lenora are tested. Will the final letter sent by the vicar's daughter be able to reunite the sisters as well as unite Evan with his true love?


 Opening line:
"Cassie fidgeted with the skirt of her day dress and said a silent prayer: Please help me remain calm."

Cassie is the youngest daughter (out of six) of the vicar and he and his wife have decided that only one daughter will be out in society at a time. This is frustrating for Cassie because her sister, Lenora, is shy and anxious. To "help" Lenora, Cassie starts writing letters to Evan, a man Lenora met at a ball, in Lenora's name. Cassie could not have seen the problematic outcome of her innocent actions. This "help" proves to have a ripple effect that is negative to those involved and those not. This is really where the story sucked me in and held me tight.
Cassie fell in love with Evan. Evan fell in love with the woman in the letters but was determined to get to know Lenora better. Lenora was happy Evan paid attention to her. Then Evan proposed to Lenora and everything went downhill.
I wanted to keep reading to find out how in the world the characters got out of this mess! It really seemed hopeless. Josi Kilpack is an excellent writer who keeps her readers guessing and reading.
I really, really loved the character arcs. Cassie's was especially fascinating to read. She grew and matured so much in the story it was delightful to read.

Thanks to netgalley for the early read. I loved it!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN by Emily R. King

 As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own




Opening line:
"Snowy mountains tear into the ashen sky, their jagged peaks pearly, like wolverine fangs."

So starts one of the best books I've read this year. Why? Why is it one of my favorites? I got sucked into the book, characters, story and couldn't pull myself out. Heart-pounding adventure, romance and intrigue. Wow. So well written. Ms. King's words are mesmerizing and kept me reading long after I should have been asleep.
Kalinda is an orphan, raised by the Sisterhood, destined to quiet and prayers. But that doesn't really suit her and we come to love her quiet rebelliousness. She must fight to stay alive to become the Hundredth Queen. She's smart, strong and driven to do what's right. I love how she's disgusted with the way the men treat the women.
Deven is the guard is suppose to watch over her. But he gets too close to her and develops a relationship and then more. He's torn between his duty to the empire and his growing admiration (or is it love?) for Kalinda.
Tarek is the rajah is greedy, crazy and cruel, and he is the one who Claimed her and is suppose to marry her. I wanted him to choke on his tongue so many times.
And all of this story is set on the backdrop of an exquisite country and palace. Ms. King has a way with words that develop not only characters, but the worlds in which the characters live. The food, the clothes, the country and its people. I felt like I was there, like I could reach out and touch the Turquoise Palace.

I can't wait to read the next book! Hurry and get it out on shelves!

Violence: Fighting.  Lots of fighting, but not super descriptive. 
Language: No
Sex: Sexual tension; kissing

5 STARS

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

BLODD ROSE REBELLION by Roaslyn Eves

The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.


Opening line:

"I did not set out to ruin my sister's debut."

I couldn't put this book down. I even tried to read it in church...
 
I loved the writing, the Hungarian folklore and history and the magic.  

Anna Arden is a blight on her family, at least that's what her mother says to her often enough. The older sister is the cherished one and has the talent with magic. After Anna ruins her sister's debut, Anna is sent off to Hungary with her grandmother.  She loves her grandmother and all her tales. But in Hungary, the tales just might be true. 

She meets family she's never met, makes friends with people she shouldn't have and finds herself in the middle of a revolution. One side wants her to help, another side wants her to desist and other's want her to stay away from magic all together.
There are choices she needs to make and she's overwhelmed by wanting to make things right. 

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LOVE ME TRUE: Overcoming the Surprising Ways We Decieve in Relationships by Jason B. Whiting, PhD, LMFT

 Even though love should be beautiful and fun, it can also cause emotional ups and downs. In Love Me True, marriage and family therapist Dr. Jason B. Whiting uses engaging, relatable stories to show that deception is often at the root of relationship breakdown and teach how couples can use truth to strengthen their relationships.

•Understand your own tendencies to lie.
•Avoid playing the victim.
•Use body language to communicate more effectively.
•Be present with your partner.

Use Whiting’s counsel to overcome dishonesty and build a more open and trusting partnership.






Opening line:
"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances:
If there is any reaction, boy are transformed. Carl Jung"

This book would be a good one for those thinking of marriage, engaged or long-time married spouses. Each chapter is full of relationship stories, thoughtful examples and ideas. At the end of each chapter, Mr. Whiting sums up the main points and discussions questions.

There were a lot of insights I took away from the book. Understanding my emotions is a good way to start! Anger, fear, pain can all make me lash out at all those around me without thinking what I'm feeling or saying.

I also learned there's a lot more to dishonesty than lying.

This is a quick read with understandable concepts and not weighed down in a lot of therapy jargon.

Monday, January 23, 2017

DAUGHTER OF ISHMAEL by Diane Tolley BLOG TOUR and SPOTLIGHT!

I'm spotlighting Diane Tolley's book Daughter of Ishmael!
(Isn't the cover pretty??)


Hannah, faithful third daughter of Ishmael has been raised happily in the home of an honourable man. A woman wholly committed to her Saviour. A woman who understands Nephi’s love of the scriptures and commitment to the gospel and secretly longs for such a husband, but finds herself given in marriage to his older brother, Lemuel.
Through the women’s eyes, Daughter of Ishmael follows the family of Ishmael as they commit themselves to Lehi and find their faith tested in the wilderness. Recounts their struggles there with deaths, births and apostasy. Tells of their time in Bountiful and the building of a ship. And their suffering below decks on the Great Irriantum when Laman and Hannah’s husband, Lemuel battle the Lord Himself in their drive to defeat Nephi and take control of the family.
Even their arrival in the Promised Land isn’t without its challenges as they settle. Pride, envy and greed are planted along with the crops and Hannah finds herself more and more in the breach, wanting with all her heart to follow the righteous principles that are so much a part of her, but thwarted constantly by the actions of her husband and brother by marriage.
When the final split becomes necessary, Hannah is torn between the faithful branch of the family she yearns to follow and the husband and son she is wholly committed to.
Will she stay and endure the weight of a hundred, hundred generations of sin? Or do the unthinkable and leave her family to follow her prophet?



Trained in journalism and raised by a family of storytellers, Diane Stringam Tolley has spent her life writing. From her first published work, “The Scary House,” penned in Mrs. Hainsworth’s grade six class, to her tenth novel, “Daughter of Ishmael,” Tolley has dipped into every genre from sci-fi/fantasy to spiritual. Her Christmas book, “Carving Angels,” has been featured on the “best of” holiday lists for Edmonton Public Libraries since its first release in 2011. And her follow-up novel, “Kris Kringle’s Magic” (2012) is currently a standard for discussions on prejudice and bullying throughout the Black-Gold region. Drawing on her upbringing on one of the last of the great old ranches of Southern Alberta, Tolley’s stories are filled with unforgettable characters, warm, family connections, and the strength of faith and love.