Saturday, January 28, 2023

Everything Is Just Beginning Review



About the Book

Michael Sullivan is a talented lyricist and a decent guitarist, but since he was kicked out of his band (and his apartment), he's not sure he'll ever get a record deal. Living with his loser uncle in a beat-up trailer and working a dead-end job, Michael has little reason to hope for a better future. Until the invitation for a swanky New Year's Eve party shows up in the mailbox. It's for his uncle, with whom he shares his name, but his uncle is going out of town . . .

On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989--as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is inching toward democracy, and anything seems possible--Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures.

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels enchants with this story of two lonely souls who have exactly what the other one needs--if they could simply turn their focus from what is ending to what is just beginning. (Goodreads)





My Thoughts

I was intrigued by this story idea. Erin Bartels tends to write very unique stories and this was no exception. She took a lot of time to write about music and really set the stage for the time period that this book is written. The first few chapters held my interest as I was curious where Michael would find himself. After that I struggled a bit to be completely captivated by this story. Not much happens within the pages and the story line moves terribly slow. There is friendship and unique family relationships that I thought well written but aside from that this was not the book for me. I am sure many will enjoy this story!

Three stars. 

"I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review." 












Monday, January 23, 2023

The Heir's Predicament Review with Celebrate Lit


 

About the Book

Book: The Heir’s Predicament

Author: Lorri Dudley

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: January 10, 2023

 

He controls the answers to her past and future, but she threatens his inheritance and his heart.

Maggie Prescott may not know her real name, the circumstances of her birth, or her father’s identity, but based on a song her shipwrecked birthmother taught her before she died, Maggie’s certain the answers lie on the island of Antigua. Unbeknownst to her beloved adopted family, she sends her maid to finishing school in her stead and convinces her uncle, Captain Anthony Middleton, to sail her to the Leeward Islands. Time is of the essence to discover her heritage before the next family gathering exposes her duplicity.

Lord Samuel Fredrick Harcourt Granville was groomed to inherit the Cardon title and lands, but the possession of his father’s temper has put Samuel’s future in jeopardy. After discovering his fiancĂ©e cavorting with his so-called friend, the ensuing altercation lands Samuel in court before of the House of Lords. As an example, for all aristocratic sons to quell their hedonistic living, the House of Lords banishes Samuel to the island of Antigua until he can prove he’s worthy of his privileged birth.

On the island, Samuel works to rein in his temper and revive a dying sugar plantation. Still, his return to England and all his efforts are threatened when a mysterious woman breaks into his island home, claiming to be the true heiress of the sugar plantation. Guilt, resentment, and fresh yearnings sizzle under the island sun as Maggie’s search uncovers a much greater treasure than either of them expected.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household. Find her online at www.lorridudley.com.

 

More from Lorri

Maggie first appeared in The Captain’s Quest as the feral child shipwrecked on a deserted island. Readers fell in love with her character and emailed me, hoping to learn more of her story. It didn’t take much coaxing for my imagination to delve into how a child, who’d lived outdoors and struggled with daily survival, would adapt to Regency England’s intricate social conventions of the le bon ton as a grown woman.

 

Like Maggie, my grandfather and mother-in-law were both adopted. Each felt a disconnection from their roots and a natural yearning to fill a void by learning their origins. The thriving industry of Ancestry.com and 23-and-Me exists due to this pervasive desire to understand one’s background. Understandably, Maggie longs for answers, but the guilt of being disloyal to the family who accepted her into their loving home temps her to fabricate a lie and cover up her journey to the island of Antigua.

 

Another driving force for Maggie is that in Regency England, questionable heritage could hinder an adopted child from marrying within the upper social ranks. Unknown lineage could taint noble bloodlines, and many aristocrats wouldn’t dare align their families with someone of uncertain origins. Maggie’s marriage prospects would have been limited unless she uncovered her past. She’d have been considered too risky to wed among the gentry but raised too highborn to marry within the lower classes.

 

The Heir’s Predicament is the last installment of the Leeward Island series, and I will miss immersing myself in the rich cultural history of the Caribbean. I loved exploring different isles and island-hopping with readers through various settings. The island of Antigua, where The Heir’s Predicament is set, boasts of ninety-five miles of scalloped coastlines, white and pink sand beaches, a tropical but arid climate, windmills and plantations, and a sugar and spice history complete with Caribs and pirates. Island tensions create a lively setting and weave their way into the characters’ stories, for instance, the push and pull between the island’s calming beauty and battering storms, water abounding but not much of it drinkable, a laid-back culture of hearty survivors, and a legacy of slavery versus colonization.

 

The journey, however, isn’t over, my next series will take place in the rolling hills and quaint towns of England’s Cotswold, but there’s hope of a Windward Island series in the future.

 

To learn more, check out my website at lorridudley.com, or watch The Heir’s Predicament book trailer by clicking here: The Heir’s Predicament book trailer.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

lakesidelivingsite, January 11

Book Looks by Lisa, January 12

Sylvan Musing, January 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 13

She Lives To Read, January 14

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, January 14

Cover Lover Book Review, January 15

deb’s Book Review, January 15

Texas Book-aholic, January 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 17

Betti Mace, January 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 18

Connie’s History Classroom, January 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 20

Holly’s Book Corner, January 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 21

Life of Literature, January 22

Simple Harvest Reads, January 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, January 23

To Everything There Is A Season, January 23

Pause for Tales, January 24

Mary Hake, January 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lorri is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

GIVEAWAY

 

My Thoughts

 This is the sixth book in the series and I have enjoyed most all of them. You do not have to read them in order as they can all be read as stand alone books. It is so fun to read stories set on an island during this time period it is like a breath of fresh air. In this story we have a feisty Maggie who is determined to figure out who her birth father is and more about her mother. It is all wrapped up in mystery and tied to the island. Right from the start there is action and while ridiculous circumstances ensue it is most entertaining. I enjoyed the different characters and I really loved the journal entries at the start of each chapter. That really added to the whole book. This isn't my favorite book in the series but it was still fun! 

I recommend reading this series. It is fun, different, and full of heart. 


Four stars.

" I received this book from Wild Heart Books for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

Shattered Reflection Review

 

About the Book

Book: Shattered Reflection

Author: Madisyn Carlin

Genre: New Adult Christian Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling

Release date: December 21, 2022

Can hope be found for four shattered souls?

Princess Nordica Icerri’s crown will be purchased with blood—her blood. Now the sole heir to the throne, she is determined to be the queen the Snowlands deserve, but that comes with a price: a numbed heart and soul. Only when she meets kidnapped physician Loren Alocer does Nordica allow herself to hope she can become queen without completely losing herself. But not everyone wants what’s best for the Snowlands, and Nordica’s upcoming rule is compromised at every turn. Can the criminal physician—and his faith—thaw Nordica’s heart, or is she destined to be the heartless queen she is being forced to become?

War shattered not only Breac Finson’s heart, but his faith as well. Tired of fighting, Breac only wants to be left alone, but his efforts are for naught when a friend calls in a favor. He soon finds himself in an unexpected alliance with Layree Alocer, a woman determined to find her wrongfully-kidnapped brother at all costs. Can a broken soldier help right a wrong—and find his faith again in the process?

Sides must be chosen and loyalties will be tested as a new war approaches. Can broken lives be mended in time to help save the Snowlands, or is evil already too deeply embedded?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? https://linktr.ee/madisyncarlin

 

More from Madisyn

What comes to your mind when you think about fairytale retellings? Is it Disney’s 1950 retelling of Cinderella? Glittery swirls of magic? Talking animals? Pretty gowns? Or, perhaps, frying pans or a sassy dragon?

 

My interest regarding fairytales was first piqued when I was young. Though I was only three, I distinctly remember riding in the car and flipping through the three-story fairytale collection my mom just purchased for me. I couldn’t read, but the bright colors and abundance of animals entranced me. Now I not only read fairytales, I write retellings of them.

 

Why, though? Aren’t fairytales just fun stories that sometimes impart a lesson?

 

No. Fairytales are much more than that. The majority of fairytales contain deep, important lessons the authors or culture of that time wanted their readers and listeners to learn from. Fairytales offer encouragement, hope, and include gentle reminders about doing the right thing even when we don’t want to.

 

Take, for instance, The Snow Queen, which is the fairytale I modeled Shattered Reflection after. In The Snow Queen, the forefront themes are loyalty and perseverance. No matter what trials the female protagonist endures, she pushes on with the mindset that rescuing her best friend is worth the effort and pain.

 

Aside from being rich in wry humor, breathtaking scenic descriptions and worldbuilding, and interesting characters, The Snow Queen contains faith and reminds readers that our ultimate source of strength is God—not ourselves.

 

This is what I wanted to emulate in Shattered Reflection. This story—with its broken characters, tattered kingdoms, and insidious antagonists—contains plenty of faith amidst pain, questions, and wounded hearts. I wanted to illustrate that, no matter what we’re going through, God is in control and nothing and no one ever slips from His grasp.

 

What is Shattered Reflection?

Title: Shattered Reflection
Series: The Shattered Lands | Book One
Genre: NA Christian Fantasy
Subgenre: Fairytale retelling (The Snow Queen)
POVS: 5
Ages: Appropriate for ages 15+ due to non-graphic violence
Core Themes: Salvation, Loyalty, and Forgiveness

 

Shattered Reflection is a Christian fairytale retelling which incorporates heavy faith elements, numerous action scenes, clean romance, and plenty of evil villains.

 

Content Warning:
SR1 contains heavy topics, although none are described in a gratuitous and gory manner. There is also a lot of violence, so I do not recommend this book for anyone younger than fifteen. If you are older than fifteen and are easily bothered by such content, then this probably is not the book for you.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, January 22

To Everything There Is A Season, January 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 24

Cover Lover Book Review, January 25

deb’s Book Review, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Literature Approved, January 28

Denise L. Barela, January 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 30

Blogging With Carol, January 31

Through the Fire Blogs, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

For Him and My Family, February 3

Rebecca Tews, February 4

Holly’s Book Corner, February 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Madisyn is giving away the grand prize package of one autographed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

GIVEAWAY


My Thoughts

This book holds a lot of action from multiple perspectives. I was interested in the setting and the story line but to be honest this book didn't completely grab me like I had hoped it would. I know many others really loved this book from start to finish but I really had to make myself finish reading this one. There is some violence but it wasn't too gory in my opinion. Layree and Breac held most of my attention throughout the book though. There is a lot of back and forth and you really have to be paying attention as this isn't a light happy read. Those that enjoy Fairytales or re told tales might very well enjoy this story. It was a good idea for a book it just wasn't my favorite. 


Three Stars. 

" I received this book from the author for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."













Monday, January 16, 2023

A Heart Worth Stealing Review

 


 

 

About the Book

 Sowerby, England, 1802

Miss Genevieve Wilde—a magistrate’s daughter and independent heiress—is determined to meet life’s challenges all on her own, just as her late-father had taught her. So when her father’s pocket watch is stolen, she will do anything to get it back, especially when the local authorities prove incompetent.

Upon reading an advertisement in the paper, she takes a chance and contacts a thief-taker to find the watch. It’s a choice Ginny regrets when former Bow Street officer Jack Travers arrives on her doorstep. He is frustratingly flirtatious, irritatingly handsome, and entirely unpredictable, and Ginny wonders if she’ll be able to resist such a man.

But after Ginny discovers that the missing watch is just a small part of a larger, more frightening plot against her, she needs Jack’s help more than ever. To protect her home and her reputation, the two enter into a risky charade—pretending Jack is her cousin so he can begin his investigation, starting with the household staff. As they work together to unravel the mystery, Ginny finds herself falling fast for her charismatic thief-taker, leaving her heart in just as much danger as her life. (Goodreads)

 

 Releases May 2, 2023! Pre-Order Here!


My Thoughts

Oh my goodness this book was fun to read. I think Joanna Barker's writing just gets better and better with each new book. This story has wonderful unique characters and a mystery that really added to the story line. The romance is clean and Ginny and Jack are superb opposites. There are a few twists and turns that I was not expecting and I was delighted at the adventure! I think readers will be surprised at this one because it is a bit different than the typical Regency Romance and I am thankful for it! This is a must read for 2023 especially if you enjoy clean Proper Romance and Joanna Barker. Her books really fun to read and I highly recommend them! 

 

Five Stars. 

 

"I received this book from Shadow Mountain Publisher for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."







Sunday, January 15, 2023

Hearts of Steel Review

  

 

 

About the Book

Maggie Molinaro survived a hardscrabble childhood in the downtrodden streets of Manhattan to become a successful businesswoman. After a decade of sacrifice, she now owns a celebrated ice cream company, but when she offends a corrupt banker, she unwittingly sets off a series of calamities that threaten to destroy her life's work.

Liam Blackstone is a charismatic steel magnate committed to overhauling factory conditions for the steelworkers of America. Standing in his way is the same villain determined to ruin Maggie. What begins as a practical alliance to defeat a common enemy soon evolves into a romance between two wounded people determined to beat the odds.

A spiraling circle of treachery grows increasingly dangerous as Liam and Maggie risk their lives and fortune for the good of the city. It will require all their wit and ingenuity to navigate the dangerous waters ahead, but their crusade could cost them everything. (Goodreads)

 

BUY HERE

 

My Thoughts

 

Elizabeth Camden has once again taken me on adventure I won't soon forget! This is the conclusion of  The Blackstone Legacy Trilogy. If you haven't read the first two books I do highly recommend it because it gives a better backstory on how Liam got to where he is in this book. While I loved all of these books, I think this one might be my favorite. Liam's character is one that is easy to relate with and Maggie is just a great heroine. Maggie is a strong opinionated woman who can stand her ground and I really appreciated her subtle change and growth throughout the story. Camden really does her research so the history is so very interesting. I had no idea nor had I ever considered where businesses would have gotten their ice in 1902 New York City. I never thought about how important it would have been or difficult to keep things cold at that time. Considering Maggie runs an ice cream factory it became a central part of the plot. There are so many little historical details peppered throughout the book and I gleefully took it all in. I do wish that the epilogue was a tad longer and talked more about the other siblings in the family but it still wrapped up the trilogy nicely.

I highly recommend! 

Five Stars.


"I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

My Thoughts On Wyoming Wild

 


About the Book

 

Hearts collide when a sheriff’s daughter asks a hardened US Marshal to join her fight for justice and rid a small town of her corrupt father.


Wyoming Territory, 1876


US Marshal John “Hawk” Hawking is one of the most respected lawmen in the West, so when a telegram arrives from the small town of Sand Creek warning him of a death threat against him, he immediately begins an investigation.


Posing as a farmer, Hawk heads to Sand Creek, a town ruled by a violent and corrupt sheriff. Only one person is trying to stop him—Liesl, the sheriff’s own daughter. When she meets the self-assured and attractive new farmer, John, she hopes he might help her in the fight for justice.


John is completely unfazed by Sheriff Hodges’s attempts at intimidation, and Liesl is quickly swept up by Hawk’s courage and integrity. Just as quickly, Hawk finds himself falling for Liesl’s strength and bravery, as well as her grace and beauty.


When Liesl discovers John’s true identity, she feels betrayed. Despite her lingering distrust of him, Liesl agrees to work with him to enact a dangerous plan that will put the criminals away forever. Liesl must put her life, and her heart, in the hands of his lawman if she has any hope of saving her family and her town. (Goodreads)

 Releases March 7th!

PRE-ORDER HERE!!! 

 

 My Thoughts

 I am a big Sarah M. Eden fan. She writes some of the most beautiful stories and I just love her never ending knowledge with the research she does for her books. 

This is a follow up story that ties in with The Sheriffs of Savage Wells and Healing Hearts. It is set in Wyoming and takes on a wild west adventure. I love the setting and my favorite character still remains to be Paisley who plays a big role in this novel. You do not have to read the previous books to enjoy this story but it does add a lot if you do!

I enjoyed this book, as it was a fun change of pace from Sarah's typical novels. It is not my favorite book of hers as I had a hard time connecting with the two main characters at times. But I still really enjoyed the unraveling mystery and the rough western small town setting. I felt like I was a part of an old John Wayne film. 

Four stars. 

Great for Sarah M. Eden fans AND those who love historical westerns!


"I received this book from Shadow Mountain publishing for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."







Friday, January 13, 2023

The Confession The Musical-Trailer


 


 

 

THE CONFESSION MUSICAL was adapted for the stage by Emmy-Nominated screenwriter Martha Bolton. The musical follows the story of Katie Lapp, a young Amish girl who discovers that her parents have been keeping a deep secret...that she is adopted. Katie decides to find her birth mother, defying the rules of her Amish village and risking a shunning. Meanwhile, Laura Mayfield, her wealthy birth mother who is battling an illness that might take her life, began searching for her long-lost daughter. Secretly plotting against Laura is her gold-digging husband Dylan (John Schneider). Dylan knows that if Katie is found, he will no longer inherit Laura’s fortune. With the help and prayers of her Christian housekeeper (Chonda Pierce), Laura hopes to foil Dylan’s plan and be reunited with her daughter.
 
**This is based on a great book I read years ago! I'm excited to see this story portrayed as a musical. Granted, seeing it live on stage would be the very best- at least we get the next best thing watching it on a screen!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Beauty Reborn YA Review-Releases May 9th!


 61446355

 

 About the Book


 Fantasy and reality collide in this retelling of Beauty and the Beast about a young woman’s heroic quest to save herself.

Yes, I went to the woods to save my father. But I also went hoping I would be eaten by the Beast. Because I didn’t think anything else could save me.

Beauty’s life is the stuff of fairy tales. The youngest in her family, Beauty isn’t trying to catch Stephan’s eye. He is the lord baron’s heir, well above her family’s modest station, but when he kisses her hand at a party, Beauty is swept away by his charm, his wit, and his passionate declarations of love.

Hearts can be untamable creatures, especially when touched by the fires of first love, and Beauty doesn’t see the truth of Stephan’s intentions until it is too late. Until he stops asking for Beauty’s love—and simply takes it from her one night despite her refusal.

Beauty locks away the secret of what happened to her, and when her father emerges from the enchanted forest with a stolen rose in his hand and the tale of a vicious beast on his breath, Beauty seizes the chance to run as far from Stephan as possible.

She has some experience with beasts, after all. Certainly the one in the forest couldn’t be any worse than the one she’s already encountered.

Breaking the Beast’s curse might be the key to discovering her own path to healing—and finding the courage to allow herself to feel reborn. (Goodreads)

 

RELEASES MAY 9, 2023!

PRE-ORDER HERE


My Thoughts

 

 I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling as it is my all time favorite fairy tale. I knew ahead of time that this author would probably tie in something to do with sexual abuse in the story line and I am grateful that I knew that before reading. If I hadn't known, I could see it coming as more of a shock. I think it is pretty evident how much we dislike the bad guy in this long time tale and Lowham writes in the difficulty and pain of healing from sexual abuse in a way that makes this story far more meaningful. It is handled well for a young adult story and I thought it added a different layer to why our Beauty is at the castle and stays. So the entire first part of this book I really enjoyed. I loved the magic and the castle and Beauty of course. I did love how the ending was drastically changed from my expectations. So while the ending went quickly I did like the unfolding of the plot at the end. But I really wanted more from these characters and more details of happenings at the castle. I wanted to get to know the Beast better and while I very much appreciate the epilogue I still wanted more from this book. It is a great story that held my attention and had some wonderful additions to the central story line we all love. It is worth reading and I am eager to read more by this author! 

Three and a half stars.

"I received this book from Shadow Mountain Publishers for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."







Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023

 Today's Top Ten Tuesday is all about books to come! I am excited about these stories that release the first part of this new year. 












Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Rose and the Thistle Review



 

 About the Book

 In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley's father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems--a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies--and those who pretend friendship may be enemies. (Goodreads)

 

 BUY HERE

 Learn more about Laura Frantz

My Thoughts

Oh my goodness how I love Laura's books! I was so excited to read this story since I knew that it was mixed with some of Frantz' personal family history. I read this book slowly taking each chapter in with pure joy. You can't rush a Laura Frantz book as it has so many details that you won't want to miss. The faith message is well written and I appreciate how Frantz handles real life issues and shows how merciful of a Savior we have. I adore the characters of Everard and Blythe and Everard's brothers are even a delight. The history is fascinating, the setting breathtaking, and the romance sweet. This is historical fiction at its finest. I am ready to pack my bags and visit Scotland! 

I highly recommend any book by Laura Frantz but this one is superb! 

Five Stars.

" I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Favorite Books of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday

 Oh my goodness but 2022 just flew by in a rush. It was a fantastic reading year and there were so many wonderful books is difficult to narrow it down to ten! I have come up with ten that I really loved and they are in no particular order. I typically choose books that have stuck with me well past reading the last page.