Showing posts with label 3 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3 stars. Show all posts

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Review: Tomorrow's Shining Dream by Naomi Rawlings



My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

She needs to learn how to flirt. He needs to forget she exists. Then she asks him for help finding a husband… What could possibly go wrong?

Charlotte Westin has always been more comfortable in a saddle than a ballroom. That wouldn’t be a problem, except her father owns the largest ranch in Texas—and he insists she marry a wealthy city-slicker worthy of a cattle baron’s daughter. There might be someone out there who’d love her for who she is instead of her money, but she’s been fooled by a sweet talker before, and her family is still suffering because of it.

With an old friend-turned-enemy returning to town and cattle rustlers running roughshod over the county, Sheriff Daniel Harding knows the last thing he should be thinking about is a woman… especially the one woman he’ll never be able to marry. Then Charlotte Westin asks for his help, and Daniel can’t refuse. Until he finds out exactly what she wants…

When Charlotte comes to Daniel with a plan to find herself a husband, Daniel is forced to face his feelings for her—as well as some past mistakes of his own. But as the rustlers grow more dangerous, Charlotte’s father takes drastic steps to engage her to a man she doesn’t love. And Charlotte and Daniel soon find themselves caught between the burdens from their pasts and others’ expectations. Will they let their past choices ruin their dreams? Or will Charlotte and Daniel embrace God’s forgiveness and forge a happy future for themselves?

From jagged mountains and green river valleys, to cattle ranches and vivid sunsets, Tomorrow’s Shining Dream offers a meaningful story about simpler times, sincere faith, and unfailing love.


My Review

Charlotte and Daniel have a good friendship, but his hidden feelings for her and her embarrassment over her recent indiscretion make their interactions awkward. Charlotte is full of self-doubt after misjudging her last beau and being betrayed by him, resulting in her father's cattle being stolen. I appreciated that Daniel respected her even when she didn't respect herself, and encouraged her to share her pain with her family. Sometimes when we do something wrong we think pretending it never happened will make the guilt go away, but it just compounds over time. Charlotte thinks that doing what her father wants and marrying the man of his choosing will solve her problems, but finds herself more lost than ever. Daniel is in over his head with cattle being rustled from all the ranches in the area, and the pressure mounts when the Rangers finally show up to get the job done. I was surprised there was bad blood between Daniel and his friend from childhood, and they have difficulty working together and trusting each other to catch the thieves. Sam and Ellie from the previous book brought some much needed light into an angst-ridden story, but I would have liked more of a balance. The themes of forgiveness are strong as Daniel learns that there is more to the past than he knew, and Charlotte realizes that forgiving herself and allowing her family to forgive her brought peace and the answers they were looking for.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Don't miss the first book in the Texas Promise series . . .

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Review & Giveaway: Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl, Melissa de la Cruz





My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore "Laurie" Laurence.

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo's desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart's desire or lose the love of her life forever?


My Review

I love retellings of my favorite fairy tales and Austen stories, but this is the first one I've read about Little Women. I had no idea what to expect, and it was an interesting read. Jo is much younger than I expected her to be at this point in the story- they have her at seventeen, and the timeline seems a bit off from the original story. Beth has died, and Jo is a successfully published author of Little Women, but is struggling with the sequel she is contracted to write. The authors did a good job of capturing her unrest during this time of her life. It's difficult for Jo to discern what the future holds for her and her sisters, wanting things to stay as they have been, but recognizing that marriage, travel, and career will change everything. She seems scared of her growing feelings for Laurie, and that fear prevents her from embracing the progression of their relationship into something more than friendship. I found her voice to be slightly immature, especially when whining and fighting with her editor. Some chapters were told from other characters' perspectives, such as Meg (which I found myself skimming), but I appreciated being able to get inside Laurie's head. Overall it was an entertaining take on the classic, especially for readers who wished for the childhood friendship to turn to romance.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Pre-order Special

Win a tea tin when you pre-order JO & LAURIE (US ONLY)

Link to the promotion and submission page: https://woobox.com/8jrorg



About the Authors

MARGARET STOHL

Margaret Stohl is a #1 New York Times bestselling nerd, world-builder, video game creator, comic book writer and festival founder.

As an award-winning young adult author, she has been published in fifty countries and thirty-two languages and has sold more than ten million books worldwide. Beautiful Creatures debuted as the Amazon #1 Teen book of the year; seven of Margaret’s books have reached bestseller lists around the world.

She has published fifteen novels and graphic novels, as well as contributed to several games and countless comics since her debut. Her last book, Cats Vs Robots: This is War, was a family affair, illustrated by her child, the artist Kay Peterson, and co-written with her husband, Lewis Peterson. It also starred three of her family’s five cats.

After Beautiful Creatures was released as a feature film from Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment, Margaret began working with Marvel on her bestselling Black Widow: Forever Red duology; in 2017 she began writing the ongoing Mighty Captain Marvel comic, followed by the acclaimed Life of Captain Marvel miniseries, where she established a new origin story for Carol Danvers in preparation for the theatrical debut of Brie Larson as “Captain Marvel” for the MCU. 


When not roaming the halls of Seattle game developer Bungie - where she oversees the creation of new global IPs - Margaret can often be seen at a Comicon or at one of the teen and youth book festivals she co-founded, YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), the largest in the country. Wherever she goes, you can find out more about her (and invariably her cats) at @mstohl on twitter or margaret_stohl on instagram or margaret_stohl on snapchat or at mstohl.com.


MELISSA DE LA CRUZ


She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

 

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

 

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

 

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

 

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.




Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of JO & LAURIE by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz (US Only)

Starts: 27th May 2020

Ends: 10th June 2020





Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Review: Welcome to Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne



My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

Kelsey is on her way to a life do-over. And it’s not the first time. Abandoned by her drug-addict mother as a teen, she landed in a foster-care group home where she experienced faith and community—and met her best friends, Jazz and Theadora. The trio stuck together like sisters and vowed to make their lives mean something.

Now Kelsey’s pushing thirty, and her life has taken a wrong turn. Pregnant and alone after loving the wrong man, she’s on her way to making another life-changing decision when a wicked blizzard strands her outside the sleepy town of Wishing Bridge.

After being rescued from a snowbank by a handsome cop, she’s embraced by the welcoming village, but she still feels upside down. Fortunately, her frantic SOS brings her besties rushing to help sort things out. They soon find that Wishing Bridge has as many secrets as Kelsey does—and she’s connected to it in ways she couldn’t have imagined.


My Review

This is a quintessential small town story, with three friends from the city who serendipitously land in Wishing Hollow and have their hearts healed with the peace and friendship they find in the small community on the verge of revitalization. The book is strong on dialogue and faith-filled words of wisdom, especially from Maggie, the sweet woman who takes Kelsey in. I didn't have much of a connection to the characters or feel much chemistry between Hale and Kelsey- I felt more removed as an observer rather than in the middle of the emotion. Thea and Jazz are focused on almost as much as Kelsey which made me invested and looking forward to reading their stories in the next books. 

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Don't miss the other books in the Wishing Bridge series . . .

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Review: Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston



My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

Enjoy a year of beautiful seasons in this new story collection, as young Amish couples manage a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way.

Spring Is in the Air
As the young people of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, plant a garden in memory of their friend, Katie Ann begins to worry that her older brother, Ephraim, is dating her best friend. What if she somehow loses them both? But Christian, a new boy in the community, also works in the garden—and falling for him may be exactly the distraction, and lesson, that Katie Ann needs.

Home by Summer
Clara Hertzler is surprised when Jerry Petersheim, her old friend, comes to the garden to drop off his younger sister—especially because Jerry has been gone for years, and now seems to be living as an Englisher. As the friends get to know each other again, Clara pushes Jerry to examine why he abandoned his Amish beliefs. Will Clara help Jerry renew his faith in God, and will they find love beneath the summer sun?

The Fruits of Fall
Tena Speicher has come to live in Bird-in-Hand after her fiancĂ© left her for an English woman. When a homeless veteran comes to the fruit stand one day and asks for food, Tena is not sure how to respond—but Wayne intervenes and offers to let him stay in the barn. Afraid to trust Englishers, Tena must learn, with Wayne’s help, that everyone is a child of God and deserving of kindness.

Winter Blessings
Ephraim and Mandy have dated for some time and now have plans to marry. But after a series of unexpected events and misunderstandings, they wonder if they should go their separate ways. What will happen when their friends at the Amish garden conspire to bring them back together?


My Review

This collection of stories is based off the novella the author wrote in An Amish Christmas Love, The Christmas Cat. A group of Amish youth are stranded at a widow's home during a storm and they enjoy getting to know her more and reminiscing about her husband. He had a special place in his heart for the local homeless shelter, so the youth decide to raise money to donate in his honor. In this book are four stories revolving around the garden and the young people who come together to take care of it. I love the concept, but some of the relationship drama seems immature and contrived. My favorite parts were with the widow, Emma, and her wisdom that she shares with her young friends.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Friday, February 14, 2020

Review: Gambling on a Gentleman by Brenna Jacobs



My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

A society gentleman with a secret. An art expert who can expose him. An attraction neither of them can deny.
 
Alice Donnelly prefers paintings of medieval people to actual people, and classical art to the nonsense coming from contemporary artists. She also has a healthy disdain for the rich and ignorant who hire her to curate their collections, obsessed with valuing their financial worth without ever understanding the art. But her family depends on her paychecks, and so she reluctantly accepts a commission to assess the collection of one of Britain's most venerable aristocratic families.
When she meets the handsome and charismatic Geoffrey on her flight to London, she makes it clear she's immune to his charms. She has no time for romance. Not when she's starting the biggest job of her career.

Except it turns out that it's Geoffrey's family who has hired her, and now she must spend all her working hours trying not to fall for his charms. But much like a master painting, Geoffrey's layers draw her in against her better judgment.

As Geoffrey's secrets unravel, can Alice trust the privileged aristocrat with an artist's soul to see past her own baggage? Or is she just another way for him to rebel against his family?


My Review

First of all, isn't that the cutest cover?? I'm an art major so I enjoyed the plot and details about curating and discovering masterpieces. The setting in England was my fave! I traveled abroad for the first time last summer and now I enjoy books with European settings even more. The meet-cute seemed too coincidental for me, but it made for a fun setup as Alice and Geoffrey embark on restoring his family's financial situation and saving the estate. For some reason the chemistry fell flat for me- I think it had to do with not enough anticipation and romantic tension. There was also more telling than showing when it came to analyzing and reassessing their feelings for each other. Overall it was a pleasant diversion to read and see how the complicated family dynamics throw wrenches into both their relationship and professional goals.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Be sure to check out the other books in the ABC's of Love series . . .

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Review: Rebound by Sophia Summers, Rebecca Connolly, Heather B. Moore


https://amzn.to/2NEvZp7

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

He's all in. She's all in. Nothing stands in their way--until their families get involved.

Summer Davis, small town librarian, PHD candidate, wants to fall in love.
Rocco De Luca, pro hockey player, didn’t know he was looking for love until he met Summer.

Now they try to navigate getting to know each other around his home game schedule with both their families vying for attention and meddling in ways only big families can. It’s a wonder they can go on a few dates at all once Summer’s brothers learn a pro hockey player is interested in their sister.

But the closer they become, the harder it will be when Summer is offered the chance of a lifetime…far away from their small town in Wyoming.

My Review

As much as I love this series and the sports romances this trio of authors writes, this one sadly fell flat for me. I liked Summer and Rocco, but the relationship didn't have any depth and seemed to move forward on attraction only before they really got to know each other or spent much time together. They had good chemistry, but I didn't feel an emotional connection to them. There also wasn't much of a plot- each time a conflict arose it was diffused in an anti-climactic way. The supporting cast had so much potential with the brothers, the parents, and the Wyoming teammates, but I felt like it was kept surface-level and they were way under-utilized. There was quite a bit of name dropping from the previous books in this series and then also the Belltown Sixpack series, but with no substance to the encounters. I would have rather there been more of a focus and development on a few characters that are close to Rocco and Summer instead of spreading it thin explaining so many connections that aren't really vital to the story. Overall, Summer and Rocco are totally sweet together, but the only memorable thing about them is the way they met (which was a great scene). I'm still looking forward to what comes next for this band of hockey brothers!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Welcome to Northbrook Hockey Elite

Six professional hockey players used to play on an elite club team together, but have all separated and now play in the pro-hockey leagues. Not all of them were friends, yet circumstances bring them together, and for the greater good, maybe they can put aside their differences.

Visit us on Facebook: Swoony Sports Romances

Northbrook Hockey Elite series:



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About the Authors

Rebecca Connolly

Rebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.




Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty publications. Her historical novels and thrillers are written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women's fiction, romance, and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom.

Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. Heather is represented by Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.



Sophia Summers

Sophia Summers is an award winning author who just wants to relax a little and enjoy a great beach read. She lives in a quiet southern town brimming with an extra dose of hospitality and a
whole lot of charm.

She writes historical romance under a different name. You can follow her on www.sophiasummers.com. Be SURE to join her Newsletter for freebies and fun.