Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Review: Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen



My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

When Riley Madigan moves to the sleepy mountain town of Miracle Creek, she hopes her new job as a high school art teacher will help her mend her recently broken heart. A little peace and quiet would be a gift this Christmas season. The last thing on her mind is love.

Former firefighter Mark Rivers has spent the last year recovering from burns sustained during a rescue operation. He’s been trying to piece his life back together but still struggles both emotionally and psychologically. When he meets Riley, he finally sees something that might bring some light back into his life.

When Mark asks Riley to work on a special nativity project, he finds himself falling for her quirky, unaffected ways. Riley doesn’t seem bothered by his scars, but is her affection for him real, or is this just another act of charity? One thing’s for certain, in a small town that views Mark as a fragile hero, it’s hard to pursue a relationship without everyone in his business. And although Riley has sincere feelings for Mark, is she ready to risk her heart?

Broken hearts and lives are mended as the town of Miracle Creek comes together to celebrate a Christmas to remember.


My Review

This is a book that got me feeling all the feels! I love when I'm able to be emotionally connected to the characters with all their highs and lows and everything in between. Mark and Riley are genuine and sincere with each other from the beginning (which was oh-so-awkward!), and their slow but steady developing friendship and romance was all the more special. They both have some serious issues they are struggling with and I loved how they accepted that about each other and felt like they could just be themselves. The small town setting is great, and the author brought it to life with an interestingly quirky cast of family and community members. A perfect read for the holidays that brings depth and themes of healing and miracles.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.



Don't miss these other books by author Krista Lynne Jensen I've read and loved!




And her new holiday multi-author collection . . .











Friday, October 16, 2020

Review: The Cottage by Coniston by Deborah M. Hathaway



My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

What could possibly go wrong by asking someone else to make all of her decisions?

After a misguided kiss and subsequent rejection by yet another gentleman, Miss Amy Paxton convinces her brother to make all of her future decisions, especially in finding her a husband. His strategy? She must seek his advice before doing anything. Desperate for a happier future and a fresh start, Amy adopts her new way of life with relative ease. That is, until her new, self-assured landlord begins to meddle in her affairs.

With the passing of his oppressive grandfather, Mr. William Eastwood is finally free. Free to explore business ventures, free to help his parents—and free to marry his childhood friend, Miss Charity Winslow. But matters are complicated when he must help his new tenant, Amy Paxton, stand up to her overbearing brother. William soon discovers, however, that Amy is not as defenseless as she seems.

Anxious to discover the reasoning behind her behavior, William determines to uncover the real Amy, and an attraction sparks between them. But when challenges arise, Amy must protect herself as William struggles to choose between what his heart longs for—and what his duty demands.


My Review

Poor Amy! She's a bit of a hot mess when it comes to men, although I admire her forthrightness, being on the shy side when I was young. She's willing to try a different strategy though, by following her gregarious brother's cues when it comes to attracting a gentleman for her to marry. This of course leads to humorous scenes and misunderstandings. There is a bit of a love triangle as Amy and William develop feelings while he is unofficially promised to Charity, providing the conflict in the plot as well as in the characters' emotions. This book stood out with the entertaining banter and vibrant personalities, while allowing me to connect with the more vulnerable emotions running below the surface. A lovely Regency romance!

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.



Don't miss the other books in the Seasons of Change series . . .










Thursday, October 8, 2020

Review & Giveaway: Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World by Sierra Wilson




My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


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Synopsis

From prophets to pioneers, from songwriters to scientists, Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World presents the fascinating true stories of twenty women and twenty men from Church history. Each one-page biography describes impressive achievements and shares stories of great faith. Readers will encounter well-known and beloved Saints such as Joseph Smith and Eliza R. Snow along with lesser-known heroes from around the world such as Hu Wei-I, who miraculously translated the Book of Mormon into Chinese, and Mere Mete Whaanga, a prominent Maori woman who helped the Church spread into New Zealand. In addition, Standout Saints includes uplifting quotes, a Church history timeline, and resources for further study.

The courage and faith of these Saints made them stand out from the world, and this educational and inspiring book helps young readers know that they too can stand out.

My Review

I loved learning more about the personal stories of individuals in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from all over the world! They show how regular everyday people can make an important difference in the lives of those around them, and how faith helps us overcome our struggles. The illustrations are vibrant and full of life and personality. With 40 spotlights, there are several well-known names of pioneers and even more that I wasn't familiar with but am excited to learn more about. This is a great book for kids and adults alike, providing inspiration and encouragement to go out and be "standout saints" ourselves.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.


About the Author
 
Sierra Wilson is a children's author/illustrator living in Alberta, Canada. She wrote The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me and I Can Be Like Jesus as well as several other books for children soon to be released. Before turning to writing, Sierra worked as a high school English and history teacher. She is the daughter of two modern-day pioneers and loves researching about pioneers and faithful heroes of all kinds. When she's not writing, you can find her adventuring with her husband and four children, cross-country skiing, or eating all the chocolate. 

Connect with Sierra:


 
Giveaway
 
 
 

Book Tour, Review & Giveaway: The Highlander's Hidden Heart by Julie Coulter Bellon



 
My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

A duke's daughter. A Highland warrior. And a love worth fighting for.

Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Barrington, has done her best to secure an advantageous match, but a shy nature, combined with a stutter, hasn't helped her cause. After two Seasons, her father won’t wait any longer and promises her to a man she despises. There doesn’t seem to be anything Elizabeth can do beyond wish for a freedom she’ll never have---until a charming Highlander appears and makes all her dreams of a love match seem within her reach.

Alec Ramsay unexpectedly inherits an earldom and must leave his beloved Scottish Highlands to present himself in London and settle the estate affairs. After meeting his new neighbor, Lady Elizabeth, he feels a connection to her that he’s never felt with any other woman. Alec makes every effort to further their acquaintance, but soon finds out that Elizabeth could be swept out of his reach before they have a chance to explore the feelings between them. With everything at stake, can he risk all for a chance at love−−before it’s too late?

(Originally a novella in the Timeless Romance collection, now a full-length novel with new twists, turns, and romance!)

 My Review

There is an instant connection between Elizabeth and Alec, and they made each other feel comfortable and able to be themselves. And that accent! It's so fun to be able "hear" his Scottish brogue in my head as I read. Elizabeth's stutter drains her confidence and prevents her from standing up to her parents, resulting in being stuck with a suitor that puts up a good front, but is a horrible person. His unkindness to Elizabeth provides the necessary conflict for Alec to come to her rescue, which endears him to her even more. Their affection grows swiftly and I loved their chemistry! This author is skilled at enhancing a short story into a full length novel and I thoroughly enjoyed all the additional scenes and depth to the plot, characters, and their relationships. I loved the satisfying conclusion as Elizabeth and Alec overcome the obstacles to their relationship and future happiness.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, or was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, or borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, or purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

 
About the Author
 
After winning $10 in a second grade writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. That dream came true and she is now the author of nearly two dozen romantic suspense novels. Her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense, The Capture and Second Look were Whitney Award finalists for Best Suspense, and Julie has been a #1 bestseller on several Amazon category lists.


Julie loves to travel and her favorite cities she's visited so far are probably Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She loves to read, write, teach, watch Hawaii Five-O, and eat Canadian chocolate. Not necessarily in that order. Julie offers book deals, reviews, and writing tips on her blog ldswritermom.blogspot.com You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website juliebellon.com

 
Giveaway





Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Review: Just Like Home by Courtney Walsh



My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Prima ballerina Charlotte Page has a life any dancer would envy, but the tragic loss of her best friend, Julianna, leaves her wanting more. Or maybe—less. In an effort to make her life about something other than accolades and applause, Charlotte leaves professional ballet to save Julianna’s small-town dance studio. This lands her directly in the path of cranky high school football coach and Julianna’s older brother, Cole Turner.

Fresh off a state win and a bitter divorce, the last thing Cole expects is for a prima ballerina to chip away at the wall he’s grown quite comfortable hiding behind.

Will their fledgling relationship be strong enough to weather the storm of old secrets and a haunting past? Or will Charlotte lose the new, simple life she’s given up everything to gain?


My Review

I loved this story full of flawed characters with good hearts that are trying to find their place in circumstances that they never foresaw. Charlotte and Cole have a rocky beginning and a somewhat difficult friendship, full of angst but also light that shines through their dark moments. They are both working through some major baggage, and it was lovely to see them come to terms and have personal revelations that impact their future, both as individuals and together. I loved their chemistry and the struggles in their relationship made their romantic moments together even more special. There is an amazing cast of family and community members that provide wisdom and support, making Harbor Pointe a wonderful small town setting perfect for healing hearts. I had tears welling at a few points in the story, something I can count on this author for- a strong connection to the characters and the emotion s running through the scenes. Highly recommend!

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.



Don't miss the previous books in the Harbor Pointe series . . .





Monday, August 24, 2020

Review & Giveaway: It Started in Budapest by Julie Daines


My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Molly Cooper is haunted by one simple fact: it is her fault her twin brother, Matthew, has spent his life trapped in a frail body while she has thrived. Deep in her heart, she knows he can’t hold on much longer . . .

In her desperation to save her brother, Molly finds inspiration in an unlikely source: the newly published novel Dracula. When her family embarks on the Orient Express to seek treatment for Matthew in Bulgaria, Molly is prepared to set her plan in motion: she will sneak away from her parents and journey alone to Transylvania, where she will seek a vampire, whose blood can make her brother immortal. Molly’s rash plan is going flawlessly—until she encounters Percy Hunt, a handsome American traveler running from the shadows of his own past. When he discovers Molly’s plan, Percy’s concern for the naive young woman leaves him no choice but to accompany her on her strange quest. But neither Percy nor Molly is prepared for the feelings that quickly grow between them or for the death-defying escapade that awaits.


My Review

First off, I just have to say how much I loved the setting in this book since it reminded me of my first trip to Europe last summer. It felt like I was back on my foreign adventure with everything new and unfamiliar, yet grounded in reality. We quickly get to know Molly and her family circumstances, which comes with an extreme dose of guilt for her brother's infirmities and an irrational phobia of the color white. I was surprised by her naive yet desperate belief that she can encounter a vampire if she follows the travels of Bram Stoker's character Jonathan Harker as told in Dracula. I haven't read the book (although I want to now!) and after learning that it's written as a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, and ships' log entries, I can understand why Molly may have put faith in the realistic presentation of the paranormal story. 

I loved her rocky friendship with Percy, her self-appointed protector, who follows her as she gets in one predicament after another. The revealing of both Molly and Percy's deeper layers amidst their journey kept me interested in seeing how they could manage a happily ever after. There are powerful themes of death, grief, loneliness, duty, and loyalty. I was in tears as Molly learned some difficult but beautiful lessons about the fragility of life, the strength we can find in ourselves and those around us, and the inner peace that we can find in our faith. There is a lovely balance of adventure, excitement, and danger with quieter moments of connection and introspection.

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

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