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

Friday, January 17, 2020

Review: Return to Sender by Jennifer Peel

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


He never wanted to leave her. She never expected him to return.

If Ariana Stanton has learned anything in life, it's that men leave. She's been taught this lesson well from the father she's never met, who sends her a mysterious letter once a year, to her ex-fiancé, who left her for another woman. So, when she meets the charming and seemingly perfect Jonah, she promises him they will never be more than friends. It's a promise she can't keep. But before he has a chance to leave her, she sends him away.

Dr. Jonah Adkinson has one regret--that he let Ariana remain convinced that love never lasts. But now, nine years later, the single dad is back in Pine Falls and on a mission: prove Ariana wrong. He's determined to win over the love of his life. And this time he won't let anything get in the way, not even her.

Now, not only does Ariana have to face the man she's still in love with, but she must confront the mystery of her father's letters, forcing her to reevaluate the past and her choices. But will it be enough to make her believe that, unlike the letter she's always returned, Jonah is hers to keep?

My Review

Oh my heart! Jonah and Ariana have beautiful chemistry and even though the beginning is heartbreaking, I quickly became caught up in Ariana's present-day transformation of healing and coming to life again as her close friends and grandma stage a bit of an intervention. Jonah's sweet determination to not only reconnect with Ariana but win her heart and commitment was amazing, and through all the bumps in the road of emotional healing they discover how they fit in each other's life again. I thought the personality and mannerisms of Jonah's daughter were so interesting and really brought another layer of depth to the story as Ariana nurtures the inner child that yearns to creep out of the mold but doesn't know how. Ariana's difficult childhood, dysfunctional relationship with her mother, and the influence of her lack of father are explored as she relents to therapy and faces her fears with Jonah's help. I loved the positive view of therapy and how the right therapist can be so helpful. I think it's so important to overcome the stigma so that when the time comes in everyone's life that they may need it, they will not feel ashamed to reach out and embrace the healing. There is a bit of a mystery with the unopened letters that keeps a sense of anticipation throughout the book, and I was satisfied with the resolution that came about. Another winner from this author that had me giggling, smiling, feeling the emotions, and wiping tears.

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

Review: The Last Shot by Amy Matayo

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


It’s the same routine every night, and country music superstar Teddy Hayes wouldn’t have it any other way.

7:00 pm: Arena doors open and fans fill the stands.
7:45 pm: Lights go out and spotlights come on.
7:46 pm: Energy from concert-goers reaches an ear-spitting crescendo.
7:47 pm: Teddy takes the stage and begins to sing.

But tonight, something is off.

It starts when a stage light malfunctions and sends sparks into the air.
It continues when his drummer stops playing and stares slack-jawed in Teddy’s direction.
It dawns on him when a fan doubles-over and a red stain spreads across her shirt.
Something isn’t just off tonight.

Someone in the crowd is shooting a gun.

And it’s up to a female bodyguard he’s never met before to save his life.

My Review

Dang. This book is pretty intense- I mean, the subject matter is a mass shooting. I thought the author really delved into the scene without crossing any boundaries of graphic description, but skillfully explored the emotions and trauma the characters went through, both during and after. Teddy and Jane both have unresolved scars from their pasts which are triggered by the post-traumatic stress. I admired that Jane recognized her feelings and the sources and was able to figuratively wake up and make the changes that she needed to in order to feel like she's herself and really living again. Teddy struggles more with confronting his demons and his feelings of grief and guilt are so raw and complex. The bond he and Jane forged continues as she supports and encourages him to see things more clearly and not let his anxiety rule his choices. This author excels at opening up and revealing the hurts and fears while weaving in the power of hope and healing and love. Each book in the Love in Chaos series is so different- stranded on a desert island, the aftermath of a tornado, and living through a mass shooting, yet the themes of how we process and heal from the chaos in our lives makes them fit together perfectly.

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

Don't miss the previous books in the Love in Chaos series . . .

Monday, January 13, 2020

Review: Freedom in the Mountain Wind by Misty M. Beller

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


The last epic journey before her life changes forever.

Susanna Wilkins will do anything to make her father’s final dream come true, including trek along the path Lewis and Clark explored into the untamed wilds of the Rocky Mountains. Every mile is more crucial now that lung cancer is stealing Pa’s last days faster than she can come to terms with losing him. The journey becomes harder than she ever expected, but paddling upriver through fierce rapids and fighting hungry grizzlies isn’t what terrifies her the most.

Beaver Tail endured more than he can stand from the women in his Blackfoot camp, but the last disaster gave him the final shove he needed to join this band of brothers searching for one of their group who’s gone missing. The last thing he expected was to find a white woman and her sick father stranded at the base of a massive waterfall. His plan is to help them carry their oversize canoe and supplies, then leave them to their strange mission. Yet, the more he learns about the pair, the more he realizes his life is about to be derailed—again.

My Review

It's hard to comprehend that a young woman and her sick father would not only venture into the wilderness but be able to get as far as they did. I love the sense of adventure and the epic grandeur of the landscape that I can always count on from this author's books, and this one lived up to the standards she sets. While the harsh realities of uncivilized travel are expected, encountered, and overcome, this book felt a bit different with the grief Susanna struggles with, watching her father decline and knowing that his end is near. It brought a sense of anticipation of impending heartache, and I appreciated that she did her best to not only fulfill his wishes but soak up her time with him. The harder parts of the story are well-balanced with the friendship and sincerity of Beaver Tail and his comrades, and the sweetness of new love. The characters are well-formed and I felt like I was able to get to know them well as they journeyed. Beaver Tail's spiritual enlightenment was another aspect of the plot that brought depth and a sense of hope to both his and Susanna's future together. I'm looking forward to continuing the series as they search for the brother who is chasing the rumor of a special breed of horse among one of the tribes.

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

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Review: Andrew by Jennifer Beckstrand

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim’s family business has earned them the nickname The Peanut Butter Brothers. But if their matchmaking younger siblings have their way, all three may soon bear another title: husband . . .

Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .

For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she in turn accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?

My Review

This book was absolutely delightful!!! The show was totally stolen by Andrew's eight year old brothers, Alfie and Benji, who are the most entertaining matchmakers ever! Their perspective and hilariously clever antics were my favorite parts that had me smiling and giggling out loud. Mary's confusing presence in Andrew's life challenges the way he thinks and even though he tries to avoid dealing with his conflicting feelings, his little brothers make sure he keeps having interactions with Mary. As he stumbles through his journey of enlightenment on judgement, repentance, and forgiveness, he also learns from Mary's example about compassion, kindness, understanding, and love. Mary also sees the goodness in Andrew and his genuine efforts to reconcile traditional Amish ways with putting into action the teachings of Christ. It's a slow-growing sweet romance, with nice character arcs for both Andrew and Mary, and an amazing supporting cast with Mary's champion Aunt Bitsy (from the Honeybee Sisters series) and Andrew's sincere yet incorrigible brothers.

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

Don't miss the next two books in the Petersheim Brothers series . . .

Book Two

Book Three

Releases June 2020: Available for pre-order

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Review: To Love a Governess (Timeless Regency Collection) by Josi S. Kilpack, Heather B. Moore, Julie Daines

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Governesses are not supposed to fall in love. Governesses are not supposed to marry. Governesses don't always follow society's conventions.

Til’ All the Seas Gang Dry by Josi S. Kilpack
It has been six years since Dina left London and David and whatever fantasy she had allowed to grow in the months of flirtation that had nearly overtaken them both. Now, David is getting married and he and his fiancé are guests at the home where Dina works as a governess. Convinced the connection they felt was nothing more than childhood fancy, Dina is taken by surprise to find that her feelings have not changed, and, she fears, David’s have not either. Still, she is determined not to interfere with the life he has worked so hard to build … until she realizes that his fiancé is not nearly as committed to him as he is to her. No one will trust her motivations for revealing the truth, not even David, and she could ruin everything she had built here, but if it spares David heartbreak, is it worth the sacrifice?

The One-Year Governess by Heather B. Moore

When Emmeline Finch's best friend becomes betrothed to the man Emmeline had picked out for herself, she decides she needs to get away for one year. Her aunt has the perfect solution. Become a governess for two children who are under the guardianship of their uncle, Captain Jasper Ridout. But when Emmeline arrives at the home, she finds the Captain not at all ancient as she assumed, but a man only a handful of years older than she, and most certainly single.

Visible by Julie Daines
Orphaned at a young age, Sarah Woolsey’s prospects for a meaningful future are grim, especially as a housemaid in the home of the handsome but aloof Arthur Selwood. When an abandoned child is left at Mr. Selwood’s door, Sarah is elevated from housemaid to governess in the blink of an eye. But with a man she’s running from closing in, Sarah is desperate to escape. Leaving would mean breaking the trust of the child she’s come to love, not to mention her growing attachment to Mr. Selwood.

My Review

Another wonderful collection of stories from some of my favorite authors! Each is unique and full of vibrant and interesting characters, with dilemmas and struggles and sacrifices. The position of a governess in society is kind of a floating middle ground between the upper and lower classes, and their future could go either way, depending on their connections. The stories were each long enough to feel more substantial than a regular novella, and I loved the way both the characters and plot had space to develop. I enjoyed them all equally, and plan to re-read this collection again in the future when I'm in a reading rut ;)

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

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Regency Romance: To Love a Governess is a Timeless Romance Anthology® book

Timeless Regency Collections:

Timeless Romance Anthology® is a registered trademark of Mirror Press, LLC

Monday, January 6, 2020

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

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


He’s ready to quit his pro-hockey career. She’s doing everything to keep her career afloat. And neither of them have time for distractions.

Jax Emerson, legendary forward for the Chicago Flyers, is ready to throw it all away when he uncovers the truth behind his NHL contract. The last thing he needs is more media attention, or his father to get involved in his contract, or a beautiful woman apologizing once again for an accident.

Meg Bailey didn’t think her life could get any worse, until it does. Time is running out before her business is forced to close. When Jax Emerson offers a solution, she knows that by accepting his help, she might be getting in too deep. And deep is not a place her heart is prepared to go.

My Review

I love how these characters are a little older and established in their careers, which brought a level of maturity to their relationship. They aren't playing games- what you see is what you get, and the honesty is refreshing. The chemistry is so great  (and I'll never look at Pac-man the same way again!) and even though there are sparks early on, they both take things at a steady rather than rushed pace. I enjoyed the plot and seeing some behind-the-scenes hockey drama with the politics of contracts. I also enjoyed the interactions and banter between the hockey teammates and their friends from other teams. A strong addition to the series that made me want to read it again... so I did ;)

(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:

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 Be SURE to join her Newsletter for freebies and fun. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Review: Mostly Risky by Heather B. Moore

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


A haunting curse. A voice from the past. A truth that will break her heart.

The Ambrose curse has stopped Amelia from following her heart. She’s accepted her fate as part of the generations of Ambrose women who’ve lost their husbands too young. So Amelia is determined to never marry, to never allow herself to fall in love.

Grigg Edison has been patient long enough. Two years, in fact. When Amelia confesses that she’s ready to test the power of the curse, all he wants is a chance. He’ll do anything, including risking his heart in order to uncover the origin of the ancient legend.

But for Amelia, the risk may be too great, and the roots of family lore too deep.

My Review

This one is my favorite of the series! It has a slightly paranormal premise with the family curse, but what I liked about this story is the focus on the relationship and emotions of Amelia and Grigg, and they felt natural and grounded. While the curse provides some of the plot conflict, there is a more natural tension from Grigg's unrequited love and Amelia's change of heart towards pursuing a long term relationship. I loved their foundation of friendship and professional respect that was able to grow into something more. There is a good dose of humor as Amelia seeks out her past potential boyfriends and Grigg's reactions to each of them. Great chemistry balanced with an element of suspense made this a perfect addition to The Women of Ambrose Estate series that just keeps getting better!

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

Don't miss the first two books in The Women of Ambrose Estate series . . .