Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Review: Coming Home to Maverick by Sophia Summers

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


Bailey is back. Maverick thought he was over her. But neither can deny the feelings that will always be there.

Bailey has made mistakes, so many she doesn't think she'll really ever forgive herself. But her daughter deserves the kind of life Bailey had growing up. When she shows up on her parents' doorstep back to her hometown, the one person she isn't ready to see is Maverick. But will she ever be able to face him?

The minute Maverick hears Bailey is back, he knows his heart still belongs to her. But what kind of man trusts a woman who left him at the altar? As he grapples with a new daughter that he can't help but wish was his, all the responsibilities of running his family's ranch, and the hurt he feels about Bailey's betrayal, he finds new love and hope not only with her but with God.

As soon as God is a part of the equation, the sweetness they find is better than they ever had. Just maybe this second chance around is God's gift of happiness to them both.

My Review

This is a feel-good second chance romance set in small-town Texas. There are strong themes of homecoming and forgiveness as Bailey reconnects with the family and friends she left behind with no word or explanation. While it's understandable that she had wanted to chase her dreams of being a singer, I didn't get why she ghosted people she had such good and strong relationships with. She does an awful good job of self-flagellation for her bad choices now that she's back home, and her parents and Maverick are both encouraging of her turning things over to God for healing. The characters seem almost too good to be true, and the slower pace of the story matches the setting, making it a relaxing read.

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

Review: Molly by Sarah Monzon

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I absolutely refuse to tell a lie no matter the consequences. So don’t ask me a direct question unless you’re prepared for a direct answer—that’s something my SoCal sewing girlfriends have learned the hard way.  

But who would have thought my honesty policy would get me fired from my job at the preschool? Or that a desperate—and not to mention devastatingly handsome—single father of one of my (now-former) students would hire me that same day as a nanny for his daughter?  

I’m an education professional. How hard can taking care of a four-year-old and her over-stressed, over-worked father be?

My Review

So. Funny. I loved Molly's voice! Fresh, quirky, self-aware, and self-accepting. The honesty policy sounds like a good life rule... until you quickly learn how convenient it can be to bend the truth in uncomfortable situations- like the one that got Molly fired. Ironically, her candid, scientific answer about body functions also gets her hired by the handsome and desperate doctor to care for his precocious daughter. Of course, attraction ensues while Molly becomes an integral part of the little family, though not without some all-too-realistic mishaps. I liked how the author shows how Molly's childhood experiences have influenced the importance of integrity in her life. The story is told from both Molly and Ben's first person POV, which made it interesting and fun to get in Ben's head as well. Recommend to fans of clean contemporary romance and especially those who loved The Match by Sarah Adams.

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

Don't miss the next book in the Sewing in SoCal series . . .

Coming October 2020

WWSOD—What would Scarlett O’Hara do?
Anything to survive, that’s what. But instead of a man-eating Southern belle in hoop skirts and big hats, my version of existence looks an awful lot like a financial conglomerate employee staring blankly at budget analysis spreadsheets. Either way, the motto has served me well most my life. Until now, that is. The corporate retreat location has just been announced, and this city girl is headed to a dude ranch in the country. How will Scarlett help me survive that? No, this time I’ll turn to the sage advice of preteen YouTubers and their ponies to keep me from making a fool of myself.
But who’s going to help me navigate the kind yet reticent cowboy in the black Stetson—the cattle ranch owner who’s slowly claiming corners of my heart?

Review: A Well-Trained Lady by Jess Heileman

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Arabella Godwin is an Incomparable in London Society—elegant, wealthy, and meticulously trained. Yet, she has nothing to show for her efforts aside from her pretentious reputation and a collection of disappointed suitors. When her plan to secure a promising offer of marriage is temporarily delayed, she must bide her time in the company of an estranged childhood friend—the much-too-endearing, but regrettably untitled, Augustus Brundage.

As the friends’ tattered relationship returns to familiarity, Arabella must prevent herself from fully regressing into the carefree, impressionable young lady who once foolishly trusted Augustus with her heart. To make the same mistake again would ruin everything she has worked for—and certainly more.

But, can a heart be so easily trained?

My Review

Arabella drove me a just little crazy! Once she slowly sheds the insincere society persona she had embraced due to her mother's influence, she becomes actually likeable, and I could see why Augustus had fallen in love with her and was willing to give her another chance. She reminds me a bit of Jane Austen's Emma as she gives lessons to Ruth, trying to help improve her manners, when really Ruth has the important characteristics Arabella would do well to emulate. Augustus and Arabella have such fun banter, which were my favorite parts. Family secrets come to light and complicate Arabella's future, right when she was so close to grasping happiness. I was all tied in a knot as Arabella is caught between her parents and their own private agendas. This book had plenty of ups, downs, and twists leading to a perfectly satisfying happily-ever-after.

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

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

Review: Love's Mountain Quest by Misty M. Beller

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Young widow Joanna Watson is struggling to make a new home for her five-year-old son, Samuel, in the little mountain town of Settler's Fort. When she returns home from work to find Samuel and the woman watching him missing, with no lawman in town, she enlists a man she prays has enough experience in this rugged country to help.

Isaac Bowen wants nothing more than a quiet, invisible life in these mountains, far away from the bad decisions of his past. But he has a strong suspicion of who's behind the kidnapping, and if he's right, he knows all too well the evil they're chasing.

As they press on against the elements, Joanna fights to hold on to hope, while Isaac knows a reckoning is coming. They find encouragement in the tentative trust that grows between them, but whether it can withstand the danger and coming confrontation is far from certain in this wild, unpredictable land.

My Review

Boy, this one jumped right into the action! I felt like I quickly got to know Joanna and Isaac quickly through their actions and thoughts as they desperately search for her kidnapped son and friend. We experience the author's trademark perilous journey through the wilderness with various dangers and trying conditions. I was surprised that tracking the outlaws took up so much of the book, but it turned out that this was a long game situation since Isaac had a secret past that gave them an advantage in the pursuit. It's a mixed blessing since it brings more issues for Joanna to deal with after she's fallen for the rugged mountain man- overcoming mistrust and relying on the good man he is now. The scenes with the outlaws and Laura, the young woman they are holding captive, are a bit disturbing, which heightens the tension and suspense. I appreciated the spiritual message of turning to God in faith during our darkest hours, and also the theme of redemption and forgiveness. I'm glad that the next book in the series is about Laura so we can see her healing process from all she went through.

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

Don't miss the other books in the Hearts of Montana series . . .

Monday, August 10, 2020

Review: The Light Within by A.L. Weston

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay


At the end of the sixteenth century in Ireland, a Scottish clan took over Dunluce Castle, claiming it for their own in hopes of unifying the Irish and the Scottish. Secrets and lies are held within its walls, but love shook through the cracks, gasping to unleash.

Catriona O’Brien is a daughter and a storyteller. Through the tales told by the light of the fire each night, Cat basks in the idea of unseen worlds. When Catriona and her friends share a mystical experience as children, Cat’s life is changed. As she grows older, she frequently ponders the mystery she still doesn’t understand, letting its influence guide her.

When a mysterious stranger from the castle comes to hide in her shed, Catriona is forced on a journey that leads her to an understanding of what her heart desires. But her stranger’s secrets run deep. Will their love be enough to break through the deceit? Or will duty and responsibility destroy their love?

An enchanting tale of love through an unlikely turn of events that could alter the history of their clan...

My Review

I was really intrigued by the premise of this book and was excited to try out a new-to-me author. Unfortunately, it turned out to be not my cup of tea. I enjoyed the characters in the beginning, especially Catriona's devotion to her family. But it was difficult for me to get into the story since so much of it was ambiguous and mysterious, with no real answers forthcoming. Instead of making me curious, I ended up losing interest. The writing style was mostly telling, in a first person POV alternating between Cat and Brogan. I found it odd that major aspects of the characters stayed a secret when it was told from their inner thoughts. This one ended up being a pass for me.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Review: A Lily in Disguise by Jessica Scarlett

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


One woman. Three identities. A handsome lord trying to unmask them all. 

To escape the scandals tied to her name, Lillian Markley has gone by an alias for eight years. It was the only way for her to get a reputable job and save enough money to reunite with her sister in America. But when Lily is suddenly let go just as she’s about to reach her goal, she’s offered a salary she can’t refuse in exchange for the unthinkable:

She must masquerade as an heiress at a country estate for the summer.

Being exposed means facing prison, or worse—never seeing her sister again. Run-ins with kidnappers, a suspicious young boy, and a dangerous gentleman who knows her secret quickly has Lily spouting lies as often as she sips her tea—all while battling her growing feelings for Peter Wycliffe, the smiling host who seems to best her at every turn.

Nothing is as simple as it seems. And as the falsehoods begin to mount, Lily must use her arsenal of wits to keep her three facades separate, while preventing Peter—and herself—from discovering the true woman beneath them all.

My Review

This was such a fun read! The complexities of Lily's various personas kept the plot interesting and moving at a steady pace. I loved Peter with his teasing personality and really felt for him as he falls for Lily but is confused by her as well. She is just trying to keep her head above water as she interacts in society and all the complications that arise. There are issues of trust, jealousy, betrayal, and forgiveness, all interwoven with Lily's ultimate resolve to leave England and these new relationships to join her sister. I enjoyed the characters and the way the author allowed me to connect with their emotions and experiences- the desperation, confusion, attraction, friendship, and romance. The scenes with Lily and Peter's fun banter were my favorite, especially since there is a strong undercurrent of longing on his part and apprehension on hers. The secondary characters rounded out the story well and I hope the author writes more with them as main characters. I'm excited to read more from this author! Definitely a must read for fans of sweet Regency romance.

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

Don't miss the prequel novella in the Wycliffe Family series . . .

Available for 99 cents on Amazon or
FREE when you sign up for the author's newsletter


When Mary Raynsford's lifelong friend, Ellis Harrington, returns from Tour and says he aims to marry within six months, Mary hatches a plan to thwart his efforts. It simply wouldn't do for him to find a bride. Especially if it's not her.

About the Author

Jessica Scarlett grew up in rural Utah, where lots of wide-open space served as a blank canvas for her rampant imagination. Along with being an author, she is a songwriter and a huge Broadway fan, so don’t be surprised if she hears the people sing or defies gravity on a regular basis.

Being mother to two crazy-eyed kiddos, she has been forced to develop a deep appreciation for humor—which is probably why she laughs so much at her own jokes. Though Jessica currently writes regency romance, she loves dashing heroes from all eras in history, and hopes to one day branch out. 

Connect with Jessica:

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Review: Not a Fine Gentleman by Donna Hatch

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Margaret, the eldest of the misbegotten Amesbury family, is accused of murdering her jerk of a husband and then fleeing. Conner Jackson, a Bow Street Runner, is hunting her down to bring her to justice. Or so he thinks...

This romantic story of loss and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption, and strangers marrying, will leave you laughing, crying, and swooning. Sprinkled liberally with suspense, mystery, and heart-melting kisses, this is not your ordinary historical tale of an arranged marriage nor of redeeming the rakes. Fans of Victorian and Regency Eras, as well as those seeking clean and wholesome romance with plenty of chemistry, will love this story!

My Review

I always wondered why Margaret was unhappy in the previous books, so it was wonderful to have her story! It starts off with a bang and stayed exciting throughout. The author did a good job of showing the hardships and coping mechanisms of Margaret in her marriage, and how her perceptions get turned on their head when she is finally free. Connor is from humble beginnings and is proud of his accomplishments, even if they are still beneath the level of Margaret and upper society. They had fun banter as they work to solve the mystery of who killed her husband- sometimes together, and sometimes against or in spite of the other. They sure kept each other on their toes! I loved when they began to soften and develop romantic feelings that added to their attraction and chemistry. The scenes with Margaret's siblings (from the previous books) were great, revisiting them with their strengths and loyalties. An exciting addition to the Rogue Hearts series!

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

Don't miss the previous books in the Rogue Hearts series . . .

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Review & Giveaway: Fair as a Star by Mimi Matthews

Fair as a Star by Mimi Matthews

Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Perfectly Proper Press
Series: Victorian Romantics, Book One
Genre: Historical Romance

A Secret Burden…

After a mysterious sojourn in Paris, Beryl Burnham has returned home to the village of Shepton Worthy ready to resume the life she left behind. Betrothed to the wealthy Sir Henry Rivenhall, she has no reason to be unhappy—or so people keep reminding her. But Beryl’s life isn’t as perfect as everyone believes.

A Longstanding Love…

As village curate, Mark Rivenhall is known for his compassionate understanding. When his older brother’s intended needs a shoulder to lean on, Mark’s more than willing to provide one. There’s no danger of losing his heart. He already lost that to Beryl a long time ago. During an idyllic Victorian summer, friends and family gather in anticipation of Beryl and Sir Henry’s wedding. But in her darkest moment, it’s Mark who comes to Beryl’s aid. Can he help her without revealing his feelings—or betraying his brother?

Available on Amazon

My Review

5 stars / It was amazing

This author’s stories are always a delight to read, even when she tackles difficult themes. Her characters are so vibrant, and I find myself completely immersed. I love the friendship between Mark and Beryl, and the way he thoughtfully supports her unconditionally. He is in such a hard position, divided between loyalty to his brother and his own romantic feelings. His relationship with his brother is complex, and it was interesting to see bits and pieces emerge that gave deeper understanding to the dynamic. Beryl struggles with frequent bouts of melancholy, what we know today as depression. The author was delicate in her portrayal as she explored the ways it affected Beryl’s well-being, her otherwise golden personality, and how she managed to cope with the symptoms, despite the misunderstandings in the medical field at the time. What I especially loved was the overall feeling of hopefulness as Mark learns of her condition and becomes her champion- listening, understanding, and encouraging. It was such a contrast to the others in her life who were trying, but didn’t know where to find the answers or how to “fix it.” Beryl is going through a season of self-discovery, and I loved her strength and kindness as she learns more about herself and what she truly wants for her future. Highly recommend!!!

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

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. For more information, please visit Mimi Matthews’ website and blog. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterBookBubPinterestGoogle+, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 14 Review at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, July 15 Interview at Austenprose Review at Gwendalyn's Books Feature at I'm All About Books Review at Probably at the Library
Thursday, July 16 Review at Library of Clean Reads
Friday, July 17 Review at View from the Birdhouse
Saturday, July 18 Review at The Green Mockingbird
Sunday, July 19 Review at Robin Loves Reading
Monday, July 20 Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Tuesday, July 21 Review at Book Bustle
Wednesday, July 22 Review at Bookish Rantings
Thursday, July 23 Review at Heidi Reads...
Friday, July 24 Review at The Lit B****
Saturday, July 25 Feature at What Is That Book About
Monday, July 27 Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Tuesday, July 28 Review at Donna's Book Blog


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of Fair as a Star by Mimi Matthews! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Paperback giveaway is open to the US only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

  Fair as a Star