3 1/2 Stars, Five Stars, Four Stars, High Violence, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Nichole Van

Empathy

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Weekly Reading Round Up

Romancing the Rake (Brotherhood of the Black Tartan book 2) by Nichole Van512MgKu-MUL

Confession, I (Nikki) get book hangover from Nichole Van’s books. Every. Single. Time. After finishing one of her books I can’t start another for a couple days, (which is kind of a big deal in my life). Even if I try to start another one I can’t get into it until I flush the fabulousness of Nichole Van’s writing out of my system. Not that whatever I pick isn’t also fabulous, but… book hangover. Her characters are not only layered, but uniquely engaging with specific quirks that you love. Rafe and Sophie were fascinating studies in human nature. Nichole Van is an expert at hooks. She keeps you reading well past your “one more chapter” and gives you so many leads (in a good way) that you’re never really sure of the outcome until you’re reading it. My most favorite thing about this book was how it showcased the author’s ability to get you to feel empathy, not just compassion or sympathy, but true empathy for the characters. I feel like’s it’s an understatement to say it gave me all the feels.

***** Low Language, Low Violence (though physical violence is low, just a heads up the book deals kind of heavily with emotional abuse, but it’s handled very well) Low Romance, Low Religion

 

Lost Shadow (Neverwood Chronicles Book 3) by Chanda Hahn 51ijCvA+nrL

I (Aimee) loved the pace of this book. It was exciting and the author kept the suspense up.  There were a few times when I was so mad at the character for being stupid, I had to put the book down and walk away. Sometimes I can’t decide if that’s a good thing because I’m super invested in the characters or a bad thing because it pulled me out of the story. I wasn’t sure if she wasn’t going to be able to close up all the loops because there was so much happening that something I had a hard time following it all, but she wrapped it all up at the end and even had a “whoa, I did not see that coming” kind of ending.

*** (and a 1/2) Low Language, High Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

 

I (Melanie) had a thing for quarterbacks and Maggie Dallen this week apparently. I read:

The Quarterback and the Ballerina (The Ballerina Academy book 1) by Maggie Dallen 51MDGPg1UGLand Anne-Marie Meyer

and

Dating the Quarterback (The Bet Duet Book 2) by Maggie Dallen517nAIhDdGL

 

Both books were quick fun reads with characters that had depth and well written growth. Both were super cute.

****Low Language, Low Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

 

Five Stars, Four Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Lucy McConnell, Moderate Language, Moderate Romance, Nancy Campbell Allen, Sheralyn Pratt, Three Stars

No More Adulting

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Weekly Reading Round Up

Don’t Kiss Your Lab Partner by Lucy McConnell 51DKGSj1DAL
When I don’t want to adult anymore my go to reading is always young adult novels. They make me smile. Lucy McConnell is a favorite of ours, so when she comes out with an young adult novel on a week I’m really done adulting, it’s a time to rejoice. This was just what I needed. It was a quick, cute, fun read.  Adelle was an adorable character that you love right away. Such a great start to a new series.

**** Low Language, Low Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

 

Road Trip with the Enemy by Kelsie Stelting411m+rv2+ZL

A little ironic that two of us picked young adult books this week that dealt with grief and death. Especially when that seems to be something so many are dealing with currently. The author handled it really well, such good emotion.  There were a few things that Sydney’s character did that I wouldn’t want my teenager to think was an okay way of grieving, but the author did a really good job of showing how people cope and grieve differently and the ramifications of that.

*** Low Language, Low Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

 

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen51SYSmFZNlL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

I have been waiting rather impatiently for the next steampunk fairy tale. These books are so unique. They balance romance, suspense, fantasy and fairy tale components so well. This one however, wasn’t my favorite. The plot was intriguing and the suspense kept me engaged, but there were a few elements I’d come to expect from the others that felt missing in this one. I found myself often distracted from an otherwise interesting plot because I was trying to figure out the Cinderella aspects. In the other books in this series, the fairy tale connection felt natural and ingenious, this one felt a little forced. I really like the two sides of the same coin concept in the enemies to lovers trope. There were definitely swoon worthy moments between Emme and Oliver and I loved their snarkiness.  I may need to go back and read the last book to see if there’s a little more back story between the two characters that I just don’t remember, because the romance felt a little rushed. Despite not being my favorite, you can bet I’ll be waiting just as impatiently for the next steampunk fairy tale. I love this unique and wonderful world the author has created. 

*** Low Language, Moderate Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

 

The Kiss That Launched 1,000 GIFS by Sheralyn Pratt 51g4igC4vsL

Not only is this book light and fun, and witty. The perfect romantic comedy. It also has moments of honesty about relationships that make me want to say, hey everyone, read this! I really love her writing so much!

***** Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Low Religion.

 

 

The Ghost of You and Me by Kelly Oram pro_pbid_4258569

One of us stayed up until one o’clock in the morning reading this book, that’s how good it was. The author did a really good job of writing both sides of grief. There was accurate portrayals of what it’s like to be the one grieving and what it’s like to be the one on the outside affected.  The conversations and the emotions were real. It’s one I’d actually re-read.

**** Moderate Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Low Religion

Five Stars, Four Stars, Heidi Kimball, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Melanie Cellier, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence, Sian Ann Bessey

Genuine Reality

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Weekly Reading Round-up

A Man Worth Shaving For by Michelle Pennington 52215585._SY475_

Fun and flirty in a refreshing kind of way, but also honest. Tessa is a delightfully relatable character and the plot made me smile from the first page. Logan’s “data analysis” was an adorable addition.  The whole story is a pretty fantastic romantic comedy.

***** low language, moderate romance, low violence, low religion

The Heart of The Rebellion by Sian Ann Bessey pro_pbid_4457231

My favorite historical fictions are ones that prompt me to learn more outside of the book, and this one definitely did that! I found myself googling all sorts of welsh history the more I was pulled into the fascinating plot. The characters, even the minor ones, were well developed and I found myself interested in every little thing going on. The author balanced the medieval history with romance and rebellion to make for a well rounded, fascinating read.

**** low language, low romance, moderate violence, low religion

Where The Stars Meet the Sea by Heidi Kimball pro_pbid_4542127

This book has so much heart, there are so many powerful emotions you feel every one right to your core. Juliet is what every heroine should be and Halstead is her well written foil. Their romance brings out the best in each character. The author balances the tension and the humor very well. I think my favorite part is their counterparts, both Robert and Lady Margaret, aren’t “villains”. Neither character is malicious or catty, all the characters are flawed and all have some redeeming characteristics giving the novel a genuine feeling that I loved. I must admit I was pulled out of the story every so often because I never felt it was clear what Juliet’s mother’s standing in society had been before she married her husband. I might have missed it, but it was alluded to so often I wished for more than “a gentleman’s daughter”. Obviously the minor curiosity didn’t deter the five star rating, it was that good.

***** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

A Princess of Wind and Wave by Melanie Cellier 51nfuIzMkWL

Aimee was the last one of the three of us to read this cute retelling of The Little Mermaid and we all loved it. There was a lot of it that kept us guessing. The author always weaves in important parts of the original while making the story so unique. The other thing that I love about her writing is how subtly she pulls in messages that uplift and inspire. She’s one of our favorite young adult fairy tale writers.

**** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

Four Stars, Kasie West, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sally Britton, Three Stars

When life gets you down…read

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Weekly Reading Round-Up

A Princess for the Gentleman by Mindy Burbidge Strunk 51YVgZSsDlL

Since I read An American in Duke’s Clothing I had been hoping for Dawson’s story. Mindy writes a fun and entertaining friendship between Dawson and Tad and it continued through this story. Although I enjoyed the story I admit that I wish I could’ve gotten a little bit more background on Zia. “A russian princess” without any background into what her royal connections were, made it a little difficult to suspend reality. I did however enjoy Zia’s transformation and her sweet romance.

*** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

Engaging Sir Isaac by Sally Britton 48495508._SY475_

Sally  Britton is an expert at meet-cutes that make you both sigh and smile. I was a little reluctant to start this one, only because I’m not usually a fan of  books with a “mean girls” sub-plot. However I have not been disappointed with a Sally Britton novel yet, and she did not let me down. Sally didn’t make Isaac completely oblivious or blindsided, he was a true hero. Though Millie struggled with her moral dilemma, Sally gave her both weaknesses and a back bone. The story was witty, redemptive and beautifully done.

**** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

Moment of Truth by Kasie West51iV1xrr0oL

This book was so unique, I can’t recall reading a story quite like it before. I loved that I didn’t  know who it would end up being and I was surprised with every turn of the page. Kasie is brilliant, I could read twenty more books from her and never tire of her writing.

***** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

 

 

 

Annette K. Larsen, Esther Hatch, Five Stars, Four Stars, Heather B. Moore, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Nichole Van, Rachael Anderson, Uncategorized

Fanciful

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Weekly Reading Round-up

A Note of Change (Timeless Victorian Collection book 5)

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Waiting for the Post by Esther Hatch –  A fun and lighthearted second chance romance with just the right amount of angst.

A Ring of Gold by Nichole Van – I love her writing. Sometimes while reading you connect with a character, or the plot. On rare occasions you find a writer whose writing, her words, her characters, her humor, her descriptions; the whole story speaks to your soul. Nichole Van’s writing is like that for me every single time. This one was no different.

A Rose by Any Other Name by Annette Lyon – A  cute cinderella story with sweet tender moments. I felt like the descriptions were a little wordy for me, but the romance was really well developed for a novella.

**** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

 

PowerPlayHeather B Moore51ZsIjNEAJL

I’m more drawn to romances that are both sweet and realistic and this story was both. Sometimes when reading a romance the adults, don’t actually act like adults. I loved these characters and I loved their dynamic! Though I know next to nothing about hockey…it made me want to go to a hockey game.

**** low language, moderate romance, low violence, low religion

 

A Foolish HeartMartha Keyes50390637._SY475_

This story was absolutely delightful. As a fan A Midsummer’s Night Dream I was interested to see how she would tweak it. I loved all the subtle nods to the original and found it fascinating how she twined in the different original characters. I especially appreciated Mercy’s character development. Her grown maturity was well written. The author created really great tension and some awesome scene shifts. As a whole it was highly entertaining; a some how fanciful and yet realistic regency. (released March 3rd, pre-order now!)

***** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

 

All That Stands Between UsAnnette K. Larsen 51gPBtupRLL._SY346_

A more healthy Romeo and Juliet with a Happily Ever After. My favorite thing about Annette Larsen’s writing is the emotion. As I read her stories I always feel every tug and pull of the character’s heart as if it was my own. All her stories are beautiful and this one was no different. I always come away feeling more.

**** low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

 

The Solicitor’s Son –  Rachael Anderson51-249QIswL

All her covers are beautiful I could just live in them. I love the familial relationships she always builds so well, they were so invested in her happiness. Rachael Anderson is a great story teller and this one is Super adorable!

****low language, low romance, low violence, low religion

 

Anneka Walker, Five Stars, Four Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Moderate Language, Moderate Violence, Rebecca Connolly, Three Stars

Trying something new…

Weekly Reading Round-up

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Melanie… 

The Masked Baron by Anneka Walker  

Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favorite fairy tales so I’m super skeptical of re-tellings. At first I wasn’t sure if I loved where this one was going. The more I got into the story, the more I loved what she did with it. The story is a little more fantastical, a lot of high drama, so keep that in mind going in. I especially loved how she ended it. (releases March 2nd!)

**** Low Language, Low Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

Fall From Trace by Rebecca Connolly

This book has been built up since the beginning of The London League. All the intrigue has been building for four books, and it did not disappoint!  Rebecca Connolly is an expert at romance and her attention to detail in that category makes every scene swoon worthy. She has excellent character development and I came away loving the story and it’s characters. I feel like her actions scenes are sometimes missing that attention to detail, a little rushed maybe, but it doesn’t make me love her stories any less.

***** Low Language, Low Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

Nikki…

Most of my reading this week was taken up with my local book club’s book

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I loved this book! I loved how it reminded me of my grandfather’s. Both of whom seemed a little prickly on the outside, but had hearts of gold. I loved the humor, the emotions, and the metaphors. The metaphors! Huge fan of his writing style and am now adding “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” and “Britt-Marie was Here” to my tbr list.

***** Moderate Language, Moderate Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion 

I also fit in two novellas:

Lady Mary Contrary by Anneka Walker

I really liked the plot idea. I have a soft spot for friends to lovers books. I however had a hard time ever feeling completely invested in the story.  Their banter was well written, I just never connect personally to the characters.

*** Low Language, Low Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

and, A Highlander’s Hidden Heart by Julie Coulter Bellon

This story had such a great cute meet. I loved the resolution the author provided between the heroine and her parents, but the overall story felt a little rushed, even for a Novella. I would love to see this story flushed out a little more. The characters had such great potential of both the heroic and villainous kind.

*** Low Language, Low Violence, Low Romance, Low Religion

Aimee…

My little one has been sick for what seems like days on end so my days have been filled with reading Little Blue Truck Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, and Dear Zoo which are fantastic, if you’re a one year old 😉

 

 

4 1/2 stars, Five Stars, Four Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Moderate Violence

We’re Family

Last night we had our monthly family dinner with my side of the family. My family is big and loud and I love them! Family dynamics are complicated and messy. That’s one of the reasons they’re so compelling in books. I love it when a romance author takes that into account and weaves just as much familial relationships into their stories. I’ve read three books recently that did that very well.

Promised by debut author Leah Garriott releases tomorrow!

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This novel was adorable. The few predictable plot points were handled so uniquely I was captivated the whole way through.

The romance was swoon worthy and developed expertly. My favorite relationship however was between the siblings. Their support and teasing and understanding of each other really connected me to the story.

I was enchanted by this debut author and can’t wait to see what she does next!

**Five Stars – Low Violence, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Religion

 

Lakeshire Park by new author Megan Walker releases April 7th, and can be preordered now!

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This is a beautiful regency romance. The author’s words are emotionally driven in the best way, with compelling descriptions.

The author expertly pitted romantic love against familial love. In so many ways the two most important relationships were butted up against each other. It made for a very compelling read and gave depth to the story as a whole.

I was absolutely delighted with the book from start to finish and am crossing my fingers for more from the side characters. Please tell me Georgiana gets her own story!

**Four and 1/2 Stars – Low Violence, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Religion

 

Kit and Elizabeth by well known romance author Karen Tuft just came out in December.

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As tender as this romance story was, I felt like the real beauty of the book shone in Lady Elizabeth’s transformation. The back and forth emotions of someone trying to break out of neglectful abuse was very well done. Lady Elizabeth was a complex well written character who I was rooting for all the way.

Kit was an equally well written foil for Elizabeth. The author had a very good balance between strong characters and captivating plot. The whole book was a beautiful example of the necessity of both placing and pushing boundaries in our relationships.

The one plot point I struggled with was the letter Elizabeth wrote to the Duke of Aylesham. I kept expecting it to shift something, and when it didn’t I felt like it was just distracting from the more important things going on. However, taking this unnecessarily plot point and giving it life in the Duke’s own story could be a delightful little twist, just saying.

**Four Stars – Low Language, Low Romance, Low Religion, Moderate Violence

 

3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Moderate Religion, Moderate Violence

Faith and Suspense

Working in a quiet cubicle at the Library all through college meant I would often grab an audio book on my way up to work. It was every book lovers dream to work with books while listening to books. My senior year I grabbed an audiobook on the new release display entitled, The Negotiator by Dee Henderson. I fell in love with the series.

This past week my sister was telling me about a book she had recently read and I was transported back 15 years. Mistaken Reality by Traci Hunter Abramson has all the government agency, suspense, romance, and faith of the O’Malley Series.

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“Hadley Baker can’t believe her boyfriend finally invited her on a fancy hotel dinner date only to break up with her in public. Even more unbelievable is the moment FBI Agent JD Byers finds her crying in the women’s restroom and demands she evacuate. Seconds after JD ushers Hadley outside, an explosion shatters the building. 

JD didn’t anticipate seeing Hadley, the beautiful schoolteacher, again after he saved her from the hotel attack. But soon after her ex-boyfriend became a lead suspect of the hotel bombing, the man turned up dead—and now it seems that Hadley herself is a target. Determined to keep her safe, JD shelters Hadley as they join forces to put together the pieces of the perplexing case. When they discover the horrifying truth behind her ex-boyfriend’s nefarious work, Hadley realizes her life is far from the only one being threatened. Countless others are in danger, and she and JD may hold the key to saving them.”

– – Unlike the O’Malley Series which though faith filled, didn’t specify any one denomination, many of the main characters from “Mistaken Reality” are specifically part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their faith doesn’t play a major role, it is a more subtle part of the book, and not always prevalent. There were two moments were I felt religion broke up the flow of the book and pulled me out of the story, but overall I liked how it gave the characters strength.

The plot was a little predictable in places, but those were smaller details, the overall story arch caught me by surprise, I love being surprised. The story does deal with human trafficking, and is a little intense so be aware of that going in.

The multiple person point of view took awhile to keep the characters straight. I think if I had read Safe House and Deep Cover first it might have been easier to follow the head hopping. That just means I have more books to add to my TBR pile. –A.B.

 

Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Three Stars

Break the Rules

I must admit I’m kind of a boring rule follower, however there are some rules that are made to be broken. The no jumping on the bed rule, or the no sweats before breakfast rule, or the don’t slide down the banister rule.

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“For almost a decade, Charlotte Dubois has loved Will Henderson from afar, squelching her heart’s silent yearnings. But no way could she date her best friend’s brother. Their whole friendship is based on one rule: No friend of Kelsey’s can ever date Will. Instead, Charlotte has watched him date and break more hearts than should be legal.

Will Henderson never got over that stolen kiss he shared with Charlotte years ago—though he’s tried valiantly to rid his system of his sister’s best friend.

When circumstances bring the two into each other’s arms again, Will wants to convince Charlotte to break the rules and take a chance on him. Can true love triumph, or will they both end up losing?”

Mylissa Demeyere knows how to build tension and this book does it really well. Mylissa creates a great back story and continues to balance the drama and the tension through the book.

I’m more of a romcom kind of girl, than I am a drama kind of girl, which is why Will was my favorite. He was a great character and really well written. I had a harder time with both Charlotte and Kelsey. I felt like their voice and actions came across a little juvenile at times.

According to our “rules” the romance is a little more on the steamy than sweet side, but the ending is definitely sweet and leaves you content and smiling.

Mylissa is running a giveaway to celebrate the release of her book, you can enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/37eb54092/

Ends 21/12/2019

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway is organized by Mylissa Demeyere. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Website: http://www.mylissademeyere.com

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3 1/2 Stars, Heidi Kimball, Jen Geigle Johnson, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence

It’s my Party

My husband and I are throwing a party this weekend. A game night (we’re kind of board game geeks) that we’re super excited about. Parties always involve a lot of house cleaning and shopping and food prep…not to mention finding a babysitter.  All of which is totally worth it, just busy.

Every time I read a book about a house party, I can’t imagine how they entertain that many people for that amount of time! The scheduling and food and cleaning that would have to go into a party of that magnitude blows my mind.

The authors of Regency House Party  gave us a little bit more of a glimpse into the behind the scenes of a regency house party in their newest series: “Havencrest”.

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All five books were fun quick reads, the hosts’ were particularly clever. A reluctant hostess adds all sorts of drama and amusement. 

Their previous house party series was released as a serial on their website. The chapters were posted weekly and flowed chronologically. I loved being able to see the same scene or sequence through five different perspectives. The character’s and stories flowed together to create a really fun over arching picture.

I liked each story in this series, individually. However, I had a harder time watching the overall story flow together. These were released monthly and you got the whole story all at once. For me too much time had passed until the next release that I had to remind myself what had happened and who was who.

As far as individual regency romances I enjoyed reading them and would definitely recommend them. I however, didn’t get the overall house party intrigue and character connection with this set as I did with the original. I think maybe if I read them all in a closer time frame instead of as they came out, it might have been different.

Here is my favorite thing about each of them:

Miss Marleigh’s Pirate Lord by Mindy Burbridge Strunk had my most favorite characters. Both Alex and Abi were well written, fun to read characters, with entertaining interactions.

 The Vexatious Widow by Michelle Pennington had really good tension between the two main characters.

Charmed by His Lordship by Jen Geigle Johnson had the most juxtaposition between characters. Jen created such differing characters in Felicity and Abraham it was fun to see her bring them together.

The Captain’s Lady by Sara Cardon had my favorite female heroine. Sara did a fantastic job creating Lucy Brooks and all the judgments and insecurities that would go along with her character.

The Marriage Bargain by Heidi Kimball was by far my favorite storyline. I was instantly pulled in, hook line and sinker. The story continued to give me all the feels up until the very end.

PS- they’re all available on KindleUnlimited!!