Recent Reviews...

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Book Review: A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund

A Daring Sacrifice (An Uncertain Choice #2) by Jody Hedlund
Genre: Young Adult (Historical Romance/Christian Fiction)
Date Published: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Zondervan

The only thing harder than fighting for what’s right…is fighting their feelings for each other.

For three years, the Cloaked Bandit has terrorized Wessex, robbing the nobility by knifepoint and a well-placed arrow. But little does anyone know, this bandit is in fact Juliana Wessex, the rightful ruler of the land and a girl her tyrannical uncle—the current Lord Wessex—believes was killed along with her father.

Juliana has become skilled at hiding from Lord Wessex in the forest, using her stolen goods to provide food and shelter to the peasants her uncle has taxed into poverty. But when she robs Collin Goodrich, her red hair betrays her true identity. Lord Collin remembers Juliana from their childhood—and challenges her to stay on his estate for a week in hopes she will leave her thieving ways and become a proper lady once more. Juliana is intrigued by Collin and his charms, but only time will tell if he can overcome her distaste of the nobility—as well as win her heart.

A Daring Sacrifice is the second book in An Uncertain Choice series Jody Hedlund. This reminded me of a Robin Hood story, but this time Robin is a girl named Juliana. We met Collin in the first book, and now we get to know him even more. He doesn't disappoint. This story was very entertaining, and I enjoyed watching Juliana and Collin get to know each other. These two challenge each other and introduce each other to new ideas, plus the teasing is super cute. There was some action thrown in too. This story kept me thoroughly interested in the lives of these characters. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.

Check out my review of other books in this series!

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

To learn more about Jody Hedlund and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cover Reveal! Never Doubt a Duke by Regina Scott

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Never Doubt a Duke
By Regina Scott
This sweet Regency romance is the first book in her new Fortune's Brides series.
Coming May 18th 2018...
Never Doubt a Duke  By Regina Scott
Genre: Adult Fiction (Historical Romance)
Date Published: May 18, 2018
Publisher: Edwards and Williams

After spending the last ten years following her late husband on campaign, the irrepressible Jane Kimball finds herself badly in need of a position to support herself. Marriage holds no appeal; she’s not likely to find a husband like her Jimmy again. But when Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency offers her a post with the Duke of Wey, Jane feels drawn to help the lonely widower with his three daughters. He may seem a bit aloof, but Miss Thorn’s cat Fortune approved of him. Why should Jane doubt a duke?

Alaric, Duke of Wey, commands his staff, his tenants, and the halls of Parliament, managing vast holdings in England and across the seas. Why is it he cannot manage his own daughters? As an old danger rears its head, he comes to rely on Jane’s practical nature, her outspoken ways to navigate the waters of fatherhood. And when necessity dictates he take a wife, thoughts turn to an unlikely governess who might make the perfect bride.

Grab your FREE ebook from Amazon here!

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t sell her first novel until she learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published in 1998, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has more than forty published works of warm, witty romance. She and her husband of 30 years reside in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. Regina Scott has dressed as a Regency dandy, driven four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research, of course.

To learn more about Regina Scott and her books, visit her website and blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Book Bub, Pinterest, and sign up for her Newsletter.

1 winner will receive ebooks of the five books in the Uncommon Courtships series: An Uncommon Christmas (novella), The Unflappable Miss FairchildThe Incomparable Miss ComptonThe Irredeemable Miss Renfield, and The Unwilling Miss Watkin
- Open internationally

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Book Review: Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm

Phoenix Fire (Phoenix Cycle #1) by S.D. Grimm
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy)
Date Published: March 5, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Teen

After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.

Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.

Phoenix Fire is the first book in the Phoenix Cycle series by S.D. Grimm. You don't see many Phoenixes in fiction, at least not as main characters, and I really loved that they were front and center in this book. I only know the basics of their mythology, and I love how they were completely brought to life in the present day. The character's each had a history too, and we got to know them quite well as memories of their past lives resurfaced. They were each a part of a larger puzzle, and it was an adventure in itself as all the pieces started to come together. There were a few surprises thrown in too. I'm very excited about this series, and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds in the upcoming books.

Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

Something about Wyatt’s calm demeanor helped me, too. He poured peroxide into the bowl and then took Ajax’s offered paw. Slowly, he held the bowl up to Ajax’s paw, talking softly to him. Ajax sat still while the white foam bubbled around his cut. “So, tell me something about yourself.”

“Umm, you are aware he’s a dog, right?”

His return chuckle was soft and deep. “I mean you, Ava.” He glanced up at me, smile in his eyes.

I really liked when he said my name. “Like what?”

“Anything. Sometimes it helps to talk. Ajax can’t, but he’s a really good listener. Aren’t you, boy?”

His tail swept back and forth across the floor as he looked up at Wyatt. He leaned forward and licked the tip of Wyatt’s nose.

“Apparently he likes you.”

“I’m a likeable guy.” He lowered the bowl from Ajax’s paw and inspected the cut. “Almost done.” He glanced at me. “Hand me the gauze?”

I did. Wyatt’s fingers grazed mine as he took it from me. He wasn’t what he seemed. Not in the slightest. At school he always kept to himself in a way that made me write him off as some awkward guy. But here, helping the dog, he was confident. More like the guy who’d shielded me from wreckage, pulled a car door off its hinges, and tried to bust down my front door to come to my rescue. Not some weakling who couldn’t stand up for himself.

“Why do you let the guys at school push your books out of your hands every day?”

He paused in wrapping the gauze around Ajax’s paw for a heartbeat and glanced at me over his shoulder, a smile lighting his eyes. “Not every day. Besides, who will they pick on if not me?” This close, I caught sight of the depth of color in his eyes. Layers of blue and green and a bit of gold.

“You can’t possibly mean you let them pick on you so they don’t hurt someone else.”

He let go of Ajax’s paw. “Good boy.” He patted the dog’s head, and Ajax granted him another kiss. Then Wyatt faced me. “I said tell me something about yourself, Ava.”

Those layers of blue, light over greenish over bright. It was an amazing combination. I had to stop staring. I picked up the bowl and set it in the sink. Now that I was farther away from him, I faced him again. “I’m parentless.”

He pulled his eyebrows together as he stood and grabbed the broom. “That’s a strange label. Does it define you?”

Did it? “I don’t think so. The fact that I had parents defines me, though.”

“The fact that someone loved you?”

Whoa. Close to the mark, and I wasn’t in a sharing mood.

I started writing when I was in elementary school. I wrote short stories about a girl with dozens of pets who could talk to animals. By the time I got to middle school, I couldn't stop writing. I wrote about portals, magic objects, super powers, and animals who could talk--yeah, I have a thing for talking animals.

I'm still writing about those things. I guess I just never forgot how to dream.

To learn more about S.D. Grimm and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Teaser Tuesday! Anything For You by Layla Hagen

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share  doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week is from Anything For You by Layla Hagen

As I caught a glimpse of the flowers, a small voice at the back of my mind whispered that it would be very hard not to fall in love with Landon. I quieted the voice as he took my hand, whisking me out of the house for an evening of debauchery.

Description subject to change
Will be published on May 7th

Hotshot CEO Landon Connor knows his way around the boardroom. Ever since he lost his wife, Landon is all work and no play. But after he seals the biggest deal of his career, he decides to take a trip to his hometown. Nothing spells vacation like a little time with his boisterous family in the LA sun.

But the tempting landscape designer working for his sister spells a whole lot more than fun. Maddie Jennings is everything Landon didn't think he wanted anymore. He can't get enough of her sweetness, or her sensual curves.

Despite fanning herself every time Landon comes near her, Maddie tries to ignore their attraction. It’s the smart thing to do. But when Landon romances her with late night walks and bouquets of flowers, she can’t help giving in to his sexy charm.

But can Landon open up his heart for longer than a summer?

Do you have a blog? Post a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in the comments.

No blog? Post a Teaser in the comments anyway!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review! The Remains in the Pond by Ann Swann

The Remains in the Pond by Ann Swann
Genre: Young Adult (Mystery w/ a touch of Paranormal)
Date Published: November 13, 2017
Publisher: 5 Prince Books

Senior prom is the happiest night of Gabi’s life. Her crush has just revealed that he is every bit as infatuated with her as she is with him. When he has a car wreck and is transported to the hospital in a coma, Gabi feels as if she’s taken a knife to the heart. But his jealous cousin, Rose, sees her chance to give the knife an even harder twist. She convinces Gabi to meet her at a local parking spot outside town. It's a night that will change several lives forever. One of the girls will return, and one will become known as the remains in the pond.

The Remains in the Pond by Ann Swann was a Mystery with a touch of Paranormal thrown in. This book started off great. It really grabbed my attention at the prom with all the drama that came during and close after. After the Rose incident, we follow Gabi to California, Vegas, and Switzerland. The issues, including those she is unaware of through some of these travels, are put on hold. Aside from a few ghostly happenings, the story really slows up during this time. You don't get to know Matt too well for obvious reasons, but after crushing on Matt for so long, then being "in love" with him, how could Gabi turn around and be "in love" with Reece so quickly? I liked Reece's character a lot. It was just very insta-love, and kinda hard to believe. The mystery aspect picks up again towards the end, when Gabi goes back to Texas. The answers came fast at this point. It felt rushed, and I still have so many questions. What was Rose's deal? Was it really just jealousy? She was Matt's cousin for Pete's sake. Was Matt's accident really an accident? The story asks that same question, but never answered it. I was drawn in to these characters' lives, and I liked different things about most all of them. It brought back many memories from the 90's too, which I loved. Ultimately, it reads mostly like a YA Contemporary Romance with a little bit of mystery.

The Remains in the Pond by Ann Swann was kindly provided to me by I'm a Reader for review. The opinions are my own.

I've been a writer since junior high school, but to pay the bills I've waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people's houses, taught school, and had a short stint in a rock-n-roll radio station scheduling commercials. I also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.

I won a few awards for short fiction in college. Some of my winning entries have been published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, The Binnacle, Timeless, an anthology, The Rusty Nail, The Sandstorm, Reflections, and Blue Mountain Review among others. My Middle Grade Phantom books (Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot, Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student, and Stevie-girl and the Phantom of Crybaby Bridge) were published by a small press in 2011. My Women's Novel, All For Love, was published in 2012. Stutter Creek, Lilac Lane, and Copper Lake, (Suspense trilogy) were all published by 5 Prince Books. Stutter Creek remains my bestseller.

I recently jumped into the self-publishing pond with my speculative novel Takers: Apocalypse in Eden. After all these years, I finally came to the realization that for me, writing is the cathartic pause in an otherwise stressful life. Most of the time, it even keeps me sane.

To learn more about Ann Swann and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Release Day Review! The Witch Queen by Juliana Haygert

The Witch Queen (Rite of the Vampire Saga #2) by Juliana Haygert
Genre: New Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: April 16, 2018
Publisher: Self

A young woman with a deadly mission. A man trying to save his people. And a terrible challenge that might drive them apart …

When Drake left me behind, I thought my heart would break. But before I could change my mind and follow him, Princess Morda of the Silverblood found me.

I'm now back at my coven, viewed as a heroine for having succeeded in my suicide mission. But I don't feel like a heroine. I feel like I'm being torn into pieces as Princess Morda insists in using my accomplishment as an example to encourage the other witches to act.

Our enemy covens grow restless and since my coven is the only one without a Witch Queen, we're at a disadvantage. But Princess Morda has a plan for that-a horrific plan I don't want to be a part of.

Among escapades to meet Drake-who has his own problems to deal with-and navigating the complicated rules of a place I once loved, I find myself lonely and lost.

But I can't surrender to the darkness now. A war is coming and I have a key part to play. 

An exhilarating and dark paranormal romance novel, The Witch Queen is a dazzling new adult fantasy featuring an enigmatic vampire prince and a resilient witch. Fans of A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest and The Vampire Diaries will become addicted to this series!

The Witch Queen is the second book in the Rite of the Vampire Saga by Juliana Haygert. Drake and Thea spend a lot of time apart in this book, but they're able to get so much accomplished. They make the most of the times they are together, complete with steamy-ness, and you can feel their chemistry now. There's a lot going on this time around too, and a few twists are thrown in as well. I have to say, I liked the twists quite a bit. They kept things interesting. We met some new characters, and there's one in particular who has me very curious. This story definitely kept my attention, and I'm eager to see what the next book brings! 

The ARC of The Witch Queen by Juliana Haygert was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Have you read the other books in this series yet?

Check out my reviews of other books by this author!

While USA Today Bestselling Author Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in North Carolina and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

To learn more about Juliana Haygert and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.