Foremost by Jody Hedlund ~ Review

My Review:

Maribel grew up in a convent, dreaming of taking her vows and using her skills as a healer to be a blessing to others. The news that she is the second of the lost princesses change everything and she and her faithful friend, Edmund are swept into a battle for their very lives and the fate of the kingdom. But will the growing feelings between her and Edmund mean giving up her calling as a healer?

Maribel is passionate about helping others with her medical skills, she has learned all she can at the convent, and has aided many with her skills. She feels strongly about her calling, and selflessly puts herself at risk in order to help others. I admired her love for others, even her enemies.

Edmund and Maribel were raised together by the nuns, orphaned when Ethelwulf took the throne. Edmund was trained by an Elite Guard, as well as a Fera Agmen who can communicate with animals. Edmund is a brave, selfless, and willing to die for Maribel. Over the years he has come to see her as more than a friend. I admired how he respected her ambitions even at the cost of his heart.

There is plenty of action, as well as good dialogue and interaction between the main characters. I liked how this book focuses more on their quest for Solomon's treasure, drawing them ever closer to regaining their kingdom. I thought it interesting how this installment in the series incorporated more fantasy elements like the marvelous and fearsome creatures encountered and Edmund's ability to communicate so clearly with animals. One of my favorite things was the chemistry between Maribel and Edmund, taunt with tension, filled with hope, and unconditional.

Overall, a stunning installment in Ms. Hedlund's latest series, it brings the princesses one step closer to reclaiming their father's throne. Maribel is strong willed, compassionate, and a strong leader in a more supporting sense than her sister, yet still unafraid to stand up for what is right. I can't wait to see what will happen next and how Emmeline's story will tie them all together!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt ~ Review

My Review:

David Platt tells of a life changing mission trip backpacking through the Himalaya Mountains, that altered the trajectory of his ministry. Seeing such desperate need in a remote area, still very unreached by the Gospel, people disabled by fast growing infections, rampant superstitions, and child prostitution.

Mr. Platt documents his journey day by day along with his daily Scripture reading through Luke, sharing interactions with the people he met as well as conversations with his travelling companions. He is very honest about how his perspective changed over the course of the journey, and he shares his heartfelt struggles with radically living the great commission.

I have read many other books by David Platt and I am a huge fan, and I really enjoyed how this book showed how parts of his ministry began and grew into his Radical ministry. This book had a different tone than his previous books, as it takes a more heartfelt, storytelling path, sharing his heart and calling us to action to step out from our American painted view of Christianity, but instead to live our faith Biblically.

Overall, a must read book for all Christians, very convicting, with hard truths, yet still encouraging, and inspiring. It is a good reminder that we are called and chosen to live God honoring lives, doing His work and spreading the Gospel. We are responsible to not turn a blind eye or be ignorant of the needs of others, not just physical or material, but most importantly of all their spiritual need for Christ.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig ~ Review

My Review:

Annaleigh and her sisters are proud of their Salt nobility, raised to respect the waters of the sea. Once twelve, they are now seven, as one by one tragic accidents claim the lives of her mother and sisters, and it is rumored that their family is cursed.

Each death upends their family again and again, as well as their father's recent remarriage to a young second wife. Nightly balls distract the sisters from their sorrow, as nightmare, reality, and daydream blend together into a maddening fray where Annaleigh doesn't know who to trust, or what is real or just illusion.

A spellbinding and engrossing read that takes a familiar tale adding elements of seaside life and darker otherworldly elements. This is a strong debut, with defining attention to detail that made each of the seven sisters stay distinct in my head. This story was very good at keeping me guessing, with red herrings, blending mythology with the psychological. Annaleigh is a admirable young woman who never asked to be a heroine or bear her family's grief, she loves her family fiercely, and fights to bring them all together again.

A wonderfully told tale, with characters flawed in ways that brought them to life realistically. Powerful world building, mystery, intrigue, fantasy, and even romance, this book has a lot going for it. I really enjoyed the differing dynamics between the different sisters, as well as how they grieve and deal with the changes in their lives in their own ways. Even though there were some moments of more adult content, I felt like in the context of the story it was dealt with well in that it wasn't overly explicit. I stayed up way too late reading this one, so to say that it was gripping would not quite do it justice as I am a person who values good sleep. This surpassed my expectations, and I will definitely be on the lookout for future releases from Erin A. Craig. If you are a fan of YA fantasy with a fairy tale twist and don't mind them taking a darker turn than the original, then this one is for you!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This book is considered Young Adult General/Romance/Fantasy Fiction.

Content to consider -- May contain spoilers: Elements of madness, supernatural hauntings that manifest themselves in very startlingly violent images of deceased loved ones. A couple is walked in on while in the midst of copulation, moans, the character is aware that they are unclothed--but we are spared explicit detail. There are underworldly beings that harass humans, striking shocking bargains. One character consummates a bargain with such a creature, and violently this happens again to that character's shocking demise.


The Amish Christmas Matchmaker by Vannetta Chapman ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Annie Kauffman is coming into her own with a thriving catering business, and she is thriving in Indiana. Levi Lapp comes strolling in with his Stetson hat, appealing to her father's adventuring spirit, he convinces him to come back with Levi to Texas to start an Amish Colony there, which means that Annie would have to go to Texas as well. A friend suggests that if Annie helps him to find a wife, so that he won't want to move.

But the more time they spend together, the more Annie is confused and wonders if she can continue with her plan and stop herself from falling for him?

Annie doesn't want to move to Texas, she loves her life in Indiana. She is a clever, business minded woman who has worked hard to make her dreams come true. She challenges Levi's ideas, forcing him to troubleshoot problems that he had never anticipated.

Levi loved growing up in Texas and he wants to return, the colony that he was previously a part of failed due to a terrible drought. Annie's questions only prepare him more for Texas, by making him think up solutions to possible problems.

Overall, a charming, original Amish romance. I really liked the interaction between the characters, and how Annie and Levi start from such differing perspectives. A really enjoyable read from beginning to end!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Investigator Gabe Chavez and Dive Team Captain Anissa Bell find themselves working together when Gabe's current case has mysterious ties to a tragedy in Anissa's past.

Will they be able to catch the killer before it's too late?

An utterly fantastic, action-packed read. The third in a series, but the first book that I've read by this author, it wasn't hard to jump right in step with the characters in this thrilling, high stakes adventure.

Anissa and Gabe are both strong in their faith, they've worked together before but not to this extent. Anissa has always been at home in the water, raised the daughter of missionaries, she has always wanted to get justice for her friend. She is good leader, meticulous on the crime scene, with a strong sense for organization. Gabe is good at diffusing tense situations with humor. He is protective of Anissa and has admired her for a long time.

Overall, a fantastic read, with a complex mystery, well-developed characters, and plenty of action. I liked how this book balanced the action and suspense with great personal growth and depth. I loved the camaraderie between the dive team members, they are always encouraging each other, and are not afraid to give real advice. And if you are a Lynette Eason fan, you'll be thrilled as I was that a character from her  Blue Justice Series makes a cameo appearance!

Highly recommend this dynamic read, if you come in on the third book like me or if you have read the whole series, this isn't one that you'll want to miss!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Prism Blog Tours : Evermore by Jody Hedlund : Grand Finale Blitz

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
By Jody Hedlund

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

In addition to enjoying a sweet love stories set in the midst of exciting adventures, I hope that readers will take away a few nuggets of truth that they can apply to their own lives. Evermore specifically talks about the importance of gaining wisdom, and it’s my hope that readers will be inspired to seek more of God’s wisdom in their lives.

“I shall ride the final course.” I grabbed the great helm. “You know I have the better chance at vanquishing Lord Mortimer.”

“No, Adelaide.” Mitchell reached to divest me of the helmet, but I sidestepped him and thrust it on before he could wrest it away.

“I shall pretend I am you, and Lord Mortimer will be none the wiser.” My voice was hollow against the conical metal hood that covered my entire head except for the narrow eye slits and the small pricked breathing holes. I fumbled at the leather chinstrap, determined to tie it into place before Mitchell stopped me.

"Jody Hedlund has done a good job of making her readers care about the characters. . . . The fantasy elements remain consistent with those in the prequel. I look forward to reading the additional books in The Lost Princesses series once they are released."

“We need this victory more than any other.” I stiffened my shoulders as Mitchell began to thread the belt from my cuirass to the cross-shaped hole at the base of the helm. Though I couldn’t see Mitchell anymore, I sensed his troubled gaze upon me. With the customary Langley brown hair and eyes, he was small of stature for a man, more scholarly and interested in his studies than in tournaments. However, like any good nobleman’s son, he’d been trained to use both his mind and body.

"Jody Hedlund has a gift for writing. No doubt about it. This Lost Princesses series falls right in my sweet spot for reading. I am transported to the world she created with characters I can love and root for without even thinking about it. I love it."

Colorimetry - Excerpt

“That monster will not have you,” Mitchell had declared viciously after the hunting party. “Though you would be harder to control than a wild coyote, I would sooner marry you myself.”

I’d laughed at Mitchell’s passionate declaration. Only months my elder, he wasn’t my cousin by blood or birth. In fact, we weren’t related in any way. But I saw him as none other than my true kin. We’d been inseparable growing up, and he was my steadfast friend.

Remembrancy - Review

"Once again Hedlund delivers an engaging and well-balanced tale full of adventure, danger, romance, and characters becoming who God intended them to be."

Even now, I held out my gauntlet-gloved fingers and waited until I felt his hand in mine. “We shall prevail, Mitchell,” I assured him. “And if Lord Mortimer ever discovers our duplicity, he will certainly put his thoughts far from me, for he will not be able to abide a wife who has knocked him from his horse.”

I didn’t wait for Mitchell’s response. Instead, I shoved aside the tent flap and proceeded toward the lists. With spurs jangling and armor clanking, I joined the other knights with an air of confidence from years of training.

"Evermore is a masterpiece of fiction – this whole series is shaping up to be so. Adventure, romance, bravery, courage, loyalty, godly wisdom, and true love (even from unexpected sources) are all wrapped up in a tale laced with legend and intriguing possibilities. You’ll want to keep reading, unable to put it down, but at the same time you won’t want it to end."

Bookworm Mama - Excerpt

Mitchell handed me a lance made of solid oak and decorated with red and white to match the Langley heraldry. I braced the long weapon under my arm and against my ribs, tilting it slightly forward to maintain my balance. I pressed my thighs into Roland’s flank, needing to become one with the beast. This tournament was a partnership. I couldn’t succeed without Roland’s cooperation—his measured speed, his balance against the pressure of our opponent, and the ability to sense my needs.

Bookworm Lisa - Review

"I LOVE this series. That's all there is to it. . . . This story has many elements that I love. There is action, adventure, strong female characters, romance, medieval setting, self-sacrifice... if I don't stop now it could end up being a very long list."

"The setting is delightful, the twists and turns, engaging, filled with danger, and yes, even suspense. You never know just what to expect. This story kept me reading, and left me wanting more. I can’t wait to read the last two books in this series!!"

J. L. Mbewe - Excerpt

“God be with you.” Mitchell gave my gloved hand a final squeeze. He spoke with confidence, but I could still distinguish a thin strand of anxiety in his tone. Not only was he worried about his mother the same as I was, but so many responsibilities had fallen on his shoulders, including the weight of the earldom, a weight that had been growing steadily heavier.

As the youngest of three brothers, Mitchell hadn’t expected to carry such burdens. But Norbert had died in youth, and Christopher had run away five years ago. Older than Mitchell and me by two years, Christopher had a courage of both body and spirit I admired greatly. While I’d never been as close to Christopher as I had to Mitchell, I still held him in the highest regard.

"Evermore is book one in The Lost Princesses series. Adelaide and Christopher were so wonderful in this novel. Both of these characters had a real heart for doing right and caring for others. . . . This story was captivating from start to finish."

". . . the story caught my imagination and wonder with its gripping tale which bespoke of adventure and a promise to keep me enthralled from the first page. . . . An exciting tale the book foretold, a brilliant author the words revealed, and a plot which galloped at a swift pace made this a perfect read in the lazy afternoon."

Through my eye slits, I focused on my opponent on the other end of the list. Lord Mortimer was a formidable foe. Nigh on thirty, he was strong and experienced. But a greater weakness than his left side was his arrogance. He would expect Mitchell to come at him with his usual quick and powerful thrust. He would pride himself on knowing Mitchell so well.

But if God looked upon me graciously this day, I would deliver a thrust Lord Mortimer wasn’t expecting.

Heidi Reads... - Review

"The author did a great job of giving the reader a sense of her character and personality before the action and adventure swept the story into a faster pace. . . . I easily connected with the characters and felt the danger and excitement as I read. I'm looking forward to the next two books and am *very* appreciative that there won't be a long wait for them!"

"As with Always, I was delighted to read this! . . . The characters in this series are so real, and combined with the attention to detail that makes it easy to picture each scene . . . impossible to put down!"

Backing Books - Review

"The moment I realized that Adelaide was able to fight on her own, though not perhaps as well as an Elite Guard, I knew that she was going to be an interesting character. . . . For anyone looking to pick up this series, know that it is a sweet, fairy tale like romance."

The bugle call rent the air, clear and strong, quieting the crowd. Roland started forward, needing no urging on my part. His pace was perfect, providing adequate speed but smooth enough I could keep my balance.

With the thundering of horse hooves filling the silence, I focused on the part of Lord Mortimer’s armor I intended to hit. I ground my teeth together, tightened my grip, thrust the lance, and then braced for impact.

"I love how all of the books are connected and different pieces of the puzzle! Very clean. Jody Hedlund is such a great author!"

Among the Reads - Review

"I enjoyed the burgeoning romance between Adelaide and Christopher and the way they fought their attraction to one another. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and was surprised by some of the events. . . . While the story is listed as Historical fiction, I would consider it more of a fantasy. Young adults (and adults) who enjoy fantasy should consider reading this interesting series."

"Incredible! I loved this teen historical fiction with romance and adventure! I went straight from reading the novella to this first book in the trilogy. . . . I loved this YA Christian Fiction! I plan to read the next two books as soon as they are released!"

"Evermore is the first book in the Lost Princesses series by Jody Hedlund. This story was packed with suspense and adventure. There was always something happening. It kept me thoroughly glued to its pages. . . . This book has so much going for it. I highly recommend this one."

We returned to our respective corners of the list, raised our lances, and then began to ride toward each other once again. I bent closer to Roland, needing his strength, begging him for it. Then I put all thought out of my mind, save one—the target on Lord Mortimer’s chest.

Roland’s gait lengthened. His canter quickened. And the pounding of his iron-shod hooves echoed the thud of my heart. I sensed we were working together. We were a team. And this time I had to hit my mark.

Simply Susan - Review

"Hedlund has excelled once again with her medieval tale. Truly, I think this is her forte. She does a magnificent job with these stories. I love this time period and she is wonderful at it. I loved every minute and now I can’t wait for the next lost princess’s tale!"

"Evermore started with an opening that one would expect from A Knight’s Tale . . . Quite humorous as the switch takes place . . . this is a need to read not to be missed novel."

Hallie Reads - Review

". . . I loved these stories. Fun, heartfelt, exciting, they embody everything I expect from a medieval story, and each character proves to be strong and capable, in his or her own way, seeking the truth of God through the experiences. I cannot wait to return to the adventure in the next two Lost Princesses stories, and in the meantime, I highly recommend Always and Evermore."

"Evermore is one of the best books of the year! I absolutely loved this tale and the whole series! . . . I truly loved this tale, it is just filled with so much adventure, magic, and romance! If you love fairytales and a good romantic trope, than this is the book for you!"

"From the very beginning I was intrigued with Hedlund’s characters, especially the heroine, Adelaide . . . the plot moved quickly with twists and turns that kept me swiping the electronic pages of my Kindle long after I should have gone to bed. . . . As a writer of historical romance, I found this medieval tale packed full of historical details. . . . Readers who enjoy YA fiction or historical romance will enjoy this book."

Splashes of Joy - Review

"I love a good fairytale, and author Jody Hedlund writes just that in her new medieval series. I love the characters, and how they develop so well into the story. I was pulled into the story from the beginning, and this was a hard one for me to put down, once I started reading. . . . You can’t go wrong with “Evermore”."

". . . seriously, you need to read these books! . . . These books weren’t just all about romance though! In “Evermore”, it was about jousting, uncovering secrets buried for over seventeen years, fleeing a tyrant all while trying to gain the love and support of the people!

"Another wow for Jody Hedlund! She delivers yet another exciting medevil tale and doesn't disappoint!! . . . This story is full of action everytime you turn around and that is what I like in a book."

"Lots of great action, amazing and intense plot, smooth and clean storyline. I didn’t know it will be this good. There are so much happening in the story that gave me so many feelings about this book. . . . I loved the storyline and the plot, and I can’t wait to read the other two books that will focuses on Princess Maribel and Princess Emmeline."

Harlie's Books - Review

"This is such a great book. . . . Ms. Hedlund has written a wonderful story with an evil king, princesses, knights and a world that I wouldn’t mind living in. I can’t wait to meet the other princesses."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

(The Lost Princesses #0.5)
By Jody Hedlund
Christian YA Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 136 Pages
August 13th 2019 by Northern Lights Press

A fierce elite guard. A loyal lady in waiting. They must work together to save three princesses from certain death.

On the verge of dying after giving birth to twins, the queen of Mercia pleads with Lady Felicia to save her infant daughters. With the castle overrun by King Ethelwulf’s invading army, Lady Felicia vows to do whatever she can to take the newborn princesses and their three-year old sister to safety, even though it means sacrificing everything she holds dear, possibly her own life.

Gravely wounded in battle and knowing all is lost to his enemy, the king of Mercia tasks Lance, one of his fiercest elite guards, to protect his family along with keys to an ancient treasure. As Lance makes plans to sneak the princesses out of the capital city, he doesn’t need or want Lady Felicia’s help.

With the dark enemy in pursuit, Lance and Felicia must put aside their differences to outrun King Ethelwulf and prevent him from killing the princesses. In a desperate attempt to hide the young girls, Lance and Felicia agree to a marriage of convenience, a decision that will change their lives—and hearts—forever.

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Also FREE through KindleUnlimited

(The Lost Princesses #1)
By Jody Hedlund
Christian YA Historical
Paperback & ebook, 222 Pages
August 27th 2019 by Northern Lights Press

An ancient key. A secret treasure. And a princess destined to use them both to fight evil and restore peace.

Raised by a noble family, Lady Adelaide has always known she’s an orphan. Little does she realize she’s one of the lost princesses and the true heir to Mercia’s throne…until a visitor arrives at her family estate, reveals her birthright as queen, and thrusts her into a quest for the throne whether she’s ready or not.

Unable to tolerate King Ethelwulf’s cruelty and lawlessness, Christopher Langley left Mercia years earlier, training a group of rebels in neighboring Norland. When he returns home after his mother’s death, he discovers that not only is Adelaide all grown up, but she’s also the rightful queen of Mercia.

When King Ethelwulf discovers Adelaide’s location, he’ll stop at nothing to capture her and the key she holds to the ancient treasure. Christopher is just as determined to protect Adelaide so she can lead the growing rebellion. When feelings ignite between the two old friends, forces threaten to destroy their love and rip them apart forever.

(Affiliate links included.)
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Also FREE through KindleUnlimited

Other Books in the Series

Coming late September and October. Pre-order now! (Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five teen-aged children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive the prequel and all three books in The Lost Princesses series (Always, Evermore, Foremost and Hereafter) in paperback or ebook (winner's choice, if winner is outside the US ebooks only)
Ends September 25, 2019

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Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus ~ Review & Giveaway

Reunited in the Rockies JustRead blog tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Reunited in the Rockies Cover Image 
Title: Reunited in the Rockies 
Series: Rocky Mountain Heroes, Book 4  
Author: Mindy Obenhaus  
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired  
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: September 1, 2019

A fresh start…and an old love reignited?
A Rocky Mountain Heroes romance

For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together?  

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryChristianbook


Pregnant widow Kayla Bradshaw returns to Colorado for the wedding of a friend, but coming back to Colorado means facing the man who broke her heart years ago over a misunderstanding.

Policeman Jude Stephens has never forgotten about Kayla, he has a passion for carpentry and has always been the one that his family could depend on. Lily enlists Kayla and Jude to restore a historic building in downtown Ouray.

Could this be their second chance at love?

Jude is a a responsible, dependable man, who has a gift for woodworking. He never stopped caring for Kayla, and is open to getting to know her again. He notices that she seems less sure of herself, and isn't the confident woman that she used to be. He has a strong faith, and a good relationship with his brothers and father. He admires Kayla's strengths and encourages her in her faith.

I loved reconnecting with the Stephens brothers and their father from the previous books, even though this is a standalone read, there were some details that I appreciated more having read the other books in the series. Kayla is a strong, creatie woman who has been through a lot, I admired her faith and strength. I loved how the story also follows Jude's father as he moves forward with a relationship. A highly enjoyable read from beginning to end!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.



It took Mindy Obenhaus forty years to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up, but once God called her to write, she never looked back. A three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren.  

CONNECT WITH MINDY: website | facebook | twitter | pinterest | goodreads | bookbub


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Reunited in the Rockies, a Pumpkin Apple White Barn candle and a "Love Is" journal!

Reunited in the Rockies JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight September 16, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 23, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. 

For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Raina Bretton is a rag woman on the streets of London, things begin to seemingly look up when a stranger offers her a position working at Rothburne Abbey. But the glamour of her new position is not what it seems, and the mansion holds secrets that threaten her future.

The dangerous gleam of deception is spinning a deadly web, will Raina be able to escape before it's too late?

A suspenseful gothic adventure, that builds in tension as the story's yarns become more and more complex. Raina is a competent young woman, struggling to survive on the streets of London, the only person she an count on is her sailor friend, Sully who is dodging unfair legal charges.

Raina walks a fine line in a world of glitz and deception, playing a role while looking for answers in order to protect the one whom she holds dear. The story keeps you guessing right along with the characters, as the stakes raise and the suspense tightens. Sully is a Godsend, yet he puts Raina in even more danger with his legal complications and her position at Rotherburne.

Overall, a highly enjoyable gothic novel, perfect for fans of Jane Eyre or Jessica Dotta. Spellbindingly suspenseful, with compelling characters that keep you guessing, at the edge of your seat. Engaging with simmering suspense, I didn't know who to trust, or what would happen next. High quality read, definitely recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Across a War-Tossed Sea by L.M. Elliott ~ Review

My Review:

Brothers Charlie and Wesley have been evacuated from England to rural Virginia, to live with an American family. In this coming of age tale they come to terms with their time in America while facing differences in culture in regards to sports, segregation, race, and the war coming in its own form to American shores.

Across a War-Tossed Sea is a unique WWII coming of age tale of two British brothers evacuated to American soil to wait out the war.

Charlie is the older of the brothers, he is good natured, good at sports, and tries his best to put on a brave face for his younger brother. He wants to fight for his country, like some of his older mates who are serving.

Wesley is the younger, and my favorite of the brothers. He looks up to his older brother, and does his best to be brave away from his parents, and facing bullies. He has a youthful innocence and honesty about him that made him more relatable to me personally. I like his friendship with Freddy and how he does his best to fix the conflict between himself and Ron.

A coming of age tale of two British boys waiting out the war in Virginia. The author does a good job of contrasting the boys with their American peers, as well as showing their dislike of being an ocean away and feeling helpless to serve their country. A quick historical read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Undercover Twin by Heather Woodhaven ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Electrical Engineer Audrey Clark wasn't looking for espionage or a covert operation when she stumbled upon her twin sister. Separated at birth they never knew that the other existed, until now.

Audrey's FBI agent sister is shot, and Audrey is swept into her world by pretending to be the sister that she never knew in order to keep her safe. Agent Lee Benson is tasked with keeping Audrey safe in their dangerous game of pretend.

Audrey was raised by academics, as has excelled in the tech sciences, she knows there's more to life than science can explain. Audrey is used to playing things safe, and doesn't like to take risks, but her determination and willingness to see things through in tough situations pays off. She learns that she is braver than she ever thought, as she works alongside Lee to infiltrate the network that is putting their country at risk.

Lee has been working undercover for years, and he's gotten a little too comfortable living the high life, and has never taken his faith seriously until now. He is cool under pressure and skilled at taking calculated risks. He want justice for his friend, and doesn't want to lose this one chance to take down the entire corrupt network.

Overall, an engaging read with a suspenseful high stakes plot. I love how Lee and Audrey must use their wits to survive a deadly game. Highly enjoyable, with great dialogue and intriguing characters. I didn't want to put this one down!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert are tasked with bringing down the killer who is on the loose in Galveston, injecting their victims with poisonous venom.

Their best lead runs cold when their main suspect goes into hiding, and the murders halt.

Can they pick up the threads of a case that seems to have gone cold and bring the killer to justice.

This engaging suspense is a slow burn, but don't let that fool you, this riveting read still packs a mighty punch. The arc of the story follows the steps of the investigation, as Leah and Jon work together to solve the mystery, learning about each other as they work the case. The reader is left to guess right along with Jon and Leah, as they interview suspects, follow leads, and learn to appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses.

Leah and Jon are both alpha types who are used to taking the lead, and don't put up with nonsense, with an unswerving dedication to their jobs. Leah has worked hard to earn the respect of her peers, and hates showing any vulnerabilities. Jon is a natural leader, confident and comfortable with listening to other ideas. As they work together they find a unique friendship, that lets them let down their guards in a way they never have before. Jon has been thinking more and more about his faith since a tragic accident that ended his previous career.

Overall, an engaging read with great character development and excellent pacing. Even though they aren't dodging bullets every chapter, this book is no less riveting and captures the ups and downs of following a lead, all laying the groundwork for an explosive conclusion. Highly recommend this well crafted read, compelling, romantic, suspenseful, with great themes of faith and characters that you can cheer for!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden ~ Review

My Review:

Farm-raised, Kansas native, and Smithsonian botanist Annabelle Larkin is swept into a world of conspiracy, food adulteration, and politics when she meets self-made man Grey Delacroix the head of a sizable spice empire.

Grey has labored for years to build his business, foregoing a college education he travelled across the world collecting the most rare plants and learning how to cultivate them on foreign soil. He is smitten with the young Smithsonian botanist, with the gumption to ask him to donate his plant collection. But the enchantingly cheerful, passionate woman who brings light into his life, is also the one who can bring everything that matters crashing down.

I've never met an Elizabeth Camden that I didn't love, and this one is no exception. Incredibly well written as well as researched, set at the turn of the 20th century, when food impurities were at a dangerous high due to few laws regulating disclosure and safety, this novel introduces the passionate and principled Delacroix family. I love how Ms. Camden brings the politics and advances of bygone eras to life in a way that brings new appreciation for the things that we take for granted everyday.

Grey has worked hard for his success, he has devoted much of his life to his business in order to provide for his younger siblings Luke and Caroline, whom he practically raised. But underneath his intimidating outer layers, he is a man who is deeply loyal to his family and who has the grace and determination to keep growing, and always strive for better whether in his business or personal life. I admired his devotion to his siblings, he always wants the best for them, and there is no distance he would not go for them.

Annabelle brings a bright enthusiasm wherever she goes, she is passionate about learning new things, is devoted to her sister and her country. She always is encouraging others to find joy in the everyday. Despite disappointments, she always tries to look on the bright side, she relies on her faith to hold her fast as she struggles to provide for herself and her sister, as well as to serve her country even if it means betraying a friend.

Luke and Caroline shine as Grey slowly begins to see the man and woman that they have grown up to be in their own rights, each blessed with a double dose of charm. Both are so much more than they appear at a single glance.

Overall, an absolutely thrilling introduction to what is sure to be a fantastic trilogy, I already love Luke and Caroline! Annabelle is faced with many hard choices, as she fights to stay true to her beliefs and her family. I loved the glimpse into life at the turn of the century amidst the buzz of the nation's capital, I'd never thought that the Agriculture Administration and the history of food adulteration would be so truly fascinating. Annabelle and Grey have captivating chemistry that leaps from the page, most evident in their engagingly clever dialogue and how their personalities complement each other perfectly. Annabelle's sister Elaine faces her fears and blazes her own trail, not letting her limitations choose for her. A thoroughly riveting read, with heroes who jump from the page, high stakes, faith, and romance. You won't want to miss it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee ~ Review

My Review:
A rolicking adventure set against the backdrop of the American Frontier, filled with humor, friendship and love.

Samantha Young dreams of being a musician in New York, and working in a conservatory, not an easy feat for a Chinese-American young woman. But after her father's dry goods store burns to the ground, killing her father, she narrowly escapes an assault and sets her sights on the western skyline along with her newfound friend Annamae in tow as they race towards freedom. Nothing sticks out more on the trail west than an asian girl and a black girl all by themselves, so they cut their hair and disguise themselves as boys, Sammy and Andy.

Annamae is looking to meet up with her older brother, while Samantha is hoping to catch up to an old friend who is further along up the trail. Along they meet a band of cowboys, who help them on their way.

Samantha is a clever, quick thinking young woman, who makes her way in the shadow of injustice and hardship. I especially enjoyed her dry wit, and astute way of sizing people up, drawing from zodiac lore in describing characters and their personalities.  I love how she recalls advice given her by her family and friends, with a mixture of Chinese proverbs and Scripture as well. Samantha has a gift for music, and the violin speaks to her as another avenue to express herself. I loved her friendship with Annamae, they are opposites in many ways, yet have intersecting goals to escape, yet their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other, as they both grow along their journey.

Annamae is a little older than Samantha, she has grit and determination. She has never ridden a horse before their adventure, but bravely faces her fears head on. I also admired her strong faith and how she encourages others.

The cowboys are just as colorful in character, especially the skirt chaser Cay who will flirt with just about any girl he can find. West is more reserved, yet more observant, coming from a troubled past. While Peety lives and breathes horses, they are his treasured friends and he treats his animals like family.

Overall, a entertaining, humorous adventure, with a strong, quirky heroine, dangerous situations, yet a poignant coming of age tale about family and friendship. I laughed out loud multiple times, held my breath in suspense on the edge of my chair, and even to tears. I didn't want this book to end. Highly recommend this incredibly engaging and unforgettable debut from Stacey Lee.

Content: Some swearing, attempted rape, murder, singing naked, a young man is abused verbally and physically by his father, unmarried couples sleep together. Nothing was described in explicit detail.

Books reviewed are checked out from my local library or purchased with my own money, unless otherwise noted.


Evermore by Jody Hedlund ~ Review

My Review:

Adelaide is stunned to learn that she is one of the lost princesses, and the heir to the throne of Mercia. For seventeen years she has lived with Lord Whelan and Lady Susanna of Langley who raised her alongside their two sons, Christopher and Mitchell, in hiding from the evil King Ethelwulf who killed her father, King Francis.

Christopher left his family years ago, tired of seeing the hypocrisy of Ethelwulf's rule, making a name for himself with the King of Norland. His return coincides with Adelaide's revelation, and a warning from a family friend that Ethelwulf's men are on their way for Adelaide.

Will Adelaide be able to reunite with her sisters, unlock Solomon's treasure, and reclaim her throne, while two noblemen vie for her love?

Adelaide has learned and trained alongside her adopted cousins, gaining knowledge in history, leadership, and even swordsmanship. She is confident and level-headed, with a heart compassionate as she is beautiful.

Christopher is a cool-headed, natural leader, he stays true to his convictions and is very honest. He assumes a strong sense of duty in protecting Adelaide from those who would do her harm.

The first in brand new young adult fairy tale series from Jody Hedlund, featuring strong heroines who must face high stakes in order to regain their kingdom. Thrilling, romantic, engaging, with an admirable heroine who can stand up for herself and do her own fighting, but is also vulnerable and compassionate. This book is much in the style of her Uncertain Choice Series. 

Overall, an engaging read written for a more young adult audience, but that can be enjoyed by any age. I'm excited to see how everything comes together throughout the series. Great tension between the brothers, and growing maturity from Adelaide as she comes into her own as Queen of Mercia. Especially good for fans of her previous Medieval series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Listening to Love by Beth Wiseman ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Natalie is an Englischer who has found friends among the Amish, she look forward to Friday nights with Mary and Levi Shetler, and Levi's brother, Lucas. Lucas and Natalie share a love of books and learning, and he explains his faith in a way that she can understand. But as they grow closer, the community becomes concerned that their friendship is on dangerous ground.

But an accident forces Lucas and Natalie to finally confront their feelings for each other, and what a future in each other's lives would mean.

Natalie is studying to be a veterinarian, but she has a fear of blood and there are other aspects of the job that don't appeal to her. She has a passion for animals, and has really grown in her faith by getting to know the Shetlers.

Overall, a sweet, compelling story of family, faith and love. Natalie admires her Amish friends, and her friendship with Lucas is especially dear. Lucas is a strong man of conviction, his faith and family are very important to him. Meanwhile, Natalie's mother is going through a tough divorce and finding her feet again, working for Lucas's parents neighbor. And engaging and easy to read story, with unexpected twists along the way. A story of love, sacrifice, faith and dreams.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.