Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon Review

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Synopsis: Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death–and puts Trish under police scrutiny–her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge–and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly.

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon captures readers with a mind-bending story that will have them doubling back to retrace their steps–and figure out what they missed!

My Thoughts: This story was just okay for me. The plot was interesting but I found it kind of predictable. I also felt like it was too heavy on the romance and a bit too light on the suspense.

The romance, although cute, was extremely rushed and felt very forced. I’m not a fan of romance in books so this is never an aspect that I enjoy in stories.

I did find the twist to be clever but I predicted it far before it had been revealed. The mystery didn’t have enough pizzazz for me to get invested in the story or the characters.

Overall, I found this story to be worth reading but I don’t see myself continuing with the series.

My Rating: 2.5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review.

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Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano Review

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Synopsis: When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

My Thoughts: This story had so many components that I loved…richly developed characters, a slightly creepy setting with a gothic feel, a mystery, and some twists and turns.

The plot is complex and would be difficult to describe but I feel that it would be best to read without knowing a lot about the story. The main character, Aurelie, was adorable…I related to her in many ways…she was very self conscious of what others thought of her and escaped into books. Her faith was admirable and honest.

I found some revelations of this book to be very surprising as it didn’t follow the “happy ending, sugary sweet” cliche that Christian fiction often tends to fall into. I was pleased with this as life doesn’t always give us the happy endings that we hope for.

I loved the characters in the story…Politano described them in a way that I was able to picture each of them very vividly and had strong feelings towards all of them.

The setting was also perfect…most of the story takes place in Lynhurst Manor, an old mansion in England with many empty rooms and dark corridors. I truly felt as though I was walking the halls with Aurelie throughout the story.

Overall, this was a wonderful story that I highly enjoyed and would definitely recommend. I am eagerly awaiting Politano’s next release!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review.

 

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

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Name of book: Out of the Ordinary

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian historical

Release Date: November 7, 2017

“With all the charm of a Regency romance, the humor of a drawing room farce, and the swoonworthy delight of a fairy tale, Turano’s first Apart from the Crowd historical absolutely sparkles.”–Publishers Weekly on Behind the Scenes

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.

“The second installment of Turano’s Apart from the Crowd series is laugh-out-loud enjoyable. The foibles of the characters, balanced out with a light-hearted yet meaningful love story, is a true treat. . . . All of the threads are tied together in the end, even the small mysteries and side stories. It makes for a very satisfying read when the last page is turned.”–RT Book Reviews

My Thoughts: This was my first experience reading a book by Jen Turano and I’m now eagerly looking forward to picking up another one. I wasn’t sure if her books would be my style but I think she could easily become one of my favorite authors.

Filled with wittiness, humor, drama, and great clothing descriptions, this book was a ton of fun. The characters in this book were some of my favorites. I particularly loved Gertrude and Harrison. Gertrude didn’t always conform to everyone else and she had a very sweet spirit. I also adored Harrison, who seemed a bit clueless at times, which causes some funny moments. His personality is very sweet and endearing, even though some of his gestures result in unplanned results. There are also some side characters who really added to my reading enjoyment.

The plot was original and the fact that a portion of it was set on a yacht made it very fun. I was surprised by some tender moments that brought tears to my eyes. There were also some moments that had me laughing out loud, one scene in particular that I described to my husband because I thought it was so funny.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed every moment I spent with this book and I would definitely recommend it. It is book 2 in a series (Apart from the Crowd series) and even though I hadn’t read book 1, I was easily able to read and enjoy the story.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received a free copy from the author. No review, positive or otherwise, was required — all opinions are my own.

About the Author

Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at http://www.jenturano.com.

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Blog Stops

Vicky sluiter, November 11

Bookworm Mama, November 11

cherylbbookblog, November 11

Book by Book, November 11

Lane Hill House, November 12

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 12

C Jane Read, November 12

The Power of Words, November 12

Smiling Book Reviews, November 13

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 13

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 14

Faithfully Bookish, November 14

BigreadersiteNovember 14

Mommynificent, November 14

All 4 and About Books, November 14

Just the Write Escape, November 15

allofakindmom, November 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 16

A Baker’s Perspective, November 16

To Everything A Season, November 16

Neverending Stories, November 17

Have A Wonderful Day, November 17

Christian Bookaholic, November 17

A Reader’s Brain, November 18

Karen Sue Hadley, November 18

The April JournalNovember 18

Cafinated Reads, November 18

Bibliophile ReviewsNovember 19

Blogging With CarolNovember 19

Mary Hake, November 19

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 19

Baker Kella, November 20

Rachel’s Back Talk, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

Joy of ReadingNovember 21

Blossoms and Blessings, November 21

Remembrancy, November 21

The Fizzy Pop Collection, November 22

Splashes of JoyNovember 22

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, November 22

amandainpa, November 22

Inspiration Clothesline, November 23

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 23

A Greater YesNovember 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Radiant Light, November 24

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, November 24

Raining Butterfy Kisses, November 24

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away a grand prize of Two Jen Turano Novels and a $20 Starbucks Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04914/

 

 

 

Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty Review and Kindle Fire Giveaway!

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Her personal safety isn’t the only thing in jeopardy-so is her heart. In Hope Toler Dougherty’s new novel, Rescued Hearts, children’s clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball’s soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Brett forsakes his three-month mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind . . . and then Mary Wade’s safety is threatened once more.

 

My Thoughts: First of all, this cover is really appealing to me. I love the contrast between the creepy house and the kitten. I also love the font and colors used on the cover. This story focuses on Mary Wade, who is kidnapped and them rescued by an undercover agent, Brett. The reader follows their adventures as they work to avoid the villains. As time passes, Mary Wade and Brett develop feelings for each other.

The relationship between Brett and Mary Wade was sweet. I loved their sarcastic banter and how they slowly opened up to each other about their issues. I also liked that each of them were flawed…it added to the realness of the story.

The action was good and there were some suspenseful moments that kept me guessing. I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first half, as the beginning felt a bit rushed.

Overall, this was a fun story that I would recommend to readers who enjoy clean suspenseful stories with a touch of romance.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group to review.

Cozy up this fall with Hope’s new book and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Rescued Hearts
  • A Kindle Fire 7

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 13. The winner will be announced November 14 on the Litfuse blog.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry Review

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Synopsis: The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart

Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers–a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father’s death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia’s loyal customers have become like family, and she can’t imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.

There’s Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there’s a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage–she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.

Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future–and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish.

My Thoughts: The cover of this book immediately drew me in. Any book lover knows the joy that a bookshop brings and to find a book about a book store is a treat. I loved the many references to various books throughout the story.

This is definitely an “escape” book, I left my current location when reading this and found myself in the little English town with the colorful cast of characters, enjoying each moment.

The characters were each very developed and the reader gets to know them all. Although there are a lot of characters, it was fairly easy to keep track of them all. I adored the main character, Emilia. She grows a lot through the story as she is not only grieving a loss but also taking ownership of a failing business, all the while trying to keep a promise that she made.

This was a delightful and very fun contemporary story. I would recommend this to anyone who loves books about books.

My only issue with the story was the adultery that was included. I never like reading about adultery and wasn’t a fan of that story line.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books to review.

The Pretender by Ta’Mara Hanscom Review and Giveaway

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Synopsis: Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.

Frankie Valli sang “My Eyes Adored You,” and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined-and had been for many years-yet they had no idea.
From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart—and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.
About the authors:
 

Born and raised in South Dakota, Ta`Mara loves to write about the Great Plains and the beauty and people of Italia. While her husband and children manage their two pizza ristoranti, Ta`Mara works full time on The Caselli Family Series, and ministers to women. It is Ta`Mara s prayer that as the readers explore the truths in these volumes, they will come away with a new perspective on love, forgiveness, obedience, and God’s plan for marriage
Find out more about Ta’Mara at https://www.tamarahanscombooks.com.

 

 

My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book. The first 1/3 was 5 stars…the romance was perfect and warmed my heart but the middle and end became a bit frustrating and left me feeling unsatisfied. This is the first book in a series, so I know that the story is far from over but some of the decisions made by the characters really made me sad.

This story follows Noah and Tillie, who have a whirlwind romance when they meet but then, after a misunderstanding, lose each other and move on (but keep each other in their hearts). In a lot of ways, the story reminded me of the movie, “The Notebook”. Noah has a great transformation throughout the story and I love how he grows and matures. Tillie was a bit frustrating to me at times…she’s the only girl and the baby of an Italian family and was a bit selfish and immature at times.

I loved the concept of Blackguards and Knights and although I wouldn’t necessarily use those words, I would love to impart this lesson to my daughter for when she chooses a life mate.

I also loved the strong family dynamics that were weaved throughout the story. The Casellis are the definition of a close-knit family and our world needs more families like that. The bar is set very high for the men Tillie can date and I appreciated the overprotective nature of her older brothers.

Overall, this was a good story and I’m glad to have read it. I just need to pick up the next one to find out what will happen next!

My Rating: 3 stars

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group to review.

Join Ta’Mara in celebrating the release of the second printing and new covers by entering to win her $75 prize basket giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of The Pretender
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
  • A decorative box containing measuring cups, ten recipes from the book, a potholder, a kitchen towel, pepper and salt grinders, kitchen utensils, and an olive oil dispenser

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 11. The winner will be announced October 12 on the Litfuse blog.

 

Abiding Mercy by Ruth Reid Review

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Synopsis: When doing the right thing will only lead to more heartache, how do you know what you are supposed to do? 

Sixteen-year-old Faith has worked full time in her parents’ Amish restaurant since she finished eighth grade. She loves her Amish community–and the recent romantic attentions of her longtime friend, Gideon. When her sister seems to be getting too friendly with Englischers, and her parents are in a buggy accident, Faith only wants to escape into her dream of joining the church and getting married.

But then a local newspaper runs a story about a child named Adriana who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier, and everything Faith has held true comes into question.

Suddenly the community Faith has known her whole life seems unreal. Can she even trust her own family? And how will she ever find home again if she no longer belongs in the world she knows best?

My Thoughts: I was an avid reader of Amish fiction in the early 2000s…I would eagerly check books out of my church library and devour them that afternoon. After reading most of the Amish books that the library had in stock, I became burned out on Amish fiction. I went through a big reading slump and stopped reading for a while.

It has been about 15 years since I read an Amish fiction story so I decided to revisit the genre. I love the innocence that is found in these stories, it’s a peaceful way of life and it’s a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the “Englisch” world.

Abiding Mercy was an enjoyable story…it follows Faith, who works with her sister at the restaurant owned by her parents. There are some secrets to Faith’s past that are revealed later and her world is turned upside down.

I loved Faith, she was a kind, gentle spirit with a good heart. Her love interest, Gideon, was also a very likable character. Their relationship was adorable. I also enjoyed Olivia’s character…she was flawed, which I appreciate because I think sometimes we tend to forget that the Amish are human and sinful just like us.

The story was good but the pacing tended to be a bit too slow for my taste. The main turning point doesn’t occur until about the last 75 pages of the story, so all the while, I kept wondering when it was going to happen (because it’s described in the synopsis).

This is book one in a series or trilogy but it easily could have been a standalone. Everything wrapped up well in the end, but I am curious to see where the story will go from here.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a sweet story with a bit of love and drama.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers for review.