Reactive by Becky Moynihan

Reactive: A Young Adult Dystopian Romance (The Elite Trials Book 1) by [Moynihan, Becky]

Reactive
by Becky Moynihan
Book 1 of The Elite Trials Series
Rating: 4.5/5

When a book comparison says Hunger Games or Divergent, a reader can’t help but pick up the book and pray that it lives up to the hype. Well, I’m happy to say that this book, Reactive, does NOT disappoint.

From the very start, the reader is dropped into a world where its main character, Lune Tatum, only wants her freedom and is willing to do whatever it takes to earn it. Although she is the adopted daughter of the Supreme Elite, the ruler of the walled city, she must fight in all three Elite Trials to earn her freedom. When someone from her past enters all three trials, she must confront her past and choose whom she can trust.

Having never read anything by Becky Moynihan before, I was nervously hoping that this book would be everything that was promised. I was pleasantly surprised that this book was everything I thought I wanted and MORE! After reading a lot of shorter novels/novellas, I got to enjoy almost 400 pages of exciting, action-packed, dystopian fantasy with a lovely romance. The characters have the time and pages to develop and grow and learn. I enjoyed the world-building and the story was well-written. I highly recommend this book and series!

My thanks to the author for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

City of Wishes 1-4 Review by Rachel Morgan

The Memory Thief (City of Wishes #1)

City of Wishes 1: The Memory Thief
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

So I’m a huge fan of fairytale retellings and after reading the premise, I was hooked. The first book in this series (6 total) is so interesting and gets the reader so involved and invested in the story that you can’t stop reading. Granted, it is short – only 128 pages – but definitely a jam-packed story full of great world-building and fun characters. Elle is bound to her stepmother with a slave charm. Elle is desperately trying to gain enough fae currency to purchase a wish to be free. She has a rare gift that her stepmother takes advantage of, but Elle is able to monetize her gift to hopefully gain enough to get that wish. On a work outing, she literally bumps into the mysterious Dex, a fae, who tries to protect her from a vampire. Warning: this story ends on a cliffhanger. You will want to continue reading what happens next. Highly recommended for a great YA fantasy read!

The Vampire Trap (City of Wishes #2)

City of Wishes 2: The Vampire Trap
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

Warning: highly addictive! This story is a continuation of the first book, The Memory Thief, and would not be understood without having read the first book. The first book is currently free, so please go there first. This story will have 6 different parts that all pretty much end in a cliffhanger – so be prepared to need to keep reading once you’ve finished one book. These are more like episodes due to their shorter length – this second episode is only 118 pages. Elle, who desperately wants to be free from her stepmother’s cruel enslavement, turns to Dex, a mysterious fae, who offers her a way to earn her freedom if she helps them trap the vampire that attacked her. Dex is investing these vampires who have been abducting humans and promises to keep Elle safe if she plays the bait. Secrets abound and will the truth be revealed? This story is nonstop action and fast-paced entertainment. Highly recommend.

The Moonlight Masquerade (City of Wishes #3)

City of Wishes 3: The Moonlight Masquerade
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

Book 3 did NOT disappoint. The ball has arrived!!! I love fairytale retellings! I’ve been waiting for this part of the story. Parts 1 and 2 set up Part 3 so you’ll want to read the first two books first. The books are more like episodes and end on a cliffhanger so be prepared for that. Elle is finally ready to request help from the Godmother, who can grant illegal wishes. Elle is not willing to pay the ridiculous price that the Godmother requires, so Elle tries to trick the Godmother. Of course, more surprises ensue at the ball! I’m so in love with the characters and I can’t enough of this world. Highly recommend for those who love YA fantasy and retellings.

The Eternal Night (City of Wishes #4)

City of Wishes 4: The Eternal Night
By Rachel Morgan
Rating: 5/5

If you have not read the first 3 parts of this series, STOP. Read those 3 parts first and then come back and read this 4th part. There will be 6 parts total, so expect cliffhangers until the end. Elle’s experience at the ball was not what she was expecting, and she failed to fulfill her mission for the Godmother. Now, she’s in hiding from her stepmother and the Godmother with the most unlikely characters. She and Dex must somehow figure out the location of this vampire king and confront him to save the world. Loving this series. Each part is definitely on the shorter side but it makes for a fast, yet satisfying, serial. Highly recommend.

My thanks to the author for an ARC of all 4 books. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep

The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep Book Cover

The Noble Guardian
by Michelle Griep
Book 3 in the Bow Street Runners Trilogy
Rating: 4.5/5

Abigail Gilbert is finally free! She is leaving her family who hates her and is going to meet her beloved fiancé and live happily ever after with someone who actually wants to be with her. However, highwaymen run rampant on her journey and threaten her life.

Captain Samuel Thatcher is in charge of keeping the roads safe from highwaymen and steps in to save Abby’s life. The captain is close to retiring but begrudgingly agrees to escort Ms. Gilbert to her destination in exchange for money from her fiancé for her safety.

Unfortunately, this harrying journey is more than either expected. Together they must find a way to coexist and not kill each other as they face many trials and heated discussions.

This fast-paced story is everything you’d want and more. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started reading this story but I knew it would be good because of Michelle Griep’s ability to weave a fun and provocative tale. When I first started to read, I wasn’t aware it was part of a trilogy. It can definitely be read as a standalone book. After realizing it was part of a trilogy, I found that I had read the previous books but didn’t realize it because that first book was from back in 2015. I will have to revisit those other two books in the series to jog my memory but that isn’t necessary to appreciate the wonders of Griep’s gripping action. The characters are lovely and you feel their tension and conflict. Very well written and highly recommended.

My thanks to Barbour Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received. 

EDIT: Buy this book here!

Review of Sky of Fire and Ash

Sky of Fire and AshSky of Fire and Ash
by Julie Hall & Audrey Grey
Novella in Empires of Shadow and Ash: A Limited Edition Collection
Rating: 4/5

I absolutely loved the story and completed it within a couple hours. Recently, I became a huge fan of Julie Hall and her Life After series and when I saw she had another book coming out, I had to read it. Now, I’m going to have to read more Audrey Grey too. It’s that good.

Now to the story…DRAGONS! Who doesn’t love dragons? I admit I haven’t had a chance to read much regarding dragons but the story swept me up and I was so sad to see it end. Novellas have a way of taking you on a journey that you don’t want to end. The story does not rush to conclusions though at the end which is usually a consequence of length.

This is a beautiful story about self-discovery. Fallon is a Firewalker who has never fit in but she tries to do the job she was created for — kill scorchers in the war against the drakoni. However, when a mission goes “horribly wrong” (on her birthday no less) the truth about who she is and what she’s fighting for is just beginning. Will she be able to save her people? Will she accept her true destiny?

I highly recommend this book. I took off one star because I haven’t read the rest of the stories yet but honestly, paying $0.99 for this one story is so worth it. Anything else is just extra icing!

Book Review: Molly by Julie Jarnagin

Molly
by Julie Jarnagin
Rating: 4/5
Book 3 of the Perfect Match series
Amazon – Romance | Short Reads

Summary:
As a relationship columnist for a national women’s magazine, Molly McShea is granted the opportunity of her entire career — free trip to paradise to meet her perfect match. All she has to do is write about her experience, document her trip via social media, and she’ll be promoted! What she doesn’t expect to find is a surf instructor who doesn’t want anything to do with social media and the spotlight. Sean Logan has his younger brother to protect and a secret that he desperately wants to keep private. Can these two people really be each other’s “perfect match”?  Will Sean and Molly risk it all for a chance at love?

Review:
This story was short and sweet. I loved how Molly was able to do her job while still trying to protect Sean. I loved how Sean and Molly really tried to make things work despite the difficulties and complications. Sean and Molly’s characters were decently thought out and very relatable.

Fun, flirty, clean romance for the summer! Can’t wait to read the rest in the series. I did not read the others in the series, and since they’re by different authors and about different characters, you can definitely read them as standalone stories. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a summer read!

Book Review: Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg


Keep Holding On
by Melissa Tagg
Rating: 5/5
Book 3 of the Walker Family series
Larkspur Press – Fiction | Contemporary Romance

Best friends look out for each other. Best friends have each other’s back. Best friends know how to make each other smile or relax after a trying day. Best friends give each other a second chance?

Beckett Walker has come home to Maple Valley. He has a chance at a new career start since corporate law isn’t as fulfilling as he’d hoped. He’s come back to make things right with the law. What he doesn’t expect is to see his former best friend, Kit Danby, at his cousin’s wedding. What he doesn’t expect is to get arrested by Kit’s ex-fiancé, who is now the police chief. Will his dreams of becoming joining the JAG Corps be derailed by this mishap?

Kit is just as surprised to see Beckett as he was to see her. She’s back from Europe to see why her brother hasn’t been answering any of her calls, texts, or emails. She’s desperate to save her family’s legacy, Valley Orchard. What she finds at home is a mysterious missing brother and an orchard in disrepair. Can she convince her father not to sell her precious orchard filled with so many memories? Will her background and education in horticulture along with her hope to revitalize her grandparents’ dreams be enough to sustain her?

As Beckett starts working off his community service hours at Kit’s orchard, can they put aside the past, forgive one another and build a future together?

I was awake late into the night trying to finish this book. I finally finished it this morning! Talk about swoon-worthy. Talk about the feels! I definitely shed a few tears of joy and sadness. Melissa Tagg really knows how to craft genuine characters that the reader cares about. I’ve read the other two books in the series and am hoping for more. There’s humor and faith intricately woven throughout.

What struck me the most was the book’s message of hope and trust. I’ve been dealing with my own trust issues, but God has been faithful. I recently was accepted into medical school after having taken the MCAT five times. I’ve struggled and will struggle again, but I know God is on my side and I can trust His plan for me.

[W]hen God calls us to something, it doesn’t mean we’re never going to have setbacks. And if we go doubting his direction every time we face a challenge, we’ll end up stagnant and frustrated, tied up in knots.

Sometimes God whispers. Sometimes he shouts. He doesn’t always communicate the same way twice, and frankly, sometimes we’re going to get it wrong. But part of faith is embracing the mystery–all the while knowing that even when we’re confused, God is faithful. He’s trustworthy.

He doesn’t ask for perfect hearing or a life free of missteps, Kit. Just your trust.

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Book Review: Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
by Angela Hunt
Rating: 4.5/5
Book 2 in the Dangerous Beauty series
Bethany House – Fiction | Historical Fiction

If you’ve ever been to church, you’ve probably heard about King David. He was a man after God’s own heart. He was a worshipper. He was a shepherd. He’s the one with the slingshot who killed the mighty Goliath. But who really knew him? Who really understood him?

Bathsheba is one character in the Bible who seems to be misunderstood or overlooked. She was married to Uriah, a soldier. She bathed outside, as was the custom, and David saw her and wanted her. She became pregnant and David tried to cover up his sins.

Nathan the prophet spoke the word of God even if it was not what David wanted to hear. He prophesied what would happen because of what David did with Bathsheba.

Angela Hunt cleverly and thoroughly weaves an amazing story of heartache and pain and redemption — she transports the reader into Biblical times and fills in the gaps with her imagination. Hunt is a master at historical fiction and I’m always impressed with the details that she comes up with. Although I don’t always agree with her character portrayals, Hunt is an impressive writer. The all-too-familiar story is still relevant today and Hunt drew a conclusion about David that I had never heard before. Switching the story from Bathsheba’s to Nathan’s perspectives was interesting at first, but I eventually got used to it. I would have loved some of David’s inner thoughts but that would have changed the entire story. I appreciate how true the author stays to the Biblical accounts of David’s life. I like seeing the flaws when you look up close because David was not a saint by any means. I now feel like I understand David more from reading a book from Bathsheba’s perspective.

I highly recommend this book and this author for Biblical historical fiction.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren


Wild Montana Skies
by Susan May Warren
Rating: 5/5
Book 1 of the Montana Rescue series
Revell – Fiction | Contemporary Romance

Kacey Fairing has come home to Mercy Falls, Montana, on leave from her job as a search and rescue (SAR) pilot with the military and winner of a bronze star. She is haunted by the events that led to her bronze star and hopeful that being home and working with a local SAR team for Glacier National Park will help her cope. Since her daughter is now a teenager, Kacey hopes to reconnect with her daughter and heal. What she doesn’t know is that someone has also returned to Mercy Falls.

The famous country singer, Ben King, is back home in Mercy Falls and taking care of his father who is in recovery. Years ago he left his home with a broken heart and a handful of songs about his first love, Kacey Fairing. His career is at a stand still having been betrayed by his singing partner and he is eager to get back to Nashville to stake his territory.

Due to flash flooding, Kacey is thrown back into SAR with Ben and their reunion is more than a shock. Will Kacey’s secret destroy their relationship? Can Ben find a way to reconnect with his first love and maintain his career?

I am such a huge fan of Susan May Warren. Her stories are always full of heart and great storytelling. Her characters are relatable and authentic. I was immediately caught up in the story and wanted to know more. I’m excited that this is only book one in the Montana Rescue series. I can’t wait to read more. The way that the author weaves faith into the story is sincere and organic. The author is a master of weaving a mystery thriller with romance.

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy a good contemporary romance with some mystery.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

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The Silent Songbird
by Melanie Dickerson
Rating: 4/5
Book 7 of Hagenheim series
Thomas Nelson – Fiction | Historical Romance

Meet Evangeline. She has the most beautiful singing voice and is privileged to be a ward and cousin of the great King Richard II, so she gets to live at Berkhamsted Castle. She would completely be satisfied with her comfortable life, right?

Unfortunately, due to her royal blood (even if she was illegitimate) she has never been free to go and do whatever she wanted. The walls of Berkhamsted always seem to be her own personal dungeon and nothing changes when she hears that King Richard II has agreed to Lord Shiveley’s marriage proposal for her. Lord Shiveley is rich, twice her age and one of the king’s trusted advisors, but Evangeline longs to fall in love just like in the poems and songs she sings.

With her impending wedding, Evangeline makes an impulsive decision to leave everything she knows and rely on the kindness of a stranger, Westley le Wyse. Though she has never lived as a peasant, she is determined that she would have more freedom to live and marry if she became a peasant. In order to disguise her identity, she tells her companion, Muriel, to say that she is mute. Her brilliant red hair and striking green eyes along with her substantial height already attract enough attention.

When the travelers reach Glynval, Evangeline learns that Westley is actually the eldest son of Lord le Wyse and not just a peasant. She is disappointed but she tries her best to fit in as a servant. Obviously, antics ensue since she’s never worked a day in her life, but Westley’s kindness to her even in the face of her inadequacies stirs her heart toward him. How can she ever tell Westley the truth about who she is without completely having him hate her? Westley feels pity and compassion toward her because he thinks she lost her voice from being abused by her master.

Will Evangeline ever be able to tell Westley the truth? Could they possibly find a way to be together despite Lord Shiveley’s frantic search for her? Is there more to what Lord Shiveley desires and can Evangeline discover this before it’s too late?

Yay! The newest installment in the Hagenheim series! I am a HUGE fan of Melanie Dickerson. What women doesn’t love a good fairytale? I didn’t even realize it was a reimagining of The Little Mermaid until the very end. This book can stand alone but Westley’s parents are from The Merchant’s Daughter so it was nice to see them again. I really liked how Evangeline grows as a character. Every girl needs to know how to defend herself and believe that she is loved for who she is. As much as I enjoyed Westley’s character, he almost seemed too good to be true – he could have had more flaws to make him more real in my opinion. This historical romance is full of romance and vivid scenery that transports the reader into medieval times. I highly recommend this series and I can’t wait to read what’s next.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.