Book Review: Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate

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Love and Other Mistakes
by Jessica Kate
Rating: 5/5

Wow. Just wow. Never have I read a story so poignant and so real and frustrating I wanted to yell at the characters. This book is THAT GOOD. I can’t explain how riled up the story made me and how much I just had to keep reading. I’m such a sucker for stories within a story. There were just enough characters to keep me hooked without getting too confusing.

Natalie has the opportunity of a lifetime – a second chance at her dream job, but it’s only an internship and she needs another part-time job to help with finances. Her ex-fiance, Jem, is back in town with his infant son and needs a part-time nanny. Desperate to prove that she has what it takes in ministry, she agrees to nanny Jem’s son, Oliver.

Jem is back in his hometown but hesitant to interact with his father who makes him feel like he’s never good enough. His first love, Natalie, doesn’t seem to want to forgive him but he’d love another chance to be with her. He’s a single dad trying to raise his son and care for his niece.

Lili, Jem’s teenage niece, ends up staying with her uncle and helping watch the baby after school. Lili’s own family seems to be falling apart and she can’t tell anyone. She’s being torn up inside and acting out. Where is God in all the chaos?

This story is real, funny, sad, frustrating, heart-breaking, hopeful, and a testament about the power of the forgiveness of God. I highly recommend reading this book. The author is not afraid to address issues that come up in real life and some of the hypocrisy that exists in the church. As a Christian, I was pleasantly surprised at how the author portrayed what was happening and the downward spirals that can easily occur. She addressed God’s forgiveness and the hope that it brings.

This book is worth reading.

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

Book Review: Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble – Celebrate Lit Tour

About the Book

Book: Strands of Truth
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: Suspense
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Harper Taylor is used to being alone—after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Click here to get your copy.

About the Author

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Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s EdgeTwilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at colleencoble.com; Instagram: colleencoble; Facebook: colleencoblebooks; Twitter: @colleencoble.

My Thoughts

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Strands of Truth
by Colleen Coble
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: Sep 10, 2019

Colleen Coble NEVER disappoints! Here’s another fast-paced, action-packed, mystery with inspirational romance that will keep you guessing and reading till the end!

This is a story that spans generations and it was a bit confusing at first but the reader gets used it. They are clear when changing the date for the setting, so they do their best not to confuse you. I appreciated all the different characters’ POVs and was encouraged to see true character development and not just with the main characters of Harper and Ridge. The romance is not as well-developed as the rest of the story (hence not a perfect 5/5), but the rest of the book elements make for a delightful read that I highly recommend.

As someone who’s tried out Ancestry DNA and 23andMe, I loved how Coble’s mind just ran with a story – not just any story but a mystery. As a total geek, I kept trying to guess the why and was not disappointed with the ending. The story is more than just boy falls in the love with girl and there’s some mystery in the background. The book stands out because it allows its characters to be human and adapt and find some sort of peace in a chaotic world.

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

Excerpt

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Strands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

“Free-dive into a romantic suspense that will leave you breathless and craving for more.” –DiAnn Mills, bestselling author

“As always, Colleen Coble never disappoints. Strands of Truth is no exception. I was hooked from the first page. Trying to read this story slowly is impossible. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself flipping the pages in a hurry to find out what happens next! This one is for your keeper shelf.” –Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice Series

“Colleen Coble’s latest book, Strands of Truth, grips you on page one with a heart-pounding opening and doesn’t let go until the last satisfying word. I love her skill in pulling the reader in with believable, likable characters, interesting locations, and a mystery just waiting to be untangled. Highly recommended.” –Carrie Stuart Parks, bestselling author of Formula of Deception

“Once again, Colleen Coble delivers an intriguing, suspenseful tale in Strands of Truth. The mystery and tension mount toward an explosive and satisfying finish. Well done.” –Creston Mapes, bestselling author

“Just when I think Colleen Coble’s stories can’t get any better, she proves me wrong. In Strands of Truth, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The characterization of Ridge and Harper and their relationship pulled me immediately into the story. Fast paced, with so many unexpected twists and turns, I read this book in one sitting. Coble has pushed the bar higher than I’d imagined. This book is one not to be missed.” –Robin Caroll, best-selling author of the Darkwater Inn series

“It’s in her blood! Colleen Coble once again shows her suspense prowess with a thriller as intricate and beautiful as a strand of DNA. Strands of Truth dives into an unusual profession involving mollusks and shell beds that weaves a unique, silky thread throughout the story. So fascinating I couldn’t stop reading!” –Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files

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Book Review: You Belong With Me by Tari Faris

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You Belong With Me
by Tari Faris
Book 1 of Restoring Heritage series
Rating: 5/5
Release date: Sep 3, 2019

Wow! Just wow! What a debut for an author! Talk about a grace point. As a reader, I can tell there was so much love and wisdom poured into this story. I’ve lost some sleep and cried tears. I’ve laughed and awwwwed with the best of them. Take me back to Heritage!

Hannah is trying to be a realtor but keeps wanting to prevent her sellers from selling to a certain town developer. She’s obsessed with making up for her mother’s past and abandonment. Her best friend Luke is trying to make the small town of Heritage his home but as a foster child, he still feels he’s never belonged even after many years. That kiss from senior year in the tree house didn’t end up bringing happily ever after but the attraction is still there. 

Back fresh from Paris after a year, Janie is convinced she’s still trusting in God’s plan. All those plans made with Hannah’s brother, Thomas, got shot down when he dumped her with no real explanation. Now she’s back and Thomas is engaged! What’s a girl to do except take a temporary baking job and end up working with Thomas in the diner for a few months?

A small town has its quirks and two couples struggling to keep their secrets from one another. A romantic comedy that is both satisfying and heartfelt while geniusly weaving in God’s power to redeem and heal His children. Such a great message and such a fun read any time of year! 

Highly recommended! 

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

Book Review: Crown of Dragons by Nina Walker

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Crown of Dragons: Bleeding Realms: 
Dragon Blessed Book One
by Nina Walker
Rating: 5/5

Wow! I can’t even believe that I finished the first book in this series so fast! I definitely lost some sleep trying to speed-read to find out what happens next. I was disappointed when I realized that I had come to the end of book one and would have to wait a few months till the next book. (Sigh)

The story is told from two POVs and if that bothers you, then this book is probably not for you. However, there is a purpose for these two POVs since there are two realms to explore. Nina Walker gives the reader a glimpse inside both the magical and non-magical realms by telling the story from Hazel’s (non-magical realm) and Khali’s (magical realm) POVs. 

Hazel has lived her life blending into the background as much as possible but entering college has changed her anonymity. She also has quite the secret. She sees dead people. Her brief encounter with bad boy Dean only heightens her curiosity on what secrets he’s hiding. Getting a job as psychic medium can only help her situation, right? She’s tried her whole life to control her ability but has had no luck. What is she? Why is this happening to her? When multiple girls go missing in the small college town, Hazel sees their ghosts and doesn’t know how to help them. What can she do? Will Dean be able to help her?

Khali is a princess because she was born with two different colored eyes which indicated she had all four elemental powers. She is destined to be the next queen to one of the four Dragon princes. She is also Dragon blessed – she can shift into a dragon. She is powerfully powerless to control her own destiny – or is she? Tragedy strikes and forces Khali to make a decision about her future. Does she have what it takes to forge her own path?

Super interesting concept and definitely need to read the next book now! I’ll just be here waiting impatiently. Highly recommend!

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.

Book Review: Midnight by Melanie Gilbert

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Midnight: A Cinderella Retelling
by Melanie Gilbert
Book 1 of the Fae Brothers’ Ever Afters series
Rating: 4/5

First, I love the cover. It’s gorgeous, beautiful and eye-catching.
Second, I love a good retelling. Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story?*
Third, I love when genres mix. It just adds another layer to the story and keeps you on your toes.

*Note: as much as I love a Cinderella retelling, the story didn’t need it and I feel like the Cinderella angle takes away from this intriguing story. As a reader, I kept trying to figure out how this story was similar to Cinderella, which was distracting. Just my two cents.

Nova’s father blames her for the tragic deaths of her mother and younger sister. He moves them to a new city – a new home to forget the past. However, their nextdoor neighbors (is it next-wall if it’s a shared duplex?), Stella and her older twin brothers, seem to want to make life more miserable for Nova and her secrets.

Kent has a Destiny – a soulmate of his own kind of fae. He was marked at birth and must wait till he finds her. He can’t date anyone else, but his resolve starts to dissolve when Nova comes crashing into his life. He can’t stop thinking about her but his attention should be on protecting his family from a coven of power-hungry witches.

Kent’s family is a war with the witches and it seems that Nova has stepped right in the middle of it all. What happens when secrets are revealed?

Again, I loved the story. Unique and interesting. Great characters dealing with real emotions – even if they are in high school. This was a slower read for me but I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. Clever and mysterious adventure read plus romance? Yes, please.

Highly recommend!

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.

Book Review: The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

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The Express Bride
by Kimberley Woodhouse
Book 9 in the Daughters of the Mayflower series
Rating:5/5

Let me just say that I lost sleep over this story. I am always so amazed the way an author can completely capture my attention and take me on an amazing journey to the past and make me root for the heroine and boo the villain.

After her father passes away, Jacqueline “Jack” Rivers desperately wants to stay in charge of the Pony Express station that she grew up on. Running the station has its challenges but she enjoys the work and doesn’t know where else she’d go. When a government official asks for her help involving counterfeiters, she can’t say no – even if it’s dangerous. When the handsome Elijah Johnson arrives and also wants her help and company, she too can’t say no. Elijah is searching for his boss’ daughter with very little clues to go on. He is determined to find out what happened to her and decides to stay at the station before traveling on. Will Jack and Elijah find love in this 1860 story set in the Utah territory?

I loved this story so much. I learned so much about the Pony Express and living in the 1860s. I fell in love with all of the characters that lived at the station. The author brilliantly weaves a story of adventure and mystery into a historical romance. It’s fast-paced but you still get to see the characters develop and get to see their faith in action.

Highly recommend this book! Even though the book is part of the Mayflower series, you can read the book by itself and not feel like you’re missing something. Just read it!

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

Book Review: Daughter of Shades by Sylvia Mercedes

Daughter of Shades (The Venatrix Chronicles, #1)

Daughter of Shades
by Sylvia Mercedes
Book 1 of the Venatrix Chronicles series
Rating: 4/5

Wow. This book takes you on a whirlwind ride of adventure and it’s nonstop. The author’s creativity and imagination truly came out in the world-building of this story, and it’s only just beginning.

There’s so much mystery surrounding the first few chapters that it was a bit confusing but as more of the world-building occurs, you start to understand what’s happening (or so you think?)

Ayleth is a shade huntress apprentice who was raised and trained as someone who could control her shade in order to banish other shades, evil spirits. She is very good at her job but she fears something is wrong with her memories. Her mentor tells her she is not quite ready to go off on her own, but Ayleth decides to take matters into her own hands. A dangerous job has opened up and Ayleth sets off to prove that she is worthy of the post. She is not the only one up for the spot though and finds herself in a competition with Terryn, who also seems to be very good at what he does. As the couple venture beyond the Great Barrier to uncover the mystery, they find Ayleth may not be what she seems.

Having never read anything from Sylvia Mercedes before, I was most attracted to the cover of this book before anything else. Who doesn’t love an exciting book cover? However, once I started reading this book, I became consumed by this different, yet riveting world that she’d created. It was difficult to put the book down and even when finished, I craved more. I guess I will have to impatiently wait for the next book. The characters are fun and mysterious and I want to find out more about them and their histories. I love a good mystery filled with secrets and adventure and romance.

Highly recommend this new book in this new series! You won’t want to miss it.

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.

Book Review: Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

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Yours Truly, Thomas
By Rachel Fordham
Rating: 4/5

A heartwarming read!

If you’ve ever imagined a romance via love letters, you’ll love this book! Fordham is able to create such an endearing love story between Penny and Thomas that is not overly sweet nor corny. Definitely for fans of Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered. 

Penny works for the Dead Letter Office in DC and is a romantic at heart. She loves reading those dead letters which cause her sympathetic heart to fall in love with its writer and reader. When she comes across a letters from Thomas to his dear Clara, she tries her best to deliver the poorly addressed letters. This story is her journey of searching for purpose and identity. She makes it her mission to deliver her letter but surprises occur along the way that will redirect her life in a big way. 

I don’t remember ever reading a book from Fordham but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy her writing style is and how comforting the story and characters were. She weaves a poignant story of pain, loss, hope and love. The characters have depth and the reader can feel their grief and journey with them through healing. 

Highly recommend if you’re looking for some inspirational historical romance. 

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

Book Review: The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken

The Yellow Lantern: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime

The Yellow Lantern
by Angie Dicken
Part of True Colors – Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
Rating: 4/5

Imagine waking up in 1824 in Massachusetts and being told that you were already pronounced dead. Imagine being told that your body was taken by grave robbers for the purpose of medical research. Imagine that in order to keep your life and your family’s lives safe, you are forced to spy for said grave robbers in order to get more cadavers. How would you handle that? How would you deal with the situation? Josephine Clayton is in such a position. Her whole world is turned upside down as she leaves home to work at a cotton mill. Her mission is simple – report on any fatal accidents that occur at the cotton mill and pose as a mourner at the funeral so the doctor can get his replacement corpse. When Josephine enters the world of cotton, she finds her talents for healing a welcome relief to the accident prone mill and finds friendship with the other mill girls. The factory manager, Braham Terrance, sees her worth and they form a friendship. However, what happens when a family member close to Braham becomes ill and Josephine has a choice to make on whether she can fulfill her duty?

Just reading the premise of this book was so interesting that I had to read it. I haven’t read many true crime novels but as a medical student, I found the grave robbing for medical purposes very interesting. I’ve read a few books about the cotton mill girls and was interested to see what the author chose to focus on. The author is able to transport the reader into the world of cotton mills and grave robbing in a very understandable way. The characters are interesting and seem authentic. They’ve seen many hardships but still try to make their way in the world.

Highly recommend this delightful read.

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