Book Review: Conscript by Pamela Stewart

Conscript
by Pamela Stewart
Book One of Star Defenders series
Release date: 11/14/19
Rating: 4/5

This story was so much fun! Having never read anything from this author before, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed her storytelling! Pamela Stewart has created a super interesting world that I would love to get lost in. Her characters are flawed but the reader still wants to root for them and discover the truth. Definitely lost some sleep trying to finish the story.

Vega Volante is a 17-year-old who just wants to get home after performing her 1 year mandatory military service to the Axis government. Unfortunately, hostile aliens attack and she’s the only survivor. She gets sent to an old mining ship for more training to fight the incoming war. However, if she has to fight, Vega longs to be a pilot. As someone who grew up on land and not in space, she is stronger and has a different view on life. As she tries her best in training to show she is officer material, she and her crewmates find themselves experiencing “accidents” that could have been fatal if Vega had not stepped in and saved the day with her strength and quick thinking. What is going on? Will Vega and her friends be able to figure it out before someone dies? Who can Vega trust?

This story kept me on my toes and constantly guessing who was behind what and who had betrayed who. I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in the series and will anxiously await the next book.

Highly recommend if you are a sci-fi fan. 

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: Marisol – Spanish Rose by Elva Cobb Martin

Marisol – Spanish Rose
by Elva Cobb Martin
Book 1 in the Charleston Brides series
Wild Heart Books – Release date: 11/12/19
Rating: 4/5

Such a fun, sweet, action-packed story of love and redemption! I love being able to read books from the past. Historical fiction is always so interesting and different – the author has a way of transporting the reader to a time where pirates and privateers ruled the seas. I didn’t anticipate the amount of action that this book contains and it was wonderful!

After murdering the nobleman who raped her, Marisol flees the country to find refuge in the New World. On her voyage, she discovers she is pregnant and vows to keep her innocent child safe and loved. She must keep her past a secret and somehow find her only living relative in Cartagena. What happens when someone finds out the truth about her past?

Captain Ethan, a former pastor, rescues Marisol in order for her to be a governess for his young son. He is eager to protect her and her child no matter the cost. Can he get over the loss of his wife and other child which caused him to leave the church? Can he find a way to trust a God like that? Does he dare hope that he can be happy again and love another?

I enjoyed the story but I docked a star because some of the scenes seemed too out of character. I understand prayer can work miracles but it almost felt too easy. There weren’t believable consequences for actions. The problem is these scenes sort of took me out of the story but I ignored them because I loved the rest of the book. 

Great story about the power of prayer. Highly recommend!

My thanks to the publisher 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 Bake Shop by Amy Clipston

The Bake Shop
by Amy Clipston
Book 1 in the Amish Marketplace series
Zondervan – Release: November 5, 2019
Rating: 4/5

This sweet story kept me reading to the end – lost some sleep over having to find out what happened next. This beautiful story was just what I needed. I laughed and cried over the characters. I wanted to try all the baked goods. 

Christiana is an obedient daughter who loves to bake and sell her delicious pies, cookies and other treats. She currently sells her baked goods from a stand in front of her home but when a booth opens up at the marketplace where her cousins work, she’s quick to ask her father’s permission. He is reluctant but grants the request. Her father is extremely wary of his daughters being around Englishers and their electricity. 

Jeffrey has a booth right next to Christiana where he sells handmade wood and leather items. His first meeting with Christiana is not ideal but they start to form a friendship and Christiana gets Jeffrey to open up about his life and the sadness she sees in his eyes. Will Christiana be able to find her place as a businesswoman and daughter and friend? Will Jeffrey be able to let go of the past and regain his self-worth?

There’s just something about Amy Clipston’s writing that is contagious and draws the reader in. I really enjoyed reading this quirky love story with both fun and serious themes. The characters were fun to get to know and I look forward to reading more in this series.

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 Reviews for the Blakemore Paranormal Academy series

I’m a huge fan of YA paranormal/fantasy and this series did not disappoint. The books are appropriate for YA readers with no graphic sex scenes. There is some kissing and some suggestive references regarding sex but it’s PG-13 or less. My original reviews for the books are below. Enjoy!

Synopsis:

I went from one of the most powerful supes in the world…

…to the bottom of my class at Supernatural Reform School.


The academy is for the rejects: shifters who can’t shift, witches who can’t spell, and psychs like me, who are powerless. All I want is to get my powers back online. 

Not to make friends.

Definitely not to fall for my dragon shifter instructor.

But I’m beginning to think that losing my powers was no accident. Someone is stealing magic.

As I dig deeper into this conspiracy with my fellow reform-schoolers, we uncover a lot more than we bargained for. And the tentative human/supernatural relationships hang in the balance.

We may find out the truth, how can we do anything to stop it when we don’t have our powers?

Supernatural Reform School is a YA paranormal academy / urban fantasy that will keep you reading long past midnight! It’s book one in the Blakemore Paranormal Academy trilogy. Perfect for readers who love vampires, dragon shifters, and a dash of magic all wrapped up in a gripping story!

Supernatural Reform School
by Sullivan Gray & E.C. Farrell
Book 1 in the Blakemore Paranormal Academy series
Rating: 5/5

What can I say? This book is brilliant. The characters are fun and the storytelling is fresh. As someone who enjoys YA paranormal romances, this book does not disappoint! You’ll want to keep reading and possibly lose sleep (like I did). Escape into this fantastic world for a few hours! Highly recommend!

This book was available on KU and I needed to read it before I could receive an ARC of the second book so I quickly read through it.

The Academy of Stolen Magic
by Sullivan Gray & E.C. Farrell
Book 2 of the Blakemore Paranormal Academy series
Rating: 5/5

The story continues! After quickly reading the first book (via Kindle Unlimited) and then signing up for the author’s newsletter to read the short prequel, Dragon Heir, I was obviously hooked on this new series and had to read the second installment ASAP. Having lost sleep over this fast-moving series, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this series. Sometimes, the first book grabs your attention and then the rest just sort of fills in the rest and ends abruptly. Not so with this second book. The action continues and I think it gets even better. More secrets are revealed and the characters get to develop and grow. I really enjoyed reading this series and 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.

Blood of the Dragon Shifter
by Sullivan Gray & E.C. Farrell
Book 3 in the Blakemore Paranormal Academy series
Rating: 4.5/5

Such a perfect ending!!! Luckily the authors did not make me wait too long to find out the thrilling conclusion to this fun series. If you’ve ever enjoyed reading about dragons and/or dragon shifters, this book will not disappoint. There’s lots of action-packed storytelling that keeps the reader turning pages into the night. I am now a huge fan of these authors!

The saga continues as Cade and Bash figure out what they want and need to do to save the country from a war between humans and supes. Bash spirits Cade away to his clan lands for her protection and at the request of his mother. What he finds is not what he was expecting but he is determined to help his clan if he can. He will not give up his mate bond with Cade though. Cade is torn between her love for Bash and figuring out what’s happening outside the clan lands. The world is in turmoil and it’s all being led by her ex, Toby. Will Bash and Cade figure out how to save the world while still holding on to their fragile relationship? With the help of some of their friends, will Blakemore Academy be able to withstand the war that’s coming? With Cade’s powers gone, how will she find her place in all the chaos?

This adventure was so much fun to read and I can’t wait to read more about the different character spinoffs the authors have planned. I highly recommend this series which is available on KU and appropriate for YA readers. Don’t forget to read the epilogue! It’s totally worth it.

My thanks to the authors 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: Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Stitches in Time
by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Book 2 in The Deacon’s Family series
Rating: 4/5

Wow. It’s been awhile since I’ve read an Amish romance and it did NOT disappoint. I am a huge fan of Suzanne Woods Fisher because her writing is always so rich and full of characters who make me laugh, cry and get frustrated with them. She writes characters that are imperfectly trying to follow God in love and life. This story caught my interest because it involved foster care and adoption which is something I plan to do in the future.

Side note: I read this book without reading any of the other books connected and found that I didn’t get lost in all the characters. She has a long character list with brief descriptions at the beginning that I skimmed but I didn’t find it necessary to refer back to while reading.

This story is mainly about two relationships: Luke and Izzy along with Sam and Mollie. Luke and Sam are brothers. Luke and Izzy are about one year into marriage. Sam is a horse trainer who has a crush on Mollie, the school teacher. After being chosen as the Deacon, Luke’s life changes drastically and he feels very unworthy. He is still determined to find forever homes for all the foster kids in Lancaster county but he is unsure how to go about. One quick phone call changes their lives forever and soon 11 foster kids find temporary housing among the Amish. Mollie takes in two sisters who are challenging – to say the least – and finds she needs Sam’s help. Izzy, a former foster child herself, is adamant about not taking in a foster child. She longs for her mother’s love while she yearns for a child of her own. The past comes to haunt all of their lives in different ways but they must learn to trust that God can make them new – can change their lives – can love them in spite of everything.

Loved reading this complex and layered story. Well written. I will have to read the first book and can’t wait to find out what happens next in the series.

Highly recommend.

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: Unscripted by Davis Bunn

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Unscripted
by Davis Bunn
Rating: 4/5

I don’t know about you but when I choose to read something, I do it when I have free time or need a break from studying. I had briefly read the summary before choosing to download the book and waited to read it after finishing a book in Christian fantasy – a completely different genre! I was hesitant to start reading because I was still back in fantasy land with shifters and vampires, but once I read the first few pages, I couldn’t put the book down. There was just something about the story and the writing that drew me in. The reader gets an insider’s view of what it takes to make a TV movie in Hollywood (or just outside Hollywood). Was it full of fast-paced action and excitement? No. Was there an overly emphasized and drawn out romance? No. Did it make me cry? Yes. Does it leave me feeling inspired? Absolutely.

This inspirational book is about facing the past and moving on. After freeing a falsely-accused Danny Byrd from jail, attorney Megan Pierce is determined to figure out what happened to the line producer with the honest reputation. Danny struggles with his past and wanting a future. He feels betrayed by his best friend and foster brother. He feels that his pristine reputation is now tainted. Can he face his past and find a way to let go? Can he make himself vulnerable enough to produce a TV movie on a small budget in a short timeframe? Can he stop thinking about the gorgeous lawyer who refuses to stop until she uncovers the truth?

I really enjoyed this story. It felt so authentic and real. The romance is a bit sidelined in my opinion but that doesn’t take away from the story. The relationships between characters is what really makes the story flow together. The writing and unique perspective on the film industry is what really drew me in and kept me up late into the night. I even got some new song recommendations to listen to.

Highly recommend.

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: Astray by JF Rogers

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Astray
by JF Rogers
Book 1 of Ariboslia series
Rating: 4/5

Christian fantasy? Sign me up!

I haven’t read Pilgrim’s Progress in years but this book gave off that feeling for me and added in fantasy elements and characters. Fallon is on a quest and meets friends and adversaries along the way while exploring her faith and values.

It was a bit of a slow starter for me but I quickly got into it after a few chapters. The Christian Faith aspect is beautifully woven throughout and I enjoyed briefly getting to the know the characters. Would have loved to delve into their stories more.

This is the first book in the series and I must find out what happens next.

Highly recommend.

My thanks to the author and BookSirens 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: 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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