Book Review: Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson

Court of Swans
by Melanie Dickerson
Book 1 in the Dericott Tales series
Rating: 4/5

I believe I have read every book by Melanie Dickerson and she did not disappoint. Court of Swans is the first book in a brand new series and I was excited to visit the world of 1381 and meet the Dericott family. This particular story is a retelling of The Wild Swans and the author definitely had her own take on the story.

Delia Dericott is the only daughter of the Earl and has lived a fairly sheltered life surrounded by her seven brothers. After her father remarries a horrible woman, she keeps her distance and hopes for the best, especially when she gains a new half-brother. However, her new stepmother has plans of her own. When her father dies suddenly, all her brothers return to the family home (most were off training to be a knight) while they mourn together. Her eldest brother, Edwin, barely has a chance to get used to his new position and title before the king of England’s soldiers arrive to arrest all of her brothers for murder and treason. When Sir Geoffrey realizes that the youngest one is but 10 years old, he is unsure why all these brothers are being sent to the Tower of London. Delia is distraught and must find a way to save her brothers. She suspects her stepmother did something but has no evidence. Afraid of what her stepmother might do to her, Delia escapes to her aunt for guidance. Her aunt arranges for Delia to become a seamstress in the king’s castle in order to find a way to convince the future queen and young King Richard of her brothers’ innocence. Delia finds herself once again confronted with Sir Geoffrey and must find a way to work with him to free her brothers before it’s too late. Can Delia trust the man who arrested her brothers? Can she find a way to rescue her brothers and exonerate them?

There’s definitely never a lack of drama in Melanie Dickerson’s books. lol. I really enjoyed this story of political intrigue set in the late 1300s which is not a time period that I read a lot about. It was interesting to read about the different historical figures and try to get into their head. I finished the book in a few hours and could not put it down. I know I will enjoy getting to know this new family and cannot wait for the next book in the series. 

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical fiction with romance and political intrigue.

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

Book Review: Active Defense by Lynette Eason

Active Defense
by Lynette Eason
Book 3 in the Danger Never Sleeps series
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t enjoy a good romantic suspense novel? As a long-time fan, I was excited to get back into the world with some familiar characters and get to know them better. This story can definitely be read as a standalone novel (I somehow skipped reading book 2, but I did read book 1), but I recommend starting from the beginning to get the full effect. I, myself, need to go back and read book 2. You will not regret it.

Heather Fontaine is dealing with PTSD after her service in Afghanistan as a field surgeon. She thinks someone is stalking her, and she is on edge all the time. After she finally shares her fears with her friends, she arrives home to find her house is not quite the way she left it. Fleeing and trying to disappear to protect her friends from an unknown adversary prove to be difficult when Travis Walker, owner of his own security firm, is able to find her and save her. Who is watching her? Who just tried to kill her? She has so many questions and not enough answers. Can Travis and her friends help Heather uncover what is going on? Will Heather’s emotional baggage and traumatic past keep her from pursuing a relationship with the seemingly perfect Travis? Can Travis really protect Heather and keep her safe?

As a medical student, I always love reading stories (even fictional ones) about doctors in the field. Heather’s past is what has shaped her character and is part of what drives her passion to help others. I loved the part where Heather explained how she turned out the way she did despite poor role models — she just did the opposite of what she saw her father do. I definitely cried some tears and felt my adrenaline pumping at different points in the story. Heather’s relationship with Travis was a bit rushed, but it may have been developed more in book 2. Their relationship was not as obvious in the beginning of the story. The big reveal at the end was something I did not see coming until the author made it clear, which is always impressive since I’m constantly guessing throughout the story. Faith is gently woven into the story – definitely not in a preachy way.

Highly recommend this Christian romantic suspense novel that will keep you reading till the end with action, intrigue and a lot of heart.

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

Audiobook Review: The Coffee Corner by Amy Clipston

The Coffee Corner
by Amy Clipston
Book 3 in the Amish Marketplace series
Rating: 4/5

I was lucky enough to receive a free ARC of the audiobook of this story and it did not disappoint! I am a fan of Amy Clipston and she is very good at writing sweet, yet authentic, stories of romance set in the Amish community. This story can be read standalone since I have not read the other books in this series but now I need to. LOL.

Bethany Gingerich has a thriving business as the coffee and donut stand at the Amish market. She and her cousins have successful booths but everything is changing since her cousins are getting married one by one. Bethany feels overlooked as a potential mate but finds her eye drawn to the new-in-town, Micah Zook, who is helping with his grandfather’s custom furniture shop. Micah has his own sad past, but he’s determined to do what he loves and that’s helping his grandfather continue his business. He finds a sense of peace when he grabs his Saturday morning coffee and donut from Bethany’s booth and can’t wait to try her newest flavored coffee. Antics and miscommunications ensue on this couple’s journey to love.

I thought this story was very sweet but the only problem I had may have been caused by the narrator of the audiobook than the actual heroine as written. I found Bethany’s character to be so confusing and frustrating at times. She’d go from competent businesswoman to insecure teenager to naive friend and back again. I’m not sure if that was more because of the narrator’s interpretation, but I found Bethany’s character very unlikeable. (This is incredibly strange for me as a reader since I almost always give the MC the benefit of the doubt). I tried really hard to sympathize with her character and her internal struggles but she came out more annoying than anything else. As a single woman, I definitely share some of her struggles and insecurities, but I felt her immaturity was a little over the top. However, the story itself was great and I really liked Micah’s character. I really loved all the interesting coffee flavors Bethany came up with – they sounded great (even to a non-coffee drinker). The family aspects of this story were very strong, and the faith aspect was also woven throughout the story in a meaningful way.

Audiobook: The narrator was okay. She was good but I didn’t think her German pronunciation was very good. Her interpretation of Bethany seemed whiny to me, which is frustrating when I’m trying to root for the MC. The production was well done and flowed well.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Amish romances with some humor and spunk.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with 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 Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

The Cul-de-Sac War
By Melissa Ferguson
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t love a good rom-com? This book is pure joy and fun! Having read the author’s previous work, I was excited to jump in and read this new one that casually mentions previous characters. The story can be read as a stand-alone though. 

Bree Leake hasn’t quite found where she fits in career-wise. She’s tried so many different jobs but never quite found one that stuck. After moving away from home, Bree tries her hand at acting in the nation’s oldest live performance theater, The Barter. While she still feels restless, her parents’ offer to give her their part of grandmother’s house if she stays put for one full year is something that she cannot pass up. She loves the house and all the memories. However, her new neighbor might be the one thing that she can’t stand despite his handsome face. Chip McBride is striking out on his own as a contractor and is eager to show that he can make it without being part of his father’s family company. He wants to make a name for himself and remodeling the Barter might just be his ticket to recognition. He also enjoys antagonizing his new next-door neighbor who happens to be an actor there. Bree and Chip won’t stop until it goes too far and they can’t help but constantly be thinking about one another every day. Pranks ensue while these two duke it out.

You won’t stop smiling and laughing throughout this book. There are a couple more serious parts (don’t get me wrong) but the chemistry between the two characters is undeniable and the author portrays their relationship beautifully. I really enjoyed this “enemies-to-lovers” type of romantic comedy and it ends up being an entertaining read full of spunky characters who you may have read about previously.

Highly recommend for those who enjoy romantic comedies.

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