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11.22.2020

Dagger's Sleep Audiobook ~ Review

Dagger's Sleep
Beyond the Tales #1
By Tricia Mingerink
Narrated by Emily Lawrence

For almost one hundred years the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia have been divided as High Prince Alexander of the kingdoms sleeps a cursed sleep within the walls of Castle Eyota. But the way to the seventh kingdom Kanawhee is not easily traveled as the kingdoms of Tuckawassee and Pohatomie war against any who seek this path. Legends surround the prince - promising a princess who will with love's true kiss break the curse and awaken the prince. But one hundred years will soon be upon them and the curse has yet to broken. Anywho are thought to be the promised cursebreaker are all too soon targeted by those who want the sleep to be endless and unto death.

Princess Roseanna has always enjoyed hearing the tales told of the High King and the High Prince. The tales of old have filled her dreams with sights she's never beheld. With the current state of warring among the kingdoms, she knows she'll never see these distant lands. But when a raiding party is found within the Kingdom of Neskahana she is set on a path she never sought or expected. Daemyn Rand has been pursued by Tuckawassee raiders deep into Neskahana because he has news he needs to share with those within Castle Deeling. And he has even more important news for Princess Roseanna ~ she is the promised cursebreaker and he is bound to bring her to Castle Eyota and High Prince Alexander.

But who is this prince that she is to awaken?

High Prince Alexander has been blessed with superior intelligence and in true princely fashion, he is amazed at his own superior abilities. But Alexander is living under a curse ~ on his 21st birthday he will be pricked by his own dagger and fall into a sleep from which he will never wake. Determined to prevent this curse from being fulfilled the prince sets out on a mission with his manservant Jadon Rand. Alexander is on a mission to seeking out a Loyal Fae whom he hopes to convince to lift his curse. But Alex's mission doesn't go quite how he planned it. In fact, traveling his kingdom in disguise opens his eyes to the true state of Tallahatchia.

Dagger's Sleep seems at first glance of the story summary to be a retelling of Sleeping Beauty but this is so much more than that. There is a spiritual element that runs throughout that adds extra depth to this story. And then there is Daemyn Rand who seems to know more than he is willing to share and yet seems resigned to what he must do. There is a thread of mystery that runs through the story that one gets little glimpses of. This was a delightful read that one just doesn't want to put down. The story is told from both Rosanna and Alexander's perspectives as it unfolds before the reader. The story comes to a satisfying ending and can be considered complete so I'm interested to read what comes next in book 2 of the Beyond the Tales series. This is one book you don't want to miss out on. Fans of both Fairy Tale retellings and Speculative Fiction will love this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good book.

Now, this review is for the audio edition and I think Emily Lawrence did an excellent job portraying the various characters and getting the story across in a satisfying and enjoyable listen. I always listen to the book a little faster as it is the speed at which I read the in hand-book but no matter how you listen to it it is a wonderful and enjoyable way to enjoy this book. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations placed upon me. All thoughts expressed are my own.

The Cul-de-Sac War ~ Review

 The Cul-de-Sac War
 By Melissa Ferguson

Sometimes Love and Hate share a backyard

Bree Leake's first introduction to Chip McBride is when he comes to her "rescue" when her costume for A Midsummer Night's Dream has a wee problem. They just seem to click. But then life gets in the way and it is all-out war as Bree tries to force Chip to move out of the house he's just bought - the house next door to the one that belonged to her Nana. 

It's not that there is anything wrong with Chip, other than the fact that he has a monster killer dog that has taken an obsessive liking to Bree. Bree can't see how being tackled and drooled all over is proof of like and she is not putting up with it.

This is one Cute Meet doomed 30 seconds after it began. Or is it? As the neighborly pranks escalate Bree and Chip find themselves caught up in something neither expected.

With her job on the line, Bree is going all out to get a role in the upcoming production at The Barter. The very theater that Chip is hoping to win the reconstruction contract for. But to get his foot in the door means that Chip needs Bree's inside scope on how to get a foot up on the competition - competition that includes his father and older brothers. 

The Cul-de-Sac War is a change of pace read for me. This is a contemporary read with a rom-com thread running throughout. Chip and Bree are both carrying the pain of family loss and the need to prove themselves. After a first meeting that offers the potential for something more, everything between them swiftly goes downhill faster than a downhill skier chasing a world record. But their neighborhood war is soon the fodder of neighborly gossip. If you are looking for a fun and diverting story that will take you out of your day-to-day, look no further. This is my first time reading Melissa Ferguson and after this delightfully amusing read, I'm sure it will not be my last.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:

All's fair in love and prank wars


Melissa Ferguson's new novel proves that good fences make good neighbors--and that sometimes love and hate share a backyard.

 

Bree Leake doesn't want to be tied down. She's had more jobs than she can count--and the next stop on her journey is The Barter, the nation's oldest live performance theater in Abingdon, Virginia. But just when it's time to move on again, Bree's parents make her an offer; hold steady in Abingdon for one full year, and they will give her the one thing she's always wanted--her grandmother's house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life at the theater throws her some curveballs.


And then there's her new neighbor. Chip McBride.

11.16.2020

Nothing Short of Wonderous ~ Review

Nothing Short of Wonderous
American Wonders Collection #2
By Regina Scott

Kate Tremaine is determined to defend the natural beauty that surrounds her hotel. But to do this she has to work with the US Cavalry that is stationed within Yellowstone, unfortunately, the Cavalry is considerably uneducated about the dangers that the wilderness hides.

Lieutenant William Prescott, needs to make up for the sins of the past and keep his men safe. But he needs help navigating his new temporary post and the materials he's been given just won't do. Seeking help from Mrs. Tremaine is his only hope to navigate the dangers and determine where to concentrate his efforts. With no way to pay Kate for her knowledge, he offers instead his assistance with repairing her hotel before winter sets in.

Kate's hotel sits in one of the most desired places within Yellowstone and someone seems determined to see her sell out her lease. But Kate has a secret that she is protecting, a secret that makes holding onto her lease imperative. But soon it becomes apparent that she needs help to protect that which she holds dear. Can a broken soldier help her?

Nothing Short of Wonderous is the second book in the American Wonders Collection and it can most definitely be read as a standalone time as the characters and setting are different. Both books in this series are equally good so if you haven't read the first book don't miss out on A Distance to Grand (featuring the Grand Canyon). After reading this book, I really want to see Yellowstone in all its natural glory. I loved the descriptions of the various geysers and painted pots. And I couldn't help rooting for Kate to be able to hold on to what she had been protecting for all those years. The guilt that Will Prescott bore kept him from what he needed most and would be his path to healing and forgiveness. It is amazing how feelings of guilt and unworthiness keep us from turning to God when we most need Him.

A lovely book that takes the reader to 1886. Fans of American Historical fiction and Romance Fiction will enjoy this newest offering from Regina Scott that delights in the glories of God's Creation. 

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own. 


About the Book:
It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.

Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate's aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him. As they work together to protect the park and stand firm through injustice and tragedy, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.

11.14.2020

Besotted ~ Review

Besotted
The Fairest Maidens #3
By Jody Hedlund

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .

Queen Aurora of Mercia has lived in hiding for all of her life, hidden away from her aunt. Queen Margery of Warwick seeks her niece, needing to find her before her twentieth birthday and before she assumes the throne. But the deeply hidden isolation of Inglewood Forest has proven a safe place. At least until a young woodcutter stumbles upon it while escaping a wild boar. 

Warned to flee all strangers, Aurora is unexpectedly drawn to this young man. But Kresten offers her a secret glimpse into a world she knows nothing of. And he makes her happy, but she knows if her guardians discover her secret not only will she be in trouble but Kresten will be in danger. 

Kresten has two months remaining in his testing to determine his eligibility to be named king of Scania. Being named king is not his desire. And he is sure one of his two brothers is more than likely to be named king. But tradition demands this of him. But a living as a woodcutter is no easy task and the poverty he and his scribe Jorg live in is definitely in keeping with his task - deny self.  A chance meeting with a beautiful young woman is about to test him in ways he never imagined. But Rory is unlike any young woman he has ever met, but a pauper would never be an acceptable match for a possible King of Scania. Denying self is much harder than he thought it would be.

Besotted is the third book in the Fairest Maidens series and it focuses on the youngest Scanian prince Kresten and Mercia's hidden Queen Aurora. One can connect with the characters and empathize with their plights. And then there is Queen Margery who is the ultimate villain, who has no redeeming qualities. Mother or Aunt of the Year she is not.

This is yet another delightful clean YA read from Jody Hedlund and a perfect series conclusion, though I have to admit I'm sorry that this series is ending. And the covers for this series are gorgeous making them a must for any bookcase. I like that there is a tie-in to Jody's previous series The Lost Princesses, which can be read before or after this series. 

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.




About the Book:

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .

A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule,
and a prince turned into a pauper.

Queen Aurora of Mercia has spent her entire life deep in Inglewood Forest, hiding from Warwick’s Queen Margery, who seeks her demise. As the time draws near for Aurora to take the throne, she happens upon a handsome woodcutter. Although friendship with outsiders is forbidden and dangerous, she cannot stay away from the charming stranger.

Only two months away from completing his royal testing, Prince Kresten of Scania is ready to be finished with the poverty and hardships of being a woodcutter. When he meets a beautiful peasant woman, he doesn’t plan to fall in love, especially when he must soon leave and return to his homeland.

As Queen Margery’s forces close in, Aurora finds herself in mortal danger. Kresten knows a future with Aurora is impossible, but he is desperate to save her and bring an end to the queen’s threat. To do so, he joins the ultimate battle against the evil queen, risking everything, including his chance at true love.

The real Sleeping Beauty story.



Other YA books by Jody Hedlund:

The Fairest Maidens
Book 1: Beholden
Book 2: Beguiled 
Book 3: Besotted 

The Lost Princesses (This series returns to Mercia, and the events take place after the Fairest Maidens series)
Prequel Novella: Always
Book 1: Evermore
Book 2: Foremost
Book 3: Hereafter

The Noble Knights
Prequel Novella: The Vow
Book 1: An Uncertain Choice
Book 2: A Daring Sacrifice
Book 3: For Love and Honor
Book 4: A Loyal Heart
Book 5: A Worthy Rebel

For a complete list of Jody's novels, visit her website - jodyhedlund.com

Still the One ~ Book Blast with giveaway

 


Still the One
Deep Haven Collection #1
By Rachel D. Russell
Presented by Susan May Warren

The Army Ranger she’s always loved has finally returned home, but he’s on a mission. And that mission just might destroy Megan’s dreams. Return to Susan May Warren’s quaint, best-selling town of Deep Haven, MN, in this new book about love unrequited, forgiveness, and the hope for second chances.


Preorder Now


Do you love Susan May Warren's Deep Haven, MN books? Well, Sunrise Publishing is bringing us a whole new collection of stories to enjoy starting with Rachel D. Russell's Still the One. Releasing on January 12, 2021, so you know your new year TBR pile will be off to a great start.


The last thing he wants to do is return home.

          She’s waited years for her first love to return.

Maybe it’s never too late to finish a love story…



Looking for a contemporary small-town romance? Or just want to revisit Deep Haven. Well, you won't have to wait long. In fact, you can enjoy Susan May Warren's series prequel Only You for free by visiting here and subscribe to Sunrise Publishing's email list.

11.10.2020

Love and a Little White Lie ~ Review

Love and a Little White Lie
A State of Grace Novel #1
By Tammy L. Gray

January Sanders's life is a mess, she's a mess. The guy she thought was the one has dumped her and she needs to get her life and herself unbroken. Stuck in Texas after having left her life in Georgia behind she reaches out to her Aunt Doreen for a place to crash and then rebuild her life.

With a "bridal" cabin to call her temporary home and a temporary assistant job at her aunt's church January just might be able to get her life back together and save up enough money to get herself back home to Georgia. There is just one little problem she doesn't believe in God and working in a church is just asking for trouble. But as long as no one knows what harm could it do just faking the church stuff, after all, she's helping out a very overworked staff member.

And when she meets the perfect guy who just happens to work in the church's musical ministry, well he doesn't need to know just how her faith, or lack of faith, compares to his own beliefs. After sometimes the truth hurts a whole lot more than a little lie that is for the greater good. Now if only her aunt's overly obnoxious landscape designer/architect would quit making her business his. 

But Dillion Kyle tells it as he sees it and he isn't about to let January get away with the mistruths she is using to hide behind. And he knows just what to do to get her temper into a smoldering tempest. But there is something about him that captures her attention too. Dillion knows the pain that she is living through, even if she doesn't know the whole story (or even half of it). And even more interesting Dillion has a way of making her want to spend time with him, when he isn't making her mad.

I have never read Tammy L. Gray's work before and was well pleased with this introduction to her work. This book has a contemporary setting and is relatable whether or not one has found one's self in a similar situation. January is a character one can identify with in one way or another as she deals with disappointments, family issues, and life in general. I can actually see this book being a good fit for a Hallmark movie. This isn't all happy this is all good but it is a satisfying read and well worth the time spent between the pages. Would be an excellent book club selection.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but to provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:
There's a Lot of Irony in
Hitting Rock Bottom

After a heartbreak leaves her reeling, January Sanders is open to anything-including moving into a cabin on her aunt's wedding venue property and accepting a temporary position at her aunt's church despite being a lifelong skeptic of faith. Choosing to keep her doubts to herself, she's determined to give her all to supporting Grace Community's over-worked staff while helping herself move on.

What she doesn't count on is meeting the church's handsome and charming guitarist. It's a match set for disaster, and yet January has no ability to stay away, even if it means pretending to have faith in a God she doesn't believe in.

Only this time, keeping her secret isn't as easy as she thought it would be. Especially when she's constantly running into her aunt's landscape architect, who seems to know everything about her past-and-present sins and makes no apologies about pushing her to deal with feelings she'd rather keep buried.

Torn between two worlds that can't coexist, can January find the healing that eluded her, or will her resistance to the truth ruin any chance of happiness?

Autumn Skies ~ Review

Autumn Skies

A Bluebell Inn Romance #3
By Denise Hunter

Autumn Skies is the third book in the Bluebell Inn Romance series and there has been approximately a year since the second book concluded. The Bennett siblings have continued working towards their dreams. Youngest sister Grace has started her business, skipping college to big brother Levi's consternation, and Blue Ridge Outfitters is doing well. Levi is just weeks away from his marriage to Mia, And Molly and Adam have been married for right at a year with Molly working towards her dream of owning and running a bed-and-breakfast in Italy.

The time has come for the Bluebell Inn to be put up for sale and to get the most profit they decide to sell it themselves, foregoing a realtor. But it isn't as easy as they expected. And with her rent-free space about to be lost to her Grace needs to find a new space to keep her dream alive.

In the meantime, they have an inn to run. And when a stranger, walks in, asking about an open-ended stay Grace is about to experience something she never has before. But she doesn't have time for an attraction to a guest. She has a business to run and needs to be proactive so that she has a place to call her own when Molly and Levi leave to continue the lives they put on hold for her. 

When Grace starts having issues with an event from her past she is determined to work through it. Unfortunately, she has a panic attack in front of their mysterious guest, Wyatt Jennings. Thanks to his training, Wyatt knows a thing or two about helping people deal with panic attacks, but dealing with his own issues isn't so easy. And he'll need Grace's skills as a mountain/trail guide to find what he is looking for. Can they find the healing they need to forgive themselves? 

This book is a good read and can be read on its own though it is better having read the first two books beforehand. This book focuses on Grace the youngest Bennett sibling but in no way ignores Molly or Levi whose stories were the focus of the previous books. It was interesting getting to know them and the town of Bluebell. This is the last book of the series but I can't help hoping that, at some time in the future, we might return for a quick visit to get reacquainted with the rest of the characters one has gotten to know. If you are looking for a contemporary escape that fits the season Autumn Skies is for you.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:
Facing the past is easier if
you don't have to face it alone.
But this might be the exception.

When a mysterious man turns up at Grace’s family-run inn, it’s instant attraction. But she’s already got a lot on her plate: running the Bluebell Inn, getting Blue Ridge Outfitters off the ground, and coping with a childhood event she’d thought was long past.

A gunshot wound has resurrected the past for secret service agent Wyatt Jennings, and a mandatory leave of absence lands him in Bluebell, North Carolina. There he must try and come to grips with the crisis that altered his life forever.

Grace needs experience for her new outfitters business, so when Wyatt needs a mountain guide, she’s more than happy to step up to the plate. As their journey progresses, Grace soon has an elusive Wyatt opening up, and Wyatt is unwittingly drawn to Grace’s fresh outlook and sense of humor.

There’s no doubt the two have formed a special bond, but will Wyatt’s secrets bring Grace’s world crashing down? Or will those secrets end up healing them both?

From the bestselling author of 
The Convenient Groom and A December Bride 
(now beloved Hallmark Original movies) 
comes the third and final novel in the Bluebell Inn series!

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Denise

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Denise Hunter’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, October 19th: Mom Loves Reading and @mom_loves_reading

Monday, October 19th: @niks_nook

Tuesday, October 20th: Books & Spoons

Tuesday, October 20th: @lifeinlit

Thursday, October 22nd: Bewitched Bookworms

Thursday, October 22nd: The Romance Dish

Friday, October 23rd: @angelareadsbooks

Friday, October 23rd: View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, October 24th: Nurse Bookie and @nurse_bookie

Monday, October 26th: Leighellen Landskov and @mommaleighellensbooknook

Monday, October 26th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Tuesday, October 27th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, October 27th: @paperbacksandpeonies

Wednesday, October 28th: Into the Hall of Books

Thursday, October 29th: @bluntscissorsbookreviews

Thursday, October 29th: Moonlight Rendezvous

Friday, October 30th: What is That Book About

Monday, November 2nd: @pnwbookworm

Monday, November 2nd: Amy’s Book-et List and @amysbooketlist

Tuesday, November 3rd: Hallie Reads

Wednesday, November 4th: Audio Killed the Bookmark and @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Thursday, November 5th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, November 9th: Girl Who Reads

Tuesday, November 10th: Blooming with Books

Wednesday, November 11th: Run Wright and @karen_runwright