Saturday, March 18, 2023

Under Fire By Lynn Blackburn

Under Fire
by Lynn Blackburn
Publisher: Revell
Series: Defend & Protect
ISBN: 9780800737979

I was so excited to start the last book in this series. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books and couldn't wait for Tessa and Zane's story. Lynn knows how to weave a tale of suspense and I was ready for it. The book was sent to me from Revell for me to review.


They'll protect the president at any cost--but who will protect their hearts? 

USSS Special Agent Zane Thacker has landed his dream assignment protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser at the exclusive estate of a political supporter in Raleigh, Zane is thrilled to be working again with Special Agent Tessa Reed, his best friend--and the woman he desperately wishes could be more.

Though Tessa almost lost everything, she battled her demons and came out on the other side healthy and healed. But when her role as the liaison between the Raleigh office and the president's protective detail wrenches her past back into the present, her greatest failure threatens to come to light. 

Zane refuses to let Tessa go through this alone. But can he stand by the woman he loves and protect the president from a mounting threat at the same time?

My Review:

What a fabulous ending to a terrific series. I've read all three books (in order, mind you) and I came to adore the entire team. Under Fire is a perfect ending to the series!

Special Agent Zane Thacker is back in town to help Raleigh Special Agent Tessa Reed as part of the detail to protect the POTUS when he visits for an event. While they've put themselves in the friend zone, it's clear there's something brewing between them. Zane is steadfast & reliable - the type of hero we love in a story. Tessa is strong, yet vulnerable and I really loved her attitude!

While the team is investigating all of the threats against the President, they start coming in towards Tessa as well.  It was fantastic to see that her boss knows she's great at her job and asks her to lead the team. The team closes rank and I love the way the want to protect her! The only problem is, she has a "somewhat" kept secret and it could endanger everyone.

Zane has a history that parallels Tessa's so it complicates things even more between them. Just when it looks like they might be turning a corner, something happens to bring up the past which makes life even more difficult. There are just so many layers to this story that I couldn't decide which one I wanted figured out sooner.

And let's talk about the faith of the characters! Theirs is a light that isn't hidden. It's front and center. The author unabashedly puts it out there throughout the story and it filled my heart SO much with each occurrence. I will read EVERY single one of this author's books for this reason alone. There's so much hope given through not only Zane and Tessa, but the entire cast of characters. Truly, I could go on and on about the faith, but you need to experience it yourself.

This series is absolutely fantastic. If you're a fan of suspense, then you don't want to miss out!

About the Author:

Lynn H. Blackburn is the award-winning author of Unknown Threat and Malicious Intent, as well as the Dive Team Investigations series. She believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. Blackburn is passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don't make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Learn more at

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The Metropolitan Affair By Jocelyn Green

The Metropolitan Affair
by Jocelyn Green
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: On Central Park
ISBN: 9780764239632

You could easily call me a Jocelyn Green fan. When her book is available to read, it makes its way onto my bookshelves!! I was thrilled when she asked me if I would read the first book in her new series! She sent me her book for my review.


Bestselling author Jocelyn Green sweeps you away in a dazzling novel of secrets, betrayal, and romance within one of New York City's most esteemed museums.

For years her explorer father promised Dr. Lauren Westlake she'd accompany him on one of his Egyptian expeditions. But as the empty promises mounted, Lauren determined to earn her own way. Now the assistant curator of Egyptology for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lauren receives two unexpected invitations.

The first is her repentant father's offer to finally bring her to Egypt as his colleague on a new expedition. The second is a chance to enter the world of New York's wealthiest patrons who have been victims of art fraud.

With Egyptomania sweeping the city after the discovery of King Tut's tomb, Detective Joe Caravello is on the hunt for a notorious forger preying on the open wallets of New York's high society. Dr. Westlake is just the expert he needs to help him track the criminal. Together they search for the truth, and the closer Lauren and Joe get to discovering the forger's identity, the more entangled they become in a web of deception and crime.

My Review:

Wow! What a exciting start to a new series with The Metropolitan Affair! I had NO idea I could actually become fascinated with anything Egyptian! I did go to an Egyptian exhibit years ago, but wasn't as fascinated by it as I was with this story. Maybe if I'd had Lauren as my guide I would've fallen in love with it, too!

You've connected with characters in books, right? I'm not the only one? I certainly did with Lauren in regards to always trying to win her father's approval or even acknowledgement. And interestingly enough, I came to see my mom in a different light like Lauren did through the story. That piece really touched my heart.

Lauren is called upon by and old friend, who wasn't quite a flame back in the day, to help with some possible forgeries. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them through bits and pieces of their history through their memories as well as watch them grow in the "now".

And then Lauren's dad showed up and you could tell how hard he was trying to rectify their lost time... time he was willing to let go back then because of his own issues. What more could Lauren want?

The web of mystery of who is doing the forgeries begins to expand and the world Lauren has been living in becomes more dangerous! There were twists and turns everywhere and for the life of me I had no idea who was involved. Just when you think the author has given you a clue, it turns out she was misleading you! I was pointing the finger at everyone.

The sweetness of Lauren and Joe's relationship comes with its own issues because of their current lives and issues they've individually dealt with in the past. The faith shown throughout the story is solid and it just filled my heart with joy as it flowed into Lauren's life!

I'm giddy waiting for the next story! Will it be Ivy or Elsa, Lauren's roommates (and also one is her cousin)!

About the Author:

Jocelyn Green ( inspires faith and courage as the bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including the Christy Award-winning The Mark of the King and Drawn by the Current and her On Central Park series.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Calor By J.J. Fischer

by J.J. Fischer
Publisher: Enclave
Series: The Nightingale Trilogy

I wasn't actually planning on reading this ARC I received from Enclave publishing, but when I decided to do a reading challenge, I figured this one would be a good fit. As part of the street team, they sent me the paperback ARC for review.


What if you could edit memories with a single touch?

The world-that-was is gone, lost to everything except living memory . . . but remembering comes at a terrible price. Sixty-two years after the apocalypse, a new society has emerged from the ashes of the old world where highly valued memories are traded and nostalgia is worth dying—and even killing—for.

Enslaved by a cruel master, Sephone Winter is forced to use her rare ability to manipulate memories to numb the darkest secrets of the ruling aristocracy.

Then Lord Adamo appears, speaking of a powerful relic capable of permanently erasing memories and recovering Sephone’s own lost childhood. But not everything about the young lord is as it seems, and soon Sephone must choose between helping Lord Adamo forget his past or journeying deep into the land of Lethe, where the truth about who she really is might finally be revealed . . . and a long desired future restored.

The Nightingale Trilogy is a fantasy transformation of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved 1843 tale The Nightingale, with echoes of the myths of Hades and Persephone.

My Review:

Calor was such a spectacular story! I went into it without having a clue as to what it was about simply because the cover drew me in.

We learn from the prologue that Sephone and Dorian (Lord Adamo) meet when she's a wee girl drowning in a canal and he saves her. Then we meet her again when she's older and ready to escape being held by Cutter. 

Sephone can see & experience things from other people's minds. It was such a fascinating idea to be able to do that, but then immediately realized how awful it would be. As we get to know Sephone more and the world in which she lives, this apocalyptic world comes to life through the author. 

We meet Dorian again when he arrives at Cutter's tavern. We also meet one of my favorite characters Lady Jewel. He is man devastated from his past and is trying to get away from the pain. Sephone begins to have feelings for him and is willing to help ease the hurt in his mind, but he refuses. They end up setting out to find the relic that can help them both, but it's nowhere close to easy.

We also meet Cass, who, on the surface is superficial and only cares about one thing, the next woman who he can conquer. I think this may have been the one piece to this story I wasn't a fan of because it alludes to his one night stands and womanizing. His story unfolds at the same time as we learn more about Dorian and Sephone. He actually endears himself to me as time went on.

And for real, let's talk about Bear and Bas. These two fellas might be the bodyguards, but I just loved them. Brooding, protective, and loyal. How could anyone not love them as characters?

This world that the author creates came alive for me as the story progressed and with the cliffhanger of an ending, I was kicking myself for reading it before book two was already out. This is the type of book that will have you clamoring for more immediately!!

About the Author:

J. J. Fischer

J. J. Fischer’s writing dream began with the anthology of zoo animals she painstakingly wrote and illustrated at age five, to rather limited acclaim. Thankfully, her writing (but not her drawing) has improved since then. She is a clinically-trained psychologist but no, she cannot read your mind. When she isn’t killing defenseless house plants, pretending she can play the piano, eating peanut butter out of the jar, or memorizing funny film quotes, she and her husband David are attempting to prevent their warring pet chickens from forming factions and re-enacting Divergent. Honestly, it’s a miracle she finds the time to write any books.

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Maid Of Ballymacool By Jennifer Deibel

The Maid of Ballymacool
by Jennifer Deibel
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780800741747

Having read both of Jennifer's first two books, I knew that this one wouldn't be missed. And I mean, look at that cover? Isn't it stunning? I am part of her launch team and was sent the book for review.


Brianna Kelly has worked at Ballymacool House and Boarding School since she was a wee girl and will likely die there. Despite a sense that she was made for something more, Brianna feels powerless to change her situation, so she consoles herself by exploring the Ballymacool grounds, looking for hidden treasures to add to the secret trove beneath the floorboards of her room.

When Michael Wray, the son of local gentry, is sent to Ballymacool to deal with his unruly cousin, he finds himself drawn to Brianna, immediately and inescapably. There is something about her that feels so . . . familiar. 

When Brianna unearths an intriguing silver platter in the woods, she commits to learning its origins. Could the handsome newcomer hold the key? If so, their discovery could change everything.

My Review:

I never know how fast I'm going to get involved with a book's story, and it turns out The Maid of Ballymacool didn't take long at all. The opening line gives the reader a jolt and gives an immediate vibe as to what's to come.

I'm going to start out with an interesting tidbit about this story. Aside from when we meet Michael Wray, it never leaves the grounds or surrounding forest. It all takes place either in Ballymacool House and Boarding school or around the property. And you know what, it didn't phase me one bit. In fact, it gave me the keen sense of being there. While it's set in 1935, the whole story gave me the sense of being in the late 1800s. Because they seemed so far removed from the world progressing around them is what did it for me.

It was pretty easy to guess where the story was going to end up and I was ok with that because HOW it was going to get there is what kept me hooked!

I immediately loved Brianna. She has overcome so much anger and animosity thrown at her by the head mistress, but she still has a kind and gentle soul. She loves to visit the forest around the boarding school. It's an incredible reminder of when Scripture says in Psalm 96:12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. You sense that when Brianna is in the forest. We also meet Finnuala there, who is basically like a grandmotherly figure to her. 

When Michael shows up on the scene he does what every reader wants the hero to do. He doesn't put up with ANY nonsense. Not only that, the author doesn't put us through him not seeing the injustice put on Brianna. And not just her, but all of the students. He may be young, but he has wisdom and a strong sense of right & wrong. I wanted to cheer every time he stood up to Magee.

Do you like a good (meaning awful) villain? Maureen Magee will get your blood boiling on day one and will have you fighting mad the whole way through. She a prime example of what can happen when we let bitterness take root and fester without forgiving and moving on.

I certainly enjoyed the faith element throughout the story. While I don't believe Brianna knows about Jesus, she knows of the Creator through Finnuala and being in nature. It doesn't seem that any type of faith is taught at the school and certainly no church visits for the boarders. But, faith is spoken of plainly and the characters are reminded of God and His plan.

Once again, I've thoroughly enjoyed another story by this author and I eagerly anticipate the next one!


Jennifer Deibel is the author of A Dance in Donegal (winner of the Kipp Award for Historical Romance) and The Lady of Galway Manor (a Parable Group bestseller). Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and in other publications. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A Match In The Making By Jen Turano

A Match in the Making
by Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: The Matchmakers
ISBN: 9780764240201

As an avid fan of Jen Turano, there was NO way I was missing out on the first book of her new series, The Matchmaker. Jen's books are ones where I don't even have to know what they're about to know I need them the moment they release. Being on the launch team, I was sent the book for review.


Miss Gwendolyn Brinley accepted a temporary paid companion position for the Newport summer season, believing it would be a lark to spend the summer in America's most exclusive town. She suddenly finds her summer turning anything but amusing when her employer expects her to take over responsibilities as an assistant matchmaker. Tasked with the daunting prospect of attaining advantageous matches for her clients, Gwendolyn soon finds herself in the employ of Mr. Walter Townsend, the catch of the Season, but a gentleman Gwendolyn finds beyond irritating.

Walter Townsend is reluctantly in search of a wife for the sake of his unruly motherless children who cannot keep a governess for long. What he wasn't expecting was Miss Brinley, an amateur matchmaker who turns his quest for a new wife into a complete and utter debacle. Constantly besieged by society ladies on a mission to win his affection, Walter must find a way to overcome their inundating attention--and his unexpected attraction toward Gwendolyn.

The more time they spend together throughout the Newport Season, the harder it is for Gwendolyn to find Walter a wife when she realizes his perfect match might be . . . her.

My Review:

If you enjoy laughing then you don't want to miss out on 358 pages worth of it! Literally, I don't know if there was a single page where I didn't at least give a little chuckle. This was one of my most anticipated stories this year and it didn't disappoint.

First we meet Gwendolyn, who was employed as a companion, but in a strange turn of events became an assistant matchmaker. Watching her throughout the story trying to give up the position is a hoot. The more she tries to ditch the role, the more she becomes ensconced it... against her will. Of course, stepping into the role, trying to do her best leaves the women and men of the Season scrambling to make sense of what's going on! To say she upturns the entire Season in Newport is putting it mildly.

Then there's Walter, the catch of the season. He's utterly clueless as to how to find a suitable woman to be a mother to his children and how to find the "right" woman. Let's just say, his bar wasn't set very high. When Gwendolyn appears in his life on the heels of a social faux pas they begin a tug of war of finding that woman. The two of them together reminds me of Miss Scarlet and the Duke. They drive each other nuts and it endears us to them!

There are definitely some good lessons in the story. Walter's kids have grandmas who spoil the children to keep them in line, which has only made them terrors. Walter is an absent father and we see the impact that makes. How we treat other people who aren't in the same "league" as us matters! 

The end of the story had me in a fit of giggles! I don't know how to say that "what happens" is probably one of the funniest and most memorable EVER. Of course, finishing this story has me in restless anticipation for book two! I can't WAIT to see how that one unfolds.

About the Author:

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by BooklistJen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from RT Book Reviews, and praise from Library Journal. She's been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. Readers can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and at

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.