Monday, February 26, 2024

Love In The Storm By Mandi Blake

Love in the Storm
by Mandi Blake
Publisher: Independent
Series: Love in Blackwater
ISBN: 978-1953372499

Who knew how easily I'd start really enjoying romance stories? When you have a great author, I guess anything is possible. I mean, I "do" enjoy a good romance now and again, but Mandi Blake makes me want to read them more often. She sent me her book for review!

Summary:

When she's snowed in with the handsome man who doesn't remember arresting her, she might get a second chance at a first impression. 

Lyric Woods has been sober for years now, but nothing about picking herself up from rock bottom has been easy. She’s behind on bills and on the verge of getting evicted, still paying for the mistakes of her past. When she is stranded with the police officer who doesn't remember her, she's afraid to reveal her secret.

Asa Scott isn’t complaining about being stranded with the beautiful Lyric. The kind woman tending his wounds after a wreck in the storm is the first to make him think he could move on after his wife’s death. But when he finds out about her record, he can't reconcile the woman from the past with the woman who cared for him at the cabin.

When Lyric needs his help after they’re rescued, Asa hopes they'll both get a chance to mend the wounds of the past.

Despite his fears, Asa can’t fight the way he feels about the resilient woman who helped him. But when it looks like Lyric has fallen back into her old ways, will Asa trust the evidence or believe the woman he’s falling for and fight to clear her name?

If you loved the Blackwater Ranch series and the Wolf Creek Ranch series, get ready to fall in love all over again in Blackwater, Wyoming.


My Review:

If you love a good romance, you don't want to miss Love in the Storm!

The build up to Asa and Lyric being stuck in a cabin for a few days sets the stage for everything else to come. The snow storm forces the two of them to spend several days together and that time is well spent as they got to know each other.

Unfortunately, Lyric's past keeps her guarded, but a glimmer of hope shines through with Asa's kindness. Asa is one of the good guys. He's everything you want in a story's main male character because he's also not perfect.

Lyric's past, and her actual connection to Asa is brought to the forefront of the story. There was so much to appreciate about this story of redemption from each character's perspective as well as the supporting characters. We know that when someone is in recovery that it can truly take a village (or in this case, a small town). 

It was really realistic in that Asa is a widower with a young son. Any relationship he has with Lyric will impact his son and he has to take that into consideration. It's also a reminder that once an addict, not always an active addict. So many lessons for readers to learn in the story.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the amount of faith that is woven through the story! Reminders of God's forgiveness, prayer, forgiveness, and trust are the tip of the iceberg. The author did a wonderful job of seamlessly including it as part of the story.

About the Author:

Mandi Blake was born and raised in Alabama where she lives with her husband and daughter, but her southern heart loves to travel. Reading has been her favorite hobby for as long as she can remember, but writing is her passion. She loves a good happily ever after in her sweet Christian romance books and loves to see her characters' relationships grow closer to God and each other.

You can sign up for her newsletter and get the free novella, South of Skye, and the free full-length book, A Thousand Words.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Embers In The London Sky By Sarah Sundin

Embers in the London Sky
by Sarah Sundin
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800741853

If you've never read a Sarah Sundin story, you're missing out. If you're a fan of WWII stories, you don't want to miss this one! She sent me her book for review.

Summary:

London, 1940

As the German army invades the Netherlands in 1940, Aleida van der Zee Martens escapes to London to wait out the occupation. Separated from her three-year-old son, Theo, in the process, the young widow desperately searches for her little boy even as she works for an agency responsible for evacuating children to the countryside.

When German bombs set London ablaze, BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood reports on the Blitz, eager to boost morale while walking the fine line between truth and censorship. But the Germans are not the only ones Londoners have to fear as a series of murders flame up amid the ashes. 

The deaths hit close to home for Hugh, and Aleida needs his help to locate her missing son. As they work together, they grow closer and closer, both to each other and the answers they seek. But time is running short--and the worst is yet to come.

My Review:

Sarah Sundin has such a gift for bringing WWII to life in her stories. They always compel me to want to do better if I'm ever in situations like her characters! 

In Embers in the London Sky, Aleida is thrown into a nightmare no one would ever want to live. She's separated from her 3yr old son as they try to escape the Netherlands. Her only hope is that he's made it to England and she'll be able to find him once she gets there. Your heart just breaks for all she goes through.

Once she finally makes it to London, Hugh, a BBC radio correspondent comes along at just the right time and Aleida tries to convince him to tell her story! You can sense his compassion immediately, but he's up against various obstacles. Some botched reports and being seen as man who takes his job as a lark doesn't lend to him getting to do the work her truly wants. I was also fascinated by the work Aleida volunteered for! 

Then the murders start happening. People are dropping like flies and none of it makes sense. They have a list of suspects, but none of them seem to have a reason for truly harming someone. Hugh is trying to figure it out while also helping Aleida find Theo. Around every turn they seem to hit a brick wall. I'll admit, the end had me more than a little surprised!

I think the author did a really great job of capturing Aleida's OCD and Hugh's gentleness in trying to help her cope through various situations. Also, the abuse from her husband is palpable at the start of the story and you can see the lasting effect is has on her. While the abuse is never shown, her fear, his treatment of her & their son, and his words convey just how awful he is. Thank goodness for the faith thread throughout the story!

About the Author:

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of When Twilight BreaksUntil Leaves Fall in ParisThe Sound of Light, and the popular WWII series Sunrise at Normandy, among others. She is a Christy Award winner and a Carol Award winner, and her novels have received starred reviews from BooklistLibrary Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and have appeared on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in California. Visit SarahSundin.com for more information.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Irish Matchmaker By Jennifer Deibel

The Irish Matchmaker
by Jennifer Deibel
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800744854

I have been a fan of the three previous stories I've read by Jennifer Deibel and they all have the most gorgeous covers. I was excited for this one and she did NOT disappoint! Since I'm on her launch team, she sent me the book for review.

Summary:

Making the perfect match is both art and science--but love doesn't always follow the rules.

As daughter of a well-known matchmaker, Catríona Daly is no stranger to the business of love--and sees it as her ticket away from the sleepy village that only comes alive during the annual matchmaking festival. When Andrew, son of Lord Osborne, returns to the festival after being disappointed by a rival matchmaker's failed setup, Catríona seizes the opportunity to make a better match for the handsome man--and for herself!

Cattle farmer Donal Bunratty is in desperate need of a wife after loss left him to handle the farm and raise his daughter on his own. Shy and lacking the finer social graces, he agrees to attend the matchmaking festival to fulfill his daughter's birthday wish. But when he arrives, it's not any of the other merrymakers that catch his eye but rather his matchmaker--who clearly has eyes for someone else.

Catríona will have to put all her expertise to work to make matches for the two men that could change their lives--and hers--forever. Will her plan succeed? Or will love have its own way?

My Review:

What a wonderful, terrific love story! You don't want to miss The Irish Matchmaker!

I think there's a population of us ladies who, at some point in our lives, have an idea of a man, with romantic notions, yet are actually clueless about that man. Enter, Lord Andrew Osborne. He's back in Lisdoonvarna after a failed matchmaking, but Catríona is ready to make the match... with her. She absolutely had heart eyes for him. As a reader, you knew that was a train wreck you wouldn't be turning away from.

Then there's Donal. He's a widower, with a precocious 9yr old daughter named Sara, and he owns a farm that's basically on his last leg. His relationship with his daughter is sweet, yet he's a bit too dependent on her. Not surprising with the time period. She convinces him to attend the annual matchmaking event in town. He's not interested, but he needs the help.

I feel like Caty (Catríona) is easy to relate to on a number of levels. She's on the bigger side and her mother's nagging ways taunt her mind. She's trying to change to fit in with Andrew's family so who they're getting to know is not the real Caty. She also wants to escape the life she's currently in. No way does she want to go back to farm living nor does she want to continue living above the pub with her matchmaking father, Jimmy. So, Andrew is her ticket out.

Andrew... don't get me started. The end.

On the other hand, as Catríona works to get Donal a love match, she begins to get to know him and his daughter more. Over a couple of weeks and a variety of interactions, there are definitely sparks on both sides, but there are factors that stand in their way. *see all of the reasons above hahahaha

There are some seriously RO-mantic moments in this story that will make your heart swell. They seriously put a smile on my face! Faith is interspersed through the story, mostly around the Sermon on the Mount (although what Sara calls it will forever live rent free in my brain), reminding the characters (and us) about God's provision.

About the Author:

Jennifer Deibel is the author of A Dance in Donegal (winner of the Kipp Award for Historical Romance),  The Lady of Galway Manor, and The Maid of Ballymacool. 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 JenniferDeibel.com.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Rocky Road By Becky Wade

Rocky Road
by Becky Wade
Publisher: Independent
Series: Sons of Scandal
ISBN: 979-8987550540

Having listened to book one, and being a tried & true fan of Becky Wade's, when the opportunity arose to listen to book two, I was all in! She sent me both the audiobook and the paperback for review.

Summary:

FBI Agent Jude Camden handles every aspect of his job with by-the-book professionalism. There's no reason why his latest assignment—which calls for him to pose as the boyfriend of perfumer Gemma Clare—should be any different.

Except Gemma is different. She's creative, bold, and feisty. And as soon as she meets Jude, she wants to loosen him up, wrinkle his perfect shirts, and test every ounce of his towering self-control.

The FBI has an iron-clad rule against romances between those working together on operations. Jude's never met a rule he didn't respect. But adhering to this one is going to be tough because, as time goes by, he finds Gemma more and more irresistible.

Buckle up! It's going to be a rocky road.

Escape to Maine for this swoon-worthy "fake romance"! Banter, humor, perfume, and a mystery from the past intertwine in this sweet Sons of Scandal love story.

My Review:

Ok, so while I liked book one of this series, it wasn't my favorite Becky Wade story, BUT... BUT, Rocky Road might rank up there with my love for her book Meant to be Mine!

The way she wrote the entire relationship from beginning to end with Gemma and Jude just made my heart happy. They were stinking adorable together. Gemma is quirky and artistic while Jude is strait-laced and a rule follower. He's there as an FBI agent to get Gemma to cooperate with them to nab her cousin for illegal activities. It seems like from the start that Gemma has his number and Jude just does NOT know what to do with her. HA!

Unfortunately, Gemma has a boyfriend and Jude can't date her because they're working together. 

THIS is the kind of romance that I like. They just get to know each other without any ideas of romance. Gemma and Jude could be the poster couple for "opposites attract." Somehow, they just work and it's so fun to watch. Unlike other books I've read, nothing romantic happens between them while Gemma is still with her boyfriend.

In the meantime of them trying to pull Gemma's cousin into their net, a mystery comes up in regards to her 102 year old great-grandma. It involves WWII, her great-grandparents, and lost communication. Thankfully, Gemma knows someone (ahem, Jude) who can help her track down the information she needs to unravel the mystery!

I felt like this story was much lighter and "Hallmark-y" (but way better than Hallmark) than book one in the series. It wasn't as "raw" as I described book one, which I prefer this a bit more. I feel like with Max's story we might be taken back to some harder topics only for the fact of his familial history and the struggles it caused for him growing up. I'm hoping he just ends up being a grumpy sunshine!

About the Author:

Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas with their three children and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She loves writing sweet contemporary romances laced with sizzling chemistry, mystery, faith, banter, and humor. Her thirteen novels and five novellas have been recognized with a Carol Award, INSPY awards, and a spot in the Christy Award Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

One Wrong Move By Dani Pettrey

One Wrong Move
by Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Jeopardy Falls
ISBN: 9780764238482

I'm such a big fan of suspense, and Dani Pettrey is synonymous with that genre! When she invited me to join her launch team, I couldn't say no to her! She sent me her book for review.

Summary:

Taunting riddles.
A deadly string of heists. 
Two broken hearts trapped in a killer's game.

Christian O'Brady was pulled into a life of crime at a young age by his con artist parents. Now making amends for his corrupt past, he has become one of the country's foremost security experts. When a string of Southwestern art heists targets one of the galleries Christian secured, he is paired up with a gifted insurance investigator who has her own checkered past.

Andi Forester was a brilliant FBI forensic analyst until her career was destroyed. She now puts those skills to work investigating insurance fraud, and this latest high-stakes case will test her gift to the limit. Drawn deep into a dangerous game with an opponent bent on revenge, Christian and Andi are in a race against the clock to catch him, but the perpetrator's game is far from finished, and one wrong move could be the death of them both.

My Review:

I'm always ready for a new Dani Pettrey novel! Her suspense always has me biting my nails.

In her new series, we meet a lot of people! I'm guessing they'll all play parts throughout the series. Initially in One Wrong Move, we are introduced to Andi and Christian. Andi's on her way to investigate an art heist because her company insured the gallery. Christian is the one who installed the security system. They team up to find answers and that's when everything goes nuts!

I don't know if more can happen to two people in one day than for Andi and Christian. In the midst of it all, they start to fall for each other. I struggled with how fast that romance happened in the midst of all the craziness.

Both Andi and Christian's pasts come back to give them grief and this is where Christian's brother Deckhard and Andi's bff, Harper join the story. Halfway through the book, Deck and Harper split off with their own side story, to help find answers to a case Andi had been involved in as well as Deckhard.

I enjoyed Andi and Christian together (aside from the quick romance). They both saw each other for who they are now and who they are in Christ. When they find out about each others pasts, they give grace and trust. The story has a good line of faith throughout it, which I always love!

There were times when it was a little hard to keep everything straight with the various people and their storylines. I think Deckhard and Harper could've had their own novella, but I liked the two of them together.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series because I'm a Pettrey fan!

About the Author:

Dani Pettrey (DaniPettrey.com) is the bestselling author of the Coastal Guardians, Chesapeake Valor, and Alaskan Courage series. A two-time Christy Award finalist, Dani has won the National Readers' Choice Award, Daphne du Maurier Award, HOLT Medallion, and Christian Retailing's Best Award for Suspense. She plots murder and mayhem from her home in the Washington, DC, metro area.

 
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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.