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Monday Musings…Cover Love

She’s turning up the heat on Carin County’s cold cases . . .

Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police detective . . . mostly. She’s very skilled at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job.

Gabriel Thane grew up in Carin County and is now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he’s sworn to protect. He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have. . . .

When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it’s to help launch a new task force focused on unsolved crimes across the state. She will work with the sheriff’s department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she studies old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths surprising connections. One way or another, she knows Gabriel Thane and his family will be key to the answers she seeks.

An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

 

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

 

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

 

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

 

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!

After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences

Valiant Hearts: Where Adventure and Romance Meet

Inspired by the vision of the Young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She gladly gives herself to the cause, as she’s haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.

Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.

Which one strikes your fancy?

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Amy Matayo’s The End of the Earth

 

A desperate boy. A damaged girl. And a dark house filled with secrets.

For Cameron Tate, being shuffled from foster home to foster home is just a normal way of life. Until the year he turns fourteen. That’s when he’s sent to the home of seventeen-year-old Shaye McCormick—a fellow foster kid counting the days until she’s released from the system.
For good reason. It doesn’t take long for Cameron to learn that Shaye is shackled to the worst kind of pain…living in a home where nothing seems right. And now he’s joined her with no way out. Their only refuge is a lake, a quiet spot at the edge of the property where they can sit together for a few moments at the end of each day. Alone with their thoughts. Away from prying eyes.
At the lake they become friends. At the lake they begin to talk. At the lake Cameron vows that no matter how deep their secrets are buried, he’ll make it his mission to heal Shaye from a past that makes living in the present nearly impossible. Even if it takes until the end of time to do it.

Author Note: The End of the World is a coming-of-age story that follows the lives of Cameron Tate and Shaye McCormick for twelve years. The novel is a Contemporary Romance that crosses the genres of Young Adult and New Adult. The End of the World is a standalone novel.

Review

I bought this book the day it came out…and put off reading it for weeks because, quite frankly, after reading the first page I was like, this is going to be depressing. I was not wrong. In fact:

The main characters were incredibly developed.

Cameron is the best book boyfriend out there…almost ever (I will say, Shaye did annoy me, a bit, but her circumstances were so…stinky that I had to give her a ton of leeway).

The writing was spectacularly beautiful.

The romance was stunning.

The story was intriguing.

Spiritually…um….yeah…Cameron was so perfect, maybe he was supposed to be a reflection of Jesus?

BUT!!!!

I felt like this reading the book:

and this

and this

Yeah…so a good book, but not exactly a happy one.

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Monday Musings…Liking Books

So, I’ve recently had an epiphany. I don’t have to like a book for it to be considered a good book.

No, listen, hear me out. There are many authors that I no longer read, because I’m not a fan of their books, but the books are not bad. It frankly comes down to a matter of taste. For example, there are several authors that my mom loves that I quite simply won’t read…and vice versa.

Personally, I believe it’s a generational thing.

But just because I don’t like the author and/or their books, doesn’t make their book bad. It just makes their book…not for me.

Recently I read a book that I think was good, but it wasn’t for me. I would not give such a book a low rating on Amazon (even if I wanted to skim).

How do I define good? An intriguing storyline, solid writing, complex characters. How do I define not for me? Playing it safe, familiar, not as much romance.

What do you think? How do you feel about rating books that you don’t like, but know are generally speaking, good books?

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Olivia Rae’s Revelation

Olivia Rae brings an inspirational contest-winning tale of intrigue, love, and a faith that can change even the proudest hearts.

King Richard needs a royal wedding…

Richard’s niece, the feisty and resourceful Lady Ariane is to be his pawn. Though she has spent the last ten years living with the infidels in the Holy Land, Richard plans to turn her into a pious Christian lady, one fit to marry the nephew of King Phillip of France and, thus, seal a lucrative contract between the two countries.

But she needs the right teacher.

Proud and fierce, Templar Knight, Julian de Maury believes he has been chosen by God to free the holy city of Jerusalem from Saladin’s evil grip. But when Richard orders Julian to return to England with Lady Ariane and oversee her Christian education, he’s angry and terrified; he has been denied his destiny and England holds a dark secret better left buried. Now he must come to terms with his past and his attraction to the forbidden Lady Ariane.

Review

What I liked:

Julian. He is the reason I wanted to read this book. Seriously. I read the excerpt on Amazon and I loved the dynamic that is Julian. He is both a literal warrior and a spiritual one. Spiritually, he’s extremely bound to the rules and adheres them faithfully…and not necessarily in a good way. But that was part of the reason that he drew me in…because I wanted to see him break his rules (obviously not in a sin-against-God kind of way, but in a you-don’t-have-live-like-that way).

Ariane. I’m not gonna lie folks, in medieval romance novels, it is so common to have the heroine running away from her duty to the point where I rarely read them anymore. And Ariane is a runner. But. It worked for me in this book, because she was not raised in the English culture but instead in the Arab culture. And so her desire to run was in direct correlation of the Crusades and all that went along with it.

Secondary characters. There were quite a few secondary characters that had rich, complex stories making them fascinating people.

History. I learned a lot about a time period that is often brushed over, and in a way that made it feel natural to the story.

Spiritually, I enjoyed watching Julian get a better grasp of faith and Ariane learning what a relationship with Christ is.

What I didn’t like:

The one thing that really stood out to me was how quick most of the characters were to act on their emotions. Sometimes there was very little planning or thought and it drove me crazy. Half of the negative situations they found themselves in was due to the fact that they never stopped and considered and planned but instead always reacted. It was oftentimes very emotion-driven.

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, I enjoyed Revelation. It is well-written and very intriguing!

*I received a copy from the author to review.*

 

 

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What I Can’t Wait to Read…

No, really, I’m like counting down the days:

Hearts are Divided
Loyalties Will Be Tested
The Fates of Two Families Hang in the Balance

Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy—the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins— during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own.

No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love.

Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.

But seriously, if this book ends on a cliffhanger like the last one…

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Monday Musings…Cover Love

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. BECAUSE YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT.

Zara Ruiz is a normal California girl on the verge of graduating high school and thinking about her dawning future. But when dusk brings a shattering loss—and she discovers a priceless object in the shallows of a tide pool—she is thrust a hundred-and-eighty years into the past. There she meets handsome ranchero Javier de la Ventura—who has big dreams and bigger secrets—along with his enchanting family, in a land that is at once familiar, and yet utterly foreign.

Between cattle rustlers, pirates and a growing call for statehood, it is not a peaceful time to be a Mexican settler in young Alta California. But it is in that time and place that Zara must decide if she’s f what she longs for most in the past, or if her heart’s THREE WISHES can only be resolved in the present.

In the third and final volume of the Remnants series, the power of the Remnants and their people are growing, threatening Pacifica’s careful plans for domination. Among the Trading Union, village after village, outpost after outpost, and city after city are drawn to people of the Way, and agree to stand against those who hunt them. But Pacifica intends to ferret out and annihilate the Remnants—as well as everyone who hasn’t sworn allegiance to the empire—setting the stage for an epic showdown that will change the course of a world on the brink … forever.

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

What Happens When Your Soul Dies?

Kat Bloodmayne is one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. But she carries a secret: she can twist the natural laws of life. She has no idea where this ability came from, only that every time she loses control and unleashes this power, it kills a part of her soul. If she doesn’t find a cure soon, her soul will die and she will become something else entirely.

After a devastating personal loss, Stephen Grey leaves the World City Police Force to become a bounty hunter. He believes in justice and will stop at nothing to ensure criminals are caught and locked up. However, when Kat Bloodmayne shows up in his office seeking his help, his world is turned upside down.

Together they search World City and beyond for a doctor who can cure Kat. But what they discover on the way goes beyond science and into the dark sphere of magic.

Book one of The Soul Chronicles series.

 

There are so many I’m looking forward to!

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What I’m Hoping to Read this Week

Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?