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Monday Musings…Cover Love

She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted.

Since meeting Steffan, the Duke of Wolfberg, at Thornbeck Castle, Lady Magdalen has not been able to stop thinking about him. She knows—as a penniless lady with little to offer in terms of a dowry—she has no real hope of marrying such a highly titled man, so it comes as a great surprise when she receives a letter from him, asking for her hand in marriage.

But all is not what it seems at Wolfberg Castle. Steffan has been evicted by his scheming uncle, and his cousin has taken over the title of duke. Left for dead, Steffan is able to escape, and disguised as a shepherd, hopes to gain entry to the castle to claim the items that will prove he is the true Duke of Wolfberg.

Journeying to the castle, Magdalen has no idea what awaits her, but she certainly did not expect her loyal maidservant to turn on her. Forcing Magdalen to trade places with her, the servant plans to marry the duke and force Magdalen to tend the geese.

Without their respective titles—and the privileges that came with them—Steffan and Magdalen are reunited in the shepherd’s field. Together they conspire to get back their rightful titles. But they must hurry . . . or else they risk losing it all to the uncle’s evil plan.

Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

Acclaimed and Award-Winning Author’s Talent Continues to Win Fans

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett’s heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can’t tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can’t pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

Harry Houdni’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

Lots to look forward too!

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Mini-Reviews of the Gifting Series

Review

I have owned this book for years. I put off reading it because, though the author is a very good writer, I have found her adult books to end on rather depressing notes. Anyway, I decided to give this book a chance and I loved it! The idea of it was new and fresh, the introduction of the “hot guy” (this is YA folks, there appears to be formulas) was perfect. I didn’t want to put the book down. Highly recommended.

Review

So, naturally, I picked up book two (on audio). If I gave out stars, I would give this one 4 out of 5. I was still completely intrigued by the premise. Sometimes in YA books, in book two, they will separate the main characters. They didn’t in this one. The only drawbacks for me was a) the introduction of another guy who might like Tess and b) Tess became incredibly impulsive. But, still, overall a very good second book.

Review

I couldn’t get my hands on book 3 soon enough (audio again). And I was extremely disappointed. I would give this book 2 stars. I assumed Tess’s impulsiveness would be cured by the end of book 2. But no, this girl just kept making snap decisions based off of her emotions and failed to use logic most of the time (giving girls everywhere a bad name). If I had ever found myself on a mission with Tess, I would protest. She might get me killed and not care, so long as her goals were accomplished. I had no clue why everyone kept acting like she was so great. She was the one putting people in danger left and right. For someone who was so important, I really wanted to see her become a leader and shine. She never did. She did however whine a lot. I really liked the narrator in the second book. In this book, her voice got on my nerves…most likely because of Tess’s continual whining and moodiness. On top of that, the second boy who wasn’t much of an issue in book 2? Suddenly he’s in love with Tess and in spite of the fact that Tess is in love with Luka (who is amazing btw), she flirts with this poor guy and hates the idea of him being with someone else. Oh goodness, I was so annoyed. I failed to see what was so wonderful about Tess. Both boys should have dumped her.

Conclusion

The book is vague in terms of faith, but there is a clear presentation of good vs. evil and fighting it, not alone but together. It’s also very clear that there is more than the natural realm, there is also the supernatural realm. Should you read this series? If you like YA books, then yes. The last book was so disappointing, but the first two were really good and worth reading.

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Mini Reviews

Playing With Fire: inspirational romantic suspense (Montana Fire Book 2) by [Warren, Susan May]

Review

Book 2 continues where book 1 left off in the sense that the mystery of who started a certain fire is still in the midst of being solved. The big, overarching mystery is fascinating and I like the way the author is dropping little tidbits throughout the tale. However, the two main characters are two single people from two different series the author wrote. While one character felt like her old self, the other had had a personality change. To be honest, I didn’t feel wowed that the author had chosen these characters. It just didn’t work for me. At all. Then, the guy wanted to string the girl along without any promise of a future like that was okay. And the girl was kind of villified for wanting to know his future plans. Let me tell you, it is not ok for a guy to string you along while he gets his life together. It is perfectly ok, to leave him and let him get his stuff together. That said, the book was well-written and I did finish it. I didn’t like it as much as the first one, but I still plan on reading the third one.

Three Wishes (River of Time California Book 1) by [Bergren, Lisa T.]

Review: DNF

Obviously, my not finishing this book is indicative of how I felt about it. First off, I loved  the first three books of the River of Time series. I just devoured those novels. And I was so excited that there was going to be a kind of spin-off series. But this just didn’t work for me for a couple of reasons: a) The heroine was too perfect. She was trained in Krav Magra, and so of course fighting was her thing; she was extremely beautiful, she could play the guitar like Johnny Cash, she spoke to animals like Doctor Dolittle…her perfection knew no bounds. And I just felt annoyed by her. The hero fell madly in love with her…right away. Mind you I have not finished this book, but right away. While there was an interesting twist in this one, it still managed to feel exactly the same as the previous series. So…maybe one day I will finish this book. But not today!

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Monday Musings…Audible Books

My job requires me to do a lot of driving, so these past few months, I broke down and downloaded audible. I say broke down, because I’ve tried audio books before and didn’t really like it. However, when I had to drive five hours for deposition…

So, what is my understanding of audible for people who enjoy reading? It’s a sound investment. It definitely takes time to get used to. Sometimes, I’m like read faster. Other times, I’m like, this person’s voice is driving me nuts, but eventually you develop a rhythm.

That said, here are three tips for starting audible, in case you haven’t switched over:

  1. Get an interesting book. I started with a mystery. It’s hard to drive long hours, but a boring book will put you to sleep. I went with a well-known author who writes mysteries because I figured, if nothing else, she would tell me a good story.
  2. Pay attention to who the reader is. You would think that this doesn’t matter. But, hey, you’re listening to a book for hours on end. The voice of the reader matters.
  3. Understand that things will happen slowly. I can read a book in a couple of hours. But when you’re listening, you’re forced to listen for 10-12 hours. And that’s ok. Don’t let it make you anxious. I have even found, that just as you can skim a book and keep going without missing anything, you can drift a little during an audio and still be fine. It can be relaxing (this took me a long time to understand, I didn’t realize that I was racing against no one when reading until I started audio books).

 

So, what tips have you found helpful when listening to audio?

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Cover Love

He’ll destroy the world. But first he has to save it.

The Nine Kingdoms bleed. Leaderless, ravaged, the land awaits deliverance from Poired Dyrth’s devastating campaign. But what if one blight can only be cleansed by another?

The promised Fierian is known by many names. Judge. Destroyer. Scourge. And now one other: Haegan, Prince of Seultrie. Once a cripple, now a gifted Accelerant, Haegan can no longer run from the truth. But neither can he be reconciled to it. He knows only one thing for certain: as the only able-bodied heir to the Fire Throne, he must return to the Nine and fight for his people.

But there are insidious forces at work. When reality itself falls into question, Haegan struggles to know where to fight, who to trust. Caught between duty to his country and duty to the world, Haegan must see clearly enough to choose the right path to save his devastated world.

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action–ready or not.

Bestselling author Irene Hannon draws readers into a web of psychological suspense where danger lurks in dark corners . . . and keeps them captive until the very last page.

When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don’t show up for Quinn’s surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it’s not long before she realizes she’s in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don’t win this game, they die.

Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason’s relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath in this third thrilling installment of the Elite Guardians series.

Her mother abandoned her, her father disowned her, and her husband left her. Can Brooklyn be convinced that it is possible to forgive the greatest of betrayals?

Brooklyn Myers escaped her broken home and her embittered, unloving father by eloping to Reno at the age of 17. But when she was pregnant with their first child, her husband abandoned her as well. Not welcome back home in Thunder Creek, Brooklyn stayed in Reno and raised her daughter Alycia on her own, doing her best to make sure Alycia never knew the heartache and rejection Brooklyn herself had known.

When her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies, he leaves the family home in Thunder Creek to his daughter. Believing it is the best way to give her daughter a stable home, Brooklyn does what she thought she would never do. She goes home to the orchard and wine country of Southwest Idaho. There, she encounters Chad’s best friend, Derek Johnson, a part time sheriff’s deputy who also owns an organic produce farm next door. Derek was never a fan of former bad girl Brooklyn Myers, but he made a promise to his dying friend that he would be the father to Alycia that Chad had never been.

Although Derek and Brooklyn get off to a bumpy start, he and Alycia quickly form a bond. And soon, Derek realizes that he wants Brooklyn to trust him too . . .  even knowing that her trust won’t come easily. And then he realizes he wants even more than her trust. He wants to win her love.

While Brooklyn may be tempted to give her heart to Derek, risking her daughter’s happiness is another story. Will Brooklyn hold onto her self-reliance for dear life, or will she come to understand that the greatest gift she can give her daughter is showing her how to love and trust others?

Much to look forward to!

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Mary Connealy’s No Way Up

No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy Book #1) by [Connealy, Mary]

When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, only the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Before leaving by train to receive treatment to save his leg–and possibly his life–Chance demands that Heath read the patriarch’s will and see its conditions enforced immediately. If Chance’s three bickering adult children, Justin, Sadie, and Cole, don’t live and work at the home for an entire year, ownership of the ranch will pass to a despised distant relative.

Before long, however, Heath discovers that the avalanche may have been intentionally set–and that more danger lurks ominously. Finding his own future–and a desired future with Sadie–locked up in saving the Cimarron Ranch, Heath and the Boden siblings must work together against outside forces that threaten them all.

Review

What I liked:

Ms. Connealy for me is a very entertaining author, but sometimes her stories draw very close to the line of silliness. Fortunately for me, this one was not silly. It managed to maintain her usual humor without losing credibility.

Sadie. She’s not the typical strong heroine of Ms. Connealy and yet, she manages to come off as very strong. She’s right in the midst of things without crossing that line of being a contemporary woman in a historical setting. I liked her. She was kind and thoughtful and yet sometimes very flawed. The complexity of her character made her feel real.

The Bodens. I love family sagas and family dynamics and this book delivers. You have stories in the past that are effecting the present, generational issues, and diverse siblings. It makes for engaging scenes whenever the family does come together.

Heath. He’s a throwback to a previous series and I enjoyed the references to his family. I do wish, he could have been a bit more defined though.

What I didn’t like:

At times, it felt like there were too many storylines. I know that the author was laying the foundation for the next two books that will follow, but I wanted to focus on Sadie and Heath.

Also, the romance seemed to happen really fast. I don’t mind the quick pairing up of couples, but Sadie and Heath’s feelings attached to one another so quickly and I personally wanted to see them really fall in love.

Overall, a very good start to a new series and a fun western!

Romantic Scale: 7.5

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Cover Love

From the beloved author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter andCourting Morrow Little comes a new Kentucky novel…On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beckons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.
Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

When fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont learns the Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, determined to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. No-nonsense and hoping to make admiral, Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills to fight German U-boats. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. For her part, Tess works hard to prove her worth in the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston–both to her commanding officers and to the man with whom she is smitten. When Dan is assigned to a new escort carrier at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he’s torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help Tess root out a possible spy on shore. The Germans put up quite a fight, but he wages a deeper battle within his heart. Could Tess be the one for him?

With precision and pizazz, fan favorite Sarah Sundin carries readers through the rough waters of love in a time when every action might have unforeseen world-changing consequences.

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him–not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff’s department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He’s the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father’s accidental death. And he’s the one–perhaps the only one–who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she’s nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on–namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

So much to look forward to!