Surprisingly Yours: A Book Review

Julio and Olivia think they know what they’re doing, but when it comes to love, only June and Ellie, owners of Match Mavens, hold all the cards. And this time, it’s quite the family party in Surprisingly Yours.

Jessica Marie Holt writes books with incredible emotional pull, where each reader can find a message just for them. She also authors something a little less serious. The Granny Pact Collection—rom com. The kind of rom com that leads you to ask the one question you never thought you’d ask about the genre: Where has this been all my life? And like books one and two, Book Three, Surprisingly Yours, won’t let you down!

My Thoughts About Surprisingly Yours

“Make a list of the qualities that matter to you in a spouse.”

That’s what several of my youth leaders suggested.

Olivia, one of the main characters in Surprisingly Yours, would agree. In fact, she probably has so many qualities listed that Mr. Wonderful is still waiting for God to finish creating him. (Please excuse my blasphemy.)

Of course, I also had lists… Lots of them. And like the Match Mavens success stories (which sit at 100%), I managed the most important one… My husband loves me.

Olivia and Julio, the main characters in Surprisingly Yours, find their true loves, too, but unlike in the movies, they don’t recognize it right away. Why would they? After all, the Match Mavens are smarter than those young’uns think. The grannies know love doesn’t come at a glance—unless you’re Maddie. No, love comes through interaction, understanding, and a houseful of fabulous family with empanadas (skip the prietas). More than that, the Mavens know that opposites don’t always attract, and rarely are they opposites.

Only Good

Holt has created some of the funniest characters in her Granny Pact collection. June and Ellie, aka the Match Mavens, created out of love for her own grandmothers, take kooky to a whole new lovable level as they scheme up ways to turn two singles into one couple. If you’ve read Reluctantly Yours and Accidentally Yours, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

But she doesn’t stop there. Each one of Holt’s characters is lovingly created. This time, she brings stylishly handsome, happy-to-be-single, “suave” Julio together with list-making, responsible, “cute” Olivia. Together, they explore a bit of the Chilean culture—one Holt has experienced and loves.

This author hasn’t lost her way with words, either. I laughed my way through each chapter and fell in love with two more characters who totally deserve each other. (By the way, they are my favoritest couple so far!)

The official blurb

The grannies are back and ready for their next challenge!

Julio Rivera is happily unattached, but his family desperately wants him to get serious about his future and his love life. When they find a Match Mavens flyer in a supermarket window, they decide that this mysterious method is worth a try.

Ellie and June are all too happy to help. After all, it’s unnatural—maybe even criminal—for a handsome and charming young man like Julio to be single. Something must be done about it, and they are just the ones to do it.

Julio proves reluctant to give up his slacker ways, and the Mavens must come up with a clever solution for his unique problem—or risk marring their perfect matchmaking record.

More Info

Purchase your copy of Surprisingly Yours on Amazon.

Follow Jessica Marie Holt on Facebook   &  Goodreads

I recieved a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Adelia Burke: Author Blog Tour and Giveaway

Join Adelia Burke and fourteen book bloggers on a book tour for A Guarded Love! Enjoy a giveaway, interviews, and book reviews as you get to know Adelia!

A Guarded Love by Adelia Burke

The Perfect Match by Adelia Burke has been recently re-released as A Guarded Love. Now it’s time for bloggers and readers to party! Adelia has gathered the forces, rallied the book reviewers, and invited readers to learn more about her and her book. Read my review of A Guarded Love now, then follow the links listed below to read reviews from other bloggers. Leave comments on the blog posts and earn entries into the listed giveaway! YAY, prizes!!!

June 1st Crossroad Reviews
June 2nd Community Bookstop
June 3rd TBA
June 4th Bibilo Leviosa
June 5th Bonnie Gets a Say
June 6th Fire and Ice
June 7th TBA
June 8th My Book a Day
June 9th Baroness’ Book Trove
June 10th Movie Review Mom
June 11th Kameo Monson
June 12th LUW Romance Writers
June 13th Book.Amour
June 14th The Phantom Paragrapher

Official Blurb

Book cover of A Guarded Love a Christian sweet romance by Adelia Burke

An unsuspecting college student is inadvertently thrust into the paparazzi spotlight when a country music star mingles at a local karaoke club. After an unexpected photo surfaces online, the power of clickbait media sends two people from different worlds on a collision course with destiny.

A break from touring proves to be anything but relaxing, as Landon Ross navigates a whirlwind of tabloid manipulation, crazed fans and heightened security protocol. Each detail of his life is carefully structured and scheduled. But the unexpected arrival of a talented local music major makes him re-evaluate everything.

MORE INFO

Purchase your copy of A Guarded Love on Amazon.

Follow Adelia Burke on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and her website.

Adelia Burke: VIP Club

Sign up for Adelia’s VIP Club, giving you access to several great benefits.

  • Receive a free book when you join
  • Get advanced notice of upcoming releases
  • Participate in character and plot development
  • Receive sneak peeks of new chapters
  • Receive discounts on books
  • Receive newsletters
  • Receive a birthday gift

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Win prizes by leaving comments on A Guarded Love review posts throughout the blog tour (follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter square below) and by visiting Adelia Burke’s Facebook group (use the link provided in the Rafflecopter square). Prizes include free online courses and eBooks. KameoMonson.com is not running this contest and is unaware of the specific rules. Please contact Trina Boice with questions or concerns at trinaboice@gmail.com

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Book Review: Time Twist

Arianna agrees to decorate the Victorian mansion, hoping for a break from reality. Instead, she discovers a different kind of reality.

Jeanie R. Davis, author of Time Twist, calls herself an Arizona transplant. As mother of four daughters and a grandmother with extensive travel experience, Davis somehow manages to write wonderful books for us to enjoy. Her experiences certainly add flavor to her writing talents.

My Thoughts on Time Twist

Until Time Twist, I hadn’t read a time-travel novel in years. But I have watched a couple of time-travel Hallmark movies. I enjoyed the differences in Davis’ story. People don’t wake up in some weird century with no way to get home or with no understanding of how they got to the 21st-century. From the start, Christopher knows how he came to exist in the world of motorized vehicles and cell phones, and by the time he meet Arianna, he’s figured out modern society. Arianna doesn’t spend time introducing him to carbonated soda or the microwave. In fact, she has no idea Chris is from the future.

So, instead of the bumbling, but adorable Englishman who can’t figure out the 21st-century, readers find intrigue, adventure, and a love story worth reading. Arianna, an interior decorator, deals with a mad-man of a client, and Christopher supports her in the background as he works to solve his own mystery.

The first chapter of Time Twist immediately grabbed my attention. However, the second chapter almost felt foreign as I found myself in the beginning scenes of a Hallmark-style novel. Then, that specific trope fell away in an appropriate and pleasing manner as the stories of the first and second chapters wove together.

As I read and learned the backgrounds of the characters–the disappointments in their lives and the pains and agonies they’d experienced–I came to expect the story to go a particular way. It didn’t. It’s travel down the story-telling path worked well, but still left me with a minor question I hope to have answered as I read the rest of the series. In no way, though, was the book a disappointment. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it.

I recommend Time Twist for readers 14-years-old and above, though it is adult fiction. Readers will find some discussion of sex before marriage and how it relates to Arianna’s ‘old-fashion morals’ as well as some violence. There are also a couple of kissing scenes.

Official Blurb

Arianna Miller tosses her luggage and her hopes into her Subaru and sets out to prove her talent—by decorating a Victorian mansion thirty miles from nowhere. She needs a fresh start and a break from painful memories. However, she is soon haunted by reminders of her past and endangered by foreboding mysteries.

Christopher Flemming is determined to stop his father’s crime spree, which began in nineteenth century London and now threatens present day Colorado. He must find and destroy the time-traveling machine that brought them forward in time. More importantly, he needs to save Arianna.
Because of Christopher’s blurred focus, Arianna finds her attraction to him untenable. She wants to help him, but he refuses to reveal his connection to the mansion.

Everything changes when Arianna stumbles onto the time machine before Christopher does. Will her future end up in the past?

More Info

Purchase your copy of Time Twist from Amazon. You can also pre-order your copy of Time Trap: The Somerset Series Book Two, which is available March 16, 2020.

Follow Jeanie R. Davis on Facebook, Goodreads, and her website.

I received this book for free in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Book Review Cherokee Summer

When Ace spends her summer vacation in Cherokee, the last thing she’s looking for is a relationship, then she meets John.

Winner of the Missouri Romance Writers of America “Gateway to the Best” contest, Cherokee Summer, written by author Susan Anthony, brings some real-life problems and attitudes forward while characters Ace and John refuse to give up on love.

My Thoughts on Cherokee Summer

Alcoholic and dependent parents, racism, and questionable acquaintances are problems Ace and John face in Cherokee Summer. Co-dependent Ace struggles to find her independence from an alcoholic mother and a professional-gambling father while still caring for her autistic brother. Certainly not easy, she refuses to seek help because she doesn’t want to lose her brother, whom she loves deeply.

John lives a relatively stable life, but yearns for the love of his alcoholic mother, who left him when he was four and only visits when she needs money. Some of the friends he once associated with use and sell drugs, and participate in underage drinking.

I have mixed emotions about Cherokee Summer. Anthony knows how to write a story. Her word choice, structure, and ability to pull the reader in has many authors strapped over the proverbial barrel. As I read, I didn’t want to put the book down, despite my eye rolls at young love and concern that certain content might evolve to something I won’t read.

The situations the main characters find themselves in with family and friends are real for a lot of people. Alcohol, drug use, and nonacceptance of race, regardless of whether they are a minority or not. These affect the lives of millions. And I don’t shy away from stories where such factors play a part–as long as they aren’t shown in a positive light. And they’re not in Cherokee Summer.

Before moving on with my concerns, I want to explain some of my background. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that what we read, watch, and experience in our lives affects us greatly. We learn to choose our entertainment carefully because of this. Morally, we believe in appropriate affection toward the opposite gender. This absolutely allows for appropriate kissing, but we teach our children to focus less on physical desires and more on getting to know each other. The Church also teaches that sex is a sacred gift, the power to create life, and is given to us to enjoy only within the bounds of marriage.

So where did I struggle? This book is filled with teenage hormones. Perhaps normal, considering the main characters are 18. But the friendship they build focuses first on physical touch, then actual friendship. It isn’t until after they’ve kissed several times and had a good make-out session that they focus on learning about each other. Hormones are real… Still, I wouldn’t let my teenage daughters read this book, and I’m not likely to recommend it to other adults without a strong disclaimer.

Within the pages, readers find regular ogling of both male and female bodies, French kissing, a girl lifting her top so her belly can touch her male counterpart’s while making out, mention of clothed grinding hips, and behind-the-scenes premarital sex between two consenting 18-year-olds. There is also underage drinking, once by a main character, and drug use by other characters. In terms of swearing, a biblical word is said several times, and the Lord’s name is used in vain.

If none of the above bothers you, then Cherokee Summer has a wonderful story line of a girl who loves her autistic brother and worries about his well-being. True to life, some characters pick on him and others adore him. I LOVED this part of the story, especially when able to mark the differences between characters. Anthony also includes a great suspense within the story that kept me reading. The love story shows two characters choosing their own paths in life and refusing to give up on each other, something I can appreciate as well.

As I said, I have mixed feelings. I don’t regret reading Cherokee Summer, but struggle to recommend it because of its more questionable content. If you decide to read it with the knowledge of what it includes, I have no doubt you will enjoy it.

The Official Blurb

When Ace leaves home to spend the summer in Cherokee, North Carolina the last thing she expects to find is a boyfriend—until she meets Cherokee Tribe member John Spears. As Ace and John’s friendship blossoms, they find their life experiences mirror each other and they fall in love. Despite hurdles thrown by well-meaning family members and jealous frenemies, the star-crossed lovers remain committed to their mutual belief that the universe has drawn them together. However, when Ace sends John a strange text and then suddenly disappears, the two must rely on their trust in each other to save both their lives and their love.

More Info

Purchase your copy of Cherokee summer on Amazon

Follow Susan Anthony on Goodreads

 I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Book Review: Not In the Plans

Jackson and Emory learn a special lesson this Christmas. Sometimes it’s not the giving but the receiving that matters.

What’s Christmas without a new Christmas story filled with holiday giving and romance? Some may say nothing, but this year, I prefer how Jessica Marie Holt explores the other side of giving–that of receiving in Not in the Plans: A Christmas Novella.

My Thoughts on Not in the Plans

One of the beautiful attributes of Holt’s writing is her ability to tell more than a story. Each one of her books and short stories leaves you with a little bit to ponder. Which character are you like? Have you felt the sting of rebuke? The angst of loss? The pull from something unexpected?

Not in the Plans is more than a story about two lonely people coming together at the hands of a darling little boy. And he is darling. Inside its few pages comes a story about two people desiring to be loved for who they are, willing to give everything, but who are still learning to recognize love and receive it graciously.

How many times do we need help? I’m not talking about those days when we want help and a little cheering up. Though those days can certainly be applied with this concept. I’m talking about those times when we cannot function because our water heater blew up our house, and then the hotel provided to us afterward floods. I mean those times when our choices are losing nearly everything or accepting help.

Do you dig in your feet, like I do, and continue to on a path you deem the only acceptable way? When someone gives too much, do you thank them, or do you say ‘it’s too much’ and question the reason why they attempted such a grandiose gift?

But it’s more than that… Do we let a little bit of ourselves go in order to accept the differences of others? Isn’t that a part of receiving?

Not in the Plans still brings two beautiful and truly charming people together. And the pure love of a child leads the way, but when you read Not in the Plans this week, be sure to consider the act of receiving. It can be as important as the act of giving.

The official Blurb

Two neighbors, on a quiet street, in a cozy Southern town. Jackson is a once-jilted bachelor looking for a way to patch up his broken dreams. Emory is a struggling single mom determined to hold things together on her own.

When Emory’s little boy brings them together unexpectedly, they find a new source of hope in each other, just in time for Christmas.

But then Emory’s past threatens to derail her little family’s future, and her new relationship with Jackson. Will hope be enough to save them?

More Info:

Purchase your copy of Not in the Plans on Amazon

Follow Jessica Marie Holt on Facebook   &  Goodreads & Twitter

I received a copy of Not in the Plans for free in exchange for this review. All opinions are honest and my own.
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Book Review: Love Is a Wistful Song

Aryen has her life planned: attend the most prestigious conservatory, then marry the man of her dreams. But Grandfather has other plans in Love Is a Wistful Song.

Ava S. Quill calls herself an aspiring author, claiming there is always plenty more to learn. If that’s the case, and it usually is, I can’t wait to read her ‘professional works,’ because her most recent book, Love Is a Wistful Song, captured my heart the same way How to Train Your Dragon’s and Band of Brother’s soundtracks sent blissful shivers up my spine.

My thoughts:

Before meeting my husband, music was my life. My parents loved me a lot. I know because they rarely asked me to stop singing or playing the piano as I worked on whatever I’d chosen for that day. They also rarely complained when I sang as we walked in public places or on the boat or in the tent or on a peaceful trail.

I had all kinds of little things I did to take care of my voice. For instance, I didn’t eat or drink dairy before a performance so I wouldn’t coat my throat. I also refused to make certain noises in order to avoid voice nodules, something I really wasn’t in any danger of getting in the first place.

It wasn’t that I wanted to be famous. Not at all. To this day, I love the feel of the keys under my fingers and the delight I get from singing. And in case you are wondering, yes, I still sing under my breath as I walk through public places, and I am not bothered by it in the least. My kids, on the other hand, are.

in Love Is a Wistful Song, none of Aryen’s family is embarrassed by her skill on the violin. After all, she takes an old, inexpensive violin and makes it sing in a way most people can’t make the most precious of instruments trill. In fact, even though most girls in their family get married by eighteen, often through arranged marriages, they support her dream of attending the most prestigious conservatory.

When she’s ripped away from the man she privately dreams about, her music turns upside down. Being promised to his cousin twists her strings into knots until they snap.

Saying Love Is a Wistful Song kept my attention would be a bit of an understatement. I found myself wanting extra time to read and stealing it from those precious hours of sleep that I beg for every night.

The story takes the hearts of two people and wraps their melodies together as their world tries to rip them apart. The well-rounded characters made me happy and angry. I found myself with flared nostrils as anger flitted through my veins several times. That is not something I’ve experienced in a long time. The editing, grammar, storyline, and excellent writing took this indie book to a professional level every indie author should reach before publishing.

Some books we treasure because they are entertaining reads that we can finish on the beach without worry of the underlying melodies. Other literary treasures require us to make it through the heavy ballad before we can appreciate the harmonies, while only a few treasures, like Love Is a Wistful Song, entwine melody and counter-melody with harmonies to create a beautiful concerto we want to listen to again and again.

Clean, beautiful, and thought-provoking. I absolutely recommend Love Is a Wistful Song.

The Official Blurb:

Music-obsessed Aryen dreams of attending a prestigious conservatory and, sometimes, about her childhood friend Ryan. But when her dream to study with the masters comes true, it demands a high price—Aryen must agree to an arranged marriage with Ryan’s popular cousin Blaine. When she protests the arrangement, her grandfather threatens to destroy Ryan’s already challenging prospects, forcing Aryen to choose whether to pursue her feelings and sacrifice her lifelong dream or give up Ryan in order to protect him.

More Info:

Purchase your copy of Love Is a Wistful Song on Amazon

Visit Ava S. Quill at www.inkedkeyboard.com
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Book Review: Reluctantly Yours

Besties June and Ellie made a pact twenty-five years ago, and now it’s time to see it through: help their grandchildren James and Sarah to fall in love.

Jessica Marie Holt has spread her delicate wings and written her very first rom com. Reluctantly Yours brings us two best friends, bickering grannies who long-ago made a pact to bring their grandchildren together. But first, they have to get the two stubborn adult grandchildren to like each other again. This hilarious story kept me happily entertained and is guaranteed to do the same for you.

My Thoughts About Reluctantly Yours

Growing up, I had one grandmother who kept a spot on the couch for her dog. We couldn’t sit there. She also kissed us on the lips with Dad in the background saying, ‘Mom, stop spreading your germs.’ And she piled National Geographics in the corner for decades. I loved her.

My other Grandmother lives further away and is now in need of help, but when I was younger she made the most amazing baked goods. She also tried to serve us a frozen turkey on Thanksgiving. And certain forms of dry humor soared right over her short, little head. I love her too.

Still, neither of my grandmothers can compare to the quirky, conniving, methods Ellie and June enact, all in the name of love and family. These two hilarious grannies definitely love their grandchildren, and they may, or may not, have their favorites. James and Sarah.

We’ve all been there: friends, sisters, parents, and fate try to set up the perfect, or not-so-perfect couple. My husband and I are the product of a successful set-up ploy. But have you ever considered, the bickering Bettys who’ve been besties for decades and have passed on their loveable, yet stubborn traits to their grandchildren that they want to see get together try? Spats, trips to the veterinarian, coffee, shared meals, more spats. And the kind of acting that usually only happens on stage. Filled with nothing but fun, Reluctantly Yours hits the mark, at least in this book.

Holt brings her wonderful writing skills to the table, showing her ability to cross genres without faltering. Best yet, Reluctantly Yours is the first in the Granny Pact Collection. I can’t wait to see what kind of a scheme these two loveable characters dream up next.

The Official Blurb

Ellie and June have been neighbors and best friends forever. Together, they’ve weathered it all—marriages, babies, strange wardrobe choices, terrible haircuts, small-town gossip—only to have their friendship come out stronger on the other side. 

But now, they’re up against a hurdle unlike any they’ve faced so far.

Unmarried grandchildren. 

Tragically—and inexplicably—James, Ellie’s absolute treasure of a grandson, is single. And so is Sarah, June’s unmatched delight of a granddaughter.

But these Grannies aren’t worried. They have an ace up their sleeve

The Granny Pact.

Yes, these doting grandmas have vowed to engineer the romantic happiness of their grandchildren—by any means necessary. 

Unfortunately, James and Sarah are not that easy to convince. And, unbeknownst to the grannies, their two grandkids share a past that will make their job much, much harder—and might even test the limits of their fifty-year friendship.

More Info

Purchase your copy of Reluctantly Yours on Amazon.

Follow Jessica Marie Holt on Facebook   &  Goodreads & Twitter

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for this review. All opinion are honest and my own.
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Book Review: My Christmas Darling

When Lucy Carpenter secretly suggests her Christmas novel to her boss for publication, all kinds of crazy ensues in My Christmas Darling by Vivian Mayfair.

Vivian Mayfair must have a love of holidays. Most of her humorous books revolve around fun-filled holidays. My Christmas Darling is no different. Be ready for a world of name, novel, and TV scene dropping that will make you pat your sleeping partner as you laugh. It happened to me.

My Thoughts about My Christmas Darling

When the Christmas bug bites you, do you curl up on the couch with your favorite snuggly blanket, maybe a mug of hot chocolate, and a Hallmark movie crafted after your favorite holiday romance novel? If you do, then this adorable book by Vivian Mayfair is your next read.

The descriptions and dialogue Mayfair created had me imagining some of my favorite Hallmark stars as I read. Sara Rue is my choice for main character Lucy Carpenter, who wants nothing more than to have her Christmas novel published and help her mom, who was blinded in an accident, along the way.

What better way to insert a comedic romance into a holiday than have the story revolve around the publishing of a Christmas novel? I couldn’t think of one. And this story takes has it all. Christmas decor, a grinch, a clueless elf who wants nothing more than to help, Ms. Claus spreading Christmassy goodness, and a misunderstood boy and girl that need to do nothing more than find each other to fix it all.

While I did enjoy My Christmas Darling, I do want to let my readers know there were a few word choices that made me wonder. When the main character thinks about the fragrance of her love interest, I was certain she’d say he stank, because the word ‘smell’ was used. I also wondered at the use of ‘confiscated’ when it was used to describe be seized in the hall for a kiss. None of it was significant to my enjoyment level, but it did pull me out of the moment a couple of times. I still recommend the book, especially at the $0.99 price point.

The official blurb

A SNOWDROP VALLEY BEGINNING…

Christmas has come to New York, but it doesn’t feel very festive for Lucy Carpenter. Single, disgruntled in love from past hurts, she disappears into the world of books as a manuscript reader for a mid-level publishing company on the East Side. Plagued with guilt for a mistake that took her mom’s eyesight, Lucy dreams of achieving financial success despite growing medical bills and unpaid rent. Her only hope of survival is to publish her little Christmas novel despite repeat rejections by big publishers. When her boss requests her publishing recommendations for the month, Lucy submits her manuscript under a false identity against strict company guidelines in what becomes the great holiday literary hoax of Manhattan where lies spin out of control and stockings are filled with coal instead of chocolates.

Known as the ice fish of Big Apple Books, William Harcourt longs for acceptance from a nitpicky father who rules the publishing industry with an iron fist. When a sweet Christmas manuscript about a father and daughter in a fictional book town crosses his desk, he believes it to be the ticket that will bring his company into the Top Five and finally gain him his father’s love. What he didn’t expect was to fall in love over email with an enchanting mystery author whose book thawed his wounded heart and opened his eyes to the true meaning of self-acceptance and self-love. My Christmas Darling is a heartwarming holiday romance to remind us why we love Christmas. This adorable love story draws you in fireside and proves how the spirit of the season goes beyond pretty wrapped packages under a tree. 

Cozy up with a crochet blanket and a cup of peppermint hot cocoa and absorb into a festive world where books reign and true-love wishes come true. Ideal reading for fans of sweet and clean contemporary romance authors such as Debbie Macomber, Sheila Roberts, Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant, and Debbie Mason.

More Info

My Christmas Darling releases September 15, 2019, and can be pre-ordered now for $0.99 on Amazon.

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at Vivian Mayfair.com
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I received this book in exchange for a this review. All opinions are my own.
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Book Review: Hearts Unshackled (Royals of Andorvia Book One)

Princess Katherine wants two things in life: to care for the subjects of her kingdom and find a way to be with Naithanal. Can her dreams be realized? Find out in Hearts Unshackled.

Author Amy Klaus introduced her first novel to the world on July 15, 2019, and it isn’t one you’ll want to miss. Hearts Unshackled, the first book in the Royals of Andorvia series, brings romance and action together in a way that keeps you reading through the night.

My thoughts about Hearts Unshackled

Last year, I had the opportunity to beta read Hearts Unshackled for Klaus. The story immediately captured my heart. As she prepared to publish, I jumped at the chance to review the finished product for her. And it is, of course, even better.

Set in a fictitious kingdom, it deals with the immoralities of slavery and the difficulties that come with uniting various cultures. While it is plain to see that the author has strong feelings against slavery and sees value in caring for others, I wouldn’t label this a political book by any means. The intent is entertainment, and it entertains well. Given the choice, I wouldn’t have put the book down during the second reading any more than I would have through the first.

The main characters, Princess Katherine and Naithanal, as well as most of the side characters, are well-rounded, and I found myself cheering and chastising them regularly–sometimes at the same time. As with any good romance, readers experience the ups and downs that come with love. The push for Katherine to become queen isn’t easy for her or Naithan, and the immoral slave trade that infiltrates her kingdom only makes the situation trickier.

I highly recommend Hearts Unshackled. The perfectly clean read offers no swearing and has no inappropriate relationship scenes. While it deals with slavery, the main characters fight for humanity, and the violence involved during the action scenes is not described in gory detail. I would have no problem with my junior-high schooler reading Hearts Unshackled, and I can guarantee I’ll be reading it again.

The Official Blurb

A princess. An outcast. A fate worse than death.
Will their love triumph, or will they be torn apart before it ever has a chance?

Princess Katherine has never questioned her duty as the heir to the throne of Maledonia. Never, that is, until she meets a hunter named Naithan and her entire life is thrown into disarray – blissful, dangerous disarray. But in spite of her attraction to the young hunter and his simple lifestyle, as the Crown Princess, betrothed since childhood, bound by her duty, she will never be free to love.

Duty takes on an entirely new meaning for Katherine and Naithan when a fledgling slave trade threatens to divide and destroy Maledonia … and their families. Will they have the courage to risk everything they love to save innocent lives from a fate worse than death? Or will they become the slavers’ next targets?

More Info

Purchase your copy of Hearts Unshackled on Amazon.

Follow Amy Klaus Online
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Book Review: My Fault

After Cleo runs over Grayson when she shouldn’t have been driving, all she wants to do is make amends. But he’s so darn cute, leaving him alone becomes nearly impossible in My Fault by RJ Conte.

RJ Conte may have written nine novels, but she’s only kissed one boy, and she married him! Perhaps that’s what leads her to write such entertaining love stories as My Fault. This humorous love story takes readers into the mind of Cleo Stanton, who after 30 days in the clink, wants nothing more than to make it up to the guy she ran over with her car.

My Thoughts on My Fault

Cleo Stanton is the type of character you love to watch annoy others. The sweetest, quirkiest gal who has absolutely no clue about social graces. The girl in the back of your college English class who dressed in loud, mismatched clothing and talked her neighbor’s ear off but still managed to know all the answers, has nothing on Cleo. Nothing.

She rambles. Rambles in text messages. Rambles out loud and in her mind. Nothing stops her. But I found I didn’t mind. Her rambling made my nights more enjoyable. I laughed. My husband looked at me funny, and I laughed some more.

Cleo knows how to connect topics too. Wombats, head-babies, and uvulas all come into play, and even though I don’t dress like Cleo or talk like Cleo, somehow, I relate to Cleo.

My Fault is filled with humor, page after page of it, and most doesn’t come from unusual situations, but from the thoughts running through Cleo’s head. They’re fantastic! But it’s not all humor. Toward the end, RJ Conte takes the story through a twisty tunnel and a couple of serious topics appear. Don’t worry, she tackles them with grace and brings the story together stupendously.

As a Christian rom-com story, you know God comes up. Cleo has a knack for praying. I’d consider it irreverent, but knowing Cleo as I do, for her, it’s classic. Besides, God may not be fictional, but Cleo is. More importantly, we see where God’s hand plays a part in Cleo and Grayson’s lives and, hopefully, can relate to such miracles ourselves.

This short book will have you laughing and maybe crying. Maybe both. Either way, I’m certain you’ll love Cleo as much as I do.

Official Blurb

“I realized his eyes had lost that wary look. They were the bluest blue. Bluer than my favorite coffee mug. Bluer than the Solonaise County Public Pool when it’s actually been cleaned at the beginning of the summer before all those little kids in their floaties come and pee in it.”

Quirky Cleo Stanton has a problem: she’s falling for the guy she ran over with her car when she should not have been driving.

A devout Christian and quietly mysterious, Grayson Fox is as cute as he is kind, begrudgingly putting up with Cleo and her motor mouth. But will he ever forgive her for crushing his leg? Can she break him out of his shell? And what hilarity will ensue when the flamboyant Cleo tries to draw him out?

More Info

Purchase your copy of My Fault on Amazon

Follow RJ Conte at Blonde RJ, her blog
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