I stayed up soooo late reading this book just to see how it ended.
We first meet Ella when she's describing the rules that rule her life and her town.I stayed up soooo late reading this book just to see how it ended.
We first meet Ella when she's describing the rules that rule her life and her town. You have to be an Auburn fan or an Alabama fan, you don't ever wear a crown, and you don't associate with the Jackson family. Ella breaks the biggest of those rules when she falls in love with Brady Jackson.
They are cruelly torn apart as teens and then the book fast forwards to ten years later. Ella has come home to take care of a family situation and Brady seems to be everywhere she is. Ella is trying to reconcile her buried feelings and hurt and betrayal from their breakup years ago, as well as unravel the mystery as to why the rules were there in the first place. That is what kept me up late. While I loved the romance between Ella and Brady, I just had to know why those rules came to be. And it was worth the wait. So tender.
I enjoyed the southern touches the author uses, they felt genuine, I liked the small town setting, and the characters were endearing, especially Brady. I love second chance romance stories and this one did not disappoint. A great afternoon/evening/half the night read!
This is the second book in the Hearthfire Romance series and is a companion novel to the first one, Saving Grace. This is definitely not a s4.5 stars.
This is the second book in the Hearthfire Romance series and is a companion novel to the first one, Saving Grace. This is definitely not a stand-alone book and in order for it to make the most sense, you really have to read Saving Grace first since this one takes place at the same time.
That said, I really enjoyed the romance between the main characters in Loving Helen. There were just enough misunderstandings to build the tension and the addition of Helen's relationship with Beth really showed off the real Helen---the one who's not jumpy and afraid. I loved that Helen is fleshed out as a real character who has overcome so much in her life to bring her to this point and that Mr. Preston doesn't feel an insta-love for her. It made it very realistic, even through their faux-engagement when those tender feelings are beginning to take root. I loved Mr. Preston in the first book and loved him even more in this one. This is a clean romance, of course, but I have to say there is one "kissing scene" that was totally sigh-worthy. Since I don't want to give away any spoilers, however, I'll stop there. I also thought the author did a great job with the secondary characters and really made the entire cast relatable and believable. I'm excited to read the third book in the series!...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was so relatable! I currently have a child in piano lessons and we were chuckling and nodding our heads through theI thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was so relatable! I currently have a child in piano lessons and we were chuckling and nodding our heads through the whole thing. The way it likens piano practice to what we're trying to do as followers of Christ was so original. We also loved the illustrations and how realistic they were. A great book for family home evening and a family keepsake for sure!
I've been looking for something to help us with new Easter family traditions, and since I enjoyed Emily Freeman's book about a Christ-Centered ChristmI've been looking for something to help us with new Easter family traditions, and since I enjoyed Emily Freeman's book about a Christ-Centered Christmas, I was excited to see she had one out about Easter.
Celebrating A Christ-Centered Easter isn't like any other tradition book I've seen. It doesn't concentrate on the days leading up to Christ's crucifixion---it concentrates instead on the people who surrounded Christ before his crucifixion. Lazarus, Simon, the Women, Joseph and Nicodemus, and Thomas to name a few. I loved how the author took the individual experiences these people had with the Savior and suggested ways we can use their experience to better our own lives. The stories are made so personal and brought a whole new meaning to them. They were short chapters, but each one was filled with ideas and wisdom that I thought about long after I'd finished the book.
The author also includes short family home evening lessons you can do after each chapter which I really appreciated. I'm going to do the "forget" knot tonight.
I think this is a touching book that offers a unique perspective into our Easter traditions and what they could be. I loved the ideas, I loved that it is diverse enough for anyone to read---individuals or families. Definitely going on my keeper shelf! If you are looking for a way to make your Easter more meaningful, this is the book for you....more
I really couldn't put this one down. Ms. Strauss has a way of writing that really pulls you into the character's lives.
Eva Baumann was in an accidentI really couldn't put this one down. Ms. Strauss has a way of writing that really pulls you into the character's lives.
Eva Baumann was in an accident five years ago that has left her crippled. All the dreams she once had are shattered and she feels like her sister is living the life she once thought would be hers. Her parents are overprotective, but Eva rarely ventures out as it is, so that seems okay for the moment. Then, she finally gets up the nerve to sing one of her songs at The Blue Note and her life takes another turn.
Sebastian Weiss is living the dream he thought he wanted---he's a rock star with all the fame that comes along with it. But his life isn't how it seems on the outside. All of his relationships are suffering and he hasn't been able to write in months. When he wanders into The Blue Note, he's completely drawn to Eva and her song. She can't believe he'd ever be interested in someone like her, and see beyond her disability. He can't believe he's found someone like her.
It is such a beautiful love story that has a lot of ups and downs. There were a couple of times, though, where I wondered if this couple would be able to overcome everything that was thrown at them. Sebastian has a pretty big secret that was tough to watch them go through once it was revealed. Ms. Strauss is an expert at drawing on human weakness and emotion and figuring that into the relationship. It seemed very realistic and truly swept me away. A story I didn't want to put down. ...more
Heather Moore hit the USA Today Bestsellers list and this book tells of all the things she did to do that and how she marketed her books before and afHeather Moore hit the USA Today Bestsellers list and this book tells of all the things she did to do that and how she marketed her books before and after with different promotion sites. I thought it was really helpful and provided a lot of links to each promotion site, but is separated out into categories for people who are on a marketing budget (Free, $10 or less) and then goes up from there. I like how it also included the requirements for each site submission (price, reviews, etc.) and whether it resulted in sales or not. Of course it will be different for each genre and book, but it's a great starting point for authors. I plan to try some of the sites in there for sure!...more
I've really been looking forward to this book. Each previous book has left on fairly big cliffhangers so I was interested to see how the author wouldI've really been looking forward to this book. Each previous book has left on fairly big cliffhangers so I was interested to see how the author would tie everything up. Last we read, Charlotte had realized she had feelings for Angus, but is she too late?
It opens with Angus getting ready to leave to take a position for his residency halfway across the country. Charlotte does not want him to go, but everything has changed between them. What once was easy and comfortable is now really uncomfortable. But Charlotte isn't going to let him go so easily.
I have loved Charlotte's character through all of the books, and this one was no different. She's going through some painful growth and she's making a lot of mistakes, but at least her heart is in the right place. She puts a lot of her own wants and feelings aside to make Angus see that they can be good together if he'll only give her another chance. She humbles herself so much, though, I was starting to feel like she was losing what made her unique and relatable. And the love I had for Angus was dwindling because of how much of a jerk he was, but there are still flashes of the old, fun Charlotte and the heroic sigh-worthy Angus, that kept me turning pages to see if they would get their happily ever after. Some of the scenes were laugh out loud (with her new "job" in the restaurant) and others were scary with her new apartment. (seriously it was a yikes! moment). The author really draws you into the relationship from both sides to see the healing that is taking place. One of the surprise heroes in this book, though, was Charlotte's twin brother. I really loved him and how he dealt with being caught between his sister and his best friend.
The ending was definitely worth the angst and I thought the author tied up the series really well. An entertaining read that will leave you with a smile when you've turned the last page....more
I was really looking forward to Phoenix's story in This Heart of Mine. She's the woman who was sent to prison as a teenager because she was accused ofI was really looking forward to Phoenix's story in This Heart of Mine. She's the woman who was sent to prison as a teenager because she was accused of murdering Riley's new girlfriend, when she herself was pregnant with Riley's child and he had recently dumped her. Seventeen years later she's come back to town to get to know her son she had to give up the moment he was born.
From the little snatches of information we knew about Phoenix and Riley's relationship, it didn't seem like this was going to be a welcome homecoming at all. But from the moment you meed Phoenix, all is not how it has seemed. As a mother I really related to how she would be desperate to know her son and regretting all the time she'd missed out on. And having Riley there, the only man she's ever loved, made it all the harder since she doesn't want him to think she's still carrying a torch for him. Phoenix has been through a lot in prison and trying to readjust to life on the outside, getting to know her son, and facing a town that believes she is a murderer is a tall order for anyone to fill, but Novak does a great job of really letting her readers experience all of it with Phoenix.
Riley is trying to find a balance with keeping his son emotionally safe and letting him get to know his mother who is an ex-con. He also realizes that maybe some of the things he's believed about Phoenix all this time might not be true. He's got a lot of pressure from all sides to deal with though. His parents are sure Phoenix is guilty and not good for anyone to be around, including her son. The family of the murdered girl wants her run out town. But her son wants the opportunity to figure things out on his own about what he believes about Phoenix without anyone coloring his judgment. There's such a great emotional entanglement getting unraveled through the whole story, it was riveting.
The only thing that drew me out of this story, was that there qas more profanity (and more descriptive sexual thoughts/scenes) than I'm used to in a Novak book. There's always been some, but not a lot, and this one seemed to have a little more than her other ones. They are able to be skipped over, but a little heads up for my gentle readers.
I'm interested to see if the next book in the series will be the last and how Ms. Novak wraps it all up. Will we see more of all the characters from Whiskey Creek? Will the next story be Kyle's happily-ever-after? Hopefully we find out sooner rather than later.
I really loved the first book these three ladies did called The Fortune Cafe, and this new one, The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, is just as awesome and haI really loved the first book these three ladies did called The Fortune Cafe, and this new one, The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, is just as awesome and has some tie-ins to it that made me smile.
The way the books are written is that there are three separate novella that each tell a story revolving around something on Tangerine Street. The first book was the cafe, obviously, and the second is an antiques shop.
In The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, the first story is about Jennifer, who has inherited the antiques shop on Tangerine Street, but she wants to sell it. Maybe. Her real estate agent, Paul Studly, is drawn to her and her dilemma of what she should do with the property now that she's starting to question her decision to let it go. And it would be a plus for Paul if the very attractive and intriguing Jennifer stuck around. I really liked the interaction between these two and how Jennifer saw a different perspective not only about her own life, but her aunt's as well. It was a light, fun read.
The second story is about Abbie and Holden, two very opposite people. Abbie sees an antique toy soldier set in the antique store window and goes in to buy it, but Holden also sees the set and offers triple the asking price. Their reactions to each other are surprising and witty and fun and I had to keep reading to find out how this story would end up! Can Holden win her over? Will Abbie give him a chance when her past experience with men have been so terrible? One of my favorite stories for sure.
The third story is about Cate who is in Europe when her beloved grandmother passes away. The only thing she wants is an antique sewing machine that her grandmother promised her, but by the time she gets back in the States, her cousin has sold the sewing machine to an antiques dealer. Henry bought the sewing machine for a special reason and he doesn't want to give it up, no matter what Cate says. But the more they get to know each other, the more the sparks fly, but who will end up with sewing machine?
I love that there is a central theme of the antique shop and Tangerine Street. I could imagine all the places on this street and the setting was really done well. The characters were great, the romances clean and fun, and the stories engaging. You know it's good when you wish it had been a full-length novel to see more!...more
I have really loved this series and Ava's Revenge gives us some insight into Ava and how she came to be one of the Renegade leaders.
The novella takesI have really loved this series and Ava's Revenge gives us some insight into Ava and how she came to be one of the Renegade leaders.
The novella takes us from the end of Ava's mortal life to the beginning of her Renegade life and it wasn't pretty back in the 1700s. She belonged to her husband and he could do what he wanted to her. Her husband was an evil man and Ava suffered through some horrific abuse. The novella is gritty and doesn't sugarcoat anything, including the abuse, (which was hard to read sometimes), but this also shows how strong Ava truly is to have survived at all, especially emotionally.
My favorite part of the novella, however, was during the 1800s when Ava and some other familiar Renegades are trying to save a slave family from being sold. She meets a man with familiar blue eyes that awakens part of her she thought was dead. Their dialogue was fun and witty. I wished it was a full length novel, just so I could have more of them, but the author does a fantastic job of filling in details and letting the reader experience it all with Ava.
I also enjoyed seeing Ritter, my favorite character besides Erin, and what he was like all those years ago. And we also got a scene from Changed the first novel in the series from Ava's point of view. A really great addition to the series. Can't wait to read Mortal Brother!...more
I have to say, I think this is my favorite of all the collections. If I had to pick a favorite story from this one, I don't think I could. They were rI have to say, I think this is my favorite of all the collections. If I had to pick a favorite story from this one, I don't think I could. They were really all outstanding this time and I stayed up late to finish them. (And with small children, you know how valuable sleep is, so that says a lot!)
The first one is by Anna Elliot and it's a journal time entry story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I wasn't sure if I would like this one because I've read so many bad stories that continue Jane Austen's masterpiece, but I thought this author did a great job. I haven't read anything by her before and will definitely look for her other titles now.
Sarah Eden's contribution was so heartfelt and I loved Julian. As always, I wish her novellas were full-length novels. I just fall in love with her characters and want to read more about them, especially a girl like Elizabeth who deserved more, but is being denied because of family issues. So emotional and so good.
Carla Kelly is another favorite author of mine and her story was so heart-rending. She just has such intense emotional scenes in her books that make it impossible to put down. Thankful Winnings is a Friend and wants an adventure before she settles down to a marriage that she's not excited about. She gets her adventure and more when her ship comes across the aftermath of a battle and all the wounded that need care. Thankful is put to the test when she agrees to help treat the wounded and comes across more than she bargained for with a wounded doctor who is dealing with much more than just war-weary and wounded men. So good.
In Josi Kilpack's story, Regina Weathers is shocked when her beau, Ross, from fifteen years before suddenly shows up at her family's ball. I admit, I laughed a lot at their "reunion" scene. The dialogue between Regina and Ross was witty and fun, and I couldn't wait to see how their love story worked out. Really well done.
Annette Lyon took a different take on the regency theme and her story was about a couple who had been married for years and had grown apart. Can they find their way back to each other or is it too late? A charming story that included some fun secondary characters (the daughters and the old flame) that I wouldn't mind seeing again in another story. Quite memorable.
Heather Moore's heroine Mabel kept me laughing. She collects insects and watches snails and bowls over the duke's brother when he comes to visit. She was quite a woman! Seeing her love story unfold with Gregory was enchanting and I closed that book with a smile.
I loved them all and know this will be one of my favorites to come back to on a rainy afternoon.
This book has an intriguing blurb and the first chapters really hooked me (even though there is some language) so I contin*More like 3.5 stars for me*
This book has an intriguing blurb and the first chapters really hooked me (even though there is some language) so I continued with it. Our heroine, Jane Sullivan, is a widow with a young daughter. She's a budding writer at a writing conference where there are several cover models there. One cover model in particular has all the ladies gushing over him, but all Jane can do is roll her eyes. Lucas Oliver is the epitome of a player and she wants to stay far away from the likes of him. Circumstances keep putting them together, however, and the sparks are flying. But no matter what Lucas makes her feel, Jane feels there is only one love of your life per person and she won't be given a second chance.
Not that Lucas stops trying to change her mind. He's drawn to Jane and her daughter and really wants her to see who he is behind his outward appearance. It was fun in the beginning to see them both try to work through their scars of the past, but there was a lot of sexual innuendo in the first half of the book that moved on to sexual situations (not detailed, fade to black) for the last half. For me, it started to become more about the lust than falling in love, which took a little of the lustre off the book. I felt like the author is good at her craft, but for my taste I wish she would have continued with the back and forth of the first half where the writing and romance shone and less of the sex and a few relationship cliches in the last half. This might not be the case for everyone, obviously, and there were a lot of things about the book to like....more