Valentine Gold (2019)

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About the Book

Valentine GoldBook:  Valentine Gold

Author: Danielle Thorne

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 13, 2019

A Second Chance Clean & Wholesome Romance with Small Town Charm

Her chances of finding a Valentine are about as good as striking gold, but an old cabin, a new neighbor, and the mountain of Good Hope just might shift the odds.

When Natalie Boyd inherits an old cabin in the north Georgia mountains, she thinks it could be the answer to all of her problems. She’s ready to start over after a heartbreaking divorce, and the cabin on the banks of a river once mined for gold is the perfect hideaway for her new, reclusive life.

No sooner does she settle in, and Natalie realizes that living in the shadow of Good Hope Mountain isn’t what she expected. Her new neighbor, Jonathan Wilby, has plans for his property as soon as winter’s over, and that means noise, traffic, and people. To make things worse, he’s drop-dead gorgeous and could charm the skin off a snake.

Natalie braces herself to do battle over the land and to resist Wilby’s charms, but her healing heart, an incredible discovery, and unexpected friendships along the way bring a gold mine of change she never expected – and just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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My Thoughts

I’ve only read one book by Danielle Thorne — A Pirate at Pembroke — and I loved it. When I saw Valentine Gold and read the premise, I knew I needed to purchase this novel ASAP. What a great read! I enjoyed everything about this book: the sweet characters, the chemistry, the slight disdain for Valentine’s Day, and the thematic discussion on not getting caught up in gossip. Valentine Gold is a sweet clean romance I highly recommend this Valentine season.

wp-1581173515789.jpgGossip is such an easy trap to fall into. I hate gossip because it’s nine-times-out-of-ten just busybodies being mean. It’s so pervasive, gossip can infiltrate even the most innocuous of conversations. Natalie Boyd, the heroine of Valentine Gold, is not a fan of gossip but falls prey to it. Someone says something. Words are overheard and taken out of context. Those out-of-context words are spread like wildfire and feelings get hurt. To make matters worse, Natalie makes a judgment and a decision based on these out-of-context words and major conflict ensues. This is all good for a fictional tale — novels thrive on conflict. But in real life, real people can be really hurt by gossip and its effects. In the Bible, we are actually directed to stay away from gossipers: Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler (Proverbs 20:19). God takes words very seriously and we should too. Don’t be a simple babbler! I appreciate Ms. Thorne’s warning on gossip. It’s a great reminder for me today to be a bit more careful with my words.

Valentine Gold is not your typical lovey-dovey Valentine’s novel. This fun and unique story has depth and feeling and substance. I enjoyed this story from start to finish and will miss my time with these endearing characters. I highly recommend this story. Purchase a copy today to enjoy this Valentine season!

I purchased a review copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon on January 19, 2020. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Earl’s Betrothal (2016)

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About the Book

91Zmj4JTxpL.jpgBook: The Earl’s Betrothal

Author: Karen Tuft

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2016

Out of the war and into another, Captain Lord Anthony Hargreaves finds the politics of romance to be as uninviting a battle as the one that nearly cost him his life in Badajoz, Spain.

Wounded both mentally and physically from the Peninsular War in 1812, Anthony returns home to find that his older brother has died, placing Anthony next in line to inherit the estate. But he’s not ready for such responsibilities. And when Anthony’s dying father pleads with him to marry and produce an heir to preserve the family title, it nearly sends Anthony over the edge; nevertheless, he dutifully faces a long line of hopeful young ladies who await him. No one grabs his attention, though, like Amelia Clarke, his mother’s stunning companion, who is off-limits for the earl. But when Anthony unwittingly puts Amelia in a compromising situation, he dedicates himself to protecting her reputation.

But the horrors Anthony faced while away from home have left him feeling broken and tormented. And Anthony finds himself drawn to Miss Clarke, the only one who can chase away his demons, but he must overcome the hostility of a society driven by class, a jealous duke bent on revenge, and himself—for could Amelia ever really love a haunted man?

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My Thoughts

The Earl’s Betrothal by Karen Tuft is a superb Regency novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. This is the type of story one reads because she wants to escape from reality, and in today’s world, boy, do I crave fictional worlds to escape into! I found so much to love about The Earl’s Betrothal. The characters are sweet and endearing. Amelia is all that is good and innocent, but she’s also strong, smart, and independent. I very much appreciate that she is not afraid to stand up for herself and for what is right. And, I really love how Amelia is able to see past people’s exteriors to their true hearts. Anthony is my favorite type of hero — the protector! Anthony is a true leader, but like many leaders, he often takes the burdens of others onto himself so others suffer less. His time in the military has scarred him emotionally and mentally, and he has a lot of demons to work through. While I hate human suffering in any form, I do have to say I found Anthony refreshing because he is such a noble and honorable character. My favorite aspect of his character is how he cares for Amelia even though her social standing is well below his. I love this because unlike most people in Anthony’s social circle, he is able to recognize Amelia’s true value. So, while there are plenty of sweet and steamy kisses that make the reader’s knees weak in this novel, what I found the most romantic is how genuine Anthony’s feelings for Amelia are.

PhotoCollage_20191216_194325404.jpgThere is so much more to love about this novel. The plot is excellent. I was engaged the entire read, and there are even a couple of moments where I gasped audibly because I just did not see certain things coming. The pacing is also excellent as this is one of those novels I read late into the night because I was unwilling to put it down. I also very much appreciate the timely and thoughtful themes weaved throughout the narrative. All in all, The Earl’s Betrothal is a story I highly recommend. If you are a fan of well-crafted Regency stories, then The Earl’s Betrothal is definitely the book for you.

I  purchased an eBook copy from Amazon on December 10, 2019, to read and review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

On My Honour (2019)

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About the Book

51ZPKAHUsXL.jpgBook: On My Honour

Series: Brethren in Arms #1

Author: Elizabeth Johns

Genre: Clean Historical Romance

Release Date: February 4, 2019

When Lady Margaret Blake and her sister lose their parents in a boating accident they are left to the guardianship of their uncle. Disregarding their feelings for the price their beauty will fetch on the Marriage Mart, he arranges a match for both. Lady Margaret, however, has her own views on the matter and takes her Fate into her own hands.

Returning home after war to assume his responsibilities, Luke, Duke of Waverley, expects a nice, quiet life on his country estate. Within hours of stepping foot in England, though, he stumbles upon a young woman being attacked and no sooner does he rescue her than she runs away. His sense of curiosity is piqued and his sense of honour compels him to help her, leading him on a merry chase…

Meg escapes the marriage, only to find herself at the mercy of others. Fortunately, in the soldier she cannot avoid she also finds herself in very capable hands. Only her uncle has a deeper reason for his actions and will stop at nothing to see his plans fulfilled.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

On My Honour is the first novel that I’ve read and enjoyed by Elizabeth Johns, and it will not be my last. I very much enjoyed the fast-paced plot, and I found the characters to be endearing and memorable. I also appreciated the many unique topics discussed in this novel. In fact, there are so many interesting talking points to be found in this novel that I think it would make a great book-club read.

PhotoCollage_20191201_125355266.jpgOf the characters in the story, Meg is the one I both loved and struggled with. My favorite thing about Meg is that she realizes that life without Luke, the fantastic hero of On My Honour, would be unimaginable. Meg is a strong, capable, and independent woman. She doesn’t need anyone, especially Luke, but she realizes that she does want him in her life. With Luke, life is full of color, and he gives Meg a sense of comfort and companionship she cannot get without him. And, ultimately, Luke brings Meg real, true love, and in her fictional world with all its crazy plot twists, love — and Luke — is exactly what Meg needs.

While Meg does realize Luke’s importance in her life, she fights it, and that bugged me. The first time Meg rejects Luke’s proposal, I get it. There is a notion that he is only doing so because Meg needs help. And, honestly. marrying someone out of a sense of obligation is a bad idea. It can easily lead to resentment. So, when she rejects Luke the first time, I agree. But after time has passed and the relationship between Luke and Meg has blossomed into something real with several heart-stopping kisses I just struggled with Meg’s continual refusal. By the third, fourth, fifth time Meg tries to convince Luke not to marry her out of a sense of honor, I was ready to move on because all of her refusals just started to feel mean. How much disappointment can one hero take? At some point before the last chapter of a book, the heroine has to accept her and her hero’s feelings otherwise the novel can become tedious. This is my one complaint with Meg.

Overall, I do recommend On My Honour. The story is well written and fast-paced. I was thoroughly engaged the whole time even with my struggle with Meg’s character. If you are a fan of Regency-era novels, On My Honour is definitely one you should check out today!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon on November 13, 2019, in order to read and review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Delicate Balance (2019)

44785327Delicate Balance: A Romance (2019) by Brooke St. James is the first book in her The Blair Brothers series. This book comes in eBook form, and is 190 pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy six-year old at home, this book took me less than 24 hours to devour! I purchased a copy of this novel from Amazon on April 3, 2019 to review. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give Delicate Balance 4.5 STARS. This book is a Contemporary Clean Romance.

About the Book

I knew the Blair brothers. It was impossible to grow up in Astoria and not be familiar with them. 

There were four boys in the Blair family, and all of them had that certain something. They were smart, athletic, funny, and gorgeous. If I was forced to pick my favorite, it would have to be Henry. He was the wild one of the bunch—a rock star. Literally. He left Astoria years ago to chase and realize his dreams in Seattle. I still saw his younger brothers quite a bit, but it had been years since I’d seen Henry. 

That all changed one night when the Blair family came into the restaurant where I worked and sat at my table. Henry just so happened to be with them. I always imagined that he might be the man of my dreams, but after that night, I knew it.

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My plan last night was not to devour a novel in one sitting. But that is exactly what happened. Delicate Balance is ideal for when you want something super sweet, highly engaging, and fast-paced. It’s the perfect story to escape into, and I loved every page!

Aiden is my kind of heroine. She is quiet, demure, and a bit of an introvert. The idea of doing new things sounds exciting to her, but she isn’t going to really do those new things. Instead, she is going to be a productive human in her society, and then go home to her dog every night to binge-watch Netflix or read a good book. If you added a husband and child to the picture, this would literally be my life. What I enjoyed so much about Aiden’s journey in this novel is that she finds someone who gets her to come out of her shell. Aiden’s problem is that she doesn’t see herself the way others do. She’s a really amazing woman, but she just can see it until Henry enters the picture and blows her preconceived notions about herself out of the water. I very much enjoyed seeing Aiden come into her own vis a vis Henry’s support. Every woman needs a Henry in her life who is able to help her realize just how awesome she truly is.

What I really loved best about this story is how well St. James captures new love. The passion, the emotions, the inability to really say what you want or mean because you just don’t know each other’s cues yet. It was a fun trip down memory lane for me. I couldn’t help but think on the first few months of my relationship with my husband. That need to impress, but the fear of failure. Wanting so badly to be his one and only, but not wanting to be presumptuous. Looking back on it, new love is rough. I am so glad I am where I am with my husband today! I really feel St. James did a great job capturing the emotions of first love with Aiden and Henry. It really was so much fun to read their story and remember my own.

Delicate Balance is the first novel that I’ve enjoyed by Brooke St. James, but it most definitely will not be my last. This book is so much fun! The characters are well written, the plot is highly engaging, and I very much enjoyed my trip down memory lane. If you are in the mood for a super sweet romance then I highly recommend Delicate Balance.

Let’s Begin Again (2019)

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Let’s Begin Again (2019) by Heather B. Moore is the seventh book in her Pine Valley series. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 230 pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy six-year old at home, this book took me two days to read. I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from Mirror Press Publishing via Kathy at Clean Wholesome RomanceI Am a Reader. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give Let’s Begin AgainSTARS. This book is a Contemporary Clean Romance.

About the Book

Maurie’s dreams are finally coming true, but when Grant Shelton shows up at her doorstep, she discovers that she’s left love out of the equation.

USA Today bestselling author Heather B. Moore welcomes you to Pine Valley!

When Maurie Ledbetter moves back to her hometown to open her dream shop, she calls a local construction crew for help. Former teenage crush Grant Shelton shows up on her front porch, answering the call for the construction job. Seeing Grant again brings back Maurie’s memories of her troubled childhood, and she doesn’t know if spending time around Grant is the best way to move on. But when she discovers Grant has gone through difficulties of his own, Maurie realizes that he might be the key to her own healing.

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My Thoughts

Let’s Begin Again is a sweetly satisfying contemporary romance filled with endearing characters and a plot that keeps the reader happily turning pages well past bedtime. This is a light and easy read that could be completed in a sitting or two, and will definitely leave the reader smiling.

Maurie and Grant, the main characters of Let’s Begin Again, have known each other since childhood; and both, unknown to each other at the time, had really big crushes on one another. Something really awful happens to Maurie when she is 17 and she is forced to leave Pine Valley. Ten years later, Maurie moves back to Pine Valley in order to expand her business. When Maurie and Grant see each other for the first time, it is immediately apparent feelings are still there. Man, do sparks fly!!! I very much enjoyed watching Maurie and Grant’s relationship rekindle and grow into something mature and real. I definitely rooted for them the entire time.

Grant, is a divorced father. His ex-wife is a handful and will often play Grant by using their son, Trent, as a bargaining chip. Grant is reintroduced to Maurie and quickly realizes that a real relationship built on mutual respect and love is possible. Knowing full well the baggage each one carries, Grant and Maurie become an item. It may be an odd thing to say, but I appreciate the way this story shows a divorced parent trying to navigate a demanding ex, a young child, and a burgeoning romance. I found this aspect of the story to be very well written, quite realistic, and a reminder of my own family. It is often illustrated that blended families don’t work out so well, but that has not been my experience. In my personal experience, the family that was created the day my mom and step-father married is, to this day, the healthier, happier, and more loving family, and this is the case with Grant, Maurie, and Trent. I liked seeing my experience with my blended family reflected in this fictional world. It made this story a little more endearing.

Let’s Begin Again is a sweet addition to the Pine Valley series. One I highly recommend! If you are looking for a sweet, clean romance that’s fast-paced, highly engaging, and a bit steamy then this is the book for you.

Abigail (2019) — Release Day

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Abigail (2019) by Jess Heileman is a well-done debut. This book comes in eBook form, and is roughly a couple hundred pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy six-year old, this book took me two days to read. I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Kathy at Clean Wholesome RomanceI Am a Reader. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give Abigail 4.5 STARS. This book is a Clean Historical Romance.

About the Book

For Abigail Blakeslee, becoming a debutante and entering Society is happening far too quickly. But now, foregoing her first Season has brought an unwanted invitation to join her aunt and cousins for a summer at Timpton House, the large estate of the Stanton family.

Reluctantly accepting, Abigail is thrust into the vexing world of social propriety and match making. More vexing still is her cousin’s suitor, the young Timpton heir—Edwin Stanton. Moody and distant at times, remarkably endearing at others, Edwin seems a puzzle she can never solve, but can never quite put away. But then, Abigail has her own secret to hide–her own mystery to conceal. Perhaps such puzzles are better left unsolved, or perhaps love can find a solution.

♥ Goodreads

My Thoughts

At first glance, Abigail appears to be just another upper class woman. She is the only daughter of a very wealthy British lord. She is beautiful, educated, and genuinely kind. She is also not afraid to get her hands a little dirty if it means she can help another person. Abigail truly appears like the perfect catch for any man looking for an impeccable upper-class wife. But is she? Abigail is surrounded by a bit of mystery, and it’s not clear to the reader if things with Abigail are as they seem. Is she really a rich man’s daughter? Is there something common in her background that actually makes her less than what the British Ton believe her to be? All of this mystery surrounding Abigail is the best aspect to this novel. Piecing together who Abigail really is, and seeing whether or not anyone else will discover her secret, kept me turning pages well past my bedtime.

I am not typically a fan of 1st person point of view. If you know me, I need to know both sides to a story. And, I’m not going to lie, but it did drive me a little crazy that I couldn’t see events through Edwin’s eyes. But, I do appreciate how the use of 1st person P.O.V. reminded me to be careful of my knee-jerk reactions. Many times throughout this novel, Abigail makes knee-jerk assertions based on how she perceives others to think or feel. It actually drove me a little nuts that she would do this. The more it bugged me, the more I questioned why. The answer is because at some level, I still do think from time to time like Abigail. Sometimes I make a judgement based on what I think someone’s comment or facial tick implies. I don’t know the truth in the moment, I just know what I think is the truth in the moment. The way 1st person point of view is used, and how Abigail reacts based on her assumptions, is a great illustration to me to be more careful in my judgments of others. We humans have a tendency to be a little too self-focused, and our assumptions can sometimes get the better of us if we are not careful.

Overall, I very much enjoyed my time with this story. I love the mystery aspect to the story line, and found it made the story super engaging. I also really love the characters. They are well written and very realistic. And the romance is lovely. It definitely left this reader smiling from ear to ear. If you are looking for a high-quality, well-written clean historical romance, Abigail is most definitely the book for you. I highly recommend this book.

Chasing Someday (2018)

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Chasing Someday (2018) by Crystal Walton is the fourth book in her Home in You series. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 336 pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy six-year old, this book took me three days to read. I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon on October 7, 2018 to read and review. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give Chasing Someday 4.5 STARS. This book is a Contemporary Clean Romance.

About the Book

A country boy looking to win his best friend’s heart. A waitress afraid of giving hers away. And one crazy, impromptu dating plan that’s about to change everything.

Ex-model Livy Hensley has exactly three talents: making coffee, landing herself in the most awkward moments known to man, and failing miserably at relationships. But when the sweetest southern boy on the planet offers to be your dating coach, who could say no? Between struggling to open a café and trying to atone for a consequence of her past, Livy can use all the help she can get. Besides, what could possibly go wrong on a few practice dates with your best friend?

Chase Thompson’s no stranger to hard work. If that’s what it takes to prove to Livy they should be together, then he’s all in. He can handle pretending he’s not hopelessly in love with her. Sort of. Almost.
Okay, nowhere close. But with a conflicting solution to his family’s greatest trial on the line, the stakes of keeping his dating coach plan from backfiring have never been higher.

Up against the countdown of choices, Chase and Livy must find the courage to risk what they fear most for the someday they’ve always hoped for.

Amazon    ♥     Goodreads

My Thoughts

The best part of this novel is Chase Thompson. He is such a good man. He’s exceptionally loyal to his family, and bends over backwards to take care of his mother and sick father. He has a really good relationship with his sister, Quinn, good-natured ribbing and all. I also love how Chase sees the best in people. He sees their potential even when they don’t see it themselves. I love how his faith in others is seemingly boundless. What a wonderful friend Chase would be! Which leads me to Livy. Chase is SUCH a good best friend to Livy, and he treats her as a man should treat a woman — like she is precious. Chase worries about Livy’s safety, emotional well-being, and heart. He truly wants only the best for her. While I appreciated all of these aspects to Chase’s personality, my most favorite thing about Chase is that once he realizes an error he’s made, he does whatever he can to fix his mistake. He is not opposed to being shown how he’s made a mistake. It’s refreshing to see a male character who can handle constructive criticism with grace instead of stubborn blindness. I really love Chase. He alone is reason enough to read this sweet novel.

I also appreciate the lesson on faith that Chasing Someday discusses. In a world where society is so ever-changing and inconstant, where faith is viewed as hardly anything anymore, it’s lovely to read a novel that shows faith so positively. To have faith in ourselves, our family, our futures, and God’s grace is pivotal. It’s good and healthy to be strong in who we are, our morals and values, and Who we believe in. We must trust the path that God puts us on. If God places us somewhere surrounded by a particular group of people, or puts us in the path of certain opportunities, we must have faith He’ll see us through. The discussion of faith in this novel reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has faith in us to accomplish His good plans, we need to have faith in ourselves, too!

Chasing Someday by Crystal Walton is a highly engaging story that captured my interest straight away. With captivating characters who stole my heart immediately, and very timely messages, Chasing Someday is definitely a novel worth reading. If you are in the mood for a well-written, sweet Contemporary Romance then this is the book for you!