Thursday 1 February 2024

The Seamstress of Acadie by Laura Frantz


In a land torn apart by conflict, can love mend the tattered pieces?

As 1754 is drawing to a close, tensions between the French and the British on Canada's Acadian shore are reaching a fever pitch. Seamstress Sylvie Galant and her family--French-speaking Acadians wishing to remain neutral--are caught in the middle, their land positioned between two forts flying rival flags. Amid preparations for the celebration of Noël, the talk is of unrest, coming war, and William Blackburn, the British Army Ranger raising havoc across North America's borderlands.

As summer takes hold in 1755 and British ships appear on the horizon, Sylvie encounters Blackburn, who warns her of the coming invasion. Rather than participate in the forced removal of the Acadians from their land, he resigns his commission. But that cannot save Sylvie or her kin. Relocated on a ramshackle ship to Virginia, Sylvie struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. When her path crosses once more with William's, they must work through the complex tangle of their shared, shattered past to navigate the present and forge an enduring future.


 I could literally taste the research that went into this novel. The setting... goodness... I felt like I was actually in 1754. The words carried me into the Acadian homes, had me tasting the apple cider from their orchards, and feeling the cold bite of winter and the splash of frigid waves. The word choices were suburb, and the language used was completely on point for that time and era. I really appreciated the delicate use of French throughout the novel, as it paid a wonderful homage to the roots of the Acadians. 


I picked up this book because it is about Canada's Acadians, and the brutal history they were forced to be part of when the French and English destroyed their lives. This story is heartbreaking, truthful ... but also beautiful. I am so glad Laura Frantz decided to weave a novel into this difficult setting. Her cast of characters told the story wonderfully. Blue in all his espionage and war prowess, Pere and his role in Acadie, Sylvie’s sweet sister… I honestly felt like I was there, living the story with them. Sylvie, our heroine, is enchanting, and Blackburn had me nearly swooning from the first mention of him on the page. He is a worthy hero.


Thank-you to Revell Reads for an opportunity to review this book.

Monday 1 January 2024

Double Take by Lynette Eason


Back Cover:

Detective James Cross has been honorably discharged from the Army Criminal Investigation Division due to wounds sustained when an IED blew up near him. Now with the Lake City Police Department, he's rooming with this good buddy and partner, Cole, while he figures out his family dynamics.

Physician Assistant Lainie Jackson is eighteen months out from an attempted murder perpetrated by her ex, which ended when she managed to grab the weapon and shoot him. When he appears to have survived and is back to finish the job he started, Lainie insists it's not possible. But someone keeps trying to kill her, and she keeps seeing his face.

Together, Lainie and James must work together to find out who, exactly, is after her and why he wants her dead. And failure is not an option.

Review: If you are looking for: a fierce protector, a gutsy heroine who refuses to be the victim, a twisted crime, a plot rife with questions and false leads - then Double Take is for you. 

If you read my reviews, you know I like my sleep. A lot. For me, the mark of an excellent book is one that hooks me on page one and keeps me up until I read the last page. This one totally did that. To be honest, I'm not sure what I wanted most - Lainie and James to solve the crime or... to finally kiss! I'm happy to report *spoiler* I was not dissapointed on either front.

This book has a strong faith message (Christianity), and the heros do their best to live in a manner that honours God despite being bombarded with darkness. A great story and I'm looking forward to book #2. Thank-you to Revell Reads for choosing me as one of your reviewers for "Double Take". 

Saturday 9 December 2023

You Make it Feel Like Christmas by Toni Shiloh


Back cover: As if going home for the holidays jobless and single wasn't bad enough, she's dragged into a holiday season full of activities leading up to her sister's uber-romantic Christmas Eve wedding--to Starr's ex-boyfriend. But when her brother's best friend, Waylon Emmerson, attends their family Thanksgiving, she starts to wonder if maybe coming home for Christmas isn't so bad after all.

As Starr finds the perfect distraction in helping Waylon make over his late mother's Christmas shop, the most wonderful time of the year works its magic and the spark between them grows. But with the holidays fast approaching, Starr must decide what she wants out of life after the gifts are unwrapped and the ornaments are put away--to go back to New York City or to open her heart to a love that will last beyond Christmas Day?


Review: I am in full holiday swing with a second Christmasy title this week. "You Make it Feel Like Christmas" is a jingling, romantic, snack-sized Christmas tale - spiced with tricky family politics and sweetened with an adorable romance. When Waylon is invited to his best friend's family dinner, he just about falls over when a beautiful woman opens the door - when did his buddy's little sister grow up? He agrees to hang out over the holidays and help shield Starr from some family unpleasantries, but the whole 'friend' deal? Yeah, that lasts all of two seconds. 

This was a super cute Christmas story - Starr and Waylon were so sweet. I loved how Toni Shiloh wove Biblical messages of prayer and seeking God's will into the story. Well done!


Thank-you to Graf Martin for a copy of this book. 


Thursday 7 December 2023

All's Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon

 Back Cover:

Every December two things are guaranteed for graphic designer Mackenzie Graham--Christmas celebrations and the annual promotion at her workplace. Those two things are by no means mutually exclusive. In fact, the better an employee is at harnessing the Christmas spirit, the more likely they'll win the new job. With her social anxiety, Mackenzie never thought she'd be a contender in her company's holiday competition, so how exactly has she found herself dueling her workplace crush with wrapping paper tubes and using tinsel as her weapon of choice for a much-needed raise?

Jeremy Fletcher's life is meticulously planned out, including how to win this year's promotion at work. Not only will the new position fulfill some of his career goals, but the raise will help him as a single guardian to his twin niece and nephew. Jeremy has barely noticed Mackenzie Graham around the office, but now that she's his rival, he can't stop thinking about her. Her quirkiness intrigues him, and he's afraid that if he can't get his head on straight, the job isn't the only thing he'll end up losing to Mackenzie.

'Tis the season for romance, faith, and humor--all wrapped up in this enchanting holiday rom-com from award-winning author Sarah Monzon.


So, this book....I giggled, I laughed, I commiserated, and I had the undeniable urge to bake Christmas cookies, decorate my tree, and hang my Christmas lights. "All's Fair in Love and Christmas" needs to come with a warning: Do not open until October (when I would totally set up my tree and lights if hubs would let me) because Christmas spirit is about to go wild. You will be playing Celine Dion's Christmas CD, breaking out the cinnamon scented candles, and digging out grandma's shortbread cookie recipe. 

In addition to being far too funny and a thoroughly enjoyable, lighthearted read... Sarah Monzon wove a beautiful love story that artfully handled a girl with crippling social anxiety and a mother with early onset dementia. Reading this story was like unwrapping a beautiful gift - one page at a time.



Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications for a copy of this book. 

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Unleashed by Amber Kirkpatrick

                                                    Fenris Trygg is a Changed.

A major world event has permanently altered or 'Changed' the brain chemistry of a percentage of society - allowing them to access and utilize areas of their brains that humans have never been able to control. They are gifted.... seers, musical proteges, telepaths, athletes....they are the epitome of human potential.... and they are unwanted and feared by the unchanged, or normal, humans.

A segment of society, Hunters, have taken it upon themselves to purge the Changed from the world. It doesn't matter to them if the Changed is an infant, a mother, or an entire family....the hunters hunt - and they never leave their prey alive. 

Fen has seen the absolute worst that the Hunters can do. He has lived through unspeakable tragedy, but as one of the most powerfully gifted Changed in his region, he now co-runs an underground Shadow Guild bent on protecting 'his' people. As a Changed, he has no human rights, no ability to utilize hospitals or police, and no legal right to bear arms. He is in a battle of survival - not just for himself - but for every Changed in existence. With his powers and his fists, Fen his hell bent on saving as many as he can before his clock runs out.

However, danger doesn't just come from the Hunters. A new predator is on the prowl, and Fen teams up with an unexpected partner who just might break him apart worse than a team of Hunters. Between her insistence that he give up coffee after 5pm (Gasp) and actually be nice to people, Fen is either going to end up throttling her... or kissing her. All bets are off. 

 Amber Kirkpatrick has taken a chapter out of X-men and crafted her own spine-tingling, nail-biting world that is rife with blood, suspense, attraction, and a major amount of coffee addiction. This is a very creative story, and I love joining Fen and Sara on their crazy adventure. Unleashed is fast paced and taunt with tension - but at the same time, there are a lot of one-liners that will make you laugh, snort, or roll your eyes (Fen, I'm sorry, but you are hilarious). I loved the dialogue and the banter between the characters. Bump this one up on your TBR pile – It’s a good one!

Content warning: There are some violent scenes that I wouldn’t advise for young teens or those triggered easily by violence. There is no sex – it is inferred that a married couple have sex and that a husband is hoping to get some… there is some swoony kissing…. But nothing beyond that.


Monday 9 October 2023

The Metropolitan Affair by Jocelyn Green


Back Cover: Bestselling author Jocelyn Green sweeps you away in a dazzling novel of secrets, betrayal, and romance within one of New York City's most esteemed museums.

For years her explorer father promised Dr. Lauren Westlake she'd accompany him on one of his Egyptian expeditions. But as the empty promises mounted, Lauren determined to earn her own way. Now the assistant curator of Egyptology for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lauren receives two unexpected invitations.

The first is her repentant father's offer to finally bring her to Egypt as his colleague on a new expedition. The second is a chance to enter the world of New York's wealthiest patrons who have been victims of art fraud.

With Egyptomania sweeping the city after the discovery of King Tut's tomb, Detective Joe Caravello is on the hunt for a notorious forger preying on the open wallets of New York's high society. Dr. Westlake is just the expert he needs to help him track the criminal. Together they search for the truth, and the closer Lauren and Joe get to discovering the forger's identity, the more entangled they become in a web of deception and crime.


Review: When I think of Jocelyn Green, a few thoughts come to mind: quality writing, rich historical detail, and captivating characters. I've read several of Jocelyn's works over the last couple of years, and I have sincerely enjoyed every one. However, I think 'Metropolitan Affair' is my favourite story of hers. 

I really loved the (insane) level of detail surrounding ancient Egypt and the artifacts. I can not wrap my mind around the hours that she must have spent in a library learning everything she'd need to know to write this story. The novel was so rich in detail, but not in a way that made it drag or feel heavy. I felt transported into the Metropolitan and into the story unraveling there. 

Lastly, I can't leave a review without mentioning Detective Joe and Dr Lauren. I really enjoy stories that take friends and draw them into the realm of romantic love. Joe and Lauren's story is so wonderfully sweet and wholesome. They made me so happy.


Thank-you to the staff at Graf Martin for continually supplying me with wonderful reads, and to Baker Publishing House for always producing such great books.



Friday 25 August 2023

Sworn Shift by AJ Skelly


Back Cover

When her genetics kick in and tell her that Bowen Oakes is her mate, Raven Rivers rebels. She wants nothing to do with Bowen or his sordid past. Bowen falls hard and fast for Raven, but the mistakes of his past, and his own deadly secret, threaten everything he's worked so hard to achieve. When his past comes calling, Bowen must decide if he's willing to embrace his past to preserve his future. Because Raven hangs in the balance.

What I thought....

HANG ON! This book LEAPS from Rogue Shift and straight into Sworn Shift without the space of a blink. The adventure continues.... and I definintely don't want it to end anytime soon. 

As someone close to me said, Sworn Sift 'brings on the vapours'. Umm,yes, that's one way to put it. This book is a pretty epic SWOON. It could have been titled "Swoon Shift".... 

 What I love about all of AJ's books is they recognize lust, hormones, want, and temptation (essentially, teenage love). HOWEVER, the characters don't crumple under these pressures to compromise what is right. These books praise and glorify the beauty of waiting for your future mate (husband/wife) and how amazingly swoon worthy doing things RIGHT is. There is nothing sexier than holding the morale high ground. 

I really loved getting to know both the MCs in this book. Bowen is presented as the badboy playboy, but as the book unfolds, we get to see that what is on the surface isn't anything close to the vulnerable truths Bowen hides deap down. As for Raven, she brings so many topics to the surface. What do you do when you feel like you will be compared to your partner's previous romantic conquests? What about feelings of physical unworthiness? How do you build trust in such a situation? Raven is a thinker, and being thrown into a relationship with Bowen due to the mate bond goes against everything she thought she wanted. Her mate bond with Bowen drags her through the riptides of insecurities, distrust, and jealously, but the resolution is so gratifying. 

I really loved this YA read, and am looking forward to book 4! Keep 'em coming, AJ!