Sunday, 28 February 2021

A Haven for Her Heart by Susan Anne Mason


Review: This was an incredible novel and I couldn't stop talking about it... to everyone... for weeks after finishing it. First of all, I had NO IDEA that this type of law used to exist in Canada. My first was response was, "No way..." and then, when I read how long these laws were in effect and what happened to these poor women...? Utter horror.....

I'm so glad Susan Anne Mason wrote this book. I feel like this is a part of history that should be taught in school. How did I not know that it was against the law and punishable by incarceration to be pregnant  and unmarried in Toronto, Canada? And this isn't ancient history either. We're talking 1940s and onward. Appalling. 

This novel, in my opinion, is the best work that S.A. Mason has done to date. I've greatly enjoyed many books that she's written in the past, but there was a gripping edginess and steely grit to this book that was different than the rest. "A Haven for Her Heart" stands out. The writing is inspired. Olivia Rosetti, our heroine, is worthy of the role put to her. The plot is all too believable. 

I really valued reading this book and am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Canadian history, and in such a riveting way. An excellent book written by a wonderful author.

Thank-you so much to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a copy of this book

Back Cover: Upon her release from a woman's reformatory in 1941 Toronto, Olivia Rosetti wants nothing more than to forget the horrors of her time there and return to normal. But with her family unwilling to forgive and employers wary of hiring her, she quickly ends up desperate and homeless--until a chance encounter with well-to-do widow Ruth Bennington. The two discover they share a painful history and together decide to open a maternity home for troubled women.

Greek widower Darius Reed is determined to protect his daughter from the prejudice that killed her mother and hopes to marry into a prominent Toronto family. But when his employer orders him to persuade Ruth Bennington to sell them her property, Darius soon becomes conflicted over his feelings about the home and his attraction to Olivia.

Despite finding fulfilment in her work, Olivia must fight not only bitter memories and the community's negative reaction to their mission, but also feelings for the man who is trying to close her home. Can love prove stronger than prejudice and societal pressures, or will past mistakes destroy her chance at true happiness?

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Soul Raging by Ronie Kendig

 Back Cover: 

As Prophecies in the Book of the Wars Unfold, the Only Hope Is Uniting with the Enemy.

Leif Metcalfe is done waiting for answers and seizes control, a move that comes with a high price and a deadly risk: teaming up with the enemy. He can only pray what he uncovers will heal the wounds he's inflicted on those he loves.

Iskra Todorova refuses to believe Leif is irrevocably lost, despite evidence to the contrary. While trying to protect her daughter and track down Leif before it's too late, Iskra wonders if a member of the evil organization ArC has been in their midst since the beginning.

Torn apart by injuries and opposing views about Leif's treachery, team Reaper hunts one of their own. The only thing they agree on is not stopping but starting the final battle prophesied in the Book of the Wars.

Review: Ronie Kendig.... need I say more? If this author isn't already sitting right at the top of your 'favourite' pile, then you need to rearrange. She is one of those writers that you pre-order books from because you know that whatever she puts out is going to be epic. 

I am a massive fan of her latest two series, the Tox Files and The Book of The Wars, in which fantasy combines with reality which embroils itself into prophesy. She makes you ask if the impossible is possible and to question if the truths of reality are really what they seem? These books hurtle you on a wild adventure that is literally impossible to leap off of. Fair warning: Once you start these books, you won't be sleeping until you finish. 

Soul Raging is the final book in The Book of the Wars series. It is a nail biting adventure in which Leif finally uncovers the glaring answers of his past and who he really is. His team is left with some dramatic choices as they need to decide who and what they trust.... and to what extent. The lines between friend and enemy blur as Leif and his team fight to take down an enemy that is much bigger than themselves and one that is, perhaps, even within themselves. 

An excellent book to finish up an unforgettable series. Make sure to read the Tox Files before jumping into The Book of the Wars series. Order is important here. 

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book. 

A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White


Back Cover: 

He sees patterns in what she deems chaos.

She sees beauty in a world he thought destroyed.

Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon's loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple's future dreams--it becomes a matter of ending the war.

Review: I have so much to say about this book, but most of it can be focused on the raw brilliance of the two main characters. Their differences are too many to count. She is from England. He is from Russia. She is fighting for her country. He is fighting for a country not his own. She has her beloved family around her every day. He has viciously lost everyone dear to him. She sees beauty where he sees patterns. The list is endless...and yet... I dare say two characters have never complemented each other as perfectly as these two. 

Somehow, seeing Zivon and Lily together is like watching poetry in motion. They are so opposite yet they fit into each other effortless. I have a feeling that the characters in this book largely 'wrote themselves' feels so natural. 

The setting is nail biting - this novel throws you directly into the fires of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the seething turmoil of the world wars. It was an era of spies, evolving weaponry, tactics, and a mad race for information and position. This is the world Lily and Zivon are trapped in, and the chaos makes their story all the more riveting. 

Needless to say, I loved this novel and found the characters (obviously) utterly enchanting and the plot enticing. I had a hard time putting this book down. If you haven't read A Portrait of Loyalty, I highly recommend that you do. 

Thank-you to Graf Martin and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this novel. 

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Happy Camper by Melody Carlson

Back Cover: Home is the place to heal . . . right?

At least, that's what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career and nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving and aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there and has taken over Dillon's old room. After a few nights of sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift--her grandfather's run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.

But just when things are finally beginning to run smoothly, Dillon's noncommittal ex-boyfriend shows up with roses . . . and a ring.

Review: As far as setting goes, this novel takes top prize for unique. I've never read a book literally set in a vintage camper trailer. As funky as it sounds, I loved this book. It was light-hearted, fun and original. I found the characters relatable in a normal-kind-of-quirky-way.

Dillon Michaels' life literally gets turned upside down the night she breaks up with her long time, non-committing boyfriend - who also happens to be one of the partners at her work. One thing leads to another, and by the end of the weekend she has no boyfriend, no job, and is on the road to Oregon to stay with her grandfather. Typically, she is the epitome of logical and careful decisions, but a lifetime of careful planning hasn't stopped things from unravelling. Hoping to figure out her next steps, Dillon pulls into her grandfather's yard only to find her irresponsible, immature mother already staying in her old room with a hairbrained scheme to turn her grandfather's farm into a lavender field. 

Without preamble, Dillon finds herself sleeping on a ratty old couch, attempting to parent her mother, and trying to keep her grandfather from starving on her mouther's health-food shakes. Respite comes in the form of a rundown old vintage camp trailer at the back of her grandfather's property. As Dillon throws herself into her new project and struggles to figure out what to do with her future, her run ins with the local hardware store owner become more and more charger - only to reach a crescendo who her ex-boyfriend shows up....

This was a fun read and I really enjoyed all the vintage camper stuff. It was light, fun and entertaining. 

Thank-you to Baker Publishing House and to Graf Martin Communications for a complimentary copy of this book. 

Read an excerpt  Here

Monday, 14 December 2020

A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden


Review: We were first introduced to Caroline Delacroix in the first book of this series, The Spice King. The impression I got from her in the Spice King was a woman that has known nothing but finery in life and is intelligent, but not too concerned about using her abilities to the max. Her twin brother, Luke, was a bit of a cad... and not a character to be taken seriously. He was a frivolous thorn in their big brother, Gray's, side. 

A Gilded Lady splits the lives of this family wide open as we get to understand the motivations and inner workings of the Delacroix twins. Known to be hard partiers and the toast of the town, neither of the twins is taken too seriously by anyone... or so they'd like everyone to believe. Beneath the glitter, flittering, and charm lies another layer.... or perhaps a hundred more layers. 

Neither twin is anything like they appear and, without spoiling it, A Gilded Lady takes you on a wild ride of adventure as the twin run circles around everyone they know - including the highest level of government. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical romance or simply wants an excellent read. 

Thank-you Graf Martin and Baker Publishing House for a copy of this book to review. 

Back Cover: Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the First Lady of the United States. But beneath the facade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.

Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately attracted to Caroline's quick wit and undeniable charm, but his job leaves no room for distractions. Anarchist plots have led to mounting threats against the president, forcing him to put duty before his growing love for Caroline.

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel face danger and heartbreak that shakes them to their core and tests all they know about love and sacrifice.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden


This weekend I read two books, the Spice King and it's sequel, A Gilded Lady. I literally read them both in two days. They are that good.  I'll focus this review on the Spice King. 

I really loved this book...namely because of Gray and Annabelle. The way these two interacted with each other had me, at times, seriously doubting if they would ever be able to mend ways enough to be together. As referenced in the book, they are like oil and vinegar. Gray is so serious and mature beyond his years. He is an unmoveable pillar of strength and a daunting man. Nothing about Gray suggests that he would ever change his mind or bend his will.....

Enter Annabelle Larkin. She is everything that is hope, positivity, and loyalty. The sun seems to follow her even on rainy days, and somehow her light breaks through the hard cracks of Gray's armor. 

However, life smashes its way into their budding friendship and the story begins to twist and turn. The stakes grow high for Annabelle, her sister, and Gray and his family as circumstances spiral out of control. The Spice King will keep you turning pages as fast as you can read, and will have you reaching for its sequel, Gilded Lady, as soon as you turn the last page. 

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a copy of this novel to review. 

You may click Right Here to read an excerpt of this amazing novel. 

Back Cover: Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

 Review: I am rendered speechless.

But considering this is a written review, I should probably try to put my cartwheeling thoughts into some semblance of order. I opened this book and stepped into a world as magical as the one I passed through when I ducked under the snowy branches with Lucy as she entered Narnia for the first time. This is a world where an old clockmaker weaves tales in the sky and lights passion and questioning wonder into two young souls. He paints stories in their hearts and onto their memories, that for the time being, are wonderful adventures but merely stories meant to pass the evenings by. 

Until one day, when the fires of the old clockmaker's hearth have long grown cold and his tools have gathered cobwebs, do the two souls meet again....drawn together by the stories that were merely stories... or were they? A genius of the stars and a sleuth of the deep, these two hearts from worlds apart join their hands and minds as they begin putting together the pieces of a secret long held.... A secret as magical and terrible, as exciting as it was ancient, and as healing as it is difficult. A secret in a story as truthful as it is fantastical....

This is a story that will settle deep into your mind and settle forever into your thoughts. It is a story that, long after you have flipped the last pages, your mind will return to in fond remembrance and brushes of awe, a story that will, I think....never quite finish. 

A hundred stars, Amanda Dykes. Bravo. 

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a copy of "Set the Stars Alight"

Back Cover: In an aged brick cottage in London, the magic of the past comes alive each night for the family of a humble watchmaker. In her father's fireside stories, Lucy Claremont's fascination with the high seas begins, leading her to devote her life's work to discovering the whereabouts of a legendary lost ship. But when tragedy strikes, it's childhood friend Dashel and his knowledge of the stars that may help her solve the puzzle.

Two hundred years earlier, three young lives are altered forever when a shepherd rescues the privileged son of a powerful admiral. As the children grow, war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, deep love, and a story of betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption that fades into obscurity as centuries pass.

As Lucy and Dash explore mysterious ruins on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.