Here’s a new release by my friend Amanda Sowards (A.L. Sowards). It’s a medieval romance that’s pretty clean and beyond riveting. I couldn’t put it down when I read the beta-version. It has a beautiful cover as well–always a bonus.
Amanda is one of my favorite historical fiction writers, and she’s become adept over the years at wrapping a sweet romance into her stories as well (if you know me–I LOVE romance. It makes every story so much greater!). Here’s my review and the links below:
This year was a doozey. But there was a lot of down time to read. That’s always a plus for me. I read 100 books from 11 genres, with 2 of those being broken into 15 subcategories (fantasy – 2, romance – 13). Five of that total number were my own books. The lonely category was a YA book (The Wave by Todd Strasser). Romance was the most read genre (of course). 47 books. The top three subcategories were Regency (11), Contemporary (9) and Chick Lit (8).
In nonfiction, I learned more about writing, painting, democracy, and how the FBI was founded. I learned about Michelle Obama (most popular book), Russell M. Nelson, Reese Witherspoon, and Frederick Douglass (the escaped slave abolitionist). I learned self-help principles from Brooke Snow and Brene Brown and have loved putting new principles into action.
Here is my Goodreads infographic so you can see and click on any book that interests you. Below are my favorites. The top 10 are in order but after that I liked them all and it was hard to order them. 🙂
Here’s another fun Christmas story. (Not so) Alone for Christmas is a novella. Short and sweet. It’s written by the lovely Jenny Proctor (who also has edited a couple of my books). She’s a great author and an amazing editor. I would be lost without her. 🙂
So, without further ado. Here is the blurb for this book:
Problem number one: Maddy’s family is NOT at home. A surprise Christmas visit to Charleston only works if the family you’re surprising hasn’t decided to spend the holidays in Hawaii.
Problem number two: Maddy is stranded. There is snow on the ground in Charleston, a city that doesn’t even own a snow plow. Flights are grounded, and the power is out. Maddy isn’t going anywhere.
Problem number three: Bo Bradshaw, Maddy’s old high school crush, is stranded with her, and he is hotter than ever.
This Christmas book by Richard Paul Evans was very touching and heart-stirring. The Noel Letters was a beautiful Christmas miracle-type story, but way more depth and wisdom than a Hallmark movie. I underlined quotes like crazy. It was beautifully written and had flawed characters I grew to love. I was mesmerized by the story and loved the cute bookstore setting. The blooming second-chance romance was well done as well. Everything about this read was inspiring. It definitely exceeded all my expectations.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
As you sail your way through the sea of humanity, you will discover that most people don’t want truth. They want confirmation. Truth has always been frightening to those clinging to shaky ladders of belief. The more indefensible the belief, the tighter their grip. Let them be. Truth does not require confirmation nor consensus to endure. Truth is patient. It can afford to be. In the end it will have its way.”
Here’s to looking to truth, rather than confirmation going forward. Enjoy the holiday season and happy reading.
I have another fun romance from Mylissa Demeyere. She’s my writing buddy who lives in Belgium, and her new book is quite delightful. Here’s a summary and review.
Shelley has had enough of flaky, traitorous men in her life and has sworn off them forever. But when her nephew Ben and his dad move to her same town, she suddenly craves to be part of Ben’s life. He’s practically the only family she has left around anymore, and she’s determined to do right by him. Her older sister, Zoe, left him and her boyfriend, Adrien, when Ben was a toddler, to live her life as she saw best (selfishly). Adrien has raised him alone for the past decade. As Shelley becomes a part-time caregiver to Ben to help Adrien out, she starts feeling things for her sister’s ex that she has no business feeling. But how to resist when he starts feeling the same way about her?
This was a fun, easy read that has a slightly forbidden romance, friends-to-lovers tropes written into it. The characters were adorable and the angst and family drama was very heart-grabbing. This is definitely worth a read. Here’s the Amazon link for you to check it out.
I wasn’t expecting much from this novella, but I liked this author’s other works, so decided to give this a chance…and I’m so glad I did. 10 Ways to Survive Christmas with your Ex by Shari Tapscot was fantastic. In a short amount of time, the author skillfully made me adore the characters and get super engaged in their tangled love story.
This is a second chances love story between Georgia and Isaac (who works at the same restoration shop as Carter from Book 1). They were high school sweethearts, but she broke things off between them before she headed off to college in another state, knowing long-distance wouldn’t work for them again.
But now, they’re both spending Christmas with each other, since their parents are spending it together and insisted they both be there. It’s a fun book with lots of laughs and lots of swoony moments. A perfect pick-me up book for if you’re feeling down. Or a perfect pick-me up story for if you’re feeling great. 😊
This book by Lisa Wingate was a historical/contemporary story, switching back and forth between present (with Avery Stafford, a lawyer who’s come home to help her senator dad through cancer treatments), and past (with Rill Foss, a swamp gypsy girl of twelve who is captured with her five siblings by the police and taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home while her dad is at the hospital with her mom who is in labor).
Rill and her siblings are swindled from their parents, who are tricked into signing papers, supposedly to have the state pay for their hospital visit, but instead it gives their kids up to the State’s custody. They live through a hell from Mrs. Tann, the owner of the foundling home, that runs on very corrupt tactics. Tricks, deceits, abuse of all kinds, and murder of orphans.
Wow! I absolutely loved this book. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson is amazing. I’m not super into the fantasy genre, except for ones written by Sanderson and Amy Harmon. I tend to love everything I read by those two authors.
My daughter has been telling me forever that I would love this one, and I did! Realistic characters with so much depth and growth, fantastic settings—this one is set in a Color World, the magic being breath, which enhances colors and senses—and shocking plot twists that get me every time.
Here’s another deep, heartwrenching romance by Jennifer Peel. Warning: This one was very emotional. Midstory, I couldn’t contain my tears. She made me feel as if I was living Dani’s and Brock’s story…and it was a sad one. My heart was tugged all over the place and put through quite the wringer.
This covers some very sensitive subjects of PTSD and miscarriage. Don’t go into this thinking it’s a light, fluffy romance. This one has so many layers to wade through with deeply emotional and complicated relationships, among not just the MCs but the side characters. I love character depth, and this one fulfilled that craving.
This story stunned me, leaving me breathless with awe. It’s one I will definitely reread. This is the kind of story that leaves me a better person after I finish reading it, by teaching me more empathy and mercy, without ever preaching a sermon. This is the kind of story I am always searching for, and am so happy when I find, because I know it will live in my heart forever, helping me make better decisions every day.
If you haven’t read any of Jennifer Peel’s book, you’re missing out. Start today to remedy that hole in your life. 🙂
This latest romance by Nichole Van was divine! It’s the third book in the Brotherhood of the Tartan series.
Loving a Lady features Ewan, a giant of a man who grew up fighting to earn money to work his way out of poverty. He meets Lady Violet and is forever changed. Years later, when they meet again, he’s an accomplished artist on the cusp of national renown, who is working with her artist uncle. She’s inherited her Scottish estate from her mother and is bound by duty to cover all those expenses, debts and responsibilities inherent in the estate. But her heart longs for Ewan. He longs for her, but knows he will never be her equal, even if the king himself commissioned him to paint for him.
The two are in an impossible situation, a forbidden romance, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to reconcile their demons and duties, without hurting many others in the process and being cast out of high society.