Of Sword and Shadow

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:

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(Not so) Alone for Christmas

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.

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The Noel Letters

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.

10 Ways to Survive Christmas with your Ex

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. 😊

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Before We Were Yours

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.

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Warbreaker

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.

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In Name Only

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. 🙂

Here’s the Amazon link: In Name Only by Jennifer Peel

Happy Reading.

Roommaid

This was a super cute contemporary romance by Sariah Wilson. The gist of the story is this: Madison Huntington is desperate. She’s been disinherited by her rich and influential family because she has chosen to become a teacher, not the lawyer they demanded she be. Alone, without enough pennies to her name, she is seeking for an apartment close to the school where she will start teaching in the fall. Her aunt finds her an option to live with a man who travels a ton and needs a roommate to live with him for free, in exchange for some light housekeeping and dog sitting.

She jumps on the deal, especially when she sees her new roommate, Tyler, who is the most gorgeous man she’s ever met. But he has just one rule: no liking each other romantically. He’s been bitten by a roommate crushing on him in the past, and he refuses to go through that ordeal again. So with a white lie that she is in a serious relationship, Madison gets the position.

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Just a Girl

Cute chick lit by Becky Monson. I had the pleasure of meeting Becky at a writing conference a year or so ago, and she is a delightful and funny person that you can’t help but adore. Her wit and humor shine in her books. This new one by her — Just a Girl — kept me engaged the whole way through. Never a boring spot.

Quinn is the heroine. She’s a midday news anchor who’s life suddenly changes when she meets a sexy British guy while eating a powdered sugar doughnut. She starts choking, the guy helps her out, she has major “feels” for him, and ends up agreeing to a date later. That’s how she and Henry begin their relationship. She feels comfortable telling him everything—except for what her real job is. She doesn’t want him to Google her and find the viral videos of her letting loose with an F-bomb on public news, when someone scared the bejeebies out of her.

That leads to major problems when she walks into work, just after a perfect third date with Henry, to discover that he is her new boss. And now the story begins! Super fun, swoony forbidden romance that I loved with all my heart. I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this one quick. You won’t regret it.

Learn more about Becky and her other books on her Amazon page.

Happy reading.

Elantris

Another great fantasy thriller by Brandon Sanderson that I couldn’t put down. In Elantris, Princess Serene sails from Teod to marry the prince of another country. But when she arrives, she discovers that the prince is dead, but her contract is valid and she is still technically married, even though her husband is gone from this world. When a gyorn arrives, a religious high leader for an enemy country’s religion, she determines to save her new kingdom from being toppled by his maneuverings.

So begins a fight for a kingdom’s soul, though the king is greedy and uncaring about his people.

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