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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Review: Abigail by Jess Heileman

 Abigail by Jess Heileman

Book Description:

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.


Review:

Jess Heileman did a very nice job with her debut novel, Abigail. I'm a sucker for characters that don't fit the mold, and Abigail was just such a character. Her good heart was very endearing, as was her relationship with her father and brother (although most of that is from a distance in this story, we get a very good feel for it). Her loyalty was also notable, especially because it meant sacrificing her own happiness.

I liked the banter between the main characters, and the goodness in many of the characters-caring more about helping others than what society would think.

I'm not sure if I got impatient for the end, but it started to go on a bit long for me. There was a reveal that was soap opera-esque, but it has a happy ending (a must have for me).

Abigail is a clean and enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

About Author Jess Heileman:

In kindergarten, Jess won a first prize ribbon for her original creation Pigs in Wigs. The premise was golden: there was this pig that wore a wig… it was a solid storyline—and it rhymed. Not impressed? Neither were her children when shown the very masterpiece that influenced her to become an author. “You won a ribbon for that?” Yes. Yes, she did.

Thankfully, life has since exposed her to a thorough education with its share of awards and accolades—and, more importantly, to the trials and human experiences that form the heart of a storyteller and the substance of great stories.

Besides her love of writing, Jess is an avid reader, shameless people observer, international café loiterer, and partially retired photographer. She loves being a mother to five amazing humans and a wife to the greatest man she knows.

Website

Title: Abigail
Author: Jess Heileman
Published: Coming January 22, 2019
Source: I received an advanced reader eCopy in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Coming January 22, 2019

Forever Yours $25 Giveaway Featuring Author Liwen Y. Ho

 
   
 
The Sweetest Spark by Liwen Y. Ho  

Book Description:

He’s a fun-loving ice cream shop owner looking for more than a fling. She’s a straight-laced food critic too scared for love. Little did they know how much a foolish kiss would trigger an avalanche of emotions too great to contain. 

Colin Spark may not have the best track record when it comes to his career choices, but he’s loved the same woman since he was thirteen. His only obstacle to winning her heart is proving he’s ready to settle down—an impossible task now that his store is going out of business. 

Since her sister’s passing, Candy Connelly has survived by being in control and protecting her heart. There’s only one man she’s let her guard down with, but his unreliable past shakes her confidence in his future. 

Colin won’t give up pursuing his passion; Candy won’t give in to her attraction. That is until an accident brings all their unspoken issues to the surface and forces them to listen to their hearts. Will this incident be the spark that drives them apart for good or gives them their sweetest taste of romance yet? 


 

     

     

Candy followed Abby as they headed back to their table, her heels clicking against the wooden floor, until a tall figure stepped in front of her. One whiff of the man’s musky cologne confirmed Colin’s presence, as did the warmth radiating from his body. Candy would’ve liked to wrap herself up in it, especially in this cold winter weather. Instead, she stepped back, careful not to make contact with the man who had a way of worming his way into her heart. “Excuse me,” she stated, trying to side step her way around him. 

“Candy, can we talk?” Colin stood firmly, crossing his arms as if he meant business. “Please?” 

“Colin, that’s not a good idea.” Candy peered around him to look for Abby and see if she’d help her out of this situation. No luck though; her friend was long gone. So much for counting on her friend’s nosiness. She crossed her arms and peered up into Colin’s pleading eyes, then immediately dropped her gaze. It was best not to look directly into his eyes. That’s how she’d found herself letting down her guard around him. “I thought I made it clear; there’s no future for us. We’re too different. It would never work.” 

He stepped close, leaning his head down next to hers. His voice was husky when he spoke. “If that’s the case, I want you to tell it to me straight. Look me in the eyes and say there’s no future for us. Then I’ll let you go on your way and never bother you again.” 

“What? What difference does it make how I say it?” Candy turned her head to the side, away from his face. She stared at the intricate pattern of the tiles on the wall, anywhere but his eyes. For some people, sugar was their weakness; for her, it was Colin. 


    
 


    

"I loved the chemistry and banter between Candy and Collin. Their escapades and experiences drew me into the story and their love and forgiveness stayed with me long after the last page." 

"Colin really is the sweetest Spark! He and Candy had such beautiful character arcs as they grew to trust God and each other more. The romance was tender and the Christian elements gentle and poignant. I found I could actually identify with parts of both of their personalities, and that make me cheer for each of them even more. The push-and-pull of their relationship was the richest of any Liwen Ho book I’ve read yet, and I’m already a fan. She just keeps getting better!" 

"The Sweetest Spark is a book where the characters just walk right into your heart-well, by book 3 of the Spark Brothers, you are invested in these lovable and fun people - uh... CHARACTERS (Characters in a book, NOT real people-yes, I know! Really!) Colin and Candy are wonderful characters BECAUSE of their issues that they work through... and discover that everything works when they work together. Isn’t that something that we would all benefit from learning!!! I am looking forward to the rest of the series!"

  

     

    

    
Author Liwen Y. Ho 

Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and an author by night. She writes sweet and inspirational contemporary romance infused with heart, humor, and a taste of home (her Asian roots). 

In her pre-author life, she received a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children. 

 
   
   
 
 
 
 
   
   
 

    

Giveaway Details:

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash 

Ends 2/5/19 

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.     

Monday, January 14, 2019

Book Review: Code of Valor (Blue Justice #3) by Lynette Eason

 Code of Valor (Blue Justice #3)
Book Description:

What Detective Brady St. John really needs is a relaxing vacation. Unfortunately, just as the sun is setting on his second day at a friend's cabin on Lake Henley, he hears a scream and races to rescue a woman from her would-be killer. When the killer escapes only to return to finish the job, Brady vows to utilize all of his many resources to keep her safe--and catch those who would see her dead.

Financial crimes investigator Emily Chastain doesn't trust many people. And even though she let the detective who saved her life in on a few pertinent facts about why she was being attacked, there are some things you just don't share with a stranger. Little does she suspect that the secret she is keeping just might get them both killed.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason sends readers on a race for the truth in this heart-stopping story of risk, regret, and redemption.


Book Review:

I'm normally a big fan of Lynette Eason, but this series is just kinda falling flat for me. The story line in this particular novel is okay (Although it seems like she thinks that she needs to have lots and lots going on or a plethora of bad guys...it's not simple at all, and I think overly complicated), but I struggled the whole book with the dialogue. I'm pretty sure I got an advanced eCopy so I'm hoping that editing will catch some of the weird sentences that just...weren't complete. But back to the dialogue, it was just awkward. It didn't flow, and it didn't make me want to stay in the story with Brady and Emily. Both are admirable characters, but I never really got caught up in the story because of the flow, pacing, or maybe just too much going on. 

I normally love series about families, but this series family has just confused me from the beginning. The more I read the less clear I become. Instead of falling in love with the family I go, "Wait, what? Who? Should I know this story already?" And maybe that was a huge barrier for me. Brady kept bringing up his relationship with another girl. I'm guessing that it was covered in a previous novel (although I've read those and I can't remember it), but it isn't explained really in this novel. Even when it would fit really well in the story, it gets glossed over. But it's brought up, a lot.

It started out well, and grabbed me, but then is faded and I struggled to get through it. Which makes me kinda sad.

Code of Valor (Blue Justice #3) 
 
Title: Code of Valor (Blue Justice #3)
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Published: January 2019
ISBN: 0800727045
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Forever Yours $25 Giveaway – Featuring Author Jennie Goutet

 

    
A Friend in Paris by Jennie Goutet  

Book Description:

Friendship between a talented young artist and her handsome French neighbor is a promising start—until it’s not enough. 

April promised her dying father she would study painting in Paris, but friends are few, her budget is tight, and her landlord increasingly won’t take "no" for an answer. Then she meets Victor. 

Victor is as chivalrous as he is wealthy, and if it weren't for him, April would have already left the City of Light behind. Too bad Victor still has eyes for his ex-girlfriend, who is now back on the scene and wants to get married. 

Although April and Victor swore to remain just friends, magical Paris seems to weave a different spell. The more their connection deepens, the more it becomes difficult to keep a proper distance. Or to remember why they should.   

 

    
 


     

Penelope peeked into the hallway. “We’re about to play poker. Who wants in?” 

“Me,” April said. “But I need a refresher for the rules. It’s not for money, right?” 

“Nope, just for chips. Hey, Victor,” Penelope said, “Are you able to take April back to your grandmother’s apartment tonight after you bring Margaux home? She probably won’t ask for help, but we’re afraid Lucas is following her, and we want to make sure she doesn’t get stalked.” 

“Sure.” Victor turned to her in consternation. “Another thing you’re not telling me, April. Please tell me these things.” 

A flash of anger came over April, and she replied without thinking. “Don’t expect me to tell you everything. It’s not like I’m your girlfriend. I don’t owe you explanations, or details, or anything.” 

Er…let me see how the game is going.” Penelope turned, whisking away a smile. 

“What are you talking about, April. We’re friends. Friends talk.” 

“Victor,” April hissed. “It’s like you expect things from me you don’t even expect of your own fiancée. You want me to come to you for help and tell you everything. But you don’t even know what Margaux was doing that whole year in Monaco. You don’t know what brought her back or…or whether the baby is even yours.” There. I said it. April’s pulse pounded in her temple. 

“Victor doesn’t ask me these things, because he already knows the answer.” Margaux's cool voice came from where the living room joined the hallway. “And, since he is satisfied, I don’t see what business it is of yours.” Margaux managed to communicate all her disdain in two sentences. 

April’s face was crimson. She could feel the heat of shame emanating from her. She’d let everyone know how she felt about Victor as plain as if she’d announced she was in love with him at the dinner table. It’s not like I’m your girlfriend. And what was even worse was that she was completely in the wrong attempting to sow seeds of doubt. She was not the type of person to try to break people up. She was not “the other woman”. It was not her style. If a man wasn’t free to love her, she had absolutely no interest in him. 

So what had happened? How had she gone so wrong? 

Victor’s eyes were fixed on hers. He hadn’t answered, but now he looked toward Margaux and the crowd that was gathering behind her. “Hey guys, could you give us a minute? Margaux, I’ll be right there to take you home. I imagine the baby needs you.” 

Margaux folded her arms and planted her feet. So Victor took April’s arm and pulled her into the first room he saw. It was the toilet, and they had only enough room to stand face to face. He fumbled for the light, and when it went on, April wouldn’t look at him. He grabbed her by the arms. 

“April, I need to say this fast so no one gets the wrong idea about us being in here together.” 

They were standing in a tiny cubicle, nose to nose, and his words brought on an insane desire to laugh. She needed to get a hold of her emotions. He’s not available. 

“I think one of the biggest regrets of my life,” Victor said, “will end up being that I wasn’t free to follow my feelings in this instance. But I’m not. I’m a father, and that comes first.”  

I am a great fool, April thought, and any wisp of humor over the situation fled. To complete her shame, her eyes filled with tears. 

“If I could’ve followed my feelings…” He stopped short, looking at her eyes, her lips…They heard only the sound of their breath. 

Then Victor dropped his arms, turned in the tight space, and opened the bathroom door. “Margaux and I need to get going. Penelope, do you think one of you could see April home safely?” 

“Sure,” Penelope said. She handed the pack of cards to Auriane and slid past Victor to where April was. “You guys go ahead and play.”   

    
 


     

Once I began to read I couldn't put it down until I finished. The characters are well developed and I easily identified with their struggles and triumphs. A wonderful story you will want to read again.   

A Friend in Paris is rich with everything a romance needs and more – drama, plot twists, characters you’ll fall in love with…and some you’ll love to despise. The setting of Paris and the wonderful descriptions are added bonuses! I devoured this book in two sittings.   

Really enjoyed this read! I was completely absorbed into the Paris setting. Felt like I was there! The hero and heroine are interesting, believable, and their chemistry was natural and lifelike. Nothing felt contrived. The supporting characters were intriguing too. Highly recommended.   


 


    
Author Jennie Goutet 

Jennie Goutet is an American-born Anglophile, who lives with her French husband and their three children in a small town outside Paris. Her imagination resides in Regency England, where her upcoming romance, A Regrettable Proposal, is set. Jennie is the author of the sweet, contemporary romances, A Friend in Paris and A Noble Affair, as well as the award-winning memoir, Stars Upside Down. A Christian, a cook, and an inveterate klutz, Jennie writes about faith, food, and life—even the clumsy moments—on her blog, aladyinfrance.com.   

 

 

   

 

 

     


    

 

Giveaway Details: 

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash 

Ends 2/4/19 

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.