Book Review – Temptation in Sin – Rosalind James

One of my current favourite authors! Except for the cover art – I hates it.

temptationinsinjpgSYNOPSIS: Once bitten, twice shy.

Rafe Blackstone may play the sexiest werewolf superhero to ever melt women’s . . . hearts . . . on the big screen, but Lily Hollander has already been bitten by an actor, and once was enough. So when Australia’s favorite son walks into Sinful Desires, Lily’s lingerie store, she’s not impressed. Especially when Rafe displays his overprotective streak in defense of his brother–and aims it at Lily. Or, rather, at her identical twin.

Lily may seem like the softer side of the twinship, but nobody messes with her sister. Rafe can take his assumptions, mistaken identity and otherwise, right out her door again. Starting now.

Are you allowed to hate your future almost-brother-in-law, if you do it really, really quietly?

MY THOUGHTS: Book two of the series & it’s the best. So many funny or sweet lines, great characters (I really want to see Hunter have his own book, & Hayley in a novella at least) but most of all the theme of sticking up for yourself, learning from past lessons & just doing the right thing resonates with me. One I will happily re-read, as it is romance with a good heart.

WARNING: pretty steamy, NSFW if you’re listening to the audible.

I purchased this title through www.amazon.com.au for my personal library. It’s now available widely and if you can, I recommend at least borrowing thru your local library. Easy five stars for me.

AUTHOR SITE: http://www.rosalindjames.com/

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Book Review – Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

ShelterinPlace.jpgI kind-of went off Nora books for a while. I found them all too similar, then she delved off into the arcane and frankly creepy.  But the synopsis of this one grabbed me and I am really, really enjoying it. So much so, that I had to tell you even before I finish it!

SYNOPSIS: It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

MY THOUGHTS: While the topic of teens and shootings is being used as a political points scorer,  Roberts is fairly careful not to let you know which side of the fence she sits on (altho, IMO, you’re an idiot if you are voting in lines with the NRA).

There is romance in this book but it’s well worked in with the suspense. You know who the bad guy is almost right from the start, but that allows Roberts to explore the influences fully and actually ramped up the suspense. The writing clearly shows that for the people involved in a shooting, no matter if they survived or were family members or bystanders or first responders – there is a burden and it’s not a light one.

I purchased this title through www.amazon.com.au for my personal library. It’s now available widely and if you can, I recommend at least borrowing thru your local library. Easy four stars for me.

AUTHOR SITE: http://www.noraroberts.com/

Book Review – A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Long-time readers might remember I raved about a book waaaay back in November 2016. Today’s title is connected to this series and is just as good! It released state-side today, so pop into your local retailer and buy it.

alothSYNOPSIS: Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she’s spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

MY THOUGHTS: It’s no wonder RT Book Reviews have given this 4 ½ stars – it’s detailed, well-written, empathetic and good. I devoured most of this while at the A&E with my eldest son, & it was hard to put down.

Moriyah as a character is well rounded but as we met her, cloistered within her own shame and closed off to the voice of Yahweh, even tho she heard Him as a child. Her scarring means she is the focus of mean comments and she does allow this to influence her daily actions. Things change when her friend urges her to dance; then she meets someone who will influence the remainder of her life.

At one point so much happened to Moriyah that it was a bit rollercoaster, but on a re-read this might well smooth out.

I am in awe of the amount of research that went into this book. The background is so rich and colourful and seamlessly enhances the story. The theme of redemption thru sacrifice resonates.

I received an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review – but I’m buying it anyway! Book 2 is scheduled for this year; book 3 for 2019.

Book Review – The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

InnkeeperofIvyHill_mck.inddSYNOPSIS: The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business. But with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

 

I have a book recommend (well, two now as she published the second in Dec 2017) – Julie Klassen’s The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill & follow-up, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. Set in the same era as Jane Austen’s writing, and very, very well done.

I recognised characterisations & phrasing from the more popular Austen Pride & Prejudice but rather than thinking “plagiarism” I felt like I was re-reading an old friend. There’s nothing blatant, but there is definitely a Lady Catherine character! Plus, easy to recommend to secular people who like a good regency, as the romance and Christian themes are subtle, and it’s all about how the characters grow and develop. Even secondary characters are rich in detail and the way she describes the customs & environment of the village are spot on. I loved it.

My copies were purchased on Amazon Kindle; the second volume is on sale as I write this.

http://julieklassen.com/books/

Book Review: Just Jane by Nancy Moser

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, one of my plans next year is to re-read/listen to the Austen novels and stitch something suitable. By co-incidence, Bookbub popped up a suggestion in one of the daily emails:

20_JUST_JANE-255x375.jpgSynopsis: Growing up in a clergyman’s home gives Jane opportunities to observe human nature at its best—and worst. Vivid and delightful characters pour from her pen—Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Emma Woodhouse, Fanny Price, John Willoughby. . .

Jane dreams of publishing her stories and sharing them with the world, but how can she? She’s just Jane from Steventon. Will anyone ever read her novels?

Excerpt: http://www.nancymoser.com/excerptjustjane.html

As Moser says, “No matter if the book is about Mozart’s sister, a plane crash, a Victorian boarding house, or time travel, one message prevails: we each have a unique God-given purpose. The trick is to find out what it is.”

It was interesting to read & pick the gaps between actual Jane history and what was fiction (& unless you’ve done extensive reading, good luck in picking those bits out). The family is well fleshed out, as is the environment and time they live in. Four and a half stars from me – & I’m off to read more by this author.

Elizabeth – have you read any Moser?

Book Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

bittersweet.jpgBLURB:  The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

MY THOUGHTS: I loved this book. I admit, I was kind of disappointed there was no hockey hottie (my intro to Bowen was thru her hockey romance series) but by about chapter 3, I was hooked. The primary and secondary characters are so well crafted, the dialogue and editing are spot-on & I even learnt heaps about Vermont, organic farming, restaurant supply chain & (nom nom) cider. If you don’t like the sensual scenes, I would still recommend reading this title. There’s a lot to enjoy.

I’m already deep into Steadfast, book 2. FYI, I brought these titles on my Kindle, & they are widely available in e and print versions.

Author interview: https://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2017/09/sarina-bowen-bittersweet-and-true-north-news

 

Book Review: Things We Set on Fire by Deborah Reed

things we set on fireBLURB: A series of tragedies brings Vivvie’s young grandchildren into her custody, and her two estranged daughters back under one roof. Jackson, Vivvie’s husband, was shot and killed thirty years ago, and the ramifications have splintered the family into their own isolated remembrances and recriminations.

Sisters Elin and Kate fought mercilessly in childhood and have avoided each other for years. Elin seems like the last person to watch her sister convalesce after an attempted suicide. But Elin has her own reasons for coming to Kate’s side and will soon discover Kate’s own staggering needs.

This deeply personal, hauntingly melancholy look at the damages families inflict on each other—and the healing that only they can provide—is filled with flinty, flawed, and complex people stumbling toward some kind of peace. Like Elizabeth Strout and Kazuo Ishiguro, Deborah Reed understands a story, and its inhabitants reveal themselves in the subtleties: the space between the thoughts, the sigh behind the smile, and the unreliable lies people tell themselves that ultimately reveal the deepest truths.

 

MY THOUGHTS: This is my first Reed read (ha!) but not likely to be my last. I’ve enjoyed the way the author can weave past & present very, very smoothly and the way that life is portrayed as a cycle.

I actually found part of that cycle woke memories that I try hard to keep buried. Being raised primarily by a (at times) mentally unstable parent is not easy. Not to put down the character of Vivvie, but I saw similarities between her and Kaye, especially when Vivvie was at the end of her coping times. I know why Vivvie took the actions she did; & I strive to be the opposite in my life. Perhaps I’m trying too hard, but that’s not an open conversation for a blog!

I guess everyone carries a burden of some kind.

 

Four stars, easy to grade, harder to read.

 

I read this book as part of my Kindle Unlimited subscription.