Friday, February 27, 2015

The Wife Maker Review

Wife MakerThe Wife Maker by Karey White

Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she's determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time--on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants.

Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he's tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She's broken his heart one too many times, and it's time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won't let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he's willing to let her in again or if she's too late.

My Review:

4 out of 5 reviews

Karey White's The Wife Maker is the third, and final, book in the Husband Maker series. Unlike some series where the books can stand alone, I would recommend reading these in order. This one starts up right, and I mean right, after the last book ends. Since I hadn't read the one before it, I was thrown for the first few pages. Angus rants about Charlotte's ill-timing for confessing her feelings. That is where the book starts.

After reading the first book, I already had some respect for Charlotte's character. She has had a rough road in her love life, but she has never let that stop her from trying again. And again. I was heartbroken with her at the end of The Husband Maker. Now, after more mismatches in the arena of love, she realizes the love of her life has been there the whole time. But he's tired of waiting. So she packs her bags and moves to Kansas City, determined to show Angus that her feelings are real and aren't going anywhere. 

I really enjoyed this conclusion to Charlotte's journey. Her growth from someone who got dragged through the game of love to making the conscious choice to go after what she wants was great to follow. She, of course, has just a few more obstacles to overcome before her own happily-ever-after. A creepy apartment, the indifference of the man she loves, giving up her dream job, and delayed flights are all nothing if the end is worth the pain. Charlotte has been through her share of heartache, and it was great to finally see her reach her dreams. 


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Karey WhiteAuthor Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Boardwalk Antiques Shop Review

Boardwalk Antiques Shop 
A Tangerine Street Romance 
(a novel in three parts) 

Welcome to Tangerine Street 

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and renowned bed-and-breakfasts. The Boardwalk Antiques Shop is an exclusive shop where every antique has a story, and each story possesses the gift to match true love. The customer who buys an antique also buys its story and soon discovers that its story unites the past with the present, creating an unexpected romantic future…

“Where Every Antique has a Story”

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: Jennifer is newest owner of The Boardwalk Antiques Shop, inherited from her aunt. When Jennifer arrives in Seashell Beach, her first priority is to meet with a realtor to sell the place. She laughs out loud when she discovers the realtor’s name is Mr. Studly. But the more Jennifer gets to know Paul Studly, the more she finds reasons to stay and run the antiques shop herself.

SOLVING FOR X: Abbie is only a little bit obsessed with antiques, okay, a lot. So when Holden, an out-of-town business executive, tries to purchase the tin soldiers that Abbie’s had her eye on, Abbie refuses to back down. The antiques shop owner issues a challenge: whoever comes up with the best story for wanting the soldiers, will become the new owner. Abbie isn’t about to let some fancy executive beat her out, no matter how charming he is.

A STITCH IN TIME: When Cate learns that antiques dealer Henry Lancaster has purchased the sewing machine left to her by her grandmother, Cate is determined to get it back. What she isn’t counting on is that Henry has just as much claim as Cate. And it doesn’t help that Henry is good-looking and apparently single. Getting to know Henry becomes an unexpected surprise, sending her life into a sudden detour.

Other books in the Tangerine Street Romance series: The Fortune Café

My Review:

5 out of 5 stars

I didn't read The Fortune Cafe before this book, so I was a bit confused on some of the story lines hinted at in these stories. However, the character's stories featured in this anthology easily stood on their own. The way they interacted and were connected was very cool to read. It was a very unique approach to an anthology. If you've read The Newport Ladies Book Club series, you will enjoy this collection. Two of the Newport authors return, Julie Wright and Heather Moore, with a great new addition in author Melanie Jacobsen. I'd never read her books before, but after getting to know her spunky character, I'm excited to read more from this talented author.

This collection would be ideal for fans of sweet romances, and the short stories are great to fit in when there is little time to read.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Wedding Cake Book Review

Wedding Cake (1)

I have been waiting for this book ever since Pete and Sadie first met. So excited to finally see the conclusion of their sweet, with plenty of added spice, love story. What else would I expect from our impetuous sleuth? And don't you just love this cover? 

So perfect!

Wedding CakeWedding Cake by Josi Kilpack

After years of mysteries, murder, and mayhem, the big day has arrived, and Sadie wants nothing more than for her wedding to Pete to be completely uneventful. When she receives a threatening, anonymous text message just days before the ceremony, she's determined not to let it interfere with the celebration she has carefully planned for months. But as the threat escalates from a distant fear to a frightening reality, Sadie realizes just how much she's underestimated the situation. Desperate to put an end to the games, lies, and manipulation that has shadowed her life, Sadie, her fiance, Pete, and her children pull out all the stops. What they don't know, however, is just how far Sadie's nemesis is willing to go to make good on the thread she made to Sadie three years ago.

Will the wedding go off without a hitch, or will "'til death do us part" come far too soon? There's no turning back for anyone in the riveting conclusion to this twelve-volume culinary mystery series.

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JosiAuthor Josi S. Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.


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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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My Review:

Five out of five stars

I am going to start out by seconding the author’s warning at the beginning of this book. If you haven’t read the others, don’t read this one! You will be very lost on some very key elements of the plot.
Moving on the fun part. This was an explosive ending for Kilpack’s series! Sadie Hoffmiller’s exciting life of crime fighting has led to some pretty crazy twists and near escapes, but this one had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. There was no dead body washed up on a shore and no bizarre murder. Instead, Sadie is happily involved in trying to put together the last minute details of her long anticipated wedding to the handsome retired detective, Pete Cunnigham. Until an old acquaintance sends a threatening text.
Over the series, I’ve really come to care about Sadie. She has grown so much from the well-meaning, but nosy snoop from Lemon Tart. Through some personal and family heartaches, she became a deeper and a stronger person. Now, with the return of the foe that once threatened her mental and physical health, she has to find the person she’s become. It has been great going through this journey with her, and I must admit the end left me a bit sad. An amazing conclusion, but saying goodbye to a character you’ve enjoyed so much is always bittersweet.
In Wedding Cake, the whole cast we’ve gotten to know over the series returns to celebrate, and support, Sadie. We get caught up on some of the storylines from other books, which was great. The storyline here, though not centered on a murder, was as super scary case of stalking. I found myself gritting my teeth, and totally hurting for Sadie as her dream wedding is unraveled bit by bit. And, I have to say, the “murdered” wedding cake gave me cold chills. Sooo creepy! That and so many other scenes had me wanting to double check my own security settings on everything. The ending made it all worth the wait to see Pete and Sadie finally tie the knot. Beautiful, and true to form, full of surprises.
If you’ve read the other Sadie Hoffmiller mysteries, you won’t want to miss this conclusion.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Romance Anthology: All Regency Collection Review

Six brand new regency romance novellas by best-selling authors Anna Elliott, Sarah M. Eden, Carla Kelly, Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon, and Heather B. Moore.

In THE WEDDING GIFT: A PRIDE AND PREJUDICE STORY, an enchanting novella by Anna Elliott, the story opens two weeks before Elizabeth Bennet’s wedding to Mr. Darcy. He has given her the perfect wedding gift, and now she must come up with one for him. But what do you give a man who has everything? Elizabeth soon discovers that the gift of love is more important than any one thing. 

DREAM OF A GLORIOUS SEASON, a sweet novella by Sarah M. Eden, we meet Elizabeth Gillerford who envies her sister only one thing—that she’s been intended for Julian Broadwood since they were children. The trouble is that Elizabeth is hopelessly in love with Julian too. When Julian discovers that Elizabeth has been denied a Season because her older sister is yet unwed, he undertakes his own stealthy measures to introduce her to society, only to find himself falling in love with her himself. 

In THE MENDER, a captivating story by Carla Kelly, Thankful Winnings takes a sea voyage with her cousin on the Ann Alexander, in a last adventure before she settles down to marry one of her beaus. Unexpectedly they come upon the aftermath of a fierce ship battle, and Thankful is commissioned to help in the place of an injured surgeon on one of the Royal Navy ships. Adam Farnsworth, surgeon, has been at sea for years. Tired of war, but devoted to his post, it takes a resourceful lady such as Thankful to give him the hope of love and help heal his own wounds, the ones that show and the ones that don’t. 

In BEGIN AGAIN, a charming novella by Josi S. Kilpack, Regina Weathers gives up on marrying for love the day that Ross Martin walks out of her life. Now, fifteen years later, Ross shows up at a ball and thinks he can woo Regina. But she is set on her lonely path and stitched-up heart, no matter the excuse Ross gives for his years of silence and neglect. When Ross insists he wrote many letters during his military years, Regina discovers a secret long-since buried by her father, and the revelation might be enough to thaw the coldness of her heart. 

In Annette Lyon’s endearing story, THE AFFAIR AT WILDEMOORE, Mrs. Ellen Stanhope escorts her three daughters to a ball. As her oldest flirts with a beau, Ellen is reminded of her courtship and early years of marriage with Anthony, before tragedy struck with the death of their infant son. The marriage has faded and dulled. Not until she sees Anthony dancing with a woman he courted years before does Ellen realize how much she misses him, still loves him, and yearns for him to yet feel the same way for her. 

In the delightful novella, THE DUKE’S BROTHER, by Heather B. Moore, Mr. Gregory Clark is having an awful day, and it only gets worse when he’s ran over by … a woman. Mabel Russell reluctantly visits her sister in London for the Season, even though she’d rather stay in the country cataloging insects and aphids. When she runs into Gregory Clark, quite literally, she’s afraid to show any interest, especially since he’s a member of the dreaded ton. But getting to know Gregory becomes an unexpected delight.

My Review:

I enjoyed this collection immensely. I love Regency Romance and was so excited to have a whole anthology devoted to them. Each story is written by a talented author, and carries its own strength while adding to the whole. I highly recommend for fans of the Romance Anthologies, especially of historical romances.

·         The Wedding Gift by Anna Elliot

This is less a Pride and Prejudice retelling, but rather a continuation of the story. Written as an epistolary story, the events unfold through the journal of Elizabeth Bennet. I found it interesting to see the author’s take on what could have happened leading up to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s wedding. Most of it centers on her quest to find and deliver the perfect wedding gift for Darcy.
I have found some Jane Austen retellings very amusing, and others a bit odd. This one was actually quite well written. I enjoyed Elizabeth’s witty voice in her journal entries. The light and humorous air she approached even difficult circumstances with remained close to the original Miss Bennet’s character.
The intrigue surrounding her abduction was interesting, if a bit of a stretch. It was interesting to speculate on what those behind her kidnapping could do. Overall, a good twist to the Pride and Prejudice adventures.
I was a bit disappointed in the portrayal of Mr. Darcy. I felt his attitudes and behaviors are a bit lax and over-sentimental at times. Not quite how I pictured him, or how he came across in the original work, but it did help to add some depth to his character.
Overall, I really enjoyed this twist on one of the most retold Jane Austen novels.

·         Dream of a Glorious Season by Sarah M. Eden

Miss Elizabeth Gillerford is the younger daughter of a rather stodgy, and old-fashioned family. Her parents insist, despite her age, that she may not have a season until her catty older sister is married. There is only one problem to this arrangement, her sister is set on marrying their childhood friend, Julian Broadwood. The only boy Elizabeth has ever loved.
I, as always, loved Eden’s spunky heroine. Though her family considers her a homely, blue-stocking, she doesn't let their sharp tongues affect her cheerful attitude. Julian’s cluelessness was endearing, and a bit exasperating. His clever, but polite manipulations of Elizabeth’s elder sister and parents in order to help his friend was ingenious and worthy of applaud. It was an amusing tale with the moments of heart-tugging emotion that Eden has mastered.
I did think Julian was a bit dense not to have caught on sooner about what was going on with Elizabeth, and I’m not sure if it fit the heroine’s personality to stay inside and listen to her family’s dictates. However, I found them both delightful for the most part. I with the story had been longer so I could have gotten to know them better.

·         The Mender by Carla Kelly

Thankful Winnings wants to experience a little adventure before settling down to the quiet, predictable life planned out for her as a Quaker woman. So, mending kits packed, she joins her cousin on his ship bound for Italy. She gets a bit more adventure than she bargained for in this short, but exhilarating tale of war and love.
I thought the historical accuracy Kelly’s work was amazing! I haven’t read any of her other novels, but I plan on rectifying this soon. It was interesting to follow a Friend, and learn more about this interesting people and see the devastation caused by the Napoleonic War. The devastating loss and pain caused by warfare was not sugarcoated, nor was it overly glorified. I appreciated the matter-of-fact, yet heartfelt approach this story took to the events that unfolded.
Thankful’s character was an intriguing mix of contradictions. She was a Friend, but craved excitement. She knew the common arts of sewing, but also could mend other things with skills she picked up on her own. Her romance is both sweet, and a bit sensual. She is kind, but with steel in her soul. I enjoyed coming to know her better.
The one thing I didn't like was the jarring all dialogue of the opening section and the epilogue. Though, it was a bit odd, I must say the author handled it masterfully. It wasn't confusing on who was speaking, but just strange to have an entire conversation with no action or physical references to ground me in setting. 

·         Begin Again by Josi S. Kilpack

When Regina Weathers is confronted by the lost love of her youth, sparks fly. Not the good kind. Now, she must decide if she can forgive Ross—the boy who abandoned her fifteen years ago—and love the man he’s become. But some wounds prove too much to reopen, even with the fortitude she has gained from all experiences.
I enjoyed Kilpack’s Culinary Mystery series, and was excited to see her branch out into Regency. Her romance spoke to the heart of regrets over lost opportunities, past mistakes, and hope. I found the story line interesting. It was reminiscent of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, but with delightful twists. Miss Weather’s character was also a breath of fresh air in the genre. She was not young, and had made many mistakes over her life, but had overcome them to find a good life. When that life is threatened, she fights against anything that will destroy it, even if it may cost her future happiness.
I look forward to reading more like this from Kilpack in the future.

·         The Affair at Wildemoore by Annette Lyon

The Affair at Wildemoore was by far my favorite from this collection. It was so different from the others. Anthony Stanhope and Ellen Stanhope have been married for many years. They have three, nearly grown, daughters, and a comfortable life. But the passion, romance, and closeness of their early courtship has long died. A shared tragedy of their past caused them to drift apart, but when an old flame returns, they must question whether they will choose to remain distant, or attempt to bridge the chasm between them.
This tale of love that has lost its youthful bloom was so beautiful! I loved how they had both grown to be strong, good people as individuals that only deepened their affection for each other. The loss they both had suffered made their shared history so much deeper and meaningful for what they had faced. It was also nice to see that even though the couple had allowed life to cause them to become strangers, they weren't entirely lost to each other. Lyon’s excellent writing craft brought the characters, history, and emotion alive. I wished it had been longer!

·         The Duke’s Brother by Heather B. Moore

Mable Russell wants to be left in piece to study her of insects, especially the fascinating lives of snails. But her childhood home has been invaded by near strangers, noisy boys, and a pushy, but well-meaning sister demands her company in the Society Mabel abhors. In The Duke’s Brother, Moore thrusts our independent, scientist woman into a world she can’t possibly belong to. It is there she meets the handsome Gregory Clark, younger brother to her sister’s husband. He’s intriguing and doesn't seem to mind her “wild” ways. But she knows a member of the ton can’t ever truly understand her. She’s long ago sworn of the foolish follies of love. The duke’s younger brother has plans of his own though, and he’s just realized they couldn't possibly be complete without the unconquerable spirit Miss Russell possesses.
The duo in here are well matched. Both wish to live differently than the life their loved ones, and society demands. I wished there had been a little bit more conflict and banter between them, since that was one of the best parts. I found them both to be interesting though with their individual pursuits. The romance was a bit rushed, but I did care whether or not it worked out. Overall, a cute little story filled with interesting facts about the insects and reptiles that surround us.

*I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for my honest review*

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