Fairest of Hearts

About the Book:

Fairest of Heart (Texas Ever After) by [Karen Witemeyer]

Title: Fairest of Hearts
Series: Texas Ever After #1
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: June 6th, 2023
Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Once upon a time in Texas . . .

Beauty has been nothing but a curse to Penelope Snow. When she becomes a personal maid for a famous actress whose troupe is leaving Chicago to tour the West, she hides her figure beneath shapeless dresses and keeps her head down. But she still manages to attract the wrong attention, leaving her prospects in tatters–and her jealous mistress plotting her demise.

After his brother lost his life over a woman, Texas Ranger Titus Kingsley has learned to expect the worst from women and is rarely disappointed. So when a young lady found in suspicious circumstances takes up residence with the seven old drovers living at his grandfather’s ranch, Titus is determined to keep a close eye on her.

With a promotion hanging in the balance, Titus is assigned to investigate a robbery case tied to Penelope’s acting troupe, and all evidence points to Penelope’s guilt. But Titus might just be convinced that the fairest woman of all has a heart as pure as her last name . . . if only he can prove it.

Book Review:

This was a fun read! I love fairytales and it was so cool to read this western Christian reimagining. Fairest of Heart is the first book in Karen Witemeyer’s new series, Texas Ever After. Snow White is such an interesting fairytale and it was cool to see how Witemeyer changed and modeled the story. 

Penelope and Titus were just wonderful characters. They were engaging and I felt for them both as they tried to figure out life. I really liked how Witemeyer created her own version of Snow White. I was drawn into the story and I loved Witemeyer’s version of the seven dwarves. The seven old men were so sweet and I loved how they became like Penelope’s grandpas. Although it took me a little while to get invested in the book, the plot was interesting and I wanted to know how the story was going to end. I also enjoyed how Witemeyer wove faith into her book and how the characters had to learn to trust God more fully. 

Fairest of Heart was a fun book. It was a clean Christian historical fiction romance. I would recommend it to those who enjoy Witemeyer’s other books or who just enjoy Christian western romance fiction. I am also excited to see what fairytale Witemeyer will do next!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required. 

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Absolutely, Positively Natty

About the Book:

Absolutely, Positively Natty by [Lisa Greenwald]

Title: Absolutely, Positively Natty
Author: Lisa Greenwald
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Release Date: May 9th, 2023
Genre: Children’s Fiction

Natty deals with moving after her mom’s departure by pulling a “Ted Lasso” and starting a pep squad in this standalone middle-grade novel about friendship and toxic positivity by the author of TBH and the Friendship List series.

When Natty’s mom kind of takes a break from her dad and sort of the whole family, Natty and her dad move to his childhood hometown of Miller Creek. Now she’s starting middle school for the second time, this time in Miller Creek—without her mom—or her BFF. But Natty’s doing great! Really. Anything is possible. And what’s the point of dwelling on the stuff that stinks when there’s so much good stuff to think about?

Natty is absolutely, positively sure that she can turn it all around. Like 1,000 percent sure. As long as she stays absolutely positive! She’ll get her dad off the couch, make her tons of new friends, and even convince her mom to come live with them in Miller Creek. First step? Starting a pep squad to spread the good vibes.

But what happens when the leader of the pep squad has no more cheer to give?

Book Review:

I’m going to be honest, this book broke my heart a little. It is written in an easy to read manner and in some ways seems lighthearted which showcases the depth of its topic because Natty is also putting on a show and trying to hide her real feelings.

I loved Natty from the start. She was going through so much, and she did not know how to cope with it. I think a lot of kids are going to be able to identify with her and her struggles. She was trying to put on a happy face thinking that it would fix everything. I love how she learned that sometimes positivity will not fix problems that sometimes things are just hard.

And I love how nothing is technically solved in this book. Natty gains friends though, and she learns the importance of talking about her feelings. I think that lesson will be very helpful for kids and their parents because Natty’s dad had no idea how to talk to her.

I think I was a bit frustrated by Natty’s friends though, especially Mack because she seemed very abrasive and honestly kind of a jerk to Natty. I understand how she and Natty were foils to each other, but she still irritated me a bit. I think she did show Natty the importance of saying when things are bad though. But she also had to learn how to let Natty express her feelings which I think she did eventually learn.

I would definitely recommend this book. It is a heartbreaking and important read that is both entertaining and helpful in learning how to talk about your feelings.

Content Warnings

Natty’s mom has depression. It’s not graphic about what happened, but she eventually ends up leaving Natty and her dad

Highlights:

Importance of talking about feelings

Friends from different cliques

Seeing behind people’s masks

Friendships

Only light romance

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Desire or Defense

About the Book:

Desire or Defense: An Enemies-to-Lovers Hockey Romance (D.C. Eagles Hockey Book 1) by [Leah Brunner]

Title: Desire or Defense
Series: DC Eagles Hockey #1
Author: Leah Brunner
Release Date: April 18th, 2023
Genre: Romantic Comedy

I’m not the hero in this story.

I’m the villain…

The notoriously angry, grouchy, D.C. Eagles defenseman that just can’t keep his temper in check. The temper that leads to a fifteen game suspension from the NHL.

As if that’s not bad enough, I’m forced into a short term youth-hockey coaching gig. Which my manager swears will “rebuild my image.”

But what I didn’t expect was for a gorgeous, spunky blonde to stomp onto the ice on day one and lecture me about being rude to her little brother.

Something about this spitfire of a woman, and the boy she’s so protective of, has my defenses melting.

And if I’m not careful, I’ll burst into flames, forever melting the ice I’ve carefully kept around my heart.(This is a closed-door romcom with mild language. Trigger warnings include: parental substance abuse & dealing with grief/loss of parents).

Book Review:

Ahhh! This was just a wonderful start to a new series. I am already invested in the characters. Desire or Defense is the first book in Leah Brunner’s Hooked on a Feeling.  Okay, so Brunner is an excellent writer and I was super excited for this new series. It was just as good as I had hoped!

Andi was a lot of fun. I loved her spunk and how she cared for her brother, she was just trying her best. Andi was a strong character and it was fun to get to know her and see her match Mitch. It was hilarious to see that she didn’t know anything about hockey but how she would do anything for Noah. 

Mitch was such a complicated character, but I loved his depth. He was struggling and he didn’t know how to deal with life. It was sweet to read about him connecting with Noah and then Andi. They broke down his walls. Mitch had to learn to fight for his future and hope for the best even when obstacles came. 

Mitch and Andi were fun to read about. They had great chemistry and I loved seeing them fall in love. I loved how they connected over Noah and how they tried to be their best for him. The side characters were a lot of fun and I can’t wait to read the next books! I enjoyed reading about their interactions and how they stood by each other. The whole team needs their own books! 

Desire or Defense is a must read! It is a closed-door hockey romantic comedy. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

Covert Ops

About the Book:

Title: Covert Ops
Series: Saint Squad #12
Author: Traci Hunter Abramson
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: May 9th, 2023
Genre: Romantic Supsense

Sienna Blake is used to chaos. As a well-known movie star, she thought she’d seen it all. But that was before she fell in love with Craig Simmons, a navy SEAL and member of the Saint Squad. The path to matrimony has been strewn with postponements and disruptions, but wedding bells are finally going to ring―until Craig disappears just ahead of the most important day of their lives, leaving Sienna to evaluate whether she’s really cut out for the uncertainty of life as a military wife.

After a potential terrorist threat overseas leaves his wedding plans in ruins―again―Craig realizes he needs to make this wedding happen or lose Sienna forever. In short, he needs backup. With the enthusiastic help of his Saint Squad teammates, wedding plans are once more set in motion. But as the big day draws near, a startling discovery may mean a life-or-death situation for the Squad. The overseas threat looms much closer to home than they ever thought possible. Now it’s not just a quest to make it down the aisle―it’s a battle to survive.

Book Review:

Wow! Another winner by Abramson. Covert Ops is the 12th book in Traci Hunter Abramson’s Saint Squad series. Abramson’s books are always enjoyable and I was really excited to get to read this one! The Saint Squad is back with another exciting adventure.

I loved reading about these characters again. I do need to read the other books because I am missing a bit of the backstory between the characters, but it was still good. The Saint Squad had the greatest chemistry and it was fun to read about them interacting. I was on the edge of my seat as they worked together to complete their mission and keep others safe. 

I felt so bad for Craig and Sienna, they were trying so hard to make their wedding happen. However it was sweet to read about them trying to work through the obstacles that kept on popping up and fighting for their future together. Sienna and Craig were just wonderful characters and I was cheering them on. 

The plot was engaging. I did not know how Sienna and Craig were going to figure out their wedding plans or how the Saint Squad was going to complete their missions. I also loved seeing the Whitmores and Jim’s campaign for President. 

Covert Ops is a fun book. The characters are compelling and the story draws you in. I feel as if it had the perfect blend of suspense, romance, and action. I would recommend reading it as part of the series though because it would be more enjoyable. Covert Ops is a must read. It is a clean romantic suspense novel.  

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Rook to King

About the Book:

Rook to King: A romantic adventure (Love and Treasure Book 1) by [Carina  Taylor]

Title: Rook to King
Series: Love and Treasure #1
Author: Carina Taylor
Release Date: April 13th, 2022
Genre: Romantic Adventure

 romantic adventure

Bodie King

My entire life revolves around convincing people to do what I want. Some people call me a con man. Some people call me…other things. I prefer to call myself a broker. (I even made business cards, so it must be official.)

Charming someone into helping me has never been a problem—until now.

The Bennetto chess set is rumored to lead to a priceless fortune. Who better to find it than me? I need an authenticator to help me buy the missing pieces of the chess set. The problem is finding someone who knows the set but is still honest—a quality I lack.

Enter Gracen Winthrop. She’s knowledgeable. Annoyingly trustworthy. And, most importantly, available.

After some persuasion, she seems to catch the treasure hunting bug as well. Unfortunately, I don’t actually want to share.

Now Gracen refuses to be left behind, despite a homicidal, grudge-holding ex-employee of mine chasing after us. I can’t protect her…but turns out she can handle herself just fine.

The closer we get to the chess set, the slower I want to find it. Because once I find the missing pieces? I’m going to disappear into the sunset, never to see Gracen again.

But Gracen has her own secrets…and how could I expect her to ever love a con?

Book Review:

This was such a fun book! I have read almost all of Carina Taylor’s books, but this one had a very different, heist movie vibe to it. 

I loved Bodie! He was such a sweetheart underneath all his conman exterior. But it was also fun to read about a morally gray MC. He is not the good guy, and he is unashamedly a thief and a conman. But he also plays by a different set of rules. It was fun to watch him try and grapple with who he was and who he wanted to be.

Gracen was an awesome character! She had so many layers to her, and it was fun to see her character grow and change. I feel like the big reveal for her character felt very genuine too which I loved. It didn’t seem to come out of nowhere. Let’s just say that there is more to this antique expert than meets the eye.

My favorite part was the banter between Gracen and Bodie! It was just perfect. So funny and on point for both of these characters. They drove each other insane in the best way     possible 😉

The side characters in this one were hilarious! I loved Oscar and Gracen’s family. They were so much fun! Gracen’s family is insane but in a super awesome, dysfunctional way. And I loved all of the Fletcher and Saidy cameos. Poor Fletcher was so frustrated by Bodie, and it was so funny!

I loved the action in this book. The plot was entertaining and exciting without ever taking away from the characters and their development. I would recommend this clean adventure romcom! There is some mild language and action.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

Somebody to Lean On

About the Book:

Somebody to Lean On: A Small-town, Friends-to-Lovers, Sweet Romantic Comedy (Love in Charlotte Oaks Book 2) by [Jess Mastorakos]

Title: Somebody to Lean On
Series: Love in Charlotte Oaks #2
Author: Jess Mastorakos
Release Date: April 26th, 2022
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Do I want to kiss my best friend? Yep. Always have. Too bad it’s not that simple.

Jackson Wilson and I are long-distance co-guardians of our friends’ daughter, and even though we’re best friends and we’re totally committed to Phoebe, this isn’t a romcom where the best friends get together in the end.

Unfortunately.

But now, Phoebe and I have nowhere to go but Jackson’s tiny Tennessee town. And even though it’ll be hard to ignore my feelings, we’ll raise this adorable, sassy ballerina—while patching up the injury-prone busybodies of Charlotte Oaks—side-by-side, as friends.

Except … what’s with that fire in his eyes? And why is he smiling at me like that?

Uh-oh. I don’t deserve to ride off into the sunset with Jackson and Phoebe. And if we go there and it blows up, Phoebe is the one who’ll pay the price, and not even a pair of former combat medics have the skills to repair that kind of damage.

Then again, this job has taught me that there are no guarantees in life or love, but the reward is always worth the risk.

Am I brave enough to risk everything for a chance at a romcom-worthy happily ever after, or are we destined to stay in the friend zone forever?

Book Review:

This was a cute book! Somebody to Lean On is the second book in Jess Mastorakos’ Love in Charlotte Oaks series. Mastorakos is a talented writer. I am loving this new series and this was a great friends to lovers.

Bailey was a complicated character, she was dealing with a lot. However I loved getting to know her, she was just trying her best to care for Phoebe. I liked how strong Bailey was and how she connected with Jackson’s family. Bailey had fallen for Jackson years before but she was scared of the future and to let him know. Bailey had to learn to let Jackson in and even reach for her dreams. 

Jackson was a sweetheart. He truly cared for Bailey and Phoebe. Jackson wanted to give Bailey his heart but he was trying to wait on her time. I enjoyed reading about Jackson and seeing him interact with his brothers and family, it was fun. Jackson had to learn to be brave and reach out to Baily

Bailey and Jackson were just so fun together! I was super excited for this one and it was great. I loved the characters and their interactions! The family relationships were so sweet. Phoebe was a great attention to the story and I love how she brought Jackson and Bailey together. The town was hilarious and their antics had me laughing. 

I would definitely recommend this book. I think that it had the perfect blend of serious, funny, and romance. You need to read Somebody to Lean On! Somebody to Lean On is a clean contemporary romance. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

That Time I Kissed the Groomsman Grump

About the Book:

That Time I Kissed The Groomsman Grump: A Sweet Romantic Comedy by [Julie Christianson]

Title: That Time I Kissed the Groomsman Grump
Series: That Time I #1
Author: Julie Christianson
Release Date: April 24th, 2023
Genre: Romantic Comedy

The second dumbest thing I ever did was let my brother’s best friend kiss me …

BRADY

Yeah, I shouldn’t have kissed Natalie Slater.

Not on the porch. Or at the beach. Or in the storage closet. Especially not the storage closet. But to be fair, she kissed me first. Six months later, I’m still thinking about it.

Trouble is, I’ve made promises that tie me to our small town, while Natalie can’t wait to escape. I’ve got no business pursuing her or my secret ambitions. My future’s set, and good people here are depending on me. Too bad my gut’s not listening to reason, and I’m being pulled toward different dreams: the career I’ve always wanted, and the woman whose smile I can’t forget…

NATALIE

Brady Graham and I used to be friends. For a while there, I was even the teensiest bit attracted to him. But Brady’s sister is marrying my brother, and my brother is Brady’s best friend. How awkward would family dinners be if things went south? We need to let our mutual attraction fizzle out.

Except…nothing seems to be fizzling. With all the time we’re spending together as Maid of Honor and Best Man, our attraction’s just burning hotter. Then the guy decides to show me his secret soft side. Hot and vulnerable? So. Not. Fair.

Because the only heat I need in my life is the sunshine in Los Angeles. I’ve made commitments on the west coast, and I can’t risk being sidetracked by Broody Brady.

I just need to put three thousand miles between me and his so-not-fairness…

Book Review:

Such a cute story! Both Brady and Natalie know that a relationship is not a good idea. Brady is tied to their small town and the people in it. He can’t pursue her or his secret ambitions. Yet he feels pulled towards his dreams of the career he has always wanted and the woman who he can’t forget about. Natalie is ready to leave and has started making plans for a life in Los Angeles. Besides with Brady’s sister marrying Natalie’s brother and her brother being Brady’s best friend, they don’t need to add any awkwardness. They just need some time to let things settle…right?

It was so exciting to read this after being able to read That Time I Kissed my Brother’s Best Friend! You got to see the beginning hints of Brady and Natalie there. Natalie was so sweet. She felt a bit out of place in their small town where everyone had known everyone since birth. But she was so willing to help and to support, especially with Kasey’s wedding. I admired how she sought to be upbeat and encouraging, especially with Brady. She had to think through why she wanted what she had been pursuing. Brady was so sweet. He was a bit gruff, but definitely showed his tender side with Natalie. He felt like his commitments were weighing on him. He was so responsible and considerate. 

It was fun to watch the antics of the wedding preparations and planning. Both Brady and Natalie had good relationships with their siblings and it was sweet to see how they tried to support them. I also loved how Brady and Natalie supported one another. They were both trying to look out for the other. As always, the side characters were hilarious! I love how Ms. Christianson’s books make you so invested in the whole cast of characters. I loved the small town vibes and the super-involved family! I enjoyed seeing old characters coming back into the story too! This is a closed-door romance that is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

Matched with Her Athletic Boss

About the Book:

Matched with Her Athlete Boss (Romance by Love, Austen Book 3) by [Britney M. Mills]

Title: Matched with Her Athletic Boss
Series: Romance by Love, Austen #3
Author: Britney M. Mills
Release Date: April 2nd, 2023
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Being matched isn’t for the faint of heart. Especially after the relationship train wreck I’ve been through.

After a rough year, both in relationships and her career, Kenzie Sullivan has sworn off dating and decided to take the self-employment route. She never thought it would lead her to landing Trey Hatch, her longtime crush, as a client. She tries to keep life separate, but Trey keeps worming his way through every wall she puts up, giving her a sliver of hope that something could happen between them.

Trey is ready to share his busy hockey life with someone. When his agent sets him up to be part of a matchmaking docuseries, he’s not sure that’s the way to find love. But after spending time with Kenzie, and convincing her to try the matchmaking app again, he’s hoping she’ll be one of his matches.

As their relationship progresses, will they stay friends or take things to the next level?

Book Review:

This was cute and fun! I was super excited to read this book because I really enjoyed the previous book and it did not disappoint. Matched with Her Athletic Boss is the third book in Britney M. Mills’ Romance by Love, Austen series. 

Trey and Kenzie were super sweet to read about. I loved how they connected and how they really seemed to care about each other. Kenzie was such a unique character, she had a lot of past hurts to work through. However I loved her stubbornness and her kind heart. She was working hard to make her new business work, she never expected to fall in love along the way. Trey was also a sweetheart. I loved how he was looking for a family. It was cute to read about him connecting with Kenzie and falling in love.

The romance was sweet and the characters were engaging. I liked how it also showed Kenzie’s family and their interactions, it was lovely. It was fun to read about Kenzie and Trey falling in love. I like the way Mills did her matchmaking part of this book, it was perfect. 

I would recommend Matched with Her Athletic Boss to those who enjoy relatable characters and a sweet romance. Matched with Her Athletic Boss is closed door romantic comedy. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

More Than a Silly Crush

About the Book:

Title: More Than a Silly Crush
Series: Cowboys of Stargazer Springs Ranch Rom Com Series #4
Author: Remi Carrington
Release Date: April 15th, 2023
Genre: Romantic Comedy

I only saw him as my best friend’s little brother . . . until I married him.

Getting pregnant before the wedding wasn’t my plan, but surprise! Then my fiancé (correction, ex-fiancé) tells me to take care of the problem. And that’s how he becomes my ex.

But being a single mom in this small town won’t be easy. Maybe not even possible. I’m a large animal vet. It’s not like I can take my baby to work with me.

Then my best friend’s younger brother drops to one knee and proposes so that I won’t be a single mom.
After hours of pondering, I accept Parker’s impulsive proposal.

Romance has never been part of our relationship, but he treats me better than anyone I’ve ever dated. He’s caring, protective, and more than a little good looking. Way more than I deserve.

But I really didn’t think about the day-to-day of married life. Or what it would be like to see him without a shirt all the time. He’s no longer the scrawny kid who liked to tag along. He’s a full-grown cowboy and quickly becoming my best friend. (Well, my other best friend)

Just when I think maybe a happily-ever-after is possible, tragedy strikes.

Now that there’s nothing to save me from, I have to let him go. But walking away from my knight in shining armor will absolutely shatter my heart.

Book Review:

Wait for Me

About the Book:

Wait for Me: A Sweet Time Travel Romance (Waters of Time Series) by [Jody Hedlund]

Title: Wait for Me
Series: Waters of Time #4
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Northern Lights Press
Release Date: May 9th, 2022
Genre: Time Split Romance

When the darkness closes all around,
Beauty is still there just waiting to be found.


Dawson Huxham blames himself for his sister’s death . . . until he briefly crosses time and discovers she’s alive in the Middle Ages. Hoping to reconnect with her, he searches for the holy water that will help him visit the past for a longer duration. But he realizes he’s not the only one looking for the miraculous water. Terrorists are threatening him and watching his every move.

As Dawson locates holy water from an unlikely source, he crosses fully into the past where he meets a beautiful noblewoman, Philippa Neville, who is desperately trying to escape her uncle’s plans for an arranged marriage. When danger closes in, Dawson agrees to wed her in an effort to thwart her uncle’s schemes. As forces in both the present and past conspire against the newlyweds, will they find a way to be together before the swiftly moving waters of time separate them forever?

Book Review:

This is one of my favorites in this series! I read it so quickly, it was just so good! Wait for Me is the fourth book in Jody Hedlund’s Waters of Time.  It was worth the wait. Dawson definitely needed his own book. 

Dawson had such a troubled soul. He was struggling to live again after the loss of his eyesight and then the death of his sister. I loved reading about Dawson growing up and learning to trust God even through all his troubles. Dawson had to learn to see the good in the world and what it meant to keep on living even when life feels hard. Dawson was such a strong character and it was fun to read about him helping others and being himself. 

Philippa was such a sweet character. Life had not been easy for her and yet she still strived to help and care for others. Philippa had to learn how to fight for her future and for what she loved. I loved reading about her interacting with Dawson and drawing him in. 

The romance was sweet and I loved reading about them falling in love. They really complemented each other. The plot was also interesting. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this book would end. I also love the way Hedlund wove faith into her books and the lessons that were learned. 

Wait for Me was a great book! I would definitely recommend it! Wait for Me is a closed door Christian time travel romance. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.