Keep it Together, Keiko Carter

About the Book:

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by [Debbi Michiko Florence]

Title: Keep it Together, Keiko Carter
Author: Debbi Michiko Florence
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Novel

Fans of Wendy Mass and Lisa Greenwald are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sweet story about first crushes, friendship drama, and finding the courage to stand up for yourself.Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks she’s got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot, and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her trio is ready to tackle life as they always have… together.But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, it looks like things may be changing in all the wrong ways. Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey’s demands, and soon Keiko’s besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. While she’s been dreaming about triple-dates, first kisses, and a boy she really shouldn’t have a crush on, the friendship she’s always thought was rock-solid is beginning to crumble.Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends — even if it means losing one of them — or follow her heart? When it comes to flirting, friendships, and fallouts, how is Keiko supposed to keep it all together?

Book Review:

I’m so happy I found this little gem of a book! It is so adorable, and fluffy enough to be low stress but thoughtful enough to have a couple of good lessons tucked in it. I think middle grade fiction is often too mature, but I loved how this one gently touched on some old, racist movies without making the book all about racism. There is an instant where some discriminatory and racist language is being used against Keiko though. 

Keiko is such a relatable character. She wants everyone to just get along, and she doesn’t see how hiding her feelings doesn’t help anyone. I loved seeing her find the strength to actually tell people how she feels. It was sweet to see how Connor helped her to relax a little.

I loved Connor! He was such a sweetheart, and I loved how he was able to admit his faults. I think he was such a contrast to Aubrey, and I was really happy that the author showed that he and Keiko were friends first. His friends added so much fun to the story too, and it showed how people are not always what they seem.

This was such a realistic, sweet book! The character development was great, and I loved the lessons about friendships, how some friendships have to end. I would recommend this book to any middle schoolers, but I think it’s also fun for older kids!

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Jasmine Toguchi Brave Explorer

About the Book:

Jasmine Toguchi, Brave Explorer by [Debbi Michiko Florence, Elizabet Vukovic]

Title: Jasmine Toguchi Brave Explorer
Series: Jasmine Toguchi
Author: Debbi Michiko Florence
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: October 18th, 2022
Genre: Children’s Fiction

With more than 130,000 copies sold, this award-winning chapter-book series starring a spunky Japanese American heroine returns with four new standalone books set on a family vacation in Japan!

Toothbrush? Check. Her special journal? Check! Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi—flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch messmaker—can hardly wait for her family vacation to Japan, and by the time their plane finally touches down, she’s ready to dive into their new adventure. There are so many things to see in Tokyo: Ramen Street, which she learns is not a whole street made of ramen; old temples with fancy gates; and Tokyo Tower, where you can even spot Mount Fuji on a good day.
But when they arrive, Jasmine finds herself unable to get away from her older sister Sophie’s crabby attitude. Plus there’s so much about Japan she didn’t know, and she seems to be getting in trouble right and left. Will Jasmine be able to cheer up her sister AND find her footing in a new country?
With her trademark humor and warmth, Debbi Michiko Florence weaves family drama and a fun introduction of Japanese culture into this delightful next chapter in Jasmine’s world.

Book Review:

This was such a cute, elementary grade book. Jasmine is a super, likeable character that I think a lot of kids are going to be able to relate to. It’s also a quick, simple read written in a way that they can easily understand. 

Jasmine is super excited to go to Japan, but she’s frustrated because her big sister is constantly being grumpy. She wants her sister and her to be friends again. As she continues her travels, she and her sister slowly start to bond as she learns more and more about Japan and its culture.

I think one of my favorite things about this book is how it celebrates Japanese culture in a very authentic way. I think a lot of Japanese kids will appreciate being able to see themselves on the page. Also, even if they’re not Japanese, it’s a really good opportunity for kids to learn a little more about Japan. The author even included some easy Japanese words that are woven throughout the story in a genuine way.

I’m sure they will understand the struggle Jasmine faces with her know-it-all big sister. She learns to appreciate her sister a little bit more. But it’s done in a very realistic way because there are still sisters who are going to fight and disagree. It wasn’t mushy or too adulty.

I would definitely recommend this book to any elementary grade kids. I think they’re really going to love it!

Highlights:

  • No language 
  • No innuendos 
  • Conventional family values 
  • Sweet sister relationship
  • Learning to not push others if they don’t want to do something
  • Easy to read writing style
  • Diversity!
  • Kids will learn about Japan

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.

A Lady’s Heart of Gold

About the Book:

A Lady's Heart of Gold: An American Victorian Romance (Hearts of Arizona Book 3) by [Sally Britton]

Title: A Lady’s Heart of Gold
Series: Hearts of Arizona #3
Author: Sally Britton
Release Date: September 14, 2022
Genre: Historical Romance

When a determined English newspaper woman arrives in the Arizona desert, she expects to find the lawless and the illiterate. Instead, she meets a well-spoken and handsome cowboy who’s ready to prove to her there’s more to the Territory than cattle and cacti.

English newspaper reporter Molly McKinney is determined to make a name for herself by writing about the wilds of the American West. After convincing her editor to take a chance on her idea, Molly travels to the United States looking for tales that will transport and inspire her readers. When she meets a quiet cowboy in the middle of Arizona Territory, she can sense that his story might be the most important of all—if only he’ll open up enough to tell it.

Eduardo “Ed” Byrd has worked at the KB Ranch for five years, making an honest living and trying to ignore his past. He’s one-quarter Cherokee, three-quarters Mexican-American, and entirely his own person. Light-hearted and hard-working, Ed keeps to himself and reserves his dreams for the privacy of his notebooks. When one meeting with the tenacious English woman rattles his mind and heart, Ed can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing things safe for too long.

A reporter’s natural curiosity spurs Molly to make her way to the ranch where Ed works, and she’s determined to find out what the cowboy is hiding beneath his gentle smiles. There’s more to Ed than he lets on, and when Molly starts to unravel his past, he realizes their story might only have a happy ending if he’s willing to risk more than just his heart.
This is the third novel in the Hearts of Arizona series. Each story is set in Arizona Territory and features a Victorian hero or heroine, with a mild heat level.

Book Review:

The next in Sally Britton’s western romances, A Lady’s Heart of Gold  tells the story of Ed Byrd, one of the cowboys of the KB ranch and newcomer, English newspaper writer, Molly McKinney. Molly is searching for the true story of the western America. She is trying to establish herself as a writer, looking for tales to transport and inspire her readers. Meeting a quiet cowboy in the Arizona Territory makes her think that his story might be the most important, but will he open up to tell it? Eduardo “Ed” Byrd  has been at the KB Ranch for five years, making an honest living and trying to ignore his past. As one-quarter Cherokee and three-quarters Mexican-American, he has established himself as his own person, but keeps to himself and keeps his dreams to his notebooks. The meeting with the determined English woman makes Ed wonder if he has been playing it safe too long. When Molly finds herself at the ranch Ed works at, she is determined to learn more about him and his story. Will their story have a happy ending, if they are willing to risk more than their hearts?  

Once again Sally has written a sweet and touching romance, with engaging characters and a lovely HEA. This particular story also deals with a difficult situation that was the reality of the Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, and others in the American West during this time. I felt like she addressed it with honesty, but a gentleness that is often found in her books. It was approached from an outsider’s POV and explained by a mixed Cherokee, Mexican-American character. In the book, different characters also use the term “Indian” when referring to Native Americans. 

However, the story is very sweet and I love how the characters grew in their relationship. It starts with a bit of insta-love vibes, but quickly grows as they connected. I liked seeing them connect over stories and writing. It was really sweet to see them encourage and support one another. Molly was such an independent spirit! I loved her determination and work ethic. I definitely admired her! 

Ed was super sweet! I was excited to see his story after meeting him in the earlier books. He was fun and seemed to have a backstory that I really wanted to know about. It was cool to see his story and read how he and Molly connected. They were so sweet together, even though they were from such different backgrounds and places in life. They both learned a lot from each other. I always love reading  series and how you can really get to know characters throughout it. It was fun to see the other characters from the previous stories.

This was such a fun read! I loved visiting the KB ranch and Arizona again! It is a clean western romance in a series that does not have to be read in order, but I definitely feel that it adds to the story. Overall, while it has a few heavier topics, it is primarily a sweet 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.

The Danger with Diamonds

About the Book:

The Danger with Diamonds by [Traci Hunter Abramson, Sian Ann Bessey]

Title: The Danger with Diamonds
Series: Falcon Point Suspense #1
Author: Sian Ann Bessey and Traci Hunter Abramson
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: October 11th, 2022
Genre: Romantic Suspense

When Lars Hendriks arranges to meet Marit Jansen in Vienna, he is hoping their friendship will blossom into romance. What he doesn’t expect is a surprise visit from his cousin Cole or the loose diamonds he brings with him.

As a CIA operative, Cole Bridger is used to uncertainty, but when his work takes him back to Vienna, he looks forward to reconnecting with Isabelle Roberts, the fellow agent he dated briefly before duty took him away from Austria. Unfortunately, his silence over the last few months has created a chasm that he can’t cross without help. He barely takes a step toward repairing the damaged relationship when a brazen jewel heist seemingly links Cole, Lars, Marit, and Isabelle to the crime. The group is drawn into a deadly mystery, and once again, the treasures of Falcon Point are threatened. It doesn’t take long for them to realize they have stumbled upon something far bigger and more dangerous than a simple robbery. And someone on the inside knows it.

Book Review:

Wow! Another amazing book by two awesome authors. The Danger with Diamonds is a companion novel to Heirs of Falcon Point. I was beyond excited to hear that there was going to be another book. I knew that some of the characters still had a story that needed to be told. It was fun to see Lars and Cole again and get to read their story. 

Cole was a CIA Operative. He was used to being undercover and working under pressure but he was not used to courting a girl. It was sweet to read about Cole fighting for Isabelle, but Cole also had to figure out how to find his family’s jewels. Isabelle was so cool. I loved how she was able to handle herself and yet she knew when she needed help. Isabelle was hurt when Cole ghosted her but she was willing to put aside her feelings to get to the bottom of the heist. However, as Cole and Isabelle spent time together, they found themselves falling for each other. 

Lars was a sweetheart. I really liked him. You didn’t get to see much of him in the last book so it was cool to learn more about him. He wasn’t an operative but he wasn’t willing to let his family’s jewels just be taken. It was cool to see Lars step up and fight. Marit was also wonderful. She was one of Lars’ closest friends and it was sweet to read about them falling in love. Marit had to learn to trust Lars and his family especially as things got complicated. Marit and Lars always had a connection but as they interacted, it grew to more. 

It was interesting to read about Cole and Lars and see them falling in love. I loved both of the characters and reading about their romance. They were both unique characters and they made the book fun to read. All of the characters had a part to play that was exciting to see. The characters were likable and I was able to connect with them. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how this story was going to end. The plot was engaging and I didn’t know what they were going to find out about the bank heist. 

The Danger with Diamonds is a must read! It is an exciting suspenseful romance. I felt as if this was the perfect blind of romance and suspense. I am crossing my fingers that there will be more books to come in this series. 

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.

Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ae98b8a319/?widget_template=5cf8617cb5df9c301e802fff

The Christmas Switch Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Christmas Switch by Zoey Marie Jackson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Christmas Switch: An Uplifting Inspirational Romance by [Zoey Marie Jackson]

Title: The Christmas Switch
Author: Zoey Marie Jackson
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Release Date: October 25th, 2022
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance

Keeping this secret gets complicated

with the family she wished for right next door.

Swapping places with her identical twin over the holidays sounds easy enough to Chanel Houston. But playing the role is trickier than expected when it comes to maintaining frosty relations with her sister’s neighbor and nemesis—especially since he has an adorable little girl and a rowdy puppy. Ryder Frost’s supposed to be grumpy and rude…so why does Chanel find the single dad so irresistible?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


Guest Post

Book ideas for myself and probably for many others come as a result of a ‘what if-then
situation that we think about and could be a result of blending things that we love or
have experienced. In this case, it was a blend of concepts and things that I like to craft
the idea for The Christmas Switch.

Being a twin myself, I absolutely love reading about twins, and I have always tried to
incorporate twins in my stories. For my first book for Love Inspired, I wrote about a set
of five-year-old matchmaking twins. I knew I wanted to do the same again but I wanted
to add a little intrigue, put a twist on it. That’s when the idea came to have these twins
switch places. This is understandable in the younger years so I had to think on the
concept of what would cause adult twins to switch places.

Fortunately, I was working with a great editor for the line who helped me formulate the
reason for the switch. Adult twins might switch places if one was in danger. Next, a book
trope that is almost always a guaranteed read for me is the neighbor-next-door. So, I
put the hero next door. To further add to the fun, one of the most enjoyable tropes for
readers is the enemies-to-lovers.

That’s when the light bulb went off and the concept materialized. What if I had twins
who switched places and that twin falls in love with the neighbor next door whom her
sister dislikes. The editor loved that idea so I began working on the characters and
crafting their story. Because of the timeline of when the book would be written and
delivered, I was asked if I could make it a Christmas story. If you blend all these, you
have The Christmas Switch.

Finally, while writing this, I was and still am going through a tough personal experience.
God ministered to me while writing and I then shared that through my story. I hope it
entertains and blesses at the same time!


Book Review:

I am a sucker for Christmas romances! And right now the weather’s getting a little colder, so I can start to dream of Christmas. And this was just an adorable book with all the Christmas magic.

Chanel’s life just got a lot more complicated. When her twin sister begs her to switch places, she agrees even though her hometown is filled with too many painful memories. But what happens when her sister’s annoying neighbor turns out to be a single dad with an adorable little girl? Chanel’s heart is getting attached with Ryder and his daughter Gabby even though their whole foundation is a lie.

Okay, I realized that this synopsis sounds super dramatic, but this book was actually pretty low stress. And Chanel is switching with her sister, Cara, because Cara is involved in an FBI investigation. Can I just say that explanation made me sigh in relief! I feel like lying in a relationship is a very bad move, so I loved that Chanel actually had a reasonable explanation. It made me love this story a little bit more!

Chanel was going through a lot, and she had a ton of past trauma she needed to work through. It was sweet to watch her with Ryder and Gabby, and they both helped her work through her painful past. I loved how she was with Gabby. And it was refreshing to have a more gentle female protagonist. I think a lot of female protagonists now are sassy, quick witted warrior queens, and I love those characters. But it’s refreshing to have a different kind of heroine.

Ryder was a sweetheart. Honestly, it was so cute to watch him with Gabby, and he was trying so hard to be a good dad. He also had a lot of past pain to work through, and it was cool to see him and Chanel help each other. They were both a little broken, and they helped bind each other up.

This was low stress, sweet read. I sometimes had a hard time really getting into it, but it was still really cute! The ending was a bit fast paced which was surprising because the romance was definitely a slow burn. However, I think the slow burn romance really worked for these characters because they were both more cautious in nature.

I would totally recommend this clean, Christian read to anyone who loves a Christmas 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.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zoey Marie Jackson

Zoey Marie Jackson loves writing sweet romances. She is almost never without a book and reads across genres. Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, she has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University and has been an educator for over 20 years. Zoey loves interacting with her readers.

Connect with Zoey by visiting zoeymariejackson.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

The Christmas Switch JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight October 25, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 1, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Forget Me Twice

About the Book:

Forget Me Twice: A Romantic Comedy by [Carina Taylor]

Title: Forget Me Twice
Author: Carina Taylor
Release Date: November 10th, 2022
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Have you ever brought your ex-husband home and pretended to still be married?

Yeah, me either.When my local hospital calls to say “I’m sorry to tell you this, but your husband has been in an accident” I try to explain the basics to them.

  1. I am not married—anymore. (Archie Dunmore is a thing of the past.)
  2. If there’s a husband in the hospital, it’s not mine.

Except Archie is back, and he’s been in an accident. One that has left him with amnesia. Yup. He believes we’re still happily married. Oh joy.

Too bad for me, the doctor believes it would be best for Archie to remember things on his own. He needs familiar surroundings to heal.

No big shocks.
No emotional trauma.

Which means I can’t tell him the truth.

Archie bursts back into my life with all the warmth and joy of a freshly married man, confident that I’m the love of his life, and determined to fix the rift between us.
Except how do I tell him that he walked out on me?
Especially when Archie is desperately trying to remember what I’ve worked so hard to forget.

What’s a girl to do with an amnesiac ex-husband at her breakfast table?

Content TW: Adult conversations discussing substance abuse and assault.

Book Review:

I loved this book! I have read all of Carina Taylor’s books, and I have enjoyed all of them. But I think this one might just be my favorite. It was sooo funny, and there were several times when I was giggling to myself as I read:)

I really liked Meyer. It was interesting because in some ways she really couldn’t handle confrontation. However, at the same time, she was constantly bantering with Archie. I loved that though, it was so cute! I felt like I understood Meyer, and her inner voice was hilarious. She was trying not to freak out while simultaneously freaking out.

Archie was a sweetheart! I actually really liked him. Honestly, I was a bit worried that he would be a jerk, but he was incredibly sweet and kind with Meyer. I think they both had issues to work through because he was all out there with his thoughts and feelings while she kept things inside. It was fun to watch them connect and figure each other out.

The pace of this was awesome! I couldn’t put it down, and I was so intrigued to see what would happen next. It didn’t feel stressful though which was really nice. It was a fun, clean read that I would recommend to any romcom lovers!

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.

In the Shadow of a Queen

About the Book:

In the Shadow of a Queen by [Heather B. Moore]

Title: In the Shadow of a Queen
Author: Heather B Moore
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishers
Release Date: October 4th, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction

Based on the true story of the free-spirited daughter of Queen Victoria.

As a young woman, Princess Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She is also strong-willed and resists following the queen’s rigid rules and strict protocols for a princess.

After her father’s untimely death, Louise’s life is upended by the inconsolable grief of her mother and the rippling effect that rocks the British Empire. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control, attend balls, or have any kind of relationship outside the royal family. She is relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother—the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.

Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters without Queen Victoria’s approval, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy and resources to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.

In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of an epic battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.

Book Review:

I have been trying to read more historical fiction and broaden my horizons, so I was excited to try out this book. In the Shadow of a Queen was a fascinating book about Princess Lousie, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s daughter, by Heather B Moore.

This book was really interesting to read and learn more about Princess Lousie. I had actually never read or seen anything about her so it was really cool to read. Princess Louise was trying to balance being herself and being a princess. This book takes us through many movements in Princess Lousie’s life, the death of her father, her sister’s marriages, starting school, and even getting married herself are some of the things that this book takes us through. 

I really enjoyed the way this book was written, it was easy to read and understand. It did drag a bit more for me but that could be because I am just slowly getting into historical fiction. However I feel as if I learned a lot about Princess Louise, her family, and the time that she lived in. The Princess was truly amazing to read about, she stood firm in her ideas and beliefs and did many great things. 

In the Shadow of a Queen was a good book. I would recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction or those who are interested in learning more about Princess Louise. It displays a world that seems so far away and different and yet it shows how these people were just human too. 

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.

The Worst Villain Ever

About the Book:

The Worst Villain Ever by [Amy Bearce]

Title: The Worst Villain Ever
Author: Amy Bearce
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publications
Release Date: October 18th, 2022
Genre: Children’s Fiction

A good villain is the worst.

When eleven-year-old George Pruwell is finally admitted to the Academy of Villainy and Wrongdoing, he has big plans of making his family proud, especially his older brother Alex. Unfortunately, unlike his brother, George is anything but villainous. To secure a slot in the school’s best class roster and prove himself worthy of his family’s wonderfully wicked name, he takes on a nearly impossible assignment: defeat Captain Perfectus, the world’s greatest superhero.

Now, George has to figure out how one too-nice-villain-in-training can defeat the most impressive superhero of all time. Alex offers his help, but George isn’t so sure he wants to use his big brother’s methods. And when Captain Perfectus turns out to have some seriously big problems of his own, George must choose whether to follow his instincts and help the superhero or crush him and become the most villainous Pruwell ever.

Book Review:

This was a fun, quick read! Most of the MG fiction I read is more geared towards girls, so it was fun to read a book with a boy main character. 

George is a total softie who wants to be a villain because it has been in his family for generations. So he’s ecstatic when he gets admitted to the Academy of Villainy and Wrongdoing. But in order to get into the best class roster, he has to defeat the best superhero of all time, Captain Perfectus. But what happens when Captain Perfectus turns out to be different than he seems? Will George trust his instincts or become a villain worthy of the Pruwell name?

This is a silly, quirky read. The villains are not scary and are actually quite comedic. Everything is quite over the top, and I loved learning about this different world. I think Bearce did a great job crafting a hilarious universe in this book.

I loved George! He is such a nice kid which is not good for a supervillain. I loved watching him find himself and figure out who he wanted to be. I think Bearce did this in a very entertaining way, so it wasn’t too introspective for younger readers.

I would recommend this book to younger middle schoolers or anyone looking for a light read. I had a harder time getting into it, but I think that’s partly because it’s not my usual genre. So I think middle schoolers will love it! We all need a book that makes us laugh and reminds us to be kind.

Highlights:

  • Funny
  • Appropriate humor
  • No cursing, innuedos, romance
  •  No scary fight scenes or any scary content
  • Conventional family values
  • No romance – importance of friendship
  • Reminder that no one’s perfect
  • Importance of being kind

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.

The Confidant

About the Book:

The Confidant: A Best Friends/Forbidden Romance (Eden Falls Academy) by [Judy Corry]

Title: The Confidant
Series: Eden Falls Academy #4
Author: Judy Corry
Publisher: Cherry Blossom Romance
Release Date: October 17th, 2022
Genre: YA Romance

I’m trying very hard not to be in love with my best friend. After all, we’ve “been there, done that.”

Or rather, we dated for three amazing weeks last spring before Scarlett’s overprotective dad found out and made her break up with me.

And now that I’ve left her dad’s church, there’s no chance for us. I’m considered dangerous—a threat.

Though, it’s really the secrets I hold that scare Pastor Caldwell the most.

As long as I don’t talk about why I left The Fold, her dad won’t transfer Scarlett from our private boarding school before graduation.

But when Scarlett is set up with a college guy from their church, I know waiting on the sidelines is no longer an option. I need to break out of the friend zone. Fast.

If only doing that didn’t require telling her the secret I’ve been keeping for six months.

Because when Scarlett discovers the truth, I might just lose her forever.

Book Review:

Wow this was a heavy book. I have read the other books in the series and loved them. So I was definitely excited about this one. The Confidant is the fourth book in Judy Corry’s Eden Falls Academy series. The Confidant is a closed door contemporary YA romance. 

Scarlett was a complicated character. I am honestly not sure how I feel about her. She was deeply religious and it ruled most of her life. However Scarlett was also trying to figure out her life and what it meant to fall for her best friend. She was struggling to figure out how to overcome the obstacles before them because of her religion and the realities of life. 

I loved Hunter! He was a great character and I felt so bad for him at times. I was able to understand him and I was rooting for him the whole time. He had stepped away from a religion that had ruled his life. I love how Hunter stood up for himself and he stuck true to his beliefs. He was kind and such a sweet character. 

Hunter and Scarlett’s relationship was sweet. I liked how they were friends first and then grew to more. They understood each other. The romance part was sweet, it is a closed door book though. I do have to admit that I had a harder time with the religious parts of this book. It was such a good book, however there were a lot of religious, cultish things in this book. I think that Corry did a good job with how she presented it and I like how she made up her own religion for it. However I am a religious person myself so I was unable to connect to that part as well. I think that she created a religion that was evil but that is not always how religion is in real life. 

Overall this is a good book and I would recommend it to those who enjoy Corry’s other books. I am also really excited for the next book. But I would give the content warnings of religious/cult abuse, a bit of depression, and the experience of leaving a religion that consumes a person’s life. I would recommend The Confidant to those who are at least 16 up because of the content and because it is a closed door 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.

Pleasantly Pursued

About the Book:

Pleasantly Pursued (Bradwell Brothers Book 2) by [Kasey Stockton]

Title: Pleasantly Pursued
Series: Bradwell Brothers #2
Author: Kasey Stockton
Release Date: September 7th, 2022
Genre: Historical Romance

Thea Northcott cannot abide Benedict Bradwell, and the feeling is mutual. Or, is it?

Thea
I would do nearly anything to avoid the lecherous advances of an eager earl, including running away from my finishing school and finding employment under a false name. The work turned out to be harder than I expected, however, and the prospect of returning to a life of comfort and a significant reduction of welts on my hands and shadows beneath my eyes just might be a temptation I’m too weary to refuse. The problem: the invitation comes from Benedict, the ultimate tormentor of my youth and brief object of my infatuation—the latter of which he can never find out.

Benedict
When I found Thea working in the belly of a grand house and did my best to convince her to return home with me where my mother awaited her, I did not expect her to agree. Our years of quarreling had solidified the woman as my enemy, and traveling alone together was a prospect that both terrified and intrigued me. Thea had only been my friend for a brief time years ago, and I do not know why she turned us against one another. But now that we’re forced together again, I cannot help but renew my determination to find out. Because a woman who would hate me with such fire was bound to love with the same fervor.

Book Review:

Thea Northcott is willing to do anything to avoid the lecherous advances of an eager earl, even run away from finishing school to find employment under a false name. But when the work is harder than she expects and she discovers that there are those searching for her to come home, it is a temptation that is hard to resist. Even when it comes from Benedict, the tormentor of her youth and who was once the object of her brief infatuation, and must never find out about it. When Benedict Bradwell finds Thea in the midst of a grand house working as a servant, he is not expecting his efforts to convince her to return home, to his mother and her guardian to be successful. The years of quarreling between the two has solidified her as his enemy, traveling alone together was a terrifying and intriguing prospect. Although he and Thea used to be friends, he does not know what turned her against him. As they spend time together, he becomes more determined to discover why and if the fiery hate she seemed to carry could turn to fervent love.

I was excited to read this book after seeing the hints of Thea and Benedict’s tumultuous relationship in the first book. They are both very stubborn and strong characters. Thea was such a fiery one! She was willing to run away to escape and willing to work to stay hidden. She was looking for a love match where she would be safe from the fears of her past. I appreciated her determination and strong will, though she did allow her feelings to influence her choices. She had to let go of her past and her fears in order to find happiness and love. There were a lot of secrets revealed for Thea throughout the story and they helped her come to terms with where she was and her hopes for the future. 

Benedict was also a strong-willed character and he and Thea would often banter. He was also figuring out his future and how Thea fit into it. He was trying to help Thea and reconnect with her, but he does not know why she seems to hate him. Benedict was also settling into his place amongst his family with all the recent changes. 

It was so sweet to watch them grow closer and work through their individual arcs. They were a really fun couple and there was a lot of  uncertainty in how it would work out, but it was really interesting to read. I also enjoyed reading about the other members of the family. It was nice to see James and Felicity again, as well as their mother and Henry. I am excited for Henry’s book too! 

Overall, this was a cute enemies-to- lovers regency romance! It is sweet and clean. It is the second in a series, so it would be helpful if you read the first one. I would suggest it, but it’s not necessary. 

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.