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A Curse So Dark and Lonely - Brigid Kemmerer

Sunday, February 9, 2020


My Rating
 - You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. (More Info)

About the Book


Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall … and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin. (From the author's website)

My Thoughts

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” A Curse So Dark and Lonely

This dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast definitely lived up to my expectations. My only regret...not buying the physical copy of BOTH these books. (Yes...already added to my Amazon wishlist 😂) I really enjoyed the different twists Ms. Kemmerer used to portray this beloved classic. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Harper! Aside from a few normal teenage indecisions, she was incredible. Being swept into another realm. Stuck there with strangers. Stuck in The Curse. She adjusts quickly and jumps into the necessary role of Princess Harper of Disi. Although lacking in proper training, she is determined to be useful... and her compassionate heart sets her on a path of success. Her growth throughout this book was fabulous!

Rhen...oh Rhen...from a mopey defeatist to a Prince with determination and strength. His transformation throughout this story was executed so well. After hundreds of seasons without being able to break the curse, it takes Harper, a woman who wasn't even supposed to be in Emberfall, for him to open his eyes to the plight of his people and something shifted in his heart and I LOVE THIS RHEN. His sense of duty and loyalty to his people is admirable, if belated.

Riddled with violence, this is not a book for sensitivity to blood. Overall, this was a well-constructed retelling, with new elements, variances to the original story, and a much darker twist as a whole. 

Please note: This is a general market title. There are some secular worldview references that, while I don't support, I didn't feel took away from the story. 

I purchased a copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.



About the Author

Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring Young Adult novels like A Curse So Dark and LonelyMore Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA stories like The Elemental Series and Thicker Than Water (Kensington). A full-time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband, her boys, her dog, and her cat. When she’s not writing or being a mommy, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell.

On Wings of Devotion - The Codebreakers book 2 - Roseanna M. White

Saturday, February 1, 2020


My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book
All of England thinks Phillip Camden a monster—a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But as nurse Arabelle Denler watches the so-dubbed "Black Heart" every day, she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their paths twist together and he declares himself her new protector, she realizes she has her own role to play in his healing.

Phillip Camden would have preferred to die that day with his squadron rather than be recruited to the Admiralty's codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved. What comes as a shock is the reborn desire to live that Arabelle inspires in him.

But when an old acquaintance shows up and seems set on using him in a plot that has the codebreakers of Room 40 in a frenzy, new affections are put to the test. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Roseanna's books are among my forever favorites! (And I'm not just saying that.) I LOVE the depth of character and the genuine relationships portrayed. This whole series revolves around the fabulous (fictional) people of Room 40 and the heroes of WWI.

This book has it all! Romance, grief, humor, loyalty, and a doozy of a bad guy. One of my favorite parts is getting to see the story unfold from the villain's perspective. It opens the story up to a whole new level. I also really loved watching Cam and Ara's relationship unfold. The process felt very real and reminded me a little of my own relationship with my husband.

Something I wrote down is FIERCE. I think both Cam and Ara have a fierceness about them. Ara, knows who she is, she knows what she wants in life and she will do exactly what she feels is right. Even if it makes other people unhappy. Camden's whole life was his unit. When they died, and he was blamed for their deaths, all he wanted was to join them at the bottom of the channel. He was filled with self-blame, regret, and guilt. But then God...His journey has been such a pleasure to witness. And Cam is also fierce in his protection and love for those that he cares about.

This was an incredible addition to The Codebreakers series. I loved getting to see Margot again as well as few other familiar faces hehe! I am so SO excited to see what book three holds!

As Roseanna's assistant, I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.



About the Author

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.


Coral - Sara Ella


My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—tale, “The Little Mermaid,” Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

There is more than one way to drown.

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin? (from author website)


My Thoughts

Oh, my friends! Coral is probably one of the hardest books (emotionally) I've read, maybe ever. There is a ***TRIGGER WARNING*** in the beginning of this book for a reason. (read the trigger warning here) Sara Ella has approached a very real and very HARD topic in Coral. And she delivers it beautifully!

This story is a reimagining of The Little Mermaid but not in the "expected" sense. The doors that this story opens...the rooms of the mind that are explored...is truly astonishing. Anxiety, PTSD, depression, manifest themselves differently in every person...but there are definitely aspects I personally could relate to throughout this entire book. Although the events portrayed are not things that I have experienced, the characters, their emotions, their struggles, were one hundred percent relatable.

I loved the relationships portrayed. Between family, friends, more than friends...And I appreciated the approach Sara Ella took in this story. I wish I could elaborate more on this, but #spoilers. Needless to say, this was a VERY tough read. I had to put it down several times after reading just a couple chapters. I needed time to digest and process the emotions and information. Yes, I WOULD read this again. Yes, I recommend it to Young Adults (parental discretion heavily advised). Yes, I think Sara Ella portrayed mental health in a unique and real way. Have I recovered from it yet? Absolutely not.

I truly hope that this book will help to open minds and conversations about mental health. I loved this story and thought that the ending was wrapped up really well. And left me with a feeling of hope. 

I received a complimentary copy of Coral from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.


About the Author

Photo Credit: E.A. Creative Photography
Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a Disney castle. Today, she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses, raising her little prince to be a king, and conquering realms of her own imaginings. Oh, and her husband is definitely more swoon-worthy than any Prince Charming.



Sara’s UNBLEMISHED trilogy has received high praise and multiple awards, but none as rewarding as the love and support she receives from her readers every day. Her new story CORAL, a reimagining of THE LITTLE MERMAID, releases in the fall of 2019.





More Books by Sara Ella

  


GIVEAWAY! A Plan for Everything - Beverly Varnado

Monday, January 27, 2020

A Plan for Everything JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Plan for Everything by Beverly Varnado, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Plan for Everything by Beverly Varnado Title: A Plan for Everything
Author: Beverly Varnado
Publisher: Anaiah Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: January 21, 2020

Connie’s Coffee and Cones is thriving, and owner Connie Spencer is right on track to realize her dream of expanding into a catering business. She believes she owes her success to her remarkable ability to plan. In fact, she has a plan for everything. At least, she thought she did—until Michael Cole appears in Worthville.

Michael has an agenda of his own—and a competing business—that threatens to derail everything Connie hopes for professionally. And if that isn’t enough, Michael carries a secret that could cause a backlash for both of them. So, why does she find herself attracted to him? When an accident on a rain-slicked highway leaves Michael temporarily incapacitated, Connie is presented with a dilemma she never saw coming—helping the man she’s falling for, or moving ahead with her meticulous plans.

As life spirals out of her control and Connie faces losing everything, she questions whether her plans are enough. But if hers aren’t, whose are? As she searches for the answer, she learns she must come to terms with her deepest hurt in order to embrace a higher plan for her future.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon


EXCERPT


     Connie glanced from her calendar to see a nice looking man with a great tan wearing a classic fishing shirt. She moved beside Sofia, who placed a large cappuccino on the counter. “Do you know who that is?” Connie nodded to the man in question. 
     Sofia directed her gazed toward him for a moment. 
     He took off his sunglasses and stopped to look at the menu board. Premature salt and pepper at his temples gave him a weathered look… in a good way. 
     Sofia shook her head and called, “Evan, your cappuccino is ready.” 
     Fishing shirt, huh? Connie hadn’t been fishing in… the memory came back. She winced a bit at the bitter sweetness of it. It was a long time ago. What was this guy doing in Worthville? Maybe taking Dayton’s place at the plant. Dayton. The sting is so fresh. 
     Sofia poured another cup of coffee and put a decaf house blend on the counter. “George.” 
     Her voice shook Connie. She was staring. She busied herself making the next order―a strawberry sundae. A sundae for breakfast? Oh, well, not hers to question. If someone wanted to float through their morning on a sugar high, it was their business. 
     The fishing shirt man moved to the counter, glanced at the chalkboard above her, and tilted his head slightly to the left as their eyes met. 
     “What could we help you with?” she asked. 
     “I was reading your sign there. No disrespect to a founding father, but spontaneity has its merits, too.” He spoke with a slight grin, and his eyes crinkled in a winsome way. 
     Connie dismissed his comment and smiled her chamber-of-commerce smile. “Would you like coffee this morning?” 
     “Decaf vanilla latte…” He glanced at the muffin counter. “And how about one of those blueberry muffins?” 
     “Decaf vanilla latte, blueberry muffin,” she repeated with the ice cream scoop still in her hand. 
     Sofia put a small black coffee on the counter. “Rachel.” 
    As Rachael came to the counter, Connie reached over and released one scoop of strawberry ice cream into the cup. 
     No one said a word, but they all stared at a pink blob floating in black coffee, which sent hot liquid streaming down the sides of the cup and a rivulet running off the edge of the counter. 
     Then, as if suffering from electric shock, Connie said, “Oh no, what am I doing?” She grabbed the coffee cup, emptied it into the sink behind her, and threw a towel on the counter to mop up the spilled coffee. She grinned and laughed. “I must be a little tired.” What was she thinking? Or was she thinking at all? “You wanted… oh yes, decaf vanilla latte. I think we can handle your order without any further mishap.” Her face burned around the edges as the woodsy scent of his after shave drifted her way. 
     She turned to Sofia, who eyed her with suspicion as she poured a new cup of coffee for Rachael. “I’ll make the latte.” Sofia handed the coffee to Rachael, who stood at the counter appearing dazed by the strawberry in the black coffee incident. She took the cup and scuttled off to her computer. 
     The man extended his hand. “Hi, I’m Michael Cole.” 
     Connie wiped her hand on a towel. “Connie Spencer. Nice to meet you. Are you new in town?” Of course, he was new. Didn’t she know almost everyone in Worthville? Why was she so rattled? 
     “Just moved here.” 
     “What brings you to Worthville?” 
     “Starting a new business.” 
     Connie nodded. “We’re always excited to hear about new entrepreneurs. I’m surprised I don’t already know about it. What is your business?” She missed the last chamber of commerce meeting, so it might have been discussed then. 
     Sofia moved beside Connie and put Michael’s latte and muffin on the counter. “Excuse me, boss…” 
     Connie blocked the rest of Sofia’s sentence as Michael latched onto the coffee and put his money on the counter. “I see you’re busy. We’ll catch up later. Keep the change.” 
     Sofia continued talking, sounding like the teacher in that cartoon movie. Blah, blah, blah. What did she say? Something about chairs. Connie slid the money off the counter as Michael headed toward the door. 
     “Hey, boss? Did you hear me say we have twenty kids coming down the sidewalk?” 
     “Hmm, oh, yes, twenty kids?” Connie repeated, blinking. 
     Sofia pivoted to move into the dining room, moving chairs and tables around to accommodate the larger class. 
     Connie followed her, trying to understand what just happened. Had she lost her mind?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beverly Varnado, author

Award-winning Southern writer, Beverly Varnado, is a novelist, screenwriter, and blogger who writes to give readers hope in the redemptive purposes of God.

She has written a nonfiction memoir as well as several novels and screenplays, one of which was a finalist for the prestigious Kairos Prize in Screenwriting. Her work is also included in several anthologies and periodicals. As an artist, her work was recently chosen for exhibit at a State University gallery.

She lives in Georgia with her husband, Jerry, and their chocolate Aussiedor who is outnumbered by several cats. Beverly is Mom to three children and Mimi to two grandchildren.

Read her weekly blog One Ringing Bell, peals of words on faith, living, writing, and art at oneringingbell.blogspot.com.

CONNECT WITH BEVERLY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive an A Plan for Everything inspired giveaway including a Jeremiah 29:11 planner, coffee mug, Starbucks coffee, and a $15 Amazon card!

A Plan for Everything JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 23, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 30, 2020. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

  

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

First Line Friday - Support Australia - Carolyn Miller

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Happy Friday!

Today as a group, we are featuring Australia based books and Aussie Authors. Our hearts break everyone who is experiencing such tragedy in Australia with the bushfires. Prayers and support to Australia! Today I am featuring Australian author, Carolyn Miller.

Happy Reading!

Today’s first line is from...

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey
Carolyn Miller


Brighton Cliffs, England
April 1815
The Honorable Clara DeLancey stood atop the chalky cliffs.



Head over to Hoarding Books to link up with your own FLF post! (Please keep it family 
friendly...Or note otherwise in the link up)

GIVEAWAY! Exit Stage Right - Jennifer Wilcock

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Exit Stage Right JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for the Exit Stage Right by Jennifer Wilcock, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Exit Stage Right by Jennifer Wilcock Title: Exit Stage Right
Author: Jennifer Wilcock
Publisher: Word Alive Press
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: November 30, 2019


She wants to dance, and she’s willing to sacrifice everything, everyone, to get it. 


Coco Bradley is a talented ballet dancer, and when an opportunity arises for her to audition for the prestigious Spencer School of the Performing Arts, she’s not about to let anyone stop her— including her parents, her friends, and any of the prima donnas of the art school. A pastor’s kid, Coco has grown up serving God and people, but gaining entry to Spencer means leaving behind all the expectations that come with growing up in the pastorate, as well as the dead-end town of Wyattsville. 

Coco lives by the creed “Ballet First,” but she’s about to find out in a painful way that there’s more to life than dancing.

Opportunities, fame, and love all come calling as Coco chases her dream. But in going after what she wants, will she lose the things that matter most?

EXCERPT

This isn’t happening. But the long, cold fingers of panic squeezing Coco Bradley’s throat told a different story. 

The backstage door to the theater slammed shut as the gurney she was riding on was wheeled out into the crisp night air. Swirling red lights flashed in her face, confirming her worst fears. She took a deep breath to steady herself, but the smell of a hundred different restaurants and street vendors, as well as exhaust fumes, only made her feel more nauseated. She usually loved the smells of the big city. Tonight, though, she had to swallow hard to keep the contents of her stomach down, as well as the fear and panic that threatened to overwhelm her.

Excerpt from Exit Stage Right by Jennifer Willcock
Copyright 2019, Word Alive Press

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | Christianbook

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Wilcox
Jennifer Willcock grew up telling herself stories in the middle of the night to keep away the monsters that lurked in the dark. Once she realized there weren’t any real monsters, she kept telling stories. A voracious reader, Jennifer reads many different genres, but she never outgrew young adult fiction. A degree in English Literature enabled her to keep her love affair with reading and writing alive. A blogger, speaker, and writer, she belongs to the MOPS Network of Speakers and the Word Guild of Canada. 

Jennifer studied ballet through the Royal Academy of Dance during her teen years and into adulthood. She has taught in private and community settings and choreographed productions for her church over the years. In 2017, Jennifer decided she was brave enough to try and write fiction and joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. She “won” it, writing 50,000 words in thirty days. The result is Exit Stage Right, a dream she thought was impossible to achieve. In 2019, the novel made the shortlist of the Word Alive Press fiction writing contest.

Besides being a mom to two sons, she is married to Mark, a pastor. She works part-time in the local library, where she’s inspired every day to write a book that will one day be on the shelves. The family’s pet dwarf rabbit, Whiskers, is her muse as he sits at her feet while she writes. She’d love for you to connect with her online.

CONNECT WITH JENNIFER: Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a copy of Exit Stage Right and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Exit Stage Right JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 16, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 23, 2020. US/CAN only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Dangerous Alliance - Jennieke Cohen

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


My Rating

★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day. (From the publishers)

My Thoughts

I first heard about Dangerous Alliance from Carrie over at Reading is my SuperPower...She told me that I simply must read it...And of course, she was right! I was pleased to receive a copy in The Bookish Box's Ardently Austen December box! Participating with their Instagram Read-a-Long and Photo Challenge has been absolutely thrilling! You can see all my photos on my Instagram HERE, but I included a couple of my favorite in this post.
The items included in December's box! #ArdentlyAusten

If you are a fan of Austen, you simply must read this book! Lady Victoria would make Austen's heroines proud. Gleaning from their wit and wisdom, she applies (or....tries to apply) the lessons she has learned from reading Austen's novels. But real-life isn't as easily packaged up as stories on the page. And as Vicky, and Tom, learn that even though life can bring us terrible, terrible circumstances, we have the ability to write our own story and make our own fate. 

Dastardly villains, a compassionate hero, a healing sister, a PLOT TWIST (that I totally did NOT see coming), and a dangerous alliance...Ms. Cohen brings us the very best of Regency mixed with the humor and the fandom of Austen. I cannot stress enough the brilliance of this well thought out style of story. Fresh and invigorating...and makes me want to read Austen all day and watch Regency shows on Masterpiece!

*This is a General Market read. While clean by my standards, there are a couple of swear words.


I received a copy of Dangerous Alliance from The Bookish Box, a subscription box that I paid for. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.


About the Author

Jennieke Cohen writes historical fiction for young adults inspired by real people and events because life is often stranger than fiction. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. Jennieke loves exploring new locales but always returns home to Northern California where the summers are hot, the winters are mild, and life is casual.

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