Friday, September 28, 2018

Love's Journey by Emily Murdoch

Title: Love's Journey (Sweet Grove Beginnings #1)
Author: Emily Murdoch
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance, Clean Romance
Length: 87 pages
Publisher: Sweet Promise Press
Release Date: August 6, 2018
Source: Review Request
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Elizabeth Morrison has inherited a small fortune, but a woman in 1840 doesn’t usually go it alone. 

With her sister Katherine missing and both parents gone to be with the Lord, she has no choice but to find her own way. Her journey takes her through an abandoned orchard, and she falls in love with derelict Sweet Grove – and its previous owner, Jonathan Bryant. 

No longer the owner of Sweet Grove but just a laborer, his bitterness hasn’t been sweetened by the fruit of his labour. 

Can Elizabeth carve her own journey and make a home for herself while her sister is still missing? Can Jonathan be brave enough to put the past behind him and find purpose again? 

Or will they both learn that life never goes in the direction you think, and love is always ready to take you on a different journey? 

This is the first in the Sweet Grove Beginnings series that explores just how the town of Sweet Grove was planted.

Love's Journey is a great introduction to Sweet Grove. When Elizabeth Morris buys the orchards on a bit of a whim - she just falls in love with the place the first time she sees it - she isn't quite prepared for the amount of work and learning she will need to tackle to keep the orchard running. But she is a determined woman. Determined to keep the orchard running and make a home for herself.

Jonathan Bryant was born and raised on Sweet Grove and would like nothing more than to have it back in his family. Once he realizes that Elizabeth is in this for the long haul, he agrees to help her and teach her everything he knows about apples - which is quite a bit. Working so closely together, it's no surprise that these two hard-working people begin to fall in love.

There is still some distrust lurking in the background and a near disaster at the orchard raise some hurdles they will need to overcome. There is also the issue of Elizabeth's missing sister, which lingers in the background throughout the story. Even though we learn the history along with Jonathan, it seems a bit incomplete, as does much of Elizabeth's history. It was glossed over in the beginning, and then when she opens up about it, it just doesn't have the emotional impact I thought it could have.

There is a religious aspect to the story, and while it was very present, it was just a part of the story and the characters - which is how religion should be. This wasn't a "preachy" story in any way. I think I'd really enjoy taking another trip back to Sweet Grove and seeing how this budding community grows and flourishes.

**I voluntarily reviewed a free digital copy of this book**

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Atlantis Reborn by Gloria Craw ~ Review

Title: Atlantis Reborn (Atlantis Rising #3)
Author: Gloria Craw
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Length: 350 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: June 5, 2017
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

In a few days, I’ll officially be the Laurel clan chief—but it comes at a heavy cost. My human family, the McKyes, think I’m dead, and the only family I have left is my surly cousin, Theron. Plus the occasional visit from my dead mother.
Gathering the fifteen clans of Atlantis is more tasking than I thought. Thank fate that Ian has my back, otherwise keeping the peace would be a total disaster. I want to give him my heart, too, but without an official likeness, or spontaneous pairing, it’s only wishful thinking. To make matters worse, someone out there has the formula to create human-Atlantian hybrids. For a hefty price.
Certain chiefs are so desperate to increase our population that they refuse to see the price might be more than money; it could cost us our souls. If I can’t change their minds, the descendants of Atlantis could disappear forever.
The finale of the Atlantis Rising series brings Alison a meeting of the clan chiefs to take her seat as one of them. The lies and intrigue are only just beginning, and those odd little friends and alliances made in book two will become very important as new plots begin to unfold around them.

Atlantians and humans were not meant to mix, and strange and horrible things can happen when they do. But they may be the only way to bring back the Atlantean race from the brink of extinction. 

There is a lot of political maneuvering in this one. And you need to pay close attention to all the little details, every word that people are saying, and everything they aren't saying. As Alison pulls apart the pieces of this new plot, with the help of friends old and new, we see a new dewing culture rising. I loved this ending, and felt that it was a great way to wrap up the series.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Atlantis Quest by Gloria Craw ~ Review

Title: Atlantis Quest (Atlantis Rising #2)
Author: Gloria Craw
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Length: 356 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

After all they'd cost me, I thought I was done with the Truss clan. I was wrong. Nikki Dawning, my mortal enemy, has been kidnapped, and I've been asked to spy on the Truss to find her. The pull between Ian and I has never been stronger, but he can't help me this time. I have to rely on Theron, a bad-tempered cousin I didn't know I had. To make matters worse, the people I trust have been keeping secrets.

I'm starting to feel like a weapon in a war I don't understand. How far am I willing to go to protect the descendants of Atlantis and the common good when I'm not sure what the common good is anymore?

Only one thing is certain. If I'm the next Laurel clan chief, I can't let myself be manipulated…by anyone.

The second book in the Atlantis Rising trilogy shows us a more confident Alison that had come to terms with her abilities and wants nothing to do with being used for anyone's political gain. But life has different plans when she is asked to go spy on the rival dewing clan to see what happened to another dewing that has disappeared.

There are a lot of important little things that happen throughout the book. And there are several characters that don't seem to be such a big deal that turn into something vitally important by the end of the book and into book three.

She also discovers more about her family and her clan from a new "friend," Theron. I really enjoyed Theron. His relationship with Alison wasn't what I had expected at all, and the way they interacted was a bit of a humorous moment at times as they were just both so stubborn and opinionated.

The events of Atlantis Quest leave lots of options open for book three, and I can't wait to see where Alison's life is going to take her next. The dewing society is changing, and whether that change is good or bad is not yet obvious.

**I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book**

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw ~ Review

Title: Atlantis Rising (Atlantis Rising #1)
Author: Gloria Craw
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.
Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…
The Atlantis Rising series was and quick series that caught me up right from the beginning - I just wanted to see more and more. Alison is different from the rest of the world. She has always felt it, but in the first part of the book we find out why she really is. As Alison discovers more about who and what she is, the reader is introduced to the concept of dewings. Magical beings that are each blessed with their own special skill. Alison's skill is one that is highly sought after and easily abused.

Alison is introduced to the society and put under protection so the "bad guys" can't take her and force her to misuse her dewing ability. Along the way, she will have to choose between trying to lead a normal life and putting her "normal" family at risk or walk away to join her new dewing family and helping them bring the diverse and often combative dewing communities together.

There are hints of romance, a lot of political-style intrigues, family drama, and heartache. It was an interesting story with a few slow moments. A lot of build up that sometimes let me down once we got to the end of it all. But there are two more books, and I can't wait to see where the drama is heading. 

**I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book**

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March ~ Review

Title: The Christmas Wishing Tree (Eternity Springs #15)
Author: Emily March
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Sometimes life's most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began...From USA Today bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn't hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications --until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they'll both find the miracle they've been looking for all along...

The Christmas Wishing Tree is a great romance. I fell in love with the town of Eternity Springs, Devin Murphy, and Celeste Blessings. When Celeste gives Devin a replacement cell phone for one that is broken, the story begins with a call from a little boy looking for Santa. This call is what takes Devin on a long and interesting trip to connecting with Devin's mother, Jenna. A connection that is in danger of being ripped away when she comes under attack from several deadly "pranks."

The relationship was really great for me because it didn't happen overnight. Devin and Jenna circled each other for a long time before finally reconnecting on accident one summer in Eternity Springs. But Jenna is on the run, and Devin doesn't know if he wants to settle down. They are both adults thought, which was a great thing because there was no needless drama or arguing.

The one thing I was disappointed in was the resolution to the deadly prankster. It is such a driving force throughout the whole book, and then it just goes away in the span of a couple pages. Yes, it is resolved, but I didn't feel like it was given the attention it really needed.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Wife by Alafair Burke ~ Review

Title: The Wife
Author: Alafair Burke
Genre: Adult, Thriller
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

His scandal. Her secret.

When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.

Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

Holy cow! The Wife was a mind-blowing story. I didn't see any of it coming, and I loved each and every little or big surprise. Angela has a dark past that she has never really recovered from, preferring to stay behind the scenes and not take part in the spotlight of her husband's amazingly successful career. But when women make accusations against him for sexual harassment, Angela sees her life starting to fall apart.

But when these women disappear, Angela is forced even closer to the spotlight she has been trying to avoid. And here's where things get really really interesting. I had a least a dozen "say what?" moments that just led to yet another one. Nothing turned out the way I expected, but all made perfect sense in the end.

There were some moments in the story that really dragged though. I'm still not sure if they were just lying more groundwork or just in there to take up a little space and spread out the story a little. I feel like if I read this book a second, third, fourth time, that I'd see more and more every time. That's how deep things are layered, and maybe there is more hidden in the dragging scenes than I gave them credit for.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

In Truth & Ashes by Nicole Luiken ~ Review

Title: In Truth & Ashes (Otherselves #3)
Author: Nicole Luiken
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 358 pages
Publisher: Entangled TEEN
Release Date: January 2, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

What she can’t remember could ruin her life.

The Mirror Worlds are but dull reflections of the True World, where magic and technology blend together…

On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. Uniting the families ensures hers will hold onto its powerful position, and so she’s always pushed down the tender feelings she has for her best friend—gorgeous, steadfast Demian, who isn’t noble. 

But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi.

But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping—a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost—and saving the worlds.

In Truth & Ashes was a bit different from the previous books in the Otherselves series. It really focuses on one world - the True World. The True World sits at the "center" of the Mirror Worlds and somewhat exerts control over them, playing matchmaker to ensure the True World selves have matching selves on the Mirror Worlds. It was all a bit creepy and really relegated that elemental worlds to nothing much more than a source of resources and prestige.

Belinda is the center of our story and matching self for the characters in the Mirror Worlds. And at first, I hated her. I never really truly liked her, but she did earn my respect. The final book in this series tries to draw all the cords together into one place, but that means I really missed seeing more of the Mirror Worlds that I had really loved. Fire is the only one that really manages to take center stage other than the True World.

Things do come to some rather startling and unexpected conclusions. There is far more heart-pounding excitement in the final book than the others, and the way the day is saved was amazing. A few times we went over the top, but if you're going to go there, an explosive ending is the way to do it.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*