About Love Practically

love practically

As a young woman, Leah Penn-Leith fell hopelessly in love with Captain Fox Carnegie—the only irrational mark on her decidedly sensible life. Fox, unfortunately, did not return her regard.

Their story should have ended there. After all, Fox left for India. And Leah returned home to Scotland to rear her much younger brothers.

But twenty years later, Fox appears on Leah’s doorstep—older, scarred, and world-weary—proposing a marriage of convenience between them. He needs a mother for his young ward, and Leah, with her capable good sense, comes highly recommended. What woman could say No to such a proposal? Not Leah. Fox has always wreaked havoc on her ability to think rationally.

After their marriage, Leah confronts the chaotic reality of Fox’s life. His castle, ten miles up a rugged Highland glen, is shambolic. His ward, Madeline, is a precocious handful. Fox’s time in India is shrouded in rumor and mystery. Worst of all, Fox himself is distant and broken, his personality as altered as his scarred body.

Throughout it all, Leah is left with two questions: What happens to a woman after her most-cherished fantasy comes true? And can a marriage, begun in practicality, transform into something deeper? Something like . . . love.

My review

I love a book that can transport you. This one by Nichole Van transports the reader, not only to Scotland, but also to a different time. I loved the feeling of the wild Scottish setting.

How can you not love Leah? In the epilogue, she knocks out one man trying to climb into her bed. And makes friends with his friend, who was only trying to help. I loved her courage, and the way she cared for her younger brothers, when she could have chosen to be married instead. And I love her courage reaching for happiness, when everyone around her told her not to.

Fox was a great character too. He had been dealt a hand, one he would have rather not had, at least most of it. And he chose to do his best with what he had. It was too bad Fox had the scars he had. But I loved the way he was eventually able to over come them, when he allowed Leah to help. Their love story was such a great part of this book!

Madeline and her cat, Mr. Dandy, were such a great part of this book. Hopefully, we get to read her story at some point!

I loved this book! Waiting for more books by Nichole Van is so hard!

I was sent an e-copy of Love Practically as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

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About It Started with a Note

It Started with a Note

It’s their second chance at love—but this time their obstacles include thousands of miles, a cultural barrier, and a world-famous chocolate empire.

Avery Parks is proud of her farm girl upbringing, and now she loves her job in Admissions at the local college. But it’s nice and predictable, just like every other aspect of her life. Maybe it’s time to take a huge risk and have an adventure of her own by traveling to Belgium to see her childhood friend.

Nicolas Servais hasn’t chosen much about his life—not that the son of a world-famous chocolatier empire can complain. He’s in line to inherit the prestigious CEO position from his controlling mother whether he wants it or not. The only thing he’s ever truly chosen for himself was a foreign exchange experience as a teenager in farming country, USA—and with it, the unforgettable Avery Parks.

When Avery comes to visit him in Brussels, he decides to show her a vacation of a lifetime. It’ll be one last hurrah for him before he steps into the position he was born to fill and never really wanted.

As Nicolas immerses Avery in a world vastly different from her own, she finds herself attracted to the man he’s become. But as much as she’s growing to love his charming city and its people, their lives couldn’t possibly be more opposite. With Nicolas’s disapproving mother and living in a high-stakes upper-class world, the obstacles that lay between them feel far more impossible than a few thousand miles.

This trip has been all about Avery taking risks, but falling for Nicolas Servais might be the one risk that she should never ever take.

My review

I’m loving this series by Meg Easton! Her characters just shine. They jump off the page and make me want to know them in real life. I loved everything about this book. It just made me happy!

Avery is such a great character. I loved the way she was searching for something more in her life. And that lead her to writing a note to Nicholas, the young man who was an exchange student in her home. She and her sister fly to Belgium to spend time with him. I loved the way Avery just made everyone around them feel as though they were her very best friend. And I loved that she learned a lot about herself and grew throughout the book.

Nicholas needed to grow as well. I loved the way he learned how to stand up to his family when he needed to. The parts with Nicholas were some of my favorite. His family runs a chocolate shop. And he dreams of being over developing new chocolates.

I loved the feel of Belgium in this one. It made me want to go visit, see all the sights and eat ALL the chocolate. You really need to read this one!

This one is the second book in the series. I think you could read It Started with a Sunset first, because you’re going to want to, anyway! But you don’t have to.

I was sent a copy of It Started with a Note as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

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About It Started with a Sunset

It started with a sunset

For these two workplace opposites, attraction caught them by surprise.

Summer Graham’s life is just how she likes it—surrounded by people in both her personal life and in her work life as an admissions recruiter at a university. Want to go on an adventure? She’s your gal. Want a serious relationship? She can probably introduce you to someone who does, but it’s not her.

Brock McMillan spends his time striving for perfection, being a good older brother, and enjoying his job helping students get college scholarships. Oh, and disagreeing with Summer on pretty much everything that goes on in the office.

Not that it’s purposeful. Their ideas are just kind of like their office spaces—Brock’s is minimalist and logical (but Summer will tell you it’s where ideas go to die) and Summer’s is lively, fun, and creative (but Brock will tell you it’s chaotic).

They’re teamed up to run Aquamoose Tracks together—the big overnight event put on by the Welcome Center at the university where they both work. Both think they know how it will all turn out, but they’re both in for a few surprises.

And they definitely never expect to fall in love.

My review

Meg Easton is one of those authors. The kind that you know you can pick up their books and enjoy it. Her books always make me happy. And this one is no different.

I loved everything about Summer. She seemed like she just jumped off the page. I loved the way she made everyone around her happy in any way she could. During one part, she buys this ball gown. And she wears it every where she goes, just because she can. I loved how spontaneous Summer is.

Then there is Brock. He’s the kind of guy with lists of things that he needs to do and when he needs to do them. And he sticks to the lists. I loved watching how Summer helped him to let loose a little. These two characters really complemented each other. Watching them fall in love was the best!

I loved everything about Lake Baldwin State University too. It seems like a most idyllic place to work and to go to school.

This book is so great! You need to read it!

I borrowed a copy of It Started with a Sunset using my Kindle Unlimited subscription. All opinions are my own.

Purchase link

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About Just Enough Magic

The first time I saw Alexander Drake, I was looking at his picture on the cover of a Financial Life magazine. I’d have to have been blind not to notice what a total catch he was. Rich, handsome, and completely make believe. Only, he wasn’t some fake cover model. He was a real person, soon-to-be brother-in-law of my best friend Lucy, and when she introduced us for the first time, I swooned. Hard. Me. Kayla Benson. Master of male-female relationships, strong, independent, and the one usually being swooned over. The worst part? While I was busy catching my breath – my eyes so dazed they might as well have been crossed – he hadn’t even bothered to look my way. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to ruffle his feathers and see what could happen if I became a force in his life’s bubble. So . . . I did.

My review

Aspen Hadley’s books just make me want to crawl into the book and live there. This book made me so happy. I loved the first one, Just Enough Luck. But I may have loved this one even more!

Kayla…she’s the type of girl who knows what she wants and goes after it. That is fine with certain guys. But with Alexander Drake, who she really likes, that approach just doesn’t seem to work. So Kayla becomes all about being friends with him. To the point of driving herself nuts. I really liked that Kayla’s was the only point of view we got with this one. It made it seem almost like I was her. And I enjoyed that with this book!

I loved Alexander. I wasn’t sure what to make of him in the first book. And the beginning of this one too. He just seemed really reserved. But as Kayla worked her magic, the magic she didn’t even know she was working, he really opened up. There were so many times that the reader got to see just a glimpse of who he really was. And that was beautiful.

I loved this book from start to finish! Such a great romantic comedy.

I was sent an e-copy of Just Enough Magic as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

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About A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

a brilliant night of stars and ice

Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia―the one ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, the captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostron, wakes to a distress signal from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Though information is scarce, Rostron leaps into action, determined to answer the call for help. But the Carpathia is more than four hours away, and there are more questions than answers: Will his ship hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if he also strikes an iceberg? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on Titanic, and she is among the last to receive instruction and help after it hits an iceberg. Despite the chaos of abandoning ship, Kate is able to board a lifeboat, though after seeing the Titanic sink into the abyss and hearing the cries from hundreds of people still in the water, she wonders if any rescue is even possible.

Told in alternating chapters from both Captain Rostron and Kate Connolly, this novel is a compelling, heart-pounding account of two eyewitnesses to an epic disaster. Rostron’s heroic and compassionate leadership, his methodical preparations for rescue, and his grit and determination to act honorably and selflessly to save lives and care for the survivors, sets the course for this awe-inspiring story.

My review

This book by Rebecca Connolly was one I didn’t want to put down. I loved the way this author used real characters from history and made them jump off the page. The story of the Titanic has always been one that has fascinated me and this book made it seem even more real.

The author picked several characters to have the story line of this one follow. One of them was Captain Arthur Rostron, captain of the Carpathia. I had heard of the Carpathia, and I knew a small bit about her role in the saving of passengers, but this book really showed me so much more. The people who worked on this ship were true heroes, from the captain down to the women who served the meals.

I also loved Kate Connolly. I can not even imagine having been in the position of the passengers on the Titanic when the ship went down. The horror they would have felt, knowing what happened to their friends, and in some cases family.

This is such a touching book. I loved the way the author did it! It is a must read if you enjoy stories about the Titanic.

I was sent a copy of A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Purchase links

Amazon (affiliate link) – Deseret Book

Pre-order launch bundle

If you purchase this book by April 15th, you can go to shdwmtn.com/brilliantbundle and upload your receipt to get this special bundle from the publisher.

What to read after A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice (affiliate links)

About The Legend of the Dream Giants

An orphaned giant named Berg is hoping to find just one person he can call friend.

For many years, Berg has lived alone; the only reminders of his family are his mother’s satchel and his recurring dreams of a white bear who shares a magical sand from a fallen star.

Sometimes, when Berg feels lonely, he will risk entering a village to trade a smooth river rock or a feather for food. He’s really searching for kindness and companionship; but with every attempt he makes, people chase him away, thinking he is Ünhold―a giant and a monster.

In his travels, Berg comes upon a city made of iron, where he meets a little girl, Anya. To his amazement and delight, Anya knows about the magical dream-sand, too, and says she wants to be his friend.

The mayor also befriends Berg and enlists him to guard the city from the dangerous Ünhold. But Anya suspects the mayor has other plans for the young giant. Fearing the city isn’t safe, she warns Berg to flee. Confused and torn between his two friends, the young giant has to figure out where he can place his trust.

This tender and unique story-within-a-story is a riveting tale of loss, longing, adventure, being yourself, and finding the true meaning of friendship.

My review

I have not read a book quite like this one ever before. This one has a story about a giant named Berg. I really felt for this giant. He’s all alone in the world. And people are not kind to him. He’s different than they are after all.

One thing I really loved about Berg was the way he always tried to leave a gift. He needed to eat, so he’d take food from people, but he’d leave something beautiful in it’s place. I think sometimes we don’t see the gifts that others have, that they maybe leave for us. Or give us just by being them. And that’s so sad.

I love the way the author interspersed a comic book with the story. It was a fun break, and I looked forward to looking at the picture each time.

This is a great book! It will be beloved by middle grade readers and adults alike.

I was sent a copy of The Legend of the Dream Giants as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Purchase links

Amazon (affiliate link) – Deseret Book

What to read after The Legend of the Dream Giants (affiliate links)

About Pretending at Love

pretending at love

A stalker, a Hawaiian wedding, and attraction that should NOT exist between friends.
Friends who are pretending to date, that is.

A random run-in at a restaurant brings high school friends April and Jackson back together. A not so random run-in with April’s new stalker starts a VERY short charade of Jackson pretending to be April’s boyfriend.

That is, until he needs a date to a destination wedding. And who can say no to a free Hawaiian vacation?

But when feelings beyond friendship start to develop, can these two separate the fake from the real? And if they can… Is it worth the risk?

My review

First of all, what do you think of this cover? Wow, I think it’s so pretty. It really fits the vibe of the book.

I love a good fake relationship story. And Karen Thornell did a good job with this one. I loved Jackson and April. These two made me laugh. They just worked together. And it took them a really long time to figure that out.

I loved the way April asked Jackson to help her out of her stalker situation. It made me laugh when the stalker kept showing up, at the craziest times and in the craziest ways. So funny! And Jackson needed a date for his friends Hawaiian wedding. How could April resist that?! I loved Jackson’s friends and their wives too. There were so many opportunities for them to throw them together.

I really enjoyed the plot of this one. Reading about Jackson and April’s Hawaiian vacation made me want another one of my own. I loved the Hawaiian feel to this one, it would be a perfect beach read!

I was sent an e-copy of Pretending at Love as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

Purchase link

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About Before the Fortress Falls

before the fortress falls

When rumors reach Vienna that an attack by the Ottoman army is imminent, Wilhelm von Schor, one of the emperor’s courtiers, prepares to evacuate his family—including his sister, Katja. But Katja’s reluctance to leave the city and the people she loves so well grows the farther the family carriage gets from her childhood home. When she learns that another brother, Xavier, is returning to Vienna with his musketeers, she decides to remain behind and face the shadow of war.

Katja soon reunites with Xavier and also with Toby, a dear friend from childhood. As Katja and Toby renew their friendship, an element of attraction builds on the comradery of their youth, and they quickly realize they have found something worth fighting for: love. But all too soon, the Ottomans encircle the city, blanketing its inhabitants in fear. Katja, Toby, and Xavier must each fulfill their new roles if they are to survive. In the overcrowded hospitals, below ground in the countermines, and on the ramparts defending the city walls, the three must fight for love, family, faith, and the survival of their city and everyone inside.

My review

It has been a long time since a book has touched me as much as this one did. There are parts of this one that are hard to read. It’s set during a siege in Vienna. But the way the characters care for each other. And the way they survive. That’s the real story here.

I loved Katja! As everyone who can leaves Vienna, she feels a pull to stay. And she courageously leaves her family’s coach with her dad’s violin. And stays. This leaves Katja in a position she has never been in. She had to wear servants clothes, eat what everyone else ate, and try to serve in any way she can. I loved the growth all of this brought to her character.

And the way the author told this story through different points of view was genius. The reader gets to read points of view from both of Katja’s brothers, Wilhelm and Xavier. And from a childhood friend of Katja’s, Toby. That gives such a complete view of what happened to all of them. And it made the experience of reading it so rich.

This book made me feel. And that made the journey so worth it. You really need to read this one!

I was sent a copy of Before the Fortress Falls as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Purchase links

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What to read after Before the Fortress Falls

About Love, Strictly Speaking

Love, strictly speaking

Wes Hawthorne has always been a man of few words. For him, everything is easier when he’s quiet. Content to speak only through his writing, he’s overjoyed when he gets picked for an internship to write the biography of one of the country’s wealthiest venture capitalists, and it’s exactly what he needs to start his future life and make his dad proud.

What he didn’t count on was another author working on the project with him. Sammy Faraday is everything Wes isn’t—spontaneous, exuberant, endlessly cheerful—and she seems to love nothing more than pushing him over the edge. Sometimes literally.

But the longer Wes works with Sammy, the more he starts to open up and find courage he’s never known. When feelings grow on both sides, the two of them make a pact to keep things professional (aka firmly in the friend zone). But with every passing day, Wes loses more of his heart and finds himself no longer chasing the safe and certain future he always thought he wanted, but something less so with the potential to be infinitely better.

All he has to do is convince Sammy that an uncharted future is better faced together. But to do that, he’ll have to find his ever-elusive voice or risk losing her at the end of the semester. No pressure.

My review

I’ve loved reading this series by Dana LeCheminant. Every one of her characters seems to jump off the page. As though they are real people that you know. This book can stand on it’s own. But I would read each of the books in this series, to really get the full picture of all of the characters.

Wes is the character in the Hawthorne family that I’ve been most curious about. He is the one who is always quiet in the corner. It was so great getting to learn a bit about him and who he is. And it was fun to see him open up a little bit and show the reader who he truly is. He is a great guy. A loyal and true friend.

Sammy is the young woman who gets his attention. Wes and Sammy are supposed to write a biography together. And he’s not sure how to even talk with her. I loved the way Sammy, little by little, is able to draw Wes out. And I loved the way he notices what she needs and is able to help her in little ways. These two are so perfect for each other.

I’m so sad to see the end of this series. But so glad that I can go back and read these whenever I need to get my Hawthorne family fix.

I was sent an e-copy of Love, Strictly Speaking as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

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About The 12 Days of Easter

the 12 days of Easter

Celebrate the Easter holiday with a new, faith-focused twist on the classic Christmas carol, The 12 Days of Christmas.

The 12 Days of Easter features cheerful illustrations and highlights a different Easter symbol on every page. Additional backmatter teaches children and families about the meaning behind traditional Easter symbols with an emphasis on Christ and the resurrection.

A perfect holiday gift and read-aloud to enjoy every Easter season!

My Review

I love this kind of picture book! Each of the pictures in this book are so cute! Kids will be engaged with the colorful pictures.

I love the rhymes. The way this one is written is in the style of The 12 Days of Christmas song. And it makes it easy to read. Rhymes make things so much easier to remember.

And the author put the meaning of the Easter symbols in the back as well. That means that adults as well as kids can learn from this one. There are symbols that I haven’t ever understood, so that was really helpful for me!

This one is so cute, grab your copy soon!

I was sent a copy of The 12 Days of Easter as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

Purchase link

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About the author

Sierra Wilson is the author of several books for children including 10 Little Disciples, I Can Be Like Jesus, and The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me. Easter is one of her very favorite holidays because she loves celebrating the resurrection of the Savior. She is excited to share more about this special holiday with readers. Sierra lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband, kids, two cats, two fish, and a bearded dragon. You can learn more about Sierra at www.sierrawilsonauthor.com

Check out the other stops on the blog tour

March 29th – Heidi Robbins w/ Heidi Reads – http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/

March 30th – Jessica Harwood @lovelybookishdelights – https://www.instagram.com/lovelybookishdelights/

April 1 – Cathy Jeppsen w/ My Book a Day – http://mybookaday.com/

April 4 – Sandra Meaders w/ Life is What It’s Called – https://lifeiswhatitscalled.blogspot.com/

April 5 – Bookworm Lisa – https://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/

April 6 – Crystal Job w/ Books are Sanity – http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/

April 12 – Sydney Anderson w/ The Singing Librarian – https://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/youth

What to read after The 12 Days of Easter