2017 Book #32 – Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

51bRO8XaIOLTitle: Hannah’s Moon
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 4/12/17
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: February 8, 2017
Pages in book: 298
Stand alone or series: #5 in American Journey series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel. Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival. Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, HANNAH’S MOON, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Claire Rasmussen, who along with her husband, Ron, and brother, David, travel back in time to 1945 in order to adopt a baby. Claire and David’s uncle, Geoffrey Bell, guides them through the process and then, with his wife Jeanette, leaves them to their mission in 1945 while they go off to South America. Ron and Claire easily find a daughter available for adoption but they have to wait 3 months for the adoption to be final. During that time they befriend the woman living across the street, Margaret. David develops a particular attachment to her even though she is engaged to a Navy man. The plan is for Claire, Ron, their daughter Hannah, and David to head back through the portal as soon as the adoption goes through. But unfortunately fate is not that kind and there are not one but three major kinks thrown into their plans, all of which could keep them from returning at all.
Overall I liked this book. The plot line was really interesting for this one and had multiple things going on at once, which I liked. There were many points in this book that were moving and I thought the author did a great job of capturing the characters’ strength of emotions in those moments. Especially the pieces about Ron towards the end, there was a lot of tension and emotion in those moments that jumped out at me. The ending was interesting too because although it is the “finale” of the series I feel like it opens the door for a related series for future time travelers.

The bottom line: Overall I have enjoyed this series, and the time travel aspect in general is very interesting. There was some really good tension in this plot line, and there were some very emotionally touching parts as well. I would recommend, especially if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #11 – The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

51tjxzmou3l-_sx320_bo1204203200_Title: The Devil Crept In
Author: Ania Ahlborn
Date finished: 2/12/17
Genre: Fiction, horror
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An unforgettable horror novel from bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn—hailed as a writer of “some of the most promising horror I’ve encountered in years” (New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire)—in which a small-town boy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his cousin and uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden for years.
Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.
That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen…the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Stevie, a 10 year old boy with some very serious mental health issues. He has episodes where he sees things that aren’t really there, resulting in manic episodes and full blown violent tantrums. One such example mentioned early on in the book was when Stevie was over at his cousin Jude’s house and thought his own fingers were snakes so he stuck them in the garbage disposal and chopped them off. But when Jude disappears, Stevie is sure he sees a monster lurking and he’s sure that the monster has taken Jude. Only problem is no one believes him. So he sets out to rescue Jude on his own. But is 10-year-old schizophrenic Stevie really any match for the danger lurking in the shadows? And when Jude suddenly reappears on his own, can Stevie believe that the danger is really passed? Or are Jude’s worsening anger issues a sign that the real danger is yet to come?
Overall I liked this book. There were some dry parts to it but I thought it was extremely scary and a great tension-filled novel. Reading this for me was very much like watching a horror-movie, where you’re screaming at the TV “Don’t go into that abandoned house!!” I liked reading from the two different characters points of view, and I loved how well the author portrayed Stevie’s mind-set. The reader begins to doubt (as Stevie does) how reliable these things are that happen to Stevie. And as the horrors unfold, what is real and what isn’t? And the reader so accurately can feel Stevie’s frustrations over not being believed, it really is a novel that will dig into your mind. There were some slow parts as I already mentioned but if you’re looking for a scary read I would give this one a try!

The bottom line: This book was pretty good, and it was definitely scary/creepy! There were a few slow points but other than that it was really good. I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #120 – The Trouble With Dukes by Grace Burrowes

51xfvjslerl-_sx305_bo1204203200_Title: The Trouble with Dukes
Author: Grace Burrowes
Date finished: 12/21/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Pages in book: 339
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Windham Brides series
Where I got the book from: Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…
The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse–a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge–even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also make sure to check out my Blog Tour post for this book, you can find it here! This book tells the story of Megan Windham, niece to the Duke of Moreland. Her cousins featured in books in a related series by this author (Windham series) but I hadn’t read any of them. So although this book can be read as a stand alone, there are other books connected to this novel and many of the characters from those other books are mentioned in this one. So Megan is being courted by the despicable Sir Fletcher, who is basically blackmailing her into marrying him because he needs more money. Megan has come to accept this awful fate, that is until she meets Hamish MacHugh, the newly titled Duke of Murdoch. A Scottish soldier who recently served in the war, he has been nicknamed the “Duke of Murder” for his sheer size and alleged brutality on the battlefield. Despite the rumors though, Megan gets to know Hamish better and all she can see is the kind and generous heart that lies underneath his intimidating size. But is there really any way that Megan and Hamish can fix their situation and overcome all the obstacles in their way so that they can be together forever?
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was an emotionally romantic read with poetic language and some nice sentiments about the healing powers of love. I loved how well the hero and heroine communicated with each other and how comfortable they were with one another while also being obviously attracted to each other. Megan’s family was also a great cast of characters and I’d be very interested to read some of their stories, especially the next book in this series about Anwen (Megan’s sister) and Colin (Hamish’s brother). This was a sweet and touching read and I would recommend reading it for those who enjoy historical romance.

The bottom line: This was a sweet read. Lots of poetic/flowery language so if you’re looking for swoon-worthy romance I would definitely recommend this one.

Link to author website

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2016 Book # 118 – Love Connection by Camilla Isley

51hgvyeybll-_sx326_bo1204203200_Title: Love Connection
Author: Camilla Isley
Date finished: 12/15/16
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: September 23, 2016
Pages in book: 240
Stand alone or series: #1 in the First Comes Love series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Have you ever wondered what might have been?

Gemma Dawson is at the airport, staring at two plane tickets to two different cities. Two different weddings. Two possible futures. She’s at a crossroads.
Be maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding or crash her ex’s?
Gemma’s decision, unknown to her, hinges on a delayed flight and a chance meeting. Now her life is about to go down two parallel tracks–will Gemma fly toward a life with her first love or a future with a man she’s not even met yet?
In concurrent storylines, Gemma lives out the consequences of each journey. Different stories unravel with unpredictable outcomes for Gemma and her loved ones. As the alternative realities run their course, humor and romance intertwine raising questions about fate and chance. Will these parallel universes converge? Is true love meant to be? Is everyone destined to have a soul mate? Or are one’s cards just a choice away from reshuffling?
Love Connection is a romantic comedy about one woman, life’s infinite possibilities, and the destiny that lies beyond two different choices. First Comes Love is a series of interconnected romantic novels. However, each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Gemma Dawson, who we first meet at the airport when she’s trying to decide whether she should fly home for her best friend’s wedding, in which she’s supposed to be the maid of honor, or crash her ex-boyfriends wedding to tell him that she still loves him. It is from this first decision that the story forks into two different paths, each one following Gemma after that first choice. In each life Gemma is faced with crises and both love and heart break. The two story lines overlap in some interesting ways and we meet up with many of the same characters in both lives, just at different times. Through it all though, can Gemma find her happily ever after in both worlds?
Overall I just loved this book. The idea behind the plot line was so interesting and while it reminded me a lot of another book I read last year (Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid) I actually liked the way that this one ended better. And I loved all the characters in this book. I have to say I especially loved the fortune teller detail in the story (I’m not going to spoil it for you readers) it was so creative to add that piece and I thought it really did a great job of tying both stories together. I couldn’t put this book down once I started it, I think I finished it in less than 24 hours. It was a great read and I would most definitely recommend! And I can’t wait to see what else the next book in the series will bring!

The bottom line: I just loved this book, the story line was so different and unique. And I loved the way the story lines intertwined and how much fate ended up being involved. And what a great ending!! Just loved this book, I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

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2016 Book # 117 – Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

41l0bsfq7yl-_sx309_bo1204203200_Title: Vinegar Girl
Author: Anne Tyler
Date finished: 12/14/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Pages in book: 240
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.
Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.
When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Kate Battista, a 29 year old woman who has gotten herself into something of a rut. After getting expelled from college, she moves back home with her father and her much younger sister Bunny. Kate ends up getting a job at a local preschool as an assistant and between that, taking care of her father’s household, and basically parenting Bunny, all of a sudden she realizes she’s 29 and has been stuck in the same routine for years. Really what wakes her up is a ridiculous idea that her father comes up with – for Kate to marry his research assistant, Pyotr, to keep him in the country. Pyotr’s visa is about to expire and Kate’ father is desperate to find a way to keep him so they can finish an important research project. At first Kate rejects this idea, thinking she deserves better, but as she spends more time considering Pyotr’s offer and the freedom it would afford her, Kate realizes this might be just the change she needs in her life.
Overall I liked this book. It was interesting how the book turned out, it didn’t end how I expected but I really enjoyed the ending. This book is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and since I haven’t read that one previously, I’d really love to read it now especially to see how parallel the story lines are. I did find Kate to be a hard character to connect with, I didn’t really understand why she put up with a lot of the things that she puts up with in the book but everything seems to work out ok in the end for her. Her cast of supporting characters (her father, Bunny, her aunt, etc) all seemed very self-absorbed and were only interested in what Kate was able to provide for them. It made for an interesting story though and I can feel Shakespeare’s influence in it even if I haven’t read this exact comedy of his before. This was an interesting book and was a fairly quick read, I would recommend it!

The bottom line: This was an interesting read, it was definitely different than my normal book choice. I think it would have been better if I had already read The Taming of the Shrew and could connect the stories. It was still a good read though, I would recommend!

Link to author website

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2016 Book #114 – My Girl by Jack Jordan

51op6mfruvlTitle: My Girl
Author: Jack Jordan
Date finished: 11/28/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: JJP
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Pages in book: 226
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me. From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Paige Dawson, a woman who has been broken by the hands life has dealt her: her only child murdered and her husband’s suicide. Paige spends all her time in a  drug and alcohol induced fog, not wanting to face reality in any way. She has multiple people who care for her though and who want her to get better, including her father, brother, and her husband’s parents. Paige starts having odd things happen to her, little things that at first she blamed on her drinking. But when every picture of her family has her husband’s face cut out of it, she starts to wonder if someone else has been in her house or if she’s truly just going mad. After the police have to get involved on two of her more recent drinking stints (including her driving into her husband’s gravestone and trying to kidnap a young girl in the department store), Paige is forced to get better or go to jail. Its around this time that Paige discovers she has alcoholic hepatitis, and if going to jail wasn’t enough of a motivation then keeping herself from dying is and Paige moves in with her brother for a few days while she transitions into being sober. And its there that Paige discovers a long held family secret that could destroy her.
Overall I really did like this book. Once I started it was impossible to put down, so it was good that it ended up being a quick read. Paige reminded me a lot of the main protagonist in The Girl on the Train, though the story lines weren’t exactly similar.  This book did get pretty dark and scary so I’d just like to forewarn the reader of that. There is a great twist in the story though that I didn’t see coming and while it was definitely creepy enough to turn my stomach it was also surprising enough that I gasped. This is a great thriller/scary read and I would definitely recommend reading it!

The bottom line: This was an awesome psychological suspense read, the only reason it didn’t get a higher score is it was just a little too dark/creepy/scary for me. There is some sick stuff that goes on in here. If you’re looking for a good thriller though I would most definitely recommend.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #105 – The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

510nfh8ppl-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: The Rebel of Clan Kincaid
Author: Lily Blackwood
Date finished: 11/8/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Highland Warrior series #2
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD
Since childhood, Magnus has been led to believe he is the Laird Alwyn’s bastard, and raised to hate the Clan Kincaid. But when he learns he is without a doubt the son of the murdered Laird Kincaid, his life as he has always known it is shattered. Now, hiding his knowledge and his fury, he returns to Burnbryde Castle, awaiting the chance to strike against the man whose treachery robbed him of his legacy. His first act of rebellion: to steal a kiss from the redheaded beauty who’s betrothed to the Alwyn’s eldest son and heir.
Since her arrival at Burnbryde, Tara Iverach has been confined to a tower to guard her virtue before she marries. But after a surprise embrace with a lean, bare-chested Highlander who claims to be the Alwyn’s oldest son, she can’t contain her excitement over her good fate. Unfortunately, he is the wrong eldest son, and she is set to marry his cruel and lecherous half brother, Hugh. Can Magnus conquer his rivals and claim his Kincaid destiny before the woman who’s captured his heart becomes his sworn enemy’s bride?

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book picks up right where the first book in the series left off, right after Niall discovered that Elspeth’s friend Magnus is not really the Alwyn’s bastard but his lost brother, Faelan. After the “battle” that left both their parents dead, the three brothers were split up, with the hope that at least one could survive to carry on the Clan Kincaid. Magnus had no idea who he really was though and is now full of anger and hatred at the life that was taken from him. He continues on with his life as normal in the the Alwyn clan, looking for a way to extract his revenge. The Alwyn has aligned himself with the Earl of Buchan, a son of the king. Buchan’s ward, Tara Iverach, has been living in a priory for the last five years but now is betrothed to the Alwyn’s son, Hugh. Hugh is quite the despicable human being though and Tara is so desperate to escape her fate that she asks for Magnus’ help. But with a battle with Buchan and the Alwyn versus the Kincaid quickly approaching, can Magnus extract his revenge and also keep Tara safe?
Overall I really liked this book. I was so psyched at the end of the first book when we found out that Magnus is in fact Niall’s brother, it was a great plot twist. I’m dying to find out if the third brother is still alive and where he’s been all these years. And I’m glad some justice was finally served – the Alwyn and Buchan are total asshats and I loved the sense of justice that’s instilled at the end of the book. And I just loved Tara’s character, she was so strong and brave. There are a few deaths in the book and some of the mentality of the characters can be a bit brutal, but that is fairly expected of a book about the Highlands. There was one question that kind of bugged me after the book ended that I didn’t feel was really resolved: Why would Tara’s parents have left the Buchan named as ward for her and her sister when he was so obviously a selfish asshat? Other than that, this was a great book and a great continuation of the series/story line. I can’t wait for book #3 so I can find out about the youngest son. I would recommend this one as well as The Beast of Clan Kincaid.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, I was hooked after the first book in the series, I can’t wait to find out what happened to the third brother! Good story line for this one too, little dark since a bunch of people die but still really good.

Link to author website

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