November Book Reviews! @HarronIsabella @sgc58 @StevieTurner6 @colleenhoover @bakeandwrite Rebecca Zanetti

I had some great fun reading an eclectic group of books this month!

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MY REVIEW:

The opening prologue to this story grabbed me before reading the first chapter. I had to know what happened with the little girl, Marissa. Fast forward fifteen years, and Marissa (now going by Mary) has graduated from college with a teaching degree. She’s studious, hard-working, and has no time for partying as her friends do. But they talked her into a weekend getaway to the beach, and Mary has always loved the water. It’s that weekend that changes her entire life. When catching a football, Jared Hawk knocks Mary over on the beach, and if the saying “love at first sight” ever applied to two people, it does for them. Neither Mary nor Jared do one-night stands, but their attraction is strong, and Mary spends the night with him. What happens after that is a series of misunderstandings and missed opportunities. When Mary lands her first temporary teaching job, the last thing she expects to see is the handsome hunk, Jared Hawk, in her senior English class. Shocked is not a big enough word. Mary is pregnant, and Jared is the father, but she hasn’t seen him since that day and night on the beach. And now their situation is even more complicated by the difference in their ages (three years) and the fact that Mary is now his teacher. The story unfolds one delicious layer at a time as these two fight huge odds to find their way back to each other and create a family. Everything is on the line for both of them. Jared’s dream to play in the NFL league doesn’t fit with sudden family responsibilities at the age of 19. Mary’s teaching career, which just started, is in jeopardy. I rooted for them both throughout the story. The author did a good job of sprinkling in backstory and strong family dynamics throughout. If you are looking for an epic love story, you will no doubt enjoy this one as I did.

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Flights of Fancy is a collection of short stories and one novella. I was hooked from the first story to the last. What a shocking twist the first story delivers. What appears to be a cold-blooded murder is really something else entirely. I don’t want to give it away. I’ll just say be prepared to be surprised. Each story through the collection is unique and different because of Sally’s unique perspective and writing style. I think if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the last one in the book, which is actually the novella. What a tragic tale, but as Sally is apt to do, justice is served on a heaping platter.
This is an entertaining read and perfect for a bedtime story or two before lights out. The stories mainly focus on romance, ghosts, the supernatural, sweet justice, or, as you might want to say, revenge. I highly recommend it. 

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MY REVIEW:

When James Hynde’s world came crashing down around his ears, he did what any weak-minded man would do—commit suicide. End it all. After all, He can’t face prison, which he knows is the only future for him, after stealing millions from the bank where he worked. With a bottle of whiskey in hand, he climbs to the top of a parking garage and throws himself off.
Olivia Benet is rushing to get back to her car before her paid time runs out. How could fate possibly intervene at that exact moment for her to cushion Hynde’s fall? Yet it did.
James only suffers minor injuries, while she is left completely paralyzed and unable to walk. Her career as a ballet dancer is ended, and her dream crushed.
While James goes to prison for his crime of embezzlement, Olivia is faced with trying to rebuild her life again from a wheelchair. The only thing that keeps her going is the desire for revenge, to take from James as much as he took from her on that fateful day.
What happens next is quite the twist, when James falls in love with Olivia. They even marry, once he is out of prison. But her motivation is still revenge, and she finds a way to get her hands on the hidden money that no one knew about except Hynde’s mother.
Over and over again, things come together for James and Olivia, only to fall apart again throughout the story. I don’t want to leave any spoilers here, but as secrets are revealed, and lives are devastated, there only seems to be one way to go from rock bottom, and that is up. Ms. Turner did a great job writing this story, and I ignored chores to finish reading it. She even brought the COVID pandemic into the story in a completely realistic and believable way. If you are a fan of compelling drama with realistic overtones, you will enjoy this story as much as I did. 

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MY REVIEW:

The Deanne family was suffering financial hardships, and Christmas was just around the corner. I loved how the father was willing to sell off a few possessions to buy meager gifts for his girls. But the biggest gift came in the form of a baby bird in need of a home. The girls eagerly took over the care of the baby bird, and it grew and flourished. When the family had the chance for a vacation to the ocean, they took the bird with them, and just when it appeared he had flown away, he showed back up for the trip home. This book shows how youngsters can care for baby animals and how at some point if it’s a wild animal, it has to be set free. This is a heartwarming family story perfect for young children.

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What a rollercoaster ride! Kenna Rowan is broken, so broken that she is barely functioning. After spending five years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, she’s returned to the town where it all started. Why? Because she has a five-year-old daughter, she gave birth to while in prison, whom she’s never seen. This story is complex and deeply layered.
Kenna loved Scotty. Scotty died because of a car crash that, if Kenna had been rational and thinking, could have prevented. Everyone hates her for killing Scotty. So, how will she ever be able to see her daughter, Diem, who is being raised by Scotty’s parents?
Enter Ledger, Scotty’s best friend. What happens after that kept me up late at night reading page after page. I had to get to a hopefully happy ending for Kenna. This book will twist you up inside. It will tug at your heartstrings and make you ball your fists in anger. It has it all. I highly recommend this to anyone who just devours a good story. Colleen Hoover never disappoints!

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MY REVIEW:

This collection of poetry and flash fiction could not be more aptly named. I love that the author dedicates her latest to the online writing community, which supports and inspires.
The book starts with different forms of poetry, which Ms. Cronin writes with exquisite artistry. I loved them all, but of course, some stood out personally to me. “Rejection” tore at my heart. We’ve all experienced that emotion at some point in life, and this poem expresses it visually through words. “Dress Rehearsal” is another favorite, perfect for Halloween or masquerade balls. I also love that Ms. Cronin took the time to share her exploration of her ancestors through DNA. Therefore, “Origins” tops the list of fabulous poetry.
Under the Short Story category, I had a few favorites as well. Topping the list is “The Healer.” A woman with the gift of healing fears for her life. But as in all of Ms. Cronin’s stories, it has a wonderful ending. “The Home Help” is another that resonated with me. It carries a warning to be careful of your words and actions, as they most always come back to roost.
This is an eclectic collection of emotive writing that I can highly recommend to everyone, as there is something to please every reading palate.

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MY REVIEW:

I quite literally closed this book after finishing it, looked up at the ceiling, and said out loud, “Wow! What a story!”
Josie Dean wanted family more than anything. An orphan child, she grew up in the foster care system, never knowing the feeling of security, of being wanted.
Then she met Shane. In a very short time, they marry, and she is convinced she’s finally found what she craved. They will start a family, and Josie will make sure their children are always loved and secure. But then Shane disappears.
Josie is left to pick up the pieces and create a life for herself. The one foster parent she’d had who showed caring and kindness was an accountant, so that is the career she chose to pursue. Two years later, Josie gets a call to come to the hospital, that her husband is being treated for a head injury. She wants nothing more than to serve him divorce papers. But Shane has other ideas, as he walks back into her life with no explanation of where he’s been. And to complicate matters more, he has amnesia and has left behind three dead bodies near the river.
Shane and his three brothers were raised in a military camp and trained to be killing machines. Not only that, they were created in test tubes by a mad scientist. Each brother has superhuman abilities. Shane can hear a whisper from a block away. And his body is big, muscled, and immune to pain.
But he loves Josie, his angel. And he’ll do anything to keep her safe as her life is in grave danger.
Their relationship is volatile at times, the sex rough and passionate, and the commitment unwavering. So many unanswered questions. I wasn’t sure Josie would have the inner strength to stick it out. I hope this review is making sense. This story is so complex and has so many different layers, I’m still sorting it all out in my mind. And I don’t want to leave any spoilers. Rebecca Zanetti is fast becoming an automatic go-to author for me, as her stories never disappoint. If you love a story filled with thrilling action, a complex plot, and unforgettable characters, you will devour this book, as I did!


That’s it from me this month. I hope you saw something that grabbed your interest. These were all fantastic books!

October #BookReviews! @AmberDaulton1 @Virgilante @LBroday @bohemienneivy @m_morganauthor @JacqBiggar

I read some fabulous books in the month of October and am happy to share my thoughts on them with you!

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MY REVIEW:

Belle Hamlin lives to perform on stage, singing, and playing guitar. She’s tough as nails and has built thick walls around her heart, determined never to let anyone in. That is until she discovers she’s pregnant. A one-night stand with a sexy mechanic, Benjamin Starwell, changes her life.
He’s the father.
I love that she told him. I’ve read so many stories where the woman tries to go it alone and not tell the father, so Belle’s bold honesty is refreshing. The tumultuous and passion-driven course their lives take is riddled with obstacles. A drug lord, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and an even more jealous singing rival cause all sorts of life-threatening situations for Benjamin and Belle. I rooted for them all the way. They worked so hard at trying to build a relationship based on having a child together, but in the process, fell in love. The author threw plenty of hardships their way and kept me engaged and interested. The sex scenes sizzle. While there may have been a tad too many that did nothing to move the story forward, they were hot and graphic. The personalities of the characters are well-defined and three-dimensional. Belle’s snarky attitude fit her perfectly, and Benjamin’s undying loyalty endeared him to me. There are other characters in this story I enjoyed. I know this book is a part of the Onyx series, but it works well as a standalone. If you like a romance filled with action, angst, and hot sex, you will enjoy this book!

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MY REVIEW:

In the sixth book of The Hat series, Lizzie and The Hat face an evil nemesis determined to destroy The Hat. The Midnight Rambler is on a mission and using any means he can to accomplish it, including infusing fruits and vegetables with his evil power, turning them into vicious monsters who bite and destroy humans.
The first clue is when Lizzie stops at a roadside fruit stand to make a purchase. When she has to run for her life, there is no doubt another monster is on the loose and must be destroyed. The story only ramps up from there. The reader is introduced to Ray, a creation of Professor Lagamorph. Ray is a Frankenstein-like entity made from mixed-up, mismatched human parts and pieces. His very existence is in danger because now the Professor is missing, and he’s running out of the medicine required to keep him alive. The author did a great job of tying the kidnapping of the professor into the evil villain, The Midnight Rambler.
We see another softer side of Lizzie in this segment of the story when she falls for Ray as they join forces, along with The Hat, to try and find the professor and eliminate the Midnight Rambler.
As in all of the segments of this story, we get glimpses of Lizzie’s role in the band, Lizzie and the Pythons. Those are always entertaining, as is Night Bump Radio. This is an urban fantasy that is over-the-top bizarre, funny (at times), and a deadly race to destroy evil. This book, as with others in the series, is a standalone. If you like urban fantasy with a dabbling of magic, you will no doubt enjoy this story!

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MY REVIEW:

A man so scarred he hides in the darkness. A town dying. A doctor determined to save them all.
That’s what you’ll find in this poignant story about losing all hope, only to find it again. Jericho tried to save all the children in the fire. He couldn’t save Hope, and it torments him. He carries scars deep in his heart that match the horrendous ones on his face. People call him a monster. Yet, in the dead of night, he goes around town helping those who need it. Folks awaken to mended fences, food on their porches, or medicine they can’t afford. The new doctor in town follows him one night and witnesses his deep grief as he places a hand-carved wooden angel on the grave of a child.
Jericho has only one trusted friend. That is until Kathleen O’Shea makes it her mission to help him. This is such a heartwarming story and perfect for the Christmas season. Broday’s talent for wringing every drop of emotion out of a story will have you rooting for Jericho and holding your breath as more and more people die. I highly recommend it!

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MY REVIEW:

There are so many things I loved about this book. The storyline is fantastic. Who couldn’t love a story with King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot as side characters, not to mention the Elves of Avalon? The tale opens with twelve-year-old Issylte getting prepared to meet her widowed father’s betrothed. She’d much rather be riding her horse across the fields of Ireland than dressing like a royal princess. The joining of King Donnchadh and Princess Morag of Scotland creates a powerful alliance between the two kingdoms. But things take a quick turn when Issylte meets Morag.
Morag’s exquisite beauty doesn’t hide the iciness of her touch and the evil in her eyes. Two years after the royal wedding, Isslyte’s father is called away on business. It is during his absence, Morag makes her move, first sending away Isslyte’s nursemaid who’s been with her since birth, which breaks the young girl’s heart. That’s only the beginning of Morag’s devious actions. When Isslyte is escorted on a ride through the forest by two guards, they reveal the evil queen’s plot to have them kill her and bring her back the girl’s heart. But the guards are unable to perform such a horrific act, and Isslyte flees into the forest. It’s the beginning of a long journey for her.
The story bounces back and forth between the castle of Tintagel and an ambitious young knight, Tristan, who is the heir to the kingdom of Cornwall, ruled by his uncle, King Marke. Tristan competes for a chance to travel to King Arthur’s court and become a Knight of the Roundtable. It is there he trains under Sir Lancelot and becomes a fierce warrior. The story takes a long way around, covering several years as Isslyte struggles to avoid death. People Isslyite loves, get killed along the way. She is forced to change her name first to Eglantine, then to Lilee. As the years pass, she is trained by fairy witches and becomes a gifted healer. Her powers grow to great proportions, and she develops the gift of sight. It is in a vision she knows her father, the king is dead. She must regain the throne. But how? She is but a young girl with no army. The story culminates close to the end when Tristan is brought to Lilee to be healed, and they finally come together. The author does a fabulous job of describing the settings as well as showing incredible knowledge of herbs, oils, and healing gemstones. The ending of the story segues into the next book, and I will look forward to reading it. My only critique of this story is that it seemed too drawn out with some repetition that could have been tightened up. For a debut novel, it’s fantastic

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MY REVIEW:

I received an ARC of this book via BookFunnel, and I am so glad I did. Just as I have come to expect from Mary Morgan, she has woven a tale that kept me glued to the pages.
Aine is half fae and half human. She lives in a protected realm with her uncle and brother. But she longs for more. She wants to see the other Scotland and walk among humans. Even though it is forbidden, she uses her magic to make her wish under a star. The results are immediate and met with violence from her brother. Alex, chieftain of a Scottish clan and brave knight, stumbles through the veil in response to Aine’s magic. Aine’s brother promptly delivers a hard blow to the man’s head, and he is unconscious. At Aine’s insistence, they take him to Castle Toloch to heal. When Alex awakens, he is more than puzzled, and he has no memory of who he is or how he got to the castle.
I don’t want to leave any spoilers here, so I won’t get further into the plot of the story. But I will say Mary crafted three-dimensional characters that I had no trouble visualizing or falling in love with. She is also an expert at writing medieval settings mixed with magic. I loved everything about this book, from the odd quirks of each character to the intricately woven storyline. Aine was my favorite character. Even though she is a woman, she prefers working with the forge creating quality weapons rather than toiling in the kitchen chopping vegetables. She’s strong-willed and headstrong and filled with passion. Just what the brave knight needs. But will the gods allow them to be together, half-fae and human? You’ll have to read the story to find out. I highly recommend it. The book is currently available for pre-order and releases on December 5th.

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MY REVIEW:

This is such a great story with deeply flawed characters, dysfunctional family dynamics, and a love that won’t die. Renee is back home after two years of no contact. She fled without a word to anyone following her father’s suicide. It’s not until the last part of the book that the author lets the reader see why she carries such heavy guilt. Izzy, her younger sister is left to pick up the pieces after their father’s death. Not only does she take on the responsibility for their younger brother, Benjamin, but she also becomes their mother’s caretaker as cancer claims her vitality. Izzy holds a strong resentment toward Renee for abandoning them when they all needed each other. And it’s the death of their mother that has brought Renee back to the small town. The author does a great job of setting this story up, designating different chapters for different points of view, including Simon whose heart was shattered when Renee left. Of all people, she should have confided in him. But the reason she didn’t is shown in an early scene. If only. That’s what I kept thinking throughout the story. If only they’d each put aside their pain and egos and talk. But if they did, the story would be over. It kept me engaged and turning the pages. I love stories that delve into the human psyche and show many different responses to the same pain. The only reason I didn’t give this story five stars is the ending left me hanging. I needed some resolution, especially with Ben, and I didn’t get it. I needed to see a short scene after the near-drowning episode. I understand the author is setting this story up for the next one, but even just a few lines of dialogue between the siblings would have satisfied me. Nevertheless, it garnered four stars from me.

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That’s it from me for October. I hope you found something that intrigued you!

Saddled Hearts #BookReview @NNP_W_Light @wildrosepress #wrpbks

I have something a little different to share today that isn’t a regular blog tour stop. N.N. Light’s Book Heaven has posted a review for Saddled Hearts that I want to share. I am over the moon from the kind words. I’d love it if you’d take a minute to go over and share. I know her site isn’t always easy to leave a comment on, but any and all shares are appreciated. Here is the link: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/saddled-hearts-br

Our regular tour will resume tomorrow with not only one but two stops!

And don’t forget to participate in the scavenger hunt. Things You’d Find On A Ranch is the theme, and there are clues included in each blog post. So send in your entries to SaddledHearts{at}gmail{dot}com!

Hidden within the blog posts are clues you will need to look for. The theme is “Things You’d Find On A Ranch.” When you find these clues, email your answers to me at SaddledHearts@gmail.com With CONTEST In the subject line. The person with the most correct entries will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! The runner-up will receive an eBook of Saddled Hearts! It Pays To Play!

The link to each blog post will be listed here with comments closed. I’d be thrilled and honored if you’d saddle up and ride along with me as we traverse the blogging world!

DAY 1 – Staci Troilo

DAY 2 – Beem Weeks

DAY 3 – Yvette Calliero

DAY 4 – Harmony Kent

DAY 5 – Mary Morgan AND Gwen Plano

DAY 6 – Mark Bierman

DAY 7 – Mae Clair

DAY 8 – John Howell

DAY 9 – C.S. Boyack

DAY 10 – Jacqui Murray

DAY 11 – Teri Polen

DAY 12 – Dan Antion

DAY 13 – D.L. Finn

DAY 14 – Joan Hall

DAY 15 – Linnea Tanner

DAY 16 – Stephen Geez

DAY 17 – Annette Rochelle Aben

DAY 18 – Darlene Fredette AND Marlena Burris

Day 19 – Erika Kind