Loving Eliza (South Dakota Series: Book 1) by Ruth Ann Nordin



Date of publication: January 1st, 2009

Genre: Historical Romance, Christian

Series: South Dakota Historicals

Loving Eliza—Book 1

Bid for a Bride—Book 2

Bride of Second Chances—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

All Eliza wanted was a new beginning…

Eliza leaves Omaha for a new life. A chance to be something she never had the opportunity to be before: a lady–a woman with a good reputation. John Evans has never belonged in his small town. So when Eliza shows up and treats him better than anyone ever has, he’s ready to marry her before she finds someone she’d rather be with. But she harbors a secret that makes someone like her unsuitable for marriage, and she is determined that no one will ever find out. Ever. Until someone from her past shows up… Then who is going to dare love a woman like her?

When I selected this book and saw that the author was Ruth Ann Nordin, I was thrilled. I have read several of her books and loved them. This one didn’t disappoint.

I liked that Eliza had a past and that sexual abuse (by a relative and by childhood prostitution) was part of her past. I haven’t read too many historical novels where it is stated, no sly references, flat out said. Eliza was scarred, but you could see her healing as the story, and her romance with John progressed.

I also liked that the author made John fall in love at first sight. And that he had to chase her. The fact that John was mute was an interesting pick of the author. He had to choose to communicate with her in other ways, and he did an excellent job of making his point.

John’s family was interesting. They supported and defended him. Except for Troy. He was a dick and let’s say that he got what was coming to him in the end.

There was a Christian element to the story. It was Eliza who went to church and that she was saved. So I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a Christian historical romance. A historical romance with a Christian undertone. No hanky panky that was described in great detail, if you know what I mean.

I would tell people to read Loving Eliza if they like historical romances. There is Book 2 and 3, but they can be read separately from Book 1.

Angel in the Shadows (Angel: Book 1) by Lisa Grace


Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency

Date of publication: November 11, 2009

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Angels, Fantasy, Romance, Christian

Series: Angel

Angel in the Shadows—Book 1

Angel in the Storm—Book 2

Angel in the Ice—Book 3

Angel in the Fire—Book 4

Purchase Links: Amazon | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

The difference between vampires and angels? Angels are real.

Fifteen-year-old Megan Laughlin has a gift–or what seems like a curse at times. Megan sees angels and demons.

Megan knows her destiny is to protect her friends against dark angels who try to sway them into situations that can destroy their lives, their souls, and their eternity.

At school, she recognizes Judas, an über popular boy, as an evil angel hell-bent on destroying her and everyone she loves. As Judas spreads horrible rumors and overdoses two of her classmates at a rave, Megan realizes the enormity of his power. While classmates die, Megan, with the help of an angel, Johnny, and a team of friends will face the fight of their lives as they battle Judas.

Megan thinks God hasn’t given her any “special” powers but discovers she has what she needs as she confronts Judas and his seemingly unconquerable power.

So, I started off liking this book. Megan found out that she can see demons/angels when she was at camp. Then finds out that Mr. Z, her camp counselor, is a real, live actual angel named Zadok. Great, awesome. Then it got a bit preachy, but hey it’s a Christian fantasy, and I knew what I was getting into when I started reading.

Once Megan started back to school, the book started going a little bit downhill for me. But when Megan converts Vania (a Goth), it started getting preachy. Which is great for people who enjoy these types of books. For me, not so great. I kept an open mind when I continued to read.

The book continued to leave a bad taste in my mouth until the rather sudden ending. This is a book where I will not be reading the next book in the series. No offense to the author but I can’t. I am Christian, and I can’t stand it when someone’s beliefs are forced down someone’s throat.

Awaken (Fated Saga: Book 1) by Rachel Humphrey-D’aigle



Date of publication: April 20th, 2011

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Paranormal, Mystery

Series: Fated Saga

Awaken—Book 1

Shifting—Book 2

Embrace—Book 3

Broken—Book 4

Divided—Book 5

Taken—Book 6

Control—Book 7

Forsaken—Book 8

Sacrifice—Book 9

Redeem—Book 10

Ascend—Book 11

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

Goodreads Synopsis:

Book One in the Fated Saga, A Contemporary Young Adult + Fantasy Series, fueled by Action, Adventure, and the Eternal Desire for Truth…

While summering in a New England campground, mind reading thirteen-year-old twins, Meghan and Colin Jacoby discover they have until the rising of the Blue Moon to help save the life of a young man, whose caravan is forced to flee through a magical portal to another world, without him.

In the process, they have a dark awakening when their own simple, normal world, begins to collide with the complexities of the magical world. The twins face unimaginable dangers, which thrust them into an unexpected choice: to live as they always have or to learn the truth about their past and enter a world that is equally thrilling and terrifying.

More importantly, however, is whether they even have a choice, or will destiny not only force this new magical reality upon them but require them to sacrifice everyone they love in doing so?

This was a charming, clean young adult fantasy. I liked the fact that the twins (Meghan and Colin) were ordinary tweens. Seeing that I have a tween, I could relate to their Uncle’s bouts of exasperation.

The scenarios were 110% normal too. I like the fact that homeschooling was promoted in the book. I would homeschool if I had more patience But I don’t.

I also like that the trouble that the kids (Meghan, Colin, Sebastien, and Jae) got into was innocent. Like getting trapped in a rowboat in the middle of the lake. The author made them act their age instead of them all of a sudden turning into these mature teens.

In all, I would let my kids read this book. Like I said, age-appropriate and clean.

Carved in Stone (Art of Love: Book 1) by Donna McDonald



Date of publication: May 28, 2011

Genre: Romance

Series: Art of Love

Carved in Stone—Book 1

Created in Fire—Book 2

Captured in Ink—Book 3

Commissioned in White—Book 4

Covered in Paint—Book 5

Cruising Speed—Book 5.5

Purchase Link: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Even though his sons tease him about not dating, and his ex-wife thinks he is still hung up on her, 53 yr old retired principal and stone sculptor, William Everett Larson, is glad he waited to date until he found 47 yr old high school art teacher, Jessica Anderson. He admires Jessica for her courageous art and for how she has dealt with her life. As far as Will can tell, the only part of Jessica damaged by her past is her heart. Jessica assures Will she is incapable of lasting love, but Will refuses to believe it’s true. Yes, it is a problem that the baggage from Jessica’s past makes her see dating as merely recreational and men as interchangeable, but when she offers him temporary sexual fidelity, Will decides to take what he can get until he can find a way to convince Jessica she is still capable of love.

Jessica Daniels is mostly happy with her life. Her daughter is graduating from college. She is a few years away from retirement. Life is good even though lately she has stopped being interested in both her art and men. Since Jessica has never been the kind of woman looking for that one special man to settle down with, she normally dates and enjoys all the men she wants. What’s the harm with doing so suits her? Will is certainly good-looking and charming, but she’s not sure he’s worth the trouble of an exclusive relationship. She likes riding his motorcycle, seriously admires his art, and thinks he’s mostly a great guy. But after thirty years of being single, Jessica knows that most relationships just don’t work out for a woman with a past like hers. When Will keeps insisting on sleeping with her, she finally gives in, but Jessica knows in her heart it will never last.

My review 

I liked Carved in Stone. The fact that the author had an original book that involved over 40 characters was great. Also that the woman was scarred was interesting. The author included some scenes where her PTSD showed up and gave her an interesting way of coping with it.

Now I didn’t like the fact that Will’s ex-wife kept popping up in the story. She came across as needy, and I didn’t have her figured out until the end of the story. Also, Carrie and Michael’s story didn’t need to be included in the plot. It brought nothing to the story. 

Breathless (Jason and Azazel: Book 1) by V.J. Chambers


Publisher: Punk Rawk Books

Date of publication: November 17, 2013

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Contemporary, Supernatural

Series: Jason and Azazel

Breathless—Book 1

Trembling—Book 2

Tortured—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

What if the messiah and the anti-christ fell in love? Azazel is seventeen and sexually frustrated. Her biggest issue is trying to figure out why her seemingly normal boyfriend won’t sleep with her. Then Jason races into her life. He won’t say where he came from or who’s chasing him. He’s a delicious puzzle, a boy who has no problem using his fists to solve arguments or quoting Plato to justify his actions. Azazel is drawn to him. She’s obsessed with finding out his secrets. What she doesn’t know is that Jason’s secrets are entwined with her own town’s secrets. Her friends and family have conspired to use her as a pawn in a violent scheme. Soon, she will have to choose between protecting Jason and staying loyal to everyone she’s ever trusted. A story about forbidden love, fate, and free will, Breathless is Rosemary’s Baby meets The Da Vinci Code.

My review:

What I liked about Breathless:

  1. It was fast-paced. Very fast paced. From the beginning when Jason showed up to the end. I liked books that don’t drag on.
  2. The romance between Azazel and Jason. Considering the circumstances, it was sweet, in its own way.
  3. The storyline with Azazel. To say I was stunned with the twist in the plot was an understatement.

What I disliked about Breathless:

  1. Azazel, at some points in the book. She comes across as a very horny teenager who crosses sexual lines with Todd, her boyfriend. She also came across as naive and too trusting.
  2. Jason, at some points in the book. He didn’t seem real. Handling a gun from 5? Trained to kill and sent on missions to do that by 17? Not real. And yes, I remember that this book isn’t real, but still.
  3. The whole subplot line and what happened to the characters. While they got what was coming to them, I didn’t agree with how it went about. You need to read the book to find out what I am referring to.

So I’m A Double Threat (Double Threat: Book 1) by Julie Prestsater


Publisher: Cornessamara Press

Date of publication: January 8, 2014

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary

Series: Double Threat

So I’m a Double Threat—Book 1

Double Threat My Bleep—Book 2

Double Time—Book 3

Double Threats Forever—Book 4

Before Someday—Book 5

Before Someday-Part One: The Wait—Book 5.1

Before Someday-Part Two: The Moment—Book 5.2

Before Someday-Part Three: The Hold—Book 5.3

Before Someday-Part Four: The Forever—Book 5.4

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

In this fun-filled, fast-moving young adult novel, sassy fourteen-year-old Megan Miller, and her close-knit friends, begin their four year high school journey. Expectations and hopes are high for their Freshman year. Meggie wants nothing more than to experience all high school has to offer – growing freedom, hot boys, parties, make-out sessions, and did I mention hot boys? Enter Alex Aguilar. At seventeen, he is Carver High’s sports superstar and dreamy superstud. Yet, despite the hype, Alex is undeniably sweet, and Meggie is beyond smitten. But, of course, he is a SENIOR. So, ought to be completely off limits for a ninth grader, right? Age doesn’t always dictate whom you will love, though. So I’m A Double Threat is the start of their journey. Will young love survive the challenges presented them or is friendship all they can only really hope for? Backs will be stabbed, hearts will be broken, tears will be shed. But, despite this, Meggie’s strong-willed determination, loyalty, and zest for fun, will ensure the ride is a memorable one. (This book has mature content intended for older young adult audiences.)

My review:

What I liked about So I’m A Double Threat:

*It is a book that I would let my tween/young teen read. Very clean and it touched on a lot of subjects that are affecting kids these days. Drug use, peer pressure were two of the main themes.

* I liked that Meg’s character was so real. Even an old lady like me can relate to her.

* The book was funny and it made me giggle at some of the situations that Meg got herself into. Her views on the beach I agree with…lmao.

What I disliked about So I’m A Double Threat:

*The guys. Alex, Ben, and Eric (Meg’s love interests) irked me for some reason. Alex because he came across as a pushover. Ben because he was a moron and Eric because he turned out to be a real dick.

* The whole automatically being popular. I don’t know. The author could have had the girls come across as more nerdy. Not sexy. Not that nerdy isn’t sexy. Man, I give up. LOL.

The Deepest Cut (The MacKinnon Curse: Book 1) by J.A. Templeton


Publisher: Julia Templeton

Date of publication: December 18th 2013

Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult, Ghosts, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal Romance

Series: MacKinnon Curse

The MacKinnon Curse—Book 0.5

The Deepest Cut—Book 1

The Haunted—Book 2

The Departed—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Riley Williams has been able to see ghosts since the car crash that took her mother’s life and shattered her family. Guilt-ridden over the belief that she’s somehow responsible for her mom’s death, Riley is desperate to see her mother’s elusive spirit to gain her forgiveness.

When her father moves the family to Scotland so they can all start over, Riley believes her life couldn’t get worse––that is until the ghost of nineteen-year-old Ian MacKinnon catches her purposely cutting herself. An uneasy truce quickly turns into friendship, and soon Riley’s falling hard for Ian.

Riley believes her gift could help Ian end the curse that has kept him tied to the land for centuries, but that would mean letting him go forever and she’s not sure she is strong enough to do that. As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, the spirit of the woman who killed Ian returns and she’ll stop at nothing to keep Riley from helping Ian find eternal peace.


What I liked about The Deepest Cut:

  1. It was set in Scotland. I have a love affair with Scotland going on. I read everything and anything that I can get my hands on about Scotland. Such a history rich country!!!
  2. Riley’s character. I like the fact that the author chose to tackle cutting. Self-harming isn’t addressed enough in books or it is glorified. Riley’s cutting was incorporated into the storyline and the author chose to do it in a very classy way.
  3. Ian’s character. Even though he was a ghost, he smoldered in this book.

What I disliked about The Deepest Cut:

  1. Laria’s character. I felt awful for her character. I wish that more was revealed about her!!! A journal wasn’t enough. And she gave me the creeps.
  2. The local kids. For some reason, they all rubbed me the wrong way. Too much cattiness from all ends. Drove me nuts to read those scenes.
  3. Riley’s dad. Didn’t read that much about him in the book except for in the beginning.

Silver Storm (Rakes & Rebels: The Raveneau Family: Book 1) by Cynthia Wright


Publisher: Boxwood Manor Books

Date of publication: November 16, 2013

Genre: Historical Romance, Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction

Series: Rakes & Rebels

Silver Storm—Book 1

Her Husband, the Rake—Book 2

Smuggler’s Moon—Book 3

The Secret of Love—Book 4

Surrender the Stars—Book 5

His Make-Believe Bride—Book 6

His Reckless Bargain—Book 7

Tempest—Book 8

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Set in 1781, during the Revolutionary War, SILVER STORM is the passionate tale of Andre Raveneau and Devon Lindsay who are thrown together when she stows away on his privateer after the British burn her home in New London, CT. The irresistible Captain Raveneau agrees to take her to Virginia to find her childhood sweetheart, but fate has other plans. Through intrigue, misunderstandings, and swashbuckling sea battles, Devon and Andre are swept away by a love that won’t be denied.

My review:

What I liked about Silver Storm:

  1. It took place during the American Revolutionary War. And it was interesting. Not a lot of romance from this period is actually interesting.
  2. Devon’s character. She was a very strong main female heroine. Which I like.
  3. The substories. They were interesting and added depth to the story.

What I disliked about Silver Storm:

  1. Andre. He was an idiot. Plain and simple. If I was Devon, I would have kicked him to the curb instead of waiting for him.
  2. Nothing else

The Seventh Mountain by Gene Curtis


Publisher: Prize Books

Date of publication: February 2nd 2008

Genre: Fantasy, Christian Fiction

Purchase Link: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

A dream, surreal and frightening, begins the path of Mark Young’s future; a path set long before he was even born. Fortunately, it’s not a path he’s doomed to walk alone. His course leads to true friends, fortune and a place where he learns to wield great power. This place is The Seventh Mountain, the place where Magi train. The Seventh Mountain conceals the direst legend known to man. Mark’s fate lies within.

My review:

What I liked about The Seventh Mountain:

  1. That it actually used the Magi (or the 3 Wisemen from the Bible) and incorporated it into the story. I loved that they made the Magi into almost superhumans (well once they learned how to use their powers).
  2. That it was a fantasy that didn’t use typical fantasy creatures. Lions, hyenas, dinosaurs, and labyrinths were used. Plus figures from mythology. Nothing made up, which was cool.
  3. The Christian angle. It was not preachy at all and incorporated other religions into the whole school/plot. One of the main characters was American Indian and followed their religion.

What I disliked about The Seventh Mountain:

  1. The bullying angle. It didn’t sit right with me. That bullying was tolerated and almost encouraged. Those scenes left a bad taste in my mouth.
  2. The beginning. It went very fast and almost seemed surreal to me.
  3. The way the book ended. Now I have to buy the 2nd book.
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