Top Ten Tuesday: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then posts her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join me and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


#1—-I Have A Secret (Sloane Monroe: Book 3)

I Have a Secret (Sloane Monroe Book 3) by [Bradshaw, Cheryl]

This whole series rocked but I loved this book. Sloane was on her A-game, trying to figure out who killed a former classmate at her 20-year reunion cruise.


#2 Curse of the Kingsman

Curse of the Kingsmans by [Somerville, Ethan, Daniels, Emma]

This was a dark romance set in Restoration London. I loved it because it showed that not everyone is defined by their past.


#3 The Shepherd

The Shepherd: A Shepherd Thriller by [Cross, Ethan]

This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved seeing the typical bad guy vs good guy played out the way it did in this book.


#4 Children of Another God

Children of Another God (Broken World Book 1) by [Southwell, T C]

This was a fantastic fantasy book that I picked up when I got my first Kindle.


#5 New Blood

New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders Book 1) by [Meunier, Christine]

A sweet Christian romance that included horse racing. I loved it!!


#6 Daughters of the Storm

Daughters of the Storm by [Wilkins, Kim]

I loved this book because it had strong female characters. Bluebell and her sisters were badasses!!


#7 Murder in Mind (Sloane Monroe: Book 2)

Murder in Mind (Sloane Monroe Book 2) by [Bradshaw, Cheryl]

Yes, another Sloane Monroe mystery. This book was fantastic. It pitted Sloane against the serial killer who killed her sister. I was on edge for the entire book!!


#8  Dark Sonata

Dark Sonata by [Black, F.R]

Loved this book. It was a dark romance with a twist.


#9 Desolate – The Complete Trilogy

Desolate - The Complete Trilogy by [Brumm, Robert]

This series was the series that started my love for dystopia. It was fantastic. Not for anyone under 17, though. It has a ton of graphic violence that could be disturbing to some people


#10 Nobody’s Darling

Nobody's Darling by [Medeiros, Teresa]

I love anything by Teresa Medeiros. But this book was something special. Billy and Esmerelda’s romance was beautiful.

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Weekly Wrap-Up: January 6th through January 12th 2019

Weekly wrap-up banner

Books I’ve Read (clicking on the picture will bring you to Goodreads page):

The Last Letter
Katie's Highlander (Highlander Protector, #3)
Ice Hot (New York Nighthawks, #1)
Game On (Aces Hockey, #8)
For Baby and Me (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 4)
Life Rewritten (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 3)
Can't Stand the Heat? (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 2)
One Tough Cowboy (Moving Violations #1)

Books with reviews pending (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

Katie’s Highlander—review coming January 22nd, 2019

Katie's Highlander (Highlander Protector, #3)

Ice Hot—review coming March 5th, 2019

Ice Hot (New York Nighthawks, #1)

Game On—review coming January 15th, 2019

Game On (Aces Hockey, #8)

For Baby and Me—review coming January 11th, 2019

For Baby and Me (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 4)

Life Rewritten—review coming January 10th, 2019

Life Rewritten (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 3)

Can’t Stand the Heat—review coming January 9th, 2019

Can't Stand the Heat? (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 2)

One Tough Cowboy—review coming February 1st, 2019

One Tough Cowboy (Moving Violations #1)

The Escape Room—review coming August 6th, 2019

The Escape Room

The Liar’s Child—review coming March 12th, 2019

The Liar's Child

The Military Wife—review coming February 10th, 2019

The Military Wife (A Heart of a Hero, #1)

The Night Before—review coming May 14th, 2019

The Night Before

Books with published reviews (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

Life Rewritten—review here

Life Rewritten (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 3)

Can’t Stand the Heat—review here

Can't Stand the Heat? (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 2)

White Stag—review here

White Stag (Permafrost, #1)

An Anonymous Girl—review here

An Anonymous Girl

Forgiving Keven—review here

Forgiving Keven (The Kennedy Boys, #7)

Deadly Cage—review here

NetGalley Haul(clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

The Woman in the Lake

Breaking His Rules

Breaking His Rules

The Night Window

The Night Window (Jane Hawk #5)

The Soul of Power

The Soul of Power

Smitten by the Brit

Smitten by the Brit (Sometimes in Love, #2)

Inspection

Inspection: A Novel

Email Haul (clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

The Queen's Opal (Stone Bearers, #1)

Weekly Posts:

Weekly-Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday

The Christmas Star (Christmas Hope: Book 9) by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Star (Christmas Hope #9)

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: October 16th, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Christian

Series: Christmas Hope

The Christmas Shoes—Book 1

The Christmas Blessing—Book 2

The Christmas Hope—Book 3

The Christmas Promise—Book 4

The Christmas Secret—Book 5

The Christmas Note—Book 6

The Christmas Light—Book 7

The Christmas Town—Book 8

The Christmas Star—Book 9

Where you can find The Christmas Star: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series comes another heartwarming, inspirational story for the holidays.

Thirty-two-year-old Amy Denison volunteers at Glory’s Place, an after school program where she meets seven-year-old Maddie, a precocious young girl who has spent her childhood in foster care. Unbeknownst to Amy, Maddie is a mini-matchmaker, with her eye on just the right man for Amy at Grandon Elementary School, where she is a student. Amy is hesitant – she’s been hurt before, and isn’t sure she’s ready to lose her heart again – but an unexpected surprise makes her reconsider her lonely lifestyle.

As Christmas nears and the town is blanketed in snow and beautiful decorations, Maddie and the charming staff at Glory’s Place help Amy to see that romance can be more than heartache and broken promises.

In The Christmas Star, Donna VanLiere delivers yet another sweet, joyous story that is sure to capture readers’ hearts.


My review:

It seems like I am reading and reviewing a lot of Christmas books lately. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and I like reading books that put me in the holiday mood. Especially when it is the middle of October, in the mid to high 80’s and as humid as it is in mid-August. So, yes, I enjoyed reading The Christmas Star.

The Christmas Star is a cute second chance romance, even though it isn’t billed as one. Amy is volunteering at an after-school program called Glory’s Place. It is there that she meets Maddie, an adorable 7-year-old who has spent her entire life in foster care. Gabriel is a custodian at a local elementary school. He knows Maddie from school and has become fast friends with her. Maddie is not so subtle about them meeting. And when they do, surprise doesn’t even cover what they both felt. See, Amy and Gabriel were married and had gotten divorced. They try to stay apart but life keeps throwing them together. What will happen to them? Will they rekindle their romance? Or will they go their separate ways?


What I Liked About The Christmas Star:

What did I like about The Christmas Star? Hmmm, let me think for a minute. I liked reading this book and finding myself smiling during certain scenes. Mainly the ones with Maddie in them. I loved that little girl. I liked most of the characters. I liked that it was set during Christmas (duh…lol). I also liked that it was a second chance romance, even though it wasn’t billed as one. But, what I liked the most, is that there was no sex in this book at all. It was 100% a clean book. I also liked that this book was a Christian book. I liked that Christianity was discussed but not pushed down my throat.

To Recap:

  1. Certain scenes made me smile
  2. Most of the characters
  3. It was set during Christmas
  4. A second chance romance
  5. Zero sex. Not even kissing!!
  6. A Christian book but didn’t overwhelm me as I read it.

What I Disliked About The Christmas Star:

There were things that I didn’t like about this book. I was confused about why Amy and Gabriel’s relationship ended. There were two explanations. One was dumbed down to a 7-year-old (I wasn’t a good husband). The other one was when Gabriel was thinking about the past (I was a bad husband and I drank too much). I figured Gabriel drank too much but what else happened? I also didn’t like that Lauren and Travis’s story took over the book. That is something I cannot stand when I am reading a series of books. Those characters and that storyline should have been regulated to the background. I also didn’t like how happy Amy’s parents were about certain things that happened at the end of the book. Even though Gabe talked to them for 5 hours, it still struck a chord on my BS meter. And the last thing: The adoption. I know people who have adopted out of foster care before and it took months (even uncontested). There were so many hurdles that they had to jump through it wasn’t even funny. So to have one go through in under a month didn’t ring true to me.

To Recap:

  1. Confused about why Amy and Gabriel’s relationship ended
  2. Lauren and Travis’s relationship being one of the main storylines
  3. How happy Amy’s parents were about what happened at the end of the book
  4. The adoption. Not a realistic situation

What I rated the book and why:

I gave The Christmas Star a 3-star rating. I enjoyed reading the book and thought it was a sweet story. I loved that it was set around Christmas. I also liked this book was 100% clean. There was no sex. Don’t get me wrong, I loved me some sex but in this case, the book didn’t need it. But there were some things that I didn’t like about this book. The main thing, which affected the rating, was the adoption at the end of the book. It was not realistic. My other reasons were what I felt personally about certain things in the book and listed above.

I would give The Christmas Star an Older Teen rating. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is no language. There is no violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The Christmas Star. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends


Other stuff:

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Christmas Star.

All opinions stated in this review of The Christmas Star are mine.

I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read The Christmas Star?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Crimson Cage by Thomas Howard

4 Stars

Publisher: Lulu.com

Date of Publication: September 27th, 2017

Genre: Christian, Thriller, General Fiction

Number of pages: 198

POV: 3rd person

Series: Cage Series

Caged Light – Book 1 (review here)

Crimson Cage – Book 2

Where you can find Crimson Cage: Amazon | Lulu.com

Books synopsis (from Amazon):

Some legends are born, others are forged in the crucible of fire. For Detective Wyatt Cage, fighting a demonic crime lord was just the beginning. Plunged deep inside of a world he barely believed existed, he is swept into a fight against possibly the greatest general ever to be born of HellÕs army to rescue countless children from a fate worse than death. Failure in this attempt will unleash HellÕs might upon the world in a war unlike any other. Along his dark road, Wyatt will discover two things his true lineage and something he never knew he was missing, his son. However, his fight in the realm where nightmare and reality are one may just cost Wyatt his life as he knows it.

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Crimson Cage by Thomas Howard”

12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: Book 1) by Michelle Griep

12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1)

Title: 12 Days At Bleakly Manor

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Barbour Publishing Inc, Shiloh Run Press

Date of publication: September 1st, 2017

Genre: Christian, General Fiction, Mystery

Number of pages: 192

POV: 3rd person

Series: Once Upon A Dickens Christmas

12 Days At Bleakly Manor – Book 1

A Tale of Two Hearts – Book 2 (expected publication date: 2018)

Where you can find 12 Days At Bleakly Manor: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, BENJAMIN LANE.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: Book 1) by Michelle Griep”

Mary Poser: Butterflies and White Lies as Bollywood Comes to Nashville by Angel A.

Mary Poser: Butterflies and White Lies as Bollywood Comes to Nashville

Title: Mary Poser: Butterflies and White Lies as Bollywood Comes to Nashville

Author: Angel A.

Publisher: Angel’s Leap

Date of publication: August 21st, 2017

Genre: General Fiction

Number of pages: 478

POV: 1st person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The recipe for a warm and humorous story…

In a modest bowl of Nashville, gently place a girl who is Country music, Bible belt, and a Steakhouse foodie.

Then add a surprise portion of exotic and handsome Anglo-Indian, who is a passionate Bollywood director, vegetarian and Hindu.

Stir vigorously on a bed of intense attraction.

At first, the ingredients will seem to clash and separate.

Keep stirring…

Include a dollop of jealous boyfriend and a meddling mother.

Splash in a serving of fun and mischievous friends. Keep stirring…

Add a dash of a crazy aunt and a minister father to keep the flavors working together.

Sprinkle in even more complicated family members to taste.

Cook on high emotions.

The secret ingredient that cuts through the sweetness is a final layer of shocking revelation that adds a surprising depth of flavor.

Finish with a twist of ‘Oh My God! Is she really going to do that?’.

Serve as tasty bite-size chapters in a novel dish of mayhem and madness with a side of Country music and Bollywood dancing.

My review:

I couldn’t get into this book, which is very unusual for me. I didn’t love this book but I didn’t hate it either. I was kinda “eh” while reading it. Which made me a little sad because I really wanted to get into the book. I like most of the characters and thought the storyline was great. It just didn’t hold my attention.

I didn’t like Mary at first. She really was kind of a pushover and there were certain points in the book where I kinda wanted to go into the book, shake her and yell “Why!! Use your brain!!” But, seeing that this is a fiction book, I just settled for humphing grumpily at my Kindle. I think that she could have had a better choice in friends too. Her family, though, she didn’t have a choice and they were all kinds of crazy. Oh, and let’s not forget that she was immature. There were certain scenes where I was like “Really, you could have handled that better”. But by the end of the book, I did like her. She came into her own and I was like “You go girl”

I actually felt bad for Simha. He fell for a girl who was the polar opposite from him and who kept jerking him around the entire book. Honestly, I would have said “See ya” after the scene where she bolted after they had sex. But he still kept on trying. Sending her gifts, texting her all the time, making a Bollywood musical in Nashville so he could be near her. He was too much, even for me.

The secondary characters left a bad taste in my mouth. Mary’s mother was a homophobic, racist Christian. Her brother was the same but on a lesser level. Her father had no backbone and acted like Jerry Lewis to break up arguments. Her best friend was a jealous witch who was all about herself. Her fiancé was self-centered and racist. Actually, the only secondary characters I liked were Alice and Erin. But really, having Alice say “bro” all the time got very tiring to read. Also, having the characters leaving the g’s off of words “Starvin’, such as, was great to create the accent but that too got tiring to read.

I did like the sex scene between Simha and Mary. It showed the full depth of their feelings for each other (even if Mary wasn’t willing to admit it). All I have to say is cosmic sex rocks….lol. That scene is also why I kinda hesitated on slapping a Christian label on this review. But seeing how heavily God was mentioned, I felt that a Christian label was appropriate.

The whole Bollywood angle fascinated me, along with the mentions of the Hindu religion. Believe it or not, but I have never seen a Bollywood movie but after this book, I am going to find one and watch it. I have a feeling that it will be right up my alley. Also, I didn’t know much about the Hindu religion and thought that it was awesome that the author had Simha explain the aspect of the religion to Mary. What I liked were the changes that Mary made in her life. Taking up yoga and going vegetarian was a pretty significant lifestyle change. I just wish that she had the sense to do the other changes earlier in the book.

The end of the book was insane. Everything blew up at once and it was kind of hard to keep track of things. But I liked it, it was very interesting and definitely kept you on your toes reading wise

How many stars will I give Mary Poser:  3

Why: I kinda went back and forth on giving either a 3 star or 4-star rating to this book. While I loved the romance aspect of it, I felt that the other parts of the book brought the book down. I couldn’t get past Mary’s mother and that is what caused me to lower the book down to a 3-star rating. If she had been toned down a tad, then I think I would have given the book 4 stars.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Adult

Why: One intense sex scene. Also, racist comments and homophobic comments

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders: Book 1) by Christine Meunier

New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders, #1)

Title: New Blood

Author: Christine Meunier

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: November 22nd, 2016

Genre: Romance, Christian, Young Adult

Number of pages: 103

POV: 3rd person

Series: Thoroughbred Breeders

New Blood – Book 1

No Hoof, No Horse – Book 2

Recessive – Book 3

Where you can find  this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Savannah Reynier is doing exactly what she wants in life. After finishing a horse breeding course she has landed a job and been working on a thoroughbred stud for the past year.

Her days are made up of looking after mares and foals, witnessing births and helping to breed horses. Plus, one day a week she holds horses for the farrier men who come to trim the horses’ feet.

Savannah has sworn she won’t date farriers – not ever again. Not after Jackson.

So what is she to do about the new apprentice in town? With an attractive frame, gorgeous smile and green eyes Savannah knows she’s already in trouble. Add a clever mind to the mix and she knows she needs to stick to her resolve. But looking never hurt anyone, right?

My review:

What a cute book and a great beginning to series. I have been fascinated (scratch that, obsessed) with Thoroughbred horses since I was about 8 or 9 years old and I was first introduced to Walter’s Farley’s the Black Stallion series. I devoured those books and I believe that I had the entire series. Unfortunately, my mother tossed them when I moved out, and I still feel the loss of those books. So when Christine approached me to review this book, I jumped on it.

I thought Savannah was cute but also felt that she was missing something when reading her. While I definitely connected with her, I felt that something was missing. She almost felt a little flat to me. There were no real emotions that came from her. Everything was on an even keel. I mean, even when the mare was having a difficult labor and she, with the help of the new farrier, helped the mare deliver the foal, I didn’t get a real sense of joy from her. Like I said, flat. I couldn’t even get a good reading if she was interested in Craig, other than her stomach flip-flopping back and forth when she saw him

I also liked that while this is a Christian romance, religion wasn’t pushed down your throat. It was mentioned and just left at that, a mention. The only time that it even came up was when the new foal that Savannah delivered needed to be named and Craig suggested Twenty Three. For the Twenty-Third Psalm.

I do have a couple of questions that will probably be answered in the next books. Like, who was Jackson? I know he was a farrier but what on earth did he do to Savannah. Where was Savannah from? I get the feeling since Creole was mentioned, that she is from the States but it really wasn’t gotten into.

Other than my minor complaints,  I did enjoy reading the book. The end of the book was not a cliffhanger but it did leave room for book 2.

How many stars will I give New Blood: 3.5 (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads/Amazon)

Why: I enjoyed reading this book but I did have some issues with Savannah being flat. I also have some questions that were not answered in this book (see above). Other than that, this was a great read and I enjoyed reading about life on a horse ranch. This is a book that I would feel comfortable having my 11-year-old read…even though it is not in middle-grade categories.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Tween

Why: Very clean book. No swearing, no sex, no violence. There is a Christian element but it is not pushed down your throat. Like I said above, a book I would be comfortable having my tween read.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**