Category: reviews

The Loyal Heart

Litfuse Book Tour

In The Loyal Heart, Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.

The Loyal Heart

About The Loyal Heart

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda’s home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip’s name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can. He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn’t prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

My Thoughts

In a time when many young men lost their lives and left widows and children to fight to make their way in a world that didn’t see them as individuals – Robert made a promise to his comrades, if anything were to happen to any of them they would take care of that person’s family. Robert would have never have known how quickly that this would come into play when his friend Phillip dies in captivity.

Phillip’s love of his life, Miranda, has been left alone to transfer their home into a lodging and suffers from being an outcast as Phillip has been marked a traitor. Robert is livid at the thought of his friend being named a traitor but can not because of the secret nature of Phillip’s role during the war. This is when a great mystery develops as Robert begins to try to uncover who is destroying Phillip’s name and who is the root cause of Miranda’s pain. Every time I thought that I knew who could be the culprit for spreading such awful lies, a new twist is added and I realize I am wrong.

As Robert tries to solve the mystery, he quickly falls for the lovely Miranda as he struggles to understand his loyalty to his friend who has passed away and this lonely young woman. Both characters are perfect for each other but struggle through their internal war with themselves with the notion is this relationship okay to develop? I completely understood their struggle but felt that Phillip would have been happy to know that the two people he loved the most would have found happiness and love in each other.

A fantastic novel from start to finish – I did not want to put this one down! It was well written, developed at a great pace and always kept you guessing at what/who is the culprit for hurting Phillip’s name and Miranda’s life. A definite must read!

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Wish Rider

iRead Book Tours

In The Wish Rider, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. It is where they enter into a dark, terrifying society that shocks and is more then they could ever have imagined.

The Wish Rider Book Review

About The Wish Rider

Seventeen-year-old Dara Roux and her two best friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, the three collectively referred to as the F.I.G.’s (Females of Intellectual Genius) because each has an intelligence quotient in the genius range, have just returned from Frascati, Italy. It was there that their much loved teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, discovered that her birth parents were gypsies, and that she had a connection to the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world.

Now, with graduation from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women behind them, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Relying on Dara’s gift for speaking and understanding foreign languages, the black and white images that stir musical cadences in Jennifer’s mind, and Mackenzie’s mathematical calculations that normally provide numerical solutions and answers to life’s most difficult questions, the determined young women tirelessly go from one address to another in search of Dara’s mother.

Their determination turns to desperation, however, as they encounter a dark hidden society more dangerous and terrifying than they could have imagined. It is there that Dara hopes to find out why she was abandoned in a candy store all those years ago.

My Thoughts

I was really excited to read this book, especially after falling in love with The Cadence of Gypsies. While I still really enjoyed Wish Rider, there were some parts I wish were drawn out some more to give us a deeper look into Dara’s exciting adventure and maybe a little more depth with the F.I.G.’s unique abilities similar to the first novel but Wish Rider was unique and special in its own way.

In Wish Rider, we find Dara on a quest to find her birth Mother. Unlike the other girls, Dara had been abandoned in a candy store in her youth and that is how she ended up at Wood Rose Orphanage. It was her trip to Italy with her friends and mentor, that made her want to discover her past – especially when she finds out her Mother may be in New York. She decides to make the trip with her best friends and mentor, Carolina, because there was no way she could do this alone.

When they arrive in New York everything seems to turn dark. I loved how Barbara ties in the gypsy heritage and knowledge from The Cadence of Gypsies in this second book. I was not entirely sure about Dara’s Mother and what she was involved in but it was definitely dark and scary. I wish this part had been built up a bit more as I was a bit confused at this part of the novel. I just wasn’t sure about Dara’s Mother, what she was involved with and how this connected to the F.I.G.’s.

Wish Rider is a well written, second book follow up to The Cadence of Gypsies. We get an inside look at Dara, who although she has had a difficult past had turned into a wonderful young woman. A great follow up to the first novel in this series. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.  You can connect with her on her website.

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Awaken the Love of Reading with LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens

DK Canada Summer Reading

What happens when two major family favourites come together? You get hours of reading fun in LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens!

Awaken The Love of Reading with LEGO Star Wars The Force AwakensAbout LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

A dark power is rising, and the galaxy is in danger in DK Readers L2: LEGO® Star Wars: The Force Awakens™!

Meet the brave new heroes who must battle to protect the galaxy. Join them in their fight against evil. Can they stop the First Order’s sinister plans?

About the DK Reader Levels

As children begin to grow in their confidence to read new words, Level 2 DK Readers become a great choice for them. The books are divided into manageable chapters for one reading session. Literacy experts encourage reading a little every day to an adult. Action-packed photographs bring to life the simple narrative, leading the reader to the text. To learn more about the DK readers and find out how to support your child’s reading, check out this great article.

Why We Love It

We are HUGE Star Wars fans in our house and couldn’t wait until The Force Awakens came out so we could enjoy it at home (Star Wars Marathon time woohoo). This book came at the perfect time for us and quickly became a bedtime story favourite.

I am a HUGE fan of the DK reader levels, they are geared to your child’s skill level and really helps to boost their confidence in their reading skills (so important). Reading can be frustrating for a child that is struggling and these reader levels help to eliminate that stress. This level two book has new words for your child but still includes an awesome story line and even better photographs to help bring the story to life. While we had to help him on some of the words, he had a great time reading the story to us and having his brother read the story to him (again and again – he can read this book several times a day literally!).

A fantastic, age appropriate Star Wars and LEGO themed book that your little reader will fall in love with. This book gives us hours of reading fun and is a reading confidence builder for our little man. A win win in our books! You can purchase this book on Amazon and Chapters.

Rating: 5+/5

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Keep Up Printing Skills With Handwriting Made Easy Printed Writing

Back To School Boutique

All kids look forward to the summer break. How can you blame them? No school, less routine and no homework. But it is so important to not stop practicing important skills even though a teacher isn’t assigning them. One of those skills is printing, especially with the junior grades. Handwriting Made Easy: Printed Writing allows your child to continue to build upon valuable skills learned at school during the summer months.

Keep Up Printing Skills with Handwriting Made Easy Printing

About Handwriting Made Easy Printed Writing

Developed with leading educational experts, this activity book is designed for children ages 6-7 and is full of exercises and activities to strengthen a child’s first skills in handwriting and reinforce the skills taught in school or at home.

This book helps kids learn to write in clear, easy-to-read print. Full of activities, exercises, and supportive illustrations that advance throughout the book from learning upper-case and lower-case letters to months and colours and finally to sentences and story writing, this workbook is perfect for kids who are learning to write.

Why We Love It

Keeping up with literacy skills is so important during the summer months. Although our children may want to skip practicing their printing skills and numbers, this is so important to make the transition back to school in the early fall easier for them. You don’t want them to forget all of those precious skills they learned in the preschool and primary grades! It will only make September harder for them which in turn is frustrating for us as parents.

Printing Made Easy with DK Canada

As parents we fell in love with the simple instructions and the activities in Handwriting Made Easy Printing. We only had to give our son minimal instructions and he was able to work alone which helped to boost his confidence. The printing spaces had lots of room on the lines with dashed lines to help guide him on how tall he should be making his letters. He loved the work book and uses it for ten minutes a day and he enjoys every minute, we have never had to push him to do the work – he pulls it out on his own. He is very proud of his work and loves to show it off to family when they visit.

This is the perfect book for the month of August as you get your children back into school mode. You don’t need to spend hours each day on it but even five minutes a day will help your child get back into school mode and boost their confidence before heading back to school. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters.

Rating: 5/5

Disclosure: We received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Fresh Brewed Book Review

iRead Book Tours

In Fresh Brewed, Breanna is on a relaxing vacation by the ocean. When she makes up that she is Ethan’s girlfriend and he arrives, she thinks she has gotten everything she ever wished for but is it really?

Fresh Brewed Book Review

About Fresh Brewed

Breanna Mitchell is on her way to a relaxing vacation at the ocean. Maybe she’ll even have a beachside fling to help her get over a recent breakup.

But when a tropical storm makes her destination hotel uninhabitable, a chance encounter at continental breakfast delivers a fabulous option—with a catch. She and her friends can stay at a privately-owned, three-story oceanfront home—if she pretends to be the girlfriend of the owner’s heartbreaker grandson, Ethan. Since he won’t even be there, how hard could it be?

Everything is going swimmingly until Bree drinks too much wine and regales the family with romantic tales about her relationship with Ethan. His adorable brother Adam gets suspicious. His marriage-minded grandma gets engagement fever. The beautiful woman next door gets teary-eyed.

And then, Ethan unexpectedly arrives. Suddenly Bree is about to get everything she’s ever wished for—but is it what she really wants?

My Thoughts

Fresh Brewed is the hilarious second installment in The Continental Breakfast Club series. In this book, we find Bree and her friends travelling to the ocean to get away from it all, men, relationships and life in general. A tropical storm almost stops their plans in their tracks unless Bree can pretend to be the girlfriend of Ethan, a total handsome, heart breaker who has never held a serious relationship. Bonus, he isn’t even in the country, so how hard can it be?

That is when it all goes south! Poor Bree drinks too much on the first night (this was too funny!) and instead of helping her own cause may have set engagement fever in the home and causes some suspicion with Ethan’s brother, Adam. On the second day, Bree can’t help but feel the attraction to Adam but she has to learn to hide this attraction even though as the reader you can see that Adam would be just perfect for her, which is so difficult to read through when you want the best for her. Chaos really rains freely when Ethan arrives! Bree just wasn’t ready for her “perfect” boyfriend to appear in real life and neither is Ethan! You can just begin to imagine the hilarious scenes that follow, each one even better then the last one!

Fresh Brewed is as well written, if not even more so, then the Over Easy. I felt immediately drawn into the story and part of it. It is written in a personal way, almost like a conversation with your best friend. You can’t help but love Bree! She is just such a normal girl who gets caught up in a plan that you have never heard of before. You will love each moment in the second installment in The Continental Breakfast Club series.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of plot – and often lots of laughter.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, pantyhose sales rep, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer – and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best, the Laurel Wreath, and a gold medal IPPY in the Independent Book Publisher Awards. She is a Kindle Book Awards finalist and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin where she is working on her next novel. You can connect with her through her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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