Saturday, October 2, 2021

Contest Reviews

 Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to participate in the judging of two contests. Below are some of the books I had the opportunity to read and my thoughts..... 

Promise of Spring (Rimrock #2)Promise of Spring by T.K. Conklin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars - Would Recommend to a friend

Review Copy Provided by Contest Managers

Promise of Spring is a historical with a bit of a twist.
True and Sam meet under unusual circumstances and I enjoyed seeing them meet and get to know each other. The first part of the book is sweet and a bit spicy.

True has a unique family and seeing her with them made me both like her and feel frustrations with her. I was equally frustrated with Sam and their in ability to communicate. I wished that the chracters could see what was obvious to the reader (and the secondary cast of the book).

Add in an element of intrigue and this is a fun read about a family I’d like to get to know better.


 In Colton's Custody (The Coltons of Mustang Valley Book 5)In Colton's Custody by Dana Nussio

3.5 stars - Worth a Reader's Time

Review Copy Provided by Contest Manager

This was a fun romantic mystery in a series surrounding the Colton family.

I enjoyed getting to know Asher and Willow as the fumbled through the mysterious circumstances surrounding his family and her business. Both were interesting characters and it was entertaining to see them fight through their emotional baggage.

There is a significant backstory that appears to run through the book connecting it to the rest of the series. That, with the large secondary cast, can be a bit distracting and hard to keep track of- especially the secondary characters that barely appear.

Overall, this was a good read and I am a bit curious about the rest of the colon family.


 The Merry Viscount (Widow's Brew, #2)The Merry Viscount by Sally MacKenzie

3.5 stars  - Worth a Reader's TIme

Review Copy Provided by Contest Manager

This was a fun and slightly different take on a historical romance.
Caroline (Caro) is a woman traveling on her way home from London when a carriage accident lands her a her fellow travelers at the door step of a childhood aquaintence. Nick is surprised when Caro and company appear on his doorstep and interrupt an unusual party.

Both Caro and Nick undergo a great deal of emotional growth and change in a very short period of time. Normally this would seem too fast, but when combined with their previous childhood connection it works. I enjoyed how Nick and Caro helped each other see things about and within themselves that made this growth possible.

Overall, this was an entertaining read, but it was very heavy on politics/social judgements. I'm not sure if I would read the other books in the series.


Falling for the InnkeeperFalling for the Innkeeper by Meghann Whistler

3.5 stars - Worth a Reader's Time

Review Copy Provided by Contest Managers

This is a relatively quick “sweet” read with a heavy Christian influence.

I enjoyed getting to know Laura, Jonathan, and their friends. Both characters had emotional baggage to deal with even though all seemed squared away on the outside.

The author did a good job of helping them navigate the emotional wounds so that they could both experience the growth they needed to explore friendship and possibly more.

The religious influence is strong, but avoids being “preachy” or judgmental. This is definitely a read I enjoyed.


The Highland Knight's Revenge (Midsummer Knights, #4)The Highland Knight's Revenge by Lori Ann Bailey

3.5 Stars - Worth a Reader's Time

Review Copy Provided by Contest Managers

This was a quick, fun historical read.
Giric, Jennet, and the surrounding cast are entertaining and there is a lot of action in a fairly small period of time.
Set in the 12th. Century, there were action points that I had a bit harder time connecting too, but enjoyed all the same.


 The Highlander and the WallflowerThe Highlander and the Wallflower by Michelle Willingham

3.25 stars - Slightly Above Average

Review Copy Provided by Contest Mangers

This was a unique historical read that I liked, but it felt a bit over complicated.
I enjoyed meeting Regina and Dalton, but there were events around them that didn't necessarily make sense until the very end of the story. I know some of that was intentional on the part of the author, but it made it feel as if I was missing details along the way.

There were also events introduced to the plot that I never felt were completely resolved or were brushed under the rug as well as character introductions that didn't fully make sense in the context of the story. This is the second installment of a series and I am curious if reading the series in order would have helped.

I know all of this sounds like I am complaining, but I really did enjoy Regina and Dalton's adventures. They were interesting characters and well matched. There were just pieces of the story around them that could have been smoother.


My rating: 3 of 5 stars - Average Read

Review Copy Provided by Contest Manager

This is a sweet read featuring a cranky writer/B&B owner and a neighborhood cook.
I genuinely liked Reuben, Sam, and the B&B guests they are unexpectedly stranded with. It was entertaining to see them peel back layers and begin to develop feelings and a potential relationship.

I feel like this was heavy on character development, but light on the relationship building between the main characters. We saw the interactions between them, sparks begin, but maybe not enough that I really believed love was blooming.

Overall, this was a mainly feel good read that I think tried a little too hard to have a self help message.


I'll See You Again (Reigning Hearts, #4)I'll See You Again by K.G. Fletcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars - Average Read

Review Copy Provided by Contest Managers

This book is a classic case of good blurb, good idea, but less than ideal execution.

The good:
Cute premise - Rising Star musician meets the one woman in the world who doesn’t know who he is in small town wedding planner. Sparks fly.

The okay:
Characters - I liked Nicky and Mac, but at times they felt flat.

The bad:
Conflict - Where was it? Yes, something bad happened, but a tragic incident isn’t really conflict. Given the set up of this book, there were so many potential conflicts the author could have explored that would have caused the characters to change and grow, but none of that was explored.

Editing - Again, where was it? There were multiple places where word choice didn’t make sense for the action or just flat out didn’t make sense.

Overall, this was a pleasant story. Nicky and Mac were a fun couple to meet, but I wish several things had been done differently.

A Widow's Guide to Scandal (The Sons of Neptune, #1)A Widow's Guide to Scandal by Hallie Alexander

My rating: 3 of 5 stars - Average Read

Review Copy Provided by Contest Managers

This is a debut read that I have mixed feelings about.
One one hand, it’s an interesting premise and reveals historical facts about Colonial America that I did not know. The other hand execution that left me wondering which story was being told.

Set in spring 1776 New York, the story focuses on Widow Henrietta. She lives in a home owned by her uncle by marriage, who happens to be an officer in the British Army. Circumstance has her childhood crush staying with her while he heals from a broken ankle.

The author tried to blend several story lines into one book. We had the revolutionary war story line of Henrietta being forced by her uncle to do things she does not want to while housing a rebel. There is also the potential romance between Henrietta and Marcus. Add in emotional growth and friendships and there are tendrils of other storylines as well.

A large secondary cast muddies the waters even more. As characters, I found Henrietta, Marcus, and the crew interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a great connection to them. The mixed storylines didn’t flow smoothly for me either, so I had a hard time figuring out where to focus.

This is the first book in a series. While I was curious and appreciated getting to learn new things about the revolutionary period, I don’t know that I will be seeking out the other books in the series.


My rating: 3 of 5 stars - Average Read

Review Copy Provided by Contest Managers

This was a cute story that I enjoyed, but didn't love.
Octavius and his family are a unique group that I liked and I appreciated their approach to things. I also liked Miss Toogood. Where I struggled was the stiffness of the story and how the action played out. I also struggled a bit with some of the word choice.
I think this is a book that had potental, but needed just a bit more polish to smooth things out.

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