Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Romance ~ Author Jen Geigle Johnson


  The Nobleman's Daughter by Jen Geigle Johnson England, 1819 While British high society primps and plays, the impoverished citizens of London languish. But there are those fighting for the freedom of common citizens—including two members of the aristocracy who secretly champion revolution. In the drawing rooms of the upper class, Lady Amanda and Lord Nathaniel flirt and tease with the best of them as she pretends to win every heart in London for sport, and he, to conquer them. But in truth, their flirtation is merely a façade designed to keep their clandestine actions hidden from the ton— and from each other. When Nathaniel presents himself as a potential suitor, the attraction between the two is undeniable—but the faces they portray to the world are not enough to win each other's hearts. When their crusade for London's poor unites them more deeply than they could imagine, Amanda and Nathaniel struggle to trust one another with their true ideals and identities. But when the call to action leads Amanda into the path of danger, she can only hope that Nathaniel will see through her frivolous pretense. Because now, only the aid of the suitor she loves most—but trusts least—can save her.

"This book touched me in a personal way." "intrigue and mystery from the first sentence of the story." "Excellent Debut novel by Jen Geigle Johnson. Love the depth of the characters that grab ahold of you and won't let go. Not your typical romance tale."  

Author Jen Geigle Johnson Jen Geigle Johnson once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. Other vital things to know: the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. No mountain is too steep for her to climb, yet. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep's roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love. She discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. Now an award-winning author and mother of six, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar.Ink writing conference.  

  Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 3/10/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M White

A Lady Unrivaled (Ladies of the Manor, #3)A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Publisher to Review.
Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Book Description:  Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile—even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won't wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.
Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could tell her that he loved her. Now he's determined to be a better person. But that proves difficult when old rakehell friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into committing a crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her—and his infant daughter—from people ready to destroy them all?

My thoughts:  I received this review book a long time ago, and then lost it. Fortunately, I found it. I wish I would have read it sooner when the characters and story were fresh on my mind. Roseanna M. White did a good job at catching me up quickly.

A Lady Unrivaled is the third book in a series. It also concludes the story. Basically, there is a mystery around red diamonds, and some will stop at nothing to possess them. The main characters of all of the books converge and see the trilogy to it's conclusion.

I loved Lady Ella, she is the female main character in this one. She is full of life, love, and compassion. She tries to see the good in everyone and everything. She is always smiling, this ability attracts others to her. She is good with animals and children. Something that comes in handy when she meets Lord Clayton's baby daughter.

Lord Clayton in surly and doesn't feel like he is worthy of love and compassion. He made mistakes in his past, but is doing his best to find forgiveness and redemption. They are the perfect compliment to the other. I loved reading about them fighting their feelings and attraction for the other.

This book is much more than a romance. There is the mystery of the Tiger Eyes. The threat of evil hangs over the characters of the book from the beginning. It is a matter of time until the evil behind them plays his cards and tries once again to obtain them. There are spies everywhere, one that we know from the beginning and many that are hidden.

If you love a great romance with mystery, give this series a try. The best part, all of the books are out and you don't have to wait for the next installment. I have only read the last two, but have purchased the first to read sometime soon.

The book contains kissing, non-graphic violence, and Christian themes.

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Roseanna M. White
About the Author(Taken from Goodreads)  Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. She and her family make their home in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at

Read the first two books in the series.  The first is FREE for your kindle!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Zookeeper's Secret: Finding Your Calling in Life by Jeffrey A Bunderson and Stuart Thompson

The Zookeeper's Secret: Finding Your Calling in LifeThe Zookeeper's Secret: Finding Your Calling in Life by Jeffrey A., Bunderson, Stuart Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source :  Received from the publisher to review.
Genre: Inspirational Self-Help

Book Description:  Perhaps your professional and other life ambitions are simply a means to an end—a way to pay the bills or pursue a lifestyle. But what if there was something more? What if you could have success and fulfillment in equal measure? In response to these fundamental questions, Professors Jeff Thompson and Stuart Bunderson draw on research, personal experience, and gospel truths to dispel common myths that can stand in the way of seeking your true calling, the work that brings the greatest meaning and satisfaction to your life. Is there only one true calling for you? Can you still find your calling if you choose to stay at home? What if your calling doesn’t pay enough to live on? Discover the answers to these questions and many more as you learn to tap into the spiritual gifts of God and realize how your talents can bring gratification to your life and blessings to those around you. Brimming with practical activities and applications, this guidebook to pursuing your ideal life’s work will inspire the confidence you need to translate aspiration into action.

My thoughts: Often I have looked over my choices and wondered if they were the right ones. Being a stay at home mom and then a lunch lady will not get me any acclaim, and often they can cause mocking. It is with hesitation that I tell people that I meet what I do.

If you are like me, this is a book that you should read. Life isn't about acclaim, but finding something that you are good at and gives you fulfillment, and it's also in finding fulfillment in what you are doing.

This book uses scripture references to illustrate work and man's place working. They have the chapters set up as "heresies". You can read them in any order, or read only the ones that you feel pertain to you. I honestly found value in all of the book.

Heresy 1
Only lucky people find a calling in life.

Heresy 2
You should seek your one true calling in life.

Heresy 3
You get to script your path to a calling in life.

Heresy 4
You have to set aside your calling in order to support your family.

Heresy 5
When you find your calling, work will be blissful.

Heresy 6
When you find your calling, the world will take notice.

Heresy 7
Meaning is found at work.

So, my takeaway from the book.... I love my job. I love feeding children. I love that my job allows me to be home when my kids are home from school. I haven't given up my 17 years invested in being a stay at home mom. Is it easy? No. Do I wish I were anywhere else doing anything else? No.
Do I sometimes wonder if I have missed my divine potential? Yes. I'm not going to worry about that though, I have found something that I am passionate about.

This book helped me appreciate what I do a little more.  For others, it can inspire you to do more, to seek and find something that fulfills you.  Life is about joy in the journey.  They mention that it isn't easy, and you may not find the joy right away.  It's about seeking out the good.  Zookeepers have job fulfillment, even though they may have to deal with some "crap" (literally).  They love what they do.  They see the benefit of serving the animals in their care.

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to read the book and realize that it is OK to find joy in what I am doing and not worry about what the world thinks.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Romance is in the Air ~ Featuring Nicole Van


  Gladly Beyond by Nichole Van An ancient curse, fractured at the birth of three brothers. Two strangers helplessly drawn to each other. A love story two hundred years in the making. Claire Raythorn arrives in Florence, Italy, shattered, alone, and anxious to rebuild her life—preferably one without men. But she soon finds herself hunted and haunted— literally—when a mysterious stalker dressed like Mr. Darcy from BBC central casting appears in her photos. And only her photos. Who is this man? And what does his ghostly presence mean? Dante D’Angelo simply wants to safeguard his brothers, despite the family curse that hounds his vision. But then Claire Raythorn walks into his life, untouched somehow by his curse. Soon, everything Dante thought he knew about himself starts to unravel, dragging Claire down with him. Set against the lush backdrop of Florence, Italy—both past and present—Claire and Dante fight for a future together. But, first, they must uncover their shared past . . .


 The thing I like about Van's writing is that she builds up the love between hero and heroine in plausible increments. I think that's why I always end up reading her novels in one sitting until the early morning hours; I know that in the NEXT scene the characters are going to finally realize their love. But then you get to the next scene and you simply want more and more. And I mean that in the
best possible way. 


I’ve always thought Italian cities are like guys I knew in college:

 Rome—the hot frat boy I was dying to go out with (and I did, and it was awesome). But, turns out, everyone dated Rome.

 Naples—Rome’s frat house roommate. The guy on no sleep and his tenth can of Red Bull. No one messed with him cause he knew people who knew people . . . catch my drift . . .

 Venice—the dreamily gorgeous philosophy major. Brilliantly eccentric but exotic enough that no one quite knew what to make of him.

 Milan—the second-year MBA student who was big on power-ties and power-lunches. Basically, the organized guy who held everyone else together.

 And then there was Florence.

 Firenze, to those who knew him.

 Quiet and unassuming. When we first met, I wondered what all the fuss was about.

 But Firenze . . . he was a subtle seducer. If I asked, he could talk for hours about art and history. But, generally, Firenze simply listened. Peaceful. Steady. Ready to shoulder my sorrows.

 Firenze is the guy I never got out of my system.  


  Love's Shadow by Nichole Van Branwell D’Angelo . . . Six years ago, I fell in love with Lucy—my brother’s girlfriend. Stupid of me, I know, but sometimes the heart doesn’t listen to reason. Six years, I’ve lived on the sidelines. Seeing him love her, be with her, bask in her sunshine . . . I watched her break his heart and then cleaned up the shattered pieces of him she left behind. She’s the one woman I can’t have but still the only one my soul wants. Now she’s back in our lives and needs the unique help only us D’Angelos can give. He’s not emotionally strong enough to face her. So he’s sending me instead . . . When tragedy strikes Lucy Snow on a visit to Italy, she can’t bring herself to call any of the D’Angelo brothers for help. There are consequences for falling in love with your ex-boyfriend’s brother. But Lucy desperately needs Branwell’s paranormal skills and his gift of Sight. And if seeing him will negate at least three years of therapy? Well, it’s a price she is willing to pay. Thrown together in a desperate bid to save an innocent life, Branwell and Lucy struggle against their shared past, only to realize that something even more dangerous is reaching through the weight of time to stalk their every move . . .


Oh. My. Gosh! The feels! The feels are real my fellow bookworms! My emotions were all over the place while reading this book! I laughed, I yelled, I got teary eyed, I growled in frustration, I let out little dreamy sighs and fell in love right along with Branwell and Lucy. I can't even begin to describe the amazingness of this book! One of my favorite parts of this book are the sour "punny" bears! *giggles* Oh! I can't forget about that epilogue! Love... love... LOVE! And talk about swoony! *dreamy sigh* I had the hardest time putting this book down! I have discovered a love/hate relationship with real life. Haha.


  Lightning Struck by Nichole Van Chiara doesn’t like Jack. Jack doesn’t like Chiara. The story should end there. Except . . . maybe Chiara finds herself daydreaming far too often about Jack. And maybe Jack finds Chiara aggravating in an adorable sorta way. Maybe Jack and Chiara find themselves falling in love. The problem, of course, remains. Jack is a ghost. And Chiara is not. Jack Knight-Snow has had a bad year for losing things. So far he has lost a ship full of ancient treasure, his family, his friends, his title, his lands and money, his fiancé, the century into which he was born . . . oh, and his physical body. Worse, feisty Chiara D’Angelo might just finish the job and make him lose his mind. For her part, Chiara simply wants to help Jack get his body back and move on with his life. She doesn’t want to like his snarky humor or his gorgeous eyes or the way he accepts her exactly as she is. She’s a hot mess when it comes to romantic relationships. Case in point . . . she’s developing feelings for a ghost. But tackling the problem of Jack’s ghostliness is not straightforward. Soon, Jack and Chiara find themselves embroiled in a mystery which creates more questions about the D’Angelo brothers’ gifts of Second Sight. Set against the backdrop of Tuscany, Italy, Jack and Chiara race to uncover answers about the past before becoming history themselves.


Nichole Van has hit paydirt yet again with this latest Brothers Maledetti book! Chiara's story has swoonworthy romance that is 100% clean, as well as laugh out loud humor and superb storytelling to make up this amazing, unputdownable book! Although you don't have to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I'd highly recommend reading them to get further backstory on the D'Angelo family and their talents. Nichole Van is one of the few authors on my "instant-buy" list and this latest installment is another reminder why. Five stars just don't seem enough.

  Author Nichole Van Nichole Van is a writer, photographer, designer and generally disorganized crazy person. Though originally from Utah, she currently lives on the coast of Scotland with three similarly crazy children and one sane, very patient husband who puts up with all of them. In her free time, she enjoys long walks along the Scottish lochs and braes. She does not, however, enjoy haggis.  
          Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 3/9/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway