Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason

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Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James is loosing sleep as he battles the mental demons from his time in the Army.  He sets up an appointment with former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams, but when he shows up to her office, he finds a dead body.  Despite Brooke harboring secrets that could lead to danger and destruction, Asher decides to join forces with Brooke, vowing to protect her at all costs.

Lynette Eason is a master at writing great suspense novels!  This book has constant action that makes you turn the pages faster and faster to discover the villain, all while not compromising the complex characters I have come to expect from this author.  The characters in this novel deal with PTSD and other truly emotional topics that craft a storyline that is deep and allows you to really connect with the story.  There is a light romance in the background of the novel that does not detract from the overall suspense but does add some dimension to the characters.  I am looking forward to more in this series!  I definitely recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

On Wings of Devotion by Roseanna M. White

On Wings of Devotion book cover

Philip Camden has garnered a reputation as a bad man, earning a nickname of “Black Heart,” and alienating most of England.  But nurse Arabelle Denler is not convinced that his gruff exterior is the whole story. She is eager to dig deeper into his character when their paths suddenly cross, determined to prove that anyone, even Philip Camden, is deserving of mercy.  Philip is certain that he is destined for the firing squad and is convinced that Arabelle’s kindness is not warranted.  As Philip and Arabelle grow closer, he is worried that his reputation will ruin her family and her career.

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This might be my favorite book by Roseanna White yet!  I loved the characters so much in this story—Arabelle with her strong spirit despite past hurts and Philip with his quiet courage despite his aching heart.  The spiritual messages of mercy and forgiveness are deeply thought provoking and seamlessly woven throughout the fabric of the story.  I loved the passion and romance in this book, finding the relationships realistic and appreciating how the characters grew and changed together.  I think I cried several times, as Roseanna brought such raw emotion to the story!  I found myself deeply immersed in the plot, fascinated with its interesting history and creative storyline, and found myself a bit sad when I finished the book, despite its good ending, for I wanted to the story to continue even longer!  I definitely enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it!  I cannot wait for book three in the series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

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After a failed case, lawyer Benjamin Booker has one more chance to prove himself to his associates by investigating the sudden death of his senior partner.  His search takes him to a remote island on the Thames—and its elusive and beautiful guardian, Isabelle.  Determined not to let a pretty face stray him from his task again, he begins to wonder if Isabelle knows more than she is letting on.

Julie Klassen once again pens a book with a creative plot, the mystery surrounding the death of Percival Norris entirely unpredictable as she takes you on a journey wherein by the end of the story, you have probably suspected every character of being involved! The book definitely held my interest and I had trouble putting it down!  I loved the slow building suspense as you get to know the characters, their flaws and pasts detailed for you to connect with them as they grow and change. I really liked how Isabelle is a kind and caring person, but she also harbors fear of the unknown, of change, and of leaving what is comfortable for her.  The romance is clean and sweet.  I liked the bits of history and descriptions of the scenes that made it easy to envision the setting.  The spiritual content is flawlessly woven among the story.  I am a big fan of Julie Klassen and really love her books!  This is definitely a book that I recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

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Aggie Dunkirk, with no job and no prospects, reluctantly returns to Wisconsin to live with her grandmother, Mumsie, a woman she has grown distant from in the past few years. She is stunned with Mumsie shows her a skeleton in her background only moments after her arrival.  She takes a job as a secretary with the town’s cemetery, not realizing that past secrets and crimes may connect with what Mumsie has discovered.  More than seventy years earlier, Imogene Grayson comes home to find her sister brutally murdered in their attic.  She will stop at nothing to find her sister’s killer, even though, as a young inexperienced woman, her help on the case is not always welcome.  Split by time but perhaps connected in another way, Aggie and Imogene are determined to find answers among the dead.

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Like her previous books, Jaime Jo Wright once again crafts a story that is complex and interesting. She is a master at split time novels! The individual plots are interesting but there is something truly remarkable about them as the pieces of the individual stories begin to come together into one overarching story.  Jaime Jo Wright is never afraid to tackle difficult and messy topics (which I love) and this book is once again bursting with hard subjects and characters that are flawed and grow in fascinating ways.  The history is interesting and the spiritual message interwoven flawlessly.  This book takes you on an emotional journey and its grip does not let up even when you finish, its message lingering in your mind even after you close the pages. The mystery had twists and turns that kept me guessing and made the book hard to put down!  I loved this book, and I highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings

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Caroline Adams dreams of adventure, and finding outlaw Frisco Smith and hearing his persuasive talks of the land run, she thinks she has found the perfect opportunity for something new and exciting.  Frisco Smith is focused on finding a permanent home, ready for the land run with a hidden piece of property he found earlier.  He does not expect the feisty Caroline to suddenly be the one vying for his property—and perhaps maybe also for his heart.

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If you are looking for great fiction with fun characters, fascinating history, and animated romance, then look no further than The Major’s Daughter!  I love Regina Jennings’s writing because she can write depth of the characters and plot while also making the story amusing and interesting. I liked the characters in this story a lot and their banter and interactions were entertaining to read.  I have enjoyed this whole series, but I think this is my favorite!  You do not have to read the stories in order, but they are all fantastic and it gives you a bit more background on the characters.  The story has some unpredictable parts that keep the story moving. I liked the spiritual aspects woven among the plot as well.  I loved this book and I really cannot recommend it enough!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Serving Up Love by Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano

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Harvey Houses, scattered along the railway at the turn of the twentieth century, operated on only the strictest of standards, with women of exemplary character employed as waitress. These Harvey girls are independent and adventures, ready for any serving catastrophe, but not quite expecting the romance they each encounter.

A Flood of Love by Tracie Peterson – Gretchen Gottsacker returns to New Mexico for the first time in years, never expecting to find her old long lost love, now a widower, in the small town.  Determined to avoid him, she does not plan on befriending his young daughter—or the romance that flourishes once again.

Neatly written, this novella brings forth a lovely story from start to finish.  I liked that the characters were friends in the past, because it made the quicker progression of their relationship more realistic.  The addition of a spunky young girl is a great secondary character.  I enjoyed learning more about the tiny town of San Marcial, New Mexico as well. Overall, I liked this story!

More Than a Pretty Face by Karen Witemeyer – Rosalind Kemp is determined to escape her past mistakes, accepting a job as a Harvey girl in Texas with hopes of someday transferring to California.  She is not expecting a young, handsome, regular customer at the Harvey House to begin to draw her out of her shy shell.  However, as Rosalind gets closer to him, her past begins to catch up to her and threatens to destroy all she holds dear.

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How is it possible for an author to write such an emotionally gripping story in such a short amount of words?  I was so excited to read more about Rosalind, who we met as Abigail’s sister in More Than Words Can Say.  She has made past mistakes but has matured into a wonderful young lady.  She is poised and pretty but also has gumption and strength that is admirable.  There are spiritual themes of forgiveness and mercy that are relatable and applicable to any reader.  I really liked the historical aspect of the story and learning more about the Harvey Houses.  I also found myself connecting with the characters almost immediately and definitely cried a time or two for Rosalind as she struggled and grew throughout the story. I really, really enjoyed this novella and highly recommend it!  The author has penned another winner!

Intrigue a la Mode by Regina Jennings – Willow Kentworth never imagines that she will be caught in the middle of a dangerous situation at one of the elegant Harvey Houses.  Even more so, she does not expect that the busboy, who seems to be keeping a secret of his own, becomes a confidant and a friend—and perhaps something more.

What a great read!  I definitely read this novella in one sitting, as I eagerly turned the pages to figure out the mystery of the story. Even though this may be a novella, the story develops well and contains quite of bit of content for such a short story. I really liked the characters and their relationship as they become friends, then partners as they solve a mystery, and finally fall in love.  I learned even more about the Harvey Houses from the historical tidbits.  I definitely recommend this novella!

A Grand Encounter by Jen Turano – Myrtle Schermerhorn becomes a Harvey girl to escape the embarrassment of a broken engagement in New York.  She has sworn off men forever—or at least until she meets the intriguing Jack Daggett.

Jen Turano always pens such fun stories, full of wit and humor that are intermingled with true character depth and development.  Her great writing style carries into even this short novella!  This story had time to develop with twists in the relationship despite its length.  I really enjoyed the setting and history, the intermixed bits of spirituality, and the budding romance.  I loved this novella and definitely recommend it!

Overall, this was such a fun collection of novellas that seemed to connect with the theme of the Harvey girls in such a unique way!  I really liked this book and highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Karen Witemeyer.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Royally Yours by Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson, and Ashley Clark

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Small town Tinsel, Vermont, has a strict no-paparazzi policy, making it the ideal getaway for royals looking to escape the public eye.  The quaint Christmas decorations and romantic snowy settings add the perfect background for the four royals as they relax, none of them expecting that romance may blossom in the midst of the holiday season.

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One Royal Christmas by Melissa Tagg – Melissa Tagg has perfected the art of writing a book that can include the perfect blend of romance, charm, and character development—all within a short novella!  She pens a wonderfully romantic story set in a snowy, quaint town that makes you want to cuddle up with a blanket and cup of tea on a cold day.  This novella transports you to the small town with ease, the descriptions flowing off the page and pulling you into the story.  The characters both deal with conflict and grow throughout the story in a satisfying way.  Their romance is adorably sweet and realistic.  There is something about reading about a prince during a snowy day that makes him that much more dreamy!  I loved the characters and their struggles and found myself sheading a tear or two as they overcome difficulties in their lives.  I really enjoyed this story and am a dedicated reader of Melissa’s stories for life!

The Reluctant Princess by Betsy St. Amant – This was my first time reading anything by Betsy St. Amant, and I am now a fan of her writing!  I really enjoyed the spunky characters and their friendship and then relationship as it developed throughout the story.  There is realistic conflict that adds depth to the story. The secondary characters were cute and fun and I really liked the snowy, small town setting.  This is a great novella for the Christmas season and fits in well with the rest of the collection in this book!

A Royal Wonderland by Liz Johnson – Liz Johnson has the wonderful ability to write a story that reads with ease, and this novella definitely fit that description!  The storyline is creative, the characters captivating, and the setting a perfect snowy town.  I liked the romance of the characters and the complications of past friendships.  This story definitely was a perfect addition to the novella collection!

A Tinsel Holiday by Ashley Clark – Ashley Clark was another new-to-me author and I really enjoyed her novella!  Mix together a princess, some much needed character growth, and the unlikely romance and you have a wonderful Christmas novella.  I liked the complexity of the romance, as it was not altogether predictable.  It was a great read!

Overall, I enjoyed these stories and highly recommend this novella collection!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Melissa Tagg.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.