Thursday, September 26, 2019

#Book #Review ~The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empires, Book #1) by Jeffe Kennedy ~@jeffekennedy @SMPRomance @heroesnhearts #Fantasy

About The Orchid Throne:


As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…


Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

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Read My Review:

The Orchid Throne is the first book in Jeffe Kennedy's new Forgotten Empires fantasy series. A fake emperor has overthrown all kingdoms claiming the lands, resources, and citizens for himself. All that is but Calanthe, the flower island, because he was promised Euthalia's hand in marriage - a marriage Euthalia has managed to delay time and time again. When a group of rebels break free from the their prison and slowly retake small kingdoms, the Emperor gives Euthalia both a warning - alerting her of the most recent takeover, and an ultimatum - when the band of rebels enters Calanthe, she either hands them over to him or becomes a traitor herself, to which he will have no problem dispatching his army. 

Conrí is a former crown prince - now the king - of a long destroyed kingdom. Taken as a slave, Conrí wants nothing more than cold, hard revenge against his captor. To that end, Conrí and his band of followers overtake the fake emperor's kingdoms offering protection for loyalty or death to those who refuse. As his army grows, his wizard claims that they must go to Calanthe as part of a magical prophesy. He wasn't expecting a cold-as-ice Queen with an agenda of her own. He has very little time to convince her to work together before she hands him and his companions over to certain death.

I love both Euthalia and Conrí. They have endured so much in their short lives. So much death, destruction, and injustice and they both seek revenge on the tyrant that brought it all about. I was equally intrigued and horrified by the events that unfolded during the complete and utter destruction of the kingdoms surrounding the island of Calanthe. I enjoyed the author's slow path bringing Euthalia and Conrí together. Having Euthalia and Conrí in different phases of their respective plans then uniting them in an unorthodox manner allowed me to get to know them separately and then together.

With breathtaking imagery, heart-wrenching backstory, and a plethora of twists and turns, The Orchid Throne drew me in, captivated me, and kept me engaged. The book weaves together many other genres besides the fantasy element. The book also features paranormal and magical elements, romantic undertones, mystery, and suspense. I read this epic fantasy novel in two days in-between working full time and taking care of my family at night. The book was in my hands at every available opportunity. 

The story remains open-ended but not with a mind-bending cliffhanger. Oh, I'm chomping at the bit for the next book, of course, but the author gave us a tasteful conclusion.

I was given a copy of this book to read.

My Rating:

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Book Review ~ The Boyfriend Contract by Victoria James ~ #Romance ~ @vicjames101 @EntangledPub

Book Details:

Print Length: 236 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: September 23, 2019
Sold by: Macmillan

About the Book:
Emily Birmingham has had it up to here with men.

Growing up with an overbearing father and then her brother inherits everything she’s worked her whole life to build. Now she’s living in her grandmother's dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere Canada, jobless, and dealing with the most annoyingly sexy contractor on the planet. Exactly when did her life become an anti-Hallmark movie?

Cooper Merrick learned the hard way that love is definitely not worth the risk. He’s happy running the family contracting business alongside his well-meaning but overly-opinionated brothers...happy enough until polished and perfect Emily enters his world. Nothing prepared him for the ways she turns his life upside down and reaches the parts of himself he’s closed off from the world.

But when he finally gets up the nerve to ask Emily out, she says her next date will need to come with a written contract and some very particular ground rules. Yeah, it sounds crazy, but why does he find himself wanting to sign on the dotted line?

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My Review:

The Boyfriend Contract is another fantastic book by Victoria James.

Emily is from a wealthy family but circumstances beyond her control lead her to a small town. Her goal is to restore her late grandmother’s rather large home into a quaint, but upscale, inn. She needs to prove to herself, and to her abusive brother, that she can run a business on her own without her brother. Having been a go-getter in the city, she discovers just how lonely she is in her new hometown. She quickly learns though, how the town might actually be full of the life and family she’s always craved.

Cooper Merrick and his family’s construction company are gearing up to begin restoration work on a huge home of a beloved late resident. He is surprised at the feelings that spring up when he meets the new owner. Cooper is drawn to Emily but the loss of his wife 5 years ago keeps him shuttered. He never wanted another relationship but he’s finding her harder and harder to resist. As everything starts falling into place, a chain of events cause him to push her away right at the time she needs him the most.

I devoured this book in one day. Emily and Cooper are wonderful characters. Cooper’s siblings are instigators and I loved their meddling. Emily is a very down-to-earth, genuinely pleasant person. She’s compassionate, understanding, friendly to everyone she meets. Her self-esteem is seriously lacking, though but that helps make her character realistic and believable. Cooper is gun-shy. He poured all the love he thought he had to give into his first wife. When she died, he made the decision not to put himself out there like that because he didn’t want to endure the heartache and pain losing someone else might cause.

The book is emotionally charged and evoked responses from me through every situation. Emily’s low self-esteem made me cry. Her brother made me angry. The chemistry between Emily and Cooper made me swoon. The loss of Cooper’s wife and how he’s dealing with it brought forth empathy and sadness.

Victoria James is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her writing is realistic and her subject matter for each book is believable. Her heroines and her heroes are not perfect, but they are perfect for each another. There is a reason that Victoria James is one of my all-time favorite authors - she writes impassioned and realistic contemporary romances. Each book I've read manages to evoke emotional responses from me. I always tear up during some part of the novel. Her characters are believable and realistically written. I get lost in the novels and put myself right into the middle of them. I feel for the characters and drawing on my emotions is what makes a book worth 5 stars for me. If I hurt with them, cry with/for them, laugh, or get angry, then the author did a fantastic job and has written the perfect book for me. 

My Rating:

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

New Book Release #Review ~ Grit (A Love Story on 7th and Main, Book 3) by Elizabeth Hunter ~ #ContemporaryRomance @EHunterWrites

GRIT, an all-new standalone, friends-to-lovers romance in the 7th and Main series by Elizabeth Hunter is NOW LIVE!

Book Details:

Print Length: 286 pages
Publisher: Recurve Press LLC
Publication Date: September 3, 2019

About the Book:

He’s been patient; she’s been busy.
Patience is running out. 

Melissa Oxford is a widow with a ranch, an orange grove, a goat-obsessed ten-year-old, and not enough time. She doesn’t have time to make friends. She doesn’t have time to stop and chat, and she definitely does not have time for a boyfriend.
Which is fine, because Cary Nakamura is far from being a boy. Cary’s the man who helped Melissa plant her trees. The friend who keeps offering advice, even when she’s is too stubborn to take it. 

He’s also the man who kissed Melissa in broad daylight on a sidewalk in Metlin, California, smack in the face of God and everyone. 

But while Melissa may spend a little too long dreaming about Cary from a distance, she knows the kind of passion he promises is more than she can handle. 

She just doesn’t have the time. 

But sometimes, no matter how busy you are, life makes you stop. It pulls you up short and makes you see things a little more clearly. Things like… 

The people you can count on.
The dreams you keep pushing away.
And the passion that can’t be denied. 

GRIT is a stand-alone, friends-to-lovers romance in the Love Stories on 7th and Main series by Elizabeth Hunter, author of INK. 

My Review:

I didn’t think I could like another book in the 7th and Main series more than the first two, Ink and Hooked. The books were beautifully written with wonderful characters in a great setting. I was, however, incorrect. Grit, the third book, a stand-alone romance, blew me away. The friends-to-lovers romance filled the pages of Grit with love, passion, stubbornness, and well-written emotion. 

Melissa and Cary are one of the best romantic couples I’ve read about. She’s strong, independent, and stubborn. He’s patient, kind, and understanding. They are very much in love but shadows of the past, as well as impending situations, cloud Melissa’s mind. The chemistry between Melissa and Cary sizzles in every scene but the romance is slow to build, the pacing perfect for the author to flesh out much needed side themes.

The character development and world building in Grit brings ranch life into focus for the reader. We see what makes Melissa and Cary tick (aside from each other, that is). Ranching is not easy and when you have the emotional baggage Melissa is carrying, along with insensitive, manipulative in-laws, you understand why she tries to deny her feelings. The story is realistic and I was able to visualize each moment in the book.

Elizabeth Hunter writes books that require emotional responses from the reader. You can’t read her books without feeling exactly what she is portraying. I went through an entire gamut of emotions reading Grit. I teared up, I laughed, I was angry; every emotion exactly as written. All of Elizabeth's novels reach deep within my emotional center and manage to trigger reactionary responses. These types of books are my favorite. The emotions don't have to always include tears; it is just the ability to invoke proper emotional responses to scenarios being played out.

The author is spectacular at her craft and is an auto-buy for me and has been since I laid my eyes upon A Hidden Fire. 

My Rating:

Purchase Links:

Visit Elizabeth Hunter's Website