"Sarah's Song" by Vicky Whedbee



It’s the 1940’s in rural East Tennessee, Appalachian country. For most everyone there is only work, and possibly church, if there’s one nearby. People rise before the sun is up, work hard, go to bed early, and rest in church on Sunday. Little chance for much else to happen. Right?

So, why would keeping one little secret for over sixteen years be so important? What could possibly have happened that could change the lives of so many people, if the secret were to be revealed?

There are only three people alive that know the answer to that question. For now.

This story is well-written and told in a way that brings the reader full circle to divulge all secrets. The book is called Sarah's Song, but Jericho's story touched my heart as much as Sarah's did. This tale is worth reading. Unforgettable characters with distinct roles and hardships make you want to keep reading to see how their situations unfold, and I have already downloaded the second book. I can't wait to continue the journey. I would recommend this series!

"Let His Banner Over Me Be Love" by Pat Garcia


It didn't take Chance Mancini long to accept that she had allowed let herself to fall in love with Gavino Mancini, a man much younger than she. To make matters worse, after their marriage, he'd led her into a lifestyle that she did not know of, but she had come to love. He was her, Sir.

All was well and good until she found out she couldn't give him a family, and insecurity about their relationship hunted her like a hound dog sniffing on a hunt.

Chance ran away, only to be terrorized every night in her sleep by her dreams.

Three years later, Gavino Mancini enters her life again to repossess what belongs to him––her heart and her body.

I read this book very quickly. Some of the descriptions were captivating, but sometimes they went to the point of distraction. This book is for mature audiences; intimate scenes are explicit. I couldn't relate to Chance's relationship with her husband. I was moved to read the story because of the beautiful verse. It was difficult for me to compare that with the sub/dom relationship.

"The Lady and the Stubborn Rancher" by Arla Jones


A cattle is stolen, a cowboy is dead, and a future husband is missing! What else can go wrong?
Susan Walton is a sleuth at heart, but when she is left alone in Boston while her parents take a tour in Europe, she does the most absurd thing anyone could think of. She buys a ticket to a stagecoach and travels to Texas to find out what had happened to her maid's future husband. John Stanton is a handsome rancher but his controlling ways frustrate Susan who is headstrong and knows what she wants. Can they work together to find out the truth?

This book is touted as enjoyable by fans of 1883, and although a couple of scenes attempt to mimic the hit television western drama, it isn't an accurate comparison. 1883 felt realistic and engaging. The author relies on the verb "was" far too much forming a dull story. Character development, interaction, and dialogue require work. Perhaps an editor or beta readers could help liven it up and help it reach its full potential.


"The Texan's Favor" by D.K. Deters



Ambushed, Texas Ranger Jake Fontaine's a dead man until a Kansas spinster raises her shotgun in his defense. Despite the rogue lawman's obsession to bring in his brother's killer, duty demands he escort her to the next town.

Kat Collins is a thief, though an honorable one. She's on the run from controlling kin and aims to escape her past. Traveling with Jake offers the perfect cover—until her uncle finds them sharing a campfire and imposes his own kind of justice—a wedding.

Marriage will cost Jake his freedom, but refusing may cost him his life. Kat figures he's bound to recognize her on a wanted poster. Would sharing passionate nights in his arms be worth the peril?

The description of this book snagged my attention. I liked Kat's spunk in saving a Texas Ranger's life. Her grit and determination in escaping her nefarious family ultimately led to the rift between her and Jake. Throw in another woman with her cap set on Jake, some nasty criminals who want the ranch, and a good-intentioned relative and it's an interesting story. Jake and Kat had too many emotional swings from cold to hot to cold, and the story could have been shortened up, in my opinion. 

I never purchase a book based on a single review, so go ahead and check out other opinions before you make up your mind about this one. 🤔🙂

"The House Guest" by Mark Edwards



When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

This novel begins and the premise hooks me. Genuinely creepy, don't let a stranger inside... but she stands in the rain with nowhere to go and knows details about the homeowners. A harmless, damsel in distress, right? As the story progressed, I didn't like Adam much. That could be okay if it leads to something bigger, and more important. But, he kind of lurked between being jealous of his girlfriend's success while he failed and displaying pride in her achievements. Eden's weird obsession with Ruth should have been clear while she watched Ruth's film. To me, it seemed Adam intruded on Eden while watching her lover's role in a movie, disturbing. Things spun out of control for me. The bearded man searching for his daughter's abductors real story turned too much for me and continued into a crazy ending. I recommend the author, but it's not my favorite Mark Edwards book. 

"The Edge of Memory" by Maura Beth Brennan



When your childhood is cut short by murder and treachery, it's not easy to live a normal life. At the tender age of nine, Harriet witnessed her father beat her mother to death, and she holds herself partially responsible. Still haunted by half-memories, guilt, and disturbing dreams, she has constructed a solitary and joyless existence, with little room for men or romance. Facing her thirtieth birthday, she knows she must do something to change her life. Like an omen, she meets Agnes, a rich elderly widow looking for a companion at her summer home in Maine, and the two forge a business deal. Thinking this will be like a vacation and a time to plan a better future, Harriet is shocked to discover challenges and obstacles she hadn't anticipated. Agnes' nephew and sole heir resents Harriet and wants her gone. And then there's Eli, the local artisan who makes her reconsider her decision to avoid men. Can he possibly return her feelings? Soon, the nephew's schemes, along with a heartbreaking betrayal, culminate in an event that changes her life forever. Will she fail Agnes as she failed her own mother years ago? Will she lose the man she loves? Or will she find her own strength and realize happiness at last?

This story's base defintiely holds merit. A villain is despisable and holds no redeeming qualities. Harriet has a chance to save someone from ill fate and redeem her confidence and self esteem. She cultivates a relationship with Agnes, grows to care for her, and considers her family. I don't think she would contemplate certain rash and irreparable actions over this romance-gone-wrong. Though insecure, she'd always expressed a desire to better her life. Diary entries make the story clunky. Instead of letting the author experience the happenings first hand, the author stops the action and tells you what happened or reiterates things that happened and applies Harriet's feelings in the short scripts of her journal. With bold signs and clues displayed, the plot grows predictable, and an anticipated twist doesn't evolve. However, the story ends with villain receiving just desserts. "The Edge of Memory" title points to Harriet's childhood trauma, which causes her emotional turmoil, but it leaves me wanting more. It doesn't seem it would take a news reporter divulging her past thirty years later for her to "remember" the reality of the haunting moment. If the information is out there, why didn't she know?

Double Trouble Kisses Hot in Magnolia by Minette Lauren


Description: As Seen On Amazon:

A Recipe for Double Trouble in Magnolia
* One pair of sexy high heels.
* Two identical women.
* One handsome hero.
* And a passel of mischievous pups.

Tabitha Graham hasn’t played the switch-a-roo game with her identical twin, Taylor, since high school, but when her big sis “by one minute and thirty-two seconds” offers her a first-class ticket to Greece, Tabitha can’t say no.

Tabitha’s teacher salary is nowhere near enough to splurge for a trip to the Aegean but if she can pull off pretending to be Taylor and interview the mayor of Magnolia, Tabitha will finally get a chance to see the ancient ruins of Delphi. Meanwhile, Taylor scoots off to NYC for the job interview of a lifetime.

Eli Banks has a dream of his own — to open a healthy fast-food chain and make Magnolia a better place to live. When he rescues a TV reporter from a hit and run, he’s instantly smitten by the semi-famous beauty. He’s waited his whole life for this kind of connection, but for some reason, she keeps running hot and cold. Should he tell her how he feels or just move on before his heart becomes roadkill?

This installment in the Hot in Magnolia series had a mixture of hilarious and serious moments as the author reintroduced characters already known and added a few newcomers. The twin switch played out leaving broken hearts, threats of violence, and other obstacles for Eli and Tabitha to overcome in order to secure their romantic attachment. The whole town had to get over her deception as well. Rosie popped up with some trademark outrageous  scenes, and she's still one of my favorite characters. The daschsund with the wheely cart stole my heart. There are a lot of bedroom scenes with the stars of this episode living up to the HOT in Magnolia. I have read all the books thus far, and look forward to reading the next one. Minette Lauren is an author to follow!

"Mountain Justice" by Karen Black



This tale proved much shorter than expected. It includes a preview to another book by this author. I enjoyed "Mountain Justice." The title describes the scenario. The horse was a character and played a role in the development of the story's finale. Friends, animal and human protecting each other, saving each other after following the law and due process to end up in the same circumstance. George's punishment satisfies the reader's desire for adequate consequences for his brutality. A lot of information packed into few pages. So, if you're interested in reading a quick shot from A to B, this will do the trick. It could have used some scenes between Annie and Rob to lay foundation for the level of his commitment to her safety.


"All Our Dark Secrets" by Martyn Ford



He’d do anything to protect his wife. But what if that meant making the biggest mistake of all?

James Casper is one of the good guys. A DEA agent. A loyal husband. With his sights set on the man at the top of the city’s opioid crisis, James is about to make the biggest bust of his career.

Then his beloved wife Rosie does something terrible, and James must choose: report it—or help her. He knows how this works, and he tells himself he’s smart enough to get away with murder. But James’s worst enemy knows what they have done—and he won’t hesitate to use it to manipulate him.

James is dragged into a dark and dangerous world. As events spiral and loyalties are tested, he realizes there’s only one way out. And that is to be even more ruthless than the people he’s working for.

Whatever happens, no matter how far he falls, at least he’ll still have Rosie.

Won’t he?

I started this book and thought I wouldn't enjoy it. The clunky, convoluted beginning crashed into a horrifying moment at the end of the second chapter. By chapter six, I didn't want to put it down. Now, disbelief needs suspension to get through some of it, but it's a rollercoaster of misdeeds and poor luck ridden by some insane characters. I had to see how James could manipulate each more hideous situation to come out on top. Some of the violence is pretty graphic. I have to say, I had nagging feelings about James's wife from the beginning, and there was no effort to change my mind or make me doubt my original opinion as the story progressed. I was dead sure one of them would have to kill the other before the end of the book. Of all the things that happened, once the snag arose with James's partner nearing the finale, I could not feel the same way about the book anymore. No, he could have stopped that; he could have changed the outcome, but he didn't. The inconclusive last few pages left me feeling adrift on emotion. I need to know what happened. Fact. Final. What the heck did I just read? I didn't like the wishy-washy conclusion. 


"Christmas in Newbury" by Regina Morris



It is obvious to Melanie that James is uneasy around his daughter, isn't finding the town charming, and doesn't feel any Christmas spirit. She's plenty attracted to James, but will this city mouse really be interested in a country mouse? As James discovers lost family members, the warmth of a small community spirit, and the compassion from his daughter's nanny, he develops a stronger sense of family and his romantic feelings for Melanie grow.

He decides he must keep the factory running, and after buying Melanie's artwork at the local Christmas auction, she has renewed interest in her studies. The two search for the perfect Christmas gift for each other while trying to save the factory, which leads to a Christmas miracle.

James has everything he could wish for, but he doesn't know what to do with a baby - the product of a brief affair that ends up on his doorstep. Lucky for him, his father sends him to Newbury, where he hires Melanie as a nanny. He discovers his familial roots and warms to the town. The story is mild; there's not much tension or chemistry between the main characters. I think it could benefit from editing. A large portion of the story involves daily minutiae.  Although it's a predictable wealthy boss and poor employee romance, the tale's end provides resolutions. Melanie's connection with the baby was the sweetest part of the story.