Book Review

Book Review: Caught Bread Handed (A Bakeshop Mystery #4) by Ellie Alexander

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Cozy Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Author: Ellie Alexander
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the oven is heating up as high as the body count…

Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary…especially when murder is thrown into the mix.

When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking down the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading—with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent—for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start…and risk getting burned?

COZY FAV.

I haven’t picked up the next book in a hot minute because I wasn’t smitten with book three. Grateful that book four brought it back and I’m here for being back in Ashland at Torte. Someone let me own a bakery too please?!?

Another great mystery that kept me on my toes. I spent most of the book trying to figure out who was the murderer and loved how it all went down in the end. I wish more of the plot was focused on the mystery (as the middle of the book dragged a bit), but it peaked my interest enough.

I really enjoyed the recipes for this book and forever love that all of the recipes are kept at the end for use in the future. It’s such a fun tidbit and I just love that this is all set at a bakery.

Jules plot line moved well this time around. I love the conversation and moments she had with Carlos and I’m still very curious where that story line will go. I’m on the fence myself, so I’m just moving along with what the author decides for them and Thomas!!)

Overall audience notes:

  • Cozy mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder (main character walks in on a body)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Rightful Bearer (The Maiden Ship #3) by Micheline Ryckman

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 298 pages
Author: Micheline Ryckman
Publisher: Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: May 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Make peace with your past, lest it ruin your future.

Dain Alloway has been tasked with finding the rightful bearer and stopping the oncoming invasion of the four kingdoms. But as he begins the journey, self-doubt invades first, and he finds his confidence waning—Dain is no longer sure he’s the right person for this job. Who is he to challenge an emperor and his monstrous creations? Who is he to stop a war?

Meanwhile, Sable Cortham’s talent has grown, and every new lesson brings her another step closer to becoming one of the most powerful adept in history. But wielding this kind of magic makes Sable a target. She’s begun to wonder, even if they can find the rightful bearer and stop the emperor, how many more villains will come for her power? Will the four kingdoms ever be safe for the adept?

Elden Grayspire has recently been rescued from a centuries-old prison of stone, and while he rejoices in his newfound freedom, he laments the fact that his beloved remains a prisoner still. Mourning the loss of so many things past, feeling lonely and helpless, Elden struggles to find a place in this new time and era. As he embarks on a secret mission against the very man who cursed him long ago, will he finally discover a purpose and a way to belong?

The adventure concludes in The Rightful Bearer! Join Dain, Sable, Elden, and the rest of the Maiden Ship crew in this final seafaring adventure. 

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

GREAT FINALE.

What a solid conclusion to a great trilogy I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

One of my favorite aspects are the CHARACTERS. They are thoughtfully crafted and even the smaller side ones come alive. I love how deeply they’re created and how beautifully it plays into every part of the novel. The romance between Dain and Sable is the sweetest. There were plenty of soft moments between them where my heart swooned. I loved the connection they shared and the strength they had on their own, but also the way they leaned on each other when needed too.

The only thing I don’t quite understand was the mermaid subplot that bled over from book two? Though honestly towards the end I was wondering if there’s a future book with more of this?! I need answers. That tidbit is my only meh thing about these books.

With the last 30% it was intense. I loved the action, reveals and how things amped up. It was well written and every angle of the final battle was executed. I liked the villain takedown and the true rightful bearer?! I was pleasantly surprised at those answers too. This has been a wonderful series to read and I look forward to future books by Ryckman!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, battle scenes, physical and magical altercations, weaponry

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Book Review

Book Review: Otherwise Engaged by Joanna Barker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 266 pages
Author: Joanna Barker
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: October 12th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She’s never been afraid of breaking the rules—until she risks breaking her heart

Constantly stifled by the rules of Society, spirited Rebecca Rowley enjoys finding ways to quietly—or not so quietly—rebel. But riding bareback and avoiding nosy neighbors are nothing compared to the thrilling secret she is keeping from her family.
When Rebecca’s quick thinking saves the life of a young girl, she unwittingly attracts the attention of the child’s dashing brother, Lieutenant Nicholas Avery. As that attention turns flirtatious, Rebecca is forced to tell him the truth: she is secretly engaged—to the one man her family would never approve of. Fortunately, Lieutenant Avery is a navy man with no wish to marry, or so they both assume as they enter into a friendship. Rebecca hopes to change her family’s mind about her betrothed, but the more she comes to know the handsome lieutenant, the more she wonders if she promised her hand too hastily.

After all her carefully laid plans are shattered during a family crisis, Rebecca must force her heart to decide. Should she stay true to the promise she made or fight for the future she’s only just begun to imagine?

SMITTEN.

Wow. I was blown away by this regency! It’s the first one from the author I’ve read and I found it enjoyable on many levels.

One of those being the unique nature of both Rebecca (the narrator) and Nicholas (the love interest). I loved that Rebecca rode bare-backed and was interested in learning how to shoot guns and other things that really added to her personality. Nicholas was a Navy lieutenant who was totally cool with Rebecca’s interests and willingly helped her improve those skills. They were such a match from the moment they met.

Which leads me to my 1/2 star deduction. I struggle with this across genres. I don’t like a current love that takes up most of the book. It takes away from the romance I’m trying to be fall for. Because it always creates instances of cheating (as it did here) and no amount of wording really makes me feel completely fine about it. This one did end that plot line better than I expected so I’ll give it that at least.

Overall, a really great regency. I love this genre, especially when swoony kisses are added in. The writing was beautiful and kept me captivated. The plot moved steadily and I loved the introspection from Rebecca. Even with that one issue I had I liked the way she easily acknowledged she messed up and could apologize and work towards her character arc. Many things to love on in this one!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gun use (not in a violent matter), recollection of a bad fall from a horse, medical trauma, depiction of difficult birth, cheating

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Fiction + Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 24th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Isabel Perez travels to Barcelona to save her sister Beatriz, she discovers a shocking family secret in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s new novel.

Barcelona, 1964. Exiled from Cuba after the revolution, Isabel Perez has learned to guard her heart and protect her family at all costs. After Isabel’s sister Beatriz disappears in Barcelona, Isabel goes to Spain in search of her. Joining forces with an unlikely ally thrusts Isabel into her sister’s dangerous world of espionage, but it’s an unearthed piece of family history that transforms Isabel’s life.

Barcelona, 1936. Alicia Perez arrives in Barcelona after a difficult voyage from Cuba, her marriage in jeopardy and her young daughter Isabel in tow. Violence brews in Spain, the country on the brink of civil war, the rise of fascism threatening the world. When Cubans journey to Spain to join the International Brigades, Alicia’s past comes back to haunt her as she is unexpectedly reunited with the man who once held her heart.

Alicia and Isabel’s lives intertwine, and the past and present collide, as a mother and daughter are forced to choose between their family’s expectations and following their hearts.

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC.

LOVED THIS.

I have been a fan of Cleeton’s since her first historical fiction book came out, and once again I completely enamored with a sweeping story of loss, love, and choosing your path. I truly loved getting Isabel’s story. She was an incredible main character. I like that she stuck to her personal truths, but allowed her self room for growth within them. Making the harder decision to find HER happiness and being the woman that she’s had to stifle for so long.

Interspersed were other POV chapters (one mentioned in the synopsis and one not!). It was really great not to have these chapters overwhelm Isabel’s own story. They drifted in at the right moments to add more background and understanding for present characters and found ways to pull at my heartstrings.

The love stories interwoven were romantic and sweet. I love the way Cleeton builds these in such a short time where I continually find myself reading with intense focus because I MUST HAVE A HAPPY ENDING. And while there’s a rise and fall to that ending, it’s good. It’s lovely. And it’s what sealed the deal on another incredible read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: mild blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: war theme, air raids, teen pregnancy, infidelity, divorce, gun violence

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