Book Reviews

Double Trouble by Susan May Warren

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 335
Series: PJ Sugar #2
Genre: Mystery, Christian, Romance
Published: Feb. 10, 2010
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis:

With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI’s “assistant” until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ’s seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case—house-sitting for a witness in protective custody—Jeremy assures her there’s no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they’re after PJ, too.

Review:

I didn’t mind the love triangle in the first book because it wasn’t a focal point and she wasn’t dating either hero. Now in this second book, I am not a fan.

The plot… Not a fan of that either. It was unrealistic at best. In the synopsis, as well as when the job is being described to PJ, it sounds like she is house-sitting for a woman in witness protection. But no, she has to impersonate this woman in which she has a like three-page interaction with her. This woman also has tattoos, which if you think about it would not work. Even though someone painted it on, people who really know tattoos can see the fake. She has a different style than PJ and different hair. She looks and acts nothing like PJ so it just isn’t the best to have PJ impersonate her.

I don’t know how I feel about Jeremy in this book. Boone in the first book didn’t feel fully flushed out which I didn’t mind because that gives the character growth in the next books. But in this book, I really didn’t like his character. I really didn’t like that PJ was in a relationship with Boone but still thought about Jeremy in certain ways at times. It felt slimy to read. It’s obvious from the first book that Jeremy will be the long-term love interest. Why have PJ date Boone? Why have Boone be serious enough to propose? It seemed like unnecessary drama that really didn’t do much for the plot.

I normally love the characters Susan creates but this book series doesn’t add up to her others. To be honest, if I read this series before the others, I wouldn’t give Susan another chance.

Though I will say the scene with Gabby in the rain hit me in the feels. That was a bit hard to read. I am going to read the third book because I do want to know what goes down with her and Jeremy. I just don’t think I am going to read it right away.

Book Reviews

Nothing but Trouble by Susan May Warren

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 341
Series: PJ Sugar #1
Genre: Christian, Romance, Mystery
Published: Jan. 1, 2009
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis:

It’s not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend’s husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder—who also happens to be PJ’s former flame—is convinced it’s an open-and-shut case, PJ’s not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend’s husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

Review:

It’s safe to say that I only added this to my TBR because it’s Susan May Warren. She is my new favorite author. But it is also safe to say that after I read the blurb when I started to read it, I was skeptical about if I was going to like this story.

This turned out better than I thought. Even with the love triangle which wasn’t a full focus. Though if I had to choose, I say I’m team Jeremy. PJ is just returning to town after ten years of being gone. After reconnecting, her best friend’s husband is wanted for murder.

PJ has to figure out who the real killer is while dodging her ex and the new guy who seems to be getting under her skin. I absolutely loved both men but am a complete Jeremy fan. This was one of those books that I didn’t have to worry about law enforcement because it was a main aspect and there was only one thing I had a critical comment about. Other than that I have the second book and will pick that up soon.

Book Reviews

Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 394
Series: Christiansen Family #1
Genre: Romance, Christian Fiction
Published: Jan. 1, 2013
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis:

Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek’s learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

Review:

Darek Christiansen, single father, ex hotshot, is now in Deep Haven helping his parents run Evergreen Resort. When his youngest brother, hockey star Owen, calls saying he can’t make it home to be auctioned off, Dare has to step in. Ivy is new to Deep Haven. She just wants to start over in a small town. A place where she feels like she can belong for the first time. On the first night she is in town she is invited to the VFW for a fundraiser for local first responders. When no one is bidding on Darek, she decides she will only to find out she bought the pariah of the town. Ever since Darek’s wife passed away his been angry. So their first interaction is not the best. But Darek redeems himself and takes her on a tour of the town. But it is interrupted when Darek gets a call from his mom. Later Dare runs into Ivy and invites her to his family get-together for the Fourth of July to redeem himself again.

Jensen is hated by most of the town after what happened between him and Felicity (Darek’s wife). Jensen had something to do with her death and he has to do three years of community service. If he doesn’t get his hours in, he will have to do the mandatory four-year prison time. Claire used to be friends with Jensen, Darek, and Felicity. But after Felicity’s death, she hasn’t really talked to either of the guys she spent so much time with in high school. Claire’s parents want more for her. Claire just wants to stay in Deep Haven. Jensen wants to complete his hours so he can leave the town and his mistakes behind.

Darek is another male MC from Warren that I love. Jensen was a good MC but I really like Darek more. I liked Ivy as well and I loved Claire. I do have the rest of the series and hope that these characters will make cameos in the upcoming books. I am so happy for the outcome for both Jensen and Darek.

Book Reviews

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 356
Series: Montana Rescue #1
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance
Published: Oct. 1, 2016
Rating: 4 star

Synopsis:

The last thing Search and Rescue helicopter pilot Kacey Fairing needs upon returning home to Mercy Falls, Montana, is to run into her mistakes. After a devastating crash during her recent military tour in Afghanistan, she is emotionally broken but ready to start putting her life back together. She just wants to reconnect with her teenage daughter and spend the summer working as the new lead pilot of PEAK Rescue in Glacier National Park.

But her mistakes aren’t so easily forgotten. Because Ben King is also back in town.

Country music star Ben King abandoned his past when he moved to Nashville thirteen years ago to start his career. But when his father is injured, Ben is called home to help manage PEAK Rescue during his recovery. He doesn’t realize his father has ulterior motives until his old flame, Kacey, walks into his house and back into his heart.

Now, with Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben will have to work together to save lives. But when secrets are uncovered and old hurts rise to the surface, will they walk away again? Or can they find a different ending to their country love songs?

Review:

Kacey is back in Mercy Falls. She is trying to recover for the summer to see if she can go back into the armed forces to fly again. Kacey is hired on as a pilot for PEAK Rescue which is run by her ex-fiance’s father. Even worse, her ex is in town. What’s even worse is that she is face to face with the man that left her thirteen years ago.

Let me tell you, I love Kacey. She is an awesome heroine. She flew black hawks to do SAR missions and medevacs. She got a bronze star and is very humble about it. She puts her daughter first. Does she make a few mistakes that are kinda dumb? Yes. Hello, she can’t be a Mary Sue. But she is by far my favorite female character from Susan. Knox is still my number one, but Ben is a close second.

I remember this couple from the book Knox. We get a glimpse of them. But reading their story, I fell in love. They are so adorable when they’re not fighting the pull against each other. They are amazing parents to Audrey. I am telling you that I love this couple. I couldn’t get enough of these two. Can’t wait to see them in other books. The next book is Sam’s. I, unfortunately, don’t have the money to splurge on the rest of the series so I will have to wait.

Book Reviews

The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 347
Series: Global Search and Rescue #1
Genre: Romance, Christian Fiction
Published: Jan 1, 2020
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis:

Former pararescue jumper Orion Starr is haunted by the memory of a rescue gone wrong. He may be living alone in Alaska now, but the pain of his failure–and his injuries–has followed him there from Afghanistan. He has no desire to join Hamilton Jones’s elite rescue team, but he also can’t shirk his duty when the call comes in to rescue three lost climbers on Denali.

Former CIA profiler and psychiatrist Jenny Calhoun’s yearly extreme challenge with her best friends is her only escape from the guilt that has sunk its claws into her. As a consultant during a top-secret mission to root out the Taliban, she green-lighted an operation that ended in ambush and lives lost. When her cathartic climb on Denali turns deadly, she’ll be forced to trust her life and the lives of her friends to the most dangerous of heroes–the man she nearly killed.

Her skills and his experience are exactly what’s needed to prevent another tragedy–but in order to truly set Orion free from his painful past, Jenny will have to reveal hers. They’ll have to put their wounds behind them to survive, but at what cost?

Review:

Because love causes all sorts of pain. It requires us to believe, and forgive, and put aside our own justice and our own desires. Love is painful . . . especially when you think you might lose that love. Or cause hurt to someone you love. Or even be required to love someone who has hurt you.” He swallowed, his gaze casting out the door, toward intensive care. “But it’s worth it. Love changes you. Love makes you brave. Love can change the world.”

I have read Warren once before and I was completely in love with her male characters. They were very respectful and considerate. A big plus was that they knew what boundaries were, which most heroes don’t know or care about. So going into this I had the expectation of the male characters being dreamboats.

I have been in such a rut that nothing has been sounding good. Most of my reads lately haven’t been higher than a three-star. To be honest, I almost DNFed this book because of my rut. But I decided to persevere.

If you like second-chance romances this book is for you. But let it be known it is a slow burn. Jenny has been running from her past. Orion has been trying to heal from it. When a chance encounter brings them face to face for the first time in a few years, Jenny denies knowing who Orion is. Jenny and her friends make the climb up Denali while Orion and his friends are off climbing another mountain.

When a storm comes in and blows Jenny and her friends off the course, Orion and his friends come to the rescue. But there is one major problem. Orion doesn’t know that Jenny was the CIA agent who believed the informant that got a SEAL team and his PJ team ambushed.

There are at times POVs from Jake and Aria. I wasn’t a big fan of reading from Aria’s POV. I am not an expert or even a person who has knowledge of climbing mountains, so there was a copious amount of equipment and terminology I had to look up.

I didn’t like Orion and Jenny as much as I did Knox and Kelsey (from Knox). Though I kept waiting for the hammer to drop between the two. It took a while for Jenny to come clean to Orion about how their past was really connected and what happened after Afghanistan. Another reason, I think I didn’t like this one as much is due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to mountain climbing. I did like the romance. I did like the story for the most part. There were just certain parts that I had to stop and look up terminology or equipment to understand what was going on.

Orion, I thought wasn’t the best name for the hero, but then he gave the story he was named after the constellation. So, I let it go. With Jake and Aria, the romance had some flirting and kissing at bad timing which annoyed me. I really don’t know if I will continue with this series. While I have loved the other book I read from Susan, this one didn’t live up to the same expectation. Though there is a shout-out to Knox with the arena bombing.

Book Reviews

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 218
Series: The Ugly Stepsister #1
Genre: YA, High School
Published: August 15, 2012
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis:

Everyone knows how those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—pretty, smart, and, worst of all, nice—stepsister is dating the charming, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her online. The school mean girl has made it her mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister is the most popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

Review:

I almost DNFed this but I read some reviews from friends and others. That encouraged me to continue. I wasn’t a fan of Mattie. I wasn’t a fan of Jake. So I really wasn’t a fan of their story.

Fair warning: Spoilers!!!

Jake is supposed to like Mattie, but he dated her sister… Still trying to get my head around that and the dumb excuse that was given for it happening. I didn’t like the story retold from Jake’s perspective at the very end. If that is what you wanted to do why not do dual POVs?

Also, why does Mattie have glasses if they aren’t prescription? There isn’t even get an explanation. Early on in the story, it is told that Mattie has glasses, but when she is getting her makeover, she asks what to do with her glasses, Ella then proceeds to tell her that they aren’t prescription and she won’t need them. So why does she wear them?

Mattie is lazy and way too obsessed with Jake. (Even when he’s dating her sister.) She rambles on and on about Jake. It got annoying. There is so much overexplaining and retelling of details that it got old fast quick and in a hurry. For me, there is no reason to root for Mattie.

I hate that my first read of the year is a low rating but the more I think about this book the lower the rating goes.

Book Reviews

Pippa of Lauramore by Shri L. Tapscott

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 334
Series: Eldentimber #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Published: March 15, 2015
Rating: 3 STARS

Synopsis:

Act like a lady. Don’t swim in the waterfall. And whatever you do, never steal into the woods for a romantic, moonlit ride.

For as long as Pippa can remember, she’s looked forward to her eighteenth birthday. The number represents freedom—and the end of her boring lessons with dreary tutors. Unfortunately for the princess, it’s also the age she is expected to marry Lionel, the stern prince of Vernow.

Eager to escape her future with the Lionel, Pippa convinces her Father to hold a traditional marriage tournament. Thirty men travel to Lauramore to compete, including Galinor, the dark-haired, blue-eyed prince of Glendon.

Galinor is everything Pippa dreams a prince can be. He’s handsome and strong, virtuous and true. Immediately smitten, Pippa decides she will do everything in her power to ensure Galinor wins the tournament—even if she must convince her friend Archer to win it for him.

Dragons and fairies, poison and lies—Pippa will let nothing stand between her and Galinor’s future.

But despite how well the tournament begins, Pippa may soon learn even the right prince can be the wrong man.

Review:

It’s a great honor to receive the two extra points a princess may give to her chosen, and it has made the difference in dozens of close tournaments. Winning means prestige, honor…and me.

Pippa has talked her father into hosting a tournament for her hand. She did this so she wouldn’t have to marry Lionel. So during the opening banquet, she looks for a man who could beat Lionel and she can be okay with marrying.

For the most part, Pippa is an annoying heroine. Besides her, some of the other characters don’t make the best decisions. I am a little upset because she doesn’t end up with the guy I wanted her to end up with, but whateves. I don’t know if I am going to move on with the rest of the series. I might read Lord Rigel’s book. He was the one that stole my heart for sure.

Book Reviews

Maid and Minstrel by Kate Stradling

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 145
Standalone
Genre: Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Published: April 26, 2022
Rating: 5 STARS

Synopsis:

Rosalind always shared her birthday with her father’s horses, but she never expected to share their fate.

Sheltered and pampered, beautiful Rosalind of Lovana turns eighteen with fluttering excitement. Nobles and dignitaries across the land are to celebrate with her—including young King Philip of Mallinae, whom she secretly adores.

But instead of a party, she descends to an auction where she is the prize up for bid. Incensed, she ridicules the guests, slinging a willfully hurtful barb at Philip in their midst.

Her father, enraged to have his moneymaking schemes thus ruined, delivers a seething ultimatum: Rosalind must marry a beggar that very night, or she dies.

Review:

For all the stupid couples Seriously, just talk to each other

When I read the dedication page, I knew I was going to like this story.

Rosalind is turning eighteen and her father decides she can finally have a celebration. Only when she comes to her supposed party she is told by her father to choose a husband of one of the many noblemen who bought an invitation. So she insults every single one that showed up. Even her childhood crush Philip.

Due to the insults not only to the kingdom’s nobles but to her father as well, he gives her the ultimatum to marry the beggar who knocked on his door or die. She then marries the beggar and has to leave her father’s lands.

I loved this. I do wish for a bit longer but it was amazing. I love Rosalind and Barnabus. They are so caring towards each other. I loved it. I am so adding more of Stradling to my TBR.

Book Reviews

The Hard Way Home by C.W. Farnsworth

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 270
Series: Hard Way Home #1
Genre: YA, Romance, Sports
Published: July 1, 2021
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis:

STAR PITCHER. TOWN GOLDEN BOY. HEARTBREAKER. NEMESIS.

Caleb Winters was a familiar name long before he deigned Landry High with his presence. It took me all of ten seconds to determine he’s everything I’m not: charismatic, captivating, and celebrated.

Unlike most of Landry, he doesn’t shy away from my messy background. Or pretend I don’t exist. He answers my caustic remarks with choice retorts of his own. Our notorious bickering aside, I don’t have time for the town golden boy. I have actual problems. Challenges. Crushing responsibilities.

But when I’m suddenly forced to spend more time with him, I unexpectedly discover Caleb Winters might be more than just the entitled jock I’ve sparred with since freshman year.

And that realization can only end badly. For me.

Because everyone knows he’s destined for big, impressive things, and I’m… not.

Review:

Lennon has been an outcast most of her high school life. Senior year is a bit different. It seems after the winter break, Caleb Winters is there around the corner almost every second. The more she talks to him the more she starts to realize he’s starting not to be her enemy.

Super quick read. This is the second book I have read by Farnsworth. Like the first book I read by her, the characters use last names a lot when talking to one another. I do plan on starting the second book. I like Caleb and Lennon’s bickering/flirting. I do want more of them which thankfully the second book continues on their story.

The one thing I didn’t buy into too much was everyone staying clear of her because of her dad and mom. That didn’t make much sense to me. I wonder if we will see more family dynamics with Caleb’s family in the next book?

Book Reviews

The Quarterback and the Ballerina by Anne-Marie Meyers & Maggie Dallen

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 210
Series: The Ballerina Academy #1
Genre: YA, Sports, Romance
Published: March 7, 2020
Rating: DNF

Synopsis:

He thought he knew what he wanted.
Turns out, all he wanted was her.
Collette

I’d kill to be the kind of dancer my mom wants me to be, but it’s just not in the cards. I’m sick of dieting. I’ll never fit into the perfect ballerina mold and I’m tired of wishing that I could.

I’m over it. I’m done trying.

I’m perfectly content to dance alone in the dark while the rest of the school is sleeping.
Ethan

Coach says our football team needs discipline. That dancing alongside a bunch of prissy prima donnas is how we’ll learn our lesson.

Only problem?

I don’t have time for ballet. Not when I’m busting my butt to be the star quarterback, the dutiful son, and the perfect student…all so I can achieve my father’s dream.

When I meet Collette, I can’t help but take notice. She’s a vision of grace and beauty all wrapped up in snark and sass. And she helps me see that my own dreams aren’t so stupid after all.

I just wish she could see that in herself. But when I try to bring her out into the light, I can feel her slipping away. Her walls are built up so high, I fear they’ll never come down. I want to love her like she deserves—but that’s just the problem.

She doesn’t believe she deserves it.

Review:

To start off with, I have only read one of Anne-Marie’s books and I didn’t give it the highest rating. With Maggie, I have read a couple of her books and I DNFed them. So when I picked up this book off my TBR and noticed Maggie as the author then went and looked at Anne-Marie I started not to have high hopes. It’s not because they have bad writing. Their writing tends to hit the younger demographic which I haven’t been in for about eleven to twelve years. But I decided I was going to give this the good ole college try.

When Coach Reynolds told me what he’d planned as punishment for my teammates, I’d thought he was joking. The entire starting lineup for the Oakwood High football team taking ballet lessons? He couldn’t be serious.

The starting line with the exception of Ethan got caught partying the night before a game. The coach decides that their punishment will be learning ballet. Ethan purposes to help out Collette.

I want to point out one thing… many famous football players actually participate in ballet to enhance their performance. Don’t believe me, google it. I did try to keep an open mind. There really wasn’t anything wrong with the story. I’m just bored. I think it has more to do with the fact that I just finished a five-star book and this really is pointed to a younger demographic.

I’m sure if I had picked it up at another time, I probably would have liked it but unfortunately, that is not the case.