Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Out of the Embers

Out of the Embers (Mesquite Springs #1)
By Amanda Cabot
 Published by Revell

Evelyn Radcliffe has spent the past ten years at an orphanage, never quite able to shake her fear that the man who killed her parents is still out there and watching her anytime she goes to town. When the orphanage burns down--and Evelyn realizes it was intentional--she and Polly, the only other survivor from the orphanage, quickly head west, winding up in Hill Country in Texas, finding solace with Wyatt Clark and his mother and sister. Soon, Evelyn has fallen for the town of Mesquite Springs--and for handsome Wyatt.

Wyatt Clark has long felt trapped in Mesquite Springs. A successful horse breeder, he just wants to save up enough money to be able to leave his mother and sister in comfort and spread his wings. He certainly doesn't want to run for mayor as he's being encouraged to. But when Evelyn and Polly arrive, he finds that maybe it's time to change his dreams.
Mesquite Springs might not prove to be the haven Evelyn hopes, though, when a man with murderous intent sets out to finish what he started.

This is a great start to a new series from Amanda Cabot. Her stories are always so interesting and this is no exception. Readers will easily find themselves pulling for Evelyn (and wanting the recipes for the food she makes in her restaurant!) to find refuge and love and for Wyatt to realize what will really make him happy. The romance is sweet, the suspense and plot are intriguing, and it's easy to recommend this book to readers looking for high-quality writing.
4.5 stars.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Land beneath Us

The Land beneath Us
By Sarah Sundin
Published by Revell

Clay Paxton is training to be a U.S. Army Ranger in Tennesse, looking forward to the day when he will meet his end. After being betrayed by both his brothers and his girlfriend, Clay's vision of his impending death brings him peace. But when he meets Leah Jones--and then rescues her after she is attacked--things get more complicated. Leah, an orphan who is trying to make her way in the world, is sweet and kind--and absolutely devastated when she finds out that she's pregnant and will have to give up her baby. Clay, knowing that it will destroy Leah to have to give up her baby, convinces her to marry him, figuring that she and her baby will benefit financially from his death. But when he heads to Europe, he and Leah exchange letters--and Clay finds himself not so enthralled by his impending death.

I absolutely loved the first two books in this series--and yet, this one might be my favorite. I adored Leah; she was just such a loveable character. Her feelings of being unlovable and a desire for a family were so poignant (but not overly sappy). I also loved Clay, who is so relatable--he's been wronged and he's hurt and struggling to forgive his brothers. His journey was so realistic; forgiving his brothers didn't come easily to him and wasn't without relapses of anger. This book was just beautifully written and so interesting. It's definitely one of the best books of 2020!
Five stars.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Rakes and Roses

Rakes and Roses
By Josi S. Kilpack
Published by Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: May 5, 2020

Harry Stillman has wasted his inheritance on gambling and women, but when his debts catch up to him and put him in danger, he must change his ways. Fortunately for him, a way opens up for him to get out of debt and become a better man, as Lord Damion will pay off his debts, provided he turns his life around. Harry is happy to agree to the terms, but one of his lenders catches up to him first. Savagely beaten, Harry is at the mercy of whoever might find him.
Luckily for him, he's found by wealthy widow Lady Sabrina--who is none other than Lord Damion, an alias she created in order to manage her businesses and extend opportunities to others. With nowhere else to take him, Sabrina takes him to her estate so he can heal. While his stay at her home gets off to a rough start, before too long Sabrina and Harry find that they get along very well--too well for Sabrina's liking, as her abusive deceased husband soured her on marriage.

While this is the third of the Mayfield Family Romances, it can be read as a stand-alone. I really liked the redemption plotline and seeing how Harry embraced the opportunity to become better, although not without a struggle and some tough love from Sabrina and her staff. I thought the Lord Damion twist was really interesting--a unique way for Sabrina to help others. The romance was slow and steady and sweet. This was a very enjoyable book.
4 stars.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.