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Book Review: A Seaside Wonder

 

A Seaside Wonder

Melissa Tagg

Muir Harbor #2

Larkspur Press

Published 4 October 2022

♥♥♥♥♥

 

A Seaside Wonder is the second book in the Muir Harbor series and it carried the same charming warmth and familiarity as the first book did, combining mystery and romance with family and belonging. 

When Philip West stumbles into Indi Muir’s antique shop, he does so on whim and from a childhood memory. He doesn’t expect to find himself witnessing Indi’s boyfriend breaking up with her, or hearing her receive a distressing call about her mother’s health. Determined to make up for his awkward start, he volunteers to drive her to the hospital. After that strange and chance evening, he doesn’t expect to see Indi again, but again he is surprised. Having had to return to live with his grandfather and care for his teenage half-sister in the wake of his mother’s death has been hard. When his relationship with his sister worsens, he draws on those memories of belonging he found with Indi and decides to holiday in Muir Harbor. Two weeks to salvage any sort of relationship with Holland and maybe even find some answers to the questions that drove him into Indi’s shop all those weeks ago. 

We met the Muir family in book one of this series. I’d recommend reading the books in series order, as the threads of mystery that surround this family continue through the two books. 

Indi has always felt like she is the messy sibling, the one who hasn’t got it all together and in this book we readers find out the pieces of her past that make her feel like that. Indi is also generous and warm, so when Philip arrives on her doorstep, she welcomes him and Holland into the family and home (despite the misunderstanding of her family thinking he is her ex). Philip has his own hurts from the past. His mother left him with his grandfather when he was just a child, as she started a new life with a new husband and new child. Now, he is desperate to connect with his half-sister. He is hoping the change of scenery gives them a chance to connect, plus the sense of family and security he finds with the Muir family. 

Watching Philip and Indi connect was so heartwarming. They are good at supporting each other right from the first moment they meet and their romance develops out of this understanding and support. 

As with the first book, the mystery of Maggie Muir’s granddaughter and the lost Muir family treasure continues. Philip has a few more clues and there are a few tense scenes to raise the suspense. 

I can’t wait for book three, which better be an enemies to lovers book. I’ve been shipping Wilder and Lilian right from the start of this series.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Adult fiction

Genre: Christian contemporary

Themes: Romance, family, half-siblings, antiques, mystery, writing.

Published: 4 October 2022 by Larkspur Press

Format: Paperback, ebook.

ISBN: 9780997964257

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Book Review: Wildbound

 

Wildbound

– Elayne Audrey Becker –

Forestborn #2

Tor Teen

Published 30 August 2022

♥♥♥♥♥

Wildbound is the sequel to Forstborn and it is the perfect follow up to this YA fantasy. Romance, war and a fight for justice and freedom. I adore fantasy duologues and Wildbound has all the elements of an epic fantasy.

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Book Review: From Dust, A Flame

book cover black with red and gold rose and petals

 

From Dust, A Flame

– Rebecca Podos –

Balzer + Bray

Published 8 February 2022

♥♥♥♥

 

From Dust, A Flame is a Jewish-legend inspired paranormal, historical, mystery YA fiction genre-mash-up that is as entrancing as it is unique.

A slow and confusing beginning had me questioning why I had picked this book up and checking the synopsis to make sure I had the right book. But by a quarter of the way in I was hooked. It’s a great book, strong characters, a strong sense of identity and unique. It’s also rooted in legends and mythology that is not often brought to the page – and it’s about time it was.

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Book Review: The Gilded Cage

 

The Gilded Cage

– Lynette Noni –

The Prison Healer #2

Clarion Books

Published 12 October 2021

♥♥♥♥/♥

 

Lynette Noni seems to take pleasure in her readers’ pain. That’s the only explanation for the cruel ending and the build up in this book that had me putting down the book and needing time away to just breathe and recover and psych myself up again for more torment. But it’s a good pain. Sometimes.

The Gilded Cage is the second book in The Prison Healer series. It picks up soon after the first book concluded. Kiva and Jaren have escaped Zalindov. Kiva and Tipp have moved into the River Palace with Jaren and his family. It’s a whole other world from the despair of the prison that was her home for so many years. While Jaren is ready to lay the world at Kiva’s feet – including fulfilling her dream of training at Silver Thorn healing academy, now Kiva is out of prison, she has the opportunity to reconnect with her brother and sister and rejoin the rebellion. Kiva is torn between her growing feelings for Jaren and his family and the knowledge that he will make a good king and her loyalty to the rebellion cause, seeking justice for her father and brother and fighting alongside her siblings.

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Book Review: The Endless Skies

 

The Endless Skies

– Shannon Price –

Tor Teen

Published 17 August 2021

♥♥♥♥

 

If you are looking for a unique fantasy novel, then check out The Endless Skies by Shannon Price. The Endless Skies invites readers into a world where shapeshifting warriors who live on a city that floats in the sky and a community of shapeshifting magical beings protect themselves from the humans who seek to destroy all they know.

You might assume Endless Skies is all about Rowan from the book’s synopsis, but Endless Skies is actually written from three characters’ perspectives. Rowan is a narrator and she is joined by her sister and her best friend. Rowan is a warrior-elect. She has completed years of rigorous training and is about to be sworn in by the king to become an official warrior. Shirene is Rowan’s older sister. She is a sentinel and has just been named as the King’s Hand – a prestigious position of respect and authority. Rowan’s friend Callen is a warrior. He has long hidden his true feelings about Rowan from her, but now he fears it might be too late. On the eve of Rowan’s warrior oath-taking ceremony, the warriors learn of a deadly disease that is targeting the children of Heliana. Teams of warriors are called and sent down to the human world to look for a cure before the prince falls ill, which could be the literal downfall of Heliana. Left behind by her friend and sister, Rowan learns there is far more at stake than what the citizens are being told about the disease and the long-held feud between the Leonodai and humans.

There is a very unique world in The Endless Skies and yet with so much action and so much going on in the book, I feel like I only saw snippets. There are four magical shapeshifting communities, the Leonodai being our main focus in this book. There was also a fifth, but they were wiped out by humans. Rowan is a Leonodai and can change from female human form to a winged lioness. Cool magic enables her weapons and armour to change with her. Her community values loyalty over all and Rowan, Shirene and Callen have committed themselves to serving their city and their king. Their city, Heliana floats above the ocean, protected from the human’s reach and they in turn protect the other shapeshifting communities. While the Leonodai fight with blades, arrows and axes, the humans fight with guns, bullets and late, planes and battleships, which gives a unique mix of modern (or at least the 20th century, the human world has a very WW1 timeline feeling to it) and ancient warfare and a great mix between reality and magic, that we don’t often see in fantasy novels.

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Book Review: Forestborn

 

Forestborn

– Elayne Audrey Becker –

Forestborn #1

Tor Teen

Published 31 August 2021

♥♥♥♥♥

 

 

I don’t read fantasy novels all that often, but when I do I usually adore them. Forestborn was no different. It is an incredible quest novel. Our three main characters must travel together through perilous terrain, facing the things that haunt them and the pain from their past to find the rarest of magical powers to save the people they love. There is royalty, magic, very cool unique magical creatures, haters-to-lovers romance and a fantastic twist that I just didn’t see coming.

The magic in this book is unique, which I liked, as were the many magical creatures that pop up throughout the story. Rora is a shifter. As is her brother. Over time, Rora has shifted into her three different animal forms, mouse, hawk and lynx. Her brother has yet to shift into his third form. After their parents were killed along with all the other shifters in their village, the two siblings survived on their own in the magical forest, before finally finding refuge in Teylan. Now, Rora works for the king, but she and her brother have never really been accepted by the humans that surround them. When a magical plague that is killing humans gets worse and Rora’s best friend Prince Findley falls ill, Rora, her brother and the elder Prince Weslyn journey into the magical forest to find stardust in the hope it will cure the disease.

 

What begins as a simple but dangerous quest morphs into a much bigger plot, with a nice twist. War looms and there are biggest politics and more at stake than we readers and the characters realise at the start of the book.

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Book Review: Let It Be Me

Let It Be Me – Becky Wade – A Misty River Romance #2 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 4 May 2021

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

Having graduated college at 18, Sebastian Grant has continued to leverage his intelligence and determination to become a pediatric heart surgeon. The more accolades he receives, the more he’s driven to pursue. Then he meets high school math teacher Leah Montgomery, and his fast-spinning world comes to a sudden stop.

Solving advanced math equations by the age of five, Leah has always wanted to pursue a PhD in mathematics. She willingly put that dream on hold to raise her brother. Now that he is of age, she’s set on avoiding any obstacles to her goal–including romance.

When Leah receives surprising news in the process of taking a test for tracking her ancestry, she asks Sebastian to help her comb through aged hospital records to learn more. Soon his presence isn’t so easily ignored. But when Sebastian learns his best friend also has feelings for Leah, he begins to question his resolve to win her. Attaining their deepest desires may require more sacrifices than they ever imagined.

My thoughts

Let It Be Me is another heartwarming contemporary, Christian romance from Becky Wade. Like her previous book, Let It Be Me features one of the Miracle Five, five teens who had been miraculously saved after a building collapsed on them during an earthquake. Now adults, we follow them as they sort through their past hurts and journey on the road to love. This time it’s Sebastian’s turn.

Sebastian is a gifted surgeon. After the events of the earthquake, he turned his life around. Drawn into the Coleman family, he didn’t let being a foster kid define him. They saved him and offered what he most wanted – to belong. That’s way he would do anything for his best friend and closest person he has to family, Ben Coleman. When Sebastian meets and is instantly drawn to Leah Montgomery, he knows he has to get to know her better. The one problem is that it’s the same Leah Ben has been crushing on for two years. Sebastian does the right thing and withdraws but when Leah asks for his help to untangle a mystery involving DNA and hospital logistics, they spend more time together and Sebastian finds it increasingly difficult to stay honourable to his best friend.

I think this book has one of the few love triangles I’ve truly enjoyed. Maybe that’s because all along Leah has no feelings but those of friendship for Ben and it’s so clear that she and Sebastian are perfect for each other. Everyone is respectful of the other and mindful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. There is an intense connection between Sebastian and Leah but there are many obstacle in the path, firstly Ben and Sebastian’s duty of friendship but also Leah’s desire to remain single and Sebastian’s own habit of not getting to close to people.

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Book Review: Bookshop by the Sea

Bookshop By The Sea – Denise Hunter – Thomas Nelson – Published 13 April 2021

♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

After her mother was bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie became a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a book shop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

But now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth just got a new job, the family house is sold, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance to run an extreme sporting business in Florida.

Much to Sophie’s chagrin, seeing Aiden again resurrects familiar feelings—which she promptly tries to bury in the tumult of the day. As soon as the wedding crowd fades, Sophie turns her focus back to establishing her beloved bookstore.

But then an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove and with the hotels booked to capacity he asks Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. But can Sophie trust Aiden to stick around? And does daredevil Aiden have the courage to risk his heart? 

My thoughts

Once again Denise Hunter has penned a delicious contemporary romance novel that I just devoured. Honestly, I read it so quickly I think I need to go back and read it again, at least a few times over.

Bookshop By The Sea is a charming second-chance romance. Sophie and Aiden are our main characters. High-school sweethearts, they thought their future was set, but when Sophie’s mother fell ill and her father abandoned the family, Sophie had to step up and become the glue to hold everything together. At the same time, Aiden was offered a chance to start his own company and he too left Sophie. Now, years later, Sophie and Aiden are reunited at Sophie’s younger sister’s wedding. Sophie just wants to get through the event and move on but Aiden wants to use the opportunity to ask for Sophie’s forgiveness. Of course, we readers know that Sophie and Aiden are not over yet.

Once Sophie and Aiden make it through the wedding they think their awkward reunion is over but a storm bearing down on the area has other ideas. They are forced to hole up together in a guest house – cue the swooning. It offers readers all the time they need to enjoy the softening of Sophie’s heart and Aiden realising that everything he walked away for was not worth losing the woman he loves.

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Book Review: Catch A Falling Star

Catch A Falling Star – Meg McKinlay – Walker Books Australia – Published 1 March 2019

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

It’s 1979 and the sky is falling. Skylab, that is. Somewhere high above Frankie Avery, one of the world’s first space stations is tumbling to Earth. And rushing back with it are old memories. Things 12 year old Frankie thought she had forgotten. Things her mum won’t talk about, and which her little brother Newt never knew. Only … did he? Because as Skylab circles closer, Newt starts acting strangely. And while the world watches the sky, Frankie keeps her own eyes on Newt. Because if anyone’s going to keep him safe, it’s her. But maybe this is something bigger than splinters and spiders and sleepwalking. Maybe a space station isn’t the only thing heading for calamity.

My thoughts

Catch A Falling Star is a beautiful middle-grade novel about family, grief and growing up. Authentic Australian setting, a compelling mix of historic events and astrology, and characters who are easy to love.

Now, don’t hurt me, but do I put this under historical fiction? It is set in Australia in 1979. While the author takes some liberties with timing and of course a fictional family and characters, the story is based around the true events of the falling of Skylab. An open timeline of when exactly it was going to fall left the world guessing about when and where it would come down. Media went crazy, people were worried about being hit and this is all brought into the story.

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