Book Review: Novelly Upon a Time

Hi, reader friends! Today’s review features a bookish novella which is available as a stand-alone ebook or as part of Book Nerds and Boyfriends, a 3-in-1 print or ebook collection, and I highly recommend it!

About the Book

Author Harper Jones prides herself on the impeccable research she does for her novels, so when early reviews come pouring in claiming her romance reeks of inauthenticity, her editor suggests pulling her nose out of her books and getting some real-life smooching experience.

But her plans to do just that are thwarted by her archnemesis from high school who has recently returned to town. Now she’s left with an impossible decision—kiss her worst enemy or kiss her three-book contract goodbye.

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

A quirky author and brooding officer?! Yes, please! What’s not to love?! Harper’s unique research methods are delightfully entertaining, but the way Kyo pushes her buttons had me chuckling my way through each chapter. From aggression to attraction, these two have it all with tension to spare. Monzon takes what could have easily been a romcom fluff piece (nothing wrong with that but this reader likes more) and delivers remarkable depth, sincerity, and heart. I highly recommend this spunky story and plan to revisit its page as often as possible.

I borrowed this book through the Kindle Unlimited program. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

About the Author

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn’t in the world of make-believe, she can be found in a small desert town in central Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

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Also Available

What do you look for in a romance novella, readers?
Do you love being surprised like I do?!

Review by Beth Erin
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Book Review: The Plum Blooms In Winter

Happy Friday! Today we’re looking at a debut novel from Mountain Brook Ink that looks at both sides of The Doolittle Raid in 1942 (a US air raid on the Greater Tokyo area during WW2) – the pilots and the victims.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Thompson-1PlumBloomsSMALLA Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge–In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.

A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission–Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal. In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ’s forgiveness.

Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother’s life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him–even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka’s treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends–only to confront a decision that will change everything.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

MY THOUGHTS

The Plum Blooms in Winter is the kind of novel that isn’t easy to read because it shines a light on some of the darkest, most evil shadows of humanity. It exposes what fear, desperation, and bitterness will drive people to do to one another. The circumstances in which both Dave and Miyako find themselves, respectively, are brutal and raw and you may be tempted to look away at times to leave them a bit of dignity.

Yet at the same time it celebrates the power of God’s grace to begin the work of redemption and restoration. Hope shines brighter than the darkness – in a thousand little ways and a few really big ones. Though neither Dave nor Miyako acknowledge God right away, His hand is nevertheless obvious to readers who do know Him.

The author mentions at the beginning of the novel that she made the choice to include common derogatory terms of the day toward the Japanese as an accurate representation of the history she was portraying. And while these are difficult to read, they are used as sparingly as possible and do drive home the appalling attitudes of the time period. This disparity – between the debasing words and the God-given high value of the people being spoken of – is seen so clearly as Miyako is first met as a school girl racing to protect her little brother from the air raid and then as a young woman who sacrifices all she has left to afford her father’s medical care yet is still so dearly loved by her Heavenly Father.

Note: I did wince at the author’s choice to write some English words phonetically as the Japanese would have said them. To me, this negated some of the value & honor she had given back to the Japanese citizens (as opposed to military personnel) in her portrayal of them.

Overall though this is an extremely powerful novel of the extremes that war, prejudice, fear, and desperation can lead to. The compelling and emotional story shows that, deep inside, our hearts all beat the same – no matter what our race or ethnicity – and that God’s grace follows us into the deepest pit whether we’ve dug it ourselves or it’s been dug for us.

I VOLUNTARILY REVIEWED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK.
ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE ONLY MY HONEST OPINION.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

linda thompsonLinda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves-stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is an A.C.F.W. Genesis award winner. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, two mostly-grown-up kids, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing, you’ll find her rollerblading-yes, that does make her a throwback-taking in a majestic desert moonrise, or dreaming of an upcoming trip. She and her husband recently returned from a tour of Israel and Jordan. Next up: Wales.

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Book Review: Protection for Hire by Camy Tang

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have fabulous plans for the weekend that involve reading lots of great books! Today, in our latest book review, I’m looking at a romantic suspense by author Camy Tang, whose books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.

About the Book

protection for hireTessa Lancaster’s skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her Uncle Teruo’s Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Now, three months after her release, Tessa’s abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son.

But there’s a problem or two … or three …. There’s Elizabeth’s abusive husband whose relentless pursuit goes deeper than mere vengeance. There’s Uncle Teruo, who doesn’t understand why Tessa’s new faith as a Christian prevents her from returning to the yakuza. And then there’s Elizabeth’s lawyer, Charles Britton, who Tessa doesn’t know is the one who ensured that she did maximum time behind bars.

Now Tessa and Charles must work together in order to protect their client, while new truths emerge and circumstances spiral to a deadly fever pitch. Factor in both Tessa’s and Charles’s families and you’ve got some wild dynamics—and an action-packed, romantic read as Tessa and Charles discover the reality of being made new in Christ.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

This may have been my first read by Camy Tang but it won’t be my last! Well-defined and layered (sometimes hilarious) characters, romance, humor, faith, cultural diversity, and smartly-plotted suspense (with martial arts!) all come together for a truly entertaining and compelling reading experience.

Tessa’s life is complicated, to say the least. It was already complicated before she went to prison while ‘taking one for the team’ for her beloved uncle’s yakuza (Japanese mafia gang). But in prison she decided to follow Jesus and while she knows she’s been made new she’s struggling to adapt to the drastic changes she has made and the uphill battle she faces in a family that doesn’t understand her decision. I really loved Tang’s portrayal of Tessa’s journey. It’s never preachy, but it is an authentic look at what it means to follow Jesus as a new believer whose family is not at all supportive of the transformation – and what being made new in Jesus really means.

Tessa’s and Charles’ families are wonderfully wacky and are sure to leave a smile on your face! Elizabeth is hilarious too, even though her story is sobering and all too common, and there were many moments that I laughed out loud at something one of these characters said or did. Even Tessa and Charles’ meet-cute is hysterical – it’s not every day that … well… you’ll just have to read it for yourself 😉 On top of the humor and heart, this story is also action-packed with a few surprising twists and an intriguing blend of cultures.

If you love diverse characters, grinning from ear-to-ear, and staying completely immersed in a story’s action and suspense, then you really must go grab a copy of Protection for Hire (and its sequel) today!

About the Author

camy tangCamy writes Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance as USA Today bestselling author Camille Elliot. She grew up in Hawaii but now lives in northern California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology, but for nine years she worked as a biologist researcher.

Then God guided her path in a completely different direction and now she’s writing full time, using her original psychology degree as she creates the characters in her novels. In her free time, she’s a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of her church’s Sunday worship teams. She also loves to knit, spin wool into yarn, and is training to (very slowly) run a marathon.

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