Friday, August 19, 2022

The Sweetest Spark

GIVEAWAY
RANDOM RETRO READ!

HO, LIWEN Y.
THE SWEETEST SPARK

He's a fun-loving ice cream shop owner looking for more than a fling. She's a straight-laced food critic too scared for love. Little do they know how one foolish kiss would change the course of their entire friendship.

Colin Spark may not have the best track record when it comes to his career choices, but he's loved the same woman since he was thirteen. His only obstacle to winning her heart is proving he's ready to settle down -- an impossible task now that his store is going out of business.

Since her sister's passing, Candy Connelly has survived by being in control and protecting her heart. There's only one man she's let her guard down with, but his unreliable past shakes her confidence in his future.

Colin won't give up pursuing his passion: Candy won't give in to her attraction. That is until an accident brings all their unspoken issues to the surface and forces them to listen to their hearts. Will this incident be the spark that drives them apart for good or gives them their sweetest taste of  romance yet?

My Review:

published in 2018

The perfect sweet, heartwarming romance with an emphasis on sweet because I just can't resist with an ice cream shop owner hero who has a major sweet tooth for a special kind of Candy (heroine's name.) Eeeeppp, just too cute and I appreciate the little details like this that the author has put into this whole series. Makes it so much fun.

The Sweetest Spark is the third book in Liwen Y. Ho's Spark Brothers series though it can easily be read as a standalone. Each book features one of the five brothers and there's enough brotherly love and shenanigans to add even more depth to an already captivating read. Love the way these brothers come together and support each other. And each one is uniquely talented in his own way which makes this series so engaging.

This is a bit of an opposites attract / friends to more / reunion romance mashup with some unrequited love thrown in. The perfect recipe for frenzied page turning. Colin knows his own mind...and heart...and Candy is the woman for him, even if she is four years older. He's a free spirit, fun and attentive and determined to woo Candy. She's a driven career woman with a guarded heart. 

Truthfully, Candy irked me in the beginning because she comes across as judgemental towards Colin at times. But, as I got to know her, I began to understand the motivation behind her thoughts which are really rooted in her own fears. That made her more relatable and I could give her the benefit of the doubt...when I wasn't swooning into a puddle over Colin every second page. :-) 

And this is definitely an inspirational romance with faith content -- something this author does so well. Seamlessly woven into the fabric of the story supporting character and plot which makes the read all the richer.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

This giveaway is for a paperback copy.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of  The Sweetest Spark, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday August 20 2022 . Offer open to International Readers. Good luck

Thursday, August 18, 2022

All That Really Matters

GIVEAWAY
RANDOM RETRO READ!

DEESE, NICOLE
ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS

Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a big pay check each month. When her manager-turned-boyfriend says she has an audition to appear as a host on a makeover show that nominates underprivileged youth, her dream of further fame seems to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.

When her manager-boyfriend convinces her to partner with a local organization, she begins volunteering with a summer youth program. The program's director, Silas Whittaker, challenges her at every turn, but she swiftly grows more attached to the kids -- and him --ever day.

As Molly experiences an acceptance unlike anything she's known, she wrestles with the lies she's been believing about herself for years. She thought she knew what mattered most in life, but maybe she's had it wrong this whole time, and there's more to being truly seen than what she's built her entire life on.

My Review:

published in 2021

Did I deliberately snub this poor book last year when it released? Well, snub might be a little harsh...more like pointedly ignored. :-) Why, you ask? Because I have absolutely zero interest in the social media influencer hype and the value placed on superficial things, the...yes, I'm going to say it...idolatry that takes place online. So, did I want to read about influencer Molly? Not so much. 

BUT... 

then I read 'All That It Takes' (sequel) recently and was blown away so I did a bit of backtracking and read some reviews for 'All That Really Matters' and lots of them started with "I didn't think I'd like this heroine but...." And then, this title shows up as a 2022 Carol Award finalists and I'm like, "All right, already. I get the message. I need to read the book!!" So I did. And...

Gobsmacked.

Not so much a redemption story as an awakening story and watching Molly come alive through the light of Christ and service, finally realizing what really matters...gobsmackingly wonderful! Phenomenal character growth saturated in faith.

And Silas. Gobsmacked again. Swoony book boyfriend material.

And there's even more to love about this book: Diverse characters. Authenticity in setting and plot. Flashes of humour. Intricate layers in both story and characterization. It's all just...well...I'm really...wait for it...

Gobsmacked!

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

This giveaway is for a paperback or ebook copy -- winner's choice

If you would like a chance to win a copy of  All That Really Matters, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday August 20 2022 . Offer open to International Readers. Good luck
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Shielding the Tiny Target

GIVEAWAY

ALEXANDER, DEENA
SHIELDING THE TINY TARGET

A little girl in peril...and a killer in pursuit.

Accepting help from Jack Moretta is widow Ava Colburn's last chance after her late husband's killers track her down and target her little girl. But after years on the run, it's hard to trust anyone else with her secrets. Could he be just what this little family needs to put the deadly past behind them?

My Review:

Doesn't that cover just pull you in? That's an auto-buy right there. And little Missy, aka Mischief, steals every scene she's in! And the contrast between her sweet innocence and the danger stalking them really amps up the edginess in the suspense. 

Alexander knows how to fill a scene with palpable tension and my heart was in my throat...especially in that opening scene. Wowzers! Great pacing throughout the story, where the danger is always a threat but doesn't overwhelm other elements like the romance and 'down times'. Love how it all pulls together to make for a riveting, unputdownable read.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

This giveaway is for a gently read paperback copy.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of  Shielding the Tiny Target, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday August 20 2022 . Offer open to International Readers. Good luck

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Heirlooms

GIVEAWAY

BYRD, SANDRA
HEIRLOOMS

Answering a woman's desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bong over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother's love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother's final breaths: ask Grace Kim -- Eunhee's granddaughter -- to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers' long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to their own lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women -- grandmothers and granddaughters -- intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life

My Review:

Some people cry at movies, I cry in books. My tender bibliophile heart gets all entangled in the lives of the characters and I'm a goner. I don't cry non-stop or with every book, but there are times when my eyes well up because I'm happy, sad, mad, relieved...but, I can honestly say I've never teared up from the sheer beauty and wisdom of a story until 'Heirlooms'.

And can I tell you why? Nope -- because that would involve spilling major spoilers. I'm not quite sure how to write this review, so here I are some random musings:

Two timelines brilliantly woven together -- and I love that we get chunks of one time period at a time, rather than bouncing back and forth between snippets of past and present. It helped me feel anchored in these stories and invested in the characters' lives.

And, oh, these characters! Helen in the 1950s and her granddaughter in present day -- the challenges they face, the legacy of love and faith...and the secrets borne out of social injustice in the past that finally get to see the light of day in the present and make a tremendous difference in the lives of the next generation.

The way both stories interweave, plot threads pulling tighter as the page count diminishes and then -- whoosh -- the expelling of anxious pent-up breath over the stupendous conclusion that rocked my bookish world and left me aching with so many emotions...and a copious amount of tears. Honestly, the crying took me by surprise but it was just the extraordinary way Byrd brings resolution and hope and so much promise for the future.

Of course, the gardening aspect was a huge draw for me -- so many parallels to life and faith in the growing of new things. The passion Helen develops and Cassidy inherits -- and the unification it brings to both their stories and their friends' stories. Because though told from Helen's and Cassidy's points of view, this is definitely Eunee's and Grace's story as well.

There's even a light romance in the present day timeline which made me all kinds of giddy (despite the angst at times.)

Utterly stunning and memorable. Definitely a book for the keeper shelf...or in my case the audible library shelf because I thoroughly enjoyed Melie William's narration. 

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

This giveaway is for a paperback or ebook copy -- winner's choice

If you would like a chance to win a copy of  Heirlooms, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday August 20 2022 . Offer open to International Readers. Good luck


Monday, August 15, 2022

Carol Awards Finalists 2022 -- Short Novel

GIVEAWAY

First off -- what exactly are the Carol Awards?

They are awards given out by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in recognition of outstanding Christian fiction in the previous calendar year. So these 2022 finalists are books published in 2021. You might have read them already, you might not. I'll include links to reviews of the books I've read, but I have a lot of catching up to do so there will be gaps.

How does this giveaway work?

You select which of the Carol Award finalists 2022 -- Short Novel Category you would like to receive if your name is drawn. Mention the title in your comment (or an email if you're entering that way) and if you win, that's the book that will be sent to you. Easy Peasy. Here are the three finalists:

Choosing His Family
by Jill Lynn

Three reasons to ask her to stay...
Will offering a helping hand open the door to forever?

Rescuing a single mom and her triplets during a snowstorm lands rancher Finn Brightwood with temporary tenants in his vacation rental. But because of his past, Finn's reluctant to get too involved in Ivy Darling's chaotic life When he starts falling for the three rambunctious little girls -- and Ivy -- he can't help but wish this family would stick around for good.

(Colorado Grooms; 6)

A Mother's Strength
by Allie Pleiter

Will find her son a friend lead to forever love?

Single mom Molly Kane will do anything to help her son overcome his anxieties -- including enlisting former police officer Sawyer Bradshaw to give him golf lessons. Sawyer's a loner, yet he quickly forms a bond with little Zack. And with Molly. But protecting Zack means Molly must keep her heart off-limits from Sawyer, even as her little boy draws them together...

(Wander Canyon; 4)

Texas Baby Coverup
by Virginia Vaughn

A mother's secret got her killed.
Now they must protect her baby...

After the shock of finding her best friend murdered, Kellyanne Avery's focused on caring for her friend's sweet baby -- until the killer returns, determined to kidnap the child. Now Kellyanne needs the one man she trusts with her life: her ex-flame, Deputy Sheriff Zeke Tyler. But as they hid on her family's ranch, can Zeke unravel deadly secrets and shield them from harm?

(Cowboy Lawmen; 4)


GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

Not all of these books are still available in paperback format so please note the giveaway options below:

Choosing His Family by Jill Lynn -- ebook only

A Mother's Strength by Allie Pleiter -- paperback or ebook

Texas Baby Cover-up by Virginia Vaughn -- paperback or ebook

If you would like a chance to win a copy of  one of the Short Novel finalists, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday August 20 2022 . Offer open to International Readers. Good luck

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Lady and the Highwayman

GIVEAWAY
RETRO RE-READ SUNDAY!

EDEN, SARAH M.
THE LADY AND THE HIGHWAYMAN

Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls' school and a well-respected author of "silver-fork" novels, stories written both for and about the upper-class ladies of Victorian society. But by night, she writes very different kinds of stories -- the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working class men. Under the pseudonym Mr. King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats and dangerous outlaws romancing helpless women. They contain all the adventure and mystery that her real life lacks.

Fletcher Walker began life as a street urchin, but is now the most successful author in the Penny Dreadful market, that is until Mr. King started taking all of his readers -- and his profits. No one knows who King is, including Fletcher's fellow members of the Dread Penny Society, a fraternity of authors dedicated to secretly fighting for the rights of the less-fortunate.

Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. As a fellow-author, perhaps she could be persuaded to make some inquiries as to Mr. King's whereabouts? Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher, if only to insure her secret identity is never discovered.

For the first time, Elizabeth experiences the thrill of a cat-and-mouse adventure reminiscent of one of her own novels as she tries to throw Fletcher off her scent. But the more time they spend together, the more she loses her heart. It's upper-class against the working-class, author against author where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.

My Review:

published in 2018

In anticipation of the fourth book being released in September, I thought it would be fun to have a refresher course on all things Dread Penny Society and the excellently narrated (Justine Eyre) edition was definitely the way to go. I'm as thrilled -- maybe more -- this time round. This first book is obviously the perfect introduction to the series and such a captivating, unusual read in its own right.

----

Another brilliant Victorian novel that sent me into a spiral of enthuzimuzzy-ness. I'm all gigglemug agog as I bask in the blissful glow of Sarah M. Eden's sheer brilliance. Because...

She delivers three stories in one -- the main plot involves Elizabeth and Fletcher but there's also two complete Penny Dreadful stories woven throughout. And let me tell you, it's beyond clever the way the author meshes them all together. Each story is distinctive, but if you pay close attention to the Penny Dreadful stories you'll notice parallels with the main plot. I get giddy just thinking about it! 

And then there's the Dread Penny Society -- a clandestine philanthropic group of Penny Dreadful authors dedicated to rescuing London's abused street urchins. Intrigue and danger abound and Elizabeth finds herself unwittingly in the midst of it all.

And, oh my, the romance. Thud. Excuse me while I succumb to a fit of the vapors. That Fletcher sets my toes to curling every time. The banter, the flirting, the guarded attraction that's impossible to give in to. Blissful sigh. Smelling salts and fainting couches are a must for this one.

I listened to the audible edition of this book, narrated by Justine Eyre who did an incredible job with these unique characters and all their quirks and foibles.

If you are looking for a historical romance that's just a tad shy of out-of-the-box crazy full of sizzle and spark look no further, The Lady and the Highway Man is the book for you. And when you've finished reading this one, get hold of book two, The Gentleman and the Thief, which is just as amazing. And then, join me in practicing patience as we wait for The Merchant and the Rogue's release in August. Eeeep, that one has an Irish hero.

PS. Did you spot my Victorian slang in the first paragraph of my review? I do so love to toss those delicious words out on proper occasions. Enthuzimuzzy is enthusiasm and gigglemug is a perpetual grin, :-)

PSS While not a Christian Fiction read, this is definitely a clean one.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

This giveaway is for a paperback or ebook copy -- winner's choice

If you would like a chance to win a copy of  The Lady and the Highwayman, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday August 20 2022 . Offer open to International Readers. Good luck

Saturday, August 13, 2022

August Giveaway -- Week Two

 

WON BY CINDY

WON BY TRIXI

WON BY LORI SMANSKI

WON BY LUCY REYNOLDS

WON BY JACKIE

WON BY KAY GARRETT
You know the drill: winners will be contacted if they left their email address in a comment, otherwise it's up to the winner to contact me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca (please note it's ca as in Canada not com)
From time to time a winner and I do not connect so I have a one month time frame on giveaway wins. If I haven't been able to reach you within 30 days of your win, it will be forfeited. This has happened a few times now so, please, DON'T BE SHY -- CONTACT ME IF YOU DIDN'T LEAVE AN EMAIL OR IF I HAVEN'T BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN REACHING YOU!

Books will be ordered within a week of receiving your mailing address (or email address for ebooks) and I'll email you to confirm your book is on its way. Give it a full month before inquiring on the status of an order to allow for processing and shipping times.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK'S GIVEAWAYS:

SUNDAY


MONDAY
'tis the season of the
Carol Awards Finalists Countdown
This week we will look at the
Short Novel Category

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY