The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 2-17-19

Sunday Post

This week’s schedule kind of collapsed at the end there. Like last week, I had a few days where I didn’t need a review or was posting a review I’d already written, so I planned on taking the opportunity to read a really long book. Howsomever, once I started those two really long books, I changed my mind. Not that I didn’t like what I was reading, but that both books (The Ruin of Kings and Black Leopard, Red Wolf) are what I call “stories being told” where the book is the written version of someone in the story telling their story to someone else within the story (or in the case of The Ruin of Kings, multiple someones telling their stories). I decided to get them both on audio, so that I could also listen to the story being told. So far in The Ruin of Kings that decision feels correct. It reads well but it listens better.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 Book in the February of Books Giveaway Hop
$10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 Book in the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop
The Victory Garden by Pam Jenoff

Winner Announcements:

The winner of The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff is Laura D.

Blog Recap:

A- Review: The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen + Giveaway
D+ Review: Duchess by Deception by Marie Force
Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop
A- Review: Mission: Her Defense by Anna Hackett
B Review: Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Stacking the Shelves (327)

Coming This Week:

Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey (guest post by Amy)
The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick (blog tour review)
California Girls by Susan Mallery (blog tour excerpt and spotlight)
When Love Leads to Scandal by Sophie Barnes (blog tour reviwe)
Dead Man’s Reach by D.B. Jackson (review)

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

I did a major oops at the beginning of the week and forgot to include the giveaway for The Victory Garden in the review post. That has been corrected, but I wanted to make sure that people saw the rafflecopter, so here it is again!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds!

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so people are thinking romance. Having it, losing it, keeping it and especially reading about it! Or at least especially so for this blog hop, which is all about romance books.

Speaking of reading about romance, I have a few (dozen) on my TBR pile right now. What about you? The two I’m most looking forward to in the coming months are Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev and The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai. But I’m sure there will be plenty more as the year goes by.

But speaking of years going by, if you’re looking for something that’s already out, take a look at the SFR Galaxy Awards, just announced on January 31. The judges (full disclosure, including moi) have selected yet another terrific list of science fiction romance that would make a perfect Valentine’s Day read – or a perfect read any day of the year when you want to put a little rocket fuel in your romance read!

My book for tomorrow is a surefire winner, as has been everything by this particular author that I’ve read. And that’s mostly everything. Who are your “go-to” romance authors? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a book up to $10 in value from the Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more fabulous bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

Review: The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen + Giveaway

Review: The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen + GiveawayThe Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, large print, ebook, audiobook
Genres: historical fiction
Pages: 305
Published by Lake Union Publishing on February 12, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Goodreads

From the bestselling author of The Tuscan Child comes a beautiful and heart-rending novel of a woman’s love and sacrifice during the First World War.

As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.

My Review:

Unlike this author’s previous standalone books, The Victory Garden is set in 1918 as World War I is drawing to its close.

However, just as In Farleigh Field, this is a book about the homefront of the war and not about the ugliness of the war itself. Not that there isn’t plenty of ugly at home.

As the story begins our heroine is immured at home in Devon. Her upper-middle-class parents are determined that the ugliness of the war will completely pass her by – whether that’s what she wants or not. And not that it has not already touched her life. Her brother Freddie was killed in action in the opening battles of the war, and her parents are determined to keep her under their eye and locked away so that nothing can possibly happen to her. Of course life is never like that – even Rapunzel found a way out of her tower, after all.

Emily is the bird in the gilded cage, but with her 21st birthday on the horizon, she will be able to unlock the door of her cage herself – if she is willing to deal with the consequences of her actions.

She falls in love with a young man that her ultra-conservative, ultra-conventional mother considers to be completely unsuitable. Ironically, there’s nothing wrong with Flight Lieutenant Robbie Kerr except for his Australian cheek. His family is probably as well off as hers. The problem with Robbie is that his Aussie upbringing has led him to think that all of the mannered conventions of the English upper crust are patently ridiculous – which of course they are.

Meeting Robbie gives Emily a taste of life on the outside of her mother’s over-protective restrictions, and her 21st birthday gives her the opportunity to fly away. She wants to become a volunteer nurse, but in 1918 the need was for somebody, anybody, to harvest the crops of England with all the men gone.  So Emily joins the Women’s Land Army. She finds herself in the midst of a surprising sisterhood – a sisterhood that becomes her salvation when Robbie is killed in action and she finds herself unwed and pregnant.

The story in The Victory Garden is the story of that sisterhood. Emily can’t go home to her disapproving parents, and many of her fellow “Land Girls” have no homes left to go to. Instead they band together, returning to a small village they worked during their Land Army tenure. A place where the men have all gone to war, and the women are left keeping life together by any means they can.

And together, they find a way to move forward – even as the worst history of the village repeats itself with nearly disastrous consequences for Emily – and for them all.

Escape Rating A-: You may not be able to go home again, but that doesn’t stop you from making a new home someplace else, with people of your own choosing. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other until you find that place and those people.

In the end (also in the beginning and the middle!) this is a story about sisterhood. In what amounts to a lovely bit of role reversal, the few men in this story exist to push the women’s story forward. It makes for a terrific story – and it also makes sense.

England lost an entire generation of young men in World War I. (It has been posited that this is the reason that so many of the Commonwealth countries did so much of the fighting for Britain in WW2 – either because Britain didn’t have that generation of men to lose, and/or because the powers that be were determined not to sacrifice a second generation so soon after the last one.)

Whatever the truth about WW2,by this point in WW1 there just weren’t any able-bodied young or even young-ish men left on the homefront. And it was clear by 1918 that society was going to have to change after the war was over because there was a resulting generation of young women that had no men to marry. So when some of the characters talk about the world being different after the war, and women filling many of the jobs that men used to do, it feels right.

Things were not going back to the pre-war “normal” because the conditions that allowed that situation to be “normal” no longer existed.

So what we see in this story is a whole generation of women stepping up to take care of each other, because no one is going to do it for them. Even the women whose husbands do come home face a life where they will be the primary breadwinners because their husbands are suffering from permanent, life-altering wounds, PTSD (known as ‘shell shock’) or both.

Emily is the focal point of the story because she is the one who makes the biggest changes. This story is her journey to self-sufficiency – with more than a little help from her friends. We like her because we understand her determination to stand on her own two feet – in spite of everything that life and war has thrown in her way.

And while she begins the story as a pampered little miss, it’s a role that she rejects the moment she is able – while still attempting to not cause her parents more worry than she possibly can. And we feel for that tightrope she is walking. She wants to live her own life. She needs to do her bit. And its the making of her. And the story.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Valentine’s Day Giveaway from BookTrib

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, BookTrib is spreading the love with a huge giveaway. One winner will have the chance to win 14 different romantic reads from a variety of fantastic authors like Jill Shalvis, Eva Leigh, Jennifer Ryan, Sally Thorne and more! U.S. Entries Only.

p.s. Dare to Love a Duke by Eva Leigh is definitely a lovely read. This prize pack has oodles of romantic reads for the lucky winner!

To enter: https://booktrib.com/booktrib-giveaways/

February Of Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the February Of Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts at Midnight and Flylef!

The question, as always, is what book or books are you most looking forward to this month?

Special case for the Midwest, what books are beside your nest during this winter’s deep freeze? I looked up the weather for both Chicago and Anchorage – because I’ve lived in both during the winter – and Anchorage is supposed to be more than 30° warmer than Chicago on Thursday. That’s just wrong. I’m happy to be in Atlanta where it’s a sunny 50° as I write this post.

Just because I’m not about to freeze my extremities off does not mean that there aren’t plenty of books I’m looking forward to this month. I’ve been reading lots of SF and fantasy recently, and the books I’m most looking forward to this month are in those genres.

Particularly The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons, The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, and of course, Mission: Her Defense by one of my fave authors, Anna Hackett.

What about you? What books are you most looking forward to this month? Answer in the rafflecopter for your choice of either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Book from the Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more fabulous bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

Review: Warrior of the World by Jeffe Kennedy + Giveaway

Review: Warrior of the World by Jeffe Kennedy + GiveawayWarrior of the World by Jeffe Kennedy
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: epic fantasy, fantasy, fantasy romance
Series: Chronicles of Dasnaria #3
Pages: 166
Published by Rebel Base Books on January 8, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Just beyond the reach of the Twelve Kingdoms, avarice, violence, strategy, and revenge clash around a survivor who could upset the balance of power all across the map . . .  Once Ivariel thought elephants were fairy tales to amuse children. But her ice-encased childhood in Dasnaria’s imperial seraglio was lacking in freedom and justice.. With a new name and an assumed identity as a warrior priestess of Danu, the woman once called Princess Jenna is now a fraud and a fugitive. But as she learns the ways of the beasts and hones new uses for her dancer’s strength, she moves one day further from the memory of her brutal husband. Safe in hot, healing Nyambura, Ivariel holds a good man at arm’s length and trains for the day she’ll be hunted again.   She knows it’s coming. She’s not truly safe, not when her mind clouds with killing rage at unpredictable moments. Not when patient Ochieng’s dreams of a family frighten her to her bones. But it still comes as a shock to Ivariel when long-peaceful Nyambura comes under attack. Until her new people look to their warrior priestess and her elephants to lead them . . .  

My Review:

Early in the Chronicles of Dasnaria series, and recalled at the beginning of Warrior of the World, Ivariel/Jenna has a vision of three lionesses. Those lionesses are clearly the princesses of the Twelve, now Thirteen, Kingdoms, Ursula, Andi and Ami, Their stories are told at the very beginning of this awesome, interlinked epic fantasy series. If you love strong heroines and enjoy epic fantasy with a touch (or more) of romance, begin with The Mark of the Tala and just enjoy the marvelous ride.

Based on events in the most recent book on that side of the continent – and the series – Jenna’s story will eventually link up to the Twelve Kingdoms/Uncharted Realms series. After all, her younger brother Harlan is now the consort of High Queen Ursula. I’ll confess that I was hoping to see that link here, but it hasn’t happened by the end of Warrior of the World. But the story finally reaches the beginning of that end.

While I’m a bit disappointed not to see the ENTIRE gang finally get together, on the other hand I’m very happy to know that there are further adventures yet to follow in this world and this series. Not merely happy, make that downright ecstatic.

But while I’m waiting for the happy conclusion to the interconnected series, I still have Warrior of the World.

This book, and the Chronicles of Dasnaria subseries of which it is a part, needs to come with trigger warnings. Lots of trigger warnings. ALL the trigger warnings. And you do need to read at least the Chronicles of Dasnaria series from its beginning in Prisoner of the Crown in order to get the full significance of the conclusion of Ivariel/Jenna’s journey here in Warrior of the World.

Because the story of the series is about a young woman who is groomed to be a subservient sexual slave, who is forced to submit to repeated rapes, degradation, physical and sexual abuse by her husband/master, and who eventually breaks free with the help of her younger brother, who loses his rank and status for helping her to get away from the man and the society that brutalized her at every turn.

By this point in Ivariel/Jenna’s story, she is still healing from her trauma. That she murdered her “husband” in a fit of berserker rage is both part of her healing and part of her current trauma. She’s afraid that there’s a monster inside her that will eventually break free and kill those she has come to love while she is in the depths of her unthinking rage.

The story in Warrior of the World is the story of Ivariel learning to embrace ALL that she, both the light and the dark, and finding her path to coming into her own at last.

And learning to share that path with others who will be needed for the final push to victory – and redemption.

Escape Rating A-: As I said, ALL the trigger warnings. Ivariel/Jenna’s life at the Dasnarian Imperial court is simply horrendously awful. Reading about her deliberate grooming for the role her society forces her to play makes for very hard reading – but worth it in order to truly appreciate just how far she has come by the time we get to Warrior of the World.

This story is interesting both as the culmination of the Chronicles of Dasnaria subseries and because of its premise. This is a story about beginning as you mean to go on, about doing the things that signify who you are and not who your enemies – or even your friends – intend for you to be or think you ought to be. At the same time, it isn’t as action-packed as other entries in the combined series. It goes just a tinge slow at some points because healing is a slow process, so Ivariel needs time and process to, well, process.

Ivariel’s life before she found herself among the elephant herders of D’tiembo was a life of reaction. She didn’t act, she wasn’t in control. Even her liberation was a product of someone else’s actions and not her own. She begins the story not knowing how to hope her own hopes or dream her own dreams, and she has to learn those skills. She also has to learn to ask for what she wants and then live with the consequences of that “ask”.

Her healing in this story is about her learning to act and not react. Part of that “acting” is the way that she takes up the mantle of her Priestess of Danu persona in order to wage, not war, but peace. The enemies of the D’tiembo try to bring war to the peaceful tribe, and many want to react with war and vengeance. It’s Ivariel, learning to live with her rage, who points the way towards “waging peace” through bribery, subversion, and absorbing and utilizing the lessons taught to her by the necessary cruelty of her mother. It’s a hard lesson, but it buys time to set up the eventual peace and prosperity of the D’tiembo, so that when the magic finally returns, both Ivariel/Jenna and the D’tiembo are ready to go out and meet the wider world and the fates that await them.

If you don’t finish this story wanting your own elephant-friend, you haven’t been paying attention. The elephants, especially Violet, Capo and Efe, provide some of the most uplifting and heartwarming parts of the entire story.

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

Jeffe and Silver Dagger Tours are giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky entrant on this tour!

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

 

Hats Off Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Hats Off Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

It’s that time again. Time to settle back into so-called “normal” life after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Or, for those who look at the holidays as a time to relax, time to get back on the treadmill, or back to the rat race, or whatever feels like “normal” to you.

When we lived in Alaska, the problem with January was that there wasn’t nearly enough daylight, it’s bloody damn cold, it’s been winter since early October and it’s going to BE winter until mid-April. Not that it’s any different in December, but in December I didn’t notice it so much because of the holidays. Even for someone who doesn’t celebrate Xmas, those lights are excellent for brightening and cheering the place – any place – up for a bit.

January was just gloomy. And cold. Did I mention cold?

So I’m happy to be in Atlanta, where winter generally deals a mere glancing blow to the area – and where we have sunshine most days even if it is just a tad chilly some of the time. But even 30 above zero is a huge improvement over 30 BELOW zero. I’ll take it.

But back to normal. Or whatever passes for normal in your neck of the woods. For me, normal life and January are usually marked by two things. The first is that the publishers come back to life after the holidays, and the new Spring and Summer books absolutely pour into NetGalley and Edelweiss.

The second is the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, which is usually held sometime in January, and often someplace that is just too damn cold in the winter. Last year was Denver. BRRRR! This year it’s in one of my old stomping grounds, Seattle. Where it will probably be a bit gray and gloomy, and rainy, but hopefully not blizzardy with snow. Next January will be Philly. BRRRR again. BRRRR I say. BRRRR!

What about you? What makes you feel like life is “back to normal” after the holidays? Answer in the rafflecopter for your choice of either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a book, up to $10 US in value, from the Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more terrific prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Jeepers! It’s January Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the 4th Annual Jeepers! It’s January Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island

It may be January, but unlike last year, it’s in the balmy 60s here in Atlanta, at least until Wednesday, when it will dip into the less balmy but still not too bad 40s. Compared to last year, this is just fine. Peachy even, to make a bad Atlanta pun. (Everything here is either peaches or peachtrees – including, it seems like, ALL the street names.)

But this is just the kind of winter weather we moved here for. We do get four seasons, but winter generally deals just a glancing blow – and that’s the way I like it.

Just for funsies, I decided to look up today’s temperature in all the places I’ve lived. (I’m doing this on Monday, so the actual weather may differ slightly from predicted)

Cincinnati – 57°
Chicago – 42°
Anchorage – 11°
Tallahassee – 71°
Gainesville FL – 69°
Seattle – 42° (and RAINING all week)

The saying goes that “climate is what you expect, weather is what you get”. I like what we get here just fine.

What about you? Do you like the winter weather where you are, or do you dream of someplace warmer – or snowier? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a book (up to $10 in value) from the Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for more fabulous prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

Review: The Best of Us by Robyn Carr + Giveaway

Review: The Best of Us by Robyn Carr + GiveawayThe Best of Us (Sullivan's Crossing, #4) by Robyn Carr
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, large print, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance, small town romance
Series: Sullivan's Crossing #4
Pages: 336
Published by Mira on January 8, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

In Sullivan’s Crossing, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr has created a place where good people, powerful emotions, great humor and a healthy dose of common sense are the key ingredients to a happy life. Sullivan’s Crossing brings out the best in people. It’s a place you’ll want to visit again and again.

Dr. Leigh Culver loves practicing medicine in Timberlake, Colorado. It is a much-needed change of pace from her stressful life in Chicago. The only drawback is she misses her aunt Helen, the woman who raised her. But it’s time that Leigh has her independence, and she hopes the beauty of the Colorado wilderness will entice her aunt to visit often.

Helen Culver is an independent woman who lovingly raised her sister’s orphaned child. Now, with Leigh grown, it’s time for her to live life for herself. The retired teacher has become a successful mystery writer who loves to travel and intends to never experience winter again.

When Helen visits Leigh, she is surprised to find her niece still needs her, especially when it comes to sorting out her love life. But the biggest surprise comes when Leigh takes Helen out to Sullivan’s Crossing and Helen finds herself falling for the place and one special person. Helen and Leigh will each have to decide if they can open themselves up to love neither expected to find and seize the opportunity to live their best lives.

My Review:

The Best of Us has a lot of themes that echo back to the first book in this series, What We Find. Not that you have to have read that to enjoy this. More that the stories hit some similar beats, and that the issues that led to the situation Maggie finds herself in at the beginning of What We Find have parallels with rather different outcomes in The Best Of Us.

Also that Maggie’s father Sully, who all of the residents of the Crossing and the nearby town of Timberlake love, finally gets his own romance in addition to the central love story between the 30somethings that this series has featured so far.

Unlike the Jones siblings featured in the first three books of this series, Leigh Culver comes to Timberlake with a purpose. She has come to take over the urgent-care clinic in town. Well, that’s her job. Her personal purpose is to finally live on her own after spending the first 34 years of her life living with her Aunt Helen, the woman who raised her.

As part of that living on her own, Leigh is also in Timberlake to actually get a life – not that she would see it that way. She went through high school intending to marry the boy next door, and when he left her at the altar she threw herself into her studies, not just college but also medical school, an internship, a residency and ultimately a practice as both an ER doctor in a major Chicago hospital and a private family practice.

She’s been part of the rat race for too long, and as much as she loves her work, it hasn’t left her time for a life outside of it. So she comes to Timberlake, where she has a practice that keeps her busy but not insanely so, makes friends and has time to look around her and see what she wants to do next.

What she sees is her neighbor Rob Shanahan, a single father of two nearly grown up boys. One of whom lands in her clinic after slicing his hand open at Rob’s pub. In the process of treating Finn’s cut and Rob’s fainting spell, he manages to ask her out. She thinks he’s delirious – and he kind of was – but he’s serious about the date.

And once they’ve finally figured out that what they have is more than a fainting spell and some truly amazing chemistry, they can’t keep their hands off each other. No matter how difficult it is to find some private time between his boys and her Aunt Helen coming to Timberlake for a long visit.

Not that Helen doesn’t find plenty of ways to keep herself busy. She’s a very successful mystery writer, and the Crossing turns out to be the perfect place to write away an afternoon. That she finds herself amused and entranced by Sully is definitely a surprising but lovely added benefit.

It all seems too good to be true, until things start to go pear-shaped, at least for Rob and Leigh. Neither of them has wanted to talk about love. Rob’s wife died when the boys were babies, and he hasn’t been looking for love since then – he hasn’t had time either. Leigh has resigned herself to being alone like her Aunt. She may have gotten over loving that boy next door who abandoned her, but she’s never recovered from the betrayal.

When Leigh discovers that the birth control implant she thought still had a couple of years to run had in fact expired a couple of years before, there are suddenly a lot of decisions to make, and a lot of acknowledgements to figure out – before that hot spark gets smothered.

Escape Rating B: There were three things I really, really loved about this story, and one that personally drove me bananas – although I realize that this is one of my quirks and other people will love it.

First, I love this place. The Crossing and Timberlake have turned out to be yet another of this author’s lovely, friendly, liveable communities, filled with marvelous scenery and absolutely terrific people. I’ve sincerely enjoyed every single visit, and hope there are lots more. It’s a place that I think anyone would love to live in.

Second, I really got into the romance between Leigh and Rob. They are terrific people, and it was fun to get to know them and their families. I enjoyed the way that, while Leigh had been in town for several months, there hadn’t been a reason for them to really get to know each other until his son’s accident. And that they both discover themselves unexpectedly “all in” to a relationship that neither expected.

Their difficulties in managing to get time alone were priceless.

Third, I very much enjoyed Sully and Helen’s relationship. Falling in love, including a sexual relationship, is not a need that gets turned off at some age. These are two really interesting people who actually don’t have much in common but their joy in life. But they also have perspective and experience and each gives the other something that they lack. And they make each other laugh. The way that they tentatively reach towards romance and their clear happiness when it is reciprocated is marvelous.

That Leigh is completely thrown for a loop that her Aunt and Sully have fallen in love with each other was well done. I’ve always said that the two things that no one wants to think about are their parents having sex and their children having sex. We all know that it happens, but our minds don’t want to go there. Leigh’s reactions when forced to go there were very real, as is Helen’s joy and happiness.

However, the part of the story I wish hadn’t happened was Leigh’s unplanned pregnancy. Early in their relationship, Rob and Leigh had agreed that neither of them wanted children – or in Rob’s case more children. While the tension of how to resolve the situation once the choice had been taken from them provided realistic conflict in the story – it’s just not a plot device I personally care for.

That does not mean it wasn’t well done in this instance, because like all of the stories in this series so far, it certainly was. But that plot thread just isn’t my cup of tea.

Which does not mean that I didn’t love the rest of the story, because I certainly did. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t be thrilled to return to Sullivan’s Crossing at the next available opportunity – because I most definitely will!

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

I’m giving away a hardcover copy of The Best of Us to one lucky US commenter on this post!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3…2…1 Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the 3…2…1 Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

And it’s the New Year! Welcome to 2019! OMG.

I remember when I was a kid, I’d figure out exactly how old I’d be when the century turned, and thought that it sounded so OLD. Now we’re 19 years past that, and I wouldn’t mind being that age now. Or again. Or both. C’est la vie. And better la vie than the alternatives.

But today is New Year’s Day. A time for resolutions…and renewal. The old year is done, and the new one has commenced. For me, this year is already off to a better start than last year, as I spent part of January 1, 2018 in the hospital. So things are already looking up!

What about you? Do you think this year is going to be better than last year, not as good as last year, or about the same? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 in books from the Book Depository.

After all, it’s never too early to give yourself a treat to start the New Year right!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for more fabulous prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!