Review: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

When was the last time you finished a book and immediately sat down and wrote out a list of people who MUST read this book? When I finished this, that’s exactly what I did. The first, my kids, then my homeschool co-op teens, then some moms of those teens, then a few scattered friends who I know would get a kick out of this. And then I pretty much went on IG and FB and shouted it from the rooftops there. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING!!! Thought provoking and exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

When I first got Pacifica, I almost skipped the author’s note and went right to the story. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author’s note is where the magic begins. It’s where the background story comes from. It’s the first time your heart is squeezed. And it’s definitely not the last.

When you read dystopians, part of you thinks, “This could never happen. We won’t let it happen.” But when I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “Crap. This could totally happen. And that would be horrific.” Basically climate change and the affects it has on our planet. But that’s not the hardest part of this story. The people, and what’s happening right under their noses, that’s the hardest part. They thought the government knew what was best for them and they just went along with it. But when the story is uncovered, they realize it’s far from anything they’ve ever heard of.

I think the best part of this book was the friendships. I was cheering everyone on. Marin, who was a pirate’s daughter and Ross, the president’s son, set out to rescue Ross’ friend, Adam, the vice president’s son, and it is non stop action. Like stomach twisting action. I couldn’t stop reading, for fear of something happening and I miss it. 🙂 Silly, I know, but I was so invested in these characters, I wouldn’t stop until they found their way back to safety. Now there is a little bit of love brewing on the high seas, but can you blame them? People who’ve gone through traumatic experiences tend to react that way. But it’s teen friendly, so no worries.

I have never read a Kristen Simmons book, but if they’re anything like this one, she’s found a new fan and I’ve found a new autobuy author. This story is now added to my ever growing “You need to read these YA books!” list. And all those people who are on my list above, better act surprised when they all get copies for Christmas.


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Review: The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

I’ve got to say, this wasn’t the Eternity Springs I was expecting! I thought I’d be reading light and sweet but what I read was dark and heavy.

While I liked the present day Josh character very much, his past was pretty dark, and that cast a shadow over much of the plot. His moodiness was understandable but just a little depressing for Eternity Springs.

I expected Caitlin to be the predictable small town girl/breath of fresh air, yet her character development was a little uneven: she’s still a young woman without a family of her own, yet she leaves her big city job to become a day care worker. She wants to be out of her parents’ clutches, yet she is just as judgmental as they are.

This book was well written and had cameos of characters from prior books. I loved Celeste’s hand in making sure everyone lives out their best life. Despite being thrown off by these two particular characters, I did — as usual — enjoy all the magic Eternity Springs offers.

If you’ve been reading the Eternity Springs series and wishing the next book would be more serious, a little gritty, and spicier than the previous books – Emily March has written this one for you. 🙂



Review: Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden

Oh, my sweets, this book was so lovely!! Positively lovely.

Evangeline lived a life of luxury, but after the death of her parents and brothers, her younger sister and her are at the mercy of relatives. They make all the decisions for them and they must adhere to it. Women don’t have a lot of choices. If she wants to have access to her small inheritance she must do everything she is ordered to do, and do it perfectly. So she is separated from her sister and forced to be a teacher, even though she has zero experience. She is alone and sad but is determined to do a good job, to get in the good graces of her grandfather, so she can be reunited with her sister. I can’t even imagine how strong she must’ve been.

The part I love most about this was Dermot and Ronan. Dermot was this outsider, trying to make a living so he can care for his boy. Ronan was special. Autistic really. And I loved him. I loved the way he changed little by little under the care and love from Evangeline. She was learning right along with her students and she learned what he needed and how he needed it. I got chocked up at how those changes manifested themselves. Back in those days they didn’t know what autism was and I can only imagine what those poor children went through.

While she still struggled daily, her relationship with Dermot helped ease the loneliness. What started out as neighborly, turned into friendship, which then turned into more. And I loved it!! They had their moments of distress but that’s nothing compared to the love that shown through. He helped her grow and was with her as she got stronger and more independent, took control of her life, and that of her sister’s. They were so sweet to watch. We get both of their points of view, so it was lovely to see his thoughts about her. He wasn’t looking for a woman, but life likes to throw us curve balls every now and then.

As I’ve said before, I love these Proper Romance books. I love the sweetness and romance of it all. They tend to stay with me long after I’m done reading them. And Ashes on the Moor is no exception.


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Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Sylvie and Dan try to spice up their marriage when it hits them that they have decades more of life together. In the midst of Dan working longer hours, Sylvie trying to save her employer from closing shop, and Sylvie still grieving for her late father, spicing up a marriage seems to be a tall order.

Kinsella brings to the forefront quirky characters (and I didn’t always understand their motivations until a scene was laid out for me, truth be told), family secrets, and the myriad ways people love each other. Cute, fun rom-com that was light on character development but full of charm.



Review: Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I’m not usually a historical fiction fan, but this book was terrific, with its focus on Nantucket and the Quaker religious sect. I grew up in Massachusetts, so reading this book put me back in grade school, on fun-filled field trips to Plymouth Rock, the whaling museum in New Bedford, and Sturbridge Village.

Phoebe isn’t your average young lady. She has a plan. The plan involves not hanging out with her poverty stricken dad who can’t finish a plan or a project. The plan involves not playing games with her childhood crush. The plan involves marrying a handsome, rich, prestigious Captain of a whaling boat.

Phoebe makes some headway on her plan, but the childhood crush crashes her party a couple times, and the Captain is much more (or way less) than he appears to be. Lucky for Phoebe, she has her great grandmother’s journal as her personal treasure map, leading Phoebe toward the light, the righteous, and the Divine. Phoebe takes her successes and multiplies them, much to the blessing of the rest of Nantucket.



Quick Review: City Under Siege by R.J. Prescott

I’ve read R.J.Prescott’s Hurricane series so I figured I’d read this one as well. Even though I have a hard time reading suspense books, I knew it was going to be good, so I would just have to hold on. And I was right. City under Siege had my heart racing and swooning. Perfect balance of suspense and romance.

Sarah has been put in charge of her family’s company, due to the unexpected loss of her father and brother. But as she’s learning the ropes, some secrets come forward that put her in a very dangerous position. She seeks the help of the SAS to get them straightened out and discovers that help comes in the form of a super hot Tom Harper. And as he’s helping protect her, they both realize that love can creep up in the most unexpected moments.

I think the reason I enjoyed this book so much was the romance aspect. Even in the midst of a very dangerous situation, and all the military actions, a slow burn relationship happens. Those are so fun to read honestly. It’s the last thing that Sarah and Tom want or need, but sometimes you can’t help who you fall for.

I’ll admit I got tripped up a bit with all the military lingo, but I learned quickly and was able to move on and enjoy this book. With all those hot military guys running around, how could I not? I’m holding out hope that they get a story also. The whole dynamic was fun to read.


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Review: A Vicarage Reunion by Kate Hewitt

Oh Esther and Will… hard workers, loyal to a fault, family-oriented… and then one trauma busts it all up and unearths some unexpressed feelings. Thankfully, their little town — including Esther’s family — provides the guardrails to help Esther and Will find their way.

Their struggle was real. I’ve felt it and I’m sure all married couples have felt it at some time in their marriage. Things are going fine until they aren’t. And sometimes the solution isn’t exactly staring anyone in the face. That’s why I am grateful for all the family and friends who witness wedding ceremonies – they’re there to help support the marriage when it’s foundering.

Kate Hewitt wrote more than just Esther and Will’s relationship though. There were family dinners, lonesome walks, friends meeting at the pub, sibling love, the wisdom of a mother, the comfort of a father, and so much forgiveness … all in a little village around an old vicarage in a wonderful, delightful series.