Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was absolutely lovely! It’s a clean romance set in historical Scotland. The location of this story was amazing! I felt like I was right there, and I loved it! The descriptions were beautiful and perfect!

I loved that the main character is completely out of her element as she is sent from America to Scotland. I liked seeing her off-balance throughout this. It made her character journey so fulfilling! Her nursing position during the Great War made the historical aspect of this story wonderful. I liked the details and research that clearly went into making this feel so real.

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Layla by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay. I started this book on 12/30/20, and I did not finish it before the new year. I DID, however, finish it on 1/1/21. I can, without a doubt, say that this is one of the best books I have read in 2020 and 2021!

Why you should read this book:
➜ A romance that will make you fall in love more than once throughout the story.
➜ A paranormal aspect that won’t spook you, although it might creep you out when you really think about it.
➜ A story that will grip you from the very start.

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Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was amazing! It kept me glued to the pages. The storyline was interesting, and I loved the characters!

This is a dystopian YA novel set generations after the earth has become too hot for humans to live on the surface. The wealthy leaders of Earth built enormous bunkers under the ground and brought laborers with them so that there would be people to run the underground cities and do all the work. Eve lives in Compound Eleven. She’s a lowly 2nd-floor inhabitant, however, it’s better than the 1st floor. Living on the 5th floor are the elite and the privileged. As she looks for a way to escape the compound, she accidentally befriends a 5th-floor boy. She finds that maybe not everyone on the 5th floor is bad…or are they?

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The Amish Baker’s Rival by Marie E. Bast

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a wonderful Amish fiction romance! I loved the characters, and the story was easy to settle into and just enjoy!

The Amish Baker’s Rival is about a newcomer to an Amish community, Noah, and an Amish girl Mary. Mary owns a lovely bakery that has a good customer base and some great treats! When Noah opens up a Fresh Grocery and Deli across the street, Mary knows that she’s going to have some competition. She decides to enter a baking contest with a $10,000 prize. Noah though is also entering the contest! The two of them become rivals in both the baking contest and in their businesses. As the story progresses, these enemies start to fall for each other, which is one of my favorite romance tropes!

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The White Door by Heather Kindt

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The game just got real. Like really, really real.

Okay, if you have been reading this series, I cannot wait for you to grab this one! If you haven’t started this series, it is amazing, and you should absolutely read it! Please do not start the series with this book. This is a series that should be read in order. These are not stand-alone stories.

The White Door picks up pretty soon after the last book ends. We are literally thrown into the action within the first few pages, and it’s a heart-racing adventure from there on out. Someone is trying to kill Brek, and they don’t know who. Behind the white door, Meg and Brek discover yet another world, but this one proves to be so different from the previous ones. They find themselves thrown into crazy plans that have involved them from the start, and dangers that are proving to be more real than they could have ever expected.

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The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

Rating: 5 out of 5.
White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text

This book was AMAZING! I am not going to be able to fully do this book justice in this review, but I’m going to try.

I must say how much incredibly detailed research obviously went into writing this book. It is stuffed full of Egyptian history and information that was amazingly detailed. I learned so much through reading this, and I loved it.

This story is hard for me to explain because I do not want to spoil it for any reader, so I’m going to leave a lot out. If you’ve read the book, I’d love to discuss it!

So, the story itself, it’s about love, life, death, family, everything that builds us into the people we are. This book ripped me up and then put me back together. I couldn’t quite figure out how this was going to end. It’s about The Book of Two Ways, an Egyptian path for the dead to find their afterlife. The chapters are broken into a story of two ways. Water or Land / Boston or Egypt. Sometimes I struggle jumping back and forth to different stories in a book, but with this, every time we switched to the “other way” I was so deeply invested I didn’t want that one to end, then we’d jump to the “other way” and I’d get invested all over again.

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Confessions in B-Flat by Donna Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What a stunningly powerful story! There is an author’s note at the beginning of this book that really moved me. When she started this story, she wanted to share a story that surrounded the civil rights movement but did not realize how poignant its 2020 publication would end up being. I think there are times when things are just meant to be, and this is one of them.

Confessions in B-Flat is a story told from two perspectives on two different sides of the Civil Rights Movement. Jason has just volunteered to move from the south to New York to spearhead the opening of a new location to drive the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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How Much It May Storm by A.N. Willis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I cannot even explain how much I loved this story! What an absolutely amazing mix of coming of age, paranormal, and mystery!

This dual-timeline story takes the reader between 1918 and 1943 to unravel the deep-rooted secrets of a family and their nurse. In 1918, Millie arrives in a small town in Colorado, recently hired to provide nursing assistance to two Gainsbury family members with the Spanish Flu. Millie finds a spark of romance in the family’s son, Edward, who just returned from the war. Millie has a secret though, that she protects to keep others safe, and Edward may be getting close to understanding what it is.

In 1943, Dinah has recently said goodbye to her brother as he heads off to war, and she’s finding herself alone and sad. In her loneliness, she visits their favorite hiding spot but experiences some upsetting occurrences…sounds and handprints on the glass that she cannot explain. And then a man dressed in a WWI uniform. She begins to think she is being haunted, and her story becomes intertwined with Millie’s as Dinah searches for the truth about the man in uniform, and what happened to Millie.

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Undeveloped by K Leigh

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Author K Leigh has such a wonderful way with words. Her stories continue to get better and better, and I am always on the lookout for her next book! Undeveloped was an absolutely beautifully written story with characters you fall in love with, wonderful revelations, and heartbreaking moments. It is well worth the read, and I hope everyone picks it up!

This is a dual-timeline story with Lia, our present-day teenager stumbling across her Aunt Natalie’s journals from her own youth. As Lia secretly reads more and more of Natalie’s entries, she becomes entranced by what looks like a love-lost in Natalie’s history.

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Christmas Ever After by Karen Schaler

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I could not have loved this book more. Seriously, go buy this right now if you love Christmas and romance! The characters were amazing, the feel-good Christmas spirit was everywhere, and I’m honestly ready to start the holiday season immediately. This one put me into the holiday mood.

Successful romance author Riley Reynolds is not a grinch, but after the loss of her father as a child, her and her mother, chose Hawaii every year over celebrating Christmas. After a fabulous string of book releases, Riley has a book bomb, and her publisher is giving her one chance to make it right. She has to write a Christmas-themed romance novel. Her publicist creates a Christmas Camp idea hosted by Luke, who is trying to sell his family’s Christmas cottage resort, and Riley will be the Miss Christmas host. Fans of her books will be coming to the cottage to spend a Christmas weekend with Riley while she comes up with new ideas for her book. With her secret ignorance of holiday traditions, and a mistaken interview comment that makes three of her ex-boyfriends think they are “the one that got away”, Riley has her hands full at Christmas Camp. Her exes have all shown up to reignite that romantic spark, and she must balance them, as well as her fans during her Christmas Camp experience. All while trying to create the perfect book.

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The Light at Wyndcliff by Sarah E. Ladd

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was absolutely lovely! With beautiful descriptions that whisked me away to 1820’s Cornwall, The Light at Wyndcliff created an amazing world for this story to be set in!

Liam Twethewey has just inherited Wyndcliff Hall. He has plans to complete his uncle’s plans of opening a china clay pit on the property. Soon after he arrives a shipwreck happens on the property, and his focus has to shift to understanding what happened, and the mysteries surrounding the wreck’s survivors. He teams up with Evelyn Bray, a native of the town, to figure out the secrets surrounding this event, and finds those wonderful sparks of romance while doing it!

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The Stories Stars Tell by C.L. Walters

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Every time I read a book by C.L. Walters, I am transported into the story, and I stay there until the end. This book was another amazing story by her, and it’s my favorite by her so far! I love that she is always able to touch on subjects that are hard-hitting, and real-feeling. They bring situations to life that people are struggling with and provide a perspective to consider and relate to.

Emma and Tanner are two teenagers, coming ever closer to their adult selves. They are both searching for who they are. This is a story of sexuality, but it also has religion mixed in, which gives it this interesting perspective that I haven’t read in a story before.

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