Books for Valentine's Day

The Castle on the Rise

Kristy Cambron’s latest novel picks up where her last one left off. Lainey has flown to France with her adopted daughter, Cassie, to attend Ellie and Quinn’s wedding. Laine leaves the states for the spur of the moment wedding, relieved to escape the emotions and memories of her failed marriage. She hopes to find healing in her best friend’s fairytale castle.

But unexpected news sends her, along with Cassie, Ellie, and Quinn to Ireland to help Quinn’s brother Cormac sort through an unexpected inheritance—a castle on the rise in Warwick, near Dublin.

Interwoven throughout the modern story, Cameron weaves the tales of two other generations of fierce, independent women—Maeve from the 18th century, and Lady Isolde from the early 20th century. These two women, and the men they come to love, provide the history of the mystery that shrouds Castle Chyrn today.

Another beautiful mystery full of flawed characters who seek answers to their true identity by seeking the One who made them.

Don't miss the latest book by @KCambronAuthor. If you love history, mystery, castles, and romance, you'll love this book. #amreading #bookreview Click To Tweet

The Girls at 17 Swann Street: A Novel

As a parent whose daughter struggled with an eating disorder, this is a book I wish I would have read before my daughter turned 13. With the sensitive strokes of one who has lived through anorexia, the author paints another layer onto my portrait of understanding this often misunderstood disease.

Anna Roux, a former ballet dancer, has checked into an eating disorder’s facility on 17 Swann Street. At 26, she feels as if she’s 62, and her starved brain no longer makes rational decisions. When she joins the girls at 17 Swann Street, the answer to the question of whether or not she’ll live hangs in the balance. No every girl will make it.

Anna’s telling of her story is interwoven with clinically dry reports from her care providers. On the intake form, she lists her occupation as cashier at a supermarket, but acknowledges that her real occupation is anorexia.

This is a must-read book for those who have a family member that struggles with an eating disorder or anyone who has a family member with a high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score. Knowledge is power—and learning about the psychology behind anorexic thinking through the eyes of one who suffers helps us understand our role in helping someone recover.

A must-read book for educators, parents, counselors, and anyone who works with youth. Thank you, Yara Zgheib and @StMartinsPress #eatingdisorders Click To Tweet

Return of Devotion

By Kristi Ann Hunter (Bethany House Publishers

In Hunter’s second installment of the Haven Manor Series, readers meet William, Lord Chemsford, the long-absent owner of Haven Manor. He arrives on the doorstep of his never-before-seen minor holding expecting to have a proficient housekeep answer his door. Instead, an apparent simpleton opens the door and stares at him for endless minutes.

When Daphne Blakemoor answers the door, she certainly doesn’t expect to see a fully-matured replica of her 13-year-old son. Her quandary renders her speechless. She knows for a fact that Lord Chemsford didn’t father her son—but anyone who sees the newcomer will immediately assume that he fathered Benedict. To make matters worse, Benedict has no idea that out of all cast-off orphans who have found family at Haven Manor over the years the woman they’ve all called Mama Daphne is his birth mother. Only Mama Jess, the mysterious woman who cooks and protects the group and Mama Kit know the truth.

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For over ten years the trio have squatted on Haven Manor and taken in society’s outcasts—the babies of compromised gentlewomen. Through industry (and a little intrigue) they have supported and raised the children for entrance into the working world. A kinder, gentler place than the capricious and vicious circle of high society that casts out women who stumble and turns a blind eye to the men who take advantage of them.

Although Kit and her new husband have found families to adopt many of the children in the previous months, Daphne has no idea the changes Lord Chemsford’s appearance will wreak on her security and comfort.

Not Your Usual Romance

Fortunately for Daphene, Jess, and the orphans, Lord Chemsford wants a quiet retreat away from high society. He decides to wait and see how his housekeeper and her staff handle things before dismissing them. The longer he stays, the more compelling his desire to figure out the mystery of his housekeeper—and the secrets of Haven Manor.

Lord Chemsford’s appearance causes Daphne to slip back in to her daydreaming world of fantasies. Daphne’s mystery causes William to rethink the standards and mores of the society he doesn’t really care for. As they discover more about each other, they establish an unlikely friendship that could change their lives.

Readers who love Regency romances without the tired plot lines will love the turns and twists in Return of Devotion.

A solid second book in the Haven Manor series by @KristiAnnHunter. Order it today! Now I'm wondering who's story is next? #amreading #bookreview Click To Tweet

A Stellar YA Book

The Warrior Maiden

Melanie Dickerson’s newest installment in the Hagenheim fairytale series focuses on Wolfgang, one of the younger brothers of the heroines of former Dickerson tales. Wolfgang and his brother Steffan leave Hagenheim on a quest to help their father’s ally, Duke Konrad of Poland, in a battle against Grand Master Rusdorf and the Teutonic Knights. Along the way, Steffan decides to join the enemy and a younger soldier from Lithuania challenges Wolfgang’s prowess in archery.

Mulan Mikolai lives under a prophecy—one day she will save a country in battle. Two things make the prophecy seem unlikely. First of all, she’s a peasant woman living in an era where women stayed at home and did a man’s bidding. Second, her clumsiness earns her ridicule and harassment from the townsfolk—not a trait one commonly finds in a leader. Her mother despairs of her lack of grace and her father, a solider in the service of Butautas has little need for the women in his life, although he does teach Mulan the rudiments of archery.

When her father dies unexpectedly the same week Butautas calls up his troops to defend Duke Konrad, Mulan decides to dress as a man and take his place. If she doesn’t, Butautas will throw her mother out of her home. Mulan’s other option? Marry the local butcher—a man who seems to have the same attitude about women that her father had.

Once again, Dickerson has crafted a compelling story with strong female characters and male characters who don’t get intimidated by women who want to live up to their God-given potential.

Don't miss the latest clean romance for teenage girls from @melanieauthor! #amreading #YA #fairytale Click To Tweet

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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