The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out – with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a toolbelt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except, apparently, Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro…
As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be – except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.
While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome – and embarrassing – appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him…
The Perfect Hope (Inn Boonsboro Trilogy, #3)Review:
This was probably my favorite book of this trilogy. I really loved Hope and I loved Ryder too. He seemed like a more fleshed-out character compared to his brothers. But I still thought he was a bit lacking in the sense of learning about him. He, like his brothers, is a well-adjusted adult that comes from a really nice family. I really loved the whole family aspect of this series. The Montgomery family and the whole town was just so wholesome.
Hope, however, has got issues. She’s getting over a serious betrayal by her ex and his whole family. I really liked finally getting to know all the details about what happened because it’s talked about in the previous books but not in detail. I also liked getting to see Hope moving forward from that part of her life. She’s sort of the outsider of the town, but she never really feels or is treated that way. I loved seeing her come into the town and just become a part of the family. I loved her friendship with Clare and Avery.
Finally, the ghost. I really loved the mystery and romance of Eliza. She’s pushing the couples together. She’s a romantic that just wants to find her lost love. I loved them coming together and working toward helping Eliza. I also really loved the connections we find out about Eliza and the rest of the characters.
Overall, I enjoyed this series. I liked watching the Inn being built and then opening. I loved the characters and their relationships. It was just a really fun series to reread.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist – and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers give him grief for his compulsive list-making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery MacTavish….
Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation — and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.
As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of BoonsBoro a reason to celebrate. But Owen’s hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected — and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last.
The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy, #2)Review:
In the second book of the Inn Boonsboro trilogy, we follow Avery and Owen. They’re life long friends and we get my favorite trope of friends to lovers. Part of my feels like this had second book syndrome and another part of me really enjoyed it. It was a totally character-driven story with minimal plot. It felt like not much happened, but there was growth for all the characters, especially Owen and Avery. They grew together while figuring out how to be with one another as more.
I really liked Avery. She’s got mommy issues which I can’t relate to. But she also is stubborn and determined. She works hard at anything she sets her mind to and doesn’t take no for an answer. She’s thoughtful and kind, but doesn’t take anyone’s crap and stands up for what she thinks is right.
Owen felt like we didn’t really get to go deeper than the surface. We get that he’s a really neat and organized guy (maybe overly so). He loves his family, his mother, and his brothers. I love the family man aspect but I didn’t feel like we really got to know him. His fears and hopes and dreams.
Overall, I had fun reading this but it didn’t blow me away. I adore all of the scenes with the Inn and its ghost, Lizzy. I really love the small-town setting and the tight-knit community.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness—if, indeed, they can be saved.
Strengthened by the bond she shares with her fellow warrior, Duncan, Fallon has already succeeded in rescuing countless shifters and elves and ordinary humans. Now she must help them heal—and rediscover the light and faith within themselves. For although from the time of her birth, she has been The One, she is still only one. And as she faces down an old nemesis, sets her sights on the enemy’s stronghold, and pursues her destiny—to finally restore the mystical shield that once protected them all—she will need an army behind her…
The Rise of Magicks (Chronicles of The One, #3)Review:
The final book in the Chronicles of The One series is one that I was eagerly anticipating to be released and then to be delivered to me. I was so excited when it came. I wanted to start it right away, but school work had to be done first. When I did finally start it, I flew through it.
In the first book, we follow a cast of characters escaping the end of the world. We still get to see these characters in the second and third books but the story is more focus on their children in book three. Specifically, ‘The One’ also named Fallon. I didn’t love this in book two, but in this finale, I came to really enjoy it. I really adored the planning and then the action that this book had. It was full of good overcoming the evil that was plaguing the world.
These characters that we met as fetuses and then follow as they grow into the adults the are in The Rise of Magicks. I thought this was really great considering that I felt the first book lacked a bit of character development. It was certainly made up for in this aspect.
But the best part of this book was the action. There were several battle scenes as those on the side of the light fought to regain control of Washington, D.C., New York City, and then the Shield where all of this madness started. There were significant losses on both sides and Nora really tore my heart out a few times.
I also really loved the magical ideas behind the end of the world as we know it today. I thought this was compelling, the idea that the Doom that killed most of the population also somehow brought out magical abilities or attributes.
All in all, Nora did an incredible job with this series. It’s different from most of the other things she’s written and I just genuinely enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what other kinds of fantastical stories Nora might come up with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.
Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.
In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.
Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of The One, #2)Review:
Part of me is honestly glad that I waited to read this so close to when the third book is being released. I only have to wait a few weeks for the series to conclude rather than a whole year. I found myself liking this book better than the first. While I always enjoy seeing the world end, I much preferred seeing the aftermath and years after the end of the world as we knew it.
Of Blood and Bone follows Fallon mostly, who is foretold to be The One. The descendant of someone important that I really feel like I should know where I’ve heard it before and I think it might even be from another of Nora’s series. I really liked Fallon. She starts off as a young girl and we get to see her grow and train and come to accept the responsibility that fate has bestowed upon her. She grew into this responsibility gracefully. Obviously, this wasn’t without its teenage moments and I thought that just made it all the better. Fallon was smart and determined, caring and honorable, fierce and strong. I really love her. And even more, I love the love interest that is alluded to.
We get to see the many characters we got to know in the first book and I was glad about that. I think this book gave us a bit more of the character development that was missing from Year One, but also the whole book is pretty fast-paced. It follows a time period of several years, slowing here and there. So, it felt like we didn’t get to know everyone as well as we could have. But I think this book filled in a bit that I thought was missing from the first. We also added a handful of characters, which didn’t really help this. Despite that, I still really liked getting to see the friends and found family that Lana had left behind.
I love the magic. Magical dystopias are not something I’ve read too many of. So, this one was a fun twist on the end of the world. Most I’ve read use magic to prevent the end of the world, and in this one magic came from the end of the world.
Nora leaves us in suspense, giving us only crumbs to try to piece together. I’m dying to know how this story will end. I will be waiting as patiently as I am able to for the final installment of this trilogy.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Year One by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
It began on New Year’s Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed–and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river–or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.
Year One (Chronicles of The One, #1)Review:
Year One was…different from Nora’s other books. I still enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn’t her usual mystery or romance. This book follows a cast of characters as the world as we know it ends. They struggle to find safety and truth in this new world.
I really liked all of the characters we follow. They each brought something different to the story. I’m not going to go into each of them because there are just too many. I really liked all the various abilities that surfaced after The Doom. They were creative and interesting abilities.
I thought this story brought really interesting conversations about good versus bad kinds of people. After people gain abilities, just like regular people, there turn out to be good Uncannys and bad. The characters talk about how, regardless of any supernatural abilities, some people are inherently good and some are just bad.
I liked that this was s dystopian with magic. There are tons of books out there where the world ends scientifically, so the magical twist was something I enjoyed.
I really didn’t love the direction the end of this book went in. A certain character has something happen and things just went so far into left field. I felt like it kind of invalidated everything that happened previously. Though I am interested to see where things go in the next book.
I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I was going to. I enjoyed it and will definitely be continuing the series. I’m interested to see what exactly the magic is that kick-started the end of the world.

Quotes:

“You have to think of the positive, of the light, or the dark takes over.”

“Major, monumental crises bring out the best or the worst in us—sometimes both. And sometimes those major, monumental crises have no effect on certain types. Which means, no matter what the circumstances, assholes remain assholes.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Two: Books & Baking – Blood Magick

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Hi, lovelies! I’m back for another edition of Books & Baking! For this latest edition, we’re going in the direction of adult romance with one of my favorite authors. An author I am sure will make another appearance on this blog feature, the ever wonderful, Nora Roberts. I started this trilogy (though it’s one I’ve read before) in October and I knew the third book would be perfect for Books & Baking.

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Book: Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

Read my full review here!

This series follows six characters as they attempt to win an age-old battle. This is the third and final installment in the Cousin’s O’Dwyer Trilogy that follows my favorite pairing, Branna and Fin. I would die for Finbar Burke and Branna is a lady I would wife the hell out of. Branna creates incredible things in this book. From food and desserts to handsoaps, candles, and lotions. These are my favorite characters of the six we get to know. With an Irish setting and a magical cast of characters, I really couldn’t ask for more.

“I’m so angry it feels my blood’s on fire. If I didn’t bank it with calm, I might burn the place to the ground.”

“Love can fade and die. I’ve seen it. It can grow and build as well. I think when it’s real and meant, it can only grow bigger and stronger.”

“We’re a superstitious breed, we Irish, and wise enough to build around a faerie hill without disturbing it, to leave a stone dance where it stands. And to keep back from a place where the dark still thrums.”

Baking: Ginger Biscuits 

Find the recipe here!

When I saw these mentioned in the book, I knew they had to be my next creation for Books & Baking because they were perfect to bring to my family as a Thanksgiving treat!

“After donning a white apron, she made her ginger biscuits first because it pleased her. While they cooled and their scent filled the air, she gathered what she needed to make the candle sets on the new list Eileen had given her.”

Ingredients

Plain flour
Ground ginger
Baking soda
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Salt
Margarine or butter, softened
White sugar
One egg
Water
Molasses or golden syrup
White sugar (for rolling)

Instructions

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, then set aside. Combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, then water and molasses. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, letting each addition combine fully before adding more.

Form dough into one in balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Bake eight to ten minutes, then cool.

I will admit that I sampled more than a few before packing them up to bring with me to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My husband had some too. Honestly, between the two of us we probably ate a whole batch. So, I’m glad this recipe made more than enough for us to sample and still share for the holiday. I thought they were delicious. I might even make them again when I start my Christmas baking.

Do these sounds yummy or what? Feel free to try them out and let me know what you think! The recipe was fairly easy too!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Book Review: Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

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GoodReads Summary:
County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch.
Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love…
She had it once—for a moment—with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion.
Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.
Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #3)Review:
The final book in this trilogy, Blood Magick, is the one I’ve been most excited for. In this third book, we follow Branna and Finbar. The sparks between them are flying right from the first book. I was dying to get into this finale.
Branna is the responsibile one of the fated three that make up the Dark Witch. She has a strong sense of duty and takes on the role of the leader in the family. I really admire Branna. She takes her duty seriously and teaches the others anything they need to know. I also loved seeing her in her workshop and in the kitchen. In the first two books, we’re told she does the cooking and sort of what she does for her shop in town. But I adored getting to see her thoughts while making new candles, body lotions, or soap scents. I thought it was a great part of this book.
Let’s talk about Finbar Burke. I would die for him. He is the blood of Cabhan but has fought it his entire life. He is as honorable as they get but still doesn’t hide his feelings for Branna. His love for animals, horse, hound, and hawk alike, was one of my favorite things about him. He’s so full of love, for animals, for Branna, and for the rest of their circle.
Seeing these two put aside the past and come together again made me so happy. It truly displayed the growth of each member of the circle. The history the two share, really made this couple what they were. Overcoming that history and coming back to one another was the highlight of this book.
Overall, this was my favorite book in the series. I love Branna and I would die for Fin. I loved seeing the circle come together, with the past and all of the connections they learned, to defeat a great evil.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.