End of May #BookReviews #Amreading @teagangeneviene @belovung_birds @JRWard1 and Jamie Beck


One of my favorite places to go when I’m seeking inspiration is Esquimalt Lagoon. On one side, you have the Pacific Ocean with a view of Victoria harbor…

and on the other side, Royal Roads University with Hatley Castle seen in many featured films such as Deadpool, X-Men, Smallville, and many more.

Is it any wonder I have a tough time focusing on my writing with views like these? 🙂

This week I read a broad spectrum of books with the common theme of personal growth, so let’s get started. I’ve added a brief description, for more information you can click the covers, or the link provided at the end of each review.

The posts on this site may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase using a link.

I’ve been meaning to read Teagan Geneviene’s serial, Dead of Winter, for some time and finally picked up Book 1- Forlorn Peak this week and am glad I did!

The adventure begins in the Flowing Lands at Forlorn Peak. The Brethren are fanatics who gradually took over the Flowing Lands. They say all beliefs but theirs are heresy. Women are little more than property. Emlyn is only twelve, but to the Brethren she is an abomination. Why?

From the opening line

Night purpled a solitary cloud that drifted across the fullness of the Blood Moon.

Geneviene, Teagan Ríordáin. Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak (p. 8). Ríordáin Books. Kindle Edition.

Readers know they are going to be treated to a rich tapestry of settings and emotions, The story definitely lives up to its promise.

Young Emlyn is a seer. She has the ability to connect with ghosts from the past and otherworldly creatures who want something from her, but what? This ‘gift’ makes her an outcast not only within the community but her family, as well.

She remembers a time when singing was a sign of happiness, and the songs passed down within the female members of her family a source of comfort.

She loved it when they all sang.  Emlyn imagined that if she could see their voices, the sounds would sparkle like sunlight on the water. 

Geneviene, Teagan Ríordáin. Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak (p. 12). Ríordáin Books. Kindle Edition.

Now they’re banned, a secret she carries deep within. A nursery rhyme from her childhood, barely remembered, reverberates in her soul, a portend of things to come?

This is a quick, but immersive, read. The writing is beautiful, the storyline inventive. I can’t wait to start the next journey!


In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a desperate family seeks a new beginning in the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska only to find that their unpredictable environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature.

#1 New York Times Instant Bestseller (February 2018)
People “Book of the Week”
Buzzfeed’s “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction Reads of 2018”
Seattle Times’s “Books to Look Forward to in 2018”

POW Ernt Allbright returns from Vietnam changed. Gone is the loving family man, leaving a paranoid, angry shell in its place. He can’t hold a job, can’t sleep, drinks too much, and loves his wife and daughter to the point of desperation. He keeps them moving from place to place, always looking for a peace he cannot find. When a friend who died in the war deeds him a piece of land and a cabin in Alaska, Ernt assures his family that finally they will find their forever home.

But life is never that easy.

Alaska isn’t about who you were when you headed this way. It’s about who you become.

The Great Alone- Kristin Hannah

Leni might only be thirteen, but she’s had to navigate the tumultuous waters of her parents’ relationship for years and knows well her father’s explosive temper. She’s worried what Alaska will mean for her and her mother, Cora. How will they survive the endless winter months with eighteen hours of darkness and subzero temperatures in a one-room cabin with a man she’s becoming more frightened of every day?

After that and all the way home, he said nothing, which should have been better than yelling, but it wasn’t. Yelling was like a bomb in the corner: you saw it, watched the fuse burn, and you knew when it would explode and you needed to run for cover. Not speaking was a killer somewhere in your house with a gun when you were sleeping.

The Great Alone- Kristin Hannah

There’s good in Alaska, from a community who embraces the family, helping them to prepare for winter, the stunning views, and a possible romance in the making. But a group of militants create discord and feed into Ernt’s radical government views, adding to his erratic behavior.

When emotions build to a volcanic eruption, leaving one dead and two on the run, will the wild beauty of Alaska hide their secrets?

This is an epic story set in the land of the midnight sun. A dangerous, wild country where survival hinges on hours of hard work and preparation. You might make one mistake and live, but the second will kill you.


A powerful man finds the one woman who completes him in this reader favorite, the second book in the Moorehouse Legacy series, from New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward writing as Jessica Bird, first published as His Comfort and Joy!

J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is in my top ten all-time reads, so when I came across this contemporary romance written in her pen name, Jessica Bird, I had to see if her snarky wit showed up in her earlier works and I’m happy to say, it does!

Gray Bennett is a mover and shaker in DC, when he talks people listen, but the more time he spends in that toxic world the more he hates the person he’s become. Then he returns to his family home and runs into spunky, beautiful Joy, and his jaded heart is smitten.

Joy has loved Gray Bennett for years, but never expected him to take notice of the hometown girl until tragedy strikes and brings them together in a thrilling affair that becomes so much more than either could have envisioned.

If you’re looking for a steamy romance with a heartwarming conclusion, this is the book for you.


A humorous and heartwarming novel about friendship and all its little secrets by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jamie Beck.

Amazon Link

New York Times Bestseller, and staunch feminist, Harper Ross is in trouble. Her last novel garnered a host of bad reviews and cost her the wealth and popularity she worked so hard to achieve. If she can’t come up with an amazing concept, and soon, the publisher will cancel her contract and Harper will have to face her well-meaning parents who believe a woman’s place is in the home. In a last ditch effort, Harper moves to the burbs and takes to spying on her neighbors for inspiration.

Wendy Moore is fighting empty-nester syndrome along with a decades old kleptomania problem she keeps carefully under wraps. Stress triggers the urge though, and suspicion over her husband’s flagging libido sends her next door to new neighbor Harper Ross. Maybe befriending the young woman, setting her up on a date, and helping with a refurbishing project will get her over the hurdle before she gets arrested and ruins her family’s standing in town.

This is the story of two secretive women who use their friendship for their own self-interests and ultimately learn trust and forgiveness is the key to happiness.

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”


I always enjoy stories involving strong women overcoming different life crises. All of these books have powerful lessons and are must-reads!

This is a mini rose vine- it’s doing wonderful this year!

49 Comments

  1. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader says:

    These are very different reads here Jacquie! I was always tempted to read The Greater Alone but her sad endings (from the books I have read from her) leave me very hesitant to do it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It was sad, but inspiring, too, if that makes sense? I think you’d love it, Sophie.

      Like

  2. Great reviews and lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing, Jacquie. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Harmony. These are all good reading choices.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your photos, Jacquie. Thanks for sharing your reviews today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jill. I love living on the island and have to share its beauty! 🙂

      Like

  4. Staci Troilo says:

    Excellent reviews, Jacquie. And excellent VIEWS. (I knew that castle looked familiar. The second you said “Smallville” I was sucked right back to it.) I don’t know how you get anything done with castles and water surrounding you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not easy, Staci, lol

      Like

  5. Mae Clair says:

    You’ve definitely been reading, Jacquie! And what beautiful views to soak in while enjoying a good book. I’m supremely jealous, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do love living here, Mae, but you have a pool to lounge beside, so we’re both in a good place 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent views and reviews, Jacquie. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, John. Always happy to share views of the island 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. balroop2013 says:

    I love your reviews Jacquie, they always inspire me to pick up at least one book out of them. Thanks for the recommendations. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad Balroop. These are all great choices 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Great reviews, Jacquie. You’ve been reading some good books. What a beautiful castle and view of the ocean, I’d be distracted too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With gas at $2.21 a litre we aren’t doing much travelling these days, so books are my getaway-from-it-all 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jan Sikes says:

    Fantastic reviews, Jacquie! You are going to enjoy Emlyn’s journey in the Dead of Winter series. I am intrigued by all of these. My poor bulging Kindle! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol, I know! I added Jagged Feathers and at least three others this week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jan Sikes says:

        Whoo hoo!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for being part of the Journeys, Jan. I’m working away on the conclusion. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Jacquie, what a gorgeous post. Those views really are inspiring. Wow! I love how you formatted the quotes for your reviews. You’ve definitely made me want to read books that I might have otherwise passed by.
    Now, please excuse me for a moment while I do a wild happy dance……
    ………..
    Sorry, still dancing…
    ………… Wheew!
    I’m so excited that you enjoyed the first installment of Dead of Winter! This weekend, I typed “The End” on the concluding “Journey.” Now for the other half of the work. LOL.
    Thank you so very much. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, I’m glad I made you do the happy dance, my friend 🙂
      Really enjoyed book 1 of Dead of Winter and hope to start the second journey soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. petespringerauthor says:

    I was staring at the book by J.R. Ward (Jessica Ward), wondering why that title sounded so familiar. Then it hit me—I read a book with that same title by Jacquie Biggar. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, that’s what drew me to the cover initially, Pete, then I realized it was by J. R. Ward and it sealed the deal 🙂
      Thanks again for reading and reviewing my story {{hugs}}

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Jacqui, I recently read Journeys 10 and 11 of Dead of Winter and I have written my reviews, I just need to post them later this week. A great series. I like the idea of the book about Alaska, it sounds most interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I still have a lot of catching up to do on Teagan’s series but enjoyed the first one immensely.
      The Great Alone should be made into a movie, if it’s not already!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jacquie, the beauty of starting now is that you don’t have to wait for each installment. 😀 Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Teagan’s series just gets better and better. I never watch TV or movies, but I do want to read this.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Robbie, I’m so happy that you continue to be part of the Journeys. Your reviews mean a lot to me. I hope you loved those two. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. HI Teagan, my reviews are up on Roberta Writes. I loved them, this story just gets better and better. I am also looking forward to PIp’s new stories.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Such wonderful reviews, Jacquie, and I love the spot where you find inspiration. Alaska does seem unique. So much raw truth up there. I love reading about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be an unforgiving land, I’m sure. We went to Yellowknife one summer and I was struck by the vastness of the tundra- beautiful but deadly.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It does seem both, which might explain why I love it as a setting.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. olganm says:

    Great reviews, Jacquie. I’m a fan of Dead of Winter and I am always intrigued by novels set in Alaska. I’ll check your recommendations!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Teagan is a wonderful writer. I look forward to reading more journeys through Dead of Winter soon.
      Apparently, Kristin Hannah’s family owns a lodge in Alaska and have for generations. I’m sure it gave her a deeper insight into the land and its people and helped her create this unforgettable story.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Heartfelt thanks for all the care you take in your reviews, Olga, and for staying with the Journeys. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great reviews, Jacquie. How fun that you’re starting Teagan’s journeys. I didn’t like having to wait for each one, but you’ll be able to read them whenever you want! Yay. “The Great Alone” sounds like one I’d thoroughly enjoy since I love wilderness stories. Congrats to all the authors on the wonderful reviews. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think I’d have the strength of spirit to handle an Alaskan winter, but some seem to thrive under the challenging landscape.
      Teagan’s already hooked me with the first of her Dead of Winter journeys, I look forward to reading more.
      Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I prefer cold over heat, but a short winter is my preference, Jacquie. I don’t think Alaska is for me either. (As I sit here in the PNW bundled in my bathrobe with cold feet… in June).

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Teri Polen says:

    What stunning views! When you mentioned X-Men, I immediately recognized the castle. Teagan’s series has been on my list since the release of the first book, but I haven’t been able to get to it yet. Really looking forward to reading it – the reviews have been wonderful. Have a great weekend, Jacquie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’ll love Teagan’s imagery in this series, Teri.
      The castle is beautiful. It sits on Royal Roads University grounds, is surrounded by gorgeous gardens, and peacocks roam the lawns!

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I don’t think I could concentrate on writing with the castle and the ocean views, Jacquie! Great reviews of a variety of books you read last month. I better start reading Teagan’s Dead of Winter Journey. The Great Alone sounds like an emotional read. I wouldn’t go to Alaska to start my new life though! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Teagan’s fantasy series is going to be extraordinary, Miriam.
      The lure of a free home and parcel of land drew the Allbright family to the promise of a fresh start in Alaska, but Ernt’s demons won’t let go. It’s a powerful read that I couldn’t put down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could understand the Allbright family situation, Jacquie. My friend’s son came back from Iraq. He suffered from PTSD, couldn’t stop crying for years. After long period of counseling, he applied for jobs and got some. But whenever the panic attack came, he had to leave the office. My friend and his wife were very patient. Finally she got him a security guard job at the college where she works.

        When I worked as a rehab counselor, one client was a Vietnam vet who had the same situation. He said whenever he closed his eye, he saw his friend dead next to him.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Those poor men. I wish we could throw the warring country’s leaders in a pen and let them hash it out instead of destroying so many other lives.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I know, a small bunch of people alternate so many lives. Sadly, Iraq war was our big mistake.

            Liked by 1 person

  18. Toni Pike says:

    Fantastic reviews, Jacquie – these all look wonderful. I love your photos. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Toni. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices 🙂

      Like

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