Sunday, June 24, 2018

More Than Eye Candy

More Than Eye Candy
Bookworms are familiar with the phrase
"between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be."
My amendment to this quote would be
"between the pages of a Karen Witemeyer book is a lovely place to be." 
Fans rejoiced as a new book by this talented author More Than Meets the Eye
 (A Patchwork Family novel) hit the shelves on June 5th.
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Warning: Slight Spoiler...
you may need some tissues handy when reading the prologue.

Evangeline "Evie" Hamilton "[is] no stranger to loss, to hurt feelings, [or] prejudice." (Witemeyer,64).
All her life, society has rejected her due to her mismatched eyes,
yet through it all Evie chooses to remain optimistic and sunny. 
For the past seven years Logan Fowler has been focused on revenge against
the man who devastated his family and stole their land.
What he doesn't expect is to meet and fall for the beautiful
and exceptional sister of his sworn enemy.
Eva (Logan's nickname for Evangeline) has him contemplating derailing his "plans"
of retribution against Zach Hamilton.
And so begins the journey of More Than Meets the Eye.

Ms. Witemeyer is a gifted author who continually delivers exceptional stories
with diverse characters, and her works are always rooted in gospel truth.

I just have to mention how visually captivating the cover of More Than Meets the Eye is.
The design team captured the essence of Ms. Witemeyer's novel.
Also, I love Evie's sweet look and head tilt on the spine of the book!  
Your summer isn't complete until you've read
Karen Witemeyer's More Than Meets the Eye.

~~More Than Meets the Eye was provided to me by author herself and Bethany House in return for my honest opinion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. ~~

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Gallant Guardianship

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The Accidental Guardian kicks off Mary Connealy's brand new High Sierra Sweetheart series.

Deborah 'Deb' Harkness along with her sister Gwen are traveling with a wagon train headed for California.

Deb becomes the lone witness to an attack on their camp with only her sister and the two children in their care surviving.

Due to a tragedy that happened in his youth, Trace Riley has become a guardian of the trail when he encounters Deb, Gwen and the children.  He knows very little about women and even less about children, nevertheless he helps this small group to the best of his ability by taking them back to his spread of land and providing for them.

Deb is stunned by the kindness and generosity of Trace having experienced none from her own father.

When Trace finds out that Deb could identify one of the men who attacked their wagon trail he's determined to protect her and put an end to this once and for all.

The Accidental Guardian has a different, slightly more serious tone than some of Ms. Connealy's previous books. It still contained elements of her sarcastic humor readers have come to love, but it erred more on the solemn side. I believe this showed her growth as an author and presented readers another side of herself.

I hope others find Ms. Connealy's character Trace to be as charming and chivalrous as I did.

~~The Accidental Guardian was provided to me by Bethany House in return for my honest opinion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. ~~

Monday, May 28, 2018

Life, Faith and Getting it Right: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

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Sarah Hollenbeck a.k.a. Raine de Bourgh has made a name for herself writing secular, sizzling, romance novels. When she's saved through the witnessing of her friend Piper, she struggles to reconcile her past with her future in Christ.

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is Ms. Bethany Turner's debut novel and I hope will not be her last! Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Turner. She was hilarious, sincere, down-to- earth, and straightaway put me at ease.

The author doesn't shy away from candidly exploring the trials of the Christian Life that we experience in today's society.

How Ms. Turner presented the character of Sarah was unique. She doesn't overly describe what she looks like and in this case I think it was smart because the reader can form their own idea of how they imagine her appearance.

Sarah is genuine in her newfound faith if not somewhat hilariously misguided at times.

If Sarah Hollenbeck stepped from the pages of this book I have a feeling we would have been friends in real life.

From the second she meets Ben Delany I was instantly caught up in their whirlwind romance. I appreciated that both Sarah and Ben strove to honor God in their relationship.

I'd love if the author wrote more books about Ben and Sarah. Not quite ready to say goodbye to these characters yet. Also, can the best friend Piper please get her own happy ending?!

 The cultural references cleverly woven into scenes to add humor or make a point was hands down my favorite part of the book. I also enjoyed the witty chapter titles. It piques your curiosity and makes you want to read further.

Congrats Ms. Turner on a delightful, charming, and funny debut novel.

Christ's Strength Made Perfect in Our Weakness

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Together Forever Orphan Train Book 2

Jody Hedlund continues her moving Orphan Train series in Together Forever. 
 Middle sister Marianne Neumann, nineteen is our main character in this story. She is now a placing agent for the Children's Aid Society.  With this position Marianne is hopeful that it will help her find her younger sister Sophie.

Embarking on her first placement mission to Illinois, Marianne didn't realize how this journey would change her in ways she couldn't have foreseen. She along with fellow agent Andrew 'Drew' Brady are responsible for placing thirty-one children ranging from three years to sixteen. Drew is the more experienced agent and Marianne quickly sees he "[Has] bottomless kindness and a tender, sweet way of interacting...the children adored him." (Hedlund, 61).

Having been introduced to Marianne's character in the first book of the series (With You Always), I was a little hesitant as to how I'd react to her.  However, the author had a good balance of explaining her previous actions, showing genuine remorse and a want to change. She portrayed her (Marianne)  as an extremely likable and sympathetic character.

Together Forever was an emotionally gripping story where Drew and Marianne come to realize Christ's strength is made perfect in their weakness.

 A gifted author, Ms Hedlund  does extensive historical research making the reader feel that they've been transported to the time period the story is set in.

Recently, I had the honor of meeting Ms. Hedlund.  What a thrill for me! Having been a fan of her work for years it was truly a delight to come face to face.  She was everything I imagined her to be and more.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Playing the Part is Particularly Amusing

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Flawless New York stage actress Miss Lucetta Plum's star is on the rise.  However, when a fan's interest turns threatening, she's convinced by Mrs. Abigail Hart, a widowed friend and meddling matchmaker, to travel to her very eligible grandson's estate.

The estate?  A 'haunted 'castle known as Ravenwood.
The eligible grandson? The peculiar Mr. Bram Haverstein.

Initially, Lucetta isn't sure what to make of Bram. She finds him more than a little odd with his menagerie of quirky animals and reformed household staff, and she's annoyed at his obvious infatuation with her.

Starstruck Bram soon discovers that the 'real' Miss Plum is nothing like the damsels in distress she plays so convincingly on stage. Rather "...difficult  may be part of [her] charm. It's far more delightful than bossy." (Turano, 124).

Both Bram and Lucetta have secrets they are keeping. Will they be able to reveal them to one another before it's too late?

 The author perpetuates the perfect balance of banter between the leads while adding just the right amount of romantic attraction.

While Playing the Part is the 3rd book in Ms. Turano's A Class of Their Own series it can be read as a stand alone.

Warning: Reading this book in public is not advised as the reader will likely break out in bursts of laughter periodically.  I guarantee it!

Hidden Affections Falls Short

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Annabelle Tyler is en route to Philadelphia to start a new life after her husband's betrayal and divorce.  Re-marriage to  handsome, eligible bachelor and notorious womanizer, Harrison Graymoor is not part of her plan.

When their stagecoach is attacked, the bandits handcuff Annabelle and Harrison together. To protect themselves against the elements they spend the night in the coach unchaperoned...

Propriety mandates he marry her to salvage her reputation. Harrison assures her they can have the marriage annulled.

For two people who are vehemently opposed to marriage, precarious situations and the people in their lives seem intent on  keeping them together.

Hidden Affections is the first book I've read by author Delia Parr. There were aspects I liked about this book and others I struggled with.
Annabelle was sweet and unpretentious. Genuine in her love for God and in her walk with Him. At times, I found her almost too perfect. This made her hard to relate too as a character.

Harrison was a man who was deeply wounded by past losses of his family.  He'd closed his heart off to love thinking if he never married he wouldn't get hurt. His character evolves and he sees his view is misguided.

Normally, plots that involve 'marriages of convenience' intrigue me, but I felt like Hidden Affections came up short.  My primary issue with this book is that both characters were so set on getting a divorce. In the beginning this story had promise, but for me the ending was not what I was expecting.

The great thing about books and booklovers is each work and each individual's preferences vary...(while I didn't) you may love the book!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Living Life One Limb at a Time

 Widow Lady Keturah 'Ket' Banning Thomlinson and her younger sisters unexpectedly find themselves heiresses of Tabletop, their recently deceased father's West Indies sugar plantation. With his loss, the girls soon realize how much debt he's accumulated over his lifetime Their only recourse is to travel to the notorious island of Nevis and salvage what's left of their inheritance. This action flies against all convention of the time, women didn't travel unchaperoned let alone run plantations. 

Childhood friend Gray Covington owns property adjacent to the Banning sisters.  He seeks to make a success of his plantation and has gambled every penny of his inheritance into this task. He's been in love with Keturah since they were young and he's hopeful that by making his fortune he'll be able to ask for her hand.
   Ket's abusive first marriage has made her tenacious and determined to never ever have to rely on a man for anything. This kind of thinking went against the tradition of the period, basically that a women's sole purpose was to find a husband that would provide for her. 

Will Ket be able to make Tabletop profitable and save their legacy? And more importantly, will she be able to change her views on re-marriage and come to  realize Gray's in love with her before it's too late?

Keturah was my first introduction to books penned by Lisa T. Bergren and will not be my last. I"m hopeful that younger sisters Verity and Selah get their own stories in the Sugar Baron series. 


       Reading is an adventure,

~~Keturah was provided to me by Bethany House in return for my honest opinion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. ~