Saturday, March 30, 2024

Second Flash Fiction: Humble Pie

Hi Friends,

I just couldn't quite leave my fictional town of Copper Creek Haven and wanted to write another flash fiction story.  Who knows...maybe I'll write a whole series of stories around this town. 

Happy reading! 


Flash Fiction Story: Humble Pie 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

If the Boot Fits is a Fantastic Cinderfella Retelling

I just closed the book on If the Boot Fits and I can't stop smiling! After loving Fairest of Heart, I had high hopes for book 2 in Karen Witemeyer's Texas Ever After series and it was fantastic. Ms. Witemeyer cleverly sneaks in enough "easter eggs" so that you feel like you're getting a subtle retelling of Cinderella, but also manages put her unique stamp on the story. 

Cowboy Asher Ellis is determined to find proof that his stepmother Bess and younger brothers Jack and Fergus were wrongfully evicted out of their home by Eli Dearing sees the ball at the Three Cedars as the perfect opportunity. A plan that goes awry. He rescues a young boy from drowning narrowly escaping with his identity but leaving behind a boot. 

Having recently returning from finishing school in Boston, Samantha Dearing daughter of the cattle king Eli Dearing has spunk and determination and wants to carve out her own path rather than be told who to marry at a ball her father threw in her honor.  Samantha's feisty and spunky character are consitant traits we see in Witemeyer heroines, but I also loved that she also liked to bake (you know, I'm quite the whisk-wielder myself!) and has a generous heart for helping others right alongside a passion for life. 

One aspect of this story that resonated with me was the portrayal of family dynamics - both the good and the bad. Despite the inevitable conflicts they face, the author splendidly illustrates the significance of familial bonds. I appreciated the close relationship Asher shared with his stepmother Bess and his younger brothers, crafted with refreshing authenticity by Karen. Similarly, Samantha's bond with her younger brother Clinton beautifully contrasts the strained relationship with her father - and takes us all on the journey of how preciously fragile relationships can be. 

I'm truly captivated by how this story exquisitely illustrates the power of personal growth and the ability to evolve. Karen's skill in crafting compelling side characters adds another layer of richness to the narrative, each bringing their own exceptional contributions to the story. 

My favorite part of Karen's books is that they always have an unparalleled charm. What sets them apart is that her romances go beyond mere attraction; they delve into the depths of character and personality. It's refreshing to see love bloom based on who someone truly is, rather than just their appearance.

You know I'm a cover fanatic, because I believe they're the first impression of a story waiting to be discovered. Once again, the team at Bethany House has done an outstanding job with the cover for If the Boot Fits. It just makes you want to dive right into the story! 

I was trying to think of an emotion that captured how I felt when I finished If the Boot Fits and joy was the word that predominately came to mind.  There was so much joy within this fun and fresh retelling of Cinderella! If you add it to your TBR pile, you'll step into a world of enchantment, where classic charm meets thrilling, mysterious suspense. Don't miss out on the joy awaiting within these pages.

~~I purchased a paperback copy of If the Boot Fits from Baker Book House in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.~~

Monday, March 4, 2024

Calling on the Matchmaker is Lacking

After the tragic accidental death of her youngest sister, Finola Shannahan vows to become a nun to serve impoverished immigrant families believing that she doesn't deserve to have a family. When the local Irish matchmaker her father hires pairs her with Riley Rafferty, she finds her usual tactics to escape another match unsuccessful. 

Local wagon-maker Riley Rafferty is running for a mayoral election and sees his pairing with Finola Shannahan as helping him not only win the election, but also make a difference together. 

There were some hilarious moments in Finola and Riley's courtship that had me laughing out loud more than once and were my favorite parts in the book.

Jody Hedlund is an author that excels at creating chemistry between her hero and heroine and Calling on the Matchmaker will have you turning pages to find out if Riley and Finola get their happily ever after. Overall, Calling on the Matchmaker is a solid story. The characters are multi-dimensional, the plot has good pacing and doesn't lag. My only issue is the faith thread of the story was almost non-existent. Other than the characters mentioning the Lord and doing charitable works there was a minimal faith thread. I'm willing to admit that it's possible I completely missed the author's point if there was a faith storyline. 

SPOILERS AHEAD - Stop reading if you don't want to know major plot points. 

Personally, I thought Finola's story of the guilt over her sister's passing dragged out a little too long for my preference and continually trying to sabotage her engagement to Riley bothered me. I would have liked to see her married to Riley sooner and see how she deals with becoming a wife. All this to say, if you are okay with a minimal faith element and want a strong romantic story then Calling on the Matchmaker is for you. I'm such a fan of Jody Hedlund, however, this book was a 3 out of 5 stars for me overall. It just didn't pull me in the way other stories by her have. 

Ms. Hedlund does set up the reader nicely in anticipation of the 2nd book Saved by the Matchmaker releasing in August. It looks like book two contains one of my favorite tropes.... marriage of convenience.