Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

Book description:  "A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are "far too fragile and frail" for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah's hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor--determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music--bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah's new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville's new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse--and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head--he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city's new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music--his father, who is dying. As Tate's ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman's trust when you've robbed her of her dream?

As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women's hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history--but the hearts of men."

My review:  This is a beautifully written story! While the story was mainly about Rebekah living in a world that would not recognize her accomplishments as a woman, the simple mountain life also collides with a successful world. The parallel lives of Rebekah and Tate bring a new level to this story. The difference is that Tate could overcome his background much more easily than Rebekah could overcome her obstacle of being a woman. I appreciate the Biblical themes that run through the story as well. There were so many pieces to this story and Mrs. Alexander wove them together so wonderfully to make a beautiful story! I think this was my favorite book in this series. I hated to see this book come to an end as well as the series. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. This is my honest review and all opinions are my own.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Because You're Mine by Colleen Coble

Book description:  "Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.
When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.
Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.
To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.
But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?"
My review: I couldn't read this book fast enough! I did figure out a couple of the main twists from the very beginning, which is unusual for me to do with this author. However, it did not take away from the excitement of the book. There are some books that you want to stay up reading but you don't. Then there are some books that you stay up reading because there is simple no way you can make yourself put it down. This is one of those books! The characters are little unbelievable, which again is unusual for this author, but this is a fiction book after all. The plot keeps moving and builds to the climax, which does not disappoint. The ending couldn't have been better. In spite of the fact that some of the aspects of this story do not represent the author's usual writing, this is an excellent book that I highly recommend. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 6, 2017

In the Shadow of Denali

Book description:  "Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel near the foot of Mount McKinley--Denali as it's still called by the natives. John is the wilderness and exploration guide for the wealthy tourists while Cassidy works in the kitchen as Cook's assistant. The entire staff buzzes with excitement during the busy days preparing for the President's imminent visit. His historic trip to dedicate the new national park on his way to driving in the golden spike to officially complete the Alaska Railroad will be the beginning of a new era for all of them and place The Curry at the heart of Alaska. 

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice to the seasoned Alaska mountain guide, with hopes of discovering the truth about his father's death on the mountain years earlier. His father's business partner blames the guide for Henry Brennan's untimely death, but Allan cannot be at peace until he knows for sure. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine."

My review:  I always look forward to reading books by Tracie Peterson, and this book certainly did not disappoint! Tracie Peterson along with Kimberley Woodhouse have written a book that pulled me into the story from the very first sentence, and I didn't want to put the book down. Even though the story is fictional, there are historical facts woven in. I always enjoy learning a little bit of history as I read these fictional stories. I also appreciate the Biblical truths that are sprinkled throughout without being over-the-top. There is a perfect balance.  Cassidy is one of those people who always seems like nothing can ever get her down, and just when you think that she has been made to be "too perfect" she is shown to be totally human like everyone else. Not only were the main characters outstanding, the supporting characters couldn't have been better. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish!  I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review posted on my blog. All opinions are my own.

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Book description:  "The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?"

My review:  I definitely enjoyed reading this book, but I would not rank it with the best books I have ever read. I didn't really like Jane very much at the beginning, so it took me awhile to get into the book. She acted too brainless for normal people. By the end of the book, she had proven that she was far from brainless.  Despite a slow start, the story did build appropriately to the climax. There was some intrigue that kept me guessing, and the outcome was satisfying. I think an appropriate sequel would help make this book that much more appealing. If you are given a chance to read this book, I would not pass it by, but if you have some favorite authors you are waiting to read, this one will definitely wait.  I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was only required to write a review for my blog. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Angel of Forest Hill

Book description:  "When Old Order Amish Rose Kurtz is asked to leave her family, travel deep into West Vir­ginia, and help Joel Dienner with his children in the wake of tragedy, the quiet young woman recognizes a home where she might find kindness instead of criticism and hope replacing harsh words. She agrees to stay in Forest Hill and become Joel’s wife for the sake of his family needs, but their marriage is to be a partnership, one built from need, not love and affection.

As the years pass, Rose continues to beckon Joel to join life again, to take joy in his growing children, and to awaken his heart to the possibility of new love. Joel hopes that Rose can move beyond deep-rooted hurts to see the beautiful Christmas ahead, their season. But will the arrival of a beautiful widow and a series of misunderstandings reverse how far Rose and Joel have come?"

My review:  I really enjoyed reading this book, but I was very disappointed in the length! I couldn't believe when I got to the end that it was finished.  The author had a great plot that was not nearly developed as fully as it could have been. There was a lot of room for the growth of her characters as well. I felt like I was rushed through the story. This is not typical of Cindy Woodsmall and it really surprised me. I think it is considered a full-length novel, but it is more like a novella to me. If you like short stories, this book is for you. It has a great story-line as well as great characters. I just wish I could have gotten to know them better. I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Royal Christmas Wedding

Book description:  " Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach?
College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.
Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.
When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.
Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?
In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew."

My review:  This has been a wonderful series to read! This fourth book in the series did not disappoint! A modern day fairy tale with characters that seem like family make for a book that you can't put down. It was great to catch up with some of the characters from the previous books as well. I hate to see the series come to an end. I especially enjoyed the bell ringing tradition that brought a little bit of the unexpected into the book. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that it is obviously the final book in this series. I highly recommend this whole series and look forward to reading more by this author! I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Love Made New

Book description:  "Abigail Schrock knows God can make all things new, but does that include her broken heart?
It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, she could be on her way down the wedding aisle. To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, while all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry.
Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—his good looks have always gotten him far. Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, a woman who seems determined to turn him away.
Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? Will she allow herself to stop running and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? If she does, she may just discover a love powerful enough to lift the heavy burden of grief weighing her down and restore her hope in a promising future."

My review:  I enjoyed reading this third book in the series An Amish of Birch Creek Novel. This a been a great series, but you don't necessarily have to read the first two before reading this one, although you won't want to miss any of them. Abigail goes through many struggles that are so readily found in our world today. Her insecurities lead her on a journey of learning to trust that God does want what is best for her and will bless her. While this series has come to an end, there is a sub-plot that leaves the reader wanting to know more. I am looking forward to the next book and possibly the beginning of a new series.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.