Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss

"In 1885 five western preachers sit around a campfire talking about unlikely couples they've seen God bring together.
Spitfire Sweetheart by Mary Connealy
Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.
Love Letter to the Editor by Robin Lee Hatcher
Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He’s resolved to change Molly's mind about him—as an editor and as a man.
A Cowboy for Katie by Debra Clopton
Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie’s mind?
Courting Trouble by Margaret Brownley
Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive—or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case—until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace."

My review:  If you have never read books by some of these authors, these novellas are a great way to find out what you think of them.  The beginning gives a bit of an introduction to the stories that will follow, and I thought it very appropriate and engaging.  I loved Maizy in Spitfire Sweetheart.  She kept me laughing and guessing what would happen to her next.  In Love Letter to the Editor, I appreciated Jack and his attitude toward Molly.  A Cowboy for Katie was my favorite.  Debra Clopton did an excellent job making Katie weak and strong at the same time.  Katie's physical issues were portrayed in such a way that the reader understood what she was going through.  Courting Trouble I have to say was my least favorite.  I think because the story-line just didn't ring true to me.  It was fun to read, but it just wasn't real.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Captured by Love

"Michigan Territory, 1814
A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger
discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.


As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love."

My review:  I love getting a glimpse of history in historical novels.  Captured by Love is a book full of adventure that is centered around historical events.  Judy Hedlund does an excellent job developing her characters and drawing the reader into the story.  Danger, unexpected twists, and romance make this is a book that you won't want to put down.  The characters are real with real struggles and fears, and they also have placed their trust in a God that is real.  I appreciate the message of faith and trust in God that is found in the pages of this book.  I look forward to reading more by this author.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Seagrass Pier

Book description:  "Seagrass Pier is the perfect place for Elin to hide from a killer, but an old love's ability to see her true heart could be her undoing.
When Elin Summerall contracted a virus that damaged her heart, she was lucky to get a transplant. At first it was an overwhelmingly good gift. But then she began to remember a murder she never witnessed—the murder of her heart's donor.
When she reveals what she knows to a disbelieving police officer, she's exposed as a witness and must flee for her life to a remote cottage on Hope Beach.
Fearing what might happen to her daughter and mother, she asks Marc Everton for help, though she hasn't seen him since the night her father died. She remembers that night with shame, and she never told Marc about their daughter.
Marc is less than convinced that Elin's "memories" are real. He is blindsided by the news about his daughter, but for her sake, he agrees to help. Then he begins to notice the small ways Elin is different. She now likes coffee, her musical tastes have changed, and she's ditched her jeans and sneakers for dresses and high heels.
As Elin tries to stay alive and bring the killer to justice, she begins to doubt her own identity. Did her new heart save her life only to cause her to lose herself? And if she's really changed, why does her new heart love Marc just as much as her old one did?"
My review:  This was another good book by Colleen Coble but not my favorite.  The part of the plot that includes Elin's memories that come from her heart donor is one that I have read before.  I just can't remember the book or the author.  I enjoyed the characters and the mystery, as well as the diary entries that gave the history and mystery of the house at Seagrass Pier, but the "memories" and preference changes that Elin has are just too unrealistic.  All in all it is still a book that will  draw the reader in and hold their interest until the end.  I received a complimentary e-copy from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Child of Mine

Book description:  "Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.

Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines's baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile. 

Can this be, at long last, Kelly's beloved daughter?"

My review:  I loved this book and couldn't put it down!  The characters became real and the surprises didn't end.  I don't want to spoil the book, but suffice it to say, I didn't come close to figuring everything out. I think that this is Beverly Lewis's best book yet.  She and her husband did an exceptional job with the unusual plot, characters, and message.  I can't say enough good about this book.  Child of Mine should be at the top of a summer reading list.  I would love to read a sequel, but at the same time I would be hesitant.  Child of Mine would be hard to top!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Book description:  "Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the fa├žade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?"

My review:  This is a very emotional book, and the title is very appropriate.  I loved the book, but I especially loved the message.  God loves to take what is broken and make it something beautiful. Unconditional love and forgiveness are two themes that permeate the pages of this book.  The characters will enter the life of the reader and become real and personal.   Katie Ganshert did an amazing job writing this book.  It is one that I will not soon forget.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

A May Bride

Book description:  "She thinks she has prepared for her wedding all her life . . . but it seems she may have forgotten the most important part.
Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life-a wedding just like the one her younger sister is planning back home. Their single mom will pay for Alexa's wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom.
At a wedding at her church, Ellie bumps into a man who's one of the guests. She's noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn't trust freewheeling men like Gray.
When Ellie risks her own future for her sister's sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle to Ellie's family?
Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they've begun come crashing down?"
My review:  A May Bride is another good novella from the "A Year of Brides" series.  This one has a unique plot that shows that romance doesn't always run smoothly, and the family dynamics play a huge role in the relationship.  I enjoyed this novella, but it is not better than A March Bride.  That one is still my favorite. Though novellas tend to be a little rushed, this one didn't feel as rushed as some.  I also found A May Bride to be very down-to-earth.  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.    

A Mother's Secret

Book description:  "Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever? Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter. When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family - and the unconditional love - she’s longed for?"

My review:  This wasn't the best Amish novel I have ever read, but it was very good.  This book was the second in a series, but it could stand alone.  I did enjoy catching up with the characters from the first book though.  I appreciated the Biblical truths that were present throughout the book.  I liked how Carolyn handled her situation while continuing to be respectful to those that judged her.  A Mother's Secret gives a great example of how we should treat others.  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.