Saturday, December 16, 2017

Blue Ridge Sunrise

Book description: "Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe—a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?
Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love, Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.
As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love."
My review: This is not a book with everything falling into place perfectly.  Life happens and the characters are human. While this book does of course have a "perfect" ending, the path there is anything but. I appreciate that about this story. I thought the trips back in time helped with understanding the story. It gave more meaning to the plot and a better understanding of the characters. I have enjoyed other books by Denise Hunter and this one was no exception. Her characters are relatable and her plots are well-developed. If you are looking for a good book to read over the holidays, this is one I can recommend. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Out of the Ordinary

Book description:  "Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader's eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can't help coming to his friend's defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn."

My review: If you need a good laugh, this is the book for you! Just when you think circumstances can't get any more comical, you find that you are mistaken. Jen Turano has a way with words, and while this book is titled Out of the Ordinary, all her books seem to be anything but ordinary. Even the characters names show a great sense of humor. I loved Gertrude and the development of her character and Mrs. Sinclair and her eccentric ways, but Harrison Sinclair was actually my favorite. Many times I just had to shake my head as I chuckled.  Frankly to me it seemed the ending was a bit rushed. I think so much time was spent on the unusual events, that the story line stalled some and the ending had to be rushed. In spite of a rushed ending, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. All my opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

To Wager Her Heart

Book description:  "Can a railroad man and a Southern Belle turned teacher find a way to work together to achieve their dreams in the new reality of the post-Civil War South?
Sylas Rutledge, former gambler and new owner of the East Line Railway, invests everything he has into this venture, partly to see if he can do it—but mostly to avenge his father. One man holds the key to the railway’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sylas Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver in high society, and when he meets Alexandra Donelson, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor.
Spurning her family’s wishes that she marry, Alexandra Donelson is pursuing her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But her family does not approve, and ultimately, her father expels her from the family home and cuts her off completely.
Through her friendship with Mary Harding, Alexandra is thrown together with both General Harding and Sylas Rutledge. And she soon finds herself falling in love with a man whose roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility.
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win the hand of the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.
Set at Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, To Wager Her Heart is a sweeping Southern love story about a nation mending after war, the struggle to move a country forward, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves for who they truly are—and can be—with each other."
My review: While this wasn't my favorite book in this series, it was still very good! I love to read historical fiction especially when the author researches carefully and includes plenty of historical detail. Tamera Alexander is one of those authors. She carefully weaves her story around her historical detail, and the end result is fascinating story that you don't want to put down. I really enjoyed being introduced to Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers. The romance in this particular book is not as prominent in the story line as most books by this author. However, the lives of Alexandra and Sylas pull you into their story in such way that you don't really miss the romance. I have loved this series, A Belle Meade Plantation, and hate to see the series end. I do look forward to whatever Tamera Alexander writes next. I received copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger program. All opinons are my own.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cherished Mercy

Book description:  "Mercy Flanagan survived the Whitman Massacre as a child, and now her heart's cry is for peace between the native peoples and the white settlers inhabiting Oregon Territory. Unfortunately, most of the settlers want the tribes removed from the land completely, one way or another. 

At the request of family friend Eletta Browning, who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, Mercy travels south to the Rogue River Valley to help. At the Browning Mission, she meets Eletta's brother-in-law, Adam. Despite her attempts to befriend him, Adam seems determined to focus on ministering to the local tribes and keeps her at arm's length. Why is he so intent on pushing her away?

When tragedy strikes and tensions in the territory reach the combustion point, Mercy is pushed to the limit of her strength. She and Adam will have to rely on their faith in God and on each other in order to make it out alive."

My review:  What a difficult time period and topic to write about! But Tracie Peterson has done a wonderful job on this book. This is the third and final book in the Heart of the Frontier series. Unfortunately I have not read the first book, but if it is anything like books two and three in this series, it is a book I need to read! This book focuses on Mercy, the youngest of the Flanagan sisters. This is not necessarily a feel good book that you finish and forget as soon as you pick up your next book. This story and the tragedy yet hope will stay with you long after you finish the last page. The characters are human living during a difficult time in our history, and they show it in their feelings and actions. But, they know the Truth and the gospel is clearly lived and preached throughout the story.  I especially appreciate that about Tracie Peterson's books. She never shies away from presenting Biblical truths clearly without watering it down. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Bringing Maggie Home

Book description:  "Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?"

My review:  This story really intrigued me when I read the description. To set the story in the 1940's at the beginning and span 70 years and try and solve a cold case had me wondering how that could even be done. The flashbacks were helpful and fit into the story quite appropriately. The story as it unfolded was logical and kept me turning pages to see how the next event could take us closer to the resolution of the mystery. A thread of faith and hope is consistently present. I only felt that the resolution was tied up too quickly. A lot of time was spent getting to that point, but the actual investigation took a very short amount of time. It was disappointing to have everything wrapped up so quickly in the end. Even though I would have liked more time spent on the actual mystery, this was still a wonderful book. I look forward to more books by this author. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Beneath Copper Falls

Book description:  "Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?
As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancĂ© to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.
But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted."
My review: I don't think Colleen Coble is even capable of writing a bad book! This is another Rock Harbor book that you don't want to miss. There is just the right amount of suspense and intrigue. I wasn't able to figure out the killer until the very end, which I like. The romance is not overdone and compliments the story line exceptionally well. Catching up with characters from past novels is like catching with family especially in this series. Mrs. Coble tackled some difficult topics in this book. They were handled in a sensitive and tactful way. Overall this is just a great book! I received of copy of this  book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Gathering the Threads

Book description:  "Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?  

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart."

My review:   I was so excited to finally read the final installment of this series, The Amish of Summer Grove. I was certainly not disappointed, and was pleasantly surprised with the plot. While it did end the way the reader would expect, the path you take to get to the ending was not what I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters became like family and it was fun to see them develop through the story. Gathering the Threads challenges the reader to examine the reasons behind the convictions you have. Definitely a thought provoking book. If you have not read the first two books in this series, I would recommend reading them first. Some series you can jump into in the middle, but in my opinion this series needs to be read in order. I have enjoyed all three and hate to see the series come to a close. I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher. All opinions are my own.