Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

From the back of the book: Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can't seem to keep her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte's father, Daniel, pressures her to settle into a nice marriage, despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.

Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can't refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex's family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.

But when Alex's feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she descover that maybe this marriage isn't so inconvenient after all?

My review: The picture on the cover of The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck does not fit at all. I almost did not request a review copy because of the cover, but I am so glad I did! This is the first book I have read by Kathleen Y'Barbo. I enjoyed her writing style, and I loved the humor throughout the book. I never knew what Charlotte was going to do next, and loved her character because of it. This was one of those books that I didn't want to put down. Even though it is the third book in a series, I did not feel like I was missing anything from not having read the first two. However, if the first two are as funny and well-written as this one, I know I will thoroughly enjoy them! I look forward to reading more by this author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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An Unlikely Suitor

From the back of the book: New York dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she's designing her summer wardrobe. Grateful for Lucy's skill in creating fashions that hide her physical injury, Rowena invites Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, encouraging the unusual friendship.

One day Lucy encounters an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom. Yet Lucy resists, for what Newport man would want to marry an Italian dressmaker working to support her family?

Rowena faces an arranged marriage to a wealthy heir she doesn't love, but dare a crippled girl hope for anything better?

And Lucy's teenage sister, Sofia, falls for a man well above her social class-but is he willing to give up everything to marry a woman below his station?

As the lives of three young women-and their unlikely suitors-become entangled in a web of secrets and sacrifice, will the season end with any of them finding true happiness?

My review: This is another enjoyable historical novel that I can recommend. I enjoyed getting to know Lucy and Rowena. The author, Nancy Moser, did a great job distinguishing their stations and yet melding their lives together. Sofia was a frustrating yet likable character, and Lucy and Sofia's mother was a perfect balance for the two. It didn't take long to figure out the "secrets" of the book, so the ending was predictable. But, all in all this was a book that I really enjoyed reading. I am glad I gave the author another chance. I feel she redeemed herself after the last book I read by her. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Spring for Susannah

From the back of the book: With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Underhill agrees to go west to the Dakota territory to marry her minister's homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn't see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.

In spite of her petite size, Susannah surprises Jesse with her abilities. The years she spent as her father's veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse's ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.

But Susannah's feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can't believe that Jesse's praise-or the tenderness and love he shows-could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie.

My review: Writing my review for some books is very hard, and this is one such book. I was excited to read Spring for Susannah after reading the description from the back of the book. As I started reading I enjoyed Jesse's sense of humor, and the short prayerful phrases at the beginning of each chapter. His spiritual leadership and obvious love of God and the Scriptures was very evident. I wasn't far into the book, however, when the author seemed to become obsessed with bedroom scenes. I do enjoy a good romantic book, and while there was nothing inappropriate about the way these scenes were written, enough is enough! I kept thinking to myself, oh no, not again! If the reader is married she knows what happens between a husband and a wife. If the reader is a teenager or unmarried woman, constantly reading those types of scenes could lead to sinful desires or unwanted frustration. Our teens today are bombarded with sex almost everywhere they go. We need Christian fiction that portrays sex in a healthy way that is not overdone. And, that is exactly what this book is-overdone! Needless to say, I was happy to see Jesse leave to find work. However, his leaving did not fit his character. I found that to be inconsistent. Some of the minor characters did not seem necessary, and I couldn't understand what they had to do with the rest of the book. Some scenes were rushed and not fully developed, and the whole book ended very abruptly. I really wanted to like this book, but I do a lot of reading and this book fell far short! With so many other good novels to choose from, don't waste your time on this one! I received a complimentay copy of this book from the Litfuse Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

To celebrate her debut novel, Catherine and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away a Spring For Susannah Prize Package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond (for KINDLE)

To enter just click one of the icons below and then tell your friends! But hurry, giveaway ends on June 27th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 28th at 5 PM (6PM MST, 7PM CST, & 8PM EST) during Catherine's Spring for Susannah Book Club Party on Facebook! Catherine is rustling up some fun for the party - she'll be chatting about the story behind her novel, hosting a book club chat, testing your mail-order bride trivia skills, and giving away some GREAT prizes! Don't miss the fun and tell your friends!

Blog tour schedule

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Reluctant Queen

From the back of the book: You've read it as a Biblical tale of courage. Experience it anew as a heart-stirring love story. She was a simple girl faced with an impossible choice. He was a magnificent king with a lonely heart. Their love was the divine surprise that changed the course of history. The beloved story of Esther springs to fresh life in this inspired novel that vibrates with mystery, intrigue and romance.

My review: I think this is the best novel I have read in a long time! Joan Wolf did an excellent job tastefully weaving a love story about Esther. I couldn't put the book down! Although the story of Esther is well-known, this book helps the reader understand a little better what life might have been like for her to go from such a simple lifestyle to the magnificence of palace life. The reader does have to remember that this is a fiction book. A few things have been changed from the scriptural account and details have been added. I appreciate the fact that the author was careful to note that she took liberties with the story. Reading this book has given me a fresh desire to go back to the Scriptures to read and study the Biblical account of Esther again. A novel that incites the study of Scripture is a well-written novel indeed! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.