Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Stranger's Secret by Laurie Alice Eakes - a book review



This story opens on the stormy, wild Cornish coast of England in 1813. Morwenna Penvenan, a young widow, has just witnessed a crime committed on her stretch of beach.  Some of the locals have lured a ship onto the sharp rocks in a practice called wrecking and Morwenna is suspected of organizing it.  The wreckers brutally kill everyone on the ship and all those who make it to shore.  After the wreckers leave, carrying off whatever they think is valuable, Morwenna investigates the scene, hoping to find clues as to who the wreckers are so that she can clear her name.  She comes upon the lone survivor, David. This is the synopsis from back cover:


As a grieving young widow, Morwenna only wants a quiet life for herself and her son. Until a man washes ashore, entangling her in a web of mystery that could threaten all she holds dear.

Lady Morwenna Trelawny Penvenan indulged in her fair share of dalliances in her youth, but now that she's the widowed mother to the heir of the Penvenan title, she's desperate to polish her reputation. When she's accused of deliberately luring ships to crash on the rocks to steal the cargo, Morwenna begins an investigation to uncover the real culprits and stumbles across an unconscious man lying in the sea's foam—a man wearing a medallion with the Trelawny crest around his neck.

The medallion is a mystery to David Chastain, a boat builder from Somerset. All David knows is that his father was found dead in Cornwall with the medallion in his possession after lying and stealing his family's money. And he knows the widow who rescued him is impossibly beautiful—and likely the siren who caused the shipwreck in the first place—as well as the hand behind whoever is trying to murder David.

As Morwenna nurses David back to health and tries to learn how he landed on her beach, suspicion and pride keep their growing attraction at bay. But can they join together to save Morwenna's name and estate and David’s life? Can they acknowledge the love they are both trying to deny?”

At times I felt this story moved too slowly and other times I wish the author had taken more time.  There were several times I found myself having to re-read sections to be sure I understood correctly what she was trying to convey.  There is a large list of characters who, in a couple of instances, she uses different names for, which added to the confusion.  I was also confused about her grandparents and their treatment of her and hers of them.  At times they are portrayed as controlling, bossy and overbearing, but at other times they express a genuine concern  and caring for Morwenna.  Those are just a few of the concerns I had with this book.  On the other hand, I really enjoyed the author’s portrayal of the countryside and seaside.  You can almost hear the waves crashing against the rocky shore.  It is apparent that she did extensive research of not only the physical attributes of the area but also the customs and practices of the time.  I also liked the fact that while this is a romance, it was clean.  That’s not to say it was boring.  The author did a good job of portraying romantic attraction while still maintaining an appropriate relationship between Morwenna and David. 

The author mentions God and faith many times but it is in no way obtrusive or preachy.

This is the second book in the Cliffs of Cornwall series and while it is a stand alone novel, it might have been helpful to have read the first one.
As I stated before, this book moves a bit slow.  It is not something you can read in an evening.  However, it has all the elements you would want in a Regency romance, mystery, murder, suspense, secrets, intrigue, tension, tenderness and love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan
Publishers
through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton - a book review




Set in the Adirondack mountain area of New York State, this novel takes the reader back to the time of the founding of our country.  Unlike other stories I’ve read about this time period, this book gives the reader insights into the impact the pre-Revolutionary War sentiments had on the native American people.  The author provides a glossary of terms and a helpful Oneida moon calendar. 

Lori Benton’s depiction of the area and customs of the time period gives the reader insights into the minds of not only the American settlers and soldiers but also the British forces and the Native Americans and transports the reader back to a very volatile time in the history of our nation.

This is from the publisher’s website:

“At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

  The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.
  On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.
  When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him? “


I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical Christian romance.  It is not a preachy book but the message of God’s love is clearly an important part of the story.

This review is based on an Advance Reading Copy and is an uncorrected proof.  You may find that the retail copy is slightly different.


I received a complimentary  ARC copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Love's Rescue by Christine Johnson - a book review



This is another book that was supposed to be reviewed during a blog tour.  I have decided that blog tours and I don’t get along. I most likely won’t be doing one of those again. 

This book begins in the mid 1800’s and is set in Key West and is centered around the shipping industry of the time.  When we first meet the lead female character, Elizabeth, she is a young girl who has developed a school girl crush on an older sea faring man.  Because of her selfish actions during a hurricane, her younger brother suffers a serious injury that leaves him paralyzed.    The author then skips ahead four years.  Elizabeth has been living in Charleston with her aunt who was hoping she would find a suitable husband.  Instead, Elizabeth, as headstrong as ever, has decided to go back home to help her father take care of her brother after her mother’s death.  Unfortunately their ship is involved in a shipwreck.  They would have drowned had it not been for Rouke O’Malley, the one man she couldn’t forget.

The author does a great job of weaving a tale of mystery, suspense and love.  You can almost hear the waves crashing on the shore and feel the sweltering heat of the tropical weather.  She takes us on a journey of self discovery, redemption and reawakening of faith.

This is from the publisher’s website:

Can a girl enamored with the adventurous seas ever be content with the tame life of a Southern belle?

When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to perform her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws you into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy South.”



I really enjoyed this book.  The writing was good and there was never a time that I felt like I wanted to skip pages.  It was never boring.  

You can read more about the author on her website 










I received a complimentary copy of this e-book from  Baker Publishing Group through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

Monday, June 01, 2015

Maggie Bright, A novel of Dunkirk - a book review and blog tour



Maggie Bright  by Tracy Groot

This book is about a boat named Maggie Bright and the woman who inherits it.  It’s also about WW II and the men and women whose lives were forever changed by it.  It’s certainly not your usual romance novel, in fact, the romance is not the main focus of the story.  It seems to be more of  an under lying thread,  almost like an afterthought.  However, this doesn’t diminish the story at all.  The relationships between all the characters and a common goal that connects them keeps the story flowing.

It took me a while to catch on to the writer’s style.  She switches ‘scenes’ frequently and it was a bit confusing at first.  I don’t know whether I just got used to it or if it happened less often, but after a while, it seemed easier to follow.

There is a long cast of characters that I had a hard time keeping straight in my mind but you soon get to know them.

Here’s the plot synopsis from the publisher:


England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.
Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.
The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.”

 This is an excellent story about the beginning of a very turbulent time in history. It is apparent that the author did extensive research on the subject.

It is also a story of faith, some strong and some wavering. 


I highly recommend this book.  I know I will be looking for more of her novels.  Visit Tracy's website for more information on her other books.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Creole Princess by Beth White - a book review



This review was supposed to be part of a blog tour, but I missed it.  I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the book to arrive in the mail.  I’m not sure how it happened but it was sent to me as a digital download.  I usually request print books because I really like to feel of holding a book in my hands.  In any event, by the time I had figured out that it was a ebook, I didn’t have time to read it and join the tour.  Not being very technology savvy, it took me a while to figure out how to download it to my kindle.  I finally figured it out so hopefully, if I get another ebook download, I’ll know what to do.

I enjoyed this book.  The historical setting was really interesting,  It is set in the Revolutionary war days but not in the usual setting of New England.  It is set in the south and involves the relationships between the Spanish, French and the American patriots.  This is a story of spies, intrigue, family tension, the effects of slavery, secrets and love.  There is plenty of swashbuckling action set amid decadent balls and house parties.  The author’s description of life in a busy eighteenth century seaport makes you feel like you’re there. 


The only problem I had with this book is the author’s use of French and Spanish terms.  The reader is left to translate. 


This is from the publisher’s website:


“Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.


It is 1776, and all along the eastern seaboard the American struggle for independence rages. But in the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is much quieter--though no less deadly.
Lyse Lanier may be largely French in heritage, but she spends most of her time in the company of the ebullient daughter of the British commander of Mobile. When a charming young Spanish merchant docks in town, Lyse is immediately struck by his easy wit and flair for the dramatic. But is he truly who he makes himself out to be? Spies abound, and Spain has yet to choose a side in the American conflict. Is Lyse simply an easy mark for Rafael Gonzalez to exploit? Or are his overtures of love as genuine as Spanish gold?
With spectacular detail that brings the cultural gumbo of the Colonial Gulf Coast alive, Beth White invites you to step into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known slice of the American Revolutionary War.”


If you enjoy reading historical romances set in this time period, I would recommend adding this book to your library.


I received a complimentary digitsal copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey - a book review



This book was a bit of a change for me. I usually read and review Historical or Amish Christian romances.  This book is a contemporary Christian mystery.  It keeps you in suspense right up to the very end. 

It is set in Alaska and revolves around the famed Iditarod race.  Pettrey’s descriptions of the terraine, landscape, race and the equipment and techniques really make you feel as if you are right there.  The relationships between the characters is very real and believable. 


The publisher describes the book like this:


Finally Returned Home, Reef McKeena
Finds His Beloved Alaska Facing Its Greatest Threat

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska's arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life--but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen. “


This is one of the best Christian mysteries I have ever read.  The faith of the characters was presented in a very natural and believable way, not preachy at all. There are all the elements that make a good mystery….Lies, betrayal, deception, questions, excitement, danger, and murder.  There’s also plenty of romance. It kept me guessing right up to the end. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and Baker
Publishing Group
through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Heart's Disguise by Colleen Coble - a book review



I’m not sure what to call this book.  It’s too short for me to consider it a novella and too long for a short story.  It’s actually book one of a series of six called Journey of the Heart.  I liked this book, but as I said, it’s short.  It’s set in the Civil War era, and as always, Coble tells a great story.  It’s obvious that this book is meant to be read in sequence with the other books in the series, The ending is not the typical happy ending those of us who read Christian romance are used to. It would be more satisfying to read all the books in the series in succession.  The story line is left open at the end of this book.   

Here is the synopsis from the publisher’s website:

“In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young woman searches for her lost love at the edge of the West.
The Civil War has destroyed Sarah Montgomery’s marriage before it’s even begun.
After Sarah receives word that her fiancĂ©, Rand Campbell, has been killed fighting for the Union, her brothers and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to Ben Croftner—despite her strong misgivings. But when Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive—and that Ben Croftner knew it—she indignantly breaks off the engagement and goes in search of Rand.
But Ben Croftner does not take rejection lightly—and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. When Sarah is abducted by her treacherous fiancĂ©, Rand finally comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and intends to take her there as his wife. But could Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the love of her life? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?”
This book is about love, loss, deceit and starting over.  I look forward to reading the other books in this series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook and Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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