Monday, March 21, 2016

Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall - a book review



This is the first offering in Cindy Woodsmall’s series, The Amish of Summer Grove.  I usually really enjoy her books but this one took me a while to get interested in,  It started out slow and didn’t pick up until about half way through.  The refreshing thing about this book is, unlike some Amish novels, the characters are portrayed as real people, flawed and imperfect. 

As I said, I had read almost half of it before it captured my interest. After that point the plot became more solidified.  The story line incorporates secrets and mysteries, lost loves and new interests.  By the end of the book I was hooked and invested in the lives of the characters.  However, the ending was really a let down for me.  There was no resolution to any of the questions raised.  It was obvious that you would need to read the whole series in order to have all the questions answered and mysteries solved.  I would not call this a stand alone book.  On the other hand, it does make me want to read the next one of the series when it comes out.

This is from the back cover:

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?
Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.
Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish. 


Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.”


As I’ve said before in many of my previous reviews, this is only my opinion based on my likes and dislikes.  Your opinion might be very different.  You should go to the publisher’s website,   and read an excerpt, then judge for yourself.

You can read more about the author and her books here.













I received a complimentary 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.”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter - a book review




This is a novel set in the early 1800’s in England.  It opens by introducing us to our main character as a young girl.  The author then fast forwards us to when she is a young women.  We sort of ‘grow up’ along with her.  She is the eldest daughter of a wealthy family that consists of and older brother and a younger sister and brother.  Our main character, Miranda, is on the brink of being called a spinster.  She is used to being outshined by her younger, sillier and prettier sister. To vent her frustration, she composes letters to one of her older brother’s friends, who had disappeared 9 years before.  She never mails these letters to her ‘fictitious’ friend until one day, when her older brother’s new valet mails one.  Of course, she is mortified that her ‘imaginary’ friend, the Duke of Marshington, will read it and expose her.  You’ll have to read the book to find out how all that plays out.  At the same time, she begins a strange friendship with her brother’s new valet, Marlow
. 
The author spins an interesting tale of intrigue, suspense and mystery with a good mix of romance, faith and wit. While the main characters profess a strong faith in God, the author doesn’t over power you with it.  It is presented as a basis of their personalities.

I really liked this book and was pleased to find out that there will be another one dealing with some of the peripheral characters.
.
This is from the publisher’s website:

“Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she's never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother's mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.


Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family's estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.”






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.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz - a book review





I really liked this book.  It is set in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, a period in time that I love to read about.  This is a clean romance with lots of excitement, mystery and emotion.  The author opens the story introducing us to Sophie, a once-upon-a-time southern belle, who now is struggling to keep her home.  The British army had taken over her home of Three Chimneys and left her with no food or supplies.   Her father fled because of his alliance with the British and her borther has disappeared while fighting in the Patriot army.  Sophie, along with two aging servants, is left to manage the estate.

This is what the publisher says:

There can be only one mistress of Tall Acre . . .

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?”

This is a Christian romance and the faith of the characters plays an important role in the story. However, it is not at all preachy and I think any lover of historical novels would enjoy reading it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell 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.”

Thursday, December 10, 2015

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

I'm woefully behind on my book reviews, hence, the double posts today......



A Heart’s Promise by Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble’s books , in my mind, are always great!  This is a small portion of what was originally published as two complete novels and I would love to get my hands on a copy of the complete books.  I’ve read two of the small “books”  but not in sequence.  While it is possible to follow the story (there is enough information to allow you to follow it), it would be more enjoyable to read them all in order.  This is book five of six.

I love the characters that the author invents.  They are always interesting and often comical. The historical settings are always interesting and her descriptions bring them vividly to mind. 

From the back cover:

 Emmie makes a promise to her friend that, if fulfilled, could mean the end to her dreams of a future with Isaac.
Emmie Croftner let Isaac Liddle go to avoid telling him about her past. But Isaac remains determined to win Emmie’s heart and hand. Though Emmie resolves to keep her heart in check, it hurts when she sees that another woman has set her bonnet for Isaac.
Then Emmie’s dear friend extracts a costly promise: if anything happens to her in childbirth, Emmie will marry her widower and raise the baby herself. And it seems Emmie may have to fulfill that promise. But can she live happily without Isaac?”

The story is set around the time of the Civil War in Wyoming.  The ruggedness and danger of the setting is very well portrayed and makes for an exciting, if not, short read. 
If you are looking for a fast, short read, these “books” will be just right for you.  And if you’re fortunate enough to collect all six, even better!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and BookLook 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.”

The Sea Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate - a book review



I’m probably one in a million reviewers who didn’t give this book 5 stars.  It started very slowly for me and
while there were portions that were interesting enough to make me want to keep reading, they were too spread apart.  I’d give it 3.75 stars if I could but ratings being what they are, I’ll give it a 4.  There are basically two stories running simultaneously and both are fairly interesting.   There is the contemporary story of the main female character, Whitney.  Then there is the historic story concerning her grandmother. The author has done her homework concerning the historical aspect of the back story.  She introduces many of us to a program long forgotten called the Federal Writers Program.  There are many mysteries and questions that, by the end of the story, she answers beautifully. 

This is from the back cover:


From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?”


I usually confine my reading to Christian romance and I can’t honestly say that this book fits that category but it is a clean novel and there was nothing objectionable in it.  For those readers who really like to work at reading, this book would be a good choice.  For those of us who prefer a light-hearted, fast paced romance, one that we can start and finish in a few days,  this is probably not a good fit.


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.”


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Not by Sight by Kate Breslin - a book review



The World War 1 era has always intrigued me.  It was the period my grandparents lived through and I love reading about what life may have been like for them.  This novel is set in this time period.  I wish I could say that I loved it, but it didn’t hold my interest like I expected it to.  It’s a typical ‘beauty and the beast’ story with a very predictable ending.  There is some mystery involving uncovering traitors and spies but it the author didn’t go deep enough to make it interesting for me.  The romantic aspect develops very slowly and again, is very superficial.  I wish there had been more about the actual war.  The only in-depth descriptions seem to be when the female main character, Grace, is describing the landscape to the main male character, Jack, who is blind.  There were some humorous moments involving escaping livestock, sewing mishaps and ditch digging.
As always, I encourage you to make your own determination.  You might really like this book. I hope you do!

This is the blurb from the back cover: 


“In the spring of 1917, all of Britain's attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.
A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country's cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.
But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.”

You can learn more about the author on her website.




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.”





       Photo Credit: ©Samantha Panzera Photography

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lost posts

Blogger seems to have deleted all of my posts from July 2014 through now.  They sent me some complicated instructions on how to repost them but not being very tech savy, I couldn't figure it out.

I'm not sure why they can't just fix it but that isn't an option, at least, they aren't offering.

You might be able to see a short blurb for each lost post on Bloglovin'.

Hopefully any new posts will stay posted.  I'm sorry for the inconvenience.  As you can tell, this is a very frustrating situation.

This situation has prompted me to revisit an idea I have been thinking of for a couple of years.  This blog is the blog that is associated with the book publishers that I review books for.  I have been advised by several other bloggers to use a different provider.  I am considering starting a personal blog with word press for any posts other than book reviews.

What do you think?



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