Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White - a book review





This is one of those books that requires dedicated concentration to read.  The story line is very interesting but the list of numerous characters, each with three or four names or titles, gets in the way.  At least it did for me.  It was very confusing to keep them straight.  Fortunately, the author includes a list in the front of the book.  While it is historically accurate for the aristocracy in the early 20th century to have several titles, for those of us in this century who are not accustomed to it, it was confusing. 

It is also a very long book, the paperback version that I read was over 400 pages.  It took me much longer to read than most books and I really didn’t fully enjoy it until I was about three quarters of the way through.  I’m not sure of the writing changed or if I just got used to it but the last quarter finally got my attention and I looked forward to reading it.

The author does a great job with the historical aspects of the time.  The landscape, building styles, fashion, and cultural differences are very clear and you can imagine yourself there. 

It is the third book of the Ladies of the Manor series.  It would benefit the reader to have read the previous books in order to fully enjoy the plot.

The story is mainly a mystery, full of intrigue, suspense and danger but also plenty of romance, humor and Christian faith.

This is from the publisher’s website:

Amid the Unforgettable Cotswolds, the Final Grasp for the Fire Eyes Diamonds Could Threaten Them All
Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends, and she won't wait for peril to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.
Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those intent on destroying them all?”


If you’re like me and like easy reading, this might not be the book for you. However, if you like a book that requires dedicated concentration, then give this one a try. You can read an excerpt HERE.














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.”


Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears - a book review



This is a full sized novel in the Teaville Moral Society series.  It is set in the early 20th century. 

We first meet our heroine in the fall of 1905. Lydia King is a spunky young lady with a heart for helping others.  When her parents financial situation becomes increasingly bad, she feels her only hope in keeping them all out of the poorhouse, is to make a financially advantageous marriage.  In order to impress her demanding future mother-in-law, she must perform a nearly impossible task.  Her mother-in-law is the president of the moral society and tasks Lydia with obtaining a donation from the wealthiest man in town. The problems start when he says no. 


Faith is a strong thread throughout the book but there are also secrets and deceptions, political corruption.

This is from the publisher’s website:

“Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so she joins the Teaville Moral Society hoping to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poorhouse herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that his mother is the moral society's president. Lydia's first task as a moral society member--to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town--seems easy . . . until the man flat-out refuses.
Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresees the harrowing complications that will arise from working together, and when town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs--and hearts--truly align.”


The author deals with many Christian doctrines in a subtle way.  This is definitely a Christian historical romance but isn’t at all “preachey”.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


Learn about the author, Melissa Jagears  HERE
 












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.”

Thursday, December 15, 2016

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter - a book review



This is the third story of the Hawthorne House series.  The author very cleverly begins this story before the previous one ends.  The second book focuses on Miranda Hawthorne.  This book revolves around her sister, Georgina. You would not need to read the other stories in order to enjoy this one.  The author does a great job of filling the reader in on all the important things. In the midst of all the witty conversations and humorous situations, there is a strong theme of reliance on God. It isn’t preachey, but it is clearly an important part of the characters' lives.

The Hawthorne House series is set in London during the Regency period and the author presents it in a very realistic way.  In a very unobtrusive way, she gives us a history lesson about customs, clothing, manners, protocol and cultural standards.

The subject of learning disabilities is presented in a very thoughtful and informative manner.

This is from the back cover:

“Lady Georgina Hawthorne has always known she must marry well. After years of tirelessly planning every detail of her debut season, she is poised to be a smashing success and have her choice of eligible gentlemen.
With money and powerful business connections but no title, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. He intends to marry someday, but when he does it will not be to a shallow woman like Lady Georgina, whose only concerns appear to be status and appearance.
But beneath her flawless exterior, Georgina's social aspirations stem from a shameful secret she is desperately trying to keep hidden--and that Colin is too close to discovering. Drawn to each other despite their mutual intent to avoid association, is the realization of their dreams worth the sacrifices they'll be forced to make?”


The ending seemed a bit rushed, which was a bit anticlimactic, but all in all, this was a really enjoyable book.


Learn more about the author, Kristi Ann Hunter HERE 


















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.”

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton - a book review




This is the second book of the Path Finders series.  I’m glad I had already read the first one. I found it very helpful in understanding the relationships and background.  The author begins the book with a short review of the story from book one, told in a folklore style. 

This is a book that requires concentrated attention to read. 


It is set during the Revolutionary War in what we now call New England, more specifically, the Mohawk Valley of New York State.  The author does a good job of portraying the confusing political and social culture of the time.

This is from the back cover:

Hearts are Divided
Loyalties Will Be Tested 
The Fates of Two Families Hang in the Balance

 

Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy—the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins— during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own.

 

No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love.

 

Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.”


At points the narratives seem overly long and wordy.  They didn’t hold my attention and I found myself tempted to skip them. 

There are so many characters to keep track of, many of them spies and double agents that I found it hard to keep straight who was on which side.

Christian faith is a major theme throughout the book and the merging of the Native American culture and Christianity is very well presented.  The romantic aspect of the story takes a back seat to the war aspect but it is an important part of the story.  I was a little uncomfortable with the intimacy portrayed, it was a bit too provocative for my taste.

This is a story of repentance, forgiveness, friendship, tolerance, acceptance, choices and sacrifice.


I found the author’s notes in the back of the book, and the map in the front to be very helpful.

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.”


Friday, September 30, 2016

From this Moment by Elizabeth Camden - a book review




I have read some of this author’s books before and liked them, this was no exception.  While it is listed as an historical Christian romance, I would say it is more of a clean historical romance with a smattering of Christian faith.  That being said, it is a very enjoyable book.  It has a very strong mystery theme throughout. 


This is from the back cover:

“Stella West's artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister's death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society.
Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board.
Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister's death worth the risk to his publishing empire?”


With the witty dialog that Elizabeth Camden is known for, and the thread of mystery, this is a story worth having in your collection.  It is a story of love, mystery, corruption, danger, greed, rediscovered and new love.  It also deals with the topic of mental illness, not often written about in historical romance.


Learn more about the author HERE














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.”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White - a book review



This book is part of the Gulf Coast Chronicles series and includes many of the characters from the previous books.  It is set during the War of 1812.  Most of the time, when I think of the War of 1812, I think of the northeastern part of the country.  I never gave much thought to what would have been happening in the rest of the country, particularly, in the Gulf Coast.  This book brings that particular time and place alive. The battle scenes are well researched and presented vividly.  The author includes real life characters and events and also invents characters based on real life personalities.


This is from the publisher’s website:

“As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier's heart--one that threatens to tear her family apart.

Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother's capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.

Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.
As Charlie's memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they'll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.”

The way the author presents the story keeps the reader on their toes.  There are confusing time leaps that happen without any notice or warning but once you realize it, you get used to the writer's style.

This is a story of sacrifice, spies, mystery, loyalty, patriotism love and faith in God.  This isn’t a preachy kind of book but it is evident that the character’s faith is important to the story,


You can read an excerpt HERE.

I really liked this book and give it four stars. I would have given it five were it not for the awkward time jumps.

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.”


Faith by Lyn Cote - a book review



This book is the third book of the Quaker Brides series.  I have read the first and liked it.  I’m looking forward to reading the second but not having read it didn’t take away from this one.  It is easily a stand alone book.  The author does a good job of bringing the reader up to date.  It is set in the midst of the Civil War.  It is a very easy book to read.  It’s about love, patriotism, family, slavery and tolerance all in a faith based story.

Here’s what the publisher’s website says:

“The Civil War battlefield is the last place Quakeress Faith Cathwell thought she’d find herself. But with a gift for nursing, Faith seizes this opportunity to join the fight for abolition—and to search for Shiloh, a freeborn childhood friend who was kidnapped and sold south by unscrupulous slave catchers.
Knowing it’s much too dangerous for her to search enemy territory alone, Faith enlists the help of Colonel Devlin Knight, who is indebted to her for saving his cousin’s life. A career soldier, Dev is committed to the preservation of the Union but conflicted about freeing his own slave and confidant, who plans to enlist as soon as Dev gives him manumission papers.
Blazing a trail east with the rest of Grant’s army, Dev and Faith fight their personal battles—and a growing attraction to each other. When beliefs clash and passions flare, they quickly find that the only thing more dangerous than the war surrounding them is the battle within their hearts.”
I really liked this book.  I give it 4 stars mainly because I would have liked a little more depth in the characters.  I wanted to feel more from them.  It is apparent that the author really researched the historical aspects of the story and the nursing profession at that time. It was very interesting to learn about the practices at that time.



Learn more about Lyn Cote here:  http://www.lyncote.com/

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.”
 
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