Sunday, September 08, 2019

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano - a book review


I liked this book. I didn’t love it but I did like it.  I think what the author is trying to say with the book is that being yourself is better than pretending to be something you’re not.  While the fa├žade may provide temporary “blessings” , in the end being yourself is the best way. With God’s help, the main character in this story comes to that conclusion. At first I had a hard time justifying in my mind all the lies and deceit that Raina, the main character, is involved in while still expecting God to bless her.  As I read more and thought about it, I was reminded of God’s mercy and grace.  Raina is a recipient of that.
At the beginning of this story we find Raina, the rag lady, being tempted by a promise of a better life if she pretends to be someone she’s not, namely, Lady Enderly.  At times she regrets the deceit but circumstances work against her and she feels obligated to continue.
The majority of the action takes place in a run down, dilapidated old mansion.  I won’t give the whole story away but it involves secrets and lies, love and desperation.
The author does a great job of pulling you into the story through her intricate descriptions of the setting.  You can almost see yourself in the lavishly restored rooms and the derelict ruined rooms in the mansion.
The mystery of the story is who is Lady Enderly and where is she?  Who knows where she is?  Why is she missing?  The truth comes out in the end.
There are only a handful of characters to keep track of.  Even so, you never really know their true intentions until the end.

This is from the publisher’s website:

“Raina's dreams are all about to come true.
But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London's East End when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley, offering her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within--and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.”
                      




                  Learn more about the author, Joanna Davidson Politano HERE 



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.”


 

Wow! it's been a while!

I can't believe its been over a year since my last post.  So much has happened since then. New grandbabies, medical issues, LOTS of babysitting!  My book reviews have tapered off as there are not many publishers using blogger review programs anymore.  Thankfully, my favorite publisher still does.  Hopefully there will be more of those!
In the meantime please visit my pinterest boards at A Touch of Heaven / Mary.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham




It was with a bit of skepticism that I began reading this book. It is this author’s first published novel and I didn’t know what to expect. I was happily surprised.  She tells a heartwarming, tender story of a young girl who despite living in dire circumstances, always has hope for the future.  The story opens with Em witnessing a murder and her being seriously injured in the same attack. Em had been separated years before, from her younger sister.  They had been placed on an orphan train after their parents’ deaths. She had never given up the hope of finding her again.

The local sheriff, Caleb, doesn’t like to leave a case unsolved and he takes a particular interest in this one. Em is in danger because she has seen the murderers and needs protection.  Caleb enlists the help of a local family to care for her.  There she finds tenderness and acceptance.  Em loves to tell fairy tales to the young daughters of the family.  This story resembles a fairy tale with the dashingly handsome     and brave Prince, Caleb, and the poor, mistreated but loving and kind heroine, Em.

This is from the publisher’s website:
Alone in a strange town, can she find healing for her new home . . . and herself?

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He's determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn't expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.”

This is a refreshingly heartwarming and tender story with a touch of danger and mystery. It is a very clean, easy to read novel.  I can’t call it a Christian novel because there isn’t much mention of God or the Bible but it is full of morality, forgiveness, hope, and integrity.  


I look forward to reading more from this author.













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.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

A Rebel Heart by Beth White - a book review and blog tour



This is book one of The Daughtry House Series and I can’t wait to read the second one.  The author does a
very good job of incorporating faith and Christian values in this book without being ‘preachey’ so it is aptly called a historical Christian novel.

The book begins with a prologue that portrays some of the horrors of the Civil War.  What happens then influences the characters throughout the rest of the story. 

The story revolves around three sisters and their fight to retain their family plantation.  They are forced from lavish opulence to near starvation.  Assistance comes in the form of a mysterious northerner.  The author lets the reader in on the secret and mystery but the characters are left to figure it out.  

The characters are well developed and interesting and we see them trying to come to terms with issues of prejudice and the loss of a former lifestyle. The story is easy to read and the plot engaging.  There is a good balance between faith, romance and mystery.

This is from the publisher’s website:

“Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family's Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land--until a hotel management agent for the railroad offers her hope for the future.
If she'll turn her home into a hotel, Levi Riggins says, he can all but guarantee it will be saved. Selah isn't sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee. Yet what other options does she have? She'll have to stay on her guard . . . but she never expected to have to guard her heart.”


I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the second book of the series.
If you like easy to read historical novels based in the Civil War era then I think you’ll like this one. 




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.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen



This is the second book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series.  As with most series, it is useful to have read the preceding books. Some books in a series can be enjoyed as stand alone books, but I think I would have enjoyed this one more if I had read the first one.  There are numerous characters to keep track of and trying to remember them all proved very distracting.  In the first paragraph alone there are seven characters mentioned. I think it would have been easier had I become acquainted with some of them in the first book.  It also would have been easier to follow the multiple story lines had I had a background from the first book.  The author does include a map of the area which makes it very easy to follow the characters movements.

There is an occasional mention of faith but not enough for me to consider this a Christian novel.  I would call it a clean, historical novel instead.


This is from the publisher’s website:

Return to Ivy Hill as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold . . .

A gentlewoman in reduced circumstances, Miss Rachel Ashford lives as a guest in Ivy Cottage. With her meager funds rapidly depleting, she is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. Her friend Jane Bell and the other village women encourage her to open a circulating library with the many books she's inherited from her father. As villagers donate additional books and Rachel begins sorting through the volumes, she discovers mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but both find more than they bargained for.

Rachel's hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and finds fulfillment in managing her girls school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or whom--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.”

There are a couple of mysteries that the characters encounter, which add to the appeal of the story and keeps you interested but they are not the ‘keep you on the edge of your seat’ kind of mysteries.

This was not my favorite book by Julie Klassen, but if you like long novels and are a Jane Austin and a regency novel fan, this is a book you would likely enjoy. Use the keywords on the right side of this page and click on Julie Klassen's name to read my review of another of her books, that I really liked.













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, March 28, 2018

Beneath the Surface : Dive Team Investigations by Lynn H. Blackburn - a blog tour book review



If you’ve read any of my previous reviews you know I tend to lean toward historical Christian romance.  This book is a departure from my usual repertoire.  I surprised myself with how much I liked it!  It’s a contemporary Christian romance crime novel.
    It opens with the discovery of a mutilated body found at the bottom of a lake.  Homicide detectives and dive team investigators, Ryan and Gabe, are on a routine training dive when they make the gruesome find.  The lake also happens to be where his best friend’s sister’s home is.  Leigh is a nurse and has moved back after being stalked by a former patient.
    This is a really exciting book, with lots of mystery and suspense. Who is the body in the lake?  Who killed them?  How did they get there?  Are there more victims? Does this murder have anything to do with Leigh’s stalker? And, where is the rest of the body?
    This is also a love story and the romance is handled in a very respectful manner. Ryan and Leigh’s brother, Kirk, are best friends and have been since their childhood. Unknown to Leigh, Kirk had warned all his friends to stay away from his sister.  Now that they’re grown, the attraction they both felt as teenagers resurfaces.
    Ryan’s faith and reliance on God is very evident but the author doesn’t bombard you with it. However, you are not left with any doubt about his convictions.
    One aspect of the story that I really liked was the relationship between Ryan and Gabe.  I loved the witty conversations between them.  They were funny and very believable.
   
    This is from the publisher:

“After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she'd left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff's Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer--one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.”


    Any lover of police crime stories should give this book a try.  It held my attention from the first page and that’s not always easy to do.

Try it for yourself, read an excerpt HERE 

 
          Learn more about  Lynn H. Blackburn and her other books HERE


 
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.”




Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano - a book review



I you like romantic comedies this is a book you might enjoy.  The characters are a delight!  They have quirky personalities which often land them into hilarious situations. The dialog is witty and comical.  This is not a story meant to call attention to a particular social issue of the time.  It’s simply a humorous story about two people who have feelings for each other but are afraid to admit it. It can be a bit wordy at times but that doesn’t detract from the story.  Both characters are people of faith and the author does a good job of incorporating that into the story without being too preachy.  There is an element of mystery without any real danger or suspense.  It is really just a comical , fun to read, historical romance. I found myself chuckling out loud several times at the antics of the various characters. 


Here’s what the publisher’s website says:

“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.”


This book is one of the selections from Apart from the Crowd series.

 














 If you'd like to buy this book, you can use the Amazon search box on the right side of this page to purchase it.  I do get a small reimbursement, but it doesn't cost you anything.


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.”

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