Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell - a book review



 Flirtation Walk is a historical story based on real life events and places.  It’s set in the pre-civil war days at West Point.  The author obviously has researched the topic thoroughly. 
The publisher describes the story this way:


At West Point, Only True Love Should Lead You to Flirtation Walk
Lucinda Pennyworth, the daughter of a con man, is trying her best to leave her father's sordid past behind her. When he dies unexpectedly, she takes the opportunity to move to West Point to live with her aunt, ready to take on a new life and determined to marry a respectable man, a West Point cadet, to impress her relatives.                                                                              

Seth Westcott, a cadet at the academy, is proud to be at the top of his senior class. But when his mother dies and his sister loses their inheritance to a swindler, Seth wants nothing more than to head west to track down the con man. But the army will only send the cadets at the bottom of the class to the frontier . . . which leaves Seth with some tough choices.
When a woman trying her best to be good meets a man determined to be anything but, can there be hope for love, or will two lonely hearts be condemned to casual flirtation?”


While there are some comical moments in the story, for the most part it is a drama. The romantic aspect of the story almost takes a back seat to the other story lines.  Many of the characters are based on bits and pieces of real people, so they are very believable. The author also gives a great historical account of the times, places, politics and customs.  Her research into the practices and customs particular to West Point is evident and very informative.  She also includes a small section at the back of the book with notes from her research and the reader will benefit by reading it. This story isn’t a difficult read but it’s not a story you can quickly read through and I found myself not wanting to put it down.  It isn’t a particularly ‘religious’ book, even though it is often included in the Christian fiction genre.  I would classify it as more of a “clean” historical novel. I’ve always enjoyed Siri Mitchell’s books and this one is another hit with me!


Learn more about Siri Mitchell HERE  
http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/authors/siri-mitchell/1077
 

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.”






Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan - a book review




I love a story where the main character is a spunky, feisty woman and Maggie Brendan has hit the mark with this one.  Rachel has lost her family but yearns to earn enough money to buy back her family’s ranch.  Her brother had made a deal with his best friend and time is running out.  Employment for young women in the 1860’s was almost non-existent so Rachel did what she felt was the only thing she could do.  She took a job in the local saloon. Reluctantly, her brother’s best friend, rancher John McIntyre, grants his friends request to rescue her and take her to his home.

This is from the publisher’s website:

“Rachel Matthews isn't one to rely on others to take care of her. Homeless and alone, she still wants to make her own way and her own money to buy back the family ranch--even if she's forced into the life of a dance hall girl. Horrified by her circumstances, Rachel's brother, who is away mining for gold, sends a friend to rescue her.
Cattle baron John McIntyre is focused on acquiring as much land as possible in Montana and has little time to deal with a dance hall gal. Rachel isn't sure she can take one more day in John's home--especially once she discovers that he's the one who holds ransom the key to her family's future.



Sparks fly between this spunky, independent heroine and the ruggedly handsome hero as they navigate the snarled terrain of pride, greed, faith, and love in Maggie Brendan's delightful series set in the Old West.”


I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun, faith based story.  The characters are well developed and believable.  The author takes you back in time with her  descriptions of the landscape and living conditions. It always makes a story more enjoyable if you can imagine yourself in the surroundings and this author does a great job of taking you there.  It’s a perfect balance of romance, history, and faith.















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.”

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton - a book review



This book was a slight departure from my usual reading material.  I usually gravitate toward faith based historical romance, so this faith based contemporary romance was a refreshing change.  I have read other books by this author and liked them so I wasn’t surprised that I liked this one as well.  Her characters are believable her dialog is easy to follow.  You don’t have to try to figure out what the characters are trying to say. 
This is from the back cover:
Having lived through her parents’ divorces, Cassidy Starr knows when the stakes are not in her favor. Divorced herself and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground Cassidy is done with love. Finished. So over it. …Instead, she’s returned to Wishing Springs Texas and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the organic strawberry farm and a Bed & Breakfast– follow in her aunt’s footsteps and remain forever-independent, happy and single…
Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, helping to look after his ailing grandfather and track rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed all longings for a family of his own right off of his list of priorities. Besides he was in love once and ran scared and lost his shot. But suddenly the regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded, closed up heart determined to become a spinster…and that’s not happening on his watch.  
Suddenly sparks are flying as Jarod has one thing taking priority and that’s breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. He’s going to prove that being kissed by this cowboy comes with a lifetime commitment and the matrimonial bliss she’s given up on.
And the good folks of Wishing Springs have decided that falling in love has never been so fun to watch.”
This was a really fun book to read.  While it is definitely faith based, it doesn’t hit you over the head with it, so even readers who don’t necessarily gravitate towards faith based literature will enjoy it.

It’s the 3rd in the A Four Hearts Ranch Romance series.  There are discussion questions at the end and an excerpt of another of her books. I’m definitely going to read the other three books in the series.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and HarperCollins Christian Publishing 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, June 03, 2016

A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason - a book review



This is the second book in the author’s series, Courage To Dream.  The author does a very good job of filling us in on what we need to know to make this a good stand-alone book.

I’ve never read a book by this author before and look forward to reading more from her.

This is a story about a family of Irish immigrants.  Maggie and Gabe Montgomery have left their home and family in Ireland to visit their older brother, who had emigrated a few years before.  Gabe is hoping to learn new fire fighting skills to take back with him, while Maggie has left to escape a persistent former fiancée.  

Their brrother, Rylan and his wife Colleen, run an orphanage and Maggie, being a teacher back in Ireland, agrees to help out. One day, as she is outside helping with the children, she sees a strange man “lurking” around.  It turns out to be Colleen’s brother, Adam, recently released from prison.  Adam and Colleen’s family is one of the wealthier families in New York, and their father doesn’t want much to do with him.  There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book and several side stories.  All in all, I enjoyed this book.

This is from the back cover:

“Will Maggie Listen to the Warnings of Those She Trusts Most or the Leadings of Her Heart?
The answer to Maggie Montgomery's dream of seeing America has arrived at just the right time. Not only will she be reunited with her beloved brother Rylan, but she'll finally be able to escape Neill Fitzgerald and his increasingly unwanted attentions. She's intent on never returning to Ireland, hoping to build her future in the land of opportunity and perhaps find the love of her life.
While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother demands she stay away from Adam O'Leary does she learn he's Rylan's brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can't seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother's request.
Adam O'Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam's only desire is to earn back his family's trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone's efforts to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break--but they soon discover the past isn't easy to overcome.”


This book has faith, love, conflict and suspense and, since many of my ancestors were Irish immigrants, the historical aspect was especially appealing to me.

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.”

You can read an excerpt HERE.

Go HERE to learn more about the author.

Love Everlasting by Tracie Peterson - a book review



Abrianna Cunningham, a young girl raised in a school for young girls to prepare them for marriage, has suddenly found out that she is an heiress.  She also has two men sparring for her affections.  Her neighbor and childhood friend, Wade, is a down to earth, hardworking man of integrity. Priam Welby is a smooth talking, money hungry businessman who uses his business contacts to encourage Abrianna to court him by promising to help her start a facility for the homeless.

Abrianna is a spunky character who  “…has always been given to speaking first and rushing in to take charge of a matter.”  She is a delightful character and brings a sauciness to the story.

This is from the back cover:

“Growing up in a Seattle bridal finishing school never prepared Abrianna Cunningham to become one of the brides, but now Wade Ackerman, who has always been the reliable boy next door, is indicating he wants to be more than friends. And even the people closest to Abrianna believe Wade is the man she should marry. So why is she having such a hard time choosing between Wade Ackerman and Priam Welby?
Watching Welby's relentless pursuit of Abrianna is making Wade's blood boil. Welby can offer her wealth and security, but what about character and integrity? Surely Abrianna can see past Welby's smooth tongue and fine clothes. Can't she?
Caught between the devil and the boy next door, either choice she makes will change Abrianna's life forever.”


I really liked this book.  It was interesting and historically accurate.  The dialog moved along at a pace that kept my interest.  This is the third book in the Brides of Seattle series but is a very stand-alone book.  While it would be helpful to read the first two in the series, it isn’t necessary.

You can read an excerpt HERE

Learn about the author, Tracie Peterson, 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.”
  

 

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.”

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