Thursday, November 21, 2013

Novel Wishlist

I thought it'd be fun to share some books that are on my wishlist. Cannot wait until they're released!

Image courtesy of Amazon
A Beauty So Rare is the second in the Belmont Mansion series. I loved A Lasting Impression!

Image courtesy of Amazon
 I'm not familiar with Victoria Bylin. . .but that cover! Oh my word, I love it!
And just so I don't sound completely silly, I'll add that the story sounds interesting as well ;-)

Image courtesy of Amazon
 The Dancing Master is one I've been waiting on for a loooong time. Julie Klassen's books are set in my favorite time period, and I've read every one so far. And the cover reminds me of a scene from Pride and Prejudice.

Image courtesy of
Smitten Book Club is the third in this series. I haven't read many novellas, but I love how all of these stories connect. I wish Smitten were a real town I could visit!

Image courtesy of Baker Publishing (Sorry, it's a tad blurry.)
And I couldn't leave off Mary Connealy's new one, Stuck Together. Needless to say, I'm a fan of hers and ready for Vince's story.

I might've forgotten some, so go ahead and tell me which new novels you're looking forward to. Maybe I haven't heard about some of them yet.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Marriage In Middlebury by Anita Higman

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The best way I can describe this story is charming. It's a sweet romance set in a small town. Honestly, this novel reminded me of a Hallmark movie, fulfilling without worrying your gut. Sam and Charlotte were likeable characters, but my favorite was probably Nelly, the cook. There were a few subplots, all easy to follow. Though not full of surprises, A Marriage In Middlebury is a positive novel that makes for a pleasant light read whenever you'd like a getaway.
I don't drink tea, but the descriptions of the different blends made me want to try some. 
And the cover. . . such a pretty picture!

I liked this one:)
4 Stars

*Thank you to the author for my autographed copy!*

Backcover Blurb:
Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky, devoted customers. The only thing lacking is someone to share it with.
At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder's marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. They both moved on. . .or so she thought. When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens. But is it because of his presence? Or because of the presence of Sam's new fiancée?
A second chance at love doesn't happen often, but their past may keep them apart. Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Talent For Trouble by Jen Turano

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Jen Turano writes with an unique voice that I loved. I'm a fan of witty, sarcastic heroines with sass, and that is what I found in A Talent for Trouble. This being the first novel I've read by this author, I had no clue if I would enjoy the style or find it dry.
This book is, by no means, dry. I would call the writing verbose, but in a way that fits the time period. I loved that the heroine Felicia Murdock wasn't presented as perfect. There are no flawless people this side of heaven, so I appreciated Felicia's, er, "talent for trouble."
Humor is something I always appreciate in a story, and this does not lack in that aspect.
And Grayson Sumner. . .such a gentleman. Easy to like, despite his dangerous past.
Also, I did not guess the ending. Not at all.
Jen Turano will be staying on my bookshelf. Now I need to go find some more of her stories. . .
Backcover Blurb:
For years, Miss Felicia Murdock's every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister's wife. When the minister she'd set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change--and soon--before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she's not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who's to say nay?
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had his fill of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
Just as Grayson decides he's had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia's life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping each other out of trouble.
***I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Bride For Keeps by Melissa Jagears

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Found a new author to love!
This is Melissa's Jagears debut novel (But she published a novella Love By The Letter that fits in before this book!)
On a scale of one to ten, the romance in this novel is a 10. A sweet ten. This is a marriage of convenience story about a mail-order bride with a past that has hardened her heart against love. She fears being used because of her pretty looks and desires to be Everett's work partner, really, more than a wife. He struggles with worrying over whether Julia will abandon him like all the other women did. The story reminded me a bit of Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke which is a compliment!
The reader will become familiar with farm/prairie life and understand how difficult that life was without being bogged down with long descriptions or boring details. One of the things I enjoyed most is the author's writing style. She steered clear of overused phrases, and I appreciated the freshness. I thoroughly loved the way the story was written as well as the story itself. Everett and Julia's motivations were clear, and I cheered when they reached their goals (very romantic goals).
The author handled the spiritual aspect of the story beautifully. I won't spoil it, but the way she wrote about God's grace. . .perfect. We can't explain why God chose to send His Son to save those who trust in Him, except that He loves us. Such a beautiful fact to meditate on. . .
I will be reading Jagear's next novel whenever it is released. She's found a spot on my keeper shelf. I didn't even want this story to end. . .

Backcover Blurb:

Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He's already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn't in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn't given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.
Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she'll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she's experienced there.
Although Everett doesn't see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she's more than a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitant to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

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Have you ever read a book that was well-written with a clear plot and plenty of historical detail. . .in essence, a perfect book. . .but the story didn't captivate, didn't plead with you to read it far into the night?
That was my feeling for Rebellious Heart. I deeply enjoyed Hedlund's previous two novels, but this one didn't stir me. I loved the cover, the title, the premise. . .all of it. But I didn't connect emotionally with this one, I'm sad to say.
But understand this--you may have a completely different experience.
I may try it again later and love it. Who knows?
I think maybe my problem could've been the hero Benjamin Ross. He was, as was mentioned numerous times, a poor man. And I grew tired of hearing him complain and say he needed to marry a wealthy woman just to better himself. It grew annoying and hardened my opinion of him.
My favorite character was Susanna's grandmother. She seemed like a sweet lady that would've been a delight to know.
Of course, I enjoyed the setting. I have a love of historicals for that reason.
I'll try this author's next novel, in hopes that I will connect with that story more.
Backcover Blurb:
Because she's a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith. But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. And she's determined to marry well, so she'll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.
Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better. When introduced to the Smiths he's taken by Susanna's intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter.
When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor. But drawing closer to this man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous, secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.
***I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fired Up by Mary Connealy

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Oh, there is just somethin' about a western romance with Mary Connealy's signature sarcastic comedy. One of my favorite authors has yet again produced a new fun story to share with the world. Fired Up is the second book in her Trouble In Texas series, the first being Swept Away. When I reviewed that book, I mentioned that I was looking forward to Dare's story, and here it is!
Imagine a doctor who isn't techanically a doctor and a cook who can't cook--that's Dare Riker and Glynna Greer (or Glynna Sevier as she prefers to be called). The great thing about a series is revisiting a place and characters that you've come to know. Luke and Ruthy make appearances--Luke can't abandon his friend while he's in trouble, after all.
Dare's story has more suspense than Luke's. Someone is out for the doctor, and it could be any number of people. I enjoyed this tale, and again Mrs. Connealy has whet my appetite for Vince's story. She has a talent for that, including a character who will become the lead in the next book and making the reader extremely curious about him.
I would've liked a few more twists in the plot, but I can't be too critical. Mary's books are popular for good reason. My main issue was the cover--it bothers me when character's faces are shown on covers.
If you like Westerns--or even if you don't think you do--try anything by this author.
She continues to be one of my favorites.
Backcover Blurb:
Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she's determined to make a go of it on her own. In a town full of men, Glynna decides she can support her two children by opening a diner--never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent.
Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can't let his guard down for a moment--which is a challenge, since right now he's trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.
Though his doctoring business is booming due to Glynna's questionable cooking, Dare seems to encounter unexpected dangers wherever he goes. There's the avalanche. And the fire. And then the shadowy figure with a knife. Can Dare survive it all long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?
***I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Into The Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

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I will buy one of this author's books before even reading the back cover blurb. So when the opportunity came to review Into The Whirlwind, I rushed to choose it. I mean, come on, look at the cover!
The Plot
I've never studied the Chicago Fire--or watchmaking-- but this story thrusts you into history. Action begins on the first page with a preview of a scene that occurs not long after. The plot is unique, unlike anything I've read. Including the romantic aspect. I admit, I didn't love how hurried that part seemed in the beginning. . .then it dwindled. I wouldn't want to spoil anything though.
For me, this one didn't grab me, force me to keep turning the pages. That's part of the reason I took longer to read it. I would read a couple of chapters, set it aside for a little while.
Don't misunderstand--your experience reading it may be different. And I still enjoyed the plot.
A plus was that I did not guess the ending.
The Characters
Mollie Knox, the heroine, frustrated me. Some of her choices, I didn't understand. I found myself thinking, "What? Why are you doing, saying, etc. that?" It felt almost like a tactic to lengthen the book. I appreciated her loyalty to her company though, and her treatment and thoughts of Sophie were comical. 
Zack Kazmarek, on the other hand, was my type of hero because he knew what he wanted and he worked for it. Even when slighted--harshly!
I can't say much more without ruining the story, but I recommend you read it if you like historicals. Not my favorite, but I'll certainly look for the next one by this author.
Backcover Blurb:
As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox's future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.
Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago's finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city's most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he's accustomed to getting exactly what he wants--until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.
As the people of Chicago race to rebuild, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack's influence. Zack believes this may be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effects on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould

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Leslie Gould is a new favorite author of mine, and Adoring Addie is the second book in her Courtships of Lancaster County series which I'm loving.
I seem to remember saying awhile back that I was not a fan of Amish fiction, but that has changed. Now it seems to be a running joke with everyone who knows me--I love Amish/Mennonite stories. (Not all of them, mind you. A story has to be well-written, no matter the genre.)
So Adoring Addie is all things that I enjoy: Amish, interesting cover (I barely even mind the people's faces being shown), well-written, and a purposeful story. It could be described as a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but I believe it is better because 1) I always did have trouble understanding what on earth Shakespeare was trying to say, 2) I could relate to it, and 3) SPOILER! It had a happy ending.
If you enjoy the Amish genre...or even if you don't think you do...try this book.
It's one of those I will reread.
Backcover Blurb:
Not since Romeo and Juliet has a couple faced odds this long. The Cramers and Mosiers have been angry with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Things had cooled to a simmer...until Addie Cramer and Jonathan Mosier fell head over heels for each other. Now old tensions are renewed, and Addie's parents insist she marry stolid and uninspiring Phillip Eicher.
Distraught at a future apart, the two decide their best hope is to reconcile the two families...but that means digging into the past to see what tore them apart. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will long-held secrets ruin their chance at happiness?
*I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

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Whoever designs Mrs. Hedlund's covers is doing an excellent job! I already reviewed Unending Devotion, so I needed the next one. I'm all about following an author if I really enjoy one of her books.
I'd never read a story with this type of plot involving European immigrants, but I'm so glad I chose it from the Bethany House review list. Rarely is there something so satisfying as discovering a book that you don't want to stop reading. The characters were unique, meaning they actually felt like real people. The author chose a fresh setting, a failing farm in Michigan in the 1880s.
Carl was a dynamic character as was Annalisa.
I loved the spiritual thread.
And I didn't guess the ending. Not at all. I found it realistic and definitely interesting--and of course, happy.
Go ahead and buy this one. And the next one from this author.
Backcover Blurb:
Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy-tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way, and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That'll be enough. A marriage for love. . .that's something she's given up on.
So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.
Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany, and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.
With time running out, she accepts Carl's help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as he is shining light into the darkness of Annalisa's heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.
***I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Swept Away by Mary Connealy

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Have I mentioned that Mary Connealy is one of my most favorite authors? That I have read almost all of her books? That she has a hysterical distinct voice and has captured the attitude of a cowboy?
How about this first line: The sharp crack of a cocking pistol brought Lucas Stone's head around.
Gotta love the action!
This is the first of a new series, but I liked the fact that Luke is still connected to a previous series through his sister. The plot was interesting, though not my favorite. If not for Connealy's jolting voice, it might have dragged a bit.
The other characters in the story will obviously be stars in their own books in the future. Actually, I found myself more interested in Dare's story than Luke and Ruthy's. I'm still not sure why Luke and Ruthy fell in love so quickly.
Some parts seemed a bit unbelievable, but I can forgive that because it made for a fun read. And I love happy endings!
I'll be looking for Fired Up, Dare's story, when it is released.
Backcover Blurb:
Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.
Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won't let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can't just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she's going to have to go with him.
But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?
*I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

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 This was my first book by Lisa Wingate, and it was just okay. I received the book free in order to review it, or else I might not have bothered finishing it. The beginning was a tad unbelievable (know someone a month, marry them, and move across the country???). Then we're given all this backstory, and it was just boring. I think the story could've been improved a lot if it hadn't been written in first person. The rest of the characters weren't fleshed out enough, especially Daniel considering he was her husband.
But, I will say it picked up eventually. Lisa Wingate is AWESOME at describing environments. I think I would enjoy her style if the story wasn't in first person. Also, it finally gets really interesting....and then it's over. Way too rushed ending. I was like, "Huh? That's it?".
Overall, it's an okay read. I might read another one from this series if I find it cheap.
I'll still give this author another shot.
Backcover Blurb:
Mallory Hale's life quickly veers off course when she falls hopelessly in love. After a whirlwind romance, Mallory finds herself leaving the bustle and action of Capitol Hill for the remote town of Moses Lake, Texas--with husband, stepson, and a U-Haul in tow.

A sweet, mishap-filled journey into marriage, motherhood, and ranch living ensues, and Mallory is filled with both the wonderment of love and the insecurities of change. But what she can't shake is the unease she feels around her husband's new boss, Jack West. Jack's presence--and his mysterious past--set her on edge, and when hints of a scandal emerge, Mallory finds herself seeking answers . . . and comes to realize that the middle-of-nowhere home she wasn't sure she wanted is the very place she'll risk everything to save.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

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 I have read all but one of Julie Klassen's books, and her latest is my favorite. The Tutor's Daughter has the perfect mix of suspense and romance. The setting is incredible. Have you ever read Northanger Abbey? This story reminded me of that one.
It tells the tale of Emma Smallwood, the tutor's daughter, who only wanted to help her father by moving with him to the home of two boys who need education. But the home also belongs to two men, one who plagued her childhood...
I loved the mystery of this book.
I loved Emma.
I'll probably reread this one soon.
Backcover Blurb:
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself drawn to her. . .
Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast--a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions--where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould

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I LOVED this book! And I'm not even normally a fan of this genre or Shakespeare.
Leslie Gould based her story off of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, but that was a chore for me to read in college and this book most definitely was not!
Cate isn't your typical heroine in women's fiction. She isn't a giggly, man-obsessed, super-shopper that is cute for a time but leaves no lasting impression. No, Cate is a woman who struggles with her attitude and dealing with the expectations of others. I could relate so much with her.
But Cate isn't unlikeable -- she just has many layers to her character. I wanted to cry when she was hurt. I was angry when she was angry. I felt her emotions and wanted justice for her. I'd love to read more stories with women like her.
And Pete -- wow! I don't want to give anything away, but his dealings with Cate were so much fun to read. He also has multiple dimensions to his character.
Even though I knew how Shakespeare's play ended, this story was not in the least boring. It was full of intrigue and will keep you wondering what exactly is going on...
Read it! I know you'll love it!
*I received this book free from the publisher. This review is my honest opinion.

Against The Tide by Elizabeth Camden

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 Against The Tide by Elizabeth Camden follows the story of Lydia, an immigrant who was orphaned as a child. She nows works as a translator for the U.S. Navy but everything changes when she becomes involved with Alexander Banebridge...
This novel was like none other I have read before, dealing with subjects such as drug abuse and child abduction. I loved the author's style, her ability to place the reader in this time period. Very real emotions were shown which I appreciated. There is suspense and definitely romance. There is nothing boring about this story.
And of course, the cover draws you in.
I plan to find more books by Elizabeth Camden just because I enjoyed this one so much.
***This review is my honest opinion. I received it free from the publisher.