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August 6 2012 2 06 /08 /August /2012 19:39

This is a book I wish all the young adult/adult women would read! I absolutely loved it and still go back to re-read my favorite parts.

"Wish You Were Here" by Beth K. Vogt is published by Simon & Schuster, Inc and was released on May 1, 2012.

Allison Denman is five days away from her wedding to Seth Rayner. She's not packed, not ready, does not like the dress, not even sure that she's marrying the right guy, considering she's had a crush on Seth's older brother Daniel for as long as she can remember.

Allison's dad left when she was little. All she's ever wanted was someone who thought she was worth sticking around for, someone to find security in. That's what Seth represents: a strong, capable, rich young man who she's dated since she was sixteen. He's always followed the rules, done what is expected of him, is a part of his dad's company. But Seth has always seemed almost too perfect.

Seth's older brother Daniel, however, is the complete opposite. He takes hikes all over the world, travels all the time, and never really seems to stay in the same place. He's the polar opposite of everything Alli's always dreamed of. They why can't Alli seem to get him out of her dreams every night?

Its five days before the wedding. Allison has nothing packed, is not ready at all, and is still dealing with some doubts. That's when Daniel Rayner shows up at her door to pick up the stuff that she was supposed to already have packed. They share a nice evening packing, order Chinese food, and discuss Allison's upcoming wedding- the last thing she wants to talk about. Daniel packs up her boxes and gets ready to leave. They're saying their goodbyes when they accidentally kiss.

That's when things really get interesting!!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster, Inc. for letting me read and review this! I totally loved it.

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May 28 2012 2 28 /05 /May /2012 18:05

This book about Cleopatra, the Egyptian princess, is written by Kristiana Gregory. This book is written in an interesting yet educational format, as it is part of "The Royal Diaries" series, which are written by various authors and is a division of the "Dear America" series. I enjoyed this book because it is like you are reading Cleopatra's diary from when she was a girl. This book weaves history with fiction in a fun, educational-without-knowing-it type of book.

Cleopatra is a princess in Egypt, even though she herself is not Egyptian. She comes from the Ptolemy family line and is Macedonian. Because of this, the Egyptians do not like Cleopatra and her family, and her father is forced to seek help from Rome. Naturally, this upsets the Egyptians and puts Cleopatra in danger.

Cleopatra is only a girl, and you will find that you enjoy reading about the ancient Egyptian culture and what the royalty faced trying to stay on the throne. Kristiana Gregory skillfully weaves historical characters such as Julius Caesar and Mark Antony into the mix in this fictional diary of Cleopatra of Egypt. I would recommend this book to girls or boys ages eight to twelve.  At the end of the book you will find a helpful section of pictures of Cleopatra, maps of ancient Egypt, and a Ptolemy family tree. 

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May 26 2012 7 26 /05 /May /2012 19:42

 

I read this book in almost one sitting. I loved it; Karen Witemeyer has done it again, spinning a beautiful western romance. Her past three books, all stand-alones, The Tailor-Made Bride, Head in the Clouds, and To Win her Heart, have also been wonderful. This recent addition to my collection has not let me down!

 

Meredith Hayes is an orphan that is sent to live with her business-minded aunt and uncle, who want her to marry Roy Mitchell to further their business. Meredith does not agree to the match because of an incident that happened twelve years ago, that only her cousin Cassandra has been told about.

 

Meredith was ten years old, being bullied, same as ever, when the bully goes so far as to throw her lunch pail onto the forbidden Archer land. Everybody knows not to go onto the Archer's land for fear of being shot as all the signs around the Archer's land warn. Meri bravely makes her way to retrieve her pail, and almost makes it safely when her leg is caught in a steel trap and she is unable to flee. Meri hears dogs coming towards her and is afraid that she will be caught when Travis Archer approaches her with a shotgun pointed at her.

 

Travis Archer's father's dying wish was to keep his brothers and their land safe, and that's exactly what he does. Barbed wire fences are put up with signs warning the trespassers will be shot on sight. Travis and his brothers stay on the land, never once going into town, and take care of the land. So when seventeen-year-old Travis sees a little girl caught in one of his traps, he is horrified by the result of having set them. He immediately goes to help her, and breaks his promise to his deceased father for the first time by carrying her off his land into town.

 

Twelve years later, Meredith Hayes is being forced to marry a man she does not love, with lingering fantasies about the kind man she met on Archer land a long time ago. So when she hears her fiancé-to-be plotting to burn the Archer's off their land to convince them to sell it, Meredith jumps into action to pay off her twelve-year debt to Travis Archer. She runs off to warn them and ends up getting hurt, being forced to stay at the Archer's house until she recovers.

 

Travis Archer is shocked to see Meredith again; even more shocked when he finds out that she risked being shot to warn them about a plot against him. So when Meredith's uncle arrives a few days after Meri's accident, and sees that she has been living with the four Archer brothers for several days, and demands that she marry one of them to save her reputation, he secretly volunteers. He's not sure why he did it, but he knows he feels a responsibility to take care of her. What Travis is not counting on is all of his brothers wanting to marry her too. They end up drawing straws, without knowing that Meredith is watching them from the doorway. Her uncle comes back the next day, and Meredith becomes a married woman.

 

Meredith has always dreamed of Travis, ever since the day he freed her from his steel trap. When they marry, she is determined to prove to him that she will make a good bride.

 

But with constant threats to the Archer's land and Meredith's cousin, will she ever have a chance to prove to Travis that she is more than merely a short-straw bride?

Thank you so much to Karen Witemeyer and Bethany House publishers for letting me read and review this book! I love Miss Witemeyer's work and was so excited about the opportunity to read this one, too.

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May 25 2012 6 25 /05 /May /2012 21:33

If you are looking for a book that will keep you spell-bound, this one is for you! Mary Lu Tyndall weaves an incredible story of true love and dying, pirates and capture, slaves and harlots, twists and turns, hate and God's redemption. I stayed on the edge of my seat for the entire ride. What an amazing book! (Note: This is a sequel to The Red Siren, also by Mary Lu Tyndall in the Charles Towne Belles series. I read the first one before this and loved it as well. This book would make sense if you never read the first one, but I would suggest reading The Red Siren before The Blue Enchantress.)

Hope Westcott has run off with Lord Falkland on his ship to England to surprise him because he has promised to marry her. Hope's siblings warned her against him but she didn't listen. As Hope found out on the ship, Lord Falkland is already married; he sells Hope to the ship's captain to be sold as a slave. Hope is horrified that he would do such a thing and does not know how to get out of this mess since she never told her family where she was going.

Nathanial Mason has always admired Hope Westcott from afar in Charles Towne, even though she had a reputation of being a harlot. When he sees her on the block being sold as a slave he feels it is his duty as a Christian gentleman to rescue her. What he does not know is that it may cost him half of his livelihood.

Hope is shocked to see Mr. Mason rescue her, as she has always shunned him back in Charles Towne. When their ship back to home is wrecked, she, Nathanial, and some of the ship's crew must push past all odds to survive on a nearby desert island. Things get awkward between her and Nathanial when Abigail, a godly woman, seems to be getting Nathanial's attentions, and Hope gets jealous.

And if that isn't dramatic and edge-of-your-seat enough for you, might I add that Hope becomes deadly sick with an island fever and a pirate ship docks on the island.

This book is so amazing! I would give it five out of five stars. Thank you so much to Net Galley and Barbour publishers! I totally fell in love with this book and its characters.

 

 

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May 10 2012 5 10 /05 /May /2012 00:55

If you want a book to take you on a journey, I would say this one qualifies. Mariah's Quest by Dianna Crawford and Sally Laity is an interesting historical fiction book that is the second in the Daughters of Harwood House series. I read this one without reading the first one, Rose's Pledge, and it still made perfect sense. This book is about Mariah, the second oldest daughter in a family who has gone bankrupt. Mariah and her sisters have sailed from England to America to become indentured servants to pay off their family's debt.

Mariah Harwood is standing on the block, waiting for someone to bid for her. She is devastated because the ship's captain is selling her and her sisters separately, even though he promised to keep them together. As Mariah stands before the crowd of wild and dirty men, she is scared of what they would do with her once she is sold. Then, a handsome man on horseback at the back of the crowd raises the bid price on her.

Colin Barclay is in town because of his family's horse business. He came only to buy and sell horses, but when he sees a beautiful young English girl being bid on, he joins in. He cannot take his eyes off her, and ends up bidding an outrageous sum for a four year indentured servant.

Mariah is amazed at this handsome young man who has come to her rescue and saved her from all the other filthy competition.

Colin is amused when Mariah's sister makes him promise to not touch Mariah until they both arrive to Colin's home safely. It is all he can do to keep his promise on the day-long ride to his house, but he does, and is only deterred farther from Mariah when his mother threatens to sell Mariah if he does touch her. Not to be put off, Colin still tries to get to Mariah, but is prevented further when he has to go out of the country on business and then is sent off to war.

Meanwhile, Mariah is having her own struggle. She has been sort of accepted into the family in her role of a tutoress to Colin's sisters, but when Colin continually has to leave the house, she misses him and is treated a little worse. Mariah is trying hard to keep her eyes off the other men surrounding her on the family's trips around. She wants to stick with Colin, but, as I said before, he is always being called away.

When Colin finally returns from the war, he has been wounded in a way that will forever affect his and Mariah's relationship unless she can do something to prevent that.

Thank you so much to Net Galley and Barbour publishers for letting me read and review this book! I really enjoyed it.

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May 2 2012 4 02 /05 /May /2012 03:47

Welcome to Hickory Hollow, the settling famous in Beverly Lewis's books. This one is no different.

Amelia is a violin performer who has been playing since she was three and taught by her dad. Now she is grown and living two lives: one, as the professional violinist her father wants her to be, and two, a country fiddler going by the name of Amy Lee. Her fiddling life is a secret to everyone: her mother, her father, her boyfriend Byron, her agent Stoney. All four would be horrified if they knew; Amelia has been raised as a violinist and has offers of European tours. She is dating another musician who also expects her to play classical violin music. But Amelia is tired of doing things because others expect them of her. She wants to play country music, so she sneaks away in her spare time to play opening acts for other country singers.

It is at one of these opening acts that Amelia's agent confronts her after her performance. She has been found out, and her agent begs her to stop fiddling and go on a European tour trip she has been offered. Amelia does not really want to go, but she ends up going because her father is really sick and she wants to honor his wishes.

Back to the night her agent discovered her fiddling. Amelia travels home that night, but on her way a huge storm hits and she becomes lost. She steps out at a gas station and drops her phone in a puddle. Now her phone is broken, she's lost far away from her home, and she's in the middle of a rainstorm so even if she knew the way to go she could not see the signs to get there.

Amelia winds up at a cabin she finds in the woods and meets Michael, an Amish man who is trying to choose whether or not to stay Amish. They have several interesting discussions and Amelia ends up going back to Hickory Hollow with him.

Overall, I thought this novel moved way too quickly and was not very believable. It was a good story, just not very realistic.

Thank you so much to Baker and Bethany House House publishers for letting me read and review this book!

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April 20 2012 6 20 /04 /April /2012 02:30

   

Get swept down the aisle with The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. This book is a modern-day story set in Montana about a girl who owns a failing ranch and her high school sweetheart Travis McCoy, a rodeo rider.

Shay lives on her ranch with her twelve year old daughter Olivia. The ranch is failing and the banker is trying to get it from Shay. To celebrate Founder's Day, a holiday celebrating the founding of their small town, Shay is to participate in a re-enactment of the wedding of the couple who started the town. She’s playing the bride. The groom is supposed to be played by the boyfriend of one of the snottiest girls, who is mad that her boyfriend is playing in a wedding and she’s not the bride.

So anyway, Shay goes to her friend Miss Lucy's shop to try on the town's special old wedding dress that she is to wear in the play. She puts it on in the back room and comes out to the shop to let Miss Lucy do any alterations. It fits so beautifully; Miss Lucy coos and ahhs over it. Shay, meanwhile, is thinking of her past. Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart, and herself were going to the courthouse to elope when he left her on the courthouse steps and winds up in Texas as a rodeo star. Shay, since she has not seen him since then - fourteen years past- thinks bitterly towards him and how he dumped her for the rodeo. In those fourteen years, Shay got married and had Olivia. That husband left her also, and died a short time later in another state. Shay and Olivia were devastated.

So now, Shay is in Miss Lucy's shop, with a wedding dress for the Founder's Day play on, when none other than Travis McCoy himself walks in the door.

Travis is shocked to see Shay in Miss Lucy's shop, and even more so to see her in a wedding dress. Sure, he had heard of her late husband and how he died and how Shay was dating again, but he did not think she was already getting married again. He remembers how he kissed Shay in her parents' barn late one night on a dare, and has come to realize over the fourteen years that they were apart what a mistake it was to leave Shay behind and is upset to think that she is getting married to someone other than him. But judging from the hate shooting from her eyes, they were never meant to be.

Miss Lucy, an eccentric older lady, decides it would be wonderful for Travis to play the groom in the Founder's Day play. She does a little meddling and gets him the part.

Shay walks down the aisle for the play, expecting to see the boyfriend of one of the meaner girls, and is shocked to see Travis McCoy standing there. She quickly overcomes her shock and turns to anger. Her anger turns back to surprise when Travis breaks the rules of kissing the bride on the cheek for the play and kisses her on the mouth instead. Shay notes that he is still an amazing kisser and that nothing has changed since that night in the barn, but quickly pushes him off.

Travis discovers a few days later that someone found his and Shay's marriage certificate that was never used fourteen years earlier and that it was activated during the Founder's Day play. In other words, he and Shay are officially married.

Shay is horrified when Travis tells her that they are married. She thinks back to when he hurt her and almost demands for an annulment when Travis comes up with an idea that her failing ranch forces her to accept-to allow Travis to stay at the ranch for five months and help Shay get her ranch back in order.

Thank you so much to Net Galley and Thomas Nelson publishers for letting me review this book! I loved it.

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April 20 2012 6 20 /04 /April /2012 01:40

If you are looking for a jewel of a book, I am sorry to tell you this one has been shipwrecked. (Please forgive my bad puns and bluntness) Hunter's Prize by Marcia Gruver was just not as great as I was expecting. It's a good book, yes, but not great.

Addie goes to Texas on a whim looking for a job, her mother accompanying her. Her mother has a habit of quickly judging people's character and talking to them. As Addie and her mother get off the train and look for something to eat, they run into Theo and Pearson, two treasure hunters coming to Texas to look for gold on a legendary sunken ship. Addie and her mom continue on their way to where Addie is looking for a position as a governess.

Ceddy's parents were missionaries in South Africa before they died and he was sent off to live with his Aunt Priscilla. He has a beautiful collection of rocks and does not say anything. He hates milk and follows his own strict schedule. To sum it all up, he has pretty odd behavior. And Addie applied to be his governess. I think he's around five or six. As he was leaving Africa, the guides there saw he had an odd rock and wanted to get their hands on it. They follow Ceddy's path to America.

Pearson and Theo are treasure hunters looking for gold on a sunken shipwreck in Texas. Or, to be more exact, he's looking for the ship itself; almost no one knows where it is. He ends up hiring the guides from Africa that were chasing Ceddy, but does not know who they are or what they are up to. He ends up renting a cottage from Ceddy's aunt and lives in close quarters with Addie. Thanks to a few meddling aunts and moms, Pearson gets permission to court Addie.

Thing is, Ceddy seems to react badly whenever Pearson is around and Addie later finds bruises and marks on Ceddy. Aunt Priscilla, the maid, and the preacher suspect Pearson. Addie does not know what to do.

And then one day, Pearson goes off with Theo and Ceddy disappears.

Thank you so much to Net Galley and Barbour publishers for letting me review this book.

I think one of the reasons that I didn't like this book so much is because it was really slow and I read a book before it (Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer) about a governess named Addie that was much better than this one and made Hunter's Prize seem like a bad attempt at copy-catting. I would highly recommend Head in the Clouds, though!

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April 19 2012 5 19 /04 /April /2012 23:28

If you need your appetite for reading wet again, then try out this new book that's rolling in on the tide. Lily by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver is an excellent book about a girl (Lily) who buys a boat to try to escape from her aunt and uncle, and society. When she finds out that she only owns half of the boat, and the other half is owned by Blake Matthews, a gambler, it gets interesting.

Lily Catherine Anderson and her sisters Camellia and Jasmine are orphans sent to live in Charlestown, South Carolina with their Aunt Dahlia, Uncle Phillip, and grandmother. Lily's parents and family used to live a life on the river, living on a steamboat, before an accident took her mom and her dad left them. Now Lily is in Charlestown, and she is having a hard time trying to fit into society. Plus, her aunt and uncle are trying to get Lily married off to a really old guy, and she's only eighteen. At the beginning of the book, we see Lily meeting Blake Matthews when a pickpocket steals her purse and falls into the water. Lily asks the closest person to rescue him, and we connect the dots later to see that was Blake. Within the first week that Lily was with her aunt and uncle, they take her to a ball on a steamboat and she meets Jean Luc Champey, a son of the wealthy steamboat owner that Lily later does business with.

Blake Matthews runs a gambling boat. He docks in the harbor and claims to play an honest game. Once he has been in that harbor for a while or makes somebody mad, he will move on to the next one. Now he's looking to buy a bigger boat to use.

Jean Luc Champey has finally been trusted enough by his father to get the deed to a boat. Well, really the deed to 49% of a boat, The Hattie Belle. He goes out that night, looking to gamble for some more money since he has a knack for gambling. He runs across Blake Matthews's boat and is intrigued by his "honest game" reputation. Well into the game he lets his guard down and loses his boat to Blake. Jean Luc is worried about facing his father, because with the first thing he trusted to Jean Luc, he gambled it off the same night.

Blake goes to claim the boat, is mad to see he only owns 49%. Lily's grandfather dies, and she takes her dowry from her grandmother and buys a boat. When she goes to claim it, she sees other people on the boat and finds out by looking at the fine print with the man in charge of the boat that she only owns 51% of the boat. They, Lily and Blake, fight over the boat and what it will be used for.

Meanwhile, Jean Luc is trying to find a way to woo Lily so he can get her part of the boat. But for Lily, she seems oddly immune to his charms, and seems to be fascinated by Blake.

Thanks to Net Galley and Barbour publishers for letting me review this book! It was excellent.

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April 3 2012 3 03 /04 /April /2012 19:59

Glamorous Illusions, by Lisa T. Bergren is an amazing book- I stayed on the edge of my seat the whole time and could not sleep until I finished it. Actually, the book ended with me on the edge of my seat and I saw that there were two other books following this one in the series (The Grand Tour Series), so I still could not go to sleep.

The book starts with one of the main characters, Cora Diehl, coming home from Normal School back to her parents’ farm. She is worried when they don't pick her up from the train station, and after she gets home (thanks to a ride from a kind neighbor) she finds that her father is having a stroke in the barn and she gets the doctor. A few days later, a strange man that Cora has never seen shows up at their door and talks to Cora's mother, Alma. Cora is very uncomfortable around him, but her mother acts as if he is an old friend. As it turns out, he is her long-lost father, and the papa who had the stroke simply married Alma because the man (Mr. Kensington) was already married. He has come to invite her to go with him to meet her family and go on the Grand Tour of Europe with her half-siblings. Of course, she does not want to leave her parents that she grew up with, their farm that's failing, and her friends and neighbors. He does not really give her a fair choice, and she is whisked away to a life she has never known-the life of the rich. (Oh yes, I forgot to mention that her long-lost dad is amazing rich, famous, and an ex-Us Senator. With a mansion, children, private tutors, ballrooms, servants, everything the complete opposite of what Cora has ever known.)

As she arrives, she meets the people who will be guiding her around Europe with her half-siblings. She also meets her siblings, and to put it lightly, they do not get along. At all. With Cora and most of her other half-siblings being in their late teens and early twenties, they aren't automatically ready to accept each other. Also, some of the Kensington's (her siblings) friends are going on the Grand Tour.

So, they set off for Europe, and the adventures begin. They meet up with lots of obstacles, especially with Cora being the illegitimate daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Montana. They go to England and France in this book, and it leaves off with them getting ready to go to Italy. From fancy balls to broken-into houses, this is an exciting, dramatic, and romantic adventure you won't want to miss.

Thank you so much to Net Galley and David C. Cook publishers for letting me read and review this book. It was excellent!

And don't forget to check out the other two books in this series: Grave Consequences (Spring 2013) and Glittering Promises (Fall 2013).

 

 

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