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February 18 2015 4 18 /02 /February /2015 02:42

 

     "How to Catch a Prince" by Rachel Hauck is the third book in the "Royal Weddings" series, the first being "Once Upon a Prince      ", and the second "Princess Ever After      ".  I liked this book the best out of them all so far, and it ties with "The Dandelion Field      " for my favorite book of 2015 so far.

     Corina Del Ray has been grieving her twin brother's death in the war for several years, and the loss of her husband from the same war.  He didn't die physically, but emotionally he pulled away from her, and she hasn't seen him since.  Of course, it hasn't been too hard to keep track of how he's been, considering he's the prince of Brighton.  But since Corina's returned to the US, she hasn't seen him or had contact with him directly.  Now, she's pushing herself out of her fog of grief and getting back to work.

     Prince Stephen knows loves rugby, and is upset about having twisted his ankle, rendering him currently unable to play.  Then, his brother Nathanial pulls out papers claiming that he's still technically married to Corina, and he has to go the US to find her and get an annulment.  When Corina sees him again however, she senses God telling her that her marriage shouldn't be given up on so easily, that she should fight hard to regain the love of her life.  What she doesn't know is the terrible secret that makes Stephen keep her at arm's length.  Can love be enough to conquer all of their obstacles?

     My word, I absolutely loved this book.  The characters were heart wrenchingly real, their struggles and secrets so palpable, and the royal whimsicalness of it all tied this book together.  The strong theme of loving well made this book a winner for me, and I would highly, highly recommend this one.  It works as a stand-alone from the first two books in this series, but the first book is about Stephen's older brother Nathanial, and it was nice to know that back story on him and Susanna.

     Thank you so much to Book Look bloggers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own, and I was not required to provide a positive review. 

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February 4 2015 4 04 /02 /February /2015 03:30

 

     "The Dandelion Field" by Kathryn Springer is published by Zondervan.  This is my first book from this author, but several authors that I enjoy recommend her, so I thought I'd try this out.  I'll admit this was pretty low in my stack of books to read, so I procrastinated and skimmed through the beginning.  Then, somewhere in chapter two or three, the plot grabbed at my heart and the characters would not let go.  I was hooked and could not put the book down.  While its plot is pretty complicated to explain in a review, I'll do my very best to sum up its characters. 

 

     Evie Bennett is the widow to Maxwell Bennett, a firefighter, and mother to Cody Maxwell Bennett, who is around eighteen or nineteen at the start of the book.

     Cody Bennett is Evie's son, boyfriend to Raine Lightly, Christian, and the father of Raine's baby.

     Raine Lightly is Ginevieve Lightly's daughter.  Raine and her mom travel from town to town, never staying in one place for too long, because staying means getting to know people, and knowing people means that they are close enough to hurt you.  Raine is also around eighteen, and the mother of Cody's baby. (I know, stating the obvious...)

     Ginevieve Lightly does not trust men; she's been hurt by them too many times, her mother's been hurt by them, and Raine has been hurt because her father left them. 

     Dan Moretti is a local firefighter, best friend to Evie and Max from when they grew up as neighbors.  Since Maxwell's death when Cody was six, Dan has stepped in as a father figure to Cody.  While he had romantic intentions towards Evie in the past, he does know what to think when Ginevieve Lightly comes into his life.

 

     I loved this book! I cannot say enough good things about it.  Yes, the first two or three chapters were hard to get in to.  That is my only complaint.  The characters drew me in, and the plot was heart-breakingly captivating.  The chapters were short, so it was easy to pick up and read bits at a time (not that it mattered, considering the book drew you in to read it all at once!).  The themes of redemption, loving one another through conflicting social statuses, unexpected bumps in the road, and having empathy for each other's pasts and pains made this book one of my top five favorites of all time.

     Thank you so much to the BookLook bloggers program and Zondervan publishers for providing me with this opportunity and a copy of this book to read and review.  I absolutely loved it, and will be watching out for more from this author from now on.

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January 21 2015 4 21 /01 /January /2015 23:59

     I have recently finished reading “Little Men” by Louisa May Alcott.  It is the sequel to “Little Women”.  Because the plot is still tied to Jo March Bhaer, I recommend reading “Little Women” first, or at least familiarize yourself with the plot by watching the movie by the same name.  Both books are wonderfully charming, but each in their own way.  The theme of “Little Women” is more about the strength of sisters and family through the trials of war, growing up, and falling in love, while the theme of “Little Men” is more towards the idea that love and patience with raising children turns the children’s hearts towards good.

 

     At the end of “Little Women”, Jo March and the German Professor Bhaer have fallen in love, and decided to found a school for boys.  The plot continues fairly seamlessly into “Little Men”, where Jo and the Professor have begun the school with their nephews and various boys around town. 

 

     An orphan boy named Nat arrives off the streets at the beginning of the book, with only the clothes on his back and his violin.  Other boys at the school soon welcome Nat, and he works hard at his schoolwork and chores, thriving under the love and care of Mrs. Jo, who is very proud of him.  Because of the great success she has with Nat, she is more open to the idea of accepting other orphans and boys off the street into her school at Plumfield.  Thus, when Nat’s tough-around-the-edges friend Dan shows up, Mrs. Jo wants to accept him into the school.  Professor Bhaer is not quite as sure that Dan can be tamed simply by love and kindness.  When Dan repeatedly runs away, and is accused of stealing another boy’s money and lying about it, Mrs. Jo is greatly distressed.

 

     She decides that the boys need the influence of a few girls.  Already Jo’s niece by her sister Meg, Daisy, is staying at the school, and Daisy is so sweet a girl that all the boys love her.  Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer decide to bring another girl to the school, to help tame the boys.  The Bhaers decide that Nan, a girl a little on the rambunctious side who plays occasionally with Daisy, would make a good addition to the school.  Together through fire, sickness, death, and mischief, the boys and girls mature, learn to love one another and stay true in friendships, and use their imagination. 

 

     Personally, I read this book a lot faster than I did “Little Women” because the themes and plot of “Little Women” seemed to be more mature and deep, while “Little Men” was more of a light-hearted read, and full of mischief.  I would still highly recommend both of them; as I said before, both books are wonderful, and certainly embody the terms “classic” and “timeless”.

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January 7 2015 4 07 /01 /January /2015 19:28

Product Details

 

     "Beyond All Dreams" is the latest stand-alone novel by Elizabeth Camden, which is published by Bethany House and will be released on December 30, 2014.

     Anna O'Brien would love nothing more than to simply be able to stay tucked away in the map room of the Library of Congress for the rest of her days.  She has been fascinated with maps since her father, who was a mapmaker, passed away from a shipwreck.

  Luke Callahan is a politician used to getting his way, and is shocked when Anna whispers a rebuke regarding that attitude at a political meeting.  She intrigues him though, and he seeks to get to know her by requesting her to do an enormous amount of research for his political campaign.  The tables turn when she asks him to look into the mystery of the ship that her father was on when it sank.  This seems easy enough, but soon proves to be a task that will drag them both into a mess much better than they ever could have dreamed.  

     Elizabeth Camden is, most likely, my favorite author, so I did have high expectations for this book.  I could tell that this was very well researched, yet that research did not make this book dull in the least.  The setting of a library was charming, and very fitting for a book, and the characters had their own quirks that enticed me to continue on with their stories.  While I don't know that anything else Elizabeth Camden writes could ever top her "Lady of Bolton Hill" or "Against the Tide", I was not disappointed with this latest release.

     Thank you to Bethany House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review. 

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January 1 2015 5 01 /01 /January /2015 04:20

  1. "A Love Like Ours" by Becky Wade.

 

  2. "Married 'Til Monday" by Denise Hunter

 

                     3. *Title and Cover Yet to Be Released* by Bo Burnette

 

Product Details4. "Surprised by Love" by Julie Lessman (Yes, this was released in 2014, but I haven't read it yet.)

  5. "Undercover Bride" by Margaret Brownley

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: For 2015, I will be posting reviews every other week.

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December 31 2014 4 31 /12 /December /2014 00:20

Product Details1. "Rebellious Heart" by Jody Hedlund.  This was the first book that I had read by this author, but the drama, characters, and setting of the turmoil around the American Revolution was superb; it was an especially sweet surprise to read in the back of the book that the main characters were based off of John and Abigail Adams.

 

 

Product Details2. "As You Wish" by Cary Elwes.  As a die-hard fan of the movie "The Princess Bride", this invaluable inside look into the making of the movie was awesome! I got this book on audio, and it was narrated by Cary Elwes himself.  I cannot think of many better things to do than listen to his British accent tell tales about "The Princess Bride"!

 

Product Details 3. "Meant to Be Mine" by Becky Wade.  I loved this sequel to "Undeniably Yours"! The characters were so loveable and this was a fun read. 

 

Product Details4. "Dare to Love Again" by Julie Lessman.  This was another fun sequel, and I look forward to the third in the trilogy. 

 

Product Details 5. "Anne of Avonlea" by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I love Anne! This was just as good as the first book of the series.

 

Product Details 6. "The Book Thief" by Marcus Zusak.  I think the book was better than the movie in this case, but the movie did a great job considering all the material to cover.  This was a very powerful book, and I loved its characters.

 

Product Details 7. "Dancing with Fireflies" by Denise Hunter.  This book had a different plot than "usual", but I absolutely loved its themes of redemption and unconditional love. 

 

Product Details8. "Full Steam Ahead" by Karen Witemeyer.  This book as well has charming characters, and beautiful messages.  Another winner from Karen Witemeyer!

 

Product Details9. "Beyond All Dreams" by Elizabeth Camden.  Elizabeth Camden is one of my very top favorite authors, which you may know if you've been following me for a while.  Thus, you may wonder why her books are at the bottom of this list.  Mainly, I did not get as attached to her characters in her most recent books as I did her first books.  These books were still good though, as evidenced by having two from the same author on my "Top 10" list. :)

 

Product Details10. "With Every Breath" by Elizabeth Camden.  This was another book from 2014 that had a unique plot, but I could tell that it was very well researched, and I appreciate that. Camden does a wonderful job of bringing clarity to the historial aspects of her stories without boring the readers. 

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December 24 2014 4 24 /12 /December /2014 04:58

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     "The Secret of Pembrooke Park" by Julie Klassen is published by Bethany House.  It is a stand-alone novel, and I found it had a different feel than her other works.  I don't know exactly how to put it; her other works are more historical, while this had more of a mysterious feel than historical air.

 

     Abigail Foster is a practical girl, helping her father with the family finances, especially since her mother and sister like spending money that the family does not have.  When the family's finances run too low to stay in their own house, a mysterious opportunity arises to stay at a mansion in the country that has been boarded up for eighteen years.  Abigail is intrigued, and convinces her father to try it out.  When they arrive at the house, they find everything looking as if it had been quickly abandoned.  Tea is still out in the parlor; dollhouses and their pieces are left on the floor in a bedroom.  Soon after she arrives, Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, diary-style, about the day of departure from the mansion.

 

     I couldn't stop reading this book! The mystery of what happened to the original residents of this mansion was captivating, and Abigail was a relatable character.  The plot was well-developed and kept me hanging.

 

     Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  Although I liked Julie Klassen's older books better, this was a good read.

 

 

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December 17 2014 4 17 /12 /December /2014 02:16

 

     "The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance" is by Ginger Kolbaba, and based off of the screenplay of the movie "Old Fashioned" (set to release on Valentine's Day 2015) by Rik Swartzwelder.

      This book is a nonfiction, devotional type companion to the novel "Old Fashioned".  Intended to drive the messages of "old fashioned" techniques of romancing home from the fictional story, this book lays out the movie's/novel's moral in a 40 day devotion.  Each day has a quote, various insights on inner healing and romance, and points to ponder or journal about. 

     I did enjoy this devotional, as it is a great follow-up to the book, and assumedly the movie, which, at the time of this post, has not yet been released.  Each entry is short and thought-provoking, averaging around 3-7 pages or so per day.  It pries deep into those who read it, promoting fresh perspectives on life and love (as cliché as that sounds).  I would recommend reading this book in conjunction with the novel or movie (or both), instead of by itself, as it frequently references characters and scenes in the movie.

     Thank you so much to Tyndale House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to post a positive review, just an honest one, which I have done.

 

Bonus:

Here's the cover of the companion book:

    Product Details 

 

Also, here's the link to the movie website:

http://www.oldfashionedmovie.com/resources

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December 10 2014 4 10 /12 /December /2014 01:32
     Product Details
   "Old Fashioned" by Rene Gutteridge is the novel form of the movie by the same name, the movie being set to release Valentine's Day 2015.  "Old Fashioned" is published by Tyndale House, as is its nonfiction companion, "The Old Fashioned Way."
     Clay Walsh was a wild boy in college.  I say "was" because he reformed his ways before the start of the book to begin focusing on nurturing true love through a courtship type process, and he has changed to have "old-fashioned" ideas on dating.  He is settled down alone, running an antique shop with an apartment for rent above it, when the story begins.
     Amber Hewson hops from town to town whenever she gets tired of where she is.  She simply saves up her money for gas and rides until she runs out.  When we meet her, Amber runs out of gas and rents an apartment to stay in while she saves up again.  As you may have guessed by now, that apartment just so happens to be Clay's.  As Amber is around Clay more and more, she can't help but notice that he has a different outlook on life.  While this nonetheless is odd to her, she becomes attracted to him, and tries to understand how to get to know him on his own rules.
     I thought that this book was very different from "normal" romance, or even "normal" Christian romances of today.  I'm not saying that it was bad; it just had a different kind of twang to it, like lemonade in your sweet tea.  You know immediately that it's different, but you continue through it because it intrigues you.  That pretty much sums up why I read this book: it intrigued me.  Not interested me, or left me on the edge of my seat, or kept me up at night.  It simply intrigued me, as would any book on a nice autumn day, when the year is winding down and I simply want to savor it before I begin again.  I would not read this book twice, but I would recommend it to those who enjoy books that leave you thinking about their message even weeks after you've finished it.  That's pretty much how I would sum up my opinion of "Old Fashioned": thought-provoking.  The characters weren't captivating; the setting wasn't impressive.  It was just a different way of life to consider with a story written up around it.
     Thank you to Tyndale publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one, which I have done.
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December 3 2014 4 03 /12 /December /2014 03:36

 

     "Love Unexpected" is the latest novel by Jody Hedlund, who recently captivated me with "Rebellious Heart".  "Love Unexpected" is the first book in her new series, "Beacons of Hope", which is published by Bethany House.

     Emma Chambers has nothing except her brother now that her steamboat sank.  She is tired of having to always depend on Ryan, even though he is family; Emma simply wants him to be free of her so he can begin his own life.  Thus, when the parson in town recommends she marry their recently-widowed rescuer from the shipwreck and take care of his two-year old son, she agrees.  Emma knows nothing about the man, except that he seems to be quiet and easy to get along with, his name is Patrick, and he is a lighthouse keeper whose wife died just days earlier.  Emma is just happy to have a home and family.

     Patrick, meanwhile, does not know what to make of having another wife, and this time one that seems somewhat interested in him, instead of distant.  Emma seems to be a good mother for his son, even if all she can cook is coffee.  She is tenderness that his first wife did not. 

     Once Patrick and Emma begin to get to know one another better, accusations and evil from Patrick's past threaten to tear apart the new family.  Will they find love in one another and faith in God enough to survive on?

     I thought that this book had a fairly interesting plot, and a harsh yet beautiful nature setting.  The characters intrigued me right off the bat, and I look forward to other books in this series.

     Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review. 

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