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May 28 2015 5 28 /05 /May /2015 04:13

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist is published by Howard books and is a stand-alone novel, set to be released in May of 2015. Personally, I liked several of Mrs. Gist's older works better, because they seemed sweeter and the characters more quaint and charming. Her more recent books have still been good, in my opinion, but more tedious and the characters less attracting. Tiffany Girl, unfortunately, followed this pattern for me. Flossie Jane is an independent woman, looking to work her own job outside of her mother's business. Flossie's father disapproves, so Flossie moves out to a boardinghouse, unmarried (a no-no in her day), and applies for an artistic job with stained glass. When Louis Tiffany's workers go on strike, he and his company end up hiring women.

Reeve Wilder is a little peeved at his new next door neighbor in the boardinghouse, because the walls are thin, and he can hear everything she and her roommate talk about. Eventually though, her optimistic personality and desire to unite the boarders in mealtime fellowship attracts him to her.

I didn't care for this book. I've enjoyed other books by Deeanne Gist, but this one didn't click with me. Flossie's semi-rebellious personality and desire to go against her father's will did not endear her to me, or make me want to read about her for 500+ pages. As for Reeve, I can't even remember anything about him. What did he do? What was special about him? Where was he from? Nothing makes him stick in my mind, except that he had some chemistry with Flossie.

Thank you to Net Galley and Howard publishers for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.

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May 13 2015 4 13 /05 /May /2015 01:54

 

     "Married 'til Monday" is the fourth book in the "Chapel Springs Romance" series written by Denise Hunter and published by Thomas Nelson.  I have really loved this series! Each sibling has their own quirks, but each is so loveable.

     Ryan McKinley married the love of his life after college, and after the loss of their baby and tensions in their relationships, his wife Abbey left him.  This book starts three years after their divorce, and Ryan is still struggling to recover from it.  His family, usually quite welcoming and accepting, never really liked Abbey.  Ryan knows he still loves her, but because Abbey has moved, does not know of anything he can do about it.  Then his ex-mother-in-law calls, inviting the couple to come to Maine for the weekend to celebrate her 35th anniversary.  Ryan realizes that she thinks he is still married to her daughter, and that Abbey never told her parents about her divorce.

     Abbey McKinley never told her parents about her divorce because of the verbal abuse she suffered from her dad as a child, and the "you'll never be good enough" messages she gets from him as an adult.  When Ryan shows up, telling her that he's driving with her, she doesn't see another possibility that would keep their secret hidden.  She just has to pretend to still be happily married to Ryan for the weekend.

     I really enjoyed this end to the stories of the McKinley children.  Ryan's character was an open book, which contrasted with Abbey's layers of motives and emotions.  I loved them both, and am sad that the series is over!  This was a sweet story to wrap it up.

     Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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April 29 2015 4 29 /04 /April /2015 03:14

 

     "The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest" is the latest novel by Melanie Dickerson.  I was so excited for this twist on "Swan Lake" and "The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood" to release! I love how Melanie Dickerson weaves spiritual themes into adaptations of famous fairytales, as I've always been a reader of fairytales :).

     Odette Menkels was an orphan who pillaged through trash for food until learning to hunt.  Her uncle took her in when he returned to the Holy Roman Empire, and since then, she's poached Lord Thornbeck and the king's deer at night to feed the orphans around town.  By day, she teaches the children and attends parties, although she's not very interested in any of the local men for a husband.  As long as she can help provide for those in situations like she once was, and avoid the local forester, she is happy.

     Jorgen is the local forester, determined to catch whoever has been poaching the land, especially since his father was shot by a poacher.  He is attracted to the mysterious Odette, and helps her teach the local children.  He just can't understand why she is wary of him.  When Odette's uncle comes to financial ruin, and Odette is going to marry another man to save their fortune and provide for the local children, can Jorgen break past her barriers to show her that he loves her?

     I really enjoyed this book.  The plot had many twists and turns that once read were recognizable as being from the famous stories mentioned above, but kept me hanging.  The characters were very sweet, and the setting of medieval Germany was really neat.

     Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  I was not disappointed in the least; all opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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April 15 2015 4 15 /04 /April /2015 02:31

 

     "Brentwood's Ward" by Michelle Griep is a stand alone novel, and my first my this author.  "Brentwood's Ward" was the top book the Amazon recommended for me for several weeks, plus it came recommended by a favorite author of mine.  Thus, I decided to look into it, and was able to get an ARC.

     Emily Payne is a little bit spoiled.  Her father isn't very attentive to her, and she spends her time (and her father's money) shopping and going to various parties, vying for a husband.  Her father decides to hire someone to guard her while he goes out of town on a business trip, but she is very rebellious to the idea.

     Nicholas Brentwood has his hands full with a murderer on the loose, shady business surrounding Mr. Payne, and his sickly sister.  How is he supposed to chase Emily from party to party, and fight his growing attraction to her?

     I also would recommend this book! The setting was very interesting, and the characters drew you in.  I will keep an eye this author for sure!

     Thank you to Net Galley and Barbour publishing for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to review and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

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April 8 2015 4 08 /04 /April /2015 05:29

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The first book in the Fairy Tale Romance Collection is the book The Healer’s Apprentice.  In this book, a twist of Sleeping Beauty, Rose falls in love with Lord Hamlin, the duke’s son.  The message of this book, I would say, is about being independent but courteous.  I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it for ages twelve through seventeen.  

    The Merchant’s Daughter is the second book of the series.  It was a spinoff of Beauty and the Beast.  Lord Ranulf le Wyse meets Annabel, and against all odds they are able to marry by the end.  The theme was one of standing strong through turmoil.  To be quite honest, however, I do not know how this book ties in to the rest of the series.   I would say that although this book was all right, it was not my favorite.  There were a few questionable scenes.  So, I would say for this book, readers need to be at least thirteen years of age.

    The Fairest Beauty, the third book of the Fairy Tale Romance series, is centered on Gabehart (Lady Rose and Lord Hamlin’s second son) and his love for Sophia, another duke’s daughter.  The book is based upon the story of Snow White.  Staying true to yourself is the underlying theme in this book.  This book was excellent, but I would still restrict it to ages twelve and up for some intense scenes.  

    The fourth book in this collection is called The Captive Maiden.  It focuses on Gisela’s love for Valten, who is Gabe’s older brother in the previously mentioned book.  This was an exciting twist off the fairy tale Cinderella.  The message in this book is one of staying faithful to your love, come what may.  This book is my favorite in the series, and I would recommend it for ages twelve to seventeen.  

    The fifth and final book in this series is entitled The Princess Spy.  This is an intriguing spin off of the story of The Frog Princess.  Margaretha, the eldest daughter of Lady Rose and Lord Hamlin, falls in love with Lord Collin.  The theme of this book is to love and protect your family.  This book is most enjoyable for ages twelve to sixteen.  

    The eBook Fairy Tale Romance Collection was released in February of 2015 by Zondervan.  Ms. Melanie Dickerson authored it.  Thank you to Zondervan and Ms. Dickerson for providing me a copy of the eBook to review; I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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April 1 2015 4 01 /04 /April /2015 23:18

 

     "A Most Inconvenient Marriage" is written by Regina Jennings.  It is the first book in the "Ozark Mountain Romance" series. This book took me a little while to get into; the plot is complicated at first, and the characters' relationships were a little hard to figure out, but once you get a little ways in, it will start to make more sense.  Just be patient for several chapters.

     Abigail Stuart does not think that she will be welcomed back home after her time as a nurse in the War Between the States.  Thus, when a dying soldier who has only talked of his Juliet back home requests that she marry him and return to his home to take care of his sister, she takes the opportunity to embrace a new family.  The man's family does not embrace her as quickly though, nor do the neighbors and rest of the town.  The soldier's sweetheart is upset about him marrying someone else on his deathbed, and his sister is very harsh to Abigail.  Abigail makes the best of it though, and begins helping out around the farm and making profitable trades with the neighbors.

     Jeremiah Calhoun was wounded in the war, but is now making his way back home to his family and farm.  He is very surprised to find his sweetheart in love with another man, his sister more sick than when he left, and a woman on his land and in his house who claims she married him and he's dead.  Will he be able to turn his life right-side up again, and what will he do with Abigail, who has no family to return to?

 

     Like I mentioned above, this book was a little hard to get into.  Once I straightened out who was who, this was a fun read.  I enjoyed the plot and how the characters interacted with one another.  This isn't my first book by Regina Jennings, and probably won't be the last.  Her writing is good for "lazy days".

      Thank you to Bethany House and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic 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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March 25 2015 4 25 /03 /March /2015 15:13

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    Dauntless is the first of the Valiant Hearts series.  It was released by Bethany House Publishers in 2015.  It is authored by Dina L. Sleiman.

 

    Timothy Grey is the youngest of nine children born to the Baron of Greyham.  So it is only natural that he would want to rise up and make his mark on the world.  As steward to the Earl of Wyndeshire in England, Timothy thinks that things are looking up.  When he is entrusted with capturing the mysterious Ghosts of Farthingale Forest that are suspected to have come to town, Timothy is honored.  But he finds himself in for more than he bargained for when he recognizes their leader.

 

    Merry Ellison, born to the Baron of Ellsworth, finds herself outside the law when her father’s assassination attempt on the king backfires.  She forms a group from the rescued children of her abandoned village, and they earn the nickname of the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.  Merry sacrifices much to preserve her precious band.  But Merry finds it increasingly arduous when their reputation brings new threats – and one of them seems familiar…

 

    I began reading this book, I must admit, with a bit of skepticism.  I hypothesized it might have been very similar to a different book I had read recently.  However, as I read on, I became enraptured in its pages.  The excitement and colorful wording pleased me and drew me in.  I am charmed by this book’s well-written plot, touching moments, romantic twists, and an extraordinary miracle I did not see coming.  Some parts of it may have been a little typical, but the tidy ending made up for it.  The message is a powerful one of a lost soul coming to Christ, and through Him past hurts being healed.  I would recommend this book for adolescents ages thirteen and up, because there was one descriptive death and flashbacks of hangings.  But overall, my opinion of this book is a pleasantly surprised one.

 

    Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to read this book.

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March 18 2015 4 18 /03 /March /2015 00:10

 

     "A Brush with Love" by Rachel Hauck is the second book in the "Year of Weddings" novella series, which is published by Zondervan.  

     Ginger Winters is a talented hairstylist (whoop-whoop, I like her already) who had a difficult childhood.  She is very self-conscious of scars from a fire that she was in as a teen.  Now, she enjoys making a living by making other women beautiful, but as Ginger watches all her friends get married, and works to cut and style others' hair, she begins to feel lonely.  Because of her scars, Ginger doesn't see love or a husband in her future.  The weekend that this story starts, Ginger is preparing to help out at an acquaintance's wedding.  What she does not prepare me for is her high school crush coming back into town for the wedding also.

     Tom Wells Jr. had to leave town quickly and mysteriously right before a date with Ginger back in high school because of a rumor flying around town about his father, the pastor.  Now he is back in town for his friend's wedding, and wants to face Ginger again, but she is too hurt to look him in the eye.  Can he win back her trust, and show her that she is beautiful?

     I really enjoyed the characters in this book; they had sad histories, but that made me sympathetic to them without it going overboard.  Rachel Hauck fit a lot of story into this short novella, and a wonderful spiritual message about finding beauty in God and who you are.  I thoroughly enjoyed this, and only wish it could have been longer.  I would definitely recommend this.

     Thank you to Net Galley and Zondervan for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. 

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March 11 2015 4 11 /03 /March /2015 00:54

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     "An Uncertain Choice" by Jody Hedlund is published by Zondervan.  This stand-alone book has a prequel novella called "The Vow", which is not necessary for the understanding of this book, although I think it would help.    Even though I just recently discovered Jody Hedlund's writing, I have quickly fallen in love with it and loved this first attempt of hers at young adult fiction. 

     Because of a vow her late parents made when she was born, Lady Rosemarie is preparing to become a nun upon her eighteenth birthday.  About a month before that date, an old friend of her father's comes into the kingdom with a loophole in the vow.  If Lady Rosemarie can find true love and marry before midnight on her eighteenth birthday, she will be exempt from the vow.  Conveniently enough, this duke friend came along with three single, young, handsome guys just waiting to make Lady Rosemarie fall in love with them.  The abbot that has brought up and advised Lady Rosemarie since her parents died doesn't like the loophole though, and tries to convince Lady Rosemarie to just stay the course and go to the convent.  Lady Rosemarie decides to go ahead and have a little "contest" with the three knights for her hand in marriage.

     Sir Collin has showered Rosemarie with many expensive gifts.  Sir Bennett has an appreciation for art and beauty, and takes Rosemarie to festivals.   Sir Derrick is aloof and does not seem to want to pursue Lady Rosemarie.  When multiple "accidents" happen, seemingly aimed at and meant to harm two of the knights, the third knight is suspected of the foul play.  In addition to that, the poor people of the town are catching a mysterious disease and are facing torture from the local sheriff.

     I was not disappointed by this book, although the torture was gruesome.  I think I would have preferred to have it described in a lot less detail; I'd still get an idea of the brutality, and not have the vivid pictures in my mind!  Also, Lady Rosemaire, perhaps because of her age, was very immature.  Yes, she is "uncertain", but really, I just wanted her to make up her mind and see the circumstances and people for what they were.  She seemed way too gullible, and the knights were just as if they had come out of a chick-flick.  Perfect and charming.  Overall, I would still recommend it, but with caution to sensitive readers for the torture scenes.

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March 4 2015 4 04 /03 /March /2015 01:55

 

     "A November Bride" by Beth Vogt was published by Zondervan as a part of the "Year of Weddings" novella series.  This seemed just fine to me as a stand-alone; my only problem was that I thought this was a full novel because I didn't pay attention when I picked it, so it went by way too quickly, finishing abruptly when I was headlong into falling in love with the characters! :)

     Sadie McAllister is a personal chef who has been dumped by text one too many times, but she is thankful to have a great best friend in Erik.

     Erik Davis has been happy with the "just friends" status with Sadie, but after her latest boyfriend breaks up with her, and she is offered a cooking job across the country, he realizes he doesn't want to let her go.  However, Sadie won't take him seriously because he has not been very interested in dating.  Can he woo her before it's too late?

     I enjoyed this light, quick read.  The characters were cute and quirky, and the plot fairly light.  I've enjoyed this author's works a lot, and this one did not disappoint in the least.

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Zondervan publishers for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own, and were not required to be positive.  I would definitely recommend this.

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