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August 13 2014 4 13 /08 /August /2014 02:33

 

     "Tried and True" by Mary Connealy is the first book in her newest "Wild at Heart" series, starring the Wilde sisters Kylie, Bailey, and Shannon.  All of the sisters served in the War Between the States, posing as men, and pressured by their father in honor of their brother.  Since that have served their time, the family moves out West to acquire land.

 

     Kylie is tired of being manipulated into acting like a man and cannot wait to return to city life.  Her sisters always seem to have to come over and help her with "men's work".  In one such instance where Kylie did not want to have to ask them to help, she climbs up upon her own roof during a thunderstorm.  Really.

 

     Aaron Masterson is the local land agent who comes to check on Kylie's claim, only to discover that she's a woman.  Over time, he also finds that all of her sisters are women, and their father has manipulated them into pretending to be men.  He feels sorry for Kylie, and wants to help her, but doesn't want to compromise his integrity with his job.  Then matters get more complicated when another landowner wants the Wilde family's land, and flaming arrows are shot at her house.

 

     This book was pretty far-fetched, I did not think it was historically accurate, or the characters relatable.  I did not connect with the story, and was disappointed because I had enjoyed previous books by this author.  This one just didn't click for me.

 

     Thanks 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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August 6 2014 4 06 /08 /August /2014 01:25

 

     "Rebellious Heart" by Jody Hedlund is the third book in the "Hearts of Faith" series.  This is the first book that I have read by this author, and I have to admit that I was hesitant to try it.  This turned out to be one of the best books I've read, and it completely made sense as a stand-alone.  In the end notes, I read that this book was based off the lives of John and Abigail Adams.

 

     Susanna Smith is living in a time of turmoil.  Her sister is interested in a new man in town, a Mr. Crane.  Mr. Crane's friend Benjamin Ross always comes along with Crane to visit the Smith girls.  Susanna and Benjamin soon have to chaperone  Crane and Susanna's sister, and thus begin to know one another better.  In doing so, Susanna is shocked to hear of Ben's traitorous activities, and discovered a runaway slave, and does everything in her power to help her.

 

     Benjamin Ross is a patriot, through and through, and a lawyer pleading innocent for an old social outcast of a man convicted of murder.  Benjamin finds it difficult not to fall for Susanna with all the time he spends with her, but he realizes that she is uncertain of where her loyalties lie.

 

     This book was amazing.  Honestly, I was pulled in by the characters and their personalities.  The plot was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat as well, and I loved that it was based off the lives of John and Abigail Adams, however loosely.

 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Bethany House for providing me with an ecopy 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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July 30 2014 4 30 /07 /July /2014 03:49

 

Love's Awakening" by Laura Frantz is the second book in "The Ballantyne Legacy" series, the first being entitled "Love's Reckoning", and the next one which is to be released in September of 2014, is "Love's Fortune".  "Love's Awakening" was published by Revell on September 15, 2013. 

 

     One thing that I have noticed in the two or three of Laura Frantz's novels that I have read, is that she puts a lot of history into each of her books.  By "history", I mean more of what was happening in whatever time period she was currently writing in, instead of in the character's pasts, although there is that.  Her books usually last at least 400 pages, and with so much of that being history, I find it hard to read. (Even though I love history!)  Once you get started though, the characters are so real in their hurts, motives, and history that they seem like real people.  In "Love's Awakening"'s case, it is about the Underground Railroad.  Laura Frantz also comes highly recommened by other authors I follow.

 

     This book finds us with Elle Ballantyne and Jack Turlock, two young lovers whose families disagree with the match.  Ellie's family is very religious and disapproves of Jack, who does not have the best reputation.   Ellie is part of a finishing school and abolitionist family, while Jack is a student from a family suspicious of the Ballantyne family views.

 

     This is a well-written novel of history, suspense, and romance.  Thank you to Net Galley and Revell publishing for providing me with an ecopy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to write a positive review.

 

 

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July 23 2014 4 23 /07 /July /2014 03:13

"Thrive: Student Edition by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns"

 

     "Thrive" is a new devotional inspired by Casting Crowns' latest album and its title song.  This book was published on August 5, 2014 by Zondervan. This devotional explores the idea of what life could be like if Christians did not just "survive" until the next ________ (fill in the blank).  "Oh, I can't wait until finals are over."  "I hope this hardship passes quickly." "I can't wait until my kids stop waking me up at night." And so on and so forth.  Mark Hall instead poses the question, how would we live life differently if we look at how God can be glorified through a situation instead of how long we will be stuck in it?  He relates life to a tree in the town he grew up in that flourishes every year.  He takes us back to that tree, asking what makes it thrive.  Why does it live so well?  Its roots are the answer.  The trees roots dig deeply into the soil to soak up nutrients there, and spread out underground to stabilize itself.  Relating this to Christians, he says that when we "dig deeply" into God's Word, we soak up essential spiritual food to help us grow in Him.  Likewise, when we "reach out" to fellow believers and encourage one another as Paul says, we have more tangible stability.  This was an excellent word picture for me, and I like how he gives examples of ways to thrive, like keeping in connection with God and not losing our focus when things in life get tough.  Jesus did say that he came to give us life, and life to the full, and Mark Hall helps explain how to live to the fullest in this book. 

 

     This was an excellent read, and I really liked that the "Student Edition" was so relatable for me.  It encourages me to keep my eyes on God, and know that thriving in His plans is very different from thriving (being successful) in the world's eyes.  I would recommend this book for high schoolers and college students; I also think it would make a great gift, especially if the recipient is overwhelmed with "just surviving".

 

     Thank you so much to Zondervan publishers and the Book Look bloggers program 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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July 16 2014 4 16 /07 /July /2014 02:03

 

     "With Every Breath" by Elizabeth Camden is one of my top three favorite authors newest stand alone novel.  It will be released on July 29, 2014, by Bethany House publishers.

 

     All during high school, Kate Livingston had battled Trevor McDonough.  English, math, science, and even just racing to set places such as a staircase, or desk, Kate and Trevor competed against one another.  Finally, it all came down to a scholarship for college, which Kate wanted because her family was poor, and despised the thought of Trevor getting because he was a rich immigrant from Scotland. 

 

     Well, fast-forward a couple of years, and Kate is a government worker while her family runs a boardinghouse, and Trevor has not been heard from since that fateful day of the competition.  Kate hates her job, but can't afford to lose it.  Then, out of the blue, Kate is offered a job in assisting in research for a cure for tuberculosis.  She is intrigued, and goes to interview, only to discover that Trevor has sought her out and wants to hire her, for no other reason except that he knows that she has a fiery spirit and will work with a passion.

 

     Trevor has massive pain from his past and present which gives him a passion for life and finding a cure for tuberculosis, and knows that Kate will be the only one who will be able to match his desire for a cure.

 

     This was a very emotional and captivating read, and I was, once again, not let down by Elizabeth Camden's newest release.  I am always on the edge of my seat for another book by her.  "With Every Breath" is obviously deeply researched, yet not boring.  The characters are so real and the plot and setting so unique.  I would recommend this book for sure.

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House for providing me with an ecopy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own, and were not required to be positive.

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July 9 2014 4 09 /07 /July /2014 02:30

 

     "When I Fall in Love" by Susan May Warren is the third book in the "Christiansen Family" series, the first being "Take a Chance on Me", and the second "It Had to be You".  All were published by Tyndale House publishers; "When I Fall in Love" was published on June 20, 2014.

     Grace Christiansen comes from a big family, and if you are interested in the older siblings' stories, then check out the first two books in the series.  Grace is very interested in cooking and culinary skills, yet is very pressured when her older sister Eden wants Grace to cater her wedding with Hawaiian food.  Grace's family surprises her with a vacation to Hawaii to prepare, which, much to Grace's dismay, involves getting out of the house and onto the plane.  Thus, Eden's fiancée Jace gets a guy from his hockey team to meet up with her and help her manage through the airport.  Grace is horrified at practically being babysat, but is soon charmed by the man in the seat next to her.

     Maxwell Sharpe is also not too delighted to discover that the beautiful lady sitting next to him is the one he got strapped into looking out for.  It doesn't take too long for Max to develop a reluctant admiration for her and her food, though, yet he still wrestles with personal demons and fears, and cannot afford to fall in love with Grace.

     This book has an underlying challenge to not let your past or fears interfere with discovering the abundant life that God has in store for you, and I really appreciate it!  It is always a good reminder to trust God and love others.  The characters were easily relatable and understandable in their fears and emotions, and reading about all the food made my mouth water.  I would recommend this book; I only read the second and the third in the series and they made enough sense to get by, but it would most likely be better to read all of them in order, especially considering that there are more books yet to come.

     Thank you to Tyndale House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to give a positive review.

 

 

 

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July 2 2014 4 02 /07 /July /2014 02:02

Product Details

 

     "Invention of Sarah Cummings" by Olivia Newport is the third book in the "Avenue of Dreams" trilogy, the first being "The Pursuit of Lucy Banning", and the second being "The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow".  These books are published by Revell, a division of Baker publishing group.

 

     Sarah Cummings is tired of not being in high society and is determined to get there.  Thus, she alters hand-me-down's and cast off clothing from fancier and richer women for herself, bringing her dreams a little closer to reality.  Then, she has a major opportunity from unknown identity to create a new life for herself, and she takes it, making herself a false name.  Soon she has to come up with a false life and past to go with it, and becomes so swept up in her charade that she does not know how to be herself when she starts falling for the director, Simon Tewell, of the local orphanage, St. Andrew's Orphanage.  Sarah is torn from living her dreams in another life, and making her dreams a reality while remaining true to herself...and perhaps finding love along the way.

 

     This book had a good message of not giving up who you are for what you want, and staying true to yourself when falling in love.  I had not previously read anything by this author, and this was a fairly good first impression.

 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Revell publishing group for providing me with an ecopy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to give a positive opinion or review.

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June 25 2014 4 25 /06 /June /2014 23:41

 

     "Four Weddings and A Kiss" is a collection of four novellas by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher.  This western story collection was published by Thomas Nelson on June 10, 2014.

 

     The collection begins with "Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy.  In this novella, neighbors Maizy MacGregor and Rylan Carstens are constantly at odds with each other on trespassing onto each other's property.  Because of Maizy's continued trespassing, Rylan gets hurt.  Maizy's father comes up with the [brilliant] idea that she be his helpmate and 'doctor' him until he recovers.  Maizy sets aside her previous hurt and frustration with him, and tends to him caringly...which soon has Rylan falling hard and fast, while Maizy is still upset at him and his ways.

 

     Second is "A Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher, which features Molly Everton and the family newspaper.  Molly writes many popular articles in the paper, and is hoping for the position of editor when her father hires Jack Ludgrove for that very job, infuriating Molly.  Jack, however, intends to un-infuriate her and win her heart.

 

     Third is "A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton.  Treb Rayburn is a wandering cowboy in need of a horse.  Thus, he gets hired by Katie to help rebuild her ranch so he can save money.  Once he gets to know her, though, he's not so sure about his intent to leave.

 

     The fourth and final novella is entitled "Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley.  Widow Grace's son asks attorney Brock Daniels to help free her of her troubles.  At first, he is hesitant, but then he meets Grace and begins to think it may be the best case that's ever come his way.

 

     The quote by Tamera Alexander on the front of the book, "...pitch perfect humor and romance...", is spot-on.  This book was the perfect light, easy read for this summer.  The characters were witty and it was easy to become attached to their stories.  I would recommend this book, as its divisions for the different novellas make it uncomplicated to pick up and put down, yet tie the book as a whole together at the end.

 

     Thank you to BookLook bloggers and Thomas Nelson publishers for providing with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and honest, not being altered in any way.

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June 18 2014 4 18 /06 /June /2014 02:51

 

     "Full Steam Ahead" by Karen Witemeyer is a standalone book published on June 3, 2014 by Bethany House.

 

     Nicole Renard is the unmarried daughter of a wealthy member of the shipping business.  Her father is shipping rivals with the Jenkins family, who want the heirloom Lafitte dagger from the Renards.  Nicole must marry someone that can be an heir to the Renard shipping, and is prompted to do so when her mother and father are in danger of the Jenkins.  Her plans are foiled by the Jenkins brothers, so she detours and ends up losing money.  Thus, she looks for a job in the small town in which she has landed, and finds a notice for a mad scientist in need of a secretary.

 

     Darius Thornton has much emotional pain resulting from a boiler explosion on one of his ships in which he could not save a little girl.  He has since locked himself away and has studied boilers and tries to develop methods to prevent future explosions.  He can barely read his own handwriting, so he puts out an ad for a male secretary, but receives no answer for months.  Then Nicole shows up, and he does not know if he can handle a woman, but has no other options.  He is drawn to her, and curious of the trouble she seems to be hiding.

 

     This book starts out so exciting! The characters and situations were so unique, and their relationships priceless.  There were several scenes with phenomenal messages that were very encouraging to me as a reader as the characters comforted one another.  This book was not as necessarily "western" as previous ones by this author, but I still really enjoyed it.

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  These are my honest opinions in this review; I was not required to give a positive review.

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June 11 2014 4 11 /06 /June /2014 02:48

 

     "Stuck Together" is the third and final book in the "Trouble in Texas" series by Mary Connealy and published by Bethany House.  It was released on June 3, 2014.  The first two books in the series are "Swept Away      " and "Fired Up      ".

 

     This book picks up where the other two left off, so I think it would make more sense to read the first two before reading this one.  Vince Yates comes from a broken home, and dislikes his father, but especially so when his father rides into Broken Wheel and dumps his mentally challenged mother on Vince and scrams.  Vince has more on his hands than ever before, especially trying to handle Tina Cahill being the most attractive and last single girl, aside from his sister, left in Broken Wheel.

 

     Tina Cahill thinks Vince Yates is the most handsome and the most annoying person in Broken Wheel, and has major sympathy when his mother is left in town with him, so she comes alongside him and helps out.  Will they remain the last two single people in town? Or will they overcome their differences and become stuck together?

 

 

     I thought that this book was a fairly good read.  It was somewhat lighthearted, but because of the tragedy of his mother's sickness, it lent an emotional depth to Vince's character, and made him and his gruffness more understandable.  I would recommend this book; it was a good ending to the series.

     Thank you so much to Bethany House and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own.

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