Monday, 13 August 2018

Book Review: A Rebel Heart

From The Back:

"Full of intrigue, grit, and grace, A Rebel Heart is Beth White at her finest."--Jocelyn Green, award-winning author of A Refuge Assured
Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family's Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land--until a hotel management agent for the railroad offers her hope for the future. 

If she'll turn her home into a hotel, Levi Riggins says, he can all but guarantee it will be saved. Selah isn't sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee. Yet what other options does she have? She'll have to stay on her guard . . . but she never expected to have to guard her heart.
My Reflections:
From the first page to the last this story captures its readers with tender moments, raw depictions and everything in between. If you love historical romance, this one will not disappoint.  
A Rebel Heart is well written and has a colourful cast of characters. I usually struggle to keep large character casts in line but Beth White is a master storyteller who makes reading this very intriguing book a breeze. 
Set in Mississipi in the 1870's these are the turbulent years following the Civil war. This was a challenging time for the South, fraught with sides still being taken, and men and women still hurting. 
Levi Riggins, Pinkerton agent and former Yankee military officer finds himself the hero of the day when he single-handily rescues many in a devastating train accident. One young lady in particular, however, catches his eye with her selfless nature and her steely resolve. When Levi Learns that her home is in jeopardy he devises a plan to help everyone involved. Problem is there seems to be much more to this story than meets the eye. Will, he be able to assist the very pretty Selah and her little family or will the sins of the past and present be too great to overcome? 
Selah is fiercely loyal to her family and the plantation she holds dear. She will do what it takes to stay on her property. Her values and faith keep her on the path to truth.  But will the truth really set her free or will she be buried under the many lies and sins? Selah does have a knight in shining armour in Levi and together they work to uncover the threads that bind the past and present together in a very unexpected bramble. 
This is a strong start to the series and I am eagerly awaiting the next book and what happens to the two other sisters. Hopefully, we don't have to wait long!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Beth White

Beth White's day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her...
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Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Book Review: All My Tomorrows

From The Back:

Stories of Love That Will Last through Every TomorrowKaren Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund, and Elizabeth Camden are among the most acclaimed authors in the historical romance genre--their novels have won a RITA award, a Christy Award, a Christian Book Award, and multiple Carol Awards. These beloved writers offer for the first time ever in print three unforgettable historical novellas that celebrate true love:

Karen Witemeyer's "Worth the Wait" takes readers to the Harper's Station women's colony, where a single mother must overcome pain and fears of the past in order to trust a gruff but kind freighter who has helped the women expand their business.

Jody Hedlund's "An Awakened Heart" follows a young widow into the shadows of New York's tenements, where she and a newly appointed minister spar over the best way to care for the poor and orphaned.

Elizabeth Camden's "Toward the Sunrise" finds a female medical student trying to overcome the ramifications of a decision that leaves her at the mercy of a stubborn but handsome attorney.
My Reflections:

My Reflections:

These three authours are some of the best in the Christian fiction industry. I am incredibly blessed to be a part of the Graf-Martin reviewers team and as such have the awesome opportunity to review all of the best books on the market!

Three stories all different yet have the same threads, hope, integrity and strong, forward-thinking women. I don't have a favourite out of the trio and found they complemented each other quite remarkably. I love Christian fiction it most always features good values, wholesome characters and great values. When I read secular fiction, I am always shocked at the amount of bad language and sexual content. You won't find that in these novellas. 

Worth the wait written by Karen Witemeyer: 
Join the lovable ladies back at Harper's Station as Ben and Tori flesh out the pain from their pasts This story is about redemption. It is an uplifting, encouraging read. I enjoyed the banter and fun sprinkled within the folds of the plot. I love how God takes a situation and turns it right around to his glory!

An Awakened Heart by Jody Hedlund:
Close to my heart is where this story sits. God will care for the orphaned and widowed. This story centers on guy and Christine two unlikely characters who champion in a gritty unlikely setting. This story highlights the fact that God is everywhere, he cares, he always wins in the end, even when it is not apparent. An endearing read with inspiring characters!

Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden:
I absolutely adore tales centring around the medical field, and this one has a very forward thinking, strong-willed heroine who paves the way for women in medicine. Julia, a delightful character who boasts a soft heart for the ill and suffering be it people or animals. Now I want a goat again, darn! 
Ashton, the lawyer, tasked with the job of getting Julia to apologize for actions at the college she was expelled from is an equally fascinating aspect. This novella is definitely a fun read, I don't have a favourite but I certainly loved reading this story and felt a strong connection with the characters!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

                             Karen Witemeyer

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three...
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Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love UnexpectedCaptured by LoveUnending DevotionThe Preacher's Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a...
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Elizabeth Camden

Elizabeth Camden is the author of 11 historical novels and two historical novellas and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and...
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Book Review: Pelican Point

From the Back:

In the midst of life's storms, unexpected love is a beacon of hope.
A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home--and she's determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head-to-head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. Can Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?
My Reflections:
Irene Hannon writes another unique story, filled with quirky characters set in the beloved town of Hope Harbour. This fourth book in the series can be read as a stand-alone, yet why would you? It delivers everything you would expect in a Contemporary romance, from action to balanced believable characters. 

I would rate this book to be PG 13 due to some more in-depth romance scenes, and some mild language usage.  I was not put off by it but some more discerning readers may find these elements too much of a distraction from the story. 

Dr. Ben returns home after a lengthy tour overseas an army surgeon. The trauma he has experienced has been enough to make Ben crave a slower pace. Needing to decompress from all he has witnessed Ben finds himself in Hope Harbor, to finalize the affairs of his late grandfather. His plan is to liquidate the assets and move onto a slower paced civilian practice. Things quickly fall apart when Ben finds out he has also inherited the towns crumbling old lighthouse. 
Marci Weber, determined, headstrong newspaper owner is determined to save the old landmark, and she will stop at nothing to save it! As Marci and Ben are thrown together in this dispute sparks fly and they are not all fire and ice. Will they be able to forge an amicable relationship or will the pillar of the community stand in their way?

One aspect of the story that didn't jell with me was the villain. He was bad enough and all but the reasons he had for his actions seemed a little too cliche. I don't like when people blame their actions on a mental illness, it doesn't sit well with me at all. it did serve its purpose in tying the story together. It did make for an interesting conclusion.

All in all a great read absolutely worth the time invested in the process. 

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect SpringHope HarborSea Rose LaneSandpiper Cove, and Pelican Point, as well as Dangerous Illusions and the Private Justice and...
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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Book Review: The Accidental Guardian

From the Back:

She's the Only Witness to a Wagon Train Attack. Keeping Her Safe, Though, Means His World Is about to be Turned Upside Down.
When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes an attack by the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he's finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail. He'd hoped the days of driving off dangerous men were over, but the latest attack shows otherwise.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace becomes an accidental guardian when he offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until they can safely continue their journey. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.

Trace and Deborah find themselves drawing ever closer as they work together to bring justice to the trail and help the group survive the winter--but every day closer to spring means a day closer to leaving the mountains forever.
My reflections:
Mary Connealy is known for her witty, touching stories. Her newest book "The Accidental Guardian" in her "High Sierra Sweethearts" series is no exception. 
I am a sucker for the dramatic wagon trail themes. Add this to the predicament of being stranded with little ones to care for and you have the perfect backdrop for a dynamic story!

From the first page to the last I was entrapped within its pages, the action and tender romantic moments were equally captivating. I always find it interesting to see how Connealy develops her characters throughout the book.  She has the ability to weave together seemingly unrelated events and make a tapestry of beauty. That is why this authour is number one on my list of favourites.

Rancher Trace Riley never expected to welcome women and children into his quiet, rugged life, but welcome them he did, and it proves to throw his expectations upsidedown!

Deborah Harkness with her determined mindset. She is bent on relieving other burdens, and helping where she can.

Sweet motherly Gwen, her nurturing spirit and ability to put others at ease draws people to her.

Trace's ability to take charge makes the perfect "guardian." This hero is not above doing what it takes to keep those in his care safe, and this proves to cause its own set of problems.

A little intrigue, a little romance, a whole lotta country makes for a fast read. I was hoping for more information to be included in this novel. I am a happily ever after kind of girl and this story does leave some dangling bits. It does, however, leave the reader well set up for book two in this series "The Reluctant Warrior" set to be released in October 2018. I will most certainly be watching out for that one! 
Looking for action, adventure and some laugh out loud moments, this book is for you!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas,...
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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Book Review: The Heart's Appeal

From the Back:

London, 1881

He Never Expected to See Her Again. Then She Appeared with a Most Unexpected Request. . . .

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor--a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It's only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women's medical school. He's supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he's made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome? 
My Reflections:

The Heart's Appeal is book two in the "London Beginnings" series. Enough detail and backstory are included to make this a standalone. However, I would suggest you start with book one "The Captian's Daughter" to get the full immersion of characters and plot elements.
Having worked in the medical field, I absolutely adore books written around this aspect. So it is no doubt that I found this book engaging and hence was able to read it quite quickly.

Julia Bernay hasn't had the easiest upbringing, but that doesn't stop her from dreaming big. Julia has experienced loss, abandonment and heartache, giving her the compassion, soft heartedness well suited to becoming a missionary doctor. Will her fiery determination be enough to overcome the obstacles that lay ahead? She get's her chance to prove her many talents when she is involved in an accident on the Metropolitan Underground Railway. She not only keeps her wits about her, but her fast thinking saves Michael Stephenson, a powerful young barrister. Little does she know that their paths will become entwined. Will her good deed be enough to win his favour?

Delamere is an expert at weaving together a well-rounded story. Enough detail to inform, yet not too much to bore a reader who may not find the subject matter relevant. I loved her attention to detail and historical accuracy. Her medical knowledge is sound and the time period felt quite authentic. Well done Jennifer Delamere, I can't wait to read the next book in this series!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."
Jennifer Delamere
Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award...
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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Book Review: More Than Meets The Eye


From the Back:

When Her Family Is Threatened, She Doesn't Expect Falling in Love to Be Their Best Defense
Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes--one bright blue, the other dark brown--Evangeline has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world's judgments, and Evangeline has two--Seth and Zach, fellow orphans she now counts as brothers. 

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father's death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. And when Hamilton's unique sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time they cross paths, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?
My Reflections:
A delightfully engaging storyline that is sure to please! Karen Witemeyer has once again immersed me into her world right off the first page. This story opens with a heart squeezing prologue that had me fully engaged right up to the very last satisfying page. 
I am so in love with Witemeyer's newest series "A Patchwork Family." I am a sucker for orphan stories, and this one was brilliantly executed. All of the characters in this little knit together family were perfectly depicted. 
Seth, his frail health condition which hampered his ability to live fully. Made up for it all in heart and brains. 
Zach the tough hardened from life "brother" who would do anything to keep his promise. He managed to keep his family safe and provided for. His exterior was not very convincing because Evie had him wrapped right around her finger!  
Evie was so easy to love, sunshine and bubbles. Her heart is soft even though she had endured so much. She was basically shunned because of her two mismatched eye colors and lived quite a sheltered life, yet her heart shone through every set of trials. 
Then we have Logan, set on revenge, with one goal in mind. That is until he meets the effervescent Evie who proves to be quite the distraction.
Although the "love" story happens rather quickly and forgiveness seems easily won, I absolutely adored this novel. It was exactly what I would be looking for in a historical romance. I was swept away for an all too short a period of time, my heart is still caught up in the characters and the plot. So what now? Alas, I am eagerly awaiting the next sequel to "A Patchwork Family." Please, please let it be centred on Seth! 
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Karen Witemeyer

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three...
Continue reading about Karen Witemeyer

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Book Review: Falling For You

From The Back:

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is reveling in the peace and quiet of her hometown right up until the moment she comes face-to-face with her ex-boyfriend, Corbin Stewart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow is concerned. He's never been able to forget her, but Willow makes it crystal clear she's unwilling to risk her heart again.

When a decades-old mystery in Corbin's family brings them together, will the heartbreak in their past and the complications in their present keep them from falling for one another all over again?

My Reflections:
I fell for the cover of Becky Wade's newest book first. I must admit I didn't even read the back before I ordered it. I saw "Becky Wade" and the gorgeous cover and that sold me! Besides the fact that I read "True to You" in this same series and had to find out what happened to Willow one of the Bradford sisters. 
Willow Bradford and Corbin Stewart are thrown back together again to try to solve an old mystery, their past, however, puts them at odds from the get-go. 
I found that I didn't bond with the main characters Wilow and Corbin right off. Willow is a Model and used to the finer things in life, she just seemed a little flaky at first. Corbin a former NFL quarterback was also not the type of character I would normally jell with. However, this changed for me once I really delved into the storyline, I got over it and they both won me over by the end of the novel. 
The story is savoury read, centred on redemption with a romantic flair, add a little mystery and you have a splendid summer escape! 
One word of caution, however. This book is definitely PG 13. I will not be sharing it with my 16-year-old. It contains some suggestive romantic descriptions and immoral character choices. I read all types of books, mostly Christian, and I found this one to be crossing my comfort zones in the Christian romance category. Just a heads up for the discerning reader.
All that aside Wade's writing was a pleasure to read, her stories shine off the pages, she has a real talent for weaving in relevant life struggles, with well planned out sigh-worthy endings. I look forward to the next book in this series where we learn more about the other Bradford sister Brit.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Christy Award, a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader's Choice...
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