Wednesday 31 December 2014

Book Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Cover Art

From the Back:

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

My Reflection:

Julie Klassen takes her readers back to the 1800's  in this English tale of mystery, treasure, secret rooms, and spooky occurrences.

I must admit that the last book I read by Klassen "The Dancing Master"was not one of my favorites, so I was a little hesitant to order this one, but who can resist an old manor house filled with rumors and secrets? I was certainly not disappointed.

Her newest novel is not lacking in the traditional romance often associated with this type of read, it is however presented in a slightly subdued manner. This hearty book with over 450 pages of reading pleasure will certainly keep you entertained. Thought I found the story is a trifle slow to start, once the action commenced I found myself immersed into this complex storyline and numerous characters. The strange events and plethora of mystery make the pages fly by.

Abigail Foster and her family are hit hard financially after a particularly nasty investment failure. When by a miracle they are handed an anonymous tenancy by a very distant relative they jump at the opportunity.
Pembrooke Park turns out to be a wonderful old manor, left just as if the previous family got up from their daily routine and walked out the door, it seems a little mysterious don't you think? Things become even more intriguing when rumor has it that their is a hidden treasure left in a secret room..

Abigail is the sensible sister, where her younger sibling is the "pretty one." Abigail has a good head on her shoulders and intends to use it to save her family. Though Abigail thought she may be an old maid after her intended fell for her sister, but she finds she is presented with a passel of admirers, either with secrets to uphold, romantic notions to explore...or both.

I was not super impressed with one of the characters, William his actions just seemed to rub me the wrong way. In this time-period I am sure it was not modest or proper to have men in your bedchambers, even if you are just talking. This fact alone may very well give a proper young lady an impure reputation.

That aside this tale is a constant surprise, filled with intrigue; multiple mysteries really and a cast of characters that are sure to keep you entertained. At times I became confused with the multiple members of the cast and the many incidents, but I tend to have issues with extremely complex novels so don't let that deter you. I feel this is a well thought out novel, the time it must have taken to come up with this story!

I am sure if you are a fan of mystery and romance regency type novels you will quite enjoy the Secret of Pembrooke Park, by Julie Klassen!

Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Graf-Martin!

ook has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin communications, thank you Graf-Martin!! - See more at:

About The Author

  1. Julie Klassen
    © Ginger Murray Photography

    Julie Klassen

    Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won three Christy Awards in the Historical Romance category for The...

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Monday 29 December 2014

Book Review: A Most Inconvenient Marriage

Cover Art

From the Back:

Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun's Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?

My Reflections:

Though the "marriage of convenience" account is not a new notion, the way Jennings weaves this tale it becomes a fresh and quirky story waiting for you to delve into.

Abigail Stuart is a sweet, caring, hardworking and determined sort. After marring who she believed was Jeremiah Calhoun she travels to his homestead to fulfill her promise to care for her dead husbands sister and find a new home for herself. Or so the plan was suppose to go...

You can't help but root for this spunky, head on her shoulders kinds girl. She is ultra clever, and business smart, not to mention her heart of gold. She puts up with quite a lot from most of the people in the Calhoun household, her wit and charm draw you to her. Abigail longs for belonging, she has had some past grievances and yearns for family and inclusion to be fully hers.

Jeremiah Calhoun (the genuine one) is a tad harder to cozy up to. His personality is brash and demanding. This is one character who is accustomed getting what he wants.... But God has a few lessons for Jeremiah to learn.

I quite enjoyed watching the slow progression of this story line. Imagine coming home from war, you have lost friends, seen things no human should have to witness, suffered great personal injury and when you finally make it back home to find a wife you never married, your true love confused... you can imagine the turmoil this would cause!

It is so beautiful to watch the slowly unfolding drama of this narrative unravel before your eyes it reminded me of Gods great love for us and how he works everything out for his (and our) good.

When we are head strong and unyielding he gently bends us to his will, and when we finally look back, we see his fingerprints all over our story. Sometimes however we need to learn the hard way and when we receive what we think we want/ deserve we often understand that what is best for us is what we may have overlooked in our rush to fulfill our own will. God is so awesome!

This is a fun story, the plot is never overwritten and the twists and turns will keep you guessing. I think you will enjoy some of the supplementary characters as well, my personal favorites were the Huckabees, Josiah and Betsy were hilarious, their antics had me laughing out loud on several occasions!

I highly recommend this historical novel if you want a tad of suspense, a dollop of romance and peppered that with some good clean humour, and there you have it a superb read, to bring you into the new year!

Book was provided free of charge from Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for my honest review. Thank you so much Graf-Martin!

About The Author

  1. Regina Jennings
    Photo courtesy of Ginger Murray Photography

    Regina Jennings

    Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various...
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Saturday 27 December 2014

Book Review: Love Unexpected

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ISBN # 9780764212376

From the Back:

Presque Isle, Michigan
What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?
All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

My Reflections:

Love Unexpected is the first novel in Hedlund's new series Beacons Of Hope. What a splendid start to a new series!

I must say that I absolutely love lighthouse tales, what is better than a story surrounding such a picturesque setting? Jody Hedlund recently released the novel Captured by Love which was quite good, but her newest book has certainly caught my attention.

This book is 345 pages of pure reading pleasure. I managed to breeze through the book in 2 sittings, the plot was absolutely engaging, I have to admit I stayed up well into the night because I was unable to put the book down.

Emma Chambers is a sweet and naive character, she seems real to life and would be someone you would want to tuck under your wing and mentor. Emma struggles with her self worth and abilities, or lack of..

After a hasty marriage of convenience she finds her role as mother and wife to be daunting, yet sweetly rewarding. Has Emma finally found the home she has yearned for? Will Patrick let Emma into his life completely, and reveal his horrid past? Will she ever find the deep and abiding love she craves? Or will Patrick's sins be too much for her to overcome?

Patrick Garraty has just buried his wife, thing is he can't watch his small son and keep the light on in the Lighthouse without a miracle.

When Patrick comes upon Emma and her brother after a pirate attack his miracle may just have washed up onto shore. Both have a need, and the logical thing seems to be a hasty marriage officiated by Holy Bill the traveling preacher. Patrick struggles with his growing attraction to Emma and the need to shelter her from the truth of his past. Can he court Emma properly without revealing his dark and hidden secrets?

Overall a truly fun book to read, Hedlund always incorporates romance scenes so eloquently. The development of the relationship is filled with tension and longing, yet in a tastefully written depiction. There is nothing offensive or lusty about her writing, such a nice balance of drama and character development. Well done! I sure am completely hooked, and cant wait for book #2. Wonder if it will be about Emma's Brother or Patrick's sister?

Book was provided free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in return for my honest review. Thank you so much Bethany House!

About The Author:

  1. Jody Hedlund
    © Sarah Davis Photography

    Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Captured by Love, A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and The Preacher's Bride, winner of the 2011 Award of Excellence. She...
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Saturday 20 December 2014

Book Review: Nowhere to Turn


From the Back:
Hidden Identity – Book 2

The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe–but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to hide for long . . .
From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold readers in its iron grip. Bestselling author Lynette Eason propels readers along at a breakneck pace in a race to discover the truth and a better future.

My Reflections:

This non stop suspense will have you running to hide...just so you can finish it.
The betrayal and deceit run hot in the fast paced novel. As you loose track of dead bodies and try to unwind the plot you will be swept into a world of mistrust and suspense like you haven't seen before.

Danielle Harding is a fierce mama bear out to protect the one thing she has left in this world her beloved son Simon..

Simon struck deaf from his abusive father as a child struggles to come to grips with his anger and hurt, not to mention just trying to keep his mom alive. This was a very interesting character. True to life, and exactly as you would imagine an 11 year old under such extreme stress. I loved the way Easton created his personality, he is brave, yet vulnerable, angry yet sensitive, such a beautiful mix of genuine characteristics.

Danielle is also a unique study, she seems very believable her strength to move on through each and every action packed scene is spell bounding! At points you would think she would crack, but after living such a nightmare of a life I guess her character must be hyped up on adrenaline, and disaster is just commonplace.

I was a little disappointed in how the romantic scenes played out however as I felt that someone with such a history of abuse certainly would not be thinking clearly and this type of rebound relationship would be detrimental. I know this is just a novel, but I always try to think about real life situations as I read and hope that women in this type of circumstance would not rush into a relationship without some serious counselling!

Adam Buchanan is not your run of the mill hero, he is manly yet sensitive to his clients need to stay safe and alive. Although he seems to be doing a pretty sad job of it throughout the book, we find out the reasons, and all is justified. I thought his attentiveness to Simon was a sweet gesture and loved the tender side he often showed thought the story. Adam has a past, that seems to haunt him, and Danielle seems to be just the distraction he needs to be able to face his own demons and move onto a life fully lived. But can he keep Danielle alive long enough to see his desires reached?

You won't want to put this book down, it's break neck speed and non stop action will keep your head spinning until you race to the last page. A true and wonderful romantic suspense that in my opinion was breathtakingly fabulous!

Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin communications, thank you Graf-Martin!!

About the Author:

Lynette Eason
Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason has written/contracted thirty-six books since 2007. She writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. Lynette has been teaching for more than ten years and is very happy to make the transition from teaching school to teaching writing whenever the opportunity presents. She is married, has two children, and lives in Greenville, SC.

Friday 12 December 2014

Book Review: Deceived

Cover Art

From the Back:

A grieving mother. A mysterious child. And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.
For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.

My Reflections:

In perfect Hannon form this book starts fast and finishes strong. Hannon is one of my top rated authors, her work is always compelling and her characters never fail to engage. This plot with it's twists and turns will most definitely give your fingers a workout, and your mind will be transfixed to this superb mystery!

Kate Marshall has been tested to the max, three long years ago her life had jumped the rail. Going from a loving wife and mother to a grieving woman alone in the world has been one of the hardest hurdles she has ever had to face. After an apparent accident which took the life of her husband and presumably her son as well Kate tries, to move past her trauma. She dose the best she can until one fateful moment when she thinks she spots and hears the voice of her long lost son. Has God answered her earnest longings, could this truly be her flesh and blood?

Connor Sullivan a private detective takes Kate Marshalls case, even though he is pretty sure things will not have a favorable ending. As the two work closely on the case they develop a bond, one that sparks more than clues to the mystery surrounding the identity of the little blond boy. Will Kate still be interested in spending time together even if this boy is not her son?

This is book three in the Private Justice series, but I feel it is just as good as a stand alone. I have read all of the books in this series, and of course would recommend you do the same, pick up book one and start from there, I know you will not be sorry you did.

 Hannon has done a marvelous job with this romantic suspense. She has such a unique way of weaving fiction with reality, the reader truly forgets they are merely turning pages, and are transported into a world of suspense and drama. Great work Hannon! I can't wait for this authors brand new series, Men of Valor to be released in the spring of 2015

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

The Author

  1. Irene Hannon

    Irene Hannon

    Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five novels, including That Certain Summer, One Perfect Spring, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted...
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Tuesday 2 December 2014

Book Review: A Promise to Protect

A Promise to Protect 

In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.
Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

My Reflections:

Patricia Bradley has skillfully penned a spine tingling suspense with her new book "A Promise to Protect" The perfect blend of who done it, mixed with action and drama. I was glued to the pages of this one, simply could not put this book down.

Leigh Somerall lands a nursing job in the small town, to be close to her brother, thing is this is a town she has no desire to settle down in. Memories and a certain Ben Logan tug at her conscience, making the taunt situation of staying alive and protecting her son that much harder!  

Ben Logan the acting sheriff feels he is up against an invisible force. People are dying and his own family has been hit hard by this invisible darkness. Protecting Leigh Somerall is becoming a full time job. Anchored to painful events from the past Ben must face the demons who hunt him in order to keep the peace in his soul and his town.

A fantastic Romantic Suspense I would highly recommend this on for Christmas.

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

The Author

  1. Patricia Bradley
    © Cheryl Meints

    Patricia Bradley

    Patricia Bradley's manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award (1st place, Inspirational), and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love award (1st place, Contemporary). Also the author...
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