Tuesday 30 July 2019

Book Review: A Reluctant Bride

From the Back:

A New Life Awaits Her across the Horizon
Living in London's poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins harbours little hope for a better life. So when she's offered the opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. The journey abroad is her only prospect to escape a bleak future--both for herself and to help her sister, who's suffering in a workhouse.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves everything behind and takes to the sea to escape the pain of losing his family. As the ship's surgeon, he's in charge of the passengers' welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love.

With hundreds of single men congregating along the shore of Vancouver Island, eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph miss their chance at true love, or will they overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?
My Reflections:
I think Jody Hedlund has to be one of my favourite authours currently. I can always expect her novels to be filled with solid plot lines, likable characters mixed with well-researched themes. Her newest book "A Reluctant Bride" did not disappoint! Can you imagine boarding a ship filled with women who are going to be married to complete strangers? The dangers are many and the voyage harsh. 

At the insistence of her ailing sister Patience, Mercy Wilkins boards a ship with the Columbia Mission Society, not until she is boarded and on her way does she discover exactly what is expected of her. 

Mercy has grown up in the poorest part of London and having seen her shares of death and heartache she is determined to forge a new path for herself and ultimately her sister. This includes not getting married and forgoing the same fate as her mother and so many of the women she helps in her slums.
Unfortunately, she finds herself in a new predicament the new land she is headed for, Beautiful British Columbia is desperate for female workers...and apparently brides. Not quite what Mercy imagined she signed up for.

Dr. Joseph Colville is not running away, he is serving where he is needed, or that's what he tells himself. After all the loss he has experienced, doing good is just what he needs right now. As the ship named "Tynemouth's" new doctor, he works hard to keep illness and death at bay. Not quite the life his parents had planned for him.

I loved how Hedlund took many of the scenarios from real-life events and crafted her story around the realities of life in the 1860s. Her attention to detail and research is exemplary. One disclaimer I may add is there are a few scenes that I would consider rated for mature audiences, though it is a clean book, the reference to desire is mentioned. Hence I recommend this book be rated for 16 years and up.

I may have squealed out loud when I heard a book mention Vancouver Island! It's not often that a novel I read gives reference to the very island I live on. This alone made this book extra special for me. I found myself doing all kinds of research on Bride ships to Vancouver Island in this time period. I can't wait for book number two in the Bride Ships series!

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

Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the author of over 20 novels, including Love UnexpectedCaptured by LoveUnending DevotionThe Preacher's Bride, and A Noble Groom, and is the winner of numerous awards, including the...
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Thursday 25 July 2019

Book Review: The Number Of Love

From the Back:

The Toughest Puzzle She'll Have to Solve
Might Be the Wishes of Her Own Heart

Three years into the Great War, England's greatest asset is their intelligence network--field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack German telegrams for hints of the enemy's plans. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren't enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won't give up. He's smitten quickly by the quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.
My Reflections: 
My favourite kind of fiction revolves around a plot that has been rooted in well researched true events, Roseanna M. White can be counted on for this kind of fiction. Her books contain all these elements and so much more.

"The Number Of Love" is book one in the Codebreakers series and starts off with a strong storyline. The really neat thing about this book is that we get to become reacquainted with characters from White's previous books. Though I really detest numbers this book has enough pull in other aspects that I completely forgot my digit dislike, now that's saying something. I adored the main characters, Margot and Drake, equally. The progression in Margot was beautiful to watch, her self discovery and faith gently blossomed with each page turn. Drake is patient with Margot, I really respected this about his character. Drake he has his own fears and trials to overcome and is able to look beyond himself, I truly enjoyed both characters flaws and all. 

If you are looking for a book that will sweep you away this is your book. Filled with mystery, intrigue, love, hope and faith. This book hit a soft spot with me. I am so looking forward to book two in the Codebreakers series. Well done Mrs. White!

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

Roseanna M. White

Roseanna M. White (www.roseannamwhite.com) is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, designing book covers, editing, and pretending her...
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Book Review: Wherever You Go

From the Back

Be delighted and amazed at the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza!
Mary Reichert is one of the best sharpshooters in the country, and in the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, her skills are on display in every performance. But Mary will never be able to rest until the man who killed her brother is brought to justice. She feels helpless in the face of the murderer's money, power, and connections, however, and the only bright spot in her days is the handsome journalist who keeps attending the show.

Christopher Williams has been assigned to follow the Brookstone show on its 1901 tour and write a series of magazine articles, and he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the show's sharpshooter. But getting close to someone would threaten to bring his family's history to light. How could he ever win Mary's heart if she knew the truth? Mary and Chris will both have to trust God in order to heal from their pasts.
My Reflections:
I am always amazed at how fast Tracy Peterson is able to whip up a great story. 
I just completed book one in the "Brookstone Brides" series an just like that there was book two! Imagine my delight that I could continue on with Lizzy's story, and meet new characters along the way. 
This is definitely a book series that you will want to read in order. Too many details would be lost in translation if you picked this book up before "When You are Near" (book one in the series.)

I loved the two main love stories in this novel and it gets a little complicated when Jason enters the plot and makes waves for the budding relationship between Lizzy and Wes. Mary and Christopher are another sweet little couple who are fostering a growing attraction. As always the romance is clean and well written so that these stories can be shared with the teens in your life. The faith elements were woven seamlessly into the storyline making wonderful connections and points to ponder along the way. 

This book leaves a few loose threads dangling, so I'm hoping Tracy Peterson is just as quick getting this one off to the presses so I can satisfy my curiosity! 
If you love a story set in the wild west as much as I do then you will most likely enjoy Peterson's newest series!

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

Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson (www.traciepeterson.com) is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family...
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Wednesday 17 July 2019

Book Review: The Heart Of A King

From The Back:

Get swept away by a story of love, loss, and longing
King Solomon could--and did--have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all of his wealth and wisdom, did he or the women he loved ever find what they were searching for?

In this engrossing novel, find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you'll meet four remarkable women: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and theirs, you'll grapple with whether this king's storied wisdom ultimately benefited him and those he loved . . . or betrayed them.

My Reflections:
I simply adore Biblical fiction, it is one of my favourite genres! I will most certainly be looking this authours work up in the near future. This story sweeps it's readers off to another time, a time where King Solomon rules and the wives he collects deal with the situations they find themselves in. I loved that in this fictional retelling we hear both sides, one of the wives and one of King Solomon. It gives readers a better perspective into the lives and thoughts of the characters. 

As the story progressed I was not smitten with King Solomon, I found him paying lip service to his new wives. Once the marriage ceremony was completed and the honeymoon over he moved onto another more interesting prospect or work-related venture. I'm well aware that it was a very different time, and that this is a fictional twist on the biblical story. None the less my heart went out to the many wives he collected and the feelings they must have experienced when a new wife was added. The story really highlights the fact that truth can get mixed up so easily by life. Solomon was spoken to by God, he knew the laws and he talked himself into believing that his choices were Ok, even though God's law was straightforward and clear.  This clarity was so well delivered in this story that I found myself really analyzing some of my choices and thoughts. Such a healthy thing to do, right! 

I love when I read these stories then get the itch to reread the actual account, the Bible is filled with stories that blow your socks off. It's awesome!

I usually share the Biblical fiction with my tween and teen however I probably won't be sharing this one with the 11-year-old as there are too many innuendos to the marriage bed. I would recommend this novel to adults and the 17 and up crowd. Definitely a great read, I'm super excited to read more from this authour!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Jill Eileen Smith
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as The Heart of a King and the nonfiction book When Life...
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Book Review: Exhale

From The Back:

Move from running-on-empty to spent-and-content.
Exhale is for the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people; of filling every unfilled spot at church, work, and home; of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.

Rather than adding more to your to-do list, Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory show you how to
· lose the ill-fitting roles you've been trying to fill so that you can be lighter and freer,
· love your truest, God-created self with all your glorious gifts instead of trying to shove yourself into a mold, and
· live your one and only life in a way that you know truly matters.
This isn't a time-management book filled with how-to lists and calendar tools. Instead, it walks you through a process that releases you from the things that have created unbearable pressure. Then you'll be able to live the combination we all long for: fulfilling the desires of your heart, loving your people well, and bringing glory to God.

Live the life you were created for.
My Reflections:
This book is exactly what I was searching for and I found the common sense approach spoke to my practical, analytical side. Getting rid of the "things" that clutter my thinking and seriously suck the life out of me was of the utmost importance in my life right now. 

Authors Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory have created a systematic approach to doing just this. The book is split into three parts: Loose Who You're Not, Love Who You Are and Live Your One Life Well. I liked the layout and found it easy to follow. One thing I will mention is the small font. I found it hard to read as the writing is faint and very tiny. That is the only thing that made me pause. 
I truly enjoyed the content, authors stories and the wisdom shared. Since these are some of the things I have been working on already I was able to dive into this book with new vigour and a sense of eagerness. 

If you are tired of trying to make your life fit into your neatly packed boxes or find those boxes you thought were so well organized just pewed its very contents all over the place, this book is for you. I love books who point us in the right direction, to the one who makes everything right again. Truly a book I will be keeping in my collection to reference again and again. 

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

Amy Carroll is a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries, the author of Breaking Up with Perfect, and a cohost for the podcast Grit 'n' Grace. Amy and her husband live in Holly Springs, North Carolina. Find out more at www.amycarroll.org.

Cheri Gregory is a frequent speaker and the coauthor, with Kathi Lipp, of You Don't Have to Try So Hard and Overwhelmed. She's also a contributor to the (in)courage Devotional Bible. She lives with her family on the central California coast. Learn more at www.cherigregory.com.

Monday 15 July 2019

Book Review: More Than Words Can Say

From the Back:

An Impossible Situation. An Unlikely Couple.
A Recipe for Love?

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he's always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can't turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man's name on her bakery's deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can't even control her pulse when she's around him.

Once vows are spoken, Abigail's troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.
My reflections:
Love these kinds of stories, though probably not very successful the idea makes me smile. Pair this theme with the authour Karen Witemeyer and you have a must read. 
Witemeyer never fails to delight her readers with sassy characters, Clean romance, realistic settings and a well-planned plot. Her newest book is no exception. I adored "More than Meets the Eye" and was so eager to dive into this novel, Let me tell you I read in in record time.

I really enjoyed how in this novel the main characters Abby and Zach show genuine care and dedication to the commitment they have decided to make.  It's wonderful to be able to see the love slowly blossom and the tension of new love emerge. 

This story focuses on forgiveness not only of oneself but also others who wrong you. This story will have you from page one, both Abby and Zach are genuinely nice people from the start and watching them grow and mature is absolutely beautiful!

If you are looking for a clean, well-presented love story filled with a sweetly emerging romance this is the summer read for you!

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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