Sunday, December 6, 2015

A NOBLE MASQUERADE By Kristi Ann Hunter



I have found a new favorite author, Ms. Kristi Ann Hunter. Her book, "A Noble Masquerade" combines romance, humor, mystery and suspense in a most delightful read. One can not help but fall in love with her hero and heroine. One of the things I like best is that the angst she creates between hero and heroine doesn't stress you out but has one turning the pages to find out how they are going to get out of each new predicament.

Immediately, you are drawn into the intrigue of Miranda Hawthorne's missives to her make believe confidant, who is an actual school friend of her brother. Then when you are introduced to her brother, you also discover his mysterious valet and suspect that her erstwhile correspondence may get even more complicated.

Miranda, struggles under her mother's strict tutelage on being a lady, when within she is a passionate free spirit. She finds solace in writing her feelings to her confident Marsh, her brother's favorite colleague from school.

Things become a comedy of errors when Marlow, the mysterious new valet of her brother, mails one of her letters. Then, he inerrantly becomes her confidant. She,in turn, becomes inexplicably drawn to both him and to the Duke who has surprisingly answered her letter.

Ryland, Duke of Marshington, moonlighting as a valet to Miranda's brother, Griffith, his childhood friend, discovers more than he bargained for as he is undercover spy for the Crown. He wants to know more about this lady who has written letters to him for years. As things begin to develop between him and Miranda in person, they also are developing between Miranda and the Duke, as well, through the letters. Ryland wants to know more of her and to court her when he is free of this job; but the conundrum is how to maintain his integrity through the subterfuge, as Marlow, the valet, and not lose his heart in the end.

This is a must read and an author to add to your keeper shelf.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

THE MISTRESS OF TALL ACRE By Laura Frantz

The Mistress of Tall Acre
A sweet romance, The Mistress of Tall Acre, eases you tenderly into the relationship that develops between Sophie Menzies and General Seamus Ogilvy and his little daughter, Lily Cate.

 The story flow is gradual as the author fills us in on the history of both hero and heroine--and a prologue finds the General home from the battlefield, for the birth of his daughter, delivered by mother and daughter midwives with a doctor having been called because of a difficult birth. The doctor admonishes the general what will happen if he doesn't protect his wife from further pregnancies giving us a glimpse at future problems for this marriage. We meet Sophie the midwife daughter here but the significance of this meeting is not clear until the opening chapter.

It is a complex relationship that develops and we suspect the general cares for Sophie much more than is apparent to her. Sophie, on the other hand, clearly loves Seamus; and her relationship with his daughter becomes a thread that draws them together.

There is a major surprise in the story line that I cannot say I was happy with but I can see how it could have transpired. I'm also not sure that the solution is acceptable; however, I trust that Ms. Frantz did her historical homework and the moral dilemma is ours to ascertain.

I am a big fan of Ms. Frantz historical romances so I still highly recommend this for a very interesting and enthralling read!

FIRE AND ICE By Mary Connealy

Fire and Ice
Mary Connealy's books are always an adventure. Fire and Ice is no exception.  This novel is part of a series about sisters in the old west. Bailey Wilde likes to dress and act like a man but she doesn't like men especially Gage Coulter. Gage has a problem. He needs Bailey Wilde's land but the man would rather shoot at him than talk. Bailey is a small homesteader seeking to make a living in a wild and lonely land. Gage Coulter already owns 5000 acres and lives to manage and build his empire. His ways are fair but tough.

When Gage discovers that Bailey is really a woman sparks begin to fly. Add to the mayhem, someone is trying to kill Gage; and he thinks it's Bailey.

Over the lonely winter, Bailey learns that she doesn't like being alone and she misses her sisters and family. When Gage  surprises Bailey with a visit despite the icy conditions of winter, she warms to his visit; but then Gage makes a crazy proposal stating he needs her help because his mother is coming and expects to find him with a wife, Bailey must make a crazy decision of her own.

I highly recommend this read for the humor, suspense, and romance. Fire and Ice very appropriately describes each character and their relationship as well.

 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

FRONTIER ENGAGEMENT By Regina Scott

http://www.reginascott.com/
Frontier Engagement, an engaging read by Ms. Regina Scott is part of a series but, does well as a stand alone. Alexandrina Fosgrove has traveled West to escape the disgrace suffered from the lies she has lived with her adoptive family. She desires to find a job as a school teacher but lacks experience.

James Wallin seeks a school teacher for the small town his family resides in. The problem is it is a very isolated area and the students are not children but full grown adolescents.  Somehow he convinces Alexandrina to come and she chooses to because she is desperate to succeed. Unknown to everyone there already exists opposition; someone is trying to scare her off. James agrees to escort her to another teaching opportunity; but when they find themselves alone together in the wilderness he offers to marry Rina as he has nicknamed Alexandrina to protect her reputation. James has his own issues but Rina has seen the gentle but strong man he is.

There are many twists and turns in this delightful sweet read. I enjoyed it enough that I plan to read the others in the series.

REFUGE OF THE HEART By Ruth Logan Herne

http://www.ruthloganherne.com/
Ruth Logan Herne writes amazing books. I am not disappointed when I choose one of her novels to get engrossed in. Refuge of the Heart is a unique experience. From the beginning, you are captured by the charm of her heroine and her sister as they are enjoying the Christmas decorations--refugees from Chechnya,  living on a shoestring budget as it becomes readily apparent. Then you are introduced to the hero, Mitch Sanderson, a no non-sense District Attorney; but one with a tender heart, for he sees the flat tire Lena and her sister, Anna, are fixing to discover, and realizes he needs to be the one to rescue them.

Thus begins the complicated relationship between Lena and Mitch. Both have dark secrets which neither is willing to share with the other; yet, they are drawn to each other even though their prospective economic statuses should keep them apart.

Lena has seen and suffered through many atrocities in her homeland. Formerly a Doctor, in Chechnya, she struggles to study, work, and take care of her little sister, Anna.  Mitch, lives for work, and takes pride in the job he has done. Now he is up for re-election and strives to please his electorate. Having lost his wife and unborn child tragically, he doesn't want to get emotionally involved again.

Things go from bad to worse when Mitch finally learns some of Lena's secret but believes the gossip rather than to trust what he knows to be true about Lena's character. Lena chooses not to enlighten Mitch after the hurt he's caused her and returns to her original plan of survival.

True love tested in the crucibles of fire survives. You'll be jeering and cheering and completely satisfied with this ending. Another keeper by Ms. Ruth Logan Herne.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

RESCUED BY A BRIDESMAID By Melinda Curtis

http://www.melindacurtis.net/
An awesome read, I truly couldn't put it down. A fast paced, action packed, romantic thriller by Melinda Curtis, "Rescued by a Bridesmaid", is not your usual cutsey Brides Maid Romance.

I received this e-book from the author for an honest review and I can say honestly that you should get this one for sure.

Scarlett, the heroine, has several last names which are confusing at first but all makes sense as you get on her mission. We meet both she and Mike in the beginning as they face off and feel out each other at a poker game passing the time until the groom returns from Ecuador.

Mike Romero, an Iraq War veteran, wearing an eye patch because of the loss of an eye, sizes Scarlett up and determines she's beautiful but helpless. Being the protector type he wants to keep her out of the action. Scarlett, unbeknownst to Mike, has many hidden qualities and skills and she's determined to run the action.

Tiffany, the bride sends them to rescue her groom trapped in the aftermath of an earthquake in Drug Lord Territory in Ecuador. Between Mike's and Uncle Cletus's idiosyncrasies and phobias, there is never a dull moment.   This is a funny yet poignant read. It's hard to balance those two themes in a book but Ms. Curtis does a great job. The finale is a humdinger and you want to go on more adventures with these two and Scarlett's crusty old uncle-- a five star read.

COUNTING ON A COWBOY By Debra Clopton

http://debraclopton.com/
I thoroughly enjoyed this contemporary cowboy jewel. Ms. Clopton does a superb job grabbing your interest and keeping you emotionally involved in her story.

Abby Knightly, distractedly driving  into Wishing Springs, Texas, almost runs over Bo Monahan. Immediately her uncharacteristic fear of blood becomes apparent as she passes out and falls into Bo's arms.

For different reasons, both Bo and Abby have aversions to developing any relationship with the opposite sex. Abby is running from tragic loss into what she hopes is a more vibrant and comforting future in the little town she has chosen as her new sanctuary. Bo, along with his brothers, is busy trying to save his family ranch from the deep debt their deceased dad left them in due to his gambling vice.  He has no time for marriage minded women gawking at him like he's a side of beef.

But then things get more complicated when a baby is dropped on Bo's doorstep, literally that turns out to be his. Suddenly, he needs Abby to help him cope; and Abby finds she needs Bo and Levi to heal.

I received this ebook from Netgalley for my honest opinion. The main negative I found were a lot of incomplete or nonsensical sentences that were very distracting to follow the story line. Definitely an editing problem I hope is fixed in the final product. However, I found this delightful story to be one I would read again and recommend to others. And I would consider purchasing a hard copy for my keeper shelf.

Friday, July 17, 2015

HOPE HARBOR By Irene Hannon

http://www.irenehannon.com/
 
Irene Hannon is one of my favorite Romantic Suspense authors but she does a tremendous job with this contemporary romance set in Hope Harbor, Oregon.
In the opening scene, Michael Hunter arrives in Hope Harbor filled with emotional hurt and guilt over the loss of his wife. As often happens  with all of us when we are already feeling low, things go from bad to worse.  He finds his plans and motel reservations have fallen through and, still debating that he has made the right decision to come to Hope Harbor, his wife's favorite place, he doesn't know what to do.
Michael meets the heroine of the story, Tracy Campbell when he steps out in front of her and causes her to have a bicycle wreck--not a great first impression. Tracy is struggling with her own dark secrets and the financial stress of possibly losing her generational family cranberry farm.
Feeling dejected and all alone, Michael sits down on a bench in view of a taco stand. Charlie the Taco Stand Owner, sends some tacos to Michael through the town recluse, Anna Williams. Anna doesn't know why but she comes to Michael's aid offering to rent him the annex to her home--maybe because he reminds her of her son from whom she is estranged.
Whether you believe in divine intervention or not, we all have experienced times in our lives when things could not be explained or times when we simply needed something to happen to change the direction of our lives for the better.
What is endearing about this novel and makes it a page turner, is the interaction between the characters that draws you into the story and makes you like them and want to see them overcome the adversities life has sent their way. You want to cheer them on and help them make better choices. There is hope and it certainly can be found in Hope Harbor.
 
I received this ebook from Netgalley for an honest review. I enjoy Ms. Hannon's romantic suspense genre books much better but this makes for a lovely relaxing read.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NOW AND FOREVER By Mary Connealy

 
"Romantic comedy with cowboys" that's what it says on Ms. Connealy's website and that is what you get with what she writes. It's always a fun read.  Now and Forever finds her at the top of her game. I really loved this story. It starts out at rip roaring speed with both hero and heroine in a tremendous pickle of a fix. That claims your interest and it doesn't stop there.
 Having been trapped together for an indiscriminate amount of time, due to no fault of their own, the couple finds no choice but to marry. From here, Matt Tucker and Shannon Wilde, now Tucker,  find themselves in the middle of a mystery with someone burning barns and mutilating animals; and it looks like the women's lives may be in danger.
This is a sweet romance with some serious spots mellowed with humor. I give it my highest recommendation as a book that should appeal to everyone except the hard core non-romanticists. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

A WORTHY PURSUIT By Karen Witemeyer

http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/
A Worthy Pursuit, by Karen Witemeyer lives up to its title. A tough Bounty Hunter who calls himself a Retriever, Stone Hammond has lived a hard life since being orphaned young. He has lived and survived on his own the best he's known how and his desires and dreams don't include a family. At 35 years he's on perhaps his life retrieval of an abducted child he intends to return to her grandfather.

Charlotte Atherton has also lived a hard life and lost both parents from an early age. She has sought redemption and survival through education for herself and then in turn providing education to other special children.  After being informed that the school she works for will close, she finds she must take some drastic measures to insure the safety and continued thriving of the charges in her care. She leaves by dark of night with two boys and a girl.

When Stone finally catches up with his quarry, he finds that all is not as it seemed when he took the job. Whom should he believe, the grandfather who hired him or the beautiful and stoic school teacher whose integrity is hard to question? Should he change his direction and head in another more worthy pursuit?

Ms. Witemeyer's novel is thraught with mystery, mayhem, and romantic tension along with shots of humor. Both hero and heroine are stubborn but strong characters. Even the children and other supporting cast have much depth and believability in their characterizations . Her description of the emotional storm churning within Charlotte as she struggles with whether to trust Stone or not plays out through Charlotte's piano venting of "The Tempest" and "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven and should draw even those who have no understanding of music. For those who do, it is awe inspiring and well worth the read.

What I liked best was the resolution. Her story builds slowly and steadily with many nuances and reaches a thrilling climax; but she doesn't only give an epilogue. The finish gives us a look at the relationships between all her characters as if we haven't left them at an end but a continued life story as would be the case in real life.

I find Ms. Witemeyer's succeeding novels to be even better each time she releases a new one. She should be at the top of anyone's favorite author list.

 I received this novel through Bethany House for an honest review.

 

AMISH PROMISES By Leslie Gould

http://www.lesliegould.com/

Leslie Gould's new series beginning with Amish Promises is off to a great start. Families, relationships, friendships, and faith play a prominent role. Eve Lehman portrays loyalty and faithfulness to the highest degree. She has made a promise to a friend that has died to help see her children raised even if she never marries and has a family of her own. Her brother, still grieving, remains a hard task master. He doesn't want to allow his family to have anything to do with the englisch as he blames them for his sister's supposed indiscretions of the past.

The English family consists of a pregnant wife who works as a nurse, her husband who has a physical disability and suffers from PTSB due to his service in Iraq, and a 12 year old son who just needs friends his age to escape the stress at home.

Two families, one English and one Amish, each struggling with their own issues and losses and each finding common ground exists between them.

Eve Lehman develops a friendship that slowly becomes something more with the English friend of her neighbors, Charlie. Charlie's kindness and loyalty go far to help the healing for both families. Eve and Charlie's relationship forms the catalyst for all that transpires within this story.

I highly recommend this book. It is worth your reading time and might deserve a spot on your keeper shelf. I am looking forward to more of this series.

I received this book for an honest review from Netgalley.

 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

TOGETHER WITH YOU By Victoria Bylin


http://www.victoriabylin.com/
Together With You has a beautiful romantic cover that calls to you to read this book. It is a great read for non-believers and Christians alike as it depicts the struggles of hero and heroine with genuine feelings but philosophical differences that could be a deal breaker for either--yet they have much in common.

Carly Mason and Dr. Ryan Tremaine make an unlikely pair but Ryan's love for his children especially his special needs daughter and Carly's expertise with FADS, making her perfect nanny material, bring them together.

Dr. Tremaine recognizes his mistakes and failures and values his family above all else. He is a good man lacking one necessary thing, according to Carly, a belief in God.

Carly is struggling with self-doubt issues of her own. She also finds herself drawn into Ryan's family and wishing to become a more permanent part but concerned that she and Ryan have too many obstacles to overcome.

Victoria Bylin, one of my favorite authors, I highly recommend adding her to your to read list. She has another thoughtful read here.

 

MARRIED TIL MONDAY By Denise Hunter

http://www.denisehunterbooks.com/books.html
Fourth of the Chapel Springs Romance Series, Married Til Monday, is an unusual romance of second chances with an ex-husband and ex-wife. Ryan McKinley knows what he wants and he wants his wife back. He never stopped loving her. He thinks he knows where he made mistakes and is willing to fight for her if he can only get another chance.

Then, suddenly, a chance is dropped in his lap through an unexpected call from his ex-wife's parents inviting him to an anniversary celebration; and obviously, they are unaware of Ryan and Abby's divorce.

Ryan decides to drop by Abby's and suggest they ride together as a couple to her parents. Abby, of course, remains bitter about the breakup and can't fathom a long drive trapped in tight quarters with her ex-husband much less a whole weekend pretending they are still married.

Abby has secrets and those dark secrets affect her relationships and caused the demise of her marriage.  She knows she has feelings for her ex-husband but she just wants to move on with her life. Can love, faith, and Ryan's perseverance  overcome Abby's stubborn bitterness?

I really enjoyed this book as I have all in this series by Denise Hunter. It definitely rates a high recommendation. I received this from Netgalley for an honest review.

UNDERCOVER BRIDE By Margaret Brownley

http://margaret-brownley.com/
Margaret Brownley always writes with a sense of humor. Even when her characters get into deep trouble, you realize it's all going to come out ok in the end. In this instance, Maggie Cartwright must go undercover as a mail order bride to Garrett Thomas whom the Pinkerton's suspect of Train robbery and possible murder. This situation creates many delightful twists and turns in this story.

 Garrett Thomas is one of the more serious protagonists that have peopled Ms. Brownley's stories but he is a brooding hero you can't help but be drawn to and sympathize with.

Maggie, the heroine, takes some getting used to. Her job requires her to be sneaky and deceitful--not characteristics I like in my heroine; but in the end, she redeems herself as both she and the reader recognize she has lost her heart to Garrett Thomas; but can she prove his innocence after producing the evidence against him herself.

Then, there are Garrett's aunt and two children who will suffer the consequences if Garrett goes to jail, or worse hangs. The game of chess figures throughout the story and our characters must figure out if they are in a battle or a courtship or both. You must read to find out.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly and highly recommend it for lighthearted reading. I received it for an honest review from Netgalley.

A LOVE LIKE OURS By Becky Wade

http://www.beckywade.com/home.html
Third in the Porter Family series by Becky Wade, A Love Like Ours, snares the reader from the beginning with a heroine returning home. That is point number one with me for this novel—I like stories about people coming home. The reason Lyndie is coming home grabs your attention and makes you keep turning the pages to see how she is received and if the chemistry remains between her and Jake and if the plan his family has for him, will work.

 To Lyndie and Jake family remains a priority. Lyndie's family especially needs her support with a special needs sister. Jake's family tries to be supportive of him but he has withdrawn since his wartime experience and injuries. He suffers from PTSB and has physical scars as well.

Several things I enjoyed about reading this novel include, how the author takes  you inside the nightmares as Jake relives them and then brings you into the present as you feel his fear and distress. I also delighted in how Lyndie would see or hear something and you would be taken into her imagination and thought process as she would go off on a tangent in her mind about a book she was writing, very cute and funny. The descriptions of the love and stress of long-term caregiving and how it affects a family and takes a toll were true to life. Finally, the descriptions of horse barns, horse training, and horse racing give a glimpse of that world. All of this makes this a neat package.

Jake and Lyndie are human beings with flaws and strengths. As children they had been devoted to each other. As adults, Jake tries to keep his distance but Lyndie's childlike trust and exuberance overwhelm him. Can he overcome his fear for her safety to let their love grow or will the caring and overprotectiveness get in the way? You'll love the climax and epilogue. Each Porter Family story gets better and better. This whole series belongs on your keeper shelf.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

TIFFANY GIRL By Deeanne Gist

http://www.iwantherbook.com/#deeanne-gist

Historical Romance swirls with color and passion in Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist just as vibrant as the pattern in a real Tiffany Lamp. In flashback, our story lays the groundwork for us to meet and understand the motivation behind the main characters. There is something tender, poignant and very real about them. Something that reminds us of the things we struggle with or fear might happen to ourselves like loss of job, an accident that might hurt someone we love, embarrassing moments, getting swindled, being na├»ve and gullible.  
Flossie Jayne yearns to go to college to study art. An only child, her parents have spoiled her and given her most anything she has wanted; but now her life is about to change. She jumps at a temporary opportunity to work for Mr. Tiffany on his Chapel Display for the Chicago World’s Fair and moves out to a boarding house on her own so that she can keep her earnings. We all need to mature and gain experience but that is so often painful as Flossie discovers.

At the Boarding House where Flossie finds a room we meet her fellow tenants among them, Reeve Wilder, a newspaper reporter. Reeve prefers his daily routine and minding his own business to Flossie’s bubbly personality and penchant to stir things up.
Ms. Gist’s novel carries us into the late 1800’s as women are challenging the culture by leaving traditional roles and becoming "new women" taking charge of their futures and destinies in what has been predominantly a man’s world. Her descriptions of the art, early photographic technique, architecture, and stain glass production are detailed. We experience, first hand, life in a boarding house, travel on trolley cars with disrespectful men known as “bustle pinchers”, and the daily struggles young women dealt with in late nineteenth century life.

Reeve irritated me, at first, because he seemed so heartless and cruel to Flossie. Then, later he seems to mature and accept her flaws as strengths, after all; and finally recognizes the way she tried to draw him out as making him better in the long run. He helps Flossie to grow and mature out of her naivety as he points out her error in trusting everyone and her inexperience in the ways of the world. He tries to protect her even as he strives to remain aloof.

Tiffany Girl reveals that true love takes our worst parts and makes us better and our best parts and makes us shine. That two people are merely two parts of a puzzle that fit. We can relate to Flossie because we all desire to belong, to be wanted. Some of us can relate to Reeve because we suffer from loneliness and self-imposed isolation.

You’ll cry when Reeve lets go and reaches out for family and you’ll laugh with Flossie at Reeve’s reason for falling in love with her. But most of all, you’ll feel the sweet exquisite tension undulating between them while doing the waltz steps for Mr. Holiday’s phenakistoscope. This is one of the most romantic scenes ever.

Tiffany Girl is a complex story revolving around two intricate characters. What happens is what can happen to all us when we are striving to grow and learn and live and love in a world full of harsh reality. Can Reeve and Flossie find the piece of the puzzle that fits them together? Can they find forgiveness for themselves and each other and learn to accept what they cannot change and accept that some change can be for the better? Home and family are ultimately what is important to both hero and heroine regardless of how they view themselves and how they blend or don't blend with the culture of their day.

I can’t say enough about this Five out of Five star novel—A must Read—A must for your keeper shelf. I received this book from the author’s publisher for an honest review and it is all that!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

THE TROUBLE WITH PATIENCE By Maggie Brendan

http://maggiebrendan.blogspot.com/
The Trouble With Patience had one ingredient I always like and that is a great beginning. Something grabs your attention and you can't stop reading until you have thoroughly gotten into the story. Next, the relationship that develops between Jedidiah Jones and Patience Cavanaugh is intriguing. Snippets of their past are shared with the reader and foreshadowing warns that they must intertwine at some point.

Other characters add dimensions to the narrative along with elements of humor and mystery. Ms. Brendan has done her homework with historical detail and her author's note at the end bares reading. She has another successful novel and satisfies her reader's with an epilogue that nicely wraps up her story with a HEA ending.

I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NEW Title for my Blog

When I first named my blog, I thought it was catchy that the nickname I chose `Candle started with C like Christian...thus `Candle Reviews Christian Romance which has been the subject of my blog. Then, I had never blogged before because I couldn't come up with a subject or subjects until I had an incentive. A favorite author asked for influencers and promised a copy of her book to read if you were among the first to contact her and could promote it on a blog and other places. Thus my blog was born.

Today, I've decided I want to attract a wider general audience because there are so many great books out there. Books with integrity. So I've modified the name of this blog to reflect that.

Chivalrous means gallant and courteous, knightly, noble, attentive to women like an ideal knight, fearless, dauntless, valiant, courtly, faithful, true, loyal, devoted--and I could go on and on. All are character traits of integrity that we desire in our heroes or heroines. And, if we are honest with ourselves, what we desire in the real life man or woman we want to meet or already have in our lives.

So I hope you keep on reading and that you will visit often for recommendations and reviews from `Candle for what are great clean romantic reads from various genres i.e. historical, contemporary, mystery and suspense, and inspirational.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

FROM THE START (Walker Family Book 1) by Melissa Tagg

http://www.melissatagg.com/ 
From the Start, grabs your attention from the start, beginning with the hero Colton Greene. Colton finds himself hitting rock bottom as his NFL career is over and along with it he loses the girl too. It isn't the first time Colt has found himself knocked down by life. Having lost both parents at the age of nine, he entered foster care until he succeeded at football in college.

Now, Colt finds his new fledging faith tested to the limits. He doesn't know what to do with himself and his agent is hounding him to pursue other career avenues to keep himself in the public eye. But, a friend, pulls him to Maple Valley where Colt becomes immersed in Community and family and meets Kate Walker. Kate agrees to write his autobiography and during the course of getting to know each other for that purpose they find that each has many layers.
  
They struggle to remain unattached from each other because neither plans to stay in Maple Valley; but along the way, they each find themselves more involved in the community and the lives of family and friends and perhaps falling in love. Complicating things are the flashbacks Colt has to things he can't remember about his parents accident and the people from each other's past relationships. 

Melissa Tagg has a well written story here and introduces characters we know will appear in later books. One can't help but fall in love with Maple Valley and it's citizens. I found I couldn't put the book down for wanting to read the next chapter to see what happened next to Colt and "Rosie" his nickname for Kate.
  
You definitely will want to read this one. I received this one from Netgalley for my honest review.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TO WIN HER FAVOR By Tamera Alexander

http://www.tameraalexander.com/

If you love horses, as I do, and civil war history, then this Christian Romance is for you. Tamera Alexander, one of my all-time favorite authors, has done it again. From the first page, you are caught in the struggles of both hero and heroine to survive an environment hostile to both for different reasons.

 Cullen McGrath finds himself in post-Civil War Tennessee because it's where his deceased wife wanted them to settle after fleeing Ireland and trouble with the Thoroughbred Racing authorities there. On the passage over, he lost both wife and daughter and now he just wants to buy some land to farm. But everywhere he turns are signs "Irish need not apply" and others willing to show him the door, literally.

 Maggie Linden has lost her mother and then her four older brothers to the war. Her father is in failing health and their farm is set to go to auction soon. Maggie's prize possession is the thoroughbred mare she's raised and trained from a foal to achieve her dream.

By divine appointment, Cullen meets up with Maggie's father who recognizes the character of the man and realizes that his needs and theirs intersect. So he makes a proposition to Cullen that involves Maggie's consent to succeed.

The proposition involves a marriage of convenience for both parties in which they both might achieve their greatest hopes; but will their hearts become the biggest prize of all?

Ms Alexander tastefully describes the intimacies of marriage with sensibility and her descriptions of the struggles to develop a relationship in marriage are relatable. She also deals with the atrocities of racism and bigotry and the struggles for women to be accepted in a male dominated world. I think you'll find you can't put this one down.

I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review.

WHENEVER YOU COME AROUND By Robin Lee Hatcher

http://www.robinleehatcher.com/


Definitely a sweet romance and most definitely romantic--"Whenever You Come Around" belongs on your keeper shelf. I've read quite a few books by Ms. Robin Hatcher but this novel part of the Kings Meadow Series is one of my favorites.

Charity Anderson has one of those bad days that go from bad to worse when her dog, inadvertently causes her new neighbor, Buck Malone to fall and suffer injuries that will incapacitate him for a while.  Both Buck and Charity for different reasons desire a single lifestyle with no room for a significant other.

That changes when Buck needs help to get chores done around his small ranch and help with meals and even some personal assistance. Charity, doesn't like men since she had a traumatic experience back in high school, which is why she hasn't returned to her hometown community before now. She definitely doesn't like handsome cowboys that like to flirt and cause her to feel things she doesn't want to feel any more.

 Both Charity and Buck have trust issues; and Charity's past is full of pain which an astute Buck senses. Buck sweetly draws Charity out until she finds she has to trust him with her ugly past and leave him to choose whether she is worth it or not. Will Charity's courage to confront her past land her in the arms of her hero at the class reunion dance? Check it out.
 
I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

SABOTAGED by Dani Pettrey

http://www.danipettrey.com/
Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey is the final installment of her Alaskan Courage Series about the McKenna siblings. I loved the way Dani brought all the siblings in on this mystery and displayed all their unique talents. A whole family of Extreme Sports enthusiasts great at search and rescue, Landon and Jake with their law enforcement backgrounds, Darcy with her newspaper sleuthing abilities, Kayden, capable of flying airplanes, and Bailey, the Russian History artifacts expert, just to name a few, aid in making this a page turning, nail biting action packed novel. Add the tender romance between the main characters Reef McKenna and Kirra Jacobs and you have another one for your keeper shelf.

In addition, Kirra struggles with a secret in her past that makes it difficult for her to trust men. She finds herself teamed together with the charming and sexy Reef McKenna with a reputation as a carouser. Can she trust him? Has he changed? The lives of her uncle and her cousin depend on her.

The stakes become even higher when the whole state of Alaska maybe under an environmental threat of nuclear proportions. Ms. Pettrey handles espionage, romance, and a controversial yet personal subject with aplomb. I highly recommend this whole series which is better read in order but entertaining as stand alones.

THE BRACELET by Dorothy Love

http://dorothylovebooks.com/
A true historical novel built around a mystery involving family secrets, Dorothy Love's "The Bracelet" makes an enthralling read. The setting is pre-civil war south in Savannah, Georgia. Her descriptions of the era and culture are enlightening and the discussions surrounding the looming possibility of Civil War fascinate especially given the inevitable.

She slowly reveals the relationship between her characters so that you aren't sure how invested in each other they are until you are deeply involved in their stories. Celia and Sutton who have known each other for years and whose engagement seems inevitable, Celia’s cousin, Ivy whose snide comments and sneakiness make her untrustworthy, and then there is the journalist bent on digging up family tragedies. And so the notes and clues begin and finally "The Bracelet" is introduced. After the novel seems to climax, you are then led on another series of twists and turns in the narrative.

 I found the language of the jewels to be very intriguing. Ms. Love author's notes at the end add a lot to this enjoyable read. If you like history and mystery, then this is your book.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

LOVE WITHOUT END by Robin Lee Hatcher

http://www.robinleehatcher.com/
Love without End, a story of second chances, is told from the perspectives of both the hero and heroine as well as through the eyes of the elderly adoptive aunt, Anna. Past histories and blended family troubles  are something many of us have experienced or know someone who has.

We all struggle with whether to love or love again and that becomes much harder when there are children involved. We all have fears and regrets and many of us love animals especially horses and the cowboys who ride them.

I don't usually care for romances about those who are middle aged or older and having almost grown children; but this book was special and written very well. Kudos to Ms. Robin Lee Hatcher for drawing you into the lives of her characters and making you care about them and want to see Idaho for yourself. I highly recommend this book which I received from Netgalley for an honest review.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS By Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher

http://www.robinleehatcher.com/books/four-weddings-kiss/
Four Weddings and a Kiss gives the reader the bonus of reading 4 great authors. Sometimes you find that only one or two are worth the book; but, in this case, every story keeps you turning the pages. What makes it most unique is that the stories are stories within a story. It opens with a young preacher involved in a conundrum and four experienced Pastors one up each other to share the best story to provide him with a solution.

 All the authors: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, and Margaret Brownley have been in my arsenal of favorite and reliable authors for romantic and entertaining reads. You can't go wrong with Four Weddings and a Kiss--well worth your time and investment.

THE WISHING SEASON by Denise Hunter

http://www.denisehunterbooks.com/


The Wishing Season By Denise Hunter is a very entertaining read that opens like a thriller. A sweet romance that sparks with the reality of human struggles of faith and love. P. J. McKinley and Cole Evans find themselves with the dilemma of having to compete for the same prize under the same roof with the added complication of their mutual attraction.

Both P. J. and Cole live with trauma and sorrow from their pasts. This comes back to haunt their budding relationship. Whom do they trust? What do they trust--their heart or their assumptions about each other? P. J. dreams of owning her own Restaurant with her own chef masterpieces while Cole yearns to have a foster home for young people to transition into adult life. They both want the same Ancestral Home offered up by its elderly owner to the person with the best plan for its restoration and use. Her solution for two great plans is for them to share the house for a year and show which plan would be the best.

As both accept the challenge, they succeed in getting much more than they bargain for...I highly recommend you accept the challenge this inspiring romance that should be bound for your keeper shelf.