Friday, September 1, 2017

TO WAGER HER HEART By Tamera Alexander

This is a wonderful historical novel, very educational, with enough romance to satisfy your heart. Many of us have no idea of what the freed slaves suffered. Contrary to history, many were no more welcome in the north than in the south. Pulling themselves up from the boots of slavery to a better life through education was, for some, just a dream.

I really enjoyed the relationships and descriptions of the struggles of those at Fisk University. I know from growing up in the south that there are those of us who believe in treating a person as Jesus would have no matter the color of their skin and I know those who do mistreat others for the color of their skin.

As for the romance, the story of Alexandra Jamison and her sacrifices to become a better person and of Sy Rutledge, a man of integrity, striving to clear his father's name and treat his memory with honor--tugs at the heart strings and is very believable as the relationship takes time to build. It is a page turner with an ending worth waiting for.

I received this novel from netgalley for an honest review. Like most of Ms. Alexander's novels I highly recommend this for your keeper shelf.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

SWEETBRIAR COTTAGE By Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter always writes good stuff. Most anything she writes could and should be on your keeper shelf. Sweetbriar Cottage is no exception. She deals with a very difficult subject of child abuse as it affects the adult and especially their marriage. I really liked how she allowed you to see the relationship of estranged husband and wife through each of their eyes.

Josephine has kept her secret, never revealing it to her husband even through the intimate times of marriage; but she only has told his best friend, a Pastor, during counseling and whom Josephine is afraid has revealed her deepest darkest secret.

The book opens with Noah Mitchell discovering that his divorce has not been final the last few years and confronting his supposedly ex-wife about it. When she arrives with revised papers, they become trapped in the midst of a snow storm that last 3 or 4 days and then further find themselves in a life threatening situation.

What do you do when your wife has hurt you but now reveals to you the childhood trauma that led to her actions but does so thinking she is about to die? Do you forgive her, and if so what then?

To find out the answers and more, I highly recommend this read. I received this novel from Netgalley for my honest review.

A LOVE SO TRUE By Melissa Jagears


Evelyn Wisely, the heroine of A Love so True has you on her side from the beginning. Of course you first meet her through the eyes of the hero, David Kingsley. David is on a mission to secretly get his father's business up to speed and then sell it, unbeknownst to his employees; however David has dreams and ideas of his own, and the more he becomes involved the more he wants to make it work and prove a point to his father.

In the meantime, David is intrigued with Evelyn and continues to follow her and insert himself into her Red Light District projects with the children. Over time, even over Evelyn's strong objections to David's overtures, both find themselves falling in love with each other; but Evelyn has a really big secret--one that could keep them apart for good.

David's Dad shows up and everything climaxes when Evelyn reveals to David her secret. David heads back home and Evelyn finds that her problem has resolved itself but is it too late.

Melissa Jagears does a great job with a roller coaster romance and also with dealing with complicated social issues. Her Teaville Society series introduces you to many characters with much depth. I recommend it for your reader shelf. I received this from Netgalley and from Bethany House Blogger Reviews for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

HEART ON THE LINE By Karen Witemeyer

http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/
Romance from a unique perspective seems to be Karen Witemeyer's expertise. I find most anything she writes refreshing, fun, and informative.

Grace Mallory is a telegraph operator who has sought refuge in Harper's Station, a Women's colony to escape her father's killer who continues to pursue her because she has something he wants badly, something her father entrusted to her before he died.

Amos Bledsoe has been communicating after hours with a fellow female Western Union operator whom he finds he would like to actually meet and perhaps officially court; however, in the middle of a nightly session, she receives an urgent message indicating her life is in imminent danger and she immediately signs off from Amos.

Heart on the Line is chock full of romance, humor, and mystery. Amos impulsively heads for Harper's Station to do what he can to aid and protect Grace, even though they haven't met. Grace, in the meantime, decides to finally confess to the other women about the danger she is in and that a mysterious man is after her to do her harm. This is the scenario that Amos rides into on an ornery mule instead of the bicycle he prefers and finds himself in jail. The unique way Grace finds to discover if he is who he says he is makes for a very sweet and cute scene.

In the meantime, one of the other women, Helen, who is one of the least trusting of men, discovers an injured man and decides to assist him quietly. At the same time, a Pinkerton agent shows up to confiscate the important items left with Grace by her father. Love, danger, lead, and dots and dashes fill the air making for a page turner.

This novel receives my 5 star recommendation including consideration for your keeper shelf. A very enjoyable and satisfying read. I received this novel from Netgalley for my honest review.

Monday, June 5, 2017

TRUE TO YOU By Becky Wade

http://beckywade.com/home/
Becky Wade has written a lovely story that truly delves into the character of her characters. We find Nora Bradford, a very eccentric, librarian who loves tea, cinnamon toast and genealogy but mostly her books. She lives in Bookish Cottage.

By happenstance she meets John Lawson when she participates in a practice rescue with her sister and put on by John's Company. John comes to her rescue, a quiet, intimidating presence, ruggedly good looking, he is a former Navy Seal (actually a Medal of Honor winning Navy Seal).

Nora mentions to John what she does for a living and he indicates he might seek her out. She is surprised when he follows through and thus begins an adventure as they seek to find John's birth mother.

The twists and turns of plot occur because John has a secret, the reason he needs to find his birth mother; add to that Nora's quirkiness, her family members with their own quirkiness, and the old fashioned village she has restored and brought to life for others to enjoy.

You find yourself rooting for John even more so when it seems life goes from bad to worse--and falling in love with the traditional old fashioned Nora...a very lovely story indeed; but I have to warn you it has some tear jerking moments.

My favorite part are the spiritual struggles that the author deftly uses her characters to depict...the kinds similar to what we all go through. The answers are never easy. Sometimes there aren't any answers; but the important part for all of us as well as for Ms. Wade's characters is from where do we go to find the source for wisdom and strength to help us through the dark times in our lives. 

Read "Tell Me True" for some thought provoking revelations. I give it 5 stars and recommend it for your keeper shelf. I received this novel from Netgalley and through Bethany House Blogger Review Program for an honest review.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

YOU'LL THINK OF ME By Robin Lee Hatcher

http://robinleehatcher.com/
Robin Lee Hatcher is a master of sweet stories that are very realistic, the kind that could happen to you. This one is going to the top of the list as one of my favorites by her. 

Brooklyn Myers is a single mother, not by choice. Life hasn't been fair to her at all. Everyone who should have loved and supported her have left her or let her down. Now, she is going back home again not by choice; but, putting her daughter first she is returning to Thunder Creek to the home left to her by her deceased ex-husband.

Derek Johnson, local Sheriff's Deputy of Thunder Creek has received a letter from his best friend's estate. His friend has died and failed to leave him the land he had promised to sell him; instead, he has left it to his ex-wife and daughter. In addition, he has requested, Derek act as a surrogate father to the child. Derek, doesn't have good memories of Brooklyn and blames her for his best friend's life choices as well as resents that his dreams of expanding his farm, which happents to be next door to her new home, are in the dust.

This is a lovely story of faith and forgiveness. It is lovely to see the spiritual growth of the hero and heroine cheered on by the sweet innocence of a child and of a grandmother.

I received this ecopy from Netgalley for an honest review. I give it 5 stars.

DEEP EXTRACTION By Diann Mills

Deep Extraction is a great combination of suspense and romance. It truely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Add to that, the mystery of who is behind the murders, bombings, and threats and you have the best of reads by Diann Mills.

The story opens with both our heroine and hero getting calls to come to their friend's aid as her husband has been found dead and it appears to be murder. Again, I found this made the book most fascinating in that it is told from the perspective of Tori Templeton, FBI agent, Cole Jeffers, U. S. Marshall, and another individual who may or may not be the murderer.

Anyway, Nathan Moore is dead, apparently from a heart attack caused by the digital tampering of his pacemaker and the key suspect is his wife; however, other key persons are added with positive motives i.e. a son and mistress. The case is complicated as Nathan Moore had been the target of environmentalists who have already bombed his oil rig and sent multiple threats on his life and that of his family.

Our agents are having trouble staying ahead of the murderer or murderers and quickly become targets themselves. Tori suffers from a fear of cancer having had multiple family members affected, Cole who was the yard man (on leave U.S Marshall) suffers from PTSD having been wounded badly in a case gone wrong, finally, Tori's partner is dying from lung cancer.

There are so many facets to this story that make it a page turner including the attraction of the key protagonists which is evident from the beginning making you root for a romance to develop and succeed. 

This is a 5 star read. I received this ecopy from Netgalley for my honest review.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

TREASURED GRACE By Tracie Peterson

http://traciepetersonbooks.com/

If you enjoy historical novels, then this one fits the bill. Tracie Peterson does her homework and many of the facts of the Whitman massacre are accurate in her story. Grace and her sisters have come west to meet up with their uncle in Oregon Territory. Grace had to marry in order for them to be accepted on the Wagon Train but her husband has died and as we are introduced to the characters we find that it was a loveless marriage.

At the Whitman Mission, Grace meets Trapper, Alex Armistead. Alex lives among and trades with the Indians. He and Grace have some disagreements about the Indians early on but quickly become allies trying to help when they are stricken with measles.

Grace and Dr. Whitman but heads about her healing gift and his being a trained doctor. It is obvious however, that Dr. Whitman and his wife care for the Indians but they struggle to gain their trust. Tensions end up ultimately in loss of life and compromising of many of the women including Grace's sister Hope.

Emotions come to a head between Alex and Grace but he, unintentionally, humiliates her because he has some secrets of his own. Grace and her sisters head on to Oregon City where they find they aren't through with the consequences resulting from the attack.

I found this book an interesting read and worth spending time with but I can't give it my highest recommendation because I was frustrated with the lack of growth and maturity in the romantic relationship between Grace and Alex. At least I think there could have been more depth given the characters. The lack of trust and communication made for too much angst, in my opinion. However, it still had a good plot and one can see where the foundation is laid for further books in this series.

I received this book for an honest review from Netgalley.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

JUST A KISS By Denise Hunter

http://www.denisehunterbooks.com/

Riley Callahan has always loved Paige but she was in love with his brother. Then things changed and he was going to confess his love to her; but life got in the way because he ran away to a tour of service in Afghanistan. There an IED changes his life forever making him an amputee and killing his best friend.

Back in the states everyone thinks they know what's best for him and he finds himself roommates with Paige and they finally must confront their feelings for each other.

Denise Hunter writes great books on angst and love and quandaries to be solved. She covers many difficult subjects and in this book she deals with PTSD. Just about all her books are keepers and this one is no exception. I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review.

LOVE, LIES, AND FIREFLIES By Jan Elder

http://janelderauthor.com/?

This is a lovely story and the reason for the title is explained by the heroine and is part of the climax at the end. At first you are devastated, along with Didi, when her fiancee admits to his unfaithfulness but it quickly graduates to confusion as he acts like it is no big deal and that they are still an item although Didi has made it clear they are through.

Then, in a random part of a daily routine, Didi and Jake casually meet at the Vet's office and then again at a youth event. Jake, having decided it is time to move on after the tragic death of his fiancee, decides to ask Didi out. 

Didi and Jake's relationship begins to blossom, while at the same time her ex-fiancee decides to stalk her. Jake still has feelings of guilt and unresolved issues relating to the death of his fiancee which complicates matters. 

There are many surprise twists and turns and just when it seems Jake and Didi might get their happily ever after, it seems God might have other plans or does he?

Ms. Elder has done a fine job with this novel and covers a very difficult subject, domestic violence well. She also deals with spiritual struggles as Jake deals with giving great insight. This is definitely for your keeper shelf. I received a copy from the author for an honest review.

NO OTHER WILL DO By Karen Witemeyer

http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/

No Other Will Do has an interesting premise in that the setting is a women's colony for women who have left abusive or intolerable situations and generally are distrustful of men. The town is founded, lived in, and run by women. Emma Chandler and her aunts have founded the colony as their mission but now they are in trouble because someone is trying to do them harm.

Emma sends for her long time friend and first mission cause, Malachi Shaw. It soon becomes evident that Emma and Malachi are more than friends although neither seem to recognize that fact. Malachi has been working a dangerous job, dynamiting for the railroad and has only a few days to help Emma before his job becomes in jeopardy; but Malachi has a dilemma because it's either lose his job or Emma who has his heart.

Karen Witemeyer always has great stories. This one is no exception. I received this copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

Monday, March 20, 2017

RESCUE ME By Susan May Warren

http://www.susanmaywarren.com/

Rescue Me opens up in the middle of a rescue and you quickly become involved with the hero, Sam Brooks, and the emotional and physical stress he struggles with every day fighting to save lives and sometimes to save his own.

Enter, Willow, the sister of his girlfriend, and in the darkened room, Sam begins to share his emotional upheaval with her, mistaking her for her sister, Sierra. Willow, kisses Sam sympathetically, who kisses her back before he realizes his mistake. But the damage is done. Is he really meant to be with Sierra? Willow ask him to keep the kiss a secret because she wants whats best for her sister and for Sam; but she has loved Sam forever.

Then, Sam and Willow are thrown together chaperoning youth on a day hike into the mountains that ends up in tragedy and with several injured, especially, Sam. They must hike out and survive long enough for someone to find them.

Sam and Willow both have their issues and poor family relationships that they struggle with. Each has a servant's heart always trying to fix and rescue others but now, they must learn to wait on God and allow others to rescue them.

Susan May Warren has another winner here and in this series. Rescue Me is a wonderful story with many twists and turns to the plot and wonderful inspirational lessons to go along with the romance. I highly recommend it. I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A NOTE YET UNSUNG By Tamera Alexander


What a beautiful setting and lovely ambiance underscored by ageless music becomes "A Note Yet Unsung" by Tamera Alexander. It is not until the climax that you understand and actually see the words that give the book it's name; but every word underscores it.

You are captured from the beginning by Rebekah Carrington's dire circumstances but impressed with her resiliency and perseverance, holding your breath that the Maestro Nathaniel Whitcomb will give her the position in his orchestra that she so obviously deserves.

But, Tate, turns her down because women aren't strong enough or capable enough to play the music that the audience expects to hear. Rebekah, desperately needs a job in order to live on her own and not return to the home where she is no longer safe. Over the course of the book, you gets bits and pieces of her past until the sordid events are revealed.

However, Tate has his own secrets and those become the bigger surprises. In order not to destroy the read for you with spoilers, I would only like to say that Ms. Alexander does a superb job of contrasting the elite society of Nashville with the homespun culture of Appalachia even to the voice tones sharing the strengths and weaknesses of both.

Finally, the descriptions of the music especially in the climax are awe inspiring. Music speaks to the soul. It can be soothing, uplifting, poignant, inspiring and worshipful. You can feel and almost hear the music in this masterpiece which makes you grieve the more with Tate at his potential loss of hearing. 

I found myself laughing and crying and when I thought I couldn't be surprised or moved any more, Ms Alexander bent her tale another twist. It is a grand story and the beautiful cover adds justice to a must have for your keeper shelf.

I received this novel both through Netgalley and Bethany House for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A HEART MOST CERTAIN By Melissa Jagears

A Heart Most Certain

What makes this a great story is how you get to see the character of the personalities grow along with love that endures.

Nicholas Lowe one of the richest men in the area runs a lumber yard and lives in a beautiful but cold mansion. A mansion built from his guilt and loveless marriage which died when his faithless wife died.

Lydia King, a member of the Ladies Moral Society from the local church, set with a task to get a donation from the miserly Mr. Lowe, approaches him and doesn't succeed, but she perseveres.because she thinks her cause is worthy and she is motivated rightly; but Mr. Lowe remains stuborn until her perseverance softens him into granted her three wishes which he will fulfill but in his own way.

Complicating matters, Lydia King is being courted by Sebastian Little a highly rspected town citizen with a likely engagement at the end.

Nicholas and Lydia find themselves embroiled in a charitable cause that society frowns upon. Nicholas bent on teaching Lydia lessons in life learns some of his own while Lydia finds trusting God for her future is far better than relying on her own abilities.

I recommend this tender tale for those who like inspiration. I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.

A MOONBOW NIGHT By Laura Frantz


Laura Frantz is a master of historical romance. I have read and have the majority of her books on my keeper shelf. She does not disappoint with "A Moonbow Night". Temperance Tucker, though an innocent heroine, remains true to the tough breed of women that must have braved the new frontier that was America in those early days. She finds pleasure in the simple things and resents the invasion of her peace and privacy by those who are bent on expanding the continent as were those that were surveyors like Sion Morgan.

Both Sion and Temperance have deep sorrows and seek no solace in each other though they are immediately drawn to the other without recognizing the invisible pull. They are also thrown together by circumstances and Sion must reluctantly accept the skills of scouting that Temperance has as she objects to being the only woman among his team of men. Their travels are thwart with many dangers along the trail as the Indians are on the warpath objecting to the white man's encroachment into their land. As they travel further inland, so their relationship buds and builds through the twists and turns just as deep and uncharted as the land they traverse.

Ms. Frantz skillfully weaves history and romance into an enduring tale. I received this novel from netgally for an honest review.

I LOVE YOU THREE By Milou Koenings

I Love You Three

If you love sweet romances, this should be on your end table ready for your next read. In fact, I would add the whole series if this story is any indication.

All the elements for inspiration, suspense, mystery, and romance are here including an opening that grabs your attention and a swoon worthy drop, literally into the hero's arms. Bits of humor relieve the tense moments. You can't help but smile.

Mac, an ex-marine, has returned from his last tour of duty suffering from PTSD and struggles with his family relationships especially with his imprisoned brother from whom he remains estranged. He decides to follow a lead in the small town of Green Pines for a coaching job hoping to get a change of scenery and relief from his pain. 

Julie, works as a secretary at Green Pines High School, not because she wants to but because her ex-husband besides being unfaithful, left her without funds to pursue college. He also left her pregnant and now she is a single Mom.

Julie literally drops into Mac's arm's and then the fun begins. Both have certain goals in mind that doesn't include the opposite sex. They also make assumptions about the other that aren't true. Thus begins a journey in a budding relationship. Each learns a lot about the other but hold secrets that lead to big problems later.

Then, Mac's brother comes to town and the misunderstandings and hidden truths build to a climactic ending...well you just have to get this book and find out!

I receive a copy of this book for an honest review.