Carla is such a master storyteller and takes ordinary people and gives us a peek into their lives. The love stories are the warm, fuzzy kind and I rea...moreCarla is such a master storyteller and takes ordinary people and gives us a peek into their lives. The love stories are the warm, fuzzy kind and I read all four of the stories in one sitting, they were so good. Highly recommended for any romance-lover on your list.
The first story is about a Quaker widow from America who has come to address the British Admiralty for a paper proving her husband's death was during an act of war. Through a series of misunderstandings she meets the brother to a marquess who has come back from Waterloo with an injury and a dismal future. The dialogue between these two was sparkling and I really enjoyed the story.
The second is about a thirty-two year old spinster from a "Quality" family who meets an America sea captain. This story had so many sweet scenes to it and some surprising ones, too. I love how real the captain seemed and it made me smile to see his reactions to the spinster.
The third is about a major who returns to England with a French orphan. He takes her to his friend's wedding and isn't well-received, except for a captain's widow who is also the bride's sister. Hearts are opened and it brought a smile to my face Another great story of ordinary people finding love in unexpected places.
The last is about a veteran who runs a hotel and has a seemingly dull life until one of his guests seems to turn everything upside down. There's even a little twist that I did not see coming and of course a sweet story of love.(less)
Vandagriff's books always feature strong heroines and a hero that is flawed, but someone you want to cheer for, and this one is no different. Christia...moreVandagriff's books always feature strong heroines and a hero that is flawed, but someone you want to cheer for, and this one is no different. Christian Elliott has opened an orphanage for girls and he meets Miss Whitcombe who is a teacher there. She has some shocking feminist ideas and is rude to him whenever he is around her. There is a reason for Helene's feelings and when Christian finds out, he wants to help, but she definitely wants to stand on her own two feet. There are some fun misunderstandings, danger, mayhem, and romance all thrown in to make a wonderful story. A great afternoon read.(less)
This book really spoke to me. Tito Momen was born in Nigeria and was raised a strict Muslim. This book is the story of his journey in finding Christia...moreThis book really spoke to me. Tito Momen was born in Nigeria and was raised a strict Muslim. This book is the story of his journey in finding Christianity and losing his freedom and it is phenomenal.
He doesn't pull any punches. He talks about his childhood and what his father expected of his son who was destined to become an imam. He talks about how women were treated, especially his mother, and how difficult life was for her. The story follows him as Tito goes to boarding school, then college, falls in love, and starts to see more of the world around him. He has brushes with the Muslim brotherhood and with western culture. His impressions are starkly portrayed and I was completely drawn in. When he embraces Christianity and is reported, he ends up sentenced to life in an Egyptian prison. As we go through his prison experience with him, I was amazed at this man and so very grateful for the freedom of religion that I have.
This is a book you don't want to miss. It has an easy style to it and the story is riveting.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I read Emma: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca Jamison. I love Jane Austen and have found very few modern retellings of h...moreI wasn't sure what to expect when I read Emma: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca Jamison. I love Jane Austen and have found very few modern retellings of her stories that I've liked. This one is a retelling of her story, Emma, and it has an LDS angle to it, which was fun.
We meet Emma who wants to be a life coach, but until she's certified, she just works on a new girl that's moved into the neighborhood to be a nanny. Harriet has lost weight and moved to a new place and needs friends and help overcoming her insecurity. Emma tries to "help" her get a makeover and make a love connection, but that goes badly. Her sister's brother-in-law Justin is the voice of reason, even though Emma doesn't appreciate it at times. I think Justin was my favorite character out of all of them. There's one scene where they are decorating a Christmas tree together with the little girl that Harriet is the nanny to, and Justin was so sweet with her I could totally envision it and sighed at how awesome it was.
Of course the story was predictable because it follows Jane Austen's storyline quite well. At times the characters came across a bit flat, but that could be because it wasn't an original story per se. The LDS angle did provide some flair in the activities and plot and I was entertained. This was a light-hearted afternoon read.
This is a compilation of six historical novellas, each one a little different, but something for every romance-lover.
The first one, War of Hearts, was...moreThis is a compilation of six historical novellas, each one a little different, but something for every romance-lover.
The first one, War of Hearts, was set during a war in Finland and while the setting was well done and the characters well-written, I just couldn't get into the story. It's about a woman who is sent to report on the war and she finds out her ex-boyfriend who just dumped her, is also her photographer.
The second one was The Earl of Oaksey Takes a Wife and it's a little spinoff of G.G. Vandagriff's story, Lord Trowbridge's Angel. We find out what happens to Melissa when there's a misunderstanding with her new husband and she finds out he is penniless and only married her for her money. Working it out has a few surprising twists and turns for the couple!
The third one, Gift of Love, was one of my favorites. It's the story about a man who has lost three wives and cannot even bear to think of loving someone else. His friend Stuart convinces him to marry his sister who has been in a convent all this time, so he has someone to care for his daughter. I loved the tentative understanding between the main characters and how love finally blossoms. I really wish this one had been full length because it was so very well done.
The fourth one was A Lesson in Love. Lucy and Reed seem happily married, but both are upset when they realize that they don't see eye to eye on attending social functions now that they are wed. The extended family steps in to "help" the situation and there are some funny situations that arise. Some really cute scenes and a sweet ending.
The fifth one was An Ocean Away. This one was sigh-worthy. Gina sneaks out to read novels in the garden, but her handsome neighbor catches her. They share some breathless moments until Gina's father finds out who she's been associating with---his enemy! A really great read that I loved!
The sixth one was What Happens in Venice and though it was hard to choose, I think this one was my favorite. Mysterious and romantic with a hero to die for. Evangeline is in Venice with her horrid step-family, but she's trying to enjoy the trip anyway. She meets a fellow art lover and spends some quality time with him. A mini-mystery unfolds with danger and villains rearing up to meet our hero and heroine at every turn. Love, love, loved this story!(less)
Today it's a little cold outside, the last of the leaves are falling off the trees in front of my house, and my mother in Canada just called to tell m...moreToday it's a little cold outside, the last of the leaves are falling off the trees in front of my house, and my mother in Canada just called to tell me that there was a big snowstorm in her city and she has to go dig out her car. This means winter is on its way and what better way to celebrate that than reading a collection of Christmas stories?
Carla Kelly has put four Regency Christmas stories together in her Christmas Collection that are sure to touch your heart and put you in the mood for the coming season. The thing I like about Carla's stories is that they are so filled with emotion and have such unlikely heroes and heroines.
For example, in the first story, The Christmas Ornament, we have two fathers talking about their unmarried children. The daughter is bookish, a wannabe scholar, who seems to put off suitors with her intelligence. The son is a scholar who doesn't seem to have time for love, so the two fathers scheme to get them together. What follows is an emotional, funny and cute romance that had me smiling right up until the end. There's no dashingly handsome man and a achingly beautiful heroine, but two regular people with problems and rumpled looks who just might find love with one another.
Make A Joyful Noise has a really tender love story between a man who lost his wife and a woman who's lost her husband and is expecting a child. Her situation is quite dire as she's a "foreigner" and staying with her horrible in-laws who treat her abominably. I loved this story best I think, because of the tender feelings and the way the hero is so forgiving, loving, and accepting, even when he has to face some pretty big obstacles.
The Object of Charity was a little harder for me to get into because the heroine is first introduced as a possible teenager and the hero is a weather-beaten experienced captain of the sea. They do eventually overcome some fairly large obstacles of their own and really test out the theory of forgiveness for family members by putting it into practice. Very apropros for the season.
The Three Kings was another one of Carla's clever heroes who doesn't look much like a hero. I loved Luis' quiet way about him and how he did his duty and honor to keep Sarah safe, even at a great cost to himself. The adventures they go through, the suffering they see and try to alleviate from war-torn Spain is something think about when we come across small ways we can help suffering around us as well. The traditional Spanish The Three Kings song and the pageant were also really interesting to me and I know Ms. Kelly has done her historical homework as always.
All of the stories were long enough to engage me, and yet short enough I could read each one is an hour or less. Another great collection from romance writer Carla Kelly that I recommend for anyone wanting to get in the holiday spirit.
This one is about a poor village bookshopkeeper's daughter Rachel McTavish. Rachel's mother is dying and the earl wants information on his wife's deat...moreThis one is about a poor village bookshopkeeper's daughter Rachel McTavish. Rachel's mother is dying and the earl wants information on his wife's death, so Rachel makes a deal---get a doctor for my mother and I'll tell you what I know. Only it's too late and nothing goes as planned. Things go from bad to worse as her pride lands her in trouble with the earl, the townspeople, and even the town madame. Rachel makes every concession she can to keep food on the table for her and her brother, but is finally forced to accept the earl's help, although there is a very big cost to her and her heart.
I thought the mystery of what happened to the earl's first wife was what really kept me turning pages, although I called the murderer early on. The romance was good, but there were a few things that bothered me about our hero. He just seemed sort of detached sometimes and not really aware until he had to be, if that makes sense. There are storyline hints that seem to be dropped, like the possibility of the earl himself being drugged at the time of the fire to explain his memory loss, and the fact that Rachel's mother was illegitimate and her real grandfather's name could have possibly paved the way to a union between them. I also didn't like that intimacies were described when one of the people involved was drugged and out of it. Did no one really notice that? It bothered me.
Despite all of that, the heroine had a lot of spunk, which saved the story for me, and it was a good ending. (less)
Rocky Road is a continuation of Josi Kilpack's Sadie Hofmiller cozy mystery series and I have to say, I think this might be my new favorite one. Sadie...moreRocky Road is a continuation of Josi Kilpack's Sadie Hofmiller cozy mystery series and I have to say, I think this might be my new favorite one. Sadie has come a long way in this journey and her last adventure on the cruise ship has left her worn out. She's meeting her friend Caro for a girls' weekend in St. George, Utah, when Caro presents her with a mysterious disappearance of a local doctor. Caro wants to investigate it, especially when she comes across some evidence that the police might not have all the information they need, but surprisingly, Sadie says no. She just wants to turn the evidence over to the police and be done with it. Until she meets the man's ex-wife and kids at his memorial service. She promises only to get involved until the police call them back, but then, in true Sadie fashion, she is drawn into unraveling another mystery.
The thing I liked the most about this book is how easy it was to see how Sadie has grown. She's not impetuous anymore and knows the ins and outs of working a case, letting the police in on what she's doing, and how far is too far. I love the new side of Sadie and it didn't detract at all from the mystery, only making me work harder to figure it out. And I have to say it sounds so silly, but there's someone in the book who is mean to Sadie, and I felt oddly protective of Sadie! I really do love her character. (And yes, I know she's fictional!)
This mystery had it all, great twists and turns, a great supporting cast (I love Caro!) and even though Pete doesn't make an appearance we still get a zing! every time Sadie thinks of him. (Awwww.) I really do think this is Kilpack's best book yet, although there is a sneak peek of her next novel in the back that looks just as good. I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series!
It's about a little boy who moves to a new town and is invited to a neighborhood treehouse. He climbs up and the kids tell him about their club and,...more It's about a little boy who moves to a new town and is invited to a neighborhood treehouse. He climbs up and the kids tell him about their club and, if he passes a test, they'll give him membership in the club. The test is about the Word of Wisdom and making decisions about what you will or won't take into your body even if people are pressuring you. Then he's given a scroll with other promises of things he won't do "Not even once."
I read this book with my five year old and she didn't really get it. She liked the pictures a lot, though, and once I explained to her what some of the promises meant, she could see what they were saying (as much as a five year old can, anyway.) My ten year old got more out of it, and the discussion questions in the back were helpful. It's more like a story I'd use in Family Home Evening as a visual aid than a bedtime story I'd read over and over. Great artwork and an overall good teaching concept for sure. (less)
When I first started reading it, I was immediately drawn to the main character Elizabeth. She was funny and quirky, but knew what she wanted. I also...more When I first started reading it, I was immediately drawn to the main character Elizabeth. She was funny and quirky, but knew what she wanted. I also liked that she was "real" in the way that she was confident enough in herself to not be ashamed she worked at a bank and liked to wear her own "look" with colorful tights.
The best part of the book was the romance, though. At first I was thinking, oh man, I hope this isn't going to be a lame triangle. Love triangles only work if both men are viable options. It didn't look that way at the beginning, just because of the heroine's obsession with Mr. Darcy, but it totally kept me turning pages to see how she got out of the mess she made for herself. I loved the hero (I won't say who because it might give something away) and there were some really sigh-worthy, romantic moments. A quick, satisfying read that made me say "awwww" at the end.
This is a cute contemporary romance about a physical therapist named Grace who goes to a bachelor auction to help out a co-worker. When an arrogant ma...moreThis is a cute contemporary romance about a physical therapist named Grace who goes to a bachelor auction to help out a co-worker. When an arrogant man outbids her, then kisses her, she is so upset she runs away. Unexpectedly he shows up as her patient and she has to work through a lot of feelings regarding him---frustration, anger, and attraction to name a few!
I really liked the heroine, Grace, and thought she had a lot of guts. She puts up with a lot from her brother and the hero and I admired how she handled it with, well, grace. She has a soft spot, but she's also been traumatized and feels guilt for what happened to her brother that day on the ski slopes. I like that her feelings are explored and she really does grow by the end of the book.
The hero I had a harder time with. There were points that I loved him, but a lot of times he seemed unable to see how his life view affected others. I liked that he had give and take with Grace, though, and was willing to change. Whatever flaws he had, he did redeem himself in the end and we were treated to some sigh-worthy kisses and sweet romance.
All in all, I thought the plot was well-done and the romance was great! An author for me to watch.(less)
I love Omar Zagouri and I'm so glad the author is putting out short stories to get to know the character a bit better. This one is fast-paced and real...moreI love Omar Zagouri and I'm so glad the author is putting out short stories to get to know the character a bit better. This one is fast-paced and really draws you into the action right away. The only thing I had a harder time with was that at the end, we're just about to find out what happened to Chalice, and see where she's going to go from here, when it ends. It just felt a bit unfinished to me and I hope her story is continued in the future. Great prequel to Finding Sheba, though, and insight into Omar. (less)