From the moment Carla Laureano revealed the cover and synopsis for London Tides, I've eagerly awaited the release day of Carla's latest addition to thFrom the moment Carla Laureano revealed the cover and synopsis for London Tides, I've eagerly awaited the release day of Carla's latest addition to the The MacDonald Family Trilogy. This story did not disappoint. A little more intense in theme then novels I have currently been reading, Tides leaves you thinking about the material long after finish. Working ten years shooting images of conflict, photographer Grace Brennan returns to London in hopes of rekindling a love she walked away from and a new start away from the images of war. Ian Macdonald left his dreams of a rowing career only to have Grace choose photography over him, and now works for his brother James (introduced in Five Days in Skye) as head of his London office for his restaurant entrepreneurship. As Ian and Grace begin to reconnect, he starts to realize there is much more behind the scenes of what has brought Grace back and insight into her trying to run from the images of the past ten years.
~*~ The following may contain slight spoilers in the opinion of some, so read cautiously ~*~
Carla gives a realistic glimpse into the mindset of dealing with PTSD and also hits a spot I am sure many people struggle with in a world of conflict: trying to convince oneself by staying in the "safe" and familiar, you will stay away from the hurt. Yet in some shape or form, loss and hurt can still happen even in the safest of havens. There was a paragraph towards the end that I highlighted and copied to my journal that really hit home with truth: "But there was a greater witness beyond her and the rest of humanity, standing beyond the constraints of time and borders and self-interest. God saw the pain of the world, even when no one else did. The lives of all those to whom Grace felt an obligation did not go unseen. Just as the life of one insignificant woman standing on the bank of the Thames, doubting her worth, did not go unnoticed." London Tides is the 2nd installment in the Trilogy, but can easily be read without knowing anything about the first. However, I guarantee if you haven't read Five Days in Skye, you will be adding it to the read pile soon after finishing Tides. Thank you NetGalley and David C Cook for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review. ...more
Set in London in 1807, Michelle Griep pens a captivating tale of Nicholas Brentwood, a Bow Street Runner, who is assigned as guardian over Miss EmilySet in London in 1807, Michelle Griep pens a captivating tale of Nicholas Brentwood, a Bow Street Runner, who is assigned as guardian over Miss Emily Payne. Brentwood takes a job he feels from the beginning he will regret but cannot pass up the offered funds for a chance to save his ailing sister. Emily Payne is determined this is the season to finally catch a husband, and the last thing she needs is a guardian her father has hired without her consent getting in her way. This was the first novel I have read by Michelle Griep, and after completing it late last night I immediately went searching for more of her stories. I think Siri Mitchell's quote on the back cover explains this novel perfectly "Sherlock Holmes meets Charles Dickens..." Regency novels can sometimes fall into the same story-telling and plots, but not Griep's tale. It stands on it's own and is a unique blend of mystery, intrigue and romance. I loved the differing points of few switching between Emily and Brentwood's side of the story. Brentwood's Ward felt like reading Julie Klassen, Mary Lu Tyndall and Julie Lessman (who happen to be some of my favorite writers) all wrapped into a tale worthy of the bookshelf and easily recommended to fellow readers. ...more
Karen Briggs travels to Bakerstown, Missouri to meet up with her best friend since childhood and now fiancé and Pastor, Clayton Parsons. As they planKaren Briggs travels to Bakerstown, Missouri to meet up with her best friend since childhood and now fiancé and Pastor, Clayton Parsons. As they plan a Christmas wedding, Karen begins helping the local ladies with various projects that lead to some humorous situations and baking her famous Fruitcake recipe for a charity auction. However when the local gaggle of the town's leading ladies find out one of her key ingredients, it could be the final hit to Karen's confidence that she and Clayton are meant to be married. Fruitcake Bride is the final installment of the 12 Brides of Christmas Novella series. I thought it was a cute tale and sweet addition to the end of this collection of Christmas tales, and I know I mentioned this in a previous review of one of the novellas, but felt like the collection would make a fun round of Hallmark Holiday movies. If you're looking for some easy reads to put you in the Holiday mood, many of the stories in this collection are worth the quick read. Thank you to Barbour Publishing for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest opinion. ...more
Trying to escape her Uncle's henchman, Arabella Taube hides in Nate Horne's wagon in a small Colorado town when her train has to stop due to a suddenTrying to escape her Uncle's henchman, Arabella Taube hides in Nate Horne's wagon in a small Colorado town when her train has to stop due to a sudden winter storm. Discovered by Nate while making the trek back to the family home, he brings her home to wait out the storm where she also forms a friendship with his mother who is convinced Arabella is an answer to prayers. Stuck at the remote ranch for days due to the storm, Arabella begins to find comfort and the meaning of family as she's never experienced. As time passes, Ara realizes she does not want to leave, but with Nate being a man of few words is unsure if he shares the same affection she has developed for him. The Snowbound Bride is book 11 of the 12 Brides of Christmas, and is probably my favorite thus far of the Christmas collection. I wanted it to be a full-length novel instead of a short story so I could get more development and more background of the characters. This was my first story by Davalynn Spencer and after finishing I immediately went online to look for other books as I truly enjoyed her storytelling skills. I received this ebook compliments of the publishing company in exchange for honest reviews. ...more
Esther Hathaway lost her one true love 20 years ago at the battle of Gettysburg, and has spent the last 10 years raising her orphaned niece Susan whoEsther Hathaway lost her one true love 20 years ago at the battle of Gettysburg, and has spent the last 10 years raising her orphaned niece Susan who is now getting ready to be a Christmas bride. It has been a long family tradition that when you marry, a portrait of the couple is painted into a Christmas star. While searching for the right artist, Esther comes across a newspaper ad for Jeremy Snyder, a traveling artist with wounds of his own left from the war. As Esther and Jeremy spend time together to complete the portrait, both will begin to realize that maybe it's not too late for true love after all.
The Christmas Star Bride is #10 of the 12 Brides of Christmas. Amanda Cabot's addition to this series is an easy read to get lost in and finish in a short period of time. Also a reminder that lost dreams can still come true at times we don't expect. Christmas Star Bride was one of my favorites out of this collection. I received this e-book from the publisher in exchange for my honest reviews. ...more
Roy Gibbons is a widower with two young daughters who is desperate to make a marriage arrangement to provide a mother figure for his girls. Still tryiRoy Gibbons is a widower with two young daughters who is desperate to make a marriage arrangement to provide a mother figure for his girls. Still trying to get over the loss of his wife, he's more interested in a business-type arrangement than a love match. Alma Pickens has been caring for her beloved father since the passing of her mother, and has been enduring her father's attempts to marry her off hoping to help her find her own lifetime happiness. When she is informed that her father has made a deal with the widower to have her married, she comes back with a list of her own to have a period of courting and getting to know one another before the wedding date. The Festive Bride is a cute read full of humor and sweet romance. The only disappointment was the quick switch from the couple "courting" to suddenly being head-over-heels. I really would have preferred this as a full length novel with more character development, but this always seems to be the case with novellas. This was the first story I've read by Brandmeyer, and I couldn't help but think it would be a perfect screenplay for the sweet sappy Hallmark Christmas movies that over take the channel this time of year. I received this ebook in exchange for my honest thoughts and review. ...more
Trails & Targets is the first novel in a new series by Kelly Eileen Hake titled the Dangerous Darlyn series. The Darlyns are four sisters living inTrails & Targets is the first novel in a new series by Kelly Eileen Hake titled the Dangerous Darlyn series. The Darlyns are four sisters living in the Old West who are seen as rather unconventional due to the method their ill father has taught them to take care of themselves. Able to shoot, hit targets, rope and ride just as well as any of the local men, when their father sets up a "showing of talents" the oldest sister Bea is worried about the add to their already rumored reputation. The event also brings on the unfortunate attentions of a creditor who begins bullying Bea. Greyson Wilder is making a short stop in town when he steps in to assist Bea and her sister during a run-in with said bully, who is determined to steal the Darlyn farm. Grey follows the sisters home for a thank you dinner and ends up staying for a time, teaming up with the quick witted sisters in hopes of saving the family home. What he doesn't anticipate, is the feelings toward Bea that his past has him fighting. Will he be able to let go of old regrets and embrace the new future God could have for him?
This was my first read by Hake and was quite enjoyable. I don't typically read a lot of westerns - cowboys and ranch settings just aren't really my thing. However, when Barbour Publishing asked if I would read in exchange for my honest reviews, I thought it would be a good opportunity to expand my usual fiction genres. Trails & Targets wasn't a disappointment. I will be keeping my eye out for the following books, curious to see the rest of the Darlyn sister's stories. Anyone who loves to read the Western genre will find appreciation in Hake's newest novel. ...more
The Christmas Tree Bride is a another cute, quick read and a story of Christmas traditions. Polly Winfield and her parents moved from the East to WyomThe Christmas Tree Bride is a another cute, quick read and a story of Christmas traditions. Polly Winfield and her parents moved from the East to Wyoming to operate a stage coach stop. Jacob Tierny is a temporary replacement driver and gives Polly something to look forward to Wednesdays through Saturdays while he stays at the stop over. After receiving a postcard from an old friend back home, Polly yearns for a Christmas tree to continue their Massachusetts tradition. However, trees are sparse in the wilderness of Wyoming. When Polly's father advises he doesn't have the time to hunt for a tree, she turns to Jacob in hopes of fulfilling her Christmas wish. Christmas Tree Bride is short story #8 of the 12 Brides of Christmas. ...more
Deborah Summers has waited and prayed for five years in hopes that Curt Warren would return to Goldendale, Washington and finally propose marriage. CuDeborah Summers has waited and prayed for five years in hopes that Curt Warren would return to Goldendale, Washington and finally propose marriage. Curt left Goldendale in anger after years of arguing with his father over his dreams to be a woodworker. When a family tragedy finally brings him home, Deborah hopes the rift between father and son will be healed so she and Curt can find happiness, but is scared Curt's father will drive him away again. The Nativity Bride is a short story about the power of God to heal broken dreams and restore hope. I liked how Miralee weaved the story and the background of what had made Curt's father so against his dream throughout his childhood. ...more
The Gingerbread Bride by Amy Lillard is a cute Christmas read, but warning, you will feel the need to bake Gingerbread when you finish this short storThe Gingerbread Bride by Amy Lillard is a cute Christmas read, but warning, you will feel the need to bake Gingerbread when you finish this short story and how convenient that a recipe for gingerbread is included at the end.
"#6: The Gingerbread Bride Maddie Sinclair loves Harlan Calhoun, but feels like she can’t get his attention, so she visits an eccentric woman in the Ozark Mountains for an herbal mixture—a love potion—that she bakes into a batch of gingerbread cookies. When Harlan suddenly proposes, Maddie is torn by guilt and confusion. Is this true love or just the herbs talking?" ~ Excerpt from Amazon.com
Thinking she will never snag Harlan's attention on her own, Maddie makes a visit to the local eccentric woman in hopes of a love potion to help bring his affections. Of course when Harlan arrives for Christmas Eve dinner and proposes, Maddie doubts his sincerity due to the special gingerbread cookies she baked for him. An easy read with even a little reminder thrown in to remember to trust God for his best timing, Gingerbread Bread is a sweet addition to the 12 Brides of Christmas collection. Thank you Barbour press for a copy in exchange for my review. ...more
The 12 Brides of Christmas: Book #5 ~"Ewan Murray and Kate McDougall hold a mutual appreciation for music—and each other. But as she comes of age, Ewa The 12 Brides of Christmas: Book #5 ~"Ewan Murray and Kate McDougall hold a mutual appreciation for music—and each other. But as she comes of age, Ewan realizes he must do something to prove his worth to her banker father. Will a refurbished heirloom and a sudden snowstorm be the key to earning permission to marry?" - description used from Amazon.com
Ewan returns home from a period of traveling intent on asking for Kate, a friend since childhood, to marry him. Her father who is concerned Ewan will not be able to provide for Kate the way he wants sets a goal that Ewan must meet by Kate's birthday in order to gain permission. While Ewan sincerely seemed to love Kate, the impression I kept getting from her was that she wanted to marry someone for the convenience of being able to pursue her love of music. Even in a scene where she fights with her father that she should have the right to choose, it never seemed like she was in love and wanting to spend the rest of her life with her best friend, she just wanted to avoid being stuck with a stuck-up banker and be allowed to love her music. My honest opinion, so far the Yuletide Bride has not been my favorite of this collection of stories. I never really got into the story and characters, and as explained, could not buy the love that was supposed to be between the two leads. ...more
For what character development and story you can get into an 86 page novella, The Gift-Wrapped Bride was a quick read with a lesson on being careful wFor what character development and story you can get into an 86 page novella, The Gift-Wrapped Bride was a quick read with a lesson on being careful with judgement and reaching out to those in need.
"#4: The Gift-Wrapped Bride Sophie Stewart’s family has just moved to Chicago to join her brother and help start a church. Sophie is an artist with big dreams, but she feels her parents are pushing her to marry someone like Noah Jackson, a young man from their Ohio hometown. But forgiving the past and recognizing Noah’s maturity and changes may take a miracle." ~ From Amazon description
Sophie grew up being teased and taunted by Noah Jackson, and was relieved when he left their hometown to pursue a job building canals with her older brother. Years later, her family moves to Chicago and the first person they run into is Noah who helps to stop their runaway horse. Sophie's brother has shared her letters and drawing with Noah over the time of separation, and Noah has come to care for Sophie but she still believes him to be the bully from her youth. I was disappointed at first that Sophie refused to believe Noah could have had a change of heart, but was glad for a few scenes where her brother calls her out and points out SHE'S the one that's changed: to a hard heart with no forgiveness. When Noah invites a group of street kids to come be in the Christmas pageant as a way to offer a free meal and a warm coat, watching Noah form the children into a cohesive group slowly opens her eyes to his change. I was disappointed at the the sudden ending and quick wrap up, but do realize there's only so much to work with in a short story. I've read and enjoyed some of Maureen Lang's novels, and enjoyed her addition to the 12 Brides of Christmas collection.
A gifted rider and horse trainer, Maggie Linden is determined that her beloved Bourbon Belle will take top purse in the Nashville inaugural Peyton StaA gifted rider and horse trainer, Maggie Linden is determined that her beloved Bourbon Belle will take top purse in the Nashville inaugural Peyton Stakes. Her dream seems to come to a halt when in a desperation to save their farm Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder, Maggie's father offers her hand in marriage to a man she has never met. Cullen McGrath has arrived in Tennessee carrying burdens of his past and facing the discrimination towards Irish immigrants. Offered his chance at starting over with the Linden farm, Cullen feels it could be another huge mistake in the making and yet can't turn his back on the possibilities. A captivating, beautiful story of overcoming adversities and discriminations, To Win Her Favor has easily become my favorite Tamera Alexander novel. I loved the setting, the characters and was surprised by the emotions this story pulled out. I have always had an interest in the world of horse racing, fed by novels penned by Lauraine Snelling in my younger years and love for movies such as Secretariat. Tamera makes it easy to see the places and images she presents in her story and also weaves a breathtaking romance. In my opinion, Cullen was the best male lead Tamera has penned and while there were a few times I wanted to reach out and shake Maggie, I loved her growth and realization that though some things may seem culturally accepted, it does not always make those thoughts right. To Win Her Favor is a novel I can easily recommend to fellow reader friends, and I already ordered a paper copy for my favorites bookshelf. Thank you NetGalley and Zondervan Publishing for a copy in exchange for honest reviews. ...more
With the final installment in the Quiet Professionals trilogy, Ronie Kendig continues her trend of heart-pounding, didn't-see-that-twist-coming rapid-With the final installment in the Quiet Professionals trilogy, Ronie Kendig continues her trend of heart-pounding, didn't-see-that-twist-coming rapid-fire fiction. Not only was I excited to read Falcon to finally solve the mystery of the Cyber terrorists working against team Raptor, but it was also fun to be able to say I have met the cover model: real-life Marine hero Gabriel Martinez. After reading snippets of Salvatore “Falcon” Russo in the previous 2 novels, I was ready to know more of his background. Especially after his intense reaction to Lieutenant Cassie Walker making her appearance in "Hawk." Ronie continues her trend of writing believable characters that you find hard to accept are fictional and throwing in shocking plot twists you never saw coming. Falcon's character is a reminder that the facade people put out is often a shell to protect the battle being waged inside. I love how Ronie weaves Faith into her stories in a realistic and relatable manner and not over the top fluff. My one complaint: I dragged out the last chapter not wanting to let Team Raptor go. I'm secretly hoping at some point we will get a little more story on Titanis ;) Falcon makes another fantastic addition to the bookshelf that I will have no hesitance in recommending. Thank you NetGalley and Shiloh Run Press for the advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts....more