Monday, September 26, 2016

The Courageous Brides Collection

This collection of nine novellas takes readers on an entertaining adventure from Civil War battlefields, to the Wild West... and everywhere in between!  These stories from some of the biggest names in Christian Fiction tell of brave, compassionate women who each learn how to trust God in the midst of trouble.  

Each novella is a decent length, and perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon.  As is a common flaw in short stories, some of the character development is either sloppy, or lacking entirely.  The series is arranged well, and is reminiscent of a relay race: the first few start out strong, followed by the weakest components, then gradually regains the speed necessary to win readers in the end.  

Healing Promise by Johnie Alexander and An Everlasting Promise by Michelle Griep (one of my new favorite authors), don't disappoint with two lovely tales of strong women who learn to look past outward appearances to find true love.  

Love on the Run, by Debby Lee, though, is a bit too predictable-- even for romantic fiction-- and had far too many characters that I just couldn't seem to care much about.  Similarly, Rose Allen McCauley's Hidden Courage starts out well, but ends abruptly, and just a little too perfectly to be believed.

Donita Kathleen Paul's Encumbered Bride, however, renewed my faith in the genre with a story that perfectly blends history, adventure, and romance.  Almost as wonderful was Mountain Echoes, by Jennifer Uhlarik, which tells a beautiful story of overcoming fear and past disappointments to take a chance on true love.

While just a bit silly for my taste, Jennifer Walker's Letters from Lucy is a fun little tale of a sassy would-be journalist on a Wild West adventure.  Finally, Battlefield Bride by Renee Yancey shows readers the importance of learning to forgive oneself, and accept God's gifts when they come.

Despite a few flops, this collection is well worth the time, and quite enjoyable.  I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wild Montana Skies

After an eventful deployment, Army search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing decides to spend her summer on leave in her home town of Mercy Falls, Montana.  Hoping to recover from the horrors of war and reconnect with her teenage daughter, Kacey soon finds she isn't the only one to have recently returned home.  

Country singing star Ben King has also come to Mercy Falls to help his father recover from a helicopter accident.  When he discovers that both he and Kacey-- his high school girlfriend and onetime finance-- will have to work together on his father's Peak Rescue team, he must finally face the real reasons he moved to Nashville so many years ago. 

As Kacey and Ben begin to move beyond the disappointments and misunderstandings of the past, will they fine true love, or discover that their lives have diverged too far to come back together?

In Wild Montana Skies, Susan May Warren takes readers on a compelling and emotional adventure.  Not usually a fan of contemporary fiction, the setting of Glacier National Park provided plenty of interesting detail to keep me going.  Each character is well-developed, believable, and relatable.  I especially enjoyed delving into the complicated decisions the cast had made, and the longterm effects that resulted from them.  While the ending is satisfying (though somewhat predictable), Warren strings readers along a bit near the end by creating unrealistic obstacles.  The secondary plot line-- which I assume plays out in the second book of the series-- is also entertaining, and left me ready for the next installment.  

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Captive Heart

After an altercation with her employer, governess Eleanor Morgan finds herself fleeing London on a ship bound for the American colonies.  When her plans to work for a family in Charles Town fall through, she discovers she must marry an intimidating stranger to pay for her passage from England.  Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath knows he needs a mother for his small daughter, but does not feel ready to trust the uptight English woman he brings home.  Will Samuel be able to open his heart after so many past mistakes?  Will Eleanor be able to adjust to the primitive life in the colonies and feel worthy of Samuel's love? 

Michelle Griep takes readers on a riveting adventure through pre-revolutionary America in The Captive Heart.  The historical detail, descriptions of colonial life, and politics of the time are all well written and fascinating.  Reminiscent of The Last of the Mohicans, The Captive Heart's Samuel is every bit as swoon-worthy as Hawkeye.  While the plot line has certainly been told before, Griep's character development and expertise in storytelling make her newest novel a must-read.  

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lady Unrivaled

Lady Ella Myerston is ready to put an end to the danger and intrigue that has plagued her family and friends for the past few years.  Even though everyone has tried to protect her, she knows exactly who has been attacking her loved ones... and why.  Without telling anyone else involved, she determines to take matters into her own hands.  Lord Cayton knows more than he would like about the cursed jewels Ella is researching, and decides to help her against his better judgment.  When the very people threatening Ella's family arrive to stay with Cayton, will he finally be able to set himself free from his past mistakes, redeem himself, and embrace the new life he has worked so hard to create?  Will he be strong enough to help Ella in her quest while also keeping her safe?  

In Lady Unrivaled, Roseanna M. White masterfully concludes her compelling Ladies of the Manor series.  The fascinating lore of the "Tiger Eyes," the intrigues and machinations of Edwardian England's elite, the powerful bonds of family and friendship, and the beautiful stories of forgiveness and redemption come together for a truly riveting and delightful read.  As a devoted fan of The Reluctant Duchess, I do wish Rowena had made an earlier appearance.  And while Brooke Stafford of The Lost Heiress has never been a favorite of mine, she grew on me in this final novel.  Both the mystery of the cursed diamonds and Ella and Cayton's love story are beautifully and satisfyingly concluded.  

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.