Friday, September 22, 2017

Too Far Down


While trouble has been following the Boden family and their ranch for years, their powerful and well-connected enemies seem to have begun targeting the profitable CR Mining Company too.  When someone purposely detonates dynamite at the entrance of several mines and kills five men, and the life of patriarch Chance Boden is threatened again in far-away Denver, the Boden children decide to find and eliminate their elusive enemy once and for all.  

Having served as the mine's manager ever since he returned from Harvard, the destruction at the mines hits Cole Boden particularly hard.  Will the love of his family and his confusing feelings for his neighbor-- Melanie Blake-- be able to keep Cole in the New Mexico territory, or will the rugged danger send him back to the intriguing world of business he left behind back East?  Melanie Blake grew up with the Boden children, and has been a friend to Justin and Sadie for years.  More interested in horses and guns than silk dresses, Mel has never quite understood her infatuation with Cole.  When Cole begins to show an interest in her, will she have the strength to protect her heart from a man who hasn't truly decided what he wants in life? 

Mary Coneally brings her Cimarron Legacy trilogy to an exciting and satisfying conclusion in Too Far Down.  Much like the second installment, this novel takes place just weeks after Long Time Gone, and the plots of all three novels are intricately intertwined.  Readers should view The Cimarron Legacy as a three-part story, rather than a series of three individual novels.  Having made the mistake of not re-reading No Way Up when Conneally released her second installment, I brushed up on the Boden family before starting this newest addition.  I'm certainly glad I did.  In re-reading the first two installments, I also decided that the first and last novels are superior to the middle one.  Cole's struggle to find his identity and reconcile his two lives is compelling, Melanie's need to protect herself from Cole's indecision shows wisdom and strength, Chance and Veronica's mistake in making unfair demands on their grown children is (finally) addressed, the chance to see Sadie, Heath, Justin and Angie in their first weeks of marriage is enjoyable, and solving the mysteries surrounding the CR's enemies was sufficiently satisfying.  As a resident of New Mexico these days, I particularly enjoyed this glimpse into American history.  

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

101 Days





























No reviews this week... the boys and I have been busy celebrating the return of a certain pilot after a 3-month deployment!

It was a lonely summer... but definitely not boring!


Monday, September 4, 2017

Christmas at Carnton


Recently widowed, pregnant, out of work, and facing the foreclosure of her home, Aletta Prescott is desperate to find a new job that will allow her to support herself and her six-year-old son.  She eventually finds a short-term position working with the Women's Relief Society auction, but has to work alongside and depend on a wounded soldier also assigned to the auction.  Will Aletta learn to trust God to supply her needs when her temporary position at Carnton ends?  Will she have the courage to give her heart away after it has so recently been broken?  

Wounded confederate sharpshooter Jake Winston begrudgingly takes an assignment working with the Women's Relief Society while he waits for his vision to recover from a serious head injury.  Wishing  he was back on the battlefield with his unit, Jake must learn to define himself outside his rank and occupation.  Will his friendship with Aletta show Jake that he still has value?  Is he willing to risk forming attachments when the war still seems far from over? 

In her typical fashion, Tamera Alexander tells a lovely story full of fascinating historical detail in Christmas as Carnton.  While the plot was a bit predictable-- even with the supposed twists toward the end-- Jake and Aletta's characters were beautifully written and compelling to explore.  I loved Aletta's gumption and Alexander's feminist undertones woven throughout the story.  Why can't a woman build a nativity set?  Jake's struggle to accept the end of his sharpshooting career and the guilt he feels being away from the battlefield was equally interesting.  As a matter of personal taste, I would have preferred that Aletta hadn't been quite so recently widowed.  One month seems like an awfully short amount of time to have recovered from the death of her spouse to the point that she feels as drawn to Jake as she was.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to Alexander's upcoming series set at Carnton, and cannot wait for more! 

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty



Now that each of his siblings is happily married, Griffith-- the Duke of Riverton-- decides it's finally time for him to settle down as well.  Approaching the courting process with all the planning, reasoning, and control with which approaches everything, Griffith comes to the conclusion that Frederica St. Claire is his most rational choice for a bride.  Unfortunately, Miss St. Claire constantly pushes Griffith toward her extraordinarily beautiful and popular cousin, Isabella Breckenridge.  Despite their mutual attraction, Griffith and Isabella have reservations about pursuing a relationship with one another.  Will Griffith allow himself to follow his heart this time, or will Isabella's secrets keep them apart forever?

Kristi Ann Hunter's An Inconvenient Beauty brings her Hawthorne House series to a masterful conclusion.  It's no secret I've been anxiously awaiting this latest installment, and have devoured each of its three predecessors.  I might go so far as to say that the series gets better and better with each addition.  Full of interesting historical detail, excellently crafted characters, complex plot lines, and yet another swoon-worthy love story, Hunter's latest is practically perfect.  Most impressive is her talent in composing a truly engaging set of individual stories.  While I definitely binge-read the prior books in the series in preparation for this release, it wouldn't have been necessary.  Hunter manages to tell a complete story in each novel, while artfully bringing back older characters in a way that isn't confusing, distracting, or unnecessary.  Again, you don't have to read the whole series to enjoy this particular novel... but you should anyway.  I'm honestly sad to see such an excellently written series come to an end, and look forward to whatever project comes next!

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Monday, August 21, 2017

12 Days at Bleakly Manor


Left at the altar and told that her fiancé has absconded with her family's fortune, Clara Chapman finds herself heartbroken, penniless, and living with an ailing aunt.  When a mysterious invitation arrives promising her 1000 pounds to spend the 12 days of Christmas at an unfamiliar Bleakly Manor, Clara feels she has no choice but to accept.  

Unjustly accused and imprisoned for stealing the Chapmans' money, Benjamin Lane is offered his freedom if he also spends the same 12 days at Bleakly.  As Ben and Clara come face-to-face again at the mysterious country home, they must decide if they can forgive one another for the schemes and misunderstandings that have separated them.  When the master of the house never appears, servants continue to leave, and other house guests continually injure themselves in freak accidents, will Clara and Ben even be able to survive 12 days?  

Michelle Griep takes reader on an intriguing adventure in 12 Days and Bleakly Manor.  Clara and Ben are both well-developed and believable protagonists, and the host of secondary characters in the story are equally entertaining.  I particularly enjoyed Griep's depictions of Christmas traditions and celebrations in the mid-19th Century.  The story's conclusion was equal parts lovely and satisfying, and I enjoyed every single page.  I anxiously await the next installment in the Once Upon an Dickens Christmas series.  

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Loving Luther


Left at a convent by her father as a small child, Katharina von Bora knows little about life outside cloistered walls.  Though she takes her vows and maintains dear friendships, a part of Katharina still chafes under the strict way of life she has chosen.  When the writings of Martin Luther begin finding their way into the convent walls, though, Kat begins to look at her life-- and her faith-- in a much different way.  With the help of Luther and his friends, Katharina a group of fellow nuns escape the convent to embark on a new adventure.  Without a family to support her, Kat must live in the homes of Luther's friends and supporters while the reformer himself tries to find a husband for her.  Will Katharina learn to navigate life outside a religious order?  Will she trade one life of service for another, or dare to risk her heart for a chance at love and a family?  

Allison Pittman tells a compelling story of both love and faith in Loving Luther.  Rather than focusing on Martin and Katharina as a couple, like Luther and Katharina, Pittman simply tells Katharina's story... and what what in intriguing story it is!  From a fascinating look into life inside 16th century convents, to the dangers and details of the Reformation and its leaders, I couldn't put the book down.  As a proud protestant, I've always loved this era or church history, but I also appreciated Pittman's tact in not maligning our Catholic brothers and sisters.  I loved than women of deep, abiding faith existed both inside and outside convent walls.  As with all of Pittman's works, this one was excellently researched, superbly written, rich in historical detail, and full of compelling characters.  

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Monday, August 7, 2017

All That Makes Life Bright



Despite her sister's concerns, Harriet Beecher doesn't question that her married life with Calvin Stowe will be full of happiness, family, independence and literary opportunities.  Just two months into their marriage, though, Harriet finds herself overwhelmed with household responsibilities she detests, pregnant, and having to bid her new husband farewell as he embarks on a long European trip.  Between Calvin's high domestic expectations of Harriet and his tendency to compare her to his first, beloved wife, Harriet begins to wonder is she is capable of being the wife Calvin needs, as well as the woman she needs herself to be.  After months apart, the addition of children to their family, and constant financial struggles, will Harriet and Calvin remember how to cherish one another despite their extreme temperamental differences?

Josi S. Kilpack tells yet another gut-wrenchingly beautiful story based on the life of acclaimed author Harriet Beecher Stowe in All That Makes Life Bright.  Words cannot express how much I adored this book.  Kilpack does a flawless job alternately portraying both Calvin and Harriet in realistic and sympathetic ways.  Neither one is always in the right, and thus the novel perfectly exemplifies the daily struggles of the early years of marriage.  Are Calvin's expectations reasonable, or overbearing?  Both.  Is Harriet a wife and mother, or an author?  Both.  Every stay-at-home mother will shed a tear reading of Harriet's struggles to find an identity outside that of a cook/housekeeper/nanny... as well as the accompanying guilt associated with those feelings.  It's as if Kilpack had read my own diary.  Perfection.  Absolute perfection.

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer Reads Highlight: Tamara Leigh

Well, having spent the summer without a Handsome Hubby to snuggle up with... I've read a truly embarrassing number of romance novels over the past few months!  My favorite authors haven't been able to keep up with my voracious appetite lately, so I've read and re-read some of my all-time favorites.  And since I don't have a new book to review, I thought I'd reveal what my favorite guilty pleasure summer reads have been:

Medieval Romances by Tamara Leigh 


Amazon-- in its infinite wisdom-- had been recommending Leigh's books to me for years.  Here's why it took me so long to read them... 
  • Let's be honest, the covers look like the type of romance novels I'd be embarrassed toread in public.  In fact, when the Hubby sees them in the Kindle Cloud, he chuckles.  
  • I've typically been more of a Regency or Tudor England type of girl.  Manners and social graces and all things Jane Austin have traditionally been my cup of tea.  Medieval stuff?  Not so much.  I've been to Medieval Times... bad food and smelly horses?  Eh, no thanks.  Beowulf and Canterbury Tales? Never my favorites.  
  • I'm pretty sure Amazon recommended Leigh because I've read and reviewed several of Melanie Dickerson's medieval fairy tales, and have found them pretty hit or miss.  Reading them for free to write a review?  Sure.  Paying money for them?  Not always worth it.  The fact that Amazon linked the two authors have me pause.  As much as I love reading, I can easily spend WAY more money than I should on books!  Side note... why aren't any of Leigh's books available to review on NetGalley?!  I'd be all over that.  
  • Amazon also kept telling me I'd like Leigh's time travel series.  Time travel?  Really?  I know many of my friends LOVE Outlander, but I just didn't.  The whole idea just seems so silly.  And I'm a serious historical fiction reader (or so I tell myself...) 
Ok, now that that's out of my system, here's why Amazon was right and why I should have been reading EVERY SINGLE ONE of Leigh's books all along:
  • Yes, the covers are kind of embarrassing.  But I DO love romance novels, so why not let the world know?  But most importantly, the books are not smutty.  There's love and romance and plenty of kissing, but that's really it.  Most even have a religious element or theme running through them.  
  • Even though I still adore the Regency and Tudor periods with all my heart, medieval stuff is cool too.  Leigh does an excellent job weaving historical fact with romantic intrigue and I've learned a lot about the period... which is why I love historical fiction in the first place!  I don't know how many times I've checked this British Royal family tree to get a better idea of how the events she mentions affected British history.  
  • While I do understand why Amazon thinks Melanie Dickerson and Tamara Leigh are similar-- Christian medieval romance writers-- their styles are quite different.  All of my issues with Dickerson's writing (simpering females, awkward dialogue, heavy-handed character development) are not a problem with Leigh.  I thoroughly enjoy her writing.  Her characters are all unique, believable, and intriguing.  Not an annoying, insipid, or wimpy female lead in the bunch.  And, my goodness, this woman has a talent for creating one swoon-worthy male protagonist after another!  
  • I'll admit that even after having read every other book available on Amazon, I still couldn't bring myself to do the whole time travel thing until I got truly desperate.  She handled the whole thing well, and while they probably aren't my favorites... I still devoured them both. 
If I had to pick, I think her Age of Faith series is my favorite.  But I truly love them all.  

In fact, Lady Betrayed comes out on August 4, and I've got it pre-ordered!  I can tell you without a doubt I will spend this entire weekend reading it. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Moana Birthday



 

My baby sister turned 19 last week... what?!  Since the boys and I just happen to be visiting this summer, my Mommy and I decided to go a little bit overboard when Katie mentioned she wanted a Moana themed birthday.  What started as a small, family get-together with some pizzas and cake... turned into quite the celebration!

While we had plenty of fun decorations around the house, here are a few of my favorite additions:

The Heart of Te Fiti cookies turned out fun, and were super easy to make!  Just plain, old sugar cookies, with some green royal icing in a double swirl.  Done.  


The boat cupcakes were another hit.  My favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, blue buttercream, candy dipping sticks, sails cut out of cream-colored cardstock, and a swirly thing made with a red sharpie: easy-peasy.  

Tiki-head fruit kabobs!  I printed the heads on brown cardstock, glued two to the top of each skewer, and added some nice, fresh fruit.  

The biggest hit, however, was the photo-booth!  What's a party without a photo-booth these days?  Boring, that's what.  A giant backdrop and some fun props from Amazon cost about $20, and was worth every penny.  




I think we all had a little too much fun!  

Monday, July 17, 2017

To Wager her Heart


After the tragic death or her fiancé in a train derailment, Alexandra Donelson decides the best way to carry on David's legacy is to teach at Fiske University-- the first freedman's university in the country. When she accepts a position at Fiske and refuses to marry the man her parents have chosen for her, Alexandra finds herself penniless and cut off from her family.  Spending a few days with her friend Mary Harding at Belle Meade Plantation, Alexandra meets and impresses railroad owner Sylas Rutledge.  

Originally from Colorado, Sy has come to Nashville to bid on a rail project at Belle Meade, but soon realizes that he lacks understanding in Southern business practices.  Finding a kindred spirit in Alexandra, Sy asks her to tutor him in order to improve his chances.  Needing the extra money, Alexandra agrees to help, despite Sy's connection to the train accident that killed her fiancé.  When the politics of the post-Civil War South threaten to steal Sy's investors and Alexandra's job, will they have the courage to accept the past, face their fears, and trust God's provision?  

Tamera Alexander brings her Belle Meade Plantation series to a beautiful conclusion in To Wager her Heart.  Though General Harding of Belle Meade does play a role, the novel primarily focuses on the formation of Fiske University and their Jubilee Singers choir.  The heartbreaking challenges the freedmen experience, and the courage they show in the face of adversity is equal parts fascinating and inspiring.  Alexandra's journey to overcome her fears and Sy's to accept his stepfather's death were well-written, believable, and engaging.  Sy's Western charm and altruistic nature made him a one of my favorite of Alexander's romantic leads thus far... especially in his interactions with General Harding (who happens to be one of my least favorite characters).   Overall, this latest installment was a fitting conclusion to a wonderful series.  

I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

On Love's Gentle Shore


When her fiancé books their wedding in her hometown on Prince Edward Island, Natalie O'Ryan finds herself spending the summer surrounded by memories she had never intended to revisit.  Not only facing the questions and gossip of townspeople she ran away from, Natalie also has to work alongside the best friend of her childhood.  A friend she abandoned to start a new life in Nashville. 

Justin Kane still feels betrayed by Natalie's departure, and has never forgotten her or their shared dreams of a music career.  While running a successful dairy after his father's death, and playing with a local band on occasion, Justin thinks of his life as fulfilling and complete.  When Natalie returns and brings their childhood memories crashing back, Justin begins to realize that he never did fully recover from her hasty departure.  Will either one of them be able to address the wounds of their pasts and move on?  Are their lives so different after 15 years that they can even be friends?  

Liz Johnson tells a beautifully sweet love story in On Love's Gentle Shore.  I adored exploring Natalie's past, and how her perceptions of it had shaped her choices.  Brooding but kind, Justin was an equally compelling and entertaining romantic lead.  The rumors and gossip swirling around the small-town setting in addition to the excellently written lead characters made for a novel I could barely put down.  While I loved getting to see a bit more of Caden from Where Two Hearts Meet, I hated that Adam wasn't around much!  I enjoyed this installment every bit as much as its predecessor, and can't wait for more! 

I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Secret of the India Orchid



Anthony Blake has finally decided to openly court the lovely Sophia Elliot and put his life as a spy for the British crown behind him.  When a document goes missing that puts all British spies and their families in danger, though, Anthony decides he must once again don his unreliable and flirtatious playboy facade and find the critical document.  He breaks ties with Sophia, but fully intends to undo the damage his lies have caused the very minute he finishes his last mission. 

As years go by without word from Anthony, Sophia decides to take a trip to the very edge of the British Empire and spend time healing in India.  Still heartbroken and confused, Sophia's plans to forget her former suitor come crashing down when she discovers that Anthony is also in India.  The pair soon find themselves amidst a swirling mystery that involves leading figures in both England and India.  To ultimately save her, will Anthony finally tell Sophia the truth and allow her to help him recover the missing document?  After so many lies and disappointments will Sophia ever learn to trust again?  Or will the dangers of Anthony's former life catch up to them both?  

Nancy Campbell Allen gives readers a fascinating glimpse into British Imperial India in The Secret of the India Orchid.  While I'm growing a bit tired of the "British spy has to break up with his love in order to save her and the country" plot line, the exotic setting and compelling mystery made up for the slightly unbelievable context.  I also appreciated that Anthony didn't keep Sophia in the dark for the entirety of the novel, but shows her the courtesy and respect to eventually treat her as an equal.  Both characters, as well as the many secondary characters, are well-developed and entertaining.  I thoroughly enjoyed the love story, as well as a look into a country and time-period I've not often explored.  I look forward to more from Allen in the future.  

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Egypt's Sister



Daughter of the royal tutor, Chava, has grown up alongside Egyptian princess Urbi in the royal palace at Alexandria.  When Urbi unexpectedly becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava holds to a promise given by God that, "Your friendship with the queen lies in My hands.  You will be with her on her happiest day and her last.  An you, daughter of Israel, will know yourself, and you will bless her."  Despite their promise to be friends and sisters forever, however, Cleopatra imprisons Chava after an argument.  Sold into slavery and shipped to Rome, Chava begins a years-long journey back to her beloved home, that will eventually bring her face-to-face with the queen and friend who betrayed her so viciously.

From the palaces of Alexandria to the Roman countryside and the very halls of Roman power, Angela Hunt takes readers on a powerful and compelling journey in Egypt's Sister.  Impeccably researched and full of wonderful historical detail, Hunt's latest Biblical-era novel is nothing less than fascinating.  She expertly has readers explore the the competing worlds of Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, and Roman thought.  The story itself is fast-paced, and makes the books almost impossible to put down.  For such a lovely story of identity in God, faithfulness, and forgiveness, though, there was just so little joy to be had.  After finishing the novel, I felt like I had journeyed and learned alongside Chava, but that neither of us had truly reached a happy ending.  The hopeless romantic and occasional optimist in me simply wasn't satisfied by the ending and needed just one more-- perhaps cliche-- chapter to bring the story to its conclusion.


 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Freedom's Price


In order to avoid an unwanted marriage after the death of both her parents, Catherine Hays leaves her home in England and crosses the Atlantic in an attempt to find her mother's estranged family in Louisiana.  On her journey west, she catches the eye of wrecker Tom Worthington in Key West.  Enchanted by Catherine, Tom leaves his own home to accompany Catherine on the remaining leg of her journey.  When they arrive at the plantation outside of New Orleans, though, it no longer resembles the paradise Catherine's mother had always described. And as they learn more about the man now controlling the plantation, it becomes clear that Catherine and Tom's lives are more intertwined than either could have imagined.  Will they each stubbornly hold to the dreams of their youth, or will they be able to make a new life together?

Christie Johnson tells an intriguing story of life along the Gulf Coast in the 1850s in Freedom's Price.    While I enjoyed Tom as a character, I just couldn't bring myself to like or understand Catherine.  Whereas Johnson, I assume, wanted readers to see a strong and independent heroine, I found myself annoyed with her.  Time after time Catherine makes truly idiotic decisions for absolutely no good reason.  From leaving England in the first place to adamantly staying in a dangerous situation, Catherine's choices make her seem spoiled, selfish, and plain stupid, and made me long for Tom to just leave her to her own devices and head back to Florida.  She would have deserved it.  It took me a while to get into the story, but once Tom and Catherine reach Louisiana (which should have happened several chapters before it did), the story picks up quite a bit.  Other than Tom's poor choice in a love interest, the plot itself was interesting full of lovely surprises.

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.  


Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Matter of Trust


Renowned backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left fame behind after being sued for negligence in the death of one of his fans.  He finds satisfaction in his new life as a member of the PEAK Rescue team near Glacier National Park, but still has moments when he resents the life he lost, and those who stole it from him.  

State senator and lawyer Ella Blair-- former friend and admirer of Gage's-- deeply regrets the role she played in prosecuting the civil suit against him... especially when she learns a damaging truth about the case.  When her younger brother goes missing on one of the park's most dangerous areas, Ella knows Gage is the only one capable of bringing him home.  As Ella and Gage battle snowstorms and injuries, will they also have the courage to tackle their own feelings and regrets and make it back down the mountain safely?  

Susan May Warren doesn't disappoint in her third installment of her Montana Rescue series, A Matter of Trust.  I might go so far as to say it's my personal favorite thus far!  Warren developed Ella and Gage's characters in such subtle a way that the reader fully understands their individual choices, without the need to knock the reader over the head with a bunch of back-stories.  Minus the one mention of Gage sporting a "man bun" (ewww), he was a worthy and believable romantic lead.  I found Ella's personal journey of finding forgiveness and self-worth particularly poignant.  While Ella and Gage's story itself stands alone, Warren's weaving of series-long plot lines throughout this newest addition would make it confusing for readers not familiar with the previous novels.  

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Name Unknown



Having grown up as an orphan on the streets of London, Rosemary Gresham and her "family" of fellow orphans have become some of the best thieves in England.  When the mysterious Mr. V offers her more money than she has ever had to investigate the loyalties of a reclusive gentleman of German descent, she embarks on an adventure that will change her life and the way she views the world around her.

Due to his stuttering speech and German heritage, Peter Holstein spends most of his days writing adventure novels under a pen name, rather than interacting with his neighbors.  With Europe seemingly hurtling toward war, Holstein must find a way to prove to his neighbors, his friends, and his country that he is a trustworthy and loyal Englishman.

When Rosemary appears at Peter's door claiming to be a librarian willing to organize his mess of a library, he quickly agrees.  Peter soon finds himself drawn to his new employee, despite her tendency to disrupt his quiet life, and the small untruths he frequently catches her telling.  As she learns more and more about Peter, Rosemary similarly catches herself beginning to enjoy Peter's company, even though her family's future security depends on proving that he isn't a loyal British citizen.  When they each discover the truth about each other, will their newly formed friendship have the opportunity to turn into something more?

Roseanna M. White takes readers back to the intriguing world of Edwardian England in A Name Unknown.  After finishing White's "Ladies of the Manor" series last year, I've been anxiously awaiting a new series, and was far from disappointed.  Delving into the politics of pre-WWI was fascinating, wading through London's underbelly was thrilling, and exploring the county of Cornwall was truly lovely.  White's addition of a bit of mystery amid the engaging love story and historical detail was also masterfully done.  I absolutely loved Rosemary and her colorful family, as well as Peter and his accompanying cast of Cornish characters.  I couldn't put this one down, and look forward to more installments in this new series!

I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Heart on the Line



Grace Mallory finally feels safe in Harper's Station surrounded by supported friends, working at a job she loves, and getting to know a mysterious and engaging fellow telegraph operator every evening.  When she gets a message from a friend warning that the man who has hunted Grace for the last year has discovered her location, Grace must choose whether to trust her new friends and face the man responsible for her father's death, or continue to run.

Quiet, yet charming Amos Bledsoe knows he isn't the rugged and dashing hero most women look for in West Texas.  But as he talks nightly to his delightful telegraph companion-- Miss G.-- he begins to wonder if he has finally found a woman that will appreciate and love him for who he is.  When he finally builds up the courage to meet her in person, though, he discovers that his potential love interest may be in mortal danger.

Will Amos have the courage to leave his quiet and comfortable life to save Grace?  Will Grace be able to trust him even if he does?

In Heart on the Line Karen Whitemeyer takes readers back to Harper's Station for another entertaining story full of adventure, mystery, and love.  I adored the fact that Amos wasn't the typical gun-wielding, horse-riding, tough-guy hero of typical Western romances.  Small, shy, and introverted Grace was equally refreshing.  In addition to creating interesting characters, Whitemeyer manages to simultaneously tell a beautiful love story and intriguing mystery, while also teaching reminding readers to look beyond outward appearances.  I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment, and can't wait to return to Harper's Station.

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Weddings, Weddings, and more Weddings

I'm a bit behind on book reviews... but I'm guessing it's due to the fact that we've driven to Houston the last two weekends in a row for some family weddings.

My lovely sister-in-law got married first.  Since I was in this one, I didn't get to take too many pictures, but I got to take their engagement portraits a few months ago...




My father-in-law got married this past weekend, and I took plenty of official pictures!