Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Sarah Ladd's The Headmistress of Rosemere ~ Reviewed

THE HEADMISTRESS OF ROSEMERE
By Sarah E. Ladd
2013
Thomas Nelson
978-1401688363

BACK COVER COPY:

Patience Creighton has devoted her life to running her father’s boarding school. But when the enigmatic master of the estate appears at her door, battered and unconscious, the young headmistress suddenly finds her livelihood—and her heart —in the hands of one dangerously handsome gentleman.

At twenty-five, Patience Creighton is already a spinster. The busy headmistress of Rosemere always expected a dashing man to sweep her off her feet and take her away . . . but that man never came. And since her father’s death, keeping the school running and her mother happy has been plenty to keep her occupied.

William Sterling dallied his way into financial trouble and mortal danger. When he is assaulted by his creditors’ henchmen on the road home from a tavern, he guides his horse to the doorstep of his tenant, the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. After being tended to by Patience, the wounded William rides off into the dawn—but makes a point to learn more about the lovely headmistress.

As he spends more time at Rosemere, something delicate begins to develop between William and Patience. But that will not deter William’s creditors. With little money to repay his debts, and less for the upkeep of his estate, it becomes clear that sacrificing Rosemere may be the only way to preserve his legacy. But it may also cost him his happiness.
REVIEW:

The Headmistress of Rosemere is a compelling Regency that was a good combination of intrigue and romance. I didn't read the first book in this series, so I'm a little behind on some of the characters' backstories, but that being said, as a stand-alone, I didn't have any trouble getting into the story -- except that I listened to this as an audiobook and some of the narration for the men (as read by a woman) was a little hokey.

Back to the book . . . the characters are believable. You'll fall in love with little Emma, cheer for the underdog heroine, Patience, and alternately want to smack upside the head and/or throw your arms around William, the hero. Well-written and an engaging read, so much so that I'm planning on buying a paperback copy so I can read it with my eyeballs instead of my ears.

And yes, I will pick up the sequel as well, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall, when it comes out this fall.

Review by: Michelle Griep

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Robin Carroll's Hidden in the Stars ~ Reviewed



Hidden in the Stars: Quilts of Love Series [Paperback]
By Robin Caroll (Author)
Pages 240
Binding Softcover
Release Date Jul 1, 2014
Publisher Abingdon Press
Series Quilts Of Love
ISBN 1426773609





Description
Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia s mother s special quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer still at large silence her forever?

Review:

Hidden in the Stars introduces us to Sophia Montgomery.  She is an aspiring gymnast who has just been chosen to be part of the US Olympic team.  While visiting her mother before practice starts, their home is invaded.  Sophia’s mother, Nina, is killed, and Sophia sustains major injuries, some of which will keep her from ever being able to do gymnastics again.  Her case is assigned to Julian Frazier, who is determined to find the suspects.  Communication is difficult, as Sophia can’t write due to hand injuries, and can’t speak due to injury to her vocal chords.  However, despite her injuries, and despite the fact that she is a victim and he is a detective, their attraction to each other begins to grow.  However, Julian doesn’t let this hinder him from solving the case.  If nothing else, it pushes him to solve it quicker.  When news of Sophia’s injuries hits the media, everyone is on high alert, as they have figured out that the suspects intended for Sophia to die.
                
I read this book pretty quick, and had a hard time putting it down.  I was in suspense the whole time, but enjoyed it.  I really felt for Sophia’s character, and admired her strength and faith in the Lord.  It was interesting to see all of the clues come together so that the case could finally be solved. 

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Sunday, August 24, 2014

C F Dunn's Death Be Not Proud ~ Reviewed



Death Be Not Proud (The Secret of the Journal) [Kindle Edition]     C F Dunn (Author)
Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Lion Fiction (April 19, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00CGZONUU
Description:

Following the vicious attack by a psychotic colleague, and reeling from the discovery that Matthew Lynes is not all that he seems, Professor Emma D’Eresby flees the university college in Maine to her home town in England. Broken physically and emotionally, Emma drifts until, fearing for their daughter’s sanity, her parents invite a family friend to assess her. In the course of their conversation, Emma discovers that he spoke to Matthew over thirty years before, and she concludes that Matthew must be hiding a profound secret. Spurred into action, she traces Matthew’s family name back, making a startling discovery – that Matthew was betrayed during the English Civil War where a clash with his uncle left him fighting for his life. But instead of dying he not only lived, but persisted, growing steadily in strength and surviving events that would have killed any other man. But Matthew also has the memories, and baggage, that come with his longevity.

Review:

Death Be Not Proud is an intriguing read on many different levels. Even without the benefit of reading what happened before in the first book in the series I was sucked into the storyline. Dunn's writing is smooth and tight. The plot is a twist on the usual supernatural scenarios out there and far more interesting because of the unknown. Dunn tosses in some interesting history and the British undertones add a great element to the novel as well. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I read Death Be Not Proud in order, though. 

This book won't float every reader's boat, of course. The subject matter could be offensive so I suggest reading several reviews before popping it in your cart. I definitely would like to finish the series out. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tara Randel's Rival Hearts ~ Reviewed


Rival Hearts (Quilts Of Love) [Paperback]
By Tara Randel (Author)
Release Date Apr 1, 2014
Publisher Abingdon Press
Series Quilts Of Love
ISBN 1426773463


Description
Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of "Quilter s Heart," and Ben, editor of "Outdoor Adventures," must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests.

Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?"

Review:

Rival Hearts is about Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver.  They both work as magazine editors for the same publishing group, Molly being editor for a magazine called Quilter’s Heart and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures. When they both come of up for the same promotion, they are surprised at the proposition their boss comes up with for choosing the “winner:” they are to switch roles for one month and submit an article when they are finished.  Ben must take up quilting, and Molly has to take up kayaking.  While they are both annoyed with each other at first, not surprisingly, they begin to feel an attraction for each other, and even begin to help each other out.  
                
This was a fun book.  I liked the idea the boss had of having them switch roles and taking them out of their comfort zone, though I would hate being in either of their shoes.  But it’s fun to see other characters go through it! Molly’s character development was a lot of fun to watch.  She reminds me a lot of me.  Once you get in your comfort zone, it’s nice to just stay there.  And being forced out of it is VERY uncomfortable.  But she was an encouragement to me.  This was a fun book!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Travis Thrasher's Marvelous ~ Reviewed


Marvelous: A Novel [Paperback]
By Travis Thrasher (Author)
Pages 331
Binding Softcover
Release Date Apr 1, 2014
Publisher Tyndale House Publishers
Series Books Of Marvella
Series Number 1
ISBN 1612916236


Description

Brandon Jeffery's summer started out with a bang--as in, a friend crashed his car and now he has to work two jobs to pay it off. It's at Fascination Street Records that he's introduced to a beautiful but quiet girl named Marvel. She's new to Hidden Cove and looking for a summer job, so Brandon secretly strikes a deal with their boss to work for free so she can be hired.When a classmate is found murdered, however, their summer takes a turn for the mysterious. Brandon's friend Devon is sure he knows just who's to blame: the creepy recluse of the town quarry. But the police have few leads, and Brandon has the sneaking suspicion he's being watched.That's not what's in the forefront of on his mind, though. More than trying to pay off his car to his unemployed, alcoholic father and protecting Seth Belcher from the school bullies, he's determined to date Marvel. He doesn't understand why they seem so close and she refuses to date him, but as the mystery behind her tragic past begins to unravel, Marvel finally confesses her reason: God has revealed she's destined to die saving others--and it's going to be soon.

Review: 


I meant to give this book to Travis Thrasher's Number One Fan, Michelle Griep, when she recently came for a visit. 

But, instead, I cracked the cover. And then I couldn't stop reading the book. Sorry Michelle, catch ya later. 

Thrasher creates complex, living breathing characters and puts them in some pretty sticky situations. Brandon, the summer before his senior year, is working two jobs to repair/replace the car his friend borrowed and crashed. Marvella is a new, funky girl in town.

The two of them meet at the quirky record store where both need a job. Brandon had already snagged it, but inspired by instant attraction for Marvella, he interviews her and offers her the job. Brandon then has two jobs but only gets paid for one. But he receives another form of payment, time with Marvel and her friendship. And if the story was just that it'd be sweet and adorable, the end.

But that's not the story line. 

Marvel is loaded with dark and twisty secrets that will rock Brandon's world as she shares them as their friendship grows. Brandon has a shameful secret of his own. And unsettling things are happening all around them.  A former classmate is found in the river and it's not an accidental drowning, is there a serial killer living in their small town? Then Brandon ends up on half the football team's whuppin list when he stands up to a gang of bullies. Marvel finally reveals a piece of the puzzle to Brandon, that she is destined to save people and that destiny is galloping toward them. 

Whew. This is a page turner. It could be too intense for younger teens because of the subject matter. However, those who love nitty gritty fiction should adore this one. The writing is tight enough to bounce a quarter off and Thrasher has come up with a page turner. I was so disappointed when Marvelous ended because I now have to wait for the other shoe to drop. Or shoes, there are four books in the series. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jennifer Hudson Taylor's For Love or Country ~ Reviewed


For Love Or Country (MacGregor Legacy V2)
By Jennifer Hudson Taylor (Author)
Binding Softcover
Release Date Jun 1, 2014
Publisher Abingdon Press
Series MacGregor Legacy
Series Number 2
ISBN 1426733852




DescriptionAt the height of the Revolutionary War, Tyra MacGregor is successful at thwarting the British Army with her colonial spy efforts. But her sleuthing ways come to a screeching halt when Captain Donahue Hugh Morgan puts her under house arrest.

Hugh is intrigued by this courageous spy the natives call War Woman. She s more daring than most men and is intelligent in defending her convictions. Even more impressive to Hugh is the strength of Tyra s unshakeable faith in God.

When Tyra saves his life during an attack, Hugh vows to return the favor. Before he can intervene, however, she is caught by his superior officer and imprisoned. Soon Hugh s honor, faith, country, and love are all on the line. Can he risk it all to gain everything?

Review: 

For Love Our Country takes place at the height of the Revolutionary War.  Tyra MacGregor’s Father and brothers are colonists, fighting for their freedom.  While they are away, she is secretly working as a spy for the colonists, hoping to thwart the British Army.  In the meantime, her Native American friends and protectors capture and would a British soldier, Captain Hugh Morgan, who is trespassing on MacGregor land, and bring him to her home.  The family does their Christian duty in tending him.  In the meantime, he gets assigned to their home to keep watch over them. Not surprisingly, the two develop an attraction for each other. However, as the war intensifies, and the British become more suspicious of Tyra, both Hugh and Tyra must choose between their love for their country and their growing love for each other.
                
This was a great book!  I don’t believe I’ve read many books that take place during the Revolutionary War and I really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed Tyra’s character a lot.  She was strong and willing to do physically whatever it took to protect herself and her family, yet she put her trust in the Lord as well.  I would highly recommend this book!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Anne Clinard Barnhill's Queen Elizabeth's Daughter ~ Reviewed

ISBN: 0312662122

BACK COVER:

From the author of At the Mercy of the Queen comes the gripping tale of Mary Shelton, Elizabeth I’s young cousin and ward, set against the glittering backdrop of the Elizabethan court.

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

MY REVIEW:

This is a fantastic read as a history lesson. And yes, the title is super intriguing because Elizabeth never had a daughter...so you'll have to delve into this to figure out why they credit her with one.

The story, however, is pretty predictable. Sometimes that's a death knell, as in my case, but many readers don't mind it, and in fact, like to know where the tale is headed. Such is the case in this novel.

One big heads up...the bedroom door is left open several times. If you don't like premarital sex in a book, then you probably don't want to pick this one up.

Other than those two bugaboos, I loved the fancy dresses and castle life.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep