Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble - my review

Those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Colleen Coble. It because of Ms. Coble that I started reading again. When I was given the opportunity to read her newest book, Rosemary Cottage, I jumped at the chance.  Rosemary Cottage is the second book in Ms. Coble's Hope Beach series. The first book was Tidewater Inn and you can read my review here.

The one thing that I most appreciate about Colleen Coble's books is that her characters come to life on the written page.  I have yet to encounter any of her characters that seem one dimensional.  From the moment I began reading Rosemary Cottage I knew I would love the two main characters, Amy and Curtis.

The story begins with the death of Curtis Ireland's sister Gina. She left her brother Curtis Ireland custody of her baby girl Raine and along with his aunt they accepted the challenge of raising a one year old.  Curtis, who is a member of the Coast Guard, is told his sister was killed in a tragic boating accident that happened before his eyes, but does he believe it? Amy Lange is a mid-wife who has just learned that her brother Ben has died in a surfing accident either by drowning or a shark attacked him. She idolized her brother and returns to Hope Beach to grieve. Hope Beach is where they use to spend vacations together at their family home, Rosemary Cottage. Before she arrives in Hope Beach she receives a cryptic message leading her to believe Ben wasn't killed by accident and that foul play may have had a hand in it.

Will Curtis find out what really happened to his sister Gina? Will Amy learn the truth about her brother? Were their deaths somehow related? These are questions masterfully revealed throughout the pages of this wonderful novel. Just when you think you know the answer something else happens to make you rethink everything.  I love the way Ms. Coble takes you along as she unveils her stories to the reader.  It's masterful!

I would highly recommend Rosemary Cottage to anyone who enjoys a good, clean, romantic suspense that has been crafted by a master storyteller.

On a 5-Star scale - with out a doubt, 5 BIG STARS!!!!!

I would like to thank Litfuse Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy of Rosemary Cottage.  I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Bride For All Seasons by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy & Robin Lee Hatcher -my review

I truly love reading anthologies, yet I always find, in the end, I want more. I want more story. I want more of the characters. I want more from the authors. This is not a bad thing by any means. In reading A Bride for All Seasons, an anthology written by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy & Robin Lee Hatcher I discovered a new author to me, Debra Clopton. I also remember why I love all these authors and it makes me want to go out and pick up their newest novel.

A Bride for All Seasons is made up of four stories.  The first is And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley. This is the story of Mary-Jo Parker, a Mail-Order Bride who has come to Colton, Kansas in 1870 to marry one Mr. Daniel Garrett. One, very dead, Mr. Daniel Garrett. Will Mary-Jo stay in Colton and find someone else to wed or will she return from wince she came? What about the young boy that has been left fatherless when Mr. Daniel Garrett passed on? 

I found Ms. Brownley's story quite enchanting. I was immediately drawn into her story and fell in love with her characters.  

The second story was Debra Clopton's, An Ever After Summer. This was the story of Melvina Eldora Smith (Ellie for short) and Mathew McConnell. It takes place in Honey Springs, Texas in 1870. Ellie is escaping her past with hopes of a new future with Mathew and her beloved Lord and Savior Jesus. What she doesn't know is Mathew requested that his bride not be a Bible thumper. Can Ellie change his mind?

This was my first experience in reading Ms. Clopton's work and it won't be my last. She too drew me into the story quickly and made me care deeply for her characters.

The third story was Robin Lee Hatcher's, Autumn's Angel. This was the story of Luvena Abbott and Clay Birch and takes place in the Idaho Territory in 1870.  Luvena's parents have died as has her sister and brother-in-law, leaving her to raise her two nieces and one nephew. She knows the only way she can manage is by becoming a mail-order bride. What she doesn't know is that her letter has been altered and she doesn't realize that Clay Birch doesn't want to raise someone else's children. Clay also didn't receive the part of Luvena's letter telling him of her young charges. What happened to their letters? Will Clay come to care for the children as his own?

This is the second time I have read something by Ms. Hatcher. I truly enjoy her work and always look forward to reading more. She too created lovable characters.

The last story was Mary Connealy's Winter Wedding Bells and it is set in Wyoming in 1870. It is the story of Megan McBride and David Laramie. David is the father of two small boys, ages 4 and 5, and he believes he is about to die. He wants a bride so when he dies his sons will have a mother to care for them. David was diagnosed with pneumonia and told he has a failing heart. Megan won't hear of such a thing and begins to nurse him back to health just as she nursed her own brothers when they had pneumonia. I must admit I chuckled a few times in this story. Okay, I laughed out loud. After all, the author is Mary Connealy and she is quite good at placing a touch of humor in all the right places. 

Ms. Connealy captured me with the very first page and drew me into the story as she always does. Her characters are crisp and believable.

While none of the stories are connected to each other by character or setting, they are connected by The Hitching Post, a mail order catalog, and Mr. Melvin Hitchcock, the owner and editor. Mr. Hitchcock, has a knack for 'knowing' just what each person is truly looking for in a bride or groom and he sees to it that each letter is 'tweaked' just a little.

More about A Bride For All Seasons:
It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue . . .

Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn't dishonest---not exactly. If he tweaks his clients' applications a bit, it's because he's looking out for their best interests.
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they'll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she'd travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!
An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she's not what Matthew ordered. And what's wrong with being a "Bible thumper" anyway? She's determined to show him she's tougher than she looks---and just the girl he needs.
Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there's no money to send them back. . .
Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David's convinced he's not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he's gone---nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?
Purchase a copy:

Meet the Authors:

Margaret Brownley is a NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author and has penned more than twenty-five historical and contemporary novels. @margaretbrownley 
Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christy and RITA award-winning author. Her books often appear on bestseller lists. @robinleehatcher 
Mary Connealy is a Carol Award winner, an a RITA, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. @MaryConnealy 
Debra Clopton is an award winning author of sweet, heartfelt, western romance that face life with a smile. With over 2 million books in print, Debra has her first book coming as a movie starring LeAnn Rimes. @debraclopton

I would highly recommend A Bride for All Seasons to anyone wanting a good clean historical romance to read.  I thoroughly enjoyed all four stories. Did I have a favorite? Yes, but that's my secret.

On a 5-Star Scale = 5 stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson for my review copy.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Jewel of the Pacific by Linda Lee Chaikin - my review

I love discovering new authors, especially when their voice is so refreshing.  Such was the case when I selected Jewel of the Pacific by Linda Lee Chaikin to read and review.  This book is the third and I believe the last book in The Dawn of Hawaii Series.  Unfortunately, I have yet to read the first two books in the series, The Spoils of Eden and Hawaiian Crossroads, but you don't need to read them first as Jewel of the Pacific can be read as a stand alone book.

This book is a historical thriller set in the beautiful islands of Hawaii.  From the opening page to the very last page, Ms. Chaikin pulls you in and holds you spellbound with her well crafted story and well developed characters. I enjoyed her usage of Hawaiian words and the dialect throughout the book. It was quite refreshing.

Jewel of the Pacific is the story of Rafe Easton and Eden Derrington during a period in Hawaii's history that ended in Hawaii becoming a United States territory.  The story is rich in history and the reader can learn a lot about these beautiful islands through Rafe and Eden's story. Broken hearts and healing, faith and forgiveness are all packed withing the pages of this beautiful love story.

I would highly recommend Jewel of the Pacific to anyone who loves historical fiction.

On a 5-Star scale = 4 Stars!!!!

I would like to thank Moody Publishers for my review copy of Jewel of the Pacific.  I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, July 1, 2013

Small Town Girl by Ann H. Gabhart - my review

Sometimes you come across a book that reads as pure poetry. Such was my experience in reading Ann H. Gabhart's newest novel, Small Town Girl. While this book can be read as a stand-a-lone it is my understanding that the first book set in Rosey Corner is Angel Sister and is the first novel Ms. Gabhart set in the small town of Rosey Corner. Needless to say, I missed that one, but will definitely plan on securing a copy to read before long.

Small Town Girl is Kate Merritt and Jay Tanner's story.  It is set in 1941 during WWII.  The story begins when Kate's sister Evie marries the town's pastor, Mike Champion. It is a sad day for Kate as she has loved Mike since the age of 15. Little does she know that her loss at the altar was also her gain.  Mike's best friend is his longtime friend Jay Tanner who is smitten from the moment he sets his eyes on Kate.

As Kate and Jay's relationship begins to show signs of blossoming, Kate's new brother-in-law begins to try to discourage everyone in letting Kate get near Jay.  The reason? Jay has a history of being a womanizer and never stays too long in any one place.  Mike doesn't want Kate to get hurt. But Jay feels different this time.  Will his feeling win or will he once again become a rolling stone moving on to the next town?

Small Town Girl is a strong story of love, family, friends and forgiveness.  The fact that Mike is a pastor and likes to 'preach' at Jay is done in such a way that even the non-Christian would be blessed. Ms. Gabhart's characters have been richly painted on the page and brought to life so incredibly well.

As I mentioned earlier, Ms. Gabhart's words read like pure poetry.  My first encounter of this wonderful tone was found on page 34.  Here is a short excerpt where Kate and Jay are talking with each other.

          His laugh was infectious and Kate couldn't keep from smiling back at him.  "Everybody needs a dream.     But dreams don't always come true."
          "I can't argue with that." His smile faded as he studied her. "Then again, sometimes if a man finds the rhythm that speaks to his heart and if he can dance the right steps, if he can find a way to pull hope out of thin air and not let doubt steal his dream or cause him to whittle it down too small, maybe he can grab hold of that dream and hang on for dear life. That kind of dream can make the sunrise brighter every morning."

I enjoyed reading Small Town Girl and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a good clean read.  Ms. Gabhart has won me over as a devoted fan of her work and as mentioned before, I will be getting a copy of Angel Sister as soon as I can.

On a 5-Star Scale - 5 wonderful stars!

I would like to thank Revell, a division of Baker Publishing for my review copy of Small Town Girl. I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

"Avaialble July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

Smiles & Blessings,