Sunday, November 24, 2013

Starflower By June Caedmon Book Giveaway!

/ / Starflower Giveaway / /

 
Title: Starflower, A Novel
Author: June Caedmon
Source: Author
Number Of Pages: 312
ISBN:
1490577181
Publisher: Wendyhill Media
Publication Date: July 2013
Author's Website: www.junecaedmon.comAuthor's Blog: www.inspiredbyjune.com
/ / Book   Synopsis / /The dark waters that swallowed Sarah Climer’s parents remain silent. Hiding not only clues to their murder, but also the secret they died to protect. A secret the murderer believes Sarah now knows. A secret he’ll do anything to control. Daniel Broadfoot knows well the evils that lurk among his people. Evils that threaten to destroy Sarah and her grandfather. He doesn’t need Sarah’s trust to do his job. But he’ll need it to win her heart. As the murderer’s bizarre plan unfolds, both Daniel and Sarah come face to face with a demon from their past. Will their faith stand against the evil that drives one man’s quest for power? Or will Sarah’s love for Daniel and his people be enough to save them all?

Link for first chapter excerpt:
http://junecaedmon.com/Starflower-Excerpt.html

/ / About the Author / /
“This instinct for love, so firmly implanted in the human heart, is the supreme way by which we learn to desire and love God himself above all else.”
 
So writes Hannah Hurnard in the preface to her allegory, Hinds’ Feet on High Places. Hurnard’s sentiment expresses most profoundly, why I write romantic fiction. Through these stories, I seek, first and foremost, to glorify God. I trust that the stories will also engage and entertain my readers. If a single person is brought closer to God through their reading experience, I will count myself blessed indeed.
 
 
The author began writing under the pen name June Caedmon in July of 2002. Since then she has completed seven novels, four of which have been published. She is an avid reader and enjoys the research that her writing style demands. She has little with which to commend herself and relies solely on God for her inspiration, wisdom and guidance. The author lives with her family in the Hill Country of Texas.
 
 
/ / Giveaway Information / /
 
Entering this giveaway is easy-peasy. Simply click on the rafflecopter widget below and complete whatever actions you choose to earn entries to win a free copy of this wonderful novel by June Caedmon! Here at TLM we have worked with June in the past, so check out the reviews that Madi wrote on her other books Heart's Desire and Gladness For Mourning! If you win we will email you to get your mailing address and the author will mail your prize as soon as possible. Happy entering!
 
~The Literary Maidens
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Snow On The Tulips By Liz Tolsma Book Review

/ / Snow On The Tulips / /

 

{Review By Madi}
Book Title: Snow On The Tulips
Author: Liz Tolsma
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
Number Of Pages: 326
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8910-0
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Year Of Publication: 2013
Madi's Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
 
/ / Book Description / /
In a time of unprecedented darkness and fear, Cornelia must decide if saving a stranger’s life is worth risking her own.

In the twilight of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, the Germans have taken everything Cornelia had to give, even what was most precious to her. Now Gerrit Laninga—a man who puts God and country above all else—arrives at her house, needing help. She is terrified for herself and terrified for her family, but most of all, terrified of the pain she might feel again if she allows herself to love Gerrit. Her hope is to be free from her paralyzing fear.

Gerrit is a known and hunted Dutch Resistance member. When he comes to Cornelia’s home for shelter, he’s drawn to her strength and kindness. When he asks her to contact the local Resistance on his behalf, she refuses. Gerrit is determined to find a way to continue his underground work without putting Cornelia or her family in harm’s way.

When things start to unravel and Gerrit’s life depends on her actions, she must summon her courage and learn to depend on the perfect love that drives out all fear. But will her new love be snatched away before it has a chance to bloom?
 
/ / Favorite Quote From "Snow On The Tulips" / /
 
"Courage is not a feeling. Courage is an action."
 
/ / Madi's Book Review / /
 Gerrit Laninga is involved in some underground work during the war lead by Adolph Hitler, and when he gets caught, he is sentenced to death by firing squad. Gerrit watches as his comrades fall, and then feels the bullet hit his own shoulder and blacks out. When he comes to, he crawls to a nearby home and begs for help, but after patching up his shoulder to the best of their ability, they throw him out in the cold. Gerrit gets taken in by Johan, brother of Cornelia, who holds the key to his life or death. Hiding a wanted man could cost both her and her brother their lives, but they all must pool together their courage and fight for the cause of freedom.
 
Cornelia is a young widow that is still grieving the loss of her soldier husband that died four years ago. Her heart is fragile, her mindset is strong, and her decisions final. When she is forced to take in a man that was shot in the shoulder (she couldn't very well let him fend for himself), she has no idea what she is getting herself into. Just having him under her roof is a risk, but then she somehow gets involved in his underground work, and things quickly go from dangerous, to deadly.
 
Can these two learn to fight together instead of against each other? Will romance bloom amongst tragedy?
 
~
 
I LOVED this book! I requested it at the recommendation of a friend, she said that it was one of the best books that she had read this year, and that I just HAD to get it. So I did, and boy am I glad to have friends with good taste in literature. The combination of factual historical events and a modern writing style was just superb! I loved how the close knit family that stars in the book stick together and protect each other no matter the cost. I haven't had a lot of reading time lately, so it took me a while to finish this novel, but it was definitely not because there was a lack of action! Something new was happening at the turn of every page, leaving me in anticipation of what comes next. I would get so into this story that if anyone spoke to me while I was reading it I would jump. Reading this book let me experience real life situations that people went through during the Nazi invasion, and I was dead to the world within seconds of opening my copy. I can't recommend this book enough!
 
 
 
~Madi For The Literary Maidens
 
 
Note: I was provided with a free copy of Snow On The Tulips by the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion. This has in no way changed my thoughts on the novel and I was not further compensated.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley By Katherine Reay Book Review

17657649// Dear Mr. Knightley //

By Katherine Reay

{Review By Bethany}

Title: Dear Mr. Knightley
Author: Katherine Reay
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group Review Copy
from the Publisher
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 140168968X
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
// Book Synopsis //
 
"Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

 After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters."


// Bethany's Book Review //

Dear Mr. Knightley is a unique debut novel, filled with heart and literary delight, making it a novel I'm glad not to have missed out on! When I first heard about this novel, I found it utterly fascinating to discover that someone finally wrote a book about a girl who is in love with books; as I can totally relate to such a character, being a totally book nut myself. :) To be able to read a well-developed story and have bits and pieces of favorite classics throughout, it was just the icing on the cake; and I would eagerly read more from this new author.

At first when I realized that this is a novel written completely in letter form, I was hesitant about feeling as if I'd really get to know the character. In my mind letters are always sweet and to the point, a majority of them not being long enough to really give details needed in such a lengthy novel. So I naturally feared that there wouldn't be enough time in the letters to get personal or feel as if I knew the character. But I was totally wrong, as this book displays excellently the details of main character Samantha's life, as well as give detailed insight to her inmost thoughts and deepest fears, creating a friend to be treasured.

One of the things I liked about this book, aside from the uniqueness of a modern girl writing to an anonymous gentleman under the name of "Mr. George Knightley"; was how well developed Sam is throughout the story. Early on we realize that Sam had a tough childhood and was basically "orphaned" long before her parent's actually died due to drug overdose and the like, which filled their lives for as far back as Samantha can remember. She's been on her own, and has to survive in this dark world; no thanks to her contestant fears that overwhelm her telling her she isn't good enough. As she learns to adapt and is blessed with the hospitality of a Christian family, Sam's life turns around for the better as she goes to school to pursue a writing career. Through the heart-felt letters which she writes to Mr. Knightley, her anonymous benefactor who is paying for her schooling in exchange for letters from her on how schooling and life is going; we get to really know Sam and rejoice in her accomplishments and feel sad with her when life doesn't go as planned. This book is filled with heart and emotion and I doubt that Samantha Moore is a character which I'll soon forget.
 
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It was completely unlike anything I've ever read and I loved the literary concept of all the wonderful classic quotes that were sprinkled throughout the book. Oh, and of course we shan't forget the splendid ending! Bravo!
 
The only con to this book was when Samantha was in a dating relationship with a young man. Several times she contemplates "spending the night" at his apartment, and though she never does follow through, the thought is there and she battles the pressure of this man to give in. Since she did not know Christ at this time, even though she doesn't end up spend the night, it was more of a coincidence that she didn't stay rather than her choice due to moral standards. While this wasn't a big deal since it was a small aspect of the book, I didn't really care for it. But aside from this, I loved Dear Mr. Knightley and would insist that any classic fiction lover should read this book, as it's a rare gem!
 
NOTE:: I received a free copy of Dear Mr. Knightley through Litfuse publicity from the publisher, to read and review. I was not paid in any way to review this book; and all thoughts expressed in my review are honest and completely unbiased. I was not required to give a good review if I didn't like the book.
 
Enter Today | 11/14 - 12/3!
Dear Mr. Knightley Katherine Reay

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Beloved By Robin Lee Hatcher Blog Tour

// Beloved //
 
Where The Heart Lives // Book #3
 By Robin Lee Hatcher


{Review By Madi}

 Title: Beloved
Series: Where The Heart Lives // Book #3
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Number of Pages: 352
Publisher: Zondervan Publishers
Publication Date: September 24th, 2013
Madi's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //

"Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for seven years, Diana's infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition----she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.
"

// Madi's Book Review //
 
Diana Brennan was orphaned at a young age, and she was separated from her biological brother and sister for what she feared would be forever. Diana was adopted by a very kind and loving couple, and grew up with everything she needed. They weren't insanely rich, but she was provided for and then some. After her father dies, and it's just Diana and her mother, Diana falls for Tyson Applegate. After a hasty courtship she marries the man that she believes she loves. Turns out that Tyson is somewhat of a rotten apple, and he caused her nothing but heartache.
 
Tyson has been gone for several years, and many believed that he was killed in the war. The day before Tyson is pronounced dead in an official court, Diana host a dinner party to announce her engagement to another man, where Tyson decides to show up uninvited and ruin her once again. How could the man that deserted her still be alive? It just wasn't possible. But it was, because there he stood. How had he been able to not write his wife or father for so many years? How had he been able to stand himself?
 
Turns out that Tyson has turned his life around and has committed his life to God, or so he claims. He wants Diana to move back in with him while he runs for public office, and she agrees, under a few conditions. They can basically have nothing to do with each other unless contact was unavoidable. As Tyson sets out to get his wife back, she is running away from any emotional attachment to him. He has hurt her one too many times, and Diana isn't taking the chance of getting her heart broken again.
 
Slowly but surely, Diana notices a change in Tyson, and she starts to fall for him all over again. Can her  heart take it? What if he isn't what he seems to be? He's fooled her before. All Diana can do is let go and let God.
 
~
 
This was a pretty good read! I've never read anything by Robin Lee Hatcher, but I really enjoyed Beloved. Despite it's title, this novel didn't have near as much romance involved as you would think. I mean, it did, but it never even got to where it was at all inappropriate. Which will always get a thumbs up from me. All girls like a little romance, it's just how God wired us, but that doesn't mean that we want unnecessary thoughts put into our heads (at least I personally don't). I'm really impressed with how Hatcher put together such a sweet, romantic tale without adding unnecessary details. This book is teenager friendly, and I would be comfortable with anyone over thirteen or so reading it.
 
Another thing that I liked about this book were the characters. They're fantastic. I can really relate to Diana - not because she has been through so many relationship problems - she has a backbone and an almost bossy personality (totally me). And Tyson was just precious (after his transformation, of course). He would do just about anything for Diana, and his love for her was evident. All the things that he did to win her back just melted my heart. This novel was well worth the time I spent reading it, and I encourage you to read it  as well.
 
~Madi For The Literary Maidens
 
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book free of charge by The Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid to review this product and all thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own and totally unbiased.

To Know You By Shannon Ethridge & Kathryn Mackel

/ / To Know You / /

 
{Review By Madi}
 
Book Title: To Know You
Author(s): Shannon Ethridge & Kathryn Mackel
Source: The Litfuse Publicity Group
Number Of Pages: 358
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8866-0
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Year Of Publication: 2013
Madi's Rating: 1 Out Of 5 Stars
 
/ / Book Description / /
 

"Years ago, Julia Whittaker gave up two daughters for adoption. Now she must find them to try to save the life of her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son was diagnosed with biliary atresia at birth. Dillon has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a transplant. He can receive a “living liver” transplant but neither his parents, nor various family members and friends, are compatible.

The transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. Very short.

He has two chances for a compatible liver: his two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart and adopted at birth.

But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers—to donate a portion of her body to a brother she’s never known? Will either sister even be a match for their half-brother? Will either of them show mercy and courage if they are?

Julia knows she’s probably on a fool’s errand—reaching out to the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs them. But what other choice does she have except to try?"


 

/ / Madi's Book Review / /

 Julia and Matt Whittaker's son Dillion is in dire need of a liver transplant, but no matter how far he gets pushed up the list, it will be too late unless a compatible family member or friend donates part of their liver ASAP to the little boy with so much life left to live. Julia only has one option left: to find the two daughters she bore in her teens and put up for adoption to ask them to have mercy on her son. As hard as this is for everyone involved, it's Dillion's only chance at survival. 

Destiny Connors (Julia's firstborn daughter), was raised in a Christian home, but ended up going a bit wild. From doing tattoos and riding motorcycles to being a special effects person for boarder line gothic movies, she is anything but the perfect Christian that her parents envisioned she would become. One day while she is busy throwing her boyfriend out of her apartment and all the things he brought with him, a woman shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her birth mother. Although she was raised knowing that she was adopted at birth, she had never tried to contact her birth parents. It was a closed adoption, so that wasn't an option anyways. But why would she show up now, after all these years?

Chloe Deschene (Julia's second child), has a good life, with a good, steady, Christian husband. She is still going to college and preparing for a job in the medical field, and her life is completely routine. Everything has a time and a place, and nothing happens if it's not on the schedule. Chloe was beginning to become complacent when her birth mother showed up at her door one day. Talk about a change in routine! Her husband nearly has a conniption when this whirlwind comes into their life, but Chloe jumps at the chance for an adventure to meet her biological father.

 ~
I didn't like this book at all. It was one of those that you just want to finish it so that you can be done with it. When I requested this book from Litfuse, I got it because from the book description it seemed like an inspirational story about a long lost family coming back together. Well, It wasn't. It was completely inappropriate. Why, hardly any of it was about Dillion, the whole reason for all the madness! It seemed like at the turn of every page all the only thing you could count on was something inappropriate lurking in the next sentence. This is most DEFINETELY not a book for teenagers or young adults. 

~Madilyn For The Literary Maidens
Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book by the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion, and that's what I gave. I was not paid to write this review and all thoughts expressed are completely my own and totally unbiased.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beloved By Robin Lee Hatcher Book Review

17703995// Beloved //
 
Where The Heart Lives // Book #3
 
By Robin Lee Hatcher
 
{Review By Bethany}
 
Title: Beloved
Series: Where The Heart Lives // Book #3
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Source: Litfuse Blogger Program/Zondervan Publishers
Number of Pages: 352
Publisher: Zondervan Publishers
Publication Date: September 24th, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //

"Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for seven years, Diana's infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition----she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.
"

// Bethany's Book Review //

This was the first book I've ever read by Robin Lee Hatcher, and though it wasn't a huge favorite for me, I did enjoy it and would consider it a nice, quick, one-time read.

Being that this was the first book I've read by Robin Lee Hatcher, I really didn't know how much I would enjoy Beloved. However after reading it, I'm glad I was able to, and enjoyed the story. This book was very unique to me, because unlike most romance novels that focus on how the two people meet, this book was all about this couple's marriage - which is something you don't see portrayed in novels a lot now days. I found it very unique and different from any other novel I've read. I really liked Robin's writing style, and the course of events and how they were strategically placed in a certain order to add definition to the story. For instance, at the end of every chapter, there would be a flash-back of sorts, to before the two main characters were married, giving insight to the story before the story, so to speak. I sometimes noticed that Robin would strategically have a flash back that would relate to the current place in the story, and found it to be a really neat writing style, that I liked.
 
At first when I started reading Beloved, honestly I wasn't crazy about the story line of a woman who was married, but assumed to be a widow since she hadn't heard from her husband in seven years since he left for war; to all the sudden have her husband who she thought dead, show up at her party with her fiancĂ©e. Kind of unexpected. =) It definitely is a unique plot, but for some reason it didn't really make me super excited about the story. It may have been that it seemed a little unrealistic for me, but I'm not sure. However as the story progressed I liked seeing how Tyson had changed since leaving Diana, and how the Lord saved Him, turning his life around and how he began living for Christ. I also enjoyed seeing how this new relationship with Christ changed his actions; and most importantly the way he treated his wife. It was a neat story of redemption and making up for things of the past.
 
I really enjoyed the little boy in this story, Ned. He just added so much to the story for me. Maybe it's because I love little children in a story, as it brings out the best in a person, and it certainly did for Diana as it brought out her kind-hearted personality. I loved seeing how Diana and Tyson took Ned in, and gave him a chance and made his life so much better because of the love that was shown to him.
 
Another thing I did like about this book is how, despite the title, the romance was very clean and minimal. There was just enough to keep the story sweet, but wasn't overpowering or the main focus of the story, which I really appreciated.
 
Overall, though I don't consider Beloved a favorite of this year, I'm glad I was able to read it and loved Robin's writing style. The ending was interesting as well! I would recommend this book for ages 13+ due to brief topics covered, and since the overall plot is about a man trying to win back his wife.

N O T E :: I received a complementary copy of Beloved from Litfuse and Zondervan publishers to read and review. I was not paid to do so, nor am I required to give a good review if I didn't like the book. All thoughts expressed in the review are completely my own, and unbiased by the free book.
 
Enter Today - 10/28 - 11/15!
beloved robin lee hatcher

Monday, November 4, 2013

Christmas In Apple Ridge By Cindy Woodsmall Book Review

// Christmas In Apple Ridge //
 
A Three-in-One Christmas Novella Collection
 
By Cindy Woodsmall
 
{Review By Bethany}
 
Title: Christmas In Apple Ridge
{The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing & The Dawn of Christmas}
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Source: I received a review copy from BloggingForBooks.org
Number of Pages: 576
ISBN: 0307730999
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: October 9th, 2012
Bethany's Rating of the Collection : 4 out of 5 stars
{Individual rating per novella are in the reviews}


// Book Synopsis //

"Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, heartache, and restoration from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it’s not that simple – will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?

The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau. But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon’s rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?"
 

// Bethany's Book Review //

I've only read Cindy Woodsmall's works once before, and that was a couple years ago, so going into this three-in-one novella collection, it was almost like reading a new author for me. I really enjoyed the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation from the past and how it was a strong thread in all three of the novellas.
 
// The Sound of Sleigh Bells //

3 stars
 
This novella was a nice read focusing on forgiving yourself for things from your past, and moving on without guilt or burdens. The main character, Beth Hertzler, dealt with a dark past which she continually put all the blame on herself, and allowed her guilt to refuse her to move on with her life, and had to learn to deal with it throughout the story.
 
While I did like reading Beth and Jonah's story in this novella, I somehow didn't feel like I connected with the story, and I felt like there were hardly any secondary characters or other parts of the story-all of it was devoted to Beth and Jonah and you don't really get to meet anyone else or see any other stories within the story, so to speak. However, even though I had a hard time connecting with the book, I did enjoy it, especially the significance of sleighs, and loved seeing Beth's life be redeemed and how she overcame her guilt and moved on with life.
 
While this is considered a Christmas novella, I'd say it's a good read year-round as only the last few chapters of the book were set during Christmas, and the main focus of the book when Beth and Jonah get to know each other happens throughout the year.

// The Christmas Singing //

4 stars
 
After reading The Sound of Sleigh Bells, which in my opinion was nice but not a favorite, I was glad to find that I enjoyed The Christmas Singing better than the first novella. I really enjoyed how the main character, Mattie, owned a cake decorating business, and since I have an interest in cake making and decorating myself, I found Mattie to be a very likable character that I enjoy reading about; and was able to relate to.
 
I liked how the romance was kept to a minimal in this novella, since the two characters don't even have spoken feelings for each other until the very end of the story, keeping the romance low and clean. However, this aspect of the book where the characters didn't like each other until the last bit of the story sort of bugged me. I mean for the whole novella they don't have an interest in each other-at least not outwardly displayed, and then all of the sudden they like each other before the story ends. While it wasn't a huge con in my opinion, I was just a small detail I noticed.
 
However I did enjoy getting to continue Beth and Jonah's story, and liked how the second novella had some of the main characters from The Sound of Sleigh Bells. I always enjoy revisiting old characters, and loved reading about Beth and Jonah's wedding as well as seeing Mattie's part in making their wedding cake.

// The Dawn of Christmas //

4 stars
 
The Dawn of Christmas was the perfect completion to this lovely three-in-one Christmas novella collection, giving a wonderful wrap-up to all three novellas. I loved how this novella had old characters from the two previous novellas, and loved getting to see married life for the two couples from the other novellas, as well as joining in the joy with a certain couples news! The Dawn of Christmas was one of my favorite novellas from this collection, and I really liked Sadie's stubborn and spunky personality-and though Levi was the perfect match for her. Sadie's sarcastically humorous personality left me laughing at some lines, and I really enjoyed reading about her, as she is quite a unique character and added a lot of life to the story.
 
I also really enjoyed the story line and order of events, especially how Sadie and Levi met. I found it to be a very unique situation and alongside their personalities, I found it a memorable scene for me. Out of all the novellas, I'd have to say that story-wise, this one was my favorite in terms of how the couple met, and the events that played out the thereafter. I found Sadie and Levi's meeting and relationship to be very unique and found it to be a nice light read, which I am glad to have been able to read.
 
~*~*~*~*~*~
 
Overall, I really enjoyed these hard-warming novellas from Cindy Woodsmall. All three of these novellas are perfect for settling down and relaxing with the Plain folk while enjoying a short Christmas read that is filled with virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation as well as a great story line. While I enjoyed the last two novellas better than the first, I enjoyed seeing the continuation of the characters from the first novella in the other ones, and would recommend these novellas to Amish fiction lovers or to anyone seeking a shorter Christmas novella.
 
N O T E :: I received a free copy of Christmas in Apple Ridge through Blogging For Books to read and review. I was not paid in any way to do so, and was not required to give a good review if I didn't like the book. All thoughts expressed in the review are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley Book Review

// Gunpowder Tea // 
 
The Brides of Last Chance Ranch // Book #3
 
By Margaret Brownley
 
{Review By Bethany}
 
Title: Gunpowder Tea
Series: The Brides of Last Chance Ranch // Book 3
Author: Margaret Brownley
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1595549722
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 8th, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
// Book Synopsis //

"When Miranda Hunt sees the classified ad for an heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch, she knows assuming the identity of Annie Beckman is the perfect cover. As one of the finest agents for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Miranda has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom – an elusive and notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling ranch.

But she isn’t the only one there with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert is working the scene undercover as well. And although their true identities are a secret, it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the spark that flares between them.

But neither is about to let romance interfere with such a huge case. Besides, Miranda hasn’t removed Jeremy from her list of suspects yet. The closer they come to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets – and no one on the ranch is safe.

But neither are their hearts – the longer Miranda and Jeremy spends working together, the harder it becomes to keep their feelings in check. Their careers – and their lives – depend on solving this case. Love will have to wait."


// Bethany's Book Review //

A real page-turning suspense with a nice dose of the wild west is what you'll find in this new novel from Margaret Brownley! Be sure and have a nice cup of gunpowder tea in hand, when sitting down to enjoy this suspenseful page-turner - but be sure and hold on to your tea cup; for this novel will take you on a wild, yet delightful ride!

This was the first book I've ever read by Margaret Brownley, so I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this book. However knowing that it was a suspenseful western, I knew I couldn't really dislike it all that much; and am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book; as it was so unique and wonderfully written.

Brownley just has a way with getting the western to suspense ratio just right. I loved how the book was a page-turner that often kept me up late into the night, as well as the fact that there were plenty of humorous western sentences that were written in such a western worthy way, it made right proud to be a Texan. :) I also loved how the author wove the story together, making all the "puzzle pieces" fit together just right, making for an enjoyable story with a splendid ending. I also loved how I felt like I related to the character - not because I have anything in common with her, but because of how well described she was. Often times I was so lost in the story that I'd forget I was reading a book!
 
Another thing I liked about this book was how even though it was the third book in the Brides of Last Chance series, I didn't feel like I was missing anything, since I hadn't read the first two books in the series before. Since this book was a stand alone, even though in a series, I liked how I was able to read the series out of order, and still enjoy it without feeling like there were missing pieces from the previous books.

The only down-side in my opinion to this book was how the main character seemed to be very much a feminist to me. While I'm not against a woman being strong and useful, I don't appreciate it when a female takes over and acts as if she were better than a man, for we are all created equal. I just felt like sometimes the main character would be a bit of a feminist, leading to a prideful demeanor, and while it wasn't a ever-present bother, it did annoy me when the trait came up. However it is by no means a deal-breaker, and didn't lessen my enjoying of the story.
 
Overall I really enjoyed this book and loved the suspense and western aspect alongside the sweet, mild romance. I'd definitely recommend this book to historical suspense fans, as well as to ladies who enjoy western novels, as this one doesn't disappoint!

N O T E :: I receive a free copy of Gunpowder Tea through Litfuse Publicity group from Thomas Nelson Publishers and the author to read and review. I was not paid in any way to write this review, and was not required to give a good review if I didn't enjoy the book. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own, and completely unbiased.
 
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Gunpowder Tea Margaret Brownley