Monthly Archives: January 2015

Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell

Charlotte Withersby enjoys studying plants and flowers more than she likes concerning herself with the fashions of society or making small talk over social gatherings. Only women in nineteenth century England are meant for one thing and one thing only: marriage. So when a botany correspondent of her father’s, Edward Trimble, appears on their doorstep eager to assist her father in his work, Charlotte’s uncle sees this as a perfect opportunity to thrust her into society to find a husband. Determined to only endure it for as long as it takes to rid of Edward, Charlotte focuses her attention on the confounding fashion and inexplicable expectations of a world quite unknown to her. She thinks that her father’s dependence on her work will soon have him begging for her return, but soon her plan backfires and she suddenly finds herself in uncharted waters, thinking that perhaps what she thought she wanted is not what she wanted at all.

Siri Mitchell’s books are always so endearing because she creates characters that are quirky, real, and instantly loveable. Charlotte is no exception. She is smart but also unsure how to handle the basic rules of polite society, creating humorous and delightful scenes. I am always very impressed with Ms. Mitchell’s ability to also weave unique parts of history into her novels and do such a fantastic job of capturing not only historical facts, but also the mindset of the time period. This particular story flows well and captures interest immediately, the first person narrative giving a great glimpse into Charlotte’s thoughts and feelings. One disappointment with this novel is that I did not feel like I got to know Edward very well, which I think could have contributed substantially to the story. Overall, however, this novel is greatly enjoyable and highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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At Home in Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

Kaitlyn Reed does not enjoy being stuck in Last Chance, her desire to leave the small town only tampered by her young daughter, whom she has no wish to leave ever again. But working for her brother at the local diner and listening to the remarks of the townspeople grows weary, and she dreams of becoming something more than a waitress with a sketchy past. Steven Braden endures similar stares and whispers in the small town for his reputation as a womanizer and his lack of direction. Drawn together by their irresponsible pasts, Kaityln and Steven learn lessons of forgiveness and trust in their mutual desire to start fresh.

Having read the other books in this series, At Home in Last Chance has probably the most endearing characters, both of which recognize their realistic flaws and desire to move beyond past hurts. Their stories encourage the reader to cheer for their success. However, the plot, like the first two books, is still too simplistic and clichéd for the novel to contain much depth. The story has an overall pleasant theme and the connections of characters to the first two novels are notable, but it is not truly a book that one would have difficulty putting down. An average contemporary novel, this book is recommended for those who enjoy stories of small town folk and happy endings.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park: Behind the Scenes Tour and Book Trailer!

A couple of fun links to check out, both related to The Secret of Pembrooke Park, a fantastic new historical fiction novel by Julie Klassen!  If you have not yet read this book, be sure to get your copy today!  It has suspense, history, romance, mystery, and secrets galore!

Behind the scenes tour by the author herself while visiting the manor behind her inspiration for Pembrooke Park in England.

A book trailer if you would like to find out more about this exciting novel!

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Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris

Michael Hunt has been presumed dead by his family the past eight months as he works tirelessly undercover to bring down the leader of a drug cartel. But suddenly his cover is blown and the authorities think he is the traitor. Unsure who to trust or where to turn, Michael is surprised to find an ally in the place he least expected. But as dangers continue to mount and as circumstances become even more perilous, Michael wonders if maybe he chose the wrong path. He must be very careful with his actions and in choosing whom to trust if he wishes to remain alive and complete his mission without endangering anyone else.

Hidden Agenda has an exciting opening that grabs the reader with its intensity and suspense. The characters are instantly likable despite the uncertainty of the tremulous circumstances. The plot is initially very enjoyable with its fast-paced action and danger, but unfortunately, it slows a bit in the middle, regrettably loosing its beginning momentum. Nevertheless, the action once again picks up near the end and concludes with its earlier entertaining suspense and intrigue. I particularly applaud Lisa Harris in creating a character that is deaf, adding a truly fascinating character that is believable and interesting to read. As is often the case with suspense novels, the romance is rushed, but the thoughts and feelings of the characters are believable, especially their uncertainty with these new romantic thoughts, which is appreciated. Overall, the novel is fun to read and recommended for lovers of contemporary suspense.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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Emissary by Thomas Locke

Left an orphan without much of a home or sense of belonging, Hyam responds to his mother’s dying wish by traveling to the detested Long Hall, a place of wizardry and magic that he has sworn to never return. Bitter memories of hours spent learning forbidden languages follow him during his journey, where he learns something unexpected about his past. Armed with new knowledge, Hyam searches for truth amid rumors of war. Deep secrets and uncertainty in the realm only add to the danger as Hyam carefully chooses a few to trust, determined to do right despite his heritage and his ambiguous future.

What an interesting read! Emissary is bursting with creativity, a story woven with such unique characters, settings, and storyline that it crafts a truly remarkable plot full of interest and singularity. The book moves along at a steady and pleasant pace, the moments of real danger and suspense throughout adding to the enchanting ebb and flow of the narrative and immersing the reader in a fascinating world. It is such a delight to read about interesting species, each with distinctive personalities, and painted so well by the author that the reader has no trouble imagining the colorful and creative scenes. Hyam is a very likable individual, his desire to do right despite his own uncertainty making him an endearing hero. Delighted that this is not the only book in the series, Emissary is most highly recommended and its following books eagerly anticipated.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen: Book Quote

I’m honored and excited to partner with Julie Klassen and Bethany House Publishers to promote the release of Ms. Klassen’s newest novel, The Secret of Pembrooke Park (see my earlier review of this most fabulous book!).  I will be posting exciting tidbits over the next several weeks all related to the novel.

The following quote does such a wonderful job of summarizing the genuine and instantly lovable heroine, Abigail Foster.  She is a quiet girl with a love of mysteries and a heart of pure gold!  Her courageous and curious nature allows her to enjoy quite a few adventures in this exciting tale.  And during her search for a treasure in a truly delightful old mansion, she learns to better seek God’s presence and peace.  Be sure to pick up a copy from your favorite retailer today!

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Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Anna O’Brien loves her quiet life as a map librarian at the Library of Congress. Her shy spirit enjoys the predictability and relative anonymity of her job and she avoids unnecessary associations with Congressmen or their loud meetings at all costs. This is until she stumbles upon an error in a report of a ship disappeared at sea. If there is anything Anna cannot abide it is errors in historical documents, so her sense of justice overrides her timidity and causes her to seek help for her startling discovery. Luke Callahan is a boisterous and popular Congressman from Maine who does not mind clashing heads with others despite its consequences for his political career. Curious about the strong spirit hidden in the mysterious map librarian, he agrees to assist Anna in her quest. But both meet great resistance during their search for the truth, which only serves to cast further mystery on what really happened to the ship. Determined to find the truth, this unlikely pair soon find themselves involved in a deeper conspiracy than either realized existed.

Another enjoyable read from a beloved author, Beyond All Dreams is complex, interesting, and engaging. Anna and Luke are both realistically flawed characters, but their troubled pasts bind them in unique ways, allowing each to learn and grow from each other. Anna is a truly endearing heroine, her ability to forgive and overcome great obstacles making her instantly likable. The historical information in this novel is wonderfully interwoven, providing a very interesting backdrop about a perhaps lesser-known period of American history. The descriptions and events allow the story to come alive and the creativity of the multifaceted plot engages the reader throughout the entire book. The romance is accurately complex and although a few parts of Luke’s character are frustrating, the overall theme and conclusion are certainly remarkable. Another recommended historical novel from a great author!

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