Tuesday, July 30, 2013

She Always Wore Red -- Angela Hunt

Book 2 of the Fairlawn series and just as good as book 1!  Can't wait for book 3!

Book 2 picks up where book 1 leaves off.. and that makes writing the review difficult because there are so many things that happen in book 1 that would spoil it if I shared.. but they are pivotal to book 2. (Got all that!?)

Let's see.. Jennifer and family are still in FL and the funeral home is up and running.  Jennifer is making a life / career change.. the kids are adjusting.. and romance is in the air.. but then so is formaldehyde! Jennifer is in need of a friend and she finds one in McLane.  A pregnant young woman waiting for her soldier husband to return from overseas... hopefully before the baby arrives.  As Jennifer and McLane's friendship grows, Jennifer learns a truth that shakes her to the core and McLane is faced with a life or death decision.

Another beautiful story by Hunt. Real life.. real faith.. and a bit of fun tossed in.

This is an excellent series!  Review of number 3 coming soon! (got to read it first!)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Doesn't She Look Natural by Angela Elwell Hunt

The title and synopsis of this book caught my attention of a Kindle freebie / bargain list and so I snatched it up.  It was not what I expected at all and yet I loved it. So much that I immediately borrowed the 2nd one in the series through the Prime Lenders Library and am anxiously waiting to borrow the third one next month.  Really fun series.. really strange subject matter!

This is book 1 of Hunt's Fairlawn Series which includes:

Doesn't She Look Natural
She Always Wore Red
She's in a Better Place

In Natural, we meet Jennifer Graham. Jennifer is a hard working, no nonsense senior staff member for a U.S. Senator.  Fully entwined in the political game until her husband leaves her for another one. How did she not see that coming?  Now Jennifer and her boys are living with her mother while she searches for a new job (how could she continue to work in the same arena as her ex and his new friend?) and a new place to live.  Her faith is a fragile as tissue paper.  And then her uncle dies leaving her, his only relative, everything.

Jennifer, her boys, her mom and their jack russel terrier head south to Mt. Dora, FL to see what treasure awaits them.  What she finds is far from the treasure she expected. Yes, she knew there was a large home.. a big Victorian that she feels certain she can sell for a song.  But no she was unaware that Fairlawn is the local funeral home and in no condition to be sold.

Jennifer also finds the need to get to know her boys.. to be in their lives.. and she finds that life in Mt. Dora offers her that opportunity.  And so a temporary change of plans is in order. or so she thinks until God sends the biggest unexpected her way.

A bit of Historic Fiction....

These are all in my "read" (as in already read not to read) folder on my Kindle.  And when I look at them, I know I read them and I remember whether I liked them or not. I don't, however, remember all the details and to scan the summaries and bring those back to mind would take a lot of time.. SO here are some of the books I read this Spring with a bit of review for each.

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot - Book 1 in the Texas Dreams trilogy.  This was a nice read. Sarah has left Philadelphia for the wide open spaces of Texas where she will be married to her beloved Austin. Sarah and Austin have never met.. they have been exchanging letters and she has accepted his marriage proposals and finds herself a mail-order bride. Full of hope for the future, Sarah's heart is broken when she gets to San Antonio and learns Austin is dead.  What is she to do? She cannot go back East and it appears Austin's brother wants nothing to do with her.  Can she find a place for herself in Texas and in Clay's heart?

Tall Dark and Determined by Kelly Eileen Hake -- I have loved every book I have read by Hake.. until this one. I tried several times, but never could get interested in it.  It is the 2nd book in a series and I fear that it is just a filler to connect the first too.

The Midwife's Legacy by Rhonda Gibson, Pamela Griffin, Jane Kirkpatrick & Trish Perry -- This is part of the Romance America books and is a compilation of 4 novellas. I loved how they all link together going from one generation to the next connected by an journal.  And how they follow the evolution of midwifery even into the modern day.  And I love that the desire to be a midwife skips a generation along the way.. a very realistic touch.  The stories wind their was from early Wisconsin settlers and the Oregon trail to present day America.  Very enjoyable and a bit enlightening about the calling to be a midwife and how it is viewed in our nation.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

Book 1 of the Under Texas Stars series

If you scan my blog,  you will find that I am hooked on Coble's works and have yet to read one I did not like. Her books combine all the things I love... a bit of history (most of her books are historical fiction), a taste of intrigue and mystery (everything is never quite what it seems) and a touch of romance. And as expected Blue Moon Promises delivers it all and includes Texas a cowboys too boot! :-)

Lucy Marsh is a young determined woman caring for 2 younger siblings in the face of destitution and danger. As she learns that they are to loose their home and that her father's death may not have been an accident, a old friend of his shows up and offers her a way out. A proxy marriage to his son.  Lucy would prefer to know the man and to marry for love, but time and circumstances don't allow for that luxury and so she takes the offer... marries the man sight unseen.. and heads to Texas with her brother and sister in tow.

Nate Stanon plans to settle down and marry one day, but in his time and with the woman of his choice. So he is less than amused or pleased when his father shows up with a ready made family in tow. What on earth is Nate supposed to do with these cushy city folks as he tries to run and build up his ranch?

But over time Lucy proves to be more than meets the eye. Her determination and strength surprise Nate and he finds that God's truly does work in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Catching Up!

Seems I have not posted a good many books that I have read this year on my blog. Sorry about that. Guess I am too caught up in reading to blog!  So I will be posting lots of reviews this week to hopefully remedy that and get caught up.

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Finally a Bride by Vickie McDonough

The third and finally book of the Boardinghouse Brides series.  I have reviewed book 1 ( The Anonymous Bride ) and book 2 (Second Chance Brides )

As with the other books in this series, I was hooked immediately and enjoyed every word!  McDonough does a great job of bringing everything together in this final installment.  And one of the things I love best about book 3 is the return of 2 characters who had "fallen from grace" and are restored. While Finally a Bride is a fun romance with some very laughable moments, it also shows how we are NEW creations in Christ. How our past.. no matter how hurtful or wrong.. can be wiped away with our salvation.  It is a story of grace hidden in the midst of this light hearted story.

I cannot say enough about this series.  I read fiction is relax and get away a bit from the pressures and stress of life. So I look for something that is a bit light and fun, but I like there to be a bit of meat.. something to learn or of which to be reminded.  All of that is found in this series.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Harmony Series by Nancy Mehl

I discovered Mehl a couple of years ago when I bought this book Cozy in Kansas on sale at a local store.  Such a fun, quirky cozy mystery.  A year later I read Mehl's Missing Mabel  -- another quirky cozy mystery.  So I had mixed feelings when I started hearing about her Harmony Series. There is a bit of mystery to them, but that is the only similarity to the earlier books. This trilogy is set in the Mennonite Town of Harmony, Kansas and while there are things that were "foreign" to me (since I am not a Mennonite), it is far from quirky.  But oh my, this is one of the best series I have ever read. I just loved them! You definitely want to read them in order, as they build on each other centering around the same focal character, Gracie, in each book.

Book 1 -- Simple Secrets -- finds Gracie living the life.. going for the gusto.. working as a Graphic Designer for a firm in Wichita and planning to move up the ladder to great success. And then, she learns that she has inherited a house from an uncle she has never met. She knew of him... her father's brother.  They had a falling out when her father left the Mennonite church and ways and moved with his bride, his parents following soon after.  All these years Gracie knew there was an Uncle Benjamin, but nothing more.

She sets out to look over the house... retrieve family treasures for her father.. and get the place ready to sell. What she never expects to is find a house full of secrets and mysteries and a town that seems so simple and backwards at first, but slowly become a refuge of peace and rest.

Book 2 -- Simple Deceits -- Gracie has grown to love Harmony and the people there and so she decides to work as a freelance designer, while making her life there in her "new" home.  Now that she has electricity and air conditioning, she can survive!

Things change when a baby is left at a local church and an anonymous note is sent saying Gracie is the mother.  The people who she thought loved her begin to look at her suspiciously.  Gracie has to find out who the real mother is and fast before she looses the most precious thing in life.. love.

Book 3 -- Simple Choices -- Gracie just wants to help Hannah. She never dreams by taking her for an art course in the city, she would be feeding into the girl's desires to leave her faith and community.  Hannah disappears shortly after their return and Gracie is blamed.  Certain she has run away, the police do little to look for Hannah. But Gracie knows better.. in her gut. Hannah wouldn't just leave.

And so she sets out again to solve the mystery and the day.  Only this time she gets a little to close and invites the danger home.

Excellent Series!

Second Chance Brides by Vickie McDonough

Book 2 in the Boarding House Brides Trilogy.

Book 1 reviewed here:  The Anonymous Bride

I have been waiting for Second Chance Brides to become available on PaperBack Swap!  And it finally did (and I will be posting this one back there for someone else to enjoy!)

Such a fun series.  There are a number of kinds of books I love.. my 2 favorites are cozy mysteries and historic fiction.  I especially love historic fiction set in pioneer or cowboy times. I guess I am a sucker for the Marlboro Man!  LOL!  This series doesn't let me down... and if you like rugged manly men books, they won't let you down either. But I also prefer my female leads to be strong women... not weak and wimpy damsels in distress.  Again, this series delivers the goods.

In Second Chance Brides, Leah and Shannon are stranded in Lookout, TX not sure where the next step will lead nor even what the next step should be. Neither can return home.. Shannon has no home, no family.. Leah would be forced to marry a man old enough to be her father just to provide security for her family.

So they set out to find either employment or husbands.  Employment isn't easy to find, but candidates for husband are!  The men in Lookout know the story.. that they are "leftover" mail order brides.. and they come calling not to court, but to marry. Sadly most want a housekeeper and cook, not a true wife. Is it too much for these girls to expect love before marriage?