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Tag: "Romance"

Blog Tour: A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears

[ 1 ] July 21, 2015

a bride at last book coverPlease join Melissa Jagears, author of A Bride at Last, as she tours the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Reviewed by Charity Lyman

I am an avid reader. I enjoy many different genres with mystery and suspense in a tie for first place. But a close second would have to be historical fiction. Maybe it is the change of pace from the high speed mystery or maybe it is being able to enjoy a different time period through the eyes of a character. Whatever it is, I was happy to be able to read Melissa Jagears’ new novel, A Bride at Last. It is an engaging historical tale and I found it quite to my liking.

The heroine of the story is a young school teacher, Kate Dawson. Kate was supposed to be a mail order bride. When she realized that she was deceived, she turned to teaching children. One of her students is a young man whose mother is dying and his father is absent–obviously for a good reason after we hear from his mother. But when the mother dies and push comes to shove, two men step in to replace his father. One turns out to be a jerk who forces the kid into thievery and a life of deception; the other is a dirt farmer and Kate’s intended husband.

While I enjoyed the banter between Kate and Silas, I loved the sizzling chemistry even better. The fun and the laughs that broke up the serious story line made me enjoy the book even more. All in all, though, A Bride at Last was more serious and showed hardships of daily living on the prairie, as well as the struggles people went through without the trinkets and electronics we have today. It truly made me think about my own life and how nice I have it. A Bride at Last gets a 4.5 star rating from me. Great for the reader who loves historical fiction!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Charity lives in Illinois and is the oldest of 6 children. The family also has 3 dogs and a cat. Reading is a hobby when not cooking, baking, sewing or enjoying music. She reads many different genres but Christian fiction is a favorite. Charity can be found often at her blog, Giveaway Lady

Review copy was provided by Bethany House Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Blog Tour: Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone

[ 5 ] July 15, 2015

picture perfect love book coverPlease join Melissa McClone, author of Picture Perfect Love, as she tours the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Reviewed by Charity Lyman

Every time you pick up a book by a new author, you never know what you will be getting. You could find your new favorite author or one whose books you would never pick up again. But it is always the fun of finding out that makes me go for new-to-me authors. And today I get to review a new favorite, Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone!

Picture Perfect Love is actually book seven in a series of novellas. It is kind of a fun way to read different stories as they all correspond with a year of weddings. And yes, there will end up being twelve of them all written by various authors. Melissa McClone pens a story about a young woman who has been jilted in love. Dumped by her fiance the day before the wedding vows, Jenna has sworn off dating for a long time. And yet, I found her to be brave as well because her job entails photography. Wedding pictures to be exact. Until one day, who should walk in but the bozo boyfriend who believed his sister over his fiance. He is needing something from Jenna – actually his sister needs something from her – and her life kind of spirals out of control from that point on.

I really, really wanted to like the hero of the story, Ashton Vance. But instead, I found myself wanting to slap him silly. The nerve he displayed coming back to ask a favor of Jenna after what he put her through two years ago was unbelievable. But hey, I was not the one Ash had to win over! Jenna was a real sweetheart and I felt so bad for her but I loved how she had moved on and put her life back together with the help of the local pastor. I am so excited to finish the rest of the series and see how all the stories end up. Excellent writing here!!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Charity lives in Illinois and is the oldest of 6 children. The family also has 3 dogs and a cat. Reading is a hobby when not cooking, baking, sewing or enjoying music. She reads many different genres but Christian fiction is a favorite. Charity can be found often at her blog, Giveaway Lady

Review copy was provided by HarperCollins Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

[ 4 ] July 6, 2015

maybe in another life book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Fate, destiny, soul mates, what if?… These are all concepts I have thought extensively about throughout my life. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of parallel universes where another me is living a life I have only dreamed of having. Any book or movie that covers any of these topics makes it high up on my list of things to read or watch. I’ve often felt that movies are a better medium for parallel universe type stories, but Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid brilliantly handles this tricky concept.

If ever there was a book similar to Sliding Doors, this would be the one. And while Sliding Doors had one man that was inarguably superior over the other, the heroine of Maybe in Another Life, Hannah Martin, is presented with two wonderful men. At the beginning of the novel, Hannah’s life is a mess. She has just broken things off with her married boyfriend and is unsure of what she will do next. Her best friend, Gabby, takes her in, she reconnects with her first love, Ethan, and begins to plan for a career and a stable future. But her alternate path takes her in another direction, one that begins with a tragedy.

The alternate storylines branch off when Hannah makes a seemingly inconsequential decision of whether or not she should go home with Ethan, the ex she has always believed she was meant to be with, if only the timing were right. How many decisions does a person make in one day? Thousands, I’d imagine. And each one of those decisions plays a part in determining how the rest of our day plays out. In more dire situations, it can play a role in whether a person lives or dies. And, as Hannah finds out, decisions she makes also affect those closest to her, mainly her best friend, Gabby.

Maybe in Another Life is the first book I’ve read from Taylor Reid Jenkins. If her other books are as charming and thought-provoking as this one, then I will definitely have a new author to add to my must-read list.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Washington Square Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu

[ 4 ] June 28, 2015

exquisite corpse book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu is a difficult novel to place. Chic lit, crime fiction, suspense, comedic, graphic (as in novel); it fits so many slots along the bookstore shelves. Exquisite Corpse, at first, appears simply written and modestly illustrated. That is just the veneer to set up the main character Zoe. As Zoe mixes with and grows to know famous author Thomas Rocher, the story deepens and nothing is simple.

Exquisite Corpse is set in Paris. Zoe is a disgruntled product representative; she is more or less a model at trade shows or, as Zoe puts it “booth babe”. She is in a poor relationship with a man who barely talks to her. It is during a lunch break away from her most recent product show that Zoe accidentally meets world famous author Thomas Rocher. He is a recluse and a puzzle. This is where Zoe’s life changes.

Zoe is not a character I’m generally drawn to. At the beginning of Exquisite Corpse, Zoe appears superficial. She just accepts life as it is and doesn’t appear involved in her own life, yet she complains about her circumstances. It is a co-worker who tells Zoe to do something about her situation if she is not happy or shut up. This is the kick-in-the-butt that Zoe evidently needs though the result possibly is not what one would expect. Zoe insinuates herself into author Thomas Rocher’s life then things change. This relationship is odd from the beginning. Zoe admittedly has never read a book or even been into a bookstore. Rocher is happy with Zoe’s ignorance of his fame. As their relationship progresses, they live together in Rocher’s Paris apartment out of sight of public eyes. Things become more complicated when Rocher’s editor, and wife in separation, Agathe shows up.

I wanted to read Penelope Bagieu’s Exquisite Corpse as soon as I looked at the first few pages. Bagieu’s illustrations and narration drew me straight into the novel. The story and tension build quickly. With increasing discord, Zoe grows and changes. As Zoe’s character transforms, she becomes much more likeable. At the same time, Rocher grows more ominous. The novel’s ending is a bit unexpected, yet befitting of this tale. I greatly enjoyed Exquisite Corpse and will look for more books by Penelope Bagieu.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by First Second. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Giveaway: Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle

[ 13 ] June 10, 2015

watch the lady book coverI have 1 signed copy of Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

From “a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction” (People) and the author of Queen’s Gambit and Sisters of Treason comes the mesmerizing story of Lady Penelope Devereux—the little-known, daring beauty in the Tudor court, who inspired Sir Philip Sidney’s famous sonnets even while she plotted against Queen Elizabeth.

Penelope arrives at Queen Elizabeth’s court where she and her brother, the Earl of Essex, are drawn into the aging Queen’s favor. Penelope, though promised elsewhere, falls in love with Philip Sidney who pours his heartbreak into the now classic sonnet series, Astrophil and Stella. But Penelope is soon married off to a man who loathes her. Never a damsel in distress, she chooses her moment and strikes a deal with her husband: after she gives birth to two sons, she will be free to live as she chooses, with whom she chooses.

Meanwhile the devious politician, Robert Cecil, ever loyal to Elizabeth, has his eye on Penelope and her brother. Although it seems that Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen, as his influence grows, so his enemies gather. Penelope must draw on all her political savvy to save her brother from his own ballooning ambition and Cecil’s trap, while daring to plan for an event it is treason even to think about.

Smart, meticulously researched, thrilling and romantic, this book is a brilliant standout in its genre.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour: The Proposal at Siesta Key by Shelley Shepard Gray

[ 2 ] June 8, 2015

siesta key book coverPlease welcome Shelley Shepard Gray, author of The Proposal at Siesta Key, who is touring the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Reviewed by Charity Lyman

Every now and then you come upon a series that just keeps sneaking into your thoughts as you go throughout the day and you come to think of the characters within the pages as real people. You find yourself wishing you were a member of their community and that their stories would just continue for many books to come. That is how I felt when I picked up the first novel in this series by Shelley Shepard Gray. And the second installment has just reinforced that feeling a hundred-fold. I am seriously in love with the community of Pinecraft, Florida as portrayed in these books!

I was happy to find many old friends/characters as I dove into The Proposal at Siesta Key and was also pleased to make the acquaintance of a few new people in town. Penny Troyer is a young woman who has been sheltered all her life. Most girls her age are already married but when she was little, her older sister was brutally murdered and the family never moved on from the tragedy. Now Penny feels like she needs to get out into the Amish community and live the life she was meant to. On a whim, Penny attends an Evangelical meeting with a friend. While there, she meets Michael Knoxx. Michael is a Mennonite man who lost a limb after an accident and now goes around telling others his testimony. The first time the two of them meet, Michael is an absolute bear and Penny doesn’t realize the pain he is going through.

I really want to be careful with how much I give away in this review because you just have to pick up a copy for yourself. The characters will grow on you like friends. One of the main things I find intriguing about these stories is that I know this area. I have seen the Mennonite and Amish communities in Florida so I can just feel the atmosphere and I love it! I was definitely grateful to “meet” these people – even if it was just in a book – and hear their stories.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Charity lives in Illinois and is the oldest of 6 children. The family also has 3 dogs and a cat. Reading is a hobby when not cooking, baking, sewing or enjoying music. She reads many different genres but Christian fiction is a favorite. Charity can be found often at her blog, Giveaway Lady

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Avon Inspire. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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