Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson

About the book:

A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson
Lone Star Brides: Book 3
Bethany House

Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another. But her world is upended when two new men come into her life, and both manage to stir her heart.

Harrison Gable is a successful young lawyer with ambitions that match Jessica's dreams. His warm, attentive manner and thoughtful gifts make her feel special.

Austin Todd, a former Secret Service agent, enjoys working now as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector. But after learning of forged gold certificates and missing printing plates, he's drawn back into the world of intrigue and agrees to help solve the case. Jessica is drawn to his kind nature and the unspoken pain she sees in his eyes.

If Jessica follows her heart, where will it lead?

My review:

Jessica Atherton has lived a privileged life and is used to getting her way. However, after recently being rejected by the man she had thought to marry for a woman not as beautiful or well to do as she, Jessica has started looking inward and finding she doesn’t care for what she sees. With suitors still lining up at the doors, Jessica’s world is thrown for a loop when two distinctly different men find their way into her life. Will Jessica be able to follow her heart when she is not even sure who she is anymore?

I wasn’t sure when I started this book how I would feel reading about Jessica. I haven’t had a chance to read the previous two books in the series but I know from reviews and back covers that she is not exactly a joy. I really enjoyed her character arc though and she grew so much throughout the story.

Tracie Peterson certainly knows how to write a story and I always enjoy her work. With many series under her belt, some of which can be read as standalones, I would definitely suggest reading this one in order as a little of the story and character development was lost on me having started at the end. Overall I enjoyed this story and will definitely go back and read the first two books.

***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***


Review: With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

About the book:

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House

In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston holds a respectable position as a government statistician when she encounters a rival from her past, the insufferable Trevor McDonough. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and she's bewildered at the way he suddenly seeks her out. Surprising even herself, Kate agrees to Trevor's entirely unexpected and risky proposal to work side-by-side with him in his quest to rid the world of tuberculosis, a contagious and deadly disease.

As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, she realizes there is much more to him than she could have imagined. His hidden depths may fascinate her, but his most closely guarded secrets and a shadowy enemy lurking in the background carry a serious threat to their future.

When the truth of the past comes out, threatening to destroy everything they hold dear, how will Trevor and Kate ever overcome all that stands in their way?

My review:

            This was my first read by Elizabeth Camden but I will definitely be pulling her other novels out of to be read pile. This author has a way with words and her writing is so elegant it brought the scenes to life for me. As an added bonus, her books always have some of the most beautiful covers!
Kate Livingston had always dreamed of going to college but her hopes were shattered when her high school rival Trevor McDonough won the scholarship award instead. Now she has a respectable government job as a statistician where her ability with numbers could really shine if her insufferable boss didn’t discourage anyone trying to better their position. When Trevor shows up out of the blue with a job offer studying Tuberculosis, Kate leaps at the chance although it will mean working closely with the man who shattered her dreams. Can they learn to trust and forgive each other?
I truly enjoyed every inch of this story. It was interesting learning more about Tuberculosis and seeing how Trevor threw himself into his work with disregard for his own health in order to help others. I loved Kate as well. She was a smart and deeply caring individual who grew a lot as a character. I would recommend this book to historical fans and can’t wait to read more from this author!

***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***


Review: Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering

About the book:
Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering
A Drew Farthering Mystery: Book 3
Bethany House

Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has found smooth waters, Fleur Landis, an old flame, reappears in his life. She's married now, no longer an actress, and he expects she'll soon disappear--until she comes to him in dire need. The lead actor in her old troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would love nothing more than to just focus on his fiance, Madeline, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline dive into the murder, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. Nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. It's Drew's most complicated case yet.
 My review:

Drew Farthering’s life is finally going as planned. He is engaged to the love of his life Madeline and they are happily planning their pending nuptials, and the best part is the only mysteries to be seen are those on the pages of books. That is, until an old flame from Drew’s youth shows up in the most unexpected place with a murder hot on her heels. Needless to say, the future Mrs. Farthering is none too happy and Drew plans to stay as far from this fire as possible. But there is more to this case than meets the eye and Drew, Nick and Madeline can’t seem to help getting drawn in.
I haven’t read many murder mysteries aside Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew when I was younger but Julianna Deering brings back all I loved about the “who-done-it” genre! Drew and Nick are charming heroes who know how to get things done while still being absolute gentlemen and Madeline always reminds me of Nancy Drew.            
Drew and Madeline’s love story has been one of my favorites I have read in a while. The dynamic of their relationship continues to be tested and grow throughout the book as they learn more about each other and their past mistakes.
I won’t spoil the mystery but it kept me guessing until the very end and I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see from this series. I’d recommend this author to any mystery fans!

***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***

Review: Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

About the book:

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer
Bethany House

Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn't even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel's family, the girls' basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she's given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she'd expected.

 My Review:

            Anne Mateer is an author I have yet to read but, Playing by Heart has convinced me to pick up copies of her remaining novels. She weaves together romance, humor and even a bit of basketball history in a book that had me flipping page after page.        

Lula Bowman has spent years trying to do away with the stigma of “Fruity Lu,” a name and reputation she earned in high school. She swore off boys, music, games and all things frivolous in order to pursue a degree in mathematics, still considered a man’s field. However, after disaster strikes her family, she puts her goals on hold to return home and help her sister get back on her feet. She never expected a position as a dual music teacher and girls’ basketball coach, as well as a handsome math teacher, would make her question everything she thought she wanted in her life.

I think my favorite character of this novel was, by far, Chet. He always made an effort to be caring and kind to his mother, although she never made it easy for him, and he truly cared about Blaze and the boys on his basketball team as well as J.C. Lula was also a character I enjoyed reading about. She was smart and resourceful as well as selfless, giving up on her own dreams to help Jewel. I enjoyed how Lula and Chet were drawn to each other without being overly romantic and thought the author neatly avoided the dreaded insta-love, instead using small actions and kindnesses to bring the two together. I enjoyed the story a look forward to the author’s next release!

***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Review: Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

About the book:

Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Tales of Goldstone Wood: Book 7
Rooglewood Press


Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.
But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?
For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

My review:

Masayi Sairu is Golden Daughter, one of the most dangerous and secret weapons of her emperor. Trained to spend her life protecting a patron disguised as a husband, Sairu takes her future into her own hands and finds herself caught up in something far larger than she could ever imagine.

Sairu is such a big, powerful heroine packed into a tiny package. She is full of humor, skill and a smile that can freeze enemies in their tracks. Her companionship with Eanrin felt natural and flowed off the pages. Sunan is a character that is not new and yet completely different from the Sunan readers will be familiar with. I enjoyed seeing Sunan’s origins and hope to see more of him in the future. Jovann is a new hero to Goldstone and I fell in love with him. He is a kind and peaceful soul internally at war with his upbringing and family loyalties. Since childhood he has had a connection to a certain songbird and must find his inner self and strength to become his own man. Lady Hariawan is best described as empty. She is almost completely devoid of emotion and has no sense of self preservation. Her refusal to act has dire cost and I do not believe her tale in the Goldstone is over just yet.

Epic has, for me, become synonymous with the Tales of Goldstone Wood.  Each individual tale is interwoven with threads of biblical stories and well known fairytales, without becoming just another retelling. I feel completely comfortable going ahead and calling this my favorite read of the year! It is packed with enough action and adventure for two books and the ever expanding mythos of Goldstone wood becomes more alluring with each new novel.
***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***