Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

I was so excited when I saw this was available for review on Netgalley (what a great website!), but I admit I was a tiny bit nervous as well. Would it be as good as Edenbrooke? Well, I was not disappointed. Right from the start I knew I was going to like this one, especially our hero Henry. He was perfect, I loved everything about him. He has the best lines; I had to re-read a few of the scenes between him and Kate. I thought Henry and Kate had great chemistry, I loved them together. You do wonder though how things are going to work out and what is keeping them apart. I loved the flashback scenes and a part of me wanted to slap Kate for not realizing what was in front of her! But, I can’t go into that without spoilers, but it does make sense why. I liked Kate, even more as the story goes on. She was  genuinely a good person and has a good heart. I like that even though she is still discovering herself, she was confident and intelligent. She sees the good in others and doesn’t hold grudges for those who do not like her. Her family was awful! Her mother, wow. There are just so many things I’d like to write, but I don’t want to give any spoilers.

I thought Blackmoore had a different feel to it than Edenbrooke, maybe it was the obstacles they had to overcome to be together, or how awful Kate’s family is. But the romance was great, filled with tension and the wondering if things are going to work out. All I know is, Henry gives Phillip a run for his money! It was a great story with great characters. I again loved the scenes with Henry and Kate, especially on the tower. Mmmm. This is one of those books you’ll want to re-read as soon as you finish.

Content: Clean.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Book Trek Challenge

My friend posted this on Facebook and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. New LDSFiction is hosting a challenge to read LDS authors during the month of July (you don’t have to be LDS to participate). They will be giving away prizes throughout the month as well. I was a little surprised by how many LDS authors were out there, I guess I never gave it too much thought. I was familiar with some, but surprised with others. I had come up with a list of about fifty books, but even I can’t read that fast. So, for now I’ve narrowed it down to thirty. I know there is no way I’ll be able to read thirty books next month with everything I have going on, but I just couldn’t narrow it down anymore.  

Traci H Abramson       Deep Cover                           
Nancy C Allen              The Grecian Princess             
Heather Moore           Heart of the Ocean                
Rachael Anderson     Divinely   Designed         
Rachel A Nunes           A Bid for Love                   
Clair Paulson               Switchback                             
Anita Stansfield           Towers of Brierley                 
Josie Kilpack                Lemon Tart                            
Karey White                For What Its Worth               
Wanted                       Kathi O Peterson                    
Natalie Whipple          Transparent                           
Kasie West                  Distance Between Us             
Sian Ann Bessey          Within the Dark Hills             
Krista L Jensen             The Orchard               
Stacy Henrie                Lady Outlaw                           
Michele A Bell             A Modest Proposal     
Lindsey Leavitt                  Going Vintage      
Rachael Anderson       Working it Out                       
Jordan McCollum        I, Spy                                       
Tristi Pinkston             Turning Pages                        
Jennifer Clark              Knight of Redmond                
Stephanie Fowers        With a Kiss                             
Lynn Kurland               Dreams of Stardust                
Cindy Bennett             Rapunzel Untangled               
Cheree Alsop               Thief Prince                            
Kelly Oram                  Seriel Hottie                           
Shannen Camp            Finding June                           
Jenni James                 Sleeping Beauty                     
Ally Condie                  Reached                                 
Jenniffer Wardell        Fairy Godmothers, Inc.                       

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Longing for Home by Sarah M Eden

Twenty-six-year-old Katie Macauley has placed all her hope in Hope Springs, a small town in the 1870 Wyoming Territory. But if she wants to return home to Ireland to make amends with her estranged family, she'll need to convince the influential Joseph Archer to hold true to his word and keep her on his payroll as his housekeeper despite her Irish roots. The town is caught in an ongoing feud between the Irish and the "Reds" the frontiersmen who would rather see all the Irish run out of town and the Irish immigrants who are fighting to make a home for themselves in the New World. When Joseph agrees to keep Katie on as his housekeeper, the feud erupts anew, and Katie becomes the reluctant figurehead for the Irish townsfolk. As the violence escalates throughout the town, Katie must choose between the two men who have been vying for her love though only one might be able to restore hope to her heart.

I liked this one. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but overall I liked it. Our heroine, Katie, has a lot of spunk. She has had a very hard life and is pretty hard on herself. She has moved to Wyoming to try and earn enough money to move back to Ireland to help out her estranged family. Once there she finds a new family and friends who love and accept her. With their friendship she really starts to warm up and open her heart to letting people in. Her sad story is a constant part of the story and you can’t help feeling sorry for her and rooting for her to find peace.

When she arrives in the small town of Hope Springs it stirs up an old rivalry between the Irish and non-Irish. I know these prejudices existed, but it was sure hard to read about. I have never been able to understand how people can be so cruel to one another, especially over something as stupid as where they were born. It is especially hard to read about supposedly Christian people who would hate someone just because of their nationality. And it’s sad that their preacher would encourage this kind of discrimination. He should know better.

So, aside from Katie’s sad past and all the turmoil with the townsfolk, I think what I had the hardest time with was the love-triangle. I am just not a fan of these, as many of you know. While I loved both Joseph and Tavish, I always feel this plot distracts from the courtship. Both guys are hard working, charming and care a great deal for Katie. I liked that they put her first and were always doing things to support her and make her feel welcome. I'm think I'm on Team Tavish, but I sure hope there is someone for Joseph. Since this is the first book in the series, hopefully it will end with everyone getting their own happily ever after.

It did seem like the first in a series, where there is a lot of set-up and back story, but not a whole lot happens. I look forward to continuing the series and seeing where things go. If you like historical fiction I suggest picking it up, Ms. Eden is a great storyteller.

Content: Clean.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Glimmer of Hope by Sarah M. Eden

Stunning Miranda Harford once had the world at her feet. She was young, carefree, and desperately in love. But when her new husband left for London without her, her world fell apart. Devastated by his abandonment, Miranda fled their home, taking residence at her husband’s rarely visited countryside estate. For three years, she lived alone. But now, as the holidays draw near, an unexpected visitor arrives . . .

Carter Alexander Harford, Seventh Viscount Devereaux, is a man driven to succeed. His work is his life, and the position of Prime Minister of England is within reach. But in truth, Carter is a man haunted by lost love. Estranged from his beautiful wife, Carter is shocked to find Miranda—the woman he’d loved and who he believes has left him—in residence at his country home.

As plans for a holiday party move forward, the uneasy couple realizes that to avoid further scandal, they must keep up appearances in a charade of marital happiness. Thrust together by fate, it quickly becomes clear that they have both been living beneath a conspired cloud of misunderstanding. As family, career, and social pressures threaten to keep them apart, can love have even a glimmer of hope?

I don’t remember exactly how I came upon Ms. Eden’s books, but it was a few years ago while I was living in San Diego. I read the description on a few of her books and Through All Hopes stood out to me. I love the whole lost-love plot and this one sounded especially good. I went to Amazon and ordered a copy. I waited and waited and after a month or two Amazon emailed me and said they were unable to fulfill the request. As some of you know, Ms. Eden’s earlier books were no longer being published at that time, I believe she was working with a new publisher and had learned that she would eventually be re-releasing them. I was so disappointed; I wanted to read Through All Hopes and was sad I wouldn’t be able to. At least not for a long time. When her books started coming out again I couldn’t wait, after reading Courting Miss Lancaster (I think that was the first one re-published) I knew I was hooked. I was beyond excited when I saw on Ms. Eden’s Facebook page the other day that Glimmer of Hope was coming out and that it was the new version of Through All Hopes.

So, my expectations for this one may have been a little high. While I wasn’t by any means disappointed, I was surprised how the story unfolded. I liked our heroine Miranda, she is easy to like and relate to. The story starts three years after her husband, Carter, abandoned her. I liked that the story picks up right when Miranda and Carter meet again after being separated for three years. You have a lot of questions about what happened to cause the separations, since from each characters POV each thought the other had left. So there is a bit of a mystery about what had kept them apart. There is some great tension between the two and a lot of hurt feelings. I liked that we got to hear from Carter’s POV, I think we actually get more of him than Miranda. I liked seeing the growth and understanding he goes through. I wasn’t too surprised by the reasons for the separation, but it does break your heart to think of all they had missed out on. tupid interfering family! (hide spoiler)] On top of everything else going on with them reuniting and a sudden house party, there is also a mystery about Miranda. Something is just a little off. 

[ It turns out that Miranda has a heart condition and is not that healthy. She tires easily and is on a special diet. One where her mean mother-in-law forbids her to partake of. The seriousness of her condition I think took me by surprise. It definitely makes Carter really reconsider his life and decisions, but it’s also kind of a downer. I was left feeling a little uncertain about their future. I would have LOVED an epilogue where it’s a few years down the road and they were still happy and she was doing well. Maybe have a baby or two. Although, with her condition having a baby might not be the safest thing. I still would have liked a little more closure in regards to her health. I loved that they reconciled and it seemed genuine that they would put each other first and be sure to communicate better in the future. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I really enjoyed the story and I probably would end up liking it more the second time around. Ms. Eden can’t write fast enough, I love her stories and characters and I’m always sad when I finish her books. Maybe I should read slower?

Content: Squeaky Clean.
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