A Dangerous Legacy

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A Dangerous Legacy is the latest novel from Elizabeth Camden.  As of now it is a stand-alone, but a sequel is on its way.

One thing I love about Camden’s novels is the unique perspective on historical details that she centers on in each novel.  For instance, in A Dangerous Legacy Camden weaves in details about the race to string a telegraph wire across the Pacific, a Panama Canal versus a Nicaraguan canal, and getting running water in the upper floors of buildings.  These are the kinds of technological advancements that I don’t often think of or take time to appreciate, but that I enjoy when Camden brings to light in her novels.

As for characters and plot, this book includes the angsty romance typical of Camden’s works, where the characters don’t like each other but end up having to work together, then end up falling in love, the male character deciding that it just won’t work out, and then the heroine saving the day and the man falling head over heels for her all over again.

So, all in all, I’m a little disappointed that it’s just the same ol’, same ol’ with a new historical focus.  I do like the cover, however, and it was cool that it released on my birthday. 🙂

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

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Blue Ridge Sunrise

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Blue Ridge Sunrise is the latest novel by Denise Hunter and is the first in the new “Blue Ridge Romance” series.  As a Georgia girl myself, I’m lovin’ these books set in my home state! While this is in its own series, I was delighted to find references to the characters from Sweetbriar Cottage and The Wishing Season.  Like any other by Ms. Hunter, I gobbled this up in practically one sitting; it did not disappoint!

Zoe has always felt out of place in her own family.  She went off to pursue music instead of a law degree, fell for the farmer as a teen instead of a rich young businessman or something, and had a baby at nineteen.  Having now returned to her hometown after the death of her grandmother and inheriting her grandmother’s peach orchard, what will she do with her second chance? Will she stick with her current overprotective, abusive boyfriend, or is there a second chance with her first love? Will she settle down and run the orchard or continue to pursue fame?

Although this had some similar vibes to Becky Wade’s Meant to Be Mine, it became its own story.  Once I got the characters straight, it was fairly predictable, but still worth reading.  It was cute, it was suspenseful, it was southern.  And it oozed charm.  The setting drew me in, obviously, but I stayed in the story because I fell for its characters.  (Having just bought a bunch of peaches to enjoy while reading this story didn’t hurt either.)  I really, really enjoyed seeing the characters grow and come out of their shells, learn to forgive and to let go of the past.  This is a story with a lot of heart that you should not miss! 5 stars!

Thank you to Net Galley and to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

The Regency Brides Collection

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The Regency Brides Collection is another novella collection released from Barbor publishers, this time with a Regency theme.  I downloaded it as soon as I heard that there was a short story included by MaryLu Tyndall, as she is one of my favorite authors.  While hers and Ms. Griep’s were my favorites, the other five short stories were an enjoyable way to spend an hour as well.  The story about the three little matchmakers was just adorable!

These novella collections are so fun; each with a common theme and they only take about an hour or so to read.  They are perfect when you don’t have the time or attention span for a full novel.

Thank you to Barbour publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Love Held Captive

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Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray is the third book in the Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series, and it picks up with both Major Ethan Kelly and Captain Devin Monroe’s stories, more of the prisoners during the Civil War that the previous books in the series has followed.

Major Ethan Kelly is haunted by the face of the woman at the house he led his soldiers to raid during the War Between the States.  He could see in her eyes she was hurting and desperate, but his men had to eat.  When the same sprite of a woman barges in his hotel room, trying to escape from another man in the hotel who Kelly knew in the war and who always rubbed him the wrong way, the plot thickens.

Meanwhile, Captain Devon Monroe is bewitched by the lovely Julianne, but he doesn’t know the secrets she hides.  When Kelly calls for help in dealing with the man from his past, neither of them could have bargained for how intertwined all of their pasts are.

This book was an interesting conclusion to the series.  All I could think while reading it was “what a small world!”.  I did feel as if the plot could have moved faster; by the time the book finished it seemed as if it had only covered a couple of day’s worth of time, and that the characters didn’t know each other well enough for a romance, no matter how tied together their pasts were.  Something about the plot just seemed odd, but I can’t put my finger on it.  I will say that while the first book in the series was my favorite, I did really appreciate the hard topics that this whole series dealt with, from suicide to rape and from war to true love.  It made the characters more deep and relatable.

Thank you to Zondervan for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

To Wager Her Heart

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To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander is the third novel in the “Belle Meade Plantation” series.  I read the second book, To Win Her Favor, but not the first.  Each work well as a stand-alone.

Alexandra Jamison is the daughter of a wealthy businessman in Nashville post Civil War, and she’s picked up an idea of how business works in the Reconstruction politics.  Hence, when a rugged Colorado businessman comes into town trying to expand his railroad, she doesn’t think he’ll get very far.  He rubs her the wrong way: in his lack of refinement, in his connection to railroads, and in his overall attitude.  Alexandra, still struggling with some post-traumatic stress from a horrific railroad accident that killed her fiancé, wants nothing to do with railroads yet everything to do with her late fiancé’s dream of educating freedmen, but she has no idea just how connected those things are.

I did really enjoy this book.  Like another reviewer said, it was hard to get into, but once I got into it (at about 100 pages) I thought it was worth.  The story was inspiring, the characters heart-warming, and the message one worth cheering for.  The struggle of everyday people of various races and societal classes was well portrayed and pulled at my heartstrings.  I would highly recommend to lovers of historical novels.

Thank you to Zondervan publishers and the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Book Look Bloggers program for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Just Look Up

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Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh is a really cute, relevant book.  It is a stand-alone and is my first by this author; I’ve been wanting to read something of hers after seeing so many of my favorite authors gush about her writings.

Lane Kelley is an interior designer who is very focused on her career and the company she’s involved in.  She has worked to distance herself from her childhood hometown and make a name for herself in Chicago and the interior design industry.  It’s all she thinks about, all she does, all she focuses on.  She sleeps, eats, and breathes her career.  It’s not until she receives a devastating phone call that her brother has been in a motorcycle accident that she slowly begins to wake up and look at those around her instead of being so solely focused on herself.

Ryan Brooks is Lane Kelley’s brother’s best friend, and was in the accident with him.  He had a childhood crush on Lane, and when she comes back to town to check on her brother, he’s hit all over again by his attraction to her, and he determines this is his moment to try and win her heart.  Will she be able to tear her eyes away from her phone and her thoughts away from work for long enough to notice him?

This is a sweet story that shares a good message about taking time away from your phone and paying attention to friends and family.  It’s appropriate for all ages.  I thought the plot moved along pretty well, albeit predictable, and I liked Ryan’s character.  I will admit it was a lot harder to like Lane because she was SO focused on her phone for so much of the story that it look me a while to find a reason to feel compassion for her.  But a note to those who feel the same way about Lane: stick it out.  She does have some redeeming qualities and a backstory that will help you realize why she acts the way she does.

Thank you to Tyndale House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Click the link below to watch the book trailer for Just Look Up!

Just Look Up Book Trailer

With You Always

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With You Always by Jody Hedlund is the first full book in the “Orphan Train” series.  I say “first full book” because Hedlund released a prequel novella to the series, which is currently free on the Kindle platform, and is entitled “An Awakened Heart”.

Elise Neumann is a German immigrant who, with her siblings, has lost everything, including her parents.  Now as she tries to make a life for herself and sisters in America, she must rely on God and the charity of others.  When riots and gang rivalries happen on the streets, the rich and poor clash together to find safety.  Will this mixing of social circles remain after the storm passes? Or will things go back to the way they were? Can Elise and her sisters survive when the market crashes and she loses the job she fought so hard to get? What will become of the fragile life she has built for herself? Will she have to apply for a job out west and leave her siblings behind?

Thornton Quincy is the son of one of the most influential and wealthy men in New York City.  As his father’s death nears, his father issues a challenge to Thornton and his twin brother.  Whichever brother can create a successful town along the railway and find true love in six months will receive the inheritance.  When his world collides with Elise’s, will his eyes be opened to the hardships of the poorer classes, or will he move on with his life?

I liked the premise of this story.  Orphan train novels have always had the ability to tug at my heartstrings, and given that the main character was a young German immigrant, which I can relate to seeing as my grandmother was such, I expected to fall in love with this story from the outset.  However, I felt the story was very slow moving, and the way Thornton met Elise and related to her for the first 60-70% of the story struck me as being more on the creepy side than on the tender side.  Additionally, there wasn’t really an “orphan train” element to the story, more of a “women sent out west looking for work”.  I liked the end of the story though, although it was predictable.  I was able to believe Thornton’s motives and come to like him as a person/character in the last 30% of the book, and Elise’s character began to gain some sympathy from me as well.  Hopefully this series will get better with every book, as Hedlund’s lighthouse keepers series did.

Thank you to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Heart on the Line

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Heart on the Line is the latest historical Western romance by Karen Witemeyer.  It’s book two of the “Ladies of Harper’s Station” series, the first being No Other Will Do.  (Note: There is a novella that takes place between these two books entitled “Worth the Wait”.)  This book also works fine as a stand alone, although the setting and background of the town of Harper’s Station and the ladies that live there is explained in No Other Will Do.

Grace Mallory is the telegraph operator of Harper’s Station, and she has begun an anonymous friendship with a telegraph operator of another station on the wire after hours.  When troubles come Grace’s way, this operator must decide if he wants to step in and protect a woman he’s never met, or turn a blind eye.

I thought the set-up was pretty unique and this book was charming.  The characters and all their quirks made me smile instead of swoon, and as such I would recommend this to someone wanting a light read but one that still contains a fair amount of action and intrigue to keep things moving along.  While I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first in the series, I still think it’s worth reading for the cleverness of the plot and characters.

Thank you to Bethany House and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

When Tides Turn

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When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin is the third book in the “Waves of Freedom” series.  I read this series out of order but every book made sense by itself.  I enjoyed this series immensely because I could tell there was a lot of research put into each book, and each character was unique and had their own perspectives and stories to tell, even though they were all intertwined.

This book concludes the series with the story of Quintessa “Tess” Beaumont, a woman known for her beauty but who is tired of only being seen on surface level.  In an effort to do something with her life and use her brains, she joins the WAVES.  In addition to hoping to be known for her brains rather than beauty, she hopes to overcome her crush on her best friend’s brother, Dan Avery.

Dan is a serious, practical man whose stark, quiet nature is quire the contrast to Tess’s bubbly personality.  The two clash repeatedly, but when their divisions of the Navy are assigned to work together, will they be able to get along and focus on tasks to help the fate of the second World War?

I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite book in this series.  Each has similar elements in that it is set in WWII and each book is about a different member of the Avery family and includes some element of mystery, but they are each unique as the characters overcome their own set of struggles and help out in the war effort.  I’d highly recommend this series to lovers of historical, mystery, and romance novels.

Thank you to Revell publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*