Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Gift of a Child" by Laura Abbot

About the Book

A Family All Her Own 

At twenty-seven, Rose Kellogg knows it's unlikely that she'll ever marry. Her dreams of motherhood seem hopeless. Until she rescues Alf, a young boy abandoned in her father's barn in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. In Alf, Rose finally has hope again, and she's not alone….

Cattle rancher Seth Montgomery always felt awkward around people, but that's not the case with Rose and Alf. Seth instantly bonds with the shy boy and is eager to help Rose make her dream of a family come true. But when their future with Alf is threatened, will Seth and Rose find the courage to embrace the love they've found in each other?

This book was released in September 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review

“The Gift of a Child” by Laura Abbot is a book that is not your typical romance story. I felt that book moved very slowly, but yet I was very wrapped up in the story-line of what was going on, for it was the romance that moved slowly or so I thought. However, as I got to understand the characters a bit more as the story unfolds, I saw the romance in a totally different way and where the romance had indeed been there all along though it may not be noticeable at the time. Once I understood how the story was unfolding the speed of the story picked up with incredible speed.

Rose is a woman who is so certain of her future, though she is not exactly happy what she foresees to be her future, she is trying to be content. There is something in her past that makes her so certain of her future. She is a woman who easily gives her heart away completely and totally, well for the most part she does. There is a time when she has to make a choice of what to do in the circumstances, and because of the fall out of whatever choice she makes, yet though there is a choice to make it doesn't take her long to think about it. There is a strength about her that she doesn't see in herself but the way she holds herself when facing adversity shows her strength.

Seth is a shy man who is the way he is due to his past. He is not adverse to hard work, but he does have some major things to work out through the story. His heart is pure as gold though for he shows his heart in so many ways. I would have to say that Seth is an unusual hero that is for sure, but what he does though most certainly makes him a hero.

There is something that is holding both Seth and Rose back, which ironically not for the same reason, they fear the same thing. It is interesting to watch how things play out once the truth is discovered for I just wanted to roll my eyes. Once the characters were understood then it was so clear as to how long everyone else could see the truth, yet Seth and Rose were blind to it all.

There was a pretty major story-line that ran through the story, and that is what kept me so into the book, even when I thought that the book was moving so slowly in the romance aspect of the story. I found myself so emotionally invested in the non-romance part of the story that I found myself laughing and crying. Honestly if it hadn't been for that non-romance story-line I might have given up on the book all together and then I would have missed a good book. Maybe it is just me that it took until the last 60 or so pages before everything started to line up in the romance department to make sense, but for me that is how long it took. It was almost as if I had one of those 'duh' moments when everything just clicked and made sense to me.

So if anyone out there is looking at this review wondering if it is worth continuing because of the slow feel to it, keep going for it is worth it in my humble opinion. I really hope all who read this book will enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"His Most Suitable Bride" by Renee Ryan

About the Book

The Marriage List 

No one in Denver knows how close Callie Mitchell once came to ruin. Dowdy dresses and severe hairstyles hide evidence of the pretty, trusting girl she used to be. Now her matchmaking employer wants Callie to help find a wife for the one man who sees through her careful facade.

For his business's sake, Reese Bennett Jr. plans on making a sensible marriage. Preferably one without the unpredictable emotions that spring to life around Callie. Yet no matter how many candidates she presents to Reese, none compare with the vibrant, intelligent woman who is right under his nose—and quickly invading his heart.

Charity House: Offering an oasis of hope, faith and love on the rugged Colorado frontier

My Review

“His Most Suitable Bride” by Renee Ryan is another wonderful story in her 'Charity House' series, but it is the perfect stand alone book too. Though this does kind of pick up on some of the little subtle feelings from “Finally a Bride”, everything that is important to know for this story to make sense is there without feeling like it is retelling the whole story. Also I wonder if with this book we are not given a hint as to who the next story might be about and if it is who I hope it is, I can just imagine that story.

Here is a story of two hurting souls who are hurting from something in their past, so much so that they have kept their secrets from everyone around them, and as a result those secrets helped create the people they are now. The story of how these two wounded souls, who are so certain they are right in what they believe that their future holds for them, is a beautiful story. There is one familiar (if one has read prior 'Charity House' books anyway) person who seems to see beyond self built walls, and helps with a nudge to show these two hurting souls there is something beyond what they believe. It is interesting to see how these two hurting souls learn to re-look at themselves and rethink what they thought to be for the best for themselves.

Normally I explain my impressions of both the hero and heroine but to do that this time there might be some spoilers in that, so I am going to refrain this time around. Both of them go through quite a few changes, one is equal external and internal while the other is mostly internal. It is so interesting to watch the changes that both of them make throughout the story. One of the secrets is hinted at throughout the story until it is finally revealed. This secret held the secret-keeper in a tight grip of guilt and shame for sometime until it came out in the open and the secret-keeper was told that it wasn't their fault. The other secret is a personal secret to the secret-keeper, that trapped the secret-keeper in unforgiveness and guilt.

The conflict within the story is all internal between both Callie and Reese individually, and one meddlesome character who is well meaning. I couldn't help but feel for both Callie and Reese with what they each went through and rejoiced when things started to turn around. I sort of suspected there was more to Callie in her upset in “Finally a Bride” when her sister ended her engagement to Reese in that book, and I did wonder if Callie and Reese wouldn't make a fine couple together, I just didn't realize the depth of feelings until this book. I am not necessarily talking about romantic feelings for each other, but just the depth of feelings of uncertainty that each held.

With the end of the book there is a hint to maybe two other romances and I have to wonder if at least one couple doesn't get their own next book. I have been interested in seeing more about Johnny that is for sure, and for some reason would love to see his story come out as well for I have a feeling there is something more that he is trying to prove for some reason. I think I know who would be perfect for him and that would be Fran, but she has something to learn herself as well I think.

I hope that all who read this book, enjoys it as much as I have. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Other "Charity House" Books

Charity House*
The Marshal Takes a Bride
Hannah's Beau
Loving Bella
The Lawman Claims His Bride
The Outlaw's Redemption
Finally a Bride

*Charity House is technically the 5th book in the series 
but it is a book on how the Charity House started in the first place

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"The Forest Ranger's Christmas" by Leigh Bale

About the book

A Small-Town Christmas

Josie Rushton's in Camlin for the holidays—but not for long. She has just a few weeks to persuade her ailing grandfather to leave his small Nevada town and move closer to her Las Vegas home. But after seventy-five happy years in his house, Gramps isn't going anywhere. Josie can't imagine what's so great about Camlin. When she meets single dad and forest ranger Clint Hamilton, she quickly begins to see the appeal. Clint shows Josie the joys of living in a close-knit community, especially at Christmas. She's soon falling for the town, Clint's charm and his adorable daughter. Can Clint convince her that love and family are the best gifts of all?

This book was released in October 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review

“The Forest Ranger's Christmas” by Leigh Bale is a story of overcoming obstacles both internal and external during the Christmas season which is the time of impossible being possible with enough work. This was a real joy to read that is for sure.

Josie is a woman who is dealing with somethings that has her wondering what the future is going to bring. In a lot of ways she is trying her best to what she thinks is best, but at the same time she is not about to push for her way. Her heart is warm once she allows the barriers to come down some, and likes to look for the good things in life, even when they might be hard to see. During her stay with her Grandfather, Josie discovers some truths that seem to both confuse her and at the same time freed her from her own mind.

Clint is a man who is the typical protector who just wants to help all around him, but he also has a special knowledge that helps with one secret when it comes out. Clint is dedicated to three things in his life: God, his daughter and his job. Clint also is a man who knows how to use compassion when it is going to serve a higher purpose that is for sure. There is one thing wrong with Clint which are the blinders he is wearing about something in regards to his past.

As I said there is a secret that is revealed in this story and it is so encouraging to see how it is handled and overcome as well. This secret when it came out could have been handled in such a bad way that frankly things could have really gotten embarrassing, instead it was handled with love and understanding which made all the difference. This couldn't have been easy to write about but it is was so encouraging at the same time. It is a wonderful reminder that we are never too old to learn new things about life that is for sure.

This story does take place over a matter of weeks, but there was something about the story that made it seem realistic. I enjoyed how it was made clear that there was something compelling about each of the main characters more than just simple chemistry between the two. The way the story is told, the amount of time that is spent in each others company, and the fact that yes they were interested but knew the facts as to what was going to happen at the end of the season. I waited for so long for that first kiss, and frankly I have to say that I was disappointed that it didn't happen sooner.

The Christmas message that I took away from this book is forgiveness and understanding. Forgiveness of oneself and from those who are/were close to us. Sometimes forgiveness is not an easy thing that is without a doubt, and it always seems that the person who is hardest to forgive is ourselves. The understanding comes from finally seeing the big picture from another point of view. There are several conclusions that really help open eyes and hearts throughout the story.

I hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Rescuing the Texan's Heart" by Mindy Obenhaus

About the Book

Melting His Heart

Cash Coble is desperate for a change. After working in the family business for ten years, he's stressed out and overworked. When he heads to Colorado to visit his ailing grandfather, he finds his mood lifted by the beautiful woman living next door. After a troubled past, ice climber Taryn Purcell isn't looking for love. Especially not with a charming Texan who's consumed by work. But there's something about Cash that captures her heart. Never one to back down from a challenge, Taryn promises to show Cash how to carve out a happy life—one that includes her.

Buy "Rescuing the Texan's Heart" from Barnes&Noble
Buy "Rescuing the Texan's Heart" from Harlequin

This book will be released in September 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed.

My Review

“Rescuing the Texan's Heart” by Mindy Obenhaus is a wonderful reminder to parents to watch what they say they say to their children. Maybe this was a subtle message, however, this was a major message that I seem to take from this book. I always love a book when a message seems to be directed at me for some reason for it makes me think even harder about the message and the book.  It also made me smile considering I always joked with my child about being out of the house when he graduated from High School, and what happens he left just a little over a week later to reach for his dream of being the Army.

Taryn, who was first seen in “The Doctor's Family Reunion”, is a woman who we see a little bit of her past in the first book, but in this book we see so much more. Here is a woman who loves the outdoors, but also loves helping those around her. She has a secret that she has kept to herself for so long that this seems to start to change her over the years to where she is not so open with those close to her now. Taryn is also a woman who likes to have fun in life, bring fun into other peoples lives and showing them something new about themselves if she has a chance to do so.
Cash is a man that has done what was expected of him, regardless what he wanted to. Here is man who is beginning to learn a few things about himself so it is a bit hard to describe him as to who his character is for if I explain more than that then I feel as I would be giving away something.

There is a lot of learning about oneself in this book for both Cash and Taryn. Some of it is little things about themselves that they never saw before, and some the things they learn are pretty important which can lead to some changes in their lives. Some of the things that are learned between one or both of them is learning to forgive oneself, being honest with their feeling with those who are important to them, to finally seek their dreams, and to seek forgiveness from those around them. It is how these lessons are learned is in part of what made this book so good that I couldn't put down the book, and hated to do so when I had to get up to make dinner (which I found the easiest and quickest thing to fix so I could get back to the book sooner).

I always love reading a book when there seems to be a special message in it that makes me feel as if the book was meant just for me. I don't think I ever did or said anything like the parents in this book did, but does my son ever think I meant something I might have said in anger or in passing, which has kept him from doing something he wanted or telling me something important. However, I plan on sitting down and talking with my child to let him know that I love him and there is nothing that he has or will do that will ever make me stop loving him.

When a book like this makes me think and wonder like this, I have to say that the book is a top rated book in my eyes. Then add to that, the great story line of learning lessons like this book does among other things, I would have to say that this book has a powerful punch for being a “Love Inspired” book, for I normally get this much self reflection out of the longer novels. I would so recommend this book to anyone and I hope that all who do read this book enjoys it as much as I did and maybe get something out of the book that speaks to them.

"The Nanny Arrangement" by Lily George

About the Book

A family in the making 

Becoming nursemaid to Paul Holmes's orphaned niece seems like the perfect solution to Becky Siddons's problems. After having her romantic hopes dashed, she's determined to focus solely on her charge and not the little girl's handsome uncle. Until Becky realizes she is losing her heart to a man determined to keep his own under lock and key….

Paul had hoped hiring Becky would allow him to keep a distance from his niece, a reminder of his late sister—and his failings in raising her. Yet he soon finds himself enjoying spending time with outspoken, impulsive Becky and the child. Can he take a chance on this unexpected, joyful new family?

This book was released in October 2014
I received this book from Ms. George in exchange for an honest review

My Review

“The Nanny Arrangement” by Lily George is the second book in her "Home to Tansley" series and wow oh wow it was as good as the first. This one did that have that fairy tale feel to it but yet there was something more to it as well. This story is a Regency era book set in England 1811 but at the same time it seems as if it is a timeless love story. Though this book does center around Becky Siddon, the middle sister, it is not important to have read the first book. although it is really truly worth the time to read it. The hero of this book is Paul, who was also seen in the first book and I so wanted to see more of him as well from that first book.

Becky is a young lady who is romantic and artistic not to mention trying to figure out which way works for her the best. When her romantic hopes are dashed, she agrees to help Paul by being the nursemaid to his niece, and while doing so she learns quite about herself. She has certain ideas about how things should be done, but when things don't quite right she is a little uncertain about what to do.  She is set on though making things better for her young charge even if it means going toe to toe with other people like a momma bear protecting her cub.  Becky's faith is strong and a light that shines brightly throughout the story without it being in your face preachy.

Paul is a man who is frankly running from so many things, that it is amazing that he had the priorities that he did have at all. Here is a man who goes through a lot of changes throughout the story and it was so interesting in watching how those changes took place. He was not preached to in order to change things in life, but there was some subtle pressure put on him by an unexpected character that is for sure. I truly loved watching the change in Paul for there is such a difference from the start of the book Paul to the end of the book Paul.

I would have to say that there is not a lot of external conflict, but more of this being the story of Paul and his change. I really wish I could say more to the conflict but if I do then I risk giving something away, and I hate when people give spoilers in their reviews so I try to avoid that as much as possible.

The way this story is told, it is hard not to be drawn in the struggles that both Becky (yes she is struggling as well) and Paul are going through. I really need to remember my limit on times as to when I start reading a book for I didn't finish this book until nearly 2 in the morning for I had to see how everything is resolved. It almost seemed as if one thing resolves then another thing pops up until all those pieces fall into place for the fairy tale ending.

With “A Rumored Engagement” it didn't have that fairy tale feel to it, which really suited Susannah who was a no nonsense kind of character.  Then with “The Nanny Arrangement” the book had that fairy tale feel which really suits Becky. It is going to be interesting to see how Nan's story is going to come out. I think there is something about Nan that we just don't know yet but will explain so much about her.  I think it is so wonderful when a story is told in which it suits one of the characters like these books do.

I really hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.

Other "Home to Tansley" Books

"A Rumored Engagement" by Lily George

About the Book

Her Once And Future FiancĂ© 

It was a bold plan—become engaged to one man to avoid marrying another. Three years ago, Susannah Siddons had little choice. But with no communication since, she considers her alliance with Daniel Hale entirely ended—and her heart well and truly bruised. Until new gossip jeopardizes the Siddons sisters' millinery shop, and Daniel proposes once more.

To court one's own fiancĂ©e…how does a man even begin? Daniel owes it to Susannah—and to the shambles he has made of his responsibilities so far—to start again. In truth, marrying Susannah would be far more than just a duty; it's his dearest wish. If he can only persuade her to say "yes" a second time.

This book was released in May 2014
I received this book from Ms. George in exchange for an honest review

*I used the review from my Goodreads account for this blog post
for it was originally posted back in May of 2014*

My Review

“A Rumored Engagement” by Lily George is a regency era book but I would have to say, regardless what era this book would have taken place in, it was the most down to earth book that I have read in a long time. This quite frankly is not like other regency era books that I have read, which always has that fairy tale feel too it which is one of the reason's why I like the regency era, but this book was something so much better with the way it was written, how the story unfolded, and how the characters interacted with each other.

The hero, Daniel Hale, is a man with numerous flaws that at first he got on my nerves for the way he acted and treated others. Slowly though there are changes made within himself, and around him. I found that this is a man who has more strength than many others for his flaws were big ones, ones that were not simple things to fix, but he went about changing those flaws. It took great strength to admit where we was failing as well, and strength to deal with the things he had to deal with because of his changes. I would have to say that regardless how I saw Daniel at the beginning of the story he in fact turned out to be one of the strongest hero's I have read in a long time. I know that Daniel Hale is a fictional character but while reading the book it was hard sometimes to remember that he was, for the way he acted, thought and so on, at times reminded me of one person or another that I know who are not fictional.

Susannah is a heroine who really didn't have the best of life over the last few years as a result she learned some lessons along the way that she is having a hard time giving up. Susannah is so sure of herself, sure that she right, and yet at the same time she doubts herself and what is the right thing to do at times. It is this confidence and self doubt that endeared this character to me. I can understand her hurt and even feel it throughout the story as it unfolded, and felt her struggle as well with everything.

I have to say that often in books there is talk of the comprise that is made when getting married but this book seemed to take that just a little bit further. I found that in itself to be absolutely wonderful for what they had to comprise, or give up was not something that meant only something minor, but the give and take was on some pretty big issues. To me it is because of this give and take, the way it was dealt within the story, and how the characters handled it all, is what really made this book down to earth like it was. I also just loved the way the approach of marriage was taken with the give and take on both sides of the marriage.

I do hope that in the future books we will see Paul again for here is a secondary character that just screams he needs his own happy ever after with the little background that was given about him. Here is another character that has to undergo some changes for the better but I think there is something underneath all of it that really could make a wonderful hero for some lucky heroine, that I wonder if we don't already know who that might be.

I so hope that everyone who reads this book enjoys it as much as I did.

Other "Home to Tansley" Books

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Married by Christmas" by Karen Kirst

About the Book

An inconvenient wedding 

Wherever Caleb O'Malley goes, trouble follows, and trouble is the last thing Rebecca Thurston needs. But when Caleb appears—gravely wounded—at Rebecca's Smoky Mountain cabin, she can't turn him away. His life depends on her kindness, but she never anticipated it would lead to an unwanted proposal.

Caleb never forgave himself for the accident that ended Rebecca's engagement and destroyed her life. He doesn't want to hurt her again. But after a week recuperating at her cabin, there is only one way for Caleb to protect both their reputations from scandal. Neither of them wants to tie the knot, but as Rebecca and Caleb spend time together, will they find there's more to their marriage than convenience?

Smoky Mountain Matches: Dreams of home and family come true in the Smoky Mountains

Buy "Married by Christmas" from Barnes&Noble
Buy "Married by Christmas" from Harlequin

This book was released in October 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed.

My Review

“Married by Christmas” by Karen Kirst is the fifth book in her 'Smokey Mountain Matches' but this is a complete stand alone book so there is no worries about missing something, other than wonderful stories. This is the story of forgiveness and moving from the past into the future God has plans for us. It was this forgiveness that worked so nicely in this Christmas story.

Rebecca is a woman who is facing some interesting times when she is faced with the choice of helping or ignoring someone who is in need, and she shows her strength and morals when she does what some might thought foolish. Her heart is tender to all who are in need regardless who they are, or have two-legs or four. Rebecca is a woman who also puts others ahead of herself, and a hard time seeing what she really is needing instead of what she thought she wanted.

Caleb is a man who is haunted by his past and has been trying to do what he could to make up for what happened in the past. Here is a man who can't see the truth because of the blinders he wears at times. He is honorable and not quite who he projects himself to be, to those around him. To watch him struggle throughout the story was a bit hard to do but the end was worth the travel that is for sure.

There is a shared past with Rebecca and Caleb that makes this story so much more than a marriage to shut up the rumors that are spread by people who should know better, especially in this case. With other Christmas stories I tend to suspend my sense of realism for things normally happen then in a few short weeks love has fully bloomed and marriage is in the works. Though I do believe in love at first sight it is hard to always believe that it only happens at Christmas time, but then again Christmas is when we want those perfect happy endings. This story though, with the shared history, we are able to see inside the characters before anything is forced, that made me wonder what really happened in the past.

The past is brought fourth in so many ways that it now must be dealt with on so many different fronts for so many of the characters, since it really never was dealt with at the time of the event/events. It is the way it is dealt with that really made this story so wonderful for there was no easy path to get to the point that they did end of the book. Then there is the various levels of forgiveness that needs to be given and received, that really helped keep the book moving to see how that was all going to play out.

Oh boy the conflict of the story is something else that is for sure. We are told the reason behind what has started the villains on the path that they had taken and I actually felt sorry for the leader of the gang, and hope that they find something more than the path of hate that they have taken.  I can't remember the last time I actually felt sorry for a villain but I did with this one.

This is a wonderful Christmas story not to mention the healing that takes place at the end of the book. I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.

Other "Smokey Mountain Marriages" Books

The Reluctant Outlaw
The Bridal Swap
Smokey Mountain Christmas in the book "The Gift of Family"
His Mountain Miss
The Husband Hunt

"Stranded with the Rancher" by Tina Radcliffe

About the Book

The Doctor and the Cowboy

Stranded at single father Dan Gallagher's ranch during a Colorado blizzard, Dr. Beth Rogers is counting the days till the roads are clear. She can't wait to leave for her exciting new life in New York. But suddenly the big-city doctor is delivering babies in log cabins, helping to feed newborn calves and teaching Dan's little girl to play hymns on the piano. No-nonsense Beth even throws a snowball or two at the handsome, love-shy cowboy. She thought she had her heart set on leaving, so why does she dream of Dan asking her to stay forever?

Buy "Stranded with the Rancher" from Barnes&Noble
Buy "Stranded with the Rancher" from Harlequin

This book will be released in September 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed.

My Review

“Stranded with the Rancher” by Tina Radcliffe is a book that moves at a record pace but at the same time it almost seems to be the slowest book on record. I heard my mother's words repeated several times through Elsie with her humor and wisdom. The time that all the main events happen may have taken place over a week or so, but the way they happened made the whole story seem realistic and not some kind of thrown together story where boy meets girl and they fall in love. There are hurdles to overcome without a doubt, and discoveries to be made that made this book that seem so fast while at the same time so slow.

Beth is a woman, who right or wrong, does the things she has done for a reason that she just can't seem to let go of. This reason is revealed throughout the story and it also makes Beth seem so much more approachable in a strange way. Beth likes to be kept busy and to be needed. During her little detour she has learned a whole lot more about herself, life and God, which has made her rethink some things about herself. Beth's heart is also large and encompassing though maybe it is not all that noticeable.

Dan has been burned in the past and is not willing to make the same mistake again, though he is not above making other mistakes. Dan firmly believes in what he does and how it is a ministry to help others, and he has no problems of trying to help out someone when it is within his power. Dan's story is a little slow in coming out but when it does it makes sense as why he is feeling the way he does and why he does what he does. Dan knows how to laugh freely, shows his affections easy enough with his family and isn't afraid of hard work.

I so enjoy romance stories when there is a sense of realism to it, though I know that is not always the case, and love at first sight is one of those story-lines that more in likely is done either very very well or very very bad, but in my opinion this story was done remarkably well. It didn't feel as if anything was forced between Beth and Dan, and frankly it was hard sometimes, to remember that they only knew each other a very short time. I had been waiting for that first kiss for sometime for the attraction that both Dan and Beth felt for each other filled the pages so subtly that I knew it was there but it wasn't the main focus either. It is this kind of developing relationship that just seems so frustrating and sweet at the same time.

There are lessons to be learned, changes and discoveries to be made which are accomplished throughout the story. There is nothing really preachy, though God is most certainly front in center in the book. It seemed as if this was a book that showed how effective it can be when one shows their love for others and God, instead of preaching about God, and how it is better to be honest when asked questions. A couple of times though it seems as if those answers were given even before the question was asked but it was perfectly timed. Certain character's were very open about their relationship with God which helped open others eyes and hearts in a very beautiful and unobtrusive way.

I hope that all who read this book, enjoys it as much as I did.