Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Where have we been?

It has been quiet here on the blog for a few weeks now. Why? Well life sped up to some degree and slowed down in other ways. Also I have not read a new book since June this year.

In many ways, I have been on a journey with God that has forced me to simply wait on him for answers and directions. Which has made me unable to read or take in new "friends". These times of waiting and seeking have not been easy. However, God is showing me, ever so slowly that he is wanting me to simply trust him and walk with him. This picture is a reflection of where I have been lately - sitting by quiet waters, drinking in God's goodness, resting in his shadow and learning to love him even more in all things.

I am looking forward to bringing new authors to your attention and some favourites as well in the new year.
Thanks for your patience. :)



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: Tried and True by Mary Connealy

Tried and True by Mary Connealy
Bethany House Publishers, August 26th, 2014
 
Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!
Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister--and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk--they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"--but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future? 


Again, Mary's book arrive when I need them. Our whole house was down with the flu and finally after a few days, I was able to read and Tried and True arrived - what a perfect way to keep the sick blues at bay. The first thing I thought of not long after starting this book was that it reminded me of Mary's Sophie's Daughter's Series - different from it, but similar. I am now in the process of rereading Mary's collection of books: Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie's Daughter's Trilogy - Tried and True inspired me to revisit those characters.

So Tried and True is a lovely book, funny with genuine moments. Kylie and Aaron both fought in the Civil War and those memories haunt them and drive their decisions. I liked Kylie, I liked how she simply embraced being a woman and actually enjoyed it. It was refreshing to read a story, where someone enjoys being what they were created as. She's got the spunk to go along with it too. Aaron was a solid hero, able yet also a man who has made mistakes and is paying for them. These two made a strong couple.

The story played out well and I thought was well paced. I enjoyed meeting Kylie's sisters and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the books when we see how Baily and Shannon fair in the love stakes!


 Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Book Review: Fatal Exchnage by Lisa Harris

Fatal Exchange by Lisa Harris
Revell, April 29th 2014

Emily Hunt might come from a family of cops, but she never goes looking for an adrenaline rush. She lives the quiet--well, relatively quiet--life of a teacher and thrives on making a difference in the lives of her students. But she'll have to draw on a well of strength and savvy she didn't know she had as student Rafael Cerda takes her class hostage for ransom money to save his brother's life.

Undercover cop Mason Taylor has been working with Rafael to find his brother and bring the cartel thugs who hold him to justice. Can he talk Rafael down from his impulsive actions? And is there something more sinister at work here than he realizes?

Fatal Exchange draws readers into a complex matrix of intertwining lives and unraveling secrets, where every answer creates more questions. Romantic suspense fans will hardly want to come up for air.


My first impression of this book was that it wasn't nearly as busy as the previous book in the series, Dangerous Passage - which automatically made it a better book for me. By simply being less busy and focusing on the two main characters more, I was able to enjoy the whole process from beginning to end.

I also liked the two leads in this one. They having an interesting history and it makes for a more compelling read. The situation they are in is tense and keeps the reader on edge. The mystery surrounding the story is solid and had me guessing until the end.

I'm enjoying this series more now.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House Publishers, 27th May 2014
 

When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?


I always look forward to a Karen Witemeyer book and this one sounded interesting. It's the story of a lost soul searching for answers and a woman trying to prove her worth - they collide with fireworks.

Nicole Renard is a strong woman - like many in Witemyer's books. She is assertive and determined to prove her worth to her loving father by protecting them the way a son would his family. This lands her in some hot water, running from her father's enemies. She lands a job transcribing her employer's notes and ends up with more than she bargained for.

Darius Thornton is a tortured man. He's left society life behind to pursue his impossible goal of amending for past incidents that were not his fault and were out of his control. What's also out of his control is his growing feelings for Nicole, who is not all she appears to be. They both keep secrets from each other - to be fair, the secrets if revealed sooner would have made things much smoother. But this is a book, I choose to suspend realty when I read one for the most part.

Overall I enjoyed this book, but I did feel that the relationship between them progressed very quickly. Too quickly for it to be really realistic. Thus making the overall relationship feel a but rushed. I did like Darius and felt him to be the more well rounded of the two main characters. I could empathize with him and liked how he moved through his issues.

A solid read from Witemeyer.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: Imogen's Chance by Paula Vince

Imogen's Chance by Paula Vince
Even Before Publishing, April 1st, 2014

Imogen Browne longs to make up for past mistakes before she can move on. She quietly resolves to help the Dorazio family, whose lives she accidentally upset. Her biggest challenge is Asher, the one person who may never forgive her. And he is facing a crisis of his own. Imogen must tread very carefully, as trying to fix things may well make them shatter. A sensitive story about misplaced loyalty, celebrating life and falling in love. Can family secrets concealed with the best intentions bear the light of day?

This is a thoughtful book, in which relationships are not simple. People are not simple, so this means there are secrets, lies and guilt surrounding people. This is the case in this story. Almost all of the characters have something they are atoning for. None more so than Imogen and Asher - the leads in this story.

Paula Vince handles the subject matter well and as a reader I enjoyed watching the relationship between Imogen and Asher evolve and the really nice thing was, neither character saw it coming. Watching them navigate their way through their feelings was sweet and even when their secrets are revealed and almost all seems lost, they prevail.

A couple of things gave me a little trouble in the book. A few scenes were a little crowded with characters. I couldn't tell who was who at one point early in the book, but that was fairly brief. The second thing that troubled me, was the spiritual conversation. When I say that I'm not saying I didn't want spiritual talk in the book. This is a Christian novel and one expects that it be there. What troubled me was that for me the conversation dragged the story a bit. I found it to be a little on the theological side, which distracted me from the story. Some readers might find this the case, but others might not notice it.

Overall Imogen and Asher stand out easily in this story of hope, faith and healing. I liked them and really enjoyed watching their budding romance unfold and prevail. 



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin
Book 2, Wings of the Nightingale
Revell, 05 August 2014

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?


In Perfect Time is the third and final book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.  Here we finally get to know the real Kay Dobson and hear her story. I've been so looking forward to this story after enjoying the previous two books immensely. I couldn't wait for the book to come out to Australia so I pre-ordered the ebook.

As usual, Sarah brings to life WWII and weaves the story with the setting seamlessly.  At one point in the story the characters find themselves behind enemy lines and despite being tired that evening and not intending to stay up reading, there was no way I could put the book down.

Kay and her attitude has been a curiosity in the earlier books, and pilot Roger Cooper and his renowned avoidance of women an utter mystery.  This combination made a great recipe for anticipation as I started this book. Being finally able to discover the intricacies of their lives and join them as they grew both individually and together was satisfying and exciting - Sarah Sundin did not disappoint!

I loved Kay and Roger - they are both unconventional Christians and unconventional war heroes, making them intriguing and undeniably likeable.  It was a bittersweet ending for me. I was so happy for the outcome for Kay and Roger, but I was sad to say goodbye to the Nightingale girls.  We get to say goodbye to both Mellie and Georgie as well and the three stories are finished and tied up nicely together. 

In Perfect Time is the perfect ending to a beautiful series. I'm ready to go back to With Every Letter and start reading the whole series again!


Helen's favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element.  She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA.  She's not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.

Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review: One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong
Revell, April 29, 2014

Sarah Cooley has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason--because it doesn't change. After an engagement gone bad with a man who wanted to change everything about her, Sarah is more than ready for the town whose motto may as well be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. As the new owner of the Dip 'n' Dine, he's shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his restaurant.

As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance--just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect.

With the same evocative writing and fascinating characters that won fans for her debut novel, Cathleen Armstrong invites readers back to Last Chance for a soul-searching, romantic story of two people navigating the twists and turns of small-town life.


This is the second book in The Place to Call Home series by Cathleen Armstrong. In the first book in the series Welcome to Last Chance, I found it hard to get into. Mainly because the author was focusing on so many characters in the town, that the two main characters got lost a bit. I understand how that can happen with a series set in a small place, where the quirky characters are involved and the first book is alot about setting up for the rest of the series.

I was pleased to find that this book was much more focused than the first. The people of the town have been set up, so it was much easier to focus on the two main characters. Overall Sarah Cooley was an interesting heroine. Torn between two men and possibly two very different futures. She is drawn to one man in an almost love hate kind of way and the other is almost too comfortable to stay with kind of way. Her situation is not usual but it was good to see it played out without the drama. It was more of a low key decision, taken in little steps rather than leaps and bounds, which I liked. She's a strong woman Sarah, who doesn't like change, especially in her small town.

Chris Reed represents change and that threatens Sarah - hence the almost love hate she has with him. Chris is awkwardly persistent, it's cute to watch. He isn't suave and he's trying to hold his niece together, whilst running the dinner and trying to fit in with the locals of Last Chance. He's got it tough, but he's up to the challenge and it suits him. He's likeable and engaging to watch.

I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the third book in this series.

 Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.

Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

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