Monday, February 23, 2015

After a Fashion (A Class of Their Own #1) by Jen Turano

Title: After a Fashion (A Class of Their Own #1)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 352
Release Date: February 24, 2015 (Kindle) March 3, 2015 (Print)
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself without an income.

     Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiancee causing the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.

     Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can’t make her fashionable. She’ll never truly fit into Oliver’s world, with its fancy dinners and elegant balls, but just as she’s ready to call off the fake relationship a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

My review:

     This is a delightful historical romantic comedy!

     I absolutely love Jen Turano’s writing. She has an incredible knack for developing characters that you can fall in love with. This book is no different. The main character, Harriet Peabody, has so many wonderful quirks that draw you in and hold onto you. She has a sweet wholesomeness that makes it easy to understand why her friends stick by her as well as why new acquaintances are drawn to her almost as soon as they meet her. At the same time she has a strong sense of how people (especially the downtrodden) should be treated that challenges others to improve themselves.

     The storyline is very light-hearted and a great source of entertainment. I have come to expect many humorous situations from Jen’s books and this story doesn’t leave anything to be desired in that department. I chuckled my way through this book even as I have through the other novels that she has written. I’m already looking forward to the next book in this series.

     I have to give this wonderful story 5-stars. I would really like to give it more but that the standard top rating. I highly recommend it and if you are looking for an amusing tale to make you laugh you should definitely pick up a copy.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Horse for Kate (Horses and Friends #1) by Miralee Ferrell

Title: A Horse for Kate (Horses and Friends #1)
Author: Miralee Ferrell
Pages: 208
Releases: March 1, 2015
Publisher: David C. Cook
Age Level: 8 – 12 years old
Note: I received a free eBook copy from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

     I first found out that Miralee was working on writing this book months ago. As soon as I found out I was very excited about it. When I was growing up I loved horses and reading books about horses just like many other girls. Some of my favorites were the Black Stallion series and Black Beauty. But I would read pretty much any books that I could find about horses. The whole idea of this book just took me back to that period of my life.

     When I actually found out the release date for it my excitement grew. Then I was able to get an early copy so that I could read it and review it to help get the word out and another level was added on to my excitement.

     I have not been disappointed in the least.

About the book:

     A horse of her own would be awesome. But Kate figures that might be a long way away, especially since she had to give up riding lessons and move to her late grandfather’s farm. Besides, it would be a lot more fun to have a best friend to ride with. When Kate discovers a barn on their new farm that’s perfect for a horse, and a dusty bridle too, she starts to think that her dream might come true. Then she meets Tori at school, who is totally the best. So when they discover a thoroughbred that appears to be all alone, could it be the answer to her prayers? Maybe. If she can convince her dad… and figure out what’s going on with that horse.

My review:

     This is an incredible story for horse lovers.

     I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Kate, her family, and her new friends. This is a great group of characters that Miralee has created. They are very believable and easy to relate to. Their interaction with each other is easy to understand and connect with.

     I found the plot to be easy to follow. As the story progressed I saw growth and development in both Kate and her best friend Tori.

     I am giving this book a 5-star rating and highly recommending it. I believe that any young girl who loves horses will enjoy this story. I also believe that any grown woman who loved horses as a girl will enjoy the trip back to her childhood, I did.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson

Title: The Christmas Cat
Author: Melody Carlson
Pages: 167
Year:  2014
Publisher: Revell
Note:  I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     After years abroad, Garrison Brown finds himself at the home of his beloved grandmother who has just passed away. He must sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While he hopes to dispense with the task quickly – especially since he is severely allergic to cats – his grandmother’s instructions don’t allow for speed. She has left some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends.

     Can he match the cats with the perfect new owners? And is it possible that he might meet his own match along the way?

     He felt his face flushing as Cara opened the door. Wearing a garnet-colored knit dress and with her dark hair pinned up, she looked even prettier than he remembered. Suddenly he wished he’d thought to bring a hostess gift. Like a cat.

My review:

     This is an engaging Christmas tale.

     I loved the core of characters that Melody created for this wonderful story. Garrison is delightful and surrounded by wonderful friends. Most of them are people that he meets during the search for homes for the cats left by his grandmother. It is great to see the growth in Garrison himself throughout this book.

     It is quick and very entertaining book to read, an absolutely captivating story. The development of the plot is incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. I’m giving this book a 5 star rating.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith

Title: The Crimson Cord: Rahab’s Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #1)
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Pages: 368
Year: 2015
Publisher: Revell
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband’s debt. Forced into prostitution, she despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime.

     In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho’s walls – or if she will ever know the meaning of love.

     Under Jill Eileen Smith’s talented hand, the familiar story of Rahab bursts forth in high definition. Immerse yourself in a world of dark and dusty streets, clandestine meetings, and daring escapes as a mysterious biblical figure claims her full humanity – and a permanent place in your heart.

My review:

     This is an incredibly well written Biblical fiction novel.

     Jill has done a masterful job of taking a biblical character that we are given very little information about and developed a wonderfully believable version of her life and times. The early part of the story has Rahab struggling through many trials and situations that are not of her choosing. At many points during this portion of the story my heart broke for her and all that she had to endure. By the time that the Israelite spies appear on the scene I had an understanding of how she would be open to believe in and trust in a God that she had never known.

     The scriptures that were given at the beginning of each part of the novel gave some direction as to where Jill had taken her guidance from the Word of God to craft this fantastic depiction of one possible scenario for the story of Rahab’s life. I know that here in this life we won’t know what exactly is the truth of Rahab’s story. But I found nothing in this novel that left me feeling that it could not have taken place the way it is presented in this novel.

     I thoroughly enjoyed this novelization of the story of Rahab’s life. I’m giving it a resounding 5 stars and highly recommending it to everyone. You can’t go wrong if you take time out of your life to immerse yourself in this story.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Where Rivers Part (Texas Gold #2) by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Title: Where Rivers Part (Texas Gold #2)
Author: Kellie Coates Gilbert
Pages: 336
Year: 2015
Publisher: Revell
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Success too often comes with a price. Juliet never imagined that cost could be so high.

     Dr. Juliet Ryan has devoted her considerable scientific acumen to corporate America, providing safe drinking water for millions – and affording her plenty of perks along the way. Her career choice is not the path her estranged father would have her take, but then Juliet finds it difficult to maintain respect for a man she cannot trust. She’s on her way up in the world, and she’s not going to let anything drag her down.

     But when a fast-moving disaster sweeps Juliet into a whirlpool of corporate scandal, lives are at risk- including those of some of the people closest to her. As she scrambles to find answers, Juliet must face her deepest wounds and join forces with the one who has hurt her most in order to expose a far-reaching conspiracy.

     Like a mighty river with twists and turns and hidden rocks, this engrossing story will sweep you relentlessly along as it explores the seduction success, the fear of giving up control, and the redemptive power of learning to forgive.

My review:

     A great look at corporate plots and schemes.

     The author does a masterful job of introducing her main character, Dr. Juliet Ryan. She starts with a layer that presents her career prowess. During this phase she sneaks in a very brief glimpse at Juliet’s family relationships. After she finishes building that aspect of her character Juliet is at home for dinner with the family. The glimpse we saw earlier is beautifully expanded on, and we are given a peak into her spiritual beliefs. I was so caught up in meeting Juliet I was surprised to find that I hadn’t even read 20 pages of the book by this point. I was definitely ready to see what problems Juliet had to face and how she handled them.

     The story development was equally well handled. I was drawn into to plot and very involved in seeing how Juliet handled the problems she faced in the corporate world that she lived in.

     The only thing that I was a little uncomfortable with was the hints into her personal relationship outside the office. This is the only thing that gave me any pause and caused me to take off one star from my ranking. Therefore this novel is getting 4 stars from me. I do recommend it for the plot and the character presentation.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Taken by Lisa Harris

Title: Taken
Author: Lisa Harris
Pages: 224
Year: 2015
Publisher: Harlequin: Love Inspired
Note:  I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Missing Child!

     Kate Elliot’s suburban life turns upside down when her sister is shot and her niece kidnapped. Unsure of whom to trust, she turns to FBI agent Marcus O’Brian. But Kate doesn’t want to leave the case to the authorities. Against the handsome agent’s orders, she tracks her niece to Paris, and the City of Light quickly becomes a city of danger.

     Marcus can’t explain why he feels such a strong connection with the headstrong woman, but soon he’s taking on the role of Kate’s protector. Yet when the kidnappers demand a ransom Kate can’t deliver, he’s not sure how much longer he can keep her alive. Now Marcus has the next twenty-four hours to save a stolen child and the woman he’s grown to love.

My review:

     It is filled with heart-pounding action and danger!

     When I started this book I knew there would be suspense. I found MUCH more of it packed into this book than I imagined could be in a story of this length. From the first chapter on it basically doesn’t let up for more than a few pages at a time. Just long enough to catch your breath and let your heart rate slow.

     I absolutely love the two main characters, Kate Elliot and Marcus O’Brien. They are so wonderfully developed and presented by the end of the book I felt like I would love to have a chance to sit down and chat with them. There is enough development of each of the secondary characters that nothing in the interactions between characters felt forced or contrived.

     I must say Lisa Harris has done an absolutely amazing job of crafting this awesome novel. I highly recommend this novel and give it 5 stars.