A Reluctant Courtship

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Title: A Reluctant Courtship
Series: The Daughters Of Bainbridge House
Author: Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Publisher: October 15, 2013
Pages: 368

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Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor and the other a murderer. Because of that and the reputation she has, she’s been banished to her family’s country estate, where her family hopes that she will stay out of trouble. Honore and trouble seem to be far apart until she meets a man with another checkered past and suspicions hanging over his head. Honore’s sure this man is the one for her, if she can figure out whether she’s fallen for another miscreant or the man he shows her.

Americus “Meric” Poole Lord of Ashmoor has just come into his lordship but already he’s realizing just how different England is from his American upbringing and how out of place he really is. Because of his upbringing, his loyalties are under suspicion as well as his involvement with escaped prisoners from Dartmoor Prison. With all the suspicions and accusations swirling around him he needs a wife beyond reproach, something the beautiful Honore is not. So he distances himself from her, or so he tries.

Drawn together even with social and family obligations trying to pull them apart, they work together to try and prove Meric innocent of the crimes he’s being accused of. Meanwhile, Honore wrestles with her decision to help him and getting involved with someone that could be another criminal and Meric’s attempt to not fall for Honore begin to slip leaving him confused and disappointed. The two must work together and somehow not fall victim to the same crimes that took Meric’s father to America and not ruin their reputations beyond repair.

Can the two of them stay together despite attempts to keep them apart or will social and family obligations get in the way of love? Can Honore prove Lord Ashmoor’s innocence or will she be fooled yet again by a criminal? Can Meric find a way to win Honore’s heart and keep his reputation intact or will he decide that she’s not good enough for him?
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Laurie Alice Eakes captivated me with her Midwives’ series and then gave me a glimpse at England in the early 1800’s. Originally, I didn’t care much for the transition and got a little bit bored over England’s high society. However, with this novel, I finally fell in love with her Regency novels and, though I felt the emphasis on reputations and whatnot was a bit tedious, I truly enjoyed her newest Regency novel.

The setting of this book is my main problem with it. Regency has never been my favorite time period because of the emphasis that’s put on reputations and what others think of you and this book isn’t any different in that respect. It gets tiresome and tedious. However, I do think that this is one of the best Regency’s that I’ve read and will most likely read more of them from Laurie Eakes but they still won’t be my first choice for a genre.

The romance in this book is sweet and romantic. Honore is determined to win him over and Lord Ashmoor is determined to stay away from her and her bad reputation. I won’t give too much away but after a series of dramatic and fast-paced events, Lord Ashmoor realizes that Honore is the one for him and isn’t beneath him and the last two chapters of their romance was just plain romantic, heart-warming, and suspenseful. I think this romance will stick in my head for a while.

There’s a bit of suspense in this book as well and though it’s not very prevalent or will truly satisfy the appetite of true suspense fans, it played a pretty big role in the outcome of the book, particularly towards the end, and really livened up what would’ve been an otherwise boring book. It was also pretty hard to guess the culprit in this one as there was really no indication as to who was responsible for a lot of things, so that added mystery left me feeling completely occupied and satisfied with the outcome. I think the suspense and the choices that made up it, we’re a huge plus for this book.

Laurie Alice Eakes has been a favorite ever since I read the Kindle version of her first Midwives’ series book. Ever since then I have tried to get my hands on anything else she writes and this is the best one I’ve read outside her Midwives’ series. I plan on reading more from this author and hopefully being as happy, if not more so, as I was with this book. It wasn’t perfect but it was enjoyable. I recommend this book for Regency lovers.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it much more than the previous in this series, but I still can’t get past the Regency setting. This book is perfect for Regency lovers and lovers of historical romances. I’d keep this book away from the kids but adults and maybe mature teenagers will love this one. I g e this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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Borders Of The Heart

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Title: Borders Of The Heart
Author: Chris Fabry
Publisher: Tyndale House
Published: September 15, 2013
Pages: 400

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J. D. Jessup left his old life to come find solace in the desert near Tucson, Arizona. He’s traded his guitar and the songs in his head for the daily grind of an organic farm. It’s a mind-numbing existence that helps him forget his past and dulls the pain of his memories. His boss just has one rule for him: if he sees an illegal, call Border Patrol. A fairly simple rule that he has been able to follow very easily, until one Thursday morning.

One early ride along the fence line leads him to a beautiful young woman named Maria. Despite his boss’s rule, J. D. can’t leave a near death woman to the authorities. So following his heart, J. D. decides to hide her and heal her instead of turning her in. Little does he know the chain of events he unleashes at that choice. Now everything he knew has changed his simple mundane life has gotten a lot more exciting.

On the run from a determined killer, J. D. tries to decipher what is going on and why Maria’s life is in danger. Struggling to stay alive becomes harder than they thought when they seem to know exactly where they are at all times. When J. D.’s secrets collides with Maria’s past, J. D. begins to realize that saving her may be the only way to save himself.

Can J. D. and Maria stay alive from a determined a killer or will they’re attempts to stay alive be for naught? Can J. D.’s past and secrets be the death of his new life and his budding attraction to Maria or will it just make him closer to everyone? Will Maria be able to stop the killer before he succeeds in his plans or will he get to her and finish his plan too? Can J. D. and Maria be together despite their differences or will those differences keep them apart?
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I’ve never read a book by Chris Fabry before today and after this exciting book I’m a little upset with myself for not picking up one of his books before now! The imagery and intensity of this book was memorable and made me want to find another one of his books and dig in. I had no idea what I was missing but if any of his books are like this one, sign me up for more from him. I have just become a fan!

My favorite part of this novel has to be the imagery. He described the desert as only a person who lives there could. It may be October but I felt the scorching heat and saw the flat sun bleached terrain like it was July. I’ve read quite few books set in the desert but the author never really dwelled on what desert heat felt like until Chris Fabry. His descriptions are exactly what my sister and I complained about more times than I can count and completely described desert living. Even in air conditioning you sweat! The completely accurate descriptions in this book have to be my favorite part.

The suspense in this book is one part action and one part mystery. You know who’s chasing them in the beginning but you have no idea why or what he really plans on doing. Though parts of this seem unrealistic to me (I mean who can really outrun and outsmart several trained assassins), some parts felt realistic and realistic or not it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and also gave me a new perspective about illegal aliens in my state.

This book had an attempt at a romance, though the suspense took center stage, and though it wasn’t terribly romantic or very memorable I did enjoy it. I think it has more to do with the circumstances of their meeting more than anything, but for some reason I thought that they made a nice couple and enjoyed reading their somewhat romance story. I think it was one the best romances that I’ve gotten from a male author yet.

Before now Chris Fabry has been a name I was familiar with but never read and now that I’ve enjoyed one of his novels, I don’t want to go back. I’m now a fan of his work and want to read anything else he has to offer whether it be western or romance. He completely captured me with his suspense and his accurate description of the terrain I call home definitely earned him some brownie points in my book. I highly recommend this book.

Overall, great book. It had some flaws but nothing that really detracted away from the amazing story. This is perfect for people who love suspense novels. This book is best left to the adults and maybe mature teens. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Under A Blackberry Moon

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Title: Under A Blackberry Moon
Author: Serena B. Miller
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 352

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Moon Song, a recently widowed young Chippewa woman, stumbled into nearby lumber camp looking for shelter from the harsh winters just days after giving birth alone in the northwoods. Once summer hits, Moon Song realizes that she can’t stay amongst the rough and tumble world of white lumbermen and so she leaves along with the camp owner’s best friend who is going to accompany her on the long and treacherous journey back to her people.

Skypilot came to the lumber camp to escape his Southern background and to find a new career after her completely failed at preaching. Skypilot has always liked Moon Song so it’s no trouble to escort her back home, or so he thinks. What was a simple back and forth journey, turns into a long revealing journey for both of them and he begins to view Moon Song in a different light then he did before. If only that didn’t come with it’s own set of problems.

When disaster strikes off the shore of Lake Superior, Moon Song and Skypilot must rely on each other to survive the danger of the wilderness. The deeper they go into the forbidding woods, the closer they become and attraction begins to spark. But their cultures are so far apart and with bad memories, distrust is rampant, but maybe love is enough. One of them must decide if love is enough for them to leave everything they’ve ever known.

Will love conquer all or will their love crumble under the pressures of society? Will Moon Song leave her world to enter his or will she refuse to leave where she is welcome? Will Skypilot leave his world to live with the Chippewa or will she decide that she isn’t worth the massive change? Will the differences be too much for them and will they walk away or will they fight the pull or them to separate and love each other for life?
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Serena Miller is a fairly new author for me and I’ve noticed a pattern in her books that is a bit more unique than her counterparts. She likes to focus on strong females that don’t need a man to do everything for them instead of the usual damsel in distress type heroines. Though I don’t know if I could read these kinds of books all the time, I do think that it is very refreshing every once and a while to have a woman as the strong character in a book.

The romance in this book is a bit unique and yet still romantic in a weird way. I found Isaac Ross, aka Skypilot, to be a unique kind of guy. He struggled with feelings of inadequacy but mostly he just loved seeing Moon Song in her element instead of resenting her for doing what he couldn’t. That along with more situations on both parts set up a sweet yet romantic romance that made my heart sing. There wasn’t much in physical affection but watching feelings grow and seeing the lengths each went to made up for that.

The back cover of this book does nothing to really prepare for the story that this book is. I mean you know that disaster strikes and they have to rely on each other but just how much they do doesn’t hit you until they actually have to. Also, there’s a good quarter of the book that you aren’t set up for before hand and it makes it unexpected but endearing further cementing this book in my mind. I loved this story line and the journey that I got to go in with these characters. It really came alive for me.

The characters in this book are complex and interesting. Moon Song is very unemotional and though at time that can come across as hard, it fits her and overall her character seems realistic and lovable. Skypilot isn’t what I imagined and is definitely not your typical fictional guy, which makes him stick out and be completely unique. The other characters both good or bad seem to have a niche that makes them lovable and understood and adds some depth to this book.

Serena Miller didn’t really impress me with her last book but despite that, I had high hopes for this book because of the topic and Serena not only met my expectations she surpassed them and I am completely satisfied with her newest novel. This book put her on my “favorite” list and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store for me. I highly recommend this book.

Overall, great book with a unique romance and group of characters. Great for readers who like books about American Indians. This book is best left to the adults and not given to kids but maybe mature teens can handle this one. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary cop of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

First Date

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Title: First Date
Series: The Dating Games
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 224

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Devon has just transferred to the Christian Northwood Academy and is bored not only with school but with the environment and the lack of attention boys give her. So determined to make her junior year something to remember, she decides to try ad get her and her new friends to get dates to the dance coming up and break the daze everyone seems to be in.

Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby are completely different from each other but they all have one thing in common: none of them have been on a “real” date. So determined to get a date to homecoming, the girls decide to make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective – dates for the dance. If only it turns out as easy as it sounds.

As the girls overcome insecurities and try ad nab dates, they learn a lot about themselves and each other. However, just when it seems like everything is going okay, the girls seem to get on edge and start bickering amongst themselves turning what was a good idea into a disaster. If they can get along long enough they might just grab dates to homecoming, but if they can’t they might just fail in their main goal.

Can the girls get dates to homecoming or will their differences year them apart? Is the DG a good idea or is it a bad thing waiting to happen? Can DG be something good for them all or will it turn into a disaster? What will each girl learn along the way about themselves and the other girls in their group? Can the girls combat dating and still keep their values or will they sacrifice them to get a date?
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Melody Carlson has been a favorite Young Adult author of mine ever since I discovered her a few years ago and ever since then I have looked forward to her ingenious stories and engaging storyline. So far there has never been a book by her that I haven’t liked and this book was no different. In fact, I found this book dramatic but fun and an awesome idea on how to date for teens.

The concept at first sounds a but weird and I couldn’t help but view the club, at first, like Cassidy. However, the more the story progressed and the more each girl’s limits and values came to light, I started to change my views and by the end of the book I felt that this is an incredibly genius way to date safely and smartly for teens. Not only do the girls group date, awesome idea, but they share about their dates and experiences so that the other girls I the group can assess whether said guy is good or bad for them. It’s genius! I might have to initiate this for myself someday.

Each character in this book are different, some in more ways than others and I thought it was really neat how the author played upon each character’s strengths and weaknesses and made each one part of the story. I also liked seeing the transformation in the characters, some changed quite a bit and some definitely need some work but all changed somewhat and it was nice to see how each changed and grew, tough I would’ve liked to have delved more deeply into their lives just a bit.

I always say it but Melody’s grip on teens and the way they think astounds me every time. Though a bit of her slang could be updated, the overall tone of the book is very teen-like and I always feel like a teen wrote it whenever I pick up one of Melody’s books. I think this newest book’s club is a genius idea and something teens everywhere should consider doing, particularly since girls love talking about their dates anyway. I absolutely loved the teen tone and felt it hit the nail on the head as far as relatibility goes.

Melody Carlson has written over two hundred books and though I haven’t near that many from her, I still know that her writing is amazing and her style is completely teen. I love her books so much and even though I won’t be a teen for much longer, I feel like I will read her books for years to come, even as I venture into a new chapter in my life. This author’s books come highly recommended, particularly this one.

Overall, I really liked this one. I would’ve liked to have delved more deeply into each character’s life, but I still really liked this book and the idea of a dating club stuck with me and I can’t wait to see what other hiking the group will get into. This book is perfect for fans of Young Adult fiction. This book is perfect for teens and YA friendly adults, though it’s probably best to keep it out of children’s hands just yet. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Forsaken Dreams

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Title: Forsaken Dreams
Series: Escape To Paradise
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Publisher: Barbour
Published: March 1, 2013
Pages: 320

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Eliza Crawford can barely remember the days of her youth spent in opulence and comfort at Georgian home. She can’t help but wonder how her life would’ve been different had she not met her late husband, Stanton Watts, a general in the Northern army. She’s a war widow with no home. The South calls her a traitor and the North rejects her. Naturally she’s desperate to keep her marriage a secret and hopefully start over in Brazil, but the odds of keeping her secret completely are slim with a boatload of people from the same place.

Colonel Blake Wallace has seen enough death and destruction to last a lifetime. Slapped with defeat and loss, he’s weary and disillusioned about his country. With his entire family slaughtered by the North and his name appearing on a list of wanted officers for war crimes, Blake sees no choice but to leave permanently. So he assembles a group of southerner who long to escape the horrors of war and start over in a foreign land called Brazil.

Eliza and Blake feel an incredible draw to each other, but when secrets are revealed it seems unlikely that they will be able to broach the past and make a life with each other. With un-forgiveness abounding aboard, Eliza must try and survive the hatred and hostility angled her way. Blake must conquer his own feelings of anger toward a woman that captivates him and makes him want to forgive and start a life, if only his head would agree with his heart.

Can Eliza keep her secret or will it spill out and cost her everything? Will Blake be able to forgive Eliza for her mistakes and the decisions of her late husband or will he be anger and bitter towards her and force her away? Will love survive the hostilities and bitterness left over from war or will it be stomped under the feet of anger and pain? Can turn Eliza’s bad choices into something good or will she just pile on more heartbreak?
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MaryLu Tyndall captured me from the very beginning and she has a very good track record for engaging me and keeping me interested. This book is no different and it brought me great joy to see that she had brought back elements of her first books that I loved, particularly the boat fights and and life at sea aspects. Though this book is no pirate romance, it was definitely one of my favorites and I absolutely must finish the series.

When I first started reading this book, I got captured by the somewhat cowardly actions of the southern people. My opinions changed somewhat about the southerners the more I read, because the more the book progressed and the more light that was shed on the North’s actions made me question whether I would’ve stayed or left with them. I imagine that it was a difficult decision for them to make and I appreciated the different viewpoint of the war and a different perspective of what really happened. It was a new piece of history that I never really learned.

The romance in this book is a bit choppy and full of anger and un-forgiveness. This a different approach for this author and though I didn’t particularly love it, neither did I hate it. I think it was a good choice for the story I just wish there had been more tender moments between Eliza and Blake. The little tender moments there was was familiar, exciting, and sweet. Though this romance wasn’t quite what I expected, I still found it oddly sweet and definitely astounding because it showed the power of God.

The storyline of this book varies between slow-paced and fast-paced. There are quite a few fast-paced or intriguing scenes that tide you over until the next one. Despite the fluctuating pace, I felt that the slow-paced scenes for perfectly into the novel and didn’t detract from the story at all, in fact it improved on it. There are also some unexplainable mishaps and I hope that those get explained soon, even tough I have an idea as to who is causing the disturbances. Overall, I loved this storyline and can’t wait to meet up with these characters again.

MaryLu Tyndall has been a favorite of mine for years after her pirate romance series and ever since then, I’ve tried relentlessly to get every book I can and have only missed a couple. This new book by her and done nothing to lower her esteemed status in my mind, in fact it probably solidified it more. I highly recommend this author and any of her wide array of novels.

Overall, this book is very good despite the less than awesome romance and fluctuating pace. This book is perfect for fans of the author and lovers of historical romance. This book is definitely best left for the adults. I wouldn’t even recommend this to teens. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. all opinions expressed are my own.*

Glittering Promises

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Title: Glittering Promises
Series: The Grand Tour
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Published: October 1, 2013
Pages: 464

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Cora Diehl Kensington’s summer has been full of adventure and life changing events. During this trip of a lifetime, she’s discovered family she never knew she had and possibly even kind the love she’s been waiting for in Will. However, her life seem to get more complicated day after day with more responsibility, more notability, and more struggles in love. Cora’s life seems to have taken a turn into a life that’s even more complicated than before.

Will McCabe, bear of their Grand Tour, knows he loves Cora, but her newfound wealth is becoming something hard to swallow. The one thing he doesn’t want to be is a kept man and he’s having a hard time with the idea that Cora is wealthy and he doesn’t have anything. Not to mention that Cora is still being hounded relentlessly by Pierre de Richelieu and Will is scared she might just realize she made a mistake in choosing him.

While being hounded by Pierre and journalists chasing the story of the new American heiress, Cora struggles to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. And as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, both begin to wonder if love is strong enough to withstand all the obstacles that stand in their way. All the while Cora must make the decision on Who and what defines her ad who and what doesn’t.

Can Cora remain true to who God made her or will the pressure on her and wealth change her into something she isn’t? Can Will accept her new wealth and will he be okay with it or will it be another thing that is pulling them apart? What will Cora decide to do wit her money? Live it up or help others? Can love conquer all things or will their love crumble under the pressure of life? Will Cora change her mind and pick Pierre over Will or will she decide that she chose correctly?
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Lisa T. Bergren has another hit on her hands! At a whopping 464 pages, this weighs in at about one and a half times your average book and every page was captivating and full of history and delicious details of places I’ve always dreamed of going. I got dragged into this book jus like the last two and I was sad to see Cora, her family, Will, and their bodyguards go. I will miss them and look forward to seeing what other captivating story Lisa Bergren will give me.

This story is so complex that it wouldn’t have been possible to have this book have any less pages than it did. It’s full of action, romance, fights, struggles, and discovering who they really are. Some issues I thought were resolved showed up again and caused a lot of drama and heartache, but fully resolved itself by the end. The depth to this book amazed me and I couldn’t believe how much I loved this book. I think this one was my favorite so far.

The romance in this book was a continuation of the past two and I was expecting this romance would be simple and strife less. I was wrong. As I’ve learned with this author, all is not as it seems. Cora and Will had a lot to work out in this book and it ended up drawing the closer as a couple. Even desire Pierre giving it his all, another thing I thought wouldn’t be in this novel, Cora and Will seemed to get through it all worse for wear but stronger.

I think my most favorite part of this book was Cora. The other two books of this series Cora was trying to adjust to her new family and wealth as well as trying to find out who she is in her new life. In this book I feel like she finally figured it out and I loved who she became. She finally grew into who God intended her to be and even though she has money she never let it alter her, just her lifestyle. I love it so much! The faith she exhibited throughout the book is incredible and I fully fell in love with her all over again.

The ending to this book is definitely intense and sweet all rolled up into one. Or rather it goes from intense to sweet at the flip of a chapter. I think some people will be disappointed in which man Cora chose or what said character decided to do in the end. With a love triangle there’s bound to be lines drawn and stances taken and disappointment and anger felt. This book is probably no different. For me I felt that the author and Cora made the perfect decision, though I was shocked at how the end was handled. This book was definitely awesome.

This author captivated me from the beginning and has held my attention until the end. I greatly look forward to seeing what else she has for me and to read those four books of hers that I have on my kindle. I greatly look forward to seeing what else she can do and see what other genres she broaches. Lisa T. Bergren has captured my heart and I hope to see more from her in the near future. This author, series, and book come very highly recommended.

Overall, I loved this book, but I don’t recommend just picking it up until you’ve read the other two or else I guarantee you’ll be lost. This book is perfect for those who have read the other books and want to do oath the series or those who want a deeply dramatic, romantic, and suspenseful novel. Not recommended for children but maybe mature teens. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complementary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*