The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash (review by Cathy)

The Paris Wedding book

About the book:

When is it right to follow your heart? From the plains of rural Australia to Paris, the City of Love, lose yourself in this touching and romantic story by the bestselling author of THE HORSEMAN

Ten years ago, Rachael West chose not to move to Sydney with high-school sweetheart Matthew. Instead she stayed on the family wheat farm, caring for her seriously ill mother and letting go of her dreams. Now, Matthew is marrying someone else. And Rachael is invited to the wedding, a lavish affair in Paris, courtesy of the flamboyant family of Matthew’s fiancée – a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at someone else’s expense in Europe’s most romantic city.

She is utterly unprepared for what the week brings. Friendships will be upended, secrets will be revealed – and on the eve of the wedding, Rachael is faced with an impossible dilemma: should she give up on the promise of love, or destroy another woman’s life for a chance at happiness?

I

My thoughts:

While I was reading this book, I wondered how I would feel if I received an invitation to the wedding of a former boyfriend, especially one that I cared so much for.  I have to admit that I probably would have declined, but I’m glad that Rachael West didn’t.  It was a destination/all expenses paid trip and she needed to get on with her life since, Matthew was getting married, right?

I liked Rachael right from the start and quickly got caught up in her story.  The setting of rural Australia with  farming communities was very interesting to me as were her friends and neighbors, especially since I haven’t read very many novels set there.  The  fact that some of the characters from the community were going to  the wedding  lent a bit of humor to their travels.

The author wrote such vivid descriptions of everything, the  beautiful clothing, the lovely sights and even the food, making me feel like I was part of their group.  However, this isn’t just another book with the glitz and glamour of the very rich. .  This is a story of people from different walks of life with real problems and how they are trying to figure out the best way to face them and figure out what they need to do and who they need in their lives.

Charlotte Nash is a new to me author and I can’t  believe that I haven’t read her work before now, but I liked this book so much I will read more from her.

I received a free copy from the publisher and was under no obligation to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

Advertisements

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel (review by Cathy)

HeartBetweenUs2

About the book:

Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.

As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

My thoughts:

When I first started hearing about this book, I was intrigued with the premise so I was anxious to read it.  Truthfully, it took me while to get interested once I started reading it and I put it aside for a while. Having said that, I did enjoy it more as the twins set out on a whirlwind adventure to complete the donors bucket list.  Amanda is the donor that gave Meghan the gift of life when she receives Amanda’s heart.

I liked the bonding between Meghan and Crystal, even though they are twins it was so nice seeing them connect in ways that weren’t possible without the transplant.  I was probably the most surprised that Meghan went full throttle in the fulfilling the dreams of Amanda,and  perhaps it was  because she had been sickly and sheltered her whole life  that she had the nerve to run with the bulls.  There were other and less dangerous activities the sisters engaged in which made for lovely insights into places that I hope to see for myself one day.   I would like to travel at a more leisurely pace than they did, but it was still fun to read about everything  they saw and did.

I had actually thought that Meghan would be my favorite of the two sisters, but I liked Crystal much more by the end of the book.  I understand that she was more mature due to her circumstances, whereas Meghan seemed very child like to me and I’m sure that was due to her having been so ill for most of her life.

Overall, the pace of the book was at first too slow for me and then it just picked up really fast with the girls traveling.  I wish that  part  had a slower pace which I think would have made me it more pleasant to read.  Other readers may not find it to  be that way for them, which is why  I think that this is a good beach/vacation read and would recommend it those looking for something  a bit different.

I received a copy from the publisher and was under no obligation to write a review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller (review by Kristi)

Caroline Little House Revisited

About the book:  In this novel authorized by the Little House Heritage Trust, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, “Ma” in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.

Publication Date:  June 12, 2018

Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks

 

My thoughts:  I was thrilled to get the chance to read this book as the Little House series was my favorite as a young girl. I read those books again and again so I was really excited to get a chance to hear the story in Caroline’s voice. Holding this book in my hands took me back to my childhood and all those wonderful hours spent with the Ingalls family. My expectations were extremely high for this book and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I’m so happy to say I wasn’t one bit disappointed in this book and it was everything I was hoping it would be and more.

The tone of this book is different than the Little House books of course since it is told from Caroline’s perspective. I have a whole new admiration for Caroline Ingalls after reading this book. To pack up your family and take what belongings would fit in the wagon and leave everyone you knew and loved behind to go to unsettled territory had to be frightening, to say the least, but Caroline Ingalls did it with grit, determination, and grace (much better than I would have done it all). I could feel her reluctance to go but also the love she had for her husband and the acceptance that this is what she would do.

It made my reader’s heart happy to see some of the same events in the Little House books told in this book. It was like a trip back to my youth and a smile came to my face as I read these parts of the story. I won’t say what they are because I think that’s part of the fun of reading this book is to be able to think “I remember that!” as you come across these events. Oh, and how happy I was to see Mr. Edwards make an appearance in this book! To see him was like securing the knot on the bow that ties this book to the Little House series.

The author did a wonderful job of bringing Caroline Ingalls to life and really telling her story of the move from the big woods of Wisconsin to the flat, sometimes harsh, prairies of Kansas. Her descriptions made me feel as if I were there right alongside the family and experiencing everything Caroline did: her joys at sugar and window panes and also her fears of Indians and the unknown. There are some intimate scenes between Charles and Caroline that, while are tastefully done, are not for young readers.

All in all, this is a fun read. It was great to visit the Ingalls family again after all these years. It was great to get to know Caroline better and afterward, I can definitely say she was the glue that held the Ingalls family together. A wife, mother, nurse, cook, teacher, she was anything and everything she had to be. Caroline Ingalls was a strong woman and this book allows us to see how truly strong she was. This is a must-read book for fans of the Little House series and definitely one for the keeper shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the authorSarah Miller began writing her first novel at the age of ten, and has spent the last two decades working in libraries and bookstores. She is the author of two previous historical novels, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, and The Lost Crown. Her nonfiction debut, The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century, was hailed by the New York Times as “a historical version of Law & Order.” She lives in Michigan.

Website   •   Facebook   •   Twitter

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller (review by Cathy)

Caroline Little House Revisited

About the book:

In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, “Ma” in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.

My thoughts:

The simplicity of this cover is pure perfection!

As a huge  fan of The Little House books since childhood,  the Ingalls family has held a special place in my heart, as it has countless other readers of Laura’s books. So, when I was given the opportunity to read, Caroline: Little House Revisited, I was thrilled.  First of all the point of view from those of a child and those of an adult are vastly different.

In this book we see how difficult it was for Caroline to leave her home, family and friends while expecting baby, Carrie. Packing up what provisions they could carry in the wagon and leaving so many things behind as they set out from Wisconsin to Kansas was heartbreaking when told from  the perspective of Caroline .

Weary from traveling, wondering if there would be anyone near by to deliver her baby when the time came, the author brings Caroline to life and I couldn’t love her anymore than I do after reading this wonderful book by Ms. Miller. I can imagine the uncertainty she must have felt and her faith to travel wherever Charles led.

This book is obviously much more emotional as Ma has to consider their provisions, caring for her family when they are sick or hurt without a doctor to help, all the while being jostled in a wagon in frigid temperatures and inclement weather. I would have been a horrible pioneer because I would have disliked eating the same thing all the time and worrying if I had enough food to feed my family.

There are a few tender scenes between Charles and Caroline that the author handled rather well although they are not  suitable for very young readers.  Yes, there are hardships but there are also joys. The joy of a window pane for  your new home, the joy of white sugar, the joy of a plentiful berries and the joy of  meeting your neighbors and making new friends. Some of the very basic things that most of us take for granted. One of my favorite characters from the Little House books has always been Mr. Edwards and I can never get enough of how kind and generous he was to Mary and Laura at Christmas so of course I loved reading that once again.

Overall,  I think this book is to be savored although I admit I wanted to read it as fast as possible. I have a new-found respect for the pioneers and the hard work it took starting from scratch in working their land and building shelter for their families and livestock.  This book brought me happiness while falling in  love with the Ingalls family once more. The descriptive storytelling by the author is top-notch and I could hear the gentle voice of Ma as she spoke throughout the book.

I will want to reread this book just as I have done many times throughout the years with the books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

My sincere thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Meets the Eyes (Patchwork Family #1) by Karen Whitemeyer ((review by Cathy)

more than meets the eye

Book Blurb:

Seeking justice against the man who destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront the person responsible. But his quest is derailed when, instead of a hardened criminal, he finds an ordinary man with a sister named Evangeline–an unusual beauty with mismatched eyes and a sweet spirit that he finds utterly captivating.

My thoughts:

The author begins her new book with a prologue that broke my heart but left me  caring deeply about, Evangeline, Seth and Zach throughout the story.

I loved Evangeline, she’s sweet, high-spirited and she has a red bow wearing pet hog named, Hezekiah. To be clear, Hezzy only wears the bow to keep from getting shot because wild boars aren’t usually pets.  I loved Seth and Zach and how they worked so hard to protect their family. The family that they chose to become due to circumstances beyond their control.

The addition of Logan, a stranger that purchased land next to the Hamilton siblings added a bit of suspense to the story.  It was very amusing and interesting when Evangeline decided to be neighborly to Logan.

I’ve read several of the authors books and as much as I’ve enjoyed them, I have to say that this is my favorite by far.  I think she strikes the perfect balance of humor, suspense and love of family in the first book in this new series.  I hope that the next book will be more about Zach because I really love that guy!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arms of Mercy (An Amish Mercies Novel) by Ruth Reid (review by Cathy)

arms of mercy

About the book:

On the eve of a new year, Catherine Glick is expecting her bu of five years to propose. Instead, the unexpected arrival of an old boyfriend, Elijah, sends her life spiraling out of control. When a rash decision damages her current relationship, Catherine leaves for Florida to work in her cousin’s bakery—anything to flee the source of her shame.

Elijah Graber knows he hurt Catherine when he left their Amish district six years ago. He’s determined to explain his actions, even if it means following her to Florida. Perhaps their two-day bus trip together will provide enough time for him to make his case and win her back.

Just when Elijah is starting to tear down the walls Catherine has built, their bus skids on an icy road—and amid the mayhem and tragedy that follow, Catherine disappears. Elijah’s friends urge him to prepare for the worst, but Elijah holds on to his hope in God and refuses to give up his search for Catherine. With supernatural nudging from the most unexpected places, Elijah sets out to find the love he once lost—no matter the cost.

My thoughts:

Oh how I loved the story of Catherine Glick and Elijah Graber!  As a longtime fan of the authors work, I knew this book would be good, but I didn’t expect to become so attached to the characters and to care about them so much.

To be completely honest I thought the storyline would  be one of unrequited love when I first started reading and that would have been just fine with me.   The story went in a totally  different direction than I expected when, Catherine decides to go to Florida to work in her cousins bakery.  What I thought would be a predictable and familiar storyline is quite the opposite.

This book kept me reading until the early hours of the morning  because I needed  to find out what would happen next in this beautifully written story. I can honestly say that from now on when I smell lilacs, I will think of this book.

Arms of Mercy is the second book in the series and though it can definitely be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading, Abiding Mercy the first book  because it’s just as good as this one.

Overall, I found this book to be one of the best books that I’ve read this year .The characters became so real due to the authors vivid description of them and their story was truly compelling.  I loved the raw emotions from Elijah and he became a true hero in my mind.  If you are looking for a book written with great depth and feeling,I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in this one.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Meets the Eye (Patchwork Family #1) by Karen Witemeyer (review by Kristi)

more than meets the eye

About the bookSeeking justice against the man who destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront the person responsible. But his quest is derailed when, instead of a hardened criminal, he finds an ordinary man with a sister named Evangeline–an unusual beauty with mismatched eyes and a sweet spirit that he finds utterly captivating.

Publication Date:  June 5, 2018

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

 

My thoughtsI love the cover of this book! I am so glad that the cover was designed to match Evangeline, the main character in the book. And I loved the colors used in the title. The author puts a lot of effort into the details in her books and I love, love, love that the proper attention was paid to the details of the cover.

This story starts off with a heartwrenching prologue. It sets up the story perfectly and gives us all the backstory we need for the Hamilton siblings. But then we immediately get to meet Logan and the story is off and running from there. One of the things I enjoyed most about this story is the interactions between Evangeline and Logan. There was a chemistry between the two that was genuine and natural that it made it a joy to read their story. Now, things aren’t perfect and Logan has motives behind getting to know Evangeline but as they get to know each other (although they both have secrets) a natural friendship forms that I found totally believable. Not only do we get to know Evangeline and Logan more throughout the story but also Seth and Zach, Evangeline’s brothers. It was nice to get to know them better and I liked this mismatched trio of siblings that had each other’s backs. By the end of the book even though I knew Zach better he was still a bit of a mystery and I’m hoping he gets his own story.

One of my favorite things about this author’s work is her attention to detail. I love the descriptions she uses that transports me to the time period in which the story is taking place. I also love that she includes words that just aren’t used much today. It’s always fun to come across these words as I’m reading. (And yes I have to look some of them up making her books not only entertaining but educational!) Her books are always well-paced too and there’s never a dull moment.

Fun characters, a good story, and wonderful writing combined to make this book a quick and easy read. This is a must-read for fans of the genre and I would even recommend it to those looking for a fun read. Yes, there are some sad moments in the book but they are offset by some funny moments too. This is a feel-good read and definitely one for the keeper shelf! Happy reading!!!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the authorFor those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website.

Website   •   Facebook