Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch (review by Cathy)

Christmas Secrets

Book Blurb:

Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl with an impeccable reputation, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.

 

My review ((4-stars)

One of my favorite things about reading is finding new to me authors.  I find that I like this authors style of writing very much.

This is a Regency romance that starts with a kiss and will make you want to keep reading to find out what happens to Holly and the rest of the characters in this short and sweet story.   The story wouldn’t be complete without an overbearing mother which is expected during this era,

I received a free e-copy and have given an honest opinion.

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His Baby Dilemma by Catherine Lanigan (review by Cathy)

his Baby Dilemma

Book Blurb:

Nobody expects Paris fashion designer Grace Railton to settle down in her Indiana town, least of all Mica Barzonni. Fifteen months ago, he turned to her for comfort and compassion following a farming accident that left him permanently injured. Then she returned to France and went silent on him.

Until, suddenly, Grace shows up on his doorstep with life-altering news. Mica, a father? He’s barely learned to navigate his post accident life. But this could be his chance to become the man he’s always wanted to be—the husband and father Grace and their baby son need. Now Mica just has to convince her to stay.

 

My review (4-stars)

I am enamored with the residents of Indian Lake, and even more so after reading the latest in the series.  I love the tight-knit community and how they rally around each other.

I liked Grace and Mica’s story and how it unfolded.  I have to admit that I was on the fence at first on  Mica.  He seemed to wallow in self-pity, but after a while he became  one of my favorite characters.  I understood how he felt when Grace shows up with their baby, which by the way, he is just finding out about for the first time!

This is a sweet story of finding your way in life, forgiveness and being the person that you’ve always wanted to be.  It’s also about reconnecting with old friends and being with the ones you love.

If you enjoy stories with an adorable baby and second chances, you will definitely want to get a copy of, His Baby Dilemma.

I received a complimentary copy from the author and was under no obligation to post a positive review.  All opinions are  my own.

 

The Quilting Circle by Amy Lillard (review by Kristi)

the quilting circle

About the book United by faith, and bonded by their quilting circle, the Amish women of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, are there for one another through all life’s joys and challenges . . .
 
MORE THAN FRIENDSHIP
Youngest quilter Clara Rose Yutzy is planning her wedding to her longtime beau—which is why she resolutely ignores newly warm feelings for her best friend, Obidiah. But Obie is certain God intends them to be together. With the Lord’s help, he’ll prove to Clara Rose how much he loves her . . .
 
MORE THAN A PROMISE
Mariana Miller prayed for a child throughout fifteen years of marriage. But now, newly widowed, Mariana discovers she’s pregnant—with twins! She’s more grateful than ever for her caring community—especially Reuben Weisel, her late husband’s business partner and best friend. Reuben’s quiet strength comforts her—until he proposes marriage . . .
 
MORE THAN A MARRIAGE
Tess Smiley is new to Wells Landing and newly married. But her marriage isn’t the harmonious union she envisioned. Tess loves Jacob with all her heart, but her heart tells her she must take a stand—and ask for support. Only then does Jacob see how he has hurt her. But is he too late? . . .

Publication Date:  October 31, 2017

Publisher:  Zebra

 

My reviewWhile not a big fan of novellas I enjoyed all three of these stories from Amy Lillard. It was nice revisiting the town of Wells Landing and getting to spend time with the people there. These three stories were nice, easy reads.

Sometimes novellas can seem rushed or unfinished but not these. All three of these stories were well- written and told a complete story that left me feeling satisfied. My favorite novella told the story of Tess and Jonah, a married couple of three years. Their marriage is going through a tough spell because of a lack of communication. I found it easy to understand each of the characters in the story. I liked them and wanted them to be able to work through their issues.

Fans of Amish fiction and Amy Lillard are guaranteed to love this book. This would be a great way to introduce readers to the genre or Amy. Set aside a little time to read these three novellas. You won’t be disappointed.

 

About the authorI’m a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, nail polish, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that’s why I adore romances.

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I’m a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that’s me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)

Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940’s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.

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One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline (review by Kristi)

one perfect lie

About the book:  A handsome stranger moves to the small Pennsylvania town of Central Valley, and his name is Chris Brennan. He’s applying for a job as a teacher and varsity baseball coach at the local high school, and he looks perfect, on paper. But his name is an alias, his resume is false, and everything about him is a lie. And he has a secret plan – for which he needs a pawn on the baseball team.

Susan Sematov loves her younger son Raz, the quirky and free-spirited pitcher of the team. But Raz’s adored father died only a few months ago, and the family is grief-stricken. Secretly, Raz is looking to fill the Daddy-shaped hole in his heart.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who’s dedicated to her only son Justin, the quiet rookie on the team. But Justin’s shy and reserved nature renders him vulnerable to attention, including that of a new father-figure.

Mindy Kostis is the wife of a busy surgeon and the queen bee of the baseball boosters, where her super-popular son Evan is the star catcher. But she doesn’t realize that Evan’s sense of entitlement is becoming a full-blown case of affluenza, and after he gets his new BMW, it’s impossible to know where he’s going – or whom he’s spending time with.

The lives of these families revolve around the baseball team – and Chris Brennan. What does he really want? How far will he go to get it? Who among them will survive the lethal jeopardy threatening them, from the shadows?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will keep readers riveted to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won’t soon forget.

Published:  April 11, 2017

Publisher:  St.Martin’s Press

 

My review*Warning* Don’t start reading this book if you’re going to have to set it down to go and participate in life. I mean, you can, but you won’t want to. Once you start reading this book you will be pulled into the lives of the characters and you’ll be wondering “Just who is Chris Brennan?”

I received an email from Netgalley one day telling me I was invited to read this book. I had never heard of the author but the book blurb and the cover had me putting the book on my Kindle in a matter of seconds. Then other commitments came up and this book somehow got shoved down, down, down the tbr pile. I was finally able to read it over the weekend and I’m actually glad it got shoved down the pile because it’s one of those books that once you’re finished reading you’re disappointed. Disappointed that you’ve read the book and that experience is over. Yeah I can always read it again but it won’t be the same as reading it that first time when every detail is new and every twist and turn is unexpected.

I’m going to be absolutely honest though and admit that at the beginning I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish the book. There are a lot of characters introduced quickly and I had trouble keeping them all sorted out. But once I did I couldn’t read the book fast enough and or stand to have to put the book down. The characters are complex and Chris Brennan is the perfect “bad guy” character for this story.

The storyline of the book is interesting and I was kept guessing as to what exactly was going on. The pace is excellent and the author has a way of telling a story that leaves you wanting more causing an extreme case of “one more chapter” syndrome. There were many jaw-dropping moments as the story unraveled and I love the fact that I wasn’t able to guess anything before it was revealed.

One Perfect Lie is one perfect story. This was my first Lisa Scottoline book and it definitely won’t be my last. I highly recommend this book!

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

 

About the authorLisa Scottoline is the New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 28 novels, including her latest, ONE PERFECT LIE, which releases in April 2017. Her previous emotional thriller, MOST WANTED, has been optioned for a TV series. Lisa also co-authors a bestselling series of humorous memoir with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, which is based on their weekly Philadelphia Inquirer column titled “Chick Wit.” These witty and hysterical books examine life from a woman’s perspective, and the most recent book is, I’VE GOT SAND IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES. The first in the series, WHY MY THIRD HUSBAND WILL BE A DOG, has been optioned for TV. Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as President of Mystery Writers of America and has taught a course she developed, “Justice and Fiction” at The University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. Lisa is a regular and much sought after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Under this Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer (review by Cathy)

underthe same sky

Book blurb:

~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~
Illinois ~ 1854
Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky struggles to make sense of the path the Lord has placed her on and finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.

 

My review (5-stars)

This is honestly one of the best books that I’ve read this year!  From the very first page, as Becky frantically went in search of help  for her injured father, I was hooked.

Becky is young, frightened and unsure what the future holds for her as she grapples with the loss of her mother and sister and the family farm after the tornado.  Mercifully, her father’s life was spared, but the injuries he sustained brings new worries and life changes. It also brings a move to St. Louis which takes them away from the prairie that she loves and the only home she’s ever known.  The move takes her away from Matthew Brody, the preacher whose help has been invaluable to her and her father.

Ms. Roemer keeps her characters down to earth and true to their beliefs throughout the story, which I found refreshing and realistic.  The move to the city didn’t change them or make them want a different lifestyle than the one they had back home.  They faced uncertainty, they worked hard, they brought happiness to others and they did it all with dignity and grace.

I was impressed with the authors debut novel and am eager to read more of her work. This is a book that can be shared with your daughters, mothers, grandmothers and your friends from church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep (review by Cathy)

12 Days

Book Blurb:

When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, BENJAMIN LANE.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

My review:

An enjoyable Victorian Era novel with an interesting storyline that can be read at a leisurely pace.

In 1850 London, we get to know the characters as they gather at Bleakly Manor for the 12 Days of Christmas. There are some Victorian Christmas Traditions that I am familiar and then there were some that were new to me. I was glad that the author had Historical Notes at the end of the book, so that I would know what some of them are.

This has a nice blend of mystery, humor and a bit of romance and is a book to read with a cup of hot tea on a cold winter day.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano (review by Kristi)

out of the ordinary

About the bookWhen shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair’s mother catches Gertrude Cadwalader, paid companion to the light-fingered Mrs. Davenport, returning a pilfered item, she comes to the wrong conclusion. However, Harrison is eager to mend fences once he realizes the error. After a real thief starts preying on society, can Gertrude and Harrison catch the culprit?

Publication Date:  November 7, 2017

Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers

 

 

My reviewFor those of you looking at this book and thinking “oh no it’s the second book in a series” don’t fret. You don’t have to read the first book before enjoying this one. I haven’t read the first book and I can tell you this book stands completely on it’s own with the perfect balance of humor and romance.

One of the things I loved best about this book is there was no tension or dislike between Harrison and Gertrude. They were simply friends. Albeit, friends who were realizing an attraction to each other. I loved this because it allowed me to enjoy the characters and the story. I could simply fall in love with them as they fell in love with each other. Gertrude is a spunky gal and even though Harrison is being groomed to take over the family business there is a playfulness about him that made him adorable. Their interactions with each other and their friends were so genuine they soon seemed real to me and were a couple I wanted the best for.

The storyline of the book is light and fun with a seriousness about it that was like a glue that held everything together. There were parts where I could sympathize with the characters and their struggles and times where I was laughing out loud. Let me warn you that when you get to the part where Permilia dances be ready to laugh out loud. So if you are reading the book in public and don’t want to look like a crazy person or have to explain yourself (if your not into talking about books with strangers) put the book down because “lol” you will.

After reading this book, I now want to go back and read the first in the series so I’m all caught up before the next book comes out. Book three is about Permilia so I’m toning up the stomach muscles to be ready for the laughter I’m sure is to come.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and oh-so-fun read then grab this book. You won’t be disappointed!

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 authorJen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she’s not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado.

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