In His Eyes by Stephenia H. McGee (review by Kristi)

in his eyes

About the book:  Her heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.

Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child.

Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.

Kindle Edition                                  Published May 5, 2017, by The Vine Press

 

My review:  Embarrassingly I have to admit that I’ve had this book for a few months and have just now gotten around to reading it. However, I’m glad I waited to read this book because I was able to delay the enjoyment I received reading it. The story is solid and the characters are well-developed and complex. This book was so interesting I was able to read it in just a couple of sittings.

I liked all of the characters in this book. Ella is young but has had hardships in her life that make her seem older than her years. Westley, a.k.a. Major Remmington, is in the unique position of being a Yankee soldier while being from the south. Sibby may have been a house slave but she is smart, sharp, and cunning. Nothing gets past this woman. Each character brings something to the story and a perspective that makes the story dimensional and realistic.

I enjoyed this story from beginning to end and loved how everything came together. I enjoyed reading how Ella comes to Belmont and her interactions with the other residents of the estate. I found the pace of the story to be perfect and never found a moment of this book challenging to read.

The author has included faith in the story and does it in a way that is really interesting both to read and think about afterward. The way she included is unique and it fits into the story wonderfully.

This was a new to me author and now after reading this book, I will be searching for more of her work. I like her writing style as she pulled me right into the story and made me feel as if I were there with the characters experiencing everything they did. I enjoy historical fiction and can see this author quickly becoming one of my favorites in the genre. I highly recommend this book!

I was given a free copy of this book from the author and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  Stephenia H. McGee is a wife, mother of two very active little boys, author, and lover of history. She currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and sons where she writes stories of faith, redemption and the deep south.

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The Captivating Lady Charlotte (Regency Brides: A Legacy Grace #2) by Carolyn Miller (review by Cathy)

Charlotte

About the book:

Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility hen she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.

William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte’s father’s pick, not the young lady’s own choice. And the captivating Lady Charlotte does not strike him as a woman who will be wooed by his wealth or title. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return–and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted. His only hope is that Charlotte’s sense of responsibility will win out over her romantic notions.

Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace? Poignant and charming, this is another beautifully written, clean and wholesome Regency romance from Carolyn Miller.

 

My review (4-stars)

I enjoyed the first book in the series so much that I was happy when this book became available for review.  I’m going to say that The Captivating Lady Charlotte, is just as enjoyable as The Elusive Miss Ellison.

Truthfully, out of the last few regency books that I’ve read, I can say that the writing style of Ms. Miller  captures my attention more so than any other author in this genre.  I have found her characters and storyline much more to my liking.

I genuinely liked Charlotte and loved reading about her debut.  I have to confess that I love that time period when a  young lady is coming out to society.  It sounds so glamorous  and frankly, a bit exhausting.   In keeping with the period, her father has decided that Charlotte will marry gentleman of his choosing and she’s not having that!

Overall, I found all of the characters to be  interesting and well-developed with a storyline that is very engaging.  I would recommend this book to readers of regency and historical fiction.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.

 

 

The Blessing (Amish Cooking Class, #2) by Wanda Brunstetter (review by Cathy)

the blessing

About the book:

Return to the Troyer farm where, despite stressful changes occurring in their lives, Joel and Heidi once again open their Ohio home up to those seeking to learn about Amish cooking. This time a teenager helping her divorced dad cook for the family, a caterer needing new
recipes, a food critic, a hunter looking to impress his buddies, a wife given the class as an unwanted gift, and a mailman lured in by the aroma of good cooking gather around Heidi s table. More than good food is exchanged, though, as friendships form, a romance blossoms, and hearts are healed.

 

My review (4-stars)

I felt like I was visiting old friends and meeting new ones as I was reading The Blessing and one of the things that stands out to me is the way we get to know the main characters is through the conversations they have with secondary characters.

Heidi is preparing for her second cooking class after a heartbreaking situation and her students are taking the class for a variety of reasons.  Just as in the first book, Heidi shares not only her recipes, but she shares a Bible verse with each dish they cook.  She opens not only her home, but her heart, too.

While reading this book, there were times that I wish that I could join Heidi’s class and experience her style of cooking, her cozy home  and more her importantly  her genuine concern for others that have challenges of their own.

Readers of Amish and Christian fiction will definitely want to read this one and in addition to a great story, Wanda has included recipes from Heidi’s cooking class.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a review.

 

 

Beyond Justice by Cara Putman (review by Cathy)

Beyond Justice

About the book:

 

Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s handed a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there. She keeps the case alive through sheer determination and more than a little creativity, but then she’s fired by a partner with a vendetta.

Further complicating matters, Hayden keeps finding herself completely distracted by Andrew, her roommate’s cousin. But his father is a Congressman and she’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to see either the case—or her—die. Should she fight alone for the dead young man by launching her own unfinanced firm, or abandon the case in order to save her own life?

 

My review (5 stars)

I absolutely loved Beyond Justice!  The writing is superb and the characters are captivating.  I was unaware that Cara Putnam had obtained a law degree when she was twenty-seven, but she shares her knowledge and experience in this book. 

I’m a bit of a news junkie and the  story of immigration was very intriguing to me, since we hear and read so much about it.  I loved the hard work and dedication Hayden put into the case of Miguel, the young Mexican boy who dies in custody.   His mother is obviously heartbroken and wants justice.  As Hayden fights to find out what happened, she has friends she can count on to do whatever they can to help her, which is another theme I enjoyed.  Who doesn’t like strong women encouraging and helping each other?

I have to confess that I really liked the fact that I have been to some of the places that are mentioned in the book and used to work on one of the streets mentioned.   I will say that even if I hadn’t been familiar with the area, I would still absolutely love the book.

I recommend Beyond Justice to fans of suspense and legal based novels.

I received a complimentary of this book from the publisher and was not required to give a positive review.

 

 

 

 

The Separatists by Lis Wiehl (review by Kristi)

The Separatists

About the book:  When America is threatened from within on a scale not seen since the Civil War, Erica Sparks is on the front lines reporting. But what can she do to stop it?

Star newsmaker Erica Sparks is in Bismark, North Dakota, covering the first recall of a governor in that state since 1921. Mary Bellamy, who is trying to unseat the current governor, keeps talking about going through the political process to gain more freedom for the state. She seems peaceful and level-headed . . . but with other secessionist groups making noise around the country, Erica can’t help but wonder what Mary’s goal really is.

Then Erica receives a desperate call from a woman downstairs in the lobby of her hotel. Erica goes down to meet her and discovers the woman in the ladies room with her throat slit. There’s obviously more going on here–and someone doesn’t want Erica looking below the surface.

Meanwhile, Erica’s marriage to Greg Underwood seems headed for disaster . . . and her relationship with her teenage daughter Jenny may not be far behind.

Erica feels a civil war looming in her own home, and all the signs indicate that military action will be required in North Dakota. And then she discovers that the threat to all Americans is even greater than anyone imagined. Can she find the answers to save her family and her country in time?

Paperback, 340 pages                       Published June 27, 2017, by Thomas Nelson

 

My review:  Erica Sparks is back! Not only is she reporting the story but she’s part of it. The Separatists is a modern day political thriller that will have you reading long into the night while on the edge of your seat.

I found this book thought-provoking and very modern day and edgy. I loved how journalism mixed with politics and how Erica was not just reporting the story but was part of it, albeit unknowingly. I found the story to be fast-paced and intense and very easy to stay involved in. There are many plot twists and turns that keep the story interesting.

This story made me feel as if I got an inside look at what it’s like to work in the media and to live the life of the top journalists. Erica tries to juggle a job that takes her here, there, and everywhere while also trying to be a wife and mother. She doesn’t always succeed and at times puts her job first but she is only human after all and it is nice to see that she isn’t perfect and has flaws and admits them. This made her more real to me and as a full-time worker and wife, someone to whom I could relate.

I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more from Lis Wiehl. I like her stories and I think her writing is smart with an edge to it that makes it stand out. This book is a definite must read for fans of political/psychological thrillers.

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

 

About the author:  Lis Wiehl is the author “Face of Betrayal,” a New York Times Best Seller.

She has also written “Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life” and “The 51% Minority: How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It.”

In addition to her written work, Wiehl is currently a legal analyst for Fox News. She has been with the network since 2001.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Wiehl is an adjunct professor at New York Law School.

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The Blessing (Amish Cooking Class #2) by Wanda E. Brunstetter (review by Kristi)

the blessing

About the book:  Return to the Troyer farm where, despite stressful changes occurring in their lives, Joel and Heidi once again open their Ohio home up to those seeking to learn about Amish cooking. This time a teenager helping her divorced dad cook for the family, a caterer needing new recipes, a food critic, a hunter looking to impress his buddies, a wife given the class as an unwanted gift, and a mailman lured in by the aroma of good cooking gather around Heidi s table. More than good food is exchanged, though, as friendships form, a romance blossoms, and hearts are healed.”

Paperback                              Expected publication:  August 1, 2017, by Shiloh Run Press

 

My review:  I have been a fan of Wanda’s since I first read her books. I am glad that she hasn’t changed the way she writes and has stayed true to what makes Amish fiction so interesting to many. Her characters are well-developed and genuine and the stories she writes are interesting. I always feel like I’m getting a real glimpse into the lives of the Amish when I read one of her books. The Blessing fits the Wanda E. Brunstetter recipe for success and is a delightful read.

The characters we meet in this book are a diverse group of people. There’s a teenager, a single woman, and a married woman with children. Plus there are three men, a single man, a widower, and a man who is divorced and living the life of a bachelor. Each of these characters has their own reason for taking the cooking classes and we discover that reason as we get to know the characters. More and more of the characters’ personalities are revealed throughout the book. We also get to know more about Heidi throughout this book and catch up with the students from the first class.

I liked the pace of this book and the fact that the story jumps from character to character throughout each chapter. It’s as if we get to stop in and visit with each one for a bit. To me this made the story move along at a quick pace and kept the story fresh.

I have to say that I just love the cover of this book. It captures Heidi’s character perfectly. The colors are calm and soothing while being eye-catching. The cover is simple yet balanced and is one of the best Amish fiction covers I have seen.

Fans of Wanda’s books are guaranteed to love The Blessing and readers new to her work are sure to fall in love with her work after reading this book. Although this is the second book in the series and I would recommend reading book one first it isn’t necessary. This book could be read as a standalone as there is enough backstory provided to catch up with Heidi’s life and not seem lost.

I was provided a free copy of this book and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has sold more than seven million copies of her fiction and nonfiction books. Wanda enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish and continues to visit their communities throughout the country. Her books have won numerous awards and topped several bestselling charts.

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A Stranger at Fellsworth (Treasures of Surrey,#3) by Sarah E. Ladd (review by Cathy)

A Stranger at Fellsworth

About the book:

Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

 

My review (4-stars)

This is the third book in this series, but I think it can be read as a standalone.  I’ve read the other two, so you may want to read all three in order.  Having said that, I will say that I enjoyed this book quite a lot.

The family dynamics were interesting with fractured relationships and especially a manipulative cruel brother.  I admired Annabelle because she is definitely no shrinking violet!  When she and her maid left home to escape to Fellsworth, she was unsure of what kind of reception she would receive.   Two of my favorite characters were her Aunt and Uncle, they were kind and compassionate people and just what Annabelle needed.

I liked Owen for his love and concern for his daughter.   His relationship with Annabelle was natural and not rushed which I enjoyed.

Overall I liked the characters and the storyline, and felt the author did a good job of blending a bit of romance, and a touch of suspense.  The addition of the boarding school was a nice touch is always a favorite of mine, too.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and was not required to write review.