A Duty To The Dead by Charles Todd

A Duty To The Dead (Bess Crawford, #1)

A Duty To The Dead
(Bess Crawford #1)
by Charles Todd

 


 

~ MY REVIEW ~

I would have probably called this a fairly slow-paced book before I realized that, though it felt like I couldn’t have made it very far, I had already nearly made it halfway through! It’s a paradox: slow, yet fast. Makes no sense & I really don’t know how to explain it, but I like it. And the pace does seem to pick up as the story goes along.

All in all, I really liked this book! The characters, setting, and storyline were all interesting. While I did predict part of the ending, some of it was still quite a surprise to me. I’ll admit I was saddened/disappointed by part of it, but not so much that it took away from the story or anything.

The narrator (Rosalyn Landor– who also read Death Comes to Pemberley, which I really enjoyed) is one of the best I’ve listened to. She has an easy voice to listen to. Listening to this book was almost like watching a BBC mystery film. 😉

Warning: This is not Christian fiction so, while there isn’t anything of a sexual nature, there is bad language throughout the book.

 


~ SOME FAVORITE QUOTES ~

I hadn’t realized that a break in a bone could be so exquisitely painful.  I’d feel a greater tolerance for the the wounded after this.

We left the flat together.  I expected– dreaded– Mrs. Hennessy popping out her door and asking who my young man was.  “An escaped murderer, Mrs. Hennessy; my father will be horrified.”  But she didn’t come out her door…

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Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley
by P.D. James

 


~ MY REVIEW ~

I actually really enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to!

For those of you who have watched the mini-series… the book is better.  Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? 😛  But it’s true.  There are things in the book that are different from the series, of course, and as much as I enjoyed the series I really did like the book better.

I found the author’s take on the characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice quite interesting.  And I liked that they weren’t all that different from the original characters– many times the changes were even explained by experiences, circumstances, and such.

I also really liked the narrator, Rosalyn Landor.  I thought she did a good job on this book; I enjoyed listening to her.

One last thing that I think I need to mention is this: I don’t remember there being any bad language at all in this book. And no inappropriate scenes either.
Please, someone, correct me if I’m wrong on this! My copy from the library has already expired so I can’t go back now to see if I had marked any places. But I really don’t remember anything bad…..


 

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Looking Back on February 2017

Emma The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill, #1) Rebecca A Duty To The Dead (Bess Crawford, #1) Without Warning (Elite Guardians, #2) After the War Is Over Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple, #1) Still the One (Seven Brides, Seven Brothers, #2) Until You Loved Me (Seven Brides, Seven Brothers, #3) Moving Target (Elite Guardians #3)


New-To-Me Authors: 4

And the places I “visited” in my reading…

States: South Carolina – Massachusetts – Louisiana – Florida

Countries: England – Monaco – France

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Moving Target by Lynette Eason

Thanks to awful internet… I’m a few days late getting this review posted so I’m sharing it on a Saturday instead of my usual Tuesdays.

 


 

Moving Target (Elite Guardians #3)

Moving Target
(Elite Guardians #3)
by Lynette Eason

 


 

~ MY REVIEW ~

I’m the type of person who has trouble reading suspense books before bed. They don’t give me nightmares, but… if I don’t finish the book before going to sleep, my mind has a hard time shutting down & I’ll end up spending half the night subconsciously turning the story over & over trying to figure out how it’ll end instead of getting the rest I need. This is the kind of book that I wanted– no, needed— to sit down and read all the way through without stopping. If only I could have done that… Because often, the only time I get to read is right before going to bed and this book is one of those that just sat on my brain until every last detail was revealed. On the positive side of that, I ended up figuring out part of the solution in my sleep. haha! ;P

This book is just as fast-paced and intense… just as interesting, and well-written, and enjoyable… as the previous books. However, this one somehow goes beyond what I usually read, I think. There were some pretty heavy topics (click here to view spoilers).

I cried. I’m okay with admitting that. She definitely made me cry more than once. But she also made me grin and laugh.

Maddy & Quinn both have such difficult pasts that they need to come to terms with so they can move on. And making their way through this serial killer’s plans for them forces them to face their pasts and reveal their struggles. The entire book is one battle after another– some physical, others not so much. And learning to lean on and trust God plays an important part in it all. I love how Maddy asks Quinn how his relationship is with God. She loves him and wants a life with him, but she’s concerned about his spiritual condition & that’s where her love for him really shines through, I think.

I did pretty much figure out who the culprit was (in my sleep, as you may recall), but that still didn’t detract from the suspense of wondering how they were going to piece everything together and what might happen in the meantime!

I loved this book. I really did. And after three such great books, I really cannot wait to get my hands on the fourth book!! There’s a preview for it in the back of this book, but I refuse to read it. Why do they insist on tempting us like this?! I don’t want a taste now if I’m gonna have to wait for a few months or more before I can have the whole meal! 😛

 

I received a free copy of this book through the Revell Reads Blog Tour Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 


~ WHAT SOME OF MY FRIENDS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK ~

Moving Target reaffirms yet again why Lynette is one of my favorite authors.  Read more…
~Caityln

This was a very fast read for me. It’s been one of the few books this year that I really couldn’t put down.  Read more…
~Dawn

The kind of novel that keeps you nervously checking over your shoulder days later….  Edge-of-your seat from start to finish.  Read more…
~Kav

 


~ SOME FAVORITE QUOTES ~

“I… uh… couldn’t have… uh–” he cleared his throat– “gotten through all of this without you.  You know that, right?”
“Of course I know that.”  She eyed him and wrinkled her nose at him.  “Although, with your sunny disposition, I can’t imagine why you didn’t have people lining up to volunteer to take care of you.”

“Haven’t you heard you don’t take a knife to a crossbow fight?”
He wondered how high her fever was.  “No, that’s a new one.”

“I’ve never caught you noticing my muscles.”
“Trust me, Quinn, I’ve noticed.”
(This part just made me chuckle every time I thought about it– he’s so much like a little boy right then… just wanting her admiration. 😄 )

 


Check out the entire Elite Guardians series!
Always Watching (Elite Guardians, #1) Without Warning (Elite Guardians, #2) Moving Target (Elite Guardians #3) Chasing Secrets (Elite Guardians, #4)

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Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Without Warning (Elite Guardians, #2)

Without Warning
(Elite Guardians #2)
by Lynette Eason


~ MY REVIEW ~

Yet another of Lynette Eason’s books on my favorites list. (And I have a feeling the next one will land there, as well. 😉 )
While it did take me a bit to get back into the swing of things with this series (I read the first book nearly a year ago!), it didn’t take me long at all to get into the book itself. This book dives right into the suspense with a break-in on page one, a body being found by page four, and a building burning to the ground a few pages later! In fact, so much happened in the first few “minutes” of the book that I found myself instantly absorbed into the story and anxious to find out what would happen next. This is definitely the type of book that makes me want to sit somewhere quiet and just read for hours until I reach the satisfying conclusion of the final chapter. (And I’ll pause right here to add that I am so glad these books don’t have cliffhanger endings!!)
Let’s start with the villain this time, shall we? I suspected the culprit throughout most of the book, but there were certainly still some surprises in store for me despite that. And I was glad of that because, while I do enjoy figuring out the clues to the mystery… I don’t want to be able to figure out everything before the final reveal. There’s more I would like to say about the “bad guy”, but I just can’t without spoiling it for those who haven’t read the book yet– I wish I had read this with a friend… :/
Katie and Daniel are great characters who are really able to connect and understand each other. I liked seeing them both grow and their relationship develop throughout the story. The spiritual, emotional, and mental struggles were genuine and well written. Riley is a very mature teenager, in more ways than one, and she’s determined to trust God even when it’s impossible to understand what His purpose could possibly be (boy, did that strike close to home!).
We get to see more of the other bodyguards in this book, of course. It’s nice to be able to kind of continue Olivia’s & Wade’s story from Always Watching, and to get to know the other characters better as we get ready to read their stories soon.
I’m so glad that I had book 3 on hand already because I was able to pick it up almost as soon as I had put this book down. I’m already halfway through it so be expecting a review for it soon too! 🙂
Oh, and one more thing– I just love the name Katie chose for her cat. Creative and significant. If you don’t get it, just look it up. 😉

 


 

~ WHAT SOME OF MY FRIENDS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK ~

The Women of Justice series may still be my favorite Eason series, but the Elite Guardians are a close second! I highly recommend this book and series for anyone who loves suspense.  Read more…
~Andrea

With lots of action, suspense, and danger, this is a fast paced romantic suspense story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Read more…
~Rachel

Everything combined to make this a story that I absolutely loved and hated to put down, this book has a permanent spot on my keeper shelf and will go down as one of my all time favorite books by Lynette!  Read more…
~Caitlyn


 

~ SOME FAVORITE QUOTES ~

Yeah.  I have a temper.  But it’s one I’ve learned to control.
Really?
Really.
How do you figure?
You’re still standing, aren’t you?

I know God could have stopped it but… he didn’t.
And you can accept that?
What choice do I have?  Unless I want to be angry and bitter my whole life, I have to believe there’s a reason it happened.  …..  It helps that I know God’s motives are good even when he allows bad things to happen.

Praying helped, but she had to admit, her faith was wobbling.  She might say all the right things, and truthfully, she really did believe them, but… it was hard to understand what God was doing.

Don’t shoot me.  It would really ruin my night.

That Tim Shepherd dude called again.  You really need to make time in between getting shot at and hospital stays to call him back.

He answers prayers.
Yes, but will it be the answer I want?
I don’t know, but that’s where faith comes in.

 


 

Check out the entire Elite Guardians series!
Always Watching (Elite Guardians, #1) Without Warning (Elite Guardians, #2) Moving Target (Elite Guardians #3) Chasing Secrets (Elite Guardians, #4)

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill, #1)

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
(Tales from Ivy Hill #1)
by Julie Klassen


 

~ MY REVIEW ~

Slow and steady. That may not sound like a compliment for a book, but I do mean it that way.

This isn’t a fast-paced, gripping kind of story that you start reading and can’t stand to put down until you’ve sat reading for hours and finally turned the last page with a sense of relieved satisfaction. However, neither is it the kind of slow story that just drags on and on until you simply can’t bear to force yourself to read any more. It’s… Well, it’s kind of like hot chocolate. It’s warm and comforting and enjoyable, but you have to sip it slowly, taking it in bit by bit to truly enjoy it to it’s fullest.
Yeah… that’s the best way I can think to describe this book. It’s like hot chocolate. Which made it just the perfect kind of book to read on the cold days of late January and early February, eh? 😉

I did really enjoy this book. No, I wasn’t entirely sure about it at first– I worried that it might be a bit too slow for my taste, but that worry didn’t last long. I was quickly pulled into the story and enjoyed it more and more as it went along.

Jane still isn’t one of my favorite characters, but she’s definitely growing on me. I’ve enjoyed seeing her character develop and grow as she’s started taking possession and charge of the inn. I think she has a lot of potential and I’m hoping to see her grow even more. I really liked Thora a lot. She reminded me very much of Mrs. Thornton in the North & South mini-series. I haven’t read that book yet, but I could seriously hear the voice of Mrs. Thornton (played by Sinéad Cusack) in my head as I read Thora’s dialogue! They are quite a bit alike, I think… Thinking of that, I could sense hints of a few different classics throughout this book. I would just be reading along and suddenly something I’d read would conger and image in my mind from a classic I’d read or a film adaptation I had seen. I rather liked that. 🙂

But back to the characters… I must say I’m still not quite sure what I think of Patrick. I don’t like him, I know that. But I just can’t decide if I’m supposed to be starting to like him because he’s going to turn out to be a truly likable bloke– or if the author is going to try to make us readers like him just to confuse us and have him turn out to be quite the scoundrel after all. If I am supposed to like him, though, it’s going to take a bit more time and effort to get me to that point. I do like Gabriel, though I’m sure we’re all supposed to like him even while being slightly suspicious of him. I don’t hesitate to say that I’m going to be very disappointed if he turns out to be the scoundrel and Patrick turns out to be……. Well, I’ve probably already said too much on that subject so I’ll say no more. Suffice it to say, as I have already said, that I currently like Gabriel & dislike Patrick. I’ll be interested to look back on this after the series has finished to see if I still agree with those statements.

By the end of this story, things are really up in the air as far as any romance for Jane is concerned. I mean, she has– how many?– at least 3 potential suitors. And, while there’s no actual relationship between Jane and any of these men by the end of this book (sorry if I just spoiled anything for anyone!), that’s okay. I will be interested to see how Rachel’s and Mercy’s stories turn out. Rachel’s, at least, already seems to be taking an interesting turn. Thora’s own personal story turned out to be a bigger part of this book than I anticipated. I do have a bit of a gripe in regards to that… her story seemed to move in leaps and bounds toward the end and I did feel like it was rushed a bit too much, though I suppose that could be explained away in one way or another (ways which I have considered, but won’t mention due to potential spoilers).

To sum it up (because I’m afraid if I don’t stop now, I’ll just keep rambling on and on about this book…), I did really enjoy this book, and while it didn’t quite make it to my favorites list, I do give it 4 1/2 stars and a recommendation. I think anyone who loves the old classics like Austen, Gaskell, and Brontë will enjoy this book (and any of Julie’s book, really).

I received a free copy of this book through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


 

~ WHAT SOME OF MY FRIENDS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK ~

I’m giving The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill 5 stars and highly recommend it to Regency fans and Christian Historical Fiction fans.  Read more…
~A.M. Heath

The story unfolds with an unhurried grace as Klassen transports her readers into another time and place. It celebrates the unique connections found within a community.  Read more…
~Kav

I would describe this read as a warm family drama.  Read more…
~Christy

 


 

Check out more of Julie Klassen’s books!
The Silent Governess The Secret of Pembrooke Park The Girl in the Gatehouse The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
 The Tutor's Daughter Lady of Milkweed Manor The Apothecary's Daughter The Painter's Daughter

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The Eye of the Photographer

Photography.  It’s about how a person sees the world…

…and how they decide to capture it.

img_0119d

You and I could be standing right next to each other, looking at the same view… and yet, not be seeing the same thing.  It happens all the time.  Because the way you see the world is not the same as the way I see it.  That’s how we end up with so many photos of similar things that are each slightly different in their own way.

If you’re at all familiar with my photography, you’ll know that I really enjoy nature photography and I love to see the up close details of little things that many people normally wouldn’t even notice.  How many times I have been told, “I never knew it looked like that!”  And that makes me happy.  It tells me that I have revealed something to someone– shown them something they’ve never seen before and may never have seen if I hadn’t decided to share with them my view of the world.

And how many times I have looked at a photo and thought, “Wow.  I’m glad they have an eye for that.”  Because if I had been standing in that person’s exact position, I may not have seen what they saw.  I may not have been able to capture the view that they captured.  But because that person’s eyes noticed something– saw something that caught their attention and appealed to them– they picked up their camera, snapped a photo, and shared it with me.  Maybe not with me in particular, but I was still able to see it.  For a moment, I am able to glimpse a view through that person’s eyes and see the world as they see it.

Sometimes, this can lead to a person beginning to view certain things differently than they did before.  When I started seeing photos of eyes and realized how curiously amazing they are, I decided to give it a try.  Obviously, I’m not quite as good as some at photographing eyes… but I am determined to improve on this and I am truly enjoying the journey.

Also, I used to not be at all interested in cemeteries.  Not that I thought they were too creepy or anything, but I just didn’t find them all that interesting.  When I started seeing all these very artistic cemetery photos (you can see some that I really like here: @my_minds_vagabonds), I began seeing cemeteries in a new way.  And I wanted to photograph them myself.  I started kinda creeping out my brothers with this sudden fascination too… but that’s beside the point.

Anyway… I was just sitting here today thinking about how thankful I am that so many photographers have been kind enough to allow me to glimpse the world through their eyes and, in doing so, have helped me to begin seeing the world in new ways myself.  Thank you!  I hope I have been or will be able to do the same.

eye_collage

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Looking Back on January 2017

Christmas Mail-Order Brides Death Comes to Pemberley At Your Request (Apart from the Crowd, #0.5) Plantation Christmas Weddings: Four-in-One Romance Collection (Romancing America) Sagebrush Christmas An Outlaw's Heart: A Southern Love Story (Among the Fair Magnolias) Let It Snow The Way Home (Seven Brides, Seven Brothers, #1)


New-To-Me Authors: 3

And the places I “visited” in my reading…

States: Wyoming – Illinois – Iowa – Nevada – Missouri – Nebraska – California – New York – Mississippi – Louisiana – Kansas – Oregon – Texas – Maryland – Massachusetts

Countries: England

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2017 Reading — Challenges & Expectations

New Year’s resolutions?  The only ones I have ever set have involved books.  😉  For me, starting the New Year off right includes setting new reading goals and figuring out all the books that I hope to read in the following year.  🙂

I started fairly early last year compiling a list of books that would be coming out in 2017 that I was looking forward to reading… You can find my list here.


These are the challenges that I have set for myself this year:

2017 Reading Challenge
—  Goal: Read a total of at least 90 books in 2017

New Authors To You Challenge
Goal: Read at least 15 new-to-me authors in 2017

Library Challenge
Goal: Read at least 50 library books in 2017

Slay the TBR Dragon Challenge
Goal: Read at least 50 books from my TBR pile in 2017

Finish The Series Challenge
Goal: Finish at least 12 series in 2017

Audiobook Challenge
Goal: Finish at least 30 audiobooks in 2017

Bingo Challenge
Goal: Finish at least 5 books in 2017 (to complete 1 Bingo on the card)


Some books that I’m really hoping to read this year:
(not including the 2017 new releases)

These, of course, are only a few of the many books I want to read– these are some of the ones that I have sitting on my shelf right now, just waiting for me to find some time for them.  I know I won’t read all the books on my to-read list, but I do hope to put a good-sized dent in it.  Wish me luck!  😉

Annabel Lee (Coffey & Hill, #1) By Your Side (Crisis Team #1) Deadly Encounter (FBI Task Force #1) Falcon (Quiet Professionals #3) For Such a Time as This (Women of Hope #1) The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill, #1) Intimidation (A Shefford-Johnson Case, #3) Love Everlasting (Brides of Seattle, #3) Prelude for a Lord (The Gentlemen Quartet #1) Three Wishes (River of Time: California, #1) Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom, #1) Two Days in Caracas (Titus Ray Thriller #2) Vendetta (The Nikki Boyd Files #1) Where She Belongs (Misty Willow, #1) Without Warning (Elite Guardians, #2) Written in Blood (The Foley Chronicles:Files from the 8th District Book 1)

 


— Have you set any reading goals for 2017?
— What books are you most looking forward to reading this year?

I wish you all a happy year of reading in 2017!! 🙂

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Top 16 Reads of 2016

Of the 100 books I read in 2016, these are my 16 favorites.  Since it would be nearly impossible to list them according to which ones I enjoyed more, I’ve listed them alphabetically.

Read a book blurb, find the rest of the books in a series, or learn more about an author by clicking on the cover of the book that interests you.  And I’ve also included a link to my review of each book.


Always Watching (Elite Guardians, #1)The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.
But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.
 – My Review


Candle in the Darkness The daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline Fletcher is raised in a culture that believes slavery is God-ordained and biblically acceptable. But upon awakening to the cruelty and injustice it encompasses, Caroline’s eyes are opened for the first time to the men and women who have cared tirelessly for her. Her journey of maturity and faith will draw her into the abolitionist movement, where she is confronted with the risks and sacrifices her beliefs entail.  – My Review


The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles #4) Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.  – My Review


Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor, #1) In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.
Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.
 – My Review


An Elegant Façade (Hawthorne House, #2) Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.
With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he’s irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.
What Colin doesn’t know is that Georgina’s desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina’s plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.
 – My Review


One Enchanted Christmas Last December, mystery author Maren Grant had the most perfect night of her life. On a glimmering winter evening, she got to watch the photo shoot for her very first book and ended up on a magical date with the cover model himself—Colin Renwycke.
Fast forward one year. This December, with a looming deadline, restless spirit and her creative spark long since gone, Maren is desperate to get unstuck. And she can’t get Colin out of her head…or his year-old open invitation to spend a couple weeks writing at his family’s farm.
Drew Renwycke never planned to come home and take over the Renwycke family farm. But he’s spent too many years watching his siblings unravel, including his brother, Colin, after one terrible family mistake. If moving to Maple Valley, Iowa, renovating an old farmhouse and switching careers is what it takes to put the Renwycke family back together, he’ll do it.
But his simple plan upends when a scrappy author lands on his doorstep. And she just might be the key to coaxing his brother home. But what if he wants her all to himself? Drew will have to choose between his Christmas wish and the enchantment of a holiday romance that just might be the happy ending they all long for.
 – My Review


One Enchanted Eve (Enchanted Christmas Collection #2) A delightful Christmas romance about finding the perfect recipe for love.
After years of mistakes and regret, Colin Renwycke finally has a plan: Hone his baking talent at the Denver Culinary Institute and embark on a new career as a pastry chef. If he’s lucky, he might even manage to earn back his family’s respect. But despite his skills in the kitchen, Colin’s a mess in the classroom and his ongoing disasters are proving too much for his prickly instructor. If he loses his spot at the school, he’s out of backup plans.
Culinary school instructor Rylan Jefferson has the chance to reclaim her dream of running her own bakery. But she only has until Christmas Eve to come up with the perfect recipe to impress an eccentric investor. She has no time for holiday parties or family plans . . . and especially not for the unruly student baker who couldn’t follow a recipe if his life depended on it.
But Colin has the one ingredient Rylan needs most—talent. Lots of it. And when he makes a proposal that just might solve both their problems, Rylan can’t say no—even if it does mean traveling all the way to Iowa. It just might be that the snow-covered plains and a charming small town full of postcard Christmas cheer are exactly what her hungry heart needs . . . along with a man who is much more than he seems.
 – My Review


Fire by Night Book 2 of Refiner’s Fire. The drama of the Civil War unfolds through the eyes of two very different Northern girls. Lovely Julia Hoffman has always enjoyed the carefree life of her well-to-do family, but when she fails to attract the attention of Rev. Nathaniel Greene, a fierce abolitionist, she determines to bring meaning to her empty and shallow existence. When she becomes a Union nurse, her eyes are opened to the realities of war and suffering. She also meets Phoebe, who has entered the army under false pretenses–and whose journey to understanding herself, as well as the tumultuous world about her, is revealed with sensitivity and drama.  – My Review


Jane Eyre Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.
 – My Review


Keep Holding On (Walker Family #3) Beckett Walker hasn’t stepped foot in Maple Valley in years. There’s no getting past the painful memories, and there’s every chance he’ll be arrested as soon as he shows his face. Which is exactly what happens when he finally returns. Suddenly his dream of adventure as a military lawyer comes skidding to a halt.
Horticulturist Kit Danby has spent too much time missing home and her childhood best friend–Beckett Walker. Now she might have a shot at reclaiming both. After years of living abroad, she returns to run her family’s apple orchard. She has one season to turn a profit and impress the father she barely knows. But she can’t do it alone.
It should be simple: Beckett needs community service hours. Kit needs a helping hand. But there’s more at stake than either of them planned. With a tangled past and futures that look nothing alike, they’ll have to find a way to weather the storms of the present . . . or risk losing everything.
 – My Review


Playing the Part (A Class of Their Own, #3) Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucinda’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson’s estate to hide out.
Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.
Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can’t ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it’ll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he
plays.
 – My Review


Like Never Before (Walker Family, #2) Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley’s haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher…if only she knew who he was.
After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime–a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he’s inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.
But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She’s scrappy, but wounded. He’s dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley’s quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.
 – My Review


A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House, #1) Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.
When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.
 – My Review


Pride and Prejudice When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.  – My Review


The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence, #1) Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme – Young Adventurers Ltd.
Their advertisement says they are ‘willing to do anything, go anywhere’. But their first assignment, for the sinister Mr. Whittington, plunges them into more danger than they ever imagined…
 – My Review


Thin Ice (Men of Valor #2) After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail–addressed in her sister’s handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.
FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he’s coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive–who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game–or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.
Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers’ hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish.
 – My Review


 

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