Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Review: The Kissing Tree: Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Bestselling novelist Karen Witemeyer joins award-winning authors Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese for this Texas-sized romance novella collection. Each of the authors' unique voices is on display in stories where courting couples leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak's bark.  

In Regina Jennings' Broken Limbs, Mended Fences, a small-town teacher has her credentials questioned by a traveling salesman.

In Karen Witemeyer's Inn for a Surprise, two opinionated collaborators with conflicting visions must turn a doomed business venture into a successful romantic retreat.

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes follows a young WWII naval airman who heads to Texas to meet the sister of a lost compatriot.

Heartwood 
by Nicole Deese is a modern-day romance about the groundskeeper of a historic inn who's reunited with someone from her past while she fights to save a town landmark.

My Review

I love beautiful old trees, so the theme of a tree connecting four generations really appealed to me. Because of the variety of eras and the authors writing the different stories, each was unique and incorporated the Kissing Tree in a different way. While each story and couple was interesting, I connected the most with the emotions of the first, by Regina Jennings. A dream-killing injury, a challenge to her job, a wager, and unrequited love lead to an unlikely friendship between Bella and a schoolmate from her past. I appreciated how Bella does her best to forgive and look for the good in Adam. He is back in the town he grew up in to sell the latest technology in harvesting, yet his former community has difficulty believing his promises. He and Bella both have something to prove, and the support they give each other goes a long way to make them both successful in their endeavors and relationship. They feel strongly and are compelling as they earnestly seek for solutions to their quandary.

Inn for a Surprise brings the gentle humor author Karen Witemeyer brings to all her books, and the conflicting opinions on what would please the clientele of a hotel brought fun banter as the competition between Phoebe and Barnabas teaches them to listen and compromise in order to make the inn its best. 

I most enjoyed in Roots to Sky was the long correspondence between Hannah and Luke, and the way they grew to know each other before ever meeting. The healing and slow-developing sweet romance when they finally meet is lovely.

Heartwood was a little heartbreaking, since the great old tree is coming to the end of its days. I was fascinated with Griffin's occupation of arborist and all the skills and knowledge it involves. Abby's grief over her father bleeds into her lifestyle and the way she can't leave behind his work on the grounds of the inn and move on with her own life choices. Griffin's return resurrects old hurts for both of them that they must face and resolve in order to take risks again and heal.


Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.



Friday, December 25, 2020

Review: Timeless Regency Collection: A Christmas Promise by Joanna Barker, Annette Lyon, Jennifer Moore



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

THE TWO BELLS OF CHRISTMAS by Joanna Barker
Roland Hastings made a promise to his father: to marry and carry on the family line. But after a year of searching, he has given up hope of finding the right woman. Anticipating a quiet Christmas with his mother, Roland is frustrated to learn she has organized an entire house party to help him find a bride. Cassandra Bell arrives for the house party with her twin sister Vivian, who has set her heart on winning a proposal from the eligible Mr. Hastings. But when Vivian grows ill, she begs Cassie to switch places with her and keep the other conniving ladies away from Mr. Hastings. Cassie reluctantly takes on the role of her poised and proper twin, but things become much more complicated when Roland begins to take an interest in the spunky and unconventional Cassie...

PROMISE ME AGAIN by Annette Lyon
Secret wedding plans. A powerful brother who will go to any lengths to stop them. Can love truly conquer all? Miriam and Jacob have loved each other for as long as they can remember. They want to wed, but Jacob's older brother Norman forbids it. Deciding to do so secretly without his blessing, Miriam and Jacob make plans to marry on Christmas Eve at a church several hours’ journey away. Despite their efforts, Norman’s long reach finds them. Miriam’s love is tested to the very limit when she is forced into a devil’s bargain with him. She agrees only to spare Jacob pain, but can their hearts find their way back to each other no matter what—or who—stands in their way?

A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY by Jennifer Moore
The war is over, but Lucy Breckenridge’s plans for a perfect Christmas are ruined when Captain James Stewart brings news that her father will not return in time for the holiday. Determined to not miss yet another Christmas with her father, Lucy starts on a journey for London with her trusty maid and manservant. Learning they have gone, James follows, hoping to stop her before she discovers the true reason for Colonel Breckenridge’s absence. Along the way, the two join in local holiday celebrations and learn that families have flaws, friendship requires trust, and Christmas traditions can be created in the most unexpected places.

My Review

Another wonderfully entertaining collection from Timeless Regency! I love the variety of stories we get that relate to the title theme, and these anthologies with three novellas also give us longer and more complete stories than we find in the collections with six stories. The first story, The Two Bells of Christmas, was fun and entertaining as Cassie tried her best to be a posed substitute for her sister, but her personality can't help but shine through. I enjoyed trying to figure out when Roland becomes aware of their ruse, and convinces Cassie that she is just as lovable and worthy as Vivian. The second story was my least favorite of the collection because I missed seeing the main characters fall in love, and the villain made the plot rather two-dimensional. The third story was my favorite, and one I plan to re-read in the future. Even though Lucy is headstrong and naive, she is full of determination to reunite with her father and celebrate Christmas with him for once. I could sense that something was not right when James was so hesitant to lead her to her father, but along their journey Lucy's compassionate and selflessness personality reaches out to all in their little group and she makes it a special holiday season for them all. I loved how she was able to thaw James's heart and the joy they found together. Recommended for fans of sweet Regency romance!

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.



Review: Frontier Engagement by Regina Scott



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

School Bells and Wedding Bells

James Wallin's family is depending on him to find a schoolteacher for their frontier town. Alexandrina Fosgrave seems to be exactly what he needs to help fulfill his father's dream of building a new community. If only James could convince her to accept the position.

Alexandrina has traveled west to seek a fresh start, not to find a groom. But after she's stranded in the wilderness with James, he offers her his hand in marriage to protect her reputation. Both are afraid to fall in love, but maybe an engagement of convenience could make them reconsider…

My Review

Rina has such an interesting backstory as the unsuspecting daughter of con artists who travel the country as exiled European royalty, escaping their debts as they go. She has major trust issues, especially with those who are charming and manipulative. Unfortunately for James, his charm is his major asset, and he is tasked with hiring her as the teacher for their fledgling community. He's intrigued by her fire and ice, hiding her insecurities behind her trained composure. I liked how they got to know each other so much better on their wilderness misadventure, and the way Rina learns to stand up for herself and resolve the conflicts she faces.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.




Don't miss the other books in the Frontier Bachelors series . . .

















Review: Instant Frontier Family by Regina Scott



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Maddie O'Rourke's orphaned half brother and half sister have arrived safely in Seattle—with a man they hope she'll wed! Though Michael Haggerty's not the escort she planned for, Maddie allows him to work off his passage by assisting in her bakery…and helping care for her siblings. But she'll never risk her newfound independence by marrying the strapping Irishman—or anyone else. 

In New York, Michael ran afoul of a notorious gang. Traveling west was a necessity, not a choice. The longshoreman grew fond of his young charges, and now he's quickly becoming partial to their beautiful sister, too. So when danger follows him, threatening Maddie and the children, he'll do anything to protect them—and the future he hopes to build.

My Review

I love the setting of this series, during the early settlement of Seattle. There were opportunities for people that they never had in the tenements of New York. Even though Michael faces racism against his Irish heritage, he and Maddie thrive in their new home. The contrast is especially shown through preteen Ciara's eyes as she compares the "new world" to the only place she had ever known. Michael and Maddie both have their reasons for avoiding marriage, but as their friendship blossoms to romance, those reasons are put to the test. I liked how they developed faith and trust in each other over time and through their experiences together. There are elements of suspense with the vandalism against the Irish in town and a possible uprising. Also enjoyed the brief cameos of characters from previous books in the series.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.




Don't miss the other books in the Frontier Bachelors series . . .











Thursday, December 24, 2020

Review: Her Secret Song by Mary Connealy



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

After a rough winter spent alone, Ursula Nordegren realizes she must overcome her fears of the outside world and begins a trek down Hope Mountain. Along the way she finds a badly wounded stranger and realizes God may have used her decision to leave as a way of saving the man.

Wax Mosby was climbing Hope Mountain in part to atone for his terrible choices. He was hired to drive out the Warden family and now knows he was duped. But when he's wounded during the climb, the last person he expects to rescue him is a beautiful blond woman with the voice of an angel.

As both Ursula and Wax weigh the costs of living new lives, the two find an unlikely bond. And they're joined by Ursula's sisters and the Warden family as the final showdown over the family ranch looms with the coming of spring.
 

My Review

It was easy to be frustrated with Ursula in the first two books with her resistance to her sisters' new friends and choices, so I was looking forward to reading from her perspective. I appreciated the way she eventually overcame her fears and made the choice to connect with people rather than isolate. Her singing to herself was an interesting mannerism and one that instantly connects her to Wax when she rescues him. Wax is another character going through an important transition as he abandons his employer and gun-for-hire lifestyle and seeks to redeem himself. He's an important asset to the Warden's as they battle the criminal-on-the-run reinvented as a cattle baron who is taking over the land through violent force. An entertaining blend of adventure, suspense, romance, and faith.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.




Don't miss the other books in the Brides of Hope Mountain series . . .

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Review: Spinster Ever After by Rebecca Connolly



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

When a man loves a spinster...

Charlotte Wright had had enough. All of her friends have now married, leaving her the lone writer of the Spinster Chronicles who is still a true spinster. So she's decided it is time for her to join the ranks and get married, groom to be determined. She's an heiress, after all. How difficult could it be to find a husband?

Michael Sandford has been there by Charlotte's side from the very beginning, loving her all the while even when she turned down his proposal. When she tells him of her plans to marry and marry soon, he begins to make plans himself. He cannot stand by and watch her marry someone else, so he's decided to distance himself from Charlotte entirely while she hunts for a husband... one that is not him.

And Charlotte doesn't like that one bit.
 

My Review

This has been such a fun series! Charlotte is the most outspoken and sassy of the group of young ladies who call themselves The Spinsters and not-so-secretly publish a society column. In the previous books she has always seemed so unaffected, so it was nice to be able to see behind her facade to her more vulnerable feelings. She's not too different from what she seems, though, having an openly honest personality. She truly is unaware of Michael's obsession with her, probably because he plays the role of only-a-friend so well. I kept rooting for him to take a chance and tell her how he felt before he tried moving on, but his sense of self-preservation kept him from risking another rejection. The dance over the line between friendship and romance is played with as Charlotte and Michael try their best to make choices that will move their lives forward after they each realize how stagnant they have been over the past years- Charlotte with entertaining frivolous suitors she knows have no future with her, and Michael with his world revolving around Charlotte and not making a place for himself in society. It was fun to see the various characters from the books rally around each of them in their quest to reinvent themselves and find love. An entertaining conclusion to the Spinster Chronicles!


Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.




Don't miss the other books in the Spinster Chronicles series . . .

https://amzn.to/34RWkG6https://amzn.to/2ENmbVa

https://amzn.to/2Mn0yPyhttps://amzn.to/371Tgsh

https://amzn.to/2EGG8g6