Monday, July 6, 2015

Thank Goodness - Getting a Bride the Old Fashioned Way

A Bride at Last

Melissa Jagears 

Unexpected Brides #3

Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.

Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she'd been deceived about her intended groom, she's now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she'll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony--until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy's father.

Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

      The third book in the Unexpected Brides series, A Bride at Last is the conclusion of a story line that was hinted at in the first novel, A Bride for Keeps.

Silas and Kate both have to deal with the various problems associated with a recovering alcoholic. The subject wasn’t particularly sensitive, but forced the characters to consider forgiveness as it applies to themselves and those around them.

            The first two books in the series are set primarily in the town, with little to no movement from it and the surrounding area. This one takes place primarily in a very different little town. Ultimately we are not quite as close to the other characters that popped up in the other books. They do interact a bit, and you have to prepare yourself so that you aren’t overwhelmed because it has been a couple of years since the plot of the other two. I personally love this because it feels like an extended epilogue.

            Kate is a teacher, so she has to deal with the expectations of proper manners that come out because of that. It is REALLY annoying, so I would recommend having some kind of stress releases nearby. Throwing the book across the room imagining certain characters bloated heads being slammed into the wall while losing your page isn’t really a good option.

            I really loved this book, and I hope that more will come out of this series. I have a few guesses about what the next plotline could be. I can’t wait to see who comes next!

            I received a copy of this book from the amazing author, Melissa Jagears, in exchange for telling people about it if I like it (which I do – I LOVE it!!). Enjoy reading and don’t forget to click on the cover to read an excerpt. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Shakers or Quakers? More like Shaking Quakers

The Innocent

Ann H. Gabhart

Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. When the war ends without further word, Carlyn finds herself penniless, in debt, and forced from her home. With nowhere else to go, she seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill.

The Shakers profess peace through simple living, but to Carlyn, the Shaker life seems anything but simple. When mysterious deaths disturb the peace of the village, Carlyn falls under intense scrutiny. Can a kind sheriff help her expose the true culprit?

    When I finished the book I learned that the Innocent is actually one of those sequel-ish kind of books that occur when the book is set in the same place as earlier ones, but perhaps with slightly different driving characters. I didn't feel like I was missing anything, but if you really have to read in order...

     When I started the book I didn't really know what Shakers were. I assumed (incorrectly) that Shaker was just another term for Quaker. In reality the Shakers were a group that splintered off of the Quakers and earned their name because of all the movement they did while worshiping. This background information is really everything you need because you experience all of the different eccentricities with newcomer Carlyn Kearney. The author does a fantastic job teaching about the Shakers without feeling preachy (except for intended).

     The suspense of the action didn't really kick in until the latter half of the book when things really started going wrong and all emotions were being pumped up. The first half isn't slow, and is very interesting, but the book (and you heartrate) really pick up near the end. 

    There is only one really sensitive topic in the book: a nasty man who owns Carlyn's  home tries to recruit her as his mistress in exchange for payment of her debt. He pursues her, begins attacking her, but is ultimately thwarted before he can do any harm. 

     I really enjoyed reading about the Shakers and Carlyn and would happily read more by Ann H. Gabhart. I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Enjoy Reading! Don't forget to click on the cover to read an excerpt. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Squeal Worthy Returns of Squeal Worthy Heroes

A Love Like Ours

Becky Wade

Porter Family #3

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

     Becky Wade's Porter Family is extremely hunky and a pleasure to visit. Jake Porter's struggles throughout the book are every day and relatable. I've never been in the sort of situation that would result in PTSD, but the portrayal of his struggles and the terrible things he had to live through made him feel like a person. Once in a while, probably a total of six or seven times in the book, a new chapter is started in italics. These tiny sections are Jake's memories from his traumatic experience. They will make you cry, but they are not explicitly violent. Not gory, just sad. 

    In addition you really feel sympathy for Jake's character as well as Lyndie's family when it comes to Lyndie's younger sister Mollie. Mollie is a young woman who has a crippling disease, she can't communicate/move/fend for herself. It makes you identify with the uncomfortable feelings that you would feel around someone who couldn't speak with you. Lyndie's attitude puts into perspective what those families have to face, and the love of the Lord for people who happen to touch people in special ways because they can't in normal ones. 

     I really loved the double romance. Remember Amber from the first book with Meg? She comes back. For Amber it is several years later and she has a fulfilling and satisfying relationship with the Lord. Her romance doesn't take over Lyndie and Jake's story line, but adds to it and makes it richer. 

     Becky Wade really set up the forth book by introducing more of Dru into this particular one. I can't wait to see more of Dru's take-down kind of personality. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Enjoy Reading! Click on the link to read an excerpt.