Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Not Always Happenstance- Tour and Giveaway

Not Always (1)


Not Always Happenstance My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She’s learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother’s bed and breakfast. She’s also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be taken—relaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment. But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar. As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her. 

 ***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.*** 




My Thoughts: I am really enjoying this series. Not Always Happenstance is the second book in the matchmaker series and although it is written by a different author than the first, I was pleased with how the story connected with the first.

I did not like this book as much as the first, I will admit. From the beginning I found Easton not all that likeable as a hero because he admits to dating women in order to use them as a means of exploring their communities, then he leaves without ever having said goodbye. At first, Easton fully intends to treat Lani this way, even though she had made it clear that she was engaged. I didn't like that he thought he could treat her like a game, to see if he could win her away from her fiance only to leave her at the end of the summer.

But Lani stood up for herself. She didn't let Easton play with her and refused to be his next conquest. Once Easton realized that he wanted more than a summer with her, and that he had been wrong in treating all the past women the way he had, I started to like him and was able to believe in their relationship.

Just like the first book, this one deals with the idea that love is not easy and there is a lot that people have to be willing to work though if they want happily-ever-after. I'm excited to see where this goes with the next books and am hopeful that they will be just as good.

I received this book through I am a Reader, Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.



Rachael

Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


Blog Tour $50 Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/29/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Exspress Rider's Lady- Stacy Henrie

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Express Rider's LadyThe Express Rider's Lady
by Stacy Henrie
Adult Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
February 9th 2016 by Love Inspired

Westward Wedding Journey

Delsie Radford is going to make it to California, no matter the danger or difficulty. Her father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister's wedding—even with only eighteen days to get there. And she's found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton.

Myles can't believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through rough terrain and dangerous territory. Surely she'll quit before they reach their destination—he's known girls like her before. But the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices Delsie's toughness and kindness beneath her polished exterior. And though they may be worlds apart…they might just be perfect for each other.


My Rating: 3 Stars

My Thoughts: The Express Rider's Lady started off well. The premise was not one I had heard of before and, while it did seem a little far fetched, it was fun and interesting. I liked Delsie's determination to make things right with her sister and her willingness to do most anything to make it happen.

The middle started to lag for me. Within the story, Myles seemed to change his opinion of Delsie fairly early on and then just decided that he was not the right kind of man for her. *SPOILER* While there was some tension in the idea that Delsie would not marry against her father's wishes, it frustrated me that she was willing to defy her father in order to travel across country on horse back to see her sister for a day, yet she was not willing to do the same for the man she loved. *END SPOILER* There were also some interactions with Indians in which I was able to predict the entire interaction because it was the same as I have seen many other times before.

Near the end, after Delsie has returned home, the story picked back up. Here, Delsie showed more of the same spirit she started off the journey with and Myles has learned to be content with life. I liked how the story ended and if the middle had played out similarly, I would have enjoyed the story far more.

I received this book through Prism Tours in exchange for an honest review.



Stacy Henrie has always had a love for history, fiction, and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a mother to three, Stacy loves to live out history through her fictional characters. In addition to author, she is also a reader, a road trip enthusiast, and a novice interior decorator.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Mountain Midwife- Laurie Alice Eakes

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Ashley Tolliver has tended to the women of her small Appalachian community for years. As their midwife, she thinks she has seen it all. Until a young woman gives birth at Ashley’s home and is abducted just as Ashley tries to take the dangerously bleeding mother to the nearest hospital. Now Ashley is on a mission to find the woman and her newborn baby . . . before it’s too late.

Hunter McDermott is on a quest—to track down his birth mother. After receiving more media attention than he could ever want for being in the right place at the right time, he receives a mysterious phone call from a woman claiming to be his mother. Hunter seeks out the aid of the local midwife in the mountain town where the phone call originated—surely she can shed some light on his own family background.


Ashley isn’t prepared for the way Hunter’s entrance into her world affects her heart and her future. He reignites dreams of having her own family that she has long put aside in favor of earning her medical degree and being able to do even more for her community. But is it commitment to her calling or fear of the unknown that keeps her feet firmly planted in the Appalachian soil? Or is it something more—fear of her growing feelings for Hunter—that makes her hesitant to explore the world beyond the mountains?


My Thoughts: I have seen a lot of other great reviews of this story and I have to say that I agree with these... for the most part. The story starts off wonderfully, with an exciting incident that drives the story on, and a look at what it means to help those who need you. I was fully engaged and excited about this story until about halfway in.

Toward the middle of the story, certain things started to take place that just did not add up. I wish I could explain just what confused me, but unfortunately I tried to explain it to my mother and ended up having to just read her the passage for her to understand. By this point I had also figured out how the story would end and had to push myself to finish it.

The last half of the book seemed to me to read much the same as the first. Ashley would help her patients, Hunter would ask for her help and then make excuses to not go through with his intent of finding his birth mother. In the end, the answers he found seemed to contradict certain information from the beginning of the story.

The Mountain Midwife was not wholly upsetting, I still enjoyed it at times and I can tell by the writing that Eakes is talented. There is great potential for others to really like this book as well, however I found parts of it to be contradictory and for that reason did not enjoy it as well as I would have liked.

I received this book through the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The First Hostage- Joel C. Rosenberg

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: “The president of the United States . . . is missing.”

With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.

As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .

Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.


My Thoughts:  Normally I do not read this sort of book, preferring my fantasy and historical novels. But since this story was set in Amman, I decided to give it a try after spending the summer in Jordan last year. This made it a lot of fun to read about King Abdullah, after seeing pictures of the royal family in nearly every business I had visited there.

The First Hostage is an intense, fast paced story about terrorism and the efforts of political leaders toward world peace. It was gripping and engaging (so much so that I was almost late to work a couple times because of reading it). I am certainly glad that I decided to give it a try.

The one detractor from the story was J.B. himself. For most of the first half of the book, I had forgotten he was the narrator all together because he interjected his own opinion so infrequently. Then, because I had forgotten about him, I was slightly irritated when the story took the time to catch back up with his life instead of continuing with the unfolding drama in Amman. It was not until the last quarter of the book that his character really shown and I found myself caring about what happened to him.

This story has certainly made me excited to read more books by Rosenberg and I hope to find more like this in the future.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Broken Things to Mend- Tour and Giveaway

Broken Things (1)


My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: 

***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.***

Celia is in desperate need of a change--a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a complete redo of all relationships. Not knowing what else to do, she opens a map, closes her eyes, and lets fate decide her future. Then she packs her meager belongings and buys a one-way ticket to a little town on the fringes of Oregon's Deschutes National Forest called Sisters. She's wanted a family for years. Will she find one in Sisters?

What Celia doesn't plan to find is a strange Chinese woman whose meddling ways keep throwing her in the path of a handsome, but reserved, forest ranger. But no matter how kind or dependable Silas seems to be, there are some things in Celia's past that neither of them can escape, and this time, the damage might be too much to mend.


My Thoughts: I really enjoyed Broken Things to Mend. While I don't think that the writing was quite as good as in the series prequel short story, it was still a well written love story. Celia and Silas are two broken people who find solace and contentment together. I loved their relationship and found them to be perfect for each other. I'm not even sure that I can express just how happy I was to see them get their happy ending.

There were somethings that did bother me. A couple times the story seemed to head-hop, and Silas' Aunt Nancy was a busybody who needed to butt-out. As well, the matchmaker, who is supposed to connect all the stories together, seemed out of place as she was the only fantasy element to the story. While I understood that she was there to connect the books, I felt that the story could have been stronger without her character.

I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series. Though it is written by a different author, I am hopeful that it will be just as good.

I received this book through I'm a Reader, Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.



Karey White Author Karey White: Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

   
   Blog Tour Giveaway - $50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 in Paypal Cash Ends 2/2/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

A Time to Speak- Nadine Brandes

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Descriptions: What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council is using Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes. Parvin and Solomon team up to rescue the people. Instead, they find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?


My Thoughts: A Time to Speak is even better than the first book, A Time to Die, which many of us can surely agree does not often happen in the middle book of a series. Yet I found this world far easier to digest and understand, with a good portion of the story taking place in Unity Village instead of an environment and culture that I am completely unfamiliar with. While A Time to Die was engaging, A Time to Speak was relatable.

When Parvin hears God telling her to SPEAK, I felt a true connection to her predicament and the knowledge that she should do something that she is terrified off. I felt for her every time she had to ask God to give her courage, to make her rely on him so much that she wasn't afraid to speak.

I was very tempted to give this 5 stars, though after thinking about it decided that I could not say I found the book perfect. This was mostly because of Frenchie and Madam's characters, two individuals whose real names Parvin never seemed inclined to learn even though they have a lot of scene time. Both characters are supposed to be French and Nadine chose to show this by altering the spelling of words they said to reflect pronunciation rather than speech patterns. While not a glaring problem, it still irritated me to the point where I wished those characters had not existed.

Even with my dislike of Frenchie and Madam, I absolutely loved A Time to Speak and now cannot wait for A Time to Rise. This is one of the few books I have purchased recently and it was well worth it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Wedding Chapel- Rachel Hauck

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.


My Thoughts: The Wedding Chapel is written well, with gripping emotions and settings, yet I found myself more frustrated by the story than drawn into it. All four of the point of view characters suffer from character flaws and past hurts that keep them from fully trusting anyone, including the one they love most. While I understand the realism to this brokenness and the tendency to not say the things we know we should because we fear the consequences, I still found myself getting angry at characters who I was probably meant to sympathize with.

This alone would not have frustrated me as much had the story been told in chronological order instead of present day and flashbacks. Through the book, I would find myself finally setting into a scene and becoming fully engaged, when it would suddenly end and the story would shift in time, leaving the last story line behind.

There is not much I can actually say is *wrong* with The Wedding Chapel, only that it was not the story for me. The characters were well written and the story interesting, but I didn't like the number of flashbacks or the characters' continued fear of letting anyone in to the point that none of the characters had any real confidants. I'm certain that there will be those who absolutely adore this story, however it was not that way for me. This is the type of story that relys very heavily on the emotions of the reader and their connection with the characters rather than outside conflict. If you enjoy those internal struggles, then I would suggest this book to you.

I received this book through Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.