Monday, April 29, 2019

"The Christmas Carousel" by Annabel Allen

When they were 16, Eric, Ashley, and Mark were among the best of friends. But when Mark’s grandfather passed away, everything changed. Mark’s grandfather had left his entire estate to his grandson in a trust. Mark’s guardians had been hoping to sell the property, but upon learning that they couldn’t, they still refused to allow Mark to remain living in the town. Instead, they insisted that he should attend an expensive school elsewhere. It would be 10 years before he would return to what had once been his childhood home.

When he did return, it was with the intent to sell the estate that had long ago held so much joy both for him and the rest of the town. When his grandfather had still lived, the town had held holiday celebrations at the estate. With his passing, the estate was closed down and the property became an overgrown, abandoned mess.

Ashley couldn’t understand why he was selling and leaving her behind once again. She remembered the fun they had all had before his family had moved. And even after the passage of all that time, she was still very much in love with Mark. Yet he seemed to vary between wanting to be around her and desperately trying to run away from her. The question was, why?

This tale was sweet and romantic. I enjoyed reading it. It carries with it the unspoken warning that sometimes you can risk your own happy ending by trying to always put others’ desires ahead of your own. What in many circumstances might seem to be the right thing to do can just as easily have the wrong outcome.

Monday, April 22, 2019

"The Mail Order Bride
and her Barren Shame"
by Florence Linnington

Ruth has had a rough life. In her youth, she lost the ability to have children of her own, then the factory where she was working was destroyed in a fire. After that, she decided to start her life over and accepted a marriage proposal from a man in California. She journeyed with a wagon train to meet him. Unwilling to wait any longer than necessary for her to reach him, Harrison decided to meet the wagons on their way to town. He was quite eager to reach his bride and start his family life with her and their future children.

But what Ruth found herself unable to tell him was that she would never be able to give him the children he craved. It was a secret that gnawed at her and one she knew that she needed to tell him about before it was too late, yet with each passing moment, it became more and more difficult to tell him the truth. She had already fallen in love with him and feared losing him the moment he learned that she could never give him a son.

There were many other things she could help him with, and many other ways in which she could help to make their life together better and stronger, yet knowing the one thing she could never offer him was what he desired most in the world, would he still want her or would it destroy any chance of lasting happiness between them?

I enjoyed reading this story. Ruth was a strong woman in her own right, though her fear of losing Harrison was very real and quite understandable. At this point in history, much of a woman’s perceived worth depended on her ability to give a man a family. When one does not share the impossibility of future children with the man she is about to marry, what is the chance that the man she loves will still consider her worth marrying? The two of these characters went through some rough times in their early relationship and I enjoyed watching them try to work through their problems to find their way together.

I did run across a few typos as I read, but they were generally small. And really, what book these days doesn’t seem to have at least a few typos that make it through the editing process? The story was interesting and took place in a new setting with different characters than I have run into in the previous books that I have read from this author. If this is the start of a new series by her, I look forward to seeing more of these books in the future.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"Conspiracy of Lies" by Kathryn Gauci

Sarah’s mother Claire, suffers her second heart attack after apparently reading a newspaper clipping about the death of an elderly German man that someone had sent to her from France. Sarah wasn’t familiar with the Frenchman who had sent her mother the notice, nor the man who had passed away. She was certain though, that this was what had triggered her mother’s most recent heart attack.

After recovering and being released from the hospital, Claire decides that she would like to visit France and would like her daughter to accompany her on the trip. Surprisingly, it is not the usual places that most tourists wish to see, but rather she wishes to visit somewhere she hasn’t even spoken of in her daughter’s memory. And once there, Claire begins to tell her daughter the tale of her life during WWII, a story that she has never even mentioned before.

Claire’s tale is one of love and heartbreak. Claire had been in France before the war had truly started, and had spent a number of years working various other jobs before finding herself in a unique position and being recruited to work with the Resistance as an undercover agent against the Germans. It was something Sarah hadn’t been aware of as well as the start of an amazing tale of her mother’s strength and bravery during a time of great hardship and loss.

I enjoyed reading this story. There was enough detail and expressions in the various languages used in the area at that time to bring the readers truly into the story and make them feel almost a part of what was happening. There were a few small typos that I ran into here & there, but not enough to really disrupt the flow of the action.

The story told by Claire to her daughter draws both Sarah and the reader of the book in and makes them want to know what happened and how it will all end. It has the reader both wanting Claire to get the happy ending, while at the same praying for her to succeed in completing the mission she has been assigned. And all the while, it seems to be fairly clear that the two possible outcomes are likely to be completely at odds with one another.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this book and will definitely be looking forward to the chance to read other stories by Ms. Gauci. She tells a very entertaining historical fiction tale in this book, and I hope to read more of her books in the future.

Monday, April 8, 2019

"Ghostly Paws" by Leighann Dobbs

When the town librarian is killed early one morning, everyone in town is left stunned. No one could understand why anyone would want to kill sweet, harmless Livinia. And when Lavinia’s ghost starts appearing inside the bookstore to tell Willa that she needs her to find the murderer, what else can Willa do? No one else seems to be able to see or hear any of the ghosts in the town, and Willa just can’t say no.

Fortunately, Willa has the help of her cat Pandora, though having not had Pandora in her care for long, Willa is as yet unaware of just how much help Pandora can be in these ghostly matters. There is magic and mystery afoot in Mystic Notch, and with it comes the age old battle of good versus evil.

I enjoyed this story. It was a fun and interesting little mystery that I found very entertaining. And as a “cat mom” myself, I loved the interactions between the house cats, the feral cat colony and the people who think they are caring for the animals (though as is often the case when one is partnered with a cat, it is usually the cat that is truly in charge.)

I think anyone taking the time to read this tale will find it as fun and amusing as I did. It is a very quick read and quite entertaining. I will be looking up more books in this series to continue reading about Willa, Pandora, and the other residents of Mystic Notch again soon. You can count on that!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"In His Protection" by P.L. Harris

Melody Maddison is trying to solve a mystery. While going through her deceased mother’s belongings, she discovered a picture of her mother holding a newborn baby that was not Melody nor either of her older siblings. So who was this child and why had they never known about her?

When she begins asking questions about the baby, Melody starts receiving warnings to stop looking. And when she keeps investigating, those threats turn into attempts on her life. What is it that she has stumbled across that someone is willing to kill to keep from being discovered? Fortunately for Melody, Noah St. Reeve has taken it upon himself to keep her safe while they seek to learn the truth about her mother’s past.

The plot of this book grabbed my attention from the very beginning and held on until the end. I really wanted to know what would happen next as I read this tale. I do need to mention that there is one somewhat detailed sex scene in the book that is not really appropriate for younger readers.

The book itself could have used another round of editing/proofreading as there were more typos in the book than I would have liked to have seen while reading it. I discussed many of them with the author and she is attempting to have them corrected before final publication. If she is able to do so, I would rate this book one star higher on Amazon & Goodreads than I have currently given it. But make no mistake, this is a story that I do consider worth reading and did enjoy.

The story told by the author was well woven and very interesting. I enjoyed reading it and am interested in learning more of what is happening in Burrum Ridge as well as the secrets that everyone seems to be keeping from Melody’s family.

The teaser at the end of this book leading into book 2 in the series has also already captured my interest. I am looking forward to seeing what will happen in the next book when it is released. If you enjoy a good romantic suspense tale, I would recommend giving this series a try.

Monday, April 1, 2019

"The Finest Choice" by Jean Rabe

Kalantha has run away from her brother Meven and the bishop yet again. She isn’t aware of it, but this act of defiance has managed to save her life. Had she done as was expected of her, she would never have arrived at the religious settlement to which she was being sent.

The bishop needs her dead if he is to retain control of her brother’s rule. Meven has unknowingly been controlled by the bishop and used as a pawn in his evil schemes for a long time, with the bishop working from behind the scenes to rule the country as he sees fit.

Kal has never been one to do simply as she has been told, and having had a taste of freedom, even though things have not been easy, she cannot simply roll over and give in. She feels a need to find out who has sent the assassin birds after her and why, and though finding such information is not easy, she keeps looking. Can she find her answers before they find her? And what will happen when she learns the truth of who is behind all the hardships and killing that has been stalking her family before it is too late?

I very much enjoyed reading this story, though I do wish it had gone through another round or two of editing before publication. Although the story was amazing, there were more typos than I am used to seeing in this author’s books.

I am planning on continuing to read this series as I really want to know how it will end. There are plots within plots in this story and I am very interested in seeing how it will all come together in the end.

"Spinning Time: A Time Travel Romance" <br>by D.F. Jones

Julia Boatwright has just turned 21 years old. Her parents are throwing her a very elaborate birthday party. They hope that she will fa...