Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

Welcome to the blog tour for Amanda Cabot's novella, Christmas Roses

As always, let's begin with the summary:

Celia Anderson doesn't need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .

And now, my review:

Christmas novellas are a treat—the perfect length for a busy time of year. I enjoyed this book from the first page. The story drew me in. I could relate with the heroine's worry about her infant daughter's life. The hero's search for his father kept me engaged as well. 

I liked the heroine's romantic heart and the hero's creativity, that he acted on his growing affections for the heroine. He helped her as she ran her bed and breakfast. She's a widow raising a daughter alone and while Mark's in town, he'll help her as much as he can. And he does. I liked this heroic part of his character. 

Mark was angry at God, but God still blessed him with this new "family" in town, including a job doing what he loved. 

Poor Celia. So many men wanting to marry her for convenience's sake, but she's holding out for love. Of course, with Mark's distance from God, she can't welcome a proposal from him either. But her daughter Emma has no filter. She accepts and loves Mark—the perfect symbol to how God welcomes us even when we aren't always likable.

This time of year, it's wonderful to read a heart-warming tale of romance and Christmas cheer. Don't miss this delightful read this holiday season—a sweet Christmas romance, the best kind!

Highly recommended!

The first link below is for the lovely hardcover edition. The second is for the Kindle e-book version. Enjoy!

(print)         (e-book)

Available September, 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

Karen has a way with story. That’s why she’s number one in inspirational fiction. With all my other time constraints, I haven’t read her work in at least a year, maybe two. But when this story came along about books and a bookstore, I was intrigued. Who doesn't love the cozy setting of a store full of books?

Let’s begin with the summary:

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since. 

Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there. 

For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. 

Now the bank is pulling the lease on The Bridge. Despondent and without answers, Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold? 

The Bridge is a love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore, a love story you will never forget.

And now, my review: 

These characters immediately felt familiar, like friends. And we certainly shared the love of books. I did feel the slant went a bit too far toward printed books and the opening note's comments against e-books were a bit much. Like a worship of books—which is too extreme. I love books too, but it’s story that captivates me. And e-books on e-readers are just as engaging and a lot more convenient. 

That aside, I liked our main character and I felt for him as his family-owned bookstore faced closing after a flood. His dreams were suddenly on the chopping block and for the business to close meant he’d failed—fulfilling his father’s hateful words that he’d never amount to anything. He can’t let that happen, but he may not have a choice. 

I liked that this book was a novella; it read fast. I like that it was set in late fall and winter, including Christmastime. 

Over all, a sweet story about love, friendship, and second chances.

(hardcover)       (e-book version)