Thursday, January 17, 2013

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher
Betrayal is book two in the Where the Heart Lives series by Robin Lee Hatcher.

Let’s begin with the summary:

It's the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him. Julia Grace has little reason to trust men, but she's going to have to trust someone if she's to keep her ranch from the clutches of her dead husband's half-brother. Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door?

And now, my review:

This was a gentle love story. Before I read the novel, I saw someone's mention about it being a tender love story, and I'd agree. The tender-hearted hero isn't an actual cowboy at the beginning of the story, which is unusual. Normally, the hero is a self-assured capable ranch hand. Not here, and I liked that originality! He's new to ranching, but willing to help nonetheless.

I liked the shorter length of this novel—just perfect.

Now, let's dig into the characters. These two have both been through so much. He'd been imprisoned, though we know he's a "good guy," from the deep point of view the author gives us. She suffered a painful marriage. They can't see themselves together for various reasons, so they fight their attraction for a long time.

For such a quick read, I was surprised we visited other POVs beyond our main hero and heroine. A bit distracting. I'd have preferred to dig deeper into the main characters' layers instead. I liked the grace theme, including the heroine's name. I liked the twists and turns, especially near the end.

At the back of the book, the publisher included an excerpt from Book Three, Betrayal. I'm already hooked!

Readers who like historicals, and/or cowboy stories, will enjoy this novel!

(paperback)                (e-book)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot

Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot

Welcome to Revell’s blog tour for Amanda Cabot’s latest release, Waiting for Spring!

Let’s begin with the summary:

After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But when a notorious robber believes she knows the location of a long-lost treasure, she flees to Cheyenne and opens a dressmaker's shop to lie low and make a living. When wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry enters the shop to visit her best customer, Charlotte feels drawn to him.

If Barrett is to be a senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming, he must make a sensible match, and Miriam has all the right connections. Yet he can't shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Soon the past comes to call, and Barrett's plans crumble around him. Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness? 

And now, my review:

First off, what’s not to love about that cover?! Amanda shared that the dress was commissioned specifically for this cover! Makes sense, since our heroine is a seamstress. Simply gorgeous!

Charlotte is a shop owner and the single mother of a blind son. We see her heroism as she cares for him herself, rather than sending him away. Then, along comes the hero and questions her decisions, though he does befriend the boy. I liked the dynamics between the three of them, even while Barrett is planning to become engaged to another character. His advisors have a specific plan in mind, a plan to further his political aspirations. And it doesn’t involve marrying a shop owner with a son.

We explore several POVs in this story, which was, at first, a bit distracting. But then we see this is because the author will develop two romances in this story. And through that, she demonstrates that love has the power to change people. All of the characters were unique.

I’d recommend this book to lovers of historicals. Enjoy!

(print version)             (e-book version)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman

A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman

Julie’s characters feel like family since I’ve been reading her books for a while. A Love Surrendered released October 1, 2012.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents' death. But when she falls hard for Steven O'Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is?

With heart-pounding romance, intense family drama, and emotional twists and turns,
A Love Surrendered is everything Julie Lessman's many fans have been waiting for.

And now, my review: 

Julie remains a unique voice in Christian fiction.

I love Julie’s prose. She has such a way with words. They flow on the page and reading is almost effortless. Her characters are well drawn, and I enjoyed getting to see Steven in action more in this story as we work our way through the O’Connor clan. Steven is facing a lot of guilt over his past. That’s a relatable theme many readers will connect with.

Annie is coming of age, and watching her struggle was a bit painful. We also watched her heroism, though, as when she compassionately ministered to her hurting aunt. Such a good balance. Steven’s best friend, Joe, is a well-drawn secondary character. I liked how he held up a mirror, even while he nudged him in a different direction.

I liked the setting of the story as well—the boardwalk and beach.

Though we’re mostly zeroed in on Steven and Annie’s relationship, at times we zoomed out and watch the other O’Connor couples moving on with their lives—like Marcy and Patrick in their quest to adopt Gabe, the orphan girl who desperately needs a loving family. “Family” is a theme Julie returns to again and again in her novels, and one I truly appreciate.

This story read quickly and because we’ve come to care for these characters, it’s an enjoyable read. Newcomers to the series will be lost in the sea of characters, though, without having read the earlier books. I recommend beginning with her first (A Passion Most Pure) and gobbling up every title from there to here.


(print version)          (e-book version)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska
I sat in a lovely condo during a writing retreat in early 2012 with my dear friend, Ocieanna Fleiss, as she penned some of the letters of this novel. Her job was to write the historical story that Tricia and she would later weave into a modern-day woman’s love story. So, much more recently, I was thrilled to get to read the finished book and be part of the authors’ launch team. Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska releases today, January 1, 2013!

Let's begin with the summary:

Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But Ginny needs advice from the one person who will look out for her best interests—her former fiancĂ©, Brett Miller. She travels to the remote town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery provide respite from LA’s pressures.

In Glacier Bay, Ginny discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between Clay, an early missionary to Alaska Territory, and Ellie, the woman who traveled there to be his children’s governess. When Ginny is reunited with Brett in Glacier Bay, will she discover—as Ellie did—that healing and love are sometimes found in the most unexpected places?

And now, for some pix: 

Here are the authors:

Ocieanna Fleiss and Tricia Goyer

This story is set in a gorgeous locale! Below are two photographs the authors took during their research trip. Beautiful, huh? They had fun conversations with the locals and even sightings of bears, seals, whales, and eagles. 

One of the creative things their launch team members did was to pair up quotes from the book with photos of the setting to create some great pictures/cards. See below:

Mountain and water view in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Aerial view near Glacier Bay, Alaska

A quote from the historical letters of the story
A line from the hero's perspective in the modern-day tale

A quote about how Glacier Bay affects visitors

Ginny's question
And now, my review:

This was a well-woven story—actually, two stories in one novel. The letters fit seamlessly with the modern-day tale—drawing us along to learn more about the setting and the early settlers, as well as Ellie’s romance. The letters often echoed Ginny’s journey. And between the two stories, we had plenty of adventure. I was looking for more romance in the earlier portion of the story, but since we were building two of them, we had to wait a little while longer for the romances to develop. Once they did, though, we had two to enjoy. 

I liked the partnership of the authors on this book. The story wouldn't have had the depth it had without the letters. And by including the contemporary story, lovers of historicals and modern-day tales are satisfied. This is the third novel these writers have co-authored, and it's my favorite so far. 

I loved, loved, loved the setting. Reminded me so much of Washington State. Between the pictures the authors have shared (online and in the book itself) and the story, I felt like a visitor in Alaska.

The modern-day character, Ginny, dealt with abandonment issues and I felt these were handled very believably. I liked Ellie’s journey, her courage. I liked the story within a story. Some of Ellie’s tales were pretty funny. Ocieanna always includes such varied characters—like Linc, the inventor. I liked that the letter writers (the characters) all had their own voice. Really well done.

This novel delivers on giving readers a sense of setting and a feel for the history of a beautiful, unusual place. Readers of Summerside’s Love Finds You line will not be disappointed. Great book!

(print version)