Sunday, May 5, 2019

Book review: Souls Astray by Kellyn Roth

Souls Astray by Kellyn Roth

I honestly jumped at the chance to be part of Kellyn’s blog tour just so I could read another of her stories early!  So far I’ve enjoyed everything of hers that I’ve read, so I knew I was in for a treat with her newest release.

I didn’t stop for a thing except work while reading this story!  It’s very easy to flip from page to page and is so well written,  I slipped into the story world and didn’t want to come out even while the characters were enduring so much.

I knew going in that there was some sad stuff in the story.  I found that Kellyn did her level best to make me cry over these characters and their troubles!  I never cry in stories but I was tearing up a bit for these.

Adele really isn’t the most sympathetic character ever in her actions, but she was so well portrayed as a hurting soul herself that I didn’t find it hard to hurt for her and excuse her for her problems.  That’s with a caviat, of course, that she will learn the error of her ways in a later book in the series!

Troy....ah, Troy.  Wee bit of a hothead, I think.  Plenty of his own issues to work through even while trying his best to do what’s right.  Troy has some growing ahead as well!

The side characters were colorful and interesting in their own ways and I hated to say goodbye to most of them.  I loved Lola and Millie in particular and couldn’t stand Adele’s mother.

I can’t wait to see what happens next and am so happy that I can read the next book soon!

Be sure to grab your copy of Souls Astray right away.  I’m sure you will love it!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Quickie review: A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

The synopsis:
From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners--like her. Lydia won't let that get her down, though. All will be well when she's reunited with her fiancé. But when she discovers he has disappeared--and that he left behind a pregnant wife--Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites readers back into Texas's storied past to experience love and adventure against a backdrop of tension and mystery in this first book in a brand-new series.






My review:
5 stars
5/27/17

I really enjoyed this story, set in 1860s Texas!  It reads smoothly and is interesting from start to finish.  I loved Lydia's sweets shop and her relationship to Aunt Bertha.  Travis is a nice, manly sheriff, and their romance is sweet and realistic.  It was a nice surprise for me to find a strong mystery thread in the story, with a mysterious person attacking people, stealing items, and engaging in other criminal mischief.  

I loved that the romance wasn't all touchy-feely sensual, but was about two mature adults coming to care for each other in a way that wasn't merely physical lust.  I also was glad to find no profanity or crude speech as well.  

The one thing that bugged me was that someone forgot that measles patients were always subject to quarantine.  :)

Thanks to NetGalley for a review copy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Book review: Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin

Far Side of the Sea, Kate Breslin: 5 stars

Finished reading 2/10/19
Synopsis:
In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life--a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel's half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel's diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.



I devour Kate Breslin books like potato chips, so no surprise that I loved this one!  Here's my review:

What a treat to read another Kate Breslin book!  I've really struggled this year to read any ebooks, but this one was a quick and absorbing read and kept me flipping pages despite that difficulty.  While there isn't a lot about faith, it's clear they are steadied by their belief in God.

The twists and turns in the plot left me reeling.  We met Colin in Not By Sight very briefly, but this book stands alone.  I loved seeing more of Marcus in this one!  Colin is an interesting young man from the very beginning, and I found it easy to care about him and Johanna from the very beginning.  I guessed one plot facet at 53% and thought "there--I got it--that's the big reveal!" only to have it told to me at 62% and have plenty of book left to read.  :)  So the plotting was extremely well done and very absorbing.

I do love a good spy story and this one is one I'd easily recommend. 

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for a free copy.  A favorable review was not required.

Quickie Review: The Laird O' Borrans by Harold Bindloss

The Laird O' Borrans: 4 stars



Harold Bindloss has been a favorite author of mine for awhile.  He wrote about 40 novels between 1902-1945 and I have about twenty of them to date.

Here's my review:
2/17/19
3.5 stars
I have to say, this is the very slowest and calmest spy story ever written!  It's one of Bindloss's last novels and set in the Border area of Scotland during WW2.  As a picture of the home front it was fascinating, with just a mild spice of danger from the intermittent spy activity and related murders in the area.  There were lots and lots of characters to keep up with, but eventually I got used to them.

If you're interested in home front Scotland in WW2, grab a copy.  If you're looking for your next spy thriller, though, this isn't a thriller!

Quickie Reviews

Introducing...Quickie reviews!



Since February 2013, I have been reviewing nearly every book I read on Goodreads.  That total is a nice chunk of reviews, and I've made a lot of close friends through my time there.  It has come to my attention, though, that because of some major changes in Goodreads over the past few years, my bookshelves may not remain accessible in the way I want them to be, as they work toward getting rid of traditional desktop view.

So, why not use my space as a blogger?

As I get used to adding my reviews here, I'll warn of several things: there are going to be A TON of them at first.  I have years of reviews (six years!) that I hope to transfer over here.  There may be many posts a day on days I have time to work on it.  I apologize in advance to what I will be doing to your inboxes.

Longer reviews will be given a regular post of their own in the style I've previously posted in.

When I can, I'll include links to free ebooks when applicable for older novels and classics.

I'll be using tags to help with finding books, such as:
Author
Genres or subjects
Star rating 
and so on.

My star ratings explained: (two negative and three positive classes)
1: Dislike or despise.  A book I don't want to ever read again and don't recommend.
2: It was okay.  Others might like it, but I'm underimpressed.
3: Good.  This is an enjoyable read, a story I may read again, and one that will stay on my shelf and might get recommended.  This is my default rating for enjoyable books, the equivalent of a B in a college class.
4: Very good.  Books from favorite authors generally fall into this category, and my most common rating generally ends up closer to four because I keep trying to look for five star reads. Grade A.
5: Excellent and/or favorite.  Books that sweep me away, that make me think, that haunt me for months afterward.  Books that make me love them so much that I forgive every single flaw they might contain.  A+ rated books.

Half stars: for when I can't decide between the above.
Emotional ratings: for when I love or hate the story so much that I forget everything else.  These are generally one or five star books.  😉

Questions and comments: 
I'd love to get lots of these!  Please bear with me, though, as I don't always have access to a computer with a browser that Google approves of, and thus may be unable to comment back quickly.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Book review: Live Without You




How's that for a gorgeous cover?  Sarah Grace is a graphic designer and the gal who created my business cards.  When I heard she was releasing her first book, I was extra eager to read it!  

The book's blurb made me even more eager:
Piper Redding is a loner, but lonely. Everyone she loves has abandoned her and opening her heart to others is just asking for more pain. She can’t help but blame herself for her brother’s tragic death six years ago, and in her guilt, she shuts herself off from the world. No one could love her—not even the God who promised to be there for her but wasn’t.
For paramedic Ezra Bryant, failure is not an option. He’s had enough of it, and only by God’s grace is he able to put it behind him. But when a traumatic event brings Piper’s greatest fear and Ezra’s failures to light, can they use that event to allow God to mend their broken pieces? Can love triumph over fear, and grace over guilt?

So I was very eager to sign up for this blog tour and to get a review copy to read.  It's even better than I anticipated! Piper and Ezra hop off the page vividly, and both of them are dealing with a lot of pain.  Wow, the past was not a walk in the park.  These two are not hurting this deeply because someone snubbed them one day; they have real reasons for flashbacks and nightmares.

But with the help of a budding friendship together, and some strong friends who come alongside (that Miss Cecile—oh, yeah!  I love that vibrant, spicy lady.), they begin to see some resolutions from the past and some healing.  And, just maybe, the healing might also mean they're ready for a little bit of romance??

You definitely need to read this one when you get a chance!  And a giveaway might make it easier to get a chance, right?  Here's a link to the giveaway on the Ruffles and Grace blog.  Be sure to follow this link to enter for one of the great prizes below! 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Feature and giveaway: A Royal Masquerade

Note: my images seem to not be working.  Please visit Allison’s site for the photos!  Sorry...http://allisonswell.website/2018/10/24/a-royal-masquerade-blog-tour-day-one/

My original post:


So I have another friend who writes books, though we’ve known each other from before she started publishing.  She’s a witty young lady with a wry sense of humor, and does that humor ever come out in her fairytale retellings and their unexpected twists.  I never liked the fairy tales themselves much in the past, but I did start getting into reading some retellings a few years ago.  The first book in this series, “The Reluctant Godfather,” had me in stitches with the humor and the fun.  I really enjoyed that the “magic” was written as a natural talent instead of a supernatural sort of thing—which is hard to explain in a few words, but aligns much better with my beliefs than your average sort of magic.

Here is the book blurb for “A Royal Masquerade”:

Burndee can barely tolerate the mischievous Prince Colin, but the two of them are invariably thrown together in a way that keeps them at one another’s throats.

While attending a noblewoman’s wedding, Burndee and Colin’s private feud comes to a climax when Burndee loses his temper and does the unthinkable. With Prince Colin unable to attend to his royal duties and Burndee bound by an inconvenient spell, can the two of them work together long enough to unsnarl the mysterious goings-on around them?

A madcap and magical novella of The Goose Girl from a unique perspective.
 

And here’s the fancy cover:



There is also a giveaway...or, rather, two giveaways!  Because there is a first and a second prize.

This giveaway has TWO prizes!

First prize: a paperback copy of “A Royal Masquerade,” a fairy-tale candle, a darling glass goose, and Godiva chocolate.   



 











Second prize: a paperback copy of “A Royal Masquerade” and a $5 Amazon gift card. 














Here’s the link to the giveaway!
<a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7da968f54/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="7da968f54" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_5zkxq3sl">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>




Here’s the link to get a copy!