Sunday, August 23, 2015

Through Waters Deep: A Book Review

Displaying About the Book:
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges---and dangers---await them.

My Review: 
I was first introduced to Sarah Sundin when I read her novella in Where Treetops Glisten.  Out of the four novellas Sundin's was my favorite, so I was more than happy to read one of her full-length novels and experience more of her writing!

WW2 novels are some of my favorites and while I've read my fair share of them I must say that Sundin's brought up a different aspect of the war.  Through Waters Deep focused on the tensions in America before we joined the war, as well as life on board a destroyer ship and the impact of German U-boats.  I love getting a glimpse into a different aspect of history, and Sundin's writing is well researched, transporting you back in time to the 1940s. (I also loved how she described the different fashions of the day, everything was so much classier then!) 

The characters were well developed and I was quickly drawn into the story.  I loved that Jim & Mary's relationship took some work, and things didn't fall perfectly into place for them.  I also appreciated how Sundin displayed their flaws and didn't build them up into these picture perfect characters, there was some reality and depth to them.

 Through Waters Deep was the perfect combination of history, romance, and a little bit of mystery.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series when it comes out next summer!  

For more information on Sundin's other books, or to order Through Waters Deep, click here!
* I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity. All opinions are my own

Dive into Sarah Sundin's explosive new series, Waves of Freedom, with book one, Through Waters Deep

Join Sarah in celebrating the release of Through Waters Deep by entering to win an Anchors Aweigh prize pack!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Through Waters Deep
  • A nautical tote bag
  • A set of compass rose notecards
  • A "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • A Boston Tea Party earl grey tea set
  • Through Waters Deep apron
  • A set of nautical tea towels

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. The winner will be announced August 25th on Sarah's blog.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Not By Sight: A Book Review the Book:
In the spring of 1917, all of Britain's attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.

A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country's cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.

But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.

My Review:
I'll be honest, I was first drawn to this book because of the gorgeous cover art (don't you just love that dress?)  This was my first novel by Kate Breslin, and it was an enjoyable read which I was able to finish in a few days.  I loved that Breslin focused on the role women played in WWI and I enjoyed learning more about the Women's Forage Corps.  The characters were pleasant enough and there were a few unforeseen twists along the way, but overall I felt that the storyline moved along a little too smoothly with little depth to it, and it felt rushed at the end to tie up everything nice and neat. I also found some of the major plot points a bit unrealistic which cheapened the story for me.  I would have loved more historical description to really make the story come alive.  Overall, this book was an enjoyable summer read and I'm interested to check out her previous novel, For Such A Time.

*I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Among the Fair Magnolias: A Book Review & A Giveaway!

Displaying About the Book:
During the most turbulent decade of our nation's history, four Southern women---their destinies forged by birth and heritage---face nearly impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.
To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home.
So when the new owner Aidan Bedford seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front---this time, a battle of the heart.
An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
Seven years ago Russell Champion was betrayed by the two most important women in his life. Now Russell returns home, but is it too late to make amends with his mother and find closure with his true love?
A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail Clayton hopes to reconcile with Dr. Wade Bennett and become his wife. But her father insists she marry her distant cousin Charles Kittridge so the plantations of the two families will be joined. With her wedding looming, Abby must choose between duty to her family and the yearnings of her own heart.
Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily Derracott loves her childhood friend Thomas McGinnis, but she cannot marry a man who doesn't share her strong convictions about the freedmen. Besides, she harbors a secret love for someone else. But the prospect of becoming his wife is not only improbable---it is completely impossible.

My Review:

Four stories as sweet and charming as their Southern setting! This set of four novellas is the perfect read for lazy summer days, even more perfect if you kick back with a glass of sweet iced tea or perhaps some southern peach cobbler (recipe included in the back of the book!).  My favorite of these novellas was Tamera Alexander's To Mend a Dream. I love how she mentioned characters from her other book, A Beauty So Rare. With this being a novella I felt like it added some more depth to the setting as I was already familiar with some of the people/places.

I appreciated how Elizabeth Musser addressed a topic rarely seen in books, the love between a white woman and her former slave, as well as the rise of the Klan in the post antebellum South.

I especially enjoyed Shelley Gray's writing style, and you can bet I'll be checking out more of her other books after this. Among the Fair Magnolias is a great way to be introduced to four talented, yet different authors.
* I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Four best-selling novelists bring tales of four Southern women who face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love during the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history in Among the Fair MagnoliasDon't miss this collection of stories from Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser.

Join the authors in celebrating the release of Among the Fair Magnolias by entering to win their Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to their August 13th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Among the Fair Magnolias
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/13. The winner will be announced at the Among the Fair Magnolias Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tamera, Dorothy, Shelley, and Elizabeth, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 13th!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor: A Book Review

Displaying About the Book: When Heather Toulson returns to her parents' cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.

Libby, a free spirit who can't be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver's death.

Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family's cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She's mourning her father's passing but can't let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family's belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family's history.

My Review:
I've had the hardest time coming to a conclusion on how much I liked this book.  The first few chapters seemed like information dumps with multiple characters thrown in, making it a bit overwhelming to get a good grip on the plot line.  However, once I got past those first few chapters I found myself being drawn into the mystery.  Dobson did a good job of switching back and forth between present day and the 1940s, and I enjoyed both parts of the story.  With the many twists this story takes and even the time period it is set in, Dobson has breathed new life into the oversaturated genre of literature containing English estates, Lords & Ladies, and forbidden romance.  Her writing style and the many twists of the mystery faintly reminded me of my favorite novel, The Forgotten Garden.
The only things that held me back from giving this book a higher rating was the fact that after three generations of women making the same "mistake" that part of the storyline became predictable and a bit redundant.  I also had a hard time getting behind Libby and Oliver's romance as I couldn't help but feel he was taking advantage of her. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I encourage you to check it out; especially if you love a bit of mystery set in the English countryside. 

* I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Book Review

About the Book:
Displaying IMG_0383.JPG"Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself."

My Review:
This book kept popping up here and there as I perused my usual sites for new books to read, so I thought I'd give it a go.  I read a few chapters online and entranced by the writing style I was sure this was going to be another Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society.  But, it wasn't.

I'm not sure what happened between the few chapters I read online and when this book arrived on my doorstep, but I just couldn't get into this book.  I'd sit down to read a few chapters and they just didn't flow for me.  The characters, while quirky and charming, just didn't jump off the page and pull me into their story.  I really had to make a conscious effort to read this book, and when I have to do that I know something is off!

I was really starting to feel for Perdu and his lost love, until I discovered that she was a married woman.  For me, marriage is sacred, and books that romanticize adultery just aren't worth the read.  Even though Manon's husband knew about Perdu and they were later able to meet and connect over having loved the same woman, I just couldn't get behind their relationship. 

I did thoroughly enjoy the fact that it was set in France, and of course had to visit our local French bakery for some croissants and eclairs to eat while reading; I think that was the best part of reading this book!

* I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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