Monday, December 10, 2018

Once I Was a Beehive Blog Tour and Giveaway

Book description
Charming, clever, and heart-warming. Carol Lynch Williams' novelization of the motion picture Once I Was a Beehive is sure to be a family favorite. Sixteen-year-old Lane Speer spends her family vacations camping in the mountains, taking the memories for granted until she loses her father to an unexpected bout with cancer. One year later, as Lane is still reeling from her father's death, her mother remarries a guy who Lane hardly knows. To top it off, he's a Mormon. Worst of all, while her mom and new stepdad are on their honeymoon, they arrange to have her stay with her Mormon step-aunt who takes her to a bible-themed girls camp with a bunch of Mormon girls. Confronted with memories of camping with her family, Lane tries to find peace with her new surroundings as she deals with the death of her father. 

Author info:
Carol Lynch Williams, who grew up in Florida and now lives in Utah, is an award-winning novelist with seven children of her own, including six daughters. She has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College, and won the prestigious PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. The Chosen One was named one of the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and Best Books for Young Adult Readers; it won the Whitney and the Association of Mormon Letters awards for the best young adult novel of the year; and was featured on numerous lists of recommended YA fiction. Carol’s other novels include Glimpse, Miles From Ordinary, The Haven, Waiting, Signed, Skye Harper, and the Just in Time series. 

Connect with Carol:
Goodreads / Amazon author page/ Website

My review:
Lane is still reeling from her father's death and can't believe her mother is remarrying only a year after his passing. To make things worse, her mom and new husband are going on a honeymoon and dumping Lane with her new step-father's sister's family for three weeks. Lane's new aunt Holly and cousin Phoebe are about to embark on a four-day camping trip with their church group, except Phoebe, who has anxiety, doesn't want to go. Lane has a bit of a soft spot for Phoebe and loved camping with her dad, so she agrees to go camping to support Phoebe. Back out in the wilderness for the first time since her dad's cancer, Lane starts to finally find the peace that has been eluding her.

This was a really cute book. Carol Lynch Williams always does such a good job connecting the reader to the character's heart, and that was definitely the case here. I really liked seeing Lane's journey. It's a sweet story without being sappy and was just a really enjoyable read.
4 stars.
I read an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Dec 12: My Book a Day
Dec 14: Min Reads and Reviews

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Brother's Bride

My Brother's Bride
By Rachael Anderson

When Brigston's brother passes away unexpectedly, just shortly after eloping, Brigston knows it's his responsibility to ensure his sister-in-law, Abby, and her unborn child are well cared for. He's all set to do his duty--but what he isn't counting on his falling for his brother's widow. English law forbids him from marrying her, but Brigston can't stop himself from caring for Abby.

 This is the first full-length novel I've read by Rachael Anderson, but it definitely won't be the last. I really enjoyed the story--the writing was really good with no annoying parts or awkwardness, the plot was interesting, the characters were endearing (I loved the banter between Brigtson and Abby!), and this book was just really good. Highly enjoyable. Great choice for those who like clean, well-written Regency romances.

4 stars.

I received a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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The Lieutenant's Bargain

The Lieutenant's Bargain
By Regina Jennings

Jack Hennessey spent his younger years trying unsuccessfully to get Hattie Walker's attention. Even now, as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the letters he has written to her haven't received any response. However, when Jack is sent out to take care of things when a stage carrying a payment for the Cheyenne and Arapaho is ambushed, his work brings him right to Hattie Walker.

Hattie was traveling on the stagecoach when it was attacked; she survived and was taken in by the Arapaho--but she doesn't realize they're friendly and is scared until Jack shows up. Grown-up Jack is different from the boy she remembered, and she's grateful to him for helping her, but Hattie's plans don't include Jack; she is on her way to Denver to gain life experience and create a painting that will convince her parents to stop pressuring her to get married and instead let her pursue her dream of painting.

I really enjoyed reading this book. There were parts that had me laughing, and there were other parts that were really sweet. I really liked seeing Hattie's changing perspective and how she came to realize Jack was more than the annoying boy who used to correct her schoolwork. I also liked seeing her gain a deeper understanding of the Arapaho people. The plot was interesting and this was just a really enjoyable read.

4.5 stars.

I read an ARC via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Christmas Courting

A Christmas Courting

Love and Joy Come to You
By Jennifer Moore
Graham expects that he and his mother, sorrowing over losses in their family, will spend a quiet Christmas at home, but he discovers his mother has invited a friend as well as the friend's nieces and nephews to stay for the holiday. Graham worries that this will be too much for his mother, but as he and Cassie Weatherby work to help his mother and her siblings be happy this Christmas, Graham quickly comes to be glad that Cassie and her family have come to visit.

A Christmas Courting
By Chalon Linton
Keturah doesn't want to spend Christmas in London; she wants to spend it at home. And things get worse when she finds out that her dear friend Christopher, who will be joining them, wants her to give him advice on how to court the woman he loves. With her heart belonging to Christopher, Keturah doesn't know how she will stand to watch him try to woo another.

Mistletoe Memories
By Jen Geigle Johnson
Alice and Patrick had known since they were children that they would wed someday and would work together to effect reform in England. But now, Patrick, returned from two years abroad, hopes to avoid Alice entirely, since he can't stand to face her knowing that she didn't wait for him but has wed another. Even when he realizes she didn't marry someone else, he can't forgive her for even caring for someone else--and yet, he loves her still.

Second-Chance Christmas
By Heidi Kimball
When her long-time friend Gerard proposed, Francie declined. Four months later, he has returned home for Christmas and Francie hopes that they can put everything behind them and continue to be friends. As she watches Gerard's interactions with his houseguests--including a vivacious young woman--Francie starts to realize that she may have made the biggest mistake of her life when she turned Gerard down.

 This is a delightful collection of novellas! It's got everything--interesting plots, great characters, and a Christmas setting. I enjoyed learning more about Regency Christmas customs, and I especially loved seeing how each couple overcame obstacles to find happiness. Great choice for those looking for heartwarming Christmas stories and sweet romances. I read a review copy via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Bride of Ivy Hill

The Bride of Ivy Green
By Julie Klassen

Jane Bell knows she loves Gabriel Locke, but she doesn't know if she can marry him; she enjoys running her inn and fears another childless marriage. But when Gabriel is seriously injured, Jane realizes that marrying him is exactly what she wants. Meanwhile, Jane's good friend Mercy Grove's life is in upheaval. Her brother and his new bride have moved back to Ivy Hill and suddenly the only home Mercy has known is no longer the haven it has always been--and there's no room for the school MErcy ran. Given the opportunity to be a governess to her favorite former pupil, Mercy knows that on the one hand, it would be a step down in life, but it would also give her an escape, Victorine arrives in Ivy Hill to set up a dress shop, and while the ladies are initially excited to have a French dressmaker in town, they soon realize that things aren't quite as they seemed, while Victorine realizes she may be further from achieving her dreams than she had planned.

I loved returning to Ivy Hill. It such a delightful setting, and I loved seeing how things played out for characters whom I've loved since the first book, as well as getting to meet new characters. I really loved the ending of the book, and it's a satisfying end to the series...and yet there were enough new characters and even an old character or two who still needs a happily-ever-after that I feel like another book wouldn't be superfluous. The writing is terrific and really conveys the feel of small-town life. This is just a really enjoyable series.
4.5 stars.
I read an ARC via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Searching for You

Searching for You
By Jody Hedlund

Sophie Neumann will do whatever it takes to take care of Olivia and Nicholas; although she may not be related to them by blood, she's the only family they have ever known and she is determined that they will stay together. When she witnesses a murder, she realizes that for her own safety and that of the children, they need to flee, she takes the only option she can find--joining an orphan train heading west. Sophie plans to separate from the orphan group in Chicago, but when Olivia refuses to go, Sophie stays with the children--only to have Nicholas quickly placed with a family who only reluctantly allows Olivia to stay with them. Heartbroken to be separated from the children, Sophie goes to work for a good-hearted farmer's wife who lives nearby. Sophie soon finds that one of her new neighbors is an old friend, Reinhold Weiss.
Reinhold is doing all he can to succeed at farming. When Sophie shows up, all grown up, he finds himself drawn to her, but he needs to focus on his farm and doesn't trust himself not to turn out like his angry, abusive father. He can't steer clear of Sophie, though, especially when she begs him for help with Olivia and Nicholas.

I've been waiting a long time to read Sophie's book, and it didn't disappoint at all. There were times when I got a little frustrated with Sophie's stubbornness, but that also made her such a dynamic and real character; she had flaws and she didn't always make the best choices, but she had a good heart and really was a lovable character. As for Reinhold, well, I've been waiting since the first book in the series for him to get the girl, and while I was a little wary about how I'd feel about him and Sophie (I am highly prejudiced against books where a man once liked one woman but ends up with her sister), but it just felt right to me (which is really saying something about Jody Hedlund's writing, if she can make me enjoy a plot line I normally loathe). I loved the overall message of hope and how even when we make a mess of our lives, God can make something beautiful out of them. Another excellent book from a fantastic author.

I read an ARC via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Until We Kissed

Until We Kissed
Heather B. Moore

Livvy has always dreamed of marrying a doctor and now she's dating a dreamy doctor, Slade...but that's not working out as well as she hoped because Slade is always busy and they rarely have time together. Then Mason Rowe comes to town. Livvy's the town librarian, and Mason, a famous author fighting writer's block, plants himself in the library to try to get some writing done. As Livvy gets to know Mason, Livvy starts wondering if Slade's the one for her after all.

I have enjoyed all of the Pine Valley romances, but this one might actually be my favorite--which actually surprised me because I don't normally like love triangles or any sort of implication of cheating on your significant other. This book really drew me in, though. Livvy just had a fun personality, and I liked how Mason wasn't afraid to point out that Slade was a crappy boyfriend. The chemistry was great (although not over the top because this is a clean read). This was a just a really great clean romance. (Although this is the sixth Pine Valley book, the books can be read in any order.)

4.5 stars.

I read an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.