Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Roses of Feldstone

The Roses of Feldstone
by Esther Hatch

Rose Davenport used to enjoy going to Feldstone Manor, where she and William, the earl's youngest son, enjoyed a fond friendship. The past two years, however, have changed William, who is arrogant, disdainful, and nothing like the kind young man she used to know. Once his older brother was disinherited and William became the heir, he has done all that he can to show how much he dislikes Rose. Determined to aggravate him as much as he does her, Rose enjoys getting under his skin--but when she manages to catch a few glimpses of the old William, she can't help but wonder if things could be as they once were. When William, in an attempt to drag his mother out of her doldrums, promises to find a bride within six months, Rose knows it's time to put hopes of a renewed friendship behind her and decides it's time for her to make a match as well. Upon returning to London, though, she finds herself crossing paths with William once more, and he doesn't seem to like her choice of beau.

This a fun, light-hearted Regency, where it's obvious to the reader that William is being dreadful to Rose because he's trying to distance himself since he loves her but can't marry her and that Rose loves him just as much and is trying to shield her wounded heart. There were a few times it got a little tedious that Rose couldn't seem to figure that out, but since she's the vested party and not a bystander like the reader, I guess that's understandable. I really liked William, with his kindnesses that he just can't hold back even though he's trying to distance himself and the little ways Rose tortures him without even realizing it. Nice choice for those looking for a gentle but somewhat humorous Regency.
4 stars.

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Shipbuilder's Wife

The Shipbuilder's Wife
by Jennifer Moore

Lydia Prescott's future seems bright despite the War of 1812 waging not far from her; as the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, she has received a proposal from her beau, who owns a plantation not far from her home. However, a British raid on her family's property leaves Lydia wounded and scarred, and her fiancé cries off.
Jacob Steele, a shipbuilder and a spy for the American forces, rescued Lydia from a burning building, and when he finds out her fickle fiancĂ© has ended their engagement, he convinces Lydia's father to allow him to marry her instead.
Although Lydia's plans have taken a drastic turn from what she expected, as she sets out on a new life with Jacob, she tries to make the best of it--but Jacob works long hours and doesn't seem to want to open up to her at all.
Jacob is drawn to Lydia, but at the same time, he can't bring himself to trust her--after all, lives are at stake and someone is clearly giving the British information. With the fates of their country and their marriage at stake, can Lydia and Jacob learn to trust one another?

I love Jennifer Moore's books; she always introduces me to aspects of history that are so fascinating. I haven't read many books about the War of 1812, so I loved getting the chance to read about that era and what life was like for the Americans at that time. I also thoroughly enjoyed the espionage angle; it moved the plot along quickly and was very interesting. I really loved Jacob's character--he's one of those super good guys with a strong moral compass who can't really face his feelings. He's both realistic and endearing. Lydia starts out seeming like she's spoiled and flighty, but it doesn't take long to see she has more depth and goodness than it initially appeared.

Another terrific read from Jennifer Moore--a great choice for fans of gentle romances and historical fiction.

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

One House

One House by Sarah MacNeill

This adorable board book features animal friends building a new home for a friend. This rhyming countdown features toucans making plans and bears building stairs, as well as a bunch of other cute animals. This is such a fun book! Kids will enjoy the cute creatures, the countdown, and the construction.

I read a copy from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

4 stars.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Shelter of the Most High

Shelter of the Most High
by Connilyn Cossette

Eitan has spent eleven years in a Kedesh, a City of Refuge, and more and more, he wants to be able to leave, to be able to protect his family and his people and to do more than just make weapons as a blacksmith. When Sofea and Prezi, the sole survivors of a raid on their Sicilian village, are brought to Kedesh, Eitan is immediately drawn to Sofea, even though they don't speak the same language. Eitan is determined to be patient as Sofea learns about his language and his religion and hopes that once she does, she will care for him in return, even when he tells her about the secrets of his past.

Sofea is the daughter of a pagan priest, so she initially wants nothing to do with the Hebrew God; she knows He must be just another blood-thirsty god to whom priests offer human sacrifices; in fact, she's afraid she and Prezi will be the next sacrifices. However, as she spends more time with Eitan's family, she comes to see that Yahweh is vastly different--and that with Him and with Eitan, perhaps she can find peace like she never has before. Before she can truly find out, though, Sofea and Eitan are betrayed and their very lives are threatened.

I love how Connilyn Cossette can take a little bit from the Bible (the refuge cities) that I've never given a second thought and make it completely fascinating. It's so fascinating to see how she portrayed life in one of those cities--and the desire to be able to escape. I also loved seeing, through Sofea, the contrast between the pagan gods and Yahweh and His love; it was sweet (but not at all sappy) seeing Sofea's realizations about Yahweh and her own worth and seeing both her and Prezi heal. The plotline was really interesting--twists and turns and excellent pacing--and I loved the characters. This book was just beautiful; I really loved it.

Although you probably don't have to read the first book in the series before you read this one, you totally should because it's a fantastic book as well.
5 stars. One of my picks for best of 2018.
I read an ARC via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blog Tour/Giveaway for Long Journey Home by Sarah M. Eden

You may have already seen my review of Long Journey Home; if so, you know how excited I am about this book (it is quite possibly my favorite of ALL the books I've read this year!)--and now you have a chance to win a copy! Read through the post and then look for the contest info below.

From Sarah M. Eden, the USA Today Bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, LONG JOURNEY HOME is a new romance novel set in the beloved world of Hope Springs. 

Widowed by war, Maura O’Connor has raised her son alone under the weight of poverty in the unforgiving slums of New York City. That harsh and difficult life has taken a toll on them both. Desperate to save her son from the misery around them, she moves them both to the tiny western town of Hope Springs, where her late husband’s family lives, hoping that the decade of silence between them does not mean she and Aidan will be rejected outright. Her son needs family, and she would endure anything to see him happy. Ryan Callaghan has worked the land belonging to the late Granny Claire for years, dreaming of one day claiming it as his own. Living in his brother’s home affords him no freedom, no stability, no joy. The arrangement is even harder on his mother, whose health is quickly deteriorating. A risky investment in the land has finally begun to pay off, and he is at last in a position to secure a better future for them both. When use of the home is, without warning, offered to a newly arrived widow and her son, that future is entirely uncertain. Both Maura and Ryan desperately need the Claire farm, for their own futures as well as those of the loved ones who depend on them. Neither can remain in Hope Springs without the house and land, but only one can claim it in the end. 

Longing for Home Series: 

Longing for Home 
Hope Springs 
My Dearest Love 
Love Remains 
Long Journey Home    

Find Sarah M. Eden online:
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Enter the contest here:
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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Louisiana's Way Home

Louisiana's Way Home
By Kate DiCamillo
Louisiana Elefante is cursed--it's a curse of sundering passed down through her family, and because of that curse, her grandmother wakes her up in the middle of the night and drags her to the car. Louisiana's granny has pulled plenty of stunts before, but when Louisiana realizes Granny plans to leave Florida behind for good. When they get to Georgia, they wind up in a motel as Granny recovers from having all of her teeth removed, and it's there that Louisiana's life falls apart--and comes together again.

Kate DiCamillo is one of the best storytellers of our day, and this book is just as fantastic as all of her others. First-person-narrator Louisiana is fabulous--I love her life lessons and getting the chance to follow her on her journey. There are humorous moments, bittersweet moments, heartrending moments, and hopeful moments. There are characters you'd like to slap upside the head and characters you wish you could take right off the pages into your own family. This is a beautiful book, and I highly recommend it.

5 stars. One of my picks for best of 2018.

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Long Journey Home

Long Journey Home
By Sarah M. Eden

As an impoverished widow, Maura O'Connor has done her best to care for her son Aidan, working and living in the slums of New York City. Realizing that Aidan is miserable and that she has the dreaded "brown lung" from working in a factory, Maura decides to join her deceased husband's family out west in Hope Springs. Maura has been estranged from the O'Connors for years, but she hopes that the family will welcome them at least a little and that they'll be a family to Aidan when she dies. Arriving in Hope Springs, Maura is amazed and delighted that the O'Connors give her a home to stay in.

Ryan Callaghan has been working Granny Claire's land for years, planning that soon he'll be able to buy it outright and move his mother from the cramped home they share with his brother's family. Before he has the chance, though, Maura O'Connor arrives and is given use of the home, thoroughly upsetting the plans. Ryan needs the home for himself and his mother, but he also can't be the one to put out a widow and her son, especially as he comes to know them better.

Do you ever read a book and then because it was so good, you just want to bask in it rather than moving onto one of the many other books on your to-read list? This is one of those books. I finished it in the morning and had a lot of time during the day when I could have picked up another book, but I just couldn't do it because I had to hold onto this one. I love, love, love it. It's fantastic.

What makes it so great? Well, for starters, the O'Connor family. I think if I could pick a book family to be mine, I would pick the O'Connors. I just love them. Next, Sarah Eden is the BEST at character development. Her characters are so terrific--she really knows them and their personalities and quirks and stuff and that comes through to the reader. I love that, because the characters are consistent, which in turn makes them extra-lovable. (Drives me nuts when I read a book and the characters are all over the place and I can't really get a feel for who they are.) I loved Maura and Ryan from the get-go--both strong, good people that you can't help but root for. (And with the addition of some new characters, I'm excited for the possibility of books about them in the future!) The plot was fresh and interesting, and the setting is terrific--you feel like you're right in Hope Springs, wrapped up in the Irish culture there.

So, I have to say, I was a little afraid I wouldn't love this book--because I loved the third book in the series so much. Tavish, the main character in that one, is my favorite and I was worried the series would peak with his story. However, I'm happy to report that this book is just as awesome. I loved everything about. This is one of my picks for the best books of 2018! Emphatic 5 stars.

I read a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Lucy Tries Hockey

Lucy Tries Hockey
Written by Lisa Bowes
Illustrated by James Hearne

When Lucy is ice staking with her family, she sees a hockey game going on and decides she's like to try playing hockey. Enrolling in a hockey clinic, Lucy starts learning hockey basics and has fun playing a new sport.

Bright, colorful illustrations and simple text encourage kids to try sports and to be active. I love the fact that this is a series of books featuring an athletic girl trying out a variety of sports. I hadn't read any of the Lucy Tries books before, but I'll happily be looking for more now.

I read a copy from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

4 stars.