Friday, October 26, 2018

No One Ever Asked

No One Ever Asked
By Katie Ganshert

When the South Fork school district loses its accreditation, the school district has to provide solutions--one of which is busing students to the Crystal Ridge district, a top-tier district in an affluent community.

Camille Gray, PTA supermom in Crystal Ridge, is worried about how having students with low academic performance and troubled backgrounds will affect her three kids and the other kids in the Crystal Ridge district--but she insists it's not about race. At the same time, her marriage of twenty-plus years is falling apart. All Camille wants is what's best for her family.

Jen Covington, who has recently adopted a daughter from Africa, wants to make sure her daughter has a diverse class and despite living in the Crystal Ridge district is considering enrolling her daughter in South Fork. When South Fork kids are allowed to enroll in Crystal Ridge, Jen sends Jubilee to a Crystal Ridge school, but just getting her daughter a black teacher isn't enough to help her navigate the ins and outs of being a new mom to a daughter who is different, and taking a job as the high school nurse doesn't fill that gap in her heart that she thought being a mom would fill.

Anaya Jones wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and teach at South Fork, but with the district a mess, she accepts a position teaching second grade and coaching high school track in the Crystal Ridge district., knowing all the while that parents like Camille Gray don't want her people--including her high school age brother--in their district. As their lives intersect, all three women will come to see that they have much to learn about life and about each other.

DANG! This is the first book I've read by Kaite Ganshert and it blew me away. This book is so thought-provoking and heartwrenching. I loved seeing how each woman made good and bad choices; they just felt so real and so very human. I loved the message that they (and others) are more than just one bad choice and that learning and changing are possible. This book serves as a great reminder that we need to be really careful about judging people and situations because there are usually so many more factors and details than we realize. I read this by myself but I will definitely be recommending it to my book club because this is the sort of book you definitely need to talk about with others.
 This is one of my picks for the best of 2018. 5 stars.

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Night at the Opera--review and giveaway!

Night at the Opera
by Stacy Henrie

Goodreads Summary: From USA Today bestselling author Stacy Henrie comes Night at the Opera, American Heiress Book 1 (1908).

When American Heiress Gwen Barton aids an injured gentleman in an opera box in London, she shares a kiss with the stranger that changes her life. More determined than ever to be herself in spite of the limp she's sustained since childhood, she will marry for love and not a title. She also resolves to learn the identity of the man she helped--and kissed. Surely he can't be the irritating Avery Winfield, though. But as circumstances continue to throw Gwen and Avery together, she begins to wonder if there is more to this man than she first thought.

While most of London only knows him as the nephew of a duke, Avery Winfield is actually working for the Secret Service Bureau to ferret out German spies from among the ton. It’s a profession that gives him purpose and a reason to remain a bachelor. But the more he interacts with Gwen Barton, an heiress from America, the more he begins to question his plans and neglected faith. Then he learns Gwen is the young lady from the opera box who helped him. Now his most important mission may have nothing to do with saving Britain from danger and everything to do with risking his heart for the woman he met that night at the opera.

My thoughts: This is an engaging story. I really liked Gwen; I love seeing how she has used a trial in her life to become more compassionate toward and aware of others. I also loved how she and Avery didn't hit things off at first and she had to change her initial opinions as she got to know him better. I also liked seeing Avery fall in love against his will; the backstory of why he was reluctant to marry was well-developed, but I always enjoy seeing the heart win out. This is a great choice for those looking for a clean, well-written historical romance. 4 stars.

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Healing Hearts

Healing Hearts
by Sarah M. Eden

Gideon MacNamara has been unlucky in love, but as the doctor of Savage Wells and the surrounding areas, he needs help in his medical practice, so he has sent for a mail order bride who is a nurse. When she arrives, however, Miriam becomes the third woman to shy away from marrying him, insisting she was only told about the nursing position, not about the marriage part. His love for the people he serves prompts Gideon to swallow his pride and ask Miriam to stay--as his nurse only. Miriam is a good nurse but she's running from her past--and Savage Wells just might be a place where she can make a home, if she can convince the townspeople, who are fiercely loyal to their doctor, that she isn't a terrible person for not wanting to marry Gideon. As they work together, Gideon is drawn to Miriam, but he also realizes she's hiding something and has to figure out if he can really trust her to help him with his patients.

Gideon is a total sweetheart; I love seeing how he cares for his people and how they care about him in return. Miriam is a sort of prickly, but understandably so, but also really wants to help people, and her backstory is so interesting and opened up some really fascinating (and sad) insights into medical treatment for women in the 1800s. The secondary characters are great, too; I love how Sarah Eden always gives us so many people to care about.

If you've read the first book in the Savage Wells series (which you don't have to do before reading this one; it can stand alone), you might expect a lighter tone than this book has; the first book was funnier and had a lot of banter and stuff. This book still has funny moments but it has a darker tone (which is totally appropriate to the story).

Great plot, snappy dialogue, and realistic, well-developed characters are hallmarks of Sarah Eden's writing, and they're all here. Another great book from a terrific author.
4.5 stars.
I read an ARC via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.