Tuesday, December 24, 2019

An Uncommon Woman

An Uncommon Woman
By Laura Frantz
Published by Revell
Publication date: January 7, 2020

Tessa Swan's life isn't an easy one--living on the western Virginia frontier in the 1770s means she can never quite let down her guard, as there could be trouble with the neighboring Indian tribes at any time. Although she throws herself into working alongside her family members, she also yearns for more, perhaps even a life away from the dangers she's known for her entire life. When Clay Tygart comes to take command at the fort named for him, Tessa finds her heart yearning for him. Captured by the Lenape Indians but later returned to white society where he became a hero in the French and Indian War, Tessa is instantly drawn to him. But Clay fears entangling himself with a woman--even Tessa, who is different from any woman he's known--will put him, her, and even the settlement at risk as he needs to focus on his job.

Laura Frantz is an absolute master at establishing the setting and taking readers there. I haven't read many books set in this time period, but because her writing is so detailed and yet accessible to any reader, I quickly slipped right into the story and felt at home in the setting, understanding what was going on and thoroughly enjoying the look at life in this time and place. Tessa and Clay are both terrific characters--I love how Tessa is so strong and will just speak her mind. She and Clay were a great pairing--both strong and stubborn and even better together. The romance was sweet and slow, and the plot was really captivating. This book is really well-written and just great all around. One of my picks for the best books of 2020.
5 stars.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Under the Stars

Under the Stars
By Carolyn Twede Frank
Published by Covenant Communications

Marshal Hank Walker needs a posse to help him bring in an outlaw, Rosie Decker volunteers--only to have the marshal reject her help. Although she's a woman, Rosie's also a crack shot and highly competent, and if the marshal won't accept her as a woman, she'll disguise herself as a man and join the posse that way...which works until the day her fake mustache falls off. Determined to prove herself, Rosie soon finds that while she wants the marshal to recognize her skill, she also wants him to recognize that she's the right sort of woman for him.

Although this is the third book in a series, it can be read as a standalone. (I haven't read the first two books.) Rosie is a fun character, and she often had me chuckling. I liked seeing how she and Hank learned to work together.
3.5 stars.
I read an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Piper's Pursuit

The Piper's Pursuit (Hagenheim #10)
By Melanie Dickerson
Published by Thomas Nelson

Katerina's beloved town, Hamlin, has been infested with rats--but even worse, dozens of children have gone missing and a beast has been spotted near town. Determined to slay the beast, Kat ignores the jibes from her stepfather, Hennek, who, despite having the townspeople duped into believing he is a good man, is nothing of the sort. When Lord Steffan, son of the Duke of Hagenheim, arrives in town and says he wants to slay the beast as well, Kat wants him to leave. She doesn't trust men--and especially not him. But he persists in following her as she hunts the beast, and Katerina soon finds that she might have to reevaluate her opinions of him and that his help might be just what she needs to save her town--and herself--once and for all.

This book was engrossing right from the beginning; it just totally pulled me. in. I didn't expect that since the story of the Pied Piper isn't exactly one of my favorites, but this was so well written. I loved tough, defensive Katerina and her determination to help her town be rid of the beast and to find the missing children. I also loved Steffan, who is struggling with his past and looking for redemption. The plot moved along quickly and was really interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the characters' growth throughout the story. This was just a pleasure to read!
4.5 stars.
 *Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.