©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Note Yet Unsung

Tamera Alexander is one of my all-time favorite authors. She has a way of creating a captivating tale with incredible settings and irresistible characters. A Note Yet Unsung is the final installment of the Belmont Mansion series of novels. Within the pages of this novel are a few historical people as well as the characters of the book. Adelicia Cheatham owns the Belmont Mansion and takes in Rebekah Carrington as an employee to tutor her daughter in playing the violin. Rebekah's home life was not safe at all because of her stepfather who had tried to assault her when she was a young child. Rebekah's lifelong dream was to play in a symphony but the times are such that women are not allowed to play in the symphony.

Nathaniel Tate Whitman was named the Maestro of the Nashville Symphony. Rebekah goes to him to apply for a job in the symphony only to be turned down. But Tate comes back to ask her to be his assistant, to help him with writing his symphony to be performed on the opening of the new theater in Nashville.

The road to love for Tate and Rebekah is anything but smooth, but it is never boring, and it makes the book all the sweeter. This is a five-star book, with two thumbs up, and a mystery violinist playing the most beautiful music you've ever heard.

I appreciated Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book. Extremely hard to put down.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Mark of the King

I know I have read something by Jocelyn Green, but dang if I can remember which book it was. But I do remember the book I finished last night that she wrote. The Mark of the King is a remarkable book taking place during the late colonial period of US History. It begins in France where a midwife allows the wife of a very powerful man to die during childbirth. Because of that death, Julianne was branded a murder and sent to prison. Her sentence was commuted to exile to Louisiana because she was willing to help populate the new French colony. Before she is allowed to leave France, she is required to choose a man from a group who were also being exiled to Louisiana, then she was required to consummate the marriage before being allowed to get on the ship to take her. She chooses Simon LeGrande because he was the most promising candidate.

Jocelyn has put together a book with a lot of action, some romance, some betrayal, a bit of kidnapping, secrets, and a few storms. Julianne survives many hardships, and even though she loses Simon, she does find love. The author has included incredible descriptions of the landscapes and the surroundings of all the activities. These descriptions help the reader engage more fully into the story and gain more understanding of how life worked. This is so hard to put down and easy to get lost in. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a hurricane to shake things up.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Ginny Yttrup puts together a novel so compelling, so intriguing, it's very hard to put down. I stayed up till nearly 3:00 AM to finish the book. Her characters are honest, and they all have a voice of their own. One of the quirks of this book that makes it work is the fact that several of the characters are authors and one of the main characters is trying to meet a deadline for her book, but she's having a hard time getting words to paper.

Melanie describes herself as a pantser type author--one who writes by the seat of her pants, but she's having a hard time with her new novel.

Valerie is a therapist who has a lake cabin that she uses for refuge and offers it to Melanie.

Craig is Melanie's husband and a builder whose business had dropped off during the recession.

Jill and Marcos are Melanie's and Craig's next-door neighbors and dearest friends. Jill is having a bit of trouble with obsession and with nightmares.

Melanie takes Valerie up on her offer of the lake cabin, and Jill eventually comes to visit Melanie, needing the mental break from daily life.

The tagline for the book should be "Sometimes you just have to run away from home to find out where home really is."

This is a five star book, two thumbs up, and a new novel to read.

My thanks to Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read and review this book.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pony Express Romance Collection

There are nine stories in this collection of novellas, but the one by Darlene Franklin was my favorite. Actually Darlene Franklin is my hero in many ways. Her Amazon bio states that:
Bestselling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online at www.darlenefranklinwrites.com

Since I read the one by Darlene, I have read six more novellas and so I cannot remember the names of the characters involved, but what I liked most about Darlene's is that her protagonist had to fight his demons and wrestle with the Lord to come to the place where he was strong enough for the young lady who had stolen his heart. She described in detail the struggle he encountered in overcoming his temptation, much as Jacob wrestled with the angel of God. I appreciate her ability to put into words, the daily struggles of living the Christian life and yet give hope to one who struggles so.

This is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a pony express outpost.

My thanks to Barbour Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Portrait of Emily Price

Katherine Reay's works intrigue me. This is the second book I've ready by her and found almost too hard to put down. This is the second book I've read by Katherine that has a lot of food references in it too. The only problem I have with this style of book is that Katherine doesn't share recipes. I really want recipes.

Emily Price is an art restorer for an insurance company in Chicago. She's been sent to Atlanta to restore some art pieces that were damaged in a fire. Her company has set up a place for her in an art restorer's lab and paid for her to have a suite in a long-stay hotel. Along the way, she accidentally finds out her job has been phased out and she's on her own for finding her next job.

The day she arrives in Atlanta, Joseph, the owner of the lab, takes her to his aunt and uncle's Italian restaurant for dinner. There she meets Joseph's brother, Ben. She sees Ben almost every night of her stay in Atlanta and begins to get involved in Ben's refurbishing of the restaurant. She works all day with her insurance restoration, and then works many hours a night on the restaurant refurbish. Of course, during this time with Ben, she begins to fall in love--and the day before Ben leaves to go back to Italy, they get married, after having known each other two weeks.

The rest of the book is dedicated to Emily trying to fit in with Ben's family. His father is an easy nut to crack, but his mother is a different story altogether.

One of Ben's quests in the book is to develop the perfect pizza crust (a quest I understand well, as I am working on that myself). The pasta and sauces Katherine describes seem heavenly. I want recipes, Katherine. I want recipes!

This is beyond a five star book, but that's all they allow me. Sigh. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and the Perfect Pizza Crust.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Threads of Grace

Grace Raber is being asked to marry her family's neighbor, Silas Beiler, in order to save the family's farm. Silas was a hard man and held Grace to higher standards than the Amish community would. After nine years, Silas passed away suddenly, so Grace and her son, Abel, moved to Pennsylvania. Seth Wyse lives on the farm next door and wants to court Grace and her son. When Silas' brother, Tobias, shows up with the paperwork that would force Grace to marry him so he would have control of her and her son. Seth hears this and offers to marry Grace and protect her from Tobias schemes.

From a marriage with one-sided love, to interference from Grace's brother-in-law, to raising an autistic son, to overcoming emotional and physical abuse from her first husband, Grace has a lot to overcome. Kelly Long has written a deeply satisfying book about the Amish and about falling in love. The problems are the resolution of the issues with Tobias that seem to be a bit tritely handled, and the discussion about Abel's autism. I cannot find any information where autism can be caused by physical injury during pregnancy. That's not to say it's not true, I am just saying I can't find that information.

Still in all, this is a five star book, two thumbs up, and a good friend to see you through the tough times.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

12 Brides of Christmas

Every now and again, a book slips through my fingers and I don't realize it's still in my TBR pile. When I found this one, I sat down to start reading it. There are twelve humorous stories of romance during the Christmas season in this collection. I am sorry that I let this one slip by me.

The authors have a great talent to be able to write a complete story in less than a novel's length. I adored every single story in the olio, but my favorites were the first two or three and the last one. In the last one, I appreciated how Michelle Ule worked in how Ewan used different methods to teach the children their math facts. He was not tied into belly-button teaching (prop the book on your belly button and do not deviate from the book at all). Ewan was having to earn $70 by Kate's birthday to be able to marry her. When the teacher of the younger children eloped, he was offered the job, which helped him toward his goal of $70. He was a quick thinker when a blizzard came through and got the children to safety by tying knots in a rope and having them hold onto the knots to walk back to town.

This is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a sprig of mistletoe to kiss under.

My thanks to Barbour Books for their patience in my tardiness with my review.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

An Uncommon Courtship

Trent was walking across his estate when he saw a horse beside an old keep on the property. As he was investigating, he fell through the rotted floor and found Adelaide Bell harvesting mushrooms. While they are trapped, they believe someone will come along to rescue them, and they do hear a wagon go by, but it doesn't seem to stop. After spending the night together, Trent believes the thing to do is to ask Adelaide to marry him. Her mother insists on the banns being read immediately to protect Adelaide's reputation. Within three weeks, Trent and Adelaide are married and living in London.

Problems begin almost immediately because Trent and Adelaide don't know how to communicate with each other. They begin a dance of avoidance and pussy-footing around each other. Trent's staff doesn't really approve of his actions. He doesn't know how to correct the poor beginning they had, until one night, he sits down with Adelaide and tells her he wants to court her and give her the London season her mother never gave her.

Adelaide's mother is another fly in their ointment, she's a social climber and works every angle to improve not only her social standing, but also her older daughter's status as well.

It's hard not to put yourself in Trent's and Adelaide's places and feel their discomfort. Kristi Ann Hunter describes their emotions and feelings so well. And it's hard not to dislike Adelaide's mother throughout the whole book. The one thing I liked best about this book is that all the loose ends are tied up nicely resolved. Kristi doesn't force the resolutions, the resolution of the book seems natural and organic.

Five stars, two thumbs up, and a greenhouse pineapple farm.

My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.