©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

True to You

There are three Bradford sisters in this novel, which sets the stage for two more novels to come. There are characters that correspond to the three sisters, which kind of gives huge hints as to what's working in Becky Wade's mind.

Nora is the focus in True to You, she is the middle sister, a genealogist, and she quite doesn't know what to do when a larger than life man rescues her in a training exercise for a security company.  The man is John Lawson, the owner of the company, a former Navy SEAL, and a man who is in search for his birth mother.

Becky writes great novels with believable characters set in incredible settings.  While Washington State has some unbelievable settings, Becky placed this in a fictional town that is near some towns that are real.  I live in Washington State, and I know the area where this takes place.  It is a beautiful place, but it rains a lot on that side of the mountains.  Rain was an infrequent visitor to this novel, but if that is the worst I can say about this novel, it's a pretty good novel for sure.

There is a bit of intensity in the novel that makes it move along and creates an entertaining read.  Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a well-researched family tree.

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

With You Always

I'm trying to think of what I want to say about With You Always by Jody Hedlund.  It is her first novel in her Orphan Train Series.  I'm trying to figure out if she was using this book as an instrument to introduce the Orphan Trains, or if the Orphan Train was supposed to carry a bigger weight than it did in this book.

Elise is responsible for her younger sisters and two infants that were left with her when their mother died in the tenements of New York.  When the opportunity arises for Elise to go to Chicago to help in a new town being built along the railroad, she takes the chance, hoping to send money back to her sisters to come to be with her.

Thornton and his twin brother, Bradford, are thrown into a contest to see who will inherit the title to their father's throne as CEO of his railroad company.  The challenge is to build a town along the railroad, and fall in love and get married within six months.

Elise and Thornton had met during a storm while she was living at the Seventh Street Mission. Thornton was instantly attracted to Elise and wanted to see her more.  When he found her on the train, he made all kinds of excuses to be with her.  The only fly in his ointment was the fact that he had a girlfriend in New York.

The only way the Orphan Train comes into the plot is that the babies are sent out on the train without the sisters knowing about it.  There is a bit of a hint that the sisters are going to be searching for the babies.

Jody is a quality writer who knows her craft.  She has written an excellent book, with great characters and a compelling plot line.  The problems I have mentioned are truly minor and the way the contest ends is truly satisfying.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a First Class Train Ride

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When Tides Turn

Sarah, you are my BFF for life (that may be a little redundant, but you get my meaning).  Just sayin'.

Sarah Sundin writes WWII era romance and does it better than any other author I've read who also writes for this era.  That being said, When Tides Turn is her newest offering in the genre and it is definitely up to her impeccable standards.

Quintessa Beaumont has been in love with Dan Avery since she met his sister, Lillian while they were growing up.  Dan is a single-focused Navy man with pinpoint vision lasered in on his career.  When Quintessa is overlooked for promotion at Filene's Department Store, she decides to join the WAVES and actually do something for the war effort.  Dan is working to move his career along, but he has one fly in his ointment--an officer he once reported for conduct unbecoming.

Sarah has included a bit of espionage, spy-counter spy activity, murder, attempted murder, and top secret maneuverings.  Then there is romance that has already bloomed and is coming to fruition.  It's quite a rollicking reading.

Things I loved about this novel:

  • The war in the Atlantic against the German U-Boats
  • The destroyer escorts that played a minor role in the book, but a major roll in the war 
  • The aircraft carriers that made a huge difference in the war
  • The accuracy of the war facts woven into the novel
Sarah develops her characters over a series of novels but that only adds to the attraction of her books. 

This is a Five Star, Two Thumbs Up book, with a hot danish to have with your tea. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Captain's Daughter

My first Jennifer Delamere book is The Captain's Daughter detailing the life of Rosalyn Bernay after she left the orphanage when she reached the age of seventeen.  She became a lady's companion and had to leave the post because the lady's new husband was trying to compromise her.

She ran away and through a series of misfortune ends up in London and in a brothel.  She found out where she was and left in the dead of night.

Nate was a man in the "colours" or in the Army and was awaiting medical clearance to go back to his posting, but in the meantime, he took a job mucking out stalls and working in the theater where he met Rosalyn for the second time.

As I read this book, I found it a rather dark read, not quite my taste, but that doesn't mean it's not a good book.  The writing is high quality and contains enough action to move the plot along nicely.  It's not that my expectations were not met, but that my tastes run in another direction.   Four stars.

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Heart on the Line

When I first read a Karen Witemeyer book, it was a serendipity.  I was looking for a new author.  I was wanting to expand my horizons and get some new books to read.  I always read book blurbs to see if I would be interested in reading it.  Once I find an author I like, I quit reading blurbs and just read the books.  So Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer was on the list of books offered by NetGalley for review, I asked to be able to read and review it.

Karen has worked in long-distance romance (almost an historical online romance), kidnapping, attempted murder, impersonation,  new technology, and secret communications.

Harper's Station, Texas, is a town in which the majority of the population is women.  There are only two men in residence among all the women.   Grace is the telegraph operator and she lives in Harper's Station in hiding from a man who had her father killed.  Amos is her friend who is the operator in Denison, Texas. They were conversing after hours when another operator breaks into the line with an emergency for Grace telling her that the man she was hiding from now knew where she was.

There is so much action in this book, I had a hard time putting it down.  Karen writes books that grab the reader from the very first line and doesn't let go until the book is finished.  She has interesting characters in situations that require intelligence and deep thought to figure out.

This is a five star book with two thumbs up, and a telegram of only good news.

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

Amish Brides

Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard have joined together to create a collection of three novellas of Amish Brides.

Jennifer has added another story to her Huckleberry Hill series.

Molly's contribution describes the love of a young Amish maed who is not accepted by her fiance's family because her sister jumped the fence.

Amy's novella, to me, was the best.  She related a story of a spinster maed who longs to be married, but it takes a few mishaps and the machinations of her nieces to get her bu to notice her.

All in all, this collection is great to read to fill an afternoon and the stories are heartwarming.  This is a five star book with two thumbs up, and a slice of homemade apple pie.

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

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Catching the Wind

Catching the Wind is the best book I've read so far this year.  When the Gestapo come to Dietmar's and Brigitte's homes and arrests their parents, Dietmar and Brigitte (ages 13 and 10) run away from Germany.  Dietmar and Brigitte are best friends and stay together through all kinds of trials and obstacles.  Dietmar is also Brigitte's knight, and he carved a little princess for Brigitte.  Fast forward seventy years later, and Dietmar is now known as Daniel and he wants to find Brigitte.  He hires Quenby Vaughn to investigate and find her.

Melanie Dobson has written the book with a look at World War II as it was lived in England and a look at the present day investigative journalism.  Even though World War II ended over seventy years ago, there are still people who still stand with Germany's Fascism of the era.  Melanie has also included parts of the war most people were unaware of or refused to acknowledge--microphotography, Fascist sympathetic neighbors who were working as double agents, and refugees who were picked up to be used as slaves.

There were times I laughed (but not many) and even more times I cried.  The troubles that Dietmar and Brigitte experienced are beyond my reckoning, but Melanie's skill with a pen brought them to life in a way that makes the reader feel as if he or she is in the middle of the plot.

I wish I could give this more than five stars, but that's all I am allowed, but I'll add my usual two thumbs up, and a carved princess to see you through the trials.

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

Return to Huckleberry Hill

I have read most, if not all, of Jennifer Beckstrand's Huckleberry Hill Amish fiction books.  This latest offering in the series has been a disappointment and that made it hard for me to discipline myself to finish the book.

Reuben Helmuth feels he has been humiliated in his hometown in Ohio, because his girlfriend has decided to throw him over for his best friend.  So he flees to his grandparents place on Huckleberry Hill in Wisconsin.  When he finally feels he is getting his feet underneath him again, he sees his best friend's tagalong sister, Fern, at the church service in Bonduel.

Where Jennifer has had characters with some depth to them, these characters are more of caricatures of who they could be.  Reuben has a mindset that mimics the popularity mentality of some high school students who want to run with the "In" crowd. He wants to be liked, but he has the arrogance of someone who is not only part of the "rich," but also "popular."  The rest of the book centers around his comeuppance and his true humiliation.

I wish I could have liked this book better, because the grandparents, Felty and Anna Helmuth are so likable.

Two Stars.

My thanks to Kensington Press for allowing me to read and review this book.

Whispers of the Wind

Frances Devine is the author of the first story of this book and I put off reading this one because sometimes these books are a bit lacking in substance even though they are full in entertainment.  This one is significant in substance and is not only an entertaining read, but is also a meaty read.

Abigail is the new teacher at the Celeste Quincy School for the Deaf and she wants to shake things up--teaching the children sign language for part of their education. She meets with opposition with the director of the school at first.  When the owner of the school visits, she is able to get her idea with the sign language instituted and it works with great success.

Abigail is also assigned to teach a young girl, Lily Ann, who is blind.  She is at the school because there is no place else to take her.  Abigail wants to teach Lily Ann braille and Lily Ann wants to learn sign.

Much of Lily Ann's story reads like how Helen Keller was educated.  Abigail forms the signs in Lily Ann's hands and explains what she's doing.  Before long, Lily Ann can sign to the other students, and they sign in her hands to communicate with her.

In the second story--The Scent of Magnolia, Frances continues the story with one of Abigail's co-teachers at the center of the narrative, and a student, Molly,  Both stories are five star, two thumbs up, and the sign for teacher.

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