Saturday, June 30, 2012

Authors of the Month

Happy July, everyone!

I hope you enjoyed Karen Witemeyer as the featured author last month, I know I did!

For this month I am thrilled to be featuring two new authors: Regina Jennings and Keli Gwyn.

Yay!  I know you will have fun as you read about them and their fabulous novels!  I've changed my format just a bit, so let me know what you think about it.

Regina Jennings

I first read Regina's novel SIXTY ACRES AND A BRIDE several months ago and LOVED it.  You can read my review here.  She has a great personality and I have loved communicating with her.  If you haven't read her novel, you're a fool.  *teehee*  Just kidding!  *wink*

Here is what Regina said:

Tell us about yourself!

I married my high school sweetheart before graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. My professional life included employment at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards. I currently write historical romance for Bethany House and homeschool my four children.

I love the modern-like twist in your book on the biblical story of Ruth and Boaz.  Is that your favorite Bible story?  If not, which one is?

The Ruth and Boaz story is not central to my faith like the crucifixion and the resurrection, but it has to be my favorite romance of the Bible. The book of Ruth has everything  - a rich landowner, a desperate widow and a shocking proposal, but every time I read it I had some questions. First off, why didn’t Boaz offer to help before Ruth got so desperate? What was holding him back? And secondly, how did Ruth feel about her midnight trip to the barn? Was she embarrassed that everyone knew how she got her husband? Did she worry that he felt obligated to marry her? Writing this story allowed me to explore possible answers to those questions.

What is your favorite scripture or scriptures?  It's hard to pick just one!

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (NKJV) That pretty much sums up His promise and our hope.

Who is your favorite historical Christian romance author and why?

That’s a tough one because I could name several authors that I read everything they write, so I’ll name some of my favorite books. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist has a fun marriage of convenience theme about it, although that’s not technically what happens. Did I mention the hero is a lumberjack? I love Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series because it brings so many Old Testament characters to life. It’s dramatic and inspiring. The main character from A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers really challenged me. Also I love Siri Mitchell’s Love’s Pursuit. I could read it once a year.

Keli Gwyn

Keli Gwyn is another completely wonderful person, and a very talented writer!  Her debut novel comes out tomorrow!!!  YEE-HAW!! Her book is entitled: A BRIDE OPENS SHOP IN EL DORADO, CALIFORNIA.  I am reading it right now and folks, its great!  I hope to have my review up in a few short days.  Again, you gotta go get this book people, I'm tellin' ya!

Here is what Keli said:

Tell us about yourself!

I write what I love to read: inspirational historical romances with dashing heroes and determined heroines, all of whom embody the spirit and resourcefulness of those who settled the far western United States. I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country at the foot of the majestic Sierras with my husband and two skittish cats. When my fingers aren’t hovering over my keyboard, I enjoy strolling past stately Victorian houses in my historic town, burying my nose in reference books as I unearth interesting facts to include in my stories, and interacting with other romance readers.

The heroine in your book sounds great!  Is she at all like yourself or is she different—and in what ways?

Elenora and I have a few similarities. She’s not a very good cook, and neither am I. I’d love to have a housekeeper to prepare my meals the way she did growing up. Elenora likes things neat and tidy, and so do I. She does a much better job keeping things orderly than I do, though. If she saw all the piles in my office right now, she’d be itching to “put things to right.” Elenora likes to take long walks. When I first wrote the story, that wasn’t true of me, but I’ve become a regular walker in recent months.

There are a number of ways Elenora and I are different. She’s a violinist. I’d never even held a violin until after I wrote the story. I had such fun doing my research, which included hearing world-class violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell in concert at my daughter’s university. Elenora has more courage than I do. She left her life in the east and traveled west to become a business partner with a man she’d never met after exchanging just a few letters. I’d have a hard time doing something like that. And Elenora’s younger and prettier than I am. :-)

What is your favorite scripture or scriptures?  It’s hard to pick just one!

I’m encouraged by Isaiah 41:10a, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” There are times the writing journey requires courage and forging ahead in the face of disappointments, and it’s comforting to know the Lord is there for me on the dark days as well as the days of rejoicing.

I hope you won’t think me silly or that I take God’s word lightly, but I like the verse, “Jesus wept.” Sure, it’s short and easy to remember, but that’s not why I like it. The reason I like the verse is that it really shows Christ’s humanity. He feels things deeply, just as I do. And as a member of the Weepy Women’s Club who sheds tears when I’m happy, sad, proud, etc., I find it comforting to know that God understands.

How did you come up with the idea for A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California?

I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country and wanted to bring one of the area’s historic towns to life. El Dorado is located just a few miles away from my town of Placerville. In researching El Dorado I learned about a successful mercantile owner with the largest business in town. He was active in the community and well regarded. He became the model for my hero, Miles Rutledge.

One of Placerville’s historic sites is the Emigrant Jane building. Built in 1861, it’s still standing today. The building bears a plaque telling about Jane, an industrious woman who drove a wagon across the country, had her store built, and went into business. I did my research and learned that women were able to own businesses in California from the early days of the Golden State. That knowledge led to the idea of having Elenora open her own shop when Miles refuses to accept her as partner in his.

Book Give-away:

Keli has offered to let me do a book give-away for an autographed copy of her book!  Yay!  Thank you, Keli!  I will give you more information about that after the 4th of you better be watching for that!

Thank you!!

Thank you, ladies for answering my questions!!  I loved reading your answers and getting to know you better!  Also, thank you for sharing your gifts with us and blessing our lives!

Happy Reading, everyone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chasing the Sun

I read my first Tracie Peterson book over the weekend: CHASING THE SUN.  It’s the first book in what I believe is a three book series…the last book isn’t out yet.

Book Rating:  Up All Night'er

A fun book with a good beginning to a series! I love series books because you get to know the characters and see them for longer than just 300 pages. *giggle*

Hannah Dandridge is under a great deal of stress caring for her younger siblings, while trying to run a Texas Ranch, all with just having learned that her father has been taken prisoner.  (This takes place during the Civil War…)  A wounded soldier returns to claim his ranch—and finds that it’s been given to Hannah and her family—will he be able to turn them out of his home once his land is returned to him, or is his growing love for this Southern Belle making it too hard to let her go?

This story was fun, but I just wish there could have been more romance. Then again, as you know I'm a romance junkie. LOL Not to say there isn't romance in the story--there is, but I could always go with another kiss or two thrown in there. *wink*

The Christian element was VERY good, which is this book's shining star.  So, if you wanna give it a shot, I say—go for it!  And then tell me what you thought!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Husband Tree

It was difficult for me to settle on a rating for this book.  At first I really enjoyed it, but as it went along I found myself less interested.  Overall, it was a nice story, but not one that I am likely to read again.

Book Rating:  Here a little, there a little

Connealy’s books are fabulous.  So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed them all.  For some reason, I didn’t like this one quite as much.

Belle is a character you first meet in the previous story, MONTANA ROSE.  She has had a very hard life, (as do 90% of the characters in these books…) and she finds herself husband-less…again.  But, for Belle, that’s really not a bad thing.  She’s been running her ranch by herself (with the help of her girls) for many years, and she is laboring under the belief that men just cause problems, so she is thankful her third husband is gone.  She will NEVER get married again.  Famous last words…

Silas Harden is a good guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and needed to get out of New Mexico to avoid a sham wedding!  He finds himself in Texas and in need of work.  He ends up signing up for Belle’s cattle drive.  Little does he know what he is in for! 

Both of these characters want nothing to do with anyone of the opposite sex.  Can you guess what might happen?  Yeah, they eventually get together.  You got it, bravo!  *teehee *  Overall, there was a smooth story-line and plenty of excitement to keep a person reading.  But eventually, I was tired of hearing how much she hated men, and how difficult everything was for her.

Frankly, I know I would have never made it as a pioneer/frontier woman.  Natural childbirth?  Forget it.  Natural childbirth outside, in the middle of nowhere?  Not even going there.  Natural childbirth, with three other children, while having to nurse a baby you have just 18 months ago, and drive cattle—not to mention take care of basic every-day needs?!  I’m having serious nightmares just thinking about it.  I admire beyond words what those women did and their struggles humble me exceedingly, and that includes "Belle", but as I read I felt kind of overwhelmed by the difficulties she had faced.

I liked the spiritual nature of the story, but it didn't seem as clear or as specific as some of the other messages I have seen in her books.  It was good though, so in that respect I think you will be pleased.

Out of all of Connealy’s books this would be my least favorite I think.  But, I do recommend giving it a try.  You may find you really enjoy it.  I know for sure you will laugh a lot.  That’s always something fun to expect from Connealy.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Captive Heart

Aw, yes.  Now here is a story that is pure HCR heaven.  I will be readin’ this little ‘ol novel again, no doubt!

Book Rating:  Up All Night'er

This lovely book begins with a bang!  A train robbery has Emmalyne Madsen shaking with fear.  The robbers are taking women off the train to who-knows-where and for who-knows-what!  And to her utter despair and fear, one of the robbers takes her as well!

Thayne Kendrich desperately needs a teacher for his son, and he will do anything to get just the right one—even if it involves kidnapping!  Who would have known that God had his hand in all of this from the very beginning?!

I love these two characters!  They will capture you immediately.  I was thrilled that much of the first half focuses solely on them!  It gives you a chance to really get acquainted with who they are and see their relationship develop.  I’ve read a lot of books recently with gobs of characters in them, and I found it very refreshing to have relatively few in this one.

There is a lot that happens throughout this book—lots of rescues, and lots of drama.  I loved it all!  Thayne is completely dreamy.  If you don’t fall in love with him, I will be surprised!

The twist near the end was intriguing and the climax is very exciting!  As for the spiritual elements of the story, there really isn’t very much.  I would have liked to see more of it throughout, but the bit that was there I thought was well integrated.

Overall, this story is loads of fun.  It's a great read for the weekend when you need a good pick-me-up.  I highly recommend!!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Montana Rose

MONTANA ROSE is such a delightful story.  I was so pleased with it that the abrupt ending was a bit of a disappointment.  However, that being said, it wasn’t enough to keep me from giving it my highest rating.

Book Rating:  Best of the Best

I think I speak for a lot of us HCR lovers out there when I say that I (almost always) fall in love with the leading man in the book I am reading at the time.  This book was definitely no exception!

Cassie Griffin is in a desperate situation.  With her husband dead and a baby on the way she feels that she would rather die herself than agree to marry any of the ruffians that are begging for her hand.  This is where the dashing Red Dawson comes in!  (You can imagine him riding to the rescue on his white steed, shirt flapping in the wind over his  large muscles…mmmm…)  Well, its not really like that at all, but he is truly fabulous and he does come to the rescue!  He offers to be her husband, and she accepts.  I love the stories where they get married right at the beginning!!

He's called "Red" because of his red hair.  Now, I must be honest and say that I have never really been a “red-hair-on-a-guy” kind of girl, but this character really does it for me!  (As did Cassius McLinn in THE COLONEL’S LADY…su-HU-per dreamy!) 

Red and Cassie have a truly wonderful relationship.  The way he cares for her and teaches her to be strong and trust in herself is beautiful!    It’s very romantic, and you will get to enjoy a lot of great kisses in this book, so be prepared!  *wink *  Also be prepared to laugh out loud!!  Great, great humor!

There were several different spiritual messages that I took away from this book, and I thought they were all beautifully orchestrated.  I didn’t feel like it was too much or that the author was just trying to “fit it all in”.  It worked.  Very well.  One of the ones that stood out most to me was that God will be our strength and when He is with us, “whom shall we fear?”

The story is full of great characters and it’s another easy read.  I actually think that I may like these characters more than those from the Lassoed In Texas series. 

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gingham Mountain

GINGHAM MOUNTAIN is the last book in the Lassoed In Texas series, and it seems like Connealy saved the best for last.

Book Rating: Best of the Best

I’m hooked, what can I say.  I really love Connealy’s style.  It’s fun and fresh--not a lot of fluff or hullabaloo.  She gets me smiling a lot while I read her stories, and that’s exactly what I look for in a HCR—something that will take me away from the dishes and the laundry for a while.  It’s heavenly!

Hannah Cartwright (another character you become familiar with in the previous book, CALICO CANYON) is sure her little sister will have a terrible future as the new adopted daughter of Grant—a man she just met at the train station.  She will risk everything to save Libby and the rest of the children she hears are in his care.

Hannah is a very sweet and lovable character, I thought.  The story overall, was exceedingly enjoyable. It’s an easy read, with very little heaviness.  Yes, there’s the typical “bad guy” (and “bad lady” too, which is kinda fun!) and it’s sad to learn about how all those orphans lived, but Mary writes in such a way so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the sadness of it and I greatly appreciated that!

Grant (no last name…at least to start…) is really fabulous, too.  He isn’t the larger-than-life or untouchable kind of man, which you will sometimes find in a HCR...not that there's really anything wrong with that--  "I love you, Drew O'Conner!"  Anyway, Grant is real and just plain awesome.  His caring nature was endearing, and I thought his love for Hannah was very romantic!

As for the spiritual message, I thought it was just beautiful!!!  I don't really want to give anything away--just go read it and let me know what you think!!

So out of the three books in this series, I think this one is the best.  An easy read.  I bet you could read this one in a day—if there are no chores or screaming kids occupying your time.  *teehee *  So, considering you most likely have both of those, you could read it in two days.

Happy Reading!
Buy it!  (I've got the trilogy again here, folks.  Look at Mary's site for the individual book.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Calico Canyon

CALICO CANYON (fun title—it rolls off the tounge…) was a Christy Award finalist and I can totally see why.  The message of this story was very sweet.  Here is another book where I wasn’t sure if I could like it because of the five wild and crazy boys, but (like the little girls in PETTICOAT RANCH) they won my heart and I loved this story.

Book Rating:  Up All Night’er

This book follows right after PETTICOAT RANCH and includes the characters from that story quite a bit.  If I thought I was attached to those characters then, I grew to really love them after this book.

Grace Calhoun is the school teacher for Mosqueros, TX and you first meet her in the previous book.  This is her story.  As with PETTICOAT RANCH, this one is filled with dirt (and I mean these people are living on a dirt floor for a while…) and mean, mean bad guys and quite a bit of sadness.  Grace has had a terrible youth (in fact, she is still a youth—she’s only seventeen!  I would have liked her a little older, but that’s just me…) and her past has caught up with her.  But “God is faithful” and protects her by leading her into the life of the very man who just got her fired from her teaching job!  Who would have known that it would have been such a blessing to her?  Well, God did!

Daniel Reeves has five young boys and no wife.  They are surviving well enough, but a cave is a poor excuse for a house.  One fateful night when he returns from town, he finds poor Grace in his wagon, nearly frozen to death.  How in the world did she get there?  (You’ll just have to read to find out!)  He saves her life (so romantic!) and that’s where all the fun and adventure begins!

Daniel is a rough on the outside, but that’s only to protect his sweet and gentle heart.  I really enjoyed his character a lot.  His relationship with Grace is sweet and develops nicely throughout the book.  But I really have to say, I could have actually used a bit more romance here, just as in PETTICOAT RANCH.

Connealy has a great writing style.  It took me a while to get used to it, because it really is quite different from say Gist or Witemeyer.  But I think she really captures people’s one-on-one communications very well, and she will get you smiling a lot as you read.

I’m a’bettin’ your gonna like this’n. *teehee *

Happy Reading!
Buy it!  (If you want Calico Canyon you may be able to get it from Mary's own website...I have a link here for the trilogy from, but I can't find the book by itself...just FYI)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gift from God

Today at church, during the last lesson of the day, I was touched by how people’s God-given talents bless those around them.  One thought lead to the next, and my “mind trail” finished at these HCR books that I love so much.  The women who write these lovely novels are giving us a great gift.  As I read these stories, my testimony of God’s love grows.  My testimony of the scriptures grows.  My testimony of God’s great plan of salvation grows.  I am grateful that I have such a wonderful, wholesome, fun and uplifting hobby to enjoy!  These authors are helping to build God’s great kingdom, and I’m very grateful for that.  It stirs within me a desire to find and use my God-given gifts to also further His work on the earth.

The worlds greatest Author blesses us everyday with the gift of His word in the scriptures.  Through reading these HCRs I find that, in a round about way, they are a companion to my daily study of the scriptures.  For example, I will read my scriptures one morning and feel a certain message from God for me that day.  Then, later on when I am reading one of these books, the spiritual message I get matches what I felt from the Spirit when I was studying the scriptures earlier that day!  It’s amazing!

I know God loves us, and speaks to us all the time.  I’m thankful to have these stories to lift me up and keep me going.

Thank you to all you great authors for sharing your gifts with us, and also to the ladies who communicate with me on this blog and lift my heart on a daily basis.

God Bless you and have a joyous Sunday!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Petticoat Ranch

First of all, let me say, I love the covers of these books.  HCRs have such fun covers!  My only pet peeve is that when they show the whole face of the girl and/or guy in the story—as beautiful as that face may be, it messes with my own imagination and I kinda don’t like that!  So the covers of Connealy’s books are perfect for me, because they are artistic and cute, but I don’t have an actual face to see that distorts my own interpretation of what the characters look like.  (My favorite covers of all belong to some Gist books…)  Now, what about the story we’re discussing here?  Oh ya.  It was pretty good, too.  (Understatement!)

Book Rating:  Up All Night’er

Petticoat Ranch was truly a great story.  It starts off quickly, and doesn’t stop!  I had a hard time thinking that I could get into a book where there are so many children involved.  I guess I just thought it would take away from the romance.  To be honest there wasn’t as much romance as I would have liked to see, but the characters were all so lovely I didn’t mind so much.

If you are looking for a sweet romance, filled with excitement and laced with gentleness—this is NOT the book for you!  This story takes place in the dirty, dirty west with lots of bad guys and TONS of hardship.  (Mmmmm, I like the west!  Anyone second that?!)

Sophie Edwards is an amazingly strong woman who has had to care for herself and her four young daughters for a very long time.  (You will be so amazed at the things these girls had to do to protect and provide for themselves, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were really some people that actually lived that way…or very close to that way…)

Clay McClellan has been looking for his twin brother for many, many years.  Who would have ever thought he would run into his brother’s family in Texas—and need them to save his life.  Now, Clay was a very likeable guy.  Cute personality and kind to Sophie and the girls, but I have to say I didn’t really care for the way he communicated and handled things with them a lot of the time.  But, he would risk his life for anyone and worked hard for their welfare.

There was good romance and fun kisses, but overall it lacked a bit of the gentleness and sweetness that I enjoy so much in these stories.  Most of the book was very rough and tumble.  I like reading about strong women, but Sophie pushed my limit.

I absolutely loved the message of how the Holy Spirit whispers to us.  It was very inspiring and it made me realize that I need to listen for God’s whisperings in my life on a daily basis.

So, if you are up for an adventure and think you can handle this wild ride, go for it!  I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Courting Trouble

Courting Trouble is a book that I declined to read for a while, based on the, um, very unflattering reviews I’d seen.  (And “unflattering” is putting it lightly…)  But, I said to myself, “Amber, be brave.  Venture forth with courage.”  Well, actually, it may have been more like, “Eh, just read it.”  So I did.  I would like to be able to echo the sentiments of the few pleasing reviews that I read, but alas, I cannot.

Book Rating:  Meh…

I hate to do it.  I hate to rate this book so low, but I just have to.  This is my first “Meh…” rating.  I can honestly say that I went in to this book truly believing that I would like it.  Every Gist book that I have read so far I have thoroughly enjoyed--loved, really.  I struggled through the first bit, and after a while, I decided I just couldn’t finish it.

Essie is a “spinster”.  At the ripe old age of thirty she is afraid she will never get married.   So, she chooses a kind, older widower and decides that she will use her charms to get him--whether she is in love with him or not.  She desperately wants a family of her own!  Then along comes a “drifter” of sorts named Adam.  He’s handsome, flattering and a complete scoundrel!  Wow.  I disliked Adam from the beginning and that dislike grew to a strong visceral hatred as I continued reading.

As Essie and Adam’s relationship develops, I kept thinking to myself, “Holy cow!  Poor girl, can’t she see he is just using her!  He is SO creepy!”  He continues to get more forward with her, (ew!) and gets her to be more and more physical with him (jerk!) until finally they…well… I was super uncomfortable with that, and I couldn’t keep reading.  I skimmed the rest, and I kind of got the feeling that Gist might have been trying to share a message of repentance and God’s loving atonement—which is a very good thing, since we are all sinners.  But I have to admit, reading about their encounters was just too much for me. 

But, please don't be hatin' on me! I could not be a bigger Gist fan, at all! She is wonderful and a very gifted writer, but this book just didn't do it for me--but you might love it, and if you read it, please let me know what you thought!

I wanna hear what you think about it!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm such a tease...

Well, OK, I'm not really that much of a tease.  *wink * But here are a few "teasers" about three awesome books that will be released in the next few months!

Author, Keli Gwyn

This is Keli's debut novel, and I'm very, very excited to read it!  It comes out next month, y’all--YIPPEE!!

Curious?  Here’s a little more from Keli's website to whet your appetite:

"Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.
Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora and her precocious daughter may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.
Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.
The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?"
Can’t wait, right?  Me either!!

Next, we have two fabulous authors with new books coming out in September!!!

First, Laura Frantz’s book: LOVE’S RECKONING!  The teaser for this is short, sweet, and very intriguing!  (Awesome cover, right?!)

"Two sisters. One man. When he chooses one, will the other destroy their love?"

The setting for this book is 1784 Pennsylvania!  How awesome is that?!  Very few books take place in that era, and it’s one of my very favorite!!  Laura is a very talented writer, I can’t wait for this story!

The next author who’s third book debut’s in September is Jody Hedlund!  I love Jody!  Her book UNENDING DEVOTION looks wonderful!  This is what her website gives as the teaser for this story:

"In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber baron father.

Posing during the day as a photographer's assistant, Lily can't understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father's lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he's interested in clearing the pine and earning a profit. He figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters.

Lily challenges everything he thought he knew, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that's dominated Harrison for so long."

Dare I hope that this character will have brown hair and brown eyes?  It's hard to tell from the cover, but I can't stop myself from hoping.  (You think I need to get over my little obsession with the whole brown hair/eyes thing?  Sorry, I don't think I can...)

Isn’t it fun to have new books to look forward to?!  I just love it!  It’s more exciting than waiting for a new movie to come out, but then again that’s just me.   Of course, these books are available for pre-order!  I mean, why wait right?  *giggle *  Check out these author's websites for more info!

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dawn Comes Early

I was addicted to the Rocky Creek series by Brownley.  I thought they were just pure fun and a relaxing, easy read.  So, no doubt I was looking forward to DAWN COMES EARLY.  This book had a lot of great potential, but in the end, it didn’t rank up there with the Rocky Creek books.  I’ll explain…

Book Rating:  Here a little, there a little

First of all, the leading lady Kate Tenney (who is a disgraced dime novelist fleeing Boston to start a new lift on an Arizona ranch) was very lovable, but for some reason I had a hard time connecting with her.

The same also holds true for Luke Adams, the leading man.  I had a feeling I would like him a lot—his name is awesome, he owns a blacksmith shop (which reminds me of Levi Grant from TO WIN HER HEART and I loved that guy…) he comes to the rescue, and he teases her.  I love guys who tease!  Anyway, as amazing as he is, I didn't develop the connection with him (as a reader) as I'd hoped. There was a lot of good romantic tension though--so in that respect you won't be disappointed.

Brownly always includes wonderful Christian elements in her stories and this one was no different.

Her next book in this series comes out in Jan of 2013 and I can't wait!!!!  I do love Brownley as an author, and you may really like this book, even though it wasn't one of my favorites, so go ahead and give it a try!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My top ten

I have been asked by a few people what my “bestest” most “favoritest” books are.  *teehee *  Here is a list of my top ten HCRs!  I would love to know your top ten as well, so please comment!


Now, it’s true that I haven’t read every HCR, but I aim to, don’t worry about that!  I know there are awesome books out there just waiting to get into my cute little hands!  *wink *  And there are also some excellent books due to come out this year, so this list will no doubt change over time.

Pretty please with a cherry on top, tell me your top ten so that I can see if there are any books on your list that I need to read!


Remembered was my least favorite of the three books in the Fountain Creek Chronicles.  Hey, now!  Be nice.  Yes, I know it won a Christy Award, but it still did nothing for me.

Book Rating:  Here a little, there a little

I have a strong feeling that I would feel differently about this story if I had not read A Lasting Impression first.  I felt like those two stories were awfully identical in a lot of ways, so this book got boring for me real fast: A beautiful, sweet French girl who is a good artist, doesn’t have any parents and is basically alone in the world. Crazy, huh?  It was just much too similar to me.

That being said, there are great elements of the story.  The character of Jack Brennan is wonderful, and if you don’t like him as a leading man, I will be quite surprised.  (Maybe kinda like how you are surprised I didn’t really like this book…)  The Christian message is good as well.

Veronique is in Colorado searching for her father, and she needs Jack Brennan to help her in her search.  (Another thing…here is a girl who needs a “guide”… which in my opinion is very similar to Revealed.  Just another element that made me a bit more disinterested.)

Over the course of the book the two protagonists fall in love, and it’s a great ending as you can imagine.  If you had read this book, I would love to hear what you think about it!  If you haven’t read it, please let me know once you have and what you thought as well.

I would love to write more and really gush about this book, but I can't.  Sorry gals.

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Short-Straw Bride

Ask me what my favorite book is.  Go ahead.  Ask me.  The answer is simple.  Move over, BRIDE MOST BEGRUDGING.  Step aside, THE MEASURE OF A LADY.  Make way, TO WIN HER HEART.  Sorry, THE DOCTOR’S LADY.   As much as I will always love you, you have to make room for my new “number one”.  My answer to your question is:  SHORT-STRAW BRIDE.

Book Rating:  Best of the Best

When this book arrived I squealed with such delight you would have thought it was Ed McMahon at my door announcing me the winner of Publishers Clearing House.  But no, it was only the UPS guy with my copy of SHORT-STRAW BRIDE.

This is the PERFECT book.  Let me repeat: this is the PERFECT BOOK!  Of course this is just my opinion, but I defy anyone to read this and not at least like it.  It has all the elements needed to make a fabulous, totally engrossing story.  I knew I would like it, cuz I like all Witemeyer books, but I was not prepared for the utter and totally consuming pleasure it gave me.

Twelve years ago Meredith Hayes was rescued by a reclusive (yet strapping and handsome) young man named Travis Archer, and she’s never seen him since.  But all these years, in her dreams, he has been her “knight in shining armor”.  When she overhears someone planning to burn their land and property, she knows she must warn the Archers.  She also knows that anyone found on Archer land will be treated like an enemy.  But, she is willing to take the risk.

Travis Archer is intrigued by the courageous and beautiful trespasser who claims their land is in danger.  And when her reports turn out to be true, and she risks her life to help save his land, he knows he will always be in her debt.  Then another accident leaves her seriously injured and her reputation in tatters.  There is only one solution:  one of the four Archer brothers needs to marry her.  So they draw straws, and Travis is the one left with the short straw.

Do you ever read a story and wish there was more romance?  This one has plenty!  Do you ever wish there were more kisses in a story?  This one has many wonderful kisses!  Do you ever become bored, or feel like it’s taking too long for the story to get anywhere?  Not so here.  The plot is excellent and you won’t ever be bored or overwhelmed by the plot.  Do you ever get annoyed with certain characters, or feel like certain characters are superfluous?  Every character in this story serves a purpose.

The spiritual side of the story is not to be forgotten.  Witemeyer books are always uplifting.  The message I got from this book was this:  if you want to speak to God, pray--if you want God to speak to you, read your scriptures.  I loved how the characters were always turning to the scriptures to find the answers to their problems and the guidance they needed.  I LOVED that!

Travis Archer is also one of the most wonderful men I have ever read about.  His love for Meredith is SO amazingly sweet and just what every girl wants in her man.  He is perfectly handsome and comes to the rescue whenever she needs him.  Love it!! He also cares about his wife’s feelings and takes her advise to heart.  What’s not to love about a guy like that?  He’s also tough and brave, yet gentle and oh, so romantic!  Oh man, I’m getting all worked up again.  *teehee *

I really can’t say too many good things about this story, but I will refrain.  I don’t want to over-do it.  I simply cannot wait to hear what you think about this story so we can talk about how awesome all the Archer boys are, and how you liked the rescue scenes, etc.  OK, I really gotta stop.

You will definitely like, and possibly even love this book to death, just like me.  Enjoy!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Friday, June 1, 2012

FB page up and running!

Yay!  OK, the HCRR Facebook page is up and running!  So, got in on some of the FB action and "like" my page so you can know when there's a new review or something fun going on here!  Also, tell your other friends about this blog (and tell them to be cool and follow it like you do! teehee!) so they can be uplifted by these fun books too!

Check out the new Facebook page!!

Summer of Promise

I just got a hold of the new book by Amanda Cabot, SUMMER OF PROMISE  There are some excellent components in this story.  Then, there were other things that made me feel a bit like I missed out on something.

Book Rating:  Up All Night’er

I loved the message of God’s love in this book!  I thought it was magnificent how the leading man gained a testimony of God and His love for him personally.  I was very grateful for that—it made me pause and think of the messages of love that God sends to me.

Right now, let me take a moment to say “YEE-HAW!!  FINALLY!!”  (I’m dancing a jig right now!) There is a character in this book with BROWN hair and BROWN eyes!  Man, I was beginning to give up hope.  If I had to read another story about blonde hair and blue eyes, I would have seriously thought there was some kind of conspiracy going on.  (Not really…just a little.)  And this lovely BROWN haired and BROWN eyed character will be the leading lady in next installment of the Westward Winds Series.  Yippee!

Alright, now back to this book.  Abigail Harding has a feeling that her sister, Charlotte needs her.  So, she heads out to Wyoming, thinking she will be there for only a few weeks.  But, her life changes in a way she could never have imagined, and she realizes it was all in God’s plan from the beginning.

Now, who doesn’t like a man in uniform?!  Super hot, right?!  Lieutenant Ethan Bowles is dashing, and quite the charmer.  He finds himself very intrigued with Abigail, but he isn’t the marrying kind.  He believes there isn’t any such thing as true love.  His assumptions about love and matrimony are soon put to the test as he realizes that Abigail is unlike any other girl he has ever known.

If you are looking for some really great, swoon-worthy romance, I hate to disappoint you.  This isn’t really it.  Was there even a kiss in this book?  Did I miss the kiss?  I felt kinda gypped in the romance department. I don’t think there was even a good embrace of any kind in this story.  Well, he did kinda rescue her once…and that might count.  But, overall it was cute, just a bit tepid for me. If you are looking for a romance your teenage daughter can read, than this is a great choice.

 I will definitely be reading more from Cabot in the future.

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

And the winner is....

Happy June everyone!  Now, for the news that you have all been waiting for......I am please to announce the winner of the book give-away!  Drum roll please.....


So, there you have it, folks!  The next book give-away will be August (for sure!) when I will be featuring Lara Frantz and her new book LOVE'S RECKONING which is coming out in September!!  And maybe, just maybe if we're lucky, there will be one for July, but I'm not positive on that yet. Congratulations, Amanda!
Happy reading, gals and God Bless you!!  

PS  My copy of SHORT-STRAW BRIDE came last night!  AHHHH!!!!  So excited!  So look for that review in the next few days!

PSS  And you can see, I am working on an FB page for the site, but it's still under construction.  Thanks for being patient.  It should be fully operational by this coming Monday.  Yippee!