Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Review: Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

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Title: Many Sparrows

Author: Lori Benton

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


When settler Clare Inglesby is widowed on a mountain crossing and her young son, Jacob, captured by Shawnees, she'll do everything in her power to get him back, including cross the Ohio River and march straight into the presence of her enemies deep in Indian country. Frontiersman and adopted Shawnee, Jeremiah Ring, promises to guide Clare through the wilderness and help her recover Jacob.

Once they reach the Shawnees and discover Jeremiah's own Shawnee sister, Rain Crow, has taken custody of Jacob - renaming him Many Sparrows - keeping his promise becomes far more complicated, the consequences more wrenching, than Jeremiah could have foreseen.

**4 stars**

I enjoyed Many Sparrows by Lori Benton! It moved slowly in many ways, but the storytelling was rich, and filled with grace and heartache and beauty.

Like this author's other amazing novels, Many Sparrows is set in 18th century America and focuses a lot on Native Americans.
Clare Inglesby is traveling deeper into the wilderness with her husband and young son, Jacob. And with a baby on the way. When the Shawnees take all that's important from her, she is desperate to get back what's hers at all costs.
Jeremiah Ring has many secrets and an unexpected connection with the Shawnees ... he may be the perfect guide for Clare as she seeks out the people she so fears.

Oh, my heart ached for Clare. The trials she endured. The agony she faced. In some ways, I could see myself in her - in the way she struggled to trust, was tormented with anxiety, tried to fix everything on her own. This story spoke to my soul and I learned some lessons through Clare's journey. *smiles*
I really liked Jeremiah, too. This solid and somewhat mysterious frontiersman ... adopted by the Shawnee Indians. The ways he helped and guided Clare were very heart-touching.
Jacob and Pippa! The dear, sweet little ones! <3

There was suspense, and some mystery. I'm still left wondering about one of Jeremiah's "brothers" and this brother's "son". I hope, in spite of all, that everything is well for them.

Some parts of Many Sparrows were hard. Difficult to read even. My heart was heavy ... torn for Clare. Couldn't understand Jeremiah. Could, even less, understand the Shawnees. But the way the tale unfolded and turned out - even through the heartache and pain and loss and bloodshed - was ultimately good and grace-filled and beautiful. That ending. It put my heart at rest! *smiles*

Another well-written and thoughtful read from Lori Benton. I can't wait for her next release!

I received a copy of Many Sparrows from BloggingforBooks in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey by Carolyn Miller

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Title: The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

Author: Carolyn Miller

Series: Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


Will a damaged reputation and desire for society's approval thwart the legacy of grace?

Tainted by scandal and forced to leave London for the quieter Brighton countryside, the Honorable Miss Clara DeLancey is a shadow of her former society self. She's lost the man she loved to another and, in a culture that has no patience for self-pity, is struggling with depression. A chance encounter brings her a healing friendship with the sisters of an injured naval captain. But Clara's society mama is appalled at the new company she's keeping.

Captain Benjamin Kemsley is not looking for a wife. But his gallant spirit won't let him ignore the penniless viscount's daughter - not when she so obviously needs assistance to keep moving forward from day to day. Can he protect his heart and still keep her safe?

When they're pushed into the highest echelons of society at the Prince Regent's Brighton Pavilion, this mismatched couple must decide if family honor is more important than their hopes. Can they right the wrongs of the past and find future happiness together - without finances, family support, or royal favor?

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey is full of the captivating, flawed characters, fascinating historical details, and masterful writing that Carolyn Miller's fans have come to know in The Elusive Miss Ellison and The Captivating Lady Charlotte. If you love Lori Wick, Georgette Heyer, and other clean, wholesome Regency romance, you'll love this third book in the Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series.

**4.5 stars**

I had been looking forward to reading Clara's story since glimpsing her in The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and I believe I enjoyed The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey as much or more than the second book in the REGENCY BRIDES: A LEGACY OF GRACE series. The intrigue of the story, interesting and endearing characters, and a tender faith theme kept me turning pages. Now I need to go back and read the first book in this amazing historical romance series!

Miss Clara DeLancey struggles with dashes hopes and bitterness, surrounded by scandal. A chance encounter with a stranger on the clifftops forces her to reevaluate her life. Might there be a second chance for her? Even at love?
But the man who warms her heart is below her station, much to her parent's disapproval. And the past has a way of haunting one ...

I quite liked getting to know Clara. Her story tugged at my heart. She's an imperfect, broken woman who finds grace and hope and life in Jesus. I love how authentic her journey to faith was!
I love her friends, Mattie and Tessa! *beams* And Benjamin Kemsley ... I really liked his character as well. His seafaring tales. His struggle. His deep faith in and reverence for God. His tender care of Clara ... *sighs blissfully* What a sweet gentleman. So patient with her. So protective. And careful. And adorably romantic.
I think the romance was incredibly beautiful and tasteful.

The characters really were great. Carolyn Miller does such a fabulous job with them. I can hardly wait to read The Elusive Miss Ellison (book one) and Winning Miss Winthrop, the coming release of a new series.

A personal complaint: I didn't like how some of the characters got a bit disrespectful/demeaning/careless. Yes, they were dealing with mean-spirited or arrogant people, but I still feel they should have checked their own attitudes and made sure they were behaving honorably in God's eyes.

But besides those few incidents, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey is really a stunning read filled with faith, true friends, forgiveness, redemption, and tender love. I got lost in this gorgeous, emotional regency tale. Many a time I found myself laughing (perhaps mostly at Benjie's adorable wooing attempts), and my heart was touched by Clara's deepening relationship with God.

Carolyn Miller knows how to write a rich and entertaining story set during the regency era. Recommend!

I received a copy of The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

O Lovely Book Cover

The Honey Bride by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

Published: March 29th, 2017

Chief of Sinners {Texas Romance Books #10} by Caryl McAdoo
Published: September 6th, 2017

Heirs of Tirragyl {The Poison Tree Path Chronicles #2} by Joan Campbell

Published: October 10th, 2017 (Enclave Publishing)

The Mayflower Bride {Daughters of the Mayflower #1} by Kimberley Woodhouse

Expected Publication: February 1st, 2018 (Barbour Books)

The Pirate Bride {Daughters of the Mayflower #2} by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Expected Publication: April 1st, 2018 (Barbour Books)

King's War {The Kinsman Chronicles #3} by Jill Williamson

Expected Publication: April 17th, 2018 (Bethany House)

Together Forever {Orphan Train #2} by Jody Hedlund

Expected Publication: May 1st, 2018 (Bethany House)

Falling for You {A Bradford Sisters Romance #2} by Becky Wade

Expected Publication: May 1st, 2018 (Bethany House)

The Captured Bride {Daughters of the Mayflower #3} by Michelle Griep 

Expected Publication: June 1st, 2018 (Barbour Books)

The Orphan's Wish {Hagenheim #8} by Melanie Dickerson

Expected Publication: June 26th, 2018 (Thomas Nelson)

The Patriot Bride {Daughters of the Mayflower #4} by Kimberley Woodhouse

Expected Publication: August 1st, 2018 (Barbour Books)

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Expected Publication: 2018 (Thomas Nelson)

A Rebel Heart {The Daughtry House #1} by beth White

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Some Updates

Hello, dear friends. I know I haven't mentioned Silver Rose in a long while ... and there's a reason for that. Being, I haven't worked on it in a long time. In fact, I don't feel like much of a writer right now, and that's causing me no small amount of anxiety and distress.

My summer was much busier than anticipated, and I had things come up in my life that I wasn't expecting. Thus, I've had neither the emotional or maybe even physical energy to work on editing/reading through Silver Rose. And I don't believe I'll be publishing it this year as planned. *sad face*
I might want to have it go through a professional editor. Or I may just have some more trusted writer/reader friends read it, and then call it good. I don't know. But at this point, it's on hold.

I've been struggling a lot with anxiety. And lots of emotional stuff. I've had to put things aside and really focus on life and family right now. I'm devoting more time to prayer (which helps with my anxiety). I'm helping with homeschooling and housekeeping. I've had doctor appointments and started new diet and exercise plans.

I hope I can start writing a little bit here and there again, but for now Silver Rose, at least, is on hold. I'm sorry to anybody out there who might actually still want to read it.

I'm realizing I need to take time to be still and have quiet and pray and sing and just breathe.
I like to color in adult coloring books. And also listen/sing along to worship and inspirational songs.

Here are some songs that I'm loving:

Holy Spirit cover by Carrollton

Shelter by Carrollton

I Have This Hope by Tenth Avenue North

The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North

Time to Be Well by Jenny Simmons

Be My Healer by Jenny Simmons

Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells

O'Lord by Lauren Daigle

In Christ Alone cover by Anthem Lights

Good, Good Father cover by Anthem Lights

You're Not Alone by Owl City

I did a quick photo shoot with my sister the other day. Here are just a couple ... my new author pic and some fun/silly ones. *smiles*

I love my babies *laughs*

... And hugging my little sister, whom I love. Okay, I love ALL my siblings - she's just the one who I happen to get pictures with. *grins*

I'm currently reading Many Sparrows by Lori Benton, The Road to Becoming by Jenny Simmons, Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet, and A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas.

I've been cooking/baking more, which I enjoy! It gives me a feeling of satisfaction, too. *smiles* Here are a few recipes I've made:

Baking // cooking // doing wash // teach history and spelling lessons // cleaning // snuggles with little bro // work out // reading // Bible studies // hanging out with friends // doctor visits // laughing with siblings // Facebook messages with dear friend // phone calls // shopping with mom // babysitting jobs // random trips to town for Chick-fil-A and book shopping // excitement over uncle getting engaged // talking to a cute little boy at Goodwill // long and peaceful prayer walks // dancing in the rain // breathing in the fall air ...

Life is good - despite the struggles. And God is faithful. When I speak truth over myself and realize I can trust Him, I feel oh so secure and loved.

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!"

1 John 3:1

Alright. That's all for now. How's life, my friends?

Book Review: The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise by Ta'Mara Hanscom

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Title: The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise

Author: Ta'Mara Hanscom

Series: The Caselli Family #1

Genre: Historical

Audience: Young Adult/Adult


My Jean-Marc’s uncle was married to an English woman, and she told us once, a very long time ago, that in this world there are men of two kinds. The one, the knight, is the man possessing only strength and quality of moral character. He will never ask a lady to compromise her honor for less than a vow, and never, ever will he consider another once he has captured her heart. A knight keeps his vow, even when it hurts, and the honor of a knight is a thing a country is built upon. A knight comes along only seldom these days.

Now, a blackguard is a man who can be found quite easily, for it is an easy thing to be a blackguard. He attempts to trick the young ladies into taking him home and caring for him, making them believe their honor can be given away as a mere trifle, offering no vow, and making only human demands. The blackguard is to be avoided at all costs, for to settle for someone like him is to settle for something less than ideal.

In the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, Tillie Caselli promises to marry Noah Hansen. Theirs’ was a love intended to last, and their promises were never to be broken. But when there’s an illusion of unfaithfulness, the result is an error in judgment—an error that changes the course of lives.

Epic romance, global adventure, ethnic passion, and Christian values inspire this new series.

**2.5 stars**

The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise by Ta'Mara Hanscom was not what I expected. It was rather slow-paced where I was thinking there would be lots of action and excitement. However, it did have some redeeming qualities.

Mostly, this book follows the life of seventeen-year-old Tillie Caselli and various other members of the Caselli family. School trips. Unexpected escapades. Elopements. Heartbreak. Weddings. Babies. Prom. Graduation. Family life - with a bit a drama sprinkled in here and there.

Though the story did seem to drag a little, I still was interested in how The Pretender was going to turn out. I was a little bothered by how far-fetched and absurd Tillie and Noah's romance was. And not to mention, reckless and fool-hardy! Their actions send kind of a dangerous message, I think ... that instant, thoughtless romances are true love and bad boys change completely in order to win a Christian girl's heart. It was a little disconcerting for me - especially since the underlying theme of the book seems to be that Noah and Tillie are "meant for each other".

Nevertheless, there were redeeming qualities, as I mentioned above. Some good thoughts and little lessons sprinkled throughout. Sometimes novels centered on family life can be really nice and sweet, if you take the time for them. Perhaps some affection grows for the characters as you journey through daily life with them. I quite enjoyed the last part of The Pretender. Beautiful weddings and sweet babies! ^_^ I really actually like how Noah's story ended up ... It was crazy, unique, sacrificial, and slowly became something tender and beautiful. Though maybe that's all going to change in the next book in this series ...
It was interesting to see the connection between certain characters and events. There was a tad bit of mystery/suspense swirling through the pages of this book.

Overall, this book wasn't so much for me. But I'm still wondering about the characters. So who knows? Maybe someday I will pick up the second book in the series and see what happens next for Noah and the Caselli family.

I received a copy of The Pretender from the Litfuse Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Book Review: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

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Title: An Inconvenient Beauty

Author: Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Hawthorne House #4

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes - as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith's and Isabella's long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

**3.5 stars**

I have quite enjoyed reading the HAWTHORNE HOUSE series by Kristi Ann Hunter. It was exciting to be getting to know Griffith and Isabella in An Inconvenient Beauty. This author's characters are fun, and stories intriguing and ofttimes, meaningful.

Griffith is the duke who never dances. Isabella is a rare beauty, dancing with every man at the ball. Griffith is determined not to pursue her - rather, her cousin. But Isabella has a secret and a need for help ...

I enjoyed this book, though not nearly as much as the first two in the series. (I haven't read the third yet). I think it just started to drag a little toward the end.
Additionally, I thought some of the character's actions were a bit off. Pride? White lies? Deception? I don't know. I feel some of them needed to be a little more careful with their actions ... even if for the greater good ... they gave the appearance of carelessly using people to get what they wanted/needed.

But besides that, there were some tender moments and thought-provoking messages. Bella's journey was an interesting one. Griffith was often endearing. I liked the end. ^_^
There was a bit of a faith theme, and the romance was very slow and ultimately sweet.
I really liked seeing characters from the other books ... such as Ryland, Miranda, Colin, and Georgiana! I'm curious about Trent's story now ... (book three).

Overall, it was a nice ending to a fabulous regency series. I look forward to reading Kristi Ann Hunter's next release.

I received a copy of An Inconvenient Beauty from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.