Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Romancing Daphne by Sarah M. Eden

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Romancing Daphne
by Sarah M. Eden


ISBN-13: 9781524402969
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Released: June 21, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
As her first London Season looms before her, the thought of the impending social whirl fills Daphne Lancaster's timid heart with dread. She hasn't her sisters beauty nor their talent for conversing easily. Even her family's enviable connections may not be enough to prevent disaster.

But Daphne's misery turns to surprised delight when the first event of her Season brings an unexpected visitor to her door—James Tilburn, whose tender kindness stole her heart in her youth. When the handsome young gentleman expresses his desire to court her, Daphne is elated. Their feelings for each other quickly grow, and it appears that, much to Daphne's disbelief, her happily ever after is within reach.

Yet nothing is as it seems. The couple finds themselves caught in a tangled web of greed and deceit, leaving James and Daphne to determine whether they are willing to risk everything for true love.


My Review:
Romancing Daphne is a Regency romance set in 1812 in London. It's the third book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one. This is a touching novel with a heroine with a soul-deep hurt.

When her mother died and her father withdrew from life, Daphne and her siblings had to fend for themselves. Quiet Daphne was often overlooked, and her father refused her the affection she craved. Daphne is now a young woman full of intelligence, caring, and wit, but she doesn't believe anyone will want her. Especially since she's overheard many a person call her plain.

James has a controlling, manipulative father. Under threat, James agrees to befriend Daphne during her Season and perhaps court her. He comes to appreciate how easy it is to talk with her and how she genuinely cares for people. Of course, Daphne soon overhears "proof" that James is only showing her attention because he was forced to. She withdraws from the pain, determined to never let anyone hurt her like this again. Can James prove that his love is genuine (and survive the avenging guardian and brother)?

There is some humor in how Daphne's guardian, the Dangerous Duke, scares people. I like that the novel acknowledges how our upbringing can shape how we view ourselves and others. Daphne and James were better people for knowing each other, and they help each other release their burdens. The historical details about the politics, social manners, and such were woven into the story, though accuracy was often suspended when it came to the Dangerous Duke's behavior. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

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The Captain's Daughter
by Jennifer Delamere


ISBN-13: 9780764219207
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London: H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan. A naturally talented singer, she soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he's glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can't wait to leave behind.


My Review:
The Captain's Daughter is a Christian romance set in 1879 in London. The story took place at the London theater playing the Gilbert and Sullivan show, "H.M.S. Pinafore." The author worked in historical details about Gilbert and Sullivan and about what working at this theater was like. Rosalyn also grew up in the orphanage run by George Muller, so references were made to how that orphanage was run.

The main characters were likable. Nate learned to forgive and let go of the past so he could move on. Rosalyn was sweet and resourceful but came across as extremely naive and trusting. Her former employer's husband made sexual advances toward her, and subsequent events should have made it abundantly clear to her that men were sexually interested in her. Yet when she's warned away from a charming man, she thinks, "surely he doesn't think of me that way" rather than being wary or asking for more information as I would have expected. She received excellent advice about several things from people she trusted yet usually didn't follow it. This was partly so we could clearly see how God was protecting and providing for her despite her choices.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel, especially to Gilbert and Sullivan fans.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, June 16, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

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With You Always
by Jody Hedlund


ISBN-13: 9780764218040
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.


My Review:
With You Always is a Christian romance set in 1857 in NYC and then in Illinois. You've got pride, prejudice, an "I never knew myself" type moment, and a romantic couple who are better people for having known each other. Just saying, P&P fans might like this novel.

Elise's family was wronged by a rich man, and now she and her sisters are poor and orphaned. After a financial crisis hits NYC, Elise can no longer find work there and must risk the unknowns of taking the Orphan Train to new employment in Illinois.

Thornton just wants his father to be proud of him, but all his father's pride seems aimed at Thornton's twin brother. Their father pits the brothers against each other to build a town in Illinois and fall in love in the next six months. Elise challenges Thornton to care about people and listen to their needs, not just see them as assets. But will acting ethically mean losing the challenge?

I enjoyed the banter between Elise and Thornton. They were both kind and honorable at heart even if their actions weren't always perfect. They faced hard decisions and grew as people throughout the story. The historical details were woven into the story and gave a good sense of what life was like at that time.

The Christian element was Elise learning to draw closer to God during hard times. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

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Bread of Angels
by Tessa Afshar


ISBN-13: 9781496406477
Paperback: 375 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant's daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances--along with her father's precious dye--help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.


My Review:
Bread of Angels is a Biblical novel about Lydia's life up to and shortly after she meets Paul in Acts. The main theme of the story was fear. Lydia constantly worried about what could go wrong, partly due to something that happened to her mother when Lydia was very young.

I could see what was coming regarding what happened to make Lydia move to Philippi. Some of Lydia's actions didn't make sense to me as it seemed so obvious to me what was going on from the start, but her actions may have been simply because she was young and a bit naive.

Lydia befriends a Hebrew woman who teaches her about God, which is why she was with the women meeting at the river. The author wove the events that happened to Paul into Lydia's story in a way that forces her to face her fears and learn to trust God in times of trouble. The characters reacted to events in realistic ways, and I cared about what happened to them.

Historical and cultural details were woven into the story and helped drive the narrative. These details seemed fairly accurate, though it's my understanding that the patron-client relationship was more binding than the author implied that it was. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I highly recommend this enjoyable and insightful novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hidden Legacy by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

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Hidden Legacy
by Lynn Huggins Blackburn


ISBN-13: 9780373457137
Mass Market Paperback:
224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Arriving home with the baby she's adopting, Caroline Harrison finds her house vandalized…and an intruder intent on shooting her. She's saved when police sirens approach, but all signs point to the little boy as the true target—and the assailant won't give up.

Now she has to rely on Detective Jason Drake, the man who once broke her heart, to figure out why someone's after her soon-to-be adoptive son. Reunited after thirteen years apart, Jason can't help but hope their love might be rekindled, but Caroline and her son's safety come first. Because if he wants a chance at a future—and a family—with them, they have to outrun a hit man.


My Review:
Hidden Legacy is a Christian romantic suspense novel. This is the second book in the series, though it works as a stand alone. However, this book did "spoil" what went on in the first novel.

The suspense was created by someone trying to kill Caroline and her son. I loved the scene where Jason's mother tells them to get inside (rather than get romantically distracted in the open) since someone's trying to kill them--but what does she know, she's just a housewife! lol. Go, girl!

I liked all of the main characters. The hero and heroine both had some issues to face before they could get together. Jason previously left Caroline behind because he didn't want to be near his birth father. Caroline was dealing with why God allowed bad things to happen.

The Christian theme was naturally woven into the story and was about forgiveness and trusting God. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

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The Road to Paradise
by Karen Barnett


ISBN-13: 9780735289543
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Blogging for Books.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In 1927, Margie Lane, an avid naturalist, convinces her Senator father to procure her a position at the fledgling Mount Rainier National Park. Ranger Ford Brannon doesn't relish the job of watching over an idealistic and privileged young woman with no practical survival skills. They fight their growing attraction since Ford rejected God after he lost his father in a climbing accident but Margie's main goal is to bring people to Christ through her nature talks.

Then Margie's controlling former boyfriend threatens to develop the Paradise Inn and the park into a tourist playground as a way to manipulate Margie into returning to him. As he pushes through his plans, Margie and Ford try to find a way to preserve the wilderness of the park.


My Review:
The Road to Paradise is a Christian romance set in 1927 in Washington. Margie flees to Mount Rainier National Park as a way to avoid her manipulative and controlling former boyfriend. It's also a dream of hers to work as a ranger, though she works as a naturalist who gives talks and tours to visitors. Her former boyfriend pushes through plans to develop the park into a ski resort, golf course, and such while promising that he'll drop the plans if Margie will agree to marry him.

While Ford and Margie both love the park and are attracted to each other, Margie avoids Ford since he's rejected God. I liked that Christian characters realized that only God (not dating Margie) could heal Ford's grief over losing his father in a climbing accident. Margie initially had this "the mountain/nature is sacred" attitude that surprised me, but this changed into helping people see God's hand in nature through her nature talks.

We get a "tour" of the park through Ford's and Margie's work there and get a sense of what the parks were like in their early years. There was no sex. The minor amount of bad language was expressed in the "he cursed" style. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and sometimes suspenseful story.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked Room Mysteries

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Miraculous Mysteries
edited by Martin Edwards


ISBN-13: 9781464207440
Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Impossible crime stories have been relished by puzzle-lovers ever since the invention of detective fiction. Fiendishly intricate cases were particularly well suited to the cerebral type of detective story that became so popular during the ‘golden age of murder’ between the two world wars. But the tradition goes back to the days of Edgar Allan Poe and Wilkie Collins, and impossible crime stories have been written by such luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham.

This anthology celebrates their work, alongside long-hidden gems by less familiar writers. Together these stories demonstrate the range and high accomplishment of the classic British impossible crime story over more than half a century.


My Review:
Miraculous Mysteries is a short story collection of 16 locked room or impossible-seeming mysteries, though some were not as baffling as that sounds. These are clue-based puzzle mysteries. Many could be solved from the provided clues, but some withheld clues until the big reveal. There are only so many ways to do a locked room mystery, so I could guess at least the general method of murder in most of the stories. There was no sex. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable collection.

The included stories:

The Lost Special by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Thing Invisible by William Hope Hodgson
The Case of the Tragedies in the Greek Room by Sax Rohmer
The Aluminium Dagger by R. Austin Freeman
The Miracle of the Moon Crescent by G.K. Chestertom
The Invisible Weapon by Nicholas Olde
The Diary of Death by Marten Cumberland
The Broadcast Murder by Grenville Robbins
The Music-Room by Sapper
Death at 8.30 by Christopher St. John Sprigg
Too Clever by Half by G.D.H. and Margaret Cole
Locked In by E. Charles Vivian
The Haunted Policeman by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Sands of Thyme by Michael Innes
Beware of the Trains by Edmund Crispin
The Villa Marie Celeste by Margery Allingham


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.