Monday, June 18, 2018

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

book cover
A Defense of Honor
by Kristi Ann Hunter


ISBN-13: 9780764230752
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: June 5, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Katherine "Kit" FitzGilbert was ruined in the estimation of London society more than a decade ago. She now helps aristocratic women who have been seduced or raped and are pregnant so they can avoid being ruined. She also discreetly raises the illegitimate children in return for payments from the fathers.

When business takes her to London and she's forced to run for her life, she escapes through a ballroom and is spotted by Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend's missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she's telling. As much as Kit desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn't worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.


My Review:
A Defense of Honor is a Christian romance set in 1816 in England. Realistic, complex characters and vivid setting details immersed me into the story. I cared about the characters and understood why they acted the way they did. The romantic couple inspired each other to be better people and had shared interests to sustain their attraction. I love this type of story, which has real struggles without making the reader depressed. Rather, the characters find healing and freedom.

Kit pushed her shy friend into doing something that resulted in her seduction while also ruining Kit's reputation. Cast from society, Kit and her friend have found a way to save other women from the same fate while also providing a home for the resulting children. Kit's guilt runs deep, and she helps other women as a way to earn the forgiveness of her friend and God. She struggles to accept that they've already forgiven her. She also struggles with trusting God to provide for their needs.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable and moving 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.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

book cover
The Mermaid
by Christina Henry


ISBN-13: 9780399584046
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: June 19, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.

P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he'd heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.

Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he's determined to hold on to his mermaid.


My Review:
The Mermaid is a fantasy/romance set mainly in 1842 in New York City. The story was initially told like a fairy tale narrative. A mermaid falls in love with a fisherman in a remote village in America, but once her husband dies, she's left mourning him and angry at the ocean that took him from her. She hasn't aged, and rumors about her reach the ears of P. T. Barnum. At this point, the author started showing scenes and developing characters.

While Amelia looked like a human when not in her mermaid form, she didn't accept various human notions of proper behavior. She stood up for herself when dealing with Barnum and didn't feel she needed a protector. But her assertiveness and her desire for others to accept her ideas of right and wrong also made for conflict. Amelia increasingly chafed against the 1842 white male attitude towards women, slaves, savages, and God, and she wanted Levi to agree that those attitudes were wrong.

Levi, Barnum's assistant, fell in love with Amelia and worked to protect her against those who would treat her like an animal or condemn her as the Devil's creature. Even knowing she's not human, he still expected her to conform to human standards in some ways and didn't always understand her attitudes or feelings. The suspense came from the potential danger to Amelia from religious people, greedy people, and those who viewed her as an animal or fraud. Frankly, though, that danger didn't really materialize until nearly the end.

There were no sex scenes. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting story, but realize it's more about choices and attitudes than suspense.


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.


Friday, June 15, 2018

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

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A Rebel Heart
by Beth White


ISBN-13: 9780800726898
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: June 5, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family's Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.

Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he'll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel.

Selah isn't sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she'd do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.


My Review:
A Rebel Heart is a Christian romance set in 1870 in Mississippi. The setting and historical details immersed me in the story. The story touched on how difficult it was for former slave owners and ex-slaves to form new, equitable relationships. The story also looked at how Southerners each reacted differently to a Yankee, Levi.

The characters were complex and acted realistically, and I cared about what happened to them. Selah and Levi brought out the good in each other. They were attracted to the other's character as well as looks. They respected each other and worked well together.

There was some mystery since Levi was trying to determine who caused the train wreck. We know whodunit since we get scenes from their point of view. This increased the suspense since we know there is danger to Levi (and others). The main characters prayed before making major decisions, and their Christian beliefs were reflected in how they treated others. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable 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.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Vanished in the Night by Lynette Eason

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Vanished in the Night
by Lynette Eason


ISBN-13: 9781335490414
Mass Market Paperback:
224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: June 5, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
After saving Kaylee Martin from abduction and delivering her baby boy on the side of the road, Dr. Joshua Crawford can't get them out of his mind. Unfortunately, neither can Kaylee's violent stalker. He'll stop at nothing to get to the new mom and her child. Can Joshua keep them safe so they can become the family he's dreamed about?


My Review:
Vanished in the Night is a romantic suspense novel. Though a part of a series, it worked as a standalone. The book is short, so things happened very fast. The hero and heroine fell in love practically as soon as they met. There were only a few attacks on the heroine before the ending suspense sequence happened. There weren't very many suspects. It was more about figuring out who was doing what and where to find them.

I liked the main characters. The heroine picked her battles, was willing to accept help, made good decisions about safety, and could think on her feet and defend herself. The hero was caring, a doctor, and a mixed martial artist who was good at defending her. The physical danger to Kaylee and her baby caused the suspense.

There was no bad language or sex. 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.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

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Where the Fire Falls
by Karen Barnett


ISBN-13: 9780735289567
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook
Released: June 5, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shet her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region's wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift her and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he's faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling? As Clark opens Olivia's eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she hides her father's connection to a murder in the park's past.


My Review:
Where the Fire Falls is a Christian romance set in 1929 in Yosemite National Park. Though this book is a part of a series, it works as a standalone. The series is about the early years of the various national parks.

I was interested in the story because the heroine is talented at watercolor painting. Sadly, the author seems to have simply looked up some art terms and scattered them throughout the story as she doesn't convey an accurate understanding of watercolor painting. She spent more time researching the park, though, so we got vivid descriptions of the park as Olivia toured it while painting the sights.

The hero is a guide in the park. He's leery of women because untrue accusations by one got him fired by his church. He's uncertain what to do with his future as he wants to be a minister but feels he can no longer be one. Olivia wants to be a famous artist and is pressured into acting like a jerk to fit in with her rich clients. She has to decide what is most important to her and what she's willing to compromise. These two fall in love as she works on her paintings. We get a suspenseful ending when people start to do unethical things to make money off of her paintings.

The Christian theme was about understanding where your identity comes from as a child of God. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, it was an enjoyable romance.


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 3, 2018

Fire in the Thatch by E.C.R Lorac

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Fire in the Thatch
by E.C.R Lorac


ISBN-13: 9781464209673
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: June 5, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
The Second World War is drawing to a close. Nicholas Vaughan, released from the navy after an accident, takes refuge in Devon—renting a thatched cottage in the beautiful countryside at Mallory Fitzjohn. Vaughan sets to work farming the land, rearing geese and renovating the cottage. Hard work and rural peace seem to make this a happy bachelor life.

On a nearby farm lives the bored, flirtatious June St Cyres, an exile from London while her husband is a Japanese POW. June's presence attracts fashionable visitors of dubious character, and threatens to spoil Vaughan's prized seclusion. When Little Thatch is destroyed in a blaze, all Vaughan's work goes up in smoke—and Inspector Macdonald is drafted in to uncover a motive for murder.


My Review:
Fire in the Thatch is a mystery published in 1946 and set at the end of World War II in England. The first fourth of the book set up who the characters were and let us get to know the victim, who happened to be a nice fellow. The characters were complex and interesting.

The fire was declared an accident, yet the Scotland Yard detective is brought in to determine if it was an accident or a very clever murder. The detective thoroughly looked into every detail of the matter and questioned suspects. He's quite clever and astute about how people act. While I did highly suspect whodunit from the same scene that the detective did, the author muddied things enough that I wasn't certain until nearly the end.

There was a fair amount of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I would recommend this enjoyable and interesting mystery.


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 1, 2018

Gentlemen Formerly Dressed by Sulari Gentill

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Gentlemen Formerly Dressed
by Sulari Gentill


ISBN-13: 9781464206955
Paperback
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: June 5, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The dedicated black sheep of his conservative, wealthy Australian family, Rowland Sinclair prefers to leave managing the immense family fortune and politics to his elder brother, Wil, while pursuing a life as a gentleman artist. A life in company of boho housemates Clyde, a fellow painter; Milton, a plagiarising poet; and Edna, the beautiful, emancipated sculptress who is both his muse and the (unacknowledged) love of his life.

Having barely escaped 1933 Germany while reluctantly pursuing an off-the-books mission in Munich, the usually stoic Rowly remains horrified and deeply troubled by the changes that have come about under the Nazi government. The country which he knew in his early twenties as the centre of modern art and culture, is now, under Hitler, oppressed and sanitised. Tortured by the SA for the degeneracy of his own paintings, he bears both physical and emotional scars. For the first time he is moved to take a stance politically, to try and sway the political thought of the time. A friend of the Left and son of the Right, Rowland doesn't really know what he is doing, or what should be done, but he is consumed with a notion that something should be done. Plus he needs to recuperate.

And so Rowly and his friends make for England rather than returning to Sydney. In London, in the superlative luxury of Claridge's, they feel safe. Then Viscount Pierrepont is discovered in his club, impaled by a sword. Pierrepont is sporting a frilly negligée and makeup - so, a sex crime? Too embarrassing. And too bizarre a death for this aging gentleman, and him newly wed. His murder, and the suspicion falling on his young niece, quickly plunge the Australians into a queer world of British aristocracy, Fascist Blackshirts, illicit love, scandal, and spies ranging from London and its suburbs to Bletchley Park and Oxford, and inevitably drawing in Wil Sinclair as well as players like H.G. Wells and Winston Churchill. It's a world where gentlemen are not always what they are dressed up to be.


My Review:
Gentlemen Formerly Dressed is a mystery set in June and July 1933 in England. This is the fifth novel in a series. This story referred back to events that happened in previous books, especially the fourth book. The events that happened in Germany still impact the characters during this book, so I'd recommend reading that story before this one.

The main characters were interesting, caring people. Since an innocent girl was being accused of murder, they asked questions despite being warned off by people trying to hush up the crime. Since the murdered man was found in a woman's nightgown, they looked into a possible homosexual connection. There were enough clues that I could guess whodunit shortly before Rowley. The main characters also tried to warn people in Britain about Hitler and what's going on in Germany. Interesting historical details were woven into the the story and touch on the crime.

There was some bad language (if you're American) to a fair amount of bad language (if you count British/Australia bad words). There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting 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.