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“Joy To The World” Novella Collection Book Review

Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection

Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Novella Collection by Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt, and Erica Vetsch

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness.

“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller
Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome both their obligations and their fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?

“Far as the Curse Is Found” by Amanda Barratt
One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?

“Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch
A Scots portrait painter finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart. 

My Thoughts:

This is a sweet, lighthearted collection, perfect for this time of year.All three of the novellas were lovely and enjoyable, and I liked all of them for various reasons, but it was the third final novella that really captured my attention and made this book shine for me. “Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch tells the story of Priscilla Haverly who we are introduced to in Vetsch’s series , Serendipity and Secrets. It was such a treat to read her own story, and it was such a good one! I loved Hamish Sinclair – he was positively wonderful, and they were such a good match. His Scottish brogue was delightful to read, and his character was superb.The whole collection was very festive and a great read for this time of year!

*I received a complimentary book from the publishers for the purpose of this review. I was not required to give a positive review, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

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“THe Kissing Tree” Novella Collection Book Review

The Kissing Tree: Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love

The Kissing Tree Novella Collection by Regina Jennings, Karen Witemeyer, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese

Review copy from publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Bestselling novelist Karen Witemeyer joins award-winning authors Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese for this Texas-sized romance novella collection. Each of the authors’ unique voices is on display in stories where courting couples leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.  

In Regina Jennings’ Broken Limbs, Mended Fences, a small-town teacher has her credentials questioned by a traveling salesman.

In Karen Witemeyer’s Inn for a Surprise, two opinionated collaborators with conflicting visions must turn a doomed business venture into a successful romantic retreat.

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes follows a young WWII naval airman who heads to Texas to meet the sister of a lost compatriot.

by Nicole Deese is a modern-day romance about the groundskeeper of a historic inn who’s reunited with someone from her past while she fights to save a town landmark.

My Thoughts:

Novella collections are so fun – I love getting little stories and tastes from various authors. The Kissing Tree collection starts out with Regina Jenning’s story, “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts”, and it was absolutely endearing! I was hooked and laughing from the very start – and the ending was so sweet. It was an adorable story with relatable characters that really leapt from the pages.

Second comes Karen Witemeyer’s novella, “Inn for a Surprise”  which was very good too – I really liked Phoebe, and loved her “quirks” and genuinely sweet character. Her heart for starting the Kissing Inn tree was lovely, and I appreciated that Barnabas softened so much towards her and her vision. They complimented each other really well. The only thing I will point out in this story, is that it kind of bothered me that when he was mentally pointing out her beautiful qualities, he had to mentally remark that he could see why others might pass over her because she’s plain. A reader might be allowed to think a person is plain because “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, however, I’d much rather see the hero be absolutely taken with her, regardless what the townspeople or even reader thinks of her appearance. I hope that makes sense. :) Otherwise, I really liked their relationship and their balance together. A very sweet story!

Third we have Amanda Dykes’ “From Roots to Sky”, and this one carries an aura of more ‘seriousness’, following the story of  WWII airman Luke Hampstead as he meets his friend’s sister for the first time – the young woman he’s been writing to during the war. I liked the message of this one, and the overall theme of heart-aching beauty. It started off just a little slow for me, but I was soon taken up with the story and really loved getting to know the characters, and see the town of Oak Spring in the aftermath of WWII. Definitely a touching story.

And lastly, we end with “Heartwood” by Nicole Deese, the contemporary novella of this collection. This is the second piece of read by this author, and I really love her writing style. “Heartwood” is a sweet and realistic romance, with complicated emotions and pasts the characters have to work through. There was a bittersweet part to this story, but it made for the perfect ending, and I love how the story, while contemporary unlike the first three pieces, really wove everything together and made for a beautiful finish. A great novella collection overall, that I very much enjoyed!

*I receiveda complimentary copy of thisbook from the publishers for the purpose of this review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not compensated to share my review.

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Nothing Short of Wonderous” by Regina Scott ~ Book Review

Nothing Short of Wondrous (American Wonders #2)

“Nothing Short of Wonderous” by Regina Scott

Book Two in the American Wonders Series

Review copy through Revell Reads

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.

Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate’s aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him. When her 6-year-old son is kidnapped by a poacher who wants the boy to guide him to the place where the last of the Yellowstone bison congregate, Will and Kate must work together to rescue him, save the bison, and protect the park. In doing so, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.

My Thoughts:

This was my first novel to read by this author, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to step into this series. The descriptions of the Yellowstone Park were well-written, and while I’ve never been there myself, it was easy to picture and beautiful to imagine.

The characters were steady, though I had a hard time feeling really connected to them. There was the case of an instant attraction between the two main characters, and while I know that can be realistic, I didn’t personally feel drawn in by it. It was an interesting book, and I liked the setting, and appreciated the Christian message towards the end.

I think fans of Tracie Peterson and Lauraine Snelling will love it.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts expressed are my own.