Posted in Book reviews

“Cameo Courtships” – Barbour Publishing Collection Book Review

 

“Cameo Courtships” by Susanne Dietze, Debra E. Marvin, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Kathleen Y’Barbo

Novella collection

Review copy through author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the book:

Image result for cameo courtships by susanne dietz

A Family Heirloom Inspires Romance
In 1851, a special cameo is gifted by Queen Victoria to Letitia Newton, who though considered an old maid, meets the perfect gentleman minutes after donning. Told by the Queen the cameo is to be shared, Letitia gifts the “Victoria Cameo” to a woman in her family, hoping adventure and romance will follow each of its subsequent wearers.

PINNED ABOVE HER HEART by Susanne Dietze
1851 – Pittsburgh, PA
After receiving the Victoria Cameo, aspiring journalist Clara Newton works to expose a smuggler, but reporter Byron Breaux must break the story first or lose his job. Working together is out of the question until they learn secrets that threaten Clara’s father. . .and her heart.

TAMING PETRA by Jennifer Uhlarik
1875 – Colorado Territory
Trouser-wearing frontierswoman Petra Jayne Hollingsworth has no intention of donning the heirloom cameo, but when a crooked brothel owner steals the treasure, securing its return becomes Petra’s highest priority. Assisting her, Reverend Dustin Owens is appalled to learn the price of its ransom is that Petra must work in the brothel. He may save the woman’s virtue, but can he help Petra regain her cameo and rediscover her faith?

MEET ME AT THE FAIR by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Spring 1885 – New Orleans during the 1884 World’s Fair and Cotton Exposition
It takes a Pinkerton to find a Pinkerton, and Ethan Butler has been charged with finding Elizabeth Newton. Just when he locates her, the cameo he is to deliver is stolen. It appears his previous case has discovered his presence in New Orleans, but he can’t return to that case until the cameo is found. With Miss Newton as a reluctant partner in crime fighting, can Ethan Butler locate the cameo and its thieves without losing his heart?

LENDING MY HEART by Debra E. Marvin
1895 – Pittsburgh, PA
The arrival of a handsome Scottish administrator ruins Miss Bertie Hart’s dream to oversee the new Carnegie Library children’s department. Yet bristly Mr. Russell Smart’s working-class determination and his love of books make him the perfect partner to better the lives of Pittsburgh’s poor. As for a partner in life? Not even her Victoria Cameo can narrow the social chasm he and her father keep between them.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is such a beautiful collection! First off, the cover is delightfully gorgeous. One you definitely ought to hold in your hands to properly enjoy. ;) I love that the front cover opens to reveal a wider image – so pretty.
The inside stories are delightful as well! Each unique and special in their own right. It starts out with a prologue, showing us how the treasured cameo came to be, and then the first novella starts right away after – and it was so lovely! A perfect beginning for this collection. Main character, Clara, in “Pinned Above Her heart” was so soft-hearted, and Byron was such a great mix of a strong and gentle hero. The faith message in this first novella was refreshingly sweet and I loved how important it was to the story!
The second novel, “Taming Petra”, was full of adventure and danger. I loved the main characters name – Petra. So unique and pretty. This story was a Western and it was fun to see how it unfolded. The faith message wasn’t as strong in the second novella, even though the hero was a Reverend. The message was still present, just more underscored than the first story.
The third novella, “Meet Me at the Fair:, brought mystery and intrigue. The romance was very sweet and the history fascinating! This novella was clean and enjoyable, though there was no message of faith included which I was rather bummed about. However, it was an engaging story.
And the last novella, “Lending My Heart”, was so lovely, with spirited characters and a sweet plot! How its own prologue started out… I was immediately drawn in and the story indeed captured me! Main characters, Bertie (Roberta!) and Russel find themselves at odds upon first meeting, but their relationship is so endearing to watch, and the truths they discovered about themselves were very lovely as well. At one point, Bertie was attending church and the sermon given was beautiful and meaningful. I appreciated that, and really liked seeing how it affected and worked into the character’s lives! (Also must note that of course I loved Russel. He’s Scottish. ;))
The collection comes to a conclusion with an epilogue, bringing all the characters together, and that was such a nice touch, a sweet ending. All in all a beautiful collection. For me personally, the first and last stories were my favorites!
Quotes:
“Lord, help me. I don’t want to be hurt again, but my heart is as open to him as it was four years ago. That’s why I’m watching for him, isn’t it?” – Pinned Above Her Heart by Susanne Dietze
“Even nicer would be praise for her efforts and accompishments. What was the point of a lovely coif if her brain deserved no regard?” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin
“All else disappeared, but he continued toward her {Bertie} and his makeshift office as if it wasn’t unusual to have visitors. As if she’d been the last thing on his mind. If he could avoide falling victim to those eyes, he might manage his way through telling her his decision.” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin
“Roberta Hart was confident and skilled, yet he found himself overwhelmed by the desire to take her sadness, to offer her his shoulder. To be someone she turned to in need. Clearly a thought he must banish.” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin
“I know Miss Hart. She…” What? She’s my cousin? She’s my assistant? She’s made a mess of everything I’m working for because, like Mr. Darcy, I have fought feelings for her since the first moment we met?” – Lending My Heart by Debra Marvin

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Christmas Heirloom Collection” by 4 Authors ~ Review

My review of this is embarrassingly late, as I read this collection a couple of months ago. Ooops! But at last, here it is…

 

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations

“The Christmas Heirloom”

Four Holiday Novellas 

By Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade.

Review copy from the publishers/author.

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Perfect for the Christmas season, four beloved authors bring their bestselling, award-winning talents to a multigenerational collection of romantic holiday novellas. In stories ranging from 1820s Regency England to present-day Washington state, readers will be treated to Christmas tales of an heirloom brooch passed from mother to daughter for almost two hundred years. Will the family legend claiming the brooch brings love to its recipient hold true for these women separated by the years but bonded together by the ties of family?

in Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson. While he may be far above her station, she can’t help but notice that his desire to make this Christmas special for his grandmother matches her own.

in Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love as the holidays draw near.

in Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her mother’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance one December.

in Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love? 

My Thoughts:

Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter 4 stars

A sweet novella with endearing characters! I am quickly becoming a fan of Kristi Ann Hunter’s stories. They flow so well, have lovely amusement, and great characters you can’t help but love! Sarah wasn’t your typical heroine, but she was so loveable! Her affinity for cake was just the best. ^.^

Grandmother was also an amazing character who I grew attached to in the short amount of pages.

I just love Miss Hunter’s characters. Although, I will admit that the hero took me a few pages to love him – once I got past the fact that he couldn’t see Sarah’s charm immediately, I loved him too. ;)

The scene featuring the brooch being passed down was darling and very touching.

All in all a very sweet novella!

 

Gift of the Heart by Karen Whitmyer 3.5 stars

This novella was actually my first read by this author. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing quality – it read very well, the characters were all constructed nicely, the plot complete – I was impressed! I enjoyed the story, too. The romance didn’t seemed forced at all (which is a feat in a novella!), and the relationships were sweet.

 

“A Shot at Love” by Sarah Laudin Thomas 5 stars

Oh I loved this one! Main character Fleeta was just priceless, and I would say the same of Hank! I loved how unique this story was, as well as how individual each character was – especially Fleeta. She wasn’t your typical heroine and I loved her all the more for it. Upon receiving the heirloom broach, she was uncertain, determined to never fall in love. Ah, how God changes things. ;) The romance was sweet, and it all unfolded perfectly. And the faith-strand was powerful – some things didn’t turn out perfectly like we hope (just like real life) but how the characters learned from it was splendid, and I was just very impressed. I’m very eager to read more of this authors works!

 

“Because of You”  by Becky Wade  3.5 stars

The contemporary novella of this collection, “Because of You” was a cute finish. The town setting with the Christmas feel was nice, and it was fun to follow along with main characters Maddie and Leo as they worked together on Mission:Christmas – an event run by their church to help families in need. The story was told well, and their romance believable. Little Charlie was a cutie too. :)

I think it would’ve been nice to see the brooch included just a little more, but it was still incorporated.

 

**

 

All in all, sweet holiday read. :)

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“All for Love” Collection ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“All for Love” 3-Novella collection by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano

 Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. New and loyal fans alike will enjoy these novellas previously released only as ebooks. Connealy’s “The Boden Birthright” journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Hunter’s “A Lady of Esteem” follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Turano’s “At Your Request” tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected.

 

Review copy: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

 

My Review:

 

 

 

“The Boden Birthright” by Mary Connealy// 3 stars

I’m not generally a huge fan of the “old west” type of fiction, but I had read one of Mary Connealy’s stories before and enjoyed it, so I started this one with little trepidation. And while it was a fine story, I felt that it was heavy on the descriptions instead of the characters and their lives, and it was very much an insta-love situation. Which, I know, kind of has to be the case for a novella, but it was like a switch had gone off with their romance, since Chance had been mourning his wife only a couple pages previously.

It just was a bit rushed, and not my favourite story. But that’s not saying it won’t be your favourite. :)

“A Lady of Esteem” by Kristi Ann Hunter//  4.5 Stars

This is the story for which I received the review copy. :) I absolutely loved Kristi Ann Hunter’s book, “An Inconvenient Beauty” and have been eager to go back and start this series from the very start. So receiving this novella collection with The Hawthorne House’s prequel in print – I was quite pleased. ^.^

And it was a joy to read “A Lady of Esteem”! I loved main character, Amelia – she had just a sweet and caring heart, and she was oh-so patient throughout each trial she faced. And all the servants – I loved them too, and their love and devotion to Amelia; even if they didn’t work under her themselves. And hero, Anthony was a great character of a changed man. The two main characters complimented each other so well!

The faith message was definitely present, which I of course appreciated.

The whole story was brought together very nicely, and a fantastic prequel to the series!

 

 

 “At Your Request” by Jen Turano// 4.5 stars

 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I would think of this novella. I hadn’t previously read anything by Jen Turano, and since I was almost done with this collection, I admit I was a bit hesitant about the last one, concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the one before. But goodness, I shouldn’t have worried! This story was darling, and pleasantly surprised me at more than one turn. Every time I thought I knew what would happen or what one of the characters would say, assuming it would be the typical in most romance fiction, it would be the opposite – which delighted me because that is what I wanted to find but rarely do in stories.

I also loved that Wilhelmina wasn’t your typical ‘perfect stunning trim’ character. One scene had me giggling out loud, and I was just very impressed with this story. I would definitely like to read more by this author. :)

I do wish there would have been a faith message; that was sadly not present.

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars// Very lovely collection with enjoyable reads!

Posted in Book reviews

The Backcountry Brides Novella Collection ~ My review

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Authors:

 Angela K CouchDebra E MarvinShannon McNearGabrielle Meyer Carrie Fancett Pagels ,Jennifer Hudson Taylor Pegg Thomas Denise Weimer 

 

Review copy from author Debra E. Marvin – thank you!!

 

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About:

 

Love on Colonial America’s Frontier

Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry. Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love?

Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 – Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia)
As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Heart of Nantahala by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
1757 – (North Carolina)
Joseph Gregory plans to buy a lumber mill, but Mabel Walker becomes a formidable opponent. When she’s forced to make a painful decision, she must choose between survival and love.

Her Redcoat by Pegg Thomas
1763 – Fort Michilimackinac (Michigan) during Pontiac’s Rebellion
Laurette Pettigrew grew up in the northern frontier. Henry Bedlow arrived against his will. Their chance meeting changes everything. Will a deadly clash of cultures keep them from finding happiness?

A Heart So Tender by Debra E. Marvin
1764 – (New York)
As thousands of Native warriors converge on Fort Niagara, jaded British Lieutenant Archibald Walsh and idealistic schoolmistress Susannah Kimball learn the greatest risk lies in guarding their hearts.

A Worthy Groom by Angela K. Couch
1771 – Sapling Grove settlement on the Holston River (Tennessee)
The Cowden temper has been Marcus’s lifelong bane. A trait Lorinda Cowden curses. Now, winning the heart of his bride hinges on fighting a war without raising a fist.

Across Three Autumns by Denise Weimer
1778-1780 – (Georgia)
Fighting Loyalists and Indians, Jenny White settles for strength over love . . .until Scottish scout Caylan McIntosh leads her family on a harrowing exodus out of Georgia’s Revolutionary “Hornet’s Nest.”

The Counterfeit Tory by Shannon McNear
1781 – (South Carolina)
Tasked with infiltrating an infamous Tory gang, Jed Wheeler has no wish to endanger the leader’s cousin, Lizzy Cunningham. He risks not only his life. . .but his heart.

Love’s Undoing by Gabrielle Meyer
1792 – Fur Post on the Upper Mississippi River (Minnesota)
When Englishman Henry Kingsley meets Abi McCrea, the daughter of a Scottish fur trader and Indian mother, will their worlds keep them apart, or have they finally found somewhere they truly belong?

 

 

My Review:

 
 
I love how beautiful these Novella Collections are! I own several and have found they make beautiful decorations ;)
But besides being beautiful on the outside, they are lovely on the inside too – particularly this collection! Below are my reviews for the ones I’ve read so far, and I will add the rest to goodreads as I read them! :)
 
 
 
Shenendoah Hearts by Carrie Facet Pagels 
 
The beginning was interesting, and it seems like I’d like the characters, but as I continued to read, I had a hard time connecting to the story. I felt like it jumped around a lot, but that could very well just be me. So while I didn’t connect to this story, I don’t think that means others won’t – it could’ve been the mood I was in, timing, etc. and I may revisit the story in the future. :)
 
 
Her Redcoat by Pegg Thomas  
Giving vivid imagery and character-depth, it was easy to fall right into the pages of this short story. We’re at once sympathetic to Laurette and her dislike of being alone after her father’s instruction to keep her safe, and how can you not like Henry’s noble-spirit? He’s a gentlemen for certain. Watching their relationship begin and grow was delightful. I also liked seeing Laurette’s relationship with her Indian friends, and how that influenced her too, in good ways. And yet how she felt she didn’t belong there either – for she worshipped the One True God.
I would’ve liked a bit more scenes for the end – a lengthier ending, but I do understand that it is a novella, and they can’t be full-sized novels no matter what I say. ;)
 
 
 
A Heart So Tender by Debra Marvin: 
 
This was a sweet novella! The hero, Arch Waters kind of gave off a slight “Mr Thornton” (played by Richard Armitage of course) feel – can’t complain there ;) I very much liked heroine Susannah. She really had such a sweet and caring heart and attitude. The romance was a pretty quick one without a lot of in-between moments, but I wanted the two together, so again – I am not complaining. Arch needed a woman like Susannah to soften him up, and she needed someone like Arch to lead, guide, and protect her. A lovely match indeed!
Being a novella, there were parts that could’ve been expounded on but are easily understandable as it is. If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know I love a good, long, indepth story, but this novella was well-written, and I enjoyed it!
 
 
Loves Undoing by Gabrielle Meyer  
Really enjoyed this story! I loved that it was set in Minnesota. :) And in Winter.   In reading it, you could almost feel the winter wind knocking at the door. Each character was well constructed and portrayed in this small novella, and relatable. I was impressed with everything that occurred smoothly in a short amount of time. There was definitely a moment or two where there was a little tension, but that’s the good thing about novella’s – you know it’ll be resolved sooner than a normal novel. :D
A good conclusion to this collection.
Posted in blog tour, Books, cover reveal

Cover Reveal: Timeless Love Collection

Good morning readers :)

I’m popping in here to share about the Timeless Love Collection that is now available for pre-order!

 

Seven  authors have joined together to release a collection of love stories. They each sound like fabulous stories and I’m eager to read them!

The authors of this collection are as follows (clicking on their name will bring you to their websites):

Andrea BoeshaarMisty M. BellerStephenia H. MCGeeDawn Crandall,
Kari TrumboPepper D. BashamSarah Monzon

 

This collection is 7 stories through the ages. It is available for pre-order for only .99cfrom March 21st to June 19th when the ebook releases. All proceeds go to the Live Strong Foundation

 

Here’s the line-up for the Timeless Love Romance Collection:

Regency Era
Give Me Thine Heart
by Andrea Boeshaar
1812: England 

Early Victorian Era
The Freedom Journey
by Misty Beller 
1833: Colorado

Civil War Era
The Heart of Home
by Stephenia H. McGee
A companion novel to In His Eyes
1865: Mississippi

The Gilded Age
Enchanting Nicholette 
by Dawn Crandall
An Everstone Chronicles Novella
1893: Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts

Western
Teach Me to Love
by Kari Trumbo
A Brothers of Belle Fourche Novella
1899: Belle Fourche, South Dakota

WWII Era
Facade
by Pepper Basham
1942: England

Contemporary 
Bookishly Ever After
by Sarah Monzon
Current Day: Seattle, Washington

 

 

And now are you ready for the cover-reveals?

 

 

TimelessCollection

 

 

Aren’t they lovely? I can’t wait to read their stories!

 

 

TimelessLoveCollection

 

 

 

 

Pre-Order HERE!!

 

 

 

 

 

Please Note: This ebook-only novella collection will only be available until the first week of July, and then it will be “unpublished” from sell sites. *The ebook edition of the collection will remain on the buyer’s device after the ebook is disbanded.

And then all of the novellas and short stories in the collection will be published separately from their respective publishers in PRINT and ebook!