Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Review: More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer (includes Giveaway)


About the Book:

Series: Patchwork Family
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: June 4, 2019
362 pages
After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples. Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟    (5 stars)

Ms. Witemeyer has done it again - given life to characters that you quickly fall in love with and don’t want to say goodbye to. After meeting Zach in ‘More Than Meets the Eye’ I was anxious to get my hands on this book and discover his story and I was not disappointed.

I found myself immersed in the story right from page one. How dare the town council tell Abigail what she can and can’t do with her bakery. She works hard and is dedicated to her sister, but she is in threat of losing everything all because she is not married. Abigail comes up with a plan that will enable her to keep her business and provide for her sister but it does require her to sacrifice some of her dreams, however she is willing to accept those consequences.

Zach is reluctant to accept Abigail’s proposal at first, but thanks to her sisters meddling he accepts. He can’t turn his back on a women in need (and his attraction to her makes it harder.) I really enjoyed how these two respected and treated one another. Zach was honorable and treated Abigail well and looked out for her sister, just like a brother would. In addition to providing for Zach’s physical needs (feeding him) Abigail supported him and helped him deal with scars from his childhood. It doesn’t take long for feelings stronger than friendship to develop but will they act on them and risk the arrangement? I was cheering for them to realize how much more fulfilling life could be if they would risk their hearts.

I cringed each time Sophia ran into Abigail, she was so mean and rude to her. It pained me to see Abigail treated this way, but she quietly accepted it and tried not to let it bother her. When she did finally stand up to Sophia she went about it with grace and kindness. I was so proud of her.

I really loved this book and hope that Ms. Witemeyer plans on writing a story for Rosalind.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

More from Karen:
Settings – Real or Imagined?

One of the key decisions an author has to make before she begins to write is selecting the setting for her story. And the first choice she faces is the question of whether to use a real or imagined location. Roughly half the stories I have written are set in fictional towns. The use of a fictional setting allows an author greater freedom to manipulate the environment of her characters to fit her plot. This provides a great deal of flexibility. However, there is something special about setting a story in a real place. First, readers who are familiar with that place never fail to get excited about seeing a town they recognize in print. Second, if an author can find historical photos and documents, she can add a wonderful layer of authenticity to her setting that might otherwise be missing. Third, an author may turn up fascinating tidbits when studying the history of her setting that find their way into the story and bring a flavor the author never could have supplied on her own. This was the case as I wrote More Than Words Can Say. All of the stories in my Patchwork Family series have been set in real places. Pecan Gap, Texas for More Than Meets the Eye, Honey Grove, Texas for More Than Words Can Say, and coming this fall we’ll travel to Gainesville, Texas for the concluding novella, More Than a Pretty Face. Researching each location brought its own unique discoveries, but I have to admit that researching the small town of Honey Grove brought this history-loving girl a special level of joy. For example, there is a legend about how the town got its name that I knew needed to be incorporated into my story. Legend has it that when Davy Crockett was on his way to join the fight at the Alamo, he stopped in a grove of trees and set up camp. There were so many bees in that in letters to family and friends, he called the place a “Honey Grove.” He carved his initials into one of the trees and intended to return and settle there after the war. Unfortunately, as we know, Crockett did not survive the Alamo and therefore did not return. One of his friends, Samuel A. Erwin, later found the grove and became the first settler in 1839. Many people recall seeing the initials carved into Crockett’s bee tree even into the early 1900s, which led me to believe that this legend was based in truth. It doesn’t play a pivotal role in my story, but if you watch for it, you’ll find it mentioned. Discovering the
Honey Grove Preservation League’s website proved a tremendous boon. Their online historical resources are some of the best I have ever come across. Historical photos, newspaper articles, government records—it was like stepping through a time portal every time I visited. And I visited often. Thanks to the Preservation League, I was able to mention real people and places in my novel. Places like the Commercial Hotel, the home of James Gilmer that was built during my time period, Wilkins, Wood & Patteson Dry Goods, and Dora Galbraith Patteson’s millinery shop on the east side of the town square. While Zacharias Hamilton and Reuben Sinclair are completely fictitious characters, there really was a lumberyard located on the corner of Sixth Street and Rail Road. As fiction authors are wont to do, I did take a few liberties with Honey Grove’s history. To my knowledge, there was never any city ordinance banning women from owning businesses in town, which was a key plot point in More Than Words Can Say. In addition, Mayor Chester Longfellow was a complete invention of my imagination. The true mayor of Honey Grove during this time period was J.H. Smith, a man who served in that capacity from 1888-1897. He must have been a well-loved city official to hold office for nearly a decade. I paid brief homage to him by having him step back into office when my fictitious mayor resigned. I hope you enjoy stepping back in time with me into historic Honey Grove, Texas. Zach and Abigail might not have lived there in truth, but I like to believe their tale is a representation of the many amazing love stories have taken place in that sweet little town through the years.

Blog Stops:

Baker kella, June 16
EmpowerMoms, June 16
Genesis 5020, June 17
Bigreadersite , June 17
Among the Reads, June 18
C Jane Read, June 19
Mary Hake, June 19
Hallie Reads, June 19
Splashes of Joy, June 21
Pause for Tales, June 21
Worthy2Read, June 22
Vicky Sluiter, June 23
Wishful Endings, June 24
Simple Harvest Reads, June 24 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
amandainpa , June 25
Quiet Quilter, June 26
Emily Yager, June 28
Lukewarm Tea, June 28
By The Book, June 28
The Becca Files, June 28


To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes More Than Words Can Say, More Than Meets the Eye, and a $20 Panera Bread gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Review: On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher (includes giveaway)

Series: Three Sisters Island #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Released: April 30, 2019
308 pages

About the Book:

Sometimes love hurts—and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island—a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals—and one in particular. Seth Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

With On a Summer Tide, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a brand-new contemporary romance series that is sure to delight her fans and draw new ones.

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟    (4 stars)
This book was my first experience with this author, and I truly enjoyed her style and storytelling ability. As I finished this book I not only look forward to the next in this series, but to also read more books by her. She captured my attention right from the beginning and I felt like I had been transported to Maine right alongside the Grayson family. The story is told through multiple points of view from the various family members, however this flowed well and it was easy to follow.

Each character felt unique, the sisters may have their own lives going on and have issues to work through but they are forced to work together to help their father restore his new property. While they were reluctant to come to the island at first they discover more than they could imagine. In the end they are able to come together and achieve the common goal.

One of my favourite parts was the fight between the sisters that turned into an honest and heartfelt discussion. This moment helped them understand one another and made their relationship stronger in the end.
The romance was subtle but I enjoyed watching it build and found myself cheering for them. I look forward to reconnecting with these characters in future books.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit; opinions expressed in this review
are my honest opinion and completely my own.)


More from Suzanne:

Oh-So-Maine Blueberry Buckle

Summer in Maine means plump, tart blueberries are everywhere. Here’s a family recipe that is nearly fool-proof….and so delicious! Especially with a scoop or two with vanilla ice cream.

Ever wonder how it got the name Blueberry Buckle?

While the batter rises as it bakes, but the blueberries and crumb topping weigh it down. This causes the surface of the cake to buckle…hence the name.

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup soft butter
1 egg
½ cup milk
2 cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups drained blueberries

Crumb Topping:

½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup softened butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix sugar and butter with egg. Stir in milk Sift together and stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Carefully blend in blueberries. Put on topping before baking. Pour in a greased and floured 9” square pan.

Bake 45-50 minutes.

Blog Stops:

Carpe Diem, May 24

Mary Hake, May 25

C Jane Read, May 26

Empower Moms, May 27

Remembrancy, May 27

Hallie Reads, May 29

Quiet Quilter, June 3

By The Book, June 3



To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Jane Reviews: Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations by V. Joy Palmer

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: WhiteFire Publishing
Released: February 14, 2019
294 pages
About the Book:
Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she'll be fine.

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what's left of their family's legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon shes forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother's renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟    (3 stars)

I am normally a sucker for stories where two people who have known each other forever end up falling in love. However I felt that this one was hard to follow at times because of the continuous jumping between points of view and so many characters. There were times that the sarcasm entertained me, but there were times I felt like it was a little too much.

At times Apryl annoyed me, she is constantly rude to Chance even when he is helping her. Chance tirelessly tries to teach Apryl about God’s love and show that he cares for her. I am not sure what attracted Chance to Apryl, but if felt unbalanced at times and I kind of found myself wanting Chance to move on.

However there are many romantic moments within this story. How could it not with all the time spent at different weddings? I enjoyed experiencing the weddings with them and seeing how they set up for different themes, but my favourite moment has to be the scene in the willow grove between the Chance and Apryl.

I did enjoy the various settings and then ending left me satisfied with Apryl not only learning to accept God’s love but also opening up herself to human love.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book through JustRead Tours;
opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other Books in Series: