Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Best of Intentions by Susan Anne Mason (Review)

Series: Canadian Crossings #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: July 3, 2018
347 pages
About the Book:

In the aftermath of tragedy, Grace hopes to reclaim her nephew from the relatives who rejected her sister because of her class. Under an alias, she becomes her nephew's nanny to observe the formidable family up close. Unexpectedly, she begins to fall for the boy's guardian, who is promised to another. Can Grace protect her nephew . . . and her heart?


My Rating & Thoughts:    

I loved these main characters and felt their anguish. Grace arrives in Toronto to some terrible news and then needs to make a decision on what she is going to do. A lie allows her an opportunity she couldn't imagine having without the lie. Someone tells her early on, 'Nothing but heartache will come from this.', and they were correct. Virginia and Andrew come from a family with money and feel like they have certain expectations placed on them and struggle with aligning those expectations to how they imagine their future. I loved Virginia from the moment her and Grace met. I was extremely proud of her when she stood up for herself and acted on what she wanted rather than following who her parents wanted her to marry. I kept hoping Andrew would wise up and follow Virginia's lead. I don't encourage lying, but with Grace in such a difficult situation, I understood how she couldn't see any other way. I did not want to put this book down, and I had to know what was going to happen. Could there be a way for harmony to exist? Faith is interspersed throughout the story, and Grace especially leans on God for wisdom. Each time a character stood up for themselves or another person, I was proud of them. The clearing of the air between father and son near the end made me like that character much more than I did before. My two negatives are one - I feel like the ending wrapped up too quickly. And second, the prologue didn't seem to add anything to the story. I did really enjoy watching people from different status classes come together and erase the social norms of the day.

Favourite Quote: 
“Only God can change a person's heart, Grace. All we have control over are our own feelings and actions.”
(I borrowed this book from the library; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other books from this author that I have reviewed:   


Saturday, May 25, 2024

Henley by Shanna Hatfield (Review)

Series: Love Train #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Wholesome Hearts
Released: April 25, 2022
218 pages
About the Book:

Love is a gamble, and heartbreak is a risk she’s willing to take.

Despite her dreams to set down roots, Henley Jones has never had a place to call home. She’s spent her life on riverboats and railroad cars, tagging along with her gambling father. A shoot-out during a card game results in his death, leaving Henley alone and nearly penniless. Out of luck and options, Henley agrees to travel across the country to the newly established town of Holiday, Oregon, to marry a stranger.

A demanding practice in a town clawing its way to respectability keeps Doctor Evan Holt rushing at a hectic pace. He’s far too busy to see to pressing matters like hiring competent help or finding a wife. When one of his patients orders a mail-order bride, Evan can’t decide if the man is crazy or brilliant. From the moment he meets her, Evan battles an unreasonable attraction to the beautiful, charming woman who seems to be hiding something from her past.

In a town flush with possibilities, will taking a chance on love end with heartache or a winning hand?


My Rating & Thoughts:    

There's something about the way Ms. Hatfield writes that pulls me into the story and has me growing to love the characters shortly after meeting them. Henley has just lost her father and agrees to travel to Holiday, Oregon as a mail order bride. On the train she meets Dr. Evan Holt and a friendship begins. Turns out Evan is returning home to Holiday after visiting his family out east. He has no plans to fall in love but is drawn to Henley's spirit. While they may be headed in the same direction literally, their future plans don't sync. I loved watching the friendship bloom. Will Henley marry the stranger or does God have different plans for her? I enjoyed the mention of praying and asking God for his guidance. It was a pleasant surprise to have appearances from other books show up in this one.

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other books from this author that I have reviewed:    

Love on Target (Pink Pistol Sisterhood #2)

The Christmas Bargain (Hardman Holidays #1)

The Christmas Token (Hardman Holidays #2)

The Christmas Calamity (Hardman Holidays #3)

The Christmas Vow (Hardman Holidays #4)

The Christmas Quandary (Hardman Holidays #5)

The Christmas Confection (Hardman Holidays #6)

Crumpets and Cowpies (Baker City Brides #1)

Thimbles and Thistles (Baker City Brides #2)

Corsets and Cuffs (Baker City Brides #3)

Bobbins and Boots (Baker City Brides #4)

Lightning and Lawmen (Baker City Brides #5)

The Christmas Cowboy (Rodeo Romance #1)

Wrestlin' Christmas (Rodeo Romance #2)

Capturing Christmas (Rodeo Romance #3)

Barreling Through Christmas (Rodeo Romance #4)

Chasing Christmas (Rodeo Romance #5)

Racing Christmas (Rodeo Romance #6)

Garden of Her Heart (Hearts of the War #1)
Home of Her Heart (Hearts of the War #2)

Valentine Bride (Holiday Brides #1)

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Broker by John Grisham (Review)

Genre: General Fiction 
Released: January 11, 2005
419 pages
About the Book:

In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison.

What no one knows is that the President issued the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world's most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive, there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I listened to this on audiobook and I am so glad I did. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I had read it physically. We are following Joel Backman who has just been pardoned from prison and transported from America to Italy with a handler. He appears to be in a witness protection type program and is working with a language tutors to learn Italian. He doesn't understand why he has been brought to Italy and is suspicious of those around him. For a lot of the book we are following Joel learn the Italian language and explore the city of Bologna. But we also get snippets from others that shows us that Joel is in danger. I did not fully comprehend what exactly sent Joel to prison in the first place, why he was pardoned and all the political stuff that was happening, but I was intrigued to see what would happen with Joel. I was impressed with the way he was able to learn the language, outsmart those around him at times, and figure out how to survive with few resources. Does Joel survive in end?

There is some violence, a few swear words and sexual innuendo mentioned, but nothing that made me feel conformable.

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Memory Lane by Becky Wade (Review)

Series: Sons of Scandal #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Indie Published
Released: February 14, 2023
426 pages

About the Book:

After surviving a trauma several years back, Remy Reed relocated to a cottage on one of Maine’s most remote islands. She’s arranged her life just the way she wants it, spending her time working on her wood sculptures and soaking in the beauty of nature. It’s quiet and solitary—until the day she spots something bobbing in the ocean.

Her binoculars reveal the “something” to be a man, and he’s struggling to keep his head above water. She races out to save him and brings him into her home. He’s injured, which doesn’t detract from his handsomeness nor make him any easier to bear. He acts like a duke who’s misplaced his dukedom...expensive tastes, lazy charm, bossy ideas.

Remy would love nothing more than to return him to his people, but he has no recollection of his life prior to the moment she rescued him. Though she’s not interested in relationships other than the safe ones she’s already established, she begins to realize that he’s coming to depend on her.

Who is he? What happened that landed him in the Atlantic Ocean? And why is she drawn to him more and more as time goes by?

There’s no way to discover those answers except to walk beside him down memory lane.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I liked the mystery aspect of trying to figure out who the guy was, what happened to him, and the events from the past. This story had much more mystery than I was expecting. It also had mentions some heavy topics such as discussion of a past rape, suicide/murder, and infidelity. I did not particularly enjoy how Jonah and Remy treated each other most of the time, I found it hard to root for a relationship between them. The way Jonah first describes Remy bothered me. There were scenes that inserted that involved only the side characters that were unnecessary and me out of the Jonah and Remy story. I did like how we see Remy open herself up and Jonah come to the realization about his past lifestyle. I am intrigued to see what happens with Jude in the next book so I will continue the series at some point.

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Secondary Target by Angela Carlisle (Review)

Series: The Secrets of Kincaid #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: May 7, 2024
336 pages
About the Book:

After the brutal murder of her mother and brother twelve years ago, Corina Roberts built a new life in Kentucky. But then strange things begin to happen, and she is thrust into a perilous game of life and death. With nowhere else to turn, her best hope of survival depends on her ex, army veteran Bryce Jessup.

Recently returned from service, Bryce has every intention of staying away from Corina, but when threats close in around her, he isn't willing to leave her safety to chance. As their search for answers uncovers lethal secrets her detective father kept hidden, Bryce and Corina must untangle the mystery of the merciless killer intent on terrorizing and eliminating Corina's family before it's too late.


My Rating & Thoughts:    

From the opening scene, I was hooked and wanted to know what was happening. Then I needed to who the villain was. I was fully invested in figuring out what secrets were being kept from Corina, if her dad would be okay and could they figure it out in time. I appreciated how the Bryce and Allie put their lives at risk and on hold to be there for Corina. This villain was evil and quite talented at getting past the defenses. Quite a few people are seriously injured or killed. I do not normally enjoy second chance romances, but these characters captured me quickly and had me rooting for them to get back together. A tragedy in the past separated them, but being reunited got them to discuss their reactions to what happened and figure out how to move forward. This tragedy affected their faith in different ways and I appreciated how they discussed the past and their faith. It felt natural and flowed well. It was refreshing to read a suspense book where neither of the main characters are in law enforcement themselves, but rather stuck in this dangerous situation and work with the police for assistance. The ending reveal shocked me just as much as Corina felt shocked. I am looking forward to the next book in the series as the preview included in this one let me know that we've already met the main characters.

(I received an ARC of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. Opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)