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Karen Witemeyer’s No Other Will Do

Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.

Review

Karen Witemeyer writes some of the best historical romance novels out there. My thoughts:

What I liked:

Malachi. He has a harsh past, but he overcomes it. He is also the true epitome of a western hero. He’s there when he’s needed. He knows his way around a gun. He’s not afraid of anything. He’s gruff and tough, but a teddy bear to those he loves.

Emma. I’m not going to lie, when I first read the premise of this book I was nervous. I thought Emma would be a fierce feminist that fit current times more than historical times. This is not the case. Emma is amazing from her the first time you meet her in the book and she manages to stay that way until the book is over.

The romance. It’s a little different than most romance novels because Malachi and Emma have a history…and it’s a positive one. I’ll admit that what keeps them from getting together right away is a bit lame, but there’s so much going on around them, that neither the characters nor you  have time to focus on that reason.

The secondary characters. I enjoyed learning and meeting all the women in Emma’s town.

Suspense. I figured it out! But it was fun doing so, and definitely kept me invested.

Spiritually, the novel shows what love in action looks like as well as trusting God in tough times.

What I didn’t like:

There was nothing specific about this book that I didn’t like, but I will admit that something about it didn’t make it as memorable as her other books.

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, a very cute and enjoyable book.

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

 

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Monday Musings…Cover Love

Cooper O’Connor was a long way from home—both geographically and from the damage he caused. Now that he’s back, is healing possible?

 

At the age of eighteen, singer/songwriter Cooper O’Connor thumbed his nose at his dad, stole most everything he held dear, and made his way to Nashville . . . where he promptly lost everything. After five difficult years, he fell in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. As their friendship grows and he realizes his love for her, he’s framed for a crime, shot, and left to die in a house on fire. Miraculously, he survives but the damage is severe: he can no longer sing or play music.

 

He quietly returns home to the mountains of Colorado, hoping to answer the questions that plague him. With forgiveness and reconciliation a distant dream, Cooper searches for a way to use his gifts for others—always hoping that somewhere along the way redemption will come within reach.

Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. When Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family, however, is another matter . . .

 

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—finds herself in Atlanta, repairing objects damaged in a house fire. As she works to restore the home and dreams of one family, she strives to keep the pieces of her own life in perfect order and secure her own happy ending—a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.

 

But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to reconnect with his brother and breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccolo. And soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

 

Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. Upon landing in Rome, she is enchanted with Italy. But instead of allowing the land, culture and people to transform her, Emily imposes her will upon everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

 

Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?

Kate Mason has always found solace in her family’s blueberry barrens. But are they giving her a false sense of security?

 

Kate has devoted herself to keeping her family’s blueberry barrens thriving. But when blossom blight devastates her blueberry fields, she’s forced to come up with alternative ways to replace that income. Fixing up the small cottage on her property as a rental seems an obvious choice, but it won’t be enough. When Drake Carver drives by with his two nieces in tow, looking not only for a place to rent for the summer but also for a nanny for the girls, it’s almost too good to be true.

 

Drake is a judge whose brother and sister-in-law died in an accident shortly after he received a threat that his family would suffer if he didn’t drop a high profile case. Is there a connection? This remote area of Maine seems like the perfect place for him to keep his nieces safe until he determines if they’re in danger.

 

Drake and Kate constantly lock horns; having never been a parent before, he gives his nieces free reign. Kate won’t stand for their disrespect and keeps challenging Drake to set a higher standard. Even though Kate has given up on having children because of the chemo she had to take, she finds herself oddly drawn to this improvised family. But Drake begins to fear that he’s putting Kate in danger as well.

 

Meanwhile, Kate learns that her uncle—in prison for murder—has escaped. Add to that a stalker whose sights are set on her, and Kate is looking over her shoulder at every turn.

 

With danger swirling from multiple directions, it may be a question of who gets to her first.

Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.

 

When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.

 

Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.

 

To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.

 

But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?

So many fun books and beautiful covers!

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Becky Wade’s Her One and Only

Romance Fans Eagerly Anticipate Every New Release from Becky Wade

Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, is being pursued by a stalker, so his team hires a protection agency to keep Gray under the watch of a bodyguard at all times. When Gray meets Dru Porter, an agent assigned to him, he’s indignant. How can an attractive young female half his size possibly protect him?

But Dru’s a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt. She’s also ferociously determined to uncover the identity of Gray’s stalker. And she’s just as determined to avoid any kind of romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past. But the closer they get to finding the stalker, the closer they grow to each other. As the danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their hearts–and their lives–to one another?

Review

Becky Wade just writes some of the best contemporary romance novels. Here’s my thoughts on this one:

What I liked:

Dru. I’ve been looking forward to reading her book since the first novel in this series. I loved that a woman was “the muscle.” I loved that she was an ex-Marine and a bodyguard. It really gave the novel a different vibe. Dru has a past (usually attributed to a male in a novel) but she’s overcome it. Let’s just say I loved being in her head.

Gray. He was a funny guy and while he had his problems, it was easy to see why it was that Dru fell for him. I really liked the whole sports aspect and kind of wonder if Ms. Wade will continue a series with these guys.

Chemistry. I thought the chemistry before Dru and Gray was on point. They had enough differences that it kept the romance fresh and interesting.

Suspense. It was kind of a mystery, but felt more suspense and definitely kept me guessing!

The old gang. Meg and Bo really get a lot of face time in this book and it was just great to be in their story again.

Spiritually, the novel deals with what it means to live like you’re free. How a relationship with God should  mean that you should live differently.

What I didn’t like:

I didn’t care for the missionary dating that went on in this book. Of course everything works out in the end, but people’s beliefs don’t usually change because of romance.

Romantic scale: 8

Overall, very enjoyable and I’m sad that this concludes this series.

**I received a copy from BethanyHouse. My opinion is not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Cover Love

On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood–along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade.

Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married the charming innkeeper who promised she would never have to work in his family’s inn. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Jane finds herself The Bell’s owner, and worse, she has three months to pay a large loan or lose the place.

Feeling reluctant and ill-equipped, Jane is tempted to abandon her husband’s legacy and return to her former life of ease. However, she soon realizes there is more at stake than her comfort. But who can she trust to help her? Her resentful mother-in-law? Her husband’s brother, who wanted the inn for himself? Or the handsome newcomer with secret plans of his own?

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane struggles to win over naysayers and turn the place around. Can Jane bring new life to the inn, and to her heart as well?White Is Quickly Becoming the Top Name in Edwardian Romance

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile–even if it’s just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won’t wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?

Don’t these look nice?

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Roseanna M. White’s The Reluctant Duchess

A Riveting Edwardian Series Set among Britain’s High Society

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she has never felt good enough–not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping Loch Morar.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has found himself in possession of a rare treasure his enemies are prepared to kill for. While Brice has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, the last thing he needs is the distraction of Lady Rowena, who finds herself in a desperate situation. But when Rowena’s father tries to trap Brice into marrying his daughter, Brice makes a surprising decision.

Rowena wanted to escape the Highlands, but she’s reluctant to marry a notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she’s about to end up directly in the path of everything she was trying to avoid.

Review

Roseanna M. White is one of my favorite authors. Here’s why:

What I liked:

Brice. I adored Brice from the first book, but in this one, you really get to know what he’s like.  He was flawed, and yet a wonderful hero at the same time. I particularly loved how when he made a mistake, he was very quick to fix it. His relationship with the Lord was something to be admired and it wasn’t just a mantle he put on when times got hard. My heart felt so much for Brice. The man made me cry (I tear up now thinking about it).Loved him!

Deceit. In some ways, this novel is based on deceit, but the main characters never allowed that into their relationship. I was so happy to see relationships based on honesty and trust and not deceit and lack of communication (okay, there was a bit of deceit in there, but it worked if that makes any sense). There was a real plot here!

The romance. I didn’t love Rowena as much as Brice. Although she had very good reasons to be the way she was, because Brice was so amazing, sometimes the way she treated Brice frustrated me. That said, when they worked together it was magic. I liked Brice and Rowena as a couple.

Suspense. I didn’t feel like this was a mystery novel so much as a suspense novel and the author did a wonderful job making me feel for the characters.

Spiritually, the novel was amazing. So many characters (Brice!) prayed and sought God and had a real relationship with God. The novel showed unconditional love in such a beautiful way.

What I didn’t like:

The only thing that gave me pause was Rowena. Sometimes when a hero is so perfect if the heroine doesn’t match it’s hard to like her. Overall, I liked her, but she had her moments.

Romance scale: 9

In conclusion, read it!

**I received a copy from Netgally. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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What I’m Reading this Week

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. BECAUSE YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT.

Zara Ruiz is a normal California girl on the verge of graduating from high school and thinking about her dawning future. But when dusk brings a shattering loss—and she discovers a priceless object in the shallows of a tide pool—she is thrust a hundred-and-eighty years into the past. There she meets handsome ranchero Javier de la Ventura—who has big dreams and secret sorrows—along with his enchanting family, in a land that is at once familiar, and yet utterly foreign.

Between cattle rustlers, pirates and a growing call for statehood, it is not a peaceful time to be a Mexican settler in young Alta California. But Zara must decide if she’s discovered what she longs for most in the past, or if her heart’s THREE WISHES can only be found in the present.

What are you reading?

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Monday Musings…Blogging Frustrations

*Venting post*

Folks, I have been blogging for almost 4 years! My anniversary is in May! Can you believe it? There have been some real highlights of blogging for me. It has truly blessed my life and opened doors (remind me to tell you about BEA-going this year!)

But….

Lately….

With no comments and no feedback, I’ve slowed down a bit. It feels like going the extra mile would just be for myself.

Will I stop blogging? No. I love to read. And I love to share what I’m reading. But should I have more author interviews? Will people even participate in giveaways? Do I need to post more than 2 or 3 times a week?

Ultimately I blog anyway because this idea, this mandate came from the Lord. And so, even if He is my only audience I will keep blogging. But I sure wish I knew what others were thinking.