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Best books of 2016!

Book-wise, 2016 was kind of a disappointment. Kind of. Some of my favorite authors wrote books I would rather forget. But, I also stumbled across some fabulous new authors. Here are some of my favorites and by favorites, I mean books that I highly recommend and/or would reread:

 

Broken Trust (The Mission League Book 3) by [Williamson, Jill]

Giver of Wonders by [White, Roseanna M.]

The Promise of Rayne by [Deese, Nicole]

Third Strand of the Cord: A Novel of Love in Liberty by [Richmond, Catherine]

Agree?Disagree? What were some of your favorites this year?

 

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Ronie Kendig’s Conspiracy of Silence

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his career and his team, Cole “Tox” Russell is persona non grata to the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Partnered with FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers–and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague–but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem–but will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?

Review

Ronie Kendig for me is another hit and miss author. It isn’t that her writing is bad or that the story isn’t interesting, it’s just that, for me, it can be a bit difficult for her to balance relationships vs action in her book. I am a reader who relies heavily upon relationship and too much action makes me skim. That said, when she finds the balance, her books are amazing. However, this one for me, just didn’t work.

What I liked:

The setup. This new series appears to focus on literal spiritual warfare. It’s almost like Indiana Jones but with the military. I got the impression that the author did a lot of research and it showed. It’s a bit fantastical and you have to suspend your disbelief at moments, but overall it works.

Military knowledge. I come from a military family and I always enjoy when an author respects the institution. Kendig respects the institution and she knows her stuff.

What I didn’t like:

Too many characters. There was so much going on and by adding multiple povs, I found myself skimming several main characters. It was just too much.

Not enough relationship. There are two relationships going on here: Tox’s relationship with his team and his relationship with his lady. His team doesn’t trust him in the beginning of the novel and they let him know…and then suddenly, they just do. If they talked it out, I missed it. And this is sad, because I was looking forward to seeing them all become friends again. Then there was Tox and his lady. I have no idea when they fell in love. They were too busy surviving and barely talking to each other and, quite frankly, knew very little about each other at the end of the book. I was so disappointed.

Tox. He was called Tox because his presence was considered toxic to those around him. He whined about this…and then surrounded himself with those he cared about. I wanted to say, choose another name buddy.

Romantic scale: 6.5

Overall, not a bad book if you’re reading for action. But if you’re reading for relationships, you might want to pass.

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

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Monday Musings…Cover Love

Can you believe 2016 is almost over? I know I can’t. It seems like time is running by. Anywho, that means tons of 2017 books to look forward to. Here are some covers that caught my eye:

To Wager Her Heart (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel Book 3) by [Alexander, Tamera]

Can a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations find a way to work together to achieve their dreams in the new reality of the post-Civil War South?

Seeking justice  . . . 

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success–General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancee–and what has broken her heart.
 
Struggling to restore honor . . .

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But her family–and Nashville society–do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy are thrown together. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even to love this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when his roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

Set against the history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation, To Wager Her Heart is a sweeping Southern love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were fragile and hard-won.

A Viscount's Proposal (The Regency Spies of London Book 2) by [Dickerson, Melanie]

Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society’s shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She’s determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents—or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage—alone and after dark—the ensuing gossip may force them together.

Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety; his father perished in a duel with his mistress’s husband, and Edward must avoid scandal himself if he wants to become prime minister. He certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall’s coach “accident” was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged.

Can the culprit be brought to justice? Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career—and his life.

Never Forget (Beacons of Hope Book 5) by [Hedlund, Jody]

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island
June 1880

Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Watson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

A Matter of Trust (Montana Rescue Book #3) by [Warren, Susan May]

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

These are just the tip of the iceberg! Looking forward to all the books coming out next year. Is there any one that catches your eye?

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Julie Klassen’s The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora’s wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them–and her future–in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?

Review

I like Julie Klassen because she writes regency novels with drama. That said, my first reaction upon finishing this book was, ‘that was awful.’ And then I saw it was a series and I was like ‘that was good.’ So let me warn you, this is a series, you will absolutely need book two because there are so many loose ends that are not tied up.

What I liked

History. Klassen’s use of history is flawless. She manages to explain and convey the conventions of that time without ever turning it into a history lesson. I learn so much reading her novels about small town life in England.

Relationships. Because this is going to be a continuous series, relationships are really teased out and developed here. Every character is nuanced and fleshed out. No one is all good and no one is all bad (though some people’s bad is bad). At the core of this novel, is how the townspeople interact with each other.

Romance. I’m not going to lie, Jane has one possibility too many. But she has yet to play one guy against another, so it okay for now. I do have a favorite. But I am interested to see how it all plays out. There is a secondary romance that was kind of interesting. Different, but kind of interesting.

Small mysteries. Jane has a lot of small mysteries to solve and the major one in this book, is why did her husband die? It’s very good how it all unravels.

Spiritually, the characters pray and learn to turn to God in their problems.

What I didn’t like

I’ll be honest, it didn’t bother me too much, but this is a book that takes its time. No flashbang here. So it might feel a bit slow at times.

Romantic scale: 7

Overall, a very good start to a fascinating series.

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

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Monday Musings…I Like Rules

Image result for follow the rules gif

I was reading a book yesterday and something about the premise got me excited, and when I discovered what it was, I realized something: I like rules in my books.

What does that mean?

I like books where there are certain social rules that must be followed. If they are not followed than there are dire ramifications.

What books are those?

Regency novels- I love regency novels, particularly if they deal with the Season.

Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi-these books almost always have social rules, you just have to learn them first as a reader. A really good author makes you more aware of them then the main character.

YA books: Teens have school and parents and the fact that they are teens in their way.

Historical: Let’s face it, social rules in the olden days are different than today.

Time-Travel: I love it when a person from the future must learn to comply with past customs or cultural customs.

If rules are followed, where’s the plot?

These kinds of books succeed based upon how well the main character follows the rules, or uses the rules to work for him/her. They can change things, but they must go about it using the customs of their time. It makes the main character feel genuine.

These books completely fail, if the heroine acts like she’s from the 21st century when she’s not; or the teen somehow has parents who gave them a house of their own, etc. I vastly dislike heroines who are pro women’s rights in a time where such a thing was not a thing (I am pro women’s rights btw). Or when an author presents a rule based society, but the main character breaks those rules and suffers no repercussions.

Thus, I’ve learned that there are certain books that just speak to me, and these are it for me (I do like contemporary. But I find I don’t read them as much).

What about you? Do you like rules? What speaks to you as a reader?