A Rebel Heart by Beth White

a rebel heart

Summary:

Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.

Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.

Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.

 

My Thoughts:

I was intrigued by this book after seeing that it was set in the post Civil War era.  I have not read any books recently set around the Civil War, and a different time period is always great to explore through a book.  This book is the first in The Daughtry House series by “new to me” author, Beth White.  The first chapters of the book grabbed my attention and I really enjoyed meeting the characters and even sensed a spark between them in spite of some rather unexpected circumstances.  I struggled with this book after about the first fourth of it.  The plot became hard to follow in my opinion.  Levi’s focus seemed to switch from Pinkerton agent to helpful property manager, and while it was a cover for his investigation, I rarely remembered he was still a Pinkerton agent.   There also seemed to be a lot of characters that were introduced as the story progressed and it was hard for me to keep up with everyone.  I found the backstory and the connection that Levi had to Daughtry house added an interesting depth to his character, however I did not like that he withheld so many things about his work and his past from Selah.  Other than those things I really enjoyed the time period of this novel. The attention to the cultural changes going on in the area during this time period brought an added interest for me to the story.  There is a mystery element in this book that keeps things interesting as well.  I didn’t connect with this book as much as I anticipated to, however I do think that many Historical Fiction readers would really enjoy this novel.  High points of this book include a great setting, romance, and a mystery.  If you are an avid Historical Fiction reader I would encourage you to give this book a try!

 

To purchase a copy of A Rebel Heart or learn more about the author visit the links below!

Amazon: A Rebel Heart

www.bethwhite.net

 

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

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First Impressions by Debra White Smith

first impressions

Summary:

In an attempt to get to know the people of London, Texas–the small town that lawyer Eddi Boswick now calls home–she tries out for a local theater group’s production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She’s thrilled to get the role of lively Elizabeth Bennet . . . until she meets the arrogant–and eligible–rancher playing her leading man.

Dave Davidson chose London, Texas, as the perfect place to live under the radar. Here, no one knows his past, and he can live a quiet, peaceful life with his elderly aunt, who also happens to own the local theater. Dave doesn’t even try out for the play, but suddenly he is thrust into the role of Mr. Darcy and forced to spend the entire summer with Eddi, who clearly despises him.

Sparks fly every time Eddi and Dave meet, whether on the stage or off. But when Eddi discovers Dave’s secret, she has to admit there might be more to him than she thought. Maybe even enough to change her mind . . . and win her heart.

 

My Thoughts:

I am a sucker for  anything Jane Austen inspired, so this book was a a must read!  I didn’t realize until after I had started reading this book that it isn’t a new release!  This series has been re-released with updated covers which are so cute and eye catching.  This means that there is a whole series ready and waiting to be read, no delays! Debra White Smith, while not being a new author, was new to me! So, I was curious as to her writing style and how this book would incorporate our beloved Austen themes.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I felt that the author did a great job of modernizing the story of Pride and Prejudice.  I definitely felt the undercurrent of the original story and characters, however, the people and places in this book were all their own.  The book was enjoyable and was an easy, lighthearted read.  My main issue with this story was that I felt that it followed Pride and Prejudice a little too closely when it came to the situation with Edi’s sister.  I had trouble believing that modern day characters would force a man to marry a girl based on a pregnancy.  It seemed like that situation could have slightly been adjusted to reflect more of a realistic outcome for this time period.  Other than that little area I enjoyed the story and would recommend it someone who enjoys a sweet contemporary romance novel.  Perfect for a Summer read!

To purchase a copy of First Impressions or learn more about the author visit the links below!

Amazon: First Impressions

debrawhitesmith.com

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

 

 

 

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

the masterpiece
Summary:
A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.

My Thoughts:

This was my first novel by Francine Rivers.  I know, I know.  Commence the verbal reprimand.  However, I kept hearing great things about this book, so I knew I needed to check it out. I placed a hold at the library and was able to get a copy fairly quickly!  I found the cover of this book to be intriguing and the fact that it was a ginormous hardback book, to be a little intimidating.  This was one of those books that I didn’t really research a lot about it, I didn’t even read the book blurb.  I just dove in.  Trusting my Instagram friends that it would be worth it!  I was actually hooked by the first page.  The characters in this book are so detailed and their stories are so well thought out and well told that it was impossible not to be invested in this story.  Everything about this book was interesting, and the story just draws the reader in as it progresses. Roman was a such an example of a life preserved, redeemed and used by Christ for his purposes.  Grace’s story made me want to give her a hug and tell her she is valued.  While the story took a while to unfold, the book never felt as though it was moving to slowly.  I thought that is was very true to life for those who come to Christ with issues and a broken past.  Those things didn’t automatically change, it took time, work, change, and understanding of what a new life could be before he became a new person in Christ.  I really enjoyed it and it is one that will definitely stick with you as a reader after you finish it.   Highly recommend grabbing this one and diving in.  It is so worth the read!

To purchase a copy of The Masterpiece or learn more about Francine Rivers visit the links below!

Amazon: The Masterpiece

Francinerivers.com

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

just let go pic

Summary:

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out―and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town―and Quinn’s life―possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

 

My Thoughts:

First of all I this cover is absolutely gorgeous! I just want to keep this book on my nightstand forever, because its almost like having fresh flowers by my bed each morning. I love the vibrant colors and that the cover is so indicative of Quinn’s passion for flowers.  Love, love, love.  Moving on now.  I took my time reading this book because I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end.  I loved the characters of Quinn and Grady.  They were each dealing with hurts from their past which had shaped who they were and how they related to people and situations.  I enjoyed that both of these characters were in some ways flawed.  Because of that Quinn and Grady were very genuine and I felt like as a reader I could relate to them.  One of the things I love about Courtney Walsh’s writing is her ability to tackle hard or deep struggles in a book without making the story heavy or depressing. I think she has the perfect balance for allowing her characters to deal with their issues, but not letting them linger with those issues for too long.  I loved that these characters were able to confront and deal with their issues individually, without making each other the solution to their problems.  One of my surprise favorites in this book was Jayden!  He won me over and became such an important part of this story.    I loved this one!  I was a fan of Grady and Quinn throughout the book.  Loved that we got to see a few glimpses of Lane and Ryan from the previous book.  Its like running into old friends! Most definitely add this to your Summer reading list!

Amazon: Just Let Go

courtneywalshwrites.com

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Miss Wilton’s Waltz by Josi S. Kilpack

miss wilton's waltz

Summary:

Lenora Wilton has spent her life hiding behind the keys of her beloved pianoforte and the vibrancy of her younger sister, Cassie. But Lenora is ready for a change and travels to Bath to live with her Aunt Gwen and teach music at an all-girls boarding school. She is different in Bath more comfortable with herself and enjoys the freedom and independence of her new life there.

When Lenora meets Aiden Asher, she finds herself attracted to him, but her unexpected feelings become more complicated when she learns that Catherine Lenora s newest and most troublesome student in the school is Mr. Asher’s niece. Catherine is a difficult student, and Lenora works hard to make progress with the girl.

When the chemistry between Lenora and Aiden increases, they share a passionate kiss by the River Avon, and Lenora feels it is the beginning of a new forever until she learns that Aiden has withheld an important detail about his life that changes everything.

Lenora closes her heart to him, and Aiden, caught between his obligation and his heart, must do what he can to make amends. And Lenora, after years of hiding from everyone and everything, faces a decision only she can make.

 

My Thoughts:

I was so excited when I realized that Josi S. Kilpack was coming out with Lenora’s story!  Miss Wilton’s Waltz picks up where The Vicar’s Daughter leaves off.  I really enjoyed the previous book. And ya’ll know I have a thing for Regency. I loved this book.  This was a total binge read in a day book. The plot of this book was so interesting that it had me turning the pages.    I loved that part of the book takes place in an all girls school.  It was a refreshing change of pace from the usual.  I feel as though there could be a lot more stories hidden inside that school in the future for exploring.  The characters in this book were so great!  Even the ones you love to hate kept you engaged in this story.  I really loved seeing Lenora discover who she was and allow herself to grow and change into a more self assured person.  Aiden was the best hero.  Aunt Gwen was perfection.  I felt like she was the perfect voice of reason for Lenora and she was so spunky and I loved her blunt honesty and also her evening glass of whisky.  This was a really enjoyable read.  I love the Proper Romance line and always look forward to another great historical romance and this one did not disappoint!

 

To purchase a copy of Miss Wilton’s Waltz or learn more about the author visit the links below!

Amazon: Miss Wilton’s Waltz

josiskilpack.com

 

 

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

together forever

 

Summary:

Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Marianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children–firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

 

My Thoughts:

I am really loving the Orphan Train series by Jody Hedlund.  Together Forever is the second book in this series and follows Marianne Neumann as she begins a job as a placing agent for the Children’s Aid Society. This book offers a glimpse of what the Orphan Train journey and placement process was like for the orphans.  It was interesting and also a little heartbreaking to walk through the process from the  start of the orphan’s journey to their placement throughout this story.   The interactions between Marianne and her partner Drew Brady added humor and heart to this story and I enjoyed watching their friendship grow as the story progressed.  Marianne’s character went through a lot of growth during this story.  Both Marianne and Drew had flaws and hurts from their past that they were able to share with each other. Sharing those things brought them closer and added a lot of depth to their characters.  There is a definite twist in the story which added obstacles and conflict for the characters to overcome.  It definitely kept my interest until the final pages.  No spoilers here!  I was happy with the conclusion of this book. Jody Hedlund has written another captivating story filled with historical details, interesting characters and a plot that will keep the pages turning.

To purchase a copy of Together Forever  or learn more about Jody Hedlund visit the links below!

Amazon: Together Forever

jodyhedlund.com

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristen Billerbeck

theory of happily ever after

Summary:

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies–for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

My Thoughts:

I was drawn to this book by the cute cover and it’s light and funny tone.  I have been trying to branch out and try more “new to me” authors and this is my first Kristen Billerbeck novel.  I love funny one liners, references to modern day pop culture, and the promise of romance in a book.  I thought this book was cute, but I had trouble connecting with the characters.  I thought the dialogue was funny and entertaining for the first half of the book.  However, I found Maggie to be very had to relate to.  Maggie came across as very negative, sometimes rude, and she seemed to be judging her self worth by her failed relationship.  Obviously these obstacles provide a lot of opportunity for character growth throughout a story, however Maggie was hard to like, and therefore hard to root for.  I thought the concept of the book was fun and I enjoyed the atmosphere that the cruise ship provided, it was a nice change of pace from the books I usually read.   Humor, fun in the sun and a bit of romance are the selling points of this book. Fans of rom-com novels will likely enjoy this latest release from Kristen Billerbeck.

To purchase a copy of The Theory of Happily Ever After or learn more about the author, visit the links below!

Amazon: The Theory of Happily Ever After

www.kristinbillerbeck.com

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.