Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review - "The Trouble With Patience" by Maggie Brendan

The Trouble With Patience
by Maggie Brendan

Virtues and Vices of the Old West series, Book #1
Published by Revell
336 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Romance

About this book:

"Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with restoring a dilapidated boardinghouse in order to support herself.

Despite Patience's desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local marshal with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: She needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse. He needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But as she gets to know this "hanging lawman," Patience finds there is far more to him than meets the eye--and it could destroy their tenuous relationship forever.

With a keen eye for historical detail and a deft hand at romantic tension, Maggie Brendan invites you to a Montana gold rush boomtown, where vices and virtues are on full display and love is lying in wait."


"The Trouble with Patience" was a story I liked, but there wasn't anything very special or unique about it. The first part of the book was a bit slow and had somewhat of a love triangle with Jedediah becoming jealous over a newcomer in town when the newcomer starts paying attention to Patience. The second part of the book involved a mystery about who had been rustling cattle and who murdered a rancher.

The story did have a strong theme of forgiveness which I liked. I also liked Patience's faith. It was a nice story with some mystery, but overall, for me it was just okay. A good book if you're looking for a lighthearted read and you like reading western romances.

*I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review - "The Daughter of Highland Hall" by Carrie Turansky

The Daughter of Highland Hall
by Carrie Turansky

Edwardian Brides series, Book #2
Published by Waterbrook Press
336 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Romance

About this book:

"What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor… what if it isn’t enough?

Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.

When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served."


I really enjoyed "The Daughter of Highland Hall"! It was a good historical fiction novel with great characters and good themes. The story revolves around Katherine "Kate" Ramsey who is entering her debut season to find a suitable suitor with a place in high society and with wealth. The story also has a bit of a side mystery about Kate's maid trying to find her sister.

Kate's character shows a lot of growth in the story. She starts out wanting to marry for the reasons of having wealth and status in high society, but then she starts to realize that maybe she's looking for the wrong things to marry someone for. As she goes through trials during her debut and as her friendship with Jon grows, she begins to see what is truly important and who she can really trust. She must decide whether she wants to marry someone just because of their status or if she wants to marry someone because she actually loves them. She must also decide how far she is willing to go to help others.

Something I really liked about this book is that it emphasized the importance of not being unequally yoked spiritually to the person you marry. That's something I rarely see emphasized in Christian fiction books.

A couple notes on the content: One of Kate's relatives is having an affair with a married woman. It's not detailed, but it does play its part in the plot. There is also an unwed mother in the story.

"The Daughter of Highland Hall" is the second book in theEdwardian Brides series and while I have not read the first book in this series, "The Governess of Highland Hall", I did not have any problems following this story. I'm sure those who have read the first book in the series will probably enjoy this book even more than I did.

I plan on reading the first book in this series as soon as I can and I'm looking forward to reading the third book when it is released in the fall of 2015! I would recommend this book to those who like historical fiction.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review - "Beyond All Dreams" by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams
by Elizabeth Camden

Published by Bethany House Publishers
368 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Romance

About this book:
"Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?"


I enjoyed "Beyond All Dreams", a Christian historical fiction novel with romance and a mystery. The mystery part was intriguing. Anna thinks the report of what happened to the ship her father was aboard is inaccurate and she wants to find out the truth about what really happened to the ship and to the people that were aboard it. But she is threatened not to look into the matter or she may lose her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress, a job which she loves. She must decide whether it's worth it to continue to search for the truth or if the risk is too great.

The historical aspect of the story was great and it seemed to be well researched. An historical note is included at the end of the novel and it was interesting to read about how part of the story was loosely based on certain things in history. I also liked the setting of the story. I loved reading the descriptions and details about the Library of Congress. As someone who was following politics closely for awhile, I found the political parts of the story to be interesting as well.

I thought the characters seemed realistic. Both Anna and Luke have there own dreams, goals, convictions, and ambitions. Both characters have also had rough pasts that they've had to deal with.

The story does have people drinking, being drunk, and some being cruel and careless when drunk. It also had a few sexual references that I thought were unneeded. The spiritual content seemed a bit lacking to me as well.

Overall, I liked the story and would recommend it to those who enjoy reading historical fiction and mysteries.

*I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review - "At Home in Last Chance" by Cathleen Armstrong

At Home in Last Chance
by Cathleen Armstrong
A Place to Call Home series, Book #3
Published by Revell
304 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
About this book:
"What happens when the life you're running from won't let go of your heart?

Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden have always had a similar philosophy of life: when the going gets tough, they get going--out of town and away from the problem. Now they are both back in Last Chance, New Mexico, and trying to start over.

Kaitlyn is working to reestablish a relationship with the seven-year-old daughter she left behind six months earlier. Steven is trying to prove to his family that he is not the irresponsible charmer they have always known him to be. As Kaitlyn and Steven find themselves drawn to one another, one big question keeps getting in the way: How will they learn to trust each other when they don't even trust themselves?

With emotional depth and characters who leap off the page and into your heart, Cathleen Armstrong invites you to return once more to the dusty and delightful town of Last Chance."

Single mother Kaitlyn left her daughter Olivia in the custody of her brother six months ago and left Last Chance and her daughter behind to run off with a guy on a motorcycle. Now, after realizing the mistakes she’s made, she has returned to Last Chance wanting to start over. But starting over is hard to do when everyone is judging her for her mistakes and her own daughter has a hard time trusting her because she thinks her mom is just going to leave her again.

Steven is seen as the irresponsible black sheep member of his family. He’s used to using his charm to get everything he wants. After being away from home for awhile he is now back in Last Chance trying to prove that he is not the irresponsible charmer he’s been in the past.

Can the people of Last Chance forgive and look past the mistakes of Kaitlyn’s and Steven’s pasts to see them for the people they have become?

I liked "At Home in Last Chance". Even though it’s the third book in the A Place to Call Home series, I had no problem following it. The story could be both funny and sad at times.

The author did a good job with the small town setting, making me feel like I was in the small town of Last Chance. I liked how each of the characters had their own unique personalities. Kaitlyn’s daughter Olivia was cute and I thought it was funny when she gave some people glares sometimes, even if it wasn’t respectful. I really liked Elizabeth’s character as well. She was a sweet, loving woman who didn’t hold Kaitlyn’s past against her.

I did not care for Steven’s character in the first part of the book. He was conceited and cocky, thinking he could get anything he wanted with his charm, including any woman he wanted (in this case, that would be Kaitlyn). He just really annoyed me for the first part of the book, although he did grow on me in the second half.

I also thought the faith content was lacking. There are very few mentions of any of the characters’ faith in the story. Some of the characters did go to church, but I don’t think Steven ever went for the right reasons. The only reason he started going to church again after not going for years was to see Kaitlyn.

Still, "At Home in Last Chance" was an easy read and a heartwarming story. I would like to read the first two books in the series to find out more about the characters of Last Chance.

*I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review.