Review: Heart of a Warrior, by Angela K. Couch

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All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail.

Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart.

Review

Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher and JustRead Publicity Tours, the words and opinions below are my own.

I realize it’s probably wrong to speak ill of the dead, but my first thought about this book was: who makes his wife travel across country while she’s pregnant? In a covered wagon? In 1859? I mean, we’re not talking speedy air travel here, or a luxury car. And then he leaves her in an attempt to play hero, alone with only a shotgun. Some things just don’t make sense. But Astle’s exit makes room for Towan’s entrance, so there is that. Continue reading

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Review: The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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During the Great Depression, city-dweller Addie Cowherd dreams of becoming a novelist and offering readers the escape that books had given her during her tragic childhood. When her father loses his job, she is forced to take the only employment she can find—delivering books on horseback to poor coal-mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

But turning a new page will be nearly impossible in Boone’s Hollow, where residents are steeped in superstitions and deeply suspicious of outsiders. Even local Emmett Tharp feels the sting of rejection after returning to the tiny mountain hamlet as the first in his family to graduate college. And as the crippled economy leaves many men jobless, he fears his degree won’t be worth much in a place where most men either work the coal mine or run moonshine.

As Addie also struggles to find her place, she’ll unearth the truth about a decades-old rivalry. But when someone sets out to sabotage the town’s library program, will the culprit chase Addie away or straight into the arms of the only person who can help her put a broken community back together?

Review

Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, the words and opinions below are my own.

Words have power. It doesn’t matter if we’re speaking them, reading them, or writing them. Words can build up and destroy. They can inspire and deflate. They can start wars and end them. Would be writer Addie knows this. Words in books gave her an escape as a child, and now she wants to share them with others. But the absence of certain words spoken by her adoptive parents leads to a shock that upends her life. Then, after taking a job in Boone’s Hollow, she discovers that words can mean the difference between acceptance and exile. How can she turn things around so that words can be used for good? Continue reading

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Non-fiction Review: An Alternative History of Britain: The Tudors, by Timothy Venning

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Continuing his exploration of the pathways of British history, Timothy Venning examines the turning points of the Tudor period, though he also strays over into the early Stuart period. As always, he discusses the crucial junctions at which History could easily have taken a different turn and analyses the possible and likely results. While necessarily speculative to a degree, the scenarios are all highly plausible and rooted in a firm understanding of actually events and their context. In so doing, Timothy Venning gives the reader a clearer understanding of the factors at play and why things happened the way they did, as well as a tantalizing view of what might so easily have been different.

Key scenarios discussed in this volume include:

Did the pretenders Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck ever have a realistic chance of a successful invsasion/coup?

If Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIIIs illegitimate son, had not died young, might he have been a suitable King or at least Regent on the Kings death?

What if Edward VI had not died at 15 but reigned into the 1560s and 70s?

How might the Spanish Armada have succeeded in landing an army in England, and with what likely outcome?

Review

Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, the words and opinions below are my own.

Ah, the Tudors. What a dysfunctional family. They came to power during the Wars of the Roses and were determined to stay there. Henry Tudor, a member of the House of Lancaster proclaimed himself king in 1485, and strategically married a member of the House of York. They had four children who lived past infancy, including two sons. With the warring houses united, England should’ve been set for peace. Instead, the family gave it almost nothing but turmoil for over a century, and millions still feel the repercussions today. Continue reading

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Review: Almost a Bride, by Jody Hedlund

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Always close, but never a bride.

Longing to find true love, Kate Millington arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship. With countless men waiting to snag a bride, Kate has no trouble getting engaged. It’s staying engaged that’s the problem. After traveling to the remote mining town of Williamsville to marry her newest fiancé, she finds herself single again.

As the prosperous owner of a gold mine, Zeke Hart has everything he’s ever wanted except for a wife. At Kate’s arrival, he takes it upon himself to protect his childhood friend from the men clamoring to court her. The more he renews her friendship, the more he wants to win her for himself. But as much as Kate admires Zeke, she’s resolved not to marry someone who doesn’t share her faith.

When Zeke begins receiving anonymous threats, he unwittingly puts them both in grave danger. In the midst of peril, the past rises up to haunt them both, and Zeke realizes the fight for Kate’s affection may be his biggest challenge yet.

Review

Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the author, the words and opinions below are my own.

I once heard it said that a good author makes you feel something about their characters, regardless of whether that feeling is positive or not. Which is just as well, because the first thing to say about this book is that I did NOT like Kate. She wasn’t only a serial heartbreaker; she was a serial worrier. The premise is that she won’t marry someone who doesn’t share her faith, but I saw little evidence of her faith in action. Although Christians are instructed over 300 times in the Bible to not worry, Kate worries about finding the right man, and panics as the time for each set of nuptials draws near. But, thankfully, Kate is just one aspect of the final book in The Bride Ships series. Continue reading

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Review: A Life Once Dreamed, by Rachel Fordham

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Where you come from matters far less than where you’re going

Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory. In the shadow of the Black Hills, she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid–despite being only twenty-four. But the past has a way of catching up with people.

When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves–but he is precisely the one person who can never know.

Can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?

Review

Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.

First, I don’t usually take note of book covers but I think the cover of A Life Once Dreamed is beautiful and looks near enough like a photograph. The section that grabs me the most is on the right: the composition of schoolhouse, mountain, and cloudy sky. It makes me want to wish I stood in Aggie’s place, though perhaps not in her shoes. Her secret – which I guessed early on – would not be considered shocking today, but could’ve been catastrophic in 1874 Buffalo, New York. Continue reading

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