Thursday, November 13, 2014

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, eighteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey prepares to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains for the genteel city of Lexington, where she'll attend secretarial school. She knows her life is about to change-and only for the better. Everything will be blue skies from now on.

But business school is harder than she thought it would be and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers. When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she'd ever wished to have is right before her eyes. The only hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she'd left firmly behind.

MY THOUGHTS:
I decided to pick up Buttermilk Sky after a review in my latest Christianbook Fiction catalog. The editor mentioned the 'Anne of Green Gables' feel and I was immediately interested. I'm glad I chose to read it.
Buttermilk Sky easily read as a standalone, but it made me want to go back and read all of Jan's previous books! I wanted to get to know some of the past characters that are woven throughout the book, and I liked the feel of the Anne-ish time period.

I liked Mazy right away. She brought to mind a little bit of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. A young, unspoiled girl looking for something exciting...then coming to the realization that there's no place like home.

I also liked Mrs. Pearl and Cinnamon (who needs a story of her own!). I did feel like Mazy's story ended too abruptly – or at least, I really wanted the story to continue or have the characters fleshed out a bit more. Didn't think it was long enough. Like I said, Cinnamon needs a story of her own – and I want to know more about Clara! Perhaps we will see them in a future book...?

A sweet story set in simpler times – I liked it and would definitely read another by Jan!

Thank you to Jan and Tyndale House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

MY THOUGHTS:
I've said it before, but most of Julie's books make me think I'm reading a movie – watching a book? The Secret of Pembrooke Park gave me that same feeling. The descriptions put you right in the manor or grounds or post chaise, and within the first few sentences I was already captivated with the story of Abigail and her family.

The mysteries surrounding the Pembrooke family and estate definitely kept me guessing. Each character had me wondering about their background and/or motive – from Mac to Polly and Molly to Leah to Mrs. Hayes to Duncan to Mrs. Webb to Miles...yes, just about everyone had something I questioned. I had several different ideas that changed as the book progressed...and I was pleased at the final conclusion.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park will make you want to curl up under a blanket with a warm mug and keep turning the pages until you've discovered the secret(s) for yourself!

If you enjoy Regency romance with a little mystery, you will definitely enjoy The Secret of Pembrooke Park!

Thank you to Julie and Bethany House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller



The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man---a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.

MY THOUGHTS:
The 'Gone With the Wind' feel was lovely, and though I enjoy fiction full of historical detail, I felt a bit lost on understanding the brickmaking process as it didn't flow smoothly into the story at times. You can tell Judith did extensive research on the subject, and I can imagine how difficult it must be to pick and choose what to share in a book without it becoming overwhelming. Kudos for the effort!

I really liked Laura. She was very knowledgeable in her family's business, but she wasn't disrespectful or pushy. I liked Ewan, too. He was a hard worker, and you couldn't help but sympathize with him over his relationship with his Uncle. Oh, and Uncle Hugh... there's always a character like him, in real life or not! Someone who feels entitled to greatness – but expects everyone else to get him there. Although, I think Judith's conclusion of Uncle Hugh was very satisfying! The Lord changes us when we let Him!

The story did drag at times for me (mostly the detailed brick descriptions), but overall, another historical by Judith Miller that I enjoyed reading!

That's what I thought! Click HERE to see what other reviewers are saying!

Thank you to Judith and Bethany House through Litfuse for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer



ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Chet, a local coach, agrees to help Lula with her new teaching responsibilities, she'll learn more than she ever expected about life and love.

MY THOUGHTS:
I really enjoy books set in the late 1800's, early 1900's. I can picture in my mind the scenes and fashions of 'Meet Me in St. Louis,' and Anne writes this time period well.

The early history of basketball, though not something I'm particularly interested in, was still very interesting! Definitely a fresh and unique subject, that's for sure! Anne is also very good at portraying people's emotions, and Playing By Heart had many heart-tugging moments.

Playing by Heart is written in a style that I rarely enjoy and usually only tolerate: two main characters, both in the first person, alternating point of view every other chapter. After the first few chapters, I was able to focus and get in 'the groove' of the style. The two main characters are male and female, so that helped in keeping them straight as well. I did find that the story seemed a bit choppy, though. It may have been that the kindle version I read wasn't formatted quite properly, but some of the transitions seemed awkward – big gaps of time or changes in places from paragraph to paragraph.

Overall, I liked the story of Lula and Chet. Their struggles of family responsibility and duty versus personal ambitions and desires were easy to relate to and evoked a few sniffles from me.

Another good historical by Anne – though I think her very first is her best (well, it's the one I've enjoyed the most!): Wings of a Dream (only 4.99 for your Kindle)!

Thank you to Anne and Bethany House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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