Monday, February 22, 2016

With This Ring: A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry by Witemeyer, Jennings, Connealy, and Jagears

Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor that will delight readers.

I don't normally reach for novellas unless I like the authors. With This Ring was written by 3 authors I have read and enjoyed, and as I needed some lighter reading while my dad was recovering from surgery, I requested the book for review.

4-1/2* - The Husband Maneuver by Karen Witemeyer: Karen starts the collection off with a bang in her story. For those of you who read A Worthy Pursuit, you'll love hearing what happens to Stone's friend, Daniel Barrett, or 'Dead-Eye Dan,' as he has been portrayed in action-packed dime novels which he despises.

I loved that each chapter started out with pages from the scorned dime novel...and followed up with the 'real life' Daniel.

And I loved Marietta. She loved Daniel, but wasn't pushy in her attempts to show him. Well, she wasn't subtle, exactly...but, she was sweet and respectful...and you could feel her extreme longing that Daniel would notice her. I loved watching their relationship unfold.

As for the other three short stories, they just didn't capture or hold my interest as much as Daniel and Marietta's story.

2-1/2*- Her Dearly Unintended by Regina Jennings: Unfortunately, this one was my least favorite. The beginning started out exciting with Mary Ellen, the cow, and the raging river, but as the story progressed, I didn't really like Mary Ellen. She was Disagreeable. Way too OCD (and I'm a bit OCD myself, so that's saying something). ;-) Josiah seemed like a nice guy, I really couldn't understand her dislike...but I guess that's the way some women react to past hurts without explanation. And, the stranger was so creepy...I never reconciled myself to what he ended up being and felt weird about him the whole time.

4* - Runaway Bride by Mary Connealy: I have only read a few of Mary's earlier books, and they weren't really my thing. So, I was surprised that Runaway Bride ranked second for me of these four stories. Carrie flees from an arranged marriage, and Big John Conroy is the one sent to bring her safely to her sister. Carrie can't leave her younger brother behind, and John finds himself really liking the spunk and courage of the two siblings. Of course, we rarely run unless something is chasing us, and Carrie's intended groom is hot on her trail.

As expected, John suggests that Carrie's only hope for safety is him.

3* - Engaging the Competition by Melissa Jagears: I did like that Harrison wasn't perfect – was blind as a bat without his glasses – but I never really felt the attraction between him and Charlie (Charlotte), who didn't seem that dense to not realize her 'better than boys' attitude could be blocking true love. Reading of fuzzy faces, though sad reality, (as both my husband and I were once with eye wear before Lasik!), lacked the warmth and romance I enjoy.

So, With This Ring was mostly as I've come to expect of novellas – some of it I liked, some I didn't, and some surprised me! But, I would recommend picking it up, if just to read the story about Dead-Eye Dan (loved the last dime novel chapter that Daniel rewrote)!

Thank you to Karen, Regina, Mary, and Melissa 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.**

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell

Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp---a horse scavenger hunt! As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom's antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

I am always on the lookout for appropriate reading material for my children. My 9yo daughter loves to read and it is difficult to find books that I can approve. I was excited to check out Blue Ribbon Trail Ride, as my daughter has also hit that 'horse lover' age!

Very generously, the publisher sent me all four books of Miralee's Horses and Friends series, so though I only have to review the last book, Blue Ribbon Trail Ride, I read all of them to get a feel for the characters. I would recommend reading the first four books before picking up Blue Ribbon Trail Ride. It could be read by itself, but getting to know and understand the characters is best if you read the preceding books.

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride follows Kate and her friends as they come up with a grand idea to raise money to send Kate's autistic brother to camp. As the preparations are in full swing, the cash from the contestant's entry fees disappears! Kate and her pals, along with two new characters: Mouse and Jake, start sleuthing to find the culprit! As with any good mystery, it will keep you guessing page after page...and surprise you at the end!

As a girl, I would have thoroughly enjoyed these books.

As a mother, I have cautiously ok'd this series for my daughter. The themes of loyalty, true friendship, forgiveness, and hard work are great, though a child will most likely be interested in the slight mysteries involved in each book.

What concerned me most is some of the slang used in the stories. 'Hurl,' 'dweeb,' 'sissy,' 'dissed,' and referring to a boy as 'hot,' were some of the words I found inappropriate. I also didn't enjoy the many pop-culture references that occurred in book 4 by Jake. These references were of movies, songs, whatever that we have not watched in our home.

Aside from that, any horse-loving, reading girl will enjoy Kate's adventures.

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

Thank you to Miralee and David C. Cook 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.**
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