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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Weaver's Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd - A Book Review

The Weaver's Daughter: A Regency Romance Novel by [Ladd, Sarah E.]     Sarah E. Ladd

     I read a lot of historical fiction, but I cannot remember reading anything prior to The Weaver’s Daughter about the conflict of weavers and mill owners during the Industrial Revolution. While Ladd does not refer to the group of weavers in this book as Luddites, they use similar tactics, destroying textile machinery in an effort to protect their craft and their livelihood. Change is difficult, especially when change threatens one’s way of life. Not everyone views progress in the same way. Ladd does a very good job of placing readers in the emotionally charged conflict that divided communities and families. While one will likely not condone the weavers’ methods, it is still possible to understand why they felt driven to such lengths. With our acceptance of the constantly changing technology of the 21st century, Ladd reminds us of the birth pains of what are now eagerly anticipated improvements in technology and manufacturing.
     Kate Dearborne is the daughter of one of the leading men of Amberdale’s cloth industry. While her brother has chosen to go to work for a local mill owner, Kate remains loyal to her father and his peers. That is, until she meets Henry Stockton, grandson of the Stockton Mill, and until the weavers cross a line into violent protests. Then Kate is forced into making very difficult decisions about loyalty and right and wrong. Henry too must make difficult choices between preserving his grandfather’s legacy and the right treatment of those working under his authority. He also must choose between his childhood sweetheart and the bold Miss Dearborne. The Weaver’s Daughter helps the reader to explore moral dilemmas, something we are often called to do in today’s landscape.
       I highly recommend The Weaver’s Daughter as an entertaining and thought provoking read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.   

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo - A Book Review

The Pirate Bride: Daughters of the Mayflower - Book 2    
     The Pirate Bride is the second book in The Daughters of the Mayflower series. Each book in this series, which tells the story of Mary Chapman, William Lytton and some that number among their descendants, is written by a different author. This story recounts the adventures of Maribel Cardoba, Mary and William Lytton’s great granddaughter. Maribel’s mother left the Colonies and her family to marry Spaniard, Antonio Cordoba. She soon realized that Cordoba was not a man of integrity, but fortunately his father was because she needed his support once Antonio kidnapped their daughter only to lose her at sea. Maribel, always one to romanticize adventure was thrilled to end up as an unlikely crew member about a privateer’s ship until she was once again lost at sea.
     Those of us who are avid readers will feel a kinship with Maribel whose favorite pastime is to get lost in a book in out of the way places. This book is one that will make one want to do just that. Maribel’s forthright nature makes her all the more endearing as does her ability to cheerfully adapt to her circumstances. Her refreshing honesty and spirit are not lost on the crew of the privateer’s ship or on its captain, resulting in relationships that stand the test of time and of hard times.
      Y’Barbo did a wonderful job of developing her characters, and of whisking her readers into the various settings within this story. My only concern was that the ending felt a bit rushed, as if Y’Barbo had spent a great deal of time developing her plot and all of a sudden realized she was running out of pages. That said, I would still recommend this well-researched book to friends and family who love historical fiction and quirky characters.  I thank NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me with a copy of The Pirate Bride in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Innocent Lies by Robin Patchen - A Book Review

    Robin Patchen

     Readers will be glad that they once again returned to Nutfield, New Hampshire. We have been wondering throughout this series what brought Eric Nolan to this small, New England town, and Patchen is now ready to reveal the answer, one that I am sure none of us saw coming. Readers will enjoy encountering old friends and making new ones of Kelsey and Daniel around whom this story centers. The antagonists of Innocent Lies are darker than those previously encountered in the Hidden Truth series, being involved in the sex trafficking business, a business that sells bodies and threatens to steal souls.

     Patchen’s ability to write believable dialogue, build sensory filled settings, and navigate complex plots is once again on display in Innocent Lies. She has gifted the series’ readers with a special gift at the end of this book. While all of the books in this series work as a stand-alone read, it is my opinion that readers will get greater enjoyment of reading the books in order to benefit from the back story as new characters are introduced. I once again thank Robin Patchen for providing me with a copy of her work in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Generous Lies by Robin Patchen - A Book Review

Generous Lies (Hidden Truth Book 3) by [Patchen, Robin]    Robin Patchen

     Generous Lies is the third book in Robin Patchen’s Hidden Truth series. This book is as wonderful as the first two. I love that the mysteries in these books do not feel patterned or predictable. This third book revolves around two youth: Aiden, the son of former FBI agent Garrison Kopp, is a drug addict; Matty O’Brien, Aiden’s dealer and best friend, is thrown into a dangerous situation created by his often-absent father. As Garrison strives to get help for his son, he seeks refuge in the town where the friends he made in Hidden Truth’s second book, Twisted Lives, reside. There Samantha Messenger supports both Garrison and Aiden in their path toward healing. Little do they know that they are being tracked by Aiden’s friend Matty and his father in an effort to retrieve a package that Matty stowed in the trunk of the Kopp’s vehicle. There are some very dangerous men who are determined to take possession of this package.
     Generous Lies promotes hope and healing, both physical and emotional. Patchen uses this platform to let her readers know about the Author of Hope without being preachy, but with characters who demonstrate love and mercy rather than judgement and condemnation. I recommend this book and this series to mystery fans, especially those who like a little romance woven into a good mystery. I thank Robin for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson - A Book Review

In Places Hidden (Golden Gate Secrets Book #1) by [Peterson, Tracie]     Tracie Peterson

     Set in San Francisco in 1905, In Places Hidden has it all: history, mystery, romance, and social justice. Tracie Peterson never fails to entertain while challenging readers to think deeply about their faith. This story has the reader pondering the degree to which he or she is willing to see God and to serve Him in the words of circumstances. She asks us to see the world and set priorities with a Kingdom view, a view that looks past next week, even past a lifetime, into eternity.

     In Places Hidden is the first book in Peterson’s Golden Gate Secrets series. The series follows three young women, each coming to San Francisco with a goal in mind. This first book focuses on Camri Coulter who has come to the city to search for her missing brother, attorney Caleb Coulter. She is assisted in her search by new friends, Judith Gladstone and Kenzie Gifford, along with Caleb’s friend, and former client, Patrick Murdoch. The search moves from Caleb’s fashionable neighborhood to poverty-stricken ones to the infamous Barbary Coast. Camri, an advocate for education and women’s rights, comes face to face with her own biases as her eyes are opened to the needs of others, and as her view of what comprises an education broadens.

     I highly recommend In Places Hidden, and look forward to reading Judith’s story when the second book in this series is released. I appreciate NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

If I Live by Terri Blackstock - A Book Review

If I Live (If I Run Series) by [Blackstock, Terri]     Terri Blackstock

     If I Live is the third book in Terri Blackstock’s If I Run series. It follows Casey Cox who has been framed for a murder committed by someone in the police department. She is aided by her friend Dylan Roberts, a private investigator who was hired to find her, having convinced him that her life would be in danger in the hands of the police until it is determined how far the corruption goes within the department.
     Before I started reviewing books, I read Terri Blackstock’s Sun Coast Chronicles series, her Cape Refuge Series, her Restoration Series, and some of her Newpointe 911 series. I would have given each and every book a five-star rating. I loved them all, and often recommended Terri Blackstock to friends. It had been awhile since I had read one of her books, so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to review If I Live. I am sorry to say that I was very disappointed. While the plot was quite good, I was so distracted by the writing style, so different from my memory of her other books, that I was unable to enjoy the time I invested in reading this one. That’s not to say that I think that would be true for all readers, we each have our own personal preferences, and this style may totally suit someone else. Each chapter begins with a character’s name, and the character seems to be talking to the reader telling their side of the story, describing what they are doing, seeing and hearing. Dialogue intersperses this monologue. I felt as the story did not flow smoothly even though the plot was well thought out.
     I do appreciate NetGalley and Zondervan Publishers for providing me with a copy of If I Live in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Innkeeper's Daughter by Michelle Griep - A Book Review

The Innkeeper's DaughterMichelle Griep

          The Innkeeper’s Daughter is set in Dover, England in the year 1808. Johanna Langley bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for keeping the Blue Hedge Inn open and running. Her widowed mother helps in the kitchen and with tending the rooms, while her scamp of a younger brother follows in his late father’s footsteps trying to bring in what coins he can through games of chance. The inn’s rundown appearance and lack of staff do not draw in many visitors, so Johanna must look to other enterprises in order to meet the payments required by Mr. Spurge and to avoid the work house. While a certain guest of the inn is anxious to give Johanna money, she must wonder what he expects in return.
     Alexander Moore or Morton as he has come to be called, is directed to stay at the Blue Hedge Inn  while assigned to work undercover in an attempt to ferret out a traitor. Without many clues as to the traitor’s identity and goal, Alex must be suspicious of everyone and constantly on guard. Living a life of duplicity is difficult for this man of high morals and standards, but becomes even more so when he must deny his growing affection for Johanna when his cover demands he become betrothed to another.
     Reading The Innkeeper’s Daughter was like listening to a beautiful piece of music played on a piano with a key or two out of tune. The plot was intriguing. The characters well developed. Each of the senses is piqued as characters move from inn, to waterfront, to gaming rooms, to ships’ holds. I understand that when writing historical fiction, the language of the day would be too cumbersome to today’s readers, and dialogue is often written in speech patterns more common to today; however, some modern phrases and clich├ęs have the ability to jerk the reader out of the time period in which the story is set. For example lyrics from a popular Kelly Clarkson song are paraphrased as Johanna says, “I suppose what does not drive us into the ground only serves to make us stronger, hmmmm?” A quote originated by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, born seventy-six years after the setting of this book. Another character refers to “doing a thorough background check,” a rather modern expression. Would I let these little annoyances keep me from reading The Innkeeper’s Daughter? Absolutely not! I enjoyed the story very much, and thank NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.