Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy

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Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy

Published: 2015

Publisher: Bethany House

Series: Wild at Heart(Book 3)

Goodreads Summary: Bailey Wilde is one of the best new ranchers in the West. She’s been living disguised as a man for a while, but when Gage Coulter comes to drive her off her homestead, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with a woman–a very tough, very intriguing woman at that.
Gage is an honest man, but he didn’t make his fortune being weak. He won’t break the law, but he’ll push as hard as he can within it. Five thousand acres of his best range land is lost to him because Bailey’s homestead is located right across the only suitable entrance to a canyon full of lush grass. Gage has to regain access to his land–and he’s got to go through Bailey to do it.
Spending a winter alone has a way of making a person crave some human contact. In a moment of weakness, Bailey agrees to a wild plan Gage concocts. Can these two independent, life-toughened homesteaders loosen up enough to earn each other’s respect–and maybe find love in the process?

     Bailey is the last sister still dressing like a man and not married. She has worked hard to get her herd of cattle where it is and the canyon behind her property has helped. The problem is she does not own the canyon Gage does and he wants access which he can’t get without going through her homestead. Finding out Bailey is a woman and getting access to his canyon soon becomes the least of his problem when he finds out his mother is coming for a visit.

What I liked: I was really looking forward to Bailey’s and Gage’s story. Bailey has worked hard to get her ranch up and running but with Gage wanting his canyon for his cattle she is in jeopardy of losing it all. Once Gage figured out she is a woman the sparks start to fly. I liked how both Bailey had Gage had a past they did not really want to talk about yet seemed to need each other to work through it.

What I didn’t like: Gage’s mother was an interesting character. I was disappointed though how Gage handled his mother and how in the end he never really saw how his behavior with his mother was influencing his relationship with Bailey. Things were going along and then it just seemed to come to a conclusion without any real climax it was a bit of a let down to be truthful.

     Even with the less than exciting ending I still really liked this book. The spark between Bailey and Gage were great and as always lots of laughs.

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      This was a great series I really enjoyed it. I loved the idea of women pretending to be men and being found out and falling in love with men who can respect what they were going through. As always Mary Connealy had lots of laughing and great plots to make this series a winner. A must read in my book!

Series Rating

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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this e-book from the publisher through Netgalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Posted in 2015 Reviews, 5 Stars, Bethany House, Mary Connealy, NetGalley, Romance, Western Romance | Leave a comment

The Cactus Creek Challenge by Erica Vetsch

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The Cactus Creek Challenge by Erica Vetsch

Published: 2015

Publisher: Barbour Books

Series: None

Goodreads Summary: Anything he can do, I can do better. At least that was what Cassie Bucknell thought before she pinned on Ben Wilder’s badge and took to patrolling the streets of Cactus Creek, Texas. Cassie has been in love with Ben since primer school, but Ben treats her like a little sister. When they are picked to swap jobs for a month as part of the annual Cactus Creek Challenge in their Texas hometown, the schoolhouse is thrown into an uproar, the jail becomes a temporary bank vault, and Cassie and Ben square off in a battle of wills that becomes a battle for their hearts.

     Cactus Creek has held a challenge for years. People would switch jobs and whoever did the best job would help raise money for the town. This year, however, to better keep the town interested they allowed women to join in and switch with the men! Cassie has a crush on the sheriff. The problem is Ben only sees her like a kid sister, not a woman ready to find a husband. Cassie hopes to prove to him she is a woman who can not only do men’s work but take control of his heart as well.

What I liked: Cassie has spunk and I really liked her. I loved how she tackled being sheriff and gave it her all. It made for a fun read. Ben was worried she was going to get hurt or that his town was going to disrespect her which you can’t blame him for thinking that. He was also trying hard to live up to his father’s name. The challenge also included the livery owner(Carl) and the bakery owner(Jenny). Carl does not plan to remarry for he thinks the west is too hard on a woman. Jenny is trying to make a life for herself and her daughter after having a rough first marriage. I also really liked Carl and Jenny.

What I didn’t like: As much as I liked this book I think it highly unlikely that a town in this time period would allow women to do men’s work for a month with no help. It just seemed a little too far-fetched. I also don’t understand why Carl and Jenny could not have had their own book. It worked well enough telling both couples stories, but it seemed like Carl and Jenny did not get as much screen time.

     Overall this was a great book and I really liked it. I’m interested to see if this might become a series. 

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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this e-book from the publisher through NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

    

Posted in 2015 Reviews, 4 Stars, Barbour Books, Erica Vetsch, NetGalley, Romance, Western Romance | Leave a comment

Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett

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Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett

Published: 2015

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Series: Golden Gate Chronicles(Book 2)

Goodreads Summary: Where better to rebuild and face one s fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she’ll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn’t anticipate finding new love. Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert s widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed. Ruby and Gerald s fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they were striving to cure. Together they must ask is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?”

Ruby is the sister of Robert the main male character from book one. After losing her husband and seeing all her friends married and happy she decides to go live with Robert to free herself from all her well-meaning friends and family who want to see her remarry and to also find purpose for her life.  What she did not expect was to find her brother engaged and not only living in the same house as his fiancé but also living with his single Doctor friend.

Gerald would be happy to remain a bachelor living alone in his house but due to the earthquake his home is not his own and now his friends single sister makes it even fuller. As much as he tried to ignore her he can’t help but find himself attracted to her but when side effects from his research threaten his health he wonders what God has in store for him.

What I liked: I really enjoyed this book. I liked all the characters. Ruby had been dealt a blow with the death of her husband and coming to live and work with her brother is a new start for her. When she starts to have feeling for Gerald she fights it because she is scared to death to lose someone else and by facing this fear she also starts to gain her faith in God again.

     Gerald puts all his effort into his work and research but as he and Robert lose more patience’s and see possible health issues due to the x-ray machine they are using for research he starts to wonder if what he is doing is really helping people. Plus the more time he spends with Ruby the more he want a wife and family yet he worries his health could be in jeopardy.

     I found this very real and down to earth. The post-earthquake setting lets readers see how much changed and how the city is working to rebuild and the conditions some people had to live and work in. The family dynamics with Robert and his fiancé’s upcoming wedding add some humor to the sometimes darker story.

What I didn’t like: The overall plot of this book was kind of sad. As much as I enjoyed it I just wanted the book to be over as I really don’t enjoy reading about sickness. The ending was okay but still left me feeling somewhat sad for the characters.

Overall this was an enjoyable book and a good sequel to the first book in the series. I highly recommend reading the first book as this book follows right  after it.  I have enjoyed learning about the 1906 earthquake and how the city dealt with and rebuilt after.

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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this e-book from the publisher through NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Posted in 2015 Reviews, 4 Stars, Abingdon Press, Golden Gate Chronicles, Historical Fiction, Karen Barnett, NetGalley, Romance | Leave a comment

In Good Company by Jen Turano

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In Good Company by Jen Turano

Published: 2015

Publisher: Bethany House

Series: A Class of Their Own(Book 2)

Goodreads Summary: After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren’t always well received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position.
Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he’s desperate for competent childcare.
At wit’s end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance–with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children’s parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?

What I liked: Mille can not seem to stay out of trouble when it comes to being a nanny, but underneath her silly antics is a woman who loves children and knows what they need. When she finds herself jobless once again and Everett who can’t seem to keep a nanny end up teaming up sparks fly. Everett finds Millie intriguing even though he doesn’t want to admit it. The better he gets to know her the more he questions his lot in life. I loved how these two interacted. Millie helps Everett become a father and Everett helps Millie find her place in life. Just a wonderful book with great supporting characters and a plot that will have you laughing and turning page after page.

What I didn’t like: I loved this book no complaints from me.

     Overall this is a great book. Go back and read book one as it will help you better understand the set up for this book. I can’t wait to read the third book in the series! A must read.

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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this e-book from the publisher through NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Posted in 2015 Reviews, 5 Stars, A Class of Their Own, Bethany House, Historical Fiction, Jen Turano, NetGalley, Romance | Leave a comment

Undercover Bride by Margaret Brownley

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Undercover Bride by Margaret Brownley

Published: 2015

Publisher: Barbour Books

Series: Undercover Ladies(Book 2)

Goodreads Summary: Pinkerton detective Maggie Cartwright is tasked with going undercover as a mail order bride. Her “fiancé” is widower Garrett Thomas, aka the suspected Whistle-Stop Bandit. No sooner does Maggie arrive in Arizona Territory when she’s confronted with an early wedding date—the clock is ticking on her detective work or she may end up a criminal’s wife! As the day of the wedding draws near, Maggie begins to panic. The problem is that the more she gets to know Garrett and his two adorable children, the harder it is to keep up the deception. Can a man as kind and gentle as Garrett really be the Whistle-Stop Bandit?

What I liked: I have read a few books about Pinkerton detectives and they are quite enjoyable and this book does not disappoint. Maggie has done her research yet she is caught off guard by Garrett. She finds herself drawn to him and his kids as well as his crazy aunt. I loved all the characters. The supporting characters such as Aunt Hetty and Maggie’s partner Rikker(and all his funny crazy disguises) made this a well-rounded and fun book to read.

What I didn’t like: Not much to complain about in this book.

     This book did a great job of mixing romance and suspense. This is the 2nd book in the series but very much stands alone and I’m to read the last book in the series when it’s released.

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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this e-book from the publisher through NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

Posted in 2015 Reviews, 4 Stars, Barbour Books, Margaret Brownley, NetGalley, Romance, Undercover Ladies, Western Romance | Leave a comment

A Simple Prayer by Amy Clipston

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A Simple Prayer by Amy Clipston

Published: 2015

Publisher: Zondervan 

Series: Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel(Book 4)

Goodreads Summary: Life has taken much from Linda Zook. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.
Linda Zook, 32, works part-time at the Lancaster Grand Hotel. As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, she was raised by her unwilling Uncle Reuben. Linda longs to be worthy of someone, but the life-long effects of her injuries and her upbringing under the care of her embittered uncle have destroyed her self-worth.
Aaron Ebersol, 32, left the Amish community 17 years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. He d written too many unanswered letters to his mother and found himself incapable of putting down any roots in his new home in Missouri. Success in work could not replace the family that denied Aaron, even after all of these years.
Aaron hastily returns to the Amish community of Paradise, PA, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. He soon encounters Linda, working there part-time, and they begin to develop a friendship.
Aaron s return allows him to reconnect with his family as he jumps into home improvement projects, hoping to make his parents house more accessible to his handicapped mother. But before long, he is enraged to learn that his brother, Solomon, had hidden all of Aaron s letters to their mother.
Linda and Aaron must each learn to forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them. And Aaron must also show Linda that she is worthy of his love.”

What I liked: This is book 4 of the series. Aaron has been mentioned in the earlier books so it seems fitting to end the series with his return. Both Aaron and Linda has some real issues to work through. Aaron had left his family and community after getting in trouble as a teen. His older brother was so upset with him that when Aaron returns his brother is not happy to see him. Aaron has to work through his frustration with his brother and his guilt of leaving. I thought it was well written.

     Linda lost her parents in an accident as a child and was raised by her aunt and uncle but after her aunt dies her uncle who never treated her great to start with became even more unpleasant.  Even with her hardships Linda remains strong.

     I liked how Linda and Aaron helped each other overcome the hurt they each had faced while also growing their relationship with God and each other. We also see Hannah and her daughter reconnect which helps to bring the series to a close.

What I didn’t like: This was an enjoyable book and nothing really bothered me.

     As the 4th book in the series I thought it did a good job  wrapping up the story. I was glad to see closer for Hannah and her daughter.

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     I enjoyed this series. The first book was my least favorite. I liked how all the characters intertwined throughout the books. The last book did a good job wrapping up the series. 

Series Rating

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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this e-book from the publisher through NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Posted in 2015 Reviews, 4 Stars, Amish Fiction, Amy Clipston, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, NetGalley, Romance, Series, Zondervan | Leave a comment