“A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano, book review

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A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano, book review

Tressa had always been the one to follow her father around the vineyards. She asked endless questions because she wanted to know her father. To know the vineyards was to know her father. But he always pushed her away. Too busy, it seemed.

When Tressa and her mother receive a summons to return to the castle, they come home. But instead of finding her father, they are met with the news that he has died, two weeks previously. While dealing with this unexpected news, they are also faced with the financial problem of the estate. Father had always told Tressa that he would reveal the location of the treasure prior to his death, but now she had to locate it on her own.

This was an excellently written story of intrigue, suspense and love. There were subtle hints along the way that gave me an idea of the resolution to the mystery, but never enough to give it away. The characters were very well developed and complex. There was a lot of historical information, so I understood what the culture of the time was. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Hope of Azure Springs” by Rachel Fordham, book review

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“The Hope of Azure Springs” by Rachel Fordham, book reivew

After her mother died, Em took her younger sister and together they were placed on the orphan train west where they would find a new family. But Em was too old and all the families were looking for cute little kids or big boys to work on the farm. At an early stop, her little sister was chosen by a family, but Em was left. Finally, at the last stop, a man said he would take Em. This began another hard time for her, as the man left her alone much of the time, with little food or care.

Fast forward seven years, Em is shot and the man is murdered. She makes it to town where the sheriff takes her to the doctor who is able to care for her. While she recovers at the home in town, Caleb, the sheriff, learns her story and sets out to solve the case- find the murderers bring them to justice.

After she recovers, Em realizes she is free and can finally search for you little sister. She gets a job at the boarding house to earn money needed to travel to the stop where her sister was adopted. But before she can work long enough to buy a ticket, Caleb apprehends two of the murderer and Em is called to testify.

This is an interesting story of a young lady who loved her little sister so much, even though she was unable to get to help her for so many years. It is sad to learn the facts of her growing up years, and how much she was neglected, but also wonderful so learn how she was loved and blossomed when given all she needed. The characters were well developed and the story line moved along well and kept my interest.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Minding the Light” by Suzanne Woods Fisher, book Review

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“Minding the Light” by Suzanne Woods Fisher,(Nantucket Legacy#2) book review

Six years ago, Caption Reynolds Macy left his bride as he set sail to fill the whaling ship with oil. When he returns, nothing is the same. His bride meets him at the wharf, but brings his 5 year old twin children to meet him for the first time. Then she faints! Within days, she is dead. An overdose has claimed her. Ren is beside himself with grief. And overwhelmed with all that has transpired while he was away.

Daphne has helped her sister during the long 6 years of Ren’s voyage. First with the babies, then with the Cent school she started to help with the family’s expenses. Now, she is helping Ren become a father and deal with his loss.

Both Daphne and Ren are confused by Tristram’s handling of the financial affairs while Ren was out at sea. And now, they are left to pick up the pieces after Tristram flees.

This is the second in the series of the Nantucket Legacy series, and it picks up 6 years after the first book ends. The author gives quite a bit of the back story, but this book is much more enjoyable if you have read the first one, which I have. The story gives so much detail into the rough and uncertainty of lives devoted to the whaling industry of the time. The characters are well developed and so realistic. The plot moves along at a steady pace and kept my interest. I am eager to read #3.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“River to Redemption” by Ann Gabhart, book review

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“River to Redemption” by Ann Gabhart, book review

1833- cholera swept through Springfield, Kentucky, killing many residents of the rural community. Adria was just a child, and was left an orphan by the disease. Those who were able, left town at the first sign of the illness, but Adria’s family was not able. Louise, a slave owned by the hotel owner, was handed the keys to the hotel when his master and family fled. Rather than seeking his own freedom by fleeing north, he remained in Springfield and “did what needed to be done.” He cared for the sick and dying. He buried the dead. When he found Adria, the only survivor in her family, he brought her to the hotel and later found a home for her.

Adria grew up with Ruth, the widow of the school teacher, who agreed to care for the orphan child. Together, they became a new family. Ruth was asked to take her late husband’s position as teacher, and filled the position well.

As the years pass the citizens of Springfield slowly recover but always remember how the cholera devastated their town. Now as an adult, Adria works at the general store, is courting a local boy and writes, under an alias, abolitionist articles for a northern paper. Ruth still teaches school and supplements her income by baking breads, pies and cakes. A new preacher comes to town. He is a widower and father to a young daughter. He is trying to start over, much like Ruth did. They become friends and after a fire destroys much of the town, realize they are ready to start a chapter in their lives.

This is an interesting story. From the author’s notes, it is based on a true story of the slave, Louise, who cares for the town folk during the cholera. I enjoyed the character development and the depth of the story line. However, in the middle, it seemed to drag a bit, just going over the same problems over and over again. But overall, I really liked it. The author showed how people in the same town felt so differently about the same subjects: slavery, women’s rights, education, etc.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Revell publishers. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Sons of Blackbird Mountain” by Joanne Bischof, book review

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Sons of Blackbird Mountain” by Joanne Bischof, book review

Aven leaves Norway to come to Appalachia where her only remaining family lives, after the tragic death of her husband. She comes at the invitation of the boys’ aunt, only she has died prior to Aven’s arrival. She is also shocked to learn that the “boys” she is to tend are her age and older, not boys, but men.

But the cousins welcome her into their home and she quickly becomes a member of the family. Each of the men sees her in a different light. The oldest, Jorgen, has a belle he is courting long distance and plans to marry her upon her arrival. The younger two, Thor and Haakon both see Aven as a protentional wife and a rivalry of sorts takes shape. Thor is deaf and mute, and to complicate his life, had a problem with the hard cider that he brews. This cider is also the family’s main source of income.

This is a wonderful, but complex, story of a family working together for a common goal, several goals, actually. Together they support Thor as he fights his addiction. Together, they welcome Jorgen’s bride into their family. Together, they fight the neighbors who wish to do them harm. Together, they devise a new business for the family that provides for them all.

I enjoyed this book, although it was a little difficult to get into at first, but after a couple of chapters I was hooked! I took this book on vacation and really enjoyed reading it by the pool and in my room in the evening. I hope the author will write another book telling the next chapters in the lives of these characters.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Eat at Home Tonight” by Tiffany King, book review

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“Eat at Home Tonight” by Tiffany King, book review
101 Simple Busy-Family recipes for your slow cooker, sheet pan, Instant Pot and more

We all want to sit down with our family and eat dinner at home. It seems so simple. But, in reality, it is probably easier to send a man to the moon than to have everyone sitting down at the dinner table with hot nutritious food that pleases all family members! But as moms, we try to make this happen most nights of the week.

Now, Tiffany King has compiled a book of wonderful, family friendly recipes that fit various time restraint categories to help mom accomplish this monumental task: Dinner!

The book is divided into categories that coordinate to the amount of time you have to make dinner, or your emotions at dinner time. These chapter titles are really very realistic: “I only have 15 minutes tonight” or “My refrigerator is empty tonight” or my favorite “Everyone’s on a different schedule tonight.” These chapters allow the cook to quickly determine how to best get dinner on the table when it is time. There are appetizing pictures and heart felt descriptions of the recipes and how to use them to accomplish your goal, feeling your family well. The recipes use real food items that are easily purchased at a regular grocery store, meaning there are very few exotic ingredients that would be difficult to locate. There are recipes for all occasions and for all food types. Lots of variety.

This book is perfect for a wedding shower to for a young mother. Actually, it would be appropriate for college kids too!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of the book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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A Contradiction to his Pride” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

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“A Contradition to his Pride” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

This is the second book by the author, Leanne W. Smith, following the characters from “Leaving Independence.” After the wagon train arrived in Oregon, the families divide and pursue the objectives that had given them the strength to cover the Oregon Trail. Abigail and Hoke are married after they discover that her husband, Robert, had died during the war. Together, they claim land and build a farm. James, Hoke’s partner for many years, stays on the help with the building. Or is he staying because Abigail’s oldest daughter, Corrine has caught his eye? Either way, he stays and tries to figure out a way to court her.

Corrine is devastated to learn that her father died during the war and they traveled all this way. But with her family settling in Oregon, she is learning to like her new area. And James has stayed to help her step-dad build the farm. He is always joking with her, but is there more to it? He is older than her, but she is at the age when young women are courting. Will he ever ask her?

This is a story of love and courage. When outlaws rob the bank and a young women is caught in the cross fire, everyone is devastated. But when the town receives notice that the outlaws are coming back to take revenge on James, because he killed one of them, everyone is worried. But James had headed east to claim a wild herd of horses before settling down. Can they get word to him before it is too late?

I enjoyed this book. I had read the first book so was very familiar with the characters and was pleased to learn what they were doing now that they had arrived in Oregon. Like in the first book, this book is full of action and stories about the brave and loyal people who lived in the lawless west. The plot was very believable and there were some tense moments. I read this book while on vacation and it was perfect for the long plane ride and relaxing by the pool. While it is the second book, there is enough information about the characters to enjoy this one, if you have not read the first. However, I suggest you read them in the order the author wrote them. I am looking forward to a third book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Leaving Independence” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

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“Leaving Independence” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

The terrible war that had devastated the country had finally ended. Everyone was trying to move on and rebuild their farms and their lives. Abigail had sent her husband and the father of her four children off to war, with his promise to return. She received a notice from the government that Robert had died during a battle. As a grieving widow, she files to receive the death benefit so she could pay the bills. After a long wait, she is notified that the previous message had been sent in error and Robert was alive and serving the west. After the banker forecloses on her farm, she loads the kids and joins a wagon train in Independence to locate Robert and reunite her family.

Hoke had been riding the range for so many years that sleeping in a building felt strange to him. When he and his partner delivered their load of horses to Independence for those traveling west, he is surprised when he is asked to assist in leading a wagon train. With no other real prospects on the horizon, he decides to go. Or maybe when he saw Abigail in the wagon train, his mind was made up.

This is an action packed story of brave families who risk it all to start a new life in the new territories of our, then, growing country. The stories of adventure, joy and heart ache are realistic. The characters are believable.

I enjoyed this story. I read it while on vacation and it was perfect for the long air plane ride as well as lying near the pool. There was no language or sexual content. The characters displayed a high moral compass and lawless was not tolerated. I am eager to read the second book by the author that follows some of the characters as they settle in Oregon.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“A Rebel Heart” by Beth White, book review

A Rebel Heart” by Beth White, book review

Toward the end of the Civil War, Selah and her sister survived a brutal attack on their plantation and the inhabitants. Their mother hid the girls under the porch, which saved their lives. But from their dark hiding place, they witnessed the brutal attack which killed their mother. Now, five years later, Selah is trying to keep her small family together, but it is very hard.

Levi Riggins survived the war and carries the memories of battle in the scars on his shoulder. After returning home, he tries to help his father in the general store, but is not happy. His father suggests he answer an ad in the paper for the Pinkerton agency, and Riggins finds this is a good match for him.

While Riggins is out on assignment, the train crashes while crossing a bridge. Uninjured, he is able to assist the other passengers to escape the damaged cars. Including Selah, who he has met on the journey. He hopes to see her again.

This is a well written and fast moving novel about the time of reconstruction. There were many issues still plaguing our county, and some of those themes are explored in this book. The character development is well done and realistic.

I enjoyed this book. I read it while on vacation, but it is a good read anytime. I hope there is a sequel, so we can see more of these characters.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revel. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Love Letter” by Rachel Hauck, book review

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The Love Letter” by Rachel Hauck, book review

Chloe has made a name for herself in Hollywood, but it is not quite what she wanted to be known for. With each new film, she hopes not only to get the part, but to live. Yup, just live. But each time, she dies… on screen. Maybe this time will be different, as she really wants to play Esther, the Revolutionary War heroine who loves Hamilton.

Jesse was a super smart kid graduating from MIT with his masters in his early 20’s, and became a successful engineer at the family firm. Until it all fell apart when his girlfriend died. So her ran away to LA to become an actor. Then he wrote a screen play using an old family letter as the inspiration. When it is accepted and to be made into a movie, he is beyond excited.

“The Love Letter” is the newest novel by Rachel Hauck. The style of this book is similar to several of her previous stories, where she has two parallel stories from different time periods that slowly grow closer together until the conclusion of the story. This is a wonderful story of resilience and trusting God’s love to overcome all life’s hardships.

I enjoyed this book and it makes a great summer read for vacation or long plane rides. It is a stand alone book, not part of a series, so if you are looking for a wonderful easy read, pick this up.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher, Harper Collins. All opinions exchanged are my own.

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