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Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears

Book review of A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears (Bethany House) by papertapepins



Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so she joins the Teaville Moral Society hoping to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poorhouse herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that his mother is the moral society's president. Lydia's first task as a moral society member--to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town--seems easy . . . until the man flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresees the harrowing complications that will arise from working together, and when town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs--and hearts--truly align.

A Heart Most Certain is amazing! A lot of deeper topics are woven into an already great story, without being preachy or holier than thou. It's more of a gentle nudge to examine your own heart. That takes a talented writer. I believe on top of this being on it's own a wonderful story, God will use these underlying topics to stir change in the readers' hearts and minds. 

Lydia King is part of the town's Moral Society, which 'helps' the poor through some works of charity, although the may not be all that practical, and also through pointing out the error of the sinners ways, as the Moral Society sees it. The Society aims to see the gambling, saloons and prostitutes put out of business and out of town so that the church people can feel good about their town and themselves. Lydia's eyes are opened to the fact that if a prostitute, who may very well have been forced into the business in the first place, wants to leave the business there is literally no help and no where to go. She also discovers that there are children, often abandoned or forced into the business themselves who no one thinks are worth helping. But if she helps she will certainly be cast out of polite society and unable to support herself or be of any help to her dying mother.

On the other hand, Nicholas Lowe has the same reputation in town as Scrooge, and he lets everyone believe what they will, all the while condemning them privately for not doing what he does for the poor and downtrodden around them. He learned through hard circumstances not to look down on others, and isn't that the way we most often learn the most important lessons? He's written off the church as a whole without even giving them a chance.

There's more to the story than the hypocrisy and neglect of the poor that I've touched on but she can say it much more eloquently than I can, so enjoy a great story and be prepared to be challenged in a variety of areas. 

This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

THE AUTHOR

  1. Melissa Jagears

    Melissa Jagears

    Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for KeepsA Bride in Store, and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN...
    Continue reading about Melissa Jagears


Friday, August 26, 2016

No Way Up by Mary Connealy

Book review of No Way Up by Mary Connealy (Bethany House) by papertapepins



The Fight for the Cimarron Ranch Has Just Begun!

When Cimarron Ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, only the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Before leaving by train to receive treatment to save his leg--and possibly his life--Chance demands that Heath read the patriarch's will and see its conditions enforced immediately. If Chance's three bickering adult children, Justin, Sadie, and Cole, don't live and work at the ranch for an entire year, ownership of the ranch will pass to a despised distant relative. 

Before long, however, Heath discovers that the avalanche may have been intentionally set--and that more danger lurks ominously. Finding his own future--and a desired future with Sadie--locked up in saving the Cimarron Ranch, Heath and the Boden siblings must work together against outside forces that threaten them all.

Heath Kincaid, younger brother to the heroes in another of Ms Connealy's series, is a ranch hand on the ranch that's been in Chance Boden's family for generations. He is with Chance when they are caught in a rock slide that nearly turns deadly and is able to use the skills he learned from the medics during his time in the calvary to set Chance's badly broken leg. He saves his life and possibly the use of his leg with his quick thinking and the ranch owner is extremely grateful. 

Chance is then given the job of passing on the ultimatum from Chance that they must live on and run the ranch together for one year or he will pass the ranch on to someone else whether he lives or dies. He somehow gets tangled up in the mystery of why someone is after the Boden family. Watching and interacting with the Boden family also makes him miss his own and wonder if he did the right thing striking out across the country in search of independence from his overbearing brothers. 

Sadie is the little sister who has always been protected and watched over by her brothers and parents, but she won't let them leave her in the dark this time. She helps solve the mystery of who is out to harm or kill her family and in the meantime falls for Chance. Of course. It's a little corny and definitely unrealistic at times - would her overbearing brothers let her scale the side of a mountain? But there's plenty of humour and heart and I still recommend it. This author has a way of taking a slightly outrageous story and turning it into something wonderful.

This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

THE AUTHOR

  1. Mary Connealy
    Photo courtesy of Ginger Murray Photography

    Mary Connealy

    Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas,...
    Continue reading about Mary Connealy

Friday, August 19, 2016

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

book review of An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter (Bethany House) by papertapepins



Lady Georgina Hawthorne has always known she must marry well. After years of tirelessly planning every detail of her debut season, she is poised to be a smashing success and have her choice of eligible gentlemen. 

With money and powerful business connections but no title, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. He intends to marry someday, but when he does it will not be to a shallow woman like Lady Georgina, whose only concerns appear to be status and appearance.

But beneath her flawless exterior, Georgina's social aspirations stem from a shameful secret she is desperately trying to keep hidden--and that Colin is too close to discovering. Drawn to each other despite their mutual intent to avoid association, is the realization of their dreams worth the sacrifices they'll be forced to make?

I loved everything about Kristi Ann Hunter's debut novel, A Noble Masquerade, and I loved this book as well. I wasn't completely hooked by page one, but it didn't take long. At first Georgina appears spoiled and shallow and rather awful, but this masterful writer quickly makes you able to empathize with her early on. I loved the overlapping of a few key parts of the story from A Noble Masquerade. To see that from another point of view was super cool and well done! I most definitely recommend starting at the beginning of the series with the novella A Lady Of Esteem if you can, or certainly from A Noble Masquerade. You will have so much more background with the characters and the back story if you do. This is my favourite kind of series, where each book effectively wraps up a particular story, yet there are continuing characters and connections throughout them all.

After two books and a novella, Kristi Ann Hunter is one of my all time favourite christian fiction authors. She won that before this book, but has securely cemented her place in my favourites with this story. Fantastic! Well done, good job. Keep them coming!

This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

THE AUTHOR

  1. Kristi Ann Hunter

    Kristi Ann Hunter

    Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and...
    Continue reading about Kristi Ann Hunter



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