Title: His Chosen Bride (Gasquet Princes #2)
Author: Sherry Gloag
Publisher: Astraea Press
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Pages: 98 pages
Format: ebook ($1.99)
Summary: Prince Henri is too busy running a country to worry about minor details like marriage. His father has been sick, and he has taken the reins in his more than capable hands. But his family is worried about him, and they all but force him to take a vacation.
Having no choice in the matter, Henri travels to his brother’s quiet country horse ranch. It’s there he sees Monica again.
He had met her before…at his brother’s wedding. And he knew then she would be trouble for him if he let her get too close. Now, thrown together by his well-meaning family, Henri has to fight his growing feelings for the mysterious, beautiful woman.
So much for letting his father choose his bride.
Review: This is a novella, so a pretty quick read. Henri is your typical work-a-holic with a twist. He’s the crown prince in line to inherit the throne. He acts the way you would expect him to when he finds out that he is being relieved of his royal duties and forced into taking a much needed vacation. He’s upset and takes it out on any likely scapegoat, in this case Monica.
Both characters are likable and well-written. The reader wants them to end up together from the beginning. There is good chemistry between the two main characters and the sense of duty on Henri’s side versus the sense Monica has of not fitting in anywhere provides a solid conflict they both believe to be insurmountable. It’ll keep you reading to the end.
There are a lot of flashbacks that can cause confusion if you’re not paying attention. Pair that with a few places near the end where significant time lapses occur, and the storyline can be a bit difficult to follow in certain parts. Not impossible, but challenging.
Recommendation: This is a sweet romance, so suitable for romance readers of all ages. It is the second book in a series, and it mentions characters and plot points from the first book, and I hadn’t read the first book. It is possible to read it out of sequence without feeling like you are missing critical pieces of the story, but I found that it made me want to read the first book to get in on the story of the secondary characters. I have added From Now Until Forever to my TBR list. Can’t wait to find out how Liam and Melanie got together. I give this one three quills:
Title: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Genre: Christian Amish Romance
Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WaterBrook Multnomah, CBD
Summary: Annie Martin is an Old Order Mennonite. After some irreconcilable difference between her and her mother arise, she is sent to live with her grandfather, Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.
There she meets back up with a childhood friend whose family needs an extra pair of hands in their restaurant. Annie volunteers to help out. But the family is Old Order Amish, and while the two sects tolerate each other, they do not allow interaction between men and women of the two groups.
Unfortunately, Annie has been fighting her feelings for Aden Zook since she was a teenager. And spending so much time with him only fans the flame. When her Daadi discovers them walking together in the cherry orchard, he threatens to destroy the Zook’s family business unless they end their secret courtship.
Review: There is lots of vivid description of the scenery, particularly the cherry orchard. And the grandfather’s love story was very endearing, especially since he seems to be a bit of a stern and crusty old man, very set in his ways and not wanting to listen to anyone else’s opinions. Seeing his soft side made him likable.
The character development was pretty good. I like the main characters of Aden and Annie, but I didn’t like any of the others much. The family’s on both sides frustrated me with their hypocrisy (even though, they eventually came around). I realize that was the point and the conflict wouldn’t have been believable or fully developed without family members as antagonists.
While I enjoyed the story, I found the ending to be too quick and a bit unsatisfying. And by that, I mean I read the last sentence and turned the page fully expecting the story to continue. But it didn’t.
Recommendation: This is the first time I’ve read Amish romance. It was interesting to read about the differences between the Mennonites and the Amish. The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is an enjoyable, quick and straightforward story. I read it in just a few hours. I give the book three quills:
I was given this book as a free review copy through Blogging for Books. For more information about the author and the book, please visit the links below.
Title: Shawnee’s Creek
Author: Stephy Smith
Publisher: Astraea Press
Format: ebook ($1.99)
Pages: @77 pages
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Genre: Romance – Contemporary/Western
Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press, Smashwords
Summary: Shawnee and Cheyenne Turner have endured their fair share of suffering, but now their lives are finally on the right track: brand new jobs they love and intriguing new men in their lives. And while Cheyenne seems to change from her previous depression almost overnight, Shawnee struggles to accept the affection of Emory Creek. Though she is magnetically drawn to him, she is apprehensive about rumors of his past and inability to commit.
Finally unable to stand the situation no longer, she leaves town and finds a new job in Colorado. But when the owner of that ranch sells out, she has no other recourse but to return to her home town and take her old job back. And Emory is there waiting for her, eager to prove that she is the only woman for him.
Review: This book starts out really strong, involving the reader immediately in the lives of the main characters. Can’t help but want to keep reading, and there are many powerful and amazing scenes in this story. There were several places I wanted to read again and again. The frustrating part for me was the gaps left in the plot line. Stuff that helps to develop the relationship between the characters. I was so sucked in the beginning, I felt a little disappointed when it seemed I was missing out on key points.
Recommendation: I realize it’s a novella, and so there isn’t as much room for expanding all the details, but with a story this good, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add those in and make it into a full length novel. I want to know what I missed! For this reason, I give three quills to Shawnee’s Creek:
I do like Stephy Smith’s style and would happily read more of her books. The uniquely Texas ranch flavor is a great trademark!
Title: God Gave Us Love
Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren
Illustrator: Laura J. Bryant
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Format: Board Book
Release Date: 2011 (the copyright date inside the book says 2009)
Number of Pages: 22
Target Age Group: 2-5 years old
Summary: Little Cub is irritated by the noisy otters. Grampa calms her down by explaining how God wants us to love others. Little Cub is confused because there are different kinds of love. Grampa explains what God expects of her and she asks God to help her show His love to others… even the otters.
Review: This is the first children’s book I have read for review. The illustrations are well done, the characters are cute and lovable. The message is a good one for everyone to hear, since it reminds us that even when people do things we don’t like we should still endeavor to love them the way God does. Unconditionally.
As far as board books go, it seemed like it had a lot more words than a two to five year old would typically sit through, but it did explain love on a level children can understand.
Recommendation: God Gave Us Love is a book to read together with young children, though it may stretch beyond the attention span of the age group. The message is important and can stand to be repeated. I give this book three quills:
I received this book from WaterBrook Press for my honest review.
Title: The Hidden Heiress
Author: Juliet Moore
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services?
Format: Kindle ($.99 on Amazon)
Pages: ? (It says 70,000 words, but it is actually a lot shorter – novella length)
Release Date: October/November 2011
Genre: Romance – Victorian/Historical
Available at: Amazon
Summary: When Isabel Darton finds herself on the business end of a murder plot, she goes into hiding as a governess for a wealthy family in London until she can determine who is trying to assassinate her.
Her new employers have a difficult daughter who has run off all the previous governesses. As a servant of the family, Isabel soon finds that a life of servitude isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Her employers see only her lower station, even though they are forced to include her in some of their social events to avoid unlucky numbers.
Marshall Templeton is a second son, the brother of Isabel’s employer, with a promising political career. As a member of Parliament, his interest in a governess as anything other than a passing fancy is frowned upon in his social circles. The problem is Marshall just can’t get Isabel out of his mind.
Review: I enjoyed this book, though I did like Punish Me with Roses better. The characters were well-developed and there was a very intriguing conflict. I would have liked to see more of the mystery-solving in this one. Isabel does do a little digging, but for the most part she waited for the answers to fall into her lap. Though to be fair, she did have her hands full with the troubled girl as well as two men who couldn’t seem to take no for an answer.
Recommendation: I like Juliet Moore’s story lines. She does a good job drawing the reader into her character’s lives. This wasn’t my favorite of the two books I’ve read, but I do think it’s worth recommending to others. It gets your heart racing in several places. And there are parts you’ll want to re-read. The love story was complete, but there were a few holes in the mystery. For this reason, I give three quills to The Hidden Heiress: