Review: His Chosen Bride by Sherry Gloag

His Chosen Bride by Sherry Gloag

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: Three Quills

Review: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

Wildflowers from Winter

Title: Wildflowers from Winter

Author: Katie Ganshert

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Format: Paperback (ARC) $9.99

Length: 314 pages

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Genre: Christian romance, Inspirational

Available at: Amazon, Christianbooks, WaterBrook, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Bethany Quinn finally has the life she always wanted. A relationship with a successful lawyer which seemed to be moving forward. A good job with a prestigious architectural firm in Chicago, nice car, expensive clothes, fabulous apartment. A far cry from the broken down trailer and second-hand clothes she knew as a girl. Far away from the small town life she hated. Far away from the memories of her childhood tragedy. Everything is perfect. Just the way she always wanted it to be.

Then everything starts to fall apart, and the small town she was certain she had left behind for good starts to reel her back in, kicking and screaming.

Evan Price knows Bethany’s grandfather better than she does, so when she shows up to care for him after the heart attack, he is understandably resistant to the intrusion. After all, she hadn’t been to visit the man in the entire five years Evan had lived and worked with him. Now she waltzes in with her designer clothes and fancy car, thinking she can make up for years of silence. He is certain she has no concern for anyone but herself. Anyone who can leave her family and best friends without so much as a word has to be a horrible person. So why does he find himself mysteriously drawn to her?

Review: I love the way the author wove this story from start to finish, including powerful and inspirational themes that carry a message of freedom and renewal. Even though it seemed like tragedy was following tragedy for each of the three main characters, the way every one of those tragedies came together to draw each of the characters to where God wanted them to be demonstrated how God can work everything out for his perfect purpose. What was awesome was that it didn’t seem overly preachy, but more as a natural proof of how He draws us to himself, even in the midst of pain we think will never end. Like the way abundant wildflowers follow the harshest winter. Love that.

The characters were true-to-life in the way they reacted and handled themselves when faced with all their personal trials, which made the development of the relationships among them progress in a way that made perfect sense. Bethany’s buried anger and bitterness over her father’s death and the way her mother handled it, Evan’s loss of his brother and the impending loss of his dream life as a farmer, and the sudden death of Robin Price’s husband, leaving her to deal with life and a new pregnancy all alone.

Recommendation: This is a clean and inspirational story that deals with death, grief, faith, renewal, and love. It’s a well developed plot with real conflicts that deal with the human condition. If you’re in the mood for a light read, this wouldn’t be a good choice for you. But if you are looking for something meaningful and moving, Wildflowers from Winter is definitely worthy of a good look. In fact, it’s worthy of five quills in my book.

Five Quills

I was given a free advanced reading copy of this book for my honest review by Blogging for Books.

For more information about the author, the book, or to read an excerpt check out the links below:
Author’s Bio                   More Info @ Book               Read an excerpt                 Author’s Site 

Review: Desperate Measures by Candice Hern

It Happened One Night

Title: Desperate Measures (a Regency short story)

Author: Candice Hern

Publisher: self

Format: E-book

Pages: 32

Release Date: May 29, 2011

Genre: Romance – Regency/Historical

Available at: Amazon (free)

Summary: Lydia Bettridge is in love with a man who seems not to notice her existence. But she has a plan and has enlisted her brother’s friend to assist her in carrying it out. Things fall apart however, when her co-conspirator stands her up and sends in his place the very man she was plotting to catch, Geoffrey Danforth. He knows the plan. He doesn’t know he is the intended victim. Together Lydia and Geoffrey spend an evening pretending to be love-stricken in order to make her “intended” victim notice her enough to become jealous.

Review: Short, sweet and straight to the point. This was a delightful read which can be read in one sitting. Of course, you want more. That’s the point. Get a taste of what the author can do and then go buy her novel-length books, because her writing is like a Pringle’s potato chip. You can’t just have one.

Recommendation: Well worth the time and the price (Um, it’s free. Can’t really go wrong.). You will want to pick up a few of her other titles after you’re done. I enjoyed this and will read it again. I give it four quills:

four quills

Review: The Black Duke’s Prize by Suzanne Enoch

The Black Duke's Prize

Title: The Black Duke’s Prize

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Publisher: NYLA

Format: E-book ($2.99)

Length: novella

Release Date: November 23, 2011

Genre: Romance – Regency

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Summary: The Black Duke is a man with a temper who strikes fear in everyone who knows him. He does what he wants and pity the fool who gets in his way. In spite of his bad humor, he does have a close circle of friends who seem to tolerate him. A group of friends who take under their wing one Katherine Ralston, a young lady of considerable strong will herself — and the only one, it seems, who can put the Black Duke in his place and live to tell about it.

Katherine is the heiress to her deceased parents’ estate, but her uncle is in control of it until she comes of age. He sends her away to London for a Season to live with her godparents, while he secretly sells her inheritance off piece by piece. She suspects his motives and is determined to keep her property. But her plans are thwarted by her own godfather and the Black Duke himself…or so she believes. And in spite of her connection to her inheritance, she will have to choose between that and rescuing the man she loves.

Review: This is a well-written and clean romance novella. It was a quick read and sucked me in to the story line immediately. The plot was well-developed throughout. And the characters were both strong. Their evenly matched tempers made the tension mount steadily, which developed the relationship between them as well as set up the climax of the story. My least favorite thing about it was the double-antagonists, which is less a reflection on the writing and more a reflection of me as reader. I can only take so much confrontation. 🙂

Recommendation: What’s not to like? Great writing. Strong characters. Clean romance. Suspenseful twists and surprises. It’s easy to see why The Black Duke’s Prize has been a top-seller for such a long time. A very enjoyable read. I give this book four quills:

four quills

Review: Shawnee’s Creek by Stephy Smith

Shawnee's Creek by Stephy Smith

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:

Three Quills

I do like Stephy Smith’s style and would happily read more of her books. The uniquely Texas ranch flavor is a great trademark!

Review: Aegean Intrigue by Patricia Kiyono

Aegean Intrigue by Patricia Kiyono

Title: Aegean Intrigue

Author: Patricia Kiyono

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: E-book ($1.99)

Pages: ? (Short story/Novella)

Release Date: February 1, 2012

Genre: Romance – Mystery

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press, Smashwords

Summary: Francie Vasileiou is a graduate student working on her PhD in archaeology in beautiful, culture-rich Greece. Raised by a famous archaeologist father and a famous actress mother, her life was anything but average. In spite of her mother’s plans for her future, she chose a life as an archaeologist– her true passion. Unfortunately, on every dig she is involved with, priceless artifacts have disappeared without explanation, leaving a dark cloud of suspicion on her integrity.

Enter Alex Leonidis, a tall handsome private investigator, hired by a wealthy man with interests in the latest dig site. His objective: to observe Francie closely in order to prove her involvement in the missing artifacts. His plan: to go undercover as a Project Director of the dig site. Alex observed her closely all right — drawn inexplicably to her beauty, her passion and her work ethic. He has a difficult time keeping his mind on his primary objective.

But artifacts are still disappearing. Is Francie the culprit? Or is it one of the other crew members — the old, absent-minded professor, the seemingly inept newbie who is always checking his phone, the crew cook? And what will happen when she finds out he’s been lying to her about who he really is?

Review: This story is one of those whose plot is so engaging you are drawn immediately in. It’s difficult not to want more when it’s so good but it ends so soon. As a short story, it can’t be judged by the same criteria as a full-length novel (though a longer format would have given the room to flesh out all the details of this amazing story).

I would have liked to see more development in the relationship between the two main characters, as most of it is brought about through the internal dialogue of the respective character and not as much through their interaction with one another. But overall, a very enjoyable read. As it is, there is romance, mystery, twists and turns, betrayal, reconciliation, and much more. It’s incredible how the author can pack so much into this story.

Recommendation: This a great book for an afternoon or evening read. You can read it in one sitting, and it keeps you intrigued from start to finish. I give Aegean Intrigue four quills.

four quills

I have The Legacy waiting on my Kindle to read. And I also recommend The Christmas Phoenix — a great Christmas novella.

Review: The Hidden Heiress by Juliet Moore

The Hidden Heiress

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:

Three Quills

Review: Minna and the Valentine by S.G. Rogers

Minna & the Valentine by S.G. Rogers

Title: Minna & the Valentine

Author: S.G. Rogers

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: E-book ($1.99)

Pages: 64 pages

Release Date: January 31, 2012

Genre: Romance – Fantasy

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press

Summary: Minna’s father hates wizards, so Minna has had to keep her secret powers hidden from him. When the head of the wizard school and his protege show up on her doorstep asking for help to seal a rift in the fabric dividing alternate realities, Minna is forced to choose between saving the world and guarding her secret.

Minna and the wizard’s protege set off on their quest to retrieve the magic letter opener and repair the rift, but they get much more than they bargain for when they realize their destinies are connected inextricably on both sides of the rift.

Review: This a short read with a straightforward plot. It was light-hearted and clean, and fun to read. Since I hadn’t read anything from this author before, it gave me a small taste of what to expect from her longer works. As a short story or novella goes, it was well done. It focused on two main conflicts: the rift had to be fixed and the two main characters had to realize they were meant for each other.

If the author wanted to make this into a longer novel, it could easily be done. I definitely would read the longer version as well. It would give more time to develop both conflicts and build suspense. As it is, the characters and setting are well written and offer an enjoyable story, including some surprising twists along the way.

Recommendation: I haven’t read a whole lot of magic/fantasy. The genre makes me a little nervous, but S.G. Rogers did an excellent job with this story. I believe the primary age group is young adult here, but adults who enjoy fantasy will like this as well. A great book to read when you want something light, quick and fun. I give Minna & the Valentine four quills.

four quills

Review: Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley

Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley

Title: Eye of the Sword (Book 2 of the Angelaeon Circle Series)

Author: Karyn Henley

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Format: ebook or paperback ($9.99 available for pre-order)

Pages: 256 pages

Release Date: March 13, 2012

Genre: Romance – Contemporary

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, WaterBrook Press

Summary: The land blight is spreading and the Camrithian comains, the kingdom’s protectors, have disappeared. If the three kyparis harps are not united by the time the stars align, they will have to wait another two hundred years to restore the Wisdom Tree. By then the blight will have destroyed the earth.

The king of Camrithia charges his newly appointed comain, Trevin, to make a journey to the north to consult the Oracle, find the missing comains, and return the two missing harps to the princess. But he’s working against the clock. If he is not back within the month, the princess will marry the evil prince Varic of the Dregmoors.

Varic would like nothing more to kill Trevin and end his quest before it starts. And Trevin has his own demons of guilt haunting him as well. With so much riding on his completion of the quest, Trevin has to discover who he truly is, and fast. What better place to find the answers than the Eye of the Sword.

Review: The plot is seamless and engages the reader from the very beginning with an immediate life or death scene. I felt like the world the author created was well-developed, though since it is the second book in a series, and I didn’t read the first book, I think it took me a little longer to figure out all the nuances of the setting.

The writing style has a very Anne McCaffrey flavor, with angels and winged horses woven into the story line. The hero proves himself on a quest, finding out who he is in the process. The story wraps up nicely at the end, and although there is more to come in a third book for a complete resolution, I was satisfied with the ending. Well done, Karyn Henley!

Recommendation: I loved this book. It’s been awhile since I’ve read something with a medieval-like setting, with quests and oracles and sword-fights. I do recommend reading Breath of Angel, the first book in the Angelaeon Circle series, and then read through all the books in order. However, I read this book first and was not lost at all. But I would have liked to have a more in-depth understanding of the history of the characters. Honestly, I enjoyed this book so much, I intend to go back and read the first one and any others that follow in the series. I award Eye of the Sword my highest rating:

Five Quills

I received this book for free fromWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. More information about this author and book can be found at the following sites:

Karyn Henley’s author page        More Info about the Book       Sneak Peek at Chapter One        Author Bio

Review: Jamais Vu by Monique O’Connor James

Jamais Vu by Monique O'Connor James

Title: Jamais Vu

Author: Monique O’Connor James

Publisher: Astraea Press

Format: E-book ($.99 at the time of this review)

Pages: 227 pages

Release Date: October 3, 2011

Genre: Paranormal

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Astraea Press

Summary: Darby Lambert had the picture perfect life — a wealthy family, a nice car, a good education, a successful, good-looking boyfriend, a bright future. But one bullet threw her whole life, her whole existence, careening out of control.

Somewhere between death and life, Darby meets a man who sends her back to help people escape an untimely death. She sees these the deaths of these people in her dreams. One of these people is the talented musician, Kasey, who is in danger of overdosing on drugs.

The immediate connection between Darby and Kasey draws them into each other’s lives. Darby tries to convince Kasey to kick his drug habit, all the while running from demons of her own.

The author takes the reader on a journey with the main character from her “death”, through her efforts to save people who have come to hold a prominent place in her life. Unfortunately, there are forces working against her that seem to be winning.

Review: This is a tough one for me to review because it’s unlike anything I’ve read before. It is definitely a rare style of writing, and the author does it well. I love it’s unique flavor and imaginitive plot.

The writing is fantastic. The reader’s attention is captured from the very beginning, and the plot is built slowly for the first two-thirds of the book, continually adding more intricacies to the conflict. The author does a good job developing the main character throughout her traumatic recovery, eventually bringing her to a full self-awareness.

The last third of the story moves fast. So fast, that when the end comes, you might sit there for a few minutes to digest what just happened. It’s a thinker.

Recommendation: It might not be for everyone, because it is a bit of a wild ride through the main character’s stream of consciousness. From what I understand, the second book in the series brings it all together, so the questions you are left with at the end of Jamais Vu are answered in Deja Vu. If you’re not afraid to try something new and different in your reading repertoire, you are in for an amazing trip.  I give Jamais Vu a rating of four quills:

four quills

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