Book Review: Lake Season by Denise Hunter

Charming!

The first story in a brand-new series, Lake Season invites readers to the Bluebell Inn in a small North Carolina town where a lost letter, a chance for new love, and old secrets beckon.

Family, relationships, secrets, struggles, life, love, loss – Lake Season by Denise Hunter has it all. With her characteristic charm, Hunter has developed this novel – to be released next Tuesday – beautifully. It’s an endearing first title in a new series (hooray!) that hits all the points.

The characters, the plot, the setting (oh my – the setting!) all meld into this sweet tale with elements of mistaken identities, romance, and small town life. Another definite recommended read – sure to be a success for Ms. Hunter and Thomas Nelson.

I read it in a single sitting and missed too much sleep, but it was worth it. Likeable, flawed characters and a familiar story done slightly differently, all I can say is if you’re a fan of contemporary Christian fiction, you’ll want to pick it up a copy next week and block off a chunk of time to cozy up with this one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Review: The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep


Taciturn & Tender –
Adventurous Historical Christian Romance

If you are looking for historical Christian fiction brimming with the characterization of a taciturn, valiant hero and a lively, generous heroine, while courting danger around every bend and the demonstration of courage in the face of disappointments, Michelle Griep’s The Noble Guardian has it all! Adventure. History. Romance. The third in The Bow Street Runners series, it’s easy to read as a standalone (but having read this title, I’ll definitely be adding the first two titles to my to-be-read stack.)

Griep has a wonderful way with words and kindly shares some of her historical research aspects with her readers at the back of the book. I have no remarks on the aspect of historical accuracy, because I’m generally reading the genre for the escape, not the realism. I’m guessing based on the facts she shared, most aspects were pretty spot-on.

Back to the story itself… two bruised individuals, an adorable cherub of a child, and well-shaped secondary characters shine. At 32o pages in the paperback format, it’s not a short book, but it’s quite the tale of longing, revenge, and as mentioned previously, danger (almost ridiculous amounts of danger, to be honest. I mean it’s fiction, but life just kept throwing one curveball after another – which of course they handled with fortitude and style.) They faced seemingly insurmountable hurdles while trying to navigate their futures and escape the wounds of their pasts while racing cross-country through Regency England.

Romance was sweetly threaded throughout and, of course, love triumphs all. One of my favourite quotes from the book was just before the half-way point, when the Captain (our hero!) insists Abby (our heroine) is more valuable than she realises and calls her a gem. *sigh* (I’d quote the exact line but my copy was uncorrected and I don’t want to get it wrong!) Honestly, coming from such a sullen man and in the early stages of their alliance it was really quite the tender and endearing scene (with a typical touch of gruffness from a pensive man.) The story was liberally sprinkled with references to faith and the characters’ development of conviction and hope. As they lean on each other, they each find safety – both physically and emotionally – as they become the family they’ve always needed.

I truly enjoyed this spin on my go-to genre and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a heartwarming historical tale of hope and redemption. You can pre-order your copy now through all major booksellers. It’s a 4.5 star for me!

I was provided with a complimentary Advanced Reader Copy of this title through NetGalley with thanks to the publisher and author. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published by: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Book Review: Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Markert

Colourful Cover & Descriptive Writing

This week I took the opportunity to crack open my copy of Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Markert. It’s published by Thomas Nelson and sounded fascinating when I requested it from NetGalley. However, I only gave it a 3-star rating on Goodreads. I waffled back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but something about the book just didn’t synch with me.

Loaded with mythology, art, beauty, damaged souls, and so many memories, it was an incredibly descriptive work. Colourful, lyrical prose flowed beautifully – Markert has an aesthetic way with words. Differences in theology aside – there were a lot of reliance and parallels to ancient mythology which worked with the artistic references and theme of the novel – the pictures painted in my mind were vivid and from that aspect, I was more than satisfied.

The storyline, however, while magical left me feeling a little lost at the end. (and in the beginning, and in the middle….) Part of me wonders if this was intentional considering the subject of memory (and/or subsequently, memory loss) and the effect on the human soul. At times, it was a little dry and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending. Emotions were invoked, but as I set my tablet down when I finished the book I was figuratively scratching my head with a “huh.” It was a good book… but a strange book. It just didn’t hook me as an absolute favourite. One thing I loved, however, was the question of whether we should live our numbered days with fullness, or extend our days and live with less wholeness – is the return of memories lost worth it? My creative disposition appreciated the beauty of the arts so deeply woven throughout. The novel as a whole… enjoyed it? Yes; Liked it? Yes; Really liked it? Just not quite. 3.5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Publication Date: April 9, 2019

Book Review: Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

I was awarded a copy of Castle on the Rise (part 2 in the Lost Castle series) by new-to-me author Kristy Cambron. This book takes place in three eras of Ireland’s riveting history (present, early 20th century, and the 1700s.) It was not a time travel tale. It was a story of resilience, independence, family drama, love, loss, faith, and conviction.

The lives of the characters from each era were twined together in a remarkable tale detailing the struggles of Irish history and rebellions. Each setting was tied together through family trees and national loyalties, with the basis of the interactions focusing on a historical estate and neighbourhood pub. I found it fascinating and emotional to read.

It wasn’t an easy book to read – I put it down between chapters much more often than I usually do. This wasn’t due to boredom so much as just needing to let my mind change track between the different eras. The romance was clean and sweet, the troubles and trials daunting.

The modern characters weren’t as well developed (in my opinion), but it was a colourful novel that makes me want to pack my bags and catch the next flight to the Emerald Isle. Ths historical elements were beautifully written in vivid detail. It piqued my interest in so much more than the landscapes of this beautiful country. I want to know more about her history, culture, and people’s fierce pride and independence. Women were the unsung heroes of this tale.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Published by Thomas Nelson; Publication Date – 05 Feb 2019