Saturday, April 21, 2018

Reviewer's Bookshelf: The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Book Summary (Amazon): The last time New Orleans attorney Jean-Luc Valmont saw Maribel Cordoba, a Spanish nobleman’s daughter, she was an eleven-year-old orphan perched in the riggings of his privateering vessel proving herself as the best lookout on his crew. Until the day his infamy caught up with them all and innocent lives were lost. Unsure why he survived but vowing to make something of the chance he was given, Jean-Luc has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—until a very much alive and very grown up Maribel Cordoba arrives on his doorstep and threatens all he now holds dear. 

My thoughts...This is the first novel I've read by Kathleen Y'Barbo. I found the title interesting, the cover gorgeous, and wanted to take a chance with a new-to-me author. I'm glad I did! This was an entertaining book and although the connection to the previous book in this series was a bit of a stretch, I liked the storyline. 

I found the first half of this story the most entertaining. Not as a romance, but as an adventure that featured the bravery and wit of a determined eleven-year-old and her friendship with a bit of a rough crew of men. Maribel didn't complain about her circumstances, but instead became a valuable part of the ship's crew. I also liked the way the transition from the first part to the second part was made as Maribel grew into adulthood and Jean-Luc went from ship captain to attorney, even though there are not a lot of details on those years. The only part I struggled with was the last half of the novel. I won't give anything away, but it felt rushed. I wanted more development on the mystery part of the story as well as the romantic aspect. It all came together so quickly that I found it hard to be believable.  It also felt a little strange for the hero/heroine to have a romantic relationship after they had a very different relationship for most of the story (he as an adult and she as a child). Overall, it was entertaining, but not for the reasons that I thought it would be....I was expecting more of a romance.

Personal takeaway: God orders our steps, even in the midst of hardship.

**I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley, so that I could share my honest opinions. ** 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Reviewer's bookshelf: The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy

Book summary (Goodreads): Trace Riley has been self-appointed guardian of the trail ever since his own wagon was attacked. When he finds the ruins of a wagon train, he offers shelter to survivor Deborah Harkness and the children she saved. Trace and Deborah grow close working to bring justice to the trail, but what will happen when the attackers return to silence the only witness?

My thoughts...This book has all the things I love about a Mary Connealy western. Well, it may not have as much female sass that I love in some of her older books, but I am still in love with these new characters and storyline. But let me mention this cover. So different from Connealy's previous covers...and I love it! A great capture of this story and hopefully of what's to come. 

I'm going to get a little giddy for a moment. I basically read this book in less than 24 hours. I couldn't put it down! I have been reading this author's books for so long now, some of which I've reread because I loved them so much. Connealy knows how to amp up the romantic tension in a way that keeps it clean but fun. In The Accidental Guardian, the character I loved most was Trace. His vulnerability just leapt off the page, yet he had a complexity that gave him room to grow through the story. The story begins when Trace picked up Deb, her sister, and the children they were protecting and took them in after their wagon train was attacked. Deb was the heroine in this story, showing courage in the midst of hardship and heartache. She wasn't the gun slinging, sassy female that I tend to lean towards, but her perseverance, and quiet strength really complemented Trace's character. 

This novel is obviously the beginning of a new series, so don't be too disappointed if it leaves you wanting more at the end. I can't wait to read what is going to happen next! I would definitely recommend this book. 

Personal takeaway...God can redeem any person or situation. If we put it all in His hands, He is the true Guardian of our hearts and lives.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley so that I could share my personal opinions. I was not required to give a positive review.**