Thursday, October 10, 2019

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Aiming for Love" by Mary Connealy

Book Summary (Goodreads): Growing up in Colorado, Josephine Madson has been fascinated by but has shied away from the outside world--one she's been raised to believe killed her parents. When Dave Warden, a rancher, shows up to their secret home with his wounded father, will Josephine and her sisters risk stepping into the world to help or remain separated but safe on Hope Mountain?

My thoughts...What a great way to start a new series by Mary Connealy! I loved the cover...reminded me of a female Robin Hood...which is fun to me. The concept of this novel had several interesting aspects. A trio of sisters who have basically raised themselves on a mountain in the wilds of the west, living without disturbance until a family from the bottom of the mountain enters their territory. This throws their controlled environment off kilter. Suddenly men are around, men who are younger than the only man they ever really knew, their grandpa. This challenges all they know...and don't know...about the opposite sex. There is also a new woman in their midst, a woman who acts and treats them much differently than their grandmother. While these three sisters are so courageous and strong with so many things, they have been raised on a hefty dose of fear about others. I also found their perspectives on the Bible and how they were taught to "read" very interesting...a nice element to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Josephine and look forward to reading the next book in the series!

**I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in order to give my honest opinion, which I did.**

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Hope's Highest Mountain" by Misty M. Beller

Book Summary (Goodreads)...On her way to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory, Ingrid Chastain never anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man, she's hesitant to trust him, but the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.

My thoughts...This was my first book by Misty M. Beller and I REALLY enjoyed it! My expectation was that this was just going to be a little easy read in between a few other books I was reading...and it turned out to be so much more than I expected. The vulnerability of Ingrid as she is injured in a terrible accident creates a connection between her and her rescuer. As she struggles to survive, her hero is dedicated to doing all that he can to keep her alive, even if it brings up difficult memories of his own. His battle with a form of PTSD due to his experiences in trying to bring healing to those in need challenges him mentally and emotionally, even as he is battling the physical elements of being on a mountain with winter approaching. While these characters began as strangers, they had to learn to trust each other with their lives. I liked the plot twists as well, especially as Ingrid began to heal and wanted to complete the mission she set out to do. Ingrid's stubbornness was a character trait that I have mixed thoughts about. At times, it certainly served its purpose in the story...other times it was kind of irritating ; ). But the overall outcome was definitely one I liked. I could definitely see myself reading this one again!

**I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in order to give my honest opinions, which I did.**

Monday, October 7, 2019

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "The Spice King" by Elizabeth Camden

Book Summary (Goodreads): Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?
My thoughts... I immediately fell in love with this cover the first time I saw it. I found myself curious...who is the Spice King? What's his story? I also knew from past books I've read from Elizabeth Camden that this would have some ties to historical events. How would Camden weave true events and fictional characters into a compelling story? 
Gray and Annabelle have contrasting histories. Gray comes from a wealthy family that lost their wealth in the Civil War and had to build it back up from nothing. Gray knows what it's like to be wealthy, lose it all, and gain wealth once again. Annabelle has never had the wealth that Gray has, but through her poverty and desire to help her family, she sacrifices almost everything to provide them with a better life. Yet even in her sacrifice she is able to something she with plants.  That's something I appreciate about her character, yet it's also at times a flaw. She is willing to sacrifice everything out of duty instead of fight for what she wants at times. This could just be another cultural aspect of that time period, but I mentally wanted to say, "Come on, girl!" When she is approached by those who are in positions of power and manipulated to spy for them, that's when the moral conflict begins. 
Part of me wanted Annabelle to outsmart those "bad guys"...and her naivete was at times frustrating. Yet I was pleasantly surprised that there were twists in the plot that didn't follow the typical. Predictability is not always a bad thing...because let's be honest...I love a happy ending. It's how the characters get there that makes it fun. The journey Gray and Annabelle take is interesting, entertaining, and redemptive. If you enjoy historical Christian fiction, you'll enjoy this newest novel by Elizabeth Camden. 

**I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in order to give my honest opinions, which I did.**