Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Woman of Sunlight" by Mary Connealy

Book summary (Amazon): After years of isolation on top of Hope Mountain, Ilsa Nordegren may finally be ready to leave. Raised to fear the world, Ilsa and her sisters never planned on coming down, but when the Warden family arrived in need, they had to help. And it may cost them everything.

Having made his fortune, Mitch Warden returned home and found the family homestead abandoned. In a land grab, a ruthless cattle baron had forced his family to escape up the mountain, and when he follows, the last thing he expects is to fall smitten to a black-haired woman who dresses like Robin Hood.

Warden is intent on helping his family reclaim their land, but doesn't realize the risks his past has brought. Dangerous men have tracked him, and rather than risk innocent lives, he's determined to end the danger. But that means a journey to the city--and when Ilsa insists on joining him, the mismatched pair suddenly find themselves on a venture they'll never forget.

My thoughts...Living in the quarantine era, I'm actually enjoying a little slower pace of life and those quiet moments in the evening when I'm able to read. In light of all that's happening in our world right now, this book was just the escape I needed! "Woman of Sunlight" is about love, courage, loyalty, and trusting God in the face of evil and uncertainty. Mitch is not going to sit around and wait for head hunters to take him down...he's going to fight back. In one of those heated battles, he sees the fairy-like Ilsa turn into a force to be reckoned with. She isn't afraid to fight, and is quite good at it, too. I loved the way that Mitch and Ilsa were a pair of warriors, complementing each other in their fierceness and skill. The action scenes were fantastic! I also appreciated how Mitch let go of any reservations he had about trusting Ilsa and learned to work with her as an equal teammate. The romantic tension in Connealy's novels are some of the best there is. The fun banter between characters, their thoughts about the woman or man they are attracted to, little tidbits here and there that hint at what's going on after the "fade to black" it all! Connealy really captures the passion perfectly. Ilsa's journey is probably my favorite. Due to her isolation, she hasn't had the opportunities to learn about things most people take for granted. Her determination to keep learning and understanding, and Mitch's patience in teaching her, really made me think. I'm a teacher, and sometimes it is easy to get frustrated when my students (and now my own children who I'm doing homeschooling with during the quarantine) don't understand things easily. Taking a humble and patient approach is the best, and most effective, way. Appreciated how that was portrayed in this novel.

I loved this book and would also recommend the first book in the series, "Aiming for Love." Click here to see my review!

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

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "The Fifth Avenue Story Society" by Rachel Hauck

Book Summary (Goodreads): Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.

Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.

Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.

Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.

Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.

When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to bear their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.

Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.

My thoughts...A common thread in Rachel Hauck's books is a supernatural element that isn't completely explained, so it leaves the mystery up to the reader to solve. It gives her stories something unique that I now expect and enjoy. Real life emotions and situations are also portrayed in a way that is very believable. The author has a way of writing reality that is true, but still appropriate for this genre. 
I could relate so well to the struggle it is to communicate with those we love. Our pride or selfishness can often get in the way when we fail to tell our loved ones exactly how we feel. It can often lead to mistakes, bad decisions, and hurt feelings. I loved seeing restored communication played out in the lives of all the characters in this book. Hope and love were the feelings I was left with at the end of this book, and for me, that was a great takeaway.
I would definitely recommend "The Fifth Avenue Story Society" as well as "The Memory House," which has a similar feel as this novel. Both are excellent!

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