Friday, June 12, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "A Gilded Lady" by Elizabeth Camden

Book Summary (Amazon): Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the first lady of the United States. But beneath the facade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.

Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately suspicious of Caroline despite his overwhelming attraction to her quick wit and undeniable charm. Desperate to keep the president protected, Nathaniel must battle to keep his focus fully on his job as the threat to the president rises.

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel will face adventure, danger, and heartbreak in a race against time that will span the continent and the depth of human emotion.

My thoughts.... This series has, first of all, provided some of the most beautiful covers! The first book, "The Spice King," has an equally beautiful and intriguing cover. "A Gilded Lady" is a new favorite of mine! Elizabeth Camden's books are always historical Christian fiction, and at times it has seemed like the historical content has upstaged the characters. In this novel, however, the historical content, plot, and character development beautifully meshed together. I loved the visuals Camden painted of the Gilded Age, the extravagance of the time, but also of life in the White House during the presidency of William McKinley. I personally did not know much about him, his wife, or his term in office. True to her form, Camden intertwined historically accurate events and people with fictional characters to shed light on this time in American culture. Another aspect of the historical content was the beginnings of the secret service and presidential protection in the White House. As someone who likes "protect and serve" themes, this was also appealing. There were other intrigue aspects regarding Caroline's brother, which affected the build of romantic tension. I also appreciated that even though Caroline was a "lady", she still had a bit of a rebellious streak. Overall, I would highly recommend this novel! While you don't have to read "The Spice King" to follow along, I would recommend it. It offers some insight into some of the events happening in this book. And right now it happens to be on sale for less than $ get it while you can! 

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

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "The Heart of a Hero" by Susan May Warren

Book Summary (Amazon): Jake Silver may not be able to put the memories of his time as a sniper and Navy SEAL behind him, but at least he can put his skills to use as a part of the Jones Inc. rescue team. Saving the life of pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Aria Sinclair on Denali helped too. Now he can't get her out of his head, and when he hears she is in the path of a hurricane down in Key West he can't help but jump on a plane to rescue her.

Aria has dedicated her life to helping children born with defective hearts. After all, she was one of those children. Now driven to succeed, she lives a lonely, stressful life. One she would have lost on Denali if it hadn't been for Jake. Jake is exciting and handsome, but he's also dangerous, and she's already lost one person she loves. She can't bear it again.

It's not until she finds herself trapped in the middle of a category 4 hurricane that she can admit she needs Jake desperately. With their very survival in the balance, can they hope for a second chance at life . . . and love?

My thoughts...The title of this novel really captures the theme of the whole book. Both of the main characters, Jake and Aria, struggle with issues of the heart. Aria not only has to come to terms with her physical heart transplant, but also the trauma of losing her sister and her identity as she continues to live life. Jake struggles with the trauma of PTSD after a particularly difficult mission as a Navy SEAL and a childhood event that impacted his whole family. In the midst of the soul searching, there is a hurricane wreaking havoc in the south of Florida where Aria and Jake are located. This creates several life and death situations. The action and drama in this novel is non-stop, making the pace steady throughout. I loved all of the action elements as nature was not the only villain in the story. Jake and Aria go through a good bit of spiritual warfare, which I appreciated as part of their character development. The romantic tension between Jake and Aria began in the first book of this series and continued into this book. Quite the build up! I always enjoy that part of a novel ; ). This is my first series by Susan May Warren and so far I'm enjoying it. Looking forward to book 3!

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "At Love's Command" by Karen Witemeyer

Book Summary (Amazon): Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger's Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they're the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she's not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger's dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine's respect, and when she hears of her brother's abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.

My thoughts... Karen Witemeyer is one of my go-to authors as I've been reading her books for several years. I'm proud to say I've read all of them! If you're new to Karen's books, some things you can expect are a western setting, strong character development and dialogue, romantic tension (sweet, clean romance), and a balance of external and internal conflict. I am loving this new band of brothers that are introduced in "At Love's Command"! Matthew Hanger is the hero in this novel, the leader of the famous Hangar's Horsemen, and former Civil War officer who struggles with the aftermath of his part in the bloody massacre at Wounded Knee. I love the additional battle that rages in him as his tough, soldier side is met head on with smart and beautiful Dr. Jo. I also liked that the male and female lead characters were a little older and more mature. Dr. Jo is a fun character as well. Strong physically and mentally, "Josie" she is nicknamed...can be ready to perform medical procedures or jump on the back of of horse at a moment's notice. I love that her character is strong but also makes wise choices. A few plot twists were included but the reader is not denied the aspects of the genre that we know and love. As a Christian fiction novel, the main characters experience spiritual encounters and growth throughout the story. The hard part is going to be waiting for the next book in the series to come out! 

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