Sunday, November 29, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Her Secret Song" by Mary Connealy


Book Summary (Amazon): After a rough winter spent alone, Ursula Nordegren realizes she must overcome her fears of the outside world and begins a trek down Hope Mountain. Along the way she finds a badly wounded stranger and realizes God may have used her decision to leave as a way of saving the man. 

Wax Mosby was climbing Hope Mountain in part to atone for his terrible choices. He was hired to drive out the Warden family and now knows he was duped. But when he's wounded during the climb, the last person he expects to rescue him is a beautiful blond woman with the voice of an angel. 

As both Ursula and Wax weigh the costs of living new lives, the two find an unlikely bond. And they're joined by Ursula's sisters and the Warden family as the final showdown over the family ranch looms with the coming of spring. 

My thoughts....The Brides of Hope Mountain series has featured three interesting sisters, this book being about Ursula, the oldest of the trio. Each sister has unique survival talents, Ursula's being the ability to throw a small axe. I am a big fan of Mary Connealy's female characters, most of which show a lot of grit and sass. I loved that the three Nordegren sisters not only had strengths, but weaknesses, which gave room for their characters to grow. At the beginning of the novel, Ursula was stricken with fear concerning the dangers of life beyond Hope Mountain. The mountain represented safety most of her life, but with the arrival of the Wardens, she had to face her fears...which led to guilt and shame when she faltered. Then the grit kicked in...and she rescues a stranger.
    The beginning of this novel was probably my favorite part. When Ursula meets Wax, she transforms. She finally meets a man that she has no choice but to connect with, and the romantic tension escalated. I never get tired of the rescue then nurse someone to health storyline. As the novel continues, the middle section dipped a little for me as far as tension goes, but picked back up, with an action packed ending. The characters' personalities really came out with an added punch of that grit, sass, and humor I really enjoy. 
    While this could be read as a stand-alone novel, I would definitely recommend starting with the first book in the series, "Aiming for Love," and read them in order. If you're a fan of western Christian romance, you won't be disappointed! 

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

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "A Portrait of Loyalty" by Roseanna M. White


Book Summary (Amazon): Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon's loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple's future dreams--it becomes a matter of ending the war.

My thoughts...My thoughts begin with this beautiful cover! It reminds me of not only what the heroine, Lily Blackwell, does as her work and her hobby (photography), but it actually looks like a photo that Lily would take herself. I loved the details that described every step of this part of her story, from the actual taking of a picture to its development. I had no idea that altering photos played a role in warfare that early in time. 

The depth of both main characters, Lily and Zivon, kept me intrigued the whole time. Zivon's Russian background held personal interest as I have traveled to Russia and have read other books on Russian history. Zivon's background was complicated, but seeing it unravel as the story went on was very satisfying. Lily's innocence paired with a profession that involved espionage created a great contrast and moral dilemma. 

Each book in the Codebreakers series has had elements of romance, espionage, wartime drama and suspense. I would highly recommend not only this book in the series, which could be read as a stand-alone novel, but all three! 

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