Swept Off Her Feet

Swept Off Her Feet by Hester BrowneSwept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne told the enchanted tale of Evie Nicholson is head over heels in love with all things of the past. Evie is an antiques appraiser who spends more time imagining the stories surrounding the antique items than finding the monetary value in them much to the chagrin of her boss.

Evie comes from a family which believes that anything older than a few years should be thrown away. Evie feels the stark difference between her family’s extremely organized lives and homes. When her sister Alice offers her the opportunity to appraise an old Scottish castle called Kettlesheer rumored to be filled with incredible antiques, Evie jumps at the chance. It also helps that Alice’s boyfriend and the man Evie has a bit of a crush on will be accompanying her up in preparation for the annual ball thrown each year at Kettlesheer.

Upon arrival, Evie finds herself in love with the house and the pieces it contains. She is in paradise, imagining herself regally descending the staircase for a ball or being escorted by a handsome man. One thing she’s not so sure about is Robert McAndrew, the current heir to the castle who wants nothing more than to get rid of all the “junk” the castle contains.

I loved this book! It was playful and imaginative. Evie was comical and loveable and someone I could easily relate to. I mean what girl who’s read Pride and Prejudice or seen Downton Abbey hasn’t had a few fantasies as the female lead? I know I have. The supporting characters were great with the exception of Ingrid and Shelia whom I kept mixing up.

I liked Robert even if I didn’t always know what he was thinking or his motives. There were a lot of things I thought clarification would have greatly helped move the story along. But overall, I really enjoyed reading it. It’s a very hard book to put down!

Paper Roses

Paper Roses by Amanda CabotPaper Roses by Amanda Cabot begins with Sarah Dobbs journeying from Philadelphia to San Antonio with her little sister Thea to marry Austin Canfield, the man who has wooed her with his prosaic letters. She not only accepted his offer of marriage because of the beautiful words he wrote her but because she needed to escape the gossip and recrimination she has faced back East.

When Austin’s brother, Clay is the one to greet her, Sarah knows that something is not right. And it isn’t because Austin is dead. Sarah knows she can’t go back East. Not after what happened. She has to find a way to survive in this new town and provide a home for her sister.

Clay doesn’t know what to do with Sarah. He never wanted her or her sister to come in the first place. Clay is stuck working his father’s ranch, something he can’t wait to leave behind. But he can’t do that until he has gotten revenge for his brother’s murder.

This was a book about the importance of forgiveness. Both Sarah and Clay carry around a deep hurt and have turned that into anger at those who have caused them this pain. In doing so, they are not only hurting themselves but preventing anything from happening between them.

Both Sarah and Clay were very strong people with real problems. They had to deal with a lot and did it well. Their struggles were real and their approach was incredibly human. It took time and support to help them heal their wounds. This book had mystery and love and adventure. The supporting characters were well developed and added greatly to the story. I loved the faith woven throughout this book. It had the perfect presence without being too overwhelming. This was a beautiful story and one I heartily recommend.

I’ve Got Your Number

I've Got Your Number by Sophie KinsellaI’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella was such a lovely read! The moment I finished reading this book, I sent a text to my sister telling her she has to read it! You know a book is good if this happens. I’ve read a lot by Sophie Kinsella, not all of which I have equally liked. I loved this book, and actually, it’s my favorite of hers so far!

The book begins with Poppy frantically searching a hotel conference room which she has just lost during an impromptu fire drill. Her phone gets stolen, and she’s about to have a total meltdown. But then she sees a phone tossed into a trash bin, and she just can’t resist picking it up and claiming it as her own. This is when the hilarious stuff really begins.

I want to tell you all the funny parts that I absolutely loved, but I don’t want to ruin them for you so I won’t. I thought Poppy was incredibly funny and just a loveable character. She was ridiculous in a realistic way. She is a very engaging character. I had to force myself to put this book down so I could get at least a few hours of sleep. Don’t worry though because the next chance I got, I inhaled the rest of this book.

This was a real page-turner. I absolutely loved it! It had some romance, some drama, and lots of comedy! Fans of Sophie Kinsella will love it!

Faith’s Reward

Faith's Reward by Tammy BarleyFaith’s Reward by Tammy Barley concludes the journey of Jess and Jake Bennett and is just as good as the first two novels. Jess is expecting their first child after months of trying, but her life has not gotten any easier. Their cattle they fought so hard to save threaten to freeze to death, and through trying to save them Jake catches pneumonia. Though winter ends, and spring brings forth much needed rain, their troubles are not over. Southerners are still being threatened, and Jake knows that Jess and their ranch won’t truly be safe until they’re stopped.

Meanwhile, Jess knows that their ranch is on the brink of being lost and decides to hunt down her lost inheritance and sets off on a dangerous journey back to the town where she lost her parents and baby sister to a fire meant to kill her as well.

I love love LOVE! this series! I cannot say too many good things about it! This book was just as amazing as I was expecting. All of the characters are layered, and I was still learning more about Jake and Jess in their third novel. Tammy Barley creates believable situations and turmoil to put her characters through to help them grow. I wish that I could read about them forever! Their lives are so interesting and intriguing. I would recommend this book to everyone and have! I cannot wait to read more by this author in the future!

Hope’s Promise

Hope's Promise by Tammy BarleyHope’s Promise by Tammy Barley is the second book in the Sierra Chronicles following Love’s Rescue. The story of Jess and Jake picks up a few months after the last book left off. They are now happily married and back home on their ranch. Their life is not without problems though. Jake is worried that the life will become too hard for Jess to bear especially since they are in the midst of a terrible drought. He fears that he would not be enough to keep her at the ranch. Jess feels terrible because she believes that their long absence and idea to turn the ranch into a horse farm has jeopardized the ranch Jake has worked so hard to build. She also is in great pain about her seeming inability to conceive the child she so desperately desires.

The ranch is suffering with the drought and the illegal selling of half of their land while men are attacking the Paiute Indians who work and live on the ranch.

I completely devoured this book the moment I had it in my grasp. All the characters, even those secondary to Jess and Jake, are so well developed with such distinct personalities. I love the drive everyone has to make the ranch work and to protect the people who have made it their home against the prejudices and hatred of others. Jess and Jake are incredibly strong characters who fit perfectly together. Jake’s patience and gentle manner perfectly balance out Jess’s stubbornness and outgoing personality.

I loved watching their relationship grow as a married couple. I loved how they dealt with the problems with the ranch and their own inner problems. I also love how faith-filled they both are, never despairing for too long because they knew they were protected in God’s hands.

This is an incredibly compelling book and just as good as the first. There are so many twists and turns and unexpected events to keep a reader interested. The characters are wonderful, and you can’t help but fall in love with them, especially Jake! Though you don’t necessarily have to read Love’s Rescue to read this one, you would be missing out on a great book and the first chapter in the story of Jess and Jake.

Love’s Rescue

Love's Rescue by Tammy BarleyI absolutely loved Love’s Rescue by Tammy Barley! The novel takes place during the Civil War which is mostly in the background of the story. Jessica Hale’s family has recently moved to the Nevada Territory to escape the conflicts arising in Kentucky. But Jessica’s brother Ambrose cannot leave his home so easily and goes back to help his hometown’s militia defend his home. When Jessica loses contact with him, she’ll do anything to find him, but finds herself in the middle of an angry mob who believes her to be sympathetic to the Confederacy when she tries to send a telegram in search of her brother whose militia had joined the South.

Jack Bennett, a rancher, steps in and saves her and later “kidnaps” her and brings her to her ranch to keep her safe from those who mean her harm. Jessica who once thought Jake admirable now thinks him despicable and tries everything she can to escape from him and return to her home. But Jake is not so willing to let her go, not when it could mean he would be losing the woman he is slowly falling in love with.
I couldn’t stop reading this from the moment I picked it up. Jessica is fiery and independent. She is also caring and willing to help those around her. Jake is amazing to say the least. He shows nothing but respect for Jessica and “kidnaps” her not for his own pleasure but to keep her safe. He doesn’t let her escape not because he wants to keep her trapped but because he knows the dangers that she would face as a woman on her own.
Jake and Jessica fit together well, and it doesn’t take too long for them to figure it out. Neither, especially Jessica, are willing to admit it to the other. The characters were incredibly realistic and the story flowed seamlessly. Nothing felt contrived, and everything was revealed in a smooth manner. When I finished the last page, all I wanted was to read more and was more than excited to discover that a sequel is in the making. The instant it comes out, I’ll be enjoying it thoroughly I’m sure!

The Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina SimonsThe Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons took my breath away. Absolutely and completely took my breath away. The story opens on June 22, 1941, the day Russia goes to war with invading Germany. It is on this day where everything is in chaos that Tatiana and Alexander meet. Tatiana is a young, innocent girl, and Alexander is an officer in the Red Army. Nothing is certain in their lives except for their love for each other.

Tatiana struggles to hide her love from her sister Dasha who is convinced that Alexander is the one for her. Add in the blockade of Leningrad, and Tatiana and Alexander have incredible hurdles to get over. I don’t want to say anymore, plot-wise as I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I won’t even tell you how they meet because it’s just so magical and carries throughout the entire book (and series for that matter).

I have loved this book since the instant I began reading it. Tatiana and Alexander climb from the pages and into reality through Simons’ words. You go through their struggles, their hunger, their longing, and their love. You feel every emotion as if it were happening to you. You cry with them, and laugh with them, and love with them. Their story is truly epic. One that will survive forever.

You will not want to put this book down once you start. I brought it with me everywhere. I read it at the gym, at stoplights, on work breaks, before bed, eating breakfast. I wanted to read it again the instant I finished it. And the last few lines are so beautiful that you won’t be able to stop your tears. Don’t worry I won’t spoil them for you.

I spent such a long time trying to find some quotes to share with you that won’t lessen the magic of the story, and I could only come up with one:

“They kissed as if in a fever…they kissed as if the breath were leaving their bodies.”

I think it embodies the relationship between Tatiana and Alexander perfectly. So beautiful. So incredible. So amazing. If I could experience a life such as theirs, I don’t know if I could survive, but if I have a man who loves me the way Alexander loves Tatiana nothing could tear us apart.

Please do me a favor, do yourself a favor, and read this book. You will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t.

Wizard’s First Rule

Wizard's First Rule by Terry GoodkindWizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind is the first novel in the series The Sword of Truth. Richard Cypher is an ordinary woodsman until he saves a beautiful woman in white. From that moment onward, Richard’s life is going to change forever. Richard finds out that Zedd the man who has mentored him his entire life is actually a wizard, a very powerful one at that, who soon names Richard the next Seeker of Truth. Along with Zedd, Kahlan (the woman in white), and his loyal friend Chase, Richard sets out to cross the boundary that separates Westland from the Midlands where Kahlan is from to stop the evil Darken Rahl from finding all three boxes of Orden which would allow him to rule all life.

On their way, Richard encounters countless creatures and people he could never have dreamed existed. He also finds himself falling in love with Kahlan who knows that there can be nothing between them.
I first decided to read this book after watching The Legend of the Seeker, the television series which is based off of this book series. I enjoyed the show which led me to believe that I would enjoy the books. I wasn’t wrong. I enjoyed this book a lot, even if the show and it differ greatly in some respects. I thought the relationship between Kahlan and Richard developed more realistically in the novel. There were some parts in the book that I thought were entirely unnecessary and make me ill to think about them. Because of them, I would not recommend it to someone who has not reached high school.
I haven’t read a fantasy book in a while and was not disappointed. I have the next two books and will read them after a few other books I have in mind, only because the book is long and some parts gruesome. I need something lighter first before I delve back into the life of the Seeker.

Late Night Talking

Late Late Night Talking by Leslie SchnurNight Talking by Leslie Schnur is about Jeannie Sterling who has a late-night radio show. One night Jeannie has a less than pleasant run in with a Hummer driver and proceeds to rant about him on-air only to find out that this same man is Nicholas Moss, the new owner of the radio station. She soon finds herself attracted to him but finds her life spinning out of control as she starts to lose her best friend Luce.

This novel was just okay for me. I didn’t like it as much as I was expecting too. There was something about the characters that didn’t quite work for me. I read Leslie Schnur’s previous novel, The Dog Walker, and felt pretty much the same way. I felt the book had potential but didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

How to Sleep with a Movie Star

How to Sleep with a Movie Star by Kristin HarmelHow to Sleep with a Movie Star by Kristin Harmel was a lot better than I expected. Claire Reilly has just caught her boyfriend in her bed with another woman. Claire is heartbroken and decides to drown her sorrows at a bar. There she runs into Cole Brannon, a famous and handsome movie star she had interviewed earlier that day for the entertainment magazine she works for. Cole is unlike the other movie stars she’s interviewed and makes sure she gets home safely and that her ex-boyfriend is no longer around.

Unfortunately, the tabloids publish a story that places Claire in Cole’s bed. Claire’s reputation is ruined, and she blames Cole. Her life continues to spiral downward, and she can’t seem to stop it. Can she see that not everything is as it seems before she loses the man of her dreams?
I picked this book up on sale and wasn’t really expecting much, so I was pleasantly surprised when I couldn’t put it down. The writing was wonderful, and the characters were more than enjoyable. Cole was adorable and Claire was realistic. I loved reading this and am glad I gave into my impulse to buy it. I have to say that the title is a little misleading, and that’s mainly why I was so surprised. It held a lot more depth than I was expecting. Wonderful!
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