Sunday, 3 December 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/an-inconvenient-beauty/376620


Back Cover

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride.  While he's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes - as well as her conscience.  And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith's and Isabella's long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

Review

I have been eagerly anticipating An Inconvenient Beauty, which encapsulates the story of Griffith, the oldest sibling of the Hawthornes.  Well, to be honest, anticipating, and also dreading, as with this story, it spells the end of the Hawthorne House series, a series I have been thoroughly enjoying from the first novel, A Noble Masquerade.

Kristi Ann Hunter has brilliantly written another unforgettable historical treat.  Griffith's character was everything I was hoping him to be: the tall, strong, silent type who measures his words and actions to the utmost detail.  It is because of his more stoic, commanding personality that he requires a bit more fun in his orderly life...enter Isabella who has a knack for causing Griffith to laugh and appreciate the small things around him.  And while their personalities may be different, there is a trait that they share in common: a strong sense of duty towards their family's well-being.  While admirable, it is also the one thing that threatens to keep them apart...

With many appearances from the series' past beloved characters, An Inconvenient Beauty was a joy to read.  The interactions were at times highly amusing, and the story did not disappoint.  I'm sad to say goodbye to the Hawthorne House series, but know it is one that I will revisit many times.  In the interim, I will be eagerly awaiting Kristi's next masterpiece!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

The Assault

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-assault/385740


Back Cover

In Invitation, four beloved and bestselling suspense authors introduced supernaturally gifted characters on a race to stem the tide of growing evil.  Now Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky return with the next cycle of fast-paced and riveting tales.

In Bill Myers's "The Revealing", the team finds themselves in Rome trying to retrieve the mystical spear HItler once stole.  The task will take them from hidden chambers inside the Vatican to a mysterious seaside cave with unexpected and dangerous powers.

Frank Peretti's "Infestation" tells of a microscopic plauge unleased on the world that deceives, blinds, kills, then spreads and kills again.  The Harbringers team must confront this faceless evil bent on seducing and destroying humankind.

In "Infiltration" by Angela Hunt, a seaside respite intended to buy time for the wounded team turns deadly when misplaced trust leads the Harbingers into dangerous waters.

Alton Gansky's "The Fog" reveals a supernatural mist unlike any other, filled with vicious monsters that kill whatever they find.  When one team member realizes the only way to stop the fog is to enter it, the ultimate sacrifice must be made.

Review

Draw the curtains and hide under the blanket covers with a baseball bat and a flashlight - the Harbringers are back!  And with it, another set of four dark, twisted, and suspenseful stories that will make your skin tingle and your hair to stand up on end.  

I can't add anything to the back cover's synopsis of each story, but wanted to touch on the authors' writing itself.  With this many authors involved in one piece of work (albeit, they still write four separate stories), I was initially worried that the stories would be stilted and choppy as the authors write each other' character(s).  I'm happy to say that while the authors each have their own unique voice, they do a superb job of staying true to each character's personality, making the flow from story to story seamless.

Each story was creepy and tense (and very good!), my "favourite" this time around was Alton Gansky's "The Fog".  He plays on what has got to be one of the scariest types of nightmares whereby a thick rolling fog is full of man-eating monsters out for blood.  It was a story that had my toes curling and flipping the pages as fast as I could to find out what happens next! 

This series reminds me of dark chocolate - dark and intense, yet incredibly addicting and oh, so good.  The next book can't come soon enough! 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Threads of Suspicion

http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/threads-of-suspicion/386250


Back Cover

Eve Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's Missing Persons Task Force.  With so much public fanfare surrounding the launch of this elite investigative team, the political stakes are high, and the team will have to produce results - and quickly. 

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different.  As Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighbourhood over the disappearance of a college student, David searches for a private investigator whose last case involved a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth.  But the questions that lie just beneath the surface in Evie's personal life are also begging for answers.

Review

Dee Henderson has crafted another top-notch mystery in this sequel to Traces of Guilt.  Evie is now on her second case involving the Missing Persons Task Force and it is an equally as twisting and mind-boggling as her first.  While I've always had a strong appreciation towards those in the criminal justice system, The "Evie Blackwell Cold Case" series has given  me an even higher esteem for the detectives who work long, exhausting hours in their search for truth and justice.  And sometimes, despite the countless hours and research, a case is never solved - leading to disappointment and heartache not only for affected family members and friends, but understandably, also for the law enforcement who worked the cases.  It's sad we live in a world whereby law enforcement is needed, but I'm so grateful to those who take that career path in efforts to make the world a better place.  

In all of Dee Henderson's crime novels, she approaches the subject matter with tact and respect.  Her main characters - (the good guys) - are always these amazing men and women that are rather awe-inspiring.  I've really enjoyed Evie's character so far - she's strong, intuitive, yet has a hint of vulnerability that makes her feel more relatable!  (haha)  In Threads of Suspicion, there were hints at some secrets in Evie's past that I'm hoping will be delved into more deeply in the next story.  The introduction of David Marshal made for a wonderful counterpart to Evie's character and his backstory brought even more depth to the novel.

As a side note: one of Dee's trademark styles a lot of dialogue to develop the characters and plot.  It makes for a slower read, yet still highly engaging at the same time.  This isn't a fast-paced novel with multiple points of conflict, but the type that simmers along building tension until it hits the major explosive climax.  All in all, Threads of Suspicion was a great read that has my fingers already itching to hold the next instalment!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Heart on the Line

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/heart-on-the-line/352750

Back Cover

When danger arrives, it's more than just her heart on the line...

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding.  She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper's Station have found.  But when the man she believes responsible for her father's death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity.  His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion.  For months, their friendship - dare he believe, courtship? - over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him.  However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

Review

Heart on the Line is a lighthearted read, with very tongue-in-cheek similarities to the modern world of online dating.  But in the case of Grace and Amos, the computer has been traded for a telegraph machine and emails for dots and dashes.  As I myself have been one of the many who have braved the scary realm of online dating, I found the inferences (whether intended or not) rather amusing in the "I totally understand" way - right down to the main worry of whether the person you come to know "online" is who they say they are in real life.  Their personality could be completely different in person - and are they really the age they say they are??

Online dating similarities aside, the characters of Grace and Amos were just wonderful.  Grace has pluck, determination, cleverness, and is a very classy lady.  Amos is incredibly endearing with his chivalry and protective nature towards Grace, preferring to use his wits rather than his fists in tense situations.  They were the perfect couple to navigate the dangerous scenarios that are encountered in the book. 

I greatly enjoyed returning to Karen's series, "Ladies of Harper's Station".  I wasn't even a chapter in when I paused my reading and came to the realization that it is novels like Heart on the Line that fostered my passion for reading wonderful fiction.  This novel had all the right elements with spot-on characters held together by some terrific writing.  I really, really cannot wait for the next instalment!!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

One Dominion

https://www.grafmartin.com/one-dominion-bible-league-canada/



Back Cover

Canada is not a nation of one story alone, but of many stories, from ordinary people, and often ordinary people of faith, who helped form the foundations of our wonderful country.

This book takes time to pause and reflect on the stories of these ordinary men and women of God who contributed to the fabric of our nation.

Let us not just celebrate the blessings we enjoy today because of them, but learn from their example and, as we look to the future of our country, perhaps be inspired to action as well.

Review

With beautiful large photographs, One Dominion tells the story of Canada, and how our country was built on Biblical truths and morals.  It is evident from the beginning of our great nation that the founding fathers intended that Canada be a nation under God, governed by His precepts, for all citizens to follow.  In determining the name for Canada, the founding fathers decided upon "The Dominion of Canada" in reference to Psalm 72:8, "He (God) shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth".  Even our Peace Tower, built in 1917 is etched with Scriptures pointing people to our Father in heaven for wisdom and guidance.

It was eye-opening the many different influences Christianity had in the formation of Canada.  From our laws, to education, work place rights, eradication of child labour, and healthcare, it was professing Christians who were instrumental in all the social reforms.  It is a very encouraging thing to read as there is always the hope and prayer that someday Canada will return to its Christian roots. 

One Dominion is a well-written history of Canada that is meant to be shared.  I will be passing around this book to many of my friends and family and re-reading it many, many times.

Book has been provided courtesy of Bible League Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Name Unknown

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-name-unknown/383300

Back Cover

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London.  Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets - instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class coeity.  Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime - determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany.  After all, how does one steal a family's history, their very name?
As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein.  Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence.  But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown - so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels.  When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth - about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Review

Set in 1914 with the world on the brink of war, A Name Unknown follows recluse, Peter Holstein, and thief for hire, Rosemary Gresham.  Peter is a quiet man who simply wants to continue writing his adventure stories in peace.  I found it highly amusing how Peter would get so caught up in his characters and the story he was writing that he would blank out in the middle of conversation as a new idea would come to mind - particularly because it was something I could easily relate to!  Rosemary is definitely the more exuberant personality, full of grit and determination and finds herself caught between loyalty to her family, employer, and a newfound friendship with Peter.  Their differing personalities caused many moments of frustration between the two, but also provided for some entertaining interactions to read that were full of wit and teasing humour!  

The World War(s) have provided many a backdrop to historical novels.  I recently just read another novel, High as the Heavens, that was also set during the tumultuous times of World War I.  Yet even with the high number of novels set in and around WWI, Roseanna White was able to shed light on another angle to British war efforts during WWI that I had never even heard of before. I won't say exactly what angle it is (you have to read the book to find out!), but after finishing the story, be sure to read the "Note from the Author" located at the back of the book for further fascinating historical background on this particular effort. 

A Name Unknown is a wonderfully story whereby the author has expertly woven in some favourite genres -  history, romance, intrigue - into a tale of faith, redemption, and courage.  It is first in a new series (yay!) "Shadows over England", and I will be eagerly awaiting the next novel!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

An Uncommon Courtship

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/an-uncommon-courtship/376610

Back Cover

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family.  Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice.  When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.
Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow - which worked until her sister got married.  But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

Review

In An Uncommon Courtship Kristin Hunter tells the story of Lord Trent Hawthorne, the younger brother in the Hawthorne family.  Trent is an affable, easy-going athletic fellow who loves his family, and is happy to have two new brother-in-laws.  His life is thrown into a tailspin when he is forced to marry Lady Adelaide Bell in order to preserve her honour.  What follows is his rather bumbling but heartfelt journey to win her heart.  He has the best of intentions, but sometimes the execution doesn't come out exactly as planned!  

NOTE:  This is a Christian romance, and it is evident throughout the story.  However, I felt that there was some romantic content that went a little "too far", which was disappointing as it was such a good story otherwise.  While nothing is too graphic, there was a certain aspect of the story that I found unwarranted, and certainly wouldn't be suitable for younger audiences.  Reader discretion is advised!

Aside from the above, this was a sweet, well-written novel.  I really, really, really can't wait for the next instalment - Griffith's story.  I have a feeling that one will be the best yet...

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.