Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Review: No Other Will Do

I love how the outfit the model wears on the cover plays into the story at one point!  I've noticed it with all of Karen's books and I really appreciate the extra touch the publisher puts on each of her covers. :)

Men are optional. That's the credo Emma Chandler's suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women's colony in Harper's Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight--and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma's plea arrives, he bolts to Harper's Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she's not a girl any longer. She's a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn't deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.

(Can you hear the "dun-dun-duh!" in that last line?)

About the Author:
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at

My Review: 5 stars!
I’ve been so excited to read this book by Karen Witemeyer, mainly because she’s one of my very favorite historical fiction authors, but also because I’d heard so many wonderful things about it! I have to say that it definitely lived up to the sterling reviews shared with me and exceeded every expectation I may have had. The characters are fantastic (I’ll gush over Malachi shortly) and I always love how unique Ms. Witemeyer’s books are - plus, this one features a mystery, which just added another level of enjoyment to it for me. I’m also super excited, because it sounds like this book might be the first in a series (I’m hoping)!

I’m a big fan of historical fiction and Karen’s books are always by far some of my favorites. I’m always so excited to read one of her books, even without knowing a single thing about the storyline. I love her way with words and her attention to the smallest detail. I had no idea what was involved to be in demolition in the 1800s, or how a women’s colony could possibly work, but she brings both of these unique things to life between the covers of this book. I fall in love with her characters and I so enjoy how they break away from the norm of what I might expect in a western novel. Even when her books do edge a little more toward the traditional, there’s still a distinctive “something” that sets her books apart from the rest. Oh, and I have to brag on the mystery at least a little bit! I very much enjoyed having a mystery in the forefront of this story - it kept me on my toes, what with guessing who the culprit might be and wondering what might happen next. It played perfectly into the storyline and she set it wonderfully, leaving little clues and keeping the pacing just right to keep the story moving, without rushing or dragging it out.

Now, for my favorite part: the characters! I adore the opportunity to gush about the heroes (and there will be gushing!) and brag on the great heroines that round them out. In this case, Emma Chandler is the heroine and I did adore her! She was raised primarily by spinster aunts who taught her that women can do or be anything, and they don’t necessarily need a man to be happy. Which was scandalous at the time, and Emma soon found that not many shared their opinions. I loved her stubbornness and her determination to protect her ladies, even when that meant making hard decisions. Despite being self-assured, she struggles with knowing what the right choice is and doubts whether she’s the best person to be in charge. The doubts and fears are what make her so realistic that she climbed right off the page and into my heart. I loved the realism and seeing the softer side of her character: the one what wants to make the best choice possible, but doesn’t always hear God’s voice on what that is, or the one that treads ahead, rather than waiting for an answer.

Malachi Shaw is the hero in this tale, and what a great hero he makes! From meeting him the first time as a thirteen-year-old boy staring down a bossy angel, to getting to know him a decade later as a man responsible for blowing things up and in desperate need of a shave, he definitely makes the list of my favorite heroes! Malachi has spent his life just surviving, and trying to earn the respect of those around him. He lives with his heart stowed safely behind his walls and if his life seems a little empty, at least he’s not getting hurt. I loved watching Emma slowly pull him from his shell and the interactions between them alternated between making me laugh and sigh. Malachi is just as stubborn and strong willed as Emma, as well as being protective and rather cynical. He also has a streak of kindness toward the Aunts, Emma, and her ladies. I so enjoyed seeing this big man showing kindness to ladies who had had so little of it in their lives.

As aforementioned, I loved the relationship between Emma and Malachi! It started off a little slowly at first, but then slowly built throughout. I enjoyed the fact that they knew one another before, which added another layer to their getting to know each other as adults. Their history also kept the romance from being too fast or unbelievable, what with the somewhat short timeline of this story. There’s also a side romance going on, which I’m really hoping will be part of another book, because I really want to know what happens between the characters!

Overall, I give this book probably closer to 10 stars, rather than just 5, but websites are contrary things and don’t allow for the extra ratings for super amazing books.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance with a side of mystery!

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishing for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing this book!  I'm required to state that this is my honest review and I have not been compensated for it in any way.  Okay, legalities aside, thank you dear blog reader friend for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it and will consider stopping in to say "hi!" again!
Have a smile-filled day!


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cover Reveal: A Time to Rise, plus Giveaway!

*Squeal* I am so excited for this!  Okay, so this is my first time participating in a cover reveal, so you'll have to forgive any gaffs I make and be prepared for excessive exclamation points in the following post.  I'm so excited!
Nadine Brandes' first two books were epic, and I can't wait to read this next one, but the cover - oh, the cover!  It's so . . . compelling?  Awesome?  Fascinating?  Any and all of those words will work.  And for those who have read the other books, it's an adventure just studying it, because at least my brain is twirling around, trying to guess what might be waiting for me between the pages of this soon-to-be-in-my-hands book!  Gah!  I'm so stoked (and very impatient!)!

In order to string out the suspense a tad longer, here are the covers of the first two books, so you can get an idea of what's to come. 

You can find my review for A Time to Die here, along with a synopsis of the book and purchase links.  Seeing this book is what caused my interest in the dystopian genre.  I was fascinated by the idea behind the story and thought about it for weeks before I was finally brave enough to try it!  Happily, I wasn't disappointed!

And the second book:

Again, link to review, as well as details and purchase links can be found here   (this one was my favorite, so far . . . am I allowed to say that?)  The end of this book was just . . . ah!  What's going to happen next?!  But, on the bright side I also have a lot of incentive to grab A Time to Rise as soon as it hits shelves and devour it!  I have to know how it ends!

And finally . . . .drum roll . . . . .

TA-DA!  *sigh*  Isn't it awesome?!  (if you don't like it, please don't bust my bubble, okay?)
Oh, and I get to share the synopsis, too! 

What more can you sacrifice than your life?
Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

How fantastic does it sound?! I can't wait!  Unfortunately, I do have to wait, though only until October 14th.  We'll (I'll) make it until then, right?
If you need help keeping track, someone much better with computers than I, created this countdown clock for A Time to Rise!

If you have Goodreads, you can now add A Time to Rise to your To-Be-Read list and get notifications of giveaways and the like:

And, in celebration of this fantabulous cover, Nadine has a super cool giveaway going on that might show up below.  Maybe.  If I can figure this out - if not, you can also follow this link  and it should work fine. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh, and you can find Nadine's main blog post here, which should be super awesome and probably include a bit more info than what I have.

In addition, if you want to follow her on social media, there are links below, so that you can keep up with the goings on and get updates when anything new or cool happens!

Okay!  I think that's all!  I'm going to go fangirl in a corner now, and leave you to getting on with your life, or maybe just staring at the awesomeness of this cover - either way, have a delightful day!

You can find Nadine Brandes on:
Her Website:

Post script:
It worked!  Adding the giveaway worked!  And it didn't break anything!  I'm sure no one else cares, but this is so exciting for me!  Okay, I'm good - you may resume your life now. ;)

Friday, July 1, 2016

My Review: From This Moment

"She'd learned long ago that courage was not the absence of fear, but the willingness to confront it."  Stella West

Stella West's artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister's death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society.

Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board.

Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister's death worth the risk to his publishing empire?

About the Author:
Elizabeth Camden is the author of eight historical novels and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at 

My Review: 4 stars
Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite historical authors and she rarely disappoints me. Her books are always so creative and dare to focus on topics that few others do: Watch-making, opium smuggling, tuberculosis, to name a few. This one falls right in with the others, with the focus being on lithography and magazine production, with a great mystery thrown into the mix. I loved the adventure and getting a glimpse into a setting that is unique and colorful!

Ms. Camden is an excellent writer and she always does a great job with the historical details and bring life to things that are so foreign to the modern world. Her words paint in broad strokes what Boston was like in 1897, with the construction of the first subway system and the incorporation of electricity into everyday life. I also really loved the mystery and seeing what investigation may have been like before the turn of the century. She definitely kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat, wondering what might happen next!

The characters were also excellent! Ms. Camden has built a reputation for creating characters that are not at all the norm, and these two definitely follow suit! Stella is an outspoken, creative, eccentric odd duck. She can be brash, but she can also be a lady when it suits her will. She is often abrupt, determined, and so many label her difficult. I frankly didn’t love her at once, but she slowly grew on me, as I saw more of who she is and not just how she behaves under exacting circumstances. Romulus is almost the exact opposite. He has many friends and is known to be easygoing with an attitude of good cheer more often than not. He can be determined, but he is so easily distracted by new things that catch his fancy, it doesn’t often last long. I loved his character because of the openness found in him. He is rather insecure, particularly when it comes to love, because of his flighty demeanor. He has a great many interests and loves getting lost in learning all he can about them. I immensely enjoyed getting to know his character! Oh, and I can’t forget to mention their dialogue! I loved the sparring between Stella and Romulus, as they butted heads, but also just
generally picked on one another. I found myself laughing at the most random times, because it may have been started out as a serious scene, but something they would say would make me smile instead of becoming serious with the turn in conversation.

Honestly, there were a couple small things that bothered me a bit. First, as I’ve already mentioned, I didn’t particularly like Stella for a while. She’s an interesting character, but she’s so selfish and self-centered for much of the story. That made it rather difficult for me to get into the book right off. Though, to be fair, her behavior allowed for an excellent opportunity to add faith to the story. And she did grow on me after a bit, so I can’t be entirely put out with her. I also found it rather strange that the story comes from the villain’s view point just once, rather randomly near the end, then we never hear from them again. That was just a little odd. Despite those points, I did quite enjoy this book and am anxious to see what this author writes next!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction that breaks away from the norm!

I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
You can also find my review here on! 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  I'll hopefully be getting back into a regular schedule of posting - though honestly, I don't know that I've ever really been that dependable.  I shall endeavor to see what I can do.
Have a delightful day!

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