Monday, January 25, 2016

Amish Christmas at North Star: Four Stories of Love and Family by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark, with Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert.

Amish Christmas at North Star: Four Stories of Love and Family
Five stars for the four novellas which were each so different from the last!
I so loved reading these novellas.  Each was very different from the last.  The characters all started life being delivered by the local midwife, Rebekah.  They were all born on the same evening. 
I unfortunately can’t say a lot about the novellas I finished them just after going to the hospital with a rather uncomfortable reaction to a medication I had been taking for ten years.
  I was up all night but had my kindle with me and I was able to stay awake and read the ending of the last story.  As with any author you can like them tremendously and others not as much.   The four stories were all written very well but I did have a couple of the stories that I liked more than the others, that doesn’t take away that they were all very well written. Each time I read books about the Amish I learn something more about them that I didn’t know before. 
My Grandmother lives in a town that the Amish come to very often.  They sell their goods in a small store in town.  I have always been curious about them and it only takes a wagon with the familiar black carriage to make me think of my Grandmothers which always seemed more like home to me than my own home.  I’ve been able to visit a local cheese shop, I’ve bought rugs and was able to go into the little room separate from the house to see how the gal made the rugs and to pick out my colors.  The rugs are beautiful.  I also went with my grandmother to pick up some bake goods and to pick out a windmill that was made by the local carpenter; I got to go into his work room and met some of his children. He found out my Grandmother was in the car and had to come out and talk to her, he had read an article about her and he said that the older people are the ones you need to talk to and ask questions of as they have lived through much more than we have.  They put great stock into their elders.
Now I’ve gotten off subject of the four books, I can tell you that I read each they were each different in subject matter than the last, and I loved reading them. They were all well written with fully developed characters and I didn’t want to lie the book down for very long, before finding time to pick it back up and start reading again.  I had only read Cindy Woodsmall before, so I have some new authors to read in the future.  I enjoyed the stories and each had a different voice! "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A suspense filled drama of "Tangled Memories" written by Janet Scarbrough

I loved this book!  At the beginning Dr.Alexander Dominican is marrying Mary Adams.  The marriage is just to be  a marriage of convenience so that Alexander's infant daughter whose month died during childbirth, will not grow up without a Mother as Alexander had to. Mary's husband died and left a lot of debts, Alexander offers to pay those bills, that she can not afford to pay, in exchange for marrying him to become his daughter Elizabeth's Mother.  The marriage is one of convenience, after the wedding ceremony they go to his home and she is left to sleep in his dead wife's room as it is across the hall from the baby's room.  It seems almost immediately that Mary starts having these wildly real dreams of being in a hall married to a knight, who is much older than her. Pretty soon it isn't just while she is sleeping that she goes back in time, pretty soon it is not only when she sleeps that she sees herself back in the middle ages, married and very pregnant.  In addition to having this happen regularly she finds that someone in the home is trying to get her to leave.  They cut her suitcase to shreds and dump perfume all over her clothing and some other pretty nasty pranks, and her new husband doesn't seem to believe her.  There is a lot of tension in the home and Mary's life is not what she thought it would be.  The book was written with a suspense filled drama and you don't know what is going to happen next.  I did not expect what happened at the end.  I really am glad that I've discovered this author I'm going to enjoy reading her books!

Description as found here on Good Reads: After losing his wife, Dr. Alexander Dominican is determined his infant daughter will not grow up motherless as he did. Offering sensible, kind kindergarten teacher Mary Adams a marriage of convenience seems like the perfect solution. The widow’s husband left her with a mountain of debt. For Alex, paying it off is a small price to pay for his daughter’s happiness. Until his sensible new wife begins to lose her mind.

On the day of their marriage, Mary starts having frightening hallucinations of medieval England—visions that feel more like the memories of woman who lived centuries before. More terrifying, someone—or some thing—is stalking the new mistress of Marchbrook Manor. Could it be one of the sinister servants? Or Alex himself? Alex is reawakening hidden desires and longings in Mary, but until she can untangle the web of nightmares and secrets, she can trust no one. Not even Alex.

Alex has no idea he’s unleashing a destiny that’s taken him seven hundred years to fulfill.

If Alex and Mary are to salvage their future, they must first unravel centuries of…Tangled Memories.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lessons On Loving - Four Stars - by Peter McAra

I think I am not the first to note that this was a man writing historical fiction!  I read so many books written by women.  This book was about Kate, who had finished getting her teaching degree and she has been to hear the suffragettes speeches on how women should be treated in the work place, not just at home having babies.  It is 1902 and Kate sees an advertisement for a governess to teach in Australia in a back woods sheep farm.  She decides to write and ask for the position.

She does get the position money to travel there and told of places to stay until she arrives.  She does arrive at the station finally to find that not only is she not to teach a child but she is there to teach  the man who owns the farm.  His upbringing really ended at age eight. His Mother died when he was eight years old she used to teach him at home and his Father died not too soon afterward.  He learned all that he knows from servants really.  He isn't close to a local town, so the way he talks, his knowledge of things is rather crude.

Kate finds herself living in his home having meals with him, teaching him, and she finds that she is attracted to him.  Her job though is to teach him to speak in a more refined manner to help him with his manners, his reading, diction, etc.  His Mothers wish for him was to marry a proper English woman and he has one he wants to marry but he must get himself up to snuff as it were so that he may even feel as if he would be considered.  Laetitia really just put up with him because her father said she should.  She was never considering him as someone she should marryf!

When next she sees him he  speak differently, his manners are different his awareness of the world around him is totally different.  She finds that she thinks him very changed and not quite so out of her league as she thought him at first.  The ending of the story of course is pretty much as you might expect.  Although the book was enjoyable, I did like the bits of history and info about sheep farming etc., that was included in the story here and there.  It was a good story a fast read.

I believe I received this book through net gallery in exchange for an honest review.  I would give this story four stars.

Here is the description as found here on Good Reads: Wanted: Governess. Properly qualified in English, to instruct male pupil in rural location.

Sydney, 1902. Desperate for a job, Kate Courtney travels to the faraway New England Ranges to interview for a governess position. She is greeted by wealthy landowner, ruggedly handsome Tom Fortescue, and is shocked to find that her new charge isn’t a small boy—but the grown man.

It was Tom’s mother’s dying wish that he find a refined, elegant, English bride to marry. But a country man with country manners can never win a lady fair. Tom needs Kate to smooth away his rough edges, make him desirable to the English rose he wants to marry.

But the more time Kate and Tom spend together, the closer they become, and Tom has to decide between the dreams of his childhood, and the reality that is right in front of him.

Kentucky Blue Bloods by Janet Scarbrough Book Eight in the Series

I received this book in exchange for an honest review: I'm so happy that Janet Scarbrough decided to put a street team together as I had never read any of her books. I have to say I have been missing out on some very talented writing. 

Her novel had a female character "Regina Ward" who was strong willed, although broken in many ways emotionally by growing up with a father who was at times; a drunk that gambled often to the misfortune of his family. I could name that tune I grew up like that. She manages to keep the family farm together while living with her Grandmother who died and left her the farm. Reggies father gambles away four of the yearling horses from their Kentucky horse farm in a poker game and Reggie knows it is up to her to save the farm. Months earlier she had been in the company of Parker Stuart, who was in charge of his Fathers racing empire, and after a few days she was involved with Parker and she realized her heart was about to be broken once again by another man and she up and left without a note. 

Parker appears at her Grandmothers Farm to pick out the horses that his Father won in a poker game, and he wants to even the score with Reggie. He doesn't have a clue as to why this woman just up and left him without a word, that doesn't usually happen in his world, he usually has to get rid of them. He finds that on the farm she is the one who gets up with the sun and works as a man would all day long, mucking out stalls, working with the horses right aside the one caretaker of the farm that there is, basically when it comes to the help she is it. This isn't anything like Parker is used to. He hasn't seen anyone who has to work so hard every day to make the farm run and to keep the horses in good shape to train them for racing...she certainly wasn't born with the silver spoon in her mouth that he had! 

Her character is gritty hard working, full of heart and very believable I love to read books that have strong female characters. The story line is full of drama, struggles between the characters, very real emotions with great depth in the characters. This book was a fast read for me I was so drawn to it I found myself up half the night finishing it on my kindle as i wanted to find out how the story wrapped up. The author had some surprises in the book that I didn't see coming which are always added fun to the reading!

Here is the description of the book as found on Good Reads: 
No one crosses Parker Stuart, caretaker to his family’s thoroughbred racing empire. Parker retaliates against anyone who dares slight him or his blue-blooded British family, especially Regina Ward and her poker-playing father. The previous spring, Reggie had had the nerve to walk out on him after a torrid, three-week affair. Now, when Parker arrives in Kentucky to collect his family’s winnings, he’s determined to settle the score with the lovely Ms. Ward.

Regina Ward doesn't consider herself a damsel in distress. After all, this is America, and she’s accustomed to depending upon herself. However, when her father loses four of the yearlings from their central Kentucky horse farm in a poker game, Reggie knows it’s up to her to save what’s left of her family’s homestead and her proud Kentucky heritage. Can she do it when Parker Stuart, the most arrogant and infuriating Brit she’s ever met, shows up in the Bluegrass?