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review 2018-10-17 01:59
Take Every Thought Captive
The Cumberland Bride - McNear, Shannon

As the Daughters of the Mayflower series unfolds, paralleling America’s history and English colonization, the stories become more compelling and thought-provoking. Several readers have commented on not caring for the first book in the series, but I would encourage them to try the books that follow because they were, in my opinion, more interesting. Also, any of these books can easily be stand-alones. “The Cumberland Bride” takes place in 1794 along the Wilderness Road that ran from northeastern Tennessee to the western Kentucky frontier. That fact in and of itself was enough to garner my interest, since literature focusing on this specific time period and region seems few and far between, at least in Christian fiction.

The story itself is captivating and full of complexities that embellish the plot. McNear does not shy away from supplying details that immerse the reader in the experience, which I appreciate; it is refreshing to read a Christian story that acknowledges the rough side of life and does not hide behind rose-colored glasses, yet remains clean content-wise. The threat of Indian attack and the horrors of such are discussed, but not graphically. Likewise, the deprivation and difficulty of traveling and living in the wilderness forms a large part of the narrative, a stark reminder as to what our ancestors survived. The conditions seem unbelievable now, and I find myself wondering if people 200 years from now will look back and think the same of our lifestyle.

Another aspect of this novel that really shines is the presentation of the characters. Katarina Gruener, the heroine, has obvious flaws and fragility, which makes her truly come to life on the page. I felt added kinship with her in her affinity for writing and recording stories. Her naivete enhances her relatability, and the awkwardness of the burgeoning romance throughout the novel is endearing and true to life. Indian-settler relations are explored from both sides, with Thomas Bledsoe playing a leading role due to his shadowy past, and I valued how the Native American perspective is respectfully offered. The character dynamics are excellent. For anyone who enjoys a historical jaunt full to the brim with adventure and faith, “The Cumberland Bride” is not to be missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-10-17 00:54
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster - Scott Wilbanks

This was a bit unexpected. Based on the title and the author’s definition of the word “lemoncholy” I thought this was YA. It is not. See? Unexpected! Having shifted gears to adult novel mode and noting that the book isn’t listed as romance, I thought myself safe from insta-love. I was not. Unexpected! I enjoyed the little bit of romance anyway, though I confess my eyes did roll a little. Unexpected! (The enjoyment, not the eye-rolling.)

 

Seriously now, I did enjoy this for the most part. Some of the “coincidences” were hard to swallow (but you get that with time travel) and were visible from miles and decades away. The ending was saccharine-sweet with nearly every sub-plot happily resolved and tied up with neat little bows, and yet at least two things that I can think of never got explained, one of which is really bothering me. So it was a mostly satisfying read that tried too hard at the end but still left me with a pleasant buzz.

 

I do wonder, though, with all that vintage Victorian clothing piled around Annie’s house, wouldn’t the whole place smell like great-grandma’s closet? And who stores vintage clothing in piles in the first place?! Take care of that stuff! Sheesh!

 

I read this for the Halloween Bingo 2018 Supernatural square.

 

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review 2018-10-16 18:46
Once Upon A Texas Christmas, Winnie Griggs
Once Upon a Texas Christmas - Winnie Gri... Once Upon a Texas Christmas - Winnie Griggs

I really enjoyed this clean, love inspired historical romance. I bought this at a local book sale and I voluntarily chose to review it. I've given it a 5* rating. I loved the characters in this story and how some of them adapted to the small town setting. At a time when telegrams was a fast mode of communication and railway was the long distance mode of transport, join these characters as they give up their secrets and begin to share their lives.

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text 2018-10-16 01:32
Reading progress update: I've read 181 out of 416 pages.
Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco
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review 2018-10-16 00:28
My review of How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan & Joanna Shupe
How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Holiday Romance Anthology - Sarah MacLean,Tessa Dare,Joanna Shupe,sophie jordan

How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Holiday Romance Anthology - Sarah MacLean,Tessa Dare,Joanna Shupe,sophie jordan 

 

For starters, DUKES! I don’t care how many make-believe dukes have been created, I’ll read them for as long as they keep writing them. Secondly, Christmas! I’ll admit that I prefer to read dark, scary, paranormal stories during the month of October, but c’mon, who can say no to Christmas stories, specially when they are written by some of your favorite authors and they all come together in one pretty package!
And that actually brings me to say that thirdly, it’s freaking Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe, what?! If you haven’t read books by them then let me tell you, you are missing out on some serious awesomeness. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a super fan of all of these ladies so forgive me if I gush too much.

 

Tessa Dare’s Meet Me in Mayfair was clever, funny, and oh, so romantic. It probably is one of the most charming and memorable “date” nights I have ever read.

Sarah MacLean’s The Duke of Christmas Present is a second-chance love story. There were some serious tug-at-your-heart scenes, specially when the heroine returns “home.” It was kind of hard for me to understand the reasoning behind both the hero and heroine’s actions but once I got to the end, everything made complete sense.

 

Sophie Jordan’s Heiress Alone was another great example of how chemistry between hero and heroine affects a story, even if it’s a short one and even if the romance happens rather quickly.

 

Joanna Shupe’s Christmas in Central Park had me worrying and suffering along with the poor heroine, and had me wanting to slap the hero upside the head for acting like a spoiled brat that just had to have his way. Their love story may had been full of funny and cringe-worthy moments but the way their forgive and reach their HEA made it all worth it.

 

In short, four different settings, four different kinds of delicious dukes, four great Christmas stories, and one happy reader that recommends this set to all historical romance lovers. Even if Christmas is not your cup of tea, the romance alone make this a perfect read. 4.5 stars.

 

*I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher**

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