“No Other Will Do” by Karen Witemeyer

I’ll admit the description had me putting off reading this one, though I have yet to find a Karen Witemeyer story lacking in anything but length. That this was described as a novel about a strong willed woman who runs a town made up of women and has to ask an old acquaintance for help with outlaws, painted a picture that I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy.

Luckily, the description was somewhat faulty. Emma isn’t a suffragette whose hard-nose ways have landed her in trouble. Rather she is a natural leader of a colony of women helping women with a very caring heart, even for a half-grown boy starved for love just as much as for food. The thrilling part–besides the outlaws who aim to drive the women out of town–is when he returns, several years later, to save her from trouble, only to find that his angel is all grown up. Heart-pounding in more ways than one, this is one adventure that I am glad to say has made it to my digital bookshelf. Especially exciting is that this is the first in a series about the women of Harper’s Station. I’m certainly interested in reading more!

Thank you to NetGalley (https://s2.netgalley.com) and Bethany House Publishers for providing this book for me to read and review.

“Her One and Only” by Becky Wade

Dru Porter has a job to do and she isn’t going to let a man get in the way, especially not an irritating one—even if it’s the man she’s supposed to be guarding. For his part, Gray is shocked and not a little embarrass to have a girl as a bodyguard. Just because he’s received a few threatening letters doesn’t mean he can’t take care of himself. After all he’s a well-known professional football player, and Dru could never be anyone’s idea of a bodyguard.

With the thrill of mystery, a dash of suspense, a shot of action, and not a little romance this story makes for a great addition to one’s bookshelf. Actually it would be a great addition to a DVD collection as well—here’s hoping!

Becky Wade does a great job weaving a secondary, but related plot into her novel. The spiritual messages, zany characters, and snappy dialogue are the chocolate in the cake. This seems to be the last in her Porter Family series. After reading this one, I’m going to have to look into reading the others.

Thank you to NetGalley (https://s2.netgalley.com) and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with this novel to read and review.

“The Glass Castle” by Trisha Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins

This is a fantasy novel for young teens. When Avery and her little brother are kidnapped she has no idea why. And answers are hard to come by.
I found the story to be rather confusing. To some degree this could be related to genre, but I found it hard to get into the “world” of the story. First, it isn’t clear at the beginning whether she is being pulled into a new world, or just taken from the home she’s always known. Then there is the tendency of the guys she meets (theoretically the same age as her—thirteen) to fall for her. While the scenario depicts a time where marriage at a young age is common, it is rather unbelievable that several show an interest in her. Also confusing is the situation she finds herself in—she’s kidnapped and threatened, but apparently this is done to protect her?

Better fantasy-genre novels for young teens would be Sigmund Brouwer’s Merlin’s Immortals series, and Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Goldstone Woods series.

Thank you to NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and Shiloh Run Press for providing me with this book to read and review.

“Dressed for Death” by Julianna Deering

Julianna Deering presents her readers with a haunting addition to her Drew Farthering series. This was a hard read considering one of the deaths hits close to home for Drew and his bride of six months, and that the author is extremely good at burrowing her characters and their dilemmas into her readers psyche. It was intense in its suspense, perhaps a little too much for my taste. Its certainly not a book that one with an active imagination should read at night—in the dark.
While the spiritual depth was as present in this novel as the others, the crimes seemed so horrible that even an ending where all is explain is little consolation. I suppose it means that Miss Deering is a very good author, however, I am beginning to question whether I want to read about the depravity of mankind and its devastating consequences, both on the victims, and those they leave behind.
There is some predictability in this series. The serial murderer is usually the last person you might suspect, and those you think to proclaim guilty often have innocent explanations for their suspicious actions. Also, for those who played a role in the evil, their motivations were made plain, but for the murderer, no motivation which would lead us to make sense of their actions is satisfactorily provided.
Perhaps the most obvious message in this story is don’t “do” drugs. The consequences are both destructive and fatal.

Thank you to Netgalley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with this book to read and review.

Love is Patient Romance Collection

Here is another collection of novellas from Barbour Publishing and well-loved authors. While all the stories had delightful moments, deep spiritual truths and interesting characters, my favourites were the first three.
The Spinister’s Beau, by Jill Stengl, takes place on historic Mackinac Island in the early 1800s. From the opening where midwife Jane is tricked into assisting the town doctor with a deranged trapper with severe lacerations, to her role in helping his recovery, both physical and spiritual, there was not a dull moment.
And it was to my eager delight to find the stories of the other two mail-order bride sisters that Erica Vestch introduced in the previous collection Where the Heart Is.
In Lady-in-Waiting, practical Jane is dropped at a sod house, which is next to impossible to clean, to find her new husband is working himself towards an early grave, as he tries live up to a contract he signed with his estranged father. Jane soon finds herself caught up in making her husband’s dreams come true. But what price will she pay for it?
Meanwhile lovely Gwendolyn, the youngest sister, finds herself in a pickle when her groom turns out to be quite old—and quite dead. His grandson has no intention of marrying her, but circumstances force them to make an arrangement. He won’t send her back immediately, if she will help him with his handicapped little sister. How can she convince him she means him and his family no harm, when he is all to willing to believe the worst?
Thank you to NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and especially Barbour Publishing for providing me with this great collection of stories to read and review.

“Playing the Part” by Jen Turano

It would seem that actress Lucetta Plum isn’t the only one playing a part. Bram Haverstein, has been keeping his secret for years, hidden behind the walls of his said-to-be-haunted castle. But Lucetta and his estranged grandmother just breached the back hedge. None of his secrets are safe with the havoc that seems to follow in these women’s wake. From a crazed goat to an obsessed admirer of Lucetta’s, Bram’s life and the misconceptions he has regarding his favourite actress are about to be turned downside up. Lucetta is nothing like the demure, delicate, and easily distressed woman he took her for. Can he learn to appreciate her as she is, or will the evil Silas Ruff get his hands on her first?
The last in Jen Turano’s A Class of Their Own series, this much anticipated finale does not disappoint. She makes ridiculous situations believable with life-like characters, of which none play too small a part not to be memorable. This sweet and silly romance is mixed with a large dose of intrigue and danger to thrill the reader. Jen’s characters grow to know themselves and God better, which leads them to the healing their relationships desperately need.
I highly recommend this delightful, inspiring, and downright hilarious novel.
Thank you NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and Bethany House Publishers for providing this novel to me to read and review.

The Cowboy’s Bride Collection

If you love cowboys and romance, you’ll love curling up with a cup of strong-brewed coffee and this collection of novellas. Nine cowboys’ stories are waiting to lasso your imagination and reel you into their adventures of the heart. Travel across the west with them and the sassy gals that they finally manage to rope and wed.
While high on the romance, I found that most of the novellas had serious plots with little room for humour. As much as I like western romances, I could have stood for more adventure and laughter. One theme seemed reoccurring—that neither in the pair were looking for love, but were irrevocably attracted to one another. With this in mind, I would suggest not reading all nine stories back to back as I have done because it makes the stories run together. The one that stands out in my mind is The Reformed Cowboy, where soon to be ranch-owner Wes participates in a gentleman’s class to better impress Boston transplant Millie, whom he as been corresponding with but has yet to meet. Until he walks into the class and comes under her tutelage…

Thank you to NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and Barbour Publishing for providing this book to me to read and review.