Monthly Archives: July 2015

What Lies Between by Charlena Miller Red Bicycle Press ISBN 978-0-9893697-1-8

Ellie hasn’t had an easy life. Her birth parents gave her up for adoption.  Her adoptive parents died in a car accident when she was young and as a result she ended up in the foster care system.  Once she was eighteen she contacted her birth parents.  Only her father, Gerard,  agreed to meet with her, but the meeting did not go well.  He went so far as to deny being her father.  There was no further contact until Ellie received the news that Gerard was dead and that he had left her his family’s estate, Glenbroch, in Scotland.  The property includes a country house which is undergoing renovations in order to be ready for the upcoming tourist season.  Along with the property came massive debt which if not repaid by the due date,  the investors would take ownership of the property.  Glenbroch is Ellie’s only link to her father and his family.  Can this young American woman manage to keep it afloat?  What was Gerard’s motive in  publicly acknowledging his daughter in such a way?

Glenbroch comes with more than land, livestock and buildings.  It comes with a staff who, with some exception, want to keep their jobs and will do all they can to help Ellie make Glenbroch profitable.  Perhaps the most puzzling person Ellie meets is Ben MacIver.  While she can’t deny the physical attraction, she soon learns she has reason to distrust him.  Bad things begin to happen to Ellie and the property.  The list of suspects is short, but proof is elusive.  It becomes doubtful she can maintain ownership of her inheritance.  Can she even survive trying?

The author has crafted an engrossing tale.  The descriptive scene settings place the reader into the beautiful landscape of the Highlands.  Especially interesting are the relationships Ellie enters into with people she once would have avoided. Interesting characters and a strong plot make this is a convincing story of new beginnings, hope, determination and love.  I recommend reading this book.

I received this book for free through LibraryThing and I give this review of my own free will.

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A Heart’s Promise (Book Five of the Journey of the Heart Series) by Colleen Coble; Thomas Nelson ISBN978-0-7180-3168-8

A Heart’s Promise (Book Five of the Journey of the Heart Series), by Colleen Coble, is a short book that tells a big story.  Opening in 1866, pregnant Emmie Croftner and her friends have arrived at Fort Phil Kearny in the Wyoming Territory. She bears a heavy secret. Thinking she was a widow, she had learned the man she thought had been her husband had actually been married to someone else.  So, now she was no longer a widow-just pregnant. She fears that if she tells anyone they will think less of her.  Isaac Liddle, a soldier at the fort, has fallen in love with Emmie. He wants to marry her and to be father to her child.  Emmie wonders if she can ever trust any man.  To further complicate Emmie’s life, she has made a promise of epic proportions to a close friend.  In the event she has to keep her promise, she will not be able to have a chance of happiness with Isaac.

The author paints a vivid picture of how difficult life was for people living at the fort.  Limited medical care, problems with the Indians and the harsh weather were constant hardships.  Through it all, the Emmie and her friends support each other, no matter what, and she finally confides in them.  Can she find the strength to tell Isaac her secrets?

I found this to  be a well written story and I enjoyed reading it.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Center Of Gravity by Laura McNeill Thomas Nelson ISBN 978-0-7180-3090-2

Center Of Gravity, by Laura McNeill, is the gripping and suspenseful story about what seems to be a picture perfect family. At first, Ava Carson believes she has everything she wants. Her husband, widower Mitchell Carson, is attentive and loving. She has adopted his eight year old son, Jack. Ava and Mitchell also have a year old son named Sam. They live in a beautiful house which Mitchell feels befits his station in life. There are signs that something is not right. Mitchell doesn’t want Ava to return to her job as a counselor. He had gone so far as to send in her resignation without her knowledge. Mitchell’s behavior is often unpredictable and when things don’t go his way he becomes incensed. Ava and Jack are careful not to trigger his temper. Ava attributes Mitchell’s bizarre behavior to his stressful job. Unfortunately, there is more at play here than Mitchell’s job. Their relationship begins to deteriorate. Without warning he takes the boys to their new home, which is a sparsely furnished apartment, and he files for divorce and custody. Understandably, Ava is shocked and their sons are traumatized. What follows is heart wrenching. Ava hires the new attorney in town, Graham Thomas, to represent her in her plight. What unfolds is shocking.
The story is told in the alternating voices of the characters. Perhaps the most gut wrenching voice is that of Jack’s. His biological mother is dead and he has bonded with Ava. He struggles to believe she is responsible for the rift between her and his father as his father would have him believe. If only he was one of the super-heroes he loves to read about. His devotion to his young brother is touching. All he desires is a return to their former life. Terrified by his father, he tries to keep their new life on an even keel. Ava struggles not to fall apart in this seemingly impossible situation she finds herself in. How did this happen? Ava quickly learns that what little she knows about her husband may be a lie. Even worse, he is most probably a sociopath. She will do whatever she has to do to get her children back because her love for her children is a powerful force. This story is a powerful reminder of this. As much as Mitchell Carson personifies evil on so many levels, it pales in comparison to the strengths of Ava and Jack.

The author is a gifted story teller. She has crafted a story that draws the reader into the lives of the well drawn characters. The plot is filled with suspense and tension runs high. The story is so well told that the reader is captivated from start to finish. I highly recommend reading this powerful novel.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Irish Meadows (Courage To Dream Book 1) by Susan Anne Mason; Bethany House Publishers ISBN 978-0-7642-1724

Irish Meadows, a novel by Susan Anne Mason, opens in 1911 on a Long Island horse farm owned by the O’Leary family. James O’Leary, the family patriarch, is facing serious financial problems. For him, it is imperative that his daughters, Brianna and Colleen, marry wealthy men. As he finds out, his daughters have minds of their own. Gilbert Whelan was taken in by the O’Leary family when he became an orphan. He returns to Irish Meadows now that he has finished college. He recognizes his obligation to Mr. O’Leary since that is who paid for his education. As much as Gil loves the family and the farm, he has dreams of his own. He and Brianna had been close while growing up. He knew she had a crush on him and vowed not to encourage her now that she was almost eighteen. Brianna thinks she is over the crush and she counts on Gil to help convince her father to allow her to go to college. She comes to realize she may not be over her crush and Gil is forced to recognize that he is attracted to her, as well. Do they have a chance for a future together? Brianna’ sister, Colleen, is a self centered and manipulative young woman with a questionable reputation. Unexpectedly, a distant cousin, Rylan, arrives from Ireland to stay with the family while he studies to become a priest. He is definitely not for her-so she thinks. She might be in for a surprise. As a result of knowing Colleen, he finds himself facing the greatest challenge of his life.
The author brings to the reader a beautifully crafted story. Her characters are well developed and the dialogue is natural. They are involved in complicated relationships and their inner lives are revealed. They grapple with obligations, duty, honor and matters of the heart. Often, they come together only to separate. Old hurts surface. This meaningful story keeps the reader interested all the way to the conclusion.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House and I give this review of my own free will.

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