Monday, November 30, 2015

Ten Thousand Shall Fall by Andrea Boeshaar

From the publisher:
Nineteen-year-old Carrie Ann Bell is independent and spirited. The only thing she really fears are the Union soldiers fighting against her Confederate friends. When her youngest sister runs away from home, brave Carrie Ann is determined to find her and bring her back. Disguised as a soldier, she sets off--only to find she's fallen into the hands of the enemy.
Her childhood friend Confederate Major Joshua Blevins has warned her against these Yankees: they're all devils, ready to inflict evil on unsuspecting young women. When Colonel Peyton Collier arrests her for her impersonation of an officer, it seems to confirm all her fears.
Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel. He rescued her, protected her, and has been every inch the gentleman. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally--and more than that, someone she could love. But the arrival of Joshua in the Union camp as a spy will test her loyalties. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?
I was eager to read this book as the setting is very familiar to me.  I loved to read all the historical details that Andrea Boeshaar put into this book.  The conversations of the characters were rich which historical information.  Yet, Boeshaar doesn't bog you down with the details and instead just makes it a part of the conversation so that the story ebbs and flows. I already want to read her sequel to this novel, not only to find out more about the characters but also the war history.  She also did not glorify the war but let its horror show.  However, this was not in a gory way, but still it allowed you to feel the pain of war.
Some of the book was a little frustrating because of the interactions between Carrie Ann and Peyton.  They declare that they love each other but their actions did seem to show it up until they said it.  Also, there were tragic events about Carrie Ann's family that she seemed to just brush off in certain circumstances, and then in others it effected how she responded to others.  In general the characters seemed to say things instead of showing them in their actions.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

From the publisher:
On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.

I loved this novella.  This is the perfect Christmas novella to read.  It is rare to be so thoroughly immersed in a novella with this many characters but somehow Cynthia Ruchti makes you feel that you know each character and it isn't overwhelming at all.  Instead you feel a part of this wonderful family and Christmas experience. There is also a lot of depth to the novella, about family and how love that might seem perfect comes from hard work and forgiveness and trust and many other things all wrapped up together.  

I am now eager to read both the non-fiction and fiction book from Cynthia Ruchti. 

I received this novella from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

From the publisher:
Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious liberties to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend, James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.
In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother, Helen, hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.
As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom as Helen confronts ghosts from her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of impossible circumstances.
Now Lucy must face her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

This book surprised me.  In fact, I think every book that I have read by Katherine Reay has surprised me and in a good way.  The Bronte Plot is not what you expect and instead you get something deeper. 

 Lucy Alling is a character that you are not sure you like, yet you do like, because you are like her.  As Helen and she adventure in London you are amazed and drawn into all the details that Katherine Reay has put in.  It is as if she was walking in the same places and has you right there with each of the characters.

The way that literature is woven into this story will make any literary lover happy, even if they don't know all the references, it is fascinating to see how seamlessly the author puts it all together.

I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.