Gone South

Meg Moseley. Gone South. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books. 2013.

SUMMARY:
untitledLetitia McComb has an interest in her family’s history that traces back to the Civil War. Inspired by a past trip with her father, Letitia travels south to purchase the homestead. Eager to begin her new life within her historical home, Letitia is surprised by the new yet different version of her family’s history that is told by her new southern town.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The warning – “don’t judge a book by its cover” – rings true in the novel “Gone South”. The book’s cover sparks early interest in the book; however, the novel does not sweep the reader into the southern adventure that is proclaimed by the cover. The ending of the novel leaves the reader not far from where the reader started. While the storyline and plot is thin, Meg Moseley maintains a smooth writing style with tasteful transitions and graceful word choice.

RATING: 3 (OUT OF 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Gone South from Multnomah Books for my honest review*

Love on Assignment

James, Cara Lynn. Love on Assignment. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2010.

SUMMARY:
untitledCharlotte Hare, an aspiring newspaper reporter, is assigned by her employer to act as a governess for a widowed professor’s children in order to gather information for a newspaper story. Charlotte enters the assignment only to find herself in a complicated situation. She must either risk her employment at the newspaper or her budding friendship with the professor – her assignment will not allow her to keep both.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Cara Lynn James delights her reader with the novel set in the Gilded Age. The character, Charlotte Hare, is a well developed character who amuses the reader with her tendency to speak her mind without fear of the consequences. The novel is relevant to all readers due to Charlotte’s emerging dilemma of choosing between convenience and conscience. Cara Lynn James’s fluent writing style, coupled with the engaging plot, will keep readers attached to the novel and probably up all night to finish it. Once the novel ends, the reader will reach for the next book in the “Ladies of Summerhill Trio”.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

Though My Heart Is Torn

Bischof, Joanne. Though my Heart Is Torn. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press. 2013

SUMMARY:
Though-My-Heart-is-Torn-RESIZELonnie’s father calls her along with her husband, Gideon, back home. Upon reaching home, Lonnie and Gideon are confronted by the staggering news that Gideon’s previous wife has raised the issue of their marriage not having been properly ended. Lonnie and Gideon must navigate the resulting situations and consequences while discovering how to move forward.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Joanne Bischof presents the reader with a unique storyline. The storyline guides the reader to assume certain conclusions only to move in unexpected directions. The twists and turns hold the reader’s interest until the very end; however, the inconsistencies in style come in such an abrupt manner that the reader is jolted out of the novel at times. The novel requires a third book in the series as the ending is left hastily finished..

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Though My Heart Is Torn from WaterBrook Press for my honest review*

Bees in the Butterfly Garden

Lang, Maureen. Bees in the Butterfly Garden. Carol Stream, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2012

SUMMARY:
imagesMeg Davenport, a student at Madame Marisse’s exclusive boarding school, longs to be included, loved and part of her father’s life. At his death, she learns who her father truly was and wonders if she might possess the same innate qualities to be a Gilded Age thief. Ian Maguire, a handsome rouge, plans to continue where Meg’s father left off but finds himself torn between using Meg’s high societal influence and protecting Meg from herself. Involved in a dangerous plot, Meg finds herself growing in her faith, her love and what truly matters most in life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
This book grabbed my attention from the cover, the title and then the first page. It is fast-paced, dangerously adventurous and enchantingly enjoyable. As the main character, it was interesting to watch Meg grow from a pampered, sheltered young woman into a faith-based, conscientious mature person. Full of precarious situations, suspenseful confrontations, historical encounters and even a little bit of romance, I truly loved this book from beginning to end.
Maureen Lang was a new author for me but will definitely be a repeat one. I already have the next book in the Gilded Age Legacy Series, All in Good Time!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

Invisible

McCourtney, Lorena. Invisible. Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell. 2010

SUMMARY:
untitledIvy Malone, an older-aged woman but definitely not of old-age mentality, takes on sleuthing. Deeming herself “socially invisible”, Ivy Malone takes it upon herself to solve a few crimes involving a tenant and a cemetery. Though very unconventional, Ivy eventually even convinces the police to take her crime-fighting seriously (even though her oddball ways seem a little crazy).

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
While the premise of this story caught my attention, it was the crazy, laugh-out-loud, Oh-no-you-didn’t humor that really kept me reading. Though a little slow in the beginning while setting up the storyline, it quickly had me reading late into the evening to see what happened next. As the ending neared, I found I couldn’t put the book down! Invisible is the first book in the Ivy Malone Mystery Series with more to follow. I will definitely read more whacky Ivy Malone novels as I know a few “Ivy Malones” in my own life.

RATING: 4 (out of 5) pennies

A Noble Groom

Hedlund, Jody. A Noble Groom. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House. 2013

SUMMARY:
NobleGroom_mck.inddA German immigrant in 1881, Annalisa Werner finds herself alone with her young daughter trying to harvest her farm while paying off the loan. Suspecting her husband was murdered, she meets Carl Von Reichert, a noble, refined, compassionate man with a secret past. Though clueless as to how a farm functions, he finds himself attracted to Annalisa while waiting for her next groom to arrive. Can true love override a serious past offense? Can a German immigrant truly hope to own her own land one day? Will forces beyond her control rule her life? Can she find her fairy-tale ending?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though it took a moment to place myself in the time period, this book quickly and effectively grabbed my attention. The characters found their way into my heart through humor, empathy, romance and a hope of “happily-ever-after”. Filled with action during the 1880s, I enjoyed watching the story unfold, actually anticipating what may happen next.
As this was a new author for me, I am now drawn to reading her other books, hoping to find the same wit amongst the characters and depth of a story to pull me into the pages.

RATING: 4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Noble Groom from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review*

Head in the Clouds

Witmeyer, Karen. Head in the Clouds. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House. 2010.

SUMMARY:
Head in the CloudsAdelaide Proctor travels out west as a governess for Gideon Westcott’s young daughter, Isabella. Adelaide, with her nose constantly in a book and a creative imagination contrasts Gideon, the young rancher with an English background and no patience for distractions. Despite being opposites, Gideon and Adelaide must work together for a common goal – protecting Isabella.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Karen Whitmeyer captivates her reader with the adorable Adelaide. Adelaide is both independent and imaginative. The reader is constantly amused by Adelaide’s firecracker qualities. Yet, on the other end of the spectrum, the reader can’t help but wonder what is under Gideon’s gruff exterior.

The plot moves quickly with constant action. The story contains romance, adventure, mystery and humor all combined into one storyline. Karen Witmeyer leaves her reader wishing the story to never end. It is a book you will find yourself reading multiple times to join Adelaide with your own “head in the clouds”

RATING:
5 (Out of 5 pennies)