Monday, November 14, 2016

Finding Margo: GIVEAWAY


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Now that I've got you totally pumped up about "Finding Margo", here's your chance to win a signed copy from the author herself! Simply comment on this post and include your email address (else how shall I alert you if you win??) to enter! Feel free to share the opportunity with your reader friends! And, GO!

Thank you for your participation!
>Alice

Finding Margo

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If Jen Turano wrote a dishwasher manual, I think I would not only enjoy it, but it would also hold me captive.

Honestly, I never got swept up in the Amish fiction craze when the genre became popular- it's just not my thing and each time someone told me about an Amish novel they had read, each one sounded pretty cliche- but I believe Jen can add a unique spin to any genre or "typical plot", and "cliche" isn't in her authors' vocabulary. 

"Finding Margo" is correspondingly a comedy and a suspense. Add a tasteful dash of heart and romance and you have a perfect recipe for an intriguing and heartwarming story that puts emphasis on the importance of family.

There were some aspects of the whole mystery business that I would catch on to pretty quickly and think- "I have this all figured out" -beware such cocky thinking! My lesson was learned as in the end I was still surprised and amazed by how everything came together.

As true with Turanos' other works, "Finding Margo" has a great cast of characters. A spunky and quirky heroine with more heart than first meets the eye, an impressive hero who is the perfect gentlemen, their families, their matchmakers, the stylist, the villains (some obvious, some not-so obvious) and, of course, the faithful feathered friend.
Give them each a crazy past, drop them in the middle of a brilliant plot- which puts them all in the middle of nowhere (this particular "middle-of-nowhere" being an Amish community)- pour some blonde hair dye over it, and call it a work of art. You don't want to miss this!

Bravo, Jen!

Sincerely,

The Elizabeth Papers

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"The Elizabeth Papers" was brilliant fan fiction! The plot is original and the perspective unique in a way that draws the reader into a world where the Darcys' really did exist and where they left a bit of a mystery to their modern-day descendants.

I loved the style- this is a back and forth story between the 1800's and present day, and each era was presented so vividly and SO rich in culture. During the modern portions, I felt as if I had hopped right over to England and could smell the air, see the colours, and feel the weather that those perfect accents were discussing. It caught me right up and encompassed me- you truly "shut out the real world" while reading this novel, because suddenly- you're in the UK!

There was, unfortunately, some content that I don't personally condone. In movie lingo, I would rate it PG13 for language and sexual content. I'm thankful the author was tasteful with the latter, however, it was still there and, morally, I can't promote it (really at all, but specifically between unmarried characters).

Overall, the book was very well written and *adult* fan fiction lovers will definitely enjoy it!

Sincerely,


Monday, October 10, 2016

Love's Faithful Promise

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My personal favourite in this family saga!
Deidre and Matthew share a story that is sweet, and full with all the elements readers enjoy, from a love/hate to friendship to romance relationship, trials, joy, sadness, and a lot of growing in both characters' lives.
Matthew grows in faith, trust, and letting go, while Deidre discovers what is truly important and that God will give His best when we surrender our dreams to Him.
The side story in this novel felt a bit like a teen soap opera, with all the drama that began the moment young Conner and Jo met. With more time to develop (maybe their own book), the story would no doubt have been more enjoyable, but as it was, I found it somewhat juvenile and out of place. However, this did not take away from the main story and overall flow of the book, so everything wrapped up nicely in a satisfying conclusion!
I enjoyed the character of Mrs O'Leary, with her motherly schemes and wise insights, and I loved the bond between all of the sisters and sisters-in-law. Also, little Phoebe was precious. 
Mason has a vivid style that captures the setting and era perfectly, and brings her characters to life, almost right off the page!


Warmly,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Bronte Plot

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Katherine Reay knows how to blend the charm of classic literature with the sometimes-harsh realities of life into a book, and deliver it similar to the way you like your coffee. 
Her novels always hold something for everyone -yours for the taking- and never fail to draw readers in with the "cozy fireside, blanket, and whistling-wind" of her style. 
Katherine's characters are real and relatable and you can't help but get attached to them and their lives.
The Bronte Plot is a gentle, nostalgic, treasure of a story, full of true life, love, and emotions with a healthy dose of adventure and discovery. 
"Come further up, come further in," and enjoy this heartwarming journey of facing the past to make way for the future. 

Sincerely,

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Heart Revealed

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"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)

So different from any and all other regency novels I have read, "A Heart Revealed" is a tale of true character and love. 
After being publicly humiliated, Amber Sterlington - the most sought-after debutante of the season- is sent to a remote family property as an outcast from London society, with just one frustratingly outspoken maid to accompany her. Accustomed to the life of privilege befitting her station, Amber knows nothing about surviving on her own in the seeming wilds of Yorkshire, where luxury seems like a distant dream and dinner doesn't cook itself. 
Rarely have I encountered this level of complete transformation and character development (in classic "Taming of the Shrew" style). Everything about this story was so real, while it's singularity to it's genre lent it a whimsical fairy tale charm. 
Amber's humbling journey to discover that true beauty lies within is an emotional and captivating page-turner.

Sincerely,

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bride of a Distant Isle

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Written in a style of equal gritty Bronte and elegant Austen, this novel played out like an Elizabeth Gaskell BBC drama in my head! Rich. Engaging. Vividly misty and cold. Emotional farewells between reader and characters. Story and setting were brilliant! Intricate and intriguing with plenty of eerie mystery and singular situations. The element of insanity is not one commonly written in historical fiction (that I have known), and I was impressed with the layers it lent to this book. Well written and hand-in-hand with the singular and slightly odd style that "gothic" is.
While the essence and style of the novel is consistent with the rest of her works, there was a theme of Catholicism throughout, which didn't lend itself necessary to the story and felt out of place for Byrds writing. That being said, Bride of a Distant Isle was like a brilliant collision between Jane Eyre, North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell), and the upstairs/downstairs element. Another Byrd masterpiece for all fiction lovers!


Sincerely,

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Inheritance

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"To discover her future meant uncovering a past she never knew existed."
Loni Ford has always wondered about her past; who were her parents? Who was she? What was her purpose? She's been living a successful business life and becoming an important asset to her company, but all that is about to change when her unknown past and the secrets of the Shetlands collide.

David Tulloch has been dedicated and loyal to his homeland and the village of Whales Reef his entire life; as chief of the island clan all the native residents expect his imminent succession to laird on the passing of old Macgregor Tulloch. But when complications arise through an unexpected claimant of the inheritance, as well as the resurfacing of a long lost heritage, will David be able to save his small village from those who would use it for their own gain, as well as his people from threatening eviction?

Brimful of Scottish history and custom, with new twists around every corner and more mystery with each uncovered clue, "The Inheritance" is the perfect rainy day immersion for any and all historical fiction fans! A tale of heritage and tradition, discovery and belonging, and surprising turnouts- an epic saga just beginning! 

Michael Phillips' seasoned and vivid style takes you right into bustling D.C. and overseas to the Scottish seaside! Practically audible clansmen accents and descriptive settings and emotions draw readers in until they feel the fire of Davids challenged heritage and the uncertainty of Lonis deceptively normal lifestyle.

An intricately woven tale for all to enjoy.

Slainte!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Too Hot to Handel

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Mr. John Pickett of Drury Lane has landed himself in the middle of mystery and peril, once again accompanied by the Viscountess Lady Fieldhurst (at his mentors' request).
A royal string of diamonds has vanished from the scene, along with Pickett's mental whereabouts. With her heroic rescuers' life on the line, will Lady Julia find the courage to stand up to society with what she has discovered in her heart? And will a fellow Bow Street Runner apprehend the jewel theif before Pickett even gets a chance to face reality again?
Vivid and light, South's latest romp into regency England provides questions and chaos, as well as justice and conclusions.
 


Sincerely,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Playing the Part

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I could just say "Bram." but I suppose I should give an actual review. 
I was beyond excited when "Playing the Part" arrived in my mailbox! Jen's novels are always brilliant, with something new in each, as well as the familiar wit and unique characters of the previous works. One-of-a-kind, and never disappointing. 
The setting takes us from high society New York, to a gothic castle (complete with moat and suits of armor), all the way to sweet-tea-sipping Virginia; from stuffy, to chilly, to warm- vivid through and through. 
The reclusive above mentioned Bram Haverstein is an endearing hero; the perfect gentleman and full of surprises. His rag-tag staff that maintain his castle and the mystery that surrounds it create the perfect stage for a romantic comedy.
Miss Lucetta Plum is at the height of her quirky elegance, while her tough and independent shell are slowly cracked with each peculiar and humorous scenario she lands herself in. 
Abigail will always maintain a special place in my literary family, and Mr Skukman is the ideal bodygaurd. New faces take the stage, bringing both frustration and delight to this fun story.
I missed the constant presence of Harriet and Millie to complete the crazy trio and provide their share of laughs, but alls well that ends well and they could never leave their dear friend to have all the adventures without them. 
With a fast-moving plot, engaging characters, and a highly original ending, Turano's latest novel is a must-read for all Christian fiction/romantic comedy fans! (And if you're not, this just might make you one!)

Dramatically,

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Instant Frontier Family

Instant Frontier Family (Frontier Bachelors #4)
I enjoyed Instant Frontier Family as I have every Regina Scott story I've read, however I wasn't as impressed with Maddie's story as I thought I would be; I liked her better as a supporting character in the first three books to this series, while I didn't really see her as heroine material...[spoilers] Maddie is somewhat of a flirt and the hero notes this on multiple occasions, yet it doesn't seem to bother him because 'she's just doing it to build her business', and I was actually rather shocked that it was she who proposed to Michael in the end, rather than the other way around, and-again-he didn't have a problem with it. Little Aiden is adorable and I loved his relationship with Maddie, while Ciara really annoyed me (though that was what the author wanted). I did really like Michael's character though, and so was disappointed that- in my opinion- he didn't really deserve Maddie. Don't get me wrong! Maddie is a spunky Irish lass that adds a fun and lighthearted element to this series, her story was simply my least favourite.
I enjoyed meeting Nora briefly in this book, and look forward to hers and Simons Christmas story! (I guess I just have a soft spot for Wallin landing. :))


Sincerely,

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Worthy Heart

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Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed the author's writing style and her ability to draw the reader into the setting of the story, while her knowledge of the era and customs adds to the enjoyment. Each sound, smell and street are vivid and the characters well-developed. (Even the Irish accents were authentically written.)
As with
Irish Meadows, the plot quickly splits into two main threads that follow two separate couples and their lives (though both stories intertwine regularly), which I really like! I find that it keeps the book from lagging at any point and helps keep the reader riveted and waiting to see what happens next, while the two stories play hot potato, switching back and forth on a regular basis. (I also appreciate that this never got confusing.) I personally enjoyed this sequel to the first novel.
A Worthy Heart is a tale of love, dedication, and restitution.


Sincerely,

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Would-Be Wilderness Wife

Would-Be Wilderness Wife (Frontier Bachelors, #2)
Catherine Stanway, one of Mercer's belles, has come over from Boston after losing her family in the Civil War to start a new life as a nurse in the primitive settlement of Seattle. Levi Wallin figures that the best way to have stand-by medical assistance for his ill mother, and to provide a wife for his eldest brother, Drew at the same time, is to bring Ms. Stanway to their backwoods haven...by force.
Written in the style of the classic musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and packed full of comedy and misadventures, this book was brilliant; captivating and witty, I couldn't put it down!


Sincerely,

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Bride Ship

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Regina Scott has a style that captures my attention no matter what the premise or time period may be! Her characters always have a way of surprising me; whether it's one I can't tell if I like and she manages to redeem them by the end and they become a favourite, or I think someone is above suspicion only to find in them the true villain. The whole story takes place mostly confined on one ship bound for Seattle, but the plot never lags and there is always something going on to keep things interesting. I loved the sub characters and the atmosphere they added, and I look forward to hearing more about them as the series progresses.
Research level on par, thoroughly engaging characters, and a rich and sparkling plot!


Read more about the series and the author here: Could You Have Been a Mercer Belle?

Sincerely,

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lizzy & Jane

Lizzy & Jane is a beautiful and touching novel about two sisters who must learn the value of family and the freedom in letting go of past mistakes- taking from them the lesson meant to be learned while leaving behind the guilt.
Katherine Reay has an incredible talent for drawing the reader in through exquisite detail and smooth references to classic literature that lend the story a real and sparkling aura.
With dynamic characters and an entrancing plot and setting, Lizzy & Jane will leave your heart warm and satisfied, and with a new appreciation for others, their needs, and not just being, but living.
 
Sincerely,