Jul 31, 2015

Book Review: Heart's Promise (Book 5 of 6) by Colleen Coble

A Heart's Promise is Book 5 in the 6-Part "Journey of the Heart" Series. 


Lavish Bookshelf Reviews 
of this series include:



Book summary:  "Emmie makes a promise to her friend that, if fulfilled, could mean the end to her dreams of a future with Isaac." (Back Cover)

My thoughts:  This installment of the Journey of the Heart series brings all of the young women together in the heart of Sioux country in the middle of the 1800s. The area is dangerous and subject to surprise attacks. To make matters even more complicated, most of the young ladies are pregnant, having reunited with their Army husbands just a few months earlier. 

In many ways this book was my favorite book of the series so far. I enjoyed the storyline that Emmie was in love with Isaac, but that they might never actually be able to be together. Emmie has had a tough life and she suffers from feeling of inadequacy and feels unlovable. As a character, Emmie shines as a flawed personality.

What really stands out to me about this book was the pregnancies and deliveries. I could never imagine what pioneer women endured by giving birth out on the Plains without much medical intervention. In fact, at one point, a woman in labor must rely on help from native-American wisdom. 

I must mention (again) that it's become a sticking point to me that this wonderful story was marketed by the publishers as six separate books. For more of my thoughts on this, please read here and here and here.



Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rating for entire series: 3 of 5 stars 
(due the exorbitant cost of purchasing each book separately)


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   112
  • Year originally published: 2015
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. For more information, please visit LitFuse.
Purchase on Amazon:  A Heart's Promise (Book 5) by Colleen Coble  


 
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Jul 17, 2015

Book Review: Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin



Great quote:  "An hour later, curled in her bed trying to sleep, she caught her breath. The man called Tidewatcher had offered to take her home. Would he do as much for her son?" (Page 30)

Book summary:  "This compelling debut weaves the fascinating story of a young woman who must risk her life as a spy to help stop Napoleon's invasion of Great Britain in the winter of 1803." (back cover)

My thoughts:  Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin is an epic historical fiction set in the Napoleonic time period. Billed as a debut novel, Tide Watchers is actually the sophisticated and complex 21st novel of Lisa Chaplin. Her first 20 novels were historical romances that have been published under the pseudonym of Melissa James.The distinction being that this book has more historical adventure and intrigue, whereas her first 20 historical novels had more romance.

Fictional characters include Duncan Alysham, a "king's man" (spy) tasked with finding the wayward Lisbeth, daughter of Sir Edward Sutherland, an English baron. Duncan eventually finds Lisbeth in France, destitute and separated from her infant son by a tyrannical ex-husband. Can Duncan save Lisbeth and return her to her family in England? Will Lisbeth be able to save both England and her infant son? 

Historical characters include Napoleon, who is plotting a invasion of Britain using the latest in technology for 1803: a submersible ship. In a fascinating real-life historical twist, the submersible's inventor is American Robert Fulton who was also responsible for the first steamboat. I must have fallen asleep in history class, because I had no idea that Fulton truly was embroiled in Napoleon's plot to take over the world. This historical twist surprised me!

The beginning of Tide Watchers is a bit of a slow-go. For the first 100 pages or so, I had to rely heavily on the Cast of Characters List (fictional and historical). Once I knew the characters after that muddy start, the book picked up in pace and intensity. 

Chaplin writes with many layers of sounds, smells and sounds. The result is an engaging book, but one that is more dense than most novels of the historical fiction genre. Tide Watchers is definitely not a quick read, but it does reward all of the senses of the reader. Tide Watchers is a complex (and educational) novel that fans of historical fiction will enjoy. 

Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   480
  • Year originally published:  2015
  • Author:  Follow Lisa on Twitter.
  • You might want to know:  Lisa Chaplin has published twenty contemporary romances under a pseudonym (Melissa James), but the publication of The Tide Watchers marks her mainstream debut. 
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. For more information, please visit TLC Book Tours
Purchase on Amazon:  The Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin  


 
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Jun 30, 2015

Book Review: Heart's Betrayal (Book 4 of 6) by Colleen Coble

A Heart's Danger is Book 4 in the 6-Part "Journey of the Heart" Series. 

Lavish Bookshelf Reviews 
of this series include:


Great quote:  "Isaac thought he'd never seen a more beautiful spot than this Tongue River Valley. The Bighorn Mountains south of the valley, the Panther Mountains to the west, and the Black Hills to the east all formed a majestic backdrop to this busy little fort in the wilderness." (Page 81)

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Book summary:  "When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband’s home, she discovered an awful truth: her deceased husband was a bigamist. And what’s more, the home she thought she inherited never belonged to her at all. Suddenly displaced, powerless, and ashamed, Emmie can’t stay in Wabash, Indiana. She makes a hopeful start for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, to find her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning. But when she arrives, she discovers she’s pregnant—and without a husband. The new start she’d hoped for slips from her fingers." (Back Cover)

My thoughts:  A Heart's Betrayal by Colleen Coble is Book Four in the Journey fo the Heart series. This book brings Emmie Croftner to the frontier. She is the sister of the evil Ben (who tried to force Sarah into marriage/later kidnapped her in the wilderness) and the simple-minded Labe. Emmie is dealing with her own tragedy and losses, but as a character she is sweet and caring and very unlike her two brothers.

In A Heart's Betrayal, the gang of Army men and the ladies all move from Fort Laramie to Fort Phil Kearny. The distance is less than 300 miles, but it takes the wagon-train crew 10 days over rough terrain and other dangers.

Colleen Coble writes some lovely turns of phrase, especially in her descriptions of the landscape and the scent of the sagebrush. She deftly incorporates historical events into this book, including a failed treaty with Red Cloud of the Sioux. Coble also adds frontier life to the book with interesting tidbits about cooking, tents, dress and many other day-to-day necessities. 

The Journey of the Heart Series is entertaining historical fiction, but I'm truly hung up over the cost of the whole thing. Each book in this 6-part series is $6.99, which brings the total for the series to $41.94!! Outrageous!! This series is great and all, but it is in no way worth that price when this story could have been one nice long novel for a reasonable price! The publisher has pulled a fast one on the readers!

Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Rating for the entire series: 2 of 5 stars
(due to the $6.99 cost of EACH book in this 6-part series)


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   96
  • Year originally published:  2015
  • Author:  Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide.Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.
  • Find Colleen online: websiteFacebookTwitter
  • You might want to know: This series, titled "Journey of the Heart," is the first novel that was written by Colleen Coble. Writing it was part of the grieving process after she lost her brother Randy in a freak lightning accident.
  • Book Tour:  For more reviews of this title and this series, please visit LitFuse Publicity.
Purchase on Amazon: A Heart's Betrayal (A Journey of the Heart) by Colleen Coble 

 

 
Don't forget to enter:
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FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Miss Brenda and the Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell



Great quote:   "No one can be truly happy until they have hope, until they find their destiny."  (Page 73)

Book summary:  "For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.  

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama."  (Multnomah-Waterbrook)


My thoughts:  Brenda Spahn had it all, so to speak. Successful business, nice home, fancy cars, lavish vacations. That is, she did have it all until the IRS started looking into her business practices. In the end Brenda Spahn agreed to a plea deal that kept her out of prison, but placed her smack dab into the world of women prisoners when she opened a transition home for recently released inmates. Miss Brenda and the Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell is the recounting of this amazing journey. 

Brenda Spahn is a firecracker of a lady, quick-thinking and flawed, but working to keep her promise to God that she made in her darkest hour. As Spahn welcomed the first 7 inmates into her home, the cultural and generational divide that all of the ladies had to cross in order to learn to live together is wide.

Obviously this book is not just about Brenda Spahn, though. The stories of the first seven prisoners that were sent to Brenda Spahn's home are also interspersed throughout. These pages are definitely the hardest to read, with heart-wrenching confessions and details of terrible abuse. I was amazed at the bravery these women displayed as they put their stories to paper.

In the days were Orange is the New Black is splashed across media outlets, this book gives a different perspective. Prison glamour and humor do not reign in this book. Instead, this book focuses on tragically wounded souls needing the power of grace from God. With occasional splashes of levity, this is a "true" reality book that will break your heart for the displaced and hurting. From the prison cells to Brenda Spahn's home, the Loveladies share stores that will educate (and maybe scare you), illuminate hope and give voice to their marginalized lives.


Rating:  4 of 5 stars

Book Facts:
  • Pages:   228
  • Year originally published:   2014
  • Author:  Brenda Spahn is founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Brenda is married and has four adult children as well as one young child who lives at home. 
  • You might want to know:  This book contains graphic stories and verbal images.

Purchase on Amazon:  Miss Brenda and the Loveladies: A Heartwarming True Story of Grace, God, and Gumption





FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.