Book Review: Fire & Ice by Mary Connealy

Fire & Ice
by Mary Connealy
Rating: 4/5
Book 3 of the Wild at Heart Series
Bethany House – Fiction | Christian | Historical Romance

Bailey Wilde is the last of the Wilde sisters to stick around in the West. She is also one of the best (and smartest) ranchers in the area. Ever since she served in the Civil War, she’s disguised herself as a young man and worked hard to be the son her father wanted and loved. Her only real competition is Gage Coulter, who is trying to gain back access to his canyon of 5,000 acres of grass for his cattle. Ever since he found out that Mr. Bailey Wilde had set up a homestead at the entrance to his canyon, he’s been trying to find a way to buy the land or barter a deal to trespass through her land to give his cattle access. He’s determined and will get his way, despite any warning gunshots that Wilde shoots his way.

When Gage finally figures out the truth about Miss Bailey Wilde, he continues to try to barter a deal with her, but she refuses. When Gage shows her his plans to force another opening to the canyon, Bailey gives up. She will have to find another place for her herd to graze. She is disappointed but still determined to make this work.

After a long and lonely winter, Bailey is overjoyed to see Gage, despite the circumstances. She is shocked when he proposes marriage, in order to fool his mother, who is coming to visit him. In her loneliness, she decides to marry Gage in exchange for the rights to the canyon and her homestead. Can Bailey and Gage find a way to make this marriage work? Can they learn to trust and respect each other’s skills? Can they learn to let go of their pasts and see the promising future that’s before them?

Ending this novel was bittersweet. I didn’t want the series to end. I’ve enjoyed all three books in the Wild at Heart series and I can’t wait to see what else Mary Connealy comes up with next. She is incredibly talented at creating characters that are flawed and lovable and frustrating and endearing! I love all of the humor and faith she infuses into her stories. She pulls me right into the historical setting and I’m not content until I find out what exactly happens to the main characters.

Although you could read this book by itself, I would recommend reading the other two books first just to be more familiar with some of the other characters. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a great historical romance with comedy!

I received this book for free from the publisher and NetGalley but was not required to give a positive review.

Book Review: With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

With Every Breath
by Elizabeth Camden
Rating: 4/5
Bethany House – Fiction/Historical

After Trevor McDonough beats her in a competition to get a college scholarship, Kate Livingston spends years working her way up the ranks in the government in D.C. to help support her family’s boarding house. When she’s offered a job working with a research doctor from Harvard, she jumps at the chance until she realizes who the doctor is. For some reason, Trevor has changed his last name and offered her a job as his assistant. Trevor is trying to find a cure for tuberculosis and needs her help.

When Kate agrees to their partnership, she tries to discover why Trevor is the way he is, why he changed his last name, and what secrets he’s keeping. Along the way, Kate develops feelings for Trevor despite her loyalty to her late husband and high school sweetheart. Has Kate fallen in love with a man she barely knows? Can Trevor find a cure for tuberculosis before he loses everything? Will his past mistakes put Kate in danger?

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book by Elizabeth Camden, but I definitely enjoyed her writing style. Her writing transported me into the late 19th century and painted a picture of what life was like for a woman like Kate. I honestly wasn’t too interested in the first 1/3 of the book, but I kept reading hoping the story got better and it did. As someone who majored in biology and is on her way to medical school, I was really interested in the history of tuberculosis and its treatment. I really appreciated all of the research that went into the book. Everything was fairly believable. The characters were well developed and relatable for the most part.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Book Review: A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson

A Bouquet of Love
By Janice Thompson
Rating: 4/5
Book 4 of Weddings by Design series
Revell – Fiction / Contemporary Romance

After her large Greek family moved from Santa Cruz, California to Galveston, Texas, to open up another restaurant, Cassia Pappas lands her dream job in a flower shop owned by the Rossi family, her family restaurant’s competition. Being part of the family restaurant has always been a part of her life, but Cassia’s love for flowers and floral design has her excited to go to work. Meeting a Greek Adonis named Alex Rigas doesn’t hurt either. Since Alex’s family grows and supplies the flowers for the shop, he and Cassia are constantly thrown together, and they cannot deny the attraction to each other. Will her overbearing and controlling father find out about her friendships with the Rossis? Can she help her father see the truth about how similar they all are?

I’ve been a fan of Janice Thompson for a while and this story did not disappoint. I loved the floral design angle because I grew up wanting to work with flowers. I loved all the fun and quirky characters. The characters are endearing and hilarious. I loved getting to catch up other characters from her previous books too. She’s created such a fun world and even makes me want to go visit Texas – a place this California girl has never been. I also enjoyed the Judy Garland thread throughout the story – such a refreshing perspective. As I read the book, I thought the story read like a movie – after reading that Thompson is a screenwriter, my reaction made a lot of sense.

I definitely recommend this book to those who love romantic comedies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and love to smile/laugh their way through books.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Book Review: The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn
by Lori Benton
Rating: 4/5
WaterBrook Press – Religion/Fiction/Historical

Horrified after witnessing her mother’s murder, Tamsen Littlejohn flees the life she’s known and the controlling stepfather who is forcing her to marry a man she does not love. She pleads with a local frontiersman, Jesse Bird, to help guide her far away across the mountain wilderness to escape her sorrows. After growing up with the Shawnee and being adopted by Cade, Jesse Bird is a man who walks the line between the white man and the local Indians. He is well-equipped to guide Tamsen, but can he protect his own heart from falling for the beautiful girl who is out of his league?

Meanwhile, Tamsen’s stepfather and would-be fiance suspect that she has been kidnapped and will stop at nothing to find her. The search leads them all over the mountains and smack dab in the middle of a conflict between the State of Franklin and North Carolina. Will Tamsen survive the trek and the wilderness living she is unaccustomed to? What will happen when Tamsen’s stepfather and fiance catch up to her? Will the murderer of Tamsen’s mother come to justice? Can love survive so many lies and betrayal?

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book by Lori Benton, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I was very impressed with the beautiful and well-described historical setting (especially during a time period I was unfamiliar with). The reader becomes fully immersed in the setting and different cultures. I also enjoyed the character development and the fun, interwoven paths that were only revealed at the end. The text is rich with history and made me remember why I enjoy historical fiction so much.

Definitely recommend this book to any lovers of Christian Historical Fiction.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books but was not required to give a positive review.

Book Review: A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
by Katie Ganshert
Rating: 5/5
WaterBrook Press – Fiction|Christian|Romance

For twenty-four-year-old Ivy Clark, life as a supermodel has a shelf life. Her ten years in the biz has shown her that she is nothing more than a shell. When she returns to Greenbrier, South Carolina, for her father’s funeral, she is filled with conflicting and frustrating thoughts. The illegitimate child of her father’s mistress, Ivy has never felt wanted and loved by her father. On top of this tragedy, Ivy is facing the end of her career. Too many young faces are stealing the spotlight from her. When her uncle (her agent) convinces her to do a bridal magazine spread for her stepmother, Marilyn, who designs wedding gowns, she is desperate, yet hesitant to stay in Greenbrier. Marilyn’s nephew, Davis Knight, will be the photographer, and Ivy is uncertain whether or not he is up to the challenge. Tortured by his past, Davis Knight knows all about the world of fashion photography. Having given up his passion in photography, he is reluctant to jump back in, even to help his beloved aunt and benefit his blind sister, Sara. Davis has a gift of seeing more than what’s on the outside; Ivy cannot seem to use her usual seduction tricks on him. Can Ivy find love and redemption in the small town of Greenbrier? Can Davis forgive himself for his past mistakes? Can Ivy and Davis find a way to work together and possibly more?

I found out about author Katie Ganshert on Facebook and was curious to read one of her books. When I found her recent book available on Blogging for Books, I immediately signed up to read it. This story is only her third book. I literally read the book in 4 hours (midnight-4am). I could not and would not put it down. This book is simply one of the best Christian romances I have ever read, and I have read MANY books. The beautifully woven story of faith and redemption is so heart-wrenching and perfectly written. The reader falls in love with the characters and their journeys to redemption. The plot keeps moving along – not too slow or fast. My only concern was that the story ends a little abruptly for my taste. It was a somewhat satisfying end, but the short epilogue was not enough for me. That is how much I enjoyed the book. I just want to thank the author for writing such a powerful story of God’s redeeming love and forgiveness. I was so moved by the story of God’s faithfulness and love, even when we don’t deserve it.

I highly recommend this story for anyone who loves Christian romance. Warning: you may need tissues.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.