Review: The Promise of a Letter by Kathleen Fuller

Leanna is one of my favorite protagonists! She doesn’t apologize for being different (and that’s something, when you’re not a naturally domestic kind of gal, but you *are* Amish), and she doesn’t resent being different, either. Leanna uses her talents to work in a mechanical shop, and she loves it! But author Fuller doesn’t stop there; she fleshes out the full character of Leanna – a loving sibling, a fun caregiver, and a fiercely loyal friend. 

And then we meet Roman. He’s Amish too, sort of. And he is also a mechanic, sort of. He’s on a journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and reconciliation with his brother. 

Fuller does a great job illustrating modern Amish life, touching on family dynamics, spirituality, unconventional career choices, education, and romance. I appreciate that Fuller wrote a strong, feminine character that performed a “man’s” job,  without making Leanna into a stereotype or a mascot for feminist politics. And I am pleased that there was a happily ever after for more than one couple. 

-calliope 

Buy THE PROMISE OF A LETTER

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Review and Giveaway: The Time In Between by Kristen Ashley

“She was the one then and nothing changed in the time in between.”

Oh, how I adore a Kristen Ashley book! The Time In Between was the perfect ending to a fabulous trilogy. Lots of emotion, heartache and love. This book made me swoon and smile, and made my heart race with anticipation. I wanted so many good things for Cady and Coert and I’m so happy that they finally found their happily ever after.

“I was so young, even with all these years, so much pain was covering it that I didn’t see underneath it to see that you kept your promise.

Coert felt something twisting in his gut. “What promise?”

“That I’d never be safer with anyone than I am with you.”

When we first saw Cady, we didn’t know it was her. She was fighting with Coert, in Soaring, and we only got a glimpse of her, but that glimpse was enough to intrigue us. Now we get their story. And what a story it is!

After 18 years of being apart, the heart still knows what it wants. When Cady moves to Magdalene, she confronts Coert and eventually gets him to see reason and realize that the past was both their faults and the only way to move on is to look forward, not back. They both had trials and beauty in the time in between, but the most important is what they do now with the future. Slowly all those years will disappear if they just hold on and never let go.

I was in love with Coert Yeager in a way that it just simply would never die. Never.

I gotta say, these kinds of stories, KILL ME. All those years apart just about do me in. I can’t even imagine being without my true love for so long and then finding out we could’ve been together if only someone stopped running and listened. GAH!

This is the final book in the Magdalene trilogy, so you will see all our favorite, and not so favorite, characters from the past two books, plus a few from another of her series. I was rather giddy to read about these characters. They’re interconnected standalones, so you don’t need to read the other two, but I highly encourage you to do so. These stories are epic romances that will have you gutted and crying and then smiling and swooning. And you’ll love every moment.

~Melpomene

Excerpt:
Present day…
I took in the mess of the large, circular room we were in and at first saw nothing but the mess—decaying furniture, a soot-covered stone fireplace, a kitchen that might have been put in in the forties but had not only not been touched the last nine years, it perhaps had not been touched the last nineteen (or more).
Then I saw more.
The extraordinarily carved railing to the sweeping wood staircase that ran the curved side of the house. The red brick walls. The plank wood floors.
“Once upon a time, long ago,” the realtor was suddenly talking wistfully, “someone loved this place. Put that love into building it. Put that love into keeping it. Nine years and more when no one really gave a whit, and still you can see it once had a lot of love.”
Oh yes.
You could see that.
“It’s got a basement, more like a big crawl space,” the agent declared, surprising me with his quick change in tone back to businesslike and informative. “The furnace is down there. You can get down there through a door in the floor. The furnace was put in a while back, and full disclosure, though an inspection will catch it, it probably needs to be replaced.”
Through his words I stared at the fireplace, which scoured would be magnificent, and I noticed it didn’t have a chimney as such, but the smoke probably went out a vent in the wall.
“This floor has a powder room under the stairs,” the realtor kept on. “You can look at it if you want, but if you wanna save yourself that, I’ll just tell you straight, it needs to be gutted.”
I decided to take his word for it and told him that.
He looked relieved when I did before he stated, “Place has a garage, two car. Not in good condition, but think you saw that. Still, it’s close to the house and there’s a covered walkway to that door over there.” He pointed at a door that was across from the door we’d walked in. “Means you might feel a chill but you won’t get wet, unless it’s raining sideways, which happens.”
With a breeze that plastered my jacket to me on a sunny, early spring day, I did not doubt that.
“Garage has a loft space above it, which could be renovated as a studio rental if you’ve a mind to do that sort of thing. As for the property itself, it also has a building where the generators are stowed,” the realtor carried on. “Hook up for a washer and dryer and good space in there. Lots of it for storage. Which is good because there’s not a lot of storage in here for tools and Christmas decorations and whatnot.”
I glanced around seeing he was right. There wasn’t even enough cabinetry to house the things a decent cook would need in her kitchen. Though there was room for them. In fact, if you fought back the gloom, there was quite a bit of room.
“And there’s a place outside, could call it a studio, could call it a mother-in-law house,” he shared. “Whatever, it’s got goodly space, two bedrooms, big kitchen. Could be renovated to be a guest house. Or like I said, a studio if you’re artsy. Or you could rent it out like a B and B. I’ll show you all of that after we have a look at the lighthouse.”
“Thanks,” I replied.
“Now, since I mentioned full disclosure, you have to know it all,” the realtor continued.
Slowly, my eyes went to him.
When they did, he launched in. “Like I said, it’s automated. And like I said, you won’t really have to concern yourself with the functionality of that unless the electricity goes out, but then the generators automatically kick in. There are two. But you’ll need to keep fuel on hand to keep them going in case a blackout lasts awhile. And just to say, this is coastal Maine. We get weather. Blackouts can last awhile.”
When I nodded to share I took that in, he kept going.
“And if you’re, say, away on vacation, you need to make sure someone is playing backup in such a case.”
“Okay,” I replied when he stopped talking, thinking this probably wasn’t a good thing since I knew no one in Maine (or not anyone who wanted to know me) and thus couldn’t call on anyone to do something like that.
I also didn’t hold high hopes I’d make friends and win people. I hadn’t had a lot of success in that in my life.
And last, although Patrick believed it completely, I held no hope that the reason I was out there was going to come to fruition.
That being me having a happy ending.
That being what Patrick thought would be my happy ending.
Which might mean I’d have someone, a certain someone, or actually two (at least), even though I knew I never would.

Enter rafflecopter giveaway HERE

Buy The Time In Between http://amzn.to/2uMe5J2

5% of the proceeds from the first week of sales of THE TIME IN BETWEEN release will be given to HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, a no-kill shelter. HALO stands for “helping animals live on” and is a shelter started by a mother/daughter team of committed animal advocates who have done a huge duty for animals in this area, and continue to do so with unwavering love, support and energy.For more information on HALO or to donate to the work they do, go to http://www.halorescue.org.

Fall in love with the town of Magdalene by reading the first two books.
The Will http://amzn.to/2uN89z9
Soaring http://amzn.to/2gUKyH2

Review: Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber 

Sometimes predictable is just the thing you need, especially when it’s painted with the brush of faith and hope. Macomber is an expert in helping her characters gain faith in humanity and hope for themselves – even when it seems impossible. 

Any Dream Will Do is the motto of Shay’s new friend — the one who will help Shay save herself from the pit of despair she needs to step out of. But Shay hasn’t believed in dreams in so long, that’s a tough order to fill. 

I enjoyed this quick read centered around redemption and loving others. I’m not sure the story was quite realistic – there were some hokey parts where I suspended my disbelief – but it certainly was hopeful. And although only a small part of the book focused on romance, Macomber wrote a lovely happily ever after. 

-calliope

Buy ANY DREAM WILL DO

Review: Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson

This is a cute summer read set in Savannah, where we find art teacher Nicole house-sitting for a family friend and working at an art gallery. Nicole thought she’d have a quiet summer with plenty of time to paint, but instead finds herself overwhelmed with a difficult co-worker, childhood friends-turned-handsome-men, and a teenager who just needs a little love and direction. 

I loved all the references to art and architecture, the Savannah sunsets, and the diplomatic way Nicole finessed her way through a few unexpected situations. As usual for her novels, Carlson includes a little bit of God to illustrate his presence, but doesn’t use the novel to preach or proselytize. And as usual for my favorite summer reads, this one ends in a happily ever after. 

-Calliope 

Buy UNDER A SUMMER SKY

Review: The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart 

I’m so glad I started this series! Allie and Des find out they have a half-sister… and the trio is required to cooperatively restore an old theatre in order to get their inheritance after their dad’s death. Restoring a theatre – what fun!

Watching the three characters learn about each other and grow in themselves was great. Steward develops the characters evenly, even though the story is told through Cara’s eyes. The introduction of Allie’s daughter shows Allie’s heart – at a point in the story I had just about had it up to here with her! And Stewart’s illustration of Des’s flair for fashion gives positive personality to this third sister – and adds another light, fun aspect to the story. 

I love how open Cara is to new friendships with her sisters and the small-town neighbors watching them restore the theatre. Reading the story from Cara’s viewpoint was an exercise in optimism, hopefulness and adventure. And as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking I really can’t wait for the next book … so I’m signing off and checking the internet for Book Two’s pub date. 🙂

-calliope 

Buy THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE

Review: The Vicar’s Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack

Oh, my swooning heart! This book was so sweet and romantic. I swear there were butterflies in my belly the entire time. The Vicar’s Daughter had a very “Emma” feel to it, but with a twist.

Cassie hated the rules her parent’s instilled that only one daughter at a time would be put in society. So in order to speed things along she tries to help her very anxious sister in making a match. But as things began to progress, she starts to get feelings for the man she wanted for her sister. She tried to put her them aside but when push comes to shove, her heart can’t take the pain.

Mr. Glenside is new to society so he’s learning the ins and outs and soon finds himself caught up in a situation that had only one outcome. But in order to be true to his heart he must make the unfortunate decision and cause himself lots of trouble and gossip to be flung his way. Not exactly how he wanted to come out in society, but some things can’t be helped.

I loved Cassie. Her heart was in the right place, but her execution was flawed. Royally flawed It’s was very hard to see her suffer. But as a vicar’s daughter there was no escaping it. SHe was well known,therefore people were going to know what happened. She had me in tears towards the end. Gah!! My heart was invested and was wishing for no more suffering.

As I’ve said before, I love this Proper Romance series. This one had more religious tones than the many of them. Since it was about a vicar’s family, I’m not surprised. If you love historical romances with all feels, then I recommend you grab this one.

~Melpomene

Buy The Vicar’s Daughter HERE

Review: Preston’s Honor by Mia Sheridan

01-aa “Make a fuss.”

The last time I felt this way, after reading a Mia book, was when I read Kyland. This story is about love, forgiveness and honor. It will make you think and make you cry. You will be gutted. But most of all, this book brings attention to a very real issues that many people face in this country. In fact, it brought to my attention another serious issue that many women deal with, but often no one talks about it. I realize that many people read books differently and some won’t even think about this. This story has so many things going on, many real life issues, that this may get glanced over. But to me, it broke my heart. Like the quote up top, make a fuss. Don’t settle. You’re worth fighting for.

SYNOPSIS
There were two brothers—identical twins—and though I loved them both, my soul belonged to only one.

Annalia Del Valle has loved Preston Sawyer all her life. The daughter of an impoverished migrant farmworker, she grew up as an outcast in what was no more than a tiny, cooped up shack in California’s Central Valley. But her heart found freedom in the land, in the wide-open spaces of Sawyer Farm, and in the boys who were her only friends.

Preston has yearned for Annalia since he was a boy. But a sense of honor kept him from pursuing her until he’s unable to hold back any longer and their worlds—and bodies—collide one hot summer night. A night that sets off a chain of events that will alter their lives forever.

Now Annalia is back in town after disappearing without a trace for six long months. Determined to reclaim her heart, her life, and the baby she left behind—the son who was created in a moment of lust and love and pent-up yearning.

Preston has survived grief, a ravaging drought, and the despair of heartache, but he’s not sure he can survive Annalia again. And he might be unwilling to try. Will pride and bitterness keep him from the one thing he’s always longed for?

How do you heal what is irreparably broken? How do you forgive that which is unforgivable? How do you discover that real honor comes not from circumstance, but from the place deep in our hearts where truth resides? And how do you move beyond the wounds of the past to discover that some loves are as solid as the ground beneath your feet, and as enduring as the earth itself?

This is not your usual love triangle. Trust me. Read this book with an open mind and open heart and you can thank me later. This is a story about a girl who keeps everything to herself. It’s about not standing up and thinking you need to take what life hands you, without complaint. It’s about not being strong enough to say, “Enough!” Lia represents a lot of people. She thinks she’s all alone and keeps to the sidelines of life. She’s created this wall around her heart so she doesn’t get hurt, but in doing so, this wall is slowly closing in on her and not allowing love to reach her. When you don’t feel love, you can’t give love. She was slowly dying inside but didn’t understand how to fix herself. What she needed to do was break free and let others in. But unfortunately she learned that the hard way.

I loved Preston. He was so strong, even when he thought he was weak, he was strong. He would do anything to keep his family afloat during tragedy after tragedy. There is no better person than him. He loved with a fierceness that even if it cost him everything, he would do what it takes to keep going.

“I vowed to prove to her that her secrets – the tender places inside her – were safe with me. And I promised myself I’d trust her with my tender places, too.”

I made the mistake of starting Preston late one night and read until about 12:30, then cried myself to sleep. I woke up at 6 to finish up. What an absolute beautiful and very thought provoking story. Mia is a word wizard. She created a world that I feel a part of and makes me want to step in and live it. This book and these characters are so very real. You will be moved to tears and your heart will be full. So many emotions.

~Melpomene

Buy Preston’s Honor HERE