A Few Good Books Reviewed

Hello Thursday Morning!

It’s been a while. So much has happened since last I posted. My husband of almost forty-six years went to the doctor with chest pain and a few weeks later, underwent a multiple-bypass surgery.

He did very well and thankfully, I was able to remain with him during his three days in the ICU and three more in the cardiac ward. Only six days total sounds like a miracle to me but bringing him home presented new challenges. However, God is good and rich in mercy. My husband is now recovering nicely and itching to get back to a more normal life. He prefers to be in the driver’s seat.

Life as a chauffeur to numerous doctor visits translates into more time for me to read (like the chauffeur in Sabrina who originally took the job to have more time to read).

I read three books, which is more than I’ve read in a year. I’ve written short reviews for all three.

The Captured Bride by Michele Griep

Historical fiction, upstate New York, 1759

I knew I was going to like this book from the first moment I picked it up. It’s been on my TBR pile for nearly two years since I bought it when it first came out. Anyone who has ever read a Michele Griep book will not be disappointed.

What I liked most: The prose. Michele Griep is an artist who paints “wordscapes.” Her scenes are rich and vibrant. I often took the time to reread a scene because it was so beautifully written.

What I liked the least: Some of the scenes were so gut-wrenching and action-packed, I wanted to chew my nails. I couldn’t set it down but had to know what happened next.

In a nutshell: I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction. The research is spot-on but not overdone, so there are no info-dumps, just richly written scenes. I loved the colorful characters, too.

One thing that drew me to this story, in the beginning, is the setting. My husband’s family is from Upstate New York. I’ve visited there, so I was familiar with many of the landmarks and rivers named in this novel.

Breaking Point by Marji Laine

Mystery, romantic suspense.

This is another one I grabbed as soon as it was released. I had started reading it but life got in the way. It’s the second book in the Heath’s Point Suspense series. I haven’t read the first book but that didn’t harm the story. However, now that I’ve read book two, I definitely want to read the first one.

What I liked most:  The author has a good handle on writing this genre. The suspense remained taut throughout.

What I liked the least: What I would like to say would be a spoiler, so I’ll just say I was a little frustrated at times with the main character. She was not at all what she seemed in the beginning (a good thing because I didn’t like her). Sometimes we are too quick to judge, however. Once I knew a little more about her past, I better understood her life decisions.

In a nutshell: If you love romantic suspense and big, crazy families, you will like this book. My recommendation would be to start with Book I Counter Point. The action level is high, so they make a quick read.

The Cowboys, Jennifer Uhlarik, Linda W. Yezak, Cindy Ervin Huff, and Sandra Merville Hart

The Cowboys is a Western collection of novellas. I’ve been a fan of western fiction since my childhood, so this book kind of felt like that chocolate bar you keep hidden on the top shelf in the pantry. Author Linda W. Yezak was the main reason I bought it, but the other three did not disappoint. I loved all four stories and would have a difficult time choosing my favorite.

What I liked most: The length. Each novella-length story is a breeze to read, especially since I loved all the characters.

What I liked the least: The length. I could easily have read more about each of these. I’d arrive at the end and think, “already?”

In a nutshell: I whole-heartedly recommend this collection of novellas, especially if you are a big fan of western historical romance. If you’ve never read it before, this is a great way to try it on for size. It’s also a great way to try out new authors. These four are quite talented and well able to stand on their own, which makes this collection worth so much more. This one goes on my reread shelf (kind of like that secret stash of chocolate—shh! Don’t tell my husband!).

Buy Links:

The Captured Bride

Breaking Point

The Cowboys

Frozen Notes – A Book Review

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello! It’s Thursday Morning!

Well, it’s actually Wednesday as I’m working on this. When I realized that tomorrow is Thursday, and I had not finished reviewing that book I told you about last week.

First of all, let me say that I am a fan of author, Fay Lamb. I love her books. So, I was excited to find a new one (even though I somehow skipped one in the series). So, here are my impressions, and a short review — no spoilers (I hope)!

The setting: Amazing Grace, a fictional town in North Carolina, is a place I’d love to visit, if it existed.

The book’s cover: You don’t often see a black-and-white cover. But when you get into the story, you understand why. The main character’s life has lost color, meaning, she’s even lost faith.

I actually started reading this book on Kindle until the paperback arrived in the mail. I couldn’t resist opening it. There’s something so special about a brand new book in your hands, especially a page-turner like this one.

Oh, the delicious characters that populate the little town of Amazing Grace in Frozen Notes. Some rather seedy, others ruthless and just plain mean. Some, who are scratching like mad to get out of the pit they’ve gotten themselves into.

What wonderful names they have–Lyric, and Balaam, Magda. As you’re still getting to know these characters, they show off like peacocks, but they’re not displaying beauty. Instead, we see their humanity in all of its broken glory. I was not repulsed, however. Instead, I was drawn into their imperfect stories, and led to hope their struggles would end well.

Questions wrestled my attention from the start. Would Lyric play her music again? Will this family find some semblance of balance, or will they always be at odds with one another? It seems almost as if Fay Lamb sets up most of them to fail. They all have rough backgrounds, and broken beginnings. The book starts with a double homicide. Rather overwhelming odds, I’d say.

But I never felt overwhelmed, because there was always that glimmer of hope shining through. And so many of these characters longed for real and lasting love, but hadn’t achieved it, and didn’t really know how to go about getting it. Most of all, I wanted a real, and lasting love for Lyric’s son, who wanted a father so badly. A real one, who would stay, be kind to him, and love him for who he was.

Can Lyric forgive those who have hurt her so deeply, including the pain she has inflicted on herself? As I read, I’m pulling for Balaam, whose stunning looks could almost make you forget how far from grace he’s fallen.

Like real life, this story travels through some tumultuous days, when hope takes a nose dive. But strengths are honed in the worst of times. Those characters who’ve set their hearts and minds on overcoming, will triumph in the end. And if you’re a fan of happy endings, this author has given you her best.

This is no sweet love story, though you may find sweetness and love threaded throughout. For those who like a meatier kind of romance, that doesn’t hide ugliness and pain, doesn’t filter reality through rosy glasses, Frozen Notes fills that bill well.

I’m giving this one five stars and keeping it around to re-read when I have time to savor every detail.

Now, if you were here last week, you may remember I told you there would be a giveaway attached to this review. If you’d like to win a free copy of Frozen Notes, either the Kindle version, or print version–winner’s choice–leave me a comment below and let me know you’d like a chance to win.

Just my way of saying thank you for stopping by my blog!

Click to Tweet: Hello! Thursday Morning, read a five-star review of Fay Lamb’s Frozen Notes. #Suspense #giveaway


More about Frozen Notes, Amazing Grace, Book 4

Lyric Carter’s dreams of fame and fortune in a rock band ended the day Balaam Carter left to pursue their dreams without her. When Balaam’s brother promised to love and protect Lyric and to love her son, Cade—his brother, Balaam’s child—as his own, she believed him. But Braedon turned her dreams into a nightmare by killing Balaam’s best friend, turning the gun on himself, and placing Lyric in the middle of a criminal investigation that could leave her and Cade dead.

Balaam Carter’s every dream has come true, but he’s living in a nightmare of addiction and regret. The famous rock star would give everything he has to return to the girl he once held in his arms—back when his only crime was running moonshine for his father. Now, he’s seeking redemption for all the destruction his dreams have brought to the people he loves.

No one said the road to recovery would be easy, but Balaam is also desperate to protect Lyric and the little boy he left behind from a state full of drug lords who believe Lyric has the evidence that will tumble their lucrative cartels. Balaam’s continued sobriety, his natural ability for finding his way out of trouble, and his prayers to God above for the strength to never let them down again are all that he has to protect Lyric and his son, and still, he doesn’t know if he’s up for the task.