2018 Book Year in Review

Whew! Another (reading) year has passed. I set a goal to read at least seventy-five new books and I far exceeded that. Somehow, I read over 110. This does not include titles I re-read. I was very happy with the books I chose this year. The majority I rated four stars, but around 40 percent of them earned five stars from me.

READING GOALS

At the beginning of this year, I set some reading goals for myself. Honestly, I didn’t do as well with these as I would have liked. The two goals I did manage to accomplish were to quit more books and to read more non-fiction. My non-fiction consisted mainly of biographies and film history. I read about the friendship between James Stewart and Henry Fonda, interviews with classic film stars, books on costume design, biographies on Jean Arthur, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Ava Gardner and one about the last years of Bette Davis’ life. Continue reading “2018 Book Year in Review”

Book Review -Impossible Saints

SUMMARY

Escaping the constraints of life as a village schoolmistress, Lilia Brooke bursts into London and into Paul Harris’s orderly life, shattering his belief that women are gentle creatures who need protection. Lilia wants to change women’s lives by advocating for the vote, free unions, and contraception. Paul, an Anglican priest, has a big ambition of his own: to become the youngest dean of St. John’s Cathedral. Lilia doesn’t believe in God, but she’s attracted to Paul’s intellect, ethics, and dazzling smile.

As Lilia finds her calling in the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, Paul is increasingly driven to rise in the church. They can’t deny their attraction, but they know they don’t belong in each other’s worlds. Lilia would rather destroy property and serve time in prison than see her spirit destroyed and imprisoned by marriage to a clergyman, while Paul wants nothing more than to settle down and keep Lilia out of harm’s way. Paul and Lilia must reach their breaking points before they can decide whether their love is worth fighting for. Continue reading “Book Review -Impossible Saints”

Book Review – Ramble and Roar

SUMMARY

Eliza Belcourt has everything money can buy, except the love and approval of her parents. After they force her into an unwanted engagement to save her father’s business, Eliza flees to New York City to pursue her dream of being a famous singer.

Hugh Whitmore has loved Eliza for years. When Eliza rejects him, he heads to New York to expand his father’s business. He is also determined to prove to Eliza that they are perfect for each other.

Warren Moore is a dangerous and mysterious man. Only twenty three, he has risen in the ranks of New York’s Irish mafia by doing whatever was necessary. It’s a world where trust doesn’t exist and loyalty is everything. When Warren’s past catches up with him, it is his loyalty that becomes suspect.

Three people looking for approval. Eliza, Hugh and Warren find their lives slowly intermingling in New York. But they may be surprised by just how much they have in common. Continue reading “Book Review – Ramble and Roar”

Book Review -Sons of Blackbird Mountain

SUMMARY

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love. Continue reading “Book Review -Sons of Blackbird Mountain”

Book Review -Across the Blue

SUMMARY

Isabella Grayson is the daughter of a self-made newspaper magnate. Her parents are pushing her to marry in order to increase her family’s social standing. But Isabella has no interest in the old money, aristocratic young men that her parents prefer. In fact, she has little interest in marriage at all.  Bella has a secret dream of publishing as a journalist in one of her father’s papers. She has a particular interest in the brand new field of aviation.

James Drake is an orphan who has risen above his tragic beginnings. With the help of his mentor, James is designing an airplane he hopes will bring him enough prestige to start his own company. While test piloting his plane, he crash lands at the Grayson’s new country estate, where he meets Bella.

Striking a deal with her parents to encourage marriage minded suitors, Bella is given permission to write a series of articles on a contest for pilots to be the first to cross the English Channel. She and James develop an appreciation for each other as Bella uses him as a source for her articles. In addition, she decides to help James track down the mystery of his birth parents. However, though their friendship is acceptable, any romantic interest between them is not. As their feelings for each other deepen, they must balance their personal relationship with their professional interests.

To read my full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review

 

 

 

Book Review -At the Edge of Summer

SUMMARY

When Clare Ross’ father dies, her mother’s close friend whisks her away from Scotland to her family home in France. The lonely, grieving Clare finds a kindred spirit in Luc Crépet, the son of the household. She also finds understanding and encouragement of her artistic skills in this slightly bohemian family. Clare and Luc spend a golden summer together, before her grandfather unexpectedly comes to claim her.

Although they are separated, first by distance and then by war, Luc and Clare nurture their bond through letters. Eventually, this connection is severed and they lose track of each other. Until one day after the war, a familiar face walks into the prosthesis studio where Clare works. Though Clare has finally found her place, Luc has lost his. But Clare refuses to give up on the boy she once knew and is determined to rescue him as he once rescued her. Can a man scarred physically and emotionally by war and betrayal recapture the love and contentment of that one summer so long ago? Continue reading “Book Review -At the Edge of Summer”

Book Review -To The Farthest Shores

SUMMARY

Six years after the only man she ever loved left and broke her heart, Jenny Bennett is simply existing in her job as a civilian nurse for the Army. But when she happens to run into Ryan Gallagher and his daughter on base, it stirs up mixed emotions in her.

Ryan never intended to leave Jenny behind when he went to Japan, but his duty and commitment to his country forced him to make a  heart rending decision. He never forgot Jenny, but expected her to move on. When he finally meets Jenny again, he yearns for her forgiveness if not her acceptance.

When Ryan requires Jenny’s help in preparing his replacement they are forced to work and live together in a remote area. Ryan’s position with the government requires absolute secrecy which is a problem for a woman who longs for security and stability. But if Ryan succeeds in his plan, he will be able to remain in America and hopefully win Jenny back. Continue reading “Book Review -To The Farthest Shores”

Book Review – High as the Heavens

SUMMARY

In High as the Heavens Evelyn March has endured her fair share of tragedy. She’s lost much of her family, including her husband during WWI.  Eve is also a survivor with terrible secrets that cripple her with guilt as she goes about her job as a British nurse working with the Red Cross in the enemy occupied territory of Brussels. But Eve is not all that she seems. At night she carries out high risk missions for the Belgian underground resistance to assist the Allies in defeating the German occupiers.

British pilot Simon Forrester is on his way to meet with a contact of the resistance when his plane crashes and he is injured. Eve is stunned to recognize a familiar face from home and makes it her mission to care for and protect this link to her past at great risk to herself. But Eve is also determined to protect her own secrets as Simon begins to dig into memories which have left her shattered. At the same time Eve and Simon must work together to expose a deadly double agent within their ranks while both of them also continue in their own private side missions.

Continue reading “Book Review – High as the Heavens”

Book Review -Newton and Polly

I have been a fan of Jody Hedlund’s historical romances since her debut release back in 2010. But she particularly excels in this genre when she writes about or is inspired by actual historical figures. From her very first novel which was inspired by John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, to her faithful historical renderings based on American missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, founding father John Adams and wife Abigail, to her more recent depiction of Martin Luther and his bride Katharina, she never fails to paint a vivid and well researched picture of their lives. And now, with her recent release Newton and Polly she continues her streak of excellence.

SUMMARY

Newton and Polly introduces us to a young John Newton, just as he himself is introduced to Polly Catlett, the woman who becomes the love of his life and who is also instrumental in his eventual salvation and transformation. For those who are unfamiliar with John Newton, he is the author of many hymns, including the famous Amazing Grace, as well as being an important figure in the fight to abolish slavery in Britain. Newton lived his younger years in rebellion to his father and in defiance of most authority and found himself involved in some despicable things, including the slave trade. Continue reading “Book Review -Newton and Polly”