Guide Me Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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MY REVIEW:

I knew as soon as I saw the cover of “Guide Me Home” that it was a book I must read and was thrilled when I found it was a choice on my Blogging For Books account. I can enthusiastically say that it more than met my expectations.

“Guide Me Home” is the story of a family struggling to make a living in Kentucky in the area near the famous Mammoth Cave. Despite their hardships and family tragedies, the family members are almost all content with their lives and the love they have for each other. The oldest daughter Rebekah carries a heavy load of guilt and regret over the accidental death of her brother so she is determined to find employment that will allow her to help her father provide for their family. When the only job available happens to be as a guide in the very caves where her brother died, Rebekah overcomes her fear, dons some men’s clothing and becomes “Reb” during working hours. As such stories usually go, Rebekah meets a young man, Devlin Bale in the course of her work and begins to care for him.

“Guide Me Home” is a story overflowing with unique characters who embody the best and sometimes worst of human nature. I loved the way Tolly looked out for Rebekah’s reputation and took the time to teach her what she needed to know in order to succeed at her job. I also liked the secondary story-line that featured sister Cissy, the one family member not satisfied with her lot in life. Although her character was sometimes frustrating, it was gratifying to see her attitude undergo change before the story’s end. Rebekah was such an admirable character who won my heart early in the novel and Devlin worked his way in as well.

Another book that I didn’t want to put down until I finished the last page, “Guide Me Home” was such a satisfying read. Once again Kim Vogel Sawyer has penned a masterpiece that took me back to another time and place and made me want to stay there. Loved, loved, loved this book!

A copy of this book was provided for review by Blogging For Books.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Working in the massive cave might allow Rebekah the chance to bring joy back to her family.
But will it claim more than it gives? 

After tragedy leaves its mark on Rebekah Hardin’s family, she plans to help her parents and six siblings honor her beloved brother’s memory and alleviate their poverty by working as a guide in the dangerous cave system. Kentucky’s renowned Mammoth Cave presents profitable opportunities in for hardworking, capable men. But Rebekah is determined and if it means presenting herself as a himself, then she’s up to the job.

Under the wing of experienced guide Tolly Sanford, “Reb” begins to learn the complexities of the cave and the two are joined by an aspiring young cartographer, Devlin Bale.

The university student has traveled to the hill country to map tunnels—not to fall for a girl in disguise. Can the God who designed miles of underground astonishment shape Devlin’s ambitious plans and free Reb from the weight from the past?

Read an excerpt from “Guide Me Home” HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim Vogel SawyerKIM VOGEL SAWYER’s titles have garnered awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.

 

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A Lesson in Love and Murder by Rachel McMillan

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MY REVIEW:

The second installment of McMillan’s Herringford and Watts Mysteries finds Jem married to Ray but it seems that the honeymoon may be over. Oh, they are still in love but pressure from Ray’s long hours at work, not enough money to meet their needs, and Ray’s determination to take care of his sister and nephew has taken its toll. And now that they are married, Ray seems equally determined to protect Jem much to her dismay. Not only that but a new client has upset Merinda’s usual composure.

As in the first novel of the series, I found the dialogue to be witty. The quotations at the beginning of each chapter and the footnotes often added just the right touch, especially the quotations from Benny and Jonathan’s handbook. I personally found them quite eloquent. As other reviewers have mentioned, I liked seeing the personal growth of the primary characters but also sympathized with Ray and Jem’s communication problems. I also found it very natural to have two such good friends with only one of them a believer yet also could see some progress being made in that area.

Then there was the plot. Although not quite as mysterious as the first novel, “A Lesson in Love and Murder” was very action-packed with danger at every corner. The mystery itself was more in the line of proving who was behind the death and destruction that followed the team from Toronto to Chicago. I enjoyed the introduction of Benny the Mounty but felt sorry for Jasper as he watched Merinda’s reaction to Benny.

I thoroughly enjoyed another encounter with those endearing bachelor girls and can’t wait to join them on their next adventure. I love the unique yet somehow old-fashioned approach this author has taken with this series.

A digital copy of this book was provided for review by Howard Books through NetGalley.
I later purchased a print copy.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

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A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna White

a-lady-unrivaled



MY REVIEW:

I have absolutely loved all the books in Roseanna M. White’s Ladies of the Manor series but if I had to choose a favorite, I’d probably have to choose “A Lady Unrivaled”. Not only was it romantic and suspense filled with an absolutely perfect ending but it was just so witty!

Lady Ella was quite the entertaining heroine. She was not only beautiful but was also loyal and brave and cared about those in her family so much that she often didn’t think about the risks she took to protect them. And Lord Cayton – he was the perfect counterpart to Ella’s personality. His determination to protect her reputation from his own shameful past often led him to be what Ella was fond of calling “surly”. Despite his better judgment, Cayton was literally unable to resist Ella and she refused to put up with his surliness for even one moment. I personally could not resist the banter between the two at nearly every encounter.

Well, I feel like I am probably gushing about “A Lady Unrivaled” and I have to say it is worth gushing about. Readers will finally learn what happens with the infamous red diamonds with all the danger and suspense involved with that mystery but Cayton and Ella were the overwhelming highlight of the story for me. They have to be my very favorite couple in a long time.

Well done, Roseanna! I can’t wait to see what you have next for your readers.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Amid the Unforgettable Cotswolds, the Final Grasp for the Fire Eyes Diamonds Could Threaten Them All

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile–even if it’s just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends, and she won’t wait for peril to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those intent on destroying them all?

Read an excerpt from “A Lady Unrivaled”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Roseanna M. WhiteRoseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of nine novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

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Ask Me to Marry You By Heather Blanton

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MY REVIEW:

“Ask Me to Marry You” is a novella with an unusual twist on the age-old mail order bride story. In it, Audra Drysdale has come to realize that in order to save the family ranch after her father’s death, she needs a man to run it. Although she knows how to do it herself, her hands do not trust a woman to be in charge. Not only that but another rancher wants the ranch – and Audra. So…she has her uncle find her a temporary husband. Little does she expect she will want to make it permanent.

I am a new reader of Heather Blanton’s novels but what I have read to date has made me a fan. My only complaint about “Ask Me to Marry You” is that it ended much too quickly. I would have been quite happy with a full length novel. I loved her unique take on what she called a “male order bride”. The entire story was well-written and moved along at a fast clip. Her characters were well-rounded and realistic. There was just the right amount of action, danger, humor, and romance for a story of this length and the author made the characters’ faith seem natural and not out-of-place. I like the fact that Blanton is not afraid to present real life with all its grit yet manages to do so without offense. Did I say it ended too soon?

I have more of the author’s books on my Kindle. I really want to find time in my review schedule to work them into my reading. I am so happy that I ran across this author and would recommend her to anyone who enjoys a good Western romance.

A digital copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Though she’s loath to admit it, Audra Drysdale needs a man to save her ranch.

Her father has passed away and her hands are abandoning her like rats from a sinking ship. Worse, neighboring cattle baron Jess Fairbanks is making a play for the Diamond D and Audra, whichever he can get his hands on first.

Audra grudgingly accepts that the mere presence of a husband will keep her men working, and Fairbanks under control. It seems a perfectly reasonable idea, then, to ask her uncle, who is the town attorney and a matchmaker of sorts, to find her a groom—a “proxy” who will take her orders and dish them out to the men.

Dillon Pine is in jail for a conspiracy charge, but because of certain mitigating factors he’s deemed a good risk for an unusual form of probation: serving as Audra’s husband. After a year, he can abandon her and she won’t tell. By then, she will have proven to the cowboys she’s a competent rancher, and the cattle man next door will be looking elsewhere for a wife. But when word gets out that Dillon came to Audra via Evergreen’s matchmaker, he’s dubbed a “male order bride.” The resulting jokes at his expense are constant and brutal. Just how much abuse can Dillon’s pride stand?

When Audra discovers her father’s death was no accident, she realizes her new husband is in danger, too. And she cares . . . quite a lot, it turns out.

To save Dillon, she may have to let go of the one thing she’s fought her whole life to keep.

Read an excerpt from “Ask Me to Marry You” HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

heather-blantonA former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in her hand. You can learn more about her and her work at https://ladiesindefiance.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton. Sign up for Heather’s email newsletter to receive the latest book release updates, as well as info about contests and giveaways (https://ladiesindefiance.com/).

Heather is the independent bestselling author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series, which has sold over 40,000 copies. Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, a few notable Hollywood producers have requested the script for her first book in that series, A Lady in Defiance. Heather’s writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, her books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love.

She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

She can be reached several different ways:

http://ladiesindefiance.com/
https://www.facebook.com/authorheatherblanton/?ref=hl
https://twitter.com/heatherfblanton
https://www.pinterest.com/heatherfblanton/

Christian Westerns is the genre that lets her write about strong pioneer women and men who struggle to find God and then live out their faith in real ways. Romance is always a strong element in her stories because it is such a beautiful gift from God, and a perfect reflection of how he loves His children: sacrificially and lavishly. Heather’s stories aren’t preachy or cheesy, but she hopes they are heart-warming, realistic, illuminating, and glorifying to God. Like good old fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense.

“I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” — Heather Blanton

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