Call of the Prairie by Vickie McDonough

I’m a Kansas girl to the core and I absolutely love reading books set in home state, especially when rich historical details are revealed in such a way that doesn’t suffocate the story with information dump.

In Call of the Prairie, Vickie McDonough does just that.

CallOfThePrairieSophie Davenport fears life is passing her by. Her strict, overprotective parents have kept her close to home because of the severe asthma attacks she sometimes endures. She longs to live a normal life and hopes to marry, but that dream seems impossible. When her aunt has a tragic accident and requests someone come to Kansas to help her. No one is available except Sophie. Her father, tied up with business, reluctantly agrees to let her go. Sophie is ecstatic and sees this trip as her one chance to prove to her parents—and herself—that she’s capable of standing on her own. But things in the small town of Windmill are not as her aunt portrayed. And her aunt’s handsome neighbor, guardian of two of the children her aunt cared for, obviously doubts her abilities. Will the dust, drama, and difficulties prove too much for Sophie? Or will she lose her heart to her neighbor and succumb to the call of the prairie?

Since I’m on a writing deadline, I’m going to keep this as short and sweet as possible.

What I like about the Heroine:

Sarah Marshall knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it.

What I like about the Hero:

A beta hero with strong alpha tendencies, I like that Josh Harper doesn’t pretend he has it all figured out.

What historical aspect I liked:

There are several in this story, but the one I like the most is the boardinghouse for the children so they could attend school. It is something I have never thought about, and I research Kansas history all time for fun!

My favorite supporting characters:

Mikey & Toby, they’re both young boys. They’re both on the wild side. One is Josh’s nephew with a family who loves him, the other has no stability.

The one thing I thought was missing:

I kept waiting for a certain character to appear. I’d tell you but since I’m all about not spoiling the story, you’re just going to have to read it to find out. Sorry

Overall Call of the Prairie is a really good book. And I know I say this about every series I read, but I seriously can’t wait to read the third brother’s story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley

9780310723592When high school junior Melissa Keiser returns to her hometown of Anna Maria Island, Florida, she has one goal: hide from the bullies who had convinced her she was the ugliest girl in school. But when she is caught sneaking into a neighbor’s pool at night, everything changes. Something is different now that Melissa is sixteen, and the guys and popular girls who once made her life miserable have taken notice. When Melissa gets the chance to escape life in a house ruled by her mom’s latest boyfriend, she must choose where her loyalties lie between a long-time crush, a new friend, and her surfer brother who makes it impossible to forget her roots. Just as Melissa seems to achieve everything she ever wanted, she loses a loved one to suicide. Melissa must not only grieve for her loss, she must find the truth about the three boys who loved her and discover that joy sometimes comes from the most unexpected place of all.

A few weeks ago I sat at my computer and listened to the American Christian Fiction Carol Awards. When I heard the title of this one called for the YA category I knew I had to find out more about it (I love the title). Having a fifteen year old at home, I’m always searching for appropriate, clean fiction. So I quickly googled Nicole Quigley and prayed like crazy that she had a website. Yay, Nicole!! Not all authors do. Anyway, I read the above blurb, and then I promptly purchased the e-book.

Oh, my goodness!!!! Let me tell you, there is a reason this book won a Carol Award in its category. Quigley, was somehow able to get this not-so-young adult and step her into the mind of a seventeen year old girl. Everything was so realistic, and I quickly became invested in many of the characters’ lives. I bit my nails right along with Melissa, I laughed and I cried.

Quigley also laid out the gospel, not in a preachy sort of way, but in a very cool, down to earth way, not once but at least twice and she used Josh, Melissa’s cute neighbor, to portray Jesus’ sacrifice. This is definitely a book, as a mother and a reader, that I would highly recommend to my daughters and to their friends.

YA writers, if you want an example of great YA… here it is.

Whispers on the Prairie by Vickie McDonough (review)

WhispersOnThePrairie Final Medium sizeA City Girl Far from Home…Sarah Marshall just wants to go home. It wasn’t her idea to leave Chicago and head west in search of gold, but her uncle’s ambition left her no choice. Neither was her intention to settle in Kansas City with her ailing aunt, but being penniless and without possessions brings little bargaining power. Pretty soon, she resigns herself to her fate, however unfortunate. It isn’t as if she has a home to go back to. A Country Boy Seeking to Right a Wrong…Ethan Harper, the youngest of three brothers, enjoys a peaceful existence helping run his family’s stage shop along the Santa Fe Trail. Only one cloud continues to darken his horizon–guilt over the tragic death of his oldest brother’s wife. The only acceptable penance Ethan can think of is finding another woman to marry his brother and help raise his motherless children. A Match so Incompatible, It Just Might Work…When a series of misfortunes strands Sarah Marshall and her aunt at the Harpers’ Stage Stop, the status quo is overthrown as the presence of an attractive young woman, however unversed in the ways of prairie living, wreaks havoc on the lives of the Harper brothers, all three of them vying for her attention. But will any of them prove himself worth giving up the life Sarah always dreamed of?

Ever since I’ve read the Texas Boardinghouse Brides I’ve been a huge McDonough fan. She never fails to make me laugh and fall in love with her characters, and Whispers on the Prairie is no different. From the moment of Sarah and Ethan’s first meet I knew this story would be a winner.

I also found the story enjoyable since the story is set close to my hometown. It was nice to get some historical insight into a little known place along the Santa Fe Trail.

I look forward to reading her next book in this series, Call of the Prairie.

Love by the Letter by Melissa Jagears

lovebytheletternew_3Dex Stanton has never had much time for book learning. He’s been too busy helping to provide for his family. Now that he’s heading west, Dex is hoping to start a family of his own. However, his attempt to acquire a mail-order bride fails miserably when the lady writes back ridiculing his terrible spelling. Rachel Oliver may be the last person he wants to know what a dunce he is, but she’s also the smartest woman in town–and it’s clear he needs her help.

Rachel Oliver has lingered in town for three years secretly mooning over Dex Stanton, but now she’s done. If the fool wants to write to a mail-order bride company, so be it. Once she begins giving Dex lessons, however, Rachel realizes she may not be prepared to give up just yet.

As their time together runs short, can two of the most stubborn people in town set aside their pride long enough to find love?

Jagears kept me turning the pages. My only complaint with this book is that it was too short. Melissa did an excellent job with this unlikely hero. Dex drew me in from the get go and Rachel, well she may not be sure of what she wants at the beginning of the story, but she quickly discovers what is most important to her.

The main characters are well drawn. The conflict is believable and Jagears does a great job utilizing her supporting characters to reveal bits of characteristics about her main characters. I especially love the small bit where the heroine’s father comes on scene. The setting was spot on. It was like being in Independence, Missouri in the 19th century.

I can’t wait to see what comes next from Melissa Jagears.

 

You can read more about Melissa and her upcoming books here. And you can download her free novella here.

 

***My review is not influenced by the fact that it is currently free on Amazon nor is it influenced by the fact that I think Melissa is one of the sweetest people I’ve met, nor is it influenced by the fact that the poor woman has endured nine months of pregnancy and  is about to pop. Nope, if I didn’t like the novella I woulda said so. But I did like it!

Sandwich, with a Side of Romance

I absolutely loved this story! On page 1 I was laughing, by page 22 my heart was bleeding for the the heroine. I was so into this book that I didn’t once put it down until my eyes just wouldn’t stay open any longer. I stayed up until 4 a.m. and with only forty pages or so left I had to crash.

Okay, so there you have it. I loved this book and can’t wait for more works from Krista Phillips.

745928_1_ftcShe moved to Sandwich, Illinois, in search of a new life, but ended up in a giant pickle.

Sandwich represents hope for twenty-year-old Maddie Buckner and Kyle, the eleven-year-old brother Maddie wants to spring out of foster care. Then she loses her new job after less than a day. It’s all Reuben-the-Jerk’s fault, and she’s determined to make him right the wrong.

He does so, reluctantly, by giving her a job at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium. Then crazy things start happening at the restaurant, and Kyle’s foster parents apply to adopt him. To stop it all, Maddie must learn the art of humbling herself and accepting the help God has arranged, risking her heart to Reuben in the process.

And she’d rather eat a million corned-beef on rye sandwiches than do that.

You can purchase Sandwich, with a Side of Romance here, and here, and here. It’s also available in e-book form on Kindle and Nook.

To find out more about Krista Phillips go to her blog site here.

The Reluctant Earl by C.J. Chase (review)

The Reluctant Earl

 

Alone in a gentleman’s bedchamber, rummaging through his clothing—governess Leah Vance risks social ruin. Only by selling political information can she pay for her sister’s care. And the letter she found in Julian DeChambelle’s coat could be valuable—if the ex-sea captain himself had not just walked in.

 As a navy officer, Julian knew his purpose. As a new earl, he’s plagued by trivialities and marriage-obsessed females. Miss Vance’s independence is intriguing—and useful. In return for relaying false information, he will pay her handsomely. But trusting her, even caring for her? That would be pure folly. Yet when he sees the danger that surrounds her, it may be too late to stop himself….

There isn’t a thing that I do not like about this book. The conflict is a unique twist on the tried and true governess meets Earl Regency style romance. Leah and Julian truly pop off the pages. From the beginning, even though he thinks he is not Earl material, Julian proves otherwise. Of course, his take charge attitude comes from his Naval career and leading men into battle, as does his care for those around him. Leah is pretty much alone in the world commits treason against her country to care for her sister. Leah is intelligent, not a simpering miss, but what I love the best about her is her motives are pure and unselfish.

There are so many things to like about this book but the best parts are the intelligent banter between Julian and Leah, the mystery, and the romance.

Five stars all the way.

You can purchase The Reluctant Earl from Harlequin or Amazon.

*This book was provided to me by the publisher. Their generosity has in no way shape or form, yada, yada influenced my opinion.

 

Final Resort by Dana Mentink (Review)

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Ava Stanton has no need for love or tales of hidden treasure—until her uncle is kidnapped at her family’s ski resort. Now she needs help from professional treasure hunter Luca Gage…the man she’d tried to forget. Signs point to a fortune hidden in the mountain, and Ava and Luca need to find her uncle before his assailant finds them. As their search for treasure draws them closer together, Ava must decide how long she’ll run from love. She doesn’t have much time, because something is buried under Whisper Mountain—and someone is willing to do anything to get to it.

Final Resort started off a bit slow compared to most Love Inspired Suspenses I’ve read and a little too slow for my taste,
but once the suspense picked up it was a hard book to put down. Having never experienced a ski resort, I really enjoyed the setting Mentink painted.

Ava and Luca, both strong characters, popped off the page. So did Mack Dog, great visual and use of characterization.

My favorite part about this book is the Indiana Jones feel. I loved the suspense and the inability to figure out who the true villain was but I loved the treasure hunting even more.

You can purchase it from Harlequin.com or Amazon

*This book was provided to me by the publisher. Their generosity has in no way shape or form, yada, yada influenced my opinion.