Monday, June 1, 2020

Review: Serving Up Love: A Four-in-One Harvey House Brides Collection by Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, & Jen Turano

About the Book
Bestselling novelist Tracie Peterson joins Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano in this collection of four novellas, each featuring a Harvey Girl heroine. From Kansas to Texas, the Grand Canyon to New Mexico, the stories cross the country with tales of sweet romance and entertaining history.

In Karen Witemeyer's "More Than a Pretty Face," a young woman works her hardest to escape poor choices from her youth. Tracie Peterson offers "A Flood of Love," where reuniting with an old flame after more than a decade offers unexpected results. Regina Jennings's "Intrigue a la Mode" delights with a tale of a young woman determined to help support her family, despite warnings of danger nearby. And Jen Turano's "Grand Encounters" heads to the Grand Canyon with a tale of a society belle intent on finding a new life for herself.


My Thoughts

Serving Up Love was a great collection of historical novellas. I loved learning about the Harvey Houses and Harvey Girls. I didn't know anything about them beforehand, so I found it all really interesting. If you're a fan of historical romance, I highly recommend checking out this sweet collection. 

A Flood of Love by Tracie Peterson was a story of second chance love between old flames Gretchen and Dirk who get a little help along the way from his rambunctious daughter Katiann. I loved this sweet story and can't believe it's my first time reading anything by Tracie Peterson. It flowed really well and was the perfect length. It didn't feel too short at all. I loved the characters and enjoyed getting to know some real history. (4.5 Stars)

More Than a Pretty Face by Karen Witemeyer was a novella of overcoming the past and embracing hope and the future God has planned. I had a hard time connecting with the characters in this one, but the story had a good message and, in the end, I liked it. (3 Stars)

Intrigue a la Mode by Regina Jennings was so much fun! I pretty much loved everything about it. The characters were wonderful, the mystery was intriguing, and I loved the undercover elements. It's my first book by this author and I'm really excited to check out some of her other books. This was a prequel to Jennings' new series and you can be sure that the first book is high on my wish list. (5 Stars)

Grand Encounters by Jen Turano was an entertaining and hilarious read that had me doubled over in laughter numerous times. I can always count on Turano's books to brighten my day and bring a smile to my face. This one did just that. It was pretty much perfection. (5 Stars)

Four Stars

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Synapse by Steven James

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring a near future, sci-fi thriller, Synapse by Steven James.

About the Book
Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but with what they believe.

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon. But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future—and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.

Book Beginning
You do not hear your baby cry.

Friday 56
As he is programming the digitized wall, he realizes that distinguishing what you decide you want from what you were programmed to want is not easy. Perhaps it is the same as differentiating free will from instinct for a Natural.

Hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

What social media sites do you visit? Please leave your links so we can follow.

I use Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads pretty regularly. I have an Instagram account, but don't post there very often.

Here are my links: Twitterhttps://twitter.com/RusticReadinGal
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                               Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1863497-ashley
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What have you been reading lately?

Review: Port of Origin (Agents of Mercy #2) by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

About the Book
When virus-infected pirates hijack a humanitarian medical ship from an African port, they trigger the threat of a global pandemic.

How do you keep hope alive in a sea of darkness?

An African fisherman.

Foreign exploitation of Africa’s natural resources has destroyed the fishing business of Dabir Omar. Hijacking oil tankers brings cash to his family in their remote village, but it doesn’t buy the medical care needed to stop the deadly sickness attacking his people. When Dabir’s son becomes ill, the desperate pirate sets sail for the Liberty, an international humanitarian medical ship ported on the coast.

An American surgeon.

Against his better judgment, Dr. Josiah Allen agrees to work a two-week surgical stint on the Liberty, moored in Douala, Cameroon. Shortly after he arrives with his precocious six-year-old daughter, Josiah is sent ashore to investigate a mysterious illness at the ship’s post-op clinic. While he’s gone, Ebola-infected pirates hijack the medical ship where Josiah left his daughter.

The woman compelled to save them all.

When pirate negotiations fail, Mackenzie Scott’s privately-owned extraction unit comes in for the rescue. But when the medical ship where Mac had taken a wounded comrade is hijacked by pirates, the former military pararescue jumper becomes the pirate’s key hostage.

Both fathers go to war to save their children. If Mac can’t convince them to work together, the winner of this conflict will be a deadly virus intent on destroying the world. 


My Thoughts

Wow! Where do I even begin? This book was fantastic. One of the best books I've read this year. Compelling right from the start, my interest only continued to grow as the story progressed until it became nearly the only thing on my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about it even when I'd have to set it down for awhile to do other things. Hard to put down is an understatement.

The details were so vivid that I felt like I was right there in Africa with these realistic characters. I became so invested in their lives. There's a lot of different characters and a lot different POVs, but I never got confused by who was who or anything. The introductions were done in a way that helped me keep everyone straight. Love when that happens.

Port of Origin was a timely, thought-provoking, scary, yet hopeful read. It was the first book I've read from either one of these authors and I'm kicking myself for that. I'm definitely gonna be checking out more from them. And I'm so glad this is part of a series. I'm ready for more!

Five Stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wondering Wednesdays #2

In addition to my usual Can't Wait Wednesday post today, I'm also participating in a new weekly meme, Wondering Wednesdays hosted by A Baker's Perspective. This is a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers by answering different questions.

This week's question is: Do you have any pets?

I have four dogs and lots of goats.


Hank is a Heeler mix and is our protector. He lets us know when anything out of the ordinary is going on in the neighborhood and is particularly suspicious of UPS and FedEx. He's such a sweetie. He's getting older and is a little slower these days, but he doesn't let that stop him.


Daisy is a German Shepherd and is Hank's shadow. She's goofy and a bit of a troublemaker. She loves chasing birds and catching them. Just make sure to keep the chickens away from her. She seems to really love them. 😟


Jack is a Yorkie-Poo. He's a loyal companion who will follow you anywhere, especially if there's food involved. Anytime we get a package in the mail, he thinks what's inside is his. He always has to check it out, no matter what it is. He has the occasional stubborn day, but for the most part he's a sweet little guy who loves being by our sides.


Hazel is a Lab-Heeler mix and the newest addition to the family. She's a happy girl who's tail is always wagging. When she gets really excited she just wiggles all over. It's the cutest thing. Her and Daisy became best friends instantly. It took Hank a little while to warm up to her, but he couldn't resist her charm for long. She's eager to please and is always wanting attention.


I have quite a few goats but I'll just talk about a couple of them. Millie is a Nigerian Dwarf. She may be small, but she doesn't know it. She's a little goat with a big attitude. She thinks she's the boss and doesn't hesitate letting everyone know it. Things are never dull when Millie's around, lol.


Toby (short for October) is also a Nigerian Dwarf. Her and Millie used to be best friends (they were born around the same time), but I guess you could say they're rivals now. It took her awhile, but she's finally come to the realization that Millie's in charge of things. Toby loves attention and pretty much demands to be petted whenever I'm around. 

Do you have any pets?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Gilded Lady (Hope and Glory #2) by Elizabeth Camden

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights and discusses the books we're excited about that we've yet to read. Generally, they're books that are yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring A Gilded Lady (Hope and Glory #2) by Elizabeth Camden releasing June 2.

About the Book
Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the first lady of the United States. But beneath the façade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.

Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately suspicious of Caroline despite his overwhelming attraction to her quick wit and undeniable charm. Desperate to keep the president protected, Nathaniel must battle to keep his focus fully on his job as the threat to the president rises.

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel will face adventure, danger, and heartbreak in a race against time that will span the continent and the depth of human emotion.

Why I Need It
Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. Her books are always some of my most highly anticipated releases of the year. Last year's The Spice King was my favorite of hers yet and I'm so exited to dive back into this storyworld and reconnect with some favorite characters and meet some new ones. 

What upcoming release are you highly anticipating? 

Review: When I Lost My Way by Jennifer Rodewal

About the Book
Their whirlwind romance takes the hard road toward happily-ever-after as disaster tests their love for each other and their faith in God’s goodness.

Sophie Shultz smiles at her future, even when she doesn’t feel like it, but when a country drive leaves this city-girl stranded in the mud, the cowboy who stops to help gives her plenty to smile about. For real. Lance Carson is tall, handsome, and kind, if a little on the quiet side—not to mention the owner of Big Prairie’s celebrated vineyard.

Lance has always had a decided preference for solitude, but when he rescues Sophie he develops a whole new appreciation for companionship. It doesn’t take long for him to lose his heart as she fills the aching void life’s disappointments have left behind. But a family issue has put him in a hard spot, pushing him to a decision that will ruin his relationship with many of Big Prairie’s citizens—and devastate Sophie, who adores her newly adopted hometown. Before he can figure out how to tell her, someone tattles on his plans.

As their relationship is put to the test, conflict presses in from every side. Can this rapidly grown romance sink its roots deep enough to weather the storms, or will Lance and Sophie both lose their way?

Small town Christian stories of romance and redemption, begin the Big Prairie Romance series today!

Book 1: When I Come Home Again
Book 2: When I Lost My Way
Book 3: When I'm With You (Coming fall of 2020) 

My Thoughts

Just when I think it can't be done, Jennifer Rodewald outdoes herself yet again. This book was spectacular. It always amazes me how seamlessly she weaves a profound and beautiful message of faith into every one of her novels. And this one resonated so deep with me.

I don't know if I've ever connected with a character as much as I have with Lance. He's a shy, nervous, introverted overthinker who always expects the worst. That's so me. I really felt for his inner struggles and was rooting for him so hard. He's a good guy who deserves the best. I instantly liked Sophie and really admired her total trust in God and how she leaned so fully on Him. Miss Jane was a great character too. She's such a joy. I loved her wisdom, genuineness, and strong faith.

I seriously can't recommend this book highly enough. There was a real authenticity to it. It felt like I was getting a peek into people's actual real lives. Watching how they dealt with very real struggles and dilemmas. It takes a special author to do that. I'm very eager to head back to Big Prairie in the next book.

I received a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.

Five Stars

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Book Beginnings + Friday 56: Port of Origin (Agents of Mercy #2) by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading. Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring a medical thriller, Port of Origin (Agents of Mercy #2) by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry.

About the Book
When virus-infected pirates hijack a humanitarian medical ship from an African port, they trigger the threat of a global pandemic.

How do you keep hope alive in a sea of darkness?

An African fisherman.

Foreign exploitation of Africa’s natural resources has destroyed the fishing business of Dabir Omar. Hijacking oil tankers brings cash to his family in their remote village, but it doesn’t buy the medical care needed to stop the deadly sickness attacking his people. When Dabir’s son becomes ill, the desperate pirate sets sail for the Liberty, an international humanitarian medical ship ported on the coast.

An American surgeon.

Against his better judgment, Dr. Josiah Allen agrees to work a two-week surgical stint on the Liberty, moored in Douala, Cameroon. Shortly after he arrives with his precocious six-year-old daughter, Josiah is sent ashore to investigate a mysterious illness at the ship’s post-op clinic. While he’s gone, Ebola-infected pirates hijack the medical ship where Josiah left his daughter.

The woman compelled to save them all.

When pirate negotiations fail, Mackenzie Scott’s privately-owned extraction unit comes in for the rescue. But when the medical ship where Mac had taken a wounded comrade is hijacked by pirates, the former military pararescue jumper becomes the pirate’s key hostage.

Both fathers go to war to save their children. If Mac can’t convince them to work together, the winner of this conflict will be a deadly virus intent on destroying the world. 

Book Beginning
OFF THE COAST OF CAMEROON, CENTRAL AFRICA
Since ancient times, the sea had been generous. Tuna. Sardines. Ocean prawns big as a man's hand. But those days of plenty had vanished in the wake of the foreign trawlers whose illegal fishing practices were destroying the coastline's natural resources.

Friday 56
She glanced at Harper and realized what a terrifying situation she'd been thrust into. She was in a room with a woman dying of something deadly, her father was missing, and the ship she loved was being held by pirates.

What have you been reading lately?