Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: "The Sea Keeper's Daughters" by Lisa Wingate

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review: Ocean breezes, sand beneath your feet, the calls of seagulls...You'll experience them all in "The Sea Keeper's Daughter."  It is also a story that will tug at your heart and keep you turning page after page.  Lisa Wingate paints a picture of the quaint seaside community of Manteo, North Carolina with precision and incorporates small details and characters from her previous novels in the "Carolina Chronicles" series.  The connection brings more of a real-life dimension to the plot, creating a community that past readers can relate to, but not hindering the experience for new readers.

I am a big fan of stories-within-stories when they are well-crafted.  The combination of present day and historical settings gives us the best of both worlds. "The Sea Keepers's Daughters" tells the tale of modern day restaurant owner, Whitney Monroe, and Alice Lorring, a writer during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency.  Lisa Wingate executes both stories in pleasing harmony, each with its own distinct conflicts, but merging into a cohesive story.

Alice's tale is told through a series of torn letters that Whitney finds hidden among family collections. The mending of Alice's letters coincides with Whitney's emotional healing and the improving relationship with her stepfather.  Like the letters, Whitney arrives to Roanoke Island damaged and torn, but finds healing through the island and its residents. Whitney and Alice have compelling stories, equally capable of holding readers' interest waiting to see how the conflicts resolve.  I enjoyed seeing the mountains of North Carolina through the eyes of Alice, and I found myself especially moved by the trials that she faced on her journey. The first person perspective of her letters makes her experiences feel more personal, while also providing a touch of family mystery.

The conclusion to "The Sea Keeper's Daughters" wraps up quite quickly. I wasn't ready for the end, and wanted even more details about Alice. Despite this, the final pages are heart-warming and bring the entire story together into an ideal summer read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Summary from Tyndale: From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: "A Worthy Pursuit" by Karen Witemeyer

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review:  After reading a few of Karen Witemeyer's previous books, I have developed an expectation for a novel with likable characters and a steady plot that creates a light, satisfying read.  In her latest release, "A Worthy Pursuit," Karen Witemeyer delivers an emotional story that is both charming and action-packed.  This novel not only met, but exceeded my expectations.  I was charmed by the children and their interactions with Charlotte and Stone.  The dynamic relationships that developed between the characters provided humorous and heart-warming moments.  Since the story is told from both Charlotte's and Stone's perspectives,  it captures the spectrum of emotions and the insecurities they face as they question each other's motives.   I was drawn to both characters, and I enjoyed their tender moments with the children as much as the  love story that developed between Charlotte and Stone.  In true western and dime novel fashion, Charlotte and Stone encounter danger and deceit.  Through these trials, Charlotte must learn to trust, and the tender relationship that they begin to build produces some swoon-worthy moments.  Both the dangerous pursuit of Charlotte and Lily and the budding relationships kept me turning the pages.   

"A Worthy Pursuit" lives up to its name because it is worthy of readers' time and attention.   I am eagerly awaiting Karen Witemeyer's next release; but in the meantime, I know that her other novels will be worthy reads as well.   

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Summary from the Bethany House Publishers: A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is she villain or victim? 

Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.


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