Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Feather Bound

Feather BoundFeather Bound by Sarah Raughley

Are you familiar with the classic fairytale Swan Maidens? If not, I would recommend reading the short story before (or after) reading Feather Bound. Author Sarah Raughley gives the classic story a new modern twist.

I liked that Raughley weaved swans into the history of the book. Swan information is available in classes, on the internet, and printed in brochures. That was interesting and edgy. She also kept the story very modern with the language and references to pop culture and trends.

I prefer my fractured fairytales less edgy. The language was genuine for the characters and settings, but I would rather not read books with foul language and "totes." I was taken aback by "totes." I appreciate the dynamic reading of "totes" from the Sprint commercial, but beyond that I would prefer not to read it in books.

Sections of the Swan Maidens story was included but it felt a little out of place. I'm not sure it was needed. Or maybe it just needed different formatting. I would have liked to see story selections or quotes as chapter headings rather than having them as mini "chapters" throughout the book.

Some of the themes in the book include abuse, human trafficking, understanding yourself, and justice. Evil is overcome in the end and life can slowly be rebuilt. The story wraps up well and can standalone. I give this book two swans out of five. If you're interested in modern fairytales, I would recommend reading some Alix Flinn books.

Reviewed from a NetGalley copy. Thank you, Angry Robot Ltd!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Truth Be Told

Truth Be ToldTruth Be Told by Carol Cox

Amelia Wagner looks forward to spending the summer in Granite Springs. Her father lives there and operates the small town's newspaper. She reunites with her father, but quickly needs to say goodbye to the man she loves and admires. Instead of working side-by-side over the summer, Amelia takes up the reins of the newspaper. She wants to follow in her father's footsteps and only print the truth because "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," but uncovering the truth in stories is not always an easy task.

One of her late father's leads was focused on a new business in town, the Great Western Investment Company. A young man, Ben Stone, works for the company and his actions convey his intent of honesty and caring, but his boss and colleagues smile and evade direct questions. Something is happening and Amelia is determined to find the truth and share it with the citizens of Granite Springs. The truth could shed light on the prosperity of the town, but at what cost to the paper and the paper's employees?


Carol Cox returns to write another standalone novel set in historic Arizona Territory. Her previous Arizona standalone titles include Love in Disguise and Trouble in Store. The book trio is reminiscent of Tracie Peterson's Land of Shining Waters series. Both series are wonderful. I enjoyed that each novel was a standalone and the ties that bond them to the others was the time period and state location. Cox selected the Arizona Territory, while Peterson chose Minnesota.

Truth Be Told focuses on finding the truth and the newspaper industry. The journey toward truth isn't solely about the news and the newspaper in Granite Springs. The truth digs into business practices, relationships, and faith. Truth isn't always wrapped up in a bow and can lead to danger because of our fallen world, but in the end the truth brings freedom.

The most unique part of this novel was the family dynamics of the Wagners. Mr. and Mrs. have been separated for many years. Amelia would live with her mother during the "school year" and spend summers with her father. The mother became a background character that is heard about but never seen in the story. It was an interesting story element.

If you're looking for a historical read for the summer, I would recommend Truth Be Told. It takes place over the summer months and offers a good mystery to follow and uncover. Also, the romance is light and sincere.

Time Period: 1893
Location: Granite Springs, Arizona Territory, USA

Reviewed from a GoodReads FirstReads copy. Thank you Bethany House!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Review: Beaches & Brides Collection

The Beaches and Brides Romance Collection: 5 Historical Romances Buoyed by the SeaThe Beaches and Brides Romance Collection: 5 Historical Romances Buoyed by the Sea by Lynn A. Coleman, Mary Davis, Susan Page Davis, Paige Winship Dooly, and Cathy Marie Hake

"Venture along historic American shorelines, enjoying five stories that are full of adventure, challenge, and romance."

Barbour Publishing is so creative as they gather their stories together. They are one of the prime publishers for novella books. In one of their newest collections, they compiled stories focusing on future brides and the waterfront property where they live (or live nearby). I appreciated the vast locations - Florida, Washington, Maine, Georgia, Virginia. So much of America has access to beaches, it's not just the beaches in the Southern states or California. (At least, that's where my mind strays when I think of a book beaches.) I think there is a story for everyone in this collection. The authors cover many topics including love, faith, family, friends, work, survival, reconciliation, and a bunch of more interesting topics.

The time periods were a wide range as well. The earliest from 1820 (The Castaway's Bride) to the latest 1918 (Restoration) covers nearly a century! I am accustomed to reading more books in the 1800's, so when I reached Restoration I almost set down the book. I'm so glad I stuck with it! Hake wrote a beautiful story about, as the title states, restoration. It's never easy to restore something of the past, but it is well worth the time, effort, and cost in the end.

The collection's title begs for this book to be read during the beachy, summery months of the year, but these books can be enjoyed all year long.

Book 01 - A Time to Embrace by Lynn A. Coleman (2000)
Time Period: Post Civil War, 1865
Location: Key West, Florida
Previously published as a stand alone in the series Heartsong Presents #396 in 2000 and a digital stand alone in the series Truly Yours Digital Editions in 2012.

Book 02 - The Captain's Wife by Mary Davis (2008)
Time Period: 1898
Location: Port Townsend, Washington, USA
Previously published as a stand alone in the series Heartsong Presents in 2008 and a digital stand alone in 2012.

Book 03 - The Castaway's Bride by Susan Page Davis (2007)
Time Period: 1820
Location: Portland, Maine
Previously published as a stand alone in the series Heartsong Presents in 2007, a part of the novella compilation Maine Brides in 2008, and a digital stand alone in the series Truly Yours Digital Editions in 2012.

Book 04 - The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Paige Winship Dooly (2010)
Time Period: 1867
Location: Little Cumberland Island, Georgia, USA
Previously published as a stand alone in the series Heartsong Presents in 2010 and a part of the novella compilation Georgia Brides (Romancing America series) in 2011.

Book 05 - Restoration by Cathy Marie Hake (2004)
Time Period: WWI, 1918
Location: Virginia, USA
Previously published as a stand alone in the series Heartsong Presents in 2004 and a digital stand alone Truly Yours Digital Editions in 2013.

Reviewed from a NetGalley copy. Thank you, Barbour Books!
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