My Review – Ever Faithful

My Review - Ever Faithful

about-the-book-2

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

Amazon

Why This Book:

After reading Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett, I knew I would be reading more of her books. All of her “Vintage National Parks Novels” are entirely stand-alone novels, but they are tied together by the fact that they are all set in national parks. Each features its own cast of characters, its own romance, and its own mystery.

Opening Lines:

April, 1933
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Elsie closed her eyes for a moment and breathed in the steamy air, imagining she stood beside Grand Prismatic Spring instead of the massive laundry boiler in the back of the Mammoth Hot Springs Lodge.

First Impressions:

I hate to say it, but the beginning of this book did not grab me. In hindsight, I can see how it was setting the reader up for the rest of the novel, but it just didn’t snag my attention the way the author’s first two vintage novels did.

Main Characters:

Elsie Brookes–  A young woman haunted by a childhood tragedy struggles to forgive and open up to new relationships.

Nate Webber – A hard-working man of integrity whose efforts to do the right thing lands him in trouble through no fault of this own. The secret hinted at in the book’s description is also no fault of his own. He is a hero you can root for.

Ranger Vaughn – The newest ranger in the park who forms an immediate and intense emotional attachment to Elsie.

Mary – A friend of Elsie whose penchant for chasing boys stirs up more trouble than she bargains for.

Rose – A soft-hearted young woman, feeling lost after the loss of her long-time boyfriend.

Graham – The cousin Elsie would be happy never to see again.

Note about the characters:  Don’t let my sparse descriptions fool you. These characters are written in a well-rounded manner, but who each of them truly is, deep inside, is revealed so subtly and gradually throughout the story that to write more about them here would spoil part of the enjoyment of the story.

Book Quote - Ever Faithful - Blue Geyser

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

This is not a forest-fire read. It is a slow and steady burn (pun fully intended). This is not a book to have you sitting on the edge of your seat (except toward the end). But that isn’t to say it’s boring. It’s just a different kind of read. It’s the kind of book you cuddle up with in a blanket next to a warm fire with a cup of cocoa and your fuzzy socks on. It’s the warm sun on your face as you lean out the car window and feel the wind rush by. Is there suspense? Yes. As with the first two novels, there is a definite element of suspense. But for most of the story, the suspense doesn’t feel like the focus in this novel as much as it did in the first two.

As for emotional engagement, it’s definitely there. The first kiss between Nate and Elsie had me grinning like a silly fool and wanting to hug Elsie the way I would any friend who’d found such joy. By the time we reached the climax I was whipping through pages eager to see how it all worked out. And let me tell you about the ending…

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

What I especially liked was the opportunity to learn new things about Yellowstone and visit vicariously through Barnett’s characters. I haven’t been to Yellowstone since I was eleven and now I’m chomping at the bit to take my kids and experience more of our national treasure.

My absolute favorite part of the novel, though, was the incorporation of the California Conservation Corps. My first real job (not counting babysitting) was working for the Youth Conservation Corps at Joshua Tree National Park. It was an experience I’ll never forget and always be proud of. While mine was a vastly different situation than the original CCC members, I was blessed to have the opportunity to help improve one of our national treasures and it left me with a special fondness for the programs. Getting to read more about its history through the eyes of these fictional characters was a unique treat.

Theme:

Forgiveness is not earned, it’s bestowed.

Book Quote - Ever Faithful - Anger Rotting Tree

Ending:

Oh! I wish I could tell you about it! I did NOT see it coming until almost the last second. I was SO sure I knew what was going to happen–that I had it all figured out–and then the author surprised me with a completely different reveal that made perfect sense. LOVE IT!!!

Overall Rating:

3.75 out of 5 stars

Amazon

Let’s chat!

Have you read any of the books in the Pleasant Gap series? What do you think it means to be courageous?

TWEETABLES:

The kind of book you cuddle up with in a blanket next to a warm fire with a cup of cocoa and your fuzzy socks on.

Check out this review of @KarenMBarnett’s Ever Faithful!

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the photos above for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !


Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but was NOT required to write a positive review. You may read my full disclosure of materials HERE.

First Line Friday – 6.21.19

first-line-friday-3

Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

Today I’m featuring, the first line of Karen Barnett’s latest release, Ever Faithful. I’ll be sharing my review of this novel on Monday, so if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to my blog HERE.

Ever Faithful

Here’s the first line:

April, 1933
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Elsie closed her eyes for a moment and breathed in the steamy air, imagining she stood beside Grand Prismatic Spring instead of the massive laundry boiler in the back of the Mammoth Hot Springs Lodge.

about-the-book-2

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

Amazon

Don’t forget to join!

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

First Line Friday – 6.14.19

first-line-friday-3

Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

Today I’m featuring, a novel I recently listened to on Audible, An Arrangement of Sorts by Rebecca Connolly. This novel is a hilarious, romantic adventure, unlike anything I’ve read before. Entirely enchanting. This may have been my first book by Rebecca Connolly, but it certainly won’t be my last. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

 

An Arrangement of Sorts

Here’s the first line:

Hampshire 1818

“I must confess, my lord, it was quite a shock to see you dressed like this today.”

about-the-book-2

He was intrigued…

Nathaniel Hammond, Earl of Beverton, is working to restore his new estate and aid his tenants. But everything changes when he meets the beautiful and mysterious Moira Dennison, a bold young woman who offers to hire him, unaware of his title, to help her find her fiancé. Curious and unable to resist, Nathan accepts her offer, keeping his true identity a secret, never dreaming of what the future held for him.

She was desperate…

Moira is set on finding Charles now that she has come into her inheritance. With her new-found wealth and independence, she is determined to locate her betrothed so they may finally
marry. With Nathan as her guide, she feels confident in the path before her. But when their arrangement forces them closer together, she finds her chosen path may not be as clear
as she thought.

Amazon

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

First Line Friday – 6.7.19

first-line-friday-3

Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

Today I’m featuring, a novella I recently finished, Match Me If You Can by Krista Phillips. It was a very fun, funny, quick read which I do recommend.

Match Me If You Can

Here’s the first line:

Ava St. James clutched her polka-dotted swimsuit top in her left hand and her cell phone on speaker in her right. “That’s not even funny Cam.”

about-the-book-2

There is no way this matchmaking thing is going to work…
Ava St. James is going to strangle her best friend. Conned into going on a trip to the Bahamas for “Matchmaking” Week, Ava determines to do everything she can to not be matched.

Former NFL football player Sean Jackson is only on this trip because he loves his mother–nothing more. Sure, he feels guilty that some woman is paired with him and will be disappointed that he isn’t interested–but that’s bound to happen to most of the couples anyway, right?

Will this unwilling match end up finding love after all, or will the past come back to haunt them both?

Amazon

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

My Review – The Noble Guardian

My Review - The Noble Guardian

about-the-book-2

A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure

The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy: Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time in coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, it’s finally her time for love. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentlemen in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.

Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.

Abby pleads with him to escort her for the rest of her journey. He refuses—until she offers him something he desperately needs to achieve his goal. . .money. Delivering her safely will give him more than enough to buy property.

So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

Amazon

Why This Book (& my thoughts on the series):

I picked up The Noble Guardian because Michelle Griep wrote it and I’ve enjoyed every book I have read by her thus far. Discovering The Noble Guardian was part of a series that included The Innkeeper’s Daughter was a delightful surprise. There is no series title, nor any numbers on these books. I think this is because each of these books reads exactly like a stand-alone novel. The only reason I recognized these books as a series is that I recognized the side characters being mentioned. There are very subtle clues referring not only to The Innkeeper’s Daughter main characters, but also to a previous story. What?! I immediately went online and discovered that The Innkeeper’s Daughter was, in fact, the second book in this series (I had no idea at the time I read it). Of course, as soon as I finished The Nobel Guardian, I immediately read Brentwood’s Ward–the first book in this series. Let me emphasize: these books read entirely as stand-alone novels and there is absolutely no reason not to read one because you haven’t read another. I truly dislike reading series out of order, but in this case, I can honestly say that I don’t feel I missed out by accidentally reading them out of order.

Opening Lines:

Southampton, England, 1815

Was it wicked to say goodbye with a smile?

First Impressions:

I was immediately drawn in by the heroine’s self-doubts and intrigued by the questions the author raised in the first few paragraphs. I had to know more. The rest of the chapter did not disappoint, nor did the pace slow.

Main Characters:

Abigail Gilbert–  She is a young woman who has endured a heartbreaking childhood by clinging to the hope of a brighter future. The question of the story is whether that brighter future is as shiny as it seems. Despite her miserable upbringing, she has been sheltered from the ways of the wider world and is ill-prepared for the journey she embarks upon at the story’s outset.

Samuel Thatcher – He is a man determined to change the course of his life but waylaid at every step. He is, of course, noble–possibly to a fault–yet he is flawed as well. He takes too little regard for his own life and the suffering he has witnessed as a Bow Street Runner (law officer) has left his soul “burnt to a crisp”–his faith shaken.

Book Quote - The Noble Guardian - Promise Me

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

Right from the start, I connected with both the hero and the heroine. Their plights engaged my emotions and I wanted to see where their stories would take them. Though I hoped for a happy outcome for both, I immediately knew the path to get there would be far from smooth (which delighted me as a reader).

The pacing of this story was brisk from page one. Each scene, each new twist, kept me turning pages until the very end. When life forced me away from reading, I found myself contemplating the world Griep had created and wondering what would happen next.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

In hindsight, I can say that Griep did an excellent job of dropping hints throughout the story and staging things in such a way that the story’s conclusion felt entirely natural without being predictable.

Theme:

God’s plans may not be our plans, but they are always for the good of those who love Him.

Ending:

As satisfying as a perfect mouthful of the very food you’ve been craving for days.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Amazon

Let’s chat!

Have you read any of the books in the Pleasant Gap series? What do you think it means to be courageous?

TWEETABLES:

As satisfying as a perfect mouthful of the very food you’ve been craving for days.

This historical Christian romance has characters that engage your heart and suspense that keeps you turning pages!

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the photos above for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !


Netgalley Image

Note: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley, but was NOT required to write a positive review. You may read my full disclosure of materials HERE.

 

First Line Friday – 5.17.19

first-line-friday-3

Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

Today I’m featuring, the book I’m currently reading, The Social Tutor by Sally Britton. I recently found this book through another book blog, though I’m sorry to say I can’t remember which. This is my first book by Sally Britton and I am currently on chapter ten. So far, it’s pretty entertaining. 🙂 Have you read The Social Tutor or anything else by this author? 

The Social Tutor

Here’s the first line:

November 1st, 1811

“Waiting on a letter on knows to be full of exciting news is an exrutiating experience,” Christine Devon said, slumping in her chair in a most unladylike manner.

about-the-book-2

Her social graces are lacking, his finances are in ruin, but together they can solve both their problems. As long as they don’t fall in love.

After years of escaping etiquette lessons in favor of the stables, Christine Devon’s grand debut in London is only weeks away, though her deportment lacks the sophisticated polish she needs to achieve her goals of a lofty marriage. Desperate to take her place in society, she needs someone to instruct her in proper behavior.

Thomas Gilbert, newly returned from Italy, is ready to begin his dream of founding a horse farm. But during his time away, the estate’s finances have dwindled to almost nothing. Unless he can find a way to save his family from ruin, he will be forced to sell his horses and give up his dreams entirely.

A chance meeting between them may solve both their problems. Christine gains a tutor in the finer arts of polite behavior, while Thomas is given access to the finest bloodlines in England. But as time passes, the arrangement is less about business, and more about love. Will they see it in time, or will Christine leave Thomas behind for the splendor of London’s ballrooms?

The Social Tutor is the first novel in a sweet Regency romance series. Each novel is a stand-alone romance but, read in order, are immensely satisfying. The novels in the series are:

Prequel Novella: Martha’s Patience

The Social Tutor

The Gentleman Physician

His Bluestocking Bride

The Earl and His Lady

Miss Devon’s Choice

…and Book Six coming in March 2019

Amazon

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

First Line Friday – 5.10.19

first-line-friday-3

Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

Today I’m featuring, the book I’m currently reading, True to You by Becky Wade. This book has been waiting on my TBR for far too long. Have you read it?

True to You

Here’s the first line:

Finding oneself at the mercy of a crazed gunman isn’t all fun and games.

about-the-book-2

Winner of the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Amazon

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating: