The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton | Book Review

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Author, Kate Morton
Published, October 9, 2012
Publisher, Atria Books
Kindle edition, 597 pages


From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, and The House at Riverton, a spellbinding new novel filled with mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.
During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

This is the forth novel by Kate Morton that I have read and I can't believe that I waiting so long to get to it.  Her novels are quite lengthy and being sick and home alone was a perfect fit.  
I love the fact that her books are written in a dual narrative.  This one has the story of present day, the 1940s, and the 1960s.  Novels written in the time period of WWII happen to be some of my favorite historical fiction. 
I was not disappointed in the story.  Laurel witnessed a murder as a child and finally wants to know what really happened.  Her mother, Dorothy, know has dementia and can't be a lot of help.  But the story of Dorothy, Jimmy, and Vivien starts to come together.  I loved that I had some surprises in the end.  That is always a plus.  


A July Bride

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Author, Beth Wiseman
Published, June 24, 2014
Publisher, Zondervan
Kindle edition, 120 pages
Series, A Year of Weddings #8

A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.
Can she forgive the man who left her at the altar?
Alyssa Pennington dated Brendan Myers for three years before she accepted his proposal. For almost a year, Alyssa's friends and family helped her plan a lovely wedding to take place in the church she'd grown up in. It was the happiest day of her life when she walked down the aisle to be united with the man of her dreams. But when Brendan left her at the altar, Alyssa was consumed by humiliation, embarrassment, and a broken heart that wouldn't allow her to trust anyone. Especially Brendan.
Brendan Myers knows he will spend the rest of his life regretting what he did to Alyssa, the only woman he's ever loved. Without her, his life is empty. In one fateful moment, he'd panicked, destroyed their future, and ruined everything. Now he plans to win her back.
But winning back his bride might prove much more difficult than he can imagine. And even if he does get her to the altar again, will she think turnabout is fair play?

This was an interesting and easy read but it was not my favorite in the series so far. I felt that the characters made very bad choices over and over and also that they needed to grow up a bit.  But decisions made by the characters did keep me guessing at who was going to end up walking down the aisle with who.
Brendan knew that walking away from Alyssa was the wrong choice but she had moved on to Dalton.  So they find themselves in a love triangle.  Brendan worked hard to find ways to stay in her life but at times she wants him to go away and let her have a new life.
The overall theme of the novella was forgiveness.  The characters needed to learn to forgive each other for many things before they could expect to make a marriage work.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.


An August Bride | Book Review

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Author, Debra Clopton
Published, July 29, 2014
Publisher, Zondervan
Kindle edition, 120
Series, A Year of Weddings #9

A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.
Kelsey vowed never to love a cowboy again. But then she meets Brent.
After a cowboy broke her heart, Kelsey Wilcox traded in her boots for flip-flops and a bistro on the beautiful sandy beach of Corpus Christi. Two years later, still not believing in happy endings, she is about to endure a weekend of torture at her cousin's beach wedding. Not only will she be forced to watch yet another wedding, but her great-aunt and her two best friends---aptly nicknamed 'the matchmaking posse of Mule Hollow'---are coming to the wedding, and Kelsey is sure to be on their radar.
Brent Corbin has had his share of bad luck with women and isn't looking for love or looking forward to the weekend of wedding festivities as a groomsman for his friend. When he sees a commotion on the beach and what appears to be a mermaid in distress, he doesn't hesitate to dive to the rescue. His attention is instantly captured by the woman he's saved and it turns out they're part of the same wedding party. But the instant Kelsey spots his soaking wet boots she wants no part of him.
Thrown together through the weekend and with the meddlesome encouragement from the matchmakers, Brent is determined to pursue Kelsey and change her mind about cowboys. Sparks fly at this August wedding as Kelsey and Brent dance a rocky Texas two-step toward a beach wedding of their own.

I really enjoyed this novella in the series.  I like Kelsey and Brent but the true stars were the secondary characters. It was sweet and funny.  Also a quick, easy read.
Kelsey has sworn off cowboys but that could be a problem since she lives in Texas.  Brent is, or course, handsome and determined to change her mind about cowboys.  Especially about him.  They have wonderful adventures that help build their relationship and story.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.


The Look of Love by Sarah Jio | Book Review

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Author, Sarah Jio
Published, November 25th, 2014
Publisher, Plume
Kindle edition, 320 pages

Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to literally see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-fifth birthday, she receives a card from the midwife who delivered her. Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed. Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love will utterly enchant Sarah Jio’s rapidly growing fanbase. 

I am a HUGE Sarah Jio fan.  I have read all her books and follow her on facebook and instagram.  I might even be called a stalker.  Seriously - she never disappoints me.
This novel was a little different from her others.  All of her previous books work on a dual storyline. This novel is set entirely in modern day with the exception of the Preface.  There are mentions of the past and info given by others, but no dual storyline.  With that being said, it is still everything that a Jio fan could ask for.  Love, history, and mystery are still there for your enjoyment.
I read a lot of reviews that compare the plot to Love Actually.  In fact, it is a good compassion.  The story is mainly about Jane and her gift, but there are multiple love stories that are centered around her. Multiple loves stories and types of love.
I think that the basis of the book is great.  Jane having a magical gift that she was given at birth. The story plays out well and their is a true ending to each of the couples love stories.  And - - it was one of those books that I picked up and finished in one setting.  I started reading when I got in bed and the next thing I knew, it was 3 am and I was done.
If you are looking for a fast and easy read, be sure to pick it up.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.


Merry December!

I still can't believe that it is December!  Christmas is right around the corner.

Are you looking for a great Bible Reading Plan for December?  Good Morning Girls has you covered.  In fact - they have a plan to get you started on the entire Bible.  And it is guided but you can jump in at any time.  I even saw that it is a favorite of Candace Cameron Bure when she is traveling and away from her small group at her home church.

For the month of December, they are reading Psalms.  It is not too late to catch up and be on board for Psalms 8.  Plus - there is a printable workbook and bookmark!

Last year I did the Advent Reading Plan.  It was great.  I think that I will try to do it at least every two years, but this year I am setting out and working on Psalms.  If you need a great Christmas reading plan, check this one out.