Jul 222013
 

thehouseatrosecreekThe House at Rose Creek

Author: Jenny Proctor

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published Date: July 2013

Softcover: 251 pages

Genre: Contemporary LDS Romance

ISBN# 978-1-60861-894-1

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: free review copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary

Kate Sinclair wasn’t planning on inheriting her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse. She wasn’t even planning on going back to Rose Creek. But when her aunt unexpectedly passes away, leaving her the house, she finds herself forced to confront her past, including the family she hasn’t spoken to in years.

When she finds a journal belonging to a distant ancestor in the attic of the old house, she begins a journey that reconnects her with her faith, her family, and herself.

But trouble looms. Kate’s new love interest, Andrew, has a past full of secrets. And the state department of transportation wants to bulldoze the old farmhouse for a highway project. Will Kate be able to see through Andrew’s past? Most importantly, will she find a way to save her house and hold onto the fragile threads that tie her to her family?

Review

The House at Rose Creek is a well-written debut novel with a deeper, more layered story than I expected. While it was definitely a love story, the romance was not always front and center. There was a rediscovering of love of home and family as well as a developing love and respect for those who came before. In a way, there was also a retelling of romance past as the main character reads about Ian and Jennie in his journal.

I didn’t really care for Kate at first but she quickly grew on me. I could feel the connection between her and Andrew right away. Andrew was really great, but I’m glad he had a bit of a history to keep things real. The secondary characters had dimension and personality, even if I didn’t like how they reacted some of the time, but that’s what made them more realistic. The situation with Kate’s family was relatable, tense at times and not quickly or easily resolved, but efforts and progress were still made even if everything wasn’t tied up in a pretty bow at the end. There was only one part, the sudden appearance of a former love interest, that felt a bit contrived to me.

I liked how the journal of her ancestor tied into Kate’s story and inspired her, not just in her investigation into the Church but in learning more about her family history. I, too, felt inspired to delve back into my family history. I enjoyed learning about Ian and looked forward to reading each of his journal entries throughout the story.

Readers who like a story with history and a nice romance will enjoy The House at Rose Creek. The writing is clean and easy to read, effectively evoking the emotion of the scene. I hope Jenny is hard at work on her next book because I look forward to reading more from her.

**There is a Goodreads giveaway for The House at Rose Creek open until July 31, 2013!!**

Visit Jenny:

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

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Dec 042012
 

For What It’s Worth

Author: Karey White

Publisher: Bonneville Books/Cedar Fort

Published Date: December 2012

Paperback; 240 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN# 978-1-4621-1066-7

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review

***NOTE: The For What It’s Worth launch party is tomorrow night, Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at The King’s English at 6 PM. Go HERE for more details. ***

Summary

Twenty-four year-old, Abby Benson has dreams of owning her own wedding cake shop. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make those dreams come true. She hires Dane, a handsome contractor, to help her get the bakery up and running and soon they’re moving toward their own happy ending.

Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customers decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?

Review

For What It’s Worth was an enjoyable read about Abby, who opened a wedding cake bakery with a generous inheritance from her Aunt Grace. I really liked Abby. In fact, I liked all of the characters, though it took a while for me to feel like I knew Dane very well. During the last half of the book is when I felt Dane developed into a great character and became one of my favorites.

One of the best parts of For What It’s Worth, at least for me, was watching Abby as she experienced the unexpected success of her bakery and came face to face with evaluating what was most important in her life. She learned a lot about herself and the need for balance and priorities. Maybe it’s because I’m impatient, but once Abby realized what she needed to do and did it, I was wishing she would have been the one to make an important first move and sooner.

The recipes at the beginning of each chapter all looked delicious, and there were a few clever ones in there as well. I’m excited to try some of them, especially the homemade corn tortilla recipe. Oh, and the BLAT Sandwiches, too. The dessert recipes sound amazing. I don’t even know where to begin choosing what I would make first.

For What It’s Worth is a sweet, clean LDS romance that will be enjoyed by many readers. And don’t be surprised if you start craving cake.

About the Author

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book. Find out more about Karey at http://kareywhite.com.

Visit Karey: BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Find For What It’s Worth:

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Nov 202012
 

Turning Pages

Author: Tristi Pinkston

Publisher: Inkberry Press

Published Date: July 2012

Paperback/Kindle; 240 pages

Genre: New Adult Romance

ISBN13: 978-0-9838293-6-2

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary

With his pride and her prejudice, what could possibly go wrong?

When the arrogant Blake Hansen steals Addie Preston’s promotion at the library, he pretty much rubs her nose in it. But Addie, who dreams of being a full-fledged librarian, decides to stick it out. She loves surrounding herself with books and keeping her father’s memory alive in the building where they spent so much time together.

Soon, Addie learns that her beloved library will be torn down to make room for a larger facility, and she has to make a choice. Fight, or let go?

To complicate things, she finds herself attracted to Blake, who is engaged to someone else. Will Blake and Addie ever resolve their differences?

Review

Turning Pages is a cute story about Addie Preston, a college student who works at the local library. She hasn’t had the easiest life, which is probably why she finds such comfort in the books she loves.

Addie and her family are dealing with the recent death of her father in a car accident that also injured her step-mother. Addie’s own mother died when she was little, and Addie, her younger siblings, and her step-mom have to face the reality that they can’t afford to stay in their home. She was passed over for a promotion that was promised to her, and the city just announced it’s going to tear down her beloved old library and replace it with an expensive new building. Addie gets rejected by a boy she’s liked forever, she and her best friend have a falling out, and to top things off, the guy that was hired for her promised position is a bit of a jerk.

While Addie fights to save the library, she realizes that change always comes. She learns to hold tight to what is most important, to let go of things she can’t control and that some things (and people) are not as bad as they first seem.

I enjoyed Turning Pages as a clean read with good themes that I would happily hand to my 15-year-old to read. I liked Addie and related to her love of books and her beloved library. It was a good reminder that change is the only constant and people are what matter most.

Visit Tristi:

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

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Nov 052012
 

Paint Me True

Author: E.M. Tippetts

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services/CreateSpace

Published Date: November 2011

Kindle/Paperback; 300 pages

ISBN# 978-1468002515

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: free digital copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary

Eliza Dunmar is about to turn thirty-one and fears her best days are behind her. Soon she’ll be too old to attend church in a singles ward, her career as a painter is no longer considered cool, and she feels too old to use the excuse that she’s “just starting out” to explain why she still can’t pay the bills. The only man interested in her is a scruffy, video game addicted nerd who is the first to admit that they are all wrong for each other.

When her beloved Aunt Nora calls from England and begs her to visit, Eliza leaps at the chance. Even better? Nora had the perfect romance with her late husband and is eager to share the tale. As Eliza sets out to immortalize this courtship in a series of paintings, she learns a lesson that will change her outlook on life and love forevermore.

First Line

“Six months isn’t a long relationship for normal people, but Len and I weren’t normal people.”

Review

Paint Me True is a story of people and situations that are not what they first seem. Not in a suspenseful, mysterious way, but in a perspective-changing, now-I-see-the-whole-picture kind of way.

Despite her reservations and intentions otherwise, Eliza somehow remains in relationship with her best friend’s nerdy, scruffy, video game-loving cousin Len for six months. The story opens as they arrive at a very nice steakhouse on a big date. Eliza expects to be turning down a marriage proposal and is instead dumped by Len.

Eliza is a talented religious artist who has watched all of her female family members but one waste away and lose their battles with cancer. She has a special relationship with her Aunt Nora, and doesn’t hesitate to hop on a plane to England when her aunt needs her help to recover from a fall, especially after the disastrous break-up date she had just experienced.

In England, Eliza meets handsome nurse Colin. They hit it off and start dating. During her stay with Aunt Nora, she agrees to paint several memories her aunt has with her deceased husband that are not recorded by photographs. Through her interactions with her late uncle’s family and some unexpected discoveries, Eliza learns that things are not always what they appear to be.

What I enjoyed most was experiencing Eliza and Len’s relationship through flashbacks as she painted. I was pleasantly surprised as I got to know Len better through her memories. He was still annoying in some ways, and I didn’t care for the video-game obsession, but I soon realized first impressions are often wrong.

I’m not going to give away any more of the story, but I will say that Eliza suffers heartbreak more than once and things are not easy for her. She has a lot to make up for and pays the price for her selfishness. She needed a wake-up call and she got it.

While Paint Me True started a bit slow for me, by the end I was involved in the story and stayed up after my family went to bed to find out how things would turn out for Eliza. I liked the ending and think that those who enjoy clean, LDS romance will like it, too.

Find Paint Me True: 

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Aug 302012
 

The Cinderella Project

Author: Stan Crowe

Publisher: Breezy Reads

Published Date: August 30, 2012

Format: Kindle/Nook/ebook

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN# 9781938327049

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review

Summary

Committed to saving his marriage before it starts, doctoral student Nick Cairn embarks on a project aimed at finding the secrets of everlasting love. But when Moire DeLanthe, a smart and sassy research assistant, enters the picture, his Happily Ever After is put to the ultimate test.

First Line

“The first time I met Moiré De Lanthe, I was engaged to be married.”

Review

I LOVED this book. I had such a great time reading it. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this contemporary romance written by a man. The story is told in first person from the hero’s point-of-view. The reader gets the chance to hear the male main character’s internal dialogue as he struggles, succeeds, fails and recovers.

Grad student Nick is working on his dissertation and after hours of observing couples in romantic situations, watching hundreds of romantic movies, reading dozens of romance books, and studying nearly a thousand brain scans of couples in various stages of love, he is almost done with his research. When a beautiful woman that is not his fiancé shows up at the lab requesting to be hired as his research assistant, Nick is hesitant. He doesn’t want anyone potentially tempting him and distracting him from his devoted commitment to his fiancé, Ella.

Nick is a hard worker, a good student, and a great guy. I really liked him. He has a few thoughtless moments of being a jerk, which only made his character more believable to me as he stepped in it a few times trying to make up for those moments. He gets confused when his fiancé becomes overly emotional at times while planning their wedding, but makes a serious effort to keep the peace and show his love for and devotion to Ella.

I loved how the friendship between Nick and Moiré developed. I appreciated how devoted Nick was to his fiancé even though there were a few times I wanted to knock him upside the head. I loved the scene at the Italian restaurant, and the tuxedo shop, and the outdoor mall, and the park, and the cathedral. I laughed whenever male ego reared its head. I wanted to hug Nick when he was hurting and frustrated.

The Cinderella Project pulled me in from the start and I enjoyed it even more than I expected. It was refreshing to read this male-written romance from a male point-of-view. I hope that it won’t be the last. I would love to read more books like this one.

If you like good, clean, entertaining romance I highly recommend The Cinderella Project. I gladly add this book to my “Favorite Romances” list and look forward to reading it again in the near future.

Find The Cinderella Project on KINDLE | NOOK | SMASHWORDS.

Click HERE for a list of blog tour reviews and author interviews.

Author Bio: Born to a to a teacher, Stan was reading before age 4, and has loved books since. In kindergarten, he won a local writing contest and became a published author for the first time.

Stan Graduated from Brigham Young University in 2004 with a degree in civil and environmental engineering. Still, writing ran through his veins, and he continued producing fiction even while he was designing homes and preparing cost estimates for bridges.

Read more about Stan and The Cinderella Project on his BLOG.

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Mar 192012
 

Twitterpated

Author: Melanie Jacobson

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published Date: March 2012

Softcover; 247 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN# 978-1-60861-065-5

Reviewed by: Shanda

FTC FYI: free review copy in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Jessie Taylor is furious when her roommate secretly posts her picture on the dating website LDS Lookup — furious, that is, until she spends all night instant messaging Ben Bratton, a man whose wit and warmth just might make Jessie forget the train wreck of her last romantic relationship. Their first date is a smashing success (literally), but Ben’s overall awesomeness can’t save Jessie from having to deal with Craig, her competitive coworker whose baiting behavior sets new standards for obnoxiousness. Determined to beat Craig at his own game, Jessie spends long office hours finishing projects and putting out fires, but while her performance wows her boss, it only makes Ben skittish — after a failed engagement to an up-and-coming lawyer, he’s not about to pair up with someone who’s married to her job. Will Jessie figure out how to be true to herself and take her big chance at love before it’s gone with a click of the mouse?

My Review

How many ways can I say “I LOVED Twitterpated?”

I have enjoyed every one of Melanie’s books, and Twitterpated was just as much fun as her other novels.

I liked Jessie. She’s spunky, hard-working and a good friend. I loved Ben. He’s a good, down-to-earth kind of guy with a hint of geek that I can’t resist. I don’t know how Melanie does it, but she captures the occasional awkwardness of dating without making it uncomfortable or cheesy. Sometimes I felt a little embarrassed for the character, but it only succeeded to endear them to me.

I enjoyed watching Jessie take the high road (for the most part) with her infuriating co-worker, Craig. She sticks to her guns and her morals when she has opportunity to choose otherwise. There was one scene with Craig where I almost screamed out loud in frustration for Jessie, but she manages to keep her cool. Barely. I appreciated watching Jessie’s struggle to find balance between success at work and success in life.

If you enjoy fun romance that is clean but still toe-curling, I highly recommend Melanie Jacobson’s books: The List, Not My Type and Twitterpated. She has easily earned her spot on my favorite romances bookshelf. Whatever you do, Melanie, DON’T STOP WRITING.

Read Melanie’s Guest Author Thursday post HERE.

 

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