Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper: A Novel by Kathleen Y’Barbo

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper: A NovelThe Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper: A Novel by Kathleen Y’Barbo

My Rating: 5 stars!!!

I’m going to be reading ‘The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck’ soon, so I decided to read ‘The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper’ by Kathleen Y’Barbo first and then I plan to read ‘Anna Finch and the Hired Gun’ by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Kathleen Y’Barbo, but it reminded me of ‘A Lady Like Sarah’ by Margaret Brownley which I’ve recently read. Both books have a historical/western theme.

‘The Confidential Life of Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper’ is a historical romance book set around 1880. Gennie enjoys reading Mae Winslow, ‘Woman of the West’ dime novels, but she has to read them under her bed covers for fear that her parents will find out.

‘Someday, if Gennie ever had the nerve, she’d just head west down Fifth Avenue and keep walking until she reached South Dakota or Wyoming. Colorado maybe, where she could pan for gold or dig for silver. Maybe save some hapless child or even a whole town from whatever evil preyed upon it. Gennie smiled. Wouldn’t that be an adventure?’ Page 3

Finally that day has come.

When Gennie’s new chambermaid, Fiona McTaggart, tells Gennie about how Fiona’s sister has to leave the man she loves before they can wed – to be the governess of Miss Charlotte Beck – Gennie gets an idea.

Since Gennie will be leaving New York for a month to go visit relatives in Boston, while Gennie’s family is on a ship for their silver anniversary; why can’t Gennie instead of going to Boston go to Denver, Colorado to be the Charlotte Beck’s Governess and get the adventure she’s dreamed of. Then once Fiona’s sister is married and arrives in Denver, go back home to New York with her need for adventure filled.

The beginning of every chapter begins with a portion of a Mae Winslow ‘Woman of the West’ story. I found this interesting, because it was like reading two books in one. Mae Winslow story as well as Gennie’s story.

Upon arriving in Denver, Gennie realizes that Charlotte Beck is not the sweet child she thought she would be. Instead she’s a trouble-maker and thief. Gennie soon realizes this “job” won’t be as easy as she first thought.

I found the entire story very charming, humorous, and captivating. Gennie and Daniel Beck’s relationship had such depth and layers that I didn’t want to stop reading ‘The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper’.

I loved how the story unfolded and had many twists that I didn’t expect. I am very much looking forward to reading ‘Anna Finch and the Hired Gun’. I highly recommend ‘The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper’.

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Filed under Fiction, Historical, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Please rate my review, Reviews, Romance, WaterBrook Multnomah

A Vision of Lucy (#3) by Margaret Brownley

A Vision of Lucy (A Rocky Creek Romance)A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley

My Rating: 4.5 stars!

Lucy Fairbanks is a spunky woman whose adventurous spirit and dream of becoming a professional photographer for the local newspaper keeps putting her in dangerous situations.

Like her mother, Lucy felt compelled to capture the world around her and preserve moments in time that would never be repeated. The only difference was their choice of expression. – Page 28

Her father doesn’t understand her dream of photography and would rather she paint (like her deceased mother did) and get married.

She stared at her father in open defiance. “I have plans for my life. Big plans. They do not include marriage.” – Page 26

One occasion, when Lucy was in danger, was when she was in a horse chestnut tree trying to capture the mythical wild white mustang on film. She instead witnesses (and interrupts) a stage coach robbery, almost is killed, but is rescued by the ‘wild man’, David Wolf.

David Wolf is a man who is on a mission. He is a half-breed (half-white, half-Indian), and he’s had a difficult life because of that. He doesn’t know his real name, who is parents are – or if they are even still alive, and he doesn’t even know where he belongs. Everywhere he goes he finds people who judge him just because of his blood – until he meets Lucy.

I loved how many of the same character from the books ‘A Lady Like Sarah’ and ‘A Suitor For Jenny’  were continued in ‘A Vision Of Lucy’. What I didn’t like, however, was how Old Man Hank Applegate’s name was changed in this book to Old Man Appleby. He seemed like the same character from previous books, yet his name was different.

Another thing I enjoyed about ‘A Vision of Lucy’ were the new characters. David Wolf’s story was really interesting, as was Lucy’s. Some parts of this book were predictable for me and a couple of things I didn’t care for all that much, but other than that I really liked ‘A Vision of Lucy’.

I was somewhat disappointed when I read that this is the final book in the ‘Rocky Creek Romance’ series. But I’m looking forward to reading Margaret Brownley’s next series ‘Brides of Last Chance Ranch’ which comes out sometime in 2012 (according to her website).I recommend ‘A Vision of Lucy’ if you enjoy reading romance novels.

*I received ‘A Vision Of Lucy’ for free from the publisher through BookSneeze®.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.*

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Filed under A Rocky Creek Romance, Fiction, Margaret Brownley, Reviews, Romance, Thomas Nelson

A Suitor For Jenny (#2) by Margaret Brownley

A Suitor for Jenny (A Rocky Creek Romance, #2)A Suitor for Jenny by Margaret Brownley

My rating: 5 stars!!

The second book in the Rocky Creek Romance Series, ‘A Suitor For Jenny’, I found just as enjoyable (if not more) than the first book, ‘A Lady Like Sarah’.

Many of the same characters from ‘A Lady Like Sarah’ make appearances in this book, including old man Hank Applegate, Pastor Justin Wells, Kip Barrel the barber, etc. I found some of the new characters funny, especially Mary Lou Higgins and Jeff Trevor.

I also found the plot interesting – three sisters coming to Rocky Creek, Texas to find ‘suitable’ husbands (ones that have adequate funds, pass the ‘potential husband aptitude test’, along with other requirements).

“I don’t need a husband,” Jenny said with as much regret as bitterness. The burdens of her past weighed heavily on her shoulders. At times she resented her sisters, resented the choices she’d made to provide for them after their father died. She loved them both dearly, of course. Still, it was hard not to resent the circumstances that had forced her to relinquish her own dreams of marriage. No decent man would ever want her as a wife, not after what she had done.Page 12

The major themes in ‘A Suitor For Jenny’, from my viewpoint, was guilt, forgiveness and God’s grace. Jenny Higgins and U.S. Marshall, Rhett Armstrong both struggled with guilt.

“There’s a big difference between guilt and godly sorrow,” she said. “Godly sorrow helps us to grow. Guilt is more likely to destroy us. There’s only one cure that I know of, and that’s God’s grace.”Page 103

I don’t feel it is necessary to read ‘A Lady Like Sarah’ first; however, I do think it adds something extra to ‘A Suitor For Jenny’ – mainly the background story to the people of Rocky Creek, Texas. I realize now that most of the duplicated words in ‘A Lady Like Sarah’ were part of the story. Mrs. Hitchcock often repeats herself.

Overall, I loved ‘A Suitor For Jenny’ and that’s why I’m giving it such a high rating.

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Filed under A Rocky Creek Romance, Fiction, Margaret Brownley, Reviews, Romance, Thomas Nelson

A Lady Like Sarah (#1) by Margaret Brownley

A Lady Like Sarah (A Rocky Creek Romance, #1)A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley

My rating: 4.5 stars!!

‘A Lady Like Sarah’ is mainly about a pastor and an outlaw. Justin Wells, the previous pastor of a church in Boston, is making an adventurous journey to Rocky Creek, TX to pastor a church. Along the way he encounters U.S. Marshall’s, locust, Indians, a stampede, & an outlaw.

Justin and the outlaw, Sarah Prescott, created a bond when traveling this journey to Rocky Creek together. She’s a Prescott, the sister to one of the most wanted outlaw gangs in Rocky Creek. She wants a normal life-to find a husband and start a family. But since she’s an outlaw, will she be able to?

“If only she wasn’t a Prescott. Why hadn’t someone helped her & her brothers through their grief following the loss of their parents? Someone like Justin? Would that have made the difference?”

I didn’t know how much I would enjoy ‘A Lady Like Sarah’, but found that I enjoyed it very much. Once I got used to the old west theme and characters, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘A Lady Like Sarah’. The characters were funny and kept my attention.

Throughout ‘A lady Like Sarah’ there was a story of grace and miracles.

One of the reasons I didn’t give this a higher rating is because, in my opinion, there seemed to be a lot of typos and duplicated words. Another reason is it was hard to understand the meaning of some sentences.

Overall though, a great story that held my attention and kept me slightly on the edge of my seat. I’m looking forward to reading ‘A Suitor For Jenny’.

I recommend ‘A Lady Like Sarah’ if you enjoy reading historical, western, or romance novels.

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Filed under A Rocky Creek Romance, Fiction, Margaret Brownley, Reviews, Romance, Thomas Nelson

Judgment Day by Wanda L.Dyson

Judgment Day by Wanda L. Dyson

My rating: 4.5 stars!!!

“As long as there are people out there who betray our trust, there will be Judgment Day with Suzanne Kidwell. Good night America. I’ll see you next week.”

Suzanne Kidwell is a Journalist that hears a rumor and doesn’t look for facts, yet reports and convicts people of guilt. This time she has accused the wrong person. Someone is found dead on Suzanne’s living room floor. She’s accused of murder, yet she’s innocent. She thinks she’s being framed and thinks she knows who framing her. To find the evidence, she needs the help of PI Marcus Crisp, her ex-fiance, who caught her cheating on him. Will he help her and be able to keep her alive long enough to unveil the culprit?

I’ve read ‘Abduction’, ‘Obsession’ & ‘Intimidation’ by Wanda L. Dyson. I really enjoyed those books, so I thought that I would like ‘Judgment Day’ as well. I was not disappointed.

‘Judgment Day’ was really easy to read. It flowed nicely and held my attention. I felt like I was watching a movie when reading this. The characters were funny, yet intriguing. The plot was believable and overall I just really liked it.

I found it pretty ironic that Suzanne accused people of being guilty of a crime when she didn’t have any evidence, just mere speculation, and then almost the same thing happened to her. What Suzanne’s cellmate said summed that up pretty well:

“You need to stop judging by mere appearances and make right judgments. If you are without sin, be the first to throw a stone.”

“Why don’t you judge your own faults? You teach others; why don’t you teach yourself? A false witness offers nothing but lies and will perish and whoever listens to his lies will be destroyed forever. For out of that corrupt heart comes nothing but lies and slander.”

When I reached the final chapters, ‘Judgment Day’ became impossible to put down. I had to know what happened. If you enjoy reading a good suspense/mystery, then I would recommend ‘Judgment Day’.

To read an except on ‘Judgment Day’ click here.

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Filed under Fiction, Mystery, Please rate my review, Reviews, Suspense, Wanda L. Dyson, WaterBrook Multnomah

Indelible – Kristen Heitzmann

Indelible: A NovelIndelible: A Novel by Kristen Heitzmann

My rating:  4.5 stars!

‘Indelible’ kept me up late into the night and reading longer than I should have.

Because ‘Indelible’ had some of the same characters as ‘Indivisible’, and since I haven’t read ‘Indivisible’ yet, I didn’t know any of the background story. Kristen Heitzmann did a great job filling in most of the background story, and I also found out some things from someone who read ‘Indivisible’, so I didn’t feel like I was missing much.

From page two on, ‘Indelible’ held my attention and I didn’t want to put the book down. Initially I thought I wouldn’t completely like this book – it was slightly weird and I didn’t completely understand everything. When I was almost finished, however, what I thought didn’t make sense, finally did.

I found the pages in between the chapters quite confusing. They showed what the ‘troubled soul’ thought, did, and the reasons for him doing what he did.

There was also a little bit of romance between Trevor and Natalie, which made ‘Indelible’ all the more captivating. The characters were very well written and made me think how I might feel if I was in their shoes. My favorite characters were: Natalie, Fleur, & Trevor.

The suspense at the beginning of ‘Indelible’ stayed throughout. I didn’t want to stop reading this book and I hope Kristen Heitzmann writes a sequel featuring the same characters! I recommend ‘Indelible’ to all those who enjoy reading suspense novels mixed with a little romance.

* I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. *

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Filed under Fiction, Kristen Heitzmann, Please rate my review, Reviews, Romance, Suspense, WaterBrook Multnomah