Saturday, July 23, 2016

Snow on the Tulips


GIVEAWAY

TOLSMA, LIZ
SNOW ON THE TULIPS

A stranger's life hangs in the balance. But save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she's endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia's doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia's faith won't let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit's intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscapes thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

My Review:

Gripping from the very first sentence. There are heart-in-your-throat scenes that will leave you gasping for breath. The brutality of war -- the senseless slaughter of humanity -- all play a role as this story unfolds.

Life is fraught with danger and uncertainty during wartime and no one knows that better than Cornelia. Something died inside her the day her husband was killed by German soldiers. It's all she can do to go through the motions of living. Trying to control what is left of her shattered life, she retreats, willing to wait until the end of the war before she starts to live again. And then her brother brings home a wounded Resistance fighter.

Gerrit is motivated by a deep sense of duty and justice. A risk-taker, willing to do whatever he can to fight for his country. Recovering from a bullet wound keeps him trapped in Cornelia's home and the two are thrown together in tight quarters where their opposing views act like tinder to a flame. Yet as they battle, something else ignites -- the kind of deep feelings that are dangerous to nurture during wartime.

I love how they both grow from the challenge of their relationship. Gerrit softens a bit, leans more deeply into his faith. Cornelia struggles with her fear and I truly appreciate this part of the story. So often we read about larger than life characters who seem to be born heroes. Cornelia is just plain scared and yet she is willing to follow where her faith leads.

A captivating, page-turner of a read.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

 If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Snow on the Tulips please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 24 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Haven on Orchard Lane

GIVEAWAY

BLACKWELL, LAWANA
A HAVEN ON ORCHARD LANE

An urgent escape...a wonderful heart...will Charlotte find the solace she longs for at the cottage on Orchard Lane?

Famed Actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career -- only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte's estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother's rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists at least for a time.

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she's happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it's time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn't here for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions -- ones that jeopardize those they care about most.

My Review:

I felt like weeping when I reached the last page! I so didn't want this read to be over. I just wasn't prepared to return to 21st century Canada any time soon. I'm still crashing in a major disgruntled sulk but I'll try to rally for the sake of the review.

This book isn't anything like I thought it would be. Don't you just love it when a novel surprises you in that kind of knock-your-socks off way? It's told from multiple points of view, though Charlotte and her daughter, Rosalind,  play major roles in everything that happens. It's like the house they rent on Orchard Lane becomes the crossroads for various characters. Lives collide and magic happens and Charlotte is at the helm. And I didn't expect that from her. Not after making her acquaintance in chapter one. But there's such a depth of spiritual wisdom and common sense hidden inside that woman -- I think she even surprises herself!

An estranged mother/daughter relationship has the chance at redemption -- a stirring tale all on its own. But this story isn't without a romance. A delicious. tentative, genteel one that develops from an unorthodox first meeting.  And be still my heart, the ladies of Orchard Lane are readers! It isn't long before Charlotte and Rosalind become enmeshed in the lives of some of the villagers. I fell in love with all the secondary characters -- a pair of raggedy brothers in particular. This is definitely a story about relationship and how we can shine the light of Christ through our actions.

An impactful novel that entertains as well as inspires.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.

 GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

 If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  A Haven on Orchard Lane please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 24 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Hasty Betrothal

GIVEAWAY

NELSON, JESSICA
A HASTY BETROTHAL

A practical proposal

Though Lady Elizabeth Wayland would rather spend her days with her bellowed books than an uncaring spouse, scandal forces her to find a match posthaste. To escape the scoundrel who almost ruined her, Elizabeth accepts an unconventional proposal from a childhood friend. But when she finds herself falling for her husband-to-be, will she be able to convince him to return her love?

Widowed cotton mill owner Miles Hawthorne vowed to never marry again -- until Elizabeth's reputation is on the line. Their betrothal begins as a simple favor. As he spends more time with his fiancée, though, Miles finds that there's more to her than he ever saw before. And Elizabeth just might be the only woman who can slip into his heart.

My Review:

Squeeeeaaaalllllllll!!!! A bibliophile heroine in Regency England -- can it get any better than that? Never mind the hero, I was swooning over Elizabeth's love of reading! "I simply want you to understand the great scope of stories. Their extraordinary ability to draw out the imagination, to teach life lessons and to inspire one to greater heights of creativity." (p 188) Yes! I love Elizabeth! Even though she finds it "very exhausting to be the heroine of her own story." (p. 279) I personally found it exhilarating! :-)  I seriously got all swoony over the book references.

Mind you, Miles made me weak in the knees too. He could be gallant and charming one minute and brooding and distant the next. What a complicated man -- but -- oh my goodness, he has a tender heart, especially where Elizabeth is concerned. Though he can be a dunderhead about her as well. He's pegged her a certain way so she discombobulates him at every turn. Just when he gets his balance she lambasts him with something else. So much fun keeping up with their banter -- like watching a tennis match! Back and forth. Back and forth. Witty and riveting.

Stupendous fun -- a Regency romance not to be missed!

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

 If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  A Hasty Bethrothal please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 24 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Together at the Table

GIVEAWAY

LODGE, HILLARY MANTON
TOGETHER AT THE TABLE

Three months ago, Juliette D'Alisa's world changed.

In a bittersweet series of events, her mother's health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.

Now as autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she's finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrian are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront brings a familiar face across her path.

Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother's letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story -- and she'll travel across countries and oceans to find it.

But even Juliette can't outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

My Review:

What a genuinely lovely wrap-up to an amazing series. Be forewarned though that it's probably best to have read A Table at the Window and Reservations for Two before reading this last installment of Two Blue Doors. These three books have connected plots and characters and it just makes sense to get involved right from the very beginning.

First off -- while I'm not a true foodie I've discovered I have a certain weakness for foodie fiction. There's something so delicious (pun intended) about the exotic food references. I might not understand a word I read when it comes to recipe descriptions but I love the flavour they bring to the story.(Okay, last pun, I promise.) And since Juliette's family is foodie obsessed (they all work in the food industry) and they are a crazy mix of French and Italian there is a lot of passionate chef talk going on. So much fun. The author even includes recipes that sound divine but look beginner friendly enough for me to try.

As in the first two books, this one is told entirely from Juliette's witty point of view. There's even sardonic humour in the midst of tough times. And those are plentiful. I love a flawed heroine and Juliette is definitely that. She internalizes things too much, buries herself in her work and generally hides away from the harsh reality of her personal life. Luckily she has an opinionated family who aren't afraid to speak up. Exciting dynamics that left me alternately laughing hysterically or tearing my hair out.

I don't want to say too much about the romance because...well...there's two guys and only one Juliette so no spoilers. I'll just say the best man really did win and I'm a happy camper who has to work at straightening her toes after they've been curled through all those swoony scenes. Blissful sigh.

The intrigue in Juliette's family history is solved at last...a mystery that plagued me through the first two books. Immensely satisfying and well worth the wait. I might have cried a tear or two. An interesting World War II connection in this otherwise contemporary novel.

And a side note: As with the first two books, there is a definite lack of inspirational thread in Together at the Table. Just a fleeting mention of church attendance. I really missed the personal growth that comes with a faith themed story.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

 If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Together at the Table please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 24 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Secrets and Lies

GIVEAWAY

MCCOY, SHIRLEE
SECRETS AND LIES

Expecting -- and in danger

Attacked in her classroom, widowed teacher Ariel Martin's only thought is for her unborn child. When her student's brother, rookie K-9 officer Tristan McKeller, and his faithful dog save her life, she can't thank him enough. She knows Tristan won't rest until she's safe, but she doesn't want him or his police colleagues digging into her dangerous past. After all, the only person who would want to hurt her is dead...or is he? With her and her child's life on the line, she'll have to trust Tristan with her secrets if she wants to finally get the fresh start she's been desperately seeking.

Rookie K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners

My Review:

I'm squealing and jumping up an down with my fist raised in armchair sleuth triumph because I figured something out with the over-arcing suspense. Phew -- okay, let me backtrack a bit. Secrets and Lies is book 5 in the Rookie K-9 Unit continuity series. And though each book reads well as a standalone, a common suspense thread links the stories together. So I'm just asserting bragging rights over connecting the dots. :-)

Aside from that shared thread, there's another suspense plot unique to this book. A little bit hair-raising and a whole lot mystifying, Tristan has his hands full keeping Ariel safe while trying to manage his unruly teenage sister. You might say he's bombarded by the complexities of womanhood. A sweet romance blossoms between Tristan and Ariel despite the mounting obstacles in their way. Danger and intrigue persist right through to the exhilarating conclusion. Awesome read and now I'm waiting impatiently for all the lose threads to be tied up in the final book which comes out next month.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Secrets and Lies please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 17 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Progeny

GIVEAWAY

LEE, TOSCA
THE PROGENY

When you wake up, you remember nothing. Not your name, or where you were born, or the faces of the people you knew. Just a single warning written to yourself before you forgot it all.

Emily it's me. You.

Don't ask about the last two years...Don't try to remember and don't go digging. Your life depends on it. Other's lives depend on it.

By the way, Emily isn't your real name. You died in an accident. You paid extra for that.

You start over in a remote place with a new name, a fresh life. Until the day a stranger tells you you're being hunted for the sins of a royal ancestor who died centuries before you were born.

You don't believe him, until they come for you. Now you're on the run.

Every answer you need lies in a past you chose to erase. The only thing you know for sure is that others are about to die and you need those memories back.

But first, you have to stay alive.

My Review:

Mercy, but I think I held my breath for the duration of the read. There's a sense of urgency from the very first page. Enthralling in a different kind of edgy way. I was beguiled and bewildered -- my imagination exploding with the vivid images Lee creates through her descriptive writing. But beware the sucker punch of a cliff hanger ending. Emily is still mired in danger and intrigue as the story comes full circle and there are still so many unanswered questions! I'm not a huge fan of cliffie endings though this one is a doozy and not unexpected since speculative fiction stories usually take the full series to bring everything to conclusion.

For readers who aren't fans of speculative fiction -- this one takes place in present day (no sci-fi or time travel or high fantasy.) Emily and the other Progeny do possess a certain unusual power and the concept of the Progeny is pretty fantastical but that's the only 'speculative' content. Otherwise this book reads like an action thriller.

It is light on inspiration though there is a distinct religious presence and I can see the pieces being laid out for an overall faith thread through the series. At least I hope so.

Intriguing from the get go and well worth the read if you are brave enough to try something different.

Side note: Occasional mild language

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

EBOOK GIVEAWAY ONLY -- unfortunately the paperback for this book isn't out yet. (I read a hardcover edition from the library.)

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  The Progeny please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 24 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July Giveaway - Week Three










As always, I will contact the winners by email, however, thanks to the nefarious ways of the internet, my email might land in your spam folder so keep your eyes peeled! :-) If you haven't heard from me by Monday evening, please email me your snail mail address at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. From time to time winners and I don't seem to connect, so I have a month time frame. If I can't reach you within four weeks your win will be forfeited.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK'S GIVEAWAYS