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A Name Unknown

Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?
Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

A name unknown

“Just now, Rosemary Gresham, librarian, was going to enjoy the life she’d borrowed.” Why not start off this review with my favorite quote. First thing I thought after reading this quote in the story was that this should have been on the back of the book. Anyway back to what I thought about the book. Roseanna M. White’s books are more seriously written. Not that they are boring, but because they are filled will detail and not as much humor than other authors had into their story. White’s writing style is slower that most authors I have read, so I always take longer to read them. This book is a good, clean story, with a intriguing plot.

Rosemary, the main character’s back story was interesting and intriguing. I enjoyed reading her story. White did a very good job with this novel.

So, do I recommend this book? Yes, I do.

 

Title: A Name Unknown

Author: Roseanna M. White

Author’s Website: http://www.roseannamwhite.com/

I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Reading Resolution 2: Read a book where the main character has the same eye color as you.

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

The Captain’s Daughter

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

the captain's daughter

Where to start? To be honest, writing book reviews is very hard to do when you are not a fan of the book. Authors put so much time and effort into their books it is hard to write a negative review.

So, if you have not guessed, I am not a huge fan of this book. First and foremost, I could not get into it. While I was reading it, I never wanted to read more. Even when I got to the end of the book I was still not interested. The main characters did not pull me into their story.

I don’t want to tell to not read this book, if you have read other books by this author. I just was not super impressed with this book in particular. I hope that her other books will be better.

 

Title: Captain’s Daughter

Author: Jennifer Delamere

Author’s Website: http://www.jenniferdelamere.com/

Reading Resolution 7: Read a book with a red cover.

 

I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group for this review.

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes

From USA Today and internationally bestselling author Leonard Goldberg comes The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, a new thrilling tale of the great detective’s daughter and her companion Dr. John Watson, Jr. as they investigate a murder at the highest levels of British society. 1914. Joanna Blalock’s keen mind and incredible insight lead her to become a highly-skilled nurse, one of the few professions that allow her to use her finely-tuned brain. But when she and her ten-year-old son witness a man fall to his death, apparently by suicide, they are visited by the elderly Dr. John Watson and his charming, handsome son, Dr. John Watson Jr. Impressed by her forensic skills, they invite her to become the third member of their investigative team. Caught up in a Holmesian mystery that spans from hidden treasure to the Second Afghan War of 1878-1880, Joanna and her companions must devise an ingenious plan to catch a murderer in the act while dodging familiar culprits, Scotland Yard, and members of the British aristocracy. Unbeknownst to her, Joanna harbors a mystery of her own. The product of a one-time assignation between the now dead Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, the only woman to ever outwit the famous detective, Joanna has unwittingly inherited her parents’ deductive genius.

The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes

So, I usually don’t read books in the mystery genre but this book caught my eye. I read this book within a few days because I was intrigued with the plot and wanted to know the ending of the book. To be honest, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes (TV shows or the books) then you might find this story predictable. I have read a few Sherlock Holmes stories so I had an idea where the story was leading, and I was correct. Dr. Watson was one of the only character from the original stories who played a part in this book and was alive. His son, Dr. John Watson Jr., who was created by Leonard Goldberg, was the main character for this book.

Goldberg did an excellent job of putting the brain of Sherlock Holmes into a woman. Joanna was just like Sherlock Holmes, down to “My dear Watson.” Her heritage was very simple to figure out and if you have read any of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, you would know that there is only one woman who ever out-smarted Holmes, and she is known in the stories as “the woman.” So I knew exactly who Goldberg would have as Joanna’s biological mother.

Even thought the plot was predictable, I enjoyed reading the book. This was a fun but very different version of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries that had me reading till the very end. So, if you are in need of a mystery, look no more. The Game is Afoot.

 

Title: The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes

Author: Leonard Goldberg

Author’s Website: http://www.leonardgoldberg.com/

Read Resolution 11: Read a mystery

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

Jane of Austin

Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.
 But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.
While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas. 
In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn’t so far away.

Jane of Austin

Are you looking for a good book to sit down and read with a cup of tea or a tall glass of iced tea? Well stop right here, this is the book for you. This is an enjoyable retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, that will have you reading cover to cover.

This book had me intrigued the very moment I saw the front cover and continued intriguing me tell the last page of the book. This is my first time reading anything Hillary Manton Lodge has written and I am pleased to say my first impression of her writing is good. I liked that Lodge switched point of views every few chapters. It kept me up to date with the two main characters. One of the big reasons I liked this book so much is because the sisters were so “human” like. For example, the was a scene in the book were the sisters are picking what music to listen to for their car ride to Austin, Texas. Those were the scenes in the book that made me see myself and my sisters in the story. I usually find contemporary fiction cheesy, but this book was fun and I recommend this book as a great, clean, contemporary book.

I am not sure if her other books have this but every few chapters there were recipes at the end of them. Each recipes that were in the book were mentioned in the book. I thought that was fun.

This is a good read for any Jane Austen fan, like myself. To Hillary Manton Lodge, I would have to say bravo for a well written story. Jane Austen, if she was living in this time period, would like this book very much.

I highly recommend this book!

 

Title: Jane of Austin

Author: Hillary Manton Lodge

Author’s Website: http://www.hillarymantonlodge.com/

Reading Resolution 29: Read a book that has a title that makes you go, “Hmm”.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

With You Always and Q&A with Jody Hedlund

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund.
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She’s had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children’s Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn’t want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance. The son of one of New York City’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother’s shadow and is determined to win his father’s challenge. He doesn’t plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

With You Always

With You Always is the first installment of Jody Hedlund’s Orphan Train series and to be truthful is a great beginning. I had the privilege of being apart of Jody Hedlund’s influencer team for this book. For me personally, being an influencer for any author is hard because I never want to hurt the author’s feelings by not liking their books. Jody Hedlund does not have to worry though. I really liked this book. Everything about the book, the time period, the characters , and the plot was intriguing till the end. When I was reading this book, I could imagine each scene. Elise and Thornton are great main characters. I started this book thinking “Oh, I will be able to put this down, when I need to do other things,” but that was not the case. Every time I was interrupted, I was like, “No, I need to keep reading. Go away.” So last night, I was up really late reading and I finished the book. Hedlund did an excellent job with this book. A good book, to me, is a book that I cannot put down, and I could not put this book down.

I would recommend this book and cannot wait for the next two in this series. To readers who like historical fiction, this books is worth taking the time to read.

 

Title: With You Always

Author: Jody Hedlund

Author’s Website: http://jodyhedlund.com/

Reading Resolution 1. Read a book where the author is from your home state.

I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group for this review.

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

 

Keep reading to read a few great questions that Jody Hedlund answered about her new book. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did!

Q: What is the inspiration behind your new Orphan Train series?

A: I have long been fascinated by the era of the Orphan Trains and the heart-wrenching stories of the homeless and helpless young orphans that were taken from the streets of New York City and other eastern cities and shipped West by the dozens. I was familiar with stories of those scared orphans who were placed out in what was thought to be a more wholesome, healthy environment of the newly settled Mid-Western states. Some of the orphans found happy endings and were adopted into loving families. Others experienced great abuse and heartache in their new homes. While stories of the orphans who rode the trains have been told—and rightly so—the stories of the women who were involved in the movement are not as well known. One of the things I particularly like to do when telling my stories, is focus on women who have been overlooked by the pages of history. I consider it a great privilege to be able to bring forgotten women to life for our modern generation. Thus, throughout this series, I’ll be focusing each book on a different aspect of the Orphan Train movement, particularly from the perspective of women who experienced riding the trains in one form or another.

 Q: What are you working on next?

 A: The second book in the orphan train series releases next summer in 2018. The story continues with Marianne Neumann. She gets involved in the orphan train movement as one of the placing agents and accompanies the orphans as they ride the trains west. I hope readers will enjoy Marianne’s story and also appreciate learning more about the orphan train movement from the eyes of the compassionate workers who tried to place the orphans into new homes.

Q: What special research did you do in writing With You Always?

 A: In the beginning phases of writing this series, I did a great deal of reading about the orphan train movement. In particular, I really loved Stephen O’Conor’s book, Orphan Trains, because he includes so many personal stories and details about real orphans, which are heart wrenching. I also read, A History of New York City to 1898, by Burrows and Wallace, which gave me great insights into the lives of immigrants, particularly immigrant women. Masses of foreigners were arriving into New York City on a daily basis, and the book gave a detailed look into their pathetic housing situation, the difficult working conditions, as well as gang problems and the underworld. Finally, another important aspect of the story that required a concentrated amount of research was the development of railroads. The mid-1800’s was an incredible period of growth for the railroad industry in the Mid-West. The new railroads aided the orphan train movement but also brought about the settlement of the Midwestern states, including Illinois, which is one of the settings of the book.

Q: An e-novella, An Awakened Heart, kicks off the series. What is the novella about, and is it a must-read in order to understand the series?

 A: An Awakened Heart is not a must-read in order to understand the series. But I do highly recommend reading it. (Plus it’s FREE, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try!) The e-novella introduces a couple, Guy and Christine, who are both passionate about helping the poor immigrants crowded into the overflowing and dirty tenements of New York City. The novella shows their efforts to bring about change in the city, but also brings them together in a satisfying love story. The novella also introduces the three orphan sisters who will each become main characters for the three full-length novels in the series. It gives some of the background information on their situation, particularly how they become orphans, which I think readers will find helpful as well as informative.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from With You Always?

A: One of my hopes in telling this story is to leave readers with the reminder that God is walking with us in whatever dark valley we’re going through. Often, like Elise, we tend to pull away from God and let the bitterness of our circumstances drive us into a cave of isolation and self-blame and heartache. But God wants us to realize that even if we pull away from Him, He’s still there walking by our side, waiting for us to reach out our hand and grab a hold of Him. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He’s there waiting.

True to You

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford 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 John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry. John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match.  But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

True to You

So, the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is something I do not follow. As soon has this book cover and the back of the book was released, I put this on my to read list. This is my first Becky Wade book that I have tried and I liked it. The main female lead Nora was very well written. Wade made her so realistic—to me at least. When I was reading this book, I kept thinking “I am just like her, except I do not have a handsome Navy SEAL.” I loved this quote: “She was bookish! She had no experience with holding eye contact with Navy SEALs. All the practice she put in with Mr. Darcy and Rochester and Adolphus didn’t seem to be holding her in good stead.” There were many other quotes in the book that were just as humorous. Within the first few chapters, Wade has her main female lead mention Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Richard Armitage has Mr. Thornton. That is when I knew the book was good.

The huge downfall is that there is not another book in this series published yet. I will be reading the next book as soon as it is released.

This book has its good parts, its sad parts, its romantic parts and its ups and downs but it had me reading way into the night. I would highly recommend this book to mature readers since it deals with sensitive issues that happens to each of their mothers. Since this is my first Becky Wade book, I am very pleased with my first impression of her books and am looking forward to seeing what comes out next!

 

Title: True to You

Author: Becky Wade

Author’s Website: http://beckywade.com/home/

I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group and Netgalley for this review.

Reading Resolution 55: Read a book that has a cover with your favorite color.

Reason Why: The girl on the cover is in a blue dress and to be honest dresses are my weakness.  So, I am using this book for this resolution because blue is one of my favorite colors (I have many favorite colors) and the girl is in a blue dress.

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.

 

To Dance

Dancers are young when they first dream of dance. Siena was six — and her dreams kept skipping and leaping, circling and spinning, from airy runs along a beach near her home in Puerto Rico, to dance class in Boston, to her debut performance on stage with the New York City Ballet.

Twirl along with Siena as she shares her story in words with pictures by acclaimed illustrator Mark Siegel.

To Dance A Ballerina's Graphic Novel

This was a fun graphic novel about a young dancer. The illustrator, Mark Siegel, did an excellent job with the pictures. It showed the life of a young girl whose dream was to be a ballerina. Also, this a true story. I do not want to give anything away, but this is a slightly sad story as well.

I would recommend this graphic novel to any young dreamer whose dream is to dance. However, reading this book once was enough for me. I think this book should have a permanent place in any dance studio for young boys and girls to read this inspiring story. (I do believe that girls would enjoy it slightly more than boys since it is written in a girl’s perspective!)

Title: To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel

Author: Siena Cherson Siegel

Illustrator: Mark Siegel

Reading Resolution 5: Read a graphic novel

This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.