Camellia: Song of the River {Book Review}

I certainly had a hard time putting Camellia down until I had turned the last page. Another novel set during the Civil War {seems to be a theme for me at the moment, LOL}, a neat turn to this one was ‘seeing’ Vicksburg in my mind while reading the latter part of the novel which was set there. We had a family reunion there by the river, and spent a day at the Civil War locations. The National Graveyard there is a sight to behold. Definitely a trip I recommend as highly as this book!

Camellia {the character} starts out a little a lot on the self preoccupied side, which is as irritating in a novel as it is real life. But it is interesting to read her transformation as her eyes and heart open to what was the big issue with slavery… the belief that the slaves were not to be considered as human beings. After watching the movie, The Help, also based around that premise, it is heartbreaking to think of the years people lived in miserable conditions because others had power over them. I treat my pets better than most treated their servants/slaves. The title you give them is based on whether it was before or after the slaves were freed… but was there a big difference in the way they were treated until MLK?  I believe consideration of others is a very important aspect of how we interact with others, and hope that my children learn from my actions that it doesn’t matter whether someone is rich, poor, or of a different skin tone… you treat them like you want to be treated yourself.

Back to the book…

Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver take you through all that ‘mess’, and manage to weave a beautiful love story in there as well. Camellia grows into a woman as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, and her leading man is dashing and heroic as a Civil War novel demands of him.  Her family is hilarious, and I can’t wait to read the story of her older sister, and am hoping they continue this series with the other family members too.

From the Publisher:

Natchez belle turned riverboat maiden Camellia Anderson misses her old life of privilege. She misses the balls and she misses the suitors. . .then a chance to attend finishing school in New Orleans catapults her into an exciting world—and a whirlwind courtship with a dashing Confederate soldier. It’s beautiful, uncomplicated romance until a trip to Memphis brings old friend—and Northern spy—Jonah Thornton back into Camellia’s life. Now she’s torn between two loves, but will she risk everything to save a Union soldier?

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley to review. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.


Whispers of a New Dawn; by Murray Pura {Book Review}

My one thought when reading the first part of Whispers of a New Dawn was… When are they going to get to D-day? It sits looming over the story line. There is heartbreak, and the remembrance that all things are known by God. Which is a hard concept for us to grasp. How and why bad things happen to us.

I really liked the characters. Which is surprising for me… since I rarely approve of the ‘second’ man if something happens to the first love interest of a book. But, I have to admit I loved both the guys, and the leading lady was a great character too!

Another ‘almost never’ for me was that it is the third in a series {didn’t read the first two}, and I still found it easy to follow along with and enjoy.

And the third ‘almost never’; it’s by a guy, and I still liked it! So this book broke a lot of sterotypes for me. Which I love, by the way. I am not sure I am going to go out and get the other two books in this series right away {got a little back-log of review books to get through right now}, but I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for them.

About the Author: Murray Pura

Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and his ThM degree in theology and interdisciplinary studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more than 25 years, in addition to his writing, he has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Alberta. Murray’s writings have been shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award, the John Spencer Hill Literary Award, the Paraclete Fiction Award, and Toronto’s Kobzar Literary Award. His novels for Harvest House include Face of HeavenThe Wings of Morning, and Ashton Park. Murray pastors and writes in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife, Linda, have a son and a daughter.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley to review. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.

The Tutor’s Daughter; by Julie Klassen {Book Review}

Okay… I have found my new favorite author!!!! This was my second chance to enter a world created by Julie Klassen {The Girl in the Gatehouse being the first}. I was enthralled. The best way for me to describe her novels is they read like a regency romance without the worry of the story turning to risque.

One of Julie Klassen’s favorite authors to look up to is Jane Austen, and it is heavily reflected in her books. It leads to a refreshing look at some of my favorite novels by Ms. Austen. Kinda like all the reworked fairy tales popular today.

In the Tutor’s Daughter you are tossed right into the middle of Emma Smallwood’s small world. Keeping her father on track, running a boys boarding school, after the death of her mother takes most of her time and focus. With her love of books taking up the rest. She is not concerned with having an active faith, and no longer feels that praying will give her any answers. Mr. Weston brings her mind and heart back to where her heart should be.

It was very nice to read a novel with the man being of strong faith. So many novels seem to assume that the guy would be the one to have fallen away, or not yet experienced, a saving faith.  Throw in the suspenseful twist and turns in plot, dramatic scenery and wonderfully developed characters you have a wonderful addition to your library in this novel.

I highly recommend Julie Klassen’s novels, and this one in particular!

From the Publisher:

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?   The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her….

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?
Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor’s Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast–a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions–where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.


DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from to review for the publisher. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.

To Honor and Trust; by Judith Miller and Tracie Peterson

To Honor and Trust is set on Bridal Veil Island resort during 1913, this novel shows the blurring of social class lines and how those that were not happy living as ‘society’ expected fared. Whether it was following in your father’s footsteps… or living your live of nothing after having plenty… there is a character in this book that will tug at your dreams and remembrances.

For Callie, her place in the world is as a family tutor for a wealthy family that knew her when she had plenty and traveled in their circle.

For Wes, he is trying to avoid committing to join his families company and being stuck in a factory for the rest of his days.

How will God bring these two together, and what is His purpose for their lives? That is the question that makes this novel a great read! I love you Judy and Tracie bring out the faith aspect of their characters’ lives. Showing how God does apply to everyday life and works towards His ends. This book came across like it was someones personal testimony… with a little intrigue with the thefts thrown in for good measure. I will certainly be rereading this one, and adding to my gift list when picking books for presents {yup, it was that good!}.

From the Publisher:

Come home to magnificent Bridal Veil Island resort!

Bridal Veil Island, Georgia

Callie Deboyer arrives at Bridal Veil Island to spend the winter working as a governess for the Bridgeport family. However, she finds she can’t fully enjoy the beautiful resort because questions about her future weigh heavily on her mind: Should she continue in this job she enjoys, or is God calling her to join her parents in their missionary work?

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets instructor Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time together, Callie comes to care for Wes–until she discovers that he’s been hiding something very important from her.

Then expensive pieces go missing from various homes around the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie’s direction. Callie wonders if this is a sign she should leave it all behind and join her parents in Africa. Considering Wesley’s deceit, will he ever be a man Callie can honor and trust for the rest of her life?

DISCLOSURE: I received an eCopy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the publisher to review. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.

The Icecutter’s Daughter, by Tracie Peterson {Book Review}

I am very excited to present this new book by Tracie Peterson to you… almost as excited as I was to have the chance to read it! And as with her other books, this one lived up to my anticipation and I couldn’t but it down.  To be released on March 1st, 2013 by Bethany House Publishers add a note to your calender.

The Icecutter’s Daughter, is set during winter in Minnesota {a place you will never find me in the middle of winter, brrrrr} at the end of the 1890s. Merrill Krause is part of a large Swedish family of Icecutters that make their living from the ice. Hence the job title… Icecutter. That just gives me the shivers, LOL! It was fun reading about her brothers, and how the horses were such a big part of their lives. It was also interesting the differences in Merrill’s life out of town and her cousin(?) Corabeth who lives in ‘town’ with their Granny. The difference between the hard work of carving a living out of the wilderness, and having time to care about your looks and socialize {as much as you could in a tiny town}.

Rurik Jorgenson arrives, from Lindsborg Kansas, to help his Uncle Carl with his furniture business. While being betrothed by his father, Rurik struggles with figuring out what God wants him to do in life. Definitely something I can relate to, and I am sure you can to. With both Merrill and Rurik trying to figure out the next steps in their own lives… Rurik’s Kansas life follows him to Minnesota leading several twists and turns to this story.

A real page turner, with a strong ending, I highly recommend you add this to your bookshelf!  As soon as it is released.  Again… mark your calender for March 1st!

From the Publisher:

Merrill Krause longs for a family of her own, but she’s bound by a promise to her dying mother to care for her father and older brothers until they no longer need her. She enjoys being part of the family business, harvesting ice during the brutal Minnesota winters. Merrill actively takes part, possessing a keen ability to work with the horses–despite the advice of her good friend, who disapproves of her unladylike behavior.

About the Author:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than eighty-five novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Visit Tracie’s web site at:

DISCLOSURE: I recived a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers {via} to review. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.


Taming the Wind, by Tracie Peterson {Book Review}

Taming the Wind, by Tracie Peterson; Book 3 of Land of the Lone Star series.

I think know this was my favorite of the three books in this series. I do feel that you need to have read the 2nd book, Touching the Sky, to be really familiar with the lead characters in this book. Since it was more of a continuation of Touching the Sky, I love getting to see what happened to Brandon and Laura after their ‘story’ ended. Seeing Carissa’s personnel growth and seeing Hannah and William {Chasing the Sun} again was also a bonus.

I sometimes have a hard time getting into series since I have a tendency to forget the relationships between the characters from the previous installment. Not an issue with Tracie’s books! Everything seemed like a natural progression with real life thrown in there as well. Seeing another aspect of life after the conclusion of the Civil War, life out in the middle of nowhere, was eye opening.

My favorite character was little Gloria. Out of the mouth of babes, was a common phrase that ran through my head while reading about her. Having two little girls with more energy than I can ever keep up with… I can totally relate to Carissa about Gloria.

If you like Historical Western Romances you should definitely add all three books from this series to your collection!

From the Publisher –

Peterson Continues a Bestselling Tradition!

When Cassie Lowe goes to live with her sister in the years following the Civil War, she is reacquainted with a man who once saved her life, Tyler Atherton. But Cassie is no longer the lighthearted young woman he once knew. She is now a widow with a young daughter, and she is nursing the disappointments and hurts from a difficult marriage. Though she longs to open her heart again, she is bound by fear and mistrust.

Tyler has demons of his own. Still haunted by the knowledge that his father was murdered by Comanches, he puts all his focus on reclaiming his inheritance: the ranch stolen from his family as punishment for his fighting for the Confederacy. With his affection for Cassie growing, he longs to provide a home and future for her and her daughter.

Though yearning to pledge their love, both Cassie and Tyler struggle to conquer their fears. Will Indian attacks, post-war renegades, and the hardship of life on the Texas plains destroy their future? Or will they find the strength to surrender their wills to God…and embrace his perfect plan?

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.


Chasing the Sun, by Tracie Peterson {Book Review}

Chasing the Sun, by Tracie Peterson; Book 1 of Land of the Lone Star Series

Put two of my favorite things together, Tracie Peterson and Texas, and you have my new favorite series!

After just the first few chapters, I could see this book running through my head like a John Wayne western…. just I am not sure which character John Wayne would be! It was fabulous!

I always find reading about the old west interesting. Especially in how women were treated. To think that men really did think that we are weak and feeble minded because of our gender is just so appalling that it is hard to believe it was ever true.

Seeing what Hannah and William overcame to figure out or grow… whichever you prefer… their feelings for each other was great. I felt like they were banging their heads against invisible brick walls at times. Just like in real life and relationships. I love how even in a setting so different than what we experience everyday, Tracie Peterson’s characters always grow on me. I find myself rooting for them, but love the twists that sometimes happen.

Want to know what happened after the last page in Chasing the Sun? Find the answer in Taming the Wind!

From the Publisher:

Tracie Peterson Embarks on a New Texas Series

When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but for the ranch her father recently acquired on the Texas plains. Though a marriage of convenience could ease her predicament, she determines to trust God for direction.

Wounded soldier William Barnett returns to his home only to discover that his family’s ranch has been seized. Though angry and bitter at this turn of events, he’s surprised to discover that it is a beautiful young woman with amazing fortitude who is struggling to keep the place running.

Hannah, desperate for help, and William, desperate to regain his family’s land, form an uneasy truce. But nearby Comanche tribes, the arrival of Confederate soldiers, and a persistent suitor all threaten the growing attraction that builds between them. Will they be able to set aside their own dreams and embrace the promise of a future together?

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.

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~ About Me ~

I'm Kimberlee, the owner/creater of 'The Spunky Diva'. Here is a little about me... In addition to my love of blogging I adore all crafts, sewing, quilting, improving my non-existent cooking skills, and playing with my two girls. We have a 'collection' of animals around the place to keep us busy; two 'huge' dogs, a cat, kittens, several horses, and assorted wildlife. We live east of Austin, Texas, in the middle of farm country. Here at 'The Spunky Diva' blog I get to share daily life moments, fun crafts, sewing and quilting progress/finishes, and brag about my 'Babies'. Thank you for visiting and sharing some of your day with me!


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