Thursday, June 4, 2020

At Love's Command - Review

At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen, # 1)

By: Karen Witemeyer

Publication: June 2nd 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger's Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they're the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she's not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger's dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine's respect, and when she hears of her brother's abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.

I've been exploring the historical fiction genre over the last couple of years. I occasionally read one here or there in the past, but as with most things in life, my expectations of the genre were quite different than the reality. Lately, I've been devouring new (to me) authors, new books, and new periods. At Love's Command was one of them.

Josephine is a woman in what's considered at the time as being a man's profession. She's a doctor who has had to earn the respect of the town she is working in. She doesn't stand for any man to talk to her like she doesn't know her own mind or like he knows better than her. Jo gave up on the idea of having a family for herself because not many men would be accepting of her profession. But she's never been drawn to a man who just might make her crave more from life than the calling she loves.

Matthew joined the Calvary after his family was slaughtered by Indians (Native Americans). But after the battle of Wounded Knee where his regiment decimated an entire tribe of Indians--men, women, and children. Matthew and 3 of his fellow officers need to atone for the innocent blood spilled. They attempt to right wrongs using non-lethal force. Matthew recognizes a kindred spirit in Dr. Jo. He does everything in his power to block the effect she has on him, but when she hires his crew to rescue her brother from a band of outlaws trying to use him for ransom against her father, Matthew is thrown into a relationship with Josie that he can no longer ignore.

All in Matt and Josie progress quickly as far as the amount of time they spend together for their relationship to reach the level it does so quickly. Granted a good bit of that time is heightened by high stakes and pressure situations. But there can't be more than a month spanning the entire book. Probably less. This type of thing doesn't usually bother me, and it didn't in this case either. But I do know that many readers take issue with fast relationships like this.

One of the biggest compliments that I can give Karen Witemeyer and At Love's Command is that I'm already excited about reading books focused on each of the other Horsemen. I feel like I know each one of them just enough to feel connected and intrigued. I want to know more. And I already like them all. I would read a sequel in this series immediately if I had it available. Plus I'm anxious to find out which Horsemen book 2 will follow and technically no book 2 has even been announced yet.

I connected to Matt and Jo on a personal level because she struggles with trying to control her life and he struggles with knowing that even with God in control, sometimes bad things still happen to us and those we love. My favorite quotes centered around these areas, but here are my favorite quotes from the entire book:

-Yes, God was capable of protecting Josie, but there was no guarantee that he actually would. And it was that uncertainty that drove Matt step after grueling step. He supposed a more faithful man would take comfort in knowing that God’s will would prevail, and whatever happened would be for the best. But Matt believed there was an evil force with a will of its own at work in the world too. A force that inflicted pain for its own sadistic delight. A force that would steal a five-year-old boy’s parents and sister from him and make him bear witness to the atrocities. He didn’t believe their murder was God’s will. A God who spoke commandments against murder wouldn’t condone such an act. Yet this same God had done nothing to stop it.

-Forfeiting control to an almighty God should be easier than giving in to a gang of outlaws, yet he still struggled. He wanted to trust, but he’d lost loved ones before, and the little boy inside the man was terrified that history would repeat itself.

-I’m afraid, Lord. Afraid to completely surrender. Afraid that if I have no control over the outcome, it won’t end the way I desire. Afraid you’ll take Matthew from me. Lean not unto thine own understanding. Josephine’s heart pricked. That was it, wasn’t it? She trusted her own understanding more than she trusted God’s unfathomable wisdom.

-How quick she was to grab for the reins the instant the path the Lord led her down took a turn she didn’t favor. Where was her trust? Her surrender?

-Control was nothing more than an illusion, a lie to trap the competent in their own capability. One that created such a dependence on self that it clogged the conduit of wisdom and power flowing from the Omnipotent until only a trickle of living water found its way through.

-Help me, Lord. Clear out the debris of pride and fear clogging my soul and let your river of living water flow through me unhindered. Help me trust that you are at work. That you will fight for Matthew, for justice. And should the worst happen, that you will fight for me too. That I might believe in your goodness even in the pit of despair.

At Love's Command had a lot going for it. Even though there was a mystery to solve or outlaws to overcome, the relationship between Josie and Matt felt like it was at the heart of the story and moved the events along rather than the story or other characters driving the bus. The side characters pop off the page just as much as the leads, and I can't wait to dive into each one's story. At Love's Command easily gets 4 Stars. Have you read At Love's Command? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Can't Wait for The Gentleman Spy

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.

The Gentleman Spy (Serendipity & Secrets, # 2)

By: Erica Vetsch

Expected Publication: July 28th 2020 by Kregel Publications

320 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--He only wanted a duchess for a day―but she's determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she's meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life―as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She's determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society―the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she'd remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, June 1, 2020

May 2020 EOM Wrap Up

I have read 7 books (not including children's books). *These qualify for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
A Single Spark by Judith McCoy Miller
A Gilded Lady (Hope & Glory, # 2) by Elizabeth Camden
The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha
Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker
A Proper Charade (A Proper Scandal, # 2) by Esther Hatch
All the Things We Never Knew by Liara Tamani
*Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, # 2) by Mary E Pearson

I have reviewed 7 books. *These qualify for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
The Betrothed (The Betrothed, # 1) by Kiera Cass
The Trouble with Hating You by Sanji Patel
More than Maybe by Erin Hahn
Beach Read by Emily Henry
The Lost Lieutenant (Serendipity & Secrets, # 1) by Erica Vetsch
His Lady in Hiding by Jen Geigle Johnson

Other Posts:
Sunday Post - 05/03/20
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 05/10/20
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 05/17/20
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 05/24/20
The Last Ten Books I DNF'd
Can't Wait for A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers, # 3) by Roseanna M White
Can't Wait for The Ballad of Sonbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, # 0) by Suzanne Collins
Can't Wait for Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick
Can't Wait for The Player Next Door by KA Tucker
2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge - May Wrap Up

I am 28 days ahead on of schedule my Bible-in-a-year plan.
I've read 41 out of 52 books (including children's books).
I've read 5 out of 5-10 series enders.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday Post - 05/31/20

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

No new books this week. Monday was a whirlwind. I launched my 2020 Summer Sticker Collection for my Etsy store, Lael Mattox. I had a grocery pick up run because I'd forgotten a ton of things from my Saturday pick up. And I feel like something else kind of major happened, but I'm having trouble remembering everything. Wednesday, Husband came home from work early. The kids did a video chat with their cousin for almost an hour. It was chaos, but I'm so thankful we have the technology to be able to do this. Wednesday night my parents came to dinner. Thursday my mom came to hang out with us for the day. Oh and we've been doing 3 days a week of Bible craft time and the kids are loving it. It takes some prep work on my part to find us a craft or two to do and prepare it to go along with a story, but they're loving it. We got the pool uncovered last weekend, so this week has been about trying to get the chemicals and salt level at the right place so that we can go swimming ASAP. I'm in a phase where I'm trying to work on myself and my family...being intentional and all of that. And I think that's good, but it can be quite overwhelming and exhausting. I'm personally working on my quick temper and patience level. This has been a life-long struggle of mine. I feel like there is just so much going on in our personal life right now, but I'm sure everyone feels similar with this weird year we're all having.


Monday: 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge - May Wrap Up
Wednesday: Can't Wait for The Player Next Door by KA Tucker
Thursday: Review of His Lady in Hiding by Jen Geigle Johnson (3.5 Stars)


Monday: May 2020 EOM Wrap Up
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Review of At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen, # 1) by Kate Witemeyer

Don’t forget to link up for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2020 to sing up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

His Lady in Hiding - Review

His Lady in Hiding

By: Jen Geigle Johnson

Expected Publication: April 1st 2020 by Covenant Communications

272 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Lady Elizabeth Davenport is desperate. Her hand in marriage has been offered to the highest bidder, a distressing proposition in and of itself but made all the more repulsive when she meets her father’s first choice for her hand: Lord Pinweather. When her parents refuse to hear her pleas, Liz is forced to take drastic measures—she will impersonate her maid and begin anew in America on her own terms.

Once on board the ship to America, another passenger, Lord Barton, almost immediately discovers her true status as a noble. After listening to Liz’s highly modified version of her life and her plans to begin again, Barton has compassion on her and teaches her how to abandon her noble mannerisms. Upon disembarking, however, Barton’s generous spirit quickly dampens when he discovers Liz has indeed found work—as his own head housekeeper. Suddenly, the tender feelings they hid from each other on the ship are inescapable, but their difference in station makes romance impossible. As misunderstandings abound and a shocking character from Liz’s past looms, she knows she can’t hide her true identity forever. But as her deception begins to unravel, will her charade cost her the man she loves?

His Lady in Hiding had a lot of similar themes and pieces as some other books that I have read and enjoyed over the last year. A Reluctant Bride and The Work of Art are two such books that come to mind. Escaping terrible situations or cruel potential fiances. Traveling to America in hopes of new opportunities and a new life. Add in forbidden romance and you've got the making of an interesting story.

Liz flees her home after her father basically sells her hand in marriage to the highest bidder. Initially, Liz is mostly put off physically by her intended, but she comes to learn that he can be quite cruel as well. She quickly makes the decision to assume a new identity, take a job as a housekeeper in America, and board a ship the following day. Traveling alone as a woman isn't entirely safe and Liz takes to sleeping in one of the rowboats stored on the deck of the ship to avoid the horrors of steerage as well as a fellow passenger who is attempting to get handsy. After a meeting with Lord Barton on the ship, the two begin to form a friendship. Lord Barton can tell that she is gentry and not the serving class almost immediately and he decides to try to help her with learning her new role as a housekeeper. In the process, the two become friends.

Lord Barton is the second son of a Marquess. As such he doesn't have the duty or responsibility his older brother has, but he hopes to make an impact for the family by creating a shipping business. He needs to make connections with the local Philadelphia community to make his business successful. And having a relationship with his housekeeper isn't the best way to go about doing that. Usually I connect to the male lead easier than the female lead, but ol' Barton needed to be popped in the head a few times.

His Lady in Hiding had several twists and turns in the plot. I know there was one part where I felt the characters were getting their "happy" too quickly. And I was right. Many more obstacles were in the way and it wasn't until the very end of the story that each piece was finally overcome.

His Lady in Hiding was a fun, light read with a lot to recommend about it. The twists and turns weren't completely without issues, but overall, I did like the characters and their story. I read it quickly which is always a good thing. His Lady in Hiding gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read His Lady in Hiding? What did you think? Let me know!