Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ten of My Most Recent Not-So-5-Star Reads

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is actually all about the ten websites that I love that aren’t about books, but there’s one little problem. I don’t actually visit that many websites. I love Google, but other than that, I don’t really have any other ideas for this post. So, I decided to pick another topic. I feel like I do that way too often, but I’d much rather do that than not post at all, so I’m going to do it again this week, and I’ve decided to do something a little different. A while back, we had a post all about ten of our most recent 5 star reads, but this week I decided to post about ten books I’ve read recently that I didn’t give 5 stars. (Oh, and if you want to see any of my reviews to see why I didn’t give a book 5 stars, just click on the coral-colored titles!)

Love’s Rescue by Christine Johnson
Love’s Rescue is the first book in Christine’s Keys of Promise series.

Can a girl enamored with the adventurous seas ever be content with the tame life of a Southern belle?
When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern bell her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O’Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the man he appears to be.
As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to perform her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

The Photograph by Beverly Lewis
The Photograph is one of Beverly’s most recent stand-alone novels.

He studied the picture more closely, finding it curious that the young woman looked so boldly into the camera while wearing a white prayer Kapp shaped like a heart—the characteristic head covering for the Lancaster County Old Order Amish.
Why would a devout girl have her picture taken?
When her sister Lily disappears only months after their widowed mother’s passing, Eva Esch fears she has been wooed away from the People. Yet Lily’s disappearance isn’t Eva’s only concern: she and her sisters must relocate once their older brother takes over the family farmhouse. Then Jed Stutzman, an Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Eden Valley with a photo of a Plain young woman, Eva feels powerfully drawn to the charming stranger—but the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all…

A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid
A Dream of Miracles is the third book in Ruth’s Amish Wonders series, coming after A Miracle of Hope and A Woodland Miracle.

Amish widow Mattie vows neve to love again…until a suspicious outsider with a shadowy past comes crashing into her fragile world.
Mattie Diener can barely keep it together. A young Amish widow and mother of two young children, she faces the lingering heartbreak of lost love, her son’s mysterious illness, and a torrent of accusations that threaten to undo her.
Bo Lambright is a fast-rising social services investigator whose high-society mother won’t rest until she finds his Mrs. Right. Despite Bo’s worldly success, the raw ache of a shadowy past and a series of unsettling dreams have left him reeling.
When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible—not only of healing but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo’s dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future…or will she simply run away?

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan
The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder is the first book in Rachel’s Herringford and Watts Mysteries series.

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.
Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.
While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne
Back in the Saddle is the first book in Ruth’s Double S Ranch series.

The prodigal is coming home.
It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest—a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.
Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor. And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or find the courage to stay in the saddle for good?

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt
Crazy Little Thing Called Love is the first book in Beth’s Destination Wedding series.

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But with the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?
As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?
A fast moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.
Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton
Kissed by a Cowboy is the third book in Debra’s Four of Hearts Ranch Romance series, coming after Betting on Hope and Counting on a Cowboy.

Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong…not for a cowboy to steal her heart.
Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy…and single.
Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster…and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.
Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

A Son’s Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray
A Son’s Vow is the first book in Shelley’s The Charmed Amish Life series.

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill that killed five Amish men. Though her father lost his life, too, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.
Suddenly, Lukas Kinsinger, the head of his father’s lumber mill who is responsible for taking care of his three siblings, feels more overwhelmed than ever. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between him and Darla, who was his close friend before the accident changed everything. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs—and that someone is him.
As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, the discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Made with Love by Tricia Goyer
Made with Love is the first book in Tricia’s Pinecraft Pie Shop series.

A dash of love, a pinch of hope, and a whole lot of good cooking.
Lovina Miller should be thrilled. Pinecraft, Florida, has everything a young Amish woman could ask for: sun, sand, volleyball games, and evening singings in the park. But Pinecraft lacks the one thing Lovina desperately wants—a pie shop of her own. She longs for a place to gather with the community and serve the treat she loves.
A young carpenter named Noah Yoder strolls into her life and offers a way to make her dream come true. But before Noah and Lovina can build a shop—and a life—together, they must each face heartaches from the past. Is their new love stronger than their regrets?

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot
At Bluebonnet Lake is the first book in Amanda’s Texas Crossroads series.

Her life is set to warp speed. His is slowing to a crawl. But love has its own timing.
Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago. There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort’s unassuming handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye—billions more, in fact.
Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

So, those are ten books I read recently that I didn’t give 5 stars. What about you? What are some books you’ve read that have fallen a little flat?
Happy Tuesday and happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

All credit for the italicized synopses goes to each author and their respective publishers.


  1. i'm so glad that you did like Bachelor Girl's even though it wasn't a 5 star for you :) My TTT

  2. Mackenzie, I think it's fine to do other topics. I like the idea of a weekly Top Ten, but sometimes just don't have time (behind in reading commitments, that is). Other times, they just don't click with me. So rather than not posting, I'll start coming up with my own ideas occasionally. Thanks for sharing. Here's my Top Ten from today: http://booksmusicandlife.blogspot.com/2016/05/top-ten-tuesday-non-bookish-websites.html