More Than Words Can Say (Patchwork Family #2) – Review

wordscover

by Karen Witemeyer

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 4, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764232193
ISBN-13: 978-0764232190

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After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free. No family entanglements. No disappointing those around him. Just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away when the baker of his favorite breakfast bun is railroaded by the city council. Despite not wanting to get involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. That person definitely isn’t the stoic lumberman who oozes silent confidence whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him.
When vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. Can she put ever more trust in Zach without losing her dreams of independence?


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In More Than Words Can Say, Karen Witemeyer brings us a story about forgiveness.  We need to bring it to God,  forgive others, and forgive ourselves.  As Zach stated, we also need to make sure we are not going in circles by keeping one foot in the past. Furthermore, it is a story about learning to always put God first in our life.

Zacharias Hamilton grew up as an orphan and at thirteen made a patchwork family with fellow orphans Evangeline and Seth. After Evangeline and Seth each find their spouses, Zach sets out on his own.  Zach is known to communicate in nods and grunts and never share his emotions.   However, he is an incredible listener, and when he knows that someone is upset he wants to talk it out before the sun goes down.  I love how he wants to make the most of his marriage and how fiercely protective he is of his family. Zach being terrified of crying women is hilarious. Though it’s sweet that he actually stays to talk even when he is scared.

Abigail Kemp grew up learning to be a baker under her father.  After his death, the city council informs her that only a man is allowed to own a business. She is afraid of someone else having control over her bakery, so she looks for a marriage of convenience.

Abigail works hard, and she doesn’t complain. She is very practical and just does what needs to be done. While she may have a negative thought about someone, she tries to see the best in them.

Zach is good for Abigail. While Abby is a hard worker, she really lacks self confidence. Zach helps her really she who she is on the inside and out.

As a Martha myself,  I found the biblical talk on Martha very interesting. While God’s word must always come first, practicality is very important.

While Zach and Abby are confessing their pasts, there is also a powerful speech about not living life as a hypocrite.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  However, while Zach’s take on the “benefits” conversation was lighthearted and funny, there was too much talk about the physical side of marriage.  There were thoughts by both characters that were repeated too often.

The cover is cute with some traditional Witemeyer quirkiness to it, but the cover is missing a lot of Abigail’s correct characteristics.

More Than Words Can Say is the sequel to Evangeline Hamilton’s story in More Than Meets the Eye. I highly suggest reading them in order to know more about Zach’s history. And the prologue in More Than Meets the Eye is not to be missed!

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations – Review

heirloomcoverby Kristi Ann Hunter, Karen Witemeyer, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780764230783
ISBN-13: 978-0764230783

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In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Fulbright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local businessman. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?


I love the idea behind this book of an heirloom because passed through the generations. And what better time than Christmas? 🙂

 
Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter

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Having read all of Kristi Ann Hunter’s published works, I had a feeling I would love this one as well. She writes such interesting, unique, imperfect characters. Not only are they more realistic, but you really want to root for them to get their happy endings.

Randall Everard is a third son.  I never really considered a third son’s life during this time period. He is neither the heir nor the spare, and he is just trying to find his place.  There is no set path for him, which has both positives and negatives.

Sarah Gooding is seen before in the Haven Manor series. I love when stories are interconnected, though this book can be read as a stand alone.

I loved how much Christmas was in this story and how it fit together so well. I also loved the message that you should be able to live your life no matter what age you are.

The scene with Sarah playing the piano was hilarious and one of my favorites.

Though I would love to spend more time with the characters, it has the feel of a full length novel and doesn’t feel rushed.

 
Gift of the Heart by Karen Witemeyer

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Like Hunter, Witemeyer is another one of my favorite authors. As a member of her “Posse”, I love that she dedicated the story to us!

Karen Witemeyer also creates characters who are not perfect. She has the ability to make her characters strong while also being incredibly vulnerable.

I loved the Biblical connection to the Ruth and Boaz story.  Besides the names, there were so many little connections as well.

Beauregard “Bo” Azlin was one of those characters you feel an instant connection to.  The back story of Bo’s childhood where his mother considered him damaged goods is heart breaking.  Bo tried to be fair to everyone and not give special treatment but he also helped protect those in need. I liked the scene where Bo is holding the heirloom and vowing to keep it safe for Ruth. It was also sweet how he liked to keep the heirloom near his heart.

Witemeyer’s books always contain some funny moments.  When Bo calls the stray cat a miscreant, little Naomi mistakenly believes that the cat’s name is Miss Creant. Bo and Naomi have a number of sweet and funny conversations.

While this felt like a very complete story, I want it to continue. I’m not ready to leave these characters.

 
A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas

It took me awhile to get into this story.  The beginning was inundated with hunting and gun talk. While I don’t have a problem with hunting for need, I don’t like the “sport” or bragging that was involved.  The second half of the book was a lot more enjoyable for me.

I liked that Fleeta was a different kind of character.  She wasn’t “girly” and she liked the same jobs and hobbies that were usually only thought of for men.

Jack the bird was a fun little character and I liked the cousins.

I have read a novella by this author that I enjoyed and I own a few other books that are on my TBR list that I look forward to reading.

 

 
Because of You by Becky Wade

I want to start out by saying that I read over 200 books a year and out of those 200, less than 5 are contemporary. And those contemporary ones are usually by favorite authors of mine.  I just tend to find issues with a lot of contemporary books.

In the first few pages, I began to be turned off by the usage of some “trendy” modern words but was still very open-minded. Then there was the character Maddie. Maddie has been pining for Leo for years, including the time he was married to her friend. She didn’t seem to find anything wrong with that.  Then after his wife dies and he is interested in Maddie, she suddenly feels like she is betraying her friend.

Maddie spends a lot of time taking pictures for her Instagram. That in and of itself didn’t bother me. It was the fact that she would be in the middle of a conversation involving charity and she would have to stand up and take 50 shots trying to get the perfect photo of her salad and chips. Seriously? And I know some people like to look at food pictures for some reason, but a salad and chips? Then when Leo doesn’t understand, she calls him “quaint”.

There are a few conversations with Maddie and her grandmother Fleeta. Comparing Fleeta from the previous story, who is a strong, independent woman, with Maddie makes Maddie’s personality even more surprising. Maddie’s mother, Laura, also seems flaky. And it was sad how a sentimental heirloom that has been passed down since the 1700s was treated.

There were some positives.  I liked Leo.  He was sweet and adorably awkward but was also loyal to his wife and a good father. I like that adoption was included in the book but the fact that the girls had been adopted wasn’t dwelled upon. And I loved that Charlie picked out a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Because of You wasn’t for me. As I mentioned though, contemporary fiction isn’t really my favorite genre.

More Than Meets the Eye (Patchwork Family #1) – Review

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by Karen Witemeyer

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 5, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764212834
ISBN-13: 978-0764212833

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Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?


As a fan of Karen Witemeyer, I knew right away that I wanted to read More Than Meets the Eye. She is a master of dialogue and descriptions and her characters are always interesting and unique.

This book wasn’t just about Logan and Evangeline. It was about an entire patched together family and I felt invested in each character.

The prologue immediately pulls you in and is so incredibly emotional. I had heard it was a “tear jerker” and I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t! It was that moving.

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This was one of my favorite quotes from the book and really pulled the characters and the entire story together.

Evangeline spent her entire life being judged for her different colored eyes. It was sad when she was a little four year old being bullied. It was even worse when “Christians” at her congregation judged her and were superstitious.

Logan is not only outwardly scarred, but he holds the scars of his past in his heart. He is intent on taking revenge on someone he feels wronged his family.

“Vengeance doesn’t heal pain, Logan. Love heals pain.”

Zach is a complex character who has a wide range of emotions. He is vulnerable and fiercely protective of his family, yet he puts on a hard exterior. I would love to see what his future holds after this book concludes.

Seth is asthmatic and Christie is deaf and was abused in her past. However, they find a kindred spirit in each other and have such a sweet relationship.

They are great characters on their own but even better when they are together as a family.

There was action and a mystery surrounding Christie that was interesting to follow throughout the book. There were also secrets between Evangeline and Logan. A lot of times secrets do not come out until the end of a book. I liked that they came out earlier and were addressed.

I also liked the lighthearted moments in the book. Evangeline had a unique pet named Hezekiah that made for some funny scenes. Logan also named his pet, Shamgar, a Biblical name.

More Than Meets the Eye had action, mystery, some comedic moments and a lot of heart. I highly recommend this book.

Some other favorite quotes:

“Go peddle your pessimism somewhere else, mister, I’m not buying.”

“I want honesty, even when the truth is less than palatable.”

“Love stayed. Even when things became messy and unpleasant, love stayed.”