Category Archives: Julie Lessman

Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman

or at the cost of faith..

Love At Any Cost (The Heart of San Francisco #1) by Julie Lessman
Christian Historical Romance
Revell, April 1 2013
Review copy provided by the publisher for review in the August 2013 Historical Novel Society magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:


From the author: “My intent was actually to underscore the Scripture “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” —Matthew 6:20–21. 
The hero has to learn to “love at any cost,” which in his case, costs him his will, laying it down to do things God’s way. But there’s also a double Spiritual meaning which I hint at in the dedication of the book that reads as follows:
To the Lover of my Soul,
Who taught me about ‘love at any cost’
two thousand years ago on a hill outside of Jerusalem.
I will love You and worship You
all the days of my life.

*(the HNR review differs because I fail at reviewing books within a limited amount of words; I write better when I feel less restrained).

Favored Christian historical author Julie Lessman starts off her third series with Texas sized sass and spirit. Cassie is a cowgirl who knows what she wants and it ain’t no pretty boy! Yet, when she travels to San Francisco to get away from heartbreaking pretty boys, she bumps into one with Jamie McKenna. Turns out he is a close friend of her Aunt Cait, and Cassie is forced to put up with him during her stay in San Francisco with her McClare cousins.

Jamie McKenna has been working hard all of his life to provide for his impoverished family and has his mind made up that he wants to marry an heiress to provide a costly surgery for his invalid sister. He sees Cassie as his ticket to wealth and courts her as passionately as he can despite her resistance.

At the heart of this burning (slightly uncomfortable in a Christian novel) romance is the prerequisite of Aunt Cait for Cassie to only love a man who loves God first. These ladies aren’t taking no for an answer and the journey towards faith for Jamie is not an easy one, forcing Jamie to make difficult decisions which do little to endear the reader to him. Overall, if the reader can get past the multiple references to slanting, tipping or flat smiles, the interesting blend of romance with spiritual tones make up for the bumpy start. The supporting characters helped flesh out the story while also providing for a strong start to this faith based historical series.

I wanted to really love this book, a first Lessman read for me though I have already collected her previous six books based on other blogger’s recommendations. As a reader of inspirational historical fiction for the past few years, this novel blurred the lines a bit for me as it was somewhere between ‘clean’ and ‘jaw-dropping’ in the romance department. And the first few days of reading this I only managed to get about fifty pages in because I could not help but notice the thin lips, the flat lips, the tilted smile, the curving smile, the wilting smile, the crooked smile, the zagged smile, and my favorite: the rebounding smile. So when a lazy Saturday came along I made it my goal in life to get through the book, and once I dug in and got past the lips and smiles the novel did develop into a worthwhile story with intriguing plot lines which surprised even me. Taking these few warnings in mind, you would have to decide for yourself if this is a read for you, as the majority of the reviews on Goodreads are five stars.

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Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Christian Fiction, Julie Lessman, Revell

It’s Mailbox Monday! What Are You Reading?

What are you Reading?
This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia’s Mailbox and can be found here for October.
In the Mail:

A Gift for My Sister by Ann Pearlman (thank you, bookish mama!!)
Ann Pearlman’s The Christmas Cookie Club enthralled readers everywhere with a heartwarming and touching story about the power of female friendship. Now, in A Gift for My Sister, she once again explores the depth of the human heart, and this time it’s through the eyes of two sisters. Tara and Sky share a mother, but aside from that they seem to differ in almost every way. When a series of tragedies strikes, they must somehow come together in the face of heartbreak, dashed hopes, and demons of the past. The journey they embark on forces each woman to take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine what sisterhood really means to them. It’s a long road to understanding, and everyone who knows them hopes these two sisters can find a way back to each other.

A Love Surrendered (Winds of Change #3) by Julie Lessman (a brand new release from Paperbackswap! What luck!)
Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents’ death. But when she falls hard for Steven O’Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is?

And received for a future review:

No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig
The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she’d thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend–Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother’s warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara’s desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke’s true intentions come to light.

The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan
From her earliest days, Margaret Tudor knows she will not have the luxury of choosing a husband. Her duty is to gain alliances for England. Barely out of girlhood, Margaret is married by proxy to James IV and travels to Edinburgh to become Queen of Scotland.

Despite her doubts, Margaret falls under the spell of her adopted home. But while Jamie is an affectionate husband, he is not a faithful one. And nothing can guarantee Margaret’s safety when Jamie leads an army against her own brother, Henry VIII. In the wake of loss she falls prey to an ambitious earl and brings Scotland to the brink of anarchy. Beset by betrayal and secret alliances, Margaret has one aim—to preserve the crown of Scotland for her son, no matter what the cost…

What I’ve Read:

A Lady in The Making by Susan Page Davis.. another fun historical romance and very quick read at 320 pages.. review posts in a few days. I love this Prairie Dreams series, and I recommend reading in order. This one is my favorite out of the bunch you see below.

To Love and Cherish, book two in the Bridal Veil Series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller. Review posted here. Can easily be read as a stand alone.

Skip Rock Shallows by Jan Watson… another series book that I jumped into with this one, and probably should have read the others first to enhance my appreciation of this one. This was a very character driven story.

Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Blog tour starts tomorrow, I am the kickoff reviewer unfortunately, because I could have kicked this book all over the place. Blech. Nuff said. (Here is the review.)
I am not having good luck finding an awesome Titanic themed read. Maybe I should find that old Danielle Steel novel that I read when I was young lady..

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Filed under #IMWAYR, Christian Fiction, D.L. Bogdan, Julie Lessman, Mailbox Monday

>Mailbox Monday & Winnings!

>BurtonReviewMailbox
Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased. Here’s what I received during the last week:

Happy Monday to everyone! I cashed in on some Good Luck with Giveaways I had won recently.

From a Mother’s Day giveaway Julie http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/ I won the following: (supposed to be 5 but they sold out of Miracle Mother, which is good news for them I am sure!)


“Beginner’s Greek” A Novel by James Collins

“Is love at first sight possible or just an old-fashioned romantic idea? And what if, to further complicate things, you meet the love of your life and then lose her phone number? Then what if, after the impossible happens and you find her again, she’s now about to marry a roguish lothario who is also your best friend? The complications don’t end there for Peter Russell, the winning hero of James Collins’ charming, generous, and romantic first novel. Part modern-day Jane Austen, part Tom Wolfe, Beginner’s Greek is a romantic comedy of the highest order, with characters who are perfectly, charmingly real as they swerve and stumble from fairy tale to social satire and back again. “

“Mommy Grace: Erasing Your Mommy Guilt” by Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman
“Universally, mothers tend to feel they are not good enough at parenting and fear they are harming their children by not being perfect. In Mommy Grace: Erasing Mommy Guilt, Sheila Schuller Coleman offers overwhelmed moms short but emotive stories of authentic motherhood from her own and others’ experiences-foibles and all-and offers comfort by showing how God makes up for human weakness with His own strength. …
more

Odd Mom Out” by Jane Porter
“Advertising executive Marta Zinsser is no poster child for her wealthy Seattle suburb-and nothing could please her more. This former New Yorker wears combat boots, not Manolos, and drives a righteous Harley hog instead of a Mercedes SUV. Now she’s launching her own agency in this land of the Microsoft elite, even though her ten-year-old daughter wishes she’d put on a sweater set and just be normal. …
more



The Road Home” A Novel by Rose Tremain
“In the wake of factory closings and his beloved wife’s death, Lev makes his way from Eastern Europe to London, seeking work to support his mother and his little daughter. After a spell of homelessness, he finds a job in the kitchen of a posh restaurant and a room in the house of an appealing Irishman who has already lost his family. Never mind that Lev must sleep in a bunk bed surrounded by plastic toys–he has found a friend and shelter. However constricted his life in England remains, he compensates by daydreaming of home, by having an affair with a younger restaurant worker, and by trading gossip and ambitions via cell phone with his hilarious friend Rudi, who, dreaming of the wealthy West, lives largely for his battered Chevrolet. …
more


From a giveaway at My Friend Amy’s:
“A Passion Most Pure” Book One in The Daughters of Boston Series by Julie Lessman
“As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith’s proper Boston family apart.” – January 2008; A Passion Redeemed – September 2008; A Passion Denied – May 2009

From Reviewer X I won The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams and she had 50 winners! WOW That was a BIG contest.
“An unsettling and courageous story about one girl who sacrifices everything familiar in her search for freedom–physical freedom and, more importantly, freedom of the heart and mind. Though the book is chilling from page one, Carol Lynch Williams’ economic and poetic use of language makes this potentially sensational story somehow beautiful, compassionate, and full of hope in the midst of tremendous loss. This is not a black and white exposé of cults, but a complex exploration of the ties that bind us to places and people that hurt us, the wrenching decisions we sometimes must make in order to survive, and the saving power of the truth, no matter how difficult it may be to bear.” –Sara Zarr, author of the 2007 National Book Award Finalist Story of a Girl

And since I won 2nd place in that Twitter Paperbackswap Background Design Contest, I started using some of my prize credits at Paperbackswap and I received: (so far!)

The Borgia Bride :: Jeanne Kalogridis “Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city’s opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare’s irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias’ sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama.”


Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation :: Joseph J. Ellis
In this landmark work of history, the National Book Award-winning author of American Sphinx explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals — Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison — confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation.The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers — re-examined here as Founding Brothers — combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes — Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence — Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nations’ history.”

I also wanted to say that I have only received one mailing address for the winners of the Mating Rituals Book Giveaway. I have emailed the winners, and there are two outstanding responses. If I have not heard from them by Tuesday AM I will randomly choose two winners.
Still awaiting kalea_kane and mgood222 so if any of you know them, poke them for me!

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Filed under Julie Lessman, Mailbox Monday, Meme, New Release

>It’s A Week of Passion at My Friend Amy’s!

>My Friend Amy is doing a special something to help promote one of her favorite authors. She is hosting a WEEK OF PASSION at her blog, with lots of little updates concerning Julie Lessman and her Christian Fiction books. She is also trying to draw more readers to Julie Lessman by hosting an out-of-this-world giveaway for her books, an Amazon gift card etc. etc. So I have to direct you over to My Friend Amy’s blog so that you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

I visited Julie Lessman’s website, and she likes to call herself an “Edgy Inspirational” author, because, well, she likes to have some fun, passion and romance in her novels, which are the Daughters of Boston Trilogy.


Her first novel, “A Passion Most Pure” is Book One, released in January of 2008 and can be found on Amazon. Here is the Product description:

“Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O’Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity’s hand, Faith isn’t sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin’s affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O’Connor household. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page.”

So this seems like a classy read, with romance, historical fiction genre, and keeps God in focus.

I am sold!

A Passion Redeemed
Book 2 is Charity’s story, a woman who puts her faith in her beauty rather than in God. It is a story of redemption and faith rising from the ashes of temptation, desire and shame.

Book 3, A Passion Denied, which is brand new, is the story of Faith and Charity’s little sister, Lizzie, a shy bookworm who dreams of a fairy-tale romance. It unfolds a man’s dark past and a young girl’s shattered dreams … and the God who redeems it all.

Go visit Julie Lessman’s website

And definitely visit My Friend Amy’s Blog!

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Filed under FREE, Julie Lessman