Book Review: Mars . . . With Venus Rising

9 May

MarsWithVenusRising_w11898_680-232x384A meddling horse, paper bag floors and a flying saucer on the town square. The little town of Mars has it all—including a brand new resident who might spell heartache for one of its own.

Twenty-something Penn Davenport yearns for an exciting life in the big city and wants to shed the label of orphan that she’s worn for years. To achieve that dream, she must pass the CPA exam then move away from the two aunts who reared her after her parents died in a plane crash.

When John Townsend—full of life and the joy of living—moves to town, he rattles Penn’s view of herself, her life, and her dreams…which isn’t such a bad thing until she falls for him and discovers he’s a pilot.

HDougherty-370Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACFW, RWA and SinC, she writes for Almost an Author. Before writing novels, she published non-fiction articles on topics ranging from gardening with children to writing apprehension. She cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers, ACC basketball, and Army West Point Football. Hope and her husband, Kevin, live in North Carolina and chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo.

Find out more about Hope Toler Dougherty at


My Impressions:

Does our past define our present and future? That’s what Hope Toler Dougherty explores in her breezy contemporary romance, Mars . . . with Venus Rising. Quirky characters, a small town vibe and a hunky motorcycle-riding hero combine for a quick read perfect for your weekend getaway. But don’t let this humor-filled book fool you, it will also make you think about what past experiences and fears may keep you from living your life.

Penn Davenport has her life planned, if she can just pass her CPA exam. But until then, her life revolves around teaching, youth group chaperoning and chasing her crazy aunts. Enter a slightly dangerous man who challenges her comfort zone and the way she perceives herself. Is she cautious, or paralyzed by a childhood tragedy?

Penn is a great character — determined and independent, yet isolated by loss and grief, fear and doubts. Except for the aunts that raised her, she has walled off her heart. She has let perceptions and imagined reactions from others define who she is. Isn’t that a lie many of us let dominate our lives? Other supporting characters are instrumental in opening Penn’s eyes to her present and the future she can have if she overcomes her fears. Mars . . . with Venus Rising has a strong message of God’s sovereignty over the circumstances we are faced with.

Chy8ExXXAAAdiwm.jpg-smallWhile not matchmaking, Penn’s aunts cook up treats to make you mouth water. This book really did make me hungry! I tried one of the recipes that can be found at the end of the book — Celebration Cookies. They were as delicious as they looked! Six dozen cookies gone in two days!

All in all, Mars . . . with Venus Rising is a fun romance. You won’t regret tucking it into your beach bag or weekender.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



Celebrate Hope’s Mars . . . with Venus Rising blog tour with a Kindle Fire Prize Pack giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:

A copy of Mars . . . with Venus Rising
A $25 Amazon gift card
A Kindle Fire

Enter today by clicking HERE. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 18th. The winner will be announced May 19th on Hope’s blog.

7 Responses to “Book Review: Mars . . . With Venus Rising”

  1. Carrie May 9, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    nom nom – i’m gonna have to try some of those recipes, methinks!

    • rbclibrary May 9, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

      Everyone loved the Celebrations Cookies. I’m thinking scrolls are next!

      • Carrie May 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

        mmmmm yummm…

      • rbclibrary May 9, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

        🙂 🙂

  2. Rissi May 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    This one sounds really cute! Thanks for the great review, Beckie. 🙂

    • rbclibrary May 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

      You are welcome! Don’t miss the yummy recipes!


  1. Top 10 Tuesday: Non-Book Websites | By The Book - May 10, 2016

    […] Bag Floors — the crazy and creative aunts in Hope Toler Dougherty‘s Mars . . . with Venus Rising helped out a friend’s kitchen reno with a paper bag floor. Who knew?! You can find […]

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