Monday, August 21, 2017

Chasing Secrets - A Review

Published - August 2017, Revell Books
Series - Elite Guardians Book 4
Author - Lynette Eason
Title - Chasing Secrets
Format - ebook, paper
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About the book (Goodreads):
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

My Thoughts:
I've enjoyed each book in this series, and this one was no exception. This book was fast-paced, and I found myself not wanting to put it down. In fact, I only did when I fell asleep.

I loved how Haley's past came into play. For the last three books, she's been in the background, so seeing her front and center was great. And once again, I loved how I was kept guessing the entire book. 

I'm rather sad to see this series come to an end. It was different than anything else I'd read and I really enjoyed it.

I received a copy of the book for free from the publisher to review. I was not required to like the book, only share my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Irene Hannon, Lynette Easton, Dani Pettrey, Dee Henderson

Rating - 4 stars

Friday, August 11, 2017

Wow! The Good News in Four Words

Published - July 2017, Tyndale House
Author - Dandi Daley Mackall
Title - Wow! The Good News in Four Words
Format - hardcover
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About the book (Goodreads):
For anyone looking for a fresh way to present the gospel to young children, Wow! The Good News in Four Words is a perfect resource. This whimsical and fun book outlines the gospel in a simple and memorable way (for both adults and kids!), using fun words to highlight the story. The book will present Creation/Genesis (Wow!), The Fall (Uh-oh . . .), Redemption/Jesus' Life and Sacrifice (Yes!), Restoration/The New Heaven (Aaahhhh), ending with one last Wow because we get to go out and tell the Good News!


My Thoughts:
I LOVE this book! It is beautifully illustrated. The text is a simple rhyme. I love how it is so simple to explain the Gospel to kids. The first time I read it to my best friend's daughters, her oldest (6 yrs old) kept asking why during the Uh-oh pages. It was a great opportunity for me and her parents to be able point out that sin causes everyone to be bad. 

Anyway, I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy for free from the publisher in order to review. I was not required to like the book, only share my honest opinion of it.

Recommended to parents, teachers, librarians

Rating - 5 stars




Name Unknown - A Review

Published - July 2017, Bethany House
Series - Shadows Over England Book 1
Author - Roseanna M. White
Title - A Name Unknown
Format - ebook, paper
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About the book:
Rosemary Greshman is a thief. She's one of the best in the business actually. When she's approached to go undercover in order to find proof that Peter Holstein is either loyal to England or to Germany, Rosemary agrees. After all, those she calls family could really use the money. Peter Holstein is a bit of a recluse. He's got a few close friends, but his name and his ties to Germany cause people to doubt his loyalty. That and the fact that he's hiding something - he uses a pen name to write his popular adventure series. When Rosemary shows up as a librarian, Peter sees her as an answer to prayer. Yet as he slowly starts to draw close to her, Rosemary begins realize that he really is more than his name.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. There was an element of suspense that I found refreshing. I was immediately drawn into the book. There were nights that I simply couldn't put it down.

I loved Rosemary's search. Not just for information about Peter, but also her deeper search into who she was and why bad things happen. I loved how loyal she was to her family, yet wasn't afraid to make a decision for herself.

I actually thought that Peter was rather endearing. In some ways he reminded me of Beast from Beauty and the Beast, but in others he didn't. I loved how he could express himself better in paper than verbally. I also loved his friends.

Overall, this was an excellent read.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in order to give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of WWI, Roseanna M. White, Kate Breslin, Jody Hedlund

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Captain's Daughter - A Review

Published - June 2017, Bethany House
Series - London Beginnings Book 1
Author - Jennifer Delamere
Title - The Captain's Daughter
Format - ebook, paper
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About the book (Goodreads):
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind

My Thoughts:
First let me say that the cover is beautiful. It was because of the cover that I requested this title to review. And the back cover caught my attention as well. It made me want to read this book. 

That said, I struggled. I struggled more than I usually do when reading. After a prologue that drew me in and begged me to keep going, the book fell flat. I would read it for about 5 pages before deciding something else was more interesting (my cat, another book, the current crochet project, sleep, or something). This happened more than once for me. So I struggled to read more than 5 pages at a time. I don't know if it was the author's style or if I felt no connection to the characters. I think it was probably a bit of both.

I didn't connect to the main characters at all. When all is said and done, I'm like who? I also saw that there were several plot lines that had the potential to be wonderful, but sadly they fell flat or were dropped entirely. As a reader, that frustrated me. I'm ok with not everything being tied up in a pretty little bow, but I mean, come on! Don't start something and don't finish it. Or at least give me a satisfying end to the plot line.

I truly hate leaving a more negative than positive review. I looked at the reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads. There are quite a few highly positive ones. Then there are a few others who felt similar to me. Don't take my word for it. If the book sounds interesting to you, try it. You make truly enjoy it. I just know that this author and this book in general weren't for me.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. I wasn't asked to like the book, only to give my honest opinion on it, which I have done. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating - 2 stars

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Writing Desk - A Review

Published - July 2017, Thomas Nelson
Author - Rachel Hauck
Title - The Writing Desk
Format - ebook, paper, audio
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Tenely Roth is basking in the success of her first book. She's been awarded the prestigious Gordon Roth award. Yet now she's struggling. She's under pressure from her publisher to produce her second novel, and Tenley is struggling to even put the words on paper. When her estranged mother contacts her asking for Tenley's help as she goes through cancer treatments, Tenley reluctantly agrees to head to Florida. After all, a change of scene just may inspire her, right?Once there, Tenley discovers a writing desk that seems to have a story of its own. Birdie Shehorn is living in the Gilded Age. She's the daughter of of old money and is expected to make a good match. Yet Birdie's heart longs for other things. She longs to be recognized for her own merit and not the match she can make. She longs to have her words published for all to read. Two women. Connected by one writing desk. Both with a longing to write, but are trapped by who society expects them to be. Can one lost manuscript bring both women the healing and closure they need?

My Thoughts:
This book was amazing. I can't say enough about it. I absolutely adored it.

There is something about the way that Rachel Hauck writes that just pulls me into her books. I get lost for hours. As much as I've loved her Royal Wedding series, her stand alone novels are probably the ones that stay with me. I love the depth of the past meeting the present. I love how the main character, Tenley in this case, has to make a decision that is similar to the one Birdie is forced to make. I love how each woman makes her choice for certain reasons, but was it necessarily the right one?

I love the depth that is Tenley and Birdie's characters. Both are not shallow characters. I love how they each either learn or not from the circumstances that they are presented with.

Some authors can draw a reader in. Others can make the story linger long after the book has ended. Ms. Hauck is one who has managed to do both with this book.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in order to share my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to like the book, only honestly give me honest opinion.

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Karen Kingsbury, Lisa Wingate, Rachel Hauck

Rating - 5 stars



Friday, July 14, 2017

Heart on the Line - A Review

Published - June 2017, Bethany House
Series - Ladies of Harper Station Book 2
Author - Karen Witemeyer
Title - Heart on the Line
Format - ebook, paper
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About the book:
Grace Mallory left Colorado on the run. She's running from the men who murdered her father. In Harper's Station, she has finally found a place she can call home. She's working as the telegraph operator. Yet even in Harper's Station, she's not completely safe. When her location is discovered by those who killed her father, Grace logs off of the telegraph rather suddenly. Amos Bledsoe, the operator on the other end of the telegraph, has been chatting to Grace for months over the wire. When she abruptly disappears in the middle of their conversation, he becomes concerned. He is determined to meet her in person to see if she's ok. Soon both of them find themselves trying to keep themselves and the town safe.

My thoughts:
I always enjoy reading Karen Witemeyer's books. They are fun and sweet. This one had just a tough of romantic suspense in it.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Grace and Amos. I also enjoyed visiting with the other characters in Harper's Station. Sometimes, it seems that secondary characters can stand out. And in this case, all of the ladies of Harper's Station certainly stand out.

This book, overall, was a delight. I recommend it to fans of Karen Witemeyer.

I received a copy from the publisher for free to review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, historical romance

Rating - 4 stars


Friday, June 23, 2017

With You Always - A Review

Published - June 2017, Bethany House
Series - Orphan Train Book 1
Author - Jody Hedlund
Title - With You Always
Format - ebook, paper
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When a financial crisis hits New York City in the 1850's, thousands of immigrants are left without work. These immigrants came to the US in hopes of a better life. Instead, they find themselves crammed into tenements, working for pennies, and forced to find ways to support themselves. Elise Neumann finds herself attempting to care for her sisters when her job as a seamstress is suddenly gone. With no where else to go, Elise accepts a position with the Children's Aid Society to go work in new towns in the west. Thornton Quincy is the son of one of New York's wealthiest families. His father is dying, and he has issued a challenge to both Thornton and his brother - whichever son can build a successful town and  marry for love in six months will become the new head of the family business. Thornton is tired of being in his twin's shadow and is determined to win the contest. Yet when he meets Elise, he soon finds himself questioning all he's been brought to believe. Will the west be a place of new beginnings for both Elise and Thornton?

My thoughts:
I was so excited to see a new series by Jody Hedlund. I remember growing up adoring the Joan Lowry Nixon Orphan Train books. And now to read more about that period of history by one of my favorite authors as an adult, well, let's just say that I was pretty much over the moon.

I knew that the Children's Aid Society placed children, orphans or not, in homes in the west. Yet I didn't know that they also found jobs for women. I also found the idea of building a town around the railroad fascinating.

I loved both Thornton and Elise. I loved how her suggestions were things that he actually took into consideration. I loved how he wanted to protect her and to provide for her. Watching them fight their feelings for each other was fun.

I am looking forward to the rest of this series. I am hoping for both Marianne's and Sophie's stories.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Jody Hedlund, Karen Witemeyer, historical fiction, orphan trains

Rating - 4 stars