Friday, August 29, 2014

An August Bride - A Review

Published - July 29, 2014, Zondervan Books
Series - Year of Weddings Novella
Author - Debra Clopton
Title - An August Bride
Format - ebook
Find on Amazon

Kelsey Wilcox has given up on love. And cowboys. And anything to do with ranching. She's happily running a popular bistro on the beach in Corpus Christi. She's also a bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding. When the Mule Hollow Matchmaking Posse arrives in town for the wedding, Kelsey hoped to stay under their radar. But no such luck with her aunt on the posse. Especially when she races into the ocean to rescue her aunt's puppy. Yet when the current pulls her down, she soon finds herself in the arms of a handsome cowboy. Brent Corbin thinks he's seeing things when he sees a mermaid struggling in the water. He quickly realizes that his mermaid is a beautiful woman. When he discovers that they are both in the same wedding, he hopes to build on the attraction between them. There's just a couple of obstacles in the way. The biggest being that she doesn't want anything to do with cowboys or ranches. With the encouragement of the posse, Brent takes a chance. Will Kelsey let him break down her barriers?

I've always enjoyed Debra Clopton's books. This one was no exception.

I found it to be full of humor and very sweet. I really loved Brent. Handsome cowboy who is a sweetheart? That's like a swoon worthy combination. I loved how he was so patient with Kelsey. Yet he was determined to show her that not all cowboys are the same. And of course I loved the Posse. They are always a hoot whenever I stumble across them.

I think that romantics everywhere would enjoy this. It is one of my favorites in the Year of Weddings series.

This one is probably my second favorite of the series so far. My fave being March Bride. :)

I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of weddings, novellas, Love Inspired, Debra Clopton

Rating - 4 stars

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wild Thing - A Review

Published - May 2011, Tyndale House Publishers
Series - Winnie, the Horse Gentler Book 1
Author - Dandi Daley Mackall
Title - Wild Thing
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Winnie Willis loves horses. Some might even say she has a gift. When she comes across an Arabian that is obviously being mistreated, Winnie befriends the horse. With all they have in savings, Winnie and her sister convince their father to purchase the horse at auction and allow Winnie to prepare her for sale. The only drawback, Winnie would love to keep the Arabian for her own. Will she get her wish?

It has been a  very long time since I read a book about horses. I remember loving the horse books by Marguerite Henry growing up.

This was a pretty quick read. I spent most of Sunday afternoon reading it. I loved the characters of Lizzy, Catman, and Barker. I loved too how each of those characters used their unique gifts to relate to various animals.

I loved how Winnie went through times of not sure if the work she was doing with the horse would be successful or if her father would even notice her. She also struggled with forgiving herself for her mother's death. And being under the impression that her father blamed her. That discovery was, for me, one of the most poignant pieces of the book.

I read this book as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of horses, the Babysitter Club, Sandra Byrd

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All for a Story - A Review

Published - October 2013, Tyndale House Publishers
Series - All For Book 2
Author - Allison Pittman
Title - All for a Story
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Monica Bisbaine  loves all that the Roaring Twenties has to offer. She is frequently heading to the speakeasys and other places that a good girl really shouldn't be at. Yet, she finds herself wanting more. When Max Moore inherits the paper that Monica writes for, he is determined to bring changes to it. He wants to make it more than a tabloid. He wants to turn it into an uplifting and encouraging paper. When Max tells Monica that she needs to infiltrate the Anti-Flirt Club and to write a piece about them, Monica resists. Yet as she gets into the assignment, she discovers that maybe it's time for her to quit being the way that she is and to truly change.

It's been a long time since I read one of Allison Pittman's books. I can't really say why other than they've not made it onto my radar. This one was one I saw I had on my Kindle and saw it was on the Summer Reading list, so I thought why not.

I found it rather hard to hold my attention. Parts of it were really good. But I also thought that parts were really dull. Maybe it was the language of the Twenties. Maybe it was the way that Monica didn't really want to change. I don't know. It left  me feeling a little disappointed.

I'm also not really sure that I liked the way that the threads of the story were not completely resolved. I liked the hopeful ending, but the way that that ending came about, I think I missed something. I know it's part of a series, but I also know it stands alone.

Still it was rich in historical detail. Others may enjoy this, but for me, this time period isn't one I really like to read about.

I read this book as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, Roaring Twenties, Jessica Dotta

Rating - 3 stars

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read by Don't Own Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted over on The Broke & The Bookish

This week's Top Ten is the Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read but I Don't Own Yet. And while it was fairly simple for me to come up with some, I realized as I was writing them down on a sticky note, that I've actually four categories of ones I don't own. So my top ten is broken down into these categories:
1. Books I've read but don't own that I would like to
2. Books I want to read but don't own yet
3. Books that aren't yet published that I will own
4. Review copies I have that I've not yet had a chance to read.

So here are my top ten.

Books I've Read that I Don't Yet Own but Want to Own

1. For Such a Time by Kate Breslin - This was a beautiful retelling of Esther set in WWII.
2. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Mariller - This one is based on the fairy tale, Seven Swans, which has long been one of my favorites. It's probably the only one from the series I really want to own.

Books I Want to Read but Don't Own Yet

3. Desires of a Baron by Rose Gordon - I've just not been able to get this one yet. I will soon though.
4. Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson - I love her fairy tale books. This one isn't one of those, but it has captured my attention.
5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I keep hearing great things about this book. I've really got to get it read soon.

Books Not Yet Published That I Will Own

6. Home of Our Hearts by Robin Jones Gunn - I cannot wait to continue reading about Christy & Todd and their married life!
7.  Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren - The next installment in the Christiansen series. I'm in love with this family and can't wait to read this one.

Review Copies I Own That I Need to Read

8. Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears - I got this in the other day and need to get it onto my schedule. I enjoyed the first in the series.
9. The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate - I've heard great things about this author and I'm excited to finally getting around to reading one of her books.
10. Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer - I've enjoyed her other books. I enjoy reading about the Harvey Girls. I'm sure I'll enjoy this one.

So there you have it. My top ten books I'm looking forward to reading soon. What is on your list? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Revenge of the Red Knight - A Review

Published - February 2012, Focus on the Family
Author - Marianne Hering
Series - Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station Book 4
Title - Revenge of the Red Knight
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Cousins Beth and Patrick are trying to help Mr. Whittaker reclaim several missing treasures from a treasure room in ancient England. They've been to Greenland, the time of Kublai Khan, and now they are in England in the 1400's. It's here that they meet Hugh, a man they soon realize is a villain.  Will they be successful in restoring the historical treasures?

I think that it would have been very helpful for me to have read books 1-3 in the series before this one. But I didn't. Still I was able to enjoy it.

I did find that this one didn't have the nuggets of truth that some of the later ones I read do. In some ways, I think that the author was trying too hard to make the storyline work. But I can still see kids enjoying this one. I probably read this in about 30 minutes.

While this one wasn't my favorite of the Imagination Station series, I liked it.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of Tyndale's Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Adventures in Odyssey, I survived, Magic Tree House, kids ages 7-9

Rating - 3 stars

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Forever With You - A Review

Published - June 2014, Robin's Nest Productions
Series - Christy & Todd: The Married Years Book 1
Author - Robin Jones Gunn
Title - Forever with You
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon 

Summary (from Amazon):
When Christy Miller met Todd Spencer the summer she turned fifteen she only dreamed that theirs would be a forever love. 

Now that they have been married for almost two years, Christy and Todd are facing challenges neither of them expected. Everything that felt familiar in their relationship is being shaken. All they had hoped for in their future together is about to change. 

When Christy shares her life-altering news with Todd, she doesn't receive the joyful response she was expecting. Aunt Marti inserts a few strong opinions about how the young couple should navigate this difficult season and when Todd's dad asks for help renovating his Newport Beach home it's clear that nothing will ever be the same for them again. 

As Christy and Todd''s relationship is radically altered will they continue to drift apart? Or will they come through the major shifts with a deeper love for each other and the One who brought them together in the first place?

My Thoughts:
I have loved the Christy Miller books from the time that I was introduced to them while I was in junior high. I've followed Christy over the years as she grew up. So needless to say, when I heard that Robin was writing a series about Christy and Todd and their married life, I was beyond thrilled. Because these characters are old friends of mine. 

When I finally got my hands on a copy of this first book in the series, everything in me screamed to immediately dive into it. Yet I forced myself to wait. I had review copies I needed to finish, things going on in both my business and work. I wanted to be able to truly enjoy this book. So I waited. And waited. Until a couple of weeks ago when I was tired, emotionally exhausted, and wanting to read something that I could read for pleasure and not because I had to. So I picked up the book.

Immediately, I was welcomed back into Christy's world as if no time had gone by at all. For those of you new to the Christy books, I highly recommend reading them in order (Christy Miller Series, Sierra Jensen Series, Christy & Todd the College Years, Christy's Diary, Katie Weldon Series, Love Finds You in Sunset Beach Hawaii, and then this one). This book picks up where the fourth Katie book ends.

Christy and Todd have both matured from the time I met them as teens. It was fun to see them struggling to make ends meet. I loved them in these new roles. I loved getting to catch back up with Uncle Bob and Aunt Marti. I also loved how they each have grown so much in their faith. And the way that they have learned to trust God in so many different ways now.

Can you tell I loved this book? I did. And I'm eagerly awaiting the next one in the series.

I read this book for pure pleasure. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Robin Jones Gunn, Christy Miller, contemporary fiction, Becky Wade, young adult

Rating - 5 stars

Saturday, August 23, 2014

With Every Breath - A Review

Published - July, 2014 Bethany House Publishers
Author - Elizabeth Camden
Title - With Every Breath
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Government worker Kate Livingston is good with numbers. Yet her current supervisor fires anyone who seeks a better position. She lost out on a college scholarship to Trevor McDonough and has had to work hard for everything ever since. When she is invited to interview for a data position at the hospital, Kate is shocked and startled to learn that the young doctor is none other than Trevor McDonough, her old rival. Even though it means working closely with Trevor on a daily basis, Kate accepts the position to analyze data in the hopes of finding a cure for tuberculosis. She soon is fascinated by not only the data, but by the secrets Trevor is hiding. Can she trust her heart to him? And when Trevor's secret is exposed, will they both learn to trust?

I've read several of Elizabeth Camden's books over the years and each one is beautifully written and researched. I think that this one may be my favorite one of hers to date.

First, I love the cover. It's so pretty. It's light and airy and I had no idea of the depths of the book just by looking at the cover.

I also loved Kate. It's not often that I read about a heroine who is smart and actually gets to use her intelligence! So that was very refreshing. I loved her struggle, especially once she knew that she loved Trevor, on whether or not she could let him go if need be. She'd already lost one person she loved, and I understood how she was afraid to allow herself to care for someone else she may loose.

Trevor was a character who was wounded by things in his life, but he was determined to help others, even at the risk of his own health. I loved how he was willing to step up and take action for what he believed in.

Overall, I'd have to say that this was a surprising book for me. I certainly didn't see the twist of Trevor's past being what it was. I also was surprised that I read this in about 4 hours one night, when I'd really not been meaning to at all.

I received this book for free from Bethany House for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Elizabeth Camden, Jody Hedlund, historical fiction

Rating - 5 stars

Friday, August 22, 2014

Problems in Plymouth - A Review

Published - April, 2012, Focus on the Family
Series - Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station Book 6
Authors - Marianne Hering, Marshall Younger
Title - Problems in Plymouth
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Cousins Beth and Patrick have been hopping through time on adventure after adventure on the trail of Hugh, an evil Englishman from the 1400's. They have managed to follow him to Plymouth and need to capture him before tensions rise to a boiling point between the Pilgrims and the Indians. Will the cousins be successful or will they change the course of history forever?

I've grown up loving the Adventures in Odyssey Radio Series. When I saw that the Tyndale Summer Reading Program had several of the Imagination Station books on the reading list, I happily requested some from the library.

This is book 6 in the Imagination Station books, and they don't have to be read in order. I love how the kids learn truths like how to depend on God and to share with others. I think that kids would really enjoy these books.

I enjoyed how the cousins got to experience the first Thanksgiving and meeting some of the Pilgrims. I can easily see how kids would be fascinated with the cousins' adventures.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Adventures in Odyssey, Magic Tree House, I Survived Series, kids ages 7-9.

Rating - 4 stars

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life Support - A Review

Published - February, 2014, Tyndale House Publishers
Series - Grace Medical Book 3
Author - Candace Calvert
Title - Life Support
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Nurse Lauren Barclay returned to Houston to watch over her troubled sister. Only now she has to work with the brooding physician's assistant and single parent Eli Landry. Lauren has painful memories of Eli. Eli is used to being in strained relationships. After all, his relationship with his father is very strained. Yet when a storm hits Houston leaving them both stranded, they will have to put aside their differences to work together. Will they mend their relationship as well?

I've read a few of Candace Calvert's books in the past and while slow moving, I did enjoy them. This one fit the slow moving part for sure. While it's not a favorite of mine, I didn't dislike it either. I'm really more blah on the book.

I really like how the author develops the relationships and the depth of the main characters. Both Lauren and Eli were hurting and they had to figure out how to overcome their past. I also loved some of the minor characters like Eli's daughter and her dog. Still, this was a book I will probably not reread as it didn't really hold my attention. I did find myself distracted from it several times while reading it. Especially when I got a shipment of books to review in the mail! But, I think that others may enjoy this one more than me.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of Tyndale's Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, medical stories, Candace Calvert

Rating - 3 stars

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Murder at the Mikado - A Review

Published - June, 2014, Bethany House Publishers
Series - A Drew Farthering Mystery Book 3
Author - Julianna Deering
Title - Murder at the Mikado
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon 

After having barely survived his latest adventure, Drew Farthering is happily planning his wedding to the lovely Madeline Parker. Yet when a former girlfriend of his, Fleur Landis seeks his help in proving she didn't murder a famous actor in his dressing room, Drew can't help but get drawn into the case. The more he gets involved in the case, the more that his relationship with Madeline seems to be falling apart. Will they survive this turmoil or will this case be the end of their relationship?

I read the first in this series but never got around to reading the second. So it's a good thing that while it would be useful to read the books in order, each one does stand alone.

I found myself quickly drawn into the book and the case. I really enjoyed some of the secondary characters, sometimes a little more than the main ones. Still I had no idea who the guilty person was until the ending. A lot of times with mysteries, I have it figured out before the author reveals it.

I loved how Drew really wanted to work things out with Madeline. I thought it sweet the way they bantered back and forth. I also thought that the way that would work together on the case showed how well they are together.

I look forward to going back and reading book 2 now. I'm also hoping to read some more of Drew's adventures in the future.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of mysteries, Agatha Christie

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spoken For - A Review

Published - April 2014, Multnomah Books
Author - Robin Jones Gunn & Alyssa Joy Bethke
Title - Spoken For
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Summary (From Amazon)
 Say Yes to the Love Story of Your Life
A great romance was set in motion before you were born. A relentless Lover is pursuing you, and He has made His intentions clear. He wants you to be His forever. How will you respond to the One who longs for you to be His with your whole heart?
In Spoken For, Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke speak to your heart about what it means for you to belong to Christ, who you are because of His love, and how that affects the way you live. Drawing on biblical promises and their personal experiences,   these two friends share what it’s like to live out God’s unfolding love story.
You are not up for grabs. You are spoken for.
Includes questions for group discussion and personal reflection.

My thoughts:
Those who know me, know it'll take a lot to get me to read nonfiction. A VERY LOT. But when a nonfiction book by one of my all time favorite authors (Robin Jones Gunn) pops up, I"m more apt to read it than to not read it. 

In this book, the authors make the reader feel as if you're right there with them sipping tea and chatting. I love that. I felt that I was able to really see their hearts. I didn't feel that this book was textbook like in it's writing, but an actual conversation with the authors. 

I also loved the way that they pointed out that Someone wants you the reader. I have made a copy of the various Scriptures for my journal for further reflection and study. They may not have set out to do this, but I found it happening and I"m glad that they did, I found myself wanting and even longing to spend more time in God's Word, really getting to know Him so much more than before. 

Anyway, as someone who doesn't read nonfiction, I really enjoyed this book. I plan on loaning it to a friend, but I'll want it back. :) 

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Robin Jones Gunn, Bible Study, Liz Curtis Higgs, Beth Moore

Rating - 5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books that I keep being told I must read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted over at The Broke & the Bookish

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. I'm really enjoying these various topics. Today's topic is the top ten books that people keep telling me that I should read.

I get told by all sorts of people that I need to read this, or read that. Some of the books find their way to my reading list. Others, not so much. But here they are, in no particular order.

1. Radical by David Platt - this is a nonfiction book that keeps being recommended to me. But me and nonfiction, not so much.

2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth - I keep being told to read this. I've read the first and found ok. Not sure if I want to finish it or not.

3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - I don't mind spoilers. I really don't. But I know how this one ends. And I'm not sure if I'm ready for the emotional upheaval it'll cause.

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I love fairytale retellings. It's on my list to read. Someday.

5. Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) - I loved Harry Potter. I hated Casual Vacancy. I'm leery of trying this one, but maybe someday.

6. Various books by Terry Brooks - I can't remember the titles. I like fantasy. But I'm not always in the mood to read it. 

7. Books by Beverly Lewis - These would be Amish. I really do avoid this genre since I read something several years ago and I didn't like it. Can't even remember the author. Perhaps all authors aren't like that, but I'm not willing to take that chance.

So I can't really think of any more right now. But because I listed two categories of authors, I'm sure I've got more than 10! 

Anyway, what about you? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Bouquet of Love - A Review

Published - August 2014, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Weddings By Design Book 4
Author - Janice Thompson
Title - A Bouquet of Love
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Cassia Pappas loves flowers. She loves to work with them and create beautiful bouquets of color and to figure out what blooms would make a bride's day extra special. Yet when her father moves their large family from California to Galveston to open his Greek restaurant, Cassia finds herself stuck in the shop assisting with the making of gyros. When she is given the opportunity to work in the flower shop that Bella Neely sends her brides, Cassia is thrilled. Especially when it puts her in close contact with handsome delivery man Alex Rigas. The problem? Cassia's father doesn't want her to work there. And then there's the war he has declared on the Rossi family because they own the popular pizza place Parma John's. Will the Greek/Italian feud be the end of the friendships Cassia has begun with Bella and the rest of the Rossi clan? And will Cassia and Alex find a way to bridge the gaps and find their happily ever after?

Whenever I see a Janice Thompson book appear in an email of review requests, I know that I HAVE to request it. Because I know that I will be in for a delightful funny read. And I'm never disappointed. This book was no exception. It was a delightfully funny read. As well as being a fast read. It it was one I didn't have to think deeply about while reading and I could really just sit back and enjoy the story.

I loved the humor in the book. I really enjoyed catching up with Bella and the gang and getting to meet more of the Splendora characters. One thing I did find interesting was that though Cassia wanted to live her own life, she loved her father too much to completely disrespect him or his plans. I loved, though, how when he finally realized what he was doing to his family that he really did try to change.

I enjoyed Alex as well. I loved how he fit right into the craziness that was Cassia's family.

I found this to be a very enjoyable read and I look forward to the next book by Janice Thompson.

I received the Kindle version of this book for free from Revell Books via NetGalley for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of romantic comedies, chick lit, Janice Thompson

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I'll Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This week's topic is the top ten books I'm not sure I'll read.

Here they are in no particular order.

1. Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury - I'm pretty much done with her books. I literally have no interest in this one.

2. The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Yeah it's been out a while. Yes I've read Twilight. Movie previews for this one looked rather interesting, but I'm just not into reading it.

3. The Book Thief by Marjus Zusak - I know the movie is supposed to be excellent. I kinda want to read the book, but I'm not sure.

4. The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury - It's been on my radar for a while, but really I'm done.

5. Fair Play by Deeanne Gist - I'm World's Fair burned out after reading so many books last year about the Chicago World's Fair.

6. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins - I love the Hunger Games. Haven't read anything else by her, so I might. I might not.

7. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore - Came recommended to me by several friends whose opinions I value, but I don't know.

8. Prodigy by Marie Lu - After Legend, I'm done. I don't even care what happens to the rest of the characters.

9. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson - I like his work. But I'm not in a sci-fi mood at the moment.

10. City of Bones - I can't remember the author, but it isn't interesting me right now.

There you have it. A mix of Christian and nonChristian books I may not read.

What about you? Tell me in  the comments. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

In Perfect Time - A Review

Published - August, 2014, Revell Books a Division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Wings of the Nightingale Book 3
Author - Sarah Sundin
Title - In Perfect Time
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson is a beautiful, vivacious, and a flirt. She typically has several men she is seeing at one time. Yet she's never serious about any of the men. Handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper seems to be the one man immune to Kay's charms. In fact it appears that he goes out of his way to avoid her. Yet when circumstances cause Kay to seek Roger out, the two develop a tentative friendship. When they are shot down behind enemy lines, their friendship begins to bloom into something stronger and lasting. But with each wanting a different dream, and afraid of themselves, will they find their way back home?

I think that this is probably my favorite of the series. Having read all three, I've been able to watch Kay grow from cynical to forgiving. I thought that Kay was delightful. I love how she's questioning EVERYTHING she has been taught about forgiveness, love, and God.

I found Roger to be very honorable. He is the first to admit that he has made mistakes in the past, and he does all he can to avoid making the same mistakes with Kay. I also love how he is very much the spiritual leader in their relationship. I'll admit that there were times when I wanted to shake them both and just wish they'd sit down and talk to each other!

Ms. Sundin continues to show how well researched she is on WWII history and the different theaters of operation. I have her first series on my to-read list, and hope to start reading them someday soon. I'm also looking forward to her next series set on the Pacific during the war.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Laura Frantz, Francine Rivers, Jody Hedlund, Brock & Bodie Thoene, WWII

Rating - 5 stars.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Runaway - A Review

Runaway by Renee Donne
Imprint: Romance
Release Date: July 29, 2014

After Marianne discovers her bankrupt stepfather sold her into marriage to the highest bidder, she flees Philadelphia and heads west to start a new life.

Unfortunately for her danger follows.  First, a stage coach accident leaves her stranded in the middle of nowhere – with an injured driver. And henchmen, hired by her spurned would-be husband, are hot on her trail, threatening to return her to Philadelphia and the man who is determined to own her.

Just when things seem hopeless, Marianne is rescued by a handsome, cowboy who offers temporary refuge.  Knowing she can’t refuse, yet wary of his intentions, Marianne finds herself drawn to this quiet, enigmatic hero. But is he someone she can trust?

Author Bio:
Renee Donne is a native Floridian with a penchant for writing books with a western theme. In her head she's a world traveler and an amateur chef. In real life, she's a hometown girl with an affinity for fine wine and good friends. Her favorite place to write is sitting on her veranda, overlooking the beach.

Author Links:


Buy Links:

My Thoughts
Whenever I read a book by a new-to-me author, I try really hard to treat the book like a debut and to give the author the benefit of the doubt. That said, I loved the premise of this book. She is running away from an arranged marriage and then meets the man she can love. That seems to be a premise I have found in several different historical books and it's one I've always enjoyed.

I found the plot to be rather choppy. If this is the author's first book, which I don't know if it is, then I see that as a spot of growth. Yet I also found the characters to be a little shallow too. Perhaps more story would have been the answer there, I don't know.

Still this was a quick read. Amazon shows it at only about 57 pages. So maybe, a longer book would have had a less choppy plot and deeper characters.

Did I like the book? Sorta. I've got really mixed feelings about it as a whole. Parts were good. Parts were sweet. Parts dragged. Would I read something else by this author? Maybe. I'm not sure. This was by no means a favorite, but perhaps I could read something else by this author and see how she develops over time.

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

Recommended to fans of novellas, westerns, romance

Rating - 2.5 stars. I've debated about this a lot. I usually don't round up when I give half ratings, but I don't feel that this one truly deserves a 2 star rating. So for Amazon purposes, it's 3 stars.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Four Weddings and A Kiss - A Review

Published - Thomas Nelson Books, June 2014
Title - Four Weddings and a Kiss.
Authors - Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon 

A collection of four western novellas that center around unlikely matches.

Spitfire Sweetheart - Mary Connealy
Maizy Place is a tomboy to the extreme. When she causes an accident that seriously injures neighbor Rylan Carstens, she decides that the only way she can make amends is become his caregiver. Neither expects to fall in love.
My thoughts - This was by far my favorite of the collection. I loved the dynamics between Maizy & Rylan. I thought that they were both great. Rating - 4.5 stars.

Love Letter to the Editor - Robin Lee Hatcher
Molly Everton is outspoken and hoping her father will give her the editor's position. Needless to say, she's shocked when the position is given to newcomer Jack Ludgrove. Molly then tries everything in her power to get him to leave town. Jack's not intimated. In fact, he likes the spitfire personality she tries so hard to hide. Before they know it, they are falling in love.

My thoughts - This one was really slow moving for me. I liked the characters, but I thought that the plot really just plodded along. Still it was cute. Rating 3 stars.

A Cowboy for Katie - Debra Clopton
Katie Pearl is afraid. She lost her father and her home in a recent tornado and she's trying to survive on her own. The townspeople think she's crazy. When drifter Treb Rayburn arrives in town, she hires him to help her build her house. She doesn't expect that this drifter could teach her a couple of lessons along the way.

My thoughts - I've read a lot of Debra Clopton's books before and have always really enjoyed them. They make me laugh. This one, I didn't connect with. It had a way more serious tone than I've come to expect from a Debra Clopton book. I think that this one was probably my least favorite of the four novellas. I easily found myself putting it down and not picking it back up. Rating 2 stars.

Courting Trouble - Margaret Brownley
Grace Davenport is either a killer or just very unlucky. When her third husband is found dead, she is arrested. Her young son hires attorney Brock Daniels to help her. Brock isn't interested in the case until he meets the beautiful young woman. Then he sets out to prove her innocence. But along the way, will these two lonely hearts find love?

My thoughts - I enjoyed this one. Not as much as the Mary Connealy one, but I did enjoy this one. I thought that Grace's son was absolutely precious! I loved how Grace and Brock came to fall in love. Rating 4 stars

Overall thoughts - I loved how these four novellas were tied together in the prologue and the epilogue with the pastors telling the stories of these unlikely couples. While this collection was not my favorite of these authors, I enjoyed it.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's Booklook Bloggers program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, novellas, Love Inspired Historicals

Overall rating - 3 stars.

Monday, August 4, 2014

June Bride - A Review

Published - Zondervan Books, May 27, 2014
Series - A Year of Weddings Novella
Author - Marybeth Whalen
Title - A June Bride

After breaking up with the one man who stole her heart, Wynne Hardy finds herself the star of a reality show, Rejection Connection. There she meets Andy and the two begin dating, soon becoming engaged. In the midst of all of the wedding festivities, Wynne reconnects with her ex-fiancee. Will she go through with her wedding to Andy or not?

This novella disappointed me. I liked the premise of it - she's a contestant on a reality tv show, yet I found that the characters were a bit under-developed.

First there's Wynne herself. She is obviously on the rebound, so I felt that she didn't have any business being on the show let alone planning a life with one of her "dates." Then there's Meredith. A star of a different reality show, I felt that she kept trying to steal what should have been Wynne's big day. Then the groom, Andy, I felt that he and Wynne didn't really know each other at all.

I think I probably would have enjoyed this one more if it'd been a full length novel and not a novella.

I've heard wonderful things about this author, and I'll probably try reading one of her full length novels at some point, but this particular novella was not for me.

I received this book for free from the BookLook Blogger's program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Year of Weddings, Love Inspired

Rating - 2 stars

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Bride - A Review

Published - June 24, 2014, Zondervan
Series - A Year of Weddings Novella
Author - Beth Wiseman
Title - A July Bride
Format - ebook
Find on Amazon

Alyssa Pennington is marrying the man she loves. In fact, she's walking down the aisle to her groom when the unthinkable happens. Her groom, Brendan Meyers, leaves her standing at the altar breaking her heart. Alyssa begins the process of returning wedding gifts and her dress, but even in the midst of her anger and hurt, she realizes that she still loves him. Brendan also is miserable without her. When another man begins to feel that Alyssa is free game now, Brendan is determined to fight for her. Can Alyssa trust him again?

I think that this was the first book I've read by Beth Wiseman. I really enjoyed this one. I loved the characters. And I loved how Brendan fought for Alyssa. I know I'll be looking up other Beth Wiseman books and add them to my ever growing to read list.

I thought that Alyssa showed wisdom when she asked to be left alone. Her heart needed a chance to heal before it could come back to Brendan. Yet I still loved Brendan. I loved how his family life played a huge part in who he was and how he was determined to make different life choices than what his family had done.

Overall, this was a quick read. I think I probably enjoyed it more than some of the others in this series.

I received a copy for free from BookLook Bloggers for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of romance, novellas, Love Inspired

Rating - 4 stars