Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday Scribbles Vol 2.17

Welcome my reader friends to the last day of 2016. I know I've been remiss in not having a Saturday post since September. But today, I have one for you.

2016 has been a whirlwind. I'm looking at the calendar and I still find it hard to believe that the year is over. It seems like we just started this year yesterday. This has been an interesting year to say the least. For months, we were watching a crazy election season happen. I saw a few wonderful movies - Captain America, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (twice), and Star Wars: Rogue One. My Mary Kay business has done pretty well for itself this year. I think I had more parties booked this year than I've had in several years. And, of course, I read a lot.

Speaking of reading, I'm making some changes to what I'll review. Somehow, this year, I found myself in a serious reading slump. This slump lasted for months. And honestly, the cause for it was that because of all of the titles I kept requesting to review, I wasn't finding any joy in my reading. Even when these were books that I wanted to read. So I've got a plan. I will still review. But I'm going to cut back. I won't request titles EVERY time I get an email from the publisher with available titles. One of the publishers allows me to have as many out as I would like as long as I can get the reviews up within that month. So if I see 5 titles available to review, I'm only going to select one. For three of the other publishers I review for, I may not request a title every month. I have also made the decision to not accept any new author requests right now. This may include my saying no to being on launch teams, or something like that. Because I want reading to be fun. I don't want it to feel like it's something that I have to do. Over the course of a two-week period, I read the entire Selection series by Kiera Cass, because I wanted to read it. I wasn't reading it to review it, but for fun.

There's going to be a few minor changes to my blog as well. Yes it will still be structured the same way. Book related posts M-F, Top Ten Tuesday, and Saturday Scribbles. But I'm not going to do Saturday Scribbles or Top Ten Tuesday every week. For the Scribbles, I'm hoping to have one a month, maybe more. I'm only going to do the Top Ten when I like the topic.

So whatever 2017 brings for you, I hope that it will be a great year!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Silent Songbird - A Review

Published - November 2016, Thomas Nelson
Author - Melanie Dickerson
Title - The Silent Songbird
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Goodreads):
Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost. Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village. To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage. Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant. Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne? 

My Thoughts:
Loosely based on the fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, Melanie Dickerson brings readers another delightful, medieval romance. One of the things that I loved about this book is that it is connected to The Merchant's Daughter. Sure, it's set in the same fictional world as the author's other fairy tale retellings, but this one is a sequel to the Merchant's Daughter. As with any of the books in this series, this one stands alone.

I loved Evangeline from the moment that she appeared in the book. I loved how she was determined to prove that she could in fact pretend to be a servant. She tried so hard. In some ways, it was rather comical. I also thought that Wesley was almost too perfect. I'd guess his biggest flaw was his anger. But even with that, the book was very enjoyable. I'm eager to see where the author takes the reader in her next fairy tale novel as well as which fairy tale will be retold. 

I received the Kindle version of this book for free from the publisher as part of the Booklook Bloggers program. I was asked to give my honest opinion about the book, which I have done. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of fairy tales, young adult, Melanie Dickerson, Jessica Day George

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

For the Record - A Review

Published - December 2016, Bethany House Publishers
Series - Ozark Mountain Romance Book 3
Author - Regina Jennings
Title - For the Record
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Betsy Huckabee dreams of being a reporter for a newspaper bigger than her uncle's paper. But the bigger papers don't seem to be interested in the news coming out of Hart's County. So she decides to try something new. She starts writing a fictionalized serial based in part on the new deputy. She figures no one in Pine Gap will ever know. Deputy Joel Puckett never wanted to leave Texas. But the only way to keep his badge is to be a lawman in Pine Gap. He soon realizes that there are masked marauders testing his patience and skills. Add into the mix a sassy journalist determined to make a name for herself, Joel soon has his hands full. But as he gets to know Betsy, he knows she's hiding something. Will her secret stories tear them apart or bring them together?

This book was delightful! I remember first meeting Betsy when she was a child in one of the author's other books. I couldn't wait to see her grow up and fall in love.

Betsy is spunky. She's determined. She's a bit unconventional. But she's got a good heart. And I loved how she interacted with Joel. Even to the point that she was beginning to confuse real life with her fictional hero. I loved how she tried to make things right when she realized what she'd done to Joel. Joel is perfect for Betsy. He has a way about really seeing her that I loved.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, full of witty banter, and just very uplifting. I didn't have to think as I read this book.

I received complimentary copies from both the author to promote and the publisher to give my honest opinion. I passed one copy on to one of my family members. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Regina Jennings, Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, December 5, 2016

Best Christmas Gift Ever - A Review

Published - October 2016, Worthy Books
Author - Melinda Rumbaugh
Title - Best Christmas Gift Ever
Format - board book
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
In this festive VeggieTales book, the Veggies are celebrating Christmas -- decorating the tree, singing carols, and exchanging gifts. But even though it's so much fun to give and receive presents, the Veggies all know that the greatest gift of all was God's gift of Jesus, his Son. Children will love the colorful art featuring their favorite Veggie friends. Parents can use this book to introduce little ones to the reason we rejoice at Christmastime -- Jesus' birth. Ages 2-5.

My thoughts:
This book was super cute. I've always loved Veggie Tales, and reading one of the books was a joy for me. In fact, as I was reading it to with my friend's daughter, she kept telling me that she liked this book. This little one is 2 and a half. She is the perfect age for this book. It's very bright and engaging. Plus, it's simple. 

I received this book for free as part of the First Look Blog program in order to give my honest opinion of it. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of VeggieTales, parents of young children

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Where Two Hearts Meet - A Review

Published - October 2016, Revell Books
Series - Prince Edward Island Dreams Book 2
Author - Liz Johnson
Title - Where Two Hearts Meet
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He's also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he's falling in love with the island's red shores and Caden's sweets. When Caden discovers Adam isn't who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he's writing could do more than ruin the inn's chances for survival--it might also break her heart.

My Thoughts:
When I met Caden in the first book, I wanted to know more about her. So when I saw that her story was going to the be the next book, I was thrilled. 

I have to admit that this one was hard for me to get into. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it, just that I had a hard time getting into the book. Still as the book went along, I was swept away into the beauty of both the story and the setting of Prince Edward Island.

I enjoyed getting to know both Caden and Adam. I loved seeing what came out of Caden's kitchen and watching Adam fall in love with her.

I'm looking forward to the third book in the series. 

I received a complimentary copy of the book as a part of the Revell Reads blogger program. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. 

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Susan May Warren, Julie Klassen, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Storm - A Review

Published - November 2016, Revell Books
Series - Stone Braide Chronicles Book 3
Author - Bonnie S. Calhoun
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
Now that Glade, Selah's protecting force, is gone, the hunt is on to capture her. Selah has survived the forces of both man and nature to reunite her family. But her happiness is short-lived as they are forced into a barren world of volcanic ash that conceals the storm boiling beneath. The clock is ticking and Selah's abilities are growing--along with the list of those out for her blood. Selah feels unworthy of her status as a novarium and is tortured by the knowledge of lives lost to protect her. Her physical and mental abilities will tempt her to be reckless, but she must learn to wield such power responsibly. Time is running out as more lives are tragically cut short and the search for the Third Protocol takes Selah into lands that have fallen into legend. Can Selah follow the trail of ancient artifacts and finish the quest? Or have she and her companions pinned their hopes on nothing more than a fanciful story?

My Thoughts:
I read book 1 when it came out. Then somehow forgot about book 2. So when book 3 showed up as a title I could select to review, I jumped at it. Though I knew I needed to read book 2 first.

After renting the second book from the library and finishing it, I dived into this one. This one picked right up where the second one left off. I liked Selah from the beginning of the series. One of the best things was watching her grow and develop in this one. She's learned to control her powers. I also loved how she learned to trust others. Her journey isn't easy, and she needs all of the assistance that she can get.

I still don't have a clear understanding of Landers and what makes them so unique. That could be because I read this one so quickly that I may have missed something.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Revell Reads blogging program. I was asked only to share my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of dystopian fiction, young adult

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, November 21, 2016

Berenstain Bears Love One Another - A Review

Published - October 2016, Worthy Publishing
Author - Mike Berenstain
Title - Berenstain Bears Love One Another
Format -  board book
Find on Amazon

Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear help Mama bake berry muffins for a neighbor. When the cubs ask for some, Mama tells them that they are for the neighbor. The cubs then learn about ways to show they love each other.

This was cute. I love these little lessons that the cubs learn in these books. I loved the way the the cubs figured out ways to show they love each other. This book was very brightly illustrated and engaging. I read this book to my best friend's little girls, and it's simple enough that both of her early readers are able to read a few words of it.

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

Recommended to fans of the Berenstain Bears, parents of young children

Rating - 4 stars

Friday, November 18, 2016

Flash the Donkey Makes New Friends- A Review

Published - October 2016, Tyndale House
Author - Rachel Anne Ridge
Title - Flash the Donkey Makes New Friends
Format - hardcover
Find on Amazon

A stray donkey enjoys collecting random things. When he is injured, he is taken in by a chicken, a goat, and a pig. Once there, he fixes their pancake machine and soon finds not only a home but a name as well.

This book is super cute. I loved the way that the animals took Flash and adopted him. I also love the lessons that this book teaches about compassion and being kind to others. I read this book to my best friend's little girls and they loved it. Since I gave it to them, I've seen that it is a frequent one that they pull out to read.

I received this book from the publisher to share my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to parents of young children, teachers, anyone who enjoys picture books

Rating - 4 stars

Fatal Frost - A Review

Published - November 2016, Bethany House
Series - Defenders of Justice Book 1
Author - Nancy Mehl
Title - Fatal Frost
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
Mercy Brennan followed in her father's footsteps in a law enforcement career, but she has no interest in any other connection to him. A U.S. Marshal in St. Louis, Missouri, she's assigned to a joint task force with the St. Louis PD that puts her back into contact with her father and in the sights of St. Louis's most powerful gang.
When the gang has reason to believe Mercy has possession of some highly sensitive and incriminating information, her boss assigns Mark St. Laurent--a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until they can guarantee her safety. Initially unaware of the danger she's in and uncomfortable working with Mark, Mercy's frustration escalates when she discovers the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark. It isn't until a freak ice storm hits, stranding them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office, that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy closing in to put their lives at imminent risk. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?

My Thoughts:
I've kept seeing the books by Nancy Mehl appear in my book recommendations on Goodreads, but until this book, I'd never read anything of hers. I knew going in to expect a romantic suspense book, but beyond that, I didn't know what to expect. 

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. This book started off fast and kept going. The action alone kept me interested. 

I did find that the characters didn't seem to be quite as well developed as I'm used to, but that could be that this is the first in a series. I don't know if these characters will make appearances in the rest of the series or not.

Overall, this was a fast and enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher as Bethany House's blogging program. I was asked only to give my honest opinion about the book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Lisa Harris, Irene Hannon, Lynette Eason, romantic suspense

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Newton & Polly - A Review

Published - September 2016, Waterbrook
Author - Jody Hedlund
Title - Newton & Polly
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

Before John Newton wrote the words to one of the world's most famous hymns, he was a young man trying to find his way. He's on his way to report to working on a ship when he hears the enchanting voice of Polly Catlett while she is caroling. He is instantly smitten and vows to win her heart. Polly is also attracted to John, but his disregard for the Christian life is a huge barrier to their romance. That and the fact that John can't hold a job. Will Polly be able to hold firm to her convictions even if it means giving up the man she loves?

I've heard a lot about John Newton's life growing up. In fact, the hymn Amazing Grace is one that is probably on my list of favorites. But I didn't know much about his early life.

This book pulled me in from the beginning. At the time that I received this book, I was in a bit of a reading slump, and nothing was holding my interest. Then this book arrived in my mailbox. It's been on my list for a long time as the author is one of my favorites. So I started reading it. Over the course of a weekend, I was in engrossed in John and Polly's story.

I never realized how exciting of a time that these two lived in. I also never knew exactly what sort of obstacles that God put in Newton's path to get his attention.

To say that I loved this book, would be an understatement. I loved it. But I think what I loved the most about it is the picture of grace that is portrayed throughout.

I received a complimentary copy of the book as part of the Blogging for Books program in order to share my honest opinion about the book. I was not required to like the book, only share my honest opinion of it. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Jody Hedlund, Lynn Austin, historical fiction, Amazing Grace

Rating - 5 stars

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Movie Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke & the Bookish.

Today's topic is about the movies. Well I did my a topic on the movies I can watch over and over again back in January 2015. You can read it here. So this time, I decided to focus on my favorite musicals.

1. Oklahoma - It's probably one of my all time favorites.

2. The Sound of Music - I can't say how often I've watched this one.

3. Take Me Out to the Ballgame - I grew up watching the Gene Kelly movies. This one combines my love of baseball with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra

4. Newsies - I've seen this one so many times that I can quote it. It's still one of my very favorite musicals.

5. The Harvey Girls - I also grew up on Judy Garland movies. I've seen almost all of hers, and this one is probably one of my favorites of hers.

6. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - Anytime that I watch this one, I just fall in love with it again.

7. West Side Story - It's not a happy musical, that's for sure. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I love this musical version of Romeo & Juliet. Did you know that the actor who plays Gideon in Seven Brides also plays Riff in West Side Story? Riff is a Jet in the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks.

8. Grease - Any list of movie musicals isn't complete without Grease. I still love it.

9. Fiddler on the Roof - I love the first half of the movie when it's lighthearted. The second half, not so much.

10. White Christmas - This is one movie I will happily watch any time of year.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cautious Maiden - A Review

Published - October 2016, Whitaker House
Series - Everstone Chronicles Book 4
Author - Dawn Crandall
Title - The Cautious Maiden
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents' New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet's own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance,Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust,and who to leave behind.

My Thoughts:
Having breezed through the first three books in this series this summer, I was pleased to finally get to Vance's story. I'd seen him as a minor character in the first three books, so I wanted to see how he'd develop when finally given his own story. I saw a lot of changes in him from book one to this one. And I liked what I saw him become. First he grew up. His life choices hadn't always been the best and he was rather selfish. In this book, he became a man his family could be proud of. I loved how he championed Violet. I loved how Violet realized that he was better than what he thought of himself.

Overall, I'd have to say that this series was very good. The books build on each other, and they do need to be read in order.

I received a complimentary copy of the Kindle book from the publisher in order to share my thoughts and opinions about the book. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Roseanna M. White, Julie Klassen, historical fiction

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Halloween Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke & the Bookish

Today's topic is about Halloween. It's a freebie one, so I decided to go with my favorite Halloween costumes, either that I've been or that I've seen others as.

Costumes I've been:
1. The 50's girl in the poodle skirt - I think is my standard go to costume for Halloween. It's simple and I don't have to do much to pull it off.

2. Medieval maiden - This was a fun costume for me. I loved the dress.

3. Clown - I was a clown once in college.

4. Donald Duck - My mom made this costume for my brother and I years ago. I remember wearing it in high school. Did you know the Village People had an encore appearance by Donald Duck in the song YMCA? Yup. A lip sync thing my sophomore year had me dressed up as Donald Duck for the group's YMCA.

5. Night Solution - Every year my Mary Kay unit has a dress as your favorite cosmetic item as a guest event. It's quite fun. And the Night Solution is by far my favorite product.

Costumes I've seen others as:
6. Jellyfish - A few years ago, my best friend's oldest daughter wanted to be a jellyfish. I've never seen anything that adorable.

7. Owl - My best friend is very talented. Her middle daughter wore this one and then last year, her youngest wore it. But it's super cute.

8. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz - I'm not sure who I saw in this costume or when I saw it, but the child looked absolutely adorable.

9. Storm Trooper - I've seen this one several times over the years. I must admit that I've always been impressed.

10. Dinosaur - I remember seeing a friend's little guy dressed as a dinosaur when he was just a little baby. It was so cute.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Royal Christmas Wedding - A Review

Published - October 2016, Zondervan
Series - Royal Wedding Series Book 4
Author - Rachel Hauck
Title - A Royal Christmas Wedding
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Five years ago, Avery Truitt met Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom. Five years ago, she fell in love. Five years ago, he broke her heart. Now, Avery's trying to find a coaching job as a volleyball coach. When she and her mother travel to Brighton to spend the Christmas season with her sister Susanna and brother-in-law, King Nathaniel. Susanna's pregnancy is helping to ease the sadness Avery has felt since her father's passing six months ago. Avery knows that she will have to see Prince Colin again. But she's not sure if her heart can take it. Prince Colin finds himself in the center of a centuries old tradition involving Cathedral City's Christmas Season, the Pembroke Chapel Bell, and the speculation regarding that he rang the bell to announce his engagement. Yet Colin's never really stopped loving Avery. Can he convince her that he's sorry for breaking her heart and to give him a second chance by marrying him on Christmas morning as the tradition dictates?

Ever since I read Once Upon a Prince, I have wanted Avery and Colin's story. I kept hoping that they'd end up together. Like the others in this series, I found this book to be utterly delightful.

I loved seeing how Avery has grown up from the teen she was in the first book to the beautiful, confident woman we see in this one. I also love how Colin readily admitted that he still loved her. While there were obstacles to overcome, I loved seeing how they both chose to follow their hearts.

This is by far a perfect conclusion to the Royal Wedding Series.

I received this book for free as part of the Booklook Blogger Program. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion.

Recommended to fans of happy endings, fairy tales, contemporary romance, Rachel Hauck, Becky Wade, Denise Hunter, Melissa Tagg

Rating - 5 stars

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wild Montana Skies - A Review

Published - October 2016, Revell Books
Series - Montana Rescue Book 1
Author - Susan May Warren
Title - Wild Montana Skies
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Summary (from Amazon):Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town. Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart. With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?

My Thoughts:
I've long been a fan of Susan May Warren's books. When she finished her Christiansen Family series at the beginning of this year, I was sad to say goodbye. But I knew that she'd have something new coming for her readers. This book combines action and adventure with romance. 

I'll admit that it was very different than her Christiansen Family novels, but different can be a good thing. In this case, it's a VERY good thing. Ben and Kacey have a history. Yet they have to put aside their past in order to save lives. But their past does make itself known in the present. I loved how these two finally got around to talking about what happened so many years ago. And that they weren't going to let anyone stand in their way again. 

I'm looking forward to seeing these characters again in the second book of the series, and to see who the next book will be about. I've got a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure.

I received this book for free from Revell as part of their Revell Reads Blogging program. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Susan May Warren, Becky Wade, Denise Hunter, contemporary fiction

Rating - 4 stars

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Waves of Mercy - A Review

Published - October 2016, Bethany House Publishers
Author - Lynn Austin
Title - Waves of Mercy
Format - paper, ebook
Find on Amazon

Anna Nicholson is spending time at the Ottawa Hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan to figure out where she wants her life to go after breaking her engagement. As she searches for answers about her past and her future, she meets a young seminary student who encourages her to ask questions. This young student is a close friend of Geesje de Jonge, one of the early settlers to Holland, Michigan. Geesje has been asked to write her story of leaving the Netherlands and arriving in Michigan. As she begins to write her story, she shares both her heartaches and happiness. Anna's young friend wants to have her meet Geesje simply because Geesje's story may help Anna through her struggles. What neither woman could expect is how closely their lives will become entwined.

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. This is one of those books that lingered after I finished reading it. I've read a lot of Lynn Austin's books over the years, my favorite being Eve's Daughters. This book reminds me a lot of Eve's Daughters in how rich it was.

For anyone wanting a historical romance, sorry, this one's not for you. There are layers upon layers to both Anna and Geesje's stories. And yes there is some romance, especially as Geesje shares her story. But what I loved about this book was how both women searched for answers. I loved how their journeys were similar in their searches. There was a depth to these characters that has been missing from the books I've enjoyed lately.

I received this book for free as a part of Bethany House's blogging program. I was not required to like the book, only to give my honest opinion of it. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Jody Hedlund, Laura Frantz, Joanne Bischof, historical fiction

Rating - 5 stars

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tangled Webs - A Review

Published - October 2016, Revell Books
Series - Men of Valor Book 3
Author - Irene Hannon
Title - Tangled Webs
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action--ready or not.

My Thoughts:
I was so excited to read this book. It's the final one in the series, and I've enjoyed seeing Finn as a minor character in the first two books. To actually be able to read his story and see him have his happily ever after was quite fun.

I read this book pretty quickly. The plot drew me in in the first few pages and kept me turning pages until the very end. I really think that I like the author's romantic suspense books better than her contemporary romance ones. 

As for the characters, I wanted to see how Finn was going to overcome the injury he'd suffered earlier in the series. I loved reconnecting with Mac and Lance. I loved how protective of Dana that Finn was. I also enjoyed seeing their banter back and forth as they fell in love.

I received this book for free as part of Revell's Revell Reads blogging program. I was not required to like the book, only to share my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, October 17, 2016

Heart Most Certain - A Review

Published - August 2016, Bethany House Publishers
Series - Teaville Moral Society Book 1
Author - Melissa Jagears
Title - Heart Most Certain
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Lydia King joined the Teaville Moral Society because of her father's debts and her mother's illness. She's not from the high end of society like most of the members, but her heart is in the right place. She's given one simple task - ask the town's wealthiest man to donate to the cause of the Teaville Moral Society. Plus she's hoping to impress the politician who is courting her. There's just one problem, Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town has refused her request. Multiple times. Yet he something in Lydia that tugs at his heart. He makes a deal with her, accompany him on three different missions of charity and he'll consider making a donation. But neither one could foresee what their actions mean to the town as well as their hearts.

My Thoughts:
This book was so different than the others that this author has written, but still just as good. For one thing, it was deeper than her others. I'll admit that I didn't find it to be the fluffy read I expected, but that's a good thing.

I remember meeting Lydia in the novella, Engaging the Competition. She was still in school in that novella. In this book, Lydia is grown up. She has a tender heart, but doesn't really understand being charitable until she meets Nicholas. As they go about their missions, Lydia has to admit some hard truths about herself. I loved the fact that the author didn't make it easy for Lydia. Nicholas, too, had to face some hard truths about himself and how others see him.

This is one book that while it is a historical romance, the romance actually took a back seat. It's been a while since I've seen that happen. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author as part of her team of influencers. All she asked me to do was to help get the word out about the book, and to honestly give my opinion of the book. She did not ask me to like the book, though I did enjoy it. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund Mary Connealy, historical fiction

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books Read Based on Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke & the Bookish.

Today's topic is about books that I've read based on the recommendation of someone else. That could be a fellow blogger, a friend, family member, etc.

1. Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer - I read this series based solely on the recommendation of several different friends. Friends who didn't usually read YA.

2. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins - During the wait for both Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows to come, I was in a quandary as to what to read next. Several of my Harry Potter friends recommended I try this series. So I did. Though I'll admit that I felt that I needed therapy after reading Mockingjay.

3. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott - Another series that was recommended to me from some of my Harry Potter friends. In fact, my friend Jamie was the one who recommended the series to me.

4. Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan - One of my long time friends talked me into this series AGES ago. I wasn't completely hooked until I got about halfway finished with book 3.

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth - Because a lot of my friends knew I'd read the Hunger Games (and enjoyed them), this series was constantly recommended to me. I put it off for forever, and finally rented the first book on audio once. Truthfully, I wasn't impressed.

6. Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter - This is one of those books that I kept seeing on various blogs and lists. Several of my blogging friends kept saying I'd enjoy it. Took me a while to actually get to it, but they were right. I did enjoy it.

7. In Good Company by Jen Turano - Multiple friends who read Jen's books kept telling me that I'd enjoy them as they're funny and cute. It took me until I this second book in the series appeared in my title to review listing before I was able to actually try her books.

8. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George - With my love of fairy tale retellings, I'm actually surprised that this one missed me. Several bloggers recommended it to me multiple times. I'm glad that I was able to finally get to reading it.

9. Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Ashfar - Biblical fiction isn't my favorite genres, but this book came recommended to me from several different blogging friends.

10. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin - One question I kept being asked by my reading friends was why hadn't I read this yet. Especially since I'd read several others of Sarah's books and loved them. I finally got around to it last Thanksgiving.