Friday, August 19, 2016

THE LOYAL HEART by Shelley Shepard Gray

After the Civil War, Robert Truax is determined to keep the promise he made to his comrade, Phillip Markham.  The promise that he would look after his beautiful wife, Miranda, should anything happen to him.  When he receives word that Miranda is experiencing difficulties, he heads for her home in Galveston, Texas.  He’s surprised to learn how dire things really are.  Phillip’s name has been soiled by rumors that he was a traitor and now everyone is shunning Miranda because of it.  On top of that, she is receiving cruel, threatening letters.  Miranda is overwhelmed emotionally and at the end of her rope.  Robert doesn’t understand how the town (as well as Phillip’s mother and sister) can treat this beautiful, gracious lady so badly.  He vows to protect her and change her reputation.   But Robert’s simple promise to Phillip becomes much more difficult when he finds himself attracted to Miranda.

What a wonderful story!  From beginning to end you will find yourself entranced with it’s intriguing characters and rich history.  It was one of those stories that when you have to put it down, you find yourself thinking about it until you can pick it up again.  I like how the author allowed us to get to know Phillip and see the camaraderie, and closeness, between him and the guys in his unit.  They had each other backs both in the war and after.  Robert Truax was someone who thought very little of himself but truly had the heart of a hero.  I actually felt that way about the other guys too.  They were very endearing and realistic.  Miranda Markham was someone I admired.  I can’t imagine going through all she went through.  I  liked that we got to to see this gracious lady’s not-so-gracious moments and how the Lord cared for her in several different ways.  That’s encouraging to those dealing with difficult situations.  Watching the spark between Robert and Miranda turn into a flame is so satisfying and loaded with great anticipation.  There is actually a secondary story going on between the sheriff and Miranda’s maid, which was fun.  I didn’t want it to end.  A Loyal Heart is a complex story of the post Civil War era that’s loaded with unforgettable characters who quickly find their way into your heart.  It’s a tale you’ll find yourself thinking about long after you close the book.  Looking forward to the next story in this series.

*This complimentary copy was provided by Zondervan through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

A couple favorite moments:

“I’m sure we’ll take care of everything in time, ma’am” he replied, his voice gentle.  “And don’t you worry none.  Fact is, I don’t need very much at all.  Why, I’d bet a three-cent piece you’ll hardly know I’m here.”  When he left the room to find her housekeeper on his own, she sat back down.  As she sipped the rapidly cooling tea, Miranda knew one thing for certain.  it was extremely unlikely that she would forget Robert Truax was there.

“It’s going to be all right Miranda,” he murmured as he approached her.  “You are not alone any longer.  I will not leave you to face everything by yourself,” he said as he carefully wrapped his arms around her.  “I, too, have suffered, but I got stronger.  You will get stronger too” he whispered as he brought her into his embrace and held her close.

For more information about this book or other books by Shelley Shephard Gray I encourage you to visit her website at

Friday, July 22, 2016


FBI agent Ethan Gunn has been working undercover for a year now trying to gain enough evidence to bring down a big trafficking ring of which Veronica (Roni) Spencer is supposedly a part of.  Roni owns a race-car track and is kidnapped when she discovers stolen vehicles in one of her garages.  Ethan is posing as one of the criminals and won’t stand by and watch his ‘boss’ murder this strong, very spunky woman but that might mean blowing his cover.  The FBI is convinced that Roni is involved with the trafficking but from all Ethan has seen she’s innocent.  Now the criminals and the FBI are out to get them both.  Someone has set Roni up with a pretty tight case against her and Ethan’s real boss thinks he’s gone rogue. It becomes a race against time and a fight for their lives as they try to figure out who’s behind the set-up.

Blindsided is one of those stories that keeps you turning pages from start to finish.  It seems like there is something happening on just about every page.  Roni is a strong leading lady with a big dose of spunk.  She does that to hide the real her from the world.  Ethan is a great leading man, strong yet tender, who doesn’t think much of himself because of where he came from. I loved watching these two together and seeing them grow and change throughout the story.  It made me think of how man looks on the outward but God looks on the heart.  There are twists and turns and honestly, I wasn’t sure who Ethan and Roni should trust.  I never did figure out who was behind the set-up until it was revealed.  I love that because it keeps you moving through the story to find out the answers.  If you enjoy a story that keeps you on your toes (and on the edge of your seat) then Blindsided is the book for you.  It is the second book in the Roads to Danger series but I didn’t feel lost at all not having read the first book.  However, it did make me want to go back and read the first book (Silent Night Pursuit)!  Her tagline is ‘writing higher purpose stories at high speed’ and I can assure you she did just that!  Highly recommended.

*This complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

A few favorite quotes:

I’ve been there.  When it was God and me, only.  He was always with me.  Sure, there were times I doubted it, but I know now He never left me.  And He hasn’t left you either, Agent Ethan Gunn.

"Stand back,” Ethan warned with a voice so menacing she pushed into the wooden walls to follow his order.  Where was her kind, protective Ethan she’d come to know and…care about?  “State your name, or I shoot,” Ethan said.  Roni didn’t get that kind feeling now.  But the way his arm kept her behind him, she did get the protective feeling.  That much hadn’t changed.  Knowing he stood before her calmed her even in the presence of someone who meant to harm her.

God was working in her.  He was marking her as His.  She stood exposed in the light, but for the first time in her life it didn’t scare her.  She hoped the people of her town would see God’s mark over the ones on her neck, but she also hoped her scars would actually welcome people around her, because scars were something everyone had in common.

For more information on this book or other books by Katy Lee I encourage you to visit her website at

Monday, July 11, 2016


Caron Hollister has spent her whole life doing what her father wanted her to do so she would win his approval and attention, even letting go of Kade Webster, a man she truly loved.  She also became a realtor and works in her father’s real estate firm in hopes she would one day partner with him.  Caron’s currently dating Alex Madison who she’s known forever and who her father thinks is the perfect guy for her.  When the unexpected happens, she quits her job and heads to Colorado to visit her friend Margo.  While there, Caron wins a destination wedding package, which would be exciting except she’s not even engaged to Alex.  While in Colorado she runs into Kade who now owns his own realty company.  He’s participating in the Colorado Springs Tour of Homes and wants to make a big impression.  Everything is going well until his home stager can’t do the job.  Kade knows Caron Hollister is the only one who could pull it off and though it would be hard to be around the girl he still loves, he calls to offer her a temporary job.  Caron accepts his offer with the intention of having a business only relationship. But spending time with Kade has her emotions all in a whirl and questioning everything concerning her relationship with Alex. 

Almost Like Being in Love is another great destination wedding story.  I love how this book was connected to the first one in that Caron Hollister is the sister of Logan Hollister.  It was great to meet up with familiar characters again.  Beth Vogt has a real talent for weaving a wonderful story filled with humor, heartache, romantic tension as well as some good life lessons.  You’ll find a lot of family problems and a lot of complacency but you’ll also find hope and encouragement.  There were times in the story that I just wanted to give Caron a good swift kick in the be-hind.  I didn’t understand her choices but I also know that I’ve never had to deal with what she did.  I appreciated getting to know her friends Margo, Mitch and Lacey and catching up with her sister-in-law, Vanessa, all of whom helped her work through things.  The author gives you a full-on view of Caron and Alex as well as Caron and Kade and allows you to ‘feel’ the difference between each relationship, which was very insightful and just plain good writing.  I loved how the character’s faith determined their steps but just like us, they sometimes questioned what God was doing.  I must say, that the ending exceeded my expectations and made the story all that much better. Beth K. Vogt is one of my favorite authors.  Her writing is rich, realistic and refreshing; like a cold drink on a hot day.  

*This complementary copy was provided by Howard Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

For information about this book or other books by this author I recommend you visit her website at

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Jana Landowski is a freelance photojournalist and single mom.  She’s been hired by a magazine to travel to Mondoverde and do a story on Prince Lorenzo, also known as the brooding prince.  She’s supposed to show the world, through pictures, who the Prince really is.  Prince Lorenzo pours himself into his prize horses and avoids anything ‘royal’ and hates being in the limelight.  He has a lot of female admirers but Prince Lorenzo isn’t interested in his royal responsibility to marry.  When Jana shows up at Mondoverde both Lorenzo and Jana are surprised to see each other.  They have a bit of a history together but it’s that history that causes sparks to fly between them.  Lorenzo vows this woman, though he’s very attracted to her,  will not get under his skin, again.  Jana can’t believe how handsome Lorenzo is and is drawn to him but he knows all about her one big mistake and can’t forget it.  Being with him would definitely be a fairytale come true but he isn’t looking for marriage and she isn’t princess material.  

I have fallen in love with Mondoverde and it’s royal family.  Each book has been a royal treasure to read and that includes this latest installment.  I love the family and most especially the the parents, so wise yet down-to-earth.  It was fun getting to know Prince Lorenzo better.  He’s really a great guy who was dealing with hurt he had been harboring.  Jana experienced some big hurts growing up that caused her to make bad choices that changed her life forever.  Watching these two deal with all their feelings and emotions was encouraging.  I appreciated that although they had faith, they still questioned what the Lord might be doing. Don’t we do that too?  To me, that made these characters very realistic.  Also the fact that just because you’re royal and have everything you want, doesn’t mean you’re happy.  This is a fun story but it also dealt with some very serious and relatable subjects like self-doubt, drinking, forgiveness and trusting the Lord, just to name a few.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good adult fairytale with a few life lessons thrown in.  Each of the stories in this series can be read as a stand alone but I think it’s best enjoyed if you read them in the order they were written.  So…are you looking for a summer get-away?  Why not visit Mondoverde and check out what the royal family is up to?

*This complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Some favorite quotes:

She genuinely didn’t think she had it in her to love anyone.  Just look at her parents.  What a fiasco their marriage turned out to be.  Just look at her own past.  One mistake carry long-term consequences.  Some things, like, maybe, screwing up one’s life, though completely forgiven by God, would not be so easily overlooked by…others.

He [Lorenzo] made a commitment, there and then, to pray for God to raise His right hand of healing toward her [Jana] and pour down upon her pain His healing and restoring balm.  And heal her memories.  All of the ugly, hateful memories.  God did not design their physical bodies to live with anger or bitterness or resentment.

“We sizzle when we are together.  We always have.”  “Sizzle.”  Jana snorted the word.  “Sizzle means nothing.”  “Tell that to God.”  Incredulity crossed her countenance.  “Excuse me?”  “Cara mia,” Lorenzo began, trying to tamp down his growing alarm.  Would she be snatched from him again?  Never!  “Allow me to explain.”  “Please do,”  Jana invited him, a dry note to her tone.  “The Almighty, He created sizzle.”

For information on this book or other book by Anna Dynowski please visit her website at

Monday, June 6, 2016


Kayla Stanford needed protection so her father hired Boone Wilder.  Boone is not real excited about looking after the politician’s flashy daughter who seems to have a penchant toward trouble.  When a threat occurs on her life, Boone takes Kayla back to the Wilder Ranch where he, his partner, Daron McKay, and his family can keep a close watch on her.  Kayla is a city girl and doesn’t want to be at the ranch but she soon finds herself enjoying Boone’s family and even the ranch activities.  As she helps out, Boone begins to see another side of her.  Although they are very drawn to each other, past experience causes each of them to guard their heart.  Will they learn that sometimes there is something more important than guarding ones heart?

This was a great addition to the Martin’s Crossing Series.  I enjoyed returning to the familiar place and seeing, again, folks I’ve come to know.  The Wilder family was fun and very protective of one another.  Boone has known the Martin’s all his life and you see his interaction with Brody Martin, Kayla’s half brother.  That was fun. Boone deals with guilt as well as a wound left behind from his Military service.  I thought that was well done.  Kayla also deals with hurt from the past that makes her bitter. It was interesting watching these two deal with each other.  Boone’s mom is a sweet, wise woman and it was sweet to see how she handled and influenced both Boone and Kayla.  There was a bit of a danger which I thought was a good addition to the story.  The verse listed in the beginning fit very well.  Romans 8:35 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  This could be read as a standalone and you wouldn’t feel lost but reading them in order gives great continuity to the series.  I enjoyed my time in Martin’s Crossing and think you will too!

*This complimentary copy was provided by Harlequin through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Some Favorite Quotes:

“You have a dog.” He laughed.  “Yeah, I have a dog.  And I have Daron McKay.  Both of them shed, smell and leave messes.”

“She stepped into the circle of his embrace and he pulled her close.  It was a brotherly, comforting hug, but it included his strength, his scent, his warmth.  Before he let her go he kissed her near her temple.  She drew in a breath at the gesture, so sweet.  “You’re dangerous, Wilder.”  “No, ma’am, I’m about as dangerous as a newborn puppy.”  She laughed at that.  “Yes, exactly.  Everyone wants a puppy.”

Saturday, May 28, 2016

TRACES OF GUILT by Dee Henderson

Evie Blackwell loves her job as an Illinois police detective but what she really likes to do is solve puzzles.  That makes her the perfect person for heading up a new task force that will focus on unsolved crimes across Illinois.  She’ll be working closely with Sheriff Gabriel Thane in Carin County.  Gabe grew up in Carin when his dad was Sheriff and wanted to follow in his footsteps by upholding the law and protecting the citizens.  As they begin taking a closer look at the unsolved cases they discover that they’re just might be a connection.  As they work together, Gabriel and Evie begin forming a friendship that just might last longer then the end of the cases.

Traces of Guilt was a good story.  It had to do with cold cases so it was the mystery of what happened in those cases rather than any suspense.  I really liked the Thane brothers and am hoping that there will be other books to further their stories.  They’re a close knit family and well respected in their community.  I loved their camaraderie and the way they cared for each other.  Ann Falcon (from Full Disclosure) was very much a part of this story.  She’s good friends with the Thane family and also with Evie.  I really didn’t like Ann in Full Disclosure but found I liked her better in this story.  Gabriel and Evie want to find that certain someone and have the type of relationship that Anne and Paul Falcon have.  I felt like there was chemistry between Gabriel and Evie but nothing romantic developed.  That was disappointing to me.  However, the door is left open for something more in the future.  Actually, there was no romance to speak of in this story other than what was spoken about between Will Thane and Karen.  I really missed that aspect.  Overall it was a good story and would recommend it to those who have enjoyed this author’s most recent work.

*This complimentary copy was provided by Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

A couple of quotes:

“God loves my son, and He loves Karen.  I’ve come to accept the fact that God understands better than I ever will how to seek and save Will.”

“But just remember one thing.  You want peace with a man’s mother, you bring him to church every Sunday, and when the kids come along, you bring them too.”

For more information about this book or other books by Dee Henderson I recommend you visit her website at

Friday, May 13, 2016


 FBI Agent Alex Torres and Apache tribal police officer Pilar To-Clanny have a long history together of ups and downs.  After being gone for years, Alex returns to Arizona when young girls come up missing from New Mexico and the reservation in Arizona.  Alex wants to help find them but, because of his faith, he also wants to make things right with Pilar.  When Manny (a boy they both love) goes missing, Pilar and Alex reluctantly work together risking their lives to rescue the boy.  What they discover along the way is not only more sinister than they ever imagined but it will also change their lives forever.

I have read several Lisa Carter books and really like her stories and The Stronghold is no exception. I will say though that this was not an easy read because of the nature of the story.  It deals with some dark subject matters.  Some scenes are pretty intense and graphic which is why it’s difficult to read.  Aside from that, I thought the story was very good.  The dynamics between Alex and Pilar were interesting, complex and edgy.  Their history together was about great love and deep hurt which you learn about through a series of flashbacks.  Pilar felt unclean and unloveable because of what happened to her so she holds everyone at arms length. I appreciated seeing Alex’s faith in action and the ways he expressed it especially to Pilar.  But I also saw the way he still struggled with certain things.  To me, that’s real life.   God never promised we would never have trouble, pain or heartache but He did promise to walk through all of it with us.  For me, the beginning of the book seemed a bit confusing but when you get to the end of the story it all makes sense and the author brings everything together in a very cohesive way.

*This complimentary copy was provided by Abingdon Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

A favorite quote:
“The only thing I’ve managed to cling to, Pia, is the great love of God for his children.  A love that desires a real relationship.  The kind of relationship that offers a choice.  To love or not to love.”  Alex’s chest heaved.  “And not to love Him, I realized, was the first step on the path toward evil.  Because real love, like His, loves enough to let us choose Him or the darkness.  To make our own mistakes.  But He’s also there to pick up the pieces of our brokenness when we cry out to Him.”

For more information about this book or other books by Lisa Carter, I encourage you to visit her website at

Thursday, May 5, 2016

CLOSE TO YOU by Kara Isaac

Allison Shire thought she had found her happily ever after, that is until she finds out her husband already had a wife she knew nothing about.  In an effort to escape the whole ugly situation, she travels to New Zealand to work as a tour guide, guiding Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans to the well know sites from the movies.  Jackson Gregory was at the top of his game.  He was about to make it big in business and had the girl of his dreams, that is until she left him to be with his biggest competitor, taking with her all his business secrets.  Left with nothing and feeling responsible for losing his investors money and wanting to someday return it to them, his only chance seems to be with his great uncle who has money enough to invest in another of his ideas.  In order to do that he volunteers to be his uncle’s assistant spending three weeks trying to convince him he’s a total Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan.  The problem? He doesn’t have a clue about any of it.  When Allison and Jackson first meet sparks fly.   She pegs him for a fake right away but as they continue to get thrown together on various outings, they begin to see a different side of each other.  The attraction between them is strong but both have things they have to get past.  Will they be able to work through those things and perhaps find something neither of them expected?

This was such a great story and I enjoyed every minute I was involved in it.  There was lots of great humor (which I love) but there was also a seriousness about it that dealt with real-life issues like love, loss, guilt, anger and family relationships, just to name a few.  There were a lot of things relating to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit which I was not familiar with because I’ve never read the books or seen the movies (I know, I know).  However, I didn’t feel like that was a distraction at all from the story itself.  I loved getting to know Allison and Jackson and seeing how they each grew and changed throughout the book.  I appreciated Jackson’s great uncle and how he handled Jackson and the whole trip with wisdom and love.  One thing I really wished was that there would have been an epilogue.  I longed for just a little more but that’s partly because I hated to see it end.  This is the author’s debut novel but it sure didn’t read that way.  If you enjoy books by Jenny B. Jones then I definitely think you should give Kara Isaac a try and keep this “Close to You” until you finish.  Loved the cover, loved the story, highly recommended

*This complimentary copy was provided by Howard Book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

A couple memorable quotes:

Allie pressed the phone against her ear, leaning her head against the leather seat.  “What if I’m not supposed to be doing this?  What if I’m messing up God’s plan?” Kat laughed. “You can’t mess up God’s plan.  He’s a whole lot bigger than that…”

But you changed me.  You helped me understand that God doesn’t want me to live a life that’s defined by my mistakes.  And I’m so grateful for that.”

For more information about this book or other books by Kara Isaac I encourage you to visit her website at

Book I've Been Reading...

Sherry's bookshelf: read

Almost Like Being in Love
Wanted: Royal Princess Miracle Bride: Royal Hearts of Mondoverde Series, Vol. 3
Her Rancher Bodyguard
Traces of Guilt
The Stronghold
Close to You
Protecting Her Daughter
The Goodbye Bride
The Rancher's First Love
Reclaiming His Past
Keeper of the Stars
Cold Shot
Mermaid Moon
Thin Ice
Buried Secrets
Murder at Black Lake
Christmas With Miss Austen
Falling Like Snowflakes
Married 'til Monday
Second Chance Hero

Sherry's favorite books »