Thursday, May 21, 2015

WHENEVER YOU COME AROUND by Robin Lee Hatcher



Charity Anderson harbors a painful secret of something that happened to her during college; a secret that causes her to avoid family and friends and her hometown of Kings Meadow.  She's now a successful writer and owns a home of her own away from Kings Meadow.  When her home sustains damage from flooding, she needs to find someplace quiet to write so she can meet her deadline.  With her parents on a summer European tour, she decides, reluctantly, to stay at their house, in Kings Meadow, while repairs are being made to hers.   Buck Malone had big dreams for college and a career, but all that changed when his father was diagnosed with cancer.  He decided to stay in Kings Meadow and care for his family.  Watching the pain his mother experienced in losing his father, he decides to remain a bachelor.  He loves Kings Meadow and sharing its beautiful landscape, with tourists, as a wilderness guide.  When Charity's dog causes injuries to Buck that lay him up for a while, she feels obligated to help care for him.  As they spend time together, they find themselves becoming fast friends.  Will it ever be more than that or will past secrets and bachelorhood win out?

This was a very good story and one that kept me interested the whole way through.  I enjoyed getting to know all the life-like characters as well as spending time in Kings Meadow.  Charity was interesting and I felt like she was a picture of what happens when you let an event define who you are.  It's easy, as a reader, to judge Charity, but I think we've all been there, to some degree.  Buck was just an-all-around great guy.  Fun to be with, gentle and kind, someone you could count on.  But as much as I liked the story, I found myself frustrated.  There is a build-up of one of the characters to the point where you expect something to happen, and it never does.   It felt anticlimactic.  You'll understand when you read the story.  I also felt the ending was to abrupt compared to the pacing of the story.  The message of how God forgives us and cares for us shines through.  If you've ever done something that made you feel like you didn't deserve God's love, then you would easily relate to Charity.  This is the second book in the series but can be read as a stand-alone. Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Kings Meadow and I would love to visit there again.

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

For information about this book or other books by Robin Lee Hatcher, I encourage you to visit her website at: http://www.robinleehatcher.com/
 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A HEART'S DANGER by Colleen Coble


Sarah Montgomery is trying to move on with her life, a life without Rand Campbell.  She knows Rand is determined to marry Jessica.  However, Sarah becomes concerned for Rand when she over hears Ben Croftner and Jessica plotting together.  To make matters worse things are very unsettled with the Indians in the area.  Will Ben and Jessica's plan work to keep Sarah and Rand apart or will Rand figure out the truth before it's too late?

This installment was full of action and excitement and I found myself turning pages rather quickly to see how it would all turn out, and at about 112 pages it didn't take me long.  But even though it wasn't lengthy, it felt very satisfying.  With each book, you'll find yourself really caring about these characters and what happens to them.  Since this is written in a serial type format, you'll want to read them in order and so far each book has picked up where the previous one left off.  I will say that this one is my favorite in the series so far and I'm really looking forward to the next one.

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

For more information about this book or other books by Colleen Coble I encourage you to visit her website at: http://colleencoble.com/

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

SECOND CHANCE HERO by Winnie Griggs


Nate Cooper was only trying to help his dying sister when he broke the law.  Something he deeply regrets and spent time in prison for.  While in prison, he learned about working with leather and making saddles.  Now he's out of prison and looking to start over again where no one knows his history.  A good friend encourages him to move to Turnabout, Texas.  Verity Leggett is someone who likes things safe.  She's a widow raising her daughter alone and dreams of opening a millinery shop one day.  In the meantime, she works as a nurse in her uncles clinic.  Nate and Verity get better acquainted when Verity's daughter, Joy, chases after a cat and runs in front of a stage coach.  Nate saves Joy but sustains injuries of his own.  As Verity cares for Nate, they find themselves drawn to each other.  But what will happen when play-it-safe Verity finds out about Nate's past?

I will start off by saying that the cover is what drew me to read this book.  It intrigued me and I wanted to find out more about the man on the cover.  This is the first time I've read anything by this author and I found her writing style easy to read.  The characters were flesh and blood type characters.  I really liked Nate.  His strength and character came shining through.  I loved how he dealt with Verity and Joy and even his dog, Beans.  Verity had a bubbly personality but I had a hard time connecting with her.  Sometimes she was so unfair in the way she acted, but I know we can be that way too.  The story moved at a steady pace with no major conflicts or catastrophes, which is nice.  I did feel like things were wrapped up a bit to quickly at the end.  It didn't really feel natural to me.  The verse listed at the beginning of the story was "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." - 2 Timothy 1:7.  I thought it went well with what Verity and Nate each dealt with.  This is part of a series but I read it as a stand alone and didn't feel lost.  If you enjoy an easy-to-read historical, you might want to check it out and see if Nate is a Second Chance Hero.

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

For more information about this book or other books by Winnie Griggs, I recommend you visit her website at www.winniegriggs.com/

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

TAKEN by Dee Henderson


Shannon Bliss is finally free after being abducted eleven years ago.  The first thing she does is find Matthew Dane, a retired Boston cop who's now a private investigator.  Her decision to look him up was based on a newspaper article about how he helped to find his daughter (who was once abducted) and how he helped her cope with the aftermath.  Although Shannon is now free, she must endure reliving many unpleasant memories while giving authorities the information they need to convict the Jacoby family, with whom she was forced to stay.  Matthew intends to be the buffer for her and he quickly surrounds himself with trusted friends and colleagues who will help make Shannon's transition a little easier.  Shannon trusts Matthew, especially with the journals she kept during those eleven years and Matthew knows, that though they're difficult for him to read, he must know what happened to her to understand how best to help her. As Matthew and Shannon work through each situation together, they find themselves drawn to each other and enjoying each others company, but they can never be more than friends, or can they?

This was a story I really did enjoy reading.  It wasnt an edge-of-your-seat type story but it did compel me to keep reading and find out Shannons story.  Shannon was an interesting person and one I appreciated getting to know.  Her inner strength and unwavering faith was something I admired given all she had been through.  I really thought Matthew was a great guy.  Especially the way he handled Shannon and her whole situation, but also how he was with his daughter. Hes someone you would want in your corner.  The story starts out where Shannon and Matthew meet and from there the story of Shannon slowly unfolds.  They form a great friendship but I would have liked to see that more fully developed.  One character that was really intriguing to me was Flynn. Youll know what I mean when you read the book. Although there was a conclusion, I found myself longing for an epilogue or just to have the story carried out a little further.  One thing that was nice was getting to catch up with the people you've come to know in Dee's most recent novels. I like books that are tied together yet not a series. Overall I thought it was a good story.

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

For more information about this book or other books by Dee Henderson, I recommend you visit her website at http://www.deehenderson.com/



Saturday, May 2, 2015

THE RANCHER TAKES A BRIDE by Brenda Minton


Oregon Jeffries came to Martin's Crossing a year ago to introduce her daughter Lilly, to her father, Duke Martin.  She just hasn't been able to find the right time.  When Lilly is hit by a car, she knows she must tell Duke the truth.  Duke Martin used to have a drinking problem.  That's why he doesn't remember Oregon or even the possibility of having a child.  A wife and child is something Duke never wanted or needed, until Oregon and Lilly entered his life.  Now he wants nothing more than to be a family.  Oregon is frightened and amazed with the way Duke is caring for her and Lilly.  A girl could get used to that, but she knows from her childhood experience that a normal, loving family just isn't possible, or is it?

This is the second book in the Martin's Crossing series and one I absolutely loved.  It's gentle pace made it a real pleasure to read.  I really enjoyed my trip back to Martin's Crossing and catching up with Breezy and Jake, Brody and Joe (the stranger in town).  The chemistry between Oregon and Duke sizzled.  The dialog and interaction between them is what I really like in a story.  Oregon is a sweet woman of strength.  One who could easily be a good friend.  Duke is a strong, loving, swoon-worthy hero.  Trusting the Lord is hard when the important people in your life have walked out or not lived up to their word.  Duke and Oregon will discover that the Lord is there with them even through the difficulties, just like He is for us.  I found myself highlighting lots of great quotes.  Here are two of my favorites: 

(Between Oregon and Duke)
“We do have to talk,” she insisted. He groaned, shaking his head. “Don’t look at me like that. When you look at me that way, talking is the last thing I want to do. That look, all sweet and sleepy, makes me want to do this.” She started to ask what he meant, but her words were cut off as he claimed her lips in a softly insistent kiss.

(The Pastor from his Sunday Sermon)
“Trust begins with accepting that God’s got this, no matter what this is. God’s got it. To be effective in prayer and to understand what we call ‘unanswered prayers, we have to comprehend that we see in bits and pieces, but God sees everything. 

You can easily read this as a stand-alone but I encourage you to read ‘A Rancher for Christmas’ first for a richer reading experience.  If you enjoy a good romance with a gentle pace, one that will help you escape dishes and laundry for just a little while, then I highly recommend a trip to Martin's Crossing.  Tell them I said hello.

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

 For more information about this book or other books by Brenda Minton, I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.brendaminton.net/

Monday, April 27, 2015

THE INN AT OCEAN'S EDGE by Colleen Coble


Claire Dellamare returns to Folly Shoals Island to help her father with an important merger, but from the moment she arrives shes overcome with strange feelings and even a panic attack.  To calm her nerves, she takes a walk along the beach where she witnesses a murder.  The police are skeptical, however, when they find no evidence.  Claire knows that when she was four years old she went missing from this very place and was returned a year later.  She wants to know what happened to her during that year.  Why can't she remember and why do the woods look so scary and familiar.  Luke Rocco is home on leave from the Coast Guard when he meets Claire.  They both love the water.  When Luke finds out what she witnessed as well as her long ago disappearance he wants to help.  He shares with Claire that his mother went missing the same time that she did.  Together they try to find out all they can to solve a very complicated puzzle.  Somebody however, doesn't want the truth to come to light and is willing to do anything to keep the decades old secrets buried forever.

Wow!  Talk about a tangled web of lies and deception.  The Inn at Oceans Edge will keep you on your toes as you try to unravel the truth along with Claire and Luke, but it will also keep you quickly flipping pages.  It was tightly written with so many twists and turns, that I admit I was stumped and not sure how it all fit together until the very end. To me, thats great writing!  Usually I have an inkling but not with this story.  The characters were all very interesting, although I had a hard time liking Claire, in the beginning.  I liked Luke and thought he was a good guy. Kate was also a likeable person.  I really admired her strength and fortitude in finding out the truth.  The theme of the story is best said in the author's note at the end, "I firmly believe that every challenge we face in life can make us better people if we let it. We have to accept the things that come from Gods hand and allow him to use them to mold and shape us."  Some of those things are hard to face.  But in my own experience, I can honestly say that I've done the most growing through difficult circumstances.  Okay, are you ready to visit the island and find out for yourself just what happened?  I highly recommend you go, just be prepared, the waters get rough at times but I promise your visit to The Inn at Oceans Edge will be well worth it.

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

For more information about this book or other books by Colleen Coble, I recommend you visit her website at http://colleencoble.com/

Monday, April 13, 2015

A HEART'S OBSESSION by Colleen Coble


Sarah Montgomery watched the man she loved ride away. She chose to stay and care for her dying father and little brother, Joel, instead of going with him. When her father finally passes, her wicked brother tries to force her to marry Ben Croftner. Sarah escapes with Joel and joins Jacob and Amelia as they head for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where Jacob (Rand's brother and fellow soldier) is assigned. It's also where Rand Campbell is stationed. Rand's feelings for Sarah run deep but he doesn't believe he'll ever see her again. When he meets the Major's daughter, Jessica DuBois, he is rather taken with her. Sarah was hoping for a happy reunion with Rand, but that was not to be. Sarah finds he's with Jessica now. Though heartbroken, she decides to stay at the fort and try to win Rand back. Things get complicated however, when Ben shows up and vows to have Sarah one way or another and Jessica will do whatever it takes to keep Rand for herself.

I enjoyed this installment much more than the first. The characters are better developed and I felt the reactions of Rand and Sarah were more realistic than in the first. The author does a great job of building the tension and I found I couldn't read fast enough. These installments are short, about 128 pages or less, so they are easy to read in a sitting or two, which I actually really like. It's done in a serial format, so be sure to read them in order. Also, the ending is left open, leaving you anxious for the next part. So saddle up and head on over to Fort Laramie. Though things are unsettled with the Indians, there just might be an uprising in the Fort. I’m looking forward to A Heart's Danger.

*This complimentary copy was provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review*

For more information about this book or other books by Colleen Coble, I encourage you to visit her website at http://colleencoble.com/

Saturday, April 11, 2015

WANTED: ROYAL PRINCESS WIFE AND MOTHER by Anna Dynowski

Sofia Burska is just a normal young woman working as a journalist. She really needs a big story though to gain a promotion to help pay off her mountain of school loans. Her boss decides to give her the assignment of going to Mondoverde to meet with Prince Stefano and get an exclusive story. Prince Stefano Graziani knows who he is and accepts his royal responsibilities, with God's help, of caring and ruling the people of Mondoverde. Knowing it's time to marry and produce an heir has caused him great anxiety. He wants to marry for love but knows that that's impossible, until he meets Sofia. Stefan is immediately taken with Sophia but she's a reporter and Stefan doesn't like or trust reporters. Sophia has never met a man quite as handsome and charming as Stefano. The problem is, he's a prince and she's a commoner. Nothing can ever be between them, or can it?

I loved this story with its charming characters and fairy tale type storyline. You'll find yourself quickly immersed in the lives of Sophia and Stefan. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each of them as well as the Graziani family. Though they are royalty, they are a God-fearing family you just enjoy spending time with. Stefan is a swoon-worthy hero. Strong, gentle, romantic – yep – all the things you want in a hero. Sophia was really a great gal to get to know. She was down-to-earth with a genuine sweetness about her that just made you want to be her friend, even if I did want to shake some sense into her sometimes. The romantic tension between them absolutely sizzled, which I loved! Though Sophia and Stefan were believers, they struggled with many of the same issues we struggle with, which I appreciated. We learn that God is always with us so we need not be afraid, that’s encouraging! You will love the ending and find yourself longing for the next installment. Really this story would make a great Hallmark movie. If you enjoy a good romance, one that will carry you away from chores you really don't want to do anyway, then I would highly recommend a trip to Mondoverde. I enjoyed my visit and can't wait to go back.

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

For more information on this book or other books by Anna Dynowski, I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.annadynowski.com/.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

VINES OF ENTANGLEMENT by Lisa Carter


Laura Mabry's life didn't turn out the way she dreamed. She's now raising her son alone, after her husbands death and running her little shop called Tapestries Needleworks.  While out one evening running her dog on the Greenway Trail close to her house, her dog sniffs out a dead body.  If that's not trauma enough, the policeman they send to the scene is none other than Jon Locklear; the only man Laura's ever loved and hated.  Jon has spent a lot of years trying to purge Laura from his mind.  Now he finds himself trying to protect her and her son.  Truth and lies, murder and mayhem are all apart of Mimosa Grove, North Carolina.  Can they unravel the truth and figure out whose behind the murders before Laura and her son become the next victims?

Vines of Entanglement is the perfect title for this story.  You'll find within its pages, lies, deceit, anger, hatred and murder but you'll also find love, encouragement, hope, forgiveness and a God who is with you through everything.  The characters were very complex and fully fleshed out.  I did get a bit frustrated with Laura and Jon, but like us, they had to learn some hard lessons.  The author did a good job keeping you guessing who was behind all the treachery, which I always enjoy.  A quote about the book from the authors website sums it up very well, No matter how fast you run, the past has a way of catching up with you.  If you enjoy romantic suspense, loaded with twists and turns, I recommend Vines of Entanglement.

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

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

 


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