Sunday, September 18, 2016

THE RANCHER'S TEXAS MATCH by Brenda Minton


Tanner Barstow is an area rancher who is also Vice President of the Lone Star Cowboy League. He helps out the troubled kids who live at the Boys Ranch.  Macy Swanson finds herself in Haven when she becomes guardian of her nephew, Colby. Colby is currently living at the Boys Ranch trying to deal with the loss of his parents and accepting his Aunt Macy as his new guardian.  Macy is unsure whether she would be the right person to raise Colby or whether she’d ever fit in to the small community of Haven, since she came from Dallas.  Tanner and Macy are attracted to each other but Tanner thinks Macy will eventually take Colby and head back to Dallas.  But the more time Macy spends in Haven the more she’s feeling at home. Will Tanner be able to convince Macy that being a mom to Colby and staying in Haven just might be the best option, for both of them.

This was a very enjoyable story.  I love the idea of a ranch where troubled kids can go and learn some ranching skills and have folks that love them through their problems.  There are three different series having to do with the Lone Star Cowboy League.  There is the ‘Lone Star Cowboy League’, the ‘Lone Star Cowboy League: The Founding Years’ and ‘Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch’.  This book falls in the Boys Ranch series.  The books have connective threads so reading them in order is probably best, but that said, I still enjoyed this story without reading the other books in the series.  It did make me want to read the other books though.  I really enjoyed all the folks in Haven.  It’s a close-knit community where everyone helps each other out. Macy and Tanner were both great.  You could understand Macy’s hesitation about assuming the roll of mom and living in the house her brother and sister-in-law lived; that would be really difficult.  Tanner was a great guy but wasn’t really interested in a relationship, until Macy that is!  Although you kinda know how things might turn out with them, there are other things going on that remain unresolved and carry through to the next book.  I look forward to returning to Haven and catching up with all the happenings.

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

A couple favorite moments:

He didn’t know Macy very well, but he had to admire how she could calm a group of rowdy boys with a story  If he was being honest, there were other things to admire, things a man couldn’t help but notice.  He sure didn’t mind admiring or noticing.

“I know you’re afraid you can’t do this.  We all feel that way when we are looking a problem head-on and thinking that this is our future.  In time you come to a place where you realize you’ve survived it, and that, through it all, God made you a little stronger.”



Sunday, September 11, 2016

TWILIGHT AT BLUEBERRY BARRENS by Colleen Coble


Kate Mason has dealt with so many difficult things in her life recently.  Now the family farm she’s caring for doesn’t seem to be producing its usual crop of fruit.  With the need for additional income, she decides to fix up the small cottage on her farm and rent it out.  Although that won’t cover all the expenses, it will help.  Before she’s even done fixing it up, an unexpected renter comes along.  Drake Newman is now responsible for his two nieces since his brother and sister-in-law died.  Not believing the story local law enforcement is telling him, Drake, along with his nieces, head for Maine where he intends to find the truth about what happened to them.  Before he gets to town he runs across this cute little cottage and decides to stop and check it out.  Kate is thrilled when Drake wants to rent the place but then finds out he also needs a nanny to care for the girls while he investigates.  He hires her and sparks fly between them but there’s also an undeniable attraction.  Things become complicated though when Kate learns her uncle has escaped from prison and to make matters worse, a stalker is relentlessly pursuing her.  Kate and Drake are determined to find the truth and settle all these matters, but it won’t be easy with danger lurking around every corner.

Colleen Coble takes you on another thrill ride in Twilight at Blueberry Barrens.  This is the third installment in the Sunset Cove series and we once again find ourselves in beautiful Maine. Be prepared, however,  for a bumpy road, unexpected twists and turns and several nail-biting moments along the way.  I throughly enjoyed the fact that it was loosely connected with Denise Hunter’s Summer Harbor Series; that was fun.  You’ll find all the folks you’ve come to know from the previous two books as well as meeting Drake Newman.  I enjoyed getting to know him although I must say, at first I wasn’t sure I liked him, but as in real life, first impressions aren’t always accurate.  Kate is a lovable person and your heart goes out to her for all she’s been through, yet through it all, she has not become bitter, which I greatly admired.  Her faith remained strong, but like us, she questioned, at times, what God was doing.  The story was a great blend of suspense and romance and you are kept guessing, until the end, just how it all turns out; which I love.  I wish though, that there would have been an epilogue or just a glimpse into the future.  You could probably read this as a stand alone and enjoy it but I encourage you to read the previous two books first (The Inn at Ocean’s Edge and Mermaid Moon) not only because they’re good but it makes for a richer reading experience.

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

Some Favorite moments:

His hand came around her waist, and a shiver raced up her spine at his touch.  It took all her strength not to turn and shift closer.  What was it about this man that moved her?  she’d thought she was immune to attraction this overpowering.  For the first time she realized how strong physical attraction could be.

“I think your family has made you feel like you don’t deserve to be happy, to enjoy life and to be loved by others.”  …What good is life if you’re always turning away from a gift God wants to give you?  You think he’s like your real dad and will pull a bait and switch on you by offering you a blessing, then snatching it away at the last minute?”  She licked her lips and still didn’t look at him.  “Of course not.  I know God is always giving me blessings.”

He reached over and took one of her tightly clenched hands.  “Look at me.”  For a long minute he thought she wouldn’t meet his gaze, but she finally looked up.  “Is it your past illness that makes you afraid to live?  Every day is a gift, Kate.  None of us knows when one day is our last.  But that’s all the more reason to take hold of every day we're given and live it to the fullest.  That usually means risking yourself.” 

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



Monday, August 29, 2016

JUST A KISS by Denise Hunter


Riley Callahan has been in love with Paige Warren for years. Although they are best friends, he’s never even hinted at his real feelings. When it seemed like Paige was falling for his brother Beau, he decides to join the military to get away from the whole situation. He soon learns however, that Paige and Beau are no longer a couple. After his tour in Afghanistan is over, he plans to tell Paige exactly how he feels. But all that changes when he loses part of his leg. Paige deserves so much more than the broken man he’s become. His plan to put some space between them quickly derails when he finds out he’ll be recovering at Paige’s house. Paige is a born caregiver and loves the Callahan family. She’s looking forward to caring for her best friend and helping him get back on his feet. For all that’s happened, it seems like Riley is doing really well but as time passes Paige begins noticing that it’s more of an act than anything else. She’s also noticing that her ‘best friend’ feelings toward Riley are not so ‘best friend’ anymore. Both want more than friendship but will they have the courage to reveal their true feelings and the faith and strength to see where it takes them?

Just a Kiss was a wonderful conclusion to the Summer Harbor Series. Don’t get me wrong though, this was not easy read. My emotions were in turmoil watching Paige and Riley deal with all the things happening in each of their lives. The story touched of several subjects like PTSD, losing a limb, secrets, anger, rejection and hurt, just to name a few. I appreciated seeing how Paige, Riley and the rest of the family dealt with all these things and as in real life, it’s messy. I loved watching too, how they grew from their experiences. I admit there were times during the story when I wanted to smack both Riley and Paige but that’s good writing when the characters seem so real you want to do that! You’ll find out what finally happens with Aunt Trudy and the Sheriff. I really liked that each book had all the familiar characters. The ending was very well done but I found myself wanting an epilogue; just a glimpse of a few years down the road, but other than that, everything was just as I would have expected from a Denise Hunter book. I truly hated to see it come to an end! I am going to miss the Callahan's. You can always count on this author to bring you books that are full of life-like characters, great romantic tension and good life lessons. This book can be read as a stand alone but I would highly recommend you read the whole Summer Harbor Series. I'd like to say too, that the book covers were beautifully done!

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

A Couple Favorite Moments:

Their breath mingled between them. His heart kicked against his ribs, his good judgment evaporating in a flood of want. He lowered his mouth to hers one more time. Her lips were soft and yielding. Responsive. A thrill shot through him and he brushed her lips again.

“Don’t you think it’s about time you told her?” His eyes flew to Aunt Trudy. She was giving him one of those looks. Her lips tight, one of her sparse brows cocked at an angle. He made himself settle casually back in his seat. “Told her what?” “I may be old, but I’m not blind.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Don’t you give me that. I’ve watched you pine away for her for years. Watched you die a thousands while she was with your brother. Now’s your chance, young man, and you’re wasting it. You know you Callahan men only love once. It’s proven true for generations.”

For more information about his book or other books by Denise Hunter I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.denisehunterbooks.com.



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 http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

Friday, July 22, 2016

BLINDSIDED by Katy Lee


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 http://www.katyleebooks.com.



Monday, July 11, 2016

ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE by Beth K. Vogt


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 http://www.bethvogt.com


Saturday, June 25, 2016

WANTED: ROYAL PRINCESS MIRACLE BRIDE by Anna Dynowski


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 http://www.annadynowski.com.

Monday, June 6, 2016

HER RANCER BODYGUARD by Brenda Minton


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.”





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 »