Saturday, March 21, 2015

COAST GUARD COURTSHIP by Lisa Carter


Braeden Scott is a coast guard officer who loves his carefree lifestyle and his sailboat: 'The Trouble with Redheads'.  He's recently been assigned a post in a quaint little town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  It's an assignment he's not looking forward to, until he meets up with Amelia Duer.  Amelia has sacrificed a lot for her family; caring for her dad, keeping the family business going, as well as parenting her nephew, Max.  She's set aside her dreams for their sake.  When Braeden and Amelia first meet sparks fly.  She knows what coasties are like and she is not getting involved again.  Braeden knows red heads are trouble, as his boat name implies.  Marriage is not for him.  But as Braeden spends more time with Amelia, he begins to realize there is more to her than meets the eye.  He begins to picture hearth and home with this special lady.  He also begins to see why she loves this little village and the folks in it so much.  As Amelia spends time with Braeden she begins to see how Braeden cares and interacts with her and Max; his kind, gentle and teasing ways make her think that dreams maybe can come true.  She begins to realize he's not like the other coasties.   But troubled waters lie ahead.  Will their faith and relationship be strong enough to see them through?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  I felt like I was by the sea and could hear the waves crashing against the shore.  The folks you'll meet quickly find their way into your heart.  Braeden was my favorite kind of hero.  A self-confident guy with a heart of gold, yet not perfect.  Amelia was likable but very frustrating.  She had some real issues with self-esteem and fear, but as frustrating as Amelia was, I could totally understand why she was like that and easily relate to some of the things she dealt with.  I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction and romantic tension between Amelia and Braeden.  There were plenty of sigh-worthy moments.  Max is a boy who will definitely win your heart with his antics.  The story is a great reminder that we need to have faith instead of fear; trust that God knows best.  Alright then, grab your deck shoes and suntan lotion and sail away to Virginia's Eastern Shore and see for yourself, what the Coast Guard Courtship is all about.

*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 Lisa Carter, I encourage you to visit his website http://www.lisacarterauthor.com/


Friday, March 13, 2015

A HEART'S DISGUISE by Colleen Coble


Sarah Montgomery's life will never be the same. Her fiancĂ©, Rand Campbell, was killed in the war (or so she thought). She smiles and goes about her daily life but her heart is empty and so is her faith. Her father is dying and requests that she marry Ben Croftner because he would like to see her settled before he dies. Sarah thinks Ben is handsome but he's not Rand. After much contemplation, she agrees to marry Ben to please her father. Ben thinks he's won and he will finally have Sarah for his own. But Ben knows something Sarah and the rest of the town folks don’t. What will happen when the supposedly dead Rand shows up very much alive?

This was a good start to what will be a serial series of six installments. It's an updated version of her earlier work. This story takes place in Wabash, Indiana just after the civil war. You'll find within its pages, love, loss, betrayal and even danger. You get a feel for what it must have been like being home and thinking you've lost a loved one but not really knowing for sure. How do you move forward? Poor Rand didn't know what he was going to find when he finally returned home and then he finds out he was betrayed by a friend. I will say, that I felt like some of Rand’s reaction toward Sarah was a little too strong and just didn't seem to fit with my perception of him. A Heart's Disguise is only a little over a hundred pages so it's a quick read but it does make you want to grab the next installment right away to find out what happens next.

*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 this author, I encourage you to visit her website at  http://colleencoble.com/

Thursday, March 12, 2015

AN OCTOBER BRIDE by Katie Ganshert


Emma Tate wants to fulfill her dying fathers wish of walking her down the aisle. Having ended her relationship with her fiance, she's not sure how she'll do that. Then she runs into her long time good friend, Jake Sawyer. He suggests that he could fulfill the roll of her husband and gives her a ring. When they announce their engagement, her parents are thrilled. As they move forward planning an October wedding, they begin to experience a few problems; the Bunco Babes, small town gossip but mainly their true feelings for each other. Will they follow through with their fake wedding for the sake of Emma's father or will it become something real?

What a great story. I loved getting to know Emma and Jake and all the secondary characters. The story itself was really cute and one that was hard to put down because the town and people are so endearing. You'll experience with Emma the emotions of knowing your father has cancer. You'll find yourself smiling when Emma finds out what Patty learned at Bunco. Although this was a novella, it was completely satisfying. I would, however, have loved this to be a full-length novel. This is the third book I've read by this author and have really come to love her easy writing style. She paints realistic characters that just capture your heart, and that, along with witty dialog, makes her stories top-notch and ones that I would highly recommend, including An October Bride.

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



Sunday, March 8, 2015

REDEMPTION IN BIG FORK LAKE by Mary L. Ball


Robert Turner was quite a party guy until a car accident lands him in the hospital.  Soon he meets up with a fella who steers him in the direction of AA and brings him back to the Lord where he finally begins to turn his life around.  Because of the influence of old friends, he moves away for a completely fresh star, where he finds a job as a reporter with the local paper.  While conducting an interview up at Big Fork Lake, he takes notice of a beautiful girl named Belle.  Things seem to be going pretty well.  Belle is a sweet gal who loves the Lord and finds Robert very interesting.  After a time, Robert shares with Belle about his past, or at least most of it.  When the part left unsaid comes to light, it drives a wedge between them.  Forgiveness is not easy.  Can Belle look beyond Robert's past and see Robert for the man he is today?

Redemption in Big Fork Lake is a tale about the challenge of turning your life around and dealing with the struggles and emotions of being a recovering alcoholic.  You got a good sense of what that might be like. The story also dealt with honesty in a relationship, forgiveness and reliance upon the Lord, all of which I appreciated.  I enjoyed getting to know Belle and Robert as well as all the secondary characters.  They seemed very realistic although there were a couple of places where I felt the reaction of the characters felt unnatural to me.  I do know that everyone reacts to things differently, so it may have been just me.  That being said,  I enjoyed my return visit to Big Fork Lake,  it was a very enjoyable story with likable people and a good message.

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

For more information about this book or other books by this Mary L. Ball, I recommend you visit her website at: http://www.marylball.com/

Sunday, February 22, 2015

HOW TO CATCH A PRINCE by Rachel Hauck


Corina Del Rey, an American heiress, found her true prince in Prince Stephen.  With the promise of a wonderful future together, Stephen heads off to serve in the Royal Air Command in Afghanistan (along with Corina's brother).  War can change a man and when tragedy strikes, Stephen returns home an empty, guilt-ridden man who rejects Corina and pours himself into playing rugby.  Now Corina faces a future without her Prince as well as her brother.  What really happened in Afghanistan to change Prince Stephen so much?  A bargain is made between Corina and Stephen and as the truth unfolds and secrets come to light (and with a little heavenly help), Stephen and Corina must learn to put the past to rest and trust in the One who holds their future and loves them well.

I thoroughly enjoyed How to Catch a Prince.  From beginning to end, I was totally enchanted with the characters as well as the story.  Corina was so down-to-earth and non-pretentious for being an heiress.  I loved that.  She could easily have been a good friend and I liked how she handled things.  Stephen was a really great guy.  Strong yet gentle, full of heart, romantic, but I will say that I just wanted to give him a good swift kick in the pants a time or two. (I'd say that's good writing when a story makes you feel that kind of emotion).  One of my favorite aspects of the story was the mystique of the Manor as well as Adelaide and Brill.  You'll have to read the story to understand what I mean but I thought it added an interesting element that you don't really find very often.  It's a modern day fairytale with a heavenly twist.  I found the aspect of 'loving well' to be very encouraging.  One quote I highlighted was "If one wanted to love well, learn from the Master.  Corina understood that life was a journey and if she'd trust him, Jesus would carve her way through the wilderness.  Be her light in the dark."   Great reminder that we have a light in the dark!  The whole Royal Wedding Series has been a complete joy to read.  Entertaining and fun with some great thought-provoking lessons.  This installment was a little more serious than the previous two as Corina and Stephen deal with the aftermath of war, but it was also uplifting as well.  So, how do you catch a Prince?  I highly recommend you pick up the book, grab a steamy beverage, cozy up in your favorite chair and find out!

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

For more information on this book or other books by Rachel Hauck, I recommend you visit her website at www.rachelhauck.com/.



Saturday, February 7, 2015

UNDER THE LAWMAN'S PROTECTION by Laura Scott

Isaac Morrison is a SWAT cop and very good at his job.  When his best friend, Hawk, contacts him to say his covers been blown he asks Isaac to protect his sister, Leah, and her son, Ben. Isaac quickly accepts the challenge.   Leah and Ben arrive home and just as Leah steps out of the car someone grabs her.  Isaac arrives in time to help and he realizes he must take them somewhere safe.  Hawk was working undercover with the ATF because illegal guns that were confiscated by the police were ending up on the street and being used for crimes.  Dirty cops are involves but Hawk nor Isaac know who who they are or who they can trust.  Because her dad was killed in the line of duty, Leah has a hard time with the danger of her brother's work and although she's attracted to Isaac, she knows she can't fall for a guy who's a cop. She promised herself she would never fall for guy who had a dangerous job like her dad.  However, Isaac is so caring and wonderful with her son she really can't help herself.  Both Isaac and Leah have experienced great loss.  Will they allow the Lord to heal those inner places and perhaps take a chance on love?   But first they must find out who the dirty cops are before it's too late.


Under the Lawman's Protection is a fast-paced read that grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let you go until the last page is turned.  You'll find yourself reading at light speed to see what happens, while biting your nails watching it all unfold.  Who can they trust!!!  I found Leah and Isaac to be life-like.  Good people with real issues; easy to relate to.  I also thought Ben was such a cute boy; a real heart stealer!    I appreciated that although Leah had a strong faith she also had questions about why God allowed the things He did.  Don't we all do that?  I also liked how her faith had an impact on Isaac.  It's a good reminder to us, that we too can have impact on someones faith, for good or bad.  There were a couple of people in the story that I felt needed closure.  They are mentioned several times and there were things going on but we never found out what happened to them.  Other than that, this is a top-notch romantic suspense and one I would definitely recommend.  This is Book 3 in the SWAT: Top Cops series but you could read it as a stand alone.

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

For more information on this book or other books by Laura Scott, I recommend you visit her website at www.laurascottbooks.com/

Friday, January 30, 2015

SABOTAGED by Dani Pettrey

Kirra Jacobs grew up with Reef McKenna.  She's always kind of liked him but knew he was trouble.  Reef has now returned home a changed man and works for the SAR (with Kirra), but Kirra has trouble believing he's really changed.  When Kirra's uncle disappears from the Iditarod race, she fears he's in trouble.  Reef catches her sneaking out to search for her uncle on her own and demands to go with her.  Reef wants to protect her but he's also very attracted to her.  Kirra has a hard time trusting men and especially one with Reef's history, but she finds herself strongly attracted to him.  They're shocked to find out that Kirra's cousin has been kidnapped and that's only the beginning.  To save his daughter, Kirra's uncle must do something that would be devastating to Alaska and hurt lots of people.  They must find Kirra's cousin before her uncle reaches Nome.  The whole McKenna family will join in the search, to not only find Kirra's cousin, but the mysterious men behind what could be the worst disaster in Alaskan history.

This was a great conclusion to a great series.  My goodness, from beginning to end your attention is constantly held through the entire story.  We first met Reef in Shattered (book 2) and in Sabotaged we see how knowing the Lord has made a difference in his life.  His new found faith makes a difference in Kirra's life as well and it's fun to watch their 'romance' bloom.  This is a fast paced story that keeps you on your toes with a good balance of action, suspense and Romance.  It's fun having the whole family involved and was great to catch up with all of them.  I appreciated that there was an epilogue to finish everything out but I was sad that this was the last book in the series.  Although you could technically read this as a stand alone, I recommend reading them in order for a richer reading experience.  Each story is independent but is progressive as a series.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this Alaskan adventure and would definitely recommend it to anyone.  So grab your favorite hot drink, sit down in your cozy chair and head for Yancy.  Be sure to tell the McKenna's I said, "Hi".

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

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

HER COWBOY HERO by Carolyne Aarsen


Tanner Fortier is trying hard to lay the past to rest.  To do that he feels he must win the rodeo championship for his late brother using his saddle.  Only thing is, it's in bad need of repair.  He knows the one person who can repair it is at Refuge Ranch.  That's also where the one girl he's ever loved resides.  She broke his heart when she broke their engagement.  Keira Bannister has always loved Tanner but she's never shared with him the truth of why she broke their engagement.  A snowstorm keeps Tanner at Refuge Ranch longer than expected and he and Keira realize that their feelings for each other are still very strong.  When the truth is revealed will it ruin their chance for a future together or will it be an opportunity to finally put the past to rest.
 
First let me say that the cover is what drew me to this story, but I have to tell you that the story was really good.  It's an easy read yet filled with lots of romance and angst.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Tanner and Keira.  Tanner was such a good man and I really liked how he handled things.  Keira was a sweet gal with lots of spunk but she was also dealing with a load of hurt.   I love how the author so skillfully brought to life Isaiah 43:18,  "forget the former things; do not dwell on the past."  Her Cowboy Hero so beautifully illustrates that verse.  I enjoyed my visit to Refuge Ranch and look forward to returning there again real soon.

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

For more information about this book or other books by Carolyne Aarsen I recommend you visit her website at carolyneaarsen.com

Monday, January 12, 2015

THE WISHING SEASON by Denise Hunter

PJ McKinley has a dream of opening her own restaurant with a Bed and Breakfast. That is as much her dream as proving to her family that she's capable of doing it. Cole Evans is a contractor who wants to help foster kids. Being one himself, he wants to give those turning eighteen a solid footing before being sent out on their own. When a long time resident of Chapel Springs decides to donate her family's home to a worthy cause (one that will benefit the Chapel Springs community) both PJ and Cole enter the contest. Since both are worthy causes, the house's owner decides to give each of them a chance to shine. They must live in the house together, for one year, on different floors, and see how their ideas pan out. After the year is complete, the owner will decide who gets the house. Each wants to win the house, but as the day to day routine sets in they find themselves deeply attracted to one another and even helping each other out. Before too long, they both realize there's more than the house at stake in this friendly competition, their hearts are on the line as well.

The Wishing Season is an excellent story. I've read all the Chapel Springs stories so far and have loved them all, but I think this one is my favorite. Starting with the unusual way that PJ and Cole meet, to the electric energy that sparked between PJ and Cole. PJ was someone who was strong yet unsure. She so desperately wanted to prove herself to her family. Cole was someone who grew up with a lot of grief and guilt. Yet his love and care came shining through. I love the way the author, through the voice of Mrs. McKinley, encourages us to trust God even when we don't understand why things happen they way they do. It's always a great reminder. You could read this as a stand alone and enjoy it, but I would recommend reading the the previous books first, "A Barefoot Summer", "Dancing with Fireflies", to really enjoy the background and family dynamics. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Chapel Springs and I'm sure you will too. Now I'm looking forward to "Married 'til Monday" due out June 2015.

*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 Denise Hunter, I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.denisehunterbooks.com

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