Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Samantha Samuels is a sweet innocent girl who has been sheltered by her loving family. But that all changes when her father makes a terrible misjudgment. In trying to help Ryder Feldmann he pushes his daughter to spend time with him since they're so close in age. That results in Ryder raping Samantha. Because of that night she moved out of her home and moved in with her good friend and also said goodbye to the man she loves, Kyle Feldmann, the brother of the man who raped her. Now several years later she has her degree to council rape victims in a clinic she and her friend has set up. Soon she discovers she's working right next to Kyle. They quickly discover that their feelings for each other haven't changed and begin to fall in love again. But Sam is having a hard time forgiving her father for his bad judgment. Kyle is having a hard time seeing the effects of what his brother did to the woman he loves. Can they both come to terms with the past and find that forgiveness is cleansing to their souls?
Glass Angels deals with the after effects of rape and forgiveness. Those are difficult subjects to tackle. No doubt that many of the feelings and emotions surrounding our lead couple rang true. I know that forgiving your rapist and your father who put you in that position would be extremely difficult. The story is really Samantha's journey in learning how to do that. It didn't seem quite right for her to say things like, "they don't deserve to be forgiven" knowing that as a Christian you've been forgiven and called to forgive but I also know that in our humanness it can be very easy to head down that road. Kyle was a great hero. We caught a glimpse of him in Foolish Games but in this story you really get to know him. I liked the inner strength he had and the patience he showed toward Samantha. We also get to see the rest of the family as they do their best to help both Samantha and their father through a difficult time. Along with the main story there is a secondary story going on with Kyle's son Chad and his girlfriend Winnie. Glass Angels is the fourth book in the Family Heirlooms Series. A thank you goes to the author for providing this complimentary copy for review.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Peter Samuels lost his wife Lydia about a year ago. Because of the close relationship they had the grief has been overwhelming. He feels so lost because he can't reach out and touch her or talk to her. He also has two children to raise on his own. Kimberly Wolfe was one of Lydia's best friends. She not only works for Peter but has loved him from afar for as long as she can remember. For the past year she has helped Peter deal with the loss of his wife and helped him with the kids. But she's also afraid. Because of the past experience with her domineering father she's afraid Peter might behave the same way. Will she be able to get past her fears and find a chance at happiness with the man she's loved forever?
I really enjoyed Foolish Games. You journey with Peter as he deals with trying to move on after the loss of his wife and also begins dealing with growing feelings toward Kimberly. As the reader you truly feel his struggle. The honesty of Peter's thoughts touched my heart. He was a great hero. Kimberly is also trying to work through past issues concerning her father but finding it very hard. I know that in reality some do hold on to their anger even when they know it's wrong. We also find a secondary story going on with Peter's sister, Samantha. Her father is asking her to befriend Ryder Feldmann, a young man he's counseling and a man she's afraid to be around. What happens to them is the set up to the next book in the series. Foolish Games is the third book in the Family Heirlooms Series. A thank you goes to the author for providing this complimentary copy for my review.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Joshua and Justine grew up together. Justine's life was full of responsibility between keeping up with school, keeping house and taking care of a dying father. The only respite was seeing and being with Joshua. When Justine finds out she's pregnant, she and Joshua marry. Now their daughter is grown and ready to leave for college. So where does that leave their marriage when all that's held it together is caring for their daughter. Can a marriage born out of responsibility ever be more than that? They just might find the answer to that in an unexpected missions trip planned by their daughter.
What an emotionally packed tale! I read this very quickly because I found myself so immersed in the lives of both Joshua and Justine. You can tell (feel actually) that they love each other very much but don't really know how to express it. Once again this author allows you see inside the heads of our lead couple so you know just what they're thinking and I really do enjoy that. I loved Joshua. He was all the things a good hero should be. Kind, gentle and protective but he really had difficulty with expressing his feelings. I liked Justine. She was very capable and yet unsure. I enjoyed watching this couple strive to redefine and save their marriage, grow as individuals and learn how to be with each other. I also loved their daughter Vashti. She was so bubbly and interested in helping her parents. There is a little twist near the end that was great. I must confess that the missions trip is my favorite part in this story. I can see myself going back and reading that again. Great dialog. If you've ever had problems in your marriage many aspects of this story will be relate-able. It deals with sin, guilt, forgiveness and love. Shadow Boxing is the second book in the Family Heirlooms Series. A thank you goes to the author for providing this complimentary copy for review.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tamara and Robert grew up together and have always been in love. They married right out of high school so Robert worked instead of going to college. Now years and several children later their youngest child is going to school. Tamara has always been a stay-at-mom and loved taking care of her husband and family but now that she has a little extra time on her hands she wants to doing something she loves, making hand woven gift baskets. Even better is that people might be willing to pay for them which would give them some much needed extra money as there oldest son is going to college. Robert has worked at the same place for years and has all the right experience for an upcoming promotion opportunity but he may be passed up because of his lack of a college degree. It has been drilled into him by his father that a man takes care of his family. So when Tamara mentions selling the gift baskets he views it as a threat. Robert thinks that maybe if they had another child Tamara wouldn't be so restless. Can their faith see them through a situation where there seems to be no compromise?
I found this to be quite an interesting tale. In a lot of fiction stories you find the lead couple young and never been married. Not so in this story. This lead couple has been married a number of years and their world is somewhat shifting because their youngest child is now in school. How things had always been were changing. Change can be a scary thing to an insecure person. Robert was insecure. I really liked Robert. He was sweet and loving to Tamara but I felt like he was being unreasonable about Tamara's basket business. Although as you get to know his background you can somewhat understand why he felt that way. Our emotions aren't always reasonable. I liked Tamara as a leading lady. She displayed an inner strength that helped her deal with her husband's issues in the right way. I also liked how this couple was determined to make things work. I think sometimes couples are just too quick to give up. So I appreciated the way they were determined to see it through. Tamara always strove to do the right thing in the right way. In the story there is a male friend who has feelings for Tamara (unbeknownst to her) and he's very supportive to her when her husband is not. She confides in him that Robert isn't happy about her business. I think a valuable point was made in the story that it's not healthy for a married woman to have another man as a confidante. Very wise advice. I enjoyed the way the author allows us to see each of the characters internal struggles which is helpful in understanding why they think the way they do. I enjoyed all the secondary 'family' characters too and look forward to hearing their stories as well. Baby, Baby is the first book in the Family Heirlooms Series. A thank you goes to this author for providing me with this complimentary copy for my review.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Megan Smith is not only pregnant and alone but stuck on a lonely road in bad weather. Then a tornado hits. She finds shelter in a ditch but is pretty banged up. Will Callahan decides that he should check on the cattle where the tornado hit and finds Megan walking up the road. With her car ruined, the need for rest and no where to go, she is invited to recover at the Callahan Ranch. Slowly feelings begin to stir between Megan & Will but she just knows that a man like Will would never be interested in a girl like her, especially with her past. Can Will convince her otherwise?
I have just loved the Callahan's of Texas Series. Megan's Hero was such a great addition to the series. This author has such an easy flow to her writing that you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the journey. I really liked that she kept all the family interactive in each of the stories. To me that's what made this series so endearing. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Megan. She felt so unworthy of the kind of love and friendship that the Callahan's, most especially Will, showed her. It really showed how powerful love can be and a good reminder of how God uses people as a way of showing His love and care for us. I loved how Will handled Megan with gentleness and tenderness. His sweet words were like a soothing balm. Megan's Hero can be read as a stand alone but I would definitely recommend reading Jenna's Cowboy and Emily's Chance first for a more richer reading experience. If you like a sweet and gentle romance than I recommend you try the Callahan's Series. A thank you goes to the author and Revell for providing me with this complimentary copy.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Kristin Taylor is a journalist headed for Vietnam hoping to become an award winning correspondent like her father was. She is also looking for her brother Teddy. A fellow journalist she meets on the plane introduces her to Caroline, who's looking for a roommate. Kristen is introduced to Caroline's brother, Luke Maddox, in a rather interesting way and from there the sparks begin to fly. Neither one wants anything to do with the other but they keep ending up together. So what will happen when they are forced to work together?
Yesterday's Tomorrow is brilliantly written and emotionally compelling! Catherine West drops you in the middle of Vietnam where you live out Kristin's journey with her. I could feel the heat, taste grit in my mouth and hear the explosions in the hills. My heart grieved with Kristin as she watched many soldiers breathe their last. Though the subject is a very sobering one, there is humor sprinkled throughout the story. I really appreciated that. The characters are larger than life and fully fleshed out. Luke is the strong, silent, brooding type but you can't help but love him. Kristin is independent and gutsy! The romantic tension between them is awesome! This is the type of story that you can't put down. The author keeps your attention from beginning to end! One thing I appreciated very much about this story was that the author didn't sugarcoat anything. She showed things in a gritty and realistic way. The faith element in the story was done very well. It didn't feel forced at all. This is the authors debut novel but it sure doesn't read that way. You can easily see why this has received so many 5 star ratings. The design of the cover is beautiful and it's what drew me to the story to begin with. I HIGHLY encourage you to pick up Yesterday's Tomorrow. It's a story you won't soon forget! I am looking forward to more from Catherine West! Awesome job!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Clara Endicott was born of privilege. She had a love of music but also a love for writing and wanted to write for her father's newspaper. Daniel Tremain was born in poverty but also harbored a love of music. Though these two were from opposite sides of the track they became best friends. But when it becomes a hint more than that her father sends her away to London to live with her aunt. It's there she writes an article concerning the poor working conditions of miners but especially the poor children sent down to work in the mines. It stirs such hostility that she is deported back to the US. There she meets up again with Daniel. All the feelings are still there and yet things are very different. He has become a very wealthy man but much of his drive comes from old grudges he can't let go of. As Clara speaks of God's forgiveness he turns into a man she hardly recognizes. But when Clara's life is endangered he is forced to deal with issues he has kept close to heart.
What a wonderful debut novel. Elizabeth Camden writes like a seasoned author. This story was full of likeable characters, zippy dialog and spiritual truths. Clara was the type of woman you could look up to. She wasn't perfect but she truly tried to live out her faith. I liked that Clara was willing to take a stand for her faith even though it would personally cost her. Daniel was such a charming fellow. I love the way he was with Clara and the relationship they had. Though there were spots where you could see his bitterness come shining through. How true that could be for us too. The cover of this novel is beautiful and gives you the idea of a somewhat sedate story, but not so. It kept me turning pages but especially the last third of the book. Wonderful suspense and unexpected twist! You also don't find out who the real culprit is until the end. I like that. I also really liked how this author brought everything together at the end. I look forward to future offerings by this author. If you haven't read The Lady of Bolton Hill I recommend you pick it up. A thank you goes to LibraryThing and Bethany House for this complimentary ARC for my review.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Lucy Fairbanks dreams of being a photographer for the local paper hoping to win her father's approval. But trouble follows Lucy where ever she goes leaving behind her a trail of mishaps and destruction. While trying to get a picture of the legendary white stallion from high in a tree she finds herself instead tangling with highwaymen trying to rob the stage. David Wolf has returned to Rocky Creek to gain something he lost long ago. When he sees Lucy in trouble he comes to her rescue. There is an immediate spark but Lucy doesn't plan on ever getting married and David knows for him a relationship is impossible because of his heritage. But the Lord has a way of shaking things up. Will it be enough for these two lost souls to find the peace and love they seek?
What a fun and touching western romp! This is the first book I've read by Margaret Brownley and I can assure it won't be my last. I really enjoyed all the humor scattered throughout the story. Lucy was such a fun character because she was easily relate-able. She was a sweet and warm girl with lots of spunk! I really like that in a heroine. David Wolf was a hero that you just like right away. How he handled Lucy was so enjoyable to watch that there were several parts I went back an re-read. A lot of the story centered around something that happened 20 years earlier and how that not only shaped the lives of those involved but those close to the ones involved. That's really how life is. What we do doesn't affect just us but those close to us. The story also had to do with forgiveness. A great theme and a good reminder that although forgiveness is not always easy we are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. One thing that was really fun were the photography notes from Miss Gertrude Hasslebrink at the top of each chapter. They were a hoot. As I was reading this story I was thinking that this would make a great Hallmark movie. This is the third book in the Rock Creek Romance Series but I didn't feel lost having not read the other two. It does make me want to go back and read the other two though. A thank you goes to the author and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary ARC for my review.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Tina Milano is a counselor who loves to visit Milly's Tea Shop with it's homey atmosphere and wonderful tasty treats. She even holds a ladies group meeting there once a week. Since Tina and Milly are good friends Milly asks if she would mind helping out a friend with some advice about dealing with his children. Tina loves her job and is always willing to help so she gladly accepts not realizing that the friend Milly was talking about was the incredibility handsome produce guy that delivers produce to Milly's Tea Shop! Zack Cooper is trying hard to keep it all together since his wife left him and the kids four years ago. He thought things were going fine until both his kids start getting into trouble. Feeling out of his league he shares a little of this with Milly. Milly encourages him to call Tina. When Tina and Zack finally meet there is definitely a spark. But their relationship is strictly professional. Will they keep it professional or will that spark turn into a full fledged flame?
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I loved the whole tea shop setting. It was such a warm and friendly place to go. Milly is such a sweet and wise woman. I loved our lead couple. No cardboard characters in this tale. They were as real as real could be. Tina was such a down-to-earth person and I loved how real she was. She was someone I could be friends with. Zack was a great guy. I loved his gentlemen ways and sweet yet tough personality. Dylan and Sherry were great kids too. I enjoyed the interaction between all of the characters. The story dealt with some complicated issues but there was also lots of humor throughout. I like that. This author does a great job at keeping your interest from beginning to end and does such a good job with her description that I could smell and almost taste the yummy treats that Milly was bringing out for Tina to try while in her tea shop. There is a spiritual thread running through the story but nothing heavy. I would call this a feel good, uplifting story, filled with lots of great characters and zippy dialog. I recommend you drop into Milly's and have Tea for Two! A thank you goes to the author and Harvest House Publishers for this complimentary copy for my review.