Friday, December 9, 2016

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson



In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. 
Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He's also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he's falling in love with the island's red shores and Caden's sweets. 
When Caden discovers Adam isn't who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he's writing could do more than ruin the inn's chances for survival--it might also break her heart. 
Readers will discover hope for the hurting, joy for the broken, and romance for the lonely at the enchanting Red Door Inn.


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance


My Review
Where Two Hearts Meet is book two of Johnson's Prince Edward Island Dreams series. This standalone romance also features the continuation of Seth and Marie's story from book one. I enjoyed seeing these characters again, as well as meeting new ones.

Caden Holt loves to cook. She's finally stepped out from under her dad's bakery to make a career of her own as Rose's Red Door Inn's chef and a culinary teacher to local teenagers. But the financial status of the inn, the return of her arch nemesis, and the presence of a handsome reporter threaten everything she's worked for.

Adam Jacobs is on a forced leave of absence from his journalist job to recoup and break through his writer's block. A recent tragedy has knocked his world off axis and he's hoping the beauty and seclusion of the island will help him find his way again. However, the inn's cute cook, her scrumptious food, and a misunderstanding have him more distracted, and confused, than ever. But nothing is more challenging than Taco Bed...

Full of heart and lessons learned, Where Two Hearts Meet is a winner.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren






Bestselling Author's New Series Delivers Romance and Adventure as an SAR Team Searches for Others--and Finds Themselves 

Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town. 

Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart. 
With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?



Publisher: Revell, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance


My Review
Wild Montana Skies is the first book in Warren's Montana Rescue series. True to Susan May Warren fashion, this book held me captive from the first page. Kacey Faring is strong, independent, and full of regrets. After an absence from the military, she's back home and ready to start anew. Ben King is famous, available, and still has feelings for Kacey after all these years. Working together brings them closer together but the secrets they hold may just tear them apart for good.

A solidly written romance full of emotion and heart.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Lady Unrivaled by Rosanna M. White




Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won't wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better. 

Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance


My Review
Lady Ella is determined to find the Fire Eyes diamonds to save her family from any more peril. Even if it means putting herself at risk. She takes on this mission alone, or so she thinks. An unexpected meeting with Lord James Cayton complicates her plans and confuses her heart. 

I loved the banter between the hero and heroine. Both characters are strong yet flawed, and deliciously perfect for each other. This is the first book I've read by Ms. White, and it won't be my last. 

I give this book 5 stars!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Appalachian Blessings book #3




This Decade-Spanning Novel of Family and Faith Will Delight 

Now in her eighties, Perla Phillips has carried a secret since she was eighteen years old. When she sees her granddaughter, Ella, struggling for perfection, she decides to share her secret to show that God can use even the biggest mistakes for good. But before she can reveal what happened during that summer sixty years ago, she has a debilitating stroke. 
Carrying a secret of her own, Ella arrives back in Wise, West Virgina, to help her aunt Sadie care for Perla. Both know the woman wanted to tell them something, but she's now locked in silence. Together they begin looking into the past, but they may learn more than they expected. 

Will they have the courage to share their hearts? Or will the truth remain buried forever?


Publisher: Bethany House, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction


My Review
Ella Phillips needs a change. Unfortunately, she isn't sure what that change is, until her grandmother, Perla Phillips, has a stroke and Ella returns to the family farm in Wise, WV. The solitude of country living, the support of family, and the connection to her grandmother--and Perla's past--are exactly what Ella was missing. Then an entrepreneur threatens a piece of their heritage, exposing secrets, and testing Ella's relationships and her faith.

This novel was a fantastic conclusion to the Appalachian Blessings series, however, this is a standalone novel that doesn't require the reader to have read the first two books in order to understand this one. Though, I do recommend doing so, as it's so much fun to watch the entire family evolve throughout the generations.

I can't wait to read Ms. Loudin's next series. I give this book 4 stars!

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For more about Sarah and her books, visit her website at www.sarahloudinthomas.com and follow her on social media. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression 




As a board-certified neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson sees the devastation of depression. Early on, she practiced the most effective treatments and prescribed them for her clients. But when she experienced depression herself, she found that the treatments she had recommended were lacking. Her experience showed her the missing component in treating depression. 
In "Hope Prevails," Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion, blending her training and faith, to offer readers a hope grounded in God's love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God's grace, it cannot do. The result is an approach that offers the hope of release, not just the management of symptoms. 
For those who struggle with depression and those who want to help them, "Hope Prevails" offers hope for the future.


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Genre: Self-help; nonfiction


My Review
I love the title of this book because it's so true. Our hope--in God--prevails. But as the storms of life thrust us upon the rocky shore, as circumstances out of our control cause us to sink, we tend to forget this truth. Dr. Michelle Bengtson guides readers by the hand through God's promises, backed with sound Scripture. She pours her own heartache and experiences with depression onto the pages, letting readers know they're not alone. She shares her transformation from the darkness of depression back to the light, proving hope truly does prevail.

I chose to read this book as a caregiver to a loved one with depression. Sometimes in my daily struggled to help keep their head above water, I too need reminded of God's promises on days when my task feels too daunting. This book also helped me to better understand the thoughts and mind of one with depression, showing where I need to improve in my support system.  

I recommend this book to anyone who suffers from depression or who plays the role as caregiver. I give this book 5 stars!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears



Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the moral society's president is her suitor's mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.
Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align.


Publisher: Bethany House, 2016
Genre: historical romance


My Review
Lydia King considered herself a good Christian, taking care of her dying mother, attending church faithfully, tithing, and volunteering through her local Moral Society. Until she meets the reclusive, handsome, and wealthy Nicholas Lowe. To prove to her future mother-in-law she's an asset to her intended's political career, Lydia takes on the task of begging money from the tight-fisted miser to aid the Moral Society's latest project. Lydia fails. No matter how many times she asks or which tactic she uses, Nicholas always answers no. 

Intrigued by her stubbornness and spunk, Nicholas decides to let Lydia dictate other ways he should help the less fortunate without granting her original request. Only there's a twist. Through disguises, late night meetings, and help from the wrong side of the tracks, Lydia discovers what serving God truly means. 

With unexpected twists, lovable characters, and a great faith message, I gave this book 4.5 stars!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I Wish He Had Come With Instructions: The Woman's Guide To A Man's Brain by Mike Bechtle

WHAT IS HE REALLY THINKING?





When a woman begins a relationship with a man, she may think she's found her knight in shining armor. As the relationship continues, that armor can begin to feel like a barricade she just can't get past it. What's he hiding in there, anyway? 

Relationship and communication expert Mike Bechtle offers women an insider's guide to the puzzling male brain. Simple and practical, this book provides women with a roadmap for better conversations and improved relationships. Bechtle reminds readers that men and women share many similarities, and by embracing those similarities they can better deal with differences. He explains how men think, act, communicate, and grow in relationships, and even offers tips for communicating in a toxic relationship. 

Wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters, friends, and coworkers will find real help within these pages.


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Genre: non-fiction, CLWI   Marriage   



My Review
This book piqued my interest for a few different reasons:

1. I've been married for fifteen years and I feel I'm no closer to understanding my husband's mind. We've learned to cope with each other's quirks and differences, but many times we still fail to understand the gap between Mars and Venus. :)

2. I write romance novels from both the hero and heroine's point of view, so the more I understand men the better my heroes will be.

3. I have three sons, two of which are teenagers. On a daily basis, I get frustrated with a lack of communication and all the testosterone (a.k.a. anger and competition) flying around the house. Needless to say, being the only woman around, I need help. :)

First of all, please know my reading material of choice is fiction, so non-fiction writing really has to capture my attention to keep me interested. Mike Bechtle succeeded. His style and tone was informative yet humorous, honest without apology, and very helpful. This book is NOT a set of instructions on how to change a man or how to fix a broken relationship. This book explains the male brain chemical makeup, how men perceive certain things, and how/why they react to various life scenarios.

I found this book helpful in my desire to better understand my husband, thus becoming a better wife. We've been married long enough now we've ceased bickering over certain things and have chalked it up to "things we'll never understand." While reading this book, I came across several things we used to argue over, and I'd wished I'd understood my husband's point of view back then. I wish this book would've been available years ago. :)

I recommend this book to newlyweds and anyone who desires to have a better relationship with their spouse and mothers of boys. I gave this book 5 stars!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Bees




I'm looking for influencers for my upcoming release How To Charm A Beekeeper's Heart, a contemporary romance from Pelican Book Group. If you're interested in a FREE digital copy of the novel, apply here. Details are in the application form. Space is limited.
https://goo.gl/forms/LKitarUuY4QrVZqU2


*Must apply by September 1, 2016

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What Matters Most by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Just when she can't take it anymore, Leta finally catches a break.
But when things seem too good to be true, they often are.

Leta Breckenridge is forced to drop out of college to care for her dementia-ridden mother. After learning a severely delinquent account may force her mother into a less desirable facility, Leta steps out of her comfort zone and lands a high-paying job at an Austin public relations firm. But her dream job turns into a nightmare when she learns the firm is a front for a political opposition machine--and that the research she's been collecting will be used against her new love interest, Nathan Emerson. 

Nathan is a rising political star being pressured to run a bid to unseat the current governor of Texas. He's already in a relationship with a woman much better suited to be a politician's wife, but he's never met anyone like Leta. Could this feisty, challenging woman hold the key to his heart?


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance


My Review
Leta Breckenridge is struggling to make ends meet between an underpaying job and delinquent payments to the facility that cares for her dementia-ridden mother. Then grace finds her in the most unexpected place in the form of a caring--and handsome--senator. When she receives an opportunity at her dream job, the wages and perks are her answer to prayer. But when her path continues to cross with the senator's, her attraction to him is tested, as well as her integrity. Leta must make a choice between the easy road to success and God's will. 

I gave this book 4 stars!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Honor Redeemed by Christine Johnson

Her future--and her heart--hang in the balance.

Keys of Promise book #2


Two Men Vie for Her Affection--Survival Will Depend on Choosing the Right One.
 
Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life. 

Arriving penniless in the South, Prosperity is dismayed to find David married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, she gains the friendship--and the affection--of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again?
 
With a deft hand, Christine Johnson fills the reader's senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of Key West in this heartwarming story of honor lost, honor redeemed, and a love forged in adversity.


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Time Period: 1852


My Review
After losing both her parents, Prosperity Jones uses what little money she has left to sail to Key West, seeking refuge in her fiance Lt. David Latham. Upon arrival, she finds David only to discover he's already married. To a woman of ill repute no less. Without money to return home to Nantucket, she secures a laundress position at the local hospital to support herself. 

David can't stand his wife. She's vile, lazy, and demanding. Living in the same town with Prosperity, the woman he truly loves, is torture. But he must accept the consequences of his sin, a child conceived from a night he can't recall. 

As changing as the sea, David and Prosperity's lives shift with every lie exposed, challenge rendered, and threat to their happiness. 

This is the first book I've read of Christine Johnson's and it won't be my last. Book one in this series is not required reading before this one. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, steady historical romance. I gave this book 4 stars!

Monday, July 25, 2016

No Way Up by Mary Connealy

The fight for the Cimarron Ranch
HAS JUST BEGUN!




When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Badly injured, Chance demands that his will be read and its conditions be enforced immediately. 

Without anyone else to serve as a witness, Heath is pressed into reading the will. If Justin, Sadie, and Cole Boden don't live and work at home for the entire year, the ranch will go to their low-down cousin Mike. 
Then Heath discovers the avalanche was a murder attempt, and more danger might follow. Deeply involved with the family, Heath's desire to protect Sadie goes far beyond friendship. The danger keeps them close together, and their feelings grow until being apart is the last thing on their minds.


Publisher: Bethany House, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance


My Review
All three Boden children have established their own way of life and none of those paths fits their father's wishes. When Chance Boden gets injured in an avalanche, the terms of his will are put into action immediately. To keep the ranch from going to a greedy distant relative, the Boden children must live together and work the ranch for the next year. 

Sibling rivalry, clashing personalities, and a handsome--and very opinionated--ranch hand, Heath Kincaid, make living arrangements difficult for Sadie Boden. Then when Heath discovers the avalanche was a pre-planned attack, the hunt for the culprit, and their motive, take them all on a wild journey they never expected. 

With adventure, humor, and a sweet romance this book will not disappoint Connealy fans. 
I gave this book 4 stars!

Friday, July 8, 2016

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden




Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.
But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally. 


Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they've worked for at risk?


Publisher: Bethany House, 2016
Genre: historical romance



My Review
When two creative talents clash, sparks fly and tempers flare. Will they be willing to set aside their egos to find true love?

Famous lithograph artist Stella West has moved to Boston to find who murdered her sister. Despite the police's claim her death was accidental, Stella lurks around City Hall for any clue of foul play. She crosses paths with Romulus White, half-owner of Scientific World, the very man behind the letters she'd received in England, begging her to work for him. When Romulus offers her a deal she can't refuse, he gets more than what he bargained for--attraction, frustration, and danger.

Since a lot of romances are plotted with polar opposite heroes and heroines, I loved how Stella and Romulus were just alike--independent, confident powerhouses who are used to getting what they want. This made for great conflict and romantic tension. Once I started this book I couldn't hardly put it down.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance or elements of mystery. I gave this book 4.5 stars!
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For more on Elizabeth and her books, visit her website at www.elizabethcamden.com.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin



Julia Dare is trying to run her own business, raise her young son, Max, and help her widowed mother. Her biggest worry, though, is keeping Max's father from being a bad influence while still allowing the boy to spend time with his dad. When an account from her event-planning business sends her to Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to encounter Zeke Monroe, her college sweetheart. 

Zeke is determined to keep Caliente Springs running despite financial trouble. When Julia walks back into his life, he's surprised at the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. With Zeke and Julia both pushed to their limits, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

Publisher: Bethany House, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance


My Review
Someone Like You is a standalone Christian romance novel set in southern California. 
Julia Dare, a single mom and new business owner, stays busy in her life as a new Christian, living with her mother away from the toxic situation she created with her son's father, and ex-fiance, Hunter. Now she's reunited with her college sweetheart Zeke Monroe, general manager of Caliente Springs, a resort Julia is scouting for one of her clients. Despite their ten year separation, their hearts gravitate to each other once again, rekindling a flame they'd thought long extinguished. 

With an ornery pet goat, a famous country singer, a last-minute wedding, and a jealous ex-fiance, Julia's time at Caliente Springs is always eventful.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance and second chances. I gave this book 4 stars!

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Learn more about Victoria Bylin and her books at www.victoriabylin.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Anchor In The Storm by Sarah Sundin



For plucky Lillian Avery, America's entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg's attentions only annoy--even if he "is" her brother's best friend. 
During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves--and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection? 
Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won't soon forget.


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Author: Sarah Sundin
Genre: historical romance


My Review
Anchor In The Storm is book two in the Waves of Freedom series. I highly enjoyed Through Waters Deep (see review here) and feel Anchor In The Storm to be the perfect accompaniment.

Lillian Avery defies her odds. She's a female pharmacist, an occupation rarely held by a woman, she refuses to let her prosthetic leg hinder her from living, and she refuses to be duped by any man's false affections. But when her brother brings home his Navy friend Ensign Archer Vandenberg for the holidays, his attraction to Lillian raises the stakes.

Can Lillian conquer her new life in Boston as a pharmacist for her crabby boss, fend off her growing feelings to Arch, and solve the mystery of the forged prescriptions?

With an unexpected twist at the end and a delightful mix of mystery and romance throughout, I give this book 5 stars!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Magnolia Dutchess by Beth White



Fiona Lanier is the only woman in the tiny Gulf Coast settlement of Navy Cove. While her shipbuilding family races to fill the demand for American ships brought by the War of 1812, Fiona tries to rescue her brother who was forced into service by the British Navy.

Lieutenant Charlie Kincaid has been undercover for six months, obtaining information vital to the planned British invasion of New Orleans. When a summer storm south of Mobile Bay wrecks his ship and scatters the crew, Charlie suffers a head injury, ultimately collapsing in the arms of a beautiful mermaid who seems eerily familiar. As Charlie's memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political loyalties begin to collide, they'll each have to decide where their true heart lies.


My Review
This is the first book of Beth White's I've read and it certainly won't be my last. The rich historical detail, complex characters, and tough situations kept me turning the pages.

Fiona Lanier is content with her rather free-spirited life until a man's body washes up on the beach. She recognizes him as Charlie Kincaid, an acquaintance from years past. Problem is he has no memory of who he is or how he got there, her attraction to him is still strong, and he's currently the enemy--a British soldier during a time of war against America. 

As Charlie stays with the Lanier's, and falls deeper in love with Fiona, his memory slowly returns. Torn between duty and patriotism, war and love, Fiona and Charlie are forced to discover what they're made of--and God's will for their lives.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance. Clean read for all ages. I gave this book 5 stars!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg





Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley's haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher...if only she new who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime--a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he's inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She's scrappy, but wounded. He's dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley's quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.


Bethany House Publishers, 2016


My Review
Like Never Before is the second book in the Walker Family series. Melissa Tagg creates the perfect small town of Maple Valley, Iowa--a place where the reader can crawl into the pages and live, a place you'll never want to leave.

Amelia Bentley's dream is to purchase the Maple Valley News, restore the fledgling business, and save her job along with her fellow employees'. Her mentor has passed away, leaving the business to Logan Walker, a writer Amelia has admired for years. When Logan puts his life in LA on hold to return to Maple Valley and sell his new inheritance, he's reminded of the charms of small-town life, as well as Amelia's charms. Selling the Maple Valley News may not be as simple as Logan thought.

I loved this book because the author immediately drew me in with her fresh, spunky writing, the characters were well developed and lovable, and there was a fun mystery from the past weaved in as well.

I give this book 5 stars!
____ *~*~*____

Learn more about Melissa Tagg and her books at www.melissatagg.com.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Playing the Part by Jen Turano

A Class of Their Own #3

Bethany House Publishers, 2016



Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucinda's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.


My Review
Playing the Part gives a whole new meaning to a night at the theater. The life of an actress may seem glamorous, but it's anything but for Lucetta Plum. Keeping admirers at bay has always been a nuisance, but when her step-father bargains her while gambling--and loses--a dangerous stalker forces her to flee the city for safety. Lucetta's friend and chaperon, Abigail, suggests hiding out in her grandson's castle. But Bram Haverstein is harboring several secrets of his own, some that include Lucetta

With mystery, intrigue, and lots of humor, Playing the Part will keep you entertained. I gave this book 3.5 stars. 
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Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she's not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado. Learn more atwww.jenturano.com

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy

A Journey Home in Four Seasons



When Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was heavily pregnant with both her fourth child and her dreams of creating a sanctuary that would be a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls the possibility of a place where her family could grow, where friends could gather, and where Christie could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for--home.

Publisher: Revell, 2016
Cover and Author Photos: Chelsea Hudson Photography
Design: Peter Gloege| LOOK Design Studio


"Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells."  Psalm 26:8


My Review
Roots & Sky follows a woman on her journey to live out her dream in an old farmhouse, away from the bustling city, a place where she can have a garden, teach her children, and follow the Lord. But with each restoration she and her husband tackle, Christie's paradise takes on a new form and so do her dreams. This author reveals how God's handiwork is stamped in the most ordinary, and sometimes unusual, places.

Christie Purifoy's poetic prose and artistic descriptions painted vivid pictures in my mind, layer upon layer with each chapter. I connected with this story because I, too, have an old farmhouse where the work never ends, yet it is my sanctuary. I, like Christie, have journeyed through the wilderness of life, longing for an oasis. I've also relaxed  in the oasis, too content to see the water slowly drying up, the palm leaves disintegrating, the  dry desert dust approaching to smother signs of life. And I believe each and every reader will find that connection within themselves, also. 

I recommend this book to anyone who is living their wilderness journey right now, to anyone who has just stepped out of the desert. To anyone who needs a story of hope, a reminder that God is always there. 

I gave this books 5 stars!
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For more on Christie, visit her website at www.christiepurifoy.com. While you're there, follow her blog These Farmhouse Bookshelves for a closer view of Maplehurst. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Four best friends,
and then one went missing...



In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet--until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern--a young social justice lawyer missing since spring--and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.


Publisher: Bethany House, 2016
Series: Chesapeake Valor, book #1


My Review
Gettysburg park ranger Griffin McCray enjoys working the night shift, patrolling the sacred ground where so many lost their lives during the Civil War. Then grave robbers interrupt his peaceful night, and Griffin comes to realize the body inside the grave doesn't belong to a Civil War soldier but to a modern-day woman. When forensic anthropologist Finley Scott is brought onto the case, Griffin's not only compelled to protect her life but to battle his electric attraction to her as well.

I can't say enough about this book! This story kept me guessing to the very end. I loved the instant romance between Griffin and Finley and their journey together. This author created many strong and lovable characters, ones I look forward to reading about again in future stories. Ms. Pettrey also left a surprise ending that has me highly anticipating her next book. 

I give this book 5 stars! 

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For more about Dani Pettrey and her books, visit her website at www.danipettrey.com.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

When Life Gives New Slogans

Our first winter storm of the year.
This is my view from my living room window. 
When I started this blog a few years back, I was just beginning my writing career. I say "career" because it marked the first time I'd been paid for one of my stories.The figure on the check might have only been $0.75, but I was proud of that seventy-five cents. I bought a pop at the gas station.

At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom with a small toddler and two older children. Our hobby farm was thriving.

Some of my best thinking is done on the riding lawnmower, while cutting grass on the two flat acres of our ten-acre property. Here's where I adopted this blog's slogan "Hobby Farmer by Day, Author by Night."


Since then, my life has changed.

My toddler is now in Kindergarten, we can no longer claim to have a hobby farm (though we plan to rectify this come spring), I've once again joined the workforce, and I write every spare moment I get in between cooking, cleaning, working, laundry, church, and extra-curricular activities.

My new slogan is "Substitute Teacher by Day, Author by Whenever-I-Get-A-Chance-To-Write."

Not as catchy, but this is life for me at this moment in 2016. And that's okay. I'm enjoying my new job, I'm still plugging away on my stories during lunch breaks, while I'm cooking dinner, and after the kids go to bed (on the rare nights I can actually hold my eyes open).

Three years from now will my life's slogan change? Count on it.

But that's what keeps life interesting.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon

IF GINNY REED IS STILL ALIVE--
WHO IS THE WOMAN BURIED IN HER GRAVE?





After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail--addressed in her sister's handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he's coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.

Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers' hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish.


Publisher: Revell, 2016
Cover Design: Kirk DouPonce, DogEaredDesign.com


My Review
Former pro-ice skater Christy Reed has finally started moving forward with her life again after losing her sister in a house fire and her parents in a car accident--all within a six month span. Then she receives an anonymous letter stating her sister is still alive. Christy contacts the FBI where Special Agent Lance McGregor is assigned to the case.

Lance's immediate attraction to Christy makes this case personal from the get-go. As they come to know each other, the unresolved issues in Lance's past begin to haunt him. If he can solve the case and keep Christy safe, perhaps their relationship can become more.

This plot is full of surprising twists and turns. I loved the instant sparks between Lance and Christy and the integrity of both characters. I recommend this book to romantic suspense fans and anyone who loves a good mystery. I give this book 5 stars!
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Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels. For more on Irene and her books, visit www.irenehannon.com.