Monday, September 22, 2014

My Review: Healer of Carthage

May I start by saying that this cover is lovely? I love the colors used in the background and it just catches the eye.  My one complaint about it, is that you'll find as you read the book, Lisbeth's hair is blond - not the brownish black of the cover model.
A twenty-first-century doctor. A third-century plague. A love out of time.

First-year resident Dr. Lisbeth Hastings is too busy to take her father’s bizarre summons seriously. But when a tragic mistake puts her career in jeopardy, answering her father’s call seems her only hope of redeeming the devastating failure that her life has become.

While exploring the haunting cave at her father’s archaeological dig, Lisbeth falls through a hidden hole, awakening to find herself the object of a slave auction and the ruins of Roman Carthage inexplicably restored to a thriving metropolis. Is it possible that she’s traveled back in time, and, if so, how can she find her way back home?

Cyprian Thascius believes God called him to rescue the mysterious woman from the slave trader’s cell. What he doesn’t understand is why saving the church of his newfound faith requires him to love a woman whose peculiar ways could get him killed. But who is he to question God?

As their different worlds collide, it sparks an intense attraction that unites Lisbeth and Cyprian in a battle against a deadly epidemic. Even as they confront persecution, uncover buried secrets, and ignite the beginnings of a medical revolution, Roman wrath threatens to separate them forever. Can they find their way to each other through all these obstacles? Or are the eighteen hundred years between them too far of a leap?

About the Author:
Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.
(Cover photo and description [italics mine] from Christian Book.  About the author copied from Amazon.  All rights reserved.)

My Review: 4 stars
Compelling start to a new series!Healer of Carthage is the first book in Lynne Gentry’s new The Carthage Chronicles series. It follows the story of Lisbeth Hastings and Cyprian Thascius. I’m not typically into time travel stories, but I’d heard great things about this one and decided to try it. I can happily say that it lived up to my expectations.
Ms. Gentry does a wonderful job with the details and descriptions. I was quickly draw into the story and had to often remind myself that I wasn’t actually in third century Rome with the characters. I loved the modern feel to it, the comparisons between what we currently have and what life was like in that time. It provided a great reminder to be grateful for the advances we have, but also brought a new dimension to the story. I really enjoyed seeing Rome through both Lisbeth’s modern outlook and Cyprian’s ancient view.
Lisbeth Hastings is the “heroine” in this story. I confess, I didn’t care for her at first. She is hard and closed off because of losing her mother at a young age, then struggling through med school and always feeling that she doesn’t measure up. When she loses a patient, it seems her world has fallen apart. She seeks redemption for her mistakes and acceptance for who she really is. She is a little annoying at first, as she tries to adapt to being back in time, but that is actually probably a pretty accurate reaction, so I can’t really complain. I did really enjoy watching her grow and come to care for the people she meets. She slowly begins to open up and let people in, and becomes more relatable. I also really liked her voice. She is a bit sarcastic and has a very blunt personality, along with a wry sense of humor. I often found myself laughing at one of her observations of ancient life.
Cyprian Thascius is the “hero” and he was everything I had expected, along with a few surprises to keep him from seeming stereotypical. He is strong, kind, but also a little ruthless at times. He’s willing to do almost anything to protect those he loves, even if it seems less than ethical. He is a Christian, which was interesting, especially considering that during this time period the church was heavily persecuted. He is a young Christian though, and doesn’t always act in a way that is exactly a shining example of Christ, but this is also a very real and accurate portrayal. I loved seeing Lisbeth through his eyes, as he sees a strength she doesn’t. He also sees the kindness she tries to hard to hide.
Their romance was interesting. It started out seeming a lot like an arrangement. There were few emotions involved, despite their attraction. Then as they got to know each other and learn their hearts, it slowly grew into something more. I enjoyed their sparring, as two very strong personalities clashed, but also the sweet moments that made me sigh. Their relationship isn’t as fully developed as I maybe would have liked, but it does have to continue to advance through the next two books.
My favorite things about this book? How it drew me in and engaged my emotions. The descriptions were so vivid that I would look up from the book, a little surprised that I wasn’t in Rome. Even though some of the emotions it evoked weren’t positive ones, such as the outrage I shared with Lisbeth during the chapter when they are at the Roman games, I still loved being so thoroughly draw in. There were a couple times when a scene would be so intense that I would have to lay the book down and take a break for a while. I found myself thinking about some of the parallels drawn in it and asking some of my own questions. I love books that stay with me long after I’ve read the last page. Lynne is definitely an excellent writer, in my opinion. There are few authors who can pull me into a story like she does.
I also loved the reality portrayed in this book. It isn’t all happily ever afters or sigh worthy endings. It is gut-wrenchingly honest about what life was like in ancient Rome: the upheaval, the political unrest, the corrupt officials, the religious persecution. All of it is woven through the story and I paints what I believe is a pretty accurate picture of what they faced in that time period. It’s obvious Lynne put a lot of time and research into making the story as true to the times as possible.
Lynne also does a great job with the villains. I sincerely hated them and they were sufficiently disturbing. I’d really hoped some horrible fate would befall them. Unfortunately, we don’t get to find that out until the next book, or she may draw it out until the final one. So, I have awhile to continue hating them.
While Cyprian is a Christian, there actually wasn’t as much spirituality as I had expected. I had hoped for more growth in Lisbeth’s faith, but I would have to assume that will come in later books. I had to keep reminding myself that this isn’t a standalone. It is written to tightly connect with the next one, so anything that seems left undone or unsaid, will probably be expounded on in one of the next books.
One thing I will say is that I was so mad when I finished this book - I wanted the next one! I didn’t want to have to wait until Return to Exile releases in January 2015. We’re left with a huge cliffhanger and many questions, the biggest one being “What’s going to happen next?!” I will give you this warning, if you’re looking for a feel-good, happily ever after story, then this isn’t the book for you. It will take you through the wringer emotionally and leave you with a lot to think about.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy romance and suspense that draws you in from the start and doesn’t let you go until long after you’ve read the last page.

I think this is my longest review to date, because a couple places I tried to post it made me shorten it.  So, I apologize if this is too long or rambling for your tastes.  I just loved it so much and didn't want to shut up!  LOL  Y'all are going to have to start keeping me in line, I think!  :)
I hope you enjoyed my review anyway, despite the length.  In case you're interested in checking out the book some more, or perhaps purchasing a copy, here are a few links to get you started.


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book 

Thanks for coming by!  I hope you have a lovely day!

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Review: The Hesitant Heiress

Am I the only one who loves this cover?  It's definitely an attention catcher!  Her pink dress is so pretty and I love the old house in the back ground - it looks a little mysterious and adds depth, I think.  The Hesitant Heiress, Dawn Crandall's debut novel, is the first book in her Everstone Chronicles series. 

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt's Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother's tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems...and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she ever really trust an Everstone man?

About the Author:
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he let her quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.
Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a premarriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.
The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to be become a finalist in 2013.
(Description [italic mine] and cover photo from Christian Book.  About the author copied from book.  All rights reserved.)

My Review: 3.5 stars
Great debut novel!
The Hesitant Heiress is Dawn Crandall’s debut novel and the first book in her Everstone Chronicles series. I was quite impressed with this book, it being her first. It held my attention and I didn’t want to put it down! I have to believe they will only continue to get better. The story is set during 1890 and Ms. Crandall did an excellent job of bringing the time period to life. I really enjoyed the vivid details and descriptions she included, highlighting the important things, but not burying the story in them.
Amaryllis Brigham is one of the protagonists and the story comes from her point of view. I have to confess that I don’t often care to read books that are written in the first person, but I enjoyed this one. Amaryllis has an interesting voice and I was fascinated at seeing her world through her eyes. She is kind, but honestly, not overly sweet. She is very blunt, something that amuses Nathan Everstone to no end. She says somewhat shocking things and doesn’t have much in the way of a filter. That made for some very interesting conversations and kind of endeared her to me. She is also very stubborn and is sometimes perceived as cold, because she has hardened her heart to keep from being hurt. When she is expelled from The Boston Conservatory of Music because of a false letter, it seems her whole world has fallen apart. The only thing she has known for the past 11 years is school and music. There were a couple times she seemed a little bit juvenile, but I think part of it was because of her being at school for so many years and living mainly with women for that time. She’d had little experience being around men, let alone suitors. 
I was very impressed with her reaction when she is told she must marry within a year to secure her inheritance. She pretty much concludes that she will never receive the money, because she does not intend to marry. I was also very proud of several of her decisions afterward, when she followed her heart and instincts, rather than logic or the expectations of others. 
Nathan Everstone is an interesting character, though I kind of wish I had known him a bit better. Since we only see him through Amaryllis’ eyes, we don’t know what he is thinking unless he says something to her. This irritated me a couple times when it was rather obvious that she had misunderstood him. Nathan is very much a conundrum to Amaryllis. He is hot, then cold toward her, confusing her with comments she considers shocking, or things that seem cryptic. 
I really enjoyed their relationship, the banter and sparring, as well as how Nathan wouldn’t give up on her. He pursued her, even after numerous rejections and her attempts to avoid him. “Tenacious” is a word that comes to mind when I think of him. The romance was sweet as well as a little passionate (their kisses), and believable. I enjoyed how she fell in love with him slowly, through out the story, instead of all at once deciding she loved him.
I was a little disappointed with the faith aspect of this story. It is very light and is oftentimes barely there. But, I also know that there are a lot of people who don’t care for books they consider “preachy.” I would rather there not be much to speak of, than have it be overbearing or stilted to the point you want to put the book down.
There were a couple little nitpicky things that bothered me. One was that at one point Amaryllis obtains a job teaching music at a mission school. Which I was kind of excited about, because think of where the author could go from here! But instead, we hear almost nothing about her teaching. It seemed to have just completely dropped off, until I wondered if maybe I made that part up. I’m honestly not really sure why Dawn included that, if she wasn’t planning to take it anywhere. 
The other is that Amaryllis has spent 11 years blaming herself for her mother’s death. Which I would understand, but when we find out what happened to her mother and what Amaryllis believes she has done, it all seemed rather childish. I could see a child believing that, but a woman of 25? That didn’t make much sense to me, but maybe that’s just me. 
Overall, I would say that I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a quick read, with interesting characters that I’m excited to meet again. I’m looking forward to the next book, The Bound Heart (coming out in November 2014), and finding out what happens with Meredyth.
I recommend this book if you enjoy sweet historical romance with quirky characters and an interesting storyline.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Do you enjoy books written in the first person?  If so, which one has been your favorite?

Thank you so much for coming by my blog!  I hope you enjoyed my review and will consider stopping in again. :)

If you are interested in looking into the book some more, or perhaps purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started:


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

I hope you're having a lovely day!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My review: Where Treetops Glisten, plus giveaway!

Where Treetops Glisten is a collection of novellas set during WWII! I just love the cover on this one! And even though it's September, it takes me right to the snowy cold days of Christmas. I'm giving away a copy, so keep reading for the details! :)

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime

Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
filled with the wonder of Christmas

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?

About the authors:
Cara Putman is the author of twenty books including Shadowed by Grace. She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction. Sarah Sundin is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels. Tricia Goyer is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger.

(Description, about the authors, and cover photo from Christian Book.  All rights reserved.) 

My review: 4 stars
Great Christmas collection!
Where Treetops Glisten is a novella collection set around Christmases during WWII. I’m not typically a big fan of novellas, simply because they always feel too short to me, but I really enjoyed these. They are closely linked, as the main characters in each are siblings. There are 3 in this collection, which allowed the authors to make them a little longer than the typical novella, without having a huge book as the result.

White Christmas by Cara Putman I really enjoyed this novella! Abigail Turner is the middle child of the family now, though not by choice. She lost 2 siblings when she was a child and after losing her boyfriend to the war, is very skittish of new relationships. I found Abigail to be a realistic character and enjoyed getting to know her. I could easily relate to what she was going through and quickly fell in love with her character. Her fear of losing someone else is pretty much the crux of the story. Her desire to get to know Jackson Lucas and perhaps have a relationship with him hangs on whether or not she can let go of the past and allow herself to love again.
I enjoyed Jackson’s character as well. He is strong, kind, and very patient with Abigail. At the beginning of the story he has his own issues to deal with, including a bit of a mystery, so that kept everything moving forward, as he and Abigail got to know each other. 
My only complaint is that I felt the ending was a little rushed and a bit unrealistic.

I’ll be Home for Christmas by Sarah SundinIn this novella, we get to follow Pete Turner’s love story. I try really hard not to play favorites, but I think this one was mine. Pete comes home from war struggling to escape the horrors he witnessed and the weight of losing friends. I appreciated the realism in that, though it was glossed over a bit. He feels empty and the pastor tells him to give, which makes no sense at all to Pete. But he learns the truth in the pastor’s words when he comes across Linnie, an adorable little girl who is out wandering. Now we get to why this story was my favorite . . . I adored Linnie! She was so cute and sweet! I loved her relationship with Pete and how she often taught him something, instead of the other way around.
Grace Kessler is the heroine and Linnie’s mother. She and Pete have a history and she doesn’t regard him fondly at their first reunion. She remembers him as the bully from her childhood years and isn’t all that excited when he offers to watch Linnie for her. I can’t pinpoint one thing in particular that I liked about Grace, I just really enjoyed her character. Maybe it was the banter between them, or her willingness to forgive past hurts, or how she cared for Linnie, whatever it was, Ms. Sundin did a great job!
The romance didn’t feel rushed, which surprised me. I think it may have been because Grace and Pete had known each other before and started from there. They also spent a lot of time talking and getting to know one another better, rather than just jumping into being in love. Also, Linnie was often the focus, which kept it off their relationship a bit.
I also especially appreciated the spiritual aspect of this novella. It is a bit more prevalent here and focuses on allowing God to fill the empty spaces in your heart, rather than trying to use people to make you whole.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Tricia Goyer
In this story, we get to know Meredith (Merry) Turner, the last Turned sibling still single. I must confess I didn’t like this one as well as the others. Merry had her heart broken at the beginning of the war and is still struggling to move past the sense of betrayal and abandonment she feels as a result. I found it rather difficult to relate to Merry and didn’t connect with her at all. I really wanted to like her, but she seemed a little childish, focusing on something that happened 3 years ago and constantly contemplating the fact she couldn’t be home for Christmas. Also, a couple of her reactions didn’t make any sense to me and made me want to shake her.
There was actually very little dialogue between the protagonists, which was kind of annoying. I wanted them to talk, spend time together, something. But Merry spent most of her time with Nancy, one of her fellow nurses. Also, we rarely see anything from the hero’s point of view, which I suppose makes sense on some level, but I would have liked to know what he was thinking a little more often.

Overall, the novellas were all good in their own right. I really enjoyed the epilogue, which pulled everything together and allowed us one last glimpse into the Turner family. The thing that most impressed me about this book how well each of the stories flows with the others. It being written by three different authors, I had anticipated some discord between the novellas, but each character’s personality and the important aspects of who they are stayed the same throughout the book.
I liked the premise of the series and if I would have liked a few things to be different, then that’s just my personal preference.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher, through The Christian Manifesto for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

As noted above, I'm giving away a copy of this book to celebrate the release!  To be entered in the giveaway, please answer one of the questions that follows and leave your email address in a similar spam protected format, user[at]suchandsuch[dot]com so I can contact the winner.  If you do not leave an email address, I will not be able to enter you.  The drawing will be open until midnight EST on September 16th.  
You can receive extra entries by following my blog (follow by email option is available in the bar on the right hand side of the screen) and sharing the link for this giveaway on social media.  If you do either of these, be sure to leave a comment and let me know!

What is your favorite Christmas carol and why?
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Is there a special book or story that you always read during Christmastime (other than the story of Jesus' birth)?

My review: A Carol for Kent

A Carol for Kent is the third book in Hallee Bridgeman's Song of Suspense series!  It follows A Melody for James and An Aria for Nick, both of which I enjoyed immensely and this one is as wonderful as the other two!
A Ruthless Serial Killer Seeks to End a Love Song Eight Years in the Making
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Carol Mabry heads up an investigation into a string of stranglings in Virginia's capital. The serial killer known as Richmond Red remorselessly snuffs out beautiful young women with violin strings before ritually enshrining their lovely lifeless bodies inside a pentagram of blood red candles.
Country music superstar Bobby Kent makes an unscheduled return trip to his Virginia home for the first time in years. To his shock, he discovers that he and Carol have a young daughter, Lisa. His parents have kept Lisa hidden from him her entire life while simultaneously deceiving Carol about Bobby's interest in fatherhood. Angry and hurt over the deception, Carol and Bobby strive to cope with this newly discovered reality. They struggle to overcome harmful secrets and years of lies to decide whether they have a future. Neither of them realize how every waking moment they move closer to the serial killer who harbors an unnatural and deadly obsession. With the beautiful Carol locked in Richmond Red's sites, the clock is ticking down to her destruction. Will the two find love, or is their sonata striking a dangerous final chord?

About the Author:
An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee finally settled in central Kentucky with her family so that she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a teenaged daughter, and two elementary aged sons delivers.
A prolific writer, when she's not penning novels, she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at Hallee the Homemaker(tm) ( Her passion for cooking spurred her to launch a whole food, real food "Parody" cookbook series. In addition to nutritious, Biblically grounded recipes, readers will find that each cookbook also confronts some controversial aspect of secular pop culture.
Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time board member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the American Christian Writers (ACW) as well as being a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC).
Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her. She prays her work here on earth is a blessing to you and would love to hear from you. You can reach Hallee at
(Description [italics mine] and cover photo from Deeper Shopping. About the author from Amazon.  All rights reserved.)

My Review: 5 stars
Another Hallee Bridgeman book for the keeper shelf!
A Carol for Kent is the third book in Hallee Bridgeman’s Song of Suspense series. I was extremely excited to read this one, after reading the first two and I can happily say it was great! Mrs. Bridgeman’s books just keep getting better!
While this is technically book three, you don’t have to read them in order. I would suggest it if possible, because they are all great and you would already know all the reoccurring characters. But, if you can’t or don’t want to, then it’s not a big deal. The plots don’t overlap and there are no cliffhangers that require an explanation.
As always, Halle does an excellent job with the descriptions and details. It’s obvious she put a lot of time and research into this story and I really enjoyed all the little nuances I learned. The plot was also very interesting. This is one of the few mysteries that was able to keep me guessing throughout the book. I had to fight the urge to flip to the end and find out “whodunit” - it was driving me nuts, not knowing!
Carol Mabry is a great heroine and I quickly fell in love with her character. She is An Assistant Commonwealth Attorney, but while that is her job, it isn’t who she is. She’s a Christian, a mother, and a friend. She is strong, kind, loving, and at times, stubborn. I appreciated how she was able to leave her work behind and focus on her daughter, Lisa. She is the kind of lady that you admire for her strength, but more so for her transparency and ability to be vulnerable. I loved how easily I could connect with her, though I have nothing in common with her.
Bobby Kent is an interesting hero. He is a bit the typical hero in that he is strong, stubborn, but also kind and loving. But that’s where the comparisons end. He is famous and very wealthy, but that doesn’t really go to his head. While he has enough money to purchase whatever he desires, the only thing he can’t get is what he longs for the most: the time he lost with his daughter. What most impressed me about Bobby? How real he is. He gets angry, loses his temper, struggles to forgive, but he also desires to follow Christ and live a life honoring Him.
I also really enjoyed Carol and Bobby’s relationship. While they obviously knew each other in the past, that actually didn’t play into it that much. Carol had spent the past 8 years loathing Bobby (her words, not mine), but when she learns that he was lied to as well, she quickly lets go of her anger. As they reconnect and get to know each other again, they find that the love they shared years ago has changed. They aren’t the same people they were before, they’ve grown and life has changed them. I really liked the honesty in their relationship. They have both been lied to, so trust and honesty is very important to them.
Hallee did a great job with the mystery! As I already mentioned, it kept me guessing until the very end. I had suspects, but wasn’t entirely sure and it twisted and turned so much that just as I thought I might know who it was, something else would happen and mess up that theory. I was still partially wrong in the end, though I wasn’t terribly upset about that. I was too busy being impressed with the complexity of it all and how she managed to bring everything back together again. I have to confess, I found the entries from the killer a little disturbing, but that was undoubtedly intentional. The killer was creepy, so it stands to reason that anything from their point of view would be too.
I love how much importance was placed on God in this story. One of the main spiritual themes is forgiveness, which both Bobby and Carol struggle with after being deceived for years. The reality in their emotions and reactions really touched my heart. The subject wasn’t glossed over or portrayed to be easier than it actually is. I love this quote, “Father God, I pray that You help me release the anger clutching my heart and taking over my mind. Help me to be Christ-like in all things, including this thing. Amen.” - Bobby Kent, page 138 I think it sums up quite well what the characters were facing and struggling with, but also how they handled it.
You’ll notice this review has five stars, a rarity for me. When I went to rate it, I couldn’t think of a single thing I didn’t like. There wasn’t anything I could nitpick or comment about, so five stars seems appropriate.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy mystery, suspense, and wonderfully realistic characters!

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author, through The Book Club Network, for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
*Quotation used with permission from the author. All rights reserved.

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!  :)
A little birdy told me that A Carol for Kent is currently on sale in eBook for $4.99 if you're interested.  Here are a couple links, if you want to check it out, maybe consider purchasing a copy.


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book 

I hope you're having a lovely day!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

20 Things You Might Not Know About Me

20 Things You Might Not Know About Me:

Question 1: How tall are you?
5' 3''

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
Not that I know of. If I do, then it's hidden from me, too!

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
Hmm . . . I don't really have many pet-peeves, in general.  Maybe when people use their blogs as personal diaries and share their whole lives online.  For one thing, that's not smart, for another, why would you want complete strangers to know your every move?

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
See the beginning of answer 3. :)

Question 5: What’s your favorite song?
Oh, that's a hard one!  I think my favorite song at the moment is Tricia Brock's What I Know. My favorites actually change on a regular basis, so if you ask me again in a week or two, I'll probably have a different answer.

Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?
I honestly have no idea what this is, so . . . yeah, I have nothing.

Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?
Note the title of this blog - want to take a wild a guess?  :)

Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?
A banana split milkshake. I also love Almond Joy candy bars.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
I have a cat named Taz. (sorry, no pictures! They're all on my phone and I'm too lazy to transfer them)

Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?
I wish people didn't ask me hard questions like this! I can't pick one favorite! If pressed, I would say nonfiction to be the Bible, because it applies to every aspect of my life. For fiction, one of Dee Henderson's books, but I can't pick one, so that's as close as I'm getting. :)

Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product?
I really don't wear makeup or anything, so I can't answer that.

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
I'll have to think about that one . . . hmm. So, I've come back to this question after finishing everything else and I honestly can't remember. It must not have been too mortifying.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hot chocolate - because who doesn't need more chocolate in their lives. :)

Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?
Again with the favorites! Animated: Tangled. Live/action: Either Oscar or Captain America.

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?
I was homeschooled, but given my personality, most likely either nerd or loner.

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I think I would love to live in Australia, but having never visited, I can't say for sure. 
Question 17: PC or Mac?
I've only ever had a PC, so I'll have to be loyal and say that. :)

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?
I'm not married, don't have a boyfriend, and have never been on a date, so I'm not really able to answer this.

Question 19: Favorite celebrity?
I'm not really into this, but I would have to say someone from NCIS - in particular I would have to go with Michael Weatherly. He seems interesting and I really like Tony.  :)

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?
I think Melissa Tagg. I love her books and reading her blog. She's funny, with a somewhat quirky sense of humor, I think, and is just a lovely lady. (I'm tagging her in this, so if you don't agree with my opinion, Melissa, too bad. ;) )

I'm tagging Melissa Tagg ( and my friend Katie Marie ( to do this with me.  If you decline, you owe me $10 - kidding!  This is completely voluntary. :) 
If anyone who reads this is interested in joining in, the details are below. Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in participating, here are the directions:
1. Copy and paste the questions below and then answer and turn them into a blog post. Or, record a video answering these questions and upload it to your blog post.
2. At the bottom of your post, tag anywhere from 2-10 bloggers you want to see answer these questions. (I also suggest hitting up your tagged people via social media just to let them know you tagged them to do this tag challenge.)
3. Use the title: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me Blog Tag. Once you’ve hit publish, leave a comment with the link to your post.
4. Use the hashtag #20ThingsBlogTag when sharing on social media so we can all find your awesome posts!
Question 1: How tall are you?
Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
Question 5: What’s your favorite song?
Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?
Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?
Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?
Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?
Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product?
Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?
Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?
Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Question 17: PC or Mac?
Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?
Question 19: Favorite celebrity?
Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?

**This blog post is a part of the ’20 Things You Might Not Know About Me’ Blog Tag started by April from Blacksburg Belle. She began this blog tag experiment to build community among creatives, help us bloggers to connect more and get to know each other better. This month’s topic is all about sharing just a little too much information about yourself.**

My review: Tried & True

Tried & True is the newest book in Mary Connealy's new Wild at Heart series!  I loved this one and can't wait for the next book!
I love the cover!  It's so pretty! The colors are gorgeous and her expression is great!  The back cover is lovely too, though I don't have a picture of it, sorry.  You'll just have to buy the book and see it for yourself! :)

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister--and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk--they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"--but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

About the Author:
Mary Connealy is an award-winning, bestselling author known for her fun and lively historical romantic comedies. An author, teacher, and journalist, Mary lives on an eastern Nebraska ranch with her husband and enjoys spending time with her four daughters and two grandchildren. Learn more at
(Description and about the author from Christian Book.  Cover photo from Deeper Shopping. All rights reserved.)

My Review: 4 stars
Great start to a new series!
Tried & True is the first book in Mary Connealy’s new Wild at Heart series. I’m a big fan of Mrs. Connealy’s books and was very excited when I saw she had a new series starting. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed this book!
As always, Mary does an excellent job of drawing in her readers and grabbing their attention. I was laughing from the start and found I really liked the characters, too. The descriptions were also very well done and I could easily imagine Kylie’s home and the town of Aspen Ridge. Though now I want to visit Idaho and see some of the beautiful scenery described in the story!
Kylie Wilde is the youngest Wilde sister and also the prissiest. She fought in the Civil War for two years and is tired of pretending to be a man. She wears dresses every chance she gets and dreams of returning to “civilization,” as she calls it. I really liked Kylie’s character and found I could easily connect with her. I loved that she was strong enough to do what she considers men’s work, but was also very happy to allow a man to actually do it. So often it seems in western novels that the women lean one way or the other, but Kylie had a very nice balance of being feminine, but also getting a job done. Kylie is strong in her own right, but none of her family seem to see that and they tend to run roughshod over her. I really enjoyed watching her come into her own and discover how strong she truly is.
Aaron Masterson is a good foil for Kylie. The first man to see her in a dress, then later call her on her charade, he is strong, but also kind. He can’t understand why she and her sisters were convinced to fight in the war as men, but admires their strength and fortitude. He struggles to know what the right and honest thing to do is, when faced with the injustice of the land grants. I loved how Aaron quickly became Kylie’s defender, even to the point of putting her in jail to keep her safe. He isn’t easily swayed by anyone, least of all her overbearing family, and stands up for her until she finds the strength to do so herself. I also loved his care and concern for her sisters. He sees that they are being mistreated and ignored by their father, and attempts to show them all love.
Kylie and Aaron’s relationship starts out on the wrong foot, when he calls her on her disguise and removes the exemption from her homestead grant. But they quickly find their footing, as they join forces to find out who is behind the attacks against Kylie and her home. I actually really enjoyed their romance, which isn’t really one by most standards. I loved the care Aaron lavishes on Kylie as they spent time getting to know one another. While they both have thoughts of marriage early on, it didn’t seem farfetched or rushed. I adored the selfless love shown through their actions, as Kylie and Aaron put the other’s needs before their own, even to the point of accepting the death their dreams. This was prior to either of them becoming aware of the love they felt for each other, which in my mind made it even sweeter.  
I have to admit, my favorite part of the book and probably a reason some people won’t like it as much, is that it is more serious than many of her other books. There were still several parts that made me laugh, but I loved that they talked about God more and had real conversations that mattered. Several of the characters served in the Civil War, so that contributed to the seriousness. They had to face the demons haunting them left over from the war and all they witnessed, as well as learning to trust God and give their burdens to Him. As much as I love the side-splitting laughter caused by her books, the honesty and faith in this one spoke more to me than any of her past stories.
My only complaint is that the mystery they had (finding out who was targeting Kylie) seemed to drag on a little, then was quickly resolved. I would have enjoyed maybe a little more time spent expanding on that, but overall, it still worked out well. The story was well paced and didn’t lag anywhere, which is more important to me than the mystery being further fleshed out. I’m basically just nitpicking.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy Western romances filled with great characters, laughter-inducing scenes, and God.

I received a complementary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in anyway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Are you a fan of Mary Connealy's?  Does it bother you when one of your favorite authors deviate a little bit from their normal pattern?  Or do you tend to appreciate the change?  After hearing my take, will you still consider reading the book?

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review and will consider picking up a copy of the book!  In case you're interested in checking it out some more, or maybe purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started. 


Christian Book

Barnes & Noble

If you're a newcomer here, I hope you realize these links aren't intended to pressure you or anything like that.  They're just something I like to add to make it easier for you and to help promote books I enjoy.  :) 
I hope you're having a lovely day!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My review: Nowhere to Turn

Okay, I have to gush over the cover just a bit - I can't resist! I love the colors, how vibrant they are and so neatly blended that I can't really tell where one ends and another begins.  The silhouette is a nice touch and gives it a bit of a mysterious look.  Overall, this is a cover that would jump off a shelf at me and make me pick up the book to check it out.  Props to Revell for another excellent cover!
Now, on to the book, the whole reason for this post. :)

The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe; but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long . . .

About the author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at
(Cover photo, description [italics mine], and about the author copied from Christian Book)

My review: 4.5 stars
Ms. Eason doesn’t disappoint!
Nowhere to Turn is the second installment in Lynette Eason’s new Hidden Identity series. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, No One to Trust, so I had high expectations for this one. I’m happy to say that it met all of them!
Ms. Eason’s writing, as usual, was wonderful! I loved the details and descriptions she included, filling in the blanks a bit, without overwhelming the reader with information. The suspense was great as well, keeping me on the edge of my seat! I had a horrible time finding a stopping point to put the book down, because every time I would start to, something else would happen!
I quickly came to love the heroine, Danielle Harding. She is a very realistic and relatable character. She is a battered wife who is finally freed from her abusive husband, though not in the way she expected. I loved how strong and determined she was, doing her best to stand on her own, but also using wisdom and asking for help when needed. She is also kind and caring, often running straight toward danger in order to protect someone else. Her biggest fears are not being able to protect her son and relying on anyone too much. I enjoyed seeing her grow through out the story and learn to push aside her very real fears in favor of faith.
Adam Buchanan is the hero in this book. We first met him in No One to Trust and I really enjoyed getting to know him better. He has grown and changed a bit since the end of that book. He is more cautious, more determined, more wary when it comes to trusting someone (something he and Dani have in common). He is also kind, strong, and understanding, exactly what Dani and her son, Simon, need.
I have mixed feelings about the romance, which kind of took a backseat with all the other things going on. On one hand, I would have liked it to have been more integrated in the story, on the other, this is probably one of the most realistic romance novels I’ve read recently. I’ve always found the falling in love in a few short days very improbable, plus Danielle is still recovering from a horrible relationship, so this is most likely a very accurate portrayal of what might actually happen.
This is a Christian novel, though the faith in it is very low key. The characters pray a few times, talk or think about God a couple times, but overall, the story focuses on the mystery and everything going on there. I was a little disappointed by this at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that had there been more included, it probably would have ended up awkward or become annoying. So I have to applaud Ms. Eason for her expert handling of it, not overwhelming the story, but carefully weaving just the right amount into it.
I really enjoyed the mystery and suspense, which kept me hooked. A couple of the villains are known, but there are also a couple that are unknown. The story comes from their point of view a couple times, which kept me guessing, trying to figure out who it was. The ending was so surprising for me! I did not even see it coming (which I loved).
My only complaint is that the ending seemed a little abrupt, as though the author only had a few pages left in which to tie things up. I would have liked it to be a bit longer, but it still ended well, leaving me curious as to who’s book would be next.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy suspense with compelling characters!

I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book from the publisher, through The Christian Manifesto, for my honest review which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to read the review!  I hope you enjoyed it (and if you didn't, I don't really want to know)!
As usual, here are a few links, if you're interested in learning more about the book, or perhaps purchasing a copy. 


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book 

I hope you're having a lovely day!