Monday, October 27, 2014

My Review: The Bound Heart

I just adore this cover!  Isn't it gorgeous?  Definitely an attention-catcher! Oh, the book was great, too!  Don't worry - I just had to brag on the cover for a moment.  :) 
One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from their unfortunate past.
When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she’s convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption... and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?

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.

(Cover photo and description from Goodreads.  Author photo copied from her website and about the author copied from The Hesitant Heiress. No infringement intended.)

My review: 4 stars
Exceptional sequel!

The Bound Heart is book two in Dawn Crandall’s, The Everstone Chronicles series. I was very interested to read this book and find out what would happen with Meredyth Summerton, and I can happily say that I really enjoyed it!
Ms. Crandall does a great job of pulling you into the story and making it seem as though you are actually there. I loved the descriptions and details, which weren’t overwhelming. I had actually expected more, given the time period the book is set in, but had there been, I believe they would have become tedious or annoying. I quickly became engrossed in the book and didn’t want to put it down! It kept me up late one night, even though I tried to convince myself to put it down and get some sleep.
Meredyth is the main character in this book and I found that I really liked her. She is in the first book, The Hesitant Heiress, quite a bit, but we actually don’t know her that well. I was looking forward to becoming better acquainted with her. I loved her voice, which really matches her character. I was a little concerned that she would sound too much like Amaryllis, but she didn’t. She has her own distinct voice, setting her apart. She struggles with her past and sees herself as unworthy and forever bound to Vance Everstone, making the title quite appropriate. I thought her reactions and struggles were very realistic, which made me love her even more. She has a mask, which she tries not to let anyone behind, but she couldn’t seem to keep Lawry or the Lord out. I also really enjoyed the growth in her. She begins the book being a little spoiled and selfish, something that was unfortunately quite common of high society during the time. But as I progressed, I could see distinct changes in her thought processes and her attitude. I loved how she began to look beyond herself and question the things of society that she had always just accepted before. She really challenged me to do the same. 
Lawrence “Lawry” Hampton is a great hero. He is strong, tenacious, and loving, things Meredyth desperately needed. She tried so hard to push him away, but he would never give up on her. I adored the love that is shown in this book. One of my favorite quotes is when Lawry is speaking to Meredyth and says, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; I still love you . . . . Because that’s what love is.” He unknowingly gave her a great example of what God’s love is like. It never fails, regardless.

I enjoyed their romance, though it actually wasn’t the focus of the story, as I had expected. It is very prominent, but more of the story seemed to be Meredyth’s journey to understanding and accepting mercy and forgiveness. There were a few somewhat “steamy” kisses and what happened with Vance and Meredyth is alluded to, but no details are given, thankfully. Vance was a bit of a creep for part of the book, so if there had been any details, I probably would have been so disgusted as to quit right there. I literally couldn’t stand him, though I didn’t truly hate him at the end.
I also loved the spirituality woven through the story. Meredyth struggles with feeling as though she is unworthy and that the Lord is punishing her for her past mistakes. I loved following her as she grew and began to understand grace and love. She is so closed off at the beginning of the story that I had to wonder what it would take to break down her walls. There was such a feeling of happiness for her, when she is finally able to release her burdens. The writing was excellent and I never felt as though something was skipped over. All of it was written with the care and seriousness it deserved. 
My only complaint is that the story lagged a little, in the beginning. There were two or three chapters that felt a little unnecessary and long, but it quickly picked back up and I was engrossed again.
I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an interesting story with a strong spiritual thread and great characters.

I received an advanced reading 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 anyway. All opinions expressed are my own.

*Quotation used with permission from the author. No infringement intended.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!
I would really love to have some links here, so you can check the book out some more, but they aren't available, yet.  Hopefully those will be up soon, but until then, here's the link for Goodreads if you'd like to add the book to your "Want to Read" list.  I always do that, or I forget in a couple days what book I was looking for.  :)
Anyway, thanks again!  I hope you're having a lovely day!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Review: The Evergreen Bride

Mississippian Annabelle Denson dreams of visiting cousins in Illinois and seeing a white Christmas. In the face of her excitement, Samuel Frazier hides his growing affection for her behind a quiet smile and a carpenter’s lathe. Samuel starts to worry that if she goes, Annabelle won’t return. Can he convince her to stay?

About the Author:
Award-winning author Pam Hillman, a country girl at heart, writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. She lives with her family in Mississippi. Contact Pam at her website:

(Description from Amazon. Cover photo and about the author copied from Christian Book. No infringement intended.)

My Review: 3 stars
Good Christmas novella.The Evergreen Bride is the third novella in Barbour Publishing’s 12 Brides of Christmas series. While it is a series, the books actually don’t link up at all, so reading them in order is not necessary. The premise for this one sounded interesting, but not entirely captivating. While the storyline is simple and somewhat overused, Ms. Hillman did a great job of giving it new life.
Annabelle Denson, the school teacher in her small town, has long dreamed of seeing a white Christmas and finally has the chance to visit family in Illinois and spend Christmas with them. I actually really liked Annabelle, though she did a couple times seem a little childish. She is kind hearted and is often trying to help others. She is also sensitive to the attitudes and moods of people, and takes care to be kind to them. She has been friends with her brother’s best friend, Samuel Frazier for years. He is almost a part of the family and that is how she has always thought of him. Until she realizes that she is falling in love with him.
Samuel Frazier is an interesting hero. He loves Annabelle, has for years, in fact. But he is trying hard to make a go of his business and doesn’t want to confess his feelings until he can provide for her. When he is faced with her leaving for Christmas, he has to decide what to do. Is he willing to risk losing her? I enjoyed the conflict here and getting to know him better. Samuel is very honorable and wants to do what is best for Annie, even if that means letting her go. 
The romance was sweet, if super short. They have been friends for years and actually spent most of the story as friends. They only became more during the last two or three chapters. Which I guess makes sense, since the book only covers about two weeks time. If they had moved faster, it probably would have seemed rushed. I did really appreciate that there were no unrealistic declarations of love in the last chapter. Instead, they decided to see where it would go. 
I think my only two complaints are that while Annabelle is the daughter of a pastor, she never really considers what the Lord may have for her. Most of the time, she just decides that this is her dream and goes for it. That bothered me a little bit, but not enough to make me stop reading. Also, Annabelle and Samuel spend a remarkably short amount of time together on paper. Most of the story is spent just jumping from one of their view points to the other and following their thoughts about each other.
I recommend this novella if you are looking for a short Christmas story and enjoy historical romance.
I received a free download of this book from the publisher 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!  I hope you enjoyed it!  If you're interested in purchasing this novella, it is currently on sale for $0.99!  And it is only $0.79 on Christian Book. I believe the sale ends Oct. 31, so be sure to get a copy before then!
Here are some links to get you started, if you're interested:


Christian Book

Barnes & Noble


Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Review: Temperance's Trial

The Third Reich Seeks to extract the information she alone knows.
 Marie Gilbert and her elder brother flee from Vichy France after the Gestapo arrest her father for suspicion of aiding Jewish children to escape the oncoming fascist front. Once in London, Marie is recruited into an experimental all female cohort dubbed the Virtues, a collection of seven extraordinary women with highly specialized skills. Known only by her code name, Temperance, she is trained to operate a wireless radio and returns to her beloved France. With a new identity, Marie clandestinely communicates vital intelligence directly back to Headquarters but unwillingly attracts the attention and apparent adoration of a handsome but ruthless Nazi officer, Oberleutnant Leopold Schfer. As the H-hour to execute their daring mission draws ever closer, Marie plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the unrelenting and merciless young Lieutenant Schfer and the Nazi soldiers under his command.

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
(Book description [variations mine] and cover photo from Deeper Shopping. Author photo from Amazon and about the author copied from A Carol For Kent. No infringement intended.) 

My Review: 4 stars
Great start to the series!
Temperance’s Trials is the first “episode” in Hallee Bridgeman’s new Virtues and Valor serial novel. A new episode will release each month, ending with the seventh novella. I’m typically not all that into serial novels, but when I saw Hallee was writing one, I knew I had to read it. She’s one of my favorite authors, so I knew I would love it!
Because this is the first one in the series, a lot of it was spent setting the stage for the following stories. There is a lot of historical detail packed into this novella, so at times it seemed as though I didn’t get to know Marie (aka Temperance) as well as I may have liked, but I do understand why so much time was spent on other things. Plus, she should be in the rest of the stories too, so getting to know her completely now would have seemed redundant later on. I really enjoyed the details that were included and appreciate all the time and research Hallee put into this whole series. I was also fascinated that each of the Virtues is based on a real person who fought in WWII in their own ways and there is a short biography at the end about the person who inspired each one. 
Marie Gilbert is the main character in this episode. She is the radio and transmissions operator of the group. I really liked Marie and found her to be very realistic. I was able to sympathize with her struggles and her fears, even though I personally have never been there. I don’t want to give away anything, but I will say that her bravery really touched and inspired me. I wanted to cry with her near the end, when I was shown clearly what they faced in war-time. I’m anxious to learn what happens with her and the Lieutenant.
I became so engrossed in the story and everything that was going on that I was very upset when it ended rather abruptly. I knew we’d be left with a cliffhanger at the end, but I didn’t think the story would just stop there! Now I have to read the next one to find out what happens next! I applaud Hallee for leaving it at a great place to hook the reader, but at the same time I want to demand the next part. I don’t want to wait a month before I get to read the next one! 
I highly recommend this novella and the whole series to anyone who enjoyed WWII fiction and suspense.

I received a free download 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.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it and will consider checking out the book! 
I actually only have one link this time, to
Amazon.  Sorry about that!

I hope you have a lovely day!


Monday, October 20, 2014

My Review: The Nutcracker Bride

Anyone who knows me very well, knows I'm not typically a huge fan of novellas - not long enough for my tastes - but I'll have to change my opinion now, because I loved this one! :)

While gathering walnuts, someone throws a bag of money into Lucy Langdon’s wagon. Now Chad Prescott, a Texas ranger, is determined to recover the bag, but not before he is shot as a prowler. Waking up in a house full of German nutcrackers is rather disconcerting for this lawman, but not as troublesome as feeling his heart fall for the lovely Lucy.

About the Author:
Bestselling author Margaret Brownley has penned more than thirty novels. Her books have won numerous awards, including Readers’ Choice and Award of Excellence. She’s a former Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and has written for a TV soap. Happily married to her real-life hero, Margaret and her husband have three grown children and live in Southern California.
(description, about the author, and cover photo copied from Christian Book - no infringement intended.)

My Review: 4 stars
Great novella! The Nutcracker Bride is the second novella in Barbour Publishing’s 12 Brides of Christmas series. If you read my review for the first book, then you know I wasn’t a huge fan of it. I’m happy to say that this one is great!
Margaret Brownley is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. Her books always make me laugh and smile, while also imparting some important spiritual truth. They take me back in time to a life so far removed from our modern one. I loved the historical details she includes, as she paints a picture of a past life and draws me into a story.
The story follows Lucy Langdon and Chad Prescott around Christmas time. I loved getting to know the characters! Lucy is a great heroine, strong and determined, while also showing a softer side on occasion. She has a very strong desire to always do the right thing, though she doesn’t always know what that is. I also loved her care for Chad and her grandfather, though they got on her nerves and definitely kept her on her toes, she was never intentionally unkind to them.
Chad is an interesting hero and I really liked his character. He is a Texas Ranger who ends up shot and being nursed by Lucy. I really enjoyed his wry sense of humor, which had me chuckling several times. He is also kind, stubborn, and strong, which means he and Lucy butt heads more often than not. My favorite thing about him? The care and attention he lavishes on Lucy, as he tries to shoulder some of her burden.
I also really enjoyed their relationship. They start as nothing more than strangers, then slowly become friends. The romance was understated for most of the story, which I appreciated. There were also no unrealistic declarations of love, something that generally bothers me. Novellas are so short, that most of the time, the characters don’t know each other well enough to have fallen in love. That was another thing I particularly enjoyed about this story. The characters spent a fair amount of time together, talking, getting to know one another and in the process, allowing the readers to know them better.
One thing I did find a little strange and is actually what kept me from giving this novella five stars, was something in the spiritual aspect. Lucy has nutcrackers all over the house, which explains the title, and at one point she tells Chad a bit of the history behind them. Which was fine, I enjoyed that part, but what bothered me is that while Lucy prays, there was a reference made to her turning a nutcracker face out, because the house needed all the protection it could get. That just sounded strange to me, because I would think that if you trust in the Lord, then you wouldn’t be thinking a wooden object would be any help whatsoever at protecting your home. It may not bother anyone else, but I felt that could have been left out.
Overall, I would say this is one of the best novellas I have read and I highly recommend it!

I received a free download of this book from the publisher 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 taking the time to stop by!  I hope you enjoyed my review and will consider checking out the book, which is only $0.99!
Here are a few links, in case you're interested:


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book  

If you are new to my blog, I do want to add that I'm not trying to convince you to buy anything.  I add the links as a convenience to my readers and to help promote books I have really enjoyed.  If you're interested, feel free to use them, if not, then completely ignore them.  Either one is perfectly fine with me. :)

I hope you're having a lovely day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Giveaway: Raptor 6

Hi all!  Since I've been pretty scarce lately, I've decided it's time for a somewhat random giveaway! I have a spare copy of Raptor 6 and thought I would share it with someone in honor of the second book, Hawk, releasing November 1!  I don't know about y'all, but I'm super excited to read Hawk!  If you're new to Ronie's books, then I hope you'll enter my giveaway and consider checking out the rest of her books, as well.  Keep reading for the details. :)

His Mission.  His Team.
Captain Dean Watters keeps these parts of his life in laser-like focus.  So when hackers threaten both his mission and his team, Deans Special Forces training kicks into high gear.  Ten military super-secure computers are missing--which if opened, would give America's enemies a blueprint of U.S. military intelligence.  Failing to stop the hackers isn't an option.
Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif.  She's also a target.  He expertise in quantum cryptology makes her an unwitting pawn in the hackers' deadly game.  They're coming for her, and Dean and his team must stop them.
Before the team can get to Zahrah, she disappears.  Now Dean must race to rescue her and stop the hackers from unleashing terror on millions across the globe.  But to do so, Dean will be forced to crack open the steel box around his heart--a move that might come at the highest cost.

Are you excited yet?!  I loved this book and am so excited to share a copy with you!
The giveaway will run until midnight October 22, EST.  To be entered, please answer one of the questions below and leave your email address in a similar spam protected format:  suchandsuch[at]something[dot]com - you must leave your email address to be entered.  I will notify the winner Thursday morning.  If I don't receive a reply within 24 hours, then I will choose an new winner.
You may gain extra entries by following my blog (follow options in the bar on the right side of the screen) or sharing the link to this page on social media.  If you do either of these, be sure to let me know so I can make sure you get the extra entries.

Are you a fan of Ronie's?  If so, which of her books is your favorite?
Who is one of your favorite suspense authors?  What do you enjoy most about their books?
Do you have a favorite place to read?  Where is it and what makes it special?

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a lovely day will consider coming again! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My review: The Advent Bride

New--The 12 Brides of Christmas! You're invited to a Christmas wedding...that is twelve of them! Discover the joy of an old-fashioned Christmas romance with these twelve heart-warming stories. Brand-new stories from renowned inspirational fiction authors will take you into the heartland of historical America. Releasing each week starting October 6, you'll want to read all of them.

#1: The Advent Bride
Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.

About the Author:
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist. She is the bestselling author of the Wild at Heart series, which recently began with book 1, Tried & True. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas series, Kincaid Bride series, Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy, Sophie’s Daughters Trilogy, and many other books. Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and three spectacular grandchildren. Find Mary online at
(Cover photo, book description, and about the author copied from Christian Book.  No infringement intended.)

My Review: 2.5 stars
I was a bit disappointed.
The Advent Bride is the first novella in Barbour Publishing’s The 12 Brides of Christmas serial series. It follows the story of Melanie Douglas and Henry “Hank” O’Keeffe as they strive to help his son during Christmas. I was very excited to read this, since I’m a huge fan of Ms. Connealy’s, but unfortunately, I was left desiring something more.
The beginning was very promising and I laughed at the very first line, but somewhere around the halfway point, I began to lose interest. A fair amount of the plot revolves around a mystery box Melanie finds and ingeniously uses to keep Simon interested in his studies. I thought there would be a mystery or something surrounding it, but there isn’t really. She finds things to put in the hidden places to make it more interesting for Simon, but there wasn’t anything particularly interesting about it, at least to me. Also, after the addition of it, the story became more of little snippets of days, letting the reader know what was found. That was frustrating for me, because I honestly didn’t care that much about the box. I wanted to know more about the characters, instead.
I did like Melanie Douglas. I enjoyed her spunk and desire to care for Simon, even though he irritated her to no end. She is an orphan and has often felt unwanted or that she was a burden, so she does her very best to ensure that he doesn’t feel that way. She surprisingly comes to care a great deal for the little nuisance and his father, who also drives her crazy. 
Hank O’Keeffe is a wounded hero and would have been very interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel as though I knew him very well and wasn’t able to connect with him. I actually found his attraction to Melanie a little strange, because he only just met her, but it worked okay for the sake of the story. 
I also found the ending quite farfetched. Melanie and Hank rarely spoke throughout the story, so I’m don’t know how they could come to love each other in such a short length of time, especially when they knew very little about one another. I’m probably nitpicking the story to death, so I apologize. I would recommend this story if you’re looking for a quick, Christmas-themed read.

I received a free download of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

If you are interested in checking this book out for yourself and drawing your own conclusions, it's only $0.99 Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and $0.79 on Christian Book.  Here are some links to help you out.


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I really appreciate the time you spend here and hope you will come again!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My review: Deceived

Deceived is the final book in Irene Hannon's Private Justice series - I'm a huge fan of Ms. Hannon's and was super excited to read it!  I also couldn't wait to find out what happened with Connor!  May I also add that I love this cover and the rest of the series?
A grieving mother.  A mysterious child.  And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.
For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident.  But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son.  With police skeptical of her story, she turns to a private investigator Connor Sullivan for help.  As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious.  But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden - and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secrets.
As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to except, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.
About the author:
Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished and Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series.  Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award.  In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and a Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011.  Learn more at
(Cover photo from Deeper Shopping.  Description and about the author copied from the back cover.)
My review: 4 stars
Great finale!
Deceived is the final book in Irene Hannon’s award-winning Private Justice series. I was very excited to read this book, but also disappointed with the knowledge that when the final page was turned, I would be saying “goodbye” to characters I had come to love. I was drawn into the story from the first, though, and quickly forgot my plans to savor it as I rushed to find out what was going to happen next and how everything would play out.
As always, Ms. Hannon does a fabulous job with the minute details and descriptions, drawing readers into the story with the first sentence. It’s obvious a lot of research went into this book, but she doesn’t overwhelm it with random or useless details. There were actually a couple things I kind of wished she had expounded on a little more, but if she had, it may have been too much and become annoying. While this book is the third one in the series, you technically don’t have to read them in order. It does help, since Conner, Dev, and Cal are in each book and there are a few references made to the previous stories that may not make much sense. But the mysteries don’t overlap the books or anything like that.
Kate Marshall is the “heroine” and I loved her almost immediately! She is very realistic and I was able to easily relate with her. I loved her strength of character and how she managed to get back up after facing a horrible tragedy. While she is strong, kind, stubborn, and persistent, she is also flawed and broken. I actually found that to be my favorite thing about her. She isn’t made out to be perfect, but rather we are shown her flaws clearly. She often has to lean on the Lord. She is a great balance of strength to stand on her own, but also the wisdom to know when she can’t continue on her own merit. 
Conner Sullivan is a great hero! We met him in each of the previous books, but we still don’t know him well. He is more of a background character in them, so I was very excited to get to know the last member of the Phoenix team. He is the most guarded one of the team, keeping his personal life as private as possible. Though to be honest, he doesn’t really have much of a personal life, prior to meeting Kate. He has had trouble with relationships before and feels guilty for how the last one ended. I loved his care and kindness toward Kate, how he looked beyond her seemingly crazy story and her appearance to really get to know her. He had me sighing and feeling slightly jealous of Kate, that she has such a wonderful guy in her life. I also loved his strength, honesty, and determination, as he attempted to ferret out the answers Kate needed. 
The romance between them was excellently handled. There were sparks from the start, but they each had their own reason for ignoring them. Kate wasn’t sure she could love again, after losing her first husband, and for Conner, there was an unspoken rule about getting personally involved with clients. I loved the chemistry between them, but I also appreciated the self-control they both exerted to keep everything above-board. True love includes putting the other person first, which they both tried to do. Also, a lot of the story focuses on the mystery and what is going on there, so their relationship wasn’t always in the forefront, which I think helped too.
I really enjoyed the spiritual aspect of this book. In many of Irene’s books, it is fairly light and stays in the background. While that is true of this book as well, it was woven into the story a bit more than usual, but was in no way overwhelming. I enjoyed that it pointed to God through out and encouraged readers to look to Him. Much of it focused on God’s plan for our lives and learning to trust in His leading. One particular sentence that grabbed my attention was this one: “We have one plan for our life, but God often has another.” Pauline Andrews, page 97 This sentence just struck me for some reason and I love the truth in it.
One thing I did find a little surprising is that I actually didn’t hate the “villain,” for a change. I almost always do in Irene’s books, but I actually kind of sympathized with them and found that while I didn’t like them for what they did to Kate and her family, I couldn’t hate them. I guess that was both a good and a bad thing. It was just a little weird for me to be able to relate to a villain, but it also made them a bit more realistic.
My only complaint is that I was somewhat disappointed with the suspense. I’m used to Irene’s edge-of-your-seat suspense and there actually wasn’t that much in this book. I was quickly engrossed in it, as usual, it just wasn’t overly suspenseful. The story focused more on the investigation and the characters’ relationships than anything else. I wasn’t that upset about it, because I found the other things very interesting, but I know some of her other fans may be a little upset at the deviation from her usual pattern.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy romance and mystery, with a side of suspense.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell 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 publisher.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!
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My review: Awakening

Awakening is a great new book from Tracy Higley!
Kallie Andreas is a mystery, even to herself.
Seven years ago Kallie woke up in a New York City museum, injured and traumatized.  Alone and unclaimed.
Despite her shattered memories, she's worked her way into a position as assistant curator in that very museum, and now she wants nothing more than to pursue funding for her project - assembling pieces from the ancient Minoans.
But then the blackouts start.  Lost time, stranded in terrifying danger, frantic visions that can't be real.  A threatening phone call may be nothing more than paranoia and madness.  Or perhaps not.  It's time to start seeing her psychiatrist more often. 
When a mysterious philanthropist invites Kallie to scour the black market with him for the most valuable of all Minoan treasures, the key to their lost language, Kallie can't resist.  Dimitri is wealthy, charming, and good-looking, but she's not interested - not in someone who's clearly hiding secrets of his own.
Together, the two embark on a global quest to find the Key, through some of the most exotic and beautiful locations in the world - unraveling clues, pursuing leads, and fighting their increasing attraction to each other.
Meanwhile, Kallie's memories are bleeding through and she's teetering on the verge of a breakthrough, but what devastating truth has she been suppressing?
When a strange woman who clearly knows Kallie's real identity tries to murder her, it's clear that Kallie's past and present worlds are colliding, in a deadly crisis that will finally reveal the truth of her past.
But will the truth leave room for love?
About the author:
Tracy Higley started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since.  She has authored twelve novels, including The Queen's Handmaid and Chasing Babylon.  Tracy is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures.
See her travel journals and more at
(Cover photo from Deeper Shopping.  Description and about the author copied from back cover.)
My review: 4 stars
Unique, compelling storyline!
Awakening is Tracy Higley’s newest book. I confess that I haven’t read any of her works before, so when offered a chance to read this one, I jumped at it. I have to say that I really enjoyed it! 
I was aware that she is known for writing excellent historical novels, so I wasn’t sure how a modern one would be, but I believe she pulled it off wonderfully! The details and descriptions were wonderful; I could vividly picture each location and really enjoyed the history that was woven into them. Kallista Andreas is the main character and being that she is an assistant curator, there was a lot of historical facts and myths involved, which was interesting. I actually found the details a little confusing at first and struggled to get into the story, but after wading through the first couple chapters, I was quickly engrossed and found I didn’t want to put it down.
Kallista “Kallie” Andreas is a very unique main character. She has woken up every day for 7 years unsure of who she is or where she belongs. Her life revolves around the museum where she was found and now works. As she faces the 7-year anniversary of when she was found, she begins to experience blackouts and strange dreams. I fell in love with Kallie almost at once, because she is just so broken, for lack of a better word. She has hidden herself away in her research, blocking out the world and the questions she can’t answer. She is passionate about her research, and has an inner strength that she doesn’t see. When faced with the idea she may be going crazy, I was impressed that she continued to move forward. I loved watching her grow and become who she truly is throughout the story, even without any of the answers she desired.
Dimitri Andreas (no relation) is the hero of this story, though we don’t know as much about him as I would have liked. Despite the fact this book is written in the third person, we never get to see Dimitri’s point of view or know what he is thinking, which was disappointing for me. We do know that he is strong, kind, and a bit of a rogue. After he meets Kallie and learns they share a passion for all things Minoan, he offers her the chance of a lifetime - to travel the Middle East and Europe in search of a key that could unlock their lost language. I did enjoy getting to see him through Kallie’s eyes and falling in love with him right along with her. I loved how kind he was to her and how he continually pushed her out of her comfort zone. I also loved the realness found in him - I had wondered what he might be like, seeing as how he is rich. But he is definitely not stereotypical.

Their romance was sweet, if a little less involved than I had expected. Kallie struggles with knowing nothing of her past and is unwilling to enter a relationship while she is so unsure of her origins or where she belongs. Dimitri pushes her a little bit, but once he understands her reasons, allows her the distance she desires. I thought there might have been a little more romance, since they are traveling to exotic and interesting locations together, but I have to admit that I actually began to enjoy the lack. It allows the reader to focus on Kallie and the mystery there without being distracted by trying to keep up with anything else.
Speaking of keeping up, I had an interesting time remembering what had happened last, every time I had to put the book down. They was just so much going on and something was constantly happening that I had to refresh my memory fairly often. It also helps that for a while there appears to be two storylines happening at once and the reader is left wondering when they will ever connect. I really enjoyed the suspense of it all! Ms. Higley is great at ending a chapter at just the right place that ensures you have to continue reading, otherwise you’ll be completely useless, because you’re trying to guess what will happen next!
I found the spiritual side of the story to be very interesting. A lot of the plot focuses on the characters, Kallie in particular, searching for the truth. She has studied Greek, Egyptian, and Minoan mythology as part of her work at the museum, along with a multitude of other religions and is unsure which is truth and which is simply myth. She is also surrounded by a team that shares very different beliefs. I enjoyed her journey as she attempted to separate fact from fiction, truth from lies. A favorite quote of mine is this, “If there is no Truth, then the search for it is meaningless.” Chloe, page 348
I thought this summed up her search quite well and is also relevant to reality. So many people search for the truth, but give up, accepting the opinion that there isn’t an absolute Truth. In actuality, it simply has to be separated from all of the things that masquerade as truth. I also appreciated the honesty in the ending. We aren’t left with a confession of faith, which may have seemed unrealistic with everything else that was going on and considering the relatively short time span the story covers, but instead the characters continue to ask questions and search for the answers to them.
I believe I already managed to mention the couple complaints I had, so I won’t go over those again. I’ll just end by saying that I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be looking for more of Tracy’s stories!

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy adventure, mystery, and a surprise ending!
I received a 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. 

Thank you for coming by and checking out my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!
If you're interested in looking into the book some more, or perhaps purchasing a copy, here are a couple links to get you started:


Barnes & Noble

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