Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Review: Now & Forever

I'm really enjoying the covers for this series.  They are a bit different and stand out from Mary's previous books - plus, the backs are gorgeous!  Just a really pretty book, and I love the model's expression. :)
Shannon Wilde is the middle sister--and the one who loves animals. She's established her own homestead and is raising sheep for their wool. Things are going fine...until Shannon gets swept over a cliff by Matthew Tucker!
Tucker seizes every opportunity to get away from civilization, but one particular walk in the woods ends with him sprinting away from an angry grizzly and plunging into a raging river, accidentally taking Shannon Wilde with him. Their adventure in the wilderness results in the solitary mountain man finding himself hitched to a young woman with a passel of relatives, a homestead, and a flock of sheep to care for.
As Tucker and Shannon learn to live with each other, strange things begin to happen on Shannon's land. Someone clearly wants to drive her off, but whoever it is apparently didn't count on Tucker. Trying to scare Matthew Tucker just makes him mad--and trying to hurt the woman he's falling in love with sets off something even he never expected.
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 three grandchildren. Learn more at

My Review: 4.5 stars
Now & Forever is the second book in Mary Connealy’s Wild At Heart series. I’m a big fan, so of course, I was super excited to read this book, especially after loving the first one! I generally have the same expectations for all of Connealy’s books - humor that makes me laugh, an adventure that keeps me guessing, and characters that come alive. I’ve added a new one with this series - a seriousness that gives the story a new depth. Many of Mary’s books are light or what some call “fluff,” but with this series, she’s stepped away from that adjective a bit. Possibly because the Wilde sisters all served in the Civil War, but while there is humor in these, there is also sorrow. I really appreciate that she isn’t glossing over the pain of war, or forgetting where the sisters earned their tough exterior. Particularly with this story, Shannon’s pain is almost palpable at times, drawing me in until I almost cried with her at the imagery of what those in the war suffered.

Mary definitely excels at descriptions. Using just a few words, she can paint a picture that comes to life and fills my mind. I love the little details that aren’t one hundred percent necessary, but that add another layer to my understanding of the setting and the world around the characters. Her writing is very straight-forward, something I really enjoy. I had to laugh several times at the just honestly blunt manner of the dialogue and the characters’ thoughts. She also does an excellent job of giving each of the characters a unique voice. I enjoyed getting into the head of the villain, as I got a glimpse of their plan and it increased the sense of intrigue and suspense. I never felt the story lagged, though it does end a bit abruptly (more about that later). It flows very quickly and smoothly, holding my attention from the very first page. I did not want to put it down and would pick it up again as soon as possible.

Shannon Wilde may be my favorite of Mary’s heroines, to date. She’s the middle sister, in more ways than one. She’s strong, but she also learns how to be weak and lean on others. She is brave, but knows her limits. She is sensitive and hurting, but doesn’t let that stop her from doing what needs to be done. She, like her other sisters, served in the Civil War, which left her with scars. For me, this one fact set her apart. Even though her world seems to be falling apart, she learned how to be strong and keep moving. I’ve read many books set during the war or just after, but not many have had the depth this book does in just one scene.

Matthew Tucker is a bit more of Mary’s stereotypical hero, though I honestly didn’t mind. He’s strong, stubborn, set in his ways, and determined. But he is also gentle with Shannon, something that surprised me a little bit with him being a “mountain man.” Though his pride is stomped more than once, he is still willing to let her take the lead now and then. He’s also very protective, though he tries to give her space. He also has a strong faith, something I found fascinating.
Though God is an integral part of all of Mary’s books, this one takes it a step further, with a conversation about Shannon’s doubts. She’s not sure God hears her, or even still exists, and those doubts keep her walking in her fear. Though this is a bit deeper than her other books, unfortunately, it became glossed over with everything else going on. So, I applaud her for making the effort to incorporate more serious subjects in her stories, but I’m also a little disappointed that they were forgotten for the sake of keeping the story moving.

I’m honestly never quite sure what to say about the romance in Mary’s books. They definitely aren’t typical historical romance novels. The heroes aren’t soft spoken, or poetic. They tend more toward blunt and sometimes a little dense. I did really enjoy their relationship, as they both learned what it means to be married and depend on someone else. While I wouldn’t say there was a huge amount of romance, there are a few sweet moments, sometimes sprinkled with humor. I also appreciated the realistic take on marriage, as they both have to strive toward making it work.

I have to confess that I found the ending to be a bit abrupt and rather anticlimactic. I was expecting something else to happen, so when it just kind of stopped, it was a bit of a let down. I didn’t want it to end! I would have loved another chapter or two, to kind of tie things up and give the characters a little longer to work things out.

Despite my negative comments, I will say that I really enjoyed this book. Mary’s books are always good for a laugh and a break from reality. I am anxiously anticipating the final book in the series and finding what becomes of the final Wilde sister!

*I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley 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.

I hope you enjoyed my review!  Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read it!  I actually enjoyed this book so much that I'm planning to buy a paper copy as soon as it hits my store!  I'm excited to hold it in my hands!  And may I add that waiting for the final book, which releases in . . . (looking it up) October, (seriously?!) is killing me?  LOL  I hate waiting for new books, but that's the price a reader pays, when they adore an author, right?  They wait (maybe not so patiently, but they wait) for the next book in the series, then the one after that, then the one after that, and so on.  Anyway, thanks again for dropping by!  :) 

Purchase links:

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

My Review: No Place to Hide

Another great cover from Revell!  I love the different colors and how the covers for this series are following a similar style, with the shadow.


She'll defend her friend until the bitter end - But is she in over her head? 

It's not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news.  Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances.  She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name.  Unfortunately, she's not the only one looking for him.  The FBI wants him captured.  The bad guys want him dead.  Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe.

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 and Nowhere to Turn.  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

My Review: 4.5 stars

No Place to Hide is the final book in Lynette Eason’s Hidden Identity series. Though I’m sad to see it end, I raced through this book, wanting to find out how it was going to end. I’ve loved all of Lynette’s other books so I jumped at the chance to review this one! It definitely met my expectations and surpassed most of them.

Lynette always does a fantastic job with the technical details and this book is no exception. I love all of the information she was able to include, without bogging down the story or making it feel like a text book. The amount of research necessary for this book alone boggles my mind. I have no idea how she kept everything straight! I loved the several view points, as it ramped the suspense up even further. I struggled to keep up at first, but after a couple chapters I began figuring out who everyone was and really enjoyed the incorporation of so many characters. The writing is seamless and never lags. The suspense kept my attention from the first page to the last and caused more than one late night spent reading. I definitely had a book hangover at work the next day!

I loved Jackie Sellers and Ian Lockwood, the main characters. They are both very realistic and I was able to easily relate to them. I enjoyed following them as they worked to prove their innocence and solve the case. Jackie has a personal reason for helping Ian and wanting to clear her own name is only part of it. She is strong and bold, taking charge quickly and is always planning for the next step. I love that Lynette’s heroines are such strong women, but also that the heroes are confident enough to handle it. Ian doesn’t get upset with her, but rather relies on her knowledge to help them. I’m not saying that Ian is a wimp or anything. He definitely has his own skills and they need them several times.

Ian is an interesting hero. He is very atypical in that he isn’t a bodyguard, or law enforcement, or a cowboy, or anything overly macho. Instead, he’s a medical researcher working with potentially deadly viruses. I really appreciated the way Lynette writes him. Though he is a bit of a geek, he doesn’t seem less than manly. Instead he is confident, even though he is in over his head. He is also strong in his faith, something that comes into conversation more than once.

The romance is kept very low-key, something that really works well with this story. It is kept in the background and is quite realistic. If it had been more in the forefront, I think it would have become annoying or perhaps seemed unbelievable. With everything going on, it would have just been in the way and possibly overwhelmed the story.

I think my favorite part of the story was the spiritual themes. Jackie doesn’t believe that God loves her any longer, while Ian still has the strong faith of his childhood. I really enjoyed the conversations they had about her faith and the things that she struggles with. An overarching theme is God’s goodness in the face of pain and evil. This is something I’ve spent copious amounts of time considering, so I was very interested to see how Lynette handled this difficult topic. She did an excellent job of answering the question without offering the usual answers and platitudes, something I really appreciated.

My only complaint is that I would have liked more descriptions for the characters. I had a difficult time forming an image of them in my mind and it took me a while to gather enough details of their appearance to move past that distraction.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense that keeps you guessing!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion, 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 and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  I'm hoping to be able to start posting on a more regular basis.  We'll see how that works out. :)

Purchase links:
Barnes & Noble
Christian Book