Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Review: The Lost Heiress

This cover is gorgeous! And the one for the next book?  *sigh*  I can't wait to see it in person!  I love the gold tones in this one.  The colors are rather understated, but it comes to life and I just enjoy the "feel" of it, if that makes sense.  :)

Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she's British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook's friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother's death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook's life is threatened do they draw close--but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

About the Author:
Roseanna M. White grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, the beauty of which inspired her to begin writing as soon as she learned to pair subjects with verbs. She spent her middle and high school days penning novels in class, and her love of books took her to a school renowned for them.

After graduating from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, she and her husband moved back to the same mountains they equate with home.

Roseanna is the author of two biblical novels, A Stray Drop of Blood and Jewel of Persia, the historical romance, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, and the historical, romantic suspense Culper Ring Series (Ring of Secrets, Whispers from the Shadows, and Circle of Spies). She is also the senior reviewer at the Christian Review of Books, which she and her husband founded, the senior editor at WhiteFire Publishing, and a member of ACFW, HisWriters, and Colonial Christian Fiction Writers.

Side note:
I had no idea that Roseanna was a fellow WV girl! 
I knew there was a reason I loved her books! ;)

My Review:  4 stars
I first fell in love with Roseanna’s books when I discovered her Culper Ring series. The books were unique, with unusual characters, who were unafraid to break some of society’s numerous rules if it meant solving a puzzle or protecting others. When I first heard about this one, I was super excited to read it and can happily say that this book is no different from her previous ones and I’m very glad for the opportunity to read it.

Roseanna always does an excellent job with the historical details and descriptions. It’s obvious from the start that an immense amount of research went into this book and I loved that! I appreciate the unique details she adds, little things that might appear frivolous, but that add another layer to the story. The setting for this one is a bit different from her others, with it being in the early 1900s as automobiles became popular and ladies were allowed more freedom. This worked especially well with Brook’s character, because she’s always pushing the boundaries.

I also enjoyed how the story comes from multiple view points, giving a larger picture and building the story to its climax. It also allowed added depth to a mystery that kept me guessing. I enjoyed the mystery immensely, as I tried to guess who the villain was and what they might be after. I loved being surprised at the twists and turns that prodded me to turn pages late into the night. My one negative comment here is that there were a couple moments I became lost in the storyline and I would have to back up and try to figure out what I’d missed. Particularly when the story jumps several months and I’m trying to catch up.  Though to be honest, that probably had more to do with my eReader app that kept glitching, than anything. 

Brook Eden is the heroine of the story and I adored her! She is lovely and funny, her perspective often causing me to smile at the way she viewed the world. She is a bit impulsive and brash at times, though I did love how “fearless” she was. She gladly discards society’s requirements, determined to be herself regardless of how that may be perceived. She also cares deeply for others, though after being hurt often, we see her begin to harden that part of herself. I loved that during her journey to find her place, she never lost sight of who she was beyond all of the trappings.

Justin is the hero of the story and frankly, I’m at a loss as to what his last name is! I’ve no idea how they kept up with all of the names and titles, and such back then! Or how the author kept everything straight! I definitely appreciated the character list in the front, explaining who everyone was and their titles . . . Anyway. Justin. There are so many things I could say about him, but I’ll try to keep it short. Honestly, I struggled a bit with his character. Though I understood his motivations, I didn’t connect with him until nearing the end, something that made it difficult for me to really like him. Despite that, he is a well drawn character. Most of the story revolves around Brook, making it something of a challenge to focus on Justin’s side of the story.

I also loved the spiritual side of the story, which focuses largely on trust. Not only trusting God, but also one another. Brook struggles with trusting those around her and believing that love is worth the pain. I think there’s a point in each person’s life, where they have to decide whether love is worth the risk. I appreciated the realism and depth Roseanna employed here and the fact that she chose to highlight the point, rather than brushing it off. There were several times I found myself pausing to highlight a quote (definitely appreciate that part of ebooks!) or consider a line that challenged me.

Overall impression: awesome book! I can’t wait for the next one (Brice’s book!)!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through 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.

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  Also, if you're new to my blog, welcome!  Feel free to nose around or leave me a comment saying you've been here. 
As always, purchase links are below.  And, since I was bragging on the cover for Roseanna's next book, I have to share it!  So keep scrolling to see the beautiful job Bethany House's artists did!


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

*drum roll* Ta-da!!  Roseanna's next book!  Gorgeous, isn't it?  Unfortunately, it doesn't come out until March 2016 . . . it seems so far away!  But in reality, it's only about 4 months, so I guess I'll survive waiting that long . . . maybe.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Review: Catch of A Lifetime

Isn't this cover so pretty?  I love the combination of blue across the top and the font works well with the overall style of the cover.

 Can she forget the fumbles of her past and open her heart to love?

He breathes football. She shudders at the very mention of the sport.

After a tragedy involving a football player destroyed her family, athletic trainer and graduate student, Cassie moves across the country looking for a fresh start, but a change in financial aid lands her in the middle of her worst nightmare.

Meanwhile, rookie coach Reed worries his dream career will slip away as injuries plague his players and his star receiver teeters on the brink of ineligibility. As the two work together to salvage the season, sparks fly, and Reed must eventually choose between the game and the woman he loves.

About the Author:
Candee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she has been a Genesis Award double finalist and winner over several years.  Category: Romance/sports college, football, medical, therapist, tutor, contemporary, inspirational.

My Review: 4.5 stars
I’m going to go ahead and confess this: I’m not a football fan. I’m more in the category of “Hide! The game’s coming on!” Okay, now that we have that out of the way, I do have to say that I truly loved this book! So, if you’re second guessing picking up this story because you don‘t care for the sport, don’t worry about that part of it. You’ll hopefully love it as much as I did.

Ms. Fick's writing is excellent! The characters and setting came to life for me and I was drawn into the story from page one. This was definitely a quick read for me. Once I started it, I didn't want to put it down and also stayed up late finishing it. Her details and descriptions flowed perfectly throughout the story and even a football idiot such as myself very rarely became lost. I actually enjoyed the extra details she supplied regarding the sport, because even when I didn't fully understand, I could still picture it easily.

The protagonists are well rounded and I really liked both of them. They were incredibly realistic and seemed like people I would actually know and be friends with. Cassie Parker, is an academic advisor for the students on the football team. She despises the sport in general, but also has little respect for the teammates, due to a poor experience with football players in the past. I enjoyed watching her grow closer to them and actually become great friends with a few of them. Once she looked beyond the uniform to the people behind them, she found some wonderful friends. Cassie also has a strong faith in God, though it has been rocked by past events and she questions His will in her life. I appreciated her faith, but also the realism we see in her. Because, honestly, who hasn’t questioned God at some point? She isn’t perfect, but maybe that’s why I loved her so much.

Reed Worthington is the receivers’ coach (hope I have that right), who strives to do his best and be someone his team members can look up to. I loved him too. He is honorable and truly cares about each of the students he comes in contact with. I appreciated his desire to be a man worth emulating and he reaches toward God for guidance in that area. He is also less than perfect, and as his relationship with Cassie progresses, we see some mental struggles on his behalf. At first, I questioned Ms. Fick’s decision to include his struggle, but the further I read, the more I was grateful for her decision to make Reed realistic. Instead of causing me to lose respect for him, I found I loved him even more because of his desire to honor God and Cassie.

Honestly, the only reason I'm rating this at 4.5 instead of 5 stars is because I wish the story had been a bit longer. Ms. Fick touches on a few difficult topics, such as forgiveness, trusting God, physical assault, and dealing with temptation (as mentioned above). All things that were woven carefully throughout the story and handled well. I just would have appreciated more page time for them. In keeping with the book length, I felt they were a bit glossed over, at times. But, that being said and again noting the length of the story, I believe Ms. Fick did an admirable job of including such difficult topics. She took the book beyond what some would call “fluff” reading and made it something more. I must applaud her for that.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read that touches the heart and may leave you thinking!

I received a complimentary 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.

Thank you so much for taking time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  If you're interested in learning more about the book, or perhaps purchasing a copy, there's a link to Amazon below.  
I hope you have a blessed week!  Please come again!



Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Review: Isle of Hope

Happy release day to Miss Julie!  I'm so excited for more readers to get this book and discover this awesome story!  Also, isn't this cover cute?  I like the colors, though I personally would've preferred the title to be all one color and the others focused in the sunset.

She stole his heart.
He stole her peace.
Can hope steal their pain?

At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack O'Bryen, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?

About the Author:
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series, the Winders of Change series, and The Heart of San Francisco series. The recipient of seventeen Romance Writers of America and other awards, Lessman was chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers' Choice Awards. She resides in Missouri with her family. Learn more at

My Review: 4.5 stars
Isle of Hope is Julie Lessman’s first contemporary Christian novel and the first in a series by the same name. I’ve adored her historical novels and she is definitely one of my all-time favorite authors, so I was super excited for this book! When an author shifts genres I always have this question of, “will I like it as well?” in the back of my mind. Sometimes I don’t, just to be honest. The writing comes off as forced, or I think perhaps that sometimes as a reader, I don’t like the change. That being said, I can very happily say I loved this book just as much as her historical ones!

Though this book is contemporary, Julie definitely doesn’t change her writing style, just the setting. I think what first drew me to Julie’s writing was the passion behind every story. Her love for the Lord comes through on every page, and also challenges my walk with Him. Next was the complexity of her stories. I love the sagas and following the characters through the ups and downs of life. I found myself falling in love with characters who come to life so completely that they feel like life-long friends. Finally, the depth of her writing. The emotions that are so evident on every page that it seems I’m experiencing them, too. Her attention to detail is rarely rivaled and I love her writing style, as well. All of this, and a myriad of other things, all come together to create books that grab my heart and hold on. This story is no different in any of those aspects, something I was very happy to see.

This is a story of redemption in so many ways. Lacey Carmichael has made many mistakes in her past. More than she’d care to ever remember. But after becoming a new Christian, she returns home to make amends. I fell in love with her from the start. Her honesty and desire to make things right after so many years of running away; her earnest attempts to live for God, even when she fails and feels unworthy of His grace. Lacey became so real to me and I was cheering for her every step of the way. She is incredibly tenacious and determined when she sets her mind to it, and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She also has a pretty great support system, so even when her faith was flagging and she wanted to surrender, they wouldn’t let her. I loved following her as she learned what it truly means to be a child of God and how to follow His leading.

Jack O’Bryen is actually the complete opposite, now. The man who was once so on fire for God, is now running from Him with everything he has. This is as much his redemption story as it is Lacey’s. Jack is broken and bitter, after feeling betrayed by two people he so dearly loved. There were a few times that he was hard to love, simply because of his anger. But, it was easy to look beyond it to the hurting man he tried so hard to bury.

Julie’s books always challenge my faith, which I’ve already mentioned. I love the spiritual depth her books contain, which goes beyond a fair amount of the books currently in the Christian market. Not only does God come first, but the evidence of the strength of her relationship with Him comes through incredibly clearly. And it’s always obvious that whatever topic she’s chosen is something she’s battled with before. It’s personal for her, which allows it to become real for this reader. It never feels forced or pushes beyond what is needed to be said. This book especially, because it’s self-published goes a little bit deeper than some. The redemption theme is very evident and I loved that she didn’t gloss over any of it, but rather took her time and allowed God to decide where she should stop.

I also enjoyed the dual romance that Julie always has in her books. It adds an extra layer of depth for me and I enjoy the continuation throughout the series. So, I’m very excited to read the next book and find out what happens there. Plus, I don’t know who’s story is next and the suspense is driving me batty!

Honestly, I have just one very minor complaint, which is what’s keeping me from a full 5 star rating. The last few chapters felt rushed to me and sometimes a little choppy. I actually really wanted more detail. I wanted her to fill in some blanks, drag it out a bit more. I imagine the reason it’s like this is because it’s a pretty long book and she may have felt it needed to be shortened a bit. Personally, she could write a book to rival “War and Peace” in length and I would still run to grab it, but I know not everyone feels the same way. Maybe it’s just me, but I would have enjoyed a few more pages toward the end.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great romance filled with the truth of God’s love and grace!

I received an advanced 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.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  Also, good news for those of us who adore owning the paper version - I heard from Miss Julie that the paper version should be available mid-November!  But, if you're like me and incredibly impatient, the ebook version works wonderfully well and is available on Amazon for $7.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.  Thanks again for coming by!  I hope you have a blessed week!

Do You Believe?

A month or so ago, I watched a film titled, “Do You Believe.” Admittedly, it’s a Christian film, produced by Pure Flix. I think it may have released sometime in the last year or so. Anyway, the title of it comes from an important question that is asked. A man, walking along the sidewalk, dragging a wooden cross, stops beside the car of a pastor and asks him, “Do you believe in the cross of Christ?” The pastor huffs a disbelieving laugh and answers in an incredulous voice, “I’m a pastor.” “Yes, but you didn’t answer the question,” the man insists. That struck me. How often do we give the expected answer? The pastor was startled by the question and didn’t even think before replying. How often do I do that? Have I ever really stopped to truly think about the question and my answer? Or do I simply give the expected response?

“Do you believe in the cross of Christ.” The answer sounds like an obvious one, but it requires action. A change. A difference. Would you die for what you believe? Would you risk everything for God? For His kingdom? How much is He worth to you? Because if it is less than your all, then you might reconsider your answer. Faith in God demands everything of you. Half-way isn’t an option. Just enough isn’t a possibility. The answer isn’t multiple choice. It’s yes with your whole heart, or no. Maybe has never been an option.

There is one decision. Two questions. Do you believe? If so, are you all-in?

For me, and maybe a few other people, these are difficult questions.  Who wants to consider death in the face of belief?  Many would ask if it's even worth it.  But if I'm going to live my faith, I want to have a clear picture of everything that entails.  So many times we gloss over the "unsavory" parts and end up telling people that if they'll follow God, everything will be fine.  We don't want to talk anyone out of believing.  Honestly, that's not even close to the truth.  Jesus warns us that we'll face tests and persecution as a result of being His followers (John 16:33).  But He continues in that same verse saying, "But take heart, I have overcome the world." 
Though the questions are difficult and truthfully, they gave me pause for a few moments, there's only one answer I'm able to give.  A yes!, loud and resounding, without an ounce of fear.  Because living without Him isn't something I can even bear to consider.