Friday, February 26, 2016

My Review: Always Watching, plus Giveaway!

"You have to work at it. You have to know God on a very intimate level in order to have the kind of faith that will withstand the storms life throws at you.  It's a good thing that we only have to have the amount of a mustard seed.  Sometimes that's about all I can find."  - Bruce Savage 
(I love this quote!)

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common--they're also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she's next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

About the Author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice, the Deadly Reunions, and the Hidden Identity series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in South Carolina. Learn more at

 My Review: 4.5 stars
I actually read this book around a month ago, and I still have almost no idea what to say in this review. I keep thinking over it, remembering the story, all of the twists and turns, the characters, the mystery, and I just don’t know where to start . . . . I was captivated from the very first pages and just had to find out “whodunnit.” Lynette definitely kept me on my toes with this one. I kept pausing to reconsider and rearrange my list of suspects and I was so close to being right! I had my suspicions, but hadn’t settled on motive, yet. I loved being kept on the edge of my seat and the continuous guessing (I don’t like knowing the answer from page one).

As always, Lynette did an excellent job with the details and descriptions throughout the story. I enjoyed the extra details provided about the police work and investigation, as well as getting a glimpse into the life of a bodyguard. Though this is actually where my only negative comment lies, regarding this book. I found myself actually wanting more details about the characters’ surroundings. I often felt disconnected from the setting, which made getting thoroughly lost in the story a bit of a challenge. It was definitely worth pushing past that pet peeve, though!

Olivia and Wade were both interesting characters and I enjoyed getting to know them, as well as everyone else in this new cast of characters. Olivia heads up the Elite Bodyguards and we often see her in a leadership role. I love the strong heroines Lynette so often has starring in her novels. Though she does rely on others for assistance and doesn’t take chances, no one would mistake her for being weak willed. Having a lady in the protective role was definitely a unique twist on the story as well. I so often see the man as the protector in the novels I read, that it was a nice change to see the lady taking the lead. That being said, I did definitely appreciate that Wade never came across as weak, or less than because he needed help. He is actually just as much of a protector as Olivia, just without the gun.

I also enjoyed meeting the other ladies of the Elite Bodyguards team and getting to know them just a bit. I did get the names mixed up a couple times, so I’m hopeful that I’ll have them straightened out by the time I’m into the next book. I’m also really hoping that this will be a 4 book series, so that each of the ladies can have her own book and I can get to know them all much better and following their stories. I’m curious to find out who’s book is next.
I’ve often found that the romantic relationships in Lynette’s books are played down a bit, which always makes complete sense. Who has time for romantic dinners when they’re running for their lives? This remains true in this story, something I continually appreciate. Though there is a bit of romance, it definitely isn’t in the forefront, and therefore, isn’t unrealistic. I also liked how she chose to end the book, with hope for the future, and a moment to laugh.

I very much enjoyed the spiritual side of the story and found several lines of wisdom between the covers of this book. Olivia is “on the outs” with God and avoids anything to do with Him. She doesn’t disbelieve, but she doesn’t want a God that allows so many horrible things to happen. I’ve found this to be a subject that I’ve struggled with, as well, and I really appreciated how Lynette handled it. She didn’t offer platitudes or easy answers, but rather gave me things to think about long after I’d turned the last page.

Overall, I did truly enjoy this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories of suspense and intrigue!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through 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.

If you took the time to read my review, thank you so much!  If you're here for the giveaway, then keep reading - details are as follows:

I managed to end up with two copies of this book, so I thought I'd share one with someone who stops by my blog this weekend!  To be entered you simply need to do 2 things for me:

1) Leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about spring (which I'm really looking forward to!), or if you're not particularly fond of spring, then tell me about your favorite season.
2) Leave your email address in your comment, as email is how I'll contact the winner. 
Please note if you skip this one, I won't be able to include you in the drawing.

And that's it!  This giveaway will be open until midnight, Sunday February 28.  The winner will be chosen by and notified by email Monday.

Also, if you'd rather not wait on the giveaway, Always Watching is actually on sale in paper form for $8.50-something right now!  So, if you love paper books, this is actually a pretty great sale, especially considering that it's just released.  Links are below, if you're interested!  Thanks again for stopping by!  Have a delightful day!


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Christian Book


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Review: The Red Door Inn

Well, I tried to find a quote to put in this oh so empty space, but I couldn't pick just one, and one that wouldn't contain a spoiler, so I suppose you'll just have to pick up the book and find your own favorite lines. :)
Also, happy ebook release day to Liz!  The paper version releases March 1, for those who love the feel of a paper book as much as I do.

Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

About the Author:
Liz Johnson is a full-time marketing specialist for a Nashville-based publisher. She has been a freelance writer and editor for several publications, including CBA Retailers+Resources, Christian Fiction Online magazine, and Storytellers Journal. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she is the author of several books, including The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn (an ACFW Carol Award finalist) and A Star in the Night, which was part of the New York Times and ECPA bestselling A Log Cabin Christmas Collection. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

My Review: 5 stars
Oh, goodness! Where to start this review . . . There are so many things I want to say, but I also don’t want to spoil anything! First off, I should say that I loved this book! I was immediately drawn in from the first page and didn’t want to put it down! Liz Johnson has long been a favorite author of mine and I was so excited to read this book! Her typical genre is suspense, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book, though I knew it would still be great (and I was right!).

I really don’t know how to describe Liz’s writing, beyond “so good.” Her characters came to life right off the pages and I felt as though I was on Prince Edward Island with them, smelling the paint and sitting in the sand. Her descriptions are so vivid, without taking over the story. At times her writing boarders poetic and there are quite a few quotes that I saved, needing the reminder they provided, or just wanting to sigh over them again, later. The book touched my heart in so many ways, that I can’t even begin to share them all. Much of the story focuses on restoration: both of the inn, and of the people residing there. I loved this theme and how it is woven throughout.

I could say so many things about the characters and could probably write a few pages worth of descriptions and commentary. That being said, I’ll try to keep it short - I loved all of them! Marie, Seth, Jack, Aretha, Caden. They all brought the story to life and I’m really hoping at least a couple of them will be in the following books, too. I do confess to struggling to keep all of the names straight, at first, but as each of their individual personalities became distinct, it was much easier.

I actually found the spiritual aspect a little lighter than I expected, given the sometimes heavy topics that the story revolved around. I think the fact that it was kept low-key actually helped to highlight the importance of it at the times when it was the focus. Rather than being hit over the head with religion, it’s quietly woven throughout, reminding me of the importance of looking beyond the surface, to see the deeper story within.

I can honestly say that I had no complaints about this book. It was excellently written, with realistic characters, a stellar setting, and a story that keeps coming back to mind. I am anxiously anticipating the next book and the opportunity to return to Prince Edward Island and these delightful characters!

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 stopping by and reading my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!
If you're interested, you can get an e-copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble  (click the site name to open the link).  If you prefer paper, Christian Book  actually has this awesome preorder sale going on - the book is currently $7.49 (half off), until February 29 (you'll want to double check the price, in case I have the date wrong). 
Again, thanks for stopping by!  Have a delightful day!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Review: A Spy's Devotion

I just love this cover!  It's so lovely!

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

About the Author:
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

My Review: 3 stars
I have to say, the cover is what first drew me to this story. Then, after reading the description, I was intrigued. I don’t see many regency mysteries, which I quite enjoy. I love the time period and mysteries, so I believe they are a great combination. I’ve read a few of Ms. Dickerson’s books and enjoyed them, so I hoped that would be the case for this one. I can happily say I that it met my expectations.

I believe this is Ms. Dickerson’s first attempt at a regency novel, and I think she did a wonderful job! The descriptions were well written and didn’t overwhelm the story. Ms. Dickerson seems to lean toward the “less is more” writing style with this one, which I really appreciated. I found her writing engaging and she kept me quickly turning the pages to see where the story might go next.

Now for the characters. I adored Julia! She is a great heroine and I was able to easily connect with her. I loved how realistic she - though she is strong and determined to do the right thing, no matter the cost to her, she has flaws. We see her hurt, angry, resentful, but also kind, loving, and generous. I found a character that I would love to be friends with, if she was real.

Because a good portion of the story comes from Julia’s perspective, I didn’t really feel that I knew Nicholas that well. Which I found kind of disappointing, because I believe I would’ve really liked him. From the little I knew of him, I knew he was kind, generous, bold. All of the foundations for a great hero, if a few more of the blanks had been filled in.
I do have to say that I really didn’t like a few of the secondary characters, particularly Julia’s cousin, Phoebe. She drove me crazy! She is incredibly selfish, self-centered, and shallow! She’s honestly one of those characters that I alternate between feeling sorry for and wishing some terrible fate would befall them. That being said, her errors made me love Julia more. And surprisingly enough, Julia even learned something from her loony cousin.

The suspense was woven in well, without inadvertently becoming the main focus of the book. There honestly wasn’t much done in the way of detective work, which makes sense for the time period, but I found that it bothered me just a bit. I think I’ve simply become too accustomed to our modern way of investigating. Though it threw me off a bit at first, I still really enjoyed the question of how everything was going to play out.

My final thoughts are that though I enjoyed this book, I don’t believe it’s going to become a favorite of mine. It has all of the marks of a great story, but there were just a couple things that I would’ve liked to be different. That being said, I am looking forward to reading the next in the series and finding out where Ms. Dickerson takes her stories from here.

I happily recommend this book to anyone looking for a regency novel that breaks from the norm and shows that there is more than one side to every story.

I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my review!
Have a delightful day!


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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Review: The End of the World

Happy release day to Amy Matayo!  The End of the World greets readers today!  I'm so excited to hear what other's have to say about this book!

A desperate boy. A damaged girl. And a dark house filled with secrets.

For Cameron Tate, being shuffled from foster home to foster home is just a normal way of life. Until the year he turns fourteen. That’s when he’s sent to the home of seventeen-year-old Shaye McCormick—a fellow foster kid counting the days until she’s released from the system.

For good reason. It doesn’t take long for Cameron to learn that Shaye is shackled to the worst kind of in a home where nothing seems right. And now he’s joined her with no way out. Their only refuge is a lake, a quiet spot at the edge of the property where they can sit together for a few moments at the end of each day. Alone with their thoughts. Away from prying eyes.

At the lake they become friends. At the lake they begin to talk. At the lake Cameron vows that no matter how deep their secrets are buried, he’ll make it his mission to heal Shaye from a past that makes living in the present nearly impossible. Even if it takes until the end of time to do it.

About the Author:
Amy Matayo is an award winning author of The Wedding Game, Love Gone Wild, Sway, In Tune With Love, A Painted Summer, and The End of the World. She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But don't feel sorry for her--she's super proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn't put it to good use.

She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.

My Review: 5 stars
I’m going to be blunt: I was so excited for the opportunity to review this book, without realizing that it isn’t Christian based. There is a bit of mild cursing, the characters don’t believe in God and live their lives as such, though there are no graphic details. This being the case, the rating and my review reflect my opinions of this book, with the focus on the author’s talent and the book’s merits, rather than the fact that its characters don’t share my personal beliefs.

I’ve read a couple of Ms. Matayo’s books and finished both of them with the assurance of what a fantastic writer she is and as this book ended, I’ve not been more sure of that. I honestly have no idea how Amy ever finished writing this book. Her writing is as beautiful as the tale this book tells is dark and painful. She drew me in from the very first page and I literally read almost all day, immersed in this story of brokenness and pain, but also light and hope. Both Shaye and Cameron have horrifying stories to tell. But even in the midst of their pain, there is hope in unexpected places.

The story follows Shaye and Cameron as they work to survive abuse and neglect as teenagers, then as they try to pick up the broken pieces as young adults. Amy’s writing is so bold and straightforward. She pulls few punches with this book, but rather lets them fly right at your heart. Mine broke more than once as I read and just kept reading, hoping for the characters to find healing and peace, amidst all of the heartbreak. Amy’s unique writing style allowed me to connect with both and Shaye and Cameron, which I loved, but also hated just a bit. Because I felt their pain, too. I hurt when they hurt and this book brought me close to tears more than once. I felt as though I knew both of them almost inside and out. Their story came to life in vivid color and I oftentimes felt as though I was right there with them, living through the worst life has to offer. Despite their heartache and the darkness we are shown, at it’s heart, this is a story of redemption and healing. There is the reminder that even the midst of shattered lives and hearts, there is light and hope. That’s why I continued reading and kept cheering the characters on. Because of that little light of hope that never went out, even when all seemed lost.

I would not recommend this book to someone who is looking for a light read to pass the time. This book shines a light on very difficult topics and your heart will probably break for the characters, but regardless I don’t regret reading it and I imagine it’ll be sticking in my mind for quite a while. The best books do.

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 the time to stop by and read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!
As today is release day, there are probably some pretty cool things going on over on Amy's Facebook page, so you might want to pop over there and see what's happening.  Also, as always, if you'd like to look into the book further, links are below.
Thanks again!  Have a delightful day!


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