Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Review: Intermission

I've not read a YA novel in a while and this one left me with mixed emotions.

Sixteen-year-old Faith Prescott eagerly awaits the day she will exchange her small Iowa hometown for the bright lights of Broadway, but her success-driven parents want her to pursue a more practical career, labeling “artsy” people—including their daughter—as foolish dreamers worthy of little more than disdain.

When Faith meets nineteen-year-old Noah Spencer she discovers someone who understands her musical theatre dreams . . . because he shares them.

Faith’s mother despises everything about Noah—his age, his upbringing . . . even his religious beliefs—and she grasps at every opportunity to belittle his plans to study theatre and pursue a stage career. When those criticisms shift further toward hostility, resulting in unjust suspicions and baseless accusations, an increasingly fearful stage is set for Faith at home, where severe restrictions and harsh penalties are put in place to remove Noah Spencer from her life.

But Faith has never connected with anyone like she has with Noah, and no matter how tight a stranglehold her mother enforces to keep them apart, Faith will not give him up. Behind the curtain, Faith's love for Noah continues to grow . . . as does her determination to hold on to her dreams—and him—no matter how high the cost.

About the Author:
Serena Chase is the author of the critically-acclaimed Eyes of E'veria series and a regular contributor to USA TODAY's Happy Ever After blog. A lifelong performer who sometimes speaks in show tunes, Serena lives in Iowa with her husband Dave, teen daughters Delaney and Ellerie, and a 100-pound white Goldendoodle named Albus. 

My Review: 3 stars
I have mixed emotions regarding this story.  It’s unique, that’s undeniable.  I’d never read anything of Ms. Chase’s before and hadn’t picked up a young adult book lately, so I decided to give this one a go.  I was curious to find out what would happen next, but I didn’t feel I ever really connected with the characters.

 It also felt over-dramatized at times, but then, the main character is an actress and is planning to major in drama, so it’s really not that farfetched.  In the end, it did have a good message, just a bit of an odd route to getting there.
This story is written from a single perspective, Faith’s, in the style of a journal entry or her telling someone her story, and at times felt a bit flat.  I’ve read other reviews that spoke about how deeply they were touched by this story, but I really struggled to connect with Faith.  She endures a lot throughout the story, from the highs of being on stage and having a “boyfriend” who understands her love of theater, to the lows of arguments with her parents and fighting for the future she’s often dreamed of calling her own.  This story encompasses so many of the emotions and questions that teens struggle with as they search to find their place and figure out who they’re supposed to be.  

As far as the relationship between Noah and Faith, that was something else I found to be rather unusual.  I’m honestly not even sure it could be considered much of a relationship, since it was kept so light and they were kept apart for most of it.  I found the idea that they could be “just friends” strange, because that was basically what they were anyway.  Though I did appreciate how the author kept reiterating how important it was for Faith to be honest, despite her desire to simply work around her mother’s rules and skirt a few lines.  Speaking of Faith’s mom, her character was one that definitely didn’t compute with me.  I really thought she was just crazy, or Faith was exaggerating in her retelling.  It honestly didn’t cross my mind until I was reading the author’s note that she was supposed to be an example of verbal and mental abuse.  I’m not really sure how much reading the story with that in mind would change my opinion or perspective.

Overall, this is a story that is unique in several respects.  It contains a good message and a strong sense of morals, and I would definitely recommend it as a clean, Christian read for any teen.

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  Fortunately for you, since I always struggle to write less than sterling reviews, it's shorter than my usual ramblings.  :)
As always, links are below and I hope your day is spectacular!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

My Review: An Uncommon Courtship

". . . if love wasn't knowing and appreciating all the little things about a person, what was it?" - Lord Trent Hawthorn

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. Even with thepressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He's free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn't know, his dream of a marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent's relationship survive the pressures of London society?

About the Author:
Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at

My Review: 5 stars!
There are numerous things and I could and probably will say about this book.  And so many other things I would love to say, but I wouldnt want to spoil it for anyone.  First off, I have to say that Kristi Ann Hunter is quite possibly my favorite Regency romance author.  Why, you ask, would I say that?  Because her books make me laugh!  I so rarely find stories set during that time period that are humorous to the point Im laughing out loud and people are giving me strange looks.  Every time I pick up one of Ms. Hunters books, I immediately want to just binge read all of her books, and then stalk her author page for news of when the next one will be releasing.  That is how much I enjoy her stories overall and this one was quite possibly her best, yet.
As always, Ms. Hunter did an excellent job with the details and descriptions, transporting me to London and dropping me amid a most unusual household and the swirl of the Ton during the Season.  I loved the unique servants sticking up for Adalaide and lecturing Trent for how he was handling his new and rather unexpected marriage.  Im always a great fan of marriage of convenience stories and this one definitely ranks among my very favorites.  I so enjoyed how much depth this tale has and the consideration that goes into Trent and Adalaide figuring out how to make their marriage work.
Adalaide is a unique character and one I quickly fell in love with.  She is sweet and kind and sees things in a different light, which was sometimes amusing, other times it caused me to pause and think.  Shes also rather shy and quiet in the beginning, as well as a bit awkward and I really enjoyed seeing her come into her own and learn to stand up for herself and her marriage.  I also had to laugh at how she always inadvertently loses a glove, or trips on a hem, or bobbles her glasses.  The little quirks made it very easy for me to relate to her and often had me smiling.
Trent is a character that Ive gotten to know a bit over the past books and Ive been eagerly anticipating.  Hes the younger son, the one no one really expects much of, and is very easygoing.  Until he finds himself married to a virtual stranger.  Trent has watched his sisters and his brothers best friend find love and marry and expected the same for himself.  Instead, he finds himself being forced to learn what love truly is and how to intentionally love someone.  This aspect was definitely one of my favorite things about the story, because of how much time is spent on the topic.  I so enjoyed watching Trent learn to see beyond his assumptions of what love is supposed to look like and what his vows before God mean.  And the fact that he gets advice from Anthony, Ryland, Colin, and occasionally Griffith just made me smile.  They get so much enjoyment from razzing him that its hard not to, though they honestly do share very sound advice and I found myself making note of several things.  I loved the journey both Trent and Adalaide go through as they learn how to truly be married and not just two people sharing a house and breakfast.  They both grow in so many subtle ways and I appreciated that Ms. Hunter took the time to show them falling in love and becoming better versions of themselves, rather than simply telling me they lived happily ever after.
Ive mulled it over and I honestly cant think of a single negative comment.  From the first page to the last, I greatly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction that is chuckle inducing, but also causes you to stop and think and examine an idea in a unique light.

It's fairly rare these days that I stay up much past 11pm reading, due to a full-time job and my boss expecting me to actually be awake for work (who knew that was a requirement??), but I stayed up until 2:30am finishing this book!  And it was so worth the sleep deprivation!  And yes, I stalked looked up the author and sent her a message at 2:30am telling her how much I loved her book.  Because, yes, I am that person when I don't have enough sleep. :)
So, obviously I highly recommend this book!  And there are links below for you to further check it out, if you're interested. 
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my review!
Have a fantastic day!


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Friday, January 6, 2017

My most anticipated books for 2017!

Well, I posted my favorite books from 2016, so now it's time for the books I'm most looking forward to this year!  And 2017 is definitely looking to be a great year for me and my fellow book addicts!  There are so many books I'm looking forward to snatching up and I can't wait!
For my previous post I just kind of randomly threw the books on there, but my organized self just can't take doing that again, so this time they are in order by release date and alphabetized by author if more than one book is releasing on the same day.  That doesn't sound crazy or anything, right? ;)
So, without further ado, here are my most anticipated books!

1) An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter
Release Date: January 3

I've actually already read this book and my review will
be posting for it tomorrow, but it has to be on the list
because I just loved it so much and I was so looking
forward to reading it!  I'm actually probably going to
read it again very soon!

2) Moving Target by Lynette Eason
Release Date: January 31

I've already read this book, too (yay for ARCs!) and it was
so awesome!  Kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved
seeing Maddy and Quinn get their happy ending!

3) Still Life by Dani Pettrey
Release Date: January 31

This is the second book in Ms. Pettrey's Chesapeake Valor series
and I remember loving the first book (which I really need to reread)
and I'm so excited to pick up this one and find out what happens with Avery
and Parker.  There was a bit of chemistry between them in Cold Shot and I'm
looking forward to see how that plays out here.

4) Wed by Necessity by Karen Kirst
Release Date: February 7

I don't read as many Love Inspired novels as I used to, but
I always have to grab Ms. Kirst's books!  We all know what a sucker
I am for marriage of convenience stories and she's one of my favorite authors
so this book definitely has to make the list!  Early happy birthday to me, when
this one hits the shelves!

5) To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
Release Date: February 28

Ms. Camden's books are always on my list, because she creates
such unique tales.  Even when they aren't my very favorite books,
they are always an enjoyable read and I'm curious to find out what this one
has in store for inquiring minds like my own. :)

6) The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron
Release Date: March 7

I've actually yet to read any of Ms. Cambron's books, despite having 2 of them
in my TBR pile (shame on me!), but I'm really looking forward to this one!
I've heard so many amazing things about her books, I love the cover, and
I'm intrigued the murder mystery waiting behind this oh-so beautiful
and curiosity-inspiring cover.  

7) When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin
Release Date: March 14

I love WWII fiction, after growing up watching Hogan's Heroes
with my grandparents, and few authors do it as well as Ms. Sundin!

8) Beyond Justice by Cara Putman
Release Date: April 4

I've been anxiously awaiting another suspense novel
from Cara Putman since reading her Love Inspired Suspense
stories from 2009 and it's finally here!  Cue the drum rolls and
anticipatory music, because I can't wait to be holding this book!

9) Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano
Release Date: April 4

I love Ms. Turano's books and am so excited to read this one!
Her books always leave me in stitches, with her unique characters
and rather slap-stick humor.  I grab one of her books when I need
a laugh after work or for whatever reason, really.

10) Life After by Katie Ganshert
Release Date: April 18

I'm so excited for another book by Katie Ganshert!
Her books always tug on my heart, convict me, or make me cry.
Or all three.  And normally I'm not a fan of crying books, but hers are so real.
I feel as though I'm there with the characters, experiencing the hurts and every
part of life with them.  And this story sounds so good!

11) Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson
Release Date: May 2

I honestly haven't been a big fan of the last couple covers
for Dee's books, but that aside: another Dee Henderson book!
I will definitely be the first one in line to buy any of her novels!

12) True to You by Becky Wade
Release Date: May 2

Ms. Wade is without a doubt one of my very favorite contemporary
authors and I'm so excited for the start of a new series!  I was so sad to say
"farewell" to the Porters, but the Bradford Sisters will indubitably take up
residence in my heart as well.

13) Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar
Release Date: June 6

This is such a lovely cover!  And I adore how Ms. Afshar's books
transport me back to Bible times and bring it to life for me.
Her stories make me stop and think and view the tales I've been told
all my life in a new light, as living breathing people, rather than just
simply words on a page or "tales" told to children.  I love the fresh perspective.

14) Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
Release Date: June 6

I just reread the description for this book and I'm so intrigued by
Amos, who sounds like a rather retiring character, as the hero. And of
course, getting to return to Harper's Station.  I can't wait for that!

15) On Love's Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson
Release Date: July 4

I'm so looking forward to the chance to return to PEI and the Red Door Inn!
I love the little community Liz has created here and getting to spend time with them again.
I can't believe this is going to be the last book in the series!  I'm not ready for it to end, yet.

16) A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White
Release Date: July 4

Ms. White tends to choose unique time periods and I love her
details and descriptions.  And the mystery/suspense she weaves into
her historical novels.  I just adore the cover for this one!

17) Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig
Release Date: July, sometime
Unfortunately, this one doesn't have a cover available, yet.
Or a firm release date.  But that should be announced soon enough.
Oh, and my reason is simply the author.  And it's book 2 in the Tox Files.
I don't even have a description yet and both of those are reason enough to put in
on the list!  I can't wait to see what adventure is awaiting Tox, next!

And the final one (for now)!
18) Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason
Release Date: August 1

Haley's book!!  I'm so stoked!  I got to know her a bit better
in Moving Target, and am thrilled to "finally" read her story!

I obviously didn't realize how many books were going to be here, until I started numbering them!  And this is only for 8 months!  And the books I'm aware of . . . . and I wonder why I have no life!  Haha!  But, honestly.  This is a great year to be a book addict!  I will be well enabled to continue in this pattern.  :)
So, did I miss any?!  Please leave me a comment and let me know if I did!  And following in the steps of my last post, I completely forgot to get links for these books and I'm too lazy to go get them, so you get to do the research yourself!  Have fun and maybe find a new book or two along the way!  That's it for now!  I hope your new year is off to an excellent start!  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My Review: Concealed Identity

"A ray of light peeked through the casket of his heart and shone a ray on the decayed hope there." - Holt McKnight

After Holt McKnight's criminal informant disappears, the DEA agent must go undercover to get close to the missing man's sister, who may know more than she's letting on. But when Blair Sullivan's attacked, it's up to him to protect herwithout blowing his cover. Blair isn't sure she can trust her new neighbor, Holt. After all, the last charming and handsome man she fell for was her late husband, and he turned out to be the brother of a ruthless drug lord. Yet when it's clear the target on her back is somehow linked to her past, she has no choice but to accept Holt's protection. Even if getting close is the last thing her scarred heart can handle.

About the Author:
Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she's not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her watching way too much Netflix with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she'll probably never cook.

My Review: 4 stars
This is the first book I’ve read by Jessica R. Patch and I was so excited to start it!  I’ve heard so many wonderful things about her books that I just couldn’t resist snatching it up, and I can happily say that I was not disappointed!  It was full of suspense that kept me guessing, hoping I was right and debating who the mastermind was, and romancing that left me smiling along with the characters.
I really enjoyed Ms. Patch’s writing style and how it sounds so down to earth.  She uses phrases and slang that I hear almost every day, being from the “South,” and I loved how real the familiar words made the story feel.  She truly brought to life the little town of Hope, Tennessee and all of its curious characters.  I’m really hoping she decides to continue with more stories set in the quirky little town, I have so many questions about a few of the more prominent cast members I met and I’d very much like to hear their stories!  
Speaking of, I have to say that I so enjoyed Holt and Blair’s story and getting to know them!  Blair is cautious about everyone, but particularly men.  She’s made mistakes in the past and is afraid of repeating them, or worse.  She has trust issues and doesn’t care to rely on anyone.  I loved seeing Holt, with his mysteries and secrets, break through her defenses, despite better judgment trying to prevail.  Holt is everything Blair doesn’t want, so she thinks, but turns out to be exactly what she needed.  I’m not usually a fan of books where one of the characters starts out lying, but Ms. Patch handled it quite well in this case, and I could almost feel Holt’s indecision and uncertainty.  He so wanted to tell the truth, but felt bound by honor to follow the rules of his work.  I also loved how the author chose to describe Holt’s journey back to faith, and his dreams being resurrected from the place he had buried them.  The pictures her words created were spot on to explain his emotions and many questions.
My only negative comment is that I found the ending a bit rushed and mildly confusing as I tried to keep everything straight and understand what was going on.  Though my confusion probably almost perfectly matched Blair and Holt’s,  The epilogue was perfect, though!  Definitely worth a reread or two.

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  Oh, and I have to share!  My hope that more stories will be set in this town will be a reality come April 4th!  Final Verdict, which will be Beckett Marsh's book (you'll meet him in this book), is only four months away from being in my hands!  I'm so excited!  You can learn more about it here and as always, there are links below for Concealed Identity. 
Have a grand day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Review: Hazardous Holiday

Marriage of convenience meets Navy SEAL?? Yes, please!

Just in time for the holidays, navy SEAL Zach McCloud returns home from deployment—and discovers someone wants his family dead. When he married his cousin's struggling widow, he vowed to help her and her seriously ill son, and now he'll risk everything to protect them. Even if their arrangement is only temporary. Kristi's certain an unhappy client from the law firm where she works is determined to hunt her down. But when a sniper bullet wildly misses its target, they begin to question whether it's really her someone wants dead. Working together, can they figure out why they've been attacked…and keep little Cody from the nefarious forces dead set on making this Christmas their last?

About the Author:
Liz Johnson is the director of marketing for a Christian radio network. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Tucson, AZ, where she enjoys going to the theater and spending time with her nieces and nephews. She's happiest writing stories of true love with happy endings and shares about her adventures in writing at

My Review: 4 stars
Ive been a big fan of Liz Johnsons books since reading her very first one and I have yet to be disappointed!  I was so excited to read this book, though maybe even more so when I realized I somehow (gasp) missed reading the two books that come directly before it!  I have no idea how that happened, but it has since been corrected and I was so happy to realize that I was going to get to read 3 new books by one of my favorite authors, rather than just one.  Though you technically dont have to read this series in order, the other stories are all excellent, so why not?  

Ms. Johnsons books always hold my attention from the first chapter, and with this one, it was the very first line!  I adore marriage of convenience stories and add in suspense and a SEAL team and you have all the ingredients for a book Im almost guaranteed to love.  I definitely enjoyed the bit of a mystery and the guessing of who the culprit was and what they wanted that kept me on my toes.  Ms. Johnson once again did an excellent job of creating a story and characters that were fully engaging.  I so enjoy how she describes things, with the unique words and details sprinkled throughout that add an extra layer of depth and quirk to her tales.  She alternates holding my breath captive through a suspense scene and making me laugh/sigh at a sweet moment.  

As always, the characters were my favorite part.  I adored Cody, Kristis son, who was so precious and lovable.  And obviously Kristi and Zach, though I felt so silly for not remembering that his nickname was Ziggy and Id met him in the previous books.  I enjoyed getting to know both of them as they worked to figure out how their marriage was going to work and how to keep each other safe.  Zach has spent years in training and then protecting people and how he has to protect those who mean the most to him.  He doubts himself at times and I loved Kristis faith in him when he second guesses himself.  Kristi at the same time wonders if shes enough or if shes made a mistake in jumping into another marriage, while at the same time battling the grief of moving on without her late husband.  There were so many layers to their characters and my only mild disappointment with this story was how few of those I saw.  There were simply so many things going on and with a story thats rather short by my standards, sometimes its hard to fit in the depth I always enjoy.  I rarely come across modern marriage of convenience stories and I have to say that this one was very well written.  Its very realistic with their questions and concerns and I appreciated the
conversations they had, trying to work things out and figuring out how to move forward.

Oh!  And I have to add that the ending was so perfect!  Definitely a sigh and read it again ending!  And then read it again, and again, and again, until you get tired of the sweetness of it.
Overall, I would highly recommend this engaging story to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense paired with marriage of convenience and an adorable kid.

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it and are having a good start to the new year!  :)
As always, links are below!
Have a joy-filled day!