Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Heirloom Brides

The Heirloom Brides Collection
Kim Sawyer, Tracey Bateman, Joanne Bischof, Mona Hodgson
 Four brides have a treasured heirloom that plays a part in meeting or marrying the man God has designed for them. Each bride must overcome obstacles or previous hurts to secure the heirloom and the groom. 

I'd read books by all but one of these authors, so I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Each story is tied together by the theme, but otherwise stands alone. The authors all brought their unique style of writing to the table to offer a heartwarming and sweet romance story. Each story has elements of faith and redemption as well as hope and love. This is a great book for when you only have a short time to read as each story is individual and the plots are heavy or full of details. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction or would like to read a novella by a new author to get a feel for her writing.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Dash of Daring

A Dash of Daring
Taste of Romance Book 3
Elizabeth Maddrey
Amy works at an inner city school where she was raised and now lives. She's admired Zachary for quite some time, but has pushed off his advances to be more than friends. She just can't see their relationship working since they are different races. But Zachary doesn't see the problem and pursues Amy. When she finally gives in, she learns to not jump to conclusions without all of the facts and also about trust and faith in God.

The cover seemed very YA to me, so I wasn't surprised to have the story and style of writing to confirm this. The emotions and reactions were on target with high school or college age kids. The author wove her faith into the story and used the conflicts and drama to bring these elements into play. I wasn't aware when I chose this book that it was the last book in the series. But the book could definitely work as a stand-alone. Overall it is a sweet story that would be great for a reader who enjoys YA and Christian fiction.

I received this book free of charge from BookClub Network in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Congratulations to the winners!

All of the winners are listed below. I used Rafflecopter's random drawing to pick each winner. Emails have been sent. Please respond with your mailing address so I can get the book out to you soon.

Thank you everyone for entering. I'm sure I'll have more books soon.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Ballerinas by Liesbet Slegers

Ballerinas and What They Do
Liesbet Slegers
A ballerina dances every day. Glide along with a little ballerina as she tells the young reader what it takes to be the best ballerina. She describes the different types of poses, teaches about the attire required, talks about the schedule required to be a good dancer, and tells about the final show and the key players. The book ends with Mindy showing the reader five different poses that an aspiring ballerina can learn to do. Each post is demonstrated by a picture and a brief description of how to position the arms, legs, and feet. Colored pencil style illustrations brighten the pages and help tell the story. 

My daughter loved reading the book and practicing the different poses found in the back. This book would be a great book for dance teachers who want to help teach the basics to their young students, teachers who want to encourage reading skills, and parents looking for some interactive books for their daughters.

I received this book free of charge from Children's Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Knights of the Empire

Knights of the Empire
The Young Heroics Book 1
Cousin Summer
Two young boys from different families find an old survival guide. They hatch a plan of adventure, but need Grandpa to help them execute it. The adventure turns out to be much more than they anticipated and they'll come away from their experience having learned about loyalty, courage, family, and danger. 

I wanted this book because my 9 year old is a voracious reader and I can't keep up with his need for books. But I thought I'd read it first to make sure it was something he'd enjoy. I started but then had to wait for him to finish since he wouldn't let me touch the book. I'm not sure who enjoyed the book more. I don't usually enjoy the books he reads (not really my style),but this was an exception. It has all the elements that a pre-teen or early teen boy will enjoy. It's also very well written and entertaining.

I received this book free of charge from BookClub Network in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Woman's Guide to Knowing What You Believe

A Woman's Guide to Knowing What You Believe
How to Love God With Your Heart and Your Mind
Patty Houser
"Dynamic faith means knowing why you believe what you do about all matters of faith. . ."
This line sums up what the author wants the reader to walk away from after finishing the book. She wants you to be able to defend your faith should the need arise.

This book had both pros and cons for me. I loved the cover and the concept the author was trying to get across. The description of the book is what intrigued me to try it. And while the author had a lot of great facts, stories, and antidotes the reading was slow and heavy. It was just a little too deep for me and I had to read it in pieces to be able to process it. This would be for the serious student or someone wanting a more heavy approach to dissecting what they believe.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Christmas Curse

The Christmas Curse
Loveless and Dunn Book 6
Erika Marks
 Emily believes she's been cursed. Her last three boyfriends have dumped her at Christmas time. So when her current boyfriend mentions wanting to talk when he returns from his business trip, she impulsively heads to the mountains where no communication is possible to spend Christmas. But she doesn't plan well and gets stuck in a bed and breakfast with a veterinarian during a blizzard. But a Christmas blizzard just might change her luck.

Almost the entirety of the book was spent on the first few days when she meets her potential husband and the drama that each brought to the table. It felt a little rushed to me and the months in between the main story and the epilogue seemed unrealistic. The characters were pleasant, but didn't grab me. I did however appreciate the fact that this was a clean romance and the author didn't go with the clique of the couple jumping into bed. Overall, this was a light and fluffy romance story that was okay, but didn't make me want to read any of the others in the series.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

At Love's Bidding

At Love's Bidding
Ozark Mountain Romance Book 2
Regina Jennings
Miranda works with her family at their auction house in Boston. They sell high end items and Miranda writes the catalog with detailed descriptions for each item. As she's walking through the back of the action house she sees a painting on the auction block that is definitely not what is described in the catalog. But she's been timid her entire life and fears her grandfather's anger if she steps in and interrupts. But she soon learns her mistake when the LeBlanc family comes after the auction house with their lawyer. They have a short window to find the painting that was wrongly sold or their auction house will be shut down. They purchase another auction house where they believe the painting was headed to. Miranda and her grandfather board a train headed to the Ozarks in pursuit of the painting. But life is full of curve balls and Miranda is dismayed to find out that they auction house they bought doesn't deal in antiquities. And her grandfather seems to be loosing his mind. 

I liked the story. It was full of twists and turns that didn't turn out the way I expected. I also expected a little bit more about the character's faith since this is labeled as Christian fiction. The main characters were well thought out and fit well with the story. But my favorite was actually a secondary character named Betsy. She really added to the plot and the uniqueness of the town. Overall, it was a fun, slightly romantic story, but didn't have any gripping drama or deep faith connection.

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
A Christmas Novella
Lori Copeland
Arlene was in an airplane crash that killed her husband and left her with brain damage. Told from the point of view of Arlene, the reader gets a glimpse into the confusing and depressing mind of a person with brain trauma. Arlene can't remember so much, but she does remember her husband and knows that she misses him terribly. Her family isn't sure what they can do to help her.

I've enjoyed books by this author before, so was expecting writing of the same style. This book was different from anything I've read by her. It was very thought provoking and sad. The point of view was unique, so I liked that. The part about the the friendships and family was touching and heartwarming. The frequent frustration of the main character was depressing and frustrating. Because of the mixed emotions I'm having a hard time rating this book. Overall, I think it would be a great book to read if you know someone with brain trauma, or if you want a thought provoking, but easy to read book.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Rest Assured

Rest Assured
A Recovery Plan for Weary Souls
Vicki Courtney
 Our lives are so full that we often don't realize that our souls are empty and craving rest. The author took a hard look at her own busyness and wrote a plan for all of us to follow. In the first half of the book, she begins by outlining some of the reasons we are so incredibly busy. She talks about the problems that stress and weariness can do physically and mentally to the body. Each chapter ends with questions for the reader called Rest Stop. Then is a challenge for the next week called Intervention. The second half of the book is about how to correct the problem of busyness and being weary. There are four chapters that break down the steps on the road to recovery. Each chapter ends with the questions and intervention pages. The book ends with a thirty-day restoration guide and a list of one hundred ways to find rest. 

First - I loved the cover. It is restful and relaxing and fits well with the topic. The beginning couple of chapters didn't really seem to fit me. My reasons for being busy weren't listed and I couldn't really relate. But I'm glad I stuck with the book because the rest was great. The author doesn't just address the problem, she gave solutions as well. The book would work well for an individual or for a woman's study group. I liked the two bonus sections in the back and felt like it really added to the main section. I would highly recommend this book to any woman (or man) who finds themselves so busy that they can't stop and take a moment to rest, for the woman who desperately needs a break and isn't sure where to start.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

101 Family Meal-Time Devotions

101 Family Meal-Time Devotions
Greg Johnson
It's not always easy to find the time for family devotions. It can also be difficult when the ages of the children are too far apart. So the author has created five minute devotions that could be read before or during the meal. Then with the questions, can be discussed as everyone eats. Each devotion begins with a scenario of "what if?". A situation is presented. Then the second section is questions to think on that get the reader, especially the children thinking of what they would do in that instance. There are also several devotions geared towards the parents.

This was a wonderful set up for our family. We have story time at night, but I wanted something more to do with the kids along the lines of devotions. We are always on the go and meal times and car rides are perfect times to have meaningful conversations. So I've used these in both situations. My only issue was the format that I chose. I wouldn't recommend the ebook version. Some of the devotions didn't work for our kids yet and it is so much easier to bookmark a paperback or flip through and find the perfect one. But that's probably just a matter of preference. Overall, I really enjoyed the devotionals and look forward to incorporating more into our family time.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Proposal

The Proposal
Porter Family Book 3.5
Becky Wade
Amber is a single mom who has devoted her time and energy into being the best mom for her son. But she's also lonely and longs for someone special, a dad for her son, and family around her table. Her boyfriend, Will, has brought joy and hope into her life. She feels like Will is close to a proposal, but so far nothing. Now she's on her way to see him at the fire station, but is having a terrible day. A flat tire, rain, etc. make her wish she'd stayed at home.

Fans of Becky Wade will love to read about these two secondary characters from previous novels. It's a fun tie-in that I really enjoyed reading. It was sweet, romantic, and humorous. The writing style is classic Wade with great character development, fun details, and sweet romance. A huge thanks to the author for listening to all of her fans and gave us the ending for Amber that we'd been wondering about. 

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Give-Away!

Merry Christmas Everyone! 
I have some lovely books* to give away for the holiday season.

The rules:
1. Go through the list of books and pick ALL of the titles you like.
2. Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter.
3. Make sure your contact information is either in the comments or I can access it through your Goggle account.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shadows of Landenbrooke Manor
Melanie Dobson


The Match of the Century
Cathy Maxwell

Walking on Trampolines
Frances Whiting

Purposeful Parenting
Jean Barnes

Stealing Air
Trent Reedy

*All of these books are uncorrected proofs or advanced reader copies. There might be small changes made after this book was published. There might also be the occasional typo. This doesn't detract from the book, but I wanted to let you know that you weren't receiving the final, final copy. This is what I often receive when reviewing the book before publication. I later receive a final copy and wanted to share the extras. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Whispers in the Reading Room

Whispers in the Reading Room
Shelley Gray
Lydia, a librarian, notices a man who frequents the library. He fascinates her and she can't keep from watching him. When her mystery guest, Sebastian, ends up rescuing her, she learns a little bit more about him. But Sebastian isn't exactly who he's pretending to be and in her quest to uncover answers Lydia places herself on a murder suspect list.

The cover was enticing and the premise of the plot was intriguing. But once I started the book I just couldn't stay engaged. The plot seemed well flushed out, but I couldn't connect with the characters. The story was a little dark and I couldn't relate to the romance part of the story as well. Overall, I think fans of mystery books might enjoy this story, but I couldn't like it no matter how hard I tried.

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

A Basket Brigade Christmas

A Basket Brigade Christmas
Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, Stephanie Whitson
Three single women open their hearts to love. Decatur is a small town in Illinois. But the woman there want to do their part to aid in the war efforts. Each woman plays a part in the Basket Brigade, a charity group that feeds and provides for the injured soldiers that briefly stop at the train station on their way to the military hospital. As each woman gives her heart to the Lord, she finds room in her heart for the man of her dreams. 

These stories were sweet, romantic, and heartwarming. My favorite story was the first one. The author did a good job of creating a story in the short time frame of a novella. The relationship between the two was authentic and the secondary characters added to the story. The last two had more rushed plots and the romance seemed to happen too quickly. Also the drama was a bit on the heavy side, for me. But overall, I enjoyed the book and would read another one by these authors. It's a great book to curl up on a cold winter day and relax with.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Cinderella Body Club

The Cinderella Body Club Collection
Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Sharon Kleve, Amber Daulton
 Four girls, unlucky in love, meet together to spend time together once a week. They are all bemoaning the lack of men in their lives when one of them shares a story about a lucky charm that can change a woman for 24 hours. They all decide to take a chance and wish on the charm. The next morning all four wake up to discover they have changed over night. They now have 24 hours to to find the prince of their dreams.

Each author has a different writing style so the stories aren't exactly the same. Each story starts the same with the girls gathered for some wine and girl talk. So by the time I got to the end I was skipping that section of the story. The plot is predictable. I enjoy novellas, but these were too short to really get enough of a story or good character depth. This also made the girls seem cheap since each of them jumped into bed with their prince during the 24 hour period. Overall it was a light and fluffy book that someone wanting a quick read will enjoy.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Snowflakes on Silver Cove

Snowflakes on Silver Cove
White Cliff Bay Book 2
Holly Martin
 Libby is a romance writer. As she begins each story she moves to the location to get a real feel for the place and it's people. Six months ago she moved to a small town in England and fell in love with the little seaside town. She also found a kindred spirit in her next door neighbor George. They've been best friends since the beginning. Now she's almost finished with her current novel and has plans to move to New York to begin her next one. But she's needing a little inspiration in the romance department. So Libby and George concoct a plan. They will go on fake dates. This will help ease George back into the dating world after his divorce and provide Libby with the inspiration for her book. But the dates don't exactly go as planned.

This is a sweet story. It is intended to be a Christmas story, but other than the gifts, I felt like it could have been happened any time of year. Both characters were well described and added humor and depth to the story. The outcome was expected, but the story was more character driven than plot driven so this wasn't an issue for me. I definitely enjoyed the two main characters, but my favorite couple was two of the secondary characters who had a little romance of their own. They were interesting enough that they could have had their own story. Definitely nothing high drama or gripping about this book, so readers who enjoy small town romances, and multiple stories will enjoy this story.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Monday Morning Joy

Monday Morning Joy
Tia McCollors
Rae has vowed to never date a celebrity or person involved in sports. So she's not exactly thrilled with her assignment to interview local sports hero Malachi. Malachi is home recovering from an injury that has put his baseball career on hold. In the mean time he's going to refocus and spend time with his charity. 

The story has a very light-hearted chick-lit or young adult feel. There isn't anything deep or dramatic about the plot. The two main characters are lightly fleshed out and the plot is predicable.  There were a couple of secondary characters that I enjoyed, but I couldn't relate to the two main characters. This is a story that will appeal to someone looking for a light, fluffy story with lots of slang, infrequent references to Christianity, and a feel of family.

I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The 12 Bride's of Christmas Collection

The 12 Bride's of Christmas Collection
12 Heartwarming Historical Romances for the Season of Love
 Twelve different authors joined forces to write twelve stories about women who became brides at Christmas time. Each story is a stand alone, but they all fit together with the theme of the title. Each of these stories was sold separately as an e-book and the whole collection was put together in paperback for the season.

This is the perfect glimpse into the writing style of a lot of different authors. Each story was well written and I enjoyed the opportunity to catch a quick story during my short breaks. The stories all center around Christmas and love, but also include faith as an integral part of the story. This would make an excellent gift to the reader in your life.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Sparkle Box

The Sparkle Box
Jill Hardie
One day while listening to his mom read a Christmas story, Sam notices a sparkly box on the mantle. His parents kept telling to wait whenever he asked what was in the box. As the days go by he and his family find ways to bless others during the season. And Sam waits impatiently to find out what is in the box. Each time he asks, his mother tells him that she still has a few more things to put in it. When he opens the box he finds out who the gift is for and how he contributed.

This is a book to keep on our shelf with the treasured Christmas collection. The illustrations are incredible and really help tell the story. The message that the story tells is one of giving, unselfishness, and the real reason for the Christmas season. The book includes a sparkle box so the tradition can be carried on. I loved the concept and my children really loved the idea as well. Since we already do a lot of these types of things it was easy to implement this new tradition. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with children who wants to inspire them to have a giving heart.  

I received this book free of charge from First Look in exchange for my honest review.

Coloring Ocean Mandalas

Coloring Ocean Mandalas
30 Hand-Drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation
Wendy Piersall
Coloring, especially the mandalas has been show to reduce stress, relax the mind, and calm anxiety.  Adults are jumping on the trend of coloring to relax and calm them. I've reviewed quite a few adult coloring books, but none of them compare to the artwork drawn by Wendy Piersall. Her attention to detail and gorgeous designs are truly a work of art.

 I use these to focus my mind when I'm listening to a lecture or have to wait for an appointment. My children love to color these as well and I can honestly say that I've seen my daughter's fine motor skills improve as she's colored the intricate designs. These books would also make excellent gifts.

I received this book free of charge from Ulysses Press in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Match of the Century

The Match of the Century
Marrying the Duke Book 1
Cathy Maxwell
Every girl in London wants to marry a duke. Elin is considered lucky by all who know her. Not only is she engaged to a duke, but Gavin is rich and handsome as well. After numerous postponements due to deaths in the family, they are finally ready to set a date. But Elin can't get Gavin's brother Ben out of her mind. After a disastrous end to their friendship years ago, she should be over him. But she can't quite forget how he makes her feel. When trouble comes racing after Elin, it's Ben who rescues her and makes her fall in love all over again. Now the two must decide whether society and rules will guide their hearts.

This was a fun and entertaining regency romance. The story had suspense, drama, romance, and intrigue. The characters came to life on the pages and the scenes were described so they came alive. While quite a bit of the story was highly unlikely, I enjoyed the story for the plot and the romance and not the feasibility. The author did a great job of setting the scene for the next book in the series. I would recommend this book for pure enjoyment and a break from reality.

I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Caterpillar Cowboy

The Caterpillar Cowboy
Russ Lanier
Little caterpillar lives in an apple tree. And every day he watches the cowboys ride by with their cattle. He really, really wants to be a cowboy. So he asks owl how to become a cowboy. Owl explains how someday caterpillar will be able to soar just as if he was riding a horse. But when caterpillar gets the experience to be a cowboy, he changes his mind and decides that he is perfectly content being a caterpillar.

Children will love the bright colorful illustrations that fill every page. The story is told from the caterpillar's point of view and hints at what he will become. The lesson of accepting who you are and being content in situations is told in the plot. The use of the Bible verse gives this book a Christian feel, but will appeal to all audiences.

I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bond Vs. Bond

Bond Vs. Bond
The Many Faces of 007
Paul Simpson
James Bond is a character that is universally known. He first came to the world's attention as a character in a book. Then later he presented in the movies. Played by several different actors who each brought their own flair to his character, he still is an iconic figure who loves women, martinis, guns, and catching the evil villains. The author begins the book by taking a small peak into the life of the man who brought this iconic figure to life - Ian Fleming. He then mentions other writers who wrote about 007 and then delves into the movies and characters that made him a household name.

A large heavy coffee table book that is sure to delight everyone who picks it up, this book is filled with pictures, inside glimpses of the movie sets, and behind the scenes information about the people who helped create the character. As a Bond fan, I enjoyed every moment that I spent in this book. It's a book I would highly recommend to fans of the movies and to anyone who enjoys learning the history behind a legend.

I received this book free of charge from Quarto Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Reluctant Duchess

The Reluctant Duchess
Sharon Cullen
Lady Sara is the quiet wallflower, while her cousin. Meredith, is the belle of the ball with her dashing fiance, Ross. But when Meredith is murdered she retreats to the country to take care of her family as they deal with the loss. Two years later, Sara begins to get threatening letters. Not wanting to burden her family in their grief, she turns to Ross for help. Ross never noticed Sara next to her shining cousin Meredith. But after two years abroad, he's changed and now he's noticing how well Sara fits into his life.

This was a sweet, romantic regency story. The evil villain, if you will, was obvious fairly quickly. But the two main characters seemed to mesh well together and I enjoyed the little side stories. I was a little off put by the determination the female protagonist had to never marry. It seemed to go against the rest of the story. But overall, it was an entertaining story that I enjoyed reading.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Accidental Engagement

The Accidental Engagement
Maggie Dallen
Ivy is the hostess at a fancy New York restaurant. When famous playboy Jack Everett hides behind her to get away from an irate husband she becomes entangled in his life; the world assumes they are a couple. Now his business partner, Daniel, offers her the deal of a lifetime. She can pretend to be Jack's fiance until an important business deal goes through in exchange for enough money to help her parents keep their home. She can't pass it up, despite her misgivings. The next few weeks are the craziest and hardest thing she's ever done. Because she's falling in love with the wrong man.

This was a fun story to read. The fast pace, crazy turns, and romantic dialogue all work together to create a sweet, romantic story. The characters were endearing, the scenery well described, and the drama fit well with the plot. The setting and presentation reminded me of chick lit as well as romance. If you enjoy romance with some drama and humor than you will enjoy this book.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Bride's Agreement

A Bride's Agreement
Five Romances Develop Out of Convenient Marriages
Elaine Bonner, Ramona Cecil, Nancy Farrier, JoAnn Grote, DiAnn Mills
Five women end up married to men that they hardly know. But with a little faith, a little trust, and a whole lot of love, they can turn the marriages into a romance to last a life time. Each story combines a touch of drama, romance, faith, and family.

I can't remember ever enjoying a collection of novellas as much as I enjoyed this one. I'd read one story previously and liked it, so didn't mind reading it again. The stories were only connected by the theme, but each one was sweet and filled with romance. The authors did a great job of conveying the importance of trust in God and your marriage partner while creating an entertaining and sweet story. The characters were well defined and the settings vividly described. Three of the authors were new to me, so I'll be checking out what other titles they've written. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction or Christian romance.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The American Dream Romance Collection

The American Dream Romance Collection
Nine Historical Romances Grow Alongside a New Country
Kristy Dykes, Laurie Eakes, Carla Gade, Jane Kirkpatrick, DiAnn Mills, Lisa Richardson, Ann Schrock, Amber Stockton, Jennifer Taylor
The first four stories are written about four brothers who find their wife during the time of beginnings for our country. The next three stories are written about the Quaker people and their quest for peace during a time of war. The last two stories are not connected, except for the theme of romance during our country's early history. Each story has romance, faith, and drama. Some of the stories have already been printed before, but the collection was nicely put together.

I think my favorite stories were the ones about the brothers. The authors, while different, wrote the stories so seamlessly. They fit well together. I also really enjoyed the last story. It was about romance later in life. This was a huge book to work through, so it took me some time to read it. But I enjoyed it and found some new authors to check out.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses
Jenny Hale
Abbey is a single mother who is helping her mom take care of her grandfather. She's working as a caregiver for an elderly lady, but her dream job is to be a designer. So when her patient lands her the ultimate design job, one with no budget, she jumps at it. It will help pay for her grandfather's medicines and give her son the Christmas he deserves. She never thought it would change her life as well. 

This is a Cinderella, princess story. It's the poor girl being rescued by the rich and handsome guy. While a tad cheesy and a lot unrealistic, it's sweet and over the top romantic. Romance fans will fall in love with the setting, plot, and sweet characters. There isn't really any drama and the ending is a given. But the author did a great job of portraying the romance and the Christmas spirit.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What Happens Under the Mistletoe

What Happens Under the Mistletoe
Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, Meredith Duran
Four regency Christmas stories tell romantic stories of what happens under the mistletoe. Four couples find love during the Christmas holidays. The stories are tied together by their theme and genre, but can be read alone. Each gives a sense of the author's writing style, while wrapping up the plot in a short novella.

I love Christmas, romance, and regency. So I'm sure you can imagine how much I enjoyed these stories. Since I enjoy regency romance so much I've read books by several of these authors, so I knew I would enjoy the stories. A couple of them felt a tad rushed, but it is a novella. Also for those who prefer a "clean" story, you might want to steer clear. The authors added some spice and bedroom scenes to these. Most of them were tasteful, but a couple were a bit much. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it if you enjoy regency romance.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Bronte Plot

The Bronte Plot
Katherine Reay
 Lucy works for an interior designer, Sid, who specializes in purchasing rare or antique items for his buyers. Lucy helps run the shop and focuses on rare books. She's in love with James and feels that her life is going well. The one little blip is the absence of her father. He sends her a book every year on her birthday, but there is never a note. His stories started her on the path towards loving literature. But he spent time in prison as a con man and Lucy wonders how her past could affect her future. When one of her mistakes is reveled she loses her boyfriend and damages her relationship with Sid. When she is suddenly asked to go on a buying trip to England with a client she goes to find answers to her past, present, and future.

Part love story, part history lesson, and part reflective are the ways I'd describe this story. The plot, nor really the characters drive the story. It seems to be more about coming to grips with yourself and your life choices, about how your choices don't have to define you, and about how change can come with life lessons. The story wasn't overly romantic or faith based, although it was implied that the main characters were Christian. I enjoyed the story and the aspects of the classics. There were times that the line of thinking was foreign to me and the introspective style was a bit much. But overall, while this wasn't my favorite of her books, I did enjoy it and will very likely read it again.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Texas Christmas

A Texas Christmas
Six Stories from the Historic Lone Star State
Cathy Marie Hake, Romona Cecil, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin, Pamela Griffin, Kathleen Y'Barbo
Six authors take on the Lone Star state with historical romance stories that each show challenges and triumphs in love and faith. Each story gives the reader a taste of the writer's style and a sweet Christmas story about love. The stories are connected solely by their location, theme, and time of year. So each story can be read independently.

I enjoyed these stories. Each one brought a different flavor to the book. The authors were able to get their message of faith and love across in the short novella style. While the book was long due to have six novellas in it, I was able to read each story without loosing the plot since they weren't really connected. This makes the book great for short waits at appointments or when you just have a short time to read. This would also make an excellent gift since several different styles of writing are showcased. 

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Every Girl Gets Confused

Every Girl Gets Confused
Brides with Style Book 2
Janice Thompson
Katie and Brady might be opposites, but opposites attract. At least that's what Katie keeps telling herself. Everyone around her is getting proposed to or married. Which isn't that unusual in the wedding business, but when it comes closer to home Katie begins to get confused about her relationship. Some good advice and a little soul searching will show her the direction to take in this season of her life.

The story begins with the same characters from book 1 and tells the story where the first book left off. So while reading book 1 will definitely help you get the back story and a better feel for the characters, it isn't necessary since the book could work as a stand-alone. The author does a great jbo of pulling the reader into the story and creating a light-hearted and fun experience. While the story was what I would call fun, it also had some deeper elements that were intended to cause the reader to think. This added dimension was a plus in my book. I loved the characters, the humor infused, and the faith theme that was woven into the plot. I'm looking forward to reading the third book about Katie and Brady.

I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Christmas Joy Ride

The Christmas Joy Ride
Melody Carlson
Joy, an 85-year-old widow, is selling her home and moving into an assisted living home near her sons. But before she does, she decides to have one last adventure in her motorhome. She has been writing a Christmas blog with the help of her neighbor, Miranda. She plans a contest. The winners of the contest will be along Route 66, a trip she'd wanted to take with her late husband. She'll do the trip in his memory and use her Christmas decorations to bring Christmas joy to the winners. She convinces Miranda to join her in hopes that Miranda will regain some of her own Christmas joy. Neither lady expects the trip to turn out quick like it did. 

This was a fun, quirky, entertaining story about the true meaning of Christmas. The ending was a little different than I'd anticipated, but I liked it. The author wrote in a light-hearted style, but wove messages of overcoming, faith, and joy into the story. It was the kind of story that captured my attention and left me pondering thoughts after I finished. It's a short story, but packed with feeling and soul.

I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Earl's Christmas Colt

 Lady Arabella is shocked to discover that her brother has given her hand in marriage to an older man. So far she hasn't been able to find a man that she could bear to live with, let alone one that shares her passion for horses or doesn't mind her outspokenness. Distressed at the news of her impending marriage, Arabella takes off for a ride on her horse. But when her horse sustains an injury away from home, she meets a stable hand who just might change her mind about marriage. It's too bad he isn't from her class.

This was a short, but sweet story. The historical setting is perfect for the plot and the author created great visuals for the reader. The characters were well developed for the length of the novel. I liked the interaction between the two main characters. The author also portrayed the brother as caring, when he could have come off as callous considering his actions. Overall it was a fun story and I will be checking out other books by this author.

I received this book free of charge from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Five Times I Met Myself

The Five Times I Met Myself
James Rubart
Brock is greatly disturbed by a dream that he keeps having of his late father. When he mentions this to his friend, his friend loans him a book on lucid dreaming. Brock finds that lucid dreaming can take him back to the past where the decisions he makes change the outcome of his future. Since he is having some difficulties in his marriage and business, he sets about to change the future by influencing his younger self. But it doesn't go as planned. He continues to meet with himself until he learns some valuable life lessons about the choices we make and how they effect the ones around us.

This book was a different take on time travel then what I've read in the past. It was an unusual set up for a thought provoking book. I enjoyed the style of writing and the visuals the author created. I didn't really connect with or care about the characters, but the plot was very intriguing. I finished the book and couldn't stop thinking about the life lessons the author brought out. The book has appeal and I would recommend it for the Christian element alone. For the casual reader who isn't into life lessons or Christian insight, the book might be a bit much. But for me it was entertaining as well as a jumping off point for some deep thinking.

Link to Litfuse Book Info.

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

Miss Featherton's Christmas Prince

Miss Featherton's Christmas Prince
The Marriage Game Book 9
Ella Quinn
Meg Featherton is having a hard time finding the right husband. Each time she gets close to making a match, she receives a note and finds out something horrible about her intended, forcing her to break things off. Now that she's been burned, she has decided to marry for safety and stability instead of love. At a house party with her best friend, she is forced to spend time with a man that she believes would be the worst man she could marry. But time just might prove her wrong.

This was a sweet and entertaining story. The characters were well defined and the story came alive with the author's descriptions. I liked how the author added in the different elements to starting a relationship, it wasn't one dimensional. I was unaware that this was a series book until I started writing the review. So the book definitely works well as a stand-alone. It had some drama and tension to add to the romance of the plot. There was one little part that was a bit confusing to me, but overall I enjoyed the book and will be checking out other books by this author.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keeping Christmas

Keeping Christmas
Dan Walsh
Stan can't seem to get his wife, Judith, out of her depression. She's lived for her children and grandchildren. When they weren't able to come home for Thanksgiving she didn't know what to do. So she puts off putting out the Christmas decorations, since that is what they've always helped her with. But when she learns they can't afford to come home for Christmas either, she sinks into a depression. Stan doesn't understand, but loves his wife and will do anything to help her feel okay again.

There isn't anything dramatic or suspenseful about the story. The reader knows almost immediately what is going to happen in the end. From there it's just reading how the characters arrived at the main point. As a person who suffers from depression, I didn't feel like that aspect of the story was portrayed correctly. I really liked Stan, the husband. But I couldn't connect with any of the other characters. The story has the elements to be a feel good, heartwarming Christmas story. It has a fairy tale ending and some sweet family moments. Overall, I enjoyed parts of the story while reading, but didn't love it enough to keep the book or recommend it to anyone else.

I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

An Endless Christmas

 An Endless Christmas
Cynthia Ruchti
 Micah invited his girlfriend Katie to spend Christmas with his family in Minnesota. She arrives to immediately receive a proposal from Micah. And now that she's said no, she's forced to spend the rest of the vacation with his extended family. She didn't want to say no, but her family history isn't the greatest and she can't imagine the heartache a marriage would cause if she follows the path of her ancestors. So for Micah's sake, she says no. But Katie is about to learn quite a few lessons from a quirky, crazy, loving family who doesn't let a moment go to waste.
It's been a long time since I've read a book that tugged at my heart strings like this one. There really isn't a main character. The author brought the entire family alive. Each person was distinct and memorable. The antics and interaction between the family members was entertaining and refreshing. Several key thoughts were brought out in the book, but the insights didn't come across as preachy. It was a quick read that I was disappointed to finish. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.
I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Merry Christmas Mrs. Robinson

Merry Christmas Mrs. Robinson
Delilah Marvelle
Lady Jane followed the advice of her best friend and left her family to become a singer on stage. But soon her life is in shambles. Her father disowned her, her secret admirer vanished, her husband lied to her, and her best friend left her. Now she's managing on her own. But an aunt with a matchmaking bent and a Christmas wish bring her back in touch with her best friend. And sometimes best friends can make your Christmas wishes come true.

I really enjoyed this story. It was sweet, romantic, and had all the right elements for a regency novella. The characters were well developed for the length of the story, the plot was typical regency romance. The book cover cracked me up. It could have been a bit less dramatic. But overall, this was a fun story that I enjoyed reading.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest

Sunday, November 8, 2015

One Christmas Wish

One Christmas Wish
Heart of the Rockies Book 2.5
Sara Richardson
Julie was in an accident at fifteen that left her paralyzed. But that was years ago. She's ready to move out from underneath her smothering family. She's signed up to receive a assistance dog and is planning to leave after her brother's wedding. When Isaac, newly retired from the Navy, returns for the wedding she enlists his help in detaching herself from her family. But matters get sticky when she realizes the teenage love she had for him so many years ago has only gotten stronger.

This was a sweet story that was all about the romance. There was very little plot or drama involved. The ending was a given and the romance predictable. There were a couple of bedroom scenes, but they were done tastefully. I enjoyed the story, but felt like I was missing something. It wasn't until I was finished that I realized this novella was written to go in between books in a series. Having not read the previous books, I was left confused about several things that were mentioned. Overall, it was a sweet, romantic story. I would recommend reading the books that come before it first though.

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wife for Life

Wife for Life
The Power to Succeed in Marriage
Ramona Zabriskie
 The book began when a question was asked of the author that she didn't have a short answer to. She was asked how she'd kept her marriage intact after 30+ years even with a separation in the mix. The author complied her thoughts and experiences into logical, practical advice that every wife can use and presented it in this book. Her hope was to prove that marriages can last and be wonderful and amazing. Using stories, illustrations, and experiences, she shows how each wife can build up her marriage and succeed where others fail.

I enjoyed reading the book. A lot was things I already know and practice, but it was presented in a refreshing and inspiring way. This book would be a good read for any wife. Because it touches on so many aspects, everyone can gleam something from its pages. The book is thick and took some time to get it read, but that didn't detract from the information presented.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

The Christmas Secret

The Christmas Secret
A Cherry Lake Christmas
Jeannie Watt
Lil is tired of the sympathy and looks she's been receiving. She hates sympathy. But everyone is feeling sorry for her since her former fiance is getting married on the very date that he was supposed to marry Lil. Lil is over him, but the sympathy is getting to be a bit much. So she heads for the family cabin in the mountains to get away. The last person she wants to see on her door step is Casey, her ex-fiance's brother. And unfortunately the first brother that she dated. Now they are stuck together in a blizzard and the air is going to be cleared.

Sweet, romantic short story. There wasn't a lot of back story or extra details on either the main couple or the secondary characters. It felt like I was jumping into the middle of the series. But the book worked well as a stand alone and I enjoyed reading it. Since the characters had a previous relationship, it didn't feel rushed. The author worked out some emotional issues with both of the characters and their families. Overall, I would recommend this to someone who wants a quick, sweet, Christmas story to read.

I received this book free of charge from Netgalley and Tule Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Clandestine Betrothal

The Clandestine Betrothal
A Regency Romance
Alice Chetwynd Ley
Susan didn't mean to tell her aunt that she was betrothed to Beau. It just kind of came out. Now she's in a very large spot of trouble. Because Beau has no idea that such a betrothal even exists. Between the two of them they end up convincing her aunt, but getting into a bigger mess than either of them imagined.

I really enjoyed this story. It was a typical regency romance complete with misunderstandings, dancing, and the one girl that can change a man. The unknown origin of one of the characters added a touch of mystery to the plot. The characters were well written and likable. The secondary characters added to the story. This is the first book I've read by this author and based on this book I will definitely be checking out her other books. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys regency romance.

I received this book free of charge from Netgalley in exchange for their honest review.