Friday, October 30, 2015

A Match Made in Texas

A Match Made in Texas
A Novella Collection
Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox
There is someone sticking their nose into other people's business, by providing help when needed. The little Texas town is being blessed with an anonymous angel. There are three couples that she somehow entwines together to help each other. Now it's time for some of that love to be returned. Each story was tied together by the anonymous donor and ends with the donor being matched herself.

I knew this was going to be a great book when I picked it up because I've enjoyed everything I've read by these authors. I really enjoyed all of the stories, although if I had to choose the story by Jennings was my favorite. Each story fit well with the theme and the other stories. They all had romance, faith, and humor. I think these stories are a great peak into the authors if you haven't tried one of their books before.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Love in the Details

Love in the Details
A November Wedding Story
Becky Wade
Years ago Holly dumped Josh at the request of his mother. He was thinking of quitting college to return home to Holly. He was at MIT on a full scholarship and his single mother couldn't afford to pay if he left school. Holly was convinced that she was doing the right thing, but it broke her heart. Now Josh is back in town as a wealthy, successful business man. He's only back for a few weeks while he helps his best friend prepare for his wedding. But when he runs into Holly he devises a plan for them to spend a little time together. He's returning to his home in Paris in a few weeks, but maybe if he can get some closure he can get on with his life.

First, the cover is absolutely gorgeous. Second, the author wrote another amazingly romantic story that just grabbed me. I have yet to read something by this author that I didn't love. But previously all of her books have been full length. So it was nice to see that she can create heartwarming characters, great plot lines, and lots of sweet romance when working within the confines of a novella. The characters were realistic, relatable, and fun to spend time with. The romance was just as sweet the second time as it was the first time. Highly recommend if you want to try out a new author and get a feel for her writing. Or, if like me, you have her on your list of favorites and want to read more of her talented writing.

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015


The Nikki Boyd Files Book 1
Lisa Harris
Nikki Boyd takes her job personally. She is on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. The job is one she's been moving towards ever since she lost her sister 10 years ago. So some might say she takes her job too personally. When a young teenage girl goes missing in her area, Nikki is shocked to see that the signs all point to the same person who took her sister all those years ago. He's been dormant for years and now it appears that he's back to his old tricks. 

I've enjoyed this author's books before and this was no exception. The feel of the plot was different from what I've read of her work in the past. But it was still her style of fast paced, suspenseful writing. There was very little romance in the story, but there were several hints that it might be coming in a book in the future. I enjoyed the dialogue and the scenery. Since I've lived in that area for years, it was nice to recognize the places she mentioned. I also enjoyed the elements of faith that were sprinkled throughout the story. The characters were flawed and not perfect Christians, but the writing pointed towards trust and faithfulness. This is definitely a book that I would recommend and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lake of Fire

Lake of Fire
An Allison Coil Mystery
Mark Stevens
 There is a huge wildfire tearing across Colorado. Whole communities are fighting to save their homes and towns. But when one man stumbles on a dead body at the point of origin, all signs point to murder and arson. Then a local environmentalist is missing and his fans are fearful that the body might belong to him. Two couples team up to find out what happened to the man and who started the vicious fire. But murder isn't an issue with the person or persons they are after. So they must tread lightly or they'll be added to the list of dead.

The story started off with a large cast of characters. This was a tad confusing at first. But it quickly sorted out and the story took off. Filled with suspense and drama the entire time, the author lead the reader on a crazy path to the end. The descriptions helped set the reader into the story and I could easily picture the scenes. The characters were real and raw. The book ended with the main part of the plot tied up. But there were several loose ends left hanging. My guess would be for the next book in the series to tackle. I enjoyed the story and would definitely read another book by this author.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

High-Caliber Holiday

High-Caliber Holiday
First Responders Book 3
Susan Sleeman
Morgan is an ex-lawyer and is being held as a hostage by a man who resents her work in her previous job. He's out for revenge and nothing is going to stop him. Morgan receives help from the first responders. Brady takes her home to find that she's been burglarized.  Since they can't be sure the two cases aren't connected the first responders take a personal interest in keeping Morgan safe and solving the mystery.

I really enjoyed the fast pace and suspense of the story. I've read book 2 in this series and so it was nice to revisit the characters and learn more about them. The books can be read as stand-alones, but I enjoy how they dovetail nicely together in the series. The characters are distinct and the plot is full of drama and twists. The romance was sweet between the two main characters and didn't feel rushed. This was the type of book that I rushed through trying to find out what was going to happen next, only to arrive at the end and be sad the book had finished. Looking forward to the next one in the series.

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

A Chameleon

A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest
J.A. Myhre
Mu is an orphan living with his extended family in a small village. Because he doesn't have parents, he is treated like a servant and only allowed to go to school for half a day. But the day that a chameleon speaks to him and his grandfather sells him will be a day that changes his life. Soon he is on a quest to find his true identity with a little friend named Tita.

I could feel the African influences in the story. It was written in a similar format as The Chronicles of Narnia or Pilgrim's Progress. It seems to be written for children, but has some deeper meanings and concepts that adults will enjoy as well. The story was fascinating and despite the slow progress of the boy on his quest, didn't feel slow while reading. I'll be giving this to my son to read now that I've finished. Its unique style and fantasy feel make it a book that will charm and captivate the reader. 

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Win or Lose

Win or Lose I Love You!
Lysa Terkeurst
Max and Lulu are best friends. And their favorite thing to do is spend time with their forest friends. So Lulu plans a field day competition to help choose the leader of the forest. All of the animals participate, but some of them aren't very good at winning or losing. So with the help of Bear and Lulu the forest animals learn the best way to handle wins and loses. The book begins with a brief description of the two main characters to introduce them to the reader. It ends with a list of 10 Biblical words of wisdom about winning or losing.

The colorful and whimsical illustrations capture the attention of the reader. The story is entertaining while teaching several very important lessons about good sportsmanship, the value of friendship, kindness, and forgiveness. The story has Christian elements, but would work well with anyone who wants to teach these lessons to their children. My children and I both enjoyed the story and have added it to our library. We look forward to reading more stories about Max and Lulu.

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Murder at the Courthouse

Murder at the Courthouse
A. H. Gabhart
Michael had had enough of being a beat cop in a large city. The coldness and lack of caring had gotten to him. So he returned to his hometown of Hidden Springs where nothing happened. This was completely okay with Michael. But when a local finds a dead body on the court house steps it opens an investigation into something that will rock the entire town.

This was a cozy, small town mystery that really captured the essence of the locals and the slow paced feel of the town. I enjoyed the story and really enjoyed all of the quirky and diverse characters. I don't typically read cozy mysteries, so this was a nice change. I enjoyed the flow of the story and the way the plot was laid out. I will definitely be checking out the next on in the series when it comes out.

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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

10 Things Great Dads Do

10 Things Great Dads Do
Strategies for Raising Great Kids
Rick Johnson
Great dads generally have great kids. The questions comes when a dad wants to know how to be great. The author has pulled from his experience and research to give ten great tips for dads to implement that will help them raise great kids. Each chapter talks about one strategy and gives stories, illustrations, pointers, and tips on the topic. The author writes the book from a faith base and incorporates it throughout the book.

While imparting quite a bit of information, the book was still enjoyable to read and entertaining with all of the stories and illustrations. I liked the presentation and layout of the tips and extra facts in each chapter. Even though I'm a mom, I can attest to the truth of a lot of the information he gave. While my husband is already a great dad, I'll be passing this on to him to read next. This book is a wonderful asset to any family.

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

Friday, October 16, 2015

5 in 5

5 in 5 for Every Season
165 Quick Dinners, Sides, Holiday Dishes, and More
Michael Symons
 Michael is the popular co-host of The Chew. He promised his viewers that they could make simple, easy meals from scratch. This is the second cookbook that he's written with that concept in mind. Taking seasonal ingredients, he created easy to fix, simple meals for the family. The book begins with a short introduction to the concept and the author. It also has a pantry list. The recipes are divided up by season, so the shopper can find the ingredients needed based on the time of year. The last section, Holidays, isn't a season, but fits well with the concept of the book.

Gorgeous, full color photos, colorful fonts, and delicious recipes fill the pages. The recipes have short ingredient lists and short, simple instructions. The little note at the top of each recipe from the author is a nice touch and makes it more personable. The recipes look easy to use and I've enjoyed the ones I tried. There were a few ingredients that will be difficult to get in my small town, but I'm hoping I can substitute. Overall, I was impressed with the presentation and really liked the layout and concept of the book.

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

The Wedding Chapel

The Wedding Chapel
Rachel Hauck
Jimmy is now in the sunset years of his life. He's retired from coaching and is enjoying his quiet life. But one thing still bothers him. The hidden chapel in the woods that he built for the woman he thought he would marry. But she left him and now he's decided to sell the chapel so that someone else can enjoy it and love it like he does. Taylor, the woman that he gets to photograph the chapel will turn out to be connected to him in ways that he never imagined.

This was a very unique book. It had several separate story lines woven into the plot that all came together in the end. The characters came alive as the story progressed. The heart wrenching plot was also redeeming. The story dealt with disappointment, faith, forgiveness, and marriage. I enjoyed the story and it left me thoughtful and contemplative. I've read books by this author before and enjoyed them. This one, while different from her other books, was well written and will be recommended to my friends.

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice
Wild at Heart Book 3
Mary Connealy
Bailey is the oldest of the sisters. So she's practiced at being a man for much longer. She's worked hard to get her ranch the way she wants it. But two things are marring her perfect set-up. Her sisters are moving away and Gage Coulter is trying to take her canyon. Technically it's his, but he needs access through Bailey's ranch to get his cattle into the valley. Bailey built in this very spot so she could cut off his access and therefor be able to use the prime location for herself. But pitting two such strong willed people together only causes problems. When those problems are directed at both of them, they decide to join forces to find out who is trying to kill them.

As usual, I loved reading another book by this author. She has a way of making the story come alive and the characters lovable, despite their flaws. The plot had a touch of romance, some suspense, and characters from the previous two books. While I would definitely recommend reading the first two books, I think this book could be read as a stand-alone. Looking forward to seeing what this author writes about next.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House 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 Worthy Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sacred Intent

Sacred Intent
Maximize the Moments of Your Life
Brent Crowe
Every moment counts. How would we live our life if we knew we only had a week to live? As Christians we need to make each moment mean something. The author, writing from a Biblical standpoint, talks about how we can focus on the things that count and make our lives matter in our Christian walk.

Loved the concept that the author based the book on. He mixed stories with Biblical passages to bring out points. The book was well laid out and the writing style was easy to read. Several key points spoke to me and the book as a whole was inspiring.

Based on the cover, I probably wouldn't have picked the book up. While the writing was easy to digest, there were some sections that were a little dry and I lost my focus. 

Overall, it was a good book that I wouldn't have a problem recommending to friends.

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

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Noble Masquarade

A Noble Masquerade
Hawthorne House Book 1
Kristi Ann Hunter
Lady Miranda has spent her entire childhood being told how to properly act as a lady. She's now a proper young lady in her third season and is beginning to lose hope of ever finding a husband who will love her. As a young girl she began the practice of writing to a friend of her older brother, named Marsh. It would be highly improper for her to send them, so she uses the letter writing as a cathartic therapy and then hides them in a trunk. But one day the new valet accidentally mails one. What will Marsh think to be receiving a letter from a stranger. But to her horror he replies. And thus begins the most confusing months as Miranda tries to grasp the concept of actually sending letters to Marsh while falling in love with someone highly inappropriate. 

I'm a huge fan of regency novels. And this one fit the bill perfectly. It has suspense, romance, proper conduct, and faith in God. The characters were entertaining and fit well with the genre. The plot moved quickly and I loved several of the secondary characters. It was a quick read and I was sad to reach the end. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids
Gorgeous Hairstyles for Any Occasion from Work to Weddings
Monae Everett
The book's bendable cover and gorgeous photography will appeal to the visual senses. But once the book is open, everyone will love the simplistic approach that the author took to explaining each braid and the easy-to-understand steps for each style. The book begins with several pages that talk about the different products, brushes, accessories, and hair styles that you will need to craft these braids. Each style begins with a full page photograph of the completed braid with the name. There is a brief description and then step-by-step photographs and descriptions tell the reader exactly how to get the desired affect.

My daughter and I loved this book. We both have longer hair and enjoyed trying out several of the styles on each other. The pictures are clear, the descriptions are easy to implement, and the braids are stylish. This is definitely a book that I could recommend to my friends.

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

Friday, October 9, 2015

She's Almost a Teenager

She's Almost a Teenager
Essential Conversations to Have Now
Peter and Heather Larson, David and Claudia Arp
Navigating the pre-teen and teenage years can be daunting for both the parents and the child. Two families have come together to share their knowledge and experience with us in a unique book. Designed to start conversations, the authors have shared eight conversations that need to take place before your daughter becomes a teen. Each conversation is an essential part of her foundation as an adult. The chapters begin with thoughts from the authors and a basis for why the conversation is necessary. Each chapter ends with several conversation starters you can use with your daughter.

This is a great book. I enjoyed the stories and information that was shared in each chapter. While the conversations starters will need to be tweaked a bit for my daughter, they gave me food for thought and a place to start. I liked the focus on faith and independence that were intertwined throughout. This is a good book for any parent with a pre-teen daughter.

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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Seal's Temptation

A Seal's Temptation
Tawny Weber
Lark is an artist who specializes in pottery. But when her mother gets sick Lark goes home to help her mother run the coffee shop. When her mother passes away, she stays to keep the business running. But she's not really happy. Lark agrees to let her best friend store something in her vacant apartment. What she doesn't realize is that the something is actually a someone. Her best friend's brother Shane needs a place to crash. Shane has had to deal with family members not being able to cope with his job of being a Navy Seal. Staying at Lark's gives Shane a glimpse into what it would be like to have a relationship that still allows him to enjoy his job.

The story line was sweet. The relationship between the two characters seemed to be mostly physical (not surprising based on the type of book). While I enjoyed the story and thought it was a fun read, it did feel very shallow. It was emotion driven so the plot and characters were not as strong. This would make a good beach read when the reader doesn't want to get too involved in the plot.

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Guardians of the Heart

Guardians of the Heart
Secrets of Sterling Street Book 1
Loree Lough
Nell needed a job and found one working for Asa at the inn he had inherited. But both of them are running from their past. Disaster sends Nell back to her family mine and Asa into despair. He doesn't feel like he can be the man that Nell needs in her life because of his past.

The story flowed well and it was a quick read. The characters were entertaining and relatable. The two main characters were distinct and fit well together. I enjoyed several of the secondary characters as well. This is the second book in the series, but can definitely be read as a stand alone. The author took a sweet romance and mixed drama, faith, and history into it.

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Just Show Up

Just Show Up
The Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together
Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn
Kara, who passed away earlier this year from cancer, wrote a book with her friend Jill about what it means to show up and be there for a friend who is suffering. The women take turns telling their story from their own perspective. The style of writing is simple, and feels like a conversation with two friends. Each perspective gives practical and faith filled advice to those who want to help their friends and just don't know how. 

The writing was real, raw, emotional, and profound. It's been a long time since I've read a book that spoke to me so well. It showcases what true friendship, community, and love should be about. The authors mention "big love" several times throughout the book. The friendship between these two was all about love, real love. I feel blessed to have read this book.

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

Monday, October 5, 2015

Four Secrets

Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage
Marriage Tips From a Not So Perfect Husband
Michael Letney with Karen Hardin
Marriage is difficult. Just look at the divorce statistics if you have any doubt. But what about the people who are on the other side of those statistics? What is their secret to staying married for so long? The author shares his secrets, mistakes, and triumphs with the reader as he share the four secrets that he's found to keeping that important relationship alive.

The author wove his personal story into the book while including lots of scripture. The style was entertaining to read and I didn't feel like I was being preached at. All of the "secrets" were clear and well laid out. It's great advice, told in an interesting way that would be invaluable to newlyweds and couples just engaged. It would make a wonderful gift.

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

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Now & Forever

Now & Forever
Wild at Heart Book 2
Mary Connealy
Matthew Tucker noticed Shannon Wilde while helping the family with some home renovations. He doesn't believe the Wilde family that he's noticing a guy. This is confirmed when Shannon saves him from an angry grizzly by jumping with him into a raging river.  They spend a harrowing experience trying to survive on a river that no one is known to have survived. Once they are rescued their troubles only multiply. Now they are teaming together to stop a crazy man from killing.

I enjoyed this story. I think I even liked it better than book 1. While the two stories definitely go together, they can also be read as a stand-alone. There were two almost separate parts to the story. They were both enjoyable for me, but my mind had a slight problem transitioning between them. Otherwise the story was smooth and flowed well. The story has romantic elements, suspense, drama, and faith filled moments. It's a fun, quick read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House and Soul Inspiration in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Paul's First Day of Preschool

Paul's First Day of Preschool
The Many Adventures of Preschool
Marianne Schwartz
Paul is really nervous. Today is the first day of preschool and he isn't sure he wants to go. He tries to convince his mom to let him stay home, but she insists he try. The story is of Paul's morning as he gets ready to go to school and what his reactions are once he arrives. It deals with the anxiety a child might have when facing a new situation.

The story would be a great book to read to a child who is getting ready to go to school for the first time or getting ready to do anything that might be intimidating for the first time. The vocabulary fits the intended age. Children will enjoy the story and will be able to relate to the little boy. My daughter enjoyed the story, but didn't care for the illustrations. My son read the book to his little sister and mentioned that the illustrations didn't fit with the story.

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Deadly Additive

Deadly Additive
Donn Taylor
Jeb was a soldier for hire. But he's ready to retire. He returns to his apartment to relax and plan his next move. But when one last job offer comes through he finds himself forced to take it. He must rescue a spoiled rich girl and her friend, a reporter. Her father will stop at nothing to get her back. But nothing is like what he's been told and now he's just hoping to make it out alive.

This was a good suspense novel with plenty of action. There was a touch of romance, but it wasn't over the top or mushy. The author used one of the secondary characters to bring in an element of faith that while at times subtle, got the message of salvation across very well. The two main characters were well written and their characteristics fit well with the plot. I also enjoyed quite a few of the secondary characters. This was a book that I enjoyed, but I'm sure my husband will enjoy reading as well. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

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