Thursday, November 30, 2017

Holiday Secrets

Holiday Secrets
McKade Law #1
Susan Sleeman
Gavin, an FBI agent, is in town to see his ex-girlfriend, Lexie, about a case he's working on. Unfortunately for both of them it involves her father. When things go south, Gavin is forced to work with his bull headed father, a sheriff, if either of them have a hope of solving who is out to kill Lexie.

This author writes a dramatic and suspenseful novel. The plot starts out with shooting, intrigue, and drama. Explosions, murder, and horses all mix together to create a cowboy style romance that is full of tense moments and sweet encounters. This is the first book in a new series by the author and she's definitely set the stage well. I loved the chemestry between the two main characters. I also liked how she portrayed a flawed, but loving family. The message of faith is subtly woven throughout the story, creating a seamless message of hope and forgiveness during difficult times.The secondary characters all had depth and their own personalities, so it's easy to see how this can become a series with everyone playing a part. I can't wait to see who the next main character is going to be.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

You're Gonna Love Me

You're Gonna Love Me
Robin Lee Hatcher
Samantha needs everything to be perfect and safe. She knows her insecurities stem from the skiing accident that killed her father, but she can't seem to let go of her fears. She even breaks up with a boyfriend because he's too much of a daredevil. When he fails to respond to her apology, she writes him off and moves on. Two years later she temporarily moves to Thunder Creek, Idaho to care for her grandmother. She can't believe it when she meets Nick, the old boyfriend. And the story of why he never responded is almost unbelievable. Can Samantha let go of her perfectly crafted life and fears to experience the joy God wants for her?

I really enjoy this author so was excited to grab this newest book. Isn't the cover darling?! This is part of a series, but works well as a stand alone. I haven't been able to read the first book, and didn't feel lost. However, I definitely plan on going back and reading it. I loved the messages of love, family, forgiveness, and trust that the author wove into the story. The romance between the couples was sweet and fit well with the plot. The author wove faith and romance together well and I loved the sweet ending. Looking forward to reading more of her books.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Planes, Canes, and Automobiles

Planes, Canes, and Automobiles
Connecting With Your Aging Parents Through Travel
Valerie M. Grubb
The author began her journey of travel as a young child. But the story really began when her father passed away without taking a trip he'd always talked about. So she decided that this wouldn't happen with her mother. Thus begins her experiences with traveling with her elderly mother. There is advice on everything from packing, staying healthy, easing back into regular life, and how to keep the relationship great while spending so much time together. There are three appendix that include resources, packing lists, and itineraries.

While not a memoir or story, the book is filled with little stories and thoughts from the author that make it fun and entertaining to read. The writing was easy to read and often funny. But despite the humor, the author did a great job of covering everything I could think of and more about traveling with an elderly family member. Since my parents are senors this really hit home for me and was so informative. I would definitely recommend this book if you love to travel and want to spend time with your aging parents.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Captive Brides Collection

The Captive Brides Collection
Susan Page Davis, Jennifer AlLee, Cynthia Hickey, Darlene Franklin, 
Angela Breidenbach, Patty Hall, Lucy Thompson, Carrie Pagels, Gina Wellborn
Nine authors have written historical novellas that all center around the theme of captivity or servant type relationships. Each story is a stand-alone and only ties in with the others by the topic of captivity. Each author brings her own personal style of writing to the book and offers a great opportunity to discover a new author or catch a short story by a favorite author.

I really enjoyed these stories. Some were better than others, but all of them fit well together. I love the chance to pick up the book and read a short story, but not have to be lost if I can't get back to the book quickly. Each story brings faith, clean romance, and flawed, but good relationships to create a sweet, romantic stories that lovers of historical fiction will fall in love with.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cute Christmas

Cute Christmas
Holiday Coloring Book
Jenny Newland and William Vanderdasson
Feeling stressed during the holidays? Grab an adorable coloring book and relax. Baby animals are the theme for this cute Christmas coloring book. Each page is perforated and the coloring page is on one side and a quote, space for writing, and picture title on the other page. Each page has detail, but is simple enough for a child to enjoy.

I liked the cute theme and the layout of the book. The artists did a great job of making the title a reality. I also really enjoyed the quotes on the back of each page. I prefer a little more detail personally, but both of my kids loved the coloring pages and couldn't wait to get started.

I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

72 Inspiring Bible Verses

72 Inspiring Bible Verses
Soren Michael
The author was asked by a friend to provide some encouraging Bible verses during a time of struggles. The friend was appreciative and so the author decided to share these verses with others. There are 10 topics and 72 verses that cover a wide range of needs. 

I love the cover. The book is well put together and I think would make an excellent gift for that friend who needs that extra dose of encouragement. It would also be a great addition to any home library for a quick reference when you need that extra dose of inspiration and love from God.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Christmas Paper Crafting

Christmas Paper Crafting
Holiday Cards, Gift Tags, and More
This is a Christmas crafters dream. Six projects can be accomplished with all of the crafting materials. But the sky is the limit with the pages of cards, scrapbook paper, gift tags, bookmarks, and more. The colors are festive, the graphics are a mix of old and new that blend well together. The book begins with several informational pages and instructions on how to make envelopes or add embellishments. The paper is all card stock thickness. My only complaint would be that every page has another design element on the back side. So it isn't possible to use each page for something different. Overall, this is a wonderful book for the crafter in your family. It is full of tons of possibilities and pages for making Christmas special.

I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I Love a Book

I Love a Book
Joe Rhatigan
Books are amazing and magical things that open the world of imagination and learning. Join the young reader as he learns about history and sharks and cows in trees. Find out why books are so awesome. Fall in love with literature just like the young boy in this spectacular book about reading.

The hardback book has large, colorful, glossy pages that are completely filled with amazing illustrations. I am in love with the artwork. My children were equally enthralled. The words are lyrical and remind me a little of the Dr. Seuss "Oh, the Places You'll Go". This would be an excellent addition to any library, either for home or school. It has a bedtime story slant, making it perfect to read to my daughter right before bed. This is now a family favorite that we will be adding to our own library.

I received a copy of this book from The Quatro Group. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Austen Escape

The Austen Escape
Katherine Reay
Mary likes her life all wrapped up neatly and orderly. She works for an amazing engineering firm, although recently work hasn't been great. She has a good relationship with her dad and loves helping him with his business. But when he puts pressure on her to accept a trip from her estranged child hood friend, she isn't feeling very grateful. Once on the trip, life takes some turns that Mary never expected. She learns to open up and let go, things that haven't been a part of her in the past.

This novel has 3 main characters that play a huge part in the story. But the secondary characters are just as strong and really add to the depth. This was what I'd call a thinking book. It has a great plot that didn't go where I expected it, and some amazing lines. The characters were authentic and deep. But the best part for me was the emotional and mental changes the author took the character Mary through in her journey back in time as she experienced the trip with her friend. While the romance isn't strong and it took me a while to get the chemistry between both couples, it really wasn't a huge part of the story for me, so I wasn't disappointed. I finished the book liking it way more than when I was about half way through. There is something captivating about it that I just can't put into words. If you are a fan of Austen or love contemporary stories with unusual plots than you'll love this book.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

30 Days to Peace

30 Days to Peace
A One-Month Creative Journal
Take a step back and relax with this inspirational journal. Each day begins with an inspiring quote. Quite a few are from scripture, but the editor also added ones from well known people, such as Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. On the next page is a prompt for either something to journal, draw or contemplate. The pages have faint designs, but the main part of the page is left blank. There are no wrong answers or ways to use the book. The designs can be colored or left as is. The prompts are only suggestions. The point of the book is to spend some quiet time gaining peace and relaxation.

I love the concept. The layout is well done and fosters creativity. The book is smaller and hardback so would fit perfectly in a bookbag or purse for use when you have a few spare moments or need a second of calm. The prompts are clear enough to give some ideas, and not so vague that the reader is left with no concrete thoughts. I'm going to use the journal myself, but also think it would make an excellent gift, especially the advent season.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Fair Lord

My Fair Lord#1
Once Upon a Bride
Wilma Counts
Henrietta has turned down quite a few proposals. She knows the men are in love with her wealth and not her. Because of this, she assumes she'll never marry. When her stepsister goads her in to accepting a dare, she heads to the docks to choose a man that she can change into a gentleman to win the bet. If she loses, she'll lose her beloved horse. But she doesn't realize that Jake is not an ordinary dock worker. He's undercover for his country and now must play the part of a low born dock worker when in his natural environment. It just might be the act of a lifetime.

This was such a fun and entertaining story. The characters fit well with each other. There were some slightly suspenseful moments, humor, and sweet romance. There are a couple of "bedroom scenes", but the book is mainly about the interactions of the main female character and her family and the man she's training to be a gentleman. The story ended well, but left an opening for the next book in the series. I thought the author wrote a great romance and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dangerous Illusions

Dangerous Illusions
Code of Honor #1
Irene Hannon
Trish is overwhelmed with the deaths of her father and husband and helping her mother who is now disabled from the accident that killed their spouses. She's starting to forget some of the simplest things. But when a death is attributed to her forgetfulness, she will need the help of Detective Colin Flynn to sort out the strange occurrences that are happening all around her. 

This story was intriguing from the very beginning. The chemistry between the couples was sweet and clean. I enjoyed how the author portrayed friendships and loyalty. The book was full of suspense and twists. There was one that, despite clues, I didn't see coming. I'm going to have to go back and read the book now that I know what to look for. The Christian element wasn't strong in this book. It was more of an implied thought than a theme. The romance also took a back burner to the mystery and suspense. If you've read any of the author's other books than you'll know what I mean when I say this one followed her typical formula. But that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the book. I enjoyed it immensely and read it all in one evening. If you enjoy suspense and mystery with a touch of faith and romance thrown in, than you'll enjoy another book by this great author.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mail-Order Christmas Baby

Mail-Order Christmas Baby
Montana Courtships #1
Sherri Shackleford
Sterling, a rancher, is at the train depot to pick up some sheep that he ordered. But there is another package waiting for him. It's addressed to him and a single young lady in town. But who in the world would deliver a baby by train? Especially considering the baby doesn't belong to him or Miss Heather. And too bad that a crowd of people see the note attached to the darling little baby and assume it's Miss Heather's since they share the same beautiful red hair.

This book was so fun to read. It was set historically in a small won in the west and followed all of the things that great stories do - there was marriage, adorable children, a "bad" guy out to ruin them, faith, and family. The author really brought out the strengths in the two main characters while showing that they were flawed and in need of a savior. The story was tied up nicely at the end, and yet left an opening for the next book in the series. I look forward to reading it and many more books by this author.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Women of the Bible

The Most Important Women of the Bible
Arron and Elaina Sharp
The Bible is full of stories about women who changed the lives around them in profound ways. The authors has chosen 31 women that have amazing stories filled with love and faith. Each chapter begins with a quote that will tie in with the subject. The authors share the scriptures that they pulled the story from. Then they give a brief biography about the lady. The chapter ends with two sections - By the Numbers and Things We Wondered. The numbers section shares information such as how many children the leading lady had, how many miles to cities mentioned, how old she was, or other pertinent information. The last section is unanswered questions that reading about this lady brought to the author's minds.

I really enjoyed this book. It was well laid out, full of information, and well written. The writing flowed well and wasn't bogged down with the tiny details, since these were shared at the end. I loved the concept of pulling important women from the Bible and showcasing their role in history. This book would work well for a women's small group as well as for personal devotions.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Too Far Down

Too Far Down
The Cimarron Legacy #3
Mary Connealy
Cole returned to his father's ranch because of the stipulations in his will. But he's more at home running a business, so he focuses on the gold mine. But when an explosion that is obviously planned ends in murder, Cole accepts the help of Melanie, a woman from a neighboring ranch.  He'd thought the troubles at the ranch were all in the past, but clearly they haven't weeded out the true culprit or they wouldn't be fighting to save their ranch.

I really enjoy this author. She writes descriptive plots that include humor, faith, romance, and mystery. I enjoyed the conclusion to this series, but was also slightly sad to come to the end.The mystery at the mine was my favorite of the three stories. I also loved the relationship between the two main characters. And I won't spoil the plot, but there is a super sweet part with a little boy that I just love. I am kinda hoping the author writes a story about his mother next. Overall, I really enjoyed the conclusion to the series and look forward to the next book she writes.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Lord Hunter's Cinderella Heiress

Lord Hunter's Cinderella Heiress
Lara Temple
Helen is wonderful with horses and can hold her own with anyone in that area. But place her in front of her shrewish aunt and bullying father and she crumples. But finally one day she snaps and stands up to her aunt's hatefulness. The next day she rushes back to school, unaware that the man she met the previous day, when showing him a horse, will be the person to save her from her awful family.

This was a unique twist on the whole Cinderella plot; no sisters or glass slipper involved. The characters were well defined and fit well with the story. The author did a great job of capturing the time period and I felt the chemistry between the main couple was romantic. This is the first book in the series and I look forward to reading the next ones.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, November 3, 2017

First Line Friday

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books
Welcome to First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books.

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am posting a line from  -
Make Room For What You Love by Melissa Michaels

"Your home should be your sanctuary, your safe haven in this crazy world."

Let me know what you are reading this week. And don't forget to post the first line in a book.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Total Christmas Makeover

Total Christmas Makeover
Melissa Spoelstra
The Christmas season can leave you feeling rushed and frazzled. While a lot of the things we fill our season with are important, we can easily become distracted and lose the focus of why we celebrate the season. The author has written a devotional that will redirect the reader in the direction of celebrating Christ during the holiday season. The book is divided up into three sections - Ritual, Relationships, and Rest. Each devotional consists of the author's thoughts on the topic of the day. At the end are question for reflection and an idea on how to put the thoughts into a practical application.

Each day is short enough to allow for some quick reading. But the questions and application part make for a meaningful, thought provoking devotional. I really enjoyed the practical application. This devotional would make an excellent gift for the holiday season. But I think everyone should get their own copy.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Descriptions and Perscriptions

Descriptions and Perscriptions
Michael R. Emlet
As Christians we often view mental illness incorrectly and either dismiss medicine completely, or forget the faith that plays such an integral part in our lives. Some people feel that taking medications for a mental illness is of the devil, while others take or advise taking the medicine blindly without any regard as to the side effects, reasons for needing the drugs, etc. The author has taken a Biblical approach to show both the benefits and downsides of both approaches. His desire in writing the book was to give Christians a look at both perspectives with a hope that the reader can see the middle line and choose something that will fit them and their Christian lifestyle.

As a person suffering from a mental illness myself, I was intrigued with how the author would conclude his perspective. I've had Christians on both sides of this "counsel" me and I was looking forward to seeing his conclusions. 
The book is very thin (98 pages), so will make for a quick read. I was surprised at how technical the writing was. If you aren't very medical, it will be very easy to get bogged down in the first few chapters. The author uses several stories to help tell what he is talking about so this does lighten up the depth a little. He concluded with the idea that there isn't a right or wrong, but rather a mixture of the two with regards to every single patient being different and therefore needing different things. The concept is great, but I finished with the feeling that I wasn't really helped in any way. And that the author's real feelings on the matter were that the ultimate goal was to not have to take any medication if at all possible. So while the theory was probably correct, this book didn't really help me at all. I think this book would be better suited for a person who works with mental illness and not a patient in search of the correct balance.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Christmas at Carnton

Christmas at Carnton
Carnton #.5
Tamera Alexander
Aletta is war widow. She's trying to hold onto her home and raise her six-year old son. So when life forces her to take another job, she jumps at the chance to make some extra money. But she'll need the help of an injured Captain. He's staying at the Carnton Estate at the request of his boss while he waits on healing so he can return to the war. 

 This is the prequal to a series that will be coming in the future. This book wold work well as a stand-alone, since it doesn't leave the reader hanging. I wasn't even able to tell who the next book would feature. The characters were authentic and fit well together. My favorite was actually a minor character, a cook on the estate. The story was shorter, but sweet and fits perfectly with the Christmas season. I've read books by this author before and this book falls into her normal category of well written, thought provoking, faith themed, and had elements of romance. I enjoyed reading this start to the series and look forward to seeing what comes next.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. All thoughts expressed are my own.