Monday, August 07, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #267

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished last week:
Really enjoyed this one!

What I am currently reading:
Just about to start this! Can't wait!

What I hope to read this week:

Not sure if I'll get to any thing else this week, busyness and the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat this weekend!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

About the Book
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

My Thoughts
I think this may be my favorite of this series! I didn't feel like we got to know Haley very well in the previous books but I was intrigued by her nonetheless. And as she came alive in this book I began to really love her character. At first she appears to be just a tough fighter but she's a bit of a softy when it comes to those she loves and people in need. She is always ready and willing to do anything and everything that needs done. Steven was a great character too, I loved how he jumped in to help without question and the way he seemed to be able to sense what people needed and provided it. Haley and Steven really went well together and even though their relationship was a bit rushed (kind of a trademark with this author) I still liked them as a couple.
The plot of this book was definitely giving me an Anastasia feel and it was kind of a cool twist to the story! I kept thinking I knew who was after Haley but I was totally wrong and the ending was a bit of a shock! Definitely another fast-paced read that was action from beginning to end!

Meet the Author
Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won numerous awards such as the prestigious Carol Award, the Selah, the Daphne, the IRCC award and more. Lynette is married, has two children, and lives in Greenville, SC.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

True to You by Becky Wade

About the Book
After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.
Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.
The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

My Thoughts
I'm going to start by saying that when all was said and done, I LOVED this book...but we got off to a shaky start. I honestly have never experienced the feelings (or maybe lack there of?) that I had for the first chunk of this book. I couldn't put my finger on my thoughts about the story, it was so weird, I wasn't loving it, I wasn't hating it, and I wasn't meh about it. There was a strange disconnect yet I could barely stand to put it down. About 150 pages in it finally clicked, this book was written in a completely unique yet classic way. It was kind of how I would imagine Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters would write if this was the era they lived in. It had that elegant, almost other-worldly feel but was still very much a contemporary, a perfect marriage of the two styles. I think my brain was trying to fit it in the normal contemporary box when it was crafted to be in a box all of it's own and that's why I struggled at the beginning. But as soon as my brain caught up to this author's brilliance I was completely entranced and I kind of want to go reread the beginning with the right mindset. And now that I've gotten that very long explanation of the craziness of my brain lets dive into all the amazing things that made up this book!
Nora and John were absolutely wonderful characters! I could relate in many ways to Nora, her love of books and history, her quiet nature that came alive in the right settings, and many other ways too. I loved her desire to help people and her love and care for everyone around her. I also liked the way she picked up on things about people and was good at knowing what they needed in the moment.
John was your typical straight-laced soldier but he also had a vulnerable side that he wasn't afraid to show, at least with Nora, that you don't often get from the tough soldier types. I loved it though, you could tangibly feel everything he was feeling.
On paper these two may have not made sense as a couple but they complimented each other in all the right ways, like two puzzle pieces fitting together into a beautiful picture.
All the other characters were great too, Willow and Britt (can't wait for their books), the girls' not-so-cheerful grandma, and the amusing Nikki. I also enjoyed the various texts, emails, conversations, and letters included at the end of each chapter, a nice tie in to the epistolary prequel novella.
I could go on about this book but this review is already starting to resemble a novel so I will end by saying that this book was absolutely amazing, even with my brain's weirdness at the start, and I loved it! There are some unexpected twists I can guarantee you won't see coming!

Meet the Author
Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, took time off to raise her children, then felt God nudging her to pursue contemporary Christian fiction. Becky is the Carol Award-, INSPY Award-, and International Reader's Choice Award-winning author of the Porter Family Novels. Learn more at www.beckywade.com

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman

About the Book
She’s bent on fun.
He’s bent on faith.
Till true love bridges the gap.
Cat O’Bryen is the prodigal daughter unhappy with God. First, the father with whom she reconciled dies of cancer and now her twin sister and best friend marries, leaving Cat at home with a newlywed mother, her new husband, and a little brother. But when Cat moves in with a roommate of questionable morals, her family is worried, certain she’s on a path that could damage her faith forever.
Reluctant to get involved with a woman like the one who destroyed his life, ex-Navy SEAL Pastor Chase Griffin steers clear of the attraction he feels for Cat O’Bryen. Until her family begs him to take her under his wing, hoping he can draw her back into the fold. But when the draw she has on him proves too strong to resist, he must rely on the strength of God to offer a friendship as steady and strong as the God whose love is wooing her home.

My Thoughts
I have so many emotions and feelings going through me right now after finishing this book that I don't know where to begin or even if I can put them into words!
By now most people know of my love for anything Julie Lessman writes (I even loved her writing how-to book and I'm not even remotely a writer) so it's pretty much a given that I will be deliriously happy and gushing non-stop when I read one of her novels. So brace yourself!
I think this may be my favorite of this series! Cat and Chase have been coming since book one and I just knew their relationship was going to make an epic story. Of course I wasn't wrong about that! I literally hated putting this book down and was always trying to squeeze in reading time even if I could only read a few pages. I was completely and totally lost in the story, feeling every emotion as if it were my own, and often breathless as I turned page after page to find out more.
And now I have to talk about Chase Griffin because I just can't hold back anymore, HE WAS AMAZING! I greatly admired his fierce, strong, and close relationship with God and the way that every aspect in his life was funneled through that without him ever seeming like a holier than thou know it all. He was an everyday guy who was just completely on fire for God. And as if that wasn't attractive enough (along with his extremely good looks) he was also humble and selfless, always taking care of everyone he met. And the way he was with Cat was enough to melt anyone into a puddle. Always being there for her when she needed it, encouraging her but calling her out when necessary, and constantly showing her God's love with his actions as well as his words. He stepped up time and again even when it was painful for him. Gah! Can you tell I liked this guy a lot?!
As for Cat, my heart broke for her. I can't imagine going through life feeling like you weren't good enough in the eyes of the people you loved, constantly feeling compared and found lacking. And then to feel abandoned over and over, it was no surprise that she turned from God and even her family to a degree. Honestly I want to cry over the pain she must have felt. She had so many things to work through and I loved seeing Chase make his way through her walls to help her find healing in the arms of God.
Chase and Cat were made for each other, as anyone with eyes could see, but they had a hard road to walk before they could be together and while some steps were painful every part of it had its purpose to weave together their beautiful relationship.
I of course loved catching up with all the couples from the other books, Tess and Ben, Jack and Lacey, Shannon and Sam, and watching them all interact as a family.
I think one of my favorite things about this book was the way God's love was woven into every page. And this book drew me closer to God in a way that no work of fiction has before. It hit something inside me and I several times stopped reading because I just felt a burning desire to spend time with God in those moments. It was truly amazing.
Well I could go on for days but I think you get the idea that I adored every second of this book and if you haven't read a Julie Lessman novel yet then you need to get yourself one and dive in! Then come talk to me about it because there are few things I like more than discussing my favorite books!

Meet the Author
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” not only underscores her intense passion for God and romance, but her staunch advocacy for sexual purity before marriage as well. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys reading what she writes -- close-knit Irish family sagas as well as both historical and contemporary religious and inspirational romance for the sweet and Christian markets.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series with Revell Publishing, Julie was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 17 Romance Writers of America and other awards. She has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets.
You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her newsletter. Check out Julie’s group blog, The Seekers, Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine.

I received an ebook copy of this book free from the author in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, July 31, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #266

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished in the last two months:
Yeah it's been quite awhile since I've gotten one of these posts up! This summer has been crazy and busy and sadly blogging has fallen to the wayside. Thankfully I still have found time to read and I've read a lot of good ones! His Steadfast Love takes the cake with A Matter of Trust close behind! It's been a good summer!

What I am currently reading:
Haven't officially started this since but I'm looking forward to it!

What I hope to read this week:
CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard

About the Book
FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha's Vineyard with her family, ready for a little bit of R&R and a whole lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But crime doesn't take a vacation, and she's soon entangled in an investigation of a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring.
When her investigation propels her into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them plenty of romantic complications--and even a secret or two?

Award-winning author Sandra Orchard keeps readers guessing with this fast-paced mystery laced with romance.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed book one of this series and while book two was still an entertaining read it fell a little flat for me. I was still interested in seeing how the story ended so I picked up the third (and final?) book. Sadly this one erred a little more on the book two end of things as to my opinion on it. I can't say there was really anything wrong with either book, they just weren't entirely my cup of tea, a little too Murder She Wrote-ish, rather than suspense and action.
Serena's character was fun and feisty and she refused to leave any stone unturned until she solved the mystery. And I again liked both of the love interests, Tanner and Nate, though my favorite of the two kept switching throughout the series. I won't spoil who she picks (but she does finally choose!) but it felt like it could go either way up until the very last second.
There were about a million twists and turns to keep you guessing as to who did what and there were a lot of intersecting bits and pieces that were a little hard to keep track of at times, but it all got worked out and tied up. There were a couple reveals and twists at the very end that seemed a bit abrupt and a smidge far-fetched, but it didn't ruin the story, and I'm not upset that I kept reading to figure out what happened.
Overall this was not a bad read and if you are a fan of Murder She Wrote, or amateur sleuth type stories this series may be just up your alley!

Meet the Author
Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of several books, including A Fool and His Monet, Another Day, Another Dali, and the Port Aster Secrets series. The winner of six Canadian Christian Writing Awards and a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Sandra has also received a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, a National Readers' Choice Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Learn more at www.sandraorchard.com.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

About the Book
Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can't seem to find his footing--or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.
Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret--one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.
When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn't so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.
But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder--and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella's secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other--even when disaster happens again?

My Thoughts
It's a no-brainer that I loved this book as Susan May Warren has yet to write a single thing I haven't loved (and I've read them all). The little bits of Gage we saw in the previous books definitely piqued my interest and I was quite ready to get his whole story. I can't imagine being on top of the world like he was and then have to watch it crumble around you knowing you couldn't do anything to stop it. And to make things worse it happened because he was trying to do the right thing. I admired how he didn't let it completely destroy him and still found a way to use his abilities to help people. He was the kind of guy who did whatever was necessary to keep those around him safe even if they didn't always deserve it. I loved how it pointed to the way that Jesus did what was necessary to save us when we did nothing to deserve it.
I liked Ella's character and while I didn't really agree with the choices she had made in the past, I could understand the reasons she did what she did. She was placed in a very difficult position and I appreciated how she tried to make up for her part of it, even if it might have been too little too late.
Gage and Ella had a lot of stuff to work through but you could just tell they were exactly what each other needed and I loved watching their love story.
The action in this book was pretty much non-stop! I love how Susan May Warren writes in such a way that you feel like your right there in each heart-stopping moment with the characters. I could barely put this book down and had it finished the day after I started it, staying up late into the night to see how it ended.
In addition to Gage and Ella's story we got a bits of the ongoing Ian and Sierra, and Jess and Pete stories as well as the new development of Ty and Ella's friend Brette! I can't wait to see how all of these will play out!

Meet the Author
Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than one million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies and Rescue Me. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers' Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Go Big or Go Home by Scotty McCreery

About the Book
It was just a simple singing competition that would be fun to audition for. Who knew what kind of doors it might open for a sixteen-year-old from Garner, North Carolina.
Go Big or Go Home is the story of a kid with country songs in his soul. The special thing with Scotty McCreery, however, is that he has this God-given ability to sing those tunes the exact way they should be sung. Daring to enter the limelight at such a young age, Scotty finds himself embraced by the nation, and even overseas, as he competes on "American Idol". This is his journey from his North Carolina roots to winning America’s most popular singing competition and launching a musical career he had always dreamt about.
Go Big or Go Home narrates Scotty's journey from a kid imitating Elvis on the school bus to 30 million across America tuning in to see him win Season 10 of "American Idol”. Now as he completes his ground-breaking fourth album, Scotty shares a glimpse of where he came from and the impact his faith, family and friends have had on a humbled guy who keeps asking “why me?”

My Thoughts
I've been a fan of Scotty's music from the moment I first heard him sing. We didn't have cable so I didn't get to watch him on American Idol but when I discovered his debut album I listened to it on repeat and did the same when his second one released. From all the things I'd seen he appeared to be a genuinely nice person so I thought it'd be cool to see his journey through his eyes. And I was right. I was actually way more caught up in this book than I expected and I found myself reading chapter after chapter (while his music played in the background of course). It was fun to look up the different moments he talked about on YouTube and view them kinda seeing both sides of the story. It was so cool to get to know more about the guy behind the songs and he really seems like such a honest, humble, hard-working person. It's awesome to see someone using their God-given talent and giving the glory to Him for it! I definitely recommend this book for all the Scotty McCreery fans out there!

Meet the Authors
Scotty McCreery burst onto the national music scene in 2011 at age 17, quickly establishing himself
as one of country music’s hottest new stars. By age 21, the talented singer/songwriter has sold nearly 2.5 million albums and received both Platinum and Gold album certifications, debuted three consecutive albums at No. 1 on a Billboard chart, achieved three Platinum-certified singles and two Top Ten hits, toured with Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, and Rascal Flatts, headlined his own tours, earned industry and fan accolades, amassed more than three million followers on Facebook and Twitter, received more than 150 million YouTube views, and he’s just getting started!


Travis Thrasher is a bestselling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books. He has written inspirational stories in a variety of genres, from love stories to supernatural thrillers, and collaborated with filmmakers, musicians, celebrities, and pastors on a variety of projects, including memoirs and novelizations. Before becoming a full-time author, Travis worked with New York Times bestselling authors for many years as the author relations manager at Tyndale House Publishers. Travis and his wife, Sharon, live in a suburb of Chicago and have three daughters.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson

About the Book
High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole's close childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.
With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

My Thoughts
This book took me quite awhile to get through, because honestly I just wasn't drawn into the story at all. I will start by saying that I absolutely loved the location. Savannah sounds so gorgeous and it has now made its way onto my list of places I want to visit. But besides the beautiful city it was set in, this book didn't have a lot going for it, sadly. Nicole was a decent character but she didn't have much of a backbone and was a little too nice which made her a bit of a push-over. Also she had little to no character development over the course of the book; she was basically the same from start to finish. And then there were the men. I felt like we barely got to know either of them. At the start, from what little we saw of them, neither was emerging as a clear favorite. But then suddenly Alex turned whiny and manipulative so obviously you wanted her to choose Ryan even though we never really got to know him well enough to see exactly the kind of guy he was. Bernie, Alex's daughter, was a nice enough girl, but I couldn't help feeling that she wasn't entirely necessary to the story and the time given to her could have been better spent developing the guys' characters.
Nicole spent her days working or playing tourist or being with Ryan, Alex, or Bernie. There wasn't a lot of substance to this but if you're looking for a mindless summer read this may be just up your alley!

Meet the Author
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

About the Book
Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.
David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.

They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?

My Thoughts 
Melissa never fails to deliver a wonderful historical tale that sweeps me away to another time and place. I enjoyed Evelyn's character in the previous book and I was excited to get to know her more. I loved how selflessly she cared for everyone around her, and as someone who has a passion for children I especially loved having a character who shares that calling. She was always putting other's needs above her own and was willing to do whatever asked of her. As for David, he was a hero I couldn't help rooting for. Despite being ridiculously wealthy he never once acted like he was even one iota better than even those society deemed unworthy. He was always trying to find ways to help, even going above and beyond what was asked of him. Honestly David and Evelyn were an amazing couple, she had great ideas and he had the ability and connections to help make her dreams a reality. They complemented each other so well. We were kept guessing until practically the very end what Evelyn's secret was and to be honest I didn't figure it out.
It was great to return to Teaville and catch up with the characters, especially Nicholas and Lydia, and there wasn't a part of this book I didn't love! Lovers of historical fiction should definitely check this series out!

Meet the Author
Much to her introverted self's delight, Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and historical romance novelist. She doesn't have to leave her house to be a housekeeper either, but she's doubtful she meets the minimum qualifications to claim to be one in her official bio. Her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.