Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book Review: True to You by Becky Wade

Book Details
Title: True to You
Author: Becky Wade
Series: A Bradford Sisters Romance #1
2017, Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1936-8
Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction

Book Summary
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 a
nswers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

My Review
Becky Wade is one of my favorite Christian Contemporary authors. I was excited to read this first book in her new series A Bradford Sisters Romance. To be honest, I had a hard time getting into the book at first. I wasn't really connecting with Nora, the main character. She was a little too stuffy for me - although I decided later that I probably could BE Nora's character in a different life. haha

That being said... as the book went on I got more and more invested the stories of these characters. I really enjoyed her love interest John Lawson and all the fun secondary characters. Nora's sisters were likable and I am excited to read the next installments of the series to see where it takes them. 

This book was told from the POV of Nora and John, but it had some fun little snippets in the form of letters, text messages, Facebook messages, etc from some of the other characters, so you got a little taste of what was going on behind the scenes in John and Nora's lives - that maybe they didn't even know about.

This has nothing to do about my liking the book, but I was surprised that the setting for this series is in Washington State and just one county over from where I live! Mason County! Such a tiny, unknown little area! I have been to Shelton! Considering the author is from California and lives in Texas, I found this to be a little unexpected! =)

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

FYI - Upon writing this review I discovered there is a novella that goes with this series that is currently FREE for Kindle owners!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Book Review: An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

Book Details: 
Title: An Uncommon Courtship
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
2017, Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0764218262
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

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

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

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

My Review:
This is the 3rd book in the Hawthorne House series. I read this one as a stand-alone, as I had not read either of the previous books in the series and had absolutely no trouble following the story line. It was fairly obvious that there were books that had come before this one and told other characters stories, but it didn't affect this book at all.

I found the characters really fun and entertaining to read. I enjoyed Lady Adelaide and how she just didn't quite fit the stereotypical London society woman. For all her trying to be what she knew was right, she was forever getting her hair in a mess or loosing a glove. Very sweet. 

Lord Trent was very carefree - or at least he tried to be. In actuality he was a man of strong moral character and I really enjoyed how he struggled with his unconventional marriage, his faith and even the struggles he had surrounding his older brother the Duke.

This was a great story of finding love, faith in God's plan for our lives and family. I would recommend it. I actually went to the local library after finishing this book and checked out the first two books in the series, which I have enjoyed as well. Great writing. 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book Review: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Book Details:
Title: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
Series: Tales from Ivy Hill
Author: Julie Klassen
2016, Bethany House
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Book Summary:
The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn. 

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora's wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them--and her future--in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?

My Review:
Another lovely book by Julie Klassen! This is one of my favorite Christian authors of historical fiction. This is the first book in a new series about a little town in England called Ivy Hill. 

This book focuses on Jane Bell, the reluctant innkeeper of the coaching inn. Her mother-in-law Thora is also a main character in this book. I always love the little details in Klassen's books. I learned a lot about coaching inn's during the course of this book and found it pretty interesting. 

There was also the POV of another secondary character to this book, Rachel Ashford. I'm sure she will be featured in the next book of the series and this was almost a little foretelling on the next book. Although this book could be read as a stand alone, you can definitely tell there will be another book in the series. Jane Bell's story also remained unfinished in this first book and I hope it will be worked out in a later book.

There was some romance - surprised me a little who the romance was mostly focused on though. And there were suitor's galore.

I will be looking forward to the next book in the series.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for my honest review from Bethany House Publishers. No other compensation was received and all thoughts were my own.

Book Review: Home on the Range

Book Details
Title: Home on the Range
Series: Double S Ranch
Author: Ruth Logan Herne
2016, Waterbrook Press
Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction

Book Summary:
Can the brother left behind and a woman without hope work together for the good of two precious children?

Nick Stafford stayed in central Washington, working his family’s large ranch after his brothers left to pursue other passions—but his toughest job is being a single dad. As a child he watched his father fail at marriage and parenting, so Nick was determined to show him up. He’d be a better husband, father, and ranch manager than Sam Stafford ever was. Despite that commitment, three years after Nick’s wife left him, he has a daughter in trouble at school and both of his girls are facing issues that force him to rethink his stubborn plans. 

For Dr. Elsa Andreas, life fell apart when tragedy caused her to abandon her family therapy practice and retreat to the backwoods of Gray’s Glen. Her school principal sister believes Elsa can guide the Stafford girls and that working with kids will draw Elsa out of her protective bubble. 

Summer on the Double S teems with life and adventure. Amid the bounty of God and land, will Nick and Elsa find the courage to build futures based on faith rather than fear?

My Review:
This was the first book I've read by this author and it was very enjoyable. Obviously, I did not read the first book in the series and although it probably would have added to my book experience because I would have known some of the background story, I think this book can easily be a stand alone. I am from Western Washington and have been to some of the places surrounding this story, so that was a fun little part for me. 

Nick is a single dad whose wife left him with two daughters. He works hard at the Double S, the middle son, and the only one still working at the ranch. He puts a lot of stock in being better than his dad was, but is failing miserably. Then his eldest daughter starts having a lot of trouble at school and he has to make some adjustments.

Dr. Andreas was an interesting character. I had a hard time getting into her at first because she was so hermit-like and mysterious. But the farther into the book I got, the better I liked her. Can she learn to trust God and herself again while helping Nick and his girls get back on track?

It is a great story of real-life issues. A story of redemption and forgiveness... and not just forgiveness of others. Sometimes we have to learn to forgive ourselves. I really enjoyed the story. I felt like it was not too predictable and it felt real. I would definitely read another book in the series.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Press for my honest review. No other compensation was given and all thoughts and opionions are my own.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Book Review: Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund

Book Details:
Title: Newton & Polly
Author: Jody Hedlund
2016, Waterbrook Press
ISBN: 9781601427649
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Summary:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found…

Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

My Review:
I am a huge fan of Jody Hedlund's books. I especially love her novels that focus on a historical figure and this book was one of my favorites. We have all heard the hymn Amazing Grace, but how much do we know about the author or what lead up to it being written.

Hedlund takes us back to 18th Century England to follow John Newton and Polly Catlett. Newton is a irresponsible boy who constantly shirks is duty in favor of whatever has taken his fancy at the moment. Polly Catlett is the girl he falls in love with, but her family has reservations about John and how he would support Polly.... not to mention his lack of faith in God.

Polly loves John in return, but also has a dream of going to school and learning more about music and composing. Also, she wants to have her family's blessing. Through a series of events John is impressed by the Royal Navy and taken off to sea. Will Polly wait for John? Will John get past his anger and bitterness? 

I don't know how historically accurate this story was, but I loved it. I greatly enjoyed the love story between John and Polly even though life seemed to be trying to keep them apart. I especially enjoyed John's journey towards finding God when his eyes were finally opened to all that the Lord was doing in his life. Honestly, I want to do some research of my own on the couple to see how much of the story was true. 

Excellent read!

Disclosure: I recieved a free copy of this book from the publisher at BloggingforBooks. No other compensation was given and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Book Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Book Summary:
Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

My Review:

The idea of this book looked really cute and enchanting. Unfortunately after sitting on my shelf for quite awhile I've given up being able to get into the book. It's really about loss and grieving and I'm more of a happy book person. I didn't realize the book was going to be so sad when I got it. I may go back to it eventually, but this wasn't a book for me.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book Review: The Shock of Night by Patrick W Carr

Book Details:
Title: The Shock of Night
Author: Patrick W Carr
2015, Bethany House
IBSN: 978-0764213465
Genre: Fantasy

Book Summary:
When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it's as though he can see their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he's been passed the rarest gift of all: a gift that's not supposed to exist. 

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he's pulled into a much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive.

My Review:
I very rarely do this but... I just couldn't get into this book. I read Patrick Carr's last series The Staff and the Sword and although it was a little more dense than my usual fare, I still enjoyed it. I was interested to read this new series by the author and even got the prequel - which I finished. 

I tried several times to get into this one. I think if you are normally a fan of this type of dark, dense fantasy reading then it is probably a good read. I just couldn't really understand what was all going on and there was a lot of murder going on.

Like the other series, there was a lot of mystical, magical things going on in this fantasy world. People in this word have these strange gifts that they can use for good or bad. There are pure gifts and more diluted gifts that have been split over time. I think someone is stealing gifts in this book, but honestly it was getting beyond me. 

If you were a huge fan of the author's first series or books like it, then I think you would like this one too. It just wasn't for me this time around.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.