Books reviewed on this site have been provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. All reviews are my honest opinions.

February 27, 2015

Deadly Echoes {Nancy Mehl}

deadly echoes
After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller's life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school.

Sarah's joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn't know she had is too soon interrupted with Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed.

As she learns more about Hannah's death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents' murder. Sarah enlists Paul's help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul's concern encourages Sarah's growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide - event if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.


My Thoughts:
I'm not typically a fan of suspense, but this book was amazing. If it had been a movie, I would have watched it with my hands over my eyes.

The book gets right to the point in the beginning as we relive the murder of Sarah's parents. Then we learn quickly of Hannah's death. Sarah goes to Kansas City to retrieve her niece, and that is where the book gets impossible to put down.

Almost immediately Sarah sees the similarities in the murders of her sister and her parents. She tries to push the police to see it, but can't seem to get anyone to listen to her. Once she returns to her home in Sanctuary, Paul appears to be the only one that is willing to take her seriously.

Although Sarah is warned by many people in her life to leave the investigation alone, she simply will not rest until the truth behind her family's death is revealed. This searching puts Sarah and her niece right in the line of danger as this crazy story unfolds.

With each chapter, something else happens that had my heart racing. I stayed up way too late, two nights in a row because I just had to see how this story was going to end. The author takes up on twists and turns right down to the final pages before all is revealed.

I loved this book! This is the second book in a series, but can definitely be read as a stand-alone. However, I'm going to get book one just so I can read more from this author.


Nancy Mehl is the author of seventeen books including the Road to Kingdom series and the Finding Sanctuary series. She has a background in social work and writes from her hoe in Missouri where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson.




February 24, 2015

The Trouble with Patience {Maggie Brendan}

the trouble with patience
Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with restoring a dilapidated boardinghouse in order to support herself.

Despite Patience's desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local marshal with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: She needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse. He needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But as she gets to know this "hanging lawman" Patience finds there is far more to him than meets the eye - and it could destroy their tenuous relationship forever.






My Thoughts:
I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it either. Unfortunately for me, this was just a book.

Patience is 25 years old (old by old west standards) and single as she works to try to run the boardinghouse left to her by her grandmother. She doesn't think too much of herself and is pretty sure that she will be single forever. She is lonely, but has learned to accept her fate in life.

Patience makes a couple friends in her new town and seems to be fitting in very nicely. She even hires help at the boardinghouse and becomes a best friend to Emily.

Jedediah is the town marshal and is also older and single. He tends to run in the same circle of friends as Patience, so it is inevitable that the two of them would end up together. I don't feel like the author did anything to try to mask the fact that these two were going to eventually be a couple.

However, their road to being together is full of bumps and obstacles and you almost wonder if the relationship will ever actually happen.

This was a good story, but it just didn't have any exciting or unexpected aspects for me. It all seemed fairly predictable and common.


Maggie Brendan is the bestselling author of the Heart of the West and The Blue Willow Brides series. Winner of the 2014 Book Buyers Best Award for inspirational fiction and the 2013 Laurel Wreath Award, she was a finalist for the 2013 Published Maggie Award of Excellence and the 2013 Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Award. To learn more, visit her at MaggieBrendan.com








February 16, 2015

Home Is Where My People Are {Sophie Hudson}

Home Is Where My People Are {Sophie Hudson}
All roads lead to home. It's easy to go through life believing that we can satisfy our longing for home with a three-bedroom, two-bath slice of the American dream that we mortgage at 4 percent and pay for over the course of thirty years. But ultimately, in our deepest places, we're really looking to belong and to be known. And what we sometimes miss in our search for the perfect spot to set up camp is that wherever we are on the long and winding road of life, God is at work in the journey, teaching us, shaping us, and refining us--sometimes through the most unlikely people and circumstances. 

In "Home Is Where My People Are," Sophie Hudson takes readers on a delightfully quirky journey through the South, introducing them to an unforgettable cast of characters, places, and experiences. Along the way, she reflects on how God has used each of the stops along the road to impart timeless spiritual wisdom and truth. Nobody embodies the South like Sophie Hudson, and this nostalgic celebration of home is sure to make even those north of the Mason-Dixon line long to settle in on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea and reflect on all of the people in our lives who--related or not--have come to represent home. Because at the end of the day, it's not the address on the front door or even the name on the mailbox that says home, but the people who live and laugh and love there, wherever "there" might happen to be.

My Thoughts:
I have loved Sophie Hudson since the day I discovered her blog. Her writing style is so easy to read and relate to, you are sure that you are right there in the middle of her story. Her books are the same way.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sophie at an Arkansas Women Bloggers conference a few years ago. It was just after I had read her first book and I couldn't wait to talk with her. Let me tell you, she writes as real as she is. What you read in her books is BooMama in real life!

In Home is Where My People Are she takes us on two journeys. We get to travel the journey that took her from her childhood home to the place she now calls home with her husband and son. She takes us along each stop. She introduces us to friends, family, and many adventures. She makes us feel like we are one of her girls and hanging out in the sorority house on a Friday night. She even quotes DJ Kool, and takes me back to high school and the memories of some amazing friends of my own.

She also takes us on her spiritual journey in a completely raw and honest way. I can completely relate to spending those early-20s roaming around, uninterested in what God had planned, and living for me and only me. Sophie takes us on that journey in a way that has us thinking about the past and the mistakes that were made - and so grateful for the place we have ended up today.

I laughed through most of this book, and cried through others. Life is filled with joy and with tears, and I always appreciate Sophie's willingness to take us through all the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you are looking for a read about a real journey through the South, grab this book today.


Home Is Where My People Are {Sophie Hudson}
Sophie Hudson loves to laugh more than just about anything. She began writing her blog, BooMama.net, in November 2005, and much to her surprise, she's stuck with it. Sophie hopes that through her stories, women find encouragement and hope in the everyday, joy-filled moments of life. In addition to her blog, Sophie is a contributor to the Pioneer Woman's blog and serves as co-emcee for LifeWay's dotMOM event. A graduate of Mississippi State University, Sophie loves cheering like crazy at college football games and watching entire seasons of TV shows in record time. Sophie lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Alabama.





February 12, 2015

The Promise {Beth Wiseman}

the promise by beth wiseman
Mallory Hammond is determined that no one will stand in the way of her goal - to save a life. She had that chance years ago, and she failed to take it, leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life. Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world who offers her the chance to find that purpose. But she will have to leave everyone she loves behind in order to take it.

Tate Webber has loved Mallory for years. He understands that Mallory will never be happy with him until her deepest heart's desire is satisfied. When Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfill her dreams, Tate begs her not to go but tries to give her the space she needs. Mallory embarks on her dangerous journey only to discover how swiftly and easily promises can be broken. And Mallory can only pray that she will make it out alive.

Inspired by actual events, The Promise is a riveting love story that asks the question: how far will we go for love?



My Thoughts:
Wow. Just Wow.

I have to admit, my feelings about this book changed a couple times as I was reading it. I went from wanting to put it down without finishing it, to mildly interested in the plot, to completed riveted and unable to turn the pages quickly enough.

The beginning of this story has four main characters: two devout Muslims, a devout Catholic, and a girl who calls herself a Christian simply because she grew up with parents who said they were Christian. As this story kicked off and we started getting into the characters, I honestly though I had someone gotten myself into a Muslim fiction book rather than a Christian fiction one. There was so much background and information about the Muslim faith. I almost felt like the author was trying to convert me.

But things started to happen and I realized that a lot of that information about different faiths was to prepare us for the culture of the story once Mallory took her journey. It is hard to talk a lot about Mallory's journey without completely giving away the entire story line. But once Mallory arrived at her destination - with good faith and good intentions to help a child - it was obvious that she had gotten herself into a heap of trouble, and I wondered if this story would even have a good ending.

I'm not going to tell you if the ending was good or bad. I am going to tell you that Mallory was the one who just casually called herself a Christian. But once she was placed in circumstances that had her fighting to survive, she realized that God comes through for those who simply put their faith in him and ask.

Mallory learned to pray very quickly, and she quickly realized that God was answering prayers in some of the most unusual ways. While her initial reason for her journey was completely lost, God put another life in front of Mallory for her to save. Several events in the last chapters of this story proved to Mallory that God is real, and he really loves us and wants us to lean on him.

This book is worth the read. Yes it starts slow, but I insist that you pick it up, make yourself stick with it through the slow stuff, and then you will love it!


Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series.  Her books have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was a recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013, three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, INSPY Award winner, and recipient of the coveted HOLT Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan seriesSeek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2015, and she has completed twelve novels and seven novellas to date.
  

Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying the country life in Texas with two dogs, two cats, four goats, two potbellied pigs, and a dozen chickens. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, paint, and enjoy time with friends and family. You can find Beth at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook where she interacts with readers.

February 6, 2015

Serving Up A Sweetheart {Cheryl Wyatt}

serving up a sweetheart from cheryl wyatt
They’ve helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

While a couple plans their February wedding, two caterers---one the owner of a fancy French restaurant, the other the proprietor of a down-home BBQ joint across the street---find themselves in a competition that will change their lives. Tension is high as these two caterers pull out all the stops to earn this couple’s business, but come Valentine’s Day, romance will be cooking for more than one twosome!

My Thoughts:
I love kicking off February with such sweet Valentine's love stories. In this third book in the Year of Weddings 2 series, Cheryl Wyatt brings us a great love story.

Both Meadow and Colin have been through some rough stuff in their lives - one more publicly than the other. These backgrounds force them both to be very skeptical of each others' motives. But then they give their pasts to God and truly let Him heal their spirits and give them the forgiveness towards each other. Once they truly forgive themselves and each other, their relationship takes an amazing turn.

This love story is a quick read made quicker by the ease and wonderful story line. A must read for anyone looking for a sweet Valentine's love story.

Cheryl Wyatt writes romance with virtue. She's earned RT Top Picks, spots #1 and #4 on her debut publisher's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books list, Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence final, and other awards. Cheryl loves readers!



February 3, 2015

Paper Hearts {Courtney Walsh}

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

paper hearts by courtney walsh
Abigail Pressman never would have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could challenge her doubts about romance. A business owner in a quaint tourist town, she dreams of expanding. But lately, she's more focused on resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park's tradition of stamping mail with the city's romantic postmark.

When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the hearts, a distraction that couldn't come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail's new landlord, and he's threatening to end her lease.

As she fights a growing attraction to this man intent on crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts arrives, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail's doubts, or could it rescue her dreams... and her heart?

My Thoughts:
In short, I want to move to Love's Park and spend my days writing on paper hearts.

From the very first line of this book, I was hooked. Abigail runs the local bookstore, The Book Nook, (seriously, can I just hang out there all day?). She is content with being single, but her mom is determined to go to any extreme to find her daughter a man.

Dr. Jacob Willoughby has moved to town to start over following the sketchy death of his wife. He is determined to make a new life for his new daughter, and seems to not have a care who tries to get in his way.

The first moment Abigail and Jacob met, I just knew they were going to wind up together. But oh, the obstacles they had to hop over to finally get there. From Jacob's diva business manager, to accidents, to a full out media war - this couple really had things working against them.

But they both found their way back to God. Isn't it amazing how things just seems to fall into place when you finally just chill and let God do his thing?

The ending of this story was a big surprise, but it was so perfectly sweet. I love a good, happy ending and I got my love with this book.

Courtney Walsh is an author, artist, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children. Visit her online at courtneywalshwrites.com