Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Bride in Store By: Melissa Jagears

What is the purpose of prayer? Can you follow your dream and follow what God wants you to do at the same time? God wants you as you are. All your hopes and dreams reside in Him. I loved this book by Melissa Jagears. These characters were so focused on fulfilling their dream they couldn’t see any other way to get what they wanted, but yet they weren’t happy.

Eliza Cantrell is a mail order bride. When she comes to town to find her intended, Axel Langston, she finds his business partner Will running the store. Axel is gone. She jumps in and helps make improvements to the store as she has had experience back East. Once Axel returns, how can she decide which man she really should marry, the one who sent for her or the one who takes her breath away?

Axel Langston finally returns to town finding his mail order bride has already arrived. He is prepared to marry her and have her run his store, something she has always wanted, her own store. What happens when she finds out about his past? Will she still marry him?

William Stanton is in love with a woman he can’t have because she is promised to another, not able to run the store he is managing due to being too kind and being taken advantage of, blindsided by a crook, and failing at medicine because he wouldn’t charge for his services and didn’t have enough education, afraid God would require more than he was willing to surrender. When you feel like you’ve lost it all, that’s when you give it all to God. William has a heart for practicing medicine but he doesn’t have the education to be a doctor. He tries, but doesn’t have faith in his abilities. Can Eliza convince him to go to school to be the doctor God has called him to be?

Which man will Eliza choose? Can she have her dream of owning a store and true love? This is a wonderful story of true love and believing God has your best in mind when things happen. Once I started reading this story, I couldn’t put it down. The writing, the characters, pull you in and keep you turning pages. Will read more by this author and hope there are more stories about these characters to see what happens after the end.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crooked Lines By: Holly Michael

This is a very interesting story. While Rebecca Meyer is going through life and what’s happening to her, on the other side of the world, in India, Sagai Raj is going through the procedures to become a priest. Both are following different paths, but they both end up asking the same question: Where do I go from here? By the end of the story they end up at the same place-relying on God for their futures.

Rebecca Meyer has had a difficult life and just wanted to get away. She goes farther than she ever dreamed, but life’s realities draw her back home, the same place she tried getting away from. After growing up, you see things in a different light. In her case, it gives her relief, a peace. I enjoyed reading her story so much. Her growing up, getting married, moving away from home will keep you turning the pages seeing where her life is going. She has always had one wish: to go to India. Will she get there? How can that come about after the way her life turned out? You’ll have to read to find out, but this is a great coming of age story and how God can orchestrate things from the beginning, even when you don’t know or think He even cares.

Sagai Raj has always dreamed of being a priest. It is a long, tiresome journey that takes many years of being in obedience to superiors and living a life being a servant to others. Sagai was born for this life. He wants to teach, to lead others to Jesus, to counsel, but how can he get there if the ones over him don’t see his potential and try to thwart him along the way? Reading his story brought all his struggles to life; all the accomplishments, the breaks sent to serve elsewhere that his superiors probably meant for punishment but he turned to doing good, made me see his heart for God and hoping he would finally become a priest. Can he hang on? Can he become a priest when his superiors say he isn’t qualified?

What happens when you let God have control to do His will? Amazing things, as Sagai and Rebecca will find out. As their lives become intertwined through a mutual acquaintance, the end of the story becomes the beginning. Can’t wait to read more! One part that stayed with me: Peace is not a place. It’s in your heart. Peace is when you are living the life God intended you to live.

These characters are brought to life and their struggles are so real you feel like you are there with them. I laughed, cried, and wished for more once the book ended. Enjoy!

I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Around the Bend Sandy Cove Series Book 4 By: Rosemary Hines

I loved this book by Rosemary Hines! You do not need to read the other books in the series to keep up with what is going on. This book can be read as a stand alone, or you can read the other books to get the earlier stories of the characters. If you have read the other books, you are not bogged down with details that you already know. The cover for the book is a great choice!

Michelle Baron’s adopted son Caleb is reunited with his birth mother. How will that affect his relationship with the woman who has been raising him for six years? Grandpa Phil receives some bad news. How will he deal with it? Can the rest of the family see God at work in his life? Michelle’s mom Joan moves back to Sandy Cove after her husband dies. Can she move forward in her life as it is now?

Rosemary Hines does an excellent job in this story dealing with Alzheimer’s, growing older, and giving up a life of independence. Each one learns that change is hard and it takes God to recover from your past mistakes. Caleb’s birth mother Amber must come to terms with giving Caleb up, but can she do that now that she’s older and more able to care for him on her own? Can Joan learn how to move forward without her husband?

God offers His love, grace, and forgiveness, but we must accept it, which is hard to do at times. How do you forgive someone for driving when they knew they shouldn’t and they kill someone? How can you have peace when God calls a loved one home? How can you make up for the mistakes you’ve made in the past and move forward with the future God wants you to have? All this and more is brought to light in this book. Pick up this book today for an insightful, encouraging read into God’s love for us and how He brings all things to good. Can’t wait to read more by this author!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Romancing the Widow By: Davalynn Spencer

How can you move on when it feels like your life is over? Martha Stanton’s husband is struck down by a stray bullet. Martha moves back home with her parents. She can’t have children. Who would want her? She must rediscover God’s love for her and learn how to open her heart to the love of another.

Haskell Jacobs is a Colorado Ranger. He is tracking a horse thief and the path leads him straight to Martha. His father taught him to judge wisely with evidence. Pastor Hutton, Martha’s father, states that faith is the evidence of what we hope for and evidence of what we can’t see. It’s proof of the invisible. Haskell can tell who the horse thief is when he gathers the evidence, but can he prove his love to Martha? Can she look past her fear of guns and see his heart?

Martha is terrified of Haskell’s gun. Can she trust him to use it wisely? What if someone else she loves is hurt by a gun? The day of apple picking is the day of change. The horse thief confronts Haskell and Martha. Can Haskell keep her safe, or will she fall by the bullet she fears so much?

I enjoyed this story of Martha and Haskell. Martha must learn to trust God and Haskell. With faith and hope she can move forward with her life and with God. She must learn to trust Haskell to take care of her and Haskell must learn to rely on God for the hopes and dreams of his heart.

A statement that stuck with me after I finished the book: “It’s often difficult to see a parent’s wisdom when you know them so well.” Martha talks with a friend of hers who tells her she had the advantage of listening to Martha’s mother’s wisdom. Children tend to disregard their parent’s advice, but some of the best wisdom can be found in them. They don’t want to see their children hurt and want what’s best for them. This sentence summed that up.

For a great inspirational romance, I highly recommend this book and this author! Her characters come to life and the story lines pull you in and you don't want to stop reading. I have enjoyed each of her books that I have read and look forward to reading many more!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

His Montana Sweetheart By: Ruth Logan Herne

I love this book! The old west, horses, cowboys, what’s not to love? Olivia Franklin left Jasper Gulch to pursue her education and got married. She is back to put together a biographical history of the town for the centennial. But she didn’t come back the same person she was when she left. Her husband divorced her. Her grandparents come to live with Olivia and her parents when her grandfather is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she can’t let go of her past with Jack McGuire. He dumped her while she was pursuing her education when he got injured playing ball. Olivia knows she’ll run into him sooner or later since Jasper Gulch is a small town. What will she say? How will she act?

Jack McGuire is putting together a centennial league baseball game. He used to play baseball until he got injured. Taking a job in the city, he realized he didn’t like either, the job or the city, and finally came back home when his mother was ill and cared for her until she died. But now Olivia is back. Can she forgive him for breaking her heart when he lashed out because of his ball career ending injury?

Olivia has to come to terms with her lack of contact with her family over the years, and keeping her distance on purpose. She realizes she hasn’t seen her grandparents in years. Why did she let that happen? How does prayer figure into this? It didn’t seem to work in the past. Should she try it now? Will God still help her even though she hasn’t spoken to Him in a while?

Jack and Olivia work together to finalize plans for the centennial baseball game. They resemble the town, mired in the past. Love and peace, it’s what they both need, including a horse they pick up at the auction. Can they learn to let go of the past, open their hearts to love again, and lean on a God who loves them and has the best for them?

Jack thinks Olivia will waste her education staying in Jasper Gulch. Can he trust her to stay? Will she trust him after he broke her heart 8 years ago? Trust is a hard thing to come by, but with God’s help, they can put the past behind them and move forward together. Can they do that? Read this book for a great inspirational western romance!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Red Gold by Sandy Nadeau

I loved this faith-filled mystery by Sandy Nadeau! Mandy Phillips and her husband Jon run a ranch in Colorado. Things start happening around the ranch, a fire, brake lines are cut, a guest is kidnapped. Who could be behind these shenanigans and why? Mr. Shonee is their neighbor. He doesn’t like the idea of a guest ranch bordering his property. Could he be behind what is going on, or is it something more sinister?

Mandy and Jon work together to make the guest ranch work. Their faith in God helps them through the ordeals facing them as somebody wants the ranch shut down. When you have nobody else to turn to, who do you turn to? God, of course. And that’s just what the Phillips’ do.

Jenny is a great character is this story. She and her parents are staying in one of the cabins. She goes to church with Mandy and Jon while she is there. The conversations she has with God are so realistic. When she asks God if he is willing to be her friend, you can feel her uncertainty but hopefulness. When she gets in a bind and really needs his help, you can feel him helping her as she does.

I absolutely loved this inspirational mystery. Can’t wait to read more by this author! This sentence stayed with me even after finishing the book: We’re God’s children. If we expect forgiveness and love from our Lord, can we do less for our neighbors? May I always remember this! If you enjoy inspirational mysteries that are exciting and fun you will enjoy this one!

The Doctor's Return by: Narelle Atkins

Megan Bradley left her hometown of Snowgum Creek eight years ago, right after Luke Morton proposed, and never looked back. She wanted to travel the world and explore. Now she is back in town. But how long will she stay this time?

Luke Morton is a doctor. He has opened a medical clinic in town. Luke was hurt when Megan left town the first time. Should he give her a second chance? Can he handle it if she leaves town again?

This book is about second chances, learning to trust someone, but especially learning to trust God. Megan has grown away from her faith while traveling around the world, out of touch with her friends and family. Once she comes back home and gets her exercise physiology consulting practice started, she realizes what she has missed. Having her friends and family close by and growing close to God again show her always being on the go and never settling down keep her from establishing strong relationships. But when a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself, can she be happy staying in Snowgum Creek and not miss her old lifestyle? Can she give up Luke to follow her dream job, knowing if she leaves this time, she will lose him for good?

Luke realizes he never stopped loving Megan, but can he trust her not to run off with his heart again? He values doing God’s work, but does Megan feel the same way? Luke has to learn to put past hurts behind him in order to have a chance at a future with Megan.

I loved this book by Narelle Atkins! The Doctor’s Return is a sweet inspirational romance. Even when you’re not sure which way to go, God is there in the details. He is the God of love and of second chances. Put your trust in Him. Luke and Megan are great characters and I love the hometown of Snowgum Creek.

The Sanctuary A Novel By: Cassandra R Siddons

The Sanctuary is about the Carolina Girls Forever group: Lydia Coble, Julia Anastasia Rutledge, Elizabeth Goldberg, Sonya Boyd. They spent every summer and school vacation together on Sanctuary Island, in South Carolina. Then they grew up, had lives of their own. This book is their journey back to each other and how each one has learned what a great life they have because they have each other.

This is a book about each CGF’s life, ending with an across country drive in an RV. I loved this story. When Lydia Coble’s husband dies, she realizes the man she married isn’t who she thought. The novel is her journey to find the truth. Along the way, each of the other girls have journeys of their own. From the first page, you are pulled in and you want to see where the journey ends for each of them. They all realize friendship is more important as you get older. They can face anything and get through it together.

The end of the book deals with each CGF member going home and wraps up their individual journeys. I loved this part of the book. You weren’t left hanging when the book ended. You know whenever something happens they will be there for each other, no matter what. Everyone needs friends like this!

There are a few curse words. The formatting is great as well as the editing. I loved the cover! I would buy the book just to look at it. There is also a history lesson in the book as you learn about the Gullah, the people who inhabit Sanctuary Island and why keeping their land safe is so important to Lydia. By the end of the book you become very close to each character. I dreaded the ending when I knew I would have to tell them goodbye. Be sure to have tissues ready and to laugh out loud at some of their antics. There are even recipes in the back of the book. I would love to read more books by this author.

As Is By: Wendy Stenzel Oleston

Spoiler alert in this review: This is a very thought provoking book. Real life issues, questions, and troubles are talked about and dealt with from being an alcoholic to losing a job to someone spreading rumors that aren’t true. How would it be if Jesus was right by your side as you endured these? What would he say to you as you go through life? Mara has a life filled with hard choices and consequences from her past. Can she accept her freedom as Graydon Davidson presents it, or will she reject what he has to offer?

Mara has been court-ordered to attend counseling. On the way there she meets Graydon. He becomes an integral part of her and her son’s life. He opens her eyes to a life filled with forgiveness, second chances, and God’s love for her. Can she accept what he is teaching her? Can she believe someone would love her for who she is and that there is nothing she can do to make his love stronger because he already loves her and went through so much just for her? Graydon asks her point blank questions, and makes her think about her actions. Sometimes we need to have a one-on-one conversation with God to find out where we stand with him. Our thoughts and actions could be holding us back from accomplishing so much for him.

The conversations between Mara and Graydon are so realistic. I felt like I was right there, especially when he’s looking in the mirror and tells her to look and see what she sees. She can never see past what is right there to see what God sees in her. God sees on the inside. Sometimes that’s harder to show others, but God knows what is there.

There is cursing in this book, which I think takes away from what the author is trying to do here. The words are used in context to what is going on, but they take me out of the story every time one is used. After finishing the book and realizing what I had thought was right, I want to go back and read it again, but I don’t want to because of the words. The story, characters, and meaning are excellently woven throughout. Once you finish the book, you are left with your thoughts. Is Jesus part of your everyday decision making processes? Is he the first one you think to talk to when you have an issue come up? What would it be like to have him right there with you, to talk to, to hug, to feel his love in all that you do? This book brings this out so poignantly. Jesus loves us this much. He wants to be this close to all of us as we go through life.

If there was a version without the curse words, I would say this book would be a great addition to read to get a full understanding of how it would be having Jesus right there with you, going through life with you. This book puts that into perspective in such a way, that even after reading the book, you still feel him there. You can have conversations with God; you just have to be willing to listen for the answer and accept what he has to say.

I can’t say too much more without giving the whole book away. If you don’t mind the curse words and can skip over them, I say pick up this book today. You won’t regret it! If they bother you, it will take away from the book and you won’t get out of it what you should. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.