Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Worthy Pursuit (By: Karen Witemeyer)

A Worthy Pursuit
By: Karen Witemeyer

Charlotte Atherton is on a mission! She has three children in her care, one in particular that she is determined to keep safe. Before Lily's mom passed away, she entrusted the little girl into Charlotte's guardianship. Lily's grandfather, however, wants her for his own selfish reasons and Charlotte must flee town to get away from him and start a life on their own. She feels they are safe until one day a bounty hunter comes looking for Lily - on his own mission to rescue the little girl from her supposed kidnapper and get her back to her grandfather. 

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas and always gets the job done! When a wealthy man pays him to bring his granddaughter back, he happily accepts the challenge. But to his surprise, Lily does not appear to have been kidnapped at all - in fact, she seems to be right where she belongs. Can Charlotte, her assumed guardian, be telling the truth? Will he take a chance on her and switch roles from retriever to protector? And will he stay around long enough to change his pursuit to winning Charlotte's heart?

Charlotte and Stone both have wounds from the past. Charlotte has sadly been hurt by men and, because of it, has a hard time trusting or allowing herself to depend on others. She has settled on being alone, without a man by her side, and will give her all to these children in her care. Stone, having been orphaned when he was younger is very independent and keeps to himself. The lovely teacher has now caught his attention and he longs to open her heart and do what he can to protect her. Will they stay on the path they both have come to know, or will they open their hearts to more joy and love than either of them expected in this life?

The author did a great job weaving faith into this story. We loved how both characters prayed throughout the book, asking the Lord for guidance, help and strength. Both had to grow in their faith and trust in the Lord, especially Charlotte, who must overcome past fears and pain. She learns to not only trust Stone, but the Lord for the path he has chosen for her. It was an enjoyable faith journey to read through!

Squeal Factor
A teacher and a bounty hunter - what's not to like? Stone and Charlotte have a relationship that builds throughout the story. As the two move past simple attraction to one another there are quite a few scenes that are cute and sigh worthy! You'll enjoy seeing the path the author takes them on and you'll be content with the conclusion.

This book is a great summer read. Fans of historical, western romances are sure to enjoy this one. Relax and prepare for a fun, lighthearted story that will whisk you away for awhile!

Find it on Amazon: A Worthy Pursuit

Note: We were given this book in exchange for our honest review 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Married Till Monday (By: Denise Hunter)

Married 'til Monday
By: Denise Hunter

Married 'til Monday is the final book in the Chapel Springs series by Denise Hunter - a series we have devoured and loved. This book was a wonderful conclusion to the McKinley family sagas and introduces us to some new characters and settings for Denise's upcoming Summer Harbor series.

Ryan McKinley - brother to Madison, Jade and PJ, the heroines of the first three Chapel Springs books - is still in love with his ex-wife, Abby, and regrets letting her go three years ago. Problem is, she won't give him the time of day. He has bought her dream house, but it is empty without her there to share it with him. When he finds out that Abby's parents still believe them to be married and have invited them up to Maine for the weekend, he decides to accept the invitation and forces himself along on Abby's road trip. 

As they travel together in a cramped car for hours on end, they begin to address the baggage they left packed all those years ago. Is reconciliation even possible, or is it too late? Denise Hunter is a polished, seasoned author and the reader is almost guaranteed an engaging, interesting story will lift up off the pages. No exception here!

Tackling a failed marriage is no easy feat, either in real life or in good fiction. Marriages often fail because of the little, everyday things that build and build until they explode. Author Denise is incredibly realistic with her characters hashing through their issues. Grief, loss, anger, jealousy, child abuse and self-worth are confronted and dealt with in this story, as Ryan and Abby boldly - albeit reluctantly - face the problems that brought them down in the first place and still haunt them three years later.

When her marriage failed, Abby also walked away from God, believing herself unworthy of His love. As she and Ryan visit her hometown, her deeper beliefs about God are brought to the surface, largely as a result of her tricky relationship with her parents. But God is faithful to never let go of His children, and He uses her pain to draw her to Himself and shower her with the love of a Father. Faith plays a major part in all the characters' development.

Squeal Factor
As Ryan and Abby rediscover their love for one another, they aren't immune to the physical attraction that drew them together in the first place in college. Although their squeal factor runs high, this time they do it God's way and their love is beautiful to read!

This book was a great, solid read. Literally every page was interesting and we kept turning them at every chance we got! Married 'til Monday was raw, real, messy and loving - just like marriage in real life. Kudos to author Denise for telling it like it is and not giving easy, pretty resolutions. In fact, some of the issues in this book are not resolved - again, just like real life. But we were satisfied with the book and inspired to press on in the hard things in our own lives. What could be better to take from a book?

Find it on Amazon: Married 'til Monday

Please note: We were given this book in exchange for our honest review. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Hesitant Heiress (By: Dawn Crandall)

The Hesitant Heiress
By: Dawn Crandall

The Hesitant Heiress is the first book in the Everstone Chronicles. What a breath of fresh air! Set in the gilded age in Boston, it was a new adventure for us as it is our first book by Dawn Crandall and it certainly will not be our last! Written from the first person point of view, the author kept us turning the pages long into the night. 
Amaryllis has led a lonely life for the last 11 years since her mother's death. She has been in and out of schools and now, after a slanderous letter of false accounts, she is kicked out of the Boston Conservatory. Her dreams of opening her own music academy back home in Washington State are now nearly hopeless. But surprising news of an inheritance handed down by her estranged grandmother can be hers if she marries within one year. The problem is Amaryllis has no desire to get married at all - and is definitely not interested in the elite social class of Boston she now sit among! She moves in with her Aunt Claudine who is determined to find her a husband. Let the fun begin! 

Nathan Everstone is considered by many to be the most charming, eligible bachelor in Boston. Right away, Amaryllis wants nothing to do with him. Additionally, he happens to be the son of the man Amaryllis believes is behind most of her misfortune in life. Of course Nathan is intrigued by her, since she pays him no attention, unlike all the other single ladies in town. We are taken on a journey of discovering past secrets and mysteries, fun moments and lovable characters.

Amaryllis has never understood much of what happened after her mother's death 11 years ago. A great deal of the depth in this story is brought through the front-row seat to watching the answers play out. The reader has a first person account on all of Amaryllis' dreams, fears and thoughts but we are kept guessing on those of the other characters (which actually captivated our attention and had us thirsting to dig deeper as we read on). There is mystery, a little suspense and lots of fun trying to fit all of the pieces together.

Faith was woven beautifully into the storyline, a little at first and then it continued to blossom. Amaryllis' struggles are real and we find it refreshing to see characters grow and rely on the Lord to overcome these issues. Themes of trust, forgiveness, love and simply letting go and believing God has a plan and a purpose in all that happens in life all add to the beauty of the story. 

Squeal Factor
This book is filled with romantic tension and feelings. At one point, the reader may want to scream and knock some sense into Amaryllis, because after all, who in their right mind would hold Nathan at arms-length? You'll love the interactions, heated arguments, and smoldering looks, but you'll also find your heart racing as these two finally start to give in to their attraction to one another. 

We enjoyed this story and appreciated the differences that it brought from our usual reads. Be sure to pick this book up and you won't be disappointed. We can hardly wait to read the following two books in the series.

Find it on Amazon: The Hesitant Heiress

Monday, June 8, 2015

Novella - Hope In My Heart (By: Alexis Goring)

Hope In My Heart
By: Alexis Goring

Hope In My Heart is a collection of three short stories that transport the reader into energetic settings with realistic characters. 

Emerging author Alexis Goring brings much energy and life into every day situations and weaves faith into the lives of her characters! However, with each story being of such short duration, it was difficult to really get into them as much as we would have liked. 

The original plots were intriguing, but they may have been better set in novella length to allow for better character development, deeper issues and slower resolutions. 

Additionally, there were a few inconsistencies in the stories and choppy places that distracted us from being swept away into it all, as we would wish when reading fiction. 

Unfortunately, this accounts for our low rating, but we commend the author for her spunk and energy on the pages! 

Find it on Amazon: Hope In My Heart

We were given a free copy of this title in exchange for our honest review