Thursday, July 30, 2015

Novella - Among the Fair Magnolias

Among the Fair Magnolias
Four Southern Love Stories
By: Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser

This historical romance novella collection has equal parts warmth, sweetness, shocking history and creative writing. Each novella is very different but adds a new perspective on what life might have been like in the post-civil war South. Freedmen, although no longer slaves, still don't enjoy as much privilege as whites and face radical discrimination. Some families are still wealthy while others lost everything in the war, and now their economical differences divide them. 

It is important to note that these stories follow characters from the authors' earlier works, although read just fine as standalone novellas as well. They are thorough, detailed and satisfying novellas that will please readers!

Find it on Amazon: Among the Fair Magnolias

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

In Good Company (By: Jen Turano)

In Good Company
By: Jen Turano

After growing up in an orphanage, Millie Longfellow strives to be the best nanny she can be. But unfortunately, she has been fired from every position she has held. Everett Mulberry is guardian to three children and has no idea what he has gotten himself into. The three little angels (ahem) have driven away every nanny the agency has sent his way! Fed up with both Everett and Millie, the employment agency gives them each one last chance, working together. 

Millie sets out to prove herself as the sought after nanny she claims to be, and though Everett has his doubts, he is desperate. As they reside in Newport for the summer, Everett tries to maintain upstanding status among the elite upper class as he courts Caroline - a woman who expects more from their relationship by the summers end. But the more Everett and Millie interact, the more their respect for each other grows - and the more Everett's eyes are opened to what is expected from his place in society. Will he be brave enough to break the mold, or will he succumb to the pressures of the elite and their expectations?

This novel is a mix of romance, mystery and some humorous banter to keep it lighthearted. Jen Turano does a great job keeping the readers interest and it would be hard not to fall in love with the characters. Millie is fun, loving and prone to finding herself in comical situations. The three children she is in charge of will grab your hearts and you'll long to find out what truly happened to their parents. Everett is on a path of self-discovery and not an easy one at times. We liked how author Jen didn't change him overnight, but took him searching down a realistic path of what he truly longs for. The story flows well and the journey is sweet and thoroughly enjoyable.

Faith is evident in the story, but not a huge part of character development. Faith plays the biggest role in the lives of Millie and one of her charges, Elizabeth. Both question why their parents were taken from them as children, and we enjoy great dialogue around it. Small prayers are consistent throughout, and there is a strong theme of family and belonging.

Squeal Factor
The relationship between Millie and Everett blossoms nicely and they have several cute scenes together. Their interactions maintain good boundaries while Everett is courting Caroline, but we could not wait to see what would happen if Everett could just wake up and see what is right in front of him! You'll definitely long to see these two together, but what must take place in order for that to develop? Enjoy experiencing their journey together!

Jen Turano has yet again written a very entertaining novel. We look forward to the third book in the series and have great expectations that she will deliver once again as she has with this one!

Find it on Amazon: In Good Company

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Wonder of You (By: Susan May Warren)

The Wonder of You
By: Susan May Warren

The fifth book in this outstanding series is finally here - and oh boy, is it a good one! Not only did we fall deeper in love with the Christiansen family, this read made our Golden List as well. Only one book left to go and it's expected next Spring.

Amelia, the youngest of the Christiansen siblings, has always been protected by her well-meaning sisters and brothers. But what she really longs to do is leave Deep Haven, follow her adventurous spirit all over the world, and prove to her family that she is brave and strong. But when her life in Prague goes sour, she scurries home with her tail between her legs, thinking that maybe she isn't as cut out for an adventurous, exciting life as she thought. Should she ignore her instincts and just settle down in Deep Haven for good? 

Roark St. John, European heir and playboy, has a much deeper past and spirit than anyone realizes - and when he follows Amelia to Deep Haven, he discovers the family and community he has always yearned for. Problem is, Amelia can't seem to decide what she wants - and if she doesn't choose him, he won't be able to stay in Deep Haven to watch her build her life with another man.

Author Susan is a master at giving just the right amount of plot line to keep us hooked all the way through! While this storyline may seem predictable, she gives the journey many twists, turns and personal touches to immerse the reader completely in the book.
Also worth noting that sister Grace (from book three) and her husband Max have an incredible storyline here too!

Roark has suffered great personal tragedy and has been running ever since. Amelia, too, is much deeper than any of her siblings realize. Both wrestle with whether to stay and settle down, or pursue adventure all over the world - but what if the answer can be both?

But the real depth in this story comes from Max and Grace's issues. In book three, we discovered Max had a serious health problem to reconcile before tying the knot. But now married, and facing the deep yearning for a family, Max and Grace must reconcile their reality with their dreams once again.

Just as in the rest of this series, God's plan for everyone's lives plays a central role here. All the main characters must wrestle to discover how to follow the Lord, and they must rely on His wisdom to guide them each day. A central theme is obedience to the Lord's call on your life - in this case, giving up wealth and family in exchange for the wonder of knowing Christ and all of His riches. One additional thing we love about this series is the patriarch and matriarch, John and Ingrid Christiansen, and their perspective and wisdom they offer to their children. They aren't perfect, but they are excellent examples of Godly parents leading their family.

Squeal Factor
Between Max and Grace, and Roark and Amelia, the reader is treated to many tender moments and sweet whisperings between the lovebirds! The love written about in this book is heartfelt, deep and sincere. We love swoon worthy scenes!

What a tremendous book! An intriguing storyline, layers to uncover, sweet romance, and a God who guides, helps and loves His people all make for a very real, honest and engaging read. Don't miss this gem!! We now wait with eager anticipation for book six, due next Spring, where we can finally have a conclusion to Owen's story (that's going to be a whopper, isn't it?).

Find it on Amazon: The Wonder of You

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bridge of Faith (By: Catherine West)

Bridge of Faith
By: Catherine West

Julia Connelly has lived the last 12 years in a constant state of fear, misery and pain in her abusive marriage. Now free to live back home in Vermont with her two children, she seeks to find healing and peace, and hopes they can move on with their lives. What she doesn't expect is to run in to the man she eloped with at age 18, only to have him leave her a few months later. Can her heart handle any more pain? Will she let herself dream, trust and find peace again? 

Reid Wallace has come home to Vermont hoping to find peace of his own after a tragic circumstance in the Middle East left two of his coworkers dead on his watch. Running away from his pain, he is blindsided when he has an unexpected run in with Julia - but is he more caught off guard by seeing her, or her son who bears a striking resemblance to himself? Dealing with the past was not part of his plan in coming home. Should he run again, or does he believe God truly offers second chances?

This story is anything but lighthearted. Catherine West hits the ground running in the first chapter and keeps a good pace up until the end. She courageously writes about touchy subjects such as divorce, abuse, PTSD, alcoholism and more. However, she does so in a sensitive way and keeps the reader from being dragged down, offering glimpses of hope throughout. This book will tug on your heart strings and you may shed a few tears in the process but you will not regret it. This story is filled with hope and second chances for one who doesn't feel worthy and one who is too scared to dream of having one. The characters must hold on to hope! Each deals with their own baggage, guilt and pain. Can they come together and hope for a new beginning?

When dealing with pasts filled with regret, pain, secrets and more it is critical to have God be an integral part of the healing process. Both Julia and Reid must come back to the Lord and ultimately turn to Him for the hope they must cling to. Sometimes there is a point where one realizes they cannot fix the pain and they must turn to the One who can. This is a beautiful story of hope, forgiveness and second chances.

Squeal Factor
The relational aspect between Julia and Reid is delicate and complex to say the least. The author does not hide anything from us and we get to experience much of their emotions. Their relationship is hard, emotional, and heated but also tender and sweet. Julia and Reid have spent 12 years apart and have a lot of baggage to work through. Yet, they have a love that still penetrates both of their hearts. They are both still greatly attracted to the other and don't quite know what to do about that. The love and passion that once existed is still there, even if it may be a little buried. Once hearts thaw and forgiveness takes place, what might the future hold?


This book is solid and rates high in all areas. Buckle up for a gripping ride that won't end until the last page. And be prepared for it to stay with you once you get off! The author did an amazing job pulling you in and capturing your full attention. Well done Catherine West. We have nothing but high praises for this book!

Find it on Amazon: Bridge of Faith