Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review of An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Nutshell: Lady Georgina Hawthorne is on a mission. A mission to marry with as high as status as possible. This would be the only way to secure her secret. With her beauty and her trademark white wardrobe, she is ready for the Season. With her plan in place, Georgina steps out in to the Season with style determined to catch the eye of the most eligible suitors. The eye that can't seem to look away from her belongs to Colin McCrae, a frugal business man with no social status. He is able to see beneath Georgina's facade to the true person beneath. But she wants nothing to do with him. eUnforeseen vents seem to draw them together, but Georgina fights against being seen with Colin. What her heart truly needs is not at all what she portrays to the world. Where will her choices lead her future?

Pro's: This storyline is well written and reminds me a lot of the time period that Pride and Prejudice takes place. It was easy to picture the surroundings based on other books written in the 1800 time frame. It was a solid romantic book with a bit of excitement thrown in.

Con's: This book some getting in to. It is a continuation of Hunter's first book A Noble Masquerade. It took a good chunk of time to figure out the who was who and what happened in the first book. It would have been easier to jump in the book at the get go if I had read the first book.

Recommendation: If you are able to get past the first few chapters and figure out the storyline, you will enjoy this book.

Bethany House Publishers sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Review of Missing by Lisa Harris

Nutshell: Book two in the Nikki Boyd Files finds Nikki on a new case that involves her friend Tyler. The hunt is on to clear her friend and find the murder who is terrorizing the city. Every suspect is winding up dead and Nikki is on the race against time to keep those she loves safe. With dead-end clues at every turn, Nikki must use her training and grit to be one step ahead of game, dodge bullets, link ties to an underground drug operation and who is all involved.

Pro's: Very fast-paced and keeps you wondering what is going to happen. The twists and turns keep you guessing what is going to happen next. Great plot, great second book in the series.

Con's: May be a bit confusing if you haven't read the 1st book in the series, but the reader should be able to catch up quickly.

Recommendation: Lisa Harris does it again with another great book. If you enjoy thriller suspense, this is the book for you!

Revell Books sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review of What Matters Most by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Nutshell: The fourth book in A Texas Gold Novel series takes you to the city of Austin and the world of politics. Leta Breckenridge is barely making ends meet with working two jobs and taking care of her mom who suffers from dementia. With no college degree and working in the floral department at the local grocery store, she knows she needs a break as the bills are piling up. Her luck turns worse when she backs in to a man's car, and with no insurance, she knows she's in deep trouble. His graciousness is a breath of fresh air, only to find out after he drives away that he's a newly appointed senator who also may be running for governor. Knowing she was spared a lot of money, her search for a new job becomes first a foremost. She comes across a job position that she knows she can do, applies for it and is offered the job. This job frees up her finances and the senator is starting to appear on the radar again. With a new friendship on the horizon and a new job she loves, life is looking on the up and up. Only when she realizes that the company she now works for is digging for dirt on the man she is starting to fall for, does she come to the understanding that she has some difficult choices to make. Walk with Leta on her journey where she learns that God does provide even in very unexpected ways.

Pro's: A very smooth read that is a stand-alone novel. Down to earth characters and a glimpse inside what the political world may look like was refreshing. I enjoyed the approach the author took and the plot and storyline were captivating and kept you wanting more.

Con's: The end! It was a bit abrupt, especially with one of the secondary characters having a change of heart of which I thought was a ruse, but it wasn't. That was a bit of a surprise that didn't feel like it transitioned well.

Recommendation: Read this book! A light read if you're looking for a non-deep book. This book has a great story line as do all the other books in the Texas Gold Novel series.

Revell Books sent me a complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Review of Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge

Nutshell: Juliette D'Alisa is back. She is slowly recovering from the recent long-distant break-up with the man she gave her heart to. She's working on moving forward with her life as manager of her brother's newly opened restaurant and freshly grieving her mother's recent death. Her life as she knows it is going smoothly, even with a new guy in her life. The restaurant is thriving, she's in her element, her family is closer than ever and things may be looking up with her new boyfriend (who she gets to work with). But everything shifts one day out for a walk and she recognizes her first love's face. What in the world is he doing in Portland and why is her heart not over him? Journey with Juliette as she discovers what true love is, not only her own, but the mystery of her mysterious heritage and how love conquered all.

Pro's: I was so excited to see the final book in the Blue Two Doors series! The 3rd book was just as good as the first two and I loved how this book wrapped up the series. The characters were people I would love to get to know. The time frame of the book is short, but packed full of depth and keeps you hooked. It's a well written book! I also love the recipes that accompany and tie in to each chapter. I will definitely be trying some of them!

Con's: It took a bit to get in to the book as it had been awhile since I read the 2nd book. You would definitely need to read the first two books to understand the third book. It is not a stand alone fiction book.

Recommendation: Read this series! You won't be disappointed!

Waterbook Multnomah sent me this complementary copy to review for the them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Review of They Danced On by Carrie Armstrong Gardner

Nutshell: As the final book in The Darling Family Series comes to a close, the reader finds Jane Darling, the mother of the Darlings, and her daughter Laura Darling, as the main characters in this book. Jane is struggling with the diagnosis of her husbands terminal illness and also struggling with God as to why He is not healing her husband as the Bible promises. Laura is struggling with her lot in life and why everything is so unfair and the only thing that seems to help her cope with her life is alcohol. With a smattering of the other Darling siblings' journeys, this book mainly focus' on Jane and Laura and how they each seek and find God where they are currently at. 

Pro's: What a great book to wrap up this series! You feel like you have traveled along with this family with all of their struggles and joys throughout all three books. Gardner does a great job wrapping this book up and bringing closure to many of the characters. 

Con's: It seemed to wrap up quickly at the end. Reading along it felt like there was going to be a 4th book, but then it wrapped up quite fast at the end. 

Recommendation: I would recommend readers read the first two books in this series as to understand what the characters have gone through up to this point in the 3rd book. Those who enjoy series books and sweet storylines will enjoy this series.

Tyndale Publishing sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Q&A with the Author Carrie Armstrong Gardner:
1. They Danced On is the final book in The Darling Family series. How have the Darlings changed throughout series? The books each focus on different characters in the family, and of course the characters each change in some way. But the Darlings have changed as a family too. Grief is chiefly what has changed them: grief over one family member’s terminal disease, and another member’s addiction. In Book 3, they’ve also said good-bye to another daughter/sister who’s moved away to Africa. So lots of changes for this family. By the end of the final book, grief and good-byes
have deepened and transformed them. In particular, the mother Jane grows in
her faith in Book 3. She’s always believed that God operates on an input/output system: if we ask in faith, God will give us what we want. But now she has to face the realitywith all its accompanying pain and joythat God is deeper and more mysterious than that. She has to grow up. 

2. Life doesn’t always go as expected for the characters in your book (and for us in real life). What are some ways you’ve learned to respond when this happens? Living and working in Russia was a great training ground for this: life hardly ever went as expected there, both in small ways and big. There were constant curve balls; lots of disappointments and also wonderful, unexpected surprises. I learned to roll with it; I had to, in order to save my sanity. When I came back to the States, a pastor friend said, “Wow, Carre, you’re so much less uptight than you used to be!” How’s that for a back-handed compliment? But I took it in the spirit it was intended. I think there are a couple of keys to how to handle life not going as we expected. The first is to get your own expectations out of the way from the start: expectations that you’re going to get what you deserve; that your kids are going to turn out well; that other people are going to live the way they should live. Disappointed expectations are the root of all bitterness. In fact, we are promised very little by God: we are owed even less. When our expectations are low, it clears the way for gratitude. And gratitude is the second key: it has the power to change our outlook on everything. Paul’s injunction to give thanks in everything means that sometimes we have to give thanks even when we don’t understand a situation; even when there seems nothing to be thankful for. It can be a real discipline. Like all disciplines, the gratitude muscle should be exercised during the less-than-dire times. Then, in times of crisis when we need to call on it, the habit will be there. 

Review of Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Nutshell: Lawyer Eric Nash finds himself out of a job. He heads back to his hometown to take a break, regroup and find his way again. But life comes crashing down as he drives in to town. Literally. Rear-ending a lovely lady was not in his plan. After a heated confrontation with this lady, he heads home to find his childhood home in shambles as his dad has decided to turn it in to a bed and breakfast. And the lead person in charge of the construction is none other than the feisty lady he rear-ended! BJ Stevens has a past of her own that she is trying to regroup from. She was not planning on crashing in to Eric Nash and having another man disrupt her life. With trying to put down new roots in a new town, BJ has to get her heart under control and try to forget about this new guy in town. Travel with Eric and BJ as they wrestle with their future and how what they thought they wanted and needed may be different than what God wants for their lives.

Pro's: Set in a small town, you feel like you are a part of the community of Hope Harbor. With some of the characters being carried over from the first Hope Harbor book, this book still reads as a stand-alone as Hannon does a great job with creating the characters, even ones from the previous book.

Con's: This book felt much slower than the first one with a slower plot line.

Recommendation: If you are looking for a book with a slower pace, well developed characters and an all around easy read, you will enjoy this book.

Revell sent me a copy of this book to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.