Friday, 31 March 2017

A House Divided by Robert Whitlow

Released: Aug. 4, 2015
463 pages

About the Book:

 
Corbin Gage can stand up to anyone . . . But his own divided house will bring him to his knees.

Corbin, a longtime legal champion for the downtrodden, is slowly drinking himself into the grave. His love for “mountain water” has cost him his marriage to the godliest woman he knows, ruined his relationship with his daughter, Roxy, and reduced the business at his small Georgia law firm to a level where he can barely keep the bill collectors at bay. But it isn’t until his son, Ray, threatens to limit Corbin’s time with his grandson that Corbin begins to acknowledge he might have a problem.

Despite the mess that surrounds his personal life and against the advice of everyone he knows, Corbin takes on a high-stakes tort case on behalf of two boys who have contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to an alleged chemical exposure. The defendant, a fertilizer company, is the largest employer in the area. The lawsuit becomes a tornado that sucks Corbin, Ray, and Roxy into an increasingly deadly vortex. Equally intense pressure within the family threatens to destroy, once and for all, the thin threads that connect them.

Corbin must find the strength to stand up to his personal demons. Justice for two dying boys depends on it . . . his family depends on it.
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 (3 stars)

 
“Who but God has the power to change us?” This is one of the questions asked in this story and I think it conveys the theme of story well. The book did not take the path I was expecting when I first started it. I went in expecting a courtroom drama but got a family drama instead. Other than the main characters being lawyers and a bit of talk about their legal cases the story was much more about the relationship between the family members, admitting that there is a problem, taking steps to fix it and the healing of past hurts.
 
I found it moved pretty slowly but after about 5 chapters I began to be interested in where it was headed and became invested in Corbin realizing he needed help and wondering if his relationship with his children could be repaired. The story really digs into the lives of the characters, how they are trying to overcome their mistakes and hurts, leaning on and trusting God for his strength. Even after Corbin admits his problem and begins to takes steps to at fixing it he is not magically changed overnight, he still struggles has setbacks and has to learn how to try again.
 
I felt like we really got to know the hurts and struggles of each character and I began to feel for each member involved. Each character was portrayed as real people with flaws. I especially enjoyed Peter’s impact on Roxy, he challenged her but was there for her at the same time, and his love for her was obvious. Kitty may not have been physically present in the story, but her presence was felt and had an impact on each family member. She continuously prayed for Corbin and did not get the see the eventual impact they had on his life, but her prayers did have a huge impact on his life. Can Corbin beat his addiction? Can Ray & Roxy forgive their dad for the hurts he has caused?
 
I found the legal side of the story to be a bit lacking, the case definitely pulled at the heartstrings but for a case that could have been huge and had such a major impact on each Gage family member’s life, the wrap-up was short and the resolution felt wrong. I did really enjoy the last scene with the family.  
 
 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Safety in Blunders by Christy Barritt

Released: March 28, 2017
223 pages
Series: The Worst Detective Ever # 3

About the Book:

 
Hollywood sweetheart Joey Darling's adventures and mishaps continue in the third book of the charming mystery series set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

My name is Joey Darling, and I’m a disgrace to imaginary detectives everywhere.

When actress Joey Darling discovers a mermaid tail with drops of fresh blood on it while hiking in a remote nature preserve, she knows something suspicious is going on.

As details surface, Joey realizes she’s dealing with a problem she has encountered one too many times: someone desperate for fame who falls victim to a predator. With the help of her neighbor Zane Oakley and the opposition of local detective Jackson Sullivan, Joey hunts for answers, unaware of the deadly net in which she’s about to entangle herself.

Joey knows she’s a fish out of water when it comes to cracking cases, but can she use her talent—acting—to help find the missing woman? Or will Joey end up swimming with sharks?
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars)

 
Story is filled with laugh-out-loud moments along with some nail-biting moments. Joey and Zane stumble across evidence that begins a search for a missing girl. Just when Joey is ready to leave the search to the police, she is contacted by the girl’s boyfriend asking her to find some answers. Her curiosity takes over and she begins a search that puts her in precarious positions at times; however she is beginning to learn that she needs to turn things over to the police force or at least have someone with her. This is a slow process though; she still takes risks on trying to do things on her own but thankfully she does not seriously get hurt. Can Joey and Jackson figure out what happened to the girl? Who is behind her disappearance?

I enjoyed this story. It kept my interest the whole way through, and I wasn't able to solve the case before it was revealed. I really liked getting to know Joey and Jackson more and especially enjoyed their interactions with each other, I am holding out hope that a relationship between them is in store for the future.
(I received this book free from the Ms. Barritt; opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Friday, 24 March 2017

Dying for Love by Cara Putman

Released: Jan. 24, 2017
90 Pages
Series: Hidden Justice # 0.5

About the Book:

 
Things were business as usual for family law attorney Ciara Turner, until she walked into her mentor’s office to find the judge had been murdered. To make things worse, the emotional moments were witnessed by Ciara’s nemesis, opposing counsel Daniel Evans—the man she once thought she’d spend the rest of her life with.

Daniel can’t walk away from the murder investigation. Judge Palmer was the only one who believed in him enough to give the boy from the wrong side of the tracks a fighting chance. But his amateur sleuthing keeps him crossing paths with Ciara and he can’t help but admire her passion for her clients, even if they are often at odds across the judgment table.

As Daniel and Ciara get closer to discovering who killed Judge Palmer, their old feelings reignite. But the investigation takes an unexpected turn, can they trust each other enough to push for the truth? And will their rekindled relationship survive the aftermath?
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 (3 stars)

 

Prequel to Cara Putman’s new series “Hidden Justice” with book one being released April 4th.
I was expecting the story to focus on solving the murder of the body found at the beginning, but rather the focus seemed to be more on the romance between David and Ciara, with a little bit of sleuthing to find out what happened to the judge. The murder does get solved, but I found it was wrapped up quick and briefly. David & Ciara have a history, but grew apart when they ended up on opposite sides of the courtroom. Can they redeem what they once had? When David tells Ciara “What I want is to learn how to encourage a woman like you fall in love with a man like me” I couldn’t help but want them together. David knew what he wanted and was determined to make sure Ciara knew. I am curious to see where this series will take us.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock

Released: March 21, 2017
384 pages
Series: If I Run # 2


About the Book:


Is Dylan hunting Casey to prosecute her or protect her?



Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.
As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars)


This is book two of the If I Run series and picks up right where book one finished. Casey is still on the run from the cops trying to find enough evidence to bring them down before they catch up to her. Dylan now believes she is innocent of the crime they say she committed. He has been hired to help catch her but instead is trying to collect the evidence needed to bring these cops down and keep Casey away from them until then. Story is fast paced and action filled. While on the run Casey stumbles across a separate crime where a man has been accused of something he didn’t commit and his world is falling apart because of it. Casey does her best to help prove him innocent, protect a little girl and put the guilty away all while trying to stay under the radar. She has a big heart and she can’t stop herself from helping others.
Due to influences from others in this book and the previous one Casey starts to look to God for help and begins to understand that He is there for her. I like both Dylan and Casey and do like the thought of them eventually getting together, but I struggled with their romantic connection to happen when it did, it felt weird for those feelings to come out when they did and felt rushed.
I really enjoy how Ms. Blackstock indicates the switch between POV’s clearly, this makes it easy for my brain to switch with them. It did feel weird reading from Keegan’s POV as we didn’t have this in the previous book.

I loved how the pastor described prayer: “When you pray it’s like you’re whispering into the ear of God himself. None of those prayers go unheard. They might not be answered like you hope or think they should be. You might ask for a car, and God gives you a bicycle. ... Prayers work. They come out of your mouth the way you want them to happen. Jesus translates them to the Father, telling him what it is we really need. And whatever happens, he makes sure that all things that happen are for our good.”
Book ends with one story wrapped up and the other still ongoing. Now to patiently wait for book 3 where the dirty cops will finally pay for all their crimes and Casey can safety return home (at least I hope that’s what happens).
(I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley; opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion.)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Starting Over at Steeple Ridge by Liz Isaacson

Released: March 20, 2017
100 pages

About the Book:

 

Tucker Jenkins has had enough of tall buildings, traffic, and business meetings to determine the next app that will change the world. He's sold his technology firm for billions and traded it for Steeple Ridge Horse Farm in rural Vermont.

Missy Marino has worked at the boarding stable and farm since she was a teen, and she's always dreamed of owning it. But her ex-husband left her with a truckload of debt, making her fantasies of owning the farm unfulfilled.

When she meets Tucker, she starts having a new kind of fantasy—one where they work with the horses together. Tucker didn't come to the country to find a new wife, but he supposes a woman could help him start over in Steeple Ridge. Will Tucker and Missy be able to navigate the shaky ground between them to find a new beginning?
 
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars)

 
This is a sweet happy romance. I liked that even though it was a short story it spanned a fair amount of time that made the relationship believable. Even thought Missy’s dreams were crushed when she wasn’t able to buy the ranch she wanted due to lack of funds, she agrees to stay on as the ranch manager and teach the new owner the ropes. Tucker may be in over his head a little bit when he buys a horse ranch even though he knows nothing about horses, but with Missy helping him can he find his footing? Missy’s attitude was admirable; she was welcoming to Tucker and continued to be dedicated to her job. I was impressed with the way Tucker embraced life on the ranch after coming from New York City. As they get to know each other feelings begin to develop but will money and the farm end up coming between them? I liked both characters and enjoyed the interactions between them. This was a light fun read and enjoyed spending time on the horse ranch.
(I received an ARC from the author; opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Released: Feb. 4, 2014
358 pages
Series: The Royal Wedding # 2

About the Book:

 
Regina Beswick was born to be a princess.

But she’s content to be a small-town girl, running a classic auto restoration shop, unaware a secret destiny awaits her. One that will leap from the pages of her grandmother’s hand-painted book of fairy tales.

Tanner Burkhardt is the stoic Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg. When he is tasked to retrieve the long-lost princess, he must overcome his fear of failure in order to secure his nation’s future - and his own.
 
Yet lurking in the political shadows is a fierce opponent with sinister plans to abolish the throne forever.
Overwhelmed with opposition, Regina must decide if she’s destined to restore old cars or an ancient nation. Together - with a little divine intervention - Regina and Tanner discover the truth of her heritage and the healing power of true love.
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 (2 stars)

 

First off I have to say this hurts to give a Rachel Hauck book this rating. But I really enjoyed the first book of this series and had trouble connecting with this one that. The storyline didn’t capture my attention and I didn’t connect with the characters very well. There were parts of the story that felt very unbelievable such as the characters reactions to overwhelming situations was underwhelming, loose-end situations were wrapped up too quickly and easily, and the unexplained glow in the forest that leads to the discovery of a something that seems to have been hidden but is discovered at just the right time just pushed it too far for me. The romance felt rushed and didn’t seem to have much substance. There were times that the main characters annoyed me, but there were other times where I wished things would work out for them. I did like Tanner in that he was trying to make right a mistake he had made in his past. I think my biggest struggle with this book was that I couldn’t connect with Reg. I also enjoyed the inserts of the diary entries from Reg’s great-grandma. There are entertaining and sweet moments throughout and the characters from the previous book make appearances. Readers who enjoy all things royal or romantic will probably enjoy this, but for those who want a more realistic story with characters who are memorable this probably won’t hit the mark. This is the first Rachel Hauck book that I haven’t fully enjoyed and I’ve read quite a few.


 

Monday, 13 March 2017

Once Upon A Prince by Rachel Hauck

Released: May 7, 2013
353 pages
Series: The Royal Wedding # 1

About the Book:

 
Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by best-selling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.
 
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
 
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simons Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.
 
Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.
 
It’s the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?
 
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars)


 
 
If you enjoy the movie “The Prince & Me”, you will enjoy this book.
 
It was not hard to cheer for Prince Nathaniel and Susanna. Both characters grew on me very quickly. Book opens with a heartbreaking moment for Susanna, then she meets Nate a few days later when he comes to her rescue and a couple days later he helps her out for a second time. As a friendship forms you know there is a connection between the two but they can only be friends. Susanna is trying to rebuild her life after her heartbreak and Nate’s real home is 4,000 miles away, with responsibilities that do not allow Susanna to be a part of his life. Romance is not on their minds, they spend their time together talking mostly about faith and duty. However as they get to know each other more Nate realizes he loves Susanna, but can’t act on his feelings.
 
Nate is a man of honor and duty but is feeling conflicted. He wants to do what’s right for his country but he also wants his love by his side. Susanna is unselfish and tries to help him be the best he can be for his country even when that means she will have to be without him. Their faith is a huge part of who they are and they decide to trust God with their future. Can things work out for these two to be together or are they destined to be apart?
 
The political stuff confused me a bit at times, but the interactions between characters had me hooked. The romantic inside of me had to know that there would be a way for these two to be together without others suffering because of it. I really enjoyed Susanna’s mom and sister; they added extra moments of entertainment to the story. Looking forward to reading the next in this series.
 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

Released: Jan. 31, 2017
337 pages
Series: Montana Rescue # 2

About the Book:

 
When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him--not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff's department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He's the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father's accidental death. And he's the one--perhaps the only one--who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she's nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on--namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars)

 

This is book two of the Montana Rescue series.
At one point Willow tells Sam that “God’s light can overtake the darkness”, this explains exactly the theme immersed throughout this book. God is there for us asking to be let in and is at work in our lives even during the dark times even though we may not see him. Story picks up shortly after book one and focuses on brothers, Sam & Pete Brooks. From the previous book we know there is some baggage in their past that has strained their relationship but we didn’t know what it was. This one digs into that relationship as well as their romantic relationships. Majority of the story takes place with a group stuck on a mountain trying to get help after an accident. There are quite a few tense moments that had me holding my breath while waiting to find out what would happen. I became invested in the characters, and couldn’t put it down until I knew that they would be rescued and how it would happen. On the romantic relationship side, there was a few will they / won’t they moments for both main couples, but thankfully in the end Ms. Warren put the characters together that I wanted together. However there is still one relationship that I want fixed and I hope this happens in book three. The ongoing story about what happened to Ian’s niece, Esme, was mentioned very briefly in this one, but there was a piece revealed near the end that has me anxiously awaiting book 3 for answers. Book 3 releases July 4th.
(I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley; opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion.)

Monday, 6 March 2017

Lucky Number Thirteen by Liz Isaacson

Released: March 6, 2017
116 pages
Series: Three Rivers Ranch # 7.5

About the Book:

 
A bonus novella in the #1 bestselling Three Rivers Ranch Romance series, featuring Tanner Wolf!
 
Tanner's in Three Rivers, a changed man, to compete in the rodeo. He's glad to be forgiven of the misdeeds he's done, and he looks to his friends in Three Rivers as examples. He's ridden hundreds of bulls over the years, but when he draws Lucky Number Thirteen, the personal stakes for winning go up. He's never made it to the eight-second bell on this bull. And he doesn't this time either. In fact, he makes it to the hospital with career-ending injuries. But not everything is lost, as his nurse, Summer Hamblin, seems to bring a balm to his weary soul--and meds for his broken ribs. When Summer is assigned as Tanner's home-health nurse, he wonders if they can take their relationship beyond the walls of the hospital. Has God brought him to Three Rivers to stay?
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 (3 stars)

 
Lighthearted read about a cowboy and a nurse. Tanner has been injured and needs to accept the fact that his rodeo career is over. Summer has had her heart broken in the past and refuses to date. These two are drawn to each other and can feel a connection; however can they move past their fears and trust God with their future? I liked that Tanner wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings to Summer even though she didn’t respond the same initially, he was patient with her. My favourite scene was when Summer arrives at the restaurant in Colorado Springs. I enjoyed the interaction between Tanner and Summer, and it was great to catch up with some characters from past books.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the author but the views expressed are my honest opinion.
 

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren

Released: Oct. 18, 2016
352 pages
Series: Montana Rescue # 1

About the Book:

 
Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town.

Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart.

With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?
 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars)

 
This book picks up 3 years after the prequel. The PEAK rescue team has brought on a new helicopter pilot, Kacey. She sees this as a time to regroup after her experiences in the military and to reconnect with her daughter. She doesn’t know that her high-school sweetheart, Ben, is also home helping his father. Ben and Kacey are thrown together on the search & rescue team and are forced to confront the mistakes and misunderstandings from their past. These two have never stopped loving each other but there is a lot of hurt standing between them. Can they overcome their past and embrace a future together? I felt drawn to these two and wanted them to work things out and was annoyed with those who tried to stand in their way. The ongoing relationship saga between Ian and Sierra frustrated me; I can’t help myself with wanting the two of them together already. The search for Esme and Dante continues when more details are uncovered during an area flood; however we still don’t know what really happened. There was so much packed into this story, dealing with trust, truthfulness, shame, forgiveness, love, and can we disappoint God so much that he will no longer love us.

There were so many thought provoking quotes that I couldn’t choose just one, but I did narrow it down to three that will stick with me:
1.      “Instead of telling yourself you can’t have the happy ending, why don’t you let go of all your dreams – and your fears – and let God show you how it ends. He’s the master of happy endings.”
2.      “Having faith is the bravest thing we can do. It’s the unwavering confidence that God loves us. That although we can’t see the road ahead, we can see God. A God we know, a God that loves us, so much that he won’t give up on us. Won’t let us get lost, even when we think we are. Real faith takes everything you have – throwing your life, your heart, everything you are with complete abandon into the embrace of God.”
3.      “Let’s not let our past determine whether God loves us or not. He does. And we’ll never get it right without him.”
Ms. Warren knows how to weave a story and create characters that will draw a reader in not let go until the very end. I felt like I really got to know these characters and want to spend more time with them. Thankfully there are two more books to come. I will diving into book two, Rescue Me, right away.
 
 

Friday, 3 March 2017

If Ever I Would Leave You by Susan May Warren

Released: Sept. 15, 2016
109 pages
Series: Montana Rescue Prequel

About the Book:

 

If you harbored a devastating secret, had given your solemn promise of silence… what would make you to break it?

Ian Shaw can have anything he wants…

...except the woman he loves. After all, Sierra Rose is his amazing assistant, a woman who helps him hold his empire together, leaving him free to pursue his adventurous hobbies—his only distraction from his excruciating past… until now. But what if she is the one who can finally free him from his regrets?

Sierra Rose harbors a terrible secret…

...the fact that Ian’s favorite niece and ward, Esme, just might elope with her less-than-awesome boyfriend. Sierra’s made a promise to Esme—but her first loyalty belongs to her boss Ian, the man she's admired for years. But letting herself fall in love with him risks the best job she’s ever had.

When tragedy strikes, sparks ignite…

...because Esme has vanished. Ian fears the worst--has she run away with her boyfriend? Or, has something more sinister happened in the wilds of Glacier National Park? It's a race against time, with Sierra and Ian caught in the crossfire of secrets, regrets and what-ifs.

 

My Rating & Thoughts:   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars)

 
This is a prequel to Ms. Warren’s series, Montana Rescue. The characters grabbed my attention right from page one, then I really got into the story and didn’t want it to end. I enjoyed the potential romance between Ian and Sierra, billionaire boss and assistant. Both are harbouring feelings for one another but are hesitant to act on them as it would change what they see as a good working relationship. While away on a camping trip Ian’s niece Esme and her boyfriend, Dante, go missing. Ian does not believe they have run away together and begins a search for them, using his money he brings in searchers, buys a helicopter, other equipment and puts ads everywhere. But the weeks pass with no results. The PEAK rescue team is formed through this mission. I can’t wait to read the first book in the series, Wild Montana Skies, to see how the story continues. And I must find out what happened to Esme.
You can get this e-book for free on amazon right now.