Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DINING with JOY by Rachel Hauck

I feel this author gets better with each book she writes. This was my favorite in her "A Lowcountry Romance" series! It was witty, charming, and a "joy" to read.
Joy Ballard is the host of an up and coming cooking show that has been picked up by a major network. A slight problem though, Joy can't cook! Anything! (This was some of the fun of the story, but also hard to believe part of the story). She has had a great team behind her helping her "cover up" her inability to cook. Enter Luke Redmond, a creative, cute and jobless chef who has lost his Manhattan restaurant to bankruptcy. He joins Joy's team and Joy sees her way out of cooking, by handing the cooking part over to Luke, while she does the "stand up comic" part of cooking. Their relationship seems to simmer on the air and off, but when Joy's cooking secret (she can't cook) is revealed her reputation is ruined, she fears she is losing Luke and things at home aren't going so well either. Can Joy figure out what God's will for her life is?
I really enjoyed the interaction and "sizzle" between Luke and Joy. I also got a kick out of Joy's Mom and appreciated the way Joy related to her neices. Although this book can be easily read as a stand alone, if you read the other two in the series first, you will understand some of the other characters mentioned in the book better. But if you only read one book in this series, I recommend you choose this one; it is my favorite!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The HEART of a MAN by Deb Kastner

This was a delightful quick romance story. Dustin Fairfax doesn't care so much about appearances or money, unless it comes to helping people. But in order for him to acquire his trust fund his late father left to him, he must have a "make over" to prove he is worthy of the money. Isobel Buckley is an image consultant who has been given the task of "improving" Dustin. Image is everything, or so Isobel thought, until she met and got to know the real Dustin Fairfax. Her client's kind heart quickly showed her that it is what is in the heart of a man that really matters.
I enjoyed reading this story and thought it had a good message to go with it. It doesn't take that long to read but it was a nice refreshing time for me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A LOVE So STRONG by Arlene James

This for me was just a feel good romance story and I really enjoyed it. Pastor Marcus Wheeler would sure like God to send him a good woman to fall in love with and marry, but when Nicole Archer walks into his life, he is pretty sure she isn't that woman. She is to young for him and a little too unconventional in her dress for a pastor's wife. But he does need to help her with her dilemna at home with her alcoholic father and her 13 year old brother. The problem is he can't stop his feelings for her that continue to grow. I just enjoyed watching the two of them "fall in love" and at the same time wanting what God wanted for them in their life. As the author said in her book, God has a plan and if the plan wasn't what we thought it would be our job as his child is to sublimate our desires to His will. Because in the end we will see that God's plans are indeed perfect and beautiful and done with love. Good job Arlene James!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

PREACHER MAN by Laurie Larsen

My rating on this book doesn't have so much to do with how the book was written, because I thought the story line was interesting and the characters seemed real. Regan Samuels is a newly divorced Mom with a teenage son struggling to work through the change in her life at this time. She finds herself at a Charity Auction as one of the prizes on bidding on a date. Josh Gregory is a pastor who "bids" and wins a date with Regan. Regan has no religious interest or background but dating Josh has opened a whole new world to her.
I don't want to get long and involved in my review, so let's just say I had a hard time with the whole dating a non-believer, especially as a Pastor. This just wasn't a story I agreed with completely even though the author did a good job of writing it. I thought one of the best parts of the book was when Regan was talking to a group of young people and she said, "Do you ever feel like it's all up to you? That everything in your life is yours alone to figure out, to work through?. . . . God doesn't force his way, uninvited, into our day-to-day lives. He waits until we're ready for Him. . . . If we have our heads in the sand - like I have, most my life - and don't know that we're ready for Him, He sends us something else - a person, a situation - which makes us realize that we need to rely on Him.." And that is what God did for Regan in this story.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MAGGIE'S TRUST by Donna Boden

This is a story of Maggie and her quest to learn to trust and forgive all over again. Maggie has always had her eye on Jake McCormick, so when he finally starts to notice Maggie things begin to happen fast. But Jake had a bad first marriage, so trusting women isn't his strong point. Jake leads wagon trains west to Oregon; so when he leaves this time, he breaks Maggie's trust and heart. Jake discovers although he is thousands of miles away, he can't forget about his girl Maggie. But when he returns, can Maggie ever trust him again with her heart. They both need to discover the true meaning of love as God designed it.
This was a new author for me and I thought she did a great job. I enjoyed reading this story and hated to see the story end. There is another book coming out in the series about Maggie's sister and Jake's brother and I look forward to reading it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

JILLIAN DARE by Melanie M. Jeschke

If you are a big fan of the classic "Jane Eyre" and would like to read a contemporary story inspired by "Jane Eyre" then you are going to love "Jillian Dare". I have a soft spot for the whole story line of this book, so I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Jillian has landed a job as a nanny at a large estate in Virginia. Cadence Remington is the little girl she has charge over while the father stays busy running his business. As Jillian gets to know the moody employer, Ethan, she finds herself falling for her boss. But when his dark secrets come out, Jillian must make some hard decisions.
I thought this was a very well written story and appreciated the 3 types of readers the author was attempting to satsify (see the author's note at the end of the story). It made me want to read the classic all over again, but also made me appreciate the modern day version that this author has written so well. Well done Melanie M. Jeschke; I look forward to reading more of your work!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SHADOWS From The PAST by Ashley Dawn

This was a story for me that I couldn't put down until I had it read. It kept me reading from the very first action packed scene, wanting to see what was going to happen next.
Aurora Kavven is a LAPD officer who is haunted with dreams of watching her brother Lance die before her very eyes. She has let it destroy her relationship with her once upon a time fiancee and her relationship with her God. But when she suddenly becomes a target herself she finds herself face to face once again with her God and with her former fiancee, FBI agent Jordan Reiley. Jordan will do anything to keep Aurora safe.

This was a fast paced, "who did it" story line, with alot of heart felt feelings from both Jordan and Aurora that I really appreciated. You will want to definately give yourself some time when you start reading, because it is a hard book to put down. I would love to see more stories written about some of the other characters in this story!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This was a feel good Christmas novella. It is a great story to read around the Christmas holidays because it puts you in the mood for Christmas.
Anna Mae McDonough left her Amish community four years ago to marry a non-Amish man. Although she and her husband are happily married and enjoying their life together, Anna Mae is expecting their first child soon and misses her close knit Amish family, epsecially around holidays. With the help of her sister-in-law they plan a surprise visit for Christmas. But her brother isn't thrilled with his wife's participation in this "surprise" and Anna Mae's Dad does not welcome her visit. Can the family really get back together again and enjoy the Christmas spirit of forgiveness and peace?
This had alot of good lessons to learn throughout the story. I especially enjoyed the interaction and care that Anna Mae and her husband, Kellan had for each other. This was my first book by Amy Clipston, and I look forward to reading more of her books. I also loved the cover of this book, and want to thank LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Zondervan for sending me this book for review. If you want you can go to http://zndr.vn/aZzVXI to get more info. about this book.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

THE HUSBAND TREE by Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy does such a good job of writing lighthearted romantic and fun stories. I always come away feeling refreshed from reading one of her books.
This story is about Belle Tanner, a hard working woman, who has married and buried 3 lousy husbands and has no intention of marrying again! She has 4 daughters who can handle the ranch as good as any man and who are out to make sure their mother doesn't marry a no-good lazy husband again.
The problem; Belle has to take 1,000 head of cattle to market and she and her girls can't do it alone, so she needs to find some cowpokes. This is where Silas Harden comes into the picture. He has been twiced burned by women and has no desire whatsoever to get involved with them again. But he needs work so signs up for the cattle drive (not realizing the other workers on this drive are Belle and her daughters!) Belle soon learns she needs and can trust Silas and Silas soon learns he needs and wants to protect Belle and her daughters from danger.
The way these two argue, fight and solve their disputes is always fun to read. The trials on the trail and the adventures will make you want to keep reading until the book is done, and then wishing is wasn't.
There is another story going on in this book with a captured Shoshone woman, who is white, and the cowhand, Wade, who wants to rescue her if only she would let him. This story I believe will be the focus of book #3.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

EMILY'S CHANCE by Sharon Gillenwater

This was another good story in the Callahans of Texas series! I like a guy who knows what he wants and goes after it and that is exactly what Chance Callahan did in this story. He knew from the first time they met that Emily Rose was the gal for him. The problem is Emily Rose is only in the small Texas town to get the Callahan Historical Museum up and running and add it to her resume so she can get a job as a big city museum curator. She didn't plan on Chance, the cowboy contractor who sets out to woo her and does a really good job of it in my opinion. This was a good romantic read with alot of Texas charm, and I look forward to reading more about Callahan family in the future!

Monday, November 8, 2010


This was a great sequel to "The Fugitive Heart".
Elizabeth Carmeron is 19 and has had a very troubled past. She has decided to take her 5 year old Indian son and move to Belton, Texas to leave her past and men behind her. She has seen her Mom and sister killed by Indians, was raised by Indians and later abused by them. Her father, upon her escape, treated her with contempt and cruelty. Upon his death she is finally free! But fear for her son Joseph makes her keep a terrible secret, that he is not her son, she is just raising an Indian boy.
Caleb Martin has secretly been assigned, by Elizabeth's brother, to travel with her and keep an eye on her for awhile. In doing so he will gain a governor's pardon for his past mistakes (which you can read about the the first book). They were brought together by God and though they each fight their feelings for each other, the love they have cannot be kept hidden. The problem is they both have a past they need to explain to each other and deal with themselves.
Elizabeth feels she has to work to obtain holiness and the dear lady she cares for, Anna, has to teach her "we aren't holy because of our work for the Lord but because of the Lord's work for us. In us." There was so much good godly wisdom from Anna in this story. She did so much to soften and bring together two strong willed people, Elizabeth and Caleb.
There was tragedy, love, danger and alot of forgiveness in the story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series. I only wish more stories would have followed, as there were other characters I would have liked to known more about.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The FUGITIVE HEART by Jane Orcutt

This story gets added to my favorites list because it was so good. There were ALOT of twists and turns to the story and it never went the direction I thought it would go which kept me wondering what would take place next. It spanned alot of years but kept you focused and interested in all the characters. It is a story of learning about true love, forgiveness and an acceptance of God and Him knowing what is best for us, no matter the circumstances.
Samantha loved growing up on the Kansas prairie with her brother Caleb and his best friend Nathan and their families. She just wanted to love God and someday grow up and marry Nathan, her childhood sweetheart. But the War between the States breaks out and Samantha has her home, her parents and her brother and best friend taken from her. Fast forward 6 years and she is shocked to be reunited with her brother and Nathan, but neither are the "boys" she grew up with. They are now physically and emotionally scarred men who she later finds out are hiding from the law, for theft and murder. But Samantha still loves her brother and Nathan and although her love can cause her to make wrong choices, she never gives up on her God and His ability to change a life. You won't regret reading this story!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DISCIPLINES of a GODLY WOMAN by Barbara Hughes

Barbara Hughes does a great job of dealing with the many disciplines of a Godly woman; disciplines of submission, worship, contentment, marriage, and many more. But she stress that "the true heart of spiritual discipline is a relationship with God". Having a disciplined mindset gives real purpose and meaning to your day to day lifestyle. She uses God's word throughout her book to back up what she is saying, so it isn't just a book of Barbara's opinions, but God's word.
To quote the author, "The 'dread' of a disciplined life will be replaced with desire and anticipation as you find that there is no greater purpose than loving Him in every moment, every activity, and every thought."

She also gives you a wealth of good resources at the back of her book. You will not be disappointed if you read this book. It is now one of my favorites.

Monday, November 1, 2010

IN THE SHADOW of EVIL by Robin Caroll

Robin Caroll does an excellent job of writing suspenseful mysteries with a message. This was another good story that had you wondering "who did it". I would like to thank the author and B & H Publishing for giving me a copy for review. This was an advanced reader copy, as the actual book is not available yet, but will be soon.
Although there are numerous characters you will get to know in this story it is mainly about Layla, a lady who has fought hard to make a name for herself in the construction business, and Maddox, a detective who loves his job, but is leary of getting too close to any one woman.
When a house Layla has just built is burnt to the ground, and a dead body is found murdered in the rubble, Maddox and his partner are called in to investigate. Both Layla and Maddox want to figure out who did it and why, but neither one wants to work with each other or trust each other. Both Layla and Maddox also have a problem with forgiveness with things that have happened in their past. I appreciated the way they each had to deal with it in their life and the peace that forgiveness brought to them.
This story kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I liked the banter between Maddox and his partner, the love and loyalty Layla and Alana had as sisters and the slow but steady feelings Maddox and Layla grew to have for each other. I also liked trying to figure out who the "bad guy" was. Another good job Robin Caroll!