Monday, August 29, 2011


A heart-wrenching story of love amidst the agony of the Vietnam war. I don't often give out 5 stars to books, but this book is one that will stick in my mind for awhile. This story brought out alot of different emotions as I was reading it and near the end there were a few tears shed. I believe this is the first book I have read that took place during the Vietnam War and was written in a way that didn't really take sides with whether there should or shouldn't have been a war, but rather what those who were over there had to endure. This was a very well written story by Catherine West.

Kristin Taylor finds herself in Vietnam looking for work as a overseas war correspondent, and also trying to find her brother, Teddy, who is somewhere in Vietnam as a medic. She winds up (in a very humorous way) meeting Luke Maddox, a brooding, hard to get close to photographer, who has alot of mystery to him. Together they are thrown together and although they can't stand each other at first, that quickly turns around into a very well done tender love story. The people and places you will meet along the way in this story will keep you intent upon this story; not wanting to put in down until the very end. I wasn't sure by the cover of this book, whether or not I would enjoy the story, but I must say the book captivated me from the very beginning and didn't disappoint me in any way (and after having read the story, I fully understand the cover). I give you what I feel sums up for me the "meaning" behind the story from the book, "Nothing happens by accident, . . . . . We may never know why things happened the way they did. But I don't think that matters. What matters is how we grow through the struggles we're given." A wonderful lesson for us all. This is a story I highly recommend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

WINTER WINDS by Gayle Roper

A delightfully good story to end this wonderful series. Dori MacAllister finds herself returning to the charming town of Seaside after leaving bittersweet memories behind her 6 years ago when she moved to the West coast to start a new life. Pastor Paul Trevelyan is surprised to see her back, but also overjoyed with the possibilities of what this could mean for them both. Throw in a teenager, a brother and a charming lady police officer, and a church full of interesting folks, and you have yourself a fun ride with lots of excitement, laughs and learning to let go and let love and forgiveness take over. There was alot going on in this story and there was never a dull moment. Gayle Roper has such a good way of making all her characters full of charm and personality. There are problems, heartaches and danger; but she writes in such a way that you come away refreshed, knowing that working through tough times can be done and it always brings about happier endings than failing to resolve conflicts. A great ending to a great series of books!

AUTUMN DREAMS by Gayle Roper

There are many reasons to like this series of books by Gayle Roper and here are a few that apply to this book and book 1 and 2 in this series: 1) she deals with issues in everyday life that are not easy to understand and cope with, 2) the story has many different stories inside of the one story. It is not just about two main characters, but each character in the story seems to have a story to tell, 3) it is a fiction work that reads like a real life story - people have problems, worries, faults and none of them lead a perfect little life, and 4) she brings everyone's own personality into the story and weaves together a piece of fiction that has you wanting to keep reading more. And I should mention that yes, there is always some good romance included.

In this story you have Cass Merton who finds herself trying to be a good daughter, Aunt, sister, innkeeper and employer and learning to be content with no man in her life. In walks Dan Harmon ("thecompulsive, overachieving pragmatist") into her bed and breakfast in Seaside and the plot thickens. He is staying for awhile because "he knew that the chief end of man was to love God and enjoy Him forever, but when he tried to imagine what that meant, especially the enjoying God part, and how he should accomplish it, his mind was a blank as an unused ledger and a lot more useless". Then you have the easygoing nephew, Jared, and the niece Jenn, who has a "chip on her shoulder" most of the time staying with Cass for awhile. There are her parents who are growing old and how does she handle the increasing dementia in her Mom's life. Last but not least is her employee, Brenna, who seems to have some secrets she can't seem to share.

As you can see this makes for a very interesting and enjoyable backdrop for a very well done story on love, understanding and acceptance of the situations we all find ourselves in in life. There are lessons to be learned, secrets to be exposed and love to enjoy for the first time! I am anxious to read book 4 in this series. These books can easily be read as stand alones, but they are so good you will want to read them all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Gayle Roper has a way of dealing with real issues, sometimes tough issues, in a very well done and realistic way. She also keeps it upbeat, and lively. In this story I found myself laughing and smiling as well as nodding my head in agreement at how the two main characters in this story handled some tough issues in their lives.

Abby Patterson has endured a terrible car acccident where she barely survived, but where her husband and small child did not. She is now well on the road to recovery and trying to break free from her parents who are smothering her with their care. She finds an upstairs apartment right on the beach and begins to experience some freedom. But she wasn't planning on such an annoying landlord who lives right below her; Marsh Winslow, who just wants to enjoy his beach house and write his stories. Someone is out to do Abby harm and Marsh finds himself as her source of strength and someone she can lean on.

This story had alot going on and it never left you with a dull moment. There was enjoyment in watching Abby and Marsh and their "way with words" around each other. Abby was a magnet at drawing people to her place and alls Marsh wanted was peace and quiet. There was mystery, heartache, suspense, secrets and lots of understanding and love. I just had a hard time putting this story down until I was done. Looking forward to reading more in this Seaside Series.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

RESTORATION & ROMANCE by Curtis, Hicks, MacDonald and Orcutt

This was 4 quick reads from 4 different authors about not just restoring homes, but restoring lives too. I
In in the 1st story you find Chloe who is determined to protect her grandmother from a handsome handyman she knows nothing about. I really liked the part where she tries to stop the town gossip by pretending the handyman is her man and how he "plays right along". It was a fun story.
Story #2 was about K.C. McKenzie who is an interior designer trying to restore her late husband's family farmhouse. But the new owner refuses to sell. It was enjoyable watching them work together to restore an old house and in the process, restore some things missing in their own lives.
Story #3 pushes two people together who want nothing to do with each other, but the historic estate is left to them to share. Now they must learn to let the past go and forgive and forget. A lesson we all have trouble with.
Story #4 is about Laurie Golden who moves her family to a small town in Texas, hoping to restore a family home. Her neighor wants to find a historical grave site on her property and the two of them quickly learn to work together, with a little help from her Mom and 2 kids.
All 4 stories were about restoration of homes, but I liked the way each author also mingled in with their stories the need each one of their characters had to restore a relationship or a past hurt in their own lives. The title of the book is right on - "Restoration & Romance" - a good combination.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BLIND FAITH by Judith Pella

I liked the way the title of this book fit so well with the story line of this book. Irene is a single Mom with 2 boys (after having tried to save a failed marraige). She is approached by Joel Costain, a prestigious lawyer who is trying to find someone who has just claimed to be his long lost brother (Joel was adopted as a baby and never knew his real parents). The irony is that the man Joel is trying to find is Irene's ex-husband, who is found dead a few days later. This brings Irene and Joel together in an unlikely way and they both must struggle with challenges and differences in their lives. Joel must also convince Irene that he is not like his brother and he can be trusted. They both need faith and the fact that Joel is blind adds to the suspense of this story. There is alot going on in the story and it keeps you on your toes, so to speak. Their is revenge, murder, suspense, intrigue, love, heartache and the need for forgiveness all wrapped up in this one story.

Monday, August 8, 2011

MEGAN'S HERO by Sharon Gillenwater

When you finish a book and just sigh to yourself, feeling good having read it, then you know you have found a book you like. That is how I felt about this story, and about the first two in this series also. The Callahans of Texas are super nice folks and it makes you wish you had them as your neighbors. And whoever was responsible for the book covers also did an excellent job of picturing the main characters in these stories.

This story revolves around the oldest Callahan son, Will, and its hard to find anything you don't like about this guy. Maybe a little "bossy" at times, but only because he cares. You are introduced to the woman in this story at the very beginning when she finds herself in the middle of Texas with a tornado coming straight for her and she having to lay in a ditch to escape death. She is Megan Smith, who is alone and pregnant and trying to survive life, having come from a family of misfits, convicts and drunkards. Will comes to her rescue and the whole Callahan clan helps to get her back on her feet again and make her feel like she belongs. Megan realizes that a God she never got to know saved her from the tornado and she begins her search of getting to know Him in a personal way.

It was with great enjoyment I watched as Will and Megan came to understand each other and begin to realize that their friendship was much more. The interaction and conversations were just filled with warmth and Will was such a charming man that Megan didn't stand a chance. God doesn't hold a person's past against them and neither did the Callahans and this was just another great story in the whole Callahans of Texas series. You won't be disappointed when you read this series and although they can be read as stand alones, I recommend you take the time to read them in order and get to know the family. You will be glad you did!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

SURRENDER the DAWN by MaryLu Tyndall

As it states in the beginning of this book, MaryLu's "passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ", and this book totally lives up to this! I have never been disappointed in reading any of this author's books. This story can be read as a stand alone, but I highly recommend you don't just read this story, but start with books 1 and 2 first, because she ties in the characters from the other books so well in this story and you will be glad you read the other books first. There is action, adventure, romance and high seas battles that will keep you interested and turning the pages until the very end.

Cassandra Channing is trying to hold her family together during the War of 1812 (her father and brothers are gone and she is trying to support her mother and two younger sisters). She takes all the money she owns and buys into the privateer ship that the town rogue, Luke Heaton has won while gambling. Cassandra doesn't exactly trust Luke and Luke does have his problems, but he is a man of his word. The problem with Luke is, he doesn't believe he is any good, especially for the lovely Cassandra (who has a temper and a mind of her own, with very little fear or forethought to her actions). So the drama begins with these two characters and it is quite an adventure. I think the theme or lesson I took from this story was captured by the author with these words from one of the characters in this adventure, "I have seen God's destiny in action. His plans are good. . . . They don't always make sense at the time, but in the end they are always good." Both Cassandra and Luke will come to see the answer to these questions in their life . . "Was life merely just happenstance? Just a thread of chaotic events? Or were there reasons for everything that happened? A plan? A purpose?" Another good job by MaryLu Tyndall!
(And I loved the picture of Dexter, the dog, at the end of the book; exactly how I had him pictured in my mind!)

This was a series that is well worth your time for some high seas adventure and lots of romantic challenges. I want to thank the author and Barbour Publishing for sending me this book for review. I am very grateful, but it did not in any way influence my 4 star review.