Tag Archives: christian romance

Uncommon Heroes Series Review

8 Oct

If you’ve been following SGL for any decent length of time, you’re aware of what a BIG fan of Dee Henderson I am. I don’t read a whole lot of books set in modern times, honestly. But the way she writes intrigue, suspense and clean, intentional romance just grabs my attention and doesn’t let it go. I’ll share links to my other book reviews at the bottom of this post. I’m currently in the middle of a Henderson kick, aka, reading every Henderson book that I can get my hands on. And yes, I’m heading to the library asap to pick up more.

But today, I want to share with you a simply lovely three book series, Uncommon Heroes.

“The only easy day was yesterday.” -Navy Seal Motto

True Devotion – Lifeguard Kelly Jacobs was pulled by the waves of the sea, the cold and exhaustion making it hard to stay awake. She knew time for a rescue was running out as the sun set. But just as sure as she was about that, she also knew her best friend would come and find her. Navy Seal Lieutenant Joe ‘Bear’ Baker pulled Kelly from the sea and in those moments of being held safely in his arms, she said the wrong thing. Their friendship on uncertain terms, both Joe and Kelly have some decisions to make. For Kelly, can she risk loving another active military man? She did that once and has the folded flag to prove it. For Joe, can he learn to balance a relationship as well as his career? What they don’t know is that the man who killed Kelly’s husband is closer than either of them know and danger is just around the corner.

~ I’ll start out by saying that I love the fact that God is our refuge is such a part of this book. Both characters learn and lean on that. I just adore Bear and his struggles and wanting to do what’s right. I really enjoy the Seal aspect of the story. Of course, I can’t attest to just how accurate that part of it is but it’s interesting and done well, in my opinion.

“These things we do, that others may live.” – Air Force PJ Motto

True Valor – While Lieutenant Grace ‘Gracie’ Yates is flying an F/A-I8 Hornet and trying to keep the peace while readying for war, Major Bruce ‘Striker’ Stanton, an Air Force Pararescue Jumper, is on the ground pulling pilots and Special Forces soldiers from behind enemy lines. Bruce knows that Grace is too good of a pilot to not pull the tough assignments, and if trouble comes, his unit will be the one to get the call. They keep a relationship alive through love letters while they are both deployed, leaning on God’s assurance that He is sufficient no matter what. That faith will be tested when a dogfight erupts and Grace’s plane is damaged. Determined not to be the first woman pilot shot down behind enemy lines, Grace babies her plane and fights the need to eject. But her fighter jet goes down. And Bruce now has only one mission: get Grace out alive.

~I probably can’t say enough good about this one, you guys. This is one of my favorites of all time of hers. I just love who Bruce is – his intentional seeking out of Grace, how he keeps tabs on his sister, his friends, etc. Grace is a confident pilot who is still reeling from a loss and learning how to get back to living a full life. I really appreciate how Henderson weaves that through. And of course, the military aspect just sucks me in.

True Honor- When the cold war was over, Darcy St. James retired from the CIA with an Intelligence Star for Valor. For the last two years, she’s been enjoying civilian life. But then September 11 happened and she was called back for her knowledge and experience. The nation needs her street smarts and network of contacts. She’s on the trail of a man who knew what was going to happen on September 11 and chose to profit from it. Darcy meets Chief Petty Officer Sam ‘Cougar’ Houston during the first days of the war. He is busy following the intelligence that Darcy is finding. His role as a sniper has him taking out one enemy at a time. Their romance is one they didn’t expect but it flourishes despite the distance and stresses of their jobs. And then they find out that Darcy is high on the terrorists list of targets.

~This is my favorite of the series. Even over the second book. I just adore Darcy (I’m sure part of that is her name, tbh) and her longing to be out of the spy game while knowing that she can’t sit on the sidelines of this war. She struggles with good vs evil and finds an unexpected blessing in Sam. Sam is a solid believer, who knows what he’s fighting for and that good will win in the end. He realizes the treasure that he’s found in Darcy. I found it interesting, their dynamic of her finding information and his unit being the one to carry out the missions. I liked that overlap. It was interesting, it being based on the war that I actually lived through, and brought to home the sadness and terror a bit more than reading about other wars do. I really like the twists and turns for the search for the man that Darcy is hunting.

I think that’s all I can say about each of the books. I genuinely enjoy all three of them, although as you can tell, as the series continues I love the books more. The romances are all clean, intentional and based on faith. I so appreciate that in novels.

This series was printed back in 2002 and yet, I feel like it’s still one of my favorites of hers. I’d love to hear if you’ve read this series?

Other Dee Henderson reviews on SGL:

The O’Malley Series Review

Book Reviews- Dee Henderson Special

Book Reviews- Dee Henderson Special

11 Sep

Over the course of the past months (a year even. if you want me to be truly honest), I’ve been buying books more than I have in the past decade. I normally prefer to check books out from the library, then if I like them enough to own them, I wait until I find them at used book/thrift stores. But with the closing and all of libraries, that avenue was cut off. What was I supposed to do? Not get any new reads?

Surely not.

Instead, I wound up finding this lovely soul on Instagram that sells books at great prices and also have found there can be great deals on christianbook.com. All this to say that my To-Read pile has grown wonderfully long, and that’s aside from the pile that I already owned that I need to read. Check out my Classics Edition and Other books to see what those look like.

ALL of that to say, I wound up with a few more Dee Henderson books, one I’d never read and the other one I think I’d only read once. And since I’m woefully behind on posting anything on here, I decided that a nice, easy welcome-back post would be to review just the Henderson books. So, here we go!

Kidnapped – FBI agent, Luke Falcon, has just walked into a nightmare. Someone has taken his cousin’s wife and son. Determined to get them back, he is searching for the kidnapper and trying to solve the crimes surrounding it. But danger is getting closer to him and the woman he loves. (published 2004, originally titled, True Courage)

~What’s interesting is this is slated as book #4 of the Uncommon heroes series. While it’s been a few years since I read them, I can’t see/remember any link to the other books. Nonetheless, this one is well worth the read. Luke Falcon- first off, a really cool name; second he’s kind of a dream-come-true-kinda guy. His life is seriously thrown for a loop when he gets the call that his family is missing. The twists and turns are just what I expect from her. The discussions of faith were really good, although they didn’t impact me as much as the ones in ‘Taken'(see below). I did feel like I should have known who a few side characters were, so maybe I do need to go back and read the Uncommon Heroes series again, perhaps they are in one of those books. But it wasn’t so much that it detracted from the story.

Before I Wake – The town of Justice, Illinois is small and quiet and Sheriff Nathan Justice loves it. He meets Rae Gabriella as she moves into town, seeking a new start after an undercover investigation went wrong. She’s decided to work as a private investigator with former boyfriend, Bruce Chapel, hoping the quiet town will help her heal. But the peace and tranquility have just been shattered by a string of murders. Women are being found in their hotel rooms, apparently dead in their sleep- no sign of theft or violence in the rooms. When Nathan finds out that Rae is working one of the cases, he’s not happy about it, especially as she fits the profile to be the next victim. Can Nathan, Rae and Bruce work together to find who and what this mysterious killer is before the killer strikes again? (published 2006)

~This was a new read for me. I really liked the small town of Justice, and the history that the Sheriff had, as his family had founded the town years before. The different aspects that were going on in this story were woven together SO well, and all actually mattered in the story. (as opposed to some books that we’ve all read that had parts that weren’t necessary to the plot and just seemed to take away from it.. but I digress). I really liked the side character, Gage Collier. Which, looking up his name just now made me wonder, isn’t he from the O’Malley series!??! Someone please tell me he is. Anyway…. pulling my attention back to this review just got harder– OK. The end was so good and satisfying although there were two things that I was like ‘wait, what?’ when I realized it was the last page. I can’t say more than that because it would be major spoilers but I’m a little surprised at her decisions in these things but I’m also holding out hope that it means she was setting it up for a second book.

Taken – Shannon’s escape was planned to the last detail, as is her plan to capture the ones who kidnapped her -the Jacoby family. Her choosing Matthew Dane, private investigator, as the one who helps her gain her freedom, wasn’t an accident. But the task of finding all the evidence, and what happened to the ransom that was paid all those years ago, is going to be harder than she thought. (published 2015)

~I did really enjoy this book. It is intense and a bit slow moving but it’s theme was different than I’d read before – taking place AFTER the kidnapping. I liked the faith of Shannon and her coming to terms with the events of her life. The romance was a little odd but it grew on me.  this was my original review from 2018. Now, having read it again, I agree with everything I said although the romance wasn’t odd to me. I liked its sweetness and carefulness. Shannon’s faith again impacted me So much. I appreciate how Henderson writes the struggles and theology into her books.

One Suggestion I have before reading Taken is to read Full Disclosure and Unspoken. Just for background on some of the important side characters. I’m sure you can read it and still fully enjoy it without but I think it would be worth it to wait and give those a shot first. They both are also excellent, from what I remember as it’s been a few year since I read either.

Here are my reviews for them from previous posts:

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson – Ann Silver, cop, passes off a case to Luke Falcon, FBI. She’s relieved to have it off her desk, as she’s also the Midwest Homicide Investigator. He’s just been handed vital information that ties to a case he’s been working for years. But soon their lives will collide, getting far more personal than either had anticipated.

~ Whooeeee. I’d read this book years before but didn’t remember much of it. I appreciated how different of a lead female character Anne was – her end goal wasn’t marriage and kids and the white picket fence. This book has so many layers to it that I was sucked in very quickly and stayed that way. It is an intense story, as you follow along on a John Doe case. Perhaps a bit too quick of a wrap-up at the end for me, but thankfully, it didn’t ruin the whole thing. (you know what I’m talking about). 

Unspoken by Dee Henderson – Almost twenty years later, Charlotte Graham still hasn’t spoken about her past. A past that includes her being the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago’s history. A past that includes such pain and fear that she’s never risked telling anyone. Can she finally take that risk?

~You might notice that another Henderson kick is beginning… This one is ‘connected’ with Full Disclosure and Taken. While there was a lot of detail about coins, I appreciated how much she researched it out – it didn’t take away from the novel for me. As usual, some of the faith struggles of the characters hit a bit too close to home for me – but that is one reason I appreciate Henderson’s books. She writes not only good fiction, she gives real-life faith struggles to her characters. I highly recommend this book!

And I’ll admit that I have them in an online cart right now, debating if I should break my self-imposed book buying ban and just get them, or not. Decisions, decisions.

Have you read any Dee Henderson? What’s your favorite of hers?

~Laura

The O’Malley Series Review – click to read!

I’ve made a sticky note to remind me to do a separate post for the Uncommon Heroes series sometime soon.

Book Reviews- Sept 2020

13 Oct

I’m finally sitting down and getting book reviews up for you all! I’ve been reading quite a bit lately – novels and books for research, as you’ll soon see! I’ve joined an online book club called An Enchanted Book Club, where each month a classic book is chosen. September’s was Peter Pan! Let’s get to the reviews, shall we?

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner – When Marian puts on Robin’s cape to help her maid’s brother, she doesn’t intend to lead people to believe that he has returned. Because he never can- he’s died in the Holy Crusades far from England. But there’s a corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham draining the people and land of food and hope, and Guy of Gisborne wans to take Robin’s place as Lord of Locksley as well as Marian’s fiancee’. She decides that if no one else will stop them, she will. She decides to become her own hero : Robin Hood.

– Click the title to read my review! Trust me, this book is worth one extra click.

Yours for Liberty: Selections from Abigail Scott Duniway’s Suffrage Newspaper by Jean M. Ward – Duniway started a small newspaper in 1871- one of the very few of its time that was focused on the advancement of women. This book shares excerpts from its conception to when she sold it.

-Duniway was a powerful woman in a time when women were expected to mind the house and babies. While she did raise several kids, she also pushed the boundaries of normality and became the main breadwinner after her husband had an accident. She was formidable in the fight for women’s emancipation.( I got this from the library)

Abigail Scott Duniway and Susan B. Anthony in Oregon: Hesitate No Longer by Jennifer Chambers– When entrepreneur Duniway was on a business trip, she waited excitedly to meet Susan B. Anthony outside the convention. That meeting sparked a friendship that would last decades – through travel by train, carriage, horseback and boat as they shared the message that women had a right to vote. They each were vital in the parts they played to bring about the 19th ammendment.

Having read the previous book about Duniway, this was interesting to read more about her life in detail. Chambers shares an intimate view of each Duniway and Anthony as they fought tirelessly to give women a voice. They were different in many ways, and often disagreed, but their end goal was the same. Duniway became the head leader in the Pacific Northwest for the Suffrage movement. This was a good, easy read with a lot of interesting facts about the movement. Highly recommend. (I got this from the library)

The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden – Not only is Elizabeth Black the headmistress of a girls boarding school in Victorian London, she writes ‘silver-fork’ novels- stories for the upper-class societies. But she finds the restrictions placed on women constricting, so she’s assumed the pseudonym of Mr. King and writes penny-dreadfuls. Those stories of daring fights and dashing heroes fighting supernatural villians. Fletcher Walker is the most popular author of the penny-dreadfuls, until Mr. King comes along. Fletcher has come a long way from being a street urchin and now, as part of the Dread Penny Society, helps the fraternity to rescue as many kids from that life as he can. But, Mr. King is taking his readers- and his profits. In the search to find out who the elusive author is, Fletcher goes to Miss Black for her assistance. But neither expects the danger that is about to come their way – nor the attraction that draws them ever closer

This book, you guys. This book. Just click on the title and read my full review, okay? It’s worth it, I promise. (I got this from the library)

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – When Peter Pan lands in the Darling’s nursery to look for his shadow, he meets Wendy, John and Michael. With a bit of help from pixie dust, he teaches them to fly and off they go to Neverland where they meet pirates, pixies, Indians and mermaids. With plenty of adventures for them, the Darling children are enthralled with the Boy who Refuses to Grow up, and the world he lives in.

I’m quite certain I’ve read this before but so much of it seemed new to me that I can’t be certain… I’m not the only one who does that, am I? I adore the Disney version, so it was fun to see what they kept and what they changed in the story. The book is a tad darker but not so much that I’d limit the age of who could read it. Barrie’s style is quite different from what I’ve read before, I’m intrigued to read another of his. Peter Pan will probably be a yearly read for me, it was fun, sweet and full of little lessons along the way.

The Mayflower Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #1) by Kimberley Woodhouse– in 1620, Mary Elizabeth, along with her father and brother, board the Speedwell with her community of Seperatists in the search for a new life. William Lytton boards the Mayflower not only as a carpenter but also as an agent of the Virginia Company, to keep an eye on their interests as the colony is set up in the New World. But the journey seems doomed from the start- the season is not good for sailing, food runs low, disease runs rampant and hope is failing. Will Mary Elizabeth and her people survive in order to start their new life? Will William be branded a traitor and sent home?

-I snagged the first three books in this series when it was on crazy sale on christianbook.com. This book, as stated, starts in 1620 when three ships started out for the New World. I enjoyed the story overall, but it didn’t suck me in completely. I’m not sure why though. Woodhouse did her homework on the Separatists and those that sailed with them, and I really appreciated that. I especially liked William as he was trying to do what was right, even as he searched for his own faith. I did appreciate how clean the romance was, so sweet and caring without anything unnecessary! Because of that, I feel that even younger teens would be able to read this book and enjoy it as well as learn faith and life lessons.

American Queenmaker: How Missy Meloney brought Women into Politics by Julie Des Jardins– “Marie “Missy” Mattingly Meloney was born in 1878, in an America where women couldn’t vote. Yet she recognized the power that women held as consumers and family decision-makers, and persuaded male publishers and politicians to take them seriously. Over the course of her life as a journalist, magazine editor-in-chief, and political advisor, Missy created the idea of the female demographic. After the passage of the 19th Amendment she encouraged candidates to engage with and appeal to women directly. In this role, she advised Presidents from Hoover and Coolidge to FDR. By the time she died in 1943, women were a recognized political force to be reckoned with.” – I grabbed this synopsis from Goodreads because it’s just so well written.

I got this from the library as part of my research for the novels that I’m writing. I’d never heard of Missy Meloney before but I’m so glad that, not only this book was written, but that I decided to give it a try! I expected to read only the bits that were what I was wanting info on but I found that I couldn’t put it down! I think everyone should learn about Meloney- she was a woman who was behind so much in this country. I also was inspired to try and work past/through my health ailments as she did throughout her life. This book was very well written and researched, it had so many interesting tidbits of history throughout.

Currently Reading:

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Rebecca by Daphne Du Marier

To Read:

Winter’s Heart( Wheel of Time #9) by Robert Jordan

The Pirate Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #2) By Kathleeen Y’Baro

Police Procedure and Investigation- a Guide for Writers by Lee Lofland

20th Century Fashion 1900-1920 Linen and Lace by Sue Mee

Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans & Fashion, 1840-1900 by Joan Severa

(these last 3 are library books for research for my current WIP)

February 2020 Book Reviews

11 Mar

It’s a bit late for a Monthly Book Review but I’m going to give you guys a quick one! I’m going to be talking about the books that I shared in My Library Book Haul.

I’ve already shared my thoughts about The Bridge to Belle Island. Trust me, you want to click over and have a read.

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill – When Piper Sail’s best friend, Lydia, goes missing, the only thing she knows is that she can’t just sit around waiting for the police to find her. Especially when it seems that they are looking in all the wrong places. She sets out on her own investigation, with the aid of a young detective, into the underbelly of Chicago in 1924. She’s determined to find Lydia, no matter what. But she soon has to decide exactly what that means as the truth just might upset her privileged life. ~This book immediately made it to my Favorite Reads of the year list. I’ve not read anything else by Morrill but she wove an incredible story of family, intrigue and 1920s Chicago. It was also very clean, with only subtle mentions of women of a certain profession and innocent romances. If you’ve followed SGL for a while, you’ll know that for this to be on my Faves list, it HAS to be clean! I adored Piper’s spirit, her brother (even when he was being a jerk), and of course, the detective who decides to help her.

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #3) by Theodora Goss – When the girls of the Athena Club return home only to find that their friend, Alice has been kidnapped along with Mary’s employer, Sherlock Holmes, they rush to find them. But along the way they realize that the kidnappings are only a small part of a sinister plot that threatens not only the Queen, but all of England. Can Mary, Justine, Diana, Catherine and Beatrice stop the plans already in motion and save, not only their friends, but their country as well? ~As I shared in the Library Haul, I’ve not read book one. These were both on the ‘new arrivals’ shelf of my local library and they intrigued me. This series is very different from what I’m used to – seeing as how each of the girls are victims of an evil scientists’ experiments on them (one’s poisonous, one’s a vampire, one’s part cheetah etc). I’d almost say that I’d enjoy these stories more if those elements were taken away. But, I’m certain that those very parts are what makes this series stand out. I did end up enjoying this one- to a degree. The chase and revealing of the sinister plot were clever and intriguing – and were what kept me reading. The other stuff relating to the… vampire and such, were a bit much for me. Just like in the first book, honestly. But it seemed to be more present in this one. I don’t think I’ll read either of these again but they were well written with a fun, unique plot. If you want to see my review for the first book, click here.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini – I want to do a review of the full series, so for now – know that I enjoyed this conclusion to The Inheritance Cycle

Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams – The Early Years 1903-1940 by Gary Giddins – This covered Bing’s childhood and on up to his rise in fame til the 1940s. I did enjoy what I got read of it. But, well… it took me several weeks to get a quarter of the way through it. And that was with skipping ahead to a section that was of more interest to me. Giddins wrote it well, and he did extensive research on Bing’s ancestors and life. While I fully appreciate that, it was a bit more than I was wanting. I finally just wanted my (huge) stack of library books gone, so I returned it without finishing it. Perhaps one day I’ll get back to it. But, even if I don’t, I still learned some cool (and sad) information on Bing. And found some songs of his that I’d never heard before!

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis – When Susan’s horn is blown, the Pevensie children are called back to Narnia to help Prince Caspain reclaim his rightful throne. The false king is ruthless and will stop at nothing to kill the old Narnians and maintain his rule. ~I’m reading this series as part of a reading group on Instagram. It’s been fun to re-read these again as I feel it’s been a while! Prince Caspian is, I think, one of my favorites of the series as we see some of the growing up the Pevensie’s have to go through and of course, we meet Caspian and see Aslan again.

Jennifer: an O’Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson- I have read the O’Malley Series, for years and I still enjoy them immensely. This is a short story with one of the siblings as the main character. It was so nice to get to read more about Jennifer as a doctor and see as she falls in love. The heartache though! Agh. Even knowing what is coming (thanks to reading the O’Malley series beforehand), it was still a good, quick read. If you love the O’Malley’s, check this one out.

Thrive by J.J. Eden – A small book of poetry and micro-fiction that focus on the highs and lows of life. On keeping the will to thrive strong in our hearts. ~I got this book free for my honest review. And while I haven’t read any poetry in several years, I enjoyed this a lot. So many of her words resonated with me and some of the micro-fiction I was wishing was a full length story!

Currently Reading:

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

Tate (Montana Marshalls #2) by Susan May Warren (ebook) – this one is so good but with it being an ebook, I’m just not reading it much.

Zorro by Isabel Allende

To Read:

Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis

The Bridge to Belle Island Book Review

3 Mar

Synopsis:

Lawyer Benjamin Booker has just been publicly humiliated by a beautiful woman. Vowing never to be taken in by a pretty face again, he is relieved to turn his attention to another case. One involving the murder of the law offices senior partners old friend. Both unsatisfied by the progress by Bow Street, Benjamin agrees to start his own investigation, which takes him from London to Belle Island. While he’s glad to be free of London for a while, he finds that the island – isolated on the Thames and veiled in mystery – is home to the beautiful Isabelle.

Isabelle claims to have never left the island in ten years. She’s created a full and productive life in her small world, one that she’s proud of, even if she is ashamed of her fear keeping her trapped. When the handsome lawyer shows up on her doorstep to tell her of her uncle’s death, she’s shocked. But when evidence points to her, Isabelle isn’t sure what to do. Can she trust her own mind? Can she trust the friends surrounding her, or should she trust the handsome Benjamin?

After having read some reviews that were all over the place on how good this book was, I was unsure if I would enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed her other books that I’ve read. (for links to those that I’ve reviewed here, they’re at the bottom of this post!).

My review on Goodreads right after I finished it :
Klassen did it again. This murder mystery was so engaging and kept me guessing right up til the end. I liked Benjamin Booker – just out to do the right thing and not get misled again by a pretty face. And while I didn’t understand the given reasons by some of the characters (Isabelle included) held back information about the night in question, it did add to the suspense of it. I admit – I found myself wishing I could live on Belle Island.

This made it on to my FAVORITE Reads of 2020 book list! So even though there were bits that I was scratching my head on, I liked the differences of Klassen’s story line for this murder mystery. I would recommend this for pretty much anyone – although I’d suggest pre-reading it before handing it to a younger teen reader.

Here are links to the other books by Klassen that I’ve reviewed here on SGL!

The Painter’s Daughter

The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Book Review – The Silent Governess

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

Thanks for stopping by SGL! If you’d like to see what I’m up to on a -slightly – more regular basis, check out my Instagram page.

~Laura

War Torn Heart Book Review

18 Jun

I have another book review for you today! There’s something fun about just reviewing one book in a post. I’m able to expand on what I thought of it, which obviously, talking about books is one of my favorite things.

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War Torn Heart by Allison Wells is set in South Carolina as the rumors of war are starting. Abigail Walker is sixteen and set to enjoy her last summer as more a girl than young woman but then she meets Harvey Nicholas. As a cadet at Celmson College, he’s as far from her world as he could be. But sparks fly and Abigail happily spends her free time with Harvey. As summer progresses, they fall in love.

When the rumors, and then the reality of war, reaches their quiet small town, Abigail is worried that Harvey and her brother are going to go running off into it. And when Pearl Harbor is bombed, that’s exactly what happens. Both young men are eager to protect their loved ones.

Neither of them are prepared for the tragedy and cost of what the war will bring. It will test their love, loyalty and faith. If they let it, they will grow to be men and women of faith and endurance.

But will Abigail be able to hold onto what she knows is right and true in the midst of it all?

~I was so excited about this book. Plus, I mean, look at that cover. Go ahead. Scroll back up and look at it. I’ll wait. Isn’t it just perfection? I love when a cover just hits the nail on the head. I’d never read anything by Wells before, so like I said, I was excited to dive into this war-time coming of age story. 

I did end up enjoying this book, I want to start with that, okay? There were some places in the story that just dragged too much or I felt that the story line was rushed where I would have loved to have more details. I greatly enjoyed seeing Abigail grow up through the trials. She went from a young woman of girl-ish beliefs to a woman that had been through struggles and come out knowing who she was in her faith. The heartbreak in the book was – so- heartbreaking – it – hurt. There were twists and turns that I was impressed with. While the ending did seem a bit abrupt, it was sweet. 

There were some things I didn’t like about it, but mostly they are more of a personal problem that I have when they are in ANY book. The statements that most any young girl will make/think but that, as they grow, they realize just aren’t true. Statements about God, mostly. I would have loved to see Wells work in the fact that Abigail learned how incorrect her assumptions in those areas were.  

Like I started out with, I did end up enjoying this book. Will I read it again? It’s a mix of maybe and probably. It was a sweet story overall and the setting of the war is one that I don’t read a lot of. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers unless an adult has pre-read it for them because there is some mild content that was a bit more than I can recommend for young readers. As well as some aspects of their relationship that while it is real-life accurate, can come across as completely acceptable. (which clearly, I don’t think is.)

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

~Laura

*I did receive this free for my personal opinion and review from Ambassador International*

Michelli Family Series Review

21 Mar

This series by Kristen Heitzmann is by far the most unique christian romance suspense series that I’ve read.

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Secrets-  When Lance Michelli’s grandmother sends him on a quest to her past, he’s not sure what secrets he’ll uncover. He ends up at a Sonoma villa, recently purchased by Rese Barrett, a toughened young woman whose own secrets will sweep him away if he’s not careful. They clash as she works on fixing the place up and he tries to complete his goal for his grandmother. The unexpected attraction that springs up causes even more complication.

Unforgotten – Lance returns to New York, to his grandmother to tell her what he’s learned about that night long ago at the villa. He’s also brought Rese, who’s hiding her own secrets. But when he tells his grandmother, she won’t listen, instead sending him on another quest. This quest, however, hits closer to home, forcing Lance to choose between the two women.

Echoes – Finchè c’è vita c’è speranza” Where there’s life, there’s hope. Sofie Michelli’s world opens up again when she hears these words. Her years of living in despair and loss are at an end and she’s ready to start again. That comes in the form of the old villa that her brother Lance, and Rese, fixed up. What was once intended as an inn, has become a refuge for the hurting and downtrodden. It takes some time for Rese to adjust to the humbled version of Lance, but this new gift of healing of his leaves her with even more questions. Things get even more complicated when Child Protective Services, Matt Hammond, shows up on their doorstep to investigate the infant left unexpectedly in their care.

This series touches on faith, mental illness, physical healing and SO much more. Some of it was outside of my normal ‘read’ so while I still enjoyed each book, I feel like my favorite was the first. That’s not to say that each book didn’t impart some wisdom as the characters learned and grew. I loved reading about Matt’s journey as he gets to know the residents at the Sonoma villa and deals with his own painful past.

While this series might not be a regular read for me, I can see myself coming back to it simply to fall back in love with the characters, appreciate how Heitzmann wove such a stunning plot that keeps you reading until the last page.

I definitely recommend this series but I would suggest pre-reading it before passing it on to a younger reader. As it deals with heavier things, it might be too much for them.

~Laura

*While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

 

Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series Review

14 Feb

I’m excited to be sharing this series by Robin Lee Hatcher with you guys today. I know I promised this review to you way back in December but it’s finally here! And it’s definitely worth the wait. Trust me. I actually heard about this series from my aunt who found it at her local library.

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A Vote of Confidence, When Gwen Arlington complains about the mayoral candidate for their small town of Bethlehem Springs, she is encouraged to run for office herself. Although she’s unsure about upsetting her cozy life as a piano teacher and writing for the local newspaper, she decides to go for it. Unknown to her, newcomer Morgan Mckinley also decides to run for mayor. The health spa that he’s trying to build has stalled and he’s decided that being mayor will help cut through all the red tape. As both Gwen and Morgan try to prove that they are the best candidate for the job, not only to the residents of the town but to each other, sparks fly. But Gwen’s fiercely protected independence and Morgan’s guarded heart may just keep them as adversaries instead of allies.

Fit to Be Tied,  Cleo Arlington isn’t your typical young woman. She can rope, ride and wrangle a horse with the best of the outfit on her father’s ranch. But in 1916, those qualities aren’t what men are looking for in a wife. Her dreams of being married and having a family of her own look grim. So when Sherwood Statham comes to their ranch, she has a hard time with his uppity attitude. This English aristocrat isn’t there in Idaho by choice, but by order of his father. Cleo and Sherwood’s every encounter leaves one or the other mad as all get out. There’s no way he’s the one she’s been waiting  for, is there?

A Matter of Character, Writing dime novels isn’t what people expect of an heiress, so Daphne Mckinley keeps her hobby to herself. But the stories are a hit and the readers keep asking for more. Daphne eagerly obliges, continuing the saga of her villian Rawhide Rick, who is loosely based off local lore. But when Joshua Crawford comes to town in search of the man who has slandered his grandfather’s good name, Daphne learns just how powerful words are. She also has to make a choice on using her gift and just what she wants her life to be.

 

This series was so much fun. I love the time period – starting in 1915 – and Hatcher describes just enough of the world that you can picture it without there being too much reminding. Know what I mean? (there really can be too much description in a book. . .) The main characters are great, although I have to admit to liking Daphne the most (although I do remember getting frustrated at her a few times…) but I suppose that’s no surprise as she’s a writer and I’m a writer.

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aren’t these covers just perfect?! I’m in love

Anyway, this series was SO much fun, my friends. I read them all so quickly and was sad when they were over! Faith was an aspect of each book, but not overly done. (there can also be too much preaching in books…)  There is something so fun about reading novels set in this time period – the newfangled contraptions of typewriters and automobiles. The dresses, gloves and hats. (happy sigh)

The twists and turns were great as well, keeping me in suspense as to just how each book would end. I highly recommend this series, from teens on up! This series is definitely on my re-read list (we all have one of those, don’t we?)

Also, I have reviewed another of Hatcher’s books, The Shepherd’s Voice. Go check it out! It’s also set in Idaho.

~Laura

 

January 2019 Book Reviews

31 Jan

I read so much this past month! Books of quite different styles as well. I didn’t make it to a few that I had planned on reading but that’s okay, they’ll be picked up next month (hopefully…)

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

*While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has swearing or blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

 

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope – Newly orphaned Peggy wishes she could ignore her father’s last request but honor bound, she makes her way to the family’s ancestral estate – and her eccentric uncle. Her welcome is hardly what she expected though, when her uncle drives away her only new acquaintance and is then ignored herself. But the estate isn’t lonely for Peggy as she finds out that it really is haunted. And her ancestors are eager to share their story, one of a centuries-old romance, spies and plots.

~This was such a fun read, and due to the fact that I read it while traveling, it was also a quick one! The storyline was unique and the characters – in both modern time and historical – were engaging.  I always enjoy a book that can pull off 2 different eras. It would be great even for preteens. It is absolutely a book I’m going to be reading again.

 The Dragon Reborn -Wheel of Time series book #3 by Robert Jordan – Rand al’Thor is left to his own devices to learn how to control the One Power, knowing only that he will eventually face the Dark One. Perrin Aybara is on the hunt with Moraine Sedai, Lan and Loial but is grappling with losing his own humanity. Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve are on their way to Tar Valon, with a very sick Mat in tow, to tell the Amrylin that the Black Ajah is real but they’ve no idea that worse awaits them. None know that the greatest test is awaiting the Dragon Reborn in the Heart of the Stone.

~I’ve fallen more and more for Perrin you guys. His story just… intrigues me. And Loial. Mat’s storyline is also getting more interesting as well. The way Robert weaves so much information about so many people together is absolutely captivating. 

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffey – Saving doomed infants (premies) in incubators at Coney Island, alongside burlesque shows and sword swallowers, Martin Couney ignored the scorn of the medical community and accepted any baby brought to him. His love for every one of his tiny patients was evident, as he fought against the popularity of eugenics. At the end of his career, it’s estimated that he saved some seven thousand babies.

~ Raffey uses historical documentation, interviews and original reports to tell the story of this incredible carnival doctor. Some of the information on her search was a bit dry for me, I was after all, reading it for the story of Couney but overall I really enjoyed this book. Learning about the invention of incubators (something I’d never really given much thought to before) and how, for years while Couney was using them, hospitals didn’t. A very intriguing read about an incredible man.

Michelli Family Series by Kristen Heitzmann – series review coming in February!

Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme – When Tassie is told about the history of the blood moons, she brushes it off, focusing instead on her career and boyfriend. But her unbelief is threatened when she finds herself in the midst of terrifying worldwide turmoil, including a terrorist plot. Can she accept her destiny in the midst of these times and help save the country of her heritage?

~I was excited about the different/Jewish take on an end-times thriller. Plus the cover of the book is just stunning and let’s be honest, that affects us all probably more than it should… I ended up being discouraged quickly though. Part of it being that the writing style was distracting to me (I felt we were told the same thing repeatedly)- and I felt like the story could have been developed a lot more. I fell for a few of the characters -Tassie’s Dad for example. I was sad to realize that the Jewish aspect ended up feeling like it was a Christian take on Jewishness. While I did finish it, I ended it feeling unsatisfied and wishing that the author had really delved into the Jewish aspect (that which originally called to me about it) a lot more. I received this book free for my honest review from Ambassador International. 

The Princess by Lori Wick – Following the tradition of Pendarin, Prince Nikolai agrees to an arranged marriage with Shelby Parker. He’s still deeply in love with his late wife but knows he must move on. He doesn’t reckon on just how hard that will be though, even if Shelby is sweet, and steps easily into the role of Princess. She isn’t sure just what to think of Nikolai as he avoids her at home but is the perfect gentleman in public. Can they both find peace and love in this arranged marriage?

~I honestly am surprised that I haven’t reviewed this before! This is such a gem of a book. It’s sweet and romantic. I love reading this when I need an uplifting, easy read. The main character, Shelby, reminds me a little bit of Sophie from Sophie’s Heart. I fall for Nikolai every time I read it. As this is a Lori Wick, the men are ‘perfect even in their imperfections’ as I like to say, but I so appreciate the faith encouragement that I get from Wick’s books.

Good bye, Lover by Rachel Britz – For Honora Gallagher, her life is turned upside down when her father unexpectedly dies. The news of his death, and the unlikely requirement for her to inherit the estate, spreads across the country.

~I’d only read this once before, back in 2015 where I reviewed it here. Suffice it to say, you really should go check out my full review ( and the full synopsis)

 

Currently Reading:

Maire by Linda Windsor

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #2 by Theodora Goss

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh (I’m making headway on this one!)

 

To Read:

Praying Through Lyme Disease by Rebecca Vandermark

Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Medical Medium’s Liver Detox by Anthony William

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (finally got it from the library!)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

 

I’ve got crazy long lists of books I’ve read and To-Read on Goodreads if you want to follow me! I’ve got a page on Facebook and Instagram if you’d like to follow me either place. I am much more active on IG than FB though.

~Laura

My Favorite Reads of 2018

12 Jan

I just love reading about what books people loved, so that I can add them to my To-Be-Read pile! We all know that list can never be too long, so here’s some great books to add to your own TBR!

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Series

Evie Blackwell Cold Case by Dee Henderson (somehow I only ever reviewed the second book. I’ll work on that problem this month!)

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Whispers on the Moor by Sarah E. Ladd (series review coming soon!)

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New Reads

The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill

Taken by Dee Henderson

As you Wish : Inconceivable Tales of the making of Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Truth be Told by Carol Cox

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Amazing Grace : William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas

The Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI

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Rereads

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Rose Daughter by Robin Mckinley

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick

Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis Mcgraw

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

~Laura

 

Little Blossoms for Jesus

• Enjoying the old-fashioned & beautiful • • Thankful for grace • Growing in faith • • Learning life • Loving people •

A Musing Maverick

Ilse Davison

Elaine Howlin

lost in the pages of books

See Jayne Run

Navigating with Chronic Illness in a Self Absorbed World