Wednesday, June 29, 2016

All Summer Long (Follow Your Heart #2) by Melody Carlson

Title: All Summer Long (Follow Your Heart #2)
Author: Melody Carlson
Pages: 315
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     She’s ready to take on a new challenge. What she doesn’t expect is an old flame.

     Tia D’Amico is thrilled to move to San Francisco to help her aunt transform an old luxury yacht into an upscale floating restaurant. What’s not to love? Sunset dinner cruises, posh wedding receptions – the possibilities are endless and far more appetizing than staying in a monotonous job in her Podunk hometown. Besides, some of her best memories are tied to San Francisco – especially the memory of Leo Parker, her crush from a long-ago sailing camp.

     When Leo Parker himself turns out to be the yacht’s captain, Tia is floating on air. But will it all come crashing down around her when she discovers his heart belongs to someone else?

     Get ready for a romantic summer in San Francisco, where the future glistens brighter than the Bay at sunset.

My review:

     This is a wonderful contemporary romance!

     This is a totally stand-alone story. There are no characters that are the same from the first book and it takes place in a completely different location.

     I thoroughly enjoyed the character development in this story. Both Tia D’Amico and Leo Parker are multi-faceted. They are introduced and then their backgrounds and personalities are slowly presented. I really liked the fact that they begin as friends and a relationship builds from that point.

     The story about the boat that is being remodeled to be a dinner cruise ship on San Francisco bay is extremely interesting. There are enough details about the steps that have to be taken to really build the story around it. At the same time they don’t bog the story down in any way.

     Part of the charm for me in this book is that even while building the friendship between Tia and Leo they were also trying to remain in the boundaries of Leo’s existing engagement. The need to speak openly and honestly with people that you are in any type of relationship is really explored and I liked that a lot.

     I am giving this charming story a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it. I’m looking forward to seeing what Melody comes up with next time.

     You can find out more about Melody’s books on her website at:

Monday, June 27, 2016

White (The Restoration Trilogy #1) by Denise Weimer

Title: White (The Restoration Trilogy: Book One)
Author: Denise Weimer
Pages: 224
Year: 2016
Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Publisher: Canterbury House
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     In Denise Weimer’s second Canterbury House series, a heart-warming cast of modern characters restoring three separate buildings, a doctor’s house, apothecary shop and log cabin, uncover the secrets of three women, victims of circumstance and unforgiving times, whose past injustices have affected future generations. As the buildings are restored in White, Widow, and Witch, so are the hearts of the main characters.

     In White: The Restoration Trilogy, Book One, as historic preservationist Jennifer and brooding bachelor Michael restore his ancestors’ historic doctor’s residence in a rural Georgia community, they uncover the 1920s-era prejudice and secrets that caused Michael’s branch to fall off the family tree. Jennifer is determined to fulfill her first professional position with integrity even if her employer lacks a proper appreciation of history. Far more challenging – and sinister – than the social landscape of Hermon are the strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them on the Dunham property. Yet Michael’s and Jennifer’s own pasts pose the biggest obstacles to laying a fresh foundation of family and community.

My review:

     An exploration into restoring buildings and families.

     This is the first book that I’ve read by Denise Weimer. She did a marvelous job of developing the characters for this book. She must either know a lot about building restoration or she did a ton of research into the process.

     Early in the book when she is giving the description of the building that will be worked on during the story I did feel a little bogged down just because of all of the terms that I didn’t know. I believe that a glossary at the back of the book to help all of this make sense would have been helpful.

     This particular book in the series covers the period of 1904-1920. I really didn’t know much about this time period before reading this book. As the story progressed the history of Georgia Pearl and her life was presented. I was fascinated at the depth of history that was given as to how black people and especially mixed race people were viewed and treated during this time frame.

     I’m really looking forward to seeing where this series goes from here. The next two books should be just as interesting as this one.

     I’m going to give this book a rating of 5 stars. I considered taking off a star for the detailed descriptions of the buildings that bogged me down. I then decided that it was such a small portion of the book that it didn’t warrant the decrease. I am highly recommending this book.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sea Rose Lane (Hope Harbor #2) by Irene Hannon

Title: Sea Rose Lane (Hope Harbor #2)
Author: Irene Hannon
Pages: 362
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Three-Time RITA Winner Invites Readers Back to the Captivating Coastal Town of Hope Harbor.

     After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to the town where he grew up – only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed & breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he’s constantly distracted by noise, chaos – and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect and construction chief who’s invaded the house with her motley crew.

     As for BJ, her client’s son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn’t high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces to create a program for Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?

My review:

     This is a wonderful contemporary romance novel.

     This book is a stand-alone story. But at the same time life is going on for many of the characters that were in the first book and their appearances make more sense if you have already read the previous story. Some of them are charmingly eccentric and a lot of fun.

     I loved returning to Hope Harbor. We meet some new characters in this book and get to visit again with some of our old friends from book one. I really like the depth of the characters that Irene Hannon has created. They appear in every walk of life and many different life circumstances.

     One of the recurring themes in this book is people who are trying to rebuild a new life for themselves after some type of loss. Some of them have to make drastic changes to do so. But the one thing that helps them all is the deep level of community that exists in this small town on the Oregon coast.

     This delightful book is getting a rating of 5 stars from me. I’m highly recommending it.

     You can find out more about Irene Hannon and her books on her website at:

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Haven at Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell

Title: A Haven on Orchard Lane
Author: Lawana Blackwell
Pages: 417
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Historical (Victorian Era England)
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     An urgent escape . . . a wounded heart . . . Will Charlotte find the solace she longs for at the cottage on Orchard Lane?

     Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career – only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte’s estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother’s rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.

     Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she’s happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it’s time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn’t there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

     But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions – one that jeopardize those they care about most.

My review:

     This is a wonderful historical story about second chances.

     There is a marvelous cast of well-developed characters in this story. There are a number of different personalities included that cover just about all that you will find in any community you visit. They are easy to recognize and either relate to or hate depending on your own personal taste.

     There are a number of individuals that are hoping to have a second chance of one kind or another. For some of them it is finding someone to love. For some it is in trying to better their station in life through hard work. For a few they are trying to improve family relationships. I really enjoyed seeing this recurring theme for these great characters.

     One of the aspects that really caught my attention was that Jude Pearce owns the only bookstore in little Port Stilwell. Many of the scenes throughout the book took place in his shop and discussed the books that were available for sale in 1880 England. I actually went online and looked a number of them up and each one I checked was accurately presented. Being a complete bookworm I was fascinated by the titles mentioned.

     I’m giving this book a rating of 5 stars and recommending it. It is a charming tale and a delightful way to spend some time.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Quieting (The Bishop's Family #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Title: The Quieting (The Bishop’s Family #2)
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: Amish Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     It was a well-laid plan – but it wasn’t her plan . . .

     It’s all her grandmother’s fault. For the last few months, Abigail Stoltzfus has helped her father with his genealogical research, hoping that breaking through a client’s brick wall would also break his melancholy. But now her intrusive grandmother has set her sights on marrying off Abigail and insists she come to Stoney Ridge, where there is a plethora of eligible bachelors.

     Except that Mammi is mistaken. There are no eligible bachelors in Stoney Ridge, barring one, and he’s all wrong. Dane Glick has the wrong last name and the wrong relatives – including the bishop who is at odds over a church matter with Abigail’s uncle, minister David Stoltzfus.

     As the conflict grows, setting family against family, it’s becoming clear that the path to a solution may lead to a Quieting – a removal of a church leader. But for which one? And when Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem – but will it create another?

My review:

     A wonderfully deep Amish novel!

     This book is part of a “true” series. You need to read book one before reading this one for the story to make sense.

     A few new characters arrive in Stoney Ridge to join the community. They are as well developed as all of the previous characters. I thoroughly enjoyed my second visit in this small town. A number of the returning characters have matured beautifully and I really liked seeing how they handle the new problems and questions that they face.

     The recurring theme through this story is stubborn people who see their whole purpose as “fixing” everything for everyone. It was very thought provoking for me to see how others struggled to understand them. They had to learn how to deal with these difficult individuals and how to trust God to lead them as to when to stand up to them.

     I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am giving it a rating of 5 stars. I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book in this series.

     You can find out more about Suzanne Woods Fisher and her books on her website at:

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

Title: A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1)
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Pages: 365
Year: 2015
Genre: Historical Romance (with some comedy)
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she’s never actually met the man, she has no intention of ever sending the letter and is mortified when her brother’s mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.

     Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family’s estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

My review:

     A delightful historical romantic comedy!

     This is Kristi Ann Hunter’s debut novel. She has really set a high bar for herself with this one. She does have a prequel novella out that is available in eBook only.

     The characters are incredibly well developed and easy to connect with. The  variety of personalities that are included are very entertaining.

     Lady Miranda Hawthorne grew up with her mother constantly pulling her aside to give her “lady lessons” in proper conduct. She hated these little lectures because they constantly constrained her very nature and emotions. But they were needed to help her live in “polite” society. Throughout the book when she is struggling with wanting to act one way and knowing it is wrong she “hears” in her own mind her mother’s voice and the “lady lesson” that applies. I found each of these tidbits very amusing.

     Interspersed through the book is a bit of mystery and intrigue. The book is set in 1812 England and they are currently at war with France. There isn’t much actual talk about the war but it is a backdrop for the story and there is mention of it and how it affects those in high society. Some of the more quirky characters are connected with the danger and intrigue.

     Kristi Ann Hunter is now on my list of favorite authors and I am definitely looking forward to reading her next book. This one is getting a rating of 5 stars from me and I am highly recommending it.

     You can find out more about Kristi and her books on her website at:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom #2) by Sarah Sundin

Title: Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom #2)
Author: Sarah Sundin
Pages: 400
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love?

     Nothing slows Lillian Avery down – not her personal challenges and certainly not America’s entry into World War II. She finally has a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The demands of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy – even if he is her brother’s best friend.

     During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves -0 and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling?

     As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

My review:

     Another wonderful historical romance!

     This book can be considered part of a “true” series in the fact that the lives of the main characters from book one continue running a natural course in this book as secondary characters. The mystery itself is a stand-alone story with no connection at all to the previous book.

     I loved seeing where Jim and Mary are now, a short time after the end of their story. Along with that I got to learn a lot more about Arch and his background. Add on top of that the joy of meeting Lillian Avery. She is a delightful character who has been horribly wounded both physically and emotionally in the past.

     Both Arch and Lillian have a difficult journey learning to trust others. Watching their struggles as they learn to rely on God as their anchor is tremendous.

     They are both drawn into a mystery just by the fact that they are observant of their surroundings and other people. As they work on solving it from two different directions they and others find themselves in danger. The twists in the story kept me guessing as to all the connections between people on land and on the ship that Arch is assigned to.

     I loved this book and am giving it a rating of 5 stars. I have to highly recommend it.

     You can find out more about Sarah Sundin and her books on her website at:

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Valley of the Dry Bones by Jerry B. Jenkins

Title: The Valley of the Dry Bones
Author: Jerry B. Jenkins
Pages: 326
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Genre: Inspirational Fiction
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     A 17-year drought, earthquakes, and wildfires leave California uninhabitable and irreparable, forcing its citizens to relocate. Fewer than 1% of its population remain – by choice or necessity. But a contingency of 16 feels called of God to stay at their own risk to minister to the stragglers. Calling themselves The Holdouts, they face a clash of cultures, ethnicities, religions, and politics that pits friend against friend, with the future of the country at stake. In the midst of the chaos, while facing their most menacing opponent, the leader of The Holdouts becomes convinced he’s heard directly from God Himself. The result is a finish you’ll never forget.

My review:

     This is a FANTASTIC inspirational fiction book!

     Whenever I pick up a book by Jerry Jenkins I expect it to be good. This one definitely lives up to that expectation. He has an incredible ability when it comes to creating memorable characters.

     This book has a limited cast in it because of the setting that he has created. I was amazed at the variety he was able to include within a small group of Christians. There are a number of different short comings represented among them along with some very valuable lessons that we can learn along with the characters.

     I was captivated by the story from the very beginning. I knew right away that I was going to have to devote large amounts of time to reading so that I could find out what happens quickly. Very early while the group is having a Sunday service one of them, Zeke, is startled to feel a hand on his shoulder when no one was behind him. He heard a voice in his ear saying, “Listen to me.” That starts the rush of the story which really doesn’t let up until the end.

     I also absolutely loved how much scripture was included and yet none of it really seemed preachy. The Holdouts simply relied on God and used prayer and scripture for getting direction from Him.

     I have to give this wonderful book a rating of 5 stars. I am definitely highly recommending it.

     You can find out more about Jerry Jenkins and his books on his website at: