book, Book Review

Married ’til Monday, by Denise Hunter

About the Book:Book - Married 'Til Monday
Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Chapel Springs, 4
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance, Inspirational
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: When ranking Denise Hunter’s novels, like any reader, I certainly have my favorites. But each time I learn of a new novel from this seasoned author, excitement is more than a little off the charts and I am guaranteed a lovely read at the very least. As her latest four-book series draws to a close with this release, I saw my review copy patiently awaiting its turn to be read and after reading it, am left wondering how I delayed cracking open its pages this long. Those who’ve read all three of these familial novels will know that book four is about Ryan McKinley, the eldest sibling in the quartet of siblings. Ryan is one hero with a darkened past because of the marriage and divorce he proceeded through, now gone three years. When he learns that his ex-wife, Abby has never confessed their divorce to her parents, Ryan invites himself to tag along on her return home for her parents anniversary party. Feeling led by God to pursue a fresh, mature and healthy relationship with Abby, Ryan sees this as his one opportunity to win back the trust of his ex, whereas Abby isn’t receptive to the same feelings as Ryan. Continue reading “Married ’til Monday, by Denise Hunter”

book, Book Review

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

About the Book:Book - Hello, I Love You
Author: Katie M.Stout
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s)
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Standalone Contemporary
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Finding the “perfect” kind of summertime read is often conjoins the contemporary genre. That seems like everyone’s preference over the summer months.. This book defines that definition with its breezy premise and hidden punches that work on the characters to create friction. The story is about a girl named Grace who is running away from her family, pain and essentially life. She runs to Korea where she attends an elite boarding school to wrap up her senior year in high school. In spite of a friendly – and English speaking roommate, Sophie, Grace is still afraid to open herself up again. Between Sophie and her troubled twin brother, Jason – who is a famous pop star, Grace discovers she cannot always run away from her problems. Continue reading “Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout”

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Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren

About the Book:Book - Always on my mind
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Christiansen Family, book 4
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5

Each of this author’s books seems to grow. The stories are better, while never omitting the importance of realism and the writing is consistently brilliant. The fourth book in Warren’s on-going series set itself up in such a way that the same ease with which the prior books flowed, this one may have stumbled. Fortunately, I don’t think it does. Casper Christiansen ran away after the girl he fell hard for turned out to be using him. Or that’s how he saw Raina’s apparent fascination with his younger brother, Owen. Now he’s back from his treasure-hunting adventure, Casper decides the first thing he’s going to do is see Raina. One way or another, he’s going to tell her how he feels. When he shows up, he finds Raina pregnant… with his brother’s child. Raina doesn’t see herself as a single mother and telling Owen – or any of the Christiansen family is out of the question. So, she gives up the child for adoption and with time, she and Casper slowly begin again with a relationship rooted in friendship. Continue reading “Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren”

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The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea

About the Book:Book - The Sound of Diamonds
Author: RachelleRea
Publisher: WhiteFire Publishing
Source: Author provided
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Steadfast Love, 1
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: Discovering blogging friends are living their dreams through publishing is one of the most exciting things the book blogging community can be a part of. I’ve “known” at least three bloggers who are pursing that exact dream, and have been able to play a small part in helping two of them launch their novels in the world. One of those talented souls is Rachelle Rea. Her debut, The Sound of Diamonds is now officially out in the world and today, I’d like to talk about that novel. It follows the story of young Gwyn, a Catholic girl who’s hidden herself away at a convent in order to forget the tragedy she’s experienced in her young life – and to hide away from him. Dirk knows he’s the man Gwyn believes responsible for the death of her parents. Because of this, she isn’t willing to walk out the door with him when he shows up concerned for her safety, asking her to travel with him and his companions to England. Thus sets into motion a literal and emotional journey of healing, danger and forgiveness. Continue reading “The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea”

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Siren’s Fury, by Mary Weber

About the Book:Book - Siren's Fury
Author: Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Author (Publisher) Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Storm Siren, book 2
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: One of the most highly anticipated young adult novels of 2015 (or that’s been my experience), the “Siren” is back on store shelves and the wait finally over. Mary Weber’s follow up novel is here. With the heart-stopping ending to Storm Siren and more questions than we could handle left hanging, there was a lot to discover in book two. Now the adventure was about to continue inside the pages of this visually pretty novel. The opening picks up just where book one left off with Nym realizing that her mentor and the only person she’d truly come to love, Eogan was being used to house Draewulf for his own evil purposes. This is where the story begins and evolves from. Aided by Princess Rasha, Nym has to figure out how to defeat Draewulf, but holding her back is the man she sees each time she confronts Draewuld: Eogan. This leads to Nym and Rasha becoming stowaways; it’s this that gets our sequel in motion. Continue reading “Siren’s Fury, by Mary Weber”

book, Book Review

Hearts Made Whole, by Jody Hedlund

About the Book:Book - Hearts Made Whole
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Beacons of Hope, book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her. Continue reading “Hearts Made Whole, by Jody Hedlund”

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Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

About the Book:Book - Amy and Roger
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2011
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Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour Review

Given that this novel is from popular author Morgan Matson’s debut, it may seem an odd choice to spotlight. Let’s talk about why I’m featuring it. Recently it’s been popping up again on various Booktube channels (a popular Youtube scene in the YA community) I watch. Since I did have it on my shelf, I picked it up, read a few pages and the rest (as they say) is history. It may be a novel five years old, but it’s a journey well worth discovering no matter its age. The beginning of the novel is near perfection. Ordinarily I’m not the biggest advocate of a book that confines its story to two characters (without opportunity to get to know anyone else), plus throw in a first-person narrative. To me, this means the book doesn’t lend itself to expanding character horizons. Anyone we meet has to be translated through Amy’s eyes which isn’t the easiest of ways to get to know a person. Morgan’s writing melts all of those possible problems away. Yes, we are kept inside Amy’s head, thoughts and inner-most emotions, but it’s such a rich characterization, I didn’t mind. This is where the novel gets off to a brilliant start.  Read the Review on Silver Petticoat →

This review originally appeared on Silver Petticoat Review.

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Wild Hearts, by Jessica Burkhart

About the Book:Book - Wild Hearts
Author: Jessica Burkhart
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher ARC
Publication Date: May 2015
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Series: If Only, 4
Genre: Fiction; Teen Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

After reading an earlier book in this companion novel series, I was really excited to jump into reading this latest novel. First I’ll start by saying that the YA market is my “happy reads” place. I read them to enjoy a lighthearted, easy read and if I discover a story that looks beyond just a sweet love story, then I’m all for it. I certainly did enjoy this novel, but it also didn’t capture my fancy in the same way its peer did. The story follows two teens on the cusp of breaking the feud between their fathers. Brie Carter has moved constantly (thanks to her dad’s work as a developer) ever since she can remember. For this reason she keeps her distance from making friends – or having a boyfriend. But that all changes with her latest move to Wyoming. There she meets Logan, a cowboy who’s not just good-looking he’s always dedicated to his family and working hard to make their life work. Needless to say, Brie takes an interest in having the one thing she never allowed herself before. Continue reading “Wild Hearts, by Jessica Burkhart”

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Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch

About the Book:Book - Snow Like Ashes (5)
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Baltzer + Bray
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2014
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Series: Snow Like Ashes, book 1
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Snow Like Ashes Book Review

Sara Raasch’s debut novel, Snow Like Ashes, made a splash last fall when it debuted and though it’s been on my shelf for a few months, I am only know getting around to discovering it. It was worth the dust it gathered.

This story is an interesting one. It takes a unique approach to creating kingdoms and the world in which it’s set is an eye-popping visual feast indeed. The world is separated by four kingdoms, all of which are inspired by the seasons. We are primarily among the Winterians whose appearance mirrors their season – pale, white skin and snow-white hair. Then there are the kingdoms or realms that surrounded the four seasons. These are either allies of Winter (and the seasons) or are a realm who seeks to destroy them. Read the Review on Silver Petticoat ➔

This review originally appeared on Silver Petticoat Review.