Book Review, christian

Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh – a Complex Contemporary Novel with Depth

About the Book:Change of Heart
Author: Courtney Walsh
Publisher: Tyndale House
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2016
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Series: Paper Hearts, 2
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

REVIEW | As a reader who (for reasons unknown) best loves the contemporary genre, reading Courtney Walsh’s novels was high on my priority list. But despite best intentions I’d not opened the pages to discover her brand of Story. Until now. Inside these pages, a story of joy, disappointment, betrayal and the healing power of forgiveness unfold, all of which rises to the surface as each of these layers is beautifully peeled away.  Continue reading “Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh – a Complex Contemporary Novel with Depth”

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You’re the One That I Want by Susan May Warren

About the Book:You're the One that I Want (Susan May Warren) Book

Author: Susan May Warren

Publisher: Tyndale House

Source: Publisher ARC

Publication Date: 2016

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Series: Christiansen Family, 6

Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5

REVIEW: Following the cascade of certain events (vague for the sake of spoilers!) taking place in When I Fall in Love, I was sure that when the time came for Owen’s story I wasn’t going to have any loyalty or much of an inclination to read this novel. This was further reinforced after reading Always on My Mind, which was brother Casper’s story. I felt like because of some of the choices Owen had made and the eventual pairing of Casper and Raina, the woman who shared something with Owen, there would be no way to coax a redeemable story out of this character. Before I share thoughts on this, the sixth and final novel in this family saga, here’s what Owen’s story is about.   Continue reading “You’re the One That I Want by Susan May Warren”

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The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren

About the Book:Book - The Wonder of You
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Christiansen Family, Book 5
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: In the realm of inspirational fiction, family sagas are currently enjoying popularity. One of those series is penned by award-winning author Susan May Warren, who took on the challenge of writing about more than the typical three siblings (three book series). Her world features a family of six. This is the next to last book which takes us on “baby” sibling Amelia’s journey. Her story was teased at the end of Always on My Mind. In fact, it was such a good here’s-what’s-to-come (because anytime you hint at a British hero, I’m in)  tease that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this beauty. Returning to this haven that the Christiansen family calls home to catch up with this family is always a pleasure. Giving Amelia a British gentleman intent on proving himself to her? That’s icing on the cake. Amelia’s story picks up after she returns from overseas having felt betrayed by Roark. But little did she ever dream he’d follow her to the north woods of Minnesota nor does she know just who Mr. St. John really is. Continue reading “The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren”

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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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When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren

Book - When I Fall in LoveAbout the Book:
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale House
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2014
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Series: The Christiansen Family, book 3
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

If ever there was an author in the Christian fiction market who consistently did everything but disappoint this girl, it’d be Susan May Warren. I started with her Deep Haven novels way back with Happily Ever After, then later some suspense and historical (did you ever notice that she writes every genre and does each on so very well?) before coming full circle and returning to where it all began: Deep Haven, with a host of new characters to fall in love with. This third novel is all about daughter, Grace of the loving Christiansen family, who is a homebody to a fault. She feels comfortable in her surroundings at the family home and working for the small pizzeria in their hometown. Only that’s all about to change when, shortly after her eldest brother’s marriage, she receives a gift of a Hawaiian vacation from her family – one that involves cooking, which just so happens to be Grace’s passion, so long as it’s merely making pizzas at the local pizzeria. Much to her embarrassment, her almost brother-in-law, Jace, asks his fellow hockey teammate to look out for Grace during the trip he also is taking. Between Grace’s fear of being away from home and Max’s deep-seated fears over his own carefully protected secret, the fun they have in Hawaii may not last once they return to the real world. Continue reading “When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren”

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My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren

About the Book:9781414334820-325x500
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: 2011
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Series: Deep Haven – book 4
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: The novels set in the charming beauty of the small Minnesota town Deep Haven is where I was first introduced to best-selling author Susan May Warren. Here was an author who knew how to write compelling characters and keep us interested in their plight. When the 3-book set came to a close, I can remember writing an email to Warren asking if there would be more and if the witty best friend character of Liza would ever have her own story. Her response was that she would enjoy re-visiting the characters but it would ultimately be up to the sales of the books and the publisher. Now, many years later, she has again invited us back to the quaint haven and I am one reader that couldn’t be more thrilled. The story in this yarn revolves around the introverted Issy who, unbeknownst to everyone but her best friend is actually Miss Foolish Heart, a popular radio host who runs her own dating advice web page and hosting gig from her home – and all without having met Mr. Right. When Caleb Knight moves in next door, he is determined to keep his own secrets even as he finds a place in the community as the new football coach. Sparks fly between he and the fearful-of-everything Issy but could her own happily-ever-after really be right next door? Continue reading “My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren”

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It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

About the Book:Book - It Had to Be You
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: February 2014
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Series: A Christiansen Family Novel – book 2
Genre: Fiction; Romance, Christian, Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: Ever since reading my first Susan May Warren novel (Happily Ever After – way to hook a teenage romantic!), I have been a committed fan of Warren’s wordsmith. Since that very first Deep Haven book, this fan has been eager to return to the beloved north of the rustic Minnesota town. The second novel in Warren’s “spin-off” series (following the six novels in the Deep Haven series), It Had to Be You is Eden Christiansen’s story. As the responsible daughter of the family, Eden has always put aside her feelings and aspirations in favor of keeping baby brother, Owen in line during his pursuit of a career in the NHL. Wild and determined to push his sister out of his life, Eden is devastated when Owen is injured with the possibility he may never play again. This leads her into the life of team captain Jace Jacobsen. Jace is the Blue Ox’s “bad boy,” every stereotype of the image has been written about him and because of that neither Eden nor Jace knew each other beyond recognition when passing in the stadium halls. Eden has made assumptions about Jace, and Jace never thought of Eden as anything other than Owen’s bossy cheerleader, but now these two unlikely people are about to discover there is more to a person than first impressions. Continue reading “It Had to be You by Susan May Warren”

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Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge and John Ward

About the Book:Book - Heart of the Country
Author: Rene Gutteridge with John Ward
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: 2013
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary/General
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: Usually I like stories that reconcile characters who have been distant, whether it’s after a dispute or separated by literal distance. This novelization offers no more unique a perspective than most prodigal returns sagas. Unfolding in the 300-plus pages is the life of Faith Carraway who has just found out her husband Luke is being investigated as is the company he worked for on suspicion of a Ponzi scheme. Leaving behind the New York life she and Luke built together – and one Faith became accustomed to, Faith heads back to the place she wasn’t sure she’d ever see again: Home. Once there, Faith reunites with her father and sister and tries to deal with her scared past. Continue reading “Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge and John Ward”

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Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

Book - Born of PersausionAbout the Book:
Author: Jessica Dotta
Publisher: Tyndale House
Publication Date: September 2013 (ARC Book)
Series: Price of Privilege – book 1
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5

Let’s start with a confession. As a girl who hasn’t read “Gothic” fiction – or had very little exposure to it, the most prominent name in the genre that comes to mind when calling to mind its singular style are the Bronte sisters. Between the three of them, the genre was proudly represented – albeit often with a tragic outcome. Debuting in the fiction market – and her first novel, this year, Jessica Dotta is bringing a fresh voice to the genre lending a unique perspective and narrative to the young heroine. The story opens with the 17-year-old Julia Elliston arriving at Am Meer, the simple estate is home to Julia’s best friend, Elizabeth and her mother Mrs. Windham who attempts to socially control Julia under the guise of  being her “chaperone.” Under the protection of a mysterious “guardian” who is planning to place Julia in a service position in Scotland, Julia make plans of her own in order to rid herself of this faceless stranger but before that can see reality, she is soon caught in the middle of a power struggle she doesn’t understand and becomes a pawn of a woman of the aristocracy – a fragile position that could be her undoing. Continue reading “Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta”

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Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren

Cover Candy: Edition FiveAbout the Book:
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: 2013
Series: “A Christiansen Family Novel” (book 1)
Genre: Christian Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Review: Tragedy has been chasing Darek Christiansen from the moment he agreed to do the “right thing” by marrying the girl from his small hometown of Deep Haven. Instead of becoming a good husband and father, Darek was too busy travelling the country as one of the Hotshots, an elite firefighting team, leaving behind what should have been his greatest treasures. Now after a brief, tumultuous marriage, Darek’s wife Felicity died five years ago in a tragic accident and now the lovely Ivy Madison breezes into town. As the eldest in a large family, Darek’s past has become a subject no one dares to discuss. Following an awkward first impression, Darek slowly begins to open up to the assistant county attorney little realizing that the woman he is falling for and his own pasts are more intertwined than either understand. Continue reading “Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren”