Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Secretly Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt & Denise Hunter - my review

Secretly Smitten is a romantic anthology by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt & Denise Hunter.  It is the second in the "Smitten" series and an enjoyable page turner.  By page turner I don't mean nail biting suspense, but there is a little suspense thread woven within each of four novellas centering around four single women in the Thomas family.  This was just enough suspense to keep me turning the pages.

The town of Smitten, once a struggling mining town is now a town that proclaims to be the Love Capitol of the country.  The four authors have painted the town of Smitten as the central character and woven five beautiful love stories throughout the book.

Book one, Love Between the Lines by Colleen Coble begins the journey.  It is the story of Tess Thomas and Ryan Stevenson's blossoming love story.  The suspense thread begins here when the dog tags of David Hutchins are found in a crack in the attic.  Tess soon finds out that they belonged to her grandmother's first love who was killed in the war....or was he?

Book two, Make Me a Wish, by Kristin Billerbeck is the story of Zoe Thomas, the town matchmaker.  When she meets William Singer, the new city manager fireworks happen.  Will she be able to make herself a 'match'?  And what about David Hutchins?

Book three, Knit One, Love Two, by Diann Hunt is the beautiful love story between Anna Thomas (the mother of Tess, Zoe & Clare) and Michael Connors, a retired Marine.  Anna owns her own knitting shop and with a little coaxing from Michael, starts raising sheep and offering wool spinning classes.  Will their romance unravel before it can be knit together?  And what about David Hutchins?

Book four, Love Blooms, by Denise Hunter is the cute love story between nursery manager, Clare Thomas and what one perceives a 'bad boy' Ethan Foster.  Can finding him lurking in the shadows of the nursery shed bring a light into her life?  And what about David Hutchins?

I truly enjoyed reading Secretly Smitten and hope that these four amazing authors continue the series.  I found as I read this book that if I didn't look up at the page header I wouldn't have known where one author stopped and the other began.  They were so in tune with each other on this book that it seemed as if it was all written by one person.  Amazing!

I would highly recommend Secretly Smitten to anyone wanting to read a sweet entertaining romance.  Oh, and also if you want to find out about David Hutchins.

On a 5-Star Scale - 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and the BookSneeze program for my copy of Secretly Smitten.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Choices of the Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes - a review

I have grown quite fond of reading Christian Historical Fiction. If the author has truly captured the time period then I always feel like I walk away from the story with new knowledge about that period of time.  I did just that when reading Choices of the Heart, the new novel in The Midwives series by Laurie Alice Eakes,  The story begins in 1842 Virginia and Ms. Eakes truly captures the dialect and time period of the life in rural Appalachia.

The story begins with Esther Cherret leaving her home to travel to rural Appalachia in order to be a school teacher.  We learn in the first few pages that she has been raised to be a Midwife just as every woman in her family has been trained.  She is the only daughter of her Pastor father and Midwife mother but because of a scandal stemming out of her flirtatiousness, she feels she must leave her home so her family can continue to hold their heads high without her shame bringing them down.

Unfortunately, in traveling to rural Appalachia, she has found herself face to face in a longtime family feud, much like the Hatfields and McCoys. Esther had hoped to keep her healing skills to herself but in time she has to reveal them.

Cousins Griff and Zach have vowed to end the feuding and killing in the families but when mysterious things start occuring and Griff and Zach find themselves both falling in love with Esther the hope of peace between the families becomes questionable.

Esther finds herself trying to deal with her past and the feelings that God has abandoned her.  All while she begins to have a growing attraction to one of the cousins.  Esther believes because of her past, she could never be a proper wife for any man.  She feels she would be undesirable.

I feel Ms. Eakes captured the time period both with her setting, vocabulary and customs of the day.  I enjoyed the story but I found the mystery a little predictable for me.

I would recommend Choices of the Heart for anyone wanting to read a clean historical romance.

On a 5-Star Scale = 4 Stars.

** Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group**

I would like to thank Donna Hausler and Revell for my review copy of Choices of the Heart.  I received my copy of free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Declare - 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life by Joel Osteen - my review

Okay, there are just some books that grab you from the first sentence and never turn loose of you.  Not even after you have read the last word and softly closed the cover of the book.  I Declare  was just such a book for me.  Yes, this book is non-fiction and yes, it grabbed me and still hasn't let go.  In fact, I have been telling everyone I know about this book and have even bought copies for family and friends because I know that not only is it a great book but the content can be life-changing.  I've already started seeing changes in my own life and it's only been a week.

I Declare is a wonderful book of 31 chapters that are set up to be read one chapter per day.  Each chapter begins with a Declaration and then Joel gives about two and a half pages in which he gives a story/example of how that declaration can and has made a difference in people's lives.  I have to admit, I read the book in two days but I'm now planning (once my husband finishes reading it) to read one chapter per day.  I fully believe that if a person reads this book and starts making the positive declarations over their lives daily, their lives will change for the better.

My husband is a pastor who speaks often about watching the words that spew out of our mouths.  Joyce Meyer also has written books on the words that come out of our mouths and how we need to be aware of what we say.  Well, I have listened to my dear husband and Joyce Meyer and while I fully agree with them both, the concept has never caught hold of me and woke me up like Joel Osteen's book I Declare.

I thought about including the first chapter of I Declare but I know I wouldn't want to stop there.  So what I will give you instead is this simple statement.  "Buy this book!"  I guarantee you that you will not be sorry.  It is that good. I can't 'dog-ear' pages of a book (that makes me cringe), but I have sticky notes and flags throughout my copy of this book.

On a 5-Star Scale = 5 BIG Stars!

I would like to thank Sarah Reck with FaithWords, a division of Hatchette Book Group, Inc for my copy of I Declare.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Vanished by Irene Hannon - a review

Vanished  is the first novel in Irene Hannon's Private Justice series and if it is any indication of the rest of the series, Ms. Hannon has another hit series on her hands.

The book begins when reporter Moira Harrison is driving on a back country road in pouring down rain and finds herself lost.  She notices a figure in her headlights just seconds before she hears a thump and loses control of her car crashing into a tree. Moira loses consciousness and when she comes to the woman she saw in her headlights is nowhere to be found nor is the man who she thought stopped to help her.  Moira takes her story to the local police but without a body no one believes her story.

Moira is haunted by the look on the woman's face that appeared in her headlights and she can't give up trying to find out what really happened that night.  She soon enlists the help of Cal Burke, a former police detective, turned private investigator.  Cal and his two partners end up taking the case on Pro Bono without much hope that it will turn into anything.  As time progresses they find there is more to the story then just a woman caught in the headlights on a rainy night.

When a book pulls me into the story from the very first page, I know it is going to be a book I will remember long after turning the last page.  Vanished pulled me in from page one and held me captive throughout the entire book.  It is definitely a page-turner and has a sweet love story mixed in as well.  This is another book for my "keeper" shelf.

Vanished is a must read for all Irene Hannon fans and if you are not currently a fan of Ms. Hannon's, Vanished will surely convert you to becoming one.  I would highly recommend Vanished to anyone who enjoys a good clean suspense novel.

On a 5-Star scale = 5 Stars!!!!!

*** Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.***

I would like to thank Donna Hausler and Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for my review copy of Vanished.  I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,