Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Date

From the back of the book: Addy Davidson is the last girl in the country who wants to be on the new reality TV show to win a date to prom with the President’s son. She’s focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn’t even audition for it.

But she got selected anyway.

So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show… right before she realizes that the President’s son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.

Addy’s totally out of her comfort zone—but that may be right where God can show her the most about who she is . . . and who she was meant to be.

My review: It took my brain a few pages to become acclimated to a teenage fiction book, but once it did, I really enjoyed the book First Date by Krista McGee. The plot was not really reality, but one that a typical teenage girl would love. I loved Addy's character immediately and her honesty made me laugh. Teenage girls will be able to relate to the spiritual struggles that Addy has as well as be encouraged in their own spiritual walk. Ms. McGee has based this story loosely on the story of Esther which also adds to the fun of the plot. I look forward to reading more books by Krista McGee and will certainly be saving this book for my own daughter to read in a few years. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Bittersweet Surrender

Carly Westlake is moving on after several heartaches have threatened her happiness. Breast cancer, unexpected divorce, the death of her best friend, and the death of her father have not destroyed her. In fact, things are starting to look up. Her chocolate spa seems to be doing well, and her high-school crush, Jake Mitchell, has decided to move back to town and is interested in a relationship. Carly is determined to move on with her life. Then secrets begin to be revealed, and Carly's happiness is threatened once again. Will Jake be there for her, or is Scott Hammond, her best friend's widower, becoming more than just a friend?

After reading Smitten I was looking forward to reading Bittersweet Surrender by Diann Hunt. Unfortunately I was disappointed. To me the book was too "busy". Ms. Hunt tried to tackle too many issues for one book and didn't seem to resolve any of them. Also, this book is classified as Christian fiction, but I didn't really see a lot of Biblical direction at all. A few references to prayer and church and a verse here and there just don't do it for me. When I read a Christian book I want to be encouraged and challenged in my faith. That did not happen with this book. Ms. Hunt has a great story-line and ideas. She just didn't take those ideas as far as they could have gone. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 23, 2011

When the Soul Mends

From the back of the book: After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having left Owl's Perch more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. Hannah has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise; and her life-long dream of being part of the medical community is being realized. But almost immediately after her arrival, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiance Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah's mental health, hidden truths surface about events during Hannah's absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain life-and perhaps to her first love?

My review: Wow! I was up until 1:30 in the morning finishing this book. There just wasn't a good stopping place. I couldn't quit turning pages until it was finished. I have read a few books by Cindy Woodsmall but this is by far the best one I have read yet. My only regret is that I have not had the opportunity to read the first two books in this series before I read this one. Ms. Woodsmall did a good job filling in important details from the previous books, but it just wasn't the same. A message of forgiveness is found throughout the book. Ms. Woodsmall showed that forgiveness is not always easy, but with God's help we can forgive even when grievously sinned against. Her characters were real and the situations believable. I really enjoyed reading When the Soul Mends, and would recommend it to anyone who loves to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Love Lifted Me

From the back of the book: Jade and Max share a deep love, though revelations from his past have recently shaken their marriage. And Jade is completely smitten with Max's little son, Asa, whom she is now raising as her own. Their blended family brings her joy she's never known. But there is one more secret to be uncovered. One that will impact them all.

Max is doing his best to "man-up" and prove himself worthy of Jade's devotion. As well as that of his young son. It seems like life in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, will pick up where it left off until Max is faced with an unusual opportunity - leave his family's law firm to coach high-school football in Texas.

Realizing a fresh start will bring healing to their marriage, Jade takes the leap of faith and moves with him and baby Asa, bidding good-bye to her beloved Blue Umbrella shop.

The new beginning in quaint Colby, Texas, is soon sullied when Max discovers the high-school program isn't all it seemed. While Max struggles to rebuild a once glorious football team, Jade wrestles with news that could break Max's heart...and change their lives forever.

My review: A great book to read with the lessons of love, forgiveness, and trust written throughout the pages. The authors, Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck, did a great job writing a story that is down-to-earth and practical. The circumstances surrounding the plot could happen to anyone. The lessons are practical for everyone. As you read you will want to cry, yell, give advice, and cheer. A book that will have your emotions changing from one scene to the next as you read. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone that likes to read Christian fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mine is the Night

From the back of the book: Stepping from a battered coach on a rainy April eve, newly widowed Elisabeth Kerr must begin again, without husband or title, property or fortune. She is unafraid of work and gifted with a needle, but how will she stitch together the tattered remnants of her life? And who will mend her heart, torn asunder by betrayal and deception?

Elisabeth has not come to Selkirk alone. Her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr, is a woman undone, having buried her husband, her sons and any promise of grandchildren. Dependent upon a distant cousin with meager resources, Marjory dreads the future almost as much as she regrets the past. Yet joy still comes knocking, and kindness is found in unexpected places.

Then a worthy hero steps forward, rekindling a spark of hope. Will he risk his reputation to defend two women labeled as traitors to the Crown? Or will a wealthy beauty, untainted by scandal, capture his affections?

The heartrending journey of the Kerr women comes to a glorious finish in Mine is the Night, a sparkling gem of redemption and restoration set in eighteenth-century Scotland.

My review: I was so excited to finally be able to read the sequel to Here Burns My Candle. I was not disappointed. Liz Curtis Higgs is an amazing author. Her care in presenting accurate historical details is obvious. I love how she wove the unique setting of Scotland and it's customs into the Biblical account of Ruth and Naomi. The reader must remember that this is a work of fiction, but it is fun to see Ruth and Naomi unfold throughout the pages of this book in the characters of Elisabeth and Marjory. God's faithfulness and the promise of a redeemer are very evident as you read. This is a book that will keep you reading until the wee hours of the morning, and when you are finished you will be drawn to your Bible to read the book of Ruth. I highly recommend Mine is the Night. I hated to see it end! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


As the title suggests, Smitten is a romantic novel. This book is a collection of four short stories. They all take place in the small town of Smitten where the survival of the town depends on the mill. When four friends hear that the mill is closing, they begin a campaign to save their town. Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese each have their own story. As each one finds a way to capitalize on the name of their town, they realize that love follows closely at their heels. Natalie already owns a small business, Mountain Perks, that will appeal to couples seeking a romantic getaway destination. Julia once worked for a successful spa in NYC. What every romantic destination needs is a high-end spa. Is Julia the person to open one? Shelby has an etiquette school. Incorporating parties, ballroom dancing, and unique clothing designs is her way of adding appeal to their town. Reese is the opposite of Shelby. She is ready to open an outfitters shop to cater to those that love the great outdoors. All four women work hard to change their town from a mill town to a romantic destination.

The authors of this book, Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter have written an enjoyable book. Friends themselves, they have each written a short story about four friends with their own personalities ascribed to their characters. I particularly liked the way each story fit together to tell the story of the town of Smitten. These authors did a great job collaborating. If you are looking for a light read this is the book for you. It is a totally predictable book, but one you can enjoy from beginning to end. I received a complimentary e-book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.