Monday, August 18, 2014

Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade

Meant to be Mine

Becky Wade is a no-holds-barred type of writer. I noticed that with her first book, My Stubborn Heart. (see my review here) I enjoy her writing. Plus, check out that cover above! For me, covers hook me in. This one definitely did.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school—irresistible. When their paths cross again after college—still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

And now, my review:

Our heroine has pined for Ty for years. Now, after a spur-of-the-moment wedding, she’s married to him. Problem is, he’s not all in. His rejection sends her away and keeps her away.
I liked the secrets in this story. I didn’t blame the heroine for keeping her daughter a secret. The author does a great job helping readers like her imperfect characters. I rooted for them.

Celia’s four-year-old seemed a little too wise for her age. I’ve had several four-year-old girls in my life and though they were very articulate, none of them could have diagnosed my life situation like Celia’s daughter did. But the story around that element was so good, so engaging, I didn’t mind. 

I laughed aloud several times as I read, thoroughly entertained by this author’s distinctive voice and her sarcastic, witty sense of humor. Honestly, that's one of the reasons I love reading Becky's work.

Poor Celia feels unworthy. That’s a relatable state of mind/heart for many of us, and I liked how the author dealt with the issue. 

Beyond great story-telling, Becky excels at male POV. Her stories hook you and draw you right in. I’ll be watching for her next one to release. 

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blog Tour: In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin
In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

Welcome to the blog tour for In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin.

I’m a Sarah Sundin fan, so I was thrilled to read her latest World War II historical. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

And now, my review: 

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m not generally a WWII fiction fan. But Sarah came along and changed that. Her stories are so engaging, her characters so real, her topics so relatable, that I sometimes forget they’re wartime stories. 

She’s adept at conveying timeless themes. In this story, both our hero and our heroine struggle with self-worth and identity issues. As readers watch them overcome, we find tools to help ourselves and others who might face the same things.

Roger, the book’s hero pilot, came from a family who didn’t support him or his efforts. He’s a gifted drummer, chasing a dream to work in a big band. In the beginning of the story, he must prove himself to himself. As he does that, though, we watch him challenge the lie that he’ll “never amount to anything.”  

Our Nightingale's father condemned her all her life. Now, Kay has to overcome the lie that she’s evil at the core. We’ve seen Kay in earlier books in this “Wings of the Nightingale” series, and I loved watching her story unfold here. I gained both respect and understanding for this complex character. 

There are two things that readily come to mind in regards to Sarah’s writing: she doesn’t shy away from both wartime elements (i.e. plane crashes behind enemy lines) and heart-level human issues. Instead, she handles them with authenticity. That means she’s a brave writer, willing to bring her heart into the stories she writes. I walk away with great nuggets every time. 

You get a balance of action (my husband loves her books!) and romance. And, of course, flawless research as we fly along with these characters. 

Fans of Sarah’s work, and fans of WWII fiction or historical fiction, will enjoy this novel. 


I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fun News!

Streamers and Confetti*

The ink is dry!

I'm thrilled to announce I recently signed another book contract. This one is like my previous title, Husband Material, in that it is a Dollar Download e-book. The title will be available via Amazon for $0.99 when it releases.

I can give you two hints: it's Christian romance, and a cowboy is involved.

Still no release date, or final title. But I'll be sharing news here, so stay tuned!

* photo credit: "Streamers and Confetti" by m_bartosch

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Somebody Like You by Beth Vogt

Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt

After hearing so much buzz about this book, I had to read it!

Let’s begin with the summary:

Can a young widow find love again with her husband’s reflection?

Haley’s three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he’s killed in Afghanistan. Her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her Sam was killed?

Too late to make things right with his estranged twin brother, Stephen discovers Sam never told Haley about him. As Haley and Stephen navigate their fragile relation­ship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. How can they honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart?

Somebody Like You is a beautifully rendered, affecting novel, reminding us that while we can’t change the past, we have the choice to change the future and start anew.

And now, my review:

I loved the original premise of this book—a man whose wife doesn’t know he has a twin, until he dies. Then the identical brother shows up at her door. Great idea for a novel!

The author didn't avoid real issues—the heroine is a widow, in the throes of grief. I appreciated the author’s ability to show us the facets of grief. Readers who have suffered loss will find much with which to relate. But she’s very closed off. At times, reading the story felt like we were kept a far distance from the heroine’s feelings, but that’s because she herself was closed off from emotions. And though this is true, readers will still sympathize with her. “No tears. Keep up.” So well written!

This poor hero didn’t get a chance to reconcile with his twin. A few poor choices left him in regret. He’s noble, and flawed, and readers will love him. He’s determined to help the heroine with things around the house, whether she wants it or not, which throws them together. He gets her through the toughest grief period, while she helps him get to know his brother.

Each character has believed some lies that will need to be dismantled.

I was a bit disappointed not to see the hero/heroine together more often at the beginning. But they do spend more and more time together. I think that’s believable since this is a romance—they’re both too broken at first for a relationship.

Their banter is delicious. Each writer has his/her own strengths. As a writer, I read somewhere that writers should find the element that readers really love about their work, and give them that. Beth does that here. Yum!

Highly recommended!

Friday, June 27, 2014

It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I love Susan May Warren’s books! She’s not only a fantastic writer, she’s also a friend and one who mentors writers. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits—and starting to fear she doesn’t have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.

Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior—on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

And now, my review:

Poor Eden feels like she has to oversee her brother’s life. She’s obsessed, actually, but that’s because she’s drawing her sense of worth and purpose from his successes. Imagine what happens to her when he fails or purposely doesn’t try. She’s stuck. 

Susan did something amazing with this story. I’m not a sports fan, and I especially dislike hockey, but I loved this story. One of the ways she kept hockey from overtaking the story was by adding a secondary thread—the father and daughter subplot of Sam and Maddy.  Such a touching journey of a little girl’s health problems and how her father sacrifices everything for her. 

Both Jace and Eden (our hero and heroine) believe some lies. Jace is convinced he’s a monster, full of hate and violence. In reality, there’s a heart under that enforcer exterior.

And Eden is convinced she’s living her life on the sidelines, that perhaps she’s not important enough to take center ring. The irony is she sees the potential in others, but not in herself. 

Jace’s challenge is he’s at risk for severe trouble if he sustains any more head injuries. But as a hockey player, and especially in his role as enforcer, he’s expected to be violent. Susan keeps the tension going with that concern. 

Great, layered writing!  

Highly recommended.

BONUS: If you've enjoyed this series,  you also get to read the prequel to the series if you pick up this book or e-book. Enjoyable!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

Until I Found You

What’s not to love about that cover?! Love it!

Let’s begin with the summary:

Finding each other was only the beginning . . .
When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life.

It's Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick is handsome and confident, and he seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She's not planning to get involved with one of the locals.

Nick is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn't expect to be swept off his feet by the car's occupant. He's made a vow--no dating for a year--but keeping that vow is going to be a lot more difficult now that he's met Kate Darby. . . .

And now, my review:

I had to Google condors while reading this book. The endangered birds play a symbolic role in this story. Interesting creatures!

I hadn’t heard of this author before, but I must say I’ll be watching for her further books because I so enjoyed this novel.

The story begins with a knight-in-shining-armor moment where we get to see the hero in action. Great scene! Immediately hooks the reader.

The author explored themes of faith, trusting God, overcoming anxiety, following God’s path, and hearing God’s voice. I loved that she didn’t offer any easy answers while the characters tried to figure things out.

The hero has made a vow to not date for a year—that’ll put a crimp in any romance. (*wink*) But, the author kept this romance reader turning pages.

At times, I felt this author was very strong, which made me wonder why I hadn’t heard of her.  At other times, when I caught POV missteps, I wondered if this was a first-timer. Now, granted I read the ARC (advanced reader copy), so those POV issues were probably resolved. But the story arc progressed at a good pace. Her male POV was superb. I highlighted her prose on several occasions. When I visited her website, I discovered she has several previous titles.

The author also dealt with hero worship in a believable and compelling way. Our poor heroine struggles with insecurity. Unfortunately, she’s reaching for anything that might help her—including the hero, control, familiarity, etc. But it’s God she must learn to trust.

I appreciated the author’s wisdom in things of God, and I recommend this book! Her next title, Together With You releases April, 2015. I'll be watching for it.