Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings….Best Sequels!

In most series, the first book in the series is the best and it all goes downhill from there. However, there are quite a few series out there where it actually gets better! So, just in case you read the first one, thought it was okay, and did not read the second one, I’m here to help you out! Here are some of the best sequels out there:

1. Tamera Alexander is one of those rare authors where her sequels have a tendency to be better than her first novels…and her first novels are amazing! The best sequels for her are Beyond this Moment, Remembered and Revealed.

2. Ronie Kendig: My favorite novel by Ronie is Wolfsbane from her Discarded Heroes Series.

3. Lori Wick: Sean Donovan. I’ve read this one so many times, like ten times more then the others in the series. 

4. Kristen Heitzmann: The Breath of Dawn. I so thought she had messed up with this sequel when I read the premise…it was amazing!

5. Karen Hancock: The Shadow Within and Shadow over Kiriath. Fantastic Fantasy novel that keeps getting better.

6. Laura Frantz: Courting Morrow Little. So Romantic

7. Elizabeth Camden: Against the Tide. Surprises on every page…Loved Bane!

I’m sure these cannot possibly be the only sequels out there that are actually better than the first novel. Please feel free to add some. Just to clarify there are some really good sequels out there, but this list is for those series where you remember the second book (or third or fourth) in much more clarity than the first. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Feature Friday….Giveaway of Mary Connealy’s Doctor in Petticoats

In honor of Mary Connealy’s new release, I am going to give away an older novel of hers ( I judge for the Carol Awards and often end up with doubles). The giveaway will last until three weeks from today. You must leave a comment below and I will randomly draw a winner*. Said winner must respond within 48 hours. So, have fun!

What happens when an idealistic student nurse encounters an embittered army doctor in a stagecoach accident? How will she react when she learns her training didn’t prepare her for tragic reality? How will he, an army deserter, respond to needs when he vowed to never touch another patient? Can these two stubborn mules find common ground on which to work and bring healing to West Texas?


*Winner must live in the U.S.

Posted in Historical

Mary Connealy’s Fired Up


Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can’t let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he’s trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.

Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she’s determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she’s terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner–never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.

Glynna can’t help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There’s the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna’s diner into Dare’s back. Are Flint’s cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna’s son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?


Fired Up picks up right where Swept Away finishes and I found this sequel to be a very good read. Like in her other series, this novel gives you insight to all the characters in the first book, so it was nice to see Ruthy and Luke and the other Regulators.

First off, I really liked Glynna. Sometimes heroines in Ms. Connealy’s book are either too dominating or too weak. Glynna to me was right down the middle. She managed to come across as both strong, but wasn’t afraid if she was in need of something. I also really liked Dare and his desire to heal people. The romance was nicely done in my opinion. I loved how you could see Glynna being drawn to Dare even though she still had two bad marriages hanging over her head. It was really nice not to have instant love here.

However, I think the person that made this book stand out from her other novels was Paul. Having read all of Ms. Connealy’s books, I think Paul is the first son that a main character has had and you can really see the struggle that he was having with his mother considering remarriage and his past with some terrible men. He was my favorite character.

The mystery in this book is not really the focus and to be honest, is fairly obvious from the beginning, but this did bother me as a reader at all.

Spiritually, I love the theme of forgiving people, particularly if they don’t ask for it. This novel isn’t heavy on spiritual things, but this point comes across beautifully.

Overall, I really enjoyed  this book. The pages turned quickly and there were some laugh out loud moments that only Ms. Connealy can deliver. If you’re looking for a light-hearted, fun romance, this is where it’s happening.

Romantic Scale: 8

** I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Historical, Mystery/Suspense

Elizabeth Ludwig’s Dark Road Home


Ana Kavanagh’s only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen.

At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger–his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors–all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? As dark secrets from Ana’s past begin to come to light, Eoghan must choose which road to follow–and where to finally place his trust.


First off, let me say, if you enjoyed the first book in this series, you will enjoy the second. I didn’t realize that the mystery in book one wasn’t completely over, so it continues through book 2 (and most likely a book 3?).

The writing in this novel was so well done and engaging that I found myself flipping through the pages faster than I had anticipated. I was really fascinated to see what would happen between Eoghan and Ana and how all would be revealed to Cara. However, I will say that I felt like the romance lacked a bit of something. While they did take time to get to know each other, something about the relationship felt like it happened speedily. There were also a few moments were I felt like Ana and Eoghan kind of contradicted themselves a bit and I know it was to create tension, but I was slightly confused. That said, this novel is the kind of mystery I like, heavy on the romance and light on the mystery.

The mystery is pretty interesting because it has one single culminating event that has spiderwebbed into other people’s lives. I think it’s very clever how Ms. Ludwig is unraveling it slowly.

Spiritually, I love the theme of trusting God and just acknowledging that He is so much bigger than us. I also like the realization that one character has about how he made the church his god and not actually Jesus.

Overall, I found this novel to be enjoyable. It’s not weighed down with a lot of details and facts and is very people driven. Though the romance wasn’t particularly what I like, I don’t think you will be disappointed if you pick this one up!

Romantic scale: 7

**I received this novel from BethanyHouse. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Books Coming Out Soon!

Just a few days after she gives birth alone in the Northwoods, a recently widowed young Ojibwe woman stumbles into a nearby lumber camp in search of refuge and sustenance. Come summer, the camp owner sends Skypilot, his most trusted friend, to accompany Moon Song and her baby on the long and treacherous journey back to her people. But when tragedy strikes off the shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness, Moon Song and Skypilot must depend on each other for survival. With every step they take into the forbidding woods, they are drawn closer together, until the tough questions must be asked. Will she leave her culture to enter his? Will he leave his world to enter hers? Or will they walk away from a love that seems too complicated to last?

With evocative descriptions of a breathtaking landscape, Under a Blackberry Moon will sweep readers into a wild realm where beauty masks danger and only the truly courageous survive, even as the sweet love story along the way tightly grips their hearts.

When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won’t stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret–one that could change the very fabric of human life on the planet.

Bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the second riveting book in The Jevin Banks Experience. Readers will devour this scientific thriller, flipping pages late into the night until the final shocking page

Happily Ever After …Or Happily Nevermore?
Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke’s son, Valten—the boy she has daydreamed about for years—is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She’s changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She’s never said a word–to the cops, to her doctors, to family–about those four years.

A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn’t find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn’t know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather’s estate–and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor–she’s decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she’s willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She’s not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter…

Are there any that you can’t wait for? They all look so good!


Posted in Uncategorized

Feature Friday….Janette Oke

One of the first Christian romance authors that I read was the famous Janette Oke! I will say, that she has by far written more books than I have read by her. But I thought I would highlight my two favorites. Please, let me know which ones are your favorites and if I should go and pick them up!


This book is so romantic. I really liked the movie too, though it differs a bit. Definitely a keeper!

Talk about stockholm syndrome. I must have read this book five times when I was a teenager.  This one may be my absolute favorite.


Though there are a few others that stand out in my mind, as a romance lover, these two are the ones that take the cake. Anyone read these?

Posted in Contemporary

Melissa Tagg’s Made to Last


Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s how it looks when she’s starring in her homebuilding television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she’ll do anything to boost ratings and save her show–even if it means pretending to be married to a man who’s definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her. Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she’s built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?


Am I the only here who is not a fan of deception? It never really ends up well. And then I read this novel. It appeared to me that Ms. Tagg read the usual deception novels and flipped them. I can not tell you how pleased I was with the way this novel turned out! So, what I loved about it?

The characters. All of them. Blaze was fascinating (does he get his own book?), Matthew handled everything gracefully, Miranda’s best friends were full of personality. Their reactions in the novel were often hilarious and yet, realistic. Miranda’s struggle for acceptance with God in spite of her past was real.

I liked that Ms. Tagg also didn’t go the way I thought she would with this story. I kept having to ask myself, now how is all this going to work out (sorry, this review will be vague, too many possible spoilers). But the ending was nice and really worked out well.

The romance was light and fluffy and though I usually enjoy more serious romances, it really fit the story.

What I didn’t like:

Matthew beating himself up so much. He messed up once, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

The novel didn’t pull me in right away, and my own frustration with deception had me hesitant to continue (don’t hesitate, it’s all going to work out fine!)

Overall, a great contemporary romance that you will enjoy!

Romantic scale: 7.5

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…ACFW Conference!

I just got back from the ACFW Conference last night! The ACFW Conference is both fun and overwhelming in some ways. I had been to one before so it wasn’t as overwhelming, but in case you haven’t been, here are some points that describe how it is:

1. A bit lonely. I’m not saying this so that you feel sorry for people there! What I mean is that you arrive at the conference and there are loads of people there. Some who know each other well, some who came with each other, and some who are better at faking like they belong. For me, I have to instantly go to my room, take a deep breath, maybe walk around outside a bit before thrusting myself into the mix (yes, I’m an introvert). I will say that last time I went, I was really by myself. But this time, since I was aware of how it is, I forced myself to talk more to random writers. I found them to be very nice. 🙂

2. Like being on set with all your favorite actors. Yes, this is hands down one of the best parts of the conference. I get to meet and see some of my favorite authors. It’s a joy to put a face with a name (I saw Frank Peretti!) Again, I usually have to work up my confidence to approach, but I’m always glad I did.

3. Lots of learning. There are a lot of workshops that you can take, and I have found all of them to be helpful to me as a writer and reader. The classes are well taught by people of experience. I have always enjoyed the classes.

4. Appointments. When you go, you can meet with mentors, editors, or agents. This is probably the most intense feature of the conference because you want to impress and you want to be memorable. But at the end of the day, you just have to trust God.

So, I would say I had a good conference. I met a lot of nice people who love books just like me. I got to introduce myself to a number of authors and to pitch my manuscript to a couple of people. Overwhelming? Yes, but totally worth it!