Posted in Uncategorized

Feature Friday….Robert Whitlow

I haven’t done a Feature Friday in a while, and I was thinking and thinking, who can I highlight? Robert Whitlow! He is an amazingly gifted writer. He writes southern legal thrillers that somehow let you know that this man is a lawyer, a southerner, and he has an intense relationship with God. Though his novels often have a light dusting of romance, romance is low on the scale of importance in his books. And yet, he can’t write a novel without me purchasing it. So if you haven’t read any of his books, here are some of my favorites! Check them out:

   You really can’t go wrong with any of his books. They will entertain you with a mystery and make you want to have a closer relationship with God. Happy Reading!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Lisa Wingate’s Wildwood Creek

About

Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father’s unfinished destiny. When she’s offered a production assistant’s job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father’s footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream. 

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region’s folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.
 
When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood–including Blake Fulton, Allie’s handsome neighbor on the film set–seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn’t know whom she can trust. If she can’t find the answers in time, history may repeat itself…with the most unthinkable results.

Review

I will admit that when I first read what Wildwood Creek was about, I thought, this could either be good or very scary. Well, I can assure you that you won’t be scared though there will be great suspense. And I thought that the book was very good, if a bit ambitious.

What I liked about the book:

The suspense was amazing. The novel flips between two povs: Allie and Bonnie Rose. And yet, the suspense does not let up, no matter whose voice is telling the story.

 I really enjoyed the way the mystery of Bonnie Rose is slowly unraveled through Allie’s eyes. I even liked the way the narrative bounced between both women. I thought that was really nicely done.

I became totally invested in Bonnie Rose’s story. I don’t know how Ms. Wingate did it, but I was on the edge of my seat completely worried for her and hoping everything would turn out alright.

If you’ve read any of the other books in this series, than you’ve been to Moose Creek before, but this was such a unique angle of it and so clever. It was also very nice to see Mallory again.

Spiritually, the book deals with the notion of not really knowing what you believe until you’re in a tough situation. And it is not until you reach this point that you can really grow.

What I didn’t like:

I felt like Allie and Bonnie Rose’s stories almost should have been separate books. They both had a lot going on, and I wanted to know more. To a certain degree, I felt that Bonnie Rose was shortchanged in the romance department and Allie was shortchanged in the mystery department (the ending completely surprised me).

Also, I think I am still confused about what happened in 1861 in Wildwood Creek. I was trying to explain it to someone and I got lost in my own explanation.

Overall, a really great suspenseful read. What happened to Bonnie Rose? Well, you have to read it to find out.

Romantic Scale: 7

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Leslie Gould’s Minding Molly

About

Molly Zook’s always liked being in control, so she’s struggling with her mother’s wish that, to save the family farm, she marry Mervin Mosier. Especially after Molly meets Leon Fisher. He’s from Montana but is now training horses at a nearby ranch. He’s tall and muscular and confident–Molly has never met anyone like him and she’s sure he feels the same about her.

Determined to let nothing get between them, Molly tries to coax Mervin into falling back in love with Molly’s best friend, Hannah. A weekend camping trip in the Poconos could be just the place…but things quickly go awry, and it seems Leon and Hannah might be falling for each other instead! Will Molly keep struggling to control everyone and everything around her? Or will she learn to let God handle the twists and turns of her life?

Review

When I saw that Leslie Gould had another book out, I had to get it. Though I am generally not an Amish fan, Ms. Gould manages to write her characters in such a way that her Amish people don’t appear to be….ahem….strange. They come across as real people who just happen to live an Amish lifestyle. And, Ms. Gould manages to combine Shakespeare with the Amish, which always present an interesting twist. Minding Molly is based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. However, this novel somehow didn’t manage to do it for me. Here is what I noticed:

Molly is an amazing heroine. Ms. Gould manages to write ladies who are totally relatable; women who have flaws, but you still get them anyway. Molly is no different and I loved being in her mind. The novel did manage to give you that Midsummer Night’s Dream-feel to it, though I think it lacked the humor that the the comedy intended.

But, we are told Molly is a people person and that she is controlling. Based off of this book, Molly is not a people person. She had a hard time getting along with others and frankly, I never saw her as controlling. She was very much into the details, but I didn’t see anyone else trying to help Molly when she was getting things done. I just saw other people being lazy (Maybe I have Molly’s Type A personality…maybe I don’t). 🙂

Molly meets Leon and almost immediately they fall in love. I’m not such a huge fan of insta-love and I found myself even less invested in their relationship when after only two meetings they were having problems with where they should live when they got married. Don’t get me wrong, it was completely something to consider. But even though I adored Leon, I failed to see why Molly did so intensely.

Hannah, Molly’s best friend was so annoying. I could not see why they were best friends. She was not someone who even remotely looked out for Molly. It was all about her from day one.

Beatrice, the mean sister, who constantly criticized Molly, completely failed to see her own flaws. 

Poor Molly, I just felt like she worked so hard and got very few breaks. 

Spiritually, Molly learns to be less controlling and learns to trust God more with everything that goes around her. 

Overall, though nicely written, this book wasn’t my favorite and left me more than a bit confused.

Romantic Scale: 6.5

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Books That Are Coming Out Soon

I don’t know about you, but once again I find myself stuck in the polar vortex that is this winter. That means that I leave the house rarely and I spend a lot of time looking for books. I found myself a bit surprised by some of the books coming out in the next couple of months, so I decided to list some just so you don’t miss them as well. Here goes:

 

What are you looking forward to reading in the next couple of Months?

Posted in Historical

Julie Lessman’s Dare to Love Again

About

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he’s a fraud just like all the rest of the men she’s cared for. Does she dare love again?

The lushness of the glorious Gilded Age beautifully showcases Lessman’s passion as a writer in this engaging love story written with humor and heart. From the glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill to the seedy gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, Dare to Love Again is a journey to find a love that never fails. Fans will love revisiting the world of the cousins McClare, and new readers will seek more of Julie’s passion-filled novel

Review

Having read the first novel in this series, I knew I had to read the second. Here are some things I noticed about this novel:

Logan. He’s my favorite character in the whole series so far. I like the way he thinks, I like the way that he reacts, I like his expectations. You can sense that he is an extremely powerful man and yet weak for his family. He creates problems for Nick, but I like that too because it makes him seem more real. I especially love that he loves Caitlyn. I personally find that their own story has a tendency to overshadow the “main romance” (though I will say there is a moment where I think Caitlyn is unfair to Logan). Let’s not forget that Logan also has something he has to reveal to his family and I was so upset when the book ended right when he was about to make the big reveal (book three you are on my radar!)

Allie and Nick. I will say, that it took me a minute to get invested in this relationship. I was lost for a second in their intense dislike for each other and amidst all the name-calling that went on. But then there was a switch. It probably has to do with the fact that their relationship didn’t follow the “typical” deception story. Nick is a very straightforward kind of guy (though if you read this book….well…that’s all I’m going to say) and I so liked that about him. And Allie is equally straightforward. No shy heroines here. Allie’s reason to learn jiu-jitsu, however, well I was with Nick. This girl had no real sense of the world. I think you don’t prove anything to anybody by being able to walk around in bad neighborhoods at dark. That said, when Allie finally gets a chance to use her jiu-jitsu is a great moment.

Spiritually, there is this great theme of forgiveness and how we have to learn to trust God particularly when things don’t go our way. In this world we are going to have tribulation and Jesus already promised that we would overcome it. With his help, we won’t become bitter about our circumstances. It really is a great point that is really shown beautifully in this novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I wasn’t ready for it to end!

Romantic Scale: 9

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

Posted in Contemporary

Susan May Warren’s It Had to Be You

About

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.

Review

This novel is the second book about the Christiansen family. The first one, for me, was a solid read. This one, however, I didn’t want to put down. Maybe it was just the lure of Jace, he is quite the hero. And a great hero can make for a great novel. So, here are things I noticed about the book:

Eden was a borderline heroine for me. I’ve noticed that I’m fairly harsh to the females in romance novels, so I really tried to put myself in her shoes, with her thoughts. And while this helped me understand her a bit more, she still managed to come off a bit self-absorbed sometimes. That said, I really liked that she was straightforward and so the novel didn’t suffer from self-absorbed-ness and lack of communication. Yet, there were times where I really liked her. And so, she was on the tightrope as a heroine.

Jace was amazing (why do men’s flaws make more sense?!). He’s a hockey player who is trying to redo his image. He’s also a good friend and someone who cares for others deeply. He does have a tendency to jump the gun, but I think he does a great job fixing it. I really did like him with Eden though. There’s a lot of chemistry there and more importantly you could really see them fall for each other and that was cute.

There’s this great side mystery in the book that brings Jace and Eden together. It’s kind of a sad mystery (when you find out all the facts), but completely intriguing.

Ms. Warren has a tendency in these novels to have two romances running alongside each other. Well, not so much in this one. It’s more like one romance and Jace’s friend’s pov. And frankly, I liked it more that way.

Spiritually, there is a lot going on, but what struck me is how you have to trust that God loves you and cares about you far more that you can grasp or think.

Overall, this is a wonderful novel and it reminded why I love Susan May Warren. I will admit, it deals with some tough topics that may play with your heart a bit, but you won’t want to put it down.

Romantic Scale: 9

P.S. Really enjoyed the prequel as well!

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Christian Fiction and Diversity

I love Christian fiction and I love to read a great variety of things. I hope that my blog is found helpful by all kinds of readers of Christian fiction; those who like fantasy, YA, sci-fi, historical, contemporary, mystery (though I would be lying if I said they almost all have one thing in common: romance).

However, I started this blog with hopes that I would be a voice of encouragement to Christian authors and readers. And I do mean all Christian authors and readers. Though I have mentioned a few different voices of Christian authors on this blog, I do not, however, feel like I mention enough.

And so, I ask you readers, is there anyone that you recommend, who brings a different perspective to the table? And I don’t mean just racial povs but also indie writers. Who out there do you think is a fabulous writer and could use some encouragement. Let me know!