Posted in Uncategorized

Beth Vogt’s Somebody Like You


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.
Beth Vogt won me over with her last novel. But when I saw what this book was about, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I mean, identical twins?! Here’s my thoughts:
What I did like:
The concept. I loved the idea of Haley falling in love with her husband’s identical twin. Awkward. But, you really get to watch Haley fall for Stephen and you know it isn’t something that happens instantly. 
Stephen. He was such a sweetie. My heart completely went out to him the entire book. Even with his flaws, I found him endearing. And this guy is not your typical Alpha male. He’s very Beta, and I loved him for it.
The writing. It completely pulls you in. I read this book in one sitting.
Spiritually, I liked watching Stephen learn what courage means and that there is no fear in love. I also liked watching Haley come to the realization that too often she was trying to do things her way and not letting God in on the decisions. 
What I didn’t like:
Stephen does a ton for Haley. He really goes out of his way to be there for her. And frankly, I’m all about the man doing the work in the relationship. But, I just wanted Haley to do something for him once. Just once. I was like, can’t she bake him some cookies or something? So yeah, it really got to me that Haley was forever on the receiving end and never on the giving end, because by her not giving, I felt like she didn’t love Stephen as deeply as he loved her.
This isn’t so much what I didn’t like, but just something I noted. You really have to suspend your disbelief here. In the tech world that we live in, it is unlikely that you could know someone well enough to marry them and not know they had a twin. And, let’s not even begin to talk about Stephen and Sam’s mom. So, just ignore all the reasons why it wouldn’t work, and you can really enjoy it.
Overall, it’s a beautiful romance novel that’s super creative and intriguing. Recommended.
Romantic Scale: 8.7
**I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**
Posted in Personal

Monday Musings….Books I’m Looking Forward To in the Next Couple of Months

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.

When a lawman who values order gets stuck with a feisty crusader who likes to stir things up, there’s going to be trouble in Texas!

Now that she’s settled in town, Tina Cahill is determined to get Broken Wheel’s saloon closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention.

Vince Yates earned the nickname “Invincible Vince” because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn’t know he had show up in Broken Wheel without warning. His father is still a schemer. His mother is showing signs of dementia. And his surprise sister quickly falls for one of Vince’s best friends. Vince suddenly has a lot of people depending on him, and Tina doesn’t approve of how he’s handling any of them.

With nearly every other man in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with strong-willed Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her crazy causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he’s got one more surprise coming his way: Tina’s picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.

When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole’s father has always focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father’s rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole’s plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy?

What’s coming out in the next couple months that you’re looking forward to?

Posted in Contemporary, Personal

Feature Friday: Creston Mapes’ Rock Star Chronicles

One of the most memorable series I’ve ever read is Creston Mapes Rock Star Chronicles. The main character, Everett Lester, manages to become so real on the pages that I almost, for a split second, thought he was a real Rock Star. This series is amazing with a moving story about the power of prayer. If you haven’t checked it out, then you’re missing out (and yes, there is romance, and it’s one of the sweetest most memorable love stories I’ve ever read).

If he ever wrote another book in this series, I would be first in line!

Posted in Uncategorized

Deeanne Gist’s Fair Play


Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for taking on a man’s profession. As a doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice—until Hunter Scott asks her to give it all up to become his wife.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who think they belong anywhere but home…

Despite their difference of opinion on the role of women, Hunter and Billy find a growing attraction between them—until Hunter discovers an abandoned baby in the corner of a White City exhibit. He and Billy team up to make sure this foundling isn’t left in the slums of Chicago with only the flea-riddled, garbage-infested streets for a playground. As they fight for the underprivileged children in the Nineteenth Ward, an entire Playground Movement is birthed. But when the Fair comes to an end, one of them will have to give up their dream.

Will Billy exchange her doctor’s shingle for the domesticated role of a southern wife, or will Hunter abandon the wide open spaces of home for a life in the “gray city,” a woman who insists on being the wage earner, and a group of ragamuffins who need more than a playground for breathing space?

Deeanne Gist can write some hilarious romantic books and this is another one of them. For those of us who read the first novel by Ms. Gist in this series, we briefly came across Billy Jack Tate. And then for those of us who bought the novella about Billy Jack Tate…well…we knew what to expect to some degree. Ms. Gist does not pull back the punches on some things. Here’s my assessment:
What I liked:
The authenticity of the novel. I really felt like Ms. Gist did her research with not only the fair, but the medical aspects of Billy Jack’s work and the police work that Hunter was involved in. Also as a Chicago native, and one who has been to the Hull House, it was really nice to kind of picture the area that she was describing (though it was a very different looking Chicago back then). Furthermore, there’s a lot that I learned that I didn’t know about and while I did get a bit confused about why Playgrounds were expected to accomplish so much, it was still fascinating to see how they came about.
The romance. Well, in case you’re wondering why Ms. Gist is considered an edgy Christian novelist, just read this one and you will find out. It gets a little toasty in this book, but all within the confines of Christianity, I can assure you. I will say, that I love the way Billy Jack handles Hunter. She is a woman who knows what she wants and she is not afraid to let him know it. I also felt like there was a carefreeness to their relationship. When they were getting to know each other there was no extra stress that sometimes I feel certain novelists add to force tension. And I love the spirit of give a little, get a little in this novel. They really worked to make their relationship a success, so that even though they were very different people coming from very different backgrounds, I had complete faith in their relationship at the end of the novel. In fact, it would have been lovely if the novel continued throughout their marriage. 
It’s cute! This novel is so light, and cute, and funny. Sometimes you just need to unwind and read something that won’t stress you out. This is that kind of read (though it has a couple of CSI moments, and while I found myself involved, it wasn’t too intense; I mean, this is Chicago).
Spiritually, the novel is a bit light, but both characters spend time in prayer and seek God when things get difficult. 
What I didn’t like:
At about 30% on my kindle, the novel slowed a bit. I was like, where is this going exactly? And I put the book down for a day. Pick it back up! I promise you it gets better and you will become very much involved with the characters. 
Billy Jack Tate is woman ahead of her times. That’s fine. But sometimes I wondered why she failed to understand that not everyone was ahead of their time like her. 
Overall, a very good novel and well worth the read!
Romantic Scale: 9
**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**
Posted in Uncategorized

As Part of the To Die Once Blog Tour: Interview of Miranda A. Uyeh +Giveaway

Thank you for being willing to be interviewed!

1. What was your inspiration for To Die Once?

A – I’ve been an avid reader and viewer of movies/TV series for a long time, so I can

honestly tell you that they all came together and conspired to create a story in my

head. It started with little bits here and there and, finally, became a huge story that

I just had to put down.

2. Are you an author who plans everything out ahead of time? Or do you write by the

seat of your pants?

A – A little bit of both, actually. There are days when I’m sure if I don’t get a good

handle on the story, it’d become too chaotic for me. Other days, I feel the powerful

surge of the creative juices in my veins and I just let it go. It’s always a fun ride

when I do that!

3. What authors would you say have had the greatest influences on your writing?

A – Love this question! Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Dee Henderson,

MaryLu Tyndll and Julie Lessman … in that order.

4. A huge part of your novel takes place in Italy, have you ever been there before? Or

did you have to do some research?

A- No, I haven’t been to Italy, so I had to do some research. However, it’s a country

that I’d really love to visit someday!

5. Can you tell us what you’re working on next?

A – I’m presently working on book #2 in the Child of Grace Series, To Lie Once,

and I’ve already laid the ground work for book #3 and #4. To Lie Once will center

on Jennifer’s sister, Joyce. It’s a “good girl gone bad” sort of story. I love where it’s

going so far!

Embassie, thank you so much for having me today! I truly appreciate. Let’s do

again, yes?

Of course! To Learn More about Miranda:

1. Readers can follow To Die Once and the rest of the Child of Grace book series on facebook

2. They can also follow the #ToDieOnce hashtag on twitter to follow the author and the

influencer bloggers to keep up to date with the reviews.

3. Readers can view the pinterest board set up for To Die Once here:

Miranda A. Uyeh can be found on her Blog, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter.

To keep up with Miranda and the Child of Grace book series, readers can sign up on her blog here:


Ms. Uyeh is graciously giving away 10 ebooks every week for the next 7 weeks, giving you the opportunity of winning 1 of 70 copies! All you have to do is enter through Rafflecopter below. Every Sunday the winners will be drawn of Miranda’s blog ( and winners will be sent the ebook once the giveaway is finished. Open INTERNATIONALLY!!


Posted in Historical

Tracey Groot’s The Sentinels of Andersonville

Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?


Let me start of by saying that I love all things Civil War. I’ve been to battle sites, I’ve toured plantation homes, I watch every new documentary on the history/military channel, I read all kinds of books on it, etc. So naturally when I heard about this book I had to read it. And it was so worth it! I’ve read a lot of Civil War novels, but only a few to me, really do the era any justice and this is one of them. Was this novel completely, historically accurate? No. Did the author take a few liberties? Yes. Did that bother me? Not at all. She managed to shine a light on a place that most people don’t even realize ever existed. Without further ado:
What I liked:
-Andersonville is a tragedy. And Ms. Groot does a beautiful job of showing how it has affected so many people. It reaches far and affects more than those who were suffering in the prison. Yet, this novel has some of the funniest lines I’ve ever read in a book. Though the novel is at times heavy, it doesn’t stay that way all the time.
-The characters were so well-developed. And as soon as I met them, I cared about them. There’s Violet (the way she was described stayed with me for days), Dance (love his name), Emery (such a big heart), Lew (my heart went out to him) and let’s not forget Posey.
-Friendship. I’m rarely pulled into a novel because of friendship, but a war novel is not a good war novel if it lacks friendship. And I became invested in this friendship.
-The romance was subtle, slow, but still very sweet.
-I learned about a different kind of soldier. The sentinel.
-Spiritually, the novel is not very overtly spiritual, but there is this beautiful message that you need to just be the Good Samaritan. Stop waiting for others to act.
What I didn’t like:
-I will admit that it’s not all flash and bang, and sometimes slow in parts. But to me, this added more credibility to the story. Things moved slowly back then.
Overall, a wonderful book. Deep and moving. And you will laugh out loud.
Romantic Scale: 7.5
Posted in Uncategorized

Miranda A. Uyeh’s To Die Once‏ + Giveaway


Two men, one woman, a rosebush …

… a terrible past, an uncertain future

Jennifer, a woman unexpectedly trapped in a path of love and passion against everything she believes.

Rodrigo, a man set to get what he wants at the cost of what matters most.

Stefano, a man with a past, a story to tell and passion to offer.

Chidi, a friend in need, a friend indeed. Or not?

From a culture where good girls follow the norm and live as they’ve been told, Jennifer is no different from any other girl until by happenstance, she meets and falls in love with Rodrigo, a man who’s handsome, rich and foreign. Different. She has no idea who he is or what he does, and is swept into a world of romance and passion. It is not long before she discovers a shocking truth that shakes both her world and his.

Then he is gone.

Stefano shows up at a time when Jennifer has made up her mind about the rules of life. He thinks she’s beautiful and is in love with her. In a bid to convince her to give him a chance in her life, old memories once buried are brought to life. And the events that follow don’t leave anyone unaffected by the truth of the past that was left unsettled.

Meanwhile, Jennifer with her friend Chidi, find themselves on a self-discovery journey that has one of them raising questions.

Some just have to ask, where is God in all this?

… an inspirational romance, from Lagos to Italy.
When I first read what To Die Once was about, I was a bit nervous. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles and this book seems to have love triangle all over it. But I read some of the author’s writings and one thing that I have learned is that good writing can trump topics that I don’t like. I can’t go into too much detail because this is one of those books where too much talking will give the surprise away. So, here we go:
What I did like:
Don’t worry about the love triangle! If that’s your fear, please don’t let that stop you from reading this book!
The novel took place in Lagos and Italy. It’s not often you read Christian fiction that doesn’t take place in America. I really enjoyed the cultural aspect that was presented. And sometimes, I wanted more.
The overall premise of the story. I loved the way the novel comes full circle.
Many aspects of this novel felt grounded in reality. Sometimes I feel like romance novels drag certain things out to make the novel longer. And I didn’t feel that way with this one.
Chidi. She was my favorite character.
Spiritually, there are a ton of lessons here dealing with grace, judgment, forgiveness, etc. However, the one that stuck with me the most was that you shouldn’t think that you can handle temptation. If you recognize it for what it is, leave. Oh, wait, there’s another, God can use the mistakes in our lives and use them for something greater.
What I didn’t like:
When Jennifer fell in love, she seemed to base a lot of it on attraction. And so, I felt as a reader that I never really connected with the men in her life. When things got rough between her and a guy, I simply wasn’t as concerned about him. I was concerned about Jennifer and Chidi. But the men, not so much.
Also, one of the characters in this novel seemed to equate grace with trust. While I get that you are a new creation in Christ, trust still must be earned. And this person had some earning to do.
Romantic Scale: 8
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. The writing was beautiful, the story (though a bit farfetched) was really creative, and it’s a beautiful story of grace.
**I received this novel from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**


Ms. Uyeh is graciously giving away 10 ebooks every week for the next 7 weeks, giving you the opportunity of winning 1 of 70 copies! All you have to do is enter through Rafflecopter below. Every Sunday the winners will be drawn of Miranda’s blog ( and winners will be sent the ebook once the giveaway is finished. Open INTERNATIONALLY!!

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Things That Keep You From Purchasing a Novel‏

So I was doing some thinking and I’ve noticed that there are some books that I have read and loved, but I waited a long time before I read them. And I asked myself why? Here are some reasons:
1. Their Covers. It sounds so superficial, and I have been reading books for way too long to think that the outside of the book in anyway reflects the inside. But, seriously, covers will draw you in or repel. Cheap covers make me think cheap books. Boring covers make me think boring books. Lame covers make me think lame books. And yet, more often than naught, that is not the case.
2. Bad Reviews. I am a reviewer. I choose books based on other people’s reviews. But not everyone’s opinion will mesh with yours. There is one reviewer I read because I know if she hated it, I will probably love it. There are other reviewers that I used to read, but no longer do because what we agree on as negatives are not the same. Take a risk. Read a book with a bad review.
3. You’ve read the author before and been let down. There is one author I like who has written an amazing book. And then she wrote like three really boring ones in a row. Sometimes authors let you down. But don’t forget that they can write beautifully when they write well. Be hesitant maybe to buy their next one, but don’t give up just yet!

Are there any other reasons that have made you hesitate before reading a book, only to discover that you loved it?

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Lisa T. Bergren’s Remnants‏

Our coming was foretold by the elders— Those who would change the future, just as the planet teetered on the edge of darkness.
Born on the prophesied day with birthmarks in the form of a crescent moon, they knew us immediately. Swaddled and screaming, we were spirited away by those who hid us, trained us, and kept us safe until our time came.
They poured their lives into us. Some died to save us.
And now we, the Remnants, protected by Knights of the Last Order, have gathered.
Called until we breathe our last … to save the world.
As a lover of YA fantasy/dystopian novels, I have discovered that there are two ways in which a brand new series can start: one in medias res (or in the middle of things) and the other as world-building. I would classify this novel as world-building. It’s essentially a new world with a new way of life, and new groups of people, and much of the novel is Andriana coming into contact with different things and people. That is not to say that this novel was not fascinating (I’m very much looking forward to book two!)! Here’s what I noticed:
What I liked:
The world building was done fabulously. In no way, did I feel like the story stopped to explain things. Instead we got to experience and see things through the mostly sheltered eyes of Andriana. And what a world we encountered. It was both modern with the fantastical elements and medieval in the ways that people thought. It’s a great world to be in and I was extremely disappointed that every page I turned meant that I was closer to the end. I will say that it wasn’t always edge-of-your-seat exciting, but the writing was done so nicely, I still didn’t want to put the book down.
Andriana is great heroine. I never got annoyed with her, and that’s good because we’re in her head the whole novel. I liked the way she thought about things. I liked the way she reacted to things, and I liked the way she dealt with things. I also liked the idea of the romance in this. There’s actually a legit reason why they aren’t supposed to be together and that adds a lovely tension to the novel.
I also like the epic-like feel to the novel. I don’t feel like I’m being short-changed or that the author is rushing. There’s a lot going on it, but I was never lost. Furthermore, I like the whole idea of this special group of people who have amazing gifts.  I’m very excited to see what happens next.
Spiritually, there are a couple of principles here, but the one that stuck out in my mind is the importance of closing the door to darkness. Otherwise it will take a foothold and take you places you never wanted to go.
What I didn’t like:
My biggest critique would be Ronan. I liked Ronan. I just wished Ronan got a chance to speak more. Every time he spoke, it was like time froze for me. But there’s a huge amount of the novel where he is just this silent presence and while I knew Andriana’s history with Ronan, I felt like I didn’t know Ronan. And he seems like a great person to know. Let’s face it, the whole point of having a great hero is so that we readers can fall just a little bit in love with him ourselves. So, here’s to hoping that book two has lots more of Ronan!
Romantic scale: 7.5
Overall, I really enjoyed Remnants. It was such a treat to read and I’m looking forward to the next one!
**I received a copy of this novel from the author. My opinion was not affected in any way.**