Posted in Uncategorized

Beth Vogt’s Somebody Like You

About

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.
 
Review
 
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.**
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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

About

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?

 
Review
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

https://www.facebook.com/ToBeAPerson.

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: https://www.facebook.com/ToBeAPerson

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:

http://mautobeaperson.wordpress.com/

Giveaway

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 (http://mautobeaperson.wordpress.com/) and winners will be sent the ebook once the giveaway is finished. Open INTERNATIONALLY!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/645b610/

 

Posted in Historical

Tracey Groot’s The Sentinels of Andersonville

About
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?

Review

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