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Monday Musings….PSA: Leaving the Country

I’m leaving the country this week for a much needed vacation. I am going to do my best to leave one more review before I catch my flight and maybe one when I get back. But if you don’t hear from me, I will be “back” and up and running again on August 11th. Happy Summer everyone and I hope you’re doing something fun!

Have you gone on vacation this year? Are you going somewhere this year? Tell me all about it!

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Rebecca DeMarino’s A Place in His Heart


Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother. And yet these two very different people with very different expectations will take a leap of faith, wed, and then embark on a life-changing journey across the ocean to the Colonies. Along the way, each must learn to live in harmony, to wait on God, and to recognize true love where they least expect to find it.

This heartfelt tale of love and devotion is based on debut author Rebecca DeMarino’s own ancestors, who came to Long Island in the mid-1600s to establish a life–and a legacy–in the New World.

I requested this book because I really like reading about two people who fall in love and they’re married. As you can imagine only certain kinds of books fit into this category. My thoughts:
What I liked:
The historical background. I felt like the author really did her research and was able to successfully combine facts within her story.
The premise. I really liked the idea of making this journey into the new world and them learning to depend upon each other.
Spiritually, I loved that both Mary and Barnabas sought God regularly, even to the point of leaving their home for a chance to serve Him.
What I didn’t like:
This book confused me (or rather the characters did). And not in a good way. Barnabas was a man who loved God very much, to the point where he’s willing to give up everything for Him. But Barnabas also has a reputation for flirting with the ladies (in spite of the fact that he was so in love with Ann!!!!). I think I expected Barnabas to treat Mary badly because he loved his first wife so much. And on the one hand he didn’t (he was very nice and polite and sweet), and on the other hand he talked to Ann (his dead wife) and talked about Ann (his dead wife) to Mary all the time (his current wife). I was a little creeped out. I don’t know how Mary did it, because I would have told him to shut it up. Overall, Barnabas was not a likeable character to me, he was very emotionally controlling and selfish, and he failed to be a hero.
Mary was not a bad heroine. And she was the only one person I really liked. But I failed to connect with her on any level.
I was also confused by Barnabas’s son who was five when his mother died and yet he managed to hold onto her memory so incredibly well for years and years and years. I’ve known kids who have lost parents/parental figures at such a young age. It just hasn’t worked like that for them.
In my opinion, apart from Mary trying to get Barnabas to fall in love with her, the novel didn’t appear to have a page turning plot. I didn’t really know what was going to happen next, and the main characters didn’t really make me want to care. Also, the pacing was funny. Years would go by in an instant and then time would slow down for a day. And then you turned a page and another year had passed. Unfortunately, I found myself skimming towards the last few chapters.
Romantic Scale: 6
Overall, this novel was not my favorite. The writing was great, and the historical details were fascinating, but the characterization didn’t pull me in.
**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**
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Multiple Mini Reviews

I’ve read a couple of books lately that I recommend, but just couldn’t find a way to fit them in review-wise, at least not for a while. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on them!

This is an American Revolution Romance novel that was very cute. Don’t worry about getting lost in historical details, its very romance focused, and put together really well. The only problem I had was that we were reminded that the heroine was so fair a lady…a couple of times. But read it, it’s lovely.

I’ve said it before, I’m not a huge Amish fiction fan, but this retelling of The Scarlet Letter was getting some rave reviews. It’s good, folks. Really really intense, drama out the ying yang,( though not entirely surprising if you’ve read The Scarlet Letter) and yet very good.

Anyone else a Christy and Todd fan? I was excited to get my hands on this novel. One thing Ms. Gunn does well is portray realistic romance and here we’ve got a realistic marriage. I definitely learned a thing or two for when I get married (one day!). For me, it was a bit slow in parts, but overall very exciting to read.

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Monday Musings…What’s On Your Radar?

For me, the countdown begins for:

I can’t even describe how much I want this book. I think it all began when the previous one ended. This series has truly surprised me. The first book was just ok for me, the second book was amazing, and I’ve already heard great things about this one. So, if you haven’t started this series, get to it!

This is another 3rd book in a series. I love the way Ms. Sundin does history, and the development of her romances are always a treat!

Ms. Weber is a debut novelist, but not only has she been reviewed by Christian readers and loved, she’s been reviewed by secular readers and loved. And I’m thrilled that Christian novels are getting this kind of attention. Who knows the impact this book could make?

What are you counting down the days for?


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Ronie Kendig’s Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill & Collateral Damage


They never should’ve existed.  Now they don’t.  In the aftermath of their first highly successful op, the first all-female special ops team, known as Zulu, discovered that innocent civilians—women and children—died at their hands. Zulu was set up to take the devastating fall.  Fearing for their lives, the Zulu team vanished. With new identities and spread across the globe, they live in relative but isolated peace—yet still haunted by the past. Terrified of being discovered.   Five years after that horrific night, they’ve begun to hope they might be safe and the tragedy forgotten.  Until two of them are murdered.



They want answers. They want redemption. And they want to live.   Five years ago, six soldiers made American military history as the first all-female Special Forces team, named Zulu. A tragic mistake in Misrata, Libya, leaves twenty-two innocents dead and Zulu fleeing for their lives. Now Jessica Herring and Candice Reyna are dead at the hand of an assassin, and Keeley Shay clings to life in a hospital. The last three Zulu members are forced into a fight for answers, for redemption, and for their very lives.  Annie Palermo and Téya Reiker had settled into their hidden identities when their lives are upended and their loved ones attacked. Annie’s flame, Samuel Caliguari, is a former Navy SEAL who can hold his own, but the attack leaves Annie livid—and fleeing once again. When Téya’s Amish loved ones are threatened, she must also hide. But how can she not go back and protect these peace-loving people, no matter the risk?  Nuala King never really settled after Misrata, and she can’t shake the horror of the disastrous mission, the lives lost, or the terrible nightmares that still haunt her.  Lieutenant Colonel Trace Weston and his right-hand man, Chief Warrant Officer Boone Ramage, struggle to hold the Zulu remnant together. They must track down who hit the team and deliver justice to the enemy—if Sam Caliguari and relentless Army intelligence analyst Lieutenant Francesca Solomon don’t get them all killed first. . . .


If you haven’t heard of this 5-part series that is being released by Ronie Kendig, I’m here to tell you all about it…and to get it, cause it’s good!. I love that it’s serialized, how very Dickens of Ms. Kendig. I did decide however, not to review each one separately, but to do them in multiplies. My thoughts on the first two:

This novel starts off with a bang right away. I was immediately pulled in and I cared about all the girls on the Zulu team. There’s a lot of information that you don’t have, but that’s okay, because quite a few of the main characters don’t have them either. I was, at one point, worried how the author would manage all of the characters and their points of view, but I’m worried no longer. Somehow, in spite of the fact that there are a lot of characters, I’m not getting lost or losing the thread of the novel. If, like me, you’re wondering if she has some romance in this book, I can tell you she does, I cannot tell you much more since I haven’t finished the series. Long and short of it? Start this series, first part is free, second part you won’t want to put down.

**I received these copies from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**




Posted in Historical, Uncategorized

Elizabeth Camden’s With Every Breath


In the shadow of the nation’s capital, Kate Livingston’s respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she’d hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.

Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor’s risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor’s past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor’s closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.

As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.


In my opinion, Elizabeth Camden writes some of the best heroes. Somehow her men manage to be unique and different and stay true to themselves no matter what happens. It’s no different with this book, except that this time, the heroine is a complete match.

What I liked:

The heroine!. So rarely do I like heroines. The men always seem like perfection and they are matched very often with whiny women with no backbone. Not here! In this book, all I kept thinking is what would Trevor do without Kate? She was wonderful. She was lighthearted where he was serious. She was thoughtful where he was too focused. And she was equally as brilliant as he was.

The hero. Again, Ms. Camden writes the best leading men and Trevor is no different. He’s brilliant, he’s unfriendly, he doesn’t understand people. He has secrets (which are the most incredible things). And he recognizes and knows the call God has on his life and will not put anything else above it. But most of all, he doesn’t change even as he falls in love with Kate (sometimes unfriendly heroes turn into saps as they fall in love).

The set up. I loved that Kate and Trevor are so smart and have this history of not liking each other, and yet when they start working together it’s magic. You, the reader, believe great things will come out of their fight for a cure. And oh, how the study of Tuberculosis will tug on your heart.

The romance. Because Kate and Trevor have this past, the romance is slow to develop, but in a good way. Their friendship with each other is beautifully established. I loved their conversations. Their back and forth made me laugh several times. Also, I didn’t feel like the author contrived a reason for keeping them a part. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, do I come across reasons that make sense for a couple not getting together, but there was a good reason here.

They mystery. It’s kind of creepy and totally captures my attention.

Spiritually, there is the theme of not allowing fear to dictate your future.

What I didn’t like:

I loved everything about this book. Some people might think the pacing is slow. Not me.

Overall, loved it.

Romantic Scale: 9

**I received this book from BethanyHouse. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings….What’s the Last Book You Read, That You Couldn’t Put Down?

Personally, the best books are books that invite you into their world and you just don’t want  to leave. You find yourself tuning out the world, trying to do chores faster, and doing your best to convince yourself not to read at every stoplight as you drive. And so I ask you, what is the last book that you read that you simply couldn’t put down? For me, it was Elizabeth Camden’s With Every Breath (review this week). For you it may not be a recent read. So,what book captured you?

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Jody Hedlund’s Captured by Love


The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.


Jody Hedlund has become a frontrunner for writing  historical romance novels. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The setting. I liked that we’re presented with a different place and time for the American Revolutionary War. I was not familiar with this island in Michigan or this British military fort.

Angelique. Though there were times she made me a bit frustrated, I liked that she wasn’t your ordinary heroine. A lot of heroines claim to be tomboys, but Angelique really is, and becomes rather trustworthy when it comes to survival.

Pierre. I liked Pierre because he isn’t exactly like most heroes. He kind of only cared about himself. Sometimes this made me wonder about this guy, but it was realistic and very true to who he was.

The romance. I thought Pierre and Angelique managed to have a lot of chemistry. I’m not sure why, but I was definitely turning to the pages in this book.

Spiritually, the theme is trusting in God and not in your own devices. Both Pierre and Angelique try to make things happen without relying on God and learn that they get lost that way.

What I didn’t like

There is a love triangle that adds to the novel is an unflattering way. A couple times it threw a wrench in the story that just didn’t make any sense to me.

Romantic Scale: 8.9

Overall, a very easy, fast read that’s very cute and though it wasn’t my favorite Jody Hedlund, her writing is so amazing you’ll still be pulled in and want to stay.

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

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Tessa Afshar’s In the Field of Grace


grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with
nothing to recommend her but Naomi’s, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide
enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. But
God has other plans for her life.

everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a
widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign
woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his
Cousin Naomi’s chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from
harm, but his heart knows better.
Based on
the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that
ultimately changes the course of Israel’s destiny and the future of the whole


I will admit that though Ruth is a phenomenal woman to read about in the Bible, her story is often retold and has since lost some of its luster. Here are my thoughts on Ms. Afshar’s version:

What I liked:

The best parts of the novel to me, were the parts that were of Afshar’s invention. Everything that was created outside of the Bible story, I found to be fascinating, particularly Boaz’s back story.

The fine details. The details of this book is what separates it from other retellings because it manages to bring Bethlehem and Moab to life, allowing the reader to really see what life must have been like in those times. With every Afshar novel, I find myself learning more and more unique things about the Jewish culture than I had not known.

The chemistry between Boaz and Ruth. It was so nicely done. You could see them falling for each other slowly, and also see what felt like, obstacles in their way.

I also liked the way that Ruth begins to win over the hearts of the Israelites, almost one day at a time.

Spiritually, Boaz has to learn to let go of his fear and place his trust in God and Ruth comes to know God in a real way.

What I didn’t like:

A lot of moments felt like they were almost verbatim from the Bible. And while that’s not a bad thing, I just found myself more or less drawn to the creative and unique tidbits of the novel that enhanced the Biblical narrative rather than the parts that were the Biblical narrative itself.  

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, though not my favorite novel by Ms. Afshar, still a beautiful retelling.

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

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Monday Musings…2015 Books!

Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.

Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could ve been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever.”

Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge

A twenty-first-century doctor travels back in time to third-century Carthage to rescue her husband, but the arrival of a deadly epidemic forces her to make an impossible choice in this fast-paced second novel in The Carthage Chronicles series.
Dr. Lisbeth Hastings salvaged two things from her accidental trip to the third century: her mother’s stethoscope and her child. Making a life for her daughter Maggie back in the present is difficult, but returning to ancient Carthage is impossible. However, when Lisbeth learns her husband is slated to die a martyr’s death, she must find a way around the impossible to save him.
Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He’s lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. When Ruth, an old friend, proposes he marry her to restore his position and protect his estate, the disgraced nobleman accepts. But when Cyprian’s true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church.
As Lisbeth and Cyprian reunite to battle a new epidemic and save the oppressed community of Christians, the chasm between the two of them seems too wide to bridge. But when Maggie contracts typhoid, Lisbeth must choose: stay and save the man she loves, or return home and save her daughter?
Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this incredibly compelling adventure of star-crossed lovers will keep you engrossed with every turn of the page.

A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who can help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing for good.

An Irish-born son far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and start a farm, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the annual Drayton Stakes at Nashville’s racetrack––the richest race run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance, and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder, Maggie’s father––aging, yet wily as ever––makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail––Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

Cullen and Maggie need each other in order to achieve their dreams. But their stubborn, wounded hearts––and the escalating violence from a “secret society” responsible for lynchings and midnight raids––may prove too much for even two determined souls.

Lots to look forward to!