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Nicole Deese’s Before I Called You Mine

Before I Called You Mine by [Nicole Deese]

Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there’s only one match she’s committed to now–the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first-grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency’s requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.


I’ve read a number of Nicole Deese novels and even though the premise of this book did not quite draw me in, because of how much I’ve enjoyed her other books, I requested it anyway. My thoughts:

What I liked

Adoption. I don’t know much about the process of adopting a child, but I thought the author did a good job of describing all that’s involved including the ups and downs and all of the emotions that a potential parent deals with. It’s obviously not an easy avenue to go down and I like that the author did not shy away from that.

Family drama. I love romance, but I also love reading about the dynamics of family. Lauren’s decision to adopt is one that brings a lot of things to the surface between her and her mom and her sister. I thought the way everything unfolded felt natural and organic.

Spiritually, the book deals with trusting God, particularly when you don’t understand why things are happening the way that they are.

What I didn’t like

The reason I wasn’t crazy about the premise of this book was because I felt like a focused conversation could solve everyone’s problems. But, I was hoping that I was wrong and that there would be something else happening that would drive the story.  I was not wrong. I understood Lauren and where she was coming from. I just did not understand why she just didn’t lay everything out on the table from the get-go. Since I felt like one conversation would have wiped out half of the plot, it didn’t quite work for me.

Romantic scale: 7.5

Overall, I was not a huge fan of this book. There wasn’t enough of a story to really draw me in.

**I received a copy from BethanyHouse via Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Becky Wade’s Stay With Me

Stay with Me (Misty River Romance, A Book #1) by [Becky Wade]

A mysterious letter alluding to a secret in her parents’ past brings Genevieve Woodward back to her Blue Ridge Mountains hometown, but she’s also in need of a break from a high-profile career that has left her dangerously burned out and concealing a powerful secret of her own. When she wakes inside an unfamiliar cottage to find the confused owner staring down at her, she can no longer ignore the fact that she needs help.

Sam Turner has embraced his sorrow and his identity as an outsider. The solitary, disciplined life he lives on his historic farm is the life he’s chosen for himself. The last thing he wants is to rent his cottage to a woman as troubled as she is talkative. Yet, he can’t force himself to turn her away right when she needs him most.

As Genevieve researches her family’s history and her and Sam’s emotions deepen, they will have to let go of the facades and loneliness they’ve clung to and allow light to illuminate every hidden truth.


I am a huge Becky Wade fan mostly  because she is one of those rare contemporary Christian romance novelists who can craft a good romance story without contriving something silly. My thoughts:

What I liked

Genevieve’s secret. It’s a good one. And it’s one I’ve never encountered in a Christian novel before. I thought the author handled it perfectly. To the right people, it wasn’t a secret so there was no deception story-line going on here…and yet, the fact that certain people know, doesn’t make the book any less stressful at moments. Kudos to Wade for tackling an issue I think a lot of people have heard of or encountered at some point.

The back story. Genevieve has quite the backstory that is being told alongside the present. I could be wrong, but I think at least two people in the back story are going to get their own book. It took a minute to draw me in because I wasn’t sure of the point, but as I slowly got to know all the characters, I really liked where the road was leading.

The mystery. It was really fascinating because in some ways, you didn’t see it coming. I thought the story did a good job of untangling things to get where it got.

The romance. Becky Wade knows how to write a romance. And she knows how to write these silent heroes who will do anything for the women they fall in love with. This book is no different.

Spiritually, the novel deals with grace and what that looks like and how  you can’t earn it.

What I didn’t like

I will admit it took me a few more chapters than usual to get invested in this book. But once I was in, I was in.

Romantic scale: 9

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m very nervous about the second one! But I’m still going to read it anyway!

**I received a copy from BethanyHouse via Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**