Posted in Contemporary, Young Adult

Litfuse Blog Tour: Chelsea Jacobs’ Happy to Be Alive Because

About

Avery is a seventeen-year-old girl whose reality has just been shattered by the death of her mother. Feeling a desperate need to flee from what has become her life, she follows a travel plan meant for her mom and her that leads her to the little beach town where her mom grew up. It’s there that she meets a group of three adventurous friends who adopt her into their circle, allowing her to experience a summer she never thought would be possible after suffering such a great loss. Unfortunately, her summer full of experiences threatens to end abruptly when she realizes that one of the three has a secret that causes her to question everything about the new life she has been building. Avery must learn to balance her grief and her desire for a future in order to achieve her mother’s final wish for her: That she would be happy to be alive.

Review

I’m a huge lover of YA books, so when I saw this one, I decided to read it. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The premise. Avery has just lost her mother and so she goes to this place where her mother grew up and kind of follows this rabbit trail that her mother left her before she died. I found it to be creative and cool to read about. Not to mention, that in some ways it comes full circle.

Avery. She’s a heroine who is going through a lot. I like that she doesn’t totally forget her grief, but I like that she learns to move on. She’s also got this innocent quality to her that had shades of Christy (Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy).

The setting. Avery really gets to know this particular city in Florida and she takes the reader along. I’ve never heard of coconut coffee before, but I definitely have an interest in trying it now.

Her friends. The group that Avery runs into is very interesting. They look out for each other and take care of each other, and really invest in each other.

The idea of finding something to be happy about each day. Each day of life is a blessing and you can really see that here.

What I didn’t like:

Realistically, this novel put some questions in my mind. Now, I am unfamiliar with Florida law (I’m a lawyer, I think about these things), and we all know Florida law is different, but can a teenager rent a car? Can she book a hotel room without an adult? Can she maintain these two things for a long extended period of time? I was very confused. Also, Avery’s mom may have died, but she is not without family. So I was very curious as to why her family would allow a grieving, 17 year old, to go to another state, for a long extended period of time, without any adult supervision or at least someone calling every night saying “bring your butt home and go to college.” It left me wondering why the author chose the medium of YA, and why, if she wanted Avery to have this kind of freedom, she didn’t just make her a few years older?

The pacing. Sometimes the novel slowed down, and other times I turned the page and it said “3 weeks later”. Or Avery would meet a person one day and a couple pages later they were best friends. Things happened often either too slow or too quick.

Lastly, I didn’t connect to all the characters. I think it’s because some of the characters are very mysterious, and while that’s fine, I kind of wish there had been some bread crumbs so that I could guess why they were the way they were. When they finally revealed their secrets, I felt more like an outsider looking in as opposed to someone who was invested.

Overall, I said all that to say, that the novel is a very sweet, very cute read that would be perfect for the beach.

Romantic Scale: 7

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

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/xlD3V
About the author: 
Chelsea grew up with an immense love for words—both reading them and writing them. She obtained her degree in English and has spent the time since then getting married to her high school sweetheart and chasing adventure so she’ll have something to write about. When she’s not drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing, she spends her time reading, playing with her puppy named Gatsby, and dreaming, always dreaming.
Chelsea can be found at: website, Twitter

Be sure and check out the rest of the blog tour!

6/5/2014
Jennifer | 5 Minutes for Books
Betsy | Glamamamas Goodies
Suzanne | Clicking Her Heels
Erin | For Him and My Family
Sarah | Life Isn’t a Fairytale
Zac | Zac Weikal (www.zacweikal.com)

6/6/2014

Kari | Alas 3 Lads
Dianna | Savings in Seconds
Cassandra | Cassandra M’s Place
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Lindsey | Books for Christian Girls

6/8/2014

Victoria | deal sharing aunt

6/9/2014

Nancy | Neatly-Packaged
Michelle | I HOPE YOU DANCE
Donna | Books and such

6/10/2014

Margaret | Frugal-Shopping
Wanda | A Book Lover’s Retreat
Amanda | Semel insanivimus omnes
Nancy | sunny island breezes
Tara | This Sweet Life
Jennifer | WordSmith
Veronica | Veronica’s ‘Views
Nicole | Gidget Goes Home

6/11/2014

Rebekah | Will Bake for Books

6/12/2014

Kristie | Moments
Cristi | Cristi’s Reviews
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
JoJo | JoJo’s Corner
JoyAnne | Deco My Heart

6/13/2014

Misty | The Lady Prefers To Save
Embassie | remain in his love

6/14/2014

Lori | Morning Glories and moonflowers

6/15/2014

Abbi | Christian Novels
Amanda | The Talbert Report

6/16/2014

Debra | 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
Edythe | Ski-Wee’s Book Corner
Andi | Radiant Light
Jayda | Two Children and a Migraine

6/17/2014

Melanie | Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rayleigh | Accelerate The Jesus Movement
Kristin | Kritters Ramblings (blog)
Cindy | Cindy’s Book Reviews
Tressa | Tressa’s Wishful Endings

6/18/2014

Kellie | Nothing Less

6/19/2014

Blossom | North Laurel Home & School
Julie | More Of Him
Melina | Melina’s Book Blog
Heather | Misadventures of the Dynamic Uno
Margaret | The World As I See It
Ramona | Create With Joy
Sara | Sara Ella
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Posted in Contemporary

Karen Witemeyer’s Full Steam Ahead


About
When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she’s stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he’s only ever focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole’s father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping’s good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father’s work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father’s rivals–the Jenkins brothers–on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary–someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he’s determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won’t distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she’ll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can’t remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn’t fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.

About

When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she’s stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he’s only ever focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole’s father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping’s good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father’s work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father’s rivals–the Jenkins brothers–on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary–someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he’s determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won’t distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she’ll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can’t remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn’t fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.

Review

It is always such a joy to get my hands on a Karen Witemeyer novel! My thoughts:

What I liked:

How uncomplicated her romance novels are. Sometimes you just want a straight romance novel that will make you sigh in the end and that’s what this is.

Darius. He’s a bit of the absent minded professor, but you can’t help but like him. More to the point, once he starts focusing in on Nicole, he really becomes endearing. I loved reading about him falling in love.

Nicole. She’s both beautiful and smart and to some degree, fully capable of taking care of herself. There are certain elements about her that are really unique and helps make for a very fun heroine.

The premise, because it allowed Nicole and Darius to get to know each other before they fell in love.

Spiritually, there is this great theme of grace and how you don’t have to do penance for things in the past. That’s what Jesus was for.

What I didn’t like:

There was a moment or two when I felt like Nicole was making a mountain out of a molehill about something. But the book doesn’t stay there.

Overall, such a fun, delightful romance that is completely enthralling!

Romantic Scale: 9

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

Posted in Contemporary, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Personal

Feature Friday…Sarah Witenhafer

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about diversity in Christian books Here

One of the comments by Deborah recommended the author Sarah Witenhafer to me. And I’m so glad she did!

Let me just tell you, this series goes out to all the paranormal romance lovers out there. I will say it’s a bit edgy (though all within the confines of Christianity) and has some mild language, but you cannot deny the message of the gospel. For me, the series starts off a bit predictable, but it has this great mystery in it and characters that pull you in…and it’s addictive. So, if you find that you love secular paranormals, give this one a chance. You won’t be disappointed!

 

Posted in Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense

Silenced Blog Tour and Giveaway!

About
A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna’s route brings her face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something darker? When the case is handed to overburdened sheriff Landon Grainger, he turns to Jake Westin for help. With Jake’s past now revealed, he’s ready to use his talent for investigation again–but he could never prepare for where the mystery will take him.

Kayden’s climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.

Review
I have been looking forward to this book almost since the first one came out. And it did not disappoint! Here’s my thoughts:

What I liked:

The novel starts off with a bang. And then it doesn’t let up. At no point in the novel did I feel like putting it down and doing something else. The writing is compelling, the mystery intriguing, and the romance on point.

The romance. I’ve been watching Kayden and Jake since day one and I am very pleased with how their story came together. One thing I’ve noticed in series like these, is that the author runs the risk of having the male characters all seem the same or the females all come across as very similar. Not so with Kayden and Jake. They had distinct personalities in the other books and are well able to stay the same in this book. This of course means that their romance was a little different, a bit slower, but perfect for them. I was initially worried that with Kayden’s prickly personality that I would find her annoying in regards to Jake. But I didn’t, I found her endearing.

The mystery. Dani Pettrey writes my kind of mystery: not too complicated that I get lost in the details and yet you can still make guesses about what is going on.

The family. I love when the McKenna’s are together. Every scene where they work together is fun to read. And I do believe another McKenna has a story coming out. Here’s to looking at you Reef!

Spiritually, the major theme is dealing with fear and how it can keep you from living if you don’t trust God with it.

What I didn’t like:

Really nothing. It was a lot of fun to read.

Romantic Scale: 8.9

Overall, a very fun read you won’t want to put down!

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

Giveaway

Dani Pettrey has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of Silenced (that’s right, it’s free)! Just leave a comment below stating what you love about a Dani Pettrey novel (or why you would like to read one) with your email address. The winner must live in the US and be over the age of 18. You can make as many comments as you want, but only one comment will count towards the giveaway. A winner will be randomly selected. The winner must respond within 48 hours of being notified of their win. The contest ends May 30th!

Posted in Contemporary

Becky Wade’s Meant to Be Mine

About

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Review

Being an avid reader of Christian romance, I will say that most Contemporary Christian Romance novels have a tendency to feel contrived to me. Problems usually feel created. But not so with Becky Wade! I love her writing and My Stubborn Heart is one of my favorite novels of all times. But, now, here are my thoughts for this one:

What I liked:

The beginning. It completely pulled me in and allowed me to become totally invested in Celia. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, do I connect with a heroine as much as I connected with Celia. Even Ty couldn’t pull me all the way over to his side.

The premise. It is not often that you have in a Christian novel, hidden babies. I was super excited to see it here even though there really isn’t a good reason to hide a kid from his/her dad. But, it worked here! I got why Celia didn’t tell Ty about their daughter.

I love stories that deal with parents falling in love with their children. Watching Ty get to know his daughter was so sweet. I also liked when the Porter clan was introduced to his daughter.

Ty. I liked that Ty was not like other heroes. He didn’t make up his mind right away about Celia and that really added some extra anxiety to the story.

The romance. It was slow, but it had a nice simmer to it. And I must say, love is nicely portrayed in a Becky Wade novel. It’s giving, it’s compromising, it’s putting someone else first. Beautifully done.

Spiritually, there is this great theme of forgiveness and what that really looks like. I thought Celia’s learning to follow God and letting go of the past was realistically portrayed. Her reactions came across as genuine and really understandable. There’s also something to be said about obedience here. I think Ms. Wade does a wonderful job with the spiritual message of not being too subtle as to have you wonder if this is a Christian novel, and yet the messages are not so overpowering so as to not fit the tone of the novel.

What I didn’t like:

Ty. This might be confusing because I liked that Ty was different. But, he was so confused about his feelings about Celia. And it’s not that that is a bad thing per se, but I didn’t trust him anymore than Celia did. I liked Ty, I just didn’t understand Ty.

Romantic scale: 9

Overall, very cute, original, fun, and romantic.

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

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 Contemporary

Lisa Carter’s Beneath a Navajo Moon

Product Details
About
The search for a woman who disappeared in 1906 has lead cultural anthropologist Erin Dawson to Cedar Canyon, where the iconic terrain of red rock walls and mesas keep Navajo traditions—and maybe criminal evidence—well hidden. When Erin’s search leads her to cross paths with tribal policeman Adam Silverhorn, it’s hardly love at first sight. But everywhere she turns, Adam is                 already there.

Fighting their feelings for each other, the two are suddenly thrust into a battle far more dangerous—a common quest to rout an insidious drug cartel that has spawned the recent rise in gang violence on the reservation. Adam’s position of authority gives Erin a rare glimpse into Navajo life few outsiders like her ever see—and into a crime ring that                 no one dares to imagine. As danger mounts, Adam and Erin begin to wonder if they will live to tell how they really feel.

Review
I discovered Lisa Carter with Carolina Reckoning. And while I enjoyed that novel, this one persuaded me to add her to my must buy list! Beneath a Navajo Moon is unlike most novels you will find on the shelves because it has this interesting combination of past and present that completely merges. So without further ado,
What I liked:

The American Indian culture. I learned so much about the Navajo both in the past and in the present. The novel also tosses in some WWII history that I think rarely gets the attention it deserves.

Adam. He’s got a lot going on. He has to balance his Navajo culture vs. “American” culture and consider how far he is willing to go in his duty as a cop. But, he’s also really funny and sweet, and still makes you want to slap him at the same time. Ha! I liked him.

Erin. She’s a great heroine who surprises you time and time again.

The romance. I really liked that Erin and Adam were such good friends even as you could tell that they were falling for each other. Honestly, sometimes I felt like I was reading a chick-lit and I loved it.

The mystery/suspense was a part of the novel and yet, the characters were the focus. But when it was suspenseful, it was suspenseful.

Spiritually, I love the way you watch Adam fall for Jesus. It’s slow, but makes sense. I also loved that you see Erin deal with the idea of falling for someone unsaved and how she deals with it.

What I didn’t like:
They kept saying that Erin was obsessed with her history research and while clearly she had to be because she did so much to get there. Once she was there, it didn’t seem to be that much of a focus for her.

At one point, it felt like the novel slowed, but turn the next page. It picks right up again.

Overall, I had so much fun with this one. Read it!

Romantic Scale: 8.9
*I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**