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Becky Wade’s Falling For You

Falling for You (A Bradford Sisters Romance Book #2) by [Wade, Becky]

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

Review

I’m a huge fan of Becky Wade. Ever since I read My Stubborn Heart in a matter of hours at a bookstore, I’ve always been excited about her novels. My thoughts:

What I liked

Willow and Corbin. Since I had read the first book, I was aware of the fact that there was a history between Willow and Corbin…and one where that led to them not liking each other. I will admit to being worried that the reason they weren’t together was because of something silly. There is no reason to worry. It completely made sense to me why they were so angry with each other in the beginning. The romance was handled with a deft hand and even though Willow and Corbin almost hate each other in the beginning, you slowly begin to see them fall for each other. It was lovely.

Contemporary. This book dealt with contemporary issues and concerns. Everything that they encountered and discussed felt real. I love that Wade can write a contemporary christian book without avoiding certain topics and without inventing problems.

Mystery. The small mystery that Willow and Corbin are solving was rather fascinating. While some of it was predictable, I still found myself invested in every layer that was revealed.

Secondary characters. I love Willow’s sisters and I’m so excited for the next book. Also, I’m not a huge fan of kids in books, but Corbin’s niece stole the show several times.

Spiritually, the novel deals with forgiveness and not just forgiving others but forgiving yourself.

What I didn’t like

It was actually very difficult for me to put my finger on what didn’t quite work for me (and not everything worked), but I think it’s that this book is…a bit slow. It’s very character driven (which I usually really love) as opposed to plot driven and so sometimes that meant that things moved along in such a way that made me wonder where it was going.

Also, even though the romance did not quite fall under the category of ‘missionary dating,’ it felt like missionary dating. There were moments I wasn’t sure why they were spending so much time together if they weren’t exactly on the same page when it came to certain…things.

Romantic scale: 8

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was different, but if you like Becky Wade and contemporary romance, worth reading.

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

 

 

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Susan Anne Mason’s A Most Noble Heir

A Most Noble Heir by [Mason, Susan Anne]

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope–believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father’s demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

Review

This is the first book that I’ve read from Susan Ann Mason. However, I had to try it because I found the premise to be totally fascinating–a stable boy being the son of an Earl? Yes, please.  My thoughts:

What I liked

Father-son relationship. I love books based off of relationships be it romance or familial. Whenever Nolan and his father were on the page together, for me, the story slowed down. I wanted very much to see them come together.

The story. Mason managed to surprise me with the romance. I did not expect what I read and that kept me turning the pages well into the night. I’m not going to lie, as a regency-purist I didn’t know how she was going to make this situation work. But she did (even if it was a bit Disney-esque).  Also, there are several situations where the author could have let miscommunications ruin it and I like that she didn’t. She made Nolan and Hannah face each other.

Spiritually, the characters must learn to trust God, and to realize that He might have a bigger plan.

What I didn’t like

Father-son relationship. It was kind of disappointing. While I felt like, at the end, both men came to understand each other, I never felt them connect. The Earl kept upsetting Nolan. Nolan kept upsetting the Earl. I kept wishing for their relationship to strengthen.

This book went too long. I loved the beginning, even the middle, but by the end I was skimming.

Romantic scale: 7.5

Overall, a very good book and rather surprising at times.

** I received a copy from Bethanyhouse. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

 

 

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Amanda Cabot’s A Borrowed Dream

A Borrowed Dream (Cimarron Creek Trilogy Book #2) by [Cabot, Amanda]

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the town doctor’s excessive bleeding treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life without love or family, a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

Review

I read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. Amanda Cabot is a very good writer. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The writing. The story is not complicated and yet the writing completely pulled me in. I understood Catherine and Austin. Their motivations and fears became important to me as a reader.

Catherine. We are introduced to Catherine in the first book and I was very much looking forward to being in her head. I wasn’t disappointed. Catherine has some issues in the past that she must confront in this book and she does it in such a way that she doesn’t diminish as a character.

The suspense premise. Austin has such an interesting past. I had never heard or read of any person with a background like his.

The secondary characters. Of course we come in contact with characters from the first book, but then there are some children who come in completely steal the show.

Spiritually, the novel deals with trusting God and spiritual dreams. I’m not going to lie, the spiritual dreams felt a bit reaching to me, but I suppose it worked.

What I didn’t like:

The romance. Several times throughout the book, the important moments in Catherine’s romantic relationship is quickly summarized. We are told she and her guy became friends. But we don’t get to see it come to past (though we see the fruition). We are told that they fell in love. We don’t get to see it.  The relationship happens quickly so that there is one.

This was a pet peeve, but there is the return of a character that is mentioned in book one and I could not understand why the author chose to do it that way.

Romantic Scale: 6.5

Overall, not my favorite in the series, but still very enjoyable.

**I received a copy from Revell. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Tammy L Gray’s Until I Knew Myself

Until I Knew Myself (Bentwood Book 1) by [Gray, Tammy L.]

Tyler Mitchell grew up an orphan, taken in by his best friend’s family when he was only sixteen. Even though ten years have passed, and he’s been given everything he should ever want—a loving home, an adoring girlfriend, a successful career, and lifelong friendships—Tyler has always felt a foreigner in his own life.

When a surprising phone call reveals the death of his biological grandfather, Tyler’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel. The people he loves most in world have kept from him the greatest secret of all—knowledge of his father’s family.

Now hunting for more information about his past, Tyler discovers nothing is quite as it seems. And the definition of family is far more complicated than choosing between blood and loyalty.

Review

Tammy L. Gray is an auto-buy author for me.  My thoughts:

What worked

Contemporary. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, most Christian authors don’t write contemporary Christian books well. They invent problems. I never feel that way about Tammy’s books. Her characters feel like people of their times and their problems feel organic.

Tyler. I adored him. I found him to be so understandable. Every time he was on the page I wanted to know what happened next. Somethings he came across were a bit predictable, but how he dealt with them was unique. I really liked him.

Secondary cast. Tammy always manages to create a dynamic group of people. This groups is no different. They love each other. They fight with each other. They are different from each other. They balance out each other. I’m looking forward to their books.

Spiritually, the concept of why live like an orphan when we’re children of God? Although I will say that maybe only one character was actually a believer…

What didn’t work:

The romance. For some reason, the main couple in this book did not work for me. I found myself wanting Tyler to end up with someone else (though if I’m right, based off of where the novel is going, that relationship was a no go). Nevertheless, Tyler and his lady didn’t seem to make each other better. They seemed to make each other worse. I found myself tense every time he was with her and relaxed when she was gone.

Romantic scale: 6

I didn’t love this book, but it was still good and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

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Jennifer Haynie’s Loose Ends

Loose Ends (Unit 28) by [Haynie, Jennifer]

Review

I have actually never read this author before and I felt like taking a chance! My thoughts:

What I liked

Unit 28. I rarely read books with a CIA bend because they have a tendency to overwhelm a reader with details. Usually there are lots of points of views and plots within plots. However, I found this narrative easy to follow. There are several points of views, but I actually found them helpful rather than distracting. The various plot points all felt connected and I didn’t find myself getting lost. I also found that I really like the idea of spies, international mysteries, and secrets within secrets.

Suspense. I would hesitate to call this book a mystery since you get the “bad guys” povs, but there is certainly suspense and a kind of will-they, won’t-they get everything done in time.

Diversity. I loved that this book had main characters who were diverse…and they weren’t just sidekicks but main characters.

Romance. In this book, the couple was already established. And yet, they still had to work out some kinks and learn to be a couple. I enjoyed watching them work together as a couple without a lot of drama.

Spiritually, the characters pray and seek God for guidance.

What I didn’t like

This is not the first book in the series, and I haven’t read the others. Therefore I was a little bit lost as to where this book was going, I wasn’t sure what Alex and Jabir actually did, and it felt like the book took a minute to get to the plot.

There was some secret telling that was almost unbelievable in the way that the person wanted to protect their secret.

Romantic scale: 7

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

**I received a copy from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Francine Rivers’ The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece by [Rivers, Francine]

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship—and both their lives—forever.

Review

Francine Rivers has managed to write some of my favorite books ever…and then the occasional book that left me largely confused. Thus, I was a bit worried when approaching The Masterpiece. My thoughts:

Reasons why you should read The Masterpiece:

1.  As usual, Rivers tackles contemporary issues effortlessly. A lot of Christian authors avoid certain topics like sex, dating, partying, etc., Rivers confronts it all head on. She’s not afraid of the heavy topics and that’s what really makes her novels stay with you.

2. Complex characters. No one is all good or all bad. They are sinners saved by grace. At the same time, once they’re saved they are not wishy-washy Christians.

  3. Complex storytelling. Rivers has a lot of flashbacks within this novel. She’s going somewhere and I like where it ended.

  4. Spiritually, this novel deals with so much, but what stood out to me is that hell is real and salvation isn’t a game.

Reasons that might give you pause:

  1. For me it started a bit slow. I started the novel the first day it came out…and then put it back down. Don’t worry though, it picks up!
  2. Due to the time jumps it might take a minute to get invested in the characters. I came to really appreciate the back and forth between the present day and the past. But at first? Not so much.
  3. The romance at times might feel like a more modern version of Marcus and Hadassah (characters from her Mark of the Lion Series). And while that’s one of my favorite series ever, romantically I always felt like the focus was so much on the spiritual, that the romance suffered a bit. However, there are some marked differences and you still find yourself rooting for the couple.
  4. It might start feeling a bit long towards the end. Yeah…it might.

Romantic scale: 8

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I see potential for a series??

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Sarah Sundin’s The Sea Before Us

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book #1) by [Sundin, Sarah]

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a ÒWrenÓ in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

Review

Sarah Sundin is an auto-buy author for me. I love the way she approaches WWII in such different ways and her complex characters. My thoughts:

What I liked:

Wyatt. Almost from the beginning of the book he becomes a character that I am rooting for. He is your quintessential nice guy…often to his own fault. He’s got this interesting back story with his brothers that gets fleshed out as the book goes along. It really serves to lay a foundation that I’m interested in seeing the series  being built upon.

Dorothy. She’s a bit hard to like at first. Although her desire for a certain guy is explained, I was still confused why she liked the guy she did. Her desire for this guy almost made her weak at moments, but she does redeem herself.

Complex characters. Sundin has a way of making her main hero and heroine have a particular struggle that they must overcome throughout the novel. While that is addressed here, it is not in the same way as her other books. So kudos to the author!

Romance. Wyatt and Dorothy have a relationship that is built on friendship and honesty. I loved every moment of it. They don’t lie to each other and they do everything they can to respect the other.

Historically, Sundin reveals a part of D-Day that’s not often discussed. If you’re interested in this part of history, you will learn much.

Spiritually, the characters pray and seek God. Dorothy learns what real love looks like and Wyatt learns how to forgive himself.  Both learn to take steps of faith.

What I didn’t like

It’s possible to get lost in some of the WWII details, but I really enjoyed this book. Also, on a personal note, some of the language used seemed a bit corny, but that is probably how they talked in the 1940s.

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, a very good book. I found myself  reading well into the night. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

**I received a copy from Revell. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**