Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin
Book 2, Wings of the Nightingale
Revell, 05 August 2014

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?


In Perfect Time is the third and final book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.  Here we finally get to know the real Kay Dobson and hear her story. I've been so looking forward to this story after enjoying the previous two books immensely. I couldn't wait for the book to come out to Australia so I pre-ordered the ebook.

As usual, Sarah brings to life WWII and weaves the story with the setting seamlessly.  At one point in the story the characters find themselves behind enemy lines and despite being tired that evening and not intending to stay up reading, there was no way I could put the book down.

Kay and her attitude has been a curiosity in the earlier books, and pilot Roger Cooper and his renowned avoidance of women an utter mystery.  This combination made a great recipe for anticipation as I started this book. Being finally able to discover the intricacies of their lives and join them as they grew both individually and together was satisfying and exciting - Sarah Sundin did not disappoint!

I loved Kay and Roger - they are both unconventional Christians and unconventional war heroes, making them intriguing and undeniably likeable.  It was a bittersweet ending for me. I was so happy for the outcome for Kay and Roger, but I was sad to say goodbye to the Nightingale girls.  We get to say goodbye to both Mellie and Georgie as well and the three stories are finished and tied up nicely together. 

In Perfect Time is the perfect ending to a beautiful series. I'm ready to go back to With Every Letter and start reading the whole series again!


Helen's favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element.  She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA.  She's not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.

Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review: One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong
Revell, April 29, 2014

Sarah Cooley has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason--because it doesn't change. After an engagement gone bad with a man who wanted to change everything about her, Sarah is more than ready for the town whose motto may as well be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. As the new owner of the Dip 'n' Dine, he's shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his restaurant.

As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance--just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect.

With the same evocative writing and fascinating characters that won fans for her debut novel, Cathleen Armstrong invites readers back to Last Chance for a soul-searching, romantic story of two people navigating the twists and turns of small-town life.


This is the second book in The Place to Call Home series by Cathleen Armstrong. In the first book in the series Welcome to Last Chance, I found it hard to get into. Mainly because the author was focusing on so many characters in the town, that the two main characters got lost a bit. I understand how that can happen with a series set in a small place, where the quirky characters are involved and the first book is alot about setting up for the rest of the series.

I was pleased to find that this book was much more focused than the first. The people of the town have been set up, so it was much easier to focus on the two main characters. Overall Sarah Cooley was an interesting heroine. Torn between two men and possibly two very different futures. She is drawn to one man in an almost love hate kind of way and the other is almost too comfortable to stay with kind of way. Her situation is not usual but it was good to see it played out without the drama. It was more of a low key decision, taken in little steps rather than leaps and bounds, which I liked. She's a strong woman Sarah, who doesn't like change, especially in her small town.

Chris Reed represents change and that threatens Sarah - hence the almost love hate she has with him. Chris is awkwardly persistent, it's cute to watch. He isn't suave and he's trying to hold his niece together, whilst running the dinner and trying to fit in with the locals of Last Chance. He's got it tough, but he's up to the challenge and it suits him. He's likeable and engaging to watch.

I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the third book in this series.

 Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.

Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Review: One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon
Revell, April 29, 2014

Claire Summers is a determined, independent single mother who is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Keith Watson is a results-oriented workaholic with no time for a social life. As the executive assistant to a local philanthropic businessman, he's used to fielding requests for donations. But when a letter from Claire's eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk, everything changes. The girl isn't asking for money, but for help finding the long-lost son of an elderly neighbor.

As Keith digs reluctantly into this complicated assignment, he has no idea how intertwined his life and Claire's will become--nor how one little girl's kindhearted request will touch so many lives and reap so many blessings.


This was a really sweet, memorable story. Both the main and supporting characters were just right. Claire and Keith are not just likeable, but feel like real people you would know and see in your own life. Their steady, cute, bumpy and sometimes awkward road to romance was lovely to watch. Their own journey's with their individual issues was worked so well into the story, that it felt natural. The faith element was played well, not too strong and handled with care. A lovely spring read truly!


Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

Stuck Together by Mary Connealy
Bethany House Publishers, 3rd June, 2014

Bestselling Author Mary Connealy Delivers Laughs, Romance, and Western Adventure

Tina Cahill, newly arrived from the East, is determined to get the saloon in Broken Wheel, Texas, 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. Not his tyrant of a father. Nor the injuries he suffered in the Civil War. Nor the fact that he is Broken Wheel's only attorney and sheriff yet has no law degree.

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 suffering signs of dementia. And his surprise sister immediately falls for one of Vince's best friends. Vince has a lot of people to take care of, and Tina doesn't approve of how he's handling any of them. But with almost all the other men in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with feisty 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 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.


Mary's books always turn up just when I'm needing something light and funny after having read something brain heavy - it's always the right medicine. I loved what I saw from Vince and Tina in the previous book in the series Fired Up and in Stuck Together their chemistry jumped off the page.

Essentially both Vince and Tina use other people's perceptions of them to hide who they really are. They like people to view them a certain way, so that no one sees the hurts they carry deep down. Unfortunately Vince's estranged father, mentally ill mother and the sister he didn't know existed turn up in Broken Wheel and throw his life into a tail spin. Throw in his and Tina's constant bickering and we've got one confused hero.

Tina feels rejected her whole life and when Vince appears to reject her, her brother decides he's in love - the rejection hurts all the more. So she clings to her causes and being a woman who can look after herself. She learns that like Vince, she's been hiding too, longing for love and acceptance. Both characters find it in God and each other by the end of the book.

For me Stuck Together wasn't quite as funny as the previous two books in the series, but still offered a lovely and amusing diversion. I did feel that Tina's insecurities around her brother could have been alleviated if he'd only explained to her why he didn't stop by and see her when she was growing up - that didn't happen, so Tina was left in the dark there.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It made me smile and chuckle here and there.

Looking forward to another one Mary!

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: Undetected by Dee Henderson

Undetected by Dee Henderson
Bethany House Publishers, April 29th, 2014

When asked what he does for a living . . .
Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: "I'm in the Navy." But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping her crew trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and handles it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating around the Pacific Rim, the Navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, with a lovely smile, and very smart. She's a civilian, yet she understands the U.S. Navy culture. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn't see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best--ocean science research. She's on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop's perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she's figured out is only the beginning. If she's right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter.


I liked the blurb when I read it and with some reservations from having read Unspoken, I plunged into Undetected. I read it in two days and that's usually a good thing. I kept waiting for it to get really good, waiting and waiting until I found myself at the last page and I was still waiting.

It appears with her latest three books: Full Disclosure, Unspoken and finally Undetected a real pattern has emerged. Ms. Henderson likes her women to be unrealistically accomplished, usually wealthy and so complicated that the it would take about fifty years to decode them. All three women in the books seem to be emotionally unavailable, to the point of exasperating. I get it, they've all had hard lives (especially Charlotte from Unspoken) in some way or another and this makes them put up walls, walls so thick that they usually aren't knocked down much by the end of the book.

The men in these books are perfect - they are patient, calm, forthright without entering pushy boundaries (although Mark Bishop gives it his best shot in the badgering department regarding his romance with Gina), they are logical and methodical in how they approach love that the spark from the romance never gets a chance even start. 

This is the case with Undetected. As I was reading the book, the addition of an extra character to make things interesting was great. I was really wondering how Ms. Henderson was going to sort out the mess (a good storyline mess) she'd created.  Once it was resolved, I kept waiting for the next problem to come along and challenge this couple. It didn't happen sadly. So instead of watching a potentially great couple weather the storms of military life with a genius spouse thrown into the mix, we get lots of science information and lots and lots of information on the ins and outs of submarine maneuvers and life on such a vessel. I know the author does her research and it shows - a little too much. Information overload was happening for most of this book. I'm an average reader and my brain was tired from all the science and technical information - not all of it added to the story either.

I wanted more development from Mark Bishop, I wanted him to show a range of emotions that are realistic of a man - he doesn't appear to have a temper, get irritated, get frustrated or even be vague like some men I know. He's just focused on the task ahead and finding the best way to make the outcome happen. I found him at times to be a little patronizing of Gina (he doesn't mean it, but he can't see that he is at times) and I wanted to hit him a few times for his almost badgering the poor girl into a romance with him.

I liked Gina and understood her better than the other heroines in Dee's two previous books. Gina is easily lead and I get why. She's a genius, she is so far ahead of those in her own field that she likes to fit in and is socially on the back foot. She doesn't know how to be different but she wants to at the same time. She's been different her whole life and she worries that she'll never find her place outside the science world. I think if she had more time with Mark before the badgering started, I could have believed in this relationship more. Give Gina the time to really settle onto the decision and getting to watch her fall in love would have been magic. I didn't see her fall in love, not really as much of the book is from Mark's POV, but she somehow did.

I wanted more from this book as I saw more than it offered. It had the potential to be really, really good, instead it was average and this made me sad. Will I keep reading Ms. Henderson's books? Yes, because I'm an eternal optimist and very loyal.


Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Freedom to Explore

I recently went on a spiritual retreat. I went to a small country town just outside of the city I live in. I spent two days and one night at a convent and had a surprising and meaningful experience.

I live in a city of about 250,000 people and I grew up in a small town of 10,000 people. Normally the size of my city doesn't bother me, but the other day it did. I recall exclaiming to my husband:

"There is no where to go where there is no one!"

So after discussing it with him and God, I decided to go on a spiritual retreat, just me and God. I didn't know much about what I wanted from it, just alone time with God. I did however know that I didn't want an ocean. I'm from the country (although I'm not a farm girl by any means) and I wanted space, land not water in front of me. God answered my prayers!
View from balcony  near my room

It was a very relaxing two days and I discovered something God has been trying to tell me for a while: He is here - in everything I'm doing. I want my heart to reflect His heart and when I realise he is here with me enjoying life with me, then my heart is reflecting His heart.

Something else God pointed out to me: He wants me to have the freedom to explore with Jesus. Explore with Him, take him along on whatever adventures unfold around me.

One of my most joyous experiences was taking my camera around and taking photos, experimenting with the cameras features! I had so much fun doing that. I'm no photographer, but I was filled with joy just exploring this huge place and snapping shots.

Here are some of my experiment photos :

A place to sit and think

A eerie take on the courtyard

Pink roses

Walkway captured

As I said I'm no photographer, but what joy it was to just have fun with the experience!



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review: Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl
Bethany House Publishers, May 6, 2014

Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn't take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can't pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station's photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary.

Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town's handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family's past hides in the shadows, it's clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she's searching for hidden forever--even if the cost is Wynter's very life.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I started reading it. I had never read Nancy Mehl before but the premise intrigued me. This was a good book and kept me turning the pages ever so quickly. The mystery surrounding Wynter's missing brother was captivating. The secrets apparently held in the small town of Sanctuary had me asking lots of questions. The mystery deepened almost every other chapter as the book trotted along at it's quick pace. I didn't know who the criminal was until the end, but I was speculating widly throughout the book.

These are all great things for a suspense novel to have. I didn't really connect with the characters though. Wynter was so focused on the missing brother case that she seemed to miss much of what was going on around her - including clues to the case. Rueben, the cool headed, calm farmer/mayor of Sanctuary never seemed to work on his farm or do anything but follow Wynter around. These two didn't have a deep connection, or if they did, it needed more time to develop. I would have liked to see them spend more time together once this case was over because this case was huge for Wynter's life - everything about it was so confronting for Wynter that any real person going through the same thing wouldn't have the head or heart space to even contemplate a romance for several months.

Overall a good mystery book that needed more work on the characters. I would like to read more from this author in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.



Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tell Your Friends