Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble

Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson, January 29, 2013

Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O’Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she’s made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She’s convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.
So when Margaret’s father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she’s frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she’s downright worried. Daniel swears he’s not involved, but Margaret’s not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic “accidents” threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.

Colleen Coble's latest book really grabbed me and kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Not just with the storyline but with the depth of the characters presented and the way God moved through this book. Margaret is a woman who feels out of place in the world, not quite sure if her father really loves her for who she is, if she'll ever fit in with the women around her and does she really want to? Will someone ever love her for her, not for her father's land and money and does she want to be loved for her? Through the course of the book, Margaret finds these answers.

Daniel Cutler, the new foreman with a shady past and possibly still shady future, captures Margaret's attention and eventually heart - but it takes a while! Daniel's words of love, encouragement and his direct manner with Margaret regarding her relationships with family, friends and God slowly show her where her worth lies - not with him or anyone but with God.

One of my biggest gripes with Christian fiction is that characters seem to only need to learn a lesson once before they get it. In this book Margaret had to learn it several times before she finally grasped what God was trying to teach her. It was infuriating a little but that's wonderful and true to the human condition. Which is why I loved this book so much, Margaret's journey felt real.

It was a rollicking adventure at the same time and I didn't know how it was going to end or just who the bad guys were. So this for me is a winning combination - action, drama, romance and a spiritual element that had a natural progression - one step forward, two steps back - but isn't it good that God is walking with us step by step both forward and back!

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, March 19, 2013

Tuesday's With Jess: A moment

I was thinking today about my trip to the shopping center. I was getting lunch  for myself and my daughter and I had a moment - an "I don't care what I eat moment" and it stopped me. Not enough though to make me rethink my menu choice. I'm in trouble when I have an "I don't care" moment with regards to food. It might seem like nothing to some, but to me, those moments are few and far between now (Praise God) and alarm bells should ring when I have those moments. As soon as I stop caring about what I eat, all the hard work I've done since May 2012 goes out the window.

Thank goodness I have a loving God that gently reminds me of why I have to be conscious (not over conscious or anal retentive) about what I eat and the quantities I consume. God is gently calling me back into the boundaries I need to stay healthy and close to him.

How has God gently spoken to you lately?


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.

Book Review: Shattered by Dani Pettrey

Shattered by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House Publishers, February 1, 2013

Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career.

With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged back country--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.


I bought Submerged as I'd wanted to read it for a while and as I had Shattered on my Kindle from NetGalley, I really wanted to read the first book in the series before diving into Shattered. I finished Submerged and headed straight for Shattered. Whilst I didn't love Submerged  - I felt the romance between Cole and Bailey a little slow and was confused by the Russian history - I wanted to read Shattered so badly. Why? Landon and Piper. I fell in love with these two about halfway through the first book. Piper is stubborn but adorable and she just captures your heart even when you want to throttle her at times! Landon spends much of the book wanting to throttle her as well, but holds back because he loves her as much as she infuriates him - in fact they infuriate each other very well. These two have chemistry and it just jumps off the page!

Dani Pettrey does a great job of giving her readers the romance they need, whist still holding back and weaving in this great mystery that just gets deeper and deeper by the chapter. I had no idea how the mystery would end or who was the culprit.

I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait for Stranded to come out - it's going to be a long wait till October 1st!

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, March 12, 2013

Book Review: Secretly Smitten

Secretly Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter

Thomas Nelson, January 8, 2013

Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

I enjoyed this collection of Novellas - it was sweet and the mystery was intriguing enough to hold the four books together. I did feel though that the mystery almost needed to be solved completely with Tess from the first book - it seemed like she cared the most about the mystery than her sisters.

My favourite story of the four was the last one as it just captured my attention and heart a little more than the others. This isn't deep stuff though and its not meant to be. Gentle, sweet reading is sometimes a necessity in life!

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, March 5, 2013

Book Review: Threads of Love by Devine, Hickey, Leach and Peck

Romancing America: Threads of Love: Colorado 
Frances Devine, Cynthia Hickey, Marilyn Leach, Winter A. Peck

Barbour Publishing, Inc., 1st March 2013

On the one-year anniversary of their grandmother’s death, four cousins from a fractured family converge on beautiful Colorado Springs to fulfill the terms of her will. They will piece together a quilt—and perhaps find a way to mend the hurt feelings and old feuds. Each young woman brings long-buried desires to the meeting. . .and each must face the calamities of the past—and the present. Can a torn and ragged family be stitched back together?

Authors:
“Patterns of Love” by Frances Devine
“Unraveling Love” by Cynthia Hickey
“Stitched in Love” by Winter A. Peck
“Designed to Love” by Marilyn Leach

Looking for a sweet, gentle read? This is the book for you. Four short contemporary stories set in Colorado are pleasant and easy to read. I haven't read one of these myself for a while and I enjoyed the stories put before me.

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.