Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: A Bride for All Seasons

A Bride for All Seasons by Margaret Brownley, Debora Clopton, Robin Lee Hatcher and Mary Connealy
Thomas Nelson, Janurary, 2013

It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue…Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn’t dishonest—not exactly. If he tweaks his clients’ applications a bit, it’s because he’s looking out for their best interests.
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages

And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she’d travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead! 

An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.

Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back. . .  

Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?


Sometimes a short story is just what is needed. Investing in a full book complete with characters and their ups and downs can be tiring at times - not for bad reasons. For a book junkie like me, short stories provided a gentler hit, a respite if you like. Often they prep me for the longer books still calling my name.  Then along comes a book of short stories that just fills the ticket for romance without the massive emotional investment. This is a good thing for me. I was really in the mood for short, sweet romances and I got just that!

My favourite of the four stories is tied. An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton and Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy won my heart. 

Read if you like me, need a gentle, sweet hit of historical romance, that left me wondering about the future of these lovely characters.


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, May 28, 2013

Book Review: Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House Publishers, June 1, 2013

A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?


I always look forward to one of Karen Witemeyer's books and this one was no exception. I read Short Straw Bride last year and was really happy to realize that I was hanging out with one of the Archer Boys from that book - Crockett Archer. Crockett is a rancher turned preacher and looking for his first church to pastor. It doesn't go to plan when he is kidnapped off the train en route to a possible new job. His apparent new calling is to Joanna Robbin's abandoned church and to help her ex-outlaw father find the light.

I liked the way the book was set up with Crockett's being kidnapped and how everything in the book played together. What I really liked was the way the minor characters interacted with the main characters. I could see the character development of even the minor ones.

My one complaint and it will seem like a funny one: a little too much preaching - I know the main character is a preacher! For me personally, the sermons and God talk can get a little much. However, whilst it detracted from the book, it didn't take away my overall enjoyment.

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.

Book Review: Injustice for All by robin Carroll

Injustice For All By Robin Carroll
B&H Books; January 1, 2012

A federal judge lies bleeding on his office floor, betrayed by a most unlikely source—people who helped him bring criminals to justice. Now, why would someone working for the FBI need to disappear after witnessing this crime?

When Remington Wyatt sees her godfather’s murder, she recognizes the killers and knows it’s only a matter of time before they come to silence her. She must do the only thing possible to stay alive . . . run.

FBI agent Rafe Baxter is serious about his career, and solving a cold case involving a federal judge’s death puts him in line for the promotion he so desires. But the case leads him to the small town of Hopewell, Louisiana, where some secrets seem inextricably hidden deep within the bayou.

Injustice for All explores what happens when everything a person believes in is utterly destroyed. Who can you trust?


This book intrigued me and I found myself drawn in from the beginning but a little confused though. It wasn't until several pages in that I was able to figure out the assortment of character POVs (Point Of Views).

After this, the book seemed to take a few turns and to be honest my confusion continued as the book went along. There are a few minor characters that make appearances and left me wondering what their purpose in the book is. This is the start of a three book series, so it's logical to assume that these minor characters will make major appearances in the next books. Still, I was confused.

What this book does well is action - there's a lot of it! It leaves you wondering how it's all going to pan out. At about half way through the book, the mystery seems almost solved and I had no idea what was coming next - a very good thing from a reader's point of view!

The main characters, Remington and Rafe are interesting people. I must say that for an FBI Agent with ten years experience, Rafe is a little slow to catch onto a major clue when everyone around him has figured it out. Besides that, Rafe is a man trying to get ahead in his job, but making sacrifices that might hinder that by putting his best friend first in his life.He's protective of his family and is cares for those in need of justice.

Remington is for much of the book a mystery woman. I felt that I didn't get to know her as much as I'd have liked. She is tenacious, careful with a sadistic sense of humour, is loyal and has known much heartache over the years, but I still felt like I needed to know more. You'll understand when you read the book.

I did not love this book, but liked it enough to complete the series. I am looking forward to seeing where this series goes. 

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, May 21, 2013

Book Review: Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert

Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert
Tyndale House Books , April 18, 2012

Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to her former duties as an ER nurse. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? Determined to prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.

Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.

As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart.


I loved, loved, loved this book!!! I was laughing, smiling, giggling and crying throughout this book. I was also falling majorly for Dr. Jack Travis! My, what a presence this character has! At a few points in the book I was like: Can I please marry this guy?!

Now don't get me wrong, Jack's not some New Age Sensitive Guy, one might argue that he's doesn't have a sensitivity bone in his body. Aggression, passion, action and a long held anger at God and at himself drives him to push hard at every aspect of life. With Jack, there's not much room for compromise - it's his way or no one's really. But that's what attractive about him - his passion for life and his unwillingness to compromise. Sure, it's not healthy and the reader knows that Jack, along with Riley is on a journey towards God, healing and each other but this is one journey that's just awesome to follow!

My heart went out to Riley as she struggled to regain her normal life after a vicious attack. As she struggled to accept that God might have a different, better path for her. As she fought her attraction to Jack, got to see different layers of him and she couldn't help but fall for him with his brashness and all. Watching them figure out their attraction to each other was just magical! Some of the best scenes in the book are when these two are together, hanging out, trying to keep from falling too hard, too fast.

This book is filled with some very realistic characters (like Critical Care as well). People do dumb things in this book, have skewed ideas about God, themselves, each other - but don't we all? Step out your front door and the world is full of hurting people, hurting each other in order to avoid sorting out their own mess, but it's real.

Thank you Candace for giving your readers real characters without making the book so heavy in emotional content that readers would struggle with it. Instead you have infused the book with enough romance, action and heartbreak to keep reader's enthralled and captivated till the very last page, whilst still involving them emotionally!

A couple more things:

I kept picturing Keanu Reeves in the first few chapters...why you might ask? Well the name Jack Travis kept bothering me. Then it hit me. The name of Keanu Reeves' character in the movie Speed is Jack Traven...close enough to Jack Travis to have me rollicking down memory lane. It's funny though, cause Jack Travis reminds me a bit like Jack Traven from the movie with both his words and actions.

Finally, I once said if I could live in a fictional world, I'd marry Grady McKenzie from Sweetwater Gap, whilst that is still true, I think Dr. Jack Travis has stolen my heart...


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, May 14, 2013

Book Review: Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade
Bethany House Publishers, 1st May 2013

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted--more interested in art than in oil--she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father's empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo's determined to resent the woman who's decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them--her wealth, his unworthiness, her family's outrage--and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their love--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?

It was the cover that had me from the get-go. Who can resist the gorgeous girly pink and white title, coupled with those totally awesome shoes? Plus the guy? I don't care what he looks like, at this point the cover has won be hands down, so the guy is just part of the awesome package! This book just screamed at me to read it. And I did.

Meg Cole, daughter of a Texas oil baron, has inherited the company from her now deceased father. She has no idea how to run a multimillion dollar company and doesn't really care that much to find out. But it's hers and she's got to figure it out. What she doesn't want to figure out is her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm, or the guy who runs it - Bo Porter. Intent on shutting it down, Meg gives Bo a time frame to settle accounts and shut down the farm - six months.

Things do not go as planned for these two on their rocky yet captivating road to romance.
Meg's past has left her scarred emotionally on many levels. Unable to trust people, particularly her judgment of men, leaves her weary to open her heart and trust again. Bo is a man of character and strength - inside and out. We see this page, after page and we fall for him along with Meg.

Becky Wade is a new author to me and I enjoyed this book a great deal. I personally believe Bo is the glue that holds both Meg and this book together. He's calm, assured strength could withstand a hurricane if it had to and it almost does - an emotional one. In turn watching Meg slowly come into her own is great though. As her faith continues to deepen, so does her strength and will to seize the plans God has for her and to run with them with utter freedom. It's quite beautiful really.

Becky Wade has given readers strong, yet vulnerable characters, a beautiful setting, a great romance and a dream that just snuggles into your heart and stays there.

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, May 9, 2013

Book Review: My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade


My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Bethany House Publishers, 01 May 2012


Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
 
Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house.  Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past.  Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.
 
The cover of My Stubborn Heart caught my attention a while back, and I've had it sitting on my kindle for a little while now.  It was high on my 'to-read' list.  But you know me - I have a definite bias for historical fiction, so it can take me a while before I decide it's time to pull out a contemporary.

Well, if there are more contemporary novels like this, I just may change my bias!

This is a fabulous novel.  I loved it! One of those books that stay with you days after you've turned that last page. It's been a week since I finished this book, and I still don't feel like reading another book.  Unless it's My Stubborn Heart again!

Kate is a great heroine - the kind that you can totally relate to.  31 years old and still hasn't found that right guy.  She's not thrilled about this fact, but she's not all bitter about it either.  She has her job and her house.  She wants to find a husband but isn't going to settle for just anyone - despite the hassling and pity from well-intentioned family and friends.

Matt is probably the hunkiest contemporary fiction hero I've ever read. Seriously - the guy made my heart pound.  Tall, dark, handsome ... wounded and mysterious. He isn't thrilled when Kate starts probing into his life, but is eventually forced to face his past, get over it, and choose to move on with life.

Their romance builds slowly, but once it takes off hold on because it's smokin'! Becky Wade has created the perfect tension between desire and hesitation. And definitely one of the best first kisses I've ever read.

The struggle Kate eventually has to deal with in regards to their relationship are heart wrenching, but it makes the ending so much more sweeter.  And it's such a great example of how God is sometimes telling us 'no' to something we really really want.  Becky has handled it so authentically I couldn't separate my own emotions from Kate's.

Throw in a group of slightly off-centre seniors, a charming old house restoration and you have a well balanced, entertaining, amusing, breath taking contemporary romance with an ending that left me sobbing with happiness.

Becky Wade - you have gained yourself a fan!


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.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Review: Critical Care by Candace Calvert

Mercy Hospital #1: Critical Care by Candace Calvert
Tyndale House Publishers, June 3, 2009


After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She's determined to make a fresh start???new hospital, new career in nursing education???move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she's called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she's forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.

Claire is seriously struggling to get all her ducks in a row after the death of her brother and being shoved into the ER and in the face of Dr Logan Caldwell doesn't help her life plan. But when is God all about our plans? Claire learns as the book goes along that her prayers for healing are being answered - just not the way she wants. She discovers that God's plan for her might be better than the one she's had all along.

Candace Calvert is a new author to me. I've seen her books in the book store, but didn't know whether to buy this one. I  did and really enjoyed it. It's fast paced without seeming unrealistic, good character development and the author really develops the relationship her characters have between each other.

Logan and Claire have chemistry and I like the way they interact with each other. Erin Quinn is a really believable character and I can't wait to read her story in the next book in this series (which is fortunately for me - published already!)

I found myself really chucking in spots and just being adsorbed into this world. A great and engaging read!


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.