Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Disaster Status by Candace Calvert

Disaster Status by Candace Calvert
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., June 3, 2010

ER charge nurse Erin Quinn escaped personal turmoil to work on the peaceful California coast. But when a hazardous material spill places Pacific Mercy Hospital on disaster status and stresses staff, she’s put to the test. And thrown into conflict with the fire department’s handsome incident commander, who thinks her strategy is out of line. 

Fire captain Scott McKenna has felt the toxic effects of tragedy; he’s learned to go strictly by the book to advance his career, heal his family, and protect his wounded heart. When he’s forced to team with the passionately determined ER nurse, sparks fly. As they work to save lives, can they handle the attraction kindled between them . . . without getting burned? 

I really liked Erin Quinn when I first met her in Critical Care. She is my favourite of Candace's female heroine's that I've read so far. She is feisty, determined and stubborn, yet compassionate in her job as a nurse. I was really eager to find out what her journey to love would be.

It's not an easy road with Scott McKenna. Lots of misunderstandings, doubts, second guessing each other and themselves, plus misguided devotion in things that don't hold real value. Scott is by the book and he means that. He wants to advance his career and protect his family but he can't seem to do both without giving up one or the other. His attraction to Erin causes him to question what's really going on in his life. When things go out of everyone's control, the only on they can turn to is God - who was right there all along!

Erin likes Scott, but since all men are likely to break their promises she struggles to believe in Scott. As God slowly works on her heart to turn her attitudes around, she begins to see that trusting herself starts with trusting God and the people he's put in her life.

I enjoyed getting to know Erin better and seeing where God takes her with Scott was a really good journey.I'm looking forward to reading Code Triage, the third book in the Mercy Hospital Series.


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 18, 2013

Book Review: Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman
Revell, April 15 2013

He’s looking to take care of his family. She’s looking to take care of her heart. Trouble is . . . love’s looking to take care of them both.

Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Jilted by a fortune hunter, Cassidy travels west hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart.

Can love prevail when Jamie discovers that Cassidy is poorer than he is? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?


I was ending a reading fast (with the only book I was allowed to pick up under the conditions of the fast was the Bible) when I went to my local bookstore and spied Julie's book. What a book it was! It's been ages since I read any of Julie's books. The last one being A Heart Revealed (which I enjoyed) and I'd kind of forgotten how emotional and drama filled her books are! 

Having also read A Hope Undaunted, where I struggled with Luke (sorry Julie, but I just don't like the guy), then moving to Sean in A Heart Revealed (I liked him a lot) to Jamie now in Love at Any Cost, I have to say this first book in the series has won my heart - mainly through Jamie. Oh, he's smooth alright, but there's something about him that just captures my heart. For me, one of the main differences is he's not as bull-headed and dare I say it, brutish (winces and hides face) as the men in the O'Connor girls lives. In fact, I found all the men in this book, strong, opinionated, determined but not overbearing and this was sweet relief to me. 

So back to the book now that comparisons are over! Cassidy is a tough, no nonsense girl who has a broken heart when she comes to San Francisco to visit her cousins. The last thing on her mind is falling for a guy, especially a smooth talking, pretty boy like Jamie McKenna - which she does thanks to Jamie's aforementioned smooth talking ways. She tries hard to set up boundaries with Jamie and he kind of follows them, but he likes to push boundaries. Jamie is stubborn, a man of pride having pulled his family out from the slums of San Francisco's Barbary Coast and refuses to believe that he God might have anything to do with his life. 

I liked Jamie more than Cassidy. I felt him to be the more well-rounded character, maybe because his road to faith wasn't paved yet and that is what we get to see. Some people might not like Jamie, branding him a fortune hunter, womanizer, smooth-talker but he's not a Christian for the majority of the book. He doesn't know God and his saving grace and his pride in firmly in the way. I love his friendship with Bram (I can't wait to read his story), it's honest and Jamie understands that Bram values honesty above anything, so it's a real friendship. 

Cassidy, at times has a little too much spit-fire and she aims it rightfully most of the time at Jamie. She's hurt and hurt women tend to paint all men with the same brush. I felt though that Cassidy didn't lean on God like she professed until the end and it felt like it was wrapped up very quickly. However, I loved her relationship with Aunt Cait - what a true, deep, abiding love these two women have for each other. It was really lovely to see what wise counsel can achieve when listened to.

I'm very excited to also see how Aunt Cait's relationship with Logan McClare continues to unfold! I'm looking forward to reading more from the McClare clan, Julie and the passionate romances that will rock their lives along the way!
 


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 11, 2013

Book Review: Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow

Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow
Thomas Nelson, July 19, 2011

Sometimes small towns hold the biggest secrets.

Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a high-profile Atlanta law firm. But first he must clear one final matter from his docket-the closing of his deceased father's law practice in his hometown of Bethel, Georgia. Killed in a mysterious boating accident, John Crane didn't appear to leave his son anything except the hassle of wrapping up loose ends.
But instead of celebrating his promotion, Tom finds himself packing up his office, having suddenly been "consolidated." To add insult to injury, that same night his girlfriend breaks up with him . . . by letter.

Returning to Bethel with no sense of his future and no faith to fall back on, Tom just wants to settle his father's final affairs and get back to Atlanta. But then he runs into an unexpected roadblock-two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. And evidence that his father's death may not have been accidental. Worse still, a trail of data suggests his father played a role in an international fraud operation.

Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and betrayal. Along the way, he meets a woman who is as beguiling as she is beautiful. And her interest in the outcome of the case is just as high as his. She challenges Tom's assumptions . . . and his faith. Now he has to decide who he can trust-and how far a father's love can reach.

This is my first Robert Whitlow book.I bought the book ages ago because I thought my husband would like to read it. He enjoyed it and it just took me forever to pick it up - silly, never-ending-pile-of-books-to read!

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. There were just a few things that stumped me. I got a bit lost with the legal jargon, okay a lot confused! I don't normally read legal fiction books, so I'm not familiar with most of the terms used. I also felt things happened very fast in the book without much pause to consider how the character would feel. For example when Tom's girlfriend breaks up with him via letter, it seems Tom is barely hurt by the news and the manner in which it was delivered. He just kind of shrugs his shoulders and moves on. it seems to me that he might be a little more hurt, especially considering the days events!

Having said that, the rest of the book was engaging and enjoyable and it kept me reading trying to figure out the mystery. I was surprised but not surprised as the mystery unraveled - that's a good thing for me. As it means the author had my attention and had engaged my brain.

I will be reading more of this author in the future. :)


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.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jess' Ramblings: My Top 5 Romance movies

I was thinking recently about my favourite romance movies. As I started thinking I realised Top 5 is not easy, also several genres enter into the words "romance movies". Romantic Comedy, Romance/Drama, Period Romance. So I decided to just list the Top 5 movies that still resonate with me after many years. However, I will define movie as a feature length, rather than a miniseries etc.

WARNING: Possible Spoilers. So if you haven't seen a movie on the list, stop reading otherwise you might get some unwanted information. 

So here is my Top 5 Romance Movies starting with 5:

5: 10 Things I Hate About You - This was one of 2 movies that defined my time at high school. Unfortunately She's All That, wasn't quite as cool as 10 Things. Plus I saw She's All That SO MANY times, that I can't watch it anymore. But 10 Things was just awesome. My friend and I used to have quotes from the movie in the back of our school diaries. Who didn't love Kat played by awesome Julia Stiles and the one guy who wasn't afraid of her, Patrick, played by swoon worthy Heath Ledger? The soundtrack was great, secondary characters worth their weight in gold and it was funny to boot! Plus it was an adaption of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. This movie, along with Baz Lurman's Romeo and Juliet probably caused a whole new generation to get into The Bard!



4: A Walk to Remember - Who could forget Mandy Moore and Shane West in this teen tear-jerker based on Nicholas Sparks book of the same name? I love this movie because it simply tells the tale of love and its power to change. Landon and Jamie fall in love despite their obvious differences in the school class system. Jamie's constant belief in Landon, helps him find the place inside himself where he knows what he wants and who he is. I bawl like a baby every time I watch this movie and I come away time and again, believing in the power of love.




3: Ever After: A Cinderella Story- Another retelling of a classic story. This movie for me is possibly one of the sweetest love stories ever! I can't help but love Danielle, as she misdirects charming Prince Henry (kind of fell for Dougray Scott in this film), in order to keep him from finding out her station in life is well below his; as a result of their first meeting when she disguised herself as a lady in order to rescue a friend. There is one scene that I cannot watch - the scene at the masked ball where she is "unveiled" by her evil stepmother. I cower with my hands over my eyes during this scene as it just rips my heart out. Like all good romances, there is a happy ending and Henry comes to his senses. My favourite scene is when Prince Henry "rescues" Danielle from Pierre Le Pieu's castle. My heart just warms and I can't help but grin like an idiot!

2: Persuasion - I bought this movie without having watched it first. At 90mins, it's not long, but it's a GREAT movie. I loved it so much that I watched it 3 times in one week. I told everybody about this movie and even made some of my friends watch it. Now, I do recognize there are some things in this movie that would not happen in Jane Austen's time. Anne running through Bath trying to find Frederick simple wouldn't have happened, especially to a Baronet's daughter. Frederick and Anne kissing in the middle of Bath wouldn't have happened either. However, I'm able to suspend reality for a while here and just enjoy what is a wonderful story about love lost and regained. I feel Anne's pain she she silently watches Frederick turn his affections elsewhere and who can blame him after their history? However, as much Frederick tries to love another and doesn't really speak to Anne but his looks convey so much. Anyone who can look at a woman the way he does, must still feel something. For me this is a timeless love story and Rupert Penry-Jones (Frederick) is just gorgeous!


1: Sweet Home Alabama - My favourite because I'm a country girl at heart, who lives in a city (no where near as big as New York or even Sydney), but whose heart still longs for home, even though I'm happily settled here is my small city with my lovely family. I think once you've grown up in the country, a part of your heart will always want to be back there. Reese Witherspoon's Melanie doesn't realize how much she loves home and the husband she left behind until she has to go back and get the divorce, Jake (her husband) won't grant her. Being home, makes her realize how much it's a part of her and that she loves who it has made her. I'll be the first to admit that Melanie isn't the nicest of people at times, but she redeems herself by the movie's end and just as the tagline says Sometimes What You're Looking For Is Right Where You Left It.

Favorite Quotes from the Sweet Home Alabama:

"The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back."

"You're the first boy I ever kissed, Jake, and I want you to be the last."

"What the hell is this? Chick food?"

"Since when does it have to be one or the other? You can have roots and wings, Mel"

What's some of your favourite romance movies? I'd love to hear about them!


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 4, 2013

Book Review: Saving Hope by Margaret Daley

Saving Hope (Men of the Texas Rangers Book 1) by Margaret Daley

Abingdon Press, March 1, 2012

When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt's daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped.    

Now it's personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and investigative skills challenged as he fights to discover the mastermind behind the ring before evil destroys everyone he loves.

I've seen this book on Amazon and I've wanted it for ages and ages. Finally I bit the bullet and bought the Kindle edition. I wasn't disappointed at all by this book! It captured my attention from the first page and kept me enthralled until the very end.

Kate Winslow is a determined and compassionate woman. Giving much of her life to help young girls caught up in human trafficking - whether her wealthy mother approves of her choices or not. Wyatt Sheridan is trying to get his young teenage daughter to listen to him and heed his warnings. He's trying to find out what's happened to the missing teen from Beacon of Hope, to protect his daughter and sort out his feelings for Kate.

Suspense, human connection, drama and romance are all inter-weaved with this book and the readers will connect with the characters as we follow the story to it's heart stopping end.

I can't wait to read more in this series!


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.