Falling for You by Becky Wade – Book Review

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Published by Bethany House Publishers May 01, 2018

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance

Pages: 238

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

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.

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Story Notes

The second installment of the Bradford Sisters Romance series brings a quiet story of reconciliation with a mystery thrown in to keep things interesting.

I discovered Becky Wade just over a year ago when I was offered for review her first book in the Bradford Sisters Romance, True to You. I was pleased with the style of writing she used that drew readers in without having to employ a lot of action or complicated drama. This story is a bit different as the persons involved are a bit more “high maintenance” when it comes to their personalities. Willow Bradford has taken a much needed  break from high profile modeling and is enjoying running the family bed and breakfast as the interim manager. Thrilled with the chance to practice her baking skills as well as her business skills, Willow has jumped in with both feet to make the Inn as welcoming as possible. The added bonus of this time off is a chance to spend time with her sisters and reacquaint herself with her hometown. And everything is going so very well until she runs into the last person she ever wanted to see again: her ex-boyfriend Corbin Stewart. His NFL quarterback career sidelined by a devastating shoulder injury, Corbin has come to Merryweather to recuperate and complete the therapy he needs to function without pain. He has bought a house that will require major renovation before its really livable but it will give him much needed time with his father who has been battling cancer for quite a while. Corbin never expected to run into Willow again after their breakup, given his hurtful words were what drove them apart in the first place. But he has recently become a Christian and is doing his best to right his past wrongs, if only Willow will give him a chance. Willow has always been the rule-following, people pleaser of the Bradford family but when she met Corbin, she decided to move beyond her self-imposed “restrictions” and give herself totally to Corbin and his love. Consequences of that decision had long reaching effects and ultimately led Corbin to lash out in desperation, hurting both Willow and himself with his destructive words and actions. Vowing she will never break her rules again, Willow ran fast and far from Corbin and his betrayal. Fast forward four years and Willow is still holding her hurt and mistakes close to her heart – both to ensure she never compromises herself again or lets anyone get as close as Corbin did. Corbin has never forgotten a single moment of his time with Willow, and he is certain that she is the only one he will ever love that deeply. But breaking down her very thick walls of resentment and hurt will take all he has as well as some help from God. Corbin’s chance comes when his niece Charlotte asks Willow to help her solve the mystery of her great aunt’s disappearance and supposed death. With only a few newspaper articles and photos from family albums to go on, the case seems nearly impossible to begin, much less solve. But with new technology and some help from her librarian sister, Willow begins to piece together what happened to Josephine Blake. The case will take some unexpected twists and turns that will bring a conclusion that is totally unforeseen. But through their work on the case, Willow and Corbin will get the chance to talk through what happened four year ago – and maybe, move on to something even better than they had before. I enjoyed reading this story and getting to know the people of Merryweather better. The characters focused on in this story were well developed in both voice and description. I was able to get a real feel for how each of them thought and it helped me connect with them in their situations. I really identified with Willow as its very much in my own nature to want to please others. And while I know its not always possible or probable, it is a goal I set for myself to do my best on and with everything. This can often create a heavy pressure on yourself to be and do all things for everyone and its hard to find a good balance. I’ve been growing in this with the Lord and it was good to read of another who faces the same problems. Corbin desperately wanted love and, until he found Jesus, he sought it from anyone and any thing. He was also seeking a forgiveness that he couldn’t seem to find and it made him reach out to whatever he found to hide his needs away. The weight that was lifted as he handed it all to God was profound and finally gave him the courage to ask Willow for the forgiveness he knows they both need. Corbin further learned the hard truths of trust and letting go. Control is a hard thing to release and while there is much freedom to be found in that release it still takes strength to say “Okay, you take it because I can’t anymore.” So although this story did not make my heart race with danger or drama, it did reaffirm some wonderful truths and gave me new challenges to my faith. I will most certainly recommend this book and the series to others as its very well done. I’m looking forward to the third book to see what will happen with Britt and Zander.

I received this E-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

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Storm Front by Susan May Warren – Book Review

Storm Front by Susan May Warren

Published by Revell Publishing May 01, 2018

Genre: Drama, Christian

Pages: 200

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community and among the missing are not only a group of students but PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved–and lost–walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked–no, ran–from over a year ago. She had her reasons–good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up–not on the missing students, or on her.

Life and love hang in the balance in Susan May Warren’s breathless story of holding on to hope during a deadly summer of storms.

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Story Notes

Susan May Warren brings to her readers the much anticipated fifth installment in her Montana Rescue series, telling the story of Ty Remington, former helo pilot who has yet to face the demons from his past.

Mary Francis Winters said “We all need a little extra support sometimes” and this story is one of the best illustrations of that quote. Ms. Warren has finally given her readers the back story of Ty Remington, one of the most mysterious members of the PEAK rescue team. A man of few words and even fewer details about his life before joining PEAK, Ty has been running from his past while helping other members of the team move beyond theirs. He’s also nursing a broken heart from his year ago encounter with the indomitable Brette Arnold, a photographic journalist who carries more secrets than Ty ever dreamed. Her sudden disappearance just when Ty was really starting to feel something for her cost Ty both his heart and his confidence in his ability to help. When a huge storm system moves through Minnesota while team leader Chet King is visiting his son Ben on his music tour, the team will find themselves moving out of their comfort zone as they assist in rescues in the wake of a massive tornado. Ty knows that Chet would have taken cover when the weather took a turn for the worse, but Chet’s not the only one missing after the storm. A cross country team is also missing along with the team coaches – and no one seems to know where the team was doing their latest practice. PEAK Rescue arrives with every intention of finding all those who are missing but Ty will be the one who finds more than the others when he comes face to face with the woman who still holds his heart – Brette Arnold. Brette has spent the past year fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer that has ravaged her body and left her with scars inside and out. Knowing that Ty would have wanted to help her in any way possible and wanting to keep him from suffering alongside her, Brette ran from the possibility of a life with him, never considering whether he might be just the help she needs. And just when she has finally accepted that she is fully in remission and back to her photography work, she comes across Ty who is in town to help with the rescues. His shock at the change in her leads him to say unintentionally rude words, that instantly get Brette’s back up and cause her to snap at him for his insensitivity. As they both try to find those who are missing, Ty and Brette will have to determine a way to move past the hurts they’ve caused each other and forgive themselves for past mistakes. Ty is so used to stepping in to help physically or monetarily those he knows need help that he often overlooks his most powerful way to help – prayer. And Brette has depended on herself for so long that she is loath to accept help from others – believing that she is doing what is best for them. But each of them will find that they themselves need others to walk with them through life and sometimes, they just need to let themselves be rescued and cared for by those around them. Ms. Warren fully destroys the notion that many people have that “I can do everything on my own”. God made us with a need to connect to others and that means we sometimes have to let them come in and carry us when life knocks us off our feet. And although we may have good reasons for not letting others in, we both miss out on a blessing and are robbing them of the chance to be a blessing to us. In my life I have seen that while it is truly humbling to ask for help, there is GREAT spiritual healing and comfort that comes in knowing that others care for you deeply. The immense joy and peace that fills me when I reach out to family/friends and they respond with such enthusiasm to my request shows me I am not alone in my troubles. There is no substitute for the kindness of a friend who walks your road with you and sometimes carries you when you are too tired to take another step. These are the concepts that Ms. Warren strives to teach with this story. The only reason I gave this story a lower rating than I usually would is that the series seems to be dragging on a bit. While I have loved getting to know each of the characters, I feel like there has been some unnecessary rehashing of issues that seemed to be resolved in previous books. Case in point – Ben King and Kacey Fairing were the first couple that Ms. Warren created a story for and I thought they had worked through all their trust issues. But apparently they needed to go through another crisis to really decide if they were going to get married. Not that couples don’t often have to work through issues more than once in their relationship but it just seemed like Kacey was being petty and creating a scenario that had no real basis. I am however, excited to see what will become of Pete and Jess in the next story. They both have some serious problems with holding grudges and it will be a great story to read when available. I will both recommend this book and the series to others as I’ve really enjoyed getting to know all the members of the PEAK team. Great series, Ms. Warren, you’ve done very well!!

I received this E-Book free of charge from Revell Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Return to Whispering Pines By Scarlett Dunn – Book Review

Return to Whispering Pines by Scarlett Dunn

Published By Zebra/Kensington Books April 24, 2018

Genre: Christian, Romance

Pages: 263

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Scarlett Dunn welcomes readers back to Whispering Pines, Colorado, where three sisters are beginning new lives rich in faith and love . . .

Adelaide Langtry may not be as beautiful as her sisters, but she has determination to spare. She’ll need it if she’s to succeed as a schoolteacher in her old hometown and care for the three abandoned siblings she brought from Boston. In Whispering Pines, Addie hopes to establish an orphanage, but she must also contend with her past, including her outlaw brother, Frank.

Orphaned as a boy, Sheriff Jack Roper understands the turmoil faced by Addie’s young charges. Though he tells himself he has all the responsibility he needs, the handsome lawman is quickly charmed by the children, and by the spirited, generous woman intent on helping them. Still, he has his own duty—to capture Frank Langtry and bring him to justice.

When the children’s safety is endangered, Addie and Jack realize how much they’ve come to care for them, and each other. Keeping their ready-made family together is the greatest challenge they’ve known—but it could also be the greatest blessing . . .

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Story Notes

Scarlett Dunn continues her Colorado saga with the second installment of her Whispering Pines series that will take readers along on a couple’s journey to find acceptance just they way they are and a family to call their own.

Scarlett Dunn is a relatively new author I have been following since I was offered her first Whispering Pines book last year. She is very good at creating a story that you really can become a part of and must know the end of before you put it down. This second story in the series focuses on the ideas of knowing that you have worth because God made you just the way you need to be to do what He has called you to do and that family is not limited to those with whom you share last names. Ms. Dunn begins her story right where she last left off – with the arrival of Adelaide Langtry and three orphaned siblings in her care. Addie has come home to Whispering Pines to become the town school teacher and possibly start a much needed orphanage for the area. She has brought three  siblings with her who have long held her heart’s love in the hopes they will find someone to take in all three and give them the home they’ve been longing for. Addie has long understood she is not the beauty her sisters are and has resigned herself to being the best caregiver and school teacher to those under her care. But God has other ideas for Addie and she will soon come to see that with her reintroduction to Sheriff Jack Roper. Jack Roper has prayed for a wife for many years, knowing he would like to have a home and family he didn’t have growing up. When Addie Langtry steps off the stage, he is immediately struck by both her quiet beauty and kind treatment of her charges. The youngest of the orphans, Claire, becomes instantly attached to Jack, calling him “Papa”, which is most telling to him about how much these children need a family to love them. As Addie and the children begin to settle in and find their place in Whispering Pines, Jack can’t help but find reasons to visit, whether teaching the children a skill for their new lives or just to have a conversation with Addie. But all will not remain peaceful for long. Addie and Rose’s brother Frank is still on the run and holding a serious grudge against Jack and Morgan LeMasters, Rose’s husband. Frank is determined to destroy Morgan’s life as completely as he believes Morgan has destroyed his, and he will use any means necessary to accomplish that end – even pretending to love the daughter of a circuit judge. But as much as Frank tries to make things go his own way, he simply cannot understand that God will not allow evil to prevail over His children. And with so many willing to give witness to the truth of Morgan’s dealings with Frank, it will make Frank’s version of the truth show forth in all its vengeful untruthfulness. In the midst of all this trouble, Addie’s former beau, Prescott Adler makes an appearance to convince her to leave everything and return to Boston to become his wife. Reeling from the suddenness of Prescott’s declaration and unsure of his real motives, Addie turn to her grandmother for advice. Granny tells her to examine her heart and see what or whom she finds there, and whether what Prescott offers will make her happy and fulfill the calling of God she has been following. Finding herself unable to see a life with Prescott, Addie refuses his offer, only to find herself in a quandary as Prescott has threatened to shut down any idea of an orphanage in Whispering Pines and take the children back to the Boston Orphanage. What follows is an ending that will have everyone getting what they deserve but with enough of a cliff-hanger to carry the story into the next book. I so enjoy the honest way in which Ms. Dunn looks at finding acceptance in the eyes of others. She made it very clear that while we may see ourselves as in need of change – and while that change may truly be necessary if its something that is not of God – God made us just exactly the way He intended and has much for us to do if we will let Him work through us. Addie had to learn this truth with her appearance; she had always seen herself as the industrious one who was least likely to find love given she is “too curvy” and lacks the beauty of her sisters. But her caring heart and her unwillingness to give up on a cause will be what brings her hearts desire to pass – the love she always hoped for. Jack also needed this truth in his life. He had grown up without a family and never really believed anyone would want him as a husband and father. Jack prayed for those very things but hadn’t ever felt like God would bless him in such a way. But God will use him to show young Davey that God has plans for everyone – even those who don’t think He has time or cares for them. And with Addie’s love Jack will finally find the family he has always wanted to have, complete with three children who captured his heart. While this book was not the most daring adventure story, it had much to teach that I found to be convicting. I often find myself asking if how I look, talk or dress will be acceptable to others when I should be ensuring that all I do is to honor God. And while I have a wonderfully loving family, it is always a good reminder to me that God has placed others in my life that have become the extended family I need to keep me grounded and surrounded by faith. I am hopeful Ms. Dunn will bring out the next book of the series soon and will be excited to see if I am offered it for review. If not, I will still be purchasing it for myself as I just have to find out what will happen with the third Langtry sister, Emma. I will be recommending both this book and the series to others as I fully believe they will find it as enjoyable as I have.

I received this E-book free of charge from Zebra/Kensington Books via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Kill Shot by Susan Sleeman – Book Review

Kill Shot by Susan Sleeman

Published by FaithWords  February 06, 2018

Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Christian

Pages: 311

Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Suspense and romance combine in Susan Sleeman’s thrilling new novel about an FBI agent who must team up with a beautiful therapist to stop a killer with a deadly new weapon.

Some fears haunt you forever….

As the ballistics and weapon’s expert for the FBI’s special task force nicknamed the White Knights, Rick Cannon has known the Department of Defense was developing self-steering bullets. Rick feared these smart bullets–which have one hundred percent accuracy that can turn even a novice into a lethal sniper–would eventually end up in the hands of the wrong people. But since the ammunition was still in the development stage, he figured they had plenty of time before that happened. He was wrong. Dead wrong.

Until they become reality.

When a homeless vet is killed with a smart bullet, it’s clear that the ammunition has been stolen, and the Knights are called in to find the thief and stop the killings. But they aren’t the only ones desperate to find the killer. Therapist Olivia Dobbs is well known for her success in counseling military veterans with PTSD. When she discovers one of her clients moments after he is murdered, she becomes both the FBI’s prime witness, and suspect.

Despite the mutual attraction that immediately sparks between them, Rick can’t–no he won’t–let Olivia interfere with his investigation. But when the sniper trains his rifle on her, Rick must recall all the skills he learned as a Marine sniper to make sure the next bullet fired isn’t a kill shot that takes Olivia out.

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Story Notes

Susan Sleeman’s latest installment of the White Knights series is one that you will lose sleep over as you just have to find out who the killer is and his why.

I have long enjoyed reading the various Susan Sleeman short books, finding her writing style flows well and sparks my imagination with her descriptions. And having read the first book in this series, Fatal Mistake, I was hopeful I would be offered this next book as well – thankfully my hopes came true. The intensity of this special focus FBI team is awesome to see and I love how deeply Ms. Sleeman dives into the personal and spiritual lives of each of them. This story concentrates on Agent Rick Cannon, a former Marine Sniper with plenty of baggage from his past. He comes face to face with his worst fear when the team’s newest case involves a psychologist named Olivia Dobbs. Harboring deep resentment for those of the therapist profession from childhood, Rick will have a hard time letting go of his preconceptions and letting Olivia be seen as she truly is – someone who works hard to help others. Olivia never dreamed that her life could be so turned upside down by a client. The most action she has seen in her work is a frustrated client who shouts or punches a couch cushion. But she is committed to those in her care and when a patient named Ace Griffin requests a session outside her office, she agrees with only slight hesitation. Tragedy will strike quickly, however, and Olivia will be right in the middle of the fray. Having followed Ace after he abruptly leaves her on the park bench during their impromptu session, Olivia is confronted with Ace’s dead body and a knife-wielding man intent on chasing her down. She barely escapes and is soon surrounded by local police and, strangely enough, the FBI. Olivia will find herself faced with a challenge when she meets Agent Rick Cannon though, as he has a chip on his shoulder a mile wide when it comes to her profession. But getting him to tell her why will be a fight she must engage in every day until he is willing to breach his long defended walls of bitterness. Trust does not come easy for Rick – way too many people in his life have abused his trust so anyone new will have to work hard to earn his respect. But there is something about Olivia that he just can’t shake and his instant attraction to her is so unexpected he will have to work hard not to let it show. But as is the case in Ms. Sleeman’s books, both of them will have to make changes if they are to move past their preconceptions and find the love they don’t know they need. And if they are also going to find the killer they will need every bit of knowledge and experience they possess. I loved the way that Ms. Sleeman was so very honest and open through her characters about the struggles that our military members face when they return home. So much of their time oversees is spent just surviving each day that when they come home they are at a loss for how to process what happened to them and where they go from here. PTSD is a very real and devastating problem for those who are responsible for taking many lives and without real help a lot of soldiers cannot deal with what they experienced. I was so glad to see that Ms. Sleeman offered the best solution to all problems, mental and physical, as allowing God to forgive and heal you. War is not a pretty thing and much of what happens is barbaric but necessary. But carrying guilt over the death of one that was called home is the burden that many refuse to release. Ms. Sleeman carefully points out through Olivia that God does not intend for us to carry our past mistakes like a rucksack, we must lay them down, ask for forgiveness, accept that forgiveness, and seek to do the things He calls us to do. Ms. Sleeman also tackled the idea of enabling with Olivia as she had relatives that took advantage of her kindness. She needed to realize that the only way someone can stand on their own is when we let them fall a few times so they can learn. Ms. Sleeman showed the hurtful cycle that can be created by helping someone too much – which sometimes results in them resenting when that help is not given every time they have need. I loved how she kept Olivia from acting rashly but also made her face the problems she had created. I also really enjoyed the way that Ms. Sleeman crafted the romance of the story by allowing her characters to grow beyond their personal beliefs of who and what kind of person they should love. How very much like God to bring us someone we never would have chosen and bring forth a wonderful relationship to challenge us in our faith and daily life. Additionally, I was glad to see that Ms. Sleeman kept a good balance of plot in her story so that nothing was too focused on, allowing for the case to be solved with completeness and for the spiritual/romantic journey of the main characters to be moved along to a satisfactory place. The writing was very well done and the story left enough open in the personal lives of rest of the team to point to the next stories. I am greatly looking forward to whomever Ms. Sleeman will write a story about next as there are several team members who will be excellent main characters in their own story. I will highly recommend this story and the series to others as I truly believe they will enjoy it as well. Hopefully the next story will be released soon – I can hardly wait to see what comes next for the White Knights!

I received this E-book free of charge from FaithWords Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Royals by Rachel Hawkins – Book Review

Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Published by Penguin Random House Publishers May 01, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 304

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings her signature humor, love of Americana, and flair for romance to this page-turning Princess Diaries turned-upside-down story.

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Story Notes

Rachel Hawkins offers younger readers a humorous look at the reality of becoming a royal – or just being their unwilling family members – in this cute story of young love and living life just the way you are.

Contemporary YA fiction is not my normal cup of tea (pun intended for this story), but this was a pretty cute story with some good lessons to be learned. Ms. Hawkins begins her story with sixteen year old Daisy Winters, who is the polar opposite of her sister in just about everything. For one, her sister is prim, polished and well mannered; and for another, she is engaged to the future king of Scotland, Alexander. Daisy, however, is much more free spirited and has no desire to become the next tabloid cover because of her royal connections. Bad news is, her ex-boyfriend has already made this happen with his false story about Daisy and Prince Alex’s brother, Sebastian. In an effort to correct these rumors and show Daisy in a better light, she will be sent to Scotland for the summer to participate in royal happenings. But Daisy is unprepared for the crazy that will rain down on her courtesy of the “Royal Wreckers” – Prince Sebastian and his friends. As Daisy tries to navigate this unfamiliar world of royal politics and annoying paparazzi, she finds an unexpected friend in Sebastian’s “best mate” Miles Montgomery. Although they do not hit it off well in their first encounters (mainly because they misunderstand the other’s intent) both Miles and Daisy are hoping to do their best to keep up appearances for their families and friends – especially when it comes to keeping Sebastian’s name from being linked with Daisy’s. They begrudgingly agree to “fake” date to throw off the paparazzi but as often happens, they will find more and more to like about each other as time goes on. As the plot plays out there is much mistaken intent, rude mutterings, sarcastic jokings and several instances of putting someone in their place – a royal someone or two- that will have readers laughing out loud as the pages turn. I loved how Ms. Hawkins used Daisy to teach Miles the importance of being yourself. He had spent so much time trying to repay the royals for their helping his family through crises he had lost much of his own opinions and personal time. Daisy also did some learning of her own as she finally begins to understand that putting others first is what most true royals do, even if the tabloids say otherwise. She will further learn that saying what you think is not always the best or most helpful way to be, tact is required to ensure life is bearable with disdainful people. And how Miles and Daisy finally get together is really cute and sweet, I was cheering when I read those pages. Another positive for this book is that it was clean when it came to sexual content, which is not often true with contemporary writers. There was a few moments of innuendo in the pages but nothing that was blatantly in your face or offensive to me. The first negative for this book was the use of unnecessary language. I realize that a lot of people talk this way but it doesn’t make it okay. And given this is supposed to be a YA book, I would have rather she keep the language a lot cleaner to encourage readers to do the same. I did appreciate that she clearly tried to use some slang for words rather than including more crude language, but perhaps an exclusion of all of it would have been better. Oh, and second negative, the amount of alcohol that the “wreckers” drink is obscene and their parents clearly do not seem to be helping them sort it out either. Not sure I would be okay just letting my kids drink themselves into oblivion on a daily basis. The third negative was the casual way everyone accepted the royalty who are gay. I don’t believe this should be so lightly considered and presented in a YA book. Personally, I would prefer this content never be included but I guess she was going with as contemporary a vibe as she could present. With the exception of these  inclusions I would say this book was a fun read. I laughed a lot at the sarcasm that was so perfectly applied and truly felt heartbreak over the pain that Sebastian is clearly trying to drown in drinking and partying. Perhaps Ms. Hawkins next book will feature Sebastian finally finding who or what he is looking for so desperately. And perhaps she will leave some of the unnecessary content out so readers can better connect with her story .

I received this E-book free of charge from Penguin Random House Publishers via First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

I took the week off…….to go to Disneyworld!!

Good Morning Blog Followers,

I wanted to apologize for the lack of posts last week. My family took a much needed vacation and I was busy from dawn til way after dusk. I will attach some of the photos from our trip below if you are interested in viewing them. It was a busy but really fun week that had us completely spoiled and well fed. Our family is most definitely a Disney family as we visit either Disneyland in California or Disneyworld in Florida every year. Anyone who has any questions about how to plan a Disney Vacation is welcome to let me know – I love to share the secrets and tips I have learned from our numerous trips. I will be posting today’s book in a little while for your enjoyment. Hope your week is blessed and full of wonderful memories.

 

Jerrye –  Tell Me A Great Story Blogger

 

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Cinderella’s Castle

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Classic Disney character topiaries – the Flower Festival was happening while we were at Epcot

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Rose Gold Cupcake – so delicious!

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Got to meet Ariel while wearing my mermaid leggings

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My favorite topiary scene – Lady and the Tramp

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Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom

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Bio-luminescence in Pandora – Flights of Passage ride will blow your mind!!

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Blue Raspberry Slushy – I had 4 of these and have no guilt, haha!

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Marching of the First Order – one day I will be a storm trooper….

Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller – Book Review

Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn  Miller

Published by Kregel Publications March 27, 2018

Genre: Regency Romance, Christian

Pages: 305

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Years ago, the man who stole Catherine Winthrop’s heart rejected her—and she’s never recovered from the grief. Now tragedy has brought him back into her life. This time it isn’t her heart he’s taking, it’s her home and her family’s good name.

Jonathan Carlew’s serious demeanor and connection to trade, not to mention the rumors surrounding his birth, have kept him from being a favorite of the ladies, or their parents. Now, suddenly landed and titled, he finds himself with plenty of prospects. But his demanding society responsibilities keep pressing him into service to the one woman who captured his heart long ago—and then ran off with it.

These two broken hearts must decide whether their painful past and bitter present will be all they can share, or if forgiveness can provide a path to freedom for the future.

Set in the sumptuous salons of Bath, Regency England’s royal breeding ground for gossip, Winning Miss Winthrop is the first volume in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series. Fans of the wholesome and richly drawn first series won’t want to miss this new set of characters—or appearances by their old favorites.

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Story Notes

Carolyn Miller delivers a new Regency era story to her fans with this first volume in her Promise of Hope series that carries the essence of Jane Austen while telling a story that is fresh and delightful.

Oh Regency era how we love to read about you! I know of very few true readers who don’t find the Regency era of time to be fascinating in every way, shape and form. There were so many discoveries made, medical practices introduced and fashions created that still linger to this day that I believe it is one of the most influential times in history. It is also the most often written about time period and given that authors can find it difficult to write a new story that will appeal to their readers. I have found that Ms. Miller seems to lack this trouble as she brings new stories out with quiet regularity that spark the imagination and make me wish I were headed to the Pump rooms of Bath to be entertained by a famous singer or participate in a dance. Ms. Miller’s latest story is no exception as she took the simple plot of two people whose love was torn apart by misunderstanding and creates a well developed story that takes the plot far beyond simple. Catherine Winthrop has lost her beloved father and with him the home she has always known. Her mother has fallen into an exaggerated depression and has left poor Catherine the responsibility of dealing with all arrangements to be made – the hardest of which will be the move out of their home. She is hoping to make her escape before the new Lord Winthrop makes an appearance but it seems that is not to be. To make matters worse, the new Lord Winthrop is none other than Jonathan Carlew, the man who shattered her heart and has become the object of her deepest loathing. Jonathan has always had trouble finding social acceptance given his birth and close connections to trade. Lacking the pedigree deemed worthy of invitations from the best families in the area, Jonathan has made it his life’s work to do the very best with what he has and charm his way into the good graces of those who could help him succeed in his endeavors. Years before, when he met Catherine Winthrop, he lost his heart completely and was determined to marry her, no matter that everyone said they didn’t suit. But when Catherine’s father convinces him that she was only faking her love to have a good time and a constant escort until she found someone more suitable, Jonathan breaks off their relationship and goes to India to improve his business acumen. Never knowing why Jonathan left her and smarting keenly over his refusal to even acknowledge her letters, Catherine determined to never give her heart so willingly again. But years have passed and Jonathan has been named heir to the baronetcy of Winthrop, putting him squarely in her world once again. The story that follows is one in which I found myself wishing I could have participated. The hurt and bitterness that both Catherine and Jonathan still carry perpetuates the misunderstanding between them, making for both sad and hilarious happenings. Their attempts to keep from meeting or speaking to each other are entertaining to say the least and they are both so stubborn they cannot imagine that they may have been mistaken all those years ago. But as circumstances continue to decline for Catherine and her mother once they have moved from the manor house, they will have no choice but to relocate to Bath, introducing a whole new set of problems. As they are now in very reduced circumstances, many of society’s doors will now be closed to them without good friends to make it otherwise. Catherine finds solace in the company of her friend Lavinia, Lady Hawksbury, who refuses to allow her friend to become a hermit and gains invitations to the best of parties. But Catherine is not ready to find a new beau and accepts the kind escort of General Whitby, a much older gentleman who is one of her aunt’s closest friends. His presence ensures she is well looked after and even gives rise to the idea that she is once again a desirable marriage partner. Jonathan and his family, arrive in Bath some time after Catherine’s departure from Gloucestershire, and the rumors swirling around about Catherine and the General take Jonathan by surprise. Although he is currently expected to make a match with the wealthy Miss Beauchamp, he finds himself more than a bit jealous of Catherine’s new “conquest”. Hoping to prove he is over his former love, Jonathan will go out of his way to look happy to all around him. The problem is, the more he tries, the more miserable he becomes. But vicious rumors will soon be spoken that will require Jonathan to decide if he will forgive his mistaken idea of Catherine’s antipathy and go after the love he has looked for all along. Catherine will have to find courage in herself to fight for what she wants in life and not let others dictate who she is and who she can love. Together they will find love they are seeking and the forgiveness they didn’t know they needed. This story had so many moving pieces it was hard at times to keep them all straight. But as the story went on, Ms. Miller carefully dissected each piece of information and ensured all questions were answered. It was interesting to see how the character of each person was grown as they worked through the circumstances they were handed. There was much bitterness and resentment that stemmed from a misunderstanding that had to be addressed before forgiveness could be extended. How very like Jonathan and Catherine we all are, often forgetting to question whether what is said about someone is actually true or just fits someone’s narrative. Trust is a precious treasure that should be valued and treated with respect. Often, we find ourselves questioning our trust in someone just because of what someone else says about them – never pausing to question the motives of the person speaking. Ms. Miller explored this idea as well as the concept of hateful speech to show that words have power if we give them such and we must be careful not to let others make our decisions for us. Ms.Miller’s quiet way of weaving the love of God and His forgiveness of our mistakes into her story was also very well done. I love when a story has characters whose relationship with God has matured enough that they include open and realistic prayer in their though processes. I find my connection with them is better than those who lack such a relationship and I often find myself asking if I am guilty of doing what that character has realized they’ve done. I will most certainly be recommending this book to others as well as the entire series. I am hoping to read the next stories very soon as they are already listed for pre-order. Serena and Henry’s story looks to be a hilarious story that is not to be missed.

I received this E-book free of charge from Kregel Publications via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – Book Review

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Published by Barbour Publishing/Barbour Books April 01, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Romance

Pages: 257

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Can a former privateer and a determined heiress find lost treasure in 1725?
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Pasts Collide in New Orleans when a Treasure Goes Missing
The last time New Orleans attorney Jean-Luc Valmont saw Maribel Cordoba, a Spanish nobleman’s daughter, she was an eleven-year-old orphan perched in the riggings of his privateering vessel proving herself as the best lookout on his crew. Until the day his infamy caught up with them all and innocent lives were lost. Unsure why he survived but vowing to make something of the chance he was given, Jean-Luc has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—until a very much alive and very grown up Maribel Cordoba arrives on his doorstep and threatens all he now holds dear.

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Story Notes

Kathleen Y’Barbo (what a fun last name!) presents her readers with a wonderful adventure through the era of privateering in which two people will discover that the greatest treasures in life are not gold and rare jewels.

I am a big fan of all things pirate. One of my all time favorite rides at Disneyworld is Pirates of the Carribean and when the first movie based on the ride was released, was one of the first to go see it, as well as the next three.  So how perfect it was for me to be offered a book entitled “The Pirate Bride” for review? I’ll tell you – I was beyond excited and read it through in almost one sitting! I know that real “pirates” were not great heroes and rescuers but it was still fun to imagine what it would have been like to have lived in that time and with those circumstances. Ms. Y’Barbo created a wonderful story that will make readers want to join a privateering crew tomorrow. She begins her story with a young lady named Maribel who is traveling with her father, Antonio Cordoba, to Havana where he is to be the new Consul General for Spain. Maribel is grieving the recent deaths of her mother and grandfather and traveling with a man who has been her father in name only. With little to occupy her time as her father will not let her wander the ship, Maribel spends much time rereading her favorite book The Notorious Seafaring Pyrates and Their Exploits. Young and adventurous, Maribel would like nothing better than for their ship to be overtaken by pirates and herself be allowed to join their crew. Several weeks into their trip her wishes will come true but not in the way she imagined. Captain Jean Beaumont (aka Jean Luc Valmont) and his crew overtake the Cordoba’s ship with one goal in mind: vengeance for the lives of their family members Antonio Cordoba has taken. But when the smoke clears and all those on board are subdued, Captain Beaumont is confronted by a determined little Spaniard who will not take no for an answer. Jean Luc knows it is not safe for a young woman to be part of a privateering crew and attempts to place her in a secure home – with little success. Maribel has no intention of missing out on what she sees as the greatest adventure of her life and she will do whatever it takes to keep her place on board. And given her quick memorization of ship types and her exceptional vision, Jean Luc will place her in the safest place he can on board – the eagle’s nest lookout. It is while she is manning her post one night that Maribel will be crashed from her post into the sea by a cannonball from a French military ship, separating her from the captain and crew for many years. She is found after the ship is overtaken by two crewmen who managed to escape and will take her to the convent on the Isla de Santa Maria for safe keeping. As the years pass, Maribel will grow and learn much at the convent, but she will never forget her captain, Jean Luc. When the ship was overtaken, Jean Luc is gravely injured and barely survives the trip to New Orleans. Taken to his parent’s home, he will spend many months recuperating his strength and planning his future. He is heartsick over the idea that little Maribel might have been killed in the attack and has determined never to forget her name and face.  When she is suddenly thrust back into his life when her’s is once again in danger, Jean Luc will have to be careful or he will lose his heart to this grown up version of his favorite crew member. Maribel is determined to stay with Jean Luc no matter the cost to herself and as she spends more time with him, she will see that her childhood hero worship has slowly turned to love for a man who would give all to keep those he loves safe from harm. It will take all their love and courage to face their enemies and come through the trials with their faith intact. Ms. Y’Barbo’s created such detailed characters for her story that her readers will feel they are on board a ship and part of the conversations. Maribel’s incessant chatter when she is nervous and Jean Luc’s exasperation with her will ensure many good laughs throughout the pages. I loved the sacrificial way in which Jean Luc took care of Maribel. He would do anything to keep her safe, even risking his own life and livelihood. She in turn was able to help him realize that revenge for past wrongs will never satisfy the resentment that is carried. We must give all hurts to God and let Him take care of those who do wrong. Maribel as well will find that forgiveness is the only way to let go of the past and keep her heart from becoming bitter. There wasn’t an amazingly deep plot to this story but I found it had just enough suspense and drama to keep me interested. Its nice to read a story that flows well but doesn’t require you to think about each thing that happens to understand the conclusion. The only thing that made me a bit confused was the rushed way that Jean Luc’s life was described between when he was injured and when he found Maribel again. It was too much information given to really tell that part of the story well so I wish Ms. Y’Barbo had given that time a bit more description. But the rest of the story was very well done and for that reason I will be highly recommending this book to others. I’m also looking forward to her next story as it has been offered to me for review in a couple of months. Here’s hoping the next book will be as wonderful as this one!

I received this E-Book free of charge from Barbour Publishing/Barbour Books via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

The Innkeeper’s Daughter by Michelle Griep – Book Review

The Innkeeper’s Daughter by Michelle Griep

Published by Shiloh Run Press/Barbour Publishing  March 01, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Romance, Christian

Pages: 321

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown

Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

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Story Notes

Michelle Griep brings to her readers another excellent book that will make you feel you are the one on the case and just might make you wish you lived in the Regency Era.

This book was a delight to read, from the mystery that needed solving to the character’s ways of speaking, I had a really good time reading this story. I’m relatively new to Michelle Griep’s writings but I have greatly enjoyed reading her works. She has a way of weaving sarcasm into a story that keeps it freshly hilarious without coming across as mean or derogatory. I also like the way she introduces and plays out her plot – each detail is carefully crafted so the reader can really connect with the story. Ms. Griep begins this story with the Langley family who is struggling to keep their lodging inn home in the face of crippling debt. Johanna, her mother and her brother, Thomas are working hard to find boarders enough to make their payments but as travel to the village of Dover is somewhat limited given the time of year, this has proved difficult. And the one current lodger they have, Lucius Nutbrown, hasn’t paid his rent in two weeks. Determined to make their payments, Johanna begins to look for odd jobs to do around town. Enter Alexander Morton, incognito Bow Street Runner(although they preferred to be called officers), who has arrived in Dover to discover a traitor to the Crown who is selling secrets to the Napoleonic French. His presence at the Langley’s Blue Hedge Inn is a bit odd given the large amount of money he seems to possess but Johanna is not going to send him away. And, as it turns out, this will be a very good thing as Alex is able to help her out of more than one scrape during his stay. But Alex is not there just to help out his temporary landlady, he has a very serious job to do – one that will put many lives in danger if he does not succeed. Ingratiating himself to the local gentry is his first task and given his card sharp abilities that earned him a job as a Runner, he will find this an easier task than expected. Many of the titled landowners of the area enjoy all forms of gambling but the exclusive faro games are reserved for only the best players. It is this that allows Alex to initiate his investigation into the family of Viscount Lord Coburn. Alex will have few allies in his quest and should he fail he will be disavowed, but he is determined to serve his country and brings its enemies to justice. If only he wasn’t so distracted by his unexpected attraction to Johanna Langley. Johanna is also struggling with her own attraction to the mysterious Alex. A helpful and kind lodger he certainly is but why is he so secretive about his business in Dover. He claims to be a wine purchaser but there is little evidence of his work given there is no famous wine to be found in Dover that hasn’t been imported. But as time goes on and Alex finds himself in tough spots more often than not, he will have to turn to Johanna to help him reach those who can assist in his quest. And while Johanna knows there is much Alex hasn’t told her, she cannot help but do all he asks, even when it means leaving him in jail. The culmination of this story is literally explosive and action packed as Alex works to bring down the traitors and rescue Johanna. And at the end of all things, both Alex and Johanna will finally realize that who and what they have been looking for their whole lives has been right there in front of them all this time. As I said before, I loved reading this story. There were moments where there was little action happening but it didn’t feel like it slowed the story, rather it seemed to give one a chance to catch one’s breath before plunging into the next dilemma. I loved the way the story seemed to weave itself slowly outward to include a wonderful variety of characters that carried the story along. One of Ms. Griep’s lesser characters, Lucius Nutbrown, started out as a most annoying character to me but he became central to the story given his gullible nature. And I believe his constant use of his puppet to talk to others was his way of being more brave than he believed himself to be alone. It was an interesting way to portray a person with limited mental capacity and as the story went along, I began to feel sorry for Nutbrown as it seemed he couldn’t help but be taken advantage of by everyone. I was pleased with Ms. Griep’s way of having her characters constantly turn to God for help through situations in which they were overwhelmed. And as they also looked to Him for the everyday happenings this was an excellent way for them to behave. And while several were praying for rescue from a desperate situation, they still found ways to praise and thank God for what they had in spite of their circumstances. In this I was able to connect better with the characters as I have experienced some of the same circumstances. I will most certainly be recommending this book to others and will add this to my “To Purchase” list for the future. I also hope that Thatcher from this story will be getting his own book soon as I think he will be excellent as a hero for his heroine – but she will have to be one determined lady to capture his heart. Please, Ms. Griep, write his story soon!

I received this E-book free of charge from Shiloh Run Press/Barbour Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears – Book Review

A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

Published by Bethany House Publishers March 06, 2018

Genre: Christian, Drama, Romance

Pages: 222

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

In early 1900s Kansas, Mercy McClain, determined to protect Teaville’s children from the bullying she experienced as a child, finds fulfillment working at the local orphanage and serving on the school board. When Aaron Firebrook, the classmate who bothered her more than any other, petitions the board for a teaching position, she’s dead set against him getting the job.

Aaron knows he deserves every bit of Mercy’s mistrust, but he’s returned to his hometown a changed man and is seeking to earn forgiveness of those he wronged. He doesn’t expect Mercy to like him, but surely he can prove he now has the best interests of the children at heart.

Will resentment and old wounds hold them back, or can Mercy and Aaron put the past behind them in time to face the unexpected threats to everything they’re working for?

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Story Notes

Melissa Jagears’ third installment of the Teaville Moral Society brings of story of pain, regret, forgiveness and love for two people who never expected blessings to come from their hurtful past.

This was a lovely book that had many lessons to teach, the most important being forgiveness and letting go of resentment. We all carry hurts from our past that rise up at the oddest moments to try and cripple our Christian walk and Mercy McClain is no different. Born without a right hand, Mercy has known her fair share of taunting and hurtful statements. But her greatest tormentor was a childhood school bully named George Firebrook, who took the greatest pleasure in making Mercy cry from the words he spoke, yelled and even whispered to her every day. A tragic blessing moved Mercy beyond George’s reach at the end of the year, but now as an adult Mercy is using her past to help the orphans who are in her care. But the past always comes back to find you, and Mercy’s will come in the form of a school teacher application by G. Aaron Firebrook. (George) Aaron Firebrook is returning to Teaville years after his troubled childhood to try to right his many wrongs. Praying he will get the chance to plead forgiveness from those he hurt most deeply, Aaron interviews with the school board of Teaville as a Math teacher to support him as he seeks out those from his past. But he never dreamed that his favorite bully victim would be on the board, which almost certainly guarantees that he will not be given the position. Until a final decision is made, however, he must seek out another job and hopefully convince Mercy McClain to forgive him, even if she never becomes his friend. Angry and feeling hurt all over again at the reappearance of Aaron in her life, Mercy is hard pressed to give him the benefit of the doubt or accept his words of regret. How can someone who was so terribly mean, and quite good at it, really have become a better person who now cares for others? But Aaron knows his ultimate forgiveness comes from God and he will do whatever it takes to prove he is a new man in the Lord. He will take a short term job as the gardener at the orphanage and offers to help the director with a troubled teen boy named Jimmy who’s bent towards trouble rivals that of Aaron as a child. As Mercy watches Aaron’s unrelenting care for Jimmy and another boy named Owen, she will see a much different person than she knew before. But it will take time and a deep searching of her heart before she is willing to accept his apologies and offer the forgiveness he seeks. And, wonder of wonders, she will also discover that love can be found in the most unlikely of people. What she has been hoping and praying for her entire life will be hers if only she has the courage to reach out for it. And Aaron will finally come to realize that he is worthy of love because God has made him so, not because of the things he does. As he spends time with Mercy, his desire for her to love him back will drive him to find ways to show his affection for her – even standing up to others who are as hurtful and mean as he used to be. It is his love for her that finally breaks through her long held shield of pain to the loving forgiveness both of them have needed since they were children. The plot and development of this story were fairly good and I enjoyed reading it. I was a little lost in certain parts of the book as I had not read the first two books in this series and there seemed to be references to earlier happenings. My only issue with this book was the ending, which felt a little too well boxed. There were many questions still to be answered at the end of the book and the Epilogue attempted to cover them but it just felt too rushed. I would have preferred a better development of what happened to Jimmy after he was released from jail as well as a little more story about Owen. Other than this the book was good and I would love to read more from this author. Her examination and treatment of resentment, bitterness and forgiveness were very good and I was pleased with how she developed them well throughout the story. I hope to be able to find the first two books of this series soon so I can clarify my questions from reading this book. I will recommend this book/series to others and hope they will enjoy it as well as I.

One Note: the photo on the front of the book is a little weird as Aaron is supposed to be a big man while Mercy is supposed to be a rather small woman . This shows them as almost the same height and build – they should have used more realistic models.

I received this E-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.