Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Book review: “Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

Toothless Books (8)

“Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

A Memphis Cold Case Novel

Review copy from the publishers through the Revell Reads Program

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league–and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep readers guessing–and looking over their shoulders.

My Thoughts:

 

“Justice Buried” is apparently the second book in a series, but I found that it was pretty easy to read as a stand-alone. There were a couple instances where you knew they were referring to the first book, but not in a way that was confusing or made you think you had to read the first one first. :) I’m sure it’s probably best enjoyed to be read that way, but since I didn’t know, I don’t feel like I was unable to still enjoy the story as it was.
Full of mystery and suspense, you were wondering who the murderer was right till the end.
It was an enjoyable book, and kept me interested to find out what happened to the characters. I like Kelsey and Brad, but I think their relationship development could’ve been strengthened a bit, and the ending seemed a tiny bit rushed. But this book does fit in with its genre of Romantic Suspense, and yet it was quite clean which I appreciated a great deal.
That being said, this book I would classify more as a clean book than a Christian book. There were a couple mentions of characters attending church and a random verse thrown out once, but that was it, and the whole thread of faith was not present – very buried if it was there. That disappointed me, but I do still appreciate that it was at least clean.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts presented in this review are my own.
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Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

Book Review: “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” by Bethany Turner

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“The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” by Bethany Turner

Releases October 3rd, 2017 (today!!)

Review copy from the author/publishers; launch team copy.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book was adorable. The writing style was truly so great, and I was just drawn right in by the first chapter. It was so…readable. :) The style felt so unique and yet still so familiar to my own. And the story – oh my goodness, I had so many giggles throughout it. This was a book where I literally laughed out loud. Which then caused my family to question my sanity a tiny bit, but more so they wanted to know what I was laughing at. So yes, I had to read some parts out loud, and they giggled right alongside me! Sarah was hysterical in so many ways. From her crazy “What if??” scenarios, to her panicked reaction to things. And very relatable in those instances. Her character really was a gem to read.
Piper! Oh Piper, I loved her so much. Will she get her own story, Bethany? Please? She was like *the best* friend. So grounded, so joyful, and so loyal. Yep, loved her.
Ben. Um, yeah he was kinda perfect. Not like unrealistically perfect. But Bible-Nerd cute perfect. You can see why she fell for him right away.
The characters were all so well-written, and like-able (except Patrick…and one or two others that are supposed to be unlikeable. :D). This book was just a lot of fun to read.
So, the only “downside” to this book for me, what made this a 4.5 instead of 5 for me was Sarah’s obsession with sex. Yes, I expected a bit of that, seeing the plot of the story. And for the most part, it was handled really well and tastefully (going from a “steamy romance” novelist to a Christian…tricky transition that would be! But like I said, it was handled well!). And there wasn’t the “shame” that often comes when Christians have to deal with anything sex-related. However, that seemed to be Sarah’s driving point – when could she be together sexually with Ben? It couldn’t be soon enough for her, and sometimes that seemed like the only reason she wanted to be with him. No, I know that’s not true – she was in love with him for more reasons than that, but that was definitely a focal point that got stronger towards the end. There was nothing really inappropriate, but it was…edgy? That’s why I would recommend only for mature readers, because well, there’s a fair amount of sex talk. And for me personally, I don’t think it was all totally necessary. No, sex is not a shameful thing, and like I said, I was impressed that the author didn’t make it so, but I also don’t think it needs to be the focal point of a book, if that makes sense. And I know everyone’s preference on this one is different. I’m just stating this for others who feel as I do. :)
But that aside, it was a really adorable book, and I dearly loved it, enjoying it so very much. Author Bethany Turner writes with such wit, you can’t help but smile and laugh along, and it still deals with tougher aspects of life.
Oh, and the cover…!!! I can’t end my review without saying something about that. The cover for “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” is superb. Spot on. Brilliant. Amazing. Basically, I’m in love with it. As soon as I received my copy, held it in my hands, I was practically drooling over it. So beautiful! <3

 

(I created the first two – flower pot, and pink background – and the other graphic is from the author herself. :))

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“A Matter of Trust” by Susan May Warren ~ Book Review

(click on image to go to its amazon page)

“A Matter of Trust” by Susan May Warren

Book Three in the Montana Rescue Series

Review copy source: Revell Publishers Program

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him. 

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track. 

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain. 

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This series has been just excellent. And so easy to get caught up in and then get lost in!
“A Matter of Trust” was full of adventure, danger, and a good romance.
I hadn’t previously read many “Search and Rescue” series before this one, but my was it gripping! And now I’m even more excited to read SMW’s other SAR books.
But yes, this book. I loved the snowy setting because I love the cold. And spending time in a cold book made me imagine it was just a little colder here. ;)
Gage is a very strong character. I wasn’t sure if I’d fall in love with him as a character or not at first, but I shouldn’t have worried at all. Out of the three book heroes of this series I think maybe he’s at the top of my list…it’s hard to decide for sure though, because I love Sam as well, and Pete, and Ty…Okay, so these books have swoonworthy characters.
And the leading gals! They’re amazing. Ella was a very likeable character, and I could relate to her in her desires to be “perfect” before God but realizing that even if we’re not perfect, He loves us anyway – unconditionally.
And that brings me to the faith strand. These books are pretty short, but there’s always a faith strand, which is a big draw for me. And while they are not super loud, they are also not just sideline plots either – the message is woven in the story and touched on throughout it. It’s gentle and beautiful. Trust was the theme of this book, of course, and I really appreciated this as it was a much-needed reminder for me. We can trust God in ALL things, because He is good in ALL things. Love that lesson!
So yes, I very much enjoyed this book – loved it, in fact. This series, if you haven’t gathered, has made me very happy. :)
Don't for a minute that God has forgotten about you or doesn't have your back. And don't base God's love or desire to help you or your opinion of yourself. Base it on who God says He is.
“I have a feeling God put us exactly where we needed to be to get away, so – no, I don’t hear any laughter. I hear God saying, “You messed up, but that doesn’t mean I did. Trust Me.”” Pg 187
“Her words echoed back to her about God, ‘You messed up, but that doesn’t mean I did. Trust Me.’ She wasn’t sure where they’d come from, but they lingered, hung on.
Maybe that was the key – just because she’d made a mistake with her life didn’t mean that God has, and it hopefully didn’t change the way God saw her. Still flawed but worth loving anyway.And if God loved her despite her failures, maybe she could let go of trying to control everything, start trusting Him.” pg 197
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Under a Summer Sky” by Melody Carlson ~ Book Review

“Under a Summer Sky” by Melody Carlson

Book Three in the Follow Your Heart Series

Review copy from the publishers through Revell Reads Program

My Rating: 2.5/3  out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole’s close childhood friends–who also happen to be brothers–vying for her attention.

With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

 

My Thoughts:

There was some aspects of this book that I enjoyed, and some that I did not. I also didn’t know this was the third in a series (the review program didn’t say I don’t believe), but it seemed to stand on its own just fine.
High school art teacher, Nicole, is from Seatle but accepts a summer job managing a gallery for a family friend down in Savanna. She is charmed by the southern town, and enjoys the scenery but her summer isn’t without difficulties as she deals with a co-worker and possibly un-wanted attention from a once-upon-a-time crush.
What I liked: The gallery. This actually surprised me, because art isn’t really my thing, but I found the scenes where she was working very interesting. I liked Ryan right away, and Bernie was a good character too. Possible SPOILER—-  I liked Nicole’s relationship with Ryan the best – that and the gallery is what mainly kept me reading; to find how where that led. END of SPOILER.
What I didn’t like: I wouldn’t catagorize this as a Christian book – pretty clean yes, but not necessarily Christian – it’s one of those books that the author is Christian, so a character may “say a prayer” real quick, but it is devoid of any true faith, which I find disheartening.
I didn’t care for Alex, but that is a personal preference I suppose. However, the love-triangle thing was a bit annoying – not as bad as I first expected though, so at least there was that. And what bothered me the most besides the missing faith (which is the most important element of a book in my opinion) was the almost obsessed fascination and acceptance of ‘ghosts’. Those are not something to play around with, because even what they described as ghost occurances are often  demonic. They made light of the whole ghost thing, making it a ‘cutesy’ part of the story, but I just don’t agree with that. While I do not believe in the “ooooh ghosts!”, I do believe the reality of demons.
In conclusion:
This book was an easy read – I was able to read it in just a couple sittings. And it does hold your attention pretty well, but for me it was more of a ‘fluffy’ book than anything.
(Also bummed they didn’t include Vivian’s return in the story – I would’ve liked to read how that went!).
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Revell Review: “Pursued” by Lisa Harris

 

“Pursued” by Lisa Harris

Book Three in the Nikki Boyd Files 

Revell Reads Review Copy

My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars (leaning very close to a full five!)

 

About the Book:

 

Nikki Boyd’s flight into Nashville was routine–up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing–and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.

My Thoughts:

 

This is the third book in the Nikki Boyd Files series, and certainly as exciting as the first two! When I selected this book for review, I knew I wanted to reread the first book (Vendetta) and read the second book (Missing) so I would be ‘up-to-date’, and I’m glad I did, because it was great to read the story and follow each up with the next one. Now, though, I have to wait for more again! Ah the pain of series. ;)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it riveting. It was fast-paced, and well-written. I loved following the characters again and seeing each one grow more. And I’m impressed that the author can write three consecutive books with each being from the POV of the main character, Nikki, and none are at all boring or tedious! Usually when a series follows the same point-of-few, it can feel “stagnant” or as if you’ve heard it all before, but not so with the Nikki Boyd Files, which I really appreciate. :)
There was one thread of the story that I thought would be more intrical throughout the series by the topic from the first book, but it wasn’t the main plot-line, though I think it was better included in this third book than the second. And I want to read more! This bit may seem confusing, but when you read the books you’ll understand. I just don’t want to give anything away. :)
“Vendetta” is my favourite of the series so far, but “Pursued” is actually a close second. I just really enjoyed the whole plot, and it got me wanting to read more.
Very great suspense series!

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Litfuse, Revell Reads

Book Review: “Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin

 

“Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin

Book Two in the Waves of Freedom Series

WWII Historical Fiction

Review copy source: Litfuse/Revell

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance–and Danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War Ii means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War Ii to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

 

 

My Thoughts:

Sarah Sundin never disappoints. :) “Anchor in the Storm” was another fantastic book, with a great plot and fantastic characters. There was also a bit of mystery in it which was fun to follow along with!
Lillian Avery was a really well-rounded character; unique too, and still relatable. And Arch was charming as well, and with his own flaws – I do really appreciate flawed characters. :)
The faith strand was good, and consistent, which was lovely – Christ is our Anchor!
The struggles and trials they went through were very real, and the background pain was believable and came across well.
“Jesus is you anchor, your hope in any storm, you sure refuge.” (Page 28)
And I must admit, I loved the romance – it was sweet and I really wanted the two together. Arch was the perfect gentlemen – seriously, he was just so thoughtful and sweet.
“Yet she was worth the effort” (Page 144)
There was a grandmotherly character in this book who had a great influence on Lillian, and helped her to open her heart, which was so nice – we all need someone to remind us! Because it is hard, and it does sometimes hurt, but God desires an open heart.
“Oh, sweet girl. You may be able to hide your feelings from people, but you can never hide them from the Lord.” (Page 67)
“Now you’ve experienced great love. Now you’ve suffered great loss. Now your heart is truly open” Lillian pressed her free hand to her chest. Why did an open heart have to hurt so much?” (Page 346)
There were just a couple of instances of their romance that I didn’t care for fully – it wasn’t horrible, but sometimes it seemed a little rushed (or rather, happened quickly once it did happen), and there were a lot of kisses, and

*** SPOILER***  I was a little bummed when there had to be the typical turmoil stretch in their relationship. I know that they don’t want it to seem too perfect all of the time, but it just seemed…too much in the ‘norm’. ***END OF SPOILER***

But yes, I enjoyed this book very well, and look forward to the next! Sarah Sundin’s writing is spectacular, with much talent, and always so captivating!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers (Revell) and Litfuse in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin’s new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

anchor in the storm - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

anchor in the storm - banner
Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, God's Lessons, Litfuse, Moody Book Review, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, update

An announcement of sorts

Good day to you, my much appreciated blog-followers! :)

As the title states, I do have an announcement to share with you all. And it’s rather large, in the sense that I didn’t think that I’d do this. But I’m content with this decision, because I know it is directed by God and He has shown Himself SO awe-some in every sense of the word. So my news is this:

 

I will no longer be reviewing books at the rapid pace that I have been – that I’ve been known for. In fact, I’ve gotten off several of the Book Review Programs. I’m taking a Sabbatical. (such a fun word, is it not?). The reason for this, in short, is that it is what the Lord has guided me to recently. It’s definitely time for a break. See, when I read and review books I am analyzing the book so I can justly review it, but by doing this constantly, I have formed a habit of being analytical in everything – and that is leaning on my own understanding, not God’s. It’s thinking through every little thing when I should have faith instead.  And I want to lean wholly on the Lord’s understanding instead of my own, and so I am obeying Him in this step back from reviewing.

 

Sabbatical

 

Truthfully, it is a relief. Yes, I have loved this season of reviewing – it has been a great experience! But I am now ready for a new season. I will still be reading (of course!) but at a more leisurely pace, and I won’t necessarily being posting reviews of every book, as the amount of review books I receive will be just about nonexistent.

However, I will be finishing out with the reviews I have already committed to, so there are a couple yet to come. And I’m not banishing myself from all book reviews, just really stepping back.

 

It’s a big change for me, I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a reviewer. But now, it is: I was a reviewer. My life doesn’t need to hinge on reviewing, and a breather will be nice!

I’ll still do my best to keep up with my blog here, and I’m still apart of some blog tours coming up. I’m just also going to be doing a lot of “de-stressing” which means de-cluttering, etc.

 

So, here’s to a new season! Thank you for understanding. :)