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. :)

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Revell Book Review: “The Prophetess” by Jill Eileen Smith

“The Prophetess” by Jill Eileen Smith

Book 2 in the Daughters of the Promise Land Series (each can be read alone)

Review copy source: Revell

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

Outspoken and fearless, Deborah has faith in God but struggles to see the potential her own life holds. As an Israelite woman, she’ll marry, have a family, and seek to teach her children about Adonai–and those tasks seem to be more than enough to occupy her time. But God has another plan for her. Israel has been under the near constant terror of Canaan’s armies for twenty years, and now God has called Deborah to deliver her people from this oppression. Will her family understand? Will her people even believe God’s calling on her life? And can the menace of Canaan be stopped?

 

My thoughts:

A story about Deborah, the judge, in the Bible sounded intriguing – I’ve never read a fiction adaption of that account before, so I was interested.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t really ‘click’ with the book, and didn’t like the portrayal of Deborah. All throughout this book, there were the “strong females” who were shown as better than the men – they were all headstrong, and disobedient, and it was portrayed as if it was a good thing. It disappointed me greatly.
I know everyone’s perception of Biblical accounts are different, but my personal thoughts are that if God chose Deborah for a judge, it was because He saw Himself in her – yes, she would’ve been human like the rest of us, but she would’ve had a heart after God, and would have been obedient to her husband as that is one of the traits God has desired in us.
There were several parts that had me rather appalled…
 “She fought the urge to awaken Lappidoth and complain profusely to him. Complaining did no good….but she could complain in her prayers,” – she complained to her husband constantly, and was very discontent in all things. And though I know we do it, God instructs us not to complain – He doesn’t encourage it. Yes, we can bring all things to Him in prayer, but He does desire for us to make an effort to “give thanks in all things”. Now, I’m not saying I’ve never complained (I sadly do, too), but the way it was shown in the book…it was more like nagging. And Biblical book characters should be encouraging and uplifting, not frustrating.
“If God were a Canaanite goddess, Deborah would have her answer. Anat the warrior goddess stood behind Sisera’s success. Asherah stood behind Canaan’s fertility. Baal stood behind Canaan’s king.” – This did not sit well with me at all. She was comparing God to the fake goddesses, and making it sound like God was inadequate and not as strong as those goddess’.
“You push too much, Jael.” “It’s a wife’s job to do so, my lord.” – No. This saddened me. The overall theme of this book screamed of headstrong women and their disregard for their heads. Every one of them. We should not encourage this in books.
As the verse says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and he will not soon depart from it” – that verse applies to all of us. In our endeavor to write Christian fiction, it should be our goal to help train others up in the way of God – in every way. Not giving the opposite message.
Therefore I cannot recommend this book. :(
There were also a few historical inaccuracies – one of the things I’ve seen many times in different Biblical fiction is “she forgot her headscarf” – a Hebrew young maiden would certainly not have forgotten this. It was a sign of her purity, her modesty, her respect.
Also, in this book, Deborah quoted a piece of scripture that David wrote in Psalms, and she wouldn’t have had that in her time.
But really, my main concern and dislike for this book was the head-strong-ness and disrespect. It grieved me a great deal.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.*
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Revell Book Review: “Thin Ice” by Irene Hannon

{Cover via amazon – click to go to books page.}

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon

Book Two in Men of Valor series

Suspense-romance fiction

Review copy source: Revell Reads

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail–addressed in her sister’s handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he’s coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive–who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game–or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.

 

My Thoughts:

Suspense fiction isn’t a regular in my literary diet, but it is a nice change once in a while. It’s quite an interesting genre and I do enjoy it occasionally.
The suspense part of this book was done really well and kept me very interested. It was quite the case! I definitely appreciate that part of the book.
However, what gives this book a low rating for me was the romance mainly, and also the lack of faith.
The romance was inappropriate at many places, in my opinion. There were unnecessary comments, and definitions of ‘beauty’ that was out-of-line. Obviously everyone’s definition of beauty is different – and that’s what I appreciate and I just wish that was shown more often in books. But so often books describe ONE type as beautiful and so anyone that does not fit in that ‘model’ category is basically being told that they are not what is considered “beautiful”. That should not be happening in Christian fiction. Especially when beauty comes from God, not even from our physical look.
So yes, I was really disappointed in the romance and cannot recommend it for that reason. They never came right out and said the obvious but it was heavily implied and did not show reverence to purity or waiting.
There was brief mention of God – it was tried for at least. I think it was more of an underlying thought or a subplot than the main theme.
Also, I was saddened by how calloused the book approached a situation of human-trafficking as if there was nothing one could do about it or wanted to do about it. They were the FBI…the man should care.
As I said, the suspense factor was intriguing. I enjoyed that aspect, but the rest caused me not to love this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.