Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Everyday Grace by Jessica Thompson

Book Description

Your Grace-Filled Guide to Relationships

It's hard, sometimes, to get over that thing your husband said weeks ago; or to resolve that tension with your colleague at work; or to fix a lifelong friendship that's taken a bad turn. The biggest problem with relationships is they always seem to involve sinners--including ourselves. So how can we form strong, resilient bonds with people who, like us, are bound to mess up? 

Thankfully, it's not all on us. Through stories and biblical teaching, Jessica Thompson helps us move beyond trying to "fix" the people we interact with, and shows us a better way. Though our relationships may be marred by tension and frustration, because we are welcomed and known by Christ, they don't have to stay that way.

My Review

I wish I could go through every chapter and have a deep discussion about every subject in this book. I've only felt that way about one another author. This is the first book I've read from Jessica Thompson, but I absolutely love what she shares in this book.

Starting with a foreword by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Jessica's mother, you get a great feel for where this book is going. It's not a quick-fix, "how to" book on relationships. Instead, it's about Christ, how much he truly loves us, and how that can change our lives, especially our relationships. Extending the same grace God gave us to those around us an in our lives and relationships.

"If there's one commodity in this world that's rare, it's got to be grace. Let's face it, we all live in a quid quo world, a world in which we're taught to believe that "what goes around comes around." ⎼ Elyse Fitzpatrick.
Jessica shares stories from her and some of her friends lives to paint portraits of grace and how we all fail at relationships but because of God's unfailing love we Him to help us and love us through it, and teach us how to show love and grace to others. I found myself constantly looking to my Bible at the verses Jessica references throughout the book. It was wonderful!

This is a book every woman, and truthfully any Christian, should read and buy for their friends and family! I felt truly encouraged and inspired after reading this book! I will be reading this book again (which I don't do very often!)

I give this book a 5 out of 5! (I wish I could give it an even higher rating than that!)

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Bethany House Review program.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick

Book Description

Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now the young mother of two children, Eliza faces a different kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants them to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her departed mother's grave--and returning to the land of her captivity. Eliza longs to know how her mother, an early missionary to the Nez Perce Indians, dealt with the challenges of life with a sometimes difficult husband and with her daughter's captivity.

When Eliza is finally given her mother's diary, she is stunned to find that her own memories are not necessarily the whole story of what happened. Can she lay the dark past to rest and move on? Or will her childhood memories always hold her hostage?

My Review

Jane Kirkpatrick is by far one of my all time favorite authors. She just has this way about writing that draws you in and makes you want to keep reading. My first book (series) from her was Emma of Aurora and I read the entire series in such a ridiculous short amount of time. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to read Memory Weaver. 

I didn't get quite as drawn in to this book as I did Emma of Aurora but not because of her writing! For me the story was not really my cup of tea but Jane Kirkpatrick's writing still kept my attention (that's how you know you have a good writer!) So even though this book was not my cup of tea perhaps others of you out there will  enjoy it and be captivated by it. I say give it try!

I give this book a 3 out of 5!

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Revell Review program.

Friday, January 8, 2016

With This Ring by K.W, M.C, R.J, & M.J

Book Description

Humorous Historical Romance Novella
Collection Offers Love and Laughs
Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Husband Maneuver," Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins when the ranch foreman she loves seems to be leaving forever. Regina Jennings offers "Her Dearly Unintended," where friends stranded by a rising river pretend to be newlyweds when a dangerous stranger arrives.

Mary Connealy's "Runaway Bride" finds a Texas ranger getting more than he expected when he rescues a young woman fleeing a dangerous arranged marriage. And Melissa Jagears' "Engaging the Competition" finds a young woman forced to assist the man she's often sparred with after an accident leaves him helpless. Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

My Review

With this Ring?

Mary Connealy, Karen Witemyer, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears come together with a collection of novellas, mixing humor and romance with a dash of adventure. Is there any less to be expected by these four famous authors?

The Husband Maneuver

In this short story we revisit two characters from Karen Witemeyer’s book “A Worthy pursuit”. Daniel Barret, Or Dead-eye Dan affectionately known to those who have read the book, is ready to build his own place and his own business, but Marietta isn’t ready for him to go, at least not without her as his wife.
Fear and love push Marietta into action. Trying to maneuver the quiet Daniel into a marriage proposal.
Most men will probably going  “Aha” right about now, but trust me when I saw that Marietta loved Daniel, and if you thought you’d lose someone forever you might be willing to do the same thing yourself.
It was a great pleasure to see these two beloved characters once again, and to see how their story ended. I also enjoyed reading experts from the last Dead-eye Dan book at the beginning of each chapter, what a fun treat!

Her Dearly Unintended

This story is a coming of age story for our two characters Josiah Huckabee and Katie Ellen Watson. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleased to find Regina Jennings in her element, as always.  Josiah, a fearless young man, wants to woo Katie Ellen, but she will have nothing to do with him. A logical, crafty, young woman Katie Ellen holds onto two years of pain caused by one small moment in time with Josiah, using it as a shield against Josiah. But things don’t quite go as any of them expected, with an old man taking residence in Katie Ellen’s home, and her only source of protection from the stranger is Josiah’s.
I enjoyed seeing the barriers come down around Katie’s heart, and that it taught me that the little details shouldn’t be stressed over so much, not when it comes to the ones you love.

Runaway Bride

I have no clue how many of Mary Connealy’s books are connected in this one little short story, but by the amount of names I feel I should know in here I am guessing a lot. Carrie Halsey, sister to Audra Halsey, is on the run from the fate her father forced upon her older sibling. As in most of Mary Connealy’s books there are twists of romance, action, and suspense even in this short story. I won’t spoil this story, but for all those Connealy fans out there I am sure they will love this quick stop on there way to the next novel.

Engaging the Competition

Now, Melissa Jagears story I was a little weary of, after learning about her book “A Bride in Store” from my sister. I did expect much from this story. Gladly I was very wrong about this one.
You would never expect rivals to make a good couple, Harrison Gray thought the same. He and Charlotte used to be the best of friends, until their competiveness got in the way. Because of his impaired sight and the need to wear glasses Harrison felt he couldn’t match up to Charlotte, and even the one time he felt he could best her he realized he was trying to publicly humiliate a woman. He did not want to be known as that type of man. With their friendship over Harrison didn’t think he would have to deal with her again. God had other plans.
Charlotte ends up breaking his glasses, and to make up for it she helps him teach his school class.
An interesting and sweet story that will have you captivated from the first few pages.

The book was a joy to read, and though I found the lack of faith a little odd, I still would recommended it for many readers.  With laughter, struggle, and love abound many will find themselves lost for an hour or two in one of these novellas.

I give this book a 4 out of 5!

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Bethany House Review program.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Together with You by Victoria Bylin

Book Description

When a Lost Child warning blares over the mall's PA system, Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that the child suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's past suddenly confronts her. Never again will she become personally involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is trying to put his life back together. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan has put his faith in his Sink-or-Swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruit Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.

Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

My Review

This was a wonderful story! Reading it I felt like I was reading a modern day Christian version of the Sound of Music. Come to find out that was quite intentional which just made my love for her writing grow even more! No, it was not based off of anything from the sound of music, but it held the same spirit.

A story filled with mistakes, bad decisions, growing pains, hope, love and forgiveness.

Carley, a preachers daughter who left her home to get away from a mistake she made comes to find herself as a nanny for a little girl with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) after reuniting her with her all too severe and unsmiling, yet handsome, father in the mall toy store where she worked.

Ryan has a list he wants to accomplish with his family over the summer while his ex-wife is on vacation with her new husband, but things aren't going well when he loses his daughter in the mall. Thankfully, she is returned safe and sound with Carley. When he finds she is familiar with FASD, after having just lost his last nanny, asks to hire her on the spot!

One of the things I loved about this book was reading from Penny's point of view. Rarely do I get to read and see how that character perceives and processes's the world they live in. It pulled on my heart and helped me to understand what Penny was going through then if I had just read it from Ryan or Carley.

I also loved that the story wasn't just about Ryan and Carley falling in love, it was about the whole family! Ryan's two sons played a fairly big role in this story. Carley connects with them and even and helps bring them together as a family and as individuals.

There was so much more to this book than I can put in a single review, but I couldn't put this book down when I read it and so I highly recommend it.

I give this book a 5 out of 5!

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Bethany House Review program.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Book Description

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it's going to be an exciting ride!

My Review

And what an exciting ride it was! I've never read any of Melody Carlson's Christmas stories before, but now I think I am going to make it an annual tradition! Christmas Joy Ride was full of the Christmas spirit. I wish Joy Jorgensen was my neighbor. I would have been Miranda, making sure she wasn't crazy for doing this, but in the end thanking God the ride. 

As the adventures goes, Miranda heads off with Joy down Route 66 to bring the spirit of Christmas to residents in a nursing home, a diner owner and her daughter, a rehab center for young adults, a hair salon, foster parents and their kids, and a young girl, and her widowed father, who lost her mother, at Christmastime years before. 

All of the stories touched my heart and was filled with laughter, but the message in them all that reached me, was, "No matter what, joy is just around the bend. Especially, if you take the time to let it in your heart and then go to those around you." {Romans 15:32}

I give this book a 5 out of 5!

"Well, I have more to say to you, but I don't want to say it in a letter. For I hope to visit you soon and talk to you face to face. Then our joy will be complete." {2 John 1:12}

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of Revel Review program.