Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review - "A Billion Reasons Why"

"A Billion Reasons Why" by Kristin Billerbeck is a lively, entertaining, romance read!

Katie McKenna is a fiery redhead with a past, a past that she has worked to put behind her including moving across the country. Katie is engaged to Dexter, a man who is nice enough, but boring. Katie believes Dexter to "fit" with her new life and being engaged to him fits her life now. This all changes the moment, Luc DeForges, Katie's ex-boyfriend from her old life, walks into her classroom. Luc knows the old Katie, the real Katie and convinces Katie to return home to New Orleans to sing at Luc's brother's wedding. Katie returning home for this friend's wedding forcing Katie to face her past and to also find out the truth about her father's death, and to also decide the path her future should take.

Billerbeck brings the culture of New Orleans alive in this book through the vivid descriptions and also through her characters. The characters are people the reader can relate to and ones that you will laugh and cry with. This is great novel and will not be the last of Billerbeck's that I read!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "Fatal Judgment"

If you enjoyed Irene Hannon's Heroes of Quantico series, then you do not want to miss out on her latest novel, "Fatal Judgment," the first novel in her Guardians of Justice series!

Hannon has written another great suspense novel! It is filled with well-developed characters that come to life on the pages and they are oozing with emotions that allow the reader to empathize with them. You will be drawn into the story that starts out dramatically and you will not want to stop once you begin reading!

U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has had to protect individuals before, however he was not prepared for his latest assignment, to protect federal judge Liz Michaels. Liz is not only the widow of Jake's best friend, but Jake soon realizes that he has an incorrect view of this beautiful woman who he realizes he is beginning to have personal feelings for. Liz' sister, Stephanie, is shot to death in Liz' home, and all minds suspect the murderer to be Stephanie's husband as he beats his wife and she sought refuge in Liz' home. However, after investigation and questioning, even Liz believes that he is not the one they are looking for. This means that Liz was most likely the target and her sister just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Liz is then sequestered in a condo and finds herself falling for a man protecting her, but he has a negative view of her.

This novel is very well-written and you will not want to put this down as you hide in the condo with Liz, help protect Liz with Jake and fall in love with the characters as Jake and Liz are falling in love with each other. I highly recommend this novel to all suspense and romance fiction readers!

“Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review - "Pearl"

Darlene Cox will draw you into her third novel, "Pearl," with the very first paragraph and you will not want to stop reading until you reach the very end. Cox's writing is an easy style to follow and you will be filled with suspense as you wonder about the details involving the characters and their stories. Recollections of times past are interwoven into the story adding to the story and helping the reader learn about and understand the characters better.

Pearl's body is found dead in a gully by two boys skipping school. This begins an investigation as to what happened and who Pearl really was. Married to a much older man, Pearl is seen by some as a flirt and many wonder about the relationship with her husband as well as other men who she is seen with. Soon after a young girl's body is found burned in an abandoned house out on the outskirts of town, there are many questions surrounding this as well especially after a former lover of hers shows up. Another young woman's body is found that had been badly assaulted. Questions swirl around in the town of Faircloth, Virginia as people wonder if these three incidents are related and what is the purpose behind them.

This is a great suspense, crime novel that really holds the reader's attention to the end. You will want to have time to read it all once you open this book!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "The Hole"

Day in and day out we encounter people, people from all different walks of life; however there is usually one person or a few people who we encounter that we just think are perfect, they have the perfect life. This is how Dirk and Dawn are perceived in Bruce Derman's fable, "The Hole." Dirk and Dawn have the ideal life - the ideal looks, jobs, relationship, home. This is the case until one day Dawn notices a tiny hole in the floor of their perfect home which she tries to hide until she points it out to Dirk a few weeks later. This hole becomes their obsession, it is the focus of their discussions, actions and thoughts. However, no matter what they try, the hole will not be filled and it continues to grow bigger and bigger. This happens until a man shows up at their door claiming to know of their struggle and that he can help. Dirk and Dawn must stick together and jump into and face the unknown.

Derman, a psychologist, has created a story that will draw each reader in and be thought-provoking. This is a story that will force you to think about your emptiness and fear that your life is meaningless. It will encourage you to take a risk and face unknowns in order to find meaning and fill that hole in your own life.

*I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review - "Dan Knight's Journey"

"Dan Knight's Journey" by Edward F. Smith is the story of a young boy's journey into adulthood. Dan's story begins at twelve years of age, his father is away fighting the war and Dan and his mother move to a new neighborhood. Dan strikes up a friendship with Paddy and the boys are soon committing little crimes together. Dan meets Bunny and he becomes her secret boyfriend as her parents would not approve of him. After Dan's parents divorce, Dan moves once again to another new school and meets new friends. However, this time it is bigger crimes that he commits with his new friend. As the years go on, Dan moves on and he finds himself holding a great job and involved with more than one woman. A sudden turn of events causes Dan to seek help help from the past as he must protect his own life.

This book is set in the fast-moving, exciting city of New York and it is told from Dan's point of view. This really allows the reader to know Dan and be taken on this journey with him. The novel is well-written and easy to follow, making it an enjoyable read.

* I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "The Search"

"The Search" is the third book in Suzanne Woods Fisher's Lancaster County Secrets and it is my favorite book in the series so far! Set in the early 1970's, this novel focuses on the extended family of Bertha Reihl, a well-known Amish figure in the community.

Bess is sent to help her grandmother, Bertha, for the summer; however Bertha is not honest with her reason for having Bess come. Bess grows to love her grandmother and her time there as she meets Billy who works for her grandmother and also a young English woman Lainey. Lainey and Bess immediately have a connection between the two of them; but the connection is stronger than either originally know. Bess' father, Jonah, has not returned home in years as it was too hard for him due to the death of his wife. Various circumstances draw Jonah home and he finds himself falling in love with Lainey who is thinking about becoming Amish. With Jonah stay with his intended who is back home in Ohio or will he follow his heart?

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it would mainly focus on Bess and her story, but that was not the case. There are many main characters and I felt like I became a part of each of their lives. I am hoping maybe the next book will be a continuation of Bess' story, I would love to know more about the next stage in her life!

“Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Review - "My Enemy, My Beloved"

Historical fiction lovers, here is a new book for you: Karl Vanghen's "My Enemy, My Beloved." Set during World War II, Vanghen's novel has characters that are thrust into the war, being stripped of their innocence and having their lives drastically changed.

New Ulm, Minnesota is filled with many immigrants, mostly from Germany, and yet they are not thrilled with having enemy soldiers living closely to them. Elsa is only sixteen years-old, and the war is horrific to her as she thinks of young men having to live in combat. Elsa has been raised to have a faith in God and this helps her through this time. Yet, she is not expecting the relationship that develops with Henrick, under the watchful eye of her father and against the backdrop of war.

Vanghen's characters are well-developed and as the reader, you will come to know the readers well and love them. You will be so quickly drawn into the story and into the characters' lives. You will soon be rooting for Henrick and Elsa and just hoping that they will find a way to be reunited. A must-read for history fans!

* I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. *

Book Review - "Double Shot"

"Double Shot," Erynn Mangum's third Maya Davis novel takes the reader along with Maya and Jack while they are planning their wedding. This book is another wonderfully written novel by Mangum and is filled with humor, and also thought-provoking situations that will cause the reader to ponder decisions in her own life as well as encouraging one to rely on and trust God.

Maya and Jack are in love and are preparing for their wedding and spending their lives together. However, life is not going as smoothly as expected, in fact it is far from perfect as there are so many decisions to be made and opportunities arise that make this lovable couple question God's wisdom and Him being in control.

Maya is such a great character to read about, she is realistic, filled with emotion and a great role model for turning to God and really seeking His direction, even if she does question His will at times, but who doesn't? I recommend reading the two earlier books in this series as you do not want to miss out on any of Maya and Jack's journey and all of the other characters in this book, as you will know them better.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Book Review - "Blind Hope"

If you are looking for a quick and inspirational read, then "Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog & the Woman She Rescued" by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher is for you!

Laurie seeks healing at the ranch of broken dreams, formally known as Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. This ranch is filled with broken horses and broken children. Laurie reaches out to help a dog, however she soon realizes that the dog is actually rescuing her! This is an excellent story of hurt and hope and a healing journey. Laurie realizes that she had been living her life by relying solely on her emotions and she had become a slave to her emotions instead of taking control of them and choosing how to respond. This is one of the many great lessons and points of the book that we can all benefit from.

I love that the book begins with the founding of the ranch. The following statement jumped out and drew me into the book, "Simple Encouragement from the little ranch in a cinder pit is reaching around the world." Working with "broken" children and families myself, this book was of particular interest to me and very encouraging. I recommend this book for all and it really is a quick, though-provoking, yet enjoyable read!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review - "An Amish Love"

"An Amish Love" is three novellas together in one book, however each story has characters that are connected with the other stories, which is something that I love about this collection!

The first novella is "A Marriage of the Heart" by Kelly Long. Abigail, a beautiful young Amish woman, is seeking to pay back Joseph for annoying and dismissing her. However, a marriage to each other is not really what was expected. Abigail, living alone with her father ever since her mother's death, thinks this will be the answer that she's been looking for as she wishes to run a home how she desires to. Abigail and Joseph must "put-on" that they are a young couple in love, however they soon discover that it is not just a show.

"What the Hearts Sees" written by Kathleen Fuller is the second novella in this collection. Ellie lost her sight and her best friend in a tragic accident. However, her boyfriend took off after this as well and Ellie's believes that she will never find love again in her life. Suddenly, Christopher, Ellie's boyfriend, returns and they must deal with the past as well as the feelings that are igniting between them again.

The last novella is "Healing Hearts" by Beth Wiseman. Nine weeks after Levina and Naaman become empty nesters, Naaman takes off to visit a cousin, for eleven months. Both know it is more than a visit. Suddenly, Naaman returns and wants to work on his marriage. However, during the time apart, Levina has grown and changed, so they do not feel like the couple they once were. Will they be able to learn to trust each other, respect each other and have love grow once again between them.

A great collection of Amish stories!

*I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Book Review - "Twisted Webs"

"Twisted Webs" is Darlene Quinn's latest novel and has been awarded the USA Best Book Finalist Award for General Fiction! "Twisted Webs" is the sequel to Quinn's novel "Webs of Power."

Quinn once again grabs the reader from the very first page of her novel and holds the reader's attention to the very last page. It is the summer of 1990 and a horrible thing happens in Long Beach, California, really two horrible things. In one woman's ninth month of carrying a child, her appendix bursts and the death of the baby results. For another woman, soon after her twin daughters are born, one of the babies is kidnapped from the hospital. These two incidents tie together these two women and their families for years to follow.

The reader is taken on a high-energy journey from one part of the country to another and becomes a part of these two families and the emotions that each mother and family are experiencing. The characters and their personalities become alive and real on the pages and the emotions so vivid that they can be experienced by the reader. Be ready to join Ashleigh and Erica on a journey filled with secrecy, hurt, fear, manipulation and lust!

Darlene Quinn plans to release the prequel, titled "Irreversible Webs," to this 2-book series in the middle of this year, something to be sure to look forward to!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book Review - "When Strawberries Bloom"

Lizzie's story continues in Linda Byler's book, "When Strawberries Bloom," the second book in the Lizzie Searches for Love series. Lizzie continues to "run around" on the weekends with her new friends in the neighboring county and then her own as more Amish teenagers move in nearby. As Lizzie's younger sister comes of age to run around, Lizzie enjoys the weekends even more as she and Mandy are close sisters and friends. A dream comes true for Lizzie as she is given the opportunity to teach school. Also, Lizzie learns of a boy's love for her, but she is still confused as she does not think that he appears to be interested in her. As Lizzie's sisters believe they have found their perfect matches, Lizzie is still not sure how the boys she knows and have feelings for may fit into her life. Lizzie also continues to feel more and more at home at the farm, which she initially hated, but this home at the farm becomes uncertain as well.

Byler writes of Lizzie's life in such a way that the reader will feel as if she is also a part of Lizzie's life. The writing style is easy to follow and understand and the book is a great read for young and older adults both! I am anxious to read the next book in this trilogy.