Undeniably Yours

Last time I wrote a book review on here, it was for the book The Icecutter’s Daughter.

Now I know I’ve been a little  lot MIA,  but I remember something that I said in that post. In referring to that book, I remember saying how innocent (in a good way) those  characters were, and how without sacrificing plot for it, the author managed to make the characters believable and raw, yet still chaste and above board.

Well, I just read another one: Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade.

Undeniably Yours tells the story of Meg Cole. Meg’s father is the owner of Cole Oil in Texas- one of the largest oil companies in the country. Meg has never wanted anything to do with his company, as she is more of a free spirit. However, his unexpected death plunges her into the role of CEO…a role she never dreamed of filling.

Questions needing answers are thrown at Meg, the new CEO, left and right. One being: to keep or not to keep the family horse breeding business. Meg is absolutely positive that the horses have to go…until she meets the man who runs that part of her father’s business. Bo Porter. A rugged, hardworking gentleman.

Bo has an immediate effect on Meg. His love for her father’s horses compels her to get to know this man more. The more she gets to know this man, the more compelled she is to keep this horse farm up and running.

But the moral dilemma this creates is very dangerous. Should she make a potentially unwise financial decision just because her heartstrings are pulled? Or should she go with her head & let the horses go?

This book was good. Not great… It took me a while to get into it- in fact, I started it, got bored, lent it to someone else, they read it, then I got it back, procrastinated some more and eventually read it.  I did get more into the book by about halfway through- it just seemed to take a while to “get going.”

The thing that stands out in my mind the most however, is that unfortunately, this book was only moderately “Christian” fiction. There were no real indiscretions, but the characters were not “careful” enough, in my opinion- if you know what I mean. Going to bars & dancing, getting caught in potentially compromising situations, having to fight their physical urges, etc.

It was ok. It wasn’t “bad.” But here’s my scale: I wouldn’t put it in the library at our Christian school for the high school girls to read.

And that’s that.

Thanks for reading!

Oh… one more thing. Just to be clear: I was given this book for free as a part of the Bethany House Publishers Blogger Book Review program. They give me a free book, I read it, give my honest review, then get to keep the book. Awesome, huh?

 

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The Icecutter’s Daughter

Ice-cutting?

Yeah, I’d never heard of it either.

Apparently, people used to pull horse-drawn buggies out onto frozen lakes and harvest ice blocks to sell. Interesting…

Not really the job for me- what with the high risk of sinking into a dark, frozen lake and freezing to death. No thanks.

Anyway, the land of “Minnesotan” ice-cutting does make for a great novel setting 🙂

Merrill Krause: Daughter to a fiercely protective, hard-working father & deceased mother,

Sister to several brothers who feel duty-bound to protect her,

Lover of the arts and creativity, tied to the sludge of farm-life and ice-cutting.

Rurik Jorgensen: Son due to inherit a family business,

Formerly engaged to a young lady whose heart can’t let him go,

Best friend to the brother of the ex-fiancé,

Carpenter par excellence and devoted employee.

Merrill is fulfilling her promise to her dying mother- looking after her father and brothers. Cooking, cleaning, mending clothes, even helping with the ice harvest, while all the while longing for more.

Rurik comes to town.

His faithfulness to his sickly uncle, shown in his successful undertaking of the family business, his willingness to help out with the ice harvest, and his handsome exterior make him quite a catch.

Merrill catches him.

Or so she thinks. Along comes the ex-fiancé, carrying with her some wildly inappropriate claims about the man Merrill believed to be pure and honest. Who can she trust?

Having never heart of ice-cutting, I was intrigued 🙂 The book delivered. A beautiful setting of old German and Swedish traditions colliding in a snowy wonderland, where the characters drink cocoa and wear woolen mittens….it’s a feel-good read.

I find that so many “Christian romance novels” are pushing the boundaries and attempting to smash in just enough sensual so that the novel can still be “Christian” (at least nominally,) while still appealing to the secular reader. However, the behavior of the characters in this book was completely above-board and even charming in many ways.

I enjoyed it. Read it for yourself and let me know what you think!

PS- This book was provided to me for free from the generous folks at Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for my review. Free book, my own honest opinions. Aren’t they great!?

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Shattered

Way back when, I read and reviewed the book Submerged by Dani Pettrey. And I gushed about it. Loved it!

Well, as it turns out, that book was not a fluke. Dani Pettrey is on a roll with this series! How do I know? I recently received the 2nd book in the series as part of the book reviewer program with Bethany House Publishers, and it was JUST.AS.GOOD. as the first! I couldn’t put it down!

( Picture from book listing on amazon.com)

Piper McKenna is so excited to finally have her brother Reef back in town for a while- all the siblings back together again! The excitement doesn’t last for long though… Shortly after his arrival, Reef stumbles upon a murder scene and is blamed for the terrible act, and thrown in jail awaiting a trial by a biased judge and jury.

Piper doesn’t believe it. Not Reef. He wouldn’t. But her hopes of finding out the truth are quickly shattered when she realizes that the man closest to her heart, Landon Grainger, can’t seem to look past the facts of the murder scene to see the man he grew up with, the man he knows would never commit such a heinous crime.

Can Piper convince the others, especially Landon, to dig for the truth- for the sake of her brother? And if they dig, will Piper really be satisfied with what they find? Will the faith she placed in her brother be shaken? And will this be the thing that finally brings her and Landon together, or the one that drives them apart for good?

This book is phenomenal. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. The characters are, just as they were in the first book, so believable. The struggles and emotions they face are identical to “real-life” issues, which makes them very relatable. Pettrey writes in a smooth, easy-to-read style, with a very succint style- no disjointed, jumpy chapters.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of romance/suspense novels. And perhaps to other readers as well- since this may be the book that brings you over to the other side… 🙂

As always, Bethany House Publishers is beyond fabulous for providing me a free copy of this book and allowing me to review it honestly. The opinions are all mine.

The Breath of Dawn- Kristen Heitzmann

Imagine being a 20-something single girl, shunned by your family & on the run for your life from a crazed, recently released felon that YOU put behind bars. Think you would find love along that kind of ride?

Well, I just finished another fabulous book as part of the Bethany House Publishers book reviewer program, and it encompassed all of that and so much more! I couldn’t put the book down… 400+ pages in 2 days (while working, watching my son, and sacrificing sleep.)

The characters and emotions in this book were so raw and honest. Their hearts were bared open, and because of that, the book just sucked me in to their lives. Fabulous read!

Quinn Reilly. A 27 year old whose life has led her to be a touch cynical, aggressively independent, and unable to settle. She has created a world for herself, one she thinks is untraceable. She owns an anonymous online business, buys with cash, and trusts no one. All for the sake of staying away from him.

Markham Wilder. A con man par excellence. Raised in a hellish home, he was taught to steal, deceive & kill at an early age. He thought he had mastered it when he found a “pathetic” religious community just waiting for a dynamic shepherd to lead them. He led them alright- led them to deposit their life’s savings into his personal account. Everything was going so smoothly until Quinn. Nosy Quinn. She turned him in & now that he’s out, he’ll make her pay. 

The Spencers. The willingness of this family to help others sucks Quinn in like a vortex. It’s so night and day opposite from the way her own family treated her & she fights the desire to be a part of this life. But she can’t stick around here- she’d be endangering this great family! Markham would know… he’ll take out anyone between himself and her.

Morgan. The oldest Spencer brother. Widowed, single father, business mogul, quite sure he’s not interested in love yet… or is he? This spitfire of a woman, Quinn, is intriguing to him. She is independent, and doesn’t necessarily need him, which draws him all the more to her.

Will Quinn be able to escape Markham once and for all? Will Markham get revenge or redemption? Will Morgan be able to bear the baggage that Quinn brings to the table?

Read it and find out!

(Psst! Don’t forget that this book is provided to me for free by Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions are really mine. Nobody made me love it… I just did!)

Against the Tide

I recently finished another book for the Bethany House Publishers reviewing program.

And it was an excellent book!

Lydia Pallas is all grown-up now and ready to escape the past of instability that haunts her. Orphaned at age 9, and forced to fight through all measures of insecurity just to make it to adulthood, she now craves routine and autonomy.  After many years, she has made a name for herself as a foreign language translator, and will do nothing to risk her reputation or her first source of steady, reliable income.

Nothing that is, except fall head over heels for the greatest liability yet- Alexander Banebridge, “Bane.”

Bane, kidnapped from his father at a young age and used as an opium pusher, is now a renewed man- changed from the inside out. He is determined to make up for his past sins- to right the wrongs he did with opium. He will stop at nothing, and will let nothing and no one stop him from blotting out the opium trade all together.

No one, that is, except for a beautiful translator, with a hauntingly similar story to his own and a headlong spirit to match.

What neither stopped to imagine was the force they could become if only they worked together… Can Lydia cross the line and step out into unpredictable territory to help stop a terrible crime? Can Bane ever forgive himself enough to let go of the past and see a future? And will they ever stop seeing everything around them & truly see each other?

All I can say about this one is- phenomenal!

This book has made it to the top of my recommendations list for sure. The characters were so real, so alive. There was nothing at all stereotypical about this romance. Both Lydia and Bane fought demons both their own and in each other throughout the entire story. There is even a story of redemption woven throughout.

It is truly excellent!

I often feel that Christian Fiction books lack substance. They either have a story that revolves around the spiritual lives of the characters, and thus lack any real adventure, romance, or mystery, or they are full of romance, mystery and adventures, while the mention of God is minimal, and leaves the reader wondering exactly what was “Christian” about this Christian Fiction.

Camden has done an excellent job of taking the reader through both Bane’s story of understanding the true depth of redemption from sins, and Lydia’s story of grasping Heavenly security instead of Earthly.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this novel. I hope you’ll pick it up and read it for yourself!

As usual, Bethany House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book, but in no way required a positive opinion from me. The gushing and blubbering over the excellence of this book was ALL me. 🙂

 

 

Over the Edge

Have you noticed the movie/TV trend of accident-induced amnesia recently? “The Vow,” “Grimm,” something else I can’t remember… (no I didn’t have an accident.)

Yeah, I’m all over that trend. I laugh, I cry, I ask my husband “Can you even imagine that???” like 1,000 times, then I cry again.

Anyway, it has now permeated the book realm- which I guess technically is where it started- so I guess it’s taken back the book realm.

My latest book review was titled Over the Edge written by Mary Connealy.

Seth Kincaid was a soldier injured in the Civil War. While injured, he met a nurse. A beautiful, mesmerizing nurse, whose unorthodox nursing methods seemed to help him heal more quickly. Kissing the patients can’t hurt, right? On a whim, Seth proposes to Callie, marries her after 2 weeks, and leaves the army hospital with her.

A few days later, he leaves her. Just walks away.

Callie is heartbroken. Chiding herself for so hastily marrying a stranger, she begins to realize that she is pregnant. With his child. Scared and alone, she goes home to her judgmental father who is none too proud of his daughter’s choices.

Through a series of unexpected events, Callie finds herself alone…again…only this time, she has a child to tend to. The sharp-witted, fightin’ spirit inside of her decides to do something about it. She’ll find that Seth Kincaid and kill him if she has to- her child will get the inheritance he deserves.

Little does Callie know that when she finds Seth Kincaid, she will have to meet him all over again.

Seth remembers everything…except getting married.

When I first saw the cover of this book, I almost didn’t choose it. It looked cheesy. Her stance was just too sassy, his grin looked fake, the script screamed “western” in an all-too-obvious way…basically everything just turned me away. That being said, the synopsis of the book sounded good- so just like that, I was sucked back in to the amnesia cycle.

I am so glad I gave in! I loved this book. The characters were feisty and real, there was plenty of romance as the characters “refound” a marriage, and there was a little bit of danger/mystery as well.

Connealy did an excellent job of portraying the feelings of betrayal on the part of Callie, as well as Seth’s complete confusion, yet desire to rebuild his family.

As usual, I loved the setting- post Civil War America, the western frontier, etc.

All in all, a great read. Best part? It’s book #3 in a series about the Kincaid brothers. I’ll let you know how I like the first two… 🙂

Check out the Book Video Trailer on YouTube

PS- As is the case with all of my Bethany House Publisher reviews, the book was provided to me for free by Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions are ALL mine. You can’t buy this stuff, folks! 🙂

 

World Religions

I make a lot of promises to myself, and I keep only some of them…

But I generally do pretty well with promises I make to other people.

So, as promised, the 1st of 2 new book reviews.

As a part of my book reviewing privilege with Bethany House Publishers, I received one of the most interesting, factual books that I have ever had. It wasn’t just a book that I chose on a whim, it was one that I was really hoping would be good, and it delivered!

So often, either while talking with others, or watching TV, etc., I find myself with questions about another religion. I am a Bible college graduate, and was taught a lot about other religions while in school, but at times, the information can get jumbled, so a handy reference tool can be very, well, handy!

Garry R. Morgan wrote the book Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day. It consists of 40 short chapters, 2 of which explain what religion is and why we should study it, and then 38 that explain religions that are claimed by people around the world. In the authors’ own words, “This book endeavors to present each religion in a straightforward way, so that a reader who is a follower while perhaps disagreeing with certain assessments, would say the description is truthful and fair.” I believe he accomplished his goal. From reading the book, and learning a little along the way about the author, I believe he is a born-again believer in Christ as the giver of salvation by faith alone. However, he is fair, accurate, and informational in his descriptions of other religions.

Although I am a Christian, a born-again believer myself, I know more and more the older that I get, the importance of knowing the beliefs of others. We need to be adequately equipped with the right Scriptures to reach people who are struggling with wrong beliefs. This book is an excellent tool in helping us understand the basics of every religion from Islam to Transcendental Meditation. (Also, understanding that some deem “religion” to mean something different than himself, for the basis of this book, the author defined religion as: “an organized system of beliefs that answers ultimate questions and commends certain actions or behaviors based on the answers to those questions.”)

This book fulfills its’ promise to educate in 15 minutes a day. It is not an in-depth, dragged out study of any particular religion. It’s the bones, perfect for a “give it to me in small pieces” mind like mine. Check it out sometime!

 All in all, one of my favorite books that I have received so far through the book reviewer program (where I receive the book for free from Bethany House Publishers, read the book, review it & then get to keep it! The opinions written are totally mine.)

 

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day: Learn the basics of:   Islam  Buddhism  Hinduism  Mormonism  Christianity  And many more...

 

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