Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

Behind the ScenesI’ve read books from this author before and enjoyed them, so I was surprised to find myself struggling to get through this one. It started our really slow, with the first 100 pages of the book all taking place in a few hours time. When we finally got through that first scene, the story started picking up, but I had almost given up on it. The beginning of the book seemed overly wordy, but either it improved, or as the action picked up, I didn’t notice it as much. I think if the first 100 pages had been cut to about 25, I’d have really enjoyed this book.

Plot: Permilia Griswold is a wallflower. While this makes her a bit on the outside of society, she’s in the ideal position to pick up on gossip and the goings on of high society. The fact that she’s been writing a gossip column for the papers is something she’d really prefer to keep hidden. When she overhears an evil plot against Asher Rutherford, she knows she must warn him. However, when he doesn’t believe her, Permilia must take action.

Characters: Talk about quirky! The author’s created a group of very unique individuals in this series. I enjoy a little bit of that, if it doesn’t border on ridiculousness. This story toed the line. I really liked Asher and his best friend. They seemed to be the only ‘normal’ characters in the story.

Content: This one is pretty G-rated. I didn’t find anything objectionable. As far as spiritual content goes, this one was pretty light, so it could be a good one for a variety of readers.

Recommendation: I’d only recommend this book to those who are looking for a light hearted read. It’s the first book in the series and I probably won’t bother reading the next ones.

Rating:  2.5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. This review is my honest opinion.

 

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Life After by Katie Ganshert

Life After

Wow! Such a powerfully moving story. Life After deals with survivor’s guilt in such a real way. Autumn is a well developed character that jumps off the page. This is the kind of story that really stays with you and makes you think about the people who go through tragedies. I really enjoyed how the author approached the subject, showing how God can take something terrible and still bring some good out of it. You’ll likely need a few tissues to make it through this one!

Plot: As the only survivor of  the ‘Tragedy on the Tracks’, Autumn Manning is dealing with survivor’s guilt. She’s become obsessed with the lives of the other victims, trying to figure out why she lived and they didn’t.  When Reese Elliott reaches out to Autumn as a way to keep her mother’s memory alive, her father Paul makes it clear he doesn’t want to dig up the past. Reese is looking for healing and Autumn may hold the key to helping her, if she can get past the walls that Paul has put up.

Characters: The characters were nicely fleshed out. From the struggles Autumn has moving on from such a difficult experience to Paul trying keep his children from being any more emotionally wounded, everything they go through feels so accurate. Paul’s kids, Reese and Tate, are well-written, coming across as true to their ages, in wisdom and actions. This story was more about the dynamics of all the different relationships as it was a romantic tale.

Content: I didn’t find there to be any content that should be concerning to readers. I thought the author did a nice job of balancing the story with their spiritual journeys. It was never preachy, but got the message across.

Recommendation: I’d strongly recommend reading this book! Katie Ganshert is a master storyteller. Life After is a stand- alone, which is a little disappointing to me, as I’d love to see more of these characters. This one’s going on my keeper shelf!

Rating: 5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. This review is my honest opinion.

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman

love-bears-all-thingsAmish Fiction is one of my least favorite genres, so I didn’t really expect to like this book. I had hoped that this would be one of those that surprise me, but it still fell short. I did appreciate that the author showed some imperfections among the Amish characters, portraying them as real people that make mistakes and sin. However, there were too many situations that just didn’t feel very realistic for me to be able to enjoy the story. For example, the Amish man has an old truck sitting in his barn for years, and the main character is able to just take it out and drive it. Apparently they don’t need any kind of license plates or vehicle registrations in that area, because I’m pretty sure no real Amish would have a car registered in their name.

The dialog felt a little forced. I never like how they Continue reading

New Releases Today!

This is a huge day in the book world. Four great authors have new releases that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. I can’t decide which one to read first!

a-note-yet-unsung

It’s been a while since a new Tamera Alexander book has released. I’m glad to be returning to the Belmont Mansion series. I love the amount of historical detail that she includes in all of her stories. If you like the post-civil war era, check out this series.rescue-me

The cover of this next book is enough to make you want to read is, isn’t it? I loved the characters from the previous one and I can’t wait to see more of Sam and Willow’s story.

still-life

 

Cold Shot, book one of the series, was so incredibly good! I gave it six stars out of five on my review. I’ve been waiting a year for Still Life, and I have a feeling I’ll hardly be able to put it down once I start reading. moving-target

 

The Elite Guardians has been a great series for strong heroines. I’ve been waiting since the beginning to see Maddie and Quinn’s story. They’ve all been through a lot in the first two books, and I’m sure this one will be full of action and danger as well.

If you’re not busy tonight (1/31) maybe you can drop by the Release Day Party on Facebook with Dani Pettrey, Lynnette Eason and Susan May Warren. I’m sure they’ll have chances for you to win a copy of these great books!

Which of these books would you most want to read? Or what other books are you looking forward to? I’d love to know.

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens by Colleen Coble

twilight-at-blueberry-barrensEach book in this series gets better and better! I adored this story and thought the suspense was very well written. I loved how there was danger coming from so many different directions that I didn’t know how many enemies Kate and Drake had on their heels. This was a page-turner that kept me engrossed until the very end.

Plot: After the death of his brother and sister-in-law, Drake Newham becomes guardian to his nieces and is determined to clear his brother of suspicion in the assumed murder/suicide. He packs up the girls and travels to Maine.  Kate Mason’s struggling to keep her family’s Blueberry farm in business. In order to earn more money, she decides to rent out the cottage on the property.  When Drake happens along, he and Kate realize they can help each other out. Soon it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Drake digging into the past. Kate also has got some trouble of her own as strange things happen at her house. It’s clear someone is watching her. The likely suspect is her uncle, who’s recently escaped prison. It’s up to Drake and Kate to figure out what’s going on before more people die.

Characters:  Kate’s had her share of difficulties in life, which have made her tough. Struggles with her health have caused her to be more conscientious about what she eats and she’s not afraid to voice her opinion to other about it, much to Drake’s chagrin. I really enjoyed her way with the girls, being the disciplinarian because she wants better for them.  Drake earns sympathy as the bachelor suddenly turned father as he’s trying to figure out how to care for two young, grieving kids.

Recommendation: I’d highly recommend this book and the entire Sunset Cove series. It’s the best I’ve read from this author so far. It’s book three of the series and can stand alone, but I’d suggest reading them all in order as the characters are closely tied together.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.

Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl *PLUS GIVEAWAY!*

fatal-frostDefenders of Justice Series, book 1

While I found this story to be a little slow paced at the beginning, I really enjoyed how the author threw in enough twists to keep me guessing. This is a tough one to rate, because I really liked the story idea and the characters were well-written, but it took a little while for the story to capture my full attention. I enjoyed how the three main character interacted. The friendship Mercy had with Tally was just as much part of the story as the romance between her and Mark. I was expecting to see a little more romance develop. Mercy and Mark had a relationship in the past, but as the bulk of the story occurs in just a few days, there wasn’t much chance for them to really start anything.

Plot: After a dinner meeting with her father, U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan has the unwanted attention of gangs and drug cartel, who believe her father passed something on to her. As soon as Mercy’s supervisor is aware, he assigns Mercy’s former boyfriend Marshal Mark St Laurent and Mercy’s good friend Tally Williams the duty of getting Mercy out of town. As the trio head to the middle of nowhere to investigate some suspicious activity regarding a protected witness, a car accident leaves them struggling to survive.

Recommendation: I recommend this book for those who enjoy inspirational suspense with just a hint of romance. I’m curious to see if these characters will show up in the next book, because I’d like to see more of their stories.

Rating: 3/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. This review is my honest opinion.

I’m giving away one copy of this book to a lucky reader. Just tell me if you’re a fan of inspirational romantic suspense. If so, who are some of your favorite authors? Giveaway is open for US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends on Dec. 7th at midnight. Happy reading!

 

The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray *Plus GIVEAWAY*

the-loyal-heartI’m giving away one paperback copy of this book. Details at the end of this review.

I’ve read a few books from this author that I really enjoyed, but for some reason, I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I would. This story had great potential, but I found it difficult to connect with Miranda. At the beginning of the story, she’s nearly suicidal and just came across as a weak character, so it took me a while to get into her part of the story. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the parts with the men from the war’s prison camp. That really redeemed this story for me. The bonds that grew between them as they struggled to stay alive made me want to learn Continue reading