Like many readers of Beth's latest release have said, Catch a Falling Star kept me up late. I was so engrossed i...moreAn Uplifting Tale of Love at Long Last
Like many readers of Beth's latest release have said, Catch a Falling Star kept me up late. I was so engrossed in the story I'd intend to read one chapter but would end up reading another, and that often turned into two, three, four, or more, making for several late nights.
The characters pulled me in from the beginning. Dr. Kendall Haynes and grounded Air Force pilot Lieutenant Colonel Griffin Walker get off to a rocky start, and that's the start of a captivating tale of two independent people whose road to romance is a rocky as the back roads they like to traverse in their beloved Jeeps.
While I enjoyed the story as a whole, two elements in particular added to my enjoyment. The first is that Kendall and Griffin aren't your usual twenty-something twosome with the starry-eyed ideals of youth. She's a successful on-the-shelf thirty-six-year-old career woman, and he's a thirty-eight-year-old man who's ruled out marriage. Watching two people who have all but given up on love and romance find just that is heartwarming.
Another element I enjoyed is the fact that the characters aren't perfect. Both have issues to overcome and lessons to learn. Griffin made some mistakes early in life before he became a believer, mistakes that have lasting consequences. Kendall has dreamed of having it all-career, marriage, and kids-for so long that she's willing to settle for less than the best rather than trusting the Lord to lead her to the man he has for her.
Watching Kendall and Griffin grow and change as they face a series of challenges and discover God's plans for them is encouraging. Life doesn't always go according to plan, but we can trust Him with our futures, a message that comes through without being preachy or in-your-face.
Beth is a talented storyteller who has written a story sure to delight romance readers of all ages, and I highly recommend it.
Note: Although I received a copy of the book from the publisher, my review reflects my honest opinions. (less)
I met Charlotte while reading Summer of Promise, the first book in Cabot's Westward Winds series. Charlotte dealt with disappointment, disillusionment...moreI met Charlotte while reading Summer of Promise, the first book in Cabot's Westward Winds series. Charlotte dealt with disappointment, disillusionment, and the death of her husband. A resourceful widow determined to make a new life for her young son, Charlotte has moved to Cheyenne and put her skills to work as a dressmaker, keeping her questionable past a secret. Enter Barrett Landry, a man of integrity being pushed into politics--as well as marriage to a woman his sponsors believe will improve his chances of being elected.
The fun begins when Barrett meets Charlotte. The two form a fast friendship. Duty-bound to marry the woman handpicked for him, Barrett fights his feelings for Charlotte. Knowing her past could destroy his chances of being elected, Charlotte denies her attraction and aides him in his plans to propose to the woman who could further his career. Despite their best efforts, circumstances push Barrett and Charlotte together as they're forced to deal with her well-kept secret, one that tests their love and could threaten their very lives.
I enjoyed the interplay between Charlotte and Barrett, two well-intentioned, honorable people torn between doing what's right and following their hearts. Each is willing to sacrifice happiness for the sake of the other. Charlotte exhibits strength, courage, and determination. Barrett is honest, compassionate, and principled--traits that serve him well in life but could spell his ruin in the political realm. Watching these two wrestle with the challenges they face makes for a moving read. Add the element of mystery--and a mysterious stranger--and things get even more exciting.
When I'm in the mood for a sweet story with well-crafted characters I'm sure to like, I know Amanda Cabot will deliver. That's certainly the case with Waiting for Spring. Although meeting Charlotte in the first book of the series could add to your enjoyment, it's not necessary to have read it in order to enjoy the second in the series.(less)
Katie Ganshert, author of Wishing on Willows, has delivered another emotionally rich story of characters finding heali...moreA Moving Story of Second Chances
Katie Ganshert, author of Wishing on Willows, has delivered another emotionally rich story of characters finding healing and happiness after heartache. Widow Robin Price has done her best to build a life and pull herself from the mire of grief, but she’s faced with losing her beloved café when developer Ian McKay shows up determined to tear it down to make room for condominiums. Robin fights to keep her business while Ian struggles to keep his father’s firm from going under. A battle of wills ensues that will test their faith and fledgling friendship.
Robin and Ian are two hurting people who captured my heart. Both are likable, and I ached for them as I learned more about the wounds they carry. I was pulled into the story from the start and flipped pages as quickly as possible, eager for them to find a way to work things out in the face of their no-win situation. Only by looking into their own hearts and seeking the Lord’s will are they able to find the answers they’re after. When I reached the end of this moving story, I heaved a satisfied sigh. (less)
Grab some tissues, because you’ll need them. Sweet Lonnie and wayward Gideon O’Riley, an unlikely coup...moreAn Emotionally Rich Story of Hearts Torn Asunder
Grab some tissues, because you’ll need them. Sweet Lonnie and wayward Gideon O’Riley, an unlikely couple forced into a shotgun wedding in the first book of Joanne Bischof’s Cadence of Grace series, Be Still My Soul, endured hardships and heartache. Just when they’ve grown to love one another, his past threatens to tear them apart. Cassie Allan claims Gideon is married to her, requiring Lonnie and him to travel back to Rocky Knob, where they must face a heart-wrenching truth that tests their love as well as their faith.
Having witnessed the journey this couple took in the first book, I ached as I watched them meet a challenge far greater than anything that had come their way before. I hurt not only for Lonnie and Gideon but also for those who care for them, including several kindly characters who long to spare them pain. As a fan of romances with happy endings, Bischof’s moving tale of a couple pulled apart by circumstances beyond their control moved me to tears many times. While the story starts off slowly, the pace picks up when the couple is confronted with Cassie’s claim, resulting in an emotional read that will keep readers turning pages as they hope for a miracle. The end of this book wasn’t what I expected and left me wanting more. I’ll be reading the third book in the series, that’s for sure.
I have three suggestions for those eager to enjoy this story. 1) Read the first book in the series, Be Still My Soul, so you get to know Lonnie and Gideon and understand why their love is so precious. 2) Before you begin reading Though My Heart is Torn, be sure you have tissues handy. 3) Be prepared to buy book three, My Hope is Found (release date: October 2013) so you can find out what happens next, because you’ll want to know. I guarantee it. (less)
A Promise to Love is an excellent read. Serena B. Miller is a gifted storyteller. Her characters are awesome. I fell in love with Ingrid from the star...moreA Promise to Love is an excellent read. Serena B. Miller is a gifted storyteller. Her characters are awesome. I fell in love with Ingrid from the start. She’s real, fun, likable, and has a heart of gold–along with a nice pinch of spice. Joshua is a great hero, although this grieving widower has a few lessons to learn. My heart went out to him as he made some startling discoveries.
The story, set in Michigan in 1871, is rich in historical detail. It moves along nicely. The action-packed ending kept me flipping pages well into the night. I highly recommend A Promise to Love and look forward to reading more of Miller’s work.(less)
In a word, A Bride Sews with Love in Needles, California is wonderful! Erica Vetsch has created compelling characters I cared for from the start. I en...moreIn a word, A Bride Sews with Love in Needles, California is wonderful! Erica Vetsch has created compelling characters I cared for from the start. I enjoyed every minute spent with impassioned but impulsive Meghan and brave but burdened Caleb. This well-written story is rich in historical detail and will engage the emotions at every turn. I highly recommend it.(less)
A Stellar Start to Sundin’s Wings of the Nightingale Series
Confession. I’m a steadfast Sarah Sundin fan. I flew through the first three books from her...moreA Stellar Start to Sundin’s Wings of the Nightingale Series
Confession. I’m a steadfast Sarah Sundin fan. I flew through the first three books from her Wings of Glory series, and I don’t even read WWII romance as a rule. Sundin has changed all that, having become one of my must-read authors. Why? Because she’s a masterful storyteller. Because she creates tension that keeps me fighting sleep well into the night. And because her characters are so real, so deep, and so likable that I remember them long after I close the pages of her books and heave a satisfied sigh.
When I read the blurbs for With Every Letter, I’ll admit to wondering how Sundin would pull off a story where the hero and heroine exchange letters anonymously and don’t meet in person until well into the book. I wondered, yes, but I didn’t doubt Sundin’s ability to succeed. And I was right! She reeled me in from the start. I fell in love with flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake in chapter one, and I was head over heels for engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver well before I finished chapter two. They are both such well-crafted characters, each with a believable blend of strengths and flaws, that I felt like I knew them—and would like to have them as friends.
The story flows beautifully, the tension building with each chapter. And the romance? It’s wonderful. Tom and Mellie’s relationship takes off with only a small bump or two, but there’s turbulence ahead, keeping things mighty interesting. I loved being a witness to the emotional and spiritual journeys Mellie and Tom took. Both have a good deal of changing to do, and watching them take steps forward and back kept me flipping pages with the speed of a fighter plane over North Africa. I trusted Sundin to bring the story in for a great landing after the thrilling ride, and she did. I just hope she’s writing like the wind, because I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I highly recommend With Every Letter. Fans of historical romance are sure to love it. What am I saying? Anyone who likes a well-told, action-packed story with great characters will enjoy it. (less)
Rich in historical detail, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning transported me to 1893 Chicago, a city eager for the opening of...moreA Lovely Look at the Gilded Age
Rich in historical detail, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning transported me to 1893 Chicago, a city eager for the opening of the World’s Fair. Olivia Newport paints a captivating picture of the affluent neighborhood of Prairie Avenue, where a host of successful entrepreneurs such as George Pullman, Phillip Armour, and Marshall Field lived, evidence of her extensive research. I felt like I was there.
Lucy is a bright, determined woman battling the rigid strictures and expectations faced by a woman in the late Victorian era. While I admired her desire to better herself, her secretive pursuit of a college education forced her to make choices that led to some expected friction between her and her family and fiance, Daniel Jules, a man chosen for her by her parents years before.
Enter handsome, hardworking architect Will Edwards, a young man of questionable background who lacks the qualifications to be admitted to Chicago’s high society. Can Lucy follow her heart, or is she bound to comply with her parents’ wishes? Can Will discover the culprit behind some mysterious acts that put Lucy in danger, or are his chances at making a name for himself and surmounting the challenges keeping them apart over before he’s scarcely begun?
The Banning family’s new maid, Charlotte Farrow, leaps from the pages and endeared herself to me from the outset. She’s such a compelling and well-developed character that her story within the story adds a rich dimension.
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning begins as a leisurely stroll with likable characters, but it’s in the second half of the book that the pace picks up nicely. While I enjoyed Charlotte immensely, I’m such a romantic that I wished I’d have been able to spend more time with Lucy and Will, watching their relationship unfold. I would have liked getting to know Will better, since he’s such a likable hero. I trust he and Lucy will make cameo appearances when readers revisit Chicago in the second book of Newport’s Avenue of Dreams, The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, and look forward to reading that story. (less)
I’m going to be honest. I picked up Beth Vogt’s book knowing it’s a runaway-bride story. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy...moreA Romantic Comedy with Heart
I’m going to be honest. I picked up Beth Vogt’s book knowing it’s a runaway-bride story. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy it as much as I did. Since I have a hard time seeing someone jilted, especially at the altar, Vogt had a challenge ahead of her. Could she create a heroine I would like and be able forgive for her fickleness, a hero deserving of her without being a self-serving bride-stealer, and a former fiancé who wasn’t a clichéd character with so many faults I wondered what on earth she was thinking to have been engaged to him in the first place. Vogt could, and she did.
Allison Denman quickly captured my heart. She’s bright, witty, and wounded. She’s also confused. Enter Daniel Rayner, her fiancé’s brother, who kisses her days before her wedding, catapulting her from confusion to crisis. How can she marry his brother, Seth, when she enjoyed Daniel’s kiss? But how can she hurt Seth, the well meaning albeit somewhat controlling guy she’s been with since high school?
Watching Allison, Daniel, and Seth wrestle with their feelings in the aftermath of her mad dash out of the church in a detested wedding dress was an enjoyable experience. Although this is a romantic comedy, Vogt brought some tough issues into play, which added depth to the story. As Allison faces her feelings about faith, family, her former fiancé, Seth, and her longtime friend, Daniel, she discovers who she is—and finds peace in knowing whose she is and following His plan for her life. Only then is she able to embrace a future vastly different than the one she’d originally envisioned.
If you’re looking for a romantic comedy that is not only fun but has substance and a faith element that isn’t heavy-handed, I recommend Wish You Were Here. You’ll laugh, because Allison is such a fun character. You might even get misty-eyed a time to two. And you’ll certainly sigh, because Daniel is one fine specimen of manhood. I enjoyed Vogt’s debut novel and look forward to her next book. (less)
Joanne Bischof writes with heart, infusing her story with depth and emotion. Be Still My Soul is a poignant tale of mistakes made, grace extended, and...moreJoanne Bischof writes with heart, infusing her story with depth and emotion. Be Still My Soul is a poignant tale of mistakes made, grace extended, and love unleashed at long last. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next one in the Cadence of Grace series.(less)
When I pick up an Amanda Cabot novel, I know I’m in for a treat. Such was definitely the case with Summer of...moreA Delightful Blend of Romance and Mystery
When I pick up an Amanda Cabot novel, I know I’m in for a treat. Such was definitely the case with Summer of Promise. From the opening scene to the final page, I spent an enjoyable time with Cabot’s well-crafted characters. Impulsive Abigail Harding has a heart as big as Wyoming and wants to help everyone with whom she comes in contact. Due to a difficult childhood, stoic Lieutenant Ethan Bowles believes he’s incapable of loving someone or being loved. The interactions between Abigail and Ethan as their friendship deepens into something more than either thought possible—or prudent—are a pleasure to behold. The secondary characters are engaging, too, and add to the story.
I love the historical detail Cabot is so adept at adding. She did a great job bringing Fort Laramie to life. I could picture the unique beauty of the area along with Abigail, who deems it “boring” at first but has a change of heart.
The mystery woven through the story was fun to unravel. Every time I was sure I knew whodunit, Cabot would reveal another intriguing fact, and I’d find myself wavering. While she provided a satisfying and sigh-worthy ending, she left some threads hanging, leaving me eager for the second book in her Westward Winds trilogy. (less)
Hedlund's latest story reeled me in from the start. I fell hard and fast for Connell. Wow! Talk about a hero that is sigh-worthy. This hunky, hardwork...moreHedlund's latest story reeled me in from the start. I fell hard and fast for Connell. Wow! Talk about a hero that is sigh-worthy. This hunky, hardworking, principled logger earned some serious hero points. The more I got to know him, the better I liked him. I enjoyed watching him deal with Lily as she challenges everything he stands for.
Lily is one feisty heroine. There are times her impulsiveness gets her in trouble, but I admire her determination. In an effort to save her sister, she’s willing to take on anyone, even the vilest of villains. Her major problem is that she doesn’t know how to accept help, which puts her very life in danger at times. Learning to lean on others and follow the Lord’s leading isn’t easy for Lily, but learn her lesson she does–eventually.
The historical romance fan in me loved Hedlunds’s depiction of life in the lumber camps of Michigan. I was there, shivering with those out in the bitter cold, hearing the ring of axes echoing through the forest, and inhaling the fresh scent of recently felled white pine. Hedlund’s handling of the “white slavery” prevalent in the lumber towns of the time was tasteful and added an authenticity to the story that tugged on my heart.
Hedlund is known for writing fast-paced, action-packed stories. Unending Devotion is certainly that. The story takes off in the first chapter, and the pace just picks up from there. Readers be warned: you could lose sleep over this one. I had the hardest time putting the book down. It’s that good.
If you like gripping tales with strong characters that keep you glued to the pages, then Unending Devotion is a story for you. Note that due to the thematic elements of the story, it might not be appropriate for young teens.(less)
Many times I finish a novel, heave a contented sigh, close the book, and move on. Other times I reach the end...moreA Moving Story of Hurt, Hope, and Healing
Many times I finish a novel, heave a contented sigh, close the book, and move on. Other times I reach the end and find myself so impacted by the story I’ve just read that I know I’ll be thinking about it for days to come and will still remember the book years later. Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert is definitely the latter.
Ganshert drew me in from the start with her engaging voice, flawed but lovable characters, and clever handling of some challenging subject matter. This isn’t a lighthearted read; it’s a story with a lot of heart. Although Ganshert’s characters deal with loss, there is hope as they experience healing and learn to lean on the Lord as their source of strength. I smiled. I cried. And yes, I sighed. While this story focuses primarily on the journey of Ganshert’s strong but fragile architect heroine, Bethany Quinn, the farmhand hero, sensible and steady Evan Price, is a wonderfully drawn counterpart for her, setting the stage for a romance that’s deliciously satisfying and believable. The faith element of the story is masterfully crafted and will speak to many readers’ hearts.
While a contemporary romance with women’s fiction elements is not my normal read, Ganshert’s story was a delightful surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend Wildflowers from Winter and am eagerly awaiting her next story, Wishing on Willows. (less)