Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bending Towards the Sun

Divided between the love of her father and the desires of her heart, Emilie Heinrich must rely on the love and wisdom of the women in her quilting circle for support. Since Emilie is dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, she is convinced she doesn't have time for love. But when a childhood friend returns to St. Charles, Missouri, after serving in the Civil War, his smile and charm captures Emilie’s eye and her heart. 

Quaid McFarland has a gentleness and humor that causes Emilie to question her indifference toward romance. But her German father sees only one thing when he looks at the young man: an Irish teamster. And Johann Heinrich is not about to let such a man court his beloved daughter.
Her father’s prejudices test Emilie’s faith in God’s ability to mend the patchwork pieces of her life. Will she be forced to choose between honoring her father and a future with a husband and family of her own?

The second book in Mona Hodgson's The Quilted Heart Series, Bending Toward the Sun is more of a novela than a full novel. It was a quick, easy read following the best friend of the main character in the first book as she tries to find love without upsetting her father and his judgmental tendencies. I enjoyed this book, and will most likely keep an eye out for more books in the series. I did feel it ended a bit abruptly, but didn't feel cheated in the conclusion. 

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Though My Heart is Torn

Settling into a simple life in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, Lonnie and Gideon O’Riley have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage. The roguish bluegrass musician has fallen in love with his gentle wife and the God she serves, and Lonnie rests secure in his tenderness for her and their young son. A heartless ruse interupts their peace, bringing them back to Rocky Knob—and forces them to face the claims of Cassie Allan, a woman who says she is Gideon’s rightful wife.
As Gideon wades into the depths of his past choices, Lonnie is stunned by the revelations. She has no choice but to navigate this new path, knowing that surviving the devastating blow will take every ounce of strength  she has.
While Gideon’s guilt  and his bitterness towards Cassie threatens to burn up his fledgling faith, Lonnie wrestles to find the courage to trust the God who brought them together in the first place. Will their hard-earned love be able to conquer all? 
Lonnie only wanted her husband’s love. Now that he belongs to another, can she surrender Gideon to a God with a bigger plan?

The first book in The Cadence of Grace Series, Be Still My Soul was a moving tribute to how powerful God's love is in life when people give God their full faith and trust. I was overjoyed to see that the second book of the series was available through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing's Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. I jumped on the chance to review it, and was not disappointed. Lonnie and Gideon have overcome amazing trials and managed to not only begin a family, but fall deeply in love with each other and explore God's love. When news from home comes to them, urging them to return their lives are completely shattered. Though My Heart is Torn is an emotional book, that had me crying along with both Lonnie and Gideon as they attempted to move on with their lives and learn to trust that God always has a plan, and it is always better than our own. While I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to read an emotional reunion at the end, I am also excited for a book three to pick up where this one leaves off and see where these characters go from here. Another great book from Joanne Bischof!

Rock Harbor Search & Rescue

In Rock Harbor Search and Rescue, a middle grade fiction novel based on Colleen Coble’s bestselling Rock Harbor series for adults, kids will enjoy the mixture of pets, adventure, suspense, and a mystery.
Emily O’Reilly is obsessed with all things Search and Rescue. She volunteers with the team and goes on rescue missions with her stepmom. She is even selling homemade jewelry to save up for her own Search and Rescue puppy. But when an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewelry artist at Rock Harbor’s fall festival and Emily is accused of the crime, it looks like she’ll never get her puppy and be able to join the Rock Harbor Search and Rescue team.
Emily isn’t willing to give up on her Search and Rescue dreams that easily, and she sets out to find the real culprit and to restore her reputation. With a few suspects in mind, Emily is determined to uncover the truth, but she isn’t prepared for the secrets she and the Search and Rescue dogs sniff out in the process. This exciting mystery is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and have them pining after a Search and Rescue puppy of their own!
I received a complimentary copy of the eBook, Rock Harbor Search & Rescue through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book. I read it in one day, and was kept guessing who stole the necklace throughout the entire novel. Emily is lovable, and the reader feels for her as she is unjustly accused of stealing. I also enjoyed that this book is geared for a younger audience, but involves the same characters as Coble's other search and rescue books. I felt like I was returning to a familiar place, yet focused on Emily and her pre-teen problems and concerns. Sometimes it's nice to not have to be an adult. All in all, a great, quick read that will keep you wondering how Emily will figure everything out. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Barefoot Summer

Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.
In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.
To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.
Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.
Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.
But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?
I was thinking to myself, "I wish there was another Smitten book I haven't read, I could really use a Christian romance," when I opened my door to Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter, one of the Smitten authors. I received a complimentary copy of Barefoot Summer in exchange for an honest review through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze Blogger Program. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is as readable and moving as Smitten and Suddenly Smitten, with flawed characters that are learning to trust again, through the grace of God. While I did find the plot to be a bit transparent, it wasn't enough to keep me from wanting to know exactly how the characters would get to where I knew they'd end. This is the first in the Chapel Spring Romance Series, and I am looking forward to the rest of the series, as I guess who the next two character will be the main storyline (I'm pretty sure I know. . . )