Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard (Review)



  • Series: Serena Jones Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (March 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726713




  • Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art--one that's surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She's joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother's pleas to do something safer--like get married--Serena's learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

    When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather's murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

    With spunk, humor, and plenty of heart-stopping moments, Sandra Orchard gives readers an exciting string of cases to crack and a character they'll love to watch solve them.


    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this Christian cozy mystery book. It is the first in the Serena Jones series. The plot and characters were interesting and unique. The book is well written with many funny moments. I loved the interaction between the characters. Serena decided to become an FBI agent after her grandfather's murder. Her mother is not too happy with the job choice and wants her to settle down and give her grandchildren. Her best friend is the head of a local museum and notifies her when a Monet goes missing. It is her to job to investigate it. There are also two cute love interests. The ending was good I can't wait to read the next book in the series.  


    Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of several inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries, including Deadly Devotion and Blind Trust. Her Love Inspired Suspense titles have garnered two Canadian Christian Writing Awards and a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. Sandra has also received a HOLT Medallion, a Word Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to her busy writing schedule, Sandra enjoys speaking at events and teaching writing workshops. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Learn more about Sandra's books and check out the special bonus features, such as deleted scenes and location pics, at http://sandraorchard.com

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink (Review)



  • Series: Love Unleashed
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736966078




  • Take one abrasive professional athlete, a quirky out-of-work schoolteacher, and an overweight geriatric dog, and you're ready for a lesson in love...Tippy style.

    Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy. When he inherits his deceased mother's elderly dog, Tippy, he's quick to call on a pet-sitting service.

    Gina isn't thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom. Furthermore, she can't abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel. But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.

    As Gina travels through Cal's world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame.

    When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too...

    Discover the charming story of Tippy, the dog who brought a family together.

    My Review:

    This was a cute, sweet, Christian romance book. It was a little over the top but perfect. I love baseball and this book features a professional baseball player. I am not a huge dog fan but Tippy is so endearing it made up for it. This book was a fun, mostly light, and humorous book. The characters and plot were well developed and I enjoyed reading it. I think it would make a great Hallmark movie and hope they do it. Recommended.





    Dana Mentink lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet.

    Review copy provided by Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016

    Playing the Part by Jen Turano (Review)



  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212772



  • Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucetta's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

    Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

    Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.

    My Review:

    This was a light and somewhat funny historical fiction book. This is book three in a series but can stand alone. The first two books were about Lucetta's friends. This book focuses on her and Bram. The friends do make an appearance so we see how their stories ended. The plot is full of crazy happenings. I turned the page not sure what I was going to read next which was mostly okay. Lucetta's friend and mentor, Abigail, has an eccentric nephew named Bram. When Lucetta's gambling stepfather loses her in a hand and the man comes after her, Lucetta turns to Abigail. Abigail's solution is to seek out her estranged nephew to stay with him. She is estranged because of her daughter. Her daughter did not want her to interfere in her children's lives like she did with her. Abigail is a matchmaker. From the beginning it seems like she planned for Lucetta and Bram to fall for each other. There is not really a overtly spiritual element for it to be a Christian fiction book. Although many events were hard to believe in the book overall I enjoyed reading it.



    Jen Turano is the best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, will release in the spring of 2016, followed by a new four-book series, The Wallflowers. When she's not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying life as an empty-nester because her son recently abandoned her for the college life. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander (Review)



  • Series: Misty Willow (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 5, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726409



  • Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she'll have her work cut out for her.

    AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He's glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn't possible when he can't get the young widow Shelby off his mind.

    Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants. With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and personal history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home--and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this contemporary Christian romance book. It is the first in a new series Misty Willow. This is my first book by this author and I love her writing. I felt like I was in the story. Shelby Kincaid is moving back to Misty Willow to recover from her husband's death. She wants her two girls to grow up in a place she loved. She comes back and the place is trashed. A J's grandfather left it to him as punishment so he did not take care of it. Shelby was really upset at him but they also connected at that first meeting. She does not immediately forgive him. It was a gradual development in the relationship. He is great with her girls and they love him too. There are a few twists to the story that adds some drama. Her grandfather died in the barn and there is a sense of mystery surrounding it for one. A J just might have some competition too. The characters and plot were well developed and unique. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. Recommended.





    Johnnie Alexander is the award-winning author of Where Treasure Hides. Johnnie is an accomplished essayist and poet whose work has appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren, and taking road trips. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    On Lone Star Trail by Amanda Cabot (Review)


  • Series: Texas Crossroads (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (February 2, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800734336


  • If there's one thing Gillian Hodge never wants to see again, it's a man on a motorcycle. Her last encounter with one left her right hand crushed, ending her promising career as a concert pianist. But as she heads to Rainbow's End Resort, a sudden thunderstorm causes a motorcycle to crash in front of her.

    When TJ Benjamin's wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He's spent the past year wandering the country on a motorcycle, trying not to think about his future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God's sense of humor.

    Can this woman without a future and this man running from his past find romance in the present? Or are they too tied to the way life used to be?

    My Review:

    I loved this book. It is book three in the Texas Crossroads series. The setting and characters are the same with the addition of T J Benjamin. You do find out more of what happened to the main characters in the first two books so if that bothers you read the series in the order. I enjoyed reading all three of them. The main two characters in this story are Gillian and T J. They had good chemistry from the beginning. I liked the plot line and the author did a good job developing it and the characters. The setting was unique and I liked it. Rainbow's End Resort is an interesting idea. Overall a good contemporary Christian romance book.



                         

    With both parents avid readers, it's no surprise that Amanda Cabot learned to read at an early age. From there it was only a small step to deciding to become a writer. Of course, deciding and becoming are two different things, as she soon discovered. Fortunately for the world, her first attempts at fiction, which included a play for her fifth grade class entitled "All About Thermometers," were not published, but she did meet her goal of selling a novel by her thirtieth birthday. Since then she's sold more than thirty novels under a variety of pseudonyms. When she's not writing, Amanda enjoys sewing, cooking and - of course - reading.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    Your New Money Mindset by Brad Hewitt and James Moline (Review)




  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 20, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496407801



  • Your New Money Mindset is a new way of thinking about the role money plays in our lives. Many of us live with ongoing, and often unexamined, tension related to money. Few of us have really escaped the credit-card trap or freed ourselves from worries about having enough for the future. Co-authors Brad Hewitt, CEO of Thrivent Financial, and James Moline, licensed psychologist, believe we haven’t spent enough time examining our fundamental attitudes toward money and aligning those attitudes to our core values. Before you can remake your money habits, you need to start with your heart. In Your New Money Mindset, Brad and Jim guide you through the Money Mindset Assessment, which will help pinpoint what attitudes about money you could work on in order to develop an openhearted attitude to life. The goal is to cultivate a surplus mindset that allows you to enjoy what you already have and be generous toward others. Discover today how to free yourself from the money trap and create a healthy relationship with money.


    My Review:

    This book was not quite what I was expecting. I think I was hoping for more Dave Ramsey type help. I went online and took the money mindset assessment and the results were interesting. The book focuses more on the psychological aspects of our money issues including our attitude and relationship. The spiritual aspect of the book addresses if we are truly right with God then we would have the right attitude/relationship with money. I am not sure I agree with that. I know strong Christians that struggle with money issues. Another key aspect of the book is if we give more money away then we would automatically be happier. The book easy to read and understand.







    Brad Hewitt is president and CEO of Thrivent Financial, a not-for-profit Fortune 500 organization dedicated to helping Christians be wise with money and live generously. He speaks regularly on how a redefined relationship with money can help us find and live out our call in life. He and his wife live in Minnesota.

    James Moline, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who also holds a master’s degree in theology (both from Fuller Theological Seminary). His lifelong passion for ministering to the homeless and the underserved has taken him around the globe both personally and professionally. He lives with his family in Minnesota.


    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Friday, February 26, 2016

    Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton (Review)



  • Series: A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 9, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690533



  • Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.

    Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked o_ that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.

    Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.


    Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.


    My Review:

    This was a great Christian contemporary romance book. It is the third in the series A Four of Hearts Ranch. The characters are mostly the same. New in this book is Cassidy Starr who has come home to Wishing Springs, Texas, to rebuild her life after a bad divorce. The other previous Monahan couples stories continue in the background of this book so read in order if that kind of thing bothers you. All the stories were good. So the main focus of this book is Jarrod Monahan, the oldest of the three men. When Cassidy was growing up she would go visit at her Aunt Roxie's house which was next to Jarrod's family ranch in Texas. They shared a kiss as teenagers then he went off to Montana. When he came back she had married another guy who turned out to be awful. She got a divorce and decided to come back to her happy place, Aunt Roxie's house. Unfortunately her aunt is deceased but Cassidy is determined to start a bed and breakfast and re start her aunt's strawberry farm. When she meets up with Jarrod again the sparks fly. I love this author for her witty, funny, and unique dialogue. The plot and characters are unique and well written. The secondary plot in all three books is resolved in this one between Rand and Pebble. I recommend this book and the whole series.




    Bestselling author Debra Clopton has sold over 2.5 million books and her holiday story, OPERATION: MARRIED BY CHRISTMAS has been optioned for an ABC Family Movie staring LeAnn Rimes. Debra writes cowboy romances, inspirational, Christian romance, contemporary and western romances set in Texas. She is known for her snappy dialogue, cowboy heroes and spunky heroines. Her awards include: The Book Sellers Best, Romantic Times Magazine's Book of the Year. She's also a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, and a triple finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award.

    A sixth generation Texan, Debra lives on a ranch in central Texas with her husband Chuck. She loves to travel and spend time with her family. She is the author of the much loved Mule Hollow Matchmakers series where you never know what the Matchmaking "Posse" is going to do next! She has written for Harlequin and Harper Collins Christian and now with DCP Publishing with her newest series New Horizon Ranch/Mule Hollow collection. She is currently working on her 39th novel surrounded by cows, dogs and even renegade donkey herds that keep her writing authentic and often find their way into her stories. She loves helping people smile with her fun, fast paced stories.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.