Monthly Archives: August 2014

Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

Autumn Kingsley is tired of running the family’s failing inn business in Whisper Shore and dreams of working in a plush hotel in Paris, France. Complications with her family and the uncertainty of a potential investor for the business, however, create problems for her ideal move. Blake Hunziker, meanwhile, has recently returned after running away from a family tragedy years ago. He is nervous about the reception of his family and friends in the small town of Whisper Shore, but is determined to stay permanently, his nomad life much too empty for him. When he is asked to pull together the town’s Christmas festival, he asks Autumn to help him out, knowing she is an expert on all things Whisper Shore. The tension between the two families, however, has not faded with time and proves to be a hindrance to their growing friendship. Both must find common ground despite their differences and work to bring healing to families and friends on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Here to Stay has such delightful characters, allowing the reader to fall in love with the wonderful personalities of Autumn, Blake, and many of their friends and families. There are themes of forgiveness, hope, and trust woven throughout the artfully told story. Humor and romance are sprinkled amongst a plot with good depth and engaging prose. Although the title itself may hint at a predictable ending, the book has enough creative storylines to keep it interesting. One small portion (Blake’s relationship with the TV star) is a little bit confusing at first, but this may be better understood if the reader has also read Melissa Tagg’s Made to Last. Overall, the novel is sweet, enjoyable, and a recommended read!

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A Match of Wits by Jen Turano

Agatha Watson is traveling throughout the Western United States in search of a good story for the New York Tribune when she runs into her old friend Zayne Beckett. Agatha is determined to take the bedraggled Zayne in hand and send him back East to his family, despite his grumpy protests. However, as Zayne and Agatha slip back into their banter from their close friendship, Zayne finds himself less upset with Agatha and more willing to help her uncover a mysterious story for the Tribune. Agatha’s spitfire methods of obtaining stories have made her a few enemies, however, and Zayne soon discovers he may have his hands full while chasing after Agatha. Agatha, meanwhile, rebuffs his attempts to help her and strives to prove that she is an independent woman, leading to a battle of wills between these two old friends.

A Match of Wits is a delight to read, the author’s ability to move the plot along while still focusing on the most amusing relationship between Agatha and Zayne a true and admirable skill. The actions and thoughts of Agatha allow readers to laugh out loud many times and the sweet nature of her personality is endearing. Zayne is also humorous in his desire to be the knight in shining armor, despite his failed attempt at rescuing Agatha over and over. The storyline is interesting with several twists near the end that do not make the plot predictable. It is true that Zayne’s eight year old niece has perhaps a bit too much insight for her age, but the family relationships are fun and entertaining. This book may stand alone, but readers of other Jen Turano’s books may discover some similar characters. This novel is fun, exciting, hilarious, and most highly recommended!

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A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson

Cassia Pappas has a loud, Greek family. Which normally would not be a bad thing except her family, who has recently moved to Galveston Island, Texas, has declared a war of food on the equally loud Italian family across the street. Cassia escapes by working her dream job in a local floral shop, but she soon discovers that she may not be as far from her family troubles as she thinks. Fortunately, the attractive floral deliveryman, Alex, is more than willing to help her navigate the throes of tension between the two families. In addition, Cassia’s new friends use their boisterous ways to assist her in settling into an unfamiliar place, encouraging her to chase her dreams of working in the wedding industry.

A Bouquet of Love is a fast-paced read, overflowing with loud families and flamboyant personalities. Although the story is light, the characters are annoying and reading the entire novel from Cassia’s shallow point of view is borderline obnoxious. The romance is based almost exclusively on physical appearance, and this particular reader became sick of hearing about how “hot” the male character looked. The storyline lacks significant depth and complexity. However, the integration of simple Biblical truths into the family struggles is admirable and the strength and the friendships of the women are commendable. This book is part of a series, but can also stand alone. Perhaps this book is better suited to those who prefer very light, contemporary romances.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

Kate Livingston is fiercely competitive and gifted and feels her intelligence is being wasted in her monotonous governmental position. So when an offer to work alongside a physician by recording statistical data lands in her lap, she gladly accepts. What she does not expect, however, is that her job requires her to work so closely with her childhood nemesis Trevor McDonough, the one boy in class who could truly challenge her intellect. As they both strive to find a cure for tuberculosis, Kate looks beyond her juvenile grudge and discovers a greater depth to Trevor. Trevor, meanwhile, alienates people in his attempt to find this cure while keeping certain aspects of his past secret. Trevor and Kate realize they must become unlikely allies in this fight not only against a deadly disease in the nation’s capital, but also against some who seek to destroy their careers and families.

With Every Breath is bursting with phenomenal historical detail that pulls the reader into the time period and setting. The story is very creative and not a typical romance novel. The characters have secretive conflicts and fantastic depth that keep the reader interested in the developing plot. The language of the book is rich and the writing style is excellent. Trevor’s passion and conviction is commendable, despite his inability to compromise. Kate’s insecurities are believable and understandable, allowing her to grow and change throughout the novel. There is an element of suspense, providing the reader with a surprising and unpredictable ending. The author’s ability to communicate the realistic struggles of doctors to find cures for complex diseases is truly admirable and appreciated. A most highly recommended novel!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

Flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson has a passion for healing those in war and a passion for good-looking men. She avoids commitment, however, and leaves behind a string of broken hearts. Yet handsome Lt. Roger Cooper seems to be immune to her good looks and flirtatious ways. As Kay becomes determined to win his heart, she discovers that focusing on physical appearance is dissatisfying and empty. Through heartache and danger, she learns to come to terms with her past while questioning her spiritual life for the first time. Roger, meanwhile, struggles to overcome negative events in his own past and avoid Kay’s charms even as he learns that God may have a different plan for his life.

In Perfect Time is a wonderful novel with significant depth that addresses difficult personal struggles that many readers may find applicable. Ms. Sundin does a fantastic job of communicating great spiritual truths without being preachy. It takes true talent to deliver such emotional messages so well and Ms. Sundin does so impeccably. The characters contain a perfect amount of complexity that makes the personalities believable and loveable. Their vulnerabilities and emotional trials are artfully told and illustrated. The plot is not predictable with its constant surprises and suspense and is also multifaceted in nature. It is a difficult novel to put down! The story flows naturally and flawlessly and offers interesting historical insight and detail into the roles of pilots and flight nurses during WWII. This novel may stand alone, but the first two books in the series give more background on a few additional characters. The book is most highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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