A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears

A Heart Most Certain book cover

Lydia King is stubborn, determined, and desperate to prove herself to the Teaville Moral Society, a church group who desires to help the poor. Her own family situation is deteriorating quickly and her only hope seems to be to marry the successful mayor’s son, a son whose mother has tasked her with getting a donation for the Teaville Moral Society from the grumpiest and most tightfisted man in the community. Nicholas Lowe may prefer to be alone, but he has reasons for his secluded lifestyle. Yet he finds Lydia’s persistence intriguing and agrees to help her if she will accept his conditions. As he sets out to show Lydia flaws in her reasons for chartable giving, he discovers that Lydia may actually teach him a few things about generosity.

This novel has fantastic character development. The individuals are both realistically flawed but learn to grow in their maturity and their spirituality throughout the book. The characters were easily to relate to and they truly came alive during the story. I enjoyed the interactions between Lydia and Nicholas and found their personalities to complement each other well. And I loved Lydia and her ability to do the right thing despite resistance. The plot was creative although some of the topics are sensitive and may be better suited for more mature readers. This is a well-written novel with all the right components to make it a truly exceptional read!

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

Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Without Warning book cover

Katie Singleton is ready for a much needed vacation from her intense job with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency. On her way to relax at home, however, she notices suspicious activity at a familiar restaurant and stops to help out with the investigation. It is soon apparent that the restaurant’s owner, Daniel Matthews, is in danger. Katie volunteers for the job due to her connection with Daniel’s niece, Riley, even though Daniel does not think he needs a female bodyguard. As Daniel and Katie scrutinize the strange events at Daniel’s restaurants, it suddenly seems as though a person not only wants to destroy Daniel’s business, but also destroy his life.

An exciting sequel in the Elite Guardians Protection Agency! The action begins on page one and does not stop until the very end. The plot flows well and integrates action with character development and romance. I liked Katie and Daniel a lot and appreciated the depth to their characters as they both realistically battle with skeletons in their closet. I thought this novel did a better job than the first one in providing more background and development to the characters. The villain may or may not be predictable, depending on how the clues are interpreted, but there are still events that are surprising. I also liked that the author puts a few pages from the killer’s perspective throughout the novel as it adds to the suspense. A wonderful contemporary novel that is highly recommended!

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

To Follow Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino

To Follow Her Heart book cover

Patience Terry is heartbroken when she hears the Captain Jeremy Horton’s ship is shipwrecked off the coast of Barbados. Despite the news, Patience’s heart does not believe that her beloved has perished. Meanwhile, Jeremy, unaware of the turmoil at home, sails for New Amsterdam in an attempt to claim land for Britain. His involvement in secret political missions, however, may harm his future with his love. As he returns to a surprised but relieved Patience, their lives may be altered forever.

Once again, Rebecca DeMarino pens a novel that is truly historical in nature. She does a wonderful job researching the history of the time period and crafting scenes that reflect her valuable work. Sometimes the details of the lives of the characters in 1664 and the in-depth history of the time period tend to overshadow the development of the individuals and the romance of the story. These details also make it hard to connect with the characters at times. However, the scenery and the time period are both beautifully depicted and makes for a good historical novel.

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