The Hideaway by Lauren Denton- Review

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Title: The Hideaway
Author: 
Lauren K. Denton
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
April 11, 2017

Description from Goodreads: When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.”

Review: Heartwarming yet heartbreaking, this book is one I won’t soon forget. I was drawn into this book right away and the pages kept flying by way too fast. As I closed the last page I felt like I had lost some dear friends and a wonderful little town.

These characters were so vastly different and yet so alike that it was such a treat to read. Seeing Sara find parts of herself within her grandmother warmed my heart and, at times, gave me goose bumps. It is so easy to just see our grandparents as they are when we know them, but we rarely seem to look beyond the present and try to truly get to know who they were when they were younger, what made them the way they are today. We seem to get more curious with our parents but let our grandparents be as they are now. By peeling back the layers of Mags, Sara was able to not only connect with and understand her grandmother in a way she never could before, she also learned a whole lot more about herself.

This is not a Christian Novel; there is infidelity, little mention of God, and more emphasis on the characters and their lives than the faith. If you aren’t a fan of Christian novels, you’re safe here. Don’t let the fact that this is published by Thomas Nelson fool you, there really isn’t anything about this book that is Christian.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman- Review

Title: Fatal Mistake

Author: Susan Sleeman

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: 5/9/2017

Description from Goodreads: An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel.
Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it.
Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan–to stay alive for another day. She knows he’s coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months–to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf’s bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they’ll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.”

Review: This book was amazing and completely thrilling. It grabbed me from the very first page and didn’t let go until I turned that last one. I read this in 2 sittings, reluctantly putting it down after reading the first half to go to bed.

The characters were easy to relate to and to love. They each had issues they needed to deal with and they did it well. Their faith in God was tested and I loved watching them come back to Him in their own way and time. The faith aspect of this book fit the story line perfectly and flowed throughout it well. The romance portion was the same; it was super sweet and well drawn out. I never felt that any part of this story was unnatural or tacky.

The story line was, unfortunately, believable. The way the world is currently makes this book completely relevant. Can we ever really know the people we think we do? Can the people we grew up with turn out to be twisted serial killers? What happens when they do? This book begs this question in a terrifying and intense way. My heart raced numerous times throughout this and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers. This isn’t a dark book, I don’t like gory horror books, but this is a nice Christian romantic suspense. To me, this is the perfect blend of genres.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

 

Home Again by Kristin Hannah- Review

Title: Home Again
Author:
Kristin Hannah
Rating:
5/5
Description from Goodreads:
 Madelaine Hillyard is a world-famous heart surgeon at the top of her game. Her personal life is far less successful. A loving but overworked single mom, she is constantly at odds with her teenage daughter. At sixteen, Lina is confused, angry, and fast becoming a stranger to her mother—a rebel desperate to find the father who walked away before she was born. Complicating matters for Madelaine are the vastly different DeMarco brothers: While priest Francis DeMarco is always ready to lend a helping hand, his brother, Angel, long ago took on the role of bad boy. Years earlier Angel abandoned Madelaine—and fatherhood—to go in search of fame and fortune. His departure left Madelaine devastated, but now he reappears and seeks help from the very people he betrayed—as a patient in dire need. With Home Again, New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah has written a moving, powerful novel about the fragile threads that bind together our lives and the astonishing possibility of second chances.”

Review: Home Again is an incredible novel by Kristin Hannah. I have read four of her novels so far and I am beginning to wonder if she can write a bad one. I seriously have not found a single book of hers that I have not loved and she is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Her novels never disappoint.

These characters are perfect. They are relatable and easy to cheer for. I loved how each of them had to overcome themselves to change and see the love they had, but never noticed. It’s so easy to take the love we have for granted, and this was a perfect reminder to appreciate it, each and every day.

My heart broke numerous times, in classic Kristin Hannah fashion. I found myself wiping tears in the break room at work but it was totally worth it.  I would, and probably will, read this book over and over.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone. This is just a classic fiction novel that will bring you joy, and some heartache.

Home on the Range by Ruth Logan Herne-Review

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Title: Home on the Range
Author: 
Ruth Logan Herne
Rating:
5/5
Release Date: 
04/04/17

Description from Goodreads: “A cowboy romance with a heart of gold, in Home on the Range author Ruth Logan Herne returns readers to the Double S Ranch where God and family are first, but love is certain to follow the Stafford menfolk. Nick made all the wrong choices for all the wrong reasons. His father had failed at marriage and fatherhood. Nick was determined to show him up. He’d be a better husband, better father and a better ranch manager than Sam Stafford ever hoped to be. But Nick’s wife Whitney hated the ranch and she walked out on Nick and their two beautiful daughters three years ago. For a long time Nick pretended everything was fine and when his stubborn nature is finally challenged by trouble with his young girls, he’s faced with the changes he should have made long ago. Psychologist Dr. Elsa Andreas had a thriving family therapy practice, a school commission, a good life, but tragedy pushes Elsa to walk away from her life. Three years later, she’s tucked herself in the backwoods of Gray’s Glen. When her sister encourages her to help Nick Stafford’s daughters, Elsa takes a chance. But Nick’s ex-wife comes back to town, threatening the girls’ newfound stability. Can Nick find the forgiveness and Else the courage to build their own “Home on the Range”?

Review: This is a wonderful book! I fell in love instantly and was unable to put it down. I loved how eccentric Elsa was, how conflicted Nick was, and the differing emotions between Cheyenne and Dakota. The way these all seem to come together to bring out the best in each of them is truly amazing.

I love that they kept Colt and Angelina’s romance shown throughout this book as well. Sometimes these types of books don’t show enough of the people from the previous book, but this one did it very well.

The romance was natural and organic, nothing felt forced or rushed. Nick and Elsa brought out the best in each other and were able to help each other through their individual issues. Their love seemed to be one that will endure, being there for each other and being a friend no matter the circumstances.

Elsa’s devotion to Nick’s girls’ was fantastic to read. She truly cared about both the girls and always put them first, even if it hurt her at times to do so. That’s the type of mother these girls needed and deserve. Every step-parent should be like this, and thankfully I think most are.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those who love Christian romances. This is truly an amazing story filled with love, conflict, forgiveness, and faith.

 About Ruth Logan Herne: Ruth Logan Herne has more than a million books in print, including eighteen Love Inspired contemporary novels and Back in the Saddle, Book 1 in the Double S Ranch series. Ruth is a founding member of Seekerville, a popular writing-collective blog. A country girl who loves the big city, Ruth and her husband live on a farm in upstate New York.

 

Download first chapter: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Sneak-Peek-HOME-ON-THE-RANGE.pdf

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

God Loves Mommy and Me by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

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Title: God Loves Mommy and Me      
Author:
 Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Rating: 5/5
Release Date: 
March 28, 2017

 Description from Goodreads: “Snuggle in cozy-close with a sweet reminder of God’s love for mommies and their little ones. Celebrating loving mothers, precious children, and the God who loves them all, God Loves Mommy and Me will remind parents and little ones of how much they are loved.

 Review: I loved the God Loves Daddy and Me book so much that I decided I wanted to order the Mommy and Me book for myself and my child. I love it! It’s adorable and makes for perfect bedtime bonding.

I love the simplicity of this story and these are things that mommy and babies actually do together, there isn’t anything complex about this. The faith shows throughout this book is so wonderful for little children to learn and put into practice in simple ways.

The illustrations in this book are super adorable and perfect for little eyes. They are captivating for children and follow the story nicely. Since this is a board book, your child can reach out and touch the pictures without worrying about dirty fingers or ripping pages. I absolutely love the padded covers on these special types of board books. Not only does it make it safer for young readers, but I think it makes it look a lot nicer as well.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for any mother. This is such a wonderful way to remind both child and mother of the wonderful blessing we have been given. In such a busy world, it’s wonderful to get a little reminder now and again of how lucky we truly are.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon-Review

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Title: Sandpiper Cove

Author: Irene Hannon

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Description from Goodreads: Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities–including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either–but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different–and better–future planned for them than either could imagine.

Lauded by Library Journal as “a master at character development,” Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to this charming Oregon seaside village where hearts heal–and love blooms.”

Review: This was a wonderful book about love, family, and forgiveness. I loved everything about this book. The characters were easy to relate to; they were kind, loving, and looked out for each other. The feel of community was clear and heartwarming. Although this is actually the third book in the Hope Harbor series, I haven’t read the other books in this series and I didn’t feel at all lost so this does work as a stand alone novel as well.

The writing was vivid and I was able to picture the town and each of the residents. I was enthralled from the beginning and had trouble putting it down when I had to.

Faith was an important aspect in this book and it was woven beautifully throughout. It never felt forced or cheesy and it brought greater depth to this story. The romance was also well written. The way the two connected and deepened each other was wonderfully done.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance novels or Christian fiction.

Read an expert here

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

 

A Gathering in Hope by Philip Gulley-Review

Title: A Gathering in Hope
Author: 
Philip Gulley
Rating:
2/5
Release Date: 
September 6, 2016

Description from Goodreads: Bestselling author Philip Gulley offers humorous, small-town storytelling as he follows the foibles and follies of Pastor Sam Gardner.

Thanks to an unexpected windfall, Sam Gardner’s congregation (with the exception of a few malcontents) is eager to expand their meetinghouse. But before building can commence, the County Environmental Board and the Department of Natural Resources put the quietus on the plan.
A colony of endangered Indiana bats have made the tree beside the meetinghouse, and the meetinghouse attic, their place of hanging, mating, and living, which poses a big problem for the congregation. Aside from the fact that their fanged visitors are engaging in sinful acts on church property, until these bats leave for hibernation, Hope Friends Meeting is left without a gathering place. And when an over-zealous Leonard Fink takes matters into his own hands, he may even land himself–and Sam–in jail.”

Review: I did not care for this book at all. The characters were all annoying and I didn’t like any of them. This is the first of the series that I read so maybe it would have been better if I started at the beginning but after this one, I have no desire to read the others. Sam, a preacher, is extremely negative and worries about everything. I know that this is probably something that even preachers struggle with in real life but I would much rather read about ones that could be more of an example for me. In addition, he seems to let the others control his opinion on projects and doesn’t seem to want to get completely involved in his church. In addition, the entire congregation of this church seemed to be at odds with each other and acted like conniving brats.

This might be the kind of story some people enjoy, it’s just not one that I would ever read again.

 *I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*