Book Review! Second Hand Jane by Michelle Vernal

Title: Second Hand Jane

Author:  Michelle Vernal

Rating: 5/5

Description: “When footloose and fancy-free Jessica, a thirty-something writer, decides to follow her journalistic instincts and trace the story of a young girl for her weekly column in a Dublin newspaper, she unwittingly embarks on a journey into Northern Ireland’s tragic past.
With her love of all things vintage, Jessica Jane Baré is known as Second-hand Jane to her friends. Hailing from New Zealand, these days she’s finding the grass is greener in Dublin and not just because of all the rain. In fact, life would be sweet if it weren’t for the reason she left home in the first place–her meddling mother. Marian views Jess’s life in Dublin as nothing more than a stop-gap until she meets Mr Right and he’s taking his time. Things look set to change, however, when Jess meets the delectable Nick, who ticks all of Marian’s boxes.
In the meantime, Jess’s latest second-hand collectible–a children’s book—gives her an idea for her column. Deciding to track down the girl whose name is scribbled inside the cover of that book, she uncovers more than she ever expected. “Amy was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the girl’s taciturn brother, Owen, informs her. Intrigued, Jess travels to the family pig farm in County Down and listens to Amy’s poignant tale unfold through Owen. With a little help from a rather cute runt of the litter she names Wilbur, Jess is about to help put the past to rest and learn that appearances can be deceptive.
Then Marian announces she is coming to Dublin to sort her daughter’s increasingly tangled love life out and Jess’s chance of a happy ending like those in the story books she collects looks about as likely as Wilbur flying.”

 Review: As part of a reading challenge I was doing, one category was to read a book that takes place somewhere you want to visit. As I was looking through my kindle books, I came across this book. I had gotten it free from Bookbub and didn’t have high hopes. However, it takes place in Ireland and I have always dreamed of going there, so I began.

This book hooked me from the first page. I devoured this book, and was incredibly sad when it was over. This is more than just a romance book, these characters changed and matured so much through the book that I was just as impressed by that as the romance portion of the book.

This quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. I highly recommend this one!

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Book Review! How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by The Babylon Bee

Title: How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living

Author: The Babylon Bee
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
May 1, 2018

Description from Goodreads: “With a biting, satirical style reminiscent of The Onion, How to Be a Perfect Christian takes a humorous look at the quirks of cultural Christianity while subtly challenging the reader to search for more than a cultural faith.

Written in the trademark style of The Babylon Bee, this book humorously satirizes cultural Christianity while peppering in subtle challenges to the reader. Through humor and sarcasm (and a handy meter to rank your “holiness” as you progress through the book), readers will be called to find a more biblical understanding of the Christian faith, all while poking fun at the quirks of the modern, American Christian community.”

Review: This book is hilarious and a wonderfully quick read. Unfortunately the points made in this book were right on. There is so much wrong with the world today, and regrettably a lot of churches have become more like the current world, and less like The Bible.

I loved finally reading something that showed just how flawed this has all become. It seems that someone is always trying to convince Christians that they aren’t doing it right, they aren’t working hard enough, attending the right church, worshiping the proper way, or feeling like they should. Christianity should resemble Christ far more than what the world thinks is proper. Through this book, The Babylon Bee points out each of these issues, and of course, gives wonderful advice.

I laughed a lot, and felt sad at how accurate this was. I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates satire and feels the church has taken a dangerous turn.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook & Multnomah launch Team. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

 

 

Book Review! Blind Betrayal by Nancy Mehl

9780764217791

Title: Blind Betrayal
Author:
 Nancy Mehl
Rating: 
5/5
Release Date: 
04/17/18

Description from Goodreads: U.S. Marshal Casey Quinn is tasked with escorting a reporter to testify before a grand jury regarding a missing environmentalist. At first, the assignment seems routine. But when it becomes dangerously clear that there’s more to the story than anyone knows, Casey and two other marshals–one a man from her past–will have to do whatever it takes to survive.

Review: This was a very suspenseful and exciting book with some well written romance and faith woven in. I was hooked from the first page and couldn’t stop reading it. I finished this book in two sittings, and that’s only because it was Mother’s Day and I spent some time with my mom that evening. I could have easily sat and read this entire book from start to finish in one day, it was just so difficult to put down.

I love how the Marshals from the previous books are prevalent in this book as well. It’s nice to see how they are doing and what their lives are like now. I really enjoy these characters and how they put their witness above all else. The way they respect and care about each other is inspiring as well. I really hope there are more books in this series. I am not ready for them to be over!

The Christian theme was evident but like the romance, it was relatable and not overpowering. These were mere backdrops to the adventure and adrenaline pumping action.

The writing was so vivid it took me some time after reading this book to disassociate myself from this story. I felt like I was right there in the action and the twists and turns keep you turning page after page.

 Recommendation: This book, like the previous books in this series, was amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense.

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

 

Book Review! Storm Front by Susan May Warren

9780800727475

Title: Storm Front
Author:
 Susan May Warren
Rating:
5/5

Description from Goodreads: “A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community and among the missing are not only a group of students but PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved–and lost–walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked–no, ran–from over a year ago. She had her reasons–good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up–not on the missing students, or on her.

Life and love hang in the balance in Susan May Warren’s breathless story of holding on to hope during a deadly summer of storms.”

Review: This was an amazing adventure packed story about grace and the power of God’s love. I was hooked right from the beginning and the thrilling story went right up to the end. Susan May Warren’s Montana Rescue series just keeps getting better and better. These are far more than romance books, the search and rescue will have you on the edge of your seat. This is the fifth book in the Montana Rescue series and I have been absolutely addicted to this series from book one.

Ty is a character that really needed to be shown. He has always been in the background, the one who is dependable, yet never really puts himself out there. I really enjoyed getting to know him more. The way he truly cares about everyone, and will selflessly give everything he has for someone else is inspiring.

I was so excited when I started reading this and realized that Ben and Kasey’s story is back too! They haven’t been as prevalent in the stories since theirs, so I am really glad we finally got to see more of them as well.

Recommendation: I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this series!! It’ll finally be the book I have been waiting for since book two. November cannot come soon enough! This is a series that I would highly recommend to anyone.

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

 

Book Review! Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

Title: Before and Again
Author: 
Barbara Delinsky
Rating:
5/5
Release Date: 
June 6, 2018

Description from Goodreads: Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends―and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made―though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself―or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.”

Review: This book was absolutely amazing. It started out tragically sad, with the untimely death of a child, but moves on to the healing process and the wonderful people who helped along the way.

I was drawn into this story from the very beginning and then got completely hooked. I didn’t want to put this down, and only did when I absolutely had to. The ending came way too quickly for me!

The writing was vivid and well detailed, I felt like I was right there in Vermont with Maggie and her wonderful friends. These characters were so wonderful and I loved them as though they were real. The strength and love they all showed was inspiring. I couldn’t help but root for a happy ending for everyone.

This is a book I will read again and again. I would recommend it to anyone!

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

Book Review! The Theory of Happily Every After by Kristin Billerbeck

9780800729448

Title: The Theory of Happily Every After
Author:
 Kristin Billerbeck
Rating: 
4/5
Release Date: 
May 01, 2018

Description from Goodreads: “According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies–for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck’s The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile–because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.”

Review: I really enjoyed this book. It was far different than the Christian Romances that I normally read, and that was refreshing. I love mixing up my reading, even if I don’t realize I did it until after I started it.

This book is inspiring and actually had some great thoughts about how to be happy. I am going to try making them a part of my life. I love when a work of fiction is able to inspire and change your life for the better.

This was a really quick, easy read and it was the perfect break from my ever growing to read pile. This would be a great beach read this summer, or just a lay out in the backyard read.

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

Book Review! If I Live by Terri Blackstock

Title: If I Live

Author: Terri Blackstock

Rating: 4/5

Release Date:  March 6, 2018

Series: If I Run #3

Description from Goodreads: Casey is hiding again—in Memphis this time—but it’s different now. She knows without a doubt that Dylan believes her and is doing all he can to help bring Brent’s killer to justice. He’s become an unexpected friend . . . and even, maybe, something more. Hope makes everything more bearable.

Casey makes a deal with the DA to turn over all the evidence she and Dylan have gathered against Keegan and Rollins—only to discover that the DA is in league with them too. After a desperate escape, who can they possibly turn to now?

Time is running out for Casey, but master suspense writer Terri Blackstock will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last, utterly satisfying page.”

 Review: This book is really amazing. It’s packed full of action and it got my heart racing. Throw in a little romance and I was hooked.

This is the third book in this series, and this is definitely a series you have to read in order to fully understand what is going on. I tried starting with this one and had to go to the library to get the first two. Trust me, start at the beginning, the story is completely worth it!

I love these characters, they are so well developed and have so much depth, it’s hard to remember they aren’t real sometimes. I only had one problem with this book. I am a huge fan of Christian fiction, but there were some cheesy parts of this that didn’t feel natural to me. When Casey was talking to Claire, the blind woman Casey drives around, the conversation about faith felt forced. It didn’t flow like I have come to expect from the Christian Fiction I have been reading. Otherwise, this book was wonderful and I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

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