5.23.2018

Wednesday Gratitude



I'm thankful for...

God's grace, which I would be lost without.
My mother, with her ever listening ear when I've had a bad day, or just need to verbalize something.
The smiles of children that brighten my day.
Expository preachers that boldly teach God's word from the Bible, in proper context.
Great co-workers that make work easy, and make the hours fly by.
Books that challenge me in my convictions, encouraging me to dig deep.
Friends who understand, and even if they don't understand are willing to tolerate me.



5.20.2018

223 Orchard Street by Renee Ryan ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Titus comes from an affluent family, and had it all with a career as a gifted surgeon, but after a tragedy affecting a friend of his, he walks away from the operating table. Ty still keeps busy, serving as a general practitioner with his own clinic helping the low income, and working at Ellis Island. He still blames himself for the past, will he be able to forgive himself?

Katie O'Connor has been working hard to bring his sister over from Ireland to join her in New York. Katie dreams of a career as a midwife, but being an immigrant it's hard to find more than low-paying sewing jobs. When her sister, Shannon, is detained in Ellis Island, Katie turns to Ty and ask him to help as she has no one else.

Will Katie and Ty find hope again?

Katie is a kind-hearted and compassionate woman, caring for her sister, aunt, and the children on the street. She puts others before herself, and loves her family.

Ty is haunted by his past, and hides from the world by drinking and helping the poor.

I liked the reality that the author infused into the setting, the hardships that they faced. I didn't really like the romance elements of the book, it just wasn't as believable to me, and the faith elements were vague, when it seemed like there were ample opportunities to show Katie's faith. I felt like there were many missed opportunities that weren't taken advantage of, in regards to the relationship, and the faith. A historical read that shows the hardships faced as new Americans.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Brady Collins becomes a full-time single dad when his ex-wife die in  car accident, he loves his son, Sam, and wants to do everything he can to give him a good life. Brady is shocked when Sam's maternal grandparents sue for custody and require a paternity test.

Hope Daniels has been helping to watch Sam during the difficult transition, and is there when Brady's lawyer gives him the bad news. The lawyer assumes that Brady and Hope are engaged, and says that it will help their case in the custody battle. Hope agrees to the engagement, but the lawyer keeps pushing for them to get married before the court date.

Will their ruse be worth it?

I like that Brady and Hope talk about what marriage would mean for them, no matter how the case goes. Brady feels trapped, but feels like getting married would be insane. While Hope has been hurt in the past, but would like to have children.

Brady realizes that he needs to courts his fiance, and later his wife. He is very supportive of her work and dreams. They both use humor to lighten tense situations, and communicate well. I liked them together, and Brady is such a good man. Brady is committed to making their marriage work, even if it wasn't the way that he thought he would find love again, and he never gives up.

Hope is used to solving her own problems and has trouble confiding in Brady and letting him share her burdens.

This book had a good premise, and a great ending, but there was a lot of "head talk" with psychological undertones. I liked the characters, especially Brady. The romance was more PG-13, and there were parts that I wasn't completely sure what to do with, but it did get resolved by the end. Not quite my cup of tea, but good premise, and great characters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

Storm Front by Susan May Warren ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Ty Remington is a member of PEAK, he hasn't flown since the crash, and blames himself , yet he shows up whenever PEAK gets a call. He still thinks about Brette, the girl he met a year ago and has been praying for ever since she disappeared from the hospital.

Brette made it through her treatment, but lost her faith. She's become a stormchaser, and loves the thrill of risking it all for a good shot. After a tornado devastates a town in Minnesota, Ty and his team come back into her life, is there a future for her with the man she ran from a year ago?

When a tornado hits in Minnesota, leaving their team leader, Chet, missing, Ty is determined to do everything in his power to bring him home safe. Ty is surprised to find Brette in Minnesota, will they be able to rekindle their friendship and recover the missing people before it's too late?

Ty wants to be a good friend to Brette, even though she keeps pushing him away.  It break his heart when he finds out what she went through all by herself. He knows that there are things that she doesn't want to talk about, but he tries to be there, and respect her wishes, but he also shares some of his own struggles. Ty is honest about his feelings for Brette, but doesn't push and keeps praying for her.

I loved how this book still follows the team members form previous books, like Ben and Kacey, who are still trying to work their wedding in around crazy schedules.

Brette comes to admire Ty and face her fears, I love how they work together to track down the missing people.

Action packed, full of tension, with a lot going on. I like revisiting past characters from the previous books, and I like how this series continues to follow them even after they fall in love. Great interaction and plenty of adventure, I can't wait for the next book in the series!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

5.19.2018

The Mail-Order Brides Collection by Kathleen Y'Barbo, Megan Besing, Noelle Marchand, Donna Schlachter, Sherri Shackelford, Michelle Shocklee, Ann Shorey, Liz Tolsma, Jennifer Uhlarik ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Perfect for the Preacher 
In order to secure the job as pastor of a congregation, Amos must get married, so he places an ad. Sophie was raised by a kind preacher and his wife, and they encourage her to answer the ad. But Amos doesn't have the job just yet, so when Sophie arrives he is not prepared. An older couple takes her in, while Sophie wonders if Amos still wants to marry her after all.

The Outlaw's Inconvenient Bride
Wyatt is an undercover Pinkerton agent, and he can't just stand by and let a girl unsuspectingly marry an outlaw, the very outlaw he is trying to peg down. So he offers to marry her instead. Myriah sees that Wyatt isn't like the others, and there is plenty of great interactions.  Wyatt admires Myriah's ability to adapt to the difficult situation, and he honors their marriage even though he can't tell her the truth just yet.

Train Ride to Heartbreak
Mary and John meet on the train to Heartbreak, they don't exchange last names so it isn't until they arrive that they figure out that she is the woman who answered his ad. The train has many unforseen layovers and is woefully behind schedule, but it gives Mary and John plenty of time to get to know each other. John is quick to volunteer to help out, and Mary cares for the little ones. Will the bond they've formed last?

Mail-Order Proxy
Nothing goes as planned in this humorous story. Delia plans a double wedding by proxy. Delia and Sean disagree about everything, he wants to step up and protect her, but she is determined to to follow through with her plans to interview an outlaw. Will they have a happily ever after in the end?

To Heal Thy Heart
Dr. Luke is excited at the thought of marriage and a family. Phoebe answers his ad because it is the last option for her after her father and fiance died fighting for the Confederate. Dr. Luke isn't thrilled to have a Southern wife, after having serving as a doctor for the Union. But as they get to know each other they wonder if love can bridge the divide between the states.

Miss-Delivered Mail
When Helena finds a letter in the trash, she read it and finds that there is a man expecting a mail-order bride. Helena is touched and goes to meet Daniel. When Daniel discovers the deception he refuses to marry Helena and takes her to stay with the Hallidays, who welcome her with open arms. Daniel is stubborn, but when he sees Helena's kindness, resourcefulness and characters he wonders if she might still give him a chance.

The Fairytale Bride
Nora and her step-sister answer mail-order bride ads from the same town, but only one groom shows up. The groom has a houseful of rambunctious children, and Nora ends up doing most of the housework and watching the children while Maude complains. Josiah has a prosthetic leg, and he got nervous and stood Nora up, but as he get's to know her, he hopes that she will give him a second chance.

The Brigand and the Bride
Del is a man on the run, and Jolie needs a husband. Jolie is expecting a groom, and has a very detailed plan to wed because the preacher being in town only a few days. Mistaken identity leads to their marriage, and as they comes to terms with their union, they finds that they might be just what the other needs.

The Mail-Order Mistake
Neither Jeremiah or May are planning to marry. Jeremiah is a Pinkerton agent on a mission to shut down a mail-order bride scam. May lost her home in a fire, the neighbors take her in, and lock her up forcing her to reply to multiple adverts for a bride. May wants to help Jeremiah put a stop to the scam. Action packed and full of great interaction this is an enjoyable adventure.

A fun collection of stories with brides and grooms from all over, making the best of a sometimes surprising situation.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

5.18.2018

Home by Another Way by Barbara Brown Taylor and illustrated by Melanie Cataldo ~ Review

My Review:

This is the story of the wise men and their journey, following the star and putting their faith in something the didn't fully understand.

I like how this book looks at the wisemen, and imagines what kind of lives they were leaving behind to follow the star, as well as the comfort they were giving up. I liked how the book draws out that they left with more than they came with, even though everyone knows that they were the ones who brought gifts.

This is a beautifully illustrated book, with bright colors, and artwork that captures the eye. The storytelling felt off kilter at times, leaning more towards telling rather than showing, with an odd modern reference to Pine-Sol. There were fictional licenses taken, but I don't think that they detracted from the main point of the story. A lovely book, that shows a different side of the Christmas story, with plenty of thoughts to linger on after the final page is closed.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

5.17.2018

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz ~ Review

My Review:

Lady Elizabeth Lawson lives comfortably in the colonies, the belle of many balls, and engaged to marry Miles Roth a wealthy landowner with good social standing. But when revolution breaks out she finds herself town between the two sides, and her engagement broken. Mile's Welsh cousin and Independence Man, Noble Rynallt, comes to her rescue offering her protection and a arrangement to save her reputation and help her to start anew.

With the dawn of the Revolution, love blooms, and hearts find a home.

Elizabeth "Liberty" or "Libby" is a talented lacemaker, taught by her mother. When her father and her fiance abandon her, she takes her life in her hands and decides to try to make her own way, doing what she can to fight for liberty. I admired her strength and growth throughout the book, stepping out in faith, seemingly alone she was willing to face a very different life than the one she was raised in.

Noble is a man worthy of his name, he believes in the cause of freedom, and is willing to put everything on the line for its cause, he bravely declares his loyalties early on. Noble admires Libby's decision to break from her father, and try to make her own way using her lacemaking skills to support herself. He admires her character, and longs to be the protector that she needs, but will the arrangement that he can offer ever be one of love?

A well-crafted read, that brings to life the turmoil of an uncertain future in the early days of the Revolution. Liberty is a lady, with very little responsibility, she is naive, and her change in situation isn't easy, but she is stronger than she thinks and leans on her faith during troubled times. I like how Ms. Frantz brought Libby's plight to life, in this well researched historical read. Tingling with romance, Libby and Nobles lives are changed as they fight for freedom and love in a brave new country.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

5.16.2018

A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Cimarron Creek school teacher, Catherine Whitfield, doesn't trust doctors. She recently lost her mother, and blames the town doctor. So when one of her students gets hurt, she treats them herself using her library of medical books.

Austin Goddard and his 6 yr old daughter, Hannah, are new to town. Austin is worried about Hannah, she is quiet and withdrawn, not the happy child that she used to be before they moved. He hopes that going to school will help her adjust.

I like that Catherine welcomes Hannah, she encourages her to participate without forcing her into things. She and Austin work together to try and find ways to help her. Catherine helps Hannah open up, and they bond. Austin also helps Catherine with other students that she is worried about.

Catherine has a big heart, opening her home to strangers and her students. She is smart and capable, with a passion for helping everyone, but she has her reservations about Austin. I admired her faith and calm in stressful situations.

Austin is a man of faith, he is a good man and is a terrific father to Hannah.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It has great characters, and intriguing storyline with secrets and twists, as well as an action packed ending. The interaction is great, and Hannah is just precious. A fantastic read for fans of western romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

5.15.2018

Rodeo Standoff by Susan Sleeman ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Deputy Tess McKade finds herself trapped in an arena with an angry bull when Braden Hayes comes to her rescue.

Braden is in Lost Creek doing PR for the rodeo, he is a former PBR champion, and he instantly recognizes her as one of the barrel racers even though they have never talked. Tessa and Braden both now work in law enforcement, as she is a deputy and he is a homicide detective.

Tessa works with her family, her father is the sheriff, her brother is an investigator, and her sister works with them too, she doesn't want her family to know how much danger she is in. Tessa is cool in a tense situation and she welcomes Braden's support as they work to unravel who is targeting her and wants her dead.

Tessa and Braden get to know each other while working together on the weekend, Tessa discovers that Braden isn't tha shallow flirt that she had him pegged as. Braden is determined, hardworking, kind, and too charming for his own good.  Braden admires her drive and dedication to see the case out to the end, and is impressed by her knowledge of forensics.

The McKade's welcome Braden to stay with them, and treat him like one of the family, which includes some matchmaking. Tessa and Braden are both believers, but they struggle with trust, a result of pain from the past. As they work together, they learn to trust each other in dangerous circumstances, and wonder if they might be able to give love a chance.

Overall, fantastic. It has a quick hook, lots of action, and great characters. Tessa is a strong resilient woman. Braden is a man of integrity, and is very quick thinking. Fantastic book I couldn't put it down. Full of twists  and turns with a suspenseful ending!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

A Bouquet of Brides: Romance Collection by Mary Davis, Kathleen E. Kovach, Paula Moldenhauer, Susanne Norquist, Donita K. Paul, Donna Schlachter, Pegg Thomas ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

In this new novella collection, each of these women have a flower name and find love.

Holly and Ivy
Holly accompanies her sister Ivy to try and dissuade her sister from marrying a man that she hasn't met, on a train ride to meet Ivy's mail-order groom. Rancher Nick sees them being harassed on the train and sits beside them, and gives them a place to stay when Ivy's intended doesn't show up.  Nick is kind and protective.
Will they find love on the range?

Periwinkle in the Park
Peri loves the beauty of God's creation and wants to share it with others, which is why she works as a trail guide at Estes Park and wants it to be protected as a National Park. While Clay is a rancher and hunter, and doesn't like the idea of a National Park, when he comes across Peri with a sprained ankle he helps her out, and challenges her to come hunting with him to see his side of the conflict. Clay is a good man, and he shares Peri's love of God's creation though expressed a little differently.

At Home with Daffodils
Dilly works with her mother in the general store, she is protective of her nephew who is often a target of town bullies. When a childhood friend from the past steps up to help her nephew, she is surprised as she has been awaiting his return for years. Will Dilly and Jace get a second chance at love?

A Song for Rose
This story was one of my favorites, with humor, great characters, and excellent dialog. Rose dreams of the opera and being a star, while Patrick wants to protect her from the dangers and disappointments of life on the stage. Patrick is the manager of the opera house, so he knows firsthand what it is like. Rose is determined and knows how to care for herself, she is resourceful and he likes the challenge of learning her ways. Rose comes from a big family that welcomes Patrick. Will they be able to find common ground for love to grow?

The Beauty of Tansy 
When Tansy's uncle dies, her aunt sells the farm and buys a store in Pierre, SD. Much of the work falls to Tansy to make the disheveled store presentable. Art owns the store next door, he makes furniture and musical instruments. Art rushes to her rescue when he hears a crash, and helps her to the doctor. Art helps Tansy with the store, and helps her come out of her shell.

A Prickly Affair
Lily and Peter are an unlikely pair. Lily runs her own ranch in Arizona, and writes romance novels for a New York magazine under a pen name. Peter is a City Slicker sent by his uncle to convince Lily to come to New York. Peter doesn't understand right away the beauty that she finds in life on the range, but he determined to get to know the woman behind the stories.

In Sheeps Clothing
This story is probably the most different, set in 1702 during the Wool Act that restricted colonists from selling wool outside their own colony. Yarrow is a skilled spinner and weaver, and she must turn to secretly selling it through a peddler to her customers. Peter is training to be a master fuller, he admires Yarrow's skill, and he encourages her to teach other ladies her skills to help her earn a legal income and it give him better cloth to work with.

I loved the variety of this collection, full of strong women, and the good men who love them.




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."