Storm Front Review

 

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I’ve been following The Montana Rescue series from book one, and had absolutely loved each consecutive story. Storm Front is no different. To be honest, at first I had mixed feelings about the main characters, mostly because they’d been lingering in the background in previous books. I had no clue what to expect from them. They may have been casted before as extras but Susan May Warren brought them center stage, and they steal the show!

About the book:

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.

My Thoughts: 

My heart went out to Brette Arnold, rooting for her happiness, as early as chapter one. Having close friends who, only recently, have battled breast cancer, this one hit a bit close to home for me. Brette may appear weak and one who rolls with the punches, but as the story progresses, the reader sees her for who she truly is—a fighter with a resilient heart. And Ty Remington?! What a hero! He pursued Brette, loving and protecting her. Not only was his effort to win her affections moving but the way he planted seeds of faith into her withered heart was both tender and inspiring. Brette’s resistance coupled with Ty’s persistence created an emotional tug-of-war for the reader, but oh, was it worth it! The adventure element was fast-paced, believable, and may cause you to gasp several times before you reach the final page. Overall, it was truly an amazing read.

This series is like a jigsaw puzzle. With each story you get more pieces to the lives of the characters, of the ongoing mystery presented in book one, and of the ups and downs of romance. But above all, you get a layered picture of God. How he pursues us, protects us, and loves us with a fierce devotion.

I received a copy of this story. All opinions are my own.

Want to purchase Storm Front? Click here!

About the Author:

309115_10151025782841246_660114708_nSusan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana SkiesRescue MeA Matter of Trust, and Troubled Waters. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota and can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

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Last Chance Wife Review

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I’m a sucker for a great love story. Seriously. It could be in the form of a movie, a book, browsing a friend’s wedding album, eavesdropping at Panera Bread. You get the picture. Today, I have the privilege of gushing over Janette Foreman’s debut book Last Chance Wife.

About the book:

When six-time mail-order bride Winifred Sattler is stranded in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, she’s grateful to find a temporary position at Mr. Ewan Burke’s business until she can return home. Ewan is handsome, but stuffy and serious—her complete opposite. Unlike her new anonymous correspondent, Mr. Businessman, who appreciates her bubbly optimism.

To keep his mining company afloat, Ewan can’t be distracted by Winifred’s vivacious beauty. He needs a no-nonsense wife. Someone like Miss Thoroughly Disgruntled, the only respondent to his recent ad with whom he truly connected. In person, Winifred and Ewan don’t get along, but in their letters they’re falling in love. Will they discover a perfect match in each other?

My thoughts:

The premise of this story captured my attention because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies – Shop Around the Corner. (Hubby and I watch it every year around Christmastime.) And though the plotline is lightly touched with similarities of the classic, this story is distinct and memorable, possessing its own dynamic elements.

For starters, there’s the heroine, Winnie. She’s weighted by past failures but refuses to let dark circumstances dim God’s light within her. She shines bright even in a dusty, mining town. Her go-getter attitude complements her sensitive heart.

Let’s not leave out the hero, Ewan. At first glance, this man appears stiff-necked, but as the pages turn, I found him to be compassionate, level-headed, and having a heart that longed to believe in the impossible.

Take Winnie’s spirited disposition and match it with Ewan’s straitlaced manner, and you have the makings of a great romance! This story is sprinkled with hope, brushed with light humor, and steeped in a beautiful thing called love. I enjoyed what this author brought to the table and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

*I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own*

To purchase Last Chance Wife click here!

 

About the author:

21371236_1479962642083252_6576790669271838472_n.jpgA former English teacher, turned stay-at-home mom, she’s passionate about God-centered romances. She’s a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), ACFW Dakotas chapter secretary, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray at the Steve Laube Agency. She loves to read, quilt, make cloth dolls, and draw. Janette makes her home in the northern Midwest with her amazing husband, polydactyl cat, bird-hunting dog, and the most adorable baby twin boys on the planet.

Honeysuckle Dreams Review

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Denise Hunter’s books. Her style of writing is relevant, engaging, and uplifting. But what impresses me most is that her novels get better and better. Seriously, after thirty stories, this author continues to pen unsurpassed work.

Okay, enough fangirling.

About the Book:

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancé.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

My thoughts:

As much as I loved the vivid plot of the story, what sealed the deal for this being one of my favorite reads of 2018 was the romance! The romance, y’all! Branded with her signature writing flair, Denise Hunter brings to life one of my favorite love tropes—best friends to soul mates.

I sensed Brady and Hope’s chemistry in Blue Ridge Sunrise and couldn’t wait to discover how their relationship would evolve. When Brady’s custody of his son, Sam, is threatened, these two characters don’t just cautiously toe over the “friend zone” line but take an intense leap across it. The amazingly awkward moments, the witty banter coupled with bonding conversations, and the zing of attraction between these two dynamic characters kept me turning the pages.

I also love the way the author isn’t afraid to tackle real issues in the characters’ lives such as insecurity and fear. Rather than sidestepping these sensitive topics, the author approaches them with hope wrapped in grace, creating a story not to be forgotten.

Honeysuckle Dreams releases May 1st, BUT you can PRE-ORDER this fabulous story here!

*I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

About the author:

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Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including “The Convenient Groom” and “A December Bride” which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest.

You can learn more about Denise through her website or by visiting her on FaceBook.

 

Justice Review, Author Guest Post, & Giveaway!

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“I don’t want your kind of justice. What I want is to heal. I want to be whole. I want to find the treasures God has for me here.” Brooklyn from Justice

Achingly-tender from the first chapter, this story captured my heart in a tangible way, stamping my memory with brilliant strokes of grace.

About the Story:

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she’s pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. As Brooklyn wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake, she can’t bring herself to tell him the truth. To make matters worse, if the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake’s coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. Can Jake and Brooklyn overcome the obstacles thrown in their path, and finally find the truth in God’s love and in each other?

My thoughts:

Having previously read—and enjoyed—short stories written by this author, I’ve been anticipating Justice’s release. Sensitive issues laced the pages, but with a poignant delicacy, the story skillfully addresses the layers of grief and bitterness which often arises from trauma, revealing that the beauty of forgiveness can bloom in even the most heartbreaking trial.

I was immediately drawn to Brooklyn. I found myself championing her healing from the tragic assault that left her soul broken and her life in shambles. I admired her convictions, hoping as the chapters progressed, that she’d find the wholeness she desired and discover the once-in-a-lifetime love given by Jake.

Out of the scores of heroes I’ve met through novels, Jake stands alone as far as loyalty is concerned. His devotion reminded me a lot of Christ—unconditional and fervent. The relationship Brooklyn and Jake shared is beautiful and inspiring.

So add these engaging characters to a vivid plot penned with a unique voice, and it equals an unforgettable story! I can’t wait to see what this author brings us next!

Click here to purchase Justice!

*The author provided me with a copy of this story. All opinions are my own *

Guest Post By Emily Conrad

A couple of years ago, I asked my grandma to reteach me to crochet. The skill made its way into the manuscript I was working on, and now, when it starts to get colder out each fall, I tend to break out my bag of yarn (okay, there are several bags…) and start a new project. Though, come to think of it, I still haven’t made an afghan.

I find it relaxing and the end products useful, but all that sitting around with a hook and a wad of yarn and nothing to do but count stitches has also given me a lot of time to reflect on what crochet can teach us about life.

One of these ideas is mentioned in Justice, but you’ll have to read the book to find out which one!

Little routines make a big difference. Crochet has a few basic stitches, and different patterns are created by combining them. A little switch—sometimes just the difference between stitching into one thread instead of its neighbor—repeated row after row, create pretty texture.

Little routines in our lives do this, too. A routine of working with my dogs will result in better behaved dogs. A routine of helping a neighbor will result in a friendship. A routine of time with Jesus will sweeten life in so many ways.

Sometimes, you have to practice blind faith in the pattern, moving forward with it even when you seem to only be making a mess. Once, a pattern left me feeling like I was performing the crochet version of gymnastics. What a mess of yarn I had on my hands! But, I kept following the pattern, and wouldn’t you know—it turned out in the end.

Living out our faith can be a messy process sometimes, too. It can put us at odds with others. It can mean changing our plans. It can mean years of waiting. When we stay faithful to the pattern (the Bible), we can be assured that life with Jesus will turn out in the end.

Generations need each other. My mother and paternal grandmother taught me to crochet. Another woman at church taught me to knit. Likewise, these women also teach me about faith.

I’d love to hear about what crafts you enjoy! Knitting, crochet, painting, something else? Use the comments to tell us about it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

IMG_3561.JPGEmily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains. Her debut novel, Justice, released March 9, 2018 from Pelican Book Group. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she is an ACFW First Impressions winner (2015) and finalist (2014) and an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2012, 2015).
Her non-fiction has been published in Southern Writer’s Magazine (May/June, 2016) and on various blogs including GraceTable.org, KrisCamealy.com, CreativeandFree.com, and JerushaAgen.com.

Giveaway!!!

coffee pic Emily's post.jpgBecause most of this fabulous story takes place in a coffeeshop, Emily is offering a bag of coffee to one commenter! And because this story is SO enamoring, I’m going to include a copy of Justice! Sooooo one lucky winner will win both a bag of coffee AND an e-copy of Emily Conrad’s Justice! Winner will be announced March 21st! *Due to crazy shipping costs, this giveaway is limited to the continental U.S.*

The Sea Before Us Review & GiveAway!

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It’s no secret I adore Sarah Sundin’s novels, and The Sea Before Us is no exception!

About the novel:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a Wren in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

My Thoughts:

I was hooked by the end of the prologue. It was that good. From then on, I was captivated by engaging characters and a fascinating plot. The intrigue of D-Day added brilliant depths to the novel, keeping my eyes glued to the pages.

The heroine, Dorothy, lived in a constant struggle between who she is and who she wants to be. I loved her caring nature which she displays in her constant devotion to her father and those around her. Her position as a wren was enlightening for I had no idea how their faithful roles in the war effort had been integral to the success of D-Day.

Wyatt is an admirable hero who is honest as much as he is Texan. Plagued with guilt and obsessed with always “doing the right thing,” my heart ached for him as he continually sought atonement for a past that haunts him daily.

Put these two characters together, and you have an enthralling story that magnetizes your attention far after you reach the end!

Ms. Sundin continues her legacy of seamlessly threading historically accurate details into a vivid fictional world, bringing the story alive! The Sea Before Us is the first story in the Sunrise At Normandy series, and the next two novels are firmly targeted on my reading radar!

Click here to purchase The Sea Before Us!

* The author provided me with a copy. All opinions are my own. *

About the Author:

10365827_871621106183462_7172174868918369076_n.jpgSarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters DeepAnchor in the Storm, and When Tides Turn in the Waves of Freedom series, as well as Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Her popular Through Waters Deep was a Carol Award finalist and named to Booklist‘s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. Sarah lives in California. Visit http://www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

Giveaway!

I’m giving away an e-copy of A Sea Before Us to one commenter! To enter comment below about what draws you to a story or what era is your favorite to read about!! The winner will be announced March 20th!

 

 

 

 

 

Strengthened by Trial. . . Overwhelmed by Grace

 

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Rachel, thank you SO much for opening your blog and allowing me to share one of my testimonies. And readers, thank you for spending your precious time with me.

My husband’s heart attack came out of nowhere. He was only thirty-eight and completely healthy. For him, it came down to genetics. And it came down to God’s grace in saving him that terrifying night.

As you can imagine, I was a mess. Here I was, in my thirties, with two kids, and the rock of our family was heading into a serious surgery. But that entire time, God was with us. I cried out to Him, and He heard. He healed. He comforted. Never had King David’s cries to the Lord felt truer to me.

Out of that dark night, and the weeks and months following, as we returned to a “new normal”, I began seeing the good that came from my husband’s health scare. Because of that trial we all drew closer to God. We reexamined our priorities. For years before this, I had been praying his job would be less stressful, and that the Lord would lead him to baptism.

A job opportunity arose for him, that only the good Lord could have provided. Had my husband not gone through what he did, I don’t think he would have taken it. The new position was a total shift from the corporate ladder he’d been climbing his entire career. This new job was and continues to be a miracle. Gone are the late hours and working weekends. Gone is the stress that plagued him.

A year later we were at an outdoor baptism ceremony for our oldest son. God spoke to my husband in an undeniably awesome way (And boy, is that another testimony to share another time.). That day he went forward and publicly declared his allegiance to Jesus.

Besides those two major blessings, this trial has also helped in my writing as a Christian romance author. It’s opened my eyes to showing more of God’s grace and mercy in my stories, and how instrumental He is. It’s brought an authenticity to my character’s relationships with each other, and God.

There are still health issues plaguing my husband. But the positives that sprouted, and continue flourishing because of God’s grace and love, outweigh the negatives. God is good, my friends. And ever faithful.

About the Author:

P1080922.jpgRebekah Millet is an award-winning author of contemporary Christian romance novels. Although she considers herself a plot-driven writer, her characters have a tendency to highjack her plans. A New Orleans native, she loves injecting her colorful culture into her stories. You can find Rebekah on all social media platforms where she frequently interacts with followers and fangirls over her own favorite authors.

She’s also having an Amazon gift card giveaway! To enter, leave a comment here and click the link to sign up for her quarterly newsletter. All new subscribers will be automatically entered for the chance to win. The winner will be announced here on Monday, March 19th!

Newsletter link: http://rebekahmillet.us13.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0ed34492d60aef833b62aeb76&id=1621aeb2a9

 

The Sorrows of Having a Big But

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But. I hear this word from my eleven-year-old all. Day. Long.  But I can’t. But it’s too hard. But I tried that already. So my aim as a parent is to encourage. To help my son look past his insecurity and realize he’s stronger, smarter, than he believes.

How often do we say this to God? He asks us to step out, and our big but gets in the way. We either doubt we heard Him correctly—thinking it could just be us—or our insufficiencies deter us from going beyond our comfort zone.

The pivotal aspect about this is God WANTS us to step out in order to bless us further.

Do you remember the disciples when Jesus told them to let down their nets? (Luke 5:4) He used their fishing vessel to preach to the massive crowd. Once finished, He turned to Peter and said: Launch out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.

How did Peter respond? (Luke 5:5a amp). “Master, we worked hard all night [to the point of exhaustion] and caught nothing.”

I can almost hear the whine in Peter’s voice. I tried that already, God. It’s tough. My arms ache from navigating the heavy rope. I’m tired.

If Peter would’ve continued in that vein he would’ve missed his miracle. Missed what God intended for him to have. How many times have I missed out because my but was bigger than my desire to obey God? Squandered opportunities. Wasted blessings.

Thankfully Peter realized his mistake and changed his outlook. (Luke 5:5b esv) But at your word I will let down the nets.

Did you catch the switch? He changed the but to one of obedience. To one of faith. Of reliance on what God said rather on how he felt or thought.

He changed his focus from his own failure and shortcomings to Jesus’s word, hoping in His ability. In the past, I’ve failed in that area, relying on my own strength instead of His. Then when God motions me to move, my shoulders slump and I complain “but I did that already, and it failed.” Friends, there’s a lot to be said about God’s timing and grace. When God says it, He’ll back it up. And that makes all the difference.

So I encourage you to get your big but out of the way and trust His word! He rewards faith. Believe, step out, and watch His blessings cram your nets full. 🙂

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash