Posted in Blog, Book Review

Review: Storm Rising

STORM RISING COVER

YOU GUYS. I don’t think I can find any more adjectives to describe Kendig’s writing. It’s an adrenaline-packed joy to read her intricate plots with a whisper of romance.

This story brings into focus Leif Metcalfe, younger brother of Canyon (whom we met in Wolfsbane), and Iskra, an enigma. Both are written with such depth and heart; I knew I would fall in love with these characters, but even a week after finishing the book, I still find myself thinking of them—something that doesn’t happen to me often—and anxious for the next installment. Adding to the story of an ancient book is a series of storms wreaking havoc, skimming alongside reality in a way that truly only Kendig can do, and a curious mystery effecting the hero himself.

STORM

Added bonus: I had to Google “Book of Wars,” the central artifact of this series because I didn’t remember reading about it in the Bible. But sure enough, there it is in Numbers 21:14-15. How Kendig is able to surround a series around an obscure book mentioned in only one very short passage speaks to her incredible talent.

Again, seriously, you NEED to read this book. If you’ve never read a Kendig novel before, GET THEE TO THE BOOKSTORE! I’ve read every single one of her books, and will continue to do so until she no longer pens another word (and she better not stop, or I’ll die).

Full disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Get to know Ronie! Visit her website, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, and Bookbub!

Now go! 😉

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Posted in Book Review, Giveaway, New Releases

Review: Crown of Souls…and a Giveaway!

Would you believe me if I told you I was speechless? (For once.) Well you should. But then again, apparently I’m not because I have lots to say about this review! If you follow me on Facebook, you might know that I have another name…Ms. Book-Buying Bossypants. And for good reason. There are a lot of books you should be buying because they’re just that good. And today is no different. (And hey! Read until the end, because there’s a giveaway involved!)

Crown of Souls

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

Release date: September 5, 2017

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/crown-of-souls/378761)

Author’s Web Site: http://www.roniekendig.com

From the publisher:
When You Stare Into the Abyss It Also Stares Into You

The bullet that rips into Cole “Tox” Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.

My thoughts:
In looking back at my reviews of Ronie Kendig’s books, I’m pretty sure that with each release, I’ve called it her best yet.

I don’t lie. And I’m saying it again today. Crown of Souls is her best work yet.

Kendig not only brings her signature rapid-fire action, but ties it so intricately and brilliantly with intrigue, supernatural happenings, and a tender thread of romance. To do all this takes extreme talent.

Cole “Tox” Russell fights his own demons while tracking down and trying to stop a brother-in-arms from using an ancient artifact to…well, you can read the book. And while Tox is fighting for the world, his girlfriend, Haven, is fighting for him. In the midst of all this, the secondary characters absolutely shine with fantastic one-liners, fierce loyalty, and some mystery of their own.

Tight writing, stellar pacing, and great editing make this book a must-read (and must-own-for-your-bookshelf)! This is for sure a 5-star book. Please. I beg of you. If you’ve never read any of Ronie Kendig’s work, please, please, please start. I don’t believe, for one second, that you’d be sorry.

Crown of Souls is the second novel in The Tox Files, but there is a prequel novella that starts the series off with a bang, and it’s free!

Novella: The Warrior’s Seal
Book one: Conspiracy of Silence

One more thing: that solider on the cover? Yeah. He’s a legit Special Forces veteran. And the men on the front of Ronie’s Quiet Professionals series? You guessed it. #respect

*I was given this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own—I was not required to write a positive review.

GIVEAWAY

So, I happen to have an extra PAPERBACK copy of Crown of Souls and one lucky winner gets to have it! Leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve read any of Ronie’s books and, if so, which one is your favorite. I’ll choose a winner at random on September 10th! (Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is only available to the continental US. I’m sorry!)

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Posted in Blog, Book Review, Giveaway

Someplace Familiar Blog Tour (and Giveaway!)

You guys. I’m so proud and excited to have my beautiful critique partner, Teresa’s, debut novel featured here today!!! And she has a GIVEAWAY going!!!! You won’t want to miss this book. Trust me.

BlogTour_FacebookPost

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger. I’m posting today about this debut novel, a contemporary southern romance with themes of faith, hope in new love, and grace. It’s the first in a series of books set in Laurel Cove, a fictional town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I’m joining other bloggers this week to tell you a little about the book and spread the news about the giveaway Teresa is hosting! Be sure to enter to win a signed book and more from Teresa at the end of this post. And leave your comments and questions below—Teresa will be stopping by to visit with us!

First, here’s a little about Someplace Familiar:

SomeplaceFamiliar_COVERArtist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts to discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

Find Someplace Familiar on
Amazon Kindle: http://a.co/iYoxB1U
Amazon Paperback: http://a.co/inEBGpa
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2mo0GAc

Isn’t that cover gorgeous?!?! I ❤ it big-time.

I’m thrilled to have Teresa answer a few questions for us!!

Christian romance is a popular genre. What defines the genre for you as a writer?

The story of Christ’s love for us is the truest, most pure romance. So, when a book of fiction can combine the love story between two humans with the transforming, powerful love of God it’s the best of both worlds. I personally enjoy romances that show readers that real life and relationships are messy and the “happily ever after” isn’t necessarily riding off into the sunset, but rather comes with sacrifice and compromise. So, that’s what I aim to write, too!

As an indie author myself, I know how difficult choosing to independently publish can be. What was the biggest challenge about the decision to self-publish Someplace Familiar

Oh boy! Self-publishing has taught me so much about the business of being a writer. The most challenging part is keeping all of the spinning plates moving and not crashing to the floor. Editing, design, marketing, networking, etc. These days, however, even traditional publishing requires authors to be major players in every step of the process. So, I think all authors must learn to multitask—and, for me, that’s a challenge.

Thank you so much, sweet friend.

My (admittedly short) review:
It isn’t often a debut author can pull off a novel of such depth and beauty (and some fun flirtations!), but Teresa Tysinger has done it. From her descriptions that pull the reader right on in (I could *smell* the fresh mountain air!) to the romantic tension between Jack and Livy to the plot itself, Teresa Tysinger has truly shone.

About Teresa
TeresaTysingerTeresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Connect with Teresa on:
Web
: www.teresatysinger.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16536072.Teresa_Tysinger
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teresatysingerauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmtysinger
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teresatysingerauthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/teresatysinger/
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2qHqhro

You guys. For real. Please go buy this book. It’s beautiful and sweet and charming and deep and truly, truly amazing! But if you’re a patient sorta person (so not me) and want to wait a couple of days, you have a chance to WIN A COPY of Someplace Familiar AND an 8×8″ original canvas painting by the extremely talented Cyndi Browning, and a $10 Amazon gift card! And if you don’t win, promise me you’ll go buy it!

ENTER HERE (https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e36c22633/) to win a signed paperback copy of Someplace Familiar, a custom 8×8” canvas painting by artist Cyndi Browning (in honor of the book’s heroine, Livy, who is an artist), and $10 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be announced on Teresa’s website on June 18 once the tour wraps up. (Open to continental US residents only; sorry international readers!)

Posted in Book Review, Giveaway

Review: Conspiracy of Silence…And a Giveaway!

conspiracy-of-silence

Release date: December 1, 2016

Publisher: Bethany House Publisher (http://bit.ly/2guxsec)

Author’s Web Site: http://roniekendig.com/

Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Christianbook.com, Books-A-Million

Get the Prequel (FREE): The Warrior’s Seal: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

From the publisher:

This Is the Way the World Ends.
Four years after a tragic mission decimated his team, Cole “Tox” Russell has been disavowed by the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Tox and his former Special Forces team regroup to work with FBI deception expert, Kasey Cortes, and fiery archaeologist, Tzivia Khalon, to search the globe for answers–and a cure. As the mission leads from one continent to another, it becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague but battling an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and the threat for a global pandemic rising, Tox and his team realize their sole chance might be to reach back through centuries of silence to find the only answer that can save them all.

My thoughts:

Okay. So if you read my reviews at.all., you pretty much know that I’m a Ronie fanatic—uh, fan. Her books have always thrilled me. But Conspiracy of Silence…you guys. For serious. THIS. BOOK.

Here’s what I wrote on Goodreads: I can’t even. I just can’t. Ronie is THE WOMAN when it comes to writing incredible, fast-paced military action with twists that I can’t even hint at because they’re too awesome.

You NEED to read this extremely well-written, entertaining, makes-you-Google-things book!! I can’t even begin to say enough! My eyes rounded, my mind raced, and my breath was stolen. I loved this book!

That pretty much says it all, but because I know you’re curious about the writing style as much as the content, I will say Ronie’s style lends to the tension and rapid-fire pace of her stories. Conspiracy of Silence is no different. Actually, I would venture out on a limb and say this is her best yet. Brutal (not in a graphic way, but…oh, just read it already), brooding, fast-paced, thrilling, unexpected, with a twist. And that cover!! I’m a sucker for a good cover, and CoS is definitely a GOOD cover! From the front cover to the back cover, and every single, deliberate word in between, Conspiracy of Silence is probably in my top three a-giveawayfavorite books for this year. And I’ve read a lot of good books this year.

I love this book so much, that I’M GIVING AWAY A PAPERBACK COPY!! I’m so bossy when it comes to telling you to buy books (especially if you’re a friend on Facebook), that I’m hoping you already own this one. But if you don’t, rest assured, I’m going to give one away to one lucky winner! Just leave a comment below, and one person will receive a shipment from Amazon (who doesn’t love it when an Amazon box shows up on your doorstep?!)!! YAY FOR GIVEAWAYS! The winner will be chosen THIS FRIDAY, December 16, 2016 at 4:30pm CST. (Open to US residents only. I’m sorry!)

And speaking of giveaways, head over to Instagram to participate in the #ToxFilesChristmasChallenge hosted by @createexploreread. Make sure to read the instructions on that post in order to receive entries to a FAB giveaway!!! Seriously. I’m dying over this giveaway.

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*Note: I was actually not asked to post a review on this blog, but I loved this book so much, I had to. And while I did receive a free copy, I also bought it. And yes. You should, too.

Posted in Book Review, Giveaway

Review: The Cautious Maiden…and a Giveaway!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Yeah, I know. I say that with pretty much every book review. But for serious. I have excellent taste in books. You guys should know that by now. 😉 So don’t be shocked when I say, you must get this book!

I’m talking about The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall. This is the fourth book in The Everstone Chronicles, meaning it’s Vance Everstone’s story. Go ahead, everyone. Let’s all thecautiousmaidentogether now, SIGH. He’s swoon-worthy like nobody’s business. And Violet Hawthorne is a worthy heroine. ❤

I had the huge privilege of writing an endorsement for the ARC (advanced reader’s copy), and honestly, I don’t think I can say much about this book any better than that endorsement. So, here it is for you:

“Dawn Crandall’s unique voice in historical fiction blends romance, faith, and a hint of intrigue into one masterful tale. The Cautious Maiden, the fourth book in The Everstone Chronicles, is no exception. She has crafted characters you will immediately love and cheer for, whose passion for one another stems not just from the physical, but a spiritual and emotional attraction, too. The story told through Violet’s eyes is lifted by Dawn’s elegant prose, and brought to life by the spiritual truths woven throughout. Dawn has become a ‘must read’ author for me, and The Cautious Maiden has only reinforced her status.”

And just so you know, even though I own the ARC, I still bought the ebook. Because there’s nothing better that you can do for authors than to buy their books (or request them from your local library so they buy them) and leave reviews.

About the Book
Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks, but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance, Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust—and who to leave behind.

About Dawn
Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series dawn-crandall-200x300The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden.

Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.

So YES! Dawn is a must-read author, and The Cautious Maiden is a muuuuuuust reeeeeaaaaaaad. So go buy it, please.

Contest Time!
And GUESS WHAT?!?!?! Dawn and her publisher are being so extremely gracious and doing a giveaway of The Cautious Maiden!!! I’m so super excited for you all to read this highly romantic story! To enter, leave a comment answering the following question and I’ll choose a winner randomly on October 21st!

Question: Vance was pretty rotten in the prior books. How do you feel when a previously unlikable character is redeemed? Do you have any favorite redeemed former villains?

And for more opportunities to win, Dawn is running a giveaway herself through November 4th. Check out Dawn’s contest HERE or click on the picture below!

If you haven’t read the other books in the series, click on the covers below to be taken to their Amazon purchase page!

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Good luck and happy reading!!

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Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Thorn Keeper

Oh friends. If you go to my Check It Out page, you’ll see a list of authors I think you should, well, check out. On that page is one Pepper D. Basham. And have I got a fabulous book review for you today. Read it, then go buy and read Pepper’s books. Yes. I’m being bossy.

The Thorn Keeper

First, isn’t that cover devine?

Release date: February 28, 2016

Publisher: Vinspire Publishing (http://www.vinspirepublishing.com/#!the-thorn-keeper/ccst)

Author’s Web Site: http://pepperdbasham.com/

Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

From the publisher:

With her newfound faith, Catherine Dougall hopes to take the remnants of her threadbare life and make something beautiful, even if society shuns every choice she makes.

Dr. David Ross must save his war hospital from ruin, but when his notorious aunt makes an offer he can’t refuse, he must choose between his surprising affection for a reformed flirt or his dreams.

From the beautiful Derbyshire countryside to the trenches of World War One, Catherine and David must learn to trust in a God who never forgets his children and fashions beauty out of the most broken things.

My thoughts:

I don’t even know where to start. Captivating. Sweeping. Swoon-worthy.

Pepper Basham writes historical with such beautiful, poetic prose, you can’t help but be caught up in her sweeping romances. And when I say it’s a romance, I don’t mean it’s just a romance between a man and a woman. It’s a romance between a man, a woman, and God. Pepper weaves faith so naturally into her stories, and The Thorn Keeper is no exception.

From Catherine’s spiritual journey closer to the end of The Thorn Bearer to her continued journey and growth in this book, you’ll experience her transformation from a pretty not-so-great character to a woman who loves and lives passionately, both for the Lord and for her dreams.

Dr. David Ross is a man who loves quietly—albeit also passionately—and not only supports and encourages Catherine in her dreams, but deeply cares for what happens to her. He is there to help her not just overcome, but flourish. A man who truly loves God, people, and, well…Catherine.

I can’t say enough about Pepper’s writing. It’s solid, endearing, and again, so poetic. I seriously can’t do her justice in this review. The only thing I can do is tell you that I loved this book and you need to read this. Start out with The Thorn Bearer if you haven’t already read it, then continue with this one.

And just for your info, there will be a third book later this year, if I’m not mistaken. (WAHOO!!)

*Note: I was actually not asked to post a review on this blog, but I loved this book so much, I had to. And I didn’t receive it free; I bought it. And yes. You should, too.

Posted in Book Review

Review: On the Wings of a Whisper

On the Wings of a Whisper

Release date: March 15, 2016

Publisher: Serene Lake Publishing

Author’s Web Site: http://www.lynnettebonner.com/

Order it: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble

From the publisher:

RyAnne Hunter is determined to stop her father from leaving for the continent of Africa, where he plans to start a mission station. And she only has until morning. Tonight at the Harcourts’ Annual Ball will be her last chance to change his mind. She must succeed! Papa’s health, and her future, depend on her success. But, as if her task isn’t difficult enough, now the insufferable Captain Dawson has agreed to guide Papa’s expedition!

After spending six months at sea, Captain Trent Dawson only wants to think about rest and relaxation. However, when he’s recruited by a British naval officer to help put an end to a slave smuggling ring, the perfect opportunity presents itself in Dr. Hunter, who needs a guide to the Interior. Now if he can just help the doctor without spending too much time with the man’s troublesome and flighty youngest daughter.

A thrilling historical romance from the time of missionary explorer David Livingstone.

My thoughts:

This was such a great start to a serialized series!! Lynnette Bonner has crafted characters that grab you immediately. RyAnne is a determined firecracker of a character, and Trent is the perfect balance for her. Both are lovable. They’ll bring you back again and again for the following installments in this series.

Lynnette has also done a masterful job of description in this story! It truly felt like I was there, and is obvious she has a love for Africa that will be hard for any other author to match. The setting of this story—Zanzibar in 1866—brings in some historical elements that are very hard to read, especially at the very end of the book when RyAnne witnesses something first-hand. Though the scene was reality, the author does a beautiful job of balancing it with hope.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It’ll be a hard wait for the second installment, though!

*I was given this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own and not influenced in any way.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

Ohhhhh, have I got a fun one for you today!! The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan is so….well, read my review!

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder

Release date: March 1, 2016

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Author’s Web Site: http://www.rkmcmillan.com/

Order it: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com

From the publisher:

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

My thoughts:

Jem, Merinda, Jasper, and Ray. Four characters who personify independence, joy, love, wit, and charisma.

This book, on the surface, is a rollicking good time. Lots of smirks, laughs, intelligence, and a bit of romance. What’s under the surface, however, is what makes this book so fascinating. You have two independent women who are “past an age” for proper society. These are women you’d love to know in real life and have on your side. They’re not trying to fit in with society—they’re trying to find out who they are, and in Jem’s case, come to terms with it.

Jasper and Ray are charmers. Ray was more the focus in this story, and may be a new crush. He is sweet, caring, loyal, compassionate, and has just enough flaws to make you love him that much more. Including his bad poetry. 😉

Rachel McMillan has done a phenomenal job giving us lovable characters in the tempestuous setting of 1910 Toronto.  She’s crafted a fun murder mystery with wit and charm while not shying away from the plight of women and immigrants in Toronto during that time.

This is a book I highly recommend!

*I was given this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Posted in Book Review

Review: Always Watching by Lynette Eason

Always Watching

Release date: February 2016

Publisher: Revell Publishing (http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/always-watching/349531)

Author’s Web Site: http://www.lynetteeason.com/

From the publisher:

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap.

Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him–including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.

My thoughts:

Lynette Eason has always been one of my go-to authors when it comes to romantic suspense. And with Always Watching, she has proven to me (again) just why she is.

Wade and Oliva, the main characters, are normal, everyday people with flaws and issues. One of them loves Jesus. The other is mad at Him. Both characters are very well developed, have a great and fulfilling journey, and the romance, while it’s there, is actually minimal. It’s more of an underlying tension than a romance, which, in the situation the characters are in, I really appreciate.

The suspense of the story sticks with you all the way through. I had about four suspects in the back of my mind the entire story, and one-by-one they were being eliminated close to the end. So while I had my guesses, I didn’t find out too soon or figure it out too easily—the mark of a great book, in my opinion.

I always recommend Lynette’s books, but you definitely need to pick up this first book in the Elite Guardians series! It’s off to a great start! And with the preview of the second book in the back of this one, the next book is also going to be great.

*I was given this book for free from Revell. The thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Isaac Project by Sarah Monzon

A while ago, I had a Christian book review blog. I accidentally let that domain expire, however, and decided to buy my own name as my domain rather than just using the free one. Special, huh? 🙂

Anyway, I haven’t done a book review for a long while now (since April), but my sweet friend, Sarah Monzon, just released her debut novel! I am so beyond thrilled for her! It’s a fantastic debut, so I wanted to spread the word!

Without further ado, here’s my take on The Isaac Project.

The Isaac Project

Release date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Radiant Publications

Author’s Web Site: http://www.sarahmonzonwrites.com/

 From the publisher:

Becky Sawyer’s life unravels in a single day. Not only does she catch her boyfriend, the man she hoped to marry, lip-locked with another woman, she also receives the gut-wrenching news that her grandfather, the man who raised her, is dying. His last wish? To see her happily married. Heartbroken, Becky seeks inspiration in the pages of the Holy Scriptures. And finds it in the story of Isaac and Rebekah.

If love couldn’t keep his parents together, Luke Masterson wonders what will make a marriage last. He decides to steer clear of all women—especially crazy ones like Becky Sawyer, who employs a friend to find her a husband. But when he feels the dogged promptings of the Holy Spirit to move across the country and marry a complete stranger, it seems love has little to do with it anyway.

With commitment their only foundation, and love constantly thwarted, can an arranged marriage find happiness in the twenty-first century?

My thoughts:

Becky and Luke. Sigh.

These two are a match made in heaven. Literally. When we first meet Becky, she’s joyful, optimistic, and in love. That doesn’t last long. At all. And it’s when her boyfriend is caught cheating on her that her insecurities—ones that I think a lot of us women can relate to—really come out. Through heartache, misunderstanding, and pride—yep, that nasty thing—Becky has such a beautiful character arc and growth that results in breaking down that wall of pride. There were a few times I wanted to throttle her, but more because I’ve been where she is and I know how it turns out. Thankfully, by the end of the book, so does she.

Luke. Well, I have a crush on him. Gotta be honest. J He really opens himself up to God’s direction, and while he has hesitations, he trusts in the Lord and makes a commitment he’s determined to stand by. His arc isn’t as focused upon, though we’re often in his point of view and it’s a beautiful thing. He has his own faults, but they don’t play as large a part in this story as Becky’s does. Luke’s story more surrounds his attempt to show his wife love—even before he realizes he loves her. He’s a pretty swoon-worthy man, I tell you.

Sarah Monzon has done an incredible job in her debut novel! She has excellent tension between two loveable characters, Luke and Becky, has protagonists (which don’t always need to be people) that move the story along at a good pace, and a well-developed plot. While the premise seems a little far-fetched in this day and age at first thought, when you read the book, it actually isn’t that far-fetched at all (and it’s something my husband and I have often talked about with regards to our own kids…LOL!). More than anything, it highlights that marriage isn’t about the feeling of love, but the commitment of love, something that will hold a marriage together through thick and thin.

I highly recommend reading this book. At first, you may need to suspend some belief to understand the premise (I personally didn’t, but some of you might), but isn’t that what fiction is anyway? A suspension of belief? Besides…I can see this happening and working out when both people are really committed.

As An Aside:

Would I do it? I want to say “no,” but honestly…in a way, I kind of did. While my husband and I met online on our own, we were “matched” together. We did talk on the phone a lot, but we only saw each other twice before our wedding (our third time in person together). We knew each other more than Luke and Becky, sure, but it was still a ginormous step of faith. So, would I do this? Would I involve myself in The Isaac Project? It would take a lot of faith—even more so than when I met and married my husband (by the way, that was over nine years ago, and we’re more in love today than even then!)—but if it’s what God asked me to do, yes. I would do it.

*I was given this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.