Monday, October 21, 2013

Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis

From the publisher:
Adam Colby is just doing his job, sorting through the unsold Alexander belongings after the estate sale. He is unprepared for what he finds in an old photo album, overlooked by the bargain hounds and treasure hunters—six decades of postcards and poems from Gabe Alexander to his wife, Pearl. The mystery of the Alexanders’ love entices Adam, a man unhinged by divorce and puzzled by the depth of commitment that he finds in the unabashedly romantic cards.
Forever Friday invites you to travel back in time to the early twentieth century Texas Coastal Bend where a young couple—Gabe and Pearl Alexander—are swept up in a miraculous love. As the heartwarming, pulse-quickening story of their relationship develops through Gabe’s poems, the Alexanders reveal a new way to consider what it means to be truly devoted to each other. Could the secrets of their love affair, laid to rest twenty years ago, hold the key to one man’s future?

The idea book was intriguing to me and that is why I picked it up but I just can't say that it was one I will keep.  

I did like the idea of a love and marriage lasting and not letting things get in the way.  But it seemed that Gabe and Pearl's relationship was more about romance and exciting outings that anything deep and solid.  I had a hard time trying to imagine them with kids or a solid marriage that was based on more than just fun activities.  

I also am not a huge fan of jumping forward in time and skipping dozens of years.  It was necessary for the book but that is just not my favorite way to read a story.  Others might really enjoy this aspect however.

Timothy Lewis' writing isn't what drew me away from the story, so I would try another book by him.  

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley

From the publisher:
When Miranda Hunt sees the classified ad for an heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch, she knows assuming the identity of Annie Beckman is the perfect cover. As one of the finest agents for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Miranda has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom - an elusive and notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling ranch.

But she isn't the only one there with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert is working the scene undercover as well. And although their true identities are a secret, it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the spark that flares between them.

But neither is about to let romance interfere with such a huge case. Besides, Miranda hasn't removed Jeremy from her list of suspects yet. The closer they come to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets - and no one on the ranch is safe.

But neither are their hearts - the longer Miranda and Jeremy spend working together, the harder it becomes to keep their feelings in check. Their careers - and their lives - depend on solving this case. Love will have to wait.

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish.  This is the third book in this series by Margaret Brownley and I think this one was my favorite. 

The history of the Pinkerton Agency and Wells Fargo Detective agency were fascinating for me to read more about.  This also added a whole new element to the series of the Brides of Last Chance Ranch.  The story was more than just working the ranch and trying to become a heiress.  There was mystery and intrigue, danger and romance.

Maragaret Brownley will keep the readers enthralled from the beginning to the end as they try to guess who the Phantom is and watch Miranda and Jeremy try to figure each other and the case out. Both Miranda and Jeremy are such fun spunky characters. 

This book also teaches a lesson on how we choose to view others and how it colors our view on life. Readers of the series will find the ending satisfying and will also enjoy reading a little about the previous characters Kate and Molly.

I highly recommend this book.

I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

From the publisher: 
After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo's prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God's chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain. 

Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers. 

Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Return to Me tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

I was excited to review this book by Lynn Austin.  I enjoy the smaller books of the Old Testament and was glad to see a Biblical fiction book written about the time of Zechariah and going back to rebuild the temple after the exile in Babylon.

My favorite aspect of the book was the way that Lynn Austin dealt with the characters belief in God and His laws.  Iddo especially struggles with the reasons that he serves God.  Is it out of fear or love?  Obligation or devotion?  This is a theme that affects many characters, why do they do what they do?  I found this very relevant and interesting for us today because some people do not know why they serve God.  And a theme that Lynn Austin brings out is that it must be from love.  

The majority of the story spans a few years and then near the end there are a few large gaps in time.  Some readers might not enjoy this but it was necessary for the completion of the story.  

Lynn Austin writes with details about Babylon, Jerusalem, and the surrounding areas with detail and historical accuracy that will impress readers.

I enjoyed this book and will look for more books by her.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.