Monday, October 27, 2014

Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson

From the publisher:
Back in fifth grade, Micah Knight got an Amish pen pal, and over the years, they've exchanged many letters--and many secrets. At age seventeen, Micah finally has the chance to meet her pen pal face-to-face. The only problem is that because of confusion about her name when the pen pals were assigned, her pen pal was a boy, Zack Miller. And all this time, Micah's never told Zack that she's actually a girl! While she wants nothing more than to experience life on Zack's Amish farm, she's afraid he'll hate her for deceiving him all these years. But she makes up her mind to face the music--and that's where the fun really begins.

Bestselling author Melody Carlson brings young adults another fascinating tale of worlds colliding, secrets being revealed, and friendships forming. Teens will love this story of miscommunication and mishaps along the way to the truth.


This young-adult novel is a fun read for fans of Amish fiction.  This light-hearted story takes both Micah and Zach on a journey about honesty in themselves and what they want in life.  

Melody Carlson writes an easy-to-read novel.  Readers will find themselves easily turning pages as they learn more about Micah and Zach.  There are some fun and humorous moments for the characters.  And there are also some parts the show growth and change.  

The story is not traditionally Amish, where the characters all become Amish, so that was a nice trade, but there is still respect shown for the culture.  Yet, it also shows how there are some parts of being Amish that are restrictive, beyond just clothing, as in education.  I liked that Zach wanted more education and that was his driving point to have change in his life.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

From the publisher:
Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney's office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school--and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

Fan favorite Julie Lessman draws a romantic triangle that will have readers in a tizzy in this glittering Gilded Age tale of transforming love.


If you are a Julie Lessman fan this book will not disappoint you!  You will find yourself immersed in San Francisco and the lives of the McClares and their friends.

This is the third book in the Heart of San Francisco series.  Readers who have not read the first two books will feel somewhat lost in the beginning of this book with all the characters and the inside stories.  So I recommend reading the other two books first.

Julie Lessman writes a passionate romance for her readers.  This book is not just about Meg and Bram's romance but also is the conclusion for Logan and Cait's romance.  There are love triangles and struggles galore and this will keep readers turning the pages to find out more.  

I did enjoy that Julie Lessman does include faith through out the book as the different characters must take their desires and wills to God and let Him direct things.  

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

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot

From the publisher:
Marketing maven Kate Sherwood's world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is slow down to a crawl at Rainbow's End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. But she cannot deny her ailing grandmother's request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week (albeit fifty years ago). There Kate meets Greg Vange, the resort's handyman. But there's more to Greg than meets the eye--billions more, in fact, as he recently sold his successful software company and is at the resort in search of what's next for his life.

Kate isn't looking for romance, but she can't deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. She even starts to see potential in the rundown resort. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate's long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Amanda Cabot invites readers to step away from the pressures of the daily grind. They might be surprised by what they find at Rainbow's End.


This book is a light read and for someone who is looking to relax at the end of the day, this might be the book for them.

Kate and Greg are both seeking something more in their lives and have the chance to find that as they relax at Rainbow's End.  More than that they attracted to each other.  Amanda Cabot creates quick romance budding between Kate and Greg.  If you are a reader who enjoys "love at first sight"--then this will be an enjoyable book.  Sally and Roy also have sparks fly the first night they are together and so there are two romances to enjoy reading.

There is also the love between a grandmother and her granddaughter.  Sally and Kate's relationship is something special in this book and gives it another dimension.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

From the publisher:
Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served. 


This is the second book in the Edwardian Brides series, but if you have not read the first book you will still be able to enjoy this novel. But I do recommend reading Governess of Highland Hall because it is also a great read.

Carrie Turnasky does an excellent job of character development with both Katherine and Jon but especially with Katherine.  As her character goes through changes the reader can appreciate what is happening because Carrie shows the changes and does not simply tell you.  

I felt the story was engaging and well paced.  There were a few subplots that all wove into the greater plot of Katherine and Jon's but were definitely intriguing.  There were also hints at a budding romance for another book.

Faith was brought into the novel but it was done in a natural way as Jon and his sister Julia are very strong in their faith.  The spiritual conversations were not forced but enhanced the book.  

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

An October Bride by Katie Ganshert

From the publisher:
Emma Tate has just moved on from one fiancĂ©, so when she announces a sudden engagement to her lifelong buddy Jake Sawyer, every busybody in Mayfair goes into high alert. Of course, no one but Jake and Emma know the real reason they’re getting married—so Emma’s dying father will have a chance to walk her down the aisle.

But while Jake and Emma move forward with their plan—and frantically plan an October wedding—it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications . . . the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

With dubious friends, deliriously thrilled parents, and a town that won’t keep its nose out of their business, Emma and Jake will have a lot to contend with if they’re going to pull this off. The real question is: Who wants this wedding more, Emma’s dad . . . or Emma?


This is the novella that I have enjoyed the most from this year of Weddings so far and I have read each one that has come out.

This novella had me laughing out loud to myself as I read it and enjoying the foreshadowing and little hints of love from Jake and Emma's past.

Katie Ganshert writes the perfect novella that leaves you wishing it was a full length novel, but yet as a reader you are able to fully enjoy it as it is.  The romance between Kate and Jake isn't a "whirlwind" as some novellas are, but instead has been growing for a long time.  Katie Ganshert also weaves in faith and trust in God as Emma deals with her father's terminal illness.  

An October Bride is a sweet and faith inspiring romance that is enjoyable and engaging from start to finish.

I received this ebook from BookLookBlogger in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

From the publisher:
In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.

Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future--of family and love--seem impossible.

In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.  


I really respect Lynn Austin as an Biblical fiction author.  As you read her works you can tell that she has delved into the Bible and wrestled with hard truths in order to share with the readers God's love and mercy--even when it is hard to see.

This book is the second in the Restoration Chronicles but you don't have to read Return to Me in order to enjoy and be blessed by this book.

The story is woken between five main characters but this is not overwhelming and the stories begin to link together.  The characters are interesting and challenging to read.  The difficult situations that Lynn Austin writes about from the Bible take on new life as we see them through the eyes of these characters.  The Biblical stories become personal and she made me think about different aspects of them that I had not before.

I found myself underlining what the characters were saying to each other about God.  The spiritual truths that Lynn Austin put in here are amazing and any Christian will be blessed by reading them and taking them to heart.

Something i really appreciated was that in the difficult situations, where the characters are questioning what to do, and what is right from God's point of view--according to the Torah--she doesn't just gloss things over, or let the characters "wink" at sin.  Instead she gives solid Biblical answers and proof for the situations.  I found myself wondering how she was going to answer some of the questions, and was amazed each time.

I highly recommend this book.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.