Monday, September 19, 2016

To Have and To Hold by Betsy St. Amant, Becky Wade, and Katie Ganshert

To Have and to Hold: Three Autumn Love Stories (A Year of Weddings Novella) by [St. Amant, Betsy, Ganshert, Katie, Wade, Becky]

From the publishers:

Love Takes the Cake: A September Wedding Story by Betsy St. Amant

Charlotte Cantrell is always the baker; never the bride. When Will, a regular at Charlotte’s bakery, catches her attention, she can only hope that he is the reliable man this single mother has always hoped to find. The problem is that he’s regularly stopping in to buy cookies for another girl. But when Charlotte is hired to bake a host of wedding goodies for a difficult bride and finds out Will is the best man, she has the perfect opportunity to get to know him better—and find out how serious Will is about this other girl in his life.

My Review:
Charlotte's bakery had me getting up and making something delicious just so I could eat along with her characters. Seriously, the writing made you want to visit this place.  I love how Will and Charlotte have a friendship, even though they don't really know each other, just from him visiting the store so regularly. 

It also was a good read because so many of us have things in our past that shape us and often times hold us back from the future.  This book, through the character's struggles, will help readers comes to realize that it doesn't have to hold them back, it might shape them, but it doesn't mean they can't have a full and complete life.

The Perfect Arrangement: An October Wedding Story by Katie Ganshert

Amelia Woods is a small-town wallflower and the proud owner of Forget-Me-Nots, a quaint flower shop. Her love life has always been a bit lackluster—until she ends up in an embarrassing fender-bender with handsome Nate Gallagher. Meanwhile, Amelia’s younger brother, William, has proposed to his girlfriend. Amelia would be excited except she has evidence that the fiancĂ©e is not who she says she is. It seems Nate is the only one available for any advice-giving, and he’s good at it—and pretty fun to talk to, too. As Amelia works to craft the perfect flower arrangements for other people, she begins to wonder if real love is better than the dream. And if it is, will Nate still be interested when he learns who she is?

My Review:

This was a brilliant novella.  There was a lot packed into this little book and yet, it was just perfect. I loved hearing all of the details about the flower shop and Amelia's life as a florist.  The supporting characters were definitely a strength to the book.  There were people to love and dislike in a way that is only human and natural in real life.  This story felt like it could easily have happened.
I felt just as eager as Nate and Amelia felt to read each others email.  I was in agony when there was a lapse in communication.  Why did he/she write back yet?!  Written as only Katie Ganshert can write this beautiful love story is perfect.  Not because the characters are perfect, or the situation, but because of its imperfections and the way that it all works together for good.  I like the emailing back and forth.  It added a different dimension to the story and allowed the reader a new way to get to know the characters and see what was going on. 
Love in the Details: A November Wedding Story by Becky Wade

When Josh returns to his hometown of Martinsburg, Texas, to help his best friend get married, he didn’t intend to run into church wedding coordinator—and ex-girlfriend—Holly. He can’t help but pine after the girl he never got over. Holly broke up with Josh years ago in an attempt to ensure his future success. But she loved him then and still loves him now. As she helps him plan his best friend’s wedding, she longs to be with Josh but doesn’t feel worthy of his big-time lifestyle when she is more comfortable in her small-town world. Will Josh and Holly be able to keep things as they are when their true feelings threaten to surface at every turn?

My Review:

As soon as I read the first pages, I felt myself sinking into this novella.  Josh and Holly's high school love that ended too soon made my heart ache.  Yet, it shows how sometimes things that happen, that we won't enjoy--can still benefit us in the end.  Holly and Josh have grown since they have been apart and also grow with their interaction to each other. I love how Becky Wade's book can make you swoon and feel all romantic, and yet she tucks in truths that are solid and deep.

Becky Wade's writing is wonderful.  Even in this novella you could tell that she was the type of writing to draw you in and keep you.  I wanted to read more about Josh and Holly, but the novella was perfect in its novella form. 

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

Monday, September 12, 2016

Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

From the publisher:
Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.
But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.
Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.
As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?


I think my biggest complaint with this book is that it wasn't longer and the series is over.  I want to know more about the Callahans!  I have loved this series and this book was no exception.  Denise Hunter writes her stories in such a way that you put other books aside just to dive into the stories she is creating.

Something I liked about this story was that it showed how while love is so important it is not the thing that really  heals you and makes you whole, the only thing that can do that is God and His work in us. 

Paige and Riley's story have been hinted at since the first book in this series and all a long you find yourself eager to have a chance to read their story.  This is a believable and enjoyable story.  Readers will fall in love with Paige and Riley and will enjoy hearing about the other Callahan stories as this is the final book in the series.

I highly recommend not only this book but the whole series.

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

A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones

I am so excited about this book. I am a vegetarian so, first of all I love how thick this book is.  I could tell when I picked it up that it was going to be filled with things I could cook my family.

It got even better as I opened the book and began to read.  This amazing cookbook is broken down by how long it takes you to cook a meal.  15, 20, 30, 40 minutes...what you have time to cook, you can cook.  I cannot say how happy I was that there were recipes for 15 minutes!  Often when I don't have time to cook I end up feeding my family things that aren't the healthiest (boxed mac and cheese anyone?) but if I can cook a healthy vegetarian meal in 15 minutes then I am beyond excited! 

I am ready to put this book to the test.  I am going to use it to help plan meals and have these kind of ingreidents on hand so I can pull together a healthy and delicious meal. 

I also love when cookbooks have pictures and this one has beautiful ones.  Not every recipe has a picture but most do.  I think this book is going to be a hit in our home as well as yours.

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Starving Hearts by Janine Mendenhall

From the publisher:
Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage. But she yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God's existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way...

Mr. Peter Adsley is joining the clergy, and he desires a godly wife by his side. After a failed attempt to obtain one, he engages in a clandestine meeting with the bewitching young woman who keeps crossing his path. But she is so unsettling.

Destined for disappointments, Peter and Annette both endure disgraceful situations. Will Peter s faith sustain him through overwhelming setbacks? Can Annette overcome her doubts? Or will their starving hearts yield to the machinations of a mad man?

Janine Mendenhall has creates a book that will have you wishing the next in the series was already out.  I cannot wait to read the second in the series as it is based off of a character I long to know more about.

Annette is an interesting character to read.  Her strength in certain ways an then her physical weaknesses are contrast that I think will help readers identify with their own strengths and weaknesses in their lives. 

Peter's narrow view of what he is supposed to do in life is broadened by his encounters with Annette.  I liked this aspect a lot.  Sometimes we view our "mission" in just one area but God might bring us to another area whether we liked it or not.

I love the issues that were dealt with in the book.  I teared up during the ship scenes and my heart was wrenched to think of the suffering of those beautiful people.

Something that I think was probably my favorite part was the "mad man" and how you see him as more than he is and I cannot wait to read more about him in the next book.

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