Monday, April 15, 2013

Trouble in Store

I was excited to receive this book for free from Bethany House Publishers. The description sounded very intriguing! Mystery, danger, intrigue, romance, and all in a good, clean Christian book... it was right up my alley! I was not disappointed.  Trouble in Store by Carol Cox is a fantastic book with in-depth characters and a great plot.

Melanie Ross feels like her world is breaking around her. After being abruptly fired from her position as a governess, she doesn't know what she is going to do.  Then she remembers that when her only remaining relative passed away, she was offered a place to stay AND a job! So she heads out west determined to make this work. If not, what will she do??

Caleb Nelson does not need a woman telling him what to do. On top of everything else going on in his life, he just wants to focus on running HIS store, raising his son, and figuring out who keeps leaving these threatening notes for him to find. So when Melanie shows up claiming that half of the store belongs to her, Caleb is furious! He plots a way to get rid of her by marrying her off, which he reasons shouldn't be hard to do. It's the west after all, there are way more available men than there are women!

But when notes turn to break-ins and other dangers, things change. In this sweet story of healing and God's grace, we meet two characters whose lives have been beaten and broken.  Reading about these two characters emotions, we can feel the despair they sometimes feel and we can rejoice with them when they finally figure out God's plan. Carol brings the characters to life by giving them real emotions. I can relate to Melanie because I know what it's like to smile when inside you're crying. I can relate to Caleb because I know what it's like to just want some consistency and normalcy after tragedy strikes.She does an excellent job of creating a message of faith and God's unfailing love, all while not being too preachy.

The message is this: God creates beauty from the ashes of your despair. Don't give up! You're sorrow will turn to joy and your heartache will turn to rejoicing in HIS time. It's a lesson we all need to learn, and reading this book might just help you do that!

This book is available for pre-order and will come available on June 1.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Megan's Hero

Megan's Hero is the third, and final installment in the Callahan Crossing series by Sharon Gillenwater.  Just like the first two, it's an excellent read! This one was a little different in the fact that one of the main characters is not a Christian in the beginning of the book.  I liked that fact, because we got to see her journey to accepting Christ as her Saviour, and to me there is  no greater thing than that (even though it was in a fiction book!).

Megan Smith didn't think things could get any worse, and then they did. The book opens with Megan pulling over on the side of the road, all her earthy possessions with her, in the middle of a downpour.  The downpour goes from scary to frightening in minutes. With a tornado popping out of nowhere, and no time for her to run, she does the only thing she can think to do. Leave the van, lay herself down in a ditch, and pray (to whoever is out there) that she lives. Once the storm is over, Megan starts to panic some. Her van is totaled. She is pregnant with almost no money, and no where to go. What was she going to do?

Enter Will Callahan, the 32 year old Callahan bachelor. He and his family watched the tornado and after it was over, he goes to check and make sure no one was caught in the tornado.  One look at Megan and Will is a goner. He is thinking about her constantly and takes up the role of "protector" in her life. 

Will and Megan both have to struggle with the concept of God's amazing love and grace. Megan, however, has more to struggle with.  Throughout the book we see her trying to grasp the concept of why God would save her after all she'd done in her past. I think she finally understands when she reads the last verse of Psalm 18:19, "He rescued me because he delighted in me." If she didn't understand why God would rescue her out of the muck and mire of the past, I certainly did. It brought tears to my eyes!

I love the fact that this book brings to light the challenges that a pregnant, single woman with no where to go faces. I also love the fact that it gives those women hope that there are some good men out there who are willing to accept the challenge of being with her. It shows God's mercy. This was just an excellent book, and I highly recommend it!

Emily's Chance

Man meets woman. Man loves woman. Man marries woman. If only it were that simple...

As you all know, I absolutely LOVED the first book in this series, Jenna's Cowboy.  The second book, Emily's Chance, was no different. Sharon Gillenwater created another great book with in-depth characters you can relate to. Chance and Emily have qualities that all of us have and they struggle with problems and issues, just like we do. They are likable and both are stubborn to the core (and let's face it, how many of us out there are NOT stubborn??).

Chance Callahan, a 29 year old bachelor, is ready to settle down and he knows exactly who he wants to settle down with. Problem is, she doesn't know it yet.  Chance owns his own successful business building and repairing houses, while helping out at the ranch occasionally.  He is a typical, good-hearted, Christian man.  He's stubborn, bossy, and struggles on a daily basis with a critical and sometimes "holier-than-thou" attitude.  He is just like most Christians. I'll admit that I've had a problem with having an attitude that did not stem from Christian love as it should have, just like most of you have too. 

Emily Rose Denny is determined to make a big name for herself. Unfortunately, with her chosen career path, that is taking a little longer than she hoped for.  Emily dreams of being a curator for a big-city museum.  She wants to prove to her mother and father that she's worth something and her life was not wasted.  Emily is also painted in a most human way.  She has a past, and she struggles daily in her faith. Half way through the book, though we see a suttle shift in Emily's character.  As the book says "her head might be determined to have a big city career, but her heart was saying that life in Callahan Crossing would bring her happiness."  She struggles with the fact that God's plans might not be her plans, just like most of us do in our lives.

In the end, God's will wins out just as it should. It shows us that if we listen to our hearts, God will make his will and way clear for all of us. This was a good, sweet, romantic read just like the last one. Go, read it!