Monday, October 28, 2013

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Hello everyone! Welcome to a new week! It's Monday! I am so excited to bring this review to you because I absolutely loved the story. Unfortunately, it took me longer than I would have liked to finish it. I just have so much going on right now, I didn't have time to read! Trust me, it's not because the story was boring or because I didn't want to.. I just plain didn't have time. :( So without further adieu.. here's me review!

What Once Was Lost: A NovelOverview: A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?

On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?

"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." - Proverbs 16:9

My Review: Wow! What a sweet, sweet story! Kim Vogel Sawyer has such a way with words. All of her books leave me feeling happy and more secure in my faith. Christina Willems has been a servant of the Lord her whole life. All she knows is giving of herself to others. And she loves it. She is fiercely protective of her residents at the poor farm and is absolutely devastated when the fire causes them to be dispersed amongst the town. Can her faith help her through this rough time? Levi Jonnson doesn't want anything to do with anyone. He thinks he is saving himself from more hurt and heartache by hiding away himself. So why does he allow Christina to talk him into taking on the care of Tommy? And how did he let Tommy - and Christina - slip past the wall he had built around his heart?

The story line was fantastic! As always, Kim Vogel Sawyer makes the characters emotions jump from the page. After several things go wrong, Christina begins to doubt her life's work and dedication. She also begins to question her faith in God.  As the story progresses, we see Christina's struggle to maintain her faith in herself, as well. Her father gives her some good advice, that she doesn't take to heart immediately: "When in doubt, Christina, go to the Father. He alone has the answers to life's ponderings." "Worry is telling God you don't trust him." Levi's struggle is more internal, but no less real. The romance is very subtly done, and super sweet! The side stories of Cora and Tommy add an amazing depth to story as a whole. When Cora comes to know the Lord as her saviour, you rejoice right along with Ma Creeger. 

The main message of the story, simply stated in the book, is this: "Whatsoever ye do, do it to the glory of God." Sometimes it's hard to remember, especially when praise for your good works is coming in, to give thanks and praise to the One who gives you the ability to do those works. And the testing of your faith only makes you stronger. God didn't promise the road would be easy, but He did promise that "no matter how dark the night, God's mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness." 

**I received a free copy of this book as part of the WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Week End Wrap-Up (October 25)

Hello everyone! We have come to the end of another exciting week! This is the 12th addition of the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

It's been a disappointingly slow reading week for me. I have only finished one book this week! :( 
I had to take the pre-licensing class for life insurance this week. It's a 2 1/2 day class that crams in 20 hours of life insurance stuff you need to know to take the state exam. Since I have to get my license for work, it is kind of a big deal. The good news is I passed the class exam, so I'm sitting for the state exam next week! I hope I pass that one too :)

What I Read

Reviews Posted:
Lone Star Trail

What I'm Currently Reading:
What Once Was Lost

What I Plan on Reading Next:
Redeeming LoveA Most Unsuitable MatchDeadly Intent

That about wraps it up folks!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin

Hello everyone! I hope you have had a blessed Sunday. I know I have! It was good to go and worship the Lord this morning. I even finished a book this weekend! Lone Star Trail is book one of the Texas Trails: A Morgan Family Series. This series was written by a collaboration of authors and if they are as good as this one was, I can't wait to read them!

Overview: Judson (Jud) Morgan's father died for Texas' freedom during the war for independence. So when the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas (the Verein) attempts to colonize a New Germany in his country, he takes a stand against them.

After Wande Fleischers' fiancé marries someone else, the young fraulein determines to make a new life for herself in Texas. With the help of Jud's sister Marion, Wande learns English and becomes a trusted friend to the entire Morgan family.

As much as Jud dislikes the immigrant invasion, he can't help admiring Wande's character. She is sweet and cheerful as she serves the Lord and all those around her. Can the rancher put aside his prejudice to forge a new future? Through Jud and Wande, we learn the powerful lessons of forgiveness and reconciliation among a diverse community of believers.

My Review: This is a wonderful book. It is the first book I've read by Darlene Franklin, so I didn't know what to expect. I was not disappointed. Jud Morgan is your typical man. He is strong, smart, and stubborn to a fault. He is prejudice against outsiders and doesn't welcome change very easily. That is, until he meets Wande and her family. Wande is an excellent role model for women. She is a happy, strong, and independent woman. The character development in the story was excellent. I felt like I got to know both of the main characters, as well as the secondary characters in the book.

The story is sweet. Jud and Wande meet. Jud, who is completely against the German people settling in his Texas, wants nothing to do with her at first. Wande is the same. She does not want to be around someone who so easily dismisses her people. They are brought together through a series of events and become friends. Then, of course, as the story progresses, they become so much more! The romance of the two is sweet and simple. It is not over the top or overdone. The story line is interesting and the book was very easy to follow.

The message is this: trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean on Him in hard times. I stated at the beginning of this review that Wande is a great role model for women because this is exactly what she does. Even through all of the trials she faces, she turns to the Lord for comfort and keeps going, even when the going gets tough. There is an old hymn that is referenced several times in this book that sums up the message quite nicely: A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Overall, I am so glad I picked this book to read and can't wait to get the next one!

**I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Week End Wrap-Up (October 18)

Hello everyone! We have come to the end of another exciting week! This is the 11th addition of the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

I have several things going on in my life right now. We are coming to the end of my first week, of eight, of my last 2 classes! I'm 7 weeks away from graduation! WOOOOHOOOOO! This is such a huge accomplishment for me, and I can't wait to be done! 

Wedding planning is in full swing! We have set a date and paid the deposit for the venue. I've made an appointment to go wedding dress shopping. I've been speaking with florists to get quotes. I'm so excited and stressed all at the same time! 

Well, let's get on with it!
What I've Read this week
Waiting for MorningGunpowder Tea 

Reviews Posted
Waiting for Morning
Gunpowder Tea

What I'm Currently Reading
Lone Star Trail 

What I plan on reading next
What Once Was LostRedeeming LoveA Most Unsuitable Match

And that about wraps it up!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley

Hello everyone! It's almost the end of the week! I've finished the final book the in Brides of Last Chance Ranch series by Margaret Brownley, and I'm sad it's come to an end. What will I read next?!

In a case that could change her career, Miranda uncovers a love that will change her life.

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 at the ranch with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggart is working undercover as well. Their true identities may be a secret, but it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the sparks flaring between them.

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 get to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets—and no one on the ranch is safe.

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 just have to wait.

My Review: This is my favorite book of the whole series.  Miranda Hunt (a.k.a. Annie Beckman) has been trying to prove herself her whole life. First, to her father. Second, to her superiors and other Pinkerton operatives. Third, to herself. She is strong-willed, determined, and is not afraid to question things.  She is very good at her job, and feels that a big case will fulfill her empty heart.  Jeremy Taggart (a.k.a. Branch) is handsome and charming. He has recently come out of semi-retirement to work a case on the Phantom. What neither Annie nor Branch bargained for was meeting each other on Last Chance Ranch.

The story line is so good! It's the most exciting of the three. There is action, mystery, and a little bit of romance.  The intensity between Annie and Branch is palpable. I don't know about you, but I could feel it coming off the pages! This well written story had me guessing until the very end. I loved the side story of Miss Walker. I was very pleased with how that story ended! I also liked that it mentioned the other characters from the first two books and gives us an "update" on their lives.  Aunt Bessie is as comical as ever, and does not detract from the story in any way. The message is this: what type of faith do you have? Is it a trusting faith, or a questioning faith? Can you learn to forgive and forget the past and "follow the joy" of the life God has planned for you? 

Overall, this book has it all! Mystery, action, and romance. What more could you ask for? Read it today!

**I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

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Until next time... :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Waiting for Morning by Margaret Brownley

Howdy, howdy folks! It's been a great week so far! This is the first week of my last classes. The end is in sight... I'm ALMOST done! 7 more weeks.....WOOOHOOOO!!! Just think of all the reading I'll get done with no school work to do!

Anyways, I finished Waiting for Morning by Margaret Brownley tonight. This is the second book in the Brides of Last Chance Ranch series, and I think it was better than the first! I really enjoyed Molly and Caleb's story.

OverviewIf Molly Hatfield's purple attire doesn't blind you, her dazzling smile will.  She doesn't just sing to the cattle, she puts on a whole show. If only she wasn't so stubborn about her brother's care.  Or so distrustful of a certain handsome doctor...

There is nothing Molly wouldn't do for her teenaged brother, Donny. Blaming herself for the accident that left him wheel-chair bound, Molly has dedicated her life to his care. But in 1896, gainful employment for a woman is hard to come by. So when Molly learns that an eccentric rancher in Cactus Patch, Arizona, is looking for an heiress--someone to take over management of the ranch in exchange for future ownership--she jumps at the chance to provide a real home for her brother.

If she proves to have a knack for ranching and agrees to remain single for life, the ranch can be hers. Neither stipulation worries Molly. She's resourceful and hardworking. And she gave up dreams of marriage long ago when she dedicated her life to her brother's well-being.
However, Molly didn't bank on meeting Dr. Caleb Fairbanks, the town's handsome and charismatic young doctor, whose backfiring automobilie almost gets him killed when Molly thinks she's being shot at and fires back.

But it's how he is with her brother that really alarms her. Caleb sees past the wheelchair and genuinely likes Donny, but Molly fears he's putting unrealistic ideas into her brother's head. Falling in love with Caleb would threaten everything she's worked for, even her brother's future happiness.   It'll take an act of congress to convince her otherwise--and maybe even a little help from above.  

My Review: As I stated before, I love Caleb and Molly's story. I love their characters. I loved getting to know them. Mrs. Brownley does an excellent job of hashing out these characters.  We can tell from the beginning that Caleb is going to be a fantastic male hero. He is smart, funny, compassionate, charming and stubborn as always. I also love that Caleb Molly, in my opinion, is awesome. She is a great older sister. She has a fierce love for her brother and will do anything for him. She is self-assured (most of the time), determined, and proud. Donny brings the story together. Miss Walker is still a conundrum to me. She acts all tough, but inside she's going soft. I love her character and can't wait to see her develop more.

The story is much the same as the first book in the series. However, Caleb and Molly's story has Donny. Donny adds a depth to the story and an interesting one at that. Molly is determined to be the perfect heiress. Caleb is determined to change the world as a doctor, and struggles with "failure" just like all doctors do. Donny struggles to come to grips with his paralysis and learning that he's not helpless. He works to come to grips with the fact that he is growing up. The romance between Molly and Caleb is natural and very well developed.

I love the fact that Molly, despite her former job, still believed in God. Oh she didn't like going to church because of what had happened in her past, and she might not have put God first in everything, but she still believed and didn't "spurn" God because of it. That, to me, is a more natural reaction to averse things happening in a Christian's life than to completely disown God. However, people react differently, so someone else might have a different opinion. Caleb understands people. He has to. Being a doctor means reading people to tell if they are lying to you about their symptoms, etc. He quickly learns that Molly carries more than she needs to. The message is clear. Wait on the Lord, put Him first in everything. 

Overall, this story is an excellent addition to the series, and I highly recommend it!

More fun, with links!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week End Wrap-Up (October 11)

YAY! It's FRIDAY! This is the tenth addition of the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

This has been one long week. I feel like I accomplished something, though. It was the last week of my first session for the fall semester. That means I was busy doing final exams (boo) and didn't have a whole lot of reading time (double boo). BUT, that means I'm 2 classes away from graduation!!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!!

Books I've Read:
Dawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series #1)

Reviews Posted
Heart of the Country
Dawn Comes Early

What I'm currently reading:
Waiting for Morning

Gunpowder TeaWhat Once Was LostLone Star Trail

Well, that about wraps it up!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley

Howdy, howdy! It's been a long week, and it's only Wednesday! It's final exam week for me, so reading for pleasure is hard right now. I have managed to finish this great book, though. Dawn Comes Early is the first book in the Brides of Last Chance Ranch series by Margaret Brownley. I haven't read her books in a while, but I loved the Rocky Creek Romance series, so I knew I would love these as well!

OverviewLooking for a woman of good character and pleasant disposition willing to learn the ranching business in Arizona territory. Must be SINGLE and prepared to remain so now and forever more. Will be given ownership of ranch. —Eleanor Walker
Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest book for a fresh start at a cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory. She hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits her is a much harder life. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch in 1895, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early . . . every day. But she is tenacious.
Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn’t expect to meet Luke Adams either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn’t recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.
Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.
My Review: This was such a great book. The characters were fantastic. Miss Walker is something else. I really enjoyed her character and figuring out why she is the way she is. Kate Tenney strikes me as smart, independent, and stubborn. She thinks she has life figured out. Luke Adams is the strong, silent type. Their romance was sweet. The conversations they would have together made me laugh most times, and other times I would want to shake them both for their blindness! 
The story progresses naturally. I like that the timeline is more than a week or a few days. Some authors try to cram a whole love story into a week, which isn't realistic at all. Instead, Kate and Luke converse over months and have plenty of time for feelings to develop  Kate comes to Last Chance Ranch because she feels she has no where else to go. The name of the ranch is very fitting, in her case. She is at her lowest point when she comes to Cactus Patch and can't afford to lose. Luke is content to be the town smithy and live his simple life. So he is unprepared for the feelings Kate awakens in him. Can they both figure out their own hearts before it's too late?!
If there is one thing wrong with this book, it is this: I'm not sure whether or not Kate becomes a Christian. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but the progression for Kate doesn't seem realistic to me. I don't feel she was ministered to enough throughout the story to really come to an understanding with the Lord. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a good ol' fashion cowboy read!
More fun, with links!
Good night! :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge

Howdy, howdy! It's been another eventful week, but I made it through! I finished another book, too! :) I picked this book because Jana Kramer was on the cover, and I absolutely love her. I had seen the trailer for the movie that was made for the book, and was interested in it.

OverviewFaith and Luke Carraday have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming businessman. After taking his inheritance from his father’s stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, he’s on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife.
When rumors of the Michovs’ involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can’t understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is forced to turn to his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned, and will those families find the grace to forgive and forget? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere to run but home? 
Review: I thought this book was good. The characters were real, the emotions were real. Faith is beautiful and strong, in a quiet way. She is also a little selfish and lacks self confidence, especially after what happens to Luke. Luke strikes me as a loyal, loving man who is also selfish. While he lives a very priviledged life, I don't feel like he is greedy in any way, but selfish in that he wants to make his own way in the world, not live in the shadow of his family. Olivia is beautiful and strong in her more outgoing, "bossy" way. She is learning to trust the sister who ran away when times got tough. 

The story was good. I just felt like something was missing. I didn't feel like I could connect with any of the characters. The plot was good, but I felt like Faith should have been more angry or fought harder instead of just running from Luke. I think Luke should have fought harder in the beginning to explain things to Faith and to keep her. I did think it was cool how the author included snapshots of Catherine's thoughts. It helped bring the story together and kind of explained the reason why the sisters were like they were as only a mother can do.

Overall, even though I felt like something was missing from this story, it was still good. It was a sweet read, and a modernized version of the story of the Prodigal Son. God is always there for you, no matter what. He is waiting, with open arms, to welcome you home. Never forget that!

Movie Review: In this case, I liked the movie better than book. Faith is angry and hurt. Her feelings are tangible. I can relate more to her hurt in the movie than I can in the book. Luke seems more selfish in the movie, in a bad way, than in the book. However, that only added to the movie to me. I was crying my eyes out at the end of the movie; an emotion that was lacking at the end of the book.

Look for the movie, to be released 12/3/2013!!

**I received a complimentary copy of the book and the movie from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

More fun, with links!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Week End Wrap-Up (October 4)

Hello everyone! We've come to the end of another great week :)! This is the ninth addition of the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week! Since this is also the beginning (well, the 4th day) of a new month, we'll recap all the books I read in September as well!

Current Giveaways:
Stranded (Alaskan Courage, #3)$50 Amazon Giftcard! Ends 10/6/2013
Stranded by Dani Pettrey BookBlast! hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer.

$25 Amazon Giftcard! Ends 10/10/2013
Stranded by Dani Pettrey Blog Tour hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer.

Books I've read this week:
Cape Refuge (Cape Refuge Series #1)

Reviews Posted: 
Cape Refuge
*Heart of the Country review will go live 10/5/2013

What I'm Currently Reading:
Dawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series #1)

What I plan on reading next week: 
Waiting for MorningGunpowder TeaWhat Once Was LostLone Star Trail

September Round-Up:
Prairie Song (Hearts Seeking Home #1)Maid to MatchBlue Moon Promise (Under Texas Stars #1)Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege #1)A Heart DeceivedShades of MercyStranded (Alaskan Courage, #3)My Hope Is Found (The Cadence of Grace #3)Beloved

Whew! That's a lot of books! What a great month!

Well, that's about wraps it up! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stranded by Dani Pettrey: Blog Tour + $25 Giveaway!

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Stranded by Dani Pettrey! I am excited to be a part of the blog tour, hosted by I am a Reader, because I absolutely LOVE Dani Pettrey's books. I've read and reviewed the first two books in this series, Submerged and Shattered, in my early blogging days. (It's definitely cool to look back at the beginning of my short blogging career and see how far my posts have come!) I've been waiting for this book to come out since then!


Stranded (Alaskan Courage #3): Overview

strandedWhen her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn't satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Something isn't lining up, and Darcy believes the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby's position. Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn't the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances.
Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock for a few days of sightseeing. He's surprised to find Darcy working aboard one of the ships, investigating a troubling report. Something sinister is going on and the deeper they dig the more Gage fears they've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

My Review:
 This book was absolutely fantastic! I read it in a day! I was very excited to learn more about Darcy and Gage. I also loved hearing about how the rest of the characters' lives were progressing. Darcy St. James is a strong Christian lead character. She lives her faith as best as she can, and she trusts God to show her what she is supposed to do with her life. When she stumbles, you stumble with her. The author has a way of writing the characters that endears them to you. Gage is a mystery to me. One moment, he's pushing Darcy away. The next moment, he's tugging her to him (which he does A LOT in this book). I understand his struggle with trust and love. I also understand his anger at God.

The mystery and romance is as intriguing and captivating as ever. Dani Pettrey is a master story teller. There were parts of the story where I said to myself, "wow! I didn't see that coming!" The development of the romance between Darcy and Gage was sweet and natural. As Gage and Darcy struggle with their pasts, as well as their budding romance, the message of the book becomes clear: Jesus can mend even the most broken of hearts, if we're willing to let him. We need to be patient and wait on Him. Also, Darcy comes to the realization that she can't force someone to believe in Jesus. All she can do is tell them about Him and pray. That's all any of us can do.

Overall, this story was intriguing, captivating, and just all around fantastic. It's exactly what I've come to expect from Dani Pettrey and more. I look forward to reading the next book in this series, Silenced, which is slated to come out next year (oh the agony of waiting!).

Author Dani Pettrey

daniDani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/10/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley as part of the blog tour in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock

Good morning everyone! It's been one of those weeks so far... you know, the kind where something happens to (almost) ruin your day, every day. That's ok, though. It's HUMP DAY! I finished a very exciting book last night by an author I've never read before. Let's just say, I will definitely be reading the rest of this series and more of Terri Blackstock in the future. Cape Refuge is book one of the Cape Refuge series. It's one of those "I shouldn't stay up late at night reading this book but I can't put it down," type books. If I didn't have a research paper that needed to be done, I probably would have finished this book Monday instead of last night!

Cape Refuge (Cape Refuge Series #1)Overview: Mystery and suspense combine in this first book in an exciting new 4-book series by best-selling author Terri Blackstock. Thelma and Wayne Owens run a bed and breakfast in Cape Refuge, Georgia. They minister to the seamen on the nearby docks and prisoners just out of nearby jails, holding services in an old warehouse and taking many of the 'down-and-outers' into their home. They have two daughters: the dutiful Morgan who is married to Jonathan, a fisherman, and helps them out at the B & B, and Blair, the still-single town librarian, who would be beautiful if it weren't for the serious scar on the side of her face.
After a heated, public argument with his in-laws, Jonathan discovers Thelma and Wayne murdered in the warehouse where they held their church services. Considered the prime suspect, Jonathan is arrested. Grief-stricken, Morgan and Blair launch their own investigation to help Matthew Cade, the town's young police chief, find the real killer. Shady characters and a raft of suspects keep the plot twisting and the suspense building as we learn not only who murdered Thelma and Wayne, but also the secrets about their family's past and the true reason for Blair's disfigurement.

My Review: This book is fantastic!There are a host of characters represented in this book, but only five points of view. At first, I thought this would be confusing and make the story harder to follow. Boy, was I wrong. Terri Blackstock writes the book in a way that endears each character to you, while still following the same plot line. Morgan Cleary is kind-hearted, tender, and the complete opposite of her sister, Blair. She loves with her whole heart and wants to help everyone in need she meets. Blair Owens, who was burned in a bad fire as a child, carries around her hurt and pain like a shield. She doesn't let anyone get too close. Deep down, though, she is just as tender and emotional as her sister. Jonathan Cleary is Morgan's husband. He is strong and protective. He loves his wife and sometimes that clouds his judgement. Matthew Cade, aka Cade, is the chief of police in Cape Refuge. He works hard to prove he deserves his job, and it wasn't just given to him because he's the mayor's nephew. He also has a secret crush on Blair. Finally, Sadie is a scared, yet strong teenager. She yearns for someone to love and cherish her and she finds refuge at Hanover House.

After the murder of Wayne and Thelma Owens, the little town of Cape Refuge is thrown into disarray. Accusations start flying, people are on their guard, and the town struggles to find peace again. This book is full of mystery and suspense. The story kept me guessing until the very end. Terri Blackstock did a great job of not making the plot predictable. She also does a great job of keeping you engaged in the story.  You mourn the loss of Wayne and Thelma with these characters. Their emotions are heart-wrenching and real. The anger, sadness, and the sense of fear, uncertainty, and loss hangs heavy on each character. Who could have done this? Why would God allow this to happen?

Each character faces a spiritual struggle as well. The most prominent one, in my opinion, was Blair's. I believe her struggle is the most important because she doesn't "believe" at all. In a conversation Blair is having with one of the other characters, he states everyone believes in something. By choosing not to believe in anything, you choose to believe in something. She struggles with the concept that even though God is sovereign and knows all things, He allows man to make his own choices. A lot of people struggle with this concept, and I applaud the author with how she handled it. It didn't feel forced. It felt natural. And I can't wait to see how Blair's struggle continues in the next book.

Overall, this mystery/suspense book was fantastic. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves this genre. I will definitely be reading the next three books in the Cape Refuge series: Southern Storm, River's Edge, and Breaker's Reef so look for those reviews!

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