Friday, May 30, 2014

Cowgirl Trail by Susan Paige Davis

Cowgirl Trail is the fifth book in the Texas Trails: A Morgan Family Series. The series was written by a collaboration of three authors: Vickie McDonough, Susan Page Davis, and Darlene Franklin. It's been a great series so far, and I look forward to reading the rest!

Cowgirl TrailA young woman determined to save the family ranch
A devastating loss
An answer to prayer as shots are fired

Maggie Porter returns to the Rocking P Ranch. The sanatorium was not able to save her mother and now her father's health is failing. When the cowboys walk off the job leaving no one to drive the cattle to market, head ranch hand, Alex Bright, cannot convince the men to stay. How could Alex let this happen?

Maggie is desperate to save the ranch. To everyone's surprise, she turns to the town's women for help. The cowgirls must herd, rope, and drive the cattle to market. With only two days left, outlaws charge the small band in an effort to start a stampede. The cattle begin to scatter. Will they lose everything? Where will their help come from?

Doubt meets hope, and fear gives way to faith in the Morgan family.

My Review: I loved this book! Susan Paige Davis executed the story phenomenally. I have never read another book with this concept, and it was fun and exciting to follow the cowgirls on the trail! The author chose to focus more on the story than scenery, which I appreciated because the story was so captivating. In a man's world, can a group of twelve women make it? I was cheering for Maggie from the beginning.

The characters in the story were easy to relate to. Maggie Porter is a strong, spunky, independent woman who is still in touch with her emotions and feelings. That's a refreshing thing in a woman character. Alex Bright feels torn between his loyalty to Maggie's father and herself, and the men that he was chosen to lead. He knows he can't choose both. What a hard decision!

The message of the story was simple, yet understated. Sometimes, even when we can't see the outcome, we have to rely on God and rejoice in our current circumstances. Have you ever been in a situation that you've had a hard time rejoicing? I know I have. That is God molding and making you in the refiner's fire!

Overall, this was a short, sweet story and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read about cowgirls leading a cattle drive!

**I received this book free from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
More fun! with links:

Weekend Wrap Up (May 30) - Month In Review

This is 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!
What I've Read
Talk of the Town (Daily Texas, #1)Cowgirl Trail 

Reviews Posted
My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate

What I'm Currently Reading:

What's Up Next

May in Review
Talk of the Town (Daily Texas, #1)Cowgirl TrailSilenced (Alaskan Courage, #4)Mark of DistinctionMy Stubborn Heart One More Last Chance (A Place to Call Home #2)A Broken Kind of Beautiful: A NovelPelican Bride, The: A NovelBluebonnet Bride: A Butterfly Palace Story 
I feel quite accomplished! What did you read this week/month? That about wraps it up for me!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate

Talk of the Town (Daily Texas, #1) 
Published February 1st 2008 by Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 0764204904 (ISBN13: 9780764204906)
Overview: The show American Megastar is the hottest thing on television but its associate producer, Mandalay Florentino, is worried. She's just arrived in the tiny town of Daily, Texas, to arrange a surprise "reunion concert" for hometown finalist Amber Amberson. Only it turns out everyone in town seems to know the secret. And paparazzi are arriving. And word from Hollywood is that Amber has disappeared with a "bad boy" actor. Can anything go right in this tumbleweed town?

Imagene Doll loves her town of Daily, Texas, but things are lonelier without her beloved husband. Life seems dull. At least until that fancy-dressed woman pulls into town, looking terrified and glamorous all at once. Soon life's not the least bit boring as Imagene--and the rest of Daily--find themselves at the center of a media maelstrom...with a young girl's future on the line.
My Review: This was such a fun story! I thoroughly enjoy Lisa Wingate's writing style. Her description of life in Daily, Texas made me want to be a part of the small town. The idyllic scenery provided the perfect backdrop for the story and helped to break up the thoughts and actions of the characters, keeping the reader interested.
The characters, supporting and main, were fantastic. I could feel the tension and stress Mandalay was under. The author captured those emotions and made them real. The chemistry between Mandalay and Carter was intriguing and well-written. Imagene Doll's character, by far, was my favorite! I could hear her sweet southern accent and imagine her going on with life around Daily. Her wit and sarcasm was greatly appreciated throughout the book.
What I felt the story was missing, however, was a strong Christian message. Don't get me wrong, there was a message. I think Imagene's character sums up the message nicely when she states: "...sometimes in life you carry the ball, sometimes you just run along, and sometimes you're flat  on your back, but just because you don't have the ball don't mean it's not moving toward the goal." What Imagene is saying, and the author is trying to get across, is that sometimes you have to let go and let God. We are not in control of our lives, no matter how hard we try. I just feel like the message wasn't expressed enough in Mandalay's life.
Overall, this was a fun, enjoyable story! I would recommend it for anyone who wants a quick read with witty characters and Southern Texas charm! 
Lisa Wingate Author PictureAbout the Author: Selected among BOOKLIST'S Top 10 of 2012 and Top 10 of 2013, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable Southern settings with elements of women's fiction, history, and mystery to create stories that Publisher's Weekly calls "Masterful" and ForeWord Magazine refers to as "Filled with lyrical prose, hope, and healing.” Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over over twenty novels and countless magazine pieces.

Her books have held positions on many bestseller lists, both in the U.S. and internationally. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, a LORIES Best Fiction Award winner, and a Utah Library Award winner. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.  Visit Lisa at her website:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

One gorgeous ex-pro hockey player with a broken heart. 
One single, Christian girl full of determination. 
One house that they’re both committed to renovate. 
One God who has bigger plans.

My Stubborn HeartOverview: Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light...whether he likes it or not.

When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?

ISBN-13: 9780764209741
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 5/1/2012

My Review: This is such a fun, lighthearted read. I thoroughly enjoyed Becky Wade's writing style. The story is both humorous and fun, yet it has a powerful message. I fell in love with the little town of Redbud and Chapel Bluff through the pictures the author painted. The interaction between the characters was comical and the dialogue felt very realistic.

I loved Kate Donovan. Her character was smart, funny, strong, and yet so human. Her actions spoke of her faith in God, but she wasn't written as a saint. She recognized her faults and worked to keep them in check. It's refreshing to see a Christian author write such human characters. Matt Jarreau's character really struck me, on a very personal level. His actions and personality at the beginning of the story spoke of his great loss and his anger and bitterness toward God. He, also, was written as a very human character. It's hard to capture the emotion and grief a person goes through after a loss, and Becky Wade did an amazing job. The supporting characters were just as great! I loved the "seniors" and their role in the story. Their interaction with Kate and Matt kept the story fun and interesting.

The romance between Matt and Kate was well written, yet not overplayed. The Christian message was two fold. For Matt, learning that God forgives and is always there for you, even when you can't see Him or feel Him through your hurt, was the hardest. Kate's role in Matt's life was to help bring him to that realization through her interactions with him. Kate, while strong in her faith, struggled with learning that God's way is the best way, even when you don't think so. 

Overall, this is a fun, lighthearted romance with a great message. I highly recommend it!

About the Author: Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards.  Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series.  Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

Visit Becky's Website.
Follow Becky: FacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterest 
Read the Prologue for My Stubborn Heart 
Fun Extras for My Stubborn Heart

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up (May 23)

This is 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!

What I've Read
Silenced (Alaskan Courage, #4)Mark of DistinctionMy Stubborn Heart

Reviews Posted
Silenced by Dani Pettrey
Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

What I'm Currently Reading:
Talk of the Town (Daily Texas, #1)
What's Up Next
Cowgirl Trail186371621831016218965690 
That about wraps it up! What did you accomplish this week?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

Overview: London is said to be the glittering jewel of society, a world unto itself—but to Julia Elliston it is a city of shadows. Her life is swiftly dissolving into scandal. And in Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal—substantiated or not—can be the death of a young woman’s reputation. 

Now under the watchful eye of Lord Roy Pierson, one of most influential men in England, Julia begrudgingly accepts his protection. But Chance Macy’s power is far-reaching as well, and he is eager to assert his claim over her.

Thrust into society as the Emerald Heiress, Julia is the toast of London, a celebrated curiosity. But in reality she’s trapped between the clutches of two powerful men. Aided only by a gentleman whose intentions she prays she can trust, Julia must finally take control of her own fate—but outwitting one’s foe rarely goes according to plan. 

ISBN-13: 9781414375564
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 4/18/2014 

My Review:  This book, much like the first, is a Victorian Gothic style that will be sure to entrance readers who enjoy the works of Jane Eyre and Northanger Abbey. It is dark and menacing, with many twists and turns that keep you turning the pages and biting your nails until the very end. The author did a wonderful job of making the story flow. It could have been a very depressing book, because a lot of bad things happen in succession to Julia, but Ms. Dotta sprinkled just enough action and intrigue to keep the reader from being bogged down.

I am SO happy with the way Julia progressed, as a character. The first half of the book, I pitied her and her situation. Her actions were selfish, but I understood them. Her very identity had been stripped from her and she was struggling to come to terms with who she was. Her faith in God was being formed and tested and she was beginning to lose herself until she finally surrendered. The supporting characters were different in this story than they were in the first book because she had been stripped from her familiar surroundings and thrust into another world. Lord Pierson is a powerful, but troubled, man. I wanted to dislike him, but Jessica Dotta wrote his character in a way that made me grudgingly respect him instead. He is the typical man, not good with his emotions, but she gave him just enough to make him human. Isaac is Julia's saving grace. He is gentle, where her father is gruff. He is kind and accepting, when Julia is hard and distrusting. He helped shaped her character in more ways that she realizes throughout this book.

As I have previously stated, Jessica Dotta is a master storyteller. The events and character development seem so natural. The story was nail biting, fast paced, and packed with intrigue and suspense. The ending was so unexpected, but I wanted to shout for joy!  I absolutely enjoyed the story and cannot wait until the third, and final book comes out! 

**Thank you, Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.** the Author: Born in the wrong century–except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines–Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.

She resides lives in the greater Nashville area—where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write and work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler–but the dog insists it’s a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Silenced by Dani Pettrey

Silenced (Alaskan Courage Series #4) 
  • ISBN-13: 9780764211959
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014 

Overview: Jake Knew Something Was Wrong.
But He Never Guessed
How Wrong.

A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna's route brings her face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something darker? When the case is handed to overburdened sheriff Landon Grainger, he turns to Jake Westin for help. With Jake's past now revealed, he's ready to use his talent for investigation again--but he could never prepare for where the mystery will take him. 
Kayden's climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.

My Review: Oh. My. Goodness. I LOVED THIS BOOK! Dani Pettrey has really outdone herself. I have been waiting in agony since the last book, Stranded, to find out more about Jake and Kayden. This book didn't disappoint. The story was exciting. The details about the land and rock climbing provided an added element to the story that made it more interesting and easier to imagine.

 The characters were phenomenally written. I have been waiting to hear Kayden's story since the first book of the series. I wanted to know what made her the way she is. She is strong, beautiful, stubborn, and fiercely independent. She guards her heart, and for most of the book we don't understand why. When Jake, kind, caring, patient, and strong Jake, finds out why, I admire her even more. Their romance was so sweet. It was fun watching them dance around their feelings for each other, and that provided an added level to the story and took the tension out of the suspense.

The message of the book was sublty hinted at throughout the entire story, but brought to amazing clarity at the end. You cannot live your life in fear of what might happen. No matter how hard you try, you are not in control of what happens in your life. God is. He knows what you need, when you need it. So don't be afraid! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was nice getting to hear from the other characters again and my love for the McKenna family has grown even more. I am anxiously awaiting Reef's story!!!

Suspense, romance, and a little action/adventure all packed into one amazing book.
**Thank you Bethany House for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**

View my reviews of the other books in the Alaskan Courage Series About the Author: Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, and her latest release, Silenced. 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 her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson. Find Dani on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up (May 16)

This is 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!

What I've Read:
A Broken Kind of Beautiful: A NovelOne More Last Chance (A Place to Call Home #2) 

Reviews Posted
A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert
One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

What I'm Currently Reading
Silenced (Alaskan Courage, #4) 

What's Up Next
Cowgirl TrailMark of Distinction186371621831016218965690 

That about wraps it up! What did you read this week? I'd love to hear from you!