Saturday, October 11, 2014

"The Deputy's New Family" by Jenna Mindel

About the Book

Lessons Learned 

Because of her painful past, teacher Beth Ryken has one rule when it comes to men and marriage: never fall for a cop. So when the new sheriff's deputy asks her to tutor his young son, she agrees to work with the boy while hoping to avoid the handsome widower. She knows former big-city detective Nicholas Grey moved to LeNaro, Michigan, to give his child a safe and stable life. But sometimes a cop's job means risk and danger. As Beth works with Nick's struggling son, she grows unexpectedly close with the small Grey family. How will she possibly protect her heart from breaking all over again?

This book was release in September 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review

“The Deputy's New Family” by Jenna Mindel is a story of learning to trust and overcoming ones fears.  This story is told in such a way that drew me into the whole story to where I completely lost track of time. We do see characters from prior books but that didn't affect the book for this was a complete stand alone story.

Nick, Corey and Beth are all the way they are because of their pasts, and each of them has something to learn to change about themselves, and it is interesting to see how that change comes about. Though it is not often that I would say that there is a third main character in a story but Corey most certainly is a main character, at least that is how it seemed to me. Corey has something important to learn and teach just like any good main character should in a good story, though we never see his point of view. Corey is a sweet young man who frankly has had a rough past couple of years which is evident in this story in a different way then what might be expected that is for sure. I so enjoyed watching the changes that happen in Corey throughout the story and couldn't have been prouder of him because of the hurdles he had to overcome.

Nick is a man who is proud of his job as a cop, but more important to him is his son, Corey. He has plans for this move and when wrenches are thrown into his plans to gum up some of his plans, he becomes determined to work everything out within a reasonable push. He has learned valuable lesson in the past and that lesson was something that helped him tread water when things got interesting, for he didn't want to rush into anything until he knew all the facts. It was that determination to get all the facts and go slow really helped make the story interesting.

Oh then there is Beth that we meet in a few other books, but here she finally is getting her own story told. Her love for teaching is quite obvious from the very beginning of the book, which shows her soft and tender heart better than anything else could have. It is that soft and tender heart that put her into situations that she might have otherwise avoided. There are a few other things that come out about Beth that really helps explains a lot about her and why she is the way she is.

As I said in the beginning there is a message of learning to trust, but the question is who to trust exactly for it seems as if each of the three main characters have someone different to learn to trust. There is reasons for the trust issues that are explained well enough to where I found myself understanding the character and the reason they have. It was watching them working through their own issues that made it so easy to get lost in the book for they worked through the issues slowly, even when one of them was a little harder get through to. The one that was hard to learn their lesson of who to trust, the way they learn their lesson made so much sense for the way it happened in a matter of a few paragraphs. I couldn't help but actually cry and laugh throughout that because it just provoked those emotions in me.

The overcoming of fears was something that they each had to overcome as well. One overcame their fears fairly easy enough, while one was a bit hard headed and the other one just needed a gentle loving touch throughout the whole story. I thought this was a great example of how we are as people, for we each are different and a cookie cutter just doesn't cut it that is for sure. No two people can get over their fear even if it is the same fear, and this was a great example of that.

I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did. It is worth the read that is for sure.

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Her Holiday Family" by Winnie Griggs

About the Book


Reserved widow Eileen Pierce never considered herself the kind of woman who was cut out to be a mother. She wouldn't know what to do with one child, much less ten. But when handyman Simon Tucker is stranded in town with a group of young orphans at Christmastime, she discovers she can't just turn them away.

Simon knows there's more to Eileen than meets the eye. Though his easygoing demeanor immediately clashes with her buttoned-up propriety, Simon's kindness soon melts Eileen's stern facade. Simon and the children already upended Eileen's quiet, orderly life. Will they do the same to her guarded heart?

Texas Grooms: In search of their brides…

Buy "Her Holiday Family" from Barnes&Noble
Buy "Her Holiday Family" from Harlequin

This book will be released in November 2014
I was honored to be given this book by Ms. Griggs in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

“Her Holiday Family” by Winnie Griggs is another wonderful part of Ms. Griggs series, “Texas Grooms”. Though it is part of a series this is a wonderful stand alone book with some wonderful story lines that really made me think. Though the word Holiday is part of the title and it does have a pretty special part in the book, there is so much more to the book though in its own subtle way it shows the Christmas meaning is a wondrous way.

Eileen is a woman who has intrigued me since the first book “Handpicked Husband” for I always thought that there was more to her then what was shown, and then I really had my interest piqued again in “Lone Star Heiress” where we saw even more of her. There was something actually about her that always seemed so sad, and that there was a lot more to what had been hinted at in the prior books. This book explains so much about her that is for sure that, I found myself angry at what happened in the past and rooting for her future with the subtle changes that happens to her over the course of the entire book. Eileen is a woman that is complex with who projects one personality while underneath there is a whole other person.

Simon is a man who is determined to follow through with his commitment above all else, and even when things don't look that good either. He is a happy fellow that is for sure, even though he is a bit over his head with his commitment. Simon has learned what he enjoys doing in his life after discovering what he really dislikes.  He seems to be the type of man who would be hard to ignore for too long because he just seems to be so happy that it is almost infectious even with so much going wrong.

Though both Simon and Eileen seem to be complete opposite of each other, very much like oil and water, and at times it is doubtful to see how these two people could end up together especially as back-stories are told. ( Do I feel as if I am giving a spoiler about this little bit, no I don't after all this is a romance with the two main characters talked about in the synopsis of the book on the back. It is part of the reason why I wanted to read the book in the first place.)  With all that happens throughout the book with being so close in contact with each other, much like oil and water mixing together some, both Simon and Eileen learn to work together pretty well.

Though it is pretty subtle, there is a really great connection that not only the orphans have with each other but also to both Eileen and Simon that I found extremely wonderful. This connection is not something that would seem obvious, after all I did say subtle, but I think this connection helped create this beautiful bound between all of them, that helped with this deeper understanding of each other when they were willing to look deeper under the surface.

The conflict of the story is not so much of the typical conflict but more of a dilemma that must be dealt with and is really used to help create the close contact between Eileen and Simon that helped them learn to work together. Honestly I figured out on the most part how the conflict was going to be resolved, however, there are a few interesting tidbits that happened along the way with that conflict.  I dont get the feeling that the conflict was meant to keep the reader in suspense but more to help the characters remain in close contact with each other. There is a lot of internal conflict within one character that we watch unfold throughout the whole story.

This was a wonderfully written story that I found myself so lost in the book, that I completely lost track of time. I hope all that read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Other Books in "Texas Grooms" Series

Handpicked Husband
The Bride Next Door
A Family for Christmas

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Plots and Pans" by Kelly Eileen Hake

About the Book

Can a cranky cowboy...
Order dictates Tucker Carmichael’s life--his orders. On a cattle drive, a moment’s hesitation can mean the difference between life and death. The Chisholm Trail is dirty, dangerous, and no place for dainty ladies. That's just part of why he loves it.

...and a clever cook...
Jessalyn Culpepper's life is perfectly ordered--by men. By her father's mandate, she was booted from their beloved ranch for lady lessons abraod. Now Jessalyn has returned home, determined to show them all that a woman can manage everything from cooking to cattle--whether they like it or not!

...stir up more than trouble?
Tucker does his level best to keep his partner’s headstrong sister out of trouble--and he's horrified when she wants to join the cattle drive. But when they lose their chuck wagon cook, the last thing Tucker wants might be the only solution....
Will God lead two stubborn souls to love along a trail filled with their Plots and Pans?

Please visit Kelly Eileen Hake's website

Buy "Plots and Pans" from Amazon
Buy "Plots and Pans" from Barnes&Noble

This book was release in April 2014
 This is a Kindle book that I own in my collection

My Review

“Plots and Pans” by Kelly Eileen Hake is a book that was an emotional roller coaster for too many times I cried broken up with laughing out loud. Because I always rate higher when I believe that a book rate a half star, which is why this book rated 5 stars. I would give this book a solid 4.5 stars if I could for there were a few things that weren't addressed and I will explain that later though.

I really did enjoy the book without a doubt, for it touched on issues that would be complex for the time, and I enjoyed the way it was handled. Racial issues at the times where a tricky thing, and frankly I loved how it was handled.

There is actually two romances going on in the story that we thankfully get to see through for the most part. There is one romance where the reader must use their imagination to think about what happens from the end of the book. The other romance between Jessalyn and Tucker is full antagonism, eating of shoe leather (at times I could almost taste the dusty leather myself) and humor. At one point I was surprised that Jessalyn didn't do something physical to Tucker when he stuck his foot so far in his mouth that it was nearly touching his stomach. This romance was different than a lot of romances for there was no acknowledging of an attraction even to themselves, though others, such as the reader, could see sparks flying at times.

Tucker is a man who is working hard to make sure that everything around him is as safe as possible for all those around him. He tries to control everything he can and really hates when things go outside of his comfort level of uncontrollable. He knows that there are always things that are out of his control on the ranch and he has learn to live with those but anything else, he then tries even harder to fight for control. He is a kind hearted man that is for sure, who is willing to allow drifters who are willing to do work in exchange for room and board in the bunkhouse. Also he has a flaw that I could see some of my friends relating to since he didn't seem to function without his coffee, and everyone around him knew it too.

Jessalyn is a woman who only wants to be home and to feel useful and wanted. She doesn't always think things through, but at the same time she knows when to back down and when to push forward. Her heart is soft and tender, who is willing to put up with things if there was something good that would come out of it for someone else that she cares about. She is a hard worker, has a quick wit, and comfortable with who she is.

Pretty much this story deals with just a very basic human need, and that is to belong somewhere and to be wanted. This is something that a couple of the characters are feeling, for completely different reasons that is for sure. The whole story moved at a pretty quick pace that is for sure, with the different feelings that the three main characters have, the struggles of trying to feel as if they belong, and wanted.

There is no villain, and this is where I have an issue with the book. The conflict is that a character or two have feelings of guilt, that is deep seeded, that is never resolved. The readers are not shown if they ever accepted what happened to cause the guilt. And if they did, the readers never saw how that changed their views about different things. It is this guilt that has made the character or characters the way he/she is and why he/she acts that way. I thought that this guilt was something that should have been resolved by the end of the story.

I was slightly disappointed by the end of the story for it seemed so rushed almost as if either Ms. Hake or her editor thought that they hit the word limit, so they had to rush the end. I so completely enjoyed this story and was disappointed with that ending.

The two issues are easy to overlook for me, since the rest of the book was really good. I hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"When Hope Blossoms" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Amy Knackstedt hopes a new start in Weaverly, Kansas, will help heal the pain of losing her husband and provide a better future for her three children.  But her new neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have an Old Order Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard.  Time left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life.

Yet when circumstances through Amy and Time together, they form a friendship that surprises them both.  Will past hurts always be a barrier between them, or will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?

This book was released in July 2012
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review
"When Hope Blossoms" by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a book that I first read shortly after it came out, but couldn't for the longest time remember the title or the author of the book for the longest time, even though I remembered the story-line and have been wanting to re-read it.  Then not too long ago, I came across the book at my library and I knew that I found the book and couldn't settle down to read it that very night.  I will never forget the name and author again.

I love the book the second time around as much as I did the first time around. The whole reflecting of ones life, forgiveness, and loving of your neighbor is something that just touched my spirit. Maybe with my desire the last few weeks for this book, I am being told something which I will need to think and pray about.

Even the second time around I found myself laughing, crying and fearful in different scenes, even knowing how it was all going to end. That says a lot I think about how well a book is written, when you can feel those things even after the second reading.

Amy Knackstedt is a woman who is searching for a completely fresh start for her and her three kids after loosing her husband. She is strong in her faith and thankful for everything even after all the trials in her life, and she has enough of those that is for sure. Amy is also a gentle spirit that can't be broken, but she had her weak moments like everyone.

Tim Roper is a man who is on the run from his past, a man who is also hurting in a big way. Tim has been hiding for so long, that now too many things are hitting him all at once, what is going to happen to him and his future.

There is so much that happens in this book without being too crammed full. It kept moving steadily throughout with one question always there in the background but never quite sure exactly what the question is, and not entirely sure it was answered since I couldn't figure it out in the first place, but I didn't feel cheated when the book ended.  Not sure if that makes sense but that is how I felt after reading the book.

Truly the self reflecting that happens in the book is something that maybe we don't all experience to this level but we go through it at some level which made the one or ones doing the self reflecting that much more endearing to me. Oh who am I kidding all of the characters are endearing. They were written in such a way that I could picture how each one looks, their mannerisms and even a little of the way they speak.

The acts of the Mennonite fellowship and Amy along with her family show what is truly means what loving thy neighbor means. Even when hurtful words were spoken towards them or their helping hands slapped, they kept reaching out to their fellow neighbors.

This is a well written emotionally charged romance book, that I would recommend to anyone.

Monday, October 6, 2014

"When Love Gets in the Way" by Janelle Mowery

About the Book

Grace Bradley wishes all she touches would turn to gold. Instead, it tends to tarnish...that is, until she finds freedom on the Double K Ranch. Grace is fleeing from the man her father chose to be her husband. But once her heart is captured by her new employer's best friend, and she finally understands the meaning of God's sacrificial love, she relinquishes her independence to save her loved ones.

Cade Ramsey contemplates running for dear life from the accident-prone nuisance he brought to his hometown. The trouble that trails her seems to latch on to him at every turn. But when Grace manages to win his calloused heart, he chases her down, praying he can keep her from following through on a decision that could ruin their lives.

An adventurous novel of faith, hope, and love in the Wild West.

About This Series: Straight from the heart of the Old West, the Colorado Runaway series is full of adventure, humor, and romance by award-winning novelist Janelle Mowery.

This book was released in October 2011
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review

“When Love Gets in the Way” by Janelle Mowery is the second book in her 'Colorado Runaway Series' and just as attention grabbing as the first book “When All My Dreams Come True”. We again meet all several of the characters from “When All My Dreams Come True” as well as several new characters. This story is about Cade Ramsey who we did meet in the first book, and there learned a little about his past history. It is not important to have read the first book, for the important information is repeated in a different way so that the reader is kept up-to-date on what is needed.

Here is another book full of humor but in a completely different way then the first book. Here I found myself laughing on a regular basis because of actions not so much because of words said, and most times it was completely unintentional as well. This laughter again it appears was used to help diffuse the tension that the villains caused, not to mention it gave some really good ideas into the various characters personalities.

The villain or villains of the story is again not quite what is to be expected. Alright in full disclosure one villain is easy to see for this character gave me the creeps from the moment that they were introduced, but just how much of a villain though is one question I wondered throughout the whole story. Then there is direction towards to others who may or may not be a villain as well, so this reader was left wondering who really is causing all the problems and who wasn't. The twists and turns that this took is amazing and surprising for that was one of the reasons I just couldn't put the book down.

Cade Ramsey is a man that has a soft and tender heart for people and animals, not to mention he is a man of strong faith. He is willing to do what he thinks is right, regardless what other might think. He fights to protect those around who are in need, and is always there with a willing hand whenever he is needed. He is a man who is trying to get over the past for things haven't been easy for him, but he is willing to work on it.

Grace Bradley is a woman who just wants to do what she would like to do without someone else telling her what to do, but also knows when she has to give in at the moment, while she tries to figure out another way to get through things. There are some very good reasons why she has left like she did to hide away in Cade Ramsey's wagon, and she has reasons for everything else she does. Grace may not be the most graceful person around at least one person, but her heart is pure gold that is for sure, and she learns a few important lessons on this journey of hers.

The way the whole story is told, with things moving swiftly both in things happening and time wise, it is easy to get lost in the book. There is not the same level of violence that was seen a couple of times in “When All My Dreams Come True” but all the goings on is just as unsettling as well. Everything that is happening is a background kind of thing, yet serves the purpose. I found myself unable to put the book down, for I was laughing, cringing, and a few time crying. The characters are all so well written it was as if I was visiting some good friends, and I felt for them as things happened, and rejoiced when good news came along the way.

I really hope that all who read this book enjoy it as much as I have that is for sure.

Other "Colorado Runaway" books

When All My Dreams Come True
When Two Hearts Meet

"A Hero in the Making" by Laurie Kingery

About the Book

Man on a Mission… 

Nate Bohannan won't let anything stand in the way of his grand plans in California. Even if it means traveling there with unreliable huckster Robert Salali. But after a destructive bender in Simpson Creek, Texas, the unscrupulous Salali runs out, leaving Nate to carry the blame—and the debt. He can fix broken furniture…but can anything fix the despair in café owner Ella Justiss's eyes?

When her café was destroyed, Ella felt sure she'd lost her dreams along with it. Yet somehow Nate's cheerful care and optimism fill her with hope again. Painful secrets from her childhood make Ella wary of men. When danger threatens, will Nate be the hero Ella can finally trust—and love?

Brides of Simpson Creek: Small-town Texas spinsters find love with mail-order grooms!

This book was released in July 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review

“A Hero in the Making” by Laurie Kingery is her seventh book in her 'Brides of Simpson Creek' series but it is a perfect stand alone book. We do get to see a few of the prior book character's but in the way of people who live in the same community, and see how they are faring after so many books.

In this book we get to see Ella and learn a whole more about her as well as what drives her to work so hard not to mention her tendency stay off to the side so much of the time. She holds a secret so close to her chest that part of it she has blocked out, but everything makes sense as to why she is the way she is when the whole truth is revealed. She is trying so hard to make a living for herself by running her own cafe and trying to control her fear of strange, new men since she is working in the cafe she runs. She is also very self-conscious about what others think about her and with good reason too.

Nate is a man who is determined to get where the grass is going to be greener that he is willing to do things that might make him a little uneasy in order to get there, until things fall apart on him. Nate is a gentleman who will protect women not to mention do what is right in order to correct a wrong, even if that wrong was done by someone else. Things start getting a little complicated for him when things start happening that makes him to start questioning where exactly the grass is the greenest.

This is a story of trust and forgiveness. Trusting oneself is something that is part of the trust issue for one character is not sure who they can fully trust and what is happening to them as well. Could they be going crazy or is their past getting the best of them? Trusting others when things might be new to them, and trusting others to not hold things against them. When trust is not an easy thing it is easy to see the struggle. Then there is the forgiveness of oneself for things that were beyond their control. These seemed to be subtle but they are what I took away from the story.

There seems to be several different type of conflicts, several internal and one or two external conflicts. The internal conflicts are within the main characters without being overwhelming, but just enough to show the struggle that each are going through. The external conflict has a few twist and turns that I didn't expect. This is a book that I just couldn't wait to see what happened next.

I hope that all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Other "Brides of Simpson Creek" books

Mail Order Cowboy
The Doctor Takes a Wife
The Sheriff's Sweetheart
The Rancher's Courtship
The Preacher's Bride
Hill Country Cattleman

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Glory and the Rawhide Preacher" by Linda Ford

About the Book

Levi and God have a deal: Levi will devote his life to preaching and reaching people with God’s word, and God will bring Levi’s outlaw brother Matt back into the fold. It sounded easy enough at first, until Levi rode into Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and straight into the path of britches-wearing, horse-riding, independent Glory Hamilton. As far as Glory’s concerned, there isn’t a man alive who can be trusted, including a preacher who looks more like an outlaw and confuses her heart. Does God make deals with men—or is Glory just a test of Levi’s faith?

This book was release in November 2012
 This is a Kindle book that I own in my collection

My Review

Glory and the Rawhide Preacher” by Linda Ford is a 'Truly Yours Digital Editions' book. I have to say that I was looking for a simple, real easy read on a night that I wanted to read something but didn't want to be reading something that I had to think about. Yeah well this book was a great example of the saying, “Man plans, God laughs” for really this was not a simple story for there was plenty of thought provoking messages within the story.

Levi is a man who is keeping a secret but on a mission. He has made an agreement with God and that is just making things that much harder. Though Levi is a Preacher, this story shows him as a human that so many people don't think that they are. Levi has so many flaws about him that he made to seem completely relate-able, Preacher or not. Levi also learns a few things about his mission and vow.

Glory is a woman who has reason for why she doesn't trust men, but at the same time there is so much about her that screams just the opposite. Glory is also not the usual woman for the time period of 1864, but then again she wasn't raised in the usual way, which we as readers see through the story. Also Glory though she tries so hard to hide it from everyone, she has a heart as pure as cold, who helps others without thought of herself.

The biggest message throughout the story is trust. Trust in God. Trust in fellow people. Trust in our own emotions. These things are huge issues with one or more of the characters, and not always in very obvious ways. I enjoyed looking how this issue was dealt in the different situations that arose throughout the story, for it was not an issue that could be handled the same way each time.

I enjoyed this book so much that I had to get the rest of the series. I truly hope that all those who take the chance to read this book, enjoy it as much as I did.

Other Books that Goes Along with "Glory and the Rawhide Preacher" by Linda Ford

Mandy and the Missouri Man
Joanna and the Footloose Cowboy