Sunday, November 8, 2015

Every Girl Gets Confused by Janice Thompson (Review)

  • Series: Brides with Style (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 20, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724009

Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn't seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. In fact, the sounds being heard at the bridal shop where she works are on the contentious side lately, as a bride- and groom-to-be try to mediate the growing rivalry between their basketball-obsessed families in the middle of play-off season. On top of that, Katie's parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Carson is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What's a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

The breezy fun continues as Janice Thompson throws everyone's favorite small-town girl into big-city bridal chaos--and makes her choose between the love she thought she lost and the love she stumbled upon in the aftermath.

My Review:

This book is the second in the Brides with Style series. I recommend reading them in order because the main characters are the same and the plot continues into the next book. The main focus of this series is Katie Fisher. Her two beaus are Brady and Carson. There are a multitude of great supporting characters including her family and co workers at the bridal shop. The story is told from Katie's point of view only though. Brady is not quite as perfect as he came across as in the first book although he's still good compared to other men. In this book he is faced with the challenge of a second surgery on his knee and possibly never playing as a professional basketball player again. He ends up having to deal with some depression and pushing Katie away. Katie never gives up on him.This author features a different theme in each of her books. This book features Doris Day quotes at the beginning of each chapter. And a Doris Day wedding dress design. Overall basketball is mentioned quite a lot between Brady and the other characters who are fans. This book had the author's trademark humor throughout. Katie is not the only character with relationship issues and romance. There are other characters who fall in love too. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Recommended to fans of Christian Chick Lit. 

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series, the Backstage Pass series, and the Weddings by Design series, as well as Every Bride Needs a Groom. She lives in Texas. Learn more at

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson (Review)

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800719678

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

My Review:

I enjoyed reading this short Christmas book by Melody Carlson. The premise was interesting. Joy who is 85 years old wants to travel by RV with her middle aged neighbor Miranda down old Route 66 spreading Christmas Joy. Joy has a blog called Christmas Joy where she writes about Christmas. She held a contest for her readers and then picked six people who needed Christmas Joy. These are the stops she plans on the trip. She packs a ton of boxes with Christmas decorations labeled for each stop. Miranda is not sure what she got herself into but no way was she going to let Joy travel by herself at her age. I wish it was longer because I really liked the descriptions of each stop and the people whose lives were bleak and Joy rolls in and brightens it all up with Christmas decorations and sometimes a little more. When Joy gets sick before the last stop I was so disappointed! But Miranda takes up the reigns and does it by herself. I do not want to spoil the book for anyone but I did not like part of what happened on Miranda's last stop. I thought it was unbelievable even for a cozy Christmas book. Relationships between men and women do not form instantly or overnight into marriage talk especially strangers. Otherwise the conclusion was feel good and satisfying. This book definitely put me in the spirit to read more Christmas books. I have liked all the Christmas books by this author I have read. Recommended especially to fans of the Hallmark movies!

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas BusThe Christmas DogChristmas at Harrington's, and The Christmas Cat. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A Reason to Stay by Kellie Coates Gilbert (Review)

  • Series: Texas Gold Collection
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 6, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722746

As the host of her own television news show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she's anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she'd like to forget. Her pro bass fisherman husband Geary's life is an open book, and unfortunately his busybody family doesn't know the meaning of boundaries. Deception and crippling differences soon derail their tender relationship, leading Faith to believe her only option is to end the marriage. But while Faith considers whether divorce is the only answer to their issues, tragedy strikes and her heartrending decision is interrupted. With her life in the balance, Faith finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose.

Kellie Coates Gilbert takes readers on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves themes of unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.

My Review:

A Reason to Stay is the third book in the Texas Gold Series but can stand alone. They are not connected by anything other than being set in Texas. Faith and Geary have a whirlwind romance after they meet when she is covering a story at a bass fishing event. The sparks were present in full force. Unfortunately they did not dig deep enough on issues before they got married. Faith had a rough childhood with her parents always fighting and not much of a faith background. Geary has a big super involved loud family and his faith is very important to him. His family is also not sophisticated and Faith tries hard to be. They both have faults that get magnified after they get married. He does not have boundaries with his family and Faith works too hard to make it up the ladder. This is a recipe for disaster. The characters and plot were well written and engaging.I felt the emotions. I was a little uncomfortable by the descriptions of their love life. I thought it was a bit much for a Christian fiction book. The plot goes back and forth between present time with Faith in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury and the past. The flashbacks are how we learn the most about the characters and what happened. We never really get to hear or see Geary's side of things. At the end of the book it goes to present with Faith waking up and Geary still there by her side. The troubles have not magically gone away and they still have issues to work through. The conclusion was good but a little predicable. I was not happy with part of the epilogue though and I will leave it at that. Overall a good contemporary book. 

Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, and the author ofA Woman of Fortune and Where Rivers Part. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband. Learn more at

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Miracle Drug by Richard Mabry (Review)

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (September 15, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1630881184

  • Overcoming these odds will take more than a miracle drug—it will take a miracle.

    The infection wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did. The treatment was supposed to take care of it, but it didn’t. Then Dr. Josh Pearson discovers why—his patients, including the former President of the United States, have been dosed with a different strain of the original virus, one that is universally fatal. The only chance for survival is treatment with an experimental drug, but the manufacturer might already have discarded its supply.

    As if treating the President of the United States isn’t stressful enough, the situation goes from bad to worse when Rachel Moore, a nurse Josh is falling in love with, falls ill. With the nation’s eyes on him, Josh must pull off a miracle to save a man who holds a good deal of power and the woman who holds his heart.

    My Review:

    This was an okay medical themed Christian fiction mystery/suspense book. The premise of the plot was interesting. SPOILER ALERT: I felt like the climax of the plot came way too early. The rest of the book was finding out who was behind getting the President and Rachel sick and why. END
    The book moved slower than expected for a mystery/suspense book until the end which was explosive. Some of the characters needed more development. I did like the relationship between Josh and Rachel. The bad guy was easy to guess and a twist at the end did not fit the book. Overall it was not the best medical thriller by this writer. I loved his Prescription for Trouble series. I look forward to seeing what he writes next.

    Richard L. Mabry, M.D. is a retired physician who writes “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have won multiple awards. He and his wife live in Central Texas. You can follow Richard online at, as well as on Twitter (@RichardMabry), and Facebook at RMabryBooks

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Monday, October 26, 2015

    Vendetta by Lisa Harris (Review)

  • Series: The Nikki Boyd Files (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 6, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724177

  • No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Person Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels that this case is getting personal, and that she is not the hunter at all--but actually the one being hunted.

    My Review:

    Vendetta starts a new series featuring Nikki Boyd. She is an agent for the TN Missing Person Taskforce. Nikki is out hiking with her deceased best friends' husband, Tyler,  when she gets a call to help with a  missing teenager. He tags along with her to help. Investigating this disappearance brings back a lot of bad memories of her sister disappearing ten years ago. Nikki is determined to do whatever it takes to get this girl back. It is a wild ride with a few twists and turns.  It held my attention from the beginning and I could not wait to find out what happened next. It had mystery, suspense, and a little romance. It was not explicit or too gritty. The faith element was not developed enough though. I hope to see more in the next book in the series. Recommended to fans of the Christian romantic suspense/mystery genre.

    Lisa Harris is a Christy Award winner and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. The author of nearly thirty books, including Dangerous Passage, Fatal Exchange, and Hidden Agenda, Harris and her family have spent twelve years living as missionaries in southern Africa. They currently live in Mozambique, where Lisa leads a women's ministry and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Sunday, October 25, 2015

    Murder at the Courthouse by A. H. Gabhart (Review)

  • Series: The Hidden Springs Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 20, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726768

  • After a few years as a police officer in Chicago, Michael Keane has no trouble relaxing into the far less stressful job of deputy sheriff in his small hometown. After all, nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after all the man was a stranger--until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street.

    As Michael works to solve the case it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

    My Review:

    Murder at the Courthouse is the first book in a new mystery series by A. H. Gabhart. The plot line was interesting and had a lot of potential. Unfortunately I did not enjoy reading this book as much as I thought I would. The plot moved slow and the mystery part needed more development throughout the book. I guessed the bad guy early on in the book. Also the romance was extremely awkward and underdeveloped between Michael and Karen, the woman preacher in town. The minor characters were nicely done. I liked the side plot about Michael helping a troubled kid named Anthony Blake. This was a cozy mystery with a small town feel like the Mitford series by Jan Karon. I want to read book two when it comes out to see where the author takes the story and I have enjoyed reading several other books by this author.

    Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she's published many books for both adults and young adults. Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as a Top Ten Christian Fiction Book by Booklist magazine. Her Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life and as A.H. Gabhart is the author of the Hidden Springs mysteries.

    Ann lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann loves hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dog, Oscar. See more about her books at or join the conversation on her Facebook page,

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Saturday, October 24, 2015

    Promise to Keep by Elizabeth Younts (Review)

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Promise to Keep
    Howard Books (October 13, 2015)
    Elizabeth Younts


    A Word from the Author:

    I’m Elizabeth, a blessed child of The King. I’m a middle-born daughter, military officer’s wife, homeschooling mama, writer, closet DIYer, and, dare I say it, Downton Abbey addict. May I also mention that I love both my history and my coffee rich.

    I am formerly Amish and my heritage is very dear to me and thankful to be so accepted among my still Amish family. I can still speak PA Dutch, too! You can learn more about my Amish family in my first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl.

    My three book series with Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) is a dream come true. The series is titled The Promise of Sunrise. In this series you will live through World War 2 from an Amish perspective and experience their unique struggles as conscientious objectors during wartime. What happened if one of their members enlisted? What was it like to serve at the Civilian Public Service Camps for years with almost no compensation? How did Amish women and families cope when a son or father was drafted? I look forward to taking you back into the richness of these years of Amish history through fiction.


    World War II Marine Joe Garrison returns home from war longing to be a father to his deaf daughter, Daisy, only to find that she is attached to Esther Detweiler, the Amish woman who has raised her since his wife’s death in this touching historical romance.

    Orphaned as a child, Esther Detweiler is used to caring for herself and her ailing grandmother. They made the best out of a hard life and poverty without asking for help. They even take in her shunned cousin’s deaf daughter, Daisy, when her mother dies and her father goes off to war. When Esther’s grandmother dies, Daisy is all she has.

    When war veteran Joe Garrison returns, all he can think about is recovering from the horrors of war and building a relationship with his seven-year-old daughter. Daisy, however, is unwilling to leave Esther, whom she loves. Joe and Daisy get to know each other again, but Joe struggles with nightmares and fatherhood is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. Esther loves Daisy and despite her Amish ways, Joe finds himself drawn to her as a woman and not just a caregiver.

    As their love blossoms, Joe decides to send Daisy away to a school for the deaf which propels their lives into turmoil and a battle for love and family.

    If you would like to read the first chapter of Promise to Keep, go HERE.


    Promise to Keep is the third book in the Promise of Sunrise series. I did not really enjoy reading this book. The mood was depressing and dark for most of the book. The plot moved slow and felt like it was dragging at parts. What interested me to pick it up was the story details. It did not seem like a cookie cutter Amish book. It did deliver on that aspect. It was not a traditional Christian Amish book. I felt like it pushed more boundaries especially on the romance side between Joe and Esther. Sparks flew between them. Those romance details unsettled me a little but it felt more realistic. It was a little edgy. I have not looked at the other two books to know if I was missing anything but it did not seem like it. The author did a good job on developing the main characters Joe and Esther. The ending was unexpected but fit the book.

    Review copy provided by CFBA in exchange for an honest review.