Sunday, May 31, 2015

As Love Blooms by Lorna Seilstad (Review)

  • Series: The Gregory Sisters (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 19, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800721831

Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturalist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind and hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. But before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park--and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her . . . or to capture her heart?

Against a lush backdrop of early twentieth century Saint Paul, Minnesota, Lorna Seilstad weaves a sweet and sassy story that is sure to please. Tessa's young romance opens like a rose, stealing readers' hearts and filling their senses with the intoxicating fragrance of dreams come true.

My Review:

This is the third book in the Gregory Sisters series. They are light  Christian historical romance books set in the early 1900s. If you have not read the first two books in the series you might not like all the details featuring the lives of the other two sisters in this book. Also, it helps understand the character of Tessa better to have the background knowledge. Tessa is the flighty one who is always trying something new. The one constant thing in her is her love of gardening. Although her younger years were not wealthy, she now lives with Samantha, her sister's husband's aunt. She is extremely wealthy, generous, loving, and a huge suffragist. There is a subplot involving her and an old friend who is a Senator.  Tessa meets Reese King at Como Park where he is a gardener. She desperately wants to work there too. He lets her help him with the work in exchange for her design. That part is not believable but if you suspend belief the book is enjoyable. The characters and plot were well developed and interesting. I really wanted to shake Tessa at times. Reese is a sweet young man but not perfect. They are friends most of the book with the romance developing more at the end. Overall a good read but not the best book in the series. Recommended to fans of the genre. 

A history buff, antique collector, and former high school English teacher, fan favorite Lorna Seilstad is the author of When Love CallsWhile Love Stirs,and the Lake Manawa Summers series. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Lorna lives in Iowa with her husband. Learn more at

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

In Firefly Valley by Amanda Cabot (Review)

  • Series: Texas Crossroads (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 19, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800734350

Marisa St. George is devastated when she is a victim of downsizing and has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it's a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow's End resort. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But will her dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers who he really is?

Romance readers will love this warm and witty story of mistaken identity and second chances from bestselling author Amanda Cabot.

My Review:

Although book two in the Texas Crossroads series this book can stand alone. The setting and characters are the same. This book focuses the main part of the story on Marisa and Blake. So we see what happened to the last set of main characters, Greg and Kate, from the first book too. Marisa is Carmen the cook's daughter. She loses her job and returns home to manager the resort. She also has unresolved issues with her father that affect her daily life. Blake is a friend of resort owners and hopes to relieve his writer's block while there. He has a big secret though, only a few people know he's the author of a popular book series. Blake and Marisa feel sparks from their first meeting. There was a secondary plot involving Marisa's best friend Lauren and her mother Carmen. They both find romance. The characters and plot were interesting. The guys in the book were a little too perfect. The book is slower paced but it did not bother me. Overall this was an okay Contemporary Christian romance book. 

With both parents avid readers, it's no surprise that Amanda Cabot learned to read at an early age. From there it was only a small step to deciding to become a writer. Of course, deciding and becoming are two different things, as she soon discovered. Fortunately for the world, her first attempts at fiction, which included a play for her fifth grade class entitled "All About Thermometers," were not published, but she did meet her goal of selling a novel by her thirtieth birthday. Since then she's sold more than thirty novels under a variety of pseudonyms. When she's not writing, Amanda enjoys sewing, cooking and - of course - reading.

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Remaining by Travis Thrasher (Review)

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; MTI edition (September 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414397528

In one day, everything changes forever.

As a group of college pals gathers for the wedding of two friends, celebration turns to terror when many of the guests die suddenly with no apparent cause. With the big day turned into a nightmare, the friends are left to figure out what’s happening. With mysterious and devastating catastrophes striking the city―and reports of similar events coming in from around the world―they must address the ultimate question.

Is this the end? Or just the beginning of something more horrifying than they ever could have imagined?

Faith, family, and the future are all hanging in the balance.

The Remaining is a novelization of the apocalyptic movie from Sony Affirm. Just after a young couple says their vows, the earth shakes, and some people die suddenly and are taken away. The rest of their wedding party and friends are left to wrestle with what happened and with their faith. Characters struggle with secret love, dreams, hopes, and beliefs as they continue to evaluate their faith. This book 
and movie are both action-packed thrillers that will encourage audiences to think about their beliefs.

My Review:

This book held my attention from beginning to end. I was captivated. This is the book version of a movie by the same name. The author did a good job at description and developing the characters and plot. There are several ideas about how the rapture/end times will happen. One of them is used in this book. This is a character focused book more than plot. The plot revolves around the different characters and the thoughts going through their mind. There are multiple narrators but it was not confusing at all. The faith element of course is present and well developed. It gets real so there is a lot of death and disturbing scenes. It really made me think. We get so caught up in our day to day lives that we forget what could happen at any moment. If you have read the Left Behind series this book is different in the viewpoint taken but still a good story. Recommended. 

Critically acclaimed author Travis Thrasher has made a career out of defying expectations. He's written over twenty-five books that have crossed the spectrum between love stories and supernatural thrillers. His variety of inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, and pastors. He's also helped write memoirs and self-help books. He lives with his wife and three daughters in a suburb of Chicago.

For more information on Travis, visit

Review copy provided by Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason (Review)

  • Series: Hidden Identity (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 5, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722104

She'll defend her friend until the bitter end--but is she in over her head?
It's not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she's not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe. 

Lynette Eason delivers nonstop action as Jackie and Ian travel a dangerous road--one that may lead straight to destruction.

My Review:

I enjoyed reading the latest book in the Hidden Identity series by Lynette Eason. Although it is book three in the series it can stand alone. This is a Christian suspense/mystery book with a little romance thrown in. Although a little violent in parts it is not too graphic. The mystery kept me guessing and the suspense kept me reading. I liked how the relationship developed between Jackie and Ian. The faith element was not developed enough especially with Jackie's character. I would have liked to see more depth with it. The characters and overall plot were well developed and interesting. I was intrigued and my attention was held from the beginning. This is one of my favorite authors and her books are like my all time favorite author Dee Henderson. Recommended to fans of the genre. 

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust and Nowhere to Turn. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College, and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at

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

Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson (Review)

  • Series: Brides with Style (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (April 21, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723996

Somewhere in a sea of tulle and taffeta, satin and crepe, Katie Fisher needs to find a key ingredient of the perfect wedding--the groom.
Small-town girl Katie Fisher is busy planning her fairy-tale wedding. Sure, her boyfriend hasn't managed to pop the question just yet, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't enter a contest in Texas Bride magazine to win the dress of her dreams, right? Anyway, she's sure he'll be getting down on one knee any time now. And a one-of-a-kind designer dress doesn't just fall out of the sky right when you need it.

But when Katie's boyfriend takes a job in another town and breaks up with her--on the very same day she wins her dream dress--her world is turned upside down. Dare she go to Dallas to claim her prize? And will the hunky pro basketball player who runs the beyond-swanky bridal shop--yeah, you read that right--discover her humiliating secret if she does?

My Review:

This book starts a new series, Brides with Style, by Janice Thompson. This was a light fluffy predictable Christian chick lit romance book. It was a fast read and held my attention from the beginning. It was definitely over the top. It is set in a small town in Texas called Fairfield and part takes place in Dallas. It has all the crazy family members. The book is not really realistic but if you suspend belief its enjoyable. The supporting characters and her family were interesting. There was a side plot of what happened between her grandmother and Aunt Alva years ago. As is this author's style the chapter titles have special meaning. In this book they are based on of Loretta Lynn songs. So overall a quirky funny southern chick lit book. I enjoyed reading this book but it is not my favorite. Weddings by Bella is still my favorite series. If you enjoy this genre then you might like this book.  

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. She lives in Texas. Learn more at

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

Classics Club Spin 18

My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...