Saturday, February 28, 2015

Betting on Hope

Betting Hope Debra Clopton

Book info and review

About the book:

Betting on Hope (Thomas Nelson, February 2015)

A bet gone wrong. A small town's meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it's beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie's bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career---and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he'd like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru's fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do-for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart's desires.

My thoughts:  BETTING ON HOPE is a great read. I enjoyed getting to know Maggie and Tru. Maggie is insecure, klutzy, and second-guessing herself.  Not to mention, terrified of horses. Tru on the other hand is confident, wary of reporters, and a well-seasoned cowboy. I couldn’t help but fall in love with both of them.

There is a secondary character, Jenna, in the book, whose situation is heartbreaking. I cried. Maggie’s story is also sad, but she—and Jenna—struggle to rise above their history and make something of themselves—to do what it takes to succeed.

The book is fairly predictable. I knew what was coming long before it got there. But it was still a good read and I loved the chemistry between Tru and Maggie, I enjoyed watching them fall in love, and I didn’t want to put the book down. Ms. Clopton is one of my favorite cowboy authors and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series, Counting on a Cowboy, coming August 2015.


Purchase a copy:  

About the author:

Debra Clopton
 is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Find Debra online: websiteFacebookTwitter

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Thick as Thieves

Author: Susan K. Marlow
Publisher: Kregel Publications
February 2015
ISBN: 978-0825443671
Genre: Young adult / Historical / suspense
Review by Jenna

Fourteen-year-old Andrea Carter would rather ride her beloved palomino, Taffy, than do anything else. But life on the Circle C ranch in 1882 is busy. Between school and chores, Andi is left with little time to prepare for Taffy’s first foaling. Then when the event finally arrives, it nearly ends in disaster.

Returning to school keeps Andi hard-pressed to find time for foal training. And she now has a new problem on her hands--Macy Walker, who has been assigned as Andi’s seatmate. The new girl’s crude manners and cruel behavior bring storm clouds into Andi’s life, as does the news that cattle rustlers have moved into the valley.

When the cattle rustlers turn to stealing horses and strike the Carter ranch, Andi’s only hope for recovering her precious colts lies with Macy. Can Andi trust this wild girl? Does she have a choice?

THICK AS THIEVES is the first book in Ms. Marlow’s Circle C Milestones series. I have been a long time fan of Ms. Marlow’s books and I was so excited when I got this one in the mail to read.

I loved THICK AS THIEVES because it was filled with adventure and it had valuable lessons, such as it’s better to be a friend who sticks closer than a brother than a non-truthful one. There is also that you can’t always judge by appearances what a person is really like.

I highly recommend THICK AS THIEVES. It’s an awesome book. I can’t wait until I get Ms. Marlow’s next book in this series Heartbreak Trail.

172 pages. Available in paperback.  5 stars.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Spotlight: Daughter of Jerusalem

Author: Joan Wolf
Publisher: Worthy Press
April 2013
ISBN: 978-1936034673
Genre: Biblical Fiction

She was a widow, a businesswoman, an adulteress.
In her lifetime, she knew murder, prejudice, and faith. She transformed from a Jewish girl longing for family to one of the closest friends of Jesus of Nazareth -- the Son of God.


In this fictionalized story of one of the Bible's most compelling women, New York Times best-selling author Joan Wolf beautifully recreates the history, romance, and tradition of Mary's world. Daughter of Jerusalem follows Mary's life from her first love through her loveless marriage, to the moment she heard of a miracle worker in her own town -- and ultimately to the moment she saw Him risen from the dead.

As this inspiring chronicle reminds us, Mary was the first to witness history's greatest moment. She was a woman who sought forgiveness for her sins, and a follower of God who yearned for a deeper faith. She was Jesus' beloved disciple. Read Mary Magdalene's story and find yourself in this remarkable woman's journey to discover the Kingdom of God.

320 pages. Available in paperback, ebook, and hardcover. 

About the Author


Joan Wolf is a USA TODAY bestselling American writer, whose acclaimed Regency romances have earned her national recognition as a master of the genre. Her many historical and contemporary romances, some of which have been chosen as Literary Guild selections, have been highly praised by reviewers and authors alike. 

Joan was born in 1951 and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. A former English teacher, she obtained a Bachelor's degree in Mercy College and Master in English and Comparative Literature at Hunter College. An avid rider and horse owner, Joan lives in Connecticut with her husband Joe and two grown children, Jay and Pam.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Love Boat Bachelor

Author: Various
Publisher: Write Integrity
February 2015
Genre: Romance

Romance is a joke.

After the love of Brent Teague’s life came back into his world only to marry someone else, Brent is through with women. He might be through with being a pastor, too.

Brent was so sure that God brought Mara Adkins home to him so they could marry and live happily ever after. Six months after her wedding to another man, that theory is obviously a dud. If Brent could be so wrong about that, who’s to say he’s not mistaken about God calling him to pastoral ministry?

Tired of watching Brent flounder for direction, Brent’s feisty older sister boots him out of Spartanburg and onto a cruise ship. Brent’s old college buddy manages the ship’s staff, and he’s thrilled to finagle Brent into the role of chaplain for the two-week cruise.

As the ship sets sail, Brent starts to relax. Maybe a cruise wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But there’s just one little thing no one told him. He’s not on any ordinary cruise. He’s on The Love Boat.

What’s a sworn bachelor to do on a Caribbean cruise full of romance and love? He’ll either have to jump ship or embrace the unforgettable romantic comedy headed his way.

Learn more about Brent in A Dozen Apologies, available on Kindle.

My thoughts: A cute premise—a sworn bachelor on a love boat cruise. Except Brent doesn’t seem so sworn to bachelorhood. He is definitely floundering, attracted to almost every woman he meets. That was a bit of a concern to me, wondering if he’d settle down to be a one-woman-man. I did pick out my favorite bachelorette when she was introduced and was pleasantly surprised she was the favorite overall. And my second favorite was also the second favorite overall, so we’ll see more of her. I am curious which authors wrote which chapters. But I may never know. *I have been told the publisher added an update so we would know who wrote what.

Brent is a Christian and almost all the bachelorettes that he developed an interest in were Christians. There are some good spiritual truths included. My only real complaint with this collection is that Brent seems to flounder, flitting from woman to woman, strongly attracted to all. I would’ve liked to see him develop a clear attraction to one woman, not all … however many there were. I lost count. However, that would’ve ruined the guesswork that this book – probably based on TVs bachelor/bachelorette reality shows – wanted.

Who will Brent choose? Read THE LOVE BOAT BACHELOR and pick your favorite and see for yourself.

Not a bad read.

Available in ebook.  132 pages.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

River's Edge

RIVER'S EDGE: Cape Refuge Series Book 3 by Terri Blackstock

Where do YOU go for YOUR information?

Cape Refuge is experiencing another storm, and it isn’t caused by natural phenomena.  As the political race for mayor between Ben Jackson and Pastor Jonathan Cleary heats up, more lives stand to be impacted by the outcome of the election.  Police Chief Matthew Cade knows that if Jonathan doesn’t prevail, his job is on the line as well.

When Ben Jackson’s wife goes missing, the rumor mill begins.  And when a local psychic leads authorities to the river’s edge – directly to the location of Lisa Jackson’s body – it’s only adds fuel to the fire. 

Amidst swirling accusations, suspicious minds, and chaotic lives spinning out of control – there is still The Truth.

The Truth will set you free.  Free indeed.

Exploring a variety of real-life issues, and written with Terri Blackstock’s trademark for deep characters, realistic relationships, and suspense that holds you to the very last page, RIVER’S EDGE will impact your life long after you’ve put the book down.

5 Stars for Christian Suspense at its finest!

Terri Blackstock
ISBN  978-0-310-34279-3
Fiction / Christian / Suspense
360 pages
$ 10.99 (U.S.)
Review by Steve

Monday, February 23, 2015

Old Fashioned

Author: Rene Gutteridge
Screenplay writer: Ric Swartzwelder
Publisher: Tyndale Books
December 2014
ISBN:   978-1414379333
Genre: Novelization / Contemporary romance

Former frat boy Clay Walsh has given up his reckless lifestyle and settled down to run an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. Determined to put his partying ways behind him, Clay has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can’t help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life.

New to the area, Amber finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay and his noble ideas, but her own fears and deep wounds are difficult to overcome. Can they move beyond their differences and their pasts to attempt an “old-fashioned” courtship?

My thoughts:  This is a difficult review to write. I enjoyed one of Ms. Gutteridge’s earlier novelizations, but this one didn’t read quite so well to me. I applaud the message of the book, chastity, and waiting until marriage, but Clay seems more obstinate “My rules, my way” than chivalrous. I understand he has quite a past, but he responds in the extreme which rather turned me off from his character.

Amber is alive and vibrant, and a character I was drawn to. I liked her confidence, her zest for life despite the hardships she faces.

Over all, the book was okay. Not great. Not one I’d care to reread. But it does have a good message, and it would probably appeal to some ultra-conservatives.

 Available in ebook, audio, and paperback.  320 pages.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Only God Can Make a Kitten

Author: Rhonda Gowler Greene
Illustrator: Laura J. Bryan
Publisher: Zonderkidz
February 2015
ISBN:  978-0310731702
Genre: Children’s book

Only God Can Make A Kitten, written by award-winning author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by bestselling artist Laura J. Bryant, follows a conversation between a mother and child as the child repeatedly asks "Mama, who made . . . ?" In the end, children learn that God is responsible for everything in creation—including kittens!

Designed for children age 4 – 8, ONLY GOD CAN MAKE A KITTEN is an adorable story for young children to be read for bedtime or anytime stories. Written in poem form with colorful and engaging illustrations, this book is fun, educationally, and scriptural. A great gift for spring for your favorite preschooler.  

Recommended for Church libraries, day cares, nurseries, and Christian preschools.

Available in hard cover.  32 pages.