Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement

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Tracie Peterson A Sensible Arrangement

Book info and Review
About the book: A Lone Star Brides book.

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.

Answering an advertisement for a "Lone Star bride," she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn't know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her.

Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake's yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty's dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.

What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways . . . and dreams and secrets collide?

My thoughts: 

A SENSIBLE ARRANGEMENT is the first book in Ms. Peterson's new series. I can't say I liked this one as much as some previous. It's a mail-order bride story, with a twist, she goes to Denver and marries a rich man and has servants. I was greatly displeased by the lying Marty does all the time, even though Jake is honest with her and says he values honestly above all else. Plus she's in possession of the one thing she wants and doesn't tell him about it. 

Jake seemed nice enough, but was rather flat, the servants were better developed. Still, the story was well-written, just not my favorite Tracie Peterson book. I will still read the others in the series. This book felt unfinished to me, I'm hoping to read more about Jake and Marty in a future book to see what happens. 

Purchase a copy:

About the Author: Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. 

Learn more about Tracie at:

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

By Appointment Only

Author: Marianne Evans
Publisher: White Rose Publisher
June 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Political dynamo Matt Bellinger understands he has an unyielding responsibility to work hard for the betterment of his community and the world around him. Life, he believes, should be built strictly on effort and tangibles, not an elusive faith. But that belief is challenged when a bill to spearhead volunteerism leads him to canvassing efforts at Detroit's legendary diner, Sal's Place, and a meeting with Heather Cavanaugh. His polar opposite, the street-smart beauty challenges his heart and perceptions. She's the head stylist at Optiva, a trendy, upscale hair salon in downtown Detroit, as well as a tireless volunteer giving back to the city she loves in honor of the God she serves.

Love blooms, gradually shifting Matt's perceptions. But when a life-threatening illness in his family challenges that fledgling faith, will he be able to hold fast to his newfound beliefs? Will he discover that faith makes all things possible and love makes all things beautiful?

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY is the first book I've read by Ms. Evans and it won't be the last. Though the book started slow and had insanely long chapters (almost forty pages for one of them) by the middle of the second chapter I was intrigued. I liked the issues in this book. Matt may be a politician but he's not unwilling to get his hands dirty working with the down and out.  I liked that Heather is a normal girl, a hairstylist, who became friends with and fell in love with a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

There is a lot of Bible in here, but I love that, too. Too many Christian books write a story and the characters go to church maybe once, or the characters don't go to church at all, but think something Christian-like and that constitutes the inspirational part. I loved  that Ms. Evans actually gives the message and makes it plain.

If you are looking for a good book to read, pick up BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. I picked it up out of my massive to-be-read pile because it was short and I needed an easy read to fill in a gap. This book is so much more than it appears. Definitely 4.5 stars. Recommended. 170 pages. $3.99 Kindle.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two are Better

Title: TWO ARE BETTER: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast
Authors: Tim & Debbie Bishop
Publisher: Open Road Press
May 2013
ISBN: 978-0985624828
Genre: Memoir

Are you looking for adventure?

Waiting upon the Lord takes on new meaning when you’ve been searching for companionship for over thirty years. But when you wait for God’s timing, He doesn’t disappoint. His redemptive grace translates into second chances, a fresh start, and the overwhelming joy of a long-standing prayer answered.

Such was the case for Tim and Debbie Bishop. At age 52, the couple finally found in each other that special someone they’d been searching for years to marry. They moved from marriage proposal and wedding, to Tim’s “retirement” and relocation, to embarking on their cycling adventure in only ten weeks. There was no more need to hold back once God gave the green light. Two Are Better shares the joy and excitement of the Bishops’ escape into togetherness.

From Tim’s epiphany about his stale life to Debbie’s dramatic spiritual conversion and deliverance from addictions, God leads them in some fascinating ways. When midlife crisis threatens to spoil the party, God transforms it into a midlife miracle, with an ensuing celebration to match. The bicycle tour doubles as a classroom filled with metaphors that reinforce the spiritual truths and lessons of a larger journey through life. Fear and faith wage war throughout, and other spiritual concepts rise to a practical level.

Early reviewer Scott Emack knows this isn’t just another travelogue: “Framed within a coast-to-coast biking odyssey with its daunting challenges lies a deeper and engaging view of discovering ourselves, our relationship with a loved one, spiritual connections, and answers to the nagging quest for juggling our priorities. Two Are Better will no doubt inspire you, but the fun in these pages is riding along with the Bishops.”

The Bishops were awestruck by the beauty and bounty of America. They brought back some pictures to share with you. Over 100 color photos supplement vivid descriptions of their magnificent surroundings. Their dual (and sometimes duel) narrative challenges readers to pursue their own dreams and to find their own release from the humdrum that life at any age can bring. Their inspirational story is a strong reminder that God wants to grant us the desires of our heart in His perfect timing. And when He does, you will never be the same.

Embrace life like never before. Read Two Are Better, and begin your own quest to more adventuresome living.

TWO ARE BETTER is marketed as Travel/Adventure, and while it is, in some ways, it is more the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bishops' discovery of each other, their beginning relationship, and their relationship after they married. I discovered that neither was very well prepared for a bicycle trip across country (for example, they didn’t know how to patch an intertube). I am happy they found love at fifty and were in good enough shape to mostly bicycle across the country (they did hitch some rides, most of the way through Minnesota, for instance) and they survived the trip to write about it.

Tim was mostly the writer of this book. They designated authors by color, Tim had black, Debbie had magenta, which is a really unique idea. The few bright patches of pink stood out.  Lots of good photos complete the book. 

If you are looking for a memoir about Mr. and Mrs. Bishop’s relationship and road trip, this is the book for you. If you are looking for more travel/adventure you can do better.  4 stars for an interesting story. $19.95. 208 pages. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Spotlight: Daughter of Jerusalem

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.

Buy on Amazon:

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Worthy Book Publishers (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936034670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936034673

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.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wildwood Creek

Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Bethany House
February 2013
ISBN: 978-0764208249
Genre: Contemporary

With love and loss tangled together, how was she to know where her life would lead?

Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father's unfinished destiny. When she's offered a production assistant's job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father's footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region's folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.

When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood--including Blake Fulton, Allie's handsome neighbor on the film set--seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn't know whom she can trust. If she can't find the answers in time, history may repeat itself...with the most unthinkable results.

WILDWOOD CREEK is a gripping story, half set in historical Texas, and half set in modern day. I fell in love with both Bonnie Rose—who struggled to rise beyond her past, to Allie, trying to make a career choice that her parents don’t approve of. I had to keep reading to see what happened, with both women.

Chapters are clearly marked so you know what time period and point of view you’re in.

If you’re looking for a great contemporary novel, look no further. WILDWOOD CREEK is everything you looked for and more. Discussion questions are included at the end. $14.99. 375 pages. 5 stars. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Daddy Next Door / The Soldier's Sweetheart

Author: Carol Voss
Publisher: Love Inspired
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0373878345
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Not Your Everyday Hero

Nearly setting her house on fire isn't the way Alyssa Douglas is supposed to begin her new life. Luckily Ben Cooper, her handsome new neighbor, is there to charge to her rescue. A widowed single mother, Alyssa has moved to Rainbow Lake to build a future for her young sons in the big-hearted Wisconsin seaside town. And she's getting a warm welcome from Ben, a crusading reporter struggling to raise his daughter. With his help, Alyssa starts to believe that anything is possible—even second chances. But are Ben and Alyssa finally ready to trust each other with a love that can make two families one?

DADDY NEXT DOOR is the first book I read by Ms. Voss. It is a formula romance and fairly predictable. Alyssa is a strong heroine who doesn’t think she is. After the death of her husband she wants to take care of herself and her sons, but no one will let her, so in retaliation she moves to her grandmother’s summer cottage, determined to prove herself to her well-meaning friends and family who want to help her.

Ben is a giver, caring and kind, and not the first person Alyssa needed to meet, especially when she accidentally sets the chimney on fire. He’s quick to step in to help and she’s just as quick to get prickly. Alyssa needs to learn that sometimes it’s okay to allow others to bless us, because that is a blessing to them. But it’s a long road to get there.

A quick and easy read. Discussion questions are included at the end. $5.99. 215 pages. 3.5 stars.


Author: Deb Kastner
Publisher: Love Inspired
July 2013
ISBN: 978-0373817108
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The Single Dad's Fresh Start

Army vet Will Davenport knows all about missions but nothing about raising his young daughter. Settling in Serendipity, Texas, he hopes they'll both find the peace that has always eluded him. But when the widower goes to work for a local beauty, he gets much, much more. Samantha Howell is ready with a helping hand for everyone else but insists on taking care of her problems on her own. Will wants to be her hero, but too much stands in their way. For a future with Samantha, he has to bury the past. But forgiving himself may be his most difficult mission ever.

THE SOLDIER’S SWEETHEART is a sweet romance. Samantha is taken by surprise when Will shows up out of nowhere insisting her brother offered him a job in her store, and acting all surprised she didn’t know about it. He has a four-year-old daughter who he’s never—or rarely—seen and he’s eaten up with guilt about how lousy he is as a husband and father, but he does love his daughter even if he doesn’t have a beginning clue how to be a dad.

Samantha is getting mad at her friends and other single girls for pushing themselves at the widowed ex-military man working for her, but she’s the one by starting it by taking his picture on her cell and sending it to all her friends.

Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to like these characters, I didn’t. The story/romance is sweet, and not predictable. But it was just a story.  $5.99. 218 pages. 3 stars. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Callie's Contest of Courage / GIVEAWAY!!!

Author: Jan May
Publisher: New Millennium Girls
April 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9835281-3-5
Genre: Tweener

Follow Callie on her journey of trust, hope, and the power of prayer.

Eleven-year-old Callie Fleming is a passionate animal lover! She's been waiting all year to enter photos in the I Love Nature Photo Contest. Her dad, who is the coolest dad in the world, is an award winning photographer and Marine Corps Reserves Sergeant. She is leaning on his help to win. But when her father is untimely deployed overseas and becomes strangely silent to her emails, she finds her whole world crashing down on her. Can she muster up the faith and courage to step out on a journey that whisks her away from all the things she loves? Join Callie on a journey of hope, trust and the power of prayer!

CALLIE’S CONTEST OF COURAGE is about a modern day girl whose daddy went overseas to fight. Callie is trying to win a photo contest to get a zoo internship, and she wants her daddy’s opinion of her work. But Daddy disappears from contact and her mom takes her and her brother to visit family for awhile.

This was an engaging story that was real cute and easy to read. I read it in a matter of hours. I enjoyed it except for one tiny thing; I wanted Mickey to get back what he lost.

Tween girls will love CALLIE’S CONTEST OF COURAGE. It has a valuable faith message for them as well.  Don’t miss this book! $7.95. 160 pages. 5 stars.

Giveaway!  Leave a comment on this to enter to win a copy of CALLIE’S CONTEST OF COURAGE, a “white” book bag that girls can decorate however they want,  and other tween girl books, such as Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek, and others.

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