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An Unexpected Role by Leslea Wahl

An Unexpected Role by [Wahl, Leslea]

What this book is about: (from Amazon)

The devastation of a ruined summer.

The gift of a second chance.

Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self?

After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.

My thoughts:

I did enjoy the plot of this book, especially when it did take a twist that I was not expecting, since I had most of it figured out.  I did like how the characters were flawed and interesting, but for me, I did have trouble with Josie’s personality.  I personally just didn’t care for her and it is harder for me to enjoy books when I don’t like the main character.  I found her to be immature, self-absorbed and very rude where I did not understand how Ryan was so nice to her.  Josie’s character does grow and realizes many things by the end of the book, which is great, it just didn’t make for super enjoyable reading for me until the very end.  So other than the personality clash, this book really is fun and a great teen book. It does have a great message and has a fun setting.

I give An Unexpected Role 3.5 stars.  The publisher did provide me with a complimentary copy of the book through BookCrash.  All opinions are my own.

About the author: Leslea Wahl lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and three children.  Their own life of adventure includes traveling, skiing, and scuba diving.  Leslea strives to write fiction that will inspire readers to sue their own talents and gifts to glorify God.  Visit Leslea’s website at http://www.LesleaWahl.com

You can purchase a copy of this book here. https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Role-Leslea-Wahl-ebook/dp/B01M22KC1J/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523762297&sr=8-1&keywords=an+unexpected+role+leslea+wahl

 

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Review of Magnetic by Lynn Cowell

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What the book is about (from the publisher):

Do you ever wonder…
What does she have that I haven’t got?
Why doesn’t he ask me out?
What makes her popular? Why not me?
  
Maybe it’s time to change the questions you’re asking. Maybe it’s time to ask instead: What does it take to become magnetic?

Packed with revealing quizzes, interviews with guys, and practical tools, Magnetic empowers you to:

· Move beyond negative thoughts, capricious emotions, and others’ opinions as you gain unshakeable confidence.
· Limit the draining affect of “girl drama” so you can invest your time in becoming the best you.
· Replace the agonizing frustration of wanting to be noticed and liked with a deep assurance that you already are.

As you live out nine amazing characteristics—known as the fruit of the Spirit—you will not only cultivate an inner and outer beauty, but you will also hold an irresistible appeal for godly guys. Shift your focus from a guy to the Guy and become the magnetic young woman God created you to be.

My thoughts:

There are many really good points that this books makes to young girls.  The focus is great, of becoming the girl He (as in God, not a guy!) wants.  That  can be a really hard mind shift at that age.  The book helps support that mind set change with examples, scripture, quizzes and questions to reflect on.  I do think that at times all of the above, especially the quizzes, could be a bit simplistic.  Some girls do still live in a great environment and will relate with all of the content in this book.  However, many will not relate to some or even all of it.  Some kids live in really messy environments and will find they don’t quite relate to this book.  While it goes back to scripture, God, praying and giving your burdens to God… which is all wonderful, it might not be where some girls are at yet.  That is why I give it 4 stars instead of 5.  The content is wonderful, it just might not be a good fit for a girl with more going on in her life.

 

I give Magnetic 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books, I have no obligation to write a positive review, just an honest one.

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall and a GIVEAWAY!!

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:
“Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance&, Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.

With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.”

My thoughts:
In The Cautious Maiden, Dawn Crandall grasped my heart and brought out every emotion with an endearing heroine, a reformed rogue, heart-pounding romance, jaw-dropping plot twists, lurking danger and suspense. She’s taken broken characters and demonstrated God’s amazing transforming power through grace, forgiveness and redemption within these pages. This book was absolutely amazing! It will be hard to get into my next book now after being so emotionally involved with Violet and Vance. I don’t always like reformed characters because I usually find them to be unbelievable and corny, but I love Vance! He still has his hard edge to be believable, yet his heart was obviously transformed. Every book in this series has blown me away, but this one kept me up the latest and I could not stop thinking about it long past turning the last page. You don’t want to miss this installment in The Everstone Chronicles!! The Cautious Maiden makes the top of my list for my favorite reads of the year.

I give The Cautious Maiden 5 out of 5 stars! I LOVE it!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher but was not required to leave a positive review. I have given my honest review.

About the author:
Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden which released October 4th, 2016.
Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.

And a GIVEAWAY link!!!
http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rafflecopter.com%2Frafl%2Fdisplay%2F8040ae3c30%2F&h=4AQE7KVeW

Love at First Fight by Carey and Dena Dyer

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:
“Love at First Fight is a book that will give your marriage encouragement and hope if you find that the once endearing, charming, and distinct qualities that once attracted you to your spouse are now a source of stress and conflict. In sharing humorous, personal stories from both the male and female perspective, husband and wife writing team Carey and Dena Dyer will help you discover that a fun, resilient, fulfilling marriage can be realized through hard work, forgiveness, God’s grace, and a sense of humor. Learn how to strengthen your marriage with these fifty-two conversational meditations that begin with scripture, end with prayers, and include practical action steps to develop a deeper connection with your spouse.”

My thoughts:

I am a newlywed, so when I saw this title available for review, I jumped at the chance. I am so glad that I did, I love this book! The topics range from minor and not serious to serious, yet they are all things that can cause couples to have troubles or grow closer together, depending on how they are handled. I giggled at many places at how true-to-life these issues are and how Carey and Dena talked about them. Many of those giggles were because my husband and I have already gone through that particular issue and handled it much like Carey or Dena. I wouldn’t call this book super serious, but it does handle some serious topics. For the most part, this is a light-hearted book that can help any couple grow closer if they read through it together and pray and discuss the questions in each meditation. I loved how both Carey and Dena were candid and exposed how they reacted to things in their relationship and how they could have done better. Each meditation is nice length where they are shorter, but not too short to not have any substance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

I loved this book and give it 5 stars!

Close to You by Kara Isaac

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:
“A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?”

My thoughts:
I loved Close to You! Close to You has flawed, realistic characters, going through icky, real life-like circumstances. There were many characters, but I didn’t have trouble keeping any of them straight and they were all so different and had so many dimensions; they were delightful! The comedic moments were relatable and so much fun! I was always guessing of what was going to happen next and was consistently surprised with different twists. I kept wondering throughout this, “How in the world is she going to wrap this up? How?” Well, I won’t give away the ending but I will say, it was a sigh-worthy ending that had me smiling and day-dreaming about what a wonderful book this is. Close to You is a fabulous debut and I can’t wait to see what else Kara Isaac writes, so I can devour that too!

I give Close to You 5 out of 5 stars! I love it and recommend it!

I received Close to You in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

About the Author:
Kara Isaac is a romantic comedy writer who lives in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand. Her debut romantic comedy, Close To You, is about a disillusioned academic-turned-tour-guide and an entrepreneur who knows nothing about Tolkien who fall in love on a Tolkien themed tour of New Zealand. When she’s not working her day job as a public servant, chasing around a ninja preschooler and his feisty toddler sister, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. She loves to connect with readers on her website http://www.karaisaac.com, on Facebook at Kara Isaac – Writer and Twitter @KaraIsaac

Christmas Star Sapphire by Hallee Bridgeman

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:

“Inspired by the Jewel Series
MADELINE VISCOLLI finds herself on the Gulf shores of Alabama, where she takes part in a graduate program to earn her MBA. On her first day there, she meets JOE WESTCOTT, team leader for a campus ministry. Despite a mutual attraction, Joe’s personal rule of no romance with any student keeps any kind of deep relationship from developing.
Joe has no desire to have a relationship with anyone, ever, anyway. He left a life of luxury and his family’s business behind to live alone on a sailboat and serve in ministry. Then Madeline walks into the auditorium the week school starts and Joe suspects his personal rules might not apply to this graduate student.
That is, until he discovers Madeline is one of the Viscollis, and that her destiny lay in running her father’s massive corporation. Having rejected wealth and all its trappings since childhood, Joe finds himself falling for the vivacious sapphire-eyed beauty. Madeline knows she loves Joe, but is not willing to throw away her destiny of taking over at the helm of Viscolli Enterprises.
A Christmas Eve funeral washes all Joe’s plans away. Will their love succumb to the rising tide caused by their differences in lifestyles, or will raging seas calm and allow them to sail off into the sunset?”
My thoughts:

At one point while reading this book, it really brought me back to my college days. I could feel myself sitting there in the college cafe, right along with the characters. The characters are older as one is a graduate student, so it is not a completely “college feel” type book, but it did bring back memories for me. I think this was a clean romance, that is not overly sweet. It was a little hard for me to relate to these characters, but I still really enjoyed their story. It was easy to read with a few surprises that made the story go fast. I enjoyed Christmas Star Sapphire and recommend it as a great Christmas novella to escape with during the busy holiday season.

I give Christmas Star Sapphire 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed this sweet story and recommend it, especially to those looking for a shorter Christmas story. (It is a novella, not a full length novel.)

I received this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

With This Ring, a novella collection by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Melissa Jagears and a GIVEAWAY!!!

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This is a book filled with four novellas by four awesome authors! The tag line on the front cover says, “A novella collection of proposals gone awry”. I asked to review this book because I was making engagement and wedding plans of my own at the time and thought it would be so cool to announce it once it became official by posting this review with a picture of me holding the book while wearing the ring we picked out. I should have listened to the tag line and known something would go awry….

As for the book, the four novellas; this book is so much fun! It was so much fun to see characters that are in their other books too. This is a fun, funny, clean set of romances for the historical lover. I recommend these novellas to those who like to escape with a shorter story and want to have fun while doing that!

Obviously, I am not posting this review with a picture of the ring I picked out. Things went awry. I am deeply hurt and waited many months to post this review because of that, but know that I needed to get the review live and now I need to work on healing from rejection. I know God is bigger than this situation, it it still hurts and I am not getting any younger. I have an amazing daughter, but I still dream of a family some day.

I want to give this gently used book away! To enter to win it (a paperback), please comment with a time when you had a huge hurt/disappointment, or rejection or something like that and explain a little (or however much you feel comfortable telling) and how you healed/or any advice and write your email address in an anti-spam format too. I will email the winner on May 6th! Sorry, must be a U S resident for mailing reasons.

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

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Many people will devour Like Never Before, it’s that amazing, but I needed to savor it. My heart needed Like Never Before at a slower pace to fully absorb the truths.

I loved how some really tough circumstances were included and how humanly flawed these wonderful characters are. A divorced main character is hard to find in Christian fiction, but I find that the exact opposite in real life, so I applaud Melissa Tagg for including this hard subject.

I laughed within the first chapter and I cried in the first part of the second chapter, so my emotions were immediately involved. I identified with Logan as a single parent and some of the scenes made my heart ache, they hit so close to home. Emotional connection is my favorite part of reading; Like Never Before had me emotionally connected and involved from the first pages, so I loved it!

I found the writing style easy to follow and the pace pretty fast and steady where I always wanted to keep reading, yet I didn’t always know what was coming next. The romance is sweet and clean. This is the second book in the series, and I have read the first and love seeing so many characters again, but I think this story can be read and understood on its own.

I still think I might go visit Maple Valley and all these characters some day, but reality sets in and I realize they aren’t truly real. But they are wonderful and I will re-visit them when I re-read Melissa Tagg’s books. 🙂

I give Like Never Before 5 out of 5 starts! I love it and recommend it!

I received a copy for review purposes, all thoughts are my own and my honest opinion.

Always Watching by Lynette Eason

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:
“The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.”

My thoughts:
It’s been a long time since I have a book in one day and Always Watching made me do that! I loved the constant action and suspense. I loved the romance. This book had a little more romance in it than her last series, in my opinion. The romance was a side theme to the suspense and didn’t overtake the book or anything, it was great. The characters were interesting and flawed. The suspense and action was done in typical Eason style where it was enthralling but never too gruesome. I can’t wait to see where the next books take this group of characters, I really enjoyed almost all of them. I had a hunch about a third of the way through who was responsible for the bad stuff, but I was only partially correct and there was a twist I never saw coming.

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it for Christian suspense fans!

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:
“Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she’s hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn’t move three thousand miles to work on his uncle’s B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian–and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they’ve got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into The Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It’s a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won’t you stay for the season?”

My thoughts:

The Red Door Inn brought me to Prince Edward Island and I didn’t want to leave! I want to plan a vacation there now. Ms. Johnson brought the island alive and I felt like I could feel the cool breeze and the sand beneath my feet. Anne of Green Gable fans will love the nostalgia that The Red Door Inn brings too!

The writing style is easy to read and follow and makes the story flow quickly. I love old houses and renovating stories, so it was a lot of fun to “watch” as the house took shape to fulfill so many characters’ dreams. The way island original work and antiques were woven into the story was pure fun, especially a typewriter! You will have to read it to find out what I mean, so I won’t give anything away.

I have to admit that I adored Jack and Aretha in this story and love the added storyline they brought to the book. It took me a while to warm up to Seth, but I loved how he came off jaded, exactly like he was from his past. Marie’s past has a difficult issue in it that some may want to know about before reading, in case they are sensitive to that topic. The characters were relatable and flawed and redeemable.

I give the Red Door Inn 5 stars and highly recommend it to contemporary romance fans!

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.