Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Review: "Hearts Made Whole"

Jody Hedlund’s books just keep getting better and better. I loved her most recent, Hearts Made Whole. This book is the second in her Beacons of Hope series, a series where each story is set near an historical lighthouse. I haven’t read the first book yet, but the second stood just fine all alone.

Hearts Made Whole is the story of Caroline Taylor, a young woman who learned how to run a lighthouse while assisting her father to do so and to raise her four younger siblings. When her father dies during a storm, the lighthouse inspector chooses someone else to run the lighthouse and asks Caroline and her siblings to leave, though they have nowhere else to go.

Ryan Chambers, the new lighthouse keeper, has compassion, though, especially since he does not know how to run the lighthouse and struggles with the chronic pain of a war injury and an addiction to pain medication combined with alcohol. His goal is to earn enough money to amend a war wrong, but he isn’t opposed to help from Caroline.

Unfortunately, someone else is opposed to Caroline's presence, and she and Ryan find themselves making tough decisions to protect Caroline’s family and the lighthouse from harm. This is where Hedlund’s skill as a novelist shines. She puts her characters into impossible situations then makes those situations worse until readers can’t even imagine any good way out. Readers just have to keep reading to see what Hedlund will come up with for her characters next.

If you enjoy historical Christian fiction, I recommend this book. Bethany House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: "Taken"

I knew I was going to love this book before I even read it. Dee Henderson is my favorite author, unquestionably. I've loved every one of her books, and Taken did not disappoint me.

Henderson's style is unique. Nobody gets into the heads of her characters to help readers understand them like she does. What's more, she's created her own little universe populated by characters from her previous books. I love reading each new book in order to meet the new characters and catch up with the older ones. Taken revisits characters from several of Henderson's books. (But, if you haven't yet read any of them, you won't be lost. Henderson gives you all the information you need to enjoy the current story.)

In Taken, we meet 27-year-old Shannon Bliss, a girl who was abducted at age 16, who mysteriously appears at a conference where Matthew Dane is scheduled to speak. Dane is a retired cop whose own daughter was kidnapped and recovered. He had left the police force in order to become a private investigator to solve his daughter's case. Now Shannon wants his help as she attempts to put her captors in jail and return to as normal of a life as she can.

I was intrigued from the beginning and surprised all the way through. Fans of romantic suspense will love this book. I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Book Review: "The Art of Losing Yourself"

I loved this book! And I’m so glad I read it.

I almost didn’t. I’d seen a review that said the ending was disappointing. I didn’t want to be disappointed.

But I’ve enjoyed Katie Ganshert’s other books, so I decided to read the book.

In my opinion, it couldn’t have ended more perfectly! And everything leading up to that ending was absolutely worth reading.

This is a book about sisters. It’s a book about a marriage struggling to survive. It’s about a woman with dementia who remembers what counts. It’s about people who refuse to give up on people who tell them give up, who shove them away and claim they aren’t worth fighting for. It’s about people desperately in need of second chances, third, and fourth, and more. It’s about learning to be honest with yourself and others. It’s about loss and disappointment and heartache. But it’s also a story of hope and faith and God’s incredible faithfulness, His work behind the scenes even when it seems He’s forgotten His children have needs.

Our God never forgets. I love how Ganshert makes this point.

If you’ve been disappointed, hurt, or treated unfairly, The Art of Losing Yourself has a message (or two) for you. I recommend this read.

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Book Review: "Siren's Fury"

Book Two of the Storm Siren Trilogy, Siren's Fury, is here! And just as I anticipated from the last five pages of the first book, Nym's situation has gone from devastating to deadly. Not only has Draewolf stolen the love of her life, he's taken her powers as well. Now she must find a way to defeat him without any of the advantages she's come to depend on.

I found this book to be unsettling. The tension was high. The losses profound. Nym's alliances weren't to be trusted and neither were her instincts. She's an emotionally fragile character acting on desperation, making quick and uninformed decisions as she attempts to thwart evil and discover what's true. Imagine a political conspiracy theory story in a fantasy setting. Pretty much anything goes . . . and it did.

But as with the first book, I loved the ending and am anticipating Book Three. I can't even begin to imagine where Mary Weber will take Nym next, but I'm hoping Nym will discover who she truly is--and that all of her friends will survive the final storm.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary eCopy of this book in exchange for this honest review. I recommend it to fans of action and adventure in imaginary worlds.