Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Susan May Warren's You're the One that I Want ~ Reviewed

Susan May Warren

  • Series: Christiansen Family
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414378467


Owen Christiansen has been in a downward spiral since an injury ended his NHL career. But a job on an Alaskan crabbing boat offers a fresh start . . . maybe even a shot at romance with Elise “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter.

Used to being one of the guys, to never relying on anyone, Scotty doesn’t believe in happily ever after―especially with someone like Owen. Her instinct is confirmed when Casper Christiansen arrives to drag his prodigal brother home, bringing with him a truckload of family drama―and even worse, the news that Casper is wanted for questioning in connection to a crime back in Minnesota.

But Owen is more than the sum of his mistakes, a truth both he and Scotty discover when she escorts both brothers to Deep Haven as part of her new job on the Anchorage police force. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of family, faith, and fresh starts, Scotty begins to see potential for a happy ending . . . if she’s brave enough to embrace it.


You're the One That I Want
 is the final book in the Christiansen Family Series. This book centers around Owen, the black sheep of the family. After getting into a fight with his brother Casper, at their sister, Eden's wedding, over a girl, he fled without telling anyone where he was going. Upset with the turn of events in his life over the previous months, he just wanted to run away. The story begins with him working on an Alaskan crabbing boat. He has worked on his attitude and lifestyle, trying to turn things around, even thinking about going back home. In the meantime, he develops feelings for the captain's daughter, “Scotty” McFlynn. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Scotty, who is also a police officer, escorts Owen and his brother, Casper (who had gone looking for Owen) back home, after Casper is accused of a crime he didn't commit. While Scotty has developed feelings for Owen, she feels she is not the marrying type. However, the pull of the love of a good man as well as his family becomes hard to resist for her.

This was a great way to wrap up the series, though the last book in a series is always hard, as you feel like you are saying goodbye to your family. I loved seeing how far Owen's character has come. He was such a bitter man when last we read about him. The fact that he became aware of the dangerous path he was on and turned around was wonderful to see. It was also great seeing how everyone elses stories tied into this one and came together at the end. This was a great series and I highly recommend all of the books.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers


Nora St. Laurent called this one of the books she adored and that moved her this year. Read her review here. 


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Kellie Coates Gilbert's A Woman of Fortune ~ Reviewed


Kellie Coates Gilbert
Series: Texas Gold Collection
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revell (June 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800722728

Back Cover:

You never know what you're really made of until you lose everything.
Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream--designer clothes, luxury cars, stunning homes. But everything comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must face incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living.

Author Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers a story both poignant and emotionally gripping that celebrates the kind of fortune that lasts.


A Woman of Fortune tells the story of Tuck and Claire Massey. They are living the dream, according to the world. Tuck runs a huge cattle operation and is worth millions, if not a billion dollars. Claire is used to a life of luxury, as are her children: expensive cars, designer clothes, a gorgeous home. They seem to want for nothing. But everything comes to a halt when Tuck is arrested for what is potentially the biggest cattle fraud the country has ever seen. Claire now has to face the fact that many of the things she's been enjoying and taking for granted were bought with stolen money. Because they are such a popular family, the media jumps on the story, making the Massey's families lives miserable. Claire now has to deal with the fact that her husband is in prison, her children's lives are falling apart, and she has to find a new home and means of supporting herself as all of their assets are used to pay back the people who lost money.

This is a story we can relate to in this day and age. We see scandal all of the time in the “upper class”, those we are supposed to “look up” to. And it's always sad to see these people's lives nit-picked before the world. In some ways I felt for Claire's character, as she was taken by surprise, however, as she even stated at one point, she had no idea what was going on with their money. She never questioned where it came from, or even thought about the price of things before she bought them. She let the wealth and notoriety cloud whatever down-to-earth judgment she have had. My disappointment in this story came in the fact that the gospel was never presented. It was brought up that Tuck joined a Bible study in prison, which seemed to maybe bring him closer to the Lord. But nothing about Jesus being our hope. I was really enjoying the story, hoping it would be brought up somewhere, but the ending seemed very abrupt, and left me wanting to know more about the families spiritual development.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lori Benton's The Pursuit of Tamsen LittleJohn ~ Reviewed

By Lori Benton
Waterbrook Press 2014


Western North Carolina, 1787 ~ To escape a threatening stepfather and an unwanted marriage, Tamsen Littlejohn enlists the aid of Jesse Bird, a frontiersman she barely knows, to spirit her away from Morganton, North Carolina, west beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Trouble pursues, as the two men intent on seeing her recovered prove relentless in their hunt. Trouble awaits in the form of a divided frontier community. Across the mountains the State of Franklin has been declared, yet many settlers remain loyal to North Carolina. Chaos reigns, thwarting Tamsen and Jesse’s hastily cobbled plan to keep her safe.

With her pursuers ever nearing, the region in turmoil, neighbors grown suspicious of her presence, Tamsen’s safety is soon put in greater jeopardy. Gaining the freedom she longs for will mean running yet again, to the most unlikely refuge imaginable—the Cherokees, a people balanced on the knife edge of war.

But the biggest complication may prove to be Tamsen’s growing bond with her knight in greasy buckskins, Jesse Bird. Falling in love was never part of the plan.


Okay. I admit it. I am a super jaded reader. It takes a creative plot, larger than life characters, and some sweet turns of phrases to even slightly tickle my reader bone. THE PURSUIT OF TAMSEN LITTLEJOHN not only meets those requirements, it rockets right to the top of my favorite reads list.

And Lori Benton is one of my new favorite authors. I don't have many faves, folks, so this is quite the feat indeed.

So, let's get down to the nitty grittiness of why the heck I'm making such wild claims. I suppose it mostly boils down to how thoroughly the hero, Jessie Bird, stole my heart right along with the heroines. He is seriously "da man." What red-blooded woman wouldn't swoon for a fella who looks out for her safety, is gentle yet tough enough to fight off enemies even when he's shot and bleeding, and sports a serious six-pack beneath his shirt. Whew. Is it hot in here?

Okay, so besides my obvious man crush, let's talk plot. There are some great twists and turns in this one. In fact, you don't find out some very important information until near the end of the book. Don't panic. No spoilers here. Just know that you're in for a real treat of a surprise.

I also love the history lesson woven throughout the story. No dry textbook dates and names, just plenty of true action. 

I picked up this title because of the recommendation of a friend. So here I am, friends, passing that recommendation along. This is a keeper. Now then, I'm off to buy every last other title of Lori Benton's even if it makes my credit card smoke.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ane Mulligan's Chapel Springs Survival ~ Reviewed

  • Chapel Springs Survival
  • Ane Mulligan
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (December 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941103588


A mail-order bride, a town overrun with tourists, and illegal art ~ How on earth will Claire and Chapel Springs survive? 

With the success of her Operation Marriage Revival, life is good for Claire Bennett. That is until the mayor's brother blabs a secret: Claire's nineteen-year-old son, Wes, has married a Brazilian mail order bride — one who is eight years older than him. When Claire tries to welcome her new daughter-in-law, she's ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus. Will Claire and her family survive her son's marriage? 

Lydia Smith is happily living alone and running her spa then the widow on the hill becomes a blushing bride. Along with her new marriage, she has a dream to expand her business by adding guest rooms. Things are going according to plan. That is, until her groom's adult son moves in on everything. Will her dream survive her stepson? 

From the first sighting of a country music star in Claire's gallery, The Painted Loon, to the visit of a Hollywood diva, Chapel Springs is inundated with stargazers, causing lifelong residents to flee the area. When her best friends, Patsy and Nathan, put their house on the market, Claire is forced to do something or lose the closest thing to a sister she's got. With her son's future at stake and the town looking to her to solve their problems, it's Claire who needs a guardian angel. 


Ane Mulligan’s Chapel Springs Survival starts with a crisis as all good novels do. Claire Bennett is involved, should you need a refresher course, here are some highlights from mishaps in Claire’s life in Chapel Springs Revival...setting a kitchen on fire, surviving a son’s wedding, whipping the entire town back into shape, beaning an art critic, and falling into an open grave in her wedding attire...It’s a miracle there’s a book two at all. But delightfully there is. And Claire has plenty to trip over, stumble into or onto and angst over in ol Chapel Springs. Fortunately, her husband Joel and she are united like never before, and boy are they going to need that unity. The town’s tourism is hopping, maybe a little too much. But just a few tweaks might fix all of the little issues. But those little issues seem to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Claire still can’t cook, nor can she keep her mouth shut without biting her tongue. But with her big ol heart and determination she’s kinda the go-to girl in town. Unless, that person is her brand new surprise daughter-in-law. For some reason Claire's newest family member seems to be out to get her. 

Claire’s escapades, near misses, oops moments and big wins are definitely worth the read. Mulligan's humorous storytelling is so charming, the small town destination of Chapel Springs sounds like a dream vacation, and the characters are big as life.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Linda Glaz's Fear is Louder Than Words ~ Reviewed

Linda S. Glaz
Kindle, 281 pages
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
December, 2015
ISBN: 978-1941103500

Back Cover Copy:
Rochelle Cassidy has the perfect life as a radio talk show host in the Detroit market, but her celebrity status doesn't stop an angry listener from wanting her ... dead. Ed McGrath's ideal life as a pro-hockey player doesn't include a damsel in distress until the night he discovers Rochelle being attacked in a deserted parking structure. 

Circumstances throw them together in more ways than one when Rochelle's producer plays matchmaker. A sick boy, a corrupt politician, and questionable medical practices put more than merely Rochelle in danger, and still, her attacker shadows her every step. 

Will Ed be able to break through her trust issues in order to protect her, or will she continue to see him as Detroit's bad boy athlete? Her life AND his depend on it.

Rochelle, the heroine in Fear is Louder Than Words, had an interesting job and a strong personality. She resembled a female Rush Limbaugh (although admittedly, I haven’t really heard Rush much except in commercial sound bites). I admired her commitment to her beliefs and was intrigued by her personality—a strong woman in what is largely a male-dominated field. Her strength and independent streak added depth to the stalker-storyline. Pursued by a man obsessed with destroying her, Rochelle pinged between her fears and her desire to overcome them. Intellectually, she refused to let a psycho-stalker dominate her thoughts or control her behavior, but her emotions rarely complied.

In walks Ed, a strong, protective type who makes his living on the ice. This is the first novel I’ve read with a hockey player hero, and I found Ed and his career interesting. Though very much a traditional alpha male, Ed did have a softer side, especially when it came to Rochelle. Initially drawn to her out of obligation, having saved her in the midst of a brutal attack, he quickly begins to wonder if there’s more to his feelings, enough maybe to cause him to make some major lifestyle changes.

This story kept me guessing by leading me toward numerous potential plot endings. Was Rochelle’s attacker connected with the congressman? A random crazy? A hostile listener? And how did he know where she was, seemingly at every junction?

I admired Linda’s courage to touch on some intriguing and culturally relevant issues such as organ donation, genetic modification, and abortion. It was interesting to read about these issues through the eyes of a conservative radio host, and the underlying conspiracy theory added additional intrigue.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery