Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

June 30, 2016

Every Bride Has Her Day {Janice Thompson}

every bride has her day janice thompson
Katie Fisher is ecstatic. Pro basketball star Brady James has proposed, and she can't wait to start planning their life together. She's confident she'll make it down the aisle this time--but it still may be easier said than done. A high-society Houston bride has Katie and the Cosmopolitan Bridal team scrambling to get the perfect dress done in time for her spectacular wedding. 

Meanwhile, Katie finds herself bombarded with everyone's competing visions regarding her own special day--and she's beginning to worry that her own ideas will get lost in the crossfire. Will she ever manage to settle all of the details for "her" perfect day? Or will bridal shop chaos and overzealous friends and family make a mess of everything? 

My Thoughts:
Katie finally got married! We were introduced to Katie in the first book in this series and have looked forward to her big day for some time. I feel like Katie is one of my close friends, and I was just as excited to see her walk down the aisle.

Katie and Brady have overcome some obstacles in their relationship, and things don't get easier just because they are getting married. Once they start planning their wedding everyone has an opinion on how they should get hitched, but Katie and Brady just want to do things their way.

Along the way to the big day, we also get to see some pretty exciting events unfold for several members of the Cosmopolitan Bridal family. It was exciting to see how each person's future seems to be wrapped up as this series comes to a close.

Through a major conflict in this story, we get to see God work in his mysterious way to bring an end to conflict and make a way for Katie and Brady to have their perfect wedding day.

I have enjoyed this series just as much as I have enjoyed others from Janice Thompson. I will miss these characters.

My name is Janice Thompson. (You will find me published under Janice Hanna, Janice Hanna Thompson, Janice A. Thompson as well.)

I’m a Christian freelance author of novels, non-fiction books, magazine articles and musical comedies for the stage. I live in the Houston area, where the heat and humidity tend to reign, regardless of the season.

I’m the mother of four beautiful daughters, (Randi, Courtney Rae, Megan and Courtney Elizabeth. Yes, I really do have two daughters named Courtney! Long story…) I also have the three prettiest granddaughters any Nana could hope for – Madysen Lynae, Avery Rae and Peyton Renae. Grandbaby #4, Ethan Ames, was just born in the winter of ‘09 and baby Boston Craig just arrived in the spring of ‘10. Another baby girl is on the way – baby Brooke!

Our family is extremely active in local ministry. My oldest daughter, Randi, leads worship in the Houston area, Courtney Rae leads worship at her church in Montana, Megan works with children at our local church and Courtney Elizabeth sings on the worship team at her church in Michigan. I’m thrilled to have four grown daughters who love the Lord (and several granddaughters who one day will)!

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June 29, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: Would a Worm Go on a Walk? {Giveaway}

would a worm go on a walk hannah hall
Would a worm go on a walk, if you could lead him down the street? / Would he wear his tiny tennies, if he had two worm-sized feet?”

So begins this humorous and imaginative picture book that introduces children to the idea that animals are uniquely created by a loving and wise God. Would a Worm Go on a Walk?, with its colorful, comical illustrations, is a fresh, fun way to teach young children that God created all things very good. He gave all the animals, and children, too, wonderful qualities and unique strengths. Children will giggle over the ridiculous scenarios presented, and they will come away with the knowledge that we all are loved and special.

Our Thoughts:
God made each of us exactly how he wants us to be. This has been the topic of conversation at our house quite a bit lately. Our kids are starting to realize they are not exactly like all of their friends, and all of their friends are not exactly alike either. Some of white, some are black. Some are short, some are tall. Some are thin, some are thick. However, each of them is exactly how God wants them to be.

Hannah C Hall has become a favorite author in our home, and this book is just one of the many reasons I love having her books on our kids’ shelves. The scenarios in this book are so cute. Worms would not go on a walk because they do not like to exercise. Ladybugs would not wear lipstick because some of them are boys. Penguins would not parachute because they do not fly. The examples of examples of animals being themselves are very entertaining to young children and do such a great job of illustrating the point of the book.

We have had fun reading this book in our home, and my son has laughed through the pages more times that I can count so far. I am sure there are many more laughs to come. But the message will always remain the same – God made each of us exactly how he wants us to be. Us adults could use that message as well sometimes, huh? J

Hannah C. Hall is the author of best-selling children’s books, including God Bless You and Good Night and God Bless Our Christmas, as well as an award-winning blog, Hannah lives in Prairie Grove, AK with her husband, Josh, a worship pastor, and their four children.

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Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Giveaway will close on Tuesday, July 5 at 3:00 pm CST. Use the widget below to enter. Good luck!

June 23, 2016

Jilted {Varina Denman}

jilted varina denman
Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

My Thoughts:
It is rare for me to say a book that is a part of a series cannot be read alone, but this is one of those occasions. Jilted is the third book in a series, and I have not read the first two. I felt a serious disconnect with the characters, and much like an outsider looking in on this story.

Lynda and Clyde apparently have some history that I can only assume we would have learned about in previous books in this series. This book picks up at an awkward point in their relationship with him pursuing her, and she trying to decide if she wants to give in or not.

Several other characters are involved in this book, and I have no idea how they fit into the grand scheme of things. Their stories seem to have some interest – again the first books would probably make them much more enjoyable.

However, there is a great storyline in this book. Bones are discovered, and the entire town twists into speculation on whom they belong to and how they got there. The mystery consumes the town throughout most of the book, yet the revelation of who and how seems like a let down when the identity is finally revealed.

I felt this book had the potential to be great, but reading the entire series is necessary. So please start at the beginning and give this series a try and let me know how it goes.

Varina Denman is the author of the award-winning Mended Hearts series, a compelling blend of women's fiction and inspirational romance. Varina writes stories about the unique struggles women face, and her passion is helping others make peace with their life situations. She lives in Texas with her husband and five mostly-grown children.

June 20, 2016

Close to Home {Deborah Raney}

close to home deborah raney
Bree Cordel Whitman is a Whitman by marriage, but sometimes she forgets she wasn't born into Grant and Audrey's family. Her late husband, Timothy Whitman, gave his life for his country on a windblown hill in Afghanistan. Bree has let the love of Tim's family keep her ties to him strong--in the same way she keeps Tim's memory alive for them. But it's been almost five years, and she can't hang onto the past forever. 

Fighting the guilt she feels for wanting to love again, she can't help her dreams about a tall, dark, and handsome man--a man who is not her Tim. How can she accept the flirtations from Drew Brooks without throwing the Whitman family back into grieving? And how can Drew compete with the ghost of a hero and the hero's very alive family who seem to hold some spell over the woman who shares their name . . . a woman he might just love?

My Thoughts:
The Whitmans are one of those families you cannot help but love, and I have been looking forward to Bree’s story since we were first introduced to the family.

After Bree had lost her husband, she remained a member of the Whitman family. She has spent the last five years honoring her husband’s memory, being a member of the Whitmans, and convinced she is in this place of her life forever. However, a good-looking guy at the office makes her realize it might be time to try the dating thing.

Unfortunately, office hunk turns out to be a dead end, and Bree decides it was too soon to move on with her life. However, then Drew catches her eye. He is the perfect guy and the perfect fit for the Whitman family.

I do not even want to imagine how I would feel if I was in Bree’s shoes with the Whitman family. My heart went out to her as she struggled to balance the memory of her beloved husband with the desire to get back out there. She truly had the Whitman family on the top of her priority list with each decision she made. The pressure she must feel to make everyone, including herself, happy.

I very much enjoyed this book. I was so happy with the decision Bree finally made for her life, and the way the Whitman family accepted that decision. I am so excited to get my hands on the next book in this series to not only read Link’s story but to also catch up with Bree.

DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have since won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. THE FACE OF THE EARTH released in May 2013 from Howard/Simon & Schuster, and SILVER BELLS released from Guideposts in October. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four children and a growing quiver of grandchildren, all of whom live much too far away.

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June 9, 2016

Young & Beardless {John Luke Robertson}

young and beardless john luke robertson
John Luke Robertson may be young and beardless, but he has a lot to say about growing up and discovering your purpose.

John Luke Robertson, the oldest son of Willie and Korie Robertson and brother of Dancing with the Stars sensation Sadie Robertson, shares his story of what it’s like to grow up as a Robertson and all the fun and craziness that entails, as well as what he has learned as he has stepped out into his own unique experiences. He also shares what it’s like to navigate the walk from boyhood to becoming a man. Topics in this book include friendship, kindness, dreaming big, embracing your God-given uniqueness, taking chances, and choosing mentors.

John Luke speaks frequently on dreams (how to build a dream for your life), schemes (how to plan for your dream to come true), and building teams (choosing the people around you who will become a team that helps make your dream come true through their support, honesty, and care). He will incorporate these important guidelines into the book, ultimately helping young people learn how to find and pursue a clear-cut purpose in their lives.

Teens and young adults will enjoy reading his story, and they will benefit by reading Robertson’s wisdom and perspective on how to grow up and live out your purpose. And, with the Robertsons, this book is sure to be fun!

My Thoughts:
If you have followed my reviews for any amount of time, you know I am a big fan of the Robertson clan. I did not realize the next generation had started publishing books until this one arrived in my mailbox, but I was excited to read it.

Being written by John Luke, age 19, I assumed this book would be something more appropriate for my kid books series. Halfway through the first chapter, however, I realized this is a book with wisdom for everyone regardless of their age.

John Luke takes us through his recent years as he truly became a follower of Christ. We know the Robertsons raised their children to know Jesus but often is the case that those raised in Christian homes do not discover their true relationship with Christ until they have some years and experiences behind them.

John Luke tells of his many life experiences where he saw God’s work in his life and sought ways to make the most of the life he has been given. Many of the experiences in his life are only possible because of the family he happens to be a part of, but those experiences serve as great examples of life’s ups and downs and lessons along the way.

John Luke writes with the excitement of a teenager, but with wisdom well beyond his years. His tips on building a toolbox for your life are relevant to people in all stages of life, and his encouragement to find your meaning in life made me think about what I am doing to make a different.

This book is ideal for the teenager (or young adult) in your life, but adults can benefit by picking up a copy for themselves and spending some time reading this wisdom and working through the questions and resources at the end of each chapter.

John Luke Robertson, the oldest son of Korie and Willie Robertson, has grown up on the hit reality television series Duck Dynasty. Over 3 million viewers watched as John Luke married his beautiful bride, Mary Kate McEachern, in June of 2015. They currently attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where John Luke is doing his undergraduate work in camping and outdoor ministries. Growing up, John Luke spent his summers working at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca, a Christian youth camp his great-grandfather started in 1967, as well as doing various mission efforts around the world. His first business venture is the famous snow ball stand in front of the Duck Commander warehouse, called John Luke and Willie’s Ice Cabin. John Luke speaks at various events around the country sharing his passion for his faith and for living life to the fullest. He is also the author of a four-book juvenile fiction series, Be your Own Duck Commander, and writes on his blog You can follow him on Instagram @young_and_beardless and twitter @john316luke923.

June 8, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: Esther {Bible Belles}

bible belles esther
The adventures of Rooney and Mari continue in Book Two of the Bible Belle series. With the help of her angel Mari, Rooney has learned that she has the power to talk to God through the amazing story of Hannah; now it’s time for her to see how the Power of Patience can help her to wait and trust in Him.

As she watches Esther and her struggle to save her people, Rooney learns how to handle her conflict on the soccer field by allowing God to lead her in His perfect time.

Join Rooney and Mari on another exciting adventure to becoming the best kind of superhero—a Bible Belle!

My Thoughts:
You may remember a few months ago when I introduced you to the Bible Belles with Hannah. We continue to love Hannah’s book in our home, and we have been so excited about the upcoming release of Esther.

My daughter always says Esther is her favorite woman in the Bible, so I could not wait to tell her Esther would be featured as the next Bible Belle. She has asked me almost weekly when the Esther book would be here.

In Esther’s book, we reconnect with Rooney and her friends having troubles on the soccer team. Rooney wants to speak up to the coach, but the timing is simply not right. When Mari arrives, she takes her on a journey to see Esther in action.

Many of us know the story of Esther and her patience as she prepared to talk to the king about saving her people. Most people would have marched right up to the king and spoke their mind, likely causing more harm than good. But Esther prayed to God and waited for Him to guide her in her words and actions.

Just like Rooney learned patience in waiting on God, girls reading this book see how Esther and her people benefited by simply waiting on God’s timing. This is such a fun book, and a perfect addition to our Bible Belles collection.

Purchase this book online!

Erin is an enthusiastic and goofy mom to two children, one of them with paws. She is a wife, teacher, former college athlete, and a five-time cancer survivor. Her heart is in Seville, Spain, though she calls Encinitas, CA home. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach with her husband and daughter, coaching sports, and pretending she can bake. She loves eating, laughing, and volunteering at Sunday school. Alongside her husband, she is the co-founder of Bible Belles.

June 4, 2016

Join Denise Hunter for ‘The Convenient Groom’ Pre-Premiere Facebook Party

convenient groom - fb event 

Exciting news for fans of Denise Hunter's stories: Her book The Convenient Groom is making its silver screen premiere as a Hallmark Channel Original Movie! Join Denise and other readers on Facebook on June 16th for a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that's 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Denise will be chatting about the book, answering your questions about the book-to-movie process, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways too: a $100 Amazon gift card and 25 signed copies of Denise's newest book, The Goodbye Bride!

The movie releases two days after the author chat party on Saturday, June 18th, 9 EDT/8 CDT. Click here for details and to find out more about the movie.

Get your copy of The Convenient Groom so you're ready for a fun book discussion. You can order your copy and find out more about the book here.

Hope to see you on June 16 for Denise's The Convenient Groom Pre-Premiere Facebook Party!

June 2, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender {Melanie Dickerson}

beautiful pretender melanie dickerson
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the Margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

My Thoughts:
I loved this book!

Have you watched The Bachelor on television? This premise of this book is very much like that; only it is set in the 1300s. The Margrave lets his staff convince him the best way to find a wife would be to hold a two-week event. Invited the ladies in, get to know them, and put them through a series of tests. At the end of the two weeks, the future wife would be announced at the grand ball. Sounds simple enough.

My heart immediately went out to Avelina as soon as we met her. The ladies maid for a spoiled Lady of Plimmwald, she is asked to do the unthinkable – deceive the Margrave. Thankfully she is bold enough to demand something in return before she begins her journeyed to Thornbeck.

Once Avelina arrives in Thornbeck, things heat up as you would expect them to when ten ladies are vying for the attention of one Margrave. The claws come out, and jealousy rears its ugly head pretty quickly. However, the Margrave seems to be falling for Avelina – and falling hard.

Once the Margrave picks his wife of choice, this story turns less romance and more suspense. A series of wild events puts everyone in Thornbeck on alert, and the lives of the residents, visitors and staff are suddenly in danger. Watching everything unfold kept me on the edge of my seat – and awake far past my bedtime.

I thought this was a great book. It had romance and suspense mixed with the historical settings I love so much. I think this is a good read, and I am already looking forward to the next book of the series.

Melanie Dickerson is a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.

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