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.

July 30, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love {Beth Vogt}

crazy little thing called love beth vogt
Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancĂ©. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

My Thoughts:
This was my first book from Beth Vogt, but I am an instant fan. In this first book in a new Destination Wedding series, we get to meet Vanessa and Logan. 

Vanessa strikes me as a sensible woman. She was determined to never return to Destin, but she put all her fears aside to fulfill the wishes of her fiance. Personally, the fiance drove me nuts and I really needed him to just get out of this story as quickly as possible, haha! 

Logan is one determined dude. One glance at Vanessa and he was set on doing whatever he needed to get her back into his life. I really liked him, and felt so sorry for him with all the struggles he was facing in his life.

From the first encounter that Vanessa and Logan had, I found myself desperately hoping the two of them would get back together. They seemed like such a great couple and I just knew that they two of them could be happy together again. 

I'm not going to tell you how it all turned out, but pick up the book and give it a read. You'll be hooked on this new series and looking forward to the next book as much as I am.

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015, Beth introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can’t Buy Me Love, and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Her e-novella, A November Bride, was part of the Year of Wedding Series by Zondervan. Beth enjoys writing contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Find out more about her books at An established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth is also part of the leadership team for My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by best-selling author Susan May Warren. She lives in Colorado with her husband Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories.

July 28, 2015

Literary Junkies

I'm going to start something new (but still book related) each month here. I'm linking up with Pink Heels Pink Truck and Life With a Side of Coffee for the Literary Junkies Link Party. It happens each month and I'm looking forward to it.

Pink Heels Pink Truck

If you are a fellow book blogger, why not head over and get linked up yourself. And if you just enjoy books, head over and find some other great reviews for books you never knew you needed to read, haha!

And here we go...

1. What are you reading right now? I'm in the middle of Through Waters Deep by by Sarah Sundin. This book is set in the 1940 in the Boston shipyards. I'm about half way through, but so far there is some serious sabotage going on in the ship yards, and everyone has an opinion of the Germans and the British. And of course there is a love story going on. I'll have a full review on August 10, so be sure and come back and read all about it.

2 What book reminds you of summertime as a kid? All the Ramona books from Beverly Cleary tend to pop into my head. I'm not sure why those relate to summer, but I can remember reading them all for years. Good memories, and I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to meet Ramona.

3 What book did you have on your summer reading list that truly nailed it as a summer reading favorite? I was so looking forward to Married 'til Monday, the last book in the Chapel Springs series from Denise Hunter. It was as perfect as I hoped it would be. I loved the family in that series and it was bittersweet to see their story come to an end.

4. Who is your favorite author and why? Give us your top recommendation by them. I love Janice Thompson. She has three series that all tie together and they are a must-read for sure. Start with the Weddings by Bella series and just go from there. You won't be disappointed.

5. What are you excited to read that's being released this fall? Did I mention I love Janice Thompson? She has a new series that kicked off this year called Brides With Style. The first book, Every Bride Needs a Groom, was awesome. The follow-up, Every Girl Gets Confused, releases in October. I can't wait!!

July 27, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and The Grace of God {Jep & Jessica Robertson}

the good the bad and the grace of god book duck dynasty
Jep Robertson, the youngest son of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, and his wife, Jessica, open up about their personal trials, their early years together, and the challenges that might have destroyed them both had the grace of God not intervened. Jep describes being molested as a child and his reluctance to tell anyone until only a few years ago, his downward spiral into drug and alcohol abuse, and the eventual intervention of his family.

 Jessica shares about the difficult failure of her first marriage while still a teenager and the hurt that came along with it, much of it from the church. Her insecurities spun out of control as she wondered whether she would ever be good enough or pretty enough. This book is their love story but, more importantly, their love story for God. 
"We are desperate to let people know that no matter what you've done; no matter what you've lived through, you can come out of it. You can be washed clean. You are redeemed.

My Thoughts:
I love the Robertson and have been fortunate enough to read a few of their books. The entire family inspires me with the strength of their faith and their ability to hold on to that faith through their fame.
The story of Jep and Jessica is yet another example of the faith that this family holds, and the amazing work that God can do in our lives.

Jep and Jessica both went through some very rough experiences when they were younger. Most of the background in this book was new to me, and I was pretty shocked by some of it. Both made mistakes early on their lives, and they learned the consequences of their actions pretty early on.

But both of them picked up their lives and turned themselves over to God. God began working and brought them together. He didn't give them the perfect relationship, but He guided them through the hard times and they came out on the other side.

Jep and Jessica's story is proof that God works. Through the words of this book you can easily see how much they love each other, and how committed they are to raise their family together. I enjoyed reading their story and getting a closer glimpse into another couple in the Robertson family.

July 25, 2015

On Thin Icing: Cover Reveal

Today I'm excited to share the cover of On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander! This is the third book in the Bakeshop Mystery series and releases December 29th, 2015. I have LOVED the first two books in this series and I'm so looking forward to this third installment.

About the Book:
Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the treats are killer good.

It's the dead of winter in the sleepy town of Ashland, which means no tourists-and fewer customers-for Jules Capshaw and her bakery. But when she's asked to cater an off-season retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, business starts heating up...until Jules finds a dead body in the freezer.

"An intriguing new series."-Reader to Reader

Someone at the retreat has apparently iced the bartender, a well-known flirt with a legendary temper-that is, before a killer beat him to the punch. Then, from out of nowhere, Jules's own ex-husband shows up at the shop-and soon becomes a suspect. With accusations piling up higher than the snow-and thicker than a chocolate mousse cake-Jules has to think outside the (recipe) box to find the real culprit...and make sure he gets his just desserts.

"A delectable tale of murder and intrigue."-Portland Book Review on Meet Your Baker

Don't miss out on the first two books!

About the Author:
Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.
Twitter | Facebook

Signed copies of Meet Your Baker and A Batter of Life and Death 
A signed cover flat of On Thin Icing
Gourmet Hot Chocolates 
Tea Assortment
Pound of Coffee
US only
Ends Aug. 10th
Prizing provided by the author, bloggers are in no way responsible.

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

July 23, 2015

I Hope You Dance {Robin Lee Hatcher}

i hope you dance robin lee hatcher
Grant Nichols is a genius in the kitchen and a klutz on the dance floor. But his friend’s wedding is shaping up to be a shindig the likes of which Kings Meadow has never seen—including dancing. Lots of dancing. Then he learns that a local dance teacher, Skye Foster, is offering dance lessons for the wedding party. The first lesson is free, so what does he have to lose?

A former rodeo queen, Skye Foster teaches children ballet and tap during the day, but with the popularity of ballroom dancing and her own love of Country Swing, she’s been teaching adults in the evenings.

Grant comes from a family of ten siblings. He was the second oldest and believes he's had his fill of little rug rats. He’s happy with his bachelor state, despite the fact that he’s given up his ladies’ man lifestyle. Even he admits to his wilder nature and has been trying to clean up his act, with God's help.

Skye, on the other hand, loves being around kids. She would love to find the right guy and settle down to have half a dozen children of her own.

Grant and Skye are no match on paper. But when they step onto the dance floor, they create a melody all their own.

My Thoughts:
I say this every month, but I truly love the Year of Wedding series. This book made me just as happy.

In this installment we get to meet Skye and Grant. Skye is your small-town girl. She owns the local dance studio, and loves the time she gets to spend with her horses. She wishes for that moment when she get to marry her dream cowboy, but she has convinced herself that the day may never come.

And in strolls Grant. Your hunky cowboy chef that seems about as perfect as they come. He loves God and wants to live his life to please the Lord. He is an all around great guy. Only he has no interest in falling in love and having a family.

It doesn't take a lot of imagine to figure out where this story leads us, but the story of Skye and Grant getting to know each other is both sweet and exciting. Their story moves at whirlwind speed, and had me smiling through each turn of the page. I absolutely loved these down-home characters and what they represented. I loved this story.

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writer of America and the winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and numerous other awards and recognitions, Robin is the author of over 70 novels/novellas. Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, and Chinese (to name a few).

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She and her husband make their home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon and Pinky the feline terror. Join her on her Facebook Page ( and/or Twitter and/or her website & blog.

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July 21, 2015

Bride at Last {Melissa Jagears}

bride at last book
Silas Jonesey's life in Salt Flatts, Kansas, has not followed the course he imagined. After his mail-order bride, Lucinda, abandoned him, it was an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices and sour moods. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true; his estranged wife has contacted him after ten years of silence to tell him of her whereabouts.

Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but after realizing she had been deceived about her intended groom she never went through with the marriage. Settling into life as a schoolteacher, she's spent her spare time the past few years helping her student, Anthony, and his sick mother. When Lucinda passes away, Kate is ready to fulfill the woman's wish that she take care of nine-year-old Anthony--until a man shows up in town asking about Lucinda and claiming he was married to the woman ten years ago. 

Silas and Kate disagree over who should raise young Anthony, who has opinions of his own about his future. After being forced to come together for the good of Anthony, Silas and Kate begin to see another side to each other and the possibility of a united future despite all that stands between them. When Kate's past comes to light, Silas's feelings about women who abandon their grooms immediately throw the walls right back up between them. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together as a family, or will past hurts and new resentments leave them lonely forever?

My Thoughts:
For some reason, I expected something completely different than what this book turned out to be. But in the end, it still turned out to be a great book.

One of the things I love about historical fiction is getting a glimpse into the way life was way back when. I love all the tradition and the "old" views of how a proper lady should act - especially around men. This book was no disappointment in that department.

Kate is the local school teacher, but she is young and single. The entire town has their eyes on her behavior, and she is not one that totally conforms to their expectations. When she decides to take Anthony to  raise, the school board has strong feelings about that decision. But Kate is one to stand by her decisions, and her strong willed personality made her a favorite character of mine throughout this entire book. She stands up for what she believes in, and she is not afraid to speak her mind.

From the first paragraph of this book, you pretty much know there is going to be something going on between Silas and Kate. Silas has been hurt pretty bad in his past, and he is hard-hearted and almost mean. But the discovery of Anthony completely changes Silas' personality, and I ended up really liking the man he becomes throughout this book.

There isn't much I can really say about this book without giving away the major plot and drama points, but I can say it was a great read and a love story that I truly enjoyed reading. A must read for anyone who loves historical fiction.

July 15, 2015

Gone Without a Trace {Patricia Bradley}

It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds's cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts Livy concerning a missing senator's daughter who was last seen in Logan Point, she notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. But with self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of Jennings, Livy is finding this investigation an uphill battle. With her future in law enforcement on the line, can she find a way to work with a man who is her polar opposite?

My Thoughts:
I was so excited to get back into another of Patricia Bradley's books and return to Logan Point. This time around we get to meet Olivia (better known as Livy) and take a closer look at some of the folks in her family. But first we meet Alex Jennings.

Alex is the kind of guy that I think I would like. He grew up in a political family in Texas, but is determined to live his life his way away from the spotlight that his family seems to throw themselves into. He is a private investigator and heads to Logan Point with the determination to find the senator's missing daughter. Alex is strong willed and confident in himself and his abilities. I like that about him, and found myself willing him to succeed from the very beginning.

I admit I didn't really care for Livy as I grew to know her. She is successful detective who is dealing with the aftermath of a case she was involved in a few months earlier. She seems to have a chip on her shoulder and an unwillingness to believe anyone can do her job other than her. I really didn't appreciate her attitude towards Alex during most of this book, but was thrilled when her defenses began to come down.

We figure our pretty quickly that Livy's cousin, Robyn, and the missing girl, Summer Jo, have fallen victim to the same suspect. As Livy and Alex work together we get to see how the entire crime was plotted and carried out. But more than that, we get to see Alex, Livy, and others in this book become human to us as they struggle with feelings and regrets just like everyone else.

This book turned into such a great story, but it also kept me on the edge of my seat throughout most of the pages. I loved this book and appreciate the level that Patricia Bradley continues to write.

July 14, 2015

A Batter of Life and Death {Ellie Alexander}

a batter of life and death ellie alexander book tour
It's autumn in Ashland, Oregon-'tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte's famous peach cobbler. It's also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family's beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel's reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

My Thoughts:
I loved Meet Your Baker, the first book in this Bakeshop Mystery series, so I was pretty excited to see this second book download onto my Kindle.

In A Batter of Life and Death we get to return to Ashland and meet back up with many of the people who are becoming our friends through this series. This time around the town is hosting a baking competition for a national cooking channel.

Of course there are some crazy characters in town as the show gets ready to begin production, and Jules begins to have suspicions about a few of them. And then someone ends up dead! Jules immediately becomes involved (because she apparently has a gift of discovering bodies), and she starts poking around to try to figure out who the murderer is among them.

While the murder investigation continues, we also get to peek closer into some of the relationships that the folks of Ashland have. Apparently Mom and The Professor have become an item and they are so sweet together. Stephanie and Sterling also seem to have a thing going on, but it gets all complicated with the pretty-boy TV host in town. And Jules and Thomas are still dancing around each other - can she just leave Carlos already??!!

So yes, the answer you are looking for is that I very much enjoyed this book. This is a fun series and I really hope it continues for several more books.

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

The author will be giving away signed copy of Meet Your Baker and A Batter of Life and Death, 1 pound coffee, Oregon Chai, Gourmet cupcake liners (US) to a winner of the below Rafflecopter.  The giveaway ends July 21st.

July 9, 2015

Jesus Calling for Little Ones {Sarah Young}

jesus calling for little ones book
From bestselling author Sarah Young, Jesus Calling for Little Ones reassures toddlers and preschoolers of Jesus’ never-ending love. Devotions are written as if Jesus is speaking directly to your child’s heart—showing that Jesus knows us from our head to our toes and is always taking care of us. Along with adorable illustrations and a durable format, this is sure to be a treasure for your precious little ones.

My Thoughts:
I think anyone who has picked up the original Jesus Calling devotional would call it one of their favorite books. The popular devotion was given to me several years ago and I keep it on my desk at work to turn to every so often.

Now the popular devotion is available just for your little one. This board book version has been perfect for my preschooler. It is sturdy enough that he can toss it around the house without fear of it ripping to pieces. And it also contains the most important message our little ones can hear: God Loves You.

Each "devotion" in this book is about two sentences long, and features a key verse from the Bible. It also has adorable illustrations that keep the attention of the younger kids.

We sure do love this book at our house, and I think it would be a great addition to any preschooler's library.

Sarah Young’s devotional writings are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying, and writing in prayer journals. With sales of more than 14 million books worldwide, Jesus Calling® has appeared on all major bestseller lists. Sarah’s writings include Jesus Calling®Jesus Today? ® Jesus Lives™, Dear JesusJesus Calling® for Little OnesJesus Calling® Bible StorybookJesus Calling®: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence—each encouraging readers in their journey toward intimacy with Christ. Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years. They currently live in the United States.