A Promise Kept

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Title: A Promise Kept
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: January 7, 2014
Pages: 304

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Allison’s dream can true when she met Tony Kavanagh. They fell in love in days, engaged within weeks, married and expecting a baby within a year. Her cup had bubbled over with joy, but years later, that joy was extinguished by unexpected trials. Those trials took their marriage in a bad direction. So one day, she issues her husband an ultimatum, hoping that it would save him and their marriage, but instead, he left and left her crushed in the wake. She was positive God had promised to heal her marriage, but now it seems she’d misunderstood.

So Allison retreats to her quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single self-reliant great aunt Emma. There Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small-town life. Along with these struggles, she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic. Reading these journals paints a portrait of her aunt that leaves Allison stunned. The portrait is of a heart broken woman a lot like herself and helps with Allison’s healing as well as letting her see a side of her aunt she never knew existed.

As Allison reads her aunt’s story, she’s forced to ask some difficult questions and work through some tough emotions but with The Lord nothing is impossible and sometimes promises you thought you misheard can come true in the strangest ways you thought possible. Allison greatest struggle will be giving up everything to God because she was always everyone else’s savior.

Can Allison work through her grief and anger toward her marriage or will bitterness consume her? Can something good come from a divorce or will only bad come from it? Is it possible top piece together a life broken or are the pieces too small to pick up? Can Allison give everything she is and has to The Lord or will she remain selfish and mad at God?
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I’ve read a few Robin Lee Hatcher books over the years and enjoyed them but this one seemed so much more personal to me, probably because this book alludes to Robin’s own life and has elements of her own divorce and remarriage (to the same man) in it. The personal touch gave it a depth that I’ve very rarely seen and I loved the courage it took the author to be so vulnerable and write something so close to her own story. That wins some brownie points for me.

Despite the heavy tone of the back cover and premise, it’s actually a fairly light read and is really easy to devour. My favorite parts of the book were the story of Emma, Allison’s great aunt. Emma’s story is like many women’s but hers is different in the path she takes and I loved getting to “know” Emma through the chapters that made her the focal point. The whole story of this remarkable woman is played out but by bit and it really gets your emotions involved and engaged in the outcome of the story. I enjoyed every second of this book.

This book touches on two very different but just as sensitive topics: abuse and alcoholism. The way Robin Lee Hatcher addresses each instance is done remarkably well, it’s addressed without excuse but the whole book isn’t set around it. Instead, the book is set around forgiveness and surrender. Towards the end the forgiveness seemed to come too easily at times and the ending seemed too neat to be real life, but to have that neat little bow made the story have a happy ending and I love happy endings.

This book is one of the first divorce/marriage issue book that I’ve truly enjoyed and recommend to more than just married folks. It wasn’t a book that revolved around the divorce part but more of the forgiveness and healing that comes for God alone part. Because it didn’t focus so much on divorce, I understood this book, and though I couldn’t fully relate, I could empathize with each character and feel each pain in a different way. It definitely makes this book unique.

Robin Lee Hatcher did a glorious job making a book about divorce into a book an eighteen year old girl really enjoy. It was so well done that I just sped through it and enjoyed it too. This book definitely touches on some difficult topics but with grace and class that is amazing. Thank you Robin for having the nerve to put part of your story out there and doing it so well. I highly recommend this one.

Overall, surprisingly, I truly enjoyed this one. This book is perfect for anyone struggling with their marriage of some sort or even someone who wants a good book on healing. This book is probably bed left to the adults but there’s nothing keeping your teens from reading it. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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Burning Sky

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Title: Burning Sky
Author: Lori Benton
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
Published: August 6, 2013
Pages: 416

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Willa Obenchain’s life changed when she was abducted by Mohawk Indians when she was fourteen. After twelve years and the loss of her husband and two daughters, she decides to go back home to her family’s New York territory homestead. She intends to keep to herself and live alone, but her plans are dashed when she finds an injured Scotsman lying in her path and her feeling of obligation to nurse him back to health kicks in.

When Willa rounds the road dragging her wounded Scotsman, Neil MacGregor, behind her, she’s shocked and dismayed to see that a lot has changed in he twelve year absence. Her childhood home is in disrepair, her parents are missing and rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once adored has now become a man twisted by the horrors of war. With Richard, Neil, and her Mohawk brother, Joseph Tames-His-Horse, pulling her in separate directions, Willa begins to realize that her life of solitude might not be so solitary anymore.

As Neil and Willa become closer, the homestead is plagued by tragedy after tragedy that are a lot more than coincidence and with the strong feelings against “savages” and anyone associated with them, Willa’s safety is unsure. With the possibility of losing the homestead to auction and Richard, Willa is willing to do almost anything to save it, but it seems someone else has other plans for her.

Can Willa save her homestead or will she lose it to the ruthless Richard Waring? Will Willa choose to go back with Joseph Tames-His-Horse to the People as Burning Sky or will she find her place in the world she once lived in? Will Willa let Neil into her heart or will she drive him away with her thickly constructed walls? Can Willa prove her parent’s innocence before auction or not? Can Willa find a place in the world of her childhood or will she decide she needs the Mohawks to be happy?
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Ever since I saw this book was up for review, I was excited about it. So excited, I jumped on it with lightning speed and have been patiently awaiting a time for me to read this one. It was completely worth the wait. I loved this one! Though it’s a debut novel for Lori Benton, I couldn’t really tell. This book flowed so well and worked so well that this book is fantastic for any author let alone a debut author. This is definitely going on my “favorites” list.

This book is set in post-Revolutionary War New York and it worked really well. The scenery is gorgeous and the terrain is rugged, which makes for the perfect historical novel. The author is very good at drawing you a mental picture of the lush, green terrain without being wordy and keeping you interested without being overt. The historical facts were sprinkled in without being too much or feeling like a history lesson and she showed a side of history few of us think about – what it was like after the war. It definitely worked well with the storyline and expanded on a very popular war.

The romance in this book was kind of a love-triangle but was also one of the more sweetly subtle ones that I’ve read, but trust me it works and it works well. Never once did I feel like the romance was rushed or was disappointed with the romance being laid out for me. There was enough passion to make it feel real but enough emotional bonding to make a solid believable romance. Lori Benton just crafted one of the best romances I’ve ever read.

There’s also some drama and suspense in this book. It’s enough to keep the book interested but not too much to make you feel jolted around. It definitely worked with the storyline and though I could’ve called the ending from the first quarter of the book, and I did, I enjoyed the road to get to the end and didn’t mind at all that I guessed the ending a long time ago. Flow is definitely a strong suit of Lori Benton’s and I look eagerly look forward to anything else she has for me.

Lori Benton’s first novel has made a fan out of me and I’d be lying if I said that she didn’t capture my heart with Willa Obenchain formerly Burning Sky. I can’t believe I enjoyed a debut novel as much as I enjoyed this one. I will jump at any opportunity to read more from this author and I can’t wait to see her grow. This author has created a fan and has me highly recommending this book to anyone looking for a 18th century Native American love story.

Overall, I loved this book. This book is perfect for those that love historicals or books about the Native American culture. This book is great for adults and maybe mature teenagers. Children should stay away as there is some very emotional and possibly frightening scenes. I give this book a five out of five. The highest score I’ve ever given a debut before.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

All For A Story

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Title: All For A Story
Author: Allison Pittman
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages: 354

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Monica Brisbane loves being a modem girl in the Roaring Twenties. Her job writing a gossip column takes her to all the local speakeasies in Washington D. C. and she loves dancing the night away scoping put new stories for her column. However, her future takes an uncertain turn when the owner of Capitol Chatter passes away, leaving Monica what will happen to her job and her beloved lifestyle.

Max Moore might hold the position of editor-in-chief for evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson’s paper, the Bridal Call, but it’s clear that Aimee calls all the shots. So when Max finds out that his great uncle has passed away and left him all his earthly possessions, Max resigns and moves to Washington D.C. to hopefully become a real editor-in-chief. He tries to clean up the scandalous paper and infuse it with his own values, but he’s soon bumping heads with the equally determined Monica Brisbane.

With Max’s guidance Monica goes on her most challenging assignment yet, infiltrating and reporting on the Anti-Flirt Society. Reluctant at first, Monica meets and mi goes with the girls but soon begins to doubt the wisdom of her flirtatious ways and when romance starts to blossom between her and Max, Monica must choose between the lifestyle the club chooses or the lifestyle she lived for so long.

Will Monica ever change her party and flirtatious lifestyle or will she continue down the path of destruction? Will Max trade everything for Monica or will he be able to convince Monica that there is a life without speakeasies and flirting? Will Max be able to turn the Capitol Chatter into a respectable paper or will he lose the fight against immorality? Can Monica change her ways or is she forever a party girl?
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Due to my opinion of Allison Pittman’s last novel, I wasn’t expecting much out of this book. I fully expected to struggle through this one like the last and hate it at the end. I didn’t. I actually enjoyed this one. Though my opinion of the enigmatic Aimee Semple McPherson hasn’t budged an inch, I did enjoy the plot line for this and how radically different it was from the previous book in this series. I think Allison Pittman did a much better job with this book than the last.

This book had a romance! And a fairly good one at that. The character of Monica is uniquely lovable from the get-go and Max’s serious nature didn’t seem like it would mesh with Monica’s but somehow the author managed to craft a romance that was sweet and lovable. Though it wasn’t the best romance I’ve ever read, it was definitely welcomed compared to the completely confusing disaster of a semi-romance in the last book.

Usually I don’t love women crusaders or women evangelist ever in a story, but I loved Alice Reighly and her Anti-Flirt campaign, probably because even though some of her rules are a bit stiff and outrageous, the general idea is one I follow everyday and never thought twice about it. It basically encourages women to not encourage the bad behavior of men by flirting back or making light of it. I think the idea is one every woman should consider to follow.

The story of this one was more engaging and felt less like I was watching a horrible tragedy happen right before my eyes, thankfully in that story the accident never happened but it still left a sour mark for me. In this story, there were moments of disappointment or like it might go down the disastrous path again but it pulled out of those situations and was actually a pretty nice story. I would’ve liked to have seen more of a transformation in Monica but part of me felt like this was a different look at how some people come to Christ.

This author gave me a much better story with this or and made me very glad that I didn’t throw out all hope with the last book. Though I still don’ love the radical type style that this author chooses, I think I’m becoming more accustomed to it and haven’t given up hope yet of finding an amazing book by her. This book was good but I don’t recommend it for just anyone.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than the previous book by her but I’ still not sold on her writing just yet. This book is perfect for fans of Allison Pittman or fans of the Roaring Twenties. Keep this book away from your children this one is definitely not recommended for anyone other than adults. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

A Light In The Window Contest

So as you all might remember, I did a review of a Light In the Window by Julie Lessman about a year ago and now Julie is throwing a contest for the book. Not only is the ebook on sale for $.99 relight now but it’s also being turned into a paperback! In honor of that Julie is throwing a contest with three lucky winners and the links are below for those of you that are interested in trying our hand at winning a character Ned after you in Julie’s newest book!

Also, for those of you that have Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, you can post a blurb on Facebook and Twitter for two points awarded towards the contest, but if you post a blurb to your blog, like I’m doing now, you get ten whole points towards the contest! The link to the contest is here:
http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/
And here’s the link to the book video for those that want to see it:

The Governess Of Highland Hall

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Title: The Governess Of Highland Hall
Author: Carrie Turansky
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 320

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Julia Foster, a missionary, loves working with her parents to help and care for the young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden of her family’s financial support. Because of that, she accepts a job as a governess at Highland Hall and soon finds that being a governess to her four ill-mannered, privileged charges is a lot harder than expected.

Sir William Ramsey, a widower left to care for his two young children and his cousin Randolph’s two teenaged daughters, he’s consumed with saving Highland Hall from financial ruin and saving it from the astronomical death charges placed upon him to pay. To him, the last thing he needs is a kind-hearted yet determined governess to distract him, but the subtle transformation she does to his household seems too much to let go of.

The harder Julia works at trying to fix his unruly household, the more William starts to notice her and the closer they get, but both know that any relationship between them is forbidden and improper. Too bad that neither can figure each other out let alone stop their feelings from developing. Both are tending to past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, but they’re both determined to save their families and that seems to be the breaking point of their resolve.

Can Julia be the governess that William is looking for or will she be fired before as has a true chance? Will Julia and William be able to conquer society and all its woes or will class break them apart? Can William potentially give up Highland Hall for Julia or will he lose her to save his home? Will Julia go back to India or will she find that she has a bigger purpose in England?
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I had high hopes for this book because I’ve really enjoyed governess and estate master love stories before, but unfortunately this one didn’t resonate with me like the others that I’ve read. This book was enjoyable, but it read more like a novella, which for a novel of 320 pages it seems a bit too un-descriptive to really hit the mark. Though this book was a nice read, it left me disappointed with the romance.

The romance in this book reads like a movie on fast forward. I got the general sense of a connection but none of the true emotional moments that brings a couple together. It was like they were skipped altogether. I didn’t get kisses or more than two or three moments where the couple were even alone together let alone connecting emotionally. This romance frustrated me so much. I felt like a third party that just got glimpses of a promising love story.

The characters in this story varied drastically but I never really found a character with a happy medium. The characters either had to be completely good or completely bad. I guess the only character that kind of falls into the category of happy medium is Penelope, the sister that just follows along with what her sister does but even she makes a choice as to which side she chooses. For me Julia felt too perfect and William seemed too confused himself which left me having no clue what I truly thought of him. Some of the characters felt too nice while others felt too mean for no reason, but my favorite characters are Sarah, Clark, Andrew, and Millie. I think the author needs to work on her character development and on the character’s personality traits just a little more.

The storyline was nice, though I think it focused more in the household and the running of it than to the actual romance, but I did like the story and even though the author needs to learn how to transition from novellas to novels a little bit more, she did a fairly good job and she created an enjoyable, albeit a little bit slow, novel. Though this wasn’t my cup of tea, I’m sure someone will love this book, but be forewarned if you love a lot of romance because you will be disappointed.

This author didn’t really impress me with this one but I feel like she has some great potential and greatly look forward to seeing what else she can put out and how much she can improve. She hasn’t totally lost me yet, but next time I probably won’t have as high of hopes as I did this time. Though this book isn’t for me, it’s perfect for people who love romances that are simple and not mushy.

Overall, not my cup of tea. This book is good for people who are either just starting out on romances or like their romances simple and to the point. This book shouldn’t be left for little kids but maybe teens and definitely adults will enjoy this one. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

*I received a complementary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

A Reluctant Courtship

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Title: A Reluctant Courtship
Series: The Daughters Of Bainbridge House
Author: Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Publisher: October 15, 2013
Pages: 368

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Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor and the other a murderer. Because of that and the reputation she has, she’s been banished to her family’s country estate, where her family hopes that she will stay out of trouble. Honore and trouble seem to be far apart until she meets a man with another checkered past and suspicions hanging over his head. Honore’s sure this man is the one for her, if she can figure out whether she’s fallen for another miscreant or the man he shows her.

Americus “Meric” Poole Lord of Ashmoor has just come into his lordship but already he’s realizing just how different England is from his American upbringing and how out of place he really is. Because of his upbringing, his loyalties are under suspicion as well as his involvement with escaped prisoners from Dartmoor Prison. With all the suspicions and accusations swirling around him he needs a wife beyond reproach, something the beautiful Honore is not. So he distances himself from her, or so he tries.

Drawn together even with social and family obligations trying to pull them apart, they work together to try and prove Meric innocent of the crimes he’s being accused of. Meanwhile, Honore wrestles with her decision to help him and getting involved with someone that could be another criminal and Meric’s attempt to not fall for Honore begin to slip leaving him confused and disappointed. The two must work together and somehow not fall victim to the same crimes that took Meric’s father to America and not ruin their reputations beyond repair.

Can the two of them stay together despite attempts to keep them apart or will social and family obligations get in the way of love? Can Honore prove Lord Ashmoor’s innocence or will she be fooled yet again by a criminal? Can Meric find a way to win Honore’s heart and keep his reputation intact or will he decide that she’s not good enough for him?
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Laurie Alice Eakes captivated me with her Midwives’ series and then gave me a glimpse at England in the early 1800’s. Originally, I didn’t care much for the transition and got a little bit bored over England’s high society. However, with this novel, I finally fell in love with her Regency novels and, though I felt the emphasis on reputations and whatnot was a bit tedious, I truly enjoyed her newest Regency novel.

The setting of this book is my main problem with it. Regency has never been my favorite time period because of the emphasis that’s put on reputations and what others think of you and this book isn’t any different in that respect. It gets tiresome and tedious. However, I do think that this is one of the best Regency’s that I’ve read and will most likely read more of them from Laurie Eakes but they still won’t be my first choice for a genre.

The romance in this book is sweet and romantic. Honore is determined to win him over and Lord Ashmoor is determined to stay away from her and her bad reputation. I won’t give too much away but after a series of dramatic and fast-paced events, Lord Ashmoor realizes that Honore is the one for him and isn’t beneath him and the last two chapters of their romance was just plain romantic, heart-warming, and suspenseful. I think this romance will stick in my head for a while.

There’s a bit of suspense in this book as well and though it’s not very prevalent or will truly satisfy the appetite of true suspense fans, it played a pretty big role in the outcome of the book, particularly towards the end, and really livened up what would’ve been an otherwise boring book. It was also pretty hard to guess the culprit in this one as there was really no indication as to who was responsible for a lot of things, so that added mystery left me feeling completely occupied and satisfied with the outcome. I think the suspense and the choices that made up it, we’re a huge plus for this book.

Laurie Alice Eakes has been a favorite ever since I read the Kindle version of her first Midwives’ series book. Ever since then I have tried to get my hands on anything else she writes and this is the best one I’ve read outside her Midwives’ series. I plan on reading more from this author and hopefully being as happy, if not more so, as I was with this book. It wasn’t perfect but it was enjoyable. I recommend this book for Regency lovers.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it much more than the previous in this series, but I still can’t get past the Regency setting. This book is perfect for Regency lovers and lovers of historical romances. I’d keep this book away from the kids but adults and maybe mature teenagers will love this one. I g e this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Under A Blackberry Moon

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Title: Under A Blackberry Moon
Author: Serena B. Miller
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 352

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Moon Song, a recently widowed young Chippewa woman, stumbled into nearby lumber camp looking for shelter from the harsh winters just days after giving birth alone in the northwoods. Once summer hits, Moon Song realizes that she can’t stay amongst the rough and tumble world of white lumbermen and so she leaves along with the camp owner’s best friend who is going to accompany her on the long and treacherous journey back to her people.

Skypilot came to the lumber camp to escape his Southern background and to find a new career after her completely failed at preaching. Skypilot has always liked Moon Song so it’s no trouble to escort her back home, or so he thinks. What was a simple back and forth journey, turns into a long revealing journey for both of them and he begins to view Moon Song in a different light then he did before. If only that didn’t come with it’s own set of problems.

When disaster strikes off the shore of Lake Superior, Moon Song and Skypilot must rely on each other to survive the danger of the wilderness. The deeper they go into the forbidding woods, the closer they become and attraction begins to spark. But their cultures are so far apart and with bad memories, distrust is rampant, but maybe love is enough. One of them must decide if love is enough for them to leave everything they’ve ever known.

Will love conquer all or will their love crumble under the pressures of society? Will Moon Song leave her world to enter his or will she refuse to leave where she is welcome? Will Skypilot leave his world to live with the Chippewa or will she decide that she isn’t worth the massive change? Will the differences be too much for them and will they walk away or will they fight the pull or them to separate and love each other for life?
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Serena Miller is a fairly new author for me and I’ve noticed a pattern in her books that is a bit more unique than her counterparts. She likes to focus on strong females that don’t need a man to do everything for them instead of the usual damsel in distress type heroines. Though I don’t know if I could read these kinds of books all the time, I do think that it is very refreshing every once and a while to have a woman as the strong character in a book.

The romance in this book is a bit unique and yet still romantic in a weird way. I found Isaac Ross, aka Skypilot, to be a unique kind of guy. He struggled with feelings of inadequacy but mostly he just loved seeing Moon Song in her element instead of resenting her for doing what he couldn’t. That along with more situations on both parts set up a sweet yet romantic romance that made my heart sing. There wasn’t much in physical affection but watching feelings grow and seeing the lengths each went to made up for that.

The back cover of this book does nothing to really prepare for the story that this book is. I mean you know that disaster strikes and they have to rely on each other but just how much they do doesn’t hit you until they actually have to. Also, there’s a good quarter of the book that you aren’t set up for before hand and it makes it unexpected but endearing further cementing this book in my mind. I loved this story line and the journey that I got to go in with these characters. It really came alive for me.

The characters in this book are complex and interesting. Moon Song is very unemotional and though at time that can come across as hard, it fits her and overall her character seems realistic and lovable. Skypilot isn’t what I imagined and is definitely not your typical fictional guy, which makes him stick out and be completely unique. The other characters both good or bad seem to have a niche that makes them lovable and understood and adds some depth to this book.

Serena Miller didn’t really impress me with her last book but despite that, I had high hopes for this book because of the topic and Serena not only met my expectations she surpassed them and I am completely satisfied with her newest novel. This book put her on my “favorite” list and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store for me. I highly recommend this book.

Overall, great book with a unique romance and group of characters. Great for readers who like books about American Indians. This book is best left to the adults and not given to kids but maybe mature teens can handle this one. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary cop of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

First Date

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Title: First Date
Series: The Dating Games
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 224

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Devon has just transferred to the Christian Northwood Academy and is bored not only with school but with the environment and the lack of attention boys give her. So determined to make her junior year something to remember, she decides to try ad get her and her new friends to get dates to the dance coming up and break the daze everyone seems to be in.

Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby are completely different from each other but they all have one thing in common: none of them have been on a “real” date. So determined to get a date to homecoming, the girls decide to make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective – dates for the dance. If only it turns out as easy as it sounds.

As the girls overcome insecurities and try ad nab dates, they learn a lot about themselves and each other. However, just when it seems like everything is going okay, the girls seem to get on edge and start bickering amongst themselves turning what was a good idea into a disaster. If they can get along long enough they might just grab dates to homecoming, but if they can’t they might just fail in their main goal.

Can the girls get dates to homecoming or will their differences year them apart? Is the DG a good idea or is it a bad thing waiting to happen? Can DG be something good for them all or will it turn into a disaster? What will each girl learn along the way about themselves and the other girls in their group? Can the girls combat dating and still keep their values or will they sacrifice them to get a date?
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Melody Carlson has been a favorite Young Adult author of mine ever since I discovered her a few years ago and ever since then I have looked forward to her ingenious stories and engaging storyline. So far there has never been a book by her that I haven’t liked and this book was no different. In fact, I found this book dramatic but fun and an awesome idea on how to date for teens.

The concept at first sounds a but weird and I couldn’t help but view the club, at first, like Cassidy. However, the more the story progressed and the more each girl’s limits and values came to light, I started to change my views and by the end of the book I felt that this is an incredibly genius way to date safely and smartly for teens. Not only do the girls group date, awesome idea, but they share about their dates and experiences so that the other girls I the group can assess whether said guy is good or bad for them. It’s genius! I might have to initiate this for myself someday.

Each character in this book are different, some in more ways than others and I thought it was really neat how the author played upon each character’s strengths and weaknesses and made each one part of the story. I also liked seeing the transformation in the characters, some changed quite a bit and some definitely need some work but all changed somewhat and it was nice to see how each changed and grew, tough I would’ve liked to have delved more deeply into their lives just a bit.

I always say it but Melody’s grip on teens and the way they think astounds me every time. Though a bit of her slang could be updated, the overall tone of the book is very teen-like and I always feel like a teen wrote it whenever I pick up one of Melody’s books. I think this newest book’s club is a genius idea and something teens everywhere should consider doing, particularly since girls love talking about their dates anyway. I absolutely loved the teen tone and felt it hit the nail on the head as far as relatibility goes.

Melody Carlson has written over two hundred books and though I haven’t near that many from her, I still know that her writing is amazing and her style is completely teen. I love her books so much and even though I won’t be a teen for much longer, I feel like I will read her books for years to come, even as I venture into a new chapter in my life. This author’s books come highly recommended, particularly this one.

Overall, I really liked this one. I would’ve liked to have delved more deeply into each character’s life, but I still really liked this book and the idea of a dating club stuck with me and I can’t wait to see what other hiking the group will get into. This book is perfect for fans of Young Adult fiction. This book is perfect for teens and YA friendly adults, though it’s probably best to keep it out of children’s hands just yet. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Forsaken Dreams

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Title: Forsaken Dreams
Series: Escape To Paradise
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Publisher: Barbour
Published: March 1, 2013
Pages: 320

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Eliza Crawford can barely remember the days of her youth spent in opulence and comfort at Georgian home. She can’t help but wonder how her life would’ve been different had she not met her late husband, Stanton Watts, a general in the Northern army. She’s a war widow with no home. The South calls her a traitor and the North rejects her. Naturally she’s desperate to keep her marriage a secret and hopefully start over in Brazil, but the odds of keeping her secret completely are slim with a boatload of people from the same place.

Colonel Blake Wallace has seen enough death and destruction to last a lifetime. Slapped with defeat and loss, he’s weary and disillusioned about his country. With his entire family slaughtered by the North and his name appearing on a list of wanted officers for war crimes, Blake sees no choice but to leave permanently. So he assembles a group of southerner who long to escape the horrors of war and start over in a foreign land called Brazil.

Eliza and Blake feel an incredible draw to each other, but when secrets are revealed it seems unlikely that they will be able to broach the past and make a life with each other. With un-forgiveness abounding aboard, Eliza must try and survive the hatred and hostility angled her way. Blake must conquer his own feelings of anger toward a woman that captivates him and makes him want to forgive and start a life, if only his head would agree with his heart.

Can Eliza keep her secret or will it spill out and cost her everything? Will Blake be able to forgive Eliza for her mistakes and the decisions of her late husband or will he be anger and bitter towards her and force her away? Will love survive the hostilities and bitterness left over from war or will it be stomped under the feet of anger and pain? Can turn Eliza’s bad choices into something good or will she just pile on more heartbreak?
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MaryLu Tyndall captured me from the very beginning and she has a very good track record for engaging me and keeping me interested. This book is no different and it brought me great joy to see that she had brought back elements of her first books that I loved, particularly the boat fights and and life at sea aspects. Though this book is no pirate romance, it was definitely one of my favorites and I absolutely must finish the series.

When I first started reading this book, I got captured by the somewhat cowardly actions of the southern people. My opinions changed somewhat about the southerners the more I read, because the more the book progressed and the more light that was shed on the North’s actions made me question whether I would’ve stayed or left with them. I imagine that it was a difficult decision for them to make and I appreciated the different viewpoint of the war and a different perspective of what really happened. It was a new piece of history that I never really learned.

The romance in this book is a bit choppy and full of anger and un-forgiveness. This a different approach for this author and though I didn’t particularly love it, neither did I hate it. I think it was a good choice for the story I just wish there had been more tender moments between Eliza and Blake. The little tender moments there was was familiar, exciting, and sweet. Though this romance wasn’t quite what I expected, I still found it oddly sweet and definitely astounding because it showed the power of God.

The storyline of this book varies between slow-paced and fast-paced. There are quite a few fast-paced or intriguing scenes that tide you over until the next one. Despite the fluctuating pace, I felt that the slow-paced scenes for perfectly into the novel and didn’t detract from the story at all, in fact it improved on it. There are also some unexplainable mishaps and I hope that those get explained soon, even tough I have an idea as to who is causing the disturbances. Overall, I loved this storyline and can’t wait to meet up with these characters again.

MaryLu Tyndall has been a favorite of mine for years after her pirate romance series and ever since then, I’ve tried relentlessly to get every book I can and have only missed a couple. This new book by her and done nothing to lower her esteemed status in my mind, in fact it probably solidified it more. I highly recommend this author and any of her wide array of novels.

Overall, this book is very good despite the less than awesome romance and fluctuating pace. This book is perfect for fans of the author and lovers of historical romance. This book is definitely best left for the adults. I wouldn’t even recommend this to teens. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. all opinions expressed are my own.*