Saturday, August 27, 2016

Exodus (The Moses Chronicles #3) by H.B. Moore

Book 3 in The Moses Chronicles series.

Let my people go ...

A plea has been made in behalf of the children of Israel. Now comes the epic climax years in the making—the final showdown between two of the most powerful men in history—one fueled by pride, the other guided by the world of God. Moses has received an extraordinary call from the Lord: he is to lead the exodus of the Hebrew people out of Egypt, ending generations of bondage. And he must return to the land of his birth to boldly petition a man he does not want to challenge ... or lose to: Ramses—pharaoh of Egypt. Ramses, harboring years of feeling betrayed by his best friend, is determined to stop Moses no matter the cost. He will not yield, even as a dark veil of plaques and pestilence descends over the land of Egypt.

What follows is a powerful chronicle of the struggles of the children of Israel as they traverse uncharted territory, both physically and spiritually. Amid the horrific catastrophes devastating their land and through the dramatic evens that follow, the Hebrews must face their fears and their faltering faith. For even in the darkest of times, there are manifestations of the Lord's constant care to inspire their hope for a bright future.

Exodus is a historical novel based on the story of Moses from the Bible.  It is most definitely religious in nature.  This is the third book in this series and you will want to read these books in order.

What I love about books like this is how the stories and people from the Bible are brought to life.  The people become more human, and their struggles and emotions become real.  Heather Moore does this so well.   It's sometimes hard for me to imagine such things when I am reading stories like this directly from the Bible.  I can appreciate the amount of time, thought and research a book like this involves.  

Through the course of this series, Moses has become familiar to me.  I feel like I know and understand him better.  This book is full of miracles but also such devastation.  It's hard for me to fathom how the Hebrews and Egyptians both could have seen so many wonders and miracles wrought by the hand of the Lord and still doubted.  I wonder what I would have done if I had been there?  I'm really glad I wasn't, but still.  This book makes you think.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, especially when it is well done.  I love books by H.B. Moore.  She is fantastic in this genre (and others too!).  I know what's coming for the Hebrew people and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Content:  Clean

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

To Have and to Hold: Three Autumn Love Stories (A Year of Weddings 2 #10-12) by Betsy St. Amant, Katie Ganshert, Becky Wade

Meet the people who make it all happen—the planners, the photographers, the musicians who have helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples—as they find their own happy endings in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

Love Takes the Cake by Betsy St. Amant

She’s known for her delicious cakes, but there’s no recipe for dealing with the new man in her life.

Charlotte Cantrell is always the baker; never the bride. When Will, a regular at Charlotte’s bakery, catches her attention, she can only hope that he is the reliable man this single mother has always hoped to find. The problem is that he’s regularly stopping in to buy cookies for another girl. But when Charlotte is hired to bake a host of wedding goodies for a difficult bride and finds out Will is the best man, she has the perfect opportunity to get to know him better—and find out how serious Will is about this other girl in his life.

The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert

Meeting Nate was truly an accident—but Amelia finds that he’s one of the few people she can count on.

Amelia Woods is a small-town wallflower and the proud owner of Forget-Me-Nots, a quaint flower shop. Despite her success in business, her love life has always been a bit lackluster. Until she spies on her ex-boyfriend’s wedding and ends up in an embarrassing fender-bender with handsome wedding guest, Nate Gallagher.

Meanwhile, Amelia’s younger brother, William, has proposed to his girlfriend. Amelia would be excited except she has evidence that the fiancĂ©e is not who she says she is. It seems Nate is the only one available for any advice-giving, and he’s good at it—and pretty fun to talk to, too.

As Amelia works to craft the perfect flower arrangements for other people—including a ninety-year-old “fairy godmother” named George—she begins to wonder if real love is better than the dream. And if it is, will Nate still be interested when he learns who she is?

Love in the Details by Becky Wade

She left him to save his future, but they’ve never gotten over each other.

When Josh returns to his hometown of Martinsburg, Texas, to help his best friend get married, he didn’t intend to run into church wedding coordinator—and ex-girlfriend—Holly. He can’t help but pine after the girl he never got over.

Holly broke up with Josh years ago in an attempt to ensure his future success. But she loved him then and still loves him now. As she helps him plan his best friend’s wedding, she can’t help but feel horrible for the pain she caused him. And even though she longs to be with Josh, she doesn’t feel worthy of his big-time lifestyle when she is more comfortable in her small town world. Will Josh and Holly be able to keep things as they are when their true feelings threaten to surface at every turn?

These novellas were published separately at one time and they are now combined into one book for your reading pleasure.  I had read (and reviewed) Love in the Details previously (I love Becky Wade) but I hadn't read the other two so I thought I'd pick this one up.

I don't think I've ever read anything by Katie Ganshert but I'll be looking her up after reading her novella.

All three of these novellas are so sweet.  I really enjoyed them.  The autumn theme was perfect for romance and falling in love.  These women are strong and independent- a baker, a florist and a event planner.  They are making a way for themselves and are in the perfect place to have romance enter in.

These stories are sweet, gentle and left my heart smiling.  

Content:  Clean

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Arms of Promise by Crystal Walton: It's Release Day!

A dancer who won’t back down. A soldier indebted to a promise. The only thing more dangerous than the threat pitting them together is the secret keeping them apart.

Contemporary dancer Anna Madison is determined to honor her mom’s memory. With the life she’s built in downtown Chicago hinging on an upcoming audition, now’s the worst time for her childhood best friend—and the only man she’s ever loved—to reenter her world. Her dad’s current DA case instigates enough danger without adding on the risk of losing her heart. Again.

Army Ranger Evan O’Riley has always known his place in Anna’s life. Letting his feelings compromise her safety simply isn't an option. Especially when his promise to protect her drives him off the sidelines and into the one place even his special ops training can't save him from. Anna's arms.

Keeping her from uncovering the real reason Evan returns is one thing. Trying to hide the reason he left to begin with could destroy them both. But when the past they’ve both tried to outrun launches them down a heart-pounding road of threats, secrets, and attraction, resisting love may turn into the greatest risk they face.

If you like emotional romances mixed with humor, depth, and characters who come alive on the page, then you'll love Crystal Walton's moving story of love and forgiveness.

I have been reading Crystal Walton's books from the beginning and I swear she just keeps getting better and better.  This book was my favorite so far, I think.  Do I say that every time?  Maybe.  But I really loved this book and if I'm telling someone else about Crystal's books, I'm going to say that this one is my favorite.  :)  If you haven't ever read anything by Crystal Walton, this is a great place to start!

I'm sort of a sucker for second chance at first love kind of books and that is what this one is.  Then, throw in a bit of suspense and you have the perfect recipe for a great book.

Anna and Evan are both characters full of life and depth.  They are so human with strengths and weaknesses.  It was easy to settle into their story and feel right along with them.  Crystal has a gift for writing emotion.  It's one of the things I love best about her books.

So, it's love from me!  Pick up this book.  Read it.  Love it.  

Content:  Clean, some mild violence

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Boyfriend by the Book by Laura Briggs

Jodi Nichols isn’t the most romantic girl on the planet. She doesn’t get mushy over fictional love stories, or picture herself getting swept away by a handsome hero. She’s much too grounded in reality—and much too busy working as a concierge at the luxurious Regent hotel. Helping customers is Jodi’s passion in life, and while romance may be on the back burner for now, she is nursing a little crush on Levi, the cute and friendly deliveryman for the hotel packages. And unless she’s imagining things, Levi feels the same way about her.

But Jodi’s friends think she’s turning into a lonely workaholic. They try to fix her love life, buying her a copy of the bestselling relationship guide that claims women can find true love by channeling the wisdom of famous storybook heroines. Jodi thinks it sounds crazy—no way is she acting like Jane Eyre or Lizzie Bennet to find a man! But when Levi suddenly grows distant and Jodi’s chances with him seem to fizzle before her eyes, she wonders if her friends might have a point after all. Disheartened and lonely, she decides to give the so-called relationship guide a whirl, with unexpected consequences.

Before you can say ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Jodi is up to her neck in handsome, brooding men that seem too much like fictional heroes to be true. Her attempts to think like the greatest heroines in romance lead her to meet everything from a modern Mr. Rochester to an angsty Heathcliff, and even a Darcy-esque novelist. But when a former crush re-enters her life in the form of a modern day Romeo, Jodi wonders if there might be something to this ‘inner heroine’ thing after all. Now, if she could just stop thinking about Levi, then maybe her happy-ever-after will fall into place…or is something still missing from Jodi’s storybook romance?

Boyfriend by the Book is a perfect feel good read for curling up with on a rainy day or a summer afternoon, with lots of laughs and surprises to keep the reader turning pages!

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

This is what I would call a fluffy fun book.  It's not to be taken too seriously and doesn't deal with any major life issues.  It's a surface read meant to make you smile and provide a couple hours of distraction.  At least, that's what it did for me.

The blurb sums up the book and then some so by reading it, you will get the whole idea of the book.  And what you read is exactly what you get.  Jodi works a lot and doesn't date much.  Her friends are all up in her business, trying to get her to date.  So, they buy her a book and once she starts reading it, the trouble begins.

Dating then becomes a comedy of errors for Jodi.  If you haven't read the classics like Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, you will probably miss a lot of the references in this book.  I liked them even though it was a bit unrealistic for Jodi to read a chapter and meet the very kind of guy described.  Still, there is a lot of fun to be had in this book.  I enjoyed it.

Content:  Clean

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dear Jane by Rachel Ward

“Dear Quinn,

This is a hard letter to write. I have been thinking a lot about us for the past few weeks, and I can’t shake the feeling that we just aren’t meant to be…”

Quinn had her life perfectly planned out when she left on her mission: come home in eighteen months, marry her stunningly handsome boyfriend, and live happily ever after. But all of that changed when Quinn got a Dear Jane email from the man she thought she was meant to be with. Now she’s stuck at home with no boyfriend, no job, no major, and absolutely no social life.

As Quinn struggles to find her path forward, she begins to learn that life is not perfect and happily-ever-afters don’t always turn out how we expect them to. Will Quinn ever find the path that leads to her eternal happiness?

First off, I need to mention that this is an LDS fiction book.  References specific to the LDS religion are made.  There is nothing preachy, but some not familiar with this religion may not understand the references.

I really enjoyed this book.  I read through it quickly and it made me smile.  The characters were well defined and I could picture the scenes and places so easily.  It's hard to say much without giving away the content of the book which the blurb doesn't really mention.

Quinn is a good, solid character.  I really liked her.  Her family was flawed and imperfect but hers.  There was love with that imperfection and it was a good representation of most families.  There is always struggle and hard things in life.  Always.  Things rarely go as we expect them to.  People disappoint us, we make mistakes, we lose people we love.  Sometimes we just don't understand.  That is life.  Messy and hard.  I guess that was what I loved most about this book- even though all of those things were happening, there was still love and joy, forgiveness and hope.  That is life too.

The author did a good job of balancing the weightier things with happy things so that as a reader I never felt bogged down or overwhelmed.  It was good!

Content:  Some weightier issues- suicide, drug addiction, mental illness, divorce, abandonment

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Rachel Turner Ward graduated from Hillcrest High School after spending two years writing for the yearbook and the creative writing magazine. She then studied English at Brigham Young University­—Idaho, graduating with an emphasis in Literary Studies. She has contributed to several online publications, including Mormon Mommy Blogs and SheSteals. She has written a personal blog since 2009, Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug.  Rachel lives in Salt Lake with her six children and husband of 15 years.

Twitter and Instagram: @rachelsueward

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Slave Queen (An Omar Zagouri Thriller #3) by H.B. Moore

Special Agent Omar Zagouri’s latest case is his most dangerous—and his most personal yet. The discovery of secret sixteenth-century letters unveils a plot between the sultan Suleyman and his chief wife, Roxelane, to change the course of the Ottoman Empire. A descendent of Roxelane, Zagouri learns he has an enemy whose revenge has been centuries in the making.

Targeted by an antiquities collector who’s also descended from a chief rival for the ancient throne, Zagouri soon uncovers a modern-day conspiracy that threatens the lives of his family and the security of a nation.

To expose the plot, Zagouri must team up with Naim, the son of his nemesis, who heads an international black-market operation that may have ties to the killings. From ancient Constantinople to the present-day Middle East, Zagouri is on a collision course with history. Time is running out to solve a royal mystery and stop a ruthless killer—one who has Zagouri’s name on his hit list.

 * Amazon * Goodreads *

This is a series I really love for so many reasons.  I am always excited to see another addition to this series and I feel like such a lucky girl to be able to read and review them!  H.B. Moore is right at home with this genre.  It is where she shines for me as an author.

So, this is the third book in this series.  You do not have to read the previous books to understand this book as each book has it's own specific story.  I would recommend starting at the beginning though.  It's such a fun ride and each book is so good.

Now for my many reasons for love.  :)

I love how this book jumps from present day to way back in history.  As Omar tries to unravel a conspiracy in present-day Middle East that involves a group of people trying to overthrow the government and re-establish their place as royalty, we also get the story of the Sultan and his wife that started the whole thing.  It's fantastic.  On one hand we have guns and chases, deadly plots and ruthless people.  On the other hand we have the rise of Roxelane from slave girl to Queen to the Sultan.  The plots are just as deadly, the people just as ruthless, but this side of the story gives us a peek into how it all came about.

H.B. Moore really knows how to write a story rich with history, culture and thrills.  As a reader, I feel like I'm stepping into the thick of things right away.  I have to admit that my favorite bits are when we are way back into history.  The rise of Queen Roxelane is a story I could read all on it's own and be perfectly happy.

If you haven't ever read a book in this series, I would surely recommend that you give it a try.  This series is one of my favorites.

Content:  A few instances of mild swearing.  Slavery. Concubines as part of a harem, and multiple wives.  There are references to sexual instances, but nothing described in any detail.  There is some violence. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Accidentally Me by Kim Karras

WANTED: Pretend stalker. No experience required. Tall, dark, and quirky preferred. Sabrina is desperate to go to her dream college, but her parents want her to stay close to home. If she wants to maintain her perfect child image, Sabrina must break rules that even her rebel sister keeps . . .

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

This is what I would call a coming of age story.  It is YA and it is clean.  It isn't really a romance but more of a young girl trying to find her way into adulthood.  

Sabrina wants to go away to college, but her parents want her to stay close to home.  Being the youngest child by quite a few years, and a surprise baby to boot, Sabrina feels like she has a lot to live up to.  She struggles with her place in the family.  She has watched her older siblings make mistakes and she tries her best to not make waves in her home but she really, really wants something that goes against her parents desires.

As a mother of teenage girls, this book was kind of funny to me.  I have a daughter this exact age and some of the things Sabrina did and thought just made me smile.  I enjoyed watching Sabrina stretch her wings, make some mistakes and come to some important realizations.  

This was a fun book.  I liked that romance wasn't the primary focus.  Sabrina is a character that most teenagers will find some connection with.

Content:  Clean (some talk of Sabrina's sister being pregnant without being married)

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.