July 27, 2015

Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor 
by Irene Hannon



This was my first contemporary romance by Irene Hannon. Usually you will find me reading one of her romantic suspense books but I’m glad I didn’t shy away from reading Hope Harbor because it was a powerful story with excellent characters, a wonderful selection of plots, and wonderful romance.

 Hope Harbor

I love books with characters that experience real life hardships and have honest character flaws and the characterization in Hope Harbor was probably its greatest strength because the three prominent characters all had both flaws and hardships that they worked through. I loved watching all three develop into stronger people and I especially appreciated the spiritual growth I saw in Michael. Hope Harbor is exactly what I look for when I pick up a Christian fiction book because it showed through fictional characters that God can provide forgiveness, healing, redemption, second chances, and restoration amongst friends and family and sometimes even strangers.

Hannon tackled a few tough subjects in this book and I appreciated her attention to both subject matter and also reaction in this story. If young adults read this story it will lend itself well to conversations especially between mothers and daughters. It could also lend itself toward helping families torn apart to find a way back together. 

The best part of the whole book was the romance though.  Michael has some really great lines that will alternatively make you smile or groan depending on how you feel about semi-cheesy lines. Personally I loved them since my own husband is known for lines like that. I enjoyed reading the romance of a man and a woman that have already experienced so much of life. So often the Christian fiction scene focuses on the easy romance and Hannon went for the deeper side where the characters spent more time talking things through than just making googly eyes at each other. I loved how they worked together to discuss anything that came up but still found time for hugs and kisses.

This book could be difficult for some people to read if they have experienced tragic loss, or family estrangement. However, I also think that both topics were handled with such grace and ease that the book could offer comfort for those people.

I read this book in one sitting and found myself wishing that I was part of a book club so I could discuss it with other women as this is the perfect book for that type of setting.  I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys contemporary romance and I would also recommend it to anyone who wants a little more substance before the happy ending. 

Hope Harbor offers everything I look for in Christian fiction and I cannot wait to go back and read Hannon’s other two contemporary romance books.

This book was provided to be by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

July 10, 2015

Everyday Grace

Everyday Grace: Infusing all your relationships with the love of Jesus
by Jessica Thompson

This book covers just about every type of relationship you can think of but the parts I especially enjoyed covered friends, marriage, co-workers, and difficult people.

Everyday Grace by Jessica  Thompson

For once I found a Christian Living book that wasn't so much of a self-help book with "homework" and lots of questions and steps to follow. I really enjoyed her just imparting thoughts on me as the reader and letting me choose what to do with those thoughts. I also appreciated tons of scripture references and biblical truth with just a few personal stories thrown in. So often I feel this genre throws in too many stories and this book had just the perfect amount.

But what I loved the most was that this book wasn't telling me how to improve these relationships through what I say and do or by changing these people in my life. Instead it was reminding me that if I am living a life filled with Jesus that HE will make these relationships better!

Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

July 8, 2015

London Tides

London Tides
by Carla Laureano

This is book two in a series but the cover, back cover description, and setting appealed to me more than the first book so I decided to take a chance and read this one first and I am so glad I did. And I'm looking forward to going back and reading book one now that I know I love Laureano's books!

LondonTides

London Tides has a unique story line in that the main characters are not getting to know each other for the first time. I love stories of second chances and I love romance so this contemporary romance was perfect for me. I don't know much about Ian's sport of rowing but I enjoyed the great descriptions that Laureano wrote about it and loved his dedication to the sport even though he was no longer competitive. As for Grace's career of photojournalism I don't really know much more but I did enjoy hearing familiar terms from my high school photography class. But what especially drew me into the story was how they are both involved in helping the voiceless have voices in their own ways. (If you want to know how you'll have to read the book!!!)

This book explores so many great themes. I loved how she explored whether career or happiness is most important or if they go hand in hand. I also loved the times when both characters stepped away to see what they really wanted. Sometimes I think we need more books where the happily ever after isn't so easily reached. Ian and Grace really worked to get to their moment of true happiness and it showed through all kinds of tension. I think that is what I liked the most about this book. They didn't have it easy but they worked it out and their relationship turmoil was so well written that I couldn't put the book down.

This book wasn't preachy at all. It does mention prayer and Christianity but honestly I think a non-Christian could really enjoy this book. However, I do want to warn super conservative readers that pre-marital sex and living together is mention briefly and there is also some drinking in the book. It was all handled very well in my opinion but I know some people would prefer to avoid those topics.

After reading this book I'm so attached to the characters and setting that I really feel like I was there with them. I cannot wait to read the first book and I hope the third comes out before too long too!

I received this book through NetGalley from the publisher, David C Cook, in exchange for my honest review.

Gone Without A Trace

Gone without a Trace
by Patricia Bradley

This was my third novel by Bradley and also the third book in the Logan Point series. I've enjoyed this entire series and loved getting to know so many people in Logan Point.



Bradley writes really interesting characters. Alex is a great male lead. His strength, perseverance, and protective personality are perfect. I also loved that he wasn't the typical PI. Livy was an excellent heroine. I loved how stubborn and independent she was. But what I loved the most about both characters was the fact that they weren't leading perfect little lives. In fact they each had their own past hurts and issues to work through and I enjoyed following them in that journey. And Bradley throwing a little romance into the book was perfect for the genre. Not overpowering but still a strong part of the story.

The plot for this book was quite unique. A woman missing for over 2 years? That is a long time. I was a little bit disappointed that the family wasn't still searching for her but I was glad that Livy noticed similarities in the current case and her cousin's. This book didn't move super fast in my opinion but it also wasn't slow and I still read it in one afternoon.


I do think that the recovery period from PTSD probably could have been developed a little bit more but I do admit that the way Bradley wrote it into the book worked well for the story. The only other think I felt could have been a little better were the clues to who the villain was. I love it when an author keeps me guessing but this time not only was I guessing but I was completely unsure of who it was and not really in a good way. I like suspense books to keep me guessing until the end but I still like to figure out for myself who did it and with this one I didn't really get the chance.

Overall this was another great read from Bradley. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next and I wouldn't mind a fourth book in the series if she has a story line for it! But if not I'm sure she'll come up with another town full of interesting characters.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.