August 29, 2015

The Captive Imposter

The Captive Imposter
by Dawn Crandall

Another great book from Dawn Crandall! This is her third book and while technically you could read it without reading books one and two I really wouldn't advise it. You understand so much more about the characters if you read them in order!

As I read more and more from Crandall I realize how much I love her writing but I especially love the titles of her books. They fit so perfectly with her books! Sometimes titles seem to me as if they were an afterthought or just something to throw on the cover but with Crandall's work I truly feel the titles were meant for the books.

I really fell in love with Dexter in this book. He really is the perfect hero who is patient, kind, loving, protective, and strong. Oh, and a good preacher too! The only downside in my opinion to his character was his lack of flaws. But I do occasionally love a book where the guy is "perfect." Elle is a wonderful addition to Crandall's heroines. I appreciated her flaws and her doubts and enjoyed watching her learn to love and trust again especially as her spiritual life improved.

The relationship between Dexter and Elle in this book is quite intriguing. Definitely a good example of how hard it is for men and women to be "just friends" and I must admit if they had actually pulled off "just friends" I would have been disappointed. I loved watching their friendship evolve into love especially in the awkward moments! Those moments made the story seem more realistic.

This book was nearly impossible to put down. I was on edge waiting to see what would happen with Elle and if she would be kept safe. I also couldn't wait to see if I would discover a happily ever after ending. If you love historical romance with just a touch of suspense this book is a great read.

The author provided me with an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

August 23, 2015

The Bound Heart

The Bound Heart
by Dawn Crandall

The Bound Heart is Dawn Crandall's second book and while I enjoyed her first book, The Hesitant Heiress, I found it impossible to put book two down! I almost read the whole thing in one day but finally had to get to bed. Thankfully I was able to finish reading it the next morning before church because I was dying to find out how the story would end.

Lawry. Oh my goodness was he a wonderful character. He was such a good friend to everyone around him. And his love for orphans melted my heart. No matter the situation he was in he was always full of goodness and kindness. He is the kind of guy everyone wants for a friend and every girl dreams of falling in love with. And he's a good kisser so how could you not fall in love with him?

Mere was one of the most realistic characters I've read in a while. I enjoyed watching her learn and grow throughout the book. I also loved her characters introspective honesty even though I hated that she wasn't honest with Lawry. She knew she had made a past mistake and while she didn't like what she had to do she accepted her lot in life. But what I loved about her the most was how she absorbed scripture as she heard it or read it. Her willingness to learn more about God and His love for her was inspiring. I've never read a book with this much spiritual growth in a character and it was quite refreshing since many authors, even Christian ones, are dialing down the spiritual side of things in their books. But even though there was a lot of scripture in this book and many spiritual conversations I didn't ever feel the book was preachy.

Crandall is a unique writer in that she writes from the first person point of view. This gives me as the reader a special perspective into her characters and I love that since it isn't often found. She also writes excellent scenes with very realistic dialogue between her characters. But my favorite part of her writing aside from the great characters is the romantic chemistry! The Bound Heart is one of the best Christian romance books I've read because she managed to make the love relationship steamy while still keeping the book wholesome! This book is also full of great romantic tension too though and more than anything that is what kept me turning the pages. I was dying to find out who would end up with Mere in the end.

Aside from the great romantic tension the other thing that kept me turning pages late into the night was the internal conflict in Mere's soul. She was so convinced she had to live her life a certain way to atone for a past sin that she almost missed God's real plan for her life. It was heart wrenching at times to see the turmoil in her life but it was so satisfying to see God begin to work in her life to help her find forgiveness and peace and true love.

I suppose I knew all through the book how it would end but I sure did enjoy the journey with Mere. I love any book that keeps me intrigued the whole time and whose characters become like real life people to me. I cannot wait to see what book three has in store.

An advanced copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher and author in exchange for my honest review.

August 20, 2015

Through Waters Deep

Through Waters Deep
by Sarah Sundin

I am totally embarrassed to admit that even though Sarah Sundin writes my favorite genre this was the first book of hers that I've read! Obviously her other books are in my to be read pile but signing up to review this one was the push I needed to move her books to the top of my to be read stack!

This book was amazing. I truly loved everything about it from the setting to the characters. It combined so many of my favorites: WWII era history, Naval officers, mystery, and a strong female lead. I fell in love with Mary quite quickly. Her intelligence combined with her spunk and unwillingness to back down made her easy for me to identify with. Of course, the handsome naval officer, Jim, wasn't hard to fall in love with either! I love relationships that begin with friendship but I also love relationships that aren't easy. Sundin crafted a beautiful love story in the midst of the turmoil of 1941 in Boston. But I loved that her book was more about the history and the research behind the destroyers and life at sea than just the love story. The balance between the two in my opinion was perfect especially as the romantic tension in the story balanced out the pre-WWII conflict.

One of the best parts about this book was the real life character flaws that both Mary and Jim lived with. I enjoyed watching them work through their flaws throughout the book and in the end learn to conquer their fears. I also appreciated how the love story was not a simple "and they lived happily ever after" because those stories are so boring to read. I have to admit I was on the edge of my seat for a while wondering how Sundin would wrap up this book. In the end I loved how she handled the relationships but you'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

I read this book in one sitting and didn't have any trouble staying engaged at any point in the story. I was hooked by the end of chapter one and it is a good thing I had a whole uninterrupted afternoon to read! If you haven't read anything by Sundin I would highly recommend her.

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