Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

Caroline Taylor has been running the lighthouse at Windmill Point since her father's death. Truth be told, she has been running it much longer than that. She takes pride in her excellent work, and even though there have been no complaints ever lodged against her, Michigan laws say that a single woman may not run a lighthouse alone. Since it's all she knows how to do, Caroline is worried that she will not be able to take care of her siblings if she is forced to leave.

Ryan Chambers is plagued by dreams, guilt, and the physical wounds of war. Turning to a bottle and pills to help him deal with the pain, he has had a difficult time holding down work and setting down roots. The lighthouse job will be perfect for him. A life where no one will ask about his wounds and he can live a quiet and peaceful life.

When their worlds collide, Caroline and Ryan agree to help each other out for a while until both can get settled on their feet. But there is danger, rules, and attraction to battle and things are just starting to get complicated.

This was a neat story. It is the second book in the series but I hadn't read the first and found it fine as a stand alone novel. I always like reading a story in a setting that I have not read before. It's interesting to learn about rules and ways of life from another time and a lighthouse was a great surrounding for this tale. The plot had some great twists that kept me reading and hoping til the very end. I liked that the problems the characters faced were deep and complicated and that they were not easy fixes. I'll probably re-read this on at least once in the future.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day Quiz 2015

It's time for the yearly Father's Day quiz. By yearly I mean we have done this a couple of times before (2014 , 2011). It's fun to see how grown up the kids are by their answers. Eoin even sat down and typed up all his own answers (I was under strict instructions to not change any of his formatting). Aidan did half of his before he got tired of typing :-) Without further ado, here is this year's quiz:

My daddy is  
(E) 33 (A)33 (M)60

My daddy works 
(E) by helping people with their money. (A) to help people with there money (M)Give people money

My daddy loves 

(E) us (Me, Molly, and Aidan).(A)every one. (M) me

My dad likes to wear 

(E) a belt and jeans. (A)his work suit (M) his present - white t-shirt

My dad is SO strong, he could lift 
(E) me. (A) a giant piece of wood (M) A huge book

My dad likes to eat 

(E) his veggies. (A)pizza (M) tacos

If my dad had time he would 

(E) play MINECRAFT (XBOX 360 EDITION) with me. (A) play baseball with me (M) play baseball

He is smart because 

(E) has finished college. (A)he is very big and he learned a lot (M) he went to work

If I could give my dad anything, it would be

 (E) a fathers day card. (A) a show of the Lord of the Rings (M)glasses

His favorite color is 

(E) blue. (A) blue (M)he doesn't know (let's just write down black)

His favorite game is 
(E) his video games for daddies (a man). (A) Lord of the Rings and MInecraft, (M)Lord of the Rings

What is something daddy always says to you?
(E) Obey (A) Get in bed  (M) I love you and "Ugga Mugga" (Daniel Tiger Reference)

What makes Dad happy? (E) Surprises (A) Love (M) A present

What makes Dad sad? (E) ? (A) When somebody hurts his feelings (M) When his finger is hurt

We love you so much Jonathan Harrison! You are an amazing Dad and we are so thankful for you! Happy Father's Day! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: Love's Rescue by Christine Johnson

Elizabeth Benjamin is living with so much guilt. All she can do to make up for her past mistakes is to become the perfect Southern Belle and marry well so that she can secure her family's future. When she arrives home from her training with her Aunt, after her mother passes away, she discovers this is not a difficult task. Running her family home is not easy with a resentful brother, and servants who do see her as a real authority. On top of that, how can she marry well for her family, when all she can think of is the handsome wrecking captain, Rourke O Malley - the absolute last person her family would approve of. When Elizabeth comes across her mother's diary, family secrets come to light that have stayed hidden for far too long and Elizabeth must choose the best way to handle them, and her heart!

I felt like this book started off on some very exciting notes and I eagerly dove in, but after the first couple of chapters, things level off a bit and I wasn't as hooked as I was at the beginning. I thought the thoughts and themes of slavery and how people treated their servants was interesting and I enjoyed seeing Elizabeth's attitude change over time. While there is nothing that I did not like about the story in general, it didn't stand out to me as one I would reread over and over. It was good but not excellent.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Book Review: Taken by Dee Henderson

Meeting Shannon Bliss was definitely not what Matthew Dane was expected when he signed up to speak at a conference. But when this girl is waiting for him after his presentation, he feels compelled to help her - after all he knows something about what she has been through and will be going through.
Missing for 11 years, Shannon has finally escaped her captors and handpicked Matthew Dane to help her transition back to normal life since his daughter also was taken when she was little and survived.
But to really get back to a normal life, Shannon will have to open up about her past and deal with the very real dangers in her life. Will Matthew have what it takes to walk through those dark days of Shannon's ordeal and bring her through unscathed on the other side?

I was a little disappointed in this story for a few reasons. While I understand that Henderson is not writing in the same suspense style as some of her former books, I felt that this story had such a great set up for a little more action and I felt let down when that really didn't happen as much as it could have. I really did enjoy Shannon's descriptions of how her faith remained strong and grew through her ordeal, but at the same time, she seemed almost too planned out and thorough for someone so young. If you really enjoy a more in depth look at characters with a little less story/action, then you will really enjoy this. But if you are looking for a great thriller (as I was kind of expecting by the title) then I think this will disapppoint. As long as you know Henderson's new style ahead of time though, you will be good. I would also recommend you read the two books that she wrote before this. Though they are not a series, per se, the characters from her old books are in this quite a bit and I wished I had read the second one so I could know them better before I started this one.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review: Together With You by Victoria Bylin

Ex social worker, Carly Mason, is taking a break. After getting to close too a client, Carly just can't go back to working in that area again. But while she is working at the mall, she finds a lost little girl, whom she quickly realizes suffers from fetal alcohol effects - which just happens to be her area of expertise. Though everything is Carly screams for her to run away from this situation, she can't help but feel drawn to help this little girl, and her handsome father.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is fighting to keep his family together after a divorce. It would be a lot easier if he could hang on to a nanny for his special needs daughter, and when Carly finds Penny at the mall, it seems she might be the key to helping him accomplish his goals.

As Ryan and Carly team up to help Penny and the Tremaine family, they fight their attraction to one another, so they can be sure that the family comes first. But what if Carly is exactly what the family needs to stay together?

I don't normally choose modern romances unless it is a mystery of some sort, but the special needs child subject caught me attention so I thought I'd give it a go. It was a pretty good read and dealt with some good topics like dealing with past mistakes and accepting forgiveness and grace, as well as how broken homes affect children as well as the more obvious subject of fetal alcohol syndrome.
If you are a fan of modern romance fiction, I think you'd enjoy it. While it's probably not a re-read kind of book for me, I still found it interesting and engaging.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.