Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Review: Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac

When I read that Can’t Help Falling was a book about two book lovers who fell in love, it was one that I absolutely could not resist.  I’m a lover of The Chronicles of Narnia myself, so the idea of a girl who likes to climb into wardrobes was intriguing, but this story is much more than just a love story.

Peter Carlisle and Emilia Mason first met when he opened the door of a wardrobe in an obscure antique shop in England, and she fell out of it.  As it turns out they’re both die-hard fans of C.S. Lewis’ series The Chronicles of Narnia.  While their attraction seems to be a match made in literary heaven, Emelia and Peter are both hiding painful secrets.  When Peter realized that Emilia doesn’t share his faith, he tells her that a relationship between them isn’t possible.  They are still forced to work together to plan a charity ball, and their feelings deepen.  When Peter discovers Emilia’s secret, will he react like she expects and prove that she really is a Susan, or can love win in the end?

This book turned out to be so much more than I expected.  While it’s definitely a romance, love isn’t the most prominent theme here.  Can’t Help Falling is a lesson in forgiveness and redemption.  Emilia and Peter must each learn to forgive themselves, and Peter must decide if he can forgive Emilia.  Another powerful theme of this novel is that redemption doesn’t come from the works that we do, but from finding ourselves in Christ.  Parts and passages of the books from The Chronicles of Narnia are woven throughout the book, and become a large part of Emilia and Peter’s relationship.  I was inspired to read that classic series again myself!

I didn’t realize that this book was the second in a series, and as usually happens with me, I’m now dying to read the first one.  However, it’s centered around The Lord of the Rings, which is a series I haven’t read before.  The main characters from that book make an appearance in Can’t Help Falling and I want to read more of their story. 

This is a great book and I recommend it to lovers of both modern and classical fiction.  The references to C.S. Lewis’ books make it a unique read.  I hope to read more from Kara Isaac in the future.

Happy Reading!


I received an advanced copy of Can’t Help Falling in exchange for my honest review.  Look for it on or around October 11, 2016.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review: A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

I have a new blog!!  I'll continue to post here until the end of September, 2016.  After that you'll find all of my reviews, plus new content at Not Just a Stay-at-Home Mom.

Some people say that you reach an age where you should stop reading and believing fairy tales.  I believe those people are wrong, and I think Rachel Hauck agrees with me!  I have loved every one of the books in the Royal Wedding series, and I am so sad to see that A Royal Christmas Wedding is the final book.  Somehow Ms. Hauck makes you believe that a prince really can come along and meet an ordinary girl, marry her, and turn her into a princess.  The best thing about this series is that all of the new royal women are Americans!  I, like many Americans, am a royal watcher.  There is just something a bit magical about a king and queen. dukes, duchesses, princes and princesses.   The idea of a small-town southern girl running into a prince, falling in love with him and going to live in his faraway kingdom is definitely my idea of a fairy tale!
A Royal Christmas Wedding brings the series full circle, as Susanna Truitt (the main character of the first novel, who is now married to King Nathaniel) invites her mother, and sister, Avery, to visit Brighton Kingdom for the holidays.  Avery was once in love with Nathaniel's cousin, Prince Colin, but after a whirlwind romance, he abandoned her with no explanation.  It's been five years and Avery has moved on.  She's graduated college and is looking for a job coaching girls' volleyball.  She knows that she will run into Colin if she visits Brighton, but she's willing to go for her mother and sister's sake.  Colin regrets that he walked away from Avery to please his father.  When Avery shows up at the Harvest Ball, Colin realizes that he still loves her.  With the help of two lovable TV show hosts, a long-forgotten tradition and an old rusty bell, Colin will do all that he can to win Avery's heart again.  But once lost, trust is a hard thing to regain, especially when Colin's father hasn't given up trying to ruin his relationship with the American girl.  Can Colin and Avery find happily every after in spite of it all?
I really, really hate to see this series end, but I guess even fictional Brighton Kingdom can only have so many princes available for marriage.  I have loved getting to know all of the characters in this series.  Each story is different and unique, the characters are both diverse and authentic.  The ending of A Royal Christmas Wedding, is probably my favorite so far!  The Christmas morning wedding so beautifully described!  Also, the epilogue that told what happened to the couples from all the books was the perfect way to wrap up a great series.  If you only read one book this Christmas season, this is the one it should be!
A Royal Christmas Wedding will be available on October 18.  If you have read any of the books in this series, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Leave me a comment below!

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

I have a new blog!  I will continue to post reviews here until the end of September, 2016.  After that you can find my reviews, and lots of other stuff at Not Just a Stay-at-Home Mom Check it out!

I can't think of any mystery books I'd rather read than those of Agatha Christie.  She was a literary genius in a time when a lot of women still didn't do things like write murder mysteries.  While I can't claim to have read all of her books, or even most of them, I have read a few.  Murder on the Orient Express is my favorite, and I have read it at least three times.  When I saw that this book is based on Mrs. Christie's own trip on the Orient Express, I knew it was one I needed to read!  It prompted me to read a little more about her life, and I found out several things I never knew before.
Agatha Christie took a trip to Baghdad on the Orient Express during the fall after her divorce from her unfaithful husband, and a reported mental breakdown.  In this book she meets two women on the trip, Katherine and Nancy.  The three women forge a friendship, in spite of the fact that they all have secrets.  Nancy is pregnant with a baby that doesn't belong to her husband, Katherine is going to marry a man she doesn't love and Agatha is pretending to be someone else.  As each of their secrets is discovered they will set in motion a trail of events that will change the course of their lives forever.
I thought this story about Agatha Christie's life was very intriguing.  I was half expecting to read a Christie-like mystery.  While this is not a mystery novel, I did find it very enjoyable.  While I read it, I found myself disliking some of the characters.  But as the book progressed I realized that I could at least understand the reasoning behind their actions.  I didn't expect to read a love story, but there's a little one here to be found!  I think fans of literary fiction will enjoy this book, as well as those who love to read Ms. Christie's novels.  You might see where she got inspiration for some of her stories, too.  Since this month is Agatha Christie's birthday, you should celebrate by reading The Woman on the Orient Express. 
This book will be available on or around September 20, 2016, but you can preorder it today! 

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required.  This post contains affiliate links.   

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book review: The Candidate by Lis Wiehl

Erica Sparks is back for the second book in Lis Wiehl’s Newsmakers series, and if you thought it couldn’t get any more twisted than the first book, you haven’t seen anything yet!  In The Candidate, Erica, who is the anchor of “The Erica Sparks Effect” on the GNN news network turns her focus to the upcoming presidential election.  During an interview with candidate Mike Ortiz and his wife, she notices some odd behavior.  Her journalistic mind is intrigued and she tries to find out more.  Is it possible that Mike Ortiz’s wife, Celeste, has some sort of hold over him?  The more that Erica investigates the deeper she advances into something darker than she could have ever imagined.  In her characteristic fashion, Erica ignores the danger to herself and her family and continues her search.  This time Erica’s investigations will lead her across the country and around the world as the bodies pile up in her wake.  But when Erica disappears and her car is found in the ocean, everyone assumes she’s dead and the bad guys—whoever they are—have won.  Can Erica make it out alive, and make it back in time to expose the people responsible for some of the most heinous acts in American history?    

This book involves everything you could ever want in a thriller, and some things you probably never knew you wanted.  It’s one of those books that I read at every possible moment, and stayed up way too late to read.  It’s full of all those plot twists and turns that make Lis Wiehl one of my favorite authors.  (And if you’re like me and can’t get enough make sure you follow her on Twitter!)  I dare you to read it without wondering “what if?” just a little bit!

Happy Reading!


I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  Look for The Candidate on or around October 4.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review: Twilight at Blueberry Barrens by Colleen Coble

I have read many of Colleen Coble’s Christian romance novels, but she truly shines when she writes suspense.  The Sunset Cove series has been creepy and twisted from the very beginning, but reaches new heights in the latest book, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens.  I love Ms. Coble’s writing style.  She doesn’t shy away from topics that are generally taboo in religious fiction.  That’s certainly the case here.

Kate Mason was sick and about to die when she found her long-lost twin, Claire.  Claire gave Kate her bone marrow and she’s healthy now, and maybe ready for some changes in her life.  Her mother and uncle are both in prison, and she’s looking for a fresh start.  Her families’ blueberry barrens aren’t doing well, so she decides to fix up her mother’s old house and rent it out for the summer.  Drake Newham has had custody of his two nieces since his brother and sister-in-law were killed a few months earlier.  When someone breaks into his Boston home, he decides to take the girls to Sunset Cove for a visit.  He hopes to be able to investigate his brother’s death more thoroughly while he’s there.  He rents Kate’s cottage, and also hires her to be his nieces’ nanny for the summer.  The two begin to develop feelings for one another, but someone doesn’t want that to happen.  Someone is peeping at women, and leaving scary messages for Claire and following Kate. When Kate’s uncle escapes from prison, he is the likely suspect.  But there is something more sinister lurking.  Is the person who killed Drake’s brother connected to Kate’s stalker?  Is Kate’s uncle responsible for breaking into Kate’s house?  When Kate is in danger, will Drake and Luke find her in time?

As someone who has read most of Ms. Coble’s suspense novels, I figured out very early on who the stalker was, but there was enough mystery and suspense left that I still loved this book.  I read it in less than a day, and absolutely could not put it down.  While I figured out the stalker, I could not guess who killed Heath and Melissa, and the answer did surprise me.  I also enjoyed the romance that developed between Kate and Drake, and her decision to be brave and give herself a chance to live.  It’s obvious that she had a lot of pain and heartache in her life, and was emotionally abused by her guilt-ridden mother.  It was great to see her begin to put all of that behind her and learn to live her own life. 

I loved the characters in this book.  I like that the author has further developed the relationship between Kate and Claire, showing how great it is that they found each other, but also some of the difficulties that arise in such situations.  I loved that Luke was so supportive of his new wife and her twin.  Kate is such a great character, too.  I loved when she took the iPads from the girls at the dinner before Drake had even hired her.  She was so feisty and pulled no punches with Drake or the girls.  I also loved the cameo appearance by a character from Denise Hunter’s Summer Harbor series, which is another of my favorites!

I LOVE this book, but also this whole series.  You will need to read the first two Sunset Cove books before this one to really understand the story.  Trust me, it’s worth your time to read them all!

Happy reading!


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.  Look for Twilight at Blueberry Barrens at your favorite bookseller on or around September 2o, 2016.    

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Review: Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

I have only recently started reading Denise Hunter’s books, and I quickly became a fan.  If you haven’t read any of her sweet romance novels, you’re missing out!  After finishing The Goodbye Bride I couldn’t wait for the next book in the series to come out!  Just a Kiss is every bit as good as its predecessor. 

Riley and Paige have been best friends most of their lives, but Riley has a secret.  He’s been in love with Paige since the summer they were seventeen.  When she started dating his brother, Beau, Riley was so heartbroken, he joined the Marines and was deployed to Afghanistan.  When Paige and Beau broke up, Riley was determined to come home and win her heart.  He didn’t count on the IED that would leave him emotionally and physically scarred.  While Paige is determined to help Riley, every minute he spends with her is torture, especially when she’s going out with her new boyfriend.  But when Paige’s feelings begin to change, too, Riley will discover that her love isn’t the only thing he needs to make him whole. 

The storyline of a girl and boy who are best friends and fall in love isn’t exactly new or original, but Ms. Hunter makes it work in her trademark way.  I like that her stories always make it look like it’s going to work out, then it’s not, then it is again.  The Callahan brothers are simply dreamy, and I think a girl could easily fall in love with any one of them.  I did find it a little strange that so many of the characters in this novel set in Maine seem to have southern nameslike Beau.  But these characters are so loveable that doesn’t bother me much. 

I have a few Denise Hunter books in my Kindle library that I now MUST go back and read.  I think I’ll start with The Conveniet Groom since it was recently made into a movie on Hallmark.  After that I definitely need to read about Beau and Eden.  Anyone have a suggestion for others that I should read?  Leave me a comment letting me know if you have a favorite!

Happy Reading!


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own, and a favorable review was not required.  Look for Just a Kiss on or around September 6.    

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Review: The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck

If you have read very many reviews on this blog, you know that I am a huge fan of Rachel Hauck.  In my opinion she has never written a bad book.  I loved The wedding Dress, I loved The Wedding Chapel, and now comes The Wedding Shop.  Can you guess how I feel about it?  Ms. Hauck is a master at telling multiple stories at one time, and somehow weaving them together into one incredible book.  This latest “wedding” book is no exception.

Miss Cora is the owner of the wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, in the 1930s.  She spends her days making other women’s dreams come true, while her own seem to be on hold.  She’s met the man of her dreams in Rufus, a riverboat captain who’s building his fortune.  He promises that one day he’s coming to marry her, but the day never seems to arrive.  Cora may miss out on true love while holding on to the broken promises of a more dashing suitor.  In the present day, Haley has served out her term in the military, and has returned home to Heart’s Bend to start a new life.  She doesn’t have a clue what she wants to do, but a promise to her childhood best friend to reopen the old wedding shop keeps ringing in her mind.  Even though everything seems to be against her, Haley is determined to open the shop and turn it into a success.  After a previous heartbreak, she isn’t looking for love, but her friend’s ex-fiance is working to change her mind.

Two women separated by years of time, but both looking for a way to make the impossible happen.  The Wedding Shop will have you wishing you could walk down the grand staircase in the dress of your dreams to where Miss Cora is waiting at the bottom with a glass of lemonade!  This feel-good read reminds us what it’s like to have a dream come trueeven if it’s not the way we expect!  It’s a must-read for fans of Rachel Hauck and Denise Hunter.  I think you’ll love it!

Happy Readingj!


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required.  Look for The Wedding Shop on or around August 16 or pre-order today!