Tag: Christian

Guest Review: Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller

Posted April 4, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn MillerReviewer: Tracy
Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller
Series: Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope #1
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance, Christian
Pages: 320
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Catherine Winthrop has cried out to God too many times to count. Years ago, the man who stole her heart rejected her--and she's never recovered. Now tragedy has brought him back into her life. This time it isn't her heart he's taking, it's her home and her family's good name--and she has no one to share her grief.

Jonathan Carlew's life may look enviable from the outside--wealthy, handsome, landed--but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his entire life. Now as he ascends to the barony, fresh challenges await, including a scheming mama who wants him to embrace power, even at the cost of losing love. How can he remain the kind, honorable man he strives to be and still meet the demands of his new society responsibilities?

These two broken hearts must decide whether their painful past and bitter present will be all they can share, or if forgiveness can provide a path to freedom for the future.

Catherine is devastated when her father dies but shocked when her third cousin, once removed, a man she fell in love with two years earlier, becomes the new baron and moves into her house.  She’s even more shocked when she finds out that her father spent all their money and they were left with almost nothing.  Now Catherine and her mother are moving into the decrepit dower house and Jonathan, the man who spurned her, is taking over the barony.

Jonathan tries to help Catherine and her mother, but the mother is too proud to ask for help.  Jonathan and Catherine run into each other time and again but neither ever speak of what happened previously.  When it looks like Jonathan will propose to another woman, Catherine and her mother head to her aunt’s house in Bath.  Bath is great for Catherine’s well-being but her reputation takes a beating.  When Catherine pretends to be engaged to an older man, and Jonathan heads to Bath, will the two ever figure out what went wrong and finally admit their feelings for each other.

I have to say that I enjoyed Ms. Miller’s writing.  It did falter a time or two and the story tended to drag a bit in the middle, but her characters were three dimensional and actually quite likable – except a chosen few. The characters were flawed, and I liked that.  Some of them were pretty spiteful in their speaking and I was a bit shocked at that.  For being a Christian novel it was surprising, but the characters who were mean and outspoken weren’t the main characters of faith in the story which was good.

Jonathan and Catherine don’t spend a whole lot of time together in the story and that’s my biggest issue with the story.  Yes, they spent a fair amount of time but I thought this was a romance and you can’t have romance when the two aren’t together – or communicating in any way.  Despite that I enjoyed it and the author intrigued me enough with the secondary characters that I will probably read the others in this series to see what ends up happening with them.

Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5


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Review: Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK by Betsy St. Amant.

Posted December 28, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Rowena’s review of Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK by Betsy St. Amant.

Main Character: Addison Blakely
Love Interest: Wes Keegan
Series: None that I know of.
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tireless played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

This was a Christian fiction book that didn’t come off as preachy which I enjoyed and appreciated. It didn’t take me long at all to read this book and I appreciated that as well. This book is a coming of age story about a young girl who is trying to stay on the straight and narrow. She’s at that age where she’s starting to question her beliefs and her faith because up until now, she’s been leaning on her Dad’s testimony. Now she will be curious enough to find those answers for herself.

She’s always been the PK (Preacher’s Kid) that gets good grades, is active in just about everything and is on the straight path to a great college of her choice. All of that is thrown in the air when she meets Wes. She’s distracted by her attraction to him and he’s not a boy that a good girl like her would bring home to her Daddy and him give her his blessing to date. He’s a bad boy with a leather jacket and a motorcycle that she can’t get out of her mind.

Wes has his own issues throughout this book and even though Addison is too caught up in her own personal demons to pay much attention to Wes’, the author did a great job of letting the reader know that Wes is real and he’s got his own issues to work out. What I really enjoyed about Wes is that he’s rough around the edges but he’s got a great big heart. You could see his frustrations with his attraction to Addison because she represents everything that he’s not too wild about but you can see that he can’t help his feelings for Addison.

What I liked about this story was that the author did a great job of making me wonder who the better boy was for Addison. Usually, I know which camp I’m in from the beginning but it was hard to tell in this book because while I liked both boys, I wasn’t always sure if Wes was good or not. He had a way of going about doing things that are meant to be good but don’t come off as good at first look.

Getting to know Addison was easy to fall in with but there were times when I wanted to smack some hot dang sense into her. There were times when she was so wrapped up in herself and what she was going through that I wanted her to take a step back and be there for someone else. So many people were there for her but she was always more wrapped up in herself to be there for anyone. Those people included Wes, Marta and Claire. I just thought that if she was less wrapped up in herself, she would have tried harder to reach Claire and she would have noticed that things weren’t as light as Claire was making it out to be. With Wes, she would have been able to realize that something happened that made him not perform in public and for him to get up there and do it anyway…FOR HER, made me want to slap some dang sense into her because all he got for his troubles was a thank you and a smile. With Marta, she was the best friend that Addison had (aside from Wes) and she was there for Addison but they spent most of their time together talking about Addison and her problems. I wish we could have spent some of that time, getting to know more about Marta. What happened to her that made her such a firm believer in the Church because she mentioned that there was a story there but we didn’t really get much of it.

Overall, this story was a fun read because Addison is fun to get to know and she’s not perfect (even though everyone seems to think she is) and that’s what I enjoyed about this book. I enjoyed all of the imperfections and I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author.

..and that’s your scoop!

This book was received through NetGalley.

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: The Next Door Boys by Jolene B. Perry.

Posted October 25, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Main Character: Leigh
Love Interest: Hmm.
Series: None, that I know of.
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

With her body still recovering from last year’s cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas— not to mention the ever expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her— Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.

I picked up this book because I saw that Leigh (the main character) was headed to BYU and so I knew that the characters were going to be Mormon. I haven’t read too many LDS fiction books and wanted to change that (mostly I haven’t read more LDS fiction because they’re so stinking expensive and I’m cheap) and then add to that, the blurb for this story painted a cute story with a main character who is a cancer survivor and I was immediately drawn to it.

I’m glad that I read it because reading this book and seeing Leigh interact with the people around her took me back to when I was in the youth. All the activities, the Family Home Evenings when I went to the Institute, all of the good times made me smile while I was reading this book.

This story follows Leigh Tressman as she goes from being the sick girl to the college girl. Leigh had ovarian cancer and is now in remission and while her parents and doctors wanted her to wait another semester before going back to school, Leigh was ready to go now and so she did. Getting back into the real world after living in a bubble where you dealt with cancer and chemo therapy and just being sick isn’t as easy as Leigh thought it was going to be but more than anything, Leigh wanted her own space and going away to college was the only way that she would get that. She didn’t even mind that her brother Jaron was living next door, she just needed space away from her worried parents so that she could breathe.

Getting to know Leigh was a bag of mixed emotions for me. There were times when my heart went out to her and then times when I wanted to strangle her, she frustrated me so but I’m glad that I didn’t let my frustrations with Leigh keep me from finishing this book because Perry did a wonderful job of sucking me into Leigh’s story and keeping me invested in her and in the other characters. Most especially, Brian and Nathan. I loved getting to know Brian and the more I learned about him, the more I wanted to learn about him. Nathan was an adorable addition to an already charming cast of characters and I loved him too.

Seeing the friendship between Leigh and Brian grow from the beginning of the book to the end of the book made me all giddy inside because it wasn’t fast and passionate, it was slow and steady and at the end, so so real. There was nothing about their relationship that felt forced or in anyway rushed. I had absolutely no doubts at the end that they were meant for each other and when Leigh finally realized it, I about shouted, “FINALLY!” because it was a long time coming and I thought it was just too cute for words.

This is a Christian fiction book as the characters are Mormon (Latter Day Saints) and they were pretty strong in the Church as well. It was good to see that like myself, all Mormons are not perfect. They struggle with their beliefs and they struggle with staying on the straight and narrow but they also know that the work they put in will always be worth it.

For me, this book was a reminder of everything that I grew up with. The teachings, the people and it took me back to happier times when I was young, carefree and just happy. Now, I lose sight of everything because I’m super stressed about bills and money and other worldy things but it was nice to read this book and be reminded of the little things that can bring me such happiness. I enjoyed getting to know both Leigh and Brian and I thought the rest of the cast were all well rounded, fleshed out characters that I enjoyed getting to know.

This book was an enjoyable Christian fiction book and I’m glad that I read it. I will definitely be buying this book for my daughter because I know that this is something she would enjoy.

…and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones.

Posted September 29, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Main Character: Finley Sinclair
Love Interest: Beckett Rush (highlight to see)
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

In a small cottage house in rural Ireland, Finley is forced to face a past she can’t outrun.

When Finley books her trip to the “Emerald Isle” as a foreign exchange student, she hopes to create a new identity and get some answers from God. After all, since her brother’s recent death, God seems to have forgotten she even exists.
Now all she wants to do is let her heart heal, see the sights in her brother’s favorite country, and work on her college audition piece for a prestigious music conservatory. She plans to use her brother’s journal from his time as Ireland as her guide, yet from the moment she boards the plane and sits next to Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to her well-ordered plan.
The peace and beauty of the Irish village are no match for the chaos that soon becomes her life. When she gets roped into working as Beckett Rush’s personal assistant, she finds this famous wild child is not quite what he seems. And as she grows closer to the mysterious actor, her own secrets refuse to stay put.
As things begin to unravel, Finley takes desperate measures to control her own life and fill the empty spaces her brother left behind.
When it all comes crashing down, Finley must discover how to give her past to God . . . if there’s to be any hope in her future.
At first glance of that cover, I thought this book would be a lot lighter than it really was. This book dealt with dealing with the loss of a loved one and the grief that can take over your life if you don’t control it from the jump. This book follows Finley Sinclair as she takes a trip to Ireland to see the sights that her late brother wrote about in his traveling journal. She’s hoping that she’ll find some closure from his death and finally be able to move on with her life because for the past two years, his death is still as fresh and as raw as it was when she first found out he died.
We meet Finley as she was being bumped up from coach to first class and gets sat next to A-List celebrity Beckett Rush. She’s got no interest in Beckett or his fast paced celebrity life and Beckett is pleasantly surprised by this information. He doesn’t need to guard himself against her and he can be the one person that he can’t be around everyone else on the planet, including his father, and that’s himself.
Finley is doing the foreign exchange student thing and her host family runs the B&B that Beckett is staying at. The B&B is a strange place for the star to want to stay at since it’s a very homey place and not at all the 5 star hotel resort that you would think actors would prefer to stay at. But as you get to know Beckett, you start to realize that he’s not the party animal one would have you believe from reading all of the tabloids. Getting to know Beckett also makes you want to smash his father’s head in because that boy needs a father more than he needs a manager and that makes me think of Kris Jenner from the Kardashian’s. Ugh, I’m not a fan of hers and I wasn’t a fan of Montgomery Rush either.
This story was a compelling story about a sister who’s love for her brother (and not the gross kind of love either) sends her to another country to feel closer to him. She had a wonderful relationship with her older brother Will and she can’t forgive God and the people responsible for his death. She can’t get over his death and she misses him everyday. She keeps his travel journal with him and she wants to see the same sights and feel the same things that Will felt when he was there in Ireland. She wants to heal from all of the hurt that she’s been through but she ultimately just wants to get better.
Watching her struggle through to the end was a trial to get through because I got frustrated with her at so many turns over the course of the book. Her treatment of Beckett got on my nerves and her denial made me want to smack some sense into her but even through all of that, the book was good. I enjoyed getting to know her host family, I enjoyed getting to know the sisters from her school and my most favorite relationship in this book was the friendship and bond that bloomed between Mrs. Sweeney and Finley. Of all of the relationships in this book, it was that friendship that I enjoyed seeing come together.
My frustrations with Finley lay with the fact that she worried so much (I’m a worry wart too but she takes worrying to a whole other level) and the eating disorder, her complete lack of faith in Beckett despite everything that he’s done for her. I hated the way that she doubted everyone but expected everyone not to doubt her. I understand that I shouldn’t have been annoyed with her because of all of that but that didn’t stop me from wanting to smash her face in every time she wouldn’t let anyone be there for her. There were plenty of times when I thought I would put the book down because I couldn’t take any more of Finleys woe is me crap but it was the other characters that pushed me through. It was the other characters like Mrs. Sweeney, Beckett, Erin, Nora and all of those characters that made me want to finish this out.
In the end, I’m glad that I pushed my way through because I was happy with the way that it ended but there was so much frustration throughout the book, having to deal with Finley that it chipped away at my enjoyment of the book. Overall, the story was great and the characters were charming but I didn’t love the book. One thing that I feel needs to be pointed out is that this is a Christian YA fiction book so if you’re not into the religion stuff than I don’t think this is the book for you. There isn’t a lot of preachy stuff in here and I didn’t think the author came off as preachy at all but there is a lot of stuff with faith and God and stuff in here so if that’s not your thing than this isn’t the book for you.
I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed getting to know the characters but the main character herself rode my nerves the entire book and though I was supposed to sympathize with her, there was a part of the book (most of the book) where I just wanted her to own up to her mistakes and move forward and I felt like it took her too long to come to that point.
..and that’s your scoop!
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Caleb + Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma.

Posted September 21, 2010 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Main Characters: Caleb Kalani, Kate Monrovi
Series: None

“Romeo + Juliet gets an update in this story of forbidden love. Shakespeare’s never been so hip.” — Jenny B. Jones, author of The Charmed Life Series As the popular darling of the junior class and heiress to the five-star Monrovi Inn empire, Kate has both everything and nothing. She’s bored with school and life…until she locks eyes with Caleb at a school dance. Caleb is new to Kate’s exclusive prep school, and it’s clear he doesn’t fit in. In fact, he and his dad work in maintenance for Kate’s father. And while Caleb knows better than to spend time with the boss’s daughter, it seems that every time he tries to back away, something pulls him right back in. When their parents demand that they are to stay away from each other, they learn of a fight between their families that occurred more than fifty years ago. It’s a mystery Kate doesn’t understand…but a legacy Caleb has endured his entire life. With the world stacked against them, Caleb and Kate will have to walk by faith to find the path that God has planned for them.

This is a modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet with the whole feuding families and what not but I enjoyed this story. Caleb transfers to Kate’s school and because the principal knows all about their family feud, she pairs Caleb up with Kate so that Kate can show him the ropes around school. She does this in an attempt to show that the past is in the past and also in hopes that the new generation would learn to be civil to each other.

Kate has no idea about any family feud so when she finds out about it all from her principal, she’s confused and then when she meets Caleb, she’s so attracted to him that it’s hard for her to remember to stay away from him. Caleb on the other hand, knows all about the feud. He was raised on the feud and knows that he should stay far away from Kate but when that becomes impossible, he gives in gracefully.

I enjoyed the romance that blossomed between Caleb and Kate. I thought it was young love at its best but what I didn’t truly get was the whole feud. I guess I didn’t buy it all that much. The way that Kate’s Dad flew off the handle and lashed out at Caleb at the dinner table kind of threw me off, Caleb’s grandfather and his Hawaiian pride seemed off to me but outside of the whole feud thing- I enjoyed the book.

I thought that both Kate and Caleb were great characters with flaws that made them likeable. I loved that Caleb was going to fight for Kate’s honor and I love that Kate was so head over heels in love with Caleb. I loved how pure their love was too. You could tell that they meant the world to each other but Caleb held true to his beliefs and I respected him for that. I adored Caleb and loved that he was Polynesian. It was good to see some Poly’s get some good page time without being either dumb, a bouncer or someone scary.

The one thing that I flat out could not stand was Kate’s reaction to Caleb leaving. I thought she blew that crap right up and made a big deal out of something that Caleb couldn’t control anyway. I couldn’t believe that she would make him choose between her and his family. It dampened my enjoyment of her character and though things ended okay, I still resented her a bit.

All in all, I was glad that I read this book and I’m already looking for other books by this author. This book was a solid spin on the Romeo and Juliet story and it was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. I would recommend this one to lovers of romance in their story. There’s a happy ending and that makes me a happy camper.

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|The Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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