Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner

After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the “forever” way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It’s a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong? – from author’s website

I wasn’t a big fan of this book. I didn’t really like switching between Cadie’s first person point of view and Will’s third person point of view. I know it was a stylistic choice but at times it was almost jarring for me to go from inside one person’s head to watching another person from a distance. Both characters also annoyed me and reminded me of how I would expect teenagers or people in their early twenties to act instead of people in their mid-thirties. They seemed immature and I wondered how healthy their relationship was if they would have such major communication issues after four years. It took me a while to get even remotely interested in the book and I considered putting it down many times. It did make me laugh at times but mostly I was just really annoyed with the characters. I found it kind of cool that there was a reference to a junior hockey league in Manitoba where I live since the book was set in New York and I wouldn’t expect anyone in New York to know it exists.

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


Living Lies by Natalie Walters

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name–but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past. – from author’s website

This book intrigued right from the beginning with the main protagonist’s struggle with mental illness. Walters’ way of using mental illness as a huge part of the plot intrigued me. Often when I’ve read books that included mental illness, it was part of the antagonist’s journey but Walters uses it as a defining factor in the protagonist’s journey. Her struggle with trying to hide it, especially from the man she starts falling for, while also trying to defend the man who becomes the main suspect in a murder leaves her in a tough spot. I found the suspense a little lacking at times with entire scenes where you could easily forget that they were trying to solve a murder, but everything else that was going on captivated me enough to not mind too much.

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

Loving My Actual Neighbor by Alexandra Kuykendall

As Christians, we know we are called to love our neighbor. We may even grasp that “neighbor” encompasses more than just the people living next door or down the street. But what we too often don’t know is how to begin. How do we love our neighbor? Where do we start? What does this look like in our increasingly isolated world?

Alexandra Kuykendall lays out the framework for where to begin. From practicing humility to listening with understanding to being generous in our relationships, Loving My Actual Neighbor offers practical, start-now steps readers can take to love their neighbors. – from author’s website

This book is an excellent resource for those who want to learn more about how to practically love their neighbors. The book contains good principles to live by when interacting with people who live near you but also includes practical ideas for how to live it out. Most books like this, I’ve found, talk about loving your neighbor in abstract ways or certain principles but don’t really give you ideas of how to actually live it out. Through her own life experiences and what she’s seen in how she and her husband have loved others as well as how others have loved her, Kuykendall describes how simple things can make a difference and how the seven principles she mentions can be lived out. For those who are looking for ways to love others, both practical ideas and general principles, this book can provide some of those answers.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No family entanglements. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about. Just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when around him.

When vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.author’s website

I love Karen Witemeyer’s books and this one continues my enjoyment of them. It is a sweet romance with some humor and lovable characters. Of course, I already fell in love with Zach from the previous book that introduced the three orphans who became a family. I wished Zach hadn’t had to leave Evie and Seth to find his story because I enjoyed their interactions and this book contained very few interactions between the three of them. However, his love for his patchwork family still showed through. Both main characters found redemption from their past mistakes and their guilt and shame that resulted.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Justice Delivered by Patricia Bradley

Carly Smith came by her trust issues honestly. A victim of sex trafficking, she’s been at the mercy of merciless men, ignored by law enforcement officers who should have helped her, and seemingly rejected by her family. She can’t even trust herself to do the right thing. Though she escaped her captors and is working hard on building a new life, the past continues to haunt her when she discovers that the man she couldn’t bring herself to report to police for fear of reliving her captivity is still out there, luring vulnerable girls under the guise of being a modeling agent.

When her own niece is kidnapped, Carly must overcome her fears and come forward with the information she has before it’s too late. When that proves to be not enough, she’ll have to go after the perpetrators herself – from author’s website

Patricia Bradley continues the human trafficking theme with this book. This time, giving it a bit of a different perspective by having one of the main characters be someone who survived human trafficking and how it has impacted her. The story drew me in from the beginning because of the depth of this perspective. I would have liked to have focused more on Carly and Logan’s story instead of sharing it with David and Maggie from the previous book in the series but I still enjoyed the book and it was kind of nice to see the continuation of David and Maggie’s story.

40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith by Laurie Polich Short

Many of us have our go-to verses. The ones we memorize, post on social media, and hang on our walls. But sometimes we need a fresh word or promise for the season we find ourselves in–something that ignites our faith in the face of fear, doubt, loneliness, insecurity, or overwhelming circumstances.

In this powerful, accessible new book, author and speaker Laurie Short mines the Scriptures, revealing insights and promises from 40 verses we often overlook. Digging into these “in-between” verses, she unearths fresh wisdom, guidance, and encouragement that will help you seek and experience God in new, dynamic ways.

From trusting God’s timing, to not worrying about the future, to holding on to faith when things look dark, the deeper understanding gleaned from these verses will help you navigate the challenges that cross your path, breathe new life into your weary soul, and ignite your faith once again. – from publisher’s website

This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I thought it would be more about the verses themselves but the majority of the book was an interpretation of the Bible verses. Each section contains a verse at the beginning and then Short gives a commentary on it. Going into the book, I thought it would have verses that I could memorize or post up, but I didn’t find that was the case. For example, one verse was 2 Samuel 11:1 “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.” Even with Short’s commentary on it, I don’t think memorizing the verse would encourage me or ignite my faith.

Nevertheless, the book does pull out verses and portions of stories that people often don’t focus on, like the verse I mentioned above which starts the story of David and Bathsheba. This book may encourage and ignite some people’s faith and found it somewhat interesting but it fell short of what I expected.

Breakthrough Movie

BREAKTHROUGH is based on the inspirational true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction. From producer DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven) and director Roxann Dawson, adapted for the screen by Grant Nieporte (Seven Pounds) from Joyce Smith’s own book, BREAKTHROUGH is an enthralling reminder that faith and love can create a mountain of hope, and sometimes even a miracle. – from movie’s website

I had the privilege of attending an advanced screening of the movie Breakthrough. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I thought they did a good job of including the faith element but not making it preachy or over spiritual. I liked that in the movie they raised the question of why does God save some people and not others, acknowledging that this question exists, yet didn’t try to give a pat answer. They didn’t really try to answer it which I preferred instead of them leaving the viewers with the impression that God always answers prayers with miracles. The story is an emotional one but also an inspiring one. It includes some big names and was very well done. It comes out Easter weekend and I recommend you see it.

When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams by Jill Eileen Smith

Life is full of twists and turns, and often the road into the future doesn’t lead us to where we thought it would. Relationships falter, careers fizzle, health fades. We may be faced with choices we never wanted to make or feel situations pushed upon us we’d never expected. Yet, in all of it, God is at our side—even when he feels far away.

Drawing on her extensive research into women of the Old Testament, novelist Jill Eileen Smith turns her pen to the lessons in trusting God that we can learn today from women like

· Eve
· Noah’s wife
· Sarai
· Hagar
· Lot’s wife
· Rebekah
· Rachel
· and more

Readers will find comfort in knowing that their concerns and problems are not unique to them. They’ll learn from what these ancient women did right—and even what they did wrong—when faced with dashed expectations and deferred dreams. And they’ll come away with that confidence that ours is a faithful God who loves us and is forming us through our trials into the women he longs for us to be. – from author’s website

I liked how in this book, Jill Eileen Smith, who generally writes Biblical fiction incorporates that into this book. At the beginning of every chapter, Smith includes a story from the perspective of the biblical woman the chapter is about and how she may have responded to the situation she found herself in. Smith then goes on to talk about what we can learn from each woman as they each found themselves in a situation where their life didn’t turn out how they probably thought it would. I found Smith’s imaginings of what may have been going through the woman’s mind to be thought-provoking and brought a different light to the woman in the Bible and that they weren’t perfect either.

Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy

Frontierwoman Penny Scott and a Pinkerton Agent from Philadelphia John McCall are kidnapped and taken on a twisting turning ride, deep into the wilderness. He’s unconscious. She’s blindfolded and under a tarp. They manage to escape but running for their lives takes them over a cliff, down a river and finally into a violent rainstorm.

They are so lost.

When Penny manages to drag them both out of the wilderness a week later, they find the whole state of Nevada searching for Penny and her kidnapper…John.

Now a fire-and-brimstone breathing sheriff–goaded by his fervently scandalized wife (a man and a woman, alone together, for DAYS!!! And not even ashamed??? And right in front of the woman’s seven children???) Either John’s a kidnapper and needs to be hanged on the spot…or there needs to be a wedding.

A week spent with the city boy about drove Penny mad. Now she’s supposed to spend a LIFETIME WITH HIM??? After enough hesitation to seriously annoy John, Penny agrees to the wedding.

John’s not sure where that law about a hanging or a wedding is in the Nevada state constitution or the Bible. But right now the sheriff’s got a gun and a noose and John’s got to marry a woman in leather britches,

They were taken by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have and he’s still coming. Only by the time John and Penny are done, he’s going to wish he’d’ve never started this whole thing.

They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other.
– from author’s website

I never finished this book. I haven’t read the book previous to this one in the series and I found the book very hard to follow. It continuously referred to what happened in the last book even though the main POV characters are different from the book previous. The tension between the two main characters in this book came from the preceding book. Almost immediately, I felt like I was stepping into a story in the middle and had no idea what was going on so after a couple of chapters I couldn’t continue as I was lost in the storyline and was missing a lot of the backstory of why the female character disliked the male character. So if you haven’t read any other book in this series, don’t pick it up as you’ll be lost to what is going on.

Secrets at Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble

Her mother lied about her identity and her husband wasn’t who she thought he was—can Bailey even trust herself anymore?

Running for her life in the wake of her mother’s murder, Bailey Fleming escapes to the only place she can think of—a remote, dilapidated cabin in Lavender Tides. Intending to finally get to the truth behind the lies of her past, Bailey only finds more questions when bodies are discovered near her cabin hideout along with traces of a dangerous human trafficking ring. In an unlikely partnership with FBI agent Lance Phoenix, Bailey races to understand the mystery surrounding her life and circumstances before the murderer tracks her down.

Meanwhile, Lance is determined to rescue his sister, Ava, who was abducted after running away from home as a teenager. An unexpected lead brings him to the remote cabin, and he wonders if Bailey—with her suspicious past and strange connections to his sister’s case—is really who she claims to be and if she can somehow lead him to Ava. – from author’s website

This wasn’t my favorite Colleen Coble book. In the beginning, I found it a little hard to get into the story because of how many different POV characters there were. It felt like following several different storylines although they all connected in the end. I liked how it gives a nod to Rock Harbor where Coble has set a previous series before with one of the main characters living there at the start of the book. I found the plot was complex which I mostly enjoyed but I thought the plot wrapped up almost too nicely. I was left with several questions of how the ending would have worked if it were to actually happen.