To Have and to Hold


To Have and to Hold

By Betsy St. Amant, Katie Ganshert and Becky Wade

To Have and to Hold was a joy to read.  Three sweet stories of finding love while planning (or spying on) a wedding.  The heroines were easy to identify with.  The men were swoon worthy (even the “other” guys in each story).  And I enjoyed the anticipation of how each author would bring about the happily-ever-after.  Speaking of authors, I read this book because I absolutely LOVE everything Becky Wade writes!  Besty St. Amant and Katie Ganshert were new to me though.  I love finding new authors and I think novellas are a great way to “meet” them.

Betsy St. Amant’s story, Love Takes the Cake was first up.  With a bakery and a friend’s wedding as a backdrop, how could you not be enchanted?  Charlotte tugged at my heart with her sweet countenance and great love for her daughter.  I love Will’s loyalty to his friend and how God uses a scary situation to help him realize the truth.  This story was a pleasure to read.   I’m looking forward to reading more by this author in the future.

Next up was The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed, after reading the first paragraph, to realize this story was written in first person narrative.  I generally struggle to engage in first person stories, so I tend to avoid them.  This is a short story, written by a writer friend of Becky Wade AND it has a flower shop in a small town as the setting, I decided I NEEDED to read it.  I am SO glad that I did.  It was a delightful story that gripped me from the get-go.  I was expecting to have to push my way through, but surprisingly found myself pulled along instead.  I couldn’t read it fast enough.  Amelia’s fun and quirky personality was so much fun to read and the email exchanges that launched the events of the story were perfect.  I was pleasantly surprised to get to the end and realize through most of the story I’d forgotten that I was reading first person narrative AND I didn’t want it to end!  Well done Katie Ganshert!  I loved it!!

Finally, the last story in this collection, Love in the Details by Becky Wade.  I knew I would love this story before I ever started reading it because, as I said above, I LOVE everything Becky Wade writes.  Josh and Holly’s story grips you by the heart from the very opening lines.  I love the way this story shows that God is in control always, in the good times and in the hard times.  I love that this story is real-to-life, following God isn’t easy.  He is there to walk with us through the difficult things, and we can have a peace that we are following His guidance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t still be heartbreaking and painful, even in years to come.  I loved to see how this story was brought full circle.  I loved Josh’s devoition and Holly’s generous spirit.  Spring can’t get here soon enough for me!  I’m ready to read the new Becky Wade novel now!!

To sum it up, this is a great collection to purchase.  Whether you know and love all three authors or are going to be meeting them for the first time, you won’t be disappointed.  The stories are beautifully written and leave you wanting more.  Although I read this book via e-reader, it will definitely be one I’ll purchase in hard copy for my bookshelf!

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Like Never Before

Like Never Before – Walker Family Series by Melissa Tagg

Have you been to Maple Valley, Iowa??  It’s one of my favorite towns to visit. You too can visit this amazing town and get to know the wonderful people who live there by reading Melissa Tagg’s Walker Family Series.

Okay, okay…so it’s a fictional town and we can’t really go there for a visit.  But I sure wish we could.  I fell in love with this little town and its heartwarming and relatable characters in the prequel novella, Three Little Words (which you can get FREE on Amazon).  My heart was touched by the first book in the series, From the Start.  I loved the story and did not want to leave Maple Valley.  Thankfully, Melissa seemed to know that we were going to miss Maple Valley and would have to wait for book two in the Walker Family Series, so she surprised us with a fabulous novella, One Enchanted Christmas to tie us over.  Although not a Walker Family book, it was set in Maple Valley and it was such a joy to read.

I have liked Melissa’s author page on Facebook and I LOVE how she shares about her writing and her characters and what God is teaching her through them.  Logan’s book, Like Never Before – the second in the Walker Family Series – has been highly anticipated both by her and by all of us who love the Walkers and Maple Valley!  I was so excited to get my influencer copy in the mail.  I wanted to devour it and yet, I didn’t.  I really wanted to read it nonstop until I finished, but I also wanted to savor it.  It almost sounds silly to me, but I wanted to be able to focus solely on the book, not having anything else around to distract me when I was reading.  So, I forced myself to read it slowly and I’m so glad I did.

There was a lot of hype about Logan Walker before the book even came out.  Melissa just couldn’t say enough good stuff about him…she practically fell in love with him (ask her…she’ll tell you).  And I must say, after reading the book I can see why…Logan makes falling for him easy and from what I’ve seen in other reviews, she’s not the only one!   Logan has some tough issues to deal with in this book.  I love his heart, his true desire to do what is right, his devotion to his family and his romantic nature.

Amelia Bentley is a fun quirky character that we met in From the Start and she is the perfect match for Logan.  I love her passion and determination.  Her heart for seemingly unlovable people challenges me to love people where they are, knowing there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

This book allowed us to walk through a lot of hard memories and difficult decisions, determination and life altering situations, gentle reminders and soul-searching moments as Logan and Amelia face life together as their paths cross in Maple Valley.

We are also privileged to witness the great love between father and daughter, estranged sisters, caring siblings, father to grown son, two souls finding each other and most importantly God and His children.  This book speaks to the importance of the relationships in our lives and reminds us not to take them for granted.

This book is one for the re-read shelf.  It is heartwarming and challenging at the same time.  And there’s a fun mystery woven in too!

Are you ready to visit Maple Valley and meet these wonderful people?  Don’t delay.  I’m certain they will make you feel right at home.

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade


A Love Like Ours – READ IT!!

To be honest, I’ve been having a really difficult time putting into words how much I love this book. So, many aspects of it grabbed my heart or my attention and caused this book to really stick with me long after finishing it.

I knew I would love the book because it was written by Becky Wade. AND, it is a Porter Family novel. Having already read the first two books in this series, I’ve already fallen in love with the stories (and, who am I kidding, the characters) of Bo and Ty Porter. The family, the town, the setting…visiting the make-believe town of Holley, Texas is on my fictional bucket list!

Jake, the third Porter brother, is a Marine who has PTSD and carries an enormous load of guilt from his time overseas. He has been home for eight years and has yet to begin healing at all. He has become a brooding, broken man who no longer believes in God and does not believe he deserves any happiness in his life.

Lyndie Thomas’ life has not been easy either. Her family’s lives have revolved around caring for her younger sister Mollie who has lived since birth with cerebral palsy so bad that she cannot see or speak and daily seizures that have the potential to cause death. As this story begins, Lyndie and her family are moving back to Holley, Texas after having been gone for 20 years. Opposite of Jake, Lyndie is assured of God’s presence in her life because of the trials she and her family face on a daily basis. Lyndie brings happiness into the lives of all she comes in contact with.

Becky grapples with some really difficult, true-to-life struggles in A Love Like Ours. She does so in a compassionate and loving way, showing how real the hurt and pain is AND how capable and willing our Savior is to help us in and through them. Moments in this book range from truly heart wrenching to laugh-out-loud silliness, to such sweet tenderness that I was near tears. Becky captures the true essence of life with and without God in this book. It leaves you with the desire to know God more intimately and trust Him more implicitly. It causes you to want to make a difference in those around you no matter how capable you feel. Mollie made everyone’s lives better just by existing. A Love Like Ours reminds you that even in the darkest of times, there is hope.

There is no way in this review to touch on all of the aspects of this book that touched my heart. To do so, I would have to just re-tell the story. Where’s the fun in that? READ IT!! You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you Becky for sharing your heart with us in this story. Thank you also for your support of real-life heroes, like Jake. Becky was touched enough through her research of what our service members deal with that she donated a portion of the proceeds of A Love Like Ours (through May 17th, 2015) to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Foundation.

I can’t wait to read Dru’s story (the only Porter girl) next year!!

“Where there’s God, there’s hope,” she said. “And where there’s hope, there can be healing.” ~ Lyndie

And The Winner Is…

Sabotaged Giveaway

Congratulations Phyllis!!!  You are the winner of my first blog giveaway!!

I’m praying you are as blessed by this series as I have been.  🙂

Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts on Dani’s books with me.  I hope you get a chance to read this series…and soon!  You won’t be disappointed!!  🙂

My review of Undetected by Dee Henderson will be up before long…

Who are you enjoying reading right now?

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey (And…My 1st Giveaway)

It has been too long since I’ve reviewed a book on my blog, but with the final book in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage Series out, I had to come out of hibernation to tell you all about it.  (Well, not … Continue reading



Unspoken by Dee Henderson

Maybe I ought to preface this review with the confession that I may be a tad biased.  You see, Dee Henderson is my all-time favorite author.  I have never read a book by her that I didn’t LOVE.  And since this is my first blog post for one of her books, I can’t help but tell you why I LOVE her so much! 

**  I love the way she writes. 

**I love the way she develops her characters. 

**I love the way her characters instantly matter to you – they become “real” to you and you care for them and their family as much as you care for your own. 

**I love the unique way that her characters continue to re-appear in other books, often more than just in passing. 

**I love that she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and circumstances. 

**I love the reality of her stories. 

**I love the “real” problems that people face and the “real” way she brings it around to conclusion. 

**I love most of all her love of God and the way she brings a relationship with Him to life in each book. 

**I love the way she tackles difficult and real reasons that people choose not to, or can’t bring themselves to believe in God, and yet she takes the time to share with and bring each around to an understanding of who God is and who He wants to be in their lives. 

Dee Henderson captures my heart in every book.  I have never read a book by Dee that didn’t have an impact on my life and leave me wanting to read more, know the characters better and draw closer to Jesus.  I know I could go on and on and on, but this is supposed to be a review about a specific book.  Guess I’ll get to it. 

Due to some changes in publishing matters, Dee Henderson took a break from writing.  Much to her faithful fans delight, Full Disclosure which released October, 2012, was the break of her six years of quiet.  Full Disclosure and Unspoken are not “officially” considered a series, but may I strongly suggest that you read Full Disclosure prior to opening Unspoken?  If you’ve read my other reviews, you will remember that I am a stickler for reading books in order.  You get to know people in Full Disclosure who are also prominent characters in Unspoken.  Although you can read Unspoken as a standalone, knowing the stories of these characters will create a much richer reading experience.

I joined and have enjoyed being a part of a couple of Facebook reading groups.  A comment that I read on one of these group boards about Unspoken shortly after it released indicated that this book was slower than other Dee Henderson books.  Reading that comment, prior to reading the book myself, gave me pause.  I took it as possibly negative.  Having now read the book, I must say that I agree.  It was a little slower – although when I think about it, I feel the same way about Full Disclosure.  I have discovered however that the pace is one of my favorite parts of these two books.  I feel that the slower pace, without changing the suspenseful story line, allows for deeper connections with the characters.  It also lends to a deeper spiritual emphasis – deeper in that it tackles some real tough reasons to disbelieve or be questioning one’s faith.  Dee doesn’t gloss over someone’s real struggles in believing in or trusting God.   God has blessed her with the ability to meet even the toughest reasons of disbelief, ones that when explained, even a strong believer can’t find a good way to refute, with humble love and grace.  This leads to a real understanding of who God is.  I grew up in church and accepted Christ as my personal Savior at a young age, so I have no personal concept of how one could not believe that.  Dee Henderson has been one of the biggest influences in helping me see from other’s perspectives, in helping me understand why it’s not as easy for everyone.  She demonstrates how to love others to Jesus.  It’s an amazing gift that she has and I can’t describe it adequately.

Another favorite aspect of Dee’s books, which Unspoken illustrates very well, is the way her characters re-appear.  I absolutely love the unique way that she has of interlacing her characters.  Characters from her first books appear in Full Disclosure!  I loved hearing from some of them after so many years!  It’s just as exciting to see that characters from Full Disclosure have prominent roles in Unspoken.  I love that Dee’s characters aren’t locked up in their own books, but they travel from book to book and we get to see their relationships grow as well.  We get to know them and we get to revisit them.  It’s very unique.  I don’t know of another author that does this as well as Dee does.  (I love that she’s been mentoring Dani Pettrey in how to do this though!!)

I adored the gentle romance of this book.  I feel that the patience and constancy of Bryce’s character exemplifies Christ’s romancing of us – He is endlessly patient with us and is constantly there waiting for us to turn to Him.

I have other favorite things to share, but since I don’t want any spoilers in this review, I’m going to end.  I will however end with the wonderfully exciting news that we don’t have to wait another whole year for the next one…only half a year.  Undetected will hit the shelves in May, 2014.  And from the little that I was able to gather so far on her website, it appears that one of the characters for Undetected is related to one of the characters in Unspoken!!  LOVE it!!!  I’m so excited.

May 2014 is going to be an amazing month…a new Dee Henderson book AND a new Dani Pettrey book!!

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade


It’s so much fun to discover a fun new author…even more fun when that discovery comes by winning a contest! I had been looking at My Stubborn Heart on the bookstore bookshelf for quite a while, but with so many other books by authors I knew that I wanted to purchase, and not knowing this author, it ended up on the back burner. Of course, now all of Becky’s books are on my Must-Buy/Must-Read list.

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly Becky captured my attention in this book. I immediately fell in love with the characters. I live with my 85-year-old grandmother, so the cute relationship between Kate and her grandma (and Grandma’s menagerie of friends) was familiar and enjoyable.

The setting was enchanting, an old family estate in need of restoration. Of course, with an estate to restore, we need a handyman. I always enjoy a story with a handyman. I have no idea why, but I don’t think I’ve read a handyman story yet that I didn’t like. Silly, but true!

Our handyman in this book, Matt, was really hurting and far from God. He is in need of restoration himself. When Kate, Grandma and friends arrive on the scene God meets them right in the middle of all the crazy fun and heart-bearing moments.

I enjoyed the realistic manner in which the characters interacted. Our experiences shape the way we see and react to things and how we therefore expect others to react. In the same way, our characters were shaped by what they had experienced. They had expectations of each other and God that stemmed from their experiences and their perceptions of them. It was also refreshing that our characters were not perfect. Even the characters who were following God closely sometimes acted on their own and didn’t do things as God would have guided. These aspects made for a story that can not only be enjoyed but related to and the lessons applied to our own lives too.

Becky is a wonderful writer who knows just how to grab your heart and pull you into the story. She throws in just enough humor and fun to keep you laughing while you learn with the characters to trust God to see you through. I am now really looking forward to Undeniably Yours!