Blind Spot – Chesapeake Valor #3

Oh my goodness!!  Dani Pettrey has done it again.  The third book in her Chesapeake Valor series, Blind Spot, is fantastic!  I don’t know how she does it, but each new book is better than the last – and since … Continue reading

All This Time

All This Time - Melissa Tagg

Wow…honestly, I’m not even sure where to start.  All This Time is the final book in Melissa Tagg’s Walker Series.  I both eagerly anticipated and horribly dreaded receiving this book.  It was eagerly anticipated because every one of Melissa Tagg’s previous books, set in the idyllic Maple Valley, have been incredible.  There was no doubt in my mind that this book would transport me back to one of my favorite places, it would welcome me back among this remarkable family and I would be told a story that would touch my heart, encourage me to walk closer with my Lord and teach me some amazing truths.  That was all a given.  Every one of Tagg’s Walker Series has been all that I’ve described above, beginning with the prequel, Three Little Words, which is still one of my favorites!  (Who am I kidding…they’re all my favorite!)  The arrival of All This Time was horribly dreaded for only one reason – it was the last one and once I finished reading it, there would be no more.  Of course, the eagerly anticipated won out over the horrible dreading and I devoured the book.

If you’ve read any of Melissa Tagg’s Walker Series, you know of Bear McKinley and Reagan Walker.  They appear in all of the previous stories and have been waiting patiently (most of the time) for their story to be told.  If you have not read any of Melissa Tagg’s Walker Series, I promise not to give any spoilers…but I highly recommend that you begin as soon as possible.  All of her books can be read as stand-alone books, but, in my opinion, you receive a much richer experience by reading them in order.

Both Bear and Reagan have some very difficult situations that they must come to terms with and figure out how to live with.  I’m thankful the author doesn’t sugar coat these issues.  Instead, her characters must learn to trust God, and each other as they walk through situations and make sometimes very difficult decisions.  I really enjoyed witnessing their long-time friendship blossomed into God’s perfect plan.  As much as I don’t want this series to end, Bear and Reagan’s story is the perfect conclusion.

Melissa Tagg writes in a way that causes you to feel as if you are right there in the middle of the book with the characters.  Her characters come to life and take you along on the journey of their story.  I hope that your heart is touched and that you enjoy the journey of this story as much as I did.

Still Life

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Maybe I should preface this with the fact that I LOVE everything Dani Pettrey writes!  So, I can’t help but gush about her newest novel…Still Life, the second book in her new Chesapeake Valor series.

And, I must admit, I loved her Alaskan Courage series and characters so much, I was sad to see her moving on.  But, if there was ever any question (not by me, of course) as to whether or not her writing would be just as wonderful in her next series, it has been laid to rest.  The Chesapeake Valor series is full of captivating romance and suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  If you haven’t read Cold Shot yet, go get it and pick up Still Life while you’re there!!

This series is set near Chesapeake Bay; Still Life, specifically in Baltimore, Maryland.  I’m really enjoying learning more of this area since I’ve never been there and don’t remember reading much else set nearby.

Parker is a crime-scene analyst.  He previously hired Avery as his crime-scene photographer and her life has never been the same.  At the start of this book, they haven’t seen each other in six months.  Out of necessity she calls on Parker…and that’s where this fabulous story begins.  The relationship between Parker and Avery exhibits the true love of putting the best interest of someone else ahead of your own interests…even if it does prove to be a bit misguided.  I loved the depth of Parker and Avery’s characters.  I loved the spiritual threads of forgiveness and continual communication with God in this book.

The twists and turns in the story line of Still Life keeps you on your toes.  Suspenseful movies often have me hiding in the hallway or at least standing at the back of the room.  This book had me a little jumpy and I even had to put the book down at one point to prepare myself for what I thought was going to happen.

If you enjoy romantic suspense, this series is for you!  These books can be read as stand-alones, but why would you want to?  Haha…I’m a stickler for reading my books in order because I love the added layer of familiarity with the other characters and past experiences when you do.  Either way…in order or not, be sure to pick up Cold Shot and Still Life!  You won’t be disappointed!

To Have and to Hold

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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!

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

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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!