Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble (review by Kristi)

Beneath Copper Falls

About the bookUSA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble returns to her beloved Rock Harbor—but both danger and romance hide in this idyllic small town.

Dana Newell has just moved to Rock Harbor to take a job as a sheriff’s dispatcher and is settling in next door to Bree and Kade Matthews. The abusive relationship she left behind seems a distant memory in this perfect place.

Her first day on the job, Dana receives a call from her friend Allyson who screams “He’s going to kill me too” before the phone goes dead. Dana immediately dispatches a deputy, but it’s too late. Allyson’s death is ruled an accident, but Dana just doesn’t believe it. She knows Allyson—an investigative reporter—was researching a new story. Did someone want to keep her quiet?

Dana continues to look into the accident with the help of Bree and also Allyson’s cousin Boone. Romance quickly blooms between Dana and Boone but the game is much more complex than either of them imagined. When Dana’s ex-fiance locates her, she’s caught in the middle. It’s a game of cat and mouse as she and Boone fight to catch one killer while evading another.

Publication Date:  July 10, 2017

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

 

My reviewColleen Coble’s books are a hit or miss for me. Beneath Copper Falls goes into the miss category for me. I just didn’t feel this story and really didn’t connect with any of the characters. In fact, I felt like something was missing throughout the entire story.

This story was a bit puzzling to me. It was confusing from the very beginning. It seemed like there were just too many characters and trying to keep all the names and people straight just about got my head to spinning. The suspense just wasn’t there either. Usually when I read one of Ms. Coble’s books I am closing the curtains and curling into the couch cushion as much as I can. Not with this book though. The “bad guy” didn’t come across as mysterious or evil but just a jerk. And no, I didn’t figure out who the bad guy was. So kudos to the author for that bit of shock value.

Often when I read this author’s work I am frantically turning pages but not this time. The story didn’t seem to flow as well as previous books of hers. I often found myself thinking I had skipped a page or missed something and I found this to be frustrating after awhile.

As for the characters, well….there wasn’t one I really, really liked. They were ok but nobody was memorable and I had a hard time feeling anything for them. The romantic element in the story didn’t appeal to me either. It seemed rushed and almost added to the story because someone felt it needed to be there.

Even though I didn’t enjoy this story fans of Coble will perhaps find they like this book. For me though it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and wasn’t required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the authorUSAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.

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A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston (review by Kristi)

A Place at our table

About the book:  Kayla Dienner has suffered her fair share of heartache, which is why she vows to protect her heart at all costs . . . until she meets Jamie Riehl.

Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.

Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.

Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?

The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.

Publication Date: November 14, 2017

Publisher:  Zondervan

 

My review:  There are some authors that you just know you are going to enjoy their books. For me, Amy Clipston tops the list. I’m always excited to read her latest story and be introduced to characters who I will soon think of as friends. This book was everything I expected.

Even though there is a heart-stopping moment at the beginning of the story, I thought the book had a bit of a slow start. Perhaps I was just too anxious to find out what was going to happen next because I kept thinking “c’mon, let’s go”. Soon enough though the story takes off and I was reading and turning pages as fast as I could. After those initial moments I thought the book had a great pace and the storytelling, as always, is excellent.

I liked both of the main characters in this book. Kayla may come across a bit on the tough side but she’s really just shielding her heart from more pain. She has recently suffered heartache in two different forms and James, a.k.a. Jamie, represents both forms of heartache to Kayla. I can understand that while she found him attractive she wanted to protect her heart. To me it only seemed the natural thing to do even though at times it may have made her seem a bit harsh or selfish. Jamie is driven by his work and at times he lets it get in the way of living. He has his reasons for being the way he is and I was just as able to understand where he was coming from as I was Kayla. Once again Amy Clipston has created characters who are completely realistic and authentic. Not only will Kayla and Jamie find a spot in your heart but so will the other characters in the book.

As always after reading an Amy Clipston book I am left wanting more. I want more Kayla and James and I want more of the rest of these characters and their lives. I love that Amy can write a story that leaves you satisfied yet wanting more, more, more. This book is a wonderful start to what can only be an awesome series. This book is definitely recommended for fans of a good read.

I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC, and lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and three spoiled rotten cats.

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A Place at Our Table(Amish Homestead #1) by Amy Clipston (review by Cathy)

A Place at our table

Book Blurb:

Kayla Dienner has suffered her fair share of heartache, which is why she vows to protect her heart at all costs . . . until she meets Jamie Riehl.

Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.

Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.

Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?

The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.

My review (5-stars)

I think that Ms. Clipston has written another bestseller!  A Place at Our Table, takes the reader into the lives of first responders.  I have a huge amount of respect and appreciation for all of them and after reading this book, even more so.

The  author crafted wonderful characters and an emotional storyline.  Two of my favorites are Jamie and Nathan.   At times, Nathan seemed more mature and grounded than his older sister, Kayla.  She was over protective of Nathan which seemed natural after the loss the Dienner family had suffered.

There were a couple of times that I cried while reading this book which is okay, because it shows the emotional connection I had to the characters.  There is just so much to love about this book and I cannot wait to read the next one in the series.

A must read for fans of Amish and Christian fiction.

I received  a copy from Netgalley and have given my honest opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips (review by Kristi)

the engagement plot

About the book:  Can Hanna and Will Find True Love Amid the Bright Lights of Reality TV?
Perfect for the fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette!

Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.

William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations.  Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?  When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.

Publication Date:  November 1, 2017

Publisher:  Shiloh Run Press

 

My review:  I was drawn to this book by the cover and the blurb about it being for fans of The Bachelor. (Yeah, embarrassingly enough I’ve watched a season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Please don’t judge me.) However, once I started reading the book I realized it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. Because I’m not a book quitter I went ahead and read the entire book but really didn’t get any enjoyment from it.

For starters I really never connected with Hanna. I understand she was embarrassed and wronged on national TV but she seemed childish and too snarky. For me personally her actions and thoughts didn’t make me like her. Will wasn’t the best of characters either but I found myself liking him more than I did Hanna. He seemed more real to me. There’s an entire cast of supporting characters and I feel like the story would have been the same without some of them in it. Some of them just felt like page filler to me.

The storyline was ok even though it wasn’t what I originally thought it was going to be. I thought we would go through the TV show process with them. (My fault for not reading the entire book description.) Instead we are going through the after effects of Will making a misleading statement on a post show interview. Now, Will is trying to keep his job as CEO and right the wrong he did Hanna which I personally didn’t think was all that “bad” of a wrong considering the type of show she was on. It’s safe to say I think she overreacted and maybe just going on with her life would have been the best route to take. The story grew stale and I found my thoughts drifting while reading the book.

As far as the author’s writing style it was ok. At times she tried to be funny and it just fell flat for me. I think this is because there were so many other childish, snarky thoughts and sayings. The story never really had a consistent rhythm and pace either. There were times the story got going and was easy to read and then I found the story stalling.

This was my first book from this author and I’m not sure I would read more of her work. Some may like this book but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

 

About the author:  Krista Phillips enjoys life with her husband and their four beautiful daughters in Middle Tennessee. She is an advocate for congenital heart defect and organ donation awareness.

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I’ll Be Home For Christmas: Four Inspirational Holiday Novellas by Belle Calhoune, Jill Kemerer, Allie Pleiter and Lenora Worth

I'll be Home for Christmas

 

About the book:

Inspirational Romance set at Christmas-time. Four Best-selling authors of Christian romance bring you heartwarming stories filled with holiday cheer and romance under the mistletoe.

A Hope Valley Christmas by Belle Calhoune. Mallory Jefferson has returned to her hometown of Hope Valley to spend Christmas with her family. Having been let go from her teaching position and ending things with her boyfriend, Mallory is a bit adrift. When she runs into her high school crush, Colton James, Mallory is embarrassed about her attempts to win his heart back in the day. When Colton asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend to make his dying grandfather happy, Mallory finds herself impulsively saying yes. Colton James is a rancher who dreams of settling down and living out his dreams. When he runs into Mallory, Colton can’t believe how much she’s changed. When she agrees to be his pretend girlfriend, Colton is shocked to discover that his feelings for her are way deeper than he’d ever imagined possible. Can something pretend turn into something real just in time for a very Merry Christmas?

Sugarplums and Second Chances by Jill Kemerer. Former NFL star, Chase McGill, invites his teammate’s widow, Courtney Trudesta, to spend Christmas in his guest cottage after her mother dies. Courtney faithfully wrote him letters every week while he was in prison for attempting to avenge the murder of the mother of his son, Wyatt. Chase wants to be there for Courtney the way she was for him. But there’s more to Christmas than sugarplums and wishful thinking. If they trust God’s plan, they’ll have a second chance at happiness…with each other.

A Brilliant Christmas by Allie Pleiter. Zoe Walters pours her heart and soul into the community arts center she runs. Her kids could benefit so much from the brilliant talents of animator Nigel Langdon—if he weren’t such a legendary grump. The next six weeks of his artist-in-residency look like they’ll ruin Zoe’s Christmas for sure. And certainly, things get off to a rocky start until Zoe discovers the great big heart—and the deep hurt—Nigel’s been hiding under that crusty exterior. It turns out Nigel can see through to Zoe’s deepest wounds as well. When the arts center is threatened, Nigel and Zoe come together not only to save the organization, but to discover a love and the brilliant Christmas no one ever expected

Seashell Santa by Lenora Worth. When high school sweethearts Rick Houston and Willa Kincaid reunite in Key West per a deathbed request, they discover that they didn’t really know each other at all. But Christmas in paradise just might bring them together for good this time

 

My review 4-stars)

Sweet and heartwarming stories that are fast and enjoyable reads.

I loved Sugarplums and Second Chances by Jill Kemerer so much that I have to admit that its my favorite in this collection. This truly is about second chances and also about letting go of the past.  It’s about forgiveness and making a brighter future for not only yourself, but for others that need help.

I think that the author captured the spirit of Christmas as Chase is doing his best to make up for past mistakes and opening his home to a young widow.  He wants this Christmas to be special for everyone in his life.

This is a book that can read by both young and not so young. A perfect read for this time of year while you sit and relax. I think that there is something for everyone to enjoy in, I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

I received a complimentary copy and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

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The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner (review by Cathy)

The Secret Life

Book Blurb:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

 

My review (5-stars)

What a terrific debut novel!   Bethany Turner crafted characters that are funny, sweet, flawed, loveable and some that I wanted to befriend

Sarah Hollenbeck and her friend, Piper are two  of those characters that I so wanted to hang out with.  They certainly make a book club seem like a lot of fun, plus they like coffee shops and I’d definitely like to sit with them in church.  That isn’t to say that they don’t have real life issues to deal with, because they certainly do.

Especially, the newly divorced Sarah.    She is trying to find something to fill her time, so she tries her hand at writing.  She soon discovers that poetry isn’t her niche, so she writes a steamy romance novel. That isn’t something that fits into her Christian life and surely not something her handsome pastor would approve of.

Throughout the story, there are many times I laughed out loud as I went merrily along with Sarah and her friends as they figured out life.  There are so many things to love about this book that I can’t possibly list them.  What I can do, is highly recommend getting a copy and see for yourself just how good it is.  I have found an author that I really like and will be reading more of her work.

I received a free copy from the publisher and was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

A Simple Wish (Simple Gifts #2) by Charlotte Hubbard (review by Cathy)

A Simple Wish

About the book:

Making rugs for Simple Gifts has taught Loretta Riehl that an unassuming pattern can reveal surprising depth. People, too, have a way of defying first impressions. Drew Detweiler came to Willow Ridge under a cloud, but the handsome craftsman has gained the community’s respect for his upholstery skills and commitment to making amends for his mistakes. As her new brother-in-law’s twin, he’s joining the family for dinners and Sunday visits at the Riehl house, and Loretta can’t deny enjoying his attentions.

If only her dat were willing to let a little joy into his life. Cornelius Riehl grows more stern with each passing day, and Drew suspects there’s more to his moods than missing Loretta’s late mamm. Hoping to fulfill Loretta’s wish to live in a peaceful, happy home again, Drew sets out to learn the truth. It’s a journey that will bring to light painful realities–but also the chance to forge a new, honest, and loving future together…

 

My  review (4-stars)

So, I’m going to start of by stating the obvious here, the cover of this book is so pretty that it demands attention.  It certainly got mine.

I knew what to expect as far as the storyline went because this is the second book in the Simple Gifts series. and I was familiar with the characters, so I can’t say that there were any surprises.  There is one character that has matured which is to be expected  and there is another that  you will question his motives and behavior.   I know that in future books that his secrets will be  revealed to his daughters and the community of Willow Ridge.

I would suggest you read the first book in the series to get to know the wonderful characters in this series.

I received a copy of the book from Netgalley and have given my honest opinion.