Category Archives: Book Reviews

Rescue Me

rescue-me-book-cover-final-smlBook Review: Rescue Me

Author: Susan May Warren

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell’s website of Rescue Me:

When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him–not just on the job but in his private life. He’s the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father’s accidental death. And he’s the one–perhaps the only one–who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she’s nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding-heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on–namely, nabbing the job of her dreams. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

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            If I thought the first book of the Montana Rescue series was good, then this one is great. It’s hard to believe that Rescue Me only spans a week or two, but so much is packed into that time frame that it feels way longer.

Rescue Me is full of action and adventure. If it’s not a bear mauling—which, hello people? Stop going into the woods! Bears! *Ahem* Anyways. If it’s not a bear mauling, it’s a youth group that’s in serious trouble. I could NOT stop reading because each page brought a new challenge to the PEAK team and to Willow and Sam.

Per usual, Susan creates a great plot, with fantastic characters. Willow and Sam are not perfect by any means, which made me identify so well with them. Their struggles looked a lot like some that I’ve gone through, some questions that I’m asking myself right now. And how they learned about redemption and knowing more about God really taught me a lesson too. This novel dug down deep in my heart and planted truths there that I so appreciate. It’s rare, even in Christian fiction, that I read a book that actually changes me, but this one did.

The romance between the characters was spot-on, typical Susan May Warren writing. And the secondary characters, Jess and Pete, I loved, but I am still frustrated by them! C’mon guys, get your act together!

All in all, I really loved this book. With Susan’s writing, it goes beyond entertainment, down to the heart of a person, and that’s why I love her novels, and I love Rescue Me.

About the Author

Biography from Revell’s website: Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies, with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Mark of the King

51fame39xnl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Book Review: The Mark of the King

Author: Jocelyn Green

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Bethany House’s website of The Mark of the King:

Life in This New World Requires More Strength Than She Ever Imagined

After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption. Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects. The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin. When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace–and love–can overcome the stigma of the king’s mark upon her shoulder.

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            I have found an amazing new author! Ok, so no, I did not ‘find’ her. She’s been around for a while. But the delight that I felt when I started reading The Mark of the King was similar to finding something new and exciting.

Julianne’s struggles begin from the first pages of this novel. I was pulled in by this story and felt as if I were stepping into history itself. I can’t imagine the horrors that the colonists experienced as they were forced into marriages and then left in a new world with few provisions. The lines are not clear in the new world, friend and foe aren’t easily discernible. Julianne suffers so many heartaches, and yet continues to live with a courage that is amazing. The stigma she suffers under becomes an opportunity to see the freedom and redemption that are in Christ. And though her life isn’t easy, there is peace and grace in it when she realizes that.

The characters in this book are multi-faceted and compelling. I didn’t want to put it down but had to at times just to absorb the world that Jocelyn had created. Julianne goes through incredible hardships, trials that real people had to overcome in that time period.

This book deals with real, difficult issues, but Jocelyn handles those well. I really enjoyed The Mark of the King, and I’m sure that fans of Lori Benton or Laura Frantz would fall in love with it too.

About the Author

Biography from Bethany House’s website: Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

For the Record

51wbqyysdll-_sx322_bo1204203200_Book Review: For the Record

Author: Regina Jennings

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Bethany House’s website of For the Record:

Rather Than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.

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            Regina Jennings outdoes herself in For the Record. This novel is full of wit, romance, and some mystery. I absolutely loved Betsy! Her quirkiness is unlike many heroines I’ve read about in that time period, and I was a big fan. Every time you think she will follow the normal pattern, she deviates, throwing the reader – and Joel – for a loop. Which brings me to Joel. *Sigh* He also broke the mold, Betsy’s mold in particular. He refused to be a gentleman when she needs him to be — for story’s purpose, of course.

The romance angle in this book – trademark Regina Jennings. For those who don’t know what that is, think similar to Karen Witemeyer or Melissa Jagears. She never disappoints, and For the Record is right up there with some of my favorite of her novels. Forgiveness and redemption play a part in this story. Regina writes great fiction, but she combines it with spiritual themes that go beyond entertainment and remind us of who God is and what He’s done for us.

If you’re looking for a quality historical fiction read, with great romance, a meaningful spiritual theme, and hilarity, then you must pick up For the Record.

About the Author

Biography from Bethany House’s website: Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children and can be found online at www.reginajennings.com.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Pattern Artist

29633315Book Review: The Pattern Artist

Author: Nancy Moser

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Nancy Moser’s website of The Pattern Artist:

Born into a life of hard work, English housemaid Annie Wood arrives in New York City in 1911 with her wealthy mistress. Wide-eyed with the possibilities America has to offer, Annie wonders if there’s more for her than a life of service.

Annie chooses to risk everything, taps into courage she never knew she had, and goes off on her own, finding employment in the sewing department at Macy’s. While at Macy’s Annie catches the eye of a salesman at the Butterick Pattern Company. Through determination, hard work, and God’s leading, Annie discovers a hidden gift: she is a talented fashion designer—a pattern artist of the highest degree.

As she runs from ghosts of the past and focuses on the future, Annie enters a creative world that takes her to the fashion houses of Paris and into a life of adventure, purpose, and love.

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            I appreciate Nancy Moser’s desire to write about unique characters, and Annie Wood is certainly unique. However, for me, the story felt bogged down halfway through. The premise of the story is interesting, but it just didn’t hold my attention, unfortunately. If you want a look at the fashion industry of the twentieth century, this book will certainly be of interest.

About the Author

Biography from Nancy Moser’s website: Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of twenty-nine novels that focus on the characters discovering their unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories. Visit her at http://www.nancymoser.com/index.html .

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wild Montana Skies

wmskies-coverBook Review: Wild Montana Skies

Author: Susan May Warren

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell’s website for Wild Montana Skies:

The last thing Search and Rescue helicopter pilot Kacey Fairing needs upon returning home to Mercy Falls, Montana, is to run into her mistakes. After a devastating crash during her recent military tour in Afghanistan, she is emotionally broken but ready to start putting her life back together. She just wants to reconnect with her teenage daughter and spend the summer working as the new lead pilot of PEAK Rescue in Glacier National Park.

But her mistakes aren’t so easily forgotten. Because Ben King is also back in town.

Country music star Ben King abandoned his past when he moved to Nashville thirteen years ago to start his career. He hoped to heal his broken heart, caused by losing the woman he loved. But when his father is injured, Ben is called home to help manage PEAK Rescue during his recovery. He doesn’t realize his father has ulterior motives until his old flame, Kacey, walks into his house and back into his heart.

Now, with Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben will have to work together to save lives. But when secrets are uncovered and old hurts rise to the surface, will they walk away again? Or can they find a different ending to their country love song?

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            I have been an avid fan of Susan May Warren for several years now, and it doesn’t look like that’ll change any time soon! I am so excited about her Montana Rescue series, and after reading the first book in the series, I have some reasons to tell you why you should be excited too!

  1. The spiritual themes.

In this book, Ben and Kacey have a lot to learn about forgiveness and trust and letting God take control of their lives. Susan writes in such a way that it was a lesson that touched my heart as well. She writes about God’s love and His desire to have us trust Him in a way that fills up the heart and points it towards Him.

  1. The unique characters.

I’m not sure how she does it, but in each book her characters are so different and varied that it never feels like you’ve read about them before. Ben King is a country music star. Kacey is a soldier who flies choppers. She is able to learn what that consists of for both characters and make it come alive on the page. As was touched on earlier, she also develops the characters in such a way that it’s hard to believe sometimes that they’re not real people. The romance is always well-crafted and tasteful, and the plot continues to thicken throughout the book.

  1. The small-town setting.

This seems to be her special niche, her forte. And she carries that through into these Montana Rescue books. All the characters live in the same town, they’re involved in each other’s lives. She writes about it in such a way that when you step into one of her novels, it feels like you’re coming home. This series, set in Montana, on the edge of Glacier National Park, promises to be full of suspense, danger, beauty, and fun.

So there you go. Three very good reasons why you too should read (and hopefully love!) Susan’s books, but specifically her latest, Wild Montana Skies.

About the Author

Biography from Revell’s website: Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies, with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tangled Webs

28637715Book Review: Tangled Webs

Author: Irene Hannon

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell’s website for Tangled Webs:

Finn has packed away his combat instincts–but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action–ready or not.

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            I’ve read a couple other books by Irene Hannon, which I’ve enjoyed, but this one just wasn’t for me. Neither of the characters really resonated with me, and the plot seemed to lag. Part of the problem was that the book is somewhat suspenseful, but the antagonist’s viewpoint is included in the book, so I knew whodunit and why. So, for me, it just didn’t work. However, I know plenty of other people have enjoyed this series, so that’s just one opinion among many.

About the Author

Biography from Revell’s website: Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Can’t Help Falling

cant-help-falling-9781501117343_hrBook Review: Can’t Help Falling

Author: Kara Isaac

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Simon and Schuster’s website for Can’t Help Falling:

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.

Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.

Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.

When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.

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            I have heard an incredible amount of buzz over the internet and in person about Kara Isaac and her books. Not only does the author have a great connection with her readers, but she also writes very well. I haven’t read her first book, Close to You, but oooh, I want to now.

Kara’s writing style is light and easy to read, which is deceptive, because this story about second chances with people and with God packs a punch. I could tell that she was from New Zealand every now and then, because she had knowledge about things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. 😉 Even though this book is set in Great Britain, she does a fantastic job with creating a vivid picture of the area and its culture.

My heart went out to the heroine, Emelia, many times, as her story unfolded. The life she lived previous to coming to Oxford was messy and harsh, and her warped view of God did nothing to help her along. The change that took place in her was long in coming, but that’s what made it feel natural, real, and not forced. I also enjoyed Peter as a character, and the ability to get a glimpse into the sport of rowing. Which, prior to reading this, I knew next to nothing about. The secondary characters are colorful and unique, adding plenty of fun.

This book is lighthearted and humorous, a fun read, though I would say it’s a little edgier than some Christian fiction. Be warned, Emelia’s fascination with Narnia may even drive you to pick up the Chronicles of Narnia and dive back into that enchanting world. It did me.

About the Author

Biography from Simon and Schuster’s website: Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two children.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.