Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt


By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancĂ©. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

My Review:

To be honest, I own all of Beth K. Vogt’s books, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. After reading this book for review that will definitely change. I loved Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

It is a sweet tale about second chances and allowing me to think about the discussions I made in the past and walked away from. What would happen if I was faced with making the choice again? Would I?

My favorite character of the story was Luke, the storm chaser. He still loves Vanessa and wants her back, which is proven more and more as the two are tossed in situation after situation together. Luke’s chase after Vanessa reminded me a lot of God’s relentless struggle and desire to bring his children into his arms. The ending made me tear up a little. Don’t worry; I won’t spoil it, but Vogt does a good job at pulling at my heart and begging me to wish my husband was more like Luke.
During the story, a hurricane bears down on Destin, Florida, threatening to tear apart the community. Vogt does a good job at mirroring the storm outside to the storm brewing inside Luke and Vanessa as they intermingle for the first time in eight years.

Overall, Beth K. Vogt’s book Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a sweet romantic tale, gripping my heart with a hero I loved and wished my husband could learn lessons from. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, and Susan May Warren.

I received a complimentary copy of Crazy Little Thing Called Love from Howard Books and the opinions stated above are all my own.

Beth K. Vogt, Author
From Beth K. Vogt's Facebook Profile Image
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Where to purchase her books:

What is your favorite element of a romance novel? Why?  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Jody Hedlund: Hearts Made Whole

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

From Amazon
Windmill Point, Michigan

Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?

After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper--even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation--the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope...and possibly love?

My Review:

I have heard a lot of good things about Jody Hedlund’s writing, but I haven’t gotten around to reading any of her books yet. Some of the covers for her books like the one for Unending Devotion really grabs my attention. I love that cover. So when Bethany House offered the chance to read and review one of her books I jumped on it.

Jody Hedlund’s writing is great. I really felt like I was in a Lighthouse, looking out at the ocean on a daily basis. I understood Caroline’s and Ryan’s struggles as they learned how to deal with the dilemmas from their past. I felt move by all the problems Caroline and Ryan had to overcome to succeed. I enjoyed watching their journey of Transformation.

Hedlund’s research into the lifestyles of 1865 and 1866 rang true for me. Caroline’s struggle as a woman lightkeeper proved true. The clothes, customs, and the values floated off the page, wrapping me in the time period. One of Hedlund’s strength was allowing Ryan to experience PTSD. This is an issue that has come to light with the warriors from Iraq, but like Hedlund, I believe this would affect any soldier of any war. She allowed Ryan to live a solitary life, avoid relationships, and overdose on pain pills to deal with his choices during the war. This was unique, and I really enjoyed the perspective.

No offense to Hedlund, but I had a hard time staying focused on the book. Not that she isn’t a great writer because I believe she is, but I have a hard time following historical books, which is why I stay away from Amish books and frontier books. There isn’t enough action on the page for me to follow. I get bored easily. That is why I enjoy mysteries, suspense, and thrillers.

In short, Jody Hedlund’s Hearts Made Whole is a good addition to the historical fiction genre with its realistic characters, memorable settings, and a current dilemma affecting the hero. Fans of Karen Witemeyer and Lori Benton would love this book.

I received a complimentary copy of Jody Hedlund’s Heart Made Whole from Bethany House Publishers and the opinions stated are all my own.  

Jody Hedlund’s Writing Bio:

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories. 

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.

Jody Hedlund
From Hedlund's Amazon Author Page
Where to connect with Jody Hedlund:

Where to purchase Hearts Made Whole:
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What is your favorite aspect of Jody Hedlund’s writing?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Carla Laureano: London Tides

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and colleague, Grace is shaken.

She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved—Scottish businessman Ian MacDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace ... only for her to choose career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together ... or tear them apart for good this time?

My Review:

I was introduced in London Tides by Carla Laureano because I love her The Song of the Seare series by C. E. Laureano. They are both the same author. Laureano’s fantasy series grips me from the first page and kept me raptured as I follow the hero and heroine along the trail. But there is a huge difference for her contemporary romance books.

Laureano’s writing is tight and grammatically sound. In both series, I have no problem following the struggle and fears of the heroine and hero. The balance between the prose and dialogue is evenly matched. Laureano has a good command at matching the dialogue with the character’s personality.

While her writing is good, Laureano has a good grasp at anchoring her reader in the setting. I could totally imagine myself walking along the Thames River in London and wandering through the London city. I could imagine India and watching the characters interact with the hurting nation. Laureano does a great job at describing the world for her readers.

Conflict is important to a story, but Laureano had a hard time keeping my attention in London Tides. The story takes forever to get off the ground. Gabby wonders around in London, staying at her friend, Asha’s house, looking for her next big break. There really is no conflict. Yes, she runs into her ex-fiance, Ian, a number of times, but I really did not feel the struggle between the two characters. All of the conflict occurred inside Gabby and Ian’s head. It was really hard to drag myself through this book. I couldn’t wait for it to be done.

Overall, Laureano writes fantasy that I love, and I think she should keep her focused on that genre. I lost myself in that venue, but I struggled through London Tides, trying to find other things to do instead of sitting down reading this book.

I received a complimentary copy of London Tides from David C. Cook Publishing through Netgalley and the opinions stated are all my own.
Carla Laureano, Author
Carla Laureano's Facebook Profile Page

Where to connect with Carla Laureano:

Where to purchase London Tides:

Do you think it is hard, as an author, to write in romance and fantasy? Why or Why not?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Books I am Looking Forward to:

By Kelly Bridgewater

Now that 2015 is almost halfway finished, I want to tell you the top ten books that I am looking forward too. There are so many books coming out by some many authors in the rest of 2015, but some of the books have my attention more than others.

These are the top ten books: (FYI they are listed in the order they come out; not listed in how much I can’t wait to read them because I can’t wait to read all of them. J)

The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren (Releases on July 1, 2015)

The Last Con by Zachary Bartels (Releases on July 7, 2015)

Not by Sight by Kate Breslin (Releases on July 28, 2015)

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin (Releases on August 4, 2015)

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Park (Releases on August 11, 2015)

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke (Releases on September 1, 2015)

Chivalrous by Dina Sleiman (Releases on September 8, 2015)

The Shock of Night by Patrick Carr (Releases on November 3, 2015)

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson (Releases on November 17, 2015)

Every Crooked Path by Steven James (Releases on December 1, 2015)

*All images were taken from Amazon.com unless otherwise noted.*

I hope you enjoy learning about the ten books that I can’t wait to read in the remainder of 2015. How many of these books are you waiting on? Do you have books that you want to read that did not make the list? List them. I want to know what others are waiting to devour.