Tag Archives: christian romance

Step by Step

Title: Step by Step
Author: Candace Calvert
Publisher: Tyndale Publishing House
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9034-5

“We’ve both had some tough times. But I have to believe they’re taking us somewhere good,” Seth confides to Taylor in Candace Calvert’s novel, Step by Step.

~ What ~
Second in the Crisis Team series, this three hundred-and-seventy-nine page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian romantic fiction. With no profanity except the use of hell in the eternal aspect, topics of illness, accidents, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this current-day story set in San Diego, California, emergency room nurse and crisis counselor, Taylor Cabot, is determined to move on from the past. Having lost her husband three years ago, she has made up a Survival List that she methodically checks off, everything except the last challenge: to fall in love again.

Seeing Seth Donovan at the hospital she works at, she is torn, especially when he admits he knows something about the day her husband died. Being a chaplain to the chaplains, the crisis coordinator tries to help Taylor leave grief behind.

While dealing with one medical crisis after another, the team helps survivors as they try to avoid compassion fatigue. Taylor, wanting so desperately to rid herself of the past, must accept it and those around her to find a future of happiness and love.

~Why ~
With the book’s focus on the crisis team, it goes into detail of the love and support volunteers offer when there is a tragedy.  I like how the author tenderly discussed the aftermath of dealing with injury and death in a medical environment. Her handling of an older pet added to the sympathetic story.

~ Why Not ~
Due to the subject matter of dying and death and how crisis teams handle heart-breaking scenarios, some who have dealt recently with a loved one’s passing may be sensitive to its theme. However, it is written so that it explains the process of grief, hopefully helping a hurting reader to move on his or her life.

~ Who ~
As a former emergency room nurse, Calvert has written several novels about the medical field. Being a wife, mother, and grandmother, she lives in Northern California.

~ Wish ~
I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. With mentioning God sporadically, the book does not offer the eternal plan of salvation which would have been thoughtful.

~ Want ~
If you like engaging stories that cover overcoming the loss of a loved one, medical jargon, and Christian overtones, this is a quick romance that will keep you wondering where the main character’s life is headed.

Thanks to Tyndale House for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Tyndale House Publishers, Deeper Shopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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War Room

War Room: Prayer Is a Powerful WeaponTitle: War Room
Author: Chris Fabry
Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0728-3

“It’s time for you to fight, Elizabeth. It’s time for you to fight for your marriage!” Clara exhorts the woman in Chris Fabry’s book that is based on the motion picture by Alex Kendrick and Steven Kendrick, War Room: Prayer is a Powerful Weapon.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-and-twenty-four-page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian romance regarding family dilemmas and prayer. With the movie recently released, it contains no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, but the topic of marital infidelity may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this fast-paced read, Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have been married sixteen years and have a ten-year-old daughter. Gradually growing apart, Tony is on the road often as a sales representative who is tested, while Elizabeth likes her job as a realtor but realizes the spark is missing from their marriage. When Elizabeth meets the praying Clara Williams, her life is turned around to face her frustrations and struggles as she focuses on God by setting up her war room of prayer.

~ Why ~
The story of a faltering marriage is realistic as the husband and wife feel unloved, unwanted, and hopeless. Reiterating how prayer changes the person who prays, the concentration is on trusting God when adversities arise for a reason.The portrayal of Clara was genuine as it showed the traits of a true prayer warrior, vaguely touching on the woman’s faults.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God may have trouble with a book that conveys if you pray, life will become a bed of roses. With the protagonists getting their prayers fulfilled at almost every turn, it only referred to the plan of eternal salvation.

~ Who ~
Award-winning author and radio personality, Fabry has written more than seventy books for children and adults. His wife and he have nine children and live in Arizona. Best-selling authors and cowriters of movies, Alex and Stephen Kendrick have received more than twenty awards in the film industry.

~ Wish ~
Knowing that God works in our lives in mysterious ways, I had the desire to pray more often while reading this book. I wished there was a way to convey that God may not always answer our prayers the way we want Him to every time.

~ Want ~
If you are faltering in life, ready to give up in your marriage, and wondering why you should bother praying, this is a good reminder that God is in control and knows best for us.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on Tyndale, the Book Club Network, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, Pinterest, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Intertwined

Intertwined: A Contemporary Romance NovelTitle: Intertwined
Author: Jennifer Slattery
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-59669-443-9

“After all these years, why now, Lord? What can I possibly say that could provide any comfort?” Tammy prays in Jennifer’s novel, Intertwined.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and twenty-page paperback targets those who like contemporary Christian romances. With no profanity, topics of divorce, infidelity, and death would not be appropriate for young readers.
Set in current-day Missouri, divorced thirty-eight-year-old Tammy Kuhn struggles to keep her life together between her two children, a non-committed ex-husband, and a demanding job as an organ procurement coordinator. Three years after her spouse walked out on her, she is lonely as she yearns for God to help her juggle work and being a mom.

When high school friend and past flame, Nick Zimmerman, encounters Tammy again, it is not under the best circumstances. Fighting custody battles for his sons, he is at a breaking point when the worse thing happens as a parent, especially when his ex-wife is controlling, acusatory, and manipulative.

As the two protagonists try to lean heavily on God for support and comfort, the pain of the past and potential future in their lives spirals downward until they see God’s plan being orchestrated.

~ Why ~
With the topic of organ donation being the focal point of the book, it is interesting from the viewpoint of an employee who has to witness the constant heartbreak, confusion, and acceptance. Slattery’s portrayal of handling death is sincere, reminding Christian believers of the hope afterward.

Why Not ~
Some may find the book depressive as dying and death are discussed often. With the concentration on donor giving, the book flows around the topic smoothly but is cliché regarding divorce. I also found the storyline predictable with an abrupt ending.

~ Who ~
Having written two other novels, Slattery writes Christian living articles and devotions on her blog as well as ministers to the poor and homeless. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and teenage daughter.

~ Wish ~
A sequel to know what happens to some of the secondary characters would be ideal.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a tale told about donating organ parts, this story will help provide a fictional aspect of the process. Its rather dark read leaves one torn when someone is taken from this earth, only to help others who remain.

Thanks to New Hope Publishers and the author for offering this book to read and review for my honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

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Last Chance Hero

Title: Last Chance Hero
Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2647-8

“It wasn’t that she hated football – how could she? She’d never even been to a game. It was simply that she’d never wanted to. There were always too many other things that she’d rather be doing,” Cathleen Armstrong writes about her central character in her novel, Last Chance Hero.

Fourth in A Place to Call Home series, this two hundred and eighty-nine page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian contemporary romance and football. Containing a few slang words, the story mentions a death so may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. The tale ends with acknowledgments, the author’s biography, and advertisements for prior books in the series.

In this continuing saga, Dr. Jessica MacLeod is a newcomer to the small New Mexico town of Last Chance, wanting to start her medical practice. Little does she realize, it will take her a while to get to know the town’s citizens that are obsessed with their local high school’s football team.

When she meets Andy Ryan, she learns he was a former NFL player who has come home after ten years to coach his alma mater and hopefully lead the team to victory again. With her having trouble blending into the tight-knit community, Ryan is one way to get to know the people, history, and stories of the town.

While Jessica worries if she fits in enough to get support and confidence being the only doctor in town, Andy deals with his father’s return. Both learn to lean on each other as their relationship waffles when one patient has to make a choice.

Bringing the reader up to date with the last three books in the series, this one focuses on character and commitment. With another anti-climactic ending, there are plenty of options for another book in the series to find out if Jessica and Andy can have a future that involves football.

Having grown up in New Mexico and now living in California, author Armstrong has won awards for the previous two novels based in a small town in New Mexico.

Thanks to Baker Publishing for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Surrender to Love

SURRENDER TO LOVETitle: Surrender to Love
Author: Maryann Diorio
Publisher: TopNotch Press
ISBN: 978-0-930037253

“There comes a point when you have to let go of the past if you want to live in the present and have hope for the future,” Teresa is told by her mother in Maryann Diorio’s short book,  Surrender to Love.

This thin one hundred and twenty-one page paperback targets those that enjoy stories of overcoming the past and moving on to the future with God’s help. With no profanity, violence, or sexual content, the topic of depression and losing a spouse may not be appropriate for immature readers. The English Standard Version of the Bible is referenced. After reviews, acknowledgments, dedication, and an epilogue, twelve chapters contain the story, ending with ten discussion questions, a call to eternal salvation, the author’s biography with advertisements, and two excerpts from other books.

In this current-day novella that begins in New Jersey, five years ago Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez lost her husband of two years. Although the thirty-one-year-old is a life coach, she does not apply the same advice to herself when it comes to moving on with life. Fixated on honoring God by remembering her deceased spouse, she is stuck in a non-existent, loveless life.

When her mother’s best friend invites Teresa to her homeland in Puerto Rico, Teresa is asked to be a life coach for the woman’s thirteen year old depressed granddaughter who still grieves and feels guilty her mother passed away during childbirth. Marcos, the girl’s father, wants to do all he can to help his child.

Learning that the past does not have to equal the future, Teresa and Marcos walk on emotional eggshells as they try to encourage his daughter. However, a romantic bond grows when the two visit Old San Juan and Teresa’s birthplace in Cantano.

Although the short love story is predictable and idealistic, it reminds those who have lost a spouse that God may have a special person waiting for them, filling a void in their lives. Making a nice book for a widow, it shows how love can conquer heartbreaking pain.

Having the trademark of “Truth through Fiction,” author Diorio has written non-fiction, fiction, and children’s books that focus on God. With a Ph.D. in French and Comparative Literature, she lives in New Jersey with her husband.

Thanks to The Book Club Network for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Book Fun Network and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Justified

Justified: A Novel (Mended Hearts Series)Title: Justified
Author: Varina Denman
Publisher: David C. Cook
ISBN: 978-0-7814-1216-2

“We had danced this number before, breaking up because of his lack of self-control and getting back together because of my need for security. Five times I forgave him,” Fawn realizes in Varina Denman’s novel, Justified.

Second in the Mended Hearts series, this four hundred and sixteen page paperback targets those who enjoy contemporary romantic fiction. With a couple of slang words used and no overtly sexual scenes, topics of alcoholism, physical abuse, and unplanned pregnancy may not be appropriate for immature readers. A note to the reader, acknowledgments, book club discussion guide, excerpt from the next book in the series, and the author’s biography are after the conclusion.

In this current day tale set in the small fictitious town of Trapp, Texas, rebellious twenty-one-year-old Fawn Blaylock has been turned away by her wealthy parents when they find out she is pregnant. Although charismatic Tyler Cruz admits he is the father, his obsessive, unruly, and inappropriate behavior is not what Fawn envisions for their child.

When she is offered to stay at the rundown house that overlooks the Caprock Escarpment, she is captivated by its beauty, unaware of the western diamondback rattlesnakes in the area. Trying to overcome her shame, guilt, and insecurities, she seeks God for forgiveness as she reexamines her life.

Coming often to the unmarried woman’s aid, high school football coach, JohnScott Pickett, realizes the girl has made past mistakes. Shy yet observant, he becomes standoffish anytime Tyler approaches Fawn in his presence. With a town that craves on gossip and judging, not only do the two face second chances through redemption, grace, and forgiveness.

Written in both first person and third person, the tender storyline shows how two individuals must repent as well as forgive themselves to find out what and who is important when trusting God. With many characters’ flaws and problems surfacing, the book draws the reader into wondering what happens to the town’s residences in the next book in the series.

Having published a prior book, Denman is a teacher of creative writing and literature. As a home educator, she lives in North Texas with her husband and five mostly grown children.

Thanks to Radiantlit for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Radiantlit, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review

Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor: A NovelTitle: Hope Harbor
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2452-8

“I wish I could change my life with Julie, and I know you wish the same about your husband – but we can’t. Maybe the best way we can honor their memory is to learn from our mistakes and do better if we get a second chance,” Michael confesses to Tracy in Irene Hannon’s novel, Hope Harbor.

This hundred and fifty-three page paperback targets those who enjoy contemporary romantic fiction. With no profanity or overtly sexual scenes, topics of pregnancy, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reviewer wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

In this tale set in the fictitious town of Hope Harbor on Oregon’s coast, two broken hearts are challenged when they are given second chances in life. Born and raised on the seventy acre three-generation cranberry farm outside of town, Tracy Campbell keeps her romance and passion in check having lost her husband two years ago. Returning to help her uncle and his new wife handle the never-ending projects on the farm, she is guilt-ridden and full of regret as she purposely spreads herself thin by having too many commitments.

Michael Hunter has emotional issues of his own. Having lost his spouse eighteen months ago, the non-profit executive from Chicago takes a road trip to the Pacific Northwest to deal with his self-pity and despondency toward God, wondering if his grief will end.

Little do both individuals realize how everything happens for a reason, and God’s plans are for a purpose when Tracy asks Michael to volunteer with the flailing Helping Hands, an organization that helps those in need.

With an older woman who has spent decades dealing with a broken relationship, a young teen who has made a mistake, and a food cart owner that always happens to be in the right place at the right time, the story of two people needing to move on is predictable yet tender and sweet.

The bestselling author of over forty-five novels, Hannon has received two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Her husband and she live in Missouri.

Thanks to Revell for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Baker Publishing, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

Five Brides

Five BridesTitle: Five Brides
Author: Eva Marie Everson
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9744-3

“This is all quite mad. We’re going to buy a dress for weddings we’ve not yet received proposals for? And what if one of us never marries? Or waits. A long, long time,” Joan questions her roommates in Eva Marie Everson’s novel, Five Brides.

This four hundred and eighty page paperback targets those who enjoy historical Christian romance. With no profanity or overtly sexual scenes, topics of premarital sex and pregnancy may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reviewer wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Set in the nineteen fifties in America, five single women’s lives are intertwined around one wedding dress they fall in love with one Saturday and purchase, hoping to wear it when and if they walk down the aisle to matrimony.

Betty, the eldest at twenty-six years old, comes from a wealthy family but has turned her back on her parents’ allowance because she refuses to marry the man they choose, a long-time family friend.

Ever searching for perfect employment, Joan moves in with Betty and ardently saves every dime that she sends a portion back to her parents in war-torn England. Insisting there is no time for romance, she juggles up to three jobs a week as she experiences life to the fullest.

Sisters Madga and Inga have left their sheltered, conservative life raised by strict Lutheran parents. Expanding their wings, Madga becomes an airline stewardess hoping to find Mr. Right in Los Angeles while Inga prefers to hide herself in a book or write.

Lastly, Evelyn is the roommate who no longer wants to follow in her parents’ footsteps of being a farmer’s wife. Doing anything she can to become sophisticated and classy, she turns into a society girl only to have her dreams change course.

As all five women wear the distinctive wedding dress when it is their turn, they grow up, change, and learn to trust God, realizing He directs their paths. An engaging tale, the book promotes how love conquers all, and the Almighty is always nearby.

Multi-award winning author, Everson is president of World Weavers International, director of Florida Christian Writers Conferences, and owns a company. She and her husband have three children as well as grandchildren.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on Tyndale, the Book Club Network, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

The Choosing

The Choosing (A Seer Novel)Title: The Choosing
Author: Rachelle Dekker
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0225-7

“Lying on the bed were three grey uniforms that were painful to touch – painful because of the reality they drove home: that she was stuck in a life that would never hold the future she had been promised, that she really was as worthless as she’d always feared,” Carrington acknowledges in Rachelle Dekker’s debut novel, The Choosing.

First in the A Seer Novel series, this four hundred and forty-eight page paperback targets those who enjoy dystopian stories of truth versus lies with a blend of mystery and romance. With no profanity, topics of physical abuse, torture, and execution may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reviewer wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

The year is 2257, and the Authority has determined everyone’s worth, position in life, and if they are chosen to be married. When the day approaches for Carrington Hale to attend her Choosing Ceremony, she is devastated she is not selected to become a bride. Marked as worthless and unwanted, she is banned to being a Lint, the lowest-level in society of menial tasks proving she is nothing.

Doomed and discouraged, she befriends another Lint named Larkin who tries to convince her the errors of the Authority and to follow a man named Aaron who shows the way to freedom.

Given a second chance, Carrington begins to question the Authority’s core beliefs of labels and identities, especially when she notices a CityWatch guard that wants to protect her. Trying to find her true self that includes God’s view of her place and purpose, her choices become limited when she is told someone else possesses her.

With an undercurrent theme showing God’s abundant love of feeling wanted, beautiful, worthy, and perfect in His eyes, the book lacks the eternal plan of salvation as it uncovers how a cult twists Scripture, errors in doctrine, and becomes self-righteous.

A quick read that promotes looking inward to find peace through the Almighty, the book quickly engages the reader to consider how sin and shame try to supersede God’s love as Carrington chooses her future both physically and spiritually.

Following in the footsteps of her father’s fiction-writing vocation, author Dekker continues the absorbing storytelling family traits of suspense. With prior experience working in marketing and corporate recruiting, she lives in Tennessee with her husband and cat.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on Tyndale, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Title: Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Author: Beth K. Vogt
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4767-8978-1

“We couldn’t make our relationship work. Too much pressure. Not enough time together. I thought we were managing the long-distance relationship okay, but we had a fight and we couldn’t figure out a way to forgive each other,” Vanessa confesses in Beth K. Vogt’s novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

First of the A Destination Wedding Novel series, this three hundred and sixty-eight page paperback targets those who enjoy inspirational contemporary romance. With no profanity or overtly sexual scenarios, the topic of divorce may not be appropriate for immature readers. After the story, acknowledgments, a reading group guide, a conversation with the author, and advertisements complete the book. This reviewer wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

In this series of weddings being the main plot point, it has been eight years since Vanessa and Logan divorced. Their marriage did not dissolve due to unfaithfulness to each other, but that they were both young eighteen-year-old high school seniors when they eloped for the wrong reasons.

Realizing they married without considering the consequences, Vanessa tries to understand her yearning for stability and not having to move again, familiar to her military family upbringing. Becoming a storm chaser who questions his decision making, Logan must come to terms that his love for his vocation overshadowed the love of his wife.

Leading separate lives in different states, the once-in-love couple is thrown back together when Vanessa visits Florida to plan her dream destination wedding and happens to cross paths with Logan when rescuing a struggling teen swimmer. Seeing him several times over the next few days, the twenty-eight-year-old woman struggles to focus on her fiancé and upcoming wedding.

With Logan repeatedly feeling he has to make things right in regards to his past, Vanessa does not know how to truly rely and trust others, including God. Trying to face her past to move on in the future, she falters when Logan tries to apologize for their heartbroken and lost relationship.

Although predictable with a somewhat abrupt ending, the love story reinforces that God has His plans for our lives through the often mistakes and challenges. Given second chances when walking in His will, two can find true happiness and a deeper love.

Rating 4.5 of 5 stars.

The author of previously non-fiction, Vogt has worn many hats as an established magazine writer, editor, and romance fiction writer. She is married to a former Air Force doctor and they have children.

Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

This review will be posted on the Book Club Network, Bookpleasures, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction