Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Love, Unscripted is Charming Spring Read

Best-selling, contemporary romance author Denise Hunter is my go-to author when I need an escapism read. After enjoyed her last stand-alone book last summer, A Novel Proposal I had high expectations for, Love, Unscripted

Chloe Anderson pours her heartbreak out into penning the perfect boyfriend and writes a debut best-selling romance that gets turned into a movie. The film's producers cast Hollywood 'bad boy' Liam Hamilton who needs some positive PR.  

Liam's team thinks a "fake" relationship with the author will be good for his image and free publicity for the film and Chloe's book. 

As Chloe gets to know Liam, she's realizing how different the media portrays him and who he actually is and this is when things start to get interesting! 

Chloe was one of those relatable, likeable heroines you feel like you know, but also want to be friends with and can relate to her fears, struggles, insecurities and are rooting for her. Which is what made this story such an enjoyable read. 

This might be a seemingly insignificant thing to like, but I appreciate that the chapters were shorter, and the pacing of the story never lagged. It made you want to fly through the book. When I had less then 40 pages left, I was wonder how the author was going to end it...I shouldn't have doubted...

No one does small town romance with Hallmark-inspired nuances better than Ms. Hunter. Her books take it a step further and always have an edge that keeps you interested and engaged whether it's with a main character or a story plot. 

I've probably read about half of Denise Hunter's books and know there's not a strong faith element, but because I know that going in, I'm not disappointed because it's not something I'm anticipating. There were a few moments where Chloe prays. But other than that, I didn't see much of a faith thread and I was totally fine with that because it wasn't the focus of the story. 

If you're looking for a charming romantic read you need to add Love, Unscripted is the perfect Spring read to add to your TBR pile. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Word of Honor is a Page-Turner

Ms. Bridgeman is a new-to-me author. I heard her speak last year at a virtual ACFW Virginia Chapter conference and was immediately drawn to her passion and knowledge for writing but also her steadfast commitment to upholding strong Christian values in her stories. These qualities instantly put her on 'my authors I want to read' pile. 

 Word of Honor, the second installment in her Love and Honor series, served as the perfect story antidote I needed this month to get me out of my reading stupor. I found her intense and fast-paced storytelling engaging and couldn't put this book down. Every spare second, I had outside of life responsibilities, my nose was happily buried in this story. Hallee creates characters you both relate to, but also want to be like.

FBI Special Agent Lynda Culter witnesses' members of an eco-terrorist group kill her partner. Being paired up with her former college sweetheart Special Forces A-team Sergent Bill Sanders in Istanbul posing as husband and wife isn't what either of them had in mind. Can they set their past wounds and differences aside to focus on their mission?

I loved how this story illistrated real growth and change for both Bill and Lynda. It is really hard to show charactor growth that fits naturally into the story, but Hallee Bridgeman did it beautifully.  

One of my favorite parts of the story was the individual "call signs" they have for one another. They were fun and creative, and it made the story more entertaining when a character's call sign was used in place of their name. This added some much-needed humor to some intense scenes. By the end of the book, it made me want my own call sign. 

I'm not sure if it's because my name has a unique spelling, but I notice when authors give characters with perhaps a common name an unusual spelling. The heroine Lynda for example. Normally, Linda is spelled with an 'I', but Hallee choose a 'Y'. 

If you're a reader who enjoys great story elements such as intriguing plot, complex characters, and a strong faith thread then you need to read Word of Honor

I will absolutely be reading more books by this talented author. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Sandcastle Inn Landed on my DNF Pile

Sandcastle Inn is the 10th Hope Harbor Novel for three-time RITA author Irene Hannon. I'm more familiar with Ms. Hannon's suspense romances then I am her small-town coastal stories. 

Vienna Price sees Hope Harbor as a temporary stop. She's here to visit her mom and figure out her next step in her fledgling career. 

Matt Quinn thought he'd find some R&R visiting his sister in Hope Harbor....instead he finds himself heading up an endeavor to restore a crumbling B&B. 

I had two major criticisms of Sandcastle Inn, if I'm being fully honest with you, dear readers and fellow bookworms... The first being it took a good 100 pages for me to want to get into the story and the second being the instant attraction the hero and heroine had upon meeting. It just 1) didn't seem realistic and 2) it does bug me a little the way Hannon has her characters focus on the physical features in this immediate chemistry. It always comes across icky and shallow. Like what if the female didn't have long hair and beautiful eyes? Would the guy even take a second glance? No, the answer is no. At this point in my life, I want so much more, and I think younger girls should have a more realistic perspective of attraction, especially from a Christian author. 

That being said, I did like the town of Hope Harbor that Hanon created, and if you like slow moving, seaside romances then Sandcastle Inn might be for you.  

What usually puts a book on the DNF pile for you? I would love to know!

Sandcastle Inn was provided to me by the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Ark and the Dove is Slow

 In The Ark and the Dove Biblical Historical author Jill Eileen Smith reminds us of how devastating this was. Noah, Zara, their sons, and their spouses will be saved, but they had to leave behind family members. Can you image how painful this would have been? Another aspect the author reminded the reader throughout is how incredibly hard Noah and his whole family worked before the flood and during the flood while taking care of the animals. 

Sometimes when I read Biblical Stories in the Old Testament, I read them like I'm reciting facts and not taking in all the elements of the story. Noah's story for example...God told Noah to build an ark, He gave Noah the dimensions and told him he would save him his wife their three sons and their spouses. That's eight people if you're doing the math. 

I appreciated throughout the story how Noah and Zara remained faithful to God and were continually reminding their sons and daughters-in-law before, during and after the flood to remain steadfast in their faith and trust God. This was the primary theme throughout The Ark and the Dove

I also liked the realistic family dynamics between Zara, her sons, and daughters-in-law proving that family isn't perfect, but striving to love one another like Christ there can be harmony. 

My only slight critique about The Ark and the Dove is I didn't fully understand who the "Watchers" were before the flood. Also, I'm not sure if it was the pacing of the story, but I found it hard to connect with. For this reason, I'd give The Ark and the Dove 3 stars. 

~~The Ark and the Dove was provided to me by the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~