06Oct

Book Review: Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book. This post contains affiliate links.

Beloved Book Review

I have been counting down the days until this book comes out!  Beloved is the third book in Robin Lee Hatcher’s “Where the Heart Lives” series. I read the first 2 books of the series, and I really enjoyed both of them.

At the end of the last book, there was a teaser for Beloved. Here is the opening line of the teaser: “To say the least, it was inconsiderate of Diana’s almost-dead husband to show up at her engagement party.”  What an amazing hook!  I immediately knew I’d be reading this book.

The Story

This is the story of the last of the three Brennan children, Diana.  (No worries if you haven’t read the other 2 books. This is completely a stand-alone novel.) She was the youngest of the children who came west with the orphan train and she was adopted by a loving couple.  She had a whirlwind courtship with the wealthy Tyson Applegate, and they married. However, her dreams quickly died out as she realized that her feelings ran deeper than his. Tyson’s anger toward his father proved to be bigger than his care for Diana and he ran off to prove himself and chase adventure, leaving her alone.

As the years pass by and she doesn’t hear any word of him, her love finally dies out as well, replaced with near hatred and then indifference as her own situation worsens. It has been nearly 7 years since he left and her husband will now be legally declared dead–she has tried to move on despite the pain and rejection and is engaged to be married to Brook. However, just when all seems well with her life, Tyson Applegate comes back into it–just in time to stop her marriage to Brook.

My thoughts

I love a story about redemption. I love stories where the wounds seem too deep, and the mistakes seem too big. I love to see those stories come full circle. I love to see those characters find the redemption they so desperately need, and Robin Lee Hatcher has a knack for doing that in a realistic way. She never takes the easy way out. It doesn’t seem like everything is tied up with a nice little bow, she really works through the pain and betrayal and rejection with her characters in a realistic way.

Faith is woven intricately into Robin Lee Hatcher’s writings, and I find that every book I read challenges me in some ways in my own faith, and this one is no exception.

If you enjoy Christian historical romance, I definitely think you’ll enjoy Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher. Also, although previous characters are referenced, this book is a complete, stand alone story–you won’t feel left out or behind if you didn’t read the previous books.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from the Publisher. I received no other compensation, and I was not required

28Dec

Book Review: Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher

I’ve read several books by Robin Lee Hatcher and always enjoyed them, so I was excited to review the most recent addition to her Where the Heart Lives Series.

Betrayal (Book 2)

Julia Grace has been through a lot in her short years, suffering circumstances and loss that would dampen the spirit of a weaker woman. Julia has been through hardship to come out on the other side victorious and empowered. All she needs is her Wyoming ranch, and she’ll be fine. But when her dead husband’s half-brother threatens even that, Julia must find a way to save it.

Hugh Brennan has strong reasons not to trust anyone. His life has been lonely and filled with betrayal, leading him to a life of solitude. But something about Julia makes him long for family and companionship.

My Review

I’m a sucker for a story of healing the wounded, and that’s just what Betrayal is. Both main characters come from a past of loss and betrayal, and must work through those past disappointments and circumstances to trust each other, and find God’s love in the midst of the pain.  I have to admit that I liked the first book of the series (Belonging), more than this one, but it was still enjoyable. The conflict in the story left me wanting a bit more, it seemed too “easy” at times, considering the pain and betrayal both characters had in their past. However, it was a sweet story, and a satisfying read.

Although this is the second book of a series, it is a stand-alone novel, and you can read it without reading the first one.

The back of the book leaves readers with a hook for Book 3, Beloved. The first line of the excerpt: “To say the least, it was inconsiderate of Diana’s almost-dead husband to show up at her engagement party.” Wow. Can’t wait to read that one! But, I’m going to have to, as it doesn’t release until June 2013! Either way, I’m looking forward to the conclusion to this series!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan so that I could read it and offer up my opinion. I was not required or encouraged to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

See my other book reviews.

04Dec

Book Review: The Bartered Bride Collection, Barbour Publishing

I’ve always loved to read. Really. In my 30 years, I can’t think of a time in my life when I didn’t love reading. I read whatever I could get my hands on. There was just one problem—I couldn’t stop. I remember being 10 or 12, and there was a light on a pole outside my window. If I held my book just right, I could lie in bed reading, long after bedtime. (I know, I was living on the wild side.)

I still love to read, and I still haven’t quite gained the self-discipline to put the book down. I no longer have to worry about reading in the dark after bedtime, but I do have to worry about being coherent the next day, and staying up till 2 am reading is usually not a good idea.

I know myself too well, and I know that interrupting my book for things like making dinner and going to bed at a reasonable hour is going to be difficult. Which is why, I have recently gained an appreciation for the novella.

And The Bartered Bride Collection is a great bargain. 9 books in 1? Yes, please!You get 9 stories, each of which is easily read in a single setting, and written by great authors (such as Cathie Marie Hake, who I love!). The stories are well written, although there were a couple of stories that I felt were a bit rushed.  However, that’s a common problem for novellas, and the stories in this collection mostly avoided the pit-falls of a rushed storyline and underdeveloped characters. Overall, I was really pleased with this entire collection. If you love to read and are looking for some stories that fit well into your mom-routine, I think this book is a great choice.

One note, the tagline says “9 historical stories of arranged marriages,” and this is slightly misleading because in actuality only a couple of the stories are ones where the marriage is arranged, most go through a period of getting to know one another before the marriage takes place.

(Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book, via NetGalley, in exchange for sharing my opinion about it. I was not required or encouraged to post a positive review and all my opinions are my own.)

03Aug

Book Review: The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House Publishers)

 

I love to read.  Since I was ten or eleven, it’s been my favorite pastime.  People often talk about a place to go when you want to get away from it all and crave peace.  I never had a physical place, I had books.  So, earlier this year when I learned about the opportunity to review for Bethany House (Christian Publisher), I applied right away and was excited to have my application accepted, especially since most of my favorite books have been published by Bethany House. 

I have a small confession to make—in all my reading of Christian books, I had somehow managed to miss anything by Beverly Lewis.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Amish books.  However, when The Fiddler popped up on my review list, I thought it would be a good time to give her book a chance, and see what all the fuss was about. 

I’m glad I did.

The Fiddler follows the struggles of Amelia Devries (Amy), and Michael Hostettler.  Amy is a world-famous concert violinist, but we first meet her when she is moonlighting as a fiddler.  Michael Hostettler has been raised in an Amish household, but we first meet him when he’s hiding out after an argument with his strict Amish father.  And so, the scene is set for both Amy and Michael to struggle against the pressures placed upon them by tradition, family members, and expectations, as they seek to make their own way in life.

I really enjoyed many aspects of this book.  There is an element of romance, but it takes a back seat to the main story as both Michael and Amy try to untangle their own desires from the expectations placed upon them by others.  I like the parallel drawn between the pressures Michael faces from his Amish family, and the pressures Amy faces from her family’s career expectations. 

I did feel as if there was a lot of judgment toward the Amish culture and beliefs, and that bothered me a bit.  It was as if the Amish community was being judged for not allowing the “fancy” visitor to completely change their customs.

Overall, this was a good read, with a bit of hints and mystery woven in to keep you guessing for the upcoming books in the series. 

(I was provided a review copy from Bethany House Publishers.  However, I was not required to post a positive review, and all opinions expressed about this book are my own.)

 

23May

Book Review: Firestorm by Lisa T. Bergren

Firestorm is the story of Reyne Oldre. She suffers guilt and fear because of an accident involving her work as a smoke jumper and doesn’t want to be involved with it again, instead she’ll work with the back end instead.  However, when she is forced to work with Logan on a research project working to make firefighting safer for smoke jumpers, she finds herself being pulled back into that world.

Although my husband has never been a smoke jumper, he has worked with them before on crews fighting forest fires so I was excited to read this book depicting scenarios that I’ve heard him talk about time and again. I thought the author did a great job at creating compelling and realistic scenarios.

Firestorm is the 6th book in the series, and while there were certainly times I wished I’d read the previous ones, this book is a stand alone novel and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read the others.

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