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Category Archives: Romance

Can’t Help Falling, by Kara Isaac

This book was truly a delight, and honestly, I dragged my feet at the end because I didn’t want the story to be over. 

Can’t Help Falling… what a perfectly chosen title for this darling story that opens with the heroine quite literally falling out of a wardrobe.. and into the arms of the hero. While I say this book is darling, I have to add a disclaimer… it *is* a very sweet story.. but there are some very difficult subjects that come up within these pages. It’s all about hope vs hopelessness, second chances, and forgiveness in every form. It’s about redemption. 

The difficulties encountered and fought through make this book that much sweeter. 

Why? Because it’s real. Not as in a true story, but real as in real life. We all make bad choices, and yet God cares about each of us so personally that He goes to great lengths to draw us to Himself… sometimes we just don’t want to see it. 

A quick synopsis.. Emelia and Peter could quote Narnia together for weeks on end. Neither has ever met anyone remotely like the other, and they are so drawn to each other. But each of them has guilt that they just cannot forgive themselves for, and neither do they really know how to let God forgive them either. They each blame themselves for someone’s too-soon death, and their regrets could very easily come between them when the whole truth comes out. 

Kara Isaac is an incredibly talented, creative writer, and her books are refreshing to me. 

I was thinking about likening this book to Turkish delight, since it is all about two people who might as well be Pevensies. But I’ve never actually had Turkish delight. So I am opting for chocolate. Chocolate with toffee bits in it, because it needs some crunch. 

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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Fiction, Forgiveness, Friendship, Kara Isaac, Romance

 

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The Reunion, by Dan Walsh 

Emotional and heartbreaking at times, The Reunion is the story of a Vietnam veteran and how he feels like he’s nothing special. Due to some choices made in his earlier years, Aaron has not seen his kids in decades. As the maintenance man at a Florida trailer park, he pretty much keeps to himself but helps others and reaches out to them without ever realizing how much difference he truly makes. 

Dave is a journalist on a mission to write a book on Vietnam war heroes when he finds himself commissioned by a veteran to find a recipient of the Medal of Honor. As he begins his search, he meets Karen, whose dad fought in Vietnam. 

The way this story plays out is beautiful, and I hope you’ll give it a try. 

Dan Walsh did a fabulous job of weaving this somewhat complex story so beautifully. His characters feel like real people, with real emotions and real problems. 

As I listened on Audible, Dick Hill was a great choice for this audio book. I’m always a little hesitant when a male reader records a book that has female characters, but he did an excellent job and I really enjoyed it. 

I would classify this book as a southern meal. Maybe mashed potatoes, fried chicken, biscuits, and green beans. Something that reaches your soul. 

 
 

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Close to You, by Kara Isaac

The lightheartedness of this book was something I really needed. And I’d been wanting to try Kara Isaac’s books for quite a while, so basically this was great all around– reading something from my ever-increasing TBR list that happened to be just exactly perfect for me right now. 

Close to You reminded me a lot of the movie Leap Year… Not in story, really, but just in the feel of it — they are both such fun stories, and even though there is sad stuff that happens, they are happy stories. Bright. Like sunshine. 

Allison is a Lord of the Rings tour guide in her native New Zealand, and she’s given enough tours that she’s basically seen it all as far as her clients go. Except for one that changes her life permanently. 

While love is the last thing Jackson expects to find on his trip to New Zealand as he  masquerades as an avid Tolkien fan, he quickly realizes that just maybe he doesn’t have his future mapped out at all. 

This book is well-written and truly a fun read. It’s such a sweet story. This one has to be ice cream. You pick the flavor. Something that is refreshing to you. 

 

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Sticky Notes, by Sherri Schoenborn Murray 

Sherri Schoenborn Murray’s Sticky Notes is creative and original. Her characters are real, with quirks that make me smile and little annoying habits that just make it that much easier to forget that they are actually fictitious… and not people I know in real life.

This story centers around the adorable Ethel King, who lives near the university in Idaho where her granddaughter Katherine (who lives with her and is also a star within these pages) is pursuing her master’s degree. It opens with Katherine contesting a grade she received from her handsome, young professor, Quinn Benton. When Ethel finds out about Katherine’s less-than-gracious behavior, Mr Benton becomes the recipient of a surprise visit from Ethel.. and a box of her special cinnamon rolls. Soon an unlikely friendship has sprouted between Ethel and Quinn, much to Katherine’s dismay.

Even though I had suspicions about where the story was going to end up, it kept me surprised and wanting to hear “just one more chapter”. I’m happy with Sticky Notes. Well, except that I wanted more! 🙂

I believe this book takes place in approximately 1999, although it was published in 2014. So take that however you’d like… I wouldn’t classify it as historical fiction, although it’s really not quite modern either. 🙂 It works very well logistically for this story, as there are a lot of communication aspects that would change the story details if it took place at another time — either earlier or later.

Well this book has to be a cinnamon roll. No question. And I think it fits because it’s sweet and has substance. 

(As I listened to this book via Audible, I didn’t see the characters’ names printed out… I apologize for any misspellings I may have included here.)

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Fiction, Romance, Sherri Schoenborn Murray

 

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Canteen Dreams, by Cara Putman

This Pearl Harbor era story by Cara Putman captured the fear and uncertainty that came with news of the attack. It painted a good picture of the patriotism, enthusiasm, courage, and even jealousy of those on the home front. I found myself contemplating aspects of the war that I hadn’t thought as much about prior to listening to this book… so I felt like I learned from it. 

Canteen Dreams was a sweet romance amid the turmoil of the war. While I found it predictable, this story was still enjoyable… although honestly, through most of the book I found myself wanting to slap Willard. He was kind of jerkish and self-absorbed. 

If you want a war time story but still want a light book, this would be a good option. I’d compare it with whipped cream in a can… airy and sweet, and you know what you’re getting. 

Laural Merlington did a good job with the recording – she struck me as sounding like a woman looking back at the war, telling the story.

 

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The Lady and the Lionheart, by Joanne Bischof 

Where to even begin… 

Although I had heard others raving about it, I was not prepared for how deeply The Lady and the Lionheart was going to affect my heart. That’s an understatement. Majorly.

You know the kind of book that leaves lasting marks after you close the cover? The kind that you can’t stop thinking about? The kind that you find yourself pondering into small hours? 

That’s this book by Joanne Bischof. 

It’s about Ella, a nurse with a torn heart and a broken past. She sees herself as small, not whole, unworthy. Though she is kind, she doesn’t know real joy. 

It’s about Charlie. Charlie the lion tamer. Oh my. Charlie is the epitome of a picture of God’s love. Of giving oneself for another. He’s open and often blunt. He’s vulnerable. And compassionate. 

And it’s about an orphaned gypsy baby named Holland who is more enveloped in a fight between good and evil than she likely will ever fully understand. 

Taking place in Virginia in 1890, this is quite possibly one of the most unique and imaginative storylines I’ve ever read. When Ella and Charlie’s worlds collide, quite literally, their lives become intertwined in ways neither of them anticipate. This tender story of sacrifice and redemption is one I can’t recommend highly enough. There is much raw emotion within these pages, but even more, there is an enormous depth, honesty, and a faith that is almost tangible. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that for a book to truly be Joanne Bischof’s it must evoke tears at some point. This is my third by her, and so far this theory holds true.

Because of its deeply rich story, I’m likening this book to dark chocolate cake with thick peanut butter frosting. There is so much going on in my mind with the sweet taste of this beautiful story lingering on. 

Please read this story. Please let it speak to your heart. Let it change you forever.

 

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A Royal Christmas Wedding, by Rachel Hauck

This book is #4 in The Royal Wedding Series. While I believe it’s not crucial that you read the previous three books before reading this one, it would definitely give you more of the big picture. And really, why not read the whole series?! 🙂 

Cheery, bright, and Christmasy… A Royal Christmas Wedding is a story of love and trust… and forgiveness.

Southern girl Avery Truitt tells herself that she’s over Prince Colin of Brighton. She tells herself that, but in her most honest moments, she knows it’s not true. When she and Mama decide to spend the Christmas season in Brighton with Avery’s sister, she knows she must put a mask on, because she can’t risk letting Colin see how much she still hurts.

The old Pembroke bell rings mysteriously at the end of the Harvest Celebration, causing all of Brighton begins to buzz with questions and anticipation — will the historic tradition be brought back to life.. will whoever rang the bell for his true love marry her on Christmas morning? Who rang it.. and for whom?

Rachel Hauck has a very fun storytelling style, and the way she combines the south with royalty to create modern day fairy tales.. there’s just nobody quite like her.

I think I’d liken this book to a red velvet truffle. Small but heartwarming and sweet, it’s like a party treat – between all the softly falling snow and the dream-like beauty of Cathedral City, I almost felt like I was in a snowglobe.. except we haven’t really had snow here lately.. If you’re accustomed to judging books by their titles, you might hear this one and think it’s fluff. But it’s really not. It’s a sweet story about trusting God and others. So much depth inside this little book… while still feeling pretty light.

P.S. The epilogue is adorable. While I loved this book, the epilogue just might be my favorite part.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Christmas, Fiction, Rachel Hauck, Romance, Royalty, Wedding

 

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