Hearts in Defiance by Heather Blanton

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Hearts in Defiance, written by Heather Blanton, is book 2 in the Romance in the Rockies series. Naomi Miller and her sisters Rebecca and Hannah run the Trinity Inn renting rooms and serving meals. They are strong Christian women who have loved and lost and now are starting to find love again. Rebecca has developed feeling for Ian who helps cooks at the Inn. Naomi and Charles McIntyre have developed a relationship. And Hannah is starting have feelings for Emilio.

Naomi’s former brother-in-law, Matthew, claims to have always loved Naomi and has come to Defiance to take her back to California. Hannah’s ex-boyfriend and father of her child, Billy, has decided he did wrong by letting Hannah leave. He has left his family and his family’s wealth to get back together with Hannah.

If you like historical western romances, you will like this story. The characters that were introduced in book one were in this book as well. This story builds on book one, so they should be read in order. Romans 8:1 tells us “Therefore, there in now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. The story focuses on the relationships the women have with men who have made mistakes, have asked Jesus into their lives and are trying to move past them.

I received a copy of this book from Book Club Network for an honest review.

Series: Romance in The Rockies (Book 2)

365 page

ISBN 13: 9781500914660

Publisher: Rivulet Publishing

Hunted by Sandra Robins

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Hunted is the second book in the Firebrand Series written by Sandra Robbins.

Colt Hanson and his friends Ash, Reese and Casey worked together as past of a military group called Firebrand. After the group split up, they developed a training center for military and law enforcement personnel. One day Colt get a video call from Nimrod, a man they all thought was killed during one of the mission in Africa. Nimrod has tracked down Colt’s estranged wife, Sloan, and has taken her captive to get to Colt. In the process 3 of Sloan’s co-workers are killed. Colt goes to try to save Sloan and manages to get her but they end up on the run trying to stay ahead of Nimrod. The police feel that Sloan is the one that killed her co-workers and are on the search for Sloan and Colt.

Colt turns to his friend John from the CIA for help in getting away from Nimrod. John informs Colt that there might be a mole in the CIA that is working with Nimrod and warns Colt to be on the look out . Nimrod is just one step behind Colt and Sloan from Dallas to the training center.

During their travel Colt and Sloan have a chance to talk about what happened to their marriage. Both of them were working in Africa when they met and got married.

This is a really good book. It is fast paced with a lot of action. I was really surprised to find out who the mole was. I like the little touches the author uses to make this a Christian story. I like how Colt and Sloan both turn to prayer with their struggles. I also like that the other characters that were introduced in the first story were brought back in this story. My favorite part of the story was after they git ti the training center, Casey visits with Sloan. She explains that the tragedy Sloan and Colt experienced in Africa was because they were trying to right a wrong. That God was using them in Africa and He wasn’t done using them yet.

I received a copy of the book from Book Club Network for an honest review.

Series: Firebrand Series

258 pages

ISBN-10: 099689182X

ISBN-13: 978-0996891820

Publisher: Sandra Robbins

The Centurion by Ken Gire

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The Centurion is a historical novel written by Ken Gire inspired by Biblical scripture. It is the story of Lucius, a Centurion at the execution and death of Jesus. Lucius meets Mary of Magdala and they both experience feeling for the other. Mary has had her fill of men, she does not want a man. She only wants Jesus, He was everything to her.

As a soldier in the Roman army, Lucius is sent to the Frontier for training and to fight in wars. He does not want to leave Mary, he questions why Mary was brought into his life for him to be set away. After many years of war, Lucius’s feelings toward war was changing. He no longer thought of himself as a good man with noble ambitions. He questions if a day will ever come when men will war with words instead of swards.

Mary moved to Rome. She was always giving of herself. She has seen a lot of miracles and has memories of Jesus. Her life changed forever the day she met Him in Magdala. She would follow Him anywhere and give up anything.

When Lucius returns to Rome, he finds it has been destoryed by fire. The Christian’s are blamed for the fire and are being tortured and killed. Lucius is also told that Mary has been in Rome and he sets out to try to find her.

This is a good book that is inspired by Biblical scripture but is mostly fictional. The author has done extensive research to write the story true to the time. The author includes her reaserch at the end of the book so the reader can also do research to better understand that time in history and the events that took place. I enjoyed reading about the traditions that were observed at the time of Jesus’s death. And the was the armies fought in battle, having different goups of soldiers that would take turns fighting and going back in line so the soldiers were not all fatigued from fighting at the same time. This is a good book, but there is a fair amount of violence within the story. This is a reminder to us of how violent that time in history was.

I received a copy of the book from Moody Publishing for an honest review.

368 pages

ISBN-10: 080240894X

ISBN-13: 978-0802408945

Publisher: River North

Jilted by Varina Denman

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Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.”

Jilted is book 3 in the Mended Heart series written by Variana Denman. This is Lynda Turner’s’ story. Fifteen years ago Lynda was married to her love of life, Hoby,with a little girl, Ruthie. Hoby struggled with depression and when Lynda’s ex-boyfriend told him she had an affair, Hobby left her. Hoby had sent her a letter telling her he wanted to see her, but he never came. Now years later his vehicle is found in the lake but his body is not in it.

Lynda has had many hard situations since her husband left. She was left to raise their daughter alone. She suffered severe depression and was shunned by her church and looked down upon by members of the community. She was forced to endue years of harassment from her ex-boyfiend, one of the wealthiest and enfluentual people in Trapp, Texas. She was a lonely person who felt abondoned by everyone she loved.

This is a story of what happens when parents control their children’s lives. Parents may have lived longer and have more life experiences but they do not know the deep heart feelings their children have. In this story, several couples have had their lives and their children’s lives almost ruined by one controlling father years earlier.

I enjoyed reading this series very much. It is so well written you can envision the family pulling together to help Lynda and Ruthie. I like how this is a Christian Drama that shows the real struggles Non-Christians go through trying to understand the truth. For some it will take years. For other’s it may take a serious illness. I especially liked that the author wrote a final chapter letting us know how things turned out for Lynda and her family.

Author Bio –

Varina Denman is author of the Mended Hearts series and a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similar small town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly-grown children.

Note: I received this copy of Jilted as a part of the Radiant Lit Jilted blog tour. The book is available for purchase at Amazon.com.

Series: Mended Hearts Series

384 pages

ISBN-10: 1434708381

ISBN-13: 978-1434708380

Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2016)

Justified by Varina Denman

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Justified is book 2 in the Mended Heart Series by Varina Denman. This is Fawn Baylock’s story. Fawn is a young girl who has been kicked out of her parents home with just the clothes on her back when they find out she is pregnant. Fawn has had a bad relationship with the baby’s father, Tyler, for some time and does not want to be with him. For the first time in her life she has to work. She takes a job at the local feed store but she does not make enough to support herself. Ansel and Velma Pickett take her in until Ansel finds someone who owns a vacant home in the area that lets her move in free of charge for fixing the place up.

Ansel and Velma ask their son, JohnScott, to watch out for her. He starts doing repairs around the home and spends a lot of time with Fawn. Tyler does not like JohnScott being with Fawn. He wants Fawn back. He gets into her home one day while she is gone and brings her all kinds of baby items that he feels she will need for the baby.

During this time Fawn also sees how much control her father has over her mother and how much her mother wants to help her. She also finds out her parents are not who they always thought they were.

I really like this series. The story is written so well that it’s like watching a movie. I like how realistic the story is. As well as how strong Fawn becomes when she is forced to live on her own. The one part in the story that really stood out to me what on Labor Day, Fawn was sitting on the hood of the pickup realizing that prayer was new to her, that growing up she attended church 3 times a week and attended church functions but she had not developed a faith of her own. I wonder how many of us are like that but never realize what Fawn did.

I received a copy of this book from Radiatelit and this is my honest review.

Series: Mended Hearts Series

416 pages

ISBN-10: 0781412161

ISBN-13: 9780781412162

Publisher: David C. Cook

Jaded by Varena Denman

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Jaded is book 1 in the Mended Hearts Series written by Varina Denman. This is Ruthie’s story. When Ruthie was a little girl, her father left. The church they were attended shunned her and her mother and the community looked down on them. Ruthie is now grown and is working 2 jobs to try to help support her mother and herself. She works at the high school during the day and at a grocery store at night. Her cousin looks after her a lot, taking her where she needs to be and hanging out with her.

The little town of Trapp Texas does not get many people moving in. Within a short length of time a former community member moves back when he is released from prison. And the Cunningham family move to the area. The oldest son, Dodd, is the new part time pastor at the local church as well as teaches at the high school where Ruthie and her cousin work.

Dodd is a Bible following pastor and talks with people from outside of the church leading them to God. The church leaders do not like this, they feel they have hired him to work for them only, not those who do not attend the church.

This is the first book I have read written by Varina Denman and I really like it. I like how realistic this book is about situations and struggles people go through. And the hurt they feel while going through the hard times. The story shows us that things that we have not control over, such as Ruthie’s dad leaving, affects the rest of our lives. I especially like the family background in this story. I like how strong Ruthie’s extended family is and how they have reached out to take care of Ruthie when her mother is not able too. And I like seeing how Ruthie takes on the responsibility of helping her mother and trying to keep things easy for her mother.

Series: Mended Hearts Series

432 pages

ISBN-10: 1434708373

ISBN-13: 978-1434708373

Publisher: David C. Cook

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

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Delilah: Treacherous Beauty is book 3 in A Dangerous Beauty series written by Angela Hunt. At the age of 17 Delilah’s step-father dies. Her step-brother denies the marriage between his father and her mother and sells Delilah’s mother as a slave. He has Delilah locked in his room for his pleasure. Delilah eventually escapes and is take care of by 3 brothers who take her to a widow. Delilah becomes her help mate with tending the fields, weaving and greeting people who come to the well. Delilah gives birth to her step-brother’s son and the widow takes on the role of his mother. When the widow dies Delilah struggles with mothering her “enemy’s” son.

During this time, Samson is to marry and offers a prize to the person who can solve his riddle. His bride to be gets the answer from him and tells Delilah’s step-brother the answer. To fulfill the prize Samson murders people. Samson becomes a hunted man and eventually Delilah’s love. One day Delilah’s step-brother comes to the well and recognizes Delilah. He tells her he will come back to her for information regarding Samson and if she does not give it to him, he will abuse and kill her.

Delilah goes to the authorities and makes a deal with them to turn in Samson for her own safety.

This is a good story that is loosely based on the Bible. I like how the author does extensive research to make the story true to the time. The story is so well written is is hard to remember that most of the story is fictional. The Bible gives us very little information on Delilah. The story tells us the story of Samson from the angel visiting his mother before his birth, to his death. This part of the story is very powerful. God give Samson the strength to accomplish what God wants him too. Samson has very strong faith and abilty to forgive, feeling what he goes through is part of God’s plan for him.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review.

Series: A Dangerous Beauty Novel (Book 3)

352 pages

ISBN-10: 076421697X

ISBN-13: 978-0764216978

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 7, 2016)

Starter Bible, published by Tommy Nelson

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Starter Bible is a really cute cushioned hard cover board book with 18 Bible stories summarized for a young child. Some of the traditional stories within this book are God Makes the World, Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions and Jonah and the Whale from the Old Testament. Some of the New Testament stories include, the birth of Jesus, Bread and Fish, Jesus Calms the Sea, Jesus and the Children, The Little Man in the Tree, and the stories of Jesus death and resurrection.

This is a really cute book for an older toddler. It comes with a handle for easy carrying. This is a book to be read to children as the words are small and could be a little hard for the young reader. The book does have a Choking Hazard disclaimer on the back saying is is not for children under 3. I was discouraged with this as I think younger children would love having a book like this for a bedtime story book. The pictures are so clear and colorful. This is a great little book to have to read to children to teach them bible stories. Being a board book, it is very durable and will stand up to being carried with the child a lot. The book will also be very easy to keep clean. I am happy the book contains the stories of Daniel, Jonah, and Zacchaeus as these were some of my children’s favorites.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Blogger for an honest review.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

40 pages

ISBN-10: 0718090055

ISBN-13: 978-0718090050

Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Boardbook edition

The Water Saving Garden by Pam Penick

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The Water-Saving Garden: How To Grow A Gorgeous Garden With A Lot Less Water, written by Pam Penick is a great guide to help the gardener who wants to have a water saving garden instead of a water guzzler. This book gives great information on how to plan your garden to make it more water friendly. Some of the authors suggestions are to have a rain garden or terraced garden. She also describes the difference between a making a berm to hold water and making a swale, or shallow gully, to collect water runoff. Other suggestions are to plant native plants and to get ride of the lawn by replacing the grass with sand or other hard surfaces that do not need water.

In addition to giving information on how to make your yard more water-saving, the author gives information on over 100 plant that are water saving plants. This list included plants from almost all regions.

Being an avid gardener I am always trying to find ways to save myself work in the gardening process. I thought this book was interesting to read. I wasn’t really looking to conserve water, I was looking for ideas to make my gardens self sustaining so I do not have to spend as much time on them. I think this book is good for that purpose as well as conserving water. I especially like that the author contained a part specifically listing the different types of perennials an annuals. Anyone that likes to have a nice yard but does not want to be tied to tending it constantly would benefit from reading this book.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books for an honest review.

240 pages

ISBN-10: 1607747936

ISBN-13: 978-1607747932

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Romance by Design

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Romance by Designs is written by Gail Gaymer Martin. Hunter Evans has just returned from working on a project in London to find the company he works for has hired a new designer. Morgan Branigan helps the boss with the charitable events that Hunter does not like to attend. She also has a different design style than Hunter. Their boss pairs them up on several jobs to have them blend their design styles. Together they make an outstanding design team, even coordinating their dressing for presentations.

A former designer, Anica, returns to the company and threatens Morgan’s and Hunter’s relationship. Anica and Hunter use to have a romantic relationship and she wants him back.

Hunter grew up in a dysfunctional family with no religious training. Morgan was raised in a close family with a strong religious up bringing. Morgan takes the time to pray before her meals. Hunter questions this and over time he finds himself wondering about religion and the Christian Life.

This is a really nice story. It was a little slow moving in the beginning but once the story line was developed it was a fun to read book. Megan has grown up in a large family with a very funny father. This story has drama as well as romance.

I received a copy of this book from Book Club Network for an honest review.

294 pages

ISBN-10: 1515081338

ISBN-13: 978-1515081333

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform