Counting on a Cowboy

Counting on a Cowboy by Debra Clopton is a 320 page novel in the Christian Contemporary Romance genre. It is book two in the A Four of Heart Ranch Romance Series but can be red as a standalone. Counting on a Cowboy is published by Thomas Nelson and was released on August 11, 2015. To order your own copy, click here.

Counting on a Cowboy

Overview

After losing everything she held dear, Abby never wants to love again. But a certain cowboy may just spur her to wonder if love might be worth the risk.

Running from a past that haunts her, Abby Knightly is drawn to the cozy town of Wishing Springs, Texas. Maybe this small town could offer hope and healing and a future for Abby . . . if she’s brave enough to reach out and take it by the reins.

Bo Monahan isn’t interested in the new romantic destination his little town has become—or the women who might be looking at him like he’s their next Mr. Right. Between taking care of his Pops and his growing stirrup business, he isn’t looking for serious romantic commitments. But when the infant son he never knew about shows up at his doorstep, his world is turned upside down.

This confirmed bachelor might not think he needs a wife, but he sure needs help. Even Abby can see that, and despite her best efforts to keep her distance, she can’t help but be drawn to this new father-son duo. As Abby throws herself into helping Bo navigate fatherhood, hope sparks between them, revealing that maybe, just maybe, they can navigate their dark pasts and emerge together into a future as bright as the Texas sun itself.

My Two Cents

Counting on a Cowboy is an easy read and a very sweet story.  Abby comes to Wishing Springs reeling from pain and tragedy; hoping to start over and make a new life for herself. I loved how Clopton revealed Abby’s story piece by piece throughout the novel.  It made the story interesting and I wanted to keep reading.

I enjoyed watching Abby grow throughout this book.  Clopton has a way of drawing you into what her characters are feeling. She writes their raw emotions.  Clopton did not gloss over issues that she brought to light in her book which was very refreshing. There were issues of side characters that exposed. Sometimes when there are side stories it distracts from the main storyline.  In Counting on a Cowboy the side issues added to story by providing tension and made it more engaging.

My only disappointment with this book was that it seemed a bit unrealistic.  Bo seemed to not want to have anything to do with the women who were drawn to the town through his sister-in-law’s articles.  Yet, he seems to fall in love with Abby right away.  I think there was an opportunity for some tension to be provided and this would have added to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am glad I read it.  I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist who was first published in 2005 and has more than 22 novels to her credit. Along with her writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra is the author of the acclaimed Mule Hollow Matchmaker Series, the place readers tell her they wish was real. Her goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words. Visit her website at www.debraclopton.com

Giveaway

One lucky winner will win a copy of Counting on a Cowboy by Debra Clopton.  To enter, click on the word “Form” below.  This contest ends on Sept. 5 at 11:59 pm PDT.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth Vogt is a 368 page novel in the Christian contemporary romance genre. It is part of the Destination Wedding series but can be read as a stand alone. This novel is published by Howard Books and was released on June 30, 2015.  You can purchase your copy by clicking here.

crazy little thing

Overview

Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

My Two Cents

Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a sweet love story that reflects how our lives can derail when we do not include God and seek wise counsel in our life decisions. It also wonderfully reflects God’s grace and forgiveness.  The reader is reminded that through God’s grace, we grow and change which makes us wiser.

Vogt wrote great characters in Crazy Little Thing Called Love. A favorite part of the book is when Vanessa’s friend Mindy and Logan’s friend Max confronts each one respectively regarding the choices they are making.  Sometimes in life it is hard to confront our friends but if we love them we will tell them the hard things in love because we care about them.  Vogt incorporated this brilliantly in this story; really showing how rewarding those hard conversations can be.

Although there were many things I liked about Crazy Little Thing Called Love, I will state that I did find it a bit slow.  There were certain circumstances I found unrealistic and unbelievable. Vogt used flashbacks to give us a glimpse of Logan and Vanessa’s past history.  I enjoyed reading about their past, however, I wish there was more written in current time.  Lastly, I wish more time was given to the end of the story.  It seemed very rushed and it was hard for me as the reader to connect to the end of the story.

I give Crazy Little Thing Called Love 3 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to the Litfuse Chicks for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can’t Buy Me Love, (May) and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love(June).

Visit Beth online:  website, Facebook, Twitter

Giveaway

To enter to win Crazy Little Thing Called Love click on the words “Entry-Form” below.  This giveaway ends on August 5 at 11:59pm PDT.

Thriving in Babylon Guest Review by Jim Barela

Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne is a 199 page book in the Non-fiction Religious genre. It is published by David C. Cook and was released on June 1.  To order your copy of Thriving in Babylon, click here.

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Overview

Meet a man forced to live in a fast changing and godless society. He faced fears about the future, concern for his safety, and the discouragement of world that seemed to be falling apart at warp speed.

Sound familiar? His name was Daniel, and with the power of hope, humility, and wisdom, he not only thrived, he changed an empire while he was at it. Though he lived thousands of years ago, he has a much to teach us today.

Even in Babylon, God is in control.

In Thriving in Babylon, Larry Osborne explores the “adult” story of Daniel to help us not only survive – but actually thrive in an increasingly godless culture. Here Pastor Osborne looks at:

-Why panic and despair are never from God

-What true optimism looks like

-How humility disarms even our greatest of enemies

-Why respect causes even those who will have nothing to do with God to listen

-How wisdom can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat

For those who know Jesus and understand the full implications of the cross, the resurrection, and the promises of Jesus, everything changes—not only in us, but also in our world.

My Two Cents

Osborne’s book, Thriving in Babylon, is a book that is easy to follow and a fairly quick read. The language and illustrations used allow the reader to follow the author’s train of thought without much distraction from the message he delivers. As a reader I did find it helpful that the author chose to provide scripture references where he thought it would be helpful.

There were a few distractions I encountered as I read through the book. I will make every effort to be brief as I share just a few concerns.

– The book of Daniel is one book of the major prophets detailing what was to come and detailing the sovereignty of God in the affairs of man not to offer “us a model for not only surviving but actually thriving in the midst of a godless culture.”

– Though the author acknowledges the sovereignty of God, he then uses the phrase “then God showed up” in several places, as if God’s plan was not working out so well and He had to show up to fix things – the book of Daniel clearly shows that God ordained all that would take place according to His will.

– The book is supposed to be about how to thrive in Babylon but the author draws principles from biblical characters not related to the Babylonian captivity making it seem as though he had these principles in mind before deciding to use Daniel as the basis for his book.

– Living in light of the gospel is how the believer survives and thrives today. But, the gospel is mentioned and discussed only sparingly.

Readers should know that there are some important challenges to our modern thinking that are important for us to read contained in Osborne’s book. One challenge as well as reminder is the timeless truth that faithfulness does not guarantee an easy life. Many faithful Christians will endure suffering and hardships in their life as they encounter difficulties common to believers around the world. I recommend reading the book of Daniel at least twice before reading this book so that you have a firm foundation to build upon.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Many thanks to the Litfuse Chicks for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.

About the Author

Dr. Larry Osborne has served as a senior pastor and teaching pastor at North Coast Church—one of the ten most influential churches in the country—since 1980. Dr. Osborne is the author of numerous books, including Accidental Pharisees. He and his wife live in Oceanside, California. They have three grown children.

Find Larry online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Thriving in Babylon by clicking on the words “Entry-Form” below. This contest ends on Monday, July 27 at 11:59 pm PDT.

A Bride at Last

A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears is a 368 page novel in the Christian historical romance genre.  It is the third book in the Unexpected Brides series but can be read as a stand alone.  A Bride at Last is published by Bethany House and was released on July 7, 2015. To purchase your own copy, click here.

a bride at last

Overview

Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.

Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she’d been deceived about her intended groom, she’s now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she’ll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony-until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy’s father.

Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony’s wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

To learn more about A Bride at Last, click here.

My Two Cents

A Bride at Last is a faced-paced love story that makes you sad to see the story end because you want to read more.  It is well-written with developed characters and storyline. I loved how the book does not end where you expect it to and shows how God can heal the lives of people.

A Bride at Last deals with addiction; how those vices effect the ones around us and have consequences for years to come.  However, it also displays how love, hope, faith, and forgiveness can help us to overcome our addictions. I was encouraged by the blessings the characters received by following God and having faith in Him even when it is hard and sacrifices are made to do so.

The hard choices that women had to make in the late 1800’s were well written into A Bride at Last. Abandonment and its lasting consequences on both children and adults were woven into this story as well.  One of my favorite aspects of this story is how it shows that family is not always made up of flesh and blood. Love makes a family a family.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  It is a book a really enjoyed and will be reading again!

Thank you to the LitFuse Chicks for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of ABride for Keeps and A Bride in Store, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly.

Find Melissa online: website, Facebook

Two Giveaways

Simple Harvest Reads Giveaway

To enter my giveaway, click on the words “Entry-Form” below.  This giveaway ends on July 19, 2015 at 11:59pm PDT.

Melissa Jagears A Bride at Last and a $100 memory making giveaway:

Can Silas and Kate overcome their rocky start and experience healing—and possibly love? Discover the answer in Melissa Jagears’ new book, A Bride at LastNeither Kate nor Silas is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light as they attempt to prove nine-year-old Anthony’s paternity to the court. Can their wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

Celebrate the release of A Bride at Last by entering to win a $100 Memory-Making giveaway and RSVPing to Melissa’s August 4th author chat party!

bride at last-400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A $100 gift card to Netflix (for a family movie night), Shutterfly (to create a family memory book), or TablePlayGames (for a family game night)
  • One copy of A Bride at Last

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/4. The winner will be announced at Melissa’s 8/4 A Bride at Last Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Melissa and fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

bride at last-enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

Gone Without a Trace

Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley is a 328 page novel in the Christian suspense genre. It is published by Revell Publishers and was released on July 7, 2015. Gone Without  a Trace is the third book in the Logan Point series but can be read as a stand alone. To purchase your copy, click here.

Overview
It’s been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds’s cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts Livy concerning a missing senator’s daughter who was last seen in Logan Point, she notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. But with self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of Jennings, Livy is finding this investigation an uphill battle. With her future in law enforcement on the line, can she find a way to work with a man who is her polar opposite?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley keeps readers on the edge of their seats as they anticipate the outcome of the case–and the relationship between Livy and Alex–which is anything but certain.

My Two Cents
Gone Without A Trace is an edge of your seat thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end. There are many characters all within a small town which adds to the suspense of the story. The book goes back and forth between the thoughts of the killer and the main characters of the story but, unlike other novels I read, this does not give away who the killer is and gives you a first hand look into the mind of the killer.

There are several themes throughout the story. Gone Without a Trace shows the consequences of abandonment and the bad choices parents make. Familial love is another theme that is well written in this story. The sacrifices that Livy makes for her family and her family makes for her made me wish I was closer to my extended family. Gone Without a Trace also shows how family can use love to manipulate you and try to conform you to be what you are not through the character of Alex.

Gone Without a Trace incorporates the sacrifices police officers make in the line of duty. Also the tension that can come between law enforcement and private investigators. It is very apparent that Patricia has done her research on law enforcement, private investigators, and how each work within their field.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It is the first book I have read by Patricia Bradley and I was not disappointed. I can not wait to read more of her books.

About the Author
Patricia Bradley’s manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award (1st place, Inspirational), and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love award (1st place, Contemporary). Also the author of A Promise to Protect, Bradley is a published short story writer and is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at http://www.ptbradley.com.

Giveaway
To enter the giveaway for a copy of Gone Without a Trace, click on the words “Entry-Form” below. This giveaway ends July 18 at 11:59pm PDT.

Picture Perfect Love

Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone is a novel in the Christian contemporary romance genre.  It is published by Zondervan Publisher and was released in May, 2015.  It is the seventh book in the A Year of Weddings series but can be read as a stand alone. To purchase your copy, click here.

picture perfect love

Overview

When image becomes everything, it’s up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren’t always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God’s plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton’s heart still hasn’t recovered.

It was me. His younger sister’s three words turn Ashton’s world upside down. He must ask Jenna’s forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

For more information on Picture Perfect Love, click here.

My Two Cents

Picture Perfect Love is an easy read about healing, love, and forgiveness.  The story flows well and is the perfect read for a summer day of reading.  The cute ideas for the main characters photography business displays the research the author has done for this novel and some of the antics her customers displayed are both humorous and well-fitting in this story.

The characters in this story have their share of difficulties, mostly brought about by themselves. Ashton must deal with his father’s manipulation and his sister’s antics. For Jenna, she must contemplate if she has truly forgiven Ashton. Even though we have healed, sometimes when our past comes back to us, it is difficult to trust again.

Picture Perfect Love makes the reader reflect on forgiveness and restoration.  Jenna’s faith in God and her changed life is evident through her relationship with Ashton, his family, and her friends. The help she has received from her church wonderfully displays the body Christ.

I enjoyed reading this Picture Perfect Love, however, I wish more time would have been taken with the end of the story. The end felt very rushed. Also, I thought certain parts of the book were predictable.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.  It is a fun read and there is definitely a lesson to be learned from this story.

Thank you to the Litfuse Chicks for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All views expressed are my own and no monetary compensation has been received.

About the Author

Melissa McClone has published more than thirty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.

Find Melissa online: website, Twitter, Facebook

Giveaway

To enter to win an e-book copy of Picture Perfect Love, click on the words “Entry-Form” below.  This giveaway ends July 18, 2015 at 11:59pm PDT.

The Innocent

The Innocent by Ann Gabhart is a 384 page novel in the Christian mystery romance genre.  It is published by Revell and was released on July 7, 2015.  To purchase your copy, click here.

the-innocent

Overview

Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. The war ends without further word. Now penniless, in debt, and forced from her home, Carlyn seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, only to discover that they will not allow her to keep her beloved dog, an animal that has been her faithful companion since her husband went off to war. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie has pity on the lovely young woman and agrees to take the dog. Carlyn is just settling into life as a sister in the Shaker village when she receives a devastating letter confirming her worst fears. As she wrestles with whether to commit herself fully to the Shaker life, mysterious deaths begin to occur, and Carlyn comes under suspicion. Can Sheriff Mitchell help her expose the true culprit?

My Two Cents

The Innocent is a well-written novel that keeps the reader interested from the beginning.  The story line displays well the dangers that can come when people abuse religion and power. I enjoyed the mystery that was added to the story line making this novel not your typical love story.

It is apparent that Gabhart has done her research both about the culture of the post-Civil War era and about the Shakers. The Innocent shows a side to the Civil War that is not often shown; the soldiers who were missing and the effect it had on their loved ones.  Wives found themselves destitute with no way to collect on the pensions offered from the government. They had limited resources and limited options.  This created an environment where women were not safe and could easily be taken advantage of.

There were many characters in this story and it added to the depth of the novel.  A couple of the characters added tension to the novel which made the book hard to put down.  I really enjoyed the relationship Carlyn had with her dog who was a wonderful companion to her.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  It is a sweet story although a bit predictable.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels–The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted–as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.

Giveaway

To enter to win The Innocent by Ann Gabhart, click on the words “Entry-Form” below.  This giveaway ends Friday, July 17 at 11:59pm PDT.