Book Review: Her One and Only

Her One and Only

Her One and Only – Becky Wade – Bethany House – Published 3 May 2016

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Synopsis

Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, is being pursued by a stalker, so his team hires a protection agency to keep Gray under the watch of a bodyguard at all times. When Gray meets Dru Porter, an agent assigned to him, he’s indignant. How can an attractive young female half his size possibly protect him?
But Dru’s a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt. She’s also ferociously determined to uncover the identity of Gray’s stalker. And she’s just as determined to avoid any kind of romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past. But the closer they get to finding the stalker, the closer they grow to each other. As the danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their hearts–and their lives–to one another?

My thoughts

Her One and Only concludes the Porter Family series. This is the perfect book and the perfect end to a perfect series. Her One and Only is fun, romantic, nostalgic and breaks all the old romance novel clichés. As the last book in this series it is nice to reconnect with all the past characters, see how Bo and Meg are doing, check in with Ty, Celia and their brood of kids and catch up with Jake and Lyndie. Meg and Bo play a substantial part in the book, but ultimately it is Dru and Gray’s story that, rightly so, grabbed my heart.

Dru Porter is one tough heroine. She’s smart and not afraid to let everyone around her know it. Youngest Porter sibling, former Marine, and now executive protection agent, she can more than hold her own. And she’s going to need to when she takes the post as Gray Fowler’s bodyguard. Gray is a star NFL player, rich, determined and very used to getting his own way. Well, he hasn’t met Dru yet.     Continue reading

Book Review: Sins of the Past

Sins of the Past

Sins of the Past: A Romantic Suspense Novella Collection – Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason – Bethany House – Published 3 May 2016

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Synopsis

Three Novellas from Bestselling Authors
In Dee Henderson’s “Missing,” a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident, and a race against the clock begins. 

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with “Shadowed,” introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector.

Lynette Eason’s “Blackout” delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found–but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her?

My thoughts

Three of my favourite romantic suspense authors all in one book?? Sign me up!!! Sins of the Past is a collection of three romantic suspense novellas. All three stories are based on something that has happened in the past impacting current events and they bring together plenty of action, suspense and romance.

Missing – Dee Henderson

Missing is a wonderfully insightful and exciting look at working a missing persons case, one that is very personal. Police chief John Graham’s mother has been reported missing. He teams up with Lieutenant Sharon Noble to help locate her. It’s a frustrating and emotional time for John, but he enjoys working with the enigmatic Sharon. The focus of this story is definitely the case. Details, interviews, clues and time lines, it’s like being dropped into the middle of an active crime scene and it’s very interesting. As always with Dee’s writing it is also very enjoyable to read. This is the first time I have read a novella by Dee and was pleased by the balance in timing, and the mix of family, crime solving and romance is also perfect. The story never felt rushed or cut short. The romance develops slowly and sweetly, with the delicate hand that Dee Henderson always turns to her love stories. Very enjoyable.    Continue reading

Book Review: What You Left Behind

What You Left Behind

What You Left Behind – Jessica Verdi – Sourcebooks – Published 4 August 2015

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Synopsis

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

My thoughts

When I started this book I knew it was going to be devastating. I mean, look at the summary! I liked that it was raw and heartbreaking but was pleased that it was equally hopeful. 
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Book Review: The Night We Said Yes

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The Night We Said Yes – Lauren Gibaldi – HarperTeen – Published 16 June 2015

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Synopsis

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

My thoughts

When I first picked this book up I stopped reading after just a few chapters. I wasn’t enjoying it and the resemblance to Last Year’s Mistake, which I has just finished and didn’t enjoy, was too similar. In the interest of giving The Night We Said Yes a fair chance I decided to continue reading at a later date, which I have now done. I still didn’t like it all that much, but I did finish it and I did like some aspects.

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Book Review: Fall Line

Fall Line

Fall Line – Tudor Robins – Downhill Series #1 – Published 11 June 2015

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Synopsis

Everything’s forward. Those are fifteen-year-old Chris Myers’ words for the year. The next gate, the next race, his spot on the district ski team; they’re all his for the taking. Except training is such hard work. And then there’s Jenna – the very opposite of hard work – gorgeous, curvy, and into partying. Into Chris. Instead of moving forward, Chris is sliding back. Slower times, worse results, and his best friend, Tilly, drifting away.

“The thing you want is right in front of you,” Tilly said. Now Chris just has to figure out what that thing is – and how to get it – before it’s too late.

My thoughts

I really liked this book. The snowy crisp world of skiing is the perfect backdrop for a best-friends falling in love love story. With a likeable and realistic male teen lead, great mix of sport and romance and friendship and family, this was a very enjoyable book.
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Book Review: Truest

Truest

Truest – Jackie Lea Sommers – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 1 September 2015

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Synopsis

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck’s small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He’s curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening– and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister– and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest-3

My thoughts

I initially picked this book up because of the cover. That gorgeous, beautiful cover that only gets more beautiful and more meaningful with every page I read. This is an outstanding debut, charming, funny, unbelievably moving and a deep sort of soul searching.

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Book Review: Love on a Deadline

Love on A Deadline

Love on a Deadline – Kathryn Springer – A Year of Weddings 2 #9 – Zondervan – Published 28 July 2015

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Synopsis

MacKenzie “Mac” Davis left her hometown of Red Leaf, Wisconsin, to pursue a degree in journalism. But when her dad, the town’s beloved Coach Davis, suffers a mild heart attack, Mac returns home to help out. She takes a job at the weekly newspaper but instead of covering serious topics, her editor wants her to write about social events—like the garden club’s flower show and the historical society’s afternoon tea. Mac knows it’s no way to earn her father’s respect—or the attention of one of the newspapers she hopes will hire her when she leaves Red Leaf.

When Hollis Channing, Mac’s high school nemesis, returns to Red Leaf to marry her celebrity fiancé, the editor asks Mac to cover the big event—and all the festivities leading up to—for the newspaper.

The last thing Mac wants to do is reconnect with the person who made her life miserable when she was a teenager . . . unless it’s spending time with Ethan Channing, the bride’s older brother—and Mac’s first crush.

Mac is no longer the awkward girl who wore the school mascot costume to the Homecoming dance but she realizes something hasn’t changed. Her feelings for Ethan.

My thoughts

When I tried, and disliked, a few books in this second series of wedding novellas, I decided to stick with authors I already knew and loved. Kathryn Spring has placed herself firmly in this category with her full length novel The Dandelion Field and her novella The September Bride in the first Year of Weddings Series. Now Love On A Deadline confirms her ability to write loveable characters in charming settings, all tied up with a writing style that flows beautifully and makes for an enjoyable read.
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Book Review: The Duck and the Darklings

Duck and the Darklings

The Duck and the Darklings – Glenda Millard, Stephan Michael King – Allen & Unwin Australia – Published 1 April 2014

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Synopsis

Grandpapa’s eyes shine when he remembers the beauty of the world, long-ago. Peterboy wants to find something wonderful to bring the light to Grandpapa’s eyes and keep it there. What he finds is a duck, wounded and broken, and Grandpapa mends her from top to tail; quack, waddle and wing! This is a triumphant story, for children and adults, about the coming of hope in dark days, the warmth of friendship and the splendour of a new dawn.

My thoughts

This is the first book I will be reviewing as part of my Book Week 2015 summary. The Duck and the Darklings has been nominated for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award in 2015 in the Picture Book of the Year category. You can find the full short list of nominated titles here.

The Duck and the Darklings is a very special picture book, most notably for its creativity. I have read lots of post-apocalyptic young adult books, but never have I come across a post-apocalyptic picture book before now.

Peterboy lives with his Grandpapa. They live underground, away from the ruined world where they only venture to scavenge for lost things. When Peterboy finds an injured duck, he takes her back to his grandfather. Together they mend the duck and she in turn brings happiness and light to Peterboy and Grandpapa, inspiring them to look past their safe hole in the dark for hope for the future.

The illustrations in The Duck and the Darkling are as beautiful as they are unique. Large swarths of black and purple shade the majority of the book, with swirls and splashes of colour in yellow, red and green, purple, orange and pink. Peterboy, Grandpapa, Idaduck and their fellow Darklings stand out, drawn in white with black outlines. The writing style is incredibly poetic. The ideas of where the characters are living now, why and what happened to where they were living before are all cleverly alluded too. There will be much to discuss with young readers about what they think happened and why. There are wonderful words, such as disremembered and spiderling, and nothing is described with one word where two or more can be used. Sticks are fiddlesticks for firewood and collecting water is instead filling billies with trickle.

Aside from its creativity and unique beauty, this book is so well placed for Book Week 2015. The themes of dark and light and hope work so beautifully with this year’s theme Books Light Up Our World, as indeed they do in this time of considering our impact on the world. A wonderful and thought-provoking picture book.

More information

Category: Fiction – Picture Book.

Genre: Post-apocalyptic

Themes: Social issues, friendship, family, environment, communities, hope and renewal.

Published: 1 April 2014 by Allen & Unwin.

Format: Hardcover, ebook. 32 pages.

Find it on Goodreads

Book Review: Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here – Katie McGarry – Thunder Road #1 – Harlequin Teen – Published 26 May 2015

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Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My thoughts

Who needs cliff jumping or swimming with sharks. Nowhere But Here was an adrenaline rush from beginning to end. I absolutely love Katie McGarry’s writing. It is flawless every single time. And this book was no different. A new series, a new set of incredibly crafted characters, so real, so raw, so perfect you can’t help but love them. For some reason when I read a sample of this book months ago I lowered my expectations somewhat. So silly. What I didn’t realise is that excerpt was taken out of context and that this book was so compulsive, so addictive, so good.

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Book Review: Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor – Irene Hannon – Revell – Published 7 July 2015

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Synopsis

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans.
When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.

My thoughts

It took me a little while to get truly immersed in this story. Although I knew it was written by Irene Hannon, who consistently writes fantastic suspense and lovely contemporary, I was otherwise unaware of the true bones of this story. But when I did get further into the story, I was captivated by the town of Hope Harbor and its assortment of colourful residents.
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