Category Archives: Books

My review of Red Carpet by Dayo Benson

About the book:

Lexi Dixon has gone from wallowing over the raw deal that she believed was her lot in life to living her red carpet dreams. She’s opening fashion shows for top designers at fashion week, doing photo shoots at exotic locations, and enduring three hours of makeup for ten-minute public appearances. She’s the talk of Tinsel town—for both good and bad reasons. But her life is not all glitz and glamour.

Between all the lies in the papers, the crazy Paparazzi that keep following her, and her own personal issues, Lexi is sure she’s going to lose it, and it’s not going to be pretty when she does!

A shocking revelation about her father, a rival model who seems bent on sabotaging Lexi’s career, and a bizarre experience with a secret society cause Lexi to slow down to a pace where maybe she can look inward, and perhaps even upward!

My review:

Once again I was blown away by the raw honesty in this book. The crazy thing is I listened to the entire thing (mostly while driving) and never actually read a word. But the story is so well done that I felt like I was reading it. The characters have become my friends. I hated for the story to end. The spiritual parts of the book were realistic. The conflict felt genuine and not forced. Lexi’s life is a complicated mess, and at the same time, intriguing.

Lexi is a great example of someone who seems to have everything except the one thing they desire most… true love that lasts. I can’t wait to read more to find out what happens next. I’m hooked on these characters and something tells me I may shed a few tears when this series ends. Love this author and absolutely adore this series. Now I’m off to buy the final book in the series.

Red Carpet was published by the author using Amazon Digital Services and release in Oct. 2011


One choice of one of five books (giveaway!) USA only for paperbacks.

I am trying to reduce some of my stash, so state your wishes. If you choose TSW, you can win one and give one away to a friend. Enjoy!

Decision to Love 
Their Separate Ways  (two copies)
First Love

First Response

Letting Go

Please state the book that interests you most and why – when you post a comment on this page

Here is a link to all of the book descriptions on my Amazon Author page if you want to read more.


My review of Shackled Lily by T. L. Gray

About the book:

Beautiful, selfish and spoiled Kaitlyn “Issy” Summers had it all, or so everyone thought. Then, one night changed everything. Now trapped in the world that destroyed her to begin with, Issy finds herself in the arms of the one man she vowed to forget. Issy Summers spent her life hardening and numbing her heart to the world.

Raised by a weak mother and controlling father, Issy learns quickly that self-preservation is essential, and manipulation is often the key. When a night of over indulgence lands her in a coma, Issy wakes to find her life completely shifted as her father forces her back into his world–a world far darker than even Issy was prepared for. The only light now is a man who has loved her for years, a man who recently found the loving grace of Christ. Letting him in will destroy the walls and armor she has worked so hard to build, but will shutting him out trap her forever in the chains that cover her? Shackled Lily is the second book in the Winsor Series, but can be read as a stand alone novel.

My review:

Okay, so this is by far the best book I’ve read this year. In fact, it even beats out the previous book, and that was a hard one to top. I read this book in less than twenty four hours. It’s over 400 pages and honestly, I read most of it in one sitting. I went to church and ate dinner but the rest of the time I enjoyed reading this book. Anyway, I don’t know where to begin.

The pacing was phenomenal for starters. I felt like I understood Issy completely and the more I saw her tortured emotions, the more I loved her. There is just something about a character who is afraid to love that melts my heart every time I read a novel. I felt her shackles and her despair. The moment she understood her mother’s depression from feeling trapped, I got goose bumps. Before that she was running from her feelings. It was that resignation that broke my heart. But Issy is a fighter.

The cool thing about this book is that it can be read as a stand alone. While Issy stayed true to her character, you didn’t have to read the first book to get the sense that she was a mess. I love Jake, too, so I am thrilled he has his own story coming up in 2014, though I can’t imagine how the author will top this one. It was a perfect story in every way. I got tears in my eyes, my heart sped up, I got so caught up in the story that I forgot that I was reading. That’s an excellent book. I didn’t want the story to end, but the ending satisfied me.

Issy changed so much through her trials, but her faith journey felt so natural that I totally believed it. I’ve read other books where the characters break down and reach for God, but nothing was as believable as this story. I cried when she called Avery so desperate for peace. It was emotional and beautiful. And she did what she thought was best for Grant, but God bless him for not giving up on her even when everything seemed hopeless. That scene where her dad’s henchmen pulled him away from her broke my heart. I could feel his desperation and pain.

In some ways this book reminded me of a contemporary Titanic story. Issy was Rose and Grant was like Jack. Robbie reminded me of Cal and all of the emotions his character in the movie sparked in me came up again when I thought about how controlling Robbie was… just like “Cal” from Titanic. His power and his desire to win at all costs frightened me, so I could empathize with Issy’s terror and how shackled she felt. Billions were riding on the arrangement. The stakes were high. But love triumphs over tragedy and trials made them both stronger. I love stories like this. Again, it’s my absolute favorite book this year. I don’t know how anything will top this novel.

Shackled Lily was published by CreateSpace and released in May 2013.

My review of Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann

About the book:

When a vintage clothing store owner in New York City discovers a journal from 1907, she finds her destiny at stake as the past and present collide. 

The past has a seductive allure to Amanda Rosenbloom, especially when it comes to vintage clothing. She’s devoted to running her shop, Astor Place Vintage, but with Manhattan’s rising rents and a troubled economy, it’s tough to keep the business alive. Meanwhile, she can’t bring herself to end an affair with a man who really should be history. When Amanda finds a journal sewn into a fur muff she’s recently acquired for the shop, she’s happy to escape into the world of Olive Westcott, a young lady who lived in New York City one hundred years ago.

As Amanda becomes immersed in the journal, she learns the future appeals to Olive. Olive looks forward to a time when repressive Victorian ideas have been replaced by more modern ways of thinking. But the financial panic of 1907 thrusts her from a stable, comfortable life into an uncertain and insecure existence. She’s resourceful and soon finds employment, but as she’s drawn into the social circle of shopgirls living on the edge of poverty, Olive is tempted to take risks that could bring her to ruin. Reading Olive’s woes, Amanda discovers a secret that could save her future and keep her from dwelling in the past.

It’s Olive, however, who ends up helping Amanda, through revelations that come in the final entries of the journal. As the lives of these two women merge, Amanda is inspired to stop living in the past and take control of her future.

My review:

I enjoyed this novel and how the author alternated between 1907 and 2007. The stories paralleled each other in their tragedy and triumph. The author did a good job with the setting for each as I felt like I was experiencing NYC in the past and in the recent present. The way the characters tied together was intriguing as well. I understood both of their struggles and the desire to know what happened. I found the problem with her inability to sleep well both compelling and revealing. She had good reasons to be discontented.

The minor characters were well crafted, too. I found the whole situation with Olive and Joe quite compelling. I understood her weakness and confusion surrounding the whole situation. The author did a good job with that aspect of the novel. She also did a great job with showing the differences between the characters’ beliefs and the way they were raised to think. Out of necessity Olive found herself struggling to survive in a man’s world where women were sorely underpaid for similar jobs, making it difficult to manage on their own.

The way the story ended was bittersweet. I think I liked it more than I disliked it. If things had been perfectly resolved it may have left the reader with a sense of disbelief, whereas I found the way it ended quite believable. I liked how the author left so many things open ended, yet with a lingering sense of happily ever after. I didn’t care for the occasional swearing by the heroine in the present day, but other than that, I enjoyed this book.

Astor Place Vintage was published by Touchstone and released in June 2013.

My review of The Exceptions by David Cristofano

About the book: 

No loose ends. It’s the Bovaro family motto. As part of the Bovaro clan, one of the most powerful and respected families in organized crime, Jonathan knows what he must do: take out Melody Grace McCartney, the woman whose testimony can lock up his father and disgrace his entire family. The only problem: he can’t bring himself to do it.

Had Jonathan kept his silence, Melody and her parents would never have been identified and lured into the Witness Protection Program, able to run but never to hide. So he keeps her safe the only way he knows how-by vowing to clean up his own mess while acting as her shield.

But as he watches her take on another new identity in yet another new town, becoming a beautiful but broken woman, Jonathan can’t get her out of his mind . . . or his heart. From the streets of Little Italy to a refuge that promises a fresh start, Jonathan will be forced to choose between the life he’s always known, the destiny his family has carved out for him, and a future unlike anything he’s ever imagined.

My review:

I absolutely loved this story. The author’s storytelling is beyond superb. I really enjoyed The Girl She Used to Be by the same author. In fact, it made my favorite fiction list the year it came out. The cool thing was enough time had passed between my reading each of the stories that it felt like I began the story again from a totally different perspective. But this time it went way back to the beginning. In some ways I loved this book even more than the first. The ideal is to read both, but this could be read as a stand alone novel.

This was an exceptionally good book because my emotions were fully engaged. I was also enthralled by the concept – the son of a notable crime family guarding the life of one of his family’s targets. As far as romantic elements go, this author really cranks up the heat while staying fairly chaste. It’s a technique worth studying in depth. I could feel the love oozing off the pages and it was enough to melt my heart.

The hero tells this story entirely from his perspective. You feel his intense longing and his inspiring discovery of what it means to truly love someone. At the same time, the hero wants to do right by the heroine. He couldn’t free her if she clung to him, so he refrained though everything in him wanted to love her fully. There is nothing more romantic than restrained passion and sacrifice.

There were moments when a sense of betrayal which got me a bit choked up. I felt the wounds myself as it were happening to me. But like all good love stories, the truth eventually comes out and it isn’t what it seems. This is my cryptic way of telling how much I enjoyed the twists and turns without sharing them in this review. I stayed up late many nights reading this book. I highly recommend it.

The Exceptions was published by Grand Central and released in August 2012


Review of Fire Starter by Gloria Clover

About the book:

Three generations ago, wooded Celosia Island burned in a fire storm. Now the government keeps the island safe through limited trade and rare immigration. So it is unsettling to Princess Amaryllis Filippopoulos to learn her father has invited an off-island prince into residence to translate some ancient scrolls and to marry her, his youngest daughter and heir to the throne.

Prince Valryan Molan has been sent to present to the people of Celosia the reality of the King, even though He is not readily perceived by the five senses or logic, the Stoic beliefs of Celosia’s ancestors. Valryan finds his mission hampered by his bride’s reluctance to marry and the immediate need to protect the people from illegal fire weapons.

But none of that compares to the unexpected fire storm Amaryllis ignites in his heart.

My review:

This story blew me away. I found myself engrossed to the point where I thought about the book all the time. The story was achingly beautiful. The heroine Amyaryllis was strong, yet vulnerable in that she feared any kind of weakness. The hero was similar, but in a very masculine way. Valryan was probably the most heroic character I’ve read in the past year. I loved how the author showed his struggle to follow the King in everything that he did, from his gut-wrenching honesty, to his complete humanity. He was by no means a feminine-thinking man, which I think made me love him more… because he thought like a man would think. Too often we female authors soften our male heroes up to the point that they are not realistic. This author created a spiritual man in Valryan who was thoroughly lovable and very masculine.

The way Valryan talked to himself and cried out to the King when he struggled was especially powerful. I loved how he sought the King to help him have more faith and to believe that the King’s Word to him would work out in the end. His desire for everyone to know the King was heart-warming and enviable. I loved how he nick-named his wife sparky and how he used that to tease her in a loving way. Their growing relationship was breathtakingly beautiful.

I loved the faith aspect of this book and how the author showed the progression so beautifully. She touched on the heart of humanity and the desire for purpose and meaning. She also touched on the fear that often keeps people from the truth and how loving someone like Christ loved us does indeed — over time — draw the lost to the King. We just need to be patient, consistent, and genuine in our relationships with those we love. Of course, we can only get that kind of strength through constant communication with the King.

The message about marriage was especially strong as were the truths that the hero learned through the King about how loving Him first made everything else the way it was intended to be. I found their joining prior to his wife knowing the King to be especially powerful since it reflects on the human love that often leaves us very insecure and dissatisfied in marriage. With the King’s presence in marriage, however, the is beauty of marital love is beyond description and His presence is indeed with us. We need to use that reality to give us courage and strength. We need to be willing to trust the King completely. The way the author showed how the hero being trustworthy increased the heroine’s ability to trust the King was incredibly insightful. So was the way salvation was described to someone who didn’t even believe in God, and the revealing of the Scriptures. Awesome, awesome book. I’d give it ten stars if I could.

Fire Starter was published by Desert Breeze and released in August 2012.

My review of Catch a Falling Star by Beth K. Vogt

About the book:

Successful career gal Kendall Haynes is tired of wishing on stars for a home and a family. Can God’s dreams for her be even better than her own?

What does a girl do when life doesn’t go according to her plan? At thirty-six, Kendall Haynes has seen some of her dreams come true. She’s a family physician helping kids with severe allergies and asthma achieve more fulfilling lives—a childhood struggle she knows all too well. But are Kendall’s dreams of having it all—a career, a husband, children—nothing more than a childhood fantasy? God says He knows the plans He has for her—why can’t Kendall figure them out and be content with her life?

Griffin Walker prefers flying solo—both as an Air Force pilot and in his personal life. But a wrong choice and health problems pulled him out of the cockpit. His attempts to get out of “flying a desk” are complicated by his parents’ death—making Griffin the reluctant guardian of his sixteen-year-old brother, Ian. How did his life get so off course? Can he get his life back on track…or has there been a divine plan all along?

Catch a Falling Star reminds readers that romance isn’t just for twenty-somethings and that sometimes letting go of your “wish I may, wish I might” dreams is the only way to embrace everything God has waiting for you.

My review:

Catch a Falling Star is my kind of contemporary romance. There wasn’t anything I disliked about it. Even the subplot about the other doctor didn’t need to come to a final conclusion since it wasn’t key to the love developing between the heroine and the hero. I loved watching their relationship transform him over time. I was thrilled that Kendall finally found a relationship that made sense, but also filled her heart with the completion she desired. She wasn’t pining away for a man, but it did bother her that her life wasn’t as complete as she hoped it would be by the time she was in her late thirties. The cool thing was I didn’t feel like I was reading about older people falling in love. I’m in my late forties, so I can still enjoy an almost-forty couple in a romance and still feel like they are young. Older couples, like in their sixties, are not something I enjoy reading… yet.

The subplot with Evie, Kendall’s employee, was heart-felt as well. It moved me to tears when she and Ian, Griffin’s brother, talked about his childhood before adoption. Having done many adoptions myself, I saw exactly what kills many adoptive families before they get very far. The author did a great job showing that it wouldn’t be easy and that rejection is part of the deal as the child heals over time. There is a way to get beyond that if everyone sticks it out and reacts the way the child needs. Anyway, that was beautifully done.

What I liked best about the story was probably how the faith element was present, but not overpowering to the point it was the entire focus of the story. Kendall and Griffin seemed more realistic as characters because they had realistic thoughts. I liked that they were both believers. Kendall’s relationship with the other doctor showed that saying you are a Christian doesn’t keep you from using others for your own gain. Her heart knew Griffin was the one for her. I’m glad she finally listened to him. Oh, and that dog Sully was a sweetie. I think her relationship with her dog made the story better because it added a side to her you might not otherwise see.

Anyway, great story. I wish I had gotten to read it sooner before the endorsement deadline, but the book doesn’t release until May 2013, so I still got a chance to read it early. Make sure to pre-order this one on

Catch a Falling Star was published by Howard Books and releases in May. Get your copy pre-ordered now by clicking on the link above.

Review of All for a Song by Allison Pittman

About the book:

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and a budding romance with the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life-movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?


My review:

All for a song was a great story. In short, it was about a young woman who had never left her home town before, and prior to getting married (and stuck there forever) she wanted to see what she was missing. She got a whole lot more than she’d bargained for, but it taught her some important lessons about what truly mattered. Life is full of disappointments and sometimes we make the stupidest decisions. We have to live with the consequences, and there is no getting around them.

This novel explored the historical movement that started the Four Square church and you see snippets of the first real female evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson, and her crusade team. That was pretty interesting and I had mixed feelings about what she represented, especially since she lived in luxury as did her staff, all as the result of donations. But that’s an aside. She also didn’t like anyone stealing the limelight, so in many ways it seemed like a realistic portrayal.

I thought Dorothy Lynne’s struggle with pride  when she was coaxed to go on stage to lead worship was pretty powerful stuff. Roland was a very charismatic man, who in some ways made me think of the devil. Not because he was bad per se, but because of the things he said to her to entice her into becoming famous. This story had a little bit of edge to it, but not enough to upset conservative readers. It showed some of the consequences of her choices, but none of them were hair-raising or scandalous. They were dealing more with pride and vanity.

I liked how the author included alternating snippets from the modern day as Lynn celebrated her 107th birthday in the “rest home” for senior adults. She had a lot to reflect on and it was interesting because you didn’t know until near the end who she ended up with. I liked how that scenario slowly unfolded, providing a satisfying ending to the book. I enjoyed reading this one.

All for a Song was published by Tyndale and released in February 2013.

My review of Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher

About the book:

It’s the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him. Julia Grace has little reason to trust men, but she’s going to have to trust someone if she’s to keep her ranch from the clutches of her dead husband’s half-brother. Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door? The latest historical romance from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher and the second book in the Where the Heart Lives series, Betrayal will take you to the high desert of western Wyoming, through the crags of the Rocky Mountains, and into the hearts of two seekers learning to trust God’s love no matter the circumstances.

My review:

Betrayal is another fabulous story by Robin Lee Hatcher. This one is worth your time. Not only does it have a hot cowboy on the cover, but the romance is tender and sweet. The pull between them is sigh-worthy. I love stories where wounded people are healed by love. Julia needed a man like Hugh to teach her that all mean aren’t beasts. There were many good lessons for the heart in the story as well as some scriptural truths. You can read this without reading the first book in the series, but I liked knowing about Hugh’s family background prior to opening this book. For lovers of inspirational romance containing hot cowboys and ranching, this novel is sure to be enjoyable. The heroine is independent and strong, yet fragile and sweet at the same time. Fans of Robin’s writing will find another book to love if they crack this one open.

Betrayal was published by Zondervan and released in Nov. 2012.

My review of The Heart’s Frontier by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

About the book:

Kansas,1881–On a trip to visit relatives, Emma Switzer’s Amish family is robbed of all their possessions, leaving them destitute and stranded on the prairie. Walking into the nearest trading settlement, they pray to the Lord for someone to help. When a man lands in the dust at her feet, Emma looks down at him and thinks, The Lord might have cleaned him up first.

Luke Carson, heading up his first cattle drive, is not planning on being the answer to anyone’s prayers, but it looks as though God has something else in mind for this kind and gentle man. Plain and rugged–do the two mix? And what happens when a dedicated Amish woman and a stubborn trail boss prove to be each other’s match?
My review:

I’m not much of an Amish fiction fan, though I have enjoyed a few over the years. But I love love love historical fiction. So when the opportunity to read a combination of both came, I thought, why not give it a try? Well, I ended up loving it. The story was so heartfelt, and rather than making it sound like religion was the answer (the Plain life) it focused on Love being the answer. All in all, it was a warm, heart-felt novel. I had a warm glow in my chest at the end. We give up a lot of things for love, but the truth is without love, many of the things we used to care about mean nothing anyway. I loved that message in this story. It was loaded with adorable humor and distinct characters. The grandmother was a hoot, and honestly, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like…well, other than the bad guys. I’d highly recommend this book for people who want a feel-good read, but one that has a bit of spiritual depth to it as well. 

The Heart’s Frontier was published by Harvest House and released in March 2012.