Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Grand Design by Amber Stockton

Quilts of Love, Book 20

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.

As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

My Review:
Alyssa, the protagonist, is a single lady who feels that she will never find Mr. Right. When she wins a trip for two to Mackinac Island, she invites her best friend, Libby, another single gal. Libby has the sparkling personality, and Libby is the one who attracts all the good looking fellows. The trip takes place, and the ladies meet two handsome men. Now, the author describes both ladies as beautiful. (I know. It's confusing.)

Alyssa's grandmother lives on the island, is a wonderful cook, and a quilt is made during the two-week vacation.

There's not much of a plot. The characters are flat as pancakes. Simply put:  I did not like this book. In fact, I found it tedious--a simplistic romance.

Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my copy.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

If you would like to buy a copy, click here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson

Weddings by Design, Book 4

She didn't expect to fall in love--but roses aren't the only thing blooming on Galveston Island.

Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her boisterous Greek family--especially her father--has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant located on the Strand--directly across the street from iconic pizza place Parma John's--and they want Cassia's full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into this former Rossi's good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

My Review:
This is volume 4 in the Weddings by Design series. Although I've read the others, it is meant to be enjoyed as a stand alone novel. Even so, I've enjoyed "seeing" more of the Rossi family. (It's not necessary, but if possible, I'd recommend reading them in order.)

I appreciate the humor that Thompson inserts, and I find myself smiling as I read.

The protagonist, Cassia Pappas, a twenty-three year old single lives with her Greek family above their sandwich shop. She loves flowers and has even obtained an accreditation with the American Institute of Floral Designers. She dreams of working in a flower shop, and discovers that just such a job has a position available in a floral shop a few blocks down from her family's new restaurant.

However, her father, Babbas, rules his roost and makes all decisions--even those for his grown daughter! Cassia fears approaching him about leaving the sandwich shop to work with flowers. It's hard for a non-Greek woman to understand the ties that Babbas has with his family.

To complicate matters, Babbas instructs his entire family to ignore the "enemy" pizza shop across the street. That proves quite difficult when that very shop is filled with the Rossi clan--a large Italian family. The tension of both shops marketing for the same customers provides interesting developments.

Thank you to Lanette Haskins at Baker Publishing Group Baker Publishing Group for my copy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sky Zone (The Crittendon Files) by Creston Mapes

A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.
A terrorist threat.
A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions.

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn't making matters any easier.

With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives--and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships, and faith--and why we are never in as much control as we think.

My Review:
I first met the character, Everett Lester, when I read, Dark Star. It was good to see him again in this book and note his continued growth as a Christ-centered rock star. (He has stayed the course.) Creston Mapes has the talent of writing believable characters. I feel as if I understand them while they wrestle with life's tough decisions. Jack Crittendon, the protagonist in this Christian fiction, feels as if he's fighting a losing battle and wonders when God will show up to help. With no permanent work for almost a year, a wife and two children, and one more on the way, life is tough for Jack. But Jack is a likeable guy, and this reader quickly connects with him. 

Chapters flip-flop between the present time with a crisis occurring and three months earlier. The reader sees pressure mounting. This is a hard book to put down! Mapes is an expert at building tension and stopping just in time for the reader to breathe!

I highly recommend this thriller.

Discussion questions included.

Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and David C. Cook for my copy.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

If you would like to buy a copy, click here.