What I've been reading... {February 2017 Edition}

Tuesday, February 28, 2017





 Quick Lit Reviews

What did you think of last month's quick reviews?  Were they more enjoyable?  Did you miss it? Oh, well then, check it out!  

I realize that February is a short month, but oh my, that went by so fast!  Don't you think so?

We got a nice glimpse of spring, which for those of us living in the Northeast USA, it's a nice treat. In fact, I was just mentioning to my husband how we haven't had to really shovel this year, at least not first thing in the morning to ensure we don't get stuck before going to work and school, which is not the norm at all.

But the speed of the month meant I did not get as many books read. Which is a real bummer because now I have some deadlines in March that will feel rushed to me.  And let's be honest, no one likes to read on a deadline! Anyway, here's a sample of what I've read recently and some quick little reviews, feel free to ask me about any of them, I always love to chat, or fangirl over books.











The Red Pearl by CK Brooke



The Red PearlThe Red Pearl by C.K. Brooke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alright, I've read of a few of CK Brooke's books, and I always remember them fondly, but while I'm reading them I'm disappointed... I have no idea what that means...

All that being said, the idea of a treasure hunt seemed interesting enough... but again I was disappointed while reading... and now, writing this review months later, I barely even remember the plot at all... I can only pull the tiniest memories of the characters even... not a good sign....

Here are some small snippets from my review from right after reading:

I appreciate the unique character of Antonia. She is certainly a girly-girl looking to find her dream man who will take her on adventures since she has spent her entire life being told how routine her life will be. She is willing to risk her life for a complete stranger, which show serious spunk that I did not quite expect. And still she is surprised herself with some of her willingness for adventure.

I also enjoyed Dr. Thaddeus Watkins. It's fun to a character's father add a little humor and relief to scenes that could have been boring. And who doesn't love an inventor and slightly odd father in a story? I read him a bit like Belle's father in the Disney cartoon.

And, just like Brooke's last book I reviewed, this was a quick read! Let's be honest, there is a lot to be said about being able to pick up a book and experience the whole thing in a weekend.

View all my reviews

For more on this one, check out my full review and my sneak peek.







A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson


A Love Transformed (Sapphire Brides #3)A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clara Vesper's husband is killed suddenly just as the story opens. While she is surprised and shocked, she is not devastated because she never loved her husband. While he is the father of her twins, whom she loves dearly, her marriage was more of a business agreement and less of a love affair. Clara's heart resides with another man, one she has not spoken to in fourteen years.

After her brother-in-law steps into to help Clara continue to live the comfortable life she is used to - the Vesper Jewelry business is quite lucrative- she decides she needs to get away from the high life in New York and return to her aunt & uncle in Montana. Her aunt and uncle run a sheep ranch, which is where she would spend her summers before her mother decided she was of age to be married. And now that Clara is widowed, it is the perfect place to return to.

Curtis Billingham has been in love with Clara for years and years, but when she was taken from him fourteen years before he started down a vicious spiral and became a man he is now ashamed of. While he has turned his life around, he knows he will never be worthy of Clara, and is trying to focus on a new path in life, maybe even signing up for the army now that it is inevitable that the US will join the war against Germany.

I enjoyed the added twist with war and espionage that is going on in the background of the story. Without such a tension filled subplot this story would have been very stale.

I also really enjoyed Paul & Madeline Sersland, Clara's uncle and aunt. While some of their scenes are bit over the top, they are the fun and loving family that every clean romance needs. They truly care for those in their family and see family as a unit that is supposed to care for each other, whatever the costs. They bring most of the warm and fuzzies one expects from the genre.

Stop by Marissa Writes for more of my dislikes, who I'd recommend this one too, and favorite quotes!

View all my reviews


For more on this one, check out my sneak peek and my full review.








No Holly for Christmas by Holly J Ford


No Holly for Christmas (A Magic City Duo #2)No Holly for Christmas by Julie N. Ford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In No Holly for Christmas, Brian McAlister is struggling to find his way in life, now that his heart is truly broken over Josie's rejection. So he agrees to take on a new case (he's a lawyer) and buries himself in his work. Little does he know that this case will truly change his life.

Holly Cavanaugh Winter is recently widowed and now striving to provide for her girls through her job as a social worker. While she enjoys her work, the life it is providing is not that life she is used to. It is wearing her down, and she is in no mood for the upcoming holiday season. When she somehow manages to get mixed up in a murder case her life is forever changed, and maybe not for the best...


Personal Likes

I enjoyed getting to see Brian again. While I certainly was not a Brian fan in the first book, I felt bad for him. He seemed to always get the short end of all of life's situations. He is certainly an interesting character - not really bad, not really good... very real. Which is the main reason why I keep picking up Ford's books - she has a way of writing realistic characters - people you might know.

I also appreciated the pace of the story... it felt like an actual event in someone's life... while they are extraordinary, to say the least, it was still believable enough.


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For more on this one, check out my sneak peek and my full review.





The Shattered Vigil by Patrick W Carr



The Shattered Vigil (The Darkwater Saga, #2)The Shattered Vigil by Patrick W. Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed The Shock of Night, so when this next book in the series became available I was more than ready to see where the story would go.

I even had the pleasure of reading this with my husband, which made the book more interesting, as men and women read stories so differently!

Overall this was a wonderful addition the series, and I cannot wait to see where it ends... here's my attempt at a review without spoilers... which is hard since it's the second in the series... but let me just say, if you are a fan of true epic fantasy, like Tolkien, you need to read these!

One of the things that drives me to fall into the world an author creates is a sense of realism. The world has a sense of reality because the characters, specifically those in the Vigil, and those in the nobility of the kingdoms make decisions based on motives that are logical based on their understanding of the situations going on around them.

The older members of the Vigil do not yet trust the newest member, Willet Dura, and for a good reason. He has a dark past that they cannot understand. They fear his dark past will allow the rampant evil that they have kept at bay until recently will provide their enemy a tool to use against them within the Vigil itself.

I also greatly enjoyed the politics of move and counter-move employed by their nobles, regents, and church officials as they seek to protect or expand their personal power. The thinking behind actions is explained clearly so that readers without the understanding of the power struggle that goes on among such lofty members of society will understand why the characters undertake the actions they do and behave in the way they do publicly, and take on a different approach privately.

View all my reviews

For even more on this book, check out my sneak peek and my full review.











Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie


Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your FearsFear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears by Kelly Balarie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just want to start off with saying, Kelly Balarie is one of those individuals that, if you hear her speak, you will be moved. She is full of a joy that can only be given by the Spirit and her willingness to share her heart will have an impact on you, period.

Now, why only four stars? Well, this book is perfect for those who know what fear is - who really struggle with the anxieties that come from the unknown and the what ifs, and are looking for some encouragement along the way. And there have been seasons in my life when I knew this, and I am willing to bet, there will be more in my future, but when I was reading this, I had learned to lean wholly on the One who can support me and wash away my fears. And as a result, it didn't hold the same punch I had hoped for - but do not read that as it won't for you - because my bet is, if you are searching for some kind of encouragement through fear, this will bring you a courage and a comfort you never knew you could have.

So, yes, this is a great book.

While I put up an actual review on my blog, I will only speak on a small point here... the fact that while there are some practical steps in this book - I mean there's a 12-week study included for you to work through with your friends - there is a small section that is, I believe, at the heart of why this book is worth keeping on your shelves:

Early in the book, I believe it's like, page 55... Kelly talks about how we can be insecure in the promise God has given us, that He will be there with us, that He has given us His power to push through any what if/fears/insecurities, and that even if we stumble through it, He will love us completely. You see, most fears come from the what if I fail, and then no one wants me or loves me... And how if we could only go back in time to reassure our younger selves of the fact we got through, we wouldn't be so fearful... but lessons like this have to be learned by doing... by living...

And that is why so many people might be crushed, because while this book is honest, in the end, you will have to pick up your eyes and focus in on the One who has all the power, and the One who promises to reside in you to provide for all your needs. And Kelly spends the majority of the book encouraging you to do just that. Lean into to God, and allow Him to be your Superpower source so you can charge through the fears of life, and enjoy the blessings waiting for you right here.

Just be prepared, this is a book of encouragement, and suggestions, that will challenge you. And if that is something that could help you get through any fear you are dealing with, then do not hesitate to get your hands on this book, and curl up somewhere with it. Maybe even call a few friends to study it with.


***I received a copy of this book as part of the launch team with Baker Books and the author - I did not have to leave a good review - all of my opinions are my own.

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For more on this one, check out my full review, or see Kelly's guest post.










Jesus Today by Sarah Young


Jesus Today: Experience Hope in His PresenceJesus Today: Experience Hope in His Presence by Sarah Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, if you are picking this book up as a devotional to help you dig deeper into your own prayer life, this is an excellent tool. If you are looking at this devotional as a way of replacing your prayer time, or bible time, think again.

Yes, each person will have a personal relationship with God where He speaks to them and guides them... but do not allow someone else's connection to God be your ticket to understanding God. Just as when we have friends, each of us has a different relationship with that friend, so will God be different with each of us. He meets us where we are, and then journeys with us, which makes His conversations with us different and unique.

I was reminded while preparing this review, and discussion, of when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray. And Jesus was very specific in how to pray. Yet, we know that is the starting point for prayer. It's our guideline to build from so that we can truly connect with God. We do not stay in the first step as believers, we grow and expand. If we can allow these books, this style of devotional prayer, to just be one example of how we can listen for God's voice through His Word, then this is a wonderful tool!

The other thing I know, for sure, is that when God's word is pushed into this broken and hurting world, it heals. Even if false prophets and the like are speaking it, it is still God's word, and God's Word will never not produce fruit. Use this example to remember, only God is God, and God is still speaking, and He wants to speak to you!

***I received this book from the publisher, and in exchange I am giving my honest review - I was not required to.

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For more on this one, check out my full review.










Living in the Shallows by Tani Hanes


Living in the Shallows (UK Crush #1)Living in the Shallows by Tani Hanes
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have yet to meet a high school aged girl who hasn't had one day dream about stumbling into some kind of awesome job that would mean she was in daily contact with the heart-throb boy band of her day... or the sexiest man alive... or something like that.

So the concept of this story seemed like it was worth giving a chance. That and I am always up for finding new authors.

The thing is, the story has to be developed for me to read it. And this book just fell flat.

It was so far-fetched, while trying to seem realistic, that I could not finish it.

I don't know which guy in the band Aileen was actually interested in... maybe she only saw them all as friends, possibly brothers? But overall, it was just a crazy daydream, without much of a plot. So unfortunately, I gave up.

If you did make it through the entire book and want to make a case for me to try again, please do so... I'm always up for second chances... and to be honest, I might give Hanes another shot at a future book... but then again...

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If you want more on this book, check out my sneak peek.  









What have you been reading?   What caught your eye above?  What should I read next?  



Marissa @ Reading List




What I've Been Reading February Edition






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