Tuesday, April 30, 2013




Cooper Creek Series takes place in Dawson, Oklahoma and centers around the Coopers--a family of natural and adopted siblings. Cruising through the country side, cattle and horses dotting fenced pastures, wild flowers in abundance, stopping at the Mad Cow Cafe and stepping out of your car, meeting cowboy gentlemen who take their hats off in respect and still open doors for you--takes a traditional woman back to a time and place that hardly exist anymore.

I love to open one of these stories--the plot is usually compelling and the characters, though flawed, are believable. Their struggle with spiritual conflicts or physical disabilities remind us of ourselves--not perfect, but creations of the one God who remains God Alone.

In the Cowboy Lawman, we meet Mia Cooper, an adopted sibling with South American roots. Immediately, we find she is struggling with a lingering disability from an undercover operation gone wrong, in which her partner died. Quickly, we are introduced to the hero, Slade McKennon, local law enforcement and childhood friend. Once married to Mia's best friend, who he lost tragically in a car accident, he is raising his son as a single father.

Mutually attracted to each other, Mia and Slade allow grief and guilt to color their responses. Mia's life remains endangered from those who injured her and killed her partner so she needs Slade's protection whether she likes it or not. Slade's mother, and baby sitter, sufferes a heart attack and he needs someone to look out for his 5 year old son. From here on out, the fireworks literally sparkle.

Moving on after tragedy is hard for any of us. Forgiving ourselves is even harder. Trusting in God's all comforting and powerful hands is harder yet. I assume, if you stopped by this site, you appreciate the spiritual insight a good christian author lends to a story.

Ms. Minton uses family, friends, and situations well to share her themes with us. She paints a picture that draws us in but then allows us to feel the turmoil in her characters. In "The Cowboy Lawman" you feel Mia's sorrow as she grieves over the loss of her friend and realizes she can't fill her shoes as a Mother figure. Slade and others try to help her see that she has her own shoes to fill. As for Slade, we feel his pain and frustration as Mia refuses to let him help her and as he realizes he needs to move on from the loss of his wife and that his son needs a mother.

A poignant moment arises when Mia tries to keep a promise to her dead partner and protect his wife and children but finds herself unable to use her firearm. In the meantime, Slade arrives just in time risking his life to save hers.

This story is loaded with action, twists and turns of plot, sweet moments, and a satisfying end. This one's a keeper!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

NO WAY OUT By Susan Sleeman

The Justice Agency Series

Beginning with a heart-stopping chase on the beach, this suspenseful read almost has you smelling the salt water and hearing the waves crashing. Alyssa Wells, a widow with twins, overhears her deceased husband's partner in the local police force threatening another cop and admitting his involvement in the murder of her husband. In her haste to get away, she makes enough noise to be detected and the chase is on! Racing through a raging storm she struggles up a slippery slope where she literally ends up at the feet of Cole Justice, a man tortured by his own inner demons since serving two tours in Iraq. Having law enforcement experience and army training, Cole quickly assesses the situation and determines Alyssa needs his help.

He willingly offers his service and those of his siblings, all members of the Justice Agency, in investigating and protecting Alyssa from Nolan Saunders, her husband's former partner. Believing her husband died a "dirty cop", she finds that may not be the case and that the man she has allowed to care for her children may be a murderer. Now, she doesn't know who to trust.

From the beginning, Cole and Alyssa's interest in each other is obvious. But Alyssa's mistrust of men, especially those in law enforcement, remains an obstacle to having another man in her life; while Cole continues to struggle with survivor's guilt from the loss of his best friend in Iraq. Add children to the mix and things get even more complicated. Even so, Cole's interaction with Alyssa's children is sweet and poignant.

Tension builds as Alyssa receives warning notes, rocks are thrown through windows, and a house explosion nearly kills both her and Cole while causing Cole to have a flashback to Iraq.

Through it all, both Alyssa and Cole learn that some burdens are too heavy for human effort and must be left to God. So the author's Theme Verse aptly applies: Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You." Many times in my own life, I have drawn strength and peace from these words.

With a surprise twist and a satisfying epilogue, "No Way Out" is an excellent treat from the pen of Susan Sleeman. The third book in a series about a group of adoptive siblings involved in law enforcement, it stands alone. However, I recommend reading the entire series. I enjoyed the interaction between the siblings and want to know more of their stories. In addition, if you like series books, I highly recommend another of Susan Sleeman's series about the Morgan Brothers.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

SIXTY ACRES AND A BRIDE by Regina Jennings

A first novel by this author but a tremendous start. I loved this book because it's based on my favorite story in the Bible, Ruth. If you haven't read Ruth, you should as a preliminary to reading this book. It is only 4 chapters long but has some of the most romantic verses in the Bible.

In Regina's story, we meet Rosa who has traveled from Mexico with her mother-in-law, both recently widowed. They have come to live with a relative in Prairie Lea, Texas. Soon, Rosa is introduced to Weston Garner, Louise, her mother-in-law's, nephew. He becomes a protector and advisor for the women.

As the story progresses, many humorous situations occur that make you laugh. Rosa is learning more of the English language and American customs and needing them explained. It makes for some hilarious reading as you imagine what she is thinking.

Besides the humor, I really enjoyed the romantic foundation built between Rosa and Weston by this author. A most steamy part occurs when she dances la mariposa, the butterfly dance. A very descriptive narrative follows--and you can almost hear the strumming of the guitar and visualize bare feet stomping in the dirt while colorful skirts flare around the legs of the male partners. Ms. Jennings writes a very sexy but clean read. It gets even better when Weston tries to teach Rosa a more proper Two Step, hmmm.

There is a very scary antagonist who seems to be stalking Rosa throughout; and of course, the ladies are in danger of losing their home.

What will Weston do and does Rosa have the courage to follow Louise's instructions, trusting God for her future, and what does her heart say? Intriguing questions that I would like to tell you are well worth this read to find the answers.

Not only was this book full of edgy romance and sterling suspense but it was simply a fun read!

Friday, April 12, 2013

THE INHERITANCE by Tamera Alexander

This book deserves to be Numero Uno among my reviews. It has it all. From the first sentence and paragraph you are drawn into the story as you walk the dusty streets of Copper Creek, Colorado with McKenna Ashford. Boy, does the hero make an entrance! After, McKenna is almost run down by an outlaw on horseback, her hero, Wyatt (aptly named) rides in and around out of sight but not of earshot and you hear a rifle shot reverberate. Then, he slams into the Doctor's office behind her slinging his quarry onto a table and enlisting her in sewing up his prisoner.

You meet many interesting characters in this book. After, the unceremonious meeting between McKenna and Wyatt you find yourself drawn into the various conflicts that develop early on with glimpses into their painful pasts...and from the crucible of these fires the characters and their relationships are forged.

McKenna has a gift for stitching saddles. Actually, it is her craft taught by her father but it is considered a man's trade. Wyatt is a U.S. Marshall and very good at what he does. In the middle is Robert, McKenna's teenage brother, and her responsibility. He is also the antagonist between McKenna and Wyatt.

McKenna and Wyatt are drawn to each other but remain reserved at sharing the most tender parts of themselves. Their disagreements over the disciplining of Robert lead to the inevitable misunderstandings in their budding relationship. They need each other but won't allow themselves to reach for the other.

However, I find myself agreeing with one reviewer regarding the prayer of Wyatt "break him, Lord". The humility of his prayer, especially when you know he prays sincerely from the depths of his own experience, tugs at your spiritual heart strings.

Ms. Alexander has the gift I cherish most in my Christian Romance reads--an ability to take the suspense, romance, and faith threads and weave them together in a beautiful and unforgettable story tapestry. For me, the story is empty without a motivation in the lives of the characters that only comes from believing in the one who is greater than themselves and is revealed in the lessons learned through redemption, forgiveness, faith, and sacrificial love.

How my Blog Began

To get started I will say I am going to review books that are on my "keeper shelf" and tell you why they made it there. Then, I am going to review some books by some of my favorite authors and tell you why I am considering them for my keeper shelf.

Having said the above, let me say this about kindles. They cut down on the clutter of having stacks of books to store or sell in yard sales. I had a problem of knowing which among my many books were ones I especially adored and would read again; and how to find them again. I set up my own system of putting a star rating inside the front cover; but still, which ones would I actually read and reread again. I mean so many times when you first put a book down--you say to your self, "ahhh, how romantic". But, later, would you take the time to read it again, probably not.

Now, with the kindle, if I find myself rereading a book, I know it is a candidate for my keeper shelf--and that is especially true if it has a beautiful or intriguing cover.

What makes you want to put a book on your "keeper shelf". I welcome your comments!!!

Blogging about Christian Romance

I love to read; thus this blog. My favorite genre is Christian Romance specifically, Historical, Suspense, and Contemporary in that order. This place bears my humble opinion. I welcome your insights. Mainly, I hope to encourage my favorite authors with input on the hard work they do and the spiritual lessons they teach us through the joy of reading. Most importantly, I "count it all Joy" to know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and He is my best friend through all circumstances. My hope is that you know Him or desire to know Him through the exploits shared by hero and heroine splashed across romantic inspirational pages including His Book.