Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

 A couple of years ago, I wrote a review for Made to Last by Melissa Tagg and enjoyed the lighthearted romance immensely.  Then, I read Three Little Words, which is a free novella and our introduction to the Walker family from Tagg’s latest series.  While reading Three Little Words, I came across a familiar character from Made to Last, who was at a completely different stage of life, and I had no idea how he got there!  I realized I had missed a book in between the two novels, so I’ve had Here to Stay on my wish list for awhile but had too many other books waiting to be read to justify buying it.  I have finally gotten caught up and just happened to receive this book as a gift a few weeks ago.  Perfect timing!

All Autumn Kingsley has ever wanted is to travel the world, but she is stuck in her small hometown of Whisper Shore, Michigan, running her family’s inn.  She has an opportunity to leave, but she feels guilty about leaving the inn and her faithful staff.  Then a completely unexpected and unwanted person returns to town and invades her space. 

Blake Hunziker is as close to a prodigal son as I have found in fiction.  There are a couple of differences though.  First, he left because he felt guilty, not because he wanted to squander his father’s money.  Secondly, he worked and provided for himself while he was away.   Nevertheless, he returns home ashamed of his current reputation and still harboring guilt over his brother’s death.  He has a long road ahead of him to mend relationships with those affected by his brother’s death.  

Kingsleys and Hunzikers are modern-day Capulets and Montagues, and Autumn and Blake only team up because they each need the other’s help.  Blake wants to earn the respect of the town but doesn’t know where to begin organizing an event he hasn’t attended in several years.  Autumn wants to impress an important guest who will be staying at her inn, and she could definitely use Blake’s help sprucing up the inn.   They agree to help each other for the good of the town and the inn, but somewhere along the way, walls begin to come down, and the reasons they hated each other aren’t quite so clear anymore.

This is a beautiful tale of redemption and forgiveness, but it’s also a story full of hopes and dreams and how those dreams often change as we go through life.  Romans 8:28 fits this book perfectly–“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  We suffer through many disappointments often to discover that God had something better in mind for us than what we had planned.  Other times, He allows us to experience pain or loss, so that He can bless us in a new and different way.  This also reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11–“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  God is such a good father and wants what is best for us.  We only need to be open to accepting his will and trusting Him with our lives.  Easier said than done, I know.  Just remember that He knows so much more than we can imagine, and He will work out everything for our good.  How can you go wrong by putting your faith in Him?

Always Watching by Lynette Eason

  Always Watching is the first novel in Eason’s Elite Guardians series, which centers around an agency of mostly-female bodyguards and their clients.  This new romantic suspense novel is fast-paced and thrilling.  I stayed up far too late a few nights in a row because I had trouble putting this book down.  

Olivia Edwards is a former law enforcement officer and the owner of Elite Guardians.  Her agency is hired to protect a radio personality after he receives creepy gifts left on his doorstep and in his mailbox.  Olivia is forced to take a more active role in guarding Wade Savage after his original bodyguard is attacked by his stalker.

Wade and his family are Christians and rely upon God to get them through difficult circumstances even when the situation seems hopeless.  Olivia’s faith didn’t survive the difficulties in her childhood and young adulthood, but she lets down some of her walls as her relationship with Wade develops under extreme pressure.

Eason offers hope for those who have loved and lost and for those who have faltered in their faith because of trials.  Always Watching is a fantastic crime novel, and I’m looking forward to reading the future books in this series.  

I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon

  
Whew!  What a roller coaster ride that was!  I had so much trouble putting this book down the few nights it took to read it because of the suspense and fast-paced action.  Even after I closed the book and turned off the light, my mind was spinning with the plot twists and characters’ actions.  I haven’t read a book this suspenseful in months.

Lance McGregor is a rookie FBI agent, but he has plenty of experience as a Delta Force operator.  When he receives a call about a possible kidnapping, he jumps at the chance to get away from the old case files on his desk.

Christy Reed, a former champion figure skater, lost her sister two months ago in a house fire, but she just received a letter addressed in her sister’s handwriting from a kidnapper.  She isn’t supposed to involve law enforcement, but she covertly contacts the FBI and puts her trust in agent Lance McGregor.

As the case heats up, the chemistry between Lance and Christy ignites as well.  Lance’s self-control is put to the test as he refuses to mix business and pleasure.  If he doesn’t solve this case quickly, there may not be a chance for pleasure later because this kidnapper has a deadly intent.  

Thin Ice is the second book in Hannon’s Men of Valor series, which focuses on a trio of brothers.  I am planning to read Buried Secrets (the first in the series) and would recommend reading them in order because Mac’s story continues in Thin Ice. This series reminds me somewhat of Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series, and I am looking forward to the next installment.  

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  These thoughts are my own. 

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

 
With Christmastime approaching, eighty-five year old Joy Jorgenson ran a contest on her website to see who was most lacking in joy this season.   Joy loves Christmas and plans to take a grand trip to spread Christmas joy to some very deserving people.  What she has planned for them is nothing short of spectacular!

Joy’s young neighbor and friend, Miranda, decides to accompany her because she is worried about Joy driving her motor home across the country by herself.  Miranda has no husband, no job, and is about to lose her house, so she has nothing better to do than tag along with Joy on her crazy adventure.

An unlikely pair of friends, Joy and Miranda complement each other and make a great team.  At first, Joy’s generosity and cheerfulness stand in stark contrast to Miranda’s debt and despair, but a little Christmas joy may be just what Miranda needs this holiday season.  Follow along as Joy and Miranda spread Christmas cheer and generosity!

The Christmas Joy Ride is a delightful story with meaningful touches and a few twists from time to time.  

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  These are my personal opinions.  

Every Girl Gets Confused by Janice Thompson

  
Janice Thompson writes light-hearted, romantic comedies for women and uses her experience as a wedding planner to fashion stories around the wedding business.  Every Girl Gets Confused is the second book in the Brides with Style series but the first I have read by this author.  Since I missed the first novel in the series, I felt that I missed some of the main character’s history, but I was able to figure out the gist of what happened in the first book.  Of course, this book would be best read as part of a series, but it worked fine as a stand-alone novel.

Katie Fisher is happily working in a bridal shop in Dallas and dating a basketball player when her ex-boyfriend (the one she thought she would marry) starts calling her and acting interested in her again.  She must return to her small hometown for events related to her grandmother’s upcoming wedding, which  puts her in close proximity to her ex and his family.  With all the wedding activities and memories, Katie gets a little confused.  It doesn’t help that her new boyfriend is sullen and adding to her confusion.

As this story unfolds, there are a few surprises, but this is mostly just a humorous romance–the kind that you will want to read when you want to be entertained and not have to think too much.  Every Girl Gets Confused is sweet without being sappy, and there are characters for women of all ages.  It was a delight to read. 

I received this book from Revell books for free in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions here are all my own. 

One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg

Back in May, I read Three Little Words and From the Start by Melissa Tagg and enjoyed her writing so much that I signed up to receive email updates from her, which are just as humorous as her books.  Because of those emails, I was able to download One Enchanted Christmas, an e-novella by Melissa Tagg, on the day it released, which was just two days ago.   I finished reading this humorous and romantic story last night and wanted to let you know that you too can download it for only 99 cents right now on Amazon.  The entertainment is definitely worth a dollar!

  

Maren Grant is an author who is infatuated with her main character and then gets to meet the cover model for her book, who looks amazingly like the character she had created in her mind/book.  What happens a year after their “enchanted” night out takes Maren on an unexpected journey that is both humorous and heartwarming. This is a wonderful book to read during this Christmas season.  

Melissa Tagg is a “total Iowa girl”, according to her bio, and most of her books are set in Iowa.  If you are from Iowa or live there now, you’ll definitely enjoy Tagg’s books. 

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

  

I used to read every novel in a series of FBI thrillers by a certain author, and I really enjoyed peeking into the lives of FBI agents, even if they were fictional characters.  The suspense and action kept me enthralled while the humor and romance entertained me.  Unfortunately, the author started adding supernatural elements to her plots, and I prefer more realistic fiction.  I had not found anything close to that series until I read Vendetta this week.

Vendetta is the first novel in the Nikki Boyd Files by Lisa Harris.  This fast-paced mystery is filled with action, adventure, suspense, humor, and romance, but the author also addresses grief and a faltering faith in response to the death of a loved one.  While there is some discussion of faith and God, it is not enough to turn off those who are not Christians.  Lisa Harris does not shy away from the tough questions but allows her characters to work through their doubts in their own way.

Nikki Boyd is an agent with the newly-formed Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force.  In Vendetta, Nikki works with state and local authorities to hunt down an abductor before it’s too late.  The race to find the missing person kept me reading late into the night.  This is an exciting mystery, full of plot twists, set in a majestic area.  The characters are likeable and well-developed, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. 

I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.