Tag Archive | small town

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Have you ever not wanted to finish a book because you were enjoying it so much?  I seriously put off reading the last 25 pages of this emotionally-charged, romantic comedy because I did not want the story to end.  Fortunately, this novel is part of a series, so the characters will continue to make appearances in the remaining books. 

Like Never Before is Melissa Tagg’s second installment in her Walker Family series, which is set in a small town in her native Iowa.  Over two years ago, I read Tagg’s first Walker Family novel From the Start and the novella Three Little Words that serves as a prequel to the series.  The only reason I hadn’t read any of the other books in this series is my local public library has none of Tagg’s books.  (I read way too many books to buy them—75 already this year!)  I brought this to the attention of a librarian and requested that they order some of Tagg’s books.  The librarian wrote it down and offered to look into it, but she then suggested that I try an interlibrary loan, which I had never done before.  (Interestingly enough, an interlibrary loan is mentioned in the book.)  About a week later, I received an email that this book was ready for me to check out.  I was in the middle of another book, but I started reading Like Never Before as soon as I finished Persuasion.  I was somewhat disappointed with the ending of Jane Austen’s classic because I wanted more details, more emotions.  After the long, drawn out narrative leading up to the climax, the ending seemed rushed.  I felt Tagg provided just the right amount of details and emotional responses in closing Logan Walker’s story.  

If you haven’t read any of Melissa Tagg’s novels, I highly recommend them.  They are delightful, funny, and inspiring. 

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Murder Comes by Mail by A. H. Gabhart 

About six months ago, I read Murder at the Courthouse, which introduced us to Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane and the rest of the characters in Gabhart’s small town of Hidden Springs.  The first novel in the series was so interesting that I requested the second installment, Murder Comes by Mail, from the publisher.  This second novel was as well-written as the previous one, but an undertone of evil was more prevalent throughout Murder Comes by Mail.  

From the first chapter, Michael Keane has a sense of foreboding that terrible things are to come.  Who knew that saving someone’s life could cause so many problems?  What sinister game is the killer playing?  The mystery and suspense for Michael continue through the final chapter.  

The life-long friendship between Michael and Alexandra continues to hover between friends and something more, but they are both afraid of venturing into the unknown.  There is just enough romance to keep the romantic happy, but not enough to turn away those who have no interest in romance.  

My only complaint (if I can even call it that) is that I figured out who the killer was before the main character did.  I just researched the phrase “whodunnit” and learned that this is a genre of books and movies.  

I’m accustomed to authors who conceal the identity of the perpetrator until the climax, so I was surprised to be able to deduce who the killer was in both of Gabhart’s novels.  Now I understand, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Hidden Springs Mysteries series. 

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

The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren

  
The Wonder of You is Susan May Warren’s fifth book in the Christiansen family series, but this is the first time I have had the pleasure of reading anything by this award-winning author.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.  Now I need to see if my local library has the first four books in the series!

The Wonder of You opens with a dramatic rescue scene, and I immediately fell in love with the main characters.  Warren creates characters who have realistic attributes, flaws, and struggles, but they are also surprisingly charming.  The only complaint I have about this book is the main characters are in their early twenties, so they make me feel old (I am in my late thirties), but the leading lady is the youngest sibling in the Christiansen family, so the ages are appropriate and fit their characters’ struggles and lifestyles. 

I must confess that I was afraid the book had too many pages left after I had read the first five chapters.  I couldn’t help but wonder how Warren could possibly fill the rest of the novel with enough to keep me interested, but there were so many little surprises throughout the book that kept me not only interested but unable to put down the book.  I read this book in less than 48 hours, and I hated having to put it down for any length of time.

The Wonder of You is about Roark St. John trying to convince Amelia Christiansen that he loves her.  My favorite quote in the book is when Roark tells Amelia, “Extreme doesn’t begin to describe what I’d do to win you back.”  (That sounds a little creepy taken out of context, but it was completely sincere, even romantic, in the book.)  The rest of the book details Roark’s efforts to regain Amelia’s trust and win her heart.  

Warren also includes the continuation of Amelia’s siblings’ stories, which provides emotional depth and a touching side story along with a little mystery for the next book in the series.