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Archive for Christian romance

Michelle Sutton’s Surprise Love

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Surprise Love by Michelle Sutton is a contemporary romance from Desert Breeze Publishing. Kami Garrett, ex-rodeo star and current riding coach meets Bryan Miller, would-be professional baseball player and Aston Kutcher look-alike, and finds herself instantly attracted after years of keeping to herself.  Spice is added to the mix through Kami’s cousin, Mindy, a bipolar woman who finds her worth in sexual conquests, and Bryan’s roommate for baseball tryouts, Will.

Kami and Bryan’s love develops at a reasonable rate through outings that didn’t turn out the way our couple intended and a few dates which allow for some conversation of family, pasts, interests, and future goals.

Michelle adds plenty of action to keep the reader engaged in the plot and guessing about how things will turn out, particularly for the secondary characters.

Surprise Love has Michelle’s unique expression of young characters trying to figure out who God is and He is to them. But there are spiritual depths to be found when we read that Kami has vowed, “Never again would she allow her heart to be manipulated.” And Bryan brashly claims, “He wanted more out of life than just baseball.  So much more.”

Of course, he gets what he desires – Michelle Sutton writes true romance where the reader can count on this one staple: the guy gets the girl at the end.  The rest is a surprise.  Surprise Love.

Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Claiming Mariah, historical romance from Tyndale House, by Pam Hillman was a simple joy to read. The writing was clean, easy, not distracting me from the engaging story Pam laid out.

The backstory was up front — Slade Donovan knew Mariah Malone's father had stolen his father's share of their joint gold mine and then left him for dead. Slade's father hadn't died, but he never recovered either. As a drunk and a gambler, he was a deficient to his family until the day he died. Mariah knew her father had regrets — she was the one who had written the apology letter that had brought Slade to her front door. And so the romance begins with Slade insisting she give up the only home she's ever know to pay her father's debt.

If it were just Mariah, perhaps she could have packed her bag and moved on, but Mariah has responsibilities — her aged grandmother and her blind sister. She better remain on the ranch as housekeeper until Slade's mother and sisters arrive.

If there were plot holes or character slips in this story, I didn't catch them. The romance developed steadily. The bad guy kept getting worse. The situations became more desperate. The subplot of town slum children tugged at my emotions.  It was all good.

Thank you, Pam Hillman, for a delightful escape into another time and place.
 

Undercover Bodyguard by Shirlee McCoy

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Love Inspired Suspense, Shirlee McCoy’s is a good romanctic suspense with two likeable protagonists in bakery owner Shelby Simons and former SEAL turned security contractor, Ryder Malone.  Just his name sounds tough and capable. And so Shelby finds him – against her will – as she is adamant to remain independent for every need.

The plot progresses with the usual amount of dangers that keep our would-be lovers together and apart at appropriate stages.

I liked Shelby’s realistic response to grief and guilt. I liked the comfort Shelby felt when Ryder was close.  Good, straightforward romantic suspense.

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Submerged by Dani Pettrey is romantic suspense from Bethany House. The story starts with an adrenaline rush that sets up the story perfectly.

Dani’s main characters, Bailey Craig and Cole McKenna develop some good chemistry once Bailey is back in Yancey, Alaska after a ten year hiatus from her home town. Whereas in the last book I reviewed, Her Good Name, Espy hadn’t deserved what happened to her, it appears that Bailey has done the deeds of which she is accused. Still, even if the rest of the town won’t forget, Cole believes people can change and he sees changes in Bailey.

What I liked about this book was the fun dynamic in the McKenna family. That in itself will encourage me to buy more Alaskan Courage books. The writing was clean and the story well-paced. I particularly liked the backstory to the plot. I always love when history plays into a story and makes me believe the fiction could be real. The whole Romanov Dynasty thread kept me just as hooked as figuring out the mystery of who the bad guy would turn out to be.

I was knocked out of my suspension of disbelief on one tiny plot issue near the end, but since it was needed for the wham-bam ending, I forgive the author for pushing through and asking her characters to allow something I found hard to believe they would have allowed to happen.  Of course I can’t be more specific without ruining the ending for you and I do believe this one you should read.

This story also had a solid spiritual theme of being new in Christ, accepting Christ’s blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and walking in the victory Christ has provided for us. I look forward to seeing Bailey and Cole in a solid relationship in future books about the McKenna clan.

Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Historical romance from Moody Publishers, Her Good Name opens in Holliston, Maine, 1892. Espy Estrada is excited at the opportunity to improve her lot in life.  Having worked in the cannery since her father’s injury, Espy hadn’t been able to finish high school as she helps her mother care for her ten younger brothers and sisters, but now she has an opportunity to become a ladies maid for one of the city’s upstanding citizens. Her love interest, Warren Brentwood, is back from school and learning how to run his father’s mill. From the get-go, we see the class differences will be an issue – for everyone except Espy who loves easily and sees potential in every situation.

This book is filled with interesting secondary characters from Espy’s siblings, to Espy’s employers, Warren’s family, and their joint friends. I liked the idea of the church group of youth looking beyond themselves and getting involved in the community. I particularly liked how Espy’s personality held it all together and spearheaded their few successes.

As the plot advances, the title of the book begins to have serious play in the developing action and my heart ached for Espy as she lost her good name. But Espy isn’t one to stay down forever, and she moves from Holliston to find the better life she’s always believed possible. Still, it is only when she finds a true relationship with her Creator, that Espy finds the peace and purpose she has always dreamed of. Both characters have some wonderful spiritual growth to reach before they can find their happily-ever-after together.

This is the first Ruth Axtell book I’ve read. It may well be her debut novel.  I found the writing clean and the story easy to follow.  Because of Espy’s wonderful personality I rooted for her the entire way.  I felt the unfairness of her situation as if I had been the one maligned. I cheered when Warren started making good decisions. I recommend this story for all historical romance readers who want a memorable character – Espy Estrada.