Book Review: Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

About the Book

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.

He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor.  And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or finally the courage to stay in the saddle for good?

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My Thoughts

I just really love Ruth Logan Herne novels! The first page grabbed my attention and the whole book was one wild ride. Colt Stafford and Angelina Morales each bear secrets and past hurts that cloud their better judgment. Colt is the returning prodigal and hesitant to be reunited with the family he essentially shut out of his life. Coming home seems to soften his heart while familiar places and faces unlock memories long suppressed. Colt grows by leaps and bounds into the man he was always meant to be.

Angelina is used to being in control yet her father’s death has shaken her confidence in her own plans and left her with a very unfamiliar feeling, vulnerability. She’s a strong woman, willing to turn her life upside down and go into hiding to protect her son and her mother. Angelina is a force to be reckoned with and none of the men on the Double S dare cross her, until Colt. She never meant for ranch life to be any more than an escape but there’s no denying the growing attraction and respect she has for him.

Back in the Saddle is a great start to what promises to be a must-read series. Readers get to know the Stafford family in this first installment and I am excited to read more about each one of the different brothers and the various ranch hands too!

I received an advanced reader copy of this title from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review first appeared on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Ruth Logan HerneRuth Logan Herne loves Charlie Brown Christmas trees, rooting for the underdog and people who go the distance while others see the path as too long or broken!

She loves God, chocolate, writing, dogs and is blessed by a sprawling family, oodles of grandkids and a sweet old farmhouse in constant need of work. She’s sure that clean rooms are over-rated, snakes and possums should mind their own business and buy their own farm and puppies and kittens and babies are about the cutest things on Earth.

A “pull-up-your-big-girl-panties-and-move-on” kind of gal, she is blessed to be married to her high school sweetheart, work with young families who allow her to exploit their sweet children on blogs, and rock babies on a regular basis. An author for Love Inspired Books and Summerside Press, she lives in upstate New York.

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Double S Ranch series


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review by Beth Erin

Book Review: When God Made You

Book title: When God Made You

Author: Matthew Paul Turner

Illustrator: David Catrow

Number of pages: 48

Book blurb:

YOU, you… God thinks about you.

God was thinking of you long before your debut.

From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly.

Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves.

‘Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew

That the world needed someone exactly like you!

Amazon ~ CBD

~*~

My Thoughts:

When God Made You is a children’s book written by Matthew Paul Turner and illustrated by David Catrow.

The text of the book is neatly organized into clusters of two to four sentences, give or take with splashes of color that decorate each page like paint on a canvas created by an imaginative child.

Turner writes well for his target audience. The story is delightful, happiness is its tone and creativity is a key feature emphasized on every page. The little Black girl who is the main character in this story looks lovely. She bounces from page to page, always engaged in an everyday activity that she makes extraordinary through her active imagination and passion for life.

It’s the joy shown by the little girl that keeps the reader turning the page to find out where she’s going next. The reader may happily join the precious child on her daily adventures and be delighted by the activities.

The illustrations by Catrow are noteworthy. The reader can tell that he knows his target audience well because the pages are filled with splashes of color that does not follow the rules of staying in between neat and orderly lines. These colorful, vivid images are what children love. The fanciful illustrations remind me of a splash park for kids where they are allowed to play without boundaries and get water everywhere.

Just from the cover of the book that’s based in green with hints of pink, blue, yellow and orange with the little girl posed as if she’s diving into the deep end of a pool while also spreading her wings (arms) to fly, the reader can tell that they are in for a wild and fun ride.

The story starts in what looks like a living room where the girl is curled up on a couch with a book, her cat and dog positioned faithfully on either side. It progresses to her getting ready to go outside. She rides her bicycle into town and spends time painting the sidewalk with street artist then she goes on an imaginative adventure with the artist, fueled by their creativity. The author uses these scenes to express to the reader that God gave them the gift of creativity and loves to see the products of their imagination.

Children may relate to this little girl’s love for creativity and art. What kid doesn’t like drawing pictures or playing with crayons? This book will encourage kids to be more creative and it will also teach them about God’s unconditional love.

The author does a delightful job of creating a story that’s creative, bold and beautiful. He packs it with a powerful message of how much God loves children and it emphasizes the fact that the Master Artist (God) enjoys creating art with His creation (such as the little girl featured in this book).

The author accomplishes his goal of helping children discover how their unique persona and talents fit into their world. He makes it easy for children who read this book to know that God loves them dearly.

I’d recommend this book to parents who want their children to realize their worth at an early age.

~*~

Bio according to author’s official website (with a few sentences edited out for this blog):

Matthew Paul Turner is a best-selling author, writer, storyteller, photographer, speaker, and blogger. As one of the most influential progressive Christian voices in media, Matthew has been featured on The Daily Beast, CNN, Washington Post, Yahoo!, USA Today, The New York …and many more.

What sets Matthew apart from today’s throng of open-minded Christian authors is a talent for combining thoughtful, often opinionated commentary about a variety of faith-related topics with poignant, spot-on wit and self-deprecating insight. Lauded by Publishers Weekly as “one of Christianity’s fresh voices” and revered by some as the “Christian David Sedaris,” Matthew writes what many people are thinking and unwilling to say aloud.

But commentary and humor aren’t this gifted writer’s only talents. Matthew has a sincere heart for the marginalized and relentless dedication to truth-telling. This passionate spirit motivates him to share rich stories that would often otherwise go unshared.

As a writer and photographer, Matthew has traveled extensively with World Vision to places.

Matthew and his family live in Nashville, Tenn. Connect with Matthew on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Book Review: The Red Feather by April W. Gardner

War, captivity, hunger that will not be denied. And a blackberry moon with enough pull to endure the test of time.

The Red Feather by April W. GardnerFrontierswoman Adela McGirth has never feared her neighbors, the Creek Indians, but a suspicious encounter with a steely-eyed warrior shakes her confidence. As dreaded, a skirmish with the natives sends her family fleeing into a hastily constructed fort. But no picket is strong enough to hold off a party of warriors who fear nothing but the loss of their ancient ways.

Totka Lawe, a Red Stick bound by honor to preserve his heritage, will do what he must to expel the whites from Muscogee soil. But in the midst of battle, he is assigned to protect those he’s expected to hate and kill. One of whom is the copper-haired woman who has haunted his thoughts since that strange night under the blackberry moon. The war was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a gentle warrior’s spirit he cannot resist.

But what woman would have a warrior whose blood-soaked hands destroyed her life? Then again…does she have a choice?

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My Thoughts

Dances with Wolves meets The Last of the Mohicans with a splash of The Colonel’s Lady and oh the warm fuzzies as I read this book, y’all! There are precious few things I enjoy more than a thoroughly researched historical novel. Native Americans are some of my favorite people groups to learn about and the strength of their spirit is awe inspiring.

At first glance, Adela McGirth is a simple, carefree, middle daughter of an Alabama territory family. Her faith carries her through trials and tragedy, revealing a fierce and feisty young frontier woman ready and able to stand up for herself and her loved ones. Adela lives out her faith and chooses to literally love her enemies even in the most trying circumstances.

From the first time he sees her, Totka Lawe is both enchanted and befuddled by the copper-haired woman. He is torn between his duty to preserve his heritage and the growing desire he has to make Copper Woman his own. Totka is frustrated by the obstacle of her faith yet he remains honorable and patient.

April Gardner has captured the beautiful contrast between the beliefs, traditions, and history of the frontiersman and those of their Muscogee neighbors. This story captured my heart and transported me to that tumultuous time in our history. I am a BIG FAN now and I can’t wait to read more!

I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
THIS REVIEW FIRST APPEARED ON FAITHFULLY BOOKISH

About the Author

April W. GardnerA military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children, and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

After a year gaining experience as content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.

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REVIEW BY BETH ERIN

Book Review: By Your Side by Candace Calvert

byyoursideER nurse Macy Wynn learned essential, gritty lessons in the California foster care system: land on your feet and trust no one. She’s finally located the fellow foster child she loves like a sister, but the girl’s in deep trouble. Macy’s determined to help, no matter what it takes. Her motto is to “make it happen” in any situation life throws at her—even when she butts heads with an idealistic cop.

Deputy Fletcher Holt believes in a higher plan, the fair outcome—and his ability to handle that by himself if necessary. Now he’s been yanked from Houston, his mother is battling cancer, and he’s attracted to a strong-willed nurse who could be the target of a brutal sniper.

When everything goes wrong, where do they put their trust?

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My Thoughts

Candace Calvert is a new-to-me author. The fact that she is a trained and experienced nurse made this medical drama even more enticing. Deputy Fletcher Holt is a born and bred Texan temporarily living and working in Sacramento. He has a very close relationship with his parents and is determined to do everything in his power to help them. Fletcher’s mama is one tough lady with a compassionate heart and I love the authentic relationships she has with her husband and son.

After a stinging dismisal from her biological father, weathly international businessman Lang Wen, ER nurse Macy Wynn dedicates herself to her career and reconnecting with her foster sister. Because of her painful childhood in the foster care system, she tends to hold people at an arm’s length in her personal life but she has an immense compassion for her patients and co-workers. Seems to me, Macy is still that lost little girl on the inside and she’s just managing the pain through an intense, high-adrenaline lifestyle.

Fletcher and Macy initially clash like a couple of wet cats. Over time, they develop a special connection while evading danger at every turn and continually crossing paths. By Your Side has it all, suspense, mystery, and romance. This book grabbed my attention from the first page and kept my attention through the end. Both characters develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with God.

I’m already itching to know what is going to happen in the next book of the series and I will definitely be seeking out more titles from Candace Calvert.

I requested the opportunity to read and review this book through The Book Club Network. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review first appeared on Faithfully Bookish

 

About the Author

Candace CalvertCandace Calvert is a former ER nurse and author of the Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical, and Crisis Team series. Her medical dramas offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine.

Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California.

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Do you tend to rely on your own strength when life gets tough?
Like Macy & Fletcher, this is something I struggle with!

 

Review by Beth Erin

 

Review: Virtuous Ruby by Piper Huguley

 

517x0kfa6rlBlurb:

After fifteen months of hiding from the shame of bearing an illegitimate child, two words drive Ruby Bledsoe to face the good citizens of Winslow, Georgia. Never again. She vows to speak out against injustice. For her sisters. For her parents. For her infant son, Solomon.

When she comes to help an injured mill worker, she bristles when a tall, handsome man claiming to be a doctor brushes her aside. Despite his arrogance, Ruby senses he’s someone like her, whose light skin doesn’t quite hide who he is.

Up north, Dr. Adam Morson easily kept his mixed race a secret. Now that he’s in Georgia, summoned by his white father, he can feel restrictions closing in around him.

Something powerful draws him to the beauty whose activist spirit is as fiery as her name. And soon, Adam wants nothing more than to take Ruby and her child far from Georgia’s toxic prejudice. But Ruby must choose between seeking her own happiness and staying to fight for the soul of her hometown.

Review:

This book is rich in history, imagery and heart. The first in the Migrations of the Heart series, Huguley tells the story of Ruby and Adam, both leading difficult lives in Winslow, Georgia. The book takes a unique look at an oft-told tale: segregation in the south. It is a delight to read a different perspective of that time in Black history.

Ruby’s strong spirit has the reader rooting for her from the early pages. And Ruby proves she is worth rooting for. Her love for her family and her son drive her, but so does justice. Although her ideas about civil rights make her seem like a woman out of her time, that doesn’t stop her. She still champions the rights of others all while living with a deep hurt.

Huguley does a great job of showing two worlds in one character: Dr. Adam Morson. He could pass for white, but his entrance into that community is tentative. The author deftly shows the tension in his identity and the tension he creates. His choice to live as a white man and attend school was a difficult one, but his noble reasons adds another thread of richness to this story.

One of the highlights of the books is the realistic progression of Adam and Ruby’s romantic relationship. Huguley gives their love story the perfect amount of conflict and admiration but she doesn’t make it easy for them to reach their happily ever after. This makes the romance even sweeter.

If you are looking for a fresh, engaging historical fiction book featuring diverse characters, this is a must read.


Book review by Terri J. Haynes