Saturday, March 22, 2014

Caught in the Middle

About the Book:

She wants the Freedom of the open plains.
He wants the prestige of a successful career.
Neither is ready for what comes instead. 

The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life's next victory to Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected- Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne's been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She's only in town to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees- leaving Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person Anne knows in town, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means acting and dressing for polite society- and it's not going well for Anne. Meanwhile, Nick's work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with a rough-around-the-edges woman isn't helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others' expectations, can the pair find their way to love?

My Review:

Anne Tillerton has been a bit of a mystery since she was first introduced in Sixty Acres and A Bride. In that book, she is portrayed as quiet and- according to her husband, who later is killed by her in self-defense and to save Rosa Garner- a bit of a recluse. In Love in the Balance, Anne has left her dresses behind her and is clothed like a man- and thrown into jail after being accused of murder. In this book, Anne is back in action- but much more vulnerable than ever before. After surviving the cruel abuse her husband put her through for so long, she wants nothing to do with men or even dresses. All she wants is to be left alone so she can hunt.

Nick has also been a bit of a mystery as well; he is seen as happy-go-lucky, and very good-natured. And while he is still just that, he is so much more. Nick is a man who is looking to be successful, but also to find the woman who can make him happy. When he and Anne cross paths, he is more than a little intrigued with the woman who saves his life on the train. And when he offers to help her if ever the need arises, he never expects that she will follow through- until one day when she shows up at his office with a baby in tow.

Each of Regina's books has had their moments of fun and seriousness, and I think that this had to be the most fun out of all of them! Although I have a special fondness for the other couples, I found that Anne and Nick were so much fun to watch spar. Watching Nick interact with little Sammy was so adorable, and seeing the way that Anne dealt with the baby's mischief brought countless smiles to my face. It was great watching these two grow so much throughout the book; Anne, as she struggled with her past and trusting Nick, and Nick as he learned to accept that following God didn't always mean an easy road of having things happen the way he wanted them to.

With action, humor, touching moments, and a satisfying end, this is another great read that I'd highly recommend. Great job, Regina!

God bless,

Elyssa =)

*I received a free copy from Bethany House Publishers in return for an honest review. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Love in the Balance

About the book:

Molly Lovelace dreams of being a society lead in 1879 Lockhart, Texas, but being smitten with handsome wrangler Bailey Garner doesn't seem the quickest route. If only he would settle down so he could support a family.

Bailey imagines doing great things for God, but his greatest obstacle is Molly. As long as he thought they'd be married, he excused their stolen kisses, but when she keeps refusing, he vows to earn her love. In town, he tries his hand at several different trades, but everywhere he turns he runs into the mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont. No surprise that Molly's always making calf eyes at the wealthy adventurer.

As pressure from Molly's parents grows she is forced into a hasty decision. Had she weighed all her options and will she find love in the balance?

My review:

I'll be honest and admit that I read this book before Sixty Acres and A Bride, so I got to know Molly after her infatuation with Bailey's older cousin, Weston. In the first book, Molly's main goal was to gain Weston's attention. In this one, she is more intent on getting Weston's cousin, Bailey, to marry her. He really wants to, but there's a problem: he can't support a wife, and Molly's parents won't approve. To top it off, Molly keeps on pressuring him into finding the right job so that they can tie the knot.

Watching Molly and Bailey struggle with their feelings, thoughts, doubts, and situations was amusing, touching, and frustrating. There were times that I ached for Bailey as he dealt with Molly's situation; you could see his struggle, and how he longed to please God in everything that he did. He had such a heart for God that I couldn't help but grow attached to him. And Molly... well, her character is equally frustrating, if not more so. But I promise, by the end of the book, you'll be rooting for her as a very crazy twist and a seemingly impossible situation plays out!

With equal parts of smiles and seriousness, this is a book that deals with the struggles of trusting the Lord no matter the situation- even if that means letting go of something or someone you've been holding onto for so long. Definitely a fun book!

God bless,

Elyssa =)

*This book is from my personal library

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sixty Acres and A Bride

Hi, all!

This year, due to my love for reading, I decided that I might branch out a little and do some book influencing. When the opportunity arose for me to influence Regina Jennings' latest book, I decided that I'd take the chance. I had read her first two books in the series last year, but decided that I would reread them before I jumped into Caught in the Middle. That in turn led me to my decision to write reviews for each of the books. So on that note, I bring you my review for Sixty Acres and A Bride, the first in The Ladies of Caldwell County series. Hope you enjoy!

About the book: 

With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only three months to pay. 

Though facing eviction, Rosa can't keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can't help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future? 

My review: 

Rosa wants nothing but to be free from her past. She thinks that moving back to Texas with her mother-in-law will help her to be able to move on from the death of her husband and the painful memories it brings. Weston's past is filled with regrets. He thinks that burying himself in running his ranch will help squelch his own painful memories of his wife's death. Rosa is a new Christian striving to please God. Weston is angry at God and can't seem to understand why He would love someone like Weston.

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the cover and the fact that this is a more modern telling of the book of Ruth. When I first read it, I enjoyed it. When I read it a second time, I found myself liking it even more! I loved watching Rosa and Weston's stories unfold. All Rosa wanted was to fit in, to belong with her new family, and to be loved. All Weston wants is to protect his family- Rosa included. These two are from completely different worlds, and yet while watching their stories unfold, I saw how similar they were. Both were struggling with pasts they wanted to forget. Both wanted to love and be loved. And both longed to feel forgiven and whole in Christ.

This was a great read, and one that I would definitely recommend! Along with Weston and Rosa, there's a cast of characters who will leave you chuckling, smiling, and even a bit frustrated. But I promise, by the end of the book, you'll want the second one close by!

God bless,

Elyssa =)

*This book was from my own library