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review 2020-06-04 06:25
Relentless Love Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book:  Relentless Love

Author: Heather Greer

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Without passion, there is no love. Without love, is she even living?

Living with limits protects a heart from hurt. After unexpectedly losing her husband, it’s a lesson Katie Blake has learned well. From moving in with her elderly father to staying at home with her son, Sammy, Katie’s life has been arranged to avoid further pain.

After three years, life feels stagnant. It’s time to carefully venture into the world once again. Sammy needs friends his age, and Katie needs a project to focus on.

As Sammy adjusts to preschool, Katie finds her perfect job. Her position even allows her to befriend Anna, a young mother who needs encouragement. Events also bring Nathan Phillips, a childhood friend, back into her life. Each successful step forward encourages Katie to continue opening her heart. By the time her friendship with Nathan begins to deepen, Katie is ready to pursue the relationship.

Nathan’s encouragement gives Katie strength to make tough decisions regarding her father’s care as his dementia progresses. But when Sammy is injured while in Nathan’s care, Katie knows she’s made a mistake. It won’t happen again. Abandoning their relationship in favor of safety is only the beginning. Katie has felt God calling her to help change Anna’s situation, but the risk is too great. God will have to find another way to help.

It takes a strange message from her father for Katie to understand God’s relentless love and desire for her life to reflect His love. But will Katie take the risk or continue limiting love in favor of a life without hurt?



Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 



Heather Greer is a pastor’s kid and pastor’s wife from southern Illinois. Though her nest is quickly approaching the empty stage, with three of her four children out on their own, she enjoys the times she gets to spend with all her children, husband, and grandson. Equal mix geek and romantic, you could as easily find Heather watching an episode of Doctor Who as the latest Hallmark movie. Of course, you may find her baking, reading, or crafting too!

Heather’s writing and teaching ministries revolve around a passion to see believers grow in their faith. Though God has used her most often with teens and adults, she has worked in ministries reaching all age groups through the years. It is Heather’s prayer for God to use what she writes in her books and on her blog to challenge and encourage readers in their faith walks.


More from Heather

 

Authors leave a bit of themselves on the pages of what they write. Whether it comes out in a name or character’s special interest or a faith lesson the author had to learn themselves before they could put in on paper, somewhere in what is written readers will find a hint of the author in the story. This glimpse into the author’s world add a feeling of authenticity to the story.

My family and friends will quickly recognize at least one of these windows into my world as they read Relentless Love. Though I didn’t intend it, my personal experiences with dementia and Alzheimer’s care are woven into the story. While the exact details are different, I was a full-time caregiver to my grandmother through the middle and late stages of her life with dementia. Dealing with the confusion, illogical thinking, obsessing, and paranoia that are portrayed in the story is part of everyday life for a caregiver.

In including Katie’s experience with her father’s deteriorating mental health, I pray others facing the same struggle find encouragement and strength. And because my time with my grandma was blessed with sweet memories, in spite of the struggles, I’d like to share a recipe she passed down to me in high school. I cannot make this cookie without thinking of the one who made it first and all the lessons she taught me about what it means to love God, our families, and others.


Lace Cookies  – from the kitchen of Sue Ellen Forby

Ingredients:

1 cup oats                                            3Tbs. flour

¼ tsp. salt                                            1 stick butter

1 cup sugar                                          1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. baking powder                         1 egg

Directions: Mix oats, salt, sugar, baking powder, and flour. Melt butter and pour over dry ingredients. Add vanilla and egg. Mix well. Refrigerate at least one hour, until set.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into marble sized balls and place at least 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Edges of cookies will be golden brown. Remove from oven and carefully slide parchment from pan to let cookies cool completely before removing them from paper. These cookies puff during cooking but flatten out completely as they cool.
 
 

My Review

 

This is my 100th book review of 2020! I love being able to read and share wholesome books, thanks to God’s abundant blessings and the privilege of being a part of several wonderful review groups. This week also happens to be the celebration of Celebrate Lit’s 5-Year birthday! It is so wonderful to observe this milestone, and I am so delighted to be able to be a part of the team!

With these special moments, it seems fitting that the books I am reviewing this week are each part of a series. Heather Greer’s “Relentless Love” is the final book in her trilogy about fictional character Katie, a young woman facing the heartache of both past and present while also being a single mom to a toddler and living with her elderly father. Due to her previous devastating losses, Katie is cautious and wary. And lonely. Perhaps what drew me to empathize with her so much is the fact that we all deal with loneliness sometimes, and even more so these days with the coronavirus pandemic. When Nathan correlates Katie’s own loneliness with that of her father (for very similar reasons that I will not detail to avoid potential spoilers), I appreciated his insight. I also loved his response to Katie’s question: “How does a mother teach her son to become a man?” He tells her, “You teach him about the man his father was.” This advice , upon contemplation, actually has a double meaning: teaching little Sammy to emulate not only his dad’s actions, but also his Heavenly Father’s.

This story deals with some heavy themes, to a greater extent than I was expecting, but Greer achieves a laudable balance between them and lighter scenes. “Relentless Love” explores dementia and the crushing blow that it can strike to families. My grandpap had Alzheimer’s, and thus, having firsthand knowledge of how heartrending the condition and others like it can be, I again felt like I connected with the characters more than I may have otherwise. Nevertheless, I believe that this book series needs to be read because it does broach difficult subjects of the body and spirit. It lets us know that it is ok to cry, but that we also need to trust the Lord with every difficult circumstance because His love truly is relentless. He will pursue us to the ends of the earth when we are His, so that we in turn can share His unyielding love with others. When we do, even in the midst of our own storms and trials, we realize that the Lord blesses us through this.

Contemporary romance readers, and those who have been following this trilogy, will definitely not want to miss out on “Relentless Love”! For sensitive readers: In addition to having a part of the story  about dementia, infertility is also a topic that is discussed, although very cleanly and well within the bounds of propriety. For horse and ranch lovers, there is some of that as well!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.




Blog Stops

 

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 2

Andrea Christenson, June 3 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, June 4

Rebecca Tews, June 5

Batya’s Bits, June 6

My Devotional Thoughts, June 7 (Author Interview)

Writing from the Heart Land, June 7

For Him and My Family, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 9

By The Book, June 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 11

Quiet Quilter, June 12

Artistic Nobody, June 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, June 14

deb’s Book Review, June 15

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Heather is giving away  the grand prize of $30 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-06-03 17:07
Audiobook Review: Unbroken Cowboy (Gold Valley #5) by Maisey Yates (Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman)
Unbroken Cowboy - Maisey Yates

 Unbroken Cowboy
 Gold Valley #5
 Maisey Yates (Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman)
 Contemporary Romance - Western Romance
 Harlequin Audio
 April 23rd 2019
 Audiobook
9 hours and 55 minutes
 Library

 

In Gold Valley, Oregon, forbidden love just might be the sweetest....

 

Dane Parker traded in his trailer-park roots for glory as a bull rider. But when a serious injury sidelines him for months, it's the first time he can't just pull himself up by his bootstraps. The last thing he wants to deal with is sweet family friend Bea treating him like one of her wounded animals - or the unexpected attraction that suddenly flares between them.

 

Beatrix Leighton has loved Dane for years, while he's always seen her as another sister. When she enlists his help to start her animal sanctuary, she thinks it will give him purpose. Instead, it brings all the desire she feels for him to the boiling point. 

 

Bea's father taught her early on that love means loss. But could her forbidden crush turn into a love that will last a lifetime?

 

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

 

Unbroken Cowboy is book five in the Gold Valley by Maisey Yates and Narrated by Suzanne Elise Freeman.

 

Bea is sweet, kind hearted, and loves animals and all creatures. She is taking a look at her life and making changes. She’s also had a crush on her sister-in-laws’s brother, Dane for a long time, but she knows that he and everyone sees her as a child. I couldn’t connect to our heroine Bea. Her sweet and innocent thing is well and good, but it got on my nerves and eventually felt to child like. I never felt like she grew up. Never felt like she was taking life by the hands and living it. She stayed safe in her bubble, her little cabin.

 

Dane is a rodeo bull rider who finds himself injured and his future in question. His injures put him in a dependent position and he hates it. He’s a very grumpy man. As for Bea he’s always seen her as the sweet innocent little sister. The time he spends with her during his recovers has him seeing her in a new light. I liked Dane well enough. Yes, he’s grumpy for a lot of the book, but I get it and understand he’s got to come to terms with his injuries and that the rodeo life is over and thing figure out what to do.

 

As for Dane and Bea’s relationship it felt more like a high school relationship with all the occurred moments and realizing that the girl is a women etc… *A little rant/side not: The author calls Bea a girl a lot instead of a women. That one word, girl, frustrates me. A grown women, is a women, not a girl. If you understand what I’m trying to say. The girl word only works for kids in my opinion. Now, moving on the relationship was just too teen like. It was slow moving and then at the end it felt rushed and unsatisfying.

 

I’ve enjoyed the previous four books and I was looking forward to Dane finally seeing Bea as a women, but unfortunately this one was not what I wanted. It just lacked the adult vibe for me.

 

Narration: Suzanne Elise Freeman continues to narrate for the Golden Valley series and she did a fabulous job again. I really enjoy her narration and voices for the characters.

 

Rated: 2 Stars
Narration: 4 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

Challenge(s):

 




 

 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

 

 

 

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review 2020-06-01 13:58
Just Saying
Just Saying - Sophie Ranald

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.


Trigger warning: sexual assault 

 

So this was a bit off to me through my whole reading. I thought that this was setting up to be a funny book about a woman Alice who has a career set-back who now has to live with her current boyfriend's ex. Instead the whole book is full of a lot of angst, the author throws in a me too movement plot point and Alice and Joe (her boyfriend) barely talk in this book. Honestly 90 percent of the issues in this book would have been resolved if they had an actual conversation. Also I am not a fan of cheating in romance books so I started to dread this book the entire time I read it. I am disappointed though that unlike with her latest books, this one has no ties into previous books or characters. I wonder if Ranald would have been better off developing a story surrounding one of the women we have been reading about through her other books like "The Truth About Gemma Gray", "Sorry Not Sorry", "It's Not You It's Him", and "No, We Can't be Friends."

 

Alice and her boyfriend of two years Joe are living together. When Alice has a career set-back and can't afford to pay her share of their rent, he asks about his ex Zoe living with them. Instead of saying [expletive] no, Alice agrees and the whole time wonders if Zoe is doings things in order to get back with Joe. Alice starts working at local pub and starts to wonder about what she really wants. Complicating things a bit is the next door brewery owner named Archie that she is starting to feel something for over their games of Scrabble. On top of all of that, Alice has a secret that she has kept from Joe that she worries about throughout the book. 

 

So Alice. I don't know. I liked parts of this character, but think Ranald didn't develop her very well. I liked the other leads in her books I mentioned earlier because those characters were always upfront with the readers via the way the story is told. Ranald doesn't tell us everything that is going on and then we get thrown a curveball that changes up the whole story. I didn't even know what to do with it since it felt like we couldn't get a handle on that before jumping off to Alice still being threatened by Zoe and stressing over Joe. I also wish that the Alice and Joe just talked. There is an opportunity for them to talk but neither do but just do passive aggressive mess to each other. I will say that Ranald does a good job of showing us why Alice loves Joe and they make sense as a couple. I just wish we got more time of the two of them on their own before the specter of Zoe.


Ah Zoe. Nope, didn't like her at all especially when we get the whole confrontation thing finally. I thought Ranald per usual let a character off the hook when they have shown to not be trustworthy. She did this mess with the character of Adam in "Sorry Not Sorry" and the character of Bianca from "Sorry Not Sorry" and "No, We Can't be Friends." Sometimes people are terrible and you cut them out of your lives. I really feel like shouting that from the rooftops.

 

We don't get much development of other characters. Ranald throws in a side plot about one of her pub regulars that I just went are you serious? It made zero sense to the overall story and think it should have been cut. 

 

The writing felt off to me a bit. I liked the other books which I think did tackle some serious stuff but with humor and romance. This one really didn't I thought. We had I think three love scenes with Alice and Joe and we kept reading about how hurried they were (in two of them) and how Alice misses Joe since they don't really make love anymore because of his hours at work and her hours at the pub. The me too subplot was jarring I think. The whole book took a dark turn at that point. I was definitely not prepared to read about a sexual assault and my insides flipped around. I also didn't like the resolution to it either. It felt like it was inserted, important for a bit, and then we get to see what became of said character and the book moved on.

 

The flow was up and down since we have parts of Alice hidden from us until the full reveal about everything. And honestly I got bored reading about her working at the pub and the things she was doing. I don't know. It read similar to me when Nora Roberts went on her whole decorating fit in her books and every book was focused on renovating, painting, decorating and us readers were like please stop. No one cares about crown molding this much. Not even people on HGTV.

 

The ending read as very incomplete to me. It just kind of plops out and I went is that it? So yeah, after loving the other books for the most part, this one is a strong 3 star read. 

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review 2020-05-26 15:46
What You Wish For
What You Wish For - Katherine Center

Please note that I received this via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 

 

This is my least favorite Center book. I don't think she did a good job setting up our main character, Samantha Casey. Also, I didn't really like her (sorry, not sorry). I thought she was way too entwined with the founders of her school and her justification for trying to elbow their daughter out of things was a bit...yeah. And I thought her "romance" with the new principal was nothing but fizzle. It didn't work and the whole be joyful thing started to make me roll my eyes. I don't know what happened while reading this, I just started to get more and more annoyed and the centering around school shootings felt glib? I don't know, it just didn't work.

 

"What You Wish For" follows librarian Samantha Casey. Samantha is happy at her job working as an elementary school librarian in Galveston, Texas. When the school's founder dies, the board elects a new principal, Duncan Carpenter who Samantha used to know from another school and who she had a crush on. Duncan though is not like the man she used to know. He's unsmiling and focused on upgrading the school in event of active shooters. Samantha and others though are planning on making Duncan remember how to be joyful again.


That sounds like something from the Hallmark movie channel. And I say this as someone that loves the Hallmark movie channel. It was just too much. Samantha and her whole be happy and bright thing was aggravating. We get some insight into her past, but eh. I don't know, I just didn't like her. She was too focused on everyone else and on the former principal's widow and how she was grieving. 

 

Not too much to say about Duncan. He is bland as bland can be. I don't think he and Samantha made any sense as a couple. Center doesn't set them up to even get along for the majority of the book and I don't get why either one of them were attracted to each other.

 

The other characters are not developed at all. I can't even remember Samantha's best friend's name and the only thing I recall is that she is into math and wore math pun shirts.

 

The founder's daughter, Tina, doesn't like Samantha and honestly I got why. She was trying to push her out of her own life. I wish that someone had pointed that out to her. It was a bit creepy and I recall one of my friends telling a story of how a friend of her sister's was always going on about how their mom was her second mom. She just felt offended by the whole thing. 


The writing didn't work for me and the flow of the book was pretty bad. It just stops and starts. Probably because we follow Samantha's POV throughout the book and Center jumps back and forth a lot.

 

The ending was just...nope. I got nothing. It didn't work for me even a little. I think another reviewer said this was a book about nothing and honestly it read that way to me a little. Maybe if Center had actually focused on grieving and realizing that Tina is grieving her father's death. Samantha being judgey towards her through the whole book was not even a little bit cute. Or if Center had actually shown that school shootings in the US are serious and have a lot of repercussions to how we teach kids nowadays. Center seemed to stay away from that whole thing. Not that a school should be a prison and not a place for learning, but what are educators supposed to do when it comes to safety? Just saying be joyful and in the moment is up there with thoughts and prayers with me.

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review 2020-05-18 18:26
The Next Always
The Next Always (Book One of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy) - Nora Roberts

Well this is my second attempt at reading this book. I tried back in 2017 and just gave up at that point. I think it was all of the information provided about the renovations and decorating. Sorry, I just didn't care. And this was before my whole house needed to be renovated in 2018 and even then I have to say I doubt I would have cared this much still about decorative details. For readers who don't know. the Inn BoonsBoro is a real live place that Roberts owns and operates. And yes the inn does have rooms based on romantic literature pairings. There is an Eve and Roarke room which...I am sorry, still makes me laugh. The book itself was solid though when you ignored the decorating and renovation stuff. I liked the characters of Beckett and Clare. I thought that Roberts did a great job with a widow moving on so this had shades of 'second chance' romance since Beckett and Clare knew each other as kids, but not quite since they only became involved in this book. That said, this book borrows a lot from previous Roberts trilogies. I wonder at all of her single mom characters having three kids (see "In the Garden" and even "The Chesapeake Bay series" that had three boys initially which expanded to four boys.)

 

"The Next Always" follows Beckett Montgomery (shout-out to Jude Deveraux's Montgomery series) and Clare Brewster. Clare returned to BoonsBoro after the death of her husband. She owns a bookstore and is raising her three young sons with help from her parents and her in-laws. She thinks about romance, but no one has touched her the way her dead husband Clint did. That is until Beckett Montgomery. Clare has known Beckett for years. She now wonders about him and feels heat when he is near. As for Beckett, he had feelings for Clare way back in high school but never stood a chance with her when she fell in love with her husband. Now he has a chance with her and wants to make it work. Throw in Clare's three sons, a ghost, and a stalker, and you have "The Next Always."

 

I really did like Clare, I loved how open she was with still loving her husband Clint, but realizing she was developing feelings for Beckett. I hate romances which either make the dead spouse a louse and or just make it that the woman or man in question was not as big a love as the new one (looking at you Cedar Cove and Virgin River series). I think that is why most romance readers stay away from widow/widower romances, because you have to wonder at the person finding love again when the first time sucked so bad. Clare's three sons were adorable and cracked me up.

 

Beckett was great and we get some insight into him and his brothers, Ryder and Owen. Have to say that I loathed Ryder in this one. Him refusing to call a woman by her first damn name and just her job description ticked me off. I also liked Beckett realizing he was dating a single mother and she came in a package. He also didn't get his back up about Clare's first marriage.

 

The secondary characters such as Owen, Hope, and Avery were great. As said above, I hated Ryder. Can Roberts not always include some random asshole that no one calls out for his assholiness? I noticed in her later book she has pretty much done away with the alpha male trope (thank God). I am remembering how much I loved "Currents" for this very reason. We get a male who can actually discuss his feelings and not be a jerk to the woman he supposedly loves.

 

The mom in this one was pretty absent besides popping in and demanding her sons change things. She needed way more development.

 

The writing was pretty good, think the whole stalking angle was a wash though since it didn't really fit in the book, I imagine Roberts did this to add in some tension.

The setting of BoonsBoro sounds pretty cool. I have driven past this area before (I live in VA and my family is back in PA) so I have to admit I am tempted to go by it to just see if it matches what is in my head. Onto the next book in the series when it is available via the library!

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