Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

Seagrass Pier

Elin Summerall is blessed and cursed. She’s blessed to have been the successful recipient of a heart transplant and cursed because that transplant came with some memories. Memories of how the woman whose heart she now carries with her died at the hands of a killer. When the killer seems to set his sights on her, her four-year-old daughter, and her mother who is suffering from dimensia, Elin decided to move her family to a place she bought in Hope Island, Virginia.

Now she has to contend with FBI agent Marc Everton. Marc and Elin have some history and when Marc finds out what Elin hid from her, he is angry. He’s also trying to find out who murdered his partner and it has led him right to Elin’s door. As the two of them try to figure out who murdered her donor. As the two of them are thrown together, they cannot deny the attraction they feel for each other, but are they willing to put their past where it belongs and move into a future before someone is hurt, or worse?

There was a lot going on in this book. Some side plots that could have been left out, several murder suspects, and many characters to keep track of. I had an inkling of who the murder was as soon as he showed up in the book, but wasn’t one hundred percent certain until the end. That kept the pages turning.

If you enjoy suspenseful mysteries with romance thrown in there, Coble delivers. This is the third novel in the Hope Beach collection, but it is a stand alone. While the characters from the first book make brief appearances, the reader doesn’t feel like they are missing out on anything because they haven’t read the first two books.

****BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

full steam ahead

Nicole Renard is on a mission for her father. She is determined not to fail. She must find an heir for her father’s shipping business. Before she leaves on her journey from Galveston, Texas to New Orleans, her plans go awry. She improvises quickly and ends up in the small town of Liberty, Texas with too little money to continue on to New Orleans. Her search for a job leads her to the eccentric Darius Thornton.

Darius needs a secretary, someone to help him get organized. He’s too busy working on his boiler experiments to spend the time to decipher his notes. When someone finally applies for the secretary position, he’s ready to hire the man. He’s shocked when a woman enters his home to interview for the position. She proves herself intelligent and capable from the get-go.

As Nicole and Darius spend more time together, they both grow to admire the other person and their attraction begins to grow. Darius is determined not to let anything, not even the beautiful, intelligent Nicole, take him from his experiments. Nicole’s promise to her father keeps her from being able to give her heart to a man she is beginning to care deeply for.

Karen Witemeyer’s historical fiction is touching and engaging. Nicole is spirited and feisty, she speaks her mind, and makes no apology for who she is. Darius is tortured and in need of someone to take care of him. Both of the characters have some flaws and at times, as a reader, I wanted ring their necks, but that made them more human. The story was engaging, entertaining, and even a little educational.

****Bethany House Publishers provided me with a free eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.

The Blender Girl: 100 Gluten-free, vegan recipes

the blender girl

Tess Masters is known as The Blender Girl due to her blog where she shares her blender creations which included healthy meals, snacks, drinks, and even desserts. She’s put all of her knowledge into a recipe book.

This book is full of great recipes such as pineapple salsa smoothies, incredible edible edamame dip, butternut bliss soup, and an amazing looking raw chocolate-orange torte. Although, when I make recipes out of cookbooks, they never look as great as the pictures in the book. Speaking of the photos, this recipe book has fantastic photos of many of the recipes. Recipe sections include smoothies & shakes; appetizers, snacks, dips & spreads; salads; soups; the main event; desserts; drinks, juices & tonics; and condiments, sauces & creams. You will be able to find something healthy to make for pretty much any occasion.

Another thing I really appreciated about this recipe book was all of the additional information. Masters includes information about how to keep your blender, a breakdown of the best blenders out there, instructions about dehydrating, sprouting, soaking, and milking. The superfoods information is thorough as well. You will definitely need access to a natural foods store such as Whole Foods for some of the ingredients. Thankfully there is one right around the corner from my house so this book will get a lot of use.

****Blogging for Books provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated for my review.

Forever With You Robin Jones Gunn

forever with you

In anticipation of Robin Jones Gunn’s newest book, I’ve been re-reading the entire Christy Miller series over the past month. I enjoyed catching up with some old friends and even found a few books (Katie Weldon series) I had somehow missed. I grew up with Christy, Todd, Katie, Rick, Doug, and Tracy and they all show up in Forever with You.

Christy and Todd have now been married for a year and a half and they are being severely tested as individuals and as a couple. Christy has some news to share with Todd, but his news shakes her to her core. Their forever friends, Christy’s circle of sanity, are no longer close and the couple now has to navigate adulthood together. Will the two of them be able to come out the other side of their dark place with a stronger faith and greater love, or will all of their dreams lie shattered?

I read this book in one sitting, staying up way too late on a work night to finish it, but I could not put it down. Christy and Todd are better versions of their teenage selves, and I still felt a kinship with them. It’s nice to read a book about what happens after marriage. So many books today end at the engagement or the wedding, but most people know that marriage is hard (even those of us who aren’t married). Couples have to communicate, encourage each other, and support each other during difficult times. That’s exactly why Christy and Todd have always been so real to Gunn’s readers.

I guess I have a few months to recover before book two comes out. It’s a good thing I’ve got Todd’s dad’s story to keep me company.

The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen

bridge tender cover

Emily Shaw’s life has not gone as she expected. She did not expect to lose her husband to get sick. She did not expect to become a widow after five years of marriage. Now she doesn’t know what to do. She wants to bury her head and block out the world, but Ryan, her husband, leaves her a gift that will not her to do that. His last request, a request she buy a house in the place where he grew up and took her for one week on their honeymoon, is something Emily doesn’t want to even consider.

When Emily’s best friend reminds her of the request a year after she learned about the gift, she decides to honor her late husband’s request and go to Seaside, North Carolina to find a house. While there, she is drawn in by a few of the residents of the town—a lonely teenage girl she meets at a hotel, the mother and two children who live in the house next to the one she buys, and the bridge tender (a man who she remembers well from her teenage years). As Emily becomes closer to these people, she finds herself starting to heal and believe she might be able to continue on without the love of her life.

Marybeth Whalen creates engaging characters. You want to hear their stories and you want them to be successful and their dreams to come true. The Bridge Tender is actually a very small part of this book. He is a part, but the relationships between Emily and the teenage girl, her neighbor, and her best friend are much more engaging in this story. Kick up your feet (it will work even better if you are anywhere near sand) and dive into this delightful book of love, loss, friendship, and hope.

****BookLook Bloggers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any manner for either a positive or a negative review.