Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

beyond all dreams cover

Anna O’Brien loves her job as the map librarian at The Library of Congress. And like any good librarian, when she stumbles upon an error in the records of a Navy ship, she endeavors to right the error–at the consternation and frustration of the Navy. Her quiet and humble existence is her life–one she is happy living. Then she meets Luke Callahan, an outspoken and charismatic congressman from Maine who pushes his way into the safety and comfort of her map room. The attraction on Luke’s part is almost instantaneous. Anna and Luke are opposites in so many areas of their lives but Anna comes to consider Luke a friend and turns to him to help solve the mystery of what really happened to that Navy ship.

There is a lot going on in this book–they mystery of the ship, the politics Luke’s involved in as well as his family history, Anna’s best friend and her job–but all of it keeps the story moving. A little twist in the historical romance genre, Luke proclaims his love fairly early in the book but so many obstacles are thrown in front of them, you keep turning the page, keep hoping something will turn the tide to bring Anna and Luke together in the end. There are a lot of politics in this book but it’s necessary for the story line. I’m fascinated by Washington DC and the one time I’ve visited it was only for a twenty-four period so I never made it to The Library of Congress but after reading Beyond All Dreams, it’s on my list for my next visit.

****Bethany House Publishers provided me with a free copy 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.

Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen

both of me cover

As I sit here after finishing this book, my mind won’t quit reliving this story. It’s a book that will most definitely be getting a second read from me, a book I will be telling others about, a book that resonates.

Clara is running when she meets Elias Phinn on an airplane. A boy she’s never met before but who seems to know her darkest secrets. How can he know these things about her? When she realizes Elias has taken her bag instead of his, she searches him out. The boy who answers the door is not the same one she met on the plane. In fact, the one who meets her at the door doesn’t remember ever meeting her at all. Clara is immersed in Elias’s world–his two worlds. One Elias–the one who seems normal, the one she likes–will disappear and another takes his place–the Elias she has dubbed The Other One, the one who does not live in reality but in a place called Salem. Clara is determined to learn what The Other One knows about her past and agrees to help him on his journey to find what he’s seeking.

And yes I’m being vague in my description of this book because I don’t want to give anything away. This story is one of hope, of love, of mystery, of heartache, of forgiveness, and finally, of acceptance. Through Elias, Clara learns how to love, how to become selfless, how to feel again. And through Clara, readers will be taken on a journey they won’t soon forget.

You can pick up a copy now from your local bookstore or pick up your copy here or here.

****Booklook Bloggers and Zondervan Fiction provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

When Dawn Breaks by Jennifer Slattery

when dawn breaks jennifer slattery

“Adele slumped in her seat and faced her window while the riot within Gavin raged. How he longed to believe his mother’s words, to trust that everythign would be okay, but he knew better.” –When Dawn Breaks, Jennifer Slattery

A hurricane and a job bring three people to a small town. Jacqueline Dunn moves in with her estranged daughter, hoping and praying to build that relationship from the ashes. When she begins to volunteer at a church that is housing hurricane refugees, her heart is drawn to fourteen-year-old Gavin and his two sisters. Through sometimes humorous circumstances, she also meets Jonathan Cohen, a man she quickly begins to consider a friend. Is God giving Jacqueline a chance to redeem her past failures with her own daughter? Or is he giving her a second chance at finding love? Will she have to give up one to have the other?

Jennifer Slattery weaves the stories of three people together seemlessly. It’s a nice change to read about two adults who have lived a little life–one who has already found and lost a love and another who never had it. Gavin’s perspective adds dimension to the story as well. These characters are real–they’ve made mistakes, they deal with real issues, they struggle with their faith and what God calls them to do. Jonathan’s sister’s antics are humorous as are the first few times Jacqueline and Jonathan meet. A nice, heartwarming read.

Order your copy from Amazon

****New Hope Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

The Knot Little Books of Big Wedding Ideas

knot big wedding ideas

If you’ve been engaged within the last ten years, you’ve probably heard of The Knot–the go-to website for wedding planning. Well, the team behind that website along with the magazines, books, and mobile apps have put together a pretty little collection to keep on hand. The Knot Little Book of Big Wedding Ideas includes four books in that slide into a handy case.

the knot cakes

Cakes includes tips on finding a baker and includes a list of questions to be sure to ask them, choosing your cake style and batter, tips and tricks for creating a unique cake, and suggestions for saving money. Filled with beautiful photographs of cakes, this little book is sure to leave your mouth watering.

knot bouquets and centerpieces

The Bouquets and Centerpieces book includes tips on finding a florist, creating amazing flowers, knowing the lingo, and ways to save on flowers. Filled with beautiful photos of bouquets (grouped by color) and centerpieces (grouped by height), this book is sure to offer inspiration for anyone looking for a unique floral arrangement.

knot stationery, decors and favors

The Details book, which includes Stationery, D├ęcor, and Favors, gives you a breakdown of your options for purchasing your wedding invitations, escort cards, and more. With suggestions and more photos, this little book is sure to help you find what your are looking for.

the knot vows readings and toast

“And while it’s inevitable that most of the planning goes into the party, the purpose of a wedding is ultimately to make a public promise” –The Knot, Vows, Readings, and Toasts

The final book in this collection is all about words. Vows and readings for the ceremony and toasts for the party afterward. The vows include traditional vows from any religions as well tips for writing and personalizing your own vows (complete with real life examples). The readings include scripture, blessings, and poetry selections. The toasts also include real life examples and are broken down by the person giving the toast (parent of the bride, best man, etc).

These little books are great resources not only for brides-to-be, but for party planners, decorators, or anyone who wants something unique for a special occasion.

Order The Knot Little Books of Big Wedding Ideas here

*****Blogging for Books provided me with a free copy of this collection of books in exchange for an honest and fair review.

A. D. 30 by Ted Dekker

Every once in a while it will take me more time than I anticipate to pick up a book I am supposed to review. That’s what happened with me and Ted Dekker’s latest offering, A.D. 30. When I finally started reading the book, my main thought was, “Why did it take me so long to read this?” This book is amazing, emotional, and speaks to the heart of who Jesus was during his ministry on earth.

AD 30

Illegitimate daughter of a Bedouin sheikh, Maviah longs for acceptance from her father. Those who love her are taken away from her and she is left floundering with a desire to be known and loved by others. When her home is attacked, her father charges her to make an alliance with King Herod. As Maviah travels through the desert, certain of failure, to reach the king. Two of her fathers strongest slaves, Saba and Judah, travel with her. Saba is strong and silent while Judah is confident, optimistic, and Maviah’s rock. Judah is also determined to find one man during their travels–Yeshua of Nazareth.

“How they loved him! Because he loved them as himself, as if they were he. What you did not do the the least of these, you did not do for me.
–A. D. 30, Ted Dekker

Wow, what an amazing story. This book is a definite departure from Dekker’s usual thrillers (which I am also a fan of) but it is still engaging. See the healer, the teacher, the savior through the eyes of a Gentile woman who believes she is no worthy of the great calling thrust upon her. Read as she meets Yeshua and he changes her heart, her mind, and even her physical being at times. Dekker states in his prologue (which is as much worth reading as the actual book) that this story is ten year in the making. This is a labor of love for Dekker and it shows.

Earlier this month I mentioned another Ted Dekker book in my ten favorites for the year but this one tops Hacker and would have even topped the list had I read it before creating the list. I am already looking forward to the sequel. So, in conclusion, I leave you with three words: READ THIS BOOK!!!

AD 30 cover Pick up a copy from your local bookstore or order here or here.

****Center Street Publishing and Hachette Book Group provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.