Love Takes the Cake by Betsy St. Amant

love takes the cake cover

Charlotte can set her watch by her Tuesday evening customer. The handsome man’s order for his girlfriend never varies either. Then one Tuesday some friends of his come in—one of them is the Bridezilla she’s got a consultation with for a wedding cake. When the groom to be suggests Will take care of the cake, Charlotte is both concerned and delighted. Her attraction to this attached man is dangerous but, at the same time, she’d rather deal with that than the hyper-emotional bride-to-be.

Will’s life is consumed by caring for his sister. Can he really commit to spending a large chunk of time with the pretty baker? The temptation to kiss her is already pushing at his restraint. Finally agreeing, he realizes there is more to Charlotte than meets the eye. Something in her past has caused her a lot of pain, but will she trust him enough to share that past?

Author Betsy St. Amant has a talent for bringing her character’s past pain to life. How is it that one poor choice in the past can decide how you live life in the present? While both Will and Charlotte grow closer, they must deal with letting go of their guilt and prejudices from their past experiences.

***Booklook Bloggers and Zondervan Fiction provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Dust and Obey by Christy Barritt

A little over two years ago, I stumbled upon a book called Hazardous Dutyabout a crime scene cleaner who stumbled into a murder investigation. Now I await every new adventure in Gabby St. Clair’s life (in addition to Christy Barritt’s other romantic suspense titles). Dust and Obey marks the tenth book in the series and I still cannot get enough of what’s happening in Gabby and her friends’ lives. Fans of this series will be thrilled to know that Riley Thomas lays a very prominent role in this book.

dust and obey

While driving home from a training session for her new job, Gabby receives a phone call from her ex-fiancé in which he asks her to help investigate the murder of a co-worker’s wife. The problem? The investigation will take place on an island. And Riley will be there. And the purpose of these weekend retreats is marriage counseling. Determined to protect her heart from getting smashed to pieces again, Gabby agrees to act the part of Riley’s wife. But narrowing down the suspect pool proves challenging as does avoiding her emotions.

dust and obey quote

Christy Barritt is a master of infusing humor into stories that would otherwise be tense and emotionally fraught. Gabby’s quirky character remains evident throughout the book—complete with randomly bursting into song, creating her own titles for her songs, and her concern and compassion for her friends. Her first session at the retreat is sure to make you smile, if not laugh out loud. But at the same time you will sense Gabby’s confusion, heartache, and turmoil.

Also, if you have not read the novella, While You Were Sweeping, written from Riley’s perspective during his separation from Gabby, you might want to check that out before delving into this book as it definitely gave me some great perspective on what Riley was hoping for from these three weekends away with Gabby.

Available for order here

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

little paris bookshop

Let me begin with a warning. This book is not the Christian fiction I usually review on this blog. There is a smattering of foul language and several reference to sex (as well as a couple of scenes). But there is also a journey. One that not only takes you along the rivers from Paris to the southern wine countries but also of the heart. Of grieving. Of letting go and living again.

Jean Perdu has lived the last twenty-one years behind walls. His literary apethacary, a bookshop housed on a boat in the Seine, has remained moored to the same spot. As he prescribes books to his customers, he has yet to find the cure for himself. Living, feeling, is too hard so he creates a shell around his life and protects his heart. When a woman, Catherine, moves in across the hall, Jean gives her a table out of the room that has been concealed by a bookcase for two decades. In that table is a note that will change his life. A note from the love of his life. A note he has feared reading. A note that leads him on a journey toward healing, toward loving, toward friendships, and toward adventure.

The Little Paris Bookshop is a fast read as you travel with Jean and his companions (two cats, a young author just starting out in life) and meet the characters—and I mean that in multiple ways in some cases—they come across. With references to literature sprinkled throughout the book, readers will enjoy it. Jean’s story is one of grief, one of heartache and sorrow, but one that proves there is healing and hope on the other side. Even if it takes a while to get there.

****Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Mind of Her Own by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

mind of her own

Exhausted from her predictable, boring life being the perfect wife and mother, Louisa Copeland opts for an easy dinner using the indoor grill. When she wakes up after taking a knock on the head from said indoor grill, she wakes up not as Louisa Copeland, but as romance author Jazz Sweet with no memory of her husband or her children. Yet she can’t quite piece together her life as Jazz Sweet either. With no place else to go, she agrees to go “home” with Collin Copeland, Louisa’s husband. At least he seems to be concerned about her. As Jazz tries to figure out who she is and how this Louisa fits into her life, she realizes that Louisa was unhappy with her life. It seems her entire existence is just a shell, a pretty packaging, something that Jazz does not want to return to. But as snippets of memory return, will Jazz be forced back into Louisa’s life? And how will the family handle leaving the fun and excitement Jazz has brought into their lives with the controlling yet caring mother.

Published a couple years ago, this is the first I’ve heard of this book. I’m glad I read it. A little different spin on a story that was at times humorous and at other times painful as Collin learns what a poor husband he’d been and that Louisa had never trusted him completely. But the truth of the story is that healing and change can happen. An unhappy life can be turned into more. Second chances are real. Jazz was a fun character despite the exasperating moments when she can’t seem to make up her mind. As Collin struggles with accepting Jazz at first, he soon learns he likes this fun, exciting side of his wife, even if she is keeping him at a distance.

****Tyndale Blog Network provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Heart’s Home by Colleen Coble

heart's home cover

The final installment in the Journey of the Heart serials, A Heart’s Home finds Emmie Croftner with a difficult decision: Marry the man she loves or keep the promise she made to Amelia Campbell. The promise that if anything happened to her, Emmie would marry Jacob and care for him and Amelia’s daughter. With the Sioux attacks becoming more prominent and the death toll of men in Fort Phil Kearney increasing, Isaac Liddle volunteers to go to Fort Laramie for reinforcements in the middle of a blizzard. With weather and Indian attacks a threat, Emmie worries for the man she loves, refusing to give up hope he’ll come home to her.

A lot of emotion in this final book. Joy is followed quickly by heartbreaking sorrow. As someone who once lived in Wyoming, Coble’s description of the weather and wind is dead on. Most of the characters from the first five books at least make an appearance and the story is wrapped up nicely, including an epilogue to let readers know how the future turned out for Emmie. Another quick read because of the short installment length, but if you want all of them at once, the entire series will be available in September.

***Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via BookLook Bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own.