Monday, February 25, 2013

CFBA: Flora's Wish

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Flora's Wish
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Kathleen Y'Barbo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few.

Kathleen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a former member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division.

A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has four children of her own as well as seven bonus kids she gladly inherited when she married her own hero in combat boots. Kathleen is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.



ABOUT THE BOOK

May 1887--Flora Brimm is determined the fifth time is the charm. Back home she has a reputation as "Fatal Flora," a woman whose previous four fianc├ęs died in untimely accidents. Flora is desperate to marry, because producing an heir is the only way she can keep her family's estate. She's confident this visit to Eureka Springs with her grandmother will help her land a husband.

Pinkerton detective Lucas McMinn is hot on the trail of Will Tucker, the thief who broke his sister's heart. When he discovers the slippery fellow with Flora, he thinks they are in on the devious plot together. Will Flora be able to convince Lucas of her innocence? Will Lucas catch the elusive Mr. Tucker?

And, more importantly, will Lucas survive if he pursues Flora's heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Flora's Wish, go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS
Instinct tells you to feel sorry for poor fatal Flora, but you just can't, nor does she want you to!  Flora is one girl with a lot of gumption, a lot of sass, and loves to do things on a whim which will bring a smile to your face if not a laugh!

As with so many romance stories you can see where this is going early on in the book, but the story line is just so much fun that it really doesn't matter one bit.  I loved her antics, and even her very stern grandmother will begin to grow on you by the end.

A fun read.




*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Sewing Machine Reviews

I don't know about you, but as a crafty person I have many areas of interest!  I love to sew...when I'm in the right mood anyway, which happens to be right now, so I thought I'd sit down and review two of the sewing machines that I have, yes, two...I really have 4, I know, who needs 4 right?  Well, 2 are about to be sold, so I'm reviewing the 2 that I'm keeping!  One for me, one for my daughter!

Singer 2277 Tradition Sewing Machine:
I wanted this machine to use on small projects and for teaching. My 17 yr old daughter loves the machine, she said it's much easier to use than my 'fancy' one. I like it for simple projects but would not recommend it if you want to get more advanced.

I do not like the thread spool, it's a bit awkward and it seems like it would be better if it were vertical instead of horizontal.

The threading of the machine is very easy as are all the other features. We sewed a tote bag with fancy embellishing and the machine was able to go through several layers quite easily, we did not have any jamming problems.

What is nice with the machine is that it has several stitch options, so while it's more of a basic machine, you still have options for 'playing'

Oh...and as for quality of stitching and being able to create fabulous items, my daughter sewed a gorgeous dress and won at the state fair for the 3rd time in a row with this machine, so while it's a simple machine, it does it's job!

or for about $100 more............

 Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
This sweet machine is all mine!  Can you tell I love it?  This machine has bells and whistles!  It has 130 built in stitches, which are very fun to play with...this is the first time I've actually been able to monogram with one of my machines!

The machine came with a quilting table that you add on to the left side, as well as 9 different feet and a DVD to help you learn all the bells and whistles!  I cannot tell you about the video, since I just dove right in and started to sew, without reading the directions, which is actually pretty normal for me!

This machine has the option to be used with or without the foot pedal, I'm still not sure which I prefer, everything is pretty self explanatory for the most part.  Once you get into your fancy stitches the computer tells you which foot you need.

The threading is easy, although I have yet to figure the self-needle threader, and yes, I actually did read the directions for that!  It definitely would not make me not buy the machine though.

So...bottom line, both machines work great!


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: David Sticker Book

David, the Sticker Book is a sweet little book for young children.  Bright vivid pictures fill the pages and there are 4 pages of stickers to place within the book!

This would be a great read along book for younger children, or an easy reader for those just learning to read, the story of David is one that many young children love and with the sticker interaction they will find themselves enjoying the story even more.

Children can interact with the story by finding where each sticker goes, I think this would be a great book to share with young Sunday School children, and a wonderful Easter gift!

This is a book that I would definitely purchase for young children.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Kregel





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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CFBA: For the Love of Eli

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
For Love of Eli
Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
by
Loree Lough


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

With more than FOUR MILLION copies of her books in circulation, Loree has 98 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; four novels optioned for movies; more books slated for release between now and 2014), 68 short stories, over 2,500+ articles in print, and over 19,000 letters from fans!

Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.

A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations.

She splits her time between a tiny home in the Baltimore suburbs and an even tinier cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of "wolf stuff."

ABOUT THE BOOK

When unspeakable tragedy leaves young Eli an orphan, two families are devastated. But Taylor, Eli’s aunt and legal guardian, vows to help him remember his parents by creating a Memory Quilt. As she begins piecing together the moments of his parents' lives, the story of the young family emerges and Taylor and Eli begin to heal. But Eli’s uncle Reece is slow to let go of the past and still blames Taylor’s brother for his sister’s death. So, although he has long been attracted to Taylor, Reece keeps a safe distance away. Can their shared love for Eli pave the way to forgiveness or will Taylor and Reece be separated by pain?


If you would like to read a first chapter excerpt of For Love of Eli, go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS
This is another book in the Quilts of Love series, they are all stand alone books by different authors, but each book is based on a quilt.

This is a rather sad story, yet quite sweet.  The love story in this book takes a back seat to the main story and forgiveness takes place as the quilt comes together.  I love how the story line is written, like a quilt, it all comes together, each character may not seem to fit together all that well, until the entire story is laid out, then it all fits together quite nicely.

Another enjoyable read.




*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA



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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Unbreakable


Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.

Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope’s safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can’t help but question what she’s always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence.

As it swiftly becomes apparent the threat Hope faced is only the beginning, the town that’s always stood so strong finds itself divided. With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?

MY THOUGHTS
This is the 2nd book in the Road to Kingdom series, I thought the first book was great, but this book surpassed the first!  The books are a stand alone read. 

As in the first book of this series, there is suspense, not the kind that will have you gripping the edge of your seat, but enough to keep you a bit on edge.  Many of the characters in the book have struggles to work through, struggles with God, with love, with the community, and if you've read Amish books you'll see some similarities as well as some differences between the two religions.

This is a very good book, especially if you're looking for a bit of winter romance with a side of suspense thrown in.  The characters are all believable, well developed and Hope is a very enjoyable character!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Litfuse


Celebrate the release of Unbreakable with Nancy Mehl by entering her Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to the March 5th Author Chat Party on Facebook!


Unbreakable Kindle Fire Giveaway

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Books one & two in Nancy's Road to Kingdom series (Inescapable and Unbreakable)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 4th. Winner will be announced at the "Unbreakable" Author Chat Party on March 5th. Connect with Nancy, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books, and fun Mennonite-themed giveaways.

Grab your copy of Unbreakable and join Nancy on the evening of the March 5th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Book Review: Rebekah

 Product Details

When her father dies and she is left in the care of her conniving brother Laban, Rebekah knows her life has changed forever. Her hope for the future is restored when she falls in love with her cousin Isaac, and their relationship starts strong. But marital bliss cannot last forever, and the birth of their twin sons marks the beginning of years of misunderstanding, disagreement, and betrayal. The rift between them grows wider and wider until it is surely too deep to be mended. And yet, with God all things are possible.

Join bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith as she fills in the blanks around the biblical women behind the men we know well. Her in-depth research and creative storytelling bring Rebekah's unique story alive with romance, heartache, and the power of forgiveness.

MY THOUGHTS
This is book 2 in the Wives of the Patriarchs series and is definitely a standalone read since each book is about a different wife.

Jill Eileen Smith does a great job of bringing the story of Rebekah to life, as she struggles after her father dies, wondering if she'll ever marry.  Then moving to a far away land to marry Isaac, who she's never met.  You feel her fear and her worries.  Rebekah and Isaac have a great love for each other, yet, as the rest of us, they have troubles.  The story of Jacob and Esau come to life as well as you read and wonder how any parent could so noticeably choose favorites.

A great read, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Revell.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: Safe in His Arms

 
 
Sometimes it takes a stranger to see you as you really are.
Under Texas Stars, Book 2
Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O'Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she's made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She's convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.
So when Margaret's father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she's frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she's downright worried. Daniel swears he's not involved, but Margaret's not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic "accidents" threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her. 
 
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/hc6cu     
 
Meet Colleen:  
  
Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
Find out more about Colleen at http://www.colleencoble.com/.

MY THOUGHTS
Have you ever felt as though you were not good enough?  If so, you'll bond with Margaret, and in this romantic read you'll find secrets and cowboys....what's better than that?

This book will keep you on your toes guessing as sparks fly and mystery brews. This was a fun, romantic read with beautiful scenery, and this is a book that makes you feel cozy from the minute you read the title!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Litfuse Pulicity

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CFBA: Shattered

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shattered
Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Dani Pettrey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Dani is the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling debut novel Submerged and latest release Shattered. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career.

With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged backcountry--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Shattered, go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS
Love the cover, this is the 2nd book in the Alaska Courage series, and is a stand alone book.

Danger lurks, romance, murder, family love and friendship.  What more can you ask for?  Perhaps justice.  The adventurous twists and turns in this book will leave you wondering as Piper and Lance begin their own investigation....will the real killer be found?

The fast paced story line kept me well entertained and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CFBA: Daybreak

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Daybreak
Avon Inspire; Original edition (February 12, 2013)
by
Shelley Shepard Gray


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Viola Keim starts working at a nearby Mennonite retirement home, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with resident Atle, whose only living relative, son Edward, is living as a missionary in Nicaragua. Viola understands the importance of mission work, but she can’t imagine leaving her father in the hands of strangers. Even though her family is New Order Amish, it’s not the Amish way, and though she doesn’t know Ed, she judges him for abandoning his father.



But when Ed surprises his father with a visit, Viola and Ed both discover an attraction they never expected. Despite her feelings, choosing Ed would mean moving to a far-off country and leaving her family behind. She can’t do that. Her twin sister, Elsie, is going blind and will need someone to care for her all her life. Her family is reeling with the recent discovery that her grandmother hid her past as an Englischer. Her father seems forgetful and distracted—and to be harboring some secrets of his own. Does Viola dare leave them all behind and forge her own life? Or will family ties mean her one chance at love slips away?

If you would like to read a first Chapter excerpt from Daybreak,go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS
Loved this book.  Viola has her mind made up about Ed before she even meets him, so when she does sparks of all kinds begin to fly.  Ed's father is a sweet old man with an agenda and you simply cannot help but love him.

Then of course you mix in the family drama of Viola's grandmother and you get a book full of interesting moments as the family learns to deal with the truth of their Englischer roots and deception.

A very good read for the Amish or Mennonite book lover!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

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Friday, February 8, 2013

CFBA: Redeeming Grace

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Redeeming Grace
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas;
1st edition (February 28, 2013)
by
Ward Tanneberg


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Ward Tanneberg is a pastor/writer/novelist who has given more than 50 years to evangelism, youth, college and pastoral ministry, including two Pacific Northwest churches and 23 years as the senior pastor at Valley Christian Center in Dublin, CA. In 2008, he was named President/Executive Director of The CASA Network. Ward speaks extensively at 50+ retreats and ministry leadership events in the USA and elsewhere. When at home he meets weekly with a group of business and professional leaders. He and Dixie have 2 children, 3 grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren and a great grandson.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Seven years ago, Grace Grafton died in a boating accident while partying on the Georgia, South Carolina coast. Was her death the result of alcohol and drugs or something more sinister? Nobody knows: her body was never recovered. Now years later, a woman reads in disbelief the note addressed to her: Hello Grace, did you think we wouldn't find you?

Those nine chilling words end Grafton's self-imposed sanctuary of witness protection. Now she and everyone she loves are in grave danger. Long believed dead, she has a secret that can change the world. She knows the man running for president is guilty of a double murder! But who will believe her?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Redeeming Grace, go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS
A chillingly evil, yet believable mystery that will keep you turning pages and looking over your shoulder for hours on end.

This is a very large book, filled with 597 pages, which seems a bit daunting at first, but it's well worth digging into.  The story goes from present to past which you may need to get used to, but it did not bother me one bit....the book does take a bit of time to really get into, but it's well worth the wait.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CFBA: Unbreakable

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Unbreakable
Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Nancy Mehl


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Mennonite Romantic Suspense Sure to Thrill Readers

Gentle and unassuming Hope Kauffman has never been one to question or try to make changes. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal her father arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.

Despite Hope's and other Kingdom residents' attempts to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, and when one of Kingdom's own is threatened by a mysterious outsider, Jonathon is one of the first to push for the town to arm itself. Hope's fiance, Ebbie, is at the forefront of those demanding the town stay true to its traditions of nonviolence.

When strange incidents around town result in outright attacks on several townspeople, Hope can't help but question what she's always been taught. As the town that's always stood so strong together is torn apart at the seams, Hope is caught between opposing sides, both represented by those she has come to care for. With tensions high and lives endangered by an unknown threat, Hope fears Kingdom can never survive in one piece.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Unbreakable, go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS
This is the second book in the Kingdom series, and the Mennonites are once again being 'tortured' by the outside world.  Good and evil fight against each other in this story and as the Mennonite are used to 'turning the other cheek' you wonder if anything will ever happen to the ones causing destruction.

That of course is not the only battle, there's a battle of the heart as well, and I truly enjoyed this book as well as the first one in the series!  Can't wait for the 3rd!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Book Review: The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor’s Daughter


Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor’s Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast–a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions–where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits. 

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?

The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her…

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

MY THOUGHTS
...a very good read.  Loved it.  Plenty of suspense to keep you going as you wonder what the 'secret' is, and of course, a romance or two that will keep you on your toes.

I loved the setting of this book, the high cliffs and the strong ocean waves, add to the sense of mystery and you can practically smell the ocean as you read.

There were quite a few characters in this book, but they were easy to get to know, and it didn't take long at all for me to feel as though I knew each one personally, I would definitely recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for review from Litfuse

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