Monday, February 20, 2023

Review: My Phony Valentine by Courtney Walsh

Genre: Contempary Romance 
Released: Feb. 8, 2023
373 pages
About the Book:

A chance meeting. A hunky hockey player. A fake romance.
Hardly an ordinary day in the life of Poppy Hart.

My days usually consist of agonizing over my failing restaurant, worrying about my mountain of debt and nursing my broken heart.

Everything changes when I bump into a man in the coffee shop and claim him as my new boyfriend. To my absolute horror, he turns out to be hockey’s most renowned bad boy, Dallas Burke. To my absolute delight, he goes along with my story.

When his no-nonsense manager and meddling grandmother jump in the picture, they see a win-win solution for my failing restaurant and Dallas’s less-than-stellar reputation.

A full-fledged fake romance complete with contract negotiations, pretend dates and phony PDA.

But as I get to know the real Dallas Burke, who is not the man the press says he is, it becomes clear that if this isn’t real. . . someone better tell it to my heart.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

Poppy meets Dallas in a coffee shop and randomly claims him as her boyfriend when someone is putting her down. Dallas plays along to help Poppy out, and Poppy offers to cook dinner for him as she is a chef as a thank you. Due to some prompting from Dallas’ grandmother the two begin a fake dating scheme in order to help each other out. Dallas is a famous hockey player and people begin flocking to Poppy’s restaurant in hopes of seeing him. And Poppy will help improve Dallas’ bad boy reputation. I liked how Poppy refused to lie to her family and let them in on the plan. Dallas’ manager wants to set the rules and appearances but instead Poppy and Dallas worked together to come up with the rules and what they would and would not do. I loved how they could be real with one another and shared their true thoughts and feelings, there was no bit miscommunication thrown in to complicate things. I did feel like it might have pushed some of the boundaries a bit with the falling asleep on the couch incidents. This is not prompted as a Christian book, but they were trying to keep their relationship as friendship and I feel as adults they could have realized when they should go home. I really enjoyed following the relationship and seeing it bloom from strangers to friends to more. My favourite character had to be the grandmother, she spoke her mind and was entertaining. Overall, it was a light fluffy read perfect for Valentine’s day. 

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other books from this author that I have reviewed:   


Sunday, February 19, 2023

Review: Grateful American by Gary Sinise

Genre: Biography/Memoir
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released:Feb. 12, 2019
288 pages
About the Book:

As a kid in suburban Chicago, Gary Sinise was more interested in sports and rock 'n' roll than reading or schoolwork. But when he impulsively auditioned for a school production of West Side Story, he found his purpose—or so it seemed. 

Within a few years Gary and a handful of friends created what became one of the most exciting and important new theater companies in America. From its humble beginnings in a suburban Chicago church basement and eventual move into the city, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company launched a series of groundbreaking productions, igniting Gary's career along with those of John Malkovich, Joan Allen, Gary Cole, Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Perry, John Mahoney, and others. Television and film came calling soon after, and Gary starred in Of Mice and Men (which he also directed) and The Stand before taking the role that would change his life in unforeseeable ways: Lieutenant Dan in the Academy Award–winning Forrest Gump.

The military community's embrace of the character of the disabled veteran was matched only by the depth of Gary's realization that America's defenders had not received all the honor, respect, and gratitude their sacrifices deserve. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, this became Gary's mission. While starring in hits like Apollo 13RansomTrumanGeorge WallaceCSI:NY, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Gary has worked tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country, entertaining more than a half million troops around the world playing bass guitar with his Lt. Dan Band, raising funds on behalf of veterans, and eventually founding the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor America's defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I really enjoyed reading Gary’s story and it read like it was him talking right to readers. He shares about his growing up years and how he found his passion for acting and directing. One of his very early roles in the movies was playing Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump and this is a role that has stayed with him throughout the years and has made a huge impact on his life. It was through this role he first became connected with the Disabled American Veterans charity and a passion grew to help members of the military and their family. After 9/11 happened he felt he needed to do more to help and he went on his very first USO tour. During this tour he began to dream up other ways he could help. A true passion grew and we learn about what he has been able to do and has seen through the tours both overseas and in the States. There is a lot of focus on those he has encountered through the tours and what how he has been able to help. Yes, he shares what he has done for them, but the focus is kept on their service. I found it very interesting to learn more about him and some of the behind of the scenes of some of his well-known acting roles. I have a desire to rewatch Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and CSI:NY now that I know some of the behind the scenes. 

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Review: Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy

Series: Lassoed in Texas #1
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Publisher: Barbour Books
Released: Jan. 1, 2006
285 pages
About the Book:

Sophie Edwards is doing just fine alone, until a strange-yet oddly familiar-man rides into her life, insisting on rescuing her and her four daughters. Can she find a way to love a headstrong mountain man? When Clay McClellan discovers his brother has been murdered, he's bent on finding the killers and seeing them properly hung. But first his Christian duty demands that he marry his sister-in-law. After all, Sophie needs someone to protect her - right? Faith and love help unruly wed newlyweds find common ground and a chance at love on the Texas frontier.


My Rating & Thoughts:    

Sophie has endured a lot over the last few years and has had to fend for herself and her young daughters so when Clay comes along and orders her to leave the ranch work to the men, she speaks her mind. I really liked her strength and how she tried to listen to what God was telling her. The faith element is very strong. I really enjoyed the strength of the girls, Sophie and her daughters. The beginning grabbed me, I had to know what was going to happen. I loved the concept of a man who has only been around men most of his life being quickly surrounded by girls. Clay may be clueless when it comes to dealing with girls, but you could tell that his heart was in the right place. I laughed many times throughout. It was fun to watch the relationship develop however there were a few things I didn’t particularly enjoy. Sophie and Clay’s relationship felt strange to me, he practically forces her to marry him for her protection (which I didn’t have an issue with due to the circumstances), but it quickly becomes obvious that they were immediately intimate even though she was against the marriage. I struggled with this because I was hoping that Clay would show Sophie respect. The second thing that bothered me was the way that Sophie’s prayers were being heard and answered was strange. And the fact that these men just happened to show up at just the right time. This felt far-fetched to me. Overall this was a light-hearted read and I liked how God was a central part of the story. 

(I borrowed this book from my sister-in-law; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Friday, February 17, 2023

Review: The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Revell 
Released: Feb. 7, 2023
384 pages

About the Book:

When the Germans march into Denmark, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt exchanges his nobility for anonymity, assuming a new identity so he can secretly row messages for the Danish Resistance across the waters to Sweden.

American physicist Dr. Else Jensen refuses to leave Copenhagen and abandon her research--her life's dream. While printing resistance newspapers, she hears stories of the movement's legendary Havmand--the merman--and wonders if the mysterious and silent shipyard worker living in the same boardinghouse has something to hide.

When the Occupation cracks down on the Danes, these two passionate people will discover if there is more power in speech . . . or in silence. Bestselling author of more than a dozen WWII novels, Sarah Sundin offers pens another story of ordinary people responding to extraordinary circumstances with faith, fortitude, and hope for a brighter future.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I really enjoyed the characters of Hemming and Else. Hemming portrays himself as someone illiterate and a dock worker in order to aid the resistance movement. This is not who he is really he, but he knows he can’t continue rowing messages between Sweden and Demark if his true identity is known. Else is a physicist working at the university in Denmark and battles with deciding whether or not to work with the resistance group. She asks herself, ‘was it right to do wrong to do right?’ Hemming and Else met at the boarding house they are living at and a friendship develops between them. I loved how Hemming was able to encourage Else to speak up for herself when she had an issue with a co-worker. Once she embraced the courage needed for this particular confrontation she was able to discover more courage within herself and able to do much more than she ever thought she could. I loved watching Else fall in love with Hemming by seeing his true character rather than for who he appeared to be or what he had. She loved him for him, not because of his possessions. I really enjoyed seeing the courage and bravery shown Hemming, Else and the fellow Danes to stand up against the Germans. So many people risked their lives to save the lives of the Jewish people. Some of the scenes in the last half of the book were a little bit hard to read and had me wincing with pain, but I loved the way things turned out. I do wish we could have spent a little more time in Sweden and America though. There is a moment at the very end that made me smile, I said to myself that’s so cool. 

(I received an ARC of this book from Revell; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)