January 23, 2014

A Match Made in Texas Review~


There's a secret matchmaker at work in frontier Texas!

In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?
A Cowboy Unmatched
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?

An Unforeseen Match
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on. 

No Match for Love
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

Meeting Her Match
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him?

At first, when I requested to read the ARC of this book, I was a bit skeptic. Would I really like to read a novella? And not just one, but four! Unthinkable for one who has read 300-400 paged novels most....all the time.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Even if novellas are still not my favorite things to read, the authors' writing styles made it all worth the read. I don't like rushed endings, and that's what novellas make you think, but each ending was sweet and all the romances made melt inside.

I requested A Match Made in Texas because of Karen Witemeyer. I have loved her books, and I believe I will continue to love them. Karen Witemeyer has changed my idea of historical Christian romances and how they should be written.
There does not need to be an annoying, cliched conflict between the hero and the heroine to make a book interesting. And that's what Witemeyer has taught me. Which make me love her stories even more. The hero doesn't give up and walk away when things are discouraging. No, he pursues the girl even more. Although I did not think A Cowboy Unmatched (her novella) was as good as her full novels, I still appreciated Neil Archer greatly. Because I love her stories so much, of course I wished this story was a bit longer. My only regret is that I feel like Clara Danvers' personality was not developed completely.

Regina Jennings wrote An Unforeseen Match and, ohmygoodness, I absolutely LOVED this story. This is the only story, in my opinion, that developed completely and at a normal pace. All of the other novellas, though I liked them, were so fast that I barely had time to think. And even though there was conflict in this story, it was necessary. Grace was blind (PROPS, Regina Jennings, for making me feel the way a blind person would when Grace was on the floor surround by shards of glass!) and I felt for her. She was literally put out of the town because of her disabilities and disease (*rolls eyes*). However, have no fear, Clayton Weber was there! He was a great hero. He had good reason to be secure around Grace the first part of the story, then insecure, because of Grace's shallow words.
I loved the characters. Period. And I liked the sweet romance that was going on between them, even if Grace didn't see it.
By the way, this was the first novel I had read by Regina Jennings, and it was a great first impression. :)

The next novella was No Match for Love by Carol Cox. I enjoyed this novella as well. It was cute and had an interesting concept. The heroine was asked to care for a lady who was known to be "mentally unstable". I liked her character and could tell she was a lovable woman. The story itself seemed a bit rushed, but that was understandable.

Meeting Her Match was the last story, written by Mary Connealy, and this story was probably the least enjoyable to me. In fact, it kind of crushed my excitement when I first started . I was trying to get to know Hannah and Marcus, and I couldn't. Marcus was very enjoyable-- up until he and Hannah couldn't stop kissing. I was getting a bit irritated with Hannah because she didn't even seem to like Marcus at first, then thought he was a friendly guy, but a mere acquaintance, and then she was up and kissing him as if she had loved him for ages.
And the worst part was that Mary Connealy seemed to be explaining herself, trying to make an excuse as to why the story happened that way. This is a quote from Hannah's (the heroine) thoughts, "She was suddenlt frightened of her emotions, not knowing whether to trust her old feelings or her new ones. And underlying her fear was such a strong desire to be married that her longing for that might make any man seem appealing. In short, was she in love or was she just desperate?" Hmm. Next quote, in the same scene, Hannah tells Marcus, "The idea of us being together had occurred to me because of the logic of it, but I wasn't harboring feelings for you until now. And now..."
It just sounded like an explanation from Connealy, saying, "I was given a limit of how many pages I could write on and this is what you get."
If there were any advice I could give, it would be to think of a new plot-line for Hannah. Instead of taking all this time to explain how sad Hannah was and how shy Marcus could be, take the time to develop a normal-paced sweet romance--and not full of kissing and this random passion from one character.

All in all, the whole read was enjoyable. One thing I truly did miss was that God was not mentioned a lot in a couple of these novellas. If one is writing for God, I believe God should be glorified and the base for romances. I was given this ARC from Bethany House Publishers (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

January 5, 2014

Titus 3:1-11

"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned."