A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer – Book Review

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother’s death. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When the teacher he’s after produces documentation that shows she’s the little girl’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her.

Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.


I got into this book right away. Karen Witemeyer’s writing style always draws me into the story and makes me care about the characters. Charlotte and Stone were relatable and I emphasized with them, even though I haven’t experienced a lot of what they experienced. For me, the setting wasn’t a huge part, and there wasn’t anything all that special about it, but I don’t read for the setting so for me that was okay. This book was a delightful blend of historical romance with a splash of suspense.

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Love’s Rescue by Christine Johnson – Book Review

Can a girl enamored with the adventurous seas ever be content with the tame life of a Southern belle?

When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O’Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to perform her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws you into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy South.


One thing that really annoyed me about this book was that I couldn’t figure out how old Rourke is. It was never mentioned how old he was at any point in the book so I couldn’t figure out if he was less than or more than ten years older than Elizabeth. It was only a minor detail but one that annoyed me. I also found the ending to be a rather quick turnaround without much to imply the change in character.

Despite these annoyances, I enjoyed the novel and wondered how Rourke and Elizabeth’s story would play out. I could relate to Elizabeth’s desire to please her father, although the time period is much different than the one I live in today.

Untangled by Carey Scott – Book Review

Think you’ll never measure up? Think again.

We all want to feel valued. We crave approval and acceptance in the eyes of family, friends, and even strangers. But when we seek confirmation that we are enough using the world’s standards, it seems like we always fall short. As a result, we cannot believe we are who God says we are–accepted, loved, beautiful, and treasured.

With hope-filled writing and plenty of hard-won personal advice, Carey Scott teaches you how to untangle your self-esteem from the world and anchor it in Jesus. She lovingly shows you that God was intentional in how he made you–and that he is pleased with his work. You’ll learn practical strategies to escape the unattainable standards of our performance-based world. And you’ll find comfort in the fact that you are not alone on the journey.


I received this book as an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I gave this book only three out of five stars because I didn’t relate to almost half of the book. Several chapters were specifically for married women with children, which I am not. Despite that, I could relate to a lot of the rest of the book and enjoyed hearing the stories of how other people struggle with the same things I do.

No Place to Hide – Book Review

She’ll defend her friend until the bitter end–but is she in over her head?

It’s not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can’t believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she’s determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe.


I love Lynette Eason’s books and this one was no different. The intricate suspense plot drew me in and got me wondering if things like this actually happen in real life. I kept wondering what would happen to Ian and Jackie and who would get to them first. I found the romance lacking until the end, but I was okay with that. It made it seem a little more realistic to me and what little romance there was didn’t take away from the fact that Ian and Jackie were running for their lives. I found the spiritual element to be beautifully interwoven with the suspense. I also liked getting the different points of view throughout the book, as it gave more depth to the plot.

Do you feel “phine”?

This coming week (May 4-10), the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is hosting their annual mental health week. Their theme for this year’s mental health week is the mental health of men and boys. It is something that is sorely lacking. Men are less likely to talk about their mental health, but it affects them just as much as it does women.

Mental health issues do not care what gender you are, what skin color you have, how affluent you are, etc. If you have mental capabilities, you need to take care of your mental health, just as much as you need to take care of your physical health.

Below I’ve included resources from the CMHA website, specifically created for the mental health week, which also includes a fact sheet related to mental health of men and boys. On the CMHA website, many other resources can be found for taking care of your mental health.

Fine or PhineOne phrase they have used to try to bring awareness to mental health is the question: How do you really feel? Fine or phine? They define “phine” as saying you’re fine when you are not.

I’m sure I’m not the only one when I say that many times I’m “phine.” My standard responses to the questions like “How are you doing?” are “fine”, “good”, “fairly well”, and the occasional “ok”. I could have the worst day possible and I would still give you one of those answers. If you’re close enough to me, I might give you a different response but it would be really rare. Even after my brother died last August when people would ask me the question, I would usually say “ok” or “it depends on the day (or time of day).” I still wouldn’t give people a completely honest answer.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve gotten really discouraged at times and could feel myself slipping down the rabbit hole that was affecting my mental health negatively. I had to consciously change my thought path because I knew if I didn’t, it would get harder to get out of the negative cycle and my mental health would take a nose dive.

Today, during church, was one of those times. One thing that occurred at the beginning of the service that started me on the bad thought path was someone made the comment “Don’t be shy.” As if shyness is something that someone can turn off. As someone who has an acute social anxiety disorder, it kind of offended me.

Shyness is something that a lot of people don’t understand and my family’s comments after church when I brought it up reiterated this. They thought shyness was when you’re quiet and don’t talk to people but it’s a lot more than that.

Merriam-Webster defines “shy” as:

  • feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people
  • showing that you are nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people
  • tending to avoid something because of nervousness, fear, dislike, etc.

People don’t understand issues that relate to our mental health and we need to better educate ourselves and others because mental health affects everyone. Talking about mental health is not an option. It is a necessity.


CMHA’s Mental Health Week Resources

To Win Her Favor – Book Review

A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.

An Irishman far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance—and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder—Maggie’s father, aging, yet wily as ever, makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail—Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.


I really enjoy reading novels where the two main characters get married because of convenience. I love watching them fall in love in the context of marriage. I connected a lot with Maggie because of all she had lost. She and I both grew up with four brothers and although I haven’t lost all four of my brothers like she did, one of my brothers died last August, so I can feel along with the pain of losing a brother. The whole book pulled at my heart strings, from the death of loved ones, the racist society responsible for lynchings, the possibility of losing the family farm, and the relationship between Maggie and Cullen. Because of the time period this book was written in and the culture of that time, there are some words that may offend some people but I thought they brought authenticity to the setting, without going overboard.

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge – Book Review

The minute she steps inside the grand Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Claire Dellamare knows something terrible happened there. She feels it in her bones. Her ensuing panic attack causes a scene, upsetting her parents. Claire attempts to quiet her nerves with a walk on the beach, to no avail. She’s at too great a distance to make out details, but she believes she witnesses a murder on a nearby cliff. When local police find no evidence of foul play, they quickly write off the “nervous” woman’s testimony as less than credible. But Luke Elwell, home on leave from the Coast Guard, has reason to believe Claire. Years ago when his mother went missing, Luke’s father suspected she’d been murdered. He died never having convinced the police to investigate. So when an employee of the grand hotel doesn’t show up for work, Luke steps in to help Claire track down the missing woman. As Claire and Luke put together the pieces of a decades-old mystery, they discover that some family secrets refuse to stay buried. And some passions are worth killing for.


I’ve always loved Colleen Coble’s books, ever since I read her Aloha Reef series close to ten years ago, and this book is probably one of my favorites. I love when there are twists and turns in books that I didn’t see coming, which doesn’t happen much anymore. Even though, I knew who the killer was fairly early on in the book, there were many twists that kept me guessing. The characters also drew me in and kept me rooting for them. The romance element was nice as well, and it didn’t take too much of the attention away from the suspense and the plot twists. I also loved that Colleen Coble included an orca into the story. I’ve loved orcas since I was young so I enjoyed reading about the orca. It’s not a huge part in the story but I enjoyed it nonetheless.