Book Review: Greater Than Gold by David Boudia


Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption
by David Boudia, Tim Ellsworth
Rating: 4.5/5
Thomas Nelson – Biographies & Memoirs | Sports & Outdoors

At the London 2012 Olympic Games, David Boudia won a gold medal in the 10 meter platform diving competition which changed his life, but real change came years before after miserably failing at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

David chronicles his journey and motivations for pursuing elite diving and the internal struggles that constantly berate him. He shares story after story of his inadequacies and how he dealt (or didn’t deal) with them. He really puts the reader inside his head and heart and all that entails when it comes to competitive diving and his life outside of diving.

David Boudia tells his story of transformation and hope with a very honest voice that really spoke to me as a reader and a woman of faith. Since I don’t usually review biographies, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve missed reading them. I love to read the stories of struggle and triumph that many people can relate to. I was encouraged by his sincere words of frustration and despair. I think everyone can relate to failing at something or judging yourself only by looking at your results. Honestly, I was a bit surprised by the style of writing after only reading fiction for some time, but I loved how authentic and conversational the writing was. I came away from the book feeling encouraged and hopeful, which was a pleasant surprise. I loved the way he kept turning the conversation back to God and how he still struggles even after doing what he set out to do. The way his priorities and outlook change are so relatable and real.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to get inside the head of a transformed life that became an Olympic champion.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Side note: After following the Olympic Trials this year (2016), I was instantly intrigued by David Boudia and his story. On TV, I saw him praying with his coach and was encouraged to see a Christian athlete sharing his faith. When I was looking at books to review on NetGalley, I saw that his book was available and jumped at the chance to read about his journey. I’ve been rooting for him and Steele Johnson (they earned silver in the 10M Synchro Diving event) – Go Team USA!

Book Review: To Love a Stranger by Colleen Coble


To Love a Stranger
by Colleen Coble
Rating: 4/5
Book 4 in the Wyoming series
Thomas Nelson – Fiction | Historical Romance

Bessie Randall has a problem. Her younger sister Lenore agreed to marry a stranger – a soldier stationed in the wild frontier – but instead of writing as herself, Lenore used her sister’s name. Afraid of what her society parents will think or do if they learn the truth, Lenore begs Bessie to go in her place and honor the marriage, since Lenore already has a beau. Lenore fears being sent to jail for forging her sister’s name and Bessie won’t let anything bad happen to her baby sister.

Bessie prays about it and arrives west to find Jasper Mendenhall, her new husband, surprised to see her. Having received a picture of his wife, Jasper was expecting a woman who looked like Lenore and was disappointed to find Bessie, a plainer woman who doesn’t seem at all like the girl he’d been writing with. He’s not sure Bessie would last as an officer’s wife on the frontier and wants to send her back to Boston. However, plans change when he has to quickly move to Fort Bowie, Arizona, and must take Bessie with him. He quickly learns that Bessie is different and might be able to adapt to life on the frontier if he gives her a chance. But will the dangers of living on the frontier be too much for Bessie and Jasper to handle? Can they learn to love a stranger?

Colleen Coble is one of my favorite authors and she captures the reader’s attention right from the start. I was seriously frustrated with Lenore’s immature actions and really felt sorry for Bessie’s predicament, but I was warmed by Bessie’s love for her sister. As you can tell, my emotions got all tore up by these sisters. I enjoyed getting to know Bessie and Jasper and how they dealt with different situations as they grew together as a couple.

Side note: I just realized that this book was a reprint and part of a series but it read well by itself. Also, I’m not quite sure why it’s included in her Wyoming series since the book mainly takes place in Arizona.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical romance.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review: All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

All Summer Long: A San Francisco Romance
by Melody Carlson
Rating: 4/5
Book 2 in the Follow Your Heart Series
Revell – Fiction | Contemporary Romance

Tia D’Amico is excited to move from small town Washington to big city San Francisco in order to help her aunt as the new chef for her dinner cruise ship. When Tia discovers that her aunt has hired Leo Parker to be the captain of the old luxury yacht, she has to work at keeping her heart from exploding outside her chest when she sees her former crush from sailing camp. Her hopes are crushed when she learns that Leo’s heart is already taken. Will Tia be able to follow her dreams and steal the heart of her prince?

Melody Carlson is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary authors. She writes in such an easy manner and the reader just gobbles all the romance up. I always find it difficult to put her books down and like to read it all in one sitting. I really enjoyed getting to know Tia and Leo’s characters and couldn’t wait to read more. Also, all the food mentioned in the story left me salivating, so I’d read with some snacks nearby.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fun and light contemporary romance for the summer!

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review: Honor Redeemed by Christine Johnson

Honor Redeemed
by Christine Johnson
Rating: 4/5
Book 2 of Keys of Promise Series
Revell – Fiction | Historical Romance

After losing her parents, Prosperity Jones sets out to meet with her fiancé who is stationed in Key West. Taking a leap of faith that everything will work out, she follows her heart to the only other person she loves, Lt. David Latham. Arriving penniless, Prosperity is hurt and confused when she learns that her beloved fiancé is already married to another woman. What will she do to survive? How could her faithful David do this to her? Upset w desperate, Prosperity proceeds to find a new home and occupation with the help of some friends. Will her broken heart ever be whole again?

Having never read a book by Christine Johnson, I was uncertain what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderfully descriptive writing that took me back to the 1850s in Key West. Even though this was book 2 in the series, the story could be read without reading the first (although now I want to read the first book). Johnson beautifully tells both sides of this story and the reader can really feel all of the emotions that Prosperity and David go through. The plot was not as predictable as I thought it would be (just from reading the back cover), which I found refreshing.

I highly recommend this book for someone who enjoys a historical romance with vivid imagery.

I received this book for free from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

The Beautiful Pretender
by Melanie Dickerson
Rating: 5 of 5
A Medieval Fairy Tale Book 2
Thomas Nelson – Fiction | Historical Romance

Although he is the most powerful man in the region, the margrave is powerless to refuse the need for a bride and it must happen in 2 weeks. In order to choose a worthy bride, he and his advisors cook up a plan to invite ten noble ladies (whom the king approves) and test them.

When the Earl of Plimmwald cannot send his wayward daughter to the margrave, he chooses to send Avelina, her maidservant, in her stead. Avelina must be respectful but not allow the margrave to notice her. She tries her best to avoid scrutiny but despite her best efforts, the margrave still continues to notice and favor her. When lives are endangered, can Avelina and the margrave figure out who’s behind it in time to save lives? Can Avelina deny her feelings for the margrave? What will happen to her once the truth is discovered?

I am such a HUGE fan of Melanie Dickerson and her fairy tale romances. She is incredibly talented in writing historical fiction and I can never put her books down. I found this story  not just romantic but fun, interesting, and exciting to read. I loved the two main characters and how they interacted. I can relate to the search for love and wanting to test another’s character.

You won’t want to miss this book. Although this book is the second in the series, you can read this one as a standalone, but the first book in the series is also a fun read, which I would also highly recommend.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Sea Rose Lane
by Irene Hannon
Rating: 4 of 5
Book 2 of Hope Harbor series
Revell – Fiction | Contemporary Romance

When life does not go as planned and attorney Eric Nash loses his job, he heads back to his hometown hoping to lay low and rest while finding a new job. What he finds is a work in progress — his father is converting their home into a bed and breakfast with the help of BJ Stevens, a gorgeous architect and contractor.

As they both fight the attraction between them, they work together to improve the lives of the Hope Harbor seniors and possibly find what they were meant to do all along. Can Eric find a reason to stay? Will BJ trust another man after all that she’s been through?

I loved returning to Hope Harbor. Irene Hannon’s writing is so easy to get caught up in and  I always love the characters that she creates. The reader feels like they are right there in Hope Harbor with Eric and BJ. Hannon is so talented and definitely one of my favorite authors. I always love how she keeps you guessing till the end.

I highly recommend this book. Even though it is part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone novel without being confusing. This book would make a fun and romantic summer read.

I received this book for free from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Date with a Billionaire by Sydney Lawrence

Date with a Billionaire
by Sydney Lawrence
Rating: 3.5 of 5

When Elana Prescott realizes her life is boring and unchanging, she tells her best friend that she is going to change her life and make it more exciting. When her best friend enters her into a contest to win a date with a billionaire and Elana is chosen the winner, Elana is furious but decides try to have fun and give it a chance.

Brant Harrison has worked hard all his life to earn everything he’s accomplished. When he started dating supermodels and found them wanting, he decided he wanted to stay away from the attention-grabbing females. When he is manipulated into taking a charity’s contest winner on a date, he becomes intrigued by his gorgeous date, Elana. Has he finally found someone who shies away from the spotlight and just wants to get to know him as a man and not a wallet?

Sounds like a great (if not predictable) story premise, right? I really wanted to like the book since I love its ending message, but unfortunately, it was just okay for me. I quickly read the entire book in a couple hours. It’s definitely a quick, fun read for the summer. There was just something about the writing that felt off to me; maybe a little forced? I honestly don’t know how to describe it but something felt like it was missing from the story. The story was what drew me to the book initially but I feel like I never had a chance to get fully invested in the characters (which may have been due to its short length). I did enjoy the book but I think it would have benefited from the author fleshing out the story some more.

I really enjoyed the message behind the story and how faith is woven into it but even that part could have felt more authentic. I could definitely see where the author was trying to go and I enjoyed all the twists and turns in the story, but unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book as much as I hoped to.

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Her One and Only by Becky Wade

Her One and Only
by Becky Wade
Rating: 5 of 5
Book 4 of the Porter Family series
Bethany House – Fiction | Contemporary Romance

When Dru Porter, former marine, gets assigned as one of the bodyguards for Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, Gray is not convinced she can do the job but soon finds she is a force to be reckoned with. Dru is determined to find out who is stalking Gray and even poses as his girlfriend in an effort to discover the truth.

What fun characters! I really enjoyed the relationship between Dru and Gray. The dialogue and the humor was perfect. Many characters from the other books in the series show up, so I would suggest reading the other books first but it’s not entirely necessary. I loved the added mystery and suspense surrounding the story but also loved the incorporation of faith and trials that the main characters had to go through.

I highly recommend this book (and the series) to anyone who enjoys a fun and exciting read for the summer!

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Deadlock by DiAnn Mills

by DiAnn Mills
Rating: 5 of 5
Book 3 of FBI: Houston series
Tyndale House – Fiction | Romantic Suspense

Two suspicious murders leave Special Agent Thatcher Graves certain that a serial killer is on the loose in Houston. His new parter in the violent crimes unit, Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, is not so sure and wants to do everything by-the-book when Thatcher is someone who goes by his gut instinct.

Can they work together to solve the murders that keep occurring? Can they put aside their differences and work together despite the fact that Thatcher is one of the people that Bethany’s family hates since he once arrested her brother? Will Bethany ever feel like she isn’t betraying her family by doing her job?

I found this story to be one of the most interesting I’ve ever read because it wasn’t a typical suspense mystery. The story brought light to some of the aspects of Hispanic culture that I was not familiar with. I really enjoyed the added layer which really gave authenticity to the story. I really liked getting to know Bethany and Thatcher while following them on the hunt for a possible serial killer. Their characters were interesting and easily relatable. Although I didn’t grow up as Bethany did, I could feel her frustration and struggle to do what she believed to be right despite how unjustly her family treated her.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.