June 12, 2014 | By: Cynthia Marcano

Review: Plots and Pans by Kelly Eilleen Hake

Plots and Pans
Author - Kelly Eileen Hake
Time It Took for to Read - 3 Days
Rating - 4 out of 5 Stars
Would I Recommend: Yessir
Order dictates Tucker Carmichael’s life--his orders. On a cattle drive, a moment’s hesitation can mean the difference between life and death. The Chisholm Trail is dirty, dangerous, and no place for dainty ladies. That's just part of why he loves it.

Jessalyn Culpepper's life is perfectly ordered--by men. By her father's mandate, she was booted from their beloved ranch for lady lessons abraod. Now Jessalyn has returned home, determined to show them all that a woman can manage everything from cooking to cattle--whether they like it or not!

What I Loved...

I am in a Cowgirl state of mind! The two women of this novel are a hoot and I enjoyed reading from both of their points of view. The heroine, Jessalyn, is as determined as a young lady ought to be when she in looking to get into something. I love romance and comedy, but the cowgirl is icing on the cake.

What I Liked...

I was pleasantly surprised with the story line of Desta. This was my first Christian Fiction Romance (that I can remember anyway) that included a former slave so significantly in the plot. Let me be clear that the book isn't about slavery. It includes a former slave that now lives free. The heavy topic of slavery doesn't weigh the book down. It is still a very enjoyable read with a different twist. I liked the character of Desta a lot.

I couldn't help but picture the late actor, Michael Clarke Duncan, whenever I read about Ralph Runkle. Big and Sweet, unless you messed with Desta...lol.


My followers know that I am addicted to swoon, swoon and more swoon. Plots and Pans missed an opportunity to have me singing it's praises forevermore. It had everything I love in a book except not enough swoon worthy moments. Their was swoon at the end, but I felt it had to be squeezed in for the happy ending.

I prefer a romance comedy have swoon, trouble, more swoon, more trouble, swoon and then happy ending! I wonder if that's too much to ask?

My only other issue was Jessalyn's walk with her faith. It felt rushed to wrap up the story and insincere.

All in all it was a good read and I do recommend it.

June 10, 2014 | By: Cynthia Marcano

Review: Winter's Past by Mary E. Hanks

Winter's Past
Author - Mary E. Hanks
Time It Took for to Read - 3 Days
Rating - 4 out of 5 Stars
Would I Recommend: Yes
Winter didn't plan on seeing Ty Williams ever again. But when she speaks at a conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a city she's avoided for ten years, and Ty shows up, she must face two things. Her past. And the fact she hasn't forgiven him. Only now, he's humble, broken, genuinely sorry, and, much to her displeasure, still wildly handsome! Can she forgive him? Can she let God heal her heart and have His way in her life?

What I Loved...

The subject matter of Winter's Past is very personal to me. Having worked in Marriage & Restoration Ministries for several years, I am an advocate of reconciliation. The subject of divorce and a failed marriage was approached with grit and reality. I appreciated Mary not sugar coating the emotions associated with such a delicate situation. It made Winter's Past a more dramatic book. Well more than I am used to. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the change.

What I Liked...

The emotional rollercoaster of this book was awesome. Somehow, Mary managed to get me as emotionally involved as the characters. Good job Mary!

I felt happy, sad, angry, betrayed, uneasy, loved just to name a few....it is wild!


Winter's Past started out slow for me, but I must admit that I like to get right to the good stuff. I am a very impatient reader. However the slow beginning was necessary to an extent.

I think I would have been satisfied with the beginning if Mary would have started with Winter finding Ty cheating. I know she relives it later on in the book, which was good too. However, maybe the beginning chapter could have been from Ty's POV, getting caught cheating. Just an idea...like I said, I like getting to the good stuff. I think I would have gotten through the book faster with a drama filled start . END OF POSSIBLE SPOILER

Once the book gets rolling, its pretty good and I finished it quickly. By the end I felt wrapped up in the lives of the characters as if I were there. Mary did a great reeling me in emotionally.

June 6, 2014 | By: Cynthia Marcano

Review: Here To Stay by Melissa Tagg

Here To Stay
Author - Melissa Tagg
Time It Took for to Read - 2 Days
Rating - 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Would I Recommend:Yes
Blake Hunziker has played nomad for five years and landed in his fair share of trouble too. But now he's finally returning to his hometown--the Lake Michigan tourist town of Whisper Shore.

Autumn Kingsley, inn owner and experienced organizer of the Christmas festival, has always dreamed of traveling the world. 

Their families have a long history of not getting along, but when Blake comes to Autumn for help with the festival, she actually agrees...in exchange for his help with the repairs to her inn. They may have struck a simple deal, but complications are quick to pile on when the guy who's had enough of running away and the woman who can't wait to leave join forces.

What I Loved...

Blake & Autumn have wonderful chemistry. It isn't forced and I found myself rooting for both of them. I fell in love with the Inn and want to visit their cute town.

What I Liked...

Harry is a totally adorable character and he is a great addition to the story. He added another flavor to the story. I am all about the swoon complimented with the funny.

Harry helped keep the book going with the comedy. I also liked the down syndrome character Lucy.


The cover of this book didn't attract me to it right away and I can't pinpoint why. I read it anyway and I truly cannot judge a book by its cover. I am happy I took a chance on it. I did want to say that after having read the book, the cover should have had snow not leaves. Other than that it suits the book well.

June 5, 2014 | By: Cynthia Marcano

ACReview: In The Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

In The Field of Grace
Author - Tessa Afshar
Time It Took for to Read - 1 Day
Rating - 5 out of 5 Stars
Would I Recommend to My Students & Friends:Yes!
Two women. Alone. With no provision. Can a woman who has lost everything, except her beloved mother, find hope in a foreign land?

What I Loved...

Beautifully written!! Although I already knew this story, Tessa's writing told the story in such a beautiful way it felt as if I read the Book of Ruth for the first time. I felt as if I were right there experiencing it with the characters. Simply lovely! I would read anything she writes. She is very talented.

What I Liked...

The feelings that she conveys of each character as their story is being told was so perfect. Although these emotions aren't conveyed in the bible's telling, but the up and down emotions Tessa describes for each character is so genuine. I went back and reread the Book of Ruth after finishing this novel and I felt more connected to it. I KNOW that this is a work of fiction and Tessa's imagination but she made these biblical heroes come alive in a way I have never thought of.


In The Field of Grace is a work of fiction and should never replace the bible's version. However I thoroughly enjoyed this book that I can best describe it as simple lovely. I recommend reading the Book of Ruth in bible FIRST before reading this novel, it will help you appreciate both much more.

The cover is absolutely stunning and a perfect fit.

This is a must have book! One of my Top 3 Faves this year!

June 3, 2014 | By: Cynthia Marcano

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer

June 3: Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag or Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer...in no particular order