Wednesday, November 12, 2014

To Know You - Shannon Ethridge, Kathryn Mackel

Julia Whittaker lives a good life running a boutique wedding planning business with her husband Matt.  Even as they share their success, however, not all is well.  Their son, Dillon, has suffered from a liver disease that requires a transplant, and time is running out to find a donor.  Every person in their lives that has been willing to be tested has not been a match, and their options are almost out.  Except for the option of locating Julia's two daughters who were born out of wedlock within 18 months of each other to different fathers and each given up for adoption before Dillon was born.  Can Julia face the risk of seeking out her daughters for her son's sake?  Will they be willing to even meet with her, much less hear her out and be willing to be tested for a surgery to help a brother they've never known?  What about their new families and all of the twists and turns that this will cause in relationships with siblings, adoptive parents, birth parents and more?

While I've read several books where a previous child given up for adoption turns up out of nowhere to wreak havoc on a "stable" marriage, this was a turn on the adoption story that I'd not read before.  Julia had been upfront with her husband about her past, and he knew that there were daughters, and the men who'd fathered them, in Julia's past life.  Her love for Dillon, her fear of his dying, but the risk of opening herself up to these daughters she'd loved enough to let go of was an interesting storyline that worked pretty well.  How do you get someone to agree to something this big when you've had no relationship established in the past?  How quickly can you find common ground to relate to each other on when every day could be the last day to make the decision?  Although some things happened perhaps a little too quickly for real life (would anyone just jump on a private jet with the "mom" you'd just met, to fly across the country?), for the most part, people's reactions and emotions were realistic.  There were a lot of tangled knots to work through, and they were handled fairly thoroughly.  There was a side plot with Julia's second daughter that I wasn't entirely sure needed to be in the storyline, but it did draw the characters together and further their relationships.  It felt like it was there for the shock value, though, and may be tough for some readers to handle.

I give this book 3.5 stars.  I wish that I'd read it before Veil of Secrets, but even still, it was enjoyable and I didn't feel like I knew *too* much of what was going to happen.

You can find To Know You HERE.
You can find Shannon Ethridge's site HERE.
You can find Kathryn Mackel's site HERE.

I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

Meant to Be Mine - Becky Wade

Ty Porter and Celia Park connected in high school as friends, although Celia would have loved more.  Given the chance to see Ty show his stuff as a champion bullrider in Las Vegas, Celia finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance that she's always dreamed of, ending up at the cheesiest of Las Vegas wedding chapels.  Those dreams are quickly dashed with Ty's first words the morning after, and Celia finds herself alone again, although, not exactly.

While there were aspects of this plot that were foreseeable, I appreciated that the author did stray away from the particular trap of having the girl catch the guy in a situation that looked worse than it was.  I appreciated Celia's feistiness and reluctance to allow Ty back in wholeheartedly.  Even her struggle with forgiveness felt authentic, and not trite.  Forgiving what Ty had done should not have come easily, and it didn't.  Uncle Danny, Addie, Ty's family, and other side characters helped round out the story.  It looks like this a series, with the first book being about Ty's brother Bo and his wife Meg; I can hope that there will be another book about their brother Jake.  This is a family I'd like to read more about!

I give this book 4 stars; I was invested in the characters and sucked into the story of their personal and interpersonal development and healing.

You can find Meant to Be Mine HERE.
You can find Becky Wade's site HERE.
You can like her on FB HERE and follow her fun Pinterest challenges with Katie Ganshert , including one where they tried to replicate this very cover!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.