Thursday, December 31, 2015

Night Moves - Stephanie Tyler (Dell - Oct 2011)

Series: Shadow Force (Book 4)

Anything can happen under the cover of darkness.

Kell Roberts has walked the thin line between life and death for so long that it now feels like home. He is a soldier, a survivor, and a loner. Still, Kell cannot turn his back on the beautiful woman caught in his firefight against the drug lords of Mexico. She says her name is Teddie, but Kell senses there’s much more to her story -- and it’s about to pull him into a mission he didn’t sign on for: keeping her alive.

Teddie knows this lean, mean rescuer just saved her life, but the steel glint behind those soft gray eyes seem to be hiding something deep. The men after Teddie are deadly, but the man who holds her life in his hands and tempts her with his wicked touch is even more dangerous. He could make her dream about living and loving again. And if they can survive, maybe, just maybe, they can stop fighting the world and each other -- and simply surrender.

Good book with lots of action. Kell and his friend Reid are in Mexico on a black ops mission to take out a drug cartel leader. Just as they are ready to do so, a woman comes between them and their target. They take her captive until they can complete their mission, then plan to let her go. That is, until they hear her story.

Teddie has been in witness protection since she witnessed her father, stepmother and two half sisters get murdered. Disgusted with the lack of progress in solving their murders, she takes off on her own mission to do so. She has a good idea who is behind it and decides to face him on her own. But she has taken on more than she can handle and finds herself on the run from the same men who murdered her family. Getting captured by Kell was not in her plans, but she can't deny she needs his help.

The relationship between Kell and Teddie is a volatile one from the beginning. Neither one trusts the other. Kell senses that Teddie isn't being totally honest about everything that is going on, and that something is going to come back and bite them. Teddie doesn't trust anyone after everything that has gone on and his initial treatment of her didn't help. She quickly sees that he has demons of his own that are driving him. Added to the stress of their situation is an explosive attraction that threatens to bring down their respective protective walls around their hearts.

I really liked Kell. He's had a rough life and has really made something of himself. He's always had a protective nature, evident from the time he and Reid were in foster care together. They went on to join the military together, and with their friends formed their own black ops group. Kell is haunted by his last mission, which went horribly wrong, resulting in the capture of his friends and the death of one of them. He feels it is his fault and the guilt is eating him up. That protective nature is what has him taking on Teddie's problems. I liked Teddie also. She is an incredibly strong and independent woman. She realizes that she's outmatched when it comes to her plans, but she is determined to try. I liked seeing her sometimes get the better of Kell. I liked seeing them begin to open up to each other, as both attraction and trust started to build. I especially liked seeing how Teddie was able to help Kell deal with his guilty feelings.

The action of the story is very good. The initial mission that Kell and Reid are on doesn't go quite as planned, thanks to Teddie, but we get to see how easily they are able to adapt and overcome. Getting involved with Teddie is a complication they don't need, but Kell refuses to walk away from her. Teddie has two groups after her. The man who she thinks is responsible for her family's deaths, and the marshals whose witness protection she ran away from. The first wants to kill her and the second wants her back in their custody. Kell and Reid discover that they are in the crosshairs of a man who has it in for their boss, and plans to get there through Kell and his teammates. The trio is constantly under attack from one group or another. While all the confrontations are intense, there are some that have an amusing side also. I loved the encounter between Reid and Marshal Grier, when she caught up with him. I also enjoyed seeing the other members of the team as they all came together to bring down the man that's after them. The final confrontation is especially intense as the two bad guys combine forces. The conclusion is terrific, with a little bit of a hook for Reid's story.

Becoming a Cavanaugh - Marie Ferrarella (SRS #1575 - Sept 2009)

Series: Cavanaugh Justice (Book 15)

A gruesome killing spree hits the streets of Aurora

Someone was murdering the city's elite, and anyone could be next. Assigned to the case was Detective Kyle O'Brien, whose new partner was the blond, blue-eyed Jaren Rosetti, as sunny as Kyle was dark. Not to mention too irresistible for her own good. But their growing attraction had to be pushed aside as the horrific killer swept through the urban landscape. Kyle knew he was falling hard for his obstinate partner, who had a will of her own. While they deciphered the psychopath's code, the killer prepared to strike again -- this time dangerously close to home.

Another exciting visit to Aurora, California. Detective Kyle O'Brien is having a rough day, which only adds to the rough several months he's been through. His partner of five years has retired, leaving him stuck with a new one. For a man who doesn't like to talk, and prefers to work in quiet and alone, a bubbly chatterbox is his worst nightmare. Jaren has had difficult partners before, but Kyle is one for the books. He may be a tough nut to crack, but she's willing to be patient.

Kyle has been having a hard time dealing with the bombshell that his mother dropped on him and his siblings just before she died. Far from being the children of a war hero, as they'd believed all their lives, it turned out they were the children of a cop who hadn't married their mother because he already had a wife and family. This has thrown his whole sense of who he is into turmoil. To top it off, his father was part of the Cavanaugh family, a family that has embraced them rather than rejecting them. Trying to cope with all the changes seems to have put him in a permanent bad mood. Dealing with Jaren is just one more pain in his butt. It was rather amusing to watch him try to handle her perpetually sunny attitude. He wasn't convinced that she could handle the types of cases they saw, but he didn't have any choice in the matter.

Jaren left the Oakland police department to come to Aurora after her father died. She no longer had anything to keep her there and was looking forward to a fresh start. She is used to people not taking her seriously until they get to know her, so Kyle's attitude isn't really a surprise. I loved her determination to tough out his treatment of her and earn his respect. It was also fun to see her purposely push some of his buttons.

I really liked seeing their relationship go from unwilling partners, to tentative friends, to much more. I loved seeing their differing investigative styles adapt and adjust to working with each other. It really made a point about how men and women look at things. Kyle rolled his eyes at some of the scenarios she came up with on their latest case, but as the investigation went on, he ended up having to admit she knew what she was doing. The more time that they spent together, it also became obvious that there was an intense attraction between them. They really try to resist, but Kyle finds her getting under his skin. I loved seeing the way that her lack of family got to him, considering that he often felt that he had too much of it. Their attraction is just part of the connection that Jaren feels to Kyle, and as the case goes on it just gets stronger. Opening her heart to those feelings is something she resists because the pain of loss is something she doesn't want to experience again. When everything was over, Kyle had something to say, but he didn't do it very well. I loved seeing Jaren then have to track him down to have her say. 

The case they were working on was intense and creepy. Someone was going around killing people as if they were vampires, driving wood stakes through the victim's heart. The team had a hard time figuring out what the connection was between the victims. I liked seeing the way that Jaren's mind worked and the theories that she came up with. One of the victims made solving it very personal to to the police, and the ramped up intensity kept me glued to the pages. I got really frustrated with Jaren when she ignored Kyle's directive that no one go off on their own to investigate, as I could see that things could go wrong very quickly. The ending was heart-pounding as I wondered how close the danger was going to get. I loved seeing it all come together.

Once again, the Cavanaugh clan plays a huge supporting role in the story. I loved the way that Kyle dragged Jaren to Andrew's house for a meal, and how Jaren quickly became part of them. I loved seeing how Kyle was still trying to adjust to being part of the family, and how their support became so important to him when Jaren ended up in the hospital.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cavanaugh Pride - Marie Ferrarella (SRS #1571 - Aug 2009)

Series: Cavanaugh Justice (Book 14)

"I don't want to be alone tonight."

Julianne White Bear prided herself on never needing anyone. Ever since the detective teamed up with fellow cop Frank McIntyre, she found herself opening up. The proud, irresistible member of the Cavanaugh clan clearly didn't want her invading his territory. But both were helpless to resist their simmering attraction....

Frank needed to find out what drove the beautiful loner--it was obvious Julianne had a secret past. Now their hunt for a serial killer threatened her future. All Frank wanted was to keep Julianne safe. How could they predict the passion that swamped their senses, exposing them to feelings far more dangerous?

Very good book with plenty of tension, both personal and professional. Julianne is a detective in a neighboring town. When the death of a woman there matches those of a serial killer in Aurora, she is sent to work with the Aurora department's task force. She immediately clashes with Frank, who isn't thrilled to have an outside officer assigned to his group. 

Frank is dealing with a lot of frustration over the lack of progress in finding the killer. He first takes Julianne's presence as an indictment of his work, though a conversation with the chief of detectives relieves him of that worry. Then he has to face the unwelcome attraction he feels for Julianne. Getting involved with a coworker would be a very bad idea.

Julianne isn't going to sit back and let Frank dismiss her or her abilities. She doesn't expect special treatment, but she won't be ignored either. What she hasn't told anyone is that she also has a personal reason for being there. Her younger cousin left home and Julianne has traced her to Aurora. She's determined to find Mary before something bad can happen to her. Julianne had grown up with parents who never showed affection to her or each other. Her best friend was her cousin Mary, who was living with a secret no one should have to deal with. She feels responsible for Mary's disappearance.

I loved the relationship that developed between Frank and Julianne. Frank has a reputation as a ladies man and Julianne wants no part of it. He's attracted to her, but determined to resist. He's also intrigued by her. He sees a woman who is strong and independent, but who also has a lot of pain in her eyes. She keeps to herself and resists his attempts to get to know her. Though they clash at first, working on the case together, they make an excellent team. I loved Frank's persistence as he finally got Julianne to tell him about Mary, and his support of her when Mary became one of the killer's victims. Julianne's walls start to crumble under his attentions, but the things she begins to feel frighten her. She's never before allowed herself to depend on someone else. Frank is also taken aback by the strength of his feelings for her. I loved seeing him admit his vulnerability, and also his determination to see where it might lead. He had his work cut out for him in the end as he tried to convince her of his love. Julianne had to decide if she was willing to trust that he would always be there for her.

The search for the serial killer was really well done. The team's frustration was obvious as they tried to find the link between the victims. There was a terrific scene with a visiting profiler that really showed Julianne's abilities to her new teammates. It was interesting to see the way that they would start over with each new victim, trying to find the connections. I really liked seeing how it was an unexpected bit of trivia that finally cracked the case. Julianne's undercover sting was intense, and what happened to her kept me on the edge of my seat until it was all over. I loved how it was all resolved.

I really enjoyed seeing Andrew Cavanugh bring another lost soul into the Cavanaugh circle. Julianne tried really hard to avoid getting involved with them, but no one can stand up to him for long. It was really sweet to see the way that she got sucked in at the anniversary party without really realizing it until it happened. I loved Frank's big moment at the end, and Andrew's satisfaction at witnessing it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Protecting His Witness - Marie Ferrarella (SRS #1515 - June 2008)

Series: Cavanaugh Justice (Book 13)

The woman had secrets no cop could ignore

Undercover police officer Zack McIntyre couldn't make sense of the beautiful, mysterious stranger who had saved him from death. She cared for him with skilled, gentle hands, awakening passions within him, but her haunted eyes spoke of secrets, lies and terrible fear. And he knew he couldn't rest unless he kept her safe from harm--and made her his own.

Endless months in the shadows, hiding from a killer, had taught Dr. Krystle Maller to trust no one. This strong, compelling man made her long to take shelter, just for a little while, in the circle of his arms. But could she trust even him with her deadly secret?

Very good book. Zack is on an undercover job when he gets shot. Desperate to get away from those who are after him, he ends up collapsing outside Kasey's back door. Startled by the body blocking her door, her medical oath won't let her ignore him, but neither can she bring herself to call the authorities. So she takes him into her home and treats his injury, determined to send him on his way as soon as she can. When Zack regains consciousness, he's grateful for the beautiful woman who saved his life. In spite of the pain he's in, he can't deny the spark of attraction he feels for her. He also gets the feeling that she is hiding something from him.

There was an instant connection that Kasey and Zack felt to each other, but each of them had reasons to resist. Zack has kept himself from getting close to any woman because he fears that he might be like his father, who had physically and emotionally abused his family. So Zack keeps his relationships casual. Kasey is on the run, hiding from the mob boss who wants to kill her. She and her fiance had witnessed him murdering another man. Then, while under police protection, a dirty cop had killed her fiance and gone after her. She left behind her job and identity as a doctor, going so far as to stage her own death. Now she spends her time looking over her shoulder, always ready to run again.

I loved seeing Zach's protectiveness as he became more aware of Kasey's fear. He was sensitive to her skittishness, and tried very hard not to rush her with his interest in her. But he also wasn't shy about letting her see that she had an effect on him. I also liked seeing the effect that his interest had on Kasey. She had kept herself so closed off and so hyper-alert that having the interest of a strong and protective man made her want to lean on him for just a little while. She also found it increasingly difficult to resist her desire for him.

Things started getting really interesting when he invites her to his mother's wedding. Until that time, Kasey had no idea that Zack was a police officer, and that his mother was marrying into a family heavily involved in law enforcement. I loved seeing how all the Cavanaughs so readily accepted her. She was really worried at first about being surrounded by so many cops, but relaxed when she realized that she would be safe from any attacks while there. 

When Zack decides to run a check on her fingerprints and turns up some unexpected information, he is hurt and angry that she didn't trust him. But he doesn't let that stop him from doing his best to help and protect her. Things got really intense at the end when her past shows up at her door, determined to finish what he had started. I loved seeing her fight back, holding her own until Zack arrives. The ending was fun, with Zack's brother Frank providing some lighter moments to relieve the tension.

As always, the Cavanaughs are the epitome of a close knit family. Andrew likes nothing more than taking care of all of them. He also discovers that their black sheep brother had had another family that they knew nothing about. I loved seeing him draw the new members into the fold. He also makes sure that Zack and his siblings know that, even though their name is McIntyre, they are also part of the Cavanaugh family now.

Breaking Bailey's Rules - Brenda Jackson (HD #2407 - Nov 2015)

Series: Westmorelands (Book 30)

Rule number one for Bailey Westmoreland: Never fall for a man who would take her away from her tight-knit family's Colorado home. So why is she following rancher Walker Rafferty all the way to Alaska? Bailey tells herself she owes the sexy loner an apology, and once she gets there, it's only right to stay and help him when he's injured…isn't it? Before long, Bailey realizes home might be where you make it -- if Walker is ready to take all she has to offer.

Very good book. Bailey is the youngest of the Denver Westmorelands and deeply attached to her family, to the point where she refuses to consider falling for a man who would take her away from them. That resolve is tested when she meets Walker Rafferty.

In previous Westmoreland books, the family discovered that their grandfather had another brother. As family is so important to them, they have been searching for that brother and his family. They discovered that he had been adopted by a family named Outlaw who run a successful business in Alaska. When the book opens, the Outlaw patriarch has informed his five sons that he wants nothing to do with the Westmoreland's claims. Those sons, however, are not so quick to dismiss the obvious connection and ask their friend Walker to meet with the Westmorelands and see what he thinks. 

The first meeting between Bailey and Walker has the sparks flying right away. Bailey is not pleased that some stranger is coming to essentially spy on them and makes her displeasure known. As the youngest in the family, she and her three youngest cousins had been considered hellions when they were younger. She still tends to be blunt in her opinions and Walker rubs her the wrong way. There is also an undeniable attraction between the two of them, demonstrated by a hot kiss that nearly gets out of hand. Bailey is upfront about her rules with men, and that one like Walker, who is tied to his own property in Alaska, would never fit in with her plans.

Both Bailey and Walker have things in their pasts that drive their attitudes toward those of the opposite sex. Bailey has seen many relationships come and go, many in heartbreaking ways, but family is always there for you. She has sworn that no man will tempt her away from her home. Walker was betrayed in the worst way by the woman that he changed his life for, and lost that which was most important to him. Now he is content with his solitary life on his ranch, with a few close friends, and no intention of allowing another woman that kind of power over him.

As the youngest in the family, Bailey is a bit spoiled. She also tends to be outspoken and judgmental. Her attraction to Walker has her somewhat discombobulated, and she finds herself being less than polite to him. One encounter leads to a misunderstanding that angers them both, though Bailey freely admits it when she finds she's wrong and apologizes. A second argument occurs when Bailey makes a request of him that shows that she really doesn't understand him or his motivations. This time he leaves Colorado before she can apologize, and she feels the only thing she can do is follow him to Alaska and make amends.

Walker is not happy when Bailey shows up uninvited at his ranch. He can't get rid of her immediately because of an incoming storm, so he is stuck with her for a few days. The tension continues to build between them, though both are determined to resist. Forced together by circumstances, they begin to get to know each other a bit, but Bailey will be leaving as soon as the storm passes. Then a ranch emergency has them rushing off to rescue a ranch hand. This event is intense and Bailey plays a huge and unexpected part in it. Walker is injured and Bailey is determined to take care of him, keeping her in Alaska for awhile longer.

I loved seeing Bailey fall under the spell of both Alaska and Walker. Though her rough edges are still there (I loved the descriptions of what happens when she loses her temper), there's a bit of maturing that goes on. Walker also begins to realize that though he enjoys his solitude, there is also some loneliness that he doesn't want to admit to. I loved seeing his friend Garth Outlaw calling Walker out on his refusal to own up to his feelings. When Bailey overhears something that makes her feel that Walker's feelings don't match her own, she runs for home, leaving Walker to decide if he cares enough to go after her. I loved seeing his big moment and how he went about making it happen.

There are several things I am looking forward to in future books. First is the last of the Denver Westmorelands, Bane, comes home. It is time for him to go after the woman he loves and has been apart from for years. There have been bits of their story mentioned in previous books, but this one ends with a surprising revelation that should make Bane's story even more interesting.

There is also the new branch on the Westmoreland family tree, The six Outlaw/Westmorelands are puzzled by their father's refusal to admit the connection between the two families. There seems to be some mystery behind it, and they are determined to find out what it is. I loved the little bits we learned about the new family members and I'm really looking forward to finding out more.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas, Baby Maverick! - Brenda Harlen (HSE #2445 - Dec 2015)

Series: Montana Mavericks: What Happened at the Wedding (Book 6)



There's no place like home for the holidays. But Trey Strickland's house is about to become a bit more crowded than he anticipated. Merry Christmas, Baby Daddy! The sexy Thunder Canyon rancher has no idea he will soon be a father.

But just who is carrying Trey's baby? Dear readers, the answer may shock you! Let's just say that it is someone well-known to this reporter. Our mystery mama can't figure out how to tell Trey she is in the family way after their one night together. What will happen when the truth comes out? Will her cowboy crush race off for parts unknown, or will he deliver the perfect Christmas proposal in a tiny velvet box?

Good conclusion to this year's Montana Mavericks series. In the previous book, The Maverick's Holiday Masquerade, we discovered that Kristen's twin sister Kayla also had an encounter with the infamous spiked wedding punch, and is pregnant. She has kept the secret for five months, not sure how to tell Trey what is happening. She isn't even sure that he remembers it.

Trey was a little fuzzy about the events when he woke up the next morning, especially since Kayla was no longer there. Finding her earring has him pretty certain about what happened, but when he sees Kayla again she pretends nothing happened and he follows her lead. He heads back home to Thunder Canyon, unaware of what's in store.

I liked Kayla a lot, but I also got a bit frustrated with her. Trey had been her brother's best friend and she had had a huge crush on him when they were younger. Their encounter at July's wedding had been a fantasy come true for her. Once she gets over the shock of finding out she's pregnant, she knows she has to tell Trey. She doesn't feel right about breaking the news over the phone, so she puts it off until he returns to visit his grandparents for the holidays. She happy and nervous to see him again. Happy because it's obvious to her that the attraction from the wedding wasn't just the punch, and spending time with him is a dream come true. But the need to tell him about the baby weighs heavily on her mind. Rather than come right out and tell him, she tries to sound him out on his views of kids and families, and isn't happy with what she hears back. She doesn't consider that there could be a difference in his opinions about an abstract idea and a reality.

I really liked Trey. He's a nice guy who realizes that he's interested in his best friend's little sister, a big no-no in the "bro-code". But the spiked punch lowers inhibitions and his feelings overcame his common sense. I loved the way he was so careful the next morning to make sure that no evidence remained that would damage Kayla's reputation before leaving to go home. It was sweet to see how much he was looking forward to seeing her again when he came back for the holidays. 

I liked the development of their relationship as they spend as much time together as they can. Kayla quickly realizes that she is in love with Trey and becomes even more nervous about telling him about the baby. She doesn't want to lose what is growing between them. It was frustrating at times to see her chicken out of telling him so many times. Trey is really getting into spending time with Kayla. I loved the part where he realizes that he's not interested in the women who come onto him at the bar, and that with Kayla is where he wants to be. He's a little thoughtless in his remarks about families and babies, but he's still young and not really thinking about that part of his future. I completely understood his anger and hurt when she finally told him. 

I thought Trey's reactions were pretty realistic, and liked the way he worked through them pretty quickly. Being the honorable type of guy he was, his proposal was also understandable, but not what Kayla was looking for. She doesn't want "the right thing", she wants to be loved the way that she loves Trey. The question then becomes one of whether Trey can convince Kayla that he really does love her. I loved his big moment at the end. 

The series also concludes with two surprise revelations. First, the culprit in the punch spiking makes a confession in an unusual way. The story behind it is pretty amusing. Second, the identity of the Rust Creek Rambler is revealed. That too was pretty interesting, as is the contents of the Rambler's final column as shown in the epilogue. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for the people of Rust Creek Falls.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

An Amish Miracle - Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, Mary Ellis (Thomas Nelson - Dec 2013)


Hope Bowman believes God is punishing her for giving up her firstborn son when she was a teenager. She’s hidden this secret from her husband, who is thankful for their daughters but longs for a son. Hope prays desperately, but the son God sends her isn’t a new baby but the fifteen-year-old boy she gave up years ago.

Good story about facing your past. Hope has spent years wishing that she could have a son for her husband, but so far has had four daughters. She believes she is being punished because she gave up her firstborn for adoption. She had been sixteen when she was assaulted by a drunk Englischer, and her father believed the entire family was shamed by the event. He gave her no choice in the matter, and even forbid her to tell the man she eventually married. She has never gotten over the guilty feelings for not raising him herself.

She finally decides that the only way to make things right is to confess to her husband and then try to find her son. She had no idea how he would react, but hoped for his understanding and forgiveness for keeping such a secret. The reaction was not what she expected at first, but I loved seeing how their love and faith helped get through it quickly. The timing turned out to be very good because it wasn't long after that her son showed up at their house, wanting to find out about his birth mother.

I ached for Hope as she discovered that he wasn't adopted as she had been told, but has spent his entire life in a series of foster homes. This made her feel even more guilty. I also hurt for James, who had felt unwanted, and wanted to know why he had been "given away". It was very sweet to see how the Englischer boy was exposed to the Amish way of life, and the family's attempt to understand someone so very different. I loved the immediate acceptance they showed for him, and James's willingness to live by their rules while he was there.

Of course, he was only able to stay for a visit and had to go back to his foster family. But seeing James only strengthened Hope's desire to keep him in her life. I loved seeing her determination to make it happen and the support she got from her husband. I also liked that it wasn't resolved quickly and neatly, but had realistic obstacles to overcome. Hope also had to deal with her feelings of resentment toward her father and his part in the situation. His attitude was very harsh and I wasn't sure how things would work out with him. I thought that James had a very mature attitude toward him, and handled himself very well.


Widow Rosa Hostetler has one month to pay her delinquent taxes before the county auctions her farm. She’s prepared to sell whatever is necessary to pay the lien, but she isn’t willing to request money from the community’s widow fund. She’s embarrassed and refuses to admit she needs help. Rosa depends on income from selling eggs, but when that income is threatened, only a miracle can help Rosa accept the kindness of a neighbor.

Good story about not letting pride keep you from getting the help you need. Rosa's husband died in a fire that destroyed a neighbor's barn. At the time, she didn't know that he hadn't paid the property taxes on their farm. She supports herself by raising chickens and selling eggs, but getting enough to pay the taxes just isn't happening. If she doesn't come up with it soon, the county will take her land and sell it. Her neighbor Adam, who had been her husband's best friend, has been trying to watch out for her, but he doesn't know the trouble she's in.

Adam had also been in love with Rosa for years, but she had fallen for her husband first. Now Adam is also fighting guilty feelings, because his friend had died while saving Adam from the barn fire. Adam would really like to marry her, but is certain that she holds him responsible for her husband''s death. He senses that something has Rosa very worried, but he can't get her to tell him what it is. When a dog starts attacking and killing her chickens, it threatens what little income she has. Suddenly her chances of paying the taxes are severely diminished.

I got very frustrated with Rosa's refusal to let anyone know that she was in trouble. The Amish community is very good at taking care of their own, but her pride wouldn't let her ask for help. She also had to deal with the neighbor on the other side, the Englischer whose dog is responsible for the deaths of her chickens. I understood her frustration at his uncooperative attitude. When she finally confessed her problem to Adam, he was determined to find a way to help her. 

I loved seeing how he was able to get her to allow him to help her, by getting her to participate in what he was doing. It also gave him the chance to spend more time with her and start giving her an idea of his feelings. There was a lot of tension as they raced to find the funds to save the farm. The resolution was not what I expected, and assistance came from an unexpected source.


Becky Byler is eighteen and overweight. She is overwhelmed by the embarrassment she feels when comparing herself to other girls her age. Having lost all hope, she considers taking her own life. As she stands before rushing water, unable to swim, Becky begs God for a miracle. In just several months, Becky sees her prayers answered as food and temptation lose their hold over her. She’s finally pleased with how she looks, but does she like the person she has become? And has the man she has dreamed of been right beside her all along, loving her exactly as she is?

Good story about learning to like yourself. Becky has been a character in the previous stories. She is always spoken of as being sweet and helpful, but also heavy. There were times when she was obviously unhappy. In this story, we see that her weight has affected the way she feels about herself, to the point where she is thinking about ending it all. Fortunately she doesn't take that step, but she finds the motivation to take control of her eating habits and starts losing weight.

She has always felt that her weight kept her from having any boyfriends. The only young man in her life is her friend Elam, with whom she spends quite a bit of time. But she looks at him just as a friend. As she begins to lose the weight, she gains the attention of a handsome young man that she has had a crush on. 

Matt has been interested in Becky for awhile, but she never seemed interested in him. He has dated other girls, but nothing really stuck with him. He liked the fact that Becky seemed to be different than the others, not always so concerned with her appearance. As they started going out together and she continued to lose weight, the changes in her attitude began to bother him.

Becky's friend Elam is also interested in her as more than a friend, and is disappointed when she only wants to be friends. He had always liked her just as she was and tried to tell her that often. It hurts him to see her going out with Matt. He spends time with other girls, but really misses being with Becky.

Becky had a lesson to learn. She lost the weight she thought she had to, which gave her the confidence to believe that someone like Matt would want to date her. As she continued to lose weight, and her relationship with Matt went on, she discovered that it didn't make her as happy as she thought it would. It was interesting to see the reactions of the people around her and the effects it had on the way she felt. I liked the way that she began to realize that being happy with herself is what made her most appealing to others. She had quite a wake up call at the end when she realized that her insecurity may have lost her the one she really loved.