Friday Feature: A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

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A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade, Published by Bethany House.

A Love Like Ours is the third Porter Family book by Becky Wade and the second that I’ve read. It released on Tuesday, May 5th. Part of the proceeds of sales of the book now until May 17th will be given to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an organization that helps veterans with physical and psychological injuries.

Lyndie James and Jake Porter were childhood best friends until her family moved from Texas to California and they lost touch. Now that her family has moved back to Texas, Lyndie is eager to work for her former best friend at Whispering Creek exercising the thoroughbreds he trains as well as rekindling their friendship. There’s only one problem: Jake Porter is nothing like the boy she used to know. Jake’s been broken by PTSD and survivor’s guilt in ways he thinks can never be repaired. The last thing he wants is to have Lyndie and her optimistic, unwavering faith around. He doesn’t want to see her hurt, either by the horses or by him.

Jake agrees to hire Lyndie despite his reservations. Lyndie is determined to show Jake that he’s not broken beyond repair, that God can fix him. She believes the boy she used to know and love is still in there, and that God wants to use her to heal him. But is she letting her attraction to Jake lead her into falling for the man she thinks God wants her to save? With Jake’s PTSD and lack of faith in God, is she setting herself up to be one of those girls that falls in love with a man and ends up heartbroken when she can’t change or fix him?

I. LOVED. THIS. STORY! There was very little not to like about this book. Becky Wade’s writing is so descriptive, it pulls you right in to the story and doesn’t let go. I could clearly see every character and understand them. Lyndie is optimistic and a believer in the impossible being possible without being annoying or irritating. Jake is tall, dark and brooding without being maudlin. Wade doesn’t downplay the seriousness of the issues faced by Jake and Lyndie to get to the happily every after, a fact which I appreciated. She shows the ugly realities or Cerebral Palsy, PTSD, Survivor’s guilt, and lost faith without sugar coating it. This makes the happily ever after even more satisfying because she doesn’t cheat or short change  the reader with a tidy ending. This story says sometimes life sucks, and it scars us in ways that may never fully heal, but we can keep living and living in love and abundance. God is good.

One thing I enjoy about reading a longer contemporary inspirational romance is the opportunity to have secondary characters and subplots to invest in. I especially love when it’s a book in a series and I can revisit beloved characters from previous books. One of the things that sets Becky Wade’s books apart is the well drawn secondary characters. I loved getting to see Celia and Ty again (from Meant to be Mine, book 2), as well as Uncle Danny and Bo and Meg. I also loved the subplot with Amber looking for love. None of this took away from the central plot. Everything worked together to show how God loves us and wants to give us good gifts no matter how unworthy we feel or how far we have strayed.

I would recommend A Love Like Ours to anyone looking for a longer inspirational romance filled with rich descriptive writing, fun and fully fleshed out secondary characters and subplots, a hero in serious need of God and love and a faith-filled, fantasy land dwelling, feisty heroine with more than enough courage to love a stubborn man back to life.

5*/A+

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Launch Tour Grand Finale: A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

Erica here! Long-time readers will know I love Becky Wade. I participated in the tour for her book Meant to Be Mine about a different Porter. I received a copy of A Love Like Ours and can’t wait to review it next week. For now, take a look below and get all the interview, excerpt and book review goodness served up by the bloggers who participated in this tour.

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We’re blitzing the GRAND FINALE for:
A Love Like Ours
By Becky Wade

Did you miss any of the excerpts or reviews for this tour? There’s still time to check them out and to order your copy of A Love Like Ours by May 17th to have part of your proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (more details on the Launch).

Launch – Letter from Author Becky Wade

“I’ll be giving a percentage of my earnings on A Love Like Ours from whenever the book starts selling through May 17th to IFHF.”

Babs Book Bistro – Review

“…this is the first book I have read by this author and it will not be the last.”

Min Reads and Reviews – Excerpt

Turning, he squinted beneath the brim of his black Stetson and tried to make out who was coming toward him. A small woman with long, wavy blond hair. She wasn’t on the barn staff; that he knew. He angled toward her more fully.

And then, very slowly, recognition began to slide over him. The hair on his arms rose.

It couldn’t be her. Not after all this time. And yet the rational part of his brain understood that it could be. He knew she’d moved back to Holley. His mom had been nagging him to see her ever since, but he’d wanted no part of that, no part of her.

Yet here she was.

Bookworm Lisa – Review

“Jake was a marine. The wounds he carries from his time in Iraq are not all visible to the eye. He has a scar on his face, but his real battle is in the PTSD that is a part of his everyday life. I really liked that the book looked into a topic that is the battle that extends long after a soldier leaves the military. The book looks at how everyday situations can impact a person struggling with PTSD.”

Wishful Endings – Excerpt

Jake’s poor face. His poor, ravaged face, both undeniably handsome and unbearably exhausted. As big and strong as he was physically, he was also wounded. He needed someone to care about him.

Following pure instinct, she stepped forward and reached up to place her hands on either side of his face.

“No,” he rasped, trying to pull back.

“Shh,” she replied, firm. She’d purposely placed her hands in the same position on both sides of his face, favoring neither the perfect side nor the scarred.

“Tackling a serious issue that many in our military face is no easy feat, but Ms. Wade does it well. The story isn’t too heavy, as it’s balanced with romance, fun, family, horses, and religion. I love reading about this Porter Family and can’t wait for more!”

Pieces of Whimsy – Excerpt

He had only two goals where Lyndie was concerned: to interact with her as little as possible and to keep her safe.

Whispering Creek Horses took every precaution with their exercise riders. In the past, a few had sustained minor injuries but none had been seriously hurt. There was no reason to worry about Lyndie.

He should be more concerned about himself. He couldn’t afford to let a pretty blonde mess with his head.

“The slow progression for Jake is so satisfying to read. I loved the flow of the book and I loved learning in bits about both Jake and Lyndie. This is one of those “feel good” books leave you so content in the end. It’s a great addition to this Porter Family series. I loved it!”

I Am A Reader – Excerpt

How long had it been since she’d experienced a stirring of desire for anyone? Ages. A couple of years at least. It was fun and harmless to . . . tingle . . . over someone again. It wasn’t as if Jake was in danger of returning her feelings. Or as if this altered her intentions toward him.

She was determined to help him and his horse. The kind of help she had in mind for Jake had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day emotions and everything to do with God’s power to redeem.

Mommabears Book Blog – Excerpt

Jake stopped at Silver Leaf’s stall. The horse had his head down, chewing hay. It took Jake a moment to spot Lyndie’s small form in the dim space. She sat to one side, her back against the wall, her knees drawn up and her arms wrapped around them. She must have heard him coming because she was already gazing up at him. Her lips tipped into a gentle smile.

For a long moment Jake stared at her. Foolish woman, sitting in a horse stall for hours every day. Even more frustrating, looking at him as if she liked him and trusted him. Looking at him as if she believed he was worthy of her friendship and trust. Raw pain gathered in his chest.

“A Love Like Ours was another special read from Becky Wade. I loved the characters and finally reading Jake’s story…which was such a sad, yet beautiful story.”

Worthy2Read – Review

“Character-driven, A Love Like Ours was a joy to read — and re-read. As Lyndie and Jake get to know one another again, Lyndie breaks through the walls Jake has built (and those surrounding Silver Leaf) to be an instrument of hope and healing. Wades characters are flawed individuals, ones the reader can relate to and cheer for. Her novel captivates the reader from the prologue.”

My Devotional Thoughts – Spotlight

A Love Like Ours (Porter Family #3)A Love Like Ours
(Porter Family #3)
by Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 368 Pages
May 5th 2015 by Bethany House Publishers

Deeply scarred from a day he wishes he could forget during his military service, Thoroughbred trainer Jake Porter has given up on love. He struggles against symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, returns to their hometown of Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake trusts her with his prized racehorse, Silver Leaf, then battles his hopes for his horse against his increasing fear for Lyndie’s safety.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

During her childhood in California, Becky Wade frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She’s delighted to be penning warm, wry, and heartwarming contemporary romances for the Christian market. She’s the Carol Award and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, and Meant to Be Mine.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Other Books by the Author

Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Signed copy of A Love Like Ours (US Only)
1 Kindle ebook (gifted through Amazon) of A Love Like Ours (INT – if available in your area)
Ends May 4th

Book Review: Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

Meant to Be Mine COVERToday, it is my pleasure to review Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade, the second Porter Family Novel, by Becky Wade. This book is published by Christian publisher Bethany House and is available beginning this month.

Confession: I haven’t read the first book in this series, Undeniably Yours. I hate starting a series in media reas. Also, I haven’t read too many contemporary Christian romances from Bethany House. I tend to stay with what’s familiar and branch out when I get opportunities to review books or find new authors through familiar publishers. This is why reviewing is perfect for me; it stretches my horizons a bit. Lastly, I’m a sucker for a story that gives you an almighty mess to untangle and really makes the characters work for their happily ever after.

The Short Version: Ty Porter and Celia Parker got married in Vegas after dating four days. It shouldn’t have worked, and for a long time, it didn’t. But God had a plan to save the bull rider and the baker’s marriage, and He carried it out despite their stubbornness, bitterness, and inability to forgive. This reader really enjoyed being along for the ride.

The Long Version: Celia Parker has been infatuated with Ty Porter since he sat beside her in Ceramics class her first year of high school. They  became good friends, but not the more Celia longed for. Several years later, Celia meets up with Ty in Las Vegas after a bull riding competition, and for the next four days the two become nearly inseparable. They decide to get married after this whirlwind courtship and have a perfect wedding night. But in the morning, Ty shatters Celia’s happily ever after:

“You…you didn’t force me into marrying you, if that’s what’s upsetting you. I made my own decision.”

“Without all the facts.”

“What do you mean–”

“I’m in love with someone else.”

Heartbroken, Celia returns to real life and struggles through. She’s determined to put Ty Porter behind her and pursue her dream of opening a bakery/coffee shop–until she finds out that their wedding night resulted in a baby.

Meanwhile, Ty Porter goes on to have a successful rodeo career and waits around for the woman he thinks he’s meant to be with, Tawny. Five and a half years after his marriage, Ty returns to Vegas and passes the corny chapel where he married Celia and feels a sudden need to track her down and close that chapter of his life once and for all. He meets her and thinks everything is done–until he meets his little girl, Addie.

Once Ty knows about Addie, he’s determined to be a good father to her. Celia is just as determined to protect her daughter’s heart, and her own, from the charming man who fooled her once into giving her heart to him and then breaking it. The more time Ty spends with Celia, the more his attraction to her grows. But with two stubborn people, it takes a lot of divine intervention to get them on the right path to happily ever after.

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade is a book filled with classic romantic themes–friends to lovers, a secret baby, a marriage of inconvenience–and classic biblical themes–forgiveness, sacrifice, repentance, prodigal son (or daughter). Ms. Wade does a wonderful job of blending together the tropes of contemporary romance and the tenets of faith here. Ty and Celia’s story, while the circumstances might not be as common, is a common story: two people, in the middle of the first throes of infatuation, do something they both come to bitterly regret and spend a long time either punishing themselves for or paying for. Yet, God is still able to use those things to accomplish His purposes.

I thought the characters in Meant to Be Mine were well written. Even though there were times I wanted to shake both Ty and Celia, I could see where both of them were coming from. They felt like real people grappling with a difficult situation. The supporting characters, particularly their daughter Addie and Uncle Danny, were well written and added to the story. I loved Addie’s obsession with civic minded princesses who found their princes, and Uncle Danny’s surfer mentality and pursuit of a foreign bride brought much needed levity.

The only character I didn’t like was Tawny. I couldn’t get a good read on her. I knew what both Ty and Celia thought of her, but her motivations were completely lost on me. Whenever I see a character that is somehow in play for a main character’s affection, I think of My Best Friend’s Wedding and 2 Dresses. I either expect to like the character and feel a bit bad for her (MBFW) or I really don’t like them (27D). Every now and then, I know they are spoiled and conniving, but they have some good characteristics under there somewhere (a la The Wedding Date). I got none of those from Tawny. She felt more like a plot device, which was noticeable more because everyone else was so clearly depicted.

Ms. Wade did a good job of interweaving the faith element and making God’s footprints visible in the story. I liked how we saw how both Ty and Celia felt about faith in their lives, and that their relationships with God weren’t perfect, but a work in progress. The supporting characters who impacted their faith showed how God uses others to reach us and demonstrate His love to us. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story.

I would recommend Meant to Be Mine to anyone who likes to see two characters who get themselves into a hopeless tangled mess that only the Lord can get them out of, with the help of a little girl, an old surfer, a crotchety donut shop owner, and a whole lot of Porters.

Meant to be Mine: A- for strong faith element, compelling story, and wonderful characters, outside of Tawny.

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