Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Made to Last

FINAL HeretoStay_mck-web-1
Publisher: Bethany House

5 Stars

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About the Story:

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. Counting on a not-so-warm welcome, he’s surprised at not only a positive reception but also a job offer. Determined to settle down and prove himself responsible, he agrees to the catch that comes with the job offer–coordinating the annual Christmas festival–even though he has no idea how he’ll pull it off.
Autumn Kingsley, inn owner and experienced organizer of the Christmas festival, has always dreamed of traveling the world. Now she has a job opportunity in Paris and a surprise potential investor coming to town who just might take on her family’s inn and finally leave her free to go. The only problem is that she has just two weeks to whip the inn into shape.
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

My Review:

Blake Hunziker always enjoyed taking a risk until the day his only brother, Ryan,  took that step out of his plane.  That day was like any other, flying the plane while his brother and a friend skydived, but when Ryan's shoot failed to open  Blake knew his life was changed forever.  He felt so much pain and guilt over his brother's death that he fled his hometown and family thinking he could leave his past behind, but as we all know you can't escape your past.  For the past 5 years he traveled all over the world experiencing many adventures, but now he's ready to face not only his past decisions, but also those he hurt.
Autumn Kingsley has always dreamed of traveling and seeing the world.  When her mother gifts her with the deed to the family inn several years ago she felt the weight of responsibility drop heavily on her shoulders.  She has taken out loans to keep the inn open, but with a drop in business and needed repairs Autumn has reached her limit. she feels if she can give the inn a quick facelift that she would be able to interest investors which in turn would fee her up to finally live out her dreams. 
Blake arrives in town and obtained the welcome he expected, but what he doesn't expect is how much the town has changed during his absence.  The annual Christmas Festival is only weeks away and when offered the job of organizing it he feels this is  a way to show everyone how much he's changed.  Knowing he needs help with the coordination Blake seeks out Autumn's assistance.  Autumn usually helps out with the festival , but she only has two weeks to whip the inn in shape for a visit from an investor.  Blake offers to exchange his home repair skills with Autumn if she will help him with the festival.  Sounds simple, but the Hunzikers and the Kingleys have never gotten along so this idea is far from simple. 
I immediately loved Blake and felt so much empathy for him.  He carries so much guilt over his brother's death.  Autumn on the other hand is very compassionate to everyone, but seems like she has tunnel vision when it comes to traveling the world.  She thinks if she can fix the inn then the investors will flock to her wanting to invest.  To me her expectations were unrealistic, but you know we all harbor unrealistic expectations at times about things we love.  She saw more in Blake than his entire family and she gave him the compassion he needed over his grief, but then again it appears that Autumn is the only person Blake opens up to. 
This is a very touching story and I loved it.  The storyline will pull the reader in and keep them turning pages.  The author's ability to author's ability to weave words together and draw out such strong emotions is amazing.  The characters will have you laughing one minute and close to tears the next.  The author takes you on an emotional journey of facing fears, dreaming dreams and following the directions God is leading you.  This is a story of trust, faith and love.  I would recommend it to anyone. 
I was given this book by the author for an honest review without prejudice.

Meet the Author

Image of Melissa TaggMelissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she's also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever (not that she's biased), watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next story. She's passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com.

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