The Two of Us
Heartwarming and Touching New Contemporary Romance from Victoria BylinAfter two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans. Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding. Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

The Two of Us Details

TitleThe Two of Us
Author
ReleaseAug 8th, 2017
PublisherBethany House Publishers
ISBN-139780764217388
Rating
GenreContemporary, Romance, Christian Fiction, Christian, Inspirational

The Two of Us Review

  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    With The Two Of Us Victoria Bylin has created a delightful novel that perfectly captures the tumultuous emotions of falling in love, following your dreams, and making the very hard choice between those dreams. This is a story of love, family, and human fragility. Mia is on the cusp of fulfilling her dreams - well, her plan B dream, that is. She is about to interview for a leadership position with Mission Medical, which will enable her to travel, help people in need, and use her nursing skills, p With The Two Of Us Victoria Bylin has created a delightful novel that perfectly captures the tumultuous emotions of falling in love, following your dreams, and making the very hard choice between those dreams. This is a story of love, family, and human fragility. Mia is on the cusp of fulfilling her dreams - well, her plan B dream, that is. She is about to interview for a leadership position with Mission Medical, which will enable her to travel, help people in need, and use her nursing skills, putting her far away from the heartbreak of a second broken engagement and her dreams of a family of her own. But her baby sister's sudden pregnancy announcement and impromptu wedding, has Mia worried. When the opportunity to move to Echo Falls to be near her sister and increase her chance of success in her upcoming interview arises, Mia takes it - even if it also puts her nearer to Jake Tanner. The handsome former detective has his own dreams to help people, particularly teens of police officers who have lost their lives in the face of duty. Mia's entrance into Jake's life offers him the chance to follow his other dream - love and a family, but Mia is scared of risking her heart again. There is so much packed into this book. So much love and fear, so many big dreams, so much desire to help others and serve God. Jake and Mia both have big dreams - Mia to serve overseas and Jake to set up a camp for teens who have lost a parent. Their dreams challenge them and put many obstacles in their way. Both have to decide if following those dreams is worth the cost. I loved how Jake and Mia want to help and serve. Their dreams and goals are so important. Yes, we need people who can do amazing, scary things to help others, but serving can also be done at home in the little, everyday things, and I loved how this was recognised, valued, and celebrated in this book. Alongside Jake and Mia, are Sam, the son of Jake's former detective partner, and Lucy, Mia's sister. Lucy's struggles with faith and feeling worthwhile while she balances pregnancy and a new marriage provide another layer to this story.The other thing I particularly enjoyed about this book was the time the characters take to asses their feelings and decide upon their future. This might just be a Mia thing, because she is someone who thinks before she speaks and carefully considers every action (unlike her sister), but this gave a book a measured feel, which I really enjoyed. Mia and Jake's relationship was heartwarming and very enjoyable. They connect from the start but have so many obstacles in their way. Jake is determined to let nothing deter him, but Mia is unsure about her future and what she should do. I thought their feelings translated so well onto the page and are so realistic of the complexity of life.The other big story in this book that sits alongside Jake and Mia's romance is the heartbreaking reality of Alzheimer's disease. Jake's mother is battling early onset Alzheimer's and the way in which this disease is hurting her and her family is utterly heart wrenching - but it is, sadly, a story to which so many people will relate. Bylin draws upon her own experiences with the disease to make this a very important, realistic, and bittersweet part of the book. Readers who like a firm happy-ever-after ending will adore the epilogue. In fact, readers who enjoy well-written, complex stories of love, belonging, faith, and the everyday magic of life are sure to enjoy The Two Of Us. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library.
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  • Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI loved the opening scene for this book and how the characters all came together in the beginning. It was a great start for the book and sparked my interest. This book felt a little long though, and started to drag a bit for me in the middle part. Even with it's slower pace, I remained interested until the end.Jake and Mia are both so careful and deliberate. It wasn't often that emotions flared with them or between them which made me feel like I was just outside of connecting with them 3.5 starsI loved the opening scene for this book and how the characters all came together in the beginning. It was a great start for the book and sparked my interest. This book felt a little long though, and started to drag a bit for me in the middle part. Even with it's slower pace, I remained interested until the end.Jake and Mia are both so careful and deliberate. It wasn't often that emotions flared with them or between them which made me feel like I was just outside of connecting with them but I really liked them both. I had to admire the commitment they had to their goals and their desire to help people. The world could use more people like Mia and Jake.I thought the author did an excellent job of portraying some real life struggles like death of a loved one, Alzheimer's Disease, military life, pregnancy problems and so many more. This is a Christian fiction book and the Christian themes were prominent but not too preachy.Content: mentions of sex outside of marriage resulting in pregnancy with no details, kissing, death
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  • Kav
    January 1, 1970
    The kind of book your mourn the loss of when you finally reach the end. Because the characters seem so real and their problems are so relatable and you feel like you've stretched and grown right along with them. I even had my very own 'aha' moment in the middle of their story! So even though I'm still feeling emotionally pummeled and a little dazed after finishing The Two of Us, I'm consoling myself by savoring all the memorable bits. Which pretty much means every single word. Because Victoria B The kind of book your mourn the loss of when you finally reach the end. Because the characters seem so real and their problems are so relatable and you feel like you've stretched and grown right along with them. I even had my very own 'aha' moment in the middle of their story! So even though I'm still feeling emotionally pummeled and a little dazed after finishing The Two of Us, I'm consoling myself by savoring all the memorable bits. Which pretty much means every single word. Because Victoria Bylin knows how to wield her pen (er, keyboard) in order to create vivid descriptions.Like this first encounter between Mia and Jake: "Their gazes danced the way of curious strangers, a man and a woman who noticed each other and felt the mysterious searching of a human heart. Dishes clattered. A child laughed. Another one cried. Life exploded all around them..." (p 10) I love the sharp contrast between that significant moment and the ordinariness all around them. It promises a rich read and Bylin doesn't disappoint.Jake is the stuff toe-curling heroes are made of and Mia is by no means immune. But she's conflicted. Mired in muddy mess of possibilities just when she thought she knew God's plan for her life. And she might be just a tad unbending. Rule regulating. Pragmatic. But she's compassionate too and fiercely protective of those she loves. She just needs to figure out how to include Jake in that category.Jake has learned to accept -- even embrace -- the raw reality that life has dealt him. It's not that he isn't haunted by his past -- it's the drive behind his one all-consuming goal. In that he can be as inflexible as Mia. And here's the crux of the conflict -- both hero and heroine are working for good, being the hands and feet of Christ in their chosen vocations. They are doing the right thing...but what if it's not the right thing for them?A supporting cast of true-to-life secondary characters with their own day to day struggles add even more depth to this already rich read. We even get a secondary love story with it's own unique challenges. And the dog lover in me would be remiss if I neglected to give Pirate -- service dog extraordinaire -- an honorable mention.A story to love and cherish and revel in long after you've filed it away on your Keeper Shelf.Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.
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  • Haley
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very sweet love story. I like it how this story is focused on romance. There isn’t a mystery to solve on the sidelines or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy stories with adventurous sidelines. It was just nice for a change to have just a romance. Sure, there were other parts to the story, but it was focused on the romance between Jake and Mia.Unfortunately, I did not at all like Mia during the first couple of chapters. To me, she seemed too controlling of her sister This is a very sweet love story. I like it how this story is focused on romance. There isn’t a mystery to solve on the sidelines or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy stories with adventurous sidelines. It was just nice for a change to have just a romance. Sure, there were other parts to the story, but it was focused on the romance between Jake and Mia.Unfortunately, I did not at all like Mia during the first couple of chapters. To me, she seemed too controlling of her sister, Lucy. I can understand some advice being given, but Mia was practically telling Lucy exactly what to do. It drove me crazy! I liked Jake right away. And, I loved Pirate! They both were great!There were, however, some very sad aspects to the story. This is not a book that I would read if I wanted a “chick flick”. It is definitely a more serious novel.The cover is cute. It matches the story perfectly! 4 stars to you, cover.The story itself I am also going to give 4 stars. I can’t say that it is my favorite book of all times, but it was a very sweet and inspirational romance. I would recommend it to mature readers, due to some of the content (AKA, having a baby). This is the first book by Victoria Bylin that I have read (and it may be the first novel she has written…?) and I am happy to say that she did not disappoint!Title: The Two of UsAuthor: Victoria BylinAuthor’s Website: http://www.victoriabylin.com/I received this book from the Bethany House Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group for this review.This review is written in my own opinions and words.
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book in 24 hours, could barely tear myself away from it. It is far and away Victoria Bylin's very best! It is awesome. Seriously. Mia Robinson has been hurt badly after two broken engagements and decides she is going to serve God on the mission field. She feels that she can make a difference there. Her younger sister's wedding, a surprise, throws a wrench in her plans. She meets the young groom's best man and there goes another wrench. Mia Robinson needs healing, both emotional a I finished this book in 24 hours, could barely tear myself away from it. It is far and away Victoria Bylin's very best! It is awesome. Seriously. Mia Robinson has been hurt badly after two broken engagements and decides she is going to serve God on the mission field. She feels that she can make a difference there. Her younger sister's wedding, a surprise, throws a wrench in her plans. She meets the young groom's best man and there goes another wrench. Mia Robinson needs healing, both emotional and spiritual, but she doesn't trust herself to receive it, struggling along in her own strength, when God is right there with the answer. Jake, the best man, and former police officer retired because of a disability sustained in the field, struggles, too. He has a plan for his future, but he doesn't have the total peace necessary to implement the plan fully. There are secondary characters, too, in this tale. They have struggles. They need to trust more. And oh, how this hits home for me. This book really spoke to a situation I struggle with from time to time. God loves us. Unconditionally. All the time. No matter what. There is no need to strive constantly, hoping to be good enough for God so that He will love us more. He already does! He sent His own Son to die for us. There is no need for us to struggle. These characters here need to learn this and Victoria Bylin tells this is a most profound way. I can't tell you how many times I found myself with tears literally streaming down my face during the reading of this book. It is one of my favorites of the year!Bylin has created a plot, several plots, in this book and a cast of characters, even secondary and third characters that will stick with the reader long after finishing the story. Characters so full of emotion and depth that you feel as if they are actual, real life, flesh and blood people! For real! This one is not to be missed. And the message she brings forth is absolutely amazing. Like sitting through a deep and impactful sermon. The reader page at the end spoke to me greatly as well. I thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of this book, thinking about the characters when I had to break to do life. Don't miss this one, folks.*I was given a preview copy of this book. The opinions stated here are honest and entirely my own.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    "To leap or retreat? To plunge ahead with the courage of a soldier, or to hold back with the wisdom of a judge?""It's your choice", he had said. "Join me for breakfast?", he had asked. Mia Robinson has a decision to make after a curious meeting with a total stranger. Typically she holds her cards pretty close, especially when it involves a man, having been hurt so deeply in the past. Something about the handsome Jake Tanner, with the loyal service dog, lures her into thinking that she might take "To leap or retreat? To plunge ahead with the courage of a soldier, or to hold back with the wisdom of a judge?""It's your choice", he had said. "Join me for breakfast?", he had asked. Mia Robinson has a decision to make after a curious meeting with a total stranger. Typically she holds her cards pretty close, especially when it involves a man, having been hurt so deeply in the past. Something about the handsome Jake Tanner, with the loyal service dog, lures her into thinking that she might take a chance. In the end, the decision is made for her, for they are both in Las Vegas for the same reason.Former police detective Jake Tanner hasn't been the same since an injury in the line of duty took his hearing and killed his partner. Committed to starting a rehabilitative camp for boys in her honor, he has modeled the concept after his own mentoring relationship with his deceased partner's son, the son that is now hastily getting married to his pregnant girlfriend. When he meets Mia Robinson in the process, he has no way of knowing how his faith is going to be tested or his dream challenged, for Mia believes she that has made a promise to God that would never include Jake.So much more than a story, "The Two of Us" is a tutorial on forever love, which only has a beginning and never an end. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
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  • Krystal Parker
    January 1, 1970
    Y'ALL. I DEVOURED THIS BOOK. This book was everything you could want in a Christian romance: funny, sweet, heartwarming. I was laughing, crying, and... staying up until 2 in the morning finishing it. This was my first Victoria Bylin, and I am now a fan! I loved the book. My favorite part was the characters. I loved all of them! Mia and Jake had great chemistry, and I enjoyed reading their stories. I also liked how she presented their struggles in a real and authentic way. Bylin didn't shy away f Y'ALL. I DEVOURED THIS BOOK. This book was everything you could want in a Christian romance: funny, sweet, heartwarming. I was laughing, crying, and... staying up until 2 in the morning finishing it. This was my first Victoria Bylin, and I am now a fan! I loved the book. My favorite part was the characters. I loved all of them! Mia and Jake had great chemistry, and I enjoyed reading their stories. I also liked how she presented their struggles in a real and authentic way. Bylin didn't shy away from tough topics, like teen pregnancy, premarital sex, Alzheimer's disease, or violence. The story was a great testament to God's faithfulness and his plan for all of us. She presented this theme well, without being too preachy. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone who loves Christian romance. Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for the electronic ARC!! You can read my full review on my blog: www.threedaysfreed.wordpress.com
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  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 3.5 stars---------------------------I rarely read Contemporary Christian Romance Fiction, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The characters were well drawn and interesting; I really appreciated how Mia and Jake weren't defined by their romantic attraction to each other, but instead by their goals in life - and, to some extent, their faith in God. (Not to mention that their tragic pasts drove them and the plot in more ways than one.)That being said, I di Actual rating: 3.5 stars---------------------------I rarely read Contemporary Christian Romance Fiction, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The characters were well drawn and interesting; I really appreciated how Mia and Jake weren't defined by their romantic attraction to each other, but instead by their goals in life - and, to some extent, their faith in God. (Not to mention that their tragic pasts drove them and the plot in more ways than one.)That being said, I didn't wholeheartedly root for Mia and Jake's relationship. In some ways, it seemed like Jake and Mia were attracted to each on a wholly physical level than their compatibility as a couple. I didn't appreciate how physical their relationship was, with lots of kissing before Mia was even sure she wanted to be with Jake. It was hard to root for them because of that. However, I did root for Jake when it came to Camp Connie and Mia when it came to Mission Medical. <3Sam and Lucy were two of my favorite characters. While they did make a mistake by sleeping together before they got married, I like that they did get married and that their marriage was portrayed in an awesome, realistic way. I really liked that. I also liked how the author sensitively portrayed Alzheimer's disease, something I wasn't familiar with before I read The Two of Us.The last few chapters were amazing. I loved how everything wrapped up. (Though the epilogue didn't work for me as much I would have liked - it felt sort of patched on. But that's the only complaint I have about the ending.) I even teared up a little...happy tears, so don't worry. :)Overall, I believe that any fan of Contemporary Christian Romance Fiction would thoroughly enjoy this book. A sweet, warm, comforting read.-------------------------I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are all my own.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Mia, abandoned by her father, brought up in the depths of poverty by her mother, and then when her younger sister Lucy is only 10 years old, becomes her sole provider. In addition, Mia has had her heart broken twice by men she was engaged to. It's easy to see and feel her heartbreak and the complete destruction of her ability to trust. Thankfully, she does not seem to have lost her trust in a loving God, which, sometimes comes as a consequence when one faces and becomes overwhelmed with the tria Mia, abandoned by her father, brought up in the depths of poverty by her mother, and then when her younger sister Lucy is only 10 years old, becomes her sole provider. In addition, Mia has had her heart broken twice by men she was engaged to. It's easy to see and feel her heartbreak and the complete destruction of her ability to trust. Thankfully, she does not seem to have lost her trust in a loving God, which, sometimes comes as a consequence when one faces and becomes overwhelmed with the trials of life. Approaching her 30th birthday, she naturally feels the sense of loss of direction for her life, and as does happen when we approach these milestone birthdays - we do these life reviews and analyze the results!There is a beautiful story here of finding oneself and learning to trust again. Becoming like a little child and learning to trust in God's guiding hand in ways only kids do. Jake is just the right guy to cut a path into Mia's life. The agonizing over the decision to continue the application for the very worthy cause of nursing with Mission Medical. The reconnecting relationship we see developed here with younger sister Lucy, who Mia has regarded as young, and spontaneous. While this story is told from the views of Mia, Jake & Lucy - the main base here is Mia. This is her story, and her personal tale of learning & growth. While all of this in it's own right would make a great book, there is something much more here, that may have been just an insert into a novel in order to add some depth. It is the tale of early onset Alzheimer's on one of the minor characters, Jake's mother. As my own mother had early onset Dementia, diagnosed in her 50s and gone by her 60s, I often struggle to read books where this is a part of the plot. I am not too sure why. Its too raw perhaps. Anyone who has endured something and then have to read about it probably feels the same way. I have read two other books previously that touched on the disease. First from Sarah Eden in 'The Sheriff's of Savage Wells' and the more intense and a little darker, Catherine West's 'The Things We Knew'. Sarah wrote sensitively and kept on the fringes. In 'The Two of Us', Bylin goes a lot deeper into the practicalities of normal every day life. You are given a good look into the tragedy this disease is. The struggle for those caring for a family member. I wondered as I read, given the accuracy of the details, if she had had a personal experience with it. When someone has researched something like this, yes they can write about it, but the emotion of the reality can only be retold by one who has lived it. I really felt this as I read. It took me back to some of the major milestones with it, in particular the moment when my mother no longer knew who I was, and the distressing experience it was for me & her. Although Bylin includes it, she doesn't go deeper, and I appreciated that. She keeps it as light as possible, while keeping enough of the details to ensure reality for the characters and the reader. Sure enough, the author notes dive right in and she shares her experience with her father in law. Thank you to Victoria Bylin for giving those who don't know, and inside look into the horror of this illness. It is so much more than someone loosing their memory, or as others will joke, and yes I've heard them, like its no big deal or something funny. This book is titled the TWO of us, which some may say is "Mia & Jake". It could easily encompass "Sam & Lucy", "God & Mia", "Jake and Mr Hatcher", "Frank & Claire" etc. Its a clever title because although, yes, I have no doubts this is Jake & Mia's journey, there is healing and growth for almost every one of these relationships of two. Tenderly written, this entire novel is unhurried, with the additional element of finding yourself again and learning to trust in those that will take that trust, treasure it and guard it well. Thank you to Netgalley & Bethany House for the eARC. This is my honest review.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite Victoria Bylin book yet! I say that with every new book of hers, because just when I think she can't top her last book, somehow she does.This book is real. And I don't just mean I can hold it in my hand and flip the pages. I mean it's full of life - the ups and downs, the triumphs and tragedies, the joy and sorrow that suck you in and don't let go till the end. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it brought me on a journey that I haven't had within the pages of a book for a while.One t My favorite Victoria Bylin book yet! I say that with every new book of hers, because just when I think she can't top her last book, somehow she does.This book is real. And I don't just mean I can hold it in my hand and flip the pages. I mean it's full of life - the ups and downs, the triumphs and tragedies, the joy and sorrow that suck you in and don't let go till the end. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it brought me on a journey that I haven't had within the pages of a book for a while.One thing I truly appreciate about Victoria Bylin's writing is she doesn't shy away from things, evne uncomfortable things we don't want to acknowledge or talk about. But the truth is, we are human. We are going to fail those we love, even unintentionally. Things happen. We do things we aren't supposed to do, because we live in a fallen world. And though VB doesn't pull her punches about these truths (while also keeping them in perspective, never glorifying this behavior, but gently showing it and presenting the real ramifications of it), she also does such a beautiful job of showing the other side of the coin. We humans can be nasty, we can be ugly. But God loves us anyway, and His love and grace always, always is enough, even when we don't deserve it. "His love endures forever!"Beautiful. 5 stars all the way, and this is a book I look forward to reading again, and again, and sharing with those I love.
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  • Dana Michael
    January 1, 1970
    After reading the last page and wiping the tears from my cheeks, I'm trying to formulate words to adequately describe how I feel about this book! It was so sweet and romantic and heart wrenching. It was soul searching and real. It hit the mark as far as making me stop and take in the inspirational messages throughout this amazing book. The tears I shed weren't sad tears necessarily. I was just struck emotionally with all the feels. The hero was just that. A hero. I loved him for his love,care, a After reading the last page and wiping the tears from my cheeks, I'm trying to formulate words to adequately describe how I feel about this book! It was so sweet and romantic and heart wrenching. It was soul searching and real. It hit the mark as far as making me stop and take in the inspirational messages throughout this amazing book. The tears I shed weren't sad tears necessarily. I was just struck emotionally with all the feels. The hero was just that. A hero. I loved him for his love,care, and patience. He was amazing. The heroine was a woman who needed a man to stick by her and show her Gods love. There were other loveable characters as well. And so much going on that I never got bored. This book is one of the best books of 2017. *I was given a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to leave a review.
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  • Jaquelyn Scroggie
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes life can turn out so much better than our dreams. Especially if we let God lead and guide us. Mia has dreamed of helping those less fortunate in other countries. Being a nurse practitioner she knows that her skills are badly needed. When she hears some news from the sister she raised, she races to Vegas to talk some sense into her. Mia didn't plan on meeting Jake or liking her sisters fiancé Sam. These two men turn Mia's world upside down. Can she take a leap of faith into the unknown? Sometimes life can turn out so much better than our dreams. Especially if we let God lead and guide us. Mia has dreamed of helping those less fortunate in other countries. Being a nurse practitioner she knows that her skills are badly needed. When she hears some news from the sister she raised, she races to Vegas to talk some sense into her. Mia didn't plan on meeting Jake or liking her sisters fiancé Sam. These two men turn Mia's world upside down. Can she take a leap of faith into the unknown? Or are the walls around her heart too hard to break?I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Contemporary Romance. I easily liked the characters and couldn't wait to see what happened. Love involves taking risks and being able to forgive. I loved Jakes story and how much he cared for others. It was interesting having a main character that had a family with health issues. I can't say too much in fear of spoiling, but it made the story all the more intriguing. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and was in no way forced to post a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    The Two of Us is the newest and exciting release by Victoria Bylin. I thought this book was a great read. I felt an instant connection to Mia and understood her from the beginning. Her and Jake were so fun together. The story is full of faith and inspiration, at times it was complex and heartbreaking, and other times heartwarming and sweet.Two of Us is the type of book that almost every reader can learn from and relate to. It is so so good and I highly recommend it. 5 plus stars.I received this The Two of Us is the newest and exciting release by Victoria Bylin. I thought this book was a great read. I felt an instant connection to Mia and understood her from the beginning. Her and Jake were so fun together. The story is full of faith and inspiration, at times it was complex and heartbreaking, and other times heartwarming and sweet.Two of Us is the type of book that almost every reader can learn from and relate to. It is so so good and I highly recommend it. 5 plus stars.I received this book from the author, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
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  • NovelMomma
    January 1, 1970
    In this heartwarming Christian romance, Mia and Jake have a lot working against them, but they must find a way to work together and trust God to work things out. Will their faith be enough to carry them? Could God’s plan bring them together as more than friends? If that is His plan, will they ever be able to move past their problems and trust each other enough to completely let the other in?This story is packed with drama. Jake and Mia are brought together by the sudden marriage of Mia’s sister In this heartwarming Christian romance, Mia and Jake have a lot working against them, but they must find a way to work together and trust God to work things out. Will their faith be enough to carry them? Could God’s plan bring them together as more than friends? If that is His plan, will they ever be able to move past their problems and trust each other enough to completely let the other in?This story is packed with drama. Jake and Mia are brought together by the sudden marriage of Mia’s sister Lucy and Jake’s friend Sam after an unexpected pregnancy. Mia is more than sceptical and wants to help Lucy. She has been responsible for Lucy for years and has a hard time switching from mom-mode to sister and friend for Lucy after raising her. Mia is a planner. She has always been the responsible one and after two broken engagements, she finds it incredibly difficult to trust anyone other than God. She completely dedicates herself to her work as a nurse practitioner and is determined to follow God’s will in serving others. However, are you really trusting God if you close yourself off from the possibility of involving others in His plan for your life? What if God’s plan isn’t what you thought it was? How do you know when to change paths?Jake shares a special connection with Sam after losing Sam’s mother (his former police partner) in an accident he feels responsible for. He vows to love and support him. Jake is determined to honor Connie’s memory by opening a camp for other children of fallen officers and looking out for Sam. But is it really God’s will to do a good thing when it harms others? How do you know when to give up? Because of their connection to the young couple, Jake and Mia are forced to work together. However, what happens when they can’t deny their connection?I really enjoyed this book. It was full of drama and emotion with lovable characters I wanted to find happiness. All of the characters in this book faced believable struggles that tested their faith and left them full of questions for the future. While the main focus of the book was on Jake and Mia, we also got a wonderful side cast that was crucial to the story. Jake’s family along with Sam and Lucy made this book well rounded and a complete joy to read. While the drama was there the whole way through, there were also wonderful moments of joy. The whole story was wrapped in love - love for family, friends, and romantic love. The underlying theme was God’s love and the attempt to fully trust Him and follow His will. The characters brought the story to life and really forced me to examine my own life. The only thing I would change is giving a bit more of Sam and Lucy. Possibly even making it two books or providing a companion novella. I felt like we dipped in on their relationship quite a bit, but we didn’t really see the part where they fell in love or the really good times that held them together. I felt for Lucy in her struggle to be a good wife, the wife Sam needed. I felt for Sam with his exhaustion in trying to hold everything together, but I would’ve liked to have experienced some of the moments that were mentioned where they spent time together, loving each other and connecting in a positive way. I felt like so much of Sam and Lucy’s relationship was included, and yet I was left wondering about them.I did get a bit annoyed with Mia at times, but I understood why she made the choices she did given her history. Her struggle made sense and was believable as it was well developed. However, I did want to shout at her at times.Overall, this was a great book. It had a wonderful message, fantastic characters, and a believable plot that drew me in. I’m looking forward to reading more by Ms. Bylin.Thanks to NetGalley, Bethany House Publishers, and Victoria Bylin for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.Review originally written for NovelMomma.com
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  • Melissa Henderson
    January 1, 1970
    Heartwarming, touching story involving life decisions, health issues, love and more. How do we know if we are choosing the right path? Events from the past cause the characters to have caution in making plans for the future. This story reminds me to be thankful for all blessings and to remember to rely on God at all times. I enjoyed this one very much. I received a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House Publishers and this is my personal honest opinion.
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  • Sarah Monzon
    January 1, 1970
    Love how Victoria Bylin writes deep, real, dimensional characters.
  • Lucy (That Book Gal)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. review to come
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Listening to God isn't always easy, and not letting your own emotions cloud his decision is even harder. this is a perfect story of two people trying to navigate God's plans for their lives and the ups and downs that comes with such. loved these characters and the journey they took. *I received a complimentary copy of this book*
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  • Lovely Loveday
    January 1, 1970
    The Two of Us is a beautifully written Christian Romance novel. Bylin creates a very realistic love story that will have you crying one minute and laughing the next. There are very sweet moments in this book that will warm your heart and leave you wanting more. This book is full of hope, sadness, love, faith, family and happiness. While this book did have me in tears a few times, I enjoyed and relished the moments that had be laughing. Overall, I highly recommend this book
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  • Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    Feeling a lull in her life and tired of waiting on her prince charming, Mia Robinson decides to make a major change in her life by applying for a position with an international relief organization. If she lands the job with Mission Medical, she will not only get to put her skills as a nurse to good use, but will also see a tangible difference in the lives of those she serves in impoverished areas overseas. Her plans are abruptly interrupted, however, when her young and immature 18-year-old siste Feeling a lull in her life and tired of waiting on her prince charming, Mia Robinson decides to make a major change in her life by applying for a position with an international relief organization. If she lands the job with Mission Medical, she will not only get to put her skills as a nurse to good use, but will also see a tangible difference in the lives of those she serves in impoverished areas overseas. Her plans are abruptly interrupted, however, when her young and immature 18-year-old sister calls to inform her that she is not only pregnant, but that she and her boyfriend Sam are eloping. Although Mia is not happy with the news, she travels to Las Vegas to support Lucy and Sam only to meet Sam’s mentor and friend, Jake Tanner. After Lucy accepts a job caring for Jake’s ailing mom and also experiences complications from the pregnancy, Mia decides to take over the small rural medical clinic in Jake’s hometown in order to be closer to Lucy and to gain more experience for her Mission Medical application. Along the way, Jake and Mia’s friendship begins to develop into something more leaving Mia with the difficult choice of continuing down the path of pursuing her dream job with Mission Medical overseas or bravely exploring her new feelings for Jake.Bylin tackles the often perplexing situation of trying to discern God’s best when multiple opportunities are presented. Mia’s struggle to find clarity and purpose is a universal occurrence at some point for us all and sometimes the answer isn’t clear as was the case with Mia. Consequently, readers can definitely identify with Mia’s plight. Bylin also seemed to interject an underlying theme of sexual purity versus caving to the culture. Although I feel like Bylin’s intent was to undergird Mia’s choice to remain pure, I unfortunately cannot say that with certainty because of how the characters’ views on the subject were portrayed. Mia seemed actually embarrassed that she was a virgin, and although Jake validated her past decisions and scolded her exes for not valuing such a “precious gift”, earlier in the novel Jake flat out stated he thought it was “unrealistic” for men and women in their twenties and thirties to continue to wait until they were married. Likewise, Sam basically stated that he and Lucy would continue to have sexual relations regardless, so they should go ahead and get married since God meant sex to be within marriage. Perhaps Bylin did not intend for such a weak message to be delivered about sexual purity, but it came across as such. What a shame! I had hoped that the message would eventually become very clear that sex is a beautiful gift from God to be experienced in marriage only and that there is great joy in waiting, but instead I felt that Bylin’s characters unfortunately caved to the culture on this one. Disappointed to say the least.This review contains my own thoughts and opinions. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.
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  • Shalini Ayre
    January 1, 1970
    Sitting in a Las Vegas diner, watching a man in a cowboy hat, win one stuffed toy after another from a vending machine, Mia Robinson is fascinated at his skills. The last thing she expected was to talk to him.After two failed engagements, the young, soon to be thirty, woman has sworn off relationships. Her focus is on God and forging a new career. So why is she in 'Sin City'? Because her 18-years-old sister is about to get married. To a man Mia hasn't met. And, to make things more problematic, s Sitting in a Las Vegas diner, watching a man in a cowboy hat, win one stuffed toy after another from a vending machine, Mia Robinson is fascinated at his skills. The last thing she expected was to talk to him.After two failed engagements, the young, soon to be thirty, woman has sworn off relationships. Her focus is on God and forging a new career. So why is she in 'Sin City'? Because her 18-years-old sister is about to get married. To a man Mia hasn't met. And, to make things more problematic, she's pregnant. Mia - steadfast, reliable, reluctant to show emotions - is worried about Lucy. Raising her, she knows Lucy is the sister who wears her heart on her sleeve, is driven by impulsive behavior. Should she be surprised that she's both with child and getting married so young?Jake Tanner, solid, reliable and due to tragic circumstances resulting in a work injury, left the police force. He also left with a purpose. Although physically recovered, he has yet to placate his soul. Finding comfort in looking out for his partners son, Sam, he is more than happy to be there in Vegas to watch Sam marry Lucy. Although the wedding is on his mind, his determination to open a camp for boys who lost their parent in a police incident, is never far from his thoughts. But the small community of Echo Falls, is not so keen. With differing opinions on the forthcoming marriage, Mia and Jake form an awkward friendship. Awkward because they soon realize that they have feelings for each other. But with Mia's reluctance and past hurts, plus her ambition to join a medical organization that would involve international travel, she knows it would be wrong to commit to anything or anyone. As for Jake, not only does he have concerns over the camp he wishes to start, but he is also worried about the decline of his mother due to Alzheimer's. When her interview with Mission Medical causes her to reevaluate her life, she moves to Echo Falls. There, Jake and her lives entwine even further. Will they overcome the obstacles they have set up for themselves? Or will they allow God to show them the path they should follow, a path that will lead to love, harmony, peace and happiness?As odd as it sounds, it's been a long time since I've read a Christian fiction novel with God and faith having a prominent position in the plot. Not overbearing in the slightest, but rather added lovely warmth and real depth that Mia, Jake and their families hold their faith in deep regard. Bylin has created a compassionate, touching, and heartfelt story, whose narrative is honest and unapologetic. An excellent mix of characters and real-life situations, filled with funny and loving moments. A highly recommended read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishers as part of their blogger program. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I finished reading The Two of Us with mixed emotions. I really enjoyed both Mia's and Jake's journeys as they pursued the paths they thought God had for them but then had unexpected alternatives pop up. Their romance was believable and enjoyable (I especially enjoyed how they met), and had the book solely been about them, I would have loved it.However, two aspects of the novel kept me from wholeheartedly embracing it. The first is regarding Mia's sister Lucy and Lucy's husband Sam. While their p I finished reading The Two of Us with mixed emotions. I really enjoyed both Mia's and Jake's journeys as they pursued the paths they thought God had for them but then had unexpected alternatives pop up. Their romance was believable and enjoyable (I especially enjoyed how they met), and had the book solely been about them, I would have loved it.However, two aspects of the novel kept me from wholeheartedly embracing it. The first is regarding Mia's sister Lucy and Lucy's husband Sam. While their parts of the novel were fine, I really just wanted to get back to Jake and Mia! Near the end of the novel, Lucy and Sam have a discussion about trusting God, and, while everything they said was true, their conversation didn't ring true in the situation. This is in stark contrast to Jake's and Mia's faith situations—everything they experienced and the conclusions they reached felt authentic. I think the novel would've been stronger if Lucy and Sam's story had been a little less prominent.The second thing that kept me from loving the novel--and really is what all of my emotions regarding the book are rooted in--is a plot point involving Alzheimer's disease. This is a pretty prominent plot thread, and I actually have no complaints with how it was written; I just wish the publisher had given a hint in the book's description that Alzheimer's would play a role in the story. As someone who watched her grandfather succumb to the disease, I can attest that Bylin's portrayal is spot on. But it was also painful to relive my grandfather's illness as I read the book and saw the character exhibiting some of the same behaviors I witnessed in my grandfather. I wish the publisher had given a hint of the content through the book description; then I could've made an informed choice about whether or not I wanted to read the novel. As it was, I felt blindsided. Overall, The Two of Us is a good book with just a couple things that could have been done better. While it was difficult for me to read, people who haven't had such a personal experience with dementia probably won't react the way I did.Disclosure of material connection: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Robbie
    January 1, 1970
    Mia Robinson has decided, after two broken engagements, she is not going to get married. However, she didn’t count on Jake Tanner, the mentor for her little sister Lucy’s fiancé.I can relate so well to both Mia and Lucy. I am usually a fairly reserved, cautious person and I’m the oldest sibling/sister. However, like Lucy, when it comes to my family (immediate and extended), I am super impulsive. I love surprises (but my immediate family doesn’t), and I like to plan and execute surprises for them Mia Robinson has decided, after two broken engagements, she is not going to get married. However, she didn’t count on Jake Tanner, the mentor for her little sister Lucy’s fiancé.I can relate so well to both Mia and Lucy. I am usually a fairly reserved, cautious person and I’m the oldest sibling/sister. However, like Lucy, when it comes to my family (immediate and extended), I am super impulsive. I love surprises (but my immediate family doesn’t), and I like to plan and execute surprises for them, which usually ends up with them frustrated with me (sometimes it ends well, sometimes not!).The characters of The Two of Us are very real and relatable. The story is gripping, absorbing and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the interwoven messages of faith and how each character faces similar circumstances differently.Victoria Bylin’s contemporary novel addresses many of today’s issues, including the difficulties associated with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, a police officer dealing with PTSD and an unmarried woman’s unplanned pregnancy.Having read and enjoyed several of Victoria Bylin’s books, I think The Two of Us is my favorite. I found the interactions and intricacies of the story and characters to be engrossing and spell-binding. Also, you begin to feel as if the people are your friends, each one seemingly real enough to be someone you know or have known.I received this book from NetGalley, Bethany House Publishers and the author. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.
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  • Natacha Ramos
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the first couple of chapters, where I got to know the main characters. Actually, I found them pretty interesting and I wanted to keep reading. However, something happened along the way.The dialogues or maybe the development of certain situations seemed too shallow to me. I couldn’t connect with the story or feel for the characters as I had done at first.The relationship between Mia and Jake didn’t fully reach my heart. It might sound weird, but I believe there wasn’t enough tension betwe I liked the first couple of chapters, where I got to know the main characters. Actually, I found them pretty interesting and I wanted to keep reading. However, something happened along the way.The dialogues or maybe the development of certain situations seemed too shallow to me. I couldn’t connect with the story or feel for the characters as I had done at first.The relationship between Mia and Jake didn’t fully reach my heart. It might sound weird, but I believe there wasn’t enough tension between them to keep me interested. I didn’t have the urgency to know what was going to happen next, because everything got kind of predictable.Nevertheless, I could identify with some of their personal struggles. I guess I have a tendency to overthink stuff, so it was good for me to see all the damage it can cause.Also, I liked the fact that this book somehow included the pain some families go through when dealing with Alzheimer, but I believe it wasn’t given the depth it deserved.I’m really sorry I couldn’t love it more, but maybe I was just expecting something different.**I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own**
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  • Lori Parrish
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved this book by Victoria. It is a page turner from the beginning and will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what will happen next. This is a tear jerker, a wanting to choke certain people and then wanting to wrap your arms around a certain character. Then there is the trusting part and the learning to forgive yourself part.I think that God puts us through certain tests so that we'd come to Him and learn to trust in Him. Those tests aren't always easy but it can make is I really loved this book by Victoria. It is a page turner from the beginning and will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what will happen next. This is a tear jerker, a wanting to choke certain people and then wanting to wrap your arms around a certain character. Then there is the trusting part and the learning to forgive yourself part.I think that God puts us through certain tests so that we'd come to Him and learn to trust in Him. Those tests aren't always easy but it can make is stronger.I can definitely understand in not wanting to trust people because of getting hurt. But we can't run from fear. I loved this family. I think it was wonderful the way this family supported each other through the fun times and hard ones. Especially the hard ones. That's when we need prayers and God the most.Then you have the people that are never satisfied or just not happy in life so they have to make others miserable too or just plain stir up trouble.I gave this book 5 stars because I enjoyed it so much and I do strongly recommend this book. I received this book for free. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own
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  • Caitlyn Santi
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third of Victoria Bylin's books I've read and I loved every single moment! I was drawn in from the first sentence and hated to put the book down until I had finished it! I loved Mia and Jake (and Lucy and Sam too!) they were such great main characters, I found myself relating to them both in many ways. The faith thread of learning to trust and that when God opens up two completely different doors in your life how do you know which one to choose, resonated with me so deeply, it was ex This is the third of Victoria Bylin's books I've read and I loved every single moment! I was drawn in from the first sentence and hated to put the book down until I had finished it! I loved Mia and Jake (and Lucy and Sam too!) they were such great main characters, I found myself relating to them both in many ways. The faith thread of learning to trust and that when God opens up two completely different doors in your life how do you know which one to choose, resonated with me so deeply, it was exactly what I needed to hear! I also loved Jake's parents Claire and Frank, their story will bring tears to your eyes at times, but I was so moved by this amazingly inspiring couple! I don't want to risk spoiling anything so I will just say that I adored every single minute of The Two of Us and I highly recommend it.The Two of Us is one of the best contemporary romances I've read this year and I cannot wait to read Victoria Bylin's next book! I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher to help promote it. No review required. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    The Two of Us by Victoria BylinMia Robinson has two failed engagements behind her. She's decided that love is not for her and plans to use her nurse practitioner skills overseas. She's prayed about it and God has opened a door. Jake Tanner lives with survival guilt. When he was with the Denver PD he made a choice that ended with his partner dead. Her last wish was for him to help her son, Sam. He has a dream to open a camp to help other boys like Sam had been...a kid who had lost a parent in dut The Two of Us by Victoria BylinMia Robinson has two failed engagements behind her. She's decided that love is not for her and plans to use her nurse practitioner skills overseas. She's prayed about it and God has opened a door. Jake Tanner lives with survival guilt. When he was with the Denver PD he made a choice that ended with his partner dead. Her last wish was for him to help her son, Sam. He has a dream to open a camp to help other boys like Sam had been...a kid who had lost a parent in duty.A quick wedding in Vegas brings Jake and Mia together. Suddenly, everything Mia planned for...had promised God...is confusing her. She just can't seem to hear God telling her the right path. This story also gives Lucy's, Mia's younger sister, point of view. Great story and definitely keep tissues handy. It also shows the struggle of having a parent with Alzheimer's.**Received from the author through Bethany House for an honest reviewhttp://justjudysjumbles.blogspot.com/...
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  • Pattisue
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book straight through and then I promptly read it again. I think I loved it more the second time. Three stories in one novel, Bylin’s characters come to life in full color, complex and multi-faceted. I laughed, I cried, I agonized along with the characters as they struggled through impossible choices and trials in their lives. I ached with Mia as she tortured herself with unreasonably high expectations for herself and others. Past heartbreaks had made her overprotective of her heart. I read this book straight through and then I promptly read it again. I think I loved it more the second time. Three stories in one novel, Bylin’s characters come to life in full color, complex and multi-faceted. I laughed, I cried, I agonized along with the characters as they struggled through impossible choices and trials in their lives. I ached with Mia as she tortured herself with unreasonably high expectations for herself and others. Past heartbreaks had made her overprotective of her heart. Compassionate and fiercely protective of those she loves, “she brought light into a dark room, quiet into a noisy day, and a soft touch to a hard, cynical world. She deserved better than a broken heart.” Jake has a bucket load of his own trials and tribulations. His protective need to make things right for those around him. “He was an ordinary man, not a mythical knight in shining armor who never fell off his horse.” Love and faith are woven through these pages creating an intricate pattern of trusting God who watches over His children with love and patience. “We’re sitting together in this beautiful place God created, wrestling with our dreams, and thinking about giving them up--not for each other, but because they don’t fit anymore. Like old shoes.” Themes include making the hard choice, using our talents, keeping promises and walking through open doors, chasing a good dream, allowing ourselves and others to make mistakes, Alzheimer’s, and PTSD.*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are uniquely my own.
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  • Christian Fiction Addiction
    January 1, 1970
    Confession time: I don't normally rave about romances. In fact, though I do read them, they are not my regular choice when I am looking for a book to help me pass the time.But something about Victoria Bylin's latest novel, "the two of us", was just deeply satisfying in every way, and I found myself enjoying it more than I even expected! Mia and Jake are characters with heart and depth, pains and struggles that make them easy to relate to. Watching their journey was utterly enjoyable, as each had Confession time: I don't normally rave about romances. In fact, though I do read them, they are not my regular choice when I am looking for a book to help me pass the time.But something about Victoria Bylin's latest novel, "the two of us", was just deeply satisfying in every way, and I found myself enjoying it more than I even expected! Mia and Jake are characters with heart and depth, pains and struggles that make them easy to relate to. Watching their journey was utterly enjoyable, as each had things from their past that impacted their ability to move forward in the way they needed to, yet they submitted to God's will for their lives instead of their own desires. I greatly appreciated how Bylin brought their paths together, and how they were committed to friendship first before finding out if more lay in their future. I am firmly convinced that an integral part of any marriage is that friendship precedes anything else, and so seeing this lived out on the pages of this novel was greatly encouraging. I also liked the direct way that Bylin speaks to Mia's sister Lucy's situation with getting pregnant before marriage, that she doesn't blow the sin out of proportion, yet isn't afraid to label it what it is either. The author brings absolute blessing out of Lucy and Sam's story-line, speaking to commitment and real love in a way that our society just doesn't see anymore. And have I mentioned Jake's mom's struggle with Alzheimer's disease? Her character adds a whole other layer to the story that made the journey all the more rich. Bylin does a great job at bringing all of these elements of the plot together into a wonderful whole, with a beautiful spiritual narrative underpinning the story that unfolds. With powerful characters and a love story that will appeal to readers of all types, "The Two of Us" is a well written contemporary Romance that deserves a place on your shelves (or on your e-reader of course!) I award this novel a solid 4 out of 5 stars.Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
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  • Kelly (Simply Kelina) C.
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me this for review.“Life exploded all around them in colors and sounds as ordinary and spectacular as a sunset.”I will admit, this was a cover read for me. I was not expecting much, but it blew me away. The writing style was amazing. There were so many amazing quotes in just the first few chapters that I wanted to share them all. The writing itself will pull you in and you will not want to put this down.Amazing writing aside, the plot was also re Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me this for review.“Life exploded all around them in colors and sounds as ordinary and spectacular as a sunset.”I will admit, this was a cover read for me. I was not expecting much, but it blew me away. The writing style was amazing. There were so many amazing quotes in just the first few chapters that I wanted to share them all. The writing itself will pull you in and you will not want to put this down.Amazing writing aside, the plot was also really good. This will instantly pull you in and grab your attention. Cancer, dog rescues, Alzheimer’s, loss, love, and so much more. There were a few times the story started to drag, but then something else would come your way to pull you back in.I also like the message about God and believing in the path He has set out for each of us. I think this was really well done, and used exactly at the right times within the story. I found myself really enjoying the spiritual message within in this book.Overall, I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading some other work by Victoria Bylin.
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