Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Christmas by the Sea Review

About the Book

When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist.

Join award-winning author Melody Carlson for a Christmas story that will warm your heart and have you dreaming of your own enchanted seaside holiday. (Goodreads) 

My Thoughts

What a great holiday story! I loved the setting and while being a shorter book I thought it was well written. Jackson is a great character addition to the story and make me smile many times. The romance is sweet but not the main focus. I thought the single mom lifestyle was also well written. If you are needing a cozy winter read this is the book for you!!

Four stars.

I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

There are so many books on my TBR pile, but these are coming out this fall! Thanks to Top Ten Tuesday for hosting this!











Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hidden Among the Stars Review and Celebrate Lit Tour

Hidden among the stars FB banner copy

About the Book

Book Title: Hidden Among The Stars
Author: Melanie Dobson
Genre: Historical Fiction (However, this is a time-slip novel, so there is also a contemporary component to the story)
Release date: September 4, 2018
From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.
Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nearly twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels including Catching the Wind and Chateau of Secrets . Three of her novels have won Carol Awards; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010; and The Black Cloister won the Foreword Magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.
Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes at George Fox University.
Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and reading stories with her girls.
Visit Melanie online at

Guest Post from Melanie

Hallstatt’s Hiding Places
Backpacking across Europe—that’s how my husband Jon and I decided to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We savored the old world culture and charm as we hiked along Italy’s coast, toured medieval castles in Germany, and cruised the canals in Belgium; we both left a bit of our hearts in an ancient lakeside town called Hallstatt.
The moment we stepped off the ferryboat and into this storybook village, we crossed through a portal of sorts, traveling back several centuries in time. The rugged, snow-capped mountains around us and alpine lake, the quaint village with its church steeples and cobblestone lanes and waterfall that spilled into town—all of it captivated us.
Along the shore, hidden partially by trees, we could see spires of an abandoned castle, and I wanted to know its story. No one in Hallstatt could tell us who’d lived in the castle—at least, not in English—so my husband agreed to a new adventure. With a swan as our escort, we glided across the lake in an electric boat so I could study the rusty turrets, boarded windows, and wooden boathouse resting in the water like a felled log.
Instead of quelling my curiosity, the match of inspiration ignited my mind. Who had lived in this castle, and what happened there? I began writing in my journal that night, trying to capture my rogue thoughts on paper, hoping that one day a novel would emerge from the ashes of this castle’s story.
When we returned home, I began researching more of Hallstatt’s history and discovered that this region, in all of its beauty and mystique, had been infiltrated by an enemy in 1938. This town and the surrounding Salzkammergut became a mountain retreat for Nazi officials who built mansions on the shores of its many lakes and used salt mines to hide “ownerless treasure”—the gold bullion and artwork they’d stolen from the Jewish people.
The Nazis intended to build a Fourth Reich in this alpine fortress, but the Allies had other plans. Near the end of the war, these lakes became a dustbin of sorts, collecting whatever the enemy dumped into its waters—weapons, counterfeit banknotes, concentration camp lists—as they fled south from the Allied troops. The Devil’s Dustbin, locals call it.
Lake Hallstatt plunges more than four hundred feet between the fortress of mountains. Because of its depth and the many hiding places in the underwater forests, caves, and shifting sands, divers continue finding World War II artifacts today. Some still believe there’s a treasure trove buried on the bottom, but no one has reported finding any gold.
After our trip, a story about this castle and what happened to the heirlooms of the Austrian Jewish people continued to burn inside me until I finally put it on paper. So I built Schloss Schwansee—Castle of Swan Lake—in my mind, inspired by the castle along Lake Hallstatt, and created a cast of historical and contemporary characters who are searching for lost treasure.
Hidden Among the Stars is a time-slip novel about a castle and treasure and fairytales, but most of all, it’s a story about God using ordinary people across Austria to resist evil in their own extraordinary way.

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, September 6
Back Porch Reads, September 6
Among the Reads, September 6
The Power of Words, September 7
Multifarious, September 7
The Becca Files, September 7
Painting with Words, September 8
Lis Loves Reading, September 8
cherylbbookblog, September 9
Madeline Clark, September 9
Mary Hake, September 9
Genesis 5020, September 10
Faithfully Bookish, September 10
Simple Harvest Reads, September 10 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Margaret Kazmierczak, September 11
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 11
Daysong Reflections, September 11
Remembrancy, September 12
Inklings and notions, September 12
amandainpa, September 12
Maureen’s Musing, September 13
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 13
Just Commonly, September 13
Book by Book, September 13
Connect in Fiction, September 14
Pause for Tales, September 14
Have A Wonderful Day, September 14
Splashes of Joy, September 14
Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 15
To Everything A Season, September 15
Bibliophile Reviews, September 16
Bigreadersite, September 16
Aryn The Libraryan, September 16
By The Book, September 17
Janices book reviews, September 17
Texas Book-aholic, September 18
Carpe Diem, September 18
Godly Book Reviews, September 19
For The Love of Books, September 19
Live. Love. Read., September 19
Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 19


To celebrate her tour, Melanie is giving away a grand prize package that includes a $25 Amazon gift card, Catching the Wind paperback, and Hidden Among the Stars paperback!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Thoughts

Melanie Dobson has such incredible skill when it comes to historical fiction. I have loved all of the books by her I have read. While I don't think this is my favorite of hers, I still loved it and couldn't put it down. We are taken back to 1939 and present day, dual timelines are my favorite. I always learn something from reading Dobson's books and this story had a lot of WWII information I didn't know. The characters are pretty well developed, there were a couple of times when I got a bit confused on who was who, I think perhaps the labeling at the start of a new chapter would have been helpful. Such as the name of who that particular chapter is about. So if multiple characters and points of view is difficult for you, this book might be a challenge. In any case the ending was satisfying, there wasn't much romance which was fine with me, and the overall story line was good. 
Five stars. 

"Thanks to the publisher for offering me a free copy. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own."


Friday, September 14, 2018

Everything She Didn't Say Review


 About the Book

In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn't Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.

Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn't insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.

With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living--the laughter and pain, the love and loss--to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.

My Thoughts

Jane Kirkpatrick is such a talented historical author. This book takes you into the life of Carrie Strahorn and her many travels with her husband. Based on a true story, this book holds snippets of her real life journal and story created by Kirkpatrick. No doubt there were so many women years ago who have such amazing stories to tell. The American West was a wild and lonely place and I thought this story did a great job in peaking into the past. There are some things that I never would have thought about that certainty Carrie would have dealt with.  This book is very much historical and detailed, so I know some might find it a tad slow. I enjoy Kirkpatrick's writing and I think she did a great job creating a life from pages of a journal. I really liked having the journal entries in the book and I thought it was incorporated nicely. There are a couple spots where I felt the author could have moved forward a tad faster but overall this was an enjoyable read. 

Four Stars.
"I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own." 


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hiding Places (Tori Kelly's New Album!) Review and Giveaway!!!!

I have really been enjoying this album! I have been hearing great things about her music so I was excited to get this CD! She has a different feel than many Christian artists so it is nice to have something new! 

"Thanks to FlyBy for offering me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

Enter via Rafflecopter below! 

US Entries Only. This giveaway ended up having a short time so get your entry in as soon as possible! Winner notified on the 14th!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hidden Gems: Top Ten Tuesday

These are a select few of hidden gems that more people need to know about and enjoy. This list could be much longer but I just came up with ten. 

Kathryn has such a great way of writing story. Her books aren't talked about enough.

I think this is Hatcher's best book to date. Just my opinion.

This series is SO good. People need to read this!!

Jocelyn really did an incredible job with this story. A must read for historical readers.  

We have all heard about Anne of Green Gables, but what about L. M. Montgomery's other books? The Blue Castle I LOVED and it needs to be talked about a lot more.

Jaime is a new author and her books are FANTASTIC. She is an author that I am thrilled got published!!

This book. It deserves to be read by so many more.

I can't tell you how excited I was for Lisa to get recognition for her latest novel Before We Were Yours. BUT having read her books for years, I know her other stories are gold!

Wonderful author and book!

Known for her more recent books, this was her first published and I adore it. It is one of my all time favorite books/series.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Bingeworthy TV Shows Top Ten Tuesday

This is taking a trip away from books at the moment and talking about my top favorite shows! Also, any ideas on new ones? Link up for Top Ten Tuesday!

Image result for this is us
I will be honest, after watching the first two episodes I still wasn't sure I liked the show. Then I watched a couple more and it truly is SO good.  I also was pretty surprised at how clean the show is compared to most TV shows these days. Can't wait until season 3! 

Image result for castle tv show

Yep, it is a favorite. 

 Image result for sherlock show
 The last part of this show wasn't my favorite but the first ones are great! 

 Image result for gilmore girls
 I have watched all the seasons so many times. 

Heartland Poster
If you haven't watched this you are missing out-big time!

 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Poster
 I found this show a few years ago, I have since watched all the seasons too many times...

Victoria Poster
 Started watching this thinking it wouldn't be that great, boy was I wrong. LOVE it!

Warehouse 13 Poster

I love history so this show is awesome! 

House Poster

Parenthood Poster
There are so many things I love about this show. While compared to This is Us ( which I personally think is better) Parenthood had some terrific episodes and character development. 

So any suggestions out there???

Monday, September 3, 2018

Freedom's Light Book Review


 About the Book

Hannah Thomas left the South and all that was familiar to marry her beloved John. But the fact that she’s never been quite accepted by his mother and sister and that she doesn’t quite fit the strict Massachusetts Puritan community only becomes more difficult when John is killed in one of the first battles in the war for freedom. Hannah is allowed to continue to serve as lightkeeper for the twin tower lighthouses on the lonely coastline, but it is grueling work for a woman alone.

One of the first shipwrecks washes ashore a handsome captain she thinks is a Tory, but she soon finds out he’s working as a spy for Washington. Much stands in the way of their happiness including the need to protect his secret, pressure from John’s family to marry another, near-constant disapproval from the townspeople, and the appearance of Hannah’s wayward sister. Coupled with the strain of war, Hannah isn’t sure she’ll ever see the light of freedom. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I am a longtime Colleen Coble fan and have especially loved her suspense books. This story is considered one of her historical novels and set during a favorite time period of mine, the Revolutionary War. The start of the book had me interested, mainly in Hannah and her story. A little ways in and in comes her sister and from there the story took a turn. While yes, there are more "adult themes" that isn't the reason for my low rating on this book. It had a great setting and a great possibility of being such a good book. But the dialogue was cringe worthy (very cheesy) and honestly Lydia was probably one of my all time least favorite characters. I felt like the end was rushed and the entire book all too predictable. 
I know Coble to be a fantastic author but this book was not for me. 

Two Stars. 

"I received this book from BookLook Blogger for free. All opinions are my own" 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Little Book of Thanks Kids Book Review


 About the Book

It happens every autumn. As soon as the leaves begin to turn bright, beautiful colors, the year sprints ahead on fast-forward! Take a few moments out of the hustle and bustle of the season to sink into a cozy chair with your little one and thank God for everything He’s given us with Precious Moments® Little Book of Thanks.

In the sweet, enduring art style of Precious Moments, this timeless book will help your children recognize all the wonderful things God has given them! Read along, and you will remember to enjoy the simple things, like singing silly songs, jumping in a pile of leaves, and watching the seasons change. The short, rhyming verses in this classic Precious Moments book don’t take much time to read at all, and they will create memories that last forever.

Precious Moments Little Book of Thanks offers you the chance to be thankful for all that you have and for the ones with whom you get to share every precious moment. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I love Precious Moments and autumn so this book I had to get! I wish there were a few more fall type illustrations but overall be prepared for a great little book! I think a book of thanks is a great idea for kids and adults. We all need reminded to be thankful and this little book talks about being thankful for many things. In typical style each page has a little poem that goes with a verse. I think it is a great little book and a must have to Precious Moments fans! 
Five stars. 

"I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for free. All opinions are my own."