Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Melody of the Soul Review


Travel back in time to 1943 and meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian and concert violinist whose career is ended because of Nazi occupation in Prague. Don't miss the new historical novel, The Melody of the Soul, by Liz Tolsma. Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Officer Horst Engel, quartered in Anna's flat and dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

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 About the Book

By 1943, Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost everything, including her career as a concert violinist and almost her entire family. The only person she has left is her beloved grandmother, and she's determined to keep her safe. But protecting Grandmother won't be easy--not with a Nazi officer billeted below them.

Anna must keep a low profile. There's one thing she refuses to give up, though. Despite instruments being declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to practice her violin. She has to believe that the war will end someday and her career will be waiting. Fortunately for Anna, the officer, Horst Engel, enjoys her soothing music. It distracts him from his dissatisfaction with Nazi ideology and reminds him that beauty still exists in an increasingly ugly world.

When his neighbors face deportation, Horst is moved to risk everything to hide them. Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals to her might break her trust and stop the music forever. . . .(Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Sadly, this was not the book for me. I have read all of Tolsma's previous books and this one was disappointing. I have read a lot of books set during WWII, and this story just seemed to lack the depth I love in books. I didn't feel like I got to know the characters at all. I didn't really love any of the characters and I was a bit disappointed in the ending.  The setting is great and the idea of the book is fine, though I am not sure how realistic some things were. Needless to say the cover is beautiful and I am curious to read Tolsma's next novel. 

Three Stars. 

"I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for free. All opinions are my own."

Monday, January 15, 2018

The View from Rainshadow Bay Review


 About the Book 

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This is one of the most beautiful covers I have seen! I love lavender and since the story is somewhat set around an area that grows, the setting is perfect! This book kept me turning the pages, I really couldn't figure out who the main killer guy was. There are a bunch of other side stories that Coble seemed to tie up at the end okay. I didn't totally love Shauna's character and to be honest the romance side I didn't like. This book could have been better without the romance in this story and don't get me wrong, I like romance. I just felt it was a bit too cheesy and distracting from the rest of the story. The mystery and suspense made this a great read! I think perhaps this could be a tad more graphic than her other novels, but once again Coble writes a fantastic mystery! 

Four stars. 

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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Live Lagom Book Thoughts


 About the Book 

An inviting exploration of "the new hygge": the Swedish concept of lagom--finding balance in moderation--featuring inspiration and practical advice on how to find a happy medium in life, home, work, and health.

Following the cultural phenomena of fika and hygge, the allure of Scandinavian culture and tradition continues in the Swedish concept of lagom. From home design and work-life balance, to personal well-being and environmental sustainability, author Anna Brones presents valuable Swedish-inspired tips and actionable ways to create a more intentional, healthy lifestyle. Instead of thinking about how we can work less, lagom teaches us to think about how we can work better. Lagom at home is about finding balance between aesthetics and function, focusing on simplicity, light, and open spaces. Health and wellness in lagom is a holistic approach for the body and mind--including connecting more in person, caring for self, managing stress, keeping active, and embacing enjoyment in daily routine. Live Lagom inspires us to slow down and find happiness in everyday balance. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I got this book because it revolves around simplicity. And adding a little non fiction to my book reading habits is really good for me. So I started off reading and I had to put tabs in the book before I even got out of the introduction! I so enjoyed reading this book and I think it is a great reminder on how we need to slow down, unplug from technology, and de-stress. The author talks about how we are always in a rush and looking for the next thing or promotion etc. "We can work to find happiness in who we are, not who we plan to be. (pg 36) Now in my opinion we always should be growing in Christ and working on that relationship. But in the aspect of regular life and jobs we always have this idea that we need to make this much money and have a bigger house and more things. Really we need to be thankful in the now and learn to appreciate what is now. 
"Taking breaks from social media, or even removing ourselves for large chunks of time, can help us to focus inward on what matters instead of focusing outward and constantly comparing ourselves to others." (pg 65) 
This is something I was just talking about with my co workers. We HAVE to unplug especially those of us who work on computers and with technology all day. This book really covers it all, from health, food, decor, fashion, etc. I found it to be really encouraging and interesting to learn more about Swedish ways. This book isn't about any weird spiritual type thing, it is simply explaining how another culture lives and how we can learn from it. Also, in Sweden they have fika which is a Swedish coffee break, they take it serious-the coffee and the break. Needless to say I highly recommend this book if you need a little different perspective and encouragement.

Five stars. 

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free. All opinions are my own."


Friday, January 5, 2018

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage Review


New from the Top Author of Inspirational Regency Romance
Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?

As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

My Thoughts

I highly recommend reading the first book written previous to this one as the setting and people will make more sense. I enjoy the setting and this small town is such a fun idea to imagine. This book moved a bit slow for me. I have enjoyed many of Klassen's books but this one was difficult for me to get into. The characters didn't pop out to me and it was just a slow mover. For those that love this time period and books by Jane Austin, you will enjoy!

Three Stars.

"I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for free. All opinions are my own."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Troubled Waters Review


About the Book

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants--except a happy ending. Or at least that's what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra's relationship. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I always enjoy reading anything by Susan May Warren. I was curious to see what she was going to do with Ian and Sierra since tidbits have been in the past books. (Note: you should read these books in order or you will miss a lot!) I am not sure how much I loved the setting of this novel. Out in the ocean and on a ship, along with how everything flows in the book seemed a tad off. I enjoyed seeing more of Sierra's character and how she grew over the course of the series. I really liked the parts with Esme and for those who have been waiting-get ready! Also, of course the ending leaves a bunch of loose ends so honestly you can't help but wait eagerly for the next book! While this wasn't my favorite in the series, I still enjoyed it a lot.

Four stars.

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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Roanoke Girls Review


About the Book

Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I feel like there should have been a better description that came with this book. Maybe a warning? I wasn't prepared for this story that honestly made me sick to my stomach. I know that incest and sexual abuse happen, but this book not only shows the awfulness of it but doesn't necessarily bash it. It almost makes it as if it is okay. It is not okay! I never would have requested this book if I knew how graphic it was. I wouldn't recommend this book. I think this topic could have been written more tactfully.

I really can't rate this I don't recommend.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free. All opinions are my own."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Top Ten(ish) Books of 2017

Top Ten(ish) Books I Read in 2017
I read some great books this year, it was difficult choosing ten!

I am excited to see what comes out in 2018! 












Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Until We Find Home Book Review: My Thoughts


About the Book

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing--spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends--has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she's ever known.

Set in England's lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.  (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I have loved every book Cathy has ever written. I was thrilled to be able to read this book! The first part of the book takes you right into France and England during WWII. Action starts from page one and you become engrossed. But things got a little slow for me about midway. From there I sadly didn't love this book as much as I wanted to. The writing is great and the setting and secondary characters are wonderful. Claire is a character I simply could not stand reading. Even until the end I just didn't like her at all. Perhaps at the end she gets a little less snobby but otherwise I had a difficult time reading the pages about her. I wish this wasn't the case but I did enjoy many other parts of this novel.

Four stars.

"I received this book from Tyndale House for free. All opinions are my own."

Friday, December 22, 2017

Capital Gaines Review


About the Book

The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of 4 in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.

In Capital Gaines, we walk alongside him as he relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.

Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I will be honest in saying I really don't know a lot about the Gaines, though I have watched the show a few times. I like reading books like this because it gives you a better idea of a person, versus how they are on TV. I really enjoyed this book. It isn't very long, it's funny, clever, and packs a punch. I appreciate Chip's honesty throughout the book and I found his stories entertaining. If you are a fan of this family and want to learn more about them, I recommend this book! Great for men and women alike.

Five stars!

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

12 Days At Bleakly Manor Review With Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Historical Christmas
Release Date: September 1, 2017
England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.
But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.
Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.
What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor
Guest post by Michelle Griep
Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…
Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.
Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.
“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.
Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.
Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal.
And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy.
And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14
Bukwurmzzz, December 14
Faery Tales Are Real, December 14
A Reader’s Brain, December 15
Have A Wonderful Day, December 15
Texas Book-aholic, December 16
Carpe Diem, December 16
Cafinated ReadsDecember 16
Just the Write Escape, December 17
A Greater YesDecember 17
Remembrancy, December 17
AllofakindmomDecember 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 18
amandainpa, December 19
Kat’s Corner Books, December 19
Mommynificent, December 19
Bookworm Mama, December 20
Vicky Sluiter, December 20
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21
Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)
My Writer’s Life, December 23
Janices book reviews, December 23
For The Love of Books, December 23
Red Headed Book Lady, December 25
Bibliophile Reviews, December 26
Blogging With Carol,December 26
Mary Hake, December 26


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

My Thoughts

Grab your comfy blanket and snuggle while you read this short Christmas romance mystery. This book instantly took me back to my Agatha Christie reading days and watching the movie Clue. While this isn't a very long book it is perfect for a holiday read. I loved the setting and I really liked Ben's character. I thought the overall idea of the story was fun and I am anxious to read book two, coming out next year. 
Four stars.

"I received this book for free from the publisher. All opinions are my own."

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Lacemaker- A Must Read!


 About the Book

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson is abandoned by her fiance and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I adore every book written by Laura Frantz. Much to my delight this lovely book arrived in the mail early! I have met Laura and after meeting her it makes me love her books all the more, she is the sweetest most down to earth lady! Anywho, this book is wonderful! I LOVE this time period of 1775 and the characters are very well written. Elisabeth is such a unique character, I am not sure how to explain but she is not what you would expect. Honestly, I felt pretty convicted after reading this book about how I worry too much. I feel like an underlying tone in the novel is that we need to take our worries to God and let Him handle it. Not to fret. The book is full of such great chunks of history and I need to read more about lace making, I couldn't imagine doing it myself! In classy Frantz style the romance is written perfectly. Basically as a history lover, this book has it all. I sat down to read it and didn't stop until the end. If you are new to Frantz books, you should read this book. If you have been reading Laura's books for awhile, this much anticipated read is one you will love! 
Five stars. 

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