Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Masterpiece: My Thoughts


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About the Book

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever. (Goodreads)

Check out the author's Goodreads to learn more. 

My Thoughts

I have been mulling over this story for a couple of days now. I honestly have no idea how to rate this book. I love Francine Rivers and was so excited for this story and it is completely unique to anything Rivers has ever written. The characters in this story are very well written. Roman grows so much in this book and how Rivers intertwined Roman and Grace's stories together was superb. The book is also unique in that it flips around a lot. Only a talented author would be able to do this and not have the reader confused. You will be reading in present day, flip back to when Roman was little, present day, flip to when Grace was little, etc. It was very well done! Now there are things in this book that most people wouldn't expect to read about in a Christian book, but all clean in my opinion. Real life issues are dealt with and it makes the book all the better. There is a strong emphasis on believing in Christ and living the Christian life, even when it is a struggle. The only thing that I didn't love is when abortion is brought up and I felt like it wasn't addressed properly. Otherwise I really enjoyed this book and for those who love Rivers books, get ready for an adventure!


" I received this book from Tyndale Publishing . All opinions are my own."























Friday, February 9, 2018

What I Am Loving Right Now








This is just a little snippet not only for my readers but also for myself to look back on. Life hasn't changed much but here are some little things that I have been enjoying.  So far, I have read some excellent books this year so I am excited about that! 

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I finished The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers. Review to come, it was the most unique book I have read so far this year. It made me think and stuck with me awhile after reading it. 

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I finished The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This book kept me up until two am. (Take note, it is not Christian fiction) I LOVED this book and I admit I bawled my eyes out after reading it. I also read her book Night Road and holy wow it basically had me emotional the whole time. I rarely cry over books, but Kristin's books get me almost every time. 

I have really been enjoying my Young Living Products and I am eager to try their new makeup line. Check it out! (My YL Number is 2021084 if you want to learn more or sign up!)

I have also been drinking a lot of tea these days, loving this Twinings Tea.    

https://www.twiningsusa.com/our-products/darjeeling
 
Watching a lot of Castle and Dick Van Dyke  
(Weird Combination I know)

http://www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/tvbanners/184002/p184002_b_v8_af.jpg


http://img.sharetv.com/shows/standard/castle.jpg


All that to say these things are getting me through the cold months. I am eager to start watching When Calls the Heart in a couple of weeks (yes, I am a Heartie). Do you have any TV shows or good movie recommendations? Great books you have read lately? Music? I feel pretty stuck in my normal rut so I will take any and all ideas! 





 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Winter Continues...





These pictures are a couple of years old but I just like having some snowy pictures this time of year.

Last Stop in Brooklyn Review



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 About the Book

It's the summer of 1894, and an infidelity case has brought PI Mary Handley to a far corner of Brooklyn: Coney Island. In the midst of her investigation, Mary is contacted by a convicted man's brother to reopen a murder case. A prostitute was killed by a Jack the Ripper copycat years ago in her New York hotel room, but her true killer was never found. Once again it's up to Mary to make right the city's wrongs.
New York City's untouchable head of detectives, Thomas Byrnes, swears he put the right man behond bars, but as Mary digs deeper, she finds corruption at the heart of New York's justice system, involving not only the police, but the most powerful of stock titans. Disturbing evidence of other murders begins to surface, each one mimicking Jack the Ripper's style, each one covered up by Thomas Byrnes.
As Mary pieces together the extent of the damage, she crosses paths with Harper Lloyd, an investigative reporter. Their relationship grows into a partnership, and perhaps more, and together they must catch a killer who's still out there, and reverse the ruthless workings of New York's elite. It'll be Mary's most dangerous, most personal case yet. (Goodreads)

 *Note: There is a lot of cussing and a couple of more gruesome scenes in this story.

My Thoughts

Well I will be honest in saying this was not my favorite book. It moves super slow and I couldn't get into the mystery or the characters. I liked the setting and there was slight excitement but I just didn't love it. I thought some of the phrases and wording was modern and it didn't seem like it was in a different time period much of the time. I am sorry to say I don't recommend this book. I do love the cover though!
Two Stars. 

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

  






 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Lost Castle Release Day!




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About the Book

Launching a brand-new series, Kristy Cambron explores the collision of past and present as she discovers the ruins of a French castle, long lost to history.

A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France's picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

As Ellie Carver sits by her grandmother's bedside, she hears stories of a castle . . . of lost love and a hidden chapel that played host to a secret fight in the World War II French resistance. But her grandmother is quickly slipping into the locked-down world of Alzheimer's, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family's history.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty--the castle so named for Charles Perrault's beloved fairy tale--and unearth its secrets before they're finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods--the French Revolution, World War II, and present day--The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind. (Goodreads)







My Thoughts

Kristy Cambron writes in such a unique style that you get carried away into another world easily. This books takes you into three story lines that end up weaving together nicely. I was "at the edge of my seat" throughout most of this book. I so wanted to know what was going to happen as there is SO much going on. I LOVED the fox tie in, I love foxes and this added to the story. The setting is perfect and all of the characters were well written. I will say that since there are three story lines, you have to pay attention and I wish I could have gotten to know the characters a tad better. If you are looking for a French escape with some light romance this is the book for you!  The history is wonderful for us history lovers, and I am eager to see what Cambron has in store for us next!


Five stars!

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











Friday, January 26, 2018

Daring to Hope Book Review




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About the Book

How do you hold on to hope
when you don't get the ending
you asked for?


When Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease.

After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? When she turned to Him with her questions, God spoke truth to her heart and drew her even deeper into relationship with Him.

Daring to Hope is an invitation to cling to the God of the impossible--the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we want or the miracle doesn't come. It's about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes to be ordinary. It's about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God's goodness in the least expected places.

Though your heartaches and dreams may take a different shape, you will find your own questions echoed in these pages. You'll be reminded of the gifts of joy in the midst of sorrow. And you'll hear God's whisper: Hold on to hope. I will meet you here. (Goodreads)




My Thoughts

So I have mixed feelings about this book. How can I rate someone's life and personal stories? You can't. I loved reading about Katie and the people she wrote about in this book. It was an up close look at a life very different from what most expect. I love that she is a brave woman taking care of the hopeless and not only helping some of their personal needs but giving them hope as well. I think her story is powerful and I am so glad we live in a time when her world can be put in a book for millions to read. Now the part I didn't love is how some of this book was written. At times I was having a hard time following what she was talking about with the different stories. That being said, I love seeing how God works in the world and uses people for His glory!

Five stars.

"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review."

















Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Little Book of Easter Blessings Review


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About the Book

Easter time is filled with God’s love!

The Easter season is bursting with fun—baskets full of goodies, hunts for colored eggs, and bright spring flowers. Take time to show your little one that the very best part of Easter is Jesus!

Through the classic Precious Moments® artwork, fun poems, and sweet prayers and Bible verses, Precious Moments Little Book of Easter Blessings will help your children understand that Jesus is alive and that He loves them so much! (Goodreads)



My Thoughts

I always enjoy little Precious Moments books and items. This book has some cute illustrations and some great little prayers for kids and poems. I was disappointed on how much emphasis was put on dyeing Easter eggs, bunnies, Easter baskets, etc. There are a few poems and prayers about Jesus and what Easter is really about but I felt the message is geared toward all of the other things that seem to overtake the day. I would suggest talking with your child about these things and discuss what is important to you and your family. The other things aren't bad, but for younger people I feel like all they might get out of it is the coloring egg dyeing etc.

Three Stars.

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













Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Melody of the Soul Review




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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.

Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz's prize pack giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz's Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

 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


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 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

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 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


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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?
  (Goodreads)




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."