Saturday, May 20, 2017

English Lessons Review


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 About the Book

Could She Come to Love the Questions Themselves?
The church wasn't just a part of Andrea Lucado's childhood. It was her childhood. It provided more than happy moments. It provided an invitation to know Jesus.
When Andrea arrived in Oxford the year after she graduated from college, she expected to meet God there. What she didn't expect was that God would be much bigger than she'd believed.
In this engaging memoir, Andrea speaks to all of us who wrestle with doubt and identity. -So many nights in Oxford, - Andrea writes, -I felt like the details of my faith were getting fuzzier. Nights turned restless with questions. I questioned God's existence, and the doubt was getting into my bones.-
In English Lessons, Andrea takes us through the roads of England and, more importantly, the paths of the soul. Here she explores the journey of a changing faith and an unchanging God--and why growing up starts with realizing just how small we are. (Goodreads)



My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. Andrea had some great stories and thought provoking comments on Christianity and our lives today. The book focuses on her college years at Oxford and the cultural differences and how she had to decide for herself why she was a believer. The first part of the book I enjoyed the most and it got a bit slow in the middle. I think that I could relate to this book because of how I was raised, for others they might not. One main thing that I found to be important is how she kept saying she was a Christian because her dad was. This was part of her struggle and how she searched for more than that. While thankful for her upbringing, it is important for everyone to believe in something because of their own studies life lessons. Why do you believe what you do? You aren't a Christian just because your parents are. So I am glad the subject was brought up and I enjoyed reading Andrea's journey. 

Four stars. 

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













Friday, May 19, 2017

Mandisa CD Review and Giveaway!


Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend
Kisha, who was battling breast cancer. Mandisa really believed and prayed
that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in
2014, Mandisa’s foundation was shaken in a way she never expected. She
fell into a deep pit of depression for close to 3 years, shutting out her
friends, family and the rest of the world. Mandisa believes if she had kept
going down that road she was on, she would not be here today… but God
stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to
communicate their love for her and God’s love for her. This album is
Mandisa’s way of letting her fans into her story – it’s called 'Out Of The
Dark' because that is exactly where God lifted her out of!
You can watch her talk openly about this on Good Morning America last
week here.

My Thoughts
 I am LOVING this album! This is different than previous Mandisa music in my opinion. I feel like there is a lot more heart and just great songs. Of course it has been on repeat in my car every day. I love I'm Still Here, Bleed the Same ( gave me goosebumps the first time I listened to it VERY good!), and the One He Speaks Through.  They are all great but these are my favorites right now.She deals with so many issues in this album and so many of the songs spoke to my heart. If you haven't heard these songs or of Mandisa, you need to check out this album ASAP. 
Also, a fun way to do that is to enter the giveaway for your own copy! Enter through the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a hard copy of the CD!


“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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

All Things Bright and Beautiful Kid's Review




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 About the Book 

All Things Bright and Beautiful, a charming new padded board book for young children, will be a bright, glittery addition to any home.


This padded board book with plastic handle sparkles with its eye-catching cover and colorful, fun illustrations. With glitter on every page, your little one will be engaged with the lyrics from the classic hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” Enjoy celebrating God’s beautiful creation through this adorable book that your children will want to read over and over again!


The padded covers, thick pages, and handle are perfect for little hands, and the glittery artwork and simple, classic lyrics will appeal to any young child. All Things Bright and Beautiful will delight your family as you cuddle up and read all about God’s care in creation.(Goodreads)




My Thoughts

I LOVE this book! I love this song and I love how they made it kid oriented! This is a smaller book, padded outside and the rest a board book. Very colorful and simple, perfect for young ones! This would make a great gift or add to your book collection. Highly recommend! 

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










 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

True To You Review


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 About the Book

 Exciting Start of a Brand-New Series by a Contemporary Romance Fan Favorite

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts 

Becky Wade has become one of my favorite contemporary Christian authors.  I read the novella that is before this book and I recommend reading it prior to True to You
I love that this new series is all about sisters and I just like this family in general. While I totally enjoyed this book and I love Becky, this book was not my all time favorite. Just as a personal preference, Nora is not my favorite sister. I couldn't connect with her as well as I have other characters. A couple of things got on my nerves and is what made this a four star rating. We see Nora's personal thoughts multiple times, such as what she is thinking when she sees John. Now I understand being attracted to a man and all that but for a novel like this some of these comments were on the edge. I think the main reason this bothered me is because it was way before any connection/relationship was made.
 I thought the romance was a bit rushed in that aspect. The other thing I have been hesitant to write about but I feel I must as it has really bothered me. I don't think Becky meant for any of it to come across this way but I felt like she played up the part of looking "stylish" and "sexy" one of great importance in order for John to really recognize her. At one point he looks over at her (this is after she got her eyebrows done, new clothes, etc) and basically thinks, "wow, I didn't think she was pretty before but now hot dang!" (this isn't what he said but the main idea). As if their relationship wouldn't have gone anywhere if she hadn't gotten a make over and new wardrobe. Honestly, this made me feel like a crappy person for not getting my eyebrows done or buying stylish clothes. I understand that these things are OKAY and they can give a gal more confidence if she thinks she looks good. This is a fact. What I don't like is that she couldn't have a relationship or be noticed until that happened. As if she simply wasn't good enough until she got fancy make up, perfect eyebrows, and skinny jeans.
Otherwise, I still enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. 

Four stars. 

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














Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Stranger at Fellsworth Review


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About the Book


Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancĂ© has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future. (Goodreads)



My Thoughts

Sarah Ladd does a great job at taking the reader to a wonderful setting and this book is no exception. I loved the setting and I really enjoyed the characters in this story. I really liked Owen Locke probably more so than Annabelle just as a personal character preference. I liked that this story takes you a bit away from high society and takes you more to the countryside and a school with teachers. There is a slight mystery that I enjoyed and the romance wasn't over the top or rushed. 
While I enjoyed Dawn at Emberwildslightly more so than this one, I think it was a great addition to the series. 
These books do not have to be read in any particular order and I recommend reading any of Sarah's books!
Four stars!

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










Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Behind the Scenes Review and Giveaway

behind-the-scenes
To order your copy, click here.

About the Book

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Book: Behind the Scenes
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Release Date: April, 2017
Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”
Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.
As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

About the Author

jen-turano
Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.


 My Thoughts

Jen Turano is a joy to read and this book was just fun. While it wasn't my favorite by her, her writing and story lines crack me up. I am pretty sure I would love to meet Jen in person some day! The whole idea about this particular series is a perfect opportunity for hilarious predicaments. Wallflowers, which are ladies who stand on the sidelines and avoid social interaction or have become "outcasts" in a way. Hiding behind the plants (hehe just wait until you read about it) and extremely awkward conversations fill this book. I really liked Permilia and many of the secondary characters. I am eager to read more from Jen and I highly recommend her books! 

"Thanks to Celebrate Lit and the publisher for offering me a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own."



Interview With Jen Turano

  1. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?
Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.

  1. What is your favorite book from your childhood?
“Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.

  1. Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?
I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write?
I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.

  1. Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?
I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.

  1. What inspires you?
I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.

Blog Stops

April 27: The Scribbler
April 27: Genesis 5020
April 28: Back Porch Reads
April 29: Bookworm Mama
April 30: Radiant Light
April 30: Bigreadersite
April 30: Lane Hill House
May 3: Book by Book
May 5: Baker Kella

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04910/

For Love and Honor Review and Giveaway





About the Book




Book: For Love & Honor
Author: Jody Helund
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?
Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?
As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

About the Author

Jody Hedlund. Web - CopyJody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five teen-aged children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund


Is Chivalry on the Brink of Extinction?
By Jody Hedlund
With the release of Fifty Shades of Grey movie and its popularity, I can’t help but wonder about the long-term consequences that such ideology will have on how people view relationships.
Already, too many couples struggle to maintain happy, healthy relationships. In fact, it’s become almost a weekly occurrence to get news of another friend or acquaintance who is dealing with a spouse cheating or leaving.
Mutual respect, loyalty, honor, and self-sacrifice have become out-dated, forgotten, or tossed aside in place of short-term pleasure that often leaves people feeling hollow and empty.
I honestly can’t help wondering where chivalry has gone, and not just the man-doting-on-the-woman chivalry. But mutual chivalry, the kind where each person in the relationship puts the other in high esteem, uplifts them, and makes a concerted effort to protect and cherish (both emotionally and physically).
Has chivalry become antiquated in our modern society? And even if it has, should it be outdated and on the brink of extinction? Should we be making more of an effort to reclaim mutual respect in relationships?
The kind of respect that does things for someone with no thought of getting anything in return.
The kind of respect that is graciously honest about problems instead of sneaking around and being unfaithful.
The kind of respect that is willing to sacrifice and see the needs of others instead of demanding our way and our own needs be met first.
As my teenage children enter into dating relationships, I worry about the influence of movies like Fifty Shades of Grey. I worry that they’ll see dysfunction as the norm. I worry that they’ll settle for a lot less than they should in their relationships. I worry that they won’t even know the meaning of chivalry.
Of course, we’re having candid conversations about all of these issues. Of course, my husband and I attempt to model mutual respect. And of course, I’m praying my teens work on growing their own character so that they can be strong and ready for whatever they might face.
But one of the things I’ve done over the past couple of years is write a young adult (YA) series that is aimed at some of these very issues The third book, FOR LOVE & HONOR, just released this spring (and can be read as a stand-alone). Since the story is set in medieval times amidst castles, knights, and ladies, chivalry is already a huge part of that era.
More than giving readers a glimpse of chivalry, however, I hope the book sparks some discussion about what it means to have healthy, respectful relationships. The book contains reader questions at the end that youth groups, moms and daughters, or friends can use together.
It’s not just another dating book. Instead it’s a fun and entertaining story that can hopefully facilitate discussion regarding what it means to truly demonstrate chivalry in our relationships.
So what do YOU think? Is chivalry on the brink of extinction? What are some ways we can make sure that we don’t lose it?


Blog Stops

May 8: Book by Book
May 12: Just Commonly
May 14: God1meover
May 15: thewitsabout
May 15: Baker Kella
May 15: Remembrancy

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away all three books in the Noble Knights Series!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b6fc

My Thoughts

As much as I love Jody Hedlund, I just could not love this book. The characters and the dialogue got on my nerves a few times and I couldn't get into the story line. I wish I could say otherwise but this just was not the book for me. I still love Jody Hedlund but not her young adult books. Also, I enjoy young adult books in general so this isn't saying anything against YA as a whole. I know other people have loved this book so this is just my opinion!
"Thanks to Celebrate Lit and the publisher for sending this book to me for free. All opinions are my own."














 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

All of You: A Carrington Family Novel


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 About the Book

Maryland, Present Day

Jacqueline Rogers can rebuild anything...except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she's worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1942

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.


Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.




My Thoughts
  
I love books with two story lines, past and present. Some authors can't pull this off but Sarah did a wonderful job combining two stories into one. I really enjoyed the present day characters more so than the past. This is unusual for me but I still enjoyed it! I loved the setting and the overall feel of the book. I admit I think I liked the previous story Finders Keepers a bit more than All of You. But obviously both are good! Sarah Monzon is an author to keep you eye on and I highly recommend any of her books!! 

Four stars!

Thanks to the author for offering me a free copy. All opinions are my own.
















Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Peace in the Valley Review



About the Book

In spite of their differences, Trey Walker Stafford knows he owes his life to cowboy and legendary rancher Sam Stafford--the uncle who rescued him after his parents' death. Trey had left the Double S Ranch to pursue music against Sam's wishes, but returns to central Washington when he learns he's the best match for a procedure that could save Sam's life. Although Trey's found country music fame and success, he's also endured the tragic loss of his wife. He croons about love, but struggles with a yawning emptiness he can't explain. 
Overwhelmed by a growing list of challenges, but mistrustful of Stafford men, single mother Lucy Carlton reluctantly accepts Trey's help to revive her crumbling farm when Sam instructs him to repay the overdue debt to her family. 
As the two grow closer, Trey slowly begins to open his heart to this beautiful woman and strives to let go of the grief he's held for years. Lucy has a complicated history of her own. Can Trey accept her as she is, learn to forgive the past, and find the elusive peace he's sought for so long?


My Thoughts


I have so enjoyed Double S Ranch throughout this series. It is a great setting. Peace in the Valley, while good, is probably my least favorite. It was a bit more difficult to get into the storyline and characters. I think the secondary characters were pretty solid. The ending tied things up nicely as well. I know Ruth Logan Herne doesn't shy away from difficult situations and real life problems which is what makes her books good. 
Four stars.

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