Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Just Look Up Review


 About the Book

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home--a quaint tourist town full of memories she'd just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work--something her eclectic family doesn't understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren't ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can't find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he's found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along--if only she'd just look up. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This is the first book by Courtney I have read and while I enjoyed this overall story line this simply wasn't the book for me. The whole concept of "just looking up" and realizing what is important is wonderful. Especially now with all of the crazy things that have our constant attention, look up from your phone, pay attention to someone, acknowledge your surrounds, etc. So I loved that part of the story! I had a difficult time connecting with Lane and really struggled with being captivated by the entire plot. The first part of the book had me hooked and then it just got a bit slow for me. That being said, I am curious to read other books by Courtney so I need to check those out. 
Three and a half stars. 

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Little French Bistro Review


 About the Book

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop, an extraordinary novel about self-discovery and new beginnings.

Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage. After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as the end of the world.

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

With all the buoyant charm that made The Little Paris Bookshop a beloved bestseller, The Little French Bistro is a tale of second chances and a delightful embrace of the joys of life in France. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. This story certainly isn't for everyone but I liked it. I liked how Marianne grows and changes throughout the book even in her sixties! I think the author did a great job at portraying a woman who hasn't been treated right the majority of her life. It is sad because this life of an awful marriage is common. The start of the book shows the reader a woman in complete desperation and sorrow. The end of the book sheds light into what life could be to those who take charge of their life and realize they can make their own choices. 
Some parts of the book seemed a bit rushed or random and some of the scenes I didn't enjoy. Otherwise I enjoyed this overall journey. 

Three and a half stars. 

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Captain's Daughter Review


Be transported to 1880s London and meet a talented musician and singer in the new Victorian romance novel from Jennifer Delamere, The Captain’s Daughter. When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. Meanwhile London holds bitter memories for Nate Moran that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.
Enter to win a copy of The Captain’s Daughter. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced July 10th on the Litfuse blog!

{More about The Captain’s Daughter}

The Captain’s Daughter (Bethany House, June 2017)
Warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.
A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.
Learn more and purchase a copy.
Jennifer Delamere

{More About Jennifer Delamere}

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, “An Heiress at Heart,” was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, “A Lady Most Lovely,” received a starred review from “Publishers Weekly” and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.
Find out more about Jennifer at
 My Thoughts

I am loving the cover on this book! Also, the setting is so fun, I love London. As for the story line I had a difficult time fully getting into it. It was slow going for me and while I liked Nate, Rosalyn just didn't click with me. I enjoyed the history and many of the secondary characters but overall this was a slow one for me. I see others giving it rave reviews so it is all a preference thing. 

Three stars. 

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


Friday, June 16, 2017

Jane of Austin Review


About the Book

“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”―Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away. (Goodreads)

 My Thoughts

I was pretty excited to get this book in the mail. The cover is stunning and the whole idea of a modern day Sense and Sensibility is simply fun. The first part of the book had my complete attention and I couldn't put it down. I love the Woodward sisters and the family dynamic they create. Celia is probably my favorite sister but it's hard to say as there are fantastic secondary characters as well. LOVED learning about tea and the many recipes included are delightful. Sometimes in books you see a recipe and say "oh maybe someday I'll try it out" but these make your mouth water and I am eager to try them! The romance side of the book is why I give it four stars. It was really difficult for me to totally believe the little romance because it all happens so fast. I loved the little plot twist and the real life experiences but the love story was difficult for me to get into. Callum is a pretty wonderful character, I would say dreamy in a way. I just wish I got to know him better. 
All that said I truly enjoyed this book and for a modern day twist you will enjoy! 

Four stars.

"I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own."


Road Food Book Review


 About the Book

First published in 1977, the original Roadfood became an instant classic. James Beard said, "This is a book that you should carry with you, no matter where you are going in these United States. It's a treasure house of information."

Now this indispensable guide is back, in an even bigger and better edition, covering 500 of the country's best local eateries from Maine to California. With more than 250 completely new listings and thorough updates of old favorites, the new Roadfood offers an extended tour of the most affordable, most enjoyable dining options along America's highways and back roads.

Filled with enticing alternatives for chain-weary-travelers, Roadfood provides descriptions of and directions to (complete with regional maps) the best lobster shacks on the East Coast; the ultimate barbecue joints down South; the most indulgent steak houses in the Midwest; and dozens of top-notch diners, hotdog stands, ice-cream parlors, and uniquely regional finds in between. Each entry delves into the folkways of a restaurant's locale as well as the dining experience itself, and each is written in the Sterns' entertaining and colorful style. A cornucopia for road warriors and armchair epicures alike, Roadfood is a road map to some of the tastiest treasures in the United States. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This is a handy book to have if you enjoy traveling. I love going to new places and this book multiple places listed for each state. I didn't see anything in the book as a place I had been before so I need to find these places, even if just in my own state. 
I think adding some pictures would make this book a bit better and more visual but otherwise it is easy to read and follow.

Five stars. 

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


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race Review


 About the Book
Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle--in bloomers!

It's 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she's drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.

Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.

Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride "the wheel?" Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the "new women" emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter? Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the overall idea for this book. I liked all of the history and how it showed how so many things were changing during this time. It is difficult for us to understand life so many years ago but I think the author made it intriguing. That being said this was extremely difficult for me to get into. The characters didn't click with me and the dialogue seemed forced at times. I know others have loved this book it just simply wasn't for me.

Three stars.

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

Take a ride through 1895 Chattanooga as it's turned upside down when a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle–in bloomers—in Mike H. Mizrahi's new book, The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race! Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit to Brooklyn, she’s drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.

Celebrate the release of Mike's new book by entering to win his $75 Amazon gift card giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
Enter today by clicking the banner below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on June 14. The winner will be announced June 15 on Mike's blog.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We Stood Upon the Stars Review


 About the Book

Get Lost. . . and Find What Really Matters
We are made for freedom and adventure, friendship and romance. Yet too much of life is spent unfulfilled at work, restless at home, and bored at church. All the while knowing there is something more. You'll find some of life's best moments waiting for you over a campfire, on a river--even in that coffee shop or brewery you didn't know you'd discover along the way. It's time to begin the search.
In the literary spirit of well-worn tales about America's open road, this poetic, honest, often hilarious collection of essays shows how to embark on adventures that kindle spiritual reflection, personal growth, and deeper family connections.
From surfing California's coastlines, stargazing southwestern deserts, and fly-fishing in remote mountains of Montana, you'll be inspired to follow the author's footsteps and use the hand-drawn maps from each chapter to plan your own trips. There you will hear God's voice - and it may help you find what you're searching for.

-We search mountaintops and valleys, deserts and oceans, hoping sunrises and long views through the canyons will help us discover who we are, or who we still want to be. The language of our hearts reflects that of creation because in both are fingerprints of God.-
--Roger W. Thompson (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I LOVE to travel and so many of the things in this book are just how I think. It is so amazing to experience new places and adventures. I love all of the maps and how the book is set up to be read. I think the author did a great job in telling short stories about different places and his experience. I love that he is teaching his kids to love to travel and experience new things. At times the book did get a bit slow but otherwise I really enjoyed this book. 
Four stars. 

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own."

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sweetbriar Cottage Review


 About the Book

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Isn't the cover lovely?! I think this is one of the prettiest covers I have seen this year. 
I have so many mixed feelings about this book. Finishing the last chapter left me unsettled and slightly depressed. This book has a lot packed into a short time.I felt like this story could have been better explained with a few more chapters. It felt rushed, even with the different story lines. As a reader I felt like I didn't get to know the characters as much as I would have liked to, especially Noah. Honestly, I would have loved to read more about the characters themselves instead of long kissing scenes and how great their chemistry was. I also was bummed by how much focus was on the appearance of Josephine and her figure. Granted some of it was necessary for the story line but it was repetitive. I want to know her heart not how her shirt stretches across her chest. Don't get me wrong I like romance, and I understand the difference seeing as these two were married but at times I just wanted more depth. I love the back story and I love that Denise wrote a book full of so many issues that are relevant to many people. I love that she took a "divorced" couple from despair to somewhat less broken. So all of that being said I still have mixed feelings.
I will say that for a Christian book, there were a few edgy scenes throughout the book that took me by surprise. Nothing completely graphic but the imagination goes a long ways.

I give it four stars.

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

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Road to Paradise Thoughts


About the Book

In 1927, Margie Lane, an avid naturalist, convinces her Senator father to procure her a position at the fledgling Mount Rainier National Park. Since Ranger Ford Brannon lost his father in a climbing accident, he doubts his ability to protect the park and its many visitors. He certainly doesn't relish the job of watching over an idealistic and privileged young woman with no practical survival skills.
When Margie's former fiance sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, Margie and Ford will have to work together to preserve the beauty and simplicity of this mountain hideaway, but the developer's plans might put more than just the park in danger." (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I want to visit Paradise! I LOVE this cover and the setting is perfect. I grew up in the mountains so this book took me home. I think the overall story line was alright, a bit predictable at times. I struggled with loving the characters, though I did enjoy Margie. The first part of the book had me totally engrossed, but I'll be honest in saying it got a tad slow for me later on. That being said, I still thought it to be a good book and one that made me smile. I am curious to see what other books Karen will come out with that pertain to the national parks-I'm a fan! There are also some great quotes throughout the book that I really enjoyed. 
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
John Muir
If you are looking for something new set in the mountains you will enjoy this! 

Four stars. 

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