Monday, May 27, 2024

Between the Sound and Sea Review


About the Book

Every family has its secrets. Josephina Harris wouldn't mind if her family still had a few of their own after a lawsuit tarnishes their name. When an opportunity opens to become a temporary keeper of a decommissioned lighthouse on a North Carolina island, she jumps at the chance to escape her small town to oversee its restoration.

As the work begins, "Joey" discovers strange notes tucked deep in the crevices of the old stone walls--pages torn from a lighthouse keeper's log signed by someone named Mae who recounts harrowing rescues at sea. Fascinated by a woman lighthouse keeper, Joey digs into the past only to discover there's never been a record of a lighthouse keeper by that name.

When things start to go amiss on the island, locals are convinced that it is the ghost of the lighthouse keeper and his daughter who were lost at sea during World War II. As Joey sifts through decades of rumors and legends and puts together the pieces of the past, what emerges is a love story--one that's not over yet.

Multiple Christy Award winner Amanda Cox is your guide upon the raging seas of young love, heartbreaking loss, and learning to risk it all for a chance at happiness in this timeless novel. (Goodreads)

 

BUY HERE

 

 

My Thoughts

This is a great read! The setting takes you right to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and on a journey you really don't expect. The characters in this book are wonderful and Wally, who is the older gentleman in this book, is one of my favorites! There are some flashbacks to a previous time period but not enough to make it a dual time novel. Finn is also a great character because he reminded me a bit of myself and wanting to control everything. There is a lot of growth that happens throughout the pages and that makes this book special in a typical Amanda Cox way. Her writing is unique and fresh and gives a new perspective. I loved the lighthouse and I think they are so neat. There is a little bit of WWII history added in the mix and also a smidgen of romance but in a quite soft way that ties threads together. 

This is an enjoyable read that takes you somewhere special for just a little while. 

 

Five Stars. 

 

"I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Road Before Us Review




About the Book


 How far would you go to fix the mistakes you've made and regain the trust you lost? For Jade Jessup, the answer is 2,448 miles. Once one of Chicago's significant financial advisors, Jade lost her credibility when her fiancĂ© (and coworker) stole millions of dollars from their clients in a Ponzi scheme. Now she's agreed to help one of them--an aging 1960s Hollywood starlet named Berenice "Benny" Alderidge--seek financial restoration.


Jade sets off along Route 66 with Benny and her handsome adult foster son, Bridger, who is filming a documentary retracing the 1956 trip that started the love story between Benny and her recently deceased husband, Paul. Listening to Benny recount her story draws Jade into memories of her own darker association with Route 66, when she was kidnapped as a child by a man the media labeled a monster--but she remembers only as daddy.

Together, all three of these pilgrims will learn about family, forgiveness, and what it means to live free of the past. But not before Jade faces a second staggering betrayal that changes everything. (Goodreads)








My Thoughts

I really enjoy this author's writing so I was excited to read this story. This is the perfect summertime read! I am ready for a road trip and itching to travel after finishing the last page. The characters are well developed and truly delightful. Jade, Benny, and Bridger are a very colorful cast and each very different from the other. There is a lot of growth especially by Jade and so many heartfelt chapters. Bridger keeps things lively and his story is special in itself. The journey is an absolute joy and you really get the feel of not only Route 66 in present day but also flashbacks to the past when Benny was young and traveled it for the first time. There is some romance but it isn't the main point of the story and I thought it was written in a way that didn't overshadow the other parts of the book. 
If you are wanting to go on a virtual road trip this is the book for you! It is full of heart and fun and holds some great life lessons especially on forgiveness. 

Four Stars. 

"I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."














Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Highcliffe House Review

 
 
 

 
About the Book
 
Love ignites when two rivals vie to secure a possible fortune at the seaside town of Brighton.


Brighton, England, 1813


When a romantic entanglement leaves her humiliated and reeling, Anna Lane wants nothing more than for her father to whisk her away from the gossip of the ton. Unfortunately, he has obligations elsewhere, leaving her stuck in London.


Graham Everett’s financial security depends on an investment with Mr. Lane, his long-time friend and business partner. He’ll do just about anything to secure it for his family, even if it means fighting spoiled, embittered Anna for her father’s attention.


Luckily, Mr. Lane concocts a plan that will give everyone what they wat, with one stipulation: Anna must accompany Graham to Brighton in her father’s stead and make a decision to invest—or not—based on a thorough report.


But it will take more than a day at the beach for these two headstrong hearts to admit that they’ve been wrong about each other. If they are willing to invest a little time working out their differences, they might have a chance at real love. (Goodreads)


BUY HERE


My Thoughts

I have loved this author's other novels so I was so excited to dive into this new story. There are a lot of things about this book that I really enjoyed. It is very much a enemies to more plot line and romance trope. The enemies part was the real deal in this one, the two main people really treat each other terribly for the majority of the book. I love Graham's character because it has layers and he is just a good hero. I struggled with Anna the entire book. I never really came around to liking her character and that made this a four star read for me. Her personality pretty much grated on my nerves the entire time and while things do get a little better in the second half of the book I still just couldn't click with her character. Because of that it made the romance side of things a bit stale. I did enjoy the setting and there is a good bit of humor that was fun. This is an enjoyable read it just isn't my favorite by this author. I think many will enjoy it though! 


Four Stars. 


"I received this book from Shadow Mountain Publishers for free. All opinions are my own and I was not expected to write a positive review."












 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

The Lady Glass Review

 


 

About the Book

 Nothing shapes glass like fire.

Theresia Dvorak has nothing left of her parents—nothing save her dowry, a priceless crystal vase stolen and sold by her own stepmother. Theresia will do anything to secure what is rightfully hers—even assume a false identity and steal her future back. When she gains entrance to a house party and has a memorable run-in with the handsome naval captain Rolland Reese, her mission is compromised. She swore never to trust an Englishman again, but when he makes a daring proposal she cannot refuse, she must work side by side with him if either of them is to achieve their aim.

Rolland is stunned when his homecoming from the war takes a decidedly deadly turn. The quickest solution is to throw a house party and invite all the suspects. With the stakes incredibly high, Rolland must root out the killer before they turn their sights to the next potential victim: his own father. The mysterious Theresia is undoubtedly the most suspicious of his guests, but against all odds, he finds himself risking everything to protect her. As Rolland unravels a tangle of clues, he faces the greatest threats of all: a heart of fire and a future as fragile as glass. (Goodreads)


Pre-Order HERE



My Thoughts

I have enjoyed the other fairy tale re-imaginings by this author so I was pretty excited to find out she wrote this new book! The first few chapters are really fun and I love how the two main characters meet and interact. It is fun (granted a little over the top) but a great way to start this novel. By the middle of the book I was just really puzzled on Theresia's "why" and her motivation to obtain an object that is the central plot point of this book. It seemed a bit strange and while I admire her stubborn side I really struggled being fully captivated and caught up in the story. There is a mysterious side to things and that helps moves things along but for me this was a little bit of a slower read. There is some humor and I think the author wrote those scenes perfectly. The romance is sweet and a slower build up to the ending which I did actually appreciate. Overall this is a decent read it just isn't my favorite by this author. 


Three stars. 


"I received this book from NetGalley for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







An Ocean of Courage and Fear Review

 


 
 
About the Book
 
 
Based on survivor accounts, this gripping novel opens days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and details three years of sea battles that spanned between Hawaii and the shores of Okinawa with the crew of one of the most decorated ships of the Pacific War.


Onboard the heavy cruiser USS Salt Lake City, Lieutenant Commander Justin Collier is out to sea when Japan attacks the United States. Upon his return to Honolulu, the gravity of the war begins to change him, as does every subsequent mission, including a rare beach landing with an Army infantry division. He fears his wounds of war, both physical and mental, will be incurable.


Meanwhile, on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, volunteer nurse Heidi Collier feels overwhelmed by the number of casualties. She watched the bombing as she huddled with her two children in front of their home, hoping that her husband aboard the USS Salt Lake City was safe.


Lieutenant Riley Bracken feels the sudden g-force of his catapult-launched observation floatplane with each harrowing mission. Alerting the USS Salt Lake City of enemy ships gives him purpose, which is why no one can know about his recent bouts of vertigo. He can’t risk losing what he loves most.


Fifteen-year-old Al Jowdy lied about his age in order to join the Navy. Whatever he believed Navy life would be was shot out of the water—twice—when his ships were torpedoed. Now aboard the Salt Lake City, he hopes his luck hasn’t run out.


An Ocean of Courage and Fear reveals the harrowing, true, never-before-told events that surrounded the crew of the USS Salt Lake City as they endured all the major action in the Pacific War. (Goodreads)


BUY HERE


My Thoughts

 

This book gives an excellent account of the history of the USS Salt Lake City. There is a bit of back and forth throughout the book jumping from one perspective to another. I did like that each chapter or section lists the location and/or time so that the reader can better follow where the author is taking the story. I felt like this book read a lot like a young adult novel. It seemed to be simplified writing and also a lot more of a telling then really getting to know the main characters. I found the history to be very interesting and I like how the ending tied everything together. There are some excellent chapter notes in the back of the book that you have to read. Those that love history I think will really enjoy this book. If you are interested in the USS Salt Lake City specifically you need to pick up this book!


Four Stars. 


"I received this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."





Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Unsung Hero Movie Review & Giveaway

 




About the Film

When David Smallbone's successful music company collapses, he moves his family from Australia to the United States in search of a brighter future. With nothing more than their six children, their suitcases, and their love of music, David (for KING + COUNTRY's Joel Smallbone) and his pregnant wife Helen (Daisy Betts) set out to rebuild their lives from the ground up. Based on a remarkable true story, a mum's faith stands against all odds; and inspires her husband and children to hold onto theirs.








 Buy tickets today to see Unsung Hero in theaters starting April 26th!


LEARN MORE


My Thoughts

I have been eagerly anticipating this movie ever since I heard it was being created. I have been a longtime fan of Rebecca St. James and For King + Country and I love to see true life stories in film. This movie does not disappoint. It takes you right into the hard season of life for the Smallbone family. It is relatable and so well acted and portrayed. There are so many scenes that I just loved and a few that really will touch your heart. The thing I think I loved the most about this movie is that there are so many layers. You have Helen who is the mom and she truly is a hero. You then see David's growth over the course of the film and how he deals with his pride and how he humbles himself. The forgiveness with family and the example it shows is so beautiful and evident of how it can be life changing! The family as a whole really stepped up together and it is fun to see how Rebecca's music journey started. Even if you aren't a fan or haven't heard of them, this is a GREAT movie and I highly recommend! 

FIVE STARS!


GIVEAWAY

$10 Amazon gift card!!! 

US Entries only. 




Many thanks to Kingdom Faith Marketing Services, LLC for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.

 #UnsungHeroMIN #UnsungHeroMovie #MomentumInfluencerNetwork





These Tangled Threads Review

  

 


 About the Book

Seven years ago, a hidden betrayal scattered three young friends living in the shadow of Biltmore Estate. Now, when Biltmore Industries master weaver Lorna Blankenship is commissioned to create an original design for Cornelia Vanderbilt's 1924 wedding, she panics knowing she doesn't have the creativity needed. But there's an elusive artisan in the Blue Ridge Mountains who could save her--if only she can find her.

To track the mysterious weaver down, Lorna sees no other way but to seek out the relationships she abandoned in shame. As she pulls at each tangled thread from her old life, Lorna is forced to confront the wounds and regrets of long ago. She'll have to risk the job that shapes her identity as well as the hope of friendship--and love--restored.

In this seamlessly woven historical tale, award-winning Appalachian author Sarah Loudin Thomas delivers a poignant novel of friendship, artistry, restoration, and second chances. (Goodreads)


BUY HERE


My Thoughts


I really love the history of Appalachia and especially the surrounding area of Asheville, NC. I was intrigued by this novel because of the history and also the ties to Biltmore. Now this book doesn't spend a lot of time at Biltmore but it really ties in the culture and history of Biltmore Industries and the local people. There is a bit of back and forth on the story line that at times required extra attention so that I didn't get lost while reading. There are some really strong characters in the book but I can't say that I loved Lorna's character. I think I was drawn more to the people on the side and that is really what made this book worth reading to the end. For me it was a pretty slow read but the last few chapters were good and wrapped things up nicely. While this is a slower read it is still enjoyable, it just isn't my favorite by this author. If you enjoy historical fiction you might want to pick this one up! 


Three Stars. 

"I received this book from Bethany House for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."






Thursday, April 11, 2024

When the Flames Ravaged Review & Giveaway


 

About the Book

Book: When the Flames Ravaged

Author: Rhonda Dragomir

Genre: Christian / Historical / Romance

Release Date: March, 2024

 

Will Faith Perish in the Big Top’s Flames?

Introducing a new series of 6 exciting novels featuring historic disasters that transformed landscapes and multiple lives. Whether by nature or by man, these disasters changed history and were a day to be remembered.

Evelyn Benson’s husband perished in the Bataan Death March but not her faith. The World War II Gold Star widow is taken in by her brother and soothed by the love of his wife and children. Evelyn refuses to cower to grief. She may not understand God’s mysterious ways, but she has never questioned Him—until the circus fire.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus train chugs into Hartford, Connecticut, on a sweltering day one month after the Allies invaded Normandy. Among the roustabouts is a reluctant clown, Hank Webb. He may hide from his murky past behind grease paint as Fraidy Freddie, but God wants to offer Hank a chance to be found. Though first, what little Hank believes about God will endure a fiery trial.

On Thursday, July 6, 1944, a devasting blaze of unknown origins consumes the circus tent along with Evelyn’s hopes and Hank’s anonymity.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

Rhonda Dragomir is a multimedia creative who treasures her fairy tale life in Central Kentucky, insisting her home is her castle even if her prince refuses to dig a moat. She has multiple published works in anthologies and periodicals, along with numerous Bible studies studied weekly by more than 10,000 women around the world. Rhonda has garnered numerous writing awards for both fiction and nonfiction, including her selection as 2019 Writer of the Year by Serious Writer, Inc. In 2020 she was also a finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest for her first novel, a 16th century historical romance.

 

 

More from Rhonda

The heroine’s last living family members are struck down in a tragic fire. Will she crumble? Will she tumble into bitterness? Will she forsake her faith? We view life through her eyes and wonder, “What would I do?”

The best fiction sails the vast sea of human experiences and explores how we survive when storms roil the waters. Triumph, tragedy, victories, valleys—though we have not lived through the exact events as the characters, we feel the same elation on the crests and despair in the troughs of the waves.

This is why I love to write historical fiction, especially romance. I interweave my own thoughts and feelings with those of my characters. My words become theirs, and their responses mirror my own as I fight to keep my head above water.

I spent dozens of hours researching When the Flames Ravaged, the story of a horrific circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut on July 6, 1944. I gasped, I wept, and I marveled at the courage of rescuers who sacrificed their own lives to save others. True, live-or-die battles fueled my imagination, and composite characters leaped to life.

At one point, my hero dives into dark water, grasping with frail human understanding to comprehend the scope of the disaster. He decides good and evil are locked in an everlasting struggle, and humans are mere pawns stuck in the middle. Then he asks, “What is the use of serving God if He won’t protect you?”

Who has never asked the same thing when tragedy strikes? Pat answers and platitudes won’t suffice. Only a personal quest to discover an acceptable answer to this age-old question will help us find peace in the midst of the churning sea of doubt.

I hope my novel will toss a live preserver to everyone treading water.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 30

Pause for Tales, March 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 2

Texas Book-aholic, April 3

Simple Harvest Reads, April 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 4

Betti Mace, April 5

For HIm and My Family, April 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 6

Blossoms and Blessings, April 7

The Lofty Pages, April 7

Connie’s History Clasroom, April 8

Labor Not in Vain, April 9

Holly’s Book Corner, April 9

Cover Lover Book Review, April 10

Inkwell Inspirations, April 10

To Everything There Is A Season , April 11

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 12 (Author Interview)

Life on Chickadee Lane, April 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rhonda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card & a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

GIVEAWAY

 

 My Thoughts

This series of books is bringing to light little known tragedies from history. This book is all about the terrible fire that happened in Hartford, CT during the The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I had no idea that this ever happened so the history and facts surrounding this had me totally invested. The people in the book are created after some real people who were there so it is worth reading the details in the back of the book. Most of the pages are just really heart wrenching. You get to see life before, during, and after the fire and chaos that destroyed so many people's lives. Hank has the best plot line and character development and I really enjoyed his side of the story. He is a little rough around the edges but there is a great redemption theme. 

Overall I thought the author did a fantastic job bringing this historical event to life. 

Four stars. 


"I received this book from Celebrate Lit for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."



Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple

 
 

 About the Book

Peter Driscoll, an underground investigator to the wealthy, has never met anyone like Lily Temple. The beautiful silent-film actress spins fairy tales and plays frivolous roles in front of the cine-camera, but beneath the costumes and stage makeup is a woman with a quick wit--and a murky past.

Peter has been tasked with locating the legendary Briarwood Teardrop, an exquisite sapphire, which Lily wears beneath her gown. In order to stay close to her and hopefully unravel the mystery of her story--and the sapphire--Peter employs Lily's help on a case, which leads to a useful partnership. But as they are investigating together, Peter is also investigating Lily. The closer he gets to the truth, the more danger they face. And the closer he gets to Lily, the clearer it is that he needs her even more than she needs him.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano whisks you away to Edwardian England in 1903 for a whimsical and layered tale that treads the crooked line between real and make-believe. (Goodreads)





My Thoughts

This story takes you on an adventure that you really don't see coming. The plot is wildly unique and different not only from this author's other novels but this genre in Christian fiction. I have mixed feelings after finishing the last page and I sat with my thoughts for awhile. There are so many layers to the characters and the overall plot that it could be worth reading twice to fully grasp it all. Both Lily and Peter go through a lot of character growth and the author did a great job in developing their personalities. Lily is one heck of a unique heroine that keeps the reader on their toes. The overall plot was okay. It got a little slow for me in the middle but the last few chapters really brought everything together. There is mystery and stories upon stories within a story. There is romance and redemption. My favorite part of this plot is the faith story line. I think it really showed how even when we think we can handle it all and when we think we are in control we will soon discover that simply is not the case. God has a plan much more extraordinary than we can imagine. 
 

Four Stars.

"I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."




The Orchids of Ashthorne Hall Review



 
About the Book

 A ghostly estate. A handsome caretaker hiding a secret. And the intrepid Hyacinth Bell who is set on solving the mystery of both.

1887, the Cornwall coast

For years, rumors have flown through the village of Suttonsbury about Ashthorne Hall—that its occupants hoard pirate treasure, that a ghost walks its halls—but botanist Hyacinth Bell only cares about the estate’s extensive, one-of-a-kind orchid collection. As an independent woman, she is eager to focus on her career, even if it means waiting to pursue a romantic relationship. After all, love—like an orchid—must be nurtured and tended before it can bloom.

What she doesn’t expect is to be swept away by Lucas Harding, the manor’s caretaker, upon their first meeting. He is handsome and charming, and the connection between the two is nearly instantaneous. Hyacinth is certain this autumn will be the season that everything good in her life takes root.

But then strange things start happening in the seemingly empty halls of the estate: unexplainable noises, items appearing then disappearing from her room, threatening messages, and glimpses of a woman in white who vanishes into the dark. Lucas dismisses Hyacinth’s worries, insisting that there is no ghost at Ashthorne Hall, but she suspects he is withholding information and decides to investigate the mystery herself.

Armed with little more than her instincts and her courage, Hyacinth must venture deep into the shadows of Ashthorne Hall to uncover the truth Lucas is keeping secret before she herself falls victim to the dangers hidden in the estate. (Goodreads)


BUY HERE


My Thoughts

I was not expecting this book to be a gothic romance and I was THRILLED when I realized that the author really went for an eerie mystery. I love the cover of this book as it is perfect for the plot that it holds. Hyacinth is a quirky fun character that is not your typical heroine. She is all about her plants and taking care of orchids and her overall personality is like a breath of fresh air. Lucas is an okay hero but overall Hyacinth really made this story shine. I don't really care for the romance trope of "love at first sight" so I will say that I enjoyed this book much more for the gothic mystery than the romance side of things. Hyacinth starts working at this big estate and there are noises and strange gifts and a possible ghost. Spooky late night investigations and a decent mystery keep you flipping the pages eagerly. I enjoyed this book and the conclusion came together nicely and in a way that wasn't entirely predictable. 


Four Stars. 


"I received this book from Shadow Mountain Publishers for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."












Sunday, March 31, 2024

Someone Like You- Movie Review & Signed Book Giveaway!



About the Movie

 Based on the popular novel by #1 NY Times Bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, Someone Like You is an achingly beautiful redemptive love story. Shocking news hits after young architect Dawson Gage loses his best friend, London Quinn. Now in his heartbreak, Dawson is compelled to launch an impossible search for London’s secret twin sister, twins separated as embryos. But along the way, Dawson never planned to fall in love.

 

Buy tickets today to see Someone Like You in theaters starting April 2!



Giveaway!

1 signed copy of the book, Someone Like You

US Entries only!

ENTER HERE!!



Oh my goodness this movie is a heart wrenching tear jerker. I have not read this book though I have read many books by Kingsbury. This is such a well acted and beautifully shot film. Karen Kingsbury has such a way with words and it is evident in the script of this movie. There are certain lines that are heartfelt and real and that comes from a great story teller. This story doesn't shy away from the hard and honestly controversial topics in our society especially in regards to IVF. My only negative is that some parts of the film seem a tad slow in getting to the next scene or moving the story along at times. 

I also think that this is just an example of a possible outcome of a life of adoption via IVF. As with any type of adoption it isn't necessarily all happy and joy and found family when a person does discover their biological family. We want to think so and it is possible but often times that isn't the case. BUT these things can happen and God is working in so many ways we can't comprehend His plan. This film is a great example of that! 

Regardless this is a great movie that holds a lot of emotion. There is joy and there is some romance but mostly it's about dealing with the hard in life and Who to look to at all times. 

I recommend! 


*this film does deal with grief, death, infertility, IVF, and adoption. 

#SomeoneLikeYouMIN #someonelikeyoumovie, @karenkingsbury, @someonelikeyoumovie

Many thanks to Karen Kingsbury Productions for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.