Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Under the Bayou Moon






 About the Book

 Restless with the familiarity of her Alabama home, Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country. Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their culture, most of the people in tiny Bernadette, Louisiana, come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher as a boon to the town. She's soon teaching just about everyone--and coming up against opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives.

Acclimating to a whole new world, Ellie meets a lonely but intriguing Cajun fisherman named Raphe who introduces her to the legendary white alligator that haunts these waters. Raphe and Ellie have barely found their way to each other when a huge bounty is offered for the elusive gator, bringing about a shocking turn of events that will test their love and their will to right a terrible wrong.

A master of the Southern novel, Valerie Fraser Luesse invites you to enter the sultry swamps of Louisiana in a story that illuminates the struggle for the heart and soul of the bayou. (Goodreads)


My Thoughts


This is the first book by Valerie Fraser Luesse that I have read and I don't plan on it being the last. I was completely captivated by this story. I loved the setting as it is an area in Louisiana I was able to visit this year. I wish more novels were set in the bayou because I find it to be a unique way of life. The characters in this novel were just wonderful. Very different, fun, and real. There is a lot of pain but also so much humor you can't help but laugh at times. A lot seems to happen in a short span of time but in reality for the time period in which this book is set I found it to be believable. The friendships in this book really stood out to me and I so enjoyed having that be a main thread instead of a dramatic love story. Don't get me wrong there is a sweet love story here too, a couple in fact. But I love it when secondary characters leave their mark on the story in a lasting way. 

The ending was terrific and I am eager to get my hands on more books by this author. 


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." 






Monday, August 23, 2021

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque



 About the Book

 As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he's a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king's regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter--the sole proof his actions were legal--has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady's distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he'd imagined. (Goodreads)


My Thoughts

 I haven't read a book by Johnson in a long time and this one looked intriguing because of it being historical fiction. The historical aspect of this story was fascinating. I had never heard of a Letter of Marque before and that is what this book's mystery is all about. I had to look into the historical facts after reading this because I found it so interesting.There is a mystery that weaves throughout the book and that is what kept me going until the end. I didn't end up loving the characters and I felt like there was a lot of jumping around which made parts confusing to me. I loved the setting and the overall plot was okay but I had a hard time really enjoying this book. I know many others have enjoyed this book to the fullest but it simply was not for me. 

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."







Saturday, August 21, 2021

Cinders Like Glass

About the Book
Grieving her father's sudden death, Lady Ada Whitworth's childhood stutter resurfaces. She seeks solace in her charcoal sketches secretly published in London's Thames & Times newspaper. Her brother's sharp tongue and quick temper shame Lady Ada into complete silence but not before she overhears his traitorous plot to kill the queen at the upcoming International Ball.

Mute and heartbroken, Lady Ada's private pain is mistaken for arrogance, earning the ire of society.The Duke of Girard is tasked with sniffing out the elusive French spy called Tailor while an anonymous artist pokes fun at the duke's failed pursuit, taunting him every step of the way. With the upcoming International Ball just weeks away, the Duke will stop at nothing to bring stability back to his beloved Britain-including finding the artist behind the sketches.

When Lady Ada's accused brother disappears, she becomes the target of the Duke's wrath, assuming her silence is from guilt, not grief. To loosen her tongue, the Duke demands Lady Ada be interrogated at his estate, a home hidden in the wild Welsh countryside. She sweeps the chimney, launders her clothes and helps the cook-she will do anything but speak to the Duke.

Lady Ada's quiet service softens the Duke, his mind often turning to thoughts of her. But can he earn Lady Ada's trust in time to save the queen? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

After reading Clarissa Kae’s first Victorian Retelling on Beauty and the Beast I was eager to read this second book that is a spin on Cinderella.

The first few chapters had me fully engaged and while there is a lot going on from page to page you are left with some mystery. I liked Ada’s character a lot and the cruel brother made a fantastic twist.

Midway through the book I wasn’t quite as invested as the story seemed to slow down a bit but I still enjoyed this retelling through the last chapter.

There are some unexpected characters and plot points that I thought made this a very unique story. Cinderella has never been a favorite of mine so I was happy to have it re-told in this way.

The Duke wasn’t my favorite character and I think that is why part of this story got a little slow for me.

All that to say I really did enjoy this book and the setting. The author has done a great job at making these stories fun and distinctive.

I look forward to the next book that comes out and I recommend reading this new series!


Four Stars.


“ I received this book for free from the author. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.”


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Bit of Summer at Glacier National Park



Bright and early we drove through Glacier National Park. It was pretty hazy through parts of it because of the fires but still beautiful.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Nature of Small Birds





 About the Book

 In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adoptive family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival into their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he'll lose the daughter he's poured his heart into. Mindy's mother undergoes the emotional roller coaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy's sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family--but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code. (Goodreads)



My Thoughts

 This book has a lot going on but I was excited to read about a fictional account of something historical that I knew nothing about. It really is fascinating how something that happened in 1975 (not so long ago really) is not something of common knowledge. Children being airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted is so interesting and I would love to read more of the real life stories on this. But Finkbeiner does a good job at taking this part in history and weaving it into the lives of multiple fictional characters. I enjoyed reading Sonny's point of view the most as this book does a lot of jumping around. At times I had a hard time remembering whose point of view I was reading from and what time period. It got a little tricky but it was still interesting to view life from different perspectives.  

I felt like this book was a bit slow for me. I wasn't fully invested in each character but I wanted to know what happened next. It is a decent read but not my favorite of Finkbeiner's. 

Three Stars. 

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








Friday, August 13, 2021

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery





 About the Book

 Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons--but she'll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she's pregnant with her deceased fiancé's baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth. (Goodreads)


 My Thoughts

After reading Amanda’s debut novel last year I knew this story would be something special. She is fantastic at creating unique characters with authentic life scenarios.

This book is wonderful. It is dual time line (my favorite) and both story lines held me captive until the end. I really loved ALL of the characters. Usually one part of dual time line novels I like more than the other but with this book I loved it all. There are some really hard issues brought up and secrets within family that last decades. There is a great message about forgiveness, honesty, and family bonds.  Also there is lot of grief that I found to be fairly well heart wrenching. This isn’t a fluffy read by any means so be prepared to experience all the joy, sadness, and hope.

I can’t wait to read what Amanda Cox creates next!


Five Stars.


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


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

When We Last Spoke Movie Review & Giveaway!




About the Movie

In 1967, two sisters, Juliet (Darby Camp) and Evangeline (Chandler Head) are abandoned and raised by grandparents Walt (Corbin Bernsen) and Ruby (Melissa Gilbert) in the town of Fireside. Walt's eccentric mother Itasca (Cloris Leachman), adds laughter and tears. Humor, heartbreak and triumph are served with whipped cream and lots of local nuts in this tale of family, friendship and forgiveness.



• When We Last Spoke is an award-winning, heartwarming story of faith, family, and
forgiveness, based on a book by Marci Henna

Watch the film on Amazon Prime

  • When We Last Spoke recently won Best Picture, Best Narrative, Best Supporting Actor, and

more at the Crown Awards at the National Religious Broadcasters 2021 Christian Media




Giveaway= One digital code of WHEN WE LAST SPOKE

Enter via Rafflecopter below!


Note: This giveaway is limited to US residents only.

Don’t miss this heartwarming story of faith, family, and forgiveness! Watch it on Amazon
Prime or visit our website to find all the ways to view this powerful movie with the whole


 My Thoughts

What a joy to see Melissa Gilbert in a film. This is a slow moving story line for a movie but the acting is decent and there are some heartfelt scenes. This story covers a lot from war to death to dancing and joy. I really enjoyed the quirky characters of small town America and to see two young girls grow up together amidst hardship. This is a family film but there are scenes of war (nothing too gory) and also a scene of a person who has just passed away so just view with caution if watching with kiddos. There is a unique love story between an older couple that I thought was unique and added a lot to the film. 

Overall this a decent movie. It isn't one I would watch over and over but still better than a lot of movies coming out these days. 

Four Stars. 

#WhenWeLastSpokeMIN #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

Many thanks to Last Spoke Partners for providing this product/product information for review. 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.