Posted in Reviews, Books, Product Revews, reading

My very first booksleeve from The Cozy Life ~ Review

DSCF1990.JPG

(So, somehow, in the pictures I took, I managed to put the cozy backwards each time, failing to showcase “The Cozy Life” fabric tag….oops! I’m still learning on picture-taking. ;))

 

My Book Cozy! My first from The Cozy Life. I have seen the cozies from this etsy shop all over, was very familiar with the name, and drooled over the cozies in the shop frequently.

And then I got to receive one for the purpose of this review. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!!

The owner is so kind, and super quick in mailing the cozy out – I received it right away. And when I took it out of the package, I found it wrapped so perfectly.

 

 

 

Perfect little package tied up in string – so cute and special!

Now, for the quality…Um, it’s beautiful. Need I say more? I mean, that word encompasses the whole thing! It’s durable, and thick, and soft, and sturdy, and I adore it. I was surprised by its thickness and softness upon receiving it – it’s almost like a pillow! You can tell it is extremely well made, and I love knowing it protects my books so well. Because if you know me, you know that I do my best to keep my books in like-new condition, but I still have to have my current read accompany me wherever I go, so this book cozy is perfect for that.

It’s just the right size for my paperbacks, and they fit snugly inside.

 

 

 

 

If you couldn’t tell already, let me tell you that I am utterly thrilled with my cozy from The Cozy Life, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her shop!

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Book reviews

“Midnight Comes” by S. J. Blasko ~ Book Review

My devotional post will be up next Monday. For today, please enjoy this post about “Midnight Comes”!

 

 

Midnight Comes (Refractions: Fairytales Between the Lines, #1)

 

“Midnight Comes” by S.J. Blasko

Refractions: Fairytales Between the Lines, #1

review copy from the author

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

Once upon a time…
There was a sorceress, who cursed a prince to become as beastly as his pride
There was a daughter, who watched from her window and ached to see the world
There was a mermaid, who traded her voice in the hope of a soul
There was a stepmother, who saw beauty only in others, never in herself
And there was a boy, who forgot the warmth of love.

In five narrative poems exploring the darker, more human side of these classic fairytales, rediscover the characters as they are given a voice of their own.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is a creative collection. After reading novel after novel, I enjoyed reading this book of poem-like retellings. They are unique in the telling of familiar fairy tales.
My favourite of this collection would certainly be “Mermaid’s Soul” – it flowed beautifully, and had a bittersweet tone of reality.
I’m a lover of words and seeing them in this format makes for an enjoyable read. It was a short collection, so perfect to read in one sitting.
I look forward to Miss Blasko’s future writings. :)

 

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan

A Van Buren and Deluca Mystery

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin’s “right hand man,” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build. 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’ve got a lot of cover-love for this one. Not to mention the clever title. :)
I liked the story itself alright, but to be honest it wasn’t my most favourite.I had a bit of a hard time getting into it, and sometimes it felt choppy and jumped around a bit to where I wasn’t sure I knew what was going on and would need to read the same thing several times before I would get what was going on.
There were several things that were repeated and sometimes felt a little more like filling rather than integral to the book.
I liked Hamish quite a bit, and loved his love for The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – that was extremely endearing to me. How he carried his well-loved copy with him and knew parts of it by heart; yep, loved that! And I also appreciated his struggles with anxiety. No, I don’t like anxiety, but it is nice to see real characters with real struggles. And while I don’t suffer from panic attacks or anxiety at the severe level he does, I could understand. I applaud the author for writing this into his character and making him come to see himself as strong through it all.
I liked Reggie and enjoyed their relationship, until the latter half of the book. Reggie was very fickle in her romance and it was very aggravating. Literally, in one chapter she was kissing one of the two men she goes between, and is having a marvelous time with him, and then in the very next chapter she is said as feeling wildly attracted to the other man, trying to keep her gaze from tracing his lips. That just irked me. I understand that “the heart is deceitful, who can know it?” but it was like there was no conflict of her conscience either.
The mystery plot was pretty well done. It kept you wondering till the end. As I mentioned above, there were definitely parts where I felt lost in the explaining of it, but that might just be me.
I was also disappointed by the utter lack of faith included. It was ‘clean’, but I wouldn’t classify it as Christian.
I didn’t hate this book. I just didn’t love it like I had hoped.There were definitely aspects I enjoyed, like the time period, and the nightclub, and the dancing. And I would be curious to see how the series continues.
I think it will be one that many people love. And I wish I could’ve said the same for me. It was just a bit of a miss for me, but that doesn’t mean it will be for you. :)

 

 

 

 

DSCF2001.JPG

 

 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Posted in Book reviews, Tyndale House

“The Masterpiece” by Francine Rivers ~ Book Review

 

 

Review copy from Tyndale Publishers 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
About the Book:
New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

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

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

My Thoughts:
 
I may not have read  all of Francine River’s books, but I know that, by picking up one of hers, I will be guaranteed an excellent and deeper read.
Right from page one, I was drawn into “The Masterpiece”, and was not keen to stop when life required it. ;)
It is such a realistic read, with real struggles. The author doesn’t tip-toe around the harsher things in life. And yet she still weaves it in a tasteful way.
Both main characters, Roman and Grace, suffered pretty horrible and traumatic childhoods. And our childhood does shape us into how we deal with life as an adult. I feel that it was portrayed very well in this book. Reading about their trauma’s was heart-wrenching. I felt for these characters as if they were real people.
The message of Christ was also very realistically and beautifully shown. It was very poignant, and touching.  I also liked the morals Grace upheld, even when it was difficult. Yes, she’s made mistakes, but all Christians do.  And in everything, she still fought to keep God at the forefront.
Roman’s journey was an important one. I was so happy to see his conclusion, and the things God brought him to. Very cool.
Despite that this is a bigger book, I actually think there could have been a bit more at the end – I wasn’t quite ready for it to come to its finish. However, it was nicely done. Just wanted more, as you do with many a good book. :)
One small thing that kind of bugged me was some of the ways Grace raised her son, Samuel – she was an excellent mother, but she didn’t have a problem leaving him with people she didn’t know after moving to a new place, or letting him cry because he was apart from her, etc. I realize that these are just different parenting-things and different views, however, it is also true that leaving our children to people we do not know, could result in abuse.  That wasn’t included in this book, but it bothers me when people are casual about leaving children in unknown situations. As well as the fact that society (even churches) push parents to leave their kids with others.
Otherwise Grace was a very loving mother.
The graffiti-art aspect of this novel was terrific. I found it very fascinating, and the whole thing just worked together greatly.
I very much enjoyed this novel. :) It was a very powerful book that I look forward to reading again!
*This book is geared more for mature-readers. As I said, the author doesn’t skirt certain issues. Topics of abuse, death, sex, etc. are involved.
Posted in Books, lists, Questions/answers, reading, Uncategorized

The First Book You’ve Ever Read Challenge

Hello readers! Marrok McIntyre created a tag-like challenge about the first book you’ve ever read that also inspired you to become a writer. In his words, “I thought it would be a pretty cool idea if we writers would share what originally inspired us to pursue this path of artist expression.”

 

Quite a fun idea, so lets get started!

 

 

 

The rules are simple
  • Challenge at least 1 person
  • Share what was the first book you’ve ever read
  • Why you read it in the first place
  • How did it inspire you to become a writer

 

 

 

Okay, so the first book I ever read.

Well, this may be hard to believe, but I actually hated reading at first. I know. But I did. I resisted it for quite a while. I didn’t want to learn, I didn’t like it, and I didn’t want to. I’ve always been a little envious of others who could say they loved reading from the get-go. Especially since reading is now one of my biggest hobbies. But, alas, it was not so for me. I remember how hard my Mum tried to get me to read. My older sister was one who loved reading right away. But not me. I liked The Bob Books that helped teach us to read, but only a little. I liked them in the way that they were entertaining, but the struggle to learn the words was aggravating.
So what switched me on reading? Well, again, I wish I could say that it was some amazing book. But it was…
Image result for spongebob older books
Yep. SpongeBob. I now realize it wasn’t even the first book in the series. I just remember sitting down at my sister’s bookshelf, wondering why she liked reading so much. I picked this one out (wish I could remember my motivation for this choice particularly!) and realized, “Hm, this is actually…enjoyable. The story isn’t boring,” and that was it, so to speak. Now, I don’t think I took off reading like a mad-man at that point, but it was my start. I realized that books took you on great adventures. Even silly ones. ^.^
However, I don’t think I really began wanting to write until I read this book:
I don’t remember much about the book, other than the thought of “I want to write a story too”. So I did, and it was basically a carbon copy of this book, with different characters. XD I don’t believe I finished it either.
But once I started writing, I found that I liked. For a while most of my writing energy was poured into journals (I had discovered “Amelia’s Notebook” series, and the Dear America series coincidentally) as I processed life. Then I eventually came upon another book that boosted my desire to write, and since then I haven’t looked back. Well, I mean, I’m looking back right now, but I think you know what I mean. ;)
The book that made me want to write more was:
Image result for bella at midnight
That was at about 12/13, and I reread it several times. It’s been several years since I read it, but I hold it in fond remembrance for being the book that I loved to read the most and what made me want to write more. And as for the motivation of why it made me want to write in ernest…well, it was creative, and captivating, and I loved how it transported me to a new world, to new things. I wanted to be able to do that too.
So, there you have it! A too-long posts about books from a now-book-lover who was once a book-hater! Sometimes I forget that I didn’t always love to read and I wonder how anyone couldn’t like it, but all I have to do is remember. And know that everyone is different. My younger sister has never been a fan, and that’s okay. She’s started to enjoy it a bit more now, but as more of a side-hobby.
So I’m more understanding now that I might’ve been before.
And I do really love books now. Really, really love books. ;)
Now, I hearby challenge, should they accept:
And I’d love to also challenge my bestie, author MacKenzie Morganthal, but she does not have a blog. However, I would like to know your answer, Ken… :D ;)
And that is that. Hope you all enjoyed reading, and if you were not challenged and would like to be, consider yourself challenged and please let me know when you post, because I’d love to read it!
Posted in character introduction, God's Lessons

Character Introduction: Lettie

CI Lettie

 

Today’s character introduction will be a little different.  (If you’re new to these posts: The idea behind them is just to spotlight the character a bit, give a little description of their personality, and for fun, a few books I’d recommend to them if I could. )
In a normal month, I do an author interview on the first Monday, and follow with a character introduction from one of the featured author’s books. But as you may have noticed, I did not do an author interview this month. Time got away from me. So, I’m using this moment to do a bit of a different sort of character introduction…instead of being from a book, I am choosing a movie character. I hope you enjoy!
Image result for curly q
The Greatest Showman. Lettie Lutz
Photo from Pinterest; I do not claim any rights to it.

Lettie from The Greatest Showman

She’s the Bearded Lady in the group of Barnum’s Misfits. She’s been scarred on the inside, and understandably so.
When Barnum discovers her, she draws back, assuming he will ridicule her like everyone else. Because she is not like everyone else – she is not “the norm”. But Barnum doesn’t ridicule her of course; he enthusiastically embraces who she is, and calls her beautiful, which I love.
Lettie is also not a size two. I know that weight does not matter in this world, but I also understand this struggle. I’ve struggled with my own weight for many years, and I don’t always like what I see in the mirror. I think Lettie would understand this. It’s not just an outward thing either; I think Lettie’s character represents all sorts of people and their situations. Whether that be emotional, physical, or mental etc. Everyone has their own sort of struggle and wants to be accepted, wants to be what they think is “normal”. But that’s by the world’s standards. God doesn’t have a ‘normal’ – He’s made everyone different and unique. And whole.
Lettie learns to accept who she is, beard and all. The song she sings, “This is Me” brought tears to my eyes immediately, and almost every time I heard it afterwards.
I think Lettie’s journey is relatable to everyone, no matter their looks, size, heart, etc. We live in a world where we’re told we have to be something other than we are. We have to be this or that. But no. This is ME. I am who I’m meant to be. Because of God. They don’t say that in the movie, but oh I felt it. God made me who I am. I need to remember I am priceless in His eyes, in His Kingdom.
So is Lettie. So are you.
We are brave, we are bruised, we are who we’re meant to be. This is us.
So yes, I found Lettie inspiring. Relatable. Strong. Bruised like me. And beautiful.
Image result for curly q
I'm not a stranger to the dark.jpg
As for what books I’d recommend to Lettie, I’m not really sure. I’d love to sit down with her and get to know her – see what books she might like herself. If only, right? :)
If you’ve seen The Greatest Showman, what books do you think Lettie would enjoy?
This is Me.jpg
Image result for curly q
Lettie Lutz’ character can be found in The Greatest Showman movie (which I love so much). :)
The Greatest Showman All Songs.
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“All for Love” Collection ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“All for Love” 3-Novella collection by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano

 Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. New and loyal fans alike will enjoy these novellas previously released only as ebooks. Connealy’s “The Boden Birthright” journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Hunter’s “A Lady of Esteem” follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Turano’s “At Your Request” tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected.

 

Review copy: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

 

My Review:

 

 

 

“The Boden Birthright” by Mary Connealy// 3 stars

I’m not generally a huge fan of the “old west” type of fiction, but I had read one of Mary Connealy’s stories before and enjoyed it, so I started this one with little trepidation. And while it was a fine story, I felt that it was heavy on the descriptions instead of the characters and their lives, and it was very much an insta-love situation. Which, I know, kind of has to be the case for a novella, but it was like a switch had gone off with their romance, since Chance had been mourning his wife only a couple pages previously.

It just was a bit rushed, and not my favourite story. But that’s not saying it won’t be your favourite. :)

“A Lady of Esteem” by Kristi Ann Hunter//  4.5 Stars

This is the story for which I received the review copy. :) I absolutely loved Kristi Ann Hunter’s book, “An Inconvenient Beauty” and have been eager to go back and start this series from the very start. So receiving this novella collection with The Hawthorne House’s prequel in print – I was quite pleased. ^.^

And it was a joy to read “A Lady of Esteem”! I loved main character, Amelia – she had just a sweet and caring heart, and she was oh-so patient throughout each trial she faced. And all the servants – I loved them too, and their love and devotion to Amelia; even if they didn’t work under her themselves. And hero, Anthony was a great character of a changed man. The two main characters complimented each other so well!

The faith message was definitely present, which I of course appreciated.

The whole story was brought together very nicely, and a fantastic prequel to the series!

 

 

 “At Your Request” by Jen Turano// 4.5 stars

 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I would think of this novella. I hadn’t previously read anything by Jen Turano, and since I was almost done with this collection, I admit I was a bit hesitant about the last one, concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the one before. But goodness, I shouldn’t have worried! This story was darling, and pleasantly surprised me at more than one turn. Every time I thought I knew what would happen or what one of the characters would say, assuming it would be the typical in most romance fiction, it would be the opposite – which delighted me because that is what I wanted to find but rarely do in stories.

I also loved that Wilhelmina wasn’t your typical ‘perfect stunning trim’ character. One scene had me giggling out loud, and I was just very impressed with this story. I would definitely like to read more by this author. :)

I do wish there would have been a faith message; that was sadly not present.

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars// Very lovely collection with enjoyable reads!