Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Jesus Always: A Devotional” by Sarah Young

 

“Jesus Always” by Sarah Young

A Devotional

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

With scripture and new personal reflections “Jesus Always” brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.
Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy. 

This deluxe comfort print edition includes easy-to-read large type and the full scriptures printed out.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

I love these “Jesus…” devotionals. They’re so beautiful, and full of Biblical truth, spoken from Jesus. I can be kind of picky when it comes to daily devotional books, but these have been a blessing to me, each day feeling like it came right from Yahweh just for me. The Lord definitely uses them in my life, and I find great encouragement in them.
“Jesus Always” has a beautiful cover, leather-like binding, and lovely script. This book is larger in size than my other devos, and is easy to read.
I definitely recommend “Jesus Always”, as well as the other devotionals compiled by Sarah Young. They’re full of truths and comfort.
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Posted in Book reviews, Christmas

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

 

One Enchanted Noël: A Novella (Enchanted Christmas Collection Book 3) by [Tagg, Melissa]

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

Book Three in the “Enchanted Christmas” Collection

Review ecopy from the author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Secrets, Sparks and Second Chances…a Heartwarming Holiday Romance

Seb Pierce isn’t exactly a cowboy, but after fifteen years on a ranch in Texas, he might as well be. And he’d do just about anything to keep the rancher who took him in so many years ago from losing his land…including returning to the wealthy roots he’s long since abandoned. Seb agrees to work for his stern grandfather for one year in return for an early draw on his inheritance. But he never expected the agreement to land him in a quirky small town in Iowa at Christmas-time, renovating a dilapidated theater…and running into a woman he never thought he’d see again. She might not remember him, but he remembers her.
After too many years away from her hometown—and too many failures to count—Leigh Renwycke is finally back in Maple Valley and living the stable life she used to wish for. If only she could shake the old restlessness that used to get her into trouble. When Seb Pierce waltzes into her world and begs for her help planning the theater’s holiday reopening, it could be the solution to her discontent. If she pulls it off, it might be enough to jumpstart a new career…and to prove once and for all that the new-and-improved Leigh is here to stay. 
But between old secrets and new sparks, restoring a town treasure in time for Christmas may not be as easy as it seems…especially once Leigh learns the truth about Seb. 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Surprise! Another darling novella from the amazing Melissa Tagg! I don’t think it’s possible for her to write an un-darling story. (Also I’m pleased with myself for using ‘darling’ twice already, because…well, read the story to find out. ^.^)
As usual, the characters were so life-like, so real. And each one so unique. As this is the third novella (and final novella to the Enchanted Christmas Collection), we finally got the chance to read Leigh’s story! We’ve witnessed parts of her life and struggles through the first two novellas, but finally here, we get to see her life as a whole, see her get her own Happily Ever After. That doesn’t always come easy though. But that only adds the depth and reality of the story.
The hero, Seb, was quite nice. ^.^ He had his own bit of struggles, too, and they both had to find peace through it all.
The whole feeling of the novella was charming. The snow, the movie theater, the festivals that Maple Valley comes up with! I love it.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet and charming Winter Novella, pick this one up! You won’t regret reading a Melissa Tagg story. :)
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

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“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

Review copy through Bethany House

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

The Adventure of a Lifetime for Two Indomitable Socialite Sisters 

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm. 

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was my first Lynn Austin book, and I can gladly say that I enjoyed her writing. It was thorough, and pleasant.
It was delightful to follow the sisters, Rebecca and Flora, on their great many adventures, and their center goal always being the Lord. I also loved their saying, “The Lord knows our end”, because that’s true. He’s got us in the palm of His hand, and our days are ordered by Him.
Both sisters were very unique, and different from each other, yet shared such a strong bond. I did actually like having different parts of the story told from the various array of characters, starting with Rebecca, continuing on with Flora, then Soren, and then Kate, and ending with Rebecca again. It all tied together nicely.
This wasn’t an “on the edge of your seat” read – this was more so a “take it slow” read. It wasn’t packed with action, but neither was it boring. As I said, I enjoyed their journeys, and just their lives.
I really enjoyed the character, Soren. His story was good, and real, and sad. I’m so glad he got his own ‘happy ending’ in a way. That was sweet.
It certainly was a long book, but I didn’t find that tiresome as I might in other cases. I also didn’t see much that could’ve been left out. It was a sound story, and their finds on their adventures were exciting! Even more fun was reading the author’s note and finding that it was based on a true story – very neat.
If you like historical fiction, I definitely recommend this one.

Quotes:

“Egyption thinking would say that we must have angered Him. That He’s punishing us. But our faith asks us to trust Him and to believe that He has a plan for our good, even in the midst of disaster.”
“I need to leave my life in God’s hands and be content. I admit I haven’t found contentment yet, but I’m trying. Meanwhile, I need to keep doing His work without expecting to be rewarded with all of my wishes in return.”
“We need to show her grace, Soren.  Jesus said ‘Freely ye have received, freely give’. We must pray for her, too – not that she’ll change into what we want her to be, but that she’ll become all that God intends her to be.”
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The House on Foster Hill” by Jaime Jo Wright

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“The House on Foster Hill” by Jaime Jo Wright

Mystery/suspense

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. 

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This book was creepy! Haha, I had to start my review off in that way. Truly, it wasn’t what I was expecting – it was better. I was admittedly a bit wary before starting this, that there would be a lot of the ‘supernatural’ element, and the story would maybe make me uncomfortable. But it wasn’t, it didn’t. It was so intricate the mystery of it all. And the duel-timeline story so elaborate and interwoven – the whole novel shows immense skill from the author. I couldn’t even imagine getting all of it straight in the writing process! But in the reading, it made sense, and didn’t leave you with any confusion.
But oh yes were there creepy parts. Very, very creepy. ^.^ I tried to avoid reading it before bed, whenever possible, but it is a book that begs not to be put down, so reading before sleep did happen anyway…
I am not usually a fan of split timeline novels – the jumping back and forth is hard for me, and in general, I still avoid it. But it worked with “The House on Foster Hill”. I only jumped ahead once or twice just to be reassured that the next chapter of the current characters ended alright. :)  I knew I couldn’t read one story straight through and return to do the same with the other – that just wouldn’t have flowed as well, I don’t think. Not with THOFH. As I said, the stories, though years apart, were interwoven and built upon the other, linking and relating them.
Now, the question I know many might ask is (well, maybe not, but I’ll still answer…)  : Joel or Grant for preferred hero? (To give you reference if you have not read this book yet, Joel is from the 1906 story, and Grant from the present day story). For me, Joel won out, hands down. Loved and respected him. His relationship with Ivy was no picnic. But I really enjoyed it and rooted for them all along.
That being said, I did still like Grant just fine. And Kaine too (leading present day heroine). Her story had my heart pounding just as much as Ivy’s.
THOFH is a deep book, with twists and turns you weren’t expecting. To finally read the conclusion at the end – you just have to sit there and think on it for a bit.
The message of hope was so beautifully displayed as well. If you’ve read any of my book reviews in the past, you’ll probably have gathered that I am one for a very, very strong Faith strand, so I would say that I would’ve liked it to have been just a little stronger in this book, but the faith strand was still a lot more included than I first wondered about, and more than most books have too. Really, the quiet pieces of the importance of life and eternity, and dealing with death were poignant reminders to me.  One of the quotes I marked said this: “You’re looking at things backward. As if this life and all it has to offer is all there is. It sounds as if this Gabriella could teach us all a thing or two about seeing beyond this world and setting our eyes on Jesus instead.”
Having just been reminded of this lesson by the Lord recently through the death of a friend, the quote affirmed what He showed me. Life here on earth is a blessing, yes, and He has given us His breath to live. But eternity is SO much more glorious, and we all have that hope of Heaven.
So yes, I enjoyed this book, creepy parts and all. And I will be interested to read the author’s next book as well. :)
I would recommend this for ages 18+ due to the intense and frightening/eerie content, and dealing with the reality of human trafficking.
I only had time to make one graphic thus far, but I will also highlight some favourite quotes below:
-He gives us glimpses now, but His plan for us is so much greater than what we see. That's the pitfall of humanity. We look atour present circumsances, our trials, even our joys, and believe that this is all there i (1).png
“An accidental one [death], but accidents never diminished trauma”
 
“The easy stuff doesn’t take care of the root issue.”
“She wanted that hope. To cling to God as Gabriella had. To hold Him so close that this world became an interlude before life truly began.”
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(This image not made by me)
I received a copy of this book from the publishers/author as apart of the launch team; I was not required to write a review. All thoughts are my own.
Posted in Book reviews, Give-aways

Fun/Giveaway Notice

I’m sorry for the lack of posts – I had hoped I’d be able to post more in November, but life has a way or throwing surprises, some good, some bad. I have reviews I want to get posted soon, and of course the monthly recap, but currently my family and I are enduring a rough patch of grief which has taken up most of our energy and time. But I will return to posting in good time, God-willing. And I have a blog tour post scheduled for tomorrow, so there’s that. :)

 

For now, I wanted to let you all know about a fun post and giveaway that is happening on Inkwell Inspirations. You might recall THIS post  where I mentioned that my blog and I were interviewed on Inkwell Inspirations. That was fun. :) (You can read that interview by going here.) Well, lots of other book reviewer bloggers were also interviewed over the summer, and now a party is being help to celebrate that fact! so pop on over to Inkwell Inspirations and join in the fun, read some of the interviews, and enter the giveaway!

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Just click on the image to go to the post. :)

 

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Dying for Love” by Cara Putman

Dying for Love (Hidden Justice) by [Putman, Cara]

“Dying for Love” by Cara Putman

A novella/prequel to Hidden Justice series.

Review copy from the author

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:


Things were business as usual for family law attorney Ciara Turner, until she walked into her mentor’s office to find the judge had been murdered. To make things worse, the emotional moments were witnessed by Ciara’s nemesis, opposing counsel David Evans—the man she once thought she’d spend the rest of her life with.

David can’t walk away from the murder investigation. Judge Palmer was the only one who believed in him enough to give the boy from the wrong side of the tracks a fighting chance. But his amateur sleuthing keeps him crossing paths with Ciara and he can’t help but admire her passion for her clients, even if they are often at odds across the judgment table.

As David and Ciara get closer to discovering who killed Judge Palmer, their old feelings reignite. But the investigation takes an unexpected turn, can they trust each other enough to push for the truth? And will their rekindled relationship survive the aftermath?

 

My Thoughts:

This was an enjoyable novella, centered around the relationship between family lawyers, Ciara and Daniel, with a bit of a murder mystery woven between the pages.
The romance was sweetly done, and the mystery of the murder tied up swiftly in the short 9 chapters.
To be honest, I was a bit relieved that the main focus was on the romance and not the lawyer side of it, as I had recently finished a legal book that was a miss for me. But this novella kept my attention, and it was nice to see how their relationship wrapped up at the end! :)
Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “October” by J. Grace Pennington

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“October” by J. Grace Pennington

An Indie Christian Book

Review copy from the author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

For Emily Baxter, life is simple. Her world is made up completely of school, church, and the community in the small farming town she calls home. All that changes one fateful Sunday, when a new girl shows up at Pleasanton Baptist—a girl unlike anyone Emily has ever seen. A girl with long red hair, crystal green eyes, and style and posture like royalty. A girl named October. The months that follow are filled with magic—the magic of ordinary things, of finding pictures in the stars, of imagination and a new sense of beauty. But as time goes by, Emily begins to sense that her enchanting new friend may have secrets that could break the spell. Is October really all she seems to be?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This is a hard book to review. But not because it wasn’t good. Because it was very good. It was both delightful and rather heart-wrenching. So much beauty, and yet, there was also pain. That’s how life is, isn’t it?
This book was like a whisper. It wasn’t loud or bursting. It was soft, and gentle, like a Fall breeze. Yet it had it’s deeper message, and the ending was bittersweet.
The characters were so very well constructed. So real – this whole book really was. From page one, the writing style drew me in, and connected me with the characters as we got to know them. Emily is a sweet, outgoing girl with a big heart. Her enthusiasm for meeting and welcoming October is endearing.
Emily’s cousin, Jax, is also a great character with a quiet strength. I liked his character very much, and perhaps felt his pain in the end the most, personally.
And of course, October. She was beautiful, and quiet, and complex. Also so sweet.
I really liked this book. The writing is so good. But to be sure, “October” is not a fluffy book. It is a whisper book, yes, but it deals with real issues. And I’m glad for it. I think this can be a very powerful book in a teen’s life (and really, not just teens at all – any age), and in helping understand others. There’s always a story behind every person, and every person has their struggles. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but at the same time, it is almost expected.
Don’t let that stop you from reading this book, though. Just…be prepared. It’s lovely. But it also has its sorrow.

 !!! *Spoiler*!!! (don’t read this if you haven’t read the book. ^.^)

 

It is very much like the Bridge To Teribithia (at least the movie – I have not read the book). It is good, and yet so, so sad in the end. I generally prefer happily ever after endings – that’s who I am – so, yes I was very sad by the ending for October and would’ve preferred a happier ending, but at the same time, I understand its ending and why it is this way – it is realistic, it makes sense. It’s just sad.

 

!!!*END OF SPOILER*!!!

 

 

Click the image to go to its Amazon page.