Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“The Memory House” by Rachel Hauck ~ Book Review/ An I Read With Audra Blog Tour & Giveaway

 

 

“The Memory House” by Rachel Hauck

Review copy through I Read With Audra 

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Book:

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

Click here to read an excerpt!

Click HERE to order your copy.

My Thoughts:

 

I think this might be my favorite Rachel Hauck book yet. The story drew me in immediately, and I fell in love with the characters. They were each so realistic and believable, and I loved getting to know them. Especially Beck – I think her story was my favorite. But I love how both stories of this split-timeline novel were woven together and complemented each other so much, creating one full and beautiful story.
The faith strand, while fairly subtle, was very well-written and I loved the impact it had on each character.
The Memory House itself sounds fabulous – I would love to visit that house, let alone live there!!
I also loved how the history of each character was slowly unwrapped and we only saw the complete picture at the very end.
Oh, and while I am not much of a dog-person, I really liked Beatle-boo, and how Beck nurtered him so well.
It was a very calming, lovely, and engaging story, and I loved it very much. Definitely recommend it, especially if you’ve enjoyed the author’s previous works!
The Memory House

Giveaway!

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To enter the giveaway, click on the image above, or go HERE.

 

 

About the Author:

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Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journalbestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

For more information, visit www.rachelhauck.comFacebook (@rachelhauck)Twitter (@RachelHauck) and Instagram (@rachelhauck).

 

 

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*I received a copy of this novel  from the author/publisher via Audra Jennings at I Read With Audra. All thoughts expressed are my own; I was not paid to give a positive review.

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Dance With Me” by A.M. Heath ~ Book Review/Blog Tour

Blog tour Dancer

Welcome to one of the last stops on this fun blog tour! Join me in celebrating the release of A.M. Heath’s newest book, “Dance With Me” – you will find my review below, and continue scrolling to enter the giveaway!

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“Dance With Me” by A.M. Heath

Book #1 in the An Art of Love series (can be read as stand-alones)

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

Will a new partnership tear their worlds apart … or will it be the piece they never knew was missing?

In 1959, Arleen Thatcher and Neil Fox are fierce competitors on the dance floor, so they’re the least likely pair to enter a televised competition together. But when rivaling studio owners decide to team up, the two will find a partnership they never thought possible. 
Arleen’s reputation around town is reason enough for Neil to keep his distance from his new partner. But as Neil gets to know Arleen, he discovers a side of her few others have seen, one of dark family secrets and carefully-constructed facades.
God’s plan for their partnership may involve more than a single dance; it may be the key to the healing Arleen so desperately needs. 

The Art of Love series is compiled of stand-alone novels where the characters tell their own stories and love means so much more than passion.

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My Thoughts:

 

I love dancing. Let me rephrase that; I love the idea of dancing and watching other talented people dance. ;) I have never been very skilled at it myself, but it is a joy to watch, and such a pleasure to read a book where the main characters were professional dancers. In the 50’s no less! I loved mentally picturing each scene as it unfolded. The writing style made that particularly easy to do. Written in first person, it felt like you were right there with the characters.
The story starts out in 2010, switching back to 1959 and then jumps back to 2010 once or twice more before settling in the past story. At first, that had me a little leery, because split-timeline novels aren’t my favorite cup o’ tea, but at the end, as I saw the big picture and we are again brought to 2010, I found this method to work well in this setting. It wasn’t split up much at all, but it added a sweet touch , as the couple look back on their story.
The main characters were both very realistic and flawed, and yet relatable. My heart went out to Arleen as soon as I got to know her. Every person has a back story; something that molds them into who they are.
I really enjoyed the faith-message. It was very soft-spoken, but also pivotal to the plot.
The romance was rather unique, and very sweet. I very much enjoyed this novel!
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I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review.  
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About the Author:
A.M. Heath breaks out as a Christian novelist with the 2014 release of Where Can I Flee, inspired by her love of Christ and 19th century American history.

Being raised in a small Tennessee town, A.M. Heath grew up with a love for southern history and nostalgia. Her husband and 4 children embrace the small town lifestyle and southern standard of back porch relaxing, tea sipping, homemade comfort food, strong Christian values, and tightly woven family bonds.

GIVEAWAY!!

Grand Prize
This giveaway runs from April 8th-14th. You can enter by clicking the photo above or entering HERE.
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Blog Tour Stops:
Monday April 8th: 
Debbie @ Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
Loretta @ Just Writing
Laura @ Blue Eye Books PLUS an interview
Tuesday April 9th:
Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Karen @ KarenSueHadley
Wednesday April 10th: 
Deana @ Texas Book-aholic
Jana @ Review from the Stacks
Becky @ Blossoms and Blessings
Thursday April 11th: 
Bella @ Bella Putt: The Pen and the Pages
Alicia @ A Brighter Destiny
Friday April 12th: 
Esther @ We’ve Got Pockets PLUS an interview
Raechel @ God’s Peculiar Treasure
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Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review, Reviews

“Jesus Calling” Fabric Cover Edition ~ Book Review

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Jesus Calling Daily Devotional

Sarah Young

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

This edition of the beloved devotional, Jesus Calling, is stunning! I am in love with the Jesus Calling devotionals, and I especially love the larger versions which include the whole verses at the end of each devo instead of just the verse references in the smaller sized devotionals.
The content is fantastic, as I’ve stated before in past reviews, so I will primarily be focusing on the outside of this edition. Which is beautiful, truly! I love the fabric feel to the hardcover, and the design is lovely. It is simple yet captivating, and I think it compliments the amazingness of the inside very well!
I highly recommend these devotionals, and definitely love this edition!
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I received a complimentary copy for the purpose of review; all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“A Hero for Miss Hatherliegh” by Carolyn Miller ~ Book Review

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“A Hero For Miss Hatherliegh” by Carolyn Miller

A Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley Novel

Review copy through Kregel Publications

My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Can a proper noble lady find a future with a fossil-hunting man of faith?

As the daughter of Viscount Aynsley, Caroline Hatherleigh knows every rule of society–and she’s always followed them precisely. But when she visits south Devonshire and encounters a fossil-hunting scientist and his sister, her assumptions about what is right are shaken. Questions she has never considered about the importance of friendship and faith suddenly confront her–and her comfortable understanding about how the world works is thrown off balance. What if God wants to be the center of her life, rather than merely a social obligation?
Gideon Kirby loves science, and hunting down proof of past lives is a joy he won’t willingly give up. But his scientific leanings are being challenged both by his personal beliefs and by local smugglers in the Devonshire countryside. And every day his sister’s illness becomes more desperate, her care growing more demanding. Adding a viscount’s daughter to the mix is a complication Gideon never expected–especially since he must stay far away from this young woman he’s falling for in order to protect his beloved sister’s secret.
When a mysterious stranger visits the village, that secret will be exposed, no matter how Gideon fights. Then tragedy strikes in a smugglers’ cave. And the threat of scandal may lead to broken hearts and passionless propriety. Will the shaky bond these two have nurtured be strong enough to overcome their differences–or will the trust they’ve withheld from each other tear three lives apart?

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My Thoughts:

 

“A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh” is a regency novel with a very definite Jane-Austen-book tone to it. This was my frist introduction to a novel by Carolyn Miller, and I found her voice of writing to be quite similar to a Jane Austen novel. It took me a bit to adjust to at first, but once I got into the novel, it was pleasant.
I am a fan of the Regency era, and that was depicted very well – I loved the setting and time period, and found it to be descriptive without too bogged down.
The main hero character was unique when it came to profession – I haven’t read a book where the main character was a undergroundologist on the hunt for fossils. That was quite interesting! I will admit that I didn’t care for the heroine, Caroline, at first, but as she progressed, she became more likeable.
Personally, I didn’t greatly connect to this book, but I do think that is due to when/how I read it. Had life been a little more even-keel and calm when I read it, I might have delved deeper into it.
I did appreciate the faith-aspect. That was very clear and evident, and well-done. I was quite happy about that, and thought that aspect refreshing.
There was a scene towards the end that felt very…well, unrealistic, and over-dramatized. It’s one of my least favorite troupes in fiction, but I know it could be another person’s favorite.
So while I didn’t deeply connect with this book, I don’t blame the story at all, and am quite sure it will be a favorite of many! I plan to continue on with this series, and look forward to reading more by this author! :)
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I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own. 
Posted in Book reviews, Books, Reviews

“Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations” by V.Joy Palmer ~ Book Review

Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations

“Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations” by V. Joy Palmer

Review copy from the author as apart of the launch team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she’ll be fine.
But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what’s left of their family’s legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon she’s forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother’s renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.
Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl’s insane plan. While Apryl claims they’re archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart. 
But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?

 

Rae's books (48)

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was a truly fun and enjoyable book. I really liked Apryl, and Chance was amazing.
I also liked how we got to see Courtney’s story play out as well – this wasn’t just a one-character’s-story book. Yes, Apryl was the primary ‘star’ but we got to know Courtney as well, and that aspect was really nice! Having Chance’s POV in there was a great piece of the book too!
Twins, Apryl and Courtney take over their grandmother’s antique business while she recovers in the hospital. To keep the business from failing, they revamp it into a wedding decorating venue, and I loved this clever aspect of the story. It was unique, and fun, and I loved seeing each wedding that they decorated come together and how each one painted a vivid picture for me to see in my mind’s eye.
Returning to the topic of Apryl and Chance though…  I loved these two so much! They could be oh-so frustrating (though I can see why XD) but they were so fantastic, and quickly became beloved characters to me! And I loved the faith message in this book. I could relate to Apryl’s feeling like a failure and not worth it, etc. but the truth she received at the end was beautiful. And same goes for Chance’s journey! I loved how each grew separately AND together.
I was curious to see if this book would have some sections that felt a little too over-the-top witty like I found the first book to sometimes contain, but the included sarcasm matched Apryl’s character perfectly, and I loved it! (Which is not to say that I didn’t like the first book – I very much did! You can find my review on goodreads.)
Apryl really had a vivid character and I so enjoyed getting to know her, and Chance too. (I may have developed a little crush on him myself. And also, this book made me really want potato chips….).
All in all, a delightful story! Looking forward to more from this author!
Quotes:

 

“Yeah, he’d always liked Batman.”

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“I’m not perfect either, much to my dismay. I’ve tried to be. I’ve tried to have the perfect grades, the perfect job, the perfect life. I can’t do it. Our love will not be perfect. It will be filled with mistakes. But perfection isn’t love, it’s a cage. And with everything that’s happened with Gram and the shop, my identity can’t hang on my career, my accomplishments, and that elusive perfection. It’s defined by God and the way I love.”

 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.  

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books

“The White City” by Grace Hitchcock ~ Book Review

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“The White City” by Grace Hitchcock

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Book:

 

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

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My Thoughts:

 

Oh my goodness! What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be! Going into it, I expected to enjoy it, but I was just utterly blown away. I loved it so much! It definitely deserves a spot among my favorites. Why might this be, you ask? Because the characters! And the plot! And the characters. *Hugs book to self* I loved these characters so very much. Our heroine, Winnifred Wylde, is amazing, and adorably quirky, and she loves reading which is always a plus. And Detective Jude Thorpe! Oh my goodness, be still my heart. He is an AMAZING hero that you will not want to miss out on. He’s real, not overly perfect, and he’s caring, and so much more.
The adventure and danger these two characters embark on is spectacular, and the plotline so well done. You’re hooked from page one, and finding out how it all tied together at the end was marvelous.
As much as I utterly adored the fascinating plot, for me the shining-quality were the characters themselves. So unique and real, and enjoyable. I could clearly picture them in my head, and I am honestly sad to part with them!
The Bible verses that Winnie clung to for comfort were some of my most favorite, and so that added a special depth and importance to me too.
Cannot wait to see what this author writes next! “The White City” is a fantastic debut novel. <3
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Quotes
I wanted to make a graphic for each quote, but with our internet being spotty, I only managed one…but I’ve included each below along with the one graphic I was able to make. <3
The White City by Grace Hitchcock
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“Never had a man outside her novels affected her so.” 
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“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned.” 
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“She was from a simple home and, as much as she loved the grandeur of the mansions in his novels, she preferred a cozy parlor that was actually lived in with piles of worn books surrounding her.”
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“A smile escaped the corner of her pressed lips as if she were embarrassed. ‘Mr. Banning wraps them individually for me because he knows that I enjoy opening them separately, as if each book is a gift to myself.'” 
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Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, Reviews

“A Return of Devotion” by Kristi Ann Hunter ~ Book Review

I hate that this is being posted so late!!! I loved this book so much – it will definitely be included in my favorites of 2019 – and so I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to post my review. But at long last, here it is! <3

 

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“A Return of Devotion” by Kristi Ann Hunter

Book Two in the Haven Manor Series

Review copy from the publisher/author as apart of the Launch Team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

Daphne Blakemoor was content living in her own secluded world for the last twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes to a new marquis with an undeniable connection to her past, everything she’s come to rely upon is threatened.

William, Marquis of Chemsford’s main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect . . . until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.

Both Daphne and William have spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, forge a new path for the future together? 

My Thoughts:

This was fantastic. Truly. I love this series. :) Going into this one, I wasn’t sure if I’d relate to main character Daphne, just because in the previous book, Kit had been my favorite. It was so silly of me to wonder this, because I not only related to Daphne, I bonded with her. I share so many of her struggles, and to be perfectly honest, there were so many times during the reading of this that I almost had to remind myself she wasn’t actually real because I was tempted to write her a letter saying I relate XD The struggles with fantasizing and daydreaming that she dealt with was so relatable to me. And how when things actually happened in real life, it was harder – and scarier – to deal with than the “harmless” imaginings. But oh how many troubles the fantasizing gets us into. I still need to continue to remind myself to live right here in the present, just as life is.
The truths she discovered, and the journey she took was inspiring and realistic, and so beautiful. I just really, really loved Daphne.
And William. Of course we cannot forget William! He was great as well. Snobbish at first (oh William), but his character grew so much and he was a sweetheart. I absolutely love these two!!
Really, all of the characters deserve their own paragraphs of gushing over them, but I don’t know that we have space or time for that. ;) Jess….Benedict…Sarah…Eugenia…Reuban…I think you get the gist. Such three dimensional characters that you cannot help but adore.
And the story itself was so well done! I loved every minute of it. And waiting for the next book is going to be so hard. :P
Excellent writing, amazing characters, superb plot, and an ending that leaves you wanting more! definitely recommend this series :)
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Quotes:

 

“Daphne didn’t handle strangers very well most of the time, and she certainly wasn’t managing this one.” 
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“You know,” Jess finally said, “it’s okay to not be good at something. It’s okay to ask for help.” 
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“‘Be strong and of good courage,'” Daphne said from memory as she looked around at the three upturned faces. “‘Fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.'” 
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“Mrs. Brightmoor sank further into the woodwork. She actually managed to blend her faded orange printed muslin partially into the glaringly red wallpaper. It was a rather amazing feat.” 
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“I like people. Well, I like helping them. They make me nervous unless I have a particular task to do.” 
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“Daphne frowned again. What good was escaping into one’s imagination if the world’s problems came along for the ride?” 
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