Posted in Book reviews, BookCrash

“The Miracle Maker and the Misfits” by Dixie Koch ~ Book Review

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The Miracle Maker and the Misfits: Two Supernatural Kingdoms and the Clashing of Swords  by Dixie Koch

 

Review copy from publishers through BookCrash review program

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

“Abby.” She felt his hand gently touching her shoulder. “Mom was murdered.”

“Charley!” Abby screamed, shooting off her chair. “Charley, what are you saying?” Her lips were spread thin in panic.

“Abby, I can tell you no more now, except that my father is a very dangerous man. For now we could all be in danger.”

After years of separation, Julie had found peace and was excited to come home and be reunited with her crazed son, Charley, and her now grown sister, Abby. But Julie never made it home. When the shocking news of Julie’s death forced Abby to her sister’s burial, all of Abby’s dreams laid in that pine box along side of Julie. Their childhood days remained locked up inside of Abby and in the journals Julie had left behind. But Abby doesn’t have much time to grieve, because when the Miracle Maker comes to the rural backwoods of Perjure County, he sets the young Charley free from legions of demons and ushers in a battle between light and darkness. Abby, a writer for the Edge Water Times, is assigned to follow this story, but she has no idea what this story will cost her. Heart-shocking suspense follows Abby as she uncovers the truth of Julie’s death. As a sinister plot develops and controversy explodes, John, an old mysterious hero of yesteryears, steps back into Abby’s life. He and his friends are big believers in the Miracle Maker. But, who is powerful enough to unlock Abby’s heart and help her to believe for a miracle? Who cares enough to rewrite hope into the script of her miserable life? Find out in The Miracle Maker and the Misfits.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book confused me, to be honest.
There was some truth in this book, but the way it was portrayed seemed…odd to me, almost as un-truth yet that’s not what it was going for, I don’t think.
I get that the author was wanting to show that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and that miracles still happen, but this book, to me, felt shrouded in a mist that made the truth hard to discern.
I do definitely believe in spiritual warfare, demons and angels, and that God still heals today, but how it was all portrayed in this book just didn’t completely sit right to me. Made me a little uncomfortable, and it also made some of the actual truth come across as unbelievable.
*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.
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Posted in Book reviews

Mulligan College Series by Ann Naedele – Review

I will be reviewing the three books/novella’s in one review:

  

 

Mulligan College Series by Ann Naedele
Review copies provided by the author for the purpose of this review.
My rating overall: 3 Stars (1st book:3.5 stars, 2nd book: 2stars, 3rd book: 3 stars)
About Milligan Mayhem: College days in East Tennessee were different during the 1960s, especially at a Christian college like Milligan. Two young roommates are confused when a beloved professor dies suddenly, leaving the entire campus grieving. Outside forces penetrate the quiet school adding more mayhem! The reader will enjoy the practices concerning dating during this time, as well as the descriptive experiences of the author who attended the college for four years. A little mystery, a little romance, a wedding, and a visit from the Letterman round out this short tale. It’s a fast read aimed at youthful readers, but will even satisfy the nostalgic, older reader.
About Ghost Quest: The main character meets up with a ghost in her college dorm. She then sets out to find out why ghosts want to stay on Earth. She calls alumni from as far back as 1911 and finds out interesting details of ghosts of the past. Ann then puts all this information together for the campus newspaper. Join her in her quest for the campus ghosts!
About Pop Tops and Smiley Faces: Do you know a lot about the 1960’s? Some of it you will read about in American history classes, but many of your grandparents and great grandparents lived through that volatile period. This book is the last in a series of three about campus life in the hills of Tennessee during this time. You will enjoy the book’s mystery while learning about real events; even though this is a fictional account, you will learn what was happening through the eyes of a student. The customs were very different from today’s and might even surprise you. Could you have handled these major events in history? …their customs? How did your relatives fare? Did they share any stories with you? Go back in time with Ann as she leads fellow classmates and even some professors toward danger. Will they solve the mystery? This is a fast-paced read for those of you who are pressed with deadlines, jobs, school, and families.
My Thoughts:
 
These books read very much as if the author is sharing her memories only in mostly first-person. Through these books we get a small glimpse into life during the 1960’s, specifically in the landscape of the Christian College of Mulligan. Each novella has a small mystery thread that is easy to follow along with.
Sometimes the storyline is a bit choppy, like when a scene changes, but they are easy and quick reads.
It was fun seeing little things that are familiar, like mention of the Beatles, or the first ‘pop-tab’ drinks, and the start of the popular smiley-face.
Of the three novella’s, I enjoyed the first the most. The second one (Ghost Quest) was not a favourite because of the topic and the trivial manner in how the “ghosts” were refered to as if light and fun, when in reality, ghosts are just demons – not fun at all.
The third book focused on a bit more serious a subject, mentioning the turmoils that were very real in the 60’s.
They each read quickly, and contained interesting and good aspects.
Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

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“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book One in Sunrise at Normandy series

Review copy through Revell Publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars <3

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About the Book:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

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My Thoughts:

 

What a marvelous book. *Happy sigh*. A new book by Sarah Sundin is always highly anticipated, and this one did not let me down in the least. It was so excellent!
Wyatt Paxton and Dorothy Fairfax were amazing characters – so real, and they both had such depth. Each of the characters did.
The plot-line was superb, and drew you in from the beginning. There’s a ton of history in these books and still they read so smoothly.
Sometimes I think books you adore are harder to review. There was just so much about this book that I loved, that it is hard to find adequate words to describe it.
Wyatt was the perfect hero. Oh goodness – he had me from page one, truly. He is such an admirable man, with quiet strength and such a sense of what’s right and godly. And yet, so real – his struggles were hard, and he was so rough on himself. But wow – his whole journey was remarkable.
The same goes for Dorothy. I really liked her as well, and felt sad for her trials too. She felt like no one had ever really loved the real her – can you say heartbreaking? And while it was frustrating, her liking a certain other man who was not worthy of her, it was understandable – she yearned for something, anything.
I am just in awe at how Sarah Sundin can create a story that explores so much, endures so much, and yet comes out finished and completed at the end. No loose ends, everything ties up, and so emotionally investing!
And the plot-twist I wasn’t expecting – ufda. It just ties you in even more to the characters, all. Their struggle, their pains, and their resolution and healing. So beautiful!
WWII fiction at its finest indeed!!
And again, loooooved Wyatt. Can’t say that enough! New favourite hero…. ;)
Definitely recommend this book!!!!! Loved it so much <3
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Quotes:

I marked down several other quotes, but haven’t had the chance to turn them into quote graphics yet – but still hope to! Check back in April when I have a fun post planned relating to “The Sea Before Us”! :)

 

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

“Across the Blue” by Carrie Turansky ~ Book Review

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“Across the Blue” by Carrie Turansky

Review copy from publishers through Blogging for Books

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This book is set in 1909, when aviation was up and coming – the history aspect was interesting. (Although I noticed the characters all used the modern word ‘airplane’ and I’m pretty sure that historically they would have only used ‘aeroplane’). When I was younger, I loved Amelia Earhart and learning about aviation, the first aeroplanes, and whatnot. Journalism and Newspaper-ism was also a major fascination of mine (never really outgrew it, to be honest!), and so when I saw that this book held both of these ingredients, I was eager to try it.
Isabella is a determined young woman who has a passion to become a published journalist. James Drake is a pilot with the desire to be the first to cross the English Channel.
They are attracted to each other almost right away, but with James not certain of his parental heritage, Bella’s family would never dream of allowing a match to become of the two. However, they continue their friendship as it grows, and Bella has a hard time keeping her promise to her family that she would encourage other wealthy young men.
For me personally, this book fell a little flat  – I just couldn’t really get into the book and connect well with the characters themselves. Bella, while understandable that she wants to be a journalist, pursues that at the cost of headstrongness and disobedience. I just didn’t connect.
But that doesn’t mean other readers won’t – I think for many this book will be excellent. It was just a miss for me – could be because of mood, the time I read it, or what have you, but not necessarily a reflection of the book itself.
So while it wasn’t the book for me, I wouldn’t toss it aside, because it could be your favourite book!
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 blog tour, Book reviews, Litfuse

“Keturah” by Lisa T. Bergren ~ Book Review & Giveaway!

“Keturah” by Lisa T. Bergren

Book One in The Sugar Barren’s Daughters Series

Review copy from the publishers through Litfuse

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined-and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

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My Thoughts:

I love the cover of this book – it is definitely one that draws you in. The story setting was quite a unique one, which I enjoyed!

It was adventurous, three sisters deciding to set out on their own to an unknown place. I admired how the sisters banded together; their bond was very sweet.
This book focused primarily on Keturah – the title of the book indeed. :)  We learn from the beginning that her first marriage was not a good one. That was sad, and all too true for many. I liked the message that God does desire for everyone to be loved well, as He cherishes us.
Because of her previous abuse, her actions were very understandable. Her determinedness to never be ruled by a man made sense due to her background pain. I hurt for her when her painful memories resurfaced.

However, I guess personally, I was a little concerned with how ‘glorified’ it was to put yourself above men – to the point where she reveled in donning men’s clothing at one point. And granted, the act was reasonable in itself for what was needing to be done at that point, but I think during that time period especially, it would have felt very odd and not been so…glorified. I know most people just adore the ‘strong female lead who doesn’t need any man’, but I guess they’re just not my favourite. Yes, woman are capable – not denying that at all – but I don’t think that means we need to constantly be rising above the men.

This is not to say I didn’t have compassion on Keturah’s suffering and what made her feel this way – I did get that. I was just hoping for some more healing portrayed. Learning that yes, we are whole in Jesus (hallelujah!), but also that God created men and women alike, and we don’t have to be so independent. God created us to be wholly dependent on Him and to need each other, as Paul tells us constantly in God’s word.

The setting of this book, Nevis Island, was very well portrayed. Beauty and danger wrapped into one.

I also liked the reoccurring theme spoken between the characters, of “One limb at a time” – meaning that we can only take each day as it comes. A very wise – and Biblical – thing. :)

I’m guessing, from the title of the book and series and way this book was, that each book  will focus individually on each sister. I must say, I am very much looking forward to Verity’s book – I really loved her character, and would love to see more of her. And Captain McKintrick. :D

So yes, in conclusion, I enjoyed this book though personally struggled with the one aspect, but I do look forward to the next. :)

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 Quotes:

 

“But this is a harsh world, full of harsh realities. We cannot expect to shield ourselves from all harm, forever. You cannot assume you can do that for us. We shall, as you say, use our good minds. Look for God’s lead and do our best to follow. But we cannot live in fear of hurt. It will keep us from venturing into new things, welcoming new people.” – Selah

“All God asks of us is to do our best, from morning until night. He doesn’t expect us to do things that only He can accomplish – only what we’ve been given to do and to trust Him with the rest.” – Gray

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Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She’s the author of the Christy Award-winning “Waterfall,” RITA®-finalist “Firestorm,” bestselling “God Gave Us You,” and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She’s also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children.
Find out more about Lisa at http://lisatawnbergren.com.

Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog!

 

*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

“A Promise to Break” by Kathryn Spurgeon ~ Book Review

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“A Promise to Break” by Kathryn Spurgeon

 

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

Christian Historical Novel based on a true story. 

Sibyl, a wealthy banker’s daughter, meets a penniless hobo with the bluest eyes she’s ever seen. He finds work, and she finds she can’t keep away from the kindhearted man. But choosing him means betraying her father, his Socialists beliefs, and the plans he’s made for her life. This relationship begins a spiritual journey she never expected. As the Great Depression worsens, Sibyl has to choose–security or love?

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

This book was a fantastic read. It was so rich in its setting and history – and I am impressed that it was based on a true story and held to the true facts so well!
As I said, the setting was just fantastic – I so enjoyed reading a book in the 1930’s. I’ve been intrigued by that time period since I was young. This book was like a mature version of “American Girl Kit Kittredge” which I adored. ^.^ You can imagine my delight in this book then – more suited to my age, and so interesting.
It had a lot of depth, and the characters were so realistic it was amazing. The author did a fantastic job in making them really come to life.
This wasn’t an easy book – there was so much hardship, and so much pain. And oh how I disliked a certain character’s constant actions! I won’t say who, but if you read this book I’m sure you’ll understand.
Sybil Trimble was easy to relate to. And I loved her caring heart, and desire to help the poor.
And “her hobo”! From the first encounter, I loved him too! I loved them. Each of their encounters were much-waited-for and savoured. I loved his absolutely selfless behaviour and patience for Sybil, and others too. His family were really all quite remarkable.
The message of faith was great as well – very real and down-to-earth, but meaningful too.
I was just impressed with the whole book. :)
There were a couple of typos and errors, and one paragraph repeated itself, but those are easy to overlook, in my opinion. It doesn’t subtract from the story.
Definitely looking forward to the next book in this series!
*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 Author Interview, blog tour, Book reviews

Blog Tour: Caselli Family Series by Ta’Mara Hanscom Author Inteview and Review!

Tour Banner

Ta’Mara has published her Caselli Family series before, but she is now relaunching the series starting with The Pretender and Pit of Ambition! Join this super fun blog tour and find out more about the first two books (of five). Below you’ll find an author interview and book review of “Pit of Ambition”. Also, make sure you check out the great giveaway!

About the Books

Cover OnlyThe Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise is the first volume of 5 in the family epic series The Caselli Family Series. It begins in South Dakota in 1975 where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beers in a bar and loaded guns were kept under the counter. Frankie Valli sang My Eyes Adored You, and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.

​It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined – and had been for many years – yet they had no idea.

​From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart – and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

​These compelling stories are interwoven with Biblical truths and light-hearted, real life events from the author’s own past. Easy to understand and relate to, as well as encouraging.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GPVK3FU/

Pit of AmbitionPit of Ambition is the second volume of 5 in the family epic series The Caselli Family Series.

Five years have passed since Noah and Tillie’s “chance” meeting. They’ve married other people by now, and are both beginning their families.

In the pursuit of professional and political success, Alex runs headlong into a pit of pride and ambition…and Giuseppe begins to hate the husband he chose for his daughter.

Alex and Noah are doing business on many fronts, which will bring Noah to town for an unintended meeting with Giuseppe. Tension abounds as he attempts to conceal his daughter’s identity from Noah.

Alex strays when Tillie needs him the most, and it’s Noah who will bring him home. But, instead of learning Tillie’s identity, he connects with her brothers, especially Marquette.

Unbeknownst to Noah, his new foreman is a member of the crime family Marquette has sought since 1968.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HT5IZHO/

About the Author

About the AuthorI was born and raised in South Dakota, and I love her people and rich history. For many years I’ve also had a deep love for Italy and her colorful chronology. I was fortunate enough to visit Italy on my 25th wedding anniversary, and I added some of the details of my travels to my fictional series The Caselli Family Series.

My favorite sport is baseball – Detroit Tigers – and I can’t wait until the next time I get to see them play in Comerica Park.

I live for the next family barbeque.

My husband and I own a national pizza franchise in Iowa, where we currently reside. We have three grown children and one grandson. We’ve rescued two cats and one Pomeranian.

I teach AWANA Cubbies and speak at women’s events.

www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com.
https://tamarahanscom.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TaMara-Hanscom-Author-473920855079/?ref=bookmarks
https://twitter.com/TaMaraHanscom?lang=en&lang=en

Giveaway

Giveaway

Ta’Mara is generously offering a $50 Amazon gift card! There are many different ways in the Rafflecopter to enter. The more you choose, the better chance you have of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Interview:

  • Welcome to my “Peculiar” blog! I’m happy to have you here. :) Would you please introduce yourself and your books? I’m Ta`Mara Hanscom and I write the Caselli Family Series, which is an Italian-American saga that begins in 1975 and works its way forward.

 

  • What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I don’t know that I have one particular quirk. I know that I get really lost in the story at times and I’ll look up and much of the day has passed without me even knowing it! It will be dark outside, and my office light is the only one on! Sometimes I’ve even forgotten about my little dog. If he falls asleep in my office and it’s really quiet, I’ll be just shocked to get up from my desk and see him there. Thankfully he really loves uninterrupted naps.

 

  • Does writing energize or exhaust you? Energizes me!

 

  • How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Extremely important. I can’t write anything decent unless I’m talking to my Savior on a regular basis (like, daily). And my faith has to come out on the pages or isn’t a story—then it’s just fluff on the page.

 

  • What does your family think of your writing? For the most part they really love it, my husband especially.

 

  • If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Go to college, learn how to write. It’s too hard to learn all this stuff on your own.

 

  • How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have 3 more for the Casellis, and several more unpublished that are completely finished, one that is about half way there, and one new series in the works.

 

  • What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? My little sister, Mary Angela, is probably my closest writer friend. We share all sort of pointers with each other, and make each other read our books. We’re honest with each other, and that’s a big help.

 

  • And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your Caselli Family series? I like Irene Hannon, though hers are really full of action and suspense. You might like her too!

 

Thanks for visiting, Mrs. Hanscom!

Review:

 

Before I begin my review, I’d like to recommend that anyone who plans on reading this series start with the first novel for sure, as it is a continuing story.
I fell in love with Noah Hansen in book one, and was pretty much heart-broken by certain events that occurred. But I mended, and was prepared to dive into the second book. I came to terms with how it had ended, and the character’s marriages.
There is something about this series that just utterly pulls you in, and you become so very invested in these characters lives. So…effected. This can be good and bad. ^.^
I’m impressed with the author’s ability to weave a complex storyline that stretches across a five-book series. In most series, each novel deals with – and resolves – a certain topic/plot etc. But what I’ve noticed with these two books is that the next one builds off the last, continuing the main plot.
So, as I mentioned, I was prepared, going into this next book, with how the characters ‘stood’, and where their lives were at. Or so I thought….there were times during the reading of it where I had wished for a different outcome, but truly had accepted that it was not to be.
And I again loved Noah – his character really is my favourite. And seeing his devotion to Carrie, and their children – so endearing.
I liked Tillie a lot too, and commended her for her own devotion to Alex, even when he was not the most supportive husband. Alex was not my favourite character, but I respected their marriage, mainly because of Tillie.
I also like Tillie’s mother a lot. Her father, Guiseppi, put himself through a lot of turmoil. I ached to jump into the book and tell him he need only repent and leave the rest in God’s hands. Too bad we can’t jump into books, eh?! ^.^
I would like to explain why I am giving this book 3.5 stars instead of a full 4 – there were several moments where I was fully feeling a 4 rating, as I read. But when another bad thing occurred toward the end, and where I see this story starting to go…that kind of threw me. I know life does not always deal us good cards, but it seems like it’s just one bad thing happening to them after the next, and that gets a bit hard to read sometimes, I will admit. And I know that many may not share how I feel about that, and that’s fine. Each person is entitled to their own opinion.
The author’s note at the end of the book was really well spoken, and shared a great message. Really appreciated that part!
In conclusion, I loved many aspects of this book and struggled with a couple others. It will be interesting to see how this series continues. :)

 

 

Tour Schedule

 

February 26
Bookish Orchestration – Introductory post
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Author Interview
Adventures in Publishing – Author Interview
Rebekah Lyn Books – Book Review and Character Spotlight

February 27
Simply Kelina – Book Review
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Character Spotlight

February 28
Little Homeschool on the Prairie – Book Spotlight
Seasons of Opportunities – Book Review
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – Book Review

March 1
Moments – Book Spotlight
Reader’s Cozy Corner – Book Review
Fiction to Ignite Your Faith – Post from the author

March 2
New Horizon Reviews – Book Review
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Book Review
Adventures Of A King Daughter – Book Review

March 3
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway Winner

 

 

 

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author for the purpose of this review.