Posted in Book reviews, Books, Revell Reads

“Living Lies” by Natalie Walters ~ Book Review

IMG_5994

“Living Lies” by Natalie Walters

Harbored Secrets #1

Review copy from publishers/author

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name–but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I love getting the opportunity to read an author’s debut novel. It feels so special, to be trusted with their first book baby. :)
“Living Lies” is a romantic suspense title, and I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense plot – it was really well-written, and I enjoyed seeing how the whole thing played out and worked together in the end.  That thread was my favorite for sure.
The characters themselves were great, and nicely written. I appreciate how  Lane dealt with depression and anxiety, and that message of the book was definitely handled very well and with care.
The romance didn’t really ‘click’ for me, personally. Not that the two characters weren’t good for each other – they were, and I certainly didn’t dislike them as a couple. I don’t really know why I wasn’t getting engaged in the romance thread. Sometimes it felt a little like insta-love but it wasn’t exactly like that because the main character had some things she felt she needed to overcome.
Charlie was a fantastic guy. I loved how patient he was. And little Noah was a cutie. Also, I had a soft spot for Miguel. His character was really well-written.
The story flowed so nicely, and was an enjoyable read to be sure.
.
*I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own. 

 

Posted in blog tour, Books

“On a Summer Tide” by Suzanne Woods Fisher ~ Book Review

IMG_5615

On a Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book One in the Three Sisters Island series

Review copy from the publishers

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

*

About the book:

Sometimes love hurts–and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island–a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals–and one in particular. Sam Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

With On a Summer Tide, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a brand-new contemporary romance series that is sure to delight her fans and draw new ones.

*

My Thougts:

 

This was my first book by this author, and if I’m not mistaken, I believe it is the author’s first contemporary novel as well!
“On a Summer Tide” was very well written, and the characters were very real and flaw-fully believable. The whole story idea was really quite charming, and I loved how it all played out on one small Island in Maine.
Camden Greyson, eldest daughter of Paul Greyson, is the primary character in this story, but it really was well-spread out between all three of the Greyson sisters, Cam, Maddie, and Blaine. Each sister had their own truths and struggles, and way with coping with life, as all people do.
Favorite sister of mine? Probably Blaine. I certainly hope she gets her own story in this series!
Camden is the one with a vision – when their father buys this old camp (and half of the Island!), once over her shock, Cam helps to organize it all and give it a clear vision and goal. She could sometimes be a bit of a bulldozer – she was a strong-willed character, but she softened towards the end. Her adopted son, Cooper was a cutie. And the schoolteacher, Seth, was quite a nice hero!
To be honest, Camden could get on my nerves, but her brokenness was real and her character made sense. As I’ve mentioned, each character was so three dimensional, I was impressed!
There was a faith strand present and it was softly woven into the novel to be presented in a very natural way.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and definitely want to continue on with the series! (Also should add: I loved Peg! Her character was fantastic!)
On a Summer Tide (Three Sisters Island #1)
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.  

 

Posted in blog tour, Books

‘Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree’ & ‘When God Made Color’ ~ Two Children’s books/ Celebrate Lit Tour

isaac and god made color FB banner

 

About the Books

Isaac and God Made Color-1WhiteSpark Publishing is thrilled to bring readers young and old two delightful stories all about color!
Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree
Isaac loves the sugar maple in his yard, and he can’t help but feel bad for it when its branches are winter-bare. He decides to give it a gift…and is surprised when the tree returns the favor in the new morning snow, presenting him with balls of…ice cream!
But how long can this magic last with spring on the horizon? A magical exploration through the colors of the rainbow, the days of the week, and some of our favorite fruits that is sure to delight.
When God Made Color
The wonders of creation spread out before us in all the glories of the rainbow…the deep purples and blues of night, the bright yellows of day, the pinks and oranges of flowers. And of course, the colors of all the creatures…including us! These sumptuous fine art illustrations will thrill parent and child alike!
Click here to purchase Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree.
Click here to purchase When God Made Color

About the Authors

Angela Henderson resides in Dallas, Texas, where she teaches middle school English Language Arts & Reading and is a mother of three. Exploring children’s books for twelve years with her own children during numerous “story times” at the local library and reading hundreds of books to her children, her passion for quality children’s literature led her to write her own work. After creating her blog and Facebook page, Kidsbook Friends, and her Instagram, Instabooks, she’s been able to share her love of literature with over a thousand followers by featuring authors and books. She’s thrilled to introduce her own creative story where magical moments lead to positive perspectives.
Sheri Carmon capSheri Carmon seeks to incorporate the beauty of the Lord’s heart, His ways and His love in her writing for children. As an author, her goal is to shine His light through stories. In the past she has published poetry and inspirational compositions with both Blue Mountain Arts and The Group Publishing. Sheri has always cared for the individual needs of families and spent fifteen marvelous, fast-paced years in real estate, specializing in family friendly homes. She and her husband have helped facilitate whole church Bible-reading programs in Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. They make their home in Colorado, on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, where they’re surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation every day.

More from Angela

Why children’s books? After all, I teach young teens. Well, my reasons:

  1. I love art, and reading children’s books is like looking at an artist’s showcase of creativity!
    * Shout out to my amazing illustrator, Rachael Koppendrayer!
  2. I love to dream up the impossible, and you can make anything happen in a children’s book!
  3. I love togetherness and nothing brings a family together like a good book.

As I read picture books with my kiddos, the teacher in me wanted to instruct too. I created a blog (http://www.kidsbookfriends.com) so teachers, librarians and parents could have little lessons to help them “make friends” with the characters in the stories I featured. Surrounded by such inspiration from these books and my kiddos, I started writing my own manuscripts when my kids were all under age five, mainly sketches of thoughts until I had segments of time where I could construct stories.

After several years of attending SCBWI conferences; connecting with writers; creating manuscripts & editing and revising, editing and revising (you see a pattern?!); and submitting them to publishers, Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree was accepted for publication and was released January 15, 2019, by Whitefire Publishing! (It’s a process!!!)

The message embedded in this colorful, magical story expresses a very real part of my heart as it’s our family motto: “Always remember to look for the rainbow.” My kids and I both literally and figuratively practice this principle, rushing out after every rain to see if the sky is painted with a bow as well as trying to find the good that comes through the storms of life.

Through my journey, I’ve experienced much loss through moving many times, caring for my mother during her dying days, and losing my husband through divorce. Yet in it all, God redeems and uses each pain and joy like brush strokes on a canvass, reminding us of His unfailing promises while creating a masterpiece.

Creativity, imagination, inspiration . . . make magical moments.

Gather together. Dream the impossible. Embrace the colors. . . as I introduce you to a new friend, Isaac! Excited to share this story with you. . . and my next one . . . and the one after that. . . until we have many new kindred spirits . . .together.

Click here for a fee printable coloring page.

Click here to learn the story behind the story.

More from Sheri

A child asks, “Who am I?”
Creation Vs. Evolution – The big battle. Many public schools are presenting Evolution as fact and not theory. They leave no room for the concept of Creation. Our little ones are not creatures descended from animals, they are Children of God, created in His image. This is our identity and our children’s Identity and it makes all the difference in how we see ourselves, how we see others and how we engage in the world. Our identity is made clear in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 NIV. As Christian parents and grandparents, we are charged with teaching, encouraging and bringing forth our family line for the LORD. The new picture book When God Made Color, with its awe inspiring illustrations, is about our true identity and about the joyful, loving God who created us and the whole universe – a universe that is still expanding – Isn’t He just amazing?

Click here to view a special video

 Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, May 2

By The Book, May 2

Among the Reads, May 3

cultivating us, May 3

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 4

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Mary Hake, May 5

For Him and My Family, May 6

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 7

Blogging With Carol, May 7

Lighthouse Academy, May 8

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae, May 8

Pause for Tales, May 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 9

Inspiration Clothesline, May 10

Reading Themes, May 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 11

Have A Wonderful Day, May 12

janicesbookreviews, May 12

A Reader’s Brain, May 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 13

Older & Smarter?, May 14

Creating Romance, May 14

Inklings and notionsMay 14

Aryn, the Libraryan, May 15

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 15

The Becca Files, May 15

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Angela and Sheri is giving away a grand prize of The Great Color Giveaway Package that includes a $25 gift card from Amazon, Rainbow ice-cream cups with colored spoons, a paperback copy of Issacs’s Ice Cream Tree, a $25 gift card from Barnes and Noble,
Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint – 12 count original and glitter paint (see attached image), and a paperback copy of When God Made Color!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e2a9/the-great-color-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

It was originally planned that I would be reviewing these titles, but the files would not properly download or open, so I’m afraid I do not have a review to share, but they certainly look adorable!

 

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.”

*

“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.”

 

*

*

*

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

IMG_4855

“The White City” by Grace Hitchcock

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

40738332.jpg

 

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?

*

IMG_4854

*

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
*
IMG_4853
*
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
*
“Never had a man outside her novels affected her so.” 
*
“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.” 
*
“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.”
*
“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.'” 
*
IMG_4852
Posted in Books, Reviews

Alice in Wonderland BookSleeve by LukieDukie ~ Review

 

IMG_4579

 

Alice in Wonderland Book Sleeve

Made by Lukie Dukie// Etsy Shop

isla_500x500.16835072_jk5lxfgk

 

IMG_4582

This booksleeve is so soft. Possibly even the softest I’ve ever felt!   I kind of want to be a book myself ;)
This sleeve is flexible and durable – the fabric is strong, as is the sewing, and yet it is still not stiff or stuck in one place.
I love the size, and the pen loop on the side is a great addition. I like keeping notes and recording quotes of my current read, but the thought of a pen potentially leaking its ink onto the books pages makes me cringe! So a loop on the side is a great solution, not to mention handy. ;)
My favorite part of this sleeve, by far, is the cushyness of it. As I’ve said, it is super soft and I love that! And of course, the Alice in Wonderland print itself is incredibly endearing, and so whimsical! Definitely in love with this sleeve and excited to have this brilliant piece in my collection!
A huge thank you to the owner/creator of the shop – she was a delight to work with!

(Fun fact: “If Only It Were Yesterday” by A.M. Heath is a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland retelling <3)

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

 

ARoD library (3).jpg

 

“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

ARoD library (1)

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 :)
IMG_3920

Quotes:

 

“Daphne didn’t handle strangers very well most of the time, and she certainly wasn’t managing this one.” 
*
“You know,” Jess finally said, “it’s okay to not be good at something. It’s okay to ask for help.” 
*
“‘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.'” 
*
“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.” 
*
“I like people. Well, I like helping them. They make me nervous unless I have a particular task to do.” 
*
“Daphne frowned again. What good was escaping into one’s imagination if the world’s problems came along for the ride?” 
ARoD library (5)