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)

 

Posted in Books, Product Revews, Reviews

Virtuous Spindle Book Sleeve Review

IMG_4445

 

I am so excited to share about an Etsy shop today, and in particular, a book sleeve from this shop! I was very blessed to receive the NeverLand print book sleeve for review from The Virteous Spindle Etsy shop, and I am thrilled to share my review with you here!

The shop has some adorable items, including book sleeves, mug-rugs, cup-cozies, and more! I definitely suggest checking the shop out. The owner was very pleasant to work with, and I love the quality of her book sleeve!

Read on for my official review. :)

 

IMG_4446

The Virtuous Spindle

 

Oh my goodness is this print darling! Peter Pan has always held a dear spot in my heart, so when I saw this Neverland print, I was smitten. And the soft pink color is perfect.
This sleeve is padded beautifully, and size is perfect for softcovers and hardcovers alike.
I like how the inside is lined with a soft purple fabric that compliments the outer print very well, and is gentle on the books it will keep safe!
IMG_4448

 

 

It looks and feels very durable, and it has been sewn very well. I definitely feel that I can trust this sleeve to protect my books and keep them snug while on the go! Not to mention, keep them looking even more fashionable. ;)
I really am extremely pleased with this book sleeve, and the Etsy shop itself! Beautiful, well-made items that I can recommend.

 

I have already  used it to protect my current read and love how it fits safely into my purse without bending the book. Book sleeves are a must have, in my opinion!

 

IMG_4447

 

And again, the print is absolutely darling. A great pair with the Peter Pan story. :)

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books

“Of Fire and Lions” by Mesu Andrews ~ Book Review

Happy Release Day to this book!! Mesu Andrews writes some great Biblical fiction – I am happy and honored to be on her team! <3

IMG_4212

“Of Fire and Lions” by Mesu Andrews

Biblical Fiction

Review copy from the publishers as apart of Mesu’s BFF launch team

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Of Fire and Lions

About the book:

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone? 
Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

IMG_4213

My Thoughts:

 

This is an exquisitely told tale of…so much. To say it was only about one character, or one theme would be an error because so much was ensconced in this novel.

The story is told through the eyes of Abigail – or Belili as she is most often referred to – and Daniel, and spans across their lives from when they first met, when they felt lost to each other, and when they were reunited, and beyond.

It took me a bit to adjust to the time-jumping, but it was handled smoothly, and expressed the novel so well.

Belili had to endure a lot of heartache. As we learn her story, we are endeared to her and understand her pain, and her decisions. Time after time God gently reveals Himself to her, and that was a beautiful part of this story.

Daniel’s faith was spectacular, of course. And inspiring. To be faced with death for following Yahweh, and still remaining true to Him – it is encouraging to say the least. I thank God that we can still worship and pray to Him freely.

“Of Fire and Lions” really is such a full book that it almost seems impossible to cover everything and do the book justice. It was more than a pleasurable read, and I absolutely loved the faith shown throughout. Seeing the transformations at the end was just wonderful, and seeing God work – always amazing!

A beautiful Biblical Fiction piece from Mesu Andrews – I always look forward to more of her novels!

 

 

IMG_4214

Posted in 1940's, Books, Revell Reads

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2)

 

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book Two in the Sunrise At Normandy series//WWII fiction

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Book:

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.
Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.
Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.
Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past–and the most fearsome battle of his life.

*

*

My Thoughts:

 

Ah, you just cannot go wrong with a Sarah Sundin novel! She writes some of the best and most satisfying WWII that I have ever read. <3 “The Sky Above Us” was no exception! Beautifully written with fantastic messages and amazing characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There is so much depth and reality to this story, and the characters are so beautifully flawed that this easily becomes a five star read for me.  “The Sky Above Us” provided a true read with real struggles and still left me with such a happy feeling.
I loved the characters, as always. They are each so unique and just so…believable. I am continually amazed at each new release of Sarah Sundin’s. And waiting for the third book is going to be so hard! I love the Paxton brothers so much, and the heroines are amazing!!
I thought the journey Violet and Adler both were on spiritually was portrayed so well. The faith message was truly marvelous and deeply touching.
Also might I add that I really want a novella or something of Adler and Violet’s life after the last page?! That would be amazing <3
All in all, a fantastic read and I highly recommend this series!