Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“All Manner of Things” by Susie Finkbeiner ~ Review

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“All Manner of Things” by Susie Finkbeiner

1960’s Christian Fiction

Review copy through RevellReads program

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

When Annie Jacobson’s brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he hands her a piece of paper with the address of their long-estranged father. If anything should happen to him in Vietnam, Mike says, Annie must let their father know. 

In Mike’s absence, their father returns to face tragedy at home, adding an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. As they work toward healing and pray fervently for Mike’s safety overseas, letter by letter the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. In the tumult of this time, Annie and her family grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted.

Author Susie Finkbeiner invites you into the Jacobson family’s home and hearts during a time in which the chaos of the outside world touched their small community in ways they never imagined.

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t want this book to end. And I don’t just mean that flippently. I am quite sure I could live in this book and not grow tired of it. I have been wanting to find Christian fiction set in the 1960’s for quite some time, and author Susie Finkbeiner didn’t just deliver, she knocked it out of the park with this amazing novel. Will there be more? Please tell me we can see more of Annie and her family? Because that would be amazing.
“All Manner of Things” didn’t feel like an ordinary story – it felt so real right to its very spine. The characters were so much like real people – as one of the endorsers said on the back, they are the kind you want to write a letter to and see how they are doing. I agree, and wish that were possible! I don’t want to be done with this special family.
And speaking of letters, it was such a delight to this letter-writing-fan (me XD) for many of the chapters to end in exchanged letters. It added another beautiful level of depth to the already fantastic story.
This wasn’t a fluffy, lighthearted book, yet it wasn’t too heavy either. It was the perfect amount of sorrow and hope combined, in such a realistic way. Everything that played out was so realistic, and sometimes there were tears.
“All Manner of Things” is a book that will stick with me for a long time. It is one of those books that I don’t mind if it becomes worn from many readings, because it is special.
The characters amazing, the plot superb, and can’t forget that perfect cover. <3
I’m so thankful I had the chance to read this book!
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Quotes:

“Live today and then tomorrow and then the next day…the same way you’ve lived all the other days.”
“Don’t duck and cover. Keep your eyes open.”
“Achter de wolken schijnt de zon: Behind the clouds the sun is shining. If only we have eyes to see it.”
“Sometimes He feels so far, as if to never reach us. We call for Him, we beg Him to come. And when He seems to stay away, we might even ask where He is. Then we see His power on display and remember, He has gone nowhere. And He’s lost not one bit of His strength.”

 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Wooing Cadie McCaffrey” by Bethany Turner – Review!

I am so embarressed by how late this post is. Among all the shuffle and trials life has been throwing at my family and I lately, I somehow missed posting this even though I wrote the review immediately after finishing this amazing book. So I am very sorry, Bethany, for my delay! But at long last, here is my review…

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“Wooing Cadie McCaffrey” by Bethany Turner

Christian Rom-Com

Review copy through the author/publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the “forever” way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It’s a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong?

Bethany Turner is back with more of the heart and humor readers love. Anyone who enjoys a good romance or binges romantic comedies on Netflix will devour this delightful story.

My Thoughts:

Is it really over? Bethany Turner sure knows how to write a spectacular romance book that gives you all the happy-tingly feels! Seriously, that ending…I just want to spend a bunch of time awwwwing at it all.
The story is adorable. Really truly it is. But it’s not just adorable. It’s full of real-life struggles, and real-life mistakes and how said mistakes affect life, and yet bring us closer to God through His forgiveness. That message was very sweetly and aptly portrayed in “Wooing Cadie McCaffrey”.
The characters, Cadie, and Will, and Darby, and Kevin, and Ellis (do you want me to go on?), were all so much more than just characters. I loved them all so very much. Will Whitaker is absolutely amazing, and I while I know where Cadie was coming from, I also don’t know how she could even possibly entertain thoughts of resisting him after all he did to show he cared. Okay, as I said, I do understand where she was coming from. Totally. Their misunderstanding was real. But Will is such a sweetheart, and I certainly wouldn’t turn him away if he showed up at my door reenacting favorite rom-com movies. XD Adorable.
There is sex mentioned frequently in this book. And while in some cases that might have been a “turn off” for me, this wasn’t. It certainly wasn’t glorified, nor was it explicitly shown or talked about – it was real life. And I must say, I am incredibly impressed how the author handled it all – with such grace and tact, and real-ness. Nothing about this book felt ‘dirty’ or ‘inappropriate’ in any way to me. I know every reader is different though, which is why I thought I should mention that this book does involve that subject. But trust me when I say, it is all handled extremely well. And really, I don’t think this story could have been what it is without that element, because it shaped the situation. While what happened may not be my ‘normal’, I know it is normal, and seeing how it affected the various characters was realistic, and again, handled so well.
I loved all the movie references, even if I haven’t seen a couple of the ones mentioned. Just knowing what they were was an extreme delight, and it was just such a fun element!
Also, I simply cannot leave this review off without touching on the cover…Oh.My.Goodness.!! It is adorable!! So, so beautiful, and meaningful, and stunning. Definitely a favorite. <3
I love this author’s writing style. So very much. Waiting for her next novel is going to be hard!
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“I’m just saying I’m doing this because I love her, and I happen to think you’re what’s best for her. And clearly you can’t handle it on your own.” -Darby to Will
“I researched. Believe me. You haven’t known a wild Friday night unless you’ve been at Kevin Lamont’s house watching 27 Dresses, and Odell Beckham and Alex Rodrigues show up, because Kev forgot to let them know a cocktail party had been rescheduled.” 
Darby gasped, but it quickly turned into a laugh. “That didn’t happen!”
“Oh, I assure you, it did. But it worked out okay. With Alex there, we breezed through Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner too.” 
Posted in Book reviews, Books, Revell Reads

“Living Lies” by Natalie Walters ~ Book Review

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“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.
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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, Revell Reads

“The Heart of a King” by Jill Eileen Smith ~ Book Review

 

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“The Heart of a King” by Jill Eileen Smith

The Loves of Solomon

Biblical/historical Fiction

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

The Heart of a King (The Loves of King Solomon #1-4)

About the book:

Four women captured King Solomon’s heart in different ways, and he indulges his desires despite warnings. For all his wisdom, did Solomon or the women he loved ever find what they were searching for?

 

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could–and did–have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you’ll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you’ll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you’ll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon’s wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

Before I go into my review, I want to state how much I love this cover. The colors just pop and it is beautifully designed! And the spine of it too – it’s beautiful!
The inside of this attractive novel was very enjoyable as well. Not once was I bored or lacking interest. I found this book to be very well-written, and captivating.
It was really interesting to see into King Solomon’s life, as well as a few of his many wives’ lives.
I was really impressed with how the author wrote King Solomon’s character  – he was likeable and understandable, and yet so frustrating with his weakness for many, many women. I have always wondered about him and his many wives, and honestly, he was irritating in this aspect but I couldn’t hate him. His flaws made up his character, and his strengths were shown as well. Like I said, I was impressed with the overall respect the author wrote into his story.
And I also found the four wives highlighted in this novel to be fascinating and well-written. I felt for each of them and enjoyed getting to know them. I think Naamah and Abishag were my favorites, but they each were unique characters that had complex stories.
I would like to add as well that it was all tastefully written. I was a little cautious about how…passionate it might become at times because of the nature of the story, but the descriptions never went too far, and it was handled really well. I was very appreciative of this!
The historicalness of the story felt natural, and I would easily classify it as such; historical fiction.
“The Heart of a King” is definitely my favorite of this author’s work thus far, and I would recommend it to fans of Historical/Biblical fiction. This novel felt similar to the author Mesu Andrews’ writing, so if you’ve enjoyed her novels, be sure to check out this one as well.
:)
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_It did no good to try to rewrite what was already past. What could never change. The very idea was futile._
_Sometimes suffering brings people together in a way prosperity never can._
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers as apart of the books launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.  
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.

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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!
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“A Sparkle of Silver” by Liz Johnson ~ Book Review

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“A Sparkle of Silver” by Liz Johnson

Book One in the Georgian Coast Romance series

Review copy from the author

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

Uncovering the past can lead to an unexpected future . . .

Millie Sullivan plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of a palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia, where her great-grandmother was a real guest ninety years ago. When Millie learns of a lost diary that may contain the location of a hidden treasure on the estate and reveal the identity of her great-grandfather, she sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune she desperately needs. But it won’t be easy. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. Still, her story seems too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up. Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight.

My Thoughts:

 

I really enjoyed this book. It was my first Liz Johnson book but it most certainly won’t be my last! I loved her writing style – it was fun and easy to follow, and beautifully accomplished.
The story itself was a true delight as well. The characters were so very realistic and believable. Millie – I loved her! She was relatable and raw and real, struggling with real problems. And of course, I related to her love of happily-ever-after novels! Book-sisters at heart <3
Ben was a dashing hero without being “too hunky” like a lot of heroes XD He was down-to-earth, dealing with his own problems, but so kind and likeable.
It was also such a treat to have clips from a relatives diary at the end of several chapters – seeing that story and mystery unfold was utterly delightful! The whole treasure-hunting theme in this book was riveting and kept you interested for sure.
The setting was fabulous – I wish I could visit The Chateau!! Sounds beautiful.
There was just so much to love about this book. The relationship of Millie and her grandmother was precious, her friendship with Ben, and Ben and Carl’s work-relationship/friendship were each so well done. And I really did love Millie and Ben’s growing relationship. It was very good. However, there was a moment of tension at the end that I felt was a bit overdone – one character overreacted just a little bit and I wanted to sit down and talk with them myself. XD However, almost all of their actions were understandable.
For most of the book, the faith theme was kind of sprinkled throughout; not very heavily. More like a reminder here and there. But towards the end the message of mercy, forgiveness, and who we are in Christ being what really matters came out a bit more strongly. It could’ve been even more strong for my taste, but it was well done for sure.
All in all, I enjoyed this book a great deal and look forward to more from this author!
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“A Secret To Die For” by Lisa Harris ~ Book Review

A Secret to Die For

 

“A  Secret To Die For” by Lisa Harris

Review Copy through Revell Publishing

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About the Book:

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret–one worth killing for. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn’t simply suffering from paranoia.

Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed eighteen people, including his partner, and left him dealing with PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan–and her life is in grave danger. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I absolutely loved Lisa Harris’s Nikki Boyd series, so I was looking forward to another book by this author.
I had a hard time getting into this novel, and couldn’t bond with the characters, so for me, this book wasn’t my favourite.
While it could be compelling at times, I didn’t connect, and found it much like watching an episode of a suspense show I’ve already seen.
The plot picked up a bit towards the end few chapters, but it felt a little predictable.
Like I said, I really do love this author’s work, and I will continue to read her novels, but this one was just a miss for me.
Love that cover, though! So pretty to look at :D