Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan

A Van Buren and Deluca Mystery

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin’s “right hand man,” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build. 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’ve got a lot of cover-love for this one. Not to mention the clever title. :)
I liked the story itself alright, but to be honest it wasn’t my most favourite.I had a bit of a hard time getting into it, and sometimes it felt choppy and jumped around a bit to where I wasn’t sure I knew what was going on and would need to read the same thing several times before I would get what was going on.
There were several things that were repeated and sometimes felt a little more like filling rather than integral to the book.
I liked Hamish quite a bit, and loved his love for The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – that was extremely endearing to me. How he carried his well-loved copy with him and knew parts of it by heart; yep, loved that! And I also appreciated his struggles with anxiety. No, I don’t like anxiety, but it is nice to see real characters with real struggles. And while I don’t suffer from panic attacks or anxiety at the severe level he does, I could understand. I applaud the author for writing this into his character and making him come to see himself as strong through it all.
I liked Reggie and enjoyed their relationship, until the latter half of the book. Reggie was very fickle in her romance and it was very aggravating. Literally, in one chapter she was kissing one of the two men she goes between, and is having a marvelous time with him, and then in the very next chapter she is said as feeling wildly attracted to the other man, trying to keep her gaze from tracing his lips. That just irked me. I understand that “the heart is deceitful, who can know it?” but it was like there was no conflict of her conscience either.
The mystery plot was pretty well done. It kept you wondering till the end. As I mentioned above, there were definitely parts where I felt lost in the explaining of it, but that might just be me.
I was also disappointed by the utter lack of faith included. It was ‘clean’, but I wouldn’t classify it as Christian.
I didn’t hate this book. I just didn’t love it like I had hoped.There were definitely aspects I enjoyed, like the time period, and the nightclub, and the dancing. And I would be curious to see how the series continues.
I think it will be one that many people love. And I wish I could’ve said the same for me. It was just a bit of a miss for me, but that doesn’t mean it will be for you. :)

 

 

 

 

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*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, Give-aways

“Julie” by Catherine Marshall ~ Blog Tour with Giveaway and Review!

 

Welcome to this stop on the Julie by Catherine Marshall Reissue Celebration Blog Tour with JustRead Publicity Tours! I pleased to be sharing about this book, my review of it, and a giveaway! Let’s get started :)

 

Title: Julie

Author: Catherine Marshall

Publisher: Gilead Publishing

ReIssue Date: April 17, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance Fiction

Links: Goodreads l Amazon l ChristianBook l Book Depository l Itunes

*A New York Times bestseller*

——————————-

Will the dam hold?

Julie Wallace has always wanted to write. Trying to 
escape the Great Depression, Julie’s father buys the
Alderton Sentinel, a small-town newspaper in flood-prone Alderton, Pennsylvania, and moves his family
there. As flash floods ominously increase, Julie’s investigative reporting uncovers secrets that could
endanger the entire community.

Julie, the newspaper, and her family are thrown into a perilous standoff with the owners of the steel mills
as they investigate the conditions of the immigrant laborers. As the Alderton Sentinel and Julie take on a more aggressive role to reform these conditions, seething tensions come to a head.

When a devastating tragedy follows a shocking revelation, Julie’s courage and strength are tested. 
Will truth and justice win, or will Julie lose everything she holds dear?

 

TO PURCHASE A COPY

Amazon l ChristianBook l Book Depository l Itunes

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

 

Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), “The New York Times” best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel “Christy.” Based on the life of her mother, “Christy” captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in “A Man Called Peter.” A decade after Dr. Marshall’s untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of “Guideposts,” forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine’s enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.

 

 

MY REVIEW:

 

 

I’m probably one of the few that hasn’t read or seen Catherine Marshall’s infamous “Christy”, but when “Julie” was brought to my attention, I wanted to give this author a try. And I love the new cover of “Julie” – truly beautiful!
The story itself was an interesting one. It was good, and the author obviously put a lot of effort into the historical fact side of it. Sometimes the facts got a little heavy when I wanted to focus more on the characters and their relationships/lives, but overall it wasn’t too much, and it all was indeed interesting. The build-up to the dam-break was a slow crescendo but well-written as we received more information piece by piece. And the newspaper aspect was an enjoyable story – I’ve always enjoyed plots like that.
The characters: The book is of course centered around Julie, as the title suggest. It’s written from her POV and that reads nicely. She is an eighteen year old girl with a lot of gumption and passion. I applauded her devotion to her family, even when crisis after crisis hit. The Wallace family was in it together, no matter what.
The romance struck me as a bit…odd/underdeveloped. First off, there was a sort of love-triangle, only Julie couldn’t decide which of the three men she liked best. And she had no problem flirting with each one nonchalantly. I didn’t care for that. Also, there was a lot of physical attraction between her and Rand, and they shared their kisses freely – and often times, passionately – but with no definite commitment, and then there was the fact that Rand might’ve been in love with someone else…it just did not come across as virtuous or gentlemanly on his part, or caution on her part. And then, towards the end, when we’re expecting to find the conclusion of her romance – find who she chooses – it was summed up really quickly without depth or much emotion. That kind of shocked me. I was expecting a bit more…story on that. Of the three men, I admit I was definitely more for Rand, though their relationship definitely could’ve used some foundation other than just physical attraction.
I appreciated the faith-message, and relying on God through the various trials life throws our way, and the growth we go through under such pressured. There was one character who was particularly strong in his faith, and that was Dean Flemming. I liked him quite a bit and his mission. He was steady in his beliefs and loved the Lord.  However, the desire to keep his “ministry”, if you will, so secret didn’t sit right with me. Yes, we are to “not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing” and not do our deeds for man to see, but when someone asks us of our faith, we are to be always ready to give an answer and to be transparent. To let our acts be known so that they glorify God. Having a “secret society” just felt very off to me, and didn’t sit well.
But that’s not to say I didn’t like what they did, and their commitment to serving God’s people. That was respectable and encouraging. I just don’t think the secrecy aspect was needed.
I realize that my review so far seems a bit critical. I did enjoy “Julie” and am glad I read it! I just had some concerns, which I’ve stated. It was a fascinating story, with happy moments and sad moments, and many gripping scenes. The dam-breaking scene was fairly heart-rending, and I cannot imagine all the horrors entailed. Seeing the town recover was inspiring.

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

 

 

(1) Winner will win:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Bookmark Swag
  • Necklace (exact or similar & *subject to change)
  • Print Copy of Julie

(Only Gift Card open internationally. Others open to US Mailing Addresses)


ENTER HERE (or click on the giveaway image above)

 

 

TOUR SCHEDULE:

JustRead Publicity Tour Landing Page

April 23
Backing Books
Beautifully Broken 
Glamamamas Goodies
Glimpse of Our Life
The Power of Words
Remembrancy
Just Commonly
Book Reviews by Steph


April 24
All of a Kind Mom
Amanda In PA
Locks, Hooks and Books
Two Points of Interest
This Chattanooga Mommy Saves
Savings in Seconds
Veronica’s ‘Views
Meagan Davenport
Faery Tales Are Real


April 25
As We Walk Along the Road
Texas Book-aholic
Book by Book
Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Bibliophile Reviews
Moments
Quilting Along Life’s Way
Girls in White Dresses
Mom 2 Mom Connection


April 26
A Baker’s Perspective
Impressions In Ink
A Room Without Books is Empty 
Christian bookaholic
Mocha with Linda
Lighthouse Academy
Running Through the Storms 
Coffee Addicted Writer
Live. Love. Read.
Thoughts from Mill Street
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae


April 27
For the Love of Books
I’m Hooked on Books
She Lives to Read
Becky J Miller
Jami’s Words
Ponderings of a Poet & Procrastinator
Have A Wonderful Day 
Pause for Tales
Hope for Today’s Heart
Neverending Stories
Jen Around the World
Maureen’s Musings
Singing Librarian Books
Splashes of Joy 
Katherine Scott Jones
My Full Cup

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

 

Image result for curly q

 

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?

 

 

Image result for curly q

 

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 blog tour, Book reviews

“A Song of Home” by Susie Finkbeiner ~Book Review

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“A Song of Home” by Susie Finkbeiner

A Pearl Spence Novel

Review copy from Kregal Publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

About the book:

 

Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there’s one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn’t seem to have a thought for the family she’s left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl’s new routine, whether that’s running to Aunt Carrie’s farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth–until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can’t figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.

Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt readers. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed! 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

“A Song of Home” was an excellent read. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect – I’d heard good things about the author’s writing which is why I requested this book for review, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect from the story. However, this book delightfully surprised me, and felt so comfortable.
It is the third book in the Pearl Spence novels, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it. In fact, it left me craving to go back and read the first two – I must get my hands on copies of those!!
The writing talent alone is enough to draw you in – boy, was I impressed. It read flawlessly, and I realized that I hadn’t looked at the chapter number once until the very end, making sure I had another left. And while that may not seem important to some, I was dazzled to be so captivated that I didn’t realize where I was at in the book. ^.^
ASOH is a quiet tale, a gentle story, full of life and trials, beauty and pain. All told through the eyes of eleven year old Pearlie Spence.
I loved her friendship with Ray. I’m hoping there’s another book to come that continues their friendship as they both grow?? :)
All of the characters really were special, and so well-written. Each one seeming so realistic and so alive. Everything about this book was that way.
Oh, her Daddy was so sweet – their relationship was precious. I wasn’t as fond of her mama – at first. The more I got to see of her, the more that was explained – well, I grew to understand her better.
And the ending was very sweet. It was such a good book; I definitely want to read more. :)
 
 

Quotes:

“Hard times had the power to change people. I knew that. They could change them for the good or bad. Thing was, nobody could tell somebody which way to go. Folks had to figure it out on their own.” 
“Was she lost to him?’ I asked. ‘Ah, but one can never be too lost to be found by true love.'” 
 
“The work it must’ve taken for Daddy to be kind to her was more than I had patience for. But he was a kind man, Daddy was. If there was anything I’d learned from him it was that gentleness wasn’t a show of weakness. Sometimes it took more strength to be gentle than Samson possessed even on his very best day.” 
“They behave badly indeed. But there’s always a reason for people to do the things they do.” 
“Do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you. That’s in the Good Book, you know. How you wanna be treated is how you best do to everybody else. Even if they gone and hurt you. You still gotta do it. Praise Jesus.”

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books

Book Review: “The Fragrance of Geraniums” by Alicia G. Ruggieri

Hello Readers! A couple notes before I start in to this book review for a lovely book: One, Happy Mother’s Day! If you’re a mother, I hope you have a wonderful day basking in your family’s love, and if you’re a ‘child’ (no matter the age – that’s pretty much all of us, isn’t it? ;)) I hope you have a lovely day loving your mother! Second Note: I know I had mentioned in my Pinterest Post not this last Friday but the one before that, that we were expecting my nephew to come, but alas, he has not wanted to arrive! We’re waiting still – had a few signs that it could be soooon!! That’s why this is later than I had originally planned. :D Okay, carry on!

 

 

“The Fragrance of Geraniums” by Alicia G. Ruggieri

Age recommendation: 16+

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In brokenness, she found grace…

Told from multiple perspectives, this is a powerful story of three women – of the threads of mercy that connect them – and of heart-wrenching sorrows alchemized by the Heavenly Father’s overwhelming redeeming grace.

Rhode Island – 1934

A GIRL
Grace Picoletti has nothing going for her – but she’s determined to succeed in life, nonetheless. Born to severe destitution, she claws her way up from the pit of family shame and secrets. She avoids close friendships – even with the likable, persistent Paulie Giorgi…

A WOMAN
Despite her own agonizing emotional pain, childless Emmeline Kinner reaches out to a young woman so far beneath her. She could never have known whom else God would set in her path through her friendship with Grace…

A MOTHER
Long ago, Sarah Picoletti resigned herself to a loveless, abusive life – and she believes that her daughter Grace must inherit the same fate. Yet Sarah’s own soul cries out for the blessed peace and hope of which the radio minister speaks…

My Thoughts

What an absolutely lovely book. It is heart-warming and heart wrenching in its entirety. I loved it. Having loved Alicia’s “The House of Mercy” (which I reviewed here), I knew I wouldn’t have a hard time enjoying this one too, but I really was blown away by just how much I loved it. It was so real, and so well done. Alicia has such a God-given gift for writing, and I absolutely love how she uses it all for His glory!! It shines through so beautifully in her books, and I can’t tell you just how much I appreciate that!

Knowing that God is at the heart of Alicia and her books, it makes the reading so pleasant, so full of joy. So wholesome. And this story felt like a ‘coming home’ kind of story – it was just so comfortable and so homey and so alive! And as I said, it was heart-wrenching. Main character Grace has an unfortunate homelife, but oh how there is redemption in that, and how it is found! I really enjoyed reading from various character perspectives – it made for a delightful and depth-filled journey.

And as a side note, I absolutely loved Paulie and his steady, caring affection for Grace, and how he wanted her to know above all that Jesus cared for her. He was so sweet. And I really, really hope there is more of their relationship – and so many others – in the sequel Miss Ruggieri is writing now!! I really cannot wait for it.

Excellent and superb book, Alicia! I am so thankful to have read it, and highly recommend it to others!

After I finished it, I was in the car and heard a song on the radio (a song that I love) and thought how fitting it was to this book, so I thought I’d share that here, too:

“No Man is an  Island” by Tenth Avenue North

 

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Posted in Books, Give-aways

“The Fragrance of Geraniums” by Alicia G. Ruggieri Release and Giveaway!

Today is the day! Alicia Roque Ruggieri’s book, “The Fragrance of Geraniums” releases to us blessed people! And she’s hosting a give-away in celebration of it – which I am so honoured to be sharing with you as well.
Below you will find the cover of the book, the description, and last but not the least the rafflecoptor where you can enter to win your very own copy of this lovely book. I can’t wait to receive my copy and begin reading!
This give-away runs from now (11/13) till 11/26 and is on several blogs as we celebrate this lovely release!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P4PB7W6/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

Told from multiple perspectives, this is a powerful story of three women – of the threads of mercy that connect them – and of heart-wrenching sorrows alchemized by the Heavenly Father’s overwhelming redeeming grace.

Rhode Island – 1934

A GIRL
Grace Picoletti has nothing going for her – but she’s determined to succeed in life, nonetheless. Born to severe destitution, she claws her way up from the pit of family shame and secrets. She avoids close friendships – even with the likable, persistent Paulie Giorgi…

A WOMAN
Despite her own agonizing emotional pain, childless Emmeline Kinner reaches out to a young woman so far beneath her. She could never have known whom else God would set in her path through her friendship with Grace…

A MOTHER
Long ago, Sarah Picoletti resigned herself to a loveless, abusive life – and she believes that her daughter Grace must inherit the same fate. Yet Sarah’s own soul cries out for the blessed peace and hope of which the radio minister speaks…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Because I am either a bit unsure as to how to make the rafflecoptor show up besides just a link, or else it is the blog format, or the blog/computers fault, if you wish to enter, you will need to click the link to go enter. Sorry about that. But it is worth it, because the book looks and sounds fabulous!)

Enjoy! And don’t forget to stop by the author’s blog and Facebook to follow her:

A Brighter Destiny

Alicia G. Ruggieri FaceBook

A fourth-generation New England native, Alicia G. Ruggieri writes stories about the possibility of redemption for all things through the Cross and the cost of true mercy. With a degree in Communications and History, Alicia loves spending her days researching, writing, and caring for her family, and she avows that every life would be enriched through the addition of just one more dog.