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.”

 

 

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Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Death at Thornburn Hall” by Julianna Deering ~ Book Review

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“Death at Thornburn Hall” by Julianna Deering

Book Six in the Drew Farthing Mysteries Series

Review copy provided by the publishers

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

The Fartherings’ Scottish Holiday Takes a Dark Turn 
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

I found this book uniquely written, and very… British-mystery-esque! Really, it was liking stepping into a BBC Mystery show. ^.^
The setting and era were very nice, and worked well with the story.I was most intrigued to find out the culprit in the end, though I did suspect the person earlier than Drew figured it out…! ^.^ But then, I have watched a lot of British Mysteries ;)
The characters were endearing, though because this is part of a series, you don’t really get to know them completely in one book. That is the one thing that probably makes this a lower rating for me, but not due to the book’s fault at all. This is just the kind of series that should be read in order. And I did not do that. ^.^ There were lots of references to past happenings in the previous books, so I wished I had had the chance to read them in order, but alas. I’m still glad I got the chance to read a Drew Farthing mystery, even if it is the 6th book. :) I’d like to start over at the first book at some point, and go through them, because, judging off this one book, they seem good and entertaining. :)
That being said, “Death at Thornburn Hall” could be read as a standalone (as I did), but I think I would recommend reading them in order to get a better grasp on the characters and their background! :)

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Quotes:

“That could be. Or maybe He has something else in mind. Some other way for you to find out what you want to know. A better way. Or maybe it just isn’t time yet and His answer isn’t no, but ‘not now’.”
“People generally think sheep are stupid, you know, but he says they’re not. It’s only when they’re afraid that they make bad decisions.”
“It wouldn’t be faith if we could see everything ahead of time.”
“You know how it is. When there’s a tragedy, people are so helpful at first. But after a while they go back to their regular routines, and the bereaved one is left quite alone with nothing to go back to.”
“At some point we have to trust God with our lives, don’t we? Otherwise we spend our days huddles in a corner afraid to take a step outside. But what a waste that is when there’s so much we;re meant to do with the time He’s given us.”
Posted in Book reviews, Heather Day Gilbert

“Guilt by Association” by Heather Day Gilbert ~ Book Review

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“Guilt by Association” by Heather Day Gilbert

Book Three in the “A Murder in the Mountains” series

Review copy from author, being a launch team member

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

About the Book:

Tess Spencer hadn’t planned on returning to her hometown, but when her ex-prisoner mom puts in a special request, Tess overcomes her hesitance to help her turn over a new leaf.

Pearletta Vee’s drug-dealing past is resurrected when the body of an overdosed teen shows up—right next to her trailer. Tess decides to stick around and investigate, yet the evidence is stacked against Pearletta. Tess suspects a setup—but why?

Never one to back down from a challenge, Tess takes on a wayward teen, an abusive grandma, and more than one drug dealer in her quest for the truth. But it’s going to take a miracle to keep her from becoming a casualty in her own personal war on drugs.

Plunging into the shadowy reality of the drug epidemic in West Virginia, Guilt by Association is the third book in the award-winning Murder in the Mountains mystery series.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

:D  <—- That’s how I feel to be reading a Heather Day Gilbert book. I love her writing!
“Guilt by Association” was an absolutely excellent read. So very easy to get into, and if I could, I would’ve read it straight through – I can’t do that with a lot of books (weird quirk of mine) but I could have easily done that with this book if only time had allowed. But I so enjoyed the time I got to spend within its pages.
The mystery was very well-done, gripping to the end, yet not overly…disturbing. I hope that makes sense! There are definitely some dark murder-mystery books out there, but I don’t think Guilt by Association was dark at all, which I appreciate. It was serious without being morbid.
The drug involvement was fascinating, sharing facts I hadn’t previously been aware of. I am thankful the author included this subject and so smoothly worked it in, educating her readers a bit. I was impressed.
And of course, I absolutely loved revisiting the characters! Tess Spencer is such a strong lead character, and so enjoyable to follow along with.
Truly, reading this book was pure pleasure, and felt so realistic, so believable.
The mystery had me curious till the end, with a very satisfying conclusion. And that ending!!! Oh my word, I teared up. Yes, the ending conclusion to the mystery itself was fantastic, but the last page….yep, it hit me right here (imagine me pointing to my heart ;)). You’ll just have to read the book to find out what I mean!
So good. I don’t know what else to say other than that I loved it, enjoyed every minute of it, was impressed, and definitely recommend this series to good-mystery-suspense-homey fiction! I think “Guilt by Association” may actually be my favourite of the series so far! And I hope there’s more books to come, because…yes, very much-needed, in my opinion!! I don’t want to be done with this series. :)
profits
And look! If you buy a copy of this book this month, you will be helping an excellent cause. So do go pick up a copy of this book! (And the first 2 books in this series!)
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris ~ Book Review

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“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris

A Nikki Boyd Files novel

Review copy from Revell Publishing Review Program

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki’s sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

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My Thoughts:

 

What a conclusion to this riveting series!
“Vanishing Point” was a unique twist from the first three Nikki Boyd series, and easily captivated my attention from the get-go. Instead of it being from the point of view of Nikki Boyd, the novel starts out some years previous to one of the first abductions in the Angel Abductor’s Case, with the point of view coming from two detectives/agents, Garrett, and Jordan.
Initially I was a bit sad to find it wasn’t Nikki Boyd front and center, but it actually worked really well being this way, and it gave a lot more insight into the case itself, stringing over numerous years until we reached present-day.
The mystery held strong to the very end, and tensions were high. Definitely another action-packed novel!
This series has definitely been a favourite, and while I am really glad to see how it ended, I am a bit sad to find that it’s over. The Nikki Boyd Files certainly brought us on quite the epic journey!
The characters in Vanishing Point were well constructed, just like the first three books. And the creepiness level was definitely there in the serial killer aspect.
It was almost hard watching how the relationship of Garrett and Jordan danced along, but it was very realistic, and don’t worry….it came with a happy conclusion!
The faith thread was also well-executed, beautifully and realistically portrayed.
“Vanishing Point” is a very satisfying finish to a fantastic series, and I am very impressed and pleased with Lisa Harris’ writing ability! Definitely will be eagerly waiting for whatever she has next in store. :)
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Quotes:

 
 
“I’m realizing that sometimes you can’t fix people or relationships. Sometimes all you can fix is yourself. You have to forgive them, love them, and then move on. It’s wha I’m going to have to do.” 
“Over the past decade, Garrett had come to realize more and more that his faith couldn’t rely on what was happening around him, or whether or not he understood how God worked. His faith had to rely on God Himself – who never changed – even when he didn’t understand what God was doing.” 
Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Jesus Always: A Devotional” by Sarah Young

 

“Jesus Always” by Sarah Young

A Devotional

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

With scripture and new personal reflections “Jesus Always” brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.
Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy. 

This deluxe comfort print edition includes easy-to-read large type and the full scriptures printed out.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

I love these “Jesus…” devotionals. They’re so beautiful, and full of Biblical truth, spoken from Jesus. I can be kind of picky when it comes to daily devotional books, but these have been a blessing to me, each day feeling like it came right from Yahweh just for me. The Lord definitely uses them in my life, and I find great encouragement in them.
“Jesus Always” has a beautiful cover, leather-like binding, and lovely script. This book is larger in size than my other devos, and is easy to read.
I definitely recommend “Jesus Always”, as well as the other devotionals compiled by Sarah Young. They’re full of truths and comfort.
Posted in Book reviews, Christmas

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

 

One Enchanted Noël: A Novella (Enchanted Christmas Collection Book 3) by [Tagg, Melissa]

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

Book Three in the “Enchanted Christmas” Collection

Review ecopy from the author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Secrets, Sparks and Second Chances…a Heartwarming Holiday Romance

Seb Pierce isn’t exactly a cowboy, but after fifteen years on a ranch in Texas, he might as well be. And he’d do just about anything to keep the rancher who took him in so many years ago from losing his land…including returning to the wealthy roots he’s long since abandoned. Seb agrees to work for his stern grandfather for one year in return for an early draw on his inheritance. But he never expected the agreement to land him in a quirky small town in Iowa at Christmas-time, renovating a dilapidated theater…and running into a woman he never thought he’d see again. She might not remember him, but he remembers her.
After too many years away from her hometown—and too many failures to count—Leigh Renwycke is finally back in Maple Valley and living the stable life she used to wish for. If only she could shake the old restlessness that used to get her into trouble. When Seb Pierce waltzes into her world and begs for her help planning the theater’s holiday reopening, it could be the solution to her discontent. If she pulls it off, it might be enough to jumpstart a new career…and to prove once and for all that the new-and-improved Leigh is here to stay. 
But between old secrets and new sparks, restoring a town treasure in time for Christmas may not be as easy as it seems…especially once Leigh learns the truth about Seb. 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Surprise! Another darling novella from the amazing Melissa Tagg! I don’t think it’s possible for her to write an un-darling story. (Also I’m pleased with myself for using ‘darling’ twice already, because…well, read the story to find out. ^.^)
As usual, the characters were so life-like, so real. And each one so unique. As this is the third novella (and final novella to the Enchanted Christmas Collection), we finally got the chance to read Leigh’s story! We’ve witnessed parts of her life and struggles through the first two novellas, but finally here, we get to see her life as a whole, see her get her own Happily Ever After. That doesn’t always come easy though. But that only adds the depth and reality of the story.
The hero, Seb, was quite nice. ^.^ He had his own bit of struggles, too, and they both had to find peace through it all.
The whole feeling of the novella was charming. The snow, the movie theater, the festivals that Maple Valley comes up with! I love it.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet and charming Winter Novella, pick this one up! You won’t regret reading a Melissa Tagg story. :)
Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Dying for Love” by Cara Putman

Dying for Love (Hidden Justice) by [Putman, Cara]

“Dying for Love” by Cara Putman

A novella/prequel to Hidden Justice series.

Review copy from the author

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:


Things were business as usual for family law attorney Ciara Turner, until she walked into her mentor’s office to find the judge had been murdered. To make things worse, the emotional moments were witnessed by Ciara’s nemesis, opposing counsel David Evans—the man she once thought she’d spend the rest of her life with.

David can’t walk away from the murder investigation. Judge Palmer was the only one who believed in him enough to give the boy from the wrong side of the tracks a fighting chance. But his amateur sleuthing keeps him crossing paths with Ciara and he can’t help but admire her passion for her clients, even if they are often at odds across the judgment table.

As David and Ciara get closer to discovering who killed Judge Palmer, their old feelings reignite. But the investigation takes an unexpected turn, can they trust each other enough to push for the truth? And will their rekindled relationship survive the aftermath?

 

My Thoughts:

This was an enjoyable novella, centered around the relationship between family lawyers, Ciara and Daniel, with a bit of a murder mystery woven between the pages.
The romance was sweetly done, and the mystery of the murder tied up swiftly in the short 9 chapters.
To be honest, I was a bit relieved that the main focus was on the romance and not the lawyer side of it, as I had recently finished a legal book that was a miss for me. But this novella kept my attention, and it was nice to see how their relationship wrapped up at the end! :)