Posted in blog tour, Book reviews, Books, Reviews

Book Review: “All Our Empty Places” by Alicia G. Ruggieri

So the book I am about to review is a very special one! It’s the newest release of Alicia’s and it is a truly beautiful masterpiece! The release date is September 29th, and there’s a blog tour scheduled for the days up ahead. You’ll see another post from me regarding this lovely book with more information on its release and giveaway! But for now, here is my review…


“All Our Empty Places” by Alicia G. Ruggieri

Book Two in A Time of Grace Trilogy ( Book one – “The Fragrance of Geraniums”)

Review copy source: The author

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


About the Book:

The sequel to THE FRAGRANCE OF GERANIUMS (A Time of Grace, Book One)

In 1935, when the bank calls in her mortgage, Sarah Picoletti – now a penniless widow – finds herself and her children on the brink of homelessness. Sick at heart, she plans to beg her brother in New Jersey to take her family in.

Then Doctor Samuel Giorgi knocks on her door. Godly and well-off, Sam seems to have put the careless ways of his youth behind him, and he also appears to have one desire: to make Sarah his wife, two decades after he broke their engagement.

However, nothing prepares Sarah for the storm that breaks once she makes her decision. Everywhere she turns, the errors of her former choices confront her, insisting on her inferiority and the irreparable brokenness of her past. Sarah begins to wonder if Christ really can bring true redemption or if He is limited by her frailty.

Meanwhile, her daughter Grace faces new challenges in her own life. When her relationship with Paulie changes unexpectedly, Grace realizes that she must make a decision with the potential to alter both of their futures.

Compassionate and intensely poignant, All Our Empty Places paints the portrait of a mother and daughter with broken pasts, who dare to step into a future overflowing with the grace of the Cross.

My Thoughts:

Oh my, what a terrifically splendid book this is! I truly loved it. It was beautiful, and heart-rending. In a good way, mind you. :)

I just loved it. I loved the characters – being reunited with them after finishing “The Fragrance of Geraniums” was absolutely delightful. Alicia Ruggieri writes in such a realistic way that you can’t help but think of the characters as real people. They have real beauty and real struggles. They are, in full, delightful. When beginning “All Our Empty Places”, I was of course, overjoyed, but also curious to see how I’d like it since it focused more on Sarah, the mother. As a young adult, I relate best with Grace, but I couldn’t have been any more thrilled with watching Sarah’s journey than I was while reading this book! What I loved was how it was a struggle – it was gritty. Sarah didn’t experience a ‘everything is all better now that I know Christ’ transformation – it was so much more than that. Of course her life WAS better having Christ as her Savior, but there are still bumps along the road. We are all so broken. And I LOVE the verse used in the end: “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

The overall theme of this book – that God is our sufficiency – was astounding and deeply touching. Just the morning that I finished reading “All Our Empty Places”, I read the verse that says we are complete in Christ – I thought it resounded beautifully with this book. By ourselves, we are nothing but shattered pieces. But with Christ, we are beautiful pieces of art – even in our brokenness. He takes our brokenness and makes us beautiful. <3

And don’t even get me started on Grace and Paulie!!! Book Three cannot come soon enough for me. :) Watching their relationship shift and grow was spectacular, and the result in the end…I won’t give anything away, but let me tell you it was…wow! So God-filled. He is our focus. It gave me shivers. And tears. There were plenty of real tears while reading this lovely book. :)

I don’t have any complaints for this book…there were some rather frustrating parts (haha!) but they added the depth and circumstances that was necessary, same with some tense scenes. And as a whole, the book was all the better for each instance.

The two books in this lovely series (as well as Alicia’s “House of Mercy”) sit in my heart so dearly. They always minister to me, and bless me especially in the way that they are all for God’s glory. I encourage everyone to check out her books – you won’t be left feeling empty! :)


*I received a complimentary ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Posted in Book reviews, God's Lessons, Human Trafficking, Reviews, Spiritual beliefs, Writing

Book Review: “Not Abandoned” by MacKenzie Morganthal

Hello readers! Today, as part of the blog tour, I have a very special review – this book was recently published by “my very good friend Richard W. Cornvelt MacKenzie Morganthal”!! (Okay, so I admit I just used a quote from the kid show “Choo-Choo Bob” but since it is often on in my house, I can use it). But truly, I am so honoured to be able to review this gem! So, without further ado, read on for the review!




“Not Abandoned” by MacKenzie Morganthal

Review copy source: the Author

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Human trafficking… These two words will change four different lives forever. Especially for Haley, a police officer in training, who is thrust right into the heart of an organized human trafficking ring when a family friend is mysteriously abducted. Once the problem hits even closer to home, Haley will stop at nothing to see justice prevail. With no way out once trapped inside the trafficking ring, is there any hope for rescue? When trouble arises and Caryn’s life is compromised, will she be able to survive or will help come too late? Strength is tested and trust is broken in this mystery of seemingly impossible rescue and God’s loving redemption. After hearing those words, human trafficking, these girls will never look at their lives the same way again… and neither will you.

My Thoughts:

I love this book. Truly I do. And I am not just saying that because I know and love the author like a sister. “Not Abandoned” is an amazing piece of art, showing the realism of Human Trafficking in a deep but gentle way. And there’s also a bit of a mystery to it! There were things I wasn’t even expecting. And even in my second read through of it, knowing the end, I was still reading as fast as I could, on the edge of my seat because it is that good.

You can tell that this book was entirely God-guided and I find that so remarkably powerful. His hand was through every page.
The story following these girls as victims of the sex-slavery pulled you right along – you hurt with them, you cried with them. And in the end, you hoped with them.
All of the characters were constructed very nicely. I think my favourite of the characters was Haley, the cop-in-training. I also really liked another character, but that person surprised us in doing something wrong. I won’t say who or give names, but that one was a favourite. I hope to see said character in the sequel!

Honestly, this book is hard to review because of the deep subject, but let me assure you it was handled with such grace while still exposing the terrible crime that is Human Trafficking. Millions of girls are in slavery, and I feel that this book helps give them a voice. This is a real thing, not to be handled lightly, and that is shown perfectly in “Not Abandoned”.

So I highly, highly recommend this book to older readers – I believe she has ages 14 and up – I might go a little higher than that, only because my little sister is so sensitive that I wouldn’t want her reading anything before she’s ready – but for others, 14 might be just fine :)   Anyway, I do suggest picking up this little gem!  It is definitely on my ‘favourites’ list!  (No bias, truly!)

And let me also just say, the cover is astounding! So perfect for the story and extremely eye-catching!


Congrats, Kenzie, and thank you for allowing me to read and review this fantastic book!


*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review which I have given.