Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Most Anticipated Books of 2019!

Happy New Year, my friends!  (fakes throwing confetti)  It's 2019!  Can you believe it?!  I personally, cannot.  Though I am super stoked about all of the awesome books set to release this year!  So, without futher ado, some of my most anticipated books for the new year!  (click the title to learn more!)

1) Code of Valor by Lynette Eason (Jan 1)
The third book in her "Blue Justice" series!

2) Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano (Jan 1)
The start of a new series!

3) A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter (Feb 5)
Daphne's book!

4) One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac (Feb 19)
I've actually already had the pleasure of reading 
this book and it was great!

5) Sweet on You by Becky Wade (April 30) 
Britt's book!

6) Romanov by Nadine Brandes (May 7)

7) The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White (June 4)
A new series about code breakers!

8More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer (June 4)
This cover . . . 

9) Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig (July 2)

10) Vow of Justice by Lynette Eason (Aug 6)
The fourth book in the "Blue Justice" series! 

11) The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey (Aug 6)
This cover is a little . . . trippy (does anyone say that, anymore?)

That's what I have so far!  What other books would you have added? 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflections: A new year

2018 is almost gone, 2019 is about to begin, so typically today and tomorrow are days of reflecting back on the past year and dreaming of what the future will hold.  2018 has definitely been a year of huge changes for me and my family.  A year with more pain than I can remember knowing, but also a year with great joy and excitement.  A year of learning and growing and watching my family and friends do the same.  A year where my faith was tested and sometimes found lacking, sometimes found stronger than I had imagined.  A year where I asked Him and found God sufficient in all things, even when sometimes I doubted His grace.

Looking back over the last year, I can see my heavenly Father’s hand in so many things.  I can even see Him in my mom going home to be with Jesus, though I had asked Him for a different answer.  In the searching and the questions, in the doubt and the myriad of tears, I’ve found Him to be constant.  Even when I yelled because I didn’t like His answer and I was angry with Him, He never walked away. Though I couldn’t always see it in the moment, looking back, He truly has been Immanuel, God with us (Matt 1:23).  

I’ve seen Him SO often as my now-husband and I (along with some awesome friends and family!) planned a wedding in 90 days and it came off without any hitches that I know of (the bride is allowed to be oblivious, right?).  And now I see Him as we’re learning life together and what being a godly wife and husband looks like.  Getting to experience this journey with mentors, friends, and family who have walked the first few months of marriage some time ago and share their wisdom as we ask (and sometimes when we don’t ask, but really need it anyway).   

I’m so thankful for the many lessons I’ve learned this year and am still learning as the new year rings in, though some I definitely wish had been different.  Though God has used them to shape me, to grow and mold me, to strengthen my foundation in Him and show me anew who He is.

I’m not sure what I dream for 2019.  Maybe a few less dramatic changes than the past year.  Many more things to learn, I’m sure.  Hopefully some good books and good chocolate.  Time spent with family and friends.  I know this doesn’t encompass nearly everything on my heart and mind, but sometimes words on a page or screen can’t fully express the emotions.  The joys and grief, the laughter and tears, the simple smile at the end of a year and the anticipation of the one still to come.  I don’t know what all I would dream for this new year, but I’m so enjoying getting to do so with my heavenly Father and my husband by my side.      

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and remember the past year with me, a bit.  I was trying to think of what to end this blog post with and music came to mind.   There are so many songs that God has used to encourage us this year, so trying to narrow it down to just one to leave you with . . . . I think God of All My Days by Casting Crowns is a fitting one (click the title to listen on YouTube).   

I hope you all have a blessed New Year!  

My favorite books of 2018!

Soon to be Happy New Year, my friends!  I have to be honest, I've read probably around 20 books this year - which may sound like a lot to some, but for me, that's not much.  Though, I think I have a pretty great excuse, what with planning a wedding and getting married this past September and all.  :)
So, with that being said, I have a whole 4 books for my list.  This past year has been such a blur, that I could barely remember a couple of them, but I do remember really enjoying them!  And that just gives me an excuse to read them, again, soon. ;)
I read a couple other great ones, as well.  But they didn't come out in 2018, so they'll get honorable mention at the bottom, I think.  As always, these aren't in any special order.  (click the titles to read more about them)

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Song Unheard  by Roseanna M. White

Honorable mentions:  
I've found these 2 books so encouraging 
and convicting this past year and have
come back to them several times, reading
and rereading some pages until the truth
settles in. 

Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado

Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors

What were some of your favorite reads from 2018?  I know I've still got a whole list that came out that I haven't taken the time to read, yet!  

Sunday, December 23, 2018

My Review: The Christmas Heirloom

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Perfect for the Christmas season, four beloved authors bring their bestselling, award-winning talents to a multigenerational collection of romantic holiday novellas. In stories ranging from 1820s Regency England to present-day Washington state, readers will be treated to Christmas tales of an heirloom brooch passed from mother to daughter for almost two hundred years. Will the family legend claiming the brooch brings love to its recipient hold true for these women separated by the years but bonded together by the ties of family?

In Kristi Ann Hunter's "Legacy of Love," Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman's grandson. While he may be far above her station, she can't help but notice that his desire to make this Christmas special for his grandmother matches her own.

In Karen Witemeyer's "Gift of the Heart," widow Ruth Fulbright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from a wealthy resort owner. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love as the holidays draw near.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas's "A Shot at Love," Fleeta Brady's rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her mother's brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance one December.

In Becky Wade's "Because of You," Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

About the Authors:
Karen Witemeyer is an award-winning, bestselling author and lives in Texas with her family. Find her online at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Kristi Ann Hunter is the award-winning author of five books, and she lives with her family in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

Sarah Loudin Thomas is an award-winning author, and she and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. She can be found online at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

Becky Wade is the award-winning author of seven books and lives in a suburb of Dallas with her husband and three kids. Find her online at www.beckywade.com.

My Review: 4.5 stars
Anyone who knows my reading habits much at all knows that I’m not typically fans of novellas - I love longer books and the deeper stories that typically come with more page time with the characters.  But when I learned 3 of my favorite authors had teamed up for a Christmas novella collection, I couldn’t resist checking it out!  Plus, I had the opportunity to read a new-to-me author’s work, which I almost always enjoy.  With that being said, this book definitely surpassed my expectations and I quite enjoyed it!

One of my favorite things about this book is that they worked the story lines so that each author was able to write the time period and geography that suits the rest of their writing.  Kristi Ann Hunter’s story is up first and it’s set in England in the early 1800s.  Karen Witemeyer is next and it’s set in the mid 1800s in America, and so on.  I’d never read anything from Sarah Loudin Thomas, despite the fact that I was born and raised in WV, so I had no idea what to expect of her story.  It was . . . .different.  At first I was a little unsure how it was going to play into the other stories, but she wove it in quite well.  And I was so excited that Becky Wade was able to connect her novella with her Bradford Sisters series!  I also really appreciated the fact that each story, while connected to the others, was complete on its own.  None of them were left with things left unfinished to be picked up in the next tale.

I really don’t think I had a favorite in this collection, as they were all well written and fun to read!  If you’re looking for a very well done Christmas novella collection to enjoy with the season, or any time of the year, I would highly recommend this one!

I don't have much to say at the moment.  Cookies are baking, it's rather late, and my husband and I are trying to get things ready for family tomorrow.  :)  I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas and a very Happy New Year! (you'll probably see something from me before then, but just in case)

Amazon  (Just as a heads up, this book is currently $2.99 on Kindle!)

Christian Book (and $2.49, I think it was, for ebook here)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

My Review: All Made Up

"I want to be someone's home.  I want to spend my whole like making one woman happy.  I want to be worth staying for."  - Caleb Murphy

Everyone thinks Katriona McLeod is living the dream. Her professional career as a make up artist sees her traveling the world working with the stars and she's got no shortage of men wanting her affection. Only problem is she's never gotten over Caleb Murphy, the one guy she's ever loved. When she accepts a job on the latest looking-for-love reality TV show, Falling for the Farmer, she discovers to her horror that Caleb is the leading man and she's cast as one of his harem. But she hides a secret that means that even if she wanted a second chance with the guy who broke her heart she could never have it.

Caleb Murphy couldn't care less about C-Class celebrity fame or reality TV and he certainly doesn't believe it could lead him to love. The one thing he does care about is fulfilling his mother's last wish. Kat's presence on the show seems to offer up a solution that will make both the network and his mother happy. It might have been almost ten years since they split but he knows he can trust her with his plan. Just as long as he doesn't fall in love all over again with the woman who will never stay.

About the Author:
Kara Isaac writes contemporary romance in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand. She is the author of four novels including the Romance Writers' of America RITA award-winning Then There Was You, Close to You, a RITA Award Double Finalist, and Can't Help Falling, an RT Review Top Pick. When she's not chasing three small people, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. She loves to connect with readers on her website karaisaac.com, on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Author, Twitter @KaraIsaac and Instagram @kara.isaac.author

My Review: 4.5 stars 
I’ve been anxiously awaiting Kat McLeod’s story since first meeting her in “Close To You” and was SO excited when Kara Isaac announced her book would be next!  I have no idea how many pages this book has (I read an ebook), but it seemed to fly by!  Every time I was able to pick it up, I really didn’t want to put it down again before reaching the end.  I so enjoyed getting to dive into this story, meet Caleb Murphy, get to know Kat better, and laugh with them along their journey.

"Being afraid doesn't mean you're making the wrong decision.
Being afraid means you're invested in the outcome.
Having faith is trusting God with whatever the outcome is.
Even if it's not the outcome we hoped for."
Janine Tyler

This book tackles the reality TV world with panache, humor, and a honesty that makes this reader wonder if the author has been able to witness the behind the scenes of one such show. I had to laugh at Caleb’s awkwardness and some of the things the women connived to try to get his attention.  I also so appreciated the author portraying Caleb as a strong Christian and highlighting the brokenness in how some of the contestants viewed themselves.  This story tackles some difficult and painful topics, such as a family member with dementia, fear, trust, forgiveness, and facing the past.  I could so easily relate with the struggles each of the protagonist’s were facing and I was so drawn into the story that I often felt as though I was right there with them, shouldering the pain and wishing someone understood.

And I really enjoyed that characters from a couple previous books made appearances in this one and kind of linked them all back around.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys rom-coms that touch on deeper things.

Thank you again for stopping by and spending some of your valuable time on my blog!  I hope you enjoyed my review - there are so many other great quotes I wanted to use! - and will check into this and the author's other books a bit more.  They are seriously some of my favorites!  

As always, I hope you're having a ducky day! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

My Review: Dead Drift (and a question)

I'm rather disappointed in myself that I apparently didn't save any photos of book pages - because I remember several excellent quotes from this book . . . 

Burning debris littering the ground . . . smoke pluming in the acrid air . . . this is just the beginning if he fails.

Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to become part of an elite team set on capturing a deadly terrorist. When Luke returns to face those he left behind, their help becomes his only hope of stopping his target's latest threat of an attack that would shake America to its core.

Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he's back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster.

Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist's next mark?

About the Author:
Dani Pettrey is the bestselling author of the Chesapeake Valor series and the Alaskan Courage series and winner of the 2014 Daphne du Maurier Award for Inspirational Novel, the 2014 Christian Retailing's Best Award for Suspense, and the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel. She and her husband reside in the D.C. Metro area. She can be found online at www.danipettrey.com.

My Review: 3.5-4 stars
This is the final book in Dani Pettrey’s “Chesapeake Valor” series and I was so excited to read it! Especially after the cliffhanger at the end of “Blind Spot.”  I had to know what was going to happen!  As always with Ms. Pettrey’s books, this story is fast-paced and action packed keeping me reading through traffic lights and lunch breaks.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but it was definitely a compelling read!

One of my favorite things about Ms. Pettrey’s books is how she keeps the pace speeding along.  In this case, there are dual storylines at play, something I really enjoyed and that indubitably amped up the suspense.  Though I did find the story a bit disjointed at times, when it would switch between mysteries.  The time-frame for the story is rather short, so it definitely moves quickly, in more ways than one.  I did appreciate getting to follow Luke and Kate, searching for a terrorist, and Griffin and Finley, searching for a murderer.  This author definitely has a way of leaving the chapter with just enough of a question or cliffhanger to keep you racing through the pages, having to know what’s going to happen next.  

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Kate over the past three books and have been so looking forward to her and Luke finally getting their story.  Kate is strong and independent, with a stubborn streak that is potentially wider than Luke’s.  But she also has a vulnerable side that is revealed with Luke’s return.  Luke is strong and determined to finally finish the war he’s been fighting for years.  He’s become disillusioned over the depths of deprivation he’s seen and is looking to find what is real and good in the world, again.  I greatly enjoyed getting to know both of them better and following them through their journey.  Ms. Pettrey did an excellent job of bringing them to life and making them seem more like old friends than characters in a fictional story.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the journey and would highly recommend it (and the whole series) to anyone who likes mystery and suspense.

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it and will consider checking out the book (and the rest of the series).  :)
I know I keep saying this, but I'm considering the merits of posting some more personal things on here from time to time.  Though I did just get married 2 months ago, so I'm mostly just enjoying time with my husband right now. :)  Maybe next year . . . .  After the holidays slow down. 
 If you have time to comment, would you like something beyond book reviews from me?

As always, I hope your day is ducky! 


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Saturday, September 1, 2018

My Review: Thief of Corinth

"God wants everything.  Every part of you." - Paul

First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It's also filled with danger and corruption-the perfect setting for Ariadne's greatest adventure.
After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father's home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city's corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father's apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future-and very lives-hanging in the balance.

About the Author:
Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel Land of Silence was voted by Library Journal as one of top five Christian fiction titles of 2016 and won the INSPY Award for General Fiction. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Her book Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category. In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year in the FamilyFiction-sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards. Tessa lived in the Middle East for the first fourteen years of her life. She then moved to England, where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States. She holds an MDiv from Yale Divinity School, where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. But that has not cured her from being exceptionally fond of chocolate. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTessaAfshar/

My Review : 5 stars
I’ve long been a fan of Tessa Afshar’s books and this one is far from the exception!  Her books first introduced me to Biblical Fiction and she is still my go-to author for anything in the genre.  When I learned she was writing a book set during the time Paul would have been in Corinth, I was really excited to read it!  Plus, how could I pass up a book titled “Thief of Corinth”?  I couldn’t, and so here we are.  I’m not sure this is my absolute favorite of her books (I think Pearl in the Sand still holds that title), but it was definitely an excellent book and one I’d for sure highly recommend!

One of my favorite things about her books is how relatable the characters always are.  They may be “living” in centuries long past, but they are still so relevant to life right now.  I connect with them very quickly and often become immersed in their stories before I’m even through the first chapter.  By the end of the book, I always feel as though I’m being forced to say, “goodbye” to some very dear friends that I’m not at all ready to depart from, yet.  I also really enjoyed how Ariadne’s story is told.  It’s as though she’s writing a letter to someone, sharing her life with them and looking back on memories.  She sees her faults and failures very clearly and where the decisions that were made shaped and formed the future.  I loved how the author chose to incorporate the Apostle Paul (and some other people mentioned in his letters) into the story.  Obviously she doesn’t use the exact wording from scripture and this is fiction, but the things she does include are woven precisely where they needed to be.  Oftentimes I found the words convicting or encouraging right when I needed it.  

"It would be sad, indeed, if the world were at the mercy of an impersonal force, a detached power without the ability to love. The God I speak of gives life and breath to everything. To this clump of mint, to you, to me. He knows the number of hairs on your head. He cares for the desires of your heart. Underneath the currents of your life, he stretches his everlasting arms. He has set his affections on you, though he knows your every weakness. The broken and the good in you. His love makes you whole. No man can give you this. Only God." - Paul, page 212

The story itself was fast-paced and kept me wanting to read more!  I rarely actually wanted to put the book down and I’d usually go back to work wondering what was going to happen next or how the story was going to move forward from there.  Especially during Ariadne’s escapades.  I was up late more than once, trying to stay awake long enough to answer some of those questions.  Ms. Afshar definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and I’m looking forward to being able to take the time to read this book again, soon!

  (There are several other quotes that I really want to share from this book, but they're long and I don't want to steal the pleasure of discovering them for yourself.) 

Hello bookish friends!  Long time no post, yes?  I'm kind of sorry about that - I just haven't had much time to read or play around on here, lately.  Or more accurately, I haven't taken the time.  I've only got 2 more weeks 'til my wedding!  So the next post you see from me may be a couple wedding photos!  (I'm debating whether I'm going to share any on here, or not.  Maybe just Facebook . . . )  

Have a lovely weekend!  (or whatever day you see this, have an amazing day!)