Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Sea Rose Lane"

Irene takes her readers back to Hope Harbor in her latest book, "Sea Rose Lane," and I enjoyed this return trip.  Eric is returning home after a change in his life and hoping to figure things out; however his home is not the same as his father is converting it into a bed and breakfast.  BJ is in charge of the renovations and Eric and her so exactly click at first.  BJ is dealing with things from her past and Hope Harbor may just be the place where both of these individuals need to be at this time.


Hope Harbor is such a cute town that has really become like a real place to me in Irene's books.  It is a town filled with wonderful people and I love how she weaves in multiple characters and their stories into the books.  This is a sweet story of healing and love and moving on, but also one that just has such a homey feel to still and a picture of small town life that will leave you longing to be a part of the town and a part of these characters' lives. 


*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

"All Summer Long"

"All Summer Long" is the latest read from Melody Carlson and it is THE perfect summer read!  Tia has been working in the family restaurant with her uncle until suddenly her aunt calls from San Francisco with an offer Tia jumps at.  Tia is so excited at the prospect of helping get a new business going and being a chef on a yacht, so many wonderful times to come she is sure.  When Tia arrives, she is met at the airport by Leo, a man whom she met years earlier as a teenager, and with whom she shared a kiss.  Tia is shocked when she learns that Leo is engaged, and just became engaged that very day. 
I really enjoyed this book, it is a nice blend of adventure, and romance in a beautiful city by the water.  It is a light and fun read, but has a lot of heart.  I love the strong bond that Tia has with her extended family and the love they share for cooking.  This is a must read for fans of Melody and if you are new to Melody's books this is a great one to start with this summer!


*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Varina Denman’s ‘Jilted’ $50 Sweet Summertime Giveaway


Jilted Varina Denman
Can all things really work together for good, and can the joy of living be found once again? Don't miss one woman's story in book three, Jilted, of Varina Denman's Mended Hearts series. Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Celebrate the release of Varina's Jilted by entering to win a $50 gift card.

jilted-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Jilted to kick off a summer of reading
  • A $50 Kohl's gift card to make your summertime sweet
The giveaway ends on July 1st. The winner will be announced July 5th on Varina's website.




Book info
About the book:

Jilted (David C. Cook, June 2016)

Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago.

Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must---once and for all---leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/237iWMF
 
About the author:

Varina Denman is author of the Mended Hearts series and a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similar small town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly grown children.


My Review:
If you are looking for a book to read that is full of heart and a story that will completely draw you in and hold you captive, then "Jilted" is for you!  However, I would highly recommend you read the first two books in the series first just because they are THAT good and the characters will become even more so real to you.  Varina is a talented writer as she has the ability to create characters and storylines that are so easy to relate to and her descriptions are so detailed and written in a way that I became a part of the story. 
Lynda has struggled with heartache, depression and thoughts of just feeling trapped, yet not willing to actually leave her hometown and start over.  Described as a half-empty girl, she is consumed with negativity and tired of pretending.  However, Lynda has determined that she is going to try and not hide within herself and move on with her life. 
This book portrays life in a small town and how things can be both difficult and wonderful when everyone knows each other and their pasts.  This is an emotional read and I found myself tearing up at times and smiling at other times.  I highly recommend the Mended Heart series for a hopeful and inspiring read that will completely captivate you.

To read other reviews on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

"Fading Starlight"

I absolutely loved Kathryn Cushman's latest novel, "Fading Starlight."  Kathryn takes the reader into the world of Hollywood, and the betrayal and secrets, including a mystery that has been unsolved for decades.  Lauren's career has been destroyed in one moment as a young star has a wardrobe malfunction while wearing one of her dresses.  Forced to do anything and everything she can at this time, she packs up and moves into a home that needs a lot of TLC and takes on the task of designing and making costumes for a high school production.  Lauren's new neighborhood is beautiful and gated, with a suspicious and secretive neighbor across the road who is determined to uncover Lauren's true nature, making life even more interesting and even more difficult. 
I loved how this storyline progressed and the character development.  Lauren is a main character whom was so easy to connect with and root for as she was a compassionate person and did her best to make the right choices when faced with difficult decisions to be made, mainly pressure from Kendall.  At first of course it was difficult to really like Charlotte, but it was obvious she was covering up hurt and pain and really was living a lonely life.  The descriptions of Charlotte's dresses and accessories were amazing, as were the descriptions of Lauren's creations; I could picture them all so well in my mind.  I loved that Lauren and Charlotte shared the same fashion sense and their love for the clothing of that era and dressing for dinner and tea.  The story is inspiring and I love how Kathryn wove in Biblical truths throughout the story through Lauren's friends and her interactions with others. 


*Thanks to the Bethany House Blogger Review Program for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"June"

"June" written by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is a powerful, dramatic and engaging story that covers years and generations.  Cassie is struggling to come to terms with her grandmother June's death and she is living in June's mansion that has seen better days.  Cassie is overwhelmed at the thought of fixing up the mansion and in general the thought of life and what she is should be doing with her life.  However, one day an incessant noise which turns out to be the doorbell completely changes her life and has her wondering who her family actually is and what happened in this town so many years ago.
MIranda does an incredible job with jumping back and forth between present day and decades earlier when Hollywood came to town and June was on the brink of marriage.  I was completely engrossed in this story from the very beginning, and just wanted to keep reading to find out the full story.  The characters were all so real and also the mansion and rooms had so many stories to share as well.  I could completely picture this town, this home and the individuals living there, and loved how their lives intertwined.  I highly recommend this book for an engaging read this summer. 


  "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Season of Refreshment Giveaway with Lucinda Secrest McDowell


Dwelling Places Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Drown out the busyness and noise of everyday life and find a deeper faith with something as simple as a single word in Lucinda Secrest McDowell's new book, Dwelling Places. Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word—such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace—to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.

Join Lucinda in celebrating the release of Dwelling Places by entering to win her Season of Refreshment giveaway.

dwelling places - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
  • A kit full of goodies you'll need to make refreshing lemonade this summer
One second place winner will receive:
  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
dwelling places - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 5th. The winner will be announced July 6th on Lucinda's blog.

dwelling places - enter banner


Book info
About the book:

Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season (Abingdon, June 2016)

Do you long for serenity and refuge, peace and hope? Are you seeking a deeper spiritual life through a closer relationship with God?

If you're tired of dwelling in busyness and noise, then perhaps one word a day can change your life. Award-winning author Lucinda Secrest McDowell knows that if you spend time each day turning to God's Word for wisdom and guidance, your faith can flourish and grow.

Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word---such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace---to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.

These "dwelling places" that offer the joy of God's promise and presence cover four seasons: fall, Advent, Lent, and summer. Whether in the midst of busy holiday schedules, holy days, ordinary moments, or changing seasons, a deeper faith can be as simple as a single word.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28U4tj1
 
About the author:


Lucinda Secrest McDowell
is the author of 11 books, including Live These Words, Amazed by Grace, and Quilts from Heaven. She has contributed to an additional 25 books and has been published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she speaks internationally through her ministry Encouraging Words. An award-winning writer who has earned accolades from prominent writers' conferences and retreats, McDowell has also worked in radio broadcasting, in retreat planning, and on church pastoral staffs. She writes from "Sunnyside" cottage in Connecticut.



My Review:
"Dwelling Places - words to live in every season" by Lucinda Secrest McDowell is just what I needed at this time.  The book is divided by season and it begins with Fall and the word "dwell."  I wholeheartedly agree that I tend to dwell, tend to live, but not really have my focus and dwell where and how I ought to as I find myself rushing to another task and having an endless to-do list.  Each two page reading focuses on one word, just one!  I love that as it really helps me to be mindful on the reading and on that specific encouragement for the day.  Life is busy all the time, but it a different kind of busyness depending on the season and time or year; therefore I love that Lucinda has divided the readings by season, specifically tailored to that type of typical busyness for each season.  This book is also the perfect size to tuck into a purse or to leave beside the bed so you can pick it up and read first thing in the morning, last thing at night or whenever you have a free few minutes.  

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*
 

a true myth


Book info
About the book:

The Seed (New Growth Press, May 2016)

Young Madeline and Roark are desperately running from the shadow that destroyed their home and is threatening their lives.

One day, they encounter Tatus, an older man who has sworn to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the shadow, and they form an alliance with him. Tatus promises that he can keep them safe from the shadow if they will help him build a fortress. So they build.

But as fortress-building consumes their lives, Madeline and Roark are increasingly filled with anger and fear, and an unseen evil threatens to ultimately destroy them. When they finally face the shadow, he presents them with an unthinkable offer that will reveal shocking secrets of the forgotten past, the unseen present, and the unimaginable future.

We've all had the feeling that something's not quite right with our lives. It's bigger than any specific failure or disappointment. It's bigger than any person. No matter what you achieve or how much you drink or sleep, you can't shake it. It haunts you---night and day---and propels you to do something. So you build. You build and build the maze that is your exhausting life. Sound vaguely familiar?

The Seed: A True Myth is a journey into the personal labyrinths we create to protect ourselves and those we love from the pain of living in a broken world. Guzman's "true myth" takes the reader on an unforgettable journey that is, in essence, the grand narrative of God's redemptive work in the world. This page-turning Christian fantasy tale is packed with mystery and drama, and readers will feel the weight and power of redemption as they journey alongside Guzman's characters in their epic battle. The Seed deftly communicates the heart of Trinitarian theology through story---without using theological language or Christian terms---and reinforces biblical themes such as God's character and man's true identity and calling.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1YSvMfl

 
About the author:



Erik Guzman is Vice President of Communications and Executive Producer at Key Life Network. He's the cohost of the nationally syndicated talk show Steve Brown, Etc. and announcer for "Key Life." His writing has been featured in Key Life's magazine and online at KeyLife.org, Liberate.org, Burnside Writers Collective, and Sojourners (sojo.net). He is also a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a drummer, and a 5th degree black belt in Aikido. Erik, his wife, and three children live near Orlando, Florida.


My Review:
"The Seed" is an interesting read by Erik Guzman and one that really made me think a lot throughout the book.  Guzman has been compared to C.S. Lewis as far as the writing style and type of story and I completely agree.  I was not sure what to expect with this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was immediately drawn into the story and I loved how it was written.  I was able to become completely immersed I the story and draw parallels with my own life and my relationship with God.  This is a deep read, but don't let that push you away as it is a great summer read that will take you on a journey to truth and how God redeems each of us.  Not any one of us lives a perfect life and we may be living with regrets from the pasts and looking ahead with apprehension to the future and wondering what if's.  Yet throughout life and in each moment God is right there guiding us if we let him take control. 


To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!


*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review*