12.05.2016

Mistletoe Daddy by Deb Kastner ~ Review

Mistletoe Daddy
Lucie's Review:

Vivian Grainger returns to Serendipity, TX after a disastrous relationship in the city that leaves her alone and pregnant. She buys the old barber shop with dreams of changing it into a hair salon and spa, all she needs is help fixing it up. Vivian bids on Nick McKenna at the town's bachelor auction, because she's heard that he is handy and good with construction. Vivian bids low because she expects a lot of competition, but no one else bids.

Nick McKenna isn't pleased with the low bid, but he is a man of his word and he helps Vivian with her shop even though he thinks that she is in over her head. He is surprised when she keeps her end of the bargain, sticking it out and working hard, he had always written her off as a flighty social butterfly, but working alongside her he comes to admire her determined spirit.

Will these unlikely friends, make the perfect family?

I liked how Vivian get's to know Nick, and learns that there's more to him than his shaggy hair and beard. He isn't quite the lady's man that she had him labeled as, in fact he doesn't think that anyone would go out with him after the mess that he made of his last relationship. I liked how Vivian and Nick become friends, and learn to trust each other.  Vivian is hardworking, and determined, yet compassionate and outgoing.

Nick is a very protective person, and a man of his word he does everything that he can to help Vivian despite being a busy man himself and having a ranch to run.

Overall, I loved returning to Serendipity, and loved seeing the regulars like Jo, and Dr. Delia. This is a delightful read, filled with surprises, humor, and great character building interaction between the characters. A very enjoyable read!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

12.03.2016

Amy Grant: Tennessee Christmas CD ~ Review + Giveaway

My Review:

Amy's newest CD, and the first Christmas CD in decades. From beginning to end it is a very cohesive album, with relaxing, lilting melodies that could be called the official soundtrack to a plethora of Holiday activities. Songs about coming together for Christmas, as well as old favorites fill the track list.

I wasn't sure what to expect because this album has been pitched to Country listeners, Christian radio, and pretty much everyone. But despite this, I would say that this album isn't Country or especially religious, but is simply Christmas music for everyone at Christmastime. When I first popped in the CD I instantly imagined opening presents on Christmas day, or baking Christmas cookies, with this album playing in the backround. The songs have a gentle relaxing quality to them, yet still contemporary, all in all it would best be described as a classic Amy Grant album.

Overall, an album perfect for fans of Amy Grant, especially at this time of year. Would makes a great gift for a fan of her music at Christmastime!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."



Enter to win by commenting with your favorite Christmas tradition below. Don't forget to leave your email address encoded (youremail at gmail dot com) below so that I can contact you if you win. The winner will be chosen Dec. 11th, 2016 CST. Open to US residents only.

12.01.2016

The Best Christmas Gift Ever by Melinda Rumbaugh ~ Review

VeggieTales The Best Christmas Gift Ever
My Review:

Christmas is an exciting time, and it's easy to get caught up in the hoopla. But Bob, Larry, and the rest of our favorite vegetables want you to know that the real reason that we celebrate Christmas.

A vibrant read, that flows swiftly in rhyming verses that talk about all the many things that we do at Christmas time, and the most important reason for it all. I loved the brightly colored illustrations that made this book really pop. It was a fun quick read, great for sharing with the next generation of Veggie Tales fans.

I loved the simple but important message of remembering Christ's humble birth, and the hope to a fallen world that He brings. Definitely great for young ones, and would make a great gift.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

11.26.2016

The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. Basham ~ Review

The Thorn Healer (Penned in Time #3)
My Review:

The scars of war run deep. Nurse Jessica Ross returns to her hometown to find that not only has it become home to a camp of displaced Germans, but that one of them is her grandfather's assistant. Scarred from what she saw and experienced alongside her brother, David, Jessica is bitter against the people that took so much from her. But when her widowed childhood friend dies in child birth, leaving her children Faith and Jude in Jessica's care, she wonders if she will be able to step up to the demands of motherhood.

August Reinhold has fallen in love with Jessica Ross through the letters that she has faithfully sent home to her grandparents. He admires her strength and compassion. He knows that despite her coldness towards him and his German heritage, she is the still the same woman from the letters on the inside, and he is determined to win her heart.

The third book the series, but don't let that stop you, it stands well on its own. I liked that it told the story of coming home from the front from a woman's perspective, as Jessica deals with coming home and finding that home is not how she left it. I loved seeing her grow in her faith, and as person in love and grace as she becomes a mother to Jude and Faith.

People are not all as they seem, and there is a trouble maker framing the displaced Germans, making the townsfolk uneasy that a plot may be afoot. And Jessica finds two men vying for her attentions.

I also loved August's sister, Anna and her daughter Sylvie. Anna is a strong woman, who despite everything is full of hope, and strong sensibility. Cliff is Jessica's cousin, who is like a brother to her. He is kind, and open-hearted.

I liked August's determination and faith, he is an honorable man to the core of his being and he is passionate about what he sets his mind to. He quickly befriends Jessica's new children, but time is quickly running as his time at the camp is drawing to an end.

A well written and characterized read. I loved Jessica and her journey of faith and forgiveness, as she finds herself in a very different position from the one she was in a few months ago, facing the remnants of the battles fought over seas at home. She is a strong woman, who doesn't always like change but finds ways to adjust. There is mystery and suspense as she and August try to prove who is behind the attacks against the Germans. I also really liked the story between Cliff and Anna, as well as getting to see Catherine and David and their young daughter again. A fast paced and engaging romance, filled with tension and faith.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

11.25.2016

Unwritten Melody by Tessa Emily Hall ~ Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review

Unwritten MelodyToday I have a special post to share with you, I had the privilege to review Tessa Emily Hall's newest book Unwritten Melody, and I'm so excited to share it with you. Also be sure to check out the giveaway opportunity at the end of this post!

About the Book: Does breaking free require breaking the rules?

Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion.But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.

James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson- obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.

As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?

Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.

Where to find Unwritten Melody:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble


My Review:

Cassie Gilbert longs for freedom, and she finds a refuge in words, poetry and lyrics to songs. She lives a sheltered life with her grandparents, attending a small private Christian school where her grandmother is also the principal. Cassie's life is tightly managed by her grandmother, who only allows her to hang out with her best friend, Shelby, and her cousin, Dakota, and doesn't want her to make the mistakes that her mother did.

When teen singer/songwriter James Russo comes to their small school, Cassie finds herself paired with him for an English assignment, to write a song using the words of Emily Dickinson. Though they are different, James and Cassie find in each other kindred spirits, both hurting from the pain of their pasts.

James has never met anyone like Cassie, he is amazed by her ability to capture emotions infused with hope. He has been struggling to put together his first album, and whether or not he should pursue a music career or be practical an go to school and get a job. Cassie has him rethinking everything, will they be able to help each other find hope?

Told from alternating perspectives this book follows the unlikely friendship between Cassie and James. I liked both of them immediately, and it was easy to see that while most people wouldn't put them together, they were both on the similar journeys of the heart, and were true friends there when the other needed them the most.

Cassie struggles to love her grandmother, who holds her to strict rules and curfews, and she often wonders if she is a burden to her grandparents. I liked the relationship that Cassie shared with her grandfather, whom she called "Dad," he is soft where her grandmother is hard and encourages Cassie to spread her wings and to know the truth. Cassie doesn't wear her feelings on her sleeve, but writes them down with her treasured typewriter, expressing them through prose and lyrics.

James found fame on a singing competition reality show, but he is still dealing with the demons of his past. I liked how he reaches out to Cassie and makes an effort to really get to know her, he is understanding and is amazed to find someone who understands him in return. James is a likable young man on the inside and out, he knows that he has made mistakes, but he tries to do better.

Overall, a heartfelt read, engaging with magnetic characters that had me glued to the page. Well written in a riveting style that drew me to Cassie and James, I enjoyed every moment of this book. Full of hope, this is a heartfelt read that explores the hurts and pain of humanity, as well as the hope that comes from beyond. Highly recommend.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

Enter for your chance to win the Unwritten Melody Prize Pack! Two winners
will be selected and announced on Tessa’s blog the final day of tour (Friday,

December 9 th ) and will be notified via email.



This prize pack includes…

  •  E-copy of Unwritten Melody
  •  Signed paperback copy of Purple Moon
  •  Unwritten Melody mug, filled with goodies
  • Unwritten Melody swag, including a bookmark, pen, and poster
  •  Starbucks mocha flavored instant coffee
  • Free Unwritten Melody: Page-By- Page Secrets PDF
  • Handmade journal
  • Typewritten thank you note



*This giveaway is open to the US only

To enter the giveaway follow the link to the rafflecopter:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b814e64b20/





Tessa Emily Hall
Tessa Emily Hall
About the Author: Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show others
they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). The debut novel she wrote at 16-years- old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, releases with Clean Reads November 2016. She’s the Founder of PursueMagazine.net, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling. Tessa also enjoys helping writers achieve their dreams through her
internship at Hartline Literary Agency.

When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media
(@tessaemilyhall), and website.


Follow the Blog Tour:

Tues., November 1 – Christ is Write

Wed., November 2 - Adriana Gabrielle Writes

Thurs., November 3 – The Depth of My Faith

Fri., November 4 - Sarah Ruut

Mon., November 7 – God is Love

Tues., November 8 – The Bibliophile Angel

Wed., November 9 - Emily Rachelle Writes

Thurs, November 10 – Word Changers For His Glory

Fri., November 11 – Christian Teen Book Reviews

Mon., November 14 – Phyllis Still

Tues., November 15 – In The Bookcase

Wed., November 16 – Girl Meets Publishing World

Thurs., November 17 - Anna Schaeffer

Fri., November 18 – Ramblings of a Writer

Mon., November 21 - Naomi and Books

Tues., November 22 – Reading is My Superpower

Wed., November 23 – Zerina Blossom’s Books

Thurs., November 24 - Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Fri., November 25 – Labor Not in Vain

Mon., November 28 - Barbara Bruitt

Tues., November 29 - Katy Kauffman

Wed., November 30 – Jen Pheobus

Thurs., December 1 – Northern Belle Meg

Fri., December 2 – 2Me From Him

Mon., December 5 - Nicole Quigley

Tues., December 6 – The Destiny of One

Wed., December 7 - Catherine Castle

Thurs., December 8 - Rachelle Rea Cobb

Fri., December 9 – Leslie L. Mckee

11.22.2016

The Berenstain Bears Love One Another by Mike Berenstain ~ Review


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My Review:

Brother, Sister, and Honey are helping Mama Bear make berry muffins. When they ask if they can eat them Mama tells them that the muffins aren't for them, but for a new mother, and that there are many ways to show our love for one another.

A sturdy board book, about what it is to love one another, with the Bear family. I think one of my favorite thing about this book, is that it showed that small acts of loving kindness can go a long way in showing hoe much you care, it doesn't have to be huge showy acts.

A classic story that is great for sharing with children, about being helpful and showing love to each other. Makes a great gift to share with the young ones in your life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

11.20.2016

Reunited at Christmas by Belle Calhoune ~ Review

Reunited at Christmas (Alaskan Grooms, #4)
Lucie's Review:

Ruby Prescott comes to Love, Alaska looking for answers. She lost her memory in an accident 2 years ago, she's been living in Colorado for the past couple of years, but nobody there knew her before the injury.

The first person that Ruby sees in Love is the sheriff, who also happens to be her brother-in-law. He immediately calls his brother, Dr. Liam Prescott, who rushes over. Ruby learns that her family thought that she had died in the avalanche that took her memory during a search and rescue mission in Colorado.

After he get's over his shock, Liam asks Ruby to stay and get to know their son, Aidan, who was a toddler when she disappeared. Will they be able to be a family again?

I love how Liam is willing to go the distance and to do what he can to make Ruby feel at home, and doesn't pressure her to remember him. He gives her space, but is always there and is happy to see her reconnecting with their son. Liam is a good doctor, and genuinely cares for his patients, and famil y is very important to him.

Ruby is a strong, brave and compassionate woman, even if she doesn't always see herself that way. I liked how the town worked to make her feel welcome, even though she didn't remember them, they didn't make her feel bad about it.

This is a wonderful read set in the beautiful town of Love, Alaska. I loved the characters, especially Liam and Aiden, and how they welcome Ruby back into their lives with open arms. This is a beautiful story of second chances at love in time for Christmas.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

11.11.2016

Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund ~ Review

Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing GraceMy Review: 


John Newton is smitten when he hears the angelic voice of Polly Catlett caroling with her cousin Susanna. He follows her home and discovers that he is her cousin, despite having a job lined up on a ship destined for Jamaica, he lingers with the Catletts, each day making it harder to leave Polly behind him. John is reckless and godless, with very little motivation to work and make something of himself--constantly dismissing opportunities for career advancement.

But when John finds himself impressed into service upon a Navy vessel, he begins an arduous journey that will change his life forever.

A inspiring and passionate tale of a prodigal's flight from God, his redemption, and the woman who loved him. Before reading this book I'd never really heard much about Polly Catlett, besides the fact that John Newton was a married man and that she was his wife. Oh, how little I knew! I was riveted by this passionate tale of redemption and enduring love, and Amazing Grace.

Polly is a beautiful young woman inside and out, with a kind heart, and a bent for following rules to the letter. When impulsive and reckless John comes into her life, she is drawn to him, and finds him unlike anyone she has ever known before. When her father urges her to give John up, do to his lacking character, she struggles to obey her father, but finds that John is a man hard to forget.

John Newton is irresponsible and careless, letting important deadlines pass without more than passing acknowledgement. He has a chip on his shoulder, and a bent for undermining authority. He challenges those around him with his contemptible attitude and godless ways.

I liked that this book didn't shy away from the gritty truth about the things that John was involved in, and I thought that Ms. Hedlund captured his youthful, disregard for authority and responsibility well. I loved seeing how in hindsight, so many of the experiences in his life set the stage for future blessings.

Overall, a riveting, gripping read that took my heart on a roller coaster of emotions. A tumultuous and dramatic tale of redemption and God's boundless grace. Highly recommend!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen ~ Review

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill, #1)
Lucie's Review: This book brings to life a small village in England, full of colorful characters whose lives intersect and intertwine.

Upon the death of her husband, Jane becomes the owner of the local inn. When she realizes how many people depend on the inn, she becomes determined to do what she can to keep it open.

Jane's friend, Mercy, runs a school for girls alongside her aunt, and she encourages Jane to save the inn herself instead of selling it. She invites Jane to the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, which is a meeting of all the local business women.

This book has many characters, and many storylines  to follow about the women in the village, and it reminded me a lot of Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. This book tells the story of a historical English village through the eyes of the women who live there. It takes a while to figure out who everyone is at first, but is lush with detail description and great dialog.

I loved the relationship between Jane and Thora, who is Jane's mother-in-law, and how it grows and changes over the course of the book. Thora returns from living with her sister, to find the inn in trouble, due in part to the fact that Talbot has left.

Talbot was the manager of the inn, but he left when he inherited his family's farm. But he is more than happy to lend a hand t help them out, especially since he has admired Thora since the death of her husband.

James Drake becomes Jane's rival, he stays at the inn and offers advice on how to improve the inn before acquiring her childhood home and opening a rival inn. Suddenly the two inns are competing for the Royal Mail route.

Gabriel Locke has more to him than what meets the eye, he is works with the horses that stay at the inn. but proves to be a good friend helping Jane where he can, as does Sir Timothy, Jane's childhood friend.

I loved the real sense of community that I got from reading this book, and the wonderful women and men that make up this town. Decidedly different in tone than previous books by this author that I had enjoyed, and at first I was definitely unsure, but by the end I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed this read.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

Cowboy Creek Christmas by Cheryl St. John and Sherri Shackleford ~ Review

Cowboy Creek Christmas: Mistletoe Reunion\Mistletoe Bride

Lucie's Review:

Mistletoe Reunion Marlys Boyd has worked hard to put herself through medical school, yet she struggles to find patients at her Philadelphia practice, so she moves home to Cowboy Creek and places an ad in the paper.

Sam Mason was a reporter in Philadelphia before serving in the War Between the States, he wrote a book about his experiences. But he came back to Cowboy Creek for a new start, and bought the local paper.

I like the reunion between Marlys and Sam as they become acquainted again. Marlys always makes a point of not ignoring August, Sam's 8 year old son, and encouraging his love of learning.

Marlys has a love of learning, and is open to finding new solutions, that serve her well as a Doctor.

Mistletoe Bride Colton Werner reluctantly agrees to help interpret for the midwife, with one of her patients that speaks German. He remembers enough to find out that her name is Beatrix Haas, and she came to town to marry the sheriff, who has been recently deceased. The labor is difficult and Beatrix fears for the fate of her child, so Colton volunteers to marry Beatrix in name only to care for her child, that he names Joseph after his deceased twin brother. But when she recovers, Colton is faced with an interesting dilemma, married and the father of a newborn.

Beatrix wants to be a good wife to Colton, she tries to get close to him, and is thrifty with his money. But Colton seems to have a wall around his heart.

I like how the town welcomes Beatrix and include her in their activities.

Colton does his best to show Beatrix that she is safe and that he would never hurt her or Joseph.


Two fantastic stories of love and family at Christmas time in Cowboy Creek.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."