Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Invisible Library

The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies - think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

My thoughts: This book is such a fun read about parallel universes where librarians are spies who travel between worlds to steal books unique to those worlds. The premise is immensely fun and I loved the world building. This book is such a fun mix of steam punk, villains, Sherlock Holmes style detectives, and mythical creatures. I look forward to reading the other books in this series!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Just Look Up


After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home--a quaint tourist town full of memories she'd just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work--something her eclectic family doesn't understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren't ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can't find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he's found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along--if only she'd just look up.

My thoughts: I've read several of Courtney's books now, and marvel at the variety of characters she brings to life! Just Look Up is no different. I found Lane to be an interesting, complex character to get to know, with her insecurities hidden beneath her professional veneer. At first, I wasn't so sure about her, but I gave it time, and found that I became more sympathetic to her as the story went on. This book is a wonderful story of overcoming insecurities, redemption, and finding love and acceptance in the most unexpected places. I highly recommend adding this one to your summer To Be Read list!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Becoming a Present Parent


With Becoming a Present Parent, you’ll find a wealth of ideas to build connections with your children and bind your hearts together. You will find out eight ways how we as parents “check out” of our children’s lives and what that cost is to their growth. Learn how to master six important skills to help you “check in” and be engaged. Understand how to be fully present and utilize touchpoints in the smallest moments to create lasting fulfillment in your family relationships.

My thoughts: I feel like this book came along at the perfect time for me, since my oldest is getting to the point where she is independent enough for me to forget just how much she still needs me.;) This book was a great reminder of the ways I can improve being a more present parent, giving me practical and simple ways to connect with my children throughout the day. I thought this book was well written and the stories spot on!
I received this book through Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Under A Summer Sky


High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole's close childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.

With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

My thoughts: This book is the perfect summer read! I enjoyed the whimsical tale of one young woman getting a fresh perspicacity on her life when she steps out of her comfort zone to manage an art gallery for a family friend over the summer. I didn't know a lot about Savannah and it's history, so it was enjoyable to get to know more about the city with this delightful story! If you are looking for a good summer read, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Positive Discipline Tools for Teachers

MORE THAN 2 MILLION POSITIVE DISCIPLINE BOOKS SOLD

The Positive Discipline method has proved to be an invaluable resource for teachers who want to foster creative problem-solving within their students, giving them the behavioral skills they need to understand and process what they learn. In Positive Discipline Tools for Teachers, you will learn how to successfully incorporate respectful, solution-oriented approaches to ensure a cooperative and productive classroom. Using tools like "Connection Before Correction," "Four Problem-Solving Steps," and "Focusing on Solutions," teachers will be able to focus on student-centered learning, rather than wasting time trying to control their students' behavior. Each tool is specifically tailored for the modern classroom, with examples and positive solutions to each and every roadblock that stands in the way of cooperative learning.

Complete with the most up-to-date research on classroom management and the effectiveness of the Positive Discipline method, this comprehensive guide also includes helpful teacher stories and testimonials from around the world. You will learn how to:

- Model kind and firm leadership in the classroom
- Keep your students involved and intrinsically motivated
- Improve students’ self-regulation
-And more


My thoughts: This is a great resource for teachers, since it backs up the different chapters with helpful tips to apply the thought and also what research says that goes along with the subject. I like that there is a lot of personal stories in this book too. I highly recommend it for those going in to teaching or who have been teaching for a while and are looking for a way to effectively manage a classroom.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Heartbeat of the Bitterroot


Jenna Clark always tried to bury her bleak beginnings in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, but a newfound secret about her father’s identity forces Jenna to dig up her past. While there, mysterious threats and dangers suddenly enter her life that bring about an unexpected man of her dreams–Michael Callahan. After a lifetime of running away from family and love will Jenna find the courage to confront her past and step forward into the future?

My thoughts: This book starts with a dream that has haunted Jenna since she was a little girl. The dream does a wonderful job of jump starting the story and adding some suspense. I thought this book was well written and moves along, making it hard to put down. The characters are interesting and there is a lot going on. I highly recommend this story of love, family, trials, and hope!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Never Give Up


Everything worth doing is going to have some obstacles. Some people look at setbacks as evidence that whatever it is they've been striving for just wasn't meant to be. But according to bestselling author and master motivator John Mason, the moment most people give up is the moment of their greatest opportunity.
In this inspiring book, Mason gives readers fifty-two keys to never giving up on their dreams. He shows them how to ask the right questions when they are on the verge of quitting, how to avoid unnecessary trouble, and how to keep their energy level up in the face of setbacks. Whether readers are building a business, a family, a portfolio, or relationships, they'll find the strength and motivation to go on, break through, and claim the prize.

My thoughts: This book is an excellent, easy read that encourages the reader to never give up. This is a great motivating book that would work well as a devotional to start the day, since it inspires the reader to seize the day. This book is great for inspiring people in all walks of life!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review

Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places




"Perhaps that’s the greatest reason why He calls us to dangerous places: so that we will know His astonishing, sacrificial, life-restoring love.”

Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places is about what is lost and what is gained when we follow God at any cost.

Soon after 9/11, Kate McCord left the corporate world and followed God to Afghanistan—sometimes into the reach of death. Alive but not unscathed, she has suffered the loss of many things: comfort, safety, even dear friends and fellow sojourners.

But Kate realizes that those who go are not the only ones who suffer. Those who love those who go also suffer. This book is for them, too.

Weaving together Scripture, her story, and stories of both those who go and those who send, Kate considers why God calls us to dangerous places and what it means for all involved.

It means dependence. It means loss. It means a firmer hold on hope. It can mean death, trauma, and heavy sorrow. But it can also mean joy unimaginable. Through suffering, we come closer to the heart of God.

Written with the weight of glory in the shadow of loss, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places will inspire Christians to count the cost—and pay it.


My thoughts: This is a beautiful book that deals with a hard issue in such a wonderful way. I really appreciated all the true stories in this book that shared how people have been called to dangerous places, and yet been blessed through their willingness to serve. It's a tough thing to do, since it means depending on someone other than ourselves. Someone who always has out best interest at heart, even if the road seems rough.
I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Moody in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race


Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle–in bloomers!

It’s 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she’s drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.

Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.

Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride “the wheel?” Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the “new women” emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter?

Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be.

My thoughts: This is such a fun story! I loved the historical aspect of it, how Anna is looked down on as a Southern woman trying to embrace the times. I loved getting to know the characters and the rich history their story is set in. This one is an excellent read! The story flows nicely and has a lot going for it.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

A Love So True


Jagears Delivers a Wonderfully Romantic Read with a Hero and Heroine to Cheer For

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.
David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.
They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?

My thoughts: I have loved both books in this series! Both have done a marvelous job of bringing the time period to life, not to mention addressing social issues of the early 1900's. I loved getting to know Evelyn as she fought for to help others find a better life outside of the red light district of Teaville. At first, I wasn't so sure about her and her reaction to David, but things made sense as I read on and discovered more of her story.
This is a wonderful book that can be read as part of the series or as a stand along story. I highly recommend it!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Jane of Austin


“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility


Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away.

My thoughts: Hillary is one of my favorite authors, so I was thrilled to see that she was coming out with this modern spin on Sense and Sensibility! I thought she did a wonderful job of putting a modern spin on the classic story. It's fun to match up the characters from the classic with the ones in this modern re-telling. I highly recommend adding this one to your beach bag, since it is a fun read!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

King's Blood


Jill Williamson's Fantasy Saga Continues!
In the second volume of Jill Williamson's Kinsman Chronicles, a remnant has escaped the destruction of the Five Realms and now lives on several hundred ships adrift at sea. As a flock, they sail north into the unknown in hopes of finding land that might become their new home.
As the king's illness worsens, SAr Wilek takes authority over the expedition and struggles to rule the disjointed people, while assassination attempts, vicious serpents, and dark magic endanger his life.
One prophecy has come to pass, but another looms dauntingly in the future. Who is this Deliverer? And if the Magonians have him, what might that mean for the realm of Armania?

My thoughts: Be prepared to not get much accomplished once you start this book! Jill has a way of writing totally engrossing stories. I'm enjoying this series, since it is fast pace and is told from multiple characters viewpoints. While a little dark for young readers, I would highly recommend this series to high schoolers on up.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Naomi's Hope


Despite growing pains in her 1846 Amish community in Indiana, Naomi Schrock has settled into a comfortable life in her parents' home with her adopted son, Davey. Surrounded by family and friends, she tries not to think about the fact that she's not at the top of any man's list of potential wives. Yet when Cap Stoltzfus moves into the area and befriends Davey, Naomi finds herself caught between the plans she has made for her future and the tantalizing thought that Cap might be part of a life she never dared to hope for.
When a couple shows up claiming to be Davey's true family, Naomi and Cap must unite to make the decision that will determine the boy's future as well as their own. How can she relinquish him to these unknown relatives? And can God somehow bring wholeness to her heart?

My thoughts: While I didn't read the first two books in this series, I felt like Naomi's story did an excellent job of standing alone. I do look forward to going back and reading the other books in this series, since I enjoyed the themes of this story, like struggling to see good when things are going wrong. I enjoyed my first visit to Pleasant Prairie and look forward to reading more of Jan's books!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Freedom's Price


Without fortune or a future in England, a young woman travels to America in 1856 to find her mother's family. Will the handsome rogue she encounters help her chances of a new life--or destroy them?

My thoughts: While I enjoyed the other books in this series, I think I liked the different elements in this one the best. I enjoyed Catherine's character, as she stumbles upon family secrets hen she arrives at the plantation her mother was raised in. The villain is truly horrible in this story, though it does bring to light the terrible abuse that would go on. This story is an excellent historical novel!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Shatter


When a mysterious explosion kills her sister, Salem Jefferson becomes convinced the death was no accident—it was a conspiracy. But no one else at her high school believes her, and all she has so far is one clue. She knows Carrie hired a gang member to protect orchard workers. Problem is, Salem doesn't know who.

To find out, Salem pursues the gang-bangers who rule her town, especially classmate Cordero. As her distrust of Cordero heats up, so do the number of suspects in Carrie's death. Teachers and school officers are orchard owners. They have every reason to stop farm workers from demanding higher wages. With Carrie's killers still out there, Salem's not sure who she can trust. Meanwhile, the people who live on orchards and the people who pick them are drawing lines in the sand.

The only way for Salem to learn the truth is to slip behind those enemy lines.

The only way to survive is to find a way back out.

Shatter is the grand prize winner of the LDStorymakers First Chapter Contest that author Jolene Perry calls "a stunning debut that’ll keep you turning pages ’til the end."

My thoughts: This book was a little bit confusing at first, since it jumps around a lot to catch the reader up to speed on what happened leading up to Carrie's death. After the first few chapters though, things do start to come together so that the reader has a clear picture of what makes Salem think that her sister's death wasn't an accident.
While I didn't really click with Salem, I did think this was an excellent story, since it deals with social issues like strikes, fair wages, and gangs. The mystery side of the story was quite suspenseful too! This is an excellent debut novel with a lot going for it. I look forward to reading more by Nikki!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Love Among the Lilacs Review and Giveaway




Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



 


Book title: Love Among the Lilacs

 

Author: Jenna Victoria

 

Release date: April 4, 2017

 

Genre: Sweet romance



Bookkeeper Mollie Wright knows about living on the streets, and her purchase of sweet Lilac Cottage is a dream come true. She is determined to stay and fight when a legal error puts her ownership at risk. Attorney Sean Grady never wanted his great-aunts to sell their cottage in Westchester County, New York, so when a paperwork snafu puts the deal on hold, he moves swiftly to evict the pretty, feisty squatter. Mollie finds unexpected allies in Grady Cove neighbors and a member of Sean’s own family but knows the clock is ticking. Will a theft and her past secrets force a showdown to heartache, or will Mollie and Sean discover home is truly where your heart is?

My review: I enjoyed getting to know Mollie and Sean as they sought to figure out the legality of Mollie living in Lilac cottage. Both characters have a lot of depth to them, which I appreciated. It was fun getting to know the tight knit group in Grady Grove! I look forward to reading more by Jenna, since this was a wonderful story.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author






Ever since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1955, Jenna has yet to taste a cake she hasn’t liked.
Jenna writes books for readers who enjoy sweet & compelling romances, and also for those who look for her “fiction that feeds your faith” titles – happily-ever-after romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian world view. Her stories emulate those she enjoys reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she kicks butt & takes down names… and those that feature satisfying fairy-tale-endings.
Her clean romances won’t put you into a diabetic coma, and her faith-based romances aren’t preachy or unrealistic. It is her glad purpose to glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ through books that illustrate hope & peace in unbearable situations. Her first triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 has led to surgeries, radiation, reoccurrences and incurable metastasis. Still, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.

Guest Post from Jenna Victoria


I am thrilled you will be introducing my newest novel, Love Among the Lilacs, to your readers and visitors through CelebrateLit. I am excited to share this sweet love story with quirky characters who hijacked the plot mid-stream, and took me places I did not anticipate!
So – Why Love Among the Lilacs? I chose the title and a subplot regarding lilacs for one reason – I absolutely adore the scent! The fact that a lilac’s bloom is so fleeting, makes their fragrance that much more memorable and anticipated.



Mollie Wright anticipates something too – finally buying her own home, Lilac Cottage, after a childhood of homelessness. Genevieve Carter, one of the two elderly sellers, leaves her a note of welcome next to a small bouquet of lilacs in Mollie’s new bedroom, after the closing. This helps readers experience Genevieve’s spirit of generosity. Isn’t the bedroom phone antique? The sisters lived in the cottage for more than 50 years, and changed little of its amenities.
How did I choose to write about Mollie? What if a character dreamed and saved and finally bought a house after a childhood of homelessness? Then, due to a real estate closing error and interference by the seller’s great-nephew, her sweet cottage ownership is in real peril. Dare she hope for a positive outcome?



Attorney Sean Grady didn’t want his maternal great-aunts, who lovingly raised him and his younger brother Mark, to sell Lilac Cottage. After a rookie mistake led to a tragedy when he was an associate at his family law firm, Sean decided to concentrate on elder law. He’s seen plenty of abuse of the elderly in his ten year career, and something about Mollie Write doesn’t sit well with him.



Mollie finds support from her neighbors – including long retired Emily Rogers (Genevieve’s BFF) who often visits Lilac Cottage’s back garden through this connecting gate. It’s so beautiful! She reveals her profession which is perfectly suited to Mollie’s needs. We see selfless giving and stalwart friendship in Emily’s character.



Mollie has secrets to hide, and a far away half-brother and Mother who aren’t exactly upstanding members of society.



When her half-brother unexpectedly surfaces, bringing a mountain of trouble with him, the budding love between Sean and Mollie takes a hard tumble.



The theft of an antique necklace, Sean’s renewed lack of trust and Mollie’s shame at her past – not to mention final outcome of legal decisions – pull them further apart.



The intervention of others gives Mollie and Sean a chance at reconciliation – but is it too late? Can they finally unpack and empty baggage from their past?



I hope you enjoy Love Among the Lilacs as much as I did writing it!



Happy Reading!



p.s. my selected giveaway, an authentic Coach Disney X Mickey Mouse accordian zip wallet in glovetanned leather was chosen to represent the transformation of Mollie’s negative childhood experiences into memories of acceptance and joy among the trials.



Blog Stops


May 26: Carpe Diem

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Jenna is giving away a grand prize of an authentic, new in unopened gift box Coach zipper accordion leather wallet – from their Disney X collection (Value $140.00)!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b673

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Stepping on Cheerios


Being a mother isn't easy. Sometimes it's hard to experience a personal connection with God and community when you are caught up in the chaos of just -doing family-.
Independent and self-sufficient, author Betsy Singleton Snyder lived a full and busy life as a pastor, missionary, and wife to a husband who served in the U.S. House of Representatives. She had her first child at age 44, then at 47, she found out she was carrying triplets. Suddenly finding herself overwhelmed is an understatement.
Stepping on Cheerios is a collection of funny, warm, and charming tales from the frontlines of parenthood, written for women who are juggling to accomplish everyday feats of work, motherhood, marriage, church, and more. It's a comical story of one woman's realization that her crazy life is a gift and how she found the grace in it.

My thoughts: This book is an excellent resource for those feeling like they are juggling a lot with being a wife, mother, and the plethora of other roles that life sends our ways. I thought that this book was interesting, since Betsy invites the reader to see how motherhood has changed her, and yet helped to deepen or broaden her ministry. I thought that it was interesting to read about life with triplets.;)
If you feel like you are having a hard time seeing the gifts in the craziness, then this is an excellent book to pick up!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.