Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Knot Yours Truly

Your wedding day is a unique opportunity to show the world just who you are as a couple. The Knot Yours Truly helps you envision your celebration—from the big decisions like venue to the small stuff like escort cards—and show off your particular style. Chock-full of fresh ideas for your ceremony, centerpieces, wedding cake, The Knot’s Yours Truly also includes 20 craft projects for personalizing your day. From invitation embellishments to a macrame leash for your four-legged ring bearer, this book has everything you need for the most extraordinary day.

My thoughts: When I was getting married, I loved looked to the Knot for inspiration, so I was thrilled to grab this book to review and pass on to my sister in law! I love that there are so many beautiful ideas in the book, as well as a mix of crafts and real stories and pictures. This book has so many great thoughts on how to figure out what your perfect wedding looks like and how to breath life into that dream. I highly recommend this book for brides (and grooms)!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Until We find home

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing--spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends--has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she's ever known.

Set in England's lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

My thoughts: I thought that this one was incredibly well written and helps history to come alive, with it being about a young woman accidentally thrust into the role of caregiver to 5 Jewish children when their plan to sneak them out goes awry. I find stories written about WWII interesting and liked that this one had several different angles to it: with the resistance and life in England being just a couple of those aspects.
This is excellent story for those who enjoy historical fiction!
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Troubled Waters

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants--except a happy ending. Or at least that's what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra's relationship.

My thoughts: With Troubled Waters, Ian and Sierra finally get their chance to work things out and be rescued. I enjoyed that this story is set in a different setting than the other books, and that we get to know the characters better, since they have been part of the series since the beginning. I feel like this series has a huge theme going on, which kind of detracted from the story a bit, for me. That said, it is still an enjoyable read.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.
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The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

New from the Top Author of Inspirational Regency Romance

Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?

As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

My thoughts: I loved the return to Ivy Hill for The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, though I have to admit that it is sad indeed to have to wait just under a year for the next installation of the story! I love how the town and characters are quaint and yet there is a lot going on. I love that this one has more about Mercy, and I really enjoyed getting to know Rachel more and learning about what libraries looked like in the early 1800's. This book is delightful and should be read after the first one, since there are plenty of on going stories.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
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The Empowered

Just when a mysterious death in Washington, DC, appears to have voodoo connections rooted in New Orleans, Trevor Black also receives an invitation to speak at the national ABA convention in the city.

He knows he'll be in enemy territory, both as a disbarred attorney and as a follower of Jesus, but he determines to travel there and confront the supernatural element. Right after a grisly murder in his hotel room puts him on the suspect list, his daughter disappears, leaving a note that suggests a connection to the local cult religion. Now Trevor must not only crack the case but try to protect Heather from forces of darkness clutching at her soul as well. And just as he discovers that his ability to sniff out the supernatural has its limitations, Trevor learns that this web of evil extends far beyond isolated murders, enslaving scores of innocent children, with its head perhaps linked to the highest seats of power.

My thoughts: I love a good book about the spiritual world, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of The Empowered \! While I did not read the first book, I felt like I had a fair grasp of the story and characters, since Craig makes references to the first book. There is a lot going on with the story, though it did drag a few places, but was over all interesting and suspenseful. I thought the ending was well done! I look forward to reading more by Craig in the future.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Lacemaker

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson is abandoned by her fiance and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

My thoughts: I've enjoyed some of Laura's other stories, since she does a wonderful job of bringing to life the early days in American history. So, I was thrilled to pick this one up! I enjoyed the story of Liberty, and the contrast that the book showed with the grandeur of the pre-Revolutionary days to the changes that came once the war was going on. This is an excellent story for any reader, whether you consider yourself a history buff or not.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.
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Missing Isaac

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse's stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople's reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it's all over, Pete--and the people he loves most--will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

My thoughts: I enjoyed that this book brought to life the time period that it is set in. It does a wonderful job of dealing with the subject of segregation as well. Over all, though, the story seems a bit disjointed. I did think that Valerie is a wonderful author and look forward to reading her future stories!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Chalk Man

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he's put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank--until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

My thoughts: This book wound up being creepier than I was anticipating! I didn't like all the violence, since it left me feeling unsettled, but it was an interesting read that goes back and forth between what happened in the 80's and how that is being uncovered in 2016. The writing is excellent. I would recommend it for an older audience, since it has a lot of themes that are more mature.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
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Oath of Honor

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Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she's never without someone to hang out with--or fight with. And she knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy's investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. With her dead partner's handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

My thoughts: This book was excellent! I fell in love with the main characters, since they are well written and there is such a variety of characters, which makes me excited about this series. The mystery is well written, with many things going on, and had me guessing til just about the very end. This is a great start to a new series. I highly recommend Oath of Honor if you are looking for a well written mystery to enjoy as the weather turns cold.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Take ten: books I hope are left under the tree

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Honestly, this one is kind of a hard one for me, since I want a lot of books that have yet to be released. I may just include them, since they can always be pre-ordered.;)

1. Claymates

This one is super cute!

2. The Princess takes a vacation

My daughter and I love this series, so it would be nice to have the complete set.;)

3. The Mysterious Play date

4. Wonder

I have yet to read this one. With their now being a movie, I would love to read the book!

5. The Why's Have it

This one looks excellent! I'm not even sure how I came across it, but I would love for it to be under the tree,

6. Everywhere You want to be

Why do I have to wait until May for this one?! I loved the first one and wish this would magically appear under my tree.

7. Wild Heart Summer

I need more humorous books in my collection, and Jenny's are the best!

8. Cold Case Justice series

9. The Thief of Corinth

This is another one that doesn't release until summer of 2018, but I would love it now!

10. Bling Betrayal

I enjoyed the previous two books!

This actually wound up not being too hard, since I could of come up with a whole list of kids books.
What books do you hope to find under your tree?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Death at Thornburn Hall

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The Fartherings' Scottish Holiday Takes a Dark Turn
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Raisnby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

My thoughts: This book is excellent! I love that this series is set in the 1930's and that the characters are a lot of fun, while still being capable of being serious too. I highly recommend reading the series in order, since there is the ongoing story of Drew and Madeline, as well as their friend Nick. If you enjoy cozy mysteries with some surprising depth, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Be the Hands and Feet

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Nothing in life is as exciting and satisfying as introducing Jesus to people who have never met him.

New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned motivational speaker Nick Vujicic is known worldwide as the man without arms and legs who personifies a "can do" spirit. Now in greater detail, he explains how the example of Jesus Christ motivates him to travel and speak broadly because the "good news" of the Gospel is just too good to keep quiet! Although the world has so many problems, no challenge is too great for the God who promises to move mountains. Using compelling stories from his own experience, Nick shares the heart of his message, the motivation behind all he does, and something that he believes the world needs now more than ever before: A faith in Jesus Christ that moves people to act and make the world a better place.

Nick Vujicic is an international and New York Times bestselling author, evangelist, motivational speaker, and the director of Life Without Limbs, an organization that helps share the message of the hope in Christ to the entire globe. Nick is an inspiration worldwide to crowds and the media for his positive attitude toward overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams. A longtime resident of Australia, he now lives in Southern California with his wife, Kanae, and two sons.

My thoughts: This is an excellent and challenging book that will encouraging the reader to do more for the Lord. This book is great to pick up if you feel at a loss for what you need to do for God. This is the first book that I have read by Nick and I enjoyed it immensely! I look forward to going back to read his other books, since he has such an encouraging way of writing.
I received this book from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Hope of Christmas review and giveaway!

Picking a Bride for Paul
When Teddy Love’s neighbor and best friend breaks his leg, she pitches in to do whatever she can to help him on his farm. But when he enlists her aid in finding a wife, she comes to realize she has feelings for him.
Paul Baker follows his heart mother’s wishes by looking for a bride from the East who is refined and gentile, two qualities Teddy isn’t. When his potential bride arrives, he finds himself comparing her to Teddy. How can he go back and change things before he makes the biggest mistake of his life?

Typhoon Prompting

A destroyer escort is among the smallest of warships, but the USS Tabberer has the heart of a giant. A typhoon threatens the US Fleet in the Pacific during World War II, days before Christmas. The men of the Tabberer stand tall as they rush to the aid of their fellow sailors. For Seaman Jerry Collier, the typhoon prompts a greater awareness of what he wants in life. First, though, they have to survive.

A Dr. in the House
Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?
Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this delightful book of short Christmas stories! They are delightful stories with engaging characters and plots. I like that they are novellas, since the Christmas season can be so busy, so these stories are easy to finish even with the busyness that accompanies Christmas. If you are wanting to read a book to get you in the holiday mood, pick this one up!
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, click the image below.

About the authors

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Linda Shenton Matchett is a journalist, blogger, author, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life-from Edison, New Jersey (named for the famed inventor of the light bulb) and Washington, DC to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (reputed to be the oldest summer resort in America). She volunteers at the Wright Museum of WWII and as a trustee for her local public library.

For a full list of the blog stops, head here

The Authors have put together a lovely giveaway of a $25 Amazon giftcard! If you would like to order, go here
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Amazon book sale!

Click "sale" to go to Amazon's book page!Sale
Looking for those last few gifts? When you order $15 worth of books, enter the code bookgift17 to receive $5 off your order!

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Top ten books of 2017

1. Life After

This is probably the best book I read this year, since I loved the reminder to live today, since we don't know how many tomorrows we have.

2. Then There Was You

I've enjoyed all of Kara's stories, but this one is one of my favorites by her! I really liked Paige.

3. The House on Foster Hill

This one is a bit dark, with the human trafficking story line, but there is also a message of hope. I highly recommend this one!

4. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

I love how this story reminds me of Elizabeth Gaskell's stories!

5. Jane of Austin

As I mentioned last week, this one made me want to visit Austin. I love the combination of Jane Austen and tea.;)

6. The Lost Girl of Astor Street

I was blown away by this one, since it was incredibly well written. I can't wait to read more by this talented author.

7. Just Look Up

Courtney is one of my favorite authors. I love her characters and that she has great secondary characters in her stories.

8. It Started With Goodbye

Loved this modern re-telling of Cinderella!

9. An Inconvenient Beauty

I didn't want to like Isabella, but she was just perfect for the story.

10. I'll be Yours

It had been too long since I last read one of Jenny's books. Picking this one up made me wonder why I waited so long to get more of her books! Funny, sweet, and a heartwarming coming of age story.

What books are on your list of favorites for 2017? Which should I add to my TBR list?

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Long Before Luther

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Where was the gospel before the Reformation?

Contemporary evangelicals often struggle to answer that question. As a result, many Roman Catholics are quick to allege that the Reformation understanding of the gospel simply did not exist before the 1500s. They assert that key Reformation doctrines, like sola fide, were nonexistent in the first fifteen centuries of church history. Rather, they were invented by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others.

That is a serious charge, and one that evangelicals must be ready to answer. If an evangelical understanding of the gospel is only 500 years old, we are in major trouble. However, if it can be demonstrated that Reformers were not inventing something new, but instead were recovering something old, then key tenets of the Protestant faith are greatly affirmed. Hence, the need for this book.

After reading Long Before Luther, readers will:

Possess a greater understanding of church history and the role it plays in the church today.
Have a deeper appreciation for the hard-won victories of the Reformation.
Be equipped to dialogue with Catholic friends about the presence of Reformed doctrines throughout church history.
Feel renewed gratefulness for the unearned nature of grace and the power of the gospel.

My thoughts: This book is excellent and well researched. I enjoyed all the historical quotes and background to Luther's story. It makes sense that he was influenced by the thoughts of pre-Reformers, the big thinkers of the days before Luther. I thought that Nathan Busenitz does a wonderful job of making this book interesting and tying everything together. With the recent 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I love that this book shows God's hand in the Reformation before Luther.
I received this book from Moody in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Imperfect Justice

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“This is the way legal thrillers are meant to be—compelling, intelligent, and deeply satisfying.” —Randy Singer, author of Rule of Law


To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.

Reid Billings thought he knew his sister—right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.

Thrown together in a race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl—and find a future for themselves in the process?

My thoughts: I loved this book! It would of helped to read the first book in the series by Cara, since the story is referenced, but it does stand alone decently, since it's about a different character than the first book. I like that it is a legal mystery, without being burdened with too much legalese. I like that there are two mysteries going on with the story, which really helps the tale move quickly. There is also a lot of depth to it, with dealing with an abusive marriage. Cara handles the story well. I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holly, Ivy, and Intrigue review and giveaway!

My review: I enjoyed the different stories in this book, since they were all very different and yet all engaging. I think I liked the fast pace of Holiday Pursuit the best, though I did like that historical aspect of Christmas Murder Mix-Up and the added air of mystery in A Holiday Intruder. If you are looking for a Christmas themed mystery, then I highly recommend picking up this book! It is a unique holiday collection.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Buy a copy here:

Christmas Murder Mix-Up

“I have to get rid of her now.”

After four months of a blissful marriage, Paige is devastated to overhear her husband, Cooper, say those words to his best friend. Because of a suspicious Christmas gift, a gas leak, and a home invasion, Paige’s love for Cooper is tested to the limit. Will their marriage survive the Christmas Murder Mix-up?

Holiday Pursuit
When Brianna Rockwell’s brother finds himself in danger and disappears three days before Christmas, she does everything to rescue him. Brianna dodges bullets, escapes fire, and even turns to her longtime crush for help. But the closer she gets to solving the mystery and finding her only sibling, the more desperate someone gets to silence her forever…


Kelsey Jordan prefers upcycling junk and refinishing antiques for her store in a Georgia mountains town to being the center of attention. When a robbery and an unknown benefactor shove her in the middle of a decades-old mystery, and a real estate developer and a former baseball star compete for her attention, Kelsey isn’t sure who to trust.

About the Authors

As an avid reader, Joanie Bruce welcomed the transition from reading to writing and considered it a wonderful new experience to please others with her words. She has three published Christian suspense novels, and enjoys writing from her home in the country. Thankful that God has given her the ability to write, draw and paint, Joanie strives to use them to encourage others and to honor Him in all her accomplishments.

Alexa Verde penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has a bachelor degree in Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.

DENISE WEIMER holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. An associate editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Denise is the author of The Restoration Trilogy, The Georgia Gold Series, romantic novella REDEEMING GRACE, and ACROSS THREE AUTUMNS: A Novella of The Backcountry Brides Collection through Barbour Publishing (May 2018). This wife and swim mom of two daughters always pauses for coffee, chocolate, old houses, and to write any story God lays on her heart.

For a complete list of blog stops, visit Celebrate Lit here

The authors are graciously hosting a giveaway here!
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Monday, December 4, 2017

Take ten: bookish settings I would love to visit

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1. Persuasion

Bath, England. I know Jane Austen hated it, but I think it would be fun to visit!

2. Jane of Austin

I may of visited Austin, Texas as a kid, but if so, I don't remember much about it. I have heard that it is a fun city, and this book made me think it would be one I would enjoy.

3. Lizzy and Jane

While this isn't my favorite out of Katherine's books, I did enjoy the introduction to Seattle! I think I would love the markets and foodie scene.;)

4. The Red Door Inn

Anne of Green Gables

Prince Edward Island. It sounds like a neat place to get away!

5. I Always Cry at Weddings

I have never been to New York City, but would love to someday!

6. Under a Summer Sky

Savannah, Georgia sounds like a place I would enjoy, with all the historical buildings!

7. Anna and the French Kiss

I should add a disclaimer that I haven't actually read this series, though it is on my TBR list! I would like to visit Paris someday though.;)

8. Close to You

This book made me want to plan a trip to New Zealand! My nerd side comes out with this one, since it is centered around Hobbiton. lol.

9. The Bronte Plot

Another nerd book for me, since the main character goes on a tour of the Bronte's home. I need rich friends to take me on trips. lol.

10. Can't Help Falling

This one is set in Oxford, which is on my list of places to visit.

So, there is my list! I stuck with actual places, though there are plenty of fictitious ones I would love to visit, like Hogwarts and Narnia. I would also just love to be able to time travel to different eras or jump into stories.;)

No One Ever Asked

Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district--and in their lives.

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray--the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser--faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones--the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she's stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as "this" or "that", when such complexity exists in each person?

My thoughts: This book is excellent! I love that the story is written from three very different perspectives, one of a privileged PTA mom, a new mother of an adopted child, and a new teacher. There are so many different facets to this story, making it easy to relate to and hard to put down! This book cemented Katie as one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend ordering a copy of this book!
I received a copy of this book from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.
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Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Sea Beneath Us Review and Giveaway

Etta just wants a home, a safe haven for her family; her daughter Florence wants to make a positive difference in the world. After suffering tragic loss, Etta walls off her heart. Florence opens hers to love again. Though they do not understand each other, both understand the struggle with cultural expectations of the day for women. They also grapple with personal insecurity and faith. Set in the early twentieth century, the stories of Etta and Florence intertwine as each seeks fulfillment. Follow them from Midwest America to the state of New York; from the Isle of Pines, a tropical spot off the coast of Cuba, to the heart of American power, Washington, DC.

My review: I enjoyed this book, since the story has a lot going for it! I loved the historical aspect and the amount of detail in the story. I didn't know that British law didn't recognize the marriage of a brother in law marrying his sister in law, so I found that interesting. This is an excellent historical tale to pick up!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author

Cathy Slusser is a second generation Floridian who grew up in St. Petersburg, but spent holidays and vacations with her grandparents who lived in Manatee County. She moved to Terra Ceia Island in northwest Manatee County in 1979. Cathy fell in love with history upon reading Eugenia Price novels in Middle School. When she traveled to St. Simons Island, Georgia and saw the places those characters lived, she knew that the subject of history could be alive and exciting. Ever since that time, she has made it her goal to share that message with others. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of South Florida. She has worked for the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office since 1984 and is Chief Historian. In this role, she supervises five historical sites, the Manatee Village Historical Park, the Manatee County Historical Records Library, and the Florida Maritime Museum, the Palmetto Historical Park, and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum. Cathy has two grown sons, Rob and Tim, a fabulous daughter-in-law, Miranda, and a daughter of the heart, Christina. She has been married to her husband, Glen, a third generation Floridian since 1981. She enjoys dog training, sewing and writing. Cathy is the author of three novels about Manatee County history and the Atzeroth family, first settlers of Terra Ceia Island, published as a trilogy called From A Heavenly Land and a fourth novel, The Sea Beneath Us about her grandmother and great-grandmother. Cathy is passionate about preserving Manatee County’s past and telling its stories to residents and visitors of all ages.

Guest Post from Cathy Slusser
Writing a book about my grandmother, Florence Louise Tichenor Pace was not on my “to do” list. I am one of those people who loves “to do” lists. I enjoy the satisfaction of crossing completed items off my list so much that I add things that I have already done to the list just so I can cross them off! But, I never thought to write a book about my own ancestors.

When I finished the From A Heavenly Land trilogy, a lot of people asked me what was next. I had some ideas, but before I could put fingers to keyboard, I felt compelled to write this story. Maybe it was because every time I look into a mirror, I see my grandmother’s eyes looking back at me. I look very much like her, as does my mother, Emily Pace Bayless. I imagined Grandma saying, “You write about extraordinary women. What about me? When are you going to put my story on paper?”

I could have argued that she had already done an excellent job of that, having left us her handwritten autobiography in a spiral notebook. Once at a historical meeting, participants were asked to bring a memento that we treasured. I brought that notebook. In it, I learned about my grandmother’s tenacity, her creativity and her love of God.

Those characteristics were nothing new to me, having known my grandmother until her death at age 97 in 1992. Grandma was an intimate part of my life. During my childhood, she and Granddaddy travelled once a week to our house where they greeted my sister and me upon our return from school. She made many of the clothes my sister and I wore, including Nehru jackets and pants which were all the rage at the time. She did not like the “loud” colors, but made them anyway because she loved us. I still have a wrap around skirt that she made me in high school.

We spent many holidays and weekend trips with her and Granddaddy at their retirement home on Ware’s Creek in Bradenton and shared a love of books. I knew that I could read all weekend without being told to get up and do something productive. Reading was productive in her eyes. She often gave us books as gifts, but most of the time, we found potato chip crumbs inside, evidence that she read them before passing them along.

One of the stories that most characterizes my grandmother is her involvement with our local health department. She sewed baby layettes that included clothing, blankets and diapers and donated them to the health department for distribution to the poor. She embellished the pastel colored flannel outfits with embroidery saying, “Every baby, no matter what their circumstances should have a pretty, new outfit to come home from the hospital.”

A second story involves me. When I was in girl scouts, I started an embroidered sampler in order to earn my sewing badge. My grandmother taught me the stitches, but it was clear that I was not interested in the work, nor that I would finish it in time to earn my badge. While she finished it for me, she left one flower incomplete as a message that I had not done my part. It is signed FP and CB with both our initials.

My grandmother was a remarkable woman who made a strong impact on me and everyone who knew her. Just recently, I talked to someone who remembered Grandma and told me a story about her even though she has been dead 25 years.

The story she never told us and left out of her autobiography are the details about her relationship with her mother, Henrietta Emily. I sensed some conflict between the two women and wanted to know why. I don’t know for sure that my version of the story is accurate, but it is a good theory.

For a complete list of the blog stops, please click here

Cathy is giving away a handmade quilt that she made! To enter the giveaway, click this link. Be sure to comment before you head over there, since commenting on the blog stops serve as entries into the giveaway! (copy my blog's link)