Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Art of Losing Yourself: A Book Review

About the Book:
"Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together.  But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.
http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9781601425928?height=450&alt=no_cover_b4b.gifUntil Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?"

My Review:
While I liked Ganshert's "A Broken Kind of Beautiful", I truly enjoyed reading The Art of Losing Yourself".  I found myself thinking about the characters throughout the day, and wasn't ready for the story to end.  Ganshert does a wonderful job of tackling tough issues, such as infertility, miscarriage, and broken relationships, all with a measure of grace. The characters are flawed and relatable; and I loved that not everything works out picture perfect in the end, because that's how life really is.  Although, I would have liked just a little more closure at the end, as I felt it was a little abrupt. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.

For a sneak peek at the first chapter, click here!
* I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Book Review: "A Love Like Ours" & A Giveaway!


Displaying
* I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

About The Book:
Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

My Review: 

This is one of those cases where the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" rings true.  I hesitated on signing up to review this book as the cover looked like the equivalent to a cheesy Hallmark movie, but I couldn't have been more wrong!  In fact, the cover was the only thing I disliked about the book, as the models looked like they were 16 as opposed to being in their 30s like the characters were.  Minor details though :)

This was the first book I'd read by Becky Wade and I am smitten with her writing style. She has the gift of writing memorable, in-depth characters you can relate to and feel invested in, all within a few sweeping sentences.  

"A Love Like Ours" was more than just your average love story. I appreciated how Wade dealt with a heavier topic such as PTSD, and its affects on not only the individual but those around them.  It was obvious she did her research, and it comes out in her writing.  Lyndie James and Jake Porter are wonderfully written characters and great foils for one another, but Wade doesn't let their relationship come too easily.  I felt as though her portrayal of their relationship was realistic, and she even addressed the fact that very rarely can you change a man by dating him. 

"A Love Like Ours" is a beautifully written story about love, perseverance, and clinging to the truth that God is good even in the midst of hard times. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading the other books in Wade's Porter family series.

When you buy "A Love Like Ours" from now until May 17th, a percentage of the proceeds will be given to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes fund. Click here to buy your copy and support a great cause!

Fall in love with Becky Wade's new book, A Love Like Ours, a story of healing, romance, and cowboys. A glimmer of the hope Jake thought he’d lost returns when Lyndie lands back in Texas, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

To celebrate the release of her new book, Becky is giving away a $100 cash card and a book-inspired prize pack!

lovelikeours-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $100 cash card
  • A copy of A Love Like Ours
  • A copy of the Secretariat DVD
  • A scarf
  • A dog-tag/cross keychain
  • A pair of earrings
  • A Texas-shaped cutting board
  • A Jake Porter mug
love like ours - prize pack 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 26th. Winner will be announced May 27th on Becky's site.

lovelikeours-enterbanner

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tiffany Girl: A Book Review


When I heard that Deeanne Gist was putting together a launch team to promote her new book, Tiffany Girl, coming out May 5th, I jumped at the chance!

Displaying
Gist's books are always incredibly well researched; and it shows in her detailed writing that transports you back in time like no other historical fiction books can.  She has a way of drawing you in right from the beginning and creating in-depth characters you can't help but love, flaws and all.

 I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Tiffany Girls, of Tiffany Co. fame, who helped Louis Comfort Tiffany complete the Tiffany Chapel for exhibition at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. These incredible women stepped up to the challenge after the glassworkers went on strike, and helped pave the way for working women.

Gist also addresses the obstacles these women faced, such as picketers, "bustle pinchers" on the streetcars, and the struggles of making a life for themselves apart from the home.  As in all her books, Gist is able to seamlessly incorporate historical information such as: the invention of basketball at the YMCA, and other forms of entertainment like the board game Old Maid and phenakistoscopes (say that 10 times fast!)

And of course no Gist book is complete without a hefty dose of romance!

Books go on sale May 5th and you can pre-order yours here!
For more information on Deeanne Gist and her other books, visit her website.

(For those of you that have read Gist's books in the past, she is now publishing for the general market. With that being said, I still found her book to have good values, with no explicit content, making it an enjoyable read for everyone!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: "A Sparrow in Terezin" & A Giveaway!

* I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book:
Displaying Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor's story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world.

Present Day---With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairytale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels she's stumbled into a charmed life---until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy the perfectly planned future she's planned before it even begins. Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future.

1942---Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped occupied Prague in 1939, and was forced to leave her half-Jewish family behind. Now a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in England, Kája discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, Kája has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.

Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight to protect all they hold dear---even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

My Review:

After reading Cambron's debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, I was looking forward to the chance to read the second book in the series and see how Cambron progressed as an author. Unfortunately I wasn't very impressed with this book.  The things I didn't like in the first book seemed even more pronounced in A Sparrow in Terezin.  But first let me start with what I did enjoy.

Once again I enjoyed reading about a new part of history that I was unfamiliar with. Such as the "model" concentration camps, and the use of crossword puzzles to pass messages during WW2.  I also liked how Cambron wove in real life events that happened during the war, and she showed that not all of the Germans were bad or believed in what the Nazis were doing.  She did a good job of continuing some of the story line from her first novel into this one.  I was pleased to learn more about Sophie's past and how she escaped from Vienna.

However, I felt as though Cambron did a lot of telling in this book and not much showing.  We're told that Liam is a ladies man and a bit of a playboy, but there is not much in the scenes to back this up.  Just the other secretaries warning Kaja to stay away from him.  We're also told that he is an Ace reporter but there are no scenes of him doing whatever it takes to get the scoop on the story.  I also felt like Liam and Kaja's relationship was very forced. There was little build up to it, no anticipation or sparks and then all of a sudden they're a couple, without any real reason other than that's how the story is supposed to go. To be honest I felt as though there was a better relationship between Dane, the German soldier, and Kaja.

Once again William and Sera's relationship fell extremely flat.  Other than the fact that they are "uncovering" the story of Kaja and Liam, their presence didn't add much at all to the story line.
Sera's character also seemed rather wishy-washy to me.  Without trying to give anything away, when faced with legal trouble Sera and William moved up their wedding because she wanted to be by his side as a wife, and go through this together. And then at the first sign of trouble she is ready to move out and live in her gallery, and he has pulled away and isn't letting her help him.  Again, when Will warns her about going to England to meet his father and try to get some answers, she does so anyways and then is ready to walk out on him when she learns the truth. What was she expecting to find? Also, I found it hard to believe that when faced with legal troubles, with all of their assets frozen, Sera is able to buy all new furniture and renovate her gallery...and jet off to England at the drop of a hat.  These sorts of inconsistencies really took away from the storyline for me.

I also felt as though the ending was rather abrupt.  It goes from Liam and Kaja hiding from the SS in a cellar after having escaped the deportation to Auschwitz, to them being at the Trials for War Criminals in Nuremberg. With no explanation of how they got safely out of the country or reunited with her father.
I was really looking forward to this novel being better than Cambron's first, and have to say I was disappointed to find that it fell short.

Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection in Kristy Cambron's new book, A Sparrow in Terezin. Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight to protect all they hold dear—even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

Kristy is celebrating by giving away a basket filled with goodies inspired by her new book!

sparrow terezin - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A set of poppy notecards
  • A poppy pin
  • A copy of I Never Saw Another Butterfly
  • A copy of the Mrs. Miniver DVD
  • Literary tea bags
  • Tumbler
  • A copy of A Sparrow in Terezin
sparrow giveaway bastet 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 28th. Winner will be announced April 29th on Kristy's blog.

sparrow terezin-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bless This House...


A couple years ago when we were still living in NOVA some friends of ours had a house blessing party where they invited everyone over to write bible verses and blessings on the subfloor before their new flooring got installed. I loved this idea and tucked it away for that "someday" when we had a house of our own.

Well, someday arrived and before we even bought the house and started ripping apart floors I told Jonathan that I wanted to have a house blessing party.  So on a cold Thursday night a couple weeks after we moved in we had some of our closest friends over to write verses on the floor as a reminder to us that this house is the Lord's.

We really want people to feel God's presence and peace in our home, and we could think of no better way than to literally cover our home with God's word. Deuteronomy 6:9 says to "write the Lord's commands on the door-frames of your houses and your gates"....so we wrote them on the floor :)








These are just a few of the verses that were written across our living room floor. I can't help but wonder what the carpet guys thought as they came in to install our new carpeting the next day. And what a surprise it will be to whoever owns this house after us if they ever replace the flooring, I pray these verses will bless them as well.

And just because I couldn't resist, here's another pic of our House of Dreams in the recent snowfall we had :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...