Saturday, September 21, 2019

Book Review - You Belong With Me by Tari Faris


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Realtor Hannah Thornton has many talents.
Unfortunately, selling houses isn't one of them.

When a business tycoon determines to raze historic homes in the small town of Heritage, Michigan, and replace them with a strip mall, Hannah resolves to stop him. She sets about helping Heritage win a restoration grant that will put the town back on the map--and hopefully restore her disgraced family name. But she'll need help to do it.

As a foster kid, Luke Johnson never truly felt he belonged. Now he has a chance to earn his place in his hometown. But he doesn't anticipate how his relationship with Hannah will set into motion events that reveal the truth about who he is--and who he was.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tari Faris has been writing fiction for more than 10 years. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she works for My Book Therapy, manages learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.

MY REVIEW:

I don't usually chose Romance novels to read but I'm glad I chose this one! This is book one in the a new series called, Restoring Heritage, and I'm excited this is part of a series because this book was so good! I loved the small town setting and how the author made you feel like you were right there with her beautiful descriptions of Michigan.

I could relate to the character Hannah in so many ways. The fact that she likes things to remain the same really resonated with me. Her love of old houses keeps her from being a stellar realtor because she can't stand to see them torn down, which I can totally relate to as well.  When she has a chance to help her hometown and keep the historic value of her little town at the same time, she jumps at the chance.

Luke is a man who doesn't feel like he belongs. He grew up in foster care and it affects him in so many ways to feel that he doesn't belong anywhere or with anyone. I love his character so much because he is flawed yet has such a good heart.

My favorite thing about this book is how the author weaves faith throughout and always points to the love of God. She does it in a way that is realistic and believable and not preachy. It gave me so much encouragement to my own faith to read her beautiful words.

I really loved this book and it was a fast but enjoyable read. I give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie

Book Review - The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Robin Windsor has spent much of her life under an assumed name to avoid association with her infamous parents. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary running her used bookstore in quiet River City, Michigan. But when she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. Why would Peter be making contact now? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again?

With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words--the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write--have more power than we imagine.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Erin Bartels is the author of We Hope for Better Things and The Words between Us. A publishing professional for seventeen years, she is a member of Capital City Writers and the Women's Fiction Writers Association. Her short story "This Elegant Ruin" was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. She grew up in the Bay City, Michigan, area and has spent much of her life waiting on drawbridges. She now lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son. Find her online at www.erinbartels.com.

MY REVIEW:

This novel is unlike anything I have read before and I was totally enthralled with the story and the characters. I enjoyed the use of books within this book to bring the characters together. Especially when it was a book that I love!

Robin is a girl with a lot of baggage in her life because of her parents. She carries around her hurt like a sweater that she never puts down. She has lived a life under an assumed name so that her parents sins would not continue to taint her life. However, because she carried around her wounds, she ended up being a person who never moves forward or gets beyond certain angers. This was the aspect of the book that I didn't like because I wanted to see her get beyond her parents and, she thought she was, but she wasn't!

Peter is another wounded person and their love of books brings Robin and he together in a really delightful way. He is a bit more evolved than Robin, though, so he ended up being my favorite character. I loved that he cared so much.

The story takes us between past and present, which I didn't have a problem with, and I do think was very central to the story. I also loved all the books and the book store that Robin is trying to save. It gave another element to the story of not only caring about the people, but the book store that was in jeopardy.

All in all, I think this book was beautifully written. The only thing I found annoying at times was the character of Robin. I enjoyed this book a lot and give it 4 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

But God - The Two Most Comforting Words


"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:9-10

I wrote the following on my blog in 2014. It was right after a surgery and I was coping with the results and my recovery...

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God's promises are so precious. When we're struggling through something like recovering from surgery, or the loss of a loved one, or wondering how we're going to pay our latest bill, God's promises are there to see us through. We know that we can rely on Him to remember His promises. He tells us He remembers us.

In this Scripture, He promises to strengthen and help us. I don't know about you, but I need that, especially right now. I have no strength of my own right now...I'm just beyond tired and exhausted. I'm so thankful that I can turn to God and ask Him for comfort to know that He is my help.

It's so amazing to me that God says He will uphold me with His righteous right hand. How can I be of so much importance to him that He would lift me up? How is it that He loves me so much? It's just overwhelming and my heart just over-flows with the amazement and awesomeness of it all.

God loves you with the same kind of love! Are you going through something difficult? Rest in Him. Remember, He is holding you in His hand. Nothing that is happening or has happened, has not gone through His hands first. He will bless us through these difficult times and we will come through more able to serve Him and help others! Oh - how I thank Him for this!

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September 11th is such a difficult day. It brings so many memories of loss and sadness and, for me, it will be a date I remember for a different reason. I received a phone call that has turned my world upside down. My doctor called to let me know that my biopsy showed I have cancer. I was, and am still, in shock.

It's at times like this when the shifting sands of life either settle on the bed rock of faith in Jesus or swallow one in the quick sands of fear. My heart and mind have been gasping for air as the fear threatens to swallow me up, however, there are those glimpses of sure footing as I remember the promises of God.

I will be seeing the oncologist next week and I also will be having a CT scan to determine if the cancer has spread. That's one of those swirling sands, one of those fearful things that satan uses against me during the dark hours of night. "But God." The most promising and two words in the Bible. There may be fearful things to face but God never leaves me and He is bigger than satan and this horrible cancer.

I would so appreciate your prayers - for God's will first of all. Of course, for healing through whatever means God chooses, and for strength, wisdom and comfort for me and my family's hearts.

I will update here as much as possible, however, if you want to follow me on MeWe, I will update there as I go through this new journey. I will not update on Facebook as I feel uncomfortable sharing this very personal situation on there. The link to my personal MeWe page is HERE and the link to my MeWe blog page is HERE 

The Scripture and my blog post from those many years ago, comfort me yet again. It speaks to my heart and reminds me that He is still holding me in His righteous right hand. May God be glorified through this situation!

Blessings - Julie

Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review - A Redesigned Life by Tracy Steel


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Embrace God's invitation to redesign the interior spaces that matter most.

We all love great design. But what happens when we discover we are living a life we did not design? When our dreams lie in tatters and nothing is going according to our carefully laid-out plans? Where is God in the midst of the mess?

Drawing from time-honored design principles such as movement, contrast, and pattern, Bible teacher and former interior designer Tracy Steel offers you the assurance that God is the ever-present, caring Designer of your life and that he remains true to his plans and purposes in every season--especially the messy ones. Through biblical examples and true stories from her own experience, Tracy will help you recognize God's purposeful design in your life so you can experience peace and contentment even when life doesn't go as planned.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracy Steel is a mentor, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping women become who and what God wants them to be. Whether the setting has been a small group Bible study, youth ministry event, women’s retreat, or MOPS group, she has been honored to teach and mentor the girls and women God has placed in her life.

She inspires and challenges through messages that:

• Enable discovery of true identity and purpose in Jesus Christ
• Empower women to harness and unleash their gifts in the world around them
• Equip women to impact and inspire younger generations
• Encourage women to embrace and esteem their current season of life

 MY REVIEW:

This book is for those of us whose life has turned out completely different than we thought it would. I know this spoke to me as my life is totally different than I thought it would be.

Tracy shares how she thought her life would be  - living in New York as a designer and wearing beautiful clothes and carrying designer purses.  That's not what her life has turned out to be like - she lives in Phoenix. However, she has embraced her life and she shows us how we can embrace ours in whatever circumstances we find our self.

Through Scripture, she shows us that, indeed, God truly has a design for our life and that we can fully trust Him on this journey of ours. I especially enjoyed the "Muse Minutes" and the "Design Tip" section she had after each chapter. These helped me to put things clearly together in my mind and give me a new "design" perspective about my life.

This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it - especially to those who are struggling with how different their life looks compared to what they wanted.  I give this book 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Counting Our Blessings Linkup


I am so ready to count my blessings - how about you? It's been such a tough few months but I've seen God work so many things out, bless me so mightily, and give me peace and comfort. He truly is a good God and I praise Him and want everyone to know how caring and loving He is.

I'm still recuperating from my surgery I had in May but feel my strength returning day by day. I rest when I need to and work on things when my energy lets me. I wanted to share some of the things I've been doing.

I haven't stamped or made cards for a very long time and needed to replenish my supply I keep on hand.  Here's two that I made.



Both of these are from stamps are from Stampin' Up and ones I've had forever. I have kept all my stamp sets because they really are timeless.

Have you heard of the Memorydex? It's like a Rolodex with large cards and you can decorate them how ever you like.  This is my first card for mine.


I hand lettered the Scripture and the stamp is again a Stampin' Up stamp that I've had for a long time. I stamped the background with a large rose pattern and added the ribbon.  Its simple but I really like it. I'm sure I'll get more elaborate with my cards as I go along, but this was a lot of fun and I really like it!

I also have been reading books from the library as I find time between review books.  This book was absolutely wonderful and I loved it! I loved the story line and the characters so much. The fact that it was set in Britain during WWII was perfect as that's my favorite thing. The growth of the characters was wonderful and it was just a delightful and suspenseful book! You'd love it!


My sweet son gave me these beautiful flowers! This bouquet is simply gorgeous and had so many blooms and different types of flowers. I love fresh flowers and this just blessed my heart so much!


I'd love for you to share on the linkup! You can add your link to the linky below!



Blessings - Julie