Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Book Review - Ever Faithful

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A man who can't read will never amount to anything--or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain "requirements." Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.
   
Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger's daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park's hotels, she still hasn't saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate's secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship.

Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Barnett, author of Mistaken, Out of the Ruins, and Beyond the Ashes, is a former park ranger. She worked as a ranger naturalist and outdoor educator at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Silver Falls State Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. When not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, and public speaking. She lives in Oregon with her family.

MY REVIEW:

This is book three in the Vintage National Parks series. It's a stand-alone book set in Yellowstone during the Great Depression.

Elsie has grown up in Yellowstone with her Park Ranger father and a mother who has health problems. The death of her little sister weighs heavy on her mind and she blames her cousin who accidentally set the fire as a child. We see her wrestle with this dilemma when her parents bring her cousin into the park to work after the death of his parents. This was a very good part of the story and I loved seeing her process forgiveness and what that means as she deals with her cousin, who at times is not very likable.

Nate is a young man from New York who has been told he's dumb all his life by his father and teachers. He can't read and his whole life revolves around protecting his little brother, who is going down a bad path. When a police officer steps in to get Nate into the CCC, it will be a life changing situation for Nate.

I really liked this story and the setting of Yellowstone Park. I also enjoyed learning more about how the CCC program worked and how it helped so many young men who were in need of work. I loved the budding relationship between Nate and Elsie and seeing both of them blossom under the encouragement their relationship brought them.

There was a mystery thread that ran through this story as well and I was amazed at who the culprit was. I kept thinking I knew who it was but I was very wrong and I like a story that keeps me guessing until the end. I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it. I give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah.  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

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Book Review - Living Lies


ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name--but no one knows your secret.

At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she'll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalie Walters is the author of Living Lies and Deadly Deceit. A military wife of 22 years, she currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. In addition to balancing life as a military spouse, mom, and writer, she loves connecting on social media, sharing her love of books, cooking, and traveling. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past. Learn more at www.nataliewalterswriter.com.

MY REVIEW:

This book was so good and I had a hard time putting it down even to sleep! I really love a good story that has a bit of intrigue and mystery and this book definitely had all this and more!

Lane is a woman with a small child and a good heart. I liked her immediately and how she worked to find the inner strength she needed to make it another day. She has depression and fights it on a daily basis. Self accusations don't help her as she blames herself for her husband's death and for other things that she has no control over. Her parents aren't exactly helpful in this situation either as they put more pressure on her.

Charlie is the new deputy in town and he has his own family problems and is working to find a new life after being in the Marines. He is thrown into a huge case when Lane finds a body out in the woods and they realize it's a murder. This also is the beginning of a friendship between Lane and Charlie.

I really liked the intrigue of this story and how we see both Lane and Charlie grow into their own. I loved seeing their faith grow but I also liked seeing Lane's doubts at time as to whether God cared for her. We all have these feelings at time so it felt very realistic. I think my favorite character in the book was Miss Byrdie. She is the mother hen and friend we all wish we had whose faith is strong and who has just the right words at the right time. Her friendship to Lane is so lovely and I really liked her wise words and care for those around her.

If you enjoy a good story with great characters and mystery, you'll love this book. 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

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway - Heart & Home


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Our home and its design can encourage spiritual growth in our hearts.

Heart and Home is a short devotional book with daily devotions for 90 days. The devotionals seek to draw clear connection between the basics of interior design and scripture that encourages spiritual growth within our hearts. The devotionals inspire women to have a captivating heart and home. Included in each devotional is an applicable design tip and photographs. Example devotional topics include unity and harmony, negative space, flow, focal point, and balance.

This devotional includes four-color photographs of home interiors throughout the book.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Victoria Duerstock is a writer, blogger, teacher, and speaker. Her mission is to inspire hope and ignite bigger dreams for God’s purpose in each of our stories. She has a master’s degree in music, but ended up working in the furniture industry for more than twenty years and loves to make connections between our home environments and our spiritual lives. Victoria writes at Encouraging Women Today, Everything’s Gravy, Creative Corner, and Serious Writer Academy and also has contributed to devotionals for Worthy. She lives in Nesbit, Mississippi, with her husband, and they have three children.

Learn more about Victoria at:
www.victoriaduerstock.com

Follow her on Facebook,
www.facebook.com/VDuerstock

Twitter,
https://twitter.com/vduerstock

and Instagram
www.instagram.com/vduerstock
www.instagram.com/heartandhomebooks.


MY REVIEW:

This lovely little coffee-table book has so much in it that will bless your heart and home! There are absolutely gorgeous photographs throughout of cozy and beautiful rooms that are awe inspiring. My favorite thing, though, is how much is packed into each page concerning each topic.

This book is divided into topics like, “Blank Space” - “Filled and Overflowing” and “Proper Proportions”. What I really found interesting was how the author pulled Scripture, prayer, design tips and special heart thoughts into each page without using an abundance of words. Her writing is beautiful but it truly does touch the heart and encourage us in our walk with God.

I savored each and every page and found myself writing down things that really made an impact on my soul. The fact that there are really good design ideas and tips is the icing on the cake! She encourages us to make our homes warm and cozy but she also encourages us to give our heart the same impact that we would do for our home. It’s a truly unique book that I have picked up again and again to just puruse and enjoy.

You’ll love this little book as much as I do and I highly recommend you check it out. I’m giving it 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book from Audra Jennings PR and Abingdon Press. 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.



GIVEAWAY!!


Now for even more excitement, there is a giveaway for a chance to win your own copy! Enter on the rafflecopter below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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COMING THIS FALL!!


As a writer, teacher, and speaker with a busy work and family life, Victoria Duerstock understands that all the tasks of the holiday season can make it easy to forget the true joy that Christmas can bring. In Heart & Home for Christmas, Duerstock brings her mission to inspire hope for God's purpose, and her 20 years of experience in the furniture and design industry together, connecting Scripture with design elements and easy decorating tips in a way that reflects the true spirit of Christmas. The devotions and holiday decorating tips will encourage spiritual growth and inspiration to have both a captivating heart and home at Christmas.

Releases September 17, 2019!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Book Review - What If? by Melody Carlson


ABOUT THE BOOK:

What if I were a ladybug? Or a polar bear? Or a creature from outer space? This fun, whimsical story takes us through some of the amazing creations in our world, and how wonderful it is to be who God made us to be.

MY REVIEW;

This is an adorable children's book that has such cute illustrations by Bethany Harris and the story itself will captivate any child with it's cute rhyming verse and the wonder of imagining "what if?". 

Your child can imagine if they are something else - like an alien or a bug or many other things. It will encourage your child to use their imagination. The vocabulary is wonderful, too, because Melody uses words that you may need to explain and this will enhance their vocabulary.Words like muddle and Northern Light are words you wouldn't necessarily hear in everyday conversation but these words will give your child new words to learn.

I loved the cute illustrations and the darling rhyming and I know any child would love it, too. I love that it emphasizes that God makes each of us to be uniquely ourselves as this is such a positive truth for children. I adore this cute book and highly recommend it with 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by the author.  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

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Review - On A Summer Tide


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. "Moving on" is Cam's mantra. But there's a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on and one who just keeps on moving.

Cam's full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island--a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam's surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, and so do the locals. One in particular: Seth Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher, who harbors more than a few surprises.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including Mending Fences, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop's Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

MY REVIEW:

I love a book that captivates me from the very first sentence and this book absolutely did! I just couldn't put this book down!

The story is about a dad who pursues his dream and buys an island where he has wonderful memories from his younger days when he met his late wife. His three daughters think he's having some kind of mid-life crisis and are questioning his decision, however, he has a reason for all this that involves getting his family closer

Cam, the oldest daughter, is the main focus of this book, but each sister and the dad get their own voice in the story as well. We learn about their individual lives and see how the dynamics change as they go to the island to make new lives. It was captivating watching as they made their way with each other.

This is a lovely story and I enjoyed so much seeing the growth in each of these people. The ups and downs and how their faith in God and each other grew. I can't wait for more books in this series and to enjoy another great read! I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell Reads. 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