Thursday, June 30, 2016

April-June Round-Up

        It’s the end of another quarter! It’s been another three months full of reading and blogging and reviewing, and that means it’s time for a round-up post of all the books I’ve read in the last three months. I’ve always loved keeping track of all the books I read, so this is one of my favorite posts to write. It helps me to see all the things I’ve read, those I’ve loved and those that have fallen flat, and it’s so fun to look back on it all! So, here are the books I’ve read this past April, May, and June! Oh, and click on any of the colored titles in my descriptions to see my full reviews of each book!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Bookshelf: The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

An ounce of courage. A leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.
        In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.
        A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.
        When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.
        A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the Greatest Show on Earth!

Freebie Week

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is actually a freebie week, which means I can write about whatever I want. I had a bit of trouble coming up with a topic for this post, because I didn’t want it to be just like all the other posts I’ve done in the past. Unfortunately, I feel as if I’ve done almost every topic that could ever exist! So today I’m going to do a topic that I’ve somewhat done before, but that’s okay because it’s constantly relevant, and my answers are constantly changing. And that topic is: my favorite new to me authors. I did a Top Ten Tuesday post last year on this same topic, but since that was six months ago, I know there shouldn’t be any overlap, as I’m sure I’ve been introduced to AT LEAST twenty authors in such a long span of time, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to slim them down to only ten. So, here goes! And as always, if you want to see my full review of any of the books, be sure to click on the colored titles!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A New Linkup

        Guess what's coming soon!!!

Must-Have July Releases

        I can’t believe it’s already almost July! On the one hand, it feels like summer just started and I have barely been home a couple of weeks, and on the other hand it feels as if I haven’t seen my friends from school in a year. No matter which it is, time is marching on the same as it always has, and before I know it, or after it seems like forever has passed, school will be starting back again. But let’s not talk about that! Summer most definitely isn’t over yet, and I’ve got a great list of books that would be fantastic additions to your summer reading list!

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert

You never know what you’re really made of until you lose everything.
        Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream—designer clothes, luxury cars, stunning homes. But everything comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must face incredible odds to save her family—and discover a life worth living.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury

        Despite needing a heart transplant and against the advice of her doctor, Mary Catherine moves to Uganda to work at a new orphanage. Whatever time she has left, Mary Catherine wants to spend it helping children—especially since there will be no children of her own. The only problem is Major League Baseball player Marcus Dillinger, the man she never meant to fall in love with. Neither Marcus nor Mary Catherine’s other friends—Tyler Ames and Sami Dawson—know just how serious her heart condition is.
        Still, Marcus is sure in the depths of his soul that something isn’t right. Ultimately, his correspondence with Mary Catherine leads him on a desperate life-or-death mission to rescue her and get her to a US hospital before time runs out. Meanwhile, Sami and Tyler struggle with issues of their own. In a season when Tyler plans to ask Sami to marry him, the very core of their relationship is in jeopardy.
        The team of angels walking is busier than ever in this epic battle between life and death. Brush of Wings is a poignant tale of love, sacrifice, and the power of faith.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My Bookshelf: Jilted by Varina Denman

A heartbroken woman desires to move beyond old memories, but will her past give way to hope?
        Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life in which the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.
        Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living , of a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and of a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

My New Favorites

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about my favorite 2016 releases so far! I’ve had a really difficult time picking what books should make this list, as so many wonderful books have released the past six months! To help me decide, I slimmed down my options by only allowing me to add books I’ve actually read, and that have made my all-time favorites list. Even still, my list is twelve instead of ten, and I had to cut out two books—Keeper of the Stars and Mermaid Moon, which I really wanted to add. Every book I added to this list I also just so happen to own, and let’s just say, I know I’ll be reading them again and again. They’re definitely my favorite releases of January-June 2016. Oh, and if you want to see my full reviews of these gems, just click on the coral colored titles!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

She wrote the book—literally—on finding the right mate. But does she really understand what love’s about?
        Five hours before her Nantucket beach wedding—and on the eve of her big book launch—celebrity marriage counselor Kate Lawrence has everything in place.
        Everything that is, but the groom. She might not have a career, either, when her nationwide audience finds out their marriage guru has been left at the altar.
        Enter Lucas Wright, who offers to stand in for the missing husband-to-be and marry her. Kate’s desperate enough to agree—though she’s sure this Mr. Wright is completely wrong for her. But can they pull it off? And why would Lucas marry her in the first place?
        Could it be that “Dr. Kate” doesn’t know the first thing about love?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Bookshelf: Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd

Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.
        For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, a sage yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.
        The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.
        At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.
        At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about my top ten most anticipated releases for the second half of the year, or in other words, July through December. I was so excited for this post when I heard it was going to be one of the topics, as there are so many wonderful books coming out in the next six months that I am absolutely dying to read. So many, that my list isn’t even ten! I’ve restricted myself to twelve, though just barely, but I just couldn’t help it! These twelve books are all on my list of books to preorder, so I just couldn’t help adding them!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Bookshelf: Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

One plucky female pharmacist + one high-society naval officer = romance—and danger.
        For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy—even if he is her brother’s best friend.
        During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves--and with—drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

        Anchor in the Storm is the second book in Sarah Sundin’s Waves of Freedom series, coming after Though Waters Deep. Although I didn’t actually get a chance to read the first installment, I did read one of Sarah’s other novels—With Every Letter—a while back. Now that I’ve finished this book, however, I really wish I had read Through Waters Deep, because if it is as good as its sequel, I would have really enjoyed it! Maybe I’ll get around to reading it sometime soon. Anyway, I really, really loved this book. I was captivated from almost the very first page, and ended up reading almost all of the book in one day. I started it one evening and read only about 40 pages, and was already sucked in but had other things I had to do, forcing me to set it aside. That didn’t stop me for long though, as the next day I had the whole day off from work, so I read the other 300+ pages. I have to say, it was well worth packing it all into one day! To be honest, it didn’t really take me all that long to read it, but I know I’ll definitely end up reading it again someday!
        Lillian Avery is such a complex character! She has so much spirit, spunk, and is by far one of the strongest women I have ever encountered. At the same time, though, she continues to struggle with pain her sister has caused her from back when they were little, and she can’t seem to move past the scars men—mainly one in particular—have left her with. She is so reluctant to trust anyone with her heart, especially Archer Vandenberg, so she throws herself into winning over her boss at her new pharmacist job in Boston. My favorite thing about Lillian is her spunk, and how she can be sarcastic with just about anyone, but I also really love how her heart and mind works. When we see the true Lillian, it’s really impossible not to love her, because she has such a beautiful soul.
        Arch Vandenberg is nothing like Lillian’s initial perception of him, and I am so thankful for that, because I’m not sure I could love that character, but I definitely love the sweet, thoughtful, very broken Arch that is featured amid the pages of this novel. His patience with Lillian is astounding, but that is what real love is, isn’t it. They do stumble over quite a few small roadblocks in their path, and one really big one, but what love doesn’t? I just can’t help but love the two of them together, but I won’t spoil all that really happens in this novel. There are some very surprising turns that this story takes, some good, some bad, but it makes for a very interesting story that never leaves you bored, and the ending is absolute perfection, mainly because of Arch.
        All in all, I really enjoyed this story, so much so that I’m definitely excited for the third and final book in the series to come out. Unfortunately, it has a 2017 release date, so I’ll have to wait a while. Maybe I’ll find time to read Through Waters Deep before then. Anyway, I can’t imagine giving this book anything but all five bookshelves, and it already has a place on my all-time favorites list. I fell in love with Arch and Lillian from the very beginning, and I was so glad to read their story, though I will confess I did not want it to end. At least it had a very beautiful ending!
        Happy reading!

There’s a great giveaway going on for this book here!

Anchor in the Storm Sarah Sundin

I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review.

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Sarah Sundin and Revell Publishing.

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Bookshelf: A Daughter’s Dream by Shelley Shepard Gray

        Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.
        That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year-old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easygoing temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?
        Suddenly becoming Lilly’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lilly and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.
        But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness…and true love?

        A Daughter’s Dream is the second book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s The Charmed Amish Life series, coming after A Son’s Vow. I definitely enjoyed the first novel, to a degree, but it was a little lacking in my opinion, especially since I had just read Shelley’s FANTASTIC Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series. I really loved every second of that series, so I was disappointed when the writing in A Son’s Vow fell a little flat for me. Anyway, I did enjoy this new installment quite a bit more than the first novel, as there were so many things constantly happening that kept me captivated, and so many sweet moments between either Rebecca and Jacob, Lilly and Peter, or Rachel and Marcus, that I couldn’t help really enjoying this novel.
        Rebecca Kinsinger is definitely an energetic, runs-headfirst-into-anything-she-sets-her-mind-to type of person. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes for some interesting adventures as she tries her hand at teaching. At the same time, though, she is a smart, hardworking, and kind individual, which definitely makes her one of my favorite characters in this book.
        Another one of my favorite characters has to be Jacob. The way he uprooted his life back in Florida to be there for his niece when she needed him most is the sweetest thing, and I couldn’t help but love him. He was also completely adorable when it comes to Rebecca, and I loved his desire to put others needs before his dreams. I definitely enjoyed reading his story more than Lukas’ (the first book), but I will say I do still love Lukas as well.
        The other two of my favorite characters has to be Lilly and Peter. Their little “friendship” is completely adorable, and I loved reading about the way he dotes on her. He just so happened to be exactly what she needed as she dealt with losing her parents and moving to a new place, going to a new school, and meeting new people. I couldn’t help but love Lilly because she is sweet and adorable and smart as a whip, but I couldn’t help loving Peter because of his kindness, compassion, and loving attitude towards Lilly.
        All in all, I definitely enjoyed this book, though there were a few little parts I just wasn’t super fond of, that could just be because I’m a bit picky when it comes to writing and different ways of putting things and such. Anyway, I can gladly give this book four out of five bookshelves, and I’m more excited to read the next book in the series—A Sister’s Wish—when it comes out later this fall!
        Happy reading!

There's also a fantastic giveaway going on for this book! You should check it out here!

I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review.

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Shelley Shepard Gray and Avon Inspire Publishing.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Walk Through: Ephesians 2

        Today I’ve started the first of a very new blog series I’ve decided to begin called “A Walk Through,” which will take us on walks through all different kinds of Bible passages. I haven’t decided if it will be a once a week post or if it will just be more of a whenever-I’m-inspired type of thing, so I’ll get back to you on that. As for today, I’ve decided to start with Ephesians since that is what I’ve been pouring over in some of my own personal study time. I’ve been diving into chapter two, verses one through ten, so that’s what I’ll focus on today.