Thursday, June 25, 2015

When Grace Sings (The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy #2) by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Summary from Goodreads

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion? 

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

My thoughts on the book

I have actually never read a book with an Amish or Mennonite storyline before this one.  They have never really peaked my interest.  However, with that being said, I did enjoy this story.  There was faith, love, romance, secrets, and even some scandals that kept me interested!  Sweet moments, fun moments, and emotional moments were all in this storyline.

I also found myself wanting to know more about Amish and Mennonite communities.  The way they live, their faith, and their traditions are all things that I would like to know more about.

I hadn't read the first book in this series before reading this one so I was a bit lost at times.  I would definitely recommend reading book 1 of the trilogy (When Mercy Rains) before starting this one.  You don't have to read book 1 to be able to enjoy this book, it will just make it more understandable.  Kim Vogel Sawyer did a good job explaining this for the most part but it would have been easier for me if I had read the first book before this one.

Each character was very well thought out with their own distinct personalities.  When I read a book, it is important to me to be able to imagine the characters as real people.  That is very possible when reading this book.  You can find yourself drawn in very easily.  If you enjoy Amish or Mennonite stories, or even if you're like me and have never read one before, you should try this one (maybe after you read the first one!).

*Note: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner

Summary from Goodreads

Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm in Iowa where options for her future were marriage or teaching.  Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career.  Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister's abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.

Once she is able to experience the world she's dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her.  Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices clear-cut, as she once imagined.

Go Away Home is a captivating coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief.  This novel will resonate with anyone who's confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

My thoughts on the book

I really enjoyed this book!  There were times that I laughed and felt butterflies in my stomach right along with Liddie.  Then there were times when I couldn't believe what I was reading and I couldn't stop crying as if I actually knew the people I was reading about!  Go Away Home was such a wonderful, beautifully written novel.  I couldn't put it down!

In all honesty, Go Away Home could have been split up into at least three books and made into a series.  And, yes, I would have read all of them!  There is so much I want to say about this book but I am having trouble finding the words without giving spoilers.

Liddie Treadway is such a good character.  During her life, she makes a few poor decisions and some wonderful, smart decisions.  She goes through major hard times and still remains the strong person that you grow to love while reading this book.  Carol Bodensteiner created a lovely character in Liddie Treadway.  I recommend reading Go Away Home to anyone who enjoys reading historical novels.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Case of the Sin City Sister (A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery #2) By Lynne Hinton

Summary from Goodreads

When Eve's biological sister goes missing, the nun heads to Las Vegas to track her down before it's too late.

Years ago, Eve heard God's call to become a nun, but her recent stint moonlighting at her father's detective agency invigorates her so much that she's wrestling with her vocation.  She's working with him on a case involving a miner in New Mexico when alarming news develops: her sister Dorisanne is missing.  The authorities won't act without evidence of a crime, but Eve knows something suspicious--and possibly deadly--is afoot.  Challenged to put her newfound gifts as a PI to the test, Sister Eve heads to Las Vegas to uncover clues about her sister's whereabouts.

What nefarious scheme has Dorisanne become involved in?  Is her life in danger?  And what is Dorisanne's estranged husband hiding?  Sister Eve will discover there's always more going on in Sin City than meets the eye.

My Thoughts on the Book

The Case of the Sin City Sister is the second book in the A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery Series.  I didn't read the first book but I was still able to catch on pretty easily.  The beginning of the book had me a little confused at first because it starts with a bit of history.  I actually looked at the cover again to make sure I was reading what I thought I was reading!  I didn't understand how that part connected with the story about Ava's sister but it made sense later on.  Overall, I did enjoy the storyline, it kept me pretty interested.

I usually won't read the second book in a series until I've read the first but this book was sent to me to review so I went ahead and read it.  I will probably purchase and read the first book so that I can have the set.  It was a good, fun read and I look forward to reading more from this author.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Letter to My Mom by Lisa Erspamer

Summary from Goodreads

Just in time for Mother's Day, the next book in the A Letter to My series (after A Letter to My Dog and A Letter to My Cat) takes on mothers, with celebrities and civilians writing letters of gratitude and admiration to the women who raised them, alongside gorgeous, intimate photos.

My thoughts on the book

This is the first Non Fiction book that I have reviewed.  It was a very sweet and touching book.  This isn't one that I would normally pick out for myself so I am glad to have received it!

I love that the contributors for this book are all different ages; some famous and some not.  My favorite letter was actually by  It was so sweet and worded perfectly that I wanted to copy it and send it to my mom!  I could have gone through this book with a highlighter and marked everything I have ever wanted to tell my mom.  As a matter of fact, this would be a great gift for the mother in your life.

At the end of the book there are short bios of each person that contributed to this book.  By reading their letters and their bios you feel as though you are getting a personal glimpse into each individual.  I will certainly recommend this book to my fellow book lovers.

Some of my favorite A Letter to My Mom quotes

"Thank you, Mom, for not treating me differently-it has made me tough, independent, and ultimately happy.  -Jennifer L. Arnold"

"You're so sweet to me because you hug me and kiss my scrapes.  -Liam Cole"

"Above all else you have taught me that being a mother is a commitment, and once you are a mother, you are a mother for the rest of your days.  -Christy Turlington Burns"

"I want to go to the ends of the earth and tell the world how amazing you are..."

*Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Guest Blogging!

I have exciting news!  Kitty Bucholtz, the author of Little Miss Lovesick,  asked me to do a monthly guest post on her blog!  Such an honor!!!  The first one was posted this morning and they will be posted on the second Tuesday of every month!  Be sure to check out her blog and subscribe!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Never a Bridesmaid by Janice Thompson

Summary from Zondervan

Meet the people who make it all happen - the planners, the photographers, the musicians who have helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples as they find their own happy endings in the second Year of Weddings novella collection. Can one bridesmaid undo the disasters caused by a poorly chosen maid of honor and save her sister's wedding from disaster?
Mari's older sister Crystal is getting married, and Mari is one of her bridesmaids - actually, the last in a lineup of five bridesmaids, but that doesn't really bother her. Much. But Sienna Jameson as the maid of honor? Really? She might be Crystal's best friend, but she's ditzy and undependable on her best days. When the best man turns out to be hunky Derrick Richardson, the right fielder for the Houston Astros and one of Houston's most eligible bachelors, Sienna abandons her duties as maid of honor to chase Derrick, and it's up to Mari to make sure Crystal's wedding day goes off without a hitch.

My thoughts on the book

Never a Bridesmaid by Janice Thompson is a delightful book!  It was a short read, a novella, but it was fun and charming.  Definitely the kind of book to read when you have a little extra time and you are looking for a feel good type of read.  I kept thinking that this is the perfect book for a plane ride or a day of sitting outside relaxing.

The main character, Mari, was sweet, loving, and understanding.  Almost a little too understanding if that's possible.  I don't know that I would have been that kind and gentle if I had been passed up by my sister and then still had to have all of the responsibilities of a maid of honor.  I did feel bad for Crystal though.  So much stress and pressure to have to deal with when you're supposed to be having the time of your life planning your wedding.  And then there's Sienna... I really, really didn't like that girl.  I hope I never have to come across a Sienna in my life!  Derrick was a great character.  Uncomplicated, sweet, funny, and handsome!  Some books can leave you frustrated with how it ends.  You can be left with questions that went unanswered or endings that seemed disappointing.  This book was not like that at all.  It ended on a good note and left me feeling satisfied.

This is the first book by Janice Thompson that I have read but I don't think that it will be the last.  It was an enjoyable read and I will be recommending it to my fellow book lovers!

Some of my favorite Never a Bridesmaid quotes

"The love of something was rubbing off on me, but it had nothing to do with baseball."

"I only wish I was a thin as my patience right now"

"My favorite exercise is a combination of a lunge and a crunch....It's called lunch"

*Note: I received a copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Scent of Lies Book Review

Summary from Goodreads

Emily Parker struggles to move on from the devastating loss of her husband.  The young widow finds herself sucked into a desperate search for the killer of both her late husband, a private investigator in the small, affluent town of Paradise Valley, and the unfaithful husband of his last client.

The police arrest a convenient suspect, which pulls Emily dangerously into the thick of things.  Emily's world is rocked when she uncovers some clues that reveal her late husband may not have been who he said he was.

With the help of her close circle of friends and the sexy new police detective in town, the race is on to find the real killer before the worn person is sent to prison and Emily winds up dead.

Murder, mystery, romance and intrigue - The Scent of Lies will keep you wondering 'who dunnit?' until the very end.

My thoughts on the book

I enjoy reading mysteries that have good storylines and keep you interested, but don't totally confuse you and freak you out.  Books that are suspenseful, but not so scary that you have trouble going to bed at night.  I like for the book to have moments of romance but nothing smutty or sexually descriptive.  This book had all of the things I like in a mystery!

You start off feeling quite sad for Emily.  She misses her late husband and she also has to deal with the fact that his murderer hasn't even been found.  She does have good friends (although Maggie is a bit annoying with her blabbering Emily's secrets) that love her and care about her.  Emily decides to take on his last client, Delia, and that's when the excitement starts.  She meets Colin, finds out some things about her late husband that actually lead to more questions about him, gets shot at, and more all happen in this book!

In the end, some mysteries get solved but others still leave you questioning.  That's how you start a series, folks!  I'll gladly read the other books in this series so that I can find out what happens next and hopefully get some of those questions answered.

So, all in all, The Scent of Lies by Debra Burroughs was a fun read and I do recommend reading this book!

Some of my favorite The Scent of Lies quotes

"If stupid hurt, most people would stop"

"Emily Parker," he said, "I think you are one spectacular woman."
"That would be a smokin' hot lady PI to you, mister."

The Scent of Lies

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bittersweet Book Review

Summary from Goodreads

Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider's hunger to belong.

On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast collage, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow.  Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it's the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour.  Mabel falls in love with the midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead.  Before she knows is, she has everything she's ever wanted: friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.

But as Mabel becomes and insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact - and what they might do to anyone who threatens them.  Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family's dark secrets and make Ev's world her own.

My thoughts on the book

Hmmm... I'm not sure where to begin.  I was dreading the day that I would have to write a negative review and here it is.  The thing is, there may be some person somewhere that might enjoy this book, but it just really wasn't my kind of read.

I don't remember the last time I struggled so much just to finish a book.  I personally had a hard time with the characters.  They just didn't seem believable to me at all.  I wanted to be able to like the main character, Mabel Dagmar, but the more I read about her, the less I liked her.  Then there was Genevra Winslow who was the little rich girl.  She was not my favorite character either.  It was confusing that she completely ignored Mabel and then, out of nowhere, invited her to her family's cabin for the summer.  Just so confusing.   And all of the names in the book were very odd for these days, too.  Genevra, Birch, Luvinia, and even Mabel Dagmar...they're just not your typical names.  I mean, I'm usually all for unique names but this many in one book just annoyed and confused me a little.  To be honest, not much made sense to me about this whole storyline.  It was vulgar, confusing, boring, frustrating, and just plain annoying.  Did I mention vulgar?  Because it was vulgar.

I'm trying so hard to be nice because I really hate to put down something that someone worked so hard to write but I really can't think of anything positive to say.  Bittersweet was not at all what I thought it would be when I read about it.  It is not a book that I would recommend to my reading buddies.

*Note:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.