It Started With Goodbye by Christina June: A Book Review

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night, which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client. If Tatum is reading his emails right, her virtual Prince Charming is funny, smart, and talented—and he seems to think the same about her. Too bad he’s spending his summer across the ocean in Ireland…not that Tatum would be allowed to go on a date anyway.

But over the course of the summer, Tatum will learn that sometimes going after what you want means breaking all the rules. And when Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way. A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith.

My Review: This is the perfect summer read! I was first drawn to this book because it has such a pretty, eye-catching cover and an intriguing title. I also love that it is a YA book. The plot is a very modern day Cinderella story, which I found to be quite  fun to read.

The characters are very likable and the story is well-balanced. This story is about friendship and romance and it’s about following your dreams, learning something new and rethinking what you thought you knew. I love that Tatum has a lot of spirit and determination, and I love that she isn’t afraid to consider that she might be wrong about something or someone. I enjoyed reading the correspondence she had with other characters via email, as well as the conversations she had verbally. There is just something about this character that I really found refreshing.

This is such a sweet story that leaves an impression and a smile on the face of the reader.

*I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Ruth: Discovering Your Place in God’s Story: A Book Review

Color with Friends. Be Drawn In to Scripture.
Struck by tragedy. On the fringes of society. Seizing upon hope. Ruth didn’t wait for hope to arrive. She sought it out and grabbed hold of it. Compelled by need, animated by faith, she dared to leave the only land she knew. Ruth’s resilience and resourcefulness offer you a creative vision to navigate life’s inevitable struggles, trust God, and hold fast to his irrevocable hope.

Deepen your friendships as you gather around Scripture for coloring and conversation. Drawn In offers simple four-week Bible studies―perfect for groups or personal devotions. Coloring quiets your heart and mind so you can enter fully into Scripture’s stories. The Bible’s passion and personality come through in The Message, surprising new and long-time Bible readers alike. Discover the delight of being Drawn In.

My Review: This is such a cool idea. A combination of adult coloring book meets bible journaling, in a simple and unique bible study format. What an incredibly awesome way to deepen your study or scripture and awaken your creativity at the same time. We often don’t see scripture as being relevant and alive in our modern age, but it absolutely is, and this combination of bible study and creativity really allow us to see the Word in a fresh new way.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey: A Book Review

She whispers, “I’m supposed to take you home.”

“Not yet,” Abel says. “Please, just not yet.”

All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.

When Abel discovers letters to him from the dad he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.

With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely upon his simpleminded friend Willie—a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most—and a beautiful young woman who was already on the train. From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is that the magic that will one day lead him home?

My Review: Billy Coffey writes such unique stories. This is the second book I’ve had the pleasure of reading by him, and I am so impressed with his imagination and creativity. It’s refreshing to find an author in Christian fiction who writes in such a distinct way.

I absolutely fell in love with Abel in this story. He’s a broken child in the world’s eyes, but in reality he is a wonder, filled with hope, faith and love. I really enjoyed the most unlikely friendship between he, Dumb Willie and Dorothy and I loved traveling with them on their journey. They truly were characters that came alive on the pages.

This story is so full and rich and has a depth that is hard to explain. It’s full of mystery, intrigue, hope and a little bit of whimsy. It’s a story that reminds us that things aren’t always as they seem, people aren’t always what you judge them to be and faith is more powerful than we often realize. This book leaves me thinking, and I like thinking.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers  in exchange for my honest review.

True to You by Becky Wade: A Book Review

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry.

John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

My Review: This was such a sweet story. From the very first page, I found myself thoroughly enjoying every character that is introduced. The author does a great job displaying the unique personalities of each one. I absolutely love Nora and her vocabulary.  I loved watching Nora and John’s relationship build and their story unfold.

I also loved joining Nora and John as they researched and discovered the story behind John’s adoption. This story was sweet and light, but at the same time, it had some heavy tones for our characters to work through and I love how that all played out.

I appreciate so much the promise of redemption that the author weaves into this story and the reminder that God strengthens us and equips us to deal with those things in life that we can’t change.

I’m excited that the book cover seems to indicate this will be a series. I look forward to getting to know Nora’s sisters more in their upcoming novels.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

 

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at http://www.beckywade.com.

The Woman’s Study Bible: A Review

Book Description

The Woman’s Study Bible poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation. Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.

Now with a beautiful full-color redesign, The Woman’s Study Bible reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Since the publication of the first edition of The Woman’s Study Bible under the editorial guidance of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, this landmark study Bible has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Features Include:

Beautiful full-color design throughout Detailed biographical portraits of over 100 biblical women Thousands of extensive verse-by-verse study notes Over 300 in-text topical articles on relevant issues Insightful essays by women who are recognized experts in the fields of theology, biblical studies, archaeology, and philosophy Book introductions and outlines Hundreds of full-color in-text maps, charts, timelines, and family trees Quotes from godly women throughout history Set of full-page maps of the biblical world Topical index Concordance .

My Review: I was so excited to get this bible! I love the idea of an updated study bible specifically for women, designed by women. I also love that it happens to be in my favorite translation, the NKJV.

When I received this bible, my first thought was “This far exceeds my expectations!” and “It’s beautiful!!” It truly is a gorgeous bible. It is very aesthetically pleasing with it’s beautiful, large font, pretty cover, pink-edged pages and colorful notes. I obviously have just begun to enjoy and study this bible, but so far, I am very impressed. I love the articles in the beginning and all of the notes and insights throughout and I love that all of these insights and articles were written by women.

This is definitely going to be one of my most-treasured bibles for years to come. Highly recommended.

*I received a copy of this bible free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Life After by Katie Ganshert: A Book Review

About Life After

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

My Review: From the moment I read about this book, I was drawn to it. I just knew it was going to be a good read, and I was right! I was absolutely engrossed in this book from the start.

The story-line was compelling, the characters were likable, complex and vulnerable and the pace was perfect. The author did an excellent job telling this story, and telling it in a way that made me feel invested in the lives of the characters.

This is a book that not only draws your attention and entertains you, but it gives you pause to think about the “WHY” of things. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do some people survive, while others die? How do you deal with survivor’s guilt, remorse, guilt and shame?  Where’s God in it all?

This book does a beautiful job answering some of life’s toughest questions. It reminds us of God’s goodness, his love, his sovereignty and his restoration. This book should resonate with every reader and I highly recommend it.

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

KATIE GANSHERT is the author of several novels and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner, The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie lives in eastern Iowa with her family.

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering: A Book Review

9780764218286The rolling, frigid mists that creep in over the Yorkshire Moors hide a mystery as challenging as Drew has ever faced

At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a Brontë hero. There have been several worrisome incidents around those lonesome rolling hills–property desecrated, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered. Worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church, a crime for which Drew can discern no motive at all.

Few in the town of Bunting’s Nest seem like suspects, and Drew can’t keep his suspicions from falling on his friend’s new bride. Do her affections lie more with her husband’s money and estate, while her romantic interests stray to their fiery Welsh gamekeeper? As the danger grows ever closer, it’s up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what’s really going on, and find the killer before it’s too late.

My Review: This is the 5th installment of the Drew Fathering Mystery series and I’ve loved them all. I find Drew and his wife Madeline so endearing, and I adore their friend Nick as well. Such a great combination of likable characters and intriguing story-lines.

I also love how the author subtly and beautifully weaves faith and God’s goodness and grace into her storytelling.

For some reason, it did take me a bit longer to really get into this one, but that could be due to my own distracting schedule at the moment. Once I became fully engrossed, I was hooked. I also love that the mystery kept me guessing until the end. Well done on that front!

A highly recommended series for those who enjoy a good and cozy mystery with very likable characters.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Julianna Deering is the creator of the acclaimed Drew Farthering Mystery series. She has always loved British history and is a particular fan of the writings of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in business administration and spent several years as a Certified Public Accountant. She lives outside Dallas, Texas. For more information visit http://www.juliannadeering.com.