Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Review and Blog Tour: My Daughter's Legacy

I recently had the chance to read Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould's My Daughter's Legacy, after receiving a copy from Litfuse.

In the book, we follow the stories of two women in different eras that are connected by faith and family.  Therese Jennings is living through the devastation of the Civil War.  Having lost her father recently, she is afraid for her brother, who has joined the conflict.  While she is from the South, she finds her beliefs aligning with those of the North, as she disagrees with her family owning slaves.  This disagreement causes her to take a job as a governess in Richmond, where she volunteers as a nurse in a local hospital.  While there, she finds herself drawn to a young doctor from Maine.  Does she love him enough to leave the South?  Or will family, and a love from her past take her back to the home of her childhood?

In the present day, Nicole Talbot is a young woman who has encountered many obstacles.  Having overcome substance abuse and a terrible car accident that nearly took her life, Nicole is determined to make something of her life.  But a terrible secret from her past may threaten to derail her newfound success in school and at her new job, as well as tear her apart from her family.  Will she be able to confront the mistakes and secrets of her past?

This is a wonderful story that any fan of historical fiction is sure to enjoy.  Interweaving stories of two women in two different time periods, the authors build a unique tale, where we learn of the connections between past and present, and the importance of legacy.  Both women are flawed, but they are women of faith, ready to tackle the obstacles they face with integrity and grit.  I found the beginning a bit slow to start, but once I got in to Nicole's story, I couldn't put it down!  I'm sure you'll love it too.

Celebrate the release of Mindy and Leslie's new book by entering to win the $75 Visa Cash Card Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party on August 1!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • One copy of My Daughter's Legacy
  • One $75 Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 1. The winner will be announced at the My Daughter's Legacy Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Mindy, Leslie, and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!

A copy of this book was sent to me by Litfuse.  I received no compensation in exchange for my review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Book Review & Blog Tour: A Letter from Lancaster County

I recently had the pleasure of reading Kate Lloyd's new book, A Letter from Lancaster County, as part of a blog tour with LitFuse.

This book tells the story of two sisters that return to their mother's hometown of Lancaster, when their aunt writes a letter requesting that they visit.  Angela, the older sister, is still reeling from the loss of her mother, and hopes to feel closer to her while visiting her Aunt Sylvia.   Though married with children and wanting for nothing, Angela has her share of secrets and appears to be very unhappy.  It doesn't help that old rivalries with her sister Rose begin to emerge when they arrive in Lancaster.  Rose is unmarried and has her own business, and longs for a family of her own.  Though she feels that Angela is unhappy, she can't help but envy her.

Will these two sisters follow in the footsteps of their mother and aunt, and allow things to separate them?  Or will both of them finally find peace and understanding?  This is a wonderful story of two sisters struggling to find themselves and learn how to relate to one another.  Kate Lloyd's newest book is an enjoyable and emotional read, one that fans of both Amish and contemporary fiction will enjoy!

Celebrate the release of Kate's new book by entering to win her Two Sisters, Two Winners Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Letter from Lancaster County
  • A Kindle Fire
Another grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Letter from Lancaster County
  • A queen-size Amish quilt

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 27. The winner will be announced July 28 on the Litfuse blog.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Book Review: The Joy of Letting Go

I have always been a helicopter parent.

Our daughter is four years old, and I've played it safe since she was born.  Called the doctor if she had the slightest fever.  Panicked over every fall and every scrape.   Obsessed over all my shortcomings and failings as a mom.  In short, I've had a hard time letting go and trusting that despite my failings, and all the dangers of this world, she would be OK.

Then a few months ago, she contracted pneumonia.  She was hospitalized, and it was so severe that she had to be placed on a ventilator for several days.  It hit me, sitting in that hospital room, that I can't protect her from everything.  I can't fix everything.  I'm her mother, and I can love her and be there for her, but I can't prevent everything from happening to her.

When I was contacted by Litfuse about the chance to read and review Vicki Caruana's The Joy of Letting Go: Releasing Your Teen into Real Life in the Big World, I decided to give the book a try. Though I don't have a teenager (yet) I think this book applies to any parent that needs to let their child experience independence.  In fact, the back of the book notes that "letting go of your children doesn't happen with big milestones.  It happens day by day, beginning the moment your child enters your family."

The book contains 52 devotional readings, and are very easily read as each one is just a few short pages.  A "thought poke" for each reading includes questions or phrases to provoke deeper thought.  It also includes a Bible verse.  Despite the short format, these devotionals are packed with wisdom to help parents learn how to let slowly let go of your children.  I know it's something I need to learn, so if it's something that's on your heart, pick it up today.  You won't regret it!

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own and I received no compensation for my review.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life

Small-town girl Katie Brenner is struggling to make it on her own in London, living in a tiny apartment with strange roommates and struggling to make ends meet. She can’t help but envy her beautiful and put-together boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter seems to have it all–the great job, the perfect family and the most beautiful home and clothing. Katie works hard to prove herself to her office mates and to Demeter, and is devastated when Demeter suddenly fires her.

Coincidentally, Katie’s father and stepmother ask for her help in establishing their new glamping vacation business at their farm in Somerset. While Katie dreams of finding a new job, at the moment, she’s desperate to get away from the city and her troubles there. Katie retreats to her childhood home and throws herself in to creating marketing materials for her family’s business, along with setting up an experience that guests won’t soon forget. Before she knows it, she finds that their business is a thriving one. But when Demeter arrives for some time away with her family, life becomes more complicated. Suddenly, Katie must face telling her family the truth about why she left London. Will she make a life for herself in London, or stay in Somerset with her family?

Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel, My Not So Perfect Life is a fun novel about finding yourself. Katie is extremely relatable as a classic small-town girl longing to make a life for herself, with often disastrous results. Readers will root for her with the turn of every page. I loved her quirky family and their glamping business. At first it all seemed so far-fetched, but they made it work. Her romance with Alex was also great fun, though we all know the complications of workplace romances. This novel also explored how we portray ourselves on social media and the lies we tell others, and ourselves about the lives we lead. I’ve always been a fan of Kinsella, and this novel is no exception. Highly recommended!

This review originally appeared at Luxury Reading.  I received a copy of this book from Luxury Reading.  All opinions expressed are my own and I received no compensation in exchange for my review.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: The Mark of the King

Julianne Chevalier is a gifted young midwife in 18th century France. When a patient dies suddenly, Julianne is considered a murderer, and sentenced to life in prison. Longing to escape her life in prison, she agrees to be exiled to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. In order to make the journey, however, Julianne must be married. Male and female convicts are paired together in marriage, so Julianne becomes the wife of the fiery and reckless, yet compassionate Simon LeGrange.

Once she is in the colony, Julianne is determined to try to make a new life for herself, but fears that there is no redemption for her past. She also hopes to be reunited with her brother Benjamin, whom she lost touch with after he became a soldier in Louisiana. When searching for answers about her brother proves to be dangerous for Simon, Julianne wonders what fellow soldier Marc-Paul Girard isn’t telling her about her brother’s disappearance. Will she find Benjamin and make a new life for herself, or will her past come back to haunt her?

Jocelyn Green’s The Mark of the King is a beautifully written historical novel of redemption and finding new hope. Julianne is a complex character who faces more trials in one life than any woman should. Marc-Paul is a good and honorable man who recognizes the good in Julianne despite her past, and longs to help her and Simon in their new lives. The novel portrays the struggle of colony life, from brutal practices and war-related combat to the colonists relations with Native Americans. At times some of the content can be quite hard to read, as there is some violence and disturbing behavior from characters in the novel. Rich with history and drama, this is a tale you won’t soon forget.

This review originally appeared at Luxury Reading.  I received a copy of this book from Luxury Reading in exchange for my review.  No compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Review: The Road to Enchantment

When she was a child, Willow’s father cheated on her mother and left their family in shambles. She and her mother moved to New Mexico, where she felt like an outsider among the Apache people. Her only saving grace in her mother’s strange and eccentric new life was Darrel, a young Apache boy who would become her best friend in the world.

Fast forward many years, and Willow is a musician living in Los Angeles. She finds out she’s been dumped, and that her mother has died in a tragic accident on the same horrible day. And when she returns to New Mexico to settle her mother’s affairs and sees Darrel for the first time in years, he realizes before she does that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s child. She also discovers that her mother had financial problems. All she has left is her mother’s winery. Will it be enough? Will she be able to get back on her feet and figure out her next step?

Kaya McLaren’s The Road to Enchantment is a touching story that brings the past and present together, all told from Willow’s unique and subjective perspective. Earlier in her life, Willow viewed her mother as a selfish and strange person, but as the story unfolds, Willow begins to recognize her mother’s strengths and the positive moments that they had together. Though Willow is not perfect, she learns a lot along the way. In many ways, this book is a real coming of age tale, as Willow steps on to a new path and discovers what she really wants. This story is also about the family that we find during our journey through life, the people that come alongside us and lift us up when we fall. Darrel and his grandparents, full of wisdom and intense love for Willow, are those people.

I made my way through this book in just a few short days, and many of its words still resonate with me. If you love a good book about discovering yourself and appreciating the good people in your life, you’ll love this story.

This review originally appeared on Luxury Reading.  Luxury Reading provided a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.  I received no compensation and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review: The Possibility of Somewhere

Eden Moore is on track to become the valedictorian of her high school class, despite the fact that she’s grown up in a trailer park with her often out-of-work father and stepmother. Since her birth mother left her when she was just a child, Eden’s only ever had one goal: to leave her small town and life there behind.

Her classmate Ash Gupta has never quite understood how Eden, with her sharp and sarcastic nature, could possibly become valedictorian. But when the two of them are thrown together to complete a class assignment, they begin to get to know each other for the first time, and Ash recognizes her intelligence and depth. The two of them couldn’t be any more different, considering that Ash comes from a rich and affluent family, but soon the two find themselves falling for each other. But when the two realize they are competing for the same scholarship, will it tear them apart?

The Possibility of Somewhere tells the story of two young people from opposite walks of life who share the same desire: to leave their small town and make their own way. Ash desires to leave his strict and wealthy family to pursue studies at Stanford, while Eden longs to leave the trailer park and rumors about her family behind to become a teacher. This is a feeling that any young person can relate to, and author Julia Day’s portrayal of two very different characters and how they interact is fantastic. There’s drama, there’s romance, and there’s family trouble, all of which make Ash and Eden feel like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet.

Recommended for grades 9 and up, this book would be perfect to share with a young person who is wondering about what life may look like after high school. As an adult, I enjoyed the book very much.

This review originally appeared on Luxury Reading.  I received a copy from Luxury Reading, and all opinions expressed here are my own.  I received no compensation in exchange for my review.