Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday -

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday! It's been awhile since I've had a post. Today's topic is Authors I've Read the Most Books By. . . I feel like I talk about the same authors all the time so I'm going to see if I can break it up a bit.

These are the first books I read by each of the authors making me a huge fan!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

About the book:

Title: Set the Stars Alight
Author: Amanda Dykes

Lucy Clairmont's family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it's Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she's discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.

Goodreads || Amazon 

About Amanda Dykes

Amanda Dykes has written and published a few short stories including, “Bespoke: a Tiny Christmas Tale“, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.  Also, by Amanda Dykes: “Tin Can Serenade” and “A Song in the Night” featured in the Message in a Bottle Romance Collection. You can connect with Amanda at the following locations:

Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter 

My Thoughts ~

I know I won't be able to do this book the justice it deserves but I'm going to do my best. Amanda Dykes has magic in her fingertips. She weaves a story of wonder and enchantment that transports you through time and space. 

At the time I was reading this book I was struggling to read because of a medication change yet, this was the only book I wanted to read. It took me longer because of that however, it touched my heart in a way I won't soon forget and I know I will be reading it again.

Ms. Dykes writes with lyrical, poetic prose that surrounds you like a warm blanket making you not want to leave. 

I loved her debut, Whose Waves These Are but I believe Set the Stars Alight stole its favorite spot for me. I highly recommend this book! So, stop what you're reading and go grab a copy of this one. I promise, you won't be sorry!

~Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Molly (Sewing in SoCal #1) by Sarah Monzon - Reviewed


About the book:

Title: Molly
Author: Sarah Monzon
Series: Sewing in SoCal #1

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I absolutely refuse to tell a lie no matter the consequences. So don’t ask me a direct question unless you’re prepared for a direct answer—that’s something my SoCal sewing girlfriends have learned the hard way.
But who would have thought my honesty policy would get me fired from my job at the preschool? Or that a desperate—and not to mention devastatingly handsome—single father of one of my (now-former) students would hire me that same day as a nanny for his daughter?
I’m an education professional. How hard can taking care of a four-year-old and her over-stressed, over-worked father be?

Goodreads || Amazon  

About Sarah Monzon

A Carol award finalist and Selah award winner, Sarah Monzon is a stay-at-home mom who makes up imaginary friends to have adult conversations with (otherwise known as writing novels). As a navy chaplain's wife, she resides wherever the military happens to station her family and enjoys exploring the beauty of the world around her.

You can find Sarah on these Social Media platforms.

Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter  

My Thoughts ~

One of the things I love about Sarah Monzon's books is her ability to write serious subjects as well as whimsical stories that are just pure fun! Molly is just that, pure fun!

Having lived in the So California area it was a ton of fun revisiting places I am familiar with. 

Molly is a fun story and perfect for summer! I laughed at not only Molly's antics but Chloe was adorable and the romance between Ben and Molly was sweet. 

Having been a Navy brat I definitely understood Molly's difficulty with moving and her determination to not tell a lie, which lands her in hot water as the story opens. Thankfully, I always knew we were moving. Unlike Molly.

This is a must read and a great kick off to Ms. Monzon's new series Sewing in SoCal!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not require to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner - Reviewed with Giveaway

 About the book:

Title: Stories That Bind Us
Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Publisher: Revell

Betty Sweet is still recovering from the loss of her husband when she becomes the temporary guardian of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. As they struggle to move forward, they build a relationship upon the foundation of storytelling and its special kind of magic.

Goodreads || Amazon 

About Susie Finkbeiner 

Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the award winning, bestselling author of All Manner of Things, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book.
She is also the author of Stories That Bind Us and The Pearl Spence Series.
Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.
You can find Susie on these platforms: Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter 

My Thoughts 
I became an instant fan of Ms. Finkbeiner after I read All Manner of Things last year. She has a way of placing you right into the middle of the story allowing the drama of humanity run it's course. I related to this story in a very personal level and found myself having to take a break to be able to breath. 
Hugo is adorable and I just loved his character as well as the rambunctious twins. 
Finishing this book was like saying good-bye to a dear friend. As with All Manner of Things you will think about it long after you've finished it!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I have an extra copy of this book to giveaway. In the comments section tell me the first line of the book you're reading. Make sure to be a follower of my blog. I'll draw the winner on Monday. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite First Lines

I've missed a couple of weeks of Top Ten Tuesday so, I thought I'd go back and do one I missed. First lines are always a fun talking point. I've participated in a weekly blog post titled First Line Friday so, I'll be reaching back into my blog archive for some fun ones!

One: Piccolo. The restaurant matched it's name - - a tiny and delicate white stucco building with a short, neat brick walk leading from its front door to the parking lot.

- A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay 

Two: Devin Bressard scarcely blinked when Grace tossed her sweet tea in his face. 

- Told You So by Kristen Heitzmann

Three: The little hairs on the back of Allegra Spencer's neck stood at attention. He was behind her. She could feel his presence as sure as she could smell the beans being ground by the barista on the other side of the reclaimed wood counter. 

- Count Me In by Mikal Dawn

Four: You’re sure you want to do this?

- The Amish Nanny's Sweetheart by Jan Drexler

Five: Have you ever been in a situation where you took a step back, looked around, and said to yourself, "How did my life become one big cliche`?" 

- Literarily For Keeps by Sarah Monzon

Six: If I smoked --- and I'm told I ought to start before I'm too old---I would light one up. 

- Stealing Adda by Tamara Leigh

Seven: Any smidgen of hope that her entrance into New York high society would be deemed a rousing success died the moment Miss Poppy Garrison's tiara became firmly attached to the sleeve of her dance partner. 

- Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano 

Eight: Samuel Payton was an idiot. 

Nine: I strolled down the path through Central Park and exhaled.

- The Trouble With Love by Toni Shiloh

Ten: Just call me George Washington. 

Now, it's your turn . . . What are some of your favorite lines? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Best We've Been (Thatcher Sisters Book 3) by Beth K Vogt Reviewed

Title: The Best We've Been
Author: Beth K. Vogt
Series: Thatcher Sisters 
Publisher: Tyndale House

How can you choose what is right for you when your decision will break the heart of someone you love?

Having abandoned her childhood dream years ago, Johanna Thatcher knows what she wants from life. Discovering that her fiancĂ© was cheating on her only convinces Johanna it’s best to maintain control and protect her heart.
Despite years of distance and friction, Johanna and her sisters, Jillian and Payton, have moved from a truce toward a fragile friendship. But then Johanna reveals she has the one thing Jillian wants most and may never have―and Johanna doesn’t want it. As Johanna wrestles with a choice that will change her life and her relationships with her sisters forever, the cracks in Jillian’s marriage and faith deepen. Through it all, the Thatcher sisters must decide once and for all what it means to be family. 

Purchase a copy HERE!      

About Beth K. Vogt

God’s best is often found behind the doors marked “Never.”

So many times I approached life with with a virtual roll of yellow duct tape emblazoned with the word NEVER. Over and over again I sealed off certain opportunities.
I would never marry a doctor or anyone in the military.
I would never have children.
I would never write fiction.
And don’t you know God stripped off the duct tape and walked me through each of those NEVER doors?
Have you ever marked a door NEVER … only to discover his best waited where you said you’d never go?
Following God through that door doesn’t mean we’re on “easy street,”‘even though we’re where he wants us to be.
You can find Beth on these media platforms. Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter  

My Thoughts
Sisters! With each book of this series Ms. Vogt evokes a roller coaster of emotions. These Thatcher sisters are flawed, real, and frustrating. As a mother of three daughters I have watched my girls love each other and hate each other at the same time. I say that to say that Beth Vogt's characters are real on every level and these sisters are learning how to navigate the waters of being adults not only as sisters but with the disappointments and trials life brings.
Even with all the heartbreaking situations that Ms. Vogt puts her characters in she weaves a thread of hope throughout the entire story. 
One of the best quotes from the book comes from Jillian's friend Harper . . . It’s not about breast cancer….Or anything else that might happen.”…”That’s not the common ground you stand on. You love Geoff. He loves you. That’s your common ground. And nothing else– …should ever come between you. 
How many times do we allow ourselves to get caught up in the circumstances of life and totally forget the common ground we stand on. 
I am sad to see this series come to an end. It feels like saying good-bye to dear friends. If you enjoy books with real characters dealing with real life issues that gives hope then you need to read this series!  This finale can standalone but I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series first. 
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday Encouragement #15 Ephesians

Welcome to another edition of Thursday Encouragement. If you aren't familiar with our blogger group, a few of us bloggers got together and created this Thursday blog post to bring you some encouragement before we head into the weekend. 

I'm going to be using my pastor's sermon from Sunday as a springboard for my post. We've been in study of Ephesians and on Sunday the scripture was Ephesians 2:8-18.

Ephesians 2:8 - 18

God saved: you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.  In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.  But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

The interesting thing about these eleven verses is that they are about racism. 
Paul is writing to the church at Ephesus about the Jews who have converted to Christianity were treating the converted Gentiles and Pagans as less than because 
they were circumcised and the others weren't, something they were 
very proud of, a little weird to me to be proud of that. Which is why Paul is 
addressing it in this letter. God makes it very clear in this 
section of scripture that no one is better than anyone else.

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." 
God calls us His masterpiece so, if we're all a masterpiece created by 
God's own hands how can we treat anyone else less than the masterpiece God
created them to be just because we're different. 

Now, it's your turn . . . what have you been reading in the Bible lately that has encouraged you? And what do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Then visit my friends and read their encouraging posts.

Trisha @ Joy of Reading

Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl 

Jacquelyn @ Heavenly Home 

Jessica @ A Baker's Perspective

Gina @ Stories by Gina 

Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes 

Becca @ The Becca Files

Leslie @ Leslie L. McKee

Claudia @ ByClaudiaMoser        

Top Ten Tuesday -

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday! It's been awhile since I've had a post. Today's topic is Authors I'...