Monday, December 31, 2018

Living a Life You Love- Joyce Meyer

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: You may say that you love your family, your spouse, your church, or the Lord. You may also express love for more temporal things like a good cup of coffee, your home, or a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant. But it is rarer to truly say "I love my life!"

It's common to be more frustrated with life than at peace with it, because the daily grind wears you down. Responsibilities and burdens become heavy and rob you of the happiness you're meant to have as a child of God. But you can be hopeful, learn to rise above your challenges, and be filled with wonder at what God might do every day.

Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author Joyce Meyer, who has gone from heartache to happiness through Christ, this book is the key to shifting your perspective so that you may also relish every moment and every part of life.

You will learn how to love life fully, in spite of your obstacles, and experience the happiness that is promised to you.

Joyce will explain:
Why you can't love life unless love is the central theme of it,
Why your attitude affects your life more than any outside circumstances,
How the love, help, and kindness you give away will come back to you immeasurably,
How to look to the future and keep your joy,
And so much more!

God has already blessed you with a life to love--and it's time to start LIVING A LIFE YOU LOVE.

My Thoughts: I've never actually read anything by Joyce Meyer, nor heard her speak. However, like most Christians, I had heard of her and so I was curious. I honestly do not believe that this is the best example of her work, so I may try other books of hers in the future.

The first section of this book was great. Joyce wrote about remembering who God is and how he is working in our lives. Each of those chapters had a noteworthy phrase that really struck me and lead me into prayer over some of my own issues. I am glad that I read those chapters and will likely reread them again here soon.

However, I was not as impressed by the other sections of the book. I don't really struggle with being spontaneous or loving the people in my life. I'm already careful about the environment I create for myself and I think that the Bible does a better job of telling us about the different seasons we will go through. Yet I also know that there are people who need encouragement in these areas but not in the same ones that I do.

This book does touch on something for most everyone, I believe. Yet, not every chapter will be for everyone, and that is where I find the book to be less than what I could have hoped for. Having read the entire book, I would have liked to have gotten more out of it than what I read in the first chapters. However, I would consider it for group study in the future and perhaps we could appreciate all the chapters together.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of  the book from the publisher.

Monday, December 24, 2018

On Magnolia Lane- Denise Hunter

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: After two years of counseling sessions with Daisy Pendleton, Pastor Jack McReady has earned a permanent spot in her life as a spiritual leader—and nothing more. Jack would never risk losing her trust by exposing the depths of his heart, but he’s hopelessly in love with her.

Daisy loves her southern small-town life and her job at her family-run flower shop, but she doesn’t have the thing she longs for most: someone to share it with. Her recent foray into online dating has been a disaster—until she meets TJ.

Jack could kill his friend Noah for using his initials and some indistinct photos to set up a profile on the dating app Daisy is using. But when he’s finally afforded the opportunity to show her a different side of himself, he’s sucked into the plan before he has time for second thoughts.

Online, Daisy shares some of her greatest fears with TJ, but in person, Jack and Daisy are spending more time together. When a devastating family secret surfaces, Daisy knows that only her trusted friend and counselor can bring her comfort. Jack wants nothing more than to be both men for Daisy, but revealing his secret will prove to be the ultimate test of Daisy’s grace.

My Thoughts: If you had read the other books in this series, then you know that Jack has been in love with Daisy for a long time. Which is obvious to most everyone other than her. And after reading this book, I can't blame her. Despite the amount of time they spend together, both for her counseling sessions and their outings with friends, Jack never speaks to her as though she is anything other than someone he is counseling.

It was not until the midway point, long after he has started talking to her as TJ, that he begins to interact with her as a friend might. He finally starts asking her questions about things that she likes (instead of relying on knowledge he has of her from their sessions) and begins joking around, showing her that there is more to him than the pastor who leads a flock.

At this point however, I was still struggling to want the two of them together because of his lying to her about who he was online. There were a few different points where I thought he was going to finally make it right, but he instead doubled down on the delusion that he was doing nothing wrong by talking to Daisy as TJ. And if he had owned up to his actions at any of those points, allowing the end conflict to be about something else entirely, then I could have been happy with the way this story ended.

There were cute moments. I particularly liked when they started rock climbing together, as it showed that they actually could work as a couple. But even then, I could not understand how she so easily decided that she loved him in the end. Because while he had loved her for a while, she was only just getting to know him as someone other than her pastor, and that while he was lying to her the whole time. Even allowing for the story's theme of forgiveness, he should not have been able to so easily get with her in the end.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book from the publisher.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Ilyon & Acktar Tour and Giveaway

Ilyon and Acktar Blog Tour Header
Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Bitter Winter, and companion novella Lacy have been released! Bitter Winter is the fifth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Tricia Mingerink's newest novel Decree is also releasing! Decree is the fifth book in the Christian fantasy/kingdom adventure series The Blades of Acktar. Read about these books below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

The Ilyon Chronicles


Bitter Winter

About Bitter Winter Already struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country. Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.

Review of Bitter Winter This book is a little different that the rest in the series. While there is still a lot of peril, most of it comes from a source other than battles or harrowing escapes from those who wish them dead. But for fans of the series, the stakes seemed so much higher than before as well. I love these characters to much and stayed up well into the night to find out what became of them.

For those who have not read the series, I would not recommend picking up at this point. There are a lot of relationships and conflicts that build on everything that has happened before, and I would have felt lost if I had not already known what happened in the other books. The central conflict is also one that I am not sure I would have cared for it not for my affection for these characters. While the beginning and end of the story were filled with action, the majority of the story circles around the characters' inner struggles griefs.

With each book, I grow more and more attached to Jace as a character, and I am not sure how I will handle it when there are at last no more books in this series. But until then, I will enjoy whatever Jaye writes and look forward to the next time we see him.

I have provided an honest review after having received an ecopy of the book from the author.

Available now on Amazon!



About Lacy The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection. When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom. An Ilyon Chronicles Novella.

Review of Lacy I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that this time around, there were going to be two books released in this series at the same time. Lacy was a character I had not heard of at the time (she is introduced in Bitter Winter), but I had enjoyed Jaye's other novellas, which had to do with Jace. And if you love the story world Jaye has created, then this is a wonderful new addition.

However, I did not feel that the story was all that necessary to the overall narrative. Lacy is not a character who had I fallen in love with as I had Jace, nor did the plot seem to add any information that might be important later on in the next book.

The story itself is also quiet a bit darker and geared to a more mature audience than the rest of the series. Because it does not seem essential to the rest of the narrative, that does mean that readers can easily take or leave it at their choosing. And for those who want more stories set in this world, this is a delightful addition.

Perhaps I should clarify that I personally do not take issue with narrative. I have read many books which dealt with prostitutes as the heroine and had other mature elements. However, I know that many of the fans of this series appreciate it in large part because of how chaste it has been up to this point. And I think that for those readers, this novella may be one that they wish to skip over.

I have provided an honest review after having received an ecopy of the novella from the author.

Available now on Amazon!


Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!  

JayeLKnight Author PhotoAbout the Author Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.



The Blades of Acktar

 About Decree The Adventure Continues. Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories. The Blades as They Should’ve Been A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept the man who attempted to kill him as family? The First Mission When Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help? To the Far Great Mountains A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the borders of Acktar. Will they be able to arrest their quarry before they are caught themselves? From the story of how Leith and Martyn met to Ranson’s search for a life outside of the Blades, these stories will answer plaguing questions and expand the world of Acktar.

Available now on Amazon!


Haven’t discovered the The Blades of Acktar yet? Find out more at on the official Blades of Acktar page.  

DSC09450-2About the Author Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn't writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country. You can connect with Tricia on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.











Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a full signed set of the Ilyon Chronicles and The Blades of Acktar! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.) Click on this link to enter. Be sure to stop by each of the character chats (links in the blog tour schedule) for additional giveaways throughout the tour!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Lady of a Thousand Treasures- Sandra Byrd

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

My Thoughts: It has been so long since I have read a Sandra Byrd novel! I had loved her Ladies in Waiting series, but had not paid enough attention to realize that she had written anything after... at least until I saw this. And I am so ready for the rest of The Victorian Ladies.

As an anthropologist, I always love it when it an author clearly puts a lot of research into their novels and I am able to learn something that I had not know before. And since I also like to shop antiques, this story hit a lot of points that were close to home for me. I am still floored by the information Eleanor gives about faux pearls of the time period (and really want a necklace made with them).

I also appreciate that the romance in the story is what I would call a low simmer. The characters are interested in each other, we know they are. But even though this is a consistent part of the narrative, it doesn't overtake all the other plot points or character relationships. Eleanor has a life outside of her romantic entanglement, one that she cultivates with just as much care.

I had a lot of fun reading this book and only wish that I already had some information about the next. It will be a for sure read.

I have provided an honest review after receiving a copy of the book from the publisher.

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Friday, December 7, 2018

MissTaken Identity- Spotlight and Giveaway


Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for MissTaken Identity by Kimberley Woodhouse, a novella included in The MissAdventure Brides Collection, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


the missadventure brides collection Title: MissTaken Identity  
Collection: The MissAdventure Brides Collection  
Author: Kimberley Woodhouse  
Publisher: Barbour  
Release Date: December 1, 2018 (print)
Genre: Historical Romance  

Love Is One of Life’s Greatest Adventures

Seven daring damsels don’t let the norms of their eras hold them back. Along the way these women attract the attention of men who admire their bravery and determination, but will they let love grow out of the adventures?  

MissTaken Identity by Kimberley Woodhouse
1883 Texas 
Headstrong, bubbly, accident-prone Abigail Monroe is on a quest for adventure away from society’s expectations. But her pursuits are unexpectedly thwarted when she is arrested by a handsome Texas Ranger.  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository


Jim walked out the door and paced in front of the jail. While he’d only had Chuck Miller as a prisoner for a day, he thought he’d watched and examined the man enough to have it all figured out.

And then he’d gotten close to the prisoner just now. Real close. And after staring into those green eyes. . .Jim knew he was in trouble.

Chuck wasn’t a man.

On top of Chuck being a woman—he. . .she—was a pretty woman. Very pretty.

And she smelled good too. Even camouflaged in all those baggy clothes.

No wonder she’d demanded he close the outhouse door.



Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifteen fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.  

CONNECT WITH KIM: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

misstaken identity giveaway


Kimberley Woodhouse is giving away:
  • (1) grand prize of a Kindle Fire (US only)
  • (3) 1st prizes - a print copy of The MissAdventures Brides Collection (US only)
That's a total of FOUR winners! Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight December 4, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 11, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mark of the Raven- Morgan L. Busse

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person's dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family's dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family's legacy--a legacy that supports her people--or seeking the true reason behind her family's gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

My Thoughts: This book admittedly started out a bit rocky for me. There was very little I found to like about the main character in those first pages, and a lot the information about motivations and the family's legacy were repeated more than twice. However, I knew that a lot of people whose opinions I respect had rated this book highly, so I kept on with an open mind. And I am glad that I did.

After Selene comes fully into her gift and the reader is introduced to the other point of view characters, the story picks up. At this point, if there was a lot of repetition, I was far too engaged to notice. Damien's character is mostly responsible for this, as I found his perspective a noble one and anticipated knowing whether or not he would learn of the Ravenwood gift.

I still was not a huge fan of Selene. But her curiosity about the way the gifts and the houses used to be lent me more compassion toward her, especially once she begins to fight against what she knows is wrong. I hope that opinion of her will only grow as the series goes on.

Overall, I am happy with this new story world and excited to see what Morgan does with it in the future.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book from the publisher.

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