Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

September 29, 2014

Katwalk {Maria Murnane}

Katwalk {Maria Murnane} | #bookreview #bookbloggers #tingsmombooks
Katrina Lynden has always walked a straight line in life, an approach that has resulted in a stable career and pleased her hard-nosed parents but that has also left her feeling unfulfilled and miserable. When her best friend suggests they quit their Silicon Valley jobs and embark on two months of adventure in New York City, Katrina balks at the idea but ultimately agrees, terrified yet proud of herself for finally doing something interesting with her life. But when her friend has to back out at the last minute, Katrina finds herself with a tough decision to make. Much to her surprise, she summons the courage to go alone, and the resulting journey is transformative, both emotionally and physically. Along the way she makes new friends, loses others, learns what is really important to her, and finds a way to grow up without leaving herself behind.

This was my second read by Maria Murnane and I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed the first book I read of hers.

Katrina is a late-twenties something living in California and working as an accountant at an ad agency. She lives her life exactly as her parents tell her, and she has little to no adventure in her life. Her best friend, Deb, had convinced her to quit her job and the two of them plan to take a long vacation in New York. Problem is, Deb flakes on her. Katrina nervously goes through with the New York plan and her adventures in the big city make this a great book. 

I loved watching Kat (as her NYC friends call her) as her life transforms in such a short time. Everything from her daily routine, to her friends, to the chances she is willing to take in relationships - it all comes together to make her the person she never knew she wanted to be. She takes on adventures that seem so uncharacteristic for her, but they end up being the best thing that ever happened to her.  

I always thought (in my younger days) that it would be so much fun to just take off and explore a new city on my own. I guess that part of me is what really drew me into this book and kept me wanting to read more of Kats adventures. She proves that adventure can be real, and it can be a good thing for anyone.

Meet the Author: Maria Murnane | Twitter

Purchase this Book: Amazon

September 24, 2014

Magnolia Market {Judy Christie}

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Magnolia Market {Judy Christie} | #bookreview #magnoliamarket #bookblogger
Avery Broussard was savoring her long dormant optimism. It was the first anniversary of her husband's death, and she was finally going to buy the dress boutique from her former mother-in-law. After a year of saving, the deal was nearly done. Avery was about to get her life back. But every deal in Samford, Louisiana, can change at the whim of a Broussard. After being unceremoniously ejected from the very boutique she planned to buy--the boutique she herself had rescued from ruin--she becomes a woman without a future...suddenly at war with her late husband's family.
When carpenter T. J. Aillet begins working for the Broussards doing manual labor, he overhears enough to know that Avery is being victimized. Soon enough T. J. is lassoed in the squabble by his family connections, his good heart, and the undeniable attraction he feels toward Avery.
This story takes place in the town of Samford, a fictional town just outside Shreveport. I live less than two hours from Shreveport so I felt an instant connection with this story and with all the characters. Judy Christie does an amazing job of portraying Southern Society, and all the inside secrets and rules that are associated with such.
I fell in love with Avery immediately. From the moment we meet her, she is one of those characters that grabs your heart and you begin to root for her. She has had a very rough year following the death of her husband, but as this story unfolds we learn that her marriage wasn't all that society would want us to believe. I loved that Avery is much smarter and tougher than she is portrayed at the beginning of the story. She is a fighter and I love her for it.
T.J. is another one of those characters that you instantly fall in love with and hope good things come for him. He seems like a simple handyman just trying to make a buck. We find out quickly that he is also entangled in this Southern Society puzzle that keeps unfolding. He has also had a tough life and has learned life's lessons the hard way. He has a family that drives him crazy, but he still has a heart of gold. The more we learn about T.J., the more I feel in love with him as well.
This story has all kinds of twists and turns in it. People are connected in surprising ways, and friendships are formed from the most unlikeliest of people. Watching all these people come together creates happiness and fun. The people in this story all rely on each other, whether they realize it or not.
I truly did not want this story to end. This is the second book in a series and I am anxiously awaiting book three so I see where all the characters go next.
Meet the Author: Judy Christie | Twitter | Facebook
Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Christian Book | Amazon

September 23, 2014

God Is Always God {Kids' Book}

I am a Tommy Mommy Blogger and receive resources from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my review and promotion. All opinions are my own.

God Is Always Good {Kids' Book} | #sponsored #kidsbooks #tommymommy
This world that we live in can be scary. It can be very scary for adults, but imagine what it must be like to be a kid these days.

There is so much that can leave a kid scared - illness, storms, accidents, broken families, even death. I know that my kids worry about stuff and they haven't even really experienced any of these things.

God Is Always Good is an amazing book that is perfect for helping kids understand that God is always and forever going to take care of us. No, he doesn't like for bad things to happen, but when they do He is right there to watch over us and love us.

This book goes through situations such as illnesses, death, divorce, and more. It explains in simple child-like terms that God loves us and He is taking care of us. It reinforces on every page that God is never going to leave us and that He is there whenever we want to talk to him.

I love this book so much and I know that it will be a valuable asset for my kids and me to read over and over again throughout the years.

Want to purchase this book for your kids? Just visit Thomas Nelson and order it today. And be sure to follow Tommy Nelson on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on all their amazing resources.

Back In My Day

So it's no secret that I love to read. But where did I get started? Today I'm over on Arkansas Women Bloggers telling you all about my favorite books as a kid. Go check it out.

September 20, 2014

Meet Your Baker {Cover Reveal}


Today we're excited to announce the cover reveal of Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander. This is a cozy mystery that releases December 30th by St. Martin's Press. This is the first in the Bakeshop Mystery series!


About the Book:
Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

"Sure to satisfy both dedicated foodies and ardent mystery lovers alike."―Jessie Crockett, author of Drizzled with Death

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

"Alexander weaves a tasty tale of deceit, family ties, delicious pastries, and murder.” ―Edith Maxwell, author of A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

About the Author:
Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.


Prize package of goodies (US only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 15, 2014

Love's Fortune {Laura Frantz}

I received this book in exchange for my hones review. All opinions are my own.

Love's Fortune {Laura Frantz} | #bookreview #historicalfiction #christianromance
Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. 

As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

There are some time periods in history that make me wish I had lived during that time, or at least could go back in time and visit. The mid 1800's is one of these time periods. Rich in history, tradition, and rules of society, everyone seems to have their place and knows where they stand.

Wren drew me in from the very beginning of this story. A simple girl living a happy life, about to have everything she has ever known turned upside down. She arrives in Pennsylvania and discovers that she is actually the granddaughter of one of the wealthiest families in the country. She is greeted by family, and rules - so many rules.

It is decided that she must enter into the social season. The social season is one of the aspects of this time period that just excites me and makes me want to visit. The strict rules of society dictate exactly how every single girl carries herself and interacts with others. The dresses, the dance cards, the visiting cards - I would just love to be there.

Of course, Wren's life is full of ups and downs as she navigates her season of social events, visits, and the quest to find love. She is accompanied by family friend, James, who she believes is off-limits but still finds herself falling for him.

There is so, so much in this book that I loved, but do not want to spoil any outcomes or side stories. As the book neared the end, I was afraid that this story was not going to wrap up. However, it does wrap up and the ending is perfect.

This is the last book in a series, but easily stands alone. I have not read the other books and I did not feel anything was missing at all. My suggestion - go read this book.

Meet the Author: Laura Frantz

Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Christian Book | Amazon

September 14, 2014

Loves' Fortune: Book Preview

Here's a little preview of what I'm reading right now. Review coming soon. It's good!

September 8, 2014

A Special Gift {Terri Haynes Roach}

I received an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

A Special Gift {Terri Haynes Roach} | #bookreview
"Lake Valley, where everyone knows your name, and a safe place to raise a family."

Eric Donovan and Charlie Olson were best friends in college. After years of pestering, Charlie convinces Eric to relocate his family to Lake Valley where their daughters could grow up as friends. Settling in to a small town atmosphere the girls became instant best friends.

With only one school, the outlying ranches bring their kids into Lake Valley. The kindergarten class where the girls met James and Joshua, where they became the inseparable foursome . . .

After attending Brooks Institute, Jenny Olson has secrets she's only shared with the Pastor Nathan Larson. Protecting herself, she accepts a job in Billings, Montana, after falling for a man she could never have. While visiting home in Lake Valley, she develops a special bond with Christie.

When Christie's nightmares start to become dangerously intense, her gift reveals itself. Will Jenny be able to keep her secrets, or will the past come back to haunt her?

Even on the darkest days, God creates a light. Come to Lake Valley and see where their journey begins...

This story begins in the early 70's as Eric and Charlie are heading to college. We get a very quick rundown of their collegiate life, graduation, beginning of professional careers, marriages, kids, losses, and life altering changes. Basically, the first ten chapters seem to fly by as if the author is just giving us some background information leading up to the actual story.

Once we hit chapter 11 things seem to slow down - a bit. So many characters are in and out of this story that it is hard to determine who is supposed to be the "lead" characters, but I feel like it is Christie and Jenny.

A special bond is created when Christie begins having very vivid images of trouble that Jenny seems to be having. The images become movie like and they end up being a resource in getting Jenny the help she needs from the people who love her the most.

As the chapters progress the story line seems to speed up again, and the book ends with everyone in the late 90's. There isn't a clear ending to this book, and I felt like I just stopped watching a TV series before it was over.

This book seems so rushed to me. Those descriptive details of people and places are missing and you end up not being able to connect with anyone in the story. The characters are so in and out, and all over the place that it is truly difficult to keep up with who is who, and how they relate to the story. The entire book just lacks that element that is needed to draw the reader in and keep them connected throughout the book.

Meet the Author: Terri Haynes Roach

Purchase the Book: Amazon

Karen W

Trailer Reveal: Tess in Boot {Courtney Rice Gager}

Tess in Boots 


Tess in Boots

by Courtney Rice Gager

Anaiah Press is proud to present the book trailer reveal of Courtney Rice Gager's contemporary romantic novel
Tess in Boots

Release date: December 2, 2014

September 4, 2014

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days {Holley Gerth}

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days {Holley Gerth} | #bookreview #devotion
In this uplifting book, Holley Gerth invites readers to sit down with her to be filled with the strength, peace, and joy that come from God's promises to us. Each of the 52 devotions based on the Psalms will help weary women remember that God is good and we're all in this together. Whether it's a bad hair day or a broken heart, Holley offers hope and encouragement to get us through whatever life brings.

Women need that kind of encouragement because we all have hard days--days that make us want to give up, retreat inside ourselves, and drown our sorrows in a pint of ice cream. And while we may crave all sorts of things to ease the pain we feel in our hearts, what we really need is truth. We need to be confident in God's character and his promises. We need to remember--and celebrate--who he made us to be. And we need exactly the kind of encouragement Holley Gerth loves to offer.

Being a woman is hard y'all. Being a wife and mom is even harder. We all have our tough days. We all have those moments when we feel like total failures and we are messing up the lives of everyone around us.

But then we get reminded that we are so completely wrong. God has this. He created us to be who we are, and He knows we are going to make mistakes. But he still loves us, encourages us, and He always has our back.

That is the message I got throughout this book. This book is full of the encouragement I need as a wife, a mom, a daughter, and a woman. It seemed like whatever I was feeling the past few weeks, I was able to find that topic in this book and get the encouragement I need, and the message I need from God.

And when things get really tough, I just turn to the back cover - my kids drew a picture in my book :)

About the Author: Holley Gerth | Twitter | Facebook

Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Christian Book | Amazon

Karen W

September 1, 2014

A Light in the Wilderness {Jane Kirkpatrick}

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

A Light in the Wilderness {Jane Kirkpatrick} | #bookreview #sponsored #historicalfiction #revellreads
Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read–as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere–even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill.

This was one of those books that didn't turn out to be what I expected, but turned out to be an amazing story.

I immediately fell in love with Letitia the very first time she was introduced in this story. I woman who has lost her entire family, finally a free woman in the heart of slave country. She has obstacles at every single turn and has to fight for everything she has.  She owns exactly one thing in her life, a cow named Charity. 

Letitia finds herself in the home of Davey Carson. I felt like their story happened very quickly, but soon we find them making plans and headed out on the Oregon trail. Their relationship has so many ups and downs, trials, hurt, and triumphs. Throughout this story I found myself loving Davey one minute and hating him the next. He turns to be a good man thought, with good intentions, and a love for Letitia. Their story doesn't end how I wanted it, but Letitia is a survivor and she and Charity make a life for themselves.

When we meet Nancy, it is obvious she has her hands full with kids. I adore Nancy and the admiration she has for her husband, Zach. They have such an amazing relationship and the love they have between them is so evident in everything we see in this story. Nancy doesn't really want to head down the Oregon trail, but she is willing to do whatever Zach feels is best for their family.

Nancy's experience on the trail is full of tragedy and broken hearts. Her story is one of struggle and survival for her family. I was so happy to know that she ended up with a wonderful life in Oregon full of love and family by her side.

I didn't love Betsy's story. I had a hard time connecting to her and getting into her life. But when her life finally intersects with the lives of Nancy and Letitia, I find it much more relevant and interesting. She is there when she is needed and becomes a great friend to the women who have arrived in her country.

I enjoyed this book so much, in fact I read it in two days! It is a great look into the history of our country and the costs that was paid by so many families.

About the Author: Jane Kirkpatrick | Twitter | Facebook

Purchase this Book: Family Christian | Amazon

Karen W