The Secrets of Paper and Ink

The Secrets of Paper and Ink FB Banner(2)

About the Book

Title: The Secrets of Paper and Ink

Author: Lindsay Harrel

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

Talk about a major book hangover! This story… how can you put it into words. I connected with this story in a way I don’t normally connect with a fiction book. Everyone at some point in their life has felt some kind of loss. The struggle to let yourself feel it and get past it is real. Sometimes we never do. The depth of human emotion woven into the tapestry of this book is amazing. I laughed. I cried. I wished. I hoped. Ms Harrel writes amazing time hop novels. The story lines flow so seamlessly. They are so interwoven and it makes for a great story. I couldn’t put it down. One of my favorite parts of the story was when I saw reference to Ms Harrel’s other novel, The Heart Between Us. It wasn’t a glaring reference. It was so subtle like a small hidden present for those who had read the first book to capture and smile about. I LOVED that. If I hadn’t read her first book I wouldn’t have connected the dots. And I would have missed the treasure hidden there. (It has no impact on the story and if you haven’t read the other book it’s not a big deal… but for those who have it’s a super cute addition!)
This will be one of my favorite books of the year I just know it. The writing is great. The plot is excellent. The relatability is outstanding. I could see myself in the characters. I could connect with them. I could feel their pain. I want to be friends with them. I want to know these people in real life! And the lessons they learn about themselves and God are ones we all so desperately need to learn. I love it when a fiction book speaks to things you are processing in your own life. This book was that for me. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. So well done. I’m glad to have read it. Don’t miss it!
I received a copy from CelebrateLit bloggers. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at LindsayHarrel.com.

Guest Post from Lindsay

With every book I write, it seems God has something new to teach me. That certainly was true of The Secrets of Paper and Ink.

Lately, I am learning more and more about the power of our words. I’ve become more conscious of the words I speak over myself as well as what I say to other people. It’s more than “positive thinking”—the words we say ultimately contribute to the stories we weave, and I want my story to be as positive and hope-filled as possible, regardless of my circumstances.

I’ve also become much more aware of the lies that I tell myself—“you are not worthy, you are not enough, you will never achieve what you want to achieve”—and the need to replace those lies with the truths that God says about me. I have listened to Lauren Daigle’s song You Say on repeat lately, and it has become a theme not just of The Secrets of Paper and Ink, but one in the story of my very life.

So while I may not have experienced everything my characters have—I’ve never suffered emotional abuse, or been ostracized by my family, or been orphaned and alone in a world that seems against me at every turn—I have learned alongside them. I set out to write a book that would draw readers closer to the true healer and hope giver, and I ended up being drawn closer myself.

And that, to me, is the true power of story.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 26

The Avid Reader, February 26

The Power of Words, February 26

Carla Loves To Read, February 26

Blogging With Carol, February 27

Inspirationally Ever After, February 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, February 27

Real World Bible Study, February 28

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, February 28

Carpe Diem, February 28

A Baker’s Perspective, March 1

Andy Carmichael, March 1

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

The Becca Files, March 2

Just Your Average reviews, March 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 3

Emily Yager, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 3

Genesis 5020, March 4

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 4

Stories By Gina, March 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, March 5

Remembrancy, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 6

Inklings and Notions, March 6

Just the Write Escape, March 7

Pause for Tales, March 7

Book by Book, March 7

Living Life Free in Christ, March 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8

To Everything A Season, March 8

The Lit Addict, March 9

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 10

Janices book reviews, March 10

Bigreadersite, March 10

Henry Happens, March 11

Godly Book Reviews, March 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 11

amandainpa , March 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away a copy of Lindsay’s first book The Heart Between Us!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dcc3/the-secrets-of-paper-and-ink-celebration-tour-giveaway

Ladies of Intrigue

Ladies of Intrigue FB Banner

About the Book

Title: Ladies of Intrigue

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: February 2019

Publisher: Barbour

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Michelle Griep is an author that transports her reader into the time period of the story. Once again, she took me on a journey. I got to meet new friends and learn about myself through them. I love this about any book. Ms. Griep does it with such ease. The stories are entertaining and fun. Normally I don’t like short stories. I feel like they’re rushed and missing something. Such was NOT the case with these stories. They were well balanced and crafted to be perfect bites. I’m sure she could have elongated each story into a full book but I got just enough in the short form it didn’t leave me feeling like I missed out. I loved how the stories connected through the book. I didn’t feel jarred when I went from one story to the next. It’s a great read for a lazy summer afternoon, a cold winter night, or any other time when you just want to escape for a little bit. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit and the publisher. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit michellegriep.com.

Guest post from Michelle

3 Reasons to Read Historical Fiction

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Believe it or not, some readers snub historical fiction, preferring instead to stick to contemporary reads. Several have good reason to, simply preferring one genre over another. But others have never given historical fiction a try. If you fall into that camp, here are some reasons you should consider reading a tale from the past.

  1. Historical fiction books are not as boring as your high school history class.

Does the thought of endless names and dates make you break out into hives? Good news! Historical fiction is a painless way to glean some historic facts without mindless memorization. You can experience a different era and culture vicariously through heroes and heroines that live on the pages of yesteryear.

  1. Makes for great conversation.

In a world that prides itself on keeping up with the Kardashians, dare to add a little cultural zest to your next dinner conversation. Reading historical fiction arms you with interesting tidbits of things that’ve happened in years gone by.

  1. Because truth is timeless.

Some people yearn to go back to a simpler time. The truth is, though, that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the historic side of the fence. People have had tough issues to deal with no matter the era. . .but therein lies a great reason to read historical fiction: truth is timeless. Be it ancient, biblical, medieval, Victorian, or anything in between, truth never changes.

In my new release, Ladies of Intrigue, you’ll experience all these things and more. Find out about the smuggling trade in Cornwall in The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady. Learn about the rough and dangerous life on a military fort during the 1860’s in The Doctor’s Woman. Find out why the gilded age wasn’t as glittery as we often think in A House of Secrets.

Don’t be doomed to repeat history. Grab a cup of tea and master it with a great read!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, February 23

The Power of Words, February 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 23

Blogging With Carol, February 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 24

Mary Hake, February 24

Kathleen Denly, February 25

Genesis 5020, February 25

Splashes of Joy, February 25

For the Love of Literature, February 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 26

Faery Tales Are Real, February 26

Through the Fire Blogs, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Inspired by fiction, February 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 27

Back Porch Reads, February 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 27

A Baker’s Perspective, February 28

Andy Carmichael, February 28

Stories By Gina, February 28

Emily Yager, March 1

Multifarious, March 1

A Reader’s Brain , March 1

Baker kella, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 2

Remembrancy, March 2

Just the Write Escape, March 3

Bigreadersite, March 3

Inspiration Clothesline, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 4

Book by Book, March 4

Kat’s Corner Books, March 5

Inklings and notions, March 5

Living Life Free in Christ, March 5

The Morning Chapter, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 6

Simple Harvest Reads, March 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Daysong Reflections, March 6

Texas Book-aholic, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Janices book reviews, March 7

A Humble Cup of Lukewarm Tea, March 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 8

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 8

Carpe Diem, March 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of Ladies of Intrigue!!

Be sure to comment on blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/da8c/ladies-of-intrigue-celebration-tour-giveaway

Castle on the Rise

About the Book

Title: Castle on the Rise

Author: Kristy Cambron

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: HarperCollins

A storied castle. A band of rebels. A nation chasing a centuries-old dream of freedom. And three women who rise above it all . . .

When Laine Forrester travels overseas to attend her best friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find the bride on the brink of a fairy tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks, it seems the storybook lives they’d imagined are suddenly ripping apart.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending, Laine agrees to accompany the newlyweds to the groom’s home in Ireland—never expecting she’d be the one drawn in by its wide-open moors, backroads bordering the Irish Sea, and a mysterious castle that dares to keep its secrets hidden.

From the storied streets of Dublin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Laine is drawn in to the land and its rich history. The castle ruins whisper stories of Issy—a photojournalist battling through the 1916 Easter Rising, and Maeve—the castle’s lady of legend, fighting for survival through the 1798 rebellion that started it all.

Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise unites the legacy of three women who must risk mending the broken places within—for life, love, and the belief that even through the depths of our pain, a masterpiece of a story can emerge.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

Where to begin… I really love the setting and the inclusion of little know historic events. However, I felt like I needed to seek outside sources to fully understand what was going on. I needed a little more information that the book didn’t give. I liked each of the 3 stories well enough on their own. The writing is good and easy to maneuver through but I felt like the connection between the 3 stories was weak. I felt like I was reading 3 books at once. I expected a tie together and felt more confused at the end than I did in the middle of the book. The ending seemed rushed and didn’t really end in a way that fit the rest of the writing of the book. I wanted more connection between the stories and more explantation of the castle and what was going on there. The castle was the tie that binds but why and how? I feel like those questions are still unanswered. There was enough in each of the 3 stories to make them stand alone books and maybe it would have been more interesting had the series been written that way instead of with all the stories in one book. I felt like I didn’t know any of the stories well for a 350+ page book. The story didn’t really come together for me which I found a little disappointing. 

I received a copy of this book from celebrate lit. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping Series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal’s Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

To stay connected, visit www.kristycambron.com.

Kristy’s Research Trip to Ireland

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, February 19

Maureen’s Musings, February 19

The Power of Words, February 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 19

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 20

Livin’ Lit, February 20

Texas Book-aholic, February 20

Fiction Aficionado, February 21

Gensis 5020, February 21

Blogging With Carol, February 21

Bigreadersite, February 21

Just the Write Escape, February 22

As He Leads is Joy, February 22

Just Your Average reviews, February 22

Inspired by fiction, February 23

Connect in Fiction, February 23

Carpe Diem, February 23

Bibliophile Reviews, February 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 24

Lis Loves Reading, February 24

A Baker’s Perspective, February 25

Emily Yager, February 25

Moments, February 25

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 26

Girls in White Dresses, February 26

Mary Hake, February 26

Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 28

Remembrancy, February 28

Through the Fire Blogs, February 28

Inklings and Notions, February 28

Redeemed Hope Dweller, March 1

My Devotional Thoughts, March 1

Seasons of Opportunities, March 1

Pause for Tales, March 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 2

The Becca Files, March 2

Book by Book, March 2

Living Life Free in Christ, March 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, March 3

All 4 and About Books, March 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 4

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 4

Janices book reviews, March 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kristy is giving away a grand prize of one finished copy each of The Lost Castle (book 1) and Castle on the Rise (book 2)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d9d0/castle-on-the-rise-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Duel for Christmas

About the Book

Book Title: A Duel For Christmas

Author: Rosanne E. Lortz

Genre: Regency Romance, Romantic Suspense

Release date: October 1, 2018

After seven long years in Devon, Lady Maud Worlington returns to London to reclaim life on her own terms, but a nefarious shadow and the prospect of financial ruin dog her steps. An impulsive and unforgettable kiss under the mistletoe creates a connection with Geoffrey, the handsome, young Duke of Tilbury. Yet as pleasant as it is to have a suitor, Maud is not sure how a boy of one-and-twenty can prove an equal partner in life and the equal of all the forces mounted against her.
The Duke of Tilbury considers himself as adept at managing matters as he is at swordplay, but his beautiful new acquaintance Lady Worlington has other ideas about how to manage her complicated life. Intrigued by their stolen kiss, Geoffrey pursues Lady Worlington’s affections, only to be foiled by the lady’s own doubts, by rivals for her hand, and by a sudden death that affects both their families. When Jacob Pevensey, the investigator from Bow Street enters the scene, the duke becomes a prime suspect in the murder case. Truths are unearthed that Geoffrey would rather keep hidden, and the twelve days of Christmas race toward a perilous end.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This was the first time I had read anything by Rosanne E. Lortz! I was excited to find a new author and was curious to read her work. I was not disappointed. Lack of having read the previous books in the series was not an issue. So don’t let that be a deterrent! Grab this book for a great read while snuggled under a blanket, drinking something warm and yummy. Regency era novels aren’t one of my most read genres but I did thoroughly enjoy this book! There was a little romance and mystery mixed in with the historical content and who doesn’t love a Christmas time story? For me, that makes for a great book. The characters were interesting and the plot moved at a pace that kept me interested and wanting to read more. I did feel this book was a little heavy on character introduction at the beginning before the plot developed in full force. It wasn’t a turn off but it would have just allowed more time for the plot to thicken and develop. I did love the relationship between the main characters. It was well written. There weren’t many spiritual elements so I don’ t know if I would classify this book as Christian fiction. It could probably be considered more clean fiction. I found myself at the end of the book hoping for more. I hope there will be more written about these characters.
I gave this book 3.5/4 out of 5 stars.
I received a digital copy of this book from the author via Celebrate Lit. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Rosanne E. Lortz is a writer, editor, teacher, history-lover, and mom to four boys. She loves to read, sing, draw, compose, write, and create. Education is one of her passions, particularly a classical, liberal arts education. She has taught English composition and grammar, Latin, history, music, and various other subjects for ten years at both the elementary and secondary level and is currently the Director of Academics and Admissions at Paideia Classical Christian School in Gladstone, Oregon.
Rosanne’s first book, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, released in 2009. This book explores the tumultuous landscape surrounding the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and is a tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor. In 2015, Rosanne began her Pevensey mysteries, novels of romantic suspense set during the British Regency (with inspiration from medieval characters and events). The first three titles are: To Wed an Heiress, The Duke’s Last Hunt, and A Duel for Christmas.

 

Guest Post from Roseanne

The year is 1120. The place is the English Channel. A ship puts off from the French port. The passengers have been drinking, far too heavily. A submerged rock shatters the hull of the ship. The vessel goes down into the watery depths, and with it the heir to the English throne.

This incident from Medieval history was the inspiration for my Regency novel, A Duel for Christmas. Set in the early 1800s, the novel has a dash of suspense, a few tablespoons of murder mystery, and a heaping cup of sweet romance all blended together to make the perfect holiday read.

Lady Maud Worlington has just returned to London, determined to reclaim life on her own terms, but when an impulsive and unforgettable kiss creates a connection with Geoffrey, the Duke of Tilbury, she must decide if he can prove an equal partner in life and the equal of all the forces mounted against her. A watery death, financial ruin, and a nefarious shadow from the past dog their steps as the Twelve Days of Christmas race toward a perilous end.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, October 13

Just Commonly, October 13

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Remembrancy, October 14

Carpe Diem, October 15

Inklings and Notions, October 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 16

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 16

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 17

Texas Book-aholic, October 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 18

Wishful Endings, October 18

Faery Tales Are Real, October 18

More Of Him, October 19

Just the Write Escape, October 19

Bibliophile Reviews, October 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 21

Lis Loves Reading, October 21

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 22

Mary Hake, October 22

Two Points of Interest, October 22

Simple Harvest Reads, October 23 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Book by Book, October 23

proud to be an autism mom, October 23

Reader’s Cozy Corner, October 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 24

Janices book reviews, October 25

Bigreadersite, October 25

Godly Book Reviews, October 26

Living Life Free in Christ, October 26

Have A Wonderful DayOctober 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rosanne is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/d434/a-duel-for-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Solace of Water

The Solace of Water
By Elizabeth Byler Younts

Have you every read a book that stays with you… for a looong time? This is one of those books. It’s deep, heavy, reminiscent, and reflective but full of acceptance, love, joy, grace and forgiveness. It’s the story of how grief covers you and takes over your being and won’t let you go sometimes. The words make you feel their loss. They make you hurt for their pain. They pull you in and won’t let you go.

After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.

Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.

With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.

Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.” (Amazon description)

To be completely honest, at first, I thought the story was a little slow, reflective, and lyrical and I wasn’t sure what the point was. But the writing was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. The farther I got into the story the more I loved it. Not because it became so much more active, but because I could feel the story happening. The author is brilliant at writing how people feel, how they respond to the events in their life, and how they relate to those around them because of it. It’s the story of two totally unrelated people groups drawn together; African American and Amish together, helping each other, grieving with and for each other, becoming friends in the deepest unexpected way. It is so unique. It’s unlike any other Amish fiction book I’ve read. She doesn’t paint a perfect picture of the Amish. I’m glad for that. There’s no romanticizing them in this book. They have issues just like the rest of us. I loved how the author didn’t shy away from that.

I loved the metaphor of the water. Christ is our healing water, the one who can quench real thirst and give forgiveness for even the worst things. Christian references were very minimal but powerful. They don’t detract from the story at all. Very tastefully included. I put this book right up there with pulitzer prize winning All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale: A Novel. Excellently written literary work of the highest quality. Definitely worth the time it takes to read it. It’s not an easy read but it’s so so good. Give it a chance and stick with it!

I received a copy of this book from BookLookBloggers. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

For more information about the author visit her website https://www.elizabethbyleryounts.com/

*Affiliate Links included. I receive a few cents from purchases through these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog. 

 

The Edge of Over There – A Book Review

The Edge of Over There
By Shawn Smucker

Synopsis

Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller’s life had been predictable. Safe. Normal. But after the Tree, everything has felt fragile… like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. After years of fruitless searching for the next Tree, she begins to wonder if it was nothing more than a vivid dream.

Now sixteen, Abra finds a clue to the whereabouts of the next Tree of Life when an ominous woman — who looks exactly like a ghost from her past — compels her to travel to New Orleans where she’ll find one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. But she’s not the only one interested in finding the gateway. There’s also a young man searching for his father and sister, who escaped through it years before. As Abra enters the Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn’t know whom to fear or whom to trust.

She’s also starting to think that some doorways should never be opened. (From the back cover)

My Thoughts

I came into this book not knowing that there was a previous book. I started reading and was confused. I had no idea what was going on. But I liked the way the author wrote. Such beautiful imagery. I felt like the book gripped all 5 of my senses and took them for a wild ride. When I went in search of a little explanation for my confusion, I found that there was another book. Ok! This is not a book that you can skip over the first book. I trudged through though and began to slowly understand a little of what’s going on. It’s Christian allegory, which is not a genre I’m really familiar with. I felt like it was dystopian fiction meets literary fiction. The descriptions were superb. The flow of the language was song-like. The imagination involved was interesting, unique, and I found myself captivated by the new world the author created. I definitely want to go back and read the first book. The ending seemed to leave room for a 3rd book so I’m curious if that will be the case. Overall I give the book 4 stars. I’m glad I read it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

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For more information on the author visit his website http://www.shawnsmucker.com

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Becoming the Talbot Sisters – A Book Review

Becoming the Talbot Sisters
By Rachel Linden

Synopsis

Celebrity chef Waverly Talbot has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worker in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, a dramatic turn in their journey forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

(From the back cover)

About the Author

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College and a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and she studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel lives in beautiful Seattle, Washington, with her husband and two young children. Rachel enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. (p355)

My Thoughts

My favorite part of this story was the characters’ jobs. I love cooking so the food network aspect was intriguing to me. I also have been on a missions trip to Romania so the Eastern European, former Communist country setting was also incredibly appealing to me. I loved the details about the countries they were visiting in the story. These two things are what kept me reading. I found the story overall quite interesting and generally a quick read. Were it not for the food/Eastern European connection I have a feeling I would have had more trouble getting into the story and staying interested for the long haul. There were several twists that I didn’t expect which was nice. I hate it when a book is predictable. Some things that I would have thought would be good to expound upon weren’t while other less important details were focused on. This and some of it being a little less than realistic is what put the book at 4 stars instead of 5. Overall, good read. I’m glad I spent the time to read it.

I received a copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers. This in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

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