Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Top 5 Books for Spring 2024!

Last spring, I created a top 5 list, and I thought it would be fun to continue this tradition on my blog. Here are my top 5 favorites for the spring of 2024! Did any of these make your list? Have you read any of them? These books earned their place on my list for their powerful and emotional storytelling that lingers long after you've finished reading. Happy reading!


You can read my review here.


You can read my review here.

You can read my review here.
You can read my review here.

You can read my review here.

Monday, May 6, 2024

For a Lifetime is Constraining and Compelling

Author Gabrielle Meyer's Timeless series is SO good! I loved When the Day Comes and, In this Moment, and was none-too-patiently waiting for book three, For a Lifetime. Let me tell you reader, it was so worth the wait. To gain a fuller picture and greater appreciation, I recommend reading the Timeless series in order. PSA announcement...you might need some Kleenex handy when reading For a Lifetime. I cried a couple of times while reading this story. 

Grace and Hope are identical twin sisters with the extraordinary ability to time-travel together between 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, and 1912 New York City. As their twenty-fifth birthday nears, they face a pivotal decision: to choose one life to keep and one to abandon forever, regardless of the consequences.

Although Grace and Hope are twins, their personalities differ significantly. Grace, the older twin by 15 minutes, is more reserved and mature, always striving to show kindness and do what is right. In contrast, Hope is vibrant and carefree, unconcerned with others' opinions. Grace often feels overshadowed by Hope in both time periods. I appreciated that each chapter set in a different era provides insight into both Grace and Hope as well as a snapshot of life during that time.

I love how the author portrays the deep devotion and love that Grace and Hope had for one another. It made me reflect on my relationship with my own siblings and how grateful I am for the close-knit bond we share.

In 1692, the twins work in a tavern for their father amid the turmoil of the Salem witch trials. Honestly, I think I'd be terrified to live during this time because of how unjustly women were treated.  In 1912, Grace is a journalist for the New York Globe and Hope dreams of becoming the first female aviator.

For a Lifetime had several "I didn't see that coming plot twists" which made the story a page-turning tale you'll be thinking about long after you've closed the book.

I had a realization while reading For a Lifetime. All the themes in the books tie in and flow so beautifully. In When the Day Comes Libby learns to honor God no matter the path/time of life. Maggie realizes In this Moment, how God plans and orchestrates our lives and in For a Lifetime, Grace and Hope learned God created each of us for a purpose, for the time we were born in. All of these messages in this series are so needed and timely in today's society. 

For a Lifetime is a story with a unique twist and an ending you won't see coming and I highly recommend making a must-read on your TBR pile for 2024. 

Because this series is wildly popular, author Gabrielle Meyer announced her Timeless series will have 3 more books! Book 4 comes out in November of 2024. Isn't the cover stunning?

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Love, Unscripted is Charming Spring Read

Best-selling, contemporary romance author Denise Hunter is my go-to author when I need an escapism read. After enjoyed her last stand-alone book last summer, A Novel Proposal I had high expectations for, Love, Unscripted

Chloe Anderson pours her heartbreak out into penning the perfect boyfriend and writes a debut best-selling romance that gets turned into a movie. The film's producers cast Hollywood 'bad boy' Liam Hamilton who needs some positive PR.  

Liam's team thinks a "fake" relationship with the author will be good for his image and free publicity for the film and Chloe's book. 

As Chloe gets to know Liam, she's realizing how different the media portrays him and who he actually is and this is when things start to get interesting! 

Chloe was one of those relatable, likeable heroines you feel like you know, but also want to be friends with and can relate to her fears, struggles, insecurities and are rooting for her. Which is what made this story such an enjoyable read. 

This might be a seemingly insignificant thing to like, but I appreciate that the chapters were shorter, and the pacing of the story never lagged. It made you want to fly through the book. When I had less then 40 pages left, I was wonder how the author was going to end it...I shouldn't have doubted...

No one does small town romance with Hallmark-inspired nuances better than Ms. Hunter. Her books take it a step further and always have an edge that keeps you interested and engaged whether it's with a main character or a story plot. 

I've probably read about half of Denise Hunter's books and know there's not a strong faith element, but because I know that going in, I'm not disappointed because it's not something I'm anticipating. There were a few moments where Chloe prays. But other than that, I didn't see much of a faith thread and I was totally fine with that because it wasn't the focus of the story. 

If you're looking for a charming romantic read you need to add Love, Unscripted is the perfect Spring read to add to your TBR pile. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Word of Honor is a Page-Turner

Ms. Bridgeman is a new-to-me author. I heard her speak last year at a virtual ACFW Virginia Chapter conference and was immediately drawn to her passion and knowledge for writing but also her steadfast commitment to upholding strong Christian values in her stories. These qualities instantly put her on 'my authors I want to read' pile. 

 Word of Honor, the second installment in her Love and Honor series, served as the perfect story antidote I needed this month to get me out of my reading stupor. I found her intense and fast-paced storytelling engaging and couldn't put this book down. Every spare second, I had outside of life responsibilities, my nose was happily buried in this story. Hallee creates characters you both relate to, but also want to be like.

FBI Special Agent Lynda Culter witnesses' members of an eco-terrorist group kill her partner. Being paired up with her former college sweetheart Special Forces A-team Sergent Bill Sanders in Istanbul posing as husband and wife isn't what either of them had in mind. Can they set their past wounds and differences aside to focus on their mission?

I loved how this story illistrated real growth and change for both Bill and Lynda. It is really hard to show charactor growth that fits naturally into the story, but Hallee Bridgeman did it beautifully.  

One of my favorite parts of the story was the individual "call signs" they have for one another. They were fun and creative, and it made the story more entertaining when a character's call sign was used in place of their name. This added some much-needed humor to some intense scenes. By the end of the book, it made me want my own call sign. 

I'm not sure if it's because my name has a unique spelling, but I notice when authors give characters with perhaps a common name an unusual spelling. The heroine Lynda for example. Normally, Linda is spelled with an 'I', but Hallee choose a 'Y'. 

If you're a reader who enjoys great story elements such as intriguing plot, complex characters, and a strong faith thread then you need to read Word of Honor

I will absolutely be reading more books by this talented author. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Sandcastle Inn Landed on my DNF Pile

Sandcastle Inn is the 10th Hope Harbor Novel for three-time RITA author Irene Hannon. I'm more familiar with Ms. Hannon's suspense romances then I am her small-town coastal stories. 

Vienna Price sees Hope Harbor as a temporary stop. She's here to visit her mom and figure out her next step in her fledgling career. 

Matt Quinn thought he'd find some R&R visiting his sister in Hope Harbor....instead he finds himself heading up an endeavor to restore a crumbling B&B. 

I had two major criticisms of Sandcastle Inn, if I'm being fully honest with you, dear readers and fellow bookworms... The first being it took a good 100 pages for me to want to get into the story and the second being the instant attraction the hero and heroine had upon meeting. It just 1) didn't seem realistic and 2) it does bug me a little the way Hannon has her characters focus on the physical features in this immediate chemistry. It always comes across icky and shallow. Like what if the female didn't have long hair and beautiful eyes? Would the guy even take a second glance? No, the answer is no. At this point in my life, I want so much more, and I think younger girls should have a more realistic perspective of attraction, especially from a Christian author. 

That being said, I did like the town of Hope Harbor that Hanon created, and if you like slow moving, seaside romances then Sandcastle Inn might be for you.  

What usually puts a book on the DNF pile for you? I would love to know!

Sandcastle Inn was provided to me by the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Ark and the Dove is Slow

 In The Ark and the Dove Biblical Historical author Jill Eileen Smith reminds us of how devastating this was. Noah, Zara, their sons, and their spouses will be saved, but they had to leave behind family members. Can you image how painful this would have been? Another aspect the author reminded the reader throughout is how incredibly hard Noah and his whole family worked before the flood and during the flood while taking care of the animals. 

Sometimes when I read Biblical Stories in the Old Testament, I read them like I'm reciting facts and not taking in all the elements of the story. Noah's story for example...God told Noah to build an ark, He gave Noah the dimensions and told him he would save him his wife their three sons and their spouses. That's eight people if you're doing the math. 

I appreciated throughout the story how Noah and Zara remained faithful to God and were continually reminding their sons and daughters-in-law before, during and after the flood to remain steadfast in their faith and trust God. This was the primary theme throughout The Ark and the Dove

I also liked the realistic family dynamics between Zara, her sons, and daughters-in-law proving that family isn't perfect, but striving to love one another like Christ there can be harmony. 

My only slight critique about The Ark and the Dove is I didn't fully understand who the "Watchers" were before the flood. Also, I'm not sure if it was the pacing of the story, but I found it hard to connect with. For this reason, I'd give The Ark and the Dove 3 stars. 

~~The Ark and the Dove was provided to me by the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Second Flash Fiction: Humble Pie

Hi Friends,

I just couldn't quite leave my fictional town of Copper Creek Haven and wanted to write another flash fiction story.  Who knows...maybe I'll write a whole series of stories around this town. 

Happy reading! 


Flash Fiction Story: Humble Pie 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

If the Boot Fits is a Fantastic Cinderfella Retelling

I just closed the book on If the Boot Fits and I can't stop smiling! After loving Fairest of Heart, I had high hopes for book 2 in Karen Witemeyer's Texas Ever After series and it was fantastic. Ms. Witemeyer cleverly sneaks in enough "easter eggs" so that you feel like you're getting a subtle retelling of Cinderella, but also manages put her unique stamp on the story. 

Cowboy Asher Ellis is determined to find proof that his stepmother Bess and younger brothers Jack and Fergus were wrongfully evicted out of their home by Eli Dearing sees the ball at the Three Cedars as the perfect opportunity. A plan that goes awry. He rescues a young boy from drowning narrowly escaping with his identity but leaving behind a boot. 

Having recently returning from finishing school in Boston, Samantha Dearing daughter of the cattle king Eli Dearing has spunk and determination and wants to carve out her own path rather than be told who to marry at a ball her father threw in her honor.  Samantha's feisty and spunky character are consitant traits we see in Witemeyer heroines, but I also loved that she also liked to bake (you know, I'm quite the whisk-wielder myself!) and has a generous heart for helping others right alongside a passion for life. 

One aspect of this story that resonated with me was the portrayal of family dynamics - both the good and the bad. Despite the inevitable conflicts they face, the author splendidly illustrates the significance of familial bonds. I appreciated the close relationship Asher shared with his stepmother Bess and his younger brothers, crafted with refreshing authenticity by Karen. Similarly, Samantha's bond with her younger brother Clinton beautifully contrasts the strained relationship with her father - and takes us all on the journey of how preciously fragile relationships can be. 

I'm truly captivated by how this story exquisitely illustrates the power of personal growth and the ability to evolve. Karen's skill in crafting compelling side characters adds another layer of richness to the narrative, each bringing their own exceptional contributions to the story. 

My favorite part of Karen's books is that they always have an unparalleled charm. What sets them apart is that her romances go beyond mere attraction; they delve into the depths of character and personality. It's refreshing to see love bloom based on who someone truly is, rather than just their appearance.

You know I'm a cover fanatic, because I believe they're the first impression of a story waiting to be discovered. Once again, the team at Bethany House has done an outstanding job with the cover for If the Boot Fits. It just makes you want to dive right into the story! 

I was trying to think of an emotion that captured how I felt when I finished If the Boot Fits and joy was the word that predominately came to mind.  There was so much joy within this fun and fresh retelling of Cinderella! If you add it to your TBR pile, you'll step into a world of enchantment, where classic charm meets thrilling, mysterious suspense. Don't miss out on the joy awaiting within these pages.

~~I purchased a paperback copy of If the Boot Fits from Baker Book House in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.~~

Monday, March 4, 2024

Calling on the Matchmaker is Lacking

After the tragic accidental death of her youngest sister, Finola Shannahan vows to become a nun to serve impoverished immigrant families believing that she doesn't deserve to have a family. When the local Irish matchmaker her father hires pairs her with Riley Rafferty, she finds her usual tactics to escape another match unsuccessful. 

Local wagon-maker Riley Rafferty is running for a mayoral election and sees his pairing with Finola Shannahan as helping him not only win the election, but also make a difference together. 

There were some hilarious moments in Finola and Riley's courtship that had me laughing out loud more than once and were my favorite parts in the book.

Jody Hedlund is an author that excels at creating chemistry between her hero and heroine and Calling on the Matchmaker will have you turning pages to find out if Riley and Finola get their happily ever after. Overall, Calling on the Matchmaker is a solid story. The characters are multi-dimensional, the plot has good pacing and doesn't lag. My only issue is the faith thread of the story was almost non-existent. Other than the characters mentioning the Lord and doing charitable works there was a minimal faith thread. I'm willing to admit that it's possible I completely missed the author's point if there was a faith storyline. 

SPOILERS AHEAD - Stop reading if you don't want to know major plot points. 

Personally, I thought Finola's story of the guilt over her sister's passing dragged out a little too long for my preference and continually trying to sabotage her engagement to Riley bothered me. I would have liked to see her married to Riley sooner and see how she deals with becoming a wife. All this to say, if you are okay with a minimal faith element and want a strong romantic story then Calling on the Matchmaker is for you. I'm such a fan of Jody Hedlund, however, this book was a 3 out of 5 stars for me overall. It just didn't pull me in the way other stories by her have. 

Ms. Hedlund does set up the reader nicely in anticipation of the 2nd book Saved by the Matchmaker releasing in August. It looks like book two contains one of my favorite tropes.... marriage of convenience. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

First Flash Fiction: Smoke and Embers: A BBQ Reconciliation

Last fall, I discovered flash fiction and it make me even more excited about all the wonderful possibilities of writing. It's short story of 1000 words or less where the writer still tries to convey character and plot development. Talk about challenging and tight writing. I realized how "wordy" I am as an author and had to cut out quite a lot of them. 

Up until this point, only my newsletter subscribers have had the chance to see my flash fiction work. However, I'm excited to share my first short story with all the readers of my blog, even though it makes me feel a bit more vulnerable, as now my entire blog audience will have access to it (but no pressure at all!). If you're interested in being among the first to read more of my flash fiction and fictional stories, you can sign up for my newsletter here. 

Smoke and Embers: A BBQ Reconciliation by Emilee Hill 

Ruby Beck two-stepped her way around the edge of the wooden dance floor in her mint green knee-high cowgirl boots. Nothing ever changed in this small sleepy town of Copper Creek Haven where she spent summers with her grandfather learning how to make finger-licking good BBQ. The Fall Harvest dance and BBQ competition were the town’s most celebrated events.

At the opposite corner of the room, she saw him. Elliot King. The man she’d been secretly carrying a torch for the past 20 years. Heart racing and knees knocking, her feet refused to move as if they were permanently glued to the floor. Elliot had seen her and was maneuvering through the maze of dancing couples to get to her.

He was by her side, crushing her in a bear hug, slightly lifting her off the ground. Breathless, she returned his embrace. He felt solid beneath her hands.

“Ruby! It’s great to see you!”

“Hi,” she stammered. So much for sounding like a confident woman.

“Care to dance?” Elliot held out his hand.

“Sure, but aren’t you afraid we’ll start World War III?” she asked, referring to their grandfathers’ decades long feud over the BBQ competition.

Their battle began when Ruby’s grandfather William accused Elliot’s grandfather Harvey of stealing his secret recipe and publishing it in the local newspaper. The lasting rivalry had trickled down to their children and grandchildren. Becks and Kings didn’t usually associate with one another.

“I’ll take my chances.” He winked at her and smoothly guided her onto the floor. “We’ll give this town something to talk about.” Double twirling, he dipped her in the middle of the dance floor as the final notes of the song ended.

Another song started and Elliot made no move to release her. “That was only half a dance. You owe me a few more dances,” he teased, referring to the time she stood him up at the same dance when they were just 18.

“I have no idea what you are referring to.” Ruby feigned an innocent expression, her flushed cheeks giving her away. She could never let Elliot know the reason she didn’t attend the dance was because it was the summer she realized she was in love with him and didn’t know what to do with her feelings or how to deal with her grandfather.

As they swayed to the music, Ruby couldn’t help but steal a glance at Elliot. His eyes twinkled in the dimly lit room, and he smelled faintly of the same cologne he used to wear in high school. She couldn’t resist the urge to bring up the one thing that had always connected them- the BBQ competition.

Ruby made the choice to steer the conversation in that direction while she was still in Elliot’s arms. “You know, Elliot, it’s been forever since we discussed the BBQ contest,” she remarked, leaning in.

“My grandpa Harvey adamantly denies having anything to do with selling your grandfather’s recipe to the paper.”

“Hmmm…And you believe him?”

“My grandfather’s character has always been one of honesty and helping his community. This town knows everything about everyone. Give me one other example of when my grandfather was ever involved in anything lacking integrity.”

Ruby sighed, “Maybe it’s time we put an end to it.”

Elliot raised his eyebrows and with a look of surprise said, “How do you propose we do that?”

“Well, everything we learned about BBQ was from our grandfathers…What if we swap sous chefs on the paperwork? I’ll be your grandpa Harvey’s assistant and you’ll be my grandpa Will’s.”

Elliot grinned; his gaze fixed on Ruby. “That just might work. Imagine the reaction of the citizens of Copper Creek Haven seeing the Becks and the Kings working together rather than against each other.”

“They’d probably think they were in an episode of The Twilight Zone,” Ruby chuckled.

Elliot and Ruby finished hatching the plan to end the decades-long contention between their families. It took some convincing from both Ruby and Elliot to persuade their grandfathers that this was a good idea, but they did, and Ruby and Elliot were positioned on opposite sides of the BBQ competition area. They exchanged a nervous glance before getting to work.

While the contest was still fierce, William and Harvey exchanged a nod of respect, silently acknowledging the significance of the day, and seemed to have a glint of pride in their eyes as they battled with their grandchildren.

And when the winner was finally announced, it was William Beck who emerged victorious with Elliot’s help. Ruby couldn’t help but smile and have hope fill her heart as she watched her grandfather and Elliot shake hands in victory.

When the competition was over, Ruby walked over to Elliot. She knew this was a moment she couldn’t let pass by. "Elliot, would you like to take a walk?” Shyness crept into her voice as the question left her mouth.

“That would be great.” He cupped her elbow and steered her towards the downtown square with country ballads playing on the speakers leading outside.

“Thanks for helping my grandfather win the competition.”

“It was a lot of fun.”

“Elliot, I…I…” It was now or never. “I’ve been in love with you since I was 18,” she blurted. So much for subtlety.

“What a coincidence, Ruby Beck. I’ve been in love with you since then too.”  Tenderly caressing her face, he slowly leaned in for a soft and gentle kiss that had the slight tang of BBQ in it. A kiss she’d been dreaming of for most of her life, and the wait had been so worth it.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Five in Five: Heroine Edition

Strong literary heroines stay with the reader long after the book has been closed. These heroines are strong female characters who embody characteristics which the reader seeks to emulate.

It is hard to pick only a select few, but I'm going to try to narrow down the list to my personal top five favorite literary heroines. Although you may not agree with my list, here are my top five favorite (although not all famous) literary heroines.

5) Molly from Gene Stratton-Porter's Keeper of the Bees

4) Josephine "Jo" March from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

3) Valancy Sterling from L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle. This is one of Montgomery's lesser-known works and one of her few 'adult' works of fiction. Written in 1926, set in the early 1920's in Ontario, Canada. Most of Montgomery's books were written on Prince Edward Island. While Montgomery typically writes about heroines who are young girls, Valancy's character is 29.

2) Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Auten's Pride and Prejudice. No favorite literary heroine list would be complete without at least one Austen heroine on the list. I would argue that Elizabeth "Lizzy" Bennett is one of Austen's most well-known and beloved literary heroines. She is a very complex character. She is intelligent and independent thinker. In Austen's time, women were not known for these qualities.

1) Anne Shirley from L.M. Montogomery's Anne of Green Gables. The reader is first introduced to Anne, the spunky, red-headed orphan when she is adopted by older, spinster siblings- Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert. She is continually getting into scrapes but learns lessons along the way. Part of what makes Anne so appealing to readers is her outlook on life. She doesn't see things the way an ordinary person does, rather she has a fanciful and fun imagination. And because Montgomery wrote 8 books in the Anne series the reader is allowed into Anne's world. She grows up, goes to college, gets married, becomes a mother, but through all these wonderful changes in her life she still reminds the skinny, freckle-faced, red-headed orphan that readers fell in love when Montgomery published Anne of Green Gables in 1908.

I'd love to hear your list of top five favorite literary heroines! I would love to know your favorites and we can discuss them further in the comments! 

Reading is an Adventure,


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos is Powerful and Emotional

    The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos needs to come with a PSA label that you are going to need lots of Kleenex. Also, don't read this story in public if you're prone to waterworks, aka crying. I was crying by chapter two and ugly crying the last few chapters. That being said, I'm so glad I picked this book up on a friend's recommendation and read it. 

Oncologist Kristine Tremaine has built a reputation for being one of the best cancer doctors in Texas. When her older sister Sherri Reynolds is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she pours all her knowledge into helping her sister.

The bond between the sisters was my favorite part of the story. I loved how they quoted from favorite movies and had this us against the world mentality. It reminded me of how powerful the connection we can have with our brothers and sisters. Siblings see you at your best and worst, but they still love you and sometimes know you better than you know yourself. A quote I read about the relationship we have with our siblings summed it up. " Siblings are like branches of a tree. We grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one." 

The theme of the book was how do you hold onto your faith when your prayers seem to go unanswered? This book just made me reflect on my trials in a different light. Although we may not know why God brings various tribulations in our lives, He will never give us more than we can bear, and God is good! 

Having lost loved ones to cancer, I feel like the author took every emotion I ever had about losing friends and family and put it into this story.  The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos was such a cathartic book for me to read. So much so, that I had some trouble moving on to read other books. 

Thank you so much Kelly Irvin for penning this beautiful story of family, loss, and forgiveness. 

Reading is an adventure,



Thursday, February 1, 2024

Of Love and Treason is a Moving Debut

 Debut author Jamie Ogle's Of Love and Treason is an emotional and moving read. One I won't soon forget. To be honest, I'm still trying to process my feelings and emotions after reading the last page. 

Years ago, I remember my violin teacher Mrs. Klotz giving us a one-page sheet on the origins of Valentine's Day and the story stayed with me all these years. A man named Valentine who doesn't agree with the emperor's marriage ban continues to marry couples in secret.  He's arrested for treason and ends up falling in love with the jailor's blind daughter, he prays for her, and her sight is restored. Before his execution, he left a love letter for her that was signed from your Valentine.  The origins of Valentine's Day is tragically romantic.  Nowadays Valentine's Day is so commercialized I don't think people even know or give a thought to how it began. When I saw that Of Love and Treason was an origin story of February 14th, I knew I had to read it! 
One aspect of this story that I appreciated was how passionate and steadfast Valentine and the other Christians were in their faith. It made me want to have the same zeal and fervor for the Lord. I also loved how despite the dangers of being in Christian in 3rd century Rome they still boldly proclaimed Christ and the gospel to others. 

Ms. Ogle's question and thread throughout Of Love and Treason was will we trust Him even when things don't turn out the way we want? And this was so exceptionally and beautifully told. When I really love a book it's sometimes hard for me to put into words my reasons why. 

I was cheering when I got to a certain scene on page 301, and I shed some tears in the last couple of chapters of this book. I don't want to give any spoilers, but if you read Of Love and Treason, I would love to hear your thoughts on that certain scene on page 301 : ) 

If you've read and loved Francine River's Mark of the Lion series, you need to put Of Love and Treason on your list. This book is definitely on my 'to keep' shelf. All I can say is Jamie Ogle please write faster because I can't wait to read your other books. 

Reading is an Adventure,


~~I purchased a paperback copy of  Of Love and Treason from Baker Book House in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.~~

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Divine Proverb of Streusel is a 'Must Read' for 2024

 Author Sara Brunsvold's exceptional debut novel The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip topped my favorite reads of 2022 list. I had great expectations for her newest book and was eagerly anticipating her newest story, The Divine Proverb of Streusel. I read this book in three days and would have finished it sooner had life responsibilities not gotten in the way. Three chapters in I had an inkling that this story would land on my "favorite reads of 2024" and I am happy to say that it definitely did!

Devastated and reeling from her parents' divorce, literary teacher, Nikki Werner seeks comfort on her uncle's farm in Missouri. Spending the summer there, she discovers a longing to know more about her lineage and finds an old handwritten German cookbook among her grandmother's belongings filled with knowledge and long-forgotten recipes. As she cooks her way through the recipes, inviting townsfolk to share in the meals and memories of the town and her grandparents, Nikki starts to heal from her parents' divorce.

Emotions ranged from tears of sadness to tears of joy coupled with laughter. While I enjoyed Nikki's story, I found myself slightly more invested in her uncle's story. That's all I want to say because I don't want to give any spoilers. You'll have to read the book. 

There are so many aspects I loved about this book, the characters, the way the story will make you long for a simpler time, wanting to know more about your own ancestors and the cadence of the brilliant writing. Ms. Brunsvold is an accomplished writer, and her stories speak to your heart and soul and stay with you long after you've closed the book. A few of my favorite quotes can be found on pages 100, 165, 296, and 306. 

The overall theme of "do the next thing" resounded with me that life will have hard trials and challenges and sometimes all we can do to move forward is to do the next thing. 

The Divine Proverb of Streusel had so many intricate layers to dealing with heartbreak, family, redemption, the wisdom found in the book of Proverbs and healing. I feel like I needed to re-read it a second time to fully appreciate all the subtle nuances. This book is a must read for 2024! 

~~I purchased a paperback copy of The Divine Proverb of Streusel from Baker Book House in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.~~

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Juliet Code is Whodunnit Mystery


Fellow bookworms have raved about author Pepper Basham's books to me for a few years and after reading The Juliet Code I can see why. I'm a little late in jumping on the Pepper Basham bandwagon, but better late than never. 

The Juliet Code is the third book in A Freddie and Grace Mystery following The Mistletoe Countess and The Cairo Curse

Fredrick and Grace Percy are finally on their delayed honeymoon in Italy when they are unwittingly pulled into an art heist mystery when they discover their friend Detective Jack Miracle is in the city asking for their help. 

I loved Grace's passion and recall of the novels including referencing characters and places. This trait made her such a unique and delightful heroine. 

Freddie and Grace as a couple, I so enjoyed their quick-witted verbal interactions and how well they know each other, but also have a deep love and affection for one another. Their relationship was probably my favorite feature of the story. Not sure if this was the author's intention, but Fredrick and Grace reminded me of the fictional silver screen husband and wife sleuths Nick and Nora Charles portrayed in the Thin Man movies.

 As we begin a new year the theme throughout the book of Christ being the Author of our lives and in control of all struck a chord with me and I thought was a good reminder going into 2024. 

Author Pepper Basham's style of writing in The Juliet Code reminded me somewhat of popular mystery author Agatha Christie. If you're a fan of this author whose name is synonymous with mystery you need you check out The Juliet Code. I will definitely be adding The Mistletoe Countess and The Cairo Curse to my TBR pile!

Have you ever read any Agatha Christie books? Did you like them?  

Reading is an adventure, 


Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Double Take is a Solid Suspense Read


Starting off the new year in 2024 with a suspenseful thriller by USA Today bestselling author Lynette Eason promises an exhilarating journey into the world of heart-pounding suspense and gripping mysteries that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Double Take kicks off her newest Lake City Heroes series following Physician's Assistant Lainie Jackson who survives an attempted murder plot by her ex-fiancé in which she managed to defend herself killing him in the process. Nightmares and PTSD from the incident follow her and she "thinks" she's seeing her dead ex-fiancé. Is he returning to finish the job? 

Detective James Cross was that tough, run-to-the-rescue good guy that you want him to be when you're reading a suspense thriller. I loved that he was always there when Lainie needed him and that his character was actually masculine which I feel is being lost in a lot of the current writing scene. 

I like how the author paces James and Lainie's relationship. It's realistic considering the intense circumstances the author put the characters in and also their relationship history (how long they've known one another.) I also liked that neither James or Lainie was perfect. They both have moments in the story that make you see they are human and it made you as a reader feel like you can relate to your characters more.  

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know I like to be honest with my book reviews overall, so with that said, Double Take was a solid suspense read, however there were a few things that took me out of the story: 

  1. There were a few written moments where props were suddenly just gone. You didin't know what happened to them, but suddendly, when least expected they were brought back into the dialogue. Without revealing any details, there was a horse that just kept coming and going, lol. 
  2. There were also a few times where the dialogue was too tell instead of show. This limited your ability to get into the characters head and it slowed the story down. 

Whenever I read Christian fiction, a clear faith thread/element is important to me and I felt that the author was able to weave this into the story. I didn't feel it was added as an afterthought and I appreciate that. 

Double Take will have you turning pages in this suspense-filled dangerous cat and mouse game.  It was a good "curl up with on a snowy day underneath my bookcase quilt" book (Thanks, mom ; ) 

~~Double Take was provided to me by the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~