Book Review | Ornamental Graces

Ornamental Graces.jpgTitle: Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk

Pages: 366

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Christian/Catholic

Publisher: Multa Verba Publishing (Oct. 11th, 2016)

Summary

After his duplicitous girlfriend left, Dan Malone spent six months in a tailspin of despair and destruction: emotional, physical, and spiritual. Just when his life seems to be back on track, he meets Emily Kowalski, younger sister of his new best friend.

Emily’s the kind of girl he’d always dreamed of—sweet, smart, and sincere. But he’s made a mess of his life and ruined his chances for earning the love and trust of a woman like her.

Could Dan be the man Emily’s been waiting for? How could he be when every time they get close he pulls away? And will he ever be free from his shady past and the ex-girlfriend who refuses to stay there?

Ornamental Graces 

what i thought

*I received a free copy of this book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. A huge thank you to the author and publisher!*

As many of you probably already know, I love Christmas so much!  So, when I received Ornamental Graces for review, I was quite excited.  I’m a sucker for a Hallmark Christmas movie, and this book sounded just like one.  While I ended up enjoying this one just as much as any Hallmark movie, it was so much more than that, too!

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Book Review | Where the Crawdads Sing

where the crawdads singTitle: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Page: 384

Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Aug. 14th, 2018)

Summary

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Where the Crawdads Sing

what i thoughtThis book. This book!! I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to reviewing Where the Crawdads Sing.  I’ll be honest, I only read this book because everyone on Bookstagram talked about this book daily.  I barely even knew what it was about, but I knew it must be good because the library waiting list was huge!! 😂  Where the Crawdads Sing was one of the best books I’ve read in a very, very long time.  It is truly deserving of every ounce of hype and praise it has received!

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Book Review | Silent Days, Holy Night | Blog Tour + Giveaway!

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Hey everyone! Today I’m teaming up with JustRead Tours and Gilead Publishing for the blog tour to celebrate the recent release of Silent Days, Holy Night by Phyllis Clark Nichols. I’ll be sharing my thoughts about the book as well as how you can win a copy!

Here we go:

silent days holy night.jpegTitle: Silent Days, Holy Night by Phyllis Clark Nichols

Pages: 240

Genres: Fiction, Inspirational, Christmas

Published by: Gilead Publishing (Oct. 20th, 2018)

Summary

The sounds of Christmases past echo through a silent house . . .  

Everyone in town knows Emerald Crest, the green granite mansion atop the highest hill: the legendary, lavish Christmas festivities that used to light up the nights— and the silence that followed when the parties abruptly stopped many years ago. And everyone has heard whispers about the reclusive, mysterious master of the manor, Henry Lafferty the Second . . .

When eleven-year-old Julia Russell steps into the great house for the first time and meets Mr. Lafferty, the entire course of her life is altered. She meets a man who is nothing at all like the rumors she’s heard from neighbors and classmates. He’s kind and extraordinarily talented—he also happens to be deaf and uses a wheelchair. And when she overhears a secret about him, Julia decides it’s time for the town to bring Christmas back to Emerald Crest—an act that will change them all forever.

Silent Days, Holy Night

what i thought

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A huge thank you to the author, Gilead Publishing and JustRead Blog Tours!*

This book was so sweet!  Going into this story, I thought I had an idea how this book would go.  While it sort of did, Silent Days, Holy Night ended up being so much more than I anticipated!

I absolutely loved all the characters in this novel!  Julia is so sweet and sassy and I just adored her.  I love how determined she was about everything.  Mr. Lafferty was the sweetest little cinnamon roll and, just like Julia, I wish I had him as a friend.

Silent Days, Holy Night was so well written, too!  The writing was so comfortable to read, if that makes sense.  It was just the perfect book to read, curled up on the couch with soft Christmas music playing in the background.

This book made me laugh and it also made me shed a few tears.  It is one that I will not soon be forgetting!  It also made me really want to start studying sign language again.

Silent Days, Holy Night is about loving others, friendships and embracing our differences.  This book is filled with the Christmas spirit, and it was honestly such an enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet and heartwarming read this holiday season.

4 stars 2


Purchase Silent Days, Holy Night

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christian Book


giveaway

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(1) winner will receive (US only):

  • a print copy of Silent Days, Holy Night by Phyllis Clark Nichols
  • a print copy of Sleigh Bells Ring by various authors

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Giveaway will begin at midnight December 10, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 17, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here

Click here to enter the giveaway!


about the author

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Phyllis Clark Nichols’s character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions using the imagined residents of small town communities you just know you’ve visited before. With a strong faith and a love for nature, art, music, and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment . . . often through surprisingly serendipitous events.

Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Born during a hurricane, she is no stranger to the winds of change: In addition to her life as a novelist, Phyllis is a seminary graduate, concert pianist, and cofounder of a national cable network with health- and disability-related programming. Regardless of the role she’s playing, Phyllis brings creativity and compelling storytelling.

She frequently appears at conventions, conferences, civic groups, and churches, performing half-hour musical monologues that express her faith, joy, and thoughts about life—all with the homespun humor and gentility of a true Southern woman.

Phyllis currently serves on several nonprofit boards. She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband.

CONNECT WITH PHYLLIS: Website | Facebook | Twitter


tour schedule

To see the full tour lineup, click here!


tour schedule (2)

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Christmas Countdown #11

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Countdown to Christmas is back!  If you’re new(ish) to my blog, Countdown to Christmas is a weekly feature where I recommend a different Christmas-y book each week to read this holiday season.  This is the third year I’ve been doing this, and it’s now time to share my first pick for the 2018 holiday season!

To start things off, my first pick for 2018 is Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.

IMG_5434.JPGImagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Christmas with the Kranks, which is the adaptation of Skipping Christmas, is one of my favorite Christmas movies.  So, naturally, I had to read the book that inspired the film, and let me just say it was no different!  This book is so fun, festive, and goofy.  The writing style and short chapters makes this book a breeze to get through, which is perfect when you’re busy with holiday preparations and don’t have much free time.  Skipping Christmas makes such a great holiday read!

 

Have you read Skipping Christmas or seen Christmas with the Kranks?

 


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Book Review | The Witch of Willow Hall | Blog Tour + Giveaway!

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In honor of the recent release of Hester Fox’s debut novel, The Witch of Willow Hall, today I’m sharing with you all my thoughts about the book as well as how you can have the chance to win a copy, plus a fun and festive prize pack!

cover_The Witch of Willow Hall_Hester Fox_Graydon House Books_Oct 2 2018Title: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Pages: 368

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published by: Harlequin’s Graydon House Books (Oct. 2nd, 2018)

Summary

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

 

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | Kobo  | iTunes

what i thought

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A huge thanks to the publisher and Barclay Publicity!*

When I first found out about this book I was instantly intrigued.  The synopsis drew me in, and I just knew that this would be a book I would enjoy. The book’s description may be what caught my eye, but once I started reading, everything else about this book kept me hooked to the pages!

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Book Review | Sunrise Cabin

sunrise cabinTitle: Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan

Pages: 346

Genres: Romance, Contemporary

Published by: Hallmark Publishing (Sept. 16th, 2018)

Summary

Two very different people…
One very special place.

Dylan’s an overworked investment banker. Paige is a free-spirited first-grade teacher. From the first time they meet, these two opposites attract.
Meanwhile, the cabin Paige is renting has gone up for sale. She loves living there, and she just might be able to buy it—if she finally achieves her dream of selling her children’s stories. When she learns Dylan is also determined to buy the cabin, their new romance turns into a real estate rivalry.
Dylan could tell her about his own connection to the place…but that would mean opening up about his past. As his relationship with Paige goes from funny to touching, they both discover more about love, hope, and the true meaning of home.
This romance contains a Hallmark original recipe for Maple Pecan Streusel Muffins with Cider Glaze.

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*I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review. A huge thank you to the publisher and NetGalley!*

When it comes to Hallmark movies, I am a big sap.  I know they’re cheesy and predictable, but I just love them and cannot get enough!  So, as you can imagine, Hallmark Publishing books give me that same feel and I love them for it.

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Purple Kisses Blog Tour | Review + Giveaway!

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Hey everyone!  Today on the blog, I’m going to be sharing with you all my thoughts about the poetry book Purple Kisses, as well as share how you can enter to win an e-copy! This is in celebration of the re-release of Purple Kisses, in honor of its new cover!


8.5X11.pngTitle: Purple Kisses by Priya Prithviraj, illustrated by Niveditha Warrier

Pages: 23

Genre: Poetry, Art

Publisher: Linnet’s Wings Press (Dec. 31st, 2017)

Summary

Purple Kisses’ is a one-of-a-kind book of poetry written by Priya Prithviraj and illustrated by Niveditha Warrier.

Purple Kisses

 

what i thought

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  A big thanks to Priya Prithviraj!*

Purple Kisses is probably the most unique book I’ve read all year!  I don’t typically read a lot of poetry, but I have been getting into it more recently.  So, when I was asked if I was interested in being a part of this tour, I just had to say yes.  That being said, I didn’t know what to expect.  With this book, it was about more than just reading it; it was an entire experience.

I do want to start by saying that there is only one poem in this book.  Purple Kisses is not a poetry collection, it is simply a poem.  At first, this surprised me a bit, because typically, poetry comes in a collection.  However, the more I read (and reread) this poem, the more I decided that I liked the idea of it being one, individual poem.  It allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the words, passion, and art that is found in this book without being distracted by what’s to come or what was already read.

The poem is short, but sweet.  I could really feel the passion behind every single word.  It is clear that the author put so much heart and soul into this book.

Another thing I loved, that I think really helped this book to stand out, was the art work.  It is so gorgeous!  The mixture of the colors and shapes perfectly capture the essence of Purple Kisses.  Just like everything about this book, the artwork is so unique, and honestly I just loved looking at it.

Speaking about the new cover, I feel like it really shows readers what Purple Kisses is about.  I love how minimalist the cover is, too.  The simplicity, with the pop of color, was such a great choice for this book.

Overall, I really enjoyed Purple Kisses.  My only complaint would be that I wish there was more!  This book was over far too soon.  That being said, I think that is a good problem to have.  It shows just how well the author and illustrator did at capturing the excitement and wonder of love.  I would recommend Purple Kisses to poetry fans as well as anyone who is looking for a short and unique read.

4 stars 2


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Purchase Purple Kisses here!

Add to Goodreads!


giveaway

Enter to win an e-copy of Purple Kisses by clicking on the link below!

Purple Kisses Giveaway!


about the author

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Priya Prithviraj writes poems which appear in journals such as Eastlit and the New Plains Review. She also writes about books, writing and publishing on her blog at priyaslitblog.com. Her book of illustrated poetry, ‘Purple Kisses’ is out now.

 

Follow Priya on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter!

 

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Niveditha Warrier is a fine art photographer whose work has been published in international magazines like the International Contemporary Artists Magazine, Toer Magazine and White Crow Art Daily. Learn more about her at
nivedithawarrier.com.

 

 

 

 


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August Wrap-Up!

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I feel like I say this every single month, but can you even believe it is now September?! This year is flying by SO fast!

Overall, August was a pretty great month for me.  Altogether, I read six books.

BOOKS READ

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– The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar (ebook) \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Echo by Nadette Rae Rodgers \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– The Summer of Cotton Candy by Debbie Vigue (reread) \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

STANDOUT BOOK OF THE MONTH

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For this month’s choice, I have to go with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!  I honestly did not expect this book to live up to its hype, and yet, somehow it did.

 

BOOKS REVIEWED

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid \\ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

 

BOOK HAUL

No new books for me in August!

 

MISCELLANEOUS 

Top Ten Tuesday new

Here’s August’s TTT’s:

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This month’s WoW:

movie monday

Movie Monday also came back this month! I shared my thoughts on the new Masterpiece Theater mini-series of Little Women!

classicsathon

I also shared the books I hoped to read for the #ClassicsAThon…As you can tell from the lack of classics in this wrap-up, however, I didn’t exactly reach my goals…😂🤦🏼‍♀️

Tied to Deceit tour banner new

I was part of the Tied to Deceit blog tour, too!

Sweet Dreams Cover Reveal (1)

I also got to help reveal the cover for Sweet Dreams, book three in the Illusions Trilogy, by Nadette Rae Rodgers, as well as interview the author!


And that wraps up my August!  I hope you all had a really great month, and an even better September!

Thanks for reading!


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Book Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

the seven husbands of evelyn hugo.jpgTitle: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 388

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Historical, Romance

Published by: Atria Books (June 13th, 2017)

Summary

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

What I Thought

Honestly, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo wasn’t a book that I planned on reading.  For the past year, I’ve seen mentions of it, but it just didn’t look that great in my opinion.  It wasn’t until the last few months that I actually started to really pay attention to what people were saying.  Everyone just seemed to love this book.  So much so that, I couldn’t ignore the hype any longer.  I just had to read it.  Let me just say that, I am so glad I did!

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