If the Shoe Fits {Book Review}

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About If the Shoe Fits

Julianne used to believe in fairy tales; she’s been watching for Prince Charming to come charging in on his white steed ever since the day her mother read her Cinderella for the first time. But she’s never come close to finding the perfect man-instead she’s always tripping over her childhood best friend, Will. And who finds their Prince Charming on a 10-speed bicycle on the other side of the cul de sac? Well… Julianne does. Only she doesn’t have a clue.
She and Will are attorneys now, and they’ve joined up in private practice in a beautiful Cincinnati office building that overlooks the Ohio River. And then one day Julianne is on her way to court, and runs right smack dab into Prince Charming. But when she looks again, all she finds is a metaphoric sign she is certain came straight from Heaven: The Prince’s toolbox has fallen off the back of his truck, and a work boot along with it. What better way for God to grab the attention of a Cinderella-in-training than to show her a glass slipper…errrr, work boot?…waiting to be reunited with its owner?

So she sets out to track down the mysterious Prince Charming. He’s the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen…and a caring animal rescuer, too. Surely he must be the soul mate God has prepared her for.

But, Julianne’s prince is starting to look less and less charming all the time. No matter how she tries to romanticize him, he just keeps tumbling down off that dumb pedestal. And with the Bar Association dinner coming up that will honor her for her outstanding charity work over the year, Julianne wants so much for her friends and colleagues to see her with someone besides her best friend Will. To make matters worse, Prince Charming has no designs on wearing a penguin suit and attending a stuffy old dinner. With her pride pressing in on her like sticks from a cactus, Julianne sinks to the bottom of the proverbial barrel and actually offers to pay Paul to be her date.
Julianne is on a collision course with God’s perfect plan for her life…if only she could open her eyes and see it before it’s too late.

My Review

This is a cute, quick read.  It is quite charming and in places, very funny.  I love the friendship that Julianne and Will share – it’s almost too good to want to push them to romance at some points!  As characters, Julianne and Will are also themselves charming, although there are times I want to shake them both.  Julianne, as a successful attorney, should not have put up with NEARLY the crap she put up with from her supposed “Prince Charming”, who is pretty much the vilest creature on Earth!

I loved the relationship that Julianne had with her mom, but didn’t like the relationships that she had with other women in the story – especially the other main female character – also an attorney.  As opposed to be friendly or even civil, they were extremely back biting and petty.  I hate to see women be like that in real life, and I don’t love the perpetuation of the stereotype that women are ultimately at odds with each other (over a man).

That being said, this is really a fun (and funny!) story that is definitely worth the time to read!  In terms of it being a Christian fiction novel, there is not a lot of preachiness or a real concentration of the religious aspects – it blends nicely with the story.

 

 

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge By Colleen Coble {Book Review}

* I was provided with a free copy of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Inn at Ocean's Edge

About The Inn at Ocean’s Edge

Claire’s visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories, threatening all she holds dear.
In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing.
But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten.
Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year.
With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone-maybe everyone-is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book and found myself ready to read more even when it was time to put the book down.  It is quite suspenseful from the very first flashback!  Claire is very likable – she is very confident, which is why being struck by a panic attack upon her arrival at the Inn.  When Claire meets Luke, the mystery starts to build, and it becomes very difficult to tease out who the real bad guy is.  The book takes a lot of twists and turns, and it’s a fun to try and figure out how the murder investigations fit together and exactly what happened to Claire, and who is trying to kill her.
This book won’t disappoint for mystery fans!  I also really enjoyed the setting – it made me want to go to the beach!

Win an Awesome Prize Pack!

You can help the author celebrate the release of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge and maybe win a Kindle Fire!  RSVP to her May 5th author chat party!


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One grand prize winner will win:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of A Heart’s Disguise
  • A copy of A Heart’s Obsession
  • A copy of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge

The giveaway ends on May 7, and the winner will be announced on May 8th on Colleen’s website.

 


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Where the Staircase Ends {Book Review & Giveaway}

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ABOUT WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS

Publication date: April 14, 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — unless the staircase breaks her first.

ABOUT STACY STOKES:

Stacy Stokes attended the University of Texas at Austin and The Wharton School of Business.  She grew up in Dallas, TX, and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband.  WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her first novel.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter

My Review

When I started this book, I thought it was going to be sort of the teenaged version of It’s A Wonderful Life (which is great, because I love that movie). After dying, teenager Taylor is forced to climb an enormous stone staircase – all she can do is go up as she gets glimpses of her new reality and is faced with the ghosts of her past as they appear on the staircase.  Memories, both good and bad, take her through the decisions she made in her life.

This is not your typical “teenager girl” problems book which I can find insipid and irritating if not done correctly.  This is a really good book and the writing is really well done.  The characters are relatable and realistically flawed, but at the same time not stock or stereotypical, which I occasionally find in books of this genre.

I was left with questions of “Who would be on my staircase?” and what moments would show up as the best and worst in my life.   I do recommend this book – it’s worth the investment and it’s definitely a page-turner.

 Buy Where the Staircase Ends

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If you’d like to read Where the Staircase Ends, five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes (INT), so make sure to come back every day to enter!

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The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl {Book Review + Giveaway}

* I received a e-copy of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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About The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl

Publication date: March 17, 2015                              Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.                                                  Author: Leigh Statham

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

My Review

If I were to classify this book, I would classify it as a YA Steampunk novel.  It’s a really quick read, and I really enjoyed it.  Marguerite is a pretty awesome character – strong and independent, a good friend, and she’s smart!  These are refreshing to see in a female character.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of Claude, but there are plenty of other male figures in the book who are worse.  I really enjoyed how resourceful Marguerite is, and how she never really depended on or needed a man to get herself in (and out!) of some really interesting situation.

The book is completely appropriate – even though there are some romantic parts, I would not hesitate to give to my 13 year old.  I think she will definitely enjoy the steampunk aspect to the novel!

ABOUT LEIGH STATHAM

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

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The Frenchman {Book Review & Giveaway}

*  I received a free ebook copy of The Frenchman in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About The Frenchman

Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the saucy American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s “family business” will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.

My Review

Ladies, this is a steamy one.  If you’re into bad boys with good hearts with hot accents, killer muscles, and tattoos, this book’s hunky main character will tie you up in knots for sure!  The setting in France is fantastic and the romance is well written between Fleur and Louis.  There were great subplots with Fleur’s mom and I really enjoyed the non-romantic part of the story as well.  The mystery portion involves the Messettes, a well-known French crime family, and Fleur’s mom’s attempts to bring them down.  Fleur is a bit naive at times, but it’s forgivable, and there are some seriously sexy pieces.  Seriously.  Don’t let your kids find this one, guys.  The ending is incredibly well wrapped up in a nice little happily ever after package, which I love!  All in all, this is a great, quick, and super steamy read.

About the Author

Lesley Young is an award-winning Canadian journalist by day, and obsessive novelist by night. Her debut novel, Sky’s End (Soulmate Publishing, 2013) hit #9 on Amazon’s sci-fi romance paid best-seller list in its first three months of release.

Not too long after that, she started dreaming up quirky heroines who lose their hearts to extremely powerful, flawed heroes, only to find out what love really is while on a dangerous adventure abroad. She called it the Crime Royalty Romance series, and landed herself a pretty big agent at Spencerhill Associates. Never one to take the obvious path, Lesley ultimately decided to self-publish. She’s never sure who or what will pop up in her imagination next. The Irishman? The Spaniard? The Hawaiian? Anything’s possible, and she loves suggestions (or recommendations of really hot, er, talented, actors to work as a muses).

Stay in touch with her and feel free to forward on decent options at Facebook.com/LesleyYoungBooks and @LesleyYoungBks (note: Charlie Hunnam’s already taken the lead role of The American—#3 Crime Royalty Romance…coming soon!).

Connect with Lesley Young:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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How to Catch a Prince {Book Review & Giveaway}

* I received a free copy of How to Catch a Prince in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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 About How to Catch a Prince

How to Catch a Prince (Zondervan, February 2015)

She caught her prince once. Can she catch him again?

American heiress Corina Del Rey’s life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she’s shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.

But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.
When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen’s pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?

Yet, true love has a destiny all it’s own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?

 My Review

I won’t call this book your typical princess romance novel.  It definitely had its light moments – I enjoyed the banter between Stephen and Corina, although it took me much longer to get into Stephen’s character than it did for Corina.   Corina’s struggle as she tries to figure out what it means to “Love well”, and Stephen’s struggles in dealing with the aftermath of war make these characters interesting, and Hauch does a nice job of creating characters that I grew to care about.  There is also what I would call “supernatural” aspect to this novel, which I actually really enjoyed (especially the crew at “The Manor”, where Corina stays that no one else seems to know about).  This was the third book in the series, and I enjoyed this book enough to pick up the other two as well!

I find in many Christian romances these days that the actual “Christian” parts are somewhat understated – more of a casual recognition that God exists and plays a guiding force in the characters’ lives.  This is not really the case with How to Catch a Prince.  In many parts of the book, the characters’ faith and struggles with faith are front and center.  I think Stephen struggles the most and eventually receives the message that his worth is determined through God.

Check out other reviews here.

Enter to Win

Enter to win a “royal” prize pack! 

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A royal-themed Brighton charm bracelet
  • 2 tickets to see the new Cinderella movie
  • The Royal Wedding series (Once Upon a Prince, Princess Ever After, and How to Catch a Prince)

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced March 24th on Rachel’s blog.

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The Perfect Egg is All It’s Cracked Up to Be {Book Review}

* Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Perfect Egg from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Perfect Egg

 

About The Perfect Egg

A cookbook all about eggs, with 70 diverse recipes for meals, snacks, and desserts, from the team behind the beloved food blog Spoon Fork Bacon.

Eggs are one of the world’s super-star foods: inexpensive, protein-rich, versatile, and easily renewable. Every culture has its own take on eggs—for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and The Perfect Egg features a dazzling, delicious variety of globally influenced dishes. From Blackberry Stuffed Croissant French Toast to Hot and Sour Soup, and from Poached Yolk-Stuffed Ravioli to Creamy Lemon Curd Tart, the more than seventy recipes in The Perfect Egg offer a fresh, unique, and modern take on the most humble of foods.

My Review

Confession.  I love eggs.  I love friend eggs. I love scrambled eggs.  I love hard boiled and softboiled eggs.  I love poached eggs…well, you get the picture.  So I was super excited to review The Perfect Egg.

There are so many recipes that I can’t wait to try – I love the take on what I call “nest eggs” in my house (chicken eggs in toast), called “Mini-Toad-in-a Hole Sandwiches” which uses quail eggs.

The first part of this book is all about eggs- you’ll learn about different kinds of eggs, and more importantly, tips to prepare eggs.  So if you don’t know how to make a French omelet, this is the book for you!  The first section is also all about “basic recipes” which include things like mayo, hollandaise, creme anglaise, bernaise, basic egg pasta, etc.  This is a great little “primer” section and I can’t wait to master these recipes.

The rest of the book is arranged into sections of:  Morning, Snacks, Afternoon, Night, and Sweets, and the recipes are amazing.  From typical things you would expect, like creme brulee, to the unexpected spaetzle with Swedish meatballs, this is a book that will have something for every chef.

Buy The Perfect Egg

Buy The Perfect Egg  on Amazon for $15.12 (Hardcover)

Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show {Book Review}

* I received a free ebook of Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show

 

ABOUT LUCAS MACKENZIE AND THE

LONDON MIDNIGHT GHOST SHOW 

Publication date: November 18, 2014                                    Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.                                                             Author: Steve Bryant

Lucas Mackenzie has got the best job of any 10 year old boy. He travels from city-to-city as part of the London Midnight Ghost Show, scaring unsuspecting show-goers year round. Performing comes naturally to Lucas and the rest of the troupe, who’ve been doing it for as long as Lucas can remember.

But there’s something Lucas doesn’t know.

Like the rest of Lucas’ friends, he’s dead. And for some reason, Lucas can’t remember his former life, his parents or friends. Did he go to school? Have a dog? Brothers and sisters?

If only he could recall his former life, maybe even reach out to his parents, haunt them.

When a ghost hunter determines to shut the show down, Lucas realizes the life he has might soon be over. And without a connection to his family, he will have nothing. There’s little time and Lucas has much to do. Can he win the love of Columbine, the show’s enchanting fifteen-year-old mystic? Can he outwit the forces of life and death that thwart his efforts to find his family?

Keep the lights on! Lucas Mackenzie’s coming to town.

My Review

If you are looking for a great new middle grade book, you have to check out Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show!  The length is perfect for a quick read at only 173 pages, and the action moves right along – no bored readers here!  It has great universal themes like growing up and finding yourself.  There is also a tinge of romance (discussing kissing and such).

If you object to ghosts, vampires, Ouija boards or other supernatural events, this is definitely not the book for you.  This kind of thing doesn’t bother me (quite the contrary), but be aware if this is your thing.  There are also some anachronistic type things that some modern kids may not get – like references to Shirley Temple.  But as a whole, this one should be a winner for middle grade readers!

ABOUT STEVE BRYANT

 Steve Bryant is a new novelist, but a veteran author of books of card tricks. He founded a 40+ page monthly internet magazine for magicians containing news, reviews, magic tricks, humor, and fiction; and he frequently contributes biographical cover articles to the country’s two leading magic journals (his most recent article was about the séance at Hollywood’s Magic Castle).

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy Lucas Mackenzie

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Fingers in the Mist {Book Review and Giveaway}

*Disclaimer:  I received a free ebook copy of Fingers in the Mist from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Fingers in the Mist

Sixteen-year-old Caitlyn Foster never believed in the legend of the Redeemers. That was before the trees started to whisper her name. Before a murder of crows attacked the town. Before she and her family came home to find a bloody handprint on their front door, marking one of them as a sacrifice. As Caitlyn’s friends are ripped from their homes, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the Redeemers come for her. Caitlyn has the power to stop the terror, but she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save those she loves.

Publication date: February 24, 2015      

                                                       Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.                                                          

Author: O’Dell Hutchison

My Review

I loved this book from the minute I started it…and in all honesty I finished it in one day because I couldn’t put it down.   When I first started the book, it reminded me a little of bit of M. Night Shymalan’s movie “The Village” combined with “Children of the Corn” as it is set in a rural farm community that is hyper-religious in a cultish way, believing in “Redeemers” which essentially come and steal your children in the night.

Caitlyn Foster is a fantastic main character, and I quickly became enthralled not only with her, but her choices as she attempts to cope and deal with the exceptionally odd situation that she is faced with.  She is wonderfully flawed, but has a good heart, and I found her absolutely likable as a main character.  I was cheering for her the entire time.

Plot-wise, the story moves at a GREAT pace – like I said, I couldn’t put it down.  There were certain elements to the plot that were a bit predictable for me, but not NEARLY as much as your average YA novel.  O’Dell Hutchison kept me guessing throughout the novel, and this was a refreshing thing for a YA novel. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but it is safe to say that you will be engaged throughout the novel.

If you are a fan of YA paranormal fiction – you have to get this book!  You will not be disappointed.   For those of you who monitor the content of your YA books, I would have no issue giving this to my 13 year old, but if you object to references of drug use (in an addiction context) or teenage pregnancy references, you might want to give this a read first.

About the Author

 O’Dell was born in a small rural town in Idaho. There were no Redeemers living there (that he knows of). After attending college in the Pacific Northwest, he found his way to the Houston area. By day, he is a Business Systems Analyst and at night you can either find him sitting at home, dreaming of random super powers he wishes he had, or directing plays and musicals at various theaters around Houston.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter Facebook Goodreads

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Five (5) lucky winners will receive a digital copy of Fingers in the Mist by O’Dell Hutchison (INT)

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Soul Food Love brings Healthy to Soul Food {Book Review}

* Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of Soul Food Love from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Soul Food Love

A mother-daughter duo reclaims and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer and stronger.

In May 2012, bestselling author Alice Randall penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Black Women and Fat,” chronicling her quest to be “the last fat black woman” in her family. She turned to her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, for help. Together they overhauled the way they cook and eat, translating recipes and traditions handed down by generations of black women into easy, affordable, and healthful—yet still indulgent—dishes, such as Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans, and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie. Soul Food Love relates the authors’ fascinating family history (which mirrors that of much of black America in the twentieth century), explores the often fraught relationship African-American women have had with food, and forges a powerful new way forward that honors their cultural and culinary heritage. This is what the strong black kitchen looks like in the twenty-first century.

My Review

This cookbook is really a two-for-one.  It is a peek into a wonderful African-American family, told in the context of the kitchen.  It tracks five generations, all the way back to the 1800s.  This is a book you will want to read from cover to cover.  This is like getting a peek into the personal cookbook of this wonderful family and the legacy that food and cooking has with it.  The writing is fantastic, and as I am not an African American woman, I love to see both similarities and differences between my experiences with food.

In terms of food, the book is divided into fairy typical sections (Sips and Bites, Soups, Main Dishes, Desserts, etc.).  The recipes are fairly beginner friendly and some of the recipes are going to be staples (hello, African Chickpea Soup).  The recipes are packed with flavor (Spicy Pepper Chicken is going to be a new fave) but they are healthy takes on soul food – this baked version will spice up your kitchen just like a great spicy fried chicken!

 

Buy Soul Food Love

Buy Soul Food Love on Amazon  for only $12.79 in Hardcover!