“Fall Time, Cozy Time” Book Tag

While it’s looking a little more like winter every day, I’m still wanting to be in the fall frame of mind. I just love all the cozy things of the fall and winter seasons, including reading books by the fire!

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This book tag is one I saw on my friend Rissi’s BookTube channel and blog. Though I’m not following the video format, I still thought this was a cute tag and a way to talk about all the cozy things with the prompts!

Fall Time, Cozy Time Book Tag

1: Crunching Leaves: “The world is full of color – choose a book that has reds/oranges/yellows on the cover.”

How about a red, orange, and yellow cover?

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay | Still Life by Dani Pettrey

When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham

2: Cozy Sweater: “It’s finally cool enough to don warm cozy clothing: what book gives you the  warm fuzzies?” 

Oh my goodness, a recent favorite that gave me the warm fuzzies was the delightful contemporary romance Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan. Also, anything by Melissa Tagg or Courtney Walsh instantly belongs in this category.

3: Fall Storm: “The wind is howling & the rain is pounding – choose your favorite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day.” 

Genre: historical romance!

Something like Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof or The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews because they have such character depth, vibrant sense of place, etc

4: Cool Crisp Air: “What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?”

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Definitely Tzivia Khalon from Ronie Kendig’s “Tox Files” series because…… she’s strong. SUPER smart. An archaeologist. She’s often underestimated because she’s gorgeous, but she can and will kick butt if necessary.

5: Hot Apple Cider: “What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?”

Things Left Unsaid

Recently…. Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh. Poignant, emotional, and REAL women’s fiction at its best. Because it’s an indie book, it might be a little under-the-radar for some readers who would really love it AND be blessed by its message. I hope YOU check it out!

6: Coat, Scarves, and Mittens: “The weather has turned cold & it’s time to cover up – What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?”

NONE! Maybe an older cover or two from 1990’s fiction that’s just not “appealing” by today’s standards, but otherwise, nope.

7: Pumpkin Spice: “What’s your favorite Fall time comfort food(s)?”

Anything with cinnamon. (But this is me all year longgggg.) I love all the baked things with cinnamon that seem to be season-appropriate, too. Apple pie, apple cinnamon doughnuts, cinnamon oatmeal, cinnamon cookies, spiced cranberry scones, cinnamon toast, and the list goes on…

YOUR TURN! What are your favorite things about fall? What would be your picks for these prompts? Join the tag if you want!

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Review: “Things Left Unsaid” by Courtney Walsh

Today I’m EXTREMELY happy to share my review of Courtney Walsh’s recent women’s fiction indie release, Things Left Unsaid. While this might be a slightly new genre for Courtney, this story is as emotionally resonant as her contemporary romances.

Audiobook note: I switched back and forth between reading this and listening to the audiobook. I enjoyed the audio version and felt it was narrated with emotion and clarity. I’m a bit picky when it comes to audio narrators, so this was a pleasant thing!

About the Book

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

This story surprised me more than once. What I expected to be a story of friendship, summertime memories, and the way the past shapes identities became so much more with every new secret revealed and emotional layer pulled back. Courtney Walsh has penned (another) beautiful story of GRACE. Of how important it is to belong and be known, and to forgive… even if it’s about forgiving yourself.

I enjoyed how the pace of the story allowed for time to get to know the characters, especially Lyndie, in their current frames of mind before events pulled them all together in the same town. This timeline starts to paint a picture of the past and hints at the baggage each of them carries.

Courtney Walsh always manages to write relatable and even flawed characters, and Lyndie, Tucker, Elle, and Karen are all representative of the struggles we face. When you read this story, you WILL relate to at least one of them, whether their pain, grief, complacency, self-confidence struggles, or possibly the honesty, faith, and positive steps to growth call out to your heart.

I won’t give away any plot points or heart-wrenching secrets (you will have to discover them when you read this story) but I will say that this story deals with some sensitive issues. All of them have to do with the fallout of choices and mistakes, some of them long-buried or years in the making. Courtney Walsh’s straightforward style handles this sensitively and realistically which further proves her place on my must-read authors list! 

I went from laughing to crying and experiencing every emotion in between while reading! I highly recommend this book to women’s fiction fans or of authors like Katie Ganshert, Jennifer Rodewald, Amy Matayo, and Katherine Reay.

Thank you to the author for the advance copy of this book. This is my honest review.

 

First Line Fridays # 22: “Wait for Me” by Susan May Warren

It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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Happy weekend! It’s turning chilly in my corner of the world as fall is fading. It’s the perfect weather to curl up in a cozy place with a book!!! Today I’m sharing the first line of a book I’m VERY MUCH anticipating: Wait for Me by Susan May Warren. It’s the last book in her “Montana Rescue” series, and it’s a finale (and couple) I’ve been rooting for since the beginning!

I still need to read the book just before this one, Storm Front, so the good news is I can binge-read both of them soon!

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

First Line:

He wasn’t looking for trouble, but if Pete didn’t act right now, at least one person was going to die.

What a first line, right? What kind of situation do you think Pete is in? (Do you think it involves his search-and-rescue team or something else?)

Your turn! Find the book closest to you and share your first line in the comments! Then, head over to Hoarding Books for the linky and visit other FLF posts!

Review: “Emerald Illusion” by J. Rodes

Author J. Rodes (also known as Jennifer Rodewald with a catalog of contemporary inspirational novels) has penned a unique twist on a fantasy tale, making it a coming-of-age YA story with an adventurous and meaningful lesson.

About the Book

Oz is not what you think.

Emerald IllusionAbrielle used to dream of a different life. Adventure. Romance. Hope. 

Not of Kansas.

Now, after the loss of her mother and a move she didn’t want to make, she’s lost the will to dream anymore, let alone believe in her father’s Somedays. But a swirling wind, a wall of leaves, and a blinding darkness transform her world.

She and both of her brothers, Brogan and Matteaus, are swept from Kansas to someplace beyond—to a desert in which everything is watery brown, including the sky and the light of the weak sun. Abrielle finds herself in the middle of a realm everyone had heard of but no one believed existed. Except this version is run-down and broken, void of color and hope. Not much different from her view of life in Kansas.

When she gathers her bearings, she discovers her youngest brother is missing, lost in a land that is foreign and dying. Finding Matteaus becomes her sole focus, but when she and Brogan meet a boy named Levi, who only adds more mystery to this world that shouldn’t exist, she finds out this kingdom is much more perilous than the children’s book ever told.

Matteaus is in great danger.

There is nothing safe about Oz.

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

What an adventure! With surprises on every page, Emerald Illusion is far more than a continuation of a tale set in the Land of Oz — after Dorothy. It is a story of finding HOPE and light in the middle of a world that distracts and presents illusions of its own.

With believably flawed characters, secrets, and otherworldly creatures, Abrielle’s journey mirrored the choices everyone has. The complexity of the tale and the friendships and relationships portrayed in the story were always fascinating. I liked the fantasy mash-up that was the land of Oz: munchkins, talking animals, and a battle of light vs. darkness with a high-tech, modern feel to the Emerald City.

When I got to a certain point in the story where the some of pieces “clicked”, I was nearly speechless with the allegorical implications and the sheer beauty of its message. The book may be (wonderfully) complicated, but its meaning and themes are not. A real Kingdom is coming, with a merciful and loving King, and every one of us has a choice to make: will we serve the light or the darkness?

Thank you to the author for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Review + Blog Tour: “When You Look At Me” by Pepper Basham

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Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours. I’m delighted to be sharing my review of this sweet contemporary romance novel, along with the tour. Read on for the giveaway info and my thoughts!

About the Book

When You Look At Me

When You Look at Me

Series: Pleasant Gap Romance #2

Author: Pepper Basham

Publisher: Woven Words Publications

Release Date: October 25, 2018

Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

An unexpected mother-to-be

A romance-leery composer

And a forgotten melody from the past that holds the keys to their futures

When Julia Jenkins’ great aunt dies and leaves her a Victorian mansion with decades of secrets, Julia never expects to unearth a World War 2 espionage mystery. Struggling with her own past since an assault left her pregnant, her future as a solo parent leaves her dreams uncertain. The inheritance from her great aunt gives Julia the ability to take a step back into her future, but also sends her into the discovery of a love story she’d never anticipated. As she goes through her aunt’s treasured possessions, Julia uncovers some oddly written piano music with a musical code she can’t decipher on her own. Not to worry, introverted Englishman and composer, Henry Wright, is thrust on the scene by a pair of homespun matchmakers who know the ‘right’ man for Julia’s wounded heart.

Henry arrives in Pleasant Gap with the task of composing the soundtrack for his best mate’s newest film. The Jenkins’ family’s southern welcome and gregarious personalities set his reticent nature on edge, but he’s inexplicably drawn to his gentle and music-loving hostess, Julia. Uncertain how to build a friendship with the wounded woman, and rather hopeless in communicating well through words, the bond of music becomes a

bridge between her uncertainty and his awkwardness.

But her broken past and his families’ expectations build a wall much greater than the culture that separate them. As they work together to solve a musical mystery from the grave, will an unlikely romance from the past inspire their hearts to trust in a God who’s written the perfect melody for their lives?

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

When You Look at Me is one of the sweetest romances I’ve ever read! Balancing humor and a boisterous family with two lead-character introverts, this story shows the heart of people who trust God to give them strength and lead them to good things, even in the midst of a painful and imperfect world. The friendship-growing-into-romance deserves all the hearts, cupcakes, and happy sighs!

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I loved watching Julia and Henry grow, learn from each other, and just be together in so many moments of everyday life. The story felt like a glimpse of their lives with its special moments AND hard things, and through it all their relationship progressed naturally. Little moments I loved: midnight teas, piano duets, family dinners, stress-baking, musical puns, messy hair, old letters, and “The Princess Bride” references.

It was fun to “catch up” with Wes and Eisley (from book 1!!!!!) and see where their journey is headed. Eisley gives good advice, too. 😉

Seeing Henry’s personality and purpose come to life and Julia’s journey to bravery and the discovery of love’s worth was a delight. With a thread of a family mystery, humorous moments that made me giggle, and a prominent theme of music weaving it all together, this is one Britallachian contemporary romance not to miss!

My review of book 1: Just the Way You Are

Thank you to the author for the review copy. This is my honest review.

About the Author

pepper  basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She͛s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. Pepper is also a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.

CONNECT: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


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TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive:

  • print copy of Just The Way You Are (Pleasant Gap Romance #1)
  • print copy of When You Look at Me (Pleasant Gap Romance #2)
  • a plaque which says: Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life…. love comes along and brings you a fairy tale

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 22, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm October 29, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. US addresses 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Cover Reveal: “Starstruck” by Carla Laureano

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Today we’re celebrating the COVER REVEAL for author Carla Laureano’s upcoming novella: Starstruck. I was privileged to read an early copy of this novella, and I am happy to report that the story is just as charming and funny as it is romantic and full of heart. It is a wonderful little story that I hope you check out and enjoy as much as I did!

 

About the Book

STARSTRUCK

Having your book turned into a TV series is every writer’s dream come true…

Unless your leading man happens to be your ex.

Novelist Christine Lind has achieved her lifelong dream—a string of best-selling books and a cable-TV adaptation about to go into production. But on her way to London FanFest for the cast reveal, disaster strikes: their leading man is injured in a motorcycle accident… and his replacement is the one person she hoped she’d never seen again.

Nick Cleary has clawed his way to recognition as a Hollywood actor, but it’s long past time he get the chance to show he’s more than a pretty face and a chiseled set of abs. His big break comes in the form of a juicy lead role in a new steampunk fantasy series. There’s just one catch—casting has to be approved by the author… a woman he once devastated through his own youthful stupidity.

Christine is the last person to be starstruck by the handsome heartthrob, but as the clock ticks down to the cast announcement and Nick races to show that he’s really changed, she begins to wonder if there’s more to her ex than his Hollywood persona. Except now the consequences of being wrong no longer apply only to her career… but also to her carefully guarded heart.

About the Author

CarlaLaureano_1_WebResCarla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

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Get the first “Discovered by Love” novella for free here.

 

THE COVER!

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Ahh it’s just so charming… and I love how London is a very present “character”, too.

 

What do you think? Share your thoughts on the cover in the comments!