Review + Blog Tour: “The Last Summer” by Brandy Bruce

the-last-summer-tour

You know those stories that *happen* to come at the right time in your life for a little encouragement? The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce was just that. It surprised me with its depth and the intricacies of connection it displays. More than just Sara was relatable — her dreams, her struggles, and her fierce loyalty and ties to her friends and family made her have a sense of kinship with the human heart. This is a book sure to be on my end-of-year favorites list!

About the Book

The Last SummerGenre:  Contemporary, Inspirational, Romance
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Publication date: June 2017

A group of seven friends navigate relationships and personal growth during a season of change.

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

GOODREADS | AMAZON

Review

The Last Summer is a heart-achingly beautiful story of friendship and grace. Through the intertwined connections of a friend-group and a unique 1st person perspective voice, this story follows character Sara Witherspoon through a season of change, challenge, and emotions — emphasizing the importance of praising God in everything.

IMG_20180710_203543_516.jpgThis story is wonderfully refreshing and unexpectedly deep. I could never predict what would happen next; certainly not the ending, either, which makes me like the story all the more. The LOVE between this special group of friends is exemplary in how real-life relationships are and how selfless they should be. In all of this, the shortcomings and brokenness of human nature are prominent and never shied away from as a part of life. And, the dreams and longings of the heart are explored through Sara’s experiences. Far more than a story of romantic love, The Last Summer is a story of love in all its changing forms — when it means holding someone tighter or knowing when to let them go with peace.

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

About the Author

Brandy BruceBrandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last SummerLooks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST

INSTAGRAM | BLOG

Giveaway

tls-summer-pack-giveaway

Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway package includes the following: summer swag (beach towl, flip flops, sunglasses, bookmark, and candy) & winner’s choice of a print or e-copy of the book.

Giveaway open to US residents only and ends 11:59pm MT on July 21st.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

July 16-Jorie Loves A Story | Joy of Reading  | amandainpa
July 17- Paulette’s Papers  | The Power of Words
July 18-Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic | Pause for Tales | Among the Reads
July 19-Book by Book | Edits and Reviews by Leslie | The Green Mockingbird
July 20-Heidi Reads… | Reading Is My SuperPower | Why Not? Because I Said So!
July 21-Remembrancy | Katie’s Clean Book Collection

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Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads & My TBR

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach or Summer TBR.

My take will be “summer reads” because, like me, you might prefer to do your reading in a mountain escape or just curled up somewhere in the A/C! I’m also listing a snippet of the books on my summer TBR. These are ones I am either DYING to read or am definitely reading for review in the coming weeks. (AKA I’m setting realistic goals because my TBR continent grows weekly).

Without further ado, here are books you should read this summer and ones I will be reading!

Summer Reads

The “Isle of Hope” series by Julie Lessman | Start with book 1, Isle of Hope. This series just screams humid summertime in Georgia with fishing and romance!
Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter | This is a wonderful summer-y starts-as-friends romance.

The “Montana Fire” series by Susan May Warren | You won’t be able to stop reading this series! I recommend going straight through it.
A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay | Sunflowers + Italy = the perfect travel “escape” that delves beyond surface level into humanity and relationships.

The “Prince Edward Island Dreams” series by Liz Johnson | Three subtly connected stories told with an idyllic setting — plus there’s an INN!

My Summer TBR


The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce
Love’s Silver Lining by Julie Lessman
Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan
Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter
Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

The “Timeless Love” romance novella collection by various authors | I’ve already read a couple of these and I LOVE THEM!

Your turn! What’s on your summer TBR? Do you have any summer reads to recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books That Should Be (or Will Be) In Your Beach Bag This Summer

Today, I’m jumping in to a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve enjoyed reading other bloggers’ weekly posts and participated in some fabulous “I love this book, too” discussions on other blogs. So, today, I thought I’d join in the fun.Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s topic is “Books That Should Be (or Will Be) In Your Beach Bag This Summer. I’m going to go with a little of both and share some new favorites as well as classic summer relaxation must-reads – and some that are on my TBR list this summer. I may not read by the beach this summer (I’m more of the mountain-type), but I’ll be reading some of these in the sun!

Books That Should Be (or Will Be) In Your Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday - beach bag reads

These should be in your beach bag:

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann (a page-turner + it’s set in Hawaii. Can we say perfect beach read? It was my first of Heitzmann’s, and I was an instant fan)

Dancing with Fireflies (Chapel Springs #2) by Denise Hunter (captivating and awesome contemporary romance) Read my review here.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (truly unique, one of last year’s favorites) Read my gushing review here.

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (one of my favorites this year) You MUST read my review here.

To Know Her By Name (Rocky Mountain Memories #3) by Lori Wick (a classic in my book, a great historical romance involving undercover agents galore)

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley (blackberries, family mystery, summer in a small town) Read my review here.

These will be in mine:

A Table By The Window by Hillary Lodge (up soon in my TBR, I’ve heard great things about this story: family secrets +recipes has to be a great combo)

When I Fall In Love (Christiansen Family #3) by Susan May Warren (another set in Hawaii + a cooking competition)

Barefoot Summer (Chapel Springs #1) by Denise Hunter (the title says it all, plus it’s Denise Hunter. And I loved the second in the series)

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth (much-anticipated by me)

Have you read any of these? Are there any I need to add to my summer TBR? What will be in YOUR beach bag this summer?

Strawberry Pińa Coloda Granita Recipe

After browsing Pinterest and looking around in my fridge, I decided to make some type of frozen dessert. With strawberries, pineapple juice-infused coconut water, a little lime juice, and sugar, I came up with this recipe for strawberry pińa coloda granita. It’s sweet and refreshing, a perfect treat on a hot summer day–and super easy!

Strawberry Pińa Coloda Granita

Here’s the recipe:

Strawberry Pińa Coloda Granita

Makes about 4 servings

10 med to large strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups), stems removed

11 ounces coconut water with pineapple juice (I used a box of Naked brand)

1/2 cup coconut water

1/2 cup sugar

Juice from 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until a smooth, liquid consistency is achieved. Transfer to a metal bowl and place uncovered in freezer for approximately 4 hours. Stir and scrape with a fork every 30-45 minutes. It should reach a shaved-ice like consistency. Serve immediately (before it melts!)

For anyone wondering (like I once did), a granita is an Italian, semi-frozen dessert made from water, sugar, and a variety of flavorings. Enjoy!