Iron and Fire by Kerrin Willis Review

Publication Date: April 5, 2022
eBook & Paperback; 316 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

1675 — Plymouth Colony — Verity Parker promised to look after her family.

Raised among the bookshops and turmoil of Reformation London, Verity now finds herself in Puritan New England, where she must learn to keep her head down and her mouth shut, or risk dire consequences. The only person who values her tenacity is Kit, the heretical ironworker she has been forbidden to see. When King Philip’s War breaks out, Verity must stay silent as the Puritan elders spread hateful rhetoric about the “savages” in the forest. When she witnesses a young girl die in childbirth, Verity must stand by as neighbors blame God’s vengeance. But when tragedy strikes her own home, Verity must choose between her duty to her family and her love for Kit. Will she choose to keep the peace, or will she defy the leaders of the colony for a chance at happiness?

Set against the backdrop of King Philip’s War, the bloodiest war per capita in American history, Iron & Fire explores the experience of a clever, educated woman at a time when being so often resulted in death. Perfect for fans of Amy Belding Brown’s Flight of the Sparrow, or Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Iron & Fire was written for those who read the original American Girl series as children and are now all grown up.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | WALMART

My Thoughts

This story is set in a time period that I find very interesting but haven’t read a lot about. The story follows Verity who has moved with her mother and sister from London to New England shortly after the new colony has been settled. I really liked the comparisons that Verity made as someone who came from a well established city to live in a very new colony. Verity identified more as a Quaker than a Puritan and I found this very interesting. I did some extra research on the Puritans vs. Quakers and although similar, there were some stark differences in their beliefs. As a Christian, I found that I share some beliefs with both groups.

The author created a very atmospheric setting and was very good at increasing the tension as war began to brew between the English Settlers and the Native Americans. This book really caused me to think about this time period and the injustices that occurred. I had never heard about King Phillip’s War and found it very interesting to read about.

Overall, this was a very informative book. There was some language that I didn’t agree with and I was surprised a few times with how far the author went with vulgarity. I would not classify this story as a clean read.

I received this book from the author/publisher to read/review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Praise

“Whether you’re a fan of passionate romance, a detective in search of a mystery, or a history buff looking to learn more about what happened after Plymouth Rock, Iron & Fire has something for everyone. While Verity and Kit are the main attractions, the family relationships were my favorite parts- especially the bonds between the cheeky eldest Parker sisters. I learned quite a bit about things from my own backyard I knew nothing about- and most appreciated that for a novel that took place nearly 350 years ago, the characters and their issues felt modern and relatable. A fast read that will stick with you after you turn the final page!” Meredith Bickford, MA MEd

“Iron and Fire masterfully depicts Puritan New England in a story that seamlessly blends themes of love, war, and family. Verity Parker, the headstrong protagonist, challenges nearly every “norm” of Puritan society. Throughout the course of the novel, Verity seeks to define her purpose; oftentimes she is trapped deciding between meeting the expectations of her family or embracing her divergent worldview. In particular, Verity’s conception of humanity will make her an endearing and relatable character for Willis’ audience; unlike her peers, Verity’s notion of justice and community extends far beyond societal limitations, making her worldview far more relevant for modern readers.
Beyond Verity, Willis incorporates a series of complex characters whose subtle growth help shape the novel into a well-rounded story. Each character faces a conflict that calls their identities and beliefs into question. It is unlikely that readers will not be able to find one character with whom they can relate to. Willis’ ability to interweave these intricate story lines is captivating!” ~ Megan Johnson, MEd

“In her debut novel, Kerrin Willis captures the heart of American colonial historical fiction with her words and characters. Iron & Fire, set during the King Phillip War in southeastern Massachusetts, explores the themes of family dynamics, love, and the voice of independent women living in a time when silence was the standard….The writing style is fluent and peppered with wit and descriptive prose balanced throughout the dialogue. The novel reads quickly, while the characters stay with you. Iron & Fire is an engaging, character-driven novel that is strongly recommended” ~Kimberly Rocha, MA MEd

About The Author

 Kerrin Willis lives in Southeastern Massachusetts with her two daughters and her dog, Austen. She is a high school English teacher who prides herself on being a feminist and a strong protagonist in her own story, and she would probably have been burned as a witch in colonial New England. Kerrin can usually be found pausing The Little Mermaid and subjecting her daughters to a lecture on the dangers of giving up their voices.

Kerrin has a BA in English from Stonehill College, and MA in English from Simmons College, and is currently working on her MFA in Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University.

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A Lighthouse Cafe Christmas by Jennifer Faye Review

On Tour with Prism Book Tours
A Lighthouse Christmas Café
(Bluestar Island #3)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 182 Pages
November 16, 2021 by Lazy Dazy Press

As Bluestar Island prepares for a very special Christmas wedding, Santa’s sleigh crashes into The Lighthouse Café, reuniting Bluestar’s beloved waitress with her former fiancé.

In this holiday novella, Darla Evans has carved out a quiet life for herself as a waitress at The Lighthouse Café. Up until this point, she’s conveniently avoided the one man who shattered her heart and her dreams. But when a wedding draws him back to the island, she knows their meetup is unavoidable.

Tech entrepreneur William “Will” Campbell has returned to his childhood home to be the best man in his father’s wedding. But first his father has a very special task for him—to restore a sleigh in time for the wedding. However, there’s not much time until Christmas. He just might need some help.

As snowflakes cover the small town of Bluestar, Will and Darla work together to make it a very special holiday wedding. With the past looming between them, will the magic of the season open their hearts and allow them to find love again?

Includes a holiday recipe for Darla’s frosted sugar cookies!

The Bell Family of Bluestar Island:
Book 1 – Love Blooms
(Hannah & Ethan)
Book 2 – Harvest Dance (Aster & Sam)
Book 3 – A Lighthouse Café Christmas (Darla & Will)
Book 4 – Rising Star (coming soon)

(Affiliate links included.)

My Thoughts

This was a very sweet story about Will and Darla, who once loved each other and are brought together again in their hometown of Bluestar. If you are a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies, you will love this book…reading the story was such a cozy experience. Bluestar was such a delightful place to visit…a town in which golf carts are the only mode of transportation seems like my kind of place! The romance between Darla and Will was sweet but I actually liked the romance between Will’s father and his future wife even more. I appreciated that the content of the story and the romances were clean. Overall, this was a perfect story for those busy December days when you need a break and want some cozy Christmas feels.

I received a complimentary copy of this book per FTC’s rules. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.

 

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Ends December 8, 2021



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Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant Review

Synopsis

Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her a solid financial footing and keep her cousin with special needs paid up at her beloved assisted living home. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site.

Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father’s law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. But if he loses the contest, he’s back at the law firm for good. Failure is not an option.

Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month.

Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?

My Thoughts

This was such a fun story and a nice break from the darker stories that I have been consuming in October.

The story follows Rory and Jude who are communicating on an anonymous dating app and happen to also know each other in real life. Rory owns a food truck but is not the best cook and Jude is a few steps from becoming a lawyer but really would love to be a cook. (It’s fairly easy to see where the story will go). The predictability of romance stories is one of the main reasons that I don’t often reach for them. I tend to enjoy the twists in a book the most, so when I can see the ending coming from the first chapter, I don’t have as much fun. (Unpopular opinion, but I also don’t enjoy Hallmark movies for the same reason…)

For a contemporary romance story, given that it’s not my preferred genre, I really enjoyed it. I loved all of the food references and found myself hungry for Tacos several times while reading it.

I also found that Rory and Jude were enjoyable to follow…the fact that Rory owned a food truck but couldn’t cook often made me smile. There are many moments where the reader gets to see the messages between Rory and Jude on their anonymous dating site and the banter is a lot of fun to read, I also liked seeing their relationship evolve. It was nice to see them fall in love with each other based on personality only. The story was very clean but had very little faith content.

There were also lots of references to “You’ve Got Mail” but again, I’ve never seen the movie so they flew right over my head. I was obviously not the intended audience for this one.

Overall, this was a cute, clean “pallet cleanser” story for me that I enjoyed for what it was. Fans of romance would most likely love it. Recommended!

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating



Spouse in The House by Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby

About the Book

A frank and funny look at what to do when together is too close
 
Two’s company, especially for those who love each other. So what happens when—due to retirement, working from home, or even running a business together—spouses find that being in the same space all the time is awkward, complex, annoying, and just plain challenging? How can partners coexist without co-exhausting each other?
 
Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby know all too well how adjusting to a new, all-the-time closeness can cause the bliss of marriage to form blisters. Drawing from their experiences, and from men and women across the country in the same situation, the authors take a deep breath and dive into the root causes. They dig into what God’s Word has to say, and they offer practical tips for learning the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even physical steps that can help readers replace irritation with peace.
 
For any couple who wants their home to be a refuge of peace and serenity for all—not just themselves—and who wants to know they aren’t alone in the mental and physical claustrophobia of too much togetherness, Spouse in the House is a vulnerable, charming, and pragmatic breath of hope.
 
Click here to read an excerpt from Spouse in the House.

My Thoughts

Although my spouse is not always in the house…I have experienced moments when I feel like it’s a bit harder to spend long periods of time together. As I type this review, Steve and I are 18 days away from our 20th wedding anniversary, which honestly blows my mind. We are still very much in love but sometimes I think we take each other for granted. This book approaches this issue that many wives face due to retirement, sickness, working from home, pandemics, etc. in a very useful but funny way. I adored the writing style of both authors and found myself nodding in agreement and giggling out loud at times.

The main theme of the book that I found was taking note of the status of your marriage and finding ways to keep it running smoothly. I took many great tips from it even though I’m not quite at the “he’s home all the time” stage yet. I also loved that it focuses on putting God in the center, which is extremely important for a healthy marriage.

This was one of the best marriage books I’ve read in a long time and I recommend it for any married couple who have been together for a while.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher/authors to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Authors

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events, retreats, writers’ conferences, and workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.”

Ruchti’s more than thirty books have garnered reader, retailer, reviewer, and other industry awards. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a founding board member of the Deliver Hope ministry and is part of the worship team at her church. She’s also a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management.

Ruchti and her husband, Bill, live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and six grandchildren.

Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her writing at cynthiaruchti.comor by following her on Facebook (@CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage)Instagram (@cynthiaruchtiauthor), and Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).

Becky Melby has authored more than twenty novels and novellas. Spouse in the House is her first non-fiction book release.
 
The Melbys have four sons and fifteen grandchildren and make their home in southeastern Wisconsin. When not writing or spoiling grandchildren, she may be found touring the country with Bill in their camper or on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.
 
Find out more about Becky Melby’s books at beckymelby.com or follow her on Facebook (becky.melby.9) and Instagram (@beckymelbybooks). She also shares short blog posts each Friday on the Fill My Cup, Lord page on Facebook.

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Pretty Broken Dolls by Jennifer Chase Review

 

As the killer circles closer and closer to
Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? 

By Jennifer Chase

Title: PRETTY BROKEN DOLLS
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 302
Genre: Crime Thriller

 

In the thin light of the moon, the woman’s limp body hangs from the iron fence amongst the redwoods. Looped over the railings is the little gold locket her mother gave her when she turned sixteen. The picture of the girl inside smiles out at a future she’ll never see…

As day breaks over the fairground, Detective Katie Scott forces herself to take in another disturbing scene in front of her. A woman, the same age as her, found slumped in the carriage of the Ferris wheel, red lipstick dragged across her lips, her throat cut.

Katie doesn’t want to believe that the serial killer picking off women across the state has found their way to the small town of Pine Valley, California, but when her team finds a gold engagement ring hanging nearby, it’s a terrifying, but undeniable fact.

With a twisted killer on her doorstep, Katie knows if she doesn’t act fast, she’ll find more women left out in the cold like broken dolls. Her team hit dead end after dead end, but only she can see the vital link between the victims: a connection with Katie herself.

Katie has spent years pushing traumatic memories of her years in the military far out of reach, but she must confront them now or more innocent women will die. But as the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? There must be another way…

Warning – This absolutely unputdownable thriller will keep you up all night! Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh better hold on tight for a nail-biting rollercoaster ride!

PRAISE

5 Stars! “This is the first book in the series I have read – and I want more! Suspense up to the end, characters I enjoyed, and K9 units. Loved it!” – NetGalley

5 Stars! “As always this Jennifer Chase thriller just cries out to be read in one sitting. Here we see Katie get tangled up with a serial killer although it takes time before anyone takes her seriously. Great characters and a great story, I loved this book.” – NetGalley

My Thoughts

Although this was the 6th book in a series, I was able to quickly get into the story and follow along. The story is a police procedural that follows Detective Katie Scott as she investigates a series of brutal murders where the victims are posed like broken dolls. Police procedurals are not books that I often gravitate to but I really enjoyed following Katie and seeing the process. I also loved the K9 unit aspect of it…I’m constantly amazed at the way police and military are able to use dogs to help with crimes.

The story was full of suspense and action, along with several twists and turns. It moved super fast and was difficult to put down. I highly recommend this one! I’m looking forward to going back in the series and reading more from this author.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher/author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

PROLOGUE

The front door
stood ajar. It bumped gently against the jamb in rhythm with the evening
breeze. The screen remained wide open and was bent precariously around the aluminum
frame. Pieces of broken glass from a shattered light bulb above had scattered
across the porch, leaving behind a shadowy darkness draped across the front of
the small house.

The
neighborhood remained quiet; the light blue one-story cottage eerily so. No
outside illumination or motion lights flooded the front area. The blooming
climbing vines and perfectly manicured bushes were eclipsed by the darkness.

Headlights
approached.

A
small, dark vehicle pulled into the driveway. Waiting a moment before turning
off the engine, a woman pushed open the car door and stepped out. The young
redhead was dressed for the evening, in a sparkly blouse and tight black pants.
Wavering a moment in her spiked sandals, she looked at the house in
curiosity—and then in disappointment. Quickly grabbing a warm jacket from
inside the car and slipping it on, she walked up the driveway.

“Jeanine,
where are you?” she whispered and headed to the front door, ignoring the
shattered light bulb on the step crunching under her feet. She knocked on the
door. “Jeanine,” she said, more loudly, leaning closer to the opening. “We
waited for you… you missed a great party.”

No
response.

The
front door pushed open, revealing a darkened interior.

“Jeanine?”

The
woman hesitated but seemed to be pulled by an unknown force. She stepped over
the threshold, not bothering to close the door, and moved through the living
room. Confused by the darkness, she turned on a lamp sitting on a small table.
The room lit up instantly. Everything seemed in place. The oversized beige
couches with brightly colored throw pillows, the dark mahogany coffee table
with neatly stacked magazines and books precisely centered appeared usual for
Jeanine’s house. It was always neat and organized.

“Jeanine?”
the woman said again. “Are you here?”

The
woman walked around and checked the kitchen and small bedroom, but there wasn’t
any sign of her friend. She eyed a piece of paper on the counter and decided to
leave a quick note, scratching out that she had stopped by and asking Jeanine
to call her when she got the message.

She
suddenly noticed a strange high-pitched whistling noise coming from the other
side of the living room. Curious, the woman moved closer to the sound. The back
sliding door was slightly open. The crack was enough for the wind to invade and
make a strange noise.

Her
foot touched something. A tall turquoise vase that had been sitting on a shelf
nearby was now lying on the carpet. It seemed strange to her that it had been
knocked over. She bent down and picked up the vase, replacing it on the shelf.

She
retrieved her cell phone from her pocket and tried calling Jeanine again. It
rang numerous times and then went to voicemail where Jeanine’s upbeat voice
said, “Hi, sorry I missed your call but please
don’t hang up. Leave a message and I’ll get right back to you.”

The
greeting was followed by a quick beep.

“Jeanine,
it’s Mandy again and now I’m standing in your living room. Where are you, girl?
Everyone was asking about you tonight. Hey, and you left your front door open.
Call me.” She ended the call.

Mandy
was about to head back to the front door to leave, but something stopped her—it
didn’t feel right—and instead, she stood at the sliding door staring out into
the large backyard where dense rows of pine trees and acacia bushes huddled
around the house’s boundary. During the day, the property appeared green and
lush, but now it looked gloomy and foreboding.

Mandy
flipped on the outside light, but it only lit up the patio areas directly
outside the house, and the extended wooded region still looked dark.

She
pulled open the sliding door and the wind whipped through the house. It chilled
her. Goosebumps scuttled up her arms. Worry now set in and she didn’t know what
to do. Redialing Jeanine’s number, Mandy listened to it sound again and in
unison heard the faint, far-off ringing of a phone somewhere in the distance.

She
stepped outside, trying to decipher where the ringing was coming from.
“Jeanine?” she said, noticing that one of the outside chairs had been toppled
over and lay precariously on its side.

Moving
off the stone patio and pulling her jacket more tightly around her, Mandy
slowly trudged toward the trees, a bit wobbly in her shoes. She turned on the
flashlight mode on her cell phone and moved forward.

She
dialed Jeanine again. This time, she heard the distinct ringing of the cell
phone coming from the trees—low at first and then it rang louder.

Jeanine,” she said, with barely a whisper. Her voice sounded oddly
distant.

Looking
down, she saw where there were crushed weeds and small broken branches as if
someone had walked back and forth recently. Still, she kept moving forward,
into the trees, swinging her cell phone back and forth which only illuminated a
tiny patch of ground in front of her, creating dense shadows outside its beam.

Her
pulse quickened.

Anxiety
escalated.

Something
fluttering on a bush caught her eye. She leaned closer, focusing. As she moved
the cell light beam nearer, it revealed a piece of white fabric with a
mother-of-pearl button still attached.

Mandy
gasped.

It
wasn’t the fact that she had seen Jeanine wear that pretty white blouse on so
many occasions, it was the droplets of crimson spattered across the fabric that
shoved a spear of fear into her gut.

Thoughts
of dread and horror-filled scenarios ran through Mandy’s mind. Urgently, she
pushed the redial button on her phone again.

The
sound of Jeanine’s ringtone rang in the darkness. This time it kept ringing and
there was no cheerful message.

Mandy
walked further into the dark realm of the trees, still hoping that there was a
logical explanation. Stepping over old branches with loud crunching noises and
sidestepping bushes just before reaching the back fence of the property, she
managed to make her way to the sound of the ringing phone.

Everything
went quiet.

Mandy
stood a foot from the phone lying on the ground. It mesmerized her. She slowly
bent down to pick it up. With a startled gasp, she stepped back, dropping the
phone as she stared at her hand. It was covered in blood.

In
a frenzied panic, Mandy ran past the phone and continued along the low
wrought-iron fence. The flashlight feature dimmed and she couldn’t see where
she was going. Slowing her pace, she glimpsed something white and moving
slightly.

“Jeanine?
What’s going on?” She spoke in a strained whisper.

Trying
to catch her breath and calm her hammering pulse, Mandy approached. Her cell
phone flashlight surged and shone brightly on the blood-soaked white silk
blouse, now shredded from Jeanine’s right shoulder. She reeled back at the
sight of her friend.

Mandy
couldn’t tear her eyes away from the horror. Her throat constricted as her
breath trapped in her chest. She staggered backwards, taking in the entire
scene—unable to turn her focus away.

Her
friend’s upper body was impaled on the iron fence penetrating from her back
through her ribs, and her throat was slit open. Her head flopped down, lifeless
eyes trained on the ground. Her long brown hair fell forward, some strands
sticking to the blood seeping from her chest. Her arms hung at her sides, legs
crooked, like a marionette waiting for someone to pull the strings. Blood still
dripped from her body, sliding down her arms to her fingertips before
collecting on the ground—the wet crimson almost matching her fingernail polish.
The body was shoeless and Jeanine’s feet were dirty and bloody—as if she had
been running through the woods barefoot.

It
was the sight of Jeanine’s face that made her sob in terror. Caked in grotesque
makeup, making her look like a caricature of herself—a hideous broken doll. Red
lipstick drawn heavy around her lips, dark purples for blush on her cheeks, and
dark blues for eye shadow made her look like a circus clown instead of her
friend.

Beside
Jeanine’s body, a necklace hung on the fence. It was a small locket that she
always wore, which her mother had given her when she turned sixteen.

Mandy mouthed the
word “Jeanine” but no sound escaped her lips. Realizing she still had her cell
phone in her hand, she tried to dial 911 but fumbled a few times with the
buttons before she heard the words, Nine-one-one,
what’s your emergency?”

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. You can visit her website at www.authorjenniferchase.com or connect with her on TwitterGoodreads and Facebook.

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A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano Review

Synopsis

All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most–and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. Yet as she struggles to maintain her tenuous place in the ever-shrinking ballet company, win the attentions of principal dancer Philippe, and avoid company flirt Jack, Ella cannot deny the uncanny feeling that her life is mirroring that of the dead ballerina.

Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past?

Mystery and romance make the perfect dance partners in this evocative story from fan-favorite Joanna Davidson Politano.

My Thoughts

This is my third read by Joanna Davidson Politano and they keep getting better and better! This story follows Ella, whose mother was once a famous principle dancer in the ballet company that she is now part of (but no one knows this). The story is full of mystery and surprising twists as well as beautiful ballet descriptions from 1800s London. I was swept into the story from the moment I picked the book up until the moment I put it down. I can still remember the feelings of standing on the large stage with Ella during ballet practice or walking down the dark London streets late at night as she was on her way home. Politano is an extremely gifted writer and her descriptions truly put the reader into the story.

The faith content in this book was beautiful. Ella felt far from God and she struggled with the fame that she received and wished for as she knew that it wasn’t what God desired for her. She had a lot of internal struggles that she worked through in the book and I appreciated the “realness” of her faith.

There was so much that I loved about this book, it is one of my favorite reads of 2021 and I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating

No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily Review and Giveaway

No Names to Be Given
by Julia Daily

Publication Date: August 3, 2021
Admission Press, Inc

Genre: Historical Fiction

1965. Sandy runs away from home to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Becca falls in love with the wrong man. And Faith suffers a devastating attack. With no support and no other options, these three young, unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans where they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired.

But such a life-altering event can never be forgotten, and no secret remains buried forever. Twenty-five years later, the women are reunited by a blackmailer, who threatens to expose their secrets and destroy the lives they’ve built. That shattering revelation would shake their very foundations-and reverberate all the way to the White House.

Told from the three women’s perspectives, this mesmerizing story is based on actual experiences of women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant but unmarried, pressured by family and society to make horrific decisions. How that inconceivable act changed women forever is the story of No Names to Be Given, a heartbreaking but uplifting novel of family and redemption.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Powell’s | Target

My Thoughts

This story was captivating. I was vaguely familiar with maternity homes of the past but this book really opened my eyes to them. The story follows 3 young girls from very different backgrounds who meet at a maternity home and spans several decades after this meeting.

The characters were richly developed and very interesting to read about. I tend to gravitate more towards plot driven stories but this book had me thinking about the characters even when I wasn’t reading.

This story touches on racism, segregation, civil rights, adoption, and many other issues. There were scenes in the story that were very difficult to read, especially knowing that they were things that have really occurred in our country in the past.

Overall, this was an excellent book, extremely well written, and thought provoking. I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Praise

“A gorgeous, thrilling, and important novel! These strong women will capture your heart.”-Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas

“A novel worthy of a Lifetime movie adaptation.” Jess Hagemann, author of Headcheese

“An insightful and sympathetic view offered into the lives of those who were adopted and those who adopted them.”-Pam Johnson, author of Justice for Ella

“Readers can expect deep knowledge of the world the characters inhabit.”-Sara Kocek, author of Promise Me Something

“I found myself thinking about Becca, Sandy, and Faith frequently as I went about my day-I was always excited to sit down and find out what happened next.”-Sarah Welch, author of Austin Brown Dogs: The Shelter Dogs Who Rescue Us

About the Author

Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She has a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

She has been an educator, Communications Adjunct Professor at Belhaven College, administrator, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, MS.  She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart.

As the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (300 artisans from 19 states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public. She is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans.

She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well.  She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband Emmerson and two Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, August 3
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Wednesday, August 4
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Thursday, August 5
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Friday, August 6
Review at Amanda in PA

Monday, August 9
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 10
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 11
Review at The Enchanted Shelf

Thursday, August 12
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, August 13
Review at Bonnie Reads and Writes

Monday, August 16
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, August 17
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, August 18
Review at Two Bookish Babes

Friday, August 20
Review at The Cozy Book Blog

Monday, August 23
Review at Girl Who Reads

Giveaway

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Kyle’s Little Sister by BonHyung Jeong Review and Giveaway

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the KYLE’S LITTLE SISTER by BonHyung Jeong Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About the Book:

Title: KYLE’S LITTLE SISTER

Author: BonHyung Jeong

Pub. Date: June 22, 2021

Publisher: JY

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Pages: 240

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

My name is Grace, not “Kyle’s little sister!”
 
Having a good-looking, friendly, outgoing older brother sucks—especially when you’re the total opposite, someone who likes staying home and playing video games. Your parents like him better (even if they deny it!), and everyone calls you “Kyle’s little sister” while looking disappointed that you’re not more like him. I was really hoping I’d get to go to a different middle school, but no such luck. At least I have my friends…until he finds a way to ruin that, too…! Argh! What do I have to do to get out of his shadow?!

My Thoughts:

I was excited to read this book because I, like Grace, also had a popular, good looking older brother that everyone adored. I was quiet and nerdy and enjoyed reading and was cool without even trying.

This story was so much fun to read and reminded me of the days of middle school…the awkwardness, the uncertainty, and the drama. I loved how Kyle cared about his sister but did things “behind the scenes” (such a big brother thing to do).

The artwork is colorful and had a manga feel to it. Overall, I highly recommend this story, very fun!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher/author to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About BonHyung Jeong:

BonHyung Jeong (Bon) studied Cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and Kyle’s Little Sister is her debut graphic novel, made possible with the help of numerous people. She hopes to make connections with others through relatable stories. Currently living in Korea, she’s always busy playing console games – exactly like someone in the book!

Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of KYLE’S LITTLE SISTER, US Only.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21291/?

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/14/2021Unconventional Quirky BibliophileReview
6/15/2021cindysloveofbooksReview
6/16/2021A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
6/17/2021@pagesofyellowReview
6/18/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
6/19/2021Jazzy Book ReviewsExcerpt

Week Two:

6/20/2021Hurn PublicationsGuest Post
6/21/2021Two Points of InterestReview
6/22/2021celiamcmahonreadsReview
6/23/2021Fyrekatz BlogReview
6/24/2021@drewsim12Review
6/25/2021The Momma SpotReview
6/26/2021Lady HawkeyeExcerpt

Week Three:

6/27/2021CurlygrannylovestoreadSpotlight
6/28/2021NerdophilesReview
6/29/2021Simply Daniel RadcliffeReview
6/30/2021YA Books CentralGuest Post
7/1/2021Sandra’s Book ClubExcerpt
7/2/2021amandainpaReview
7/3/2021Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

Week Four:

7/4/2021TLC Book NookExcerpt
7/5/2021hauntedbybooksReview
7/6/2021@bookshelfmommaReview
7/7/2021@lexijava_bookishExcerpt
7/8/2021The Obsessed ReaderGuest Post
7/9/2021BrittreadsalattebooksReview

Jack vs. the Tornado by Amanda Cleary Eastep Review

Synopsis:

Adventures, friendships, and faith-testers . . . all under the watchful eye of a great big God.

The Tree Street Kids live on Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Pine, but their 1990s suburban neighborhood is more than just quiet, tree-lined streets. Jack, Ellison, Roger, and Ruthie face challenges and find adventures in every creek and cul-de-sac—as well as God’s great love in one small neighborhood.

In the first book of the Tree Street Kids series, 10-year-old Jack is shocked to discover his parents are moving from their rural homestead to the boring suburbs of Chicago. Full of energy and determination, Jack devises a plan to get himself back to his beloved farmhouse forever. Only three things stand in his way: a neighbor in need, a shocking discovery, and tornado season. Will Jack find a solution? Or is God up to something bigger than Jack can possibly imagine?

My Thoughts:

When I saw that this book is set in the 90s, I knew that I had to read it. I was a 90s kid and it was such a fun time to be a kid. The author does an excellent job at conveying the time period and the book is filled with fun references that brought lots of nostalgia. This is great for fellow “90s kid” parents who are reading with their children…it has features that both the child and parent can enjoy.

The story was fun and I really liked Jack’s character. The illustrations were a nice touch and the story was a good length for reluctant or beginning readers. Overall, this was a great story with a clean, wholesome storyline.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pulse by Judy J. Walters Review

Synopsis:

The world has no shortage of moral ambiguity, especially in the emergency room. Dr. Jackson is the emergency room physician who seems to have the big house, beautiful wife, and an impeccable reputation as one of the most respected emergency physicians in Dallas. As the author peels back the layers, Dr. Jackson’s life isn’t so perfect after all. Filled with unique twists, complex medical cases and personal issues, Pulse proves that there is always more to the story! Pulse is the first book in the Vital Signs Series. If you loved Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit, you’ll love this series.

My Thoughts:

When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2006, I discovered reruns of ER. I became engrossed in the series and watched it every morning. The emergency room setting is one that I really enjoy…there’s lots of action and plenty of drama. Pulse, by Judy G. Walters brought back those fun memories of spending time with Dr. Green, Dr. Ross, Carter, and all the other characters (I actually named my daughter Ella, which is the same name as Dr. Green’s daughter). Pulse follows Dr. Jackson…a very dedicated doctor with several issues in his personal life. Doctors always seem to live elusive lives so I always find it fun to see how they are human and make mistakes. The story was full of great snapshots from the ER…the reader meets several patients with interesting experiences.

Chess is also a big part of the story. I was never great at Chess, but reading so much about it made me want to dig my Chess board out of the game closet.

Overall, this was a very fun story to read with lots of surprises. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book!

I received a copy of this book from the author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating: