A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal Review

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Synopsis: Ballerina Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Met in New York and her future with fiancé Peter Engberg all figured out—until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, shows up in Georgia to dance with her and win her back. Claus kisses her after a rehearsal, a kiss Peter witnesses from the darkened audience. Convinced a kiss between Claus and Ana is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off his engagement with Ana. Rejected by Peter, and knowing Claus is dancing at the Met soon, Ana decides to repave her path to her dream. With her 2002 Thunderbird and Baryshnikov, an old dog crippled by arthritis, she moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own memories of Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company prove to be a high price for a shot at success.

My Thoughts: I love everything about ballet…the costumes, the music, the movements, etc…so I loved this book. It follows Ana, a ballerina, who is facing difficult decisions regarding her relationships and following her dreams.

I loved Ana, she was searching and seeking God and her transformation was beautiful. She was also extremely real…the author did not sugar coat her behavior, but this made the story and the transformation feel extremely realistic. The rest of the story flowed very nicely…it was fun to follow Ana as she dances through life and love.

The ballet references were wonderful…the author was a ballerina and is gifted at describing the movements and costumes, etc…which made me feel like I was in the audience, watching the beautiful dancers.

This book was heartbreaking at times but also heartwarming. There were definitely some Kleenex moments in this book.

I highly recommend this book if you love ballet or a sweet romance.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

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Secret Keeper Girl: Mom Daughter Devos by Dannah Gresh Review

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Description: Want help talking to your tween about modesty? 

Tweens aren’t meant to grapple with modesty and body image issues alone. But many moms don’t know quite how to talk about these issues.

Secret Keeper Girl Mom-Daughter Devos fills that gap. A companion to Secret Keeper Girl, it cements the truths of that book and provides an opportunity for moms to talk through these important issues with their daughters. It’s not just a book, but a connecting experience for mothers and daughters. Together they’ll go on a journey to meet with their Creator and learn to see themselves through His eyes.

Secret Keeper Girl Mom-Daughter Devos has a simple format of 30 daily devotions. It features:

Weekly interactive conversation starters
A leader’s guide appendix at the end
Downloadable resources at the author’s website.
This Secret Keeper Girls series exists to bring moms and daughters together for age-appropriate, biblical conversations about true beauty, modesty, and purity.

My Thoughts:  Where was this book when I was 12? This is such a great devotional for tweens and young teen girls. First of all, the book is very inviting in its appearance…the artwork is adorable and there are many places for the reader to color. With coloring being so popular now, this was a great addition. The author invites both the daughter who is reading the book and her mother to come together at the end of each week and color while discussing what the daughter had read throughout the week.

The devotionals focus on modesty and other issues young girls face today. There’s a great application area on each devotional page where the reader can write about what she’d learned (with prompts that relate to the day’s devo).

Modesty is such an important topic that rarely gets discussed anymore so I really appreciate the author’s mission to teach young girls about it. She does it in a fun, non-confrontational way that helps the reader to see why modesty is so important.

I highly recommend this devo to any young girl (and her mom).

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Moody Publishers to review. All opinions are my own.

Devotions for the Hungry Heart by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson Review

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Description: This simple little book of story-based devotions will change your world, one day at a time.

“Whether you have a healthy craving for more Jesus, or the barely discernible taste for a relationship with Him that seems beyond your reach, the glorious truth is that God put that hunger in your heart in the first place, and He is more willing to fan that flame than you or I could ever be.” 
–From the Introduction

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, the Belle of All Things Southern, is back with a devotional guide for the Jesus-hungry heart. Grounded in scripture and offered in the author’s signature storytelling style, this devotional invites you to God’s table for a continual feast. With six prominent themes including Sharing, Needing, Celebrating, Praying, Surrendering, and Being Intentional, you’ll be challenged and encouraged to develop God-honoring traits in your spiritual life.

A delightful companion book to Tomlinson’s Hungry Is a Mighty Fine SauceDevotions for the Hungry Heart features a bonus full-color insert featuring more than a dozen mouthwatering recipes plus photos. You’re guaranteed to find nourishment for your body as well as your spirit!

My Thoughts: I really love this devotional. The author writes in a very approachable and relatable way. She uses relevant illustrations for the verse and although the devotions are only 1 or 2 pages, they pack a big punch.

It contains 20 weeks of devotions, one for each day of the week minus Sunday. The devotions are not dated so it’s easy to start at any time. The book also contains recipes and photos, which is something I’ve never seen in a devotional book before. The recipes look tasty but a little fancier than what I prefer (but cooking is not my thing).

The devotionals always make me think. This is the perfect book to keep on your nightstand and read in the morning before starting the day. Reading these helps the reader to fill their spiritual bellies and they only take a few minutes to get through.

I highly recommend this book as a gift to yourself or someone else.

My Rating: 5 stars

I won this book from Goodreads First Reads giveaways. All opinions are my own.

The Christmas Gate 2 by T.A. Cline Review

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Synopsis: “I became paralyzed with fear. Tears started to run down my cheeks as I sat motionless on the bed facing the locked door.”

Patty had slowly opened up to Bob. She thinks she might be falling in love with him. Even so, he has gone back to New York, and she has not heard from him in two weeks. It is another loss for her. First, her mother died when she was young, and then her husband, Matt, was killed in Afghanistan. She has lost all that were close to her. All but her dad and he is her rock. He is the one that gives her strength.

In, The Christmas Gate 2, Patty’s life becomes like a roller coaster, with the ups and the downs. She loses, and then wins, only to lose again. Then Patty is rocked with an emotional bombshell. She tries to gather herself together, then only another heartbreak again.

She resigns herself to wait at the old farm house until Bob returns to her. She unleashes what Bob had uncovered during his earlier stay, and she too is taken on a journey that will bring to the surface the things she has buried deep inside her, things that she has forgotten, things she refuses to confront, and things that could eventually set her free. Patty and Bob’s story continues in, The Christmas Gate 2.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the first book, The Christmas Gate, so I was very excited when the author sent me the second book to read and review.

This book picks up right after the first one ended but is told from Patty’s point of view. Patty has been through a lot and goes through a lot in this book. At the risk of mentioning spoilers, I will stop describing here 😉

There were some moments in this book that really surprised me and I had no idea how the author was going to “fix” the situations. I found the story very clever and sweet.

I really liked Patty, and getting to know her better in this book. She’s a tough gal on the outside but the reader discovers that she is still dealing with some hurt and frustration issues.

I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed it just as much as the first one. I would definitely recommend it.

My Rating: 4 stars

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

A Christmas Belle by Anne Greene Review

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Synopsis: The latest book in the series, Christmas Mail Order Angels, A CHRISTMAS BELLE tells Amanda’s story. Amanda expected a Wyoming cowboy, not a Southern Gentleman with a dangerous job. Can the wounded Mail Order Angel and the very Southern Wyoming Sheriff overcome the difficulties of their personal baggage and of the raw western boomtown where men die at the drop of a gold nugget and women are scarce as a tail-hold on a bear? Will the Sheriff put DUTY before love as the fiancé who jilted Amanda had done?

She’s a transplanted southern belle jilted by her finance’ who preferred DUTY to his family. Amanda’s desperate for a new start in a new territory with a Wyoming cowboy. She’s known as a mind reader, but in reality she reads the fleeting expressions people hide. Frank struck gold in the Wyoming Gold Rush and is elected Sheriff by the people of Angel Vale. He signed up for a mail-order bride, not because he wants a wife, but because he needs a mother for the baby boy left on his doorstep. Unfortunately for Amanda, Frank hails from the deep South and DUTY is his middle name. Will Frank choose love or Duty?

My Thoughts: This is the first “mail order bride” story I’ve ever read. I really liked the plot and setting…what an interesting time in history…men would order brides and women would travel for miles to marry a man they’d never met. I can’t imagine the apprehension and uncertainty that each party would go through. The author does an excellent job at portraying those feelings.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Amanda, the main character…she was overly cautious (understandably) but there was something about her personality that rubbed me the wrong way. On the other hand, I loved Frank’s character, although he was a bit too focused on physical looks. Frank refused to give up on Amanda though and truly let his light shine.

This was definitely a fun historical story and I really enjoyed it.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the author to review. All opinions are my own.

365 Devotions for Living Joyfully by Victoria York Review

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Description: Discover the joy of the Lord in fresh ways through the beautiful new 365 Devotions for Living Joyfully. Full of simple, accessible devotions for every day of the year, this book will help you find deep, unshakable, biblical joy and will inspire you to live your most joyful life.

In the midst of busy schedules and endless to-do lists, joy seems like a luxury few can afford, let alone a foundational part of an identity rooted in Christ. God promises His children a life of joy, and yet it remains so easy to lose sight of the gifts He offers every day. Take a few minutes each morning to rekindle this biblical understanding of a joy-filled life with the beautiful and inspirational new book, 365 Devotions for Living Joyfully.

Reflect on the abundant life God holds out to you, and rediscover how joy can transform your heart. With Scripture verses and a prayer on each page, these devotions will inspire and grow your faith as you begin to see life as God truly intended it—full of abounding joy! Take heart and refresh your soul every day of the year through the encouraging words of 365 Devotions for Living Joyfully.

My Thoughts: First of all, this book is adorable, definitely the cutest devotional book I’ve owned. It’s a nice, compact size with a ribbon bookmark, bright colors, and bicycles on the end pages. It even has yellow flowers on each page. Each devotion is dated, which helps the reader to easily keep track and read through it in a year.

The devotions are quick to read but meaningful. They are thought provoking and include a verse of scripture and a final thought. I love this book for my morning devotions. I can grab it before my feet hit the floor and read through one in less than 5 minutes. It is also great for those days when you may not have time to spend a lot of time in the word.

I would recommend this book as a gift…it’s so pretty and would delight any recipient.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers to review. My opinions are my own.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book:

Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor                              bm1

 

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About the Author

unnamedMichelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or Pinterest.

My Thoughts: 

This was such a fun book! It was very atmospheric, portraying a Victorian Christmas in a slightly creepy mansion. It had an “And then There were None” by Agatha Christie feel as several strangers are brought together under mysterious circumstances with dangers lurking around the corner.

There were some very fun surprises that I didn’t expect. The story is full of colorful, quirky characters, each with a very defined personality.

I adore atmospheric books and the author was very gifted at creating the setting. I was in the story with the characters, walking the drafty halls of Bleakly Manor and trudging through the woods to gather the yule log.

This book also explains some Victorian Christmas traditions that I hadn’t known about…I found these very interesting, particularly the origins of The Coventry Carol.

I highly recommend this book…it’s a nice change from the typical Christmas stories that are out there.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Celebrate Lit to review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14

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Faery Tales Are Real, December 14

A Baker’s Perspective, December 15

A Reader’s Brain, December 15

Have A Wonderful Day, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Carpe Diem, December 16

Cafinated ReadsDecember 16

Just the Write Escape, December 17

A Greater YesDecember 17

Remembrancy, December 17

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History, Mystery & Faith, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18

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Kat’s Corner Books, December 19

Mommynificent, December 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 20

Bookworm Mama, December 20

Vicky Sluiter, December 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 21

To Everything A Season, December 21

Reader’s Cozy Corner, December 22

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 22

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)

My Writer’s Life, December 23

Janices book reviews, December 23

For The Love of Books, December 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Red Headed Book Lady, December 25

Raining Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Bibliophile Reviews, December 26

Blogging With Carol,December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, December 27

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8