Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren Review



In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of
what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

Set on keeping her family together and saving her father’s once-great plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

My Thoughts:

This story was very interesting. I had very little knowledge of the sugar plantations in the past and this story really allowed the reader to experience the culture and challenges of that time period and place.

The story does not gloss over the ugliness of slavery or the terrible way these people were treated…there were some very difficult scenes to read but I appreciated that they were historically accurate. I also found that the author portrayed how women were viewed by men very well…it was not an easy time for women.

The author describes everything very vividly…the scenes on the boat and the island were almost like watching a movie.

I loved the sisters in the story…Keturah, Verity, and Selah each had distinct personalities but supported each other through difficult times and had some great “sisterly” moments.

Overall, this was a great story that moved at a good pace and left me eager to read the next installment.

My Rating: 4 stars


I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Soul’s Prisoner by Cara Luecht Review and Giveaway


About the Book


Book Title: Soul’s Prisoner

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical fiction with some suspense and romance

Release Date: December 15, 2015

Chicago, Winter, 1891

Rachel is in danger. She’s seen too much.

She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She’d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she’d find a place in the city, never imagined she’d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning’s cold, labyrinthine basement.

Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.

A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.

But when Jeremy, Rachel’s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

In this book, the reader experiences what life was like for a patient in an insane asylum in the 1800s. This book had many disturbing scenes, but were based on historical facts, which is heartbreaking. Nothing was too graphic but the author described everything in a way that made the setting and the experience feel extremely real. It also had a creepy, gothic feel that I enjoyed (it was a nice change from all the contemporaries I’ve been reading lately).

The subject of asylums is fascinating to me because of how they were permitted to abuse and treat people in such an inhumane way for such a long period of time. I’ve read several books that focus on asylums and this was by far, my favorite.

The writing is very clean and I appreciated the diversity that was found in the book. I also loved all the fashion descriptions found in the book, that was a fun addition.

I flew through the story and was sad to see it end. It is the second book in a series but works as a standalone (although I’m planning on buying the rest of the books in the series!) This is one of my favorite books of the year so far, I highly recommend it!

My Rating: 5 stars

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

About the Author


Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest Post from Cara Luecht

The Setting for Soul’s Prisoner: Dunning Asylum for the Insane

Dunning Asylum for the Insane was built in the 1850s and housed psychiatric patients until the early 1900s. It has since been demolished, and a small park currently stands as the only remaining testament to the people who lived and died on the grounds.

The original plot of land also included a poor farm and a cemetery. A railroad used to connect the grounds to Minneapolis, Chicago, and Milwaukee. It was nicknamed the “Crazy Train”—a phrase that still survives in our language today. Those buried in the cemetery include Civil War Veterans, victims of the Chicago fire of 1871, orphans, paupers, and the residents of the asylum for the insane. Most estimates agree that nearly forty thousand people were buried on the grounds.

There is no doubt that mental illness is hard on families, but in the 1800s, having a family member who struggled with mental illness was an embarrassment. With little understanding of mental health in general, and even less compassion for those who suffered, examples of this tragic response to the threat of mental illness can be seen in the numerous inmates who were there simply due to addiction or depression. There are even cases where women were committed because their families were humiliated by their giving birth outside the bonds of marriage. Often times, challenges with mental health were synonymous with the notion of moral failure or vice. Because of this, even many charities looked the other way when corruption or abuse was exposed. Reporters sometimes wrote about the horrors of the institutions, but once the sensational story was out, and the initial outrage worn away, few worried about the people who suffered on a daily basis. And because of the moral implication of mental illness, families commonly turned over their suffering members to the county, and later simply explained to friends that the person had died.

And that is exactly what the mentally ill would do in the institution. Live there until they died, forgotten.

And that’s how the story played out at Dunning, until late in the 1900s when developers began to dig the roads and foundations for a new neighborhood on the grounds of what was once the Asylum. At that time, Dunning, and the people who had resided there, were still within living memory, so when bones were unearthed, it was no mystery how they ended up on that patch of land. What had slipped from memory was the magnitude of the collective stories of suffering and hardship.

For this novel, the people and events are fictitious. However, when examining old news stories from an institution known for corruption, it is not hard to imagine situations like the ones in the novel. The details that are true are the nearly one thousand inmates, no hot water, little to no heat in the winter, bad food, and the general feeling of living ghosts, intentionally forgotten, and doomed to never leave the grounds.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, March 8


Multifarious, March 9

Remembrancy, March 9

Connie’s History Classroom, March 10

History, Mystery & Faith, March 11

Reading is My Superpower, March 11

amandainpa, March 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Texas Book-aholic, March 13

Carpe Diem, March 14

Maureen’s Musings, March 15

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Two Points of Interest, March 16

proud to be an autism mom, March 17

A Greater Yes, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Janices book reviews, March 19

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 19

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Post from Mindy)

Pursuing Stacie, March 20

For The Love of Books, March 21

Bigreadersite, March 21



To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Soul’s Prisoner and sketching art supplies!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


God’s Call to a Deeper Life by Nancy Taylor Review



God is calling to your heart from every page of His Word. Can you hear His voice? Or does it sometimes feel like you’ve read it all before, and the words enter your mind but fail to permeate your soul?

Get ready to experience Scripture in an entirely new way through these 366 devotions. Open your heart to God’s truth in a way that is clear, personal, and relevant to your life. Let these devotions bridge the gap between the eternal, unchanging words written in the Bible and your heart’s desire to connect with the One who cares most deeply for you.

My Thoughts:

First of all, this book is just my style…The cover has 2 beautiful shades of pink, with rose gold metallic lettering and a pretty floral design. The edges of the pages have 2 shades of pink in a striped design. There is a very nice dedication page if you want to gift this book to someone special. The end papers also have a pretty pink floral design. So…if you’re not a fan of pink, this may not be the book for you (but it’s my favorite color, so I love it!)

The book contains 366 dated devotions that are paraphrased by the author, written in second person, as if Jesus is speaking to the reader. I think it’s very  important for the reader to read the scripture first, then to go to the devotion as the word of God should always be our primary source. The author also states this in a “How to use this book” section in the beginning.

I found that the author did a great job at paraphrasing the verses to make them feel more personal to the reader. This would be a great devotional for when you are short on time. It only takes about 5 minutes to read both the chapter from the Bible and the devotion.

I like that the entries are dated but the reader can start at any time of the year. There is a pink ribbon bookmark to mark your place.

Overall, this is a great devotional that would make a nice gift.

My Rating:

4 stars

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

NIV The Woman’s Study Bible



The Woman’s Study Bible poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation. Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom. Now with a beautiful full-color redesign, The Woman’s Study Bible reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Since the publication of the first edition of The Woman’s Study Bible under the editorial guidance of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, this landmark study Bible has sold over 1.5 million copies.

My Thoughts: 

This Bible is just amazing! I am amazed at the vast amount of information that is included in this book. I have never owned a study Bible geared towards women and I am very happy to own one now. It highlights many of the women of the Bible, describing them further. It also includes articles on many topics that many people struggle with and face…tears, distress, childbirth, employment, giving, death, weight control.

There are many maps, tables, and diagrams sprinkled throughout the Bible that will be very helpful. I was excited to find a diagram of the various Millenial Views in the book of Revelation. There are a lot of great visual aids like this that help the reader learn more about the text.

There is commentary at the bottom of each page but not for every verse. I would like a bit more of the commentary but there are so many other features that it seems that there wasn’t enough room. The text size is not too small and Jesus’ words are highlighted in red.

The Bible is full color, which is definitely a plus. There are some very pretty floral designs on the opening pages of the books.  I’m not a huge fan of the design on the  cover of the book. It’s just not my personal style but I think many women would find it appealing.

Although I own another study Bible, I think this will be my go-to study Bible. I highly recommend this to all women.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett Review


Synopsis: Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford fashioned her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the choice of becoming a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark helps open Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas– a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

My Thoughts: I loved the first book in this series, The Road to Paradise, so I was eager to pick this one up! Set in Yosemite National Park, this story follows Olivia, an artist with a lot of secrets, commissioned to paint scenery from Yosemite and Clark, a trail guide who works at Yosemite and is dealing with issues from his past.

Karen Barnett is extremely gifted at setting the scene…I’ve never visited Yosemite but her descriptions make me feel like I almost have. In this book, the reader sees many different sights and locations in the park.

There is a lot of adventure and some mystery to the story, which was my favorite aspect. I wasn’t as fond of the romance as it seemed a bit forced and unrealistic at times (plus I’m usually not a romance reader).

I will say that I enjoyed the first book more but this one was still fun and worth picking up. I can’t wait for the next one!

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano Review


About the Book


Title: The Saturday Night Supper Club

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Christian fiction/romance fiction

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t…

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun and delightful story! It felt very modern but had great faith content. I related a lot to Rachel and her views regarding men and women and how they are treated…it’s a less popular view in this day and age but the author addressed it very well.

The book is full of food references, which I loved but left me feeling hungry ;). I learned a lot about the restaurant industry and the difficult job of a chef. I also loved reading about the pop up restaurants, something I had never heard of.

The romance was delightful as well as the friendships. I enjoy stories with healthy female friendships and this was a great one.

Overall, this was a very fast paced book that I flew through and really enjoyed. I will definitely be checking out more of the author’s books.

My Rating: 5 stars

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

About the Author


Carla 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.

Guest Post From Carla Laureano

I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.

It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.

It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.

Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.

All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.

Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.

And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.

It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.

In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Blog Stops

Rachel Scott McDaniel, February 20

A Baker’s Perspective, February 20

Just Commonly, February 20

Mommynificent, February 21

Among The Reads, February 21

A Greater Yes, February 21

proud to be an autism mom, February 21

Fiction Aficionado, February 22

Quiet Quilter, February 22

The Power of Words, February 23

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 23

Janices book reviews, February 24

C Jane Read, February 24

Faery Tales Are Real, February 24

All of a Kind Mom, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 25

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 25

Carpe Diem, February 26

Smiling Book Reviews, February 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 26

Splashes of Joy, February 27

Its Storytime with Van Daniker, February 27

Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest post from Mindy)

Radiant Light, February 28

Moments Dipped in Ink, February 28

Baker kella, February 28

Pause for Tales, March 1

Book by Book, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 2

Have A Wonderful Day, March 2

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 2

Bibliophile Reviews, March 3

Two Points of Interest, March 3

Reading is my Super Power, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 4

amandainpa, March 4

Singing Librarian Books, March 4

By The Book, March 5

Neverending Stories, March 5

Pursuing Stacie, March 5



To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize of a $200 Visa Card for the winner and a friend to attend a cooking class!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


If I Live by Terri Blackstock Review


Synopsis: Casey is hiding again—in Memphis this time—but it’s different now. She knows without a doubt that Dylan believes her and is doing all he can to help bring Brent’s killer to justice. He’s become an unexpected friend . . . and even, maybe, something more. Hope makes everything more bearable.

Casey makes a deal with the DA to turn over all the evidence she and Dylan have gathered against Keegan and Rollins—only to discover that the DA is in league with them too. After a desperate escape, who can they possibly turn to now?

Time is running out for Casey, but master suspense writer Terri Blackstock will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last, utterly satisfying page.

My Thoughts: This was a terrific finale to an excellent series! I’ve read many thrillers/suspense books in the Christian fiction subset and this series is by far, my favorite. Often I’ve found that Christian thrillers can be a bit too tame for my liking…Terri Blackstock knows how to keep it clean but also keep the reader on the edge of their seats, all while glorifying God. I read through all three of the books in this trilogy very fast…the pacing was great and the story never dragged.

I loved the character development throughout this book but also from the beginning of the trilogy. The faith content was incorporated perfectly into the story. I love how Terri Blackstock manages to meld thrills and suspense with a Christian message, this doesn’t seem like an easy task but she does it very well.

Overall, this was my favorite of the three books in the series and one of my favorite books of 2018. I highly recommend this series to those who like adventure and thrills!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.