Friday, November 6, 2015

Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman



The story of two families torn asunder by deception and betrayal. Lacey Carmichael grew up on Isle of Hope along with her family and their long time family friends, the O'Bryen's. What once was thought of as an inseparable bond between the two families suddenly fell apart.

After being away for eight years, Lacey returns to Isle of Hope in hopes that she will be able to mend lost relationships, including her Father and ex-boyfriend Jack O'Bryen. But doing so isn't as easy as she thought.

With a new found faith in God, Lacey trudges forward in her quest, but her depressed Father and grudge holding ex-boyfriend who turned his back on Christ make the mission seem impossible. Will she be able to set things straight and bring them back to what they once were?

My Opinion:

Never ceasing to impress, Julie Lessman takes a on a whole new genre from her other novels, and still manages to conquer it with a jaw-dropping modern romance. With relationships that are still just as twisted and confusing, she unravels the chaos one chapter at a time, until all is renewed by the grace of God.

Of course Julie's trademark is still a theme in Isle of Hope, a born again christian and a through and through rebel knock heads and emotions until love conquers all. This engaging scenario never ceases to amaze me, and not for a moment gets old. All the obstacles the characters go through are 100% real life situations as well as the solutions. Their is a balanced blend of, drama, faith, humor, and romance to satisfy many different audiences.

My favorite aspect of Lessman's writting, including this one, is how detailed every event is in each story. She takes us through flashbacks the characters have as if we are living them. No part of any characters life is a secret from us when we get to the last page of the book, and I love that. It makes the story so much more believeable when everything is laid out on the table.

I REALLY hope this book is sold in print copies in the near future, because I would love to have this on my shelf!

And here is Julie Lessman's celebrity picks for Jack and Lacey. I have to say, I completely agree other than the fact Julianne Hough was picked for Charity in A Passion Redeemed! Uh Oh!!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Together With You by Victoria Bylin

Together with You


A Tender Contemporary Romance about Finding Unexpected Love 
When a Lost Child warning blasts over the mall's PA system, toy store manager Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about five-year-old Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that Penny suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's own past suddenly confronts her. Never again will Carly become involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart. Before she has time to think it through, she agrees to a much-needed job as a nanny. 
Dr. Ryan Tremaine knows he messed up his life. But this summer he will redeem himself. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan is dedicated to his sink-or-swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruiting Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny. 
Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

My Opinion: 

Getting through the beginning of this book took awhile. I feel like the author tried to shove to much information in our faces at once. The information about the FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome) and the reason behind Ryan's daughter Penny having it was thrust on us from the get go. I liked having the knowledge of these things, but wish it was prolonged throughout the first half of the story. It just made the beginning hard and ridged to get through because their was no excitement. 

The book really took off when Carly accepted the job to be Penny's nanny. After that it really became a story with obstacles and two completely different people working together to overcome them, and let me tell you, Penny's Aunt was probably the biggest obstacle. Lol

I really like how Carly accepted the way Ryan was and didn't shame him for his past wrongs dealing with Penny. She acknowledged the fact that someone can change and completely turn their life around. I know a lot of people try to treat people like they have changed, but don't fully believe or take the action in showing that person that they are now trusted. (I hope that made sense) However, I also like the fact that Carly had respect for herself and her own beliefs, ***SPOILER***and even though she was friends with Ryan, she would not let that relationship become anything more unless he gave his life to Christ. (We all have to have "deal breakers")

Overall, the story was a good and I loved watching the interaction between Carly and Ryan's family. However, the beginning is a little bit slow.

Stars: 4

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Tiffany Girl


From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the New York Art Institute. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girls is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

My Opinion:

Deeanne Gist has been one of my favorite authors from the get go. All her books are a thrill to read and set my imagination soaring on what it would be like to live in the time periods her books are set in. I find myself wondering, what would it be like to be a 'mail ordered bride', a 'Biltmore maid', or an 'Oil Rig managing spinster'? Now, after reading Tiffany Girl I wonder what it would be like to be a 'New Woman'. What kind of job would I have? What would my wages look like? How would I be treated by the opposite sex and what would my family think? I love books that keep me thinking even after I have finished them. 

Reeve Wilder was not the nicest guy through half of the book. In fact, most everyone probably would despise him for his views on woman's rights and why they are here on earth. I know it took a long time for him to grow on me. However, I liked that I got to see his views slowly change as he started to have feelings for Florence. (Yes, I use the name Florence because, sorry, but I hated calling her Flossie). 

I liked how Florence's character was depicted as an average person. She showed that people do not have to be good at everything to be important or cherished by society. However, I was upset when we found out she was average at both glasswork, and her art. It made her seem like she was basic in every aspect, and we all know that everyone excels in at least one specific area. That we ALL are talented at SOMETHING in life. Furthermore, Florence's little drawings were described in a lot of detail and would require a lot of work. I consider myself talented in the art department and I know I could not draw any of the things Florence did without a picture for reference. In other words, I would say that she was extremely skilled at art. 

Now getting to what most people want to hear and what will most likely be the deciding factor on if the read Tiffany Girl or not. As most of us know, Deeanne Gist has switched over from the Christian Fiction genre to the secular world of writing to hopefully widen and expand her writing to more people. So what does that mean about the Religious and Romantic sides of the story? I know I have read reviews on goodreads which say that their are sex scenes in this novel and I just want to clarify that that is NOT TRUE! This is actually the most CHASTE book of all Deeanne's novels! Their might be two kissing scenes and then a wedding night scene. The wedding night scene only entailed that they undressed a little. By the end of the book they were still wearing more than what we do today on a daily basis. 

I would still consider this a christian novel. Even though her being a 'New Woman' was the focal point, the characters still talked about God and mentioned prayer. 

All in all, I liked the book but their were a few little things that I would have changed. 

Stars: 4

Monday, April 6, 2015


CONTEST TO HAVE A CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU IN A BOOK!! Here's a chance to win a character named after you in Julie Lessman's next book, a signed copy, and your choice of any of Julie's books or Seeker books PLUS choice of top CBA book from Julie's library. Here's the link:


Monday, March 16, 2015

Out of the storm by Jody Hedlund

Out of the Storm (Beacons of Hope, #0.5)
Having grown up in a lighthouse, loneliness is all Isabelle Thornton has ever known--and all, she assumes, she ever will know. But when her lightkeeper father rescues a young man from the lake, her sheltered world is turned upside down.

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund's Out of the Storm is her first ever novella and introduces readers to Beacons of Hope, a new series set in the 1800s amid the romance, history, and danger surrounding the Great Lakes lighthouses of Michigan.

My Opinion: 
I thought the idea for this novella was thrilling and am sad that it was so short, since I devoured the pages to quickly. It was fun and entertaining, especially with Henry's comical and flirtatious behavior, although I wish at times he was a little more serious. 

Which is another reason why I wish Out of the Storm lasted longer. I liked seeing Henry's serious side, all jokes kicked to the curb, and I wish I had the chance to enjoy more of it. 

I also liked Isabelle. She wasn't a perfect character. Most heroines in a story are so close to perfect with insecurity being their only flaw, but Isabelle had something to be insecure about. With that issue thrust into Henry and Isabelle's relationship, it forced her to accept herself the way she was and forced Henry to become the responsible man his Father needed. One that was honorable, trustworthy, and someone he could rely on. 

Not to mention, it forced Isabelle's Father to let go of the reigns of her life, and let her live the way God planned for all of us. 

With all the characters needing to accept the fast approaching truth of God's bigger picture for their lives, their is also a scoop full of romance to add to the drama. 

Stars: 4 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

Surprised by Love (The Heart of San Francisco #3)


Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney's office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school--and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

My Opinion: 

Something that I will never get over and never stop cherishing about these books is the easy camaraderie between the characters. Their is tons of dialogue and at no time does it seem forced. The conversations are hilarious, emotional, informative, and entertaining. Not once did I get bored over the story or plot. It all smoothly rolled along scene by scene, and I didn't want to miss a moment of it. Just like Julie Lessman's other books series: Daughters of Boston and Wind's of Change, I felt like I was a part of the story. Seeing everything through their eyes. When Bram would take Meg's hands in his and comfort her, I felt like it was my hands he was holding. When Blake and Jamie joked around with Bram, I felt like they were joking around with me. When the family sat down for dinner together, I felt like I had my own place mat. 

I cannot get over how real these stories become to me, and that is the reason I get so much out of them. The lessons that Julie shares with us are things we can impart in our daily lives. The situations and struggles these characters go through are hard to read, but only because they are SO relate-able for the majority of people today. Their problems strike home for most of us, and truth be told, Julie does not take it easy on us in her writing. Their stories grab and twist your heart until you think you can't take anymore pain, but then she redeems us with the love of God washing over the characters, to the point where I can't put the book down. 

I love the time period that Julie writes about, the late 1800's - early 1900's. I don't come across many authors who write about that period. But what I think I like most about that is she picks to write about ordinary people. Not famous people, not people in a war, but ones you could walk passed down the street. Then she goes on to continue the series with someone else from the family, not a whole new unrelated character, but someone we already know a bit about. This allows us to go DEEP, she doesn't giveaway everything about a character in the first book, but we learn more and more as their life progresses. This is my favorite type of writing. 

Now I am to understand that Julie is about to take on her very FIRST contemporary novel. Which, of course, will turn into a series. It's a given. Even though modern stories have not been my 'thing' in the past I pray that Julie will be the one to change that. After all, she does have a way with words.