Saying Goodbye

I’ve really struggled over this decision, but I think it is finally time to acknowledge that my time writing on this blog has come to an end. Life has changed in so many ways since the start of this blog in December of 2012. Even typing that year has me sitting here, stunned I’ve been at this for so long. This blog has been a creative outlet where I could share my thoughts and connect with other readers.

To all the authors I had the joy of working with on influencer and launch teams, thank you. It has been a true blessing to be a small part of helping spread the word about your wonderful novels. I cherish every interaction I’ve had with you and am so thrilled that you’ve asked me to read your books.

To my blogging friends, you have made this the rewarding experience that blogging has been for me. Interacting with you, being encouraged by you, and sharing fan-girl moments with you has been such an enriching experience for me.

I don’t know if I will ever blog again, but I still feel like I have all these ideas and thoughts I want to share. If you ever see me back in this world, please come say hello.

I’m not completely disappearing! I am still active on Goodreads, so if you don’t already follow me there, please do. I would love to stay connected, and I’m always updating what I’m reading and sharing a few brief thoughts on what I’ve finished on Goodreads. Please be my friend there! Also, feel free to leave your Goodreads profile below, and I will follow you, too.

Goodbye, my lovely little blog. ❤


Book Review: Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron
Lost Castle, Book 2
Thomas Nelson, 2019

Kristy Cambron has written an immersive tale in Castle on the Rise. Ireland comes alive as readers follow three women in three different time periods who fiercely fight for what they believe in. This is the second novel in the Lost Castle series, and I continue to be impressed with how Kristy writes such interesting and different characters whose stories each stand on their own.

Sean and Issy are by far my favorite couple. From the beginning, I knew I’d like Sean best, and I wasn’t wrong. I love a hero who pursues the woman he loves, who is steadfast and unwavering. And what bravery Issy had, almost bordering on crazy at times with how she risked her life for the cause she believed in.

Some characters intrigued me (Cormac especially), while the fate of others was heartbreaking (this is a secret and I’m not telling). And there is one character who held a lot of pain and kept big secrets from the people she loved. Secrets lose their power when brought into the light, so I wish she had not held on to her pain so tightly; it was hard to watch her suffer in silence.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story, and seeing Ireland through the lens of each time period. I know I focus on the characters and relationships, but the backdrop of history and war really made this book come alive.

If you’re looking for an armchair adventure, I recommend this castle book set in Ireland. It is exciting and lovely.

*I am on Kristy Cambron’s launch team. All opinions expressed here are my own, honest thoughts.*

Favorite Books of 2018

I’m a little late on posting my favorite books of 2018, but I couldn’t pass it up. I love sharing the books that meant the most to me over the last year! I’ve linked each book to my review or to it’s Goodreads page.

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Falling for You by Becky Wade

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White 

This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof

What were your favorite books of 2018?

Book Review: Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

This book really packs quite the emotional punch.

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh
Harbor Pointe, Book 2
Tyndale, 2018

What happens when you throw together a small town girl whose only dream is to own the flower shop and stay right where she is and a reckless Olympic skier who finds himself stuck in that small town on community service?

The characters weren’t my cup of tea in the beginning, I must admit. Between Quinn’s prickly demeanor and you’re-not-worth-my-time attitude and Grady’s cocky manner and propensity to drown his issues at the bar, I didn’t warm easily to either of them. But as the layers of their stories were slowly revealed, I started to understand their actions, although misguided, were a reflection of the pain they felt within and how they had chosen to protect themselves from further emotional injury.

Courtney Walsh digs deep into her characters’ hurts and burdens. The pain they carry around with them is heavy and all too relatable. We all carry things with us, and sometimes that thing is so big and we’ve held it for so long, we don’t even realize how it is hurting us anymore. That is explored so fully in this novel, and is a beautiful, candid reflection of humanity.

That’s what I appreciate about Courtney’s books. She always writes honest characters, and it resonates with me.

And if that isn’t enough, just take another look at that gorgeous cover. Go read it!

Book Review: Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof
Blackbird Mountain, Book 1
Thomas Nelson, 2018

This is hands down, my favorite book of the year.

Joanne Bischof has written a beautiful masterpiece in Sons of Blackbird Mountain. I am blown away by this story filled with love, conflict, and hope. Joanne weaves a story rich in detail and slowly reveals her characters.

This is a stunning tale about brotherhood, the complexity of familial relationships, and the desire to belong and be loved. The joy and grief these characters experience during the length of the novel were so poignant and lovely and heartbreaking.

I found all the characters to be dear to my heart. Jorgan, Haakon, Thor, and Aven were all such complicated characters. Their struggles and decisions are so beautifully written, shedding light on humanity and how pain and brokenness color our choices.

It’s hard to choose a favorite scene, but one that continues to return to my mind is when Thor teaches Aven sign language. She so desperately wants to understand him and communicate with him, that she urges him to teach her. And his caring and thoughtful response is so beautiful, as he teaches her how to spell her name and sign his.

There are so many little moments that were so meaningful and lovely and insightful that I just adored while reading. My heart is full. I can’t say enough good things about this book.

I am eager to read the second installment in this series. All I know is it follows these same characters and jumps ahead a few years. I am already anticipating the next part of this story.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I am on the author’s launch team. All thoughts expressed are my own.*

If I haven’t convinced you, read the book’s summary. It is compelling enough on it’s own:

“When Aven Norgaard leaves Norway to serve as housekeeper to her late husband’s cousins in Appalachia, she expects lads in need of care, not three grown men—each in need of a wife and bound by a powerful brotherhood. As the men carve out a living by brewing artisan liquor, young Haakon’s pursuit tempts Aven’s lonely spirit . . . but it is his deaf brother, Thor, whose silent strength shows her the depths of real love.

Unable to speak to any woman, Thor Norgaard never anticipates Aven will befriend him, let alone treat him as her safe harbor. Though hard cider is their livelihood and his greatest talent, he fights his way to sobriety with Haakon’s help, defying the bottle for Aven’s hand—only to face a battle of the heart that tests even the strongest bonds of brotherhood.”

TBR 2018 | Part 2

First, an update on my TBR from the beginning of this year. Of the 12 books I shared with you, I’ve read 9, just received two in the mail that I had preordered, and one still waiting to find it’s way into my reading queue.

And now, it’s time to share my most anticipated books for July through the end of this year! It’s a short list this time; I have five books to share with you that I’m eager to read.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof
July 3, 2018

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano
July 31, 2018

An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M White
September 4, 2018

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson
October 16, 2018

Searching for You by Jody Hedlund
December 4, 2018

What books are you looking forward to?

How to Curate Your TBR

I don’t know about you, but I have a seemingly endless list of books I want to read. The question is, what criteria do you use to decide what books are worthy of your TBR? Below are a few of the ways I find books that must be added to my list!

Favorite Authors-

I always start here. If I already love an author’s work, of course I’m adding their next book to my TBR. Subscribing to an author’s newsletter is the easiest way to do this.

Publisher Catalogs-

I love these. It’s easiest to find Bethany House and Revel’s catalogs, and I love looking at what is coming out each season. They typically include the book blurb and a few snippets from a select few books. These are a great resource if you’re serious about your TBR.

Blog Reviews-

Confession: I don’t read blog reviews of books I’m planning to read. Instead, I will bookmark them to read after I’ve finished the book myself. I do this because I have found in the past that any review I read will shade my impression of the book; the quotes they single out then stand out to me, and I overall feel like my opinion is colored by what someone else had to say. However, I love to read them and compare thoughts after. Another time I look to book reviews is when I’m curious about a book but don’t plan to read it. Sometimes a few good reviews will change my mind and make me pick up a book I didn’t think I would.

End of Book Advertisements-

You know when you finish a good book, and you read every last page? Acknowledgements, Discussion Questions, and then the ‘If you like this book, you’ll like…”. Sometimes those totally sell me. For example: I read a Tricia Goyer novel, saw advertisements for Sarah Sundin, and now she’s my favorite.

Author Endorsements-

Now, this one doesn’t always work for me unless I’m somewhat curious about a book already, but if one of my favorite authors endorses a book, you better believe I’m paying attention.

Relz Reviewz-

I love reading Rel’s cover reveal posts. They get me so excited about the new books coming out every season. Click here for her most recent cover reveal post.

A good cover, a snappy summary, and the first chapter-

Sometimes that’s all it takes!

How do you decide what books go on your TBR?

Quarterly Reading Round Up #1

Welcome to my new round up! This is where I hope to write every quarter about all the books I’ve read that didn’t get their own full-length reviews. Instead, I’ll be sharing my overall thoughts on these books.

I read 7 books in the months of January through March. I’ve already reviewed The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron, and I reread Once Upon a Prince in anticipation of the new Hallmark movie. Below are my thoughts on the other 5 books I completed.

The Austen Escape- 

A book from Katherine Reay is a rare delight. I loved this story about the complexities of friendship, the power a nickname can hold, and becoming your true self. The way music is woven into the story is also something I was mesmerized by- how music is connected to memories and the piano is more than just a piano to Mary. To name a few other lovely tidbits that I loved, I must mention the significance of dancing in the quiet stillness, techy devices, rediscovering creativity, cupcakes, fishing, and Nathan. My first read of 2018, and I couldn’t love it more.

Until We Find Home-

I was so happy to see a new book from this author. She wrote one of my favorite books a couple years ago, so my expectations for this one were through the roof. Unfortunately, this one was a big miss for me and I did not enjoy it. In the end, it came down to an unlikable main character. I found Claire to be selfish, and her refusal to love and bond with the children whom she rescued was her big downfall for me. I did find the dynamic alluded to between Claire’s mom and her aunt and uncle to be very interesting, and would have been interested to explore those relationships more. With all that said, I will pick up Cathy’s next book!

The Sea Before Us-

All I knew going into this one was the series is based on three estranged brothers who will be thrown together during the war. What I didn’t know was how they became estranged, and let me tell you, that prologue started off the series with a bang! Wyatt carries guilt and Dorothy carries this belief that her father doesn’t love her, both of which are heartbreaking to read about. How the things we believe about ourselves affect us so deeply. I really loved the letters in this book that Wyatt writes and receives; each one made me want to cry. Anders’ story is coming next, and all I have to say is I am very interested to read how the events of the prologue will play out in his story.

The Saturday Night Supper Club-

I was really interested in this book from a new-to-me author and was hoping for a novel that would be reminiscent of Hillary Manton Lodge’s Two Blue Doors series. However, this novel is different in every way from what I expected. I found the social media angle intriguing and relevant, especially with how it catapulted the action at the start of the book. My biggest issue was with the characters; I had a hard time connecting with and caring about them. By the time the characters’ backstories were revealed, it was too late for me. I wish I had been more engaged in this one.

With You Always-

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jody Hedlund book! This one had a slow start, but I immediately liked Thornton and the underdog first impression I got from him. Once Elise arrived in the town of Quincy, things really started to pick up the pace and get interesting. I really enjoyed how Elise challenged Thornton to understand the people who worked for him, and how he rolled up his sleeves, worked with the people, and grew to care about them.

What are you reading?

Once Upon A Prince: My Wish List for the Movie

ONCE UPON A PRINCE IS BECOMING A MOVIE! I am so excited about this. Hallmark is premiering the movie today, April 7th.

In honor of the movie premiere, I re-read the book. When I first read this book back in 2013, I remember relating so strongly to Susanna and her struggles. How she loses so much and is ready for God to use her. So, of course I was thrilled when I found out about the movie.

But I have to admit, I’m really nervous about the movie and if it will live up to the book. Isn’t that the fear of all book-lovers? I thought I would share all the moments I really hope make it into the movie.


Here are my must-haves for this movie:

  • Susanna’s breakup with her long-time boyfriend, including the line “I found the right ring but not the right girl”
  • Susanna and Nate’s first meeting in front of Lover’s Oak. And her telling him about her dream of getting engaged under that very tree
  • When Nate drives Susanna to the hospital when she gets a call, and then he waits for her in the waiting room for hours- so long that she thought he’d left
  • Nate helping out at Susanna’s family’s restaurant, the Rib Shack
  • Nate telling Susanna he can’t marry her even though THEY AREN’T EVEN DATING
  • The Colors Coronation Ball (my favorite scene)- Nate giving Susanna the first dance, and her wearing the only white gown in a sea of colorful dresses
  • Nate’s coronation and the moment when Nate and Susanna’s eyes meet
  • Susanna’s conversation with Nate’s mom
  • The confrontation between Susanna and Ginny
  • The ending, in all its perfect detail

Those are the moments I’m hoping to see! What are you hoping for?

Don’t forget! Hallmark is premiering the movie tonight. Check your local listings for the time in your area.

Will you be watching?

Recommendation: The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron
The Lost Castle, Book 1
Thomas Nelson, 2018

I was intrigued by the beginning of this novel and was soon swept away by the loveliness of the ethereal setting I found within its pages.

Three women. Three different time periods. Each of them equally captivating.

Ellie is our present-day heroine who is desperately trying to unlock her grandmother’s memories. But Alzheimer’s is a hurdle seemingly impossible to defeat. She travels to France’s Loire Valley is pursuit of the answers her grandmother is unable to give her.

We also follow the enchanting stories of Aveline, set during the French Revolution, and Vi, set during World War II. And when you discover how their stories intersect, the loveliness and romanticism of it will transport you completely.

Hands laid bare in her lap, fingertips still shaking- these were not the effects of weather, no chill of rain. It was the gradual opening of her heart, to see with new eyes the world around her. 125

Kristy has taken her writing to a whole new level with this novel. I was blown away by the characters and the beautiful cadence of their stories. This book warmed my heart with contentment each time I opened its pages to discover a little more of the story it holds within. I was especially touched by a scarf, a brooch, a portrait, and one larger-than-life fairy-tale castle and the significance they each play in the book and in the character’s lives.

And now, I sit happily and eagerly as I wait for the next book in this series.

*I am on the author’s launch team and was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own.*