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.*

I Haven’t Been Blogging : on where I’ve been & what the future holds

I feel like it’s been forever, don’t you?


My presence on this blog in the last year has been nearly nonexistent; perhaps sporadic at best. I’ve been gone a long time.

In short, 2017 has been the most difficult year of my life. My family and I had a hard year, so this blog took the back burner in my life. And though life is still not what it was, I’d like to be back into the book world.



So, here’s the deal. I am changing things up and revamping the content. No more posting things that don’t excite me. No more posting book reviews ALL THE TIME. When I’m not absolutely in love with a book, I will not be writing a full-length review on it. Because when I feel that a book is boring or mediocre, I feel like my reviews turn out boring and mediocre, too. And, I DON’T LIKE FEELING THAT WAY. Reviews will be here, just not unless I can’t stop talking about the book.

Beyond reviews, I want to have more fun content on the blog. Lists of my favorite books about (fill in the blank). Quarterly round ups of books I’ve read. Maybe even discussions on non-bookish favorite things.

I don’t have it all figured out, but I do know I only want to share content I’m excited about. If I’m bored with it, I think you might be too.

Since we’re on the topic, what do you want to see here? What makes you excited to read a new blog post?

And tell me what I’ve missed! Any blog posts you want to share? Please comment below!

TBR: 2018 Edition

It’s that time of year when I get to share all my most anticipated books for the first half of 2018! I have 12 books here that I’m most excited about and I’m really looking forward to the books coming out this year.


A Song Unheard by Roseanna M White
January 2, 2018

Okay, so I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in this new series, but I love Roseanna’s writing, so I’m excited for the next one. And I loved her last series, Ladies of the Manor.

Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke
January 9, 2018

I absolutely loved Secrets She Kept, which came out in 2015, so I am thrilled we are finally getting a new book from Cathy!

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano
February 6, 2018

I’ve not read this author before, but this book sounds really good!

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin
February 6, 2018

This one is a no-brainer. Favorite author. Enough said.

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron
February 6, 2018

Another author I love, and this new series look so good!

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel
March 2018

Another new to me author, and I am really interested to pick this one up.

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert
April 3, 2018

Katie has become a favorite author in the last year with Life After and The Art of Losing Yourself. I can’t wait to read more from her.

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund
May 1, 2018

I’m planning to read the first book in this series over the Christmas break, so hopefully that will prepare me for this one. (I’m writing this ahead of time!)

Falling For You by Becky Wade
May 1, 2018

I love Becky Wade and I am eager to read Willow’s story.

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden
June 5, 2018

I really enjoyed A Dangerous Legacy, and this is the next book in the series. I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy it just as much as the first one.

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter
June 5, 2018

A new series from Kristi sounds exciting. I’m interested to read about a new cast of characters from this author.

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh
June 5, 2018

I’ve loved the last two books from Courtney, and I hope this one is equally beautiful. And look at that cover!

And that’s a wrap for most anticipated book of the first half of 2018! What are you reading in 2018?