Saturday, February 15, 2020

If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh

About the Book
Emily Ackerman has traveled the world, her constant compass and companion a book of letters her mother left for her when she died. With no father in the picture, her mom’s advice has been her only true north. But when professional failure leads Emily back to Nantucket to renovate and sell the family cottage she inherited, she wonders if her mom left advice to cover this . . . especially when her grandmother arrives to “supervise.” And especially when her heart becomes entangled with Hollis McGuire, the boy next door–turned–baseball star who’s back on the island after a career-ending injury.

As sparks fly between her and Hollis, Emily is drawn to island life, even as she uncovers shocking secrets about the tragic accident that led to her mother’s death. With her world turned upside down, Emily must choose between allowing the voices from her past to guide her future or forging her own path forward.

My Thoughts
“If For Any Reason”, I loved this title and the way it played into the story. When I first heard it, it sounded a bit strange but I didn’t think much about it. Then as the story of this book started to unfold it made complete sense and I loved it.
Courtney Walsh knows how to put her characters through the hard things in life and she writes in such a beautiful way that their pain, struggles, and emotions become yours. I always connect with her characters in a way that I don’t often do and it’s honestly beautiful. This was definitely the case with Emily and Hollis. Emily was such a broken character, she had lost so much and built so many walls and my heart honestly broke for her. But I loved watching her journey to healing and finding where she belonged. And Hollis, while it was his own choices that led him to where he was he’s deep remorse and dedication to being better was enough to endear him to me. I also loved the quiet way he broke down Emily’s walls and showed her unconditional love. I really enjoyed the way their relationship played out and how real they were able to be with each other.
Jolie was a sweet kid and the author did a great job of writing an authentic preteen who was still likable! I also loved Hollis’s family!
The setting of this story was beautiful and the escape to Nantucket was exactly what I needed on these dreary winter days!
If you like fiction with a lot of heart, tender romance, and emotions that reach deep then I cannot recommend this book enough!

Meet the Author
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. She writes small town romance and women's fiction while juggling the performing arts studio and youth theatre she owns and runs with her husband. If For Any Reason is her eleventh novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category, and her contemporary romance Just Let Go won the Carol Award in 2019.
A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children and a sometimes naughty Bernedoodle named Luna.
Connect with Courtney online at her website (courtneywalshwrites.com) or on any of these social media platforms:
Facebook.com/courtneywalshwrites Instagram.com/courtneywalsh Twitter.com/courtney_walsh


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

About the Book
How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.
Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.
When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

My Thoughts
I loved this book! Contemporary romance with humor is my absolute favorite and this book had it in spades! From the very first sentence I was grinning like a fool and it didn’t stop the whole time I was reading! Often it actually made me laugh out loud! But it wasn’t all humor, this book has a lot of heart to it as well and I really resonated with some of the lesson the characters had to learn!
At first glance Kimberly and Sam are too opposite to work together (and believe me it’s hilarious) but I loved watching them discover how well the actually complimented each other and balanced one another out! Kimberly had the vision and plans and Sam had the heart and they really just made a perfect team. It was so fun to see them move from constantly frustrating each other to cautiously working together, to realizing that they were made for each other!
I also absolutely loved the secondary story between Jules and Mick! Their story was sweet and I really enjoyed seeing them find their way back to each other!
It was really fun to have the story set in rural Australia and I loved all the Aussie stuff and lingo that was in it! And the farm life was really well-written giving the reader an extremely clear picture of how it was run without ever leaving me feeling bogged down by the details!

In short this book was amazing and it may have been my first Jessica Kate but it for sure won’t be my last!

Meet the Author
Australian author Jessica Kate is obsessed with witty romances.
She packs her novels with love, hate, and everything in between—and then nerds out over her favorite books, movies and TV in the StoryNerds podcast (official podcast of Reading Is My Superpower!) When she’s not writing or discussing fiction, she’s hunting the world for the greatest pasta in existence.
Her debut novel Love and Other Mistakes released July 2019, while A Girl’s Guide to the Outback hit shelves in January 2020.

Receive her sassy shorts The Kiss Dare and The Kiss Thief FREE when you sign up for her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

About the Book
Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district, they lose much more than just their store.
The sisters become separated from their father and make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend was murdered on the night of the fire. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.

Though homeless and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father's innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

My Thoughts
I need to start by discussing this stunning cover! It’s so striking and captivating and I absolutely love it! The buildings, the smoke, the back of the dress, it’s just all so perfect!
Jocelyn Green’s superb writing skills once again shone through and she crafted a vivid story that transported you back in time. And overall this was a beautifully written story. But I will admit that the first three-quarters were a little slow going for me and I found it easy to get distracted. Now again, this is in no way a knock on the writing at all, it was more a matter of taste and me liking things to move a little faster. I also really really wanted more from the romance-most of the moments that could have been considered romantic we were only told about in hindsight. The last quarter though was a lot more fast paced and I was really intrigued by the twists she threw in!
As for the characters, some were likable, like the hero, Nate, and some were a little harder for me to get behind. Stephen, the father, was the hardest for me. The mental issues he had as a result of his time in the war, while heartbreaking, were really hard to read, especially when we got his point of view as well.

Overall this was a beautifully written historical! And I loved getting to know more about the Chicago Fire and what life was like afterward for those who lived through it.

Meet the Author
Jocelyn Green is the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King, A Refuge Assured, and Between Two Shores. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly and have been honored with the Christy Award and the Golden Scroll. Jocelyn lives with her family in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Wrap-Up


Wrap Up

This read-a-thon went so much better than I ever could have ever hoped! I officially broke my record for most books read in a week! My total for the week was 25 books and 5,726 pages! I read a bunch of new great books and reread some books that I still enjoyed the second time! My favorites were definitely The Way of the Brave, Lake Season, and my reread of Love You, Truly!


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 6 Update


Day Six Update

Books I Read Today: 
Don't Kiss Him Goodbye by Sandra Byrd (112 pages)
Love You, Truly by Susan L. Tuttle (322 pages)
Premiere by Melody Carlson (204 pages)
Catwalk by Melody Carlson (204 pages)
Rendezvous by Melody Carlson (202 pages)
Spotlight by Melody Carlson (90 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Premiere by Melody Carlson
Catwalk by Melody Carlson
Rendezvous by Melody Carlson
Don't Kiss Him Goodbye by Sandra Byrd
Love You, Truly by Susan L. Tuttle

Pages Read Today: 1,134

Total Books Finished: 20

Total Pages Read: 4,750

My Thoughts on Day Six:
Read a little slower than I planned to today but still managed to read a ton so I was happy!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 5 Update


Day Five Update

Books I Read Today: 
Papua New Guinea by Melody Carlson (231 pages)
Mexico by Melody Carlson (225 pages)
Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd (182 pages)
Through Thick and Thin by Sandra Byrd (170 pages)
Lake Season by Denise Hunter (334 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Papua New Guinea by Melody Carlson
Mexico by Melody Carlson
Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd
Through Thick and Thin by Sandra Byrd
Lake Season by Denise Hunter

Pages Read Today: 1,142

Total Books Finished: 15

Total Pages Read: 3,616

My Thoughts on Day Five:
Well since it was day five, why not read five books? Lol! Honestly kinda shocked I got this many read in one day but also pretty happy about it!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 4 Update


Day Four Update

Books I Read Today: 
Ireland by Melody Carlson (240 pages)
The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy (298 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Ireland by Melody Carlson
The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy

Pages Read Today: 538

Total Books Finished: 10

Total Pages Read: 2,474

My Thoughts on Day Four:
Not a bad day overall! Read a little less than previous days since it was the only night this week that I had somewhere to be!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day 3 Update


Day Three Update

Books I Read Today: 
Forever Yours by Judy Corry (112 pages)
The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy (296 pages)
The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren (345 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Forever Yours by Judy Corry
The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy
The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren

Pages Read Today: 753

Total Books Finished: 8

Total Pages Read: 1,936

My Thoughts on Day Three:
Really pleased with today's results especially since tomorrow won't have as much reading time!

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day Two Update


Day Two Update

Books I Read Today: 
Romancing Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (194 pages)
Goodbye Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (189 pages)
Forever Yours by Judy Corry (172 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Romancing Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Goodbye Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson

Pages Read Today: 555

Total Books Finished: 5

Total Pages Read: 1,183

My Thoughts on Day Two:
Not a bad second day! Was hoping to finish one more book but needed sleep!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Bout of Books 27: Day One Update


Day One Update

Books I Read Today: 
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (209 pages)
Finding Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (185 pages)
Hereafter by Jody Hedlund (234 pages)

Books I Finished Today: 
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Finding Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Hereafter by Jody Hedlund

Pages Read Today: 628

Total Books Finished: 3

Total Pages Read: 628

My Thoughts on Day One:
Pretty pleased with my start and hoping to continue the momentum!