Thursday, June 29, 2017

Go Big or Go Home by Scotty McCreery

About the Book
It was just a simple singing competition that would be fun to audition for. Who knew what kind of doors it might open for a sixteen-year-old from Garner, North Carolina.
Go Big or Go Home is the story of a kid with country songs in his soul. The special thing with Scotty McCreery, however, is that he has this God-given ability to sing those tunes the exact way they should be sung. Daring to enter the limelight at such a young age, Scotty finds himself embraced by the nation, and even overseas, as he competes on "American Idol". This is his journey from his North Carolina roots to winning America’s most popular singing competition and launching a musical career he had always dreamt about.
Go Big or Go Home narrates Scotty's journey from a kid imitating Elvis on the school bus to 30 million across America tuning in to see him win Season 10 of "American Idol”. Now as he completes his ground-breaking fourth album, Scotty shares a glimpse of where he came from and the impact his faith, family and friends have had on a humbled guy who keeps asking “why me?”

My Thoughts
I've been a fan of Scotty's music from the moment I first heard him sing. We didn't have cable so I didn't get to watch him on American Idol but when I discovered his debut album I listened to it on repeat and did the same when his second one released. From all the things I'd seen he appeared to be a genuinely nice person so I thought it'd be cool to see his journey through his eyes. And I was right. I was actually way more caught up in this book than I expected and I found myself reading chapter after chapter (while his music played in the background of course). It was fun to look up the different moments he talked about on YouTube and view them kinda seeing both sides of the story. It was so cool to get to know more about the guy behind the songs and he really seems like such a honest, humble, hard-working person. It's awesome to see someone using their God-given talent and giving the glory to Him for it! I definitely recommend this book for all the Scotty McCreery fans out there!

Meet the Authors
Scotty McCreery burst onto the national music scene in 2011 at age 17, quickly establishing himself
as one of country music’s hottest new stars. By age 21, the talented singer/songwriter has sold nearly 2.5 million albums and received both Platinum and Gold album certifications, debuted three consecutive albums at No. 1 on a Billboard chart, achieved three Platinum-certified singles and two Top Ten hits, toured with Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, and Rascal Flatts, headlined his own tours, earned industry and fan accolades, amassed more than three million followers on Facebook and Twitter, received more than 150 million YouTube views, and he’s just getting started!

Travis Thrasher is a bestselling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books. He has written inspirational stories in a variety of genres, from love stories to supernatural thrillers, and collaborated with filmmakers, musicians, celebrities, and pastors on a variety of projects, including memoirs and novelizations. Before becoming a full-time author, Travis worked with New York Times bestselling authors for many years as the author relations manager at Tyndale House Publishers. Travis and his wife, Sharon, live in a suburb of Chicago and have three daughters.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson

About the Book
High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole's close childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.
With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

My Thoughts
This book took me quite awhile to get through, because honestly I just wasn't drawn into the story at all. I will start by saying that I absolutely loved the location. Savannah sounds so gorgeous and it has now made its way onto my list of places I want to visit. But besides the beautiful city it was set in, this book didn't have a lot going for it, sadly. Nicole was a decent character but she didn't have much of a backbone and was a little too nice which made her a bit of a push-over. Also she had little to no character development over the course of the book; she was basically the same from start to finish. And then there were the men. I felt like we barely got to know either of them. At the start, from what little we saw of them, neither was emerging as a clear favorite. But then suddenly Alex turned whiny and manipulative so obviously you wanted her to choose Ryan even though we never really got to know him well enough to see exactly the kind of guy he was. Bernie, Alex's daughter, was a nice enough girl, but I couldn't help feeling that she wasn't entirely necessary to the story and the time given to her could have been better spent developing the guys' characters.
Nicole spent her days working or playing tourist or being with Ryan, Alex, or Bernie. There wasn't a lot of substance to this but if you're looking for a mindless summer read this may be just up your alley!

Meet the Author
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

About the Book
Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.
David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.

They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?

My Thoughts 
Melissa never fails to deliver a wonderful historical tale that sweeps me away to another time and place. I enjoyed Evelyn's character in the previous book and I was excited to get to know her more. I loved how selflessly she cared for everyone around her, and as someone who has a passion for children I especially loved having a character who shares that calling. She was always putting other's needs above her own and was willing to do whatever asked of her. As for David, he was a hero I couldn't help rooting for. Despite being ridiculously wealthy he never once acted like he was even one iota better than even those society deemed unworthy. He was always trying to find ways to help, even going above and beyond what was asked of him. Honestly David and Evelyn were an amazing couple, she had great ideas and he had the ability and connections to help make her dreams a reality. They complemented each other so well. We were kept guessing until practically the very end what Evelyn's secret was and to be honest I didn't figure it out.
It was great to return to Teaville and catch up with the characters, especially Nicholas and Lydia, and there wasn't a part of this book I didn't love! Lovers of historical fiction should definitely check this series out!

Meet the Author
Much to her introverted self's delight, Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and historical romance novelist. She doesn't have to leave her house to be a housekeeper either, but she's doubtful she meets the minimum qualifications to claim to be one in her official bio. Her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, June 05, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #265

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished last week:
Enjoyed this one!

What I am currently reading:
Really liking this one!

What I hope to read this week:
I haven't quite decided! I'm going to be on vacation the second half of this week and I'm still debating which book(s) I want to take with me.

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

About the Book
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.
The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

My Thoughts
I absolutely love this author’s ability to make the more obscure parts of history come alive on the page. Growing up as a Christian and a homeschooler historical fiction was my bread and butter and I recall a decent amount of stories surrounding the orphan trains. But I don’t recall ever reading about the women who were placed out west to work. So the history nerd in me was soaking up all the little historical tidbits. But the fascinating time when the story takes place wasn’t the only thing I loved, every other part of it was equally rich and I was completely lost in the story. After meeting Elise in the novella that preceded this book I had already begun to admire her. Life seemed to have dealt her blow after blow but through it all she stood strong and was determined to do whatever necessary to keep her family together and safe. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to travel so far from your family at the time, when letters were the only form of communication and that could take weeks. But Elise was willing to make the sacrifice for the hope that she could provide a better life for her siblings.
Thornton couldn’t have grown up more different than Elise. He was the son of a wealthy businessman and had never wanted for anything. Though thankfully he hadn’t let that turn him into a completely stuck-up snob. Sure he was oblivious to much of what the poor had to go through but when confronted with his misconceptions he was willing to change. To the outside observer there were a million reasons why Elise and Thornton shouldn’t even speak to each other let alone fall in love but despite their differences they were exactly what each other needed. I loved how Elise constantly challenged Thornton to see things differently and how listened and then went and did something about it, he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
The challenge issued by Thornton’s father was certainly out of the ordinary and it provided quite the interesting twist to the story.
So yeah, this book was brilliant and wonderful and I hated to put it down! I’m looking forward to the rest of this series!

Meet the Author
Winner of 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.