Thursday, July 29, 2021

Book Review: Mischief & Manors by Ashtyn Newbold

About the Book:

When Annette Downing and her mischievous little brothers were orphaned, Annette closed her heart off, dedicating her life to raising her brothers and protecting them from her abusive aunt. But when her hateful aunt sends them to Kellaway Manor for the summer to reform the boys, Annette is reunited with the handsome Owen Kellaway, a childhood friend just as mischievous as her brothers. She soon finds her closeted heart in jeopardy in the battle between fear and desire. 

Does she have room in her heart for another?


My Thoughts:

There’s no telling how many times I laughed out loud while reading Mischief & Manors by Ashtyn Newbold. Flowing humor integrated into the family atmosphere at Kellaway Manor whether it was banter between Owen and Annette, the mischief of Annette’s young brothers, or the antics of Grandma.

Beyond the humor, the steady romance between Annette and Owen kept me turning the pages of Mischief & Manors. I loved the witty teasing, delightful flirtation, and swoony moments. As their growing affection faced obstacles from within and without, tension mounted until the beautiful blossoming of their love.  

Mischief & Manors stands as Ashtyn Newbold’s debut novel, but it is my personal favorite out of the ones I have read by her. I found the book highly enjoyable and look forward to reading more novels by this author. 4.5 Stars!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: One Transforming Love

About the Book: 

Title: One Transforming Love 

Author: Erin Elise Kiu 

Publisher: Aviva Publishing 

Release Date: July 13, 2021 

Genre: Christian Fiction

Moving on from her past seemed impossible. Until she met the One who promised to give her a future.

When Aubrey moves across the country to San Diego to escape her past, she is hopeful that she can finally discover God’s purpose for her life and meet her future husband. She doesn’t know too much about God, but she is confident her new faith and a new city will help her leave her drunken mistakes and dating history behind.

As she settles into her new beach life, Aubrey meets Jake while watching dolphins play in the ocean. They instantly hit it off and it feels like fate, but soon, Aubrey begins to question Jake’s true intentions and lifestyle.

Is this the guy God has chosen for her? If this is the life God has intended for her, then why does she still feel so lost and alone, and why does she keep making the same mistakes?

Aubrey quickly realizes her past has followed her to her new city, and that going to church every once in a while isn’t good enough. After a few nights she’d like to forget, God shows her that she has a choice to make.

Aubrey can choose God and to do life his way, or she can choose to continue trying to find love and acceptance from the world.

Will she ever be able to move on from her past? Will she have the courage to surrender it all to God?


Purchase Links:

Fun & Holy (Hardcover)

https://www.funandholy.com/onetransforminglove

Amazon (eBook)

https://www.amazon.com/One-Transforming-Love-Erin-Elise-ebook/dp/B098FLGTMR/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=one+transforming+love&qid=1626288953&sr=8-1

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58473061-one-transforming-love?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=BBPgsZTdgi&rank=1


Excerpt:

“Do you want to go down to the altar for prayer?” The guy nodded to the front of the auditorium.

 Hundreds of people were making their way down to the altar, lining up for prayer. Some at the front were ripping up pieces of paper—the contracts they had made with the Devil. A few people were crying, raising their arms in the air, as people prayed for them.

Aubrey felt like she couldn’t move. She felt like for the first time she was awakened to the truth all around her. To this whole world with God, a world of good and evil that she didn’t know existed.

She thought she was doing a good job, learning about God and reading her Bible, but there was so much she didn’t know. No matter how much good she did, it wasn’t going to cut it if she didn’t fully surrender everything to God. If she didn’t rip up those contracts with the Devil.

She had already surrendered drinking to God, but it was clear she had to surrender everything to God. She had to surrender sex to God.

But there was no way she was going up to the altar in front of everyone. She needed to get out of there. She needed to process this alone.

“No, I’m fine, thank you. Have a great day.” She grabbed her purse and quickly moved past the guy before he could say anything else.

The tears kept falling as she made her way to her car. She didn’t know how to process this. She didn’t know how to surrender everything to God, including sex.

It was clear God had spoken to her today. She couldn’t pretend sex wasn’t a big deal to God. She couldn’t ignore what she had just heard—that she had been letting the Devil control her life for so long and she hadn’t even known.

She had already tried to stop sleeping with Jake, but it hadn’t worked. How was she supposed to stop? She closed her eyes and prayed silently as she made it to her car.

How am I supposed to stop, God? How do I just give up sex? How do I stop the Devil from controlling this area of my life?


About the Author:

Erin Elise Kiu is passionate about helping women have a transforming relationship with Jesus. After experiencing her own transformation with God and seeing how God wrote her love story, Erin’s mission is to help other women live the fun and holy lives they were created to live while attracting their future husbands along the way.

Erin is an author and blogger at Fun & Holy, a blog and community for women to grow together as they become the women God created them to be. She has also led Bible studies and women’s groups at her church to help women discover their identity and purpose in Christ.

When she’s not writing, you can find Erin on the beach or biking along the coast with her husband in San Diego.

Join the Fun & Holy Community at www.funandholy.com to get free access to women’s Bible studies, spiritual growth tips, and prayer guides to pray for your future husband.

Are you ready to become the woman God created you to be and attract the future husband God has for you?


Connect with Erin:

Website

https://www.funandholy.com/

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/erinelisekiu/

Fun & Holy Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/funandholycommunity


Giveaway:



Author Erin Elise Kiu and I are hosting a giveaway on Instagram, starting on Friday, 7/30/21. Hop over to my Instagram page and follow me to prepare for the fun giveaway. The winner will receive a physical copy of the book as well as a $25 Amazon gift card!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Book Review: Halstead House by Aspen Hadley

About the Book:

Grace Natalie Burke was named after her mother's two favorite actresses, but the only thing they have in common is the ability to put on a good show. Growing up under an iron thumb, she's never gone off script, yet as she stares at the candles on her twenty-fifth birthday, she determines to reach for more.

Terrified but hopeful, Grace buys a one-way airline ticket to Lavender Island in order to visit Halstead House, the once upon a time home of the only person Grace had ever been safe with, her honorary grandmother Mary.

When Grace arrives on the island she's immediately caught up in the warmth-filled life she'd always imagined.

What she hadn't imagined, however, was John Lucas Halstead or the feelings he would stir in her – especially when he’ll do anything to keep her at arms length.

Just as Grace is finding her feet, her mother arrives on the island uninvited, forcing Grace to decide where she’ll stand once and for all. Is it finally time to rip up the script? Or will she accept her role and return?

Only Grace can decide.


My Thoughts:

Halstead House by Aspen Hadley makes a lovely summer read. The descriptions of Lavender Island and Halstead House gave me all the beach vibes. With a cast of unique characters to support Grace, the story explored Grace’s journey to discover who she truly is as she opens her mind to new experiences and healthier ways of thinking. I cheered as she made her own decisions and did the hard work of setting boundaries with her mother.

Halstead House started off a bit slow as Grace makes her vacation escape from her extremely structured life. It took a bit longer than I would have preferred for the friendship between Lucas and Grace to commence. Not too much later, all the romance came into play. Grace and Lucas have chemistry and lots of kissing scenes, but the romance stays clean.

Halstead House by Aspen Hadley will likely appeal to readers who enjoy clean, contemporary romances with depth and some touches of humor. This is the first novel I’ve read by Aspen Hadley and I’m glad I have her other books waiting on my shelf. Four stars!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Book Spotlight: Change Begins Here by Randy Siegel

About the Book:

Like many of us, Randy Siegel felt paralyzed. He wanted to make a positive difference, but the world’s multiple ecological, economic, health, racial, spiritual, and social concerns felt too overwhelming.

In his latest book Change Begins Here: Adopt the Mind of Christ and Build a Better World, Siegel turns to a number of faith traditions to conclude that as spiritual people we must awaken to the realization that change begins here—right now—with us. By adopting the mind of Christ, or Unity Consciousness, we can become the change we want to see in the world.

In his down-to-earth style, Randy Siegel shares how heaven is attainable when we adopt the mind of Christ. Not just for saints, sages, and shamans, Christ or unity consciousness is something all of us can employ regardless of our faith. Siegel explains how with three practical spiritual strategies supported by insights, practices, and exercises.

The three strategies are:

  • One: Lean into The Longing: We are creatures who long, and the source of all longing is union, reunion, and communion with the Divine. When we lean into longing, nothing becomes more important than strengthening our relationship with God.
  • Two: Awaken to Our Presence: By being present to the moment, finding God in silence and stillness, and seeing divinity in all people, places, things, and situations, we strengthen our relationship with God and increase our capacity to receive and give love.
  •  Choose Love: We follow what Jesus called the greatest commandments—to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Change Begins Here: Adopt the Mind of Christ and Build a Better World is available on Amazon.

Readers are invited to join the community Facebook page: Change Begins Here: Change Your Consciousness, Change The World.


Excerpt:

"If there is anything that will heal our wounded planet with its immense problems of social injustice, ecological devastation, extreme economic disparities, war, conflict, and terrorism, it’s a deeper knowledge, understanding, and acceptance that we all share the same planet, that all humanity is but a single people, and that people and the environment are interconnected aspects of one organic system."


About the Author:

Randy Siegel has written five books, including the Amazon best seller In Search of The One: How to Attract the Relationship You’ve Longed For. For more than thirty years, Siegel has been inspiring thousands of men and women worldwide to “stand in their power and become the full expression of all they are” through art, workshops, and writing. 

For more information on Randy Siegel’s work, visit LinkToRandy.com.

Book Review: Then Came You by Rachel D. Russell and Susan May Warren

About the Book:

He’s in Deep Haven to relax.

Detective Daniel “Boone” Buckam is more than burned out. After fourteen stellar years on the job, one bad judgment call—and, fine, a whole lot of cynicism—has forced him into a mandatory vacation. If he can get his head on straight, there’s a job as Police Chief waiting for him back in his Minneapolis suburb.

But then he meets Vivien.

Actress Vivien Calhoun isn’t really a drama queen. Sure, she gets swept up in the emotions of life—but please, she’s an actress. Or, um, was until a stalker made her flee the bright lights of Broadway. Now, she’s passionate about directing her local theater production. But when she accidentally ropes an uptight police detective on vacation into her cast, she can’t help but wonder if he might be the leading man she’s always longed for.

Of course, she’s in trouble.

Boone can’t help but like Vivien. He might even have a type—vivacious and bubbly, with a penchant for attracting danger. He can smell trouble even if she can’t, and is pretty sure her stalker has hunted her all the way to Deep Haven. He’ll have to stay by her side—even if it means being in her silly play—to keep her safe. But Vivien is more than he expected as she helps him discover a part of him he’s locked away…the part that said he could never love again.

So much for relaxing.

It’s summertime in Deep Haven, and the fun is heating up in this laugh-out-loud, charming story.


My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Then Came You by Rachel D. Russell and Susan May Warren. The authors combined a sparky romance, a stalker threat, and occasional moments of intense action to create a story that held my attention throughout. While I struggled a bit to connect with Vivien, Boone’s loyalty and protectiveness made him a great male lead. They each had obstacles to overcome and life-altering choices to make. A satisfying ending capped off the book and left me smiling.

Then Came You by Rachel D. Russell and Susan May Warren stands as the fourth novel in the Deep Haven Collection. Although the story has a large cast of characters, some of which I recognized from previous novels, Then Came You works well as a stand-alone read. I think it would be fun to go back and binge read all the novels featuring Deep Haven as the setting never fails to charm me. I look forward to reading the next installment in this series. Four stars.

 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Book Spotlight: A Soul as Cold as Frost by Jennifer Kropf


About A Soul as Cold as Frost:

"Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good fright... "

The Quarrel of Sword and Bone was a death sentence for anyone who stepped into the arena with the deranged Queen, whose soul had crisped to frost in an age long since past.

Sixteen-year-old Helen Bell understood tragedy better than most kids growing up. She knew what it was like to wear clothes from donation bins and be mocked by the beautiful girls in school. She thought those brutal experiences made her ready for anything, but she wasn't ready for this.

After an eccentric girl opens Helen's eyes to let her see the realm of Winter—a world with intersects tucked carefully into the cracks of our own, where monarchs have risen and fallen, it's forbidden to mention the name of The Dead King, and the currency is gold rings—Helen discovers things are far from ordinary in Winter. After trying to deny the existence of a disrupting train horn ringing in her ears for days, Helen receives a mysterious summons from a group who call themselves “The Crimson Court” to enter into The Quarrel of Sword and Bone—a traditional duel performed before one thousand witnesses that leaves only one survivor—and she’s forced to finally pay attention to the handsome boy who's been following her around with a warning on his tongue.

When the arrival of wicked villains propels Helen into the heart of Winter where there’s no going back, she finds herself being pursued by something else too—a whispered prayer battling on her behalf, and an ancient Truth that breathes living words of wisdom—the very wisdom forgotten by the Rime Folk when their disunity drove them to draw lines in the snow in an age of the past.

The Winter Souls Series blends action and warm Christmas traditions, bringing the old forgotten tales of the season to life with new and grittier versions of famous characters out of old holiday legends, folklore, and myths, such as St. Nicholas, the Snow Queen, the Scrooge, and the Nutcracker. A Soul as Cold as Frost is Jennifer Kropf's debut novel, ideal for fans of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms by Meredith Rusu and Ashleigh Powell.



Book Trailer for A Soul as Cold as Frost (Book #1)





Book Trailer for A Heart As Red As Paint (Book #2) 

Now available for preorder!




About the Author

Jennifer Kropf went to college for marketing and figured out pretty quick that getting a job in marketing was not going to satisfy her book-hunger in the slightest, so as soon as she started having kids, she began to write her debut novel and form the tale that eventually turned into the Winter Souls Series.
She is married with three kids, lives amidst lush Ontario farmland, and attends a fabulous church in the Wilmot Township that is intent on showing the love of God to the Wilmot community.
Her favourite authors are C.S. Lewis for the life he lived and his passion for God and writing, and J.M. Barrie for introducing her to Peter Pan and Neverland, and Stephanie Garber for giving her the Caraval experience, and also Marissa Meyer, Adrienne Young, and Marie Lu for writing books she could not put down.

Connect with Jennifer:

Instagram: @authorjenniferkropf
Facebook:  Jennifer Kropf Books
Twitter:      @KropfJen