Book Review · Books

The Most Beautiful Disaster

I can’t deny that the berry color on the cover of The Most Beautiful Disaster drew me in. What drew me in even more so, is Hope’s personal story of redemption. Airing one’s dirty laundry in order to help others takes cojones and bravery.

Hope shares her life’s journey through having an affair while being a pastor’s wife and having her own ministry. She shares about the aftermath and all it took for her to gain back redemption. This memoir isn’t an easy read emotionally or spiritually. Hope gives helpful end of chapter sections called: Think About This and Scripture to Meditate On. She doesn’t merely share her very deeply raw story, but gives guidance on how we are raised helps mold how we handle future relationships.

What I love most about Hope’s memoir is how she encourages us, no matter what life has thrown at us, by our own choices aka consequences that we can lift out of our dark mire through taking it to God, asking for forgiveness and starting fresh. Life doesn’t have to be crappy. Even if it currently is we can work through it and clean it off.

I received my complimentary copy of The Most Beautiful Disaster by Hope Carpenter from Faith Words. The views are mine and my own choice. This memoir I think would make a great women’s Bible study read. I think it’s a topic that is taboo and kept hush unless the media gets wind of it, if you are a big name. None of us are ‘arrived’ and I think it would help women to see they aren’t alone.

Book Review · Books

Hurricane Summer

***TW: This novel contains content that may be triggering: verbal and physical abuse.***

Tilla gets to accompany her little sister to Jamaica for the summer to visit their dad. She’s one part excited and the other part nervous. Their dad has a history of leaving and shes weary he’s going to do another disappearing act. When they arrive the extended family on their father’s side is waiting for them. They seem all excited, except for her one aunt who seems put off that she has to give up her room for her nieces.

Tilla and her sister meet their assorted cousins and get the lay of the land, out in what’s known as “country”, They get to spend a few weeks at their aunt and uncle’s. Tilla is shocked when their dad mentions he has business to attend to, but that they will later be joining him in the city. Left alone with family they barely know feels awkward. Tilla and her sister have to also, try and figure out the local lingo.

Slowly, Tilla befriends a few of her cousins. Two girls her age, Diana and her friend Zory seem to be nice. One day when she is walking with Diana they bump into Hessan who appears to take a liking to Tilla. The big problem with that is Diana says that her and Hessan are meant to be back together again after being promised to each other in the church.

Hessan and Tilla strike up a friendship, but then another boy seems interested in Tilla. Diana seems to think Tilla is into this other boy, totally clueless as to the friendship budding between Tilla and Hessan. Who will Tilla choose?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield from St. Martin’s Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is breathtaking. It tackles such heavy subjects as verbal and physical abuse, family dynamics, racial class within a country and racism from within, privilege, and so much more. This novel would make a great book club book to discuss, though it’s not for the faint of heart.

Books

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield Q & A

What inspired you to write Hurricane Summer?

AB: Hurricane Summer is inspired by all the young women who didn’t feel a sense of protection growing up. I wanted to write a story that brought awareness to the safe spaces we need to create for young women who are figuring out their sexual agency. I was really driven by the father-daughter dynamic, and with this book, I wanted to explore how that relationship could shape the course of a young woman’s life. Tilla is no longer protected by the chastity of girlhood, and we see how quickly society weaponizes her sexuality, and how her pleasure is used for her persecution. Hurricane Summer is a celebration of a young woman’s pleasure and agency, by following her journey in how she reclaims herself and takes it back.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

AB: I love how writing gives me the ability to free my own voice. Too often as creatives, we have to wait for others to tell us that our voice is worthy of being heard. I think that idea is really changing, especially right now, when we look at who is “allowed” to tell stories. I love how much power speaking up has given me over my life. I hope I can continue to do that and inspire others to use their voices as well.

What is the book that inspired you to want to become an author?

AB: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone,hands down. Tomi was the example for me that you can do anything you put your mind to. She was an incredible mentor to me, and a huge champion for me believing in myself. I hope to pay it forward and be that example for others. We are all worthy.

Book Review · Books

Don’t Lose Your Head

I’m not educated when it comes to England’s history. I know the very bare bones about King Henry the VIII. This little hot pink gem is a modernized telling from each of his six wives and what happened to them. Dive in to hear from Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn (the famous one), Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr. Each have their own take on what transpired in being married to Henry. Each story is unique. I don’t know if I could stomach being stuck with the king. Which wife do you see yourself as most like?

I received my complimentary copy of Don’t Lose Your Head by Harriet Marsden from Ulysses Press, care of Pacific and Court. The views are mine and of my own choice. This little book packs a lot of history in a fun, sassy tone. The little text bubble conversations between Henry’s wives gives it a modern flair. If you love history and want to learn more then you’ll be pleased this book is not boring. How could it be with all the beheadings and royal drama? Side note, this novel is not for children as it does have mature topics discussed.

Book Review · Books

Willing

Liz has had bad experiences with men. Her ex husband was a cheater and the man she thought would repair her heart, Roland, wasn’t quite over his wife who had passed. Since she didn’t want to put her sensitive heart on the line Liz decides to just keep it purely to having sex. No heart involved, just simple gratification. Loveless encounters can only appear satisfying to your heart only for so long. When Liz decides to have a romp with her friend’s twenty-something year old son, she realizes some reevaluation is needed in her life.

Liz tries to distract herself with her photography business. Capturing beautiful brides and handsome grooms. The life she had hoped to have. When she meets up with an old friend, Darius, he suggests for her to get away for the winter to GA. He hints about a friend of his, Christopher who she might jive with, who needs a house sitter for his brother’s house. Liz is intrigued and decides to be adventurous.

Georgia is very different from her place in Vermont. The warm weather is a balm to her soul. Her dog, Obie loves exploring the property where this house is. Her landlord Christopher is definitely a hunk. She doesn’t want to get distracted by this handsome man as she’s needing to be inspired again with her photography. When the attraction is shown to be mutual Liz has to decide if she’ll let him in. Is there ever too perfect a man? Can Liz trust again?

I received my complimentary ARC copy of Willing from Blender Publishing, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and my own choice to share. This novel first off is intimidating by its size. I don’t normally read this thick of a book. It felt like a Stephen King length book. The thickness of this book is a big detractor I think for someone to choose this book. Aside from it being really long, it’s not merely erotic scene after erotic scene; though this novel is definitely for 18 and over. There is an in-depth storyline. The way that Georgia is described makes me want to go visit. It sounds gorgeous, not to mention Vermont is supposed to be lovely. The characterization isn’t phony. Relationships can be messy. They aren’t like a movie. We can try to portray it as such, but underneath it isn’t always what it seems. I feel this novel explores relationships and how to learn to trust again when you’ve burned in the past.

Book Review · Books

The Miracle Collectors

Do you believe in miracles? The authors Joan and Katie do. Both had life altering events happen in their lives that made them believers. Once they believed they wanted to explore the topic of miracles all over the country with no holds barred regarding religion or culture. What they discovered on their exploration is that miracles don’t favor. Each chapter offers different miracle stories they’ve been told. Some range on believable while others might take a lot of faith to comprehend.

I, myself believe in miracles. Being the result of one is humbling and yet in a way a bit of a burden of sorts. Your miracle is always connected with you like an umbilical cord. It’s always part of an intro when you are being introduced to someone new. It’s sort of like an invisible birthmark of sorts. You can never run away from your own miracle story. Coming to terms with it is something that both Joan and Katie share.

I received my complimentary copy of The Miracle Collectors by Joan Luise Hall and Katie Mahon from Faith Words. The views are mine and my own choice. This book is inspiring. I was thinking it was going to be from a strictly Christian perspective, but since the authors wanted to hear from a wide range of beliefs there is a variety pack of sorts on the faith spectrum. If you need a boost of inspiration I recommend this book of wonder. See if your mind can be changed about the reality of miracles. What’s your own miracle story? If you feel comfortable feel free to share in the comments below.

Books

Amelia Unabridged Q & A

Question: Who inspired you to create Amelia’s character?

Answer: Amelia’s story was largely born out of my own “what next” question when I graduated from college, but her character makeup was influenced by her circumstances. While she and I share a love of reading, the rest of Amelia’s personality belongs almost entirely to her. She came to me fully formed, which is rarity for my writing style.

Question: Are you going to write a sequel?

Answer: I never say never, but I feel like I left Amelia and Nolan in a good place. There are other worlds I want to explore, for now!

Question: How much did HP have as inspiration?

Answer: I tried very hard not to draw from a specific fantasy series as my inspiration for Orman, instead gathering all of my favorite aspects of many different stories and funneling them down into the bits that you see Amelia and Nolan read, but it’s hard not to nod to the juggernaut that is the Harry Potter fandom when you’re writing a book about readers and writers.

Book Review · Books

Honey Girl

Grace Porter is a people pleaser through and through. Her dad, Colonel has his daughter’s life plan mapped out for her. She’s worked this path and hauled ass getting her title of Doctor. Her passion? Astronomy. She has her two best friends, Ximena and Agnes and her surrogate family of sorts in siblings, Raj and Meera to help keep her sane. Life seems to be going fairly smoothly until a girlfriends trip to Vegas turns wild.

Grace wakes up with fuzzy memories of the night before. Her clues as to her night are a ring on her finger and a shirt with the word bride scrawled across. What had she done? Grace is always in control of herself and when she finds the note from the mystery woman of the night before she’s shocked back into reality. Who did she end up marrying on a whim?

Ximena and Agnes want Grace to find this mysterious woman. Grace is nervous and yet dying of curiosity. She must have either really fallen for this woman, or the alcohol was supper strong.

Grace is worried this new turn of events will derail her career path, but she doesn’t take vows lightly and desires to do the right thing. When her friends discover the mystery woman’s podcast they listen in. Grace decides to be brave and call in. Will this other woman remember their night in Vegas? Will she want to connect with Grace?

I received my complimentary copy of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers from Harlequin- Trade Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is filled with characters who I wish were real. The author does a wonderful job of captivating you from page one. Observing Grace as she wakes up from her wild night in Vegas to discover she has a wedding ring on with no clear memory of what the other woman looks like is an intriguing intro. The sisterhood between Grace, her best friends and her chosen family is playful, thought provoking and also, sweet. The author also, shows the challenge of having divorced parents and juggling your allegiance to them, even when one is a hard ass and other is flighty. This story will stay with you long after the last page. Grab a copy this upcoming spring.

Book Review · Books

I Love You To Pieces

Olivia appears to have a charmed life. Her father is rich, so she is not in need of want when it comes to accommodations, but the one thing missing is her mother’s love. No, matter what Olivia does it seems to grate on her mother’s nerves. Her times of respite come when gets to visit her grandmother. At her grandmother’s house Olivia’s stress can melt away while looking for seashells on the beach.

When incidents with Olivia’s mother turn sour, Olivia is whisked off to live with her grandmother. Peace reigns, but then Olivia has to return to life with her mother. Olivia can’t wait for her father to return from one of his business trips, but then the unthinkable happens. Olivia is crushed as her father was her protector. After a dire incident involving her mother, Olivia’s grandmother takes matters into her own hands. Olivia has got to be protected at all costs. She is sent off to a private boarding school.

With Olivia’s best friends by her side her as an adult, life seems to be normalizing after her rocky childhood. After a few incidents of Olivia waking up with different nail polish on and mystery items she’s wondering what’s going on. Why can’t she recall some evenings? Why does she wake up feeling hung over when she hadn’t drunk the night before?

I received my complimentary digital complimentary copy of I Love You To Pieces by Lori Flynn from Austin Macaulay Publishers, care of Booktasters and the author. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel is nail biting. I can’t fathom growing up in a home with a mother as monstrous as Olivia’s. This story is one of great challenges, but also, shows how the gift of true friendship and a love interest can spur you on to survive.

Book Review · Books

Sisters Of War

Natasha has a fairly cush life with her sister, Lisa and their younger brother, Nikolai and their parents in Russia. When World War II hits things turn nerve racking. One day while Natasha is walking with her grandmother, a drunk German starts to intimidate them and gets aggressive. Natasha is petrified. Her grandmother isn’t afraid of the Nazi and winds up injured, but before the soldier can zero in on Natasha, a handsome stranger appears and the drunk officer is dead on the ground. This mystery man helps Natasha carry her badly injured Grandmother back to their house. Who is this knight in shining armor?

Natasha searches for this handsome stranger, to offer her thanks for his heroic deed. When she finds him she’s shocked to realize he’s a Hungarian soldier working for the enemy. He says that he has no choice. Natasha returns home still smitten. Her sister, Lisa is a tad suspicious, but she’s distracted by her fiancé.

When the Nazi’s want to know who killed their comrade Natasha says she doesn’t know who killed the drunk soldier. It was too dark that night. She wants to keep her Hungarian safe. The only problem is someone has to take the fall.

I received my complimentary copy of Sisters Of War by Lana Kortchik from HQ, care of TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are mine and my choice. This wartime novel is a wild ride filled with sisterly drama, romance, adventure and the love of a devoted family. If you enjoy historical fiction then you’ll gobble up this must read.