Book Review · Books

Holy Hot Mess

Christianity can scream for perfection, especially when it comes to women having to come across perfect in their looks, life and schedule. I’ll confess. I like to look at the author photo. I wasn’t disappointed. The author, Mary Katherine is stunning. Honestly I was afraid I was in for one of those cheesy, feel good Christian books. I wasn’t wrong. MK’s book is one of those such books, but it’s not all warm fuzzies and hot cocoa.

MK tackles some deep topics. There are topics that I can really relate to. The chapter on growing up and wanting to be accepted and be friends with a particular girl at school, well I’ve been there and got burnt as well. Going to church and not being in the mood to go? Yes, I am guilty of that more times than I can count. But you know what? I miss that family atmosphere. Yes, there is always going to be church drama. Imperfect people crammed into one building all trying to learn about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit that equals a recipe for spiritual/faith drama.

I loved Holy Hot Mess. MK never is condescending or uppity, she gets right across from us and shares her heart, soul and some extra leftovers because she doesn’t want any of her readers to be left hungry or left out. She is funny, serious, vulnerable and most important readable. She doesn’t dumb down the tough subjects, but her writing is conversational, personable and memorable.

I received my complimentary copy of Holy Hot Mess by Mary Katherine Backstrom from Worthy Publishing. Views are my own and my own choice. I am so thankful I got to read this book. I love getting to discover new favorite authors. Thank you Worthy and thank you MK. I can’t wait to go read more of your books.

Book Review · Books

The Essence Of Nathan Biddle

Kit is a deep soul who adores his girlfriend, Anna, until the day he gets his own personal Dear John letter. Why can’t she love him like he adores her? She’s gorgeous, smart and did I mention gorgeous again? Kit feels stuck in a rut. How can his life go on like normal?

Kit is so distraught over the breakup he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he goes on a little joyride with his ex job’s vehicle, crashing it. Kit swears he experiences an NDE and died at the scene, but was revived by Anna’s stepfather, the Ghoul. Now with a busted leg he’s stuck healing at the hospital.

Waiting in the wings to be noticed is his friend’s sister, Sarah. She’s even smart, or smarter than Anna and she’s equally as gorgeous. Will Kit give her the time of day that she deserves? It’s like Kit is for Sarah, what Anna means to Kit.

While mending in the hospital Kit has to see a shrink. Oh, the horror. What can he say? He wasn’t trying to die. Going over his life with the shrink he has to come to terms with his uncle’s dark past, to piece together a mystery so bizarre he can’t believe he’d even consider something so wild as a possibility. What’s the true connection between himself, his uncle and his cousin, Nathan who sadly passed? Is his uncle truly cuckoo?

I received my complimentary copy of The Essence Of Nathan Biddle by J. William Lewis from Greenleaf Book Group Press, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and provided of my own will. This novel is a chunk, but keep reading because you’ll want to find out what happens. This book does a great job of showing just how deep a first love can be and how catastrophic a breakup is. It gives a great example of how one can wrestle with what you are taught about life and how that affects your reaction to what life throws at you.

Book Review · Books

The Halo Conspiracy

Homicide detective Lucas Nash has a fairly basic existence solving crimes, until he’s asked to cover the murder of a big high tech muckity muck. At first Lucas thinks it’s a simple death of natural causes, until the doctor examining the victim gets sick herself. There are a number of individuals who were around the headhauncho before he died and Lucas has to figure out who the culprit is fast.

The only challenge is that Lucas has to help protect one of the potential suspects and she’s far from ugly. In the process of keeping her safe he witnesses that this particular lady has some very unusual characteristics. Can Lucas keep this suspect safe or will he let her beauty distract him from his job?

This novel’s theme of futuristic technology is sobering. Things we thought not too long ago were mere fantasy are now a part of our every day reality. If you like futuristic themed novels then you may enjoy this fast paced, fun read. The characters are quirky, unique and you can’t help, but keep rooting for Lucas.

I received my complimentary copy of The Halo Conspiracy by Michael Murphy, care of the author for my honest, at will review. Thoughts presented are mine. If you need a fun, light, yet thought provoking read I highly recommend this novel. It’s short, but a fast paced storyline that will keep you guessing.

Book Review · Books

Sick Girl Secrets

Natalie thinks her life in high school is going great, until being sick morphs into having surgery and needing a wheelchair. Why does life suck? Kids at school can be jerks. A wheelchair will just be like a big red bull’s eye shouting to her school that something is wrong. Natalie doesn’t want to stand out in that way.

Day one of going back to school Natalie decides to ditch her new set of wheels and stashes it near the school at an old abandoned house. By the end of the week of physically walking everywhere she is shocked that someone stole her brand new wheelchair. Natalie is too zapped to move from the spot where her chair had been. After she is found by her aide and gets a talking to, Natalie caves to using her wheelchair at school.

One day in the bathroom Natalie encounters the one known disabled girl named Riley. She’s in a wheelchair and is very loud in her clothing and makeup choice. Natalie wants to avoid her like the plague. Why be associated with the school outcast?

Eventually Riley gets Natalie to befriend her. Natalie realizes that Riley is human with feelings and is a great friend. They hang out on the weekend and are excited for the upcoming school dance until the principal has other plans.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Sick Girl Secrets by Anna Russell from West 44 Books, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my choice. This novel written in verse deals with an important topic we don’t really discuss in school or socially as a society. Disability can be obvious, but also, invisible. Not all illnesses can be seen on the outside. Some are internal or mental. School can be a challenging place to try and fit into, let alone having to maneuver a wheelchair, crutches, etc. This story was fast paced, sweet, thought provoking and a satisfying read. Look for this upcoming fall release.

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.

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.