Book Review · Books

Caroline

Growing up I was a big fan of “Little House On The Prairie.” I watched the show religiously M-F at 5pm sharp. I liked Laura, but found her sister, Mary stuffy. When I was asked if I wanted to review this historical novel, Caroline, I couldn’t resist.

Caroline is the viewpoint of Laura Ingall’s family’s move from WI to KS, but told from Laura’s mother’s stance. This novel is so detailed you feel as though you are traveling right alongside Caroline with Charles, Mary and Laura. The author, Sarah Miller’s research is detailed. One scene was so detailed regarding prepping hides to be tanned I almost got ill reading about brains being mushed to coat the hides.

I enjoyed reading this novel. The only challenge is I felt it was a tad too, long. The detail is excellent, but for that long of a book I’d almost want to read a biography on the subject. The realism of venturing out on the prairie is very vivid. The author took great care in explaining the little details of pioneer life. It makes me sit in awe how people could survive with such basic provisions and in modern times we are spoiled with an over abundance.

I received my free copy of Caroline by Sarah Miller care of TLC Book Tours from William Morrow in exchange for my honest feedback. If you would like purchase this title go grab a copy from HarperCollins and to read more about the author check out her website.

Book Review · Books

Rose Colored Glasses

Memoirs steal your heart. The author gives you a peek into their personal life, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Jo Ann Simon does just that in her memoir, Rose Colored Glasses. In her book she chronicles her marriage to Tom otherwise known as TK. Their love and romance reads like a fairy tale until they are faced with a harsh health update for Tom.

What would you do if your spouse or partner suddenly has to deal with a terminal illness? Jo Ann meets this challenge head on like a freight train, determined to find a cure for Tom. She is honest about their good days when Tom is back to his old self and days when getting through the day is a challenge. I can’t fathom going through what Jo Ann has. You expect to grow old with your other half.

I received my free digital ARC copy of Rose Colored Glasses by Jo Ann Simon from NetGalley care of Smith Publicity in exchange for my honest feedback. This memoir was beautifully written with little notes from Tom to Jo Ann sprinkled through out the pages. Loosing a partner to disease is devastating. Jo Ann shows how we can get through to the other side of this premature challenge to live life again. If you have a friend, family member, or an acquaintance that needs assurance they aren’t alone going through this kind of major life change then I recommend to read this book. It’s a book about hope.

Book Review · Books

Where Hope Begins

Some beautiful book covers are just that. Beautiful. The innards don’t always mirror the outer. Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is a book I asked to review because I thought the cover was gorgeous. The cover didn’t remotely prepare me for the depth of the story waiting for me.

Savannah is a mother still reeling from the untimely passing of her eldest daughter when her husband, Kevin, decides he wants to separate. He had an affair and decides to move out to go live with the other woman. To help herself heal and move forward, Savannah decides to go stay at her parent’s cabin.

She discovers she has nice neighbors to keep her company. One of the neighbors is Maisy, a little girl who looks so much like her late daughter. Savannah is captivated by Maisy’s Dad, Brock, not realizing who he actually is. Through her neighbor’s friendship she begins to heal her broken heart. Brock’s Aunt Clarice keeps Savannah on her toes spiritually, seeming to know so much without Savannah having to say a word.

Savannah feels like her life is finally showing signs of healing when Kevin wants back in. Will Savannah let him? How can you forgive someone you love and trust after betrayal? Is it possible for a family to be repaired? Can a family move forward after the loss of a child?

This novel tackles so many tough topics that are realistically portrayed through Savannah’s story: marriage, betrayal, death, faith, love, hope, family, relationships, friendship and more. This novel will stick with you long after the last page. I wish there was a sequel. Better yet a movie.

I received my free paperback ARC copy of Where Hope Begins by Catherine West for free from TLC Book Tours care of Thomas Nelson in exchange for honest review. To learn more about this talented author check out her website and buy a copy from Amazon.

Book Review · Books

The Widow’s Watcher

Jenna Shaw is at the end of her rope of grief. Her family of 5 dwindled down to just her within the length of one gut wrenching phone call. She’s left behind her last family member of sorts, a fur child called Beckett. Jenna was on a mission to get to a frozen lake so she could be put herself out of her misery. The frozen lake in MN is beautiful and she’s at peace with her decision until an old gentleman stops her.

Lars is a man, whose life has been dealt more pain than most people can fathom. He chooses to soldier on in life, so when he sees a strange woman out on the lake heading toward the parts of the lake where the ice is thin he chooses to go out and stop her. Jenna is not expecting to have her plans rudely interrupted. With grumbling she allows Lars to lead her back to her van. Low and behold it won’t start. Through some phone calls Lars calls his son to come tow Jenna’s van. With the son’s insistence Lars is stuck hosting Jenna while her vehicle is getting fixed. Neither Jenna or Lars are in the mood for company.

As Jenna gets to know Lars and his son, Owen, Jenna learns why Lars is such a brooding, sometimes grumpy old man. When Owen was little his mom left him and his dad behind, taking his two younger siblings. When his mom was found the kids were missing and his mom was in no mental state to tell anyone where they were. This mystery has clouded over Lars and Owen’s lives.

Jenna one day asks the fateful question if anyone has asked Owen’s mom if she could retrace her steps of where she took her kids on that day. This leads to the investigation being reopened. Will Lars’ wife be able to shed new light on what truly happened that day?

This novel, The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell is a masterpiece. The opening sequence sucks you into Jenna’s world and I don’t think you are able to let out a true breath till the last page. It’s rare you care about characters this deeply. My emotions were a wide range, but the one that stuck out the most is love. Of Jenna, Lars and Owen. Of how family dynamics can change in an instant and life doesn’t ask permission first. This is a roller coaster of a ride, but it’s worth every page. Pick up this gem at Amazon and connect with the author through her website.

Book Review · Books

Off: Your Digital Detox For A Better Life

This year I wanted to be different. I wanted to use my phone less. I wanted to unplug more. Have I in the past month of 2018? Nope. I even downsized my phone on purpose so the screen size would dissuade me from being on so much. That confession shows you how deep the phone addiction is. It’s embarrassing, sad and the state of most people unless you don’t own a smartphone. I’ve been seeing a number of books about to come out that deal with this topic.

Off: Your Digital Detox For A Better Life by Tanya Goodin is a short little book with great suggestions on how we can be wise with our phone usage and balance our life more. There are a variety of categories that Tanya addresses from how to unplug when socializing, having family time, exercising unplugged and restoring our love for hobbies that don’t involve a screen. I received my free ARC PDF from NetGalley in exchange for my feedback. So excited I read this short book and hoping to read others on how to divorce my phone addiction. Phones can be helpful, but when they atrophy our socializing skills then that should be a red flag.

Book Review · Books

Happier Now

There are books that you will read again and again. There are titles you will buy multiple copies of just to give away. Yes. Happier Now is this exact book. I just finished it a moment ago. I didn’t want this book to end.

Happier Now is part memoir, part self-help and part inspiration. If you are stuck in a funk and need a book that will help you crawl out of the mindset of, “I don’t give a bleep,” then be ready this summer to go grab a copy. The author, Nataly Kogan came to America from Russia. She’s one tough cookie. Through sharing her own journey she shows ways in which she’s allowed herself to be present in her life crappy days and all. Nataly gives wonderful suggestions on how we can be happier right now and be honest with ourself.

I have my grumpy, emotional, don’t get in my personal bubble kind of days. Nataly explains how giving ourselves permission to acknowledge these emotions will help them pass by quicker than trying to be stoic and act happy when really you just want to sprout out colorful language. Socially we are taught to stay strong smiling when to heal you just need a good cry to clear the air and feel better.

The different suggestions that Nataly outlines in her book are simple, easy to use (I plan on picking which daily anchors I want to implement) and I think will become contagious when others see the effect there’s daily practices have on your life. I’m excited, refreshed, and inspired to share this book once its released. I received my ebook ARC of Happier Now by Nataly Kogan from NetGalley care of Sounds True Publishing in exchange for my review.

Book Review · Books

Salvation On Death Row: The Pamela Perillo Story

What would you do if you committed a horrible crime and got sentenced to death? Would you despair? Would you feel like your due penalty was fair? Pamela Perillo lived through a very rough upbringing and drug addiction, which lead to a crime that landed her on death row back in the 80’s. In TX of all states.

In prison she was introduced to Jesus and came to faith. Through her new found faith Pam befriended a few of the other women on Death Row, aiding them in coming to belief as well. These women created a small family of sorts; praying, talking and encouraging each other through the tough days.

If you like true crime books with a spiritual twist you will like this book. It’s not for someone with a weak stomach. Pamela’s life was not a bed of roses whether while growing up or after she landed in prison. This book gives a realistic window into what it’s like to be incarcerated. I received my free ARC of Salvation On Death Row, care of KiCam Projects in exchange for my review of this book. Thank you for an opportunity to get to read Pam’s important story.