Book Review · Books

Girl Wash Your Face

If a book ever felt like coffee with your best friend this is that kind of book. Girl Wash Your Face sounds like it’d be a beauty book about facial cleansing products, but it’s more than reminding you to keep beautified. Rachel talks about the lies we’ve believed as women socially and within the church. She also, shares stories from her life that aren’t easy to publicly talk about. Some of the topics she tackles are: contentment, sex, motherhood, body image, and so, much more.

Rachel, to me, comes across through her book as one of those pretty, put together ladies who looks all coiffed and perfect, but I know she’s like all of us with everyday struggles. I can understand her love of Los Angeles and California in general. There’s something about Hollywood that has a dreamy, fairytale appeal. I’ve been in the audience of a kid’s show when I was in grade school. That experience ripped off my rose colored glasses on what the entertainment industry can be like. My dreams of acting got a rude wake up call. I can relate to her wanting a name brand purse because once I discovered Poshmark, watch out purse addiction. For some reason I fell in love with the brand Dagne Dover. Rachel goes beyond skin deep in what she personally shares.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own accord and mine only. I enjoyed this book so much I bought myself a physical copy to keep. This book is a short read, but full of a lot of empowerment. I can’t wait to go read her novels she wrote. Keep up writing Rachel. I want to read more of your work.

Book Review · Books

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

I haven’t read the whole Chronicles Of Narnia series. Yes, it’s a shame since it was one of the earliest series my mom would start to read to me as a little girl. As an adult I had heard bits and pieces about C.S. Lewis and his marriage, but until I read this stunning historical novel about his wife, Joy Davidman I had no idea all it entailed.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis sucked me into Joy’s 1950’s world of New York. She was married to Bill with two little boys. Her and her husband were both writers. Bill was an alcoholic and a cheater. Joy was miserable, but did her best to try and keep the peace at home.

One day Joy has a spiritual conversation of sorts. She decides to write to C.S. Lewis some of her spiritual, Christian questions. She had read one of this books and thought he may be able to provide her some insight. This brings to life a correspondence between them that gets intense. Bill starts to get concerned, but when Joy’s health goes down hill she is told she must get away to rest. Of course Joy decides to go to the UK, to C.S. Lewis, to finally meet the man, the myth, the legend. Will meeting her new friend be all she hopes it to be? Will Joy and C.S. Lewis’ friendship blossom, or will the reality of being in person dampen their connection?

This novel is the best love story I’ve read in a long time. I’m not into romance novels, but this one is sweetly written, magical, suspenseful and leaves you feeling stunned after the last page. If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis and want to read a historical novel that will keep you reading nonstop, and it’s over 400 pages, then I highly recommend this beautiful novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan care of TLC Book Tours from Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review are strictly my own. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this amazing book grab a copy from Amazon and check out more about the author, Patti Callahan. To get a sneak peak of the audio clips of chapters one and two: https://soundcloud.com/harperaudio_us/sets/becoming-mrs-lewis

Book Review · Books

The Solace Of Water

Two women. One black. One Amish. Both need a friend, but their worlds aren’t supposed to mingle when it’s during the 1950’s. Delilah just has to moved to a new town to start over fresh with her family after her son has died in a sudden accident. Emma is an Amish wife with secrets of her own. Both women are lonely and need a friend. One day Delilah’s son, George gets stung by a few bees and Emma discovers him in her woods. Delilah finds this white woman holding her son to shield him from the bees. She’s so grateful that Emma ends up hugging them both. Delilah’s daughter, Sparrow is a catalyst that helps bring these two friends potential friends together in The Solace Of Water.

This novel alternates between Delilah’s point of view and Emma’s, as well as Sparrow’s. This story is gripping, gut wrenching, humbling and jaw dropping. Each character is unique and both ladies stories deal with topics that are as relevant today as they were back in the fifties: death, alcoholism, family, friendship, marriage, romance, pregnancy and many others. I like how the author, Elizabeth Baker Younts included Dutch into the dialogue with Emma and her family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through TLC Book Tours. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This novel is a masterpiece in storytelling. I am definitely going to be looking for other titles by this author.

Book Review · Books

Auschwitz Lullaby

Ever since I was lent a copy of Escape From Warsaw in the fourth grade I fell in love with the country of Poland. I am not Polish, but for some reason the Polish language sounds like music to me. This book for younger children set me on my interest of WWII. I’ve read countless memoirs and historical fiction on this awful war. A few stand out as excellent. Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar is one of the gems that is a must read.

This WWII historical fiction novel tells the story of real life German mother, Helene Hannemann who follows her five children to Auschwitz though she herself is not a Gypsy and required to go there. Sadly, they are separated from her husband and left to survive in the camp on their own.

Helene was seen as partly privileged since she was German and Dr. Mengele chose her to help operate a nursery school at the camp. Helene did her best to give the gypsy children of Auschwitz a glimmer of normalcy with the supplies Dr. Mengele is able to get for the school. Even though the school is just a smoke and mirrors of the truth of the camp it gives Helene, her children, other children and the ladies who assist with the school some routine that gives comfort.

This novel was hard to put down. The writing was beautiful, some of the sentences were like music in the depth of their power. The true horrors of this war aren’t sugarcoated in this novel, but it is a lovely tribute to Helene’s life and the power of love you have for your family, no matter the cost.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. If you enjoy historical fiction then keep an eye out for the release of this book. I know I want to grab a copy. I am thankful I got the privilege to read this ARC. Thank you!

Book Review · Books

What Blooms From Dust

Have you ever been caught in a dust storm, or even worse yet, a haboob? I have watched one roll in and they are quite fascinating to watch from inside your house. The sky turns a funny yellow color, sometimes reddish brown and one moment you can see objects in front of you, then next they are hidden by the giant cloud of dust. If you suffer from asthma don’t get caught out in one.

What Blooms From Dust by James Markert is the story of a town called Nowhere, where the 1930’s bring black as night dust storms that turn day into night. Twin brothers, Josiah and Jeremiah both love a woman named Ellen. Sibling rivalry turns ugly when Josiah rats out Jeremiah to the police. He witnessed his brother bury four men and figures his brother killed them. Jeremiah goes off to prison. When a tornado rips through where the prison is at, Jeremiah escapes.

On his way back to Nowhere Jeremiah spots a family trying to sell one of their kids. He’s shocked a child would be for sale. With a flick of his coin the boy ends up following him. This little boy is described as not all there since he smiles nonstop. Jeremiah takes the boy under his wing as he returns to his home town.

Ellen is married to Josiah and has a son. She’s a teacher trying to survive the dust storms. When Jeremiah and the little boy walk into town she’s shocked how the little boy makes her think of a child she almost had, but lost.

When the dust storms won’t stop the town starts to go haywire. People turn catatonic, not able to eat or drink. The dust becomes just another fixture the towns people have started to ignore.

Will the towns people survive? Who is this mystery child who finds comfort in typing on his type twitter? Will Jeremiah and Josiah clear the years of hurt between them? Will a reporter’s desire to uncover the truth put a wedge between Jeremiah and Ellen?

If you enjoy historical fiction with a unique twist you may enjoy this novel. Parts of this book made me think of Stephen King. Will Nowhere allow a dust storm to take them all down?

I received my free ARC paperback copy of What Blooms From Dust by James Markert from TLC Book Tours care of Thomas Nelson and Harper Collins in exchange for my honest feedback. If you are interested in getting a copy click here to purchase from Amazon and to find out more about the author check out his website. This novel made me want to research the dust bowl more thoroughly.

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

Becoming The Talbot Sisters

Waverly and Charlie are twins who are orphaned when their parents plane crashes in Africa. They are sent to live with their Aunt Mae whose not rich like their parents were, but showers the girls with a stable, caring home life.

As adults Waverly uses her inheritance to go to culinary school and Charlie decides to travel to Africa where she ends up doing nonprofit work there. The twins used to be close, but as the years go by they became more like strangers. When Aunt Mae passes away they are brought back together.

In her grief Charlie makes a huge life decision to try and give Waverly the one thing she’s most wanted in life. A child. To be her sister’s surrogate. After multiple miscarriages Waverly has almost given up hope, so when Charlie offers this generous possible gift Waverly hopes her husband, Andrew will be on board. Will Charlie go through with her offer to Waverly? Will their sisterly bond survive such a complex situation?

This novel is sweetly written. Waverly and Charlie are two distinct characters that stand out. Waverly is a Food Network host of her own cooking show while Charlie is the traveling nonprofit humanitarian. I can relate to Charlie in that I am more of an introvert who likes to read. Waverly reminds me of my sister in her love of cooking unique dishes. This novel tackles tough topics like infertility, sisterhood and what makes up a family.

I received my ARC copy of Becoming The Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden for free care of TLC Book Tours from Thomas Nelson. I am usually not into Christian fiction, but this novel isn’t religious in tone. To grab a copy click here for Amazon and to find out more about the author Rachel Linden check out her website.