Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker- Review

Title: Emma in the Night
Author: 
Wendy Walker
Rating:
4.5/5
Release Date: 
August 8, 2017

Description from Goodreads: From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night five years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

Review: This book was intense and I was drawn in from the first few pages. I read almost this entire book on one lazy Sunday; I finally had to put it down to go to bed with less than 100 pages left. I finished it quickly Monday. My interest did waver a bit towards the end, it started to feel a bit drawn out, but then it was quickly brought back in and all the loose ends tied up neatly.

This was one of those books where you can’t figure out what’s going on. As soon as you think you have it all figured out, something shifts and you start to doubt again. There was only one piece of the puzzle that I was able to discern and I even started to doubt that a couple times.

I was apprehensive about this book because I really did not enjoy The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl but I really enjoyed this one.

Recommendation: I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys physiological thrillers. Even if you didn’t enjoy The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, you very well might enjoy this one.

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

Book Review! Flood by Melissa Scholes Young

Title: Flood     
Author: 
Melissa Scholes Young 
Rating:
4/5

Description: This book is the story of what happens when you leave town, and then come back. Laura Brooks left Hannibal, Missouri, (hometown of beloved Mark Twain) after high school graduation in pursuit of a nursing degree. After her job in Florida is cut due to budgets, she has nowhere to turn but back home, only it’s not the soft landing spot she had hoped. Her mother is less than welcoming, her best friend Rose is going through a messy divorce and is adamant on putting Laura in the middle, and her godson Bobby captures her heart in a way she didn’t expect.

Review: I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would when I read the description. The characters were both relatable and exacerbating. Rose and Josh drove me insane and I wanted to slap both of them almost every time they were mentioned. Laura was decent and I liked her most of the time. She was in a rough and very confusing time of life and I have definitely been there before. She was working on trying to be better and figure out her life. Bobby was super sweet and a kid that most parents would adore. I love how he was the most mature person in this whole book and he was 12.

This book is basically immature adults dealing with the realities of life. They struggle to make ends meet and fight the flood all the while passing the blame for the problems in their life. This book felt like real life, messy, chaotic, and utterly confusing.

The writing was vivid and I could imagine the town of Hannibal and all the wacky residents.  The only thing I didn’t like about it was all the Mark Twain information between chapters. Some of it was interesting but then it just started to feel tedious to me. Luckily for me, these were really short and easy reading; It just didn’t seem pertinent to me.

Overall, I would recommend this book. It’s not a book that I couldn’t put down, but it held my attention and kept me wanting more.

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

Enjoy Your Journey by Joyce Meyer- Review

Title: Enjoy Your Journey: Find the Treasure Hidden in Every Day
Author: 
Joyce Meyer
Rating:
3.5/5
Release Date: 
June 6, 2017

Description from Goodreads: Are you enjoying every day of your life? Or do you tell yourself and others that you will find happiness once you have achieved a specific goal or position? Jesus came so that you might have and enjoy life (John 10:10). In this compact abridgment, Joyce Meyer combines biblical principles with personal experiences to explain how you can enjoy every day on your journey through life. You will learn such lessons as how to make the decision to enjoy life, how to rid yourself of regret, how to experience simplicity in life, how to find joy during times of waiting, and much more! Enjoying life is an attitude of the heart, and you can learn how to enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going.

Review: There was a lot of good advice in this book, and none of it was complicated. I feel as though this could really make a huge difference in many lives and the way that Joyce Meyer connected the advice to her life, made it easier to understand.

 

I also really liked that she specified that what works for some people doesn’t work for others so listen to God’s guidance in your own life and don’t worry about what others are doing. So many people try to pressure you to do what they do and that doesn’t work for me. This was a no-nonsense approach that really spoke to me.

 

One thing I do not like about everything I have read from Joyce Meyer is that when she quotes Bible verses, she always has to add her own words in there in parenthesis, or she is using a different version of the Bible that ads extra. Not only does that disrupt the flow of reading, but it’s usually just a synonym for the word that’s already there, and a lot of times, it’s either a more complex word she uses or she does it to a simple word. An example is during a Bible verse it has the word joy then following it are (gladness, delight), like we don’t know what the word joy means. To me, it’s not helpful; it’s just frustrating and demeaning.

 

Once I got beyond that, I did enjoy this book and found it helpful. I think there are many people who would benefit from this book.

 

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett- Review

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Title: The Road to Paradise
Author: 
Karen Barnett
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
June 6, 2017

Description from Goodreads: “In 1927, Margie Lane, an avid naturalist, convinces her Senator father to procure her a position at the fledgling Mount Rainier National Park. Since Ranger Ford Brannon lost his father in a climbing accident, he doubts his ability to protect the park and its many visitors. He certainly doesn’t relish the job of watching over an idealistic and privileged young woman with no practical survival skills.
When Margie’s former fiance sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, Margie and Ford will have to work together to preserve the beauty and simplicity of this mountain hideaway, but the developer’s plans might put more than just the park in danger.”

Review: This book was a wonderful summer read. I enjoyed amercing myself in Mount Rainer National Park and the beauty it holds. The story started slow, very good, but there wasn’t a lot to grip me and hold me there right away. Then I got about to the middle of the book and ended up staying up late just to finish it because I didn’t want to put it down.

The writing was vivid and I truly felt as though I was in Mount Rainer National Park with Margie, Ford, and friends. I felt like I was there, finding the flowers with Margie and clearing trees with Ford. I was with them on their fight against Carmichael and their journey up the mountain. I completely enjoyed my “visit” to the park and now I have a strong desire to visit there soon!

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely reread it. This is a great book to pick up and read when you just want something happy and light to read. This would be a great rainy weekend book or beach read.

 

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson- Review

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Title: Under a Summer Sky
Author: 
Melody Carlson
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
June 6, 2017

Description from Goodreads: High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole’s close childhood friends–who also happen to be brothers–vying for her attention.
With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!
Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

Review: I was impressed by this book and how quickly it passed. I was quickly drawn into this world of beautiful homes, expensive art, and two hunky men. The imagery was fantastic, I could see each of the houses that Nicole and Ryan discussed and I felt like I was there, walking through the historical streets of Savannah, eating the tantalizing food, and enjoying the company of some fabulous people. I loved everything about this story except the ending.

I was a little disappointed in the ending. I felt like there should have been more and there were a lot of loose ends that didn’t get tied up. It was not a bad ending by any means, I just wish there would have been a little more to it.

Recommendation: Overall I would definitely recommend this book. It was a really quick read, I read it in two sittings, and it was well worth the time. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Christian Romance’s.

Read an excerpt here: http://cdn.bakerpublishinggroup.com/processed/book-resources/files/Excerpt_9780800723590.pdf?1495466035

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

The Beginner’s Bible Carry-Along Treasury by Zondervan-Review

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Title: The Beginner’s Bible Carry-Along Treasury
Author: 
Zondervan
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
May 2nd 2017

Description from Goodreads: The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold.

The Beginner’s Bible®, the bestselling Bible storybook of our time, is now in a special carry-along edition with over 30 stories! Children will love The Beginner’s Bible Carry-Along Treasury created especially for tiny hands to carry with them wherever they go. The carry-along edition features a smaller size, a go-anywhere handle, and an easy magnetic closure. Kids will come to know and love the key stories and characters of the Bible with this best-loved Bible storybook. Now updated with vibrant new art, The Beginner’s Bible® is the perfect starting point for children. Little ones will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner’s Bible® just like millions of children before!”

Review: I thought this book was excellent! The writing was really well done and the pictures were adorable and fit the corresponding story very well. The handle and magnetic closure on this book make this great for sleepovers at grandma’s or just for carrying into bed for the nighttime reading. The magnetic closure really looks like it will protect the pages, since they are the paper pages, not board book pages.

This is really well organized and the stories follow the Bible well. The first story is about the God creating the world and it goes in chronological order from there. This should make the transition to the real Bible much easier when the children get old enough to move onto it.

The one thing that was weird with this book was what age this was aimed for. The handle and the magnetic cover coupled with the cartoon illustrations make this seem like it’s for very young children, however, the writing and the complexity of the stories seem more aimed for older children, 5-7ish years old. Most Bible stories for young children are in a sense “dumbed down” to accommodate the understanding and attention span of toddlers; this one is not.

 Final thoughts: Overall, I really liked this and it will get  a lot of use.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

The Beach at Painter’s Cove by Shelley Noble- Review

The Beach at Painter's Cove cover

Title: The Beach at Painter’s Cove
Author: 
Shelly Noble
Rating:
3/5

About The Beach at Painter’s Cove

• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 13, 2017)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Beach comes another heartwarming story of four generations of women who reunite in their crumbling family mansion by the sea for a dramatic summer filled with love, family, secrets and sisterhood.

The Whitaker family’s Connecticut mansion, Muses by the Sea, has always been a haven for artists, a hotbed of creativity, extravagances, and the occasional scandal. Art patrons for generations, the Whitakers supported strangers but drained the life out of each other. Now, after being estranged for years, four generations of Whitaker women find themselves once again at The Muses.

Leo, the Whitaker matriarch, lives in the rambling mansion crammed with artwork and junk. She plans to stay there until she joins her husband Wes on the knoll overlooking the cove and meadow where they first met. Her sister-in-law Fae, the town eccentric, is desperate to keep a secret she has been hiding for years.

Jillian, is a jet setting actress, down on her luck, and has run out of men to support her. She thinks selling The Muses will make life easier for her mother, Leo, and Fae by moving them into assisted living. The sale will also bring her the funds to get herself back on top.

Issy, Jillian’s daughter, has a successful life as a museum exhibit designer that takes her around the world. But the Muses and her grandmother are the only family she’s known and when her sister leaves her own children with Leo, Issy knows she has to step in to help.

Steph, is only twelve-years-old and desperately needs someone to fire her imagination and bring her out of her shell. What she begins to discover at the Muses could change the course of her future.

As Issy martials the family together to restore the mansion and catalogue the massive art collection, a surprising thing happens. Despite storms and moonlight dancing, diva attacks and cat fights, trips to the beach and flights of fancy, these four generations of erratic, dramatic women may just find a way to save the Muses and reunite their family.

Review: It’s very difficult for me to review this book. Some parts I absolutely loved, but other parts, specifically the beginning, I completely hated. I couldn’t stand the beginning of this book and actually contemplated not finishing it. I didn’t really like any of the characters. Issy drove me insane; Leo was stuck in the past and was rather dull. She didn’t ever really do anything; her storyline was just her thinking about her late husband. I kind of felt like I was watching someone stare at a wall all day, and Aunt Fae was just weird. I know Fae was suppose to be weird but her whole Elf King and Faeries and being able to “feel the energies” was just a little too sci-fi for me. Steph was alright but even she was kind of boring.

Issy gets a call at work saying that her grandmother is in the hospital and that her sister’s children were going to go into foster care if she didn’t come and get them. Apparently her sister Vivienne had dropped her children off with her grandmother and left without saying where she was going or when she was coming back. These children were in a hospital, already having basically been abandoned by their mother, scared out of their mind because their great-grandmother who was taking care of them is sick and in the hospital. The oldest, Steph, is 12, Amanda is 8, and Griffin is 5. Issy took them home but then she kept calling the kids brats, and nicknamed them “Whiner, Moaner, and Slump”. This drove me insane! One of the worst parts for me was when she was thinking that there was no way she was going to take in those kids, she hadn’t ever really wanted to be a mother, and she was definitely not going to change that for those “spoiled brats.”

I completely put this book down after that and read another book instead. However, I agreed to do a review so after recovering my patience, I picked it back up and forced myself to finish it. Once Issy started to grow up and not be so self-absorbed, something she hated about her mother and sister, the story started to get better. There were parts of the story that were suspenseful and once we got to that part, the characters got more interesting. Issy finally stopped calling the kids spoiled brats and started to actually act like a good human being. I actually really enjoyed the story after that. When I think back on the second half of the book, I really want to give it at least 4 stars, but the beginning I would give 1, maybe 2. If the first half of this book was fixed, I think this book could have been excellent.

Overall, I would say that if you can get past the first 100-150 pages of the book, it’s really good.

 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

About Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble AP

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.

Find out more about Shelley at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*