The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway- Review

Title: The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World

Author:  Kristin Rockaway

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: 06/06/2017

Description from Goodreads: Fans of Sophie Kinsella and The Devil Wears Prada will love this smart, sexy debut novel of wanderlust. 

Objectively, Sophie is a success: she’s got a coveted job at a top consulting firm, a Manhattan apartment, and a passport full of stamps. It isn’t quite what she dreamed of when she was a teenager dog-earing pages in exotic travel guides, but it’s secure. Then her best friend bails just hours after they arrive in Hong Kong for a girls’ trip, and Sophie falls for Carson, a free spirited, globetrotting American artist. He begs her to join him on his haphazard journey, but she chooses responsibility and her five-year plan.

Back in New York, that plan feels less and less appealing. As Sophie recalls the dreams she’s suppressed, the brief international jaunts she sneaks in between business trips no longer feel like enough. Carson isn’t ready to let her go either, but as they try to figure out their relationship, Sophie realizes she may have to pursue her passions with or without him.”

Review: This book was amazing and sparked my wanderlust in such a wonderful and tantalizing way. The mixture of romance, adventure, and even a bit of suspense made this book absolutely perfect. The writing was excellent and the story was flawless. I didn’t want to put it down and the writing was so vivid I really felt as though I was there. Now I feel the strong desire to travel to the wonderful places that I now feel as though I know a little better.

I felt like this story gave my dreams wings. I found myself reevaluating my life and whether I am actually doing things that make me happy. I found that I am more like Sophie than I would have liked to admit. I live for comfort and security, not for happiness. Thanks to this book, I hope to change that, at least somewhat.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for anyone! I really feel that it has something in it for anyone.

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

On the Sickle’s Edge by Neville D. Frankel- Review

On the Sickle's Edge cover NEW

Title: On the Sickle’s Edge
Author: 
Neville D. Frankel
Rating:
5/5
Release Date: 
08/23/2016

 

About On the Sickle’s Edge

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Diálogos (January 15, 2017)

A masterful, page-turning odyssey set in Russia, Latvia, South Africa, and the United States.

“Neville Frankel’s ability to combine historical insight and human passion is spellbinding. I couldn’t put it down.”—Pamela Katz, Author of The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink

Inspired by Frankel’s own family history, this multi-generational epic holds up a mirror to a universal truth: all immigrants face the powerful tension between assimilation and cultural identity. Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director of International Jewish Affairs, American Jewish Committee

With the current refugee crisis in Europe reaching a scale unknown since World War II, ON THE SICKLE’S EDGE illuminates today’s issues, even as it sheds penetrating insight from the past. A gripping family saga of border crossings and shifting identities amid the chaos of travel and resettlement, this novel has its origins in author Neville Frankel’s personal history. It is a love story, a coming of age novel, and an odyssey of love, loss and resilience.

Told through the voices of three compelling characters: the endearing, scrappy South-African born Lena, transported to Latvia and later trapped in the USSR; her granddaughter Darya, a true Communist believer whose growing disillusionment with Soviet ideology places her family at mortal risk; and Steven, a painter from Boston who inadvertently stumbles into the tangled web of his family’s past.  Against the roiling backdrop of twentieth-century Russia and Eastern Europe, the novel delivers equal parts historical drama, political thriller and poignant love story. This epic tale is a powerful and inspiring testament to the human capacity for love and endurance in the face of exile and trauma.

Steeped in Russian history and Jewish heritage, On the Sickle’s Edge explores the way that culture and identity thread their way through generations. Through the story of one family, the novel represents the experience of many immigrant families and the way in which they have transcended trauma. It attests to the importance of family stories as a key part of one’s heritage and as a primary legacy to generations that follow.

Review: This was a well written, clearly well researched, and thought provoking novel. I was hooked right from the start and even though this is almost 500 pages, this book never released its claws.

This story was an intense story of love, loss, poverty, sacrifice, and what we would do for those we love. This is the first book I have read about the USSR and I found it both fascinating and terrifying. I felt like I was there, in the thick of it with Lena and Darya. The choices they were forced to make were horrible and I can’t imagine living like that. I give my complete respect for all those who suffered such horrible fates.

I absolutely loved Lena. She was such a strong and capable woman and she endured so much in her life. She never seemed to quite understand how much strength she truly had, but she was always humble and I loved that about her. She was given a tough lot in life and she just kept her head down and endured. I learned so much from her story and I hope to be a little more like Lena.

 Recommendation: This story is one that can’t be missed. I would recommend this to anyone. Those who love history would especially enjoy this read. This is the first book I have read by Neville D. Frankel but this will certainly not be the last.

About Neville D. Frankel

Neville Frankel AP

A native of South Africa, Neville Frankel is the author of two previous works of historical fiction, an apartheid-era novel Bloodlines and The Third Power, a well-reviewed political thriller about the transformation of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. He is the recipient of an Emmy for his work on a Frontline/BBC documentary, and is a contributor to The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. Neville is also 2013 and 2017 Jewish Book Council author and has presented at venues across the country. In addition to his passion for writing, Neville is an avid painter and mountain climber. He and his wife divide their time between Boston, Santa Barbara and Cape Cod.

Find out more about Neville at his website and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Purchase Links: Diálogos Books | Amazon
 
Author Links: WebsiteFacebook, and Twitter

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

 

 

Peace in the Valley by Ruth Logan Herne- Review

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Title: Peace in the Valley
Author: 
Ruth Logan Herne
Rating:
5/5
Release Date: 
May 2, 2017

Description from Goodreads: “In spite of their differences, Trey Walker Stafford knows he owes his life to cowboy and legendary rancher Sam Stafford–the uncle who rescued him after his parents’ death. Trey had left the Double S Ranch to pursue music against Sam’s wishes, but returns to central Washington when he learns he’s the best match for a procedure that could save Sam’s life. Although Trey’s found country music fame and success, he’s also endured the tragic loss of his wife. He croons about love, but struggles with a yawning emptiness he can’t explain.
Overwhelmed by a growing list of challenges, but mistrustful of Stafford men, single mother Lucy Carlton reluctantly accepts Trey’s help to revive her crumbling farm when Sam instructs him to repay the overdue debt to her family.
As the two grow closer, Trey slowly begins to open his heart to this beautiful woman and strives to let go of the grief he’s held for years. Lucy has a complicated history of her own. Can Trey accept her as she is, learn to forgive the past, and find the elusive peace he’s sought for so long?”

Review: This was such amazing book and I was truly sad when I turned the final page. Have absolutely adored the Double S Ranch series and I am sad that they are finished. These books are filled with love, faith, family, forgiveness, and cowboys.

 

I loved the story of Trey and Lucy. Trey seemed to be the brother with it all together and the one full of faith but he had just as many issues as the others. It’s so easy to think that famous people with a bunch of money have it all together, but that isn’t always the case. It was wonderful to read about this down to earth guy who was still trying to come to terms with the drug addicts who shaped his life.

The relationship between Trey and Cade was completely heartwarming. He was able to relate to these kids who were growing up without a parent because he was unfortunately in the same predicament. His love, respect, and gratitude towards Sam swooping in and saving his life, reminded him of what it’s like for a kid to have a strong man take him in to raise and love him.

 

This is a book and series I will read many times and I have no doubt I will treasure it each and every time.

 

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

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano-Review

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Title: Behind the Scenes         
Author: 
Jen Turano
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
April 04, 2017

Description from Goodreads: Miss Permilia Griswold, the wallflower behind “The Quill” gossip column, knows everything that goes on in the ballrooms of New York. When she overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Asher Rutherford, she’s determined to warn him. Away from society’s spotlight, Asher and Permilia discover there’s more going on behind the scenes than they anticipated.

Review: This was a hilarious historical romance. I love a good underdog story and this was exactly that. The misfit girl who doesn’t fit in with proper society, and doesn’t really care, has a horrible stepmother and stepsister, and just wants to run her father’s mines, somehow catches the attention of one of the most eligible bachelors.

 

This story has a bit of mystery included, when Permilia overhears a murder plot on Mr. Asher Rutherford and then is proven correct.

 

I loved how well this story shows that God guides all things, even when we have no idea what is going on. I feel that this is something we all probably need a good reminder on from time to time. The way everything fit together at the end was perfect for this message.

 

This is actually the first book in the series that I read and I didn’t feel lost, so this does work as a standalone also.

 

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not

required. All opinions are my own.*

Bai Tide by Erika Mitchell- Review

Bai Tide book cover

Title: Bai Tide

Author: Erika Mitchell

Rating: 4/5

Release Date: April 5, 2015. Champagne Books; First Edition edition

 

 Paperback: 244 pages

Description from the publisher: An espionage thriller for people who like explosions and sarcasm.

CIA case officer Bai Hsu is stationed in San Diego, where his job is to safeguard the valuable emotional collateral of some of the world’s most powerful people (read: their kids). Just when he thinks he’s landed the easiest assignment of all time, an operative starts targeting the school and it’s up to Bai to figure out who the operative is after, and why. This fast-paced story will take you from the picturesque beaches of San Diego to a deadly blizzard in Pyongyang and make Bai question everything he thought he knew about working in the field, and about himself.

Review: This book is not what I expected. This is a very good book but more of a cozy spy novel rather than a thriller for me until the second half of the book. This had a lot of action moves and fast paced but was a little more predictable than I expected. Not that that’s a bad thing, sometimes my favorite thing is to sit down with a novel like this and read my day away. I loved that this wasn’t a book that I would need to take notes just to keep up or keep looking back. Since this is a super short book, only 238 pages to this story, it goes really fast. It’s perfect for those lazy days you don’t feel like doing anything.

The setting of this novel was unique and interesting. You don’t usually find spy novels with this type of setting and it is perfect in this book. The fact that this takes place in a prep school makes this a book than teens could relate to and enjoy as well.  These characters were so strong and awesome that they are the people I would want protecting me or my children.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved how fast paced and action packed it was. This is a great book for adults and teens alike. I would definitely recommend this book! Also, the next book in this series, Take the Bai Road, is coming out July 3rd, so this is the perfect time to read this!

About Erika Mitchell

Erika Mitchell author photo

Erika Mitchell is the author of Blood Money, a standalone novel about one accountant’s efforts to take down a terrorism financier, and Bai Tide, the first book in her Bai Hsu series. Erika uses her lifelong passion for espionage to infuse her stories with the fun and intrigue of the James Bond movies she grew up watching, and sets those stories in ripped-from-the-headlines locations around the globe. When she’s not writing, she’s raising two tiny spies-in-training with her husband in Seattle, WA.

Find out more about Erika at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also read her blog at parsingnonsense.com.

 

Purchase links:  Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo

 

 

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

 

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Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan-Review

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Title: Trusting Grace
Author: 
Maggie Brendan
Rating: 4/5
Release Date: 
May 2, 2017

Description from Goodreads: All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for a loving husband and children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband’s ranch, until she places an ad for a hired hand.
Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.
Readers will be swept away into 1860s Montana’s lush Gallatin Valley, nestled among towering mountains and proud pines, in this emotional conclusion to the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series.

Review: Such a charming tale! I was hooked after just a few pages and my heart warmed more and more as the book went on. The push and pull of these characters was delightful. The Christian theme was sprinkled so well throughout this that it was completely natural. I never felt like it was forced.

I loved how the children played such an important part of this story and of the romance. Every child deserves a woman like Grace in their lives. The way she cared for them as though they were her own, right from the start, was amazing and I really wish this was completely normal, hopefully one day soon.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for any fan of Christian Fiction. This is the third book in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West Series, but I haven’t read the other books in this series and I didn’t feel as though I missed anything. This works fine as a standalone novel.

Read an excerpt: http://cdn.bakerpublishinggroup.com/processed/book-resources/files/Excerpt_9780800722661.pdf?1486146492

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

 

 

 

 

What Hope Remembers by Johnnie Alexander-Review

9780800726423

Title: What Hope Remembers 
Author: 
Johnnie Alexander
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
May 2, 2017

Description from Goodreads: When Amy Somers loses her job as a lobbyist, she moves to Misty Willow, well aware that she’s crossing bridges she’d burned years before. With all the mistakes she’s made and the uncaring things she’s done–even to her own family–she can hardly believe that happiness will find her, especially when Gabe Kendall, her first crush and her first kiss, rides back into her life atop a buckskin mare.

A former Marine, Gabe is at loose ends after serving a prison sentence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He sees beyond Amy’s hard exterior to the girl he once knew and loved, and he longs to see her open her heart. Yet with his vision clouded by shame for his past and fears about the future, he finds it difficult to see the path ahead.

But the memory of that long-ago kiss just may have the power to reignite a romance that brings out the best in both of them.”

Review: If you love the Misty Willow series, you will enjoy this book as well. It is a wonderful third book in the series and even though I didn’t like it quite as much as the second, it was definitely worth the read. Learning more about Brett’s sister Amy was interesting and even though I couldn’t stand her at first, as she began to grow, I started to like her a lot more.

This was a great story about forgiving ourselves and the power of love. Each of these characters were dealing with regret and differing degrees of self loathing. They each had to overcome their past to move into the future, something all of us seem to struggle with at one point or another. The mercy of God is the only way we can truly get past these difficulties and I loved watching them grow.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone who has read any of the Misty Willow series

 Read an excerpt here: http://cdn.bakerpublishinggroup.com/processed/book-resources/files/Excerpt_9780800726423.pdf?1486146516

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