Friday, December 22, 2017

Review: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

"The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn. 

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora's wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them--and her future--in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?"

Author: Julie Klassen
Length: 448 pages
Format: paperback, e-book, audio

A young widow.
A failing inn she never wanted.
Can she revive it with the odds stacked against her?

Julie Klassen is an instant buy for me. Her books are always written beautifully! I so look forward to reading any of her work, so when I found out that she was going to write her first series I got excited!! After WAY to long I was finally able to get to book 1 (book 2's release helped push the train along 😜).  
Again, though I wasn't expecting anything less, Julie scooped me up and placed me in a beautiful new world (though sadly it wasn't real). She brought new, wonderful characters and a new, beautiful town with a new idea. 

A splendid blend of love and mystery. And a few cliffhangers... (Boy am I glad that book 2 is already out)

There were a few things I was expecting to happen, that didn't happen. And a few I wasn't expecting to happen, that happened. And I'm not mad about a thing! The book kept me on the edge of my seat, in anticipation, from the first page to the last. 

I really enjoyed all the characters, though there are quite a few. A key might be helpful to remember who's who...
They were all exceptionally written. I cannot wait to learn more about our Ms. Rachel Ashford, Mercy Grove, and hopefully more about Jane Bell. (Cliffhangers stink y'all)

I will say I was NOT a fan of Mrs. Thora Bell when we first started the book. She was so controlling and didn't think any opinion but her own was right. But at some point in the book, (couldn't pinpoint the exact place for you if I tried) she began to soften, and transform into this thoughtful matron. It was so nice to see for I really did not know how I felt about her staying in the Scrooge mindset. 

Klassen's books are never overrun with romance, but I've always enjoyed how she has written it! Honestly I NEVER know who to root for. 😭 I fall in love with them all, it's almost too much for me! 
However, there is an upside to this...I'm never too upset with who they end up with. 😉

I fell in love with Ivy Hill and it's residents, and cannot wait to visit their town again very soon! 

I give this book a 4.5/5 stars, and will recommend this book (and her other books) for now and always. 


"I see. You are wise not to discount the experience and wisdom of your elders, Mrs. Bell, but don't discount your thoughts and opinions either. You are intelligent and educated. I can see that. You have a mid of your own and should not hesitate to use it."

"So the knitting is a guise?"
"Basically," Mercy agreed, eyes twinkling.
"What about the tea?" Jane asked. "Is that a guise as well?"
"Heavens no. Tea is mandatory. What would a clutch of women do without tea?"

"Village life is like an ivy vine climbing a great oak. You cut off the vine at the root, and all the way up the tree, the leave wither. We're all connected."

*I purchased this book with my own money* *All opinions are my own*

Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: The Scarlet Cord (Beauty in Strength)

The Scarlet Cord

"The Scarlet Cord is a story of survival, breaking free, finding your place, discovering faith, and finding someone who sees you for who you really are.
Rahab grows up under the harsh rule of her father who forces her to use her body for his gain. After a great loss, she flees her father's house, but eventually she falls back into living the life of a harlot in order to survive. Despite how she lives and what she has endured, she feels a pull towards the stories of the Hebrew people and their God and somehow knows that her future lies with them. She ends up in the right place and time to be used mightily by the God of the Israelites. She even finds a love she never thought she would have.
Salmon is a commander among the Hebrew people. He was born in the desert, and has been wandering all his life. He has never wed, and feels deeply that God has someone set aside for him. He just hasn't met her yet. Salmon is sent into the city of Jericho as a spy and ends up finding his love in a brave, strong, independent, confident woman, despite that she happens to be a harlot in a godless city."

Author: Debbie McQueen
Length: 240 pages
Format: paperback, e-book

A beautiful, but tainted harlot
A strong, trusting Hebrew spy
A faithful, forgiving God
Redemption, love, and
"Beauty in Strength"

I have always loved the story of Rahab, and this reminded me of that love again.
The story of Rahab is filled with redemption, hope, trust and faith. 

Seeing Rahab as a young girl was so interesting. Seeing what choices were made for her. (I really hated her father not gonna lie) and what choices she made for herself once she was out on her own were eye opening. It's so hard to fathom that that was the time period; it was acceptable in that sin filled city for her to be a harlot...
But God had a plan the WHOLE time. Every choice Rahab made was designed by God, she needed to be where she was for a reason. 

I loved the twist the author gave this story because we see Rahab as a young girl. We see her blossom from a young girl into a young woman. There is even a love interest for our young Rahab. We also see WHO, not what, made her the infamous harlot we all know.  

Though this story in particular is a work of fiction, knowing the story of Rahab is a REAL story makes me smile.

The friendship between Salmon and Hur was FABULOUS! Their scenes had me smiling.

The story was well researched and the author used bible verses in her dialogue. (They were all marked throughout, and sited at the end of the book)

The story was great! Cannot wait to read more by this author.
I give this book a 4.5/5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who loves biblical fiction.

*I was sent this book by the author for my honest review* *All opinions are my own*

Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: One Christmas In Winter + Giveaway

One Christmas In Winter

"Reba Farwell is finally getting a chance to live out her dreams. Sent to Winter, Montana to direct filming for a crucial, on-location shoot, she knows the next two weeks will make or break her career. And she could definitely use a break. As if that isn’t enough, she’s got a secret that none of her crew knows. All she’s asking for is two weeks of small town, Christmas beauty and a little bit of on-camera sizzle.

Five years ago, Hoyt Bradley’s heart and future shattered in one fell swoop that landed him back in Winter. Thankfully, making lemonade—or his father’s famous lemon meringue pie— out of lemons is what he does best. Running Bentley’s Diner has filled the gaps left in the wake of his heartbreak, even if it hasn’t healed him completely. Not wanting to relive memories of his rocky start in the film industry, Hoyt does his best to steer clear of the dreaded film crew, but Winter has a way of bringing people together.

After one fateful delivery and a score of icy bad luck, Reba finds herself in a bind and at the mercy of what Winter can offer. Will she pull the film together in time to salvage her name as a director? Or will the sparks flying off-camera create more of a distraction than she knows how to handle? 

Come visit Winter, Montana in this Christmas Novella where the Christmas lights are always on and the snow falls most frequently when loved ones share a kiss."

Author: Bell Renshaw
Length: 163 pages
Format: e-book

A movie director from L.A.
An actor from Winter
Lights, Camera, Love

Will she follow her career or her heart?
Will he learn to love again?

Joining Bell's street team has probably been one of the best decisions I've made this year! 

When I found out what this book was about I literally squealed! Finally a Hallmark movie in BOOK form. (We all know it's normally the other way around)

I am now in love with Winter, Montana and wish with my whole heart is was a real town. 

For a novella this story did not feel rushed to me. Everything played out and flowed beautifully. Her writing style is so easy and light.
The characters were so lovable and cute. No one felt under built, they all fit in like a perfectly constructed jigsaw puzzle. They each had their place and they did their job. There were secondary characters that I loved and cannot wait to learn more about. (Ugh December 2018 come quick)

Reba and Hoyt both had to overcome terrible hurts from previous relationships, they both had hesitation about being together, but with those hesitations came time to think and not rush into anything. They weren't led by their overwhelming attraction to each other, instead they were drawn by each other's REAL selves, their real qualities. 

The plot was so cute, though a little cliché. Not that I'm complaining, I love anything Christmas and anything romance! 

I did NOT want this story to end, I took my sweet precious time reading it. I wanted to absorb all things Winter, Montana. All things Hoyt Bradley (yes please!) All things cozy. All things romance, and all things Christmas. 

This book made me giggle, it made me sigh happy sighs, it made me want to curl up next to crackling fire, and it made me want to visit this beautiful town. 

There were a few typos, hey it happens, but that did not take away from the story at all.

I give this book a 5/5 stars. I think everyone should read this book, and I will forever recommend it to people! 


"Please, at least let me pay you something for dry cleaning." That sounded like the right thing to offer, despite the fact that her attitude was making him want to back away slowly and disappear. She had Hollywood written all over her.

He laughed, shaking his head. "You IMB'd me, didn't you?"

"He brought a date." Troy grinned as he stepped behind their mother, making it impossible for Hoyt to hit him.

"Want to take a walk?" 
She grinned at his annoyance. "I thought you were an actor. Don't you prefer an audience?"
"Not when it's my mother and brother. And, ten to one, Beau is back there asking for a play by play."

*I am apart of the street team.* * I was sent a copy of this book for an honest review* *All opinions are my own*

If you are interested in winning a copy of this great story, click the link to my Instagram to enter the giveaway. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Forward to What Lies Ahead

Forward to What Lies Ahead

"Sometimes being strong isn’t enough. Ever since she was a teenager, Regina Whitman has relied on her tough, independent spirit to survive and to protect the ones she loves. Even when heartache and disappointment strike, she finds the strength to press forward, rebuild her life, and do meaningful work. But just when her outlook seems brightest, a tragic and shameful secret from the past catches up with her, jeopardizing her future and threatening the lives of the people around her. In the face of overwhelming danger and darkness, can Regina learn to trust God and embrace the love she doesn’t think she deserves? Or will the painful guilt of her past destroy her?"

Author: Chloe S. Flanagan
Length: 178 pages
Format: Paperback, e-book

I'm currently still in I need a day or two to process this book. I need more, but at the same time it was a perfect length.

It was a very face paced story, which threw me a few times. (I read it in e-format, so that might have contributed to that) (The formatting was a bit off on my screen)  I will be buying this book in paperback format, it will be a story I re-read!
It switched perspectives multiple times throughout the book, that has never bugged me, so I was able to follow along pretty well.

The characters were great! Regina was logical and almost cold, though once you know her backstory you understand her so much better. You don't see many main women protagonists as the logical, no nonsense type. It was definitely refreshing. 
There are underlying lines of romance, but it is not the forfront of the story. Healing and forgiveness is the main focus. The story of redemption and grace was so beautiful!

There were some serious plot twists throughout and boy oh boy were they written wonderfully. People die too young, people run from hurt, people fall in love, people have deep dark secrets. It was a WHIRLWIND of emotion for me.
This book made me sad tears, not laughing tears. That is really hard to do, I'm not a crier when I read. I applaud you Miss Chloe! 

I feel like this book would make a great movie, not gonna lie. They might not be able to capture it as well as Chloe did, but it would definitely be worth watching.

I give this book a 4.5/5 stars. I really really enjoyed it, and cannot wait to read more by this author. I would recommend this book.

*I was sent this book by the author for an honest review* *All opinions are my own*


"Did he call you 'Queenie' because your name is Regina?" 
"That was part of it. But he also said he didn't want to call me 'princess' like other dads because princesses sit in towers and get rescued, but queens fight wars and conquer lands."

"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14