Friday, February 23, 2018

Review: Why I Hate Green Beans: And Other Confessions about Relationships, Reality TV, and How We See Ourselves

Why I Hate Green Beans

"If there is one thing Lincee Ray has learned over the years, it's that the majority of women on the planet struggle with insecurities. Our skinny jeans mock us. Our just-trying-to-help mothers are just driving us crazy. Our social media feeds taunt us with everyone else's picture-perfect lives. It's enough to send you on a gummy-bear bender while binge-watching Friends reruns and not showering for a week. Lincee knows. She's been there. Right there, in fact. Gummy bears and all.

For every woman who's ever wondered if she's unlovable, uninteresting, or unattractive, Lincee offers her particular brand of hilarious (and hard-hitting) self-reflection. Like a true friend, she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all our imperfection, trust that God knew what he was doing when he made us, and maybe go buy a new tube of mascara. Walk alongside Lincee as she discovers that her identity is not found in her job, her relationship status, her bank account, or her social circle. It's found in Christ."



Author: Lincee Ray
Length: 210 pages
Format: paperback, e-book, audio

Hate green beans,
But love to laugh?
Pick this up!

I'm not the biggest nonfiction person, that isn't a secret. But this book definitely changed my opinion. Lincee had me laughing, crying, crying from laughing...ALL THE THINGS! 

This book dealt with some pretty heavy subjects, from bullying to divorce. But Lincee handled them with grace and one of the best weapons...HUMOR! 
If you know me you know I ADORE to laugh! I personally think it's better medicine than chocolate. (I do love me some chocolate though) 
If you're ever around my family for an extended amount of time--who am I kidding?! If you're around us for .05 seconds you will hear deep belly laughter coming from AT LEAST one of us. 
What can I say we're hilarious people. Okay, we THINK we're funny! But isn't that all that matters??

Now that I've explained, in extensive detail, about how much I love to laugh I'll talk about why I loved this book.

I instantly was drawn to this book because of the title. It spoke to me on a mutual "hatred for green beans" level, I knew I needed to read this book! Then I read what it was talking about and it spoke to me on a spiritual level. I knew I HAD to read this book. 

The words within these pages, the stories told, struck a chord in my soul I didn't know needed to be touched. 
So much of what she said was timed so perfectly by a loving God who knew what I needed, and when I needed it.

No I haven't experienced everything Lincee has, but what was so amazing about this book is I was able to take the MESSAGE of her words and apply them to my situation. That, to me, makes this book. 

I rated this book a 5/5 stars. I would recommend it to women who need to know they aren't alone, and need it handled in a way to lift their spirits.
(HEADS UP: there was talk of alcohol, and some uses of "sucks" and "crap")

Thank you for letting God use you Lincee, thank you for having a CRAZY life, and thank you for telling your story.
Love, 
A fellow hater of green beans



Quotes:

"Where are you God? I am a good person. You call me your child and you are just going to leave me here in all this pain? I can't pray anymore. I can no longer put one foot in front of the other. Obviously, this is the life you have planned for me, and I think it stinks. What did I ever do to deserve this? I have nothing else to say. I have nothing else to give. I am done!"
After my temper tantrum, I confessed to the Lord that I didn't know what to do, what to pray, or how to be. I calmly surrendered everything by admitting that I couldn't fix the emptiness. I knew I had to move on. I wanted to move on. I place all my burdens at His feet.
And that is where I really met Jesus. At the crossroads in my life, I looked to His cross.
This time, a nail-scarred hand held me tightly by the shoulders and said, "I know what it's like to be rejected. Don't be afraid. You are not alone. I see you and I will never leave you."

*I received this in exchange for an honest review* *All opinions are my own* 

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A huge congratulations to Tracy Hagwood who is the winner of the “Hearts Entwined” giveaway! 
Please email me your address Tracy and I’ll get your book ready for you! ❤️

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Thank you everyone for entering!

If you’re interested in more giveaways like this in the future, be sure to subscribe to this blog! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Hearts Entwined Novella Collection

Hearts Entwined: novella collection

"Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Love Knot," Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister's arrival by train. Mary Connealy's "The Tangled Ties That Bind" offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers "Bound and Determined," where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears' "Tied and True" entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. 

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers."



Author(s): Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Melissa Jagears
Length: 352 pages
Format: paperback, hardcover, e-book


Tied and True
They are Bound and Determined
That the Tangled Ties that Bind
Will always be Love Knots

First off, I'm gonna fangirl for a moment because this collection of authors is my everything!!! They have worked together previously and I can say it's magical when they do.

The stories in this particular collection did not cross over each other, but they all had a similar plot "tying" them together. (pun most DEFINITELY intended!) Each story dealt with romances that withstood trials that tested the strength of their relationship, their knot.

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The Love Knot

"When Claire Nevin's troubled younger sibling sends her an unexpected package by rail, the gift and the man who delivers it--an unexpected face from the past--threaten to upend Claire's life forever. Fighting to hold on to all she has built, will she lose what matters most?"

The first story was the lovely Karen Witemeyer's story, which was the fourth and final installation in her "Ladies of Harper Station" series. Click here to see all the rest of the series

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to Harper's Station, but I loved being able to see everyone one last time. And seeing one more lady find her true love. Our Miss Claire ALREADY had her true love before she even came to Harper's Station, but ran from him when a miscommunication arose. 

 Since Claire and Pieter already knew, and loved, each other it was a fast lovely romance. One I found no problems with. Their connection was so sweet. 
Both characters were gracious and kind, they took in baby without question, but they also didn't give up on each other. They worked through their hurt and distrust and fell in love all over again!

I wish the "gift" they received had a bit more screen time , but I also understand there are only so many words you can write in a novella.

This story had the most "knot" feelings in my opinion. Both in actual metaphors used and relationship testing. 

Overall I really did enjoy the story and how the series itself wrapped up and I rated it a 4/5 stars.


Quotes:

"Our pasts are so tangled and snarled, and I doubt we'll ever be put to rights. We've too many knots in our way."
"Good."
Her eyes jumped to his. "Good? What d'ye mean, good? Knots are a bad thing"
"Not to my way of thinking."  "I want to be so tangled and knotted up with you that nothing will ever pull us apart again."

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The Tangled Ties That Bind

"Connor Kincaid returns home determined to win the hand of the woman he was too young for when he left. But Maggie is training to be a doctor in a distant town, while Connor's about to settle on a ranch. Will either be willing to give up their dream? Or will they both have to give up the love of a lifetime?"


The next story was the hilarious Mary Connealy's  continuation of the "Kincaid Brides" series. Click here to see the rest of the series

I freaked out just a little when I saw it was a continuation, not gonna lie to you. I SUPER enjoyed book 1 (really need to get to book 2 & 3), and was crazy excited to see some of the characters come back to life on paper. 

I really enjoyed Maggie's character, she was a driven woman who wanted to make the world a better place.

Connor got a itty-bitty bit annoying, he seemed clueless in some areas. He came waltzing back home after 5 years and thought all would be exactly the same. 
Thankfully he made a turnaround and in the end their romance was sweet and innocent. 

I was pleased with how the story unfolded, then "tied" itself together again. I rated it a 4/5 stars.

Quotes:

"It's still daylight." She glanced behind her at Connor. "Unless we worked overnight and it's actually tomorrow."
"No, it's definitely today. Although today would be today even if it were tomorrow."
Maggie arched a brow. "What does that mean?"
Connor shrugged. "I think it means we're both exhausted."

"I'm glad we had to go through this tangle--it helped me know you better and love you more."

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Bound and Determined

"As punishment for his recklessness, Private Bradley Willis is sent on an errand to help a retired cavalry officer move a herd across Indian Territory. No one told him the herd would be camels instead of cattle, nor that the officer's headstrong daughter, Ambrosia Herald, would seem to be trying to undermine the whole enterprise. He's definitely been saddled with more than he's bargained for."


Story #3 was written by the wonderful Regina Jennings. This was book 2 to her "Fort Reno" series.
Click here to see the rest of the series

I have yet to pick up book 1, but after reading this story there is no doubt that I'll grab it soon. I think this was probably my favorite story out of the collection. Though they all had their charms, something about this one had me smiling from ear to ear.

I loved Private Bradley, he was such a care-free spirit, but underneath that young "kid" was a thoughtful gentleman! He was a loyal in everything he did, though not always to the liking of other people. 

I loved the chemistry between Bradley and Ambrosia! Their dialogue was witty, and quirky and just cute. 

Both of these characters were very "young" and immature when the story started, but I definitely saw major "growing up" going on throughout the pages. 

The ending was so cruel to my poor heart, but I can't wait to see if they make an appearance in Fort Reno again.

This story was a delight to read and I rated it a 4/5 stars.

Quotes:

His mouth twitched. "I'm not your father ma'am. It doesn't matter a whit to me if you get riled up, if you pout, or if you threaten to run away from home. I specialize in reckless, dramatic gestures, and I doubt any of yours would impress me."

Esmeralda was the name of Bradley's animal. Her loose, flexible lips puckered at himlike she was trying to kiss him from afar. Or spit at him, which was more likely.

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Tied and True

"Wealthy Marianne Lister is in love with business assistant Calvin Hochstetler, but he can't see past the difference in their social status. When Marianne takes a job to prove that she is prepared for a life of hard work alongside the man of her dreams, will it be enough to convince Calvin to risk it all for love?"


The fourth and final novella was the incredible Melissa Jagears' fourth story in her "Teaville Moral Society" series.
Click here to see the rest of the series

Melissa has recently become an adored author of mine. This story only elated my opinion of her stories.

This love story was all cute and sweetness. 

I admire Marianne so much! She did not care about wealth or what other people thought, she just wanted to serve God's kingdom and make one particular man fall in love with her. 
It didn't help that the man was ridiculously hard-headed about it...good thing she was just as stubborn. 😉

Calvin was a wonderful gentleman who had a lot of past hurts, which manifested in a distrust for true love. 
But through patience, persistence, and a couple cotton knots true love won in the end.

This was such a sweet read, and I enjoyed it immensely and I rated it a 4/5 stars.

Quotes:

"How long until you change your mind about us? I know you're scared, I understand. I'm scared too. But tomorrow my parents could go bankrupt, I might die, or you may inherit thousands of dollars. Nothing in life is fully under our control, but choosing to love someone--as hard as it might be--is."

"I know there could be hardship, but I think the joy we could give each other outweighs the risk."
She took his hand and squeezed it. "Don't shove away a lifetime of blessings because you fear trials. You'll have them no matter what you do."

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Overall the stories were quick, light, glorious reads that would quench anyone's thirst for a great historical! 
I loved that the stories were tied together with a common thread, but I'm also excited that each story belongs to a series so we can see these characters or towns a bit more. (I love a good series)

As a whole I rate the book a 4/5 stars, and cannot wait for future mash-ups between these fabulous ladies!

*I received this copy in exchange for my honest review* *All opinions are my own*
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GIVEAWAY:

One lucky reader will win a copy of "Hearts Entwined: novella collection"

HOW TO ENTER:

Simply comment on this post

RULES:
Must be 18 or have parents permission 
You can only be entered once

Winner will be chosen randomly at midnight on Thursday Feb. 22nd, and announced on Feb. 23rd's blog post. 

*This giveaway is not sponsored* *Prizes will be sent from me*

Friday, February 9, 2018

Review & Giveaway: The Rancher's Temporary Engagement





 On Tour with Prism Book Tours.



The Rancher's Temporary Engagement


by Stacy Henrie
Inspirational Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
February 1st 2018 by Love Inspired Historical

Undercover Fiancée

The Pinkerton agent that Edward Kent hired is intelligent, capable—and unexpectedly female! Though shocked to learn that Maggy Worthing will be investigating the threats to his Wyoming horse ranch, Edward needs to find the culprit. And if that means a temporary engagement to give Maggy a cover story, he’ll play along with the feisty detective.

Maggy always gets her man—at least when it comes to solving crimes. The young widow refuses to marry again and land under another husband’s thumb. Unmasking Edward’s enemies will earn her a longed-for promotion…but the heart has its own mysteries. Could working together with the handsome English aristocrat spark a real and loving partnership?


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A forgotten Earl's son who feels unworthy
A Pinkerton agent who feels unworthy
Can they heal each other's past hurts?


MY REVIEW:

 I really enjoyed this story! I loved the characters, the story line, the dialogue, Stacy's writing style. It was all done beautifully.

When I got to Maggy's POV I instantly bristled, I was NOT a fan of the arrogant attitude she emitted. (Arrogant people, real or fictional, are a huge pet peeve of mine)
HOWEVER! Within a page or two I understood why she put off that characteristic, and I admired her for it. 
What I saw at first as a cocky attitude, was actually strength and drive. The more I got to know her, and see her actions the more I really enjoyed how she was written and developed! She was such a strong and independent woman, she reminded me a lot of Meg from "Hercules".

Edward was our typical English gentleman, and I was FOR it! 
Just a few pages in and you can see he's carrying some deep hurt with him. But instead of letting it turn him bitter, he turned it into drive. 

He was the earl's "forgotten" son.
She was abused by both her father and her previous husband.
They both had reasons to hate the world, and hate life. But they turned their lives into something and proved that they were worthy to those who thought they weren't. 

This book focused a lot on "worthiness". A topic that a lot of people struggle with, Stacy did a great job talking about it! 

I LOVE "fake engagement" stories, LIKE CRAZY LOVE THEM, and this one did not disappoint! The banter between Edward and Maggy was SO great! 
Even though their romance happened quickly I didn't feel like it was super "attraction" based. They actually got to know each other, their characteristics, faults, weaknesses, their attributes, strengths. I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. 

The ending was so perfect! Though it was bittersweet to see flip the last page. 

I give this book a 4/5 star and definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys quick, cute, light reads!


Quotes:

"Just remember to be true to who you are, Eddie," Liza had often reminded. "You are of worth, most especially to me and to God."

A small smile appeared at her mouth. "That was rather quick scheming on your part."
"A first, I'll admit." Edward chuckled. "But I've had a rather effective albeit persistent teacher today."

Maggy gave him an apologetic smile. "That was a risky move, but apparently I'm not the only brilliant one around here."
"So pleased you finally noticed."


 *I received this book in exchange for my honest review* *All opinions are my own*
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About the Author


USA Today
bestselling author Stacy Henrie is the author of western romances and the Of Love and War series, which includes Hope at Dawn, a 2015 RITA Award finalist for excellence in romance. She was born and raised in the West, where she currently resides with her family. She enjoys reading, road trips, interior decorating, chocolate, and most of all, laughing with her husband and kids.



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Tour Schedule

February 5th:
February 6th:
February 7th:
February 8th:
February 9th:
February 10th: Grand Finale

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Tour Giveaway

- 1 winner will receive a $40 Amazon e-gift card (open internationally)
- 1 winner will receive a signed print copy of Stacy's novella anthology, LOVE FOR ALL SEASONS (US only)
- Ends February 14th





"You are of worth, most especially to me and to God."