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Friday, March 2, 2018

Bethany House Review- A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

And, the wind just doesn't stop, so I'm back! This time, I'm sharing my favorite book of 2018 so far. Drum roll please...

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*Summary*

Mercy McClain joined the school board to protect the children of Teaville, Kansas, from the bullying she experienced as a child. When the worst offender from her school days applies for a teaching position, she is dead set against it. Yet Aaron Firebrook claims to be a changed man. Can he earn Mercy's trust--and her support for the challenges to come?
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                                 *My Thoughts*
I have been a part of Melissa Jagear's influencing team ever since "Love in Store", and I'm not lying, her books get better and better. 
Mercy is the character everyone loves to love. She is kind, sweet, and loving but she still has flaws and a hard time with forgiveness. She's the kind of character that you can "feel" with, and commiserate with. Her name is something she struggles with, but not in a mean way, she's just had a lot to deal with in life.
Melissa did a fantastic job with Aaron. Mercy was sweet enough to be angry with Aaron over hurting her, but Aaron had just enough hurt in his own life to cause sorrow on the part of the reader. Trying to turn his life around, he was such a strong character while still being like a fragile little boy.
Overall, the storyline was amazing. I have never read a plotline like this, and I think it was so well written. Melissa added in plenty of twists that I NEVER saw coming, and kept my jaw on the floor. The ending of this series is such a sad feeling for me, but she did a wonderful job wrapping it up! Unlike others that like to tie it all up with a shiny red bow, Melissa kept it real while still making the reader sigh in pleasure. A thoroughly enjoyable, captivating read that puts it at the top of my 2018 favorites list!
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    *My Rating*

  I give A Chance at Forever...


                                       




                             5 stars! 

         

*
I received this book from the publisher, but was in no way required to give a positive review.


Happy Reading,

Nicki

Revell Review- A Passionate Hope by Jill Eilleen Smith

Hey everyone!I feel like I'm living in Chicago right now...either that, or my little Appomattox town should be renamed to be "the windy town", because WOW,it is breezy out there! Floors creaking, branches flying, and it sounds like a train is coming through our living room. Sounds like a good day to stay inside with a good book. Since it feels like I haven't had a moment of free time in a decade (hello, college meets career life), I thought I'd hop on to share one of this year's must read stories! 

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*Summary*

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.
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                         *My Thoughts*
I don't know about you, but I am such a skeptical viewer of Biblical movies and books. There just seems to be so much to get wrong and whenever I see one advertised I want to shout, "No, don't do it!". Of course, there are genuinely good Biblical entertainment options out there, but there are so many bad apples, I often feel like steering clear is the best option. 
That being said, "New year, New Leaf" is kind of my 2018 motto, and I'm trying to branch out. I'm always intrigued by the gorgeous covers and alluring summaries of Jill's books so I decided to give it a try.
Wow. If anyone could drown out my skepticism on Biblical Fiction, apparently Jill can. 
I've always loved the "little guy" stories. Those amazing stories that show how our amazing, all-powerful God shows that even when we think we are insignificant, He can use us for His good. Through the pages of this book, Jill beautifully brings to life the amazing, heartbreaking story of Hannah. Through all of life's ups and downs, she continued to believe that her God was greater. And through that faith, we know God honored her for His glory.
In these pages, you will probably rejoice and mourn alongside Hannah, and you will most likely want to kick some sense into Elkanah. Jill brought this story to life with such clarity and Biblical accuracy, I know God was glorified through it. But what I can guarantee you? You will not only gain insight into one of the most amazing stories in the Bible, but your faith in Biblical Fiction just might be restored. I know mine was.
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    *My Rating*

  I give A Passionate Hope...


                                       




                             5 stars! 

         

*
I received this book from the publisher, but was in no way required to give a positive review.


Happy Reading,

Nicki

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Revell Review- Pheobe's Light by Suzanne Woods Fischer

Hey everyone!I recently decided Thursday is my new favorite day. Since I am now working Monday-Thursday, it's like my new Friday and it is an awesome day. Plus, I'm currently eating a slice of pizza, so what could be better than a book and pizza?

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*Summary*

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she's doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a "minder" on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary's journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe's shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way--just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.
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                         *My Thoughts*
Suzanne Woods Fischer is a popular in-home name for readers of Christian Fiction. She's written dozens of books, and she's very well known for her Amish Fiction. A beautiful storyteller, her books always bring to mind that of a grandmother telling stories to her grandchildren in the living room by the fireplace. 
Her newest series is not an Amish series but follows a series of Quakers. And let me tell you, this series is going to be her best one yet if Pheobe's Light is any indication. 
Skillfully written in stunning detail, Suzanne masterfully shares (in a timeslip, no less), the story of Great Mary through a journal. Phoebe is given the journal for her 18th birthday but has little interest. At the end of each chapter, Suzanne would insert a page or two of Mary's journal to impart wisdom and shed light on Quaker life in the 1600s. Rich with historical detail, I found myself entranced in both stories, and couldn't decide which I looked forward to more each time I picked this delight up.
 Throughout the story, Pheobe learns the importance of family and that people and riches aren't always as they seem. Desperate to show Phoebe and the world he's changed, Matthew is an endearing character who I ached and rejoiced alongside throughout the story.

With beautiful detail, Suzanne makes you feel what her characters feel, smell what her characters smell, and see in your mind's eye both the beauty of Nantucket and the horrors her characters may face. A captivating story, Phoebe's Light is not one to be missed.

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    *My Rating*

  I give Phoebe's Light...


                                       




                             5 stars! 

         

*
I received this book from the publisher, but was in no way required to give a positive review.


Happy Reading,

Nicki

Monday, October 23, 2017

Influencer Review- All This Time by Melissa Tagg

Hey world! I am back! Life has been insanely busy, now that I am a college freshie, but I have so missed you guys! Anddd, I brought my favorite Iowa girl along with me!

That's right...

Melissa Tagg!



*Summary*

Bear McKinley's past refuses to let go...


Ten years ago, Bear gave up everything--his freedom and his reputation--for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him once again. Suddenly he finds himself back in Maple Valley, charged with the care of his missing brother's children, convinced he's out of second chances to make his life count. And yet, with every day that passes, these kids, this quirky town and the woman he never stopped missing help patch the holes in his heart. Maybe this is the fresh start he's been longing for all along. But as his newfound hope grows, so does the mystery surrounding his brother's activities--and when the threat reaches into the lives of those he loves, it's clear he can't run away this time.

Fear holds Raegan's future captive...

Raegan Walker is fine. She's happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that's what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can't help wondering what might've happened if she hadn't abandoned her art so many years ago--and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she's commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it's time to finally reach for more than fine. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she's kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending?
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                         *My Thoughts*
If any writer, any book, could carry me out of my days as a stressed out, tired college student into a place so different and yet so very similar to my own life, I have no doubt that they would join Melissa at the top of my favorites list.

Reagan and I have nothing and everything in common all at once. Colored hair? Not so much. Self-doubt? Love of family? Feeling like the odd one out? I think everyone loves a hero or heroine they can relate with. Someone they can cry with when it hurts, and rejoice with when life goes right. Melissa's characters do that for me. 

Bear? He is flat out adorable. Big and gruff and sarcastic and...oh I just love him! But underneath all of that is a secret even I couldn't guess at. His past, his hurt, just made me want to wrap him up in a hug.

Also, I know Maple Valley is a made up place, but that actually makes me sad, because I want to live there. So reminding me of my own small town, it's charm, friendliness, and smalltown quirkiness never fails to make me smile. It feels like home, and I'm so glad there is still more to come for Maple Valley! (Christmas novella, anyone?!)

My favorite thing? The reality. The hurt, the confusion, sure. But more than that, the healing. The love and redemption found in Melissa's stories are as heartfelt and real as you and me. If you're wanting to skip the fluff and move right on to heartfealt, romantic, comedic, beautiful stories, look Melissa up. You won't be disappointed. 
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    *My Rating*

  I give All This Time by Melissa Tagg...


                                       




                             5 stars! 

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 *Favorite Quotes*




*
I received this book free of charge from the author.


Happy Reading,

Nicki

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Influencer Review- A Love so True by Melissa Jagears

Good Morning everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful day! My day was going great until I turned the last page of today's book. Now I'm suffering Post book depression. Ugh. Guess I'll just have to start again! 



                   A Love So True
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                 *About the Book*

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town’s red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn’t limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well–if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.
David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father’s companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he’s shown interest in Evelyn’s work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.
They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?
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                 *My Thoughts*

Teaville- My current book home of choice!I love this special town. Starting out the series with a bang- aka A Heart Most Certain, I was absolutely delighted to find that I loved A Love So True even more!

This book is the most well done work of fiction I've read in a while. Seriously. 

The female protagonist in this story-Evelyn-is completely unusual compared to a lot of books, which just serves to make her more intriguing. A lot of books feature "adorable", tiny little women that fit perfectly under the guy's chin. (I mock, but I won't lie, I still swoon in those stories too!)Not only is Evelyn tall, possibly even taller than our hero, she has one other unusual thing going for her.

She doesn't have any desire to get married. Now, this has a surprising twist so I'm leaving the details of that little tidbit of spoilery (I just made a new word) out of my review. You need to be in suspense, right? 

David, our hero, is the most adorable hero I've read about in a long time. He does so many cute things including, but not limited to, cooking and drawing pictures of our aforementioned heroine. 

Let's not pretend though, that it's all about the fluff. You don't just want the heart palpitations and adoring looks, guys. You also want the depth, don't you? This book gives you just that. Delving into a part of society that most people don't like to think about. Melissa does a truly wonderful job of making sure that we don't forget that there are people less fortunate than us, and that the amazing God we serve desires for us to look out for those people. Such a wonderful story of faith!

SUPER cute guys. Seriously, super cute. Go read it. And then read every other book Melissa has ever written. You won't be sorry. 

Lovers of Jen Turano, Julie Lessman, Judith Miller, and Jody Hedlund will adore this book, and the author that penned it! 

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                *My Rating*

I give A Love So True by Melissa Jagears... 

5 stars!


Happy Reading!

Nicki

Monday, May 1, 2017

Litfuse Review- The NKJV Women's Study Bible

Hey everyone! I don't know how it is where you are, but it is HOT here! Right around 90 degrees all weekend, and, our A/C is out. Yeah, that kind of a weekend. BUT, to turn it all around, I had the pleasure of studying a gorgeous new Bible this weekend! Meditating on God's word always lifts my spirits, and I was able to enjoy the weekend. 


          
                The NKJV Woman’s Study Bible


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              *About the Book*

The Woman’s Study Bible poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation.
Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.
Now with a beautiful full-color redesign, The Woman’s Study Bible reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Since the publication of the first edition of The Woman’s Study Bible under the editorial guidance of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, this landmark study Bible has sold over 1.5 million copies.
Features Include:
—Beautiful full-color design throughout
—Detailed biographical portraits of over 100 biblical women
—Thousands of extensive verse-by-verse study notes
—Over 300 in-text topical articles on relevant issues
—Insightful essays by women who are recognized experts in the fields of theology, biblical studies, archaeology, and philosophy
—Book introductions and outlines
—Hundreds of full-color in-text maps, charts, timelines, and family trees
—Quotes from godly women throughout history
—Set of full-page maps of the biblical world
—Topical index
—Concordance
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                 *My Thoughts*
Of course, every Bible does, and should, have the same inspiring, loving words of our Lord within its pages. However, besides being such a special, important book, the study notes and large margins within the pages give you the perfect tools to grow in His word.

A stunning Bible, the light floral notes throughout give it a beautiful feminine touch. And, with three gorgeous covers to choose from; soft cover, hard cover, and leather, you can't go wrong! I have the two toned leather, and I know this Bible will be used for years to come!  
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                *My Rating*

I give The NKJV Women's Study Bible... 

5 stars!


Happy Reading!

Nicki

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Litfuse Review- Welcome to College by Jonathan Morrow

This book is where my life is at right now. Seriously. So. Much. STRESS. Proceed to read.


Welcome to College



             


                                            _____________________________________
                               
            *About the Book*

Is there a more frightening question for a graduating high school senior than “What will you do with your life?”
In college, whether they realize it or not, students will answer that question every day with each decision. All of the new friends and new experiences of higher education will shape their future. It’s critical that students know how to handle college before they’re in the thick of it.
Jonathan Morrow tackles the tough questions that arise during these formative years, including:
—How do you grow spiritually?
—How do you manage your time to both study well and have fun?
—Is all truth relative?
—Are there good reasons to be a Christian?
—As a Christian, how should you view issues like dating and sex?
Each chapter of this new edition has been updated, and the author has included a new chapter on Christianity, homosexuality, and the Bible. Grounded in both his own extensive experience and biblical truth, Morrow’s book is full of quick, easy-to-read chapters and excellent advice.
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                 *My Thoughts*
Ohhh, did this book ever land in my mailbox at the most perfect time. I'm definitely one of those super high stress/plan everything ahead teens. When will my diploma get here, am I going to fail my last course, what about senior pictures...COLLEGE! 

With over 300 pages of material on standing up for your faith and various other topics affecting Christian college kids, every high schooler should read this book. In fact, I already put it in my youth group's library!
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                *My Rating*

I give Welcome to College by Jonathan Morrow... 

5 stars!


Happy Reading!

Nicki

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