Friday, July 27, 2018

Review: The Solace of Water

The Solace of Water
by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Why I chose this book? The title called to me
When I read this book? July 2018
Who should read this book? Readers of period fiction or Amish fiction  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:  ★★★½    3½ Stars

Here is a synopsis of The Solace of Water from TLC Book Tours

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 5, 2018)
“Younts has set herself apart with this exquisite story of friendship and redemption . . . I’ll be talking about this book for years to come.” —Rachel Hauck, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress
In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.
After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.
Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.
With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.
Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.
My Review

This was a quick read and an interesting read.I’ve read Amish fiction before, and enjoyed it, but it often seems like it’s the same story with different characters. This book definitely did not pick that pattern! One of the three main characters IS Amish, but the Amish community played a minor role in the story. Instead, the Amish character, Emma, interatef mostly with her African-American neighbors, Delilah and her daughter, Sparrow.

This is a story of friendship and moving through grief, but what really struck me about this story was the setting—a northern state in the 1950s. Delilah and her family moved from Alabama, where the Jim Crow laws spelled out very clearly that Delilah and her family were not to enter certain spaces, and if they did, there were consequences. So Delilah was very surprised when she came to the north, where there were no ‘whites only’ signs, to find that the rules were sitll there, but ‘understood’ rather than spelled out. It was difficult for her to learn the new rules.

The end of the book left me hanging. I feel like I know what happens with Delilah and her family, but I feel like I don’t really know what happens with Emma and how her issues will be resolved.

This would make a great book for book clubs, particularly those that are looking for a book with a ‘christian’ slant. Some of the topics to discuss could include 1950s race relations, Amish communities, grief recovery, etc.



Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Elizabeth Byler Younts
Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl and is a RITA nominated writer. She is also the author of The Promise of Sunrise series. She has consulted on Amish lifestyle and the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect two award-winning television shows. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, two daughters, and a cockapoo named Fable.

Connect with Elizabeth

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.



Elizabeth’s Tour Stops

Monday, July 9th: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Tuesday, July 10th: What is That Book About – author Q&A
Wednesday, July 11th: Write Read Life
Thursday, July 12th: Jenn Blogs Books and @jennblogsbooks
Friday, July 13th: Books & Spoons
Monday, July 16th: @createexploreread
Tuesday, July 17th: The Book Diva’s Reads – author guest post
Wednesday, July 18th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, July 19th: All of a Kind Mom
Monday, July 23rd: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 24th: Bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 25th: Splashes of Joy
Thursday, July 26th: The Christian Fiction Girl
Friday, July 27th: Time 2 Read
Saturday, July 28th: Fiction Aficionado – author Q&A
Monday, July 30th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, July 31st: @girlandherbooks
Tuesday, July 31st: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Wednesday, August 1st: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, August 2nd: @novelmombooks
Thursday, August 9th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, August 10th: Openly Bookish

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: Rainy Day Friends

Rainy Day Friends
by Jill Shavis

Why I chose this book? I needed a ‘summer’ read
When I read this book? June 2018
Who should read this book? Readers of contemporary romance  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:  ★★★★    3 Stars

Here is a synopsis of Rainy Day Friends from TLC Book Tours

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 19, 2018)
Following the USA Today bestseller, Lost and Found Sisters, comes Rainy Day Friends, Jill Shalvis’ moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship.
Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife.
Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?
Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.
Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Green changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build
My Review

Rainy Day Sisters is a contemporary romance and  a quick summer read. As such, there is not a lot of ‘meat on the bones’, and you know exactly what you are getting when you read the synopsis, so you sit back and enjoy the journey.

The highlight of this book is the Capriotti family with their ability to be both nurturing and obnoxious in same breath! And the twin girls were the highlight of the family! However, the main character, Lainie, was at times a real downer. You couldn’t help but pull for her, but at the same time, she was annoying. Yes, she’d been dealt a bad hand, and the death of her husband was a blow, but the embarrassment she felt at learning she was not his only wife didn’t seem realistic. Anger, vengeance, bad-mouthing; all of those would have been understandable. But hiding her past because she felt she was to blame?—that didn’t fly for me.

I enjoyed the book, but the romance between Lainie and Mark was almost too quick to develop and very predictable. I think a couple of the stories with secondary characters would probably have been more interesting to follow had they been allowed to develop; specifically the romance between River and Holden, and the storyline of Mia.

That said, if you are looking for a good read for a lazy summer afternoon, one that lets you relax and enjoy the story, this is definitely worth throwing into the beach bag. Enjoy!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



About Jill Shalvis

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over three dozen romance novels. Visit www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and a daily blog chronicling her I-Love-Lucy attempts at having it all; the writing, the kids, a life ...

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





This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.


Jill’s Tour Stops

Instagram tour:
Thursday, June 14th: Instagram: @oddandbookish
Friday, June 15th: Instagram: @booksandballads
Tuesday, June 19th: Instagram: @simplykelina
Tuesday, June 19th: Instagram: @biblio_files
Wednesday, June 20th: Instagram: @worldswithinpages
Review tour:
Thursday, June 28th: Staircase Wit
Monday, July 2nd: The Book Date
Tuesday, July 3rd: bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 4th: Broken Teepee
Friday, July 6th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Monday, July 9th: Stranded in Chaos
Tuesday, July 10th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, July 12th: Time 2 Read
Friday, July 13th: Girl Who Reads
Monday, July 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 17th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Friday, July 20th: Not in Jersey

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: Becoming The Talbot Sisters

Becoming The Talbot Sisters
by Rachel Linden

Why I chose this book? I like ‘sisters’ stories
When I read this book? May 2018
Who should read this book? Readers who enjoy stories of sisters  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:  ★★★★    4 Stars

Here is a synopsis of Becoming TheTalbot Sisters from TLC Book Tours
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 1, 2018)
Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.
Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.
When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.
But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.
My Review

I like reading stories about sisters and especially twin sisters, so the title called to me immediately, and the synopsis sealed the deal. Waverly and Charlie are twins who were very close growing up, but have become, if not exactly estranged, at least very distant with one another. Both have secrets they have kept from the other twin, something that was unheard of while they were growing up! Waverly wants to become a mother very badly, but cannot have children. Charlie has a dark secret of failure and personal shame that she has kept from her sister. When they come together at the Aunt Mae’s funeral, they begin to bridge the rift when Charlie offers to carry a baby for Waverly.

There are some unexpected complications along the way, some of which seem a little unrealistic, but still make for an interesting story. Parts a little predictable but that doesn’t damage the story; I expected the outcome, but enjoyed the journey anyway. One thing I did appreciate was that the author provided an epilogue. While I might have enjoyed a few more detail on HOW the characters got to where they were, I can honestly say there are no questions that were left unanswered.

This is a quick read and one of those books that can be read on different levels, which means it will be a great selection for book clubs. You can read this as an individual and enjoy the story, but if you want to go deeper with your book club, you will find plenty to discuss, from surrogacy, to sex trafficking, to family relationships, and more. I read an ARC and there is space left for discussion questions at the end which book clubs may find helpful.

This is classified as Christian fiction, from a Christian publisher, but there is nothing that smacks you in the face shouting ‘I am a Christian book!’ There are a couple of scenes in church and recurring references to Aunt Mae’s motto: Whatever the Good Lord puts in you hand you give back to others. Those are pretty subtle and probably few people would notice or feel offended by them, however a group with a Christian slant could find enough in the book to fuel a discussion of how their values apply in this book.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Rachel Linden

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel splits her time between Seattle, Washington and Budapest, Hungary where she lives with her husband and two children. Rachel enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.
Connect with Rachel: Website | Facebook



This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.


Rachel’s Tour Stops

Instagram tour:
Monday, May 7th: @mrs.literarylovely
Tuesday, May 8th: @theshybooks
Wednesday, May 9th: @chaptershoe
Thursday, May 10th: @createexploreread
Friday, May 11th: @somekindofalibrary
Saturday, May 12th: @bookishconnoisseur
Sunday, May 13th: @theliterarybirds
Review tour:
Tuesday, May 1st: Blooming with Books
Wednesday, May 2nd: Openly Bookish
Thursday, May 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, May 4th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, May 7th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, May 8th: Laura’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 9th: Books a la Mode – guest post
Thursday, May 10th: Midwest Ladies Who Lit
Friday, May 11th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, May 14th: Fiction Aficionado
Tuesday, May 15th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, May 16th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, May 17th: Girl Who Reads
Friday, May 18th: Broken Teepee
Monday, May 21st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, May 21st: Time 2 Read
Tuesday, May 22nd: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, May 23rd: A Holland Reads
Thursday, May 24th: Peppermint Ph.D.
Friday, May 25th: The Book Diva’s Reads
TBD: Fiction Aficionado – guest post

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime!

Penguin and Tiny Snail Don’t Do Bedtime!
by Cate Berry

Why I chose this book? It looked like a cute bedtime read!
When I read this book? May 2018
Who should read this book? Anyone with a small child who likes bedtime stories!  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:   👍👍

Here is a synopsis of Same Beach, Next Year from TLC Book Tours
• Hardcover: 32 pages
• Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins (May 8, 2018)
Penguin and Tiny Shrimp DO NOT have a bedtime story to share with you.
There are no soft beds or cozy covers here. There are fireworks! And shark-infested waters!!
This book will never make you sleepy. Not at all. Not even a little. . .
Praise
“Debut Berry revs up her romp… the digital art from Santoso (Peanut Butter & Aliens) energizes Berry’s tactically understated text, often wryly turning it on its head. A buoyantly subversive
anti-bedtime tale.” —Publisher’s Weekly Featured Review
“The story is a smartly comedic entry in the genre of the anti-bedtime story, and the exclamatory dialogue-only text adds energy and humor. This will be a joyous bedtime read.” —Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books
“A definite do for bedtime.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A beguiling pair…much yawning will ensue…and that’s a good thing.” —Booklist
—A Junior Library Guild Selection, Spring ‘18
My Review

I’ve always enjoyed reading to young kids and now that I have a grand, I’m finding new books we enjoy. I particularly enjoy reading stories about reluctant sleepers—possibly because I read to one. So when I was offered the chance to review this one, I grabbed it!

I liked this book for several reasons. There are only one to two sentences per page, which is perfect for a short attention span. When even these are too much for attention span of the youngest listeners, there are fun illustrations of Penguin and Tiny Shrimp that can be used to point to and talk about. The illustrations also help to embellish the story for readers who want to spend a little longer with the book—counting the sheep, naming the different animals, etc. And when the child gets a little older and able to read to himself, those short sentences are perfect for an emerging reader! I think we will enjoy this book for several years to come!

This is a thumbs-up read for us! My little guy enjoys it, too!


Purchase Links

IndieBound | HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About Cate Berry

Cate Berry is the author of Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime! (Balzer & Bray/Harper Collins). It was pinned a Junior Library Guild selection and Publisher’s Weekly called it, “A buoyantly subversive anti-bedtime book.” She has forthcoming publications TBA and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Cate is a faculty member of the Writing Barn and also an active member in the SCBWI and Writers’ League of Texas. She speaks at schools, libraries and conferences year round. Visit her at  www.cateberry.com to learn more. You can follow her on Twitter, @cberrywriter. You can also follow illustrator Charles Santoso: @minitreehouse and the publisher, @balzer+bray and @harperchildrens.

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.
Cate’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 8th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Tuesday, May 15th: Wining Wife
Thursday, May 17th: Time 2 Read
Monday, May 21st: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, May 22nd: Instagram: @_literary_dreamer_
Wednesday, May 23rd: Instagram: @theliteraryllama
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