Thursday, November 15, 2018

There Just Isn’t a Nativity Like This…


Thank you to Sally Kilpatrick and Kensington Press for a copy of Oh My Stars.  I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review.

We are back in the town of Ellery Tennessee for one of their traditional festivities their live nativity located in the Dollar General’s parking lot.  It is not your typical nativity.  Mary is a chain smoker.  Joseph is a reluctant doctor.  Oh and did I mention that Joseph also does farm work with one of the wise men. 

Facebook        Twitter    Instagram

“Like most things in Ellery, Tennessee, this year’s Drive Thru Nativity is a little unconventional. The Dollar General parking lot doubles as a Bethlehem stable, and widowed writer Ivy Long, who’s been roped into playing Mary, sure as heck isn’t a virgin. But then comes an unexpected development: a genuine, real-life baby left in the manger, with only a brief note. And somehow, in the kerfuffle that follows, Ivy finds her life is about to change . . .

The holidays are a bittersweet time for Ivy—filled with memories of her beloved late husband and reminders that life doesn’t always offer the happily-ever-after her readers expect. So when Ivy ends up with custody of the baby, she can only chalk it up to a Christmas miracle. She doesn’t know if it will be forever, but with help from family, she’ll make little Zuzu’s first Christmas a good one. The nativity’s Joseph, aka Gabe Ledbetter, has a pediatrics background that’s coming in mighty handy. In turn, Ivy is helping Gabe find his place in the quirky community. If that place turns out to be somewhere near Ivy, well, maybe this particular Christmas story will turn out to be merry and bright after all . . .”(Amazon)

My Thoughts: 

I loved this novel!  I thought the nativity was a little unorthodox with its characters such as  chain smoking Mary, a lost baby, and Joseph who is a doctor but also farms.  It made for an entertaining read.  The town of Ellery is a place that readers will want to come back and visit time and again. I have loved the characters that Sally Kilpatrick introduces to her readers.   This book creates a magical setting for the holidays. Readers will enjoy finding out if this family will stay together or not.

Rating:

4/5

Purchase a copy of Oh My Stars here


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Literary Book Gifts That Are Not To Miss!

Ever try to find the perfect gift for your favorite book enthusiast and not find anything you like? Or Literary Book Gifts is a new company that specializes in just that. With tees and tote bags from popular titles such as Pride and Prejudice as well as from lesser known works such as Howards End there is something for everyone in the collection!
perhaps you hoped to find a special bookish treat for yourself?
I started the online store as a way to bring people together over their shared love of literature. Novels are meant to be not only read, but shared. Book covers, and book related artwork is an amazing platform to do just that.
I'll talk little about a couple of the designs in the collection.
This Don Quixote T-Shirt t-shirt for men comes in a cream print on eleven different color choices to choose from. I like this design because it captures the energy of the novel. And of course, the windmills!
This Little Women Tote Bag makes a perfect give for any Louisa May Alcott fan. It comes in a blush pink background with an off-white print. The handles are black and made of 100% cotton for comfort and durability. Every tote bag comes in three different sizes to choose from. Instead of being flat, I elected for boxed corner totes to make sure they fit all the books you can carry!
If you saw anything you liked you can use this exclusive promo JENCEYWRITES20 at checkout to receive 20% off any order! This promo does not expire.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Have You Ever Wondered What It Is Like To Join a Sorority?


Thank you to Tandem Literary and St. Martins Press for a copy of Rush by Lisa Patton.  I was given a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Have you ever wanted to know what it is like to be a member of a sorority?  Or what kind of experiences one might have? I did not experience being involved with sororities, when I was in school.  So what better setting than a SEC school such as Ole Miss.  So settle down and relax for a story steeped in tradition and history.


Synopsis:

“Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali's chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she's hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.

When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it's all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid―no matter what.

For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl―as her “babies” like to call her―has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta―and maybe the entire Greek system―forever.” (Amazon)

My Thoughts: 

I loved this novel!  I always say there is a little truth in fiction.  In this story readers are treated to what it is like to be a rushee and or work at the sorority house. The main characters of Wilda and Lilith and then there daughters interested me in seeing how the story would play out.   Who knew how much went into the process of being a rushee, and how it would impact our main characters.   I found the story to be a page turner from the beginning to the end.   I could identify greatly with Pearl’s experiences working at the house, and her desire to better her circumstances.  I loved how the author showed how much Pearl loved her girls, and they in return. 

Rush for me was a gratifying experience!  I look forward to another novel by Lisa 

Patton.  You can purchase a copy of Rush here.

Rating:

4.75/5



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How Do Legacies Stretch?


How much experience do you have with working in a family business?  Have you ever felt like you play a role in this business or are you happy to pass it onto someone else to take care of?  The story that I am sharing today is about two sisters and the family business they are the heir apparent to; in Sarah Creech’s The Season of the Dragonflies.  Which sister will take over the business?


Synopsis:

For generations, the Lenore women have manufactured a perfume unlike any other, and guarded the unique and mysterious ingredients. Their perfumery, hidden in the quiet rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, creates one special elixir that secretly sells for millions of dollars to the world’s most powerful—movie stars, politicians, artists, and CEOs. The Lenore’s signature perfume is actually the key to their success.
Willow, the coolly elegant Lenore family matriarch, is the brains behind the company. Her gorgeous, golden-haired daughter Mya is its heart. Like her foremothers, she can “read” scents and envision their power. Willow’s younger daughter, dark-haired, soulful Lucia, claims no magical touch, nor does she want any part of the family business. She left the mountains years ago to make her own way. But trouble is brewing. Willow is experiencing strange spells of forgetfulness. Mya is plotting a coup. A client is threatening blackmail. And most ominously, the unique flowers used in their perfume are dying.

Whoever can save the company will inherit it. Though Mya is the obvious choice, Lucia has begun showing signs of her own special abilities. And her return to the mountains—heralded by a swarm of blue dragonflies—may be the answer they all need. (Amazon)

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel.  I always am interested in family sagas and how the author influences the direction of the story.  This story for example is about sisters, and each have their own gifts.  I was drawn from the first page where the author shares about the beginning of the business.  Who would run the business in the future?  Who is the possible heir apparent?  The author goes onto explore the conflict between both sisters Mya and Lucia.  One wants to control her destiny while the other is just looking for direction, in her life.  How often do we as readers feel that our lives take us down one path only to turn down another?   The plot is not predictable and readers will not see who wins control of the business until the end.  This novel is page turner and one that I was able to finish with great satisfaction.  

I look forward to reading more by Sarah Creech in the future.  You can purchase her current book here.

Rating:


4.5/5


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

So Which is Better Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard?


Another summer delight from one of my favorite authors Elin Hilderbrand in her novel  The Identicals.  In this story a set of twins is separated by two different settings one is in Nantucket while the other is in Martha’s Vineyard.  I personally have not been to either but would love the chance to go to both.  Are the twins really the same or different?

Elin Hilderbrand




Synopsis:

Nantucket is only eleven miles away from Martha's Vineyard. But they may as well be worlds apart for estranged twin sisters Harper and Tabitha Frost. After not speaking for more than a decade, Harper and Tabitha switch islands-and lives-to save what's left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they'd outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages. (Amazon)

My Thoughts:

I loved this novel.  It was like going back and reading a version of the parent trap.  The major difference is that both twins are grown and living their own lives.  Readers will find this novel very satisfying.  I loved how she used the settings of Martha Vineyard and Nantucket to compare and contrast the twin’s different lives.  It was fun learning a little about Martha’s Vineyard too.  This novel is definitely something you want in your beach bag.  

Rating:

5/5

To purchase a copy of  Elin's current novel The Perfect Couple here.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How Much Courage Do You Have to Walk Away?


My first book in the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge is How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.  She is a new author to me but is very popular in the world of Women’s fiction and circulates well where I work, at the Dunwoody library.  In her latest book, she tackles the issues of rehabilitation and how does one recover?  Who does it impact the most? Where does the support come from in a difficult time such as this?

Katherine Center


Synopsis:
Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she's worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancĂ© she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancĂ©, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity and who sees her like no one has seen her before. 
Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.  (Amazon)
My Thoughts: 
I loved this book!  I don’t know of many books that tackle the topic of this kind of intense injury, and what circumstances might be like afterwords.  I think that many of us can identify with Maggie’s experiences, in this book.  Ms. Center did a great job of creating a great cast of characters, even the one that I loved to hate the most Chip.  As a reader part of me could not believe Chip’s response to the situation.  I could not wait to him to be out of the picture.   I found the story was interesting and kept my focus with very little lag, in the middle.  The conclusion was unexpected and very satisfying. 
Life can  have  many complicated twists and turns.  It depends how one chooses to respond to those difficulties or how God can change our perspective.   Keep pressing forward because you never know where life might take you!
Rating:
4.7/5
You can purchase a copy of How to Walk Away here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Step Back in Time with Kristin Harmel


Thank you to Goodreads and Gallery books for a copy of The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel.  I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is the first time that I have had the opportunity to read  a book by Kristin Harmel.  I had heard many good recommendations about her books, in the past.  I love a good historical fiction book that includes mystery and intrigue or more specifically the resistance during World War II in Paris.  Can she make this as exciting as the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah?

Kristin Harmel




Synopsis:

When newlywed Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her French husband Marcel, she imagines strolling arm in arm along the grand boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But war is looming on the horizon, and as France falls to the Nazis, her marriage begins to splinter, too.

Charlotte Dacher is eleven when the Germans roll into the French capital, their sinister swastika flags snapping in the breeze. After the Jewish restrictions take effect and Jews are ordered to wear the yellow star, Charlotte can’t imagine things getting much worse. But then the mass deportations begin, and her life is ripped forever apart.

Thomas Clarke joins the British Royal Air Force to protect his country, but when his beloved mother dies in a German bombing during the waning days of the Blitz, he wonders if he’s really making a difference. Then he finds himself in Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and he discovers a new reason to keep fighting—and an unexpected road home.

When fate brings them together, Ruby, Charlotte, and Thomas must summon the courage to defy the Nazis—and to open their own broken hearts—as they fight to survive.  (Amazon.com)

My Thoughts: 

Kristin Harmel is one of my new favorite authors.  I loved The Room on Rue Amelie!  The chapters are short and contribute to making the book an easy read.  I loved how the author wove the plot into the character driven story lines.  The readers will come to care for and cheer for these characters by the end of the book.   The pace slowed a little for me in the middle.  I encourage readers to press on because the story only becomes more interesting with a fascinating ending.

Rating:


4.7/5

To purchase a copy of The Room on Rue Amelie here.