THE LOST ORPHAN BY STACEY HALLS [ARC REVIEW]

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts and review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

LostOrphan

A mother’s love knows no bounds…

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her newborn, Clara, at London’s Foundling Hospital, young Bess Bright returns to reclaim the illegitimate daughter she has never really known. Dreading the worst—that Clara has died in care—the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl—and why.

Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in a quiet town house, a wealthy widow barely ventures outside. When her close friend—an ambitious doctor at the Foundling Hospital—persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her young daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her—and will soon tear her carefully constructed world apart.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of Georgian London, The Lost Orphan explores families and secrets, class and power, and how the pull of motherhood cuts across them all.

 

My Rating: 4-Star

This book was an intriguing story and overall was a book I quite enjoyed! It was a beautiful tale of motherhood and shows a fascinating and more in-depth look at London and the Foundling Hospital in the 1750’s. The whole premise of someone having claimed another woman’s child as their own and then searching for that child. Only to then find out you know the woman who has claimed your child as their own! But from there it fell flat for me as it’s then just a story of a child torn between two women! Which is totally fine but I found that I wasn’t expecting more and kept waiting for a bit more than that.  But overall this is a enjoyable historical fiction novel.

 

 

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FAITH TAKING FLIGHT BY JULIE MURPHY [ARC REVIEW]

Hello Lovelies! It’s time for a book review!

Faith-Taking-Flight

First up I’m just going to let you all know that I received a Digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Everything I share here are my own thoughts and opinions on the book I’ve read.

PLEASE NOTE THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SMALL SPOILERS FROM THE PROLOGUE OF THE BOOK

SYNOPSIS:

Faith Herbert is a pretty regular teen. When she’s not hanging out with her two best friends, Matt and Ches, she’s volunteering at the local animal shelter or obsessing over the long-running teen drama The Grove.

So far, her senior year has been spent trying to sort out her feelings for her maybe-crush Johnny and making plans to stay close to Grandma Lou after graduation. Of course, there’s also that small matter of recently discovering she can fly….

When the fictional world of The Grove crashes into Faith’s reality as the show relocates to her town, she can’t believe it when TV heroine Dakota Ash takes a romantic interest in her.

But her fandom-fueled daydreams aren’t enough to distract Faith from the fact that first animals, then people, have begun to vanish from the town. Only Faith seems able to connect the dots to a new designer drug infiltrating her high school.

But when her investigation puts the people she loves in danger, she will have to confront her hidden past and use her newfound gifts—risking everything to save her friends and beloved town.

 

MY REVIEW

I was so excited when I saw this book was available as an ARC. I really have come to like Julie Murphy’s writing and I really appreciate the normalcy Murphy brings with fat/plus size characters in her books! As a curvy plus size person myself books like hers were something I wish I had when I was a little younger because yes, you see that slight discomfort and such with their bodies (like every human has once in a while) in her stories but most of all its acceptance and loving who they are and not changing that for anyone. Its just normal and I love it. Because everyone has different bodies and thats ok!

RATING: 3 Stars

That being said my overall rating for this book is only 3 stars and here is why.3-Star

I really enjoyed the book but I’m not sure it’s something I would read again. The characters were great (I LOVE Faith so much) and the world setup was well done and believable! The book also had its fair share of intense and even creepy, heart racing scenes (no spoilers on that here). But my biggest issue with the book unfortunately was the superhero plot element in itself. The Prologue drew me in like a mouse to cheese. It  was a case of insta-love with Faith and her adorable, nerdy self. We go from an intense prologue where Faith believes she is being recruited to learn more about her superpowers but in all reality it turns into this scenario where she is stripped of her name and hidden from the rest of the world and is now an experiment! Crazy right? It made me so excited for the rest of the book and excited for what would happen but then it just stopped? The next thing that happens is almost like a genre switch. We get crazy strong superpower beginning then it goes to Faith living her life as a pretty much normal teenager. Which normally yes, cause she doesn’t want people to know about her powers. But that element didn’t just come across right and the plot fell flat because of it. It just unfortunately felt like two stories meshed together and they ALMOST work but it doesn’t quite fit. For the most part the novel is a super cute coming of age story about a bisexual, plus size, nerdy girl in her senior year of high school who meets her celebrity crush and they fall in love. Which is GREAT and super cute but it felt like the superhero element was an afterthought where it was this beautiful coming of age story but then at random points it was like ‘Oh and I can fly but I can’t tell anyone’ and thats it and its not until the last 8 or so chapters that we begin to see a lot of that superhero plot line. We do have some parts throughout filling in gaps about what happened between Chapter 1 and the Prologue but I just wish there was more to it.

So OVERALL. Super cute coming of age story with a plus size, bisexual high school senior who is trying to figure out her life but it just fell flat when it came to the superpowers.

 

 

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson [Book Review]

StormCrowIt has been two whole days since I finished the book and I still have so many feelings and am trying to gather my thoughts because this book was full of so many amazing things I don’t know where to begin! In this moment I’m happy for the ability to highlight and make notes on the Kindle App because I’m honestly going through everything I noted and highlighted hoping I can write a review that describes my love for this book.

The story itself blew me away and my dumb ass didn’t realize until I was nearing the end of the book that there is going to be a second book…I think…I hope… But anyways! I was drawn in with the first page and in that moment, I felt like I too was flying and oh, how I longed to after that. The craft and skill in which Kalyn Josephson wrote this book gave me no choice to be dragged into the story and get invested with it and these characters from the first sentence.

Thia is the main character of the story and as the POV character her voice was established and remained there the whole way. Very strong narration in which I  felt a very real connection with her and I saw a lot of myself in her in that she is feisty and quick to stand up for others even if she gets in trouble for it.

Now let me take a moment to address what I think is one of the most important things in this story. Depression. Yes, you read that right… Depression. Kalyn Josephson has done what so many have tried to do and has taken it and blown it out of the water! It’s safe to say that this is one of two FANTASY books/series in which I have seen an accurate portrayal of mental illness/depression. As someone with depression seeing this accurate portrayal and seeing Thia kick depression in the ass was so empowering to me because throughout the book you see this process on how it really is like living with a mental illness. Some days you feel like you can conquer the world and your mental illness but then others it’s a fight to simply get and stay out of bed and for this I APPLAUD the author because the way she portrayed this is so real and SO. SO important. Everything Thia felt I have felt too and it just felt so real.

Essentially this book was beyond amazing and went above and beyond what I thought and expected from it! (and I expected many great things)

 

**I was provided this book by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review! All thoughts and opinions are my own**

5stars

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Coral by Sara Ella [Book Review]

** I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts/review**

Coral

This book was marked as a DNF at 30% of the book completed – Okay so the whole premise of this book had me beyond intrigued and once I started reading I was really disappointed! Which is sad because I wanted to like it but no matter what I just couldn’t connect with the characters and the situation. I found that from what I had read the writing came across as vague at points, I think the approach was to be that of sparking curiosity in the mysterious (an example being the ‘Red Tide’ which is introduced in the first chapter and not explained until the end (I looked ahead)) but it fell flat.

I do appreciate the author’s approach and intent with the theme of Mental Health discussions and representation in this piece and I feel that Sara Ella did a good job focusing on that in her story but there was just an emotional disconnect with the character’s in that regard which I REALLY didn’t want to happen.

2stars

 

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Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill [Book Review]

Hello Lovelies!

I have another book review for you today so lets get started!

WTL18I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I fell in love with it from page one. This book broke and repaired my heart only to then break it again moments late. It’s a beautiful and moving piece of fiction by Stephanie Morrill. I have to say that I simply adore how this book not only navigated a beautiful, precious and tedious relationship between an Italian-American girl and Japanese-American boy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. A time when racism and injustice against the Japanese living in America occurred. I just loved this story of Evalina and Taichi. Two young people in love in a time where it was illegal in most states for them to be married, a time where they were both at risk because of their relationship but still they pushed through.I was rooting for them the whole book! Just couldn’t put it down because I NEEDED to know what happened next .

Looking at the characters I loved Evalina’s heart and passion in this story. Her heart for the injustice inflicted on many people. Her heart for the one she loved and the passion she put into raising awareness for what was going on that so many people were blinded to. Seeing this passion and this heart in Evalina, I found that I related to her very much in that sense as I saw myself in her.

This book is an absolutely amazing piece of fiction you should not skip out on getting for yourself.

5stars

 

About Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie-Morrill-Low-Res-227x300Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at StephanieMorrill.comInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

 

Girl Wash Your Face – Book Review

Hello Lovelies! I’ve got another book review for you and trust me, this is a book you do not want to pass up.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion]

girlwashyourfaceI will admit that I was on the fence about this book. I had heard so many amazing things and nearly gotten a copy so many times and let me just say I will be purchasing my own physical copy of this book!

This book is AMAZING and something all women, both young and old, should read! Although it is more directed towards mothers and wives in some chapters, the takeaway can be for anyone. The way this book was written is for both married or single, old and young, as the chapters all have their own point. For example, I did start to read the chapters directed towards motherhood but found I just couldn’t relate so I skipped them but the nice thing about this book and some of the chapters is simply this: If it doesn’t apply to you it’s made in a way that you can either read it or just move on without missing crucial information or points!

Right from the start I knew this book was going to be amazing. How? Well I encountered a quote like this in the opening letter:

            “The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway.”

I just love that! Getting right to the point before the book has officially started! The way Hollis has structured the book and the chapters is brilliant! I love the whole approach of ‘here is a struggle that I, and many other women, have but this is how to deal with it!’ and at the end of each chapter she provides ways that helped her or would have helped her in these moments in her life!

4stars

 

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Romanov by Nadine Brandes [ARC – Book Review]

romanovSummary:

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

My Review:

I realized that a part of forgiveness was accepting the things someone had done – and the pain that came with that – and moving on with love.” -Anastasia from Romanov

This book was AH-MAZING.

I’m someone who very rarely reads Historical Fiction aside from a few authors and Nadine Brandes is definitely now a part of this list. My issue with so many Historical Fiction books is that they often feel like I’m reading a history textbook, and this…this was NOT one of those books.

This story was crafted so beautifully, and the ending was beyond perfect. Throughout the whole story I was just in LOVE with the Romanov family. I loved their relationships and love for each other. I especially loved the relationship between Nastya and Alexei! It was beyond beautiful. And I love how the story focused more on the love and relationship between a family more than the love interest story line. I knew nothing about the real-life Romanov family going into this story and the whole time I was reading this book I was just rooting for them and my heart rejoiced and grieved with them and their situation over and over and over again. Their small moments of joy brought me joy and their moments of sadness broke me. I was so invested in this story of their amazing family. I love the strength and the voice Nadine brought to Nastya’s character. She was so easy to connect with and relate to. I love that despite everything Nastya and her family has been through, she is so strong and despite her pain and being faced with many difficult decisions she was never selfish. She always thought about her family and those around her.

Whether you read Historical Fiction on a regular basis or not I 100% recommend this book.

5stars

**NOTE: I was given this book (from NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review/opinion**

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Unwritten Melody Blog Tour

Hello  lovelies!

Today I’m excited to share in this blog tour and tell you all about a lovely new book. ❤

 

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Does breaking free require breaking the rules?

Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.

James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.

As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?

Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.

 

Book Links:

 

 

 

 Excerpt unwritten-melody-quote8-2

 

© “Unwritten Melody” Excerpt – Written by Tessa Emily Hall – Published by Clean Reads

 

“Why are you staring at the keyboard like that?”

“Like what?” James’s question lurches me back into the present moment, out of the thoughts that had me buried as he played our song for the second time.

A broad smile expands across his face. He rests an elbow on the keyboard and tilts his head. “Like it’s a cheeseburger and you’ve gone days without food. Like it’s a positive magnet and you’re the negative. Like—”

I laugh. “Alright, I get it.” My smile fades, though, because how could he tell? When James brought the song to a close, I couldn’t tear my gaze away from the keys. It’s mesmerizing, how the dance of his fingers can breathe life into a melody.

“Let me guess—you wanna play?”

I plop my head against the back of the leather chair and fight the so-called magnetic attraction. “I can’t.”

He shifts on the bench and turns toward me. “What do you mean, you can’t?”

“Just another one of Grandma’s absurd rules.” I tell James about the white baby grand piano at our house—how he was the first to play actual music on it since Mom passed. How, for my entire life, the piano has served as a constant reminder that my dreams were not within reach. “Any time I’ve asked permission to take piano lessons, Grandma’s refused.”

But I’ve always wondered what would happen if I could play. If I were allowed, would I pour my emotions, longings, and thoughts into music, just like Mom did? Would I be a natural, if I learned how to play?

I often wondered if Mom’s legacy could, somehow—through the mysterious power of music—live on through me. And if the melody she’d begun on the music sheet could find its completion through me.

“Come on.” James scoots to the edge of the bench and pats the space beside him. “Let me at least teach you the chorus to The Other Side of the Road. It’s simple.”

That magnetic attraction he referred to? It’s doubled in size. And for the first time, someone—a famous musician—is offering to teach me a chorus on the piano.

My feet plant themselves onto the ground, but it takes an extra dose of effort to stand. Not because I don’t want to, but because Grandma’s voice booms in the back of my mind, all the times she’s forbidden me from going near our piano.

The floorboards squeak as I shuffle across the worn rug then lower myself onto the bench next to James. I’m not sure what’s more terrifying—sitting so close to James Russo, or finally being taught to play piano.

But my hands stay glued to my lap. It’s as though the keys are alcohol, and if I take a sip, I’ll become drunk on its melody; my fingertips will be stained with the music notes, and I’ll come home reeking with its fragrance.

James’s azure eyes stare down at me, inches from my face. “Follow my lead.” His fingers curl around my hands, and with the gentlest touch, he places them on the keys. His left arm wraps behind my back, over my shoulder, until his hand is clasped on top of mine.

My heart flutters at our closeness, at the way his presence is a warm shield from the brisk air in this music room. I inhale a deep breath, almost intoxicated from his overpowering cologne and the fresh-out-of-the-wash scent of his sweater. And during the brief moment of him aligning my fingers along the keys, nerves mount, causing my chest to constrict. Who knows how many rules of Grandma’s I’m breaking right now?

But when he places his fingers onto mine causing me to strike the first note, a soothing peace washes over me and calms my nerves. I feel myself relax as he guides me through the brief chorus.

“It’s only two chords.” James’s voice sounds deeper than usual, his breath tickling my cheek. “But it’s the same for the entire chorus.”

I don’t even know what he means by that. All I know is I’ve tasted this indulgence, and there’s no way I can resist the magnetic pull from this moment forward.

 

 

Giveaway

unwritten-melody-quote7-2Enter for your chance to win the Unwritten Melody Prize Pack! Two winners will be selected and announced on Tessa’s blog the final day of tour (Friday, December 9th) and will be notified via email.

 

 

 

 

This prize pack includes…

  • E-copy of Unwritten Melody
  • Signed paperback copy of Purple Moon
  • Unwritten Melody mug, filled with goodies
  • Unwritten Melody swag, including a bookmark, pen, and poster
  • Starbucks mocha flavored instant coffee
  • Free Unwritten Melody: Page-By-Page Secrets PDF
  • Handmade journal
  • Typewritten thank you note

 

*This giveaway is open to the US only 

 

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About Tessa

 tessa-emily-hall_headshot1-2Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show others they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, releases with Clean Reads November 2016. She’s the Founder of PursueMagazine.net, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling. Tessa also enjoys helping writers achieve their dreams through her internship at Hartline Literary Agency.

 

When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website.

 

 Connect With Tessa

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

 

Don’t miss the next blog tour stop! Be sure to visit the following blogs on its designated tour date. You can also email tessaemilyhall (at) gmail (dot) com and request to receive the Blog Tour Packet. At the end of the tour, Tessa will send you the downloadable PDF that will contain all of the content from each blog tour stop.

 

Tues., November 1 – Christ is Write

Wed., November 2 – Adriana Gabrielle Writes

Thurs., November 3 – The Depth of My Faith

Fri., November 4 – Sarah Ruut

Mon., November 7 – God is Love

Tues., November 8 – The Bibliophile Angel

Wed., November 9 – Emily Rachelle Writes

Thurs, November 10 – Word Changers For His Glory

Fri., November 11 – Christian Teen Book Reviews

Mon., November 14 – Phyllis Still

Tues., November 15 – In The Bookcase

Wed., November 16 – Girl Meets Publishing World

Thurs., November 17 – Anna Schaeffer

Fri., November 18 – Ramblings of a Writer

Mon., November 21 – Naomi and Books

Tues., November 22 – Reading is My Superpower

Wed., November 23 – Zerina Blossom’s Books

Thurs., November 24 – Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Fri., November 25 – Labor Not in Vain

Mon., November 28 – Barbara Bruitt

Tues., November 29 – Katy Kauffman

Wed., November 30 – Jen Pheobus

Thurs., December 1 – Northern Belle Meg

Fri., December 2 – 2Me From Him

Mon., December 5 – Nicole Quigley

Tues., December 6 – The Destiny of One

Wed., December 7 – Catherine Castle

Thurs., December 8 – Rachelle Rea Cobb

Fri., December 9 – Leslie L. Mckee

Jesus Called. He Wants His Church Back (Book Review)

I was recently given a copy of Jesus Called: He Wants His Church Back by Ray Johnston to review from Book Look Bloggers.

 

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As early as AD 50, Christians had gotten away from knowing who Jesus really is. Our generation is no different.

In every decade we, as Americans, lost something important that we couldn’t afford to lose: • In the 1950s, we lost innocence • In the 1960s, we lost respect for authority • In the 1970s, we lost love • In the 1980s, we lost values • In the 1990s, we lost faith • In the 2000s, we lost security • In the 2010s, we lost hope in the future

What can restore what we’ve lost? Only Jesus. Jesus gave us His name, His friendship, and a commission to accept responsibility for ourselves and for the world. When introduced to His words and ways we’ll rediscover the Jesus who:

• Wants His enemies won over, not wiped out • Wants you to stop playing it safe • Believed great things were possible no matter what things are like right now • Was full of grace and truth • Unleashed compassion • Believed no one was too far from God to return to Him • Came to seek and to save that which was lost • Loves the church

Pastor Ray Johnston shares the Jesus of the Bible and how we can be Christians without being jerks. He reveals how the radical message of the gospel calls us to love and serve not only our neighbors but our enemies as well. That’s the Jesus the American Church has missed and needs to meet.

Jesus’ mission is clear—risk everything in order to take care of people, starting in our home, neighborhoods, cities, and those in need around the world. That’s the Jesus the American Church has missed and needs to meet.

 

My Thoughts

I wasn’t entirely sure what this book would entail and I’m still not sure what to make of it. The book wasn’t bad! Just not what I was expecting. I’m unsure if maybe it;s the fact I’m still getting used to reading more non-fiction or what. I’m starting to ease myself into non-fiction books so sometimes I don’t know what to expect. Aside from that fact I quite enjoyed the book. Though for a non-fiction this one was very factual. In this novel the writer discusses how, since the 50’s, the church and Christianity has changed.  The one thing that jumped out to me was the following statement by the author:

  • In the 1950s, we lost innocence.
  • In the 1960s, we lost respect for authority.
  • In the 1970s, we lost love.
  • In the 1980s, we lost values.
  • In the 1990s, we lost faith.
  • In the 2000s, we lost security.
  • In the 2010s, we lost hope in the future.

This was definitely a good read with facts on the church and how it has fallen from God in some senses then this is definitely a good read

 

 

Upcoming….

So life has been insane…but here is whats coming up.

 

A photo by Tim Arterbury. unsplash.com/photos/VkwRmha1_tI

So long story short, my computer bit the dust. ( *weeps* ) its why I haven’t been blogging as of late because work has been crazy, my boyfriend was visiting AND I haven’t had the chance to get to the library long enough to actually write up a blog post or two…BUT here I am. At the library writing away and I’m popping in to tell you whats coming up.

 

  1. Sometime in this next week I have a blog hop post for Author Jennifer Murgia and her spooky novels! (Just in time for halloween!) – long story short it was supposed to be done today but see reasons above relating to my computer and now I have no graphics for the post either 😦

2. November 2nd – Unwritten Melody by Tessa Emily Hall Blog Tour

3. Early November (No set date yet) – I’m REALLY excited to bring a music review of a family friends newly released album. Just need some time to listen to the album and write up a post

4. More life posts!