(to come) Book Review: Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell

(to come) Book Review: Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell



My latest book request to provide a complimentary review copy from booksneeze on behalf of the publisher, Thomas Nelson. Any opinions are my own. The review will come, the below is a snippet of what the book is about.

A harsh reality of life is that it’s not always enjoyable. Everyone has experienced rejection. Whether in the form of hash words, unreciprocated love, loss or betrayal. Most people perceive rejection as a negative occurrence, when, in reality, rejection can be one of the most powerful tools in life.

Downside Up contains step-by-step guides, resources, and inter-active pages necessary to restore lost identity and transform dreams into reality. Downside Up offers wisdom, guidance, and personal application while also outlining and establishing key biblical principles that promote emotional and mental wellness. Readers will:

  • Understand the importance of developing a positive and God-designed self-portrait
  • Identify their life’s purpose and maximize their potential for success
  • Discover the value of godly mentors and other positive relationships
  • Overcome negative thoughts, fear, and lack of self-confidence

Rejection is not about experiencing loss. It is an asset for fulfilling your dreams.

Book Review: Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

Book Review: Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck


Wow. So I just finished this book on my kindle, and I started it last night while taking a long, soaking bath. I continued reading it, during my lunch break, which was by far too short! But after work, as soon as I settled down at home I finished the book. I have to admit, towards the end of the book I was beginning to fly thru it. Which means, this book will be most definitely one I will be re-reading in the future.

Basically, Once Upon a Prince is about Susanna Truitt, a landscape designer who is destined to marry her high-school sweetheart. That is, until her sweetheart, who has been fighting the war overseas comes home to tell her that he has fallen in love with someone else, thus effectively cutting off their engagement. Susanne soon finds her life in turmoil, with her job as a landscape designer on the line and it seems like everything else in her life is falling apart. But a chance encounter with a young man visiting the island of Georgia, introduces her to a valuable friendship. Before long, she discovers that her young man is a prince, and he can only marry someone from his country, due to a law that has been in the books for over 100 years. Heartbreak is on the horizon.

I really, really enjoyed reading this book. As I mentioned above, it was hard for me to put it down. The way that Rachel wove the characters in St. Simons Island and Brighton, made me feel as though I was there, a voyager listening in on their interactions and conversations. Their most intimate thoughts were mine to digest.

The story glided along, touching areas here and there, with tears coming to my eyes at certain points. I enjoyed the appearances of Aurora, although I have to admit, I wished to have known more about her. However, I acknowledge she was a person that belonged best as a drifter, much as she was in the story.

I do know that what I read on the back of the book, versus what I read inside seemed to be a little disconnected. However, I by far enjoyed what I read within the pages.

My thanks to booksneeze for providing me a complimentary review copy on behalf of the publisher, Thomas Nelson. Any opinions are my own.


Book Review: Frame 232 by Wil Mara

Book Review: Frame 232 by Wil Mara


I was giving the opportunity to review this book, from Tyndale. And because of that, I must mention that Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. That said, my opinions of this book are solely my own, and are not influenced by anyone.

The book, Frame 232, is based on the Kennedy assasination and a frame of footage caught by someone labeled the babushka lady. Sheila Baker discovers, that her mother is the one known as the babushka lady, and that she has left her a piece of film that she must then decide what her mother couldn’t decide. To destroy the film or expose the secrets revealed on the film. Deciding that she can’t let this piece of history be destroyed, she also understands that the chances of someone hunting her down would be really high to keep the secret contained within from leaking out. Not sure what to do, Sheila does research and turns to Jason Hammond for help. From here, this is where the adventure truly begins.

My first inclination when I was reading the book was whether or not this was a Christian book, then remembered it came from a Christian publishing house. Despite that, the book was not heavily involved with religion. There was just enough, to be able to label it as a Christian fiction.

However, it was the story itself that drew me in. It captured me from the first page all the way to the end, making it harder to put down, wanting to find out what was going to happen. For me, there was enough suspense, drama and intrigue. Plus enough reality to make it a truly enjoyable read. I enjoyed the historical aspects and the plot, kept me intrigued.

Here are some questions asked of the author, and his answers.

*How much research did you do for this project?
An unbelievable amount. I spoke with assassination experts, read literally hundreds and books and articles, pored over countless photos…you name it. My goal was to write a fictional story around the established facts rather than alter the facts to serve the story. Thus, I had to know pretty much everything. I ended up loading my brain with more data than I really needed…but I didn’t mind.

*What have you learned about the real Babushka Lady?
She was wearing an overcoat, glasses, and a head scarf (i.e., a babushka), and was standing about thirty feet from the limousine when the president took the fatal shot. Most assassination experts believe she was also holding a camera—very possibly a film camera. If so, and if she had a reasonably steady hand, then she probably took the best moving images of the assassination; even better than the famed
Zapruder film. Plus, she was standing opposite Zapruder, which afforded her a unique angle. And yet, we don’t know her name, and her film has never surfaced. And here’s the most important part about her in relation to Frame 232—she was a real person. I didn’t invent her to serve the story. If you do a Google search, you’ll find her.

*What do you have planned for your future Jason Hammond books?
Jason will be tackling other high-profile (and, later on, some lesser-known) mysteries as the series progresses. Readers will also get to follow his ongoing struggles as he rebuilds his faith and gradually assembles his ‘new normal.’ Plus, we’ll further explore the lives of those around him (including a budding love interest, who will appear in the second book). It’s also worth noting that not every book in the series will follow a strictly linear chronology. The one I’m writing now, for example (The Nevada Testament) begins about six weeks after Frame 232. The one I’ll write after that, however (Gardner Island), occurs before the events of Frame 232 and will feature, among other things, some of Jason’s darker and more harrowing moments.

Book Review: Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Book Review: Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

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For me alot of times, it is the cover art that will sell me on a book, that and the description on the back. So the cover art on this particular book intrigued me, but the back, I had to read several times to figure out if I really wanted to read the book. Finally, I threw aside my hesitations and went for it. I’m glad I did.

I received my book in the mail on Friday, and started it sporadically on Saturday. By Saturday evening, I was fully dedicated to ready the book, unable to stop until it was finished.

Basically, the premise of the book is set in the days of the Depression and the Prohibition. Eve Marryat and her family leave their home in St. Paul, MN to go home to her father’s roots in Ohio. Eve is more than willing to leave the land of gangster’s behind, having seen her own share of horrors at a young age. They arrive in Ohio, on Marryat island, where her father’s brother owns a lodge. There, they stay to help work in the lodge and earn their keep. While there, Eve makes a friend and finds her first love. Unfortunately, a discovery forces her to tell secrets. Then, she and her father are forced to keep a secret, that has a potential for widespread consequences. They choose to return home, and turn a blind eye on what is happening. In the mean time, she meets a red-eyed devil and a bum from Shantytown.

All in all, the book was pleasant to read. It had a good plot and followed along a reasonable time line. I didn’t feel like I was missing pieces along the way. I like the way the book started, and then the way it ended, almost like a story within a story. I liked Eve, although she did seem self-righteous at times. However, she did admit mistakes and wasn’t too goody-goody.

As I said, I did enjoy the book and it was detailed enough that I was able to imagine myself there alongside Eve at times. That said, in hindsight, I realize that the characters weren’t fully explored. Marlene, a friend that Eve met, wasn’t much explored. You didn’t miss her once her character left the pages. Marcus, Eve’s first love…was another person who could come or leave. I like the book also, because even though it was set during the prohibition times, Eve was actually a good girl. She didn’t delve into the flapper or want to try to drink, she was on the flip side, the ones against drinking. However, she was neither the one who was out holding signs and trying to root out the evil stills. She was a middle man, caught in a situation while she was trying to live out life the best that she could.

I did enjoy the book, and thought it was a good read. The only part where I thought it could develop more was in the richness of the characters and the era. For it to have received a Christy Award, I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of the book “Christy” or “Julie”, two of my favorite books.

I received this complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers to provide an honest review.

Book Review: The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

Book Review: The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd



The plot: Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, promises to take care of the baby, of a dear friend on her deathbed. She ends up proposing to the father of the child, months later, to keep the child and her own inheritance. However, there is a snag in the plan, for she is already engaged to be married.

This particular story is described as being a Jane Austin like book. If that is the case, I’m not sure I really want to read any Jane Austin books in the future. This particular one was slow, and I didn’t ever really fall in love with any of the characters. I like it when I read, and I find myself whisked away to the particular time-period and feel like I’m there watching it unfold. Rather, I felt like I was hopscotching thru the story trying to make sense of it all. There was some drama and intrigue, but unfortunately I found myself fast forwarding to the end, just to see how it all ended.

I do like regency period stories, but this one seems to fall flat on its face when it comes down to being a book that I would look forward to reading in the future.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Book Review: The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Review: The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall



I picked this particular book because of the author, Cindy Woodsmall. Having just finished the series, Sisters of the Quilt, I was looking forward to another good series. However, I may have set my expectations too high. Just so you know, I still enjoyed this book, however I selected a book that was the second in the series. Unlike my previous luck, I found it difficult to truly understand what all I had missed in the previous book. The second, seemed more like a mish-mash of chatter. Found it a little harder to follow along, and realized that I desperately needed to read the first book in this particular series to understand exactly what was going on. Perhaps to understand the situation between her and her sister Emma.

Another thing I found a bit discerning, is that I kept getting confused about this being a story about Amish primarily. Yes, there were some Englishers mixed in, but not enough to have created such a turmoil in my reading. This was one book that I admit, I did some re-reading to try and understand what I may have missed.

I do look forward to reading the third book in this series, if anything to understand exactly what is going on and where the story is taking us. What Rhoda’s situation is with her current insight into things. Her future romance. Those, created enough interest that I want to know what is happening. However, it is unlikely that I would return to this particular series and reread it or recommend to others.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

Book Review: When the Morning Comes/When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Review: When the Morning Comes/When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall

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I originally purchased the book, When the Morning Comes from Books-a-Million, never realizing that it was part of a series. So by the time I jumped into the story, it was already into the second setting. However, despite that, I was still able to follow along and understand what was needed to continue in this second story.

The book, When the Morning Comes, jumps in where Hannah has left her Amish order to escape from bad memories, which includes the birth of child from rape. She goes to live with her aunt, who was shunned many years ago. Here, she develops a new personna, one outside the Amish lifestyle. Her aunt welcomes her with welcome arms, introducing her to the family who has cared for her over the years. Over time, she falls in love with the son of the family that her aunt used to care for. Meanwhile, back home, her sister is doing some bizarre things and her former love is determined to find her.

When the Morning Comes book was so well written that I could not wait to locate the third book in the series. Visiting the local library, I found the food and finished it within a day or two.

The third and final book in this particular series, When the Soul Mends, ties up the loose ends from the previous stories. Having fallen in love with Martin, the son of the family that her aunt cared for, she discovers that her former love had been seeking her.

All in all, this particular series by Cindy Woodsmall is what I would consider quite good. The details were rich, and I found myself transported to a different place in time, stepping between Amish land and the English land.