Sunday, April 28, 2019

Jane Reviews: Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations by V. Joy Palmer

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: WhiteFire Publishing
Released: February 14, 2019
294 pages
About the Book:
Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she'll be fine.

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what's left of their family's legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon shes forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother's renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟    (3 stars)

I am normally a sucker for stories where two people who have known each other forever end up falling in love. However I felt that this one was hard to follow at times because of the continuous jumping between points of view and so many characters. There were times that the sarcasm entertained me, but there were times I felt like it was a little too much.

At times Apryl annoyed me, she is constantly rude to Chance even when he is helping her. Chance tirelessly tries to teach Apryl about God’s love and show that he cares for her. I am not sure what attracted Chance to Apryl, but if felt unbalanced at times and I kind of found myself wanting Chance to move on.

However there are many romantic moments within this story. How could it not with all the time spent at different weddings? I enjoyed experiencing the weddings with them and seeing how they set up for different themes, but my favourite moment has to be the scene in the willow grove between the Chance and Apryl.

I did enjoy the various settings and then ending left me satisfied with Apryl not only learning to accept God’s love but also opening up herself to human love.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book through JustRead Tours;
opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other Books in Series:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Review: The Memory House by Rachel Hauck (includes giveaway)

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: April 2, 2019
384 pages
About the Book:
Embracing the future means remembering the past . . .

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either. Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share. Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟    (4 stars)

I pick up books by Ms. Hauck without even reading the description anymore because I have grown to love to her dual timeline style of writing. Every book I have read has captured my heart in some way and this one was no exception.

While I enjoyed the modern day storyline it was the characters of the past that really pulled me in. My heart hurt for Everleigh and what she experienced through the Waco tornado. I fell in love with Don and really liked how he treated her.

Both Everleigh and Beck have suffered devastating loses and are struggling to overcome them. Both women have men in their lives who love them but they are too fearful to accept their love. We get to see these two women find healing through a loving God, realize what is truly important and experience a second chance at happiness.
The overall message I take away from this story is that God is with us through everything and will help us through. As one of the characters said: “God has a way of taking the worst situation and turning it for good.” I am glad I read this book and the ending left me satisfied.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit; opinions expressed in this review
are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Excerpt from The Memory House:

When Mama Applegate spoke as if Everleigh were a guest rather than a family member, she embraced it with grace. Because at the end of the day, she was Rhett’s wife. She alone shared his dreams, his heart, his life.

And at night, when she couldn’t sleep, his soft breathing was her lullaby.

“Listen, mister, I have to get back to work or I won’t make it home in time for our dinner.” She tugged at his shirt collar. “So are you going to tell me why you’re here?”

“I was going to wait until tonight, but I got so excited . . .” Rhett stepped over to the desk in front of Everleigh’s and retrieved a long white canister. “Here. Open it. I feel like a kid at Christmas.”

“Rhett, what have you done?” She pried away the cap and slipped out a set of drawings.

“Here, let me.” Rhett unrolled a rendering of a cozy house with a wraparound porch nestled between two cottonwoods. “Our house, Ev. I took those sketches you made after we were married and gave

them to the architect. What do you think?”

“Th-this is our house?” She wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning against his thick arm as she studied the drawing.

“It’s our house, darling.”

Everleigh studied the drawing. It was just like she imagined. “Are you sure?” She gazed up at her husband. “I didn’t think we’d saved enough money.”

“We’ve saved every penny of your salary, and I finally sold the stud bull to Jacob Marshall. He’s been after me for a year . . .” Rhett held her with one hand while flipping through the drawing with the other. “I bought the ten acres by the stream. You know, the one with the trees we loved. Dad wanted to give it to us, but I said no strings.

I wanted to buy it so he can’t hold it over me. Not that he would, but family business can get tricky.” Everleigh leaned to see the name of the road. Memory Lane.

“Darling, the section right off Memory Lane? The spot I wanted?”

Rhett’s grandmother had named the dirt road years ago, when she imagined a large family with lots of grandkids running around.

She envisioned an Applegate community.

But her sons, Melvin and Earl, went to war. Only Earl—nicknamed Spike—returned home the fall of 1918. He inherited the ranch, married Mama Applegate, and fathered Rhett, an only child. Grandma’s two daughters married and moved away.

“Your granny would be proud, darling,” Everleigh said. “We’re beginning her dream.”

“Sh-she would.” Rhett cleared his throat, pressing his fist over his cough. “So, w-what do you think?”

Tell him! The timing could not have been more perfect.

“Rhett, sweetheart—”

He jerked his wrist up, checking his watch. “Oh, Ev, sorry, darling, but I promised Dad I’d pick him up from the hardware store thirty minutes ago.” He gave her a quick, passing kiss. “I’d planned to show you these tonight, but I just couldn’t wait.” He rolled up the drawings and tucked them into the canister. “What is it you wanted to say?” On reflex, he checked his watch again.

“Nothing,” she said, smiling. “I’ll see you later. We can talk then. I have work to do anyway.”

“You sure?”

Everleigh fell into him and pressed her cheek against his chest.

“You make my dreams come true, Rhett Applegate.”

He kissed her one more time, then held her at arm’s length.

“Distraction, girl, you are one beautiful distraction.”

Blog Stops:


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of a copy of The Memory House!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Jane Reviews: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

Genre: Women's Fiction
Released: July 20, 2017
308 pages
About the Book:
A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn't on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the eyes of the orphans she encounters. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of "missional tourists" full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟    (4 stars) 

Brooke was the character that I identified the most with. She is in the process of trying to get her career off the ground when she gets pulled into going on a mission trip with her sister. She struggles with leaving the comfort of home and spending her vacation in a poverty stricken country, but this experience changes her in ways she could never have imagined. I enjoyed watching Brooke grow, learn to trust God and in the process find her calling in life.

The descriptions made me feel like I was in El Salvador right alongside the mission’s team. The situations that the kids were facing, in particular Fatima and Dinora, pulled at my heart strings. I shed tears over the course of the story. However the ending left hope for a much improved future.
The message I take away from this story is that God has your best interests at heart, but we have to fully trust Him with everything.
(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)