Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Freedom's Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli {Book Review}


~ Description 

Boston, 2015
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated—plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.


~ My Rating 

4 stars


~ My Review 

An eloquent, intriguing tale of brokenness and healing. <3

I'm settling in to write this review over a week after reading the book—and honestly? I feel like I'm still sorting through everything that happened in those 380-something pages. So many events. So many plot-twists. It was fantastic, but a lot to keep up with. 

This was my first dual-timeline novel, and I absolutely ADORED that aspect of the book. Anaya's and Liberty's stories wove together very well to create a deeply-layered tale of pain, loss, hope, and forgiveness. The connection of the ring was perfect and so nicely done. The historical details were amazing—this author knows her Boston. 

Liberty's story was...complicated. I didn't feel like I could connect with her very well. Originally, I liked Alexander...but I never really "believed" that she loved him. Cared for him, yes, but I'm not so sure it was love. Her relationship with James was precious, though cut short. She didn't treat Hugh like he deserved. (C'mon, honey, he loves you and your child. Either let yourself love him or break it off already.) 

Anaya/Annie's story was my favorite. Dealing with post-traumatic stress nearly two years after being a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, befriending a veteran who can relate to her struggles, carrying guilt over her family's pain and loss from the same attack...I just loved her story. (I also loved Brad. Brad is mine, y'all.) 

Annie and Brad's search for the origin of the ring that brought them together—along with their relationship in general—were some of my favorite parts. I always enjoy a good genealogical search. ;)

As far as content, there's a rape and an illegitimate child, detailed kissing, and several deaths. Characters recalling bombings and blown-apart bodies—both at the Boston Marathon bombing and in the Iraqi War—and a woman who decides she's in love with two men (hey, it's disturbing, it's going in the content paragraph xD). Overall, I'd say 14+. 

So yup. Knocking off a star because of my confusion and annoyance with Liberty's love life. Otherwise? A fabulous book. <3


**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.**

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Veterans Day + Marine Corps Birthday {faith rambles}



So, this isn't what I'd planned to post today.

Actually, I didn't have a post planned for this weekend, which is probably part of the reason I'm sitting down to write something random at 7:20 p.m. I don't want to get out of the habit of posting every week, but it was either this or an overdue book review. So you're stuck with a few paragraphs of my rambles. :P

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, the specific day set aside each year in the US to honor those who have served our country in the armed forces. It's also Armistice Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

And today is the 243rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps! I wrote a short story about twin brothers—Marines—which I posted on my writing blog. (Read it here, if ya like.)

So yeah, there's a quick history lesson for y'all. :P

How has your week been, my friend? I worked a few days, sorted through the final edits of Behold, made plans for the 12 Days of Christmas blog party, and read some books. So Christmasy. ;)


Well, that's all I've got this week... How are you, dears? 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Not by Sight.

Do you ever read a verse from God's Word, maybe even a verse you've read many times, but it just slams you? Knocks you down and washes over and suddenly everything just.makes.more.sense. 




YouVersion's verse of the day for Monday was 2 Corinthians 5:7. I'd already read the verse more than once that afternoon, working around it in my inbox. (I usually don't delete the notifs until the next day, to make sure I read them at least a time or two throughout the day.) 


For we walk by faith, not by sight.  
// 2 Corinthians 5:7 kjv


At that particular knock-your-socks-off moment, I had finished homework and was clicking through a few email that had appeared in the meanwhile. I came back to the verse and my eyes landed on the words. 

I read it. And stopped. Stared. Read it again. 

Paul wrote to the church of Corinth that we walk by faith and not by sight. 

By faith, y'all. Faith means believing that He's in control, even we when can't see His presence. Faith means trusting that He has a plan, even in the chaos. Faith means knowing there is light even when all we see is darkness. 


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
// Hebrews 11:1 kjv


Not by sight. Ya know, it doesn't matter what we can or can't see. Things in our lives that we have no idea how they can work out. Relationships that are so strained and distant we wonder if they'll ever be as strong as they once were. We can't see how God will work in these situations. But I promise you, friend. He will. He is right now, even as you read these scribblings from my heart. 

You know what else we don't have to see? Our futures. 

Can you envision what your life will be like five years from now? If so, super. Follow God and I'm sure the outcome will be amazing. But what if we can't? Are we doing something wrong? 

No, my friend, we're not. Because we're having the chance to walk by faith, and not by sight. Trusting that His plans are good, even when we have no idea what they are. Believe that His timing is best, even when you're so tired of waiting. 

There is always a reason, for the pain and the waiting and the unknowns. Hold to His promises, walk by faith, and one day—it'll all make sense. 



I literally wrote this in, like, ten minutes on Monday evening. I'm quite certian God intended the message for me, but maybe it will touch you too. <33

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Dear Hurting.


Dear Hurting... 

Yes, you. The one putting on a brave face and praying no one will see through it. The one who smiles in the daylight, but cries in the darkness. The one who's there for everyone else, but just needs someone to be there for them.

Because someone is—and He loves you so much more than you can comprehend. He feels your breaking heart and wants to hold you through this pain-ladened season.

The breaking of your heart isn't something to be feared, no matter the cause. Loving people may always bring us pain, but that's okay. Don't let the ache you carry hold you back from loving deeply the next time, and the next...and the time after that.

Don't fear the pain. Embrace it. For it's through the season of hurt that you will grow and you will bloom.

Broken is a state, but breaking is only a season. You may be breaking, but you're not broken. This isn't forever, dears. <3


The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 
// Psalms 34:18 kjv

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 
// Isaiah 26:3 kjv 


Praying for everyone who reads these words, that someone's heart will be strengthened. <3

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Read the Instructions.



If you're setting out to start a new craft project, you may read some tips, tricks, or watch some DIY videos.

When you take a test, you carefully read the instructions before beginning.

If you're taking a medication, you follow the directions on the box or bottle for the correct dosage.

Basically, when you need to know how to do something, you read the instructions.


Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 
// Psalms 119:11 kjv


Did you know life comes with an instruction manual too?

Because it does, friends. God gave us His Word to cling to through the trials of life. The answers to all the questions. The reasons to all the whys. It's all in there, and we'll find it if we search long enough.


Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 
// Matthew 7:7-8 kjv


Let me take this a step further. What if you have the instructions, you've read them...but you still don't  understand. You don't know how to proceed. What do you do?

Ask the Teacher.

If you ask a teacher about something you don't understand, they may not give you the exact answer. But they'll always point you in the right direction.



How are y'all doing? Can I pray for you? What are you needing instruction and direction on currently? Let's talk. <33

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Falling for You by Becky Wade {Book Review}


~ Description

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family's small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin--and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he's never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he's determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they're forced to confront their past and who they've become--and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again. 


~ My Rating

3/3.5 stars


~ My Review 

I have such mixed feelings over this book. (I procrastinated writing this review for over a week—which didn't help, for the record.) It definitely had it's strong points, but I waffled between adoring and despising both of the main characters for most of the book.

First, Corbin. Honestly, the dude is fabulous sometimes. (Spoiler: He toilet-papered Willow's security gate...because she told him not to. What's not to love?!) I liked this guy more than I ever liked Willow, except when all he can think about is kissing her or pulling her shirt off her shoulder...(Get a grip, man.) The side of the story dealing with Corbin, his dad, and their relationship was wonderful, though.

Then there's Willow. Besides the fact that I don't have much in common with the gorgeous model gal, I liked her character most of the time. Aside from when she wanted to cast all the blame for everything that is wrong in the world—or ever has been—on Corbin. Still, she was badly hurt by him in years past, so I made a face and pushed through.

(Spoilers in this paragraph.) My main "gripe" with these two wasn't even the sins in their past. It was the way they handled their current relationship. Corbin is convinced he can win Willow back, so he sets out to do that. But Willow, even while making out with the guy on her couch, keeps telling that they're not together. They're not a couple. This is all over when she goes back to Cali in a few weeks. And that bothered me. She led him on for months—and he let himself be led on—and didn't seem to have a bit of remorse over it, until afterwards. (End of spoilers.)

All that aside... the murder mystery was rather intriguing and not at all something I expected to find in this book. Charlotte was such a fabulous example of a middle-school-aged girl, and I loved her character and her family.

Mrs. Wade is an amazing writer. Her prose is fabulous, her plots are well-woven, and her characters are solid. I just...had problems with some of the content in this one. That said, I'm looking forward to Britt and Zander's story. :)


**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.** 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kaylee's Kind of Writes 2.0 {Blog Launch}

Happy Saturday, dear readers! (I mean, y'all have to be like the best if you're still here....) 

Has it seriously been over a month since I blogged regularly? According to the calendar, yes, it has. It doesn't feel like it, and yet...yeah, maybe it does. 

I'm not going to promise to do better, because I honestly don't know how the rest of the year is going to play out, but I hope to have a Saturday post up every week for the remainder of this month. Beyond that, we'll see. I may fall back to every other week. ;)




I'm here today with my friend Kaylee's blog launch! Kaylee's blog, Kaylee Kind of Writes, is branching out to Kaylee's Kind of Writes 2.0, which will focus on her writing, WIPs, and that type of thing. 



About the Blog

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes 2.0 is a random writing and fun blog! Otherwise, that means that it is a less professional blog, and where you can find posts of Kaylee’s writing. (She will still do book reviews, spotlights, and such on Kaylee's Kind of Writes.) You’ll find writing snippets, updates on writing, and lots of other fun stuff!




Blogger Bio

Abigail writes under the pen name Kaylee since Abigail is a pretty popular name (Seeing as she’s in a group of Abigails in a writing community she thought that Kaylee would stand out more.).
She does writing, blogging, and digital designing at Kayleeskindofwrites.blogspot.com. She's a Christian homeschooling bookworm, With One Amazing Savior, Two great parents, Three Brothers, Four Sisters,
She likes to listen to music when she's writing.


Facebook  ||  Goodreads  ||  Pinterest  ||  Blogger  ||  WordPress



Schedule 


October 10th

October 11th
Character Interview on Julia is Fictional
Interview of three characters on Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes 2.0

October 12th
Spotlight on Beautiful Things
First chapter of two WIPs on Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes 2.0

October 13th
Spotlight at Chosen Vessels


 

Giveaway

Doesn't this giveaway look fabulous? Here's the link to the form! Head on over and claim your entries. :D 



Did you follow Kaylee's blog(s)? Enter the giveaway?