Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Coronation by Olivia Lynn Jarmusch {Book Review + Blog Tour}

Happy Saturday, friends! 

Today I'm taking part in Olivia Jarmusch's blog tour for her new release, The Coronation, book one in the Tales of Tarsurella series. You can find out more about Olivia, discover her other published works, and follow her on various social media platforms through her blog: Livy Lynn

~ Description 

Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities. 

Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene. Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig. 

Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard? 

~ My Rating 
4 stars

~ My Review 

A delightful, faith-filled contemporary tale, gently woven with love and grace. If you enjoy stories of princesses and royalty, you won't want to miss the opportunity to travel to the land of Tarsurella! 

To be honest, I did not know what to think when I first started this book. Realizing it was 460 pages rather astounded me. I can't tell you the last time -- or if I ever have -- read a book of that length. Honestly, I was expecting to find 'filler' scenes that served no purpose other than to lengthen the book, but that was not the case. Every line of the book served a purpose, even if it was only for the reader to grow in understanding of the characters. 

Which brings me to my main point. The people. Holy moley, y'all, this book has a TON of characters. As I sat down to outline my thoughts for this review, I think I counted 28 named characters...and at least 13 of those had a POV at some time or another. Yeah...a lot to keep straight. But surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult, as there were no similar names and all the personalities were quite diverse. 

The King was a strong, godly man, and a wonderful mentor and head of the home. His conversations with Addison surrounding the conversation were amazing. <3 
Addison was a nice, young fellow. His struggles with beginning to reign and having people depending on him were sooo good and well-written, I thought. 
Chasity and Hope were my favorites of the princesses. I enjoyed their stories, and related to their inner-struggles over Hanson and David. The theme of guarding your heart and trusting God were wonderful. <3 
Others of the Royal family were Bridget, Asher, Jillian, Willie (<3 <3), and Millie. And Mr. Pork Chops! ("Hold onto your bacon." *dies*) 
Hanson, Vanessa, and Liam were all characters that I liked and then didn't like...or didn't like and then liked. :P All for different reasons, and they're all pretty awesome. 
Clark was another wonderful one, as well as Deborah. I loved their commitment and loyalty to the family. <3 
Lilly and Sapphire annoyed me to no end. Particularly Lilly, as she led one guy on and dated another. Bleh. 
Kennetic Energy (an American pop/rock band) was a cool addition to the cast of the book. David was my obvious favorite (there's something with that name and nice, fictional guys... <3), but Laney, Justin, and Zac were pretty cool too. ("Yeah, well I'm not going to eat your lipstick."   "We can't just sit here and argue about breath mints!") 

My favorite parts of the book were the closeness of the family, the sibling-love, and the themes of guarding your heart and forgiveness. The analogy of tears being turned to diamonds through trials was beautiful as well. <3 

One thing I didn't really care for was Bridget's outburst of "life stinks and we can't do anything about it." We serve a risen can we be miserable with that knowledge? Yeah, people are going to hurt us and things aren't always going to go the way we want them to, but we have the ultimate victory through Christ. I realize she was having a hard time right then and, although I liked how Addison handled it, I felt he could've been a bit more encouraging and uplifting (unless I just missed that part somehow :P). 

The many POV swaps and 'head-hopping' bothered me at times, but overall I was able to move through it without getting distracted. 

There was something that happened near the end of the book, that I didn't exactly agree with, but I can't say much for fear of spoilers. ;) 

All the way around, it was a fun, amazingly-written book, filled with whimsy, humor, and family love. Four stars! 

Favorite quotes: 

"Don't waste your time dating young paupers who don't know how to properly cherish your heart. ... Wait for the man that God has for you! Wait for a true Prince! ... Until then, be content to rest in your single hood, and search God with all of your heart." 

"Nobody had to teach you how to love. But someone taught you how to be afraid. ... You're His daughter, Bridget. He created your heart, and He is more than able to heal it." 

**I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.** 

Friday, July 7, 2017

True to You by Becky Wade {Book Review}

~ Description 

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. 

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another. 

~ My Rating 
4 stars 

~ My Review 

True to You was a delightful and fun contemporary. I've always enjoyed the 'person-searching-for-their-biological-mother/father/parents' storyline, and this one certainly did not disappoint. 

After reading the prequel novella to the Bradford Sisters Romance series (Then Came You), I knew I would want to read the rest of the series. So when True to You came available through Bethany House, I grabbed it. I didn't get to read it right away, but when I did, I was immediately pulled into the story. 

Nora and John were both unique characters. It wasn't like "oh, they're like so-and-so from that other book". They were their own people. 
Nora is a genealogist and historical village owner (how cool is that, y'all?) who spends her free time watching her favorite British TV series, reading books, and consuming cartons of ice cream. She 'dresses like a librarian', steers clear of her ex-fiancĂ©, and tells herself she's content with her life as it is... But she's not. 
John is a retired Navy SEAL, who now owns his own business. He's serious and focused, knowing exactly how his life will play out. Until...he gets a startling diagnosis that rocks his world. Now on the search for his biological mother, he enlists the help of one Ms. Nora Bradford...and things pick up speed from there. 

So, yup. *nods* This book was amazing. Aside from the main characters, I LOVED the relationships between Nora and her sisters, and John and his adoptive parents. Also the her mink coat. She was hilarious. ;) 

There was a few things in the book that I didn't care for, resulting in the dropping of one star. *minor spoilers throughout* 
First, all the kissing. mean, they kissed...multiple times...on their first date? Really?! Yeah, I didn't really care for that. Not okay. 
Also, the character of Nora's employee Nikki. She flirted shamelessly with any man she happened to meet...which really annoyed me. I think her character could have still had the same effect, even if that had been toned down a bit. I didn't particularly appreciate some of her remarks. 
Another thing. I wouldn't knock off a star for this, but it did make me go "whaaaa?" When their baking...and he smears sugar on her face...and then kisses it off. Am I the only one who was slightly grossed out by that? XD
*end of spoilers* 

All the way around, I super enjoyed this story. Can't wait to read more in the series! :D *is legit dying for Britt's story* 

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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day {2017}

Happy Independence Day, friends!! 

I wanted to post something good for the today. Something inspiring and patriotic, like a short-story or at least a poem. But unfortunately, I have had no inspiration to write much of anything for the last few weeks. :P 

So...y'all are getting some of my favorite patriotic songs and Bible verses. Enjoy... :) 

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
~ Galatians 5:13 KJV

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance." 
~ Psalms 33:12 KJV 

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”
~ 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 KJV

God bless America! <3 

To anyone who was wondering, yes, I survived the trip. A post about will be up sometime soon. ;)