Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Category Archives: Book Reviews

First off, sorry for the two posts in one day. Or, maybe I’m not….I dunno. I guess, I’m sorry if it seems like too many posts for you and not if you enjoy hearing from me twice in one day…And this could be an irrelevant start to my post if you are reading this after the initial day…(insert awkward silence)…..

Ok, then! Moving right along. I finished this book actually a couple of weeks ago. I was very lucky to get chosen to be part of the launch team and did get a pre-release copy of the book. With that, I wanted to wait until closer to the release date to actually write my review. But, y’all! This was such a great read! I had a really hard time waiting to tell you guys about it. It is released in 1 month! Or August 21st. This is one of those books, that you’ll want to put on your must-read list.

Without Further Ado, here is my review.

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As the Tide Comes in by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

Tara Abbot was raised in the foster care system and as an adult took on the responsibility of raising her half-brothers. When the unthinkable happens, she decides to go North Carolina. More specifically, St. Simons Island. She finds herself confused and scared and in the care of women who identify themselves as the Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter.

First off, make sure you have lots of tissues handy. This book brings the onions like no other I’ve read in a long time. It reached down and not only touched my heart but pulled and pulled until I walked away feeling as emotionally tugged on, exhausted, and thrilled as the characters in the story.

Woodsmall once again delivered an amazing story. I tend to read a lot of historical novels and novels with similar story lines. This was a refreshing change. This one takes a completely different approach and adds whole lot of heart to the story. The characters are rich and well-developed. They have some quirkiness which helps them seem more real, odd but real.

It’s nothing short of a work of art. Buy it. Read it. Thank me after you’ve let the tears (sorrowful and happy) flow. You won’t regret it.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends. I recommend this book for young adults or adults who love contemporary fiction and heartfelt stories that tug (and pull) on those heartstrings.

I did receive this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher as part of the launch team in exchange for an honest review.

What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you.

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We just got back from a busy vacation to Chicago. I really love family vacations. I love it from beginning to end, the packing up the car to unloading it, the early mornings to late evenings, and the are we there yet moments to the finally we’ve arrived moments. I also love that it gives me time to read a book. It never fails, I’m either up before everyone because my internal alarm clock doesn’t quit or I’m up after the kids have fallen soundly asleep. This really shouldn’t surprise me. I’m almost always awake stirring around a quiet house. The nice thing about vacation is, I’m up stirring but I don’t have any charts to work on. And that’s a HUGE blessing.

So while in Chicago, I read Jane of Austin it was a wonderful escape. Here’s my review.

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Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

The Woodward sisters find themselves out of a home and their teas salon without a roof. This paired with their ever-looming father’s reputation, the girls must look for a new home and a new store front. In order to escape their father’s poor choices, they move from California to Austin, Texas to live with their cousin Ian. There they meet extended family, a Texas charmer, and a retired Marine captain.

This book has it all! It has a fantastic story backdrop of starting over and rebuilding lives in an unknown city. It artfully mixes in relationships both family and love interests. Toss in some love of baking and tea and you have a best selling, (quite) unique book.

At its core, is a theme of love, family and hard work. Despite the unfair circumstances, these girls learn the ongoing importance of family and honesty. They also learn a lesson on caution and not everyone is who they seem. Hard work is always there, whether its learning about a new-found disability, running a business, or working at relationships; it takes hard work.

What I love about this story is the uniqueness it brings to the Austin favorite. At the end of many chapters, the author has added recipes. Being a self-acclaimed baker and chef, I loved ready through and making note of which ones I would be going back to try. I also loved the added tea bits. There’s not a lot of this, so don’t worry it doesn’t take over the story. But it’s sprinkled in nicely.

This modern day spin on the classic Sense and Sensibility is well-written and certain to delight. The wit and charm will pull-you in and keep you reading.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends. I would recommend it to anyone who loved Jane Austin, contemporary novels, stories of starting over, or light romance. This book would be appropriate for young adults and older teens.

What are you reading now? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re reading and if you are enjoying it! I love to hear from you.


I stopped by a local bookstore several weeks ago and they were hosting local authors. This was a great surprise! Not only did I have the opportunity to purchase new books but I also had the opportunity to meet three local authors. One had written a child’s book, so I didn’t purchase it as I have no children at that age. The other two were murder mysteries. I have since finished one of the two books and starting the second one today.

Secrets by the Knoll by Julie Metros

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In the early 1900’s, Highland Park in Des Moines, Iowa was shocked by the murders of two children. The children were returning home following evening church when they were brutally attacked. This murder remains unsolved.  The Secrets by the Knoll is loosely based off this murder.

This story starts off modern day as a young women begins to learn about her family history. The reader is then transferred back in time and the story starts with you getting to know the family. Its a fun glimpse into the local history. It is obvious Metros spent a lot of time researching the area. I enjoyed her description of 1900’s neighborhood and city activities.

The characters are varied making the story interesting and easy to keep them straight in my head. I feel the male characters are best fleshed out. The dad’s love for his dead son is palpable. The middle son seems shady at best. I enjoyed how even some of the least important characters (like the coroner) got their own voice in the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading a bit of local history woven into a murder mystery. I’ve not read many local stories so this was a fun escape. Its a quick read for a sunny afternoon on the porch.

I give this book a 4/5 bookends. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a local read or an historical fiction. There is mild violence, alcohol suggestion. It would be appropriate for an older teen.

Meeting the local authors and getting a signed copy of their books was a lot fun! This was only the second I’ve had the opportunity to meet an author and have it signed. I would love to do this more. I need to track down a good way to find and connect with authors!

What are you reading? Do you read local authors? If so, how do you find them? Leave a comment and let’s chat!


Good-evening! I’ve been pulled in a few different directions this month and wasn’t sure if I’d finish this book before the month end. Work is beginning to pick-up and the kids schedules picked-up. This is. of course, absolutely wonderful….except that it takes a bit away from my hobbies, like reading.

I’m guiltily sitting up here in my bedroom as my kids and husband think I’m watching one of my favorite shows which isn’t kid friendly. My wonderful husband is getting the kids into bed. In my defense, I THOUGHT my show was on right now. As it turns out, I’m an hour late! GAH! Guess I’ll have to stream it tomorrow night.

But my loss is your gain. Here’s my book review!

Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is now trying to break out of jail. If she manages to do this,
she will be the Commonwealth’s most wanted. Halfway around the world,
Scarlet’s grandmother is missing. Scarlet meets wolf and believes he
may hold the secret to where her grandmother may be. As Wolf and
Scarlet begin to unravel the mystery abduction, they find themselves
drawn to each. Cinder meets Wolf and Scarlet which throws them into
another mystery, waiting to be solved.

Meyer does a great job of building her characters. Each one has its
own uniqueness which makes them seem real. Scarlet’s character is
strong, independent yet dependent at the same time. Cinder is
determined, sassy, and kind. Wolf is cunning, intelligent and focused.
Personally, I can’t wait to see more of Scarlet’s and Cinder’s
interactions in the next book.

I love the new twist on the fairy tales. This one was the focus on
Red Riding Hood. The wolf in this story is cunning and daring. It
is hard to figured out which side he is on. Just when I thought I
knew, some new twist would make me question.

This book is excellently written. I loved the story and the characters.
I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the YA genre, mysteries,
or Sci-Fi. There are hints to romance, but it is very appropriate for
an audience of teens.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Have you red this book? If so, what did you think? What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you.


God of Tomorrow by Caleb Kaltenbach

It doesn’t happen very often when you read a book at just the right time. For me, this book was it. I read one chapter of this book at a time because I wanted to absorb the information. It addresses the issues of today by focusing us on the Bible and providing Bible passages to help guide us.  He helps us find hope today and tomorrow. Culture today is very polarized and it can seem hopeless. However, Kaltenbach reminds us God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is consistent. And many of the issues today were issue in Biblical times. In realizing this, the Bible can be a great resource when we are feeling worried and stressed today.

I found this book to be a fantastic read and incredibly timely in its release.

I give this book a 5 out 5 bookends.

I did receive a free copy of this book from the publishers for an honest review.


I’m working on my one book a month goal for 2018. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love to read. I’ve taken a bit of a break due to graduate school and studying for my certification test. That decrease, was part of the reason I wanted to make my goal of 12 books in 2018. I’ve missed reading. However, like anything, I had to get back into the habit of relaxing and reading. So, without further ado, I present to you, my book review.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Earth faces a potential intergalactic war with the mysterious 
Lunar people. The fate of Earth falls on one young girl....

Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who is considered a second-class 
citizen. She was adopted by a man who shortly died from the plague 
leaving her as a ward to an unkind woman. Cinder's life becomes 
intertwined with Prince Kai's, it becomes complicated by duty, 
loyalty, and freedom. 

This was the first book by Marissa Meyer that I've read. She has a 
wonderful writing style which pulls the reader into the story. I 
immediately was intrigued by this new approach to the timeless 
Cinderella story. I found myself rooting for the young cyborg as 
she discovers her identity and her role in history. 

The only downfall of the story is it was pretty easy to figure out
how Cinder fits into the Lunar vs Earth conflict. Although this 
was pretty easy to guess, it wasn't officially written in the book 
until the end. As an adult reading this book, I reminded myself 
this book was written for a younger population. Therefore, a 
younger reader may not pick-up on this as quickly. 

This book was written for a younger age group. I love how the 
developing romance and the cruelty of the step-mother was very age 
appropriate. This makes it so a slightly younger person can read 
it safely. 

This story was cleverly written and is certain to become a 
favorite in the young adult genre. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who reads and enjoys young 
adult stories. The language and story is appropriate for a 
slightly younger reader,children as young as 14 could read this 
book.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 book ends. 

So that’s most recent read. I’m planning to start the second in the series soon. So look for that review.

What are you currently reading? I’d love to hear about it or post a link to a book review.

 


My first book finished in 2018! If you’ve been following my blog, you know one of my goals is to read/finish at least 1 book a month. I’ve also started my second book for the year.

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The Proving by Beverly Lewis

Amanda Dienner has run away from her Amish roots and living in the Englisher world. She was surprised when she found out her mother had died and she will inherit the Amish bed and breakfast. The one caveat is she must successfully run the bed and breakfast for 1 year. Trina has been mourning the loss of her fiance. She found comfort in caring for an elderly woman. When the elderly woman fell and was unable to return home, Trina found herself out of job. With time on her hands, she decided to go on a mystery vacation which landed her in an Amish bed and breakfast.

Lewis is a gifted story teller and this book is no exception. Her characters have colorful and varied. The story focuses around Amanda and Trina. Their unlikely friendship helps guide both woman to healing. Trina is a bit rough around the edges sometimes as she tends to say what she’s thinking. But she has a helping heart and helps Amanda not only with her physical needs but also with emotional needs to help heal. Amanda is kind and hardworking but is impulsive and tends to hold a grudge.  Lewis uses her story telling skills to help us gently see potential flaws and ways to improve on them.

Sense this is an Amish book, one should expect references to church, God and praying. This book does a good job intertwining the story with Christian activities. The book also has several Christian themes. These include the importance of family, trusting God, and forgiveness.

Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Disclaimer: I did receive this book for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read this book? If so I’d love to hear what you thought of it. What are you currently reading? Share your reviews as a comment and maybe I can find my next book!