December 30, 2016

My Favorite 2016 Reads

Hello, my lovelies! Yep, it's finally that time again. Listing all my favorite stories from this year! I've been holding off, just in case I read one final book that blew me away before tomorrow night. But as I'll be busy with family Christmases for the next few days, I figure it won't happen. So! Here we are.

There were so many fabulous books that I was privileged to read this year. And so many amazing new authors, as well as old favorites. All the writers out there continue to showcase their incredible talents and make this reader very, very happy! And per my usual, narrowing down my choices to only ten isn't very easy at all. But I'm going to try!

Simply put, these are the stories I devoured once I began reading and could not put them down for real life, no matter how it tried to intrude! :) These characters refused to leave my head for hours and days after I finished reading and easily stole my heart. I will happily gush about each one of these books to anyone willing to listen!

{These are listed in the order I read them, I couldn't seem to figure out which to highlight first or last, so this was easiest.}


by Mary Jane Hathaway

I love this story because of Alice and Paul. Their chemistry is off the charts and their banter and flirtations are too adorable! Plus it mainly takes place in a bookstore, which is just awesome.


A Season to Love
by Nicole Deese

This one is all about Willa's journey for me. Watching her grow braver and stronger over the course of the story is the biggest highlight for me. I connected with her character so, so much!


The Thorn Keeper
by Pepper Basham

I love, love, love Catherine! She gripped onto my heart in book one (The Thorn Bearer) and the wait to find out more of her story was horrible. She so utterly fascinated me with her mix of vulnerability and brave. I could gush for hours over all the different awesome things about her character, but I'll spare you. ;)


Named of the Dragon
by Susanna Kearsley

In my review, I described the writing as "atmospheric and haunting", which it is. And it's that very aspect that intrigued me about this story and pushed it to my favorites list. I am definitely planning to read more Susanna Kearsley books in the near future!


Can't Help Falling
by Kara Isaac

After reading and loving her debut (Close to You), I was eagerly anticipating this one. I LOVED it! That meet cute is adorable and Emilia and Peter just wrapped themselves in my heart. Plus all the CS Lewis references just make my heart happy! :)


The Lady and the Lionheart
by Joanne Bischof

Charlie Lionheart, you need to meet him. Enough said.


The Blue Castle
by LM Montgomery

SO GOOD. I love Valancy and watching her find her brave is one of the best character arcs I've ever read! And then there's Barney Snaith.... *swoon*


The Key to Extraordinary
by Natalie Lloyd

Natalie's books always deserve a top spot! But the timing of this one, with Emma learning to live with her grief, was perfect. I loved her adventures in Blackbird Hollow and every character is a delight!


The Q
by Beth Brower

Quincy St. Claire. The Q. James Arch. Those are the three most perfect reasons you should read this book. Trust me!


A Portrait of Emily Price
by Katherine Reay

It's a book by Katherine Reay. That means it's automatically guaranteed a spot on my favorites list! :D SO good, people. What else is there to say?


The End of the World by Amy Matayo
Told You Twice by Kristen Heitzmann
The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Eyes of E'veria series by Serena Chase
Intermission by Serena Chase
The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham

December 29, 2016

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things :: 2016 Edition

So! It's time for my list of favorite things from this year. I tried this for the first time back in 2014 and liked it enough I think this might be a yearly thing. I mean, it already is, I suppose, since this is the third year I've written it. :) Anyhoo! 2016 was definitely a year of ups and downs. I read lots of good stories, had some amazing adventures, yet so much of it was tinged with grief for mom. So I look back with a lot of bittersweetness. Still, there is a whole lot more sweet than bitter! And I am here to focus on the happy today, let's get to it, shall we? :)
:: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat ~ meeting all those lovely authors and fellow readers (!!!!!)
:: Meeting Rel and Jamie in person. (Still a bit in shock that happened.)
:: Also meeting Laura Frantz, Kara Isaac, Becky Wade, Pepper Basham, Dani Pettrey...AAAHHHH
:: Friends with new babies for me to snuggle
:: Sweet final memories with mom
:: Quick weekend trip to the ocean with friends
:: Discovering a new favorite restaurant ~ pita sandwiches make me happy
:: 24 hour write-a-thon
:: Seeing my California friends when they came to visit over the summer
:: Visiting my aunt and her family over Thanksgiving
:: Seeing the Ark Encounter in person
:: Happy packages in the mail from awesome author friends
:: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie!!!
:: Little Women Read-along ~ It was past time that I read this classic and I enjoyed it. Course, it helps that it was a read-along. I love those! :)
:: Northanger Abbey Read-along ~ even if I didn't finish
:: Libraries with free wifi and comfy seating
:: Twitter, instagram, and blog convos with my people
:: Friends, both online and off, showering me with love and happy
:: Twitter-watch-alongs with Amber
:: Getting that first email about the invite to be part of the INSPYs Advisory Board and then all the happiness sent my way from the other members when I accepted
:: Starbucks Chai Tea
:: Re-learning appreciation for the little moments in life
:: Did I mention books?
It's been a good year overall! What about you? What are some of your favorite things from 2016?

December 28, 2016

My Life According to Literature :: 2016

I discovered this Little Free Library near
my house a couple weeks ago. :)
I rather enjoyed this post when I wrote it earlier this year, so I figured it was time to bring it back. Only this time I'll use the books I read in 2016! Fun, right?? (Plus maybe it'll jumpstart my reading again. Still in a bit of a slump and I am SO ready to get out of it!)

Everyone in the blogging world is starting to post their favorites lists for 2016, so I figure mine should be coming soon as well. When I'm able to find the time to get it written, of course. Let's hope that happens sooner rather than later, yes?

Anyhoo, on with the show! :)

Describe yourself: A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis)  {I feel like I've been outside of myself a lot this year, striving hard to be normal, yet struggling to get there. You know...whatever normal is.}

How do you feel today: Since You've Been Gone (Christa Allen)  {My heart still aches a bit when I think about mom, especially these last few days.}

Describe where you currently live: P.S. I Like You (Kasie West)

If you could go anywhere, you would go to: The Red Door Inn (Liz Johnson)  {Visit Prince Edward Island? YES please!}

Your favorite form of transportation: The Girl From the Train (Irma Joubert)  {I've never traveled very far by train, but I'd love to make a cross country trip one day!}

Your best friend is: My Hope Next Door (Tammy L. Gray)

You and your friends are: Love and Freindship (Jane Austen)

What's the weather like: Unblemished (Sara Ella)  {It's a beautiful day outside!}

You fear: The End of the World (Amy Matayo)  {Not really, but I was struggling to find a title for this one.}

What's the best advice you have to give: Adulthood is a Myth (Sarah Andersen)

Thought for the day: Dream a Little Dream (Kerstin Gier)

How would you like to die: Only Through Love (Mary Jane Hathaway)

Your soul's present condition: Bookishly Ever After (Isabel Bandeira)  {Even in my current reading slump, books still bring me happy just by existing!}

December 26, 2016

How My Literary Life Has Changed...

So I stumbled across this post, The Effects of Becoming a BookPerson, and seriously, friends. Go read it! Parts are true for me and parts aren't, which got me to thinking about what has changed about my reading experience since I began blogging....

How my literary life has changed...

1. Bookstore trips

Before Blogging {then}: Big adventure because I never, ever knew what I would find on the shelves! And I wandered the entire store and looked at everything.

After Blogging {now}: I search the titles and covers to find the ones I want to skim through so I can find out whether I want to actually read it or not. (Sometimes my kindle sample is not enough to help me with this.) Most titles are familiar, but not all. I still find surprises on the shelves though, and still like to wander the whole store occasionally. Yet more often than not, I mainly visit the Christian Fiction and Young Adult sections. Also I usually know before going what book(s) I'm interested in actually purchasing.

2. Book release dates

Then: I might know when a book was coming out thanks to it being a part of a series and the general date given in the back of the previous book.  Emphasis on general because usually they say Spring 2017 or Fall 2016, which is NOT specific enough for me.

Now: I know a lot of publishing dates way ahead of time. Especially if it's a book I am HIGHLY anticipating! I'm not so great at remembering them, so if you'd ask me right now, I may not be able to answer. But I check goodreads fairly often to keep up. Plus I know specific dates, not just generalized times! Which is much nicer. :)

3. Amount of books I own

Then: LOTS


4. Bookish Merchandise

Then: A few things, but very few. I had some bookstore bookmarks, I would sometimes write out a favorite quote and stick it somewhere I would read it often, and I did buy my Persuasion scarf before I started blogging.

Now: I still don't own a lot of bookish things, but I drool over a LOT of them online! I dream of owning them, does that count? :)

5. Book Besties

Then: Mom and I would read the same books and chat about what we liked about them. The ladies who worked at the library knew my name as I was in there every single week.

Now: I FOUND MY PEOPLE. I never knew there were so many others who loved to read as much as I and loved to talk about it! Twitter convos, blog comments, even occasionally on facebook. I love it! Also the idea that someone I've never met in person could actually become one of my dearest friends is still amazing to me.

6. TBR pile

Then: What's TBR stand for?

Now: It towers over me and I keep adding to it! And so many of the ones I add aren't even published yet! Which makes the waiting horrible.

7. Ebooks/Ereaders

Then: No! No, no, no. Absolutely not.

Now: I love my kindle! It goes with me everywhere and it's just so handy to have several hundred books at my disposal at any time.

8. Reading book reviews

Then: For only two or so years prior to starting my own blog did I even know book reviews existed. I didn't even realize that professional ones were published in newspapers and magazines, that's how out of the know I was! But once I discovered book bloggers, I began to pay a lot more attention.

Now: If a synopsis interests me, I will stand in a bookstore and read reviews right then to try to figure out if I would like it. I rarely buy a book that I haven't read at least one review for it.

9. Library visits

Then: I wandered the shelves, waiting for titles to jump out at me.

Now: I still wander the shelves a lot, but I also check my library's website for availability and put loads of books on hold. Plus I will check on availability of new books coming out!

10. Authors

Then: I had favorites, but never dreamed I'd actually get to meet any of them in person. And only rarely did I know about a new book of theirs yet to be published.

Now: I still have favorites naturally! :) But now I've actually met a few in person (and fangirled the entire time!) and almost always know when they have new books to be published and when that'll happen.

So! If you're a blogger, or you read a lot of book blogs, has anything changed in your literary life since you started?

December 23, 2016

Little Letters :: Fourteenth Edition

There's my measly little attempt at a book tree this year. I haven't ever tried one before and boy did I figure out that they are NOT easy to build! The books have to be placed just so in order that they don't immediately fall to the ground OR look silly. The white lights help. A lot. :)

Anyhoo, when I decided it was high time for another Little Letters post, I glanced back to see how long it'd been since my last one. June 2015?! Whoa. It's way past time I wrote another of these! So here we go...

Dear Whoever Made the Little Free Library Near My House, Thank you for placing it there! I'd heard that it existed, but hadn't actually seen it until a couple weeks ago. Best Idea Ever! I'm a new fan. :)

Dear INSPYs Board, Thank you for the true privilege of inviting me to become a part of one of the awesomest book awards ever! I was honored to be asked, and your enthusiasm in welcoming me has made my days happy. I only hope I can fill Stacy's spot with half the ability she had. Here's to INSPYs 2017! {Incidentally, dear reader, if you aren't aware, book nominations are open on 12/27, just FYI.}

Dear Christmas Movie Creators, You have made my Christmas season so much fun with all the myriad of stories you've offered this year! With so many wonderful new movies, plus all my old favorites, my Christmas-movie-addicted heart thanks you!!!

Dear Mr. Darcy's Night Before Christmas, You are simply the cutest! Jane Austen plus Christmas? Yes please!

Dear Books, I love you, I do. But I just haven't been feeling like reading the last couple weeks. I'm in a little bit of a slump and I'm not sure why. I hope I can get over it though! Because I've got several stories that I'd love to find enthusiasm for. Maybe this weekend...?

Dear Old World, Life is hard this year. Boy do I know that ever so well. But let's just keep clinging to hope, yes? Hope is always there, sometimes you have to look a bit harder, but it's definitely always there. So don't give up, okay? We're going to make it! Somehow.

Dear Mom, I miss you. When people say Christmas is hard when you're grieving...? They aren't kidding at all! My emotions have been a tangle all year since May, but Christmas just seems to have made them worse. I just miss you. Bunches and bunches.

Dear Reader Friends Who Still Read My (Sporadic) Posts, Thank you seems so inadequate, but it's all I've got. So thank you! I am incredibly grateful you're still here, even among my crazy posting and (probably) nonsensical wording. Y'all are small, but mighty and when I see that a few people have read my newest post, and especially if someone actually commented!, my heart does a little flip of happy. :) The fact that you take the time and read my words, the fact that you care, means ever so much more than mere words can convey. Y'all are THE BEST. And I'm grateful.

Dear Christmas, You're almost here! That's crazy, but true and I hope you treat everyone reading this happily. And most important....bookishly! We can all use more books to add to our shelves, right??? ;)

December 20, 2016

My Favorite {Hallmark} Christmas Movies

I've actually been thinking for some time that I needed to make a list of my favorite Christmas movies for y'all. I mean, as much as I gush about them this time of year, right?? :) Then I saw Rissi had done that very thing and her post gave me the push I needed to do this!

So. Favorite Christmas movies. Y'all know how much of a Christmas movie addict I am by now. Especially Hallmark's many additions! Therefore, we'll see how short (read: long) I'll keep this list, shall we? :) On to the good stuff!


{For the official record, these are in no particular order. Mainly because rating them is pretty much next to impossible for me! Instead, these are simply all the ones I try to rewatch every year.}

Image result for the nine lives of christmas1. The Nine Lives of Christmas ~ Super adorable! The leads have great chemistry and their meet cute is all kinds of awkward and sweet.

2. Crown For Christmas ~ Rupert Penry-Jones as a king of a fictional country. Need I say more??

3. Trading Christmas ~ I love both main couples, but Tom Cavanagh plays my absolute favorite character. He's so awkward and geeky and adorable!

Image result for a princess for christmas
4. The Christmas Ornament ~ The chemistry is definitely there and I love watched Kellie Martin slowly let down her walls and open up to new possibilities.

5. A Princess For Christmas ~ It's a modern fairytale, what's not to love? And Katie McGrath's Jules is this great mix of normal (which these royals definitely need in their lives!), sassy, and simply great at making everyone feel comfortable.

Image result for moonlight and mistletoe6. The Christmas Card ~ This one simply has a really sweet storyline. John Newton as Cody is such a gentleman, plus I love how he silently makes googly-eyes at Alice Evans.

7. Moonlight and Mistletoe ~ I love watching Christopher Wiehl slowly help Candace Cameron Bure to open up her heart again. Plus the father-daughter relationship depicted in this one is so very sweet.

8. A Boyfriend For Christmas ~ Because I'm a sucker for a sweet romance. Do you need any other reason?

Image result for the most wonderful time of the year movie
9. A Very Merry Mixup ~ I love how the two leads are so comfortable with each other right off the bat. They banter and have fun together and I love every minute.

10. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year ~ The characters are fabulous! Henry Winkler as matchmaking Uncle Ralph has to be my fave though. Plus the little boy who plays Brooke Burns' son is too cute for words!

11. Mrs. Miracle ~ Those adorable twins! The chemistry between the leads! Doris Roberts' as Mrs. Miracle herself!

Image result for signed sealed delivered for christmas12. Call Me Mrs. Miracle ~ And we have Doris Roberts again! :) Plus another cute romance. Perfect combo!

13. A Cookie Cutter Christmas ~ I wasn't sure I would like this one at first viewing, but turns out I love it! Erin Krakow for the win.

14. Signed, Sealed, Delivered For Christmas ~ Because it's Signed, Sealed, Delivered!! No other reason needed. That should be plenty enough.


Whew! Okay, so I probably don't get every single one of those rewatched, but I try. Also, I admit that I don't just watch them at Christmastime. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a Christmas movie in May or whenever the mood strikes! :)

As for the new ones out just this year? I haven't seen them all, but of the ones I have watched, here are my favorites so far:

Image result for a december bride hallmark
1. A Wish For Christmas ~ Lacey Chabert and Paul Greene in a movie together? Yes please!

2. A December Bride ~ Firstly it's based on one of my favorite books by Denise Hunter. Secondly it stars Daniel Lissing. And thirdly, the way Daniel looks all twitterpated at Jessica Lowndes? Be still my heart!

3. A Nutcracker Christmas ~ This one surprised me. I know the story of the nutcracker, but ballet's never really been my kind of thing. Turns out this story of an ex-ballet dancer reminded of all the reasons she loves ballet again knew just which of my heartstrings to tug!

Image result for seasons greetings uptv4. Hearts of Christmas ~ Sweet, sweet babies! Lots of sweet babies. Add in cute banter between the leads and this one struck gold with me!

5. Seasons Greetings ~ This one isn't Hallmark, it's from UPtv. I had the chance to watch and loved it immediately! It made me laugh a lot, which is always a plus. And Laura Bell Bundy seems to fit her character perfectly.


So! Are you a Christmas movie addict like I am? What are some of your favorites?

December 16, 2016

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen


...that a Jane Austen fangirl in possession of knowledge of Jane Austen's birthday must be in want of sharing the news!

Happy birthday, Jane!!! 

Yet as much as I love Jane, I discovered today is the day almost too late. But! I know now and so I just wanted to spread the Austen love once again. :) She would be 241 today. Obviously a young squirt, right?? I am clearly a fan of hers, as any of my usual readers know full well, and I love her books (those that I've actually read), her movies/miniseries, and every other kind of paraphernalia based on her books out there (of which there is a great deal!).

Yay for Jane Austen happiness! Also, I trust y'all are doing well and having a great Friday. Mine is frigid currently, so staying inside with my starbucks chai tea is a must! :)

December 15, 2016

Gilmore Girls Book Tag

Hello, my lovelies! I hope your December is going well so far. I saw Rissi do this tag (I am slowly catching up on my blog reading. I have been so behind that it's not even funny!) and thought it looked like fun. Now I am fully cognizant that this tag probably went around in November because of the revival of Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life. But as I am usually behind the times anyway, I figure it doesn't really matter that I'm doing it now. Right??

So here we go! :)

1. I just got hit by a deer - character having the worst day ever ~ Lucy from The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter, Waking up with amnesia, only to find everything is horribly changed in your life would not be fun.

2. Stars Hollow - wildly eccentric cast ~ The Q by Beth Brower, I love every single one of them, but especially Quincy herself! :)

3. Coffee - a book you're addicted to / a character with an addiction ~ The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is definitely a book I'm addicted to! I have reread it countless times.

4. Someone devil-egged my car?! - great act of revenge ~ I don't know that it's a "great act of revenge", but in The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa, Allison starts out pretty revenge-y.

5. Mr. Medina - an illicit affair ~ ???

6. Kim's Antiques - a world you'd be afraid to enter ~ Pretty sure I wouldn't want to live in The Host by Stephanie Meyer!

7. Harvard vs. Yale - character who needs to make a life-changing decision ~ Valancy from The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

8. Luke's Diner - a comfort read ~ The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

9. Am I crying or laughing? - a book that messed with your emotions ~ My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

10. Emily - the hbic (character in charge) ~ Faith's mom, from Intermission by Serena Chase

11. Lorelai and Rory - favorite family dynamic ~ Savannah and her mother from the Savannah series by Denise Hildreth Jones, I love how they may frustrate each other, but love each other dearly regardless.

12. I pushed him in the lake! - a book you'd throw in a lake ~ I would never throw a book in a lake!

13. 1000 yellow daisies - favorite romance ~ Alice and Paul from The Pepper in the Gumbo by Mary Jane Hathaway, and for the record they are one of my many favorites!

14. Jess - an unpopular opinion ~ I've tried one of John Green's books and have been very unenthused to try another.

15. First snow - snow or holiday read ~ Starring Christmas by Rachel McMillan & Allison Pittman

16. Hep Alien - book centered around music ~ Intermission by Serena Chase, It has more to do with musical theater, but I'm counting it! :)

17. He'd better have a motorcycle! - your book crush ~ August from The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham, That man....! *swoon*

18. It's repetitive and redundant - a book that could have been shorter ~ I couldn't come up with anything for this one, besides usually I'm wishing a book would be longer!

19. Kirk - the weirdest book you've ever read ~ Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

20. It's a lifestyle. It's a religion. - that one book that means more to you than any other. ~ I'm just going to go with books in general. I love books! :)

December 14, 2016

30 Days of Books :: Day 15

I'm back! I know, I know, my blogging is such scatterbrained posting, isn't it? I should really get better at planning out my posts, but that's a thought for another day! Today, we're back to the 30 days of books. I might get these done before Christmas, but I'm a doubting it currently. Perhaps I'll finish by the end of January! One can hope, right? ;)

{joining Jenni}

Day 15 :: Your favorite male character

I'd say it's mostly John Thornton, but I'm pretty fond of Nicholas Higgins too! (from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell) So I'm choosing both of them. :) I love Mr. Thornton for how he loves so well and completely, plus he's such a good man, and a smart one as well. To be able to raise himself from poverty to a mill owner is no small feat! As for Higgins, I love how his gruff exterior covers a heart of tenderness.

Most of all I love watching these two characters slowly come to respect each other and become friends! Their friendship is one of the highlights of the story for me. They both are awesome, but together they are AWESOME. ;)

Do you have a favorite male character? Do share!

December 8, 2016

Review: The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham {Blog Tour + Giveaway}


Hello, my lovelies! I am so excited to chat about this delightful story with you today. I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Basham back in August and to say it was an honor would be putting it mildly. I fangirled all over her about Catherine from The Thorn Keeper! And she was gracious enough not to mind. (She may have done a little fangirling with me actually. ;) After thoroughly enjoying her first two books in this series, when the opportunity came to read this final story in the trilogy I could not pass it up. So read on for all the details and happy gushing about to ensue! :)


  1. Jessica was an EXTREMELY difficult character to write, from beginning to end. I think it was a personality trait for her. ;-)
  2. I had not planned on Anna showing up in this story…or Cliff – but I’m so glad they appeared.
  3. Hot Springs is a real place that had a real German internment camp during World War 1 (not 2).
  4. The author of the book The German Invasion of Hot Springs was an amazing resource for history into both Hot Springs AND the internment camp.
  5. A little historical tidbit here – many of the people in Hot Springs didn’t know about the existence of the internment camp because everyone stopped talking about it when World War 2 broke out. They were ashamed of their involvement in having Germans in their town.
  6. There is still one artifact left in Hot Springs of the Germans presence there – but only one – except for any personal artifacts family members have passed down (a painting is one I know of).
  7. The Hot Springs in the town are still active and people still come to use them, though the site is NOTHING like the grandeur and elegance of the former hotel that used to stand on the site.
  8. In history, nobody knows who started the typhoid epidemic that takes place in the book.
  9. I created Sylvie to go with Jude, so I could write a World War 2 romance of them. ;-)
  10. There’s a funny story to the cover design. The stock photo of the woman used is of a woman in a strapless wedding gown…neither of which was appropriate for the era OR my heroine. So…we had to decide on a ‘romantic’ way to cover those shoulders….thus the train smoke emerged.


Oh friends, Pepper Basham has done it again! She has swept me away into the post-WW1 era and captivated me from the first page to the last. How does she do it?? I don't know, but it makes me happy! :) One thing that becomes fairly obvious pretty quickly (with any of her books) is the fact that Ms. Basham has done a tremendous amount of research. All these little tidbits that happen or certain scenes I think were probably just from her imagination turn out to be true! There is so much fascinating history out there that I didn't know anything about. And she knows just how to place them in her story to make the biggest impact, so they're unforgettable! She's talented, I tell you.

So let's start with the characters. I admit to being a tad anxious about whether I was going to be able to connect with Jessica. From the first two books, I knew she tended to be a lot slightly abrasive and fierce. In fact, I struggled to like her at all in book two, she simply came across as hardened and had so many walls up that I couldn't see beyond them. I should have known to trust her creator though, because I ended up really liking her by the end! It just takes a while for her walls to come down and really, who can blame her? Even as I searched for breaks in those walls, once I realized what was causing them I was able to feel more compassion for her. Unlike Catherine (from The Thorn Keeper) who I connected with immediately, Jessica merely took a bit longer. Those walls were concrete. And thick. And all I had to go on were the things that those who loved her said about how she used to be. Plus, now that I think on it, she had a strike against her simply for being so horrible to my beloved Catherine for so much of book two. (What can I say? I really love Catherine.) Anyhoo! Point is, as her walls fell, so did mine and it wasn't long before I was rooting for her to find healing and peace.

And August! Oh my heart, it did not take long at all for me to fall for that man. (As Ms. Basham calls him, swoony August. Truer words! ;) Somehow he had the ability to see beyond Jessica's walls to her sweet and compassionate heart. His heart was ever clear to see and I loved that about him! His kindness and gentle way of treating everyone, regardless of how they treat him, is one of my favorite traits of his. It's no wonder he was able to break through to Jess! He is a true gentleman in every sense of the word. His patience with her and her many scars, his sweetness with Sylvie and Anna, and oh pretty much everything about him! He is the perfect foil for Jess and watching him gently and persistently woo her to his side is gloriously swoony. Yet never doubt that inside him beats a heart of fierce steadfastness! When it comes to doing the right thing in face of harsh circumstances, and especially if those circumstances could hurt those he loves, he will battle as needed. He's just more of a "quiet fighter" most of the time.

I loved watching both of these characters fight their way to a happy future. Their journey is certainly not easy, but oh so rewarding when they finally get there. The hope that permeates every single page makes this a beautiful story of grace and any bit of happy is hard-won, even from the wonderful side characters. (I personally really loved Cliff and Anna especially! :) And per Ms. Basham's usual, there are twists I was so not prepared for, yet her ability to draw me into her story so far that I struggle to come back to real life again is exceptional! I can but applaud her skills and only dream of writing so excellently myself because she goes far beyond the shallow romance here, there are depths of insight to be searched out if you'll only begin with chapter one. Trust me, friends! It's worth it. SO worth it. :)

**I received a complimentary copy via Singing Librarian Books. All opinions expressed are my own.


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader's Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. You can get to know Pepper on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley.


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December 5--Bookworm Mama | cherylbbookblog
December 6--Bibliophile Reviews
December 7--Faithfully Bookish | ​Singing Librarian Books
December 8--Flowers of Quiet Happiness
December 9--Smiling Book Reviews
December 10--Reading Is My SuperPower
December 11--Red Headed Book Lady | ​Christian Bookaholic
​December 12--Cherry Drop Princess
December 13--Toni Shiloh Soulfully Romantic | Robin's Nest 212
December 14--Book by Book
December 15--Cordially Barbara
​December 16--The Green Mockingbird 


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