Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber — Review

My Review:

If you’ve never read a Debbie Macomber book, you’re missing out. Blossom Street Brides is book #10 in the Blossom Street series, but it can be enjoyed as a standalone novel. I haven’t read any other titles in the series, and I really liked this one! Macomber’s tale follows several characters and couples who are all somehow connected through a yarn shop on Blossom Street. Bethanne and Max are happily married but living in different states, Lauren has been dating Todd for years and still doesn’t have a ring, Elisa and Garry are dealing with shocking news from their college daughter, and Lydia (who owns the yarn store) and Brad are struggling with raising a teenager. Macomber’s characters are like-able and live compelling lives. You can’t help but care about them. The author is able to construct realistic situations and make you feel like the oh so lucky fly on the wall. The story moves along at just the right pace, keeping the reader interested by alternating character focus with each new chapter. I love falling into a series in which I feel the characters could actually be my friends, and I think Blossom Street is a place I’d like to visit often. Warning: Blossom Street Brides will make you long to knit in Seattle! (I received a digital ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.) 4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber has won the hearts of millions of readers with her moving and inspiring stories. Now wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love.

Lauren Elliott has waited years for her long-term boyfriend, Todd, to propose, yet he seems more focused on his career than their relationship. When Lauren learns that her younger sister is pregnant before she herself even has an engagement ring, she feels overjoyed yet disheartened. Knowing she can’t put her future on hold, Lauren prepares to make a bold choice—one that leads her to a man she never dreamed she’d meet.

Newly married to her second husband, Max, Bethanne Scranton is blissfully in love. But with Max’s job in California and Bethanne’s in Seattle, their long-distance marriage is becoming difficult to maintain. To complicate matters, Bethanne’s cunning ex will do anything to win her back.

Lydia Goetz, too, is wonderfully happy with her husband, Brad, though lately she worries about the future of A Good Yarn. As she considers how to bring in business, she discovers that someone has beaten her to the punch. Baskets of yarn are mysteriously popping up all over town, with instructions to knit a scarf for charity and bring it into Lydia’s store. Never before has her shop received so much attention, but who hatched this brilliant plan?

As three women’s lives intersect in unexpected ways, Lydia, Lauren, and Bethanne realize that love heals every heart, and the best surprises still lay ahead.

To read the first chapter of Blossom Street Brides, visit the Amazon page here.

To view the trailer, go here.

 

Forever Friday — Review

Forever Friday is a story of love. Gabe and Huck have a love like no other and vow to keep it strong and alive. Each Friday, Gabe writes a poem on a postcard and has it delivered to Huck. The only Friday he misses in sixty years is when he’s in ICU. The story follows their love, and we’re allowed a glimpse at the poems penned by Gabe. After his death, Huck remains in a nursing home and is often visited by the closest thing she has to a granddaughter, Yvette. Adam Colby is in charge of cleaning out Gabe & Huck’s estate after their deaths. He stumbles upon the postcards and hopes to find answers about why his own marriage fell apart. Yvette agrees to tell him Gabe & Huck’s story.

I expected to fall in love with this book, but unfortunately I did not. I did enjoy reading it—it’s a great story. The cover is gorgeous, and I adored the poems throughout the book. However, I grew frustrated at the imbalance between the two stories. I’d find myself wanting to learn more about Adam or Yvette only to be stuck reading about Huck for four or five chapters straight. I know the story is mainly about their love, but I was hoping to see more of how it influenced Adam internally. We were told of his progression, but we didn’t get to really see it happen. Also on that note, I expected more of a resolution in his life at the end of the story. I’m not sure if the author is leaving it open for a sequel or if we’re just supposed to know what happened. I was a little annoyed by some clichés used throughout the book, but that’s just a personal preference against them. I liked the setting of the story because it’s one with which I’m familiar. I kept seeing that this is recommended for lovers of Nicholas Sparks, but I don’t see it that way. I think people said this because the story makes them think of The Notebook. However, I find Sparks’ books really easy to fall into from the beginning, and I didn’t find that here. Also, Sparks’ novels are really all about love and loss, and Forever Friday encompassed much more than that. After completing the book, I’m glad I read it. It was an interesting story and certainly had unexpected events throughout. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, and maybe that’s a good thing. If I run across another book by Timothy Lewis in the future, I think I’ll give it a shot.

Publisher’s Description

Every Friday, a postcard.
Every Friday, a love poem.
Every Friday for sixty years.

Adam Colby is just doing his job, sorting through the unsold Alexander belongings after the estate sale. He is unprepared for what he finds in an old photo album, overlooked by the bargain hounds and treasure hunters—six decades of postcards and poems from Gabe Alexander to his wife, Pearl. The mystery of the Alexanders’ love entices Adam, a man unhinged by divorce and puzzled by the depth of commitment that he finds in the unabashedly romantic cards.

Forever Friday invites you to travel back in time to the early twentieth century Texas Coastal Bend where a young couple—Gabe and Pearl Alexander—are swept up in a miraculous love. As the heartwarming, pulse-quickening story of their relationship develops through Gabe’s poems, the Alexanders reveal a new way to consider what it means to be truly devoted to each other. Could the secrets of their love affair, laid to rest twenty years ago, hold the key to one man’s future?

To read the first chapter of Forever Friday for free, go here.

To view the trailer, go here.

I received a copy of this title from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Majestical Jewelry

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Have you heard of Majestical Jewelry? They make fashion jewelry and offer it at wholesale prices. Here’s the description from their website:

Majestical Jewelry has amazing deals on the latest and greatest fashion jewelry for women. Shop our store and you’ll find must-have trendy pieces at only a fraction of the cost of major retailers and over-priced boutiques. Majestical Jewelry offers fashion jewelry, costume jewelry and handmade jewelry at wholesale jewelry prices that are 20-80% less than our competitors because we believe every woman should feel beautiful regardless of budget. If you’re looking to make a statement, be sure to check out our bold collar necklaces in bright colors that work perfectly with a LBD. If you’re going for classic style, browse our selection of handmade silver jewelry. Snag the best deals on whatever it is you desire at Majestical Jewelry.

Majestical’s price range is huge–I’ve seen pieces for anywhere from $11 to $350. I saw several items I liked. The piece I received is a clear bracelet (plastic?) with a silver rim. It’s an easy piece that can be worn with anything, dressed up or down. However, I wasn’t able to find it on their website. The packaging was gift appropriate, which is nice when buying jewelry.

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If you are a jewelry fiend and like mixing and matching styles and prices, you might like Majestic Jewelry. I suggest checking out their website and seeing if there’s anything you like.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

A March Bride by Rachel Hauck — Review

The fourth title in ‘A Year of Weddings’ is A March Bride by Rachel Hauck.

I’m already a huge fan of Hauck’s work, so I knew I would like this novella. A March Bride is about Susanna, a country girl from Georgia, and Nathaniel, the King of Brighton. I really appreciated that Hauck allowed us to see the story from both points of view, as I feel like that doesn’t often happen in stories of princesses. Susanna and Nathaniel are engaged and royal wedding preparations are being made. However, they’re both allowing fears from past relationship failures to cloud their judgment and threaten their engagement. Susanna thinks Nathaniel regrets proposing, and Nathaniel suspects Susanna wishes she’d said no. The real problem for Susanna is that she doesn’t feel worthy. If you like epic romance or royal love stories, this book is for you. While reading A March Bride, I kept getting an itch to watch The Prince & Me or Princess Diaries! However, I think I’ll start on another of Hauck’s titles, Once Upon a Prince, to quell my need for royal romance. [The sequel to Once Upon a Prince is Princess Ever After. It just released!]

 

If you’ve never read a book by Rachel Hauck, I highly recommend Love Starts with Elle, Sweet Caroline, Dining with Joy. The trilogy makes up Hauck’s Lowcountry series, and it’s SO GOOD!!

Here’s the Goodreads Synopsis of A March Bride:

Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.
Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, her heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.
Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own — right down to her very identity. When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

What are your favorite royal romance movies and books?

*I received a digital proof of A March Bride in exchange for an honest review.

Mayim’s Vegan Table — Review

Mayim’s Vegan Table — Review

In my opinion, Mayim’s Vegan Table is part textbook and part cookbook. The first four chapters are an introduction to veganism—the whys, whats, and how-to’s. I found this section of the book very interesting. The authors, Mayim Bialik and Dr. Jay Gordon, stress the fact that they are not trying to make everyone become vegans. They believe in adding vegetables to your diet as much as possible. Some people are purely vegan, some are almost-vegans, and others prefer to eat a diet heavy in veggies. These first four chapters give you a good idea of what to expect if you choose to change your eating habits. I will say a lot of the writing seems aimed towards moms. Mayim explains the easiest ways for children to eat vegan or just how to get more veggies into their diets. I think they should have mentioned this on the cover because I was a bit surprised that I was reading so much about how to tailor to children, and I am not a mom! The rest of the chapters are full of vegan (and several Jewish) recipes. I am not a vegan, but I do avoid certain meats and eat a lot of veggies. I think some of these recipes will become mainstays for me. I was surprised that most of Mayim’s recipes seem to include maple syrup!

This is in an informative, well written book that is packed with vegan recipes. If you’re a vegan and have been for a long time, this may not be the book for you. I would suggest flipping through the recipes to make sure you need it. If you’re thinking about going vegan or you have kids and want them to eat more vegetables, this is a great book for you! (And doesn’t Mayim look gorgeous on the cover?!)

I received a digital proof of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A December Bride — Review

I always fall so easily into Denise Hunter’s stories! This is the first in a series called A Year of Weddings. Each novella will be written by a different author. A December Bride focuses on Layla. The story starts with her scramble to find a date for a wedding–but not just any wedding. Her ex is marrying her cousin, and it still stings. She ends up going with her ex’s former best friend, Seth. Things get tricky when Seth offers a lie about his and Layla’s relationship, and that’s when the story really starts to take off. Hunter has created a realistic tale with heart and holiday spirit. An easy read for a cozy evening!

Goodreads Synopsis:

What started as a whim turned into an accidental – and very public – engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season – for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy, the best friend of Layla O’Reilly’s ex-fiance would be the last person she’d marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency, a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map. Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she’ll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she’s landed her client. For Layla, it’s the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it’s his last chance to win her heart.

I’m really enjoying this series! The books are standalone novellas, so you can start with any month you choose. Pick up “A March Bride” and come back next month to let me know what you think!

I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes.

The Princess Wars — Review

I just finished reading The Princess Wars  by Melody Carlson!

The Princess Wars is the first book in a new series from Melody Carlson. It’s actually based on a dream she had! She self published this book, which is always a huge risk for an author. I don’t usually read fairy tale type stories, but I decided to give this one a chance because I love Carlson’s work. I’m so glad she took the risk and released The Princess Wars!!

The story follows twin princesses Heather and Rose. Heather stands to inherit the throne, and Rose is extremely jealous. Heather leaves on a journey before their 18th birthday. She wants to get a closer look at her kingdom, and she decides to go in disguise. Her journey is tumultuous to say the least. Throw in an attractive boy, a vengeful sister, and a race for the crown–this book isn’t short on conflict! The story is resolved in this book, but Carlson also gives us little teasers for the sequel!

I really enjoyed this story, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series. It’s the first book of its type that I’ve read and I was completely surprised by how much I fell into the story! It allowed me to escape into fairy tale land for a few hours. As is usually the case with Carlson’s work, this book was so easy to visualize as I was reading it. If you enjoy fantasy/fairy tales–you’ll love this book. If you don’t usually like that genre, The Princess Wars just may change your mind! I couldn’t be more happily surprised with this book, and I hope you’ll give it a chance!

Goodreads Synopsis:

The twin princesses of Raspen Kingdom have been at odds for their entire lives. Firstborn Heather is a no-frills girl who grew up riding horses, fencing, and dreaming of great adventures. Meanwhile her twin sister Rose loves ornate jewels, silk gowns and being treated like royalty. Because the king is sickly, Heather is due to take the throne on the twins’ eighteenth birthday. But before she is crowned, Princess Heather embarks on an exciting journey throughout the kingdom. And it’s not long before Heather’s adventure goes sideways and threatens to undo the entire kingdom.

The Princess Wars is available on amazon here.

I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.