Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade [Review]

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

meant to be mine Meant to Be Mine is an unconventional love story. Celia has always been in love with Ty, but they’ve never actually been a couple. They meet up in Vegas and begin a whirlwind romance that ends in marriage (after 4 days!). Celia couldn’t be happier, but then Ty reveals that he’s in love with someone else. The story picks up 5 years later when they next see each other.

This book is such an easy read! I love not having to “work through” a book. Every character is extremely realistic and Wade endears us to care for each one. One of my favorite things about Meant to Be Mine is that it’s set in my great state of Texas! I have to admit, I probably moved this book up a star when Wade first mentioned the Texas Rangers. Being that I never miss a game, I couldn’t help but love the couple in the book who have season tickets and constantly sport their Rangers gear. Apart from that, the spiritual aspect of the book is extremely well written. If you like the way Karen Kingsbury approaches religion in her books, I think you’ll like Wade’s work as well. She doesn’t force the story. For instance, at a point in the book Celia’s prayers are answered, but the answer is no. A lot of Christian Fiction tends to sugarcoat life and have everything turn out perfectly all the time, but that’s not at all realistic. Wade did a great job of keeping things balanced. The book is mainly romance, but there’s a little bit of suspense thrown in as well. I’d recommend Meant to Be Mine to anyone who likes Christian Fiction or Christian Romance. If you like Meant to Be Mine, make sure to check out Undeniably Yours, the first book in the Porter Family Novel Series!

More Info from LitFuse:

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Learn more and purchase a copy at Becky’s website.

Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Where does a writer find inspiration? What’s the hardest part about writing a story? What do you hope your writing achieves? We’ve asked Becky Wade, the author of Meant to Be Mine, to tell us the story behind the story. To celebrate her latest release, Becky is giving away a $200 “Dream Come True” prize pack! Click here to learn more and enter to win!


Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did you find inspiration?

I was inspired to write Meant to Be Mine by my love of “secret baby” plot lines. In this particular story, Ty and Celia get married in Las Vegas at the spur of the moment (after dating for four days). They realize the next morning that the wedding wasn’t such a good idea and part ways. The story picks up five and a half years later, when Ty tracks Celia down in order to inquire about a divorce. What he discovers? Celia has a daughter—his daughter.

What was the hardest part about writing your novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?

With Meant to Be Mine, the revision phase was the hardest. I edited it and polished it before I submitted it to my editors, same as always. But for the first time, my editors came back with heavy revision requests. It took me all summer to accomplish the rewrite. There were times when I wanted to toss the book out the window. I’m glad I didn’t, because in the end, I’m every bit as proud of this story as I am my others.

What trait do you love most about your main character?

I love Celia’s spunkiness. She holds her own against Ty (who is as confident, joking, demanding, and charming as can be) very admirably.

When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?

I hope they take away God’s message of forgiveness, grace, and amazing love.
What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the third book in the Porter Family Series. This one stars Jake Porter, the most wounded and brooding of the three Porter siblings.

Becky Wade

{MORE ABOUT BECKY WADE}

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, “My Stubborn Heart,” was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. “Undeniably Yours” kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, “Meant to Be Mine,” has just hit shelves!

Find out more about Becky at http://beckywade.com.

There’s a sweepstakes and Facebook Party for Meant to Be Mine! Check it out by clicking on the button below.

 

Meant to Be Mine Becky Wade*I received this book free from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review.

 

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad [Review]

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad

while love stirs

My Review:

While Love Stirs is the second book in Seilstad’s Gregory Sisters series. The main character is Charlotte Gregory, the middle of the 3 sisters. Charlotte is strong willed, outspoken, and a bit calloused as a result of a prior relationship. While Love Stirs begins as a story about Charlotte’s attempt to get a job as a cook, but it gradually turns into a story of love–both family and romantic. It’s really a story of Charlotte’s internal battle in deciding if she should settle for a safe choice or take a risk on someone who makes her feel everything.

I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but I enjoyed While Love Stirs. Seilstad’s writing is easy to fall into, and I never had to reread a sentence for clarification. Charlotte’s character is believable and shows realistic change throughout the story. While Love Stirs offers romance and suspense, though the suspense mainly shows up in the last few chapters. Everything is resolved by the end of the book, which makes me happy! Seilstad uses cooking terms as symbolism throughout the book, and it never seems forced. It was one of my favorite things about the story! My criticisms are minor–a few times throughout the book I noticed a lack of vocabulary (the same word was used two or three times in a paragraph), and I don’t think the back cover blurb accurately portrays the book. After reading the back cover, I thought this would be a story of one girl and the two guys chasing after her. It’s really not like that at all. There are 2 men in the story who want to be with Charlotte, but the story is much more about Charlotte’s internal struggle, her desire to cook and teach nurses at the hospital, and her relationships with family members. There was never a point where I thought she might end up with ‘the other guy.’ Ultimately, this book will be a hit for fans of Historical Christian Fiction Romance. If you’re like me and usually stick to Contemporary Romance, there’s still a good chance you’ll enjoy this book. The author doesn’t get bogged down in historical information, and she allows the story to flow naturally. I’m looking forward to the next book in The Gregory Sisters series!

Publisher’s Info:

Take one lovely young woman.
Add two ambitious young men.
Stir . . . and stand back.


As a graduate of Fannie Farmer’s School of Cookery, Charlotte Gregory is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution–the gas stove. And she certainly doesn’t mind that the gas company has hired the kindhearted Lewis Mathis to entertain at her lectures.

Lewis encourages Charlotte’s work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made–especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?

Follow the second Gregory sister as she looks for truelove and makes her way in a rapidly changing world in this breezy, lighthearted love triangle that will keep you guessing.


Lorna Seilstad is the author of When Love Calls and the Lake Manawa Summers series. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Iowa with her husband. Learn more at www.lornaseilstad.com.

*I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review.

A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge [Review]

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Table by the Window — A Novel of Family Secrets and Heirloom Recipes by Hillary Manton Lodge

 

table by the window

About This Book

Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love
 
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?

My Review:

I loved so many things about this book. The family dynamic is outstanding, and their love for food is outmatched only by their love for each other. This book revolves around both food and family, and it is packed with excellent tips and recipes. The recipes feel very relaxed and honest, i.e. “This can take a bit, so have handy a book or your phone or your child or something,” or “Add some heavy cream (or don’t, if you prefer).” Each chapter begins with a quote from someone famous in the food world, whether it be Julia Child, James Beard, Anthony Bourdain, or Nora Ephron. The quotes are one of my very favorite parts of the book, and I found myself looking forward to each new chapter just to see the next quote! One of my favorites is this statement by the legendary James Beard, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” A Table by the Window includes a family history mystery, a bit of romance, family drama, and a lot of food. Family heritage is a strong theme throughout the story. While this book isn’t focused on spirituality, God is apparent in the story. The religious aspect feels very realistic, not over or under done, and I appreciate the seriousness with which the topic is approached. There are little things throughout the story that made me smile, including but not limited to the mention of one of my favorite movies, Stranger Than Fiction, and a recipe for a big part of the movie, Bavarian Sugar Cookies. I also really liked the mention of Ellie Holcomb (singer) and the details we are given when Juliette is getting ready for her date: we find out what makeup she puts on! The only thing I don’t love about this book is the way it ends. I think it deserves a stronger conclusion. Everything is not resolved, which is fine, but I feel like the story just got cut in half. There’s an excerpt of the sequel at the end, and it picks up exactly where this one leaves off…exactly as in the same conversation. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. I think there may have been a better way to end this book and start the next. That being said, the sequel offers a promising plot and I very much look forward to reading it.

My favorite lines from A Table by the Window:

“…echoes are the loudest in empty spaces.”

“After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s relatives.” –Oscar Wilde

“But I really love writing about food. The way I see it, you can spend hours—days, even—preparing a meal. You eat, you enjoy, but ultimately it’s gone and you’re left with the memories. I like to write about food to preserve it, to remember the experience. I think that writing about a meal makes it last forever.”

If you like reading stories about family and food, this book is definitely for you. However, I would also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good fiction. A Table by the Window is engaging, well written, and honest. Don’t miss it!

You can read the first chapter (including a recipe) of A Table by the Window here!

The author created a Pinterest board for the book here! 

Praise for A Table by the Window

“Food writer Juliette D’Alisa adores her temperamental, trilingual family of restaurateurs, but she could do without their bossy skepticism of her online love interest who’s so unlike them. Rainy, windy Portland has never felt quite as warm as it does when Juliette navigates long-distance romance, career decisions, and a genealogical mystery. A delectable tale from Hillary Manton Lodge, A Table by the Window includes recipes that are like a warm welcome to the D’Alisa family table.”
—Meg Moseley, author of Gone South and When Sparrows Fall

“Warm, witty, and a culinary delight! Hillary Manton Lodge’s crisp writing reminds me of a vintage romantic comedy but with contemporary appeal as the story unfolds with perfect pacing and recipes to make you drool. More than once I found myself wishing I had a pastry chef in my own kitchen. Wonderfully romantic in all the best ways!”
—Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Sweet Dreams

“Not since Under the Tuscan Sun have I read a book that I both tasted and felt to such an enchanting degree. Author Hillary Manton Lodge has woven a captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover not only herself, but the truths behind an old-world family legacy. With a touch of whimsy, the perfect helping of romance, and a hearty sprinkle of laugh-out-loud humor, A Table by the Window is a delight.”
—Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of the Cadence of Grace series

“An endearing, smart, must-read novel! A Table by the Window is a delicious tale that had me slowing down so I could savor it longer. Major props to Hillary Manton Lodge for not only taking me on a beautiful journey alongside Juliette, but for making a non-foodie like myself want to take up a new hobby.”
—Katie Ganshert, award-winning author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows

“Hillary Manton Lodge combines a perfect voice, endearing characters, and delectable recipes into a heart-winning story. A Table by the Window hooked me from the first page to the very last word. Bravo, Hillary!”
—Leslie Gould, best-selling and Christy Award–winning author

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Moms’ Night Out & Other Things I Miss Devotional by Kerri Pomarolli [Review]

This is the devotional that accompanies Moms’ Night Out (the novel & movie). Once again, I passed it on to my mom. She’s been raving about it for a week! Here’s her review:

I just finished reading  “MOMS’ NIGHT OUT” and other things I miss… DEVOTIONS TO HELP YOU SURVIVE!  By Kerri Pomarolli. My oldest daughter (25 years old) recently ordered this book, thinking I might enjoy it even though my kids are all grown.  She was spot-on!  This book is a hoot!  Kerri brought back many memories from child-raising days and reminded me of sweet times, fun times, and no time for moms to have a night out!!  The way she brings God into view for her kids is great…and she is right to use many of the opportunities afforded her through child-rearing .  If you are raising children, this devotional book can bring many laughs your way and brighten your day. If your kids are grown, enjoy reminiscing and getting a good laugh, all the while being reminded of our God’s goodness. Thanks for writing, Kerri. Keep up the good work!

Publisher’s Information:

Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive

As a Mom, couldn’t you use a good laugh?

Inspired by the endearing, true-to-life movie MOMS’ NIGHT OUT, comedian Kerri Pomarolli has created this light, yet inspiring devotional that will definitely make you laugh, but will also help you discover that indeed you are not alone, and that God’s gracious provision of love and faithfulness is at work in your life and of your loved ones.

Whether you’re running full-speed-ahead or disappointed that it’s Monday (again), you’ll find joy in these devotions where Kerri shares hilarious stories and insights on daily life. Messy homes, messy kids, lost pets, never ending casseroles, forgetful husbands, and the desire to just take a long bath… This world can be a funny place, and these stories are bound to prove it. Read a devotion to brighten your morning, or catch a few words to make you smile before bed. There’s never a bad time for a good laugh, and as a Mom, you need a Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive.

The MOMS’ NIGHT OUT film features Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Sean Astin (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), Alex Kendrick (COURAGEOUS), Robert Amaya (COURAGEOUS), Andrea Logan White (REVELATION ROAD), Kevin Downes (COURAGEOUS), and platinum-selling country recording artist Trace Adkins (THE LINCOLN LAWYER).

*I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

This is a hardback devotional book that will make a great gift for moms! Maybe even treat your mom to the movie (in theaters!) and give her the novel and devotional as a bonus. After all, you can never do too many nice things for your mom!

Moms’ Night Out (Novelization) by Tricia Goyer – [Review]

USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer has written the novelization to the much-anticipated movie, Moms’ Night Out. Don’t miss this hilarious family comedy that celebrates real family life—where everything can go wrong and still turn out all right.

And, look for the companion devotional written by comedian Kerri PomarolliMoms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive.

Since I don’t have kids, I passed this book on to my mom! Here’s her review:

Who would have thought that after 37 years of marriage and raising 4 kids that this mom would have read Moms’ Night Out?! I’d already read the devotional and absolutely loved it…so why not finish it off by reading the actual book? I’m so glad I did!!! This entertaining characterization of the modern Christian mom and family brings to light issues that many of us deal (or don’t deal) with. When a group of moms try for a night away from the regular routine of the day to day responsibilities, all sorts of questions and seemingly insurmountable problems arise. Can he (Dad) handle this one babysitting night without the kids bringing down the house, all the while entertaining his best friend? Can Mom actually relax, thinking she’s planned the perfect night out for herself and a couple of girlfriends? Does God really care how hard Mom is trying to fulfill all she believes she is meant to do? And could long-kept secrets being revealed actually be a good thing? I urge you to READ THIS BOOK! It’s definitely a help for the modern mom. My only criticism is that there were a ton of grammatical errors. The author tended to change tenses in the middle of sentences, which made reading the book a bit confusing. If changing tenses and misuse of pronouns bother you, maybe you should just check out the movie instead. Otherwise, buy this book!

Info from the Publisher:

All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours—what could go wrong?

Chronicling one night out gone awry, three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang, and a bewildered cabbie all learn to embrace the beautiful mess called parenting. This book spotlights the unfulfilled expectations and serial self-doubts many moms feel . . . then reassures us that the key is raising kids in a loving home. Mom’s Night Out is an endearing, true-to-life comedy.

The MOMS’ NIGHT OUT film features Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Sean Astin (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Patricia Heaton (EVERBODY LOVES RAYMOND, THE MIDDLE), Alex Kendrick (COURAGEOUS), Robert Amaya (COURAGEOUS), Andrea Logan White (REVELATION ROAD), Kevin Downes (COURAGEOUS), and platinum-selling country recording artist Trace Adkins (THE LINCOLN LAWYER).

*I received this book free from the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

Subscription Box Deals & Coupon Codes!

There are a few really great deals on subscription boxes right now!

PopSugar Must Have (a personal favorite!) has released this code for $15 off a box: XL25K3Z. If you only want one box, be sure to check the box that says ‘this is a gift’ and your subscription won’t renew. The discount makes this box $25!! If you want a shot at getting the May box, check the box that says send me an earlier box if available. If you want the June Must Have box, make sure the check box is empty. Sign up for PopSugar Must Have here.

This Month's Box

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Conscious Box is currently available on RueLaLa. A 3-month subscription is $35 and a 6-month subscription is $65. According to RueLaLa, a 3-month sub is usually $56.85 and a 6-month is $107.70. I got really frustrated with Conscious Box last year because the boxes weren’t great, but my mom’s been getting pretty good boxes lately. It might be worth giving Conscious Box another shot! Sign up for RueLaLa here.

Will you be taking advantage of any of these deals? If so, which ones? Let me know in the comments!

*This post contains referral links.

One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong [Review]

one more last chance

 

One More Last Chance is the second book in Cathleen Armstrong’s ‘A Place to Call Home’ series. Sarah Cooley grew up in Last Chance and has recently returned, seeking a place where change is not likely. Relationship problems led her home, and she’s hoping to get a fresh start in Last Chance. Chris Reed is new to town and the new owner of Last Chance’s single restaurant, the Dip n’ Dine. He’s not used to small town life and is quickly learning the residents of Last Chance don’t like anything to change. While struggling with decisions about the restaurant, his wild sister and young niece show up unannounced. That’s when the real story begins!

One More Last Chance is a small-town story about family, love, and fulfilling dreams. It is the first title of Armstrong’s that I’ve read, but I purchased the first book in the series so I can see what happened before this one! I really enjoyed this story. All of the characters are realistic, and you’ll find yourself rooting for and against certain ones. Gran (Sarah’s grandmother) is one of my favorite characters. She’s supportive, solid, and spiritual. One More Last Chance offered the perfect balance of drama, suspense, family, and romance. I recommend this book to anyone who likes christian fiction, family stories, or clean fiction. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Kaitlyn in the next book in the series!!

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

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Some things never change . . . and some things change you forever.

Sarah Cooley has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason–because it doesn’t change. After a relationship gone bad with a man who wanted to change everything about her, Sarah is more than ready for the town whose motto may as well be, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. As the new owner of the Dip ‘n’ Dine, he’s shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his restaurant.

As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance–just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect.

With the same evocative writing and charming characters that won fans for her debut novel, Cathleen Armstrong invites you back to Last Chance for a heartwarming, romantic story of two people navigating the twists and turns of life in a small town.


Cathleen Armstrong is the award-winning author of Welcome to Last Chance. Though she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. Learn more at www.cathleenarmstrong.com.