Balm - Dolen Perkins-Valdez

4 Stars!

The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life.

Born with magical hands, Madge has the power to discern others' suffering and ease it, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and continue to help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child.

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this northern city that shimmers with possibility. But redemption cannot be possible until he is reunited with those taken from him.

In the bitter aftermath of a terrible, bloody war, as a divided nation tries to come together once again, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in an unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history.

The New York Times bestselling author of Wench—called "a fascinating and tragic story" by NPR.org, "deeply moving" by USA Today, and "lyrical and devastatingly beautiful" by People magazine—returns to the Civil War era to explore history's next chapter in this powerful story of love and healing.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Wench. Her fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Story Quarterly, StorySouth, and elsewhere. In 2011 she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was also awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program in Maine. A graduate of Harvard and a former University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, Dolen Perkins-Valdez lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.
Find out more about Dolen at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I love books that follow what happened after the war. This book was very interesting in parts but pretty slow in parts too, if it wasn't for that I would have given it 5 stars. But it did stay just good enough to keep me happy.

I love ghost stories so the fact that one of the main characters was channeling a civil war ghost was the highlight of the book for me. I also loved that the other main character was a healer. Those two things and the fact that this was a historical fiction was what made this a great read for me.
The Civil war brought together three totally different people and the author did a great job of blending their lives and personalities together. Great character development and great descriptions!

This is my first one by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (I have not read Wench), she is a very good writer and, yes, I would read another one by her! This does make me want to go back and read Wench.

Thank you TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for my honest review!

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE


Friday Top Five

For every top 5 list you do you get an entry to win an amazon ebook worth up to 1.99, a winner chosen every month!
For rules (seriously, there aren't any) click on the tab on the top left of the blog.

This is the last Top 5 list of the month so get your lists in!

Top 5 book pet peeves, aka - things you hate in a book -
1. Too freakin long! Especially if it didn't really have to be that long.
2. So slooooow I can't make it past the first 25 pages without snoring.
3. Random explicit sex. If there is a sex scene and the people are married or if it's romantic etc. thats fine I can deal with it. But if two people meet in a coffee shop and have sex outside the door 5 min after meeting - well thats just porn.
4. If the book is all sex and there is no real plot besides the sex - this is not a book for me.
5. Books that have 100 characters and you can't keep everyone straight and half way through you are wishing you had made a who's who list.


The Accidental Pilgrim - Stephen Kitsakos

4 Stars!

In the summer of 1974, Dr. Rose Strongin, a marine biologist, inexplicably disappears for three hours on the last day of an archaeological dig at the Sea of Galilee. She has no memory of the disappearance, but it causes her to miss her flight home from Israel. That plane, TWA 841, explodes over the Mediterranean killing all aboard. Twelve years later she learns that a 2,000 year-old perfectly preserved vessel, dubbed the “Jesus Boat,” is uncovered at the site of her disappearance and she begins to understand what happened and why.

The novel crosses several decades exploring the intersection of science, religion and the unexplainable as a family gathers to say goodbye to the matriarch who held a family secret.

Stephen Kitsakos is a theatre writer and journalist as well as the author of three opera librettos. His current project is the opera adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s international bestseller, A Thousand Splendid Suns with music by Sheila Silver. Other works include the Sackler-Prize award winning “The Wooden Sword” and “The White Rooster: A Tale of Compassion” for the Smithsonian Institution. His work often explores the connection between religion and art. He divides his time between Key West and New York.

Find out more about Stephen at his website, and follow him on Twitter.

I enjoyed reading this book very much! This was a very interesting read for me. This one had me hooked right from the first chapter!
I love books based on fact. I looked it up and "The Jesus boat" really exists, I had never heard of it, so it was very interesting to me.
Here is the link - http://www.jesusboat.com/story-of-the-jesus-boat 
and the Wiki is here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Galilee_Boat

The character development was great. I loved getting to know all the different personalities in this family!
I also loved all the little unexplainable magical mysteries/miracles in here. That made it a real fun book to read. Even if you are not a "believer" you would enjoy this one - it is a great blend of science and religion. So whatever side of the fence you are on, you're covered.

This book does a lot of flashbacks, that's how we get to know Rose. Sometimes I don't care for flashbacks, they can be confusing, but they are done very nicely in here.

And - it all winds down to a great ending. Well done!

I have a hard time believing this is the authors first novel. It is well thought out and very well written. I hope he continues to write. I look forward to reading more!

Thank you TLC book tours and Stephen Kitsakos for sending me this e-book for my honest review!

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE


Whisper Beach - Shelley Noble

3 Stars

When a group of friends reunite in the idyllic beach town where they grew up, they must reevaluate their loyalty to one another or lose their friendship forever

Twelve years ago, Vanessa “Van” Moran fell in love and lost her virginity—but not to the same boy. She fled Whisper Beach desperate and pregnant, never telling a soul about her secret. Now a professional Manhattan organizer, she must return home for the first time to attend the funeral of her best friend’s husband. Van intends to only stay for a weekend, but her plans fall by the wayside as the troubles of this coastal town draw her in.

Dorie, the owner of the pier’s infamous Blue Crab Restaurant where Van and her friends worked as teenagers, enlists Van’s help to save the nearly bankrupt eatery. While Van throws herself into this new task, the man she once loved reenters her life, willing to pick up where they left off.

As the restaurant begins to thrive and Van reconnects with old friends, trouble comes from an unexpected source and she realizes she must face the decisions of her past or sacrifice this new life she has so carefully built.

For Van, this summer will test the meaning of friendship and trust—and how far love can bend before it breaks.


Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.
Visit her website - HERE

First, the cover on this is gorgeous! I love covers like this. I have to admit that is why I chose to do this one. And, yes, I am a cover whore!

On the other hand, I am afraid, the books content did not live up to the cover for me. This book was really slow for me and took me about half way till I really started getting into it. It DID become better half way! And I started enjoying it more. But I wouldn't say it was the most exciting book in the world. This is a long book - 416 pages, so, for me... I think about 100 pages could have been cut and I would have liked it better :-/

Another thing - the character development was really good. I just didn't like any of them! Even the main characters were annoying to me. And I didn't like the male lead at all, this was not a guy I would have been interested in. I had a hard time picturing what he looked like.

This one got really mixed reviews from amazon, so I guess I am not alone. A couple said that it was not her best. I do think I would like to try another one by her. I do normally like these kinds of books. 
This was NOT a bad book! Don't get me wrong! It just dragged for me.

Thanks TLC book tours for sending me this book for my honest review!

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE


Friday Top Five!

For every top 5 list you do you get an entry to win an amazon ebook worth up to 1.99
For rules (seriously, there aren't any) click on the tab on the top left of the blog.

I saw something like this on another blog, so I don't take full credit.

Top 5 Book/Reading quirks -

1. I am a fanatic about reading reviews! I guess that is one reason I do reviews myself. I am always looking up books on amazon and Goodreads. Now that said - if a book gets a bad review sometimes I will still read it. I just like to see what is being said.

2. I never, never read the last page or chapter! I can't believe people actually do this.

3. I am also a little OCD about what page I'm on and how much more I have to go. I am constantly checking my progress.

4. I am a Download aholic! I download anything and everything that is free that looks even remotely interesting. And if it has a pretty cover... well you know!

5. I love collecting books. I collect certain Authors - Ted Dekker 7 books, Stephanie Grace Whitson 19 books, Kim Vogel Sawyer 12 books, etc. And I like collecting subjects - Maine, Alaska The Arctic, living off grid, etc.


Hearts Made Whole - Jody Hedlund (GIVEAWAY!)

4 Stars!

Can she forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?

After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper---even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation---the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope...and possibly love?

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling historical fiction author. She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.
Find Jody online: website, Twitter, Facebook

Always a good one by Jody! I think this is my third book by her. I love this new series she has written - historical fiction, taking place in lighthouses, all of them a little suspenseful.

This was a nice, easy reading, romantic, fun book to read. It was light but very enjoyable and entertaining. There was not edge of your seat suspense, but there was enough to keep the story interesting.

Jodi also has a real nice way with characters. I liked all the characters in her, the good and the bad. I did want to find myself wanting to know more about Tessa, the sister who wanted nothing to do with living in a lighthouse. All she wanted was to get away. I would love a book just about her.

Thank you Bethany house and Litfuse for this e-book in exchange for my honest review!

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE

Celebrate the release of Hearts Made Whole by entering to win an Afternoon at the Beach prize pack and RSVPing to Jody's June 23rd author chat party!

hearts made whole - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:

One second-place winner will receive:

One third-place winner will receive:
hearts made whole - prize colalge 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 23rd.Winner will be announced June 23rd at Jody's Facebook partyRSVP here!

hearts made whole - enter banner


A Heart's Betrayal (A Journey of the Heart #4) - Colleen Coble (GIVEAWAY!)

4 Stars!

Emmie finds shelter in the arms of a soldier, but her secret could drive them apart.

When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband's home, she discovered an awful truth: her deceased husband was a bigamist. And what's more, the home she thought she inherited never belonged to her at all.
Suddenly displaced, powerless, and ashamed, Emmie can't stay in Wabash, Indiana. She makes a hopeful start for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, to find her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning. But when she arrives, she discovers she's pregnant---and without a husband. The new start she'd hoped for slips from her fingers.

But then she meets Isaac Liddle, a handsome soldier with a kind heart. When he begins to court her, Emmie wonders whether she could ever really be his---and whether she dares to tell him she is carrying another man's baby.

Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.
Find Colleen online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Well the 4th book in this series did not disappoint me either! This series is turning out to be a great choice for me.

This one continues the story of Sarah but - A new character is brought out west (and of course Sarah befriends her) - Emmie - love her! Wow, what a deck of cards she was dealt! Now I can't wait to read the next one, holy cow!

As usual - great character development, great storyline. Easy to read, easy to follow, interesting, fun, heartwarming.

Thank you Litfuse for sending me this book for my honest review!

I couldn't find this on Amazon, but you can get it from Thomas Nelson - HERE

Melt into summer with a new giveaway from Colleen: four books (books one–four in Colleen's A Journey of the Heart series) and a box of chocolates to pair with your new books!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Heart's Betrayal
  • A box of Colleen's favorite chocolate truffles from DeBrand Fine Chocolates
  • A copy of A Heart's Disguise
  • A copy of A Heart's Obsession
  • A copy of A Heart's Danger
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 30th. Winner will be announced July 1st on Colleen's website.