Book Review: The Secrets of Paper And Ink

10 Dec

Brought together across time by a love of story, three women in England fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives.  

As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature. 

Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance. 

Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch. 

Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and — of course — writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at http://www.LindsayHarrel.com and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter.

 

My Impressions: 

I read Lindsay Harrel‘s debut novel, The Heart Between Us, and thought it was fabulous. So, of course, I wanted to read Secrets of Paper And Ink. The problem was that I let it languish in the TBR pile much too long. What in the world was I waiting on? If you love books about books, you need to read this novel. If you love quality women’s fiction, you need to read this novel. If you love a book that gets to the heart of what is truly important in life, you MUST read this book! It is a very highly recommended read!

Secrets of Paper And Ink tells the story of three women — two contemporary Americans lost and found in Cornwall and a 19th century woman bound by her society. Harrel takes each woman’s story and knits them together in a beautiful narrative about finding self and the hand of the Savior. Sophia and Ginny came to Cornwall for different reasons. Sophia is hoping to heal from an abusive relationship, and Ginny followed a man to find her purpose. They meet up in the bookshop Ginny owns and become more than temporary landlord/employer and tenant. They also discover Emily’s story, although they don’t know if it is real or fiction. The novel is told through the 3rd person perspective of Ginny and Sophia and the first person account of Emily — and it really works! I loved each woman’s hard fought struggles and revelations of who they are in spite of others’ expectations. Emily’s story is especially intriguing and is the catalyst for the changes that Sophia and Ginny take to become who they are meant to be. The faith message is subtle throughout the novel until the very end. I loved that, because it followed the women’s lives as they first wrestled and then surrendered. Never preachy or overtly religious, the novel portrays a natural coming to God and faith.

For those who love story, The Secrets of Paper And Ink will be a joy to read. How could you not love a book that includes writers and bookshops!? 😉 I loved this book, and believe you will too.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to the author and NetGalley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Reading Challenges

10 Dec

Back in the day when I didn’t schedule the books I read, I participated in a number of reading challenges. It was a good way to get out of my rut, check out new genres and authors, and clean out the TBR universe 😉 .  A Novel Challenge is a good site to find links to a number of fun challenges. Although I probably won’t participate in any of the ones I am listing 😦 , I thought it would be fun to highlight the ones that piqued my interest. I have only listed 5 of the 2020 challenges posted so far — there are many more. Also be sure to check back; new challenges are continually added.

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Freebie. To find out what other bloggers are talking about, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Reading Challenges

 

2020 Alphabet Soup  hosted by Escape with Dollycas

Crusin’ Thru The Cozies hosted by Socrates Book Reviews

Monthly Key Word hosted by GirlXOXO

Mount TBR  hosted by My Reader’s Block

Vintage Mystery Extravaganza hosted by My Reader’s Block

 

Do you participate in reading challenges?

Which one would you choose?

 

 

Book Review: Wings Like A Dove

9 Dec

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?

In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out…hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy — the nuns who help Thomas and the boys — and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe . . . and staying to fight beside them.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest . . .

Camille Eide writes more than a romance with her tender tales of love, faith, and family for those who enjoy inspirational romance and women’s fiction. Her novel, The Memoir of Johnny Devine, was awarded 5 Gold Stars/Top Pick, Best Inspirational Romance, & the December Seal of Excellence from RT Book Reviews, and Oregon Christian Writers’ Best Historical Fiction.

Please visit Camille’s website at http://www.camilleeide.com.

 

My Impressions:

When I learned that Camille Eide had a new book coming out, I knew I would have to read it. I read The Memoir of Johnny Devine, and loved it! It was a book that I kept thinking about long after it was finished. Well, I now have another book to ponder and to recommend to anyone who will listen. Wings Like A Dove is an historical/romance novel set in the 1930s. Eide captures the era perfectly with its hoboes on the move, tough economic times, and the persistent bigotry and suspicion that met anyone who was different. This was an America I didn’t know much about, revealing not only the evils within, but the heroic spirit that can overcome that evil. And in case you are wondering, its message is very relevant for us today. Wings Like A Dove earns a highly recommended rating.

Anna Leibowicz has many things against her — she’s an immigrant, Jewish, and an unwed mother. Facing shame and hopelessness she embarks on a journey to find her missing father. But a wrong turn lands her in small town Indiana where she finds purpose in teaching 6 children in need of mothering. But while Anna finds a home in the unusual household, she also faces extreme prejudice, intimidation, and threats. The small town of Corbin doesn’t welcome anyone who is different from them.

The 1933 setting of a small farming community in Indiana was an eye-opener to me. I am from the South where history can be a very painful thing to face. Yet, I didn’t know that extreme prejudice against others — black, immigrant, Jew, Catholic — existed across America. Ignorant or naive, I am not sure which I was, but I am glad that I read Wings Like A Dove to begin to understand the history of bigotry that existed in other regions of America. And while that aspect of the book was difficult to read, its strong message of forgiveness and redemption covers all the ugliness portrayed. Characterization is strong in the novel. The story is told in a third person narrative, and through letters from Anna to her sister back in New York. The two combined created a whole picture of what Anna felt and faced. She, along with the other characters — Thomas, young Samuel, neighbor Sarah, and the Sisters Mary — were wonderfully written. I appreciated Eide’s depiction of the antagonists as well. They were not faceless, but became real to this reader. Shame is a strong theme within the novel. Anna’s view of God and herself slowly changes as she faces grace and acceptance. And I loved the coming together of people from different faith backgrounds — Jewish, Catholic, and Baptist — in standing up for each other and what was right.

Wings Like A Dove is an emotionally charged novel, not easily read. It is, however, one you will be so happy you did. Eide provided great historical detail in the afterword and insightful discussion questions. You will be glad of that, because you will want to share your reading experience. Grab some reading friends or your book club and dig in!

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Spotlight — Love Is Not Arrogant Or Rude

6 Dec

If you like contemporary romance, especially one that focuses on Christian principles in dating, then consider Love is Not Arrogant Or Rude by Lila Diller, book 1 in the Love Is series. Good for both YA and adults, this novel focuses on humility and choice. (Please note: this is a book spotlight only. I did not read this book and the post does not serve as a recommendation or endorsement.)

Is True Love for Everyone?

That’s what Morgan wonders, an introverted secretary whose feelings for her boss Jason secretly bloom. When he shows interest in her, too, she hopes that true love has sprouted. Just as a relationship with Jason Scott blooms, her old flame Tony Brown bursts back into her life and tries to woo her away. After spending time with both men, Morgan thinks her heart has chosen Jason, when tragedy strikes Tony’s family. She must choose to help or abandon Tony, but if she helps, she may lose Jason.

Which man shows her true love? Who will she choose?

Love is Not Arrogant or Rude is the first installment of Lila Diller’s “Love is…” Series, based on the Bible’s definition of true agape love in 1 Corinthians 13, a contemporary Christian Romance introducing Morgan’s saga and set in a fictional, college town in North Carolina. 

Lila Diller was born in 1978 in Caldwell, Idaho, grew up in the tiny farming community of Notus, Idaho, and currently resides in North Carolina. She is at present outnumbered as the only female in a household of males: her husband of 16 years, two energetic boys ages 7 & 12, and a hyper dog named Copper. Growing up in church, Lila accepted the Lord at a young age, and graduated from a Bible college with a 4-year Humanities degree. She has published three short Christian Romance novels, all in the “Love is…” series, based on 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter.

When not homeschooling her boys, you can find her studying the Bible, singing, scrapbooking, or binge-watching Netflix. She can also be found reading at any chance. You will only find her cooking or cleaning when she can’t put it off any longer. She loves to help readers not only escape from stress in an entertaining and believable story but also to create romance in their marriages based on hope in Jesus.

Please connect with Lila at her blog at liladiller.com.

 

First Line Friday — Your Spark: Celebrating The Brightest Part of You!

6 Dec

 

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring a kid’s book that would be perfect for giving this Christmas season — Your Spark: Celebrating The Brightest Part of You! by Lisa Leonard. I have already shared this one with some favorites 😉 ! And if you are looking for some more great books to put under the tree, check out Zonderkidz Gift Giving Guide.

For more fun first lines, visit Hoarding Books!

We all have a light inside us that shines brightly and makes us who we are. Artists and athletes, dancers and dreamers, jokers and gymnasts … I want to see you shine in your own unique way. Come along with me as we celebrate your spark.

Did you know that God gave you your very own spark? It’s true! And no one else in the whole wide world has a spark like yours! Your spark makes your eyes twinkle and your mouth smile. It makes your feet stomp and your voice loud. It makes you excited and curious to learn new things. It lights you up from the inside, and it fills you with wonder and dreams.

Your spark does all that and more. And author Lisa Leonard offers this picture book in celebration of you … and your spark! Lisa pours her heart into this book, bringing Your Spark to life with inspiring text and free-spirited illustrations. More than anything, Lisa wants you and children everywhere to know:

Inside your heart there is a spark.
It shines bright and true, and it’s what makes you, YOU!

 

Book Review: Deadly Commitment

5 Dec

Will the truth about her fiancé be more unsettling than the stranger stalking her? 

As Danielle Kemp walks out of her downtown Nashville condominium, she gets the eerie feeling someone is watching her. As days go by, she becomes convinced the homeless man outside her building is stalking her. But after learning the real identity of the intimidating stranger, she faces something even more threatening ― the truth about her fiancé.  

Deadly Secrets is a new fiction series with southern charm and big-city twists. Set in the author’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, it is filled not only with intrigue and suspense but subtle glimpses into how God is at work in the lives of ordinary people doing ordinary jobs . . . or maybe they aren’t so ordinary after all.

 

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a divine detour into the Nashville entertainment business. She graduated with a Communications degree from Southern Illinois University and has spent the past several decades employed as a marketing director in the Nashville music industry.She has contributed to a number of anthologies. Her first novel released in 2012. Her latest, Deadly Commitment, released in October 2019. Kathy regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog at http://www.divinedetour.com.

Visit her website at http://www.kathyharrisbooks.com and/or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/KathyHarrisAuthor), Twitter (@divinedetour), and Instagram (@kathyharris_author).

My Impressions:

A commitment to do what’s right can sometimes plunge you into danger! That’s what you’ll find in Kathy Harris’ romantic suspense, Deadly Commitment. Set among the tall buildings of downtown Nashville, this southern-vibe novel introduces the reader to all sides of the drug epidemic — law enforcement seeking justice, innocent victims of other’s choices, those fighting to recover, and the drug traffickers that put everything in motion. With likable characters and a true-to-life story, this book will appeal to those who like suspense with a strong Christian message.

Main characters Danni Kemp and Caleb Samuels are at odds when they first meet. Danni defends her soon-to-be fiance’, Rob, when faced with Caleb’s accusations that Rob is a big part of a drug trafficking ring. Soon, though, her sense of right and wrong has her facing difficult truths and joining the efforts to put an end to the criminal activity around her. I really liked Caleb’s character — a man with past sins who is working hard to trust God and make the world a better and safer place. I was initially frustrated with Danni’s character. She was naive and wishy-washy, but as the book progressed she found a backbone and some smarts 😉 . Both characters struggle with baggage from their pasts that color their perceptions of themselves and others. They each lean on God for direction and protection. The book moved a little slow at first, but towards the end the action heats up and their is a good deal of danger facing all the characters.

With the news full of drug crimes, Deadly Commitment is a timely read. If you enjoy romantic suspense with a strong message of God’s grace, then you need to check it out.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to JustRead for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Children’s Corner — Exciting Christmas Books from Zonderkidz

4 Dec

Looking for some books to put under the tree for your favorite child? Then you are in luck! Zonderkidz has you covered. Check out some of the books available below. And if those aren’t enough, they have a handy gift giving guide too!

 

Board Books

Christmas Cookie Day!, written by Tara Knudson and illustrated by Pauline Stewart, celebrates the beloved tradition of making Christmas treats and even features a special Christmas cookie recipe for you and your child to create. The bright illustrations by Pauline Siewert and sweet, rhyming text by Tara Knudson are sure to capture the wonder of young readers and parents alike. Perfect for building new memories, this board book has a beautiful, glittery cover.

My Christmas Story Tree, written by bestselling author Mary Manz Simon and illustrated by Gavin Scott, is a board book that sparkles with glitter and foil and leads little ones through the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree. Follow along to add the angel, ornaments, candy canes, lights, and finally place the star on the top of the tree while learning the story of the very first Christmas.

 

Storybooks

In Mouse’s Christmas Gift, written by Mindy Baker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk, one tiny church mouse must find a way to bring Christmas spirit to his little town when Parson gets sick and the usual Christmas Eve service is cancelled. Mouse never gives up hope as he prepares the nativity set and lights a small candle in the window to signal the villagers. Mouse’s small act of faith sparks a chain reaction of hope and love, demonstrating that even the smallest creature can make a big difference. This adorable book, with a cover adorned with foil and glitter, captures the spirit of Christmas and the joy of doing for others during the holiday season.

Mary Engelbreit presents A Night of Great Joy, a delightful picture book that celebrates the joyful season of Christmas. This book tells the story of the nativity through the performance of a children’s Christmas pageant. With adorable illustrations and simple storytelling, Engelbreit paints a wonderful picture of the night that Jesus was born.

A Night of Great Joy recalls that fateful night with wonder and awe. From the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem to the gathering of many before the baby Jesus, this holiday treasure leads children through the tale of the birth of Jesus, guiding them with the star of Bethlehem

For over 200 years, families have gathered on Christmas Eve to hear the much loved words of Dr. Clement C. Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. This year, families can gather together to share the real Christmas story — the story of Jesus’ birth. ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas, by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Elena Selivanovaechoes the familiar language and rhythm of Dr. Clements’ poetry, but instead of focusing on Santa, it focuses on the baby Jesus, who is, after all, the true hero of Christmas. All families will delight in this simple retelling of the most famous story ever told. With a cover that comes alive with foil and sculpted embossing, this book is sure to become a Christmas classic.

 

Bibles

Millions of children and their parents can’t be wrong. The bright and vibrant illustrations throughout and stunning binding of The Beginner’s Bible Gift Edition enhance every word, introducing boys and girls to the timeless stories of the Bible in a way they can read, remember, and, most importantly, live out. Kids will enjoy reading the story of Noah’s Ark as they see Noah helping the elephant onto the big boat. They will learn about the prophet Jonah as they see him praying inside the fish. They will follow along with the text of Jesus’ ministry as they see a man in need of healing lowered down through the roof of a house.

Parents, teachers, and pastors, if you’re looking for a gift that isn’t just beautifully presented but is also a proven, memorable way to introduce children to the beloved stories and parables of Scripture, look no further than The Beginner’s Bible Gift Edition.

All the beauty and love poured into the original Moonbeam Award gold medal winner in a clothbound gift edition that includes a ribbon marker. Whether for baptisms or First Communions, birthdays or Christmas, this is one gift that never fails to be a family favorite. If you are a parent, grandparent, pastor, or teacher looking for a way to teach the children in your life about God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love,” look no further than The Jesus Storybook Bible Gift Edition.