Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book: Until Then

Growing up with a distant mother and absentee father, Michelle's childhood has been far from idyllic. Her only attention comes from her partying friends and the guys who are more than happy to give her the affection she longs for. But when one party goes wrong, Michelle's grandparents hatch a plan to get her out of Chicago and away from her so-called friends.

College plans are low on Michelle's priority list, especially with no money to pay for it, until her grandparents offer to foot the bill for her entire tuition. There's just one catch. Michelle must choose between three schools - all hours away from Chicago and all Christian colleges.

Michelle's reluctant choice leads her to an unfamiliar place, where she's faced with new relationships and unexpected decisions that could change her life and her heart forever.


***

This book is the sequel to Goodbye, Magnolia, although I would really call it more of a companion book.  It tells the same story as Magnolia, but from Michelle's point of view rather than Maggie's.  We don't really find out that much about Michelle in the first novel other than that she and Maggie have a pretty rocky relationship.  I was prepared to really dislike Michelle since I didn't like her from Maggie's point of view!

However... wow.  Krista has done an amazing job of creating a real character that I can relate to and helping me understand her motivations.  This is a story that isn't afraid to tackle the hard issues head on rather than gloss over them.  It makes for a great ending that leaves you satisfied rather than feeling like this would never happen in real life.

I loved reading the parallel storyline and seeing things from an entirely different perspective.  I have to believe that takes a lot of talent to be able to write that way!  It changed the way I saw all the characters in the stories and I'm actually tempted to ask if there will be a third from one of the characters that features more prominently in this book than the first.

I really can't say much about this story without giving too much away.  I highly recommend reading them in order, in quick succession. Michelle makes life choices and deals with the consequences.  The people she chooses to allow in her life affect her, as they do for us too.  And sometimes things happen that our really out of our control that we have to deal with, but how we choose to deal with them may make all the difference.

There is one caveat to this book, it deals with some mature themes without trivializing them, but it is not really suitable to younger readers.  It's essentially rated PG-13.  Honestly though, I felt like it was done very well and the story would not have been the same without it.  Real life is messy, but dealing with it head on is often way better than not facing it. (yes, that has two meanings, both in the story and out)

Krista is a newer author to having books published, but I am a fan and can't wait to read what she comes up with next!

***

Buy a Kindle version here, also the first book is free for the next 2 days so you can get both!

Paperback version is here.  And don't forget to enter to win one below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
KRISTA NOORMAN is the author of the young adult novel, The Truth About Drew, and the Cornerstone contemporary Christian romance series. Most of her life has been spent scribbling away in journals, while documenting her every day life, but it wasn't until she took part in National Novel Writing Month that she found her true calling and turned her pen to fiction.

Krista studied music education at Cornerstone University. After college, she turned to her love of photography and spent nearly a decade running her own wedding photography business. She is constantly inspired by books and movies, enjoys beautiful instagram feeds, and loves a great cup of coffee. Krista makes her home in a small town in western Michigan with her husband and their two children.

She writes about life, family, faith and whatever else comes to mind at bykrista.com.

Krista sent me a copy of her book to review.  All opinions are my own.

Tea Collection Memorial Day Sale

It's that time of year, when all the sales go crazy on the three day weekends.  My favorite children's clothing brand is no exception so hop on over to Tea Collection while the sales are sizzling!


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The sale runs from May 24th through the 30th and is 20% off site wide with free shipping!  You must enter the code SUNNYSEASON at checkout to get the discount so don't forget!

Happy shopping!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book: Someone Like You

Single mom Julia Dare has a lot on her plate.

A brand new Christian, Julia is busy trying to run her own business, spend time with her widowed mother, and raise her young son, Max, despite his father's less-than-ideal influence on him. When a big account from her event-planning business sends her to the Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to come face-to-face with Zeke Monroe, the resort's general manager and her college sweetheart.

With his faith in tatters, Zeke Monroe is determined to keep the historic Caliente Springs resort running despite financial difficulties. But when Julia walks back into his life, he can't ignore the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's dream wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. When Zeke and Julia are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

***

This is the first novel I've read by Victoria Bylin, although she has written I think 17 previously, and I am hooked!  In some ways this was not just a fluff read, the characters were so real and facing demons from their past, some that would continue to be part of their lives.  I appreciated the real struggles they went through in their relationship with each other and with God.

There was a bit of suspense to the novel, just the right amount.  And a mostly happy ending.  My only complaints were that the spiritual resolution for Zeke seemed a bit rushed.  And I had to laugh that within the first three chapters he had "propped his hip against the desk" no less than 4 times.  That or against the hood of a car.  I think this author likes to provide visuals for action, but that particular phrase just stood out to me and made me laugh.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book.  It kept me guessing for quite a while, but overall was a plausible story set in reality.

***

Read other reviews, purchase your own copy, or win one below!

Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances known for their realistic, relatable characters. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and the RT Reviewers' Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky.




I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Bubbles

Because Grandma brought these giant bubble wands at spring break!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Attitude!

Because sometimes the stars align and I get my good camera out and then I get this!


Look out Hollywood!


And because they are twins they posed the same way without even trying!


Love them!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Awana Awards Night!

We ended our Awana club early this year due to spring sports and some of the leaders coaching and being in the local play.


The girls were so proud of their ribbons for finishing their first Cubbies books.  They love teacher Krista there in front of them too.


Noah finished his entire first Sparks book and reviewed it and was getting started on the "extra credit" book.



Cory didn't finish his book for T&T, but according to the director the books were really hard so no kids finished them and they are actually revamping the curriculum next year.  He also got a late start due to soccer season and missing the first 6 weeks or so in the fall.


My Awana crew! 


Daddy is a leader so Mommy got a free evening once week about half the time this year.  They all love it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New Book Release Party with Becky Wade

wade event promo - fb 

A female bodyguard plus her star NFL client plus danger equals a great recipe for romance! Her One and Only, book four in Becky Wade's Porter Family novels, releases May 3. To celebrate, Becky is hosting an author chat party on her Facebook page on May 5 at 5 PM PDT/8 PM EDT. Join Becky for an evening of book chat with other bookworms and prizes.

Plus a portion of all pre-sales and sales the release week of Her One and Only will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. For more details on how to purchase a copy, click here.

wade 400 - fallen heroes


About the Book

After ten years in the NFL, super star Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt–none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she’s determined to find Gray’s stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they’ll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives — and their hearts — to one another.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Nesting

We have a little spot by our driveway bordered by rocks that used to have flowers. Hope filled it with a dozen or so round river rocks from our yard and laid on top of them. When I asked what she was doing she said "laying on my eggs".