Heart Pressed Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Heart Pressed

Author: Melissa Wardwell

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: February 23, 2021

Crushes are great for grapes, wine, and romance—not so great for hearts.

The Sweetheart Festival, an Elnora Island institution, has sparked more than a few romances over the years, but who would have thought it would light a fire in two hearts from two of the island’s oldest families. When Amara Martin and Dante Greco meet, sparks fly that may ignite more than romance.

Two wineries, old feuds, generations of traditions.

Seeing the attraction at Amara and Dante’s chance meeting, Beth Stevens and Scott Anderson join forces to do a little matchmaking, not realizing the pressure it would bring to both households and their own hearts. The new couple must decide if they will adhere to tradition or break free from expectations and choose love. Pressure on every side threatens a love that hasn’t yet had a chance to ripen—for both Amara and Dante as well as for Beth and Scott.

In this “forbidden love” novel, Heart Pressed continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts 

Heart Pressed was a sweet, light-hearted romance that tackled with a few tough issues. I won’t mention what thy are, because a couple of them might be “spoilers”. But I felt that Melissa Wardwell did an excellent job at handling them, and it even got me thinking about how I view those topics and how would I handle it, should handle it, etc. And I love books that get me thinking about what I believe on a certain issue, provide me with a different perspective and makes me think about how I should approach the topic as a Christian. 

Second, I loved getting to know Amara and Dante, and I wished I could know even more about them, but I guess I will just have to wait for them to make an appearance in the other Independence Island books. I liked that it had some elements of Romeo and Juliet, mainly with the feuding families, but I also appreciated that it wasn’t the main plot point of the story. I also liked how we got to see Scott and Beth again, and I’m looking forward to seeing their relationship unfold even more, as well as the success of Beth’s food truck on the islands! 

Overall, this is a really good book to read, especially as summer approaches, however it can be read anytime of the year! I am looking forward to reading more of Melissa Wardwell’s books in the future. 

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing. Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads. To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit http://www.melissawardwell.com


More from Melissa

“Life never goes as planned.”
That is the understatement of the century. 2020 has been the perfect example of it. Around the world, plans were made on January 1st to do this or that. Plans to use the year as a spring board for something new, better, or just a change.

Then that virus dashed all those plans. We were shut out from the world with only our books, our televisions, and our families. Some battled the shut down alone, while others had a house full (one friend of mine had eleven people in her house and only one was not her child). I know a couple of single friends who decided to stay at one house for the few weeks that Michigan was closed. Others, like myself, may not have done as well as everyone thought they were. Brave face and all. But we survived. We persevered. We adapted.

“Heart Pressed” is my covid story. It is about the unexpected way life change while you are in the middle of making plans for the future. How some changes are wonderful and rewarding, while others will bring you to the ground, begging for mercy.

Take Amara, for instance. She had a plan and put things into motion to make that plan come to fruition, but God (don’t you love those two words?) had a different plan and took hold of her heart. He softened it, molded it, made it a place where He could reside. Then life came knocking. The one person she thought would be there, couldn’t be, but God (there it is again) gave her someone to count on, hold her hand, and help her through the storms. He showed her that she wasn’t alone in this world by surrounding her with new people who loved her and cared for her.

(Disclaimer – I know God didn’t do anything, but we all have those stories in our own lives where God intervened on our behalf.)

Did you find a way to survive the storm? Did God bring people into your life, even at a distance, that made things better? Did your faith strengthen to new levels? I hope so because life never goes as we plan, but it sure is nice to have someone to hold your hand.

Blog Stops


Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19

lakesidelivingsite, March 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 20

A Novel Pursuit, March 20

She Lives To Read, March 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 22

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, March 23

Aryn the Libraryan, March 24

deb’s Book Review, March 24

Artistic Nobody, March 25 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Blossoms and Blessings, March 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 26

Batya’s Bits, March 26

For Him and My Family, March 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 27 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, March 28

Cultivating us, March 28

Texas Book-aholic, March 29

Blogging With Carol, March 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 30

Connect in Fiction, March 30

Simple Harvest Reads, March 31 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 31

Splashes of Joy, April 1

Godly Book Reviews, April 1


To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


First Line Fridays #45 – Gods & Kings by Lynn Austin

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books.

Gods & Kings by Lynn Austin


“The rumble of voices and tramping feet awakened him. Hezekiah sat up in bed, his heart pounding, and for the first time in his short life he was terrified.”

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

The Purple Nightgown Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Purple Nightgown

Author: A.D. Lawrence

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: March, 2021

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.
Book 10 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts 

Confession…for a long time I thought that mysteries and true crime books weren’t for me. Sure, certain events fascinated me, but I could never see myself actually picking up one up and reading it. For whatever reason, when I read the synopsis of The Purple Nightgown, that changed. The subject matter intrigued me, especially since it was based on something that really happened that I had never heard about before. I found myself excited to dive into the story so that I could learn more. 

The Purple Nightgown was suspenseful and I found myself reading late into the night trying to find out what was happening and if Stella would a) ever feel well again, and b) if she will manage to leave the spa alive (and c) will something actually happen between her and Henry…you’ll have to read to find out for yourself). I found that once Stella discovered the sinister nature of the spa that I had to keep reading until the end. I could not bring myself to put this book down until I knew how it all ended. And a love for mysteries and books based on true crimes ignited!

While I thoroughly enjoyed The Purple Nightgown, there were a couple of things that I didn’t like about the book. First, it took a while to finally get to the main part of the book which was the spa, I felt like some of the first 30-40% could have been trimmed a little bit – but that’s also just me and my preference. Second, I found both Stella and Henry infuriating at times, although Stella more so, at least for the first part of the book. However, I did love her growth as a character and how she realizes she needs to change. And in some ways, Henry also realizes he needs to change to. But besides these two dislikes, again, I loved this book. I don’t know how Linda Hazzard was in real life, but the author does a great job of describing her and even making her the criminal that she really was. I also liked the author’s note at the end that goes into some of the actual facts about Linda Hazzard and her “wellness spa”, which is fascinating, I wish there was more written about her! While the author did take some creative liberties, some of Hazzard’s real “patients” also appeared in the story and I felt like that led to making it more suspenseful and thrilling. 

I enjoyed The Purple Nightgown, and right now I am trying to get my hands on and devour as many mysteries as I can! I received a copy of this book from the publisher and CelebrateLit in exchange for my honest review! 

About the Author

A.D. Lawrence makes her home in Northeastern Nebraska. She has been passionate about writing and true crime for years, and her two obsessions melded into the goal of authorship. She is an active member of the ACFW, writes a true crime blog, won the 2019 Crown Award and was a 2019 First Impressions finalist.

More from A.D. Lawrence

Times have changed. And like so many things, health retreats have experienced their own metamorphosis. Sure, they’ve always catered to people with both spare money and time, but aside from similar clientele, the face of the health spa is nothing like its early 20th century sister.


If you could afford a getaway to a modern-day health spa like The Golden Door, you’d be treated to the luxury of rest. Yoga on the beach. Deep tissue massages. A much-needed break from technology and life’s constant pressures. Mental well-being is valued almost as highly as physical health, and the two are thought to be connected. After days or weeks of pampering, you would return home relaxed, recharged, and ready to dip back into the hustle of the real world.


In 1911, during the time of The Purple Nightgown, the medical community took a diametrically different approach to health. Weight equaled health. The prevailing assumption was that any ailments were directly connected to weight. Thus, ‘fat camps’ grew in popularity. Men and women checked into sanatoriums where the aides put them through grueling exercise regimes and provided them with just enough food to sustain life. No coddling. Not many of us would subject ourselves to the treatments early health spas required.


In this era of already extreme health measures, Linda Hazzard made her mark in Washington State. Obsessed with fasting, she ran her patients through an unfathomable course of ‘diet and exercise’ that proved the undoing of many. She did give massages though, which you’ll learn more about when you read The Purple Nightgown.


Although it’s fun to long for a simpler time while reading historical books and watching shows like Little House on the Prairie, there are some modern ways of thinking and advances in human comfort I’d rather not give up. One of those is the vastly superior spa experience we have today. Somehow, a facial with soothing background music sounds much more appealing than running mile after mile every day with nothing to look forward to but a glass of orange juice or a bowl of canned tomato broth.


Hot stone massage anyone?

Blog Stops


Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 23

lakesidelivingsite, March 23

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 23

For Him and My Family, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Godly Book Reviews, March 24

Through the Fire Blogs, March 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 25

For the Love of Literature, March 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 26

Mary Hake, March 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 27

deb’s Book Review, March 27

Pause for Tales, March 28

Remembrancy, March 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 28

Connie’s History Classroom, March 29

Genesis 5020, March 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, March 29

Babbling Becky L’sBook Impressions, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

Inklings and notions, March 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 31 (Author Interview)

Cathe Swanson, March 31

Older & Smarter?, April 1

Betti Mace, April 1

Rebecca Tews, April 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Vicky Sluiter, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 3

Amanda Tero, blog, April 3

Blossoms and Blessings, April 3

Christian Bookaholic, April 4

Blogging With Carol, April 4

Spoken from the Heart, April 4

Splashes of Joy, April 5

Artistic Nobody, April 5 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, April 5


To celebrate her tour, A.D. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Book Review: Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts.

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Finding Dorothy is a novel about the making of The Wizard of Oz and how Maud Baum, the widow of L. Frank Baum, befriends Judy Garland, as well as tries to ensure that the movie stays true to her late husband’s work.

The book follows a dual timeline, the first being in 1938 and 1939 during the making of the movie, and the second one takes us back to the 1880s when Maud first met Frank Baum and their married years up until he published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It was interesting to see how beloved elements from their lives are represented in fiction I also felt like I got to know Frank Baum really well even though the main focus is on Maud throughout the book.

It was also interesting to discover that Maud’s mother was a prominent suffragette and was good friends with Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton, who were frequent guests at her childhood home. Throughout the book we see how her mother puts pressure on her, especially when it comes to college, but she does eventually decide to drop out to marry Frank.

The contrast between Maud and her sister – Julia- was interesting, especially since we see Julia marry someone out of convenience and ends up being unhappy , married to a drunkard, not allowed to speak up, etc. Whereas Maud, while her family does struggle financially, she is in a loving marriage to a husband who, while fanciful, allows her to speak her mind and respects her and as a result they have a relatively happy and loving marriage.

It was also fascinating to see how Maud and Frank complement each other, especially in how Maud is more practical and Frank loves using his imagination and coming up with ways to make life more colorful.

I loved watching Maud befriend Judy Garland and try to encourage her and give her pointers on how to accurately portray the character of Dorothy Gale.

One aspect of the novel that I was kind of let down by is that there is a constant mention of Maud wanting to help Judy because she had let the other “Dorothy” down, however this isn’t fully fleshed out – at least to me it wasn’t – is the original ‘Dorothy” her niece Magdalena? And if so does she feel like she let her down because she didn’t get to live Maud and Frank? I think it is but it could have been explained a little bit more.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and enjoyed learning more about Maud Baum and L. Frank Baum, as well as Maud’s mother, Matilda Gage, and a young Judy Garland who is faced with the pressures of stardom from both her mother and studio executives. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of the Wizard of Oz, or just loves a good historical novel, especially one based on real historical figures. 4/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Book Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.

The Belles takes place in the world of Orleans where beauty is treasured, but comes at a price. Most of the people in this world are born without color, however a chosen few are born with color and beauty and the power to make the colorless beautiful, they are know as the Belles. The most coveted position amongst the Belles is that of the queen’s favorite, and Camellia Beauregard is determined to become the favorite just like her mother. However, she soon discovers that everything that she knows about being a Belle and what she is supposed to do is not all that there is to life and that there are some dangerous secrets concerning the Belles that have been hidden from everyone except for a select few people. She also learns that beauty is powerful and can be used for evil if used by the wrong people. The kingdom is at risk and soon an evil scheme might destroy the Orleans that everyone knows and loves for the sake of beauty.

The Belles is an interesting story, I will admit it was a bit slow at first and also slow-paced throughout the novel. There was a lot of build up to the climax which ends up happening in the last twenty pages and even then is left unresolved until the next book, which is slightly annoying. However, Dhonielle Clayton writes a compelling story that had me hooked and intrigued me enough to want to eventually pick up the sequel.

One of the core themes of this novel is beauty and what it means to be beautiful. In this world, beauty is dictated by the rich and famous, as well as the Belles. However, all Camellia wants to do is change the standard of beauty to be more inclusive, especially of those who might have a different body shape. It is also interesting that the antagonist of this story, Princess Sophia, wants to gain the throne so she can have the power to change the beauty standards as well as undo the laws that her mother put in place to prevent people from partaking into much treatment. The main reason Sophia wants to change the beauty standards is that she wants to be in the newspapers for her outstanding beauty, which she ahs yet been able to do, she wants people to emulate her and become miniature versions of herself, and even has devised a nefarious plan that would involved using the Belles. We also see how she uses the magic of the Belles to hurt those around her who do not do her bidding. Beauty is power, especially when you are able to manipulate those who have the magic to change appearances to make others more beautiful. An example of Sophia’s abuse of Camellia’s power is when she forces her to turn one of her guest’s noses into a pig snout. Camellia is shocked by these actions because it is gross misuse of power, an it makes her realize that she has to do what she can to help prevent Sophia from gaining power of the kingdom.

Another theme that is woven masterfully throughout the novel is that of secrecy. As mentioned before, Camellia has born and raised believing that everything that the Belles do is for the good of the people and that after a few years they can retires from their positions. However, she soon discovers that there is a price to pay for using magic to make others beautiful, and that that is what ultimately leads to the demise of the Belles. She also discovers that there are other Belles who, due to deformities, have been hidden away in the various beauty houses, but are used to make the mistresses of the beauty houses more money while the Belles rest. She starts to unravel that everything she knew to be true is a lie and starts trying to search for the truth even if it hurts her.

The characters are compelling, readers will enjoy following Camellia on her journey as well as the snippets we get from her sisters throughout the book. As mentioned before, Sophia is an interesting antagonist especially since she gives the facade that she is sweet and just simply wants to be popular for her looks, however it is soon discovered that she is very sinister. The other minor characters are great, and we get to learn about a bunch of them. The world-building is fantastic, and the magic system is fascinating, however, I do wish it could have been explained a bit more, but I guess part of the novel is that not even the main character really knows what is going on.

Overall, a great fantasy read, especially for those who are not huge fans of fantasy. I looked forward to reading The Everlasting Rose soon. 4/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Sing in the Sunlight Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Sing in the Sunlight

Author: Kathleen Denly

Genre: Christian historical fiction

Release date: March 2, 2021

Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.

Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.

Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.

Unwilling to lie, nor accept a marriage of mere convenience, Richard wants the real thing. Yet Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk?

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Sing in the Sunlight was an interesting read, although I’ll be honest that since it’s been a while since I read the first book in the series, I only vaguely remembered the connections that some of the side characters had to that one. This was a great story about learning to trust in God and open yourself up to love again, even after being hurt by others. I think there is something to be said to about the importance of communicating with those we love.

Clarinda was an interesting character, and I found myself relating to her on a certain level, however I also found her irritating at times, especially when she doesn’t believe others that she doesn’t have to hide her face. But then again, I have never had to deal with the aftermath and trauma that comes from what she experienced as a child. I did find her a bit too jaded at times, but again it does kind of make sense. I also enjoyed getting to know Richard and how he genuinely cares for Clarinda even though she doesn’t understand why. I appreciate that he wasn’t completely perfect, we got to see some of his humanity at certain points that made him seem more realistic.

I loved learning more about the history of San Diego and the surrounding area. I also liked that this story had a lot going on, but not so much so that it was overwhelming. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Kathleen Denly’s books in the future.

About the Author

Kathleen Denly lives in sunny Southern California with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

More from Kathleen

Hiding our Flaws

We all have things we’d like to change about our physical appearance. Personally, I’ve yet to lose the weight I gained with my last pregnancy and sitting behind a desk all day hasn’t helped things any. Despite this, I know that my husband, kids, family, friends, and most importantly, God, loves me just as much now as when I was my healthiest self. I want to lose the weight not because I need to earn someone’s approval but because I know I’ll feel better and be able to do more without tiring as quickly if I do. In the meantime, I’m okay with where I am because it’s the best I’ve been able to do so far.

This level of self-acceptance has come with maturity and the love of a godly man. When I was younger, I’d spend hours in front of the mirror trying to disguise my flaws beneath layers of makeup and stomach smoothers. In fact, one of the most memorable moments of my courtship with my now husband was the day I returned from a women’s retreat. I hadn’t gotten much sleep all weekend and we’d had to pack up and leave early, so I’d made the unusual decision to skip my makeup that morning. I was going to carpool back to the church, grab my car, and head home for a nap. What was the point in painting my face when the only people who’d see it were the women who’d seen me wake up bare-faced that morning anyway? Well, it turns out my now husband had missed me. So he was waiting in the church parking lot when we arrived, just to say hi before I went home. Sweet, right? Um yeah. At the time, part of me thought it was sweet, but more of me wanted to melt into the floor’s carpet and vanish from sight. I had ZERO makeup on, people! And I had bags under my eyes! *gasp* *shudder*

Needless to say, after almost nineteen years of marriage, he’s seen me a few times without my makeup on. Actually, these days, I only wear makeup for videos, photographs I intend to share online, special events, and (if the kids are nice to me that morning) church. Not that I don’t have my insecure moments or those photographs that friends share but I really wish they wouldn’t. (You know who you are.) But overall, I am okay with how I look because I know that I am loved and accepted.

However, in Sing in the Sunlight, my character, Clarinda, feels unloved, and unwanted by those closest to her. She describes parts of herself with words like hideous. She uses long sleeves, high necks, gloves, and veils to hide herself from a world that has rejected her. And she keeps almost everyone at arm’s length—especially God. So when she finally lets someone in, only to be betrayed, it sets off a series of desperate decisions that tangle her in a web from which she cannot find an escape. It’s my prayer that her story will touch readers’ hearts and show them how much they are loved—flaws and all.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 2

Simple Harvest Reads, March 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

lakesidelivingsite, March 3

Inklings and notions, March 4

Genesis 5020, March 4

For Him and My Family, March 5

A Novel Pursuit, March 5

Betti Mace, March 6

deb’s Book Review, March 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 7

Labor Not in Vain, March 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 8

Connie’s History Classroom, March 9

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, March 9

Older & Smarter?, March 10

Adventures Of a Travelers Wife, March 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 12 (Author Interview)

KarenSueHadley, March 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 13

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 14

Blossoms and Blessings, March 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 15


To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a Kindle Paperwhite, one bookish scarf, one pair of bookish socks, one bookish necklace, one Chaparral Hearts Pen, and one custom bookmark made and signed by Kathleen Denly!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Recent Reads Vol. 2

Something I have found I have needed to work on a lot more recently is that is my speech and my tongue, especially when it comes to communicating with my husband. I know what the Bible has to say about the tongue, but so often I have found myself glossing over those verses. A few weeks ago I cam across Conversation Peace by Mary A. Kassian at a used bookstore and decided to pick it up and go through it as a supplement to my personal Bible reading and study. Even though it does cover a lot of the usual verses about words and the tongue, Mary A. Kassian does a great job of breaking them down, as well as providing some good courses of action to improve how one speaks. She also explores all the different ways in which our speech can cause conflict, hurt others, and also be dishonorable to the Lord. I really liked how almost everything she talked about was saturated in Scripture and that she was not really grasping at straws. I will admit towards the end it got a little bit repetitive, but it was still really good. I highly recommend this one, even though it is an older book, if you are interested in learning more about working on how you communicate with others. This might be a stretch, but I really think that this book is just as good as any Spoken Communications text book that is out there.


The next book is one that I have been reading on my Kindle at nights once we turned the lights out, Dearest Josephine by Caroline George. The book follows recent high-school graduate Josie who’s last year of high school was filled of turmoil and grief, especially after the death of her father. While she figures out what she wants to do next, she travels to the manor her father had purchased before his death, and while there she discovers letters and a novel written by one of the previous owners, Elias Roch, who lived there in 1820. She starts reading these items and instantly feels a connection with someone who lived 200 years ago, especially since the letters were written to someone who was her namesake. I had mixed feelings about this book, because there were aspects that I really liked, but also there were flaws that made me not love it as much as I thought I would. I do have a longer review up that goes into more detail about what I liked and didn’t like, but I will share one thing I didn’t like. I felt like it was teased throughout most of the book that there might potentially be a paranormal aspect to it, and there wasn’t. I get why the author didn’t go that direction, but as someone who was invested in the story it was kind of a let down. Also, a big thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing and Edelweiss+ for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review. Click here to read more of my thoughts on the book.


The next book I picked up was Blackout by Candace Owens. I picked it up because Candace Owens has made a name for herself as a black conservative and I was interested in reading what she had to say from her perspective. It was an interesting read just about the political climate the U.S, especially in light of everything that happened last year. It was very thought-provoking and it was definitely a different read from a lot of other books that discuss racism. Before I read Blackout, I did pick up Caste by Isabel Wilkerson in order to read from someone on the opposing side of the topic so I could educate myself on what is being said on either side.


In between chapters of Blackout, I did read Fullmetal Alchemist Volumes 4, 5 & 6 by Hiromu Arakawa. This is a manga series that follows the Elric brothers who are trying to figure out a way to get their original bodies back after they broke one of the laws of alchemy trying to bring their mother back. In these three volumes the brothers are leaving Central so that they can go back to their teacher so that they can learn more alchemy and perfect their fighting techniques in order to go up against Lust, Gluttony and Envy. In the sixth volume we get a lot more of their backstory, especially as to how they became alchemists and eventually start working for the military.

After finishing Conversation Peace, I planned on picking up Ten Words to Live By by Jen Wilkin (thank you Crossway and Netgalley for giving me an eARC in exchange for my honest review), but before I started reading it, I wanted to read through Do Christians Need the Ten Commandments? by Phylicia Masonheimer which is a concise work that provides a short but thorough overview of successionism, the free grace movement, as well as how we as Christians are still commanded to obey God’s Word, even though we are not under the law. I have no idea if what I made sense, but I highly recommend it if this is a topic you are interested in knowing more about. After reading it (it’s about 16 pages), I jumped into Ten Words to Live By by Jen Wilkin, which is about the ten commandments and how they apply to Christians today. It was a pretty decent book, I learned quite a bit in the first half, but then the second half seemed to be a rehash of what I already know. But I still appreciated how Jen Wilkin takes readers through each commandment, breaks it down, and then shows how we can apply it in our daily lives. I also loved that she emphasized that while certain sins can be viewed as “personal” sins, they still have an affect on the community as a whole (especially the Christian community). She also emphasizes the importance of knowing the Lord in able to be one of His followers and strive to follow His commands. I recommend it for those who are interested in learning more about the then commandments and their applicability today, and for fans of Jen Wilkin’s previous works.

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Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.