The Absence of Evelyn

by Jackie Townsend



This one was a bit slower read for me, I’m usually a fast reader and love lots of thrills and action. This one took me quite a while to finish. It just wasn’t clicking with me but it wasn’t a bad book. I did like it just felt the story was not as full as I was hoping. I wanted to know more about the characters and about how they all tied into Evelyn. While this might not have been a win for me my friend borrowed it and loved it saying this was a story she got fully vested in. Just goes to show you what one person likes to read might not be another one’s cup of tea as they say.

I was invested enough to see it to the end and wanted to know how it all turned out. This one for me would fall into the woman’s fiction category. If you’re looking for a book mainly about women characters and how their lives are all entwined this is the book for you.

summary: Newly divorced Rhonda, haunted by her sister Evelyn’s ghost, travels to an old palazzo in Rome to confront Marco, the man who stole her sister’s heart–only to find out he’s vanished in the wake of Evelyn’s death. Meanwhile, Rhonda’s nineteen-year-old daughter Olivia, adopted by Rhonda at birth, travels to the mysterious and lush waters of northern Vietnam, where she’s been summoned by the missing Marco–a man she only knows from her parents’ whispers, a man she has never met or seen. Soon, truths are exposed and lives unraveled, and the real journey begins. Four lives in all, spanning three continents, are now bound together in an unfathomable way–and they tell a powerful story about love in all its incarnations, filial and amorous, healing and destructive.

Thank you BookSpark for sending me this in the It’s Raining Books campaign. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Jumping Over Shadows A Memoir

I’m finally sitting down and typing up my reviews of the books I’ve read in April. I set a GoodReads goal of 52 books for 2017. I’ve read 27 so far and can’t wait to see what I close out 2017 with as a total.  First up for April’s books is a good one and a non fiction book which is a rarity for me, but I am working on changing that and trying to read more non fiction.

by Annette Gendler



I’m usually not a big memoir reader or really non fiction for that matter. However I’m trying to change that and reading more non fictions this year. I’m really starting to like them, and find them fascinating. Jumping Over Shadows title comes from a statement her father in law made. The book compares her life marrying a Jewish man to her Great Aunt’s who also married a Jewish man in the 1930’s. This is such a sweet love story – or really stories since you get glimpses of both. I learned so much and got invested in the families, I was shocked that even in the 1980’s there were issues they faced. The history between the families was interesting and this was a really good book. The cover photo reminds me of those old-time pictures from the 30’s and I really like the feel it gives the book. This one is a must read for anyone and everyone who likes good old love stories.


summary: History was repeating itself when Annette Gendler fell in love with a Jewish man in Germany in 1985. Her Great-Aunt Resi had been married to a Jew in Czechoslovakia before World War II–a marriage that, while happy, created tremendous difficulties for the extended family once the Nazis took over their hometown in 1938, and ultimately did not survive the pressures of the time. Annette and Harry’s love, meanwhile, was the ultimate nightmare for Harry’s family of Holocaust survivors. Weighed down by the burdens of their family histories, Annette and Harry kept their relationship secret for three years, until they could forge a path into the future and create a new life in Chicago. As time went on, however, Annette found a spiritual home in Judaism–a choice that paved the way toward acceptance by Harry’s family, and redemption for some of the wounds of her own family’s past…

Thank you BookSpark for sending me this book as part of It’s Raining Books campaign. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Lethal Lies {book teaser}

by Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Blood Brothers book 2

Publication Date: May 16th 2017

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A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind barseven use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.




“All the more reason to get you out of town,” Heath said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. I’m staying.” Her words were brave, but her chest hurt. No way could she deal with a serial killer all on her own. She could train every day for the rest of her life and not end up as practiced or as deadly as Heath already was, and she knew it. “I understand you have other cases and people after you. So leave, and I’ll handle this myself.”

“Those are big words, baby,” he said softly.

Her lip quivered, and she bit down on it. “I know. I promised her, Heath. It’s all I have left to give to her.”

He paused, understanding crossing his expression. “Ah, sweetheart. Your sister wouldn’t want that for you.” His voice turned velvety and soft. Soothing.

Anya nodded. “I know. But she was my sister. We shared blood and part of a childhood. She took me trick-or-treating when I was five, and it’s one of my best memories. Then when I needed help as an adult, she didn’t hesitate. She came to me right away, like family. She was the first person I really cared about in far too long, and it hurts like hell that I got her killed.”

He breathed out, the emotion in his eyes deepening.

She swallowed. “I have to do this for her. Either you understand that or you don’t.”

“Why don’t you just let us handle it?”

She pressed her point. “I could, but you need me. I’m the bait.” Inwardly, she winced at the description. That wouldn’t help her to convince him. “Also, here’s the deal. This could be a long op. At some point, you have to leave and deal with whatever is haunting you from your past. When you do, I’ll just challenge him again, and next time you won’t be around to assist.”

“That’s extortion,” Heath said, amusement curving his lip.

She grinned. “Apparently I’m getting quite good at it.”

Heath shook his head. “You’re putting me in an untenable position, baby.”

“No, I’m not.” She shrugged out of his hold. Finally. “I’m not yours to protect, Heath. We’re not together, and we’re not responsible for each other.” The words sliced through her even as she said them. “You’ve been more than clear on that score.”

“There’s something here, Anya. Maybe something real and lasting, if I get everything done I need to do.”

She blinked. “What’s that?”

Be Bold A Coloring Devotional

by Ellen Elliott



Be Bold is a great little coloring book / devotional for adults or teens that love to do something while studying the bible.  Each page has a color page with lots of detail. These pages take a while to color, for me it takes about a week of devotional time to color each page. On the back of the coloring page you have a bible verse that you can study more in-depth with you bible. Than below the scripture quote you have a real life application almost reminding me of a homily that you get after church mass readings. The papers are heavy and I think you could use sharpies if you wanted or even watercolor paint. I use plain old crayola markers we have lots and they are so affordable. I really like the Be Bold coloring book devotional just as much as the Christmas one I did through out advent. This one has the added bonus of lined pages in the back of the book for prayer request  or  jotting down thoughts of your readings and devotional.  I think this would be really fun to do with some girlfriends over tea (or coffee) as a little bible study group. This would also make a great gift for a friend along with some markers or gel pens (inkjoy are great for journaling).



summary: Be Bold offers an outlet to simultaneously focus on God’s Word and express creativity. Using scripture as the foundation for her designs, Ellen Elliot takes readers through a series of inspiring verses reinforced with short devotional writings. Topics include joy, hope, self-image, peace, and more. Each coloring page and corresponding devotional will help the reader develop a closer relationship with the Heavenly Father.



thank you Tyndale for sending me Be Bold Coloring Devotional. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.


NIV Holy Bible for Girls {Journal Edition}

by Zondervan




Bible journaling is very popular and while I think I’m creative and all I have never dived into bible journaling. I have wanted to but just never knew where to start or had a bible I could write in. I got sent the NIV Holy Bible for Girls and decided to use it to start. I know it’s geared for ages 8-18 but hey why not right? I was a little timid at first – writing in the book let alone bible felt weird. However I’ve gotten the hang of it and really like it so far. The bible has a 2 inch margin where you can write – draw – do a combo of both or I’ve used bible scripture stickers that relate to what I’ve read. I find that I’m looking forward to bible time more and not only enjoying what I’m reading but seem to be retaining it more. I’ve only used colored pencils and bic pens since the papers seem pretty thin to me. I wasn’t sure if my flair pens would bleed through. I have a wide assortment with the colored pencils and bic pens so it’s all good.  The text is clear and easy to read and has footnotes at the bottom for further reading and explanation. The cover is a hardback  and in my favorite color Turquoise with elastic closure and ribbon to bookmark where you left off or where you need to start back up. The size is compact and not big and bulky which makes it easier for bible time since I’m more likely to use something that is easy to carry with me and not heavy and just to big in size. I think this bible would be great for a teen who is creative and would be a great way to get teen girls bible journaling and studying.

summary: The NIV Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition is the perfect way to apply Scripture to your everyday life. Designed with the thoughtful writer in mind, a whimsical cover and journaling lines inspire reflection in God’s Word. This Bible contains the full text of the bestselling New International Version (NIV) translation. 

Features include:

  • Lines on each page for journaling and notes
  • Thick paper perfect for any writing utensil
  • A presentation page for gift giving
  • A “How to Use This Bible” page to get started on the right foot
  • Ribbon marker
  • The complete text of the bestselling New International Version (NIV)



Thank you Zondervan for allowing me to review NIV  Holy Bible for Girls Journal Edition. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free Journal Bible.

Crowning Design

by Leila Meacham





Crowning Design is not a usual genre read for me but it sounded like a really sweet book so I just had to read it. The writing style was a bit dated but that might have been more how the author writes than the book since it wasn’t an older era book. The characters were well developed and well-rounded, they seemed like real people and I enjoyed reading their story as it unfolded. There were some secrets that were exposed, that were not predictable that provided a bit of a twist. There were some predictable parts  to this story that I saw even though I don’t read lots in the romance genre but nothing that takes away from the book. The romance was actually pretty clean for an adult book and for that I saw thank you Leila Meacham. This is a thin book with a little over 200 pages. You could easily read this in a day or weekend setting. It was a good story and I would be interested to see what her other books are like.

summary: Some people aren’t meant for happily-ever-after. And Deborah Standridge is one of them. When she called off her wedding to the perfect man to pursue her passion as an architect, she didn’t mean to hurt anyone. But Deborah saw her chance to finally make her own dreams come and she took it, setting in motion a tragedy that has haunted her ever since.

Now, as one of Denver’s most successful architects, Deborah has avoided love at all costs…until Daniel Parker walks into her life. He commissions her to design his company’s headquarters and soon makes her want to believe in love again. But Dan is keeping a shocking secret that could rip apart everything they’ve built–and break Deborah’s heart once and for all. Will Deborah find the strength to put the past behind her to fight for a love that could last for all time?

Thank you Grand Central Publishing and Leila Meacham for allowing me to read Crowning Design. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

by Louise Miller

Rating:   3-teacups.5 Teacups





I love cookbooks, cooking shows and consider myself a foodie. So to read a fiction book based on a pastry chef I knew I would enjoy this one. I mean how neat of a job working as a pastry chef, I always said if I was going to be a chef it would be pastry and other kinds of baking. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living was a good book and one I would recommend to women’s fiction readers. Livvy the main character at times got on my nerves with some of her choices but it was great to see her grow and fall in love with life more than when she was at the top of her game in a fancy high-priced restaurant. Livvy’s life takes a big turn when she loses her job, moves to Vermont and starts working at a cute little BB. This is not where Livvy saw her life going but sometimes the unexpected is just what we need to find our true calling and passion. Livvy gets everything she has been looking for but didn’t know it the love and acceptance of “family” and friends. I could have done with a few less hooking up scenes and more baking kitchen scenes but I’m sure that is just me and not the usual reader. Overall this was a fun book and I enjoyed it. I do want to say thank you so very much to Blogging for Books this was an audio book but I didn’t notice this till after I requested it. I don’t like audio books my mind tends to wonder and I don’t listen like I should and miss most of the story, maybe it’s just that I haven’t found a great “reader” to listen to. They very kindly sent me a book copy instead and I am so thankful that was above and beyond and this is just another reason I love being a reader – blogger for their books!

summary: When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.

Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.

With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.

But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.

thank you blogging for books, Pamela Dorman Books and Louise Miller for allowing me to read The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.