Love and Ruin -Book Review

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Love and Ruin: A Novel by [McLain, Paula]


In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s the adventure she’s been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers.

Heralded by Ann Patchett as “the new star of historical fiction,” Paula McLain brings Gellhorn’s story richly to life and captures her as a heroine for the ages: a woman who will risk absolutely everything to find her own voice.

The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century.

Praise for Paula McLain

“Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason.”—Ann Patchett, Country Living

“McLain has such a gift for bringing characters to life.”—Jojo Moyes

“Paula McLain cements herself as the writer of historical fiction.”—Jodi Picoult

“With a sharp eye for detail and style to spare, McLain captures the nuances of complex relationships.”—Christina Baker Kline

About the Author:

Paula McLain is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and two collections of poetry. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Town & Country, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She lives in Ohio with her family.

My Thoughts:

I believe this is the MOST highlighted book in my collection. Not only is it another unique look into Hemingway’s life, but also into the very beginnings of war.

I loved the point of view of Martha, a fellow writer and how she viewed writing, war, her career, and the elusive Hemingway.

Something was missing in my life-in me- and I thought writing could fill it or fix it, or cure me of myself.

Martha goes on a string of “relationships”, which are no more than one night stands with many of them as she tries to navigate the writing world as a woman. Then she stumbles upon her idol, Ernest Hemingway, in a bar in Florida.

His eyes cut sideways at me in the mirror, and my pulse quickened. It was something to have his attention, even briefly. Like a bright light passing my way before moving on. But there was also a feeling that he really saw me, and understood how my mind worked. It didn’t make any sense, as we’d just met- but he was a brilliant painter of people in his work, and I believed that he probably did see all kinds of things, perhaps without even trying.

I loved Martha’s wrestle within herself, whether to take Ernest’s attention seriously or professionally.

I didn’t want to cause trouble; I only knew what I knew. That Ernest could eclipse me, large as any sun, without even trying. That he was too famous, too far along in his own career, too sure of what he wanted. He was also too married, too dug into the life he’d built in Key West. Too driven, too dazzling. Too Hemingway.

I also loved our brief glimpses of what was going on in Hemingway’s mind as well.

All he can see for the moment is what’s in front of him, only that, and she is part of it. It might be the war changing him, being at the knife-bright edge of things for the first time in many years. Whatever the reason, she’s gotten through whatever defenses he’s built up and now he doesn’t want to stop thinking of her and trying to be closer to her, no matter what it ruins.

If you are a fan of  The Paris Wife , then this is a must read!!

You can pre-order your copy of Love and Ruin Here.

Love and Ruin: A Novel by [McLain, Paula]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.


Lullaby Road -Book Review

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Pick up your copy on Amazon Here.


Winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by eccentrics, fugitives, and those looking to escape the world. Local truck driver Ben Jones, still in mourning over a heartbreaking loss, is just trying to get through another season of treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without an accident. But then he finds a mute Hispanic child who has been abandoned at a seedy truck stop along his route, far from civilization and bearing a note that simply reads “Please Ben. Watch my son. His name is Juan” And then at the bottom, a few more hastily scribbled words. “Bad Trouble. Tell no one.”.

Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who this child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Ben takes the child with him in his truck and sets out into an environment that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.

About the Author:

James Anderson

JAMES ANDERSON was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a graduate of Reed College, and received his MFA in creative writing from Pine Manor College. His first novel was The Never-Open Desert Diner. His short fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines, including The Bloomsbury Review, New Letters, Solstice Magazine,
and others. He currently divides his time between Colorado and Oregon.

My Thoughts:

I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading this book. I usually don’t go for types of stories like this, but Lullaby Road drew me in from the first sentence. SERIOUSLY.

The prose was phenomenal. The characters, unforgettable. The scene, surreal.

Its amazing that a whole story can take place within the cab of a truck, but Anderson pulled it off. Well done, sir.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon Here.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Blogging for Books. All opinions stated above are my own.


Lady Be Good -Book Review

Any links used in this post are Amazon Affiliate Links.

Lady Be Good: A Novel by [Brock, Amber]



Kitty Tessler is the winsome and clever only child of self-made hotel and nightclub tycoon Nicolas Tessler. Kitty may not have the same pedigree as the tennis club set she admires, but she still sees herself as every inch the socialite–spending her days perfecting her “look” and her nights charming all the blue-blooded boys who frequent her father’s clubs. It seems like the fun will never end until Kitty’s father issues a terrible ultimatum: she may no longer date the idle rich. Instead, Kitty must marry Andre, her father’s second-in-command, and take her place as the First Lady of his hotel empire. Kitty is forced to come up with a wily and elaborate plan to protect her own lofty ideas for the future, as well as to save her best friend, Henrietta Bancroft, from a doomed engagement; Kitty will steal Henrietta’s fiancé, a fabulously wealthy but terribly unkind man from a powerful family–thereby delivering the one-two punch of securing her now-fragile place on the social ladder and keeping her friend from a miserable marriage.
Then Kitty meets Max, a member of a band visiting New York from her father’s Miami club, and her plans take a turn. Smitten, but still eager to convince her father of her commitment to Andre, Kitty and Hen follow Max, Andre, and the rest of the band back down to Miami–and later to Cuba. As Kitty spends more time with Max, she begins waking up to the beauty–and the injustice–of the world beyond her small, privileged corner of Manhattan. And when her well-intended yet manipulative efforts backfire, Kitty is forced to reconsider her choices and her future before she loses everyone she loves.

About the Author

AMBER BROCK teaches British literature at an all-girls’ school in Atlanta. She holds an MA from the University of Georgia and lives in Smyrna with her husband, also an English teacher, and their three rescue dogs.
My Thoughts:
I thought that this was a fun, quick read at first. It gave the chic-lit appearance within the first few chapters. However, it turned more serious as Kitty starts to see the world beyond her own nose.
Set in the 1950s, Lady Be Good marks Amber Brock’s mesmerizing return, sweeping readers into the world of the mischievous, status-obsessed daughter of a hotel magnate and the electric nightlife of three iconic cities: New York, Miami, and Havana.
I loved the 1950s setting, and the characters were well developed. I confess I didn’t really like Kitty all that much at first, but as she grew and realized more than what was in her perfect world, I liked her more and more. I recommend it!
You can Pre-order your copy on Amazon Here.
Lady Be Good: A Novel by [Brock, Amber]
I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

The View From Rainshadow Bay -Book Review

The View from Rainshadow Bay (A Lavender Tides Novel) by [Coble, Colleen]

Enter in to a brand new series from bestselling author Colleen Coble!

“…The View From Rainshadow Bay, opens with a heart-pounding, run-for-your-life chase. This book will stay with you for a long time, long after you flip to the last page.” – 4 STARS, RT Book Reviews


“Prepare to stay up all night with Colleen Coble. Coble’s beautiful, emotional prose coupled with her keen sense of pacing, escalating danger, and very real characters place her firmly at the top of the suspense genre. I could not put this book down.” –Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of Shattered

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater InnRosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks


My Thoughts:

I am a recent fan of Colleen Coble. I enjoyed reading this one, as she is a wonderful storyteller. However, I did find myself cringing sometimes, because there was a LOT of “telling” and not “showing”. This type of writing always feels very amateur to me, and normally I do not push through a book when the writing is like that.

That being said, I gave the book some grace because of the thriller type scenes that really drew me in. I’m sure that if you are a Colleen Coble fan, then this book will not disappoint!

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here. (aff link)


I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated above are my own.

The Gods of Howl Mountain -Book Review

Gods of Howl Mountain: A Novel by [Brown, Taylor]

“A fresh, authentic, and eloquent new voice in American fiction.” – Robert Morgan, New York Times bestselling author of Gap Creek



In Gods of Howl Mountain, award-winning author Taylor Brown explores a world of folk healers, whiskey-runners, and dark family secrets in the high country of 1950s North Carolina.

Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood – a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg and haunted by memories of the Korean War, Rory runs bootleg whiskey for a powerful mountain clan in a retro-fitted ’40 Ford coupe. Between deliveries to roadhouses, brothels, and private clients, he lives with his formidable grandmother, evades federal agents, and stokes the wrath of a rival runner.

In the mill town at the foot of the mountains – a hotbed of violence, moonshine, and the burgeoning sport of stock-car racing – Rory is bewitched by the mysterious daughter of a snake-handling preacher. His grandmother, Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty, opposes this match for her own reasons, believing that “some things are best left buried.” A folk healer whose powers are rumored to rival those of a wood witch, she concocts potions and cures for the people of the mountains while harboring an explosive secret about Rory’s mother – the truth behind her long confinement in a mental hospital, during which time she has not spoken one word. When Rory’s life is threatened, Granny must decide whether to reveal what she knows…or protect her only grandson from the past.

With gritty and atmospheric prose, Taylor Brown brings to life a perilous mountain and the family who rules it.

About the Author:

TAYLOR BROWN grew up on the Georgia coast. He has lived in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of western North Carolina. His fiction has appeared in more than twenty publications, he is the recipient of the Montana Prize in Fiction, and was a finalist in both the Machigonne Fiction Contest and the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. He is the author of Fallen Land (2016) and The River of Kings (2017); Gods of Howl Mountain is his third novel. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

My Thoughts:

I completely devoured this book. It was like being home, in both the best, and worst ways. You know what I’m talking about when you hale from the Appalachia, as I did, and you pick up this book.

I could see my own great grandmother, smoking a pipe on the front porch.

I could see my great uncle running whisky down the side of the mountain.

I could hear my ancestors in the strength and groan of the mountain underneath them for generations.

I could smell the earth and feel the mountain air all around me, escorting me from the warm beaches of Florida back home, to the crisp dangerous mountain wind.

This book was completely magical, in the most honest way that it pictured mountain people, not shying away from the truth in any way.

I highly recommend you pre-order your copy on amazon here. (aff links)


I was given this book from Netgalley in exchange of my honest review. All opinions stated above are my own.


The Phantom Tree – Book Review

The Phantom Tree by [Cornick, Nicola]

“My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.”


Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait—supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better. The subject is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child. And Alison knows this because she, too, was in Wolf Hall…with Mary…in 1557.

The painting of Mary is more than just a beautiful object for Alison—it holds the key to her past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance and how Alison can get back to her own time. But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbors secrets in its shadows…

A spellbinding tale for fans of Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory and Barbara Erskine by the bestselling author of House of Shadows.

About the Author:

International bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes historical romance for HQN Books and time slip romance for MIRA UK. She became fascinated with history when she was a child, and spent hours poring over historical novels and watching costume drama. She studied history at university and wrote her master’s thesis on heroes. Nicola also acts as a historical advisor for television and radio. In her spare time she works as a guide in a 17th century mansion.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book! I must say, I’m a sucker for any type of Historical Fiction/Time Travel books (Hello, Outlander!) and I was so surprised that this fit into that somewhat rare category.

I had a love/hate relationship between each of the main characters, which reflected their relationship between each other pretty well. The authors writing was exquisite in describing each of the enormously different time settings in near perfect detail. As a reader, I could not have been more pleased!

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here. (aff. links)


I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated above are my own.

God’s Glory Box- Unboxing!

Subscription boxes are a huge business now. And with all the available options, I wanted to point out a very unique subscription box from God’s Glory Box . When I first saw the box, I had that initial “oh that’s cute!” moment. But what really sealed it for me was that for every box shipped, God’s Glory Box donates FIVE MEALS to Feeding America! I couldn’t believe the generosity of this company, and just HAD to be involved! You can also use my unique coupon codes to get $5 or $10 off your purchase!

Use code Homeschoolfortwo5 to get $5/off your first one box purchase (that makes it only $24! What a STEAL!)


Use code Homeschoolfortwo10 to get $10/off a subscription! They offer a range of subscriptions, starting at 3 months and going up to 12 months.

Another thing I loved about this box, is that they support small businesses and Christian Artists. I’m all for that! So keep scrolling to see what I got in my February box!

Here is everything together. The box is pretty small, so I was surprised at how much was packed in there!

First I have this amazing canvas apron. How stinking cute is this?! I think I’m actually going to use it as my painting apron.

Next is a devotional from Stephanie M. Carter and a candle made by Wildhaven Candles In scent “God’s Love”. This little candle packs a punch! It smelled up my room in no time. You can check out Wildhaven Candles Facebook page here.

Next are these amazing handmade cards! I cannot wait to send these out to some special people. They are made by Silent Inspirations and 200 Cups of Lemonade.

Next I have two packs of blessing cards from Giving Jesus.

I just love this little card they put in the box, reminding us to take every opportunity to give God’s Glory to others.

Remember to visit God’s Glory Box and use coupon codes Homeschoolfortwo5 and Homeschoolfortwo10 on your order!