Blog Tour: The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer

About the Book:

Book: The Bookshop of Secrects
Author: Mollie Rushmeyer
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Christian)
Release date: October 25, 2022

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family’s legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family’s history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope’s last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.

Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she’s lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…

Amazon || GoodReads

My Review:

Books set in bookstores and about books are some of my favorites to read, and this was no exception. The new bookshop owner is one of my all time favorite tropes, and there’s something about reading a cozy book in the falltime that just hits different.

tw // PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety, sex trafficking, domestic violence and abuse, sexual harassment, foster care (and abuse in the foster care system), drowning, dementia

This book was surprisingly heavy for what the back cover says: there are several topics (see trigger warnings) that I would have liked a warning about before reading. I appreciated the discussion on the heavier concepts, but I would have appreciated going into it knowing that those topics (particularly human trafficking) was going to be discussed.

As expected, the bookshop element was super cozy & lovely: both of the main characters enjoyed reading and were very knowledgeable about literature, which was different from usual. There was a cat named Fitzwilliam, which was really fun, and there was just overall a lot of discussion about classic literature–Jane Eyre, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables–that I really liked.

There was a lot of Christian content: a lot of discussion about faith, prayers, doubting, evil in the world, and so forth. As far as I can remember, neither of the characters are explicitly Christian, but conversation about faith and what it means to be a Christian was always on the table.

There were some mentions of vaguely feminist content that I did not like: Hope (the main character) is fiercely independent, and has some feminist ideology, which the author did not speak highly towards. A man said “Significant other, wife? I apologize. Maybe I’m a little behind in this politically correct world.” which I just thought was baffling.

There was somewhat of a mystery/treasure hunt aspect to this book, which was really fun to read. Unfortunately, it wrapped up a little unsatisfyingly, and the falling action didn’t make any sense. The background and reasoning behind the treasure hunt was never fully explained, and I was left a little confused.

There was also a thread of revealing old family histories, which was really interesting, but also not done very well. There was a lot of discussion about old family members, old journals, deeds/wills/treasure, which was really fun, but could have been more fleshed out. As it was, the driving motivation seemed a little lacking.

Hope’s lifelong dream is to open a coffeeshop/restaurant/bookshop on wheels, and some of the book was spent setting up and renovating this bus for her. I thought that part was really interesting, but there was so much going on in the rest of the book that it became a minor focus.

Overall, this book had a lot of potential but it fell flat: I think there were too many things covered, and I would have liked to see each of the plot points fleshed out in greater detail. For example, I would have liked to see more about the bus renovation, the treasure hunt, the family secrets, the bookshop, but due to the length and the number of topics discussed, each of the points was not fully covered.

My Rating:


I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author:

Mollie writes contemporary fiction with a heart for history. What does this mean exactly? She loves to write inspirational fiction in contemporary settings with fascinating historical elements, people, objects, and stories woven throughout. A modern girl herself– She wouldn’t want to go a day without modern plumbing and central air! But she’s always felt a special connection to the past. The legacies and lives left behind are like gifts waiting to be unwrapped, and she’s excited to share this blend of history and contemporary living with readers. A born and bred Midwestern gal, Mollie Rushmeyer, makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. She is not only a bibliophile (the dustier the better, in her opinion), she’s a true anglophile at heart. Tea and coffee fuel her travels, by Google maps at least, and her passion for the written word.  


To celebrate her tour, Mollie is giving away the grand prize package of a eBook or signed paperback copy (paperback U.S. Only) of The Bookshop of Secrets and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

Enter Here.

For more information about this blog tour, and exclusive content from the author about The Bookshop of Secrets, as well as more stops from the blog tour, click here.


Blog Tour: After Our Castle by Kellyn Roth (Alice and Ivy #6) | Spotlight, Review, and Giveaway

After Our Castle Banner

About the Book

After Our Castle Image

Book: After Our Castle
Author: Kellyn Roth
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction
Release date: October 2022

A year into a blissfully happy marriage, Violet Angel admits to a dose of skepticism. She’s not married, granted—but as the closest friend of the bride and groom, she feels she has a perspective no one but the people directly involved could have. There’s no such thing as a happy ending, and it’s only a matter of time before the castle in the sky plummets to earth. If only Violet were always wrong instead of just mostly wrong. Ivy McAllen doesn’t believe she and her new husband are out of the honeymoon period—if they are, she isn’t going to admit it to herself—but there are certainly areas of adjustment that she hadn’t expected. Changes at the village of Keefmore and in Ivy’s life lead to complications, and Violet spirals further and further from reality. When a castle in the sky turns to be more cloud than stronghold, finding a foothold proves to be more than a little difficult.  

Amazon || GoodReads

My Review:

Similar Reviews:

tw // child loss/miscarriage/infertility/conception, a mention of a suicide attempt

This is the third book from the perspective of Ivy and I really liked it! I don’t think this book was my favorite overall, but it kept me engaged and I looked forward to seeing how the story would progress.

Like always, this book deals with a lot of gritty topics: a lot of hard hitting, real life, adult topics. In particular, this book navigates the first few years of marriage, and the adjustment between courting and marriage. It deals with a lot about wanting/waiting for children, so if that is a topic that you are sensitive towards, this may be a book to skip.

In addition, this book seemed more preachy than the previous ones. There were a lot of takes that I really didn’t agree with, including discussions about children before marriage may lead to “temptation,” anything less than 100% transparency between a married couple is fully adultery, and the “it takes a village” adage is unreliable and that a family unit should be self sufficient (which is not only just bad advice, it’s actively unbiblical). Characters would occasionally go into monologues about their beliefs and what to do to live a Christian life, some of which I agreed with, and some of which I didn’t, but they happened a little too frequently in my opinion.

I did like seeing the inclusion of more of Violet Angel in this book: while she isn’t exactly a reliable narrator, it was cool to see her growth and development as she navigates the world. Her character arc was really cool to see, and I also liked seeing flashbacks to her experience at the McHale house where she and Ivy met. I also liked Alice a lot more in this book than previously: she seems to have mellowed and matured ad lot since the previous book. She provides a lot of wisdom and comfort to Ivy that I really liked seeing, especially with all that happened to her in the previous book.

This book was very slice-of-life, where it narrated a lot of Ivy’s day to day and her life living in the village, which was really fun to read. Overall though, I think this book was weaker than some of the previous books in the series, and while I did enjoy it, it got a little too preachy at points for me to truly enjoy it.

My Rating


I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author

Kellyn Roth

Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century. Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory and a writing coach. When not building her author career, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.  


After Our Castle Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kellyn 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.

Enter Here.

For more information about this blog tour, and exclusive content from the author about After Our Castle, as well as more stops from the blog tour, click here.

Book Review: Body of Evidence by Irene Hannon (Triple Threat #3)

About this Book-

Forensic pathologist Grace Reilly has seen her share of unusual deaths in rural Missouri. But when she begins to notice a curious pattern in autopsies of elderly residents whose demise appears to be natural, she takes her concerns to Sheriff Nate Cox.

Nate is skeptical about the link Grace is seeing between the deaths–and her suspicions of foul play. But her persistence is compelling. Once she finally convinces him her theory is credible and they join forces to investigate, danger follows. Because exposing the truth could destroy several lives–including Grace’s.

Queen of inspirational romantic suspense Irene Hannon closes out her bestselling Triple Threat series with this gripping tale of secrets revealed and romance sparked.

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

This was a really satisfying story and a great ending to this series! I liked the first two books in this series–they weren’t my all time favorites, but I really enjoyed them–and I had high expectations for this book: I loved it! Now, I had the same problems with it as I had with the first two books in the series, but this one is my favorite out of the three.

tw // vomiting (including discussions of and descriptions of the smell), infidelity (not detailed, but a heavy part of this book), assault, Grace is a pathologist, so there are some pretty graphic descriptions of her job, including her sawing into a skull, weighing a liver, etc.

This book was super well-rounded, which I really like. The pacing is really well done: it kept my attention the whole time and I was hooked to see where the story would go. There was also more development for the characters: Grace and Nate were better developed than some of the other characters written by Hannon that I’d read. Their internal monologue was consistent and made sense with the plot line, which sometimes doesn’t happen in Christian suspense fiction.

There was once again a lot of physical attraction between the two main characters, but it was less than the other books by Hannon I read, which was good (some of the other descriptions are . . . A Lot). There was definitely quite a bit of noticing, and there were some spicier innuendos (one scene where one character mentions on the phone that they are about to go change and leave, and the other finds that information very interesting, and they make a joke about it, Nate sees Grace’s “curves” under her shirt and thinks that he needs to go take a cold shower, among others). The two characters do have insta-love, but not in an annoying way.

One thing about this book that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the strict male and female divide: Nate’s testosterone was mentioned multiple times, which was a little uncomfy, and there other such observations: women’s intuition, a man’s strength, and stuff like that, which I’m not a huge fan of. Nate is immediately very protective of Grace, almost as soon as they meet, which is supposed to be a marker of his manly protectiveness, which is also a little . . . sus for me.

By far the best part of this book is the suspense plot: it had the best plot out of Christian suspense fiction that I’ve read in a while, and it kept me guessing all the way up to the end. The ending was really well foreshadowed, with the appropriate stakes and the appropriate responses by the characters. There were just enough red herrings to keep the mystery complex, but without making it confusing. The ending wasn’t rushed, and everything tied up in a satisfying way. I was really afraid that the plot was going to go one direction that is overused (at least in my opinion) and it didn’t go that way, which made me really happy. There were some chapters from the perspective of the antagonist, revealing more information as the story went on, which I really liked, because it added to the foreshadowing.

There were some comments that made me not enjoy this book was much as I would have (Grace has an intense security system on her house in rural Missouri, and the author describes it as a security fetish??????? WHY USE THE WORD FETISH), but overall the plot was really interesting and overall, I really enjoyed this book!

My Rating-


I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Clutter Fix by Shannon Acheson

About This Book-

Create the Organized Home and Life You’ve Always Longed For

Living in a disorganized, cluttered home can leave you feeling chaotic, anxious, and even depressed. You want a change, but you don’t know where to begin.

Home coach Shannon Acheson is here to help. She has written the only book you’ll ever need to get your entire home sorted and organized for good–in a way that makes sense for you and your family’s unique, God-given personalities.

In The Clutter Fix, Shannon helps you

  • win the battle with all of your stuff by following her step-by-step instructions and checklists
  • discover your Clutter Personality and your Organizing Personality
  • create rhythms and routines to keep your home decluttered

Clutter isn’t just about the stuff. It’s about how you feel in your home–and in your mind. This book will give you the peaceful dwelling you’ve always hoped for.

My Review-

I am someone who is always looking to keep my space clean and minimal, and when I saw this book, I was really interested in picking it up! I really benefit from a step-by-step manual of what exactly to do, and this book was perfect in telling me what to clean, how to clean, and where to focus on.

This book was very clearly intended for people with children and homes, and especially a lot of accumulated clutter from multiple years of having a home, like moms, which is not super relevant for me right now. For that reason, I will be passing it on to someone else, but I’ll be keeping it in mind in the future.

With that being said, I think this book is a super valuable tool in those who want to start living more simply and meaningfully: the way it is set up is really accessible, and I really love the checklists and worksheets that are included. There is a section of the book that discusses the reason behind accumulating clutter and long term ways to stay minimal (i.e., mindset, habits, and routines), which I love. The author speaks with so much grace to those who want to start decluttering their homes and the mindset shift that it requires.

By far the best part of this book is how easy and accessible it makes decluttering seem: there are lots of lists of things to declutter, easy ways to get started, and worksheets that lay out a plan without being too overwhelming. I also really like the way it makes decluttering sustainable by laying out a plan that allows for maintenance and habits to learn.

Overall, I really like this book! It is a super handy tool and I think it will be very valuable for homemakers. Unfortunately, this book isn’t super relevant for me during my current stage of life, so I didn’t get out as much from it as I would have liked, but I still think this book is really good and I recommend it!

My Rating-


I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

how to monthly plan for productivity & success (+ journaling prompts!) | my monthly planning routine.

Back at the start of my blogging journey, I was REALLY into setting monthly goals. Did I achieve them? Not necessarily. Were they helpful in me getting my life on track? Most definitely! While I was in college, monthly goals fell by the wayside (and let’s be real, COVID didn’t help at all), but now that I’m out of college, I’ve been slowly planning how I used to, and it’s been so good for me!

Today, I’ll be walking through my monthly planning routines. I really like having a monthly plan, because it gives some structure about the overall trajectory of my month. It’s not as broad as a yearly goal, and not as confining as a weekly or daily goal. Knowing approximately where I want to end the month at works really well with my brain and my lifestyle, and I’ve really been enjoying setting my monthly goals again!

My monthly routine is a process that takes me a couple hours when I am taking my time. I don’t do each of these steps in depth every month, so it definitely doesn’t take that much time every month, but I do really like taking a weekend afternoon to just chill and plan out my upcoming month!

Check New Year’s Goals

One thing about me is that I WILL set New Year’s Resolutions. Setting new yearly goals at the start of a new year is truly one of my favorite times of the year, and I make it A Whole Deal.

The first thing I will do when I’m setting new monthly goals is to look back at the goals I set for the year overall, and pick out which goals I want to focus on for the month. Is there a quantitative number that I can try to hit (such as $ to make or # of instagram followers), or is there a goal I can try to take a step towards (such as updating my resume)? I break these goals down into a piece that is attainable in a month, and use that to guide my monthly goals.

Set Goals For the Month

Oftentimes, when I take goals from the yearly view, it is still broad and undefined, so I break it down. I also like breaking large scale goals down into daily tasks to achieve. For example, if one of my goals is to “sort through my email,” this is the step where I set my monthly goal to be “spend 30 minutes each day sorting emails.” If my goal is to “gain 100 instagram followers,” my goal will be “comment on 20 instagram posts a day and post 3 times a week”.

Assigning a quantifiable number to an otherwise vague goal makes it much easier to strive towards. I then make a list of all the habits/tasks I want to get done in a day, and write it down. I usually strive towards setting about 10-15 goals, ranging from small goals like “make bed everyday” to much larger ones like “reach out to 25 brands”.

Set Up Monthly Bullet Journal Spread and Notion Page

Once I have my monthly goals in hand, I set up my planners. Right now, I use a bullet journal and Notion to plan, so I make my monthly pages for them. Pretty straightforward, but very handy.

Outline Upcoming Dates in the Month and Split Into Weeks

Next, I look at the upcoming month and pick out any due dates, important dates, and events that I have planned, and put them into my calendar. If there are tasks that need to be done on certain weeks, I write them into my calendar. I basically just take the broader monthly goals and split it up into weeks, so that I’m not scrambling at the end of the month to accomplish all of them.

Wrap Up Previous Month

I also take some time to go through my planners from the previous month and check off any tasks that I didn’t check off, as well as migrate any tasks that I didn’t end up completing into the new monthly tasks. I also look through my bullet journal brain dump from the previous month and transfer that information as necessary. Overall, I just tie up any loose ends!

Monthly Journal Entry

Last, I do my internal processing. I usually use the prompts from this pinterest post, but there are a lot of Pinterest posts (and posts on other social media platforms) with monthly recap prompts. Some of my favorites are:

  • What was the highlight of your past month? What was the worst part of your last month?
  • How are you feeling about this upcoming month?
  • What are you looking forwards to this month?
  • In an ideal world, what will your life look like at the end of this month?

I like doing this step at the end because I’ll have gotten an idea of what I’m doing in the upcoming month and can properly parse the information.

that’s my monthly planning routine! do you set monthly goals? what steps do you take that are like mine, and what do you do different? I would love to know!

5 ways to establish routine more easily | minimalism and simple living.

Since I’ve moved home from college, I have been struggling to find structure to my daily life. No longer bound by the boundaries that school set, I was spending every day doing tasks as I felt like, only getting my day started at 11 am or 12 pm. Finally, I decided that I needed to sit down and set up routines for myself, and I did! It’s only been a few days, but having a dedicated morning and evening routine has been game changing.

Today, I’ll be sharing 5 ways to make establishing a routine easier. You can make all the best intentions in the world, but setting your routines up for success will not only make them more attainable, but also less mentally taxing to upkeep, which makes it easier for the routines and habits to stick.

Earlier this year, I read Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is a book that many have recommended as a guide to implement habits that are attainable and sustainable. It gave me a lot of tools and techniques, and I learned a lot from it! The tips I’ll be sharing are from my own experience in building habits, but have techniques adapted from Atomic Habits as well.

  1. Have an environment that makes it easier for you to cue yourself. This may mean preparing to do your morning routine the night before, laying out your workout equipment clothes before going to work, or thinking of meal ideas so that when you get groceries, you already know what you’re going to cook. Make your routine as easy to start as possible, to increase the likelihood of you starting it. As Atomic Habits says, Habits are easier to build when they fit into the flow of your life.
  2. Create a way to track your habits. By seeing the buildup of the habits, it makes it seem more of an accomplishment when you do complete the routine. Checking off a task on a to-do list gives my brain the dopamine it craves, so being able to see a list of checkmarks pile up makes it less likely that I fail a routine. I have completed routines many times because I wanted to check it off, not because I wanted to do the habit itself. My app of choice is Routinery, but I also use a habit tracker in my bullet journal: both serve me well!
  3. Relate your routines and habits to your long term goals. When you start eating healthy, are you “trying to eat healthier,” or are you “someone who eats healthy”? If you can identify yourself with your long term goals and the habits you need to reach that goal, it will make you more likely to do that goal!
    For example, one of my goals is to wake up earlier. Instead of saying “I’m going to be trying to wake up earlier,” I think of it as “I’m a morning person, and I’m someone that follows a morning routine.” When I’m building this habit, I’m becoming the kind of person that does follow a morning routine, and if I tell myself that that’s the kind of person I am, then I’ll be more likely to continue doing it.
  4. Make your routines not require willpower. Oftentimes, when we think about building habits we think about how difficult it is, and how much work it will be, replying on our willpower to actually complete it. If you make the routine not dependent on spur of the moment decisions, you’ll be so much more likely to get started!
    For instance, you want to start going to the gym after work instead of chilling on the TV. What if you packed your gym supplies in the car with you? That ways, all you have to do to go to the gym is get in the car, rather than having to look for your gym clothes, get your food and water ready, get ready to leave, and go. Getting in the car is much less effort than doing all of the preparation, and it makes it less likely for you to default to just switching on the TV. You can even take it one step further and take the batteries out of the remote, so that turning on the TV is actually more difficult than getting in the car!
    Each habit has its own “willpower” state. If you can set up your routine such that it is just as easy to begin as the more appealing “default” option, you can rely on your willpower so much less, and you’ll succeed at it more!
  5. Never miss twice. The biggest killer of a routine is missing it one day, and then simply never starting it again. I am guilty of an all-or-nothing mindset: “I missed X yesterday, so why wouldn’t I skip today either?” However, when a routine is missed twice in a row, MISSING the routine becomes the habit, rather than the routine itself! I try to never miss doing a routine two days in a row: even if I fail, the next day is there to pick it back up!

The routines that I have established have been absolutely life changing, and I am so glad I am back in a routine! I hope these tips helped inspire you to follow routines, and stick to them.

Do you keep routines? Do you prefer morning or night routines? What is one thing you want to do better in setting up routines, and what is one thing you do well? Leave a comment and let me know: I would love to chat!

Blog Tour: A Prayer Unanswered by Kellyn Roth (Alice and Ivy #5) || Spotlight and Book Review

Beyond Her Calling

About the Book-

When her world is set adrift, she grasps for the strength to hold on …

As Alice Strauss enters her first year of marriage—full of optimism and determination—she finds herself wholly unprepared for reality. In a new country, with a new family, she struggles to find her footing. Difficult relationships and situations batter her, but she is determined to establish a perfect life with the man she loves.

Unfortunately, perfection seems just beyond her reach. An unexpected tragedy flings Alice out of control, and she struggles to rise from the ruins. Her world is full of spinning variables and agony beyond anything she has ever experienced.

However, there is hope—in a God who loves her and a future established for her since before time began. Yet the devastation of Alice’s life seems beyond even the touch of grace.

Series: The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Book 5 (Alice #3)
Release Date: July 10, 2022
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction
Amazon || Goodreads

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

This is the 5th book in the Alice and Ivy series by Kellyn Roth, which is a series that I have been following over the past few years and really enjoyed.

tw // child loss/miscarriage/infertility, alcohol use, postpartum depression/depressive episodes, suicidal idealization/attempt, minor mentions of being drunk and someone being conceived in rape/out of wedlock

This book was from Alice’s perspective, which hasn’t been my favorite. Alice is flighty, with a strong head for doing what is “right,” and stubborn to the point of being foolhardy. To this end, she ends up making mistakes, withdrawing, and succumbing to a deep depression. She pulls away from her husband, who is trying his best to support her, and she relies on herself to the point where she feels like she cannot go on.

This book was HEAVY. There was a LOT of mature content that was covered. It is marketed as women’s fiction, and discusses many adult topics including marital intimacy, and pregnancy/miscarriages. Everything was spoken about in a deeply moral sense, including mentions of being intimate in a marriage without being “unbiblical [. . .] that allow God the possibility to work if He so pleases” and a couple scenes where one of the married characters asks their spouse to “be with them” that night. There was a very vivid scene of a miscarriage, and a pretty graphically (but one room over) childbirth. There were multiple passages describing someone in a deep depression, to the point where they did not leave their room for weeks to months on end. There were definitely scenes that were a little too graphic and were a bit triggering for me, and I had to skim through some sections.

One thing that frustrated me about this book was that Alice and her husband, Peter, did not communicate to each other as efficiently as that could have. Part of it was due to Alice feeling like she had to be “proper,” and not divulge “womanly secrets” about her period, but part of it was just due to propriety. If you are married, there should no longer be any secrets between you and your spouse: if you have been made one, there is no point in keeping secrets, especially about things as heavy and deep as Alice did. At the same time, Peter also made decisions without referring to Alice, and this was presented as “Alice obeying Peter” but at the same time, marriage is a partnership, and moving across states is definitely a “talk with your partner” decision, not a “listen to your husband” decision. This communication barrier was pretty frustrating at times, but it did eventually start to get resolved as the book went on.

As for the plotline of the series, some pretty big things happen in this book. Ivy and Jordy get married (and their marriage seems a lot more wholesome and sustainable than Alice and Peter’s, I must say), and Nettie reveals a secret to Alice that I think should have been revealed a while ago.

There was A LOT of talk about being “moral” in this book, whether in a marriage, or just in daily living. There were several pretty deep discussions about whether or not something was Biblical, and while I appreciate that, it got to be a bit overbearing at times. It seems like the author is injecting a lot of her personal opinion into this book (and series), some of which I agreed with, and some of which I did not. There were some disparaging things said about women, along the lines of “don’t mess up her kitchen, you know how a woman gets when you mess up her kitchen,” which left a pretty nasty taste in my mouth. There are some pretty dark things said about miscarriages and what that means about a person’s character that I really disagreed with. [spoiler in the next paragraph, highlight to read]

Alice alludes several times that her miscarriage was her fault, and that her husband would never forgive her for not giving him a child. She has a really unhealthy relationship with having children, and said that the people she knew who had miscarriages were “aligned with God, and it was some strange, ill fortune that she had experienced miscarriages,” while her own was unforgivable. I was expecting someone, such as Peter, to come in and tell her that miscarriages are something that occur because of a fallen world, and it was not her fault, but that never happened. It seems as though the author does at least subconsciously believe that miscarriages can be controlled and are somehow inherently sinful, which is really sad.

Overall this book was certainly the heaviest out of this series to date: the author said that this was the climax to the generations-long drama and relationships, but it was a little too heavy for my liking. If you are looking for a heavily moral adult women’s fiction book, this is the book for you. I’m looking forwards to reading book 6, from Ivy’s perspective!

My Rating-


I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey (Coastal Guardians #3)

The Deadly Shadows

About the Book-

A mass shooting.
A stolen weapon capable of immense destruction. 
A painful secret that threatens to tear two hearts apart.

CGIS Agent Noah Rowley is rocked to the core when he learns of a mass shooting raging on his Coast Guard base. He and his team stop the attack, but not before numerous innocent lives are lost. Furious and grief-stricken, he determines to do whatever is needed to bring the mastermind behind the attack to justice.

Coast Guard flight medic Brooke Kesler evacuates the scene of the shooting in a helicopter carrying the only surviving gunman. Gravely wounded, the man whispers mysterious information to Brooke that immediately paints a target on her back.

As Brooke and Noah race to uncover answers, emotions between them ignite. Noah struggles to protect Brooke at all costs and to conceal the secret that prevents him from becoming what he longs to be–the right man for her.

Everything is at stake as a horrifying truth emerges. . . .

The mass shooting wasn’t the end game. It was only the beginning.

My Review-

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My main issue with this book was that it was utterly unmemorable: I read it a month or two ago and now, sitting down to write the review, I remember effectively none of what happened in the book. Even after skimming through the book again, I still have trouble thinking of what the plot was. Part of it is my own issues with reading comprehension (I get easily confused when there are many side characters, and I can’t follow plots with multiple POV changes easily), but I also think that this book was just confusingly written, because I was much more confused in this book than I usually am.

There were at least 4 or 5 POVs, and 2 romances going on, as well as about a half dozen other characters that also made an appearance in this book, so needless to say, there was a lot going on all the time. Even though it has been the same cast of characters since the first book, keeping all of them straight didn’t seem to get any easier in this book.

On top of everything, there was a lot of gore. The book opens with a mass shooting, with graphic descriptions of blood and people dying. While it wasn’t particularly visual, it was shocking and overall had more blood and murder than I’ve been used to in Christian suspense.

The actual suspense/mystery part of the book was good: I thought that the chase and suspense built up well and kept me reading. However, the parts where there was suspense fell second to the interactions between the characters and the romantic plotlines. While there was a lot of suspenseful moments, overall I think the suspense could have been done better.

Overall, this is the third book by Dani Pettrey that I’ve read and overall, I think that I am not cut out for books by her. As much as I enjoy a fast-paced suspense book, something about the writing style and the number of characters in her books leads me to not enjoy her books as much, and I don’t think I’ll be picking up her books from this point forward.

My Rating-


I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.