Review: I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard

35554372Bart Millard, front man for popular Christian band MercyMe, has delivered an incredibly open and poignant memoir in I Can Only Imagine. Named for the band’s well-known song, this book is aptly titled with its journey through Bart’s life and career. From his rough start in a broken family to his on-again/off-again romance with eventual wife Shannon to the roller coaster ride of his music career, Bart lays it all out there.

I found this memoir brutally honest and heart-wrenching. It was joyful yet painful. Tender and thoughtful. I loved the glimpse behind the stage curtain Bart offers. He holds nothing back – not his abusive childhood, not his family, not his career missteps. I Can Only Imagine: A Memoir is as impactful as the original song. It’s a forthright yet gentle reminder of a Love that we can only imagine the extent of. Well done, Bart!

My rating: 4/5 stars

Recommended for: fans of MercyMe and the Christian music world; anyone interested in a musician’s story or reading personal journeys; readers in need of honesty and encouragement

Note: I received a copy of this memoir via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.


Recommended Read: A Song Unheard

35069089How I loved this story! I had to force myself to read slowly and savor it. And savor it, I did.

Roseanna, m’dear, you never disappoint. A Song Unheard is a delightful mix of mystery, music, and mayhem. And let’s not forget – an unexpected, swoon-worthy romance between famous violinist Lukas de Wilde and thief and violin prodigy Willa Forsythe.

Both Willa and Lukas are wholly devoted to their families, in turmoil amidst the stirrings of war in the 1910s. Lukas, stranded in Wales with his orchestra, is desperate to find his sister and mother and protect their family secrets before the Germans reach them. Willa is there on a covert job for the mysterious Mr. V, desperate to provide for her unconventional family of orphans. Her assignment? Continue reading

Mini-Review: Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

35464451And now, a mini-review for Denise Hunter’s latest novel, Honeysuckle Dreams

I feel…maybe dispassionate is the word. Not a bad story, definitely better than the first couple books in this series, but I wasn’t anxious to turn every page and see what happened next. Hope and Brady are a sweet couple, but I confess I was hoping for more than a custody battle and a little romance. Aside from Hope’s emotional struggles, I saw the plot coming a mile away in the last installment of this series. If you’re a Denise Hunter junkie, though, you’ll enjoy this one. 

My rating: 3/5 stars 

Recommended for: fans of Denise Hunter and similar authors; readers looking for an easy read to tuck in their beach totes for spring break; those who enjoy inspy fiction 

Note: I received a copy of this novel via NetGalley. 


Mini-Review: Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Hello, fellow readers! I know it’s been like crickets chirping around here for the last couple weeks, but I’m back with a stack of books to review for you. Let’s start with a mini-review for Lisa Bergren’s Keturah.

35069150I didn’t enjoy this one. I wanted to – it’s a Bethany House title, the cover is beautiful, and the colonial-era girl power idea is fascinating. But I couldn’t get into the story for the longest time, and Schubert creeped me out too much (and then didn’t see any punishment or consequences except losing his job!). His character was intentionally repulsive and negative, but it colored the whole book with that pen for me. Part of my struggle was probably also the time period – the 1700s isn’t one of my favorite settings. Then too, I couldn’t make myself care enough about Keturah and Gray or their drama.

The book is written well enough, and the author is popular, so I’m sure another reader will enjoy Keturah

My rating: 3/5 stars

Recommended for: fans of Lisa T. Bergren’s books; readers of colonial-era fiction; those interested in the history surrounding the sugar plantations of the Caribbean

Note: I received a copy of this novel via the publisher.

Ten Book Lover Conversation Hearts (That Really Should Exist)

Valentine’s Day is coming, y’all… Do you favor the typical gifts, or would you rather have something more original? Say, a special book?

Bethany House Fiction

You know those candy hearts that show up around this time of year? The ones with sweet mottos like “Crazy 4 U” or “Kiss Me” written on them? I’ve always thought they needed to be more specific. And by that I mean…bookish. Here are ten new conversation hearts that don’t exist but totally should.

(For the purpose of this post, we’re pretending that these candies actually have flavors, when we all know they really taste like chalk with slight tints of artificial coloring.)

The Basics

Do I know why “love” is abbreviated “luv” when it saves only one letter and looks ridiculous? No, I do not. Just go with it. This is your standard “declare where your heart is” candy.

Ideal flavor: Classic cherry.

Use this as an excuse to keep reading…not that you need an excuse. (And not that you actually need to keep to the limit described here.)

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Mini-Review: Until We Find Home

35755915Getting invested in the storyline and the characters – especially Claire – took me at least half the book. The premise is historically interesting, and my heart hurt for the little Jewish refugees in her care, but Claire just struck me as whiny and immature for so long, and so fixed on Arnaud (who is never even on the page) that she utterly bored me.

But the references to authors and stories I’ve long cherished – Winnie the Pooh, The Secret Garden, Beatrix Continue reading

Review: Troubled Waters

35086527Troubled Waters left me with mixed feelings. Ian and Sierra’s story has been teased since the prequel to the adventurous Montana Rescue series, and I’ve been antsy with anticipation. Sierra used to work for billionaire Ian until they had a major falling-out and he fired her, despite being completely in love with her. But they keep reconnecting on the PEAK rescue team. Cue the tortured love story.

Their story takes center stage in Troubled Waters, in which Ian and Sierra repeat the Continue reading