Book Review: The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

the ornament keeper Eva Marie Everson book review

the ornament keeper blog tour

The synopsis on the back of the book:

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays.

The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.”

Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

 Title: The Ornament Keeper
Author: Eva Marie Everson
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Holiday

The ornament keeper by eva marie everson

Why I Chose This Book

I am partaking in the JustReads tour today for this book! When I received an email announcing that they were hosting a Christmas book blog tour I knew I had to sign up. I LOVE Christmas themed books!

First Initial Thoughts

Felicia and Jackson Morgan are in their middle ages and are recently separated. In the beginning of the book we don’t know why they separated, only that Felicia is devastated by the separation. They have 3 children for the 19 years they have been married- Travis, Hank, and Sarah. Every Christmas Jackson gives Felicia a Christmas ornament, an ornament that symbolizes something that happened that particular year.

Throughout the novel we go back and forth in time- reliving Felicia’s memories of her marriage with Jackson. We learn that when Jackson and Felicia were just 19 they had an intimate moment after Jackson found out his father died and was in the midst of grief. When Felicia found out she was pregnant their parents suggested that she and Jackson get married. I think truly this is where the problems started to begin.

Setting

The entire book is set within the Morgan’s home. There are a few instances in flashbacks where the story is taken place other than their home. I really liked that Eva did this because we could focus on the characters and their struggles.

Final Thoughts

I really liked that the marriage between Felicia and Jackson was very realistic. As the story progresses we learn more about their marriage and their challenges and struggles. At times I wanted to both shake both Felicia and Jackson, but most of all Felicia. She was so angry at Jackson, accusing him of cheating when there was no actual proof. Truly I think she was most angry at herself.

This book even though it didn’t clearly state it, emphasized the effects of Postpartum depression. I think Felicia suffered it - especially after her firstborn, Sarah. Her whole life was changed when she found out she was pregnant, not to mention marrying someone very quickly. She had dreams of going to law school. After their second child was born Felicia wanted to go back to school but Jackson stated they didn’t have the money. Felicia didn’t just want to be a mom, she wanted something more. And I was kind of upset at Jackson for not realizing this.

Issues in marriage such as intimacy issues, financial struggles, having children when not ready were all discussed in this book. I think all marriages go through seasons of struggles but what we do about it will determine if the marriage will succeed or suffer. God is there to help with those struggles. Through prayer and personally working on the marriage can help make the marriage last.

I also think this would make an adorable Hallmark Movie! Don’t you agree?

Would I Recommend?

Yes! I thinks this would be the perfect book to read during the Christmas season.


About The Author:

eva marie everson

Eva Marie Everson is a multiple-award winning author and speaker who hails from the picturesque Southern town of Sylvania, Georgia. She is president of Word Weavers International, director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, Managing Editor at Firefly Southern Fiction, and enjoys coaching new authors through her company, Pen in Hand. She is an avid photographer who enjoys turning her photos into inspiring memes for you to share (with proper attribution). Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida. They are the parents of three fabulous children who have blessed them with the world's greatest grandchildren.

CONTACT: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Giveaway Time!

the ornament keeper blog tour giveaway

(1) winner will receive:

  • a print copy of The Ornament Keeper, and

  • an ornament handpicked by the author

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight September 17, 2018 and last through 11:59pm September 24, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustReadTours for a full schedule of stops!

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository

Do you have a unique Christmas tradition? If so, share in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was provided a copy of this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Classics I Wish Had Modern Adaptations

Top 5 Wednesday Classics I Wish had Modern Adaptations

What defines a classic novel? A classic stands the test of time. It is a representation of the period of which it was written. To me a classic novel was written more than 50 years ago.

This top 5 Wednesday’s topic is all about classics. And which one’s you would like to see made into modern adaptations. Of course some of these may have already been made into movies but could use a refresh (as many of these movies were filmed in the 80s or before).

Without further ado, here are 5 books I think should be made into modern adaptations:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

This book was made into a movie both in 1954 and 1999. However, both movies were not highly rated by critics. With modern technology, such as CGI and special effects, I think it could be made well, depending on the director. This book’s message is also very relevant to today’s world.

Synopsis:

As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most charismatic leaders, the souls of our cruelest oppressors.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

I always thought this would make a great film. It was adapted into film in 1994 but only got a 40% rating on rotten tomatoes. However, I think there has been enough time for a new adaptation to be made - a good one at that hopefully.

Synopsis:

Dark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad's finest, most enigmatic story.

Paradise Lost by John Milton

One of the original Christian novels- Paradise Lost tells the story of the fall of man. I don’t think this has ever been made into a film. I think it’s due time! It definitely carries an important and relevant message. Maybe Mel Gibson could come back and direct it?

Synopsis:

John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, who are motivated by all too human temptations but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love.

Marked by Milton's characteristic erudition, Paradise Lost is a work epic both in scale and, notoriously, in ambition. For nearly 350 years, it has held generation upon generation of audiences in rapt attention, and its profound influence can be seen in almost every corner of Western culture.

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Ok, we need something light heartening on this list, am I right? Agnes Grey is not only a romance but it also carries an important message about greed. Also, it’s set during the 19th century - I would definitely look forward to the fashion and the backdrop of England.

Synopsis:

At age 19 Anne Brontë left home and worked as a governess for a few years before becoming a writer. Agnes Grey was an 1847 novel based on her experience as a governess. Bronte depicts the precarious position of a governess and how that can affect a young woman. Agnes was the daughter of a minister whose family was in financial difficulty. She has only a few choices for employment. Agnes experiences the difficulty of reining in spoiled children and how wealth can corrupt morals.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

Apocalypse type movies are simmering down but they are still quite popular. So I think it would do well in the box office - if done right. This novel has never been adapted into film I believe.

Synopsis:

"Alas, Babylon." Those fateful words heralded the end. When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness.

What classic novels do you want to see made into modern adaptations? Share in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile

Book Review: Ours for a Season by Kim Vogel Sawyer

ours for a season kim vogel sawyer book review

The synopsis on the back of the book:

Anthony and Marty Hirschler are part of an Old Order Mennonite community in Pine Hill, Indiana. The couple has grown apart since a doctor confirmed they would never have children. Marty longs to escape the tight-knit area where large families are valued, and the opportunity to do so arises when her childhood friend, Brooke Spalding, resurfaces with the wild idea of rebuilding a ghost town into a resort community. Brooke hires Anthony to help with the construction, drawing the Hirschlers away from Indiana and into her plan, and then finds herself diagnosed with cancer. Moral complications with Brooke's vision for a casino as part of the resort and the discovery of a runaway teenager hiding on the property open up a world neither the Hirschlers nor Brooke had considered before. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and differences to help the ones among them hurting the most?

  • Genre: Christian Contemporary

  • Published: 9/11/2018

  • Publisher: Waterbrook Press

  • Pages: 352

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.61

ours for a season kim vogel sawyer
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
— James 1:17

Why I Chose This Book

Waterbrook publishing kindly sent me a copy of this book to review. I absolutely love Kim’s books so I was very excited that I received an advanced copy!

First Initial Thoughts

Anthony and Marty have been married for 16 years. The last two years they have been slowly drifting apart when they found out that Anthony is infertile after an infection with mumps many years ago. She also contracted mumps and lost their baby at that time. Marty is becoming bitter and angry - not only at herself and Anthony but also at God for not giving her a child.

We also get to see the perspective from Anthony’s end. I really liked getting multiple perspectives in this novel because with a topic like this, it’s needed. Anthony has also yearned for a child for many years. Owning a construction company is the only relief he gets from the constant melancholy he experiences at home.

The other character in the story is Brooke. She is the total opposite from Marty. She is not mennonite. She has been a CEO of a contracting company for many years and is ready to retire early. She is not married and has no children. I really liked that Brooke was totally opposite from Marty - as this played an important role later on. She recently purchased a old ghost town- hoping to restore it to a resort. But before she can get started she receives the devastating news that she has ovarian cancer - stage 2.

Setting

Kim has a unique talent in capturing emotion on paper. As I was reading I could definitely feel what the characters were feeling - the tension, sadness, and healing. I also learned a lot about the mennonites as I didn’t really know too much about them! It was interesting to learn more about their lifestyle and how they differed from the Amish and other denominations.

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.
— Romans 12:12

Final Thoughts

This book touches on a very private and sensitive subject. Many women are experiencing hardships in their marriage due to not being able to have children. Their desire to have children is so high that it creates a stress and divide in the marriage. Mennonites can divorce but it would be frowned upon by the community. Marty and Anthony prayers are answered when Brook hires Anthony as the contractor for her Ghost Town project. Marty and Anthony pack up everything and move to Kansas for the next 18 mos.

Brooke - I identified with her the most. She was living the good life - a nice car, a big home, a career to boast home about. But deep inside she was depressed and felt like her life was waisting away. When she got diagnosed with cancer - I think this is when she started to realize that life is precious. Materialistic possessions and a successful career is not what creates happiness - and it doesn’t define you.

Brooke brought Marty and Anthony to Kansas to heal, but I think it was her that helped Marty heal. Marty needed not only a friend during this difficult time but also a different perspective on life. Marty and Anthony needed a new start in their marriage and Brooke provided that. Now that is an amazing friend to have!

Also, not to mention the teenager they found hiding on the property. I won’t spoil too much - as this takes place later on in the novel. But this person played an important role in Brooke, Marty, and Anthony in healing.

But most of all this book reminds to trust in God. To trust in his plan. As a society today, we want things now! And when we don’t get those things we are disappointed. However, God has not forgotten you. He is there to take your worries away and provide for you. It’s easier said than done, as this novel emphasized that, but I think with prayer and good friends, you can get through anything!

Would I Recommend?

Yes, most definitely! However, if you are struggling with infertility I would suggest not reading this book at this time.



Q&A with Kim Vogel Sawyer, 

Author of Ours for a Season

Kim vogel sawyer

Tell us about your new novel, Ours for a Season. 

Ours for a Season probably combines the most incompatible list of themes I’ve ever tried to meld into a single story: infertility, marital discord; questioning one’s faith; life-long friendship; homelessness; a serious health challenge; rebuilding a ghost town… But if I were to encapsulate it all into one thematic idea, I would say this is a story about starting anew. There’s a wonderful old hymn with the phrase, “Morning by morning new mercies I see…” That is what this story is about: God’s mercies blooming fresh in people’s lives. 


The book captures Anthony and Marty Hirschler’s—an Old Order Mennonite couple—struggle with infertility and the effects it has on their marriage. How did their beliefs and community make this reality even harder for Marty to bear? 

In the Old Order communities, children are the inheritance of the Lord. Psalm 127:5 says, “Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them [children].” Being a wife and mother is a woman’s highest calling; raising a large family to love and serve the Lord is a man’s highest calling. When the home remains absent of children, feelings of failure, bitterness, and jealousy are nearly impossible to avoid. Both Marty and Anthony dealt with these emotions but expelled them in different ways, which of course led to conflict between them. The situation was hardest on Marty who, as a homemaker, faced the reminder of her empty house every day.


What made you include infertility in the storyline, and how can readers find encouragement in Marty’s story?

I know a number of women who battle infertility. Some have found other means of motherhood: adoption, foster parenting, teaching (in school or church); others remain rooted in lonely bitterness. I’m a firm believer that God has a purpose in everything and that when we turn our hurts over to Him, He is able to lead us to our “silver lining.” I hope readers who are caught up in the storm cloud of infertility might be given a bit of hope for their silver lining.

The book also touches on human trafficking. How did you become interested in this topic? 

I’ve always had a soft spot for people who suffer from abuse, especially sexual abuse. The subject of trafficking became personal to me when the young teen daughter of one my daughter’s neighbors was missing for several months and eventually rescued from the man who was pimping her out (such an ugly thought). If a child from small-town Kansas can get caught up in this net, it’s far too prevalent. The effects of being used in such a vile way by people who claim to care about you are deep and agonizing, and we all—every single person—need to take a stand and do what we can to put this soul-stealing industry out of business.

What can you tell us about what you’re working on next? 

Next out of the chute is a historical story set at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1895. Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children and expected to stay home and “take care of Mama,” becomes a silkworm weaver at the exposition in hopes of snagging a beau wealthy enough to support both her and her mother so she can have her own home and family while still honoring her siblings’ expectations. Of course, what we want isn’t always what God deems best for us. The story is called A Silken Thread and will release in early April of next year.

Where can readers find more information about Ours for a Season

Please visit the WaterBrook website (https://waterbrookmultnomah.com/books/549424/a-silken-thread-by-kim-vogel-sawyer/) or my website (www.KimVogelSawyer.com).  


Giveaway Time!

Giveaway Rules;

  • Must reside within the US.

  • Must be older than 18 years of age.

  • Giveaway runs from Sept. 17th to Sept. 24th 11:59 PM EST

  • I will contact the winner by email and the publisher will be mailing out a copy of the book if you should win. :)

Please enter the giveaway using the form below:



Thank you for stopping by and good luck if you entered the giveaway!!

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was provided an advanced copy to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own. The giveaway is not sponsored. The publisher is so kindly giving away a copy to one of my readers.

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10 Book & Reading Apps Every Book Lover Needs to Have!

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Raise your hand if you spend too much time on your phone? Guilty as charged.

There are so many great apps for the iPhone and Android - it’s easy to get lost in the phone vortex. And that means there are some amazing book and reading apps out there! So today I am going over 10 apps every book lover should have on their phone. Or at least a few of them.

So without further ado, here are my recommendations:

Serial Reader

Ever fancy reading a classic book but just don’t have the time to read it? Let’s face it, a lot of classic literature is daunting - length and written wise!

This app lets you read classic books in daily bite-sized bits! Serial Reader delivers a new part of a classic book every day. Read each issue in 20 minutes or less! Choose from more than 550 classic books - all for free!

iPhone | Android


Litsy

Litsy is a social media platform. It is a place to share and discover your favorite books with friends and family. How awesome is that?

iPhone | Android

Browsery By Barnes & Noble

This is a new app by Barnes & Noble. Basically it’s a recommendation app. You start in putting in titles or authors that you would like recommendations based off of, and then Barnes & Noble will give you suggestions. I love this idea because you can find similar authors in a quick and easy way. I have tried this app with Christian authors and books - and I got similar suggestions back. So it works wonderfully!

iPhone | Android

Blinkist

Do you want to read more Non-Fiction but don’t want to read the entire book? For just 15 minutes a day you can read book summaries of the most popular non-fiction books. I downloaded it just to check out the selections. I didn’t see too many Christian non - fiction. I saw a few from Pope Francis so there are some but not too many.

They offer a 7 day free trial and then it’s $80 a year. However, you can read the daily book for free. So there is no obligation to the membership.

iTunes | Android

Libby

If you love the library you NEED this app! This is a way for you to check out books from the library from the comfort of your home. This is great for those that live in rural areas and have to drive a distance to the nearest library. This app is free! You do need to have a library card from your town/city in order to borrow a book.

iPhone | Android

Goodreads

I love Goodreads! This is a great app for bloggers and non bloggers alike. This is a place to find books, do fun quizzes, find fun quotes, discuss books on forums, and much more! Also there is a book challenge you can do on this app. Want to read 20 books in a year? You can create that challenge!

iPhone | Android

Libib

Do you love organizing and cataloging everything you have in your home? If you have a lot of books this is app lets you scan your books, movies, music CD’s, and video games. You can also tag, review, rate, and make notes.

I think this would be wonderful to have if you live in a area that is prone to natural disaster’s - i.e. tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. That way you can file a claim - showing the value of your collection towards the insurance. This would also be great if you are about to move- don’t we all lose one or two books?

iPhone | Android

Epic!

This app is for kids (maybe kids at heart too). It is app that lets you access over 25,000 children’s books. This would be great for road trips and those times you need your kids entertained. And if you are a homeschooler- they have a special membership access!

Epic! offers a 30 day free trial and then afterwards it is $7.99 a month.

iPhone | Android

Dr. Seuss Treasury

Another adorable kids app. This app is pretty much as the title suggests. It is a app exclusive to 55 of the Dr. Seuss books. How neat is that?! It’s kind of tempting getting this for myself! I believe it’s only available for the iPhone at this time.

They offer a 7 day free trial and then afterwards it is $11.99 for 3 mos and $39.99 for a year.

iPhone

Texture

I am one of those that counts reading magazines as actual reading. I mean you are reading something - right? My guilty pleasures are People and Hello Canada Magazine. Texture is a app that allows you to access magazines - unlimited for just $39 every 3 mos. That is the cost of just a couple magazine subscriptions! They have every category available from science, news, fashion, outdoors, etc. You can also read past issues and download certain articles you like. I have personally subscribed to this app for about a year now. I absolutely love it - and have never had a issue reading or accessing any of the magazines.

iPhone | Android



What book and reading apps do you like using? Share in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile
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