Coffee Shop Devos by Tessa Emily Hall Review

Hello everyone! Can you believe Christmas is only eight days away? I’ve finished my shopping– I just need to wrap everything, something I usually get done Christmas Eve. A word to the wise, this is not a smart thing to do.

I did a short review of Coffee Shop Devos by Tessa Emily Hall on Instagram and on my giveaway post, but I’ve needed to do a longer and better post. Something I wanted to do when I had completely read her devotional and had some free time.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date September 18, 2018
Genres: Devotional
Written for: High-School/Young Adult
Pages: 400

41JyGSTx6bL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_There’s something special about spending time at a coffee shop with a friend–engaging in a meaningful conversation, then leaving refueled and ready to tackle the rest of the day. What if your quiet times with God energized you the same way?

Coffee Shop Devos offers a warm atmosphere that will inspire you to discover your God-given purpose and live to your greatest potential. Choose your devo flavor in the Menu of Contents based on your current need. Then lean into deeper intimacy with Christ through reflection and prayer.

Along the way, you’ll pick up tips and recipes for making your own coffee-shop beverage–regular or decaf–to enjoy while you read. And don’t forget to share your journey with your friends! #CoffeeShopDevos
Each of the 180 challenging and motivational devotions will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated–almost as though you’ve shared a steaming pot of brew at a coffee shop with your Creator.

**I received a free copy of Coffee Shop Devos from the publisher in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

Over the years I was subject to many girls’ devotionals that never seemed to teach anything. They talked down to me, as if I was immature and only interested in boys and makeup (which I wasn’t). I longed for something more, for someone to take me seriously and to TEACH me.

When Tessa announced her Coffee Shop Devos, I was thrilled. If it was anything like her other work, I knew it was going to be good.

Tessa’s devos are honest, simple, and sweet. She’s personal with you, in a way I’ve never seen in a devotional.

I liked how Tessa wove the coffee theme into the book, with each section dedicated to a different coffee drink and a different need (ex. the fifth section is “Macchiato–Healing for Heartache.”).

Other examples are:

Mocha—Inspiration for the Soul
Latte—Comfort in Trials
Espresso—Joy for Each Moment.
Cappuccino—All About Relationships

I also really enjoyed the quotes that were included at the end of each devotional—often they were just what I needed and they were uplifting and encouraging.

Tessa’s Coffee Shop Devos are food for your soul, giving you a little bit of everything that you need to get you through your day. From lessons on God’s never-failing love, the seasons of life, and trusting in God’s plan, to transforming the trash and living to our greatest potential, Coffee Shop Devos is a pick-me-up that any young lady can glean encouragement from. It makes the perfect gift for the friend or sister in your life—the perfect guide to help them in the New Year, and for many years to come.


IMG_3222

Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teens they’re not alone. Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. Tessa’s first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House in 2018. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: http://www.tessaemilyhall.com.


 

Rebecca Morgan

Book Review: Fallen Leaves by Tessa Emily Hall

If you’ve followed me on my blog and social media enough, you know that I love Tessa Emily Hall’s blog and her books, Purple Moon and Unwritten Melody.  I’ve read both books multiple times and honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. I just can’t get enough of Tessa’s writing voice and the characters she creates.

So when I got my hands on an ARC of Fallen Leaves, the sequel to Purple Moon, I was thrilled. And work went neglected while I cozied up with coffee (which sadly wasn’t from Brewer’s) to continue Selena’s story.

Being from a state where the trees never change into fall colors, this book makes me long for real fall, but the cover more than makes up for that. Isn’t it gorgeous?

51YORfgXZYL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Selena Taylor thought her only worry this fall was starting her junior year at a new arts school in North Carolina, miles away from home. But when she finds out her mom could graduate from rehab sooner than expected even worse, she could work for her former nothing-but-trouble boss—Selena’s determined to create a new life for them. Back in her childhood Kentucky hometown.

Step one? Track down her dad and brother that she hasn’t seen in eight years. Her anxiety is put to the test, though, when she unveils a truth that could threaten her dreams. Add to that an art competition that pushes her outside of her comfort zone and a girl who seems determined to come between Selena and her hopeful boyfriend.

Soon Selena must decide whether or not to continue her search for her dad and brother. But is there any hope that the ruins of her broken family could be resurrected? And how could God possibly have a purpose in the midst of these changing seasons?

First of all, I can’t begin to say how much I loved this book. Fallen Leaves is a book that is better than its predecessor, Purple Moon, already in itself a superb book. I could hardly put it down, wanting to know what happened next with Selena.

Tessa’s writing is magnificent; the way she weaves together words is beautiful. Tessa makes the scenery come alive in a way you don’t normally find in present day books. You really feel like you’re in Brewer’s Coffee Shop (which, by the way, I really want to work in) or viewing the Blue Ridge Mountains — something I’ve yet to see in my life but Tessa makes me feel like I have.

Fallen Leaves was an excellent continuation of Selena’s story. I liked the new side of Whitney we got to see and how kind Aunt Kori was. I have a thing for kind aunts so I got a kick out of this and hope we get to see more. The plot was tight and firm—there weren’t any plot holes. Everything flowed well with Selena’s search for her father/brother, the art competition, to Kentucky, where the story left off. 

I adored Madaleigh, a new character we get to see in Fallen Leaves. Her spunk and kindness are endearing, and the wisdom that she gives Selena was often what I needed to hear myself. 

So all in all, I really, really, loved this book. It’s come at a time when I needed it most and I can’t wait to own a hard copy (or two!) of my own.

You can pre-order Fallen Leaves here

 


IMG_3222

Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic books to show teens they’re not alone. Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. Tessa’s first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House in 2018. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating her art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: http://www.tessaemilyhall.com. 

You can find Tessa here: 

Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Goodreads
Facebook


 

Rebecca Morgan

Book Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…

Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.

English Folk Verse (c.1870)

tumblr_myxl084Xzt1s0pc8jo1_500Source

When I was in my last two years of high school, I read a variety of books on the history of England, starting with the invasion of Julius Caesar. To say I had the time of my life was an understatement. I remember quite a bit of what I read, including one thing:

There was a lack of books on the Gunpowder Plot.

I’ve always been fascinated with the story, and any books I’ve found since that day I devoured. 

The BBC Sherlock episode, The Empty Hearse, that featured, the Gunpowder plot? Loved that episode. 

So, when I heard Nadine’s book was going to be about it, I was thrilled. The fact that it was a historical fantasy? Pish-posh. That mattered not. Nadine is a top-notch writer and a wonderful human being, so I knew anything she wrote would be good.

If you don’t know what went down on that cold night over four hundred years ago, I’ll keep my mouth shut, because that’ll spoil the ending.

Can we first talk about how gorgeous the cover is?? Okay, on to the review. 

 

51VUs-fHALL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

From the back cover:

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot–claiming it will put an end to the plague–Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

2C6AABC900000578-3238394-image-a-63_1442496416795Source

 

  • With only 440 pages, you wouldn’t think you’d have time to form attachments with all the many characters, but you do. Robert Catesby, the group’s charismatic leader, even leaves an impression on your heart. Each of the plotters has a story, a reason for fighting for what they believed in, and whether you’re on their side or not, you’re touched.

  • Many people have said that Thomas was whiny or self-righteous, but I found him to be far from that. Fawkes can be said to be a coming of age story, as Thomas forms his own thoughts and beliefs despite what others would have him to believe. I loved seeing him grow as a character.   

    The bond between Guy Fawkes and his son Thomas was also an emotional ride and just. Gah. Go read the book.

    Okay, enough on Thomas. Emma was cool too. There’s been a lot of posts and books recently about how women need to be meek and quiet and sit at home. Seeing warrior woman Emma was nice and I loved it.

  • I loved the attention to detail that Nadine gave. You felt like you were sneaking out of London with Thomas, roaming the market with him and Emma, or at the Duck and Drake, plotting with the plotters.

  • There’s really a lot to unpack in 1605 England: feuds between Catholics (Keepers) and Protestants (Igniters), religious persecution, race, and freedom. Woven into this is “color power,” which is the ability to control certain things based on the color of your mask. For example, brown mask wearers can control dirt, blue mask wearers can control water. It’s simple to understand, and I liked that.

    Everything is woven together so perfectly I legit found myself wondering why we didn’t have color power anymore. ***this is what happens when you stay up till one in the morning to finish a book. ***

I cried at the end. Because the ending is that powerful. Fawkes is so much more than a story about the Gunpowder Plot.

It is a story of truth.

Of love.

Of sacrifice.

That God is with us.

Always.

You can find Fawkes here.

 


91q9KosGMvL._US230_NADINE BRANDES once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and Fawkes (July 2018) Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband plan to live in a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.


 

Have you read Fawkes? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

Rebecca Morgan

Book Review ~ Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Somehow, I never reviewed Cinder. No idea how THAT happened. So without further to-do, here is the review of the second book in The Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet. I really don’t know how it took me so long to actually read these books. I saw Cinder on Amazon often enough, but the cover sort of scared me out of reading it. Never judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes. It was Nadine speaking about it at the OYAN Winter Workshop that finally caused me to decide to bite the bullet and purchase a copy. Hats off to you Nadine. Thank you. 😊

scarlet

 

From the back of the book:

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison―even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does―in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

Quick Summary: The Lunar chronicles is Sci-fi, but earthy. Everything (so far) takes place on the Earth or Moon. And unlike Star Wars there are no galactic empires/weird planet names/alien planets to remember. Everything is down to earth (no pun intended!) and real. Marissa puts interesting twists on the fairy tales that are so familiar to us, but we can still see the original among her world—which is pretty cool.

Characters 5/5 ~ We see quite a few new characters, including Throne, Scarlet and Wolf. I loved how the new characters became interacted with the old (this is always super cool) While I liked getting to know and follow Scarlet, Cinder is by far my favorite. Even the most minor of characters feels like they belong, and are not flat. And even with their little page time, you feel like you know them, that’s how well they are written.

Plot 5/5 ~ Amazing plot structure, though it did feel a little slow towards the middle of the book, then picked up about the last hundred pages.  Marissa did a good job of tying things together with what we learned in Cinder. The amount of world building that went into this series is amazing. I can’t imagine how much thought and care went into it.

Writing/Dialogue ~ Oh, goodness. There is no good way to express Marissa Meyer’s writing. It’s so good. You will have to read it yourself. Don’t let the cover scare you. As for dialogue, Carswell Thorne’s humor and Cinder’s sarcasm add some much-needed comic relief to a tense time.

Bad Language: ~ None

Inappropriate Content: ~ There are some descriptive scenes involving wolves that might be uncomfortable for some people to read.

Overall rating: 5/5 

 

Have any of y’all read Scarlet? What did you think?

 

Book Review of Shadows of The Hersweald & FREE Short Story

My friend Hope, over at Author Hope Ann, is releasing her third book March 28, entitled  Shadows of the Hersweald. I’ll be participating in the blog tour on April 1st, where I’ll be interviewing Hope, so be sure to swing by! You can pre-order your copy of Shadows of the Hersweald, here

51zrnsZCPeL._SY346_.jpg

They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Harsweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Tregaron in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked.

A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.

A pardon Haydn detests.

A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister.

Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?

First Impression ~ Cool cover.

Characters  ~ Haydn. Great name, but equally was his character. He was a real piece of work, and it was great to see him grow and change through the story. His sister Gorawen seemed a little flat but I loved Haydn’s devotion to her. 

Writing/Plot ~  I loved this story, and Hope didn’t disappoint. Much like her other fairy-tale retellings (which I also loved) this book sucks you in with it’s theme, setting, and great writing. The plot seemed a little rushed at times to me, but it doesn’t take away from the story.

Bad language ~ None

Inappropriate Content ~ None

Overall Rating ~ 5/5

A little treat. Hope said on her blog, “This is Haydn’s song. I like finding songs to match my characters. Haydn was very difficult. I’d given up before I found it by accident. They lyrics aren’t perfectly him, but the spirit of the song very much is his own struggle.”

I can’t agree more. I love Casting Crowns, and this was my favorite when I was younger.

And I thought of this song, which is one of my favorites.

thanksgiving-sale2

I enjoyed this little bit of back story of Haydn’s we get to see. Backstory is what I always think of when I pick up a book, or start to write my own. It’s important, and drives me crazy for days if I don’t know. I’m very glad Hope wrote this and put it in there for us who love backstory. Want to claim your FREE copy? Click here to snag your copy of Mercy of Fate.