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Book Review: Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant

Posted by Julie on June 23, 2015 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

91MAVt6t4OLBook Description:

Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.

 

Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.

 

Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.

A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.

I’ve read several, if not all of Betsy St. Amant’s books. I loved the premise of this one—two people with a past involving each other have to work together on a restoration project of a movie theater while having even more past the other one doesn’t know about. For Stella, she’s divorced and suffering terrible anxiety because of it. For Chase, he lost his fiancee.

Like a mosaic, pieces are there for a great piece of work. I loved the umbrella aspect of the story, that really stood out to me. But I felt like a piece was missing. That we could get to know Stella a little bit better but we didn’t have access. Like her beauty pageant past we saw a beautiful glimpse of the outside, but didn’t get to know her beyond that. Chase was a bit more developed but I wanted to know and feel more from the both of them.

Their chemistry is great and there’s a lot of conflict to keep the pages turning. It would be a great book to bring to the beach.

To read Love Arrives in Pieces, order here.

I received a copy of Love Arrives in Pieces in exchange for an honest review.

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Love & Cupcakes Kindle Giveaway and Facebook Party from @BetsyStAmant!

Posted by Julie on September 6, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Don’t miss Betsy St. Amant’s latest fiction release, All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes. A “sweet” tale of two best friends and the choices they make between dreams and a possible “sure thing,” St. Amant’s novel is sure to satisfy your romantic-fiction craving.

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Betsy is celebrating with a fun Kindle giveaway and a Love & Cupcakes Facebook party!
One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle
  • All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 18th. Winner will be announced at the Love & Cupcakes” Author Chat Party on 9/18. Betsy will be hosting a “sweet” book chat, giving away prizes, and answering questions from readers. She will also share an exclusive sneak peek at her next book project!

 
So grab your copy of All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes and join Betsy on the evening of September 18th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

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Book Review: All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Posted by Julie on September 4, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

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Book Description

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

I’m a sucker for the best friends/will they become more plot. It’s impossible not to root for Lucas and Kat. The odds are against them as they work together in a cupcake competition in NYC. Kat has issues, so does Lucas. He has reason to go back to Louisiana, she has reasons for wanting to win and stay in the Big Apple.

But as the competition continues, cooking isn’t the only thing in the kitchen, there is chemistry. I loved reading Kat’s story and adored Lucas.

This is a sweet romance that left me satisfied. I hope you put All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes on your reading list.

To purchase All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes, click here.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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2012 Reviewed Fiction Book of the Year

Posted by Julie on January 1, 2013 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Julie Arduini’s 2012 Reviewed Fiction Book of the Year

It’s that time of year again! I take a few days to let you know what my favorite reads of 2012 were. For fiction and non fiction, I choose from the books I reviewed. For my Kindle read, that comes from the free read (at the time of my purchase) that may or may not have been published in the year I read it.

The deeper into the writing process I dive, the more I look forward to announcing posts like this. A lot of casual readers are under the impression that it takes one draft to write a novel. That’s not even true for Karen Kingsbury or Stephen King.Writing is a lonely, hard job. Most authors also have a “day job,” so the book many of us hold come from early morning and late night writing sessions.

Today is my fiction pick.

If you are a regular reader here you might remember I reviewed this book and wondered if it would be my favorite.

It’s Betsy St. Amant’s Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tireless played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

Image courtesy Betsy St. Amant.com

Image courtesy Betsy St. Amant.com

I have a heart for teens and when I can find a book that they can identify with, I’m impressed. When I can find a book that makes me forget I’m not the target reader, well, that’s pretty special. Betsy wrote such a realistic YA (young adult) novel that Addison pouted off the page, cuz that’s what teens do. She has a lot of changes, pressure, drama, and romance. It wasn’t too preachy, but it wasn’t advocating sin, either.

Nearly a year later, I must confess, Addison Blakely stayed with me all year.

Purchase Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK here.

Read my original review here.

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Book Review: Betsy St. Amant’s Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

Posted by Julie on March 9, 2012 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Last week I said although it wouldn’t be fair to books releasing later this year, I could be ready to announce my favorite books of the year. The non fiction book I loved was I am Second.

Today, I can’t wait to tell you about Betsy St. Amant’s Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK.

Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tireless played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

Courtesy of Betsy St. Amant.com

I know this is a YA (Young Adult) novel geared for teens but trust me, this 40-something mom of a teen ate this book up like a box of name brand chocolates. There was so much I enjoyed about this story. First of all, Addison. She is a contemporary teen that the targeted age can relate to whether parents like me want to admit it or not. Teens are insecure and want to fit in. They have fears and frustrations and the pressures on them are real.

I also like Addison’s spunk. She sees life as black or white and people are either Gummi Bears or Lemon Drops. I confess, at my age, I chat with my BFF about people either being Barbies or Misfits. I know Addison’s frustrations because they were mine back then, and I still struggle with them.

I also enjoyed Addison struggling with change. I remember from my teenaged years and now through my son, friendships change, sometimes in a day, without a reason. It hurts and it’s awkward. New friends come on the scene and can speak truth that hit dead center, even if the new friend barely knows you.

Parents change, and in Addison’s case, her dad is a widower back on the dating scene, and he isn’t dating just anybody. Transition is hard, and Addison has no idea how to handle it in her black or white world.

Then…there is the bad boy. It’s hard to resist a leather wearing boy with a motorcycle but most parents aren’t up for the scenario. If dad is the pastor, forget it. And Addison knows liking the bad boy spells trouble. But still…

This is a heartfelt book with strong characters and real situations like marriage, eating disorders, purity, peer pressure,transition, love, secrets, dysfunction, and true faith. Again, my teenage years are a distant fog and this is on target to be my favorite fiction read of 2012.

Do yourself a favor and get your hands on Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK.

 

This book was provided to me by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.



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