Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Provenance by Carla Laureano October 19, 2021

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:44 pm
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About:

From two-time RITA Award–winning author Carla Laureano comes a story of romance, transformation, and the beauty of belonging.
Los Angeles interior designer and former foster kid Kendall Green is in high demand, both for her impeccable eye and for her uncanny ability to uncover the provenance of any piece. But for all her success, skyrocketing costs have put her California home and her business in jeopardy. Then an unexpected inheritance provides a timely solution: a grandmother she never knew has left her a group of historic properties in a tiny Colorado town on the edge of ruin.

To young, untried mayor Gabriel Brandt, Jasper Lake is more than another small town—it’s the place that saved his life. Now, seeing the town slowly wither and die, he’s desperate to restore it to its former glory. Unfortunately, his vision is at odds with a local developer who wants to see the town razed and rebuilt as a summer resort. He’s sure that he can enlist the granddaughter of one of its most prominent former citizens to his cause—until he meets Kendall and realizes that not only does she know nothing of her own history, she has no interest in reviving a place that once abandoned her.

In order to save his beloved town, Gabe must first help Kendall unravel the truth of her own provenance—and Kendall must learn that in order to embrace the future, sometimes you have to start with the past.

My thoughts:

This is an excellent book. I really appreciated the faith that was throughout. I think that is often missing in Christian books so I enjoyed that is was such an important part of the book and the characters.

I loved the town of Jasper Lake, it made me want to visit it. I loved the smallness and quaintness of it.

Kandall’s journey is very interesting and I wondered how and if she would find herself back in Jasper Lake to stay. You will just have to read to find out. But it is a great book!

Visit Carla here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

 

Under Scottish Stars by Carla Laureano August 13, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:53 pm
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About:

Recently widowed Serena MacDonald Stewart focuses on her children to the exclusion of her career, her art, and her sanity. When her brothers ask her to oversee the family guest house on the Isle of Skye, it’s a chance to dust off her long-ignored business skills and make a new start. But her hopes for a smooth transition are dashed when the hotel manager, Malcolm Blake, turns out to be irritating, condescending . . . and incredibly attractive.

Malcolm Blake gave up everything—his home, his girlfriend, and his career—to return to Skye and raise his late sister’s teenage daughter. With few job opportunities available on the island, he signs on as the manager of the MacDonald family hotel, which he’s soon running successfully without interference from the owners. That is, until Serena shows up, challenging his authority and his conviction that there’s nothing missing from his new life on Skye.

Before long, Serena and Malcolm have to admit the spark between them is more than mere irritation. But as single parents, there’s more on the line than their own hearts. Will their commitment to family be the thing that draws them together or the only thing that could keep them apart?

My thoughts:

I have been waiting for this book for years and it was worth the wait. Carla writes some intense contemporary romance. I loved the first two book in this series and I was excited to finally get to read Serena’s story.

Carla did a wonderful of job of building intensity between Serena and Malcolm. It was also fun to see the old characters from the other books.

There was a line toward the end that I had to highlight and share with you, because I have so been there: “….you need to stop blaming God for all the heartache in your in life. Until you do, you will never hear His voice over the sound of your own hurt.” Loved that truth right there. I lived in that for so long and only recently came out of that.

This book can easily stand alone, so have no fear if you haven’t read the first too. However, that are all so good I am sure you will want to read all three.

Visit Carla here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano February 18, 2019

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:17 pm
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About the Book

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Title: Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country—an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About the Author

Carla LaureanoCarla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

 

Guest Post from Carla

“Confessions of An Erstwhile Baker”

 

Like most females, baking is encoded somewhere deep down in my DNA. Call it nature or call it nurture, but at the earliest age, I figured out that the cute boy in my English class would talk to me if it involved chocolate chip cookies. Got my heart broken or had a friend betray me? I grabbed the mixing bowl and went for the brownies (even better if they’re served à la mode.) My friend was having a birthday? I made a cake drowned in pounds of buttercream.

I quickly graduated from the boxed mixes to the real thing when I got married and had a kitchen large enough to roll out dough. I would comb magazines for the best recipes and spend my weekends trying them out. I quickly became known for bringing beautifully iced Christmas cookies and delicious homemade cakes to work.

Then my husband and I moved our young family from Los Angeles to Denver, a relocation that was about 1000 miles northeast and 5000 feet up. Suddenly, every recipe I’d perfected in the previous eight years failed. Cookies burned to crisps, cakes fell, and don’t get me started on candy making. Gradually, I adapted my recipes (my beloved never-fail Toll House recipe took eight tries to get right) and even became an avid artisan bread-baker.

Then disaster. Or at least, what a baker would consider a disaster. After developing chronic health problems, I discovered that among other things, I was sensitive to gluten. The horror! In order to heal, I turned to the paleo diet, which eliminates all grains (there goes most gluten free recipes) and all processed sugars (there goes everything else). I’ve tried baking paleo-style, and while I can now make cakes that even my gluten-fiend family enjoy, it’s just not the same.

So what’s a once-obsessive baker do when she can’t eat her creations? She bakes for other people and goes on faith that they actually taste good… considering she can’t taste them herself.

It struck me that there was a spiritual lesson in that, and an obvious tie to Brunch at Bittersweet Café, which deals in large part with Melody’s faith journey. There are times when we have no idea if things are working out the way they’re supposed to, in which case we just have to trust the “recipe” and the input of friends and family who love us. Sometimes our instincts tell us when we’re off track, and sometimes we need that outside nudge from our “taste-testers” to put us back on course.

In any case, what Melody and I have in common is that we both bake to show our love for the people around us. And the process of baking my favorites, even knowing that I can’t enjoy them myself, can still be a selfless way to show people they’re important to me.

Fortunately, macarons, which happen to be made with almond flour, are still on the menu.

 

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, February 12

Among the Reads, February 12

Lighthouse Academy, February 12

By The Book, February 12

The Power of Words, February 13

As He Leads is Joy, February 13

Cultivating Us, February 13

Blossoms and Blessings, February 13

Fiction Aficionado, February 14

The Lit Addict, February 14

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 14

This Chattanooga Mommy Saves, February 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 15

Just the Write Escape, February 15

100 Pages per Hour, February 15

Splashes of Joy, February 15

Bibliophile Reviews, February 16

Texas Book-aholic, February 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 16

C Jane Read, February 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 17

Moments, February 17

Back Porch Reads, February 17

Cordially Barbara, February 18

Genesis 5020, February 18

Simple Harvest Reads, February 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 18

Livin’ Lit, February 19

Kat’s Corner Books, February 19

Life with the Tribe, February 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 19

Through the Fire Blogs, February 20

Remembrancy, February 20

Vicky Sluiter, February 20

Living Life Free in Christ, February 20

2014 and Beyond!, February 21

Daysong Reflections, February 21

Inklings and Notions, February 21

Pause for Tales, February 21

Cafinated Reads, February 22

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 22

two points of interest, February 22

Ashley’s Bookshelf, February 22

My Devotional Thoughts, February 23

Two Girls and a Book, February 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 23

For the love of books, February 23

God is Love, February 24

Book by Book, February 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 24

Janices book reviews, February 24

Lukewarm Tea, February 25

Carpe Diem, February 25

A Baker’s Perspective, February 25

Bigreadersite, February 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize package of a macron baking mat, a macron book, and a paperback copy of Brunch at Bittersweet Café!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/db0f/brunch-at-bittersweet-cafe-celebration-tour-giveaway

My thoughts:

Carla knows how to write a good romance. I have enjoyed every book I have read by her and I love how she weaves faith into her stories.

Melody and Justin seem to have too much going against them. I just kept thinking how will this every work out. One of them will have to sacrifice something they love, but who will be the one and will they live with regret?

But Carla works it all out so ultimately they have the desires of their hearts, even if that looks a bit different then they originally thought or planned. Isn’t that what God does with our plans sometimes? He gives us something a bit different but ultimately it is what we wanted all along.

Of course, the food aspect of this book make it all the more tasty 🙂 If you enjoy contemporary romance you will enjoy this read.

Visit Carla here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano February 5, 2018

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:11 pm
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About:

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back … even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life–and love–outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

My thoughts:

I have thoroughly enjoyed every book I have read by Carla. Her books just come to life and the characters seem so real to me. I can feel their emotions. This book was no exception.

Rachel is thrown into a situation she never asked for. Alex threw her into the situation without really meaning to and he will do whatever it takes to make it up to her. He didn’t mean to fall for her in the process.

Overall, this is a very well written book that I highly recommend if you are looking for a good contemporary romance.

Visit Carla here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to my through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own. 

 

Jilted by Carla Laureano January 28, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:55 pm
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About:

Three days. Two jaded hearts. One unexpected love.

Bethany Hall is hiding out on a remote private island off the coast of Belize, creating romantic meals for the rich and the privileged. But when her client Derek Moretti’s bride jilts him at the altar, he’s left with a bitter view on love, a $30,000 a week bungalow, and for the first time in his life, nowhere else to be.

After Derek overhears his beautiful personal chef talking about how he dodged a bullet when his bridezilla left him, he begins to think that maybe she’s right. He convinces Bethany to act as his personal tour guide for the remainder of his trip, but neither expect that their purely platonic arrangement could shake their preconceptions about love.

Could Derek have been in the right place at the right time…just with the wrong woman?

My thoughts:

I have always liked Carla’s book and this quick read is no exception. She manages to create a beautiful atmosphere and take you there, and who couldn’t use that this time of year?

Bethany and Derek and quite cynical on their views of love, but they do have their reasons.

Carla does tend to push the envelope when it come to Christian reads. One characters almost says the “b” word and Derek is looking at places that aren’t usually acknowledged in Christian books. There also isn’t a strong faith thread. I would say this is more of a clean secular read. Maybe that was it’s intent? I don’t know.

No matter, it is a good book, I just feel I need to give that heads up to anyone who might download the book because I know this could bother some people. It is very good, and very well written. You can always count on a good story from Carla.

You can download this book for free at Carla’s website. Click here.

 

 

London Tides by Carla Laureano June 8, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:15 pm
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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
London Tides

David C. Cook (June 1, 2015)
by
Carla Laureano

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I studied literature and criticism at Pepperdine University and earned a degree in English in 1997. Since then, I’ve worked in a number of different industries as a salesperson, marketing manager, copywriter, and small business consultant. In addition to my work for corporate clients, I wrote for publications produced by the World Health Organization.

I love the history, culture, and mythology of Ireland and Scotland, which form the settings for most of my work. I also enjoy incorporating my background in martial arts and fencing into the action elements of my stories.

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). I was selected as a finalist in ACFW’s 2012 Genesis contest in the speculative fiction category. My debut novel, a contemporary romance entitled Five Days in Skye, was released by David C Cook in June 2013 and went on to win RWA’s 2014 RITA Award for Inspirational Romance. My three book young adult fantasy series, SONG OF SEARE, is being released from NavPress in 2014 and 2015.

I live with my husband and two sons in Denver, Colorado.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and colleague, Grace is shaken.

She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved—Scottish businessman Ian MacDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace … only for her to choose career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together … or tear them apart for good this time?

If you would like to read the first chapter of London Tides, go HERE.

 

My thoughts:

I loved Carla’s first book, Five Days in Skye. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her newest release. But I have to be honest I am very torn in some ways about this book.

The story is great, the writing is fabulous, the story world is so real and the characters well-developed.

Carla did a wonderful job drawing these two characters together yet I continually felt like something bad was going to happen to tear them about again, like this relationship was too fragile.

I loved going on Grace and Ian’s dates, they are fun and creative. I also enjoyed visiting Skye again and meeting up with characters in the first book. However, if you haven’t read the first book you can read this one as a stand-alone and not feel lost.

The passion between the two characters is hot. If you don’t like a lot of passionate kissing and coming too close then this probably won’t be your cup of tea.

And this is where I become torn because honestly, if I didn’t know this was Christian fiction I don’t think I would have known.

There are vague references to God, a quick prayer here and there but I think we could find that in a secular novel. With that being said that is what makes the characters real. There are a lot of people out there with a bit of faith and only call on God when they need something.

I also struggled with the casual references to living together in the past and not really hearing any regret or how that was wrong. Grace does talk about how she wants to do things differently this time but she doesn’t have, or at least voice, that Jesus is the reason she wants to do things differently. She talks about that she made a promise to God but she doesn’t go too deeply into that.

Honestly, I would have probably given this book five stars if there was more of a faith thread but it really rubbed me wrong without seeing more Jesus in the book so I give it four stars. The story itself is excellent I was just missing Jesus 🙂

Visit Carla here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.