Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review and Giveaway Blog Tour: Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman

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She stole his heart.
He stole her peace.
Can hope steal their pain?

At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack Carmichael, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?

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“Come on, Jack, I dare you.”
She’d shot up out of the river like a tow-headed sea nymph, water sluicing down gentle curves of her T-shirt that tempted way more than they should. Her chuckle had been husky and low as she paddled in place off his dock, the sultry sound floating toward him like the mist on the water—hazing his mind, clouding his will. “This is our last night before you leave for that stuffy seminary,” she’d said with a toss of her head, “so let’s make a memory to keep us warm while you’re gone.” With a scrunch of her nose, she’d wiggled in the water and shot him a pixie grin that came off devil may care.

Devil may care. Jack grunted. That certainly nailed it to the wall. The edge of his mouth jagged up. With a freakin’ nail gun. He cocked a hip and sighed, tunneling fingers through his hair as the memory lapped against his mind like the warm, salty waters of the Skidaway River. Against his will, he shook his head, fighting the seed of a smile. Lacey Anne Carmichael had to be the biggest little brat on the Isle of Hope and absolutely everything Jack had ever wanted. Intelligent, warm, and brimming with life and fun and adventure, the perfect complement to his serious and sensible self. Half tomboy, half vamp, she was an adorable little girl in a woman’s body whose heart had always beat in time with his own. A best friend as deep as the rolling river who sparkled and shined on the surface with a sense of humor that made him laugh.

Until the summer that everything changed. The summer of her senior year after her cousin Nicki moved from California to Isle of Hope, tainting the girl to whom he was promised. He’d arrived home from college, and suddenly Lacey was different—wilder, crazier, as if hungry for a lifestyle forbidden by a strict father with whom she’d never seen eye-to-eye. From honor-roll choirgirl to temptress in the blink of a semester. Sure, Jack knew she’d always had a streak of the rebel—she’d been his next-door neighbor and sisters’ best friend forever, after all. But he just assumed graduation and turning eighteen would soften the edges. Help her settle down and become what he always hoped she would be—a pastor’s wife.

His.

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This book was very well written and deals with some serious subjects with a real depth.  It's gritter than most of the books I read with several characters dealing with adultery, betrayal, divorce, lies, and bitterness.  But there was also the awesome threads of healing, mercy, forgiveness, redemption, second chance love and friendships regained.

The relationship between Jack and Lacey's families has been torn apart by adultery, betrayal, and divorce leaving more than one member of their families still angry, bitter, and lost.  When Lacey returns to help with her cousin's wedding, she hopes to bring reconciliation between the two families. 

I liked how Lacey has changed and in spite of her fears is seeking reconciliation with her past.  I also liked that Jack's mom is so accepting of her and how she aids in her quest.  I especially liked how Jack's mom breaks through to Lacey's dad - there were some funny moments along the way! 

Although Jack and Lacey reconcile, they still have A LOT of issues to work through, one of which is the fact that Jack has allowed the hurt and betrayal of his dad's infidelity and Lacey's abandonment to turn him away from God.  It takes him awhile to soften up and find his way back to a relationship with God and his dad.

This story is more than just a romance.   It's a powerful real life tale of two families forever changed by the consequences of the sin of adultery.  It's a story of forgiveness, healing, and hope for a better tomorrow.  You'll laugh and cry with each family member as they find their way back to God and each other.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

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Julie Lessman, award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Julie has garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014. Her indie book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.  You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through:


Also check out Julie’s group blog, The SeekersWriters Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, which was voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine.

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November 2--Just Commonly
November 5--Buzzing About Books
​November 7--Wishful Endings

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