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January 1 2014 4 01 /01 /January /2014 00:53

 

  My Top Ten Favorite Books of 2013



 

1. Gunpowder Tea      


 

2. Undeniably Yours     


 

3. Barefoot Summer  


 

4. Gone with the Wind 


 

5.  The Miner's Lady     


 

6. Elusive Hope      

 

 

 


 

 

7. Glittering Promises     

 

 

8. It Happened at the Fair      

 

9. Jasmine     

 

10. Stealing the Preacher     

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January 1 2014 4 01 /01 /January /2014 00:42

 

 

     Happy New Year's Eve! I hope that in 2014 we will make an extra effort to look beyond ourselves and be a blessing to others.

 

     Today only, Elizabeth Camden's "Into the Whirlwind" is FREE on Kindle:

 

 

     Also, you can check out my review of Into the Whirlwind.   

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December 25 2013 4 25 /12 /December /2013 01:23

 

 

"Sabrina's Man"

     "Sabrina's Man" is written by Gilbert Morris and published by Barbour Publishing.  It was published on December 1, 2013.  This is the second book in the "Western Justice" series; the first is "Rosa's Land" and the third, expected release in June 2014, and is "Raina's Choice." 

     "Sabrina's Man" is set during the Civil War, which drew me because I had just finished "Gone with the Wind".  In hindsight, I should not have expected this to be anything near that classic, but with "Gone with the Wind" fresh it my mind, it made it hard not to compare.   The main characters take past over half of the book to be introduced to each other, which made me do a triple-check to make sure that I even had the right book downloaded! This book struck me as childishly written; perhaps it is this author's first book, but the dialogue, characters, and pace of the plot all seemed much less than professional to me.  Everything seemed so rushed in the beginning, yet the book took a long time to come together.

     Thank you to Net Galley and Barbour publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to post a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

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December 18 2013 4 18 /12 /December /2013 02:11

 

"A Talent for Trouble"

Note: This book is available for Amazon's kindle matchbook program, meaning if you buy the print version from Amazon, you can get the kindle edition for $2.99. 

    "A Talent for Trouble" is written by Jen Turano, and published by Bethany House.  It is the third book in the "Ladies of Distinction" series, with the first being "A Change of Fortune", the second, "A Most Peculiar Circumstance", and the fourth, "A Match of Wits" (to be released in July of 2014).  This was the first book I had read of this author's, although I was intrigued by "A Change of Fortune".  I just never got around to reading anything by her before this.  That being said, this book did very well as a standalone, and I found the author's work comically enjoyable.  She has a sense of humor, that is for sure! (Side Note again: For a taste of her works, check out her novella, "Gentleman of her Dreams", which is currently free on Kindle.)  While many of the plot points were unrealistic and something that you would find in a chick-flick, it made for a sweet read.  There is still plenty of drama in each of the two main character's lives to keep you hanging, and chemistry to keep you smiling.  Overall, while somewhat unrealistic, this was a humorous read that I truly enjoyed.  I will look forward to other books by this author.

     Thank you to Bethany House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

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December 12 2013 5 12 /12 /December /2013 00:52

Product Details

 

"Country Faith"

     "Country Faith" is a collection of stories, hope, faith, and God's love from today's leading country artists.  All fifty-six selections were compiled by Deborah Evans Price and published by Zondervan.  This is pretty much set up in a devotional type format, with a few short paragraphs per singer.  Each singer has their picture, their favorite Bible verse or passage, and what that verse or passage means to them.  I found this particularly uplifting to see the hope and faith in so many of their lives.  This makes a wonderful present for any country music lover, and is very inspirational.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and while I received a free copy in exchange for my review, I may go and buy several more; it’s just that good.  In addition, one percent of the proceeds from this book go to benefit the "Sophia's Heart Foundation".  This book contains insight from Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Florida Georgia Line, Charlie Daniels, and many, many more, as well as a few of my personal favorites: Lauren Alaina, Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery, and Hunter Hayes.  Also, printed in the back of this book is the Gospel of Mark.  All of the Scripture is taken from the New International version, unless otherwise noted.  There is a foreword by Josh Turner, as well as a passage from him.

     Thank you so very much to Book Sneeze and Zondervan for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All of my opinions are my own, and they were not required to be positive.

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December 6 2013 6 06 /12 /December /2013 01:17

 

 

 

"Andi Unexpected"

     "Andi Unexpected" is written by Amanda Flower, and published by ZonderKidz on September 24, 2013. 

     After their scientist parents die in a plane crash, grieving Andora (Andi for short) and her teenage sister Bethany move to the small town Killdeer in Ohio in the middle of the summer to live with their energetic Aunt Amelie in her old house.  Andi meets Colin, the neighbor boy, and immediately befriends him.  Andi is devastated when she and her rude sister have to share a bedroom.  She comes to her aunt, begging to have her own room.  Amelie makes a deal with her: If Andi can clean out the much cluttered attic, she can have that.   Colin volunteers to help. They find an old trunk that contains evidence of another girl named Andora in the family, who Andi immediately goes to great lengths to find out more about, risking her life and Colin's, being grounded, and being arrested. 

     Overall, I think this book is predictable and typical. Also, Andi regularly disobeys her aunt Amelie.   

     Thank you to Book Sneeze and Zonderkidz publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to write a positive review.

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December 1 2013 1 01 /12 /December /2013 23:44

Product Details

 

 

 

"Pirates on the Farm"

 

     "Pirates on the Farm" is written by Denette Fretz, illustrated by Gene Barretta, and published by Zonderkidz.  It was published on August 24, 2013, and is intended for children ages 4-8.  It is in "The Next Door Series".

 

     This is a very cute story about a proper southern family of farmers.  They have new next door neighbors, a shipful of swaggering pirates who traded life on the high seas for farming, even though they have no expertise in the lifestyle.  The story is told from a first-person viewpoint of the oldest child, a daughter, in the southern family.  She has a little brother named Joey who is very enthusiastic about the new neighbors.  The daughter herself does not quite know what to think of them; we read as she tells about her mother, father, and younger brother's reactions to the new farmers, as well as the effect on the town.  Most of the people view the pirates negatively at first, but it all wraps up in a neat and tidy, if not easy to miss, package on loving thy neighbor.  I say "easy to miss" because the story's main resolution is in the pictures, and not actual words. 

 

     Personally, I found the dialogue and pirates charming, however, I have read several books on pirates.  For four to eight year olds, they would not understand many of the words, terms, or irony, of the story.  At the back of the book, there is a glossary of pirate lingo, simplified into....worse pirate lingo.  This is not a good book for children because of the lack of comprehension they will most likely have.  However, if you're an adult, you'll find this book amusing, if you really want to resort to buying a children's book to amuse yourself.

 

     Thank you to BookSneeze, as well as Zonderkidz, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to write a positive review. 

 

 

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November 13 2013 4 13 /11 /November /2013 01:09

   

 

 

 

"Made to Last"

 

     "Made to Last" is written by Melissa Tagg and published by Bethany House publishers.

 

     I found this to be a very entertaining and fun read; it's great for sitting out on the back porch in a hammock in autumn and reading, because it has a sweet storyline, but one that will keep you hanging just the same.

 

     Miranda "Randi" Woodruff hosts her own home improvement TV show, From the Ground Up.  When she started the show, she was engaged to Robbie, who walked out on her.  Since she had already begun talking about him since season one, she must continue to.  Now she's filming season four and the public is restless to know the identity of her "secret husband", which she does not have because he left her.  The show is threatening to be canceled, so she hires a guy who fits the description of her ex-finance to stand in as her husband.  He's a complete stranger, which makes things even more complicated when reporter Matthew Knox moves into her guest home to shadow her for a few months.

 

 

 

     Matthew Knox wants a good story after writing an article in revenge against his father who left him, only for the information in the article to be found invalid.  He and his career are humiliated, as well as his partner.  Now, when he gets the chance to shadow TV's popular Miranda Woodruff, he agrees, and finds himself inexplicitly draw to her.

 

     Personally, I found this book fairly interesting with its setting and characters.  However, I was disgusted that the "hero" of the story was drawn to, as far as he knew, a married woman.  That made me uncomfortable and questioning of his character.  I think that the fake husband she hired would have been a much better match for her, as he took months out of his life to save the reputation of a woman whom he did not even know, and stayed faithful to his pretend wife, honoring her and being careful of what he said in interviews, when he did not have any personal attachment to her.  I found his loyalty refreshing, and Matthew's attempts to woo Miranda behind his back repulsing in comparison. 

 

     Thank you to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for letting me read and review this book.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to give a positive review. 

 

 

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November 13 2013 4 13 /11 /November /2013 00:52

City on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

 

 

"City on Fire"

     "City on Fire" is a novel written by Tracy L. Higley and recently republished by Thomas Nelson.

     This novel is set in the ancient city of Pompeii in the time leading up to the eruption. It was certainly an interesting read and a fresh perspective on the ancient world, Christianity, gladiators, slaves, and politics of the time. At the end of the book is a fascinating historical note on Mount Vesuvius and a reading group guide.

     Ariella, a runaway Jewish slave, becomes a gladiator in the arena.  When she is transferred to Cato, a wealthy politician's house, he acts oddly around her.

     Cato can't afford to take notice of the new slave in his house as he prepares for the next election.  However, when their lives are thrust together to save their loved ones, will discover more about each other?

     Personally, I found this book to be slow-moving and hard to get into.  It has a historically interesting setting, what seem like would be strong characters, and a predictable plot, even though it is outrageously hard to imagine.


      I received this book complimentary from Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to provide a positive review.

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November 2 2013 7 02 /11 /November /2013 15:57

Jasmine (Song of the River)

 

 

"Jasmine"

 

     "Jasmine" is written by Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McCarver, and published by Barbour Books.  It was released on July 1, 2013.  It is the third and final book in the "Song of the River" trilogy; the first two books were written about Jasmine's older sisters, Lily and Camellia.  I have read and reviewed the previous books in the series, and you can find the reviews here:

 

Review for "Lily": http://mybookthoughts.over-blog.com/article-lily-103721608.html

Review for "Camellia": http://mybookthoughts.over-blog.com/article-camellia-112969064.html

 

     Since I have read the whole trilogy, and have found that the other sisters' perspectives are woven in often, I imagine "Jasmine" would be fairly difficult to read as a stand-alone, because you would not have all the background information.  Granted, the authors did throw in tidbits relating to how the trilogy began, the girls' family history, etc, but overall, I advise you read the previous two books first.

     Jasmine is the extrovert of the family, and very dramatic.  She desires to become an actress, and when the story starts, she is using her talent to do fundraising shows for the local orphanage.  However, Jasmine's family does not think that she should go into the acting business.

     David is, if you have read the previous books and will remember, the little boy whom Lily and Blake continuously ran into and eventually invited onto their boat.  He grew up with Jasmine and they were the best of friends.  As she grew older, he would request that she save one dance for him at every party, because he had always loved her from growing up together.  He did not want to push her, however, and would just grit his teeth whenever she would dance with someone else.  On the last dance they shared, Jasmine emitted a tiny sigh, which, unbeknownst to him, was of pleasure and relief at finally getting to dance with him.  David took it as a sigh of sadness that she had promised to always save him a dance, and after that, took off and became a Pinkerton detective.  {Side note here: Because I have recently read "Gunpowder Tea", which was about the Pinkerton Detective agency as well, and have seen at least three or four other novels about it as well, I have grown tired of it always being in the plot line.  Also, "Gunpowder Tea" was so spectacular that it ruined my taste for other Pinkerton Detective-type novels.}

     So the story begins for David, as a Pink who received his latest assignment in the town where Jasmine is currently living.  They meet up at a ball, and she refuses him a dance, saying that all of her dances for the evening have been taken, even though that is not true.  David is hurt, but he remains at the party and Jasmine is forced to dance every dance or else he will see through her lie.  David tries to clean Jasmine out of his heart, because even after the year or two spent in the detective agency, he still thinks of her.  Jasmine, on the other hand, had always thought that they would be married someday, but since he left her, she continuously snubs him. 

     Jasmine just wants to act, and when her family will not let her, she runs off and joins a traveling show boat with an actor whom she had met at a local play, who wooed her and took her out on dates.  Jasmine's sisters do not approve of him either, and she sneaks out to see him.

     David does not want to track her down, but when her sisters plead with him and his new case takes him in that direction, he realizes Jasmine may be in more danger than any of them had originally realized.

     Overall, I loved this book.  I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story, and the character development was superb.  The plot kept me hanging on, and the riverboat setting was so quaint.

Thank you to Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

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