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November 26 2015 5 26 /11 /November /2015 02:54

 

     "Among the Fair Magnolias" is a collection of four novellas set in the years following the Civil War, and is written by Tamera Alexander, Dorothy Love, Shelley Gray, and Elizabeth Musser.  It is published by Thomas Nelson.

 

     I went into this collection only knowing Tamera Alexander, and none of the other authors or their books.  I was hoping to be impressed, because I'm a southern girl and I love history, plus getting introduced to other author's books without reading a whole novel is great.  In this case though, I wasn't impressed.  The stories were boring, and my only consolation was that they were only novellas and soon I would be onto the next author.  I've read other novellas collections that mixed in unfamiliar authors, and those worked for me.  The concept here sounded great; I was excited to follow up on Savannah Darby from Tamera Alexander's "To Win Her Favor", but even her story felt rushed and just wrong at the end.

 

     I'll still follow up on Tamera Alexander's works, but none of other authors made a good impression on me; I'll also continue to read books published through Thomas Nelson.  Mostly, it was just the individual plots of the stories; they didn't "hook" me; also, I didn't connect with the characters.  I don't know if having the characters connect from one novella to the next would have made a difference; I think it could go either way if coordinated well enough.  This collection just didn't flow together, which was a shame because I really believe this had a lot of potential.

 

     Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with an e-copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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November 12 2015 5 12 /11 /November /2015 03:21

 

     "Finding Viola" by Bo Burnette is a short story, only availiable on e-book, and is published by Tabbystone press.  It can be found on amazon.com for Kindle.

 

     This is a really short story, only estimated at 17 pages, but it's certainly worth the price.  "Finding Viola" is about a girl who, while at school, hears mysterious music coming from a long-locked door in an abandoned hall.  I can't say much more about the plot without giving it all away, but I can say that the writing style was great, although the characters' dialogue and vocabulary didn't seem realistic because it was sophisticated and I didn't know the character's ages.  Of course, the characters and setting were not explored in detail due to the length of the story, so overall I did not think it detracted from the story. This story flowed together smoothly, which only made it feel shorter! Of course, that's a good thing.

 

     Be sure to visit Bo Burnette's new website at: https://boburnette.wordpress.com/, as he will have some exciting new releases coming out next year!

 

     Thank you so much to the author for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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October 29 2015 5 29 /10 /October /2015 14:15

 

    Whoohoo! "The Lighthouse Thief" by Bo Burnette has recently been edited and shaped up with a new cover, and the author is promoting it by releasing it on Kindle for FREE this weekend, today through Saturday.  Pick up your copy before it goes off sale! Here's a link to the book on Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Thief-Bo-Burnette-ebook/dp/B00L5MV3QW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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October 28 2015 4 28 /10 /October /2015 21:20

 

     "Falling Like Snowflakes" is Denise Hunter's newest novel, and is the first book in a new series, leaving Chapel Springs for Summer Harbor, Maine, but keeping characters from her previous series and adding characters from Colleen Coble's latest series.  This is complicated, but the book also works beautifully as a stand-alone.

 

     Eden Martelli and her five year old son on the run from the murderer of her ex-husband and the double--crossing lawmen that were supposed to keep her safe.  She has this down to a science: arrive in a new place, switch names, never give away background information, don't get in touch with family or anyone, and don't stay in one place too long or get connected to anyone.  Hope for justice.

 

     Beau Callahan works at his family's Christmas tree farm, and is dating his youngest brother's best friend.  When Eden (who is calling herself Kate) shows up at his doorstep looking for work because her car broke down, his compassionate heart won't let him turn her down.  When sparks start flying with Eden/Kate, he knows all he wants is to protect her.  But will she ever be able to trust someone again?

 

     I really liked this novel.  The plotline and characters were fantastic.  I really like this author, and I was not disappointed with this new series.  I would recommend it.  It was a little intense in some flashbacks and at the climax of the story, but it wasn't overdone and I thought this book was excellent.

 

     Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with an e-copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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October 21 2015 4 21 /10 /October /2015 13:04

"Win or Lose, I Love You" by Lysa TerKeurst is new children's book released by Thomas Nelson publishers.

Yes, this book's message is basically reflected by the title, making it rather pointless to describe the book in a review, but I did want to say that I have greatly enjoyed and benefited from Lysa TerKeurst's books for women, and I love that she is expanding her reading audience to children and implementing good values into her works. It is encouraging progress to watch and I hope that this book goes on to bless many families, both the children listening to the story and the parents reading it, as this book means more when read aloud with conviction. Not only does this book explore a child's worth being tied to who they are and not how they play or perform, but this book also covers topics such as kindness, good sportsmanship, and overcoming selfishness.

I enjoyed this simple story with its timeless message and I think this is a great book to have for young children. The illustrations were charming and age-appropriate.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson publishers and their BookLook bloggers program for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not affected in any way, nor required to be positive.

 

 

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October 14 2015 4 14 /10 /October /2015 21:16

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  "The Cactus Creek Challenge" by Erica Vetsch is the first book that I've read by this author, and it is a stand-alone novel.  I came across this book randomly while searching through books by this publisher, and was intrigued by th eplot line, which I thought sounded cute.

 

     This book is set in the small town of Cactus Creek, Texas, where for one month out of every year people put their name is a drawing to trade jobs with one other person.  Usually it's just one or two people out of the town, of course, so as to give a new perspective but not completely disrupt the town.

 

     Sheriff Ben Wilder has been the object of teacher Cassie Bucknell's girlhood infatuations, but he still thinks of her as a little sister.  When their jobs are switched, she hopes he will have a great appreciation for how hard it is to be a teacher.  But when trouble comes along in the town, can she keep her own head afloat?

 

     There was another couple that switched places alongside Ben and Cassie, and while they were almost treated more like secondary characters than main ones, I liked their story just as much--if not better. 

 

     This was a fairly light read; there was suspense with trouble in the town that Cassie had to take care of as Sheriff, and so that kept me on the edge of my seat, but mostly it was just a really sweet read, and one that I would read again.  It's clean, and quite frankly, just adorable.  I would recommend it.

 

     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 and were not required to be positive.

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October 1 2015 5 01 /10 /October /2015 02:23

    

     I enjoyed the NKJV FaithGirlz Bible because it is very tween/teen friendly and has notes and stories in it that correspond with the verses around it. Certain verses are also recognized and labeled “Treasure This”, to suggest memorization and application for girls. There are also “Dream Girl” sections, which give one an idea of what it might be like to be in a story in the Bible. Another feature is entitled “Bring It On”--these are some quizzes to help a girl to get to know herself; they go over things like “Do you like to help others?” vs.  “Is it a challenge for you to help others?”.  At the beginning of each book there is an introductory page with questions and answers such as: “Who wrote it?”, “Where does it take place?”, “Bad guys to watch for”, and so on.  Also, there is a section in the back of the Bible for taking notes, and a few pages that explained money value in biblical times and so forth.   I enjoyed all the color and fun in reading parts of it, although the print is a little on the small side. Another nice quality in this is that the author includes a 365 day long checklist for reading the Bible in a year. Overall, I very much enjoyed this Bible and would recommend it to tween and teenage girls.

 

     Thank you to Thomas Nelson and their Book Look bloggers program for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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September 26 2015 7 26 /09 /September /2015 18:43

 

     So I applied to this Fiction Guild, for which I got denied access.  Then I get a package in the mail from the Guild, saying "Here's your first Guild project!" or something to that effect, and I of course was fairly miffed, since I was rejected and then charged with a duty which I did not sign up for.  But alas, since I had the book and had no contact information for return address for the Guild, I figured, "Why not read it?".  And so I began "The Girl From the Train" by Irma Joubert.  I did not know it at the time, but this story and its characters would reach beyond my frusteration and grab my heart and my mind, turning into my favorite book and a near-obsession in the duration of my reading of it.  I could not get the characters out of my mind!

 

     Gretl Schmit, when the book opens, is jumping off a train full of Jews bound for Auswitz, including her family.  She manages to escape, waiting by the tracks for her sister, who also is able to squeeze off the train car.  Soon she hears a loud boom, and tucks down, hiding, assuming it is just another bomb.  At just six years old, she is on the run,

 

     Jakob Kowalski is a twenty-one year old Polish resistance movement worker against the Communists in WWII.  When he sets a bomb on the tracks to stop a German train, he doesn't know another unscheduled train is coming by--one that will deposit a fierce, strong, determind six year old orphan into his life.

 

     I absolutely loved this book.   Gretl captured my heart and I could not get her out of my mind,  She was so strong and so brave and so smart.  This story has so much heart, love, and backbone to it and its characters.  The plot kept me hanging, but Gretl kept me going.  She was extraordinary (and reminded me to Liesel of "The Book Thief").  This book is one that will not stay on my shelf--I will be loaning it out to my friends and spreading the word of this spectacular story.

 

     Thank you SO MUCH to Thomas Nelson and Zondervan's Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review (and eventually sending me a letter of approval into the Guild after the initial email of rejection).  If all the stories are like this, I will be delighted to work with you!  All opinons are my own and were not required to be positive.

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September 17 2015 5 17 /09 /September /2015 05:07

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     "Escape to Paradise Trilogy" by MaryLu Tyndall is a collection of three books, "Forsaken Dreams", "Elusive Hope", and "Abandoned Memories".  This was published by Shiloh Run Press on May 1st, 2015.

     I've previously reviewed two out of three of these books, so I'll just sum up the trilogy and collection in general.

     These stories are set directly after the Civil War, and follow the lives of several Confederates looking to escape their war-torn lives and go to start over in Brazil.  Things aren't all as they seem, however, when mysterious things begin to happen around camp, some realize that in addition to the unrest among the travellers, there is spiritual unrest among the ruins of an ancient temple nearby.  As the characters grow to love each other and overcome their differences, they must band together to fight the darkness trying to settle there as well.

     This collection, in its print form, I found to have really thin pages, which I was afraid would tear.  Obviously, if one gets the electronic version, this would not be an issue. 

     Thank you so much to the author for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

 

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September 2 2015 4 02 /09 /September /2015 19:35

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     "A Worthy Pursuit" by Karen Witemeyer is a stand alone book and the latest release by the author through Bethany House.  I have really enjoyed this author in the past because of her creative characters and plots with a setting of the wild west and her laugh out loud sense of humor.  After finishing her most recent books before this--which were all part of a series--I was a little sad about leaving the familiar characters and setting off on an adventure with these new ones.  Thankfully, this book picked up quickly and I soon felt connected to the characters.

 

    Charlotte Atherton was a headmistress at a school for talented children before it unexpectedly closed down, leaving a few children in her care until their parents/guardians could pick them up at the end of the school year.  She is evading the law, trying to keep her charges safe from one girl's grandfather who wants to use her talents to progress his business, when a tracker on their case catches up with them and begins to win Charlotte and the children over with his kindness. 

 

     Stone Hammond is a strong man with a high work ethic.  When a wealthy grandfather requests his services to find and return his kidnapped granddaughter, Stone accepts.  When he finds the girl and her temporary guardian, he discovers his boss's motives weren't in his granddaughter's best interests.  With his attraction to the teacher, concern for the child's safety, and loyalty to his employer all caught in the crosshairs, he joins the band of children and their teacher on the run from the law until he can sort it all out.  But with a ruthless tracker underhandedly tracking them, will they have enough time to sort it all out?

 

     I nearly immediantly connected to these characters, loving the adorable little children and wanting to see justice done in the story.  The plot moved smoothly and I loved to see the characters coming to terms with the situations and learning to lean on God and take risks in opening up and trusting each other.  This was a great story that kept me hanging.

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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